Whatever I wear,
will be the wrong pair
for someone out there.
So why not go in flair?
My Top 10 Video Games
Games appeal to me the most when their stories tell better tales than books. So think of this list as the best books I’ve ever had the honour of living in. (I tried to keep it in order but after the 3rd one, there were too many games that couldn’t be compared or put on a scale). Anyhoo:
Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New world
Its the 2nd of the two Symphonia games and, not gonna lie, there’s some sentimental value for me on this one. But I stand by the thought that anyone who loves a good fantasy story (or who loves a good story and doesn’t mind the fantasy) would love this game. I’d never known true story telling until I played this masterpiece; never known true world-building either. Typically, in fantasy stories, the characters aren’t necessarily that relatable. I don’t know what it’s like to save a princess or to stop an evil overlord from destroying a world, but I do know what loneliness feels like, and sacrifice—choosing what’s right over what you want, being the odd one out, and, dare I say, ROMANCE.
Tales games in general know how to attack you in the feels, but this one happened to be the one that knew how to emotionally resonate with me. It also probably plays a major part in why my imagination might seem as endless as it is. This game is a gorgeous, rollercoaster of adventure that I wish got the recognition it deserves.
P.S. You don’t have to be into anime to enjoy this game. Picture it like a more emotion-driven version of final fantasy games. (And with better story, in my opinion)
Naruto Storm 3
(I’m biased, I know)
The only reason this isn’t my first favourite game is because it’s my favourite anime and has an unfair advantage. It’s really not a game that everyone will enjoy, unless you’ve watched or read or played the other Naruto games. But all I’ll say... is I have never known the fear of walking in the e.x.c.r.u.c.i.a.t.i.n.g.l.y. slow shoes of a blissful pregnant woman, until this.
Honestly, I don’t even know where to start. As @D_Reaper mentioned, the aesthetic of this game is just an international treasure and boy do they make it fun to steal treasure. This game is every artist’s dream. It’s art on art on art. The soundtrack has music producers wiping tears from their eyes. The animation is too detailed for words, the story— *chokes up*. This entire game is so impossibly perfect and flawless and [chef’s kiss] that I feel unqualified to even talk about it; to even begin to try and capture its beauty in my mere mortal words. There. Aren’t. Enough. Words. To express how breathtaking and phenomenal this game truly is.
Tales of Xillia 1 and 2
More Tales games = more feels. So many feels, so many dynamic characters. So many cool map locations. Such unique, interweaving plotlines! Collectively, these games have made me scream out loud more times than I could count. The 1st game has two main characters, which means you get to play it twice with different perspectives (similar to Nier Automata).
The second game has a Choices-Matter system, and we all know how PAINFUL. Choices-Matter games can be! If you don’t know what those are like, picture reading a book or watching a movie where the character’s wellbeing relies solely on how properly you can make a choice in a designated amount of time.
I kid you not, in one of these two games they casually throw in an optional side plot at you that gives you about as much storytelling shock-value as some marvel movies. EXCEPT IT’S A SIDE PLOT!!!
Xillia is a true adventure game through and through. There are experiences from these games that I cannot un-see or un-feel or ever forget, and if I had my own copy, I would be replaying it right now.
Kingdom Hearts 2
(Haven’t played 3 yet, but it will probably be on this list once I do)
This review is mainly for those who don’t know what Kingdom Hearts is, because I think in the gaming community, it’s pretty self-explanatory. But basically:
Kingdom Hearts is the ultimately Disney movie. The magic of Disney is this game. As in, if you like Mickey Mouse, and Stitch and Tinker Bell and Jack Sparrow and Disney characters on a whole, you will get to see, and talk, and fight with and against them all in this game. They are true, authentic versions of their movie selves. As in, for the most part, the same voice actors you know and love from Disney movies are in this game. As in, please. Play. This game. And when I say this game, I mean all of them.
There’s a fine line between hilarious fun and psychological trauma apparently, who knew?
Detroit Become Human
If Detroit was a book, it would be the type to make you race words to turn pages like three lives depended on it.
Choices have never mattered more.
I did not come out unscathed, nor do I know of anyone who has—on their first playthrough anyway. And if you have the heart for it, then this game practically begs for you to suffer through more than one playthrough. The story follows three very different android individuals who have all given me very different types of intense stress! I didn’t even know there were different types of stress.
It got to the point where, during this one scene, I had to pause the game and call my non-gamer, IRL, mom—at work—and ask her what to do (she was also fairly invested in this game). Despite all this, it’s stress I don’t regret.
Out of all of my top 10, this game would probably appeal to non-gamers the most. And if you’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy, then you’ll have someone to look forward to.
Speaks for itself.
(Also Spider-Man is my favourite superhero so I’m biased)
Life is Strange
Another game that left a mark. Choices matter here too, except this game doesn’t often rush you to make a decision, because it doesn’t have to. THEIR CHOICES ARE HARD!!!!! There’s a beautifully calming (and misleading) Lo-Fi soundtrack to accompany you on your tough journey through the authentic, post-secondary, art student experience. Did I mention you have powers?
I’m not exactly sure if this one belongs in my top 10 but it made a very lasting impact for such an underrated game. You play as an adorable cat child in a dying world. Your job: to deliver a Sun, as the chosen one. But it is not. By any means. Your typical ‘chosen one’ story. There’s really no preparing for what this game has in store. And what happens in OneShot doesn’t stay in OneShot.
Keep in mind I chose my top 10 based on story, so let’s not get offended as I share my Honorable Mentions (based on general experience and fun):
Smash Bros! Jet Set Radio Future, Nier Automata, The Last Guardian, Tales of Abyss, Persona 4, Phoenix Wright games, Danganronpa games, Genshin Impact, Tales of Vesperia, Tales of the Borderlands, Final Fantasy 4 and 7, Dust an Elysian Tail, Deemo, and Osu!
A Soulscaper’s Misery
[Inspired by: What it Takes to Fly by Yuumei, (a super inspiring artist who I recommend checking out) I added a link in the comments.]
~ ~ ~
One chain. Two chains. Three.
“Wow, Meiyuu, how are you doing that?”
Little Avi gaped at his master and the birds swooping around her. Their colours and fragrance, their formations and feathers, her control of it all, it was enchanting. Each bird was a pearl of white with streaks of pink and green, yellow and blue, there were other colours too. All bright and refreshing, and Little Avi was mesmerized whole-heartedly.
Meiyuu stood at the centre of a glass, vast pedestal, each petal a symmetrical net of ornate designs sprouting away from her feet. The platform gave the impression of delicacy and defiance; Hubris’s peak. It was a meditation circle of sorts, atop a stained glass temple; The Temple of Dreams, hanging above the mist of the city. A place always graced by warmth and sunlight. A gentle, sparkly hue...
Meiyuu seemed to glow atop this platform, like she was a goddess flying above the rest. And like everybody else, Little Avi admired her. He sat by her feet, like a child watching a magic show. Her poise had the grace of a contemporary dancer set to slow motion. She held her hand out in the air as if picking an apple from a tree that wasn't there, and the birds—the beautiful, colourful birds—flew in sequence around.
Four, five, six chains threatening to drag her down.
She twirled with the shadow of a smile, like a sigh on her face, while her eyes held the sky's blue. Her irises carved through by immense loads of power, as though she'd trained for centuries to do what she did. And the work of a Soulscaper was taxing indeed.
She was not centuries old; not even one; not even half as young. But the expectations and formalities her days required of her; the gruelling hours took upon by a soul-guider, it gave her this appearance. It gave her this stage.
It ripped and gnawed at her back like a bird stripped down by its cage.
She had not lived centuries of life, she'd witnessed it. She'd peered into minds and spirits alike, seen the paths of souls falling apart. Her job was to build them back up, sometimes out of a broken heart, just as she'd guided birds to fly. She strung their souls, entwined them to her dreams and set them free. Uplifting, inspiring, her work begets healing.
Ten, eleven, twelve wounds, bleeding.
She really was magical. It was not just for show. To be on a pedestal is to be vulnerable, susceptible. Meiyuu behaved as though she were nothing special. That did not stop her from seeming untouchable. Navy black hair swept by the breeze, pale porcelain skin neglected by the sun's ease.
Little Avi swayed and hummed, caressed by her silent song when he perked up:
“How do you make the birds listen to you?”
'With broad brush strokes of my blood.'
Her smile was her answer. At times, words were too much. The weight placed on each syllable could feel like a strap and a buckle without touch. Her apprentice didn't mind.
"How long will I have to train to be like you?" he cried.
Painfully. Sixteen. Seventeen. Eighteen shackles and then you'll see.
This, she said. Dark spirits tore them out of her head. Meiyuu corrected her tone, "you will get there, it just takes time."
A sacrificial climb.
A scraped soul.
It was a path she was hesitant to teach.
The job of a soulscaper was taxing indeed.
Others saw pretty birds...
She felt the raking of their feet.
Slot of Saved Precious Memories
I wrote this like 8ish years ago? I think? It was for a poetry anthology assignment. This was the spoken word one.... I think.
~ ~ ~
The cousin’s house I visit now
Not nearly as fun as my thoughts recall.
The N64 with slots of saved precious memories
sold away for temporary cheap money,
Not necessarily a complete loss game
Playstation 2 arrived the next day
Approximately. It didn’t last
however, change is not the same. Where were my friends A, B, and Zee-
Zed, same thing, forgive a mournful child who got random symbols instead.
Mario, link & Kirby, GONE FOR ETERNITY!
hyperbole, I go there now to see them replaced with-
With Call of Duty.
I supposed it doesn’t matter, the cousin I spent years with is in Vancouver. But
his little bro remains, and how will he ever know the feeling of contempt
when wrapping two petite little hands strategically around three stems
of giant plastic, buttons, and triggers, and joysticks, and fun.
How can he never know – a sword . . .
Maybe even a tennis Racquet
is better than a gun.
So I bought a Wii, just so he can see with great glee
My childhood slot of saved precious memories.
[The poem was about my cousin selling his (and my only access to a) Nintendo 64 in exchange for a playstation 2. Which, looking back now, isn’t even that much of a crime.]
10min Writes With a TaiSensei #5
Avree and Eve
Everix leaned against the alley wall, enveloped in wisps of shadow while watching the little nerd try her best at a game of soccer. He was only halfway through the gateway from his dream realm to her world, but decided to stay there a bit longer, free from her cautious eye.
Avree had kicked and missed the ball by a long shot. She pushed up her specs and stared confusedly at the rolling toy. He chuckled as she chased after it. See, she could have fun just fine on her own.
Everix pushed off the wall to show himself but a leafy hand grabbed hold of his wrist.
“Why do you need to check up on the human? She doesn’t need you.” The nymph’s arm slinked down Eve’s neck, curtaining over his collar bone from behind. Eve stretched away from her, disinterested.
“I made a promise. She’s my----- familiar remember? Even though she thinks I’m hers.”
Neela didn’t accept that answer. She floated over to his other ear with a different strategy of persuasion. “But she doesn’t need you. Not anymore. What point would there be in having her hang on to a figmentation of a dream? ...A half-human wisp, such as yourself?” Neela hovered in front of him, blocking his view of the girl. “You are something her world does not consider real... she cannot move on with her life if she stays tied to you.”
“But she’s...” Everix narrowed his gaze, recognizing the truth to her taunt, ”...she’s a friend.”
“Friend?” Neela lifted his chin, flower petals webbing between her fingers. She tunneled her murky black eyes into his, “Who are you kidding? You’ve fallen in love with that girl, Eve. But you cannot provide for her any more than these visits. You cannot be with her. Her world does not accept you as its visitor. It spits you out when you overstay your hours. How lonely do you think that would make her, if you two became united? If her lover could not stay to hear her cries? What would that mean for your children? Would they be half wisps as well? Would they ghost away out of her arms at birth? Perhaps out of her womb?”
Everix lost control of his Tempest then. He pushed her away with a surge of his power. It bubbled forth like warbled refractions of light against water, as if the air itself bled a purple light, and it hit Neela across her chest and face. A splatter of colour that seemed to carve through her via jagged lines fit for destruction.
Everix regretted the act immediately, but his words did not show it, “You’ve gone too far!” his hand shook with his voice, raw with unhinged might.
She’d turned away from his power, from the mark and the pain, as if she’d simply been slapped. But the effect cut deeper than that—emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Her hair wilted, three flower petals acting as bangs had turned from its blush-white hue to an ashen grey that fell from their roots. They crinkled to dust in the space between them, a hiss of silence parting them.
One of the joys of living in the dream realm meant imaginations felt more real than they ever should. He’d felt the weight of her words as if he’d lived through it within eight seconds. It scared him.
“I’m—I’m sorry, let me mend—”
Neela brushed her hand to the side, calling forth her own Tempest. A barrier formed between his hand and her carnaged face, smelling of cherry blossoms and river water. Circular ripples danced across the air, but her voice travelled through it just as strong as before.
“I go too far, Eve, because you do not understand otherwise. I speak cruelty for your own sake,” She shut her eyes, and let her body fade back into the dream realm, “for your human friend as well.”
Her voice lingered even after she’d disappeared, leaving him with a distraught mind and a clear view of the little nerd girl; the full-human familiar; Avree. His friend.
She’d been staring at her hand, probably because of the use of his Tempest, she must have felt the power surge—a rattle in her bones. Soon, instead of her palm, she stared directly towards Everix. Ignoring the soccer game and the screaming children in the field around her. She should not have been able to see or perceive him, in fact it was impossible. She could not have possibly known where he stood. And yet. Out of all the places she could have turned, her stare streamed through a metal fence, past pedestrians, across a street, into the shadows of a dark alley, and into his eyes.
The anticipation and hope and happiness she put into that stare was a painful awakening. Neela was right. He realized. It was cruel to let her depend on him. Anticipation would turn to disappointment; her hope to despair; happiness to agony.
Everix looked to his own hand then, still jittering beyond his control. It did not take desire for him to hurt the ones he cared for. It didn’t take willpower either. He took a step back, away from Avree and the border between their realms. He was the calamity.
A half-dream wisp could not be a dream at all. And if he wasn’t a dream, than he had to be a nightmare.
Her stare fell away as she began to look elsewhere, in search of him. Everix shook his head, taking one final look at Avree and her world before fleeing in the other direction.
He was her nightmare...
but he loved Avree best when she was able to sleep in peace.
10min Writes With a TaiSensei #3
Zin jogged off stage, sweat pouring through his tank top. A stagehand tossed him a towel and he wiped away the sweat from his forehead. He felt electrified. The crowds roar still buzzed through his ears, there was still a tingle at his throat from freshly used vocal chords. His callouses felt singed from shredding his guitar. There was a smile on his face, and a cloud nine exhiliration bursting through his veins.
In contrast, the backstage shadows covered over him a few tints too dark.
“Zin— ... Hey, Zin, come back to us man.”
All of a sudden Zin didn’t feel so electric. He felt weighted, numb, short of breath. His friend and co-star Dex was gawking all his concern at his face, while Zin was on the floor, shaking.
“Zin?----- What did you do? The power’s out on the whole stage.”
Zin could barely make out Dex’s features from the dim red haze of the backup lights, and he struggled to decipher the sounds over the ringing in his ears.
He felt Dex grab his forearm to help him up, but Zin knew before he tried that he wasn’t ready to stand. The room catapulted from one blur to a nauseating next and he gestured at his friend to stop.
“Give him some space people,” That was Jeshi, his personal assistant, ushering onlookers away. Even backstage he couldn’t escape the crowd and without his guitar protecting him from them, he felt their heft. Where’d they put his guitar, he wondered briefly before putting a hand to his head and trying to settle his breathing.
“What makes you think, it was me?” Zin asked.
The crowd was still blaring, he realized, back beyond the stage. Their yells more panicked than raving.
“You said, ‘what did you do?’” he looked up, “what makes you think it was me.”
He didn’t even hesitate,“You were glowing, dude.”
10min Writes With a TaiSensei #2
“Who are you?” I ask the hooded man sitting cross-legged on my bed.
He looks up and I’m met with scorching orange eyes peering out of the shadows. He stirs for a moment and removes his hood. His hair littered with streaks of fire in an ashy black and he studies me carefully.
“Your roomate, it appears...”
“Roomate?” I repeat, rolling my suitcase to a loud halt, “You must be mistaken.”
“I am hardly ever... mistaken that is,” he turned then, distracted by something I tried to see, then, “Close the door!” his tone had shifted once he’d given the order, or rather... it felt more like somebody else had.
He grows restless all of a sudden, his eyes darting around the walls in the instant before he stands. The next second, the doors close behind me on their own. The walls grow electric with streaks of----- fiery light, pulsing and charging the room to life with a crackly sound. My heart races just as fast. My head spinning to fight or flight mode, disorientation and confusion knocking me both sides like a tangible barrage. But it’s the hooded man’s hand that I really feel.
His tight grip locks around my wrist and tugs me behind him as he continues to watch the walls. For a moment he seems wild, feral, hunched over and animalistic in a way that frightens me more than the kindling room, but then he straightens, composure melting into his shoulders, and the grip on my wrist turns kind and careful.
The pulsing lights freeze, and with them, sound is stolen. Its a second later when it resumes.
He turns to me, using a grace that feels royal, and I would have been awestuck if not for the ghost that peels from his back. His corporeal form stands in place, gazing at me with sage-like eyes while a spectre of himself strolls off in front to perform a sort of tai-chi styled dance. My eyes play ping pong between the two of them.
“My apologies, for the scare.” He says with a smile. I find it hard to focus on the talking one as the dancing one hurls chopsticks of light into the walls, each stick end carries beads and sigiled papers that look as intangible as he does, “I was told a catalyst would come here, but I did not consider it to be a person.”
Another ghost crouches away from him and this time I manage a scream as it makes a sweeping kick through me. From the kick’s swipe, a white crescent paint streaks and glows along the floor. In the next moment a see-through dome coccoons over the both of us and his ghosts step inside. I step away, but the solid one hadn’t let go.
My mouth doesn’t allow words passage during this string of events, instead I stutter and gasp and gawk at all the hallucinations this room had to offer.
“And here I was telling you how rare it is I’m mistaken,” he gives me a hearty laugh that is distorted a little as the dome jitters around us, “I must be getting old.”
None of his versions look old. Handsome maybe, but not old. There was the dancing playful one, and a more wild and hateful one, and... if his goal had been to distract me from the shattering room beyond the bubble we were in then it failed. No person (no matter how inhuman) could be handsome enough to distract you from an incinerating world.
[prompt: sharing a hotel suite with a stranger]
[side note: I wasn’t sure where I was going with this, so, sorry for the abrupt end]
10min Writes With a TaiSensei #1
[----- this will mark the moment the timer went off (sometimes I go beyond it). I hand wrote these but decided to start posting them for the heck of it. Hope you enjoy, whoever you may be.]
P-p-p-poetry glistening to the colour of the sea. Its iridescent dance a light and a beacon for all the listeners patient and free.
S-s-s-sing a song.
The kind that’s heartfelt and sweet, if only it means you’ll warp your way back to me.
Oh symphony; the way your strings take hold of beats. a sacred melody with dazzling perfected wings.
I write not because I can but because I can’t do anything else, so sway along, sing your song, join this intergalactic belt of harmony~
And this tune; it has a fragrant view, like the moon, let’s sing about that too. I don’t know where on Earth I’m going but I hope this speaks to a secret few----
Roses are red
Violets aren't blue
If I could re-write the world
I'd start by educating you.