Frayed: a Quick Review of Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi

I’m sitting in front of my computer at 3:30 AM, fresh out of the theaters after watching the latest film of the franchise that had me captured since I was a young boy.

But I can’t tell you the reason for why I decided to share my thoughts before warning you, and I feel the need to warn you as a fan, in big bold caps-locked letters:


DO NOT READ THIS ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM YET


 

This isn’t simply because of SPOILERS… though there will be a plenty of that I imagine. I’m just writing this as I go.

This is because regardless of my review being positive or negative if you’re a Star Wars fan, you have to see this film without being tainted in any way. Otherwise, it’d be doing injustice to everything this film is trying to accomplish.

Despite its flaws and regardless of fan’s approval, this is a revolutionary film for the Star Wars franchise.

The Last Jedi, not only introduces profound lore elements to Star Wars universe, but also as a film it introduces a new style, tone, mechanics, writing, humor, and even further modernization to the franchise than they did with Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens.

However, as revolutionary as this film is, I couldn’t help but get up from my seat  at end wondering how much of the film I actually enjoyed and how much of it… annoyed me. Some reasons I knew why right away but some other I had the chew over on my drive home through the empty freeway in the wee hours of cold December morning.

Anyways. This is a quickie so it’s just me vomiting my thoughts right after the movie. So I ask for your generous understanding for any errors ahead.

The Quick and Dirty

While The Last Jedi may be revolutionary to the franchise in more ways than one, it tries to do too much for a single film and struggles to find a satisfying and perfect execution for most of its endeavors.

It doesn’t leave you with a feeling of witnessing a triumphant victor, but rather, the  feeling of awkward silence of witnessing someone try too hard for too long on stage… and you don’t know when to clap or what to clap for exactly even though you’re pretty sure you’ve enjoyed the overall experience.

CONS

As mentioned, execution of certain elements of the film feels a bit dissatisfying or unfinished.

One that really comes to mind is Kylo’s development as a character. The film does such a wonderful job giving depth to the character for the first two acts, that it’s incredibly disappointing and frustrating for him to become basically an unreasonable villain suddenly in the third act. It felt cheap.

The pacing felt off and because of so many branching sub-plots, the film felt like watching a miniseries rather than a film.

One of the biggest culprit to the pacing is the unnecessary insertions of comedic scenes and kind of “post-Marvel” vibe the film has. Y’know? Like how most Marvel seems can’t take itself seriously so sometimes it’s hard to feel what’s at stake? But it feels more annoying with this film because the tension and magnitude of the greater plot moments are so high that when certain lighter moments, or lesser interesting subplot moments, intrude… it feels like a sudden car crash.

That’s not to say that those scenes are not funny nor that they were always out of place. But many times they felt frustrating and made the film unnecessarily longer than it needed to be.

The very kid friendly comedic relief scenes are a bit odd because it’s unnecessarily treats the entire audience as if they can’t handle any reasonable duration of drama and tension (and yes I understand the target audience is ultimately kids but…)… while some of its plot conveniences are bandaged by insisting to treat the audience with such amount of respect that it expects them to fill in all the holes.

Mentioning plot conveniences…

MIXED BAGS

There’s a recurrence in modern writing of asserting ‘you don’t have to give the audience what they want, you don’t have to tell them everything.’

Which is fine. I think stories can be incredibly enhanced that way.

The Last Jedi did this wonderfully in some regards.

Many audience members may have wanted Rey to have an epic moment regarding her parents and have her parents be some grand part of the Star Wars lore.

She got none of that and it was fantastic. She’s a better child of prophecy type than Anakin ever was.

Better insight into Snoke?

Nope. And that’s awesome.

But there were plot conveniences where it felt like the film was trying to treat it the same way and just comes off as lazy writing. Here’s the top 3 I can recall at the moment:

  1. After developing Snoke as this incredibly powerful being–whose powers include apparently being able to read into Kylo’s deepest thoughts and feelings and even reach out to Rey in similar ways–and just after him even proclaiming that he can see into Kylo’s thoughts and intentions… Kylo can just kill him by surprise like that? He couldn’t sense the lightsabre moving by the force? This is a moment where the audience is supposed to fill in the blanks by, “ahh, it’s because Snoke’s too arrogant” …but instead it just ends up feeling a bit silly and anticlimactic.
  2. Why didn’t the Resistance do the whole cruiser lightspeed kamikaze attack sooner? Or even bring that up for discussion? It seemed incredibly powerful attack. In fact, almost every ship that’s about to be blown up should just do this if they can. I guess this is the part where the audience is supposed to go, “ahh, it’s because had they attempted that sooner the First Order would have suspected something was up…?” But, why wasn’t the actual plan just explained to everyone in the first place? Even Poe would have been fine since he seems to know if there’s cloaking device the First Order wouldn’t know that they’ve escaped. Other than to teach Poe a lesson in being a leader rather than a hero later? Also, how did the girl on the bridge that helped Poe’s mutiny not know about the plan? And was the First Order really out of all TIE fighters or something to chase down the Resistance?
  3. While Luke’s final moments were epic, the execution of it left a bit of sour taste. His death was beautiful, respectful, and an incredible moment in the film. Possibly, one of the most beautiful moments in Star Wars history. But… it also feels like his death was only done because living-Luke had no place anymore in the plot and to keep up with the film’s theme of, “in with the new, gone with the old”.

For formatting reasons (to save your eyes), I’m going to continue my thoughts on Luke here.

Another problem with Luke’s death involves his epic showdown against the First Order.

It was awesome that Luke wasn’t actually there and it was sort of a Force clone of himself instead. It goes to show how incredible Luke became with his force powers and explains how Luke even got to that planet in the first place.

But his death takes away from the grandiosity of his powers because while Luke seemed like he took care of First Order with such ease and demonstrated to Kylo that the master still had his place… in reality the act killed him.

Fine. Maybe that’s just my personal bitterness towards making such a grand act gently a farce.

But the part that I think is a little hilarious is that Poe assumed there had to be an escape route because Luke got into the supposed enclosed building. Poe didn’t know that Luke was an illusion of sort.

I understand the idea is that Luke served his purpose of being “hope” that the Resistance needed.

But given that he was an illusion that appeared out of nowhere, Poe was incredibly lucky not to find those mineral foxes just holed up somewhere deeper in the chasms of the cavern after deciding that following one of those things must lead to how Luke got in.

And what was Luke’s plan exactly? He’ll bide time as the Resistance figure some way to escape? Did Luke know there was even a way to escape?

I guess this is another moment where we’re supposed to fill in the blanks as the audience that ‘Luke knew there was a way through the Force.”

Fine.

Another mixed-bag I had with the film is the further introduction of moral grays in the world Star Wars as we were introduced to in Rogue One.

We find out that vilified weapons dealers who’ve sold weapons to First Order are also the ones selling weapons to the Resistance.

The point of which loses a lot of his sharpness because not only did we just see Finn and Rose probably maim a few of those people and destroy their city (their whole mission feels like a joke at the end) but also because Star Wars makes you feel like the galaxy is a large place and yet not at the same time…

Basically, these weapons dealers are just business people who don’t want to get involved in these political feuds and just continuing on with their business.

Some sort of moral point feels a bit muddied up because it just seems like a statement of fact of sort that business people will do business and we don’t know if they have any reason to be involved in these political feuds other than the fact the film told us that they should care… even though with the introduction of these groups of people and planet… it doesn’t seem like they have to?

Because it sort of could imply that even Snoke had to rub shoulders with the rich and the business folks to get supplies for the First Order?

And it doesn’t help that the film establishes with such ferocity that Resistance is the good guys that it further muddies up what the moral point exactly is supposed to be.

Yes, I get that it supposed to introduce that the world is gray… but unlike Rogue One, it doesn’t even go anywhere with that in this film. The film continues from that little moral statement to demonstrating that First Order is bad, the guy who introduced the moral gray is a dick, and Resistance is struggling and must survive and is supported by all the protagonists.

PROS

I’ve alluded some pros above and I’ll leave those at that.

The action scenes are probably the best it’s ever been in a Star Wars film.

While I didn’t think the whole “arms trade” moral conundrum was done very well, it was still a nice development of Star Wars universe’s morality.

For the first time in Star Wars, the relationships that developed between characters felt complex and organic.

It felt human.

The relationship between Kylo, Rey, Finn, and Rose became surprisingly convoluted, intimate, and mature.

That little look Rey gives to Rose near the end of the film is so hauntingly teasing for what Rey’s feelings must be.

Oh, and the little boy watching the stars at the end, while felt a bit forced of why he’s even in the film in the first place, was a great touch. Not only for demonstrating the theme of the film, but also making the audience feel that Rey and Kylo are also just part of this cycle as Luke and Snoke was.

Anyways. My thought puke seems to be running dry and my eyelids are getting heavier and heavier. I think it’s time for me to take a nap before starting my day.

Oh, and the broken lightsaber was a nice touch as well.

Good night all.

Final Score: 7/10

 

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Merry Christmas 2016!

Merry Christmas!

Jingle bells are ringing!

Uncles are drunk and raging!

I’m outside with a bat and sending snowmen’s heads flying!

And the neighborhood children are crying!

The police are coming?

Hope everyone’s having a lovely holiday and if you’re in Japan hope you got your bucket of KFC.

My first novel, Black Halo: the Witch & the Guardian will be FREE today for anyone who wants it as my Christmas gift to my readers!

CLICK HERE to get your copy of the Contemporary Fantasy that Reader’s Favorite has called”…a page-turner full of action and adventure.”

ARAMIRU JINGLING OUT! 


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Explaining the 4 Common Answers & Advice Given to Beginner Writers

Hi, it’s me. Your average writer.

You might have heard of me from my past works such as… who are we kidding? You have never heard of me. I’m a nobody. But I’m a nobody with some experience.

 

©2013 NETFLIX  CR: F. Scott Schafer
Me. (But seriously, if you don’t know who this is you’re dead to me)

 

Last time, I posted a blog about 4 Same Stupid Questions I See All the Time On Writing Forums. Click HERE to fulfill my shameless plug.

This time, I thought I’d do something a bit more helpful and thoughtful.

I’m going to buy your ebooks.

Just kidding. I’m still poor. And with the money I have I’d rather buy a McDouble and a McChicken at McDonald’s with the awesome Mc2Pick for $2.50! What a deal! And make sure to check out their limited-time holiday drinks!

 

mc2
Pay me please!

 

You already know what this is about. You’ve read the title. Get to the point you’re saying. Maybe you’ve already scrolled down.

This is for all of you out there wondering what exactly some of those answers you’ve received  meant. Because the random stranger who gave you the answer left you cold and hanging without an explanation. Like my dad on Christmas.


“Show, Don’t Tell”

Let’s get the big one out of the way.

I’m literally massaging my nose bridge with one hand and typing this with my other two hands as I’m trying to explain this one.

Not because it’s particularly difficult to answer, but because it’s so basic.

But not because it’s just so basic, but because it’s so basic and it’s a mistake that I make often and I know for a fact that many other writers who should be above these kinds of things make this mistake as well.

So let’s try to understand WHY this happens.

I have a simple theory: We are describing what we are seeing in our brilliant, gifted minds and forgetting that our jobs as writers are to help the readers experience what we’re seeing and not have them simply understand what we’re seeing. We’re not supposed to be the tour guides but be VR goggles. They want to be inside of our story—not be outside of it.

Showing is taking notes.

Telling is creating worlds.

 

oculus-rift-10-2015-mag-01
Strive to be this inanimate object.

 

There are times when you want to “tell” over “show” but this is one of those things where you have to master the rules before you learn to bend them.

And here’s an example just in case:

TELL:

Jimmy was mad at Moe.

SHOW:

Jimmy’s unibrow furrowed into a rugged U, his hand trembled with fury, and his heart filled with the burning desire to bitchslap Moe.


“Just Write”

You want to be a swimmer? Go practice swimming every day.

You want to be a stripper? Go practice stripping every day.

You want to be a writer? Go practice stripping every day.

Wait.

Well. Why not. Cardio’s important. But you should also practice writing every day.

This somewhat calloused sounding advice exists because most people only talk about writing and never actually write.

They think they can be writers by just spewing their thesis about the craft of ink and paper as they lasciviously rub themselves for their own creativity and avant-garde ideas.

Something about hic Rhodus, hic salta.

 

jerk.gif
They’re basically doing this.

 

Your ideas aren’t worth donkey’s spit on a chicken’s ass if you never actually create something with it. And unless you’re some sort of a Hemingway’s spirit reborn, you’re probably not as good as you think you are.

spit.gif

So how do you “just write”? I personally say do away with the whole “have a word count for the day” thing. You know, when people say things like “just write 1000 words a day”?

Look, fellow grasshoppers, if you’re a professional writer then you know when your due date is so daily word count either makes more sense or not at all since you just have to get’er done by that date.

You know how you work. You can set your own pace.

If you’re a hobbyist it makes less sense because the rigidness and the arbitrary number just turns your hobby into a chore.

But sure. If it works for you—good. Nothing wrong with that.

If it doesn’t—don’t worry about it.  And let me recommend, instead, setting up a timed session.

Maybe one hour a day. One hour every other day.

Make it your schedule, like everything else you do in life, and just use that time to write one word or ten thousand words. Or even no words. Just do something writing related. Even if that’s reading for research, doing brainstorms, and whatever. Maybe it’ll be for an hour. Maybe it’s two hours. Just set a time.

This will give you some freedom and some ease with your writing pursuit. And if you have an end goal in mind that’s where you can set a long-term deadline for yourself.

Oh, and, if you’re not letting other people read your work—you’ll never get better. Practice makes permanent and not perfect.

Writing without outside criticism will only make your lack of talent permanent.

Boom.

Real talk.


“Write for Yourself / Don’t Follow the Trend”

So, this one’s a bit FUBAR.

To unravel this, I’ll just first explain where it’s coming from and then kind of go on about why it’s FUBAR. And just a head’s up: this one’s going to be a bit serious.

Like stool samples. Poops are fun and games but sometimes you have to use serious, medical terms like “stool” and “samples”.

Anyways.

When there’s a fad, it’ll start a trend.

Star Wars sparked the sci-fi boom.

Lord of the Rings & Game of Thrones sparked the fantasy boom.

Twilight sparked the wtf-happened-to-vampires boom.

Hunger Games started the dystopian boom.

The whole idea of “write what you’d want to read / don’t follow a trend” is that the chances of you actually catching the trend and having your passions align with the trend… are low.

Why is the chance of catching a trend low?

Because writing is a long process and publishing can be even longer. It usually takes years for someone to finish a book and see it in stores. You really think the trend will last that long? And what about passion? Do you think you can write a work you’re proud of without a passion for it? Even if you’ve missed the trend? Can I add any more questions to this paragraph? Well? Can I?

Writing what you’re proud of—something that you can call your own—can mean more at the end of the day than writing something that you thought was going to sell.

But remember when I said this topic is a bit tricky? With the technologies and how the book market is today… you can basically ignore everything I said up there and maybe you should.

Yeah, seriously.

giphy (1).gif

You know why trends start? Because they sell.

People tend to want more cake after they had a slice.

Twilight spawned True Blood, Vampire Diaries, and a bunch of other vampire shows, books, and ebooks in a variety of genres.

Erotica was a popular genre to write for on Kindle for a while because they sold like… well… sex.

Publishers will always welcome any book that’ll sell. That’s their jobs. Publish things to sell. And if the genre’s hot right now, they’ll be looking for more of that genre and might even put you through the fast lane.

For indie writers, catching trends is easier now more than ever because you can instantly check what’s selling well. Check the Top 100 on Amazon. There you go.

Passion? Damn, son. Passions tend to suck at paying for stuff. And I like stuff.

 

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Like one of these. Just to give the middle-finger to the starving children in Africa and good ideas everywhere

 

Besides, if you’re a professional writer shouldn’t you have a grasp of how to write just about anything?

Timing? You click “publish” and you’re done.

You want to put more work into it? It won’t be too hard for you to chug out a 40-50k novel that follows a formula for a standard successful storytelling in a month. Remember, NaNoWriMo thinks just about everyone can chug out 50k in a month. You’re a professional, veteran writer. If this is your full-time job, you can do it in 2-3 weeks. During the time you’re writing you can hire an editor and an artist and ding-ding-ding you have a Hot Pockets book.

Besides, talking about passion, do you think there’s a lot of market appeal to a book that’s so personally you?

Sometimes a book is too much you and sometimes that’s not a good thing. That’s when a writer is just doing a self-pleasing (there, friends, I didn’t use the word “masturbatory”) project and hoping that people might like it.

Hell, that writer might not even be thinking of readers. If your protagonist is a half-orc, quarter-dragon, quarter-boar stripper named Borga Do’Kora (stage name being Danger Dick) who’s day job is a tax accountant, maybe you really did not give a chicken’s ass on a donkey’s spit about the readers.

And that’s fine. Writing, in its best form, should be reflective and a fragment of your being. Even if that’s a half-orc, quarter-dragon, quarter-boar stripper who’s favorite food happens to be pickled eggplants.

But if we’re talking about making money, the whole story changes.


“Keep Writing”

Wow, the last one was so damn long. I’ll keep this short. You know how you improve your mile run right? You keep running.

But as you keep running, you’ll run into some hurdles along the way. Maybe your ankles will start to hurt, maybe you’ll run into better runners, and maybe some literal hurdles. It’s called gaining experience.

And sometimes, it’ll hurt. They might say you have ugly shoes, ugly face, and that you look downright silly running.

 

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Not everyone can run majestically like Tom Cruise.

 

But someone wise once told me… Just kidding. I read this on Tumblr.

“Writer’s who are afraid of rejection are like boxers who are afraid of getting punched. You’re in the wrong line of work.”

In every aspect of our lives, we should welcome valid criticisms. In writing, we have to take-and-thank any sort of feedback we can get and sort it through ourselves like beggars on the street corners Aurora ave in Seattle.

And a lot of times… the greatest of criticisms will come from our own failures. It’s okay to fail despite what my mother says. What’s not okay is to let failures just be failures. Then you’ve wasted your time.

Don’t give up. Everything’s hard and writing as a craft has been around since the beginning of written language. You don’t have to try to rewrite the rule book, the legacy, or try to be the next big thing. Just enjoy it and see where it takes you.

If someone says you suck–say thanks. What can I do to be better?

If you think you suck–well, I suck. What can I do to be better?

And I’m not saying having that attitude is easy. It’s tough. Hell, I always get salty and pissy and depressed about myself and my life. And sometimes about my writing!

But that’s the process of “Keep Writing”. You’ll get better as long as you keep challenging yourself and keep yourself honest. Make sure the cycle of depression and persistence keeps turning. There’s no fast lane here. It’s just gaining experience.

Or just give up. It’s your life. Why are you doing this if you’re not enjoying it unless you’re trying to pay bills with it?

giphy

It’s okay not to be a writer. It’s okay not to be a professional writer. I’m sure your friends and family will be happy to hear that you decided not to be an artist anymore and decided to be a Tax Accountant and go make a happy, comfortable living without having to worry about your future.

But if you’re not going to give up, keep running. As you keep running, you’ll also learn how to enjoy running better. And hopefully, y’know, you’ll keep researching into how to run better because that’s part of keep running.

Like forms and stuff.

Metaphor. Analogy.

This got too sentimental for my taste.

AND I SAID HEY-EY-EY-EY! HEY-EY-EY-EY!

I SAID HEY!

TUPAC KILLED JFK!

ARAMIRU OUT!


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Preview: Chronicles of the Otherworld

Hello Everyone!

Here’s an early preview of my upcoming new project: Otherworld Chronicles: Season 1. A dark fantasy novelette that’ll be made available via Amazon Kindle.

Details regarding this project will be the subject of my next blog post!


Episode 0

ANTON’S SHORT STORY

 

It’s not the calm before the storm but the silence after that gets you.

Facing the aftermath of the carnage, the destruction, and the judgment.

Don’t be fooled by all the wood and stone that make up the mansion. All still in its place. Undamaged and clean. Nor by the oil lanterns still bright, burning, and hot. The walls tell that real tale. Painted with blood and guts.

Anton thinks he can outrun it.

Outsmart it.

Get off the destined path he set upon since who knows when. He doesn’t even know.

He tries to calm himself, but without the screams of his friends, he can finally hear his own heartbeat.

Take a peek, Anton.

Not much else you can do.

Weapons without their masters scattered across the hall.

All of them dead by the same cause.

Blunt trauma to their heads. Crushed like summer melons.

The butchered brains and pools of blood, too hard to tell whose body produced what.

His signature.

The man in the black armor. His face hidden behind the helm with a plume formed by long crimson lights that gently danced behind him like whips. Affectionately named, “Redtails.”

Anton snaps back behind his wall, wishing desperately he had learned a spell or two.

I don’t deserve this. Anton tells himself. Fuck this.

We rarely get what we deserve. But there’s comfort in the idea that what happens to us has nothing to do with what we deserve.

Because by that same rule, Anton might even survive.

From his pocket, Anton pulls out the magic from his own world. A pocket revolver. He doesn’t remember what the brand is or even what caliber it uses. It wasn’t his. He had snatched it from his brother’s drawer before he came back to this world.

He swings around with the gunpowder courage and aims the weapon at the approaching storm.

Redtails doesn’t stop.

“Fuck you,” Anton screams at him. “FUCK YOU!”

A silent soldier on a march. That was his answer to Anton.

Make them count. He says without words.

 

 

 

Bang.


 

 

Bang.

 

Bang.

 

Bang.


 

 

Anton stops for a moment and lets the smoke clear.

 

 

 

Redtails is closer.

 

 

 

Bang.


 

 

Only a little further than an arm’s length away now.


 

 

Bang.

 

 

 

The black knight allows the lips of Anton’s gun to kiss his helm.

 

 

 

Click.

 

 

The knight gently taps his dark, steel club on Anton’s forehead once…

“Look.” Anton takes off his glove and shows the back of his left hand. There was the red, almond shaped insignia that seemed as if it was tattooed onto his flesh.

…twice.

“I’m from our world,” Anton says. “You’re one of us, right? You have to be one of us. Come on, man.”

It wasn’t Anton’s fault that he didn’t know this was another one of Redtails’ signatures. There wasn’t anyone alive who knew about it. A gentle ritual he performed every once in a blue moon when the circumstances were just right. He had to be in the mood for it.

This is the silence after the storm.

Redtails swings his club.

A clang.

Sounds almost like a home run. As if Barry Bonds himself was on the plate.

It’s in tune with the crack of the shattering skull.

Then an almost immediate follow-up performance of the loud splatter on the wall.

Almost a cartoonish noise.

Anton’s body drops.

No more Anton.

No more questions of whether or not he deserves it.

Just silence.

Silence without judgment or concern.


 

ARAMIRU OUT!

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Frayed: Review of Star Wars Episode 7

Star_Wars_The_Force_Awakens

A very quick review of the film after I just finished watching it in the theaters. Straight from the head, the gut, and my bladder that held on for more than an hour. No edits, real talk!

3 / 5

Maybe 3.5/5. I’ll definitely watch it again when I can since you need to watch a film more than once to get a proper assessment of it.

The score I give is a bit misleading since the movie isn’t bad. Actually, if anything, it made me really excited for Episode 8.

I didn’t watch the movie and think, “huh, why did they do that?” or “why didn’t they do this?” Rather, I thought, “they’re trying very hard to make this exposition chapter of the trilogy really exciting and not bloated while keeping it as informative as possible.

Because that’s exactly what it was. The movie was a great introduction to the trilogy while trying to remain as wholesome as it can be on its own. But due to how much it wanted to… HAD to introduce us, the pacing was inconsistent and it did feel a bit too packed.

And by the way, people freaking out about spoilers–don’t worry. There are no real spoilers in this movie. They made it a point to not have a “big reveal” or to dramatically play up a mystery with a simple answer like that of a character’s identity.

This time, it doesn’t matter who’s behind the mask, what matters is WHY he’s behind the mask.

Fine. Simple Spoiler Alert:

Watch how quickly and anticlimactically Kylo Ren reveals his face beneath the mask in the film. It was as if J. J. Abrams wanted to shake the idea off from the audience that there will be a Darth Vader like mystery in this film. It’s not meant to be simple like that. Rather, it’s about learning these characters and how they got there because there won’t be three additional prequel movies to the two more movies coming out to explain all that. The films this time are about plot progression and development rather than big surprises to spike the plots… even more than before, they want us to really connect with these cast of characters.

Spoiler Alert Over.

It’s less about reliving the experience but rather giving the experience to the new generation with the modern updates and education.

The new cast of characters are great and it’s great to see they’re adding minority characters (whether by gender or race) into prominent roles and in roles that are really under portrayed by those genders and race in Hollywood.

BB8, the R2D2 replacement, or the magical fairy creature companion of Star Wars is incredibly endearing and has his own distinctive personality to help him standout to our old faithful droid.

Plot itself is a bit predictable, and at times felt purposefully so, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t interesting or engaging. I mean… were people really surprised what happened at the end? It was to the point where I kind of felt it was overplayed leading up to the predictable conclusion.

Another SPOILER ALERT? Ironic given what I said? But just to help people maintain their integrity of the film? In case I’m wrong and it does detract from the film that you know these things? Since everyone’s view experience is different?

Shorter dialogues would have made a greater impact I think.

Spoiler Alert Over.

But! Even if I could tell where the general direction was going and what surprises lied ahead, I still felt involved just to see HOW we got there and HOW the characters we met would react.

I’m not entirely sure if the former happened just because I’m a fan of Star Wars, but the latter is only really possible I think if the characters themselves proved worthy of an audience’s affection.

Want to keep this short so I’ll end on this final note that J. J. Abrams was amazing on not only giving this film a consistent Star Wars feel, but also very subtly adding his own flair to make it all feel fresh.

And because of all that was done to give this sort of a fresh start feel, this is a decent place to start if you haven’t seen any of the Star Wars films yet.

So oddly enough, even if I give this film 3/5 or 3.5/5, I highly recommend others to go see it not just for the experience but to be ready for the proceeding films ahead.

 

ARAMIRU OUT!

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Leftovers

  • It was great to see how they expanded on using the Force as a tool, as a weapon, and as an entity. This was long needed in the films.
  • Not sure if this is the “best” Star Wars film as some people are praising it to be. I think The New Hope did the “first chapter of trilogy” a bit better. But again, I might need a second watch.
  • The writing for the dialogues and character interactions were far more modernized and intelligent (compared to the prequel trilogy) that not only did they have personality but also felt grounded and human.
  • I always felt like the the saber fights in Star Wars was a bit off. For example, the famous fight in Phantom Menace threw me off a bit when it was clear that the combatants were specifically aiming for each other’s blades instead of body parts. Why? Why would you do that?The saber fights in The Force Awakens were far less flashy but they felt so much more organic that not only did they feel more “right” but also felt much more dire and engaging.
  • …Can’t talk about more without “spoilers” so I guess I’ll stop it here.


 

Black Halo: the Witch and the Guardian PREVIEW Part 5

REVISED version of

Black Halo: the Witch & the Guardian

is coming out on TOMORROW! (Physical Copies of the novels will be available by this weekend!)

Preview Event:

PART 1 (Prologue, Chapter 1)

PART 2 (Interlude 1)

PART 3 (Chapter 2, Chapter 3)

PART 4 (Chapter 4, Chapter 5)


Blurb:

With the Light, came Magic, and the Witch. As mysterious as she was fearsome, and as powerful as she was merciless, the Witch almost succeeded in ending the world until she was vanquished by a hero and his comrades.

This is the legend of the Witch and the Guardian.

Centuries after the nigh calamity, this legend is as much as almost anyone knows of what truly happened back then and as much of an explanation anyone has of what ended an era in human civilization.

Though the people may never learn the whole story, you as the reader will follow the days that led up to how a young girl named Lily became immortalized as the Witch though her name, dreams and life became forgotten.


INTERLUDE II
THE HOMELESS & THE RUNAWAY

A cold, empty night. The better part of the city had already turned in long ago, and the void was filled only by vagabonds and stragglers. The noises of the day were reduced to mere rustles from hungry cats probing the trash, and the swoosh of straggling cars hurriedly making their way home. In an empty playground lit only by the flickering lampposts that should have been fixed long ago, a lone girl sat on the swings. For her, the darkness and the silence of the night were more comforting than the bright and bustling light of day. She felt safer without the people. Without their judging eyes. Without their noisy mouths. Without their mysteries. In the night’s shroud, she didn’t feel naked and vulnerable.

She looked up, her head tilting skyward only by its weight. The skies were painted black and were studded with the shining glitter of luminous stars. The girl tried to count them all with her sunken eyes. As she counted, the tips of her naked feet gently brushed back and forth over the beauty bark that covered the playground. Although she spent most nights under the veil of the night sky, it was still hard to believe how many stars there were twinkling above. Counting them calmed her mind and gave solace through the sleepless nights. For her, slumber was short and sparse. Rest only came when her desperate body forced her into sleep out of survival, and the sleep was dreamless when they were good. But most of the time, her slumbers were nightmares reincarnated from the chaos she struggled with her mind while she was awake.

Beyond the horizon, the night’s endless black sea was split by the pillar of white light piercing the skies. The Light was another tool for her restless mind to find some sort of peace. Some nights she’d stare off into the Light and buried her mind in its womb. It was there when she returned. It was there for her to go to. Though she doesn’t know how to go there, by what means to get there, or by when she needs to get there by. Even the reasons were now unclear. But an imperative calling in her heart urged her to go. A mission in her life; a promise from her past.

She looked down. The black band that appeared with her and the Light dangled on her wrist—always teasingly slipping out of her dainty hand. It was cold as ice. Even on the hottest days, it would be frigid and it was thin like a sheet of glass. But despite how thin it was, it felt tougher than the hardest of rocks.

It was her only possession and her only companion. Somewhere deep within her among the bodies of buried memories was a small kindle of memories that tried to remind her of its significance. An echo of the past that she wanted to—needed to remember. Or perhaps those were all just her imaginations.

Three young boys, drifters and wanderers of the empty city, watched the girl since she began counting the stars. With the shriveled hearts of scavengers and a foolish confidence deriving only from their number, the boys believed they were rulers of night. Behind a corner, shrouded by the night’s shadows, they amused themselves observing their prey. She was dressed in a jacket, which seemed to be a secondhand of a secondhand; a homeless man probably donned it until he saw a girl who seemed in need of charity even more than he did. Beneath the thin, shabby jacket, she donned a ruffled one piece dress that was barely excusable as clothing and seemed more fitting as rags. Its color was tarnished to such oblivion that one could hardly believe that it was once cloud white. Her tiny feet were filthy with dirt, mud, and god-knows-whatever-else she picked up on her barefoot journey, her face as pale as the moon, her hair pitch-black as the unlit night, and both littered with traces of her long and directionless journey. She was small. She was weak. She was alone.

The girl’s skin tightened, and her hair rose when she heard the flurry of footsteps coming her way. Without hesitation, she rose from her seat on the swing and began to flee away from the encroaching steps. Her body and mind were still fatigued. Her legs wobbled and she felt as if she could be carried away by the wind. She forced herself to flee as frantically as she could. She didn’t want to be a bother to anyone or even be a person of the faintest interest.

“Hey, you!” a voice pitched in that awkward range of a young boy transitioning into a young man called out to her. “Hold on a moment!”

Her heart beat violently, and her face was crushed with terror. Her eyes didn’t blink and kept themselves set on the outskirts of the playground. The exit. Just a little more. She heard the boys behind her trying to mute their laughter. As she wobbled faster, the boys gave a short and easy chase. The young drifters surrounded the dainty vagrant. They walked slowly to match the girl’s pace. The girl’s determination remained unshaken by the boys who surrounded her as she headed towards somewhere away from them.

“Going home?” The same voice from before now bluntly mocked her. It was a boy with a fresh buzz cut. The thin patches on his head and the baby sprouts of hair growing above his upper lip suggested he was a dirty blond. He wasn’t big, but plump, and squarely built. His face was scrunched together as if someone had squeezed the face of a ball of dough, and the dough was decorated with red spots of adolescence. Standing next to the homeless girl, he felt as if he was twice as big than he actually was.

The rest of his gang consisted of a short boy with curly ginger hair, freckles and metal braces that laced over his teeth, and a boy with skin the color of sand with thick black hair and even thicker eyebrows. He was the tallest of them all. The two laughed at their leader’s every remark.

“Are you a hooker?” The ginger boy asked. “Ma said any homeless girls running around are just hookers and no good addicts. Can I pay you for some services?”

The girl kept walking, whimpering a bit from fear. The boys laughed.

“Oh my god, she’s like a small dog,” The sandy boy remarked through his giggles. “I feel so bad for her. Hey, are you hungry?” He reached into his pocket and threw a piece of gum at the girl. She paid no attention to it as it bounced off her jacket. The girl ignored the boys and only focused on the edge of the playground that was getting closer and closer.

“Didn’t anyone teach you it’s rude to not to listen when people talk to you?” The buzz cut boy pulled her back and threw her onto the ground. “Maybe if you weren’t so rude, your parents would have kept you around…” The boy finished his sentence with a kick. The girl felt the air in her lungs erupt through her mouth, and the pain echoed fruitlessly as her mind and body were already long numb to the sensation. Her eyes stopped blinking and any twinkle of life was gone.

The boys ooo’ed and cackled.

“Jeez, son, how can you kick a girl?” The sandy boy laughed. “Didn’t yo daddy teach you not to lay your hands on women?”

“Hey, hey, what if she’s that Witch everyone’s talking about on TV?” The ginger boy masked his fear with a jovial tone.

“The Witch?” The buzz cut boy scoffed. “If she is the Witch, then she deserves to be kicked around a lil’, doesn’t she? And my daddy didn’t say nothin’ about laying hands on worthless garbage like her!” The buzz cut boy kicked her again and then stomped on her.

“Dirtyin’ up the streets and takin’ our money!” He stomped on her and then kicked her. “They’re filthy, man. Filthy! Get a job! Do somethin’ with your life! Stop leechin’ off of us people who’re doin’ somethin’!”

The only reaction from the girl was the sound of life escaping through her mouth in small grunts. After his short beating, the buzz boy poked her around a little bit with the toes of his shoe. Even through her thin jacket and one-piece dress, he could feel the bony body. The girl had barely any meat on her. He smiled satisfyingly realizing that his blows were probably very painful.

“Yeah! My daddy didn’t say nothin’ about worthless people like her either!” The ginger boy said as he mimicked the buzz boy by kicking the girl even more. His kicks were awkward and weak—especially compared to the previous attacker. He was the shortest of the bunch and his voice squeaked as if he was the youngest.

“You don’t have a daddy, Frankie,” The sandy boy remarked, looking the ginger boy dead in the eye.

“Shut up! Ass!” The ginger boy took his frustration out by kicking the girl across her face. A tear on her lip warmed her face with blood. He was swiftly smacked across the back of his head with such force by the buzz boy that he fell to the ground beside the girl.

“Don’t touch her face, you idiot!” The buzz boy yelled. “What are you, an animal?” He looked the ginger boy squarely in the eye who looked confused and barely holding back the tears.

The buzz boy knelt down near the girl’s face and inspected the damage.

“Hey…” the buzz boy gently slapped her face. “Hey, are you the Witch? Maybe we’re doing the world more than a favor right now. Maybe we’re about to be heroes.” He brushed her hair aside and was for a moment startled. There was blood on her perky lips. Dirt and small cuts on her white cheeks. But her eyes. Her eyes were wide open, yet dead. She didn’t have a scintilla of anger, fear, or sorrow. The eyes were simply there, witnessing.

“Why you starin’ at her, Johnny? You falling in love?” the sandy boy teased.

“Shut up, retard.” The buzz boy studied the girl closer. If they weren’t so dead, her eyes would have been entrancing. Her lips were shaped perfectly as if someone sculpted them on her. Her smooth face with its innocent features made Johnny blush. He flipped the girl over, and as if she suddenly awakened, the girl began to struggle violently. She violently flailed her arms and kicked her legs as much as she could with Johnny’s weight on top of her.

“Whoa, whoa! What are you doing Johnny?” the ginger boy spoke in shock.

“Shut up. You and Manny just watch to see if anyone’s coming,” Johnny spoke with his eyes glowing something grotesque and putrid.

“Hey… are you serious? Johnny? You’re crazy!” Manny sounded more excited than shocked.

As Johnny leaned in closer, the girl slapped him across the face. It was weak. It was pathetic. At the same time it was eye opening and degrading—especially with his boys laughing at him. He returned her slap with a proper rage-filled slap. Her arms and legs stopped flailing and her body stilled as if she was dead. The signs of life from her eyes were extinguished yet again.

Johnny’s lips quivered as he leaned in closer again for his first kiss.  Manny yelping like a kicked dog abruptly interrupted Johnny’s sacred moment. Before Johnny could complain, he felt a violent tug on his shirt. Without a moment to think, he was flung away from the girl. Johnny looked up and saw a boy near his age standing over him. His eyes were that of an angered beast, and his face was inhumanly distorted with anger. Johnny was staring at a real lion—an actual carnivore about to devour his meal.

Johnny tried to stand, but the beast pounced on top of him. Without giving Johnny even a chance to whimper the first syllable of his plea, the beast’s fist buried itself into the bully’s face.

“You…!” the beast spoke as his other fist buried into Johnny’s face.

“…Sick!…” Back to the original fist.

“…Cowardly!..” The other fist again.

“…Piece of…!” The right.

“…Garbage!…” The left.

With a roar, the beast wailed on with just brutality on Johnny’s face until his blood mulched into a nice cushion. Once the beast was done, Johnny stared silently at the beast with tears drizzling from his eyes. Defeated and petrified with the fear that even breathing too loudly would earn him more beatings. The beast, still on top of Johnny, now turned his attention to the rest of Johnny’s posse. Manny and Frankie had been frozen with their eyes bearing the horror. They weren’t sure if they were breathing through the entire frenzy. Without protest, they frantically stumbled to their feet and fled hysterically from the scene.

“Get out of here.” The beast dismounted from the buzz boy and stood over him. “If I see you doing things like this again, I’ll bury you.” The beast inspected his battered hands. The adrenaline-induced numbness was diminishing. His hands were a bloody pulp, bruised, and torn, but not all of the blood was his. He stared down Johnny as the boy struggled to stand. With a battered face that his mother might not even recognize, Johnny glimpsed at the beast before limping away from the playground without a single word or complaint.

With buzz boy leaving, the boy checked up on the girl.

“Are you okay?” The boy crouched beside the girl. Her eyes were glued to the skies and he looked up along with her to see what she was seeing. Stars. Countless stars that filled the skies. He glimpsed back at her and his heart sunk at how void of life her eyes were.

“Hey,” the boy tried again, clearing his throat. “Are you alright? They’re gone now.” He reached his hand out to gently nudge her shoulders. As the boy’s battered hand closed in on the girl life came back into her eyes. It startled the boy. She let out a scream and scurried away from the boy. That startled him even more. She hid under a big metal slide, hugging her legs close, and buried her head into them.

“Geez!” the boy chuckled as he studied his hand. “Ow! I guess I wouldn’t want to be touched by these hands either…” The boy looked at the girl whose head was still buried into her legs.

“Promise you won’t tell,” the boy said with a smile to his audience of one who paid no attention to him. He stared at his hands and concentrated. A stream of energy engulfed his hands as if every particle of his skin was becoming part of the stream itself. He wondered if this was smart. It wouldn’t be too surprising for her to turn against him knowing now that he was a Gifted. She could probably also find herself someone who’d pay her well for the information. His hands slowly began to repair themselves, knitting together the torn flesh and even ‘burning’ away the mess of blood on them into streams.

“Ta-da~!” The boy looked up at the girl and wiggled all of his fresh fingers. To his surprise, she was looking his way. Her eyes were opened as wide as they could be, and her hand stretched as far it could with her trembling palm facing him. Startled, the boy lost his balance and fell backwards only to be saved from his tumble by a wall.

A wall?

There should be nothing but an empty space behind him. The boy quickly looked back to find the buzz boy standing behind him with a brick in his hand frozen in motion from striking down.

The boy looked at the girl. It was her doing. She was a Gifted like him.

“You… frea…ks!” Johnny, with much effort, barely managed to squeeze out those words through his teeth. The girl closed her palm into a fist, and the brick in Johnny’s hand spilled down his arm as dust.

The rescuer now the rescued met eye-to-eye with his could-have-been-assailant in amazement.

“Wow,” he gently admired. “This is pretty cool.” As he poked at Johnny who was clearly annoyed by the gesture, the boy started to recall the things he heard of the most famous Gifted of them all. The pieces and hints of her that he had heard on the news and during his travels. His guts told him he had found her but his head refused to believe those pieces and hints put together painted a young, homeless girl.

“You really shouldn’t have come back, man.” The boy clenched his hand into a fist. “I think you earned yourself another beating.” His fist cut through the air and stopped right before it made contact on Johnny’s face. Fresh tears began to drizzle down Johnny’s eyes and his pants darkened.

“No sense in it, is there?” The boy turned his head to the girl. “Can you let him go?”

She seemed surprised and uncertain. But she nodded and lowered her hand. As the hold on Johnny’s body released, Johnny collapsed onto the ground. He quickly studied the hand that held the brick and then analyzed the damage on his pants.

“You should run,” the boy said.

Johnny fled on all fours until he eventually found himself on his two feet at the edge of the playground. He took a glance at the boy and a glance at the girl then walked away, cursing under his breath as he left.

“You freaks will have what’s coming!” Johnny turned back once he had reached the exit to the playground and spoke just loud enough to be barely considered a shout.

“Maybe I should have smacked him once more,” the boy spoke light-heartedly as he watched the bully walk away with his tail between his legs. He turned to the girl with a smile and said, “But given what people think about us with these ‘gifts,’ I thought we ought to be a little more generous than others. My mom always did say to be the bigger man.” The girl’s head was buried in her legs once again; except, this time he noticed she was furtively peeking out at him. The boy shook out his shaggy dark hair for the little bits of brick dust that got sprinkled in from earlier.

“Thanks by the way,” the boy said. “We should get out of here. It’s especially not safe for people like ‘us.’” He squinted to find her peeking eye in the darkness. As their eyes met, she hid it away behind her legs. The boy walked gingerly towards the girl and sat just barely a hands reach away from her. She flinched a little bit, but there weren’t any screams or fleeing.

Progress?

“Hey,” The boy spoke softly as he would to a young child. “Did you hear me? It’s not safe at night—especially for someone tiny as you. They might come back. Maybe with even more people now that he knows we’re couple of freaks.”

No response. Not even a budge. She reminded the boy of a hedgehog rolled up into a ball, hiding away from the scary world. He poked at the ball with his finger. Her body was cold, stiff, and thin.

The boy searched his bag and pulled out a small, white paper bag.

“You’ve got to be starving,” the boy said as he pulled out a white, powdered, jelly donut from the paper bag. “Here,” he said as he wiggled the donut in front of the girl. She gave it no real attention.

“It’s really good,” the boy said as he tore the donut in two and put the half of it in his mouth. He wasn’t exactly sure why he thought doing this would help to entice her to eat it as well other than that he saw it on TV and movies. But perhaps because of the smell of the donut’s sweet nectar, the sight of its glistening jelly under the moonlight, or simply from having to witness someone devour a meal with an empty stomach, the girl’s eyes twinkled as she quietly and secretly observed the boy. The boy carefully offered her the remaining half of the donut and she cautiously accepted with slightly trembling hands. She first sniffed the soft and powdery bread with certain amount of discretion. Her eyes widened and she sniffed the bread again with a bit more excitement. It wasn’t long before she finally decided to lick the jelly. A lick quickly turned to two and the two turned into a bite after bite until the donut was no more.

“Why didn’t you stop them if you could do what you did back there?” The boy worryingly asked as he watched the girl finish the donut. As he had expected she didn’t give him an answer and he quietly watched her licking the red goo off her fingers. After she was done the girl stared at the boy as if she wanted to say something. Her lips moved ever so slightly as if she had said something to him before she went back into her cocoon again.

“Well, I’m gonna go then. You’re on your own, alright?” The boy stood up and began to walk slowly away from the girl. He peeked back to check if there was any response from the hedgehog.

There wasn’t.

He almost made it out of the playground until he realized his actions were futile and made a U-turn back to her. She peeked at the footsteps coming back to her. The girl observed as the boy tossed aside his backpack and took his jacket off. The boy was stripped to his thin, plain white t-shirt. The season was getting warmer, but lacking a jacket made him realize it was still formidably chilly during the night. When he turned her way, the girl hid away once more. She felt his jacket softly caress her. The boy then took off his shoes and his socks. He stuffed his socks into his shoes and placed them by her feet.

“A girl should be wearing shoes,” the boy remarked. “And I swear those socks are clean. They’re a new pair I just got.”

After he gave the girl the gifts, the boy gave her a comfortable distance before finding a place to sit. He hugged his legs much like her but for warmth. Shivering slightly, he buried his head into his legs. The boy constantly reminded himself that he was a sentry for the evening and he was not to fall asleep. The girl, however, unlike the boy watchman, slipped into slumber after the violent incident took the last ounce of energy out of her.

He stayed awake for hours until the black night sky waned to a lighter purple from the rising sun. His young mind relented to fatigue for what he figured to be half-an-hour, or perhaps three-quarters-of-an-hour of slumber. When he opened his eyes, he noticed the jacket he gave the girl was no longer blanketing her. Instead, the jacket blanketed him.

“Thanks,” he quietly muttered uncertain if she was still awake. The girl carefully poked her head above her legs. They stared awkwardly in silence for a short moment.

“My name is Kalin,” the boy introduced himself. “Want to go get some breakfast? I’m starving.” He wasn’t really that hungry, but he felt the need to feed the girl. “I can pay for us.” Kalin stood and gave his body a morning stretch before he offered his hand to the girl. The girl stared at the boy with her eyes filled mostly with curiosity and still slightly with intimidation. Ever so carefully, her gauntly hand reached out for his. When her hand softly landed into his, he gently enclosed his hand around hers.

For her, the small gesture was a paramount reminder.

A reminder of how much warmth there was supposed to be when you touch another person. Even though his hand and her hand were both frigid from the night, warmth ignited within her as his hand wrapped around hers.

“Ruby.”

Her voice was so soft that it sounded like a gentle wind passing by.

“My name is Ruby.”

The revelation made the smile on the boy’s face even wider. With Ruby’s hand in his, Kalin led them out into the daylight.


Revised Edition of Black Halo: the Witch & the Guardian will be released TOMORROW  (12/9/2015)!

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Video Game the Storyteller: The Walking Dead by Telltale Games (and why it’s the best The Walking Dead experience)

So, as I mentioned in my last article, Video Game the Storyteller: How Metal Gear Solid 4 is the Perfect Example of the Best and Worst of Video Game Storytelling, that was written months before I had the chance to experience The Walking Dead by Telltale Games.

That game definitely deserves a quick mention as it is probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in terms of storytelling in a game. I debated whether or not to continue this series of blog entries… but… I just had to say this piece to get it out of my system.

Most people are already aware of what The Walking Dead series is about. It’s the zombie apocalypse and instead of focusing on the zombies, the series focuses on the people. We quickly learn that the dead is not what we need to be concerned about but rather the living.

Mullets. Must. Die.
Mullets. Must. Die.

Originally a graphic novel by Robert Kirkman, the series blew up when it was turned into a popular TV-Show on AMC. Now there are novels, games, and bobble heads as we ride through this zombie-mania.

As a game, The Walking Dead is a very evolved form of visual novel games. It’s different than games like Heavy Rain where I’d say that’s more of an interactive movie than a visual novel (for me the differentiation comes from that biggest and majority of game decisions in games like The Walking Dead happens in static, paused moments while in Heavy Rain lot of it happens in dynamic, ongoing moments. There are other differentiation as well but that’s for another day).

To those unfamiliar, visual novel games are games where you spend most of your time soaking in the story. In the olden days, visual novels games were generally you sitting and reading through bunch of dialogues, watch the pictures change (scenery, characters, etc.), and sometimes make choices and play minigames.

In many sense, visual novel style of games seems to be the “easy” way of using video games as a medium for storytelling. There’s less gameplay than RPGs and a lot more of reading/listening.

So was The Walking Dead really innovative in terms of innovating the storytelling in video games? I’m not sure. I’m inclined to say that it’s not.

Wait, WAIT, put down the pitchforks for a second.

I’ll publicly admit that The Walking Dead by Telltale Games has to be in the Top 5 Video Game experiences I’ve had in my life. There’s no other word than “masterful” to describe the writing and the utilization of using video game as a medium to present a story.

By that in and of itself, even if the game didn’t innovate it definitely advanced and reinforced the video games’ credibility as a storytelling medium. It gives you an experience that can’t be replicated in any of the other current formats.

Do Zombies poop, Lee?
Do Zombies poop, Lee?

As an aspiring career writer, I was more than excited to try out this game after hearing so many good things about the plot. I prepared myself to take notes as I slowly became sucked into the world of The Walking Dead. I immediately found myself filling in the shoes and the mind of Lee Everett, the protagonist.

The way the game begins like a TV show (episodic and even having previews and reviews at the end and the beginning of each episodes) already prepares the players minds to absorb the story. But the choices given, turns of events, camera angles, music, and even the moments of gameplay really works altogether to immerse you not just into the world but into the circumstances and stakes of this apocalypse.

But it also didn’t take long to realize that anything I learned while playing this game would be… fairly useless as someone who’s currently not a writer for video games.

And that, to me, is a one of the best evidence of how well they took advantage of their format as a video game.

All the powerful moments in the game have such an impact because… it’s a game. Because you’re the one making the decisions and making the connections with the characters and the events. There’s no barrier of having to relate to a character experiencing these things as in books and movies.

This is also why The Walking Dead by Telltale Games is the best experience of The Walking Dead that you can have.

As I mentioned before, The Walking Dead is less about the undead and more about the living. It’s about the people re-evaluating the meaning of humanity when the civilization that shielded it and gave it a definition is gone. For some it’s reaffirmation, for some it’s redefinition, and for some it’s defending its old definition in the changing, trying times.

The-Walking-Dead-Game

The trials of making tough decisions of life or death, the anguish of realizing how what seemed like a minuscule decision had led to devastating consequences, and overflowing joy of small victories and crushing sorrow from great defeats only truly ring with the audience when they can feel it’s themselves facing those tribulations.

Though the game makes the players play a character (e.g. Lee Everette), you acting as their moral and mental compass makes you feel like you’re the one in this world and you’re just borrowing Lee’s body and tongue for it.

The novel and the show, although great on their own merits, ultimately cannot do what the game offers its audience. What makes the original premise so interesting and compelling is the moral dilemma it poses on the readers and the viewers. With the game, now you can actually have those moral dilemmas and see where you stand in this bleak world. You have the chance to learn about yourself.

You don’t have to watch Rick and his friends make the decisions. It’s you. All you.

And don’t get me wrong, it’s not without its flaws. At times the choices feel misleading or limited. It is a game after all. There are definitely forced moments in plots that makes you slightly disappointed that you only had the illusion of freedom. And the plot itself can sometimes be predictable. But its masterful presentation and unique experience of really putting you in this virtual simulation of moral philosophy makes you easily forgive the game for its flaws and still love every second of it.

(I specifically remember in Season 1 there were events unfolding at a farmhouse that to almost everyone should have seemed blatantly obvious of what’s to come but I never felt the game became dull because of it. Even though I knew what was coming… I was eager to see how the game was going to make those events happen)

There’s really no need for me to praise this game more.  It already has a slew of accolades and acclaims. But still, nevertheless, I’ll recommend this game to any gamers out there and even non-gamers who just dig good stories and good demonstration of the art of storytelling.

Don’t feel like you’re too late to jump on the train. You have the fortune of not having to wait for new episodes as Season 1 and Season 2 have already finished. And by the time you’re done, you can get excited for Season 3 which is supposed to start sometime this… year?

I’m too lazy to Google.

I’m no game news reporter.

If you’re reading this you have internet. Google it.

ARAMIRU OUT!

P.S.  Oh! Another mention of memorable moments in the game! “Final Boss” of S1 and even S2 were spectacular moments of really testing all the decisions you’ve made until the final moments of the game. It really gives you a chance to have an introspection of where your moral compass lie.

Also, at the end of each episode the game gives you a comparison of your decisions to other players’ decisions. It’s an interesting experience to see how you compare to others in terms of the moral choices you’ve made.


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