My favourite games of 2017

2017 has been what I probably would describe as one of the best years for video games in a long time. I’m absolutely astonished about the diversity in types of games as well as the depth that many fot hese games hav had. It sure was a tough year for my wallet though.

My game of the year

Nier: Automata is a ride that you’ll probably won’t forget if you’re willing to spend the time with it. Easily thrown away because of it’s doubtful choice of design for the female main character (which in itself is discussed within the game to an extent) it tells a story about what makes us human.

Few games have spoken to me to the degree that Nier: Automata has done in the past few years. Not only did the characters I met and played as make me laugh, but they made me feel and sometimes even cry. In the end, I was left with an ending that without a doubt left me breathless in so many ways.

Add to that a soundtrack that is just amazingly good and a gameplay system that really made the game a blast to play through, despite the games hefty length.

What probably makes me most excited about the success of Nier: Automata is that it probably will make us see more of Yoko Taro in the future.

There are a lot of articles all around the internet that discusses this game, but my favourite has to be the Waypoint’s spoiler podcast featuring Austin Walker, Patrick Klepek and Giant Bomb’s Alex Navarro. It’s a great listen, but please play the game. Should be clear without having to be said, but you probably shouldn’t listen to it if you haven’t played through the game.

I’m honestly so happy that this game exists and I hope more people experience it even after 2017.

Games that I spent too many hours with

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey both tingle that sense of exploration and the feeling of doing “/just one more thing/“ so well that they’re both very addicting games. Zelda took a very familiar franchise that has been stumbling on the same old tricks for a long while and made something completely different, while Mario perfected a formula to a degree I didn’t think was possible.

There’s always something in the corner of your eye while playing these games. They made many long commutes seem like they just passed by in an instant. They also made me realise how much I’ve missed playing Nintendo games which are filled with love and dedication to their characters.

Games I wish I had spent more time with

Considering this year was filled with amazing games, they certainly fought for attention. Deciding on what to play during weekends and evenings away from work always felt overwhelming.

In the end I felt like I missed out on finishing Persona 5, Horizon: Zero Dawn and Resident Evil 7. I’m hoping I have the time to finish them during next year, since I really enjoy all of the experiences I’ve had with them so far.

I ended up going back to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn during a month this year as well and I wish I had more time to play it. Square Enix really did a great job on making a MMORPG that works great on my PS4 Pro.

Best game from Japan

I’m really glad that Yakuza 0 got so much attention this year from most of the video game community. I always enjoyed the Yakuza games since I played the third game in the series when I bought my Playstation 3, but they always had some problems (first and foremost stories that took a long time to start and loading times from hell). So I was positively surprised when Yakuza 0 started with something that really grabbed me.

The story of how Kiryu and Majima came to be is interesting and filled with tense moments. The acting goes a long way. And in between the serious parts there’s a lot of fun to be had of the minor activities. I’m going to be completely honest saying that I really enjoyed the host club mini-game.

With Yakuza 6 just around the corner, completely built for the Playstation 4, I’m extremely excited to see where this game goes from here on. And not to mention that I still haven’t finished Yakuza: Kiwami. I’m glad seeing that SEGA really seems that there’s potential in this franchise here in the west nowadays.

Biggest disappointment

I’ve been trying to avoid disappointments. But there’s something about how bare Gundam Versus is. Hearing that this game would come out in Europe made me really excited as I’ve played earlier entries in the series but always in Japanese. This was the chance of getting a bigger following with an English translation. But here, a few months after release, I feel like the opportunity got lost in the fact that the game didn’t have much of a translation. I really don’t have much more to say - the lacklustre tutorial which didn’t make much sense didn’t make me wanna play the game more. I bet it will come out at times, but at the moment, it’s on the shelf.

A runner-up might be the ending to Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus which I really just thought was kind of boring in comparison to the rest of the things in that game.

My favourite VR experiences

VR still lives! I’m impressed by the amount of games that has been out for Playstation VR during the year. But there are two experiences that I really enjoyed more than any else.

First of all - SUPERHOT VR sure makes you feel totally awesome. I’m sad that my room is a bit too small for this game at times, but the feeling of grabbing two guns out of the air, firing them off at two dudes and seeing their bodies just shatter into small pieces is great.

Second - having a friend over trying VR for the first time and solving puzzles in Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is so cool. We managed to get through a lot of the stuff and I really felt like it’s the best kind of team building game.

Game that had me staying up too late during nights

DJMax Respect really brought me back to my many days in bed with my PSP playing endless hours of fantastic tracks in so many genres. I feel very relaxed when I get to jam in front of my TV and feel the rhythm spread through my body as I hunt for a better score. Music games will always be something I enjoy and seeing one of my favourites on the big screen is great.

Best comeback

I love my Nintendo Switch. And I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have guessed that I would’ve enjoyed it as much as I did during the beginning of the year. I did pre-order it but ditched it at first. After a month or two I decided to jump on and since then I’ve had it with me at countless occasions. What really impresses me is the fact that there’s been more than once that I’ve taken it with me and have shared the joy cons to let others jump in on the fun. Even better so has been the amount of games that have come out to it - not necessarily first party games either - but indie games.

A good complementary comeback would be Sonic Mania which was a perfect game to bring around and play on my Switch as well. It really brought me back to what I loved about the Sonic games and have missed so much.

New Year, New Opportunities

Hello everyone! It's been a while since I wrote here last time, or on any kind of blog. I've neglected to blog for quite some time now. In early 2010 I usually spent a lot of time writing to my heart's content, but as time passed by and I got more responsibilities at work, I just didn't feel like I had the time or energy to spend it at writing.

At the end of 2017, I started thinking about how much writing has done for me as a person. It's a great way to self-reflect and to share thoughts. Even if I wouldn't get that many interactions from time to time, it was always a way for me to express what I liked, what I felt, what made me worry and what made some days go by quicker than others.

So here we are; a new year with already grand plans for what's to come. I've more or less started at a new position at my current workplace - which feels great. I've also booked a trip to Hong Kong and Seoul with two amazing friends. And just around the corner is a concert with Nils Frahm that I've been longing for since early autumn.

Last time I really wrote anything of notice on this blog was after I had been to Prague. What has happened since then?

Well, I spent most of the year working hard. Both when it came to my own interests, like photography, but also at work. I took some pictures I was very proud of during eight months of 2017. Some of my favourites were pictures of friends. They're probably one of the biggest reasons I keep on shooting every year, due to their supportive comments.

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Most of my pictures from last year weren't portraits however. I tried to capture some of my daily life and I kept on working through an endless backlog of photos from previous years. And maybe that's a part of why I want to start writing here again. I want to show what I do and who I meet in my daily life mor often. Not only show these things that are staged, but maybe more of the things that I stumble upon.

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My friend Jonas decided that he wanted to study abroad during autumn. He had a few choices but in the end he ended up going to Hong Kong. As it was decided on his part, I decided that I should actually try to find my way over there and hang out with him some. I'm happy that I made that decision, because I really enjoyed Hong Kong.

It was so warm though, so I didn't find the energy to take as many pictures as I wished. I spent a lot of the day trying to find some shadows so I didn't have to become a messy goo of sweat. 

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My trip to Hong Kong turned out so great that I'm actually going back this summer in June, with a couple of friends. I'm so excited to explore more of it and show my friends a city unlike many others I've seen.

And oh, yeah, I went back to Japan again. I just could keep myself from doing it. This time however, I spent the cash on getting myself a JR Pass and traveling further south than I've been before. I said hi to my friends in Tokyo, rode the Shinkansen to Kyoto and revisited a few old memories and found a couple of new places before heading down to Kyushu and Kumamoto. This was the place where I experienced hot springs for the first time and I'm now even more sure that I want to travel away again to relieve it.

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I never really have liked the idea of making promises to myself around the start of a new year. But I really hope that I can keep up with this idea of writing once in a while. Maybe once a week, maybe every other two weeks. Who knows? 

That said, I hope you enjoyed reading this! I'd also like to ask if there would be anything that you'd like me to write about? I'm really open to ideas and I'd love to share anything with you. So leave a comment below if anything comes to your mind. I'll be happy to do my best to write about it.

A post about Prague

I traveled recently! And I felt like I had to write about it since I'm so bad at doing it nowadays. Me and my friends decided to take a short weekend in Prague as the end of summer arrived in Sweden. I had anticipated going away for quite some time since I've been in Sweden since I came back from Japan in November.

We arrived on Thursday and started exploring. I was quite taken by how pretty and old the city looked. Most of the inner city is filled to the brim with older architecture. Not much seems to be new. 

We didn't do that much on our first day. We ate food, drank beer and some of us tried to drink some Absinthe. I abstained, as my previous experiences with the green fairy hasn't been all that positive.

The second day we decided on going up in Petrin Tower. What a magnificent sight! Seeing this expansive Old Town from up above, with the river crawling around it.

We had an appointment later on that day for a room escape game in the middle of Old Town, so we mostly strolled around and enjoyed the sights, while taking a drink along the way. 

We managed to solve the room escape game quite quickly, while getting stuck only twice. It was a really fun experience!

After that we headed to our next destination, which was this vegetarian restaurant a bit from the city center. The food was fantastic! I haven't eaten vegetarian food in a while that tasted that good. A really good experience. If you're in Prague I can only recommend checking Etnosvět.

We got some tips from the waiter that we should check out Prague Food Battle by the river during Saturday. So we started out by walking down to the Jewish Cemetery and continuing towards the river bench.

On our way down I spotted a building which I didn't think I would see. While I was in Tokyo last autumn I went to an exhibit of Frank Gehry's work over at 20_20 Design Sight. I was impressed by the production of these fantastic buildings, one of them being Dancing House. Suddenly I saw it in Prague, with my own eyes! It's a fantastic building which really shows that your imagination has no limits.

The food battle down by the river was really nice. 

We then headed out to another escape room, this time we had to split into two different teams. My team did really well, and we managed to get out with quite some time left!

For the evening we had booked tables as another restaurant that some of the people in our party already had visited in an earlier trip to Prague. Brasilierio is a Brazilian restaurant with quite an interesting concept. You get a small paper with a red and green side. If the green side is up, you'll find a waiter walking around with meats of various sorts which slices it up for your plate.

I was so full after this meal that I decided to go home and rest, to get up early the next morning. Which probably was a good choice.

The day after I decided to split from the group to check out the National Museum of Prague and their collection of modern art. The main reason I wanted to check it out was because of the exhibition of Alphonse Mucha's "The Slav Epic", but I got to see the rest of the exhibits for free as I was carrying my student ID. I was positively surprised by the variation of art that was exhibited. From the local favourites to Monét, from wall paintings to architecture. 

And I was not disappointed by checking out "The Slav Epic". It was breathtaking seeing these enormous paintings with immense detail. I had a hard time comprehending how much work was put into it, and I still have. Definitively one of the cooler things I had seen in a while.

The weekend passed by quite quickly. But as always, getting home and laying down in my own bed was an unbeatable feeling. 

 

Tokyo '14-15

I feel awful for not having written a single post here on the blog since August, but as work is getting a bit calmer and I've visited Tokyo once again, it's time to get started again!

I've been working on this small video from my past two trips to Tokyo. It's nothing special, but I'm satisfied with it none the less. 

The music comes from one of my favourite artists from Japan at the moment, KLOOZ. Check out the original music video over here.