Tokyo Signs

I don’t know how I missed this, but I’m in love with everything that Tokyo Signs has to offer — t-shirts, iPhone cases, a tote bag, and even a pair of tights, all inspired by Tokyo’s signage. The line is produced by Bento Graphics (led by my buddy Benjamin) and they promise items in the future. Via Spoon & Tamago.

10 Years of Spoon & Tamago

Big congrats to my buddy Joseph (aka Johnny Strategy), who recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of Spoon & Tamago, a site I’ve been happily reading (and often linking to) since the very start. We became friends through our shared love of blogging about similar aspects of Japanese art, culture, and design, and it’s really great to see how he was able to celebrate the milestone — read this post, which also includes a nice video that offers a nice wrap-up of the site’s last 10 years.

Less Than Zero

I was reminded while watching this how strange it is that I enjoy so many movies that are based on novels by Bret Easton Ellis, yet I’ve never read any of his novels (I really should rectify this). But it doesn’t change that this was a movie that I loved back then, and still really enjoyed now. It was even darker than I remembered, but at the same time, I’d forgotten how relatively simple a story it is (and just takes place over a couple of days/nights). And the soundtrack puts you in the right mood — with songs that I wouldn’t necessarily say were my favorite from the time, but they’re effective and put you in the right “1987” frame of mind.

Metroid: Samus Returns

I’ve been wanting to play this ever since it came out, and I finally got the chance this week. I’ve played a few hours so far (I’m now in Area 2) and as much as I like the gameplay, I have a feeling I’m not going to get to finish it (also due to the fact that it’s a 2-week rental). It’s a bit more challenging than I’d like, as I feel like I constantly have to be on my toes, even when backtracking, and the complexity of the map means that I’m constantly zooming in and out to see what I missed and how I can manage to get to a particular point. Using the shoulder buttons to aim and use rockets isn’t as smooth or comfortable as I’d like, and so facing off against Metroids tends to be harder than it should be. I’m torn, because part of me loves it — the exploration is in fact quite cool, and they’ve done a great job with the look and music — but I just feel like I won’t have the patience to get to the end (in part because there is just so much stuff in my backlog that I also want to get to).

Bound

I remember being interested in this game when it originally came out, but I never got around to playing it. It’s one of the games on offer as part of this month’s PlayStation Plus free games, which was the push I needed, and what a joy it was to play. I played it in two sessions on the same day (probably 2-3 hours of play time overall), and it felt just right. The visuals are just astoundingly beautiful, and I really dug the movement of the character you control — dancing along the platforms, and to push away enemy energies. There was one section that I felt was broken — a sort of elevator platform that you activate by jumping on walls, that took me like 30 tries, even though I never encountered anything challenging like that elsewhere in the game. It’s definitely worth taking the time to play though and experience.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Here’s the background on where I find myself with the series: I fell in love with the series with the Ezio trilogy, which were the high points for me, then enjoyed III mostly because of the setting, but was already starting to feel AC fatigue, and by the time Black Flag came out, as much I was enjoying playing it (especially the ship stuff), the fatigue took over, to a point where I didn’t finish it, and I pretty much skipped Unity and Syndicate (I played a bit of Unity this past year). So the first thing that got me interested in the series again was the setting of Egypt — the Roman/Egyptian era that is used in the game is pretty much my favorite historical setting (and I say this as a History major), and so I was very excited to explore that world. Then, when I started playing, I was a bit shocked at how much the game sucked me in — I finished the “story” part of the game (because you can keep playing after, with still tons of things to do post-“ending”) in about 30 hours, in less than a week, with two consecutive Saturdays of 8/9-hour play sessions. On top of the setting, what really got me addicted is the new levelling system and skill tree, which gives more purpose to doing side missions because you want to level up — to be able to deal with more advanced (level-wise) parts fo the map, and also to unlock new abilities. The side missions were also for the most part more interesting than in the past, and I had a lot more fun with the combat than in previous games — although I still sometimes had trouble dealing with swarms of enemies that surrounded me. But man, what a great game — they made the right changes to get me interested in the series again, and I really hope that these new RPG elements are here to stay. I’d say Origins is my new favorite AC game.