The 15 Influential Album List, Murf-Style

I am following the leads of Welshtroll and Me Vs. Myself and I. Feel free to do the same. I love sharing music, reading about their tastes, and talking about mine. I also wanted an easy Saturday post. Win-win!

Here goes (with no specific order and my favorite song off the album):

Toadies – Rubberneck

I often cite “Tyler” by the Toadies as the song that made me love music. That’s a tall order for any song, so it only makes sense here contextually. A cooler, older kid at my kid said, “Hey, you have the same name [my middle name] as this song. Have you heard it?” I hadn’t, he played it for me, and now the Toadies are my favorite band of all time (even if that is only an honorable position).

If it hadn’t been for this song, my list here may have been populated by the rap and country music I had been accustomed to up until that point in my then very short life.

Nirvana – In Utero

It’s Nirvana: everyone loves Nirvana. In Utero is my favorite though because it’s a fun listen from start to finish.

Hoobastank – Hoobastank

I don’t ever go back to this CD anymore, but it is the first one I remember buying for myself. It was the perfect beginning to several years of bad early 2000’s rock music, but I am not ashamed.

The Juliana Theory – Love

Okay, this one I am ashamed of (but not really). There’s nothing quite like being a teenager in love, especially when you’re the quiet sort. You’ll listen to anything!

Daft Punk – Discovery

I question the human-ness of anyone who can listen to this entire album without enjoying at least one track.

Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

If I had to credit any one thing for my hipster tendencies, it would be this entire fucking album. It was perfect then, it is perfect now, and I owe it a lot for breaking me out of the cycle of bad rock music.

The Mountain Goats – Tallahassee

A Pandora success story if there ever was one, The Mountain Goats overwhelmed me for a number of years before I started to move on. Still, there are a number of their tracks that I love to listen to even now or share with others. Most of them are on this album.

Ben Folds – Rockin’ the Suburbs

I wrote about this particular album once before.

Interpol – Antics

For the most part, I never was bit by the Joy Division bug. The closer I came to that particular sound was with Interpol, many years later. It isn’t the same, but I still value Interpol’s intensity. It had the dark brooding quality of other bands I have enjoyed, but in this self-aware, disconnected way.

Murdocks – Surrenderender

I don’t know how to describe the Murdocks, but I knew I loved it enough to preorder their second album (I still have a tshirt).

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

Folk rock isn’t for everyone, but the Fleet Foxes proved it was definitely for me. The older I get, the softer and more focused I want my music. Every line in this album spoke to me personally, and the cause and effect of that hasn’t played out entirely yet.

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound – Howl

This band was my entire last year.

Yes – Fragile

Can an entire album be here for one song? YES! I heard this song only within the last year, but it has quickly become a reason to not only explore Yes more, but other Progressive Rock and Rock bands that I may have missed from the 1970’s.

Dark Rooms – Dark Rooms

This album is my most listened to since subscribing to Google Music All-Access last year. It entrances me and I find myself unable to turn it off.

The Wombats – A Guide to Love, Loss, & Desperation

Pure fun.

A Destined Week in Murf

In case this is the first time you’re reading me this week, I went a little Destiny heavy. Here’s a recap of the posts I put up:

Destiny After AllIn this post, I reconciled my previous musings on Destiny, my lack of interest in the game, and why I was ultimately purchasing it day one anyway.

Crit, Hit, or Miss? Destiny (Playstation 4, 2014): The MMORPG Player Perspective In the first of my two reviews, I discuss my feelings on Destiny from the standpoint of it being, in any way, a MMORPG. Ultimately, I found it to be a Miss.

Five Reasons wasn’t as destined as I hoped. To really highlight Destiny’s major dysfunctions, I wrote this post. They’ve already updated Public Events to at least be more frequent, so that’s a definite start.

Crit, Hit, or Miss? Destiny (Playstation 4, 2014): The Halo Fanatic’s Perspective Finally, I wrote my second review from my perspective as a long-time fanboy of the Halo series and Bungie’s most popular video games. If there is any one thing keeping me hopeful for Destiny’s future, it is Bungie’s legacy; however, it was also Bungie’s legacy that had me interested in the first place, and look how that turned out!


After a week gone from playing Destiny while I was traveling for work, I have been itching to continue playing it. Unlike WildStar, a MMO that I still need to discuss quitting, time away from that game proved to be its ultimate undoing. Destiny definitely seems to have some staying power.

That’s ultimately a good thing. Yes, the game is bare and limited, but isn’t that what I have been asking for in new MMORPGs? I am tired of these massive social games launching with the intention of being everything for everyone instantly. It is an impossible standard to hold up a new MMO in comparison to the many still going that have had many years, patches, and expansions to improve themselves.

That doesn’t dampen the very visceral feeling that Bungie has yet to give me what they were selling. Destiny can be better and should be better. I am also optimistic that it will be better, and I am excited to keep my copy of the game for a little while longer.


I had trouble uploading pictures while away, so here are all the screenshots I would’ve added to those posts:

Destiny_20140912025933 Destiny_20140912223534 Destiny_20140913020919 Destiny_20140913131136 Destiny_20140913134425 Destiny_20140913201748

#Destiny #Playstation4 #Bungie

Crit/Hit/Miss? Destiny (Playstation 4, 2014): The Halo Fanatic’s Perspective

HIT

Damage Report: Despite the negativity and disappointment surrounding Destiny, the game is functionally compelling enough to warrant a few weeks of play before you inevitably trade it in. Though the bleak and desolate setting (features included) often turns me off more than it turns me on, I would be lying if I didn’t say a large part of Bungie’s magic with the Halo series wasn’t present with Destiny as well. The expectations may have been higher for their self-described magnum opus, but Destiny is well worth a visit for everything Bungie did get right, even if that visit proves to be fairly short. I don’t see my visit being cut short, however, because there’s a lot here than Bungie can easily build up into a spectacular game.

SPOILERS AHEAD!


Halo can be a difficult game for me to discuss objectively. While so many fanboys of the internet are quick to hate on the series because it was the entire Xbox platform or because it was a shooter on a console rather than on the PC, the series has left a huge mark on gaming and boosted Bungie’s name up to the same levels as the hushed whispers of Bioware or pre-Enix Squaresoft. For my generation of gamers, the original Halo was Super Mario Brothers for many, and much of that excitement carried over now that Bungie has started over with a clean slate. Not comparing Destiny to Halo is impossible.

Despite my reservations about the MMORPG-nature of the always online, somewhat persistent state of Destiny, its Halo roots are clear and riveting. For starters, the game controls like a dream. The Halo standard of crisp movement, solid sound effects, tight controls, all blending together into a fun package are on full display. Even considering their limited sample size with only Marathon and several Halo games under their belt, Bungie has full mastery of the FPS genre, including their specific brand of it with limited weapons and regeneration shields.

The RPG elements added to Destiny flesh out some of the intentions of moving toward a more role-oriented game first seen in Halo: Reach. Instead of equal combatants rushing after power weapons on a map, Bungie has given each character their own customized toolset to seek victory their own way. It isn’t especially deep and I don’t think fighting over Heavy Weapon ammo on the map functions close enough to rushing for a Rocket Launcher, but it is a start.

Honestly, if there is one thing Destiny gets right without a doubt, it is the multiplayer. All of the maps are fun, the spawning feels great, the game modes are well-balanced, and classes add enough new to what has become an old formula by now. Still, I miss some of the zanier elements of Halo multiplayer, and I hope that those won’t be lost in the always-serious atmosphere of Destiny. Personally, I think Destiny would do well to create its own version of Grifball as yet another area in its fully function multiplayer suite of activities.

It’s also worth pointing out the lack of vehicles beyond a Ghost rip-off and something similar but with rockets. I don’t mind as much given the 6v6 deathmatch mode, but the larger maps do feel fairly empty. The vehicular combat also feels exceptionally shallow since there’s mostly just the Ghost-like and turrets to deal with, though you can still summon your mount in these larger maps to get in on the action sooner. For some, a lack of vehicles will be a huge plus or a huge problem, so hopefully Bungie will find a way to appease both sides with future updates.

Destiny’s story mode never captures the same action movie excitement of Halo and, more often than not, its set pieces fail to come anywhere close to classic levels like Assault on the Control Room or Truth and Reconciliation. A few do stand out, including one that features a bridge similar to those in past games, but they are so simple and sparse that it is difficult to even call them levels. Outside of a single mission which entrusts you with a powerful sword weapon to use, every other mission boils down to ‘get to location’, ‘defend location’, repeat or move onto the next mission.

It doesn’t help that the story is only really explained through Grimoire Cards which have to be viewed on the Destiny website or that most missions boot you back up to your ship rather than simply continue the story. It is a huge mess, but there’s a silver lining: the world is quite interesting.

Exactly like Halo, Bungie has managed once again to create a setting that begs to be explored. It’s amazing how they manage to do this since their games are mostly just video game action movie equivalents, featuring cliches about chosen ones and great enemies and prophecy mumbo jumbo. Honestly, it did turn me off that my character was some chosen bad ass, especially in a MMO-esque game where I am surrounded by similar, equally bad ass heroes all. There’s one scene that works really well to make you begin to care about your character and his relationship with the Peter Dinklage-voiced Ghost, but it isn’t enough and it never comes close to the characterization between Master Chief and Cortana.

Yet, I am compelled to see this world through and I am excited to see if Bungie can react to all the negativity in regards to their story mode and deliver content more fitting of their pedigree. Destiny’s world manages to blend science fiction themes of the apocalypse and a future human global golden age with more fantasy elements of Great Goods and Great Evils duking it out for supremacy of the souls of everyone. Even with the lack of subtly and the overwhelming deluge of exposition, Destiny’s setting strikes a better balance of science fiction and fantasy than Star Wars ever could, and I am forced to answer the classic Starship Trooper’s question of, “Do you want to know more?” with a resounding, “Fuck yes I do!”

Even if it can be difficult to see the roads laid by the Halo franchise through the thicket of poorly thought out MMO features, Destiny’s basics are compelling, and seem like a canvas which will produce many great stories. No, Bungie didn’t catch lightning in a bottle twice, but they have the engine, the setting, the gameplay, and everything else they will need to catch lightning again. It is a shame that they couldn’t do it immediately, but it would be an even bigger shame to miss out because they didn’t.

Destiny fails to live up to its promises, but there is nothing about the game that says it never will. I am very excited to see where this game goes and I am happy enough to be playing it now.

#Destiny #Playstation4 #Reviews