Star Wars and Gaming

As a certain character once said in a famous movie, “do or do not. There is no try.” These words cannot be truer for plenty in life, from our decisions to actions. In the world of gaming, however, there is a certain discrepancy that has claimed many titles that had the full potential to be masterpieces and go against this line. They instead are pushed over the edge by limitations, greed, or exterior manipulation.

Oh, wait. I described gaming as a whole.

Jokes aside, it is good to be back. I know I said I will be back at a more regular pace in the last post, however for now I will say that the next blog post will come when it comes. Sorry for those of you who like to read them, but these definitely take the time to fully jot down. I do promise that every entry will still be worthwhile, of course.

Going back to my previous tangent, you probably already know what today’s subject will be judging by the above image and title. I have mentioned Star Wars in the past, (and one of my friends made a blog post on it in six-week absence) and it is definitely a franchise I quite enjoy. I am not well-versed in its lore, and outside of the movies and the imminent lore surrounding them, these video games are the only other aspect of the franchise I have some greater experience with. Today will mark the first time I will not be solely taking a look at story-related elements of these games, and my retrospect will not be too focused either.


I have played quite a few licensed games, and most are quick cash-grabs to exploit advertising as many of you may already know. Many lack severely in quality, being made with little effort and dedication, only to disappoint and leave fans craving what could have been. With Star Wars, this trend would seem to be natural considering how colossal it is compared to nearly everything else. However, the franchise has shown again from time to time that it cannot only give players endearing content, but also provide some video games that can be considered the best. The range of genres is also impressive, going from first-person shooters to role-playing games to dogfight simulations.

While the header image for this post is eye-candy to catch your attention, (we’ll get to the new Battlefront soon enough) the above image symbolizes what I believe to be the pinnacle of licensed games and something everyone should have the pleasure of experiencing: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. If there are two Star Wars games that I imagine people may feel tired of hearing, it’s this one and Battlefront.

To me, that is an honour for this game to have.

Released in 2003 from BioWare, (also responsible for Mass Effect and Dragon Age) this game is set thousands of years before the events of the movies and follows the Republic in their destructive civil war against a legion of fallen Jedi. You play as a soldier in the Republic, caught in the middle of a raging battle above the urban sprawl of Taris, and here the journey begins.

One thing to love about this game is the freedom it gives you in player choice that affects the plot. It may not be Undertale levels of the entire plot changing upon a wide spectrum of decisions, but for its time I imagine that it must have been quite a deal to go into the path of the Light or Dark sides. This encourages players to replay the game to discover little secrets that come with both sides of the same story, and to venture beyond where you may have progressed to before.

It is Star Wars by the books, being rooted deep in its mythology and looking the part as well while having its unique spin on an already established art style. The music is also phenomenal as well, and the only aspect of the game that may be off-putting is the turn-based gameplay. For what feels like a real-time game, this may kill the game for some and ruin a masterpiece that is otherwise near-flawless in many areas. Dare I say, the story is far more immersive and of a higher quality than all seven movies, but that is another discussion for another time.

I apologize for my gloating, but KOTOR is a gem that I do not want to taint with spoilers. For those of you who have not played it, I would highly recommend that you do. Of course, there is a sequel as well…


Now, this is a very interesting and tragic story. For what The Empire Strikes Back did for the films, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords does for the games, and perhaps even western role-playing games as a whole.

Gameplay-wise, the turn-based system is back and mostly unchanged. Soundtrack-wise, maybe not as spectacular. Graphics… Same as well. So what makes KOTOR II the unsung swan of Star Wars games?

The story. I know I said story would not be too much of a focus, but the story just wins so much here. Has someone ever told you that Revenge of the Sith is extremely dark and amazing for it? This game sits that movie down, and teaches it a proper lesson on how to make a story dark. Isolation. Eerie atmosphere. Grey morality. Hopelessness. Even the Jedi are not entirely cast in a positive light, and the Sith in a negative one. It is a game rooted in a well-established mythology, and questions it by twisting the very core of what makes Star Wars the way it is.

Grey-storytelling is a region that must be done with proper care, or else the blur between good and evil may not even appear at all. This game accomplishes it by pitting you in the shoes of a character who has an uncertain past, while knowing that they were at odds with doing what seemed to be right. Decision-making only propels this game forward: deciding on which path to take through worlds filled with corruption, desolation, crime, and scars of war. If you have not played KOTOR II, it may be the essential game to play if you want your mind to be blown. Make sure you download the Restored Content Modification as well, as this game had the restriction of one year of development time.

This is the tragedy. A masterpiece that did not have enough time to complete, leaving the player to ponder at what could have been. Of course, another tragedy is the lack of a KOTOR III, or my doubts in EA making a Star Wars game with a story as intelligent as this one.


There are many more Star Wars games, but to end this off I would like to focus on one that leaves me worried about the future and how the franchise may spiral down into another exploited licence property for those looking to make a quick buck.

Star Wars Battlefront was released last year, developed by DICE and published by EA. Yes, the game has a very high production quality and looks and sounds the part. As many have said, it is almost as if you are placed into the events of the original trilogy due to how authentic everything looks and more importantly, feels.

Why do I have a qualm with this game? Because despite what this entire blog may suggest, I mainly play games for their gameplay, not story. I am fine that this game does not have a single-player campaign, as I do not feel as if a retelling of old battles is worthwhile, or that DICE has the capability to create a narrative that is both immersive and compelling that upholds the Star Wars license. (Battlefield 3’s story is just… no) Of course single-player content would be appreciated, and not necessarily a campaign. Something in the vein of cooperative missions would have been great, with the option to play with or without other players.

What irks me is the lack of content here. It feels to me as if EA wanted to get the game out of the gate as quickly as possible to coincide with the release of The Force Awakens, and in doing so they made content that should have been available to the game at launch paid ‘expansions.’ (the mishandling of this term is a problem with smaller pieces of DLC) Another problem stems from the name. The game is similar to the original two Battlefront games in terms of concept, but beyond that they are very different games. Whether or not you are a fan of games that are casual, this game is undoubtedly one made for Star Wars fans of all types, and not video game fans necessarily. Through this, I believe DICE has made a game that focused far too much on its presentation, rather than the intricacies that really make you crave a game and keep you coming back.

While you may enjoy this game, it is a lot like iOS: It is very appealing to the eye, yet functionality is something that came second-priority and makes the overall package come down more than it should.

And with that, we come to our close for now. While this is more of a tangent than a true retrospect/review, I do plan to go with these sometime in the future. I also am aware that there are many Star Wars games I missed, and we will definitely browse those at a future date and give undivided attention as well. I apologize for a lighter serving this week, but I am quite excited for the ideas I have conjured up for the future. May the force be with you!

…And I think I may be using that last line again sometime as well.


The Broken Web – A Look into Inter-Connected Stories

After a month-long break, I have returned! I apologize for my uncalled absence, especially after my proclamation that I wanted to take this blog to new heights. I still believe its foundation can be built upon to create a glorious way for me to express thoughts and opinions on what I love in terms of storytelling. As an audience, I encourage you to express what you want to see on the blog, and I will attempt to compensate for your requests. Regardless, let us see what the end of September brings us!

As many of you can tell from previous posts, there is a certain video game franchise that I happen to be in love with. It is certainly not my favourite game, shooter, or story in all of gaming, yet can we all agree that nostalgia outweighs such qualities?


If you guessed Halo, I cannot say that subtlety is my strong suit in that aspect.

As the focus of this post, I can talk about this franchise and its universe for all of eternity. From the crash-landing on Installation 04 in the first game to the deadlock on the galaxy in the latest, (I’ll save Halo 5 for another time…) I can speak highly to many elements of fantasy, military sci-fi, and futurism that all blend together to create a cohesive storyline over the course of 100,000 years. The novels and comics all connect and reflect upon the games, yet they all feel like the part of a larger world where characters and settings may not be in an intertwined relationship with each other. The franchise also does not ignore its expanded universe, (*cough* Star Wars…) and meaningful characters and actions may not even be found in the games. There is certainly a lot to be found in such a trove, but what is the point of this post if the intent is to highlight all that is good with Halo?

I believe the negative points I bring up may not be an issue to the canon devout, so be aware of that. As I like to do on this blog, however, the points here should also transcend to storytelling on a much larger scale, as I do not want to alienate those who may not be fans of Halo. I also do not plan to delve into the lore under an analytical eye.

Of course, there will be spoilers ahead. But you already knew that.


As I stated before, Halo‘s universe is very interconnected. While I did state the positive side to this earlier, there is a negative side as well. As you can see in the flowchart above, the peripheral media surrounding Halo 5 was used as a means to introduce and explore characters. This may be a way to set the wheels of hype into motion where all these stories culminate in the next chapter of an epic saga, but what if I want to go directly from Halo 4 to Halo 5? While the developer tried to make an effort to explain enough in the game’s story to make this an option, such an approach still leaves the player with more questions than answers and one particular query that is dangerous for a storyteller to hear: Why should I care?

Let us take one example from Halo 5: Holly Tanaka. Established in the comic series Halo: Escalation, Tanaka has a two-issue arc to explain the backstory of her character, as well as a look into her personality, motives, and what led her to become a Spartan super-soldier. While the writer for this arc did a tremendous job with what little room he had, is such a character-driven story the best for a two-issue comic arc? The most important thing for a comic is to be to the point; action drives the plot forward, and characters are developed alongside it. Exposition is also limited to what needs to be told, rather than paragraphs explaining why some tower is so significant and beautiful. A character-driven story that makes us feel for the character and shows us their experiences and (in the case of Tanaka) trauma to create a sympathetic aurora around them should be reserved for a fully fleshed novella, which can achieve so much more.

That back-rides onto another problem: playing Halo 5 without this introduction to her character. If the game rides heavily upon the assumption that you are familiar with Tanaka’s character, what are you left with if you are not? This is where the connections that hold Halo’s universe begin to falter, as in order to fully appreciate character arcs and development, you may need the greater picture to understand why these characters are so significant to telling a story. Halo 5 cannot portray the emotion of growing up in a ravaged world plunged into a nuclear winter, and the struggles and conflict that may erupt between the survivors. Tanaka telling the player (for the sake of exposition) that she grew up on a glassed planet does not hold any emotional weight if you go into the game without previous knowledge of her character.

Moving on, I now want to shift focus on another aspect of the comic series Halo: Escalation that is an even bigger sin in not on the build up to Halo 5, but something that no story should ever do: have a story that bridges two main entries together, but wraps up many loose ends and leaves them out of the following major installment.


In Halo 4, players are given a second campaign/story of sorts that follows about eight months after the games main storyline called Spartan Ops. The cooperative mode introduces its own cast of characters, brings in more elements of the expanded universe, and ends off with a cliffhanger ending with many implications for the future of the series. One, in particular, is the Janus Key, holding the power to unlock the record of all Forerunner artifacts in the galaxy. Such a plot element is a game-changer to the landscape of Halo’s universe and should be resolved in a major entry due to its impact on the series as a whole.

However, this is not the case, and the Janus Key and its story arc are not even mentioned in Halo 5.

You may have noticed how I mentioned a story arc surrounding the Janus Key, and that is because Halo: Escalation continues the story left off by Spartan Ops in the second half of its run. The latter story ends with the UNSC and Jul’s Covenant each having one-half of the key, but in Escalation the entire key is later obtained by the Covenant as they move in on the Record. Events then transpire at the Absolute Record, however, both sides are not deemed worthy and the location is presumably destroyed afterwards. While my summary may not showcase it, the plot development in this particular story arc is extremely rushed and abrupt, and it contains an ending that returns the universe to a status quo and is forgotten thereafter.

While the addition of an ex Machina device is not exactly great storytelling, the removal of one before the payoff of a story that ran for three years in unacceptable storytelling for fans. Even worse is that if you go directly to Halo 5, the characters present from Spartan Ops are completely absent or dealt with in unsatisfactory ways (sigh) and the question of where these previous story threads went to is left unanswered to casual fans. If two stories must be bridged by another story, it should not be essential for the understanding of said stories, but should rather enrich the experience of the reader/gamer/viewer.


While there are many problems such as different interpretations, inconsistencies, and tones that are inevitable with such an array of different authors and storytelling mediums, they pale in comparison to the two points above and can impact the experience of the casual story fan in an extremely negative way. Such mistakes can appear in other franchises as well; however, it is very apparent for Halo.

One last thing is to acknowledge the original trilogy of games, and how they mostly existed within their own bubble with the books and comics rippling off of them but remaining separate. In an ideal canon, all stories have significance and bearing on a franchise, but they are not essential to understanding the stories. Both the faithful and casual fans should enjoy the stories set out in front of them, both with a surface and deeper level of understanding that simply makes sense on both ends.

Well, that brings us to a close for now. In the future, I hope that such a long hiatus does not impact my posting habits, but I hope you enjoyed what I have provided for you today and that you may have learned something new about storytelling. Of course, I encourage you to apply this subject to other stories and franchises and extrapolate on my surface explanation. Dream on!

P.S. I also do recognize that the subject is similar to the first blog post I did. I hope I delved into a bit more specific details than last time, though!

The Path Ahead

Hello, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying being back at school!

I just wanted to be brief as I go through some future plans I have for the blog (which you can give your opinions to). These are all not too drastic for the blog, and I always want to look for ways to get it bigger and better for the purpose of expanding an audience and quality. If you have your own suggestions (both for blog post ideas and the way I operate the blog), please feel free to share!

As many of you know, I was absent for six weeks, where several individuals came to fill in my place. Each one of them provided their own flair to a topic that spoke to them, and I believe it was a great success for the blog. After some thought, I have decided to introduce a special segment to the blog for every month. On the final Wednesday (or so) of a month, a unique blogger will provide a post, spicing up variety and content as well as giving a little extra. This will not interfere with my posting schedule (on weekends), and if you are interested, please let me know as soon as possible. Spots will be on a first-come-first-served basis, and anyone is welcome to come on! Of course, I will review the content of the post to ensure it is appropriate for the blog. Categories that belong here include:

  • Analysis (of any kind)
  • Storytelling (fan-fiction is allowed, but I would encourage original stories)
  • Retrospect (rather than a straight-up review)

Of course, topics must be in relation to literature, video games, music, television, or film. Plagiarism is unacceptable, but my expectations are very free and flowing in order for your creativity to flourish. There is no limit to word count here, and neither is the category and nature of your post. I will help share the post afterwards, but I will keep my involvement to a minimum.

If you are interested, you can contact me through that button right over there on the left (or in the menu for mobile users). I should also say that in the case of my absence, I will try my hardest to provide a post on that day ahead of time or have someone cover for me.

On the other hand, I also have plans for the month of December that will differ from the typical posting schedule immensely. I hope you will all enjoy what I have in mind, but for now, I will keep it under wraps as a surprise…

Anyways, this was just a quick announcement for you all to see. If you also did not notice, there is a drop-down menu on the home button that will allow you to view blog posts by category. Enjoy your time!

Silent vs. Verbal Video Game Protagonists – What Works?

Well, the end has come upon us. Or rather, the beginning of a new year and the next chapter of our lives. As we approach the final night of our wander-less freedom, our minds spiral. We may not reflect this, yet we crave a balance. Relaxation. What soothes your mind in a tender embrace, placing all beacons of despair into an unbroken sleep?

For me, this would definitely have to be video games. While they are definitely an enjoyable way to wonder how five hours feels like five minutes, I owe plenty to them. In conjunction with reading, video games have led me to countless worlds and stories, all leaving their own marks and impressions on me. Creativity and my love for stories greatly sprouts from this, and to hear people act as if they have nothing to offer in value (albeit most are simply ways to entertain and nothing more) definitely makes me feel as if video games are not taken seriously enough as a legitimate platform for heartfelt and legendary stories, concepts, worlds, and even art (which again, most are not).

Today, I present a topic which had sparked in my mind not even a week ago. Many video games present silent protagonists, while others do not. A vessel for the player, versus a being that we follow and root for. While I am not here to argue for one side or the other, I am very curious as to see what both sides have in store for the sole purpose of video game storytelling.

Now, off to the races.

 Verbal Protagonists


The above image should definitely resonate with many of you right off the bat: it’s the Sole Survivor from Fallout 4. What matters about this character is the fact that it is a blank slate (down to gender and appearance, despite what appears), and is supposed to act as a vessel for the player to immerse themselves in the open and free nature of The Commonwealth. There is one significant issue with this, however.

In all previous Fallout titles (as well as open-world Bethesda games, like The Elder Scrolls), the protagonist is completely silent. This is so the player naturally fits the role of this character, impacting the world as they choose and possibly changing the course of fate itself.  You can be good, evil, and outsider, or a thief. When the game gives you a dialogue option, you can read it in your voice and extrapolate its meaning it a way that immerses you further into the doings of this world. You exist in it, and you have to power to act in it as well.

In Fallout 4, the player character speaks. While this could have been an interesting choice, I believe it was mishandled by Bethesda here. As you now have a voice to [what is essentially] yourself, an entire layer of immersion is broken. It is also very apparent that the developer intended for this character to act in a positive light that uplifts those around him, and this is fine for players that intend to play this way. However, many options to be evil and destroy those around you are completely absent, which again takes away a layer of immersion.

This is the Sole Survivor. You are in their shoes.

The importance of freedom in a video game is to facilitate immersion in who you are playing as: Yourself. Even if the adventure is linear and not in an open world, the player character is always going to be one of the very first impressions that will last over the duration of the game and likely not be forgotten. This is an example of where a verbal protagonist does not work, as this is the story of the player. An odyssey for a hero…

This is where they belong.


To me, Assassin’s Creed II does not have an excellent plot. While the series has been beaten by greed and lust, this is where its success stems from. While excellent gameplay and gorgeous scenery of Renaissance-era Italy stand out, the heart of the game really shines from its protagonist Ezio Auditore da Firenze.

Ezio comes from a wealthy family, which is brutally murdered (minus his mother and sister) by corrupt nobles. Once a carefree womanizer, he is thrust into the ancient order of the Assassins where he builds up the order while seeking vengeance in the name of his family. This leads to the discovery of a dangerous plot that endangers all of humanity, where Ezio unravels connections to his family’s murder, his allies, and his enemies. Without giving too much away, this is exactly the kind of story that the player should experience and witness who they are playing as, and Assassin’s Creed II excels in that.

Throughout the course of the plot, Ezio grows up (literally) as a character and a fighter, and is not without his jovial antics and likeable personality. This is a character you want to root for, and can’t help but smile at as well. Your experience corresponds to Ezio’s development, and this would be impossible if Ezio was a silent protagonist. This is a world that shifts with plot, tone, setting, and character. Such stories can only be told with a character to guide you through, just like traditional stories you will read in a book or watch on the big screen.

Silent Protagonists


If the Lone Survivor resonated for you, I really hope the above character resonates in all his iconic, glorious, and hopeful symbolism. Even if you have never played these games (please do), Half-Life stands above all in the wait for a number three.

If this is all you know about this series, then it is important to know it involves plenty of interpretation as well as fitting into the role of its protagonist Gordon Freeman. If you go into Half-Life with a casual mindset, Gordon will literally only be a vessel for the player to fight their way through countless HECU marines, Xen aliens, or Combine soldiers and traverse the death-riddled halls of Black Mesa or the dystopian streets of City 17. This is a game where the player must be the character. You must fill in their thoughts, and be in the moment.

Half-Life opens with a ‘typical’ day at work. This is not a first-person shooter; this is a day at work for Gordon Freeman, your vessel into the world of Black Mesa. You are a scientist with little combat experience, not a soldier filled to the teeth with combat experience and fearlessness. When science has gone terribly wrong, your life is on the line with your colleagues dead, and no one to help you. You are alone, but not alone. They can see you.

This is the reason why the original Half-Life remains to this day as my favourite first-person shooter, and one of the few video games I consider to be art. Such a linear game could have very easily had a protagonist that talked, yet Valve nailed it down perfectly here with plenty of extra interpretation on the side. Is Gordon a good person, despite the fact he has caused so much death to escape? Is it right to kill off an alien species afraid of an external threat looming above them, despite the fact they have met you with hostility in order to survive? Gordon is your character to determine, set in a world that encompasses you.

To end things off, let’s go to an example that is neither better talkative nor silent.


Another hailed classic that I nearly consider to be perfect, we have the Orwellian tale of BioShock. If you love this game, no doubt one of the reasons is its underwater city of Rapture. It beams with personality, all the way from its utopia-gone-dystopia atmosphere, with both wonder and horror to be found around every corner. Its cast of characters also leaves a deep impression, from the objectivist founder of the city who acts for men only, a respected artist who has become unstable and violent, and an accomplished surgeon who has taken the idea of beauty to an extreme and disturbing height.

In its cast, do you recall its protagonist? For those of you who are not familiar, Jack is a man who has found themselves in a plane wreck and has found themselves in Rapture, ruined in a civil war when the substance ‘ADAM’ has caused its citizens to become insane and gradually lose their humanity in the process as well. You are alone for most of this adventure, lost at sea to a terrifyingly beautiful expanse of lost utopia.

Similarly to Half-Life, the plot takes a backseat here. Unlike it, though, BioShock tells its tale without interpretation and extreme nuance (but still to a certain extent), but rather through audio logs that reveal Rapture’s former glory and cast of spearheads. You are simply along to experience it all, but the plot does thicken when you encounter the founder of Rapture: Andrew Ryan. While I will be vague, there are definitely huge implications left for the idea of a protagonist in a linear story. Are they simply a tool, in the end, to be controlled by an external force to meet a certain goal?

Such a question is one that very few video games tend to look at, and at this point it does make sense that Jack is a silent protagonist. He is being controlled by the player, in a metaphysical context. Your thoughts and emotions should run free, and not his. Arguably, though, a character like Gordon Freeman was meant to be played and interpreted. On the other hand, a character like Jack could have still worked as a verbal protagonist.

What would his reaction be to a world that has gone to hell, and to listen to the horrors done to people who used to be sane? How would he feel about those who remain there, and what about his own personal reflection on himself as a being? While the game is still amazing without a strong protagonist, I feel as if nothing would be lost if Jack opened up here and then throughout the course of the game.


As I stated earlier, this is not a contest between the two types of protagonists. For games with expanses of freedom or a story left for interpretation, silent protagonists are the way to go. For a game with an epic plot with a character that only grows with time, a verbal protagonist is necessary to deliver on that experience. I do not prefer either, as both have their benefits (which I have of course made clear here).

For the next couple of days, I hope you enjoy your arrival at school or wherever you are heading to. I can promise that this blog will continue to flourish even when my tasks are back at hand, and I also hope that you enjoy the summer’s final nights. 🙂

A Story Without Words – Why Music Matters in Storytelling

As school draws near and our leisurely time closes, we uncomfortably await what inevitably lies in front of us. Duty, friendship, commitment, and challenge. In this perilous time, yours truly will still be providing a shimmer of light. Two blogs will form a hold on September’s dawn, brought to you in a gold wrapping of a computer notification.

Joking aside, I hope the above reminder was tainted in a more jovial heart than what you may be feelings right now. It is true (for me at least) that school begins once again next week, so I have returned to bring a topic that speaks dearly to everyone: music. Not just music (such a topic is too broad to even have an entry point), but its application and importance in storytelling. While I cannot cover every example (and what I cover will inevitably speak to myself more-so), I encourage you to look at your favourite stories and look to what role music plays in them.

Before delving too far into this immense rabbit-hole (of four coverings), we will start off very simply with an example from the gargantuan collection of Walt Disney: Mulan. To take a quick snippet of the animated feature, I present you with the song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” (written by composer Matthew Wilder). Even if you have no interest in the film or haven’t seen it for a very long time, the song should give you a general idea of the film’s plot to this point.

As a musical, songs are not supposed to delight themselves in a plethora of subtly that only relies on you to feel. Rather, this song directly fuses and correlates plot, character development, relationships, setting, and impending conflict into a catchy three minutes of melodic narration (or rather, singing). In a musical, songs represent major plot points that can be enjoyed and made memorable to a wide audience. Here, Fa Mulan’s development as a character is tied to the world around her. As per the usual hero’s journey, the uplifting tone of the song is proportional to her struggles in becoming a soldier. She may lack the skills to do so at this point, but her wants and drive to become something more are nicely showcased by the movie.

To move on, I would like to add that music appeals to a much deeper level in storytelling. Mulan’s showcasing is a clear and concise example of how musicals are rather smart in pulling their plots together, yet at the same time, they are only the tip of the iceberg. Music tells its own story perfectly in ways that not even words can describe, and encapsulate emotions that only enhance the experience of a film, television show, or video game.

I am unsure if presenting this piece brings back buried and repressed memories of a time where this franchise took a sink, but forget them as you listen to this amazing piece (Anakin’s Theme from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, written by composer John Williams). In my humble opinion, Episode I’s score is brilliant and displays the potential for a film that could have been infinitely better. I would even dare to say that I can see brilliance overshadowed by fatal faults and errors that Episode II and III lack, yet this is another discussion for another time.

Anakin’s Theme is a piece that plays in scenes where the character of the same namesake appears (obviously), and at its surface, it seems to only describe the tragic nature of his freedom: he will most likely never see his mother again. However, this piece is beautiful in its clear-yet-subtle foreshadowing that Anakin is an innocent, happy and naive child, only to become a being of terrible power that has stricken fear and death into an oppressed galaxy. This is why this track is so immensely tragic, as every beam of light casts a shadow only as large as the figure. The undertone of the Imperial March is also very clever in showing the ramifications that even the film acknowledges about bringing an unknown child that will balance the forces of good and evil, yet sometimes believing with enough heart will do.

This overall foreshadowing is more related to this piece in question then to the actual plot of the film, which moves back to the key point of music in storytelling. We aren’t beaten over the head that Anakin will become evil, yet as a prequel, we know it is bound to happen. What this theme does is makes us feel invested in the part as well, and tells the clear story of innocence tainted and transformed into something monstrous.

Without context, can music still be an effect tool, however? The answer?


To take another moment before we delve into the wonder-full score of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (written by Jeremy Soul), I would like to acknowledge a fair point. The score of a video game is meant to enhance the overall immersion that you are a part of a world, as well as have a lasting appeal due to the repetition of pieces that will loop and appear many times throughout a game. On the other hand, music in a film is meant to overlay and delve deeper into a linear story, setting tone and atmosphere that can make or break it.

Speaking of atmosphere, this track here (Far Horizons) sets it stone right off with its name. Horizons may be in relation to distance, or loneliness. It may also refer to a serene, yet uncertain landscape that lies beyond. Most importantly, in the horizon, the day’s end may lie. All of these are mixed together in the entirety of Skyrim’s score, yet as a video game, these relate to player experiences rather than to a character or plot point. The music here acts as a guide to something that may completely lack a plot but enriches your story. Perhaps the wilderness and the tundra of Skyrim have opened a vista to your eyes, or you are gazing into the final seconds of sunlight as the night overtakes the sky. Here, I cannot say if this piece tells a cohesive tale, but it does take its hand in shaping one (to say for a final time).

For our final example, I will share a scene rather than a piece.

From Halo 4, this scene plays towards the end of the title’s campaign (in a mission aptly named Composer). Despite the fact that the emotion of the scene may not come through without playing the rest of the game (or delving into the fiction of the franchise as a whole), what did you notice about the second part of this scene?

The lack of any music playing whatsoever is what makes the emotion of this scene stick out so much. While an ominous or saddened tone could have been present throughout it, the developer had instead opted for silence. While I have insinuated that music makes its own story, the absence of music showcases pivotal moments where the characters and atmosphere take their own stage, and sticks out to a greater degree.

In hindsight, music is music. We listen to it, like it, and become addicted to pressing the replay button until we move on. In reality, music is a barrage of emotions that are expressed to such a complicated level that only our own minds are capable of parrying it. As I stated towards the blog’s beginning, I encourage you to analyse the score of a movie (or not) that you love, and to see how it correlates with its story and characters. I apologize for not going as in-depth for some of these as I should have, yet emotions are something that you must determine yourself and take what you get. I hope you enjoyed my return to analysis, and as always, I look forward to seeing you guys next time!

Small Journeys

Hello again, everyone! After six long weeks away from my usual post, I am back again to post blogs on a regular basis (this one is late due to adjusting back). As I described in my previous update, each blogger who volunteered their time and effort in order to keep this blog rolling along would each provide a different taste with a topic they were each compassionate about. As I have now read all of them, I can say that they all blew my expectations away. Every week was truly something of a different caliber, ranging from review, analysis, and opinion. To all those who did my job for me in my place, I would like to take this short time to say thank you. Tremendously, in fact! I hope you enjoyed these posts as much as I did, and it isn’t impossible that some of them may return in the future.

Before we get to the post in itself, I will say thank you to another group of individuals. Upon my last post, my acquaintance with them was null, yet now I can say as if they are family to me in a sense. As my last serving here was of a narrative proportion towards the dawn of the summer, I find it only appropriate that we also end off the summer in a similar fashion. This upcoming story is dedicated to you Hercules, and I hope you all find some emotional traction while my words pave away this oncoming narrative.


Trees. Trees, densely covering a straight trail with no apparent end. Slender branches grasp upon the wispy air above; deep roots keep the earth in place. Life rests upon its shoulders in all forms, yet these trees do not quite literally share this purpose. Redwood, oak, birch, maple? In dreams reality is irrelevant, yet this factor is subconscious in turn.

You look down. You are used to a trail of gravel, dirt, or dust. Yet here, the composition of the path is of a fine, pristine marble that beams its reflections into your very eyes. The sky is blanketed by a thick layer of fog, where the tips of trees are consumed by an eternal breeze of vapour. All is flat, consistent, and forward. The marble path is completely pristine, leading to the never-ending horizon that looms far. Your first and only instinct is to proceed with both eyes.

Against your own will, your feet carry you in a perfected march, with each beat being timed consistently apart. Yet this does not distract you from what lies off the path. The trunks of the trees roar up into the mist of fog, and the tops are extended beyond any possible reach or comprehension. Sound is still, all but a faint noise from above. A shrill cry from an infant is heard, followed by a soothing voice that buries all worries and uncertainties of this new path. Your heart glows with reassurance, yet the impervious march carries you away from you can cherish this tender moment.

Further along, the trees grow shorter, yet their meaning is clearer as a result. Rather than just sound, other sensations arise as well. The taste of sweet delicacies envelops your mouth, and the scent of nature form an aurora of attraction as well. You can see a faint outline of figures dancing in the trees, and your emotions peak with an overcast of joy and exuberance as if their sensations were intertwined with yours.

Below, the marble path remains sturdy as your march continues its overbearing cadence. Above, the fog shoots into the same direction at the same height, with a blinding white that shows a glimpse of what sunlight may lie above. Although you are entombed to this impatient journey, the sense of adventure and curiosity keeps your mind ahead. You are the sole witness of a whimsical cycle of triumph, heartache, and failure, yet this abridged path shows that all things will rise once more at one point or another.

The trees have now conformed to a size upon which their happenings are observables to your eyes, and these figures are now recognizable. You gaze forward, only to see yourself and another. You are unsure of what this other is, but they feel significant, and fill your heart and mind with a sense of relief and compassion. Your body races, yet are they a lover, or a manifestation of all those you care for? You can only ponder as you witness your figure embrace this other with a full grasp, as they both stare off into a nonexistent sunset. You may not see it through the outline of forest, marble, and fog, yet you can feel its presence and warmth gleaming onto your body.

Moments such as these are only constrained by time, however, as you continue to march forward. The picturesque landscape of trees darted onto a flat meadow remains unchanged, however, the feelings in your heart twists. You feel anguish, despair, and fear. All in a sudden moment, a final tree in your gaze. Your figure is marching away on its own accord, and the alluring figure of before remains behind to watch.

Have you abandoned what you love? Unlike the rest of the journey, your eyes are inseparable from the other figure. However, the ground before you crumbles into a blank void beneath all that exists, and your memory becomes an untranslatable jumble of bizarre emotions. All that encompasses your wake is an ocean, reflecting the now-grey mist of fog. You can almost make out a few trees on the distant horizon, yet the ocean is all you can really see. It becomes clear that this path is meant to be walked and remembered in both heart and mind, yet your mind is clouded with this sense of uncertainty instead of the journey.

As your march carries you beyond such emotions, you see that all that remains is the marble path. You halt, only to look up at a blank space, and down at another blank space. Behind lies blank space, ahead lies blank space. The marble path is over, yet you see its end creep ahead ever so slightly. The dream may be over, yet what lies ahead is unknown.

A walk in the woods.

At the conclusion of this post, I hope you enjoyed this metaphorical walk through the woods. The overlying theme I was attempting to convey was life, memory, and experience, and not too subtly either. I am very much glad to be back after six weeks, and I look forward to be posting on a regular basis once again!

Analysis: The Other Two

Hi, I’m the last fake blogger before stadarooni’s fated return from his (forced?) exile away from society. Unlike the others, I have no cable and no Netflix, so I’m forced to do some actual reading with what I can find in my basement. After some heavy procrastination, I finally managed to force out an analysis on The Other Two by Edith Wharton.

Edith Wharton clearly portrays the reality of a woman living in the early 1900s. Through Alice Haskett, the wife of the protagonist Waythorne, the reader sees that she has to go to extreme lengths to live a comfortable life during a time where a woman’s social standing was determined by her husband’s. During that time, the only way for a woman to climb the social ladder was through marriage and divorce, and Alice took full advantage of the divorce law to get to the top of the social ladder. Fooling Waythorne, her present husband and the entire city of New York to believe that she had been brutalized by her first husband, she divorced and married Gus Varick, a gentleman from high society. As the story progresses the reader quickly realizes that Alice is not the obedient, innocent angel Waythorne fantasizes her to be, a fact that Waythorne soon comes to an astounding revelation of.

Circumstances lead Waythorne to meet each of Alice’s other two husbands in-depth, no matter how hard Waythorne tries to avoid it. Their meetings become inevitable as his reputation and current marriage stability come into play. Waythorne easily accepts Varick as one of Alice’s previous husband due to his social standing. But when he accidentally stumbles upon Mr.Haskett, Alice’s first husband, standing in his parlour with a made-up elastic tie, Waythorne realizes that the wife he married is a lie. Waythorne cannot accept the fact that Alice was once so far below him and that she had once been married to someone like Mr.Haskett and the thought almost disgusts him. And this one action shows the large gap between the rich and the poor and the amount of importance humans place on materialistic things.

Not only that, after meeting Mr. Haskett, Waythorne comes to another realization that it wasn’t Alice that had been brutalized in the marriage, it was Haskett. Alice had manipulated the court into giving her the divorce by her acting. After finally coming to this conclusion, Waythorne, surprisingly, accepts it. He accepts the fact that his wife views him as just another tool for her to give herself a comfortable life and he accepts her past relationships with the Haskett and Varick. His acceptance is what kept his marriage with Alice and is actually a realistic portrayal of most marriages in which both sides turn a blind eye towards the faults and mistakes of the other. The story ends with Alice, Waythorne and her previous two husbands drinking tea and sharing cigars in the dining room. (I actually thought this ending was really weird, not to mention impossible, because what can possibly be more awkward than sharing tea with your wife and her two ex-husbands? Moreover, isn’t it worse that this event occurs basically every week?)

There. I hope the black blobs up there you can call paragraphs actually make sense. I don’t recommend anyone to read this short story because it’s quite difficult to get into for recreational reading. But if anyone reads it just because I said you shouldn’t then I’m sorry for spoiling the ending. If you are waiting for anything dramatic to happen in the story, I’m sorry this is not what you’re looking for.  The most exciting thing was probably Waythorne’s slight loss of composure over the fact that Alice is not of the same social class as him.