Top 100 SNES Review: #39 – Shadowrun (1993)

Nope.

Games that require guides to complete them in a fun manner aren’t games. 

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Jake’s future dystopia which quickly becomes your present one.

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #39/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star

Shadowrun was doing everything so right.

When a puzzle arose, different hypotheses could be formed and tested with the appropriate interplay of challenge, confusion, and reward. You never were at a complete loss (having no clue where to start) using the last resort plug-and-chug method (recounting every step, taking to every NPC, trying every command). The story pointed you in the right direction — it was then up to you to piece it together.

You had to do some repetitive grinding for levels and endure moments of uncertainty, but a framework held it together.

Until this wacka-doodle of a game spirals out of control.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #50 – Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals

Mini-Game > Actual Game

The Ancient Cave commandeered by Thanksgiving holiday.

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A Bob Ross inspired landscape with Phthalo Blue and Titanium White mountains.

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #50/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

The original Lufia was a garbage heap, and Lufia II doesn’t try to fix the original problems, particularly the conglomeration of fetch quests masquerading as a main storyline. It is better though!

Each dungeon now has a puzzle element, very reminiscent of a Legend of Zelda, where you have to push, pull, and place things in the environment to open up passages to bosses. So while you might not have much emotional drive to slug your way through fetch quest #71 due to lack of character development, you will get the personal satisfaction of solving some very neat puzzles.

Then of course, the ANCIENT CAVE.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #95 – Pulp Fiction (1994)

Still Witty.

Though it doesn’t hold the same glamour as it did to me as a teen. 

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Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta as Jules and Vincent.

American Film Institutes Ranking: #95/100
Awards: Nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning one for Best Original Screenplay
My Rating:cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

When I was around sixteen, a friend of mind had an exclusive showing of Pulp Fiction at the Byrd Theater in Richmond, VA, a beautifully renovated theater with chandelier and organ for pre-show performances. Pulp Fiction fit my adolescent attitude just fine — irreverent, violent, quirky, witty.

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Byrd Theater – Richmond, VA. 

Rewatching, I could see why I liked it so much; the conversation and relationships between the characters are reminiscent of me hanging with high school friends, shooting the breeze while driving around. The ending message still resonated, especially coming from the bad-ass Jules.

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Top 100 Album Review: #52 – Greatest Hits, Al Green (1975)

A Greatest Hits Album a Top 100?

The albums really good, but it still feels like cheating.

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #52/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

I’m not sure how I feel about including a greatest hits compilation as one of the best albums of all time. Here, we have a collection of ten songs over a five year period which contains Green’s best material. Of course it’s phenomenal, but allowing the selective piece-mealing of someone’s entire career into one work doesn’t seem comparable to other albums that were released as a one-time entity.

Regardless, it’s still damn good and with so many awful iterations of greatest hits CDs, it’s refreshing to listen to one that’s produced so well that it feels like a regular album.

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Top 100 Movie Review: #66 – Network (1976)

Prescient to Our Current Political Life.

Human nature never changes — Network knew it.

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Howard Beale (Peter Finch), the despondent news anchor, now prophet of the airways.

American Film Institute Ranking: #66/100
Academy Awards: Nominated for six winning four: Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Original Screenplay.
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

“Network” knew there was a weakness in the system and ourselves. All it was going to take was one seemingly clairvoyant person to serendipitously realize that people don’t live on a diet of rational, purposeful solutions. Rather it is channeling people’s frustrations and anger, being a conduit for people’s rage, that propels you to power.

Howard Beale did not purposefully reinvent his show to do the latter; he mentally snapped at the appropriate time on air. What happened next was a lack of duty by those that had the power to stop it — the television executives were more than happy to rake in the ratings boom that he brought.

This bug in the system reveals much about ourselves and should make our selections of politicians no surprise.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #2 – Super Metroid (1994)

Enter The Flow

An immediately immersive game. 

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Sydlexia’s Ranking: #2/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

Gahh. I’ve been ill all week.

Since I was quarantined in my bedroom on the third floor, I decided that I needed to simulate some kind of social interaction. I ended up playing Super Metroid where you are a sole explorer on an isolated planet with no intelligent life forms. I did end up making friends with a larva, though.

While it might have been an overdosage of Dollar General Store Brand Effervescent Cold Relief, the draw into planet Zebes core was immediate — all I wanted to do was explore, be rewarded, and explore more. You could say that the gameplay was almost as contagious as my flu 😷.

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Top 100 SNES Review: #3 – Final Fantasy 3 (1994)

I’m Not Crying 😭

The characters in FF3 are superb — I feel like I’m saying goodbye to dear friends. 

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This mountain backdrop was very convincing in the early 90s y’all.  

Sydlexia’s Ranking: #3/100
My Rating:cropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-starcropped-smooth-star

Man, has this weekend been junk. I took a practice board exam to only be border line pass/fail again, had to create a research presentation on clinical education that I’ve put off for a month, and had to write a PICO (Patient Intervention Comparison Outcome) on the effects of cardio rehab on pulmonary function. At least I got to save the world while bawling my eyes to 16-bit characters; that really brought me back down to earth.

Something really has been lost in the sandbox era of RPGs — with open worlds and forge-your-own-path plots, no one needs to tell a good story anymore. The allure of Elder Scrolls and Fallout isn’t the characters, it’s that you can do whatever you want.

FF3/6’s back end is non-linear, but infuses each moment with meaning and significance through finding each of its 14 characters. The subtle discoveries and deeper understanding of the characters you play burgeon them from simple pixels into case studies of human nature.

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