zophar53's Blog

Posted on Jul 3rd 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Distant Worlds, Music from Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy, orchestra, symphony, events

Cleveland Play House's State Theater

Walking into the theater lobby, it was pretty obvious this was no ordinary stage performance. It wasn't quite the crowd one might see at a con, but it was close. Some were in cosplay, some were wearing tshirts proudly displaying their love of what we'd all come to see. Part of me felt a little overdressed, but thankfully, I wasn't the only one who'd dressed up for the event. I'd thought about trying my hand at some cosplay, but this was theater, and I'm of the mind that theater should typically be dressed up for. Besides, considering I don't have many instances in my day-to-day life when I have a reason to be all fancy-like, I tend to do so when an opportunity arises.

Started in 2007, Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy wasn't the first FF symphony performance to come together, but it's by far the longest running. And so, me and about 3400 other fans decended on the Cleveland Play House to watch conductor Arnie Roth take us on an orchestral journey through some of the most beloved music in all of gaming.



Continue reading My Second Musical Journey Through Distant Worlds



Posted on Jun 3rd 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Nostalgia


I've been thinking a lot about nostalgia lately. It kind of came to a head in the wake of watching the Ready Player One movie, but the kernels of my thoughts go back to the last handful of years. It's undeniable how fascinated people are with the concept. Every remake, re-release, prequel, sequel, and reference, we eat it up. Whether it's converting Tron to blu-ray with "never before seen" interviews, making a miniature NES that's effectively a Raspberry Pi with a few ROMs on it, or filling Ready Player One with every 80s pop culture reference Ernest Cline could think of, history has proven that people will buy into the phenomenon, but why is that? More importantly, what does nostalgia mean in a digital age where nearly every piece of media ever is available at our fingertips anytime we want it? Does the way we think of nostalgia need to change?



Continue reading What is Nostalgia in 2018?



Posted on May 4th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, Rampage, movies, discussion


Hello, fine movie-lovers! Today we continue our look at recent blockbuster game movies with the second of three for the year, Rampage. Starring Dwayne "Walking Slab of Meat" Johnson and....a bunch of other people, it tries to do what the Battleship movie did and make a film out of a game that really had very little plot to speak of. Does it succeed where Battleship spectacularly failed? Let's find out.



Continue reading RF Cinema: Rampage



Posted on Apr 4th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, Final Fantasy, movies, discussion


Final Fantasy VII was released over 20 years ago, but to many it's still heralded as one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Personally, I feel the sacred status some have heaped upon it is a bit overblown, but I won't deny having a big ole soft spot for it. For its time, it was an incredible experience and Square Enix (then Squaresoft) exploited its popularity with spin-off games and merchandise. And despite nearly bankrupting itself with the unmitigated disaster that was Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the Japanese developer saw fit to make another movie, this time based in the world of Midgar and featuring Cloud Strife, and everyone's favorite villian with an absurdly, impractically long sword. So how does Advent Children hold up? Let's find out together.


Continue reading RF Cinema: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children



Posted on Mar 30th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Game development, careers, programming


I'm willing to bet I'm not the only member of this community who, when they were a kid, wanted to make video games when they grew up. Kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up pretty much their entire lives by their parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, and teachers. Heck, when I got to high school there was a long survey we all had to take that spat out individual printouts of what careers would be good fits for each of us. I don't remember what mine said, but I certainly remember my apathy at reading a machine's assessment of what I should be doing with my life. I knew what I wanted to do, and no one could convince me otherwise. So what happened?



Continue reading What I Wanted to be When I Grew Up



Posted on Mar 4th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, The Thirteenth Floor, movies, video game movies, scifi, discussion


This month I wanted to take a look at one of the movies that got a lot of positive response the first time I bought it up. The Thirteenth Floor was pretty overshadowed when it first came out, seeing as it was released the same year as The Matrix. And it's a shame too, because while the latter movie became a huge scifi jauggernaut for its philosophizing about people living in a simulation (and rightly so), the former takes this concept to an arguably more realistic and grounded level. Looking at it now, in a post-Oculus and Amazon Alexa world, and without the threat of humanity being wiped out, it's much more of a detective story with a scifi twist.



Continue reading RF Cinema: The Thirteenth Floor



Posted on Feb 4th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, Indie Game The Movie, movies, video game movies, documentaries, discussion


Happy Super Bowl Sunday, and welcome to another edition of RF Cinema! This month we're looking at our first documentary, Indie Game: The Movie, from 2012. This wasn't the first documentary about video games, but it was one of the first that gained huge popularity by focusing on three of the most well-received independent games at the time, Braid, Super Meat Boy, and Fez. Just as indie games were starting to become more noticed by the mainstream media and their quality was starting to improve, it was an insightful look into what it takes to make a video game with a small team.

This is a movie that really doesn't have any spoilers. Most gamers are familiar with these games, their developers, and the success they achieved, so there's really nothing to spoil. But I figured I'd mention it all the same.



Continue reading RF Cinema: Indie Game: The Movie



Posted on Jan 5th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, How To Make A Monster, HTMAM, movies, video game movies, discussion


I hope everyone had a great holiday and new year's. To close out 2017, RF Cinema has been given the gift of its first user request, in the form of 2001's How To Make A Monster. To recap, this may be the "worst" movie on the list so far, but it was described to me as so bad, it's good. Does it meet that expectation? Does it stand with other great terrible horror B-movies? Read on, my friends, and find out.

As usual, I'll refrain from spoilers in the article, but the discussion thread here may include them from this movie and any others we've featured to this point.



Continue reading RF Cinema: How To Make A Monster



Posted on Dec 4th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, Mortal Kombat, movies, video game movies, discussion

Fun fact: the theme song to this movie actually became fairly popular in the dance club scene in the 90s

For our second entry of RF Cinema, I wanted to go with one based on an actual video game, so why not go with one of the best? Released in August of 1995, less than a year after Mortal Kombat 3 was unleashed in arcades, the Mortal Kombat movie hit theaters at the height of the series' popularity. Millions of young gamers, myself included, couldn't get enough of the dark, bloody fighting that Ed Boon and John Tobias had cooked up. I distinctly remember making friends at my local Aladdin's Castle and pouring over cheat sheets we'd made to remember each character's moves, fatalities, and combos. We even started selling them to other arcade-goers, promising free updates as more and more of the move combinations were discovered.

The movie couldn't have come at a better time. My friends and I met up at the arcade and all carpooled to the theater to watch the cartoonish violence brought to life. It was dumb, it was ridiculous, and it was amazing.



Continue reading RF Cinema: Mortal Kombat



Posted on Nov 8th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, Brainscan, movies, video game movies, discussion


As the first entry in the new RF Cinema video game movie discussion, Brainscan made for a great October watch and those who participated in the conversation really seemed to enjoy it. For those who missed it, join us as we recap the film itself and the comments it inspired, won't you?

And don't worry, I'll keep this article spoiler-free.



Continue reading RF Cinema: Brainscan



Posted on Oct 3rd 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Extra Life for Kids, Extra Life, Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals, Rainbow Babies and Childrean, charity

Play games and help kids. What could be better?

So, I had a topic for this post planned out a long time ago. I took the pics and was typing it up, but then it hit me. It's that time of year again. No, not Retro World Expo (well, it's that time of year too, and I'm looking forward to experiencing that for the first time). I'm talking about the annual Extra Life for Kids charity event. It kind of snuck up on me this year.

I decided that since my next piece for the site wasn't going to be due until the day of the event, and since I would need to make that post the first entry in our new community movie discussion, this was the last chance I had to write about this wonderful event and why it's so important to me. I know there are some of us in the RFGen community who participate already, and I've participated myself three times now, but I feel that I'm in a unique position this year to make the most out of the event and help more than I've been able to in the past. And so, much to my editor's chagrin, I'm sure, I decided I'd be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity to share my story.



Continue reading Why I Extra Life



Posted on Sep 29th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under RF Cinema, movies, video game movies, discussion


One of the first pieces I wrote for RFGen was a love letter of sorts to movies that have video games as a central theme. The article was pretty well received, so much so that a couple of you were in favor of expanding the idea into a full-fledged movie watching club. I liked the idea, but wanted to focus mainly on pure games writing at the time. Well, here we are a year later; I've established myself on the site and with this great community, and I'm ready to revisit the concept. So it's with no small amount of excitement that I'm announcing the debut of the RFGeneration community movie discussion group (RF Cinema for short).



Continue reading Introducing RF Cinema



Posted on Sep 5th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Review, books, Boss Fight Books, Final Fantasy V


There are few video game franchises more well-known or well-loved than Final Fantasy. There are also few franchises with a more interesting history. With numerous remakes, fan translations, and a once-bewildering numbering discrepancy, it's a dizzying series of games to keep track of for all but the most dedicated. The third and fifth entries, in particular, have always been the odd and underappreciated ducklings. However, for those who gave them a shot they've gotten high praise, and are some of the most intriguing in terms of their path to a Western release.

This makes it a perfect fit for the next entry in Boss Fight Books' series of video game reference tomes. As familiar as I am with FFV, I've never played through it myself, so I figured this was a good opportunity to learn a bit more about the game and what makes it so great, why it took Squaresoft seven years to bring it to American gamers, and the lengths to which its fans went through to make it playable here long before its official US release.



Continue reading Boss Fight Books: Final Fantasy V



Posted on Aug 4th 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Review, Puppeteer, PS3


It recently dawned on me that I've been writing for RFGen for just over a year now and had yet to write an actual review for the site. I'm not sure why that is; I've written plenty of reviews in my day, and not just for games. So, it's with that in mind that I decided to promote one of my favorite PS3-exclusive games from 2013 that no one played.

Every once in awhile a game comes along that, while under the radar, is so creative, unique, well-crafted, and downright fun that you want to shout from the heavens to anyone who will listen that they should play it. Puppeteer is one such game. Released in the wake of Grand Theft Auto V and Saints Row IV, it's really no surprise it didn't get much attention. Looking back at SCE Japan Studio's history though, you'll find a slew of titles that could be considered quirky and underappreciated, but revered by those who gave them a shot. I'm talking games like Ape Escape, Work Time Fun, LocoRoco, Patapon, Echochrome, and Gravity Rush.



Continue reading Puppeteer



Posted on Jul 3rd 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Collection, Missing games,


We've all had that moment. You're reviewing your collection, maybe cross-referencing your database with the games you just pulled from deep storage. Maybe you're taking inventory of games, you're packing up to store in the attic, or maybe you're looking for one game in particular you have an urge to play for the first time in years. All of a sudden, you discover that a game your collection list (and your own memory) says you own isn't where it's supposed to be. Perhaps it's the one you've been wanting to play, or maybe it's the one that should be sitting right next to the one you're looking for, but isn't. To any serious collector, this is a heart-stopping moment of confusion, panic, possibly even rage.



Continue reading Collector Shrink: A Tale of Love and Loss


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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