31-Day Game Challenge

  • Really enjoyed doing the 30-Day Music Challenge a few months back, so I did a mock-up of something that we could do starting this next Thursday with the new month.

    0_1600908330143_31 Challenge 2.png

    It's a cheap Photoshop job from the original image, so apologies about that. If anyone has suggestions for changes, let me know and we can put them into the challenge. I figure because this one isn't specifically talking about music, we could share favorite scenes in videos, personal stories, screenshots, pictures, etc about each of the categories on a given day.

    Really interested to gauge everyone's thoughts.

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle. ^_^

    Sounds as good of a time as the original (which was a very good time!) :)

  • This seems awesome. Count me in!

  • I tried to post this earlier but was flagged as spam so I'm trying it again.

    It's officially October, and that means we can start the 31-Day Game Challenge! I'll kick us off with our first entry.

    Day 1 - Title Screen
    Metal Gear Solid (PS1)

    Youtube Video

    Music and sound are both an integral part of establishing the mood of the game you're about to play when viewing a title screen. The title of Metal Gear Solid, starting at that Policenauts Konami logo sound, and slowly moving into the electronic and booming orchestral score of the title screen almost begs you to close the blinds and shut those lights off; to settle in, we're getting serious here. I used to just sit at this title screen listening to the song and staring at Snake's face for so long before pressing the start button that would make that bullet sound blast off and echo through the speakers like a title screen exclamation mark. The title screen perfectly exemplifies what a title screen should be to me, setting the mood, getting you stoked to press start, but wanting to just soak it all in all the same.

  • Day 1 - Title Screen
    Persona 5

    Youtube Video

    I don't know if this is actually my favorite title screen (I have 4 other games in mind), but it's definitely the most stylish one out of them. It's so well animated: the train window sillhouettes passing by, then quickly tilting the perspective, introducing the P5 logo, and showing the characters. It just seems so effortless, and in conjunction with the wonderful music, it sets up the personality of the game so well.

  • @bam541 This was honestly almost a pick for me. I always loved the subtlety of showing all the characters, but also the tiny details, like the sign in the back that Morgana is sitting on saying "Let us start the game". Just makes me giddy.

  • Day 1, Title Screen

    The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (Nintendo 64)

    Youtube Video

  • Day 2 - Favorite Opening Level

    The Last of Us

    Spoilers for the opening of Last of Us

    Naughty Dog knows how to do an opening. The intro to The Last of Us is a masterful showcase of design that slowly unfolds and gives you all the right amounts of visual information and control. It's a slow burn that lets you take your time as things unfold before you, catching fire by the end, but I think that certain pacing decisions definitely put it up there for me as well.

    Beyond the expert pacing this section has in slowly ramping up the tension and danger, there are also very key design decisions that help with its emotional effectiveness and our own personal stake as a player. As the level begins, we don't play as Joel, we play as Sarah, and when Joel is again introduced, he shoots an infected neighbor who breaks into the study. Joel has the gun, we don't. We understand that we're safe with him.

    After more visual storytelling throughout the journey to the city, we are in a car accident and everything goes dark. When we regain control, we're now playing as Joel, and Sarah's leg is broken. Based on how Joel was presented to us in the previous scene, we know our role now, as this character, is as a protector. So we flee the city as best we can, with infected screaming at our back, eventually finding an armed soldier. He's instructed to shoot us.

    In the scene that follows, Joel tries to brace against the bullet spray but Sarah is hit and dies in his arms. This scene sets the tone for how we then feel playing the character for the rest of the game. It's a twenty minute gut punch that wouldn't be nearly as emotionally effective if it weren't paced or directed as well as it is. Having the player begin as Sarah allows us to have emotional stake in both characters, and helps us understand how both may be feeling as she's dying in those final choking moments. As Joel, we feel especially hurt given we know it was our job to protect her. It's a burden we carry for the rest of the game.

  • Bioshock opening level is very special to me. The plane crashing into the sea, the mysterious lighthouse you see in the distance as a guiding beacon towards safety. Heading inside you bear witness to a huge golden statue of Andrew Ryan and a banner that reads "No gods or kings only men". You then take the stairs down to the bathysphere taking the lift and descending down into the underwater metropolis of Rapture and you see a video of Andrew Ryan and his iconic speech "Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? No says the man Washington it belongs to the poor. No says the man in the Vatican it belongs to god. No says the man in Moscow it belongs to everyone. I rejected those answers, instead I chose something different, I chose the impossible, I chose Rapture." Then the underwater city is unveiled in front of you teeming with life, mysterious string music and further insight by Andrew Ryan himself. Just before the scenic tour of Rapture concludes the lights go out, you hear a man whimpering and begging for his life-and a splicer rips the man to shreds-now you've gone from paradise to horror in one of gaming's most jaw-dropping openings of all time.

  • Day 2 - Opening Level
    Crash Bandicoot

    N. Sanity Beach really stuck with me for some reason. I really like that from the very start, we already see Crash looking like a total goof, looking at the camera and smiling after waking up at the shore. It's a very simple level, which makes it feel inviting in a way. It's also such a cozy level to start with. The vibe of the beach feels kinda jolly, and the music feels mischievous and also curious about the world we're currently in.

    Youtube Video

  • Gonna go with Journey. The dune surfing, the soundtrack, the realisation you're interacting with another human. It just works! And it's representative of the whole game and works well as a subtle tutorial.

  • Day 3 - 8-Bit Game


    I can't think of many better 8-bit NES games to talk about in October than the one and only Castlevania. While Konami may have abandoned the legacy of much of their properties, back in the day when they could do no wrong, the released one of the classic Nintendo games that was a celebration of everything classic and Gothic horror.


    From Frankenstein to Madusa and even Death, no monsters will stand in your way to taking down the biggest bad of them all, Count Dracula. While the jumping today is a little bit clunky, get past that and there are so many different weapons and options you can do to approach each level. It will challenge you to your core but make you love every second of it.

    Oh, and the soundtrack is just sublime.

    Youtube Video

  • Here's a boring answer, Tetris. Have no idea how many hours I spent with it on the Gameboy. Getting really good and seeing the game in real life, trying to fit stuff you see together. Buildings, cars, books. 😁 Dreaming of Tetris. Hearing the game when you aren't playing. All normal stuff.

    Such a simple concept, so perfect.

  • @happygaming I haven't played too many NES games, but Castlevania is definitely my favorite one. I replayed it on the PS4 collection, and it still holds up. The music especially is wonderful, I don't mind dying and restarting over and over again because of it.

  • Day 3 - 8-bit Game
    Ice Climber

    When I was around 8 years old, I used to have a bootleg Chinese consoles with a bunch of random NES games on it, and while I would get bored easily on most of them, I just kept coming back for this one. I really, really enjoyed the act of punching holes on the ceiling to get to the higher floors. There's just something about the sound effect and the animation of the ice climber that makes it so fun for me. The console lasted for a couple months before it broke, and I got a GBA as a replacement sometime after that... which also came with a bootleg cartridge that has random NES games, including this one.


  • Day 2, opening level

    Mario Kart 8 (Wii U, 2014) - Mario Kart Stadium

    Youtube Video

    This isn't in my top 50 games of all time. But opening levels are typically not very flashy. They tend to be a scant taster of things to come. MKS, on the other hand, is one of the flashier tracks in the game. Also very fun to time trial. Perhaps the best song in the game too.

  • Day 3: 8-bit game

    The Legend of Zelda (NES, 1986)

    Youtube Video

    I'm not a fan of 8 and 16 bit games, or even most early 3D games. I'd prefer to put a Game Boy game in this spot, but I have to save that for later. So Zelda it is, for having a good amount of depth, a solid art style, and music as good as any game in the series.

  • @oscillator
    I thought it was Reduce, Reuse, Revenge

  • I'm making the executive distinction that "Console Exclusive Series" is tied more to brand and not console. I was trying to think of series that started and ended on one console, having no sequels on subsequent platforms, and that was just really hard. They do exist, though. So if you can't find one, just focus on the brand exclusivity and not the console itself. With that out of the way:

    Day 4 - Console Exclusive Series

    Tomba (PS1)

    A lot of people haven't ever heard of Tomba, but this is a series of two games that began their life and died on the PlayStation 1. It was made by an ex-Capcom employee, Takuro Fujiwara, who directed a lot of NES titles including Ghosts and Goblins, Bionic Commando, and the inspiration for Resident Evil, Sweet Home. He also helped come up with the idea for the original Resident Evil. After he left the company, he started studio WhooPee Camp, and made a game about a little pink haired feral boy named Tomba who goes around levels and eats pigs and solving quests.

    Both the games are largely nonlinear and incorporate elements of adventure games with certain characters needing items for individual stories, who then give you items which will help you progress in the game, Metroid style. You can pounce on dudes and throw them, but also have a ball and chain that you can use as a weapon as well. It's a really interesting set of games!

    I never got to finish them when I was younger, which is a shame because if you want to pick them up now, they've definitely gone up in price for the retro-game enthusiasts.

    But if you want a unique and jolly game that is recognizably its own thing despite what it borrows from, definitely look into this one!

    Youtube Video

    Youtube Video

  • Day 4 - Console Exclusive Series
    Gravity Rush

    Despite only having two entries (and it might be the only two ever released in the near future, sadly), I am already so engrossed to the world of this series. It's gravity focused gameplay is not for everyone, but as someone who really enjoys flying in games, I think it's a really unique take on that concept. The first game is a solid debut that introduced this wonderful world pretty well, and it showed me great potential. The second game makes good use for that, and pretty much improved on all fronts, with more interesting characters, substantial worldbuilding, smoother gameplay with more varied styles, emotionally charged soundtrack, and a climactic final act that left me speechless. Gravity Rush 2 is definitively one of my favorite games ever, and even in it's weaker parts, it still has a lot of heart to show. A third game is like the highest dream in video games now for me, considering GR2's disappointing sales and the subsequent early support shut down for it.

    Also, I really like that the two games have two different cities that feels completely different from one another. Hekseville is a surreal place that feels kinda weird and abstract in it's design and vibes...
    alt text

    ...while Jirga Para Lhao is this almost tropical place that feels more grounded in the harsh realities of that world, in more ways than one.
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    Here's one of my favorite tracks from the series.
    Youtube Video