About LVLS/Me

LVLS is the phoenix of LVLs., the former news/reviews/features site I used to run. Now focusing on art, music and opinion pieces on video games and occasionally other topics! For critical analysis, anthropology, history, my research and other academic discussions on games, head on over at P4. I need some sort of outlet to write about less academic stuff, and LVLS lets me just talk about stuff I love and stupid shit. 🙂

While I’ve got your attention: I was cited in I Am Error by Nathan Altice for my feature series Cultural Anxiety, once hosted here. Since his citation leads to LVLs., I wanted to put up a notice here that the series is now located on P4 under the Culture Clash! banner. I read the book and it’s spectacular; definitely worth checking out. And I appreciate the nod, Nathan!

For copyright’s sake: All of the games, books, anime, music, characters and artwork featured on this site are trademarks of their respective owners. I am not attempting to infringe or claim any legal rights over any part of the games presented here themselves. These are merely being used as a form of sharing my fandom with others. The words, however, are mine (outside of outside sources, which will be properly captioned and referenced).

Images come courtesy of many sources, and I have been horrible at citing them, and I apologize for that. I have made a specific post compiling my major sources, and will attempt to keep it up with future updates.

And now, my personal bio:

Age – 34
Hobbies – gaming, drawing, photography, creative and critical writing, reading, theater, collecting old books and video game stuff, fencing (the sword variety), analyzing games anthropologically, trying new things

Experiencing the Colecovision back when I was 2 or 3.

Favorite Games: Here’s a link to the hub.

Favorite Game Characters – I’m going to be writing features on my favorite characters in time, but for now I’ll put up a small list of the characters I really like:
Jade (Beyond Good & Evil)
Vyse (Skies of Arcadia)
Samus Aran (Metroid)
Proto Man (Mega Man)
Heather Mason (Silent Hill 3)
Kyle Hyde (Hotel Dusk: Room 215)
Lyn (Fire Emblem)
Nolan Stross (Dead Space 2)
Chie Satonaka (Persona 4)
Yangus (Dragon Quest VIII)
Midna (Legend of Zelda)
Soma Cruz (Castlevania)
Mary Read (Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag)
Leon S. Kennedy (Resident Evil)
Lucina (Fire Emblem: Awakening/Smash Bros.)
Ganondorf (Legend of Zelda)
Franziska von Karma (Ace Attorney)
Iori Yagami (King of Fighters)
Ayla (Chrono Trigger)
Strider Hiryu (Strider/Marvel Vs. Capcom)

Favorite Developers/PublishersWrote two separate articles on this; the italicized subheader has links for both.

Favorite Genre – I’ve got a pretty diverse set of tastes when it comes to games. I primarily like RPGs (of Western and Japanese origin), platformers, third-person action games, and 2D fighters the most. I am not too thrilled by the majority of racing, puzzle, and first-person shooter titles out there, but there are a few exceptions.

Favorite Soundtracks – This is difficult to pin down, as there are many soundtracks that have high points. The best thing I can think of to tackle this topic properly is to ask, “what soundtracks hit as few low points as possible?” These are the twenty five (in order) I think accomplish that end. I’ve also indicated the standout track and the composers:

  • Chrono Trigger (Yasunori Mitsuda, Nabuo Uematsu) – Memories of Green
  • Beyond Good & Evil (Christophe Héral) – Home Sweet Home
  • Okami (Masami Ueda, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Hiroyuki Hamada, Rei Kondoh, Akari Groves) – Shinshu Plains I & II
  • Skies of Arcadia (Yutaka Minobe, Takayuki Maeda) – Lower Valua
  • Batman (Naoki Kodaka, Nobuyuki Hara) – Level 1
  • Dragon Quest VIII (Koichi Sugiyama) – Strange World ~ Marching Through the Fields
  • Splatoon (Toru Minegishi, Shiho Fujii) – Maritime Melody
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (Shoji Meguro) – Heartbreak, Heartbeat
  • Secret of Mana (Hiroki Kikuta) – Into the Thick of It
  • Mega Man 3 (Yasuaki “BUNBUN” Fujita, Hajime Fujita) – Protoman’s Whistle Concert
  • Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Manaka Kataoka, Yasuaki Iwata) – Riding (Night)
  • Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (Yuhki Mori, Satoshi Okubo) – The Last Sleep
  • Castlevania (Kinuyo Yamashita, Satoe Terashima) – Wicked Child (Level 3)
  • Contra (NES) (Hidenori Maezawa, Kiyohiro Sada, KONAMI KuKeiHa Club) – Level 3 (Waterfall)
  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (way too many to list) – Full Steam Ahead
  • Journey to Silius (Naoki Kodaka) – Stage 3
  • Age of Mythology (Steven Rippy, Kevin McMullen) – chocolate outline
  • Heroes of Might & Magic IV (Paul Romero, Rob King, Steve Baca, Paul James) – Rough Lands Theme
  • Super Mario 64 (Koji Kondo) – Dire Dire Docks (Water Theme)
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Koji Kondo) – Title Theme
  • Metroid (Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka) – Brinstar
  • Xenoblade Chronicles (ACE+, Yoko Shinomura, Yasunori Mitsuda, Manami Kiyota, Tsutomu Narita, Tetsuya Takahashi, Lisa Gomamoto, Sarah Lim) – Gaur Plains
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (Michiru Yamane, Yuzo Koshiro) – Jail of Jewels
  • Freedom Planet (Leila Wilson, Stephen DiDuro, Shane Ellis) – Dragon Valley 1
  • Sonic CD (USA) (Spencer Nilsen, David Young, Mark Crew, Pastiche) – Sonic Boom (opening)

Favorite Songs from Games – I’ve put up a monster list here.

Favorite Composers – If I had to select only ten composers, I’d have to say…Koji Kondo (Super Mario/Legend of Zelda), Kinuyo Yamashita (Castlevania/Power Blade), Naoki Kodaka (Blaster Master/Batman [NES]), Christophe Héral (Beyond Good & Evil/Rayman Origins and Legends), Michiru Yamane (Castlevania), Stephen Rippy (Age of Mythology/Age of Empires), Shoji Mejiro (Persona), Michiko Narube (Wild ARMs, Super Smash Bros.), Nobuo Uematsu (The Last Story/Final Fantasy), Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill)

Favorite Game Artists – Kimihiko Fujisaka, Ayami Kojima, Yasushi Suzuki, Shigenori Soejima, Akira Toriyama, Tatsuya Yoshikawa, Kinu Nishimura, Shinriko, CRMK, Itsuki Hoshi

Favorite Game Franchises – I made a feature!

My Video Games, VG Books and VG Toy Collection

Favorite Books, Film/TV, and Music:
invisibleman Classics –
Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison), Brave New World (Aldous Huxley), Watership Down (Richard Adams), the essays of Mark Twain, The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck), Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, The Revolt of the Angels and Penguin Island (Anatole France), Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky), We (Yevgeny Zamyatin), Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury), Mary Barton (Elizabeth Gaskell), Hard Times (Charles Dickens), Flatland (Edwin Abbott)

Modern Fiction – The Flavia de Luce mystery series (Alan Bradley), His Dark Materials series (Philip Pullman), Old Man’s War and Zoe’s Tale (John Scalzi), White Noise (Don DeLillo), Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World (Keiichi Sigsawa), Stardust and The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)

liesNon-Fiction – Lies My Teacher Told Me/Lies Across America/Teaching What Really Happened/Sundown Towns (James W. Loewen), Twain’s Feast (Andrew Beahrs), The Mother Tongue/At Home/Made in America (Bill Bryson), Bonk/Packing to Mars/Stiff/Gulp (Mary Roach), Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat (various), Society of the Spectacle (Guy Debord), I Am Error (Nathan Altice), Legends of Localization (Clyde Mandelin), Good Nintentions (Jeremy Parish)

Drama – Cyrano de Bergerac (Edmond Rostand), Macbeth/Hamlet/Othello/Merchant of Venice (William Shakespeare), Lysistrata (Aristophanes), Man and Superman (George Bernard Shaw)

Poetry – Leaves of Grass (Walt Whitman), Spoon River Anthology (Edgar Lee Masters), the poetry of Robert Frost, the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, the sonnets and lyrics of Edna St. Vincent Millay, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (Oscar Wilde), Beowulf, the poetry of Ruth Wills

Manga/Graphic Novels – Rurouni Kenshin (Nobuhiro Watsuki), Qwan (Aki Shimizu), Battle Angel Alita (Yukito Koshiro), Apocalypse Meow (aka Cat-Shit One, Motofumi Kobayashi), Nausicaä Of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki), Thieves and Kings (Mark Oakley), Saga (Brian K. Vaughn/Fiona Staples), Lynd Ward’s six graphic novels

Favorite Authors – Ralph Ellison, William Shakespeare, Anatole France, James W. Loewen, Bill Bryson, Mary Roach

Favorite Movies – Juno, Ratatouille, The Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hamlet (Branagh’s), The Avengers, The Dark Knight, This is Spinal Tap, Macbeth (Welles), Robin Hood (Disney), The Muppet Movie, Contact, Song of the Sea, Zootopia, Captain America: Civil War, Iron Man, Star Wars (original trilogy and Force Awakens), Wonder Woman, Logan

Favorite TV Shows/Youtube Vids – Whose Line is it Anyway? (the US seasons), Mythbusters, Cosmos (both Sagan and Tyson), Game Grumps (well, when they don’t try too hard to be edgy anyway ;P ), Full Frontal, Last Week Tonight, Monster Factory, GirlGamerGab, Taiyou Inc., Late Night with Seth Meyers, Same Name Different Game, Fresh Plays, Kim Justice, Retronauts/Jeremy Parish, John Wolfe, Chrontendo, KatFTWynn

Favorite Anime – Princess Mononoke, Rurouni Kenshin (Wandering Samurai/Kyoto Arcs), Cowboy Bebop, FLCL, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Ponyo, Summer Wars, Trigun, Spirited Away, Persona 4: The Animation, Your Name

Favorite Artists – Fritz Eichenberg, Agnes Miller Parker, Frank C. Pape, Lynd Ward, Pierre Brissaud, Arthur Szyk, Zhenya Gay, Toshihiro Kawamoto, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Hayao Miyazaki, Sylvain Sauvage

25 Favorite Songs (one per artist or band, in no real order):

  1. In Repair (live), Our Lady Peace
  2. Like a Love Song (Back to Back), The Pillows
  3. February Stars, Foo Fighters
  4. Speak to Me Bones, Land of Talk
  5. The End is Beautiful, Jimmy Eat World
  6. Braille, Regina Spektor
  7. Kill v. Maim, Grimes
  8. Only in Dreams, Weezer
  9. Lady Bones, Magneta Lane
  10. Friendly Fires, Silversun Pickups
  11. Willing to Fight, Ani DiFranco
  12. The Rainbow Connection, Kermit the Frog
  13. Duvet, Boa
  14. Radio Silence (Little Round Mirrors ver.), Harvey Danger
  15. Whispers, Passenger
  16. Brave New World, Richard Ashcroft
  17. Electric Twist, A Fine Frenzy
  18. Downtown, Tegan and Sara
  19. I Tried (So Hard), The Matches
  20. Try Honesty, Billy Talent
  21. Canned Heat, Jamiroquai
  22. One More Time, Daft Punk
  23. The Heart of the Sea, Flogging Molly
  24. Hazing, Throwing Muses
  25. Dashboard, Modest Mouse

25 Favorite Albums (in no real order):

  1. Clumsy, Our Lady Peace
  2. Spiritual Machines, Our Lady Peace
  3. Billy Talent II, Billy Talent
  4. Dead Silence, Billy Talent
  5. Decomposer, The Matches
  6. Cloak and Cipher, Land of Talk
  7. We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, Modest Mouse
  8. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Florence + The Machine
  9. Soviet Kitsch, Regina Spektor
  10. Swoon, Silversun Pickups
  11. Better Nature, Silversun Pickups
  12. Automatic for the People, R.E.M.
  13. Disciplined Breakdown, Collective Soul
  14. Weezer (Blue Album), Weezer
  15. Make Yourself, Incubus
  16. Gambling with God, Magneta Lane
  17. White Blood Cells, The White Stripes
  18. Art Angels, Grimes
  19. Clarity, Jimmy Eat World
  20. The Joshua Tree, U2
  21. The Colour and the Shape, Foo Fighters
  22. Little Busters, The Pillows
  23. Beneath the Skin, Of Monsters and Men
  24. Speed of Darkness, Flogging Molly
  25. Living in Clip, Ani DiFranco

Favorite Bands/Performers – Our Lady Peace, The Matches, Magneta Lane, Silversun Pickups, The Pillows, Tegan and Sara, Harvey Danger, Billy Talent, Jimmy Eat World, Flogging Molly, Ani DiFranco, Land of Talk, Of Monsters and Men, Regina Spektor, R.E.M., Foo Fighters