The Games of May

This past month the games I’ve played have moved from larger scale games that take a long time to complete to shorter more compact games. Some games on last months list I haven’t played at all this month, while others I’ve finished and moved on. I’ll mention some of the games from that list occasionally so if you want to look at that list I’ll put a link here, anyhow on to this month’s list.

PC:

1. Bastion (Everyone 10+) – I remember hearing nothing but good things about this game when it was released. Upon playing it I realize why. The game was just enjoyable all the way through. You play as “The Kid” who wakes up in the middle of the Calamity. The Calamity is basically the end of the your country. Something happened that wiped out a good portion of the land and reduced most of the population to cinder statues that crumble once you touch them.

Waking up in the middle of this your only course of action is to try to go the Bastion, which was to be a safe haven from an event like this. Only one other man has made it there though. Together by his knowledge and your power you seek to complete the Bastion and find the truth about the Calamity and attempt to survive.

This was not a long game. Depending on how much you do on the side it could easily be done in 6-8 hours. While it makes you want more to a certain degree, the length also makes you feel like everything you did was important. Every twist and revelation came at good pace and just made me feel satisfied. Throw in a beautiful art style, good soundtrack, variety of weapons, multiple endings (if that’s your cup of tea) and enjoyable narration and you have a whole package that was well put together. Definitely a game a recommend giving a try.

 2. Cave Story + (Everyone 10+) – If an indie game could go mainstream, Cave Story is probably the poster child for such an event. It started out a free to play game, but this version updates the graphics and music a little for a little money in return. I’d say that’s a good deal. The game has a retro feel and channels Metroid or recent 2D Castlevania games.

In terms of story you start off by waking up in a cave and you have no idea where you are or how you got there. Upon some exploration you find a town of Mimigas, which are peaceful anthropomorphic rabbits. You find out that they are being kidnapped by a man known as The Doctor. This background sets the stage for a journey to find out who you are, where you are, and try to protect the innocent Mimigas from The Doctor and his followers.

Much like Bastion, Cave Story isn’t a very long game to just finish. However, there are multiple endings with the best ending being very difficult to complete. I tried to get that ending, but just wasn’t able to get past the final place so I’ve given up for now since I was able to earn some of the other endings. I enjoyed playing the game, but it can get difficult and frustrating at times. If you’re a fan of the Metroid or Castlevania style of play then I would recommend this game, even if you aren’t familiar with those games if you enjoy 2D games and don’t mind a little difficulty I’d give Cave Story a try.

  • This section is to update on the PC games from last list. Skyrim was the only story based game and I was finally able to finish it. Sadly, the ending was a bit underwhelming. As I said last month though, it is a game for wanting to be involved in a massive world to explore rather than a tight story. By the time I was done with it all I was ready to move on. I’ve continued to play and enjoy Super Monday Night Combat, but haven’t played any more of Realm of the Mad God.

PS3:

1. Alice: Madness Returns (Mature) – This is the sequel to American McGee’s Alice that I mentioned last month. I’m not sure how far I am into it, probably round halfway or so at best guess, and I’m really enjoying this one much more than the previous one. The story is still more or less the same. Alice’s mental condition is better, but she still holds guilt and despair over the fire the claimed her family’s life. She is not completely better and still a bit crazy around the edges I guess one could say. Despite having a similar story angle as the first in the series, this one seems to flesh things out a little more. This story really seems to focus in on Alice’s guilt over the fire as the main cause of her insanity. A guilt that may or may not be deserved. This insanity is again wreaking havoc in Alice’s Wonderland and only she can put an end to it.

Overall I would say that this game is better in pretty much every way than its predecessor. The story actually feels like it is going somewhere, which it could lead to disappointment in the end, but just the fact that you feel like you’re going somewhere is a step above the first. The atmosphere is really breathtaking in some places. When first entering into Wonderland, it is bright and beautiful and just really wonderful looking. The controls and weapons are much better than the first game both in terms of ease of use, but also in the implementation of the weapons in the world. For example you get a weapon called a Hobby Horse that acts like a hammer and can knock down cracked walls. This adds both a sense of exploration, but also just that the weapons have some sort of purpose beyond just figuring out which one kills the enemies the fastest.

Personally if you wanted to get a twisted version of Alice in Wonderland to go look at, I’d recommend this one over the original game. It is fun, beautiful (even though sometimes it is in a bit of a dark twisted kind of way), and just a lot smoother than the original. It may be too smooth to where it isn’t all that difficult of a game, but for me a game doesn’t have to be difficult to be enjoyable.

 2. Awesomenauts (Teen) – Like Super Monday Night Combat from last month, Awesomenauts is a mutliplayer online battle arena game. So what sets Awesomenauts apart from the others. Well there are two major things I will point out. First, it is a 2D arena based game. Most of the other battle arena type games I’ve played are either top down/isometric view or third person view. This is the first I’ve played a 2D imagining of that game type.

Second, it is also the only type of this game to be on the consoles that I know of. This may not matter to the people who have PCs and can play games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, or Super Monday Night Combat but for those who only have consoles getting a game like this is pretty exciting.

Of course this is only exciting if Awesomenauts is fun and enjoyable. I’m happy to report that it is a lot of fun. Matches don’t seem as long as some of the other MOBA type games, but they’re enjoyable to play. It is also fairly easy to learn and get the hang of, but as with all of these games it may be hard to learn what the best combo of perks and teammates are the best. In terms of negatives it does seem like some heroes are more powerful than others (although this could just be the fact that I’m not very good at some of the heroes) and there are also not very many heroes to pick from unlike other MOBA games, but it is a lot of fun to play and I’ve enjoyed the game quite a little bit. I can’t say too much more about it than this, it is a fun version of MOBA and taking it to the 2D really works well. It could use some tweaking and more characters, but I’ll probably be continuing to play it for a while especially since the game is going to be supported with patches and extra characters in the future. This is only available online for the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 though as no disc version of the game is available.

3. Back to the Future (Teen) – If you’re aware of the culture of the 80s then you are most likely aware of the Back to the Future movies. This game doesn’t retread the movies, but instead is a new adventure set after Back to the Future III. From here it needs to be noted that this game comes in two ways. The game originally started as an episodic game broken into five downloadable parts. Each part has a standalone objective, but each part is connected to the next. After all the parts were released it was also released on a disc.

I’ve only done the first two episodes of the game, so I’m not sure where it winds up going. What gets the adventure rolling is that one day the Delorean appears near Doc Brown’s house while Marty is there. In the Delorean is Doc’s dog Einstein and a tape recording of Doc. Marty eventually figures out that Doc is in the 1930s and is in jail, but even worse he is in danger of being killed. So Marty and Einstein go back in time to find out how they can stop Doc from being killed and get him out of jail. While this is successful after the first episode the ways in which Marty helped Doc escape leads to other changes in the timeline which sets up for the next adventure.

The game is basically adapted from the point and click adventure games of the past. Since this game does not use a mouse it is difficult to call them this, but it is the same basic formula. Talk to people, find items to use on the world, and do the actions that solve the problems you find. They’re enjoyable but sometimes it is hard to know exactly what you need to do next. Sometimes the solutions are obvious, but others take some thought. The graphics are also not groundbreaking for these games, but honestly they’re not that bad either. Overall, if you’re a fan of Back to the Future these games offer you some time travel fun with Marty and the Doc.

  • Last month also saw me playing, but not being finished with, Transformers:War for Cybertron, Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2, and Rayman Origins. I was able to finish up everything I wanted to do for Transformers since I got the top level in multiplayer and decided that was a good time to stop. I’ve played Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 a little bit the past month and I’m still picking at it every once in awhile. I’ve played Rayman Origins with my wife a little the past month as well, but since we been busy with other things while we’re both home lately we haven’t gotten too much farther in it. Also I really didn’t play my PSP at all during the month of May, so there are really no updates for it at all.

So anyways these were the game of May. Overall it was a pretty good month for new game experiences for me. I got finished with some of the games that were really dragging and the new games I tried this month were really enjoyable.

The April Lists: Video Games

In many ways this was my toughest list to prepare. What do I include in this list? The game I played once for 5 minutes? Those games probably aren’t going to be on here, I’ll probably cover it when I give it more time, unless I disliked the experience so much I won’t revisit it. Do I include social network games? I think that for at least this time I’ll pass on doing that. How do I sort through the list of games? By whether it includes a story? Or by genre? I decided that I’d go with by the system/platform that it is on. Oh and just for information sake, I’ll include the rating of the games so that people know what age group the game aims for.

PC

1. Skyrim – (Mature) Skyrim, or if you want the full title, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an action role-playing game. It takes place in the province of Skyrim. You play a man or woman during a time when dragons are returning to the world. After a fight with one of these dragons you find out that you are a chosen warrior known as a Dragonborn, who can gain powers from killing dragons and learning the language of the dragons.

That may sound like a pretty interesting premise, and it is, but sadly there doesn’t seem to be much more depth to the story than that. It is a pretty straight forward plot of you being the chosen one to defeat some sort of ancient and powerful evil. However, story is not necessarily where this game shines. The reason that the story does not shine too much, is due to the focus on exploration and creation of a adventurer that fits your play style or desire. This of course kills any kind of pacing and tight narrative, but allows for more freedom. It allows for a good deal of variety just from the outset, but when you add mods for the PC version then it just starts getting ludicrous. It is probably too easy to get lost in all of the nooks and crannies in the game. Overall, just know what you’re getting into. If you’re into tightly crafted stories look elsewhere, but if you enjoy exploring a different world and its denizens well this is for you.

2. Super Monday Night Combat – (Not Rated) This is a game I just recently started playing. I played it for the first time when I went to PAX East with my brother. It is released now and even better it is free to play.

So what kind of game is it? It is type of game that has gained popularity in recent years. It is a MOBA game, which stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. The basic idea behind all of these type of games is that you are placed on one of two teams with the goal of destroying the other teams base by destroying a final objective. In this game the final objective is the Moneyball. The setting of this game is more futuristic than other MOBA games out there, with guns and robots being part of the cast. The whole game acts as though it was a futuristic sportscast including commentary from sportscasters.

I’ve had fun with this game the few games I’ve played with it, but it also has the same weakness that all MOBA style games have. It takes a lot of time and commitment to get good at these games. Learning how to play the various characters takes time, and it takes time to learn how to combat other characters. This can lead to frustration both for new players and longtime players, who often take it out on new players in less than constructive means.

3. Realm of the Mad God – (Not Rated) This is another free to play game that I’ve only played once or twice. This game is hard to describe. It is a retro, online RPG, top down shooter. If it sounds kind of crazy it is. Perhaps the best way to really see what it is like is to follow the link and look at the video for it. All I can really say is that it is fun, tough (when you die you have to start a new character), and doesn’t really look the greatest (but it’s not supposed to).

I enjoyed my time with it, but I think I really only scratched the surface with this game. I may go back to it at some point. It was definitely an interesting experience, and certainly not one for everyone.

PS3

1. Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 – (Teen) I’ll be honest with this one, this game is pretty much just mindless fun. This is really the combination of a video game series, Dynasty Warriors, and the various anime series called, Gundam. So you could argue that it has a story, but all it really does is allow you to play certain scenarios from the animes, which if you’re like me and haven’t seen all of them then you can get the basic idea, but often feel like you’re missing something.

There are various missions that you play in the game, all of which pretty much boil down to go and wreck as many robotic battle suits as possible. It’s usually pretty easy and doesn’t require much though. Which is nice for when you just want to relax and do something that doesn’t require a whole awful lot of brain power. It can get tough when you set it on hard difficulty, but it is really up to you on that. Another positive is that there is a lot of content in this game. Lots of missions, suits, and characters to play as.

The down side of the game is that it is for those who have an interest in at least one of these two worlds. If you don’t like Dynasty Warriors gameplay or have any interest in the Gundam universe, well chances are you’ll have no interest in this game. It also gets pretty repetitive. While there is a lot of content to unlock and whatnot, it doesn’t entirely matter if there is little to no variation of the content. Even with these two negatives I’ve enjoyed my time with the game.

2. American Magee’s Alice – (Mature) This is actually one of the only games on this list that I’ve finished this month. It was a third person action adventure game that was originally released for the PC, but re-released on the PS3 with its sequel Alice Madness Returns.

I had heard good things about this game before playing it, and I’m honestly left scratching my head as to why. Admittedly this could be because it was best played on the PC. Honestly though there is little to no story. The basic premise is the idea that Alice has gone insane after the death of her family in a fire. This insanity has had a negative impact on the world of Wonderland in her head. So you control Alice as she goes through a twisted version of Wonderland in a quest to save it and hopefully save herself in the process.

The game though is irritably difficult in some sections and almost laughably easy in others. The jumping and underwater portions of the game were just aggravating, but I found many of the bosses, including the final boss, to be fairly easy. This may have been better on the PC, I’m not sure, but I’m somewhat doubtful since I usually find controllers better for platforming than the PC. The other frustration was trying to aim at enemies. Many of the weapons are best used at a distance, but trying to aim them was annoying and led to a lot of deaths. So while I would call this game an interesting experience, it was not a good as I had led to believe and it is not a game I’d revisit or really recommend unless you’d like to see a twisted version of wonderland in outdated graphics.

3. Transformers: War for Cybertron – (Teen) It’s probably pretty clear by now for anyone reading through this blog that I like Transformers. This game is basically one of the best, if not the best, video game version of Transformers. The story behind the Transformers is a simple story of good (the Autobots) vs. evil (the Decepticons). The game really isn’t much more than that, except that it takes place on Cybertron, the home planet of the Transformers. You do play both as Autobots and Decepticons in the story. As the Decepticons you are attempting to find an unstable power that would allow for the conquest of Cybertron. Then as the Autobots you attempt to defend against the power of the Decepticons and take back the planet.

Admittedly, I beat the game before April and have only occasionally been playing the online multiplayer mode for the past month or two. I’d say the game is a must for any Transformers fan, but it is still an average to above average third person shooter. Admittedly, the game can look a bit bland as it doesn’t have the most impressive color scheme, but this is due to the fact that it is set on a planet that is mechanical in nature. That doesn’t really lend to vibrant color scheme. Other than that I don’t know what to say, it doesn’t really have any glaring faults that I can think of, but at the same time it is not breaking any molds. However, I am hoping that the sequel to this game, Fall of Cybertron will be even better than this one.

4. Rayman Origins – (Everyone 10+) This game is not a game I have played the most. I started playing it when my brother was visiting early in the month. Kristen got interested in the looks of it and we also played it once or twice during the month. So my thoughts on this aren’t complete, but I can give you an idea of what it is like.

Rayman is a series that has been around for awhile, but this is my first exposure to it. This version of Rayman though is a 2D side-scroller. It also allow for co-op which means you can play with up to four players simultaneously. I’ll admit it doesn’t seem to have a story to speak of. You basically go through levels collecting creatures called Electoons which allow you to progress in the game. During this you’ll also find Nymphs that need rescuing and will grant you an new power after you rescue them.

If you’re looking for a deep story, then this is not the place to look, but it is a fun game to play with a friend or three. It has nice vibrant colors and a wacky sense of humor to the game as well. Not to mention the mechanics of the game are pretty well done, jumping and running are all easy to do and are not usually too annoying. I’m sure the game probably gets pretty tough as it progresses, but so far it has been a fun experience and enjoyable for those looking for games they can play with a friend, significant other, or kid.

5. Frogger Returns – (Everyone) My guess is that most of you have played or at least heard of the game Frogger. If you have you’re probably better off remembering and playing that one than playing this one. I don’t know if you’d call it an updated version of Frogger or a sequel, but I do know that I didn’t really enjoy this version as much as I remember enjoying the older one.

For those who have no idea of what Frogger is, it is simply a game where you have to try to get your frog across a highway and river to his home. This version adds a few other levels like a subway, sewer, and swamp, but the basic goal remains the game, get from the bottom of the screen to the top.

You would think an updated version of Frogger with better graphics and new levels would be pretty cool right? Well… the reality is that it isn’t all that good. The graphics are pretty ugly although better than the original I suppose, it is hard to tell exactly where you are on the screen in line with the cars or other things coming towards you, and the detection of where you can jump seems to be off. I know many times where I know that I jumped onto a log only for the game to tell me that I died. It was just a pretty frustrating and disappointing experience. Thankfully it was game I got for free and didn’t waste too much time on. If you’re still interested in it even after that glowing picture, there is no physical version it is purchased online via the Playstation Network Store and I also think it can be downloaded for the Nintendo Wii as well.

PSP

1. Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Saga – (Everyone 10+) This is a remake of the Role-playing game Final Fantasy IV, which was released in North America as Final Fantasy II for the Super Nintendo. It also contains bonus content in the form of a sequel and intermission to the sequel. I basically got this because I remember owning and enjoying Final Fantasy IV when I was a kid and thought I would enjoy the new material too. Of course I haven’t gotten to any of it yet so I’m not sure how it is.

The basic story is that you begin the game as a Dark Knight, named Cecil, of one of the major kingdoms of the land. You are also head of that kingdom’s fleet of airships. However, in recent times you have been ordered to do things that are morally questionable. This leads Cecil to question the intent of his king and is stripped of his post and sent away on a quest. Over the course you find yourself opposed to the very kingdom that you had once served as it appears that they are being controlled by an evil figure seeking world domination by collecting artifacts known as crystals. So you and the band of followers that you find along the way set out intent to stop this evil and protect the crystals.


Final Fantasy IV is the type of RPG that I remember growing up with and that I sorely miss today. Turn-based combat, a world that was explorable, but still managed to focus on characters and story more than customization. Not to say that I don’t enjoy the RPGs of the today, but just that this type of RPG is missing in my opinion today as everything seems to shift to action based. Sure the story of this boils down the a battle between good and evil, but I enjoy the setting and the story even if it is a bit trite.

2. Corpse Party – (Mature) Now for the black sheep of my list. This game is a horror adventure game. You play as a group of high school students who become trapped in a haunted elementary school and have to find some way to survive and hopefully escape it.

Honestly, I’m not too far in this game. Partly, because I haven’t played it that much, but also because it is tough. Trying to figure out what you need to do in order to escape certain death is not always clear. So far it isn’t necessarily that scary, it is more just creepy and twisted, but there have been some tense moments as you’re trying to escape a ghost who wants to end you. So it is probably best that if you don’t like scary things that you give this a wide berth, but it is a pretty interesting game. As far as I know though, the only way to get this is to get it from the Playstation Network store as there appears to be no physical retail version for North America. On that note I should tell you the audio is in Japanese, but there are English subtitles.

So this is my list of games from the past month. It is a little more varied than my other lists. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but it ranges anywhere from the zany family friendly fare to the creepy and twisted Mature games.

The April Lists: Movies/TV

Friday I posted a list of books that I read or started to read in the month of April. It led me to realize my trend in reading non-fiction, serious type works. As I look over my Movie/TV list, I realize that the majority is mostly family friendly fare or at least not things that most people would consider grown-up in the least.

Movies:

 1. Alice in Wonderland – While this was not the first time I have ever watched Alice in Wonderland it had been a long time. I don’t think I had watched it since I was a little kid. I somewhat remembered it, but I also recalled that it creeped me out a little too.

The point of Alice in Wonderland, is a little lost on me. It simply seems that Alice longs for a world that is not all about being sensible and logical, but for a world that is full of nonsense. Then as she falls asleep she daydreams about such a world. A world where nonsense rules and logic doesn’t really seem to exist. This world is frustrating to Alice as she goes from one strange situation to another, perhaps teaching that there is a reason for the world being sensible. Maybe there is more to it than that, but that’s the best I’ve got. It could be that being familiar with the book would help, but I’m really not sure.

2. Cars – This is a movie that I have watched before, but our reason for watching it again was to introduce Ryan to it. He has recently really been into cars and when were home last Christmas he got a Lighting McQueen car from his Grandpa.

If you haven’t seen it, the movie is set in a world of anthropomorphic cars. If you can suspend disbelief about such a world, then it is really an enjoyable and funny movie. The movie centers around Lighting McQueen a rookie race car that is poised to become the first rookie to ever win the Piston Cup. However, McQueen is a bit of a pompous jerk. He only really believes in and relies on himself, which alienates others and leaves McQueen without anyone who he can really call a friend.

Due to unforeseen circumstances McQueen finds himself trapped in a small, declining town on Route 66. Despite his initial disdain for the town and its inhabitants it becomes clear that perhaps both McQueen and the town might need one another more than it first appears. It’s a pretty fun movie with some pretty good messages about pride, the importance of friends, and that there are some things that are more important than winning. You’ve probably seen this type of movie and messages before, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

TV Shows:

1. Boy Meets World – I’ve posted about this show a little already here, but this was one of my favorite shows when I was growing up. I remember watching it fondly when it was on TGIF during the 90s. During this month Kristen and I finished up the series and we enjoyed it quite a little bit. It really has aged fairly well. Certainly, it does show its age in some places, but Kristen and I both found it to be very enjoyable.

I remembered it for its humor and the lessons that it placed in many of the episodes, but I had forgot that the series gets pretty serious at times. It deals with topics like death, divorce, and relationships in some pretty serious ways. There aren’t too many series like Boy Meets World anymore, which is a shame in many ways, but if you enjoyed Boy Meets World when you were growing up, or simply like series like it, I recommend it.

2. Transformers – Talking about shows aging well, you always hope that your favorites age well. I’ve personally found that the Transformers haven’t aged quite as well as I would have liked them too. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoy it quite thoroughly, but growing up mostly watching the movie, the TV show is pretty weak comparatively, at least so far. I’m only into season two as of right now, but it has all the hallmarks I remember from a number of 80s cartoons. Very convoluted villain plots, good guys who are noble to a fault, new characters that appear with little reason, warriors who can’t hit the broad side of a barn, and when people do get hit there is very little effect.

I guess when you compare it to the darker, more serious movie the series pales a little. Actions from the movie mattered and had a major impact that you felt. You just don’t get that from the series, which was probably why the movie made such a lasting impact on me. Things that would be shaken off in the series were serious in the movie. I still enjoy my Transformers (and Ryan enjoys them now too), but I must admit my memory of the Transformers was a bit better than the reality.

3. Ah My Goddess – Confession time; for those who don’t know Kristen and I like Japanese Anime. What you think of this is your business, but this is the simple fact of things. This is one of the anime series that we own. I’m not sure how many times we’ve watched it, but we are currently re-watching it.

The story focuses around a university student, Keiichi Morisato, who despite having terrible fortune, is a kind and upbeat person. This reality connects him to the Goddess Help Line, which grants one wish to the caller. Keiichi winds up wishing for the goddess on his “case,” Belldandy, to stay by his side forever. Surprisingly, this wish is granted, but instead of making Keiichi’s life easier, it brings more complications to his life.

The heart of Ah My Goddess is the relationship between Belldandy and Keiichi. It is kind of an awkward relationship though. They both obviously love each other, yet their relationship remains at a level where neither party really feels comfortable sharing their feelings and those close to them say that their relationship is like that of elementary school kids. Despite this there is a clear dependance that goes on between the two of them. Both willing to sacrifice whatever to make the other happy. Which is quite a feat when you have all kinds of crazy actions going on due to human rivals, Belldandy’s two goddess sisters who come and stay with Keiichi and Belldandy, and the demons who want the goddesses to go back to the heavens.

All in all Ah My Goddess is a cute, funny, and enjoyable show. As it explores relationships and contains a good amount of attempts to get Keiichi and Belldandy’s relationship to be more physical, it may not be one for kids until they get older. While I say that word of warning it is funny that the larger message of Ah My Goddess appears to be the idea of a love that resists this kind of outward pressure, focuses on sacrifice and desire for the happiness of the other. One may say that it shows an unrealistic portrayal of relationships, to that I would say “so what?” No TV show, anime series, or movie shows a 100% realistic view of relationships, work, school, etc. The purpose of such shows is often presenting messages or at least entertaining scenarios regarding such settings and arenas.

4. Naruto Shippuden -This is one of the few shows that I am currently watching that are actually still ongoing. In part I tend to enjoy watching series that are finished so I can watch without being constrained to a weekly schedule. This series is actually a sequel series to the anime Naruto.

The story of this show focuses on an ostracized young ninja-in-training, Naruto, and his quest to become the greatest ninja around. Naruto is ostracized because he has a power sealed within him that once attacked the village he lives in. He has grown up with no parents or siblings and is widely despised by the villagers. Because of this he desires to get strong and win the acknowledgement of everyone around him. A major problem to this is that Naruto isn’t exactly the brightest or most disciplined student around.

This series has humor, action, and a good set of characters. I enjoy it, but there are things that are not for everyone. It has some really great story arcs, but then will slow way down and not progress in any meaningful way for many episodes. Some of the plot points are also a little annoying at times and don’t always seem like the fit in very well, but overall I’m able to enjoy it for what it is. I wouldn’t call it a series that is looking to be supremely deep.

Even though I wouldn’t call it deep or meaningful, it does touch on issues that are interesting. The main issue Naruto and Naruto Shippuden deals with the idea of power. How does one gain power, by giving into hatred and disregarding any bonds of friendship or by gaining power due to caring and developing friendships. Are we strong because we are able to do much on our own with nothing holding us down or back or are we strong because we are connected with others and can rely on them and also be relied upon ourselves. This is a major thread that seems to weave throughout the show. It may not be deep, but it is an interesting thing to think over.

So anyways these are the movies and shows that I’ve watched in April. Most are family movies or shows or are animated in nature which is a very narrow slice of this category. We’ll see if that will change in the next month.