Mystery Blogger Award: Extra Life’s Questions… Answered!

Questions and answers
Q&As blogging session, ahoy!

It’s always a welcoming/terrifying occasion for the blogging community when we link to our mortal enemy: Extra Life (Red Metal).

Although we spend most of our time furiously arguing, for once we’ve put aside our differences to have an amicable debate.

Mystery Blogger Q&A

Okay, so we have some questions that were set to us. You can read the Extra Life Mystery Blogger Q&As on that there link.

We advise you don’t do that, though! Stay here on Professional Moron. Stay. Stay. Imagine hypnosis music as this point, too.

Anyway, we’re going to answer our set of questions in time-honoured, sensible fashion. Here we go!

What is the most unusual work you’ve ever experienced?

In one sitting we watched a set of several pretentious, surrealist arthouse short films in 2004 whilst students in Nottingham. We can’t for the life of us remember what the titles are.

Before we went into the cinema, the ticket bloke said, “You won’t be able to understand any of it, but it’s good fun.”

It wasn’t good fun. It was boring. The first film consisted of an anthropomorphic goat tap dancing on a pier until the ground below it collapsed.

The man/goat then had to scramble up a tunnel, very slowly, to freedom. That’s £5 we’ll never get back. 

What is the best work you have experienced that no one else seems to know about?

Well, Ravenous (1999) bombed at the box office and, only in recent years, has had a more welcoming reappraisal.

It’s a very unusual film in its structure and themes of isolation and cannibalism, played out with dark humour and strange wit.

Outside of the UK, Withnail and I also seems pretty obscure. But it’s one we highly recommend everyone watch—it’s melancholic, poignant, and very funny.

We can’t think of a film that represents English life to a better extent.

For example, the constant and unpleasant interactions with casually antagonistic people.

Although Brits seem to have an international reputation of being posh and polite, England really isn’t like that. And Withnail and I displays why.

If you could go back in time and go to the premiere of a classic film, which one would you choose?

Just for the laugh of it, James Cameron’s Aliens (1986). Against all the odds, Cameron delivered a masterpiece.

And the cast is really fantastic. To hang out with Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn, and Cameron would have been good fun. And then you get to watch the most excellent film!

Apparently Paxton and Biehn watched it for the first time from the projection booth at the premiere and were jumping up and down in joy and how enjoyable the film is.

If you decided to write fiction, which genre would you choose?

We’ve written a book, and numerous short stories (we have another one coming up shortly).

And we’re working on a new novel that channels our Santa Claus newsletters.

The other book is social commentary. It’s more serious than our normal stuff, but has lots of black humour. We also did a serious short story called Hoot, owls hoot last year. “Adult fiction”, we guess.

The rest of the time we deal with absurdity and ridiculousness—wouldn’t be able to tell from this blog, eh?

What is the most disappointingly predictable plot twist you’ve ever experienced?

Not so much plot twist, but predictable storytelling we find tedious. Such as with Matt Groening’s latest show Disenchantment.

We watched the first episode in disbelief. Crap jokes you could see coming a mile off, refusing to believe he would stoop to such obvious tomfoolery.

Rick and Morty also annoys us when it attempts to be too clever. It works best as a goofy show, but some episodes end up a convoluted mess.

What do you consider to be the strangest title for a work?

How to Avoid Huge Ships by Captain John W. Trimmer. We’re not maritime sorts, but surely you’d see a huge ship from a way off? And then just avoid it.

Nevertheless, he got an entire book out of the concept. Well done, sir.

As for a film, Zardoz (1974) springs to mind. It features Sean Connery walking around in a bizarre red mankini/jockstrap type thing. Indeed.

There’s also a film from 1993 called The Positively True Adventures Of The Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. Catchy.

Where in a theater do you prefer to sit?

As far back as possible, next to an aisle, with no one around us—if possible.

We still really love the cinema experience, you can’t beat the overwhelming power of that massive screen.

But you do also get a load of halfwits using their phones, individuals eating with their mouth open, and others sitting right in front of you to block your view.

A while ago, we read a piece by a film critic explaining the downsides to the job.

For one obscure vampire film, he was sitting almost entirely alone in a huge cinema. Before the film began, another guy entered and decided to sit directly behind the critic. Which he, obviously, got annoyed about.

Why would you do that? Sit directly behind someone in an empty cinema. It’s just dumb.

It reminds us of public transport. We were on a bus, top deck, and it was empty except for us.

Then a bloke got on, came up the stairs, and decided to sit directly behind us on an otherwise empty vehicle. Perhaps an innocent, oblivious gesture but as we tend to overthink situations it made us feel awkward.

Anyway, this is a tale about the importance of social distancing.

Do you have any graphic novel/manga series you’re currently following?

No. Well, other than the Oatmeal. We suppose that sort of counts.

When it comes to reviewing films, which do you feel are more effective—traditional, written reviews, or video essays?

We think all three have their place now, with merits for each one. Dr. Mark Kermode is the leading film critic in the UK and he uses all three.

That’s the Church of Wittertainment we’re always going on about.

But we’ve become particularly fond of fan commentaries recently. See above with Oliver Harper’s channel for Jaws.

It’s a real-time fan critique that complements other aspects of reviewing a film. It’s also hilarious, as Cambridge lads Harper, Duncan Casey, and Richard Jackson really bounce off each other and get into the spirit of the film.

As film criticism is multi-faceted. It shouldn’t just be, “Oh, the right way is a written review. Because!”

For now, we stick to our weekly written retrospectives on Wednesday. We don’t think we’ll dabble with video reviews.

What aspects of old-school game design do you wish would make a comeback?

As a big indie game fan, we’re perfectly catered for with Metroidvania titles and modern 2D platformers that hark back to the SNES era.

However, we do wish mainstream developers would stop making games like movies.

Many AAA releases have you sitting there for collective hours watching often terrible cutscenes with awful voice acting and dialogue.

Enough. We’d much rather see a return to the approach RPGs had in the past with storytelling. As with Final Fantasy VII (1997).

Or do what Nintendo’s Breath of the Wild (2017) did. Cut out all the cutscenes and just let you get on with the bloody game.

What aspects of old-school game design are you glad went away?

The insane difficulty standards of the 1980s. Developers like Capcom decided to make games more difficult so as to extend the longevity.

Titles like Ghosts ‘N Goblins and Castlevania are insanely difficult.

One criticism of the indie scene is some developers seem to think gamers want that replicated. So some indie games are unbelievably difficult.

If you’re going to provide that option, at least give us an easy mode as well.

We’re not sitting around for hours on end to try and defeat some ridiculously difficult boss. Which is what happened to us in The Messenger. Abandoned, due to being irritatingly difficult.

It’s very frustrating to have to give up on a game because of a pointless roadblock, due to some lingering old-school gaming trope.

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