This week I want to recommend some stuff you can partake of if you need to cheer yourself up… for those of you who could use a bit of a pick me up. These are the games, anime, and books I fall back on when I’m feeling a bit down.
Slayers is an anime series that began over a decade ago. It’s a true fantasy anime, featuring an adventuring sorceress named Lina Inverse and her adventures as she essentially does whatever she wishes. It is an incredibly fun watch, and it’s an absolute classic of an anime. But more importantly than that… it’s fun. There’s a lot of humour, numerous exciting battles, and a rather silly and intriguing story. It just all adds up to a fun, easy-going, and thrilling experience.
Rayman: Origins (Game)
If you’re looking for something to distract yourself and just have a blast, you really can’t beat Rayman Origins. This game was my game of the year when it came out and one of my favourite games of the last generation, and it’s one that I revisit every so often when I’m just looking to have a good time. It is one of those rare games that is not designed with a message, it’s not designed to accomplish any esoteric goal… it was simply designed to be fun.
And it succeeds. There is virtually no story here, but it is a platformer that surpasses nearly every other of its kind I’ve ever played. This is, quite simply, a fantastic game. Just be warned, it’s not the easiest game known to man – especially if you go for its challenges. My wife inquired a few times why I kept playing it if I was having so much trouble… and the simple answer is: Even though I was pulling my hair out with frustration, I was having the time of my life playing it. And really, what more can you ask out of a game than that?
The Furies of Calderon (Book)
The Codex Alera by Jim Butcher is a fantastic series. Carna, it’s world, is one of the best fantasy worlds I’ve ever seen and it is one of my go-to series, just in general, when I’m looking for something to read. But in particular, The Furies of Calderon is a great read if you’re looking for a nice lighthearted story. It’s a charming adventure of a disadvantaged kid overcoming adversity and becoming a hero. Butcher’s way of incorporating humour turns what could be a fairly dour story into something lighthearted and exciting… and it just makes this book a great one to read if you’re in need of a little cheer.
I’ve recommended Journey before, and I’ll probably do so again at some point in the future… but in this case in specific, there’s nothing that fits the bill better than Journey for me. It’s not fast-paced, it’s not lighthearted, it’s not thrilling… yet somehow it always seems to boost my spirits. There’s something special about this 1-to-3-hour game that just makes it set me in just the right mood to get over melancholia. The unique sensation of desolation and isolation present in Journey somehow washes away any and all sadness I might be feeling.
It’s amazing that it manages to accomplish this without dialogue, without exciting controls, without even a real happy ending… but somehow it does. And it’s one of the many things that makes this game so incredible.
One Good Knight (Book)
The second in Mercedes Lackey’s folklore-inspired Five Hundred Kingdoms series, One Good Knight takes traditional fairy-tale tropes and turns them on their heads. The princess is practical, the dragon is noble, and our knight in shining armour is far from the pinnacle of masculinity one might expect. A delightfully amusing tale with a feel-good ending for all the good guys.
If you’re having a rough time hopefully these ideas can help you overcome it. Lemme know if you’ve liked them, and if you have any pick-me-ups of your own to share feel free. I’d love to hear them. Sorry about the slow week this past week, the con-flu hit us pretty hard, so we’re still recovering from that but we should be back on track this week!