Weekly Obsessions: Unexpected surprises.

Apparently, this week’s obsessions theme is “things I normally don’t like but now randomly do”.

1. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (Nintendo DS)

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I’m not usually a fan of murder mystery-thrillers and I’m pretty terrible at puzzle games (I mean, I can see how well-made the Professor Layton series is but I just couldn’t get into it because I‘m just that dumb prefer my games to be intellect-free) but, having heard great reviews about the story in 999 and never actually having experienced a visual novel game before, I decided to give this game a try…and then spent three days going through the entire story. Which isn’t something I usually do because I’m so attention deficit when it comes to games. Heck, it even takes me ages to “complete” (i.e. defeat the Elite Four) in any Pokemon version.

Sure, the game isn’t perfect. The dialogue sometimes drags on way longer than it needs to and steps are often repeated or dumbed down for players, resulting in lots of tapping/clicking to move the story forward. Still, the mix of an intriguing premise, beautiful 2D screens, and The-Room-style puzzles that aren’t too difficult makes for an addictive timesink.

This stands proudly on the pantheon of games that I have actually completed*. I definitely recommend this for anyone who has a DS, fan of the genre or not.

*of course, of all games to complete, I end up completing one that has like six different alternate endings (including a “True” ending which requires going through another to obtain) so I have to spend even more time replaying it. Thankfully, the new game+ option allows for sped-up dialogue

2. Melismagnificent

I normally hate songs that feature excessive amounts of Xtina-level melisma because I think it detracts from the song experience so much but I think in this case, the melisma is so adorably and ridiculously over-the-top that it is the performance itself.  At the very least, it sounds almost nothing like the original.

I’m pretty sure this performance would have polarised many listeners/viewers but I personally love it. Plus, the two singers are so cute! Little Red Hat 王拓 accelerates from light riffs to tribal glory in like 0.2 seconds flat while delightfully awkward 葉秉桓 is so hilariously gawky and weird but does more turns than a salsa dancer trapped in a washing machine and effortlessly flings out whistle-like bars (see 4:48). They have such amazing chemistry too. Kudos to A Mei for pairing probably the only two in the whole competition who could riff off each other like that. Their little embellishments make the song so chirpy and there are plenty of moments that made for a great listen (including the afore-mentioned whistle sequence that sounds lifted from the Lion King soundtrack).

In a show that has produced a splendid number of gems (and that remains one of my favourite singing competitions worldwide), I believe this to be on the top of the pile. I certainly can never listen to the original version of this song again without thinking of this cover.

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