I love the Professor Layton series. It’s the closest Nintendo – or any major video game company, for that matter – will get to making a Sherlock Holmes-style character. He’s highly intelligent, polite, and solves mysteries of ridiculous proportions. It would’ve worked well enough as a visual novel, but letting you solve hundreds of puzzles along the way makes it so much better. The series is also well known for its extensive continuity and well-written characters; The Last Specter is the fourth installment out of six (seven if you count the Phoenix Wright crossover), but it’s the first chronologically. It’s also famous for its various soundtracks, which are among the best you’ll ever hear on a Nintendo console. While the theme of the Diabolical Box will always be my favorite, this live version of the Last Specter is great for some easy listening.
During Chinese New Year, I came across an elderly street band offering passersby a chance to play. While I feebly attempted to play a qinqin, one of the real musicians strummed some beautiful melodies using a guzheng. This is the instrument that most folks associate with Chinese music; movies, tv shows, and video games related to the culture typically use one as part of their soundtracks. YouTube has several videos demonstrating just how awesome this mass of wood and strings can be. It’s been over 2,000 years since its invention, and it’s still going strong.