Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure! Or: Exploring Honolua

Exploring Honolua

This week’s challenge calls for adventure, so I figured yet another peek into Maui’s Honolua Bay was in order.

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Lahaina Rocks

Lahaina Rocks

No pun intended…

Soundtrack Saturdays: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker – Dragon Roost Island

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The Legend of Zelda is one of gaming’s oldest and most beloved franchises. The fact that it’s still going strong after nearly 30 years is a testament to its fun and creativity. But when The Wind Waker was released on the Gamecube in 2003, longtime fans were taken aback; the fantastic medieval realm of Hyrule had been replaced with a seemingly endless ocean. The massive fields were replaced with islands. Epona, Link’s trusty steed from Ocarina of Time, was replaced by a small sailboat. The creepy, foreboding atmosphere of Majora’s Mask was replaced with a bright, cheery cel-shaded world.

Yeah, it was different.

But it wasn’t bad, though. The Wind Waker had a style all its own; the combat was more fast-paced, there was a huge world map to explore, and Nintendo demonstrated just how gorgeous cel-shading could really be. It also had one of the most memorable and awesome final bosses in not only the Zelda franchise, but in all of gaming. The shift in tone is also reflected in the game’s soundtrack; Dragon Roost Island is just one several amazing instrumentally-based songs in Zelda’s repertoire. Just try listening to the Great Sea Theme without imagining yourself at the bow of a ship, the wind in your face, waves crashing beneath, and a horizon that never ends…

If you want more Wind Waker, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Soundtrack Saturdays: Shadow of the Colossus – In Awe of the Power

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A knight slaying a dragon is one of the most well-known legends in our historical canon. Of course, someone had to make a game about it eventually. Shadow of the Colossus is about a young man named Wander and his attempt to revive his dead girlfriend by slaying 16 gigantic beasts. Armed with nothing but a sword, a bow and arrow, and one of the best horses in video game history, Wander has to figure out a way to kill creatures that are hundreds times bigger and stronger than him. Seriously. His first enemy is about 70 feet tall, and the scale keeps pulling further back with each battle. The final boss is about the size of the Statue of Liberty! You ever see a bug crawling on your arm? This game depicts what it’s like from the bug’s perspective.

Yeah, it’s pretty epic. Since its release on the PS2 in 2006, Shadow of the Colossus has become a modern classic. In a game almost completely devoid of voice acting and other gaming conventions, the soundtrack needed to be able to convey the mood and atmosphere on its own. It pulled it off spectacularly; few soundtracks thrill you in one moment, and make you cry seconds later. In Awe of the Power captures those desperate minutes in which you’re making the perilous climb up a creature’s hairy back, and all you can is cling for your life.

If you want more Shadow of the Colossus, you can find the full OST here.

Good gaming, good music.

Stockton Street Tunnel

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Stockton Street Tunnel

The Stockton Street tunnel is just north of Union Square and is probably the least strenuous walking route to Chinatown. Don’t be fooled by the lack of people; depending on the hour you enter, you’ll face tons of traffic and hordes of schoolchildren.