Script Doctoring at its finest

Script Doctoring at its finest

If I haven’t made it totally obvious around here, I like movies.

I like movies a lot. A good chunk of that love comes from my dad, who was a pretty serious actor for a while and continues to work in the movie industry, currently for Fandango as I’ve discussed in the past. Thanks to him I’ve seen all kinds of flicks from throughout cinema history.

As time has progressed, seeing movies with him (and the rest of my family by extension) has essentially become a fun exercise in script doctoring. While a ‘script doctor’ may be an actual industry term for someone who consults on a script before it is put into production, I mean it more in a post-viewing thought experiment sense. Being able to walk away from a movie and discuss what could have been done to improve upon it.

Granted there are elements of hindsight involved knowing everything that happens as a finished product rather than seeing it in its fledgling development. A development that may be plagued with other problems that lead to less than stellar end products.

But we discuss things with those points aside. We have no real qualms given that none of us have any intent to create our own movie anytime soon. It’s just fun talking about how we might have improved certain things.

Superhero movies have been an excellent source of that internal debate for the last few years. Especially thanks to the Marvel and DC cinematic universes attempting to create larger, cohesive universes. That kind of large-scale project opens up tons of opportunities to pull from previously established canon in both the comics and movies to determine what might be better ways of moving in the direction those studios are going toward.

DC movies are the obvious ‘easy target.’ You’ve probably heard all of the comments: They ruin a bunch of popular characters. They’re doing everything to catch up to Marvel in too much of a compressed timeline. The dark, gritty approach to superhero storytelling isn’t utilized well.

For the most part I can’t say I’d argue. There are plenty of recent DC movies that I thought I would love just based off trailers which wound up being disappointing. Suicide Squad and Batman V. Superman come to mind immediately.

However, there’s plenty of good things going on in the DC cinematic universe. Things that we all want to work out better in an overall context because of how iconic the characters are.

The Batman and Justice League animated series’ from the 90s/00s were huge parts of my childhood. I knew Batman and Superman and all of those characters growing up because of how iconic those shows were, given the fact that I was never much of a comic book reader.

Outside of the big characters like Spiderman or Hulk, I wouldn’t know anything about Marvel until they began their own cinematic universe. Though, to be fair, as amazing as that universe is there still are flaws. It just happens that the flaws are less noticeable due to how much is going well around them.

I would also say that the MCU has been a big thing to me because of how amazing an example it is of creating an extensive universe. Of crafting stories that all tie in together and create one giant experience.

For someone who wound up becoming a writer, it’s amazing to see.

But all of that aside, I feel like I’m getting too tangent-y with what should otherwise be a simple post. Basically, I love discussing the flaws and successes of each superhero movie with my family because of their merits as good cinema and because of the engaging universes they create.

That post-movie critique is frankly as important to me as the movies themselves.

This summer, I’ve taken those interests in post-critiques to a whole new level. My realm of consistent YouTube views has expanded into more analytical channels, rather than simply let’s plays and other video game stuff.

Some notable examples, because I’m honestly using this post as an excuse to promote these people include:

  • NerdSync — A channel focused on looking at not just obscure bits of comic book stories and trivia, but looking at them through the lens of the real world history that led to in-universe decisions. Great 10-minute watches which have taught me so much more about comics themselves that also often promote other comic book-related creators on YouTube.
  • Captain Midnight — More or less the same idea as NerdSync, examining decisions in comic books (primarily their movies) through the lens of real world decisions and general tropes surrounding them. Includes interludes on every video showing commercials and media properties from earlier decades related to modern-day cinematic counterparts that are very recognizably stylized and pretty cool.
  • Mother’s Basement — Kind of does for anime what channels like NerdSync do for comic books. Examining the problematic or successful underlying writing tropes and such which go into beloved shows. Loves to bash on Sword Art Online, which I find hilarious having never watched the show but knowing just how hated it is by anime fans.
  • Just Write — If you want to be a writer like I do, this channel is a good place to spend some time. They look at popular media (be it books, television, movies or some combination of the three) to pick apart specific traditional writing clichés or innovations. Some really notable pieces on shows like Westworld or the modern-day Star Wars trilogy that I love and have been able to use as some writing inspiration for my own novel.

These guys join a pantheon of other more analytic-focused channels that I now enjoy the catalogs of, amongst mainstays like Game Theory, Cinema Sins and Wisecrack.

None of these creators are the reason I decided to write this post in the first place, however. I found a brand new addition to this list today that really pushed me over the edge.

Nando v Movies is a channel that looks at all different movie genres (though primarily superhero flicks) through an analytical realm similar to the others I listed. Picking apart tropes and clichés to see what works and what doesn’t.

But Nando does something a little different to stand apart from the crowd.

He is, essentially, a very well-researched script doctor.

What my dad and I might do just based off knowledge of the cinematic universes we’re observing after watching a new DC movie, he does using a full breadth of comic book history to draw upon.

He quite literally acts out brand new scripts for scenes that either minutely or majorly change a film in a way that drastically changes things. I don’t think I’ve seen any videos of his that misses the mark in making both good and bad films better in some way, shape or form.

He doesn’t just look at the major cinematic universes too, though his work on lackluster DC flicks are pretty amazing. He also looks at the Marvel Netflix shows and other major blockbusters. Star Wars, Ready Player One, Jurassic World. All of which are given minor adjustments with so much heart that they feel like they could be easily canonical.

Even if he too acknowledges in part one of his Justice League rewrite that he has the benefit of hindsight and no movie-making pressure. That’s sort of where I stole my own earlier disclaimer from, as a disclaimer.

Side note, investigations and fan theories for the current Star Wars films have become some of my favorite things. Because I enjoyed the Last Jedi, but I’d almost say I enjoy fan-generated ideas for the Last Jedi better than what we got in theaters.

Now with all this said, I don’t always agree with the content of the creators I’ve mentioned here today. But I feel like that’s just as big a part of the magic behind watching them as the amazing theories and insight they’ve been able to cobble together for mediums I haven’t paid too much attention to.

The Internet, for as divisive as it can be, is an excellent place to pose ideas and invite civil debate. I love having the opportunity to compare my own ideas and headcanons to their own.

So that’s essentially my pitch for the day as I finish this post seeing I’ve somehow almost hit 1,500 words. Go out and find some analytical content for your favorite things.

It’s not only an excellent way to kill time, but an excellent way to kill it with engaging, thoughtful material.

Family Time

Family Time

So I’m going to level with you guys. I don’t have anything to talk about today.

I went to the gym again for a while this afternoon. But that’s about the most noteworthy thing I can think of. Somehow the rest of the day just kind of… Blurred by.

Am I just stuck in some kind of post-Rick and Morty time dilation?

Probably.

But that’s beside the point, because the point is I’m just kind of phoning this one in today. Figured if I couldn’t come up with anything else to talk about, I might as well just post a cute picture of me out to dinner with the family and leave it at that with some kind of inspirational message.

Have dinner with your family, everyone. It’s nice.

Unless your family is awful.

If they aren’t, then do it. Who knows, you might find out that Weezer did a cover of Toto’s memeworthy song ‘Africa.’ Or that Bowling for Soup had a song called ‘My Wena’ where they had a girl walk around dressed like a giant penis and do things like spit milk at the band members.

Because that’s real. Straight from the same band that did the Phineas and Ferb theme song for everyone’s favorite squeaky clean corporate Disney. Welcome to the early 2000s.

Also don’t mind Alyson.

She’s a

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Tired.

She asked me to put that joke in here so if you want to blame anyone, she’s your girl.

Also, there’s some physical proof that we’re both still stuck on Disney Crossy Road for whatever reason. God only knows how such a dumb game could be so addictive.

Salons and Binge Watching

This might be an unpopular opinion here on the old Internet, but haircuts are nice.

Yeah, I said it. Don’t @ me.

Alright well for real, I got a haircut this morning and it feels nice. Everything is just a bit smoother, lighter. Both figuratively and literally.

I’ve already done the whole ‘check out this sweet haircut’ post in the past so I don’t really want to go down that road again. Though I suppose it was productive to go back and see that post again, because it made me realize I really like to use the mad ramblings cliché.

Not sure realizing that is going to change anything, though. I do really like to use that cliché, after all.

In fact I probably could name this post something about rambling too. Because that’s basically what I’m about to do.

See after getting said haircut this morning I haven’t exactly done a whole lot. I came home, plopped down on the couch, and (in no particular order) played some video games, did some work for my Senior Honors Project and watched Rick and Morty.

That’s right, Rick and Morty.

It’s a show I’ve been meaning to watch for a long time. In fact I have watched it in bits and pieces, mostly the episodes which are famous for how clever or meme-worthy they are. But up until now I’ve never taken the time to go through the full three-season catalog.

I got through all of season one last night straight through 1 a.m. and haven’t been able to stop watching the rest today. Everyone always talks about how great the show is, but I never realized how truly brilliant it was until I started to watch it in its entirety.

All of the seemingly random, disconnected plots each simultaneously come into their own with the full context of a subtle overarching story. Yet, at the same time, it’s all totally made pointless by the same sarcastic, casual and horrid sense of humor that pervades the entire experience.

Plus it’s dope watching different characters like Summer evolve over the course of the show.

It’s as awesome to think and theorize about as it is to watch just from the merits of its production value.

Seriously if you’re like me and know you’ll enjoy the show but find reasons to put it off, just stop putting it off.

In fact, binging Rick and Morty made me realize that I should have spent more time this summer binging more shows. Like the different anime I talked about that one time.

Maybe I’ll do it some more over these last two weeks.

It could be a good way to pass some time while I work on outlining my story. Which, by the way, I would argue is going well. I may or may not have finally come up with the connecting thread I need to get my characters from their starting point to the climax I was imagining.

I don’t want to spoil the surprise if it winds up being what I actually implement, since it’s a pretty cool idea in my head.

Just know that my trope-fest involves a prophet who bestows information on how to move the plot of the game along. One who has a secret, meta way of learning the information they need to pass along.

With that said, I’ve hit the 500 word count I was hoping to get to with these blindly fluctuating topics. So I think I’m going to jump off and… You know… Watch more Rick and Morty.

Watch it, losers.

This feels gross… But Disney makes it right.

It’s no surprise that I’ve become a bigger fan of mobile phone games in recent years.

I’ve been a hardcore GameBoy/DS fanatic throughout my childhood. Yet, despite certain phone games of widespread popular fervor like Angry Birds or Pocket God making their way into my gaming lexicon, overall the app market never truly broke into my big leagues.

That is, until big companies I already loved like Nintendo started to get into the market with more substantial titles.

Marvel was really the first with Contest of Champions, which I played right around the time the first Ant Man movie came out. Then there was Super Mario Run, Pokémon GO, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links and of course Fire Emblem Heroes. Hell, Simpson’s Tapped Out held my interest for a good while there.

However, even if the app market is getting more respectable with these kinds of big, time-intensive titles… It’s still not perfect.

Tons of games, even the ones I’ve referenced up above, still rely on gimmicky microtransaction bs that attempt to force players with no patience to spend extra money.

While many are free, to be fair, and some are even arguably worth spending money in for all the content they offer on a free model… It’s still a bit of a disgusting practice. Especially when we start to see it slip into mainstream console gaming with titles like Star Wars Battlefront II (the bad one, not the amazing PS2 one).

I bring all of this up to let you know that I recognize the flaws in the mobile gaming market despite my recent embrace of it.

Because it should give you all some context behind why I feel so disgusting with my latest embrace of Disney’s Crossy Road.

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Man I feel like I need a shower just saying that.

Yet.

Let’s be fair to the game and it’s developers before I just shit all over the whole model.

Hipster Whale, from my point of view at least, became a rather popular niche developer for the phone market by embracing the classic style of Frogger and using it to create a game full of wacky charm with Crossy Road.

It was quite literally a game where you were a chicken crossing the road. As if you were playing Frogger.

Completely silly and derivative, but honestly genius in a “I can’t believe I didn’t think of this idea” kind of way. That charm, along with about a billion unlockable characters set in a game where the goal was to obviously push little kids to spend money, led to a title that grossed well and spawned a billion spin-offs.

The games are all synonymous with that silly, microtransaction-laden gameplay of the first. I even remember the Game Grumps playing one of the spin-offs for their Christmas block last December.

Disney Crossy Road is arguably the most despicable of these spin-offs. On the one hand because it’s quite literally just the original game with a new coat of paint. But also because, well, Disney is attached to it.

If that’s not the most money-grubbing thing I can imagine, I don’t know what is.

Yet, despite seeing this much just by looking at the game’s title screen… My sister and I are hooked.

We found the game while hanging out with our friends the other day and downloaded it on our Apple TV just for the memes. At the time it was perfect for that, especially when we picked up a totally random character from a movie we loved.

But then we both downloaded the game to our phones after that. The rest, as they say, is history.

Obviously the biggest draw to this game specifically is the Disney tie-in. Collecting characters from your favorite movies to play with.

Especially toward the beginning, it’s all fun and games as they clearly give you large rewards on a frequent basis to keep summoning new characters from a slot machine.

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It’s about as blatant as psychological manipulation gets, as soon enough the “three minutes to next reward” becomes “one hour to next reward,” and so on.

Yet there’s also enough ways to get around spending money that I can inherently understand the appeal.

Coins are scattered throughout each procedurally-generated run, and collecting 100 of them allows you to roll for a new character.

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The game also frequently gives players 30-second advertisements to watch for a free 20 coins. More obvious manipulation, but easy enough to set the game aside for half a minute just to score some extra cash.

My one significant problem with the lottery system comes from the fact that you aren’t guaranteed to unlock something new each time. Even when I had only unlocked about six characters out of the near-200 across a variety of popular Disney movies, I still got a second copy of The Sultan from Aladdin.

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They do give you other collectible tickets for duplicates that can be spent on things like higher-end character lotteries, but still. I can tell it’ll be more annoying in the long-run.

Also, I just have to say it. There are also some really bad character designs. Like the single-pixel butt and breasts model of Mirage.

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And don’t even get me started on Simba’s hilarious facial expression.

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Some lame characters aside, the gameplay is simple and effective. Like I said, it’s just Frogger. But with Disney characters.

You tap to go forward and swipe to move from side-to-side and avoid obstacles.

Yet Disney Crossy Road actually stands out quite well because of how it utilizes it’s gimmick, in my opinion. There’s clearly a large amount of effort put in to make each world and each character unique to the movies they came from.

Just look at the variety in the different environments you can play on:

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Each movie set not only brings aesthetic elements into this kind of janky Minecraft style, they also have unique mechanics.

For example, the Mulan world has a lucky cricket drop that can save you from death once.

The Lilo & Stitch world is covered with fruits that can be collected and turned into an old lady to add extra points to your run length without you having to actually go those extra steps.

The Jungle Book world is literally always on fire because of frequent lightning strikes.

There’s something like this in every world, and while the same three or four overall level gimmicks do repeat themselves, each is unique enough to stand out.

Characters have unique skills as well.

The Grand Councilwoman from Lilo and Stitch can find a special Prisoner Jumba character of she travels far enough.

Meanwhile, Calhoun from Wreck-It Ralph shoots her gun at certain cars in the road to give you a big score multiplier. You can’t control when she does it, but still.

There’s also a certain amount of charm seeing each and every character face plant against the side of a car (or a person depending on the technology of a given world).

The music in the game is also noteworthy. Each movie’s world utilizes a famous song recreated in a pretty great chiptune style. Beauty and the Beast plays “Be Our Guest.” Aladdin plays “One Jump Ahead.” Lion King plays “I Just Can’t Wait to be King.”

I do wish some songs appeared over others, like “This is Halloween” instead of “What’s This?” for Nightmare before Christmas. But that’s a nitpicky complaint all things being equal.

Despite being repeated in such a short segment to become ear-grating over time, all of the songs are well-constructed. The game itself pushes its own soundtrack, and I’d argue its worth downloading.

There’s only 23 worlds in the game, with some obvious choices like Sleeping Beauty or Hercules missing in place of obvious lame tie-ins like the Tim Burton Alice Through the Looking Glass. But, and I hate to say it, I’m interested to keep going and see if they add more down the line.

I know, I know. This strange review of Disney Crossy Road is out of left field. Especially when I haven’t even written anything on Hollow Knight, like I wanted to.

Hell, it just frankly feels wrong for me to be spending time on this obvious microtransaction bait of a game when there’s some phenomenal titles I could be playing. Like the aforementioned Hollow Knight. Or Enter the Gungeon.

Or hey, I heard that Subset Games’ Into the Breach is available on Macs down and I’m so down to try it.

But no. Instead I’m here playing Disney Crossy Road.

I guess in the end this post is sort of here to try to justify all of the time I’ve spent playing this the last couple of days. As if it were my plan all along.

But the truth is that it wasn’t my plan all along. I’ve genuinely jumped into this game with both feet, and I’m weirdly enjoying it a lot.

Just going through this short analysis of the game has shown me that maybe it isn’t just a weird anomaly. The game does have its merits, particularly in aesthetic and musical aspects.

So hey, who knows. Maybe Hipster Whale is as popular as it is for a reason.

But what do you think? Have you played this game before? Or any title in this developer’s line-up?

Let me know how you feel about them, or about this game specifically, in the comments down below!

What’s in a name?

While I can think of very few distractions better suited to the title than a video game where I’m able to kill a gun-themed dragon with bees, Enter the Gungeon cannot keep me from doing some work I need to do forever.

Mostly because the Switch battery doesn’t last forever. Otherwise it most definitely could keep me from my work for forever.

But that being said it doesn’t, and thus I have broken away from the addiction of roguelikes to work some more on my Senior Honors Project.

I’ve taken a bit of a turn in my approach to the project as the summer starts to wind down. Originally I had been simply starting to write the novel I’m working on while using a separate outline to keep track of things (as I pointed out in a previous blog post). However, I’ve found that hasn’t worked out phenomenally well.

It mostly left me in a place where I had a basic idea of some key plot points and the main characters, but no real sense of progression to build upon. Just figuring out things as I went along.

So I’ve decided to step back from the actual physical writing and focus more on the finer details of outlining this puppy.

Notably:

  • Fleshing out a more complete plot line
  • Coming up with the characters I want my heroes to encounter in their journey, with all the relationships those entail
  • Actually imagining more of the world they’re in, different names for locations included

With those in place I think writing a novel should actually be a sensible pursuit.

The thing that I’ve found most difficult about all this is naming everything. Who would have guessed that when you’re building a world from scratch you have to name all of the things?

All the characters, all the locales, all of the lore bits. So on and so forth.

Luckily I’ve made the task easier for myself by not establishing my world as one that has very strict hard-and-fast rules. I’m not Tolkien creating a crazy immersive, new fantasy world full of completely novel interactions amongst different races.

If anything… I’m kind of piggybacking off of the work he already did years ago.

See, for those who aren’t aware, my novel is a parody of sorts. It started as something meant to emulate the ideas of a book called ‘Redshirts’ but in the fantasy genre rather than science fiction.

Then I decided to narrow my focus even further. While I don’t necessarily read a ton of fantasy novels, I do play a lot of fantasy-themed video games. Zelda, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy. So on and so forth.

This my novel evolved into one where the focus is on NPCs in a video game who gain some semblance of sentience, realizing they are caught up in the tropes of a world created by game developers who, like me, love fantasy themes.

As well as tropes of the video game medium as a whole, of course.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping not to create a boring environment seeped in tropes for the sake of it. Hopefully by the end I’ll have an interesting world inspired by and utilizing said tropes.

Because of this I’ve felt free to come up with names for things in a number of ways without having to worry about standardizing too heavily.

Looking up name generators is a good general practice for character names especially, an idea bestowed by my friend Sam who does similar things for her Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.

However, I’m also trying to look to some real life inspirations. For example, the holy order of royal guards in the kingdom which presides over the land (currently unnamed since, like I said, names are hard) is based on my mom’s name.

Or in a more fun example, one character I have is named after this glorious little thing I found at Ikea the other day.

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Seriously how could I not make Eldig Black a semi-significant character in my story.

It’s just too perfect.

In fact, just perfect for the grizzled, Old veteran in charge of watching over the prince of the kingdom. The Gunter to my Corrin in Fire Emblem Fates, or the Jagen to my Marth in the original Fire Emblem.

Because at least one faction of characters in my story is not-so-vaguely inspired by the archetypical group of traveling adventurers in the early stages of a Fire Emblem game.

Those are just a few of the ideas I’m juggling right now, trying to create a cohesive world with a web of relationships among its inhabitants.

If you’re a creative-type, I’d love to hear what kind of means you tend to use for inspiration when it comes to things like character creation. Let me know somewhere on the Internet.

Running on Empty

Running on Empty

What’s this? Another blog post being written after I was at the gym?

Gee whiz. Who would’ve guessed.

But wait, this time my joking references to being at the gym serves more of a purpose than slyly telling the world that one day I’m going to be a swole boi. I actually have something gym-related to discuss!

Though briefly considering it’s not a super complex subject and also I’m hanging with people tonight. So won’t be spending a hell of a lot of time on this.

While my Featured Image for the day might look like an advertising picture for Planet Fitness, I assure you that it was taken more for the line of treadmills in the background than for the logo in the foreground. I just tried to angle my camera in such a way that I wouldn’t be grabbing anyone’s head, even from the back.

Because you know it’s a gym. Wouldn’t be right to accidentally point out anybody despite their anonymity to me personally.

I wanted to grab a photo of some of the treadmills because I had (what I feel was) an interesting observation.

Are public gyms vaguely totalitarian in design?

Now don’t click off just yet. I don’t actually have anything malicious to say about gyms. I’ve quite enjoyed actually regularly going to one for once in my life. Makes me feel good, feel fit. Spry even.

I just feel like there’s something kind of 1984-looking about a bunch of total strangers gathering together and standing next to one another, totally oblivious to one another’s struggles, each focusing on this strange pursuit of attractiveness our society forces upon us from birth.

What, too heavy?

Alright fine it’s not like I’m genuinely concerned the treadmills in the gym are powering some kind of mind control device in the back room. I just think it’s kind of bizarre to imagine.

Same thing often comes to mind when I’m stuck in traffic, actually. Looking around, seeing everyone in the bubble of their vehicles minding their own business.

I know there’s definitely a psychological idea about being enclosed in such a situation and how it effects one’s empathy in regards to other people… But it’s still pretty fascinating to just kind of see all those brain doodads in action.

Now I’m sure you must be wondering where I’m going with this.

Well.

I’m not really going anywhere with this.

I just wanted to pose that idea out into the aether. Seemed like a good space filler considering I spent the rest of the afternoon watching movies and eating pizza.

The antithesis of my gym workout I know. But what can I say. Hanging out with friends has its benefits.

That’s really about all I have to say on the matter actually, because I’m really enjoying re-watching Emperor’s New Groove.

So I guess if you’ve got any thoughts on the strange construction ethics of public gyms, let me know somewhere on the Internet.

Dancing right into Version 2.8.0

Dancing right into Version 2.8.0

Today we got a brand new bunch of dancin’ fools in Fire Emblem Heroes on top of the ramifications of the latest version update that came yesterday.

That’s a lot of ground to cover, so I’m not going to waste your time with a flashy intro.

Let’s just see who’s new and what they can do!


XanderDancing Knight

Skill Set:

  • Dusk Uchiwa (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
    • Effective against cavalry foes. Disables unit’s and foe’s skills that change attack priority. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions.
  • Dance (Range = 1)
    • Grants another action to target ally (cannot target an ally with Sing or Dance).
  • Close Counter (A Skill)
    • Unit can counterattack regardless of foe’s range.
  • Quick Riposte (B Skill)
    • If unit’s Health ≥ 70 percent and foe initiates combat, unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack.
  • Odd Defense Wave (C Skill)
    • At start of odd-numbered turns, grants Defense +6 to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (bonus granted to unit even if no allies are adjacent).

Analysis:

If I’m just being honest, the most important thing about this Performing Arts Xander is his dance.

Like. I don’t know how Intelligent Systems did it. But they created literal perfection.

Outside of that dance animation, however, he still seems to be one of the most worthwhile heroes on this banner to summon. Like every hero here, his weapon disables priority-changing skills on top of being effective against a specific kind of unit.

Plus he comes with three passive skills, again like every unit here. I don’t know why IS decided to make these dancers so stacked, but I’m not complaining.

Xander is obviously built to be an interesting defensive dancing dagger user. His close combat lets him hit from one space away, where his Wave and Quick Riposte can help him survive an attack and hit back twice.

If his stat line is any good, he’ll be an interesting character to throw onto a team.

Mainly because of that dance, though.


ElinciaEstival Princess

Skill Set:

  • Cloud Maiougi (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
    • Effective against dragon foes. Disables unit’s and foe’s skills that change attack priority. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions.
  • Dance (Range = 1)
    • Grants another action to target ally (cannot target an ally with Sing or Dance).
  • Attack/Speed Push (A Skill)
    • At start of combat, if unit’s Health = 100 percent, grants Attack and Speed +5, but if unit attacked, deals one damage to unit after combat.
  • Rockslide Dance (B Skill)
    • If Sing or Dance is used, grants Speed +3 and Defense +4 to target.
  • Drive Resistance (C Skill)
    • Grants Resistance +3 to allies within two spaces during combat.

Analysis:

Elincia holds the distinction of being the very first colored dagger unit in Fire Emblem Heroes. Hurray! Congratulations on your accomplishments girl, you’re doing the Radiant games proud.

Now I already have a pretty strong tie to Elincia as a unit in FEH because she’s such a powerful staple on my flying team. One that I happened to summon when I was in the hospital.

Unlike Xander, her skills are a little more spread around and don’t fit one play style in particular. But they leave her more readily available to fill a variety of niches.

She can be a solid blue dragon killer with that dagger of hers and the Attack/Speed Push. Probably combined with a healing skill.

Or she can be focused purely on buffing dances through that double stat improving Rockslide, improved further by her ability to grant Resistance buffs to nearby allies during combat.

There’s just a lot of potential with her, and I’d be excited to summon Elincia as well.


RyomaDancing Samurai

Skill Set:

  • Sky Maiougi (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
    • Effective against armored foes. Disables unit’s and foe’s skills that change attack priority. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions.
  • Dance (Range = 1)
    • Grants another action to target ally (cannot target an ally with Sing or Dance).
  • Triangle Adept (A Skill)
    • If unit has weapon-triangle advantage, boosts Attack by 20 percent. If unit has weapon-triangle disadvantage, reduces Attack by 20 percent.
  • Chill Defense (B Skill)
    • At start of turn, inflicts Defense -7 on foe on the enemy team with the highest Defense through its next action.
  • Spur Speed/Resistance (C Skill)
    • Grants Speed and Resistance +3 to adjacent allies during combat.

Analysis:

Ohh, so sorry Ryoma. If only you were one reveal ahead, you could have been our first colored dagger unit.

Luckily we have a consolation prize in the form of a very special niche for you to fill as a red armor killer.

Yeah, oddly enough this unarmored lobster seems built to kill powerful red armor units like the Black Knight or Zelgius. He has color priority on a ranged weapon that’s boosted by Triangle Adept and effective against armor units specifically. Plus, he inflicts a hell of a defense debuff at the beginning of each turn.

Now I can’t promise Ryoma will be defensive enough himself to tank a counterattack should his effort to kill fail, but still. Thanks to canceling out abilities like Vantage he may actually have a chance to be a super solid tech choice on teams that are weak to red armored boys.


MicaiahSummer’s Dawn

Skill Set:

  • Dawn Suzu (Might = 14 / Range = 2)
    • Effective against armored and cavalry foes. Disables unit’s and foe’s skills that change attack priority.
  • Dance (Range = 1)
    • Grants another action to target ally (cannot target an ally with Sing or Dance).
  • Attack/Resistance Bond (A Skill)
    • If unit is adjacent to an ally, grants Attack and Resistance +5 during combat.
  • Fireflood Dance (B Skill)
    • If Sing or Dance is used, grants Attack +3 and Resistance +4 to target.
  • Resistance Ploy (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, inflicts Resistance -5 on foes in cardinal directions with Resistance > unit’s Resistance through their next actions.

Analysis:

Color me impressed, every single unit on this banner is actually friggen useful. Micaiah here because she carries a legendary weapon with double ranged type effectiveness that cancels out abilities like Vantage while also lowering an opponent’s resistance and boosting her own Attack and Resistance during battle.

Yeah that’s front loaded I know, but it’s really solid on paper.

Of course the Fireflood Dance is a bit more situational as it seems better fitting for a purely supportive dancer, but hey. Maybe she’ll be a great offensive and defensive dancer.

Seriously I don’t have too much to say here because she’s just a good unit. I do wish she had a red dagger just to round out a banner full of each other colored dagger… But beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose.


I don’t think I can state enough how great every unit on this banner is. Seriously, if you didn’t waste too many orbs on the last Summer/Awakening/Legendary banners like I didn’t, you can have a good time stacking your roster with dancers that can fit on a variety of teams.

Personally I think Elincia and Ryoma are my favorites just based on skills alone. But I’d frankly be happy to get any of them.

In fact, for that reason I’m spending a whole bunch of my ~170 orbs on this sucker. Though probably not enough to go below 100 orbs considering all of the summoning banners coming up soon…

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But with my recent lucky streaks, I should have a good time here, right?

Actually, interestingly enough I have been rather lucky. Just… Not in the way that I’d like to be.

I’m admittedly not entirely sure where these three came from. Micaiah was sort of funny just from the novelty of her alternate skin being in this new banner, but the other two were just. Eh.

I didn’t have a five-star Shigure before, so he’s got some catalog novelty, but Sonya is unfortunately just merging fodder.

So yeah, three five-stars in about 70 orbs. Can’t necessarily complain since my friend Jonathan didn’t get anything tonight… But boy do I want to complain about only getting duplicates.

At least there’s a whole month to score some silly dancers! Plus, the story mode we got to accompany this Paralogue is as interesting in lore as it is useful for orbs.


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Unlike most Paralogues in Fire Emblem Heroes, I would argue the ‘Festival in Hoshido’ Paralogue is much cooler for the story it presents than the pretty art style.

Though that, of course, is just as pretty as ever.

We start off, as you can see, with some exposition by the great Lobster himself regarding the history of the Hoshidan festival. He’s introducing the festivities to Princess Elincia, who has been invited to partake alongside Micaiah. Also Xander. But he’s just right across the gorge so it’s a little bit less of an interesting invitation.

The stakes are raised very quickly when Loki shows up to remind the two that they’ve been put into a contract by Veronica. As they distract the Order of Heroes, who have come to protect the festivities:

Loki goes off to investigate whatever it is she has come to Hoshido seeking. Something that I’ll get into in a minute.

Already this plot is more engaging than the fifth session of Anna tries to sneak peeks at naked Heroes to raise money.

Even if Sharena doesn’t seem to be taking it too seriously.

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As the Order makes their way around, they then come across Xander giving some similar exposition to Micaiah.

While Loki arriving to put a wrench in the festivities was already an interesting point of contention, Xander adds more depth into this particular event by explaining how he’s there in more of a peaceful mission following the conclusion of Fates.

That’s actually some pretty cool world-building. Especially in a world where heroes from other realms can show up to experience the same activities.

It kind of makes up for the fact that I was upset seeing another Fates-based alternate art banner. Even with the Radiant representation, we just have way too many Awakening/Fates characters getting special treatment at this point.

Anyway, once the Order arrives at the final stage, Loki adds even more intrigue to her arrival at the festival.

Yeah, that’s right. Loki is after Anakos. ANAKOS of all things.

Apparently a fire dragon god isn’t good enough for the Múspell army. Now to be completely honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of this ultimate dragonic antagonist in Fates. Especially following Grima in Awakening, he was just sort of forgettable and weird.

But if they incorporate him into the plot of the mobile gotcha game somehow, I’m all in IS. You’ll have us good.

I agree completely.

But am also very invested in exactly where this sideplot is headed.


Normally I would just conclude my pieces here with a quick question about who you’re most interested in summoning off the banner and what you think about the suddenly interesting developments in the Paralogue story.

But this time I have a little more to jump on.

Version 2.8.0 dropped yesterday, and while it may not have added enough to warrant a full post yesterday I still wanted to dedicate some time to it. Because you know. I like cataloging this stuff.

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A lot of what was implemented here are minor adjustments to pre-existing modes. Adjustments that don’t really do a lot for me specifically.

First and foremost is a new tier being added to the Arena. Once players hit tier 20, now they can go further and become a Great Summoner. Anyone who does gets an aesthetic crown mark on top of Feh’s head on the home screen.

I’ve never made it to tier 20. So… Yeah. Doesn’t mean too much for me.

Intelligent Systems also added in the ability to have multiple skill sets for each unit. That way you could have a build if your Reinhardt is on a cavalry only team versus if your Reinhardt is on his own. For example.

There’s also some more options in the allies menu to sort different combinations of favorite characters together. But that’s another functionality I never used in the first place so… Yeah. Again.

Probably the only thing that was added which I could actually see myself using is the Order of Heroes weapon refines.

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Perhaps these three could actually be useful now! Which would be very beneficial to new players especially.

With those changes out-of-the-way, everything else is summed up as minor additions. Very cleanly summed up by this succinct list:

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Gaining extra rewards during Grand Conquests is probably the best thing just in this section alone, though I am very interested to see what it will be like to play tap battles at triple speed.

Also I would be interested in having my orbs hit quadruple digits. But that’s a different story.

That’s about all I have to say for Fire Emblem Heroes for the day.

Since I was already on track for this earlier, let me know what you think about those questions I asked in the comments! Based on the events calendar, it’ll be a couple of weeks before one of these shows up again. Considering I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who enjoys them, hopefully you all enjoy the hiatus.

A Short Essay on Short Essays

A Short Essay on Short Essays

I don’t know why I insist on writing these posts after going to the gym lately, because really it’s just detrimental for my ability to imagine and write coherent posts.

Though perhaps not as much as the insufferable heat wave yesterday.

I’ll count my blessings where I can.

Speaking of that heat killing all of my motivation, it seems I’ve been fluctuating between work-focused and not at all work-focused quite a bit the past few days. After doing next to nothing yesterday, today I actually got my stuff together enough to be productive. Notably with a job application I’ve been working on that is, admittedly, a far-flung idea for me to feel completely justified talking about in-depth.

Doing that job application has gotten me thinking a little bit about one part of this app, and many others for that matter, that feels somewhat strange to me at the moment.

The personal essay.

I don’t typically put a lot of thought into the idea of writing essays. Growing up I put myself through the wringer of the Advanced Placement course pathway in high school, which included AP Language and AP Literature. We had to write a lot of essays in those classes to prepare us for the AP exams, so I was used to the idea.

Essays also continued to be synonymous with college courses. Every undergraduate-level class has some kind of writing requirement and all of my Communications courses are all about writing.

As a result, you would think essay requirements showing up in job applications would just come in stride.

Which, to be fair, they do for the most part. Whenever I’ve applied for the Daily Titan an essay has always been required, for example.

But for some reason the essay that was asked of me in this current job application stuck out as… The worst, most stand-out part of it.

It took me a little while to figure out exactly why. But I think the conclusion I’ve come to says something about me and the way I tend to approach work.

For me essays make a lot more sense in a job application when they ask for some kind of very specific information. Using the Daily Titan application as an example, the essay portion of that involves answering a couple of questions pertaining to the potential job.

What does the paper do well? What does it not do well? What can you bring to the job you’re applying for that would make it better?

Things like that.

Sure it’s arguably formulaic to go down this route, but the sense of direction those questions bring do make for a straight-forward task. Answering the questions, while utilizing them as conduits for inserting stories of one’s experience as a means of showcasing that individual’s abilities.

The application I’ve been working on doesn’t really have any sort of driving questions like this to give potential employees a sense of direction.

As far as premise goes, this application simply asks for an autobiographical essay to tell the hiring staff something that cannot be garnered from the surrounding questions in the application. Given the fact that it already asks for degree-earning information, references and work samples outside of the essay, that leaves a vague opening for what can be written.

That somewhat vague nature exacerbates a potential pitfall in writing the essay. Or at least it does in my head where I’m more than likely over thinking things, but that’s another story.

If you have an essay for a fairly serious job application essentially asking you to write about anything you want outside of your direct work experience, where is the line in terms of being too casual or not casual enough?

Obviously the whole thing can’t just be the tale of how you won X reward or accomplished Y task, but it’s also probably not great form to do something jokey or entirely non-serious since the serious aspects might be in one’s resume off the bat. Looking like you take the job not at all seriously while applying to it seems like a quick way to lose a potential job.

Now all of this is more of a theoretical thought experiment, as the pragmatic side of me has already sorted out the balance of serious-versus-personal qualities to write about. But seeing my personal preference lean so heavily in the direction of a structured, serious or even academic paper versus one that lets me express myself in an open, even goofy way is interesting. Introspective even.

Perhaps all those years of AP classes really did screw me up for the rest of my life, just like I joke about.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to ask an actually interesting question at the end of one of these blog posts. Where do you feel you stand on the spectrum I described here?

Do you prefer if a job (or anything for that matter) asks structured, serious questions of you? Or more open, vague questions?

Let me know somewhere on the internet, I’d love to hear it!

The Mad Ramblings of a Man in the Heat

The Mad Ramblings of a Man in the Heat

If yesterday was a day of relative progress and hard work, through going to the gym, updating my social media accounts and turning in a Spotlight article for Gladeo, today is… Well, the opposite.

Because it is way too hot out for anyone to seriously be motivated about doing anything.

The reason my Featured Image for the day is just a picture of my fan going is because that’s what I’ve been staring at 90 percent of the time since coming home today. We don’t have any kind of air conditioning here by the beach because the heat is normally counterbalanced by a cool sea breeze, but this summer things have been especially insufferable. So downstairs, hidden in the alcove of my room with the fan going is probably the coolest area in this place.

Despite the heat I have been keeping myself busy and entertained with a few things where I can.

Probably the most notable thing involved obsessing over the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct that went on this morning.

It was 1000 percent insane and basically hyped everyone for the game even more than ever.

Castlevania characters.

King K. Rool.

Over 100 stages and 900 musical tracks.

Tons of new assist trophies and Pokémon summons.

Plus, let’s not forget Luigi dying in the Simon Belmont reveal trailer. Which the entire internet freaked the hell out about, leading to the green-capped plumber trending on Twitter. Yeah no joke.

There was so much more than that to suggest that Smash Ultimate really will be an insane, content-packed explosion of Nintendo pride from Sakurai and his team.

So much so that I considered doing a post solely on that… But I wasn’t exactly feeling the 30-minute video analysis. Today.

Just know it’s something I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come, and I’d say you should be too.

In other somewhat significant video game-related news, last night Intelligent Systems released the contents of our next special banner in Fire Emblem Heroes. So I spent some time pre-writing my post on that before starting to work on this post.

I know a lot of you probably don’t care, but I’m quite excited for these four dancers. So be ready for that on August 10th.

Those are really the two serious stand-out things that happened today between bouts of melting into a pile of goo on my bed.

I did also play some more Enter the Gungeon, which I’m having a great time slowly but surely getting better at. I’m not able to semi-reliably reach the final floor and have started the process of collecting the game’s scattered parts to unlock the true ending. But I haven’t seen even half the content available in the roguelike.

Which is, frankly, insane to me. I love how much these games are packing, since they give me plenty to distract myself with until games like Monster Hunter Generations and Smash Ultimate drop on Switch.

Plus The World Ends with You, which got an official release date of October 12th. And I’m. Just so excited to finally get to try it.

But hey all those video games aside, I also managed to do some regular work on my Senior Honors Project.

Because somewhere along the lines all of the time I had to work on having a basic product over the summer slipped away into the aether. Don’t know how that happened, but it did.

I’ll be honest, I’m not totally sure how to end this blog post. I feel like I could just endlessly ramble in a pre-heat stroke mess of keystrokes, but I’d much rather just sit around in the dark accepting my fate.

So I’m going to end unceremoniously here and say to stay tuned for other things coming soon. Things that I’m sure I have in the pipeline somewhere or another.

Updating my Life

Updating my Life

Check out that artsy Featured Image. Pretty great, huh?

Obviously today I’m planning on talking about my social media accounts a little. Any really observant, dedicated readers of this blog will likely remember that my post last night ended with my thoughts regarding updating the descriptions and such on my various accounts.

Those descriptions, everything from profile pages to general life or job details on a site like LinkedIn, haven’t been given a lot of attention in the past. I obviously put some work into them when I first established the social media sites, but my general disinterest in social media overall let to them falling somewhat stagnant.

Which is the reason why I was still listed as a News Editor for the Daily Titan close to a year after I actually technically held that title.

Oops.

That may not have caused any actual problems for me, but recently it has come to my attention that they could cause actual problems. Seeing people I’m looking to interview for Gladeo check my LinkedIn profile, making more extended friends on Twitter, hearing my friend Nina checks out this blog regularly amongst other friends who have expressed that in the past…

These are the kinds of details which helped click in my head the fact that people actually look at my social media pages.

So no matter how much disinterest I express toward them (seeing as I mostly use the pages as signal extenders for these blog posts), I know it’s important to keep them up-to-date. Because important people are looking at them, and I need to put my best foot forward.

My LinkedIn page probably got the most tweaking, as I finally updated some more of my jobs, awards and skills to gain whatever recognition the site decided to bestow upon me for completing my profile. If you want to check that out as my digital resume of sorts, it’s right over here.

Twitter got the second-most revamping with a brand new profile picture (because unfortunately the Frankenstein one was just a little too silly) and an updated bio. Because again, can’t be going around saying I’m a DT editor anymore.

It’s just former editor now, as you can see on my page.

Facebook got the least amount of love because… Frankly, it’s just a mess. I finally replaced my profile photo from like three years ago, added a banner photo of the beach that I love and… That’s about it. One of these days I’ll go through the interests page and my personal information to update it beyond what it was in high school, but that’s a project for another day. The pretty pictures are right through here, though. For anyone curious.

The only site that I haven’t done much of an update to recently is this here blog. As I went through the other three, I started to think that maybe it’s about time I do so.

Like seriously, I haven’t put any kind of profile photo to represent the site as a whole since its inception a few years back. I fielded the idea of commissioning my friend Sam to draw something for a time, but that never really panned out. I could think about doing that again, but considering she just moved to Arizona it might not be the best time.

On top of that there are some sidelined things that could be better put together in my opinion. Like getting rid of the tag cloud. That’s just kind of useless.

Or hey, maybe I should try to come up with some new post categories so it isn’t all just ‘miscellaneous’ or whatever.

That could be a good idea.

I’m still working on some Gladeo stuff and preparing for school to start at the end of the month by working more on my Honors Project, so who knows if I’ll get to updating this place anytime soon.

Just know that it’s something I’ve been thinking about.