Entertainment Beat Report – April 19, 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – April 19, 2018

Quippy opening time?

Nah, who needs one of those. We’ve got video games, baby! So how about we just jump right in, that way I’m not keeping everyone busy for the next three years.


‘Monster Hunter: World’ updates with a brand new monster to hunt

If the angry pickle that is the Deviljho wasn’t enough to keep Monster Hunter players satisfied, Capcom has them covered.

As of today, the well-acclaimed developers have added a totally new elder dragon into their open world title known as the Kulve Taroth. While DLC is not anything unique for the Monster Hunter series as a whole, the fact that the DLC in world features brand new additions to the line-up on top of bringing in fan favorite monsters shows that the game has a lot going for its longevity.

On top of the gold-plated elder dragon, Capcom has added a new locale into the game for it to reside in as well. The Kulve Taroth’s nesting place is known as the Caverns of El Dorado, which as the name suggests is essentially a large series of interconnected caverns.

I unfortunately still don’t have a means of playing Monster Hunter: World in my personal time, but I really do like seeing it get the love it deserves. Plus, I’ll likely enjoy beating this thing up when I hang out with my friends over the summer.


‘Dark Souls’ on Switch release date pushed back

This is a story I have somewhat mixed feelings about. The upcoming Dark Souls: Remastered seems to be having some growing pains, as the Nintendo Switch release date was pushed back to the summer (along with its corresponding Amiibo).

Now I say I have mixed feelings on this because on one hand I’m really looking forward to this game coming out so I can finally experience the series I’ve always heard so much about. But on the other hand, I had no idea that the game was set to come out on May 25th originally, and am glad to have some extra time to enjoy ‘Don’t Starve’ more before jumping into a new game.

According to the Nintendo Life article I’m pulling this from (the one I linked above, thanks to my editor’s feedback), the development issues seem to only be affecting the Switch version thus far. Every other console will still see a May 25th release.


Bungie to host community summit regarding ‘Destiny 2’

When Bungie originally decided to move on from their success producing games in the ‘Halo’ series, many fans were sad to see them go but also excited for their next project: Another futuristic space-themed first person shooter called ‘Destiny.’

Destiny was a huge hit upon release and built up a massive fanbase quickly that latched onto the game for years following its 2014 release. However… The sequel, Destiny 2, has not been so lucky.

Because fans continue to have problems with the overall game, Bungie will be holding a community-driven gathering in Washington to see what issues people still want addressed as a means of potentially keeping the game alive.

I’ve never been a huge Destiny fan myself despite a long history with Halo, so I can’t say I’m an expert in everything people complain about regarding the game. This Variety article does a pretty nice job of laying it out though, so give that a read if you’re interested in some more context.

Besides that, don’t have too much to say on this one. I think it’s cool that Bungie wants to bring its community of fans in for this kind of work, but I don’t necessarily have a stake in the game either way.


E3 press conference announcements have begun

With the annual E3 conference comes a heaping helping of new video game news that fans around the world are always eager to gobble up. Even though it won’t be until June, various companies have already begun to announce their line-up of titles and press conference times.

IGN has a nice list of everything that has been announced so far, so I’m going to leave that here. Nobody has leaked the specifics of what they’re doing just yet, but it’ll be interesting to watch this space over the next few weeks to see what we can see.


Nintendo’s Labo experiment to launch tomorrow

If it wasn’t obvious, I’m kind of scraping the barrel at this point. There wasn’t a whole lot of news this last week that was groundbreaking, so I’m just pulling together whatever I can.

Thus, here’s a reminder that tomorrow will bring the release of Nintendo Labo, a strange series of arts-and-crafts add-ons for the Nintendo Switch that will offer an interesting example for the console’s more intricate abilities.

Fittingly released on 4/20, I suppose.

The first Labo Variety Kit will cost $69.99, which is a little rich for my blood looking at what it comes with… But I can’t argue with the fact that the set is essentially four games in one with extra real life fun to be had by building cardboard objects. So the price probably balances out there somewhere.

Also on the release docket for tomorrow is the new God of War, which continues to get rather stellar reviews like I mentioned in my last beat report. Schools around the country should probably be prepared for a lot of absences given the crossover of ‘hype new game’ and ‘smoke weed day’ if I were to make a prediction.


So with this beat report, I tried taking a slightly different approach. A few more items of interest than usual with a shorter, more to-the-point word count on each. Let me know what you think of that in the comments below, since I’m personally hoping it doesn’t just feel like I phoned things in!

Also, as usually, let me know if there’s anything I missed because I’m sure there is.

Hope somebody out there learned something today, but until next time I’m out of here. Have to get to class in about an hour or so, which is why I’m a bit more in-and-out than usual.

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My literal work in progress

My literal work in progress

Alright so this is an unequivocally silly idea. Going to get that out in the open right off the bat.

Earlier this week there was an update to Fire Emblem Heroes that I did a rather extensive post for. You’ll recognize it for having the amazing pun in the title.

Also no, don’t tell me you would not have done the amazing pun in the comments. Because it’s amazing and literally everyone would have.

If it wasn’t obvious enough to anyone who reads these on a regular basis, I have a bit of a formula when it comes to pulling the Heroes posts together. I capture all of my images directly out of the game and try to organize them where they should belong for easy access.

As a result I always end up pre-writing my thoughts using pictures and quippy statements summarizing what I want to say.

For some reason the pre-writing skeleton I did for the Thracia 776 character addition post just… Really tickled my funny bone.

Maybe it was the fact that the origin of my new favorite Feh meme came out of the quickly written blurbs?

Feh Plot Meme

I’m not sure.

Whatever the reason is, I really enjoyed this first draft more than most of the others I do.

So… I decided to save off what I did as a separate post before going out and finalizing my thoughts.

This is that unabridged ‘first thoughts’ draft of my post. I figured that this is a blog meant to be a source of practice in the craft of writing, so why not try to show off some of the behind-the-scenes baseball?

There isn’t a single hair out of place. It’s a bunch of large, unadjusted pictures occasionally separated by text with me being snarky about the game. I assume nobody is going to want to see that, and I don’t want to bog down the blog overall with it, so I’m leaving everything under a read more on the off-chance anyone wants to test their luck.

Consider this my attempt to keep content flowing on an off day with something potentially of interest. Could be fun to do a compare/contrast maybe?

I don’t know, I’ll leave that up to the audience.

That said, I hope you all enjoy!

– Jason

Continue reading “My literal work in progress”

Movie Magic, ladies and germs

Movie Magic, ladies and germs

Ever since my dad shifted careers to start working for the movie ticket broker Fandango, we’ve had the chance to enjoy a number of benefits.

Up to this point those benefits have been rather specifically movie ticket related (for obvious reasons). However, today we got to take advantage of benefits related to the company’s attachment with NBC Universal:

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That’s right, we went to Universal Studios, y’all.

I had a blast spending the day with my family — pictured above in the featured image if it wasn’t clear to everyone — and just wanted to take a little bit of time to debrief myself from the trip and publish a couple of the pictures. Who knows, maybe that can serve an auxiliary purpose of showing some people the theme park/studio lot who can’t get there.

He says as if there aren’t plenty of outlets for that already.

But I digress. The day began, funnily enough, with work. I still work with the Gladeo League, and every two weeks (more or less) we have meetings over Google Hangouts. Naturally I forgot that today was the day I had a meeting at the same time as we needed to drive up.

Luckily it took plenty of time to get up to Universal.

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Check out that fancy map

I would like to take this chance to apologize to Michelle and everyone else again for having to deal with my jostling around in the car during our meeting. If any of you happen to be reading this.

That said, even if you guys are reading this, I’m sure neither you nor the rest of the audience is interested in the logistics of driving to a theme park.

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It’s all about the parking, after all.

Yeah we parked in the Frankenstein Lot. Also yeah, I got my sister to pose like everyone’s favorite amalgamate Universal monster. Also also yeah, my dad photobombed the picture.

But do I care?

Nah. It’s a great shot.

But hey, let’s jump into the park shall we?

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Just kidding, got you! First I wanted to talk about this.

Look at these trees with me. These are trees outfitted with mist sprinklers. Sprinkler trees. I don’t know who came up with this idea or where they are now, but wherever they may be they should be happy I’m not there. Because I’m not sure whether to smack them for being so silly or hug them for being a genius.

It’s just so perfectly weird in all the best ways. I’m still trying to sort through my thoughts and we caught these walking into the park at 10 a.m. or so.

Okay. Now let’s get into the park. Seriously this time.

The first thing we did was wander the length of the main level to check out the different facets made available to us. Eventually we settled on the Studio Tour as our first stop.

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Not included in my photo slideshow above is the interactive portions of the Tour, most notably.

The ‘ride,’ if you’re interested in calling it such, features two 3D virtual experiences. They both took place inside dark rooms with imposingly large screens surrounding the trams, which sat on rocking bases to simulate motion. One was based on King Kong and the other was based on Fast and the Furious.

There were also a number of examples of soundstage tricks throughout the time strolling around the studio lot, all capped off with a fun, snarky tour guide. Who started off the journey making fake airhorn noises.

Fun stuff.

Also in case you were curious, the Fast and the Furious portion of the Tour was just as ridiculous as the movies. Somehow they managed to pack two-and-a-half hours worth of insanity into about five minutes. Great stuff, honestly.

After finishing the Studio Tour, we moved over to check out the Simpsons region of the park.

The wait for the Simpson’s Ride was a little rich for our blood, so we decided to go straight from there to the Lower Lot.

I didn’t get a picture of the escalators down, but there were seriously at least seven. The lot is built into a crazy steep mountain.

At the bottom there are a few rides, but Aly and I did not tackle the Jurassic Park ride specifically. A few years ago I took the literal plunge with my dad when we weren’t expecting what it entailed, and the picture that was taken of us that day still graces out living room.

But that’s a story for another day.

Today our time in the Lower Lot consisted of two rides: Transformers and the Mummy.

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The Transformers ride was okay, though I frankly don’t have much to say about it. It was a 3D experience similar to the two portions of the Studio Tour I described, except moving around rather than being stuck on a single panel.

It did manage to be just as ridiculous as the Fast and the Furious portion of that Tour, however. Though that is a given considering it was based on a Michael Bay experience.

I think my tweet from that time sums up my thoughts pretty succinctly.

Somehow the ride incorporated that mentality while also containing an arc where Optimus Prime died, then came back to help save the day. All within the span of about five minutes. Good stuff.

From there we moved into the Mummy, where a lot of the fun came from the lead-in. Mostly watching Aly freak out as we got closer to the front.

The ride itself actually wound up being way more intense than either of us expected. It accelerated ridiculously quickly — but of course the park planned things specifically to take photos right when those G-forces hit.

As a result, we got this gem.

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I thought very hard about using this for the featured image.

But if I did, I wouldn’t be able to zoom in like this:

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Talk about 100 percent pure magic.

After finishing in the Lower Lot, we moved up into the place my family was looking forward to most:

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Hewlett Packard land. Everyone’s favorite technology-driven world.

I jest of course, but we really were excited for the Harry Potter stuff.

There were a couple of awesome things about this part of the park specifically. First and foremost, Butterbeer:

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That stuff is real good. Enough said.

Then of course, the wands:

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So many wands, so little time.

My dad’s job includes a discount at all the stores in the park, so we were all able to get wands of our own. Personally, I snagged a Luna Lovegood wand because of how beautiful a shape it takes:

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It looks like a broom or an arrow, and it’s great. I also managed to get the last Snitch keychain on the rack and it’s just as beautiful. I’ll have to figure out what to do with it, since I’m not sure I want to actually stick it on my keys. Looks fragile, man.

My dad also got one of the special wands that interacted with parts of the park and he looked real cute walking around waving it at things.

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But anyway, the other great thing about Harry Potter was the fact that my friend Tiana just so happened to be coming to the park today as well, so we met up there and jumped on the big attraction.

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This statue was a little too suggestive for us to handle like reasonable adults…
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But otherwise the decor was amazing.

Honestly the line going into the ride was the best part. It had so many amazing facets to explore that were all recognizable rooms from the movie.

The ride itself was just okay, though. Fun but a little overwhelming when it rolls you totally upside down as your feet hang free.

I tapered off on photos around this part of the day. My phone had trickled down into single-digit percentages so I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my abilities to keep it alive. Basically we ate at Mel’s Diner, I had an obscenely complicated trip around the park attempting to find a bathroom and we wound up over at the Minion’s Ride. Based, of course, on Illumination’s Despicable Me.

I’ll be honest, that ride was probably the worst part of the day. It was cute, but very impersonal compared to the way a lot of the other rides were presented.

Also it reminded me a little too much of the mobile game my sister messed around with a few years back, honestly.

On the way out we hit a couple of stores.

Also here’s something we found in one of the stores that will stare into your soul for the next few nights.

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Terrifying.

From there we left the park, took that neat-o picture I used for my post’s featured image out by the big globe and went over to City Walk so Aly could drag us to Voodoo Donuts.

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That, in a not-so-concise nutshell, was my day at Universal Studios. From there we drove home, where I got in some more Don’t Starve on the oh-so-convenient Nintendo Switch:

Then I started working on this blog post.

Don’t think I have too much more to say without things getting weirdly meta and self-contemplative, so I’m going to leave off where I started. I had a great day with my family and I can’t wait to see where we wind up next.

Entertainment Beat Report – April 12, 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – April 12, 2018

As it turns out, I must be using the momentum from my Daily Titan post earlier this week to my advantage. Sometimes I astound myself with the way I can just go dark for days on end when I know I’ll enjoy myself after I manage to get out multiple posts in a row.

It’s just a satisfying feeling, man.

But that’s neither here nor there. This is a place to talk about video games. Not any of that real life garbage.

There’s probably some news going back a few weeks that I missed, but honestly I’m going to focus this entertainment beat report on a couple of really big things that have happened just recently in the video game realms that I follow.

So, without further adieu.


Overwatch League player terminated over sexual misconduct allegations

That’s right, we’re starting off with the heavy stuff today folks.

Jonathan Sanchez, a player known as “DreamKazper” from the Boston Uprising team taking part in Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League tournament, had his contract terminated on Sunday when allegations went around that the 21-year-old was sexually involved with a 14-year-old fan.

Both the League and his former team have released statements about the scandal that can be seen over in the Game Informer link I put above.

I’ll be honest, I don’t exactly have a lot to say about this subject specifically. I have been following the League a little bit for this class, but I wouldn’t call myself an expert. Certainly not enough to know whether or not losing this player will leave a huge dent in the team’s abilities for the rest of the tournament.

But the fact that this story came out and received the reaction it did is important. In an era where the “Me too” movement seems to be taking down celebrities and other popular figures left and right (with good cause), it’s nice to see that a niche industry like eSports is not immune.

Though the League as a whole does not seem to be having a fantastic first run in regards to its media pull, which overall is somewhat unfortunate. Game Informer also linked to coverage of another case where a player was suspended and fined for derogatory language, and I remember writing a beat report not too long ago about one female commentator receiving death threats.

As an obvious fan of all things video games, I’d like to see a mainstream popular League like this survive beyond these controversies.

I suppose only time will tell.


“Donkey Kong” high score disqualified

Everyone loves Donkey Kong, right?

Well yes, Rare’s Donkey Kong Country series is certainly what people know the hulking ape for nowadays, and those games are undoubtedly wonderful both as experiences in themselves and as developments in gaming history.

But I’m talking about old school arcade Donkey Kong. The game where proto-Mario jumped around on scaffolding to save future New Donk City mayor Pauline from the clutches of the red tie-wearing monkey’s grandfather.

Is Donkey Kong a money? I swear I took a primate class not too long ago but I’m still nowhere near enough of an expert…

Anyway, not the point.

The point is, OG Donkey Kong had a worldwide high score set by a player named Billy Mitchell. Mitchell’s scores was removed from rankings of the game following the discovery that many of them were achieved using an emulator, according to a report by Kotaku.

Heather Alexandra has a pretty in-depth story on the subject that’s fascinating in its level of detail, so I’m going to just recommend you read it off the link I posted above.

If you’re at all interested in the retro gaming scene, you’ll have a good time.


New “God of War” title received stellar reviews

There’s a little-known franchise making waves in the game review circuit right now.

Oh, who am I kidding, anyone who’s reading this likely knows what “God of War” is, as it’s far from ‘little-known.’ The highly acclaimed series will be breaking into the next generation of consoles soon with a new release on the PS4, and people have been hyped for the game since it was announced some time ago.

Like many other people, I will affectionately refer to the game as “Dad of War” because the main character, Kratos, is an older man with a son in this title.

The game’s reviews have begun to trickle out now that there’s about a week before its release, and at this point everything looks to be highly in favor of the new Dad of War. On Metacritic, a site that accumulates review scores from across the web, the game has positive acclaim across the board.

Hell, at least three sites have given everyone’s favorite god-slaying daddy a 100 percent. Even IGN, which is pretty famous for hilariously bad reviews (look at you, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire’s 7.8/10 score for ‘too much water’) gave the game a perfect 10 — literally describing the game as a masterpiece.

After initial reviews like that, the question remains: Will Dad of War truly be as impressive as everyone is letting on?

I won’t personally be able to say given the fact that I don’t own a PS4. But my friends might play it.

If they do, I suppose I’ll get my answer there.


There are also probably a few smaller things I could throw into this, but for the most part it would be items of personal interest like the release of Klei Entertainment’s “Don’t Starve” on the Nintendo Switch.

(Shout out to Klei for liking my tweet. I’ve been noticed by Senpai!)

I love the game to death and played hours on end over Steam, so I’m excited to get to dive into it on a more portable system.

That said, it really is more of a personal item, so I’m going to let you all off early on this post.

I hope you all learned something new here today, and if there’s any big news in the world of video games that I missed, feel free to let me know in the comments down below!

Intelligent Systems won’t “Leif” us alone

Intelligent Systems won’t “Leif” us alone

So remember in my Daily Titan article archiving post from yesterday when I said I haven’t posted on this blog recently and kind of jokingly passed it off as not having enough time?

Well allow me to completely destroy all credibility in that regard by immediately jumping into another post all about Fire Emblem Heroes. Everyone’s favorite, I’m sure.

What can I say, it’s hard for me to stay away when this game updates itself and gives us some new people to play around with, especially now that I’ve personally gotten more into creating powerful units to fool around with. That or it’s just hard for me to get away from this writing crutch that I’ve rested on one too many times as an excuse to write more fun things that I’m interested in.

Either or works as an explanation honestly.

But that said, let’s quit all the meta talk and move into some Fire Emblem talk.


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Welcome to the World of Thracia 776 ©, the Fire Emblem game that literally nobody would have remembered existed if Reinhardt wasn’t added into Heroes with one of its first updates and became an overpowered meme machine.

Mm-mmm, That’s the kind of meme quality I’m after.

Though with that said, I think the elephant in this particular room should be addressed before I get too deep into things.

No, I will not apologize for using such a perfect pun in my post title.

Don’t bother asking.

But in all seriousness, my actual gripe comes from the fact that half of this new hero summoning banner is literally a re-tread of the only heroes from this game that we actually already have from that early update.

Like what’s the deal Intelligent Systems? I know that Reinhardt is a popular meme — as I’ve so graciously pointed out before — but are there really no more than three new heroes we can include from this generally unacknowledged title before resigning ourselves to new versions of ones that are already here?

They aren’t even special holiday variants guys. Seriously guys, come on.

But I digress. Even if they are partially re-releases, these heroes must have something to offer in their own rights, right?

… Right?

  • LeifPrince of Leonster
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    • Where to begin with these new heroes… I don’t have that much of a connection to any of them, so I suppose I’ll have to stick with their possible competitive viability. Lief arguably has the best chance to fit in somewhere in my opinion. His weapon has a cool effect that boosts his own defense and subsequently boosts his attack based on his defense. Add that to the Spd and Def boost and he’s got a nice core if you disregard the just ‘ok’ special attack. Plus I’ve been getting more into Drive skills lately so I dig that. However… He comes with an energy drink. For some reason. If it’s a reference I don’t get it, but what I do know is that drink is literally useless outside of Chain Challenges and Tempest Trial runs. So clearly this boy isn’t meant to be used in too many other places.
  • NannaNordion Princess
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    • Nanna is painfully forgettable. There aren’t too many cavalier healers in the game so she has a slight boost in intrigue there, but it clearly falls off a cliff from there. Her staff absorbs health, which is really only useful if you buff the staff to equal the damage of regular weapons. Restore is interesting but highly situational if the opponent doesn’t have stat negating abilities. Healing everyone with the special attack is also situational. A +2 buff to two stats isn’t anything to write home about. It’s just a mess. Granted, not pictured is a Drive Def skill, but even then it’s mostly good for passing off onto others. 0/10, would not want to summon.
  • OlwenRighteous Knight
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    • Here we go, into the strange clones. It’s like when Eirika showed up in the last Sacred Stones banner as a totally new unit all over again. Except this time she isn’t even radically different since our previous Olwen was also a mage cavalier. Blue last time to be fair, but in this iteration she simply gains a slightly bugged version of the Gronnblade tome. I already have a +10 merged Gronnblade Cecilia, game. I don’t need a new one. Even if she does come with Swift Sparrow, which is a decent ability to pass along. Next…
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    • Despite being another clone, this Reinhardt offers something interesting for himself at the very least. Rather than being a buffed up brave blue tome using cavalier, now he’s a buffed up brave sword using cavalier. Because that makes sense in the lore I suppose? I like his weapon a lot, since it’s along the lines of Elincia’s Amiti sword but works offensively and defensively. Plus adding onto that with Death Blow and Vantage is fantastic. Just switch out Pavise for something, get a new C skill other than the Spur x2 and he’d be pretty useful. It’s just a shame that weapon of his can’t be passed on… Especially because of it’s fantastic name. Meisterschwert. That’s on par with Mystletainn honestly.

Oh yeah by the way, there’s also a lance cavalier named Finn lingering around in the story mode who seems like the great knight early game protector-archetype character. But he’s a Tempest Trial reward character for the future, so we don’t need to worry about him yet.

All-and-all I’m not super excited about any of these guys. Leif and Reinhardt take two are probably the best looking units in the bunch, but I won’t be clawing at the seams trying to summon them desperately with the last of my orb reserves.

I’m back up to 70 at this point following my female Grima debacle, so I’d like to keep storing up for a rainy day at this point.

It doesn’t help that Mia from the Radiant games decided to show up unannounced as a red five-star unit instead of the two aforementioned characters I wanted.

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Even though there’s currently a banner running that features her as a focus unit.

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But that’s a gripe for another day. Because new character update also means new story missions! So let’s jump into that.


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So one thing I have to give props to for the team that designs Fire Emblem Heroes is the map design. Even though we’ve mostly moved away from maps that reference the original titles directly (outside of Paralogues of course), Nifl is still an interesting winter wonderland to see develop over time.

Plus the transition into the last map where most of the snow is melted away thanks to the flames of the enemy is particularly beautiful.

Unfortunately, losing out on referential maps also coincides with losing out on a lot of the referential character-driven dialogue. As much as I enjoy the overall story arc being woven, it would be nice to see the characters being added into the fray getting a little more time to shine.

But hey I haven’t even gotten into the overarching story, so why don’t we discuss that first.

Once again this chapter begins with a dream sequence.

That’s right, Gunnthrá is back again and ready to drop some exposition all up on us.

You just know that if a fairly plot important character shows up with secret knowledge about how to win a war and the intent to meet with your party soon following a multi-chapter build-up, everything is going to work out.

But hey, dream sequences are so overrated. We’ve gotta get back to where the actual real plot left off.

Feel caught up? Good, because that’s about all they give us to jump back into things. I suppose it does the job, and gives us more time to get into who these strange Thracia people are.

Except just kidding. They all get one or two lines and that’s it. Most of the missions have no plot, hurray!

Though to be fair, in this case I’m led to believe it’s 100 percent intentionally cast aside just to show how in-tuned they are with the Reinhardt memes.

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Clearly magic isn’t everything.

Also for real support these Fire Emblem meme generators, they’re awesome.

But back on track, after dealing with a couple of mindless battles the Order of Heroes finally arrives at the temple they’re supposed to meet Gunnthrá in. Except- Oh no! Plot development!

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Darn right it is, owl.

The story actually gets surprisingly dark and serious at this point kind of out of nowhere.

Yeah it looks like Surtr straight up set a trap by capturing Gunnthrá and tortured her (not that her in-game art changed to reflect that) trying to find out what the Order of Heroes is planning to do in order to stop him.

Except obviously nobody tells him what we’re planning, so he does the next best thing.

She’s dead, yo.

Yeah in a dark twist, someone actually dies in this mobile Fire Emblem game. A pseudo-main character no less.

I was totally caught off guard by this development honestly, how could they have done something of this caliber without totally telegraphing their plot thread ahead of-

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Oh wait they totally did.

Yeah, the whole death scene as a whole was hinted at a bit too strongly for my tastes. Kind of too obvious to really be a good twist.

Though to be fair, the fact that they killed a main character is still rather impressive. Especially considering they let us summon her… Months ago. In a Legendary Hero banner. Because she’s a Legendary Hero.

Who is now suddenly dead in the canonical story without having done anything.

But we can still use her if we summoned her…

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So how much bearing does the canonical story bear on the in-game mechanics then? Because I’ve always been under the impression that they’re fairly tightly linked due to the fact that heroes in Paralogue missions always mention they can join you in your main army.

Though more than just raising a strange existential in-game question, the fact that Gunnthrá was summonable months ago also brings up the question of why Fjorm needed to have a moment of emotional turmoil?

Like I get it your sister died, but did she really? I could go S-rank your relationship right now if I wanted. And if that wouldn’t be a total waste of stat buffs.

Also, evil laugh is evil. Just saying.

Except wait, plot twist take two. As suddenly as before, turns out she’s not really dead?

 

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Darn right again, owl friend.

Except just kidding again, she totally is dead. We just needed hers back for two seconds to Deus Ex Machina a solution for killing the ultimate invincible bad guy.

Just like she also telegraphed in her dream sequence.

So you go to follow the light because the invincible evil general who planned the ultimate evil ruse in this chapter and killed a main character… Kind of just lets you escape.

All is good in the world and now your party has a new mission to complete this ancient ritual and gain the power to defeat Surtr and get revenge. Even though your mission was already about revenge because Nifl was being destroyed as is.

So same mission, different route to get there?

The end.

Or is it?!

Dun dun duuuuuuunnnn!

But for real, that’s about it for the plot.

I know I made fun of it a lot in this post, but let’s be honest it is a bit too obvious and contrived as a way to move the story along this time around. It’s serviceable, but just a bit disappointing for my tastes.

Also I’m expecting a revival Jesus-style in the near future. But if they keep Gunnthrá dead, I suppose I’ll be impressed by the balls it took to kill off someone integral in this kind of silly mobile game.

Despite the fact that I already ripped that decision apart for being a little nonsensical from a gameplay perspective.


Fire Emblem Heroes also had a new big update just the other day. Version 2.4.0 baby!

I feel kind of bad about skipping over it before thanks to my class/work schedule, so I wanted to just run down exactly what was added into the game in my continued effort to keep a running log of the Heroes evolution over time.

But I’m already at 2,100 words, so I’m going to summarize it all with screenshots.

Totally not because I’m just lazy.

There are a few cool things that were added into the game this time around.

  • More Grand Hero Battles being available on a regular basis is pretty dope, especially for someone like Berkut who sucks but I love as a character.
  • I don’t use any of the heroes that are getting weapon upgrades in this cycle, though I have a Roy who might get some use now that he has a better Binding Blade. Plus it’s cool that OG Ephraim and Hector can use the weapons their variants own.
  • I’ll probably delve more into Tempest Trial changes when the next Tempest Trial run arrives, since I haven’t done a post on the special game mode in a while.
  • Aesthetic changes like a scrolling banner are neat, though somewhat negligible.
  • SPECIAL ORB PROMO MORE LIKE SPECIAL GIVE US YOUR MONEY!
    • Let’s see how many times these deals force me to spend money on the game for good deals…
  • New game mode: Grand Conquests?

Whoa, mysterious new game mode time. I’m going to love talking about tha-

Oh. It’s just a tease at this point. So I literally don’t have a lot to say yet.

Alright, guess that will be a post for another day.


With that, we come to the end of the line once again.

Obviously there was a lot to tackle here between the new characters and the overall Version 2.4.0 update. I didn’t even get into the recent Feh Channel that I still haven’t watched… But considering what they talked about there is likely coming out with all of these updates, I’ll just let it slide.

However, speaking personally, I think there’s one major takeaway from everything that happened here today:

Feh Plot Meme

I’m going to abuse the hell out of this. Get ready, world.

How do you all feel about the new Thracia heroes? Or the fact that half of them are just rehashed versions of heroes we already have?

Let me know in the comments down below!

Though if you’re more interested in other Heroes topics… Well… Just wait a few days. Seems like there’s some stuff coming down the pipeline.

April 10, 2018 Article Published

Boy it has been a while since I’ve gotten anything up here, hasn’t it?

I could wax on for a while about how I’ve been really busy with school and haven’t had the time to blog anything… But I’ll probably be complaining about how busy I was yesterday when working on this story so I don’t want to bog things down too much.

That said.

Yesterday I was super busy.

Monday’s have been a massive time suck for me this semester thanks to having classes blocked from 11:00 a.m. (requiring my morning to begin at 9:00 a.m. at least due to my commute) to 5:00 p.m., but yesterday added an extra commitment.

After that last class of the day I also had to cover a story from 5:30 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. A story that was due on deadline that night, which left me also hanging out at the newsroom until 11:30 p.m. or so.

Hence why I slept in so late today and haven’t gotten to this blog post until now.

The late night event I covered started as a little bit of connective serendipity. Paolena, one of our writers on the paper from last semester and a friend I was in a few classes with before that, hit me up because an old source she had talk to pitched a story.

That student was Sara Salinas, the president of Cal State Fullerton’s Generation United Nations group. GenUN was hosting a resource fair with local school clubs and nonprofit organizations to bring attention to work on the homeless situation in Orange County in light of recent events at the Santa Ana riverbed.

The story of putting this article together was actually an interesting one. 99 percent of what I perceived the piece was going to be was written over the weekend using pre-reporting information. I didn’t want to be stuck too deep in the trap of boring, basic event coverage, so I tried to build up some background regarding the OC homeless situation.

Of course having that basic story drawn up was beneficial, but it discounted the fact that I got way more good stuff at the event itself than I had expected to.

One of the more disappointing things about how the piece turned out was that I think it got cut a little too trim in the editing process. I had a bunch of really nice conversations that didn’t wind up making it in the final version: With CSUF students interning at HIS House, with a representative of City Net, with a formerly homeless student and with the secretary of GenUN who brought everyone together.

I tried to remedy some of that with additional photos and embedded tweets in the online version of the story, and by passing some names along for potential future articles, but I still think this article could have been more substantial.

Despite that, I really like how it turned out given the wider focus of the issue adding onto the event coverage, so I’ll leave it at that and hope I at least did everything justice.

If you want to check out my story in its entirety, you can read it here. You can also see my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

April 2, 2018 Articles Published

I have an unexpected two-for-one deal for everyone in the audience today.

That’s right, one newspaper, two Jason-branded stories. Deal of the century folks, I can tell you that much now!

… Okay, so I guess that’s not really a novel situation for me to be in all things considered, but it really did come up at the last-minute in today’s case. See, it all began with an unfortunate bit of timing.

Though it wasn’t exactly ‘unfortunate’ for me necessarily. But I’m overly qualifying each statement at this point so I’ll stop fooling around.

Last Friday, my family had plans to go see the new Steven Spielberg film “Ready Player One.” We all absolutely loved the book, so it has been on our list of things to do together pretty much since the film was first announced. Our tickets were purchased well in advance…

But then my Dad got stuck with work at the last-minute. Since he couldn’t go, my sister and Mom didn’t want to go either. The only issue with that was I had already promised our Lifestyle editor Hannah a review of the film. Plus we had four tickets already bought.

So I did the next best thing and brought my friends to a free movie.

As much as I wound up being disappointed that I couldn’t gush about how much I liked the movie with my family that night, it was a pretty dope day hanging out with my friends, playing video games and seeing a movie.

Also, as I just mentioned, I really liked “Ready Player One.” It’s not exactly a heavily story-driven film by any means, and the actors aren’t anything to write home about… But visually the film is just gorgeous, especially for the way it diversified each world the heroes travel between.

Plus, despite not exactly being super accurate to the book, the different take on Cline’s overall framework is pretty cool in its own right, so I’d argue the movie is a perfect companion to the book rather than being a replacement for it.

Sort of like the characters going through similar situations, but in alternate universes. That’s the best way I can think to put it.

I obviously don’t want to play all my cards here and not direct you right to the review, so you can see my thoughts on the film through this link here. All I’ll add at this point is that I highly recommend seeing it just for an enjoyably pretty moviegoing experience.

Especially with the Stanley Kubrick scene in the middle of the film that just continues to blow my mind with how gorgeous it was.

However, as promised, I still have more to go into.

See my first day back from Spring Break in the newsroom was a busy one. I was essentially juggling five different things all at the same time.

Not only was I fact checking and section editing stories as usual, I was also helping to set everything up for my movie review, transcribing out a 47-minute-long interview for a profile I’m working on (more to come on that soon enough), studying for two exams I have this week and working on a completely different story I was thrown at the last-minute.

Over the break, a 19-year-old man who does not attend CSUF was visiting some friends in the University House apartments near campus. At some point, for one reason or another, he fell off the third floor balcony and was hospitalized in a  “critical” but not “life threatening” condition.

Even though the event happened early on into the break, our advisor wanted us to do some sort of follow-up. That responsibility went to me.

I tried to get in touch with our University Police department, but they were not involved in the case and directed me to Fullerton Police.

So I called Fullerton Police and had to cycle through multiple different departments, likely because people were off thanks to Easter. Eventually I did manage to get in touch with Sergeant Dan Castillo, who gave me some real basic information but directed me to the officer who was a watch commander that night.

A few hours later, when Lieutenant Michael Chlebowski was in the office, I called back and talked with him for some more specific details about the case and why the Fullerton Police won’t be following up on it.

It was an easy 300 words to write, and even then my editors cut it down quite a bit from the looks of the final piece, but I can’t really complain. With Comm 471, easy points are easy points.

If you want to read that story in its entirety, check it out here.

You can also see my full archive of writing for the Daily Titan over on the right!

The rise of a new Legendary… Hero?

The rise of a new Legendary… Hero?

This update came a little out of left field, but it’s exciting as a small new addition to the game.

Between Fjorm, Gunnthrá, Ike and Ephraim, we’ve gotten Legendary Heroes matching all four seasons that Fire Emblem Heroes cycles through (Water, Wind, Earth and Fire respectively). While it seems as though that would be the end of these characters being released, apparently there are going to be multiple heroes for each season.

Which in hindsight makes perfect sense from a ‘releasing hyped up units to get players to spend money’ standpoint.

But I digress.

Today we’re starting that second round with:

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… Grima.

I’m just going to call her Grima instead of Robin because we already have other Robins and in my head it just makes more sense this way.

I know I’m not the first to make this connection, but Grima isn’t exactly a hero. In fact, the male version of Robin overcome by the spirit of Grima was a part of the villainous banner not too long ago.

But I guess now we’re just going to bring along the literal Fell Dragon, destroyer of worlds and civilizations, as a hero meant to lead our armada in the Order of Heroes.

I wonder how Lucina feels knowing that the force she’s spent her whole life hoping to stop can now be in charge of her and give her massive blessings?

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… Yeah I’m not going to get a response anytime soon am I?

That said, I do actually want to say that Grima looks pretty beastly and powerful for a number of reasons.

  • RobinFell Vessel
    • On top of being a hero(?) who can confer the benefits of the earth blessing on her allies, Grima comes with a bunch of great skills. Her weapon is the same as male Grima. Expiration lets her hit regardless of distance and hit her opponents on their weakest defensive stat. She comes with the special attack Bonfire, which boosts her damage based on her defense, and three passive skills: Dragonskin, which grants her a defensive boost when attacked while also neutralizing her flying weakness, Cancel Affinity, which negates the effect of the weapon triangle, and Resistance Smoke, which lowers the resistance of everyone around an attack target by seven.
    • These skills, combined with the fact that this Grima is our first ever colorless manakete unit who also happens to be a flying unit (ala Myrhh) but with the natural ability to cancel out bow effectiveness AND weapon triangle effectiveness… Well, she just sounds incredible. Hopefully her stat spread matches and makes her a new meta staple, because that would be awesome.

The crazy thing is, this banner has even more great stuff beyond just the colorless flying dragon that negates half of her own weaknesses.

Considering it’s coming out just straight up in the middle of the spring heroes banner, you know Intelligent Systems is looking to siphon up all of our money at this rate.

On top of the Fell Dragon, this eight percent five-star banner also offers up:

I usually pick my character colors to fit who the character in particular is, but in this case I’m going to have the colors correspond with what weapon-type on the triangle they are. It’ll be easier with 12 units available.

When the Halloween banner first came along, Nowi and Sakura were the units I wanted to summon. At the time, all I got at the time was Jakob twice over.

Granted, Jakob has become one of my favorite units on my armored team, but still. I want my cute costumed girls, man.

Just don’t call the police on me… I know how creepy that sounds.

Because at least those three units are high up on my desire sensor, I’ve already spent a good few orbs on summoning from this banner.

My free summon has so far been the most lucrative pull, funnily enough:

img_7791

Lyn may not be the colorless unit I wanted to pull considering I already have her, but she’s got some great skills to pass along if nothing else.

Nothing else has come of my efforts so far (though I’ve summoned normal cleric Sakura a number of times and that has given me multiple heart attacks). However, part of that is probably because I am trying to show some restraint.

I want to keep my orb count above 50, so I’m only summoning when I get to about 70 on the off chance that all five of the pulls in a session are worth going after.

Luckily, Grima also came with a few extra additions that have offered players orbs considering the Tempest Trials have now passed.

The first thing is a special map connecting to this Legendary Hero specifically.

A Legendary Hero-specific map for some extra orbs is a new thing entirely, and honestly I hope it’s a feature that returns. I quite like having the chance at some extra orbs and a special map – even if this one is the same special map from the aforementioned Tempest Trial.

Coincidentally, this banner also corresponds with the start of a series of special maps related to a DLC update for Fire Emblem Warriors.

img_7785

Man… Fire Emblem Warriors… Talk about another game I wanted to play that I never got around to.

While it’s too bad I never did get to play the game (outside of one session thanks to my friend Kaleb), I suppose I can’t complain about having some free orbs.

Plus the song that plays is a top-notch Awakening remix.


That’s about the extent of what I’ve got for Fire Emblem Heroes today. Like I said, this addition was small but cool. I’m definitely excited to try to summon this new version of Grima.

Actually, that gets me thinking… What if I paired the two Grima together and created the ultimate destructive selfcestuous power couple?

Sheesh, that just made me more excited to summon her. Here’s hoping it works out I guess!

Also, here’s hoping I can balance doing that with work/school stuff. And with playing more Duel Links, since a new character just dropped over there.

img_7781

You know you’re at an overpowered place in a game when you unlock a brand new character about an hour after the special event starts.

But now I’m rambling about a totally unrelated subject, so I’ll leave it here.

What do you think of the new Grima? How game changing is she going to be? Feel free to discuss it in the comments down below!

‘Redshirts’: My latest spark of inspiration

‘Redshirts’: My latest spark of inspiration

This isn’t exactly something I’ve done before on my blog, but it has admittedly been a long time since I’ve personally done anything like this so I figured it would be worth a mention.

Today I read an entire book in one sitting.

One sitting minus a lunch break, but disregarding that I’ve been enveloped in John Scalzi‘s Redshirts from about 10:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. or so when I started writing this.

img_7776
I have become intimately familiar with this novel in the last 12 or so hours.

It’s been forever since I’ve gotten to just focus on reading a good book, and I thank Spring Break for giving me the free time.

If you’re a fan of science fiction television, or interested in metanarrative fiction in general, this is a story for you.

Redshirts posits a very specific, interesting question and runs with it fast and hard: What if the “redshirt” characters, those who are the ill-fated attractors of death on shows like Star Trek, become cognizant of the fact that their lives and their fate are inexplicably woven by forces beyond their control?

In essence this is a simple concept, but it goes way deeper within the novel and has certain unexpected twists that make it a truly worthwhile read. It’s hilarious throughout and described as a piss-take at science fiction television tropes, but there are also very emotional moments that extrapolate the experiences of the characters into serious and inevitably positive messages for the human experience.

It’s an uplifting piss-take in the end, even if you may shed a few tears along the way.

I learned about the book from the podcast “Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project,” which if you can’t tell from the title stars former Mythbuster’s star Adam Savage alongside Will Smith (not that Will Smith) and Norman Chan.

That podcast is also worth a listen I might add, as I’m still currently working through the backlog in my morning commutes.

With all this said, I’m obviously burying the lede a little. If I were just reading this book off of a podcast recommendation, why is it worth annotating the hell out of like you can clearly see I did above? In fact, why is it worth talking about on my blog beyond just the slight humble brag of having read all 300 pages in one glorious sitting?

To make a long story short, I’ve been working on my Senior Honors Project at Cal State Fullerton. The project is a multi-year long undergraduate thesis of sorts within the University Honors Program, and one of many distractions I have this semester.

The project I’ve decided to work on is based on Redshirts, in that I’m hoping to write a subversive genre trope novel with an underlying message of sorts about humanity. Except I’m imagining a story based in medieval-esque fantasy genre tropes along the lines of what you’d see in Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings, the Legend of Zelda and so on.

Part of my self-driven work in the class preparing to start this project has been to read through the book and annotate it up so I can have a good idea of how to base things when I approach a potential mentor to oversee my writing.

I haven’t exactly had a lot of time to read it until now, and boy do I regret waiting so long.

Thus, if you take anything from this suddenly weird and indulgent life-update post of sorts: Go read Redshirts. I promise you’ll thank me for it.

Oh, and stay tuned for that honors project hopefully getting worked out eventually. Once I begin the actual writing process for my novel, I might start putting out chunks of it here on the blog to garner feedback and log my progress.

Entertainment Beat Report – March 23, 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – March 23, 2018

I could have put out this Beat Report yesterday I suppose, just to keep it aligned with my actual Comm 436 class schedule… But honestly I’ve been fluctuating between Thursdays and Fridays so much with this mini-series that I really don’t think it matters.

So I’m just going to use the midterm for the class that happened yesterday and the fact that I published two blog posts and want to space things out a bit as excuses for my laziness.

That said, let’s see what was news in the world of video gaming this week.


Mario measurements marked via phallus pixels

Let’s be serious for a second.

This is undoubtedly one of the greatest pieces of journalism I have ever had the pleasure of consuming.

Kotaku staff writer Gita Jackson wins all of the awards this week for taking mathematical calculations done by a Twitter user based on the promotional art for Mario Tennis Aces that assesses how large Luigi’s junk is, and using that result to extrapolate on determining the official sizes of other characters in the Mario universe.

That’s real, people.

My inclusion of this story above the actual big news this week may be a joke, but I genuinely do think this is an amazingly funny story that’s worth a little bit of your time to read.

Never before have I seen the word ‘penis’ put into a story three times in such an unironic way, and it’s just wonderful.

But that said, on with the real headlining news this week.


The 2018 Game Developers Conference

As much as I’ve been checked out from the gaming scene this week, undoubtedly the biggest thing that happened was GDC 2018 in San Francisco.

The annual conference took place from March 19 to 23 in the Moscone Center and frankly has so many different things to talk about that I’m not entirely sure where to start.

At the Game Developers Choice Awards, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won Game of the Year. It was joined in the pantheon of winners by Night in the Woods, winner of the Excellence in Narrative award and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, Cuphead, which got Best Visual Art and Best Debut Game, Horizon Zero Dawn, which won Best Technology, and more.

Atari showed off a prototype of its newest upcoming console, which is crazy considering they have not had one since the Atari Jaguar in 1993.

More game developers were kept out of the conference thanks to President Trump’s travel ban, according to a Polygon article.

Really all of this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of everything that happened over the conference’s four days. It’s worth going back and just looking over everything that happened as far as announcements and speakers and whatever else, but I don’t think I’m going to delve too deep right now.

There’s more news to discuss, after all.


‘Sea of Thieves’ launch faces server problems

Rare’s latest game, the much anticipated pirate swashbuckling simulator Sea of Thieves, has not had the smoothest sailing opening to the public.

There have apparently been so many server-related problems afflicting players that Rare is taking the game down tomorrow to perform maintenance. That’s not really a super good sign as far as first impressions go.

The game has also received middling reviews (here are a couple of them: 1 – 2), so whether or not this one is as big a staying power as people were anticipating it would be is in limbo at the moment.


‘A Way Out’ offers players opportunities to play together without spending a lot

This one was a suggestion straight from my buddy Mitchell.

A new prison break-themed co-operative game, A Way Out apparently allows players to join a friend’s session of the game so long as they have the demo. No need to buy two copies, according to an article on Kotaku by a familiar writer.

This is an interesting concept put into the game by the developers at Hazelight… Though I can’t help but cynically reflect on the fact that this feature existed on the Nintendo DS for years.

Though if it’s inclusion here implies the feature may make a feasible comeback in the near future, who am I to complain?


Sort of a shorter report this week, in part due to my aforementioned laziness and in part due to me not exactly coming across a lot of ‘big news’ to go over.

I mean sure I could talk about the Deviljho again now that he has been unleashed in Monster Hunter World, but you can just check out my last report for details on that.

In the meantime, it’s about time that I head home to start Spring Break. I’ll likely post a few things over the week with whatever extra time I scrounge up, but for the most part I think I’m going to just relax and enjoy it a bit.

If there’s any other gaming news you picked up on that I didn’t, let me know about it in the comments below!