Month: January 2017

January 30, 2017 Articles Published

Like I said in my last post, it’s been a long weekend.  After staying up for at least 27 hours writing and working, I’m looking forward to having a week off to focus on my schoolwork, especially since our staff writers are starting to work on stories.

As much as I enjoy writing, it’ll be nice not to have the editorial board stuck filling an entire paper on our own.

However, I’d say that the extra amount of time and effort I put in alongside my other editors was well worth the trouble, since the issue we produced is a really nice one.  We have our large two-story coverage of the Point-In-Time homeless census written by me, my co-News Editor Sarah and our Managing Editor Micah, but there are also plenty of other stories worth reading.

One of those stories is a small read of the general campus climate following President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel for some in the international community that was put in place last Friday.  There are also stories on the new parking spaces available for CSUF students, an art exhibit with traditionally Japanese-styled artwork depicting various modern-day issues and the other story I wrote about the Titan Direct Access pilot program that has been introduced by Titan Shops and the campus Information Technology (IT) Department.

There’s more than that too, and in my opinion, the paper is worth throwing up here for you guys to see yourselves:

In case you have trouble seeing it you can look at the digital version of the publication here on Issuu.

I’m still pretty exhausted though, honestly.  There’s some homework I have to do… But really, I think I’m going to take a nap first.

If you want to see the story I wrote about the Titan Direct Access program, you can see it here. You can also see the story Sarah and I wrote about the homeless people our groups encountered during the Point-In-Time Count here.  If you’re interested in seeing more, my whole archive of work for the Daily Titan can be found through the link over on the right!

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That moment when sheer exhaustion sets in… So you decide to write about it

Last night and this morning, me and 9 other journalists for the Daily Titan attended the training for and covered the biennial Orange County Point-In-Time Count & Survey homeless census.

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Image courtesy of thunderclap.it

The training went from 7:30 p.m. to about 10:00 p.m. last night, and this morning the census itself started at 4:30 a.m. and was supposed to go until about 7:00 a.m.

Of course the group I was a part of didn’t finish their portion of the survey in Downtown Fullerton until at least an hour and a half later than the supposed end point… After my friends and I pulled an all nighter figuring it would be pointless to try and sleep for that short amount of time when we could just get work done.

Yes, we did get that work done and it felt good to get ahead, but combine all that with the fact that after the census we went back to the newsroom and wrote up all our information for our Advisor to be able to sort through… Plus drive time to get home… So currently I’m running on about 26 and a half hours of no sleep.

Thus is the life of a News Editor also taking part in the Newspaper Advisor’s investigative reporting class covering some real hard news issues like homelessness.

Long story short, I hope you all will excuse my delirium as I go scrounge up however much sleep I can reasonably get while still giving myself enough time to do all the homework I have for my regular classes.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to once again self-advertise, since I really think this issue of the Titan will be worth reading as the first major part of our Investigative Reporting class’s work for the semester.  It’s hard, early morning work that can only be done by volunteers out to give their time for a good cause.  We’re producing the paper tomorrow after spending an early morning meeting crafting the story itself, and campus newsstands will be stocked with the issues come Monday. Look out for them, at least for the online edition!

A Pokémon update: Here comes the Bank and the Alola Friendly competition

A Pokémon update: Here comes the Bank and the Alola Friendly competition

The first week of school, adjusting to new courses, setting up things for our first few issues of the Daily Titan and some personal things happening at home have kept me incredibly busy for the past week or so.  In fact, they’ve kept me so busy that I haven’t been able to address some fairly big things happening with Pokémon Sun and Moon that have honestly been hugely of interest for me.

Namely the release of an update for the Pokémon Bank (or Pokébank for short) allowing it to be used with the Generation 7 games.

For the uninitiated in the room, Pokébank is an application out of the Nintendo 3DS eShop released during Generation 6 that allowed you to transfer Pokémon (with the help of the additional Poké Transfer application) from the Generation 5 games Black, White, Black 2 and White 2 into Pokémon X, Y, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.  It also acts as a cloud-like storage space for Pokémon, holding 100 boxes that you can freely transfer Pokémon in and out of while playing the Generation 6 and now Generation 7 games.

You can also transfer Pokémon up from the 3DS ports of Red, Blue and Yellow… But I haven’t had the chance to play those yet.  So I can’t use that feature.

An added bonus in the update that allows the application to be used with Sun and Moon is access to the previously unavailable Z-Crystal Mewnium Z:

I haven’t had the chance to transfer a Mew into my copy of Moon yet, so I can’t use Genesis Supernova, but I’m excited to being able to as soon as I get the chance.

With Pokébank officially released, I’m looking forward to finally being able to do two things.  First, I’ll be able to fill out my PC boxes with my complete collection of every single Pokémon, a collection I spent quite some time fleshing out a few years back.  Second, I’ll be able to transfer all my competitively bred Pokémon over, either to use again or to re-breed with new strategies in mind for competitive battles.

On the subject of competitive battling…

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Image courtesy of Serebii.net

The Alola Friendly battle competition begins today!  I’ve actually spent some time picking through the four competitive teams I’ve bred thus far to pull together a complete squad that’s balanced and viable for battle together.  Though it probably isn’t objectively smart to give away the strategies of my team ahead of actually battling with them… I enjoy talking about what I’ve done with my cute and powerful Pokémon.

So, here we go.


Cuddles

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Cuddles, my Komala.  She’s sleeping, but she’s still ready to kick ass and take names all the same!  Entry hazards like Stealth Rocks and Toxic Spikes aren’t a problem when she can Rapid Spin them away, but her utility also extends to healing other team members thanks to the combination Wish and U-Turn attack pattern.

Oh, and STAB full friendship Return with 136 attack really, really hits hard.

Add on some extra healing from the leftovers and Cuddles isn’t a threat to… Sleep on.

And with that lousy pun, I officially move on.


Peek

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Peek-a-boo (Peek for short) is up next: My cute and not-so-cuddly Toxapex.  Toxapex is generally considered to be overused in the current pre-Pokébank competitive metagame, but I never really understood why.

Until I actually used a Toxapex.  Since then I totally understand the reasoning.

If her Toxic stall combined with the Recover attack and Regenerator ability wasn’t bad enough, Peek can Haze away any stat buffs her opponent tries to set up (I know I’ve certainly torn down a few Swords Dance-setting Pokémon) and Scald to potentially burn any opponents that can’t be poisoned.

My Toxapex is also a defensive monster, which gets even better in combination with extra Rocky Helmet damage each time the opponent makes physical contact.  Mix that all up with the attack stat-slashing burn status coming from Scald and Peek makes for an exceptional late-game stalling team sweeper.


Charlotte

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I may have talked about Charlotte before, but this isn’t exactly the same Charlotte as before.  Instead, she’s what I like to consider the competitive embodiment of the same Mimikyu I used during my main game play through.  All the same tricks with a far exceeding degree of power.

Seriously, Mimikyu remains one of my favorite Generation 7 Pokémon, and I love using the powerhouse that is Charlotte whenever possible… Even if I haven’t been able to successfully use a Z-Destiny Bond quite yet.  Leech Life makes for a good substitute though, as it makes use of her sky-high attack and allows her to regain some health at the same time.


Syrup

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I continue to hate the explanation for Raichu’s evolution that was given on the official Pokémon website leading up to the release of Sun and Moon.  Seriously, eating too many pancakes would not cause a ‘divergent evolution’ in a new land, it’s just the most ridiculous thing.

Yet, when I fell wholeheartedly head-over-heels in love with Alolan Raichu after seeing the Pokémon sit on her tail in mid-air like it was a bench in Pokémon Refresh, I knew I needed a cute name to give my little Electric/Psychic-type.  I couldn’t get that explanation out of my head… So Syrup just felt right.

At the same time, Syrup is incredible in battle.  Deciding not to make use of its ability, Surge Surfer (which requires an Electric Terrain effect to be set up as a means of doubling her speed stat), I set up my Raichu to hit hard with a Modest nature and move faster than just about all others with a Choice Scarf-boosted 162 base speed.  Most of the time she Volt Switches out to let another Pokémon come in and tank a hit from whoever the opponent may be, but even if she isn’t doing that her other special attacks hit hard on a variety of different Pokémon types.

Honestly?  Alolan Raichu has become one of my favorite Pokémon as of late, simply due to how useful my little Syrup is.  Guess I have her to thank for breaking my annoyance over the lousy background lore of her species.  I just can’t stay mad at a Pokémon so sweet.


Iris

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Iris, who I’ve named for what I feel is a pretty obvious reason, is one of the more… Unexpected Pokémon I’ve built thus far.  I’ve liked Masquerain since Ruby and Sapphire, but haven’t ever found a chance to use one until now.  The original team she’s a part of is a little more gimmick-y all together, but Iris definitely stands apart as something special.

Not only can she swap in on a physical attacker to cut their attack with her ability, Intimidate, she has a decently high speed stat and a pretty damn-high special attack stat, making her exceptional as a good Pokémon to force the opponent to swap out their Pokémon.  With a Flying-typing helping her dodge Ground-type attacks, that idea becomes even more useful in application.

Iris also works well with Peeks, since it’s always useful to cut a Pokémon’s attack before swapping into the defensive wall, or swapping out of the defensive wall into a Pokémon that can resist Ground-type attacks like Masquerain.  Such a good combination.

Sticky Webs make for a good entry hazard when I feel like playing speed games, but the real bread and butter for Iris comes from being able to hit a large variety of types with Expert Belt-boosted Super Effective attacks: STAB Air Slash and Bug Buzz, plus the addition of a Hydro Pump or Solar Beam (if I’m using a Sunny Day team at least).

All-in-all Iris has a great thing going for her, and she fits into the team I have quite well.


Cheval

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Wrapping up the team and ruining what could otherwise have been an all fatal female show of force is Cheval, my big bad Mudsdale.  Don’t let his gender fool you however, he fits in with the others from a power perspective more than well enough.

While I’ll admit his name isn’t the most creative, as it’s just ‘horse’ in French, Cheval puts in just the finest of work for me.

Usually I have him holding a leftovers, but considering I can’t have replicated items across my team members in official Pokémon battle rules, I decided to give my Mudsdale an Assault Vest instead.  Honestly, it makes him extremely viable to take hits on both the physical and special side since the item boosts his special defense by 50 percent.

The hard-hitting move pool this horse gets access to also makes him quite the asset.  In my experience, Cheval has been able to kill Alolan Ninetails and Mimikyu in one hit with Heavy Slam, which can really put holes in some teams.  Plus, STAB Earthquake and Close Combat makes it very easy to hit Steel and Rock-types, as well as many more. Finishing with Rock Slide allowing him to hit Flying-types as well and Cheval is an absolute monster.

It helps when Cuddles is able to heal the big horse with a Wish U-Turn as well.  Especially when I get to imagine the little Koala snuggling up to her big equestrian friend.


There’s only one problem that arises, even after all the work I put together to set this team up.  One problem that, no matter what I do to try and correct things, is unfortunately unavoidable…

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I’ve been so busy for the past week that I missed the registration window for the Alola Friendly competition.  Thus, unfortunately, my squad won’t be able to prove themselves in that official fashion.

Oh well, at least I can use them all together to duke it out in the Battle Spot and against my friends.  There will be plenty of battles for me to take part in later, I’m sure.

If you like the team I’ve built, or if you have any ideas for teams you think I could build (especially since all 800+ Pokémon are available in the latest generation) let me know below!  I’m always looking for new things to try, especially since I’ll need something to keep me from going nuts after hours of homework and newspaper shifts.

Until the Fire Emblem content comes around at least.

 

January 23, 2017 Article Published

Today marks the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester for me here at Cal State Fullerton. Obviously, that means a few things.  It means the end of winter break, which is certainly unfortunate to an extent, but inevitable.  No break can last forever.  It also means brand new classes to adjust to, in this case a course on California government, a course on primate behavior, an honors-level history course and an investigative reporting class where we’ll be tackling the issue of homelessness with the school’s newspaper advisor.

Finally, a new semester means a new run of the Daily Titan.  Like I alluded to just the other day, I’d say it wound up being a good one.  We covered the Women’s Marches in Los Angeles and Santa Ana, the new interim city manager of Fullerton, art exhibits now on display on campus and, of course, Michael Dukakis coming to talk as a part of the Patrons of the Library 2016-2017 lecture series.

The former governor had a lot of interesting things to say about both U.S. foreign and domestic policies.  He also made his perspective on the new president, Donald Trump, pretty clear.  While I feel like I addressed all of these things in the story quite well, one thing I feel like I could’ve done better was talk about the personality of the man who was giving those opinions.

Michael Dukakis was not only a great orator, he was generally a great man as well.  He’s intelligent, experienced, funny and really knew how to read a crowd.  His extensive knowledge of U.S. political history was accentuated well by personal stories he was able to tell about his history in politics and life.  He also didn’t stick to one side of the political aisle, as he was able to pull stories and ideas from a wide variety of people.  On top of that, he had an opinion and something to say about everything, but not in a negative way by any means.

My only real regret covering this event was that I missed the chance to greet the man personally while I did extra interviews to finish my story.  If he ever comes back to talk at Fullerton, or anywhere nearby that I might be able to see him again, I’ll have to be sure to take the chance.

The whole issue of the paper can be seen up on issuu now if you want to take a look, since our Managing Editor puts them up after every production.

However, if you want to see my story in its entirety, you can see it here.  We have a new website design and it’s really quite nice, so I’d certainly recommend taking a look around at some of the other sections while you’re there.  You can also check out my whole archive of work for the Daily Titan through the link over on the right!

A look ahead for some things to come

Today, the world marched in reaction to the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States.

At the same time, Michael Dukakis, a professor, former Massachusetts governor and democratic presidential nominee in 1988, came to speak at Cal State Fullerton about his views on United States foreign and domestic policy, as well as his opinions on the new President.

Michael Dukakis speaking to a room of about 120 people in the Cal State Fullerton Pollak Library’s Rotary Club Room 130.

Articles on both these events and more are going to be in our first edition of the Daily Titan for the Spring 2017 semester, and I can tell already that it’s going to be a good one.  We go into production tomorrow, and the paper will be out on Monday, so look forward to seeing it!

You can also check out our fantastic social media team’s work live covering the Orange County and Los Angeles Women’s Marches here on twitter.  It’s worth taking a look at and probably serves as a good preview for some of what will be written about in print.

My thoughts on the 2017 Fire Emblem Direct

My thoughts on the 2017 Fire Emblem Direct

While I’m a day late and a dollar short on this one, there was a Fire Emblem Nintendo Direct held yesterday that I missed because I was hosting some of my friends for a small get together.  However, given that I’ve talked a lot about how much I love Fire Emblem in the past, I figure I should still go back and talk about what the Direct had to offer, at least briefly, now that I’ve had the chance to sit down and watch it.

If you haven’t seen the Direct yet either and want to watch it alongside me, you can check out the full video here.  It’s only about 20 minutes long and showcases four games, so I promise it won’t take too much time out of your life.

Unless you decide to write long-winded posts about it like I do.  Because then it’s going to take up a lot more of your time. That, I can assure you.


Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

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Image courtesy of gamingrespawn.com

The Direct starts off right away with what I can only call the cinematic trailer for Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.  The game, as is then elaborated on after, is a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, which was a Japan-exclusive title from the early 1990s.

A lot about the art style in regards to character portraits and things like the overworked map in the gameplay footage that was shown reminds me a lot of some of the earlier GameBoy Advanced Fire Emblem titles like The Sacred Stones (which, fun fact, is the first FE game I’ve ever played thanks to the ambassador program for the 3DS, and thus the one that got me into the series).  However, the in-battle style looks like it’s going to have the same impressive 3D polish that Fire Emblem Awakening had and that Fire Emblem Fates more or less perfected.

There are also apparently some unique elements to Gaiden that have been recreated for Echoes, such as free roaming fights and dungeon crawling.  Both of which sound like amazing inclusions that I honestly can’t wait to see executed for myself.

The game has been given a set release date of May 19, 2017 for the 3DS, and boy am I now excited for it.  To be honest, the anticipation that’s building after watching just this first part of the Direct really does make me want to go back and play more Fire Emblem.  In my early-games-of-the-series catalogue, I’ve so far only played The Sacred Stones and Shadow Dragon, a remake of the original first Fire Emblem game.  I’ll look forward to adding Gaiden to that list with this remake.

Oh, and there are Amiibo, and considering I have an on-again off-again problem with collecting those dumb amazing little figurines, I just might see my collection grow again.


Fire Emblem for the Nintendo Switch

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Image courtesy of gameaxis.com

Next up was the announcement of a brand new Fire Emblem title being produced for the Switch, set to come out at some point in 2018.  As the narrator announced, making my job here that much easier, the new game (with a currently working title) is the first in the series to return to consoles since the games featuring Ike: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn.  The decision to do this is interesting, and honestly makes a lot of sense.

Fire Emblem is a game that seems to do best when it’s a mobile experience, when you can pick up your fight wherever you want while waiting for whatever it is you might be waiting for.  The Switch gives the game a chance to have the best possible graphics Nintendo has produced thus far while also keeping the idea of mobile gaming alive, and to be completely honest it’s a clear showcase of one of the reasons I believe the Switch is going to do quite well over it’s lifetime.

That was all we got on the new game in the series unfortunately, but considering we’re still at least a year out it’s understandable.  Just the fact that a new one has already been confirmed so soon after Fates graced the gaming market is nice really, as it means the series is continuing to go strong.  As I’ve said before, we can always use more Fire Emblem.


Fire Emblem Warriors

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Image courtesy of technobuffalo.com

Speaking of more Fire Emblem, Fire Emblem Warriors was the next subject of the Direct.  There was a small teaser for the game in the Nintendo Switch presentation earlier this month, but this time we got to see a trailer with some gameplay.

The opening did the same cool orbs-with-swords that led into the Fire Emblem crest.  This time, after the mysterious figure – revealed to be Chrom, the royal Prince/Exalt of Ylisse from Awakening – takes the Falchion, he proceeds to just demolish mobs of soldiers all at once in a few fell swipes of the blade.

But that was about it, we then got the same vague Fall 2017 release date.

However, they did reveal that the game is actually going to be dropped on the 3DS concurrently with the Switch version of the game. That alone makes this game infinitely better in my eyes.  Part of the reason I didn’t get Hyrule Warriors was because I didn’t have a Wii U when it was released, and by the time the 3DS port came out I was too busy doing other things to devote my time to the game.

I’m very excited to try this game, honestly.  I’ve never played a Warriors game before, and this seems like it could be a perfect entry point for me.  I just hope that the developers go back and pull some more older characters that I might know for the roster of playable heroes rather than mostly sticking in the modern games like Awakening and Fates.  I love those games, don’t get me wrong, but I’d also love to do something like play Neimi from The Sacred Stones, probably my favorite archer girl ever.

Considering the treatment that was given for the character roster in Hyrule Warriors, I’m sure that kind of possibility isn’t too farfetched.


Fire Emblem Heroes

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Image courtesy of slashgear.com

Fire Emblem Heroes, the first mobile smartphone game in the series, had it’s opening shown during this Direct as well.  The cinematic, as usual, was beautiful, and featured a bunch of new characters we haven’t yet seen before apparently summoning heroes from other Fire Emblem titles (though all it showed was Awakening and Fates) to fight one another.

Not a bad way to start a reveal, I’d say.

Rather than just making a mobile game for the sake of a mobile game, however, Fire Emblem Heroes touts its own brand new story, which makes the game that much more enticing.  It might just be a rough skeleton to encase the idea of making old characters fight in a mobile format, but just the fact that the extra effort was put in makes me more happy to look forward to the title’s release in .

Though the cinematic opening only showed Awakening and Fates-based heroes, there was also a screen depicting heroes from all across Fire Emblem’s history, so even if Warriors doesn’t have a hugely nostalgic cast, this game certainly will.  Though the game itself doesn’t look incredibly complex, the art style is rather adorable overall between the pixel art-based world and the occasionally appearing fully-rendered character art depicting their attacks.  I can see myself getting pulled into it at least.

On top of that, the narrator promises the gameplay will be as “intense” as expected in a Fire Emblem game, which either bodes well … Or not so well depending on how it’s handled.  Not sure having a mobile phone game with stages it takes me twenty years to beat because of BS enemy placement or terrain issues would be all that fun, no matter what the subject matter may be.  But hey, at least the weapon triangle still exists.

Then of course comes the real mobile game edge to Fire Emblem Heroes: Microtransactions.  I have a mixed history with this style of setting up a game.  On the one hand, if handled well, I quite enjoy a system using Microtransactions.  If I can manage through the game reasonably without being absolutely required to use them, that’s A-OK by me.  Even better would be if I love the game so much that I feel I should pay the developers something for their work, even if the game initially comes free.  However, if the Microtransactions are used as a significant roadblock, forcing the game to elongate itself because of how long you have to wait between getting the in-game currency if you don’t pay for it… I’ll likely get warded off quickly.

Seriously Fire Emblem Heroes, I hope you take a page from Pokémon Shuffle‘s book.  If you ask me, that game has a pretty perfect system in place for how they’re used.  The fact that the summoning stones used as in-game currency simply summon characters for you to use I doubt the same system would be possible… But it’s the idea that counts.  If anything the game will probably be more like Marvel’s Contest of Champions with a battle style that I believe I’ll enjoy far better, so I get the impression it will have some staying power.

I don’t know, I can see the problems potentially there, but because the heroes you receive don’t permanently die and force you to wait to summon more, I don’t think it’ll be a huge problem.  Waiting a period to revive is far more manageable if you ask me.

Especially since there’s grinding.  After playing through Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, I thank Naga every time there’s a chance for grinding in a Fire Emblem game.

The end slate for this game says that Heroes will drop on February 2nd for Google Play, and gives a vague ‘soon’ for iPhone and iPad.  Just as long as ‘soon’ is sooner rather than later I’ll be happy.  It’ll be nice to have  some Fire Emblem to tide me over before Echoes.

Plus, if I enjoy it the way I have and continue to enjoy Super Mario Run, then I’ll happily continue to finance Nintendo’s trek into the Mobile gaming world.


That was all we got in the Fire Emblem Direct, but honestly I can’t complain.  Having a more compact game-focused Direct felt much better than the big Nintendo Switch Direct, which had to spread it’s time among a billion different games.  Also, I have to say, the narrator for this Direct had a wonderful voice.  I feel like I could listen to him tell me about new games forever…  Er, anyway.  Everything on the horizon for Fire Emblem looks amazing, and I’m hyped to be a part of all of it.

Hell, I already am a part of it.  I just went and took part in the Fire Emblem Heroes’ “Choose your Legends” event, where you can pick any character from any game in the series to vote on as a character you want to show up in the game.

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Naturally I chose Neimi, because I seriously have so many fond memories of mowing down enemies with her mighty bow.  Though looking through the list really brought up a ton of fond memories for various characters… You would’ve been my second choice, Amelia.

If there’s any game on this list you’re particularly excited for, let me know in the comments below!  Writing a post like this feels like building up to Pokémon Sun and Moon all over again, and it’s good to get back into that mindset if you ask me.

With college starting up again next week, having a distraction to help keep myself sane during long nights of work is never a bad thing.

My thoughts on the 2017 Nintendo Switch Presentation

My thoughts on the 2017 Nintendo Switch Presentation

Like many other geeks around the world last night, I spent an hour or so on Twitch watching Nintendo’s Presentation on their upcoming new console, the Nintendo Switch.  Would’ve written up something about it last night, but unfortunately I wasn’t feeling 100 percent, and lethargy typically isn’t great when it comes to being productive.  I haven’t talked too much about the Switch up until now mainly because I haven’t admittedly been extremely excited about it.  Sure Breath of the Wild has always been high on my interest radar, but that was about all it had going for it for a while in my view.

There were some interesting things revealed about the Switch last night.  The fact that the system won’t be region locked like others have been in the past, for example.  The Joy-Con controllers also seem interesting, boasting some more complex and possibly immersive capabilities from what I can tell.  Plus, they come in multiple colors, even if I prefer the plain grey to the pink and blue combo (would’ve been much better if they came separately if you ask me).  I also like how there are so many ways to play on the Switch.  Not only can you play on the TV screen, you can use the controller as a screen much like the Wii U, and because that’s mobile you can take your system pretty much anywhere you go.  It’s an awesome sounding mix of things that I’m sure will go pretty well.  Plus, on top of all that, it seemed like lots of third party companies were interested in creating games for the Switch, which bodes well for a long life cycle.

That being said, there are also a few issues I had just out of the information we learned.  The fact that you have to pay for internet connectivity for some games kind of blows, even if it’s the same kind of model that’s used for things like Xbox Live.  There also aren’t a huge amount of launch titles, meaning the Switch might not even necessarily be worth it until the holiday season of 2017… Though the fact that that list includes the new Zelda game practically balances that point out if you ask me.  I’m also not a fan of the fact that it isn’t backward compatible, which means I wouldn’t even necessarily want to trade in my Wii U for the potential to buy it earlier.

The presentation as a whole also wasn’t great.  To put it bluntly, when one of the things people remember most from your even was a translator that seemed to be half asleep as he talked… Well, you probably could have done better overall.

However, with all of that out of the way… The game trailers were obviously the most important part of the night.  For me at least.  I don’t know if I’ll be getting the console when it launches on March 3 (Internationally – a nice touch), but there are plenty of titles I’m excited to see when they come out.

The full presentation is up on Nintendo’s YouTube account, as are a variety of the major trailers that were shown over the course of the night.  That playlist can be seen here for anyone interested, since it will probably be good to at least see the game trailers before I go into talking about them.


Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Going in order from the bottom of the uploaded trailer list to the top, our first new game coming down the pipeline is Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

I should preface this segment of the looking-at-trailers part of my post by saying that I’ve never played Xenoblade Chronicles, and I haven’t really seen a lot of the game being played as a matter of fact.  It’s not so much a lack of interest, since the inclusion of Shulk and all the incredible music from the game into Smash 4 got me very interested in trying the game out.  It’s been more a concern of time if anything, as most of my game playing hasn’t left me the chance to pick up Xenoblade, even if there’s a version for the 3DS.

So, I may not have a lot of background with the series, but I still enjoyed watching the trailer quite a bit.  The art style and graphics are gorgeous and honestly remind me of Monster Hunter quite a bit.  Of course, those parallels only got more concrete as massive beasts as big as mountains showed themselves wandering the world, with a shot at the end of the trailer over the game’s title drop boasting a particularly spine-tingling skeletal whale creature of sorts just breeching through the clouds.  Seriously, that’s super rad.

Will I be getting Xenoblade Chronicles 2?  Probably not.  Not unless I play the first game sometime soon and become a diehard fan.  However, I can pretty greatly appreciate how much care was put into the product by the looks of things.


Fire Emblem Warriors

Now this was a hell of a tease.  As a huge fan of Fire Emblem (like I gushed about a little in my New Year’s post), I got very excited when I saw the first bubble pop up on my screen with the legendary Falchion blade, used by Marth, Chrom and Lucina. Then, other blades used throughout Fire Emblem games of the past flashed by in a similar manner, with all the bubbles coming together as the orbs in the Fire Emblem crest used most notably (in my recollection at least) in Fire Emblem Awakening.

Then it was over.  Cue title: Fire Emblem Warriors.  End things off with what looked like who I assumed to be Marth picking up the Falchion.

Honestly, I was surprised to see any Fire Emblem at all during this presentation.  Fire Emblem Fates is still a relatively recent addition, and that came three years after Awakening before it, so I figured there would be a dry spell for longer than this.

As another spin-off in the Dynasty Warriors series, another series I unfortunately have very little experience with, I can’t say a lot about my excitement for this game as a whole.  I wanted to play Hyrule Warriors as well, but it just wound up being another game in which time was not on my side to play.  However, with the prospects of playing as characters like Lucina and hopefully more important heroes going all the way back to older titles, there’s some part of me that really feels like it’s a game I’ll try harder to pick up this time around.

All I know is I’m excited for it.  This will be the first game I’ll have the chance to play Fire Emblem on a home console system rather than a mobile system, so it should be interesting.

Bring on more Fire Emblem, Nintendo.  As long as we don’t have another Conquest situation in terms of obscene difficulty, I’m all for it.


Splatoon 2

My friends and I poured hours into the first Splatoon.  It’s probably one of my most played games on the Wii U, perhaps only surpassed by Super Mario Maker.  By the end of our time with it, I even reached S rank in multiplayer, the highest rank you can achieve.  As a brand new IP, it was undoubtedly a huge success, both in sales and in just how enjoyable it was as an experience.  It’s hard to go wrong with a well-polished Nintendo title in any genre, shooter included as Splatoon taught us all.

Now, Splatoon 2 is on the horizon.  While I might say it seems a little too early for a sequel to be rearing it’s head (especially considering it will be coming out during the summer of 2017), the trailer made it hard to argue with the game’s arrival.

Nothing looks particularly new about Splatoon 2 right off the bat.  It seems Nintendo is more aiming to put the highly acclaimed title onto their new system with more of an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach.  However, while nothing particularly broken seems to have been fixed with Splatoon 2, a hell of a lot still seems improved in this title.

The game looks as pretty and the animations look as smooth as ever, if not more so than the previous title offered.  There seem to be more maps to play on, the older returning maps have improvements and the hub world looks like it’s going to give us more of the quirky punk-marine-life action we know and love.

Probably the biggest change in this sequel appears to be the weapons – which makes sense considering the series is first person shooter based.  Dual pistols and more specialty weapons like highly pressurized ink cannons, multiple ground-to-air missile launchers and an ink raincloud summoner have been added.  As have jetpacks much in the spirit of Super Mario Sunshine’s F.L.U.D.D. from what I can tell.

There also seems like there could be a larger focus on a story mode in Splatoon 2, as I can stipulate from some of the shots in the trailer showing menacing Octolings and a mysterious angsty figure (who is more than likely Marie, but still) standing turned away from the camera in front of a sunset, classic anime-trope style.  Can’t help but think of Gladion since Pokémon is still so fresh, but that’s another story.

My overall verdict?  A definite yes on Splatoon 2.  It won’t be out until the summer, like I said before, but as I said I’m also probably not going to be buying a Switch at the beginning of it’s life cycle either way.


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

I don’t remember if this was in the presentation or not, actually… I may have blanked out when it showed up if it was, because I don’t remember seeing it until I looked through all the trailers individually.

That won’t stop me from talking about the game, however!  It’s hard to go wrong with a Mario Kart game honestly, it’s one of those top tier party games up there with Smash Bros.  I will say it seems odd that they’re just repackaging and selling an improved version of Mario Kart 8 rather than coming out with a  whole new title, but Mario Kart 8 was a real good game so I suppose I can’t complain.

The only real things of note in the trailer were some new items like Boos and the Splatoon-based content, new race tracks and music and such.  An odd choice I’d say, particularly since the trailer itself even played around with the idea of Mario having to take the game back from the Inklings, but I guess this is just Nintendo’s way of incorporating their popular title into the fun Mario party spin-off that never necessarily took itself too seriously in the first place.

That is just about all there is to say on the matter.  The game looks pretty, and with an April release date it looks like Switch owners on launch day won’t have to wait a huge amount of time before new games start to pop up.


ARMS

An unexpected entry in the list of reveals tonight, ARMS is the Rockem-Sockem Robots simulator I’m not sure anyone knew they wanted until now.  Granted, the name is a little weak, but that’s not the only indicator of a good game.

After Splatoon exploded with so much high regard in the gaming scene, it was inevitable that Nintendo would be trying more new IPs sooner or later.  So, what better time is there to try new things than with the inception of a new console?

I’m not totally sure how much there is to say about ARMS, honestly.  It looks like a fun game, even if it’s more than likely a sort of gimmicky showing-off-new-console-mechanics experience.  The trailer has some weird and admittedly sort of unsettling body morphing right off the bat as two strangers grow spring-loaded boxing gloves to beat each other up with, which does convey the idea of the new Joy-Con controller being more immersive pretty well.

The art style of the game looks pretty, conveying some strong Smash 4 and Pokken Tournament feelings, and the variety of playable characters makes for an interesting looking experience that I’m sure will be fun to play during parties.

Though I would say that it might be a missed opportunity for ARMS to not be a sequel of sorts in the Punch Out series, I would still say it looks like it should be worth the time when it comes out in the Spring.


1-2 Switch

In the same vein as ARMS from what I can tell, 1-2 Switch is a Switch launch title that’s clearly meant to show off the mechanics of the Joy-Con controller.  Like I’ve said multiple times in this little write-up, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a good Nintendo party game.  1-2 Switch seems like it’ll fill the niche quite well, encouraging gameplay that forces encourages a group of friends of family to come together and let their imagination run wild.

Would I enjoy playing this game?

Yeah, I’d say so.

Do I have a lot more to say about it?

No, I do not.

Let’s move on to the big stuff then, shall we?


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Here we go, the true bread-and-butter of this presentation.  The one title so hyped up that it could only end the presentation off on the highest of notes possible.

If you weren’t excited about Breath of the Wild before, THIS is the trailer to do it.

First of all, every piece of promotion that comes out about this game just continues to floor me with how gorgeous it looks.  Yes, Zelda games have a history of being gorgeous, but they also have a history of being self-contained in a general path for you to take.

Unless you count the first Zelda, which was pretty open-ended.  And the second, which is kind of the black horse of the series in how different it is.

Okay, so the 3D Zelda games, almost everything past Ocarina of Time, all have a history of being self-contained.  However, this is the first expansive Zelda title that’s going to be open world, and the fact that it’s as beautiful as it is while feeling more real than ever is almost mind-blowing to imagine.

I gushed a lot about graphics and that sort of thing in the last post I wrote talking about Breath of the Wild last time we got a major information dump, so I’ll just leave that here and talk more about why this particular trailer soared to the top of my time-to-watch-fifty-times-in-a-row list:  Story.

We haven’t gotten a lot of clues about just what’s going to fill the world of Breath of the Wild until now.  Now that we do have a clue, it looks like this particular iteration of Hyrule, set some hundred years after an event(?) that’s called the Calamity Ganon, will be filled with the Gorons, Great Fairies, Zoras, Bird people and more that we’ve come to expect from a Zelda title.  On top of the interesting scattered dungeons, it also seems like there will be towns to explore as well, meaning Breath of the Wild won’t be entirely about being in the wild as we previously were led to believe.

But of course, what Zelda game would be complete without Zelda.  Yes that’s right, the namesake herself finally makes an appearance, and what an impression she leaves.

Not only is this game’s appearance gorgeous, it’s princess is too.  Plus, it seems as though a page is being taken out of the Skyward Sword book in terms of making Zelda a character that accompanies Link more than just on occasion, making her more of a real person in the world with emotional arcs to overcome rather than just being a damsel that’s been locked away and in need of saving.  If I had to guess just by watching the trailer, there’s going to be a period in the game where Link and Zelda get to bond over some tragedy and perhaps become friends before she’s stolen away, giving Link more of a tangible reason to go after her then he’s ever had before.

Not that he needs a serious reason like that to save the girl, but having more emotion added in is always a good thing.

Seriously, that scene where she falls into his arms crying?  That’s like my favorite part of the whole trailer.  I can’t get over it.  10/10 Nintendo, thanks for making me somehow fall in love with your game even more before it comes out.

Speaking of, Breath of the Wild has also been confirmed to be a launch title for the Switch.  On March 3, all new players will get the chance to venture into Hyrule for what promises to be the biggest adventure we’ve been given yet.  It’s really a beautiful enough thing to make me consider buying a Switch on launch day despite my better judgement.

The game may have been delayed over and over again, but I’d say the wait seems like it’s been worth it from the outside looking in.  Let’s hope it delivers.


Super Mario Odyssey

Now this was rather surprising to me.  For I believe the first time in possibly forever a Mario game is not the launch title for a Nintendo console.  Instead, Zelda gets to take the reigns this time.  Though obviously I can’t complain about that, it’s still an odd choice…

Especially considering the fact that this Mario game looks so incredibly incredible that it pretty much single-handedly sparked my excitement to life while watching the presentation.

Super Mario Odyssey, or Mario takes New York as I like to call it, is the next game in Mario’s “World” series from what I can tell.  You know, like Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U, which is still one of the best games on that system without a doubt.  In this adventure, Mario seems to be traveling more than he has in quite some time, going to places like New Donk City (referencing Donkey Kong being like King Kong in New York perhaps?), a very Mexican-inspired desert village, an Amazonian jungle and some kind of fantastical food land.  I can only assume there’s more that hasn’t been shown.

The game looks to be open world in the way Super Mario 64 was, with different areas having nice and huge sprawling areas to cover and explore as Mario goes in search of Pimp Master Bowser and Peach.  There’s a strong hat theme seeing as Mario travels around on a ship that’s shaped like a top hat, goes to Crazy Cap stores in each location he goes to.  Mario can throw his hat and let it hover like a platform for him to jump on, and he’s seen using close to any object – cars and streetlights alike – as platforms and such for the purposes of some sick parkour.

Oh also his cap is his companion.  Like that thing’s alive.  Don’t know what that’s going to entail but it does give off some strong Minish Cap vibes, so I’m A-OK with it.

It’s a little hard to express how fun the game looks without seeing the trailer, so really I’d just say watch it.  It’s hard to not have a smile on your face after it’s over.  Unfortunately, Mario’s adventure around the real world won’t be out until the 2017 holiday season, but I suppose that just gives us more time to play and wear out Zelda for everything it’s worth.

At least we have the original Mario Odyssey to keep us occupied as well.


While those are the trailers that went live last night, they weren’t the only games that were talked about during the presentation.  Probably the most complete list we’re going to get can be found up on the Nintendo website, and includes titles in the field of sports games like EA’s FIFA titles (though I personally question the viability of releasing a game based on soccer/non-American football on a system based around handed motion controls), Minecraft, a new Bomberman game, yet another port of Skyrim and more.  There are also plenty of other games in the works, and like I said before third party interest seems to be pretty high.

With a $299.99 price tag and a fairly small list of launch titles, I imagine the Switch will have a bit of a rocky start on the gaming market.  However, the system frankly looks amazing and has a large catalogue of cool-looking games on the way within the first year of it’s release.  Whether or not it will print money like the Wii is yet to be seen, but I get the feeling there’s a good chance that if Nintendo plays their cards right, it just might.

What did you think of the presentation?  Let me know in the comments below, and let me know what you think of the Switch as a whole!  While I likely won’t get it right away, and might not until the holiday season this year at least, I will say that the Switch looks like it’s going to have a long life from everything I’ve seen thus far, and I’m looking forward to getting to play it.

Especially Zelda.  I really, really need to play Breath of the Wild as soon as possible.

 

A serious nostalgia trip

A serious nostalgia trip

After arguably way too long after I teased it about nine months ago, I’ve finally put together a page archiving my journalism experience and writings from the four years I spent writing on my high school newspaper, The High Tide.

It took me a couple of days to look through every issue and pick out all of my work from all those years under the tutelage of our advisor Mitch Ziegler, but I’d say it was worth the effort.  Now I have the full breadth of my work and experience in one place, good for whenever I need to show my work experience or for whenever I want to take a trip down memory lane.

Seriously, going through everything brought me back quite a bit to all of the moments I spent pulling a story together, the moments I spent editing pages and all of the friends I made along the way – both on the paper’s staff and with a lot of the sources I talked to on campus.

It also reminded me of some apparently strange phases I went through as a blossoming writer.  There was at least a good couple of months where I wrote nothing but Pro or Con positions in arguments that I probably didn’t know nearly enough about to be qualified to write said arguments.  I also spent quite a bit of time writing for other sections before I realized my passion for news, as can be seen by a wide variety of (mainly features) stories toward the earlier years.

Also, I still remember being really proud of the silly ‘recycle this newspaper’ graphic that I had commissioned from one of our illustrators that got years of use and showed up in nearly every paper.  That thing was the best.

If you want to check out all my work on the High Tide for yourself, the link to my personal archive is over on the right, just below my Daily Titan archive.  I had to pull all the papers off of Issuu, so you have to go to the page the story is on manually.

Return to the Titan

Return to the Titan

I just got the call from our new Editor in Chief, and it looks like I’ll once again have the pleasure of being a News Editor for the Daily Titan newspaper in the Spring 2017 semester.  This time it looks like my co-editor will be one of my assistants from last semester, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

With training set to happen next week, I’m looking forward to getting back into the fray with any improvements I’ll be able to bring from my previous experience!