Author: jdrochlin

Jason’s Ten-Dollar Word of the Day

I spent a lot of the day today doing work, copy editing for a number of different people mostly. While I could go on about why that made me late for getting this post out into the world, that would be boring.

Plus anyone reading this after tonight probably wouldn’t care in the first place. So I’m just going to not do that.

Instead I’m going to pull out an interesting tidbit from one of my jobs today and expand on it.

See, while doing a copy edit for a story coming out of Boom sometime soon regarding the current discussions about separating immigrant children from their parents at the border (a topic I don’t plan to delve too deeply into here, don’t worry) I found there were a few words I had to look up to see if they were being used correctly.

One such word stood out in particular because it gave me a more proper term to use for something which otherwise I’ve always treated in a casual manner.


Proselytize

Intransitive Verb form

  1. To induce someone to convert to one’s faith.
  2. To recruit someone to join one’s party, institution, or cause.

Transitive Verb form

  1. To recruit or convert especially to a new faith, institution or cause.

via the Merriam-Webster dictionary


Basically, when the Jehovah’s Witnesses come to your house to talk with you about their faith, they are proselytizing.

The term extends further than just religious door-to-door salesmanship, however. It’s also a politician’s term, a social movement’s term, an industrialist’s term, so on and so forth.

Funny enough, the word actually reminded me of a story I wrote back in 2013 for the High Tide. Julian Stern, a kid who I’d known through being a school acquaintance for some time by then, was running for City Council while just 18 years old.

Very specifically I recall him spending some time in my house to do the interview because he happened to be going door-to-door campaigning in my neighborhood at the time. It was an interesting interview to be sure, and I actually wound up reflecting that in the lede to my article.

You can read the article here, by the way. Bottom right-hand corner of page three.

Looking back on it now I probably would have been laughed out of my high school newsroom for trying to use a term like “proselytize” in my story, but it would’ve fit quite well as a more specific, mature term.

Of course the average reader more easily understood that he was “selling himself rather than magazines,” and that’s why it was the better choice to go with, but still. I would like to see myself use proselytize in a sentence sometime soon.

Also, don’t read too much into my saying ‘selling himself.’ I know you internet, you’ll make anything dirty, but this is not the time.

Stop it.

Well that’s my ten-dollar word of the day. I actually enjoy seeing things like ‘words of the day’ on every online dictionary and goofy calendar ever made, so I might just try to do this again next time I find a new word that’s interesting. If you’d like to see more of it, or if you learned an interesting new word today yourself, let me know down in the comments!

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A Shining Blast from the Past

A Shining Blast from the Past

With the latest Tag Duel Tournament ending in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links soon, I wanted to take the chance to talk about something regarding the event I’ve been interested in since it started.

It has nothing to do with the event itself, as I quite like how Tag Duels work in balancing two duelists fighting on the same team.

No, what I’m interested in is the new reward cards that came from the event. Namely, this one:

Say hello to Elemental HERO Shining Flare Wingman.

This pretty cool looking card right here, for all intents and purposes, is kind of useless when you give it a critical eye. It’s attack and defense stats are okay, but underscored by the fact that it’s a fusion monster that requires a second fusion monster just to summon it.

That’s a fairly difficult summoning condition for the uninitiated, as it means you need three different monster cards and two copies of polymerization just to get him out. His inherent abilities do help him stand out, as he gains at least 1200 attack instantly from all of the HERO monsters in the graveyard just required to summon, then everything he beats over inflicts damage once sent to the grave…

But still. The summon is a tough sell when he has no real protection from any kind of destructive spells or traps.

I’m not here to discuss the merits of this card as a viable battle strategy, however. Even if seeing him added into Duel Links has inspired me to try building a deck around him.

I’m here to discuss the reason why seeing Shining Flare Wingman brought a huge wave of happiness and nostalgia running through my system. Check this out:

Welcome to 2006, where a young nine-year-old Jason vaguely interested in Yu-Gi-Oh! card collecting decided to buy this magazine because the monster on the front looked so god damn cool.

I mean that too, I don’t think I ever seriously read through this thing. I just loved looking at the cool monster pictures on it and inside of it.

To this day, the Shining Flare Wingman edition of Beckett’s Yu-Gi-Oh! magazine is still the only one I own, and seeing his arrival in Duel Links brought the memories of it flooding back. Luckily it just took a quick dig through my 2006-ish era comic books to find the thing.

But those are a story for another day.

Now that I’m older and actually interested in the world of media, I actually perused the magazine with a more analytical eye.

As it turns out, Beckett is an online marketplace for card games and their accessories. Primarily sports cards, but also other trading card games like Yu-Gi-Oh!

That’s probably not a surprise to many of you, but I seriously never bothered to look it up before now. I just always thought of this magazine as “The Yu-Gi-Oh! monster thing.”

At its core, the magazine as a whole is just a conduit to show off what cards are available for what prices online.

In 2006 anyway.

Obviously that’s not all that useful for me anymore. So instead, the really fascinating thing about this magazine is what they fill the rest of this thing with.

It’s 88 pages long, and honestly a perfect feature-writer handbook for how to built an interested following with content related to what’s being sold.

Seriously it’s got everything. News about the card game:

Profiles on cards and decks, much like the Shining Flare Wingman deck that’s advertised on the cover:

But then there’s the more fun stuff that shows how interested whoever put these things together was in not only the card game, but the culture surrounding it.

There are articles all about things like the anime throughout the magazine, which I’m sure appealed to me because the anime was my route into Yu-Gi-Oh!

Top tens and episode reviews.

Seriously, this thing is like the perfect analog representation of exactly what you’d expect to see from fandom-driven sites online today.

It’s like Buzzfeed before Buzzfeed. Except all about Yu-Gi-Oh!

And much more my speed.

Of course there’s also other magazine mainstays, like this section all about reader-submitted fan art:

Shout out to Michael from Utah for truly capturing the anime mood.

Seeing this part of the magazine in particular reminds me a lot of the old Highlights magazines, those book-centric ones everyone would get from book fairs in elementary school.

All it needs is a few hidden object games and I would be 100 percent down.

On the bright side, in place of those kinds of games, this magazine also talked about Yu-Gi-Oh! video games.

So hey, it’s got my best interest at heart.

Most of the rest is just advertisements and and pages upon pages of sales figures for individual cards.

While those are interesting in their own right just to take a glimpse back at early 2006, as it seems these things came out bimonthly, I definitely think my biggest takeaway is how awesome all of the extra surrounding content is.

Seriously, looking through how much fun the creators must have had pulling together all of these feature-y articles kind of inspires me to be a bit more interested in the features side of the journalism spectrum.

And all because a mobile phone game dropped a somewhat useless monster that gave me a rush of nostalgia 12 years after a seminal moment in my youthful development.

Isn’t life just a crazy thing?

Cookin’ for Dad

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! I hope you have all had a great day with your families.

My sister and I typically have a tradition of cooking breakfast for holidays centered around mom and dad. Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthdays, etc. However, this year we decided to do something a little different by cooking dinner instead, since we had breakfast with the more extended family yesterday.

Figured that would make for perfect blog fodder tonight. Though I probably won’t spend too much time fiddling around here because of the whole. You know. Time with the family kind of stuff.

That in mind, hope you’re all ready for some Eggplant Parmesan.


After breakfast yesterday, Aly and I stopped at a grocery store to pick up everything we needed. Eggplant, bread crumbs, pasta, eggs, marinara sauce.

There was only one thing we missed… But I’ll discuss that later for anyone who cant figure out what just yet.

Using the eggs, along with some half-and-half, we made a batter to stick the eggplant slices in before coating them in the breadcrumbs.

From there the slices got fried, which was primarily my job since I’m fairly well known around these parts for being the guy who does things like cook the bacon.

Then once all of the eggplant was done we moved on to the rest of the meal while letting it stay warm in a 200 degree oven.

We hit the pasta and sauce at the same time, one on each stovetop.

Fun fact, Alyson decided to grab angel hair nests in some grandiose attempt to make our meals look fancy…

And I was right telling her that they would just fall apart in the water anyway.

So take that, Aly.

Once those portions were finished, the only step remaining was putting it all together:

Delicious.

Now, for the attentive viewers out there, you might notice that our Eggplant Parmesan was missing a little something.

… The parmesan.

Yeah somehow we managed to make a meal while completely forgetting an ingredient that literally comprises half the name of the dish.

It takes an impressive amount of screwing up to do that, frankly.

Luckily we had SOME cheese in the house to make the meal better. It just wound up being Eggplant Provolone more than Eggplant Parmesan in the end.

But hey, it was still just as tasty.

All we needed to wrap up the meal was a good old fashioned Western. Thank goodness Westworld was here to save the day.

Get it? It’s a spaghetti western.

Haha. Ha.

I hope the joke was worth it, because the episode was heavy this week. Like… Wow.

But hey that’s neither here nor there. Again, I hope you all had a great Father’s Day, and thank you for making my silly series of cooking pictures a part of it.

Ultimately Pointless Thoughts on Industrial Aesthetics

I was going to write something tonight about Wizard of Legend, an indie game developed by the two-person team at Contingent99 that’s all about being a dope mage who is basically the Avatar in a rogue-like dungeon crawler. It’s super fun and my current gaming venture with Alyson on the Switch, since she’s about to finish her school year and we wanted something to play together.

Unfortunately I still haven’t figured out a good way to pull pictures off of the damn console because it needs a Micro SD card and we only have a Mini SD card.

So a discussion on the merits of that amazing little couch co-op action game will have to wait for another day.

Instead I figured I would just ramble a bit about something that got me thinking during my travels today.

While driving to Hof’s Hut in Torrance this morning, where we had breakfast with my grandparents as an early Father’s Day celebration, we passed through a part of the city that could best be described as an industrial park.

Lumber yards and other mills interspersed with office complexes in a compact grid. That kind of a region.

What struck me in particular was the foliage in the part of the city we drove through, as odd as that sounds.

There’s a clear divide between the two residential areas and the industrial park between them along the path that we took to the restaurant. Especially crossing Hawthorne Boulevard, where one side of a train track-covered bridge is as classic a suburban area as it gets — tightly packed houses dotting hills and strip malls all around — while the other side is office complexes, empty lots, electrical towers and lines of hedges across entire sides of some streets.

Everything on the industrial side is much more spaced out and very clearly grossed out as if purposefully designed by someone playing Sim City.

The hedges are what intrigue me the most, as they seem like the outer walls of large mazes, complete with a singular entryway that has a sign indicating what’s on the other side. A lumber yard, like I mentioned, happens to be the one kind of facility I recall specifically.

Thinking it over I can’t help but wonder… For what reason have these facilities decided to cover themselves up?

Is there a law leading to that kind of exterior decorating? Or simply a way of building a better public image by preventing citizens on the outside from seeing any sort of “eyesore?”

Who decided to use hedges in particular? Why is that a common practice?

Also, in a more wide-ranging aspect of the question, is that practice common around the country? The world?

I’m not sure any of this brief flirting with the ideas of how industrial parks work from an aesthetic level amount to anything more than a dumb blog post. It could possibly be a future research opportunity for a story of some kind…

But for right now I’m a little too tired to dig through the history of industrial parks in any sort of hard research excursion. Especially considering my main computer seems to be having problems and I had to copy the entire post here off on my phone a second time.

If nothing else, I suppose being thoughtful about the nature of some foliage surrounding a lumber yard has inspired at least a little bit more than just an ultimately pointless blog post.

I’m thinking about potentially building something with a hedge maze in Minecraft on my friend’s world. Perhaps a revival of a project I tried to construct years ago.

Or at least I’ll think about building that more when I’m not running around zapping fools as an incredible wizard.

Incredibles 2: It’s incredible, too

Incredibles 2: It’s incredible, too

Forewarning. I do my best not to address anything beyond what can be seen in the trailers for Incredibles 2 in very specific detail in this pseudo-review. But just in case, consider this a spoiler warning, as I may throw some minor details around that I wouldn’t personally consider overtly spoiler-y.

You have been warned.



Full disclosure walking into this one: I absolutely adore the first Incredibles movie. Like I have no qualms admitting that my rose-tinted glasses were on securely when hearing this particular sequel was coming out.

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen the first movie, but as I found out while discussing things ahead of showtime with my friend Juan, I can still recall most of the film in striking detail.

I also recall a lot of things that happened surrounding the original movie’s release. I took a class field trip when I was in elementary school, where we all got to go to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood to see a screening of The Incredibles together. I don’t quite remember why we had that field trip or who I was there with, but I distinctly remember doing it.

There was also a game based on The Incredibles for the Gameboy Advance that I played to death, not even fully aware of the fact that it was my first exposure to the ever-popular side-scrolling, arcade-styled beat-em-up genre.

So yes, I was pretty pre-disposed to enjoy Incredibles 2. It’s a universe I was excited to see on-screen again.

I absolutely loved this movie for what it was: A really fun family-centric movie that knew how to balance comedy, heart, a number of plots and — mostly — keep what I really liked about each character alive.

A lot of that love certainly comes out of the nostalgia factor. Seeing the characters I loved on-screen again was like visiting an old friend, and I was excited to see how their stories continued.

Being 14 years wiser meant I could see past the nostalgia enough to address what I didn’t necessarily like about the film as a film, both in terms of the overall plot and in terms of how the characters were treated. But I still really enjoyed the overall experience.

Where the movie primarily failed for me was in the fact that… Well… It’s a kids film.

Yes that’s an obvious thing to say when we talk about a Disney Pixar flick, but that fact really stood out to me.

It was obvious how I was well above the general demographic for the movie, as Juan and I were literally surrounded by eight-to-10 year-old children.

Pretty close to how old I must have been when the first film came out 14 years ago, to be fair.

But hey, you don’t need to be a kid to enjoy a Pixar film. That’s one of the big draws of them after all. So what exactly hit me about Incredibles 2 specifically?

Well… It’s incredibly, incredibly predictable. Pun somewhat intended.

The second the plot gets into motion, I knew exactly where it was headed in regards to the big bad of the film, and I was (mostly) spot-on. For anyone old enough to have some movie-going experience under their belt it’s telegraphed in an almost annoying manner.

There were a couple of times where I groaned seeing the characters on-screen not realize what was about to happen.

In a sense, that skepticism and older knowledge base somewhat ruined about a third of the movie for me.

That makes for a fairly good segway, actually. When you walk into Incredibles 2, you should expect to see three major divides in the movie.

After a great cold open making good on the cliffhanger ending to the first film, the plot splits in twine. Alternating between Elastigirl, Helen Parr, Mrs. Incredible — whatever you’d prefer to call her — going off to do superhero work while Mr. Incredible has to watch the kids, dealing with insecurity over being upstaged by his wife and dadly duties like math homework and boy drama.

The Elastigirl superhero portion of the film is the weakest part, in my opinion. There’s a lot of cool action scenes, mostly involving the sweet motorcycle she rides that can split in two as a way to use her powers while driving, and has some sweet moments watching her be successful.

However, the obviously telegraphed plot development makes her side of the story drag, as I constantly found myself waiting for the reveal I was expecting to be revealed.

I much preferred the Mr. Incredible side of the story, which was focused on the family’s dynamic. Particularly regarding the youngest Parr, Jack-Jack. While all of the children’s problems weighed heavily on Bob, trying to figure out how to deal with a baby that has every super powers with no control comprised a majority of the run time.

You watch Mr. Incredible descend into madness and it’s pretty funny the whole way through. As are the reactions of side characters like Sam Jackson’s Frozone and Brad Bird’s Edna. Jack-Jack really stole just about every scene he was in.

I had a particular fondness for Violet and Dash from the first movie, but they were somewhat sidelined in the second.

Violet’s portions of the film are excellent representations of the angsty teenager archetype, clichéd but well-done and very funny each time she has (frequent) angry outbursts.

Violet also winds up being the crux of the family’s dynamic and spurs much of the emotional moments for the rest of the characters. The interactions between her and her father are particularly lovely and stand-out. But her scenes are few and far between.

Dash, however, is somehow shafted further. There’s no moment in the second film that embodies the same youthful childlike wonder of Dash discovering the extent of his abilities, like when he runs on water for the first time in the original.

Instead Dash is very one-note: He’s bad at math/generally not responsible and he’s obsessed with cool gadgets.

I also have some gripes with how long Mr. Incredible seems to stick on the ‘jealous of his wife’ train for a lot of the film. It’s somewhat in-character, but there’s so much more he does in the movie that’s compelling that his jealous moments stick out like a sore thumb.

All of that may sound like I didn’t enjoy the film, but frankly it’s probably closer to accumulated nit-picks based on wanting more out of characters I’ve loved for a long time.

Eventually the superhero and family portions of the movie converge, and when they do, Incredibles 2 seriously kicks it up a couple notches.

I could’ve watched an entire movie just seeing more fun superhero family shenanigans.

Beyond the plot, Incredibles 2 is a gorgeous movie. Everything is crisp as hell after 14 years and does justice to the 50’s art deco comic look that I’m sure is partially why everyone remembers the first movie so fondly.

One example early on is a scene where Helen and Bob are sitting in front of a pool, and the animated water effects glowing up against them make for a great visual.

The only scene where the visuals really hurt more than they helped involved a room full of flashing lights where Helen fights the main villain. The lighting effects on the characters look amazing… But unfortunately it’s hard to focus on them with how much the screen flashes.

I’ll definitely recommend that anyone and everyone should go see the film, as even with my gripes against the story and certain characters, it’s an incredibly fun and engaging experience through-and-through.

One that I would say was 100 percent worth the 14 year wait.

I’ll look forward to Incredibles 3 in 2032.

English Papers from the Flip Side

Between going off to meetings in Fullerton and building somewhat mindlessly in Minecraft tonight, I kind of lost track of time and almost forgot to write a thing.

So I’m just going to take the easy way out and riff on something real fast and dirty that I’m finally seeing from a new perspective tonight: High school English essays.

English was probably my favorite subject in high school, which all things being equal makes sense considering the industry I was headed toward by working at the school’s paper for four years.

Don’t listen to young, naive Jason who’s ready to tell you math was my favorite subject in school. Because he’s wrong. Algebra was okay. But the geometry and the trigonometry and the calculus certainly were not.

One out of three classes does not a favorite make, you idiot. Stop lying to yourself.

But hey that’s enough self-reflection and self-flagellation for one night. Obviously that’s not what I’m here to do.

What I’m here to do is talk about English classes, all of which required just a ton of essays every year. Especially AP Language and AP Literature, both boasting the extra requirements of essays specific to the AP tests that were just… A lot of work. Like so much work. Like write three different kinds of essays in the span of an hour after answering 100 multiple choice questions kind of work.

Yet surprisingly enough, I’m not here to relive that nightmare either.

I’m here to talk about the basic weeks-long essays that happened throughout the year in every English class. You know the ones, those essays where one quarter would be focused on persuasive writing, followed by the next quarter focusing on argumentative writing.

I bring up all of this writing because tonight my sister was working on completing final edits for her research paper on how music can effect a person’s perception of restaurants/the meals they eat. Because let’s face it, she’s as one-track-minded about music as I am about video games.

Also just incorporated video games into my post about Aly again. #GotHer

Back in my high school English days, there were many a long night of staying up late with my parents to finish papers. Actual writing, editing for copy, creating work cited pages, and so on.

While I certainly did appreciate their help keeping me from going crazy at the time, I never quite realized how impactful it was to have a couple of good editors around to prevent me from going crazy staring at my own text for too long. My mom has always been the copy editor — now reflected in her career as a book editor (hint hint plug plug) — while my dad has always been the content editor, always good at framing things the right way.

Tonight I got the opportunity to really appreciate the impact of that work when I became both copy and content editor for my sister as my parents were out of the house.

Now you may think my seven years of experience working on newspapers, many of which have been in editorial positions, would have made this a quick-and-easy time.

If so, you too seem to not realize the vast divide that exists between writing short, informational print for newspapers versus writing elegant prose for English essays. Because they are entirely different beasts and switching back to the older style (older in my personal chronology anyway) is kind of a pain.

There were some noticeable benefits to switching back to English prose however, in my opinion.

I got to be more wordy and expand upon thoughts more verbosely, for instance. It has always been a criticism of my work that my papers tend to be too long or wordy, but after many years of focusing on becoming more concise to fit a newspaper format it was a lot easier to take the middle-of-the-road approach.

Not too long, but enough extra space to be able to elaborate on thoughts more readily.

I suppose there really is no good way to end off this short, kind of silly post because Aly has to turn in the essay tomorrow so I can’t resolve the cliffhanger of how well she did on it.

So instead I’ll just say… Thank you mom and dad, for dealing with me when I got so exhausted staring at a paper that you had to do 90 percent of the job by pushing me toward the correct ideas.

Because that’s basically what I had to do tonight, and it was… Interesting seeing things from the other side.



Bonus content:

Enjoy Aly laughing herself into a coma as she seriously loses it trying to edit photos of chef Mario Batali into the powerpoint presentation she needs to accompany her essay.

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Am I Uncomfortable with Silence?

Am I Uncomfortable with Silence?

So this post comes in response to what I wrote the other day about the dichotomy of transcription, why it’s a terrible thing to do but also why it’s the best thing one can do when practicing journalism.

I know there was a gap where I talked about videa gaymes because of timely E3 business, but these extended thoughts kept nagging at me.

So consider this a part two of the discussion of transcription, and check out part one here if you haven’t already.

There was another ‘con’ to the act of transcribing that I considered going into while sitting in Starbucks with mom, working on the first post. But I decided not to include it because the more I thought about it, the more the problem felt like one example of a larger, personal idiosyncrasy of mine.

The idea of being subjected to total silence as something potentially uncomfortable to endure.

Now, to preface this discussion with myself, I’d like to say that I don’t actually feel like I’m the only person on the planet who might just be uncomfortable with silence. If anything, I think it’s an inherent part of being as social a creature as humans are.

There are likely hundreds of scientific studies out there on the matter, covering things like our tendencies to fill dead air in a conversation by changing topics or inserting speech fillers like “um” or “ah.”

But I’m going to be looking at the subject from an entirely personal perspective. None of those silly “empirical tests” and whatnot to murk up my subjective torrent of words.

I’ve always been a rather introverted person growing up. Ironic for someone going into a field where they need to constantly talk to people, I know.

My passions have always leaned toward personal activities like reading, writing and video games rather than group activities like partying and sports. I had my groups to do things like play video games with of course, but you get the idea.

Because of that I’ve generally considered myself the kind of person who enjoys, if not thrives in more silent environments. Sitting sheltered off in my room to do work, for example, which has in the past led to my parents deeming it “the cave.”

Yet the more I reflect on my past, the more I’ve come to realize that perhaps it’s more the isolation in which I thrive, rather than the quiet. I say that because more often than not I’ve always tried to fill the silence with other noises even when I’m not with other people.

Video games themselves are the perfect embodiment of this. I’ve been playing them my whole life, and the songs and sound bites from a number of titles are just as iconic to me as some images, just as likely to help recall certain events or moments from my life.

As a quick example, I’ll never be able to disassociate the opening theme to Pokémon White 2 from the specific Target (right across the street from the South Bay Galleria) where I started to play the game for the first time after having put it down unfinished when it first came out.

The idea of making sound ever-present in my life goes much deeper than that, however.

As much as I love driving as an activity, I find my commutes to-and-from Cal State Fullerton nearly unbearable when I can’t listen to a podcast or a video as I go.

When I’m falling asleep, I can never just lay back and go to sleep. I have to do what I consider pre-dreaming, where I start to imagine some sort of scene in my head – a scene that includes some sort of dialogue or musical score – in order to really lull myself into unconsciousness.

While reading tends to be one of the exceptions to this rule, as sometimes ill sit silently just imagining the pages play out in my head, sometimes particularly boring novels for class can get so unbearable that I need something else running in the background to help me get through it.

More often than not I have my computer somewhere in the bathroom as I shower, that way I can continue to listen to whatever video series I have running while standing under the relaxing spray for arguably way too long.

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The laundry basket makes for a convenient pedestal.

The list, as I’m sure you can assume, goes on-and-on.

Having gotten far off-track with that background information, let me tie everything back to why I believe feeling uncomfortable with silence is one of the reasons transcribing audio is such a terrible thing for me. As counter-intuitive as that must sound.

Sound. Audio puns. You know the drill.

When I imagine audio that fills all of the dead space in a moment, it’ll often be the sort of things I’ve discussed already. Podcasts. YouTube videos. Music.

Hell, more often than not my family has the TV on, but it’ll be on a mindless channel like the Food Network just to create background noise while we do other things.

However, I don’t consider work audio, something I’m transcribing, to be in the same category of unencumbered noise to distract from the uncomfortable void.

Part of that could be distilled down to the psychological difference between doing something for pleasure versus doing something for work, I suppose. But I think it goes deeper than that.

When transcribing an interview, you aren’t simply jamming out or getting engaged with an adventure someone else is describing. Unless of course your interviewee is describing an adventure… But again, semantics.

Rather than having the chance to just mindlessly enjoy something and absorb what’s happening, transcription is a much more heavy-duty job. You’re listening to someone talk in the same way, but instead of just absorbing it passively you’re very actively listening to that audio, translating it and jotting it down before going back to make sure what you’ve jot down is accurate.

You become more like a wall or a mirror than a sponge, bouncing that information off to a different place rather than just taking it in. The activity is much more taxing, and it becomes easier to lose your interest.

But on top of that, the requirement to constantly repeat things for accuracy leads to a whole host of other internal issues inherent to the process. While transcribing is a “listening” activity, large portions are spent in total silence. Silence is needed to finish copying down the sentence you just heard before the subject moves into their next thought. Silence is needed as you go back in time to listen to something again, and one can’t even have any other sorts of sounds going on the side because the copying needs to be as accurate as possible.

Then let’s not forget the fact that when one is transcribing audio, they can’t necessarily think about anything else other than that audio, either.

While a mind can wander while going to sleep and fill empty space with memorized sounds, transcribing requires a person to repeat what they’ve heard over-and-over again in their head to make sure they don’t forget what they’re writing so they have to go back and hear it again.

That reminder of the sentence is noise to break up the silence, yes, but again it plays back to the mundane, repetitive nature of transcribing that makes it somewhat unbearable as an activity.

Imagine constant switching between total silence and hearing the same sentences on repeat for a few hours. That’s what transcription is at its core.

Whether or not everyone else in the world feels the same way about silence and how it effects things like transcribing is hard to judge since I’m just going off of my own thoughts.

But if nothing else, simply reflecting on those thoughts and trying to imagine why certain things make me feel the way they do, even if I don’t come to any sort of substantial conclusion, is something else that’s inherently characteristic of being human.

The ability to reflect on one’s own situations, and even reflect on the ability to reflect in the first place. That’s the kind of meta that I find fascinating.

Especially when it comes off of an essentially pointless “deep thought” that winds up boiling down to me complaining about my job, if you think about it hard enough.

Looking at Nintendo’s E3 2018 Conference

Looking at Nintendo’s E3 2018 Conference

E3 was a tricky thing for me this year. See… A lot of it just isn’t for me.

That’s not me saying I’m not interested in a lot of the developers and what they’re working on, I mean literally there are barriers to me playing most games.

Like yeah I would love to play Kingdom Hearts 3, and I thought having three trailers across three different conferences that all featured different content was dope. But it’s on Xbox One and Playstation 4. Not the Switch.

#BringKH3toSwitch

Or yeah, Resident Evil 2 getting an HD remake is neat. Shadows Die Twice looks like a super cool game. Monster Hunting in Final Fantasy 14 is a good idea no matter which way you slice it. Fallout 76 seems interesting and fun. Etcetera, etcetera.

Unfortunately I’m just limited in what I can access, and money is a severely limiting factor when it comes to getting consoles.

So to sum up 90 percent of E3 this year I’ll say this: It was better than a lot of other years prior, and I had a great time watching my friends freak out about what’s coming out soonish. And it has been cool seeing YouTube ads get replaced by E3 trailers

But frankly the only thing I can really have any authority or hype to discuss is the big N. So today, I’m dedicating my blog post to the Nintendo E3 2018 Direct conference.

If you want something more in-depth about the other conferences, there’s plenty of opinions out there. Might I recommend ProJared? He didn’t go to the conference in person this year it looks like, but I still respect his opinion quite a bit.

That said, let’s jump right in with what we got out of Nintendo this year.


So the Direct starts with this hype game about mechs battling called DAEMON X MACHINA. Super action-y music, real Justice League-esque color scheme.

It looks cool, and I get why they would start with something that has such a high-octane feel… But it’s not a very ‘Nintendo’-looking game. I just kind of spent half of it staring at the screen wondering why we started with this and not one of the classic IPs.

But then it very jarringly cuts to silence and awkwardly moves into the next thing.

That next thing happens to be Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC. Which is something I would probably care about more if I’d played either of the Xenoblade Chronicles games.

Next.

Okay that’s not fair, it’s nice to see the game getting more love since I know it’s a series plenty of people love. I just literally don’t know enough about it to offer an opinion.

But hey, then our boy Reggie Fils-Aimé comes in to kick things up to 100 for me by showing off that Pokémon goodness.

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Except he doesn’t really, since it’s mostly just a recap of the trailer we saw the other day. No new footage or anything. So I guess if you want my over-extensive rumination on that, check it out through this link.

One thing he does let us know that’s new is the fact that the Pokeball Plus accessory allows you to get Mew in Let’s Go. That… Actually does make them feel much more worthwhile than I had originally thought.

Damn you clever marketing tactics. Damn you…

After that brief aside comes a return to form that feels much-needed on the Switch:

Super Mario Party.

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Image courtesy of vg247.com

That’s right, everyone’s favorite friendship killer is back. But this time it looks like Nintendo made a lot of good choices just based on the footage we can see.

For one, no more cars. Everyone wanders around on the game board on their own again. God bless.

They also show off the fact that the Switch consoles themselves will be well-integrated into the mini games, allowing players to do things like rearrange battlefields for tank fights.

Everything looks colorful and has branching pathways again, and there seems to be a wide variety of mini games to play. On top of that, they clearly pushed the fact that this is a Mario Party you can take literally anywhere thanks to it being on the Switch, which is a good selling point.

Plus Rosalina is there as a playable character. So honestly I can find no reason to complain. Come October, my friends and I are going to be all over it I’m sure.

Once Mario is finished, we move into the next thing. Yet another highly anticipated interest of mine:

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Image Courtesy of Nintendosoup.com

Fire Emblem Switch finally has a name. Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

It seems the one thing Intelligent Systems learned from Fates is the fact that they can sell more games if they split them up, so instead of two main versions now there are three!

Alright no that’s a joke, don’t believe that fake news. I think it’s just three Lord characters from feuding lands or something along those lines.

The game honestly looks gorgeous from what we can see in the trailer. The environments look realistic more in-line with Fire Emblem Warriors than the somewhat cartoonish fantasy worlds of Awakening and Fates. Which is a plus or a minus depending on who you are, but I dig the art style personally.

It also seems to retain the same stylized cutscene art as Echoes, and the in-game character models are full body, more in-line with those cutscenes.

There are a number of new mechanics showcased in the trailer as well. For one, all individual units appear to have their own troop of units surrounding them when you zoom in close enough. Honestly, this makes a lot of sense to embody the feeling of controlling an army, something older titles had to kind of awkwardly skirt around due to the conflicts with its core gameplay mechanics.

The extra troops don’t appear to be able to take hits for each individual main unit, but they can be put into formations to direct attacks whichever way the player wants.

Also introduced as a step-up from previous titles is what looks like semi-open world portions where the game’s lords can explore expansive towns and castles. It’s as if the free-roaming home base feature from Fates used the third person camera style from dungeon exploring that came in Echoes, but it has a massive graphical overhaul.

Beyond that there are a few extra vague things shown that won’t necessarily make sense until we learn more/see the game. There are character choices that may affect what weapons the Lord units specialize in, the evil king uses an electrical whip like that villain from Iron Man 2 (so whips confirmed as weapons?), there are big mechanical people who seem to be units or at least bosses…

And then lore stuff that isn’t exactly clear.

They give a Spring 2019 release date, but that’s about all we can gleam before the next few trailers hit rapid-fire. For anyone who watched the presentation, there’s a pretty big light at the end of the tunnel so I’ll move through them quick.

  • Fortnite on Switch: I couldn’t really care less. But it’s free I suppose?
  • Reggie comes back to introduce Indie games. Starting with the sequel to Overcooked — a game that I’ve been forced to play with my friends and regret every minute of. Why Reggie. Why.
  • Killer Queen Black looks like a strange 16-bit inspired clone of Joust, just updated for 2018 mayhem. Apparently it’s a port of a game Reggie says was really popular… But I’ve never heard of it. So we’ll see.
  • Hollow Knight, meanwhile, is a game I’ve heard plenty about. I’ve heard it’s gorgeous and fun, one of my friend Kyle’s favorites from 2017. I’ll actually consider downloading it given the fact it’s out today.
  • The super stylized Square Enix RPG Octopath Traveler received an official June 14th release date. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the game but it looks cool and my friends are hyped for it, so I’m sure I’ll play it eventually.

After those announcements, there’s a montage of games that are either coming out or have come out. The one that stood out most, frankly, is Dragonball FighterZ. Something I’ve been looking for on Switch for forever.

Plus Dark Souls and Monster Hunter Gen Ultimate. And The World Ends with You, coming this Fall apparently.

Just… Give it to me already Nintendo, I need all of your games.

But wait, that montage must be the end of the Direct, right? How can there still be a half hour left?

Oh.

Ohhh.

Oh man. Here we go. Masahiro Sakurai is here. That can only mean one thing:

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Image courtesy of theverge.comtheverge.com

We begin this long examination of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with the biggest announcement it has to offer. Every single fighter from every previous Smash game is back.

Ice Climbers? In the game.

Solid Snake? In the game.

Pichu? Young Link? Wolf? Pokemon Trainer? In the game.

But more than that, a few characters have received overhauls. Most notably Link, who now sports his Breath of the Wild look, as well as Zelda, from Link Between Worlds, and Ganon, from Ocarina of Time. The clashing art styles there are a bit jarring for me personally, but it’s cool to get a wider breadth of representation for the series!

Oh and let’s not forget the new characters: the Inklings from Splatoon, Princess Daisy and… Oh.

Ridley.

Ridley is actually in the game.

Our memes have become our reality, folks. End of the line.

Many of the characters also appear to have adjusted move sets. Notably final smash attacks. For example, Pac-Man now seems to rain down like meteors in his, rather than just moving semi-quick across the screen. King Dedede’s smash is based on the Masked Dedede cage fight now. Bowser’s is based on the Yoshi’s Island boss fight.

There’s a whole long section in the video going over the different ways characters have changed, and I’d recommend going to watch that. It does a way better job summing things up than I could.

I’ll just say… RIP Landmaster. Your legacy will always be remembered.

Sakurai himself says they made the impossible possible because it’s what players want, and by god is he right. What a beautiful, amazing man.

Eight-player Smash matches are also returning, as are a billion fan-favorite maps. On top of that, there are little quality of life changes like seeing gauges for Cloud and Robin’s abilities, which makes it easier to track everything on one screen.

Oh and let’s not forget. Assist trophies have been added, like the Squid Sisters. Many can be knocked out too New Pokémon assists have been added, like Solgaleo from Sun and Moon.

… Also Bomberman is there. Because why not?

Everything emphasized by Sakurai seems to suggest the game’s development was focused on making everything more beautiful, more intimately connected to the individual fighters showcased and more quick and fun as a brawler for players.

It’s honestly a greatest hits album for Smash Bros., and I really can’t argue with how amazing it looks.

I just hope we get a lot more new characters in the lead-up to the game. I want the roster for Smash Ultimate to look like one of those silly rom hack Smash games. After all, the Inkling fighters and Ridley both look like really fun additions.

But mostly I want more characters because then we get more amazing reveal trailers.

In Ridley’s trailer, he straight up murders Mario and Mega Man.

Like holy shit it’s so intense and real like for no reason. And I love it.

Plus they say he finally ‘hits the big time.’ I see what you did there Sakurai.

With Smash coming out in December, it’s heard up to be a perfect holiday present for all the kiddos. I’m certainly looking forward to it!


I can understand why people might have been disappointed by Nintendo’s E3 Direct this year.

As a fan of Fire Emblem, Pokémon and Smash Bros., I had a great time watching the Direct. It does help that the Switch is the only console I own, so it was kind of a look at the only games I can get in the near future… But still.

I felt much more hype walking out of the Direct than I did walking in.

Despite that, the lack of discussion regarding things like Metroid Prime 4, which was teased last year, and other such misses are easy jabs to make at the conference. Everything was very focused on a select number of games, with not too much else branching out.

Of course there was (and I believe still is as I write this) the Treehouse Live going on that talked about more Pokémon details and stuff like that… But I didn’t have the patience or time to sit through it, so I’m going to leave those topics for another day.

Maybe.

Probably not, I don’t know. We’ll see.

In the meantime, let me know what you thought of Nintendo’s E3 conference this year!

Or, further than that, let me know what you thought of E3 in general this year. I may only have a Nintendo console, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t games in the other spheres that I didn’t find interesting. I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to coming soon to consoles everywhere!

The Trouble with Transcription

The Trouble with Transcription

After spending large chunks of the day working on transcribing an hour-long Gladeo interview (arguably procrastinating a lot but that’s a different story), I find myself reflecting on the art of transcription as a whole.

… And the fact that it is simultaneously the most helpful but also the worst, least enjoyable part of my job as an aspiring journalist.

It might seem like hyperbole to use such radical opposites to describe the dichotomy of such an important part of the job, but I can almost guarantee that anyone who works in the field will likely agree.

But from where does this dichotomy stem?

Transcription is an ever-present and somewhat unassuming part of the job. If you’re going to be interviewing and quoting a subject in print, you need to have their spoken words written out to be able to print them. It’s just what needs to be done.

On one side of the argument, transcription is mundane, boring and at times even seemingly superfluous. Many times in the past I’ve found myself working on transcribing an interview thinking “oh I’ve heard this before.” More often than not it’s because I have heard this before, as I heard it the first time when I conducted the interview.

However on top of that basic, unavoidable problem of just hearing repeat information, transcription is also a pain because it feels like busy work when going through the motions. You are quite literally copying down the words someone is saying onto a sheet of paper. There aren’t too many tools out there to assist with the job, either.

Because you want the most accurate wording possible so your piece comes out as accurately as possible, it behooves you not to rely on something like Siri to hear the audio and write it out for you because the computer can’t tell the difference between minutia when it comes to speech.

Ever tried to tell Siri to tell someone ‘you’re here for them’ and she instead tells them ‘you hear them’? Not the kind of mistranslation you want at any level of professional publication.

In recent semesters the Daily Titan staff has discovered a web browser-based app called oTranscribe which is honestly a godsend for the job. Not only does it allow you to slow down or speed up the audio you’re listening to, but it can be adjusted to do things like automatically time stamp, and there are other keyboard shortcuts that allow you to pause the sound while typing. Only it will go back about three seconds automatically so you can review the last sentence you transcribed.

oTranscribe is seriously awesome and has helped my job immensely. But… It doesn’t exactly address the problem of getting bored while listening to the same audio you’ve already listened to. That’s unfortunately an issue that will remain into the foreseeable future, up until some device that transcribes perfectly for you is invented.

In the real world, there are some factors that tend to alleviate the mundane boredom of the act. For example, it becomes much faster and more engaging to transcribe something when you’re, say, transcribing something live as a meeting’s secretary or rushing to get the words together for a deadline article that required a source who could only talk in the penultimate hour before publication.

I’ve done that before. Makes the process go way faster in my experience.

Without the “luxury” of a rapid turnaround to help enliven the process, transcribing can drag immensely.

Say, hypothetically, you have an hour-long interview to transcribe. An hour’s worth of the same person talking about the same thing you’ve already heard that you’re just writing down to help you later. Then add onto that the fact that there is no hard, set deadline to hit.

Someone could procrastinate forever on that kind of assignment. By doing things like writing an overly embellished blog post about the fact that you need to do it but can’t help getting distracted.

Hypothetically.

With all of that said, let’s look at the other side of the argument: Why it’s worth transcribing audio despite the heartache that comes with doing so.

I’ve had to handle stories in both ways I’m about to describe.

Some stories have been on such a last-minute deadline that I’ve had to rely solely on my brief written notes to find a time stamp for the quote I definitely need to throw in my story. It’s an effective system in that it’s fast — one of the more useful things it can be on deadline, but there are some problems.

More often than not, in the midst of an interview a reporter will be thinking about half a dozen things all at once. Not only is the necessity of the content their story requires and the deadline for which they have to get that information weighing heavy.

They’ll also be thinking about their next three follow-up questions that will give them the information needed. Except wait- the subject just said something really important an interesting. I better slot in another question to get more details about that.

Oh, and don’t forget to be checking the audio recorder to ensure it’s still taping. At the same time as you’re taking hand-written notes that are detailed enough to rely on in case the recorder breaks yet brief enough to make sure you don’t fall behind while the subject talks at a mile a minute.

See what I’m getting at?

Interviews are a serious juggling act, so much so that the overtaxed mind of the interviewer is likely to glaze over some details throughout the course of the talk. While those details may not necessarily be important, they could be. Hell there could be a perfect end quote for the story at minute 37 of one’s interview, but they were so busy jotting down notes from the previous statement that they forgot to mark down the fact that something good was just said.

In that first kind of deadline situation, the reporter might lose that quote forever because they’re in such a rush that they can only use things they’ve jotted down and know are necessary.

But let’s imagine a second situation. One in which the reporter has a few days or even weeks to work on a story. Be it a larger enterprise piece, a profile or even just an event story where they got a background interview in advance.

Should they suffer through the lengthy slog of transcribing that interview, suddenly a whole host of new doors open up.

When writing the article, now said reporter can have the transcription up in a window just to the side, allowing them to have all their information in one place that they can copy over without having to re-type everything or struggle to understand what’s being said on a pressured deadline.

Personally I’ve also found this method extremely helpful in that I can mark off what information I’ve already used by highlighting the transcript. It may seem like a small thing to remember what statement has been used versus which one hasn’t, but having the information laid out in a clear, concise way honestly frees up a lot of brain power to focus more on other thing, like where to go next or what statement jumps off the previous one best.

Then there are other benefits to having a written transcript, like being able to share it with an editor or fellow reporter who has offered their assistance in crafting/improving a piece. That way they can glance through the written words I just a few minutes versus having to listen to hours worth of audio just to catch up and know what’s happening.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. For as huge a pain in the ass transcription is, going out if your way to do so makes the entire writing process that follows monumentally easier. I can pinpoint specific stories where I wish I had transcripts of my audio, as they would have made those pieces leagues better.

The piece I had to do a few years ago on a presentation that was given entirely in Spanish comes to mind… But to be fair the issue there was arguably more about that language barrier than specifically the lack of transcripts themselves.

As unrelated an example as that may seem, it does actually highlight the chief reason I think transcriptions are essential for any and all journalists. You may think it’s mundane and worthless to listen to your interview twice-over, but the more you repeatedly look at something the more engrained that information becomes and the more you understand it.

In an industry where our job is to understand a person and what they’re doing intimately enough to convey that information to an audience presumably ignorant on that subject, the better you can understand the words you’re working with, the better you can convey the spirit of that subject through their words.

Scattered Fangs, Shattered Dreams

Scattered Fangs, Shattered Dreams

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If you missed part one of this two-part posting session on the Fire Emblem Heroes updates this week — which are frankly only connected by coincidental timing and the fact that I’m bringing it to your attention up top — check out the Version 2.6.0 update post through this link!

Whenever Heroes updates, the developers tend to package that update together with a new summoning focus and story missions. Version 2.6.0 was no exception, as it brought us new heroes from the Blazing Blade.

Except retroactively put ‘new’ in quotes because not all of them are new.

But I’ll discuss that as soon as I get through my discussion on the merit of these new units!


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NinoPale Flower

Skill Set:

  • Giga Excalibur (Might = 14 / Range = 2)
    • Grants +3 Speed. If unit’s Speed > foe’s Speed, boosts damage dealt by 70 percent of the difference between stats (Maximum bonus of +7 damage, combos with Phantom Speed).
  • Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
    • Treats foe’s Defense or Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
  • Swift Sparrow (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
  • Aerobatics (B Skill)
    • Unit can move to a space adjacent to any infantry, armored or cavalry unit within two spaces.
  • Speed Smoke (C Skill)
    • Inflicts -7 Speed on foes within two spaces of target through their actions after combat.

Analysis:

Nino has been one of my favorite units in Heroes since the game first came out. I never played Blazing Blade, but when I summoned the green mage for the first time I loved the way her art looked and she quickly become a unit I used so much that she was the first I ever upgraded to a five-star through hero feathers. She was also the first unit I built-up with skill inheritance.

While that should theoretically make me more excited to see this new Nino… It’s kind of the opposite, honestly. That’s not because of her skills. If anything, she’s got a weapon with a dope animation (though the effect just seems okay at best) and has some effective power behind a glass canon speedy attacker build. Plus Aerobatics feels like it would be broken on a physical unit, if somewhat situational on a mage.

What really bugs me about her is the fact that she’s continuing a trend of units getting alternate forms outside of holiday events. First came cavalier Eirika, then Kinshi Hinoka. While I was willing to blow all my orbs on Hinoka because she was a dope new alternate, as a whole I find I really dislike the practice of taking the slot of fan-favorite characters who have yet to be introduced into the game and giving them to units who already are. During special occasions like holidays it makes sense, but the main banners should be reserved for new units like promised.

It just kind of feels like Intelligent Systems is hoping to pad out how long they can milk this game… Even though there are 20 billion units waiting to be introduced, and at the rate of three-to-five units being added every other week it certainly doesn’t seem like they’re close to drying up anytime soon.

But that’s enough ranting for now, we have two other heroes to discuss.


KarlaSword Vassal

Skill Set:

  • Vassal’s Blade (Might = 16 / Range = 1)
    • Accelerates Special Attack trigger (cooldown -1). If unit’s Speed > foe’s Speed, boosts damage dealt by 70 percent of the difference between stats (Maximum bonus of +7 damage, combos with Phantom Speed).
  • Draconic Aura (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts Attack by 30 percent.
  • Wrath (B Skill)
    • At the start of a turn, if unit’s Health ≤ 75 percent and unit’s attack triggers a Special Attack, grants Special Attack cooldown -1. Deals +10 damage when Special Attack triggers.
  • Even Speed Wave (C Skill)
    • At the start of even-numbered turns, grants +6 Speed to unit and adjacent allies for one turn (Bonus granted to unit even with no allies adjacent).

Analysis:

I’ve heard lots of people calling Karla just a weaker version of Ayra, a unit we’ve already got that is considered one of the most broken in the game. I suppose I can’t argue with that, since I don’t have Ayra to compare her to, but at the same time I think Karla appears to do the job she’s been given exceedingly well based on her skill set.

Both Vassal’s Blade and Wrath are clearly focused on increasing the power and activation timing of her Special Attack, Draconic Aura. Though I imagine there are far better Special Attacks to give her out there, most if not all of them will likely be impressive. On top of that, Even Speed Wave is a nice buff to a team’s stats in a form that has thus far only been seen with Ishtar.

Long story short, I like the cut of her jib.


LegaultThe Hurricane

Skill Set:

  • The Cleaner (Might = 12 / Range = 2)
    • Adds total bonuses on foe to damage dealt during combat. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces of target through their next actions.
  • Glimmer (Cooldown = 2)
    • Boosts damage dealt by 50 percent.
  • Swift Strike (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Speed and Resistance +4 during combat.
  • Attack Tactic (C Skill)
    • At the start of a turn, grants Attack +6 to allies within two spaces for one turn. Granted only if number of that ally’s movement type on current team is ≤ two.

Analysis:

In my opinion, Legault feels like he’s just on the outskirts of being the greatest dagger-wielding unit in the game.

His weapon The Cleaner just needed to have its text slightly adjusted. Instead of buffing Legault’s damage by the bonuses tacked onto the foe, it should have given him damage buffs based on the bonuses on his person. It should have been a Blade Tome Dagger, in other words.

Without it, Legault is rather basic with Glimmer, Swift Strike and Attack Tactic. There really isn’t anything special about him. I seriously just don’t have anything to say about the guy, he’s the lowest on the totem pole of units I want to summon on this particular banner.


To be totally blunt about this banner right off the bat, I probably won’t be spending a lot of time or orbs on these three units. After Legendary Ryoma quite literally bled me dry for nothing, I’m not exactly looking to spend anything on any unit until building my stockpile up again, to be fair.

But these three specifically don’t excite me that much on top of that. Like I said before, Nino would have been top of the list for my emotional connection to her in Heroes at least, but I’m internally protesting the practice IS has been using by not pining after her.

My orbs will probably be better spent either on the 2018 brides banner (which I still haven’t gotten anything out of) or on whatever summer-themed banner I’m sure will inevitably be coming out in the next few weeks.

That or I’ll just fill my coffers with orbs and feel better about myself. Having a security fund in this game is a magical thing, honestly.

Because I’m not planning on summoning too much here, I don’t have a section about my summoning experiences to share. So instead, let’s jump right into some story, because it’s a quintessential example of my favorite FEH meme:

Feh Plot Meme


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With a story chapter and mission both named ‘The King’s Demise,’ there’s no way we aren’t getting some plot all up in here.

Following the defeat of Helbindi in Chapter 9, the Order of Heroes continue to make their way into Múspell with hopes of defeating King Surtr once and for all. In general, the aesthetic of the land of fire isn’t my favorite when compared to the beautiful tundra environments and glassy castles of Nifl, but it’s serviceable and well done.

I do like Surtr’s throne room in particular, it reminds me of something I might build as an intimidating throne room with my friends in Minecraft. But that’s beside the point — we’re a long way away from his throne room at the start of the chapter.

Things kick off with the team conversing on how to best get to the King. Form’s youngest sibling offers her advice to move through the forest to get there having heard to do so from her prior captors.

I do still subscribe to the theory that Ylgr is actually the shapeshifter Loki in disguise,  as her extensive knowledge of the area might help suggest, but the game doesn’t really drop any more hints regarding that through this chapter. So we’ll see.

That resolve becomes a motif throughout the chapter, however.

Somewhat…

See, during the first and last missions it’s referenced quite a bit. Those are typically the most important parts of every chapter, after all.

The middle three tend to just be brief introductions to the characters who have been added into the game.

The Blazing Blade units feel like they were shafted somewhat in that regard. Besides the funny coincidence of their game’s name having ‘blazing’ in it, the added characters feel a bit out-of-place in the hellish land of Múspell and don’t get too much time to converse, something which may have helped otherwise.

There is a nice little continuity of throwing all the other members of the Black Fang into the missions to fit with Nino and Legault… But Karla feels very out-of-place as a result.

I don’t know, maybe my feelings toward the units in general colored my opinion of their appearance in-game, but I just wasn’t a huge fan of this one in that regard.

So instead I’m just going to focus solely on the conflict with the King.

When the Order clears out Legault on the first map, he drops some mad foreshadowing.

Then once the Blazing Blade units have all been routed, the Order makes it to his castle, ready for battle. It’s a battle that has been built up for 10 chapters now, with the game showcasing all of Surtr’s brutality through cutscenes and invincibility through battles.

It’s a battle that has been 10 chapters in the making through the quest for the Rite of Ice that brought about conflict in Nifl, the death of Gunnthrá and some strange sickness in Fjorm.

In other words?

It has been the progenitor of maximum lore.

That hope, it is revealed, is the magical power granted to the player character’s summoning gun weapon (because yes that’s still a thing) granted through the Rite of Ice.

When it’s utilized, the protection spell that brings the king invincibility disappears:

With the battle made more fair, Surtr is finally defeated.

There’s a pretty hilarious dissonance at this point in the game, for me at least, watching the all-powerful lord of flames who has been built up for so long finally be defeated…

By a level 40 unit that has a weapon triangle advantage while he’s sitting at about level 15. In one hit. With him unable to do anything in return.

Gotta love when game mechanics usurp plot armor.

Granted he is much tougher in the lunatic-level fight, but that’s a different story.

Once Surtr is defeated, the Order celebrates.

But wait.

There’s more.

Apparently, the Fire ritual that gave Surtr his power also prevents him from dying.

Because sometimes plot armor has to usurp game mechanics as well. God bless the push-and-pull of game development.

If I had to inject my own theorizing into the game’s story, I’d say the revival of Surtr (and some other details yet to come) are indicators of us only being halfway through Book II. Following a proper hero’s journey — because that would be fitting for FEH, wouldn’t it? — this is the halfway point where all seems hopeless before we find a way to build up to the ultimate climax.

Because Surtr’s description indicates he’s a descendant of the Fire Dragon, I’m under the impression we’ll eventually get to fight that dragon.

Plus there are other plot points that have yet to be resolved:

  • Where did Veronica go? Obviously she’s still summoning units for Múspell, but they said they would be using her as a ritual sacrifice. Will that be the next major plot device?
  • Is Ylgr secretly Loki? Also, what is Loki’s plan in all this? The bridal Tempest Trial indicated she’s the mother of Laevatein, so is she just in it for the king and her daughter? Or is that a lie and she has ulterior motives?

There are more, but we’ll get to that.

When Surtr is revived, the team is distraught and forced to retreat.

Yeah… He’s kind of a dick, too.

A very, very overconfident dick.

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Foreshadow?

Perhaps. Time will tell in that regard.

After that retreat, the scene cuts away to a post-battle discussion between the king’s daughters that serves to set up where everything seems to be going next.

So we’ve got that going for us.

These two dialogue boxes alone are rather interesting in my opinion. The first is a reference to the way Fjorm treated Laegjarn so amicable when she was captured following the battle in Nifl (featuring Chrom and the two Morgans).

If my shipper’s heart is to read into it… I’m led to believe Laegjarn might just have a crush on the ice princess based on that. Though it could just be a mutual respect and admiration. But I’d giggle if it were the prior.

The second seems to set up that the final Nifl sibling will become relevant to the plot from here on out.

Perhaps the next Legendary Hero will be a surprise appearance from the eldest Nifl royal? That or he’ll simply arrive in the story to help lead a charge against Surtr once the next path to weakening him is discovered.

I just hope he’s a more well utilized character than Celica’s brother in Echoes, who was a cool masked cavalier that felt wasted once he was actually turned into a unit… Like… three-quarters of the way through the game.

That’s right, #EchoesShade. Don’t @ me, gamers.


With the story fading to black from there, leaving our heroes on a low note that makes it seem as though all is lost — but throwing in a glimpse of hope to cut through the darkness — I’ve officially run out of things to say.

Overall I appreciate the hero’s journey that has been set up in the long-term, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the developers do with it.

How do you feel about the way the story is developing?

Plus, let me know what you think of the brand new heroes from Blazing Blade in the comments down below!