Tag: 2017

September 14, 2017 Article Published

I’ll be honest, today hasn’t been the greatest day. In fact, it’s been pretty lousy all things considered. But the reason why is a long, long story, and it’s a story I don’t exactly feel like telling right now. 

So instead let’s just talk about this article I got published, even if I don’t have too much to say regarding it necessarily.

As the Daily Titan follows a number of long-running story threads – namely the DACA decision, Title IX and the potential visit from Milo Yiannopoulos in the near future – everyone on news desk has been putting in a hell of a lot of work. My co-editor Brandon has been especially busy, mostly because he’s been keeping up with everything as my life is keeping me spiraled in many different directions at once.

However, yesterday I was able to use my friendly connection with the President of the College Republicans club to whip out a real quick 350ish word update on the Milo situation, which felt good to contribute after a week of feeling pretty hands-off on a lot of things.

This lead came after the group Students for Quality Education rallied at the ASI Board of Directors meeting earlier in the week. At one point in that story it was mentioned that an executive brought up October 31st as the date which Milo could be coming. Having been in talks with the College Republicans club president and president emeratus, I knew that they’ve been working on bringing Milo on Halloween, but I haven’t reported on it yet given that the official contract with the speaker hasn’t been signed. Figured that meant there was still room for change down the line, and I didn’t want to be too pre-mature.

When it was brought up by that third party, however, I was curious enough to dig a little more. After all, even though I’m essentially at the top of the waiting list for information, I hadn’t heard anything was finalized. What I wound up discovering from my contact in the University Conference Center was that the College Republicans have officially booked the Titan Student Union Pavilion space for a guest speaker on Halloween.

Thus, the story was as simple as a quick update on that with a nice little interview I did with the College Republicans club president Amanda that not only set the stage for what’s next, but also got her input on most of the events that had been happening throughout the week. All and all it’s short, but I think rather nice and effective as an update story. Something to keep the fire kindled as we wait for more, I suppose.

If you want to check out the article in its entirety, you can see it here. If you want to look at my whole catalog of work for the Daily Titan, you can look over at the link on the right!

Advertisements
The 1.7.0 Update: For Love? Or for Stats? Plus more Fire Emblem fun

The 1.7.0 Update: For Love? Or for Stats? Plus more Fire Emblem fun

As I’m sure anyone watching my blog has noticed that I’ve been rather busy the past few days. Driving around for internship/Boom-related events, starting daily production for the Daily Titan with some late nights, working on stories like DACA and our interview with President García, plus more in that I haven’t gone into half of the actual schoolwork and personal things I’ve had to deal with beyond work.

As much as it’s better to be busy than bored, I’ve been a little stretched thin. Unfortunately that means some things have to fall through the cracks, and some big Fire Emblem Heroes stuff happens to be what fell through said cracks this time around. It’s a shame too, there have been multiple things that I otherwise would have loved to talk about in a more timely manner.

But look at me complaining about missing fun stuff because work and responsibilities got in the way. Probably time to move on to what I’m talking about today before the world’s smallest violin busts out a tune.

Since I gabbed about the game’s Brave Heroes update last time around, quite a few things have happened. First and foremost:

img_6052

That’s right, I got me a special Lucy.

Humblebrag that may be, but Lucina is one of my favorite characters given her high prestige as my Super Smash Bros. 4 main fighter. So I’m excited about it and wanted to share it with the world.

The last Voting Gauntlet also wound up being much more of an intense game than I’ve seen in some time. As I predicted at the beginning of the competition, Ike won.

img_6071

The guy is so popular that it was hard to imagine he wouldn’t, and I got off with plenty of hero feathers thanks to my lucky intelligent deduction, so you’ll hear no complains from me. Camilla did put up a good fight though, and the intense competition both in the overall Gauntlet and within my friend group (as we literally split down the middle with our support) made things way more engaging.

Also we got 4 orbs every two days for each of the three rounds. That’s a nice incentive as well. Feel free to keep nice stuff like that flowing, Intelligent Systems.

Then as things moved into September, we got an event calendar for the month that preempted a bunch of cool things coming in the near future:
img_6081

A few of these events have started already, and those are the crux of what I’m here to talk about today. So let’s get going and split it up appropriately, shall we?


Version 1.7.0

img_6070
Ironically this version update is the biggest news to come out of Fire Emblem Heroes in a long time… Yet I don’t have a ton to say about it.

Fire Emblem has become known not only for its high difficulty strategy-RPG gameplay, but also for its comprehensive unit support systems across many of the games in the series. In Fire Emblem Heroes, only one of those things has been represented since the initial release.

Until now, that is.

Ally support systems are in the game, and with it comes endless possibilities for ships in serious and in meme-worthy contexts. As someone who has loved shipping in Fire Emblem games since my first venture into Sacred Stones, I’m more than excited to see that we can pair up characters to our hearts content.

Just like in the main series titles, allies who fight near one another in battle gain support rankings that range from C to S when undergoing support training. However, an interesting component to Heroes’ model comes from the fact that you can constantly switch who your hero supports. You could have an S-support with a unit only to break that off and start another one back at C, and you can do so as many times as you want.

img_6100

While I haven’t had the chance to build much support beyond basic C-level stuff, it seems as though the characters interact in a cute little cutscene to show how much they enjoy each other’s company for every rank you climb. You can view the little vignettes that come with this whenever you want.

In battle, supporting allies gain bonuses depending on their rank and distance from one another:

  • C-rank grants units +1 resistance from one space away, double that when adjacent.
  • B-rank grants units +1 resistance and defense from one space away, double that when adjacent.
  • A-rank grants units +1 resistance, defense and speed from one space away, double that when adjacent.
  • S-rank grants units +1 resistance, defense, speed and attack from one space away, double that when adjacent.

However, on the battlefield itself, it doesn’t appear as though supporting units get special indication beyond a heart over the support partner when you select one or the other. Perhaps there’s more if you get higher that I haven’t seen, but in this case there’s no way for me to know.

I do hope they add in a small heart animation when units fight side by side though. That would be amazing.

The other interesting thing to note about ally support is that you, the summoner, can get in on the anime-themed shipping action as well!

img_6101

That’s right, what would a modern Fire Emblem game be without a self-insert character to pair with any unit you desire? The concept behind how this works is exactly the same so long as you replace each instance of “two units” with “one unit,” as you technically count as the second presence in the room.

The scaling benefits are also slightly better for summoner supported allies:

  • A C-rank grants the summoner-supporting unit +2 resistance and +3 health at all times.
  • A B-rank grants the summoner-supporting unit +2 resistance, defense and +4 health at all times.
  • An A-rank grants the summoner-supporting unit +2 resistance, defense, speed and +4 health at all times.
  • An S-rank grants the summoner-supporting unit +2 resistance, defense, speed, attack and +5 health at all times.

Okay by slightly better I actually mean infinitely better. These are some amazing stat buffs to be able to bestow upon one ally.

Which, of course, brings us to the question that serves as this post’s title.

Are you the kind of player that will pair your units together because you canonically love them as a pairing in the story of their games/the story of your imagination’s choosing?

Or are you the kind of player that will pair your units strictly to build the strongest team imaginable, letting no stat points go to waste?

Personally… I haven’t decided which category I am. In all other circumstances I would wholeheartedly go for option 1, as I ship literally anything and everything in any video game I play, TV show I watch, book I read and more. But for Fire Emblem Heroes the pure stat buffs are awfully tempting… Especially on my cavalier team.

I would kill for some high-leveled units to get even stronger.

But for the summoner support especially I’m at a loss. Who do I want to be with? Do I pair myself with a powerful unit like a Brave Lyn to make her a battling monster? Do I pair with a sentimental unit like Eirika from my favorite Fire Emblem game (despite her actual husband being available)? Or do I pair myself with a unit like Nino, my first true Fire Emblem Heroes waifu? I literally have no idea.

Oh well. I’ll have time to figure it out.

Overall, I would say the Ally Support system is a welcome addition to this mobile title that, despite being somewhat barebones right now, easily serves its purpose and has opened the flood gates for people to do whatever they please in terms of customizable relationships.

In a sense it’s somewhat ingenious to have the feature in a mobile game styled like Heroes is where each player can build their own experiences with unit pairing. Sure it’s only porting an already existing idea over, but I still think it lends itself uproariously well.

And if I ever summon her I’ll be able to finally get revenge on the restrictive Echoes by shipping Genny and Tobin.

While shipping is easily the biggest addition to Version 1.7.0, it isn’t the only one.

Though there isn’t a lot, so the pictures above basically sum everything up.

A search option for skill inheritance is a great idea, one that I’m sure already has, is continuing to and will from here on out save people tons of time when building teams. The rest of the stuff boils down to some aesthetic and deep mechanical adjustments that I don’t feel like I have to dive into that deeply.

If anything, I just think it’s safe to say that I appreciate the game developers for constantly updating things to make the best user experience possible. So far nothing they’ve done has failed me yet and it seems like the community as a whole enjoys the changes too.

Keep it up Intelligent Systems, and I’ll keep up giving you some free publicity whenever you start up new developments. New interesting developments.

New interesting developments such as –


Tempest Trials Mini: To Die on the Battlefield

img_6087

A new Tempest Trial, which launched just today!

In other words, this is the section of this post that kept me from getting that much sleep last night. Thanks game, you always know how to prod at my insomniac button.

The Trials start off about how we’ve come to expect them at this point. Masked Lucina has teamed up with the four top Bonus Allies for this go around (Eliwood, Lyn, Hector and Ninian) to help lead them into the Tempest so they can protect their world.

 

However, she does warn them that the character at the end of the Trial is a special kind of foe:

img_6091

After you break through the usual barrage of battles (seven at the highest Lunatic difficulty in my case), you come across that special foe. The build-up is intense, the anticipation is great, and in the end…

img_6093

It’s Hector. Given the description Lucina gave for him I suppose it makes sense that this is the character who’d show up at the end, but I wouldn’t liked to see something more novel-

img_6094

I’m sorry, what was that? 85 health?

43 defense?

30 speed?

Pavise?

And Distant Counter?

My god… This unit is completely overpowered.

I actually legitimately think it’s glorious just how overpowered he is. Hector is already considered to be one of the most powerful units in the game and they buffed him to high hell for this event. Thank god they keep units weak after you lose a fight, otherwise this might have been next to impossible. He actually beat down quite a few of my units before I was able to finally take him down the first time, ending the first of many future runs at the same challenges that I’ll be playing for the next week.

Oh, uhh… Also the background is pretty.

img_6095
Or it would be if I got a picture without Mathilda in the way… Sorry.

Hector kind of overshadows it, but I do think it’s quite nice. Thought that would be worth mentioning.

img_6096

Mechanically speaking, not all that much is new this time around. Everything that has been added throughout the last couple of Tempest Trials runs have made their return, and I definitely appreciate their continued appearance. Weaker opponents upon losing a fight and switching to a new team still probably being my favorite. Though a close second is the two daily rounds of extra bonus points for completing runs on top of the separate daily rewards you receive for completing said runs that really encourage continued habit-building playing.

This particular event only lasting a week instead of two weeks (hence the “Mini” modifier) also means there are less reward tiers, making everything easier to collect. Bonus Allies become that much more worthwhile as a result, since they continue to boast stat boosts across the board on top of their value as point multipliers.

Now, it may sound like I just glossed over the idea that the event is shorter and has less rewards, which is something I’m sure plenty of people have found reason to complain about… But frankly I glossed over it because I think it’s rather nice.

As my very complaint-filled introduction at the beginning suggested, I don’t have a ton of time to spare as of late. Thus, having a smaller and more manageable event with easier goals to reach is a godsend if anything.

On top of that the rewards are so tightly packed that it feels like we’re getting plenty of bang for our buck in quantity.

img_6097

Though that does bring up another point. These rewards are… Fairly disappointing overall.

Don’t get me wrong, things like free orbs are a commodity I’ll never complain about, and with my huge stockpile of Stamina Potions I have no doubt that all of those sweet little spheres will be in my inventory in no time flat. But these Trials tend to be known for big special prizes throughout the point accumulation process that serve as driving forces.

This run doesn’t really have that, for me at least.

Masked Lucina is the character reward, and even my love for her doesn’t change the fact that I already own a five-star version to use. Defense 1 and Quickened Pulse are also pretty ‘meh’ rewards, as they are Sacred Seals I already have (though I do encourage anyone who doesn’t have it to go after Quickened Pulse).

Distant Defense is brand new at least, and it certainly looks like it will be right at home on a bulky unit I own sometime soon. However, that’s about it beyond the orbs. Maybe I’m just feeling picky, which I know I shouldn’t considering there’s a full Tempest Trial coming at the end of the month that I’m sure will have all the cool stuff we could ask for.

img_6085

One thing this trial does have going for it is a pretty dope summoning focus banner based on the Bonus Allies. Basically everyone on the list is a super cool and powerful hero to have, so even though I haven’t decided whether to use my own orbs yet I know the risk will certainly be worth it for some.

For now, however, I’m sticking with Masked Lucina as my main multiplier. Girl puts in work with those stat buffs.

Unless more comes up as I play through the next week of fights, that’s really all I have to say about these Trials. I like the idea that miniature versions can exist, and I hope that means more events will be encouraged in the future, but this particular run doesn’t add too much to the overarching plot line or the pile of special prizes we’ve seen in the past.

If nothing else it simply serves as a nice transition into a focus on some Blazing Blade content. Speaking of, how’s about we move into the next thing.


Bound Hero Battle: Ephraim & Eirika

img_6074
Though I don’t normally talk about these events, the fact that Sacred Stones has been the focus makes it worth at least bringing up as a farewell of sorts.

The mid-to-late portion of August was spent in the world of Sacred Stones between new heroes and a Grand Hero Battle. By the looks of it, this event may be the last hurrah for it on Heroes for a while as things move into The Blazing Blade with the mini Tempest Trial.

Though I think it’s a shame, more than one game does deserve to have the spotlight. Life moves on and all that, so I’ll just look forward to the next shot we might get at Neimi. #NeverGiveUpNeverSurrender

In terms of the Bound Hero Battle itself there isn’t all that much to say. It features one difficult battle with three challenge levels that offer scaling rewards.

 

Hard mode gives out two orbs, Lunatic gives out three orbs and Infernal gives out a whopping four orbs. Nine orbs ain’t too shabby.

img_6077

For the actual playable map itself, I can’t honestly decipher which map from the original game it’s trying to emulate. This one seems just a bit too simple to really give any substantial hints in my opinion, though it has been driving me crazy enough that I tried doing some outside research on the matter.

My best guess is probably Ephraim’s first castle siege map in Chapter 5X or the much larger equivalent you get later on in Chapter 9, though I don’t know for sure. I just know that with the cavalier team I’ve been able to assemble since summoning Brave Lyn it honestly hasn’t been a huge hassle to at least get through Lunatic difficulty. Infernal is another matter entirely, but I have a few days to figure that out at this point.

Oh, and as an added note, thank god for Serenes Forest having these maps available to see. If it didn’t my wall would probably have a very distinct Jason-shaped hole in it right about now.

img_6086

The Bound Hero Battle also comes with a summoning banner featuring Eirika, Ephraim and Seth. The only one on the list that I don’t personally own is Ephraim, and considering he’s also on another banner that’s running at the same time…

img_6084

I probably won’t be summoning off of this focus. Sorry Ephraim, I’ll snatch you up eventually.



Boy oh boy that was a lot. On the bright side, I think that should cover my personal obligation to talk about Fire Emblem Heroes for a good while.

Or for at least a week. At which point we get new heroes according to the schedule. Then we’ll get another Bound Hero Battle, a full Tempest Trials run and some Fire Emblem Warriors-themed maps after that.

… Yeah alright, maybe there’s more coming up than I expected. Guess it’ll give me a nice break from the already ever-present slog of school if I make the time to talk about them.

Which of course I will, so look forward to some of that!

How do you feel about character pairings coming to the mobile Fire Emblem hit? Or about the prospects of a potentially more frequent miniature version of the Tempest Trials? Or about the many events coming down the pipeline? Let me know in the comments below!

September 6, 2017 Article Published

So technically this article does not have my byline, and I’m not looking to take credit for it by any means, but the story is important enough that I definitely feel like it’s worth sharing here.

Yesterday, the White House announced their plans to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and sent everyone into a tizzy – for lack of a better term with more gravitas. My co-editor Brandon and I jumped into action right when we found out, as he had preempted the possibility of things happening with a small story the day before.

Not only did we spend most of the afternoon out and about trying to do interviews with DACA-related officials and student activists responding on campus, we also scowered through Trump’s press statement, the statements released by higher ups like CSUF President Mildred Garcia and CSU Chancellor Timothy White and we staked out the Dreamers center to try and get some raw opinions on the subject. We did wind up succeeding on that front, where we also got access to some officials from other campus clubs and organizations who were visiting to give their condolences and support.

This was also the story that contained my little adventure trying to get an interview with Pollak Library Dean Clem Guthro. I elaborated on that in my last post about the Autry event I attended, but I still can’t get over the wonderful serendipity of it all. So why not call back to it again, am I right?

Unfortunately, that break at the Autry for Boom meant I had to spend a solid 5 hours of the night outside of the newsroom. Thus, while I did stay on call to help pass along sources (such as the extra Guthro interview) and edit the story, I was not able to be involved in actually writing the story.

The decision to go wound up being hard to make, as DACA was such an important story last night that I felt like it might even be worth skipping out on the Internship-based event I’d RSVP’d for at least three weeks ago. Brandon said he could handle it however, so I decided to go anyway. Luckily the event ended early enough that I was able to swing back to Fullerton to help close out the night, so I didn’t feel as bad by the end.

That’s why I don’t have a full byline in the story, as I wasn’t actually a serious part of writing the piece. Instead I got a contributing credit for all the work I helped put into it.

However that should by no means be taken as a complaint. Brandon did a phenomenal job pulling together all of the elements we collected into a succinct, engaging story. I actually had next to nothing as far as corrections went when I looked over it from the Autry. He wholeheartedly deserves the credit he got, and I’m happy just being a part of it.

I just happen to appreciate a little self-promotion, so I figured it was worth pushing this one out on my blog for the sake of my part in writing it. On top of the massive emotional impact and great reporting, of course.

If you want to read the article in its entirety, you can see it here. Brandon really did a wonderful job and it’s definitely worth the look. Beyond that, if you want to see my full breadth of writing for the Daily Titan, you can find it over on the right!

August 28, 2017 Article Published

I’m pretty exhausted.

Between adjusting to new classes, a couple doctor’s visits for things like physicals and working on the Daily Titan, I already feel like I could use a break. It wouldn’t be exaggeration to say that this one week alone has felt like a month in its own right.

At least watching people read the title to my article and pick it up the school paper throughout the day has been a significant little energy boost.

For those of you that are at CSUF, I’m sure you have all noticed the super cool newspaper gracing every shelve and pick-up booth today. At least I hope you have all noticed. However, for those of you who are not on this campus, I figure I should show you all what’s going on:

img_5998

Though the beginning of school has been a major part of my stress and exhaustion lately, certainly working on this big story has been a significant contributing factor, despite it all being worth the effort in the end.

I’ve done at least eight or more interviews within the last week alone to put this piece on controversial conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos potentially coming to CSUF and how close the process is to securing it. In the end I’d argue I accumulated enough content to fill up five completely separate articles on different subjects related to this event in the works.

Thanks to my assistant Amy for some help transcribing and to our Editor in Chief Zack for helping me work through putting it all together in a cohesive way, I’d say things turned out pretty wonderfully.

The story essentially begins with my delving into the College Republican club’s plans to bring Milo Yiannopoulos to campus and confirming that they have been doing what they said they have been doing. That meant going to every source that club president emeritus Chris Boyle mentioned to confirm that they had been in touch with the club on the subject.

Once all of those confirmations were in place I was able to delve into what got us started on this investigation, a petition put online by the Students for Quality Education (SQE) organization on campus. While the fact that a member of the Administration supposedly leaked them this information ahead of time despite the College Republicans not making any formal announcements as they finish the process is another story, for now there was not enough information available to really delve into it.

They hope to put the message out to the school’s President Mildred Garcia and a number of others that they don’t want alt-right speakers like Milo on campus, though as I explain throughout the piece it really isn’t up to the Administration to decide that.

That said, the next big chunk of my piece revolves around how campus organizations and clubs, registered through Student Life and Leadership, can get guest speakers on campus to hold events. It’s an interesting process in that it’s almost entirely up to the club themselves to work out any contracts and agreements with both the speakers and the University, so everyone else essentially acts in advisory roles more than anything else.

With all that said, I end off on a note that the College Republicans feel this kind of speaker has been called for by a large amount of conservative-leaning students on campus, and some of their reasoning is interesting to consider. From here on we simply wait and investigate more, as you know we’ll be looking to get our hands on whatever contract is signed between the College Republicans and Milo to confirm what we understand is the day he will be coming.

If that information does end up panning out in the final agreement, it’ll be a pretty big story in itself. So stay tuned.

If you want to check out my article on Milo in its entirety, you can find it here. You can also check out my full catalog of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!


While this is clearly a moment of self-promotion, as I’ve been chatting about my front page article for this weeklong edition, I also wanted to spend a moment talking about how cool the rest of this paper is from all of our elements put together.

Our new layout editor did a great job re-arranging the banner at the top of the paper this semester to make it look way more clean and pretty. The cut-out teaser next to the paper’s name is also a neat touch, in my opinion.

Our new Illustrator has been killing it so far this semester with an abundance of drawings in just our first two issues alone. This one for Milo Yiannopoulos is pretty spot on, and the way we have it so that the podium looks like it continues all the way down the stack of papers creates a nice effect.

I’ve also got to give some props to Brandon for his article in the Front Page 1 slot next to mine, as it’s a really good little investigative piece that easily could have been Front Page Dominant if it had as potentially appealing an eye-drawing visual or name to accompany it. Unfortunately Milo happens to be one of those figures that sells papers, but the hard work he put in is really great either way.

Between all of this and more, like an opinion piece on NASA post-eclipse and a reflection on the CSUF Massacre in 1976, I’d have to say this issue is one of my favorites that I’ve had the chance to work on in my two semesters (plus two weeks) as an editor for the DT. It’s just a really solid paper.

Plus it’s on the shorter side and didn’t keep us here until 2:00 a.m., which is hopefully a trend we can keep up with once our daily production starts next week.

In fact, I’d recommend checking out our entire issue this week, which you can see on our digital Issuu archive. I’d say it’s definitely worth a read.

Two articles published the week of May 8, 2017

So I suppose I should address the elephant in the room. Or at least I would if there was an elephant here, but there isn’t because the elephant has been on hiatus much like I have.

Does that metaphor make sense? Does it have to?

Probably not, it was just a silly way to transition into a thing that doesn’t have much to do with it in the end after all.

Yes, it has been quite a while since I posted anything here on my blog. I would go into the reasons why, but admittedly it’s not all that complicated. School has been extra busy, life has been extra busy… Doesn’t really leave too much time to talk about silly things like video games, as much as that’s what I do almost all the time anyway.

This post itself is a bit of a red herring though, as I still have finals next week and will probably be back on hiatus at least until those are done with. However, with two big articles of mine getting published over the last week, I figure this little quiet period over the weekend is a good a time as any to drop them off here. Everything else –  new card packs in Duel Links, the near release of a new Fire Emblem game, the fact that I just watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2, internships I’m potentially taking part in over the summer… All that kind of stuff can wait for later.

For now, let’s talk Titan. Early on this week, my co-editor Sarah and I worked together on an article about members of the CSUF College Republicans club creating a fake Instagram account parodying the Students for Quality Education (SQE) group on campus. The account wasn’t sanctioned by officials in the club itself, College Republicans club president Chris Boyle said, but he did acknowledge that he knew which members were responsible for act and had no intention of telling them to stop exercising their free speech. However, the story got tricky, as the fake Instagram account put out a fake advertisement regarding a fundraiser on Cinco de Mayo that was considered hate speech by some, particularly those in the real SQE, and it wound up going in front of the Academic Senate with the intent of passing a resolution against the account.

For as small and, frankly, hilarious a story as this one was to start with, it wound up getting a little hectic to pull together. We had to talk to all involved parties and get comments building upon the already complicated web or involved organizations, as not only was there the controversy behind the Cinco de Mayo post, but there was also other things happening concurrently like a whodunnit-style mystery behind exactly who was in charge of the account given accusations and denials across various individuals. In the end it was a fun article to work with alongside Sarah, and it was almost a last hurrah for us working together since she’s graduating. Though we did get some backlash from the Republicans on campus accusing our article of being biased, I think we did a good job staying neutral and just reporting what we were told and what we saw.

If you want to check out the article, you can see it here. It’s certainly a fun one to read, in my opinion.

The second piece I had published came at the end of the week, and it was a bit more of an adventure to put together. While the fake Instagram story came together in about a weekend, this article was quite literally a whole semester in the making.

As part of the Investigative Reporting class I’ve been taking, we have been collectively looking into homelessness in Orange County as our big project. Over the past couple of weeks, the stories we’ve written for the class have finally been coming out, including the one I wrote with Roxana Paul on the Mercy House emergency shelter in Fullerton and the Check-in Center that feeds into it. Admittedly I wrote most of the final article, since English isn’t Roxana’s strongest suit, but all of the work leading up to the end product was undoubtedly a group effort.

The article essentially follows a night in the life of the homeless who make use of these Mercy House services during Armory season (from about November to April). They can check goods in or out of storage at the La Palma Check-in Center in Anaheim during the afternoon shift (from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), take a bus to get priority registration at the shelter in Fullerton, spend the night there and then go back to the center once the shelter closes at 6 a.m.

We not only talked to officials working at the two facilities, we also talked to homeless individuals making use of the services and looked through documentation on the amount of people that are homeless in Orange County (courtesy of things like the Point in Time count I participated in early on this semester) to try and weave a narriative of how hard it is to support people who can’t easily support themselves as well as the immense amount of work people that are really passionate about helping are putting in.

Fun fact, this was also the very first article I’ve taken my own photos for, pretty cool right? I think so, at least.

I’m super proud of this article and think it’s a great way to wrap up a semester, and I’m hoping you’ll agree. I spent extra time setting up the online edition of this story in particular as well, so be sure to check it out here!

You can also check out a full archive of my work for the Daily Titan over on the right.

Marshadow, coming soon to Pokémon Sun and Moon

Marshadow, coming soon to Pokémon Sun and Moon

I’ll be honest, life has kind of been stressing me out lately. A lot. Between classes throwing exams, papers and more at me while the semester winds down, four days of work at the Daily Titan constantly trying to keep sinking ships afloat (Since, as I like to say, news is and always will be a fickle mistress) and certain extra family obligations, it’s been hard not to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Sure, I have my typical daily distractions like Fire Emblem Heroes and Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links, but really I think I’ve started to miss writing about more creative subjects of passion outside of campus news. Here on this blog, at the very least.

I figured maybe I could talk about my mobile gaming obsessions to try and relieve some of the stress, but honestly there are a few barriers to that for me right now.

As far as Duel Links is concerned, I’m just not really sure what I would talk about. There’s no major events happening and I’m still working on building up my card collection enough to be able to build some better decks, so not much of a subject to jump off of… Even if it continues to suck up almost every bit of free time I don’t have.

However, there isn’t much I want to talk about in the realms of Fire Emblem either. I’ve been so busy with work that I’ve just about missed most of the current Pegasus vs. Wyvern riders Voting Gauntlet, and although supporting Team Minerva has proved fruitful up until now…

img_5100

Yeah. Not really too much to say when you see that kind of awe-inspiring disparity before you.

Oh, and I pretty much missed the boat entirely on hyping up Fire Emblem Echoes for myself considering it comes out in 10 days. Sure, I’m still going to buy and play the ever-loving life out of that game because it’s Fire Emblem, I just didn’t really delve into some of the complexities of reveal trailers and such because of my aforementioned lack of time.

I was beginning to think hope was lost, and that I’d just have to continue trudging through the daily grind of being a workaholic student journalist… But an old flame emerged, and quite literally breathed fresh life into my lungs.


Okay yes, that whole little introduction segment probably seems a little over-the-top and melodramatic, complaining about first world problems like not having enough interesting things in my video games to talk about…

And it was.

But hey, I wrote most of that at like 2:30 in the morning or something, because like I said I basically don’t have any time during the day and also apparently enjoy making life harder for myself.

Anyway, for as over-the-top as it was, the sentiment I tried to put across still stands. I really feel like this blog became my own little passion project during the build-up to Pokémon Sun and Moon, when every little leak got me excited to talk about my feelings and opinions into an essentially endless void meant to entertain myself more than anyone else.

So when I saw a pretty substantial new Pokémon-related piece of news come out, I just had to jump on it. It really did bring back that internal flame of excited passion to write, even if the subject matter may not be all that extensive in it’s own right.

On April 7 (yes a few days ago, but I’ll spare you all the 56th mention of my tight-packed schedule) two videos came out. The first of which revealed a new Mythical Pokémon preparing to grace 3DS’s all around the world:

It’s only 16 seconds long, but man did it feel reinvigorating to hear that battle theme play over a reveal trailer again… Even if that trailer is, in this case, more of a teaser announcing that more details will be “coming soon.”

Now, Marshadow is by no means a new reveal to anyone enveloped in the Pokémon Community. Literally every detail about this cute little Ghost/Fighting-type could be found on Serebii.net and probably just about every other Pokémon website right around when Sun and Moon first dropped last November – if not even before then.

Personally, I love his design and I love his typing. Marshadow will be our first Ghost/Fighting-type, and with access to the ability Technician, all the elemental punches and more, he’ll definitely be fun to mess around with. Even if I’m still not a fan of using Legendary and Mythical Pokémon just in general.

However what really helps Marshadow now stand out is the second video that was put out on April 7. A pretty substantial trailer for the next Pokémon movie: Pokémon, I Choose You.

When the first trailer for this new movie came out some time ago, I didn’t really pay it much mind. The Pokémon anime hasn’t been a part of the package deal that keeps my interest in some time, and the movies kind of get lumped into that same category for me.

Seeing this new trailer changed that, however. As it turns out, there are going to be far more liberties taken with the original anime story from the looks of it.

Most notably, which should be obvious by the way I’ve set this whole thing up, Marshadow appears in Ash’s shadow and acts as a guide for the new trainer and his friends. At least, according to the movie summary translation on Serebii. Yeah, I’m still leaning heavily on that site for my information – some things never really change.

The movie is also going to take a much more intense turn toward Ash’s relationship with the Johto legendary Pokémon Ho-Oh, who was famously first unveiled in the initial episode of the anime, essentially confirming that more Pokémon games would be coming out at the time.

A heavy focus on these two Pokémon isn’t the only thing that has been changed for the 20th Pokémon movie, however. Trainers and Pokémon from Alola appear to challenge Ash. It’s a nice touch considering there’s so much synergy between Alola and Kanto in Sun and Moon, as trainers are literally seen traveling between the two regions pretty frequently, though with this other point some things are brought into question.

At the same time as there is more of a focus on Alola, Ash’s travel partners are not the expected Brock and Misty we’ve all grown to know and love from the early years of the show. Some things are still the same, as many of the shots in the trailer parallel plot points in the original anime, but there’s still quite a bit that seems to be different.

Does this suggest that the movie is set in an alternate universe from the original show? Or is this retelling perhaps more of an attempt to reboot and modernize the original for a current Pokémon loving audience?

I’d be willing to wager the prior over the latter, but who knows at this point.

While we’ve yet to get the details on exactly how Marshadow will be released, whether the ability to download him will be linked to the movie in some form or another, it seems like there probably will be a tie-in with the movie in Japan before the rest of the world gains access to the Ghost/Fighting-type considering that’s the pattern we’ve seen many times with Mythical and Legendary Pokémon in the past.

Even if there’s a wait, I’m still excited. Pokémon has grown a little under my radar lately, and being able to talk about it and imagine possibilities involving lore again really has my motor running.

What do you think about Marshadow? Or the idea of the newest Pokémon movie changing up the well-known original plot of the original season of the anime? Are you excited about it? I know I am, so let me know what you think in the comments below.

April 10, 2017 Article Published

Last Thursday was a busy day for me. I alluded to most of what happened that day in my post about the CFA Lobby Day story I published, but didn’t go into too much detail about it there.

On the one hand, I went to the first annual University Honors Program banquet, and had a blast spending time with professors, faculty and other students who I’ve been in multiple classes with at this point. Always a fun time, and I’m glad I went. I didn’t wind up getting a lot of photos, and it wasn’t necessarily an outwardly exciting enough event to warrant talking about it extensively here, but I figure having it mentioned at least should be good.

However, the main reason I was busy happens to be the focus of this post here today. While I was in my history class, the Cal State Fullerton College Republicans club President Chris Boyle called me up and let me know that they were going to be talking at an Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Committee meeting about their resolution to get suspended lecturer Eric Canin terminated from campus after a University investigation came back saying he struck a student on February 8.

The Daily Titan, and specifically the news desk, has been following the Canin incident pretty closely for more than two months now, it’s pretty much been our big story and it really does feel like my baby at this point to be completely honest. So, when the chance presented itself thanks to my connections with the republican groups on campus, I had to jump at it, even though it meant missing my Investigative Reporting class that day.

Really, this pretty much is like a long-form investigative piece anyway from how I see it, so I suppose I can’t really complain about that.

While the coverage started off a little rocky, as there was some confusion regarding the meeting the Republicans club thought they wanted to attend not actually existing anymore and having to figure out when the meeting they needed was, in the end it all worked out and the club was able to address the ASI Board of Directors Governance Committee regarding the resolution they need a Board member to author so it can be reviewed and potentially passed.

The story itself goes into more detail about what they talked about, namely the feeling among club members that CSUF President Mildred Garcia and the school’s administration have not done enough in regards to the Canin incident, that they don’t feel their safety and freedom of speech have been protected adequately and their desire to have ASI stand with the students if the California Faculty Association (the teacher’s union) is standing with the professor.

However, it also delves a little more into why a resolution is significant and what it takes to pass one, as I had a nice talk with the Board of Directors Chair after the meeting ended. On top of that, there are comments from the CFA and from the University in regards to things that have been said… So it’s a pretty meaty story, and one I’m pretty happy about now that it’s done and printed.

Granted, it was a lot of work to pull it all together because of how much more information I had to incorporate than I expected… But that’s what having great friends and fellow editors is for: helping me turn my rough work into far better pieces than they ever would have been without the help.

The work we’ve been doing following this story has honestly been one of the highlights of my semester. It’s one of the first times I’ve really felt that feeling of being a journalist covering something truly important, covering it from all angles and making connections along the way that have only helped broaden my horizons.

It’s been great, and it’s nowhere near done yet. Everything is still going through the motions and there’s more going on even later this week in regards to the case. I continue to look forward to it, and I continue to look forward to working with a great team that’s only helped facilitate covering such a big issue to the best of our collective abilities.

However, this particular piece is all mine, and if you want to see the article in its entirety, you can check it out here.  You can also see my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

April 6, 2017 Article Published

Alright, gather around ladies and gents, it’s time for another edition of everyone’s favorite story, ‘Jason writes a story that’s far too long out of nowhere to save the news page from falling apart.’

Are you saying that’s not your favorite story?  Well then, luckily for you obviously small sub-section of dissenters out there I don’t have a hell of a lot of time to write this out.  It’s more of a quick update if anything, since I have a banquet for the University Honors Program to attend tonight. There might even be a bonus post on that later, we’ll have to see.

To make a long story short, production yesterday was a bit of a mess. All of our stories were on deadline, so it was stressful just waiting for things to come in. One of the stories was one I was working on about the Lobby Day event being put on by the California Faculty Association, in which a bunch of teachers and students from all 23 CSU campuses went to Sacramento to spend the day with our legislators in the Assembly and the Senate talking about whatever they felt was important.

Obviously a lot of the talking points revolved around the recent tuition increase, since a stipulation holds that if the CSU system gets fully funded by the legislature soon there won’t be a need to have it at all. And equally obviously, I’d hope, was the fact that we weren’t going to be able to actually send someone to Sacramento to cover the story since it’s on the other end of the state, so all our coverage had to be through the voices of people who were there.

It took just about all day, but I managed to get a hold of the communications director for the CFA who helped me end my game of phone-tag with the CFA’s Fullerton representative Michele Barr.

Though we’d been trying to get in touch with somebody for a couple of days, it wasn’t until the last minute that we pulled these sources together. Between that and some documentation from CFA press releases and Assembly Bills, what was planned to be a small 200 word evolved into an out-of-nowhere 800 word piece that filled in space for a lot of the smaller content we were trying to fit on two pages.

Honestly, I’m pretty proud I was able to get it out there, because I feel like it’s a really solid story for the time constraints I had to write it on. Plus, we didn’t even have to stay all that late for deadline night last night, which felt like a really sweet bonus.

Next week we’ll have to see if it’s a different story, since there’s a lot of big enterprise-level pieces we’re going to be publishing on multiple days. There will also be a couple of Canin updates (including one that yours truly has been working on most of the day), so it should be a really exciting week to pick up the Daily Titan.

If you want to see the article in its entirety, you can check it out here. If you want to see my full archive of work for the Daily Titan, you can look over at the list on the right!

April 3, 2017 Article Published

To be honest, I wouldn’t necessarily consider this to be a full article published in the same vein as the other stuff I’ve posted up here on my blog. If anything it’s more of a small update I pulled together, but it is on the front page of the Daily Titan today and it does have my byline on it so… I figure why not mention it.

Over Spring Break, our student government (Associated Students Inc., or ASI) announced who are going to be the headlining performers for the annual Spring Concert that’s happening this upcoming weekend. Rapper and producer Lupe Fiasco and electronic musician ZHU will be performing for Cal State Fullerton students, alumni and other guests on April 8 alongside two student groups that won competitions throughout the semester.

The announcement was significant in part because Spring Concert is a pretty well beloved event by the student body, and this is the eleventh annual one being held. It was also significant because there was talk of the announcement happening before spring break that had to be postponed due to issues regarding the artist’s contracts. We wrote an article on that too, so check it out if you’re interested.

That’s really all there was to what I wrote besides filling in ticket prices and such, so to be honest I’ll probably have more words written up for this post about the story than I wrote for the story itself.  Funny how that works sometimes.

If you want to check out the article in its entirety (not that reading it will take you that long), you can see it here.  You can also check out my full archive of work for the Daily Titan over on the right!

Springtime for Heroes

In non-real life related news, my timing with putting out a post catching up on news in Fire Emblem: Heroes yesterday turned out to be impeccable.  Today there was an update to the game, introducing a paralogue and four “new” characters that are incredible in how silly they are.

Much in the tradition of events like the Hot Springs Scramble in Fire Emblem Awakening, Heroes has brought players a Spring Festival to celebrate the season that appears very grounded in the aesthetic decor of Easter. Awakening’s Exalted family members Lucina and Chrom as well as Fire Emblem Fates’ Nohrian Prince Xander and Princess Camilla have been given an alternative character skin and abilities. These heroes can, of course, be summoned through a new focus.

img_5046

As also seems to have become the usual affair in terms of updates to the mobile title, this special focus comes with its own set of special missions and a story paralogue showcasing the new characters. These offer the chance for players to earn 10 orbs and a variety of other small prizes from completion tasks involving the paralogue missions.

Now, the idea of a Ylissian Spring Festival drawing in heroes from various worlds to dress in bunny costumes, paint eggs and fight with weapons like comically massive carrots may seem ridiculous…

It is.  It’s very ridiculous to be completely honest, to the point that when I first saw everything for this event I was pretty turned off to it.  At the core of what it is, the Spring Festival seems to be fan service more than anything – an excuse to get popular characters in silly and arguably sexualized outfits just for the sake of doing it.

But then I actually played through the paralogue, and seeing the goofy, somewhat out-of-character dialogue is a treat in its own right, enough so that I wound up loving it.

The missions start innocently enough, with Prince Alfonse and Princess Sharena inviting you to join them at the Spring Festival, which apparently hosts an undefined battle tournament.

img_5036

Once you arrive, you’re quickly introduced to the re-imagined royal units in a series of three stages, each of which showing just how… Quirky they are.

The characters also talk amongst themselves in pairings that would never get to met outside of Heroes:

Amazing words by the man holding a massive carrot as a spear

On top of that, these special characters get new skills that do things like increase the amount of rewards you get after battles, as well as special weapons and even silly descriptions that reveal more about the “backstory” of the Spring Festival.

img_5038

This description is my favorite – invoking Corrin is a nice touch

That’s about all there is to the Spring Festival. It’s ridiculous in all kinds of ways and I can imagine some people might even find it demeaning… But it hooked me with just how over-the-top everything is.  I’m already through all of the special quests (since they are geared more toward a new player level range for the most part) and I’ve gotten all the orbs that can be collected, so at this point I’ll just be biding my time and hoping to have the chance to summon one of the new spring-specific heroes.

Especially since the last focus disappear when I had a 4.75 percent chance to summon a five-star or a five-star focus hero. Seriously, that stings.

Oh, and also, kudos to anyone who picks up on the reference in my post title, since I’m hoping the callback isn’t lost on everyone but me.