Tag: Football

This ain’t Monster Hunter, this is Pokémon Sword and Shield!

This ain’t Monster Hunter, this is Pokémon Sword and Shield!

♪It’s the most wonderful time of the year~♪

There are few things which I will openly admit I have a massive bias toward.

Pokémon is something I unabashedly have a ginormous bias toward.

Pokémon Crystal was my first video game outside of some silly educational titles featuring Sesame Street or Elmo. I’ll always fall back on the story that it helped me learn how to read when I played with my Mom all those years ago because that memory is precious to me.

So whenever a brand new entry in the Pokémon series is announced, I truly feel young at heart.

It happened with Sun and Moon.

It happened with Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee.

And by god it’s happening right now with the announcement of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield for the Nintendo Switch.

I know some of you must be wondering I got up at 6:00 a.m. just to watch a video game get announced. Especially when real life political things are happening.

Let’s just say I had to get up extra early for some meetings and intentionally overdid it to watch the Pokémon Direct live.

Though the announcement was seven minutes long, it offered a lot of hype.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are new mainline games set in the Galar region. Kanto through Sinnoh were analogous to different parts of Japan, Unova was analogous to New York, Kalos was analogous to France and Alola was analogous to Hawaii.

Galar will take us into a world modeled after post-Industrial England:

Everything about the theme feels right. Sword & Shield as names evoke the Knights of the Round Table knowing this region is London.

Towns look stuffed with industrial imagery of steaming cogs and stone chimneys set under foggy weather.

The new gyms, or at least the grass-type gym, looks like a Soccer/Football stadium.

Oh, and let’s not forget it all looks fucking gorgeous.

I was a huge fan of the Let’s Go graphics because they were faithful to the original Red/Green/Blue/Yellow while updated for the Switch’s capabilities.

But just off of initial screenshots alone, Sword and Shield look like Pokémon games set in Breath of the Wild Hyrule.

That game’s minimalist style had an almost watercolor quality that screams out with the creative possibilities of a Pokémon region.

Just look at the battle screenshot. Its models may look similar to previous generation’s Pokémon, perhaps to save time, but having that countryside villa in the background is stunning.

It looks a lot better in the original video than it does on Twitter screenshots.

The trainer models also look better than ever, featuring more realistic humans akin to the mobile app GO, but with far more personality than even Sun and Moon achieved.

Hopefully this time the protagonists will make more than one facial expression, too.

But of course, we can’t talk about new Pokémon without delving into the starters:

Images courtesy of Serebii

Good old Serebii.

Based on first impressions alone, all three of these starters are way too cute for their own good.

Unlike the Alolan starters where I immediately had a favorite (#TeamRowlet), I don’t know that I have one among these three.

The last time we saw a simian starter in Chimchar I wound up being a huge fan of Infernape. So the Grass-type Grookey has a shot.

Bunnies are also a favorite of mine in Pokémon, with Mega Lopunny being the first IV/EV trained ‘mon I ever bred in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. So the Fire-type Scorbunny has a shot.

But the Water-type Sobble is a wild card. It looks like Mudkip and uses a camouflaging  gecko design reminiscent of Kecleon.

Any reference to Hoenn is appreciated, and that’s two in one!

I’ll honestly have to see their evolutions to decide who I want to stick by.

While these are the only Galar Pokémon we’ve seen thus far, I’m sure Game Freak will introduce us to the rest before the end of the year. Even if I do wish they would keep some more secrets this time.

In the meantime, we know the Galar region will represent a wide-range of Pokémon from other regions.

In this trailer alone we can see a Zweilous, Flygon, Wishiwashi, Hoothoot, Munchlax, Tyranitar and so much more.

It feels like watching the latest Detective Pikachu trailer all over again. 2019 is shaping up to be a fatastic year for Pokémon.

That’s just about all we know so far.

Obviously I’m very excited to learn more, and there’s no doubt the next few months will be full of Sword and Shield information posts like I had for Sun and Moon!

These long periods of hype building up to the catharsis of a wonderful game have to be one of my favorite things about the Pokémon franchise nowadays. I live for the endorphines of new reveal trailers.

But what do you think about our first look at Sword and Shield, the Galar region and those new starters?

Let me know! I’m all kinds of ready for more and more Pokémon.


Featured Image courtesy of the official Pokémon Twitter account

That owl sure was superb

That owl sure was superb

Gotta ride that SEO wave, am I right?

I kid of course. Out of all the blog posts I’ve ever written, a football-related piece is far from the one I’m looking to blow out of the park.

It just so happens that the only thing I’ve done today beyond researching history for my novel is watch the Superb Owl. So as much as I could care less about football, it might as well serve some kind of grander purpose.

Even though that grander purpose was definitely not to get me more invested in the sport.

Because hoo boy, I’m not a fan and even I could tell that Super Bowl 53 was lame.

The game was tied up 3 – 3 from field goals alone until the fourth quarter. There the Patriots scored the first touchdown of the game and a subsequent second field goal to end things 13 – 3.

As much as I couldn’t care less, at the very least I figured I should root for the Rams considering they’re a Los Angeles team. It’s just too bad they lost after an excruciatingly boring game.

The commercials weren’t even that special, making it so the one reprieve from sportball didn’t balance out the boring game.

Probably the best spots were the brief Avengers: Endgame trailer right before the game started, the Bud Light commercial that turned out to be an ad for Game of Thrones in disguise (gotta give HBO a shout out for that majesty) and the Washington Post ad narrated by Tom Hanks toward the end.

As someone going into journalism I figure I should be happy about them spreading the good word, even if I do think it was a weird promotional gimmick with a whole story about the fact that they put out an ad in the first place?

But you know what. I’m at least a friendly acquaintance with Gene Park, who does social media stuff for the Washington Post, so I won’t complain about his business.

He’s very worth a follow. Just saying.

So okay. The game sucked. The ads sucked. What about the Maroon 5 halftime show? That had to be something good, right?

After all, the NFL was planning to do good on a petition for “Sweet Victory” from the Spongebob Squarepants episode “Band Geeks” to be played in honor of Stephen Hillenburg dying a few months ago.

They couldn’t have messed that up, right?

Well…

Let’s just say the concept was much better than the delivery.

Even I got in on the fun with my own hot take:

If anything, I suppose this was my favorite part of the Superb Owl this year. Never before have I been ‘invested’ in the game enough to watch it carefully and follow the Twitter reactions as a result.

We’re going to talk about it this week in my Gaming class, so I figured I should pay attention.

Seeing the Internet lose its mind over the Spongebob debacle and a select number of commercials was more fun than I’ve had on social media in a long time.

However, that wasn’t the most fun thing about the game.

That honor, of course, had to go to the feast:

IMG_1967

After a rough weekend, it was nice to take a little time to relax and pig out with lots of junk food.

Even if I’ll definitely have to hit the gym a few times this week to make up for it.

So anyway, that’s my sport-related content quota for the year. Anything else from here on out is pure overtime. Look forward to maybe that!


Featured Image courtesy of Paul Sableman via Wikimedia Commons

He was #1

He was #1

Sometimes you really don’t think about how much of an impact a person has had in your life until you see that name pop up on an obituary.

That happened for me when I saw that Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Spongebob Squarepants, passed away from ALS complications at 57 today.

Spongebob hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind for a number of years now. If anything I’ve grown to be more resentful and dismissive of the Nickelodeon classic the longer it lives in prime time, because I’m one of those snobs that loves to go on about how the old episodes were great and the new stuff is trash.

Which is objectively true. But I digress.

Just because the modern run of the show isn’t fantastic doesn’t mean the blockbuster of a series didn’t become a classic for nothing.

Almost immediately after Spongebob aired in 1999 (almost 20 years ago — yikes), he became the face of Nickelodeon. Anyone who watched the network at any point in the early aughts would recognize the yellow sponge in everything.

The show has been nominated for and won over 100 awards in its runtime according to imdb, and I would say it’s hard to find a more recognizable voice talent than Tom Kenny in the field of animation.

That sponge is everywhere in our pop culture landscape. Hell they even referenced Squidward in Avengers Infinity War.

We have Stephen Hillenburg to thank for that entry, as well as others like Rocko’s Modern Life.

As usual Variety has a pretty nice article summarizing his overall impact and past far better than I could.

My contribution comes a little more easily from talking about how much Spongebob became an ever-present part of my life without my even realizing it.

Like I mentioned, the older episodes are absolute classics in my mind. Almost word-for-word I could recite the plots that I watched repeatedly on weekend mornings.

The one where Squidward travels through time.

The magic conch shell.

The Mr. Krabs robot.

Long, tan and handsome.

The Alaskan bull worm.

The hash slinging slasher.

The imagination box.

Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen (he was #1).

And of course, my personal favorite episode: Band Geeks.

There are honestly too many to count. Almost all of them, interestingly enough, seemed to involve a number of the most famous Spongebob moments that became memes as the internet grew.

So many memes stemmed out of Spongebob episodes, it honestly feels like one crops up whenever another dies. Those kind of moments have become jokes and references that my friends still pass around to this day.

Slight topic shift. At one point in my life I tried my hands at doing sprite animation. Even went to a summer camp to learn more about the subject with my old friend Mitchell Winn.

One of the first projects I tried was recreating the football halftime scene at the end of Band Geeks using video game sprites.

That scene was so iconic to me that I wanted to capture even a glimmer of its majesty in a medium I’d almost never done anything with before. The project never went very far, but I distinctly recall using the Spriter’s Resource to cast Mario from Superstar Saga as a drummer using a drum set from the Scribblenauts series.

That’s how much of an impact the show had on me.

Just thinking about Spongebob drudged up that old part of me, which also helped me remember the Smash Bros.-themed desktop wallpapers I created.

I’ll have to see if I can find those to show them off, but that’s a post for another day.

I also couldn’t help but think about the Nicktoons Unite game I played on the DS back in the day, namely because it was the Spongebob level I could never beat.

Funnily enough when I tried to look for that game in my collection, all I was able to find were these two Spongebob games that I don’t even remember owning!

IMG_1537
This stupid little sponge was literally everywhere in my life. Seriously.

The day that I’m writing this, Nov. 27, is Giving Tuesday.

Originally I was going to write something promoting the Gladeo donation campaign, but in honor of Stephen Hillenburg I think it would only be right to point out some ALS charities for everyone to donate to.

Unfortunately I don’t know who’s reputable and who isn’t, so I’m going to default to the ALS Association. Go support them in honor of that iconic character living in a pineapple under the sea.

With all that said and done, I can’t think of a better send off for Stephen than this tweet.

Yet another man with a legacy that will live decades beyond his far too early passing. Rest in peace.


Featured Image courtesy of Carlos Cazurro via Wikimedia Commons