Tag: Monster Hunter

Hunting while Bedridden

I didn’t exactly have any grandiose plans for a blog post today in the first place, but I wouldn’t expect this one to be super long or involved anymore if I were you.

See, I spent most of the day at home today, but a lot of it was while indisposed. Cleaning the house and sleeping primarily.

Sleeping a lot. I mentioned starting to be sick during my Nintendo Direct post the other day, and since then it hasn’t exactly gone away. If anything it’s shifted from being more of a stomach bug to a head cold, and I’ve been laying around coughing with a sore throat for hours.

Fun stuff.

As a result, earlier I laid down to take a two, maybe two-and-a-half hour nap. Wound up sleeping closer to five hours.

Lost a hell of a lot of time to that, which is why I’m just kind of making it up as I go along now.

Figured if I was going to talk about anything, it would be the only not sick-related thing I did: Playing some Monster Hunter.

Because what else do you do when you’re laying down but not sleeping yet.

I’ve been having a blast with the game so far, and having to play it around school starting up actually made it more feasible to spread the content around. There’s a whole lot of it, and I’m maybe just finishing up the first third of the game — if you split it between low-rank, high-rank and G-rank hunting.

In celebration of finally breaking into high-rank, I figure why not share this cool new armor set I finished? In part because I honestly don’t use my Switch photo taking ability enough.

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This cool ninja outfit is the “Yukumo Sky” armor. Named after the Yukumo Region and made with hardwood from the nearby Misty Peak, this sweet gear has been outfitted with a number of decorations so that wearing it grants me ~40 percent higher critical hit chance and longer invulnerability periods when dodge rolling.

Paired with the Hidden Harmonic, a Hunting Horn made from the elusive Nargacuga, I have 70 percent higher critical hit rates and songs that provide Attack, Defense and Health buffs to my allies.

It’s one of my favorite combinations so far, a straight upgrade from the critical hit-boosting Shogun Ceanataur armor I used this horn with previously.

This kind of equipment set construction is arguably my favorite part of Monster Hunter, because it’s so much fun to beat down an increasingly large collection of complex monsters to see what sort of cool stuff can be done with their armor pieces.

However, another one of my favorite things in Generations Ultimate is just how darn pretty it looks, especially coming off of the 3DS generation.

I take some glamour shots once in a while, check some of them out:

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Here’s my Ceanataur armor, by the way. Crab boi.

There’s so many opportunities to do this and I love it.

Really I love this game a lot so far. After pouring so many hours into Generations on the 3DS, it’s cool seeing all of the new stuff that has been added into this version. I’m about three weeks in and still unlocking new locales.

It’s just sweet.

But that’s honestly about all I can think to write right now, because I’m still dying. Honestly I just wanted to get something out on my blog today.

So hopefully you enjoyed this goofy little thing. Maybe I’ll eventually come around to making more professional equipment set display posts one of these days.

If so, you can thank this post for being a trendsetter.

 

Preparation is Half the Battle

Preparation is Half the Battle

I have to say, I didn’t quite expect a real job to require sending out so many emails. But so far that seems to be 90 percent of what I’ve done as the Gladeo League Managing Editor.

However that’s neither here nor there. We may have had a meeting today, but I’m not looking to talk about that in this blog post.

I also don’t really want to talk about my physical before that, since the only significant take-away is how much my arm hurts because of the two shots I got.

Also the fact that I haven’t lost any weight since last year, I suppose. But I prefer to look at it as I haven’t gained any weight either.

So yay for starting exercising regularly!

No, today I’m just going to talk real quick about one of those staple first week of school traditions:

Marking down dates and creating binders.

Typically I’ll go to school for the first week with a smaller messenger bag rather than my big backpack. Every class usually just spends the time going over syllabi and starting the first basic lectures, after all. So I usually only need my laptop and a notebook.

I’ll usually use the notebook that later becomes my homework agenda for the semester.

Once the first week is through and I have all of my syllabi compiled, I spend a day going through them all and jotting down the major dates (exams, research papers, etc.) on my wall calendar.

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Naturally all of the big things wind up mostly lining up in December, but this semester I do have a few papers scheduled to be due in November and my exams are scattered throughout the few final months.

By this point I usually have all of my textbooks ordered and delivered considering Cal State Fullerton lists all of the required texts online.

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Chegg is pretty cheap and quick when it comes to rentals, in my experience.

With the important dates established and my books ready and waiting, next comes my personal favorite step in the process: Setting up the binders.

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Kirby and Rowlet chillin’ in the back.

My philosophy on how to create each binder for my classes varies from semester-to-semester. Sometimes my professors will require a single binder to be devoted to their coursework, sometimes they’ll even have specific divisions in mind within said binder.

Those are the fun professors. Especially when they require binder checks throughout the semester.

Thought you got away from that requirement in middle school?

Think again.

Luckily, none of my classes have those stipulations this semester. So I’m free to build everything the way I want.

Thus I’ve decided to create two primary binders for this semester.

One will be my psychology binder. I’m taking two psych classes and both seem like they’ll have a significant amount of notes and assignments to keep track of. So I’m going to keep them together, which should hopefully be extra helpful considering how much overlap Sensation/Perception and Learning/Memory will have.

My second binder with be focused on Comm courses and include a section for my one honors class. Both of my Comm classes are one-day-a-week and probably won’t have as much overall bulk as the rest despite being three-hour classes each. Figure I can throw in my also not very hefty honors workload and it shouldn’t be too much trouble.

Sometimes I’ll set up my binders to correspond with days of the week, that way I only have to bring one a day and keep the weight off my back. But this semester everything is a little jumbled, so it’ll make more sense to go by connected classes.

With that said, everything comes together and all I’ll have left to worry about is translating my first day notes from my notebook onto lined paper so it can fit into my lecture note tabs. Wherever those wind up.

Because even if I’ve already done the work once, continuity means enough to me that I’ll copy it all over again.

But perhaps not right now. There are monsters to hunt, after all.

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Focused on the hunt.

If you’re still going to school, how do you like to prepare your supplies? Or I suppose for work if that question also applies there.

Let me know in the comments, I’d be interested to hear about it!

Goodbye homework, hello monsters.

Okay so on the off-chance any of my professors wind up snooping on this post, I’m not actually going to forego my homework this semester.

I just might procrastinate on some of it these first few months because I’ve got some sweet monsters to hunt!

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Check out that Valstrax, baybee

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge fan of the MH series. Started with 4 Ultimate on the 3DS and sunk hundreds of hours into that and Generations, also on the 3DS.

Unfortunately when the big groundbreaking HD open-world Monster Hunter World came out, I didn’t have any consoles to play it on. So I missed playing it, which was a shame considering a lot of my friends who had never played the series got into it for World.

But now there’s a Monster Hunter game on Switch. A direct improvement to the already fantastic Generations with many more monsters on a console that all of my friends own.

It’s quite literally a dream come true.

One thing I’ve been contemplating since the game was announced is whether or not I should port my Generations character into Generations Ultimate. Because that’s a feature, you can literally keep your character going.

But I think I’m going to air on the side of not porting my character over. It would seem a little cheap to start the game with end-game armor and weapons, especially considering my friends are jumping into this pre-World realm for the first time. Might as well grow alongside them, right?

These are the kinds of thoughts that have been echoing through my brain these last few weeks, by the way. Like non-stop. Especially since that demo happened.

So hey, cut me some slack. I survived the first week of school. I did my due diligence by going to the Honors Program’s Welcome Back Event. I went to the gym. I sent out some emails. I scheduled my yearly physical for tomorrow, right after which I’ll be leading my first Gladeo meeting.

If I don’t get to creating my binders and such until Labor Day, which we conveniently have off the first week after school starts, so be it.

Because baby my Hunting Horn itch is going strong and I’m ready to tear some massive beasts apart to wear their skins.

A Nintendo licensed game.

What? Why are you still here? That’s all I have to say.

I’m off killing monsters right now, you can go home. Actually I’m probably gathering a bunch of mushrooms and stuff since those are always the early missions.

But my point is still the same.

If you’re expecting something deeper about the first week of school or whatever, that already exists. It’s here.

So leave me to my cavern of darkness and beasts, that way I might one day be able to grace you all with amazing hunt photos.

The End of the Initiative

The End of the Initiative

When this summer kicked off, I started it with a promise wrapped in a not-so-vague reference to Samuel Jackson’s Nick Fury.

That promise entailed me writing a post on my blog every day about whatever the muse might bring to my fingertips. Be it something random, like my mindset when thinking about my pen or my pencil; something video game-related, like a half a billion Fire Emblem Heroes posts; or something work-related, like my recent ascension in the ranks of Gladeo.

A lot of those posts also wound up being just dumb space fillers where I rambled about nothing or just set up a number of posts coming later on that week.

But hey! Those were still blog posts.

Which means they still served the overall purpose of my initiative, to ensure I didn’t just sit around and play video games or sleep all day. To make sure I kept my mind active and writing on something. Anything really.

I did miss two-or-three days to the allure of just sitting around playing video games, particularly when my friends were involved. So I guess from that perspective, I technically failed at my overall goal.

But you know what? I don’t even care. Those two-or-three posts were just drops in the hat of the overall body of writing I was able to put out over the summer.

I’m honestly proud that I was able to keep the overall conviction, if I might humble brag about things for a moment. Because that conviction also extended to other things I started over the summer, like going to the gym. Things that, in my opinion, are just healthier for me overall.

Thus, I would like to announce that the summer-driven initiative is expanding into… Just a continual, general good practice.

I like pushing myself to write something every day, so I’m going to keep doing it. Basically.

Plus, doing a daily post seems to have dredged up more interest in this dumb little passion project of mine. My follower count has grown exponentially and I’m on the cusp of hitting 40 directly on the blog here.

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I also have more views and engagement and such at the mid-to-late portion of the year than I’ve had in both my previous years of operating this place.

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What do you know? Doing something and sticking to it feels good and has some overall positive effects on one’s life. Who would’ve guessed?

The only serious caveat moving out of the summer and into the general all-time daily postings is that I’ll probably be less critical on myself for missing days on occasion. Between school and work going full-steam, I’m sure I’ll need days to focus more fully on those commitments.

But that being said, here’s looking forward to keeping up the pace and seeing more positive growth from here on out!

For this week, that pace keeping up should include… Probably first impressions about my classes once I’ve finished the first week. Fire Emblem Heroes tomorrow when the Hero-King drops. Probably something on Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, which is coming out this week. Maybe that thinking on possible social media expansion I briefly mentioned that one time.

Who knows.

(You will, if you keep reading on!)

Summer’s end, looking ahead

As we begin the last week of summer vacation, I can feel that vaguely existential dread of having to go back to school start to creep up my back.

Of course there are pluses to school starting. Like having a regular schedule. And being a bit more challenged by novel material every day.

But for the most part it just means driving to Fullerton every day and getting back into the daily grind.

In the lead-up to school starting again, I’ve been busy setting up various and sundry meetings over the next week. From a lunch discussing some Boom stuff today to an afternoon full of Gladeo stuff on Friday, as well as some more time with friends where we can squeeze it in.

Plus, more video games are of course on the docket. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate may not come out until next week, but I can keep throwing myself at Enter the Gungeon in the meantime.

Not to toot my own horn or anything… But I’ve become quite good at the game. I’ve completed the secret final bosses for two of the six characters just in the last couple days, which is a long way from barely making it past the second boss when I first started.

I could also branch out to try Into the Breach like I’ve been meaning to, but with bigger games coming out soon I’m a little more hesitant about spending money. So we’ll see.

Also new characters are being announced tonight in Heroes based on the second “Choose Your Legends” vote we all took part in some time ago. That’ll probably be my post for tomorrow, as a spoiler.

All of those gaming aspirations are also going to be somewhat sidelined by my desire to start school off like I always do.

Cleaning my room to symbolize the fresh start.

Cliché I know, and not exactly in line with any of those spring cleaning aspirations people seem to have… But what can I say. I’m a creature of habit, and one of those habits happens to be waiting for months in a continually messier room just to hard clean everything during a special occasion.

I don’t know if it’ll be the subject of some kind of blog post like my cleaning streak was a while back, but just know that’s going to be the undercurrent of my life for a while.

The rest of the house will also be getting some kind of facelift in the near future, as it has hit the point where having friends over this Sunday hits a roadblock of my Mom not wanting people to see the mess.

I know this is more of a passing over post again, but once in a while I think it’s good to take things a little easier and just look toward the future.

The future on this platform being, more than likely, a Fire Emblem Heroes post, a post about work stuff with Gladeo at some point, possibly debating my expansion into more social media platforms, maybe something about seeing some old friends who I haven’t gotten the chance to hang with yet this summer and like. School. Probably.

So look forward to all of that!

How Capcom made a great game demo

How Capcom made a great game demo

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate comes out for the Nintendo Switch on August 28.

Personally I am beyond excited about it!

I’ve been a bit of a Monster Hunter junkie since my first experience playing Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate on the 3DS, with interest lingering into Monster Hunter Generations. The game series scratches every conceivable itch that I have related to collectibles, crafting, sweet monsters and all of that fun stuff.

Unfortunately I have not put any significant time into World. Don’t have the proper hardware to play it, despite a great interest in the more open world experience.

Ironically, a lot of my friends who had never played Monster Hunter before got into the series because of World where I technically lagged behind. But that’s another story.

Generations Ultimate promises to be an even more hype version of the 3DS game that I put hundreds of hours into, for three primary reasons:

  1. More monsters — There are supposed to be 93 large monsters to hunt in the game, with over 30 small ones to round out each area. That’s so many armor and weapon sets to collect that I just. Can’t.
  2. Continued mobile fun — One of the great things about Monster Hunter on the 3DS is how easy it is to segment hunts on the go. The Nintendo Switch has the same capabilities, but also…
  3. Better graphics — The Switch has far better graphical capabilities than the 3DS. Like insanely better. Not quite Monster Hunter World levels, but still insanely crisp for someone like me who has been on the 3DS market for forever.

With those details in mind, I’ve been hyped up going into this new Monster Hunter game for some time.

But after playing the demo that launched for the game, I’m even more hyped. Being able to try the game essentially confirmation biased my impressions coming in. Yet, it also did much more.

In my point of view, Capcom created a near-perfect demo for their game that showcases basically everything veteran hunters and fledgling players need to know to understand what’s new and better about Gen Ultimate.

There are three main reasons why I’d make that argument. So, here they are in detail (featuring images from the demo that I finally pulled off the Switch).


Diverse Play Options

If there’s one thing the Monster Hunter series is known for, outside of its wildly creative monster designs, a large variety of ways people can play through a number of weapons arguably tops the list.

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It would have been silly for Capcom to only feature, say, five of the 14 weapons (15 with Palicos included) available through their demo. So they didn’t. They let players try out any weapon they want.

That seems like an obvious thing in hindsight, but it really does mean a lot to let veterans — particularly those coming back from World — try out how each weapon works on a new system. Plus, more importantly, brand new players get early access to the diverse range of weapons so they can decide what they want to main once buying the full game.

On top of all that, each weapon features an armor/weapon set from a different monster in the game, slyly giving players the chance to see how much customization the overall experience will offer outside of the demo.

Sure there are some slight problems, such as the Malfestio Hunting Horn not inflicting sleep status… But only losers like me will notice that.

Plus, it’s a demo. So they don’t want to make you too overpowered. But I’ll get to that point in a bit.

If presenting a wide range of weapon and armor possibilities wasn’t enough to convince players that Monster Hunter Gen Ultimate has a lot to offer for fun, the demo also has this:

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Multiplayer.

Yeah, Capcom could have just made a simple single player demo so people could try out the gameplay.

But they went so much further in the right direction by adding multiplayer so everyone can try out playing with their friends — arguably one of the biggest draws of the Monster Hunter series. It’s way more fun to hunt giant beasts as a team.

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Just saying.


Showcasing the Maps and Monsters

The biggest draw of Monster Hunter Generations was the fact that it was an anniversary game. The four hub worlds in that game were four maps from previous MH games updated to 3DS graphics. On top of that, there were a range of monsters both new, classic and long-before unseen filling the game’s roster.

Like I mentioned before, Gen Ultimate is taking that same concept to the extreme with nearly 100 bosses to conquer.

The demo for the game is honestly genius in how it subtly displays what the new game is going to offer through only three missions.

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I’ll get more into how the difficulty tiers themselves are a huge plus for the demo, but for now I just want to discuss what is involved in the three difficulties, and how those additions display the complete range of what players can expect in Gen Ultimate.

The first mission involves fighting a Great Maccao.

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Great Maccao is a variant of the velociraptor-esque monsters that frequently appear in Monster Hunter games. He, along with the Jurassic Frontier stage you fight him on, were both new additions to the original Monster Hunter Generations. Thus, fighting him is a showcase of how the developers updated even recently added parts of the experience.

The second mission involves fighting a Barioth.

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Both the Barioth and the map you find him on, the snowy mountain, are things that had been in Monster Hunter games prior to Generations. In fact, the Barioth didn’t even appear in that 3DS title, making it a perfect example of bringing back older monsters into the newest adventure.

Plus, the snowy mountain is just so dang pretty.

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Isn’t it?

The third mission involves fighting a Valstrax.

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The Valstrax is the box art monster for Gen Ultimate, and by god is it an absolutely perfect selling point for the game as a whole.

It’s literally a gryphon fused with fighter jet parts that has a signature move where it flies into space and then comes down like a comet. There’s almost nothing cooler than that.

While Valstrax is a new monster, you also fight it on a brand new map.

Thus, through just three missions, the Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate demo shows off old monsters and maps updated, modern monsters and maps updated as well as totally brand new content.

All of which will be featured in the main game.

If that’s not simple and inherently genius, I don’t know what is.


Difficulty

Obviously there are three different difficulty levels in the Gen Ultimate demo: Great Maccao, Barioth and Valstrax.

The monsters Capcom chose honestly represent the range of possible difficulties in the final game quite well because of the restrictions put on player’s armor and weapons.

You only get one kind of armor/weapon based on the weapon you choose, and those set-ups don’t improve based on the difficulty of the monster you are fighting.

As a result, Great Maccao is a total pushover. Barioth is a challenge that’s easy enough to surmount with some friends as support.

But Valstrax?

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That boy is bending fools over left-and-right, let me tell you.

I’ve attempted the fight twice. Once with a group of three other random strangers and once with two of my friends. Both times the fighter jet gryphon took so long to whittle down that the 25-minute time limit ran out as it only just started limping away, close to death.

It deals an insane amount of damage, enough to occasionally one-shot players even with a Hunting Horn’s defense buff.

Valstrax truly is a difficult challenge, as one would expect when taking on the cover art elder dragon of Gen Ultimate using intermediate gear at best.

Some may find this difficulty spike a frustrating turn-off. But in my opinion it draws on the same kind of motivation as Mega Man X did.

If you haven’t seen Egoraptor’s Sequelitis video on Mega Man X… Well first of all, what are you doing with your life? Even seven years later I’m still not over the ‘fucking genius’ joke.

But more importantly, watch it for his discussion on the relationship between X, Zero and Vile that’s established in the introduction stage of Mega Man X. He essentially says that Zero is so well-versed at defeating an enemy you couldn’t touch, that it becomes your motivation as a player to go through the game and become strong enough to defeat Vile.

For Gen Ultimate, the Valstrax is so tough with the armor and weapons you’re given, that it feels like the ultimate motivation to buy the game, craft your own gear and use it to take down this monstrous beast in a more even playing field.

Because that’s one of the best parts of Monster Hunter as a series. Building new gear to take on challenges that at one point seemed impossible, only to inevitably hit a point where those super intimidating bosses are quick to dispatch for spare parts if necessary.


Those are my thoughts on why the Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate demo is so successful in portraying why the Monster Hunter series is so popular in the first place.

What do you think? Are you a Monster Hunter fan? Or are you brand new to the series, with things like this demo making you interested now that it’s hitting a major Nintendo console?

Also, what are some of your favorite video game demos? Obviously I think this one in particular is great at embodying a game’s core strengths, but some may just be great because of how effectively eye-catching they are in some regard.

Let me know in the comments down below! Because I’m off to go spend some time with my friends, where we’ll be bashing our heads against the wall trying to finally beat this damn Valstrax.

The Mad Ramblings of a Man in the Heat

The Mad Ramblings of a Man in the Heat

If yesterday was a day of relative progress and hard work, through going to the gym, updating my social media accounts and turning in a Spotlight article for Gladeo, today is… Well, the opposite.

Because it is way too hot out for anyone to seriously be motivated about doing anything.

The reason my Featured Image for the day is just a picture of my fan going is because that’s what I’ve been staring at 90 percent of the time since coming home today. We don’t have any kind of air conditioning here by the beach because the heat is normally counterbalanced by a cool sea breeze, but this summer things have been especially insufferable. So downstairs, hidden in the alcove of my room with the fan going is probably the coolest area in this place.

Despite the heat I have been keeping myself busy and entertained with a few things where I can.

Probably the most notable thing involved obsessing over the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct that went on this morning.

It was 1000 percent insane and basically hyped everyone for the game even more than ever.

Castlevania characters.

King K. Rool.

Over 100 stages and 900 musical tracks.

Tons of new assist trophies and Pokémon summons.

Plus, let’s not forget Luigi dying in the Simon Belmont reveal trailer. Which the entire internet freaked the hell out about, leading to the green-capped plumber trending on Twitter. Yeah no joke.

There was so much more than that to suggest that Smash Ultimate really will be an insane, content-packed explosion of Nintendo pride from Sakurai and his team.

So much so that I considered doing a post solely on that… But I wasn’t exactly feeling the 30-minute video analysis. Today.

Just know it’s something I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come, and I’d say you should be too.

In other somewhat significant video game-related news, last night Intelligent Systems released the contents of our next special banner in Fire Emblem Heroes. So I spent some time pre-writing my post on that before starting to work on this post.

I know a lot of you probably don’t care, but I’m quite excited for these four dancers. So be ready for that on August 10th.

Those are really the two serious stand-out things that happened today between bouts of melting into a pile of goo on my bed.

I did also play some more Enter the Gungeon, which I’m having a great time slowly but surely getting better at. I’m not able to semi-reliably reach the final floor and have started the process of collecting the game’s scattered parts to unlock the true ending. But I haven’t seen even half the content available in the roguelike.

Which is, frankly, insane to me. I love how much these games are packing, since they give me plenty to distract myself with until games like Monster Hunter Generations and Smash Ultimate drop on Switch.

Plus The World Ends with You, which got an official release date of October 12th. And I’m. Just so excited to finally get to try it.

But hey all those video games aside, I also managed to do some regular work on my Senior Honors Project.

Because somewhere along the lines all of the time I had to work on having a basic product over the summer slipped away into the aether. Don’t know how that happened, but it did.

I’ll be honest, I’m not totally sure how to end this blog post. I feel like I could just endlessly ramble in a pre-heat stroke mess of keystrokes, but I’d much rather just sit around in the dark accepting my fate.

So I’m going to end unceremoniously here and say to stay tuned for other things coming soon. Things that I’m sure I have in the pipeline somewhere or another.

Why I hate Funko Pops

Why I hate Funko Pops

Remember the other day when I got meta about the human brain and talked about money? In that post I mentioned the fact that my trip to the mall with Juan inspired some other ideas I was hoping to talk about.

Welcome to the post talking about the other things I was referring to there.

Yeah I bet you weren’t expecting a conversation about Funko Pops, were you? They don’t exactly seem like the kind of thing in my area of interest.

I’ll admit that they aren’t for the most part. In fact, I don’t necessarily hate Funko Pops overall as my clickbait-y title might suggest.

If anything I’m willing to admit they’re rather cute for the most part. Plus I have been known to collect a somewhat useless series of plastic figurines in the past myself.

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At least I only collect the Smash Bros. Amiibo…

So really there’s no reason I should hate this fairly harmless Hot Topic-stuffing collectible mogul, right?

Not really.

See I don’t necessarily hate Funko Pops as an inherit object that exists. What I absolutely abhor is the corporate design mentality surrounding Funko Pops.

As anyone who knows anything about Funko Pops must know, there are Funko Pops that exist for literally anything AND everything.

You like anime? Pick your favorite, there’s a series of Pops to go with them.

You like HBO television series like Westworld? God knows I do, and there’s a series of Pops to go with them.

You like the Marvel Cinematic Universe? You like video games? You like football? Actual real life football?

Because there are pops for all of those things and an infinite amount of other things I won’t bother to go into because look at this catalog. It’s nuts.

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That’s 213 pages not even counting the ‘discontinued’ models

Especially the whole sports side of things. Side-rant I get being in love with sports and following, say, the Yankees or the Dodgers if you’re super into baseball. It’s just bizarre to have a series of collectible figurines representing actual real people that you can stick in your house.

But okay you get the point. If you’ve got an interest, Funko has a Pop to fit it.

Inherently I don’t have a problem with this business model. The fact that this company has invented a series of figurines so simple that literally any form of media can be molded into it is genius, and something the whole world probably wishes they figured out first.

The marketing possibilities are also inherently genius. Did you know there are exclusive Funko Pops that are first available at places like large-scale conventions?

As someone who has played many video games to 100 percent completion, and thrives on games like Monster Hunter where the whole idea is to collect exclusive bits and pieces of monsters to create new specialty armor, I can understand the itch many collectors have when it comes to Funko.

So yeah, if you want to go out and collect Funko Pops, more power to you. My family certainly does, and there are series I’d probably be more than willing to pay for a full collection of.

But that’s only considering the ‘first edition’ idea of these Pops. My problem comes with the alternate forms.

“Wow Jason, that’s ironic. You don’t like Funko Pops for producing alternate versions of characters when you talk endlessly about rare variants of characters in Fire Emblem Heroes like they’re the second coming. What a hypocrite.”

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Lord knows I’m still after Tana…

Yeah I hear you audience, I know.

It’s no secret that I appreciate ‘special editions’ as much as the next guy. But Fire Emblem Heroes and Funko Pops are a little different at their core.

In FEH, the special variant units are just as free-to-start as every other unit in the game. Sure there are practices under the surface that encourage players to eventually spend money, like releasing five valuable banners in a row with few orb giveaways in between, but still.

You could just as easily start the game when a holiday banner is running and be just as likely to receive that unit with free orbs as anyone else.

With Funko Pops, every single one costs money. Just as much, if not more money in fact.

For example:

Do you like Deadpool? Okay, here’s a Deadpool figurine. That’ll be a nice little thing to display to show off your interest in the character.

But wait, why not also buy Deadpool in his pajamas? That’s cute right?

How about Deadpool on a scooter?

Deadpool except he’s Bob Ross? He did that in a 30 second T.V. spot you know.

Okay but imagine this. Deadpool. Except he’s a variant from a spin-off Marvel gotcha game that may or may not be in any real canon.

That’s something you can buy.

Too expensive for you? I can understand that, perhaps you’d just like the OG Deadpool figurine, and maybe some smaller accessories to continue to show your Deadpool love.

Well, would you like the Deadpool keychain with his swords out? Or perhaps the one with the rubber duck and bath cap on?

2bj0ul
Aren’t old memes just the best?

“Alright, alright we get it,” I hear you in the audience say.

I sure hope you do. With the simplicity of the Funko Pop formula, any single character can be given infinite minor modifications and be considered a special variant.

But unlike the model in FEH, where you could theoretically earn the special version for free, every single Funko costs real life money.

Now there are arguments to be made that these are physical objects rather than digital characters in a video, and thus there’s more value to collecting them over time in terms of things like eventual trading or simply selling collections much like with comic books and vinyl records.

There’s validity to that idea. But that isn’t really what I’m here to discuss.

What I’m here to discuss is the fact that a business model allowing for infinite cash cow-ing on the same property over and over and over again, rather than keeping to a finite cap of collectability, is inherently infuriating.

I would be more than happy to spend 60 bucks over the course of a few months to collect five Deadpool figurines based on characters from the movies if I enjoyed them that much. What I wouldn’t be happy doing is spending literally all of my money for forever to keep up with every ‘left hand raised 60 degrees’ variation that can be squeezed out.

That’s not even just for Deadpool too, as much as I keep harping on him. He just happens to be a good example of a character that lends himself to more ridiculous, outlandish variations and repeated re-releases. Any character can have a variant where they wear a different outfit or hold a new pose.

Funko Pops certainly aren’t the first to abuse this model, but they abuse it pretty hard. It’s probably rather petty to be bashing them so hard for it out of nowhere, but I’ve seen similar ideas ruin things I’ve loved in the past.

Does anyone remember Pokémon Shuffle?

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Still have that jingle stuck in my head.

Shuffle was a spin-off game released first on the Nintendo 3DS and then on mobile devices in 2015. It was something of a continuation of the Trozei and Battle Trozei series that became a free-to-start microtransaction-laden title. And I adored it.

Seriously, for the longest time if you had asked me what game handles the microtransaction system most fairly, it would have been Pokémon Shuffle. I played this damn game on my 3DS for years, and I have distinct memories of doing so both on my high school and college campuses.

The game ran on an ‘energy’ system, where you could play five games at a time before needing to wait for everything to recharge. Unless you spent gems, the in-game currency you could buy with real life currency.

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It has been forever since I played this game, opening it up for this was wild.

There are also a bunch of other details related to items you can either grind out or purchase, but the energy was the important thing to me. See those five hearts of energy recharged at a rate of a half hour per heart.

In other words, you could play a full set of games every two-and-a-half hours. Compared to a lot of other games with energy or stamina caps, this was insanely generous.

For a student like me, it essentially meant I could play out my games, go to whatever class I had, then get out to find a full set of energy hearts waiting to be used. Combine this with the semi-regular updates (though eventually the levels got kind of ridiculously difficult) and frequent special in-game events, and I was more than happy to play for years.

But then I stopped. You know why I stopped?

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Special.

Character.

Variants.

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Image courtesy of Serebii.net

Just look at this insanity.

My screenshot here hasn’t even captured half of the special variants for Pikachu alone. There are Pikachu wearing every cap that Ash ever wore in the anime. Pikachu wearing costumes modeled after Legendary Pokémon. Hell there’s a Rayquaza costume Pikachu AND a shiny Rayquaza costume Pikachu.

Again, Pikachu isn’t the only problem, but he’s emblematic of it. Everything technically started with the ‘winking’ starter Pokémon line.

This ridiculous cash cow, the infinite special variant system, is what burned me out of Pokémon Shuffle in the end. I was more than happy to keep playing to collect all 700+ Pokémon as a mark of personal completion should they have gotten that far.

But because the game’s creators wanted a way to keep the game going forever and come up with more challenging ways of potentially forcing players to spend money on limited time only extra special dudes, I didn’t feel like it was worth keeping up anymore.

Funko Pops embody the same problem, in my opinion. If you’re going to release the same figures over and over and over again with slight variations just to squeeze out as much money as possible, then why should anyone bother trying to collect them all in the first place?

I’m sure other people will have their justifications for it, but that’s a path I can’t see myself going down. I’d much rather stick with collecting something finite in my real world collectibles. Something I can eventually look at and say ‘this is a complete set.’

That’s my rant for the day. What do you think? Is the idea of infinite variation healthy for a brand like Funko? Or is it detrimental in their long-term viability as a reasonable company, as I’m more inclined to believe.

Though obviously I’m probably in the wrong since, let’s be real, people will continue to buy those things no matter what I say. So the more they can print up the more money they’ll make.

God bless capitalism.

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!

Entertainment Beat Report – May 10, 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – May 10, 2018

Welcome to what may just be my last Entertainment Beat Report.  Later today I’m heading back over to Cal State Fullerton so I can show this little experiment off to my professor for a grade, and I haven’t decided whether or not I want to keep it going after that.

On one hand, it’s been cool keeping up a little more with the video game industry where I can.

But on the other hand, I do just kind of feel like I’m latching onto things and rambling about them. Which is my aesthetic around here to be fair, but it’s a lot of effort on my end for just that.

I don’t know, I’ll have the internal dialogue with myself on the subject later.

For now, let’s talk video games.


Monster Hunter Generations Returns

Okay so… This one is pretty much exclusively for me.

MONSTER HUNTER GENERATIONS ULTIMATE IS COMING TO THE SWITCH?!

Like. Wow. Totally didn’t expect that announcement this morning and I’m already pretty hyped for it. Even if the game isn’t coming until the end of the summer… Curse you, late August release date.

Ever since Monster Hunter World came out, I’ve felt pretty left out just watching my friends get to play together on their PS4s.

But now. Now I will get to play with them once again on a console that I own. In a world I’ve already mastered with hundreds of hours of playtime. In a play style I’m still accustomed to.

On a system that will not only look more amazing than the 3DS, but will still allow me to go play locally with my friends as well as offering online play. Plus all sorts of new monsters will be available as per the ‘ultimate’ version tradition!

I’m just going to kick back and savor this one for a while as I wait impatiently.

At this point, it isn’t a question of ‘if’ I’ll get the game… But whether or not I’ll transfer my hundreds of hours of experience from the original game onto the Switch version. Could be fun to start over? But I’m not sure.

I’ve got a few months to figure it out at least.


Nintendo Switch will receive new charger accessory

Keeping on the Nintendo train, this may seem like not a big deal for people who don’t own a Nintendo Switch. But as someone who owns and plays one rather frequently, this new addition to the accessory line-up is actually pretty huge.

Starting on July 13, 2018, players will be able to buy a $20 charger that not only costs far less than the TV-docking port, but also has an adjustable stand allowing for a more convenient hands-off experience than the current kick-stand offers.

Just looking at the picture, this thing seems like a phenomenal idea… That should have been released at launch.

But hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

This just feels like a must-buy for Switch owners to me, and while I’m disappointed we’ve had to deal without it until now, I’m very excited to get one in the near future. Thank god it’s only $20.


Overwatch League grand finals to be held in Brooklyn

As the title to this section suggests, Blizzard announced Wednesday that the grand finals for their eSports tournament, the Overwatch League, will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York in July.

According to an article by Variety, the finals will be about a month-and-a-half after the regular season ends (on June 17), and following a postseason playoff at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank.

Finalists will be competing for $1.4 million… Which isn’t too bad for a video game competition, I’d say.

Hell, I’d love to get $1.4 million for playing some games.

Oh well. Maybe someday, if I keep working on my Pokémon competitive skills or something.


Bungie Developer apologizes to fans

So this is an interesting little thing my friend Mitchell pointed out specifically, as a big fan of Destiny.

A few weeks ago I talked about how Bungie was planning on hosting fans to talk about how they would improve the rocky follow-up to their popular shooter.

However, it seems like all the bad blood hasn’t quite fizzled out yet.

On May 7, a fan replied to developer Josh Hamrick’s tweet about being excited for an expansion to Destiny 2:

Then, Hamrick replied to that reply.

That’s a pretty serious statement for what could have just been blowing off a butthurt fan.

I don’t exactly have a lot to say about Destiny or the state of its future as a game series, but I just wanted to point this out because it’s an awesome little example of a developer being respectful to the feelings of his fanbase.


Walmart ruins E3 2018

That’s it, that’s the story.

Okay fine, hyperbole aside. Walmart Canada made waves in the gaming sphere this week by putting out retail listings for upcoming games that may have spoiled some games that might be announced at E3 later this year, according to Polygon.

Among the games that got shown off were Borderlands 3, Lego DC Villains, Gears of War 5 and more.

Obviously these are kind of like leaks, so I can’t necessarily confirm nor deny whether the games that were put out here are legitimately coming soon. That’s why I buried this one under the other stories I talked about here.

However, apparently game developers are having a good time poking back at Walmart for their mistake, as Polygon also points out with Bethesda’s A+ response to the Rage 2 leak.


That should sum up basically all the big stuff I’ve picked up over the last week. It’s honestly been rather quiet, which made this an easier week to wrap up this project on.

… If this is where I’m wrapping this project up. Again, I still haven’t decided.

Though considering I always do this sort of thing, I’ll broach the question to my audience. Do you enjoy these posts? If so, let me know. I’ll be happy to keep them going.

Also, as usual, let me know if there was any big gaming news I missed. I’m almost positive there is somewhere in this big, wide world of ours.