Tag: Pixar

Jordan Peele brings Us, a captivating horror/thriller/slasher experience

Jordan Peele brings Us, a captivating horror/thriller/slasher experience

I don’t typically go to the movie theatre to see horror movies.

The last time I did, I watched the Blumhouse classic Truth or Dare on a date. Horror movies peaked in that moment, and I decided I never needed to see one on the silver screen again.

Just kidding, it was a dumpster fire.

It also had nothing to do with the reason I don’t see horror movies. I’m just a baby when they’re done right.

But I loved Jordan Peele’s Get Out, so when Us was coming out and my friends Juan and Nina were interested, the perfect opportunity to support this great filmmaker arrived.

Before I jump into the movie, I’ll briefly address the elephant in the room: I had an awful experience watching Us. Won’t go into too much detail because you can read through my angry Twitter thread.

I just think it’s worth mentioning because I enjoyed this movie, especially talking with my friends about it on our drive home, but I wasn’t as enthralled as I could have been.

That said, there’s plenty of objective things I can say about this movie.

Us follows the Wilson family — Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), Gabe (Winston Duke), Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex) — as they vacation in Santa Cruz. Adelaide’s nerves get the best of her as she recalls coming across a doppelgänger of herself at the boardwalk’s hall of mirrors over thirty years earlier.

Her fears are justified when a family of doppelgängers, each deformed and known as the Tethered, arrive to torment and kill them.

There isn’t a whole lot else I can say without spoiling the film, yet there are a couple of major plot beats that I feel are worth addressing. Some of you may consider them minor spoilers.

Fair warning.

Most notably that compared to Get Out, Jordan Peele’s newest movie is a bit more predictable. If you’re anything like my friend Jonathan, you can probably guess the explanation why evil clones suddenly arrive.

That being said, the way the story is handled completely supersedes that complaint. Peele’s world and characters are so engrossing that you almost don’t care why the Tethered have arrived until it’s explained.

Even with the explanations given, there’s a decent amount of mystery left on the table to keep viewers mulling over questions. That’s clearly the intent.

It doesn’t matter why certain things happen so much as it matters that things are happening and the characters need to deal with them.

It’s great that Peele has created such an interesting scenario that you want to know more after the movie cuts to black, but you don’t NEED to know more to enjoy it.

Beyond this mysterious lore, Us has two other major draws: The cinematography and the acting.

From the opening scene of a young Adelaide wandering the hall of mirrors on the Santa Cruz boardwalk, it’s clear that Us is a marvel to watch. Tension mounts immediately just trying to figure out which girl (and which exit sign) is real.

There are scenes all over the movie that stick with me. From Nyong’o’s Tethered character Red slamming Adelaide’s face into a glass table, leaving her reflection shattered, to the first reveal of Tethered outside the Wilson family in a gruesome scene.

This movie is more of a slasher flick than a horror/thriller at times, and it handily capitalizes on all of the blood-gurgling imagery and sound effects you’d expect.

However, arguably the best scene comes toward the end, where Nyong’o’s bug-eyed, Tethered face is large in the foreground as the grounded regular version is creeping up with a fireplace poker.

It’s gorgeous to watch, and highlights just how amazing Nyong’o is in the movie.

Every actor plays two roles. A normal, quirky human and their scarred, primal Tethered counterpart.

Besides perhaps Alex at times (who I would give a pass being the youngest actor in the movie), everyone nails playing the duel versions of themselves — in some ways completely alien, but in more ways amplifications of each other’s good or bad sides. I particularly liked how Duke captured a hulking, imposing monster of a man and a crippled, goofy family man.

Yet nobody plays like Lupita Nyong’o.

I’ll frankly be upset if she doesn’t at least get a Best Actress nod for this. Nyong’o became a real powerhouse to me with Us, much like Daniel Kaluuya after Get Out.

Hers is the only Tethered that speaks, and every word comes out hoarse as she struggles to talk. It’s a bone-chilling performance, especially combined with her rigid, mechanical mannerisms.

The fact that she plays that intensity against a normal, terrified version of herself makes it stand out that much more.

A lot more of my negatives with this movie come from my viewer experience — laughter at inappropriate, tense moments and Instagram glowing two rows ahead does not mesh with suspenseful horror. So it’s hard to tell what parts I didn’t like for the movie or for the audience.

But I can absolutely say what I enjoyed about Us, even if I’d like to see it again. The cinematography is great, the acting is amazing and any sort of plot hole or missing lore just serves to create a captivating and mysterious experience.

I’m certainly still thinking about ideas the movie posed, and how some reveals completely re-contextualize the movie — one of my favorite things in film.

And that’s not to say anything about the killer Bernard Herrmann-esque score by Michael Abels.

Us is a great movie, and a wonderful second showing for Peele. I would highly recommend it (even if you wait to see it in the dark at home).

Yet it offered one thing more shocking than anything else:

How the hell did Jordan Peele context switch between directing such a suspenseful, deep horror film and goofy high jinx voice acting for Toy Story 4?

The man truly is an enigma.


Featured Image courtesy of IMDB

Rainy day jazz in Santa Barbara

Rainy day jazz in Santa Barbara

At this point it feels like I’m collecting California high school visits for a checklist.

Once again my day has been spent journeying to watch my sister perform with the Redondo Union High School jazz band.

The destination? Dos Pueblos High School in Santa Barbara.

The event? The 50th annual “Jazz in Paradise” Jazz Festival.

Luckily hosted indoors, as it rained hard all morning on our way up north. None of those outdoor venues like the marching band competitions get.

While I appreciate any and all opportunities to break out my Master Sword umbrella (and boy has it gotten work this rainy season), I was more appreciative that we could hide instead.

Especially with such a nice auditorium to hide in:

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The beige whites, wooden trim and striped-blue decor gave the Elings Performing Arts Center a nautical harbor vibe that felt like home, even though home was a good few hours away.

I was also a fan of the music, even if I can’t speak to why quite as well as I can for a visual aesthetic.

That’s frankly my biggest problem with these events. While I can’t say I’m the biggest jazz listener in the world, I typically enjoy what I get to hear at the competitions. I just don’t have near enough musical knowledge to be able to tell people why — and usually those who can will tell me how awful a band was despite my thinking they sounded as good as the rest.

The one thing I can point to is Santa Ynez, who really impressed me in particular by utilizing a violin in their set.

After a while, the performances across different events do start to sound similar, so shaking that up was nice.

Plus I’ve found that I’m actually a huge fan of taking more “classical” instruments like the violin and using them in unique, more modern settings. Been noticing that a lot more in different soundtracks I’ve listened to for games and such.

But beyond that, hopefully you aren’t here for deep diving musical analyses.

All I can really provide are these screenshots and videos to help you feel like you were there.

For instance, here’s Aly and RUHS’s Jazz Band A performing “Barnburner” by Les Hooper:

I know I say it a lot, but I am quite proud of how good she is at this stuff. So much so that she recently got accepted into a rather prestigious-sounding summer program in New York.

Then again, I also make fun of her falling off video games whenever I can, since I know she loves that a whole lot.

But recently I found a good game to get her into solo play with Kirby’s Adventure on the Nintendo Switch online NES game compilation. Thus I can’t really make fun of her.

… Though I will pester her about finishing Let’s Go Eevee with me again. Especially now that Sword and Shield are coming soon.

Oh- By the way, RUHS won first place in the advanced bands with their set.

As well as smaller awards for having the best saxophone and rhythm sections.

Then they won best overall band score, on top of one of their musicians winning best solo performance of the night.

AND Aly got an outstanding soloist certificate for the advanced division.

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In other words, they swept the floor.

This event in particular also stood out because after the awards there was a concert featuring Wayne Bergeron — who has apparently worked on things like the soundtrack to Pixar’s The Incredibles.

That’s pretty cool!

Unfortunately my parents and I did not stick around for that part. We went hard from 9:00 a.m. until the end of the awards at about 6:30 p.m., plus the drive home after. So we were beat down.

Especially me after an unexpected nosebleed in the middle of the performances.

Wound up scrubbing my hands of spots like Lady Macbeth as people came in and out of the bathroom.

Never had that particular flavor of “unintentionally embarrassing myself in a public venue” before. It was fun.

Just like it was fun when my family and I went to Chili’s in the rain while waiting for the festival to start.

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Hi, welcome to Chili’s

A fact that I only bring up so I can finally reference an ancient Vine in some attempt to appear relevant and hip with the kids.

Because that feels like the most appropriate way to end off a blog post all about Jazz.

International Entertainment

It’s never a bad day when you get home at 3:00 p.m. Especially when there’s enough of an endorphin rush from getting a solid grade on that Sensation and Perception research paper rough draft to counteract the dejection of finding out thefinal exam won’t be curved like the midterms were.

I’m not at all bitter about being told about it just two weeks before the exam.

You can tell by the way I definitely did not start this post off with a paragraph-long rant.

But hey that being said, at least I got home early right? Which means I had plenty of extra time to get started on my homework for the weekend.

Ahaha, haha, ha.

Haha.

Hah…

Yeah no, I just watched YouTube all afternoon.

Don’t give me that look, viewing public. It was a long week, okay? I just wanted to go home and veg out a little.

Oh boy, here I am arguing with the empty void that I’m pretending is a robust audience.

Let’s just stop filling in empty space on this post and get to the point.

When I talked about the somewhat bizarre international reach of my blog the other day, I didn’t realize it would make me get all deeply philosophical and thoughtful about other stuff I’ve been observing.

For instance, the YouTube videos I’ve been watching.

Yeah that’s right this is another recommending YouTube channels post. Don’t pretend like you didn’t see that coming.

Even if this is a makeshift post thanks to events I had planned getting cancelled, it is based on something I was thinking about in the shower this morning.

See I recently discovered a new video game reviewing YouTuber who has sent me down the rabbit hole of binging every old video out of sheer love for the great new entertainment.

His name is RadicalSoda, and for the most part he does a lot of Sonic-related stuff from what I’ve seen. But also his Kingdom Hearts 2 and bad Pixar PS2 games videos have stood out to me.

The reason why he’s relevant in the conversation I set up for myself is because a few videos in I found out that my new favorite long-haired dudebro is from New Zealand.

Land of the Hobbit and… Usurping old Zealanders. I guess.

I don’t know anything about New Zealand.

But that’s kind of the point! I know literally nothing about New Zealand, yet thanks to the magic of an open content creation platform like YouTube I’m able to see his creative energy and sense of humor come to life.

It’s kind of awesome to imagine, and I’m not sure I would have thought about it too much if I wasn’t already primed by seeing my own blog’s analytics.

Naturally I couldn’t help but think about other YouTube personalities I watch who aren’t based in the United States, because this would have been a very boring post if it was just lots of rambling only to have one recommendation at the end.

So I have other recommendations. For instance, Caddicarus is a channel I’ve been following for some time that’s based in England and also does video game-related content more often than not.

In a similar vein I’ve gotten very into watching another British YouTuber, I Hate Everything. He has a massive backlog of interesting videos just talking about dumb things in general or talking about dumb movies specifically.

His channel also got me introduced to Ralphthemoviemaker, who also does some fantastic movie reviews… But he’s in the U.S. so I’m not counting that right now.

The only other big international name I can think off the top of my head is RANK10YGO, but he’s arguably the most niche suggestion I can offer to a general audience.

All he does is Yu-Gi-Oh! videos. Specifically informational videos about different card archetypes in the game.

Which are fantastic if you want to find out more about the game like I did after getting real into Duel Links. But I imagine it isn’t for everything.

Unless you happen to like somewhat deadpan, meme-ridden humor. In which case he’s your man!

Also he’s apparently from Montenegro. Just in case you were wondering why he fit into this whole international shindig.

So yeah, there’s a bunch of (mostly) international YouTube suggestions that you can check out if you’re interested. For me it’s a pretty great reminder that the Internet isn’t just a cesspool of dumb crap.

It’s a place where people from literally all over the world can share their creativity for even random Joe’s like me to see.

Even if their creativity is just dumb crap, it’s still pretty awesome to think about.

If you have any international content creators you want to recommend, I’d be happy to hear all about them!

Reusing and Recycling

Reusing and Recycling

Last year I didn’t really have a proper Halloween. All of the oxygen was sucked out of that particular room by Milo Yiannopolous visiting Cal State Fullerton, which wound up being a massive, exhausting reporting project that I was the lead on.

Nobody around campus got to have a real Halloween that year. As great as it was getting lost in that world, it was a shame that I didn’t get to dress up or do any of that fun, traditional spooky stuff.

As a result I’m a bit out-of-practice when it comes to doing things like pulling together costumes.

So when my friend Mimi invited me to come to a Halloween party tonight, I panicked over how to dress.

And by panicked I mean I got really busy with school and didn’t bother pulling anything new together. Instead I just reused my costume from two years ago and came as the esteemed Willy Wonka.

Here I am with Mimi, also apparently reusing an old costume. Also, please note the god of partying noshing on some meatballs in the background. Because he was awesome.

Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka of course. I put this thing together two years ago after he passed away, and I’m impressed I still somewhat fit into the women’s size pimp-purple coat that I dug out of a thrift store.

Guess there’s something to this whole exercising regularly thing after all.

I’m kind of writing this in the corner of the party while waiting for my turn at Mario Kart, so I won’t be too verbose. But I figure I should highlight some of the fun things here because it’s a cool little shindig.

For instance, the aforementioned drunk Mario Kart.

I’m not personally drunk because I have a long drive home after this, but basically everyone else is fucked up on every kind of alcohol under the sun.

And we’re playing Mario Kart.

For some reason a decision was made to start the game at the hardest difficulty while playing a Rainbow Road race.

First off, I have to say, it’s incredible that that’s the decision everyone collectively came to. But also it was just plain hilarious watching everyone struggle through it while inebriated.

(I personally got fourth place as my girl Rosalina while everyone else was 10-12, so I got to flex my sober video game muscles a little)

Jackbox came in later, but for me Mario Kart at a massive party full of people who aren’t purely nerds was way more surprising.

Also on the list of party attractions was the food, of course. Mimi put together a lovely spread of chips, candy and cheeses for people to soak up that alcohol with.

Plus there were these lovely cupcakes:

Note the meatballs in the background, also prepared by Mimi and made famous by our God friend.

Very Halloween-y.

Naturally the costumes are also very important to discuss. Someone is wearing a dragon made out of a cardboard box, and her boyfriend is dressed as Daenerys from Game of Thrones.

There are at least two one-pieces in the room, a cheetah and a Stormtrooper.

Two girls came dressed as an angel and a devil.

We’ve got Miguel from Coco, Lucas from Earthbound, a Slytherin student with the dark mark tattooed on…

It’s a very interesting, eclectic mix that I don’t exactly feel comfortable taking a larger photo of. So maybe check my social media stuff in case I like some pictures Mimi puts out or whatever.

Oh yeah, also there’s a cat. A very sweet cat with big ol’ eyes. Animals are always welcome at a party.

Even though I’m basically meeting everyone at this place tonight, I’d say it’s been a great time! Certainly a wonderful distraction from my Mass Media Ethics assignment and preparing for class registration.

But that said, I’m going to get back to the festivities. I’d wish everyone a happy Halloween, but we’re still a bit early for that.

So happy pre-Halloween?

Happy Saturday night?

I don’t know, I’ll figure it out later. It’s party time right now.

Incredibles 2: It’s incredible, too

Incredibles 2: It’s incredible, too

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

You have been warned.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll look forward to Incredibles 3 in 2032.

Entertainment Beat Report – Feb. 15, 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – Feb. 15, 2018

From here on out, my Entertainment Reporting class assignments are primarily going to be weekly updates on some of the major things that are happening in the video game industry.

I got some of my friends who tend to pay more attention to gaming news aggregates to help out on compiling a small list of some of the big things that happened this week, so my first attempt at doing this is probably going to resemble a listicle more than anything else. Just a few headlines, links and some summary paragraphs. Might wind up changing things later depending on how much I like that, but for now I think it’ll work out pretty well as an easy way for me to approach these.

That said, let’s get on with the news.


Overwatch League Stage one concludes with New York on top

Blizzard’s widely popular first person shooter has been driving the eSports scene lately with a competition between the game’s top teams from all around the world.

Stage one of the tournament ended on Feb. 10 with matches between London’s team and both New York’s and Houston’s teams. London won both games.

However, in the overall standings, New York is on top with 9 wins and only 1 loss. This puts them over the next four teams, who are all tied in their 7 win to 3 loss records, but have different standings overall.

Stage 2 will begin with three matches on Feb. 21. This stage will feature five weeks of play in Blizzard’s Burbank arena.

I’ll admit, I’m not personally a huge Overwatch buff, but I know all of my friends adore it. They certainly aren’t the only ones either, as the game has been hugely popular since it’s release.

I actually wrote on this topic for our Mock Newsroom this week, which took me down a deep dive into the world of competative Overwatch. It’s definitely not a world I travel in often, so it was an interesting experience to say the least. If nothing else, I suppose I like seeing eSports get a lot of traction – which is something I’ll touch on in a bit.


New Nintendo Labo video shows complexity of games

This morning, Nintendo showed off their latest gaming innovation more with a video detailing the first Labo Variety Kit that’s going to come out on April 20.

Labo, for those of you who are unaware, are essentially special holsters for the Nintendo Switch that give players new control schemes to play specific games. The twist is that you create the holsters — called “Toy Cons” in a fun little allusion to the consoles main controllers, the “Joy Cons” — yourself with cardboard cutout sheets and auxiliary pieces like rubber bands in activities reminiscent of arts and crafts projects.

When they were first announced, I know I personally had some concerns regarding how in-depth of an experience these somewhat gimmicky additions to the Switch were going to be, but it seems like they have some promise to be more than just tech demos based on what the newest video shows.

The first Variety Pack will contain five Labo projects: An RC car, a fishing rod, a house, a motorbike and a piano.

The RC car seems well thought out, with the Switch’s portable touch screen being used as a controller while the detached Joy Cons control how the car you’ve created moves. Not only does it show how impressive the “HD rumble” tech can be, it also makes use of the Joy Con night vision capable camera to promote self-propelled movement toward certain stimuli.

The fishing rod uses the Switch’s screen to simulate an ocean environment that you drop a fishing line into using a fairly complex looking cardboard fishing rod. The rod has Joy Con holsters in two major areas that allow you to simulate the act of reeling in fish, with the aforementioned HD rumble simulating the feeling of fish tugging on the hook. The game itself looks to be a rather simple fishing simulator, but has a nice and pretty looking aesthetic that I think will make it worth trying at least once.

Personally, I just hope this kind of functionality comes back for games like Animal Crossing and the Legend of Zelda, which are fairly well-known for their fishing side-games.

The house Toy Con seems to be used for the 2018 equivalent of a Tamagotchi. You remember those, right? The little key chains that would grow a creature inside and was later somewhat co-opted by Nintendo for the Pokéwalker in HeartGold and SoulSilver? Hell you don’t have to look very far for the allusion, there’s basically an 8-bit guy similar to Tamagotchi in the background of the house.

There’s a cute amount of interactivity with the house itself, where doing things like shaking the screen will create an earthquake inside, and the Joy Cons can inhabit different plug-in additions for the house that do things like change the time of day or the environment inside.

Oh, also there’s a portal reference in there. Can’t argue with that.

The overall experience seems simple, but there appears to be a good amount of depth with mixing and matching the plug-ins, and I do enjoy the aesthetic. So… We’ll see how good it is in execution.

The motorbike reminds me of one of those arcade cabinet racing games where you sit down in what’s essentially a simulated car or motorcycle. The controls appear to be fairly realistic and more complex than one might expect for a children’s console arts and crafts project, but Mario Kart Wii didn’t exactly handle the “realistic steering” thing well, so I’m reserving judgement on this one. There’s also a sandbox mode where you can create your own open lot driving areas with a scanner using the Joy Con camera and a track by simulating how you’d want to drive in real life.

Those additions are pretty cool, honestly.

Though… Now that I’m thinking about it, why isn’t this a Mario Kart game? More than any other object creation here, I think this one feels the most like a tech demo just in the sense that it seems like exactly what Mario Kart 9 should be. Another thing I hope we’ll see functionality return for later, I suppose.

Finally, the piano looks like a simple version of an actual keyboard you could go out and buy. It even does that thing where you can make each note play a silly sound if you plug-in a Joy Con knob. Apparently you can also make sounds through the vibration of a Joy Con by placing it on different objects, which is interesting… But not necessarily interesting enough to save this from being a little too simple to look that appealing. For me anyway.

My sister will probably love it though. Plus, I did used to mess around on Garage Band a lot… So who knows.

I’ll admit, I’m personally more excited about this technology after watching what Nintendo has planned. Now we just have to wait and see how successful it is on the market.


Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer shows Sora will visit worlds of Toy Story, Monsters Inc.

Now here’s something that’s right up my alley. As much as Monster Hunter World and Dragon Ball FighterZ have given me that mad heartache for a PS4, they likely won’t be as big a system seller as something like Kingdom Hearts 3.

A new trailer for the game came out this week at the D23 Expo, and even if not very much was revealed as far as a release date goes, there was plenty of gameplay shown off to get excited for.

We see through the trailer that Sora, Donald and Goofy will be turned into toy-sized Warriors and into monstrous versions of themselves when the visit the classic Disney and Pixar properties of Toy Story and Monsters Inc.

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t necessarily have a lot to say about this trailer right now. Don’t get me wrong, the game looks just as beautiful and fun as it has in earlier trailers we’ve seen. Hell, I even have some great things to say about it regarding the return of the dream creatures from Dream Drop Distance and the incredibly transcendent experience of hearing Woody and Buzz talk like they’re in a Japanese anime.

But… This game has been pushed back so much, that not getting a more specific release date than “2018” is disheartening to say the least. Seriously, Kingdom Hearts 2 came out 13 years ago, and Dream Drop Distance came out six years ago.

The last time a major announcement for the game came out was at E3 in 2015. News isn’t exactly out around every corner.

Let’s just hope more comes out at E3 this year.


Twitch garners more viewer traffic in January than CNN, MSNBC

This is arguably the most esoteric thing on this list when compared to more specific game-driven news, but I found it really interesting.

According to Investor’s Business Daily, January 2018 had more people tuned into various gaming channels on the streaming service Twitch than were watching CNN and MSNBC.

It’s fascinating to me that something like this can happen with how enmeshed in our culture things like CNN are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of watching people play video games, so I understand the appeal. But it’s still impressive to see that Twitch had 962,000 average concurrent viewers compared to CNN’s 783,000 and MSNBC’s 885,000.

The article stipulates that a good amount of this attention is coming from popular competitive games like League of Legends and, conveniently enough, the debut of Blizzard’s Overwatch League.

They say over 10 million unique viewers tuned into the League during its first week, which is honestly kind of hard to fathom.

I don’t have much personal insight to throw into this story, I just think the numbers are fascinating and I wanted to share them. If anything, I think this might make for a good entertainment news story, something I have to write soon.

So stay tuned for that.


These four things weren’t the only things that happened in gaming this week, of course.

A remake of Shadow of the Colossus has blown people away with how beautiful it turned out to be.

Leaks suggest that the Crash Bandicoot N-Sane trilogy may be coming to both PC and the Nintendo Switch in the near future.

Bungie’s Destiny 2 had an update called the Crimson Days and Blizzard’s Overwatch characters will be getting new outfits based on the Chinese New Year.

There’s plenty going on out there if you’re looking for it, so keep watching for the latest news. I’ll be back next week with more, so look forward to that!

If you enjoyed this kind of post format, let me know. After all, I’m still trying to work out exactly how I want to do this whole Entertainment Reporting beat notes thing, and there’s a bunch of weeks left in the semester to iron it out.