Tag: Pokemon

Am I Uncomfortable with Silence?

Am I Uncomfortable with Silence?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

img_0006
The laundry basket makes for a convenient pedestal.

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

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

Sound. Audio puns. You know the drill.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements
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.

DeaROsmV0AIOGYx.jpg-large

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.

super_mario_party_switch_reveal_art
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:

NintendoSwitch_FireEmblemThreeHouses_scrn14_E3
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:

Switch_SuperSmashBrosUltimate_illustration_02
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!

Let’s Go, Pokémon!

Let’s Go, Pokémon!

I had a totally different post planned for tonight.

But you know what?

The Pokémon hype train is too. God. Damn. Real.

That’s right folks, we’ve got a brand new trailer for a brand new Pokémon game, and you know damn well it’s time for me to go back to my Sun & Moon lead-up days of deeply analyzing anything and everything I can get my hands on.

This is about to be a long piece picking apart each and every piece of the trailer that I can.

Hope you’re ready. Because I am.


Let’s Go, Pokémon!

So obviously the first thing to address when it comes to discussing the brand new upcoming games of Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee is the tie-in to the mobile app Pokémon GO.

I played Pokémon GO for a good long time, it’s actually a pretty key element to my summer the year it came out when I would use El Camino College as my walking ground for catching Pokémon.

img_3753
The game had plenty of gems like this!

However… The app didn’t have a whole lot of staying power.

It got stale rather fast for me, and there were things about the game that needed to be implemented that weren’t until it was too late.

I still haven’t gone back, even though they’ve officially started to release Pokémon from the third generation (my personal nostalgic favorite).

Where the trailer for Let’s Go begins, it seems as though they’re setting up this title to be almost like a port of Pokémon GO for the Nintendo Switch. Which, in all honesty, would make zero sense considering what the appeal is for GO.

But then as token young child sits down on the couch and Pikachu jumps into the television, all becomes clear:

Kanto.

Remake.

Even though the warning on the bottom left suggests that ‘game footage is not final,’ the intent is clear. That boy you’re watching on-screen is Red, the original protagonist. With a Pikachu on his shoulder. Standing in Professor Oak’s Pokémon Lab in Pallet Town.

As he runs off onto Route 1 and through what appears to be Viridian City in a few small snippets before the trailer splits to show Leaf (Red’s female counterpart from the Gen 3 remakes of Firered and Leafgreen) and an Eevee, already the comparisons are clear for me.

Graphically, Let’s Go looks to have the same, if not better, quality models and environments than Sun and Moon — which to be fair does make sense considering the jump from the 3DS to the Switch.

Yet in terms of style, the world appears to be built more in-line with the philosophy of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (ORAS). Ostensibly this makes sense considering Let’s Go is being billed as a remake of the original Pokémon Yellow.

Keep the core of the world alive but update what we can see and juice everything up.

And sure perhaps I’m putting too much stock into the initial glances we get based on this trailer alone, but the way everything has been updated does look gorgeous. Environments on par with Sun and Moon being utilized for a faithful world recreation ala ORAS is by no means a bad combination.

Oh, and there are fully animated cutscenes too, just like the few that appeared in Sun and Moon. I enjoyed those as well, so I hope they’re utilized properly.

Seriously though you look at Vermillion City in the brief shot they provide and tell me it doesn’t look just amazing.


Blending Gameplay

8
Image courtesy of Serebii.net

One of the reasons Pokémon GO got stale for me so quickly was because there really wasn’t a heck of a lot to keep me invested in catching Pokémon.

Yes I adore Pokémon as a series because the creatures are adorable and I wish I could have them in real life.

But I also adore Pokémon as a series because I’m one of those weirdos that actually enjoys the story and the characters.

Yeah that’s right, I play Pokémon for the story. Come at me.

Being an aspiring writer, the monster catching series was one of the earliest things that drew me to both the mediums of video games and writing. The plots of each of the seven generations of main series games are burned into my skull, and I can seriously throw down long diatribes explaining why I adore X character based on this line of dialogue they gave.

It’s that much of an obsession for me.

In that way Let’s Go, Pikachu & Eevee becomes a beautiful middle ground.

Granted, the Gen one titles of Red and Blue (plus Yellow technically, all things considered) are arguably my least favorite. I enjoy the spit out of Firered, but find myself less engaged in the world those games create than any of the others.

Despite that caveat, I do still enjoy the games and like the Kanto region for as classic and iconic as it is, so getting to revisit them is great. Especially considering those two remakes came out in 2004 and leave Kanto the only stand-alone generation not featured on the DS-forward.

The brilliance behind the marketing for Let’s Go comes off that point. This is the first time we’re getting a Pokémon game centered around the Kanto region, literally a remake of the first adventure as the trailer goes on to stipulate, since Pokémon GO was a mass phenomena and brought tons of people who played the original titles back into the fold.

Timing is everything, and I’ll be damned if that’s a coincidence.

But no, we know it can’t be a coincidence because Let’s Go is literally built with the same functionality as Pokémon GO.

The first of multiple different ways to interact with the game is through single joycon play. Literally you sit back with a joycon and play the game like it’s Pokémon.

But when you need to catch a random encounter, you chuck a Pokémon with the same minigame/spinoff style Pokémon GO offers. It’s just this time you literally throw like pitching a baseball rather than flicking your finger on the screen.

If that’s not a perfect way to not only utilize the functionality of the Nintendo Switch, but also bring the ‘catch Pokémon for real’ mentality of GO into contact with the story and immersive world of a mainstream Pokémon game, I don’t know what is.

It looks like there’s also probably a way to just hit A to throw as well, as I can already hear the complaints that this repetitive throwing will be too much.

Come on people, it’s Pokémon. Have some fun.


Multiplayer? In my Pokémon?

7
Image courtesy of Serebii.net

It’s more likely than you’d think.

Something iconic about the Pokémon series as a whole is its version splitting antics.

Whether you see multiple versions as a smart way to encourage kids to interact and spread a fervor for the game like wildfire, or whether you see it as a cheap cash grab that persists based on ‘tradition’ in a world where it has no place being there, you have to admit:

Playing Pokémon with a community of people is probably the core reason why it’s as popular as it is today.

The idea of the split versions has always had a particularly special place in my heart considering the fact that I have a younger sister. Going all the way back, I’d always buy both versions of a new generation so that I can play one while Aly plays the other.

img_8402
Just a piece of my Pokémon collection.

… Granted she tends to give up, which makes both versions my playing grounds to try out different things. But that’s a different story.

Pokémon Let’s Go is going to take that to a whole new level by allowing us to play the same Pokémon game at the same time using both joycons.

Honestly? That would be a selling point alone even if nothing else about this were true.

That multiplayer is somewhat limited from the looks of things, essentially allowing both players to run around freely on the same screen but not putting them on separate journeys.

Instead, the catching game becomes more of a co-operative experience where things like having the right timing together improves your chances of catching Pokémon.

The way multiplayer interacts with battle is a little funnier, as it seems like player two gains access to another member of your party so you both can fight at the same time.

While I can only imagine creating infinite two-on-one situations will make the journey relentlessly easy, I can’t help but relish the idea of reversing the terrible circumstances of Sun and Moon where enemy Pokémon called for help all the damn time.

A few other things I’d like to note in this section:

  • From the brief battle sequences we see, as well as whatever capturing is shown off, it appears like most every environment in the game will have an equally unique battle locale. Which is amazing and highly encouraged, hopefully beyond even what Sun and Moon offered.
  • Pokémon appear to roam wild as overworld sprites in Let’s Go. I can only hope this will be less of a gimmick-y ‘hey look who shows up here’ and more of a way to flesh out the living world, as obviously a game that’s going to be a Kanto remake with a complete battle system will also have random encounters to facilitate grinding for the Elite Four.
  • While I love the idea of multiplayer, it does currently leave me second guessing the possibility of this being a Pokémon game with full online functionality too. It seems like the focus is going to be solely on Kanto Pokémon, so will there be wi-fi battling and trading? It doesn’t seem like it, which may cut down the game’s longevity, but we’ll see when more information comes out.

New Toys for Kanto

Along with just using a single joycon, Nintendo is also going to be releasing a little Pokéball toy that can be used in place of the traditional controller as something to throw at wild encounters.

That seems to be the pattern for Pokémon games lately, releasing a gimmicky object alongside their titles. Remember the Z-Ring for Sun and Moon?
514ug2VUYEL._SX425_

I remember the Z-Ring for Sun and Moon.

This one seems cute but not necessarily something I’ll be chomping at the bit to go out and buy. Beyond that capture integration, the chief thing it seems a trainer can do with the Pokéball is bring Pikachu (or Eevee) along with you to make noises.

Sort of like the Pokéwalker that came with Heartgold and Soulsilver. Except also a controller.

But hey it does make cute noises. So… You can get beat up in school easier?

Dunno, my sister was awfully excited for this when I showed her the trailer, but I’m fairly ambivalent.

Also on display in this section of the trailer is Let’s Go’s functionality with Pokémon GO itself.

According to this tweet, the functionality purely extends to Kanto Pokémon — which is what leads to my trepidation from before about the existence of wi-fi connectivity acting as an extender for Let’s Go.

It also seems to me that the Pokémon you bring in from the real world will only be accessible through a special location, GO PARK.

I suppose it could be wonky to have to transfer things like stats between such totally different games, so I understand… But that is a shame.

Makes me feel slightly less apt to pick up Pokémon GO again to transfer my cool Pidgeot over. But we’ll see.


More, More, More!

There are a number of other things throughout the trailer that warrant discussion as well, but I’ll try to sum them up more quickly since this is already getting long in the tooth.

  • Red and Leaf ride a hell of a lot of Pokémon in the trailer. An Onyx, a Lapras and a Charizard at least. I can’t quite tell based on this trailer alone whether or not all Pokémon will have rideable functionality for something or another, or whether this replaces HMs similarly to Sun and Moon, but we’ll see. I hope it’s the latter.
  • Concurrent with the previous point, it seems as though every single Pokémon does at least have an overworld model programmed in-game. There are scenes where it appears as though they can follow you as well, such as the red-and-blue striped underground tunnel where two players are followed by Nidoking and Nidoqueen. Will full Pokémon following return from Heartgold and Soulsilver, even if just for Kanto Pokémon?
  • Eevee and Pikachu are customizable! The player character probably isn’t considering they’re supposed to stand in for Red and Leaf, and I don’t have a problem with that, but the fact that the game’s mascots can have outfits is too cute for words. I just hope they stay dressed up during battle!
  • Someone somewhere used Seismic Toss on a Magikarp for the trailer and that person deserves a raise.
  • Did I mention there are full cutscenes in the game? Well, one of those is the Mewtwo encounter. Player model appears to have more facial range than the Sun and Moon protagonist, so that’s again a plus for Let’s Go.

Concluding Thoughts

Okay, so there are one or two other things to touch on oh-so-briefly before wrapping this sucker.

First: Eevee’s voice.

Look. I get it Game Freak. Pikachu got special treatment starting in Gen six, where it started to say its name because mascot. It was cute and I get it.

Eevee didn’t need the same treatment, even though you’re trying to fill that same cute mascot niche. I’m not a huge fan of Eevee saying its name like in the trailer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m playing Let’s Go, Eevee all the way because Eevee is far superior to Pikachu in my opinion, but still.

Also at the end of the trailer was a tease to a brand new Pokémon being shown off somehow in-game. On Twitter, the Pokémon folks do confirm that this will be a 100 percent totally brand new Generation Eight Pokémon.

Because oh yeah by the way, new main series Pokémon title in 2019.

That’s another thing to get hyped about, but hype will wait for another day in that particular train’s engine.

For now we still need to get through November 16, 2018 when Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee will be released upon the world.

If you couldn’t tell already, I’m super duper excited for it. I was pretty burned out on Pokémon after the back-to-back release of Sun/Moon and their Ultra sequels, but this is a whole new adventure with tons of unique bells and whistles to get ready for.

I do hope after the 2019 games are released that Game Freak takes a bit of a break, both because it would be well-deserved and because fatigue may set on if they start to push out a big game every single year for too long.

Though Marvel’s been going strong for 10 years with the same philosophy and look where that has them. So who knows!

All I know is that despite trepidation for a few key points I’ve listed throughout this analysis, I’m excited for the Let’s Go Pokémon games all the same. It has probably pushed off Dark Souls as a major game to purchase for the console since I now need to save my money.

Sorry Dark Souls, we’ll have our day.

I’m also ready for more and more news to come out about the game in the coming months. How will the new character designs look? What sort of new things can we expect to be added into the game’s lore? Will Jesse and James appear as a part of Team Rocket like in the original Yellow?

Expect to see me blathering about it from now until November.

So, until the next news comes, tell me internet: What is YOUR opinion regarding these new Pokémon games? I’ll undoubtedly be seeking reactions on my own, but I’d like to know what the people who follow me think too.

Whipping out the Wallet

Whipping out the Wallet

I’ve been on a bit of a cleaning kick lately. Getting the house straightened up tends to be one of my first big summer projects, as we’re coming fresh off the busy end of a semester/school year where things tend to become a pig sty and I feel a little bad about how little I’ve been able to contribute.

So far I’ve hit part of our main living room, the kitchen and the downstairs bathroom. However, I took a bit of a distracted turn when starting to look at my room.

While clearing off my desk (which you can see in a fairly clean state through this post I wrote the last time I straightened up around here), I also decided to clean out my wallet to make room for a few extra cards and such I now want to carry around with me.

I thought the state of my wallet when I started was interesting as some sort of example of my “constant carry” mental state, so I wanted to take the chance to run through exactly what I found.

Who knows, maybe it’ll be interesting to compare that to whatever I carry in the future.


The Valuables

img_8390

Here’s the stuff I won’t outright show you, but it’s the stuff you’ll expect to see no matter what.

Boils down to this:

  • My Driver’s License
  • My Cal State Fullerton ID
  • My AAA Card
  • My Family’s Health Care Card
  • My Family’s Vehicle Insurance
  • My Debit Card

Pretty generic stuff. Just don’t expect me to be silly enough to post pictures of my numbers and such to be abused by whatever internet trolls are lingering around.


My Lucky Coin

img_8387

In a complete 180 degree turn, here’s something that isn’t vital to my survival, but also isn’t something I tend to part with very often.

I can’t tell you exactly where or when I got my hands on this Lugia-printed silver coin. I can’t tell you why I wound up putting such high praise into it.

All I can tell you is that it will always be sitting right behind my Driver’s License in its special outward flap. For luck.

It’s goofy, but what can I say. I’m a superstitious guy when I want to be.


My SPJ Card

3bb0a5f1-0322-454d-97b7-8bdea7b6f040-1558-0000016c51c47351_file

Probably the most recent addition to the cast, here’s my membership card for the Society of Professional Journalists.

Though I’ve been interested in joining the organization for some time, I decided to wait way too long for some reason and didn’t get my hands on this until a few months ago.

Considering I’ll be aiming to get myself more actively involved in the CSUF branch of SPJ going forward, it won’t hurt to keep this sucker around.


My Library Card

img_8381

If my SPJ Card is very recent, this library card is very old. I’d argue at least 10 years, but the plastic itself doesn’t actually indicate how long ago I first got it.

All I can tell you is it’s at least old enough to warrant my mom having signed the “for anyone 18 and younger” parental signature space.

If nothing else, digging this sucker out has made me think about just how long it’s been since I used it.

Perhaps I’ll take a trip down to the Library one of these days, just to hang around and study if nothing else.


A single GameStop Gift Card

img_8384

How much money is still on this thing?

Why am I just carrying it around?

Who gave it to me?

What is making me put so much thought into the damn thing?

All of these questions and more linger as I gaze into the sleek red-black-white physique of this particular card.


Some Membership Cards

There’s a bit of a “Tale of Two Cities” deal going on with these cards, for as random a combination as they may be.

The Men’s Warehouse Rewards Card is the more bizarre of the two. I’ve really only used it once back when I needed to get a suit for my high school graduation.

Didn’t even go to Men’s Warehouse when I needed a suit for the Comm Awards a few weeks back.

On the other hand, I actually use the Which Wich Rewards Card all the time. Way more than I probably should, honestly.

What can I say. There’s a Which Wich right next to the newsroom, so it’s one of the three or four restaurants that are constantly in my circulation of places to eat.

So whether or not I’m going to carry this with me


Too many Starbucks Cards

img_8382

Okay, look people. I drink Starbucks pretty often. Like more often than I probably should – a pattern apparently.

But this is ridiculous.

Obviously most of these cards were gifts from others, but what sick delusion broke its way into my head forcing me to keep all of them in my wallet at the same time?

Actually, that’s not fair. Not all of them are in my wallet.

I also found three or four Starbucks cards sitting on my desk hidden under piles of junk.

Seriously what is wrong with me? I literally spent a good 15 minutes today just jotting down Card numbers to throw them all on my digital account for ease of access later.

Did I really think it was more beneficial to just carry all of this extra junk?!

Sighs…

Sometimes I’ll never understand past Jason.


Punch Cards

img_8386

Probably more interesting than the plastic rewards cards I pointed out earlier are these punch cards I’ve decided to carry around for some reason or another.

The one on the left is for a local car wash right around where I live, one that actually does a pretty nice, thorough job not only cleaning the outside but the inside of the car.

However… Fate can be a cruel mistress. I’ve only had the chance to go once, hence the one stamp on the card, because the back window on my car is still broken.

Haven’t been able to get the thing properly washed in months. So that’s great.

The card from the ice cream place is a bit more interesting to think about why exactly I carry it around.

I’ve only gone to that place a few select times as well, with probably my only visits coming from times I’ve hung around the Del Amo Mall with my friend Samantha.

There’s only two stamps left till we get a free dessert, so I guess we’re going to have to hang out again soon whenever she’s finished with her semester over at El Camino.


Last but not least…

Good old Washingtons.

Er… Washington.

Only have one dollar on me right now. So I guess it’s a good thing I decided to stay inside and clean rather than go out, huh?


That really wraps it up for my wallet excursion. Like I said, perhaps I’ll check back on this post in a few years and see where I’m at in my life based on the contents of my wallet.

Though in the meantime, I am curious to know if any of you have anything particularly bizarre or special in your wallets/purses/whatever it may be.

If you do and you’re interested in sharing, let me know in the comments!

New Year, Fresh Room

Is it tacky to start off two blog posts in a row with the same kind of title?

While I’ve spent some time working on a few video game-themed posts today that I want to get out this week, I wound up taking a little personal detour. As we begin 2018, I figured why not start the year off right by straightening up my room?

Okay so this is definitely a weird set-up for something to write about, I’ll admit. But I’m not putting together because I want to write about cleaning my room necessarily.

Rather, I’m looking to use this post to fill the sort of secret third purpose of my blog. Outside of archiving my professional work and giving me a space to blather on about video games, I also like to think I’ll be able to one day use this place as a time capsule. You know, look back to see how things were or take inspiration from my past or… I don’t know, anything like that I suppose.

So, why not take a little look at my bedroom as it is now? After all, this point of my life is likely not too far away from the point where I’m going to wind up moving out on my own, abandoning it as a result.

If anyone is interested in seeing the place where I spend most of my time, I guess this is your chance to do so while I feel good about it looking nice. But if not, just know that this one is more for me.

So let’s start out with the place I see the most: My desk.

Overlooking my desk are some nice collectible posters of mine, which you’ll find are a frequent sight in this little tour. Super Mario Galaxy and the region maps for Kalos and Alola are the prime examples here.

There’s also a photo of my high school class up top, opposite the photo I have of my middle school class as a matter of fact. I was pretty proud of the way I laid that out when it first came about.

Some of the most notable things on my desk itself are a Kirby plush bought by my friend Jonathan in Japan and my Rowlet McDonalds toy next to the desktop computer I admittedly don’t really use. There’s also a four-star dragonball that Megan gave me for the holidays in 2016 when we were news editors together, a very dried out flower that I wore at my high school prom, a newton’s cradle that has some written out Pokémon team ideas on top and a piece of quartz that… I don’t remember where I got.

I just really like how it looks, honestly. So its been there for about as long as I can remember.

On the other side of the entryway in is my bed.

The bed itself obviously isn’t much to talk about, but above it are a number of posters and pictures and such. Among them are a map of the Hoenn region, an XKCD webcomic, a table of elements and a Terminator-inspired self portrait I drew for my high school art class.

Oh, and you can see the laundry room outside too.

Meanwhile, in the other corner…

Right now there are some more self-explanatory posters on the leftmost wall, but probably some more interesting things on display for the rest of the space.

I have my original Twilight Princess poster from an issue of Nintendo Power in 2016 – still arguably my favorite Zelda game I might add – and the Pikachu/Mimikyu picture I got for my birthday last year that’s usually up in the Newsroom is currently housed here.

Oh, and I have a signed photo of Yvonne Strahovski, who played Sarah in one of my favorite, seemingly somewhat underrated shows, Chuck.

Gotta go back and watch that again one of these days.

The floor space in that corner is also what I like to call “the piles of no return.” It’s more or less all of the binders I’ve used for different school subjects going all the way back to middle school. I say that I keep them around on the off chance I ever need the information inside again, but frankly I think I just don’t know what to do with it all since throwing it out would be a waste.

In my opinion at least.

Moving on, we get to to the next corner of my room, notably featuring my over-stuffed book shelf and the papasan that winds up being extra storage space rather than a seat more often than not.

From this angle, you can also see the orange hat I wore when I dressed as Willy Wonka for Halloween in 2016, the Porg I got as a secret Santa gift from my assistant Breanna this semester, a piece of artwork I bought of one of my favorite Pokémon Gym Leaders (Roxie, from Black 2 and White 2) and the second half of my school-year class photos. On the opposite side of the room as promised.

A little more interesting to me are some of the things hanging up on the wall here.

The Star Wars poster is pretty self-explanatory, it’s just a cool Star Wars poster.

The two hanging pieces of print, however, are special for their own reasons. The smaller one up top is the first article I ever wrote for the Daily Titan (about an upcoming ‘Pizza with the Presidents’ event) that was framed by my friend Lissete because she’s great. The one below it is actually my first major front page article for the Titan, a story about campus police preparedness following the San Bernardino shooting.

On the other wall, stuck to the closet door, is a painting my friend Tiana made for me showcasing my favorite Pokémon, Gardevoir. There’s a whole set that she made for each of my other friends in our little group too, which is pretty sweet. Above the closet is also also an award I got in 2014 for “Excellence in Newswriting” at a Journalism Education Association Write-Off Competition. Pretty cool stuff.

Oh, and I’m sure some people must have noticed the metal weapons hanging up on the jutting out part of the wall too.

Yeah… I don’t have too much of a story for these. Basically, I’ve been the Anime Expo a couple of times, and one of my favorite things to see there is the video game weapon re-creations with real metal.

So I got myself a Master Sword and a Keyblade. And they look dope.

Next up, around the room’s one window, are my main display sources.

These two pieces of furniture are combined drawer and display spaces, and are obviously part of a set with my desk that are some of the oldest things I own.

The main drawers, with my longtime backpack resting in front of it, has a couple of notable mainstay items, including a collector’s Tanuki Suit Mario figure wearing the special Mickey Mouse ears that I got during our senior end-of-ear trip there in 2015, my high school yearbooks and diploma and my Amiibo collection.

Because yeah, I have a bit of an Amiibo collection.

Don’t ask me how this got to where it is now, because frankly I’m not totally sure. I started with Smash Brothers Link, but enjoyed the display value enough that I kept it boxed, and eventually I got it in my head that I wanted to collect every single Smash Brothers Amiibo to make a nice set.

However, I have neither the space nor the resources to really do that, so for now it’s just a little wall of Amiibo that my sister likes to make fun of me for.

The T.V. cabinet and drawer space has a good amount of collectibles on top of it as well. I have a series of trophies from my time doing chess tournaments back in elementary school that are cool because they’re shaped like chess pieces, I have some goodies themed after my favorite mythical Pokémon Jirachi – including a cardboard art piece that I made in my senior high school art class, I have some Lego builds from some time ago of the Fallingwater building, Obi Wan Kenobi’s ship from the Star Wars prequels (Episode III namely) and of the Space Needle in Seattle.

The last one in particular fits in well with some of the other landmark/history-themed goods, like a model of the White House I picked up during a trip to Washington D.C. for a journalism conference some years back and a Ronald Reagan diorama of sorts dating way back to the days of a President report in elementary school. Still proud of how nice that one looks to this day.

There are a bunch of other things I like to keep out on display which mean a lot to me, but that piece of furniture is also where I keep my yearly calendar. Though I often wind up falling a week or so behind when it comes to changing the month over, it’s definitely helpful to keep it so close by in my main workspace so I can jot down important dates if necessary.

Plus, I always like to have something theming the calendar that keeps me happy. For instance, between 2017 and 2018, I went from this:

To this:

Because how can you ever be truly stressed out when you can just turn your head to the left and see some dogs being adorable?

That just about concludes my tour. I could probably go into more depth about a ton of little items strewn throughout the room, but that would honestly take forever.

I do have stories about a lot of stuff, so who knows. Maybe I’ll get to that another day.

Now, as a final note. Is this the silliest thing I’ve ever written about on my blog? Or the dumbest thing? I’ll leave that up to you likely few viewers out there to decide.

On top of that, as a side final note, if this is me from the future looking at this while going through a small nostalgia trip, I hope you enjoyed it most of all.

That said, I’ll catch everyone next time.

Looking ahead to a Legendary New Year in Fire Emblem Heroes

Looking ahead to a Legendary New Year in Fire Emblem Heroes

Well, it seems as though we’re actually going to have a short Fire Emblem post here today because we got a pretty underwhelming and small update all things being equal.

Even if there’s going to be another update soon enough, a subject I’m also going to touch upon here to make things a bit heftier, I wanted to write this post now while I’m also thinking about the future of this kind of content on my blog.

That said, before I jump into all of that existential BS, let’s look at this new Legendary Hero Summoning Banner.

img_6852

Fjorm’s sister, Gunnthrá (gotta love these probably Slavic inspired names – if I have that Etimology right), is now available through a special summoning event.

Up until now, she’s had a number of cameo appearances, mostly as a disembodied and helpful voice teasing future events up until the beginning of Fire Emblem Heroes’ Book II story missions. Those missions, as it turns out, are essentially are the beginning of those future events Gunnthrá had been teasing before.

Isn’t it just nifty how that kind of premonition-y future sight works?

Despite that minor degree of plot importance and characterization in the past, Gunnthrá’s actually arrival in the world of Heroes now is a little downplayed to say the least. Literally, the developers announced she would be coming in a banner a few days ago, and now she’s here. There’s no new story missions or paralogue missions or anything offering some sort of further explanation as to who the character is or to offer her the chance to interact with her sister. She’s just here.

Have fun with your random chance to summon.

She isn’t a free gift through the story of the game like Fjorm was. To add her to your army, you have to brave the now infamous 12 character, 8 percent summoning chance banner. It has high potential to force you into wasting a lot of orbs for the chance to get her, only to wind up with one of the other two green heroes on the banner.

So, is she worth the risk?

  • GunnthráVoice of Dreams
  • Our new Legendary Hero is a green mage cavalier, making her an arguably apt replacement for the horse-based team staple, Cecilia. Her special tome Blizzard gives her +3 Resistance and adds to her Attack stat when the opponent has debuffs applied, an effect similar to the well-worn Gronnblade. She also comes with the special attack Glacies to deal massive damage based on her Resistance stat and three passive skills: Fortress Resistance grants her a +5 Resistance boost in exchange for a -3 Attack reduction, Resistance Ploy makes foes in cardinal directions suffer -5 Resistance and the new skill Chilling Seal inflicts -6 Attack and Speed to the opponent’s unit with the lowest defense as long as she’s above 50 percent health. As far as the wording suggests, this afflicts anyone no matter where they are on the map.

In my opinion, Gunnthrá seems interesting… But not necessarily worth the effort.

Of course, she does come with the ability to bless an ally using her Wind element, which gives said blessed ally a +3 Health and +4 Resistance boost during a Wind season if they go into battle together. Especially for a cavalier unit, this ability can probably give her a solid place on a horse team boosting someone like Reinhardt.

That blessing and her Chilling Seal skill sound interesting, but the rest of her packaging just feels… Okay. Nothing particularly awe-inspiring.

Not knowing her actual stat spread, she looks to be a highly resistant unit with low attack that’s compensated by a weapon with an effect less useful than its counterpart, the Gronnblade.

I think of the situation similarly to Pokémon in this respect. In a Pokémon battle, it’s always better to use a status move that buffs one’s own stats as opposed to one that debuffs an opponent’s stats. In the latter situation you defeat that opponent and start from zero, while in the prior situation you keep your stronger standing for multiple opponents to come.

Similarly, Gronnblade buffs a Fire Emblem Heroes unit based on the stat boosts you give to your unit, whereas Blizzard gives Gunnthrá a boost based on the debuffs attached to the single opponent you hit. Decent synergy if you hit the unit afflicted with your Chilling Seal, but otherwise not the most optimal.

On top of that, Gunnthrá is a limited time unit that’s hard to summon, making her inherently a little less desirable than a unit like Cecilia who can constantly be merged and improved, despite whatever power creep might be involved for their stat differences.

At least, that’s my opinion on the matter. It’s one of the reasons I don’t think I’m going to spend a lot of orbs on this banner.

Another one of the reasons is the aforementioned saturation of heroes on the banner. Like I said, there are 12 available:

  • Greens: Gunnthrá, Amelia, Spring Chrom
  • Reds: Ryoma, Sigurd, Brave Roy
  • Blues: Fjorm, Spring Lucina, Bride Charlotte
  • Colorless: Innes, Elise, Bride Lyn

If I was going for any of these outside of Gunnthrá, I would personally focus on Ryoma, Bride Charlotte and Bride Lyn.

However… My efforts right off the bat didn’t give me the best results.

img_6854
A sparkling new unit, but unfortunately a duplicate.

Yes, I did get a 5 star Sigurd. However, I already have one. If anything, that just makes him unit merging fodder. While that’s not an inherently bad thing, I would have much preferred getting someone like Ryoma.

That kind of disappointment from the over-saturation of the heroes leads to the third main reason why I won’t be spending a lot of orbs on this banner, despite it ending on January 1st.

Apparently there are going to be New Year-themed Heroes coming out.

And I’ve been spoiled on who they’re going to be by my friend Jonathan.

Obviously I’m going to talk about these guys when they arrive, but as for my first impressions:

Takumi is going to throw soup at people and that’s amazing, Azura is a cutie in that kimono, Corrin got his arrows as a gift from Lilith which is also amazing and Camilla… Well she’s Camilla.

I want them more than I want Gunnthrá, so for now I’m going to save the energy and orbs I get from the current Tempest Trial for later.

With that said, I believe that about sums up everything I have to say about this banner. Of course, the post as a whole is far longer than I expected because I need to learn to write less, but that’s a whole other story for another day.



Actually, it is somewhat of a story for today.

With New Years Heroes coming soon – a reminder of the more general arrival of 2018 in a couple days – I can’t help but reflect on my blog content a little.

2017 has been the first full year of my blog’s existence, and for the most part I’ve been keeping it afloat with a combination of archiving my Daily Titan articles and Fire Emblem Heroes posts.

The Fire Emblem posts are fun, but to be honest I think they’re a little bit of a crutch for me. It’s really easy to produce them in a sense because all I have to do is take screenshots on my phone and talk for a long time. For most other games I have to take external photos off my iPhone, which works… But not very well.

My Pokémon Ultra Moon tweets are a perfect example. I can get decent quality out of them, but I would definitely prefer to be able to capture those photos directly through some sort of capture card or something.

Because I can’t get nicer photos, I feel like I can’t write a lot on other subjects. So I don’t.

Fire Emblem provides a perfect solution to the problem: It’s easy to capture, fun to talk about and gives me plenty of opportunities to just write on a time frame I can handle.

Just writing practice in general is more or less the goal of my blog, besides making an archive of my work for future employers, so the content doesn’t make much of a difference in that regard.

However, the time frame is arguably a big part of the problem for me in my head right now. If it wasn’t obvious, I have to stay up pretty late whenever there’s a substantial update,so I can have something written about the 11 p.m. release out in the world by 8 a.m. the next day.

That’s arguably the job of a journalist I suppose, to be timely and quick with writing, so again this serves as decent practice… But it is a real energy drain for something that I’m feeling kind of iffy about sticking all my eggs in one basket for.

So, for 2018, I’m going to be thinking about restructuring how I do my Fire Emblem Heroes posts. They’re either going to get less abundant or I’m going to come up with a format that allows me to get them out faster and hopefully in a shorter form.

Working smarter, not harder and all that jazz.

I just wanted to get my thoughts out on that here so that anyone who reads this can potentially give me some advice on what they think.

How would you restructure what I do with Fire Emblem now? Do you have any advice or suggestions? Or do you like how I do things currently? Let me know in the comments below! For this I’m genuinely interested to hear what others have to say.

Also, on that note, let me know how you feel about the actual subject of this post originally, Gunntrá! Is she worth the hype? Or, as the case may be, is she worth the lack of hype?

That, after all, is the true question.

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List

A merry Christmas to all of you out there that are taking a break from your families on this most Yule of evenings and have decided, for one reason or another, to spend some time reading this silly, clichéd offering of mine.

That’s right, as the title above suggests, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring with a top 10 list of my favorite games that I played this year. It’s been done to death by anyone with an interest in anything… But what can I say. I’ve always enjoyed the idea and wanted to try it myself.

As I don’t celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah ended a couple days ago, I’m just going to be hanging around all day today more or less. I figured doing a list like this could also double as my ‘here are some good gifts for the holiday season’ suggestions. A little late? Perhaps. But I like to think it’s just well-timed enough.

As a couple of forewarnings before we get into things. Just remember that this is my own personal list of favorites. In other words, it’s an opinionated list, so if you don’t agree with me… Well, that’s your opinion. I respect that you have your opinions so long as you respect that I have mine.

On top of that, while it has been an objectively great year for games in general, it has unfortunately not been a wonderful year of gaming for me. Because of the work constraints I’ve had as a college newspaper editor, a full-time student and an intern, there hasn’t been nearly as much time to play games as I would have liked.

So, if anything, these 10 games I’m listing off are arguably the only 10 games I’ve spent any considerable time actually playing this year.

If you don’t see a game you really liked this year, that’s probably why. As a matter of fact, unless you’re a Nintendo junkie like me, you probably won’t see a lot of games you’re familiar with on this list. A Switch and 3DS are my main gaming systems right now, so there aren’t a lot (if any) PS4 or Xbox games in my playing field.

With all that out of the way, let’s jump into the reason we’re all really here than, shall we? After all, what would a games list be without the games?



Editor’s Note: For anyone reading this on my blog proper, I’m going to stick the content under a read more tag. I pretty much let it all out with this one, so it’s long and I don’t want to completely bog everything else down.

Even so, I hope everyone enjoys the show! #UnintendedRhyme



Continue reading “My (obligatory) Top 10 Games of 2017 List”

My current hiatus and updated article archive

From the state of this blog currently, I imagine some of you think that I totally dropped off the grid and lost my way in the world of Pokémon, never to return to this mortal realm.

That’s not totally inaccurate, honestly.

However, Ultra Moon isn’t the only thing that’s been taking up my time. Yeah, I have been spending extra time carefully combing through it than usual, absorbing everything that’s different from the original games (something I’m sure I’ll talk about eventually), but my Thanksgiving Break had a good amount more to it.

  • I cleaned my room for the first time since the summer, which was a great personal accomplishment. It seriously needed it.
  • I got ahead on a bunch of assignment for school, including a video project I had to come to campus to work on despite it being a week off.
  • I had a lovely Thanksgiving feast at my Aunt’s house, along with a few of their family friends (including a particularly interesting Egyptian man who had to escape as a refugee during the Arab Spring crisis, super cool guy).

There were also a few things I’m sure, but honestly those were the major highlights I can think of, since the rest was relaxing and catching up on some much needed sleep.

One thing I didn’t do that I had wanted to was write a few personal or more fun things here on my blog. I’ve been sitting on an idea for a Duel Links topic that’s been mulling over in my head for a few months, there’s some stuff for Gladeo and my work with Boom I’ve wanted to update for a long time and I figure it might be fun to do a ‘what I want for the holidays’ list given that Hannukah starts on Dec. 12 this year.

But I just never got around to it. Unfortunately, I might not have that much time to get to it in the near future either, since these last two weeks of the semester are going to be rather hectic with projects and exams. So, I at least wanted to put out something quick now to mention that things are probably going to be quiet for a bit.

… Unless I publish a story, of course. Or wind up having a 3 a.m. Fire Emblem Heroes binge again, which may end up happening soon with some big things on the horizon there.

Speaking of publishing stories, I actually wound up writing three articles just before Thanksgiving Break began. I meant to write something talking about it earlier, but like I said… Being lazy and forgetful came along with my relaxation.

Figured at the very least I should give the articles a little lightning round now in case anyone is curious:

  1. My friends at Project Rebound invited me to a luncheon celebrating a new donor and bringing in the holiday spirit after I started working on my multimedia class final profile on the program director, Romarilyn. It was a nice little event that I wound up writing about because we needed the space filled. You can check that article out here.
  2. On the same night that I wrote about Project Rebound, there was a four-car collision outside of the College Park building. I was the only news desk representative in the room, so I was sent out to cover it. It didn’t wind up being a super weighty story, but we got comments from the police so it was something. At the very least, it was an interesting experience doing two deadline stories in one night. You can check that article out here.
  3. The day after writing the last two articles, we got an email from Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook letting us know that the school had tallied up how much Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit cost them through things like security. I talked with him and University Police Captain Scot Willey to find out exactly how it all broke down and wrote up a nice, meaty little story about it that night. However, I wasn’t done yet, as I still wanted to get comments from the Vice President of Administration and Finance Danny Kim (since he was the guy every other source pointed me to). I managed to get in touch with him, so we updated that article the Friday before break with more detail. I even got my hands on his personal number for future use and found out that his office really liked the original article I wrote. Felt really good, honestly. You can check out that article here.

As usual, if you want to see my full archive of work for the Titan, you can look over on the right.

For now, I’m going to go back to work, since we’re on our first post-break deadline. Like I said, I just wanted to basically let the world know that I might not be all too active for the next couple weeks.

If anything, you can maybe check out my Twitter for a little more activity. I’ve been trying to do more there, and recently that’s included doing some Pokémon posts as I make my way through the game. So, you can see such gems as:

And:

Maybe that sort of thing strikes your fancy, but if not I swear I’ll be back on a more active post schedule come Winter Break with some hopefully interesting content. Probably.

Alola begins anew

Alola begins anew

It may only be a year after we were first introduced to the Alola region in Pokémon Sun and Moon… But as a self-proclaimed hardcore Pokémon fanatic, I simply couldn’t resist going out to get the next addition to the series on day one.

I’ll admit, it does help that my Mom agreed to help pay off half the cost as sort of an early holiday gift. I was going to do it anyway, though.

Plus, it also helps that Thanksgiving Break has officially started for me, so I have a whole week to start pouring into some Pokémon when I’m not doing whatever assignments I have.

Or when I’m not writing blog posts like this. I still owe myself one for the three stories I published the week before we left, so hopefully I won’t get too sucked into the game.

That being said, this  post is going to be short and sweet because, frankly, I’m really excited to get into Ultra Moon. Because Mega Noivern for life. Also because Alyson is going to play Ultra Sun given she prefers Solgaleo, as evidenced by her McDonald’s Happy Meal toy from the other day:

I can appreciate the glowing eyes, though Rowlet is still my baby boy so I couldn’t resist not getting him, as you can see in the featured image at the top of this post.

I know the games are going to be fairly different than the originals from all of the pre-release trailers, so now I’m going to see just how different they are, and by extension whether they’re more worth going after than the originals.

To be completely honest, one of the big aspects that might sway that decision for me is how much time and effort the Rainbow Rocket team gets. Seriously Game Freak, you better have added in the original theme songs for each villain team boss or I’m going to be so disappointed in you.

Anyway, all that said, I’m going to go play some Pokémon now. Probably expect a few comparison-type posts in the near future as I work through Ultra Moon, or at least expect a team recap by the end of my journey. I still have to decide who I’m going to use after all, since I’m not going to go with the same squad as I used my first go-around.

Those guys are special to my Moon playthrough. I couldn’t just recreate them.

It does make my job harder since there’s a lot of options that are my favorites now excluded… But I’ll figure it out. Probably going to start with Popplio this time around, I think. Because I’m not sure what other Water-type I would want to use if not Wishiwashi, and because… Well, come on.

popplio
How freakin adorable, right? Right.

Sorry Litten, you’ll get your time in the spotlight soon enough. There’s just some other Fire-types I want to give a whirl this time around.

Okay, for real this time, I’ll catch you all later. If you got US&UM like me, let me know what you think about the games! I’d love to hear your thoughts somewhere on the internet.

New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Snuggling with death

New Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Information: Snuggling with death

As we come down to the wire, just a week away from the release of the games facilitating our second romp into the Alola region, I can’t help but reflect a little on the fact that I’ve probably missed out on talking about the build-up trailers more often than not. It’s a shame given how much I absolutely enjoyed talking about everything leading up to the first game, but I guess I can once again blame the somewhat hectic semester I’ve had.

However, I’m not going to let that fact stop me now. I’m ready to talk some Pokémon, because if anything is going to get me to talk about the games again… It would be this Pokémon in particular.

Normally I would hide this under a non-spoiler read more line… But this trailer isn’t so much that it’s worth being considered a spoiler, in my opinion. It’s just one Z-Move being given to a Pokémon we already knew existed.

It just so happens that this Pokémon is arguably my favorite Alola monster, as I’m sure some of you must remember from all of my posts oh so long ago.

As a real quick aside, even finding this old post was a little strangely nostalgic to a year ago when my Sun and Moon hype was super real. Is it possible to be nostalgic for something only a little more than a year ago? Perhaps in the age of the internet, I suppose. But either way, I still remember seeing Mimikyu for the first time while wandering the campus of El Camino College, where I was taking abnormal psychology course and relentlessly playing Pokémon GO.

Good times.

When Sun and Moon actually came, Mimikyu turned out to be far better than the cute little gimmick it presented itself as in all the promotional materials, and my little Charlotte demolished many a Hydreigon in her heyday. I still love her… But I probably won’t be using her in my run of the Ultra sequels. Typically when I replay the third game in a region, I’ll use a totally different team. That way I can get experience with a wider variety of the available Pokémon in that region, come to care about them more and all that.

I haven’t quite decided who my new team is going to be beside the fact that I’ll probably pick Popplio as a starter. Simply because I can’t think of a water type I would use if I’m not using Wishiwashi.

But that’s another story for another post. Here we’re all set to talk about Mimikyu’s new Z-Move, the reason why even if I don’t use her in the story I’ll definitely continue to use her in online play:

Let’s Snuggle Forever

I’ll admit, it’s a… Less than enticing name for an attack. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll happily snuggle with Mimikyu any time, but I don’t really envision that being the attack I would suggest using against an enemy.

Luckily, the move itself surpasses whatever lousy naming convention it might have gotten. Full of love for its trainer, Mimikyu takes its Play Rough (presumably – given the Fairy-type Z-Move pose and sound effects of the inevitable attack) to the next level by mixing in its spooky capabilities to sneak around and catch an opponent off-guard. When the enemy Pokémon least expects it, the cloth-covered monster leaps out of the treetops and envelops that poor soul, trapping it in a more intensely unseen attack before spitting it out and shooting it off into the distance.

On the one hand, this attack is very cute. It captures both the cute Fairy side of Mimikyu desperate for attention and love by the way it slips out from behind its trainers legs, but it also captures the unclear reality-warping Ghost side of Mimikyu that can sneak around and cause immense damage with the creature under the sheet.

On the other hand, I can’t help but get somewhat deeply contemplative about this attack due to the aforementioned reality-warping sensibilities Mimikyu carries. In Sun and Moon, Acerola’s trial is based entirely around chasing Totem Mimikyu through an abandoned minimart, where everything concludes in a strange back room full of Pikachu-themed posters and a battle with the powerful ghost.

When that fight is over, Acerola reveals that there is no back room to the mart, and says she feels a chill before walking off. One of the best things about the moment is seeing Mimikyu in the background walking behind the building as your character doesn’t seem to notice. However, even at the time something didn’t sit totally well with me about it.

Just how much power does Mimikyu have?

Was it Mimikyu alone that was able to create the physical illusions of some kind of pocket dimension while also being able to appear seemingly everywhere at will? Or did the other spirits – the Gastly and Gengar living in the abandoned building – lend their support in creating such a spooky environment?

The new Z-Move doesn’t necessarily help clarify this, if anything it just makes it more interesting to consider. Not even just when seeing that Mimikyu’s outfit expands exponentially to take in a target as big as a Tyranitar.

The literal implication of the attack is that Mimikyu’s true form under the cloth is able to release more of its true power when having an opponent trapped alongside it. But there’s a less literal implication too. If Mimikyu is able to create its own pocket dimension for your fight in the abandoned minimart, is it also able to trap the Pokémon it pulls into its cloth into some kind of a pocket dimension? Or, at least, is it able to trap the opposing Pokémon in a mental prison of sorts, letting it imagine its been sucked into a world of endless darkness, only for another creature to come and knock its lights out repeatedly.

Perhaps it’s just me romanticizing Mimikyu too much, but I like to imagine this attack is less an overpowered Play Rough and more something akin to the relentless time-bending mental torture of Itachi Uchiha’s Tsukuyomi attack from Naruto.

That’s about as geeky an anime reference as I’ve made here on this blog I think, but the point still stands. It’s the kind of thing I like to imagine Mimikyu is capable of.

Again this wound up being a much longer discussion of something quite short than I had intended, but I just really like the underlying suggestion of Let’s Snuggle Forever. Plus, I’m personally ready to snuggle with Mimikyu forever in a week when the game’s come out, so I suppose that’s part of what led to this being so much rambling.

I would still love to hear what you all think of this Z-Move, or honestly anything at all Pokémon-related as we make our way into Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon release week. Let me know in the comments below!