Tag: Polygon

The Bachelor in Florida

The Bachelor in Florida

Hey.

Been a while, huh?

I’ve been enjoying my “book writing sabbatical” perhaps a little too much. A lot of my novel has gotten done, but there have been plenty of things over the last month I easily could have blogged about.

I was almost completely by myself for three weeks as Mom and Aly went to New York for a summer music program.

During that time I went to the L.A. County Museum of Art for a graduation party.

I bought Mario Maker 2 and made a bajillion levels.

I hosted a full-on sleepover with my friends.

We saw Disney usher the end times by announcing some great looking Marvel movies at San Diego Comic Con, despite my hatred for their entertainment monopoly.

I completely skipped the Three Houses banner in Fire Emblem Heroes.

Dad and I caught up on the latest season of The Flash, I finally saw (and was blown away by) Shazam and I watched Spider-Man: Far From Home for the second time.

Lots of potential content. But as you can tell, I’ve mostly been keeping my day-to-day exploits on social media.

More time to focus on the book and all that.

However, I might return to daily posts for limited time.

This week I’m on vacation in Florida, invited by my grandparents when they came to California for Graduation. I figure that’s worth recording for posterity.

Today wasn’t the most exciting part, however. Hence the long recap.

I flew out of LAX at 9:30 a.m., where I got to sit through that classic California traffic one last time.

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This was actually my first solo experience in the airport. Every other time I’ve gone places there were family members or school-related functions to keep me company.

But it was easygoing, despite oddities like having to walk through a dog pen for the TSA or having my departure gate flip between two locations multiple times.

I decided to be that guy and get a GIF of the takeoff once we boarded. Which turned out nice in my opinion:

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Then about four hours later, after isolating myself from the outside world to write and catch up on podcasts, I landed in Fort Lauderdale.

Though it was technically seven hours because I traveled into the future.

Isn’t technology amazing? I flew nearly 3,000 miles in a fraction of a day.

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That was such a cool realization after we landed.

Though it was immediately followed by the realization that I decided to go somewhere with 90 degree heat and 64 percent humidity at the end of July.

I guess it was worth it considering I got picked up by these two:

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Even if they took me to The Habit for dinner and gave me flashbacks of late deadline nights at The Daily Titan.

After that we came home so I could unpack and watch American Ninja Warrior with them over a cup of tea.

It took a minute to get over the existential panic of finding out I’d be staying in the “adult” bedroom usually reserved for Mom. But then the relaxation kicked in!

Or maybe it was the jet lag…

Either way, that’s all I’ve got from today. Stay tuned for the next leg of my journey tomorrow, whatever it may include.

Gotta read ’em all!

Gotta read ’em all!

The Unova Region has enveloped a lot of my life over the last few days.

First there was the start of my fanfiction.

Then the locale of Pokémon Black & White came up again when I was wandering Barnes & Noble with my sister and discovered a book of Santa Harukaze comics, put out by Viz Media.

I put off buying it because money, but figured if I saw the book again I might give it another thought.

Then we went to a different bookstore and the fateful book was there too.

I’m not one to tempt fate.

So here I am, reading through 300+ pages of comedic manga-style comic strips about Unova Pokémon, ready to teach you the gospel.

Just consider this my equivalent of Brian David Gilbert’s Skyrim Book Report.

The first thing you need to know is these are “comedic” comics. Like Family Circus or any other traditional funny page staple, some of these one-off jokes are funnier than others.

It’s telling that the Stunfisk comic was my favorite of the bunch.

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That’s peak comedy.

This comic is emblematic of what 70 percent of the collection is: Jokes about a design element or Pokédex entry.

The appearance bits are usually blasé, like Galvantula having too many eyes to cover in case of a surprise.

But I quite like seeing aspects of these Pokémon that I’d always disregarded as innocuous details:

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Another repeat detail throughout these comics are Pokémon being treated meanly, often for no reason.

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Apparently everyone in Unova is a mischievous trickster like Scraggy or in the wrong place at the wrong time like Oshawott.

Though these are Pokémon, so it’s not very surprising that they battle and act aggressively. What is surprising is the way we playing with continuity.

The creatures spend a lot of time playing with or referencing human technology:

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Their confusion suggests these guys are still animals.

But… They sure do spend a lot of time talking and having personalities like in the Mystery Dungeon games.

So maybe these comics take place in that universe?

Except then this page comes along and ruins everything.

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Of course Nimbasa City exists here. Thanks, comic.

But then there’s the weird stuff.

Oh boy is there a whole lot of weird stuff in these comics. And it’s the best part.

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Some of these are far better out of context. Trust me.

One thing I don’t fully understand about the collection is how nonsensically ordered it is. Though the individual comics are segmented by focusing on different Pokémon, they don’t proceed through the book in number or alphabetical order.

It seems entirely random, and that’s compounded by the fact that two-part comics can appear pages apart.

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There’s a particular comic about Woobat and Yamask that’s referenced more than 50 pages later and has a disclaimer telling readers to go back.

Twice.

Why not just order the pages to avoid that kind of problem if there’s no sensible ordering scheme in the book?

Though there’s a much more important question buried in these pages.

Why is Throh the only Pokémon with a two-part comic in which he is the named focus on both parts?

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The. Only. One.

Why Throh of all Pokémon?

Like I’m glad the collection has cool tidbits and quizzes on the sides of each page where I can learn things…

But I’m not sure I can forgive Santa Harukaze for making me feel this tumultuous about Throh.

So, in summary:

Is it worth reading through every Pokémon Black & White Pocket Comic in an afternoon?

Honestly… Not really.

The world of Unova comics has highs are pretty high, but the lows are very, very low. So much so that I don’t think I’d recommend reading through all of them except that you can only find the true gems that way.

I suppose I’d still recommend the book as something of a coffee table read to put out if you have Pokémon-loving guests. But as a Pokémon fan, I’m not sure I would buy the Kalos edition after this one.

That’s a real downer note to end a Pokémon-related post, so here’s a picture of Alyson ruining my attempt to get a Featured Image.

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You’re welcome.

My thoughts on Nintendo’s 2019 E3 Direct

My thoughts on Nintendo’s 2019 E3 Direct

I haven’t paid a lot of attention to 2019’s E3 outside of the surprise Keanu Reeves appearance, but today was Nintendo’s time to shine.

That’s all the introduction you need.

Here’s the 40-minute video. Let’s talk about it.


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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Kicking off the Direct was a flashy cinematic of Ultimate’s World of Light in which Link was rescued by The Hero, our next DLC fighter and Dragon Quest representative.

You’d think that would be the big news. Yet Nintendo had one more trick up their sleeve to conclude the Direct:

Banjo-Kazooie.

I’ve never played a DQ game or Banjo-Kazooie, but I know plenty of people who love those series and I’m happy to see them so happy.

Especially given the love and attention both fighters are getting. The Hero has multiple alternate costumes and a final smash featuring different protagonists from that series, Grant Kirkhope was involved in doing the music for Banjo…

It’s just perfect.

Masahiro Sakurai truly is the king of reviving Nintendo history, and looping in Rare was a great way to include a fighter with die-hard fans who fits in the roster far better than Minecraft Steve or Master Chief.

Great way to bookend the Direct.


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Image courtesy of My Nintendo News

Luigi’s Mansion 3

Subtitle: Hotel Mario 2?

Though I wasn’t a huge a fan of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon compared to the original, this game looks pretty incredible. It has a creepy atmosphere directly reminiscent of Ghostbusters mixed with a Super Mario Sunshine vacation plot.

And it has built-in Gooigi multiplayer, unlike the shoed-in stuff for the Luigi’s Mansion 3DS remake.

I’m pretty into this game honestly. Especially after seeing this kaiju boss reveal Nintendo put out after the Direct:

It’s just too bad Nintendo has a billion other great games coming out, or Luigi swinging a chair around with a vacuum would be at the top of my list.


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Image courtesy of engaget

Link’s Awakening

Here’s one of those games that unfortunately pushes Luigi’s Mansion aside.

I was incredibly excited for this remake of a Zelda game I’ve always heard praised but never took the time to play when they announced it a few months back.

The new trailer didn’t show too much more than its Sept. 20 release date…

EXCEPT FOR A TOP-DOWN 2D DUNGEON CREATOR.

THE THING I LITERALLY ASKED FOR WHEN I GRADUATED:

Thanks Nintendo, you always make my dreams come true. Just be sure to add Minish Cap into the official Zelda Maker.


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Image courtesy of Nintendo UK

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I wrote a Fire Emblem Heroes post just this morning, so of course I was going to talk about this game.

All we got today was a cinematic trailer that mostly stood out because some character had a sword that turned into a bone whip. Which is fine because we got a big gameplay trailer already.

It mainly featured lore that won’t make a ton of sense until the game releases in…

Wait, late July?

Damn, I thought I had more time. Stop making so many games I want to buy Nintendo, I’m still addicted to Stardew Valley for the next few months!


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Pokémon Sword and Shield

I wasn’t expecting any new Pokémon news after the recent Direct, but Nintendo truly is a benevolent overlord.

During the presentation we found out that the Pokéball peripheral from Let’s Go can act as a modern day Pokéwalker and that the Water-type Gym Leader will be Nessa:

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Image courtesy of Serebii.net

She’s a little derivative of Shelly from Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, but not a bad design at all.

During the Nintendo Treehouse we discovered the existence of a perfect Electric-type pup named Yamper and a little Dark/Fairy gremlin named Impidimp:

Images courtesy of Serebii.net

One of them is God’s perfect child and the other is his greatest mistake.

However, we also found out that not every Pokémon in the National Dex will be compatible with Sword and Shield, which is a step in the wrong direction after Sun and Moon already didn’t have a Pokédex entry for every monster you could collect.

Go check out Serebii’s page, because they have the full list of everything from today.


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Image courtesy of Sonic the Hedgehog on YouTube

Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Then there’s this.

Look I played the first couple Olympic crossover games with my sister and they were decent minigame collections.

But the fact that this series is still going astounds me.

Some of you would probably prefer I put Cadence of Hyrule in this major slot since it looks cool and is only $25 bucks, which definitely entices me to buy the game when it drops this Thursday in spite of never playing Crypt of the Necrodancer.

But… I just did.

So there.


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Image courtesy of Mashable

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Like Reggie Fils-Amie, I put a lot of time into Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

New Horizons not only looks like a wonderful graphical update to the series, but an update that allows for 8-player simultaneous action while potentially building a town from scratch.

That’s… Pretty god damn incredible. Definitely worth pushing the release date to March 2020!

Already Nintendo has me feeling all:

But we’re not done just yet.


The Highlight Reel

The reel always has a billion things, so let’s lightning round what stood out to me.


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Breath of the Wild 2…?

Time to address the elephant in the room.

I made a big deal out of returning to Breath of the Wild. Yet… I didn’t actually finish the whole game.

Turns out I should get moving on that again.

Breath of the Wild is getting a direct sequel, bringing it in-line with Majora’s Mask and the Wind Waker series. A sequel where Link and Zelda are going to be traveling the ravaged Hyrule together and discover some demented shit.

The trailer was just an “in development” teaser, but they sure did succeed in making it emotionally provocative. I’m curious to find out more… Though a lot of that is based on hype from my friends’ speculations.

Which means I guess I have to go finish Breath of the Wild.

Damn you, Nintendo. Quit monopolizing my time when you’re about to monopolize my time with all these new games!


Those were the big ticket items out of this E3 Direct for me, but there were a lot of smaller things that piqued my interest too.

A Final Fantasy Tactics-type game for The Dark Crystal, No More Heroes 3 with weird Star Wars jokes and Gundam fights and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 among them. Plus the Switch is getting the return of Contra, The Witcher 3, Secret of Mana, Resident Evil 5 and 6 and a Panzer Dragoon remake.

Nintendo really knocked it out of the park this year, especially considering the rest of E3 wasn’t phenomenal from what I’ve heard.

Though was there any doubt when they began their Direct by capitalizing on the “Bowser is Nintendo of America’s new president” joke?

All they’re missing is this:

Let me know what you thought of Nintendo’s E3 Direct! What game are you most excited for?


Featured Image courtesy of Nintendo Life

She’s Mythic and divine

She’s Mythic and divine

In Fire Emblem, some of Humanity’s greatest heroes wield a legendary weapon known as the Falchion that is imbued with the power to cut through dark forces and the dragons who often wreck havoc.

Alm, the Saint-King of Valentia, bore Falchion when he struck down a being of pure chaotic power.

Marth, the Hero-King of Archanea, bore another version when he saved the realm from a wizard who hoped to abuse the strength of the Divine Dragons.

Ylissian Exalt Chrom took his ancestor Marth’s blade to fight the Fell Dragon Grima, and Chrom’s daughter Lucina brought a Parallel Falchion back from her doomed future to help change fate.

Those descendants of the Hero-King were marked with a Brand of the Exalt to show the holy bloodline they inherited from Naga: King of the Divine Dragons who created those legendary blades in her ultimate benevolence toward humans.

Despite lacking the power to create, many consider Naga the world’s creation deity.


Naga: Dragon Divinity


Naga’s history in Fire Emblem lore ties back to one idea: Killing malevolent dragons.

Her skill set as the first Astra Mythic Hero in Fire Emblem Heroes reflects this idea perfectly.

She flies in (reminiscent of her appearance in Fire Emblem Awakening) and grants every adjacent ally effectiveness against dragon foes. For each ally with that descriptor she receives a boost to all of her stats.

That’s her entire gimmick. It’s an interesting and likely effective one, but narrowly focused toward players who actively seek competitive online matches.

Though to be fair her A Skill refers specifically to Aether Raids, so she’s obviously meant to appear in online modes of battle.

I happen to not be very focused on the Player-versus-Player aspects of Heroes, so Naga is more interesting to me on account of her lore than her battle prowess.

Yet she comes with a good enough entourage — particularly on blue stones — for me to like her banner quite a bit:

Every stone on this banner is decent for me except colorless, where I’m only missing Velouria.

Out of the rest I only had Eirika, Hector and Lyn before summoning. Blue was the most exciting between Naga and that Legendary Tiki who has eluded me for months, but I wouldn’t have been upset with too many of the summons here.

Luckily I wound up getting a great case scenario using the orbs I’ve saved up over a few banners.

I didn’t get Naga, but I got these two:

Tiki is worthwhile by herself, especially given her +Atk nature. I don’t feel particularly compelled to spend any more time on this banner as a result.

Though if I did feel compelled, at least there are a few more orbs to nab off of this Mythic Battle Map:

Fighting her on Grima’s back in the reverse position of Legendary Grima’s battle map is a nice touch Intelligent Systems.

A very nice touch.


All-and-all this is a pretty great Mythic Banner. An interesting main hero, a solid collection surrounding her and not many orbs spent.

Though in my opinion it’s hilarious to think about how Naga was put in the game now when there are still hundreds of characters to power creep her in the future.

Just imagine some low-level hero completely outclassing the Divine Dragon King.

Thus is the curse of a gatcha game, I suppose. It’ll be interesting to see how Game Freak handles a presumably similar concept with Pokémon Masters announced for later this year.

But that’s a series of blog posts for another day.

In the meantime, let me know what you think about Mythic Naga! I can only imagine Mila will be our next character in this category, but recently playing Sacred Stones again makes me want that game’s Demon King too. We’ll have to see where it goes.

The Super Smash Bros. Cinematic Universe

The Super Smash Bros. Cinematic Universe

As many of you have seen, a trailer for Paramount’s upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie dropped today.

It’s terrifying.

But more than it is terrifying, the trailer feels frustrating. There’s a whole lot of missed potential from what I can see as a casual fan of the series, and I spent a fair amount of time ranting about it on Twitter:

The memes have been fun. Yet I can’t help but wonder how Sega let Sonic take this hit with Detective Pikachu showing us what video game movies are capable of—

Oh. Right.

Well anyway, as my friends and I spent the morning looking at Sonic, Jonathan brought to our attention an interesting take.

Much like Sonic’s obscene baby teeth and gross, gangly baby legs, I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of a Super Smash Bros. Cinematic Universe.

Or, the SSBCU, as any sane individual would call it.

My friends’ discord group became flooded with suggestions on what could conceivably be included to flesh out the universe. By the end of the day, I fell in love with the idea of putting this list together!

But I wasn’t able to come up with everything on my own.

So let’s consider this post a work in progress, and a call to arms.

I have a collection of what movies should count in the SSBCU, some that I think could be surrogate “analog” entries in retrospect, and other media that could be related.

I’ll list them out with character confirmations based on Nintendo’s official listing.

If you have any ideas on how to flesh the list out, let me know! I think the idea is great and I would love to keep it going.


Confirmed Entries

Super Mario Bros. (1993)

You know it, you love it. Illumination may be working on an animated Mario movie, but until then we’ve got this classic of terrible cinema to fill out a whole lot of fighters. Just tell me you don’t want to see Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo beat up CGI Pokémon in an Avengers-style crossover.

  • Fighters: Mario (1), Yoshi (5), Luigi (9), Peach (13), Daisy (13e), Bowser (14)

Sonic the Hedgehog (2019)

The terror that started it all. This movie is probably going to be an utter disaster… But that means it’s also probably a blast to watch. Like a car crash after your blue cadillac haphazardly rolls around at the speed of sound. Sonic is Mario’s eternal rival, so he deserves a bad movie too.

  • Fighters: Sonic (38)

Detective Pikachu (2019)

This movie looks brilliant. Full stop. And I can conceivably throw in every Pokémon representative, so it’s a catch-all. I’ll even include Pokémon trainer, because despite the Red analog not being a character in Detective Pikachu, the Kanto starters are all there.

  • Fighters: Pikachu (8), Pichu (19), Mewtwo (24), Pokémon Trainer (33-35), Lucario (41), Greninja (50), Incineroar (69)

Street Fighter (1994)

Bet you forgot this movie existed. Well you’ll be happy to know that Ryu and Ken are in this terrible picture via Byron Matt and Damian Chapa, so you can picture them punching Bob Hoskins in the face!

For real though, can you believe Ming-Na Wen went from being Chun-Li to Mulan four years later? What a glow up.

  • Fighters: Ryu (60), Ken (60e)

Mega Man movie (????)

Keeping on the Capcom train, this is apparently a movie that’s in production. Thus the blue bomber gets to hang out with the squad!

  • Fighters: Mega Man (46)

Monster Hunter (2020)

What’s that? You really like the Capcom train? Well, lucky for you there’s a Monster Hunter movie staring Milla Jovovich in our future. There’s technically no fighter from this series, but Rathalos was added in Ultimate. So maybe there’s room for a cameo?

  • Fighters: DLC fighter, hopefully?

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005)

Alright, I’ll stop messing around. Here’s a not hypothetical entry on the list. I considered not including Cloud because this is a purely animated movie… But if Pikachu and Sonic can be “live action” fighters, why not Angst McGiantSword?

Plus his alternate costumes in Smash are literally based on this movie. So.

  • Fighters: Cloud (61)

Analog Movies

Alien (1979) or Aliens (1986)

Depending on your preference for horror or action sci-fi.

I don’t know if we’re ever going to get a Metroid movie. Samus would be a great candidate for the SSBCU’s Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel-esque leading female character, but in the meantime Sigourney Weaver seems like a damn fine addition.

Plus Ridley is literally a homage to Ridley Scott, so baby teeth Sonic can fight a Xenomorph Queen.

  • Fighters: Samus (4), Dark Samus (4e), Zero Suit Samus (29), Ridley (65)

Fast and the Furious

As someone who has never played an F-Zero game, I can confidently say that the ridiculously over-the-top Fast and the Furious franchise would be a perfect analog.

But in this case I’m going to say Furious 6 (2013) in particular because that’s when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson joined and he’s the perfect Captain Falcon.

Courtesy of wwe.com and SSB Wiki

Just saying.

  • Fighters: Captain Falcon (11)

Inception (2010)

Joker from Persona 5 just got added into Smash Ultimate. I know next to nothing about the game, but I do know it involves going into people’s memories to plant ideas or find secrets.

Sounds a lot like Inception to me. Add Leo DiCaprio into the SSBCU!

He can probably pull off that anime twink look in his Gangs of New York era.

  • Fighters: Joker (71)

King Kong (1933) or Rampage (2018)

King Kong is the obvious choice to get Donkey Kong into the SSBCU. A somewhat sentient ape who kidnaps ladies and climbs up buildings? That may as well be the original arcade game’s script. Even if there isn’t much in the way for Diddy or K. Rool.

Though for my money, I’d also recommend using Rampage. Not only is it based on a video game and has a crocodile, but the fact that The Rock stars means we can turn the film into a retroactive Thor: Ragnarok-esque team up staring Falcon and DK.

  • Fighters: Donkey Kong (2), King K. Rool (67)

Related Media

Castlevania (2017)

Every other object on this list is a movie.

But Marvel got away with putting more characters into the MCU by having The Defenders series on Netflix.

So Nintendo can get away with putting more characters into the SSBCU by making the Castlevania series on Netflix its own Defenders. Not sure if Simon or Richter are featured, but whatever.

  • Fighters: Simon (66), Richter (66e)

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)

This game is basically a movie, right?

  • Fighters: Snake (31)

Fighters Featured: 31

Total Fighters: 82


Ehhh?

This section is the lightning round for ideas my friends and I tossed around that are either jokes or so weird that I honestly couldn’t count them

  • Game of Thrones as Fire Emblem representation? Don’t know enough about GoT to accurately parse that out, but I’m willing to mention it for SEO purposes.
  • The Legend of Zelda T.V. series was floated around, but I’m not sure I take that as seriously as Castlevania to be extended material. Zelda deserves a flagship movie.
  • My friend Mitchell suggested playing 127 Hours on two separate televisions, with one version color corrected to give James Franco a blue shirt. It’s the only way I can conceivably include Ice Climbers, so I’ll mention it here.
Unraveling more YouTube recommendations

Unraveling more YouTube recommendations

You can spin this blog post today one of two ways.

Perhaps this is a public service for all of those affected by the over 10-hour Facebook outages that affected the social media platform and its company’s holdings (including Instagram and WhatsApp) for some reason other than a denial-of-service attack — an issue which they, in my opinion, hilariously had to go to another platform to report:

Those folks addicted to these apps like I sometimes become with Twitter are likely looking for something interesting to do to bide their time.

Interesting, time-wasting YouTube channels happen to be my area of expertise.

… Or, perhaps this post is a futile effort to write something on my blog daily, after a day of two-hour Comm Law exams and finishing my listen to Ender’s Game while at the gym where I could not come up with anything better than yesterday despite saying I would. But in place of that interesting subject matter, I’ve simply decided to guise my lazy alternative in the guise of the solution to a social media-driven turmoil that has long ended by the time I began writing; all due to the aforementioned requirements.

But I think we all know which is the true answer to the question.

That said, I’ve delayed the inevitable long enough.

While my parents travelled around California going to different doctor’s appointments on Monday, I was in charge of my sister back home. We more-or-less spent the afternoon sitting beside one another on the couch doing homework and watching YouTube videos.

Among the usual line-up of Game Grumps and Super Beard Bros. videos taking up time, we were recommended a strange looking think piece on the “Sonic the Hedgehog Bible.”

That’s the kind of offer we couldn’t refuse.

So we didn’t.

And thus we discovered the magic that is Unraveled: A show by the gaming news website Polygon, helmed by their video producer Brian David Gilbert.

As someone who appreciates few things more than highly-analytical, well-produced and funny content deeply examining video games, this YouTube series earns my highest recommendation.

The show, in essence, takes huge amounts of data and information from the video games themselves or from real-world (often governmental) organizations that can be used for video game applications and just distills them down into quippy 15-minute binges that use massive amounts of paper for on-the-wall diagrams with rarely an apology.

It’s a beautiful sight to behold.

While we started with their Sonic Bible episode, I was also a big fan of his dive into madness on the Legend of Zelda timeline, breakdown of hundreds of Mega Man Robot Masters and look at how Bowser’s army would be organized in relation to the U.S. Army.

An oddly prescient piece considering Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé announced his retirement just a few days after it dropped, leaving it in the hands of a man literally named Bowser.

I won’t say I’m much for conspiracy theories… But the truth is out there.

Anyway, yeah. That’s my recommendation for the night.

If a YouTube show can get my sister of all people excited to watch deep-diving video game content, you know it has to be good.

So give Unraveled a look, if you would.


Featured Image courtesy of Gaurav Shakya via Wikimedia Commons

Quick Time Events suck

Quick Time Events suck

I know it’s a cliché to argue exactly what I’m saying in the title here, but don’t worry. I’m not actually planning on going on a long tirade against QTEs in video games.

This is just another case of ‘I spent all day hanging out with my friends and didn’t take the chance to write anything so I need some space filler.’

Welcome to space filler.

The reason I bring up quick time events in the first place is because most of our time today was spent playing a little known title called Detroit: Become Human. That’s right, the narrative-driven title brought to the world by Quantic Dream and the ever-controversial developer David Cage.

It’s a game that’s interesting… But pretty heavily flawed. In some key places.

We’ve been playing the game over the last few hangouts we’ve had while Jonathan was off in Canada on an extended road trip vacation, and it’s given me the chance to absorb some of what I feel are the big problems with my experience of the game — outside of issues with the studio and some of the ways women are treated that have been played to death in media.

No, my main problems with the experience of playing Detroit: Become Human involve certain gameplay elements. Beyond just the way it awakened a previously unknown pet peeve of being back-seat gamed when messing up a quick time event because I’m not used to Playstation controls and stuff is too sensitive and gettING YELLED AT ABOUT SCREWING THE GAME OVER UP DESPITE THE FACT THAT LATER IT’S REVEALED EVERYTHING WORKED OUT OKAY BECAUSE I’M A GOOD ROBOT JESUS JUAN AND TIANA CHILL OUT.

*Ahem*

Sorry about that. Just lost the last few seconds of my life, but I think I’m okay now.

But yes, besides issues with quick time events, it also annoyed me how much the game relies on using invisible walls and choices that inevitably seem to make no difference in the narrative necessarily.

For example, in one scene a character can lose their memory if the player doesn’t respond to a series of events fast enough. In the branching paths of the story’s narrative there is apparently a pathway that can be ventured down where the character legitimately loses their memories forever and becomes a mindless android servant.

But that isn’t a result of actually losing their memory the first time.

No, if the character loses their memory, that isn’t the end of the scene. Screwing up didn’t just kill the run, it instead let the character walk out and find ways to regain their memories.

I suppose the argument could be made that having these kinds of levels of choices to be made is an example of having a successfully branching narrative.

But there’s a narrative dissonance when the character you’ve been playing loses all sense of themselves… But that doesn’t inherently affect the player’s abilities to control their actions. All it really does is add a few extra steps for the player to advance into the next scene rather than going straight there because nothing about the experience of playing changes.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just not a fan of the style of games presented by Quantic Dream, but elements like that bugged me. It felt somewhat manipulative, attempting to throw the player in a certain story direction under the guise of giving them multiple different choices.

I won’t go on too much about the issue, since it isn’t necessarily something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. It just seems like an interesting topic to broach and potentially get the internet’s opinion on by throwing it out into the aether here.

Besides we had a lot of fun playing it together even when I was getting yelled at for nothING. It probably isn’t the kind of game I would play on my own, but with friends it’s an interesting concept to experience.

Unlike a different game we spent some time playing, Enter the Gungeon. That’s the kind of rogue-like I’m legitimately considered getting for the Switch.

Though I’m conflicted between getting that game or Hollow Knight, which I’ve talked about before.

Either way I think I’ll probably be getting a new game on my Switch at some point this week since I just got a little extra financial security through my SPJ scholarship, I’m just not sure which one.

I suppose if anyone has some suggestions for that, I’d be open to hearing those too!

Perhaps I’ll even throw out a poll on Twitter, see if that gains any traction. I’ve never done that sort of thing before so it might be fun.

We’ll see.

No matter what I’m going to stop rambling and let you all go, because this is getting a little ridiculous for a dumb space filling post. Hope everyone out there had a good weekend!


P.S. — Featured Image courtesy of Metacritic

My unpublished Comm 436 video game trend story

My unpublished Comm 436 video game trend story

One of my favorite classes this past semester was Communications 436: Entertainment Reporting, which was taught by OC Register reporter Paul Hodgins.

While his lectures were perhaps a little vaguely laid out for my tastes, that was readily made up for by the interesting auxiliary bits he included during each three-hour class period — namely the mock newsroom sessions where we were able to write-up pieces in short bursts of time and design fake newspapers/websites/etc.

It was just the kind of cool real-life skills practice I haven’t seen come out of too many classes that aren’t taught by the Daily Titan advisor, for example.

Bonnie loves using her classes to feed into the newspaper for content generation.

The other thing I really liked about Professor Hodgins’ class was the fact that it offered the opportunity to write about subjects I might not have gotten to otherwise — more Lifestyle reporting practice, for example.

One example of that was the weekly beat report based on video game news, something I’m still deciding whether or not I want to keep up in the long run.

Because video games were my beat for every facet of the class, I also got to write some genuine articles in a few different styles. Ironically, the news story I pulled together about violence in video games was the only one I got out in print. However, I am still working on a profile piece the class initiated that I’m hoping to put out next semester.

The only piece that I never had the intent to publish was a trend story regarding the rise of the ‘battle royale’ genre of gaming. My sources for the story were Kyle Bender and Jared Eprem, the Titan’s spring 2018 Editor-in-Chief and Sports Editor.

Yeah, not exactly sources to use for a story if I wanted it published as something unbiased and legit.

Despite that, I was proud of how this article as a whole shaped up considering its somewhat last-minute nature. Because of that, I didn’t want it to just rot away in my school desktop folder.

So I figure what better way to put it out there than using my personal blog! Just consider it a sample of how I can write about a different subject more than an actual professional piece.

This pre-write is a little long as is, so I’m going to cut the story itself under a read more. If you enjoy it, please let me know! I’m always open to any and all feedback I can get.

Continue reading “My unpublished Comm 436 video game trend story”

Entertainment Beat Report – May 10, 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – May 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

For now, let’s talk video games.


Monster Hunter Generations Returns

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

MONSTER HUNTER GENERATIONS ULTIMATE IS COMING TO THE SWITCH?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Nintendo Switch will receive new charger accessory

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

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

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

But hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

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


Overwatch League grand finals to be held in Brooklyn

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

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

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

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

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


Bungie Developer apologizes to fans

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

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

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

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

Then, Hamrick replied to that reply.

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

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


Walmart ruins E3 2018

That’s it, that’s the story.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Entertainment Beat Report – March 15, 2018

Entertainment Beat Report – March 15, 2018

I know this is exactly what I said on my last post, but I don’t believe I have a quippy opening to put up before this beat report. It’s just a standard round-up of the video game news from this last week thanks to some help from my friends that have way more time to pay attention to it than I do.

So I won’t waste too much time. Let’s see what the news of the week is in the video game world so I can continue to appease my lord in Comm 436.


New “Tomb Raider” film adaptation prepares for release

Probably the biggest mainstream video game news is the upcoming release of Roar Uthaug’s new adaptation of the 1996 classic game Tomb Raider. Or I suppose this adaptation is more based in the world of the 2013 reboot, Tomb Raider: A Survivor is Born, but those are semantics we don’t necessarily need to go into here.

The new Tomb Raider will be out on Friday with Alicia Vikander (known most arguably for her work as Ava in Ex Machina) starring in the titular role.

As of this writing the movie has a 7.2 out of 10 on the Internet Movie Database and a 48 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. While not fantastic, these scores are better than the 2001 Tomb Raider adaptation with Angelina Jolie, which got a 5.8 out of 10 on IMDB and a 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

So who knows, there may be potential for this to at least be a fun movie.


Popular Twitch streamer plays Fortnight with rapper Drake

A Twitch streamer named Tyler “Ninja” Blevins broke the record for most concurrent viewers at one time on Wednesday when he played the first person shooter Fortnite alongside Drake, a rapper known (in my circle anyway) for his  ridiculous dance in the Hotline Bling music video from 2015.

Of course he’s far more popular than that, but just to give everyone an idea of where I stand on this whole thing.

Now, when I say he broke records, I mean for non-tournament gameplay. According to the Polygon article I’m looking at, there were over 1.1 million concurrent viewers during an Eleague event in Boston. But for non-tournament events, Ninja’s stream nearly doubled the previous record by amassing 635,000 concurrent viewers at one time.

Apparently, Twitter analytics say that the top four trends that night were all related to the Drake/Ninja stream:

That’s pretty nuts.


Upcoming Monster Hunter World update detailed further

One of gaming’s biggest titles thus far in 2018 has been Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World. As a return of the long-time action-adventure multiplayer title to the Playstation side of the console debate, it brought huge changes to the beloved series that seem to have made the game a bigger hit than ever.

On March 22, it will receive its first major update.

Though that update will primarily be a series of added customizable armor sets and weapon balances, it will also feature the arrival of one of Monster Hunter’s most popular beasts:

The Deviljho.

Affectionately called the angry pickle, Deviljho is a fan-favorite Brute Wyvern that comes from the series’ third generation. It’s known for being a difficult fight with a creature design as terrifying as it is hilarious.

The Deviljho is also known for its claws, which in previous Monster Hunter games have facilitated the creation of items that boost player’s offensive and defensive capabilities.

There isn’t all that much to this piece of news, Monster Hunter just happens to be one of my favorite game series of all time, so I figured I would give it a shout out in my continued attempt to not be jealous of all my friends that are able to play it without me.


British Academy Games Award nominees announced

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) released their nominations for their 2018 games awards.

BAFTA recognizes 16 different categories every year, including “Best Debut Game,” “Best Narrative Game,” “Best Game Beyond Entertainment” and “Best Game Innovation” on top of the obviously expected music, performance and game design categories.

In what’s arguably the biggest category, six games are in the running for “Best Game.”

  • Assassin’s Creed Origins
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Super Mario Odyssey
  • What Remains of Edith Finch

Out of the games I’ve personally played here, I’d want Mario to win, but would probably expect Zelda or Horizon to win.

Though I’ve also heard nothing but good things about Hellblade, so who knows.

Whatever the case may be, these awards will be presented on April 12 in Troxy, London. There are 45 games nominated in the 16 categories, so it’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out there.


Foundation asks Nintendo about putting Dragon Ball protagonist in Smash Bros.

Alright, this is a bit more of a ‘jokey’ news piece… But I’ve seen some other outlets pick it up, so I figure it’s at least worth bringing up as it fits into my interests.

Following the announcement of Super Smash Bros. coming to the Nintendo Switch at the Nintendo Direct last week (which I summed up in my last beat report), one of gaming’s oldest questions came back into the limelight with a much more serious twinge:

Will Nintendo put Goku from Dragon Ball in Super Smash Bros.?

See, as funny as this joke is when it’s just a joke, the fact that Funimation is poking at them about it makes everything that much funnier.

Plus Dragon Ball FighterZ is such a popular fighting game hit that perhaps the idea of Goku appearing in a party fighter like Smash is not so farfetched…

Okay it is farfetched. But interesting to consider all the same.


That’s all I’ve got this week, and it’s about time I wrap things up so I can make it to class.

As usual, let me know what sort of big gaming news you think I missed in the comments! Obviously I can’t be in five places at once, so I know there are some things out there I didn’t get to.

In fact the most obvious video game news I didn’t give a shout out to is the soon-to-be-released Kirby Star Allies. I’m really looking forward to that, and it’ll probably be the next piece of gaming news you see out of me personally.