Tag: Sonic

A smashing blast to the past

A smashing blast to the past

Gotta love tentpole programming.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is officially out today! Even though I haven’t personally gotten my hands on it just yet, by all accounts it promises to be a fantastic collection of all the greatest parts of the series’ 19-year history.

I’m excited to get my hands on this sucker, because I’ve been a pretty hardcore fan of Masahiro Sakurai’s wonderful party fighter games since Melee on the GameCube.

Melee was quite literally a game that defined my young childhood, with many birthday parties spent playing as Young Link on the “Great Bay” stage from Majora’s Mask (many years before I actually played its game of origin).

Brawl was the game that offered my core friend group, from middle school on, to duke it out, find our main characters and test our creativity building our own fields of combat.

Smash 4 brings with it memories of being so excited that I played the demo endlessly during art class in senior year, time that left me proficient in newcomer Mega Man as much as I would be proficient in Lucina — my current main character, passed along from Marth before her.

Yet the fourth entry in the series became so much more. Long nights in the Daily Titan newsroom were more manageable after my boi Aaron Valdez brought his Wii U and we held DT tournaments.

Hell I even have some fond memories of the original Smash Bros., despite the fact that I never owned a Nintendo 64. I distinctly remember going to an animation camp while visiting my grandparents in Florida one summer, and a major highlight of the camp was getting there early to play on some of the consoles available in their waiting room.

My attachment to the series went far deeper than just playing the games with my friends, however.

When Stephen Hillenberg died a few weeks ago, writing my blog obituary for him brought back a lot of memories. One of the most potent memories was attending a sprite animation camp (here in California) over a summer with my friend Mitchell Winn from all the way back in elementary school.

Thanks to that camp, I learned a good many things about grabbing sprites from my favorite games off of The Spriters Resource and using them in different projects.

I took on ambitious sprite projects in the months and years to follow. Including recreating that famous Band Geeks halftime scene from Spongebob with video game characters.

One other project that felt pertinent to today required going back into my old desktop Mac.

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This dinosaur literally hasn’t been touched since 2012 based on the security update. Thus it has become a crystalized time capsule for 15-year-old Jason.

I had so much fun going through this thing that I’m going to talk more about my discoveries later this weekend.

But for now, the important connection back to Smash Bros. were these desktop wallpapers I made using character sprites from various games and other fan projects:

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The Featured Image, a classic fight between Link, Charizard (sans Pokémon trainer as this was the Brawl era), Kirby and Marth on “Mushroom Kingdom II.”
SSBB Battle Battlefield Stage
Four hatted-Kirby duke it out on Melee’s “Battlefield.”
SSBB Battle Yoshi Stage
Pikachu, Yoshi, Marth and Falco fight on “Yoshi’s Island,” where Marth shows off his Dolphin Slash. A favorite move of mine, clearly.
SSBB Battle Mario Stage
The Mario Bros. take on Link and Sonic on the aptly named “Mario Bros.” stage.
SSBB Battle Final Stage
A slightly askew duel between Samus, Fox, Zelda and a very tiny Captain Falcon on Brawl’s version of “Final Destination.”
SSBB Battle Onett Stage
One of my prouder pieces from what I remember, in which Ness knocks Kirby out of the park in his home turf of “Onett.”
SSBB Battle Mario Stage2
We return to “Mario Bros.” so the Bros. can confront a series of variant Sonics each colored after Chaos Emeralds. Not sure if these are the classic Chaos Emerald colors, but the different poses are sweet if you ask me.
SSBB Battle Temple Scene
It’s a race for the Master Sword between Link and Young Link (clearly set during the Melee era) on the leftmost side of the “Temple” battleground.
SSBB Battle Subcon Stage
Apparently I predicted Smash Ultimate being a thing years ago by pitting the (at the time) Melee-exclusive Mewtwo and Brawl-exclusive Snake on “Mushroom Kingdom II.”

Would have helped if I made them all the same size so they didn’t get stretched out when I rotated them as wallpapers. But hey, eight years ago.

All of these babies were created between May and June of 2010 using Graphic Converter, as I never learned Photoshop or anything.

2010! I know I spent all this time building up 15-year-old Jason, but these specifically are all a product of 13-year-old Jason’s ingenuity.

Now that Smash Ultimate is out, I’m hoping to get my hands on it soon so I can start to make some new memories with that game. Perhaps a few of them will come somewhere remotely close to leaving an impression as strong as the older titles.

Here’s to everyone having a happy Smash Ultimate day!

International Entertainment

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

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

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

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

Ahaha, haha, ha.

Haha.

Hah…

Yeah no, I just watched YouTube all afternoon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t know anything about New Zealand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Analytics

Blog Analytics

I’m sure it seems a bit narcissistic and self-serving to dedicate a whole post to my own blog’s analytics out of nowhere. Especially considering the last time I did this kind of thing when I hit 100 Twitter followers over the summer, I didn’t have 100 for that much longer.

By now I have some number fluctuating around 110 or so, to be fair.

But that’s beside the point. I assure you that narcissism has nothing to do with this.

If anything, to lampshade myself appropriately, this is just a result of having no idea what to talk about to fill today’s gap.

Otherwise my choices would have been the mandatory internship class orientation I attended today (but it was kind of a waste of time and I already complained about school this week), my fluctuating inner conflict over going to the gym tonight (I decided to just go tomorrow on account of my big lunch food coma™ (thanks Mimi) ) or Fire Emblem Heroes (except the new banner comes out tomorrow, so you’ll have to wait a day for that).

For the reasons I stipulated in the parenthesis up there, I decided not to go with any of the above.

However, while doing some soul-searching and just staring at my blog to try to figure out what I was in the mood to write, I came across something that piqued my interest. In traffic analytics, of all things.

I’ve talked about the analytics that WordPress offers briefly in the past, during my 2018 New Year’s Eve post. In that post I looked at the large overall increase in views from 2016 to 2017 when I got slightly more interested in writing blog stuff.

By the end of this year it’s going to be an even bigger story considering the inherent jump that came from me writing a post just about every day. I’ll get to that story in about a month.

Today, however, I’m looking at more of a small-scale moment in recent history. Recent history meaning approximately two days ago.

I’m sure you all remember the silly post I did with Alyson where we opened a stupid “Wreck it Ralph 2” toy in a faux box opening channel style. Had a lot of fun with that one, it was a goofy little experiment. The video part we made has 20 views on YouTube right now too, which is neat. Especially considering that’s about a third as many views as that Sonic on Apple T.V. video I made for the post of the same topic in July.

Boy I know I said this wasn’t a narcissistic, self-serving post but I sure am calling back to a lot of things, aren’t I?

ANYWAY, all of that was to set up the analytics I noticed from that toy opening post.

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That’s a hell of a sudden spike for that one post.

Sure, we can be cynical and talk about how that’s still only about 40 people when I on average reach about 20 people. But that’s still a 100 percent increase.

I don’t know, I think it’s pretty cool to see.

Plus while I was looking at that, I happened to also briefly look back at the ‘countries’ tab of the analytics. Aly told me she let her friends know that we shot a stupid video, so I wanted to see if it was purely a U.S. demographic that picked up on the post.

What I found was that as of, say, 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2018, here was the spread of people visiting my blog:

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Mostly the U.S., as I would have thought. But also Taiwan and France!

Don’t know who’s out there reading this blog in Taiwan and France, but I’d be very interested to know how you all perceive the mad ramblings I embark on.

Oh, but that’s not all folks. I didn’t just look at today’s visitation statistics.

I looked at an entire week’s worth:

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Check out the diverse spread of yellow. I know those are just one or two people compared to the 81 individuals in America that came in over the last week, but still.

The fact that a stupid, silly blog some college student in Redondo Beach, California rambles into on a whim can reach this kind of international audience continues to astound me. It’s probably the only thing that has really, truly made me care about things like analytics and search engine optimization.

Everything I do on the old blog here I do for me. But seeing the kind of reach my personal business has is just incredible.

Gosh that definitely came out sounding self-serving again didn’t it?

I’m just going to cut my losses and leave things there. Look forward to tomorrow when I write about Fire Emblem again and probably kill all interest in anyone coming back!

Something Sonic this way comes

Sometimes when you’re sitting around with your friend looking for a thing to do, you come across something so incredible that it transcends all expectations as both a concept and an experience.

For Juan and I this afternoon, that something to do was this:

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Shout out to my OG Splatoon Amiibo

Sonic the Hedgehog. A SEGA Genesis game. From 1991.

Ported to the Apple TV.

Hoo boy.

As would be expected for an Apple product, this port is actually a general iOS title available on iPhone and iPad as well. On those devices the control schemes are based on virtually imposed joysticks and buttons. To be expected on any sort of iOS port or emulator in my experience.

… Not that I emulate games on my iPhone. I just saw that sort of thing going around a lot back in high school as different people played Pokémon on their phones.

Obviously the Apple TV doesn’t have a touch screen, so that begs the question. How exactly do you control Sonic the Hedgehog using an Apple TV remote?

Spoiler alert. Very. Very badly.

Yeah… This is a thing. Whoever decided to give a platformer swipe-sensitive controls like this is some kind of person.

While the controls are rather atrocious, there are other things about this port that simply baffle me.

For one, the game’s App Store information page suggests that the title is free with in-app purchases. But Juan and I looked through every conceivable place and couldn’t find a single microtransaction.

They didn’t even pull something dirty and offer a continue when you game over for a few bucks. There’s just no in-app purchases.

So why did they advertise them?

Also, when you first load up the game, the first major studio credit after SEGA themselves is Christian Whitehead. Which blew both our minds.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Whitehead is one of the chief members of the team who developed the widely successful Sonic Mania for SEGA for the blue blur’s 25th anniversary. He’s a mega-fan that did such good work with such a passionate interest in the series that he actually got to add onto its canon.

So what was his name doing on a port of the original Sonic game on my Apple TV?

Well as it turns out, porting the original two Sonic games (and Sonic CD) for mobile devices was what got Whitehead recognition in the first place. That work wound up also being available on the Apple TV as you can tell, giving me a perfect transformative end to my day.

In all honesty, as much as I joke about the baffling controls on this hilariously placed port, I might actually keep playing it. Assuming I can get past Marble Garden Zone sometime soon — it’s easily the worst thing in this game and I’ve only seen up to it.

I missed out on being able to play Sonic when it first had its run because I was a Nintendo kid primarily. So it’ll be really cool to go back and experience the original game in the series that has become such a… Controversial mainstay in our popular culture.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even talk about the game as a game on here at some point. We’ll see.

The Del Amo Mall Bizarre Goods Tour

Today my journey to the Del Amo mall as a chauffeur for my sister got a fair bit more interesting when I was able to drag my buddy Juan along for an impromptu hangout.

All-and-all it was a great time, far more than it would have been if I just went and sat around by myself. We had lunch, explored a bunch of kitch-y stores, made fun of some really silly products and talked about all the important things in life.

Like video games.

But that’s another story. I thought it might be fun to take another look at some of the photos I took of some ridiculous things around the mall. Because that seems just quirky enough to probably be interesting, and it’s a real easy kind of post to do while watching Ready Player One with my family.

So let’s begin with this:

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Boxing Jack-Jack and the raccoon from Incredibles 2.

I’ll be honest, the scene where Jack-Jack fights the raccoon is probably the best part of this movie. But… Wow. How could you make a toy that looks so unsettling?

I understand the idea that they’re sock puppets. It makes sense. The interactivity of the toy is also cute, since both characters make noises when they punch their arms.

I just wish the thing didn’t make it look like both a small baby and a raccoon weren’t twink boxers. Because god damn is it just… Not great.

Luckily there were a bunch of other cute Incredibles toys for parents to buy. Don’t buy your kids this unsettling bit of nightmare fuel, parents.

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Here’s a clothing shop that’s just called “Q.” I don’t know why it’s just called Q. I didn’t go inside so I’m not sure what the gimmick is.

It’s just Q.

Honestly, I don’t have anything else to say about the place. I just thought it was so bizarre that it was worth pointing out.

Unlike this next picture, which has so many bizarre things to it that I can’t stop talking about it:

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Seriously I’m not even sure where to begin here. The clashing art styles all being thrown together immediately stand out of course, but it’s the fine details that really just dig into your cerebellum.

Like why is Naruto wearing Goku’s outfit while standing next to Goku in a much more soft, pastel tone.

Why is Crono from Crono Trigger hanging out with Black*Star and Sonic the Hedgehog and Kirby? Except Kirby is red instead of pink.

Why is Bijou from Hamtaro sitting on top of Cloud’s shoulder? She ain’t in any Final Fantasy games.

Oh and let’s not forget the extra bizarre inclusions. Why is Nyan Cat in the top corner? Why is Navi from Ocarina of Time hanging out without any other Zelda character anywhere on the piece?

Ultimately though, I think there’s just one question to ask.

Who allowed this photoshop hodgepodge to be a thing?

I could honestly talk about that thing all day. But I won’t because I might actually descend into madness if I do.

So instead I’ll talk about this.

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Anybody remember Xiolin Showdown? Because I do!

I used to seriously love this show growing up. So when I saw this PSP game sitting in a shop, I couldn’t not take a look.

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I never owned a PSP or anything, but this game seems like it was probably pretty cool. I wonder-

Wait.

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Oh no… What did they do to your face little guy?

I… I can’t even look at that. It’s physically painful.

Okay let’s move on to something hopefully less nightmare-inducing, shall we?

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I spoke too soon, there are just as many nightmares over in toy land.

I don’t know whose decision it was to make ‘Mighty Muggs’ a thing, but they made a very poor choice when it comes to overall design. Especially if they were hoping to compete with things like Funko Pops.

But hey, let’s look at something less terrifying, shall we?

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Like check out all of these god damn copies of Wii Fit.

I don’t know who out there decided to trade in all their copies of Wii Fit to Book Off in the Del Amo mall, but I just wanted to give an extra special shout out to all of them.

Because look at how amazing this collection is. It’s literally the most stocked game in that store, and it’s beautiful.

Worth the trip all by itself, honestly.

Though that wasn’t the only amazing game that made this trip worthwhile.

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My Stop Smoking Coach. For the Nintendo D.S. An Ubisoft title.

Only one dollar.

To be completely honest the fact that I didn’t go out of my way to buy this thing out of sheer curiosity’s sake may just be my greatest regret.

Actually I got ice cream because I didn’t buy this game, so I guess I don’t regret it too much. But if I see this thing again next time I go to the store, I’m definitely going to go out of my way for it.

Here’s another game that I thought was interesting from a series that’s probably a little more well-known.

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Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland.

I don’t have too much to say about this overall. I threw it over to my friend Sam who’s a huge Harvest Moon fan and she’s never played this particularly title in the series.

I just wanted to throw it out there because it probably has the most nationalist title I’ve ever seen. ‘Save the Homeland.’ Can’t help but imagine the Von Trapp family showing up to beat off some Nazis.

That was about all I had in terms of video game stuff. But I did have a little more to cycle back to from our stop in Disney earlier:

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Check out this Porg. Everyone loves Porgs, right?

Well, this is a Porg mug that has a scalped Porg. So you can drink it’s brains.

For the children, right?

I don’t know maybe that isn’t as funny on here as it was in person, where Juan pulled his now infamous ‘drink of my Porg’ line.

So I’ll let that one fly and move into this last fun thing I pulled out of our last trip to GameStop on the way home.

I’m not a huge basketball person, but my Twitter has been rampant with talk about LeBron James joining the L.A. Lakers. I have my own opinions about that whole thing and how… Ridiculous the number of dollars thrown around for one man are.

But that’s neither here nor there.

In the end I think it’s all worth it just for what this GameStop employee did to this NBA 2019 advertising stand.

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Pure genius.

It’s about as good a place as any to end off, if you ask me.

Hopefully you enjoyed this romp into weird shit I found today. If so let me know! Also don’t hesitate to send me any weird things you might find, because I thrive off that.

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



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