I also had the personally interesting experience of finding out that there’s a version of old-school RuneScape you can play on mobile.
Thanks to Brutalmoose’s video for alerting me to its existence, I decided to give the old game a whirl again. It’s been interesting to jump back into an old favorite I played with my cousin Josh with more insight and experience.
Like… I’ve spoken with someone who works at Jagex, the company that made Runescape, fairly recently.
Good thing I wrote a bit of my book this afternoon before finding out the mobile game exists. Otherwise I would have gotten absolutely nothing done.
After all that, the night ended on an interesting note. Grandpa left to go play cards with some of his friends, so Grandma and I were left to our own devices. She whipped up some chocolate pudding that we ate while playing a family favorite board game: Rummikub.
Usually we play with more than two players, as it’s one of my Mom’s preferred pastimes with her parents. But the game worked out all the same.
And that’s that. Like I said, it was a low-key day all things considered.
From what I’m aware, our plans before I go home Sunday night include trying to hit up the museum and that fancy restaurant we’ve had to postpone because of the weather. We might even go to the horse racing track.
Whether or not the weather allows us to keep up, we’ll have to see.
Even if part of my interest in Stranger Things comes from our long-time investment.
Stranger Things season 3 clearly went to the Suicide Squad school of overemphasizing plot details with spot-on song lyrics, but surpassed its teacher by actually having a fantastic product around that gimmick.
The game has been far more fun than I expected, and incorporates a number of intriguing elements in a novel gameplay style for my prior experiences. Interesting elements that might make for a perfect post.
Yet I haven’t written about any of those things.
You see, let’s go back to my Summer Initiative. It was a sort of challenge to myself:
“You’re not working on the Daily Titan right now,” I said. “So why not try writing something every day to keep your skills sharp?”
The drive to write more led to an increase in site traffic and a subsequent sense of pride that has extended my near-daily posts for about a year.
So much so that I used its existence as a part of a freelancing pitch.
With all that said, you might be wondering why I haven’t written in six days.
It turns out I might have conditioned myself to care about blogging a little too much. For some time now, what I’m blogging every day has been the focal point of all my writer’s stress.
Which is kind of a problem when you have a book you want to finish.
Thus I decided to scale back as a test. Would I be more productive on my book if I stopped focusing on daily blog posts?
Over the last week I’ve gotten myself to nearly 300 pages, and I believe that’s as good a sign as any that I should scale back my blog stuff until I get through the novel.
Currently my anti-Summer Initiative is shaping up to be blog posts over the weekend while keeping my weekdays free to write the book. I’d like to finish my first draft before Mom and Aly get back from New York at the end of July.
The weekend will probably have at least one week-in-review and quicker one-offs like a piece on Spider-Man: Far From Home that I’ll write after seeing the film tomorrow.
And I’ll leave myself open to the occasional weekday post. Because I’m a Fire Emblem Heroes addict and Intelligent Systems lied about fewer summer banners.
But otherwise I’m trying more life updates through Twitter and Instagram during the week — as you can see throughout this post.
So if you’re interested in keeping up, go ahead and follow me there!
I played the game early on in its life. Conversations were had around my elementary school lunch table, and I specifically recall playing during one of my trips to Dad’s office at CBS/KCAL (sometime between 2006 and 2009).
Like Realm of the Mad God, the game meant a lot to me growing up. I even thought about revisiting it a year ago:
Because I never did, I wanted to try and write something for July 4 this year. I looked up the website hoping to get some work in for a more fleshed out reflection.
I signed up for this particular new Naruto-Arena to give it a fair shot. It’s in an early build where all characters are available to test, and some key elements like character unlock missions are being implemented.
But it aesthetically nails the old look:
Right down to the statistical layout on the right side of the scroll.
It didn’t take me very long to come into a quick game. Though the transition into battle was rough, battling itself hit my nostalgia hard.
This remake replicates the way lingering technique effects stack beside each character, and the way your overall ranking changes their portrait’s accessories.
I also have to give this remake props for proving to me that over 10-year-old muscle memory is just as potent as ever:
I just did a quick game, but this new Naruto-Arena has a fairly fleshed out leaderboard to make up for features that are being implemented.
If I start to tackle ranked battles, who knows where I could get?
Though… I’m not sure how much time I’ll spend on this version of Naruto-Arena. It needs a little more time to gestate, and has received updates as recently as June 10.
I’d like to at least have the satisfaction of unlocking characters before diving in.
Yet I really can’t complain. It may have hit me hard to find out a childhood favorite closed without my knowing, but that loss clearly affected a host of other people too. Enough that some of them went on to try and revitalize it.
That’s the truly powerful thing about fandom: A strong sense of community forged in the small, unofficial details.
I’m glad I got to be a part of that for a time.
RIP Naruto-Arena. Sorry I couldn’t be there for your swan song.
The crux of my research has been the effects of Japanese Role-Playing Games on the West. In his Final Fantasy Mystic Questvideo, ProJared argues that Japanese developers questioned the competence of the outside world, which led to fewer localizations.
It was a valuable insight for my piece, and I was proud to include his video alongside The Geek Critique in my research material.
YouTube has been a huge part of my life, and I try to promote creators. They don’t have near the notoriety of television and movie stars, yet there is great content worth sharing.
After The Completionist, ProJared has been my favorite part of the “NormalBoots crew” for some time. I enjoyed his style, as well as his opinions on video and tabletop games.
It’s a parasocial interaction at heart. I wouldn’t say I idolized him or any other YouTuber in an unhealthy way, but the respect and support I show toward those pseudo-celebrities help inspire me to create, and keep the often dreary day-to-day bearable.
This is all to say that I started from an inherently biased position in this conversation.
If you’ve been on Twitter, you already know about how ProJared’s life imploded in a matter of hours. It’s been the #1 trending topic for almost a full day.
For those of you who don’t know, GDQ is a series of video game marathons where games are played for record times, under conditions ranging from basic 100 percent completion to multi-player races and even bizarre hacks like randomizers.
All to raise money for charity while showing off cool tricks. Definitely worth supporting.
GDQ aside, after breakfast I made my way to Fullerton for the semester’s last CSUF Society of Professional Journalists meeting.
We ate pizza, discussed what did or did not work about our events and elected part of the board for next year. Most of the current group is graduating, so it’s a big old passing of the torch.
My girl Kristina, who is not graduating, will be taking over as President. And I know she’s going to kill it.
Guess I’ll have to update all my social media descriptions pretty soon to reflect all this graduating/moving on from things.
That’s certainly what I started doing last night.
In the meantime, why don’t you go back and read the thing I wrote about my Smash Bros. Cinematic Universe if you haven’t! That was a fun thing to pull together and it could probably use some more hits.https://t.co/F0k6HrkxCe
I’ll get back to that eventually. In the meantime, from SPJ I went to my next meeting in the Honors Center to try and complete a few more graduation requirements. Namely getting my Honors Project title page signed off on.
Which I did:
Now all I have to do is compile the stuff I’ve done so I can officially turn the damn thing in and move on.
While in the Center I had a lovely chat with Dr. Simoes as well. We spoke briefly at my presentation, but today he was more than happy to congratulate me for getting the project through this next step.
He even told me he’ll be buying a copy of my book once it’s published — so long as I sign a first edition for him.
It was very sweet.
After all of that I came back to Redondo and set up a meeting with Michelle to give back that lovely computer I’ve been holding onto. Too bad I never got it to full working condition on account of internet issue, but it’ll be much happier with a video editor where it belongs.
Once that was done, I went to probably my most important meeting of the day:
A meeting with the treadmill.
Because with all of this graduation stress on my shoulders it honestly feels great to go burn some calories and let off some steam.
Highly recommended stress relief, folks. Especially if you can watch some dope GDQ runs while you’re running!
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:
Also the fact that that’s even a coherent sentence I can convey to people makes my temple throb.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Locking myself away in the house wound up being a really positive thing—as it usually is, in my experience. I got the opportunity to chip away at a lot of my work, turning in a Career Profile on being a UX researcher (a career I really didn’t know existed, but one with a lot of resources online) and a Spotlight featuring a very special person.
I’m going to wait until it publishes to really go off about that, because it’ll look much better with the story’s context.
Just know that I’m excited.
Between those two pieces I racked up almost 10 hours of work today alone. As a result I’ve just broken past 100 of my 120-hour requirement for Comm 495-T, that internship class I need to graduate.
My final report for the class isn’t due until May 3 and the timesheet isn’t due until May 10. I’m fairly certain I can bust out the remaining 20 hours by then.
Especially considering I still have my Profile/Spotlight on Dr. Wesley to write.
And a video interview to schedule.
And the blog-related side project that kind of went on the back burner for a while.
Somewhere in there I’ll have the rest of my time served and still find the chance to do whatever else I have. Give my Honors project presentation and write two more gaming papers. All that fun stuff.
After putting in all that time today I’m a little weary of continuing to stare at this screen and type, so I won’t make this post too long.
Instead I’m going to turn my attention to the T.V. screen, nosh on some Milk Duds and watch Futurama with my family.
And you know. Not type stuff.
Even though re-watching episodes of that show is a consistent reminder of how brilliant it was, a topic that could theoretically fill tons of copy on my blog.
Tomorrow I’ll try to post something a little more insightful, I just wanted to write something up so I didn’t have a gap. That something may just be lackluster teasers in overly verbose prose, but if that doesn’t describe my life in a nutshell I don’t know what would.
It certainly wouldn’t be Game of Thrones. Because I ain’t ever watched that junk.
Maybe one day. But for now, take that people who have spent all day talking about the last season’s opening.
Even though I kept throughout today, I needed a change of scenery. Wound up dragging my Dad out to get coffee at a Coffee Bean in Torrance for a couple of hours.
While we were there I checked my school portal and saw the last two Comm Law assignments we needed to complete over Spring Break were finally uploaded.
I would have preferred to work on them at the beginning of the break… But I can’t force my professors to do things just for my convenience.
Luckily the assignments were quick enough to blow through that I can’t complain.
One of them just happened to come with some bizarre imagery.
For our section on copyright and trademark, a case we went over was Mattel v. Walking Mountain Productions. In which Utah artist Tom Forsythe created a number of images using frazzled Barbie dolls in domestic appliances and common food items to comment on the brand’s effect on society’s treatment of women and gender roles.
I wager this proliferation of content comes largely from two areas.
Firstly, Internet remix culture. This 2015 Tech Crunch piece elaborates further, but in essence the Internet has created a people interested in re-consuming the same ideas with transformed variations and assimilated elements.
The second cause is the success of recognizable brands. Remakes are safer investments for studios than novel properties, as general audiences are more likely to pay for a movie featuring iconography they know and love.
That said, the show’s character designs are visually appealing and the theme song is iterated upon well for a decent soundtrack.
But these are elements lifted directly from the old series, and the 2017 characters are paper-thin archetypes at best that rely on forced, surrealist humor and returning elements like Muttley’s snickering that are somehow both referential and current, all-encompassing character traits.
I’m willing to bet the pitch for the show was simply bringing that iconic laugh back into mainstream consciousness.
One thing that stood out in my viewing: I’m not sure what audience this reboot is targeting. Its simplicity is bland even for a younger Cartoon Network demographic, but there is a heavy leaning on dated references for fans of the ’68 version.
For example: In the spacefaring episode, Dastardly pretends to be Space Ghost so he can sneak onto the garbage collecting ship.
This joke was actually the catalyst for my post, because… Really? Space Ghost?
I know Adult Swim and Channel Chasers kept him relevant well beyond his shelf life, but what kid in 2019 is going to know what Space Ghost was?
In fact, this lazily executed “fellow 60’s cartoon” reference raises more questions. Why would these characters know who Space Ghost is if, as the other episode suggested, they are the grandchildren of the original Wacky Racers?
Full disclosure, I know I’m overthinking things. But when your show is so dull that this is all I can think about, there’s something wrong.
Frankly this whole post probably seems like needlessly overthinking children’s entertainment. Why does Wacky Races matter as much as I seem to suggest?
The thing is… It doesn’t. Which is kind of the point.
I have fond memories watching re-runs of the 1968 show, but I’m under no delusion that it was perfect television.
Wacky Races suffered from the same budget shortcuts of endless animation loops and recycling story ideas as The Flintstones and other serialized Hanna-Barbara cartoons in its mold.
They were flawed, but incredibly important and popular parts of animation history.
It’s a great tribute, but perhaps it primed me to quickly perceive this reboot as a lazy cash grab. The kind of product that retroactively degrades a show’s popular perception, or even dissuades a consumer from seeking the original they may be unaware exists.
But to be honest, Wacky Races (2017) could just as easily be a catalyst for curious youngsters to seek out the original piece of animation history.
I would hope such a mediocre reboot at least succeeds in keeping its predecessor alive.
As the Secretary for our chapter, I figured the least I could do was help us get a tour at a professional newsroom. Luckily it was a successful venture!
I got to Studio City pretty early and had the chance to look around at the entertainment side of the house first.
That included a whole host of fancy-looking lots as well as named buildings, street signs and more.
But more importantly, it included a lot of brief looks at areas where different TV shows are currently being recorded.
The one that stood out most to me was Last Man Standing. Not because I watch the Tim Allen sitcom, but because of where the show was:
The home of Seinfeld? Now that’s a sound stage that could tell some stories.
Even if most of those stories are technically supposed to be centered in New York.
Here are a number of other discoveries I made, all lazily compiled in a slide show because I’m pretty tired after a number of hours on the freeway.
However, arguably the most important discovery I made was off the lot:
Don’t know if this is a business officially affiliated with CBS, or if it’s just some business owner with a lot of ingenuity to capitalize on the major job provider in the area, but either way I’m a fan.
After my little self-driven tour, it was time to head back to the broadcast center for our official tour!
… Except traffic was apparently not great today, so I was the first one there and had to hang out for quite some time before the rest of the group arrived.
Gave me a lot of time to look around at the big stuff in the lobby.
It was actually a lot of fun watching folks wander in-and-out, usually stopping by the security desk to see what was on the news with the guard.
After Dan arrived to take us around on the tour, I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures. Got caught up in just checking everything out.
So the best I’ve got for visuals in this stage are the couple of pictures we took as a group that got posted on the SPJ account:
Obviously, that’s where I got my featured image from. I love the image Harrison got of us all looking into a news camera.
We found out that the area where we took that picture is going to be reworked soon for a new project CBS is working on to get live news broadcasts to mobile phones easier. All with the hopes of attracting that young audience that doesn’t watch traditional TV anymore.
Then we got a look around the newsroom, everything from the assignment desk to the online story stations and editing bays.
Afterward we checked out a couple of the shows currently recording, or preparing to record, during our tour.
Fun fact, this weather update was actually what we watched her record. Live. It was pretty cool, and she took some time to chat with us afterward!
The most interesting thing about watching the news broadcast was the fact that those two were the only people on the entire set. Everything else was fully automated.
I can’t help but feel it would be disconcerting to record an entire broadcast like that with nobody else around on a big sound stage… But I suppose it’s the kind of thing that Internet personalities do all the time in the 21st Century.
It was kind of cool to see how much technology has advanced I suppose, even if it wasn’t a great sign for getting jobs in the industry.
It was pretty amazing watching almost every screen in the room change to show the President’s face, both for the CBS channels and their competition.
While we were checking out the fully automated sound deck beside that control room, another one of my Dad’s old friends showed up. Bob and Dan got to talking, which led them to telling our tour group about how much they enjoyed working with Dad and missed him.
Which was a very sweet thing to see.
But that was pretty much all there is to say about my CBS tour. It was really cool, especially on the verge of graduation when I need to start thinking about things like work more avidly.
… Plus, I got to write it off as networking with reporters for my internship.