Tag: Wikimedia Commons

Late to the memorial

Late to the memorial

Naruto was probably my favorite anime growing up.

I first watched 1986’s Dragon Ball, and I distinctly remember doing silly things like watching an episode at my neighbor’s house when Mom wouldn’t let me at home.

Shout out to Norm and Sue, wherever they are now.

However, that show never stuck with me like Naruto. I had a particular love for Gaara as an antagonist-turned-ally, Kimimaro as a villain with incredible powers and Hinata.

Some might argue she was my first “cartoon crush,” but I believe she was more my introduction to a beloved character pairing in Hinata/Naruto. That was the start of my downward spiral toward shipping.

Yet I never watched Boruto, the sequel series where that love was vindicated by their marriage. I also never watched much Naruto Shippuden.

For whatever reason I stuck to the original series.

Though my fandom did live on in video games. Namely Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 on the PS2, Naruto Ninja Council 3 on the DS (which became the basis for my sprite animation magnum opus) and Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution on the Wii.

Also one non-official fan game that captured my imagination more than any other: Naruto-Arena.

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Image courtesy of the Naruto-Arena Fandom Wiki

Naruto-Arena was a browser-based strategy game with three-on-three battles using ninja from across Naruto’s expansive history.

Each ninja had four moves that required different amounts of colored “chakra” energy, some of which were physical, ranged or simply granted invulnerability.

A few colored energies were accrued every turn, which meant the game played out with turn-based thought games like early Final Fantasy. It was important to track cool downs and lingering effects.

It’s funny how much the system reminds me of the upcoming Pokémon Masters.

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:

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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.

And in its place I found this notice on reddit about the game having shut down.

That… Actually hit me pretty hard.

The game was a relic of my childhood. I’m not naive enough to think it could have lasted forever, but it’s sad that I wasn’t cognizant of its death for so long.

However, being a year late does put me in an interesting position.

The reddit dedicated to Naruto-Arena is alive and well because of fan projects looking to replicate that original fan project.

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Check it out here!

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:

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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.

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This remake replicates the way lingering technique effects stack beside each character, and the way your overall ranking changes their portrait’s accessories.

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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:

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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.

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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.


Featured Image courtesy of Afnecors via Wikimedia Commons

More fanfiction: Pokémon edition

More fanfiction: Pokémon edition

Creating myself a fanfiction.net account truly opened a Pandora’s Box I’ll never be able to close.

Last time on “The Adventures of Jason Ruining his Credibility on the Internet,” I had a bizarre reaction to Stardew Valley that drove me to write a fanfiction about the budding relationship with my farmer character.

I spent a whole lot of hours writing and editing that instead of writing the book that I’m in the middle of.

Because, as I said, you sometimes just need to strike when the iron is hot.

In just over a week that story has been viewed 23 times and received one ‘favorite’ by a user named madcat3200.

Shout out to them.

Those analytics for a brand new platform are almost immediately better than the traffic per-post on my blog, so maybe it will be worth dumping the occasional story over there.

Which of course means now I’m thinking about all the fanfictions I want to write instead of my novel.

Though I think I’ve come up with a decent compromise.

The next major idea that came to mind is based on something I’ve been enamored with since… Around 2012. Resurfaced by hype for incoming titles.

Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 are some of my favorite Pokémon games. They have the most optimized 2D aesthetics and fantastic world building thanks to a two-year time jump from the original games.

And they have fantastic music bolstered by a little post-game event called the Pokémon World Tournament (PWT).

The PWT had Gym Leaders and Champions from all five regions currently available gathered in one place to battle with a remix of their games’ original music.

It’s easily my favorite Pokémon post-game, and personal headcanons make the event even better.

For instance, I always loved the idea that Unova Poison-type Gym Leader Roxie performed the music for the PWT, as she’s the head of a punk-rock band.

I like Roxie enough as a result that I got this at Anime Expo some years ago:

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Beautiful, isn’t it? I wish I took note of who the artist was so I could promote them… Past me was so insensitive.

Another character added in Black/White 2 was Yancy. To this day, she serves as my favorite almost-canonical relationship in Pokémon history due to a side-quest that involves your character building a bond with her. Very underrated ship.

Yancy also happens to moonlight as a superstar named Nancy — creative, I know.

So… Now that I have an outlet for fanfiction stories… I decided to do something incorporating a few of these characters in the setting I love.

I’ve written two chapters of my Pokémon World Tournament story, which in many ways is a similar dramatization to the Stardew piece. However I have some ideas for bigger developments should I keep the story going.

Thus, where Stardew a one-off, I’m now going to try and write a serialized piece with regular uploads.

Right now I’m imagining a chapter per-week every Monday.

That should be manageable for the first few expository chapters I’m well into writing. From there we’ll see how popular it becomes.

There are a decent amount of stories tackling the same subject matter, and in just a half-hour my story has almost 20 views — though many of them seem linked to warning me about an abstract danger I’m getting myself into by writing about Pokés.

The first chapter is mostly setting a scene. Electric-type Gym Leader Elesa and Ground-type Gym Leader Clay are finalizing some set-up for the tournament.

Plus a brief disclaimer. Because why not?

From here on I’m delving into the history of the PWT in my imagining of the story, then having match commentators introduce the preceding.

After that the sky’s the limit! Though there will probably be a lot of simulated Pokémon battles between various leaders from different regions.

Should be fun, right?

If you think so maybe you can follow along. If a few people I know from real life know about this goal, perhaps I’ll be more accountable for publishing once a week.

Let me know how you feel about the idea! It’s probably silly to start another writing project but…

What can I say? I have a lot to get out to the world.


Featured Image courtesy of Gnsin via Wikimedia Commons

Statistically surpassing 2017

Statistically surpassing 2017

About three days ago, the amount of views my blog has accrued this year surpassed the total from 2017.

With a lead-in sentence like that I’m sure you’re expecting this post to be an exercise in prideful self-fellatio.

To an extent I suppose it is, but part of the reason why it’s cool is because of interesting insights I believe I can pull out of the analytics. As I tend to look at.

For instance, here are the yearly statistics as of my writing this:

Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 3.54.31 PMScreen Shot 2019-05-28 at 3.54.10 PM

The bar graph shows an overall trend toward increasing views, and that’s sensible considering my blog has evolved from a class requirement to a digital resume and regular part of my writing life.

In 2018 the number of views jumped sizably compared to the growth from 2016 to 2017 due to my Summer Initiative and its aftermath.

Last summer was when I shifted the emphasis of my blog from writing a few times a month (mostly archiving stories) to writing nearly every day.

The jump from 1,944 to 4,210 views makes sense when audiences have a higher volume of content to consume on an almost daily schedule.

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Notice the shift around June 2018.

And that was when I only wrote daily for half the year.

This year I’m halfway to that number and we’re only at the end of May, which bodes well for further growth. Especially if I get a few more breakout posts like my Redondo Union Archives write-up:

Post uploaded on March 25, 2019

I may be on-track to surpass 2018 in views, but other aspects are faltering.

“Likes” is one statistic I have trouble explaining due to the lack of a noticeable tracker on WordPress. I can tell you that I received 129 likes on my posts in 2018 compared to the paltry seven in 2019 so far, but I can’t tell you why that might be.

However, I can say something about the trend in daily views and viewers.

As you can see in the 2017 v. 2019 analytics, I surpassed my views from two years ago with about 30 fewer individual visitors.

I’ve also noticed a pattern of more views-per-day recently in spite of less visitors coming overall. I used to see about six or seven views at most every day, but recently it has hovered closer to 20:

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Even yesterday, where I was so busy with family Memorial Day barbecuing and playing Minecraft with my friends that I didn’t write a blog post, my site received 33 views.

The last time I hit views near that high was April 24, when I wrote about my collection of graduation gowns.

If nothing else, I hope this post can be a positive affirmation for you regular viewers that people notice when you put extra energy into something. Even when that something is as silly as a personal blog.

I find the analytics fascinating to sort through so I hope you found them just as interesting to consume!

But if you didn’t, how about you take a look at this views-per-country breakdown:

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Because the map is always a fun thing to see in my opinion.


Featured Image courtesy of Carlos Muza via Wikimedia Commons

Post-Grad socials

Post-Grad socials

There are a lot of things to do after you graduate from college.

An obvious example is looking for jobs. But what do you have to do before you look for jobs?

The smart folks in my audience will say you have to cultivate a strong set of marketable skills to entice and/or fool employers into thinking you have potential, only to really hone those skills while circumnavigating imposter syndrome at the new workplace.

The galaxy brain folks in my audience will say you update your social media accounts.

I know that’s a stretch and largely an excuse for me to open an otherwise innocuous blog post, but there is a kernel of truth to the idea.

Personally, I hate having to update my social media accounts. It goes against my internal desire to stay away from those platforms as much as possible.

But I’m one of three people in my generation that hates being active on social media, and many workplaces do check accounts when they’re hiring a job candidate.

So it might not be the best look to have bios on every platform that are months old and inaccurate. At least not when big life transitions cause ripples in your identification information.

That’s why I decided to take part of my off-day to update all of my account biographies and pictures — with some of my favorite graduation-related images.

Because I got a few of them.

Here’s my current Facebook:

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Twitter:

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Instagram:

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And LinkedIn:

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Arguably the most important out of the four in terms of job acquisition. As a result, I even went through and updated the profile to reflect some of my recent awards and other accolades.

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Much like I did to with my resume a few weeks ago.

If you’re asking why I bothered to share all of this with you today… I mostly just didn’t have anything else to talk about.

But I also think it’s a good idea to get some kind of record as to how my social media looks today, that way I can compare to whatever sort of growth I’ll experience in the next leg of my professional journey.

Going through all of my social media accounts got me thinking that it might be time to update my blog soon, too.

It hasn’t changed aesthetically since I threw something together three years ago for a class assignment. Yet the platform has grown into something I’m trying to actively write for, and who knows what extra attention I might get with a spruced up space?

If I do get around to that, I’ll absolutely milk it for another blog post.


Featured Image courtesy of cogdotblog via Wikimedia Commons

To the bone

To the bone

After commitments kept me busy Friday and Saturday, today became my dedicated homework repository.

I mostly just kept on my Internship hours hunt.

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.


Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

The dungeons prequel

The dungeons prequel

We are officially one week away from Dungeons and Dragons day in my Gaming in American Culture class.

Toward the beginning of the semester I listed D&D day as one of the enticing course elements, so being on the cusp makes me salivate with anticipation.

Considering I barely have any experience outside of one character building session in high school, I’ve gotten a little practice. We played D&D at the party I brought my Redondo Beach friends to in Fullerton over Spring Break.

I kicked ass as my pre-built elf sorcerer Elfson.

But in-class today we prepared for our upcoming escapades in a different way: Talking about the moral panics caused by D&D.

Because you know. If something is fun and leaning in a pagan direction, parents are going to freak out about it.

Looking at you, Pokémon. And also Pokémon.

… Okay, it’s not entirely fair to simplify that into a joke. We actually discussed interesting aspects behind the 1980’s D&D panic, including the perceived loss of self-identity to multiple, fractured fantasy identities steeped in olde mythological traditions of witchcraft and monsters.

It just so happens that you can only showcase the moral panic by laying out all of the over-the-top examples of role-playing game hysteria.

Most notably: Dark Dungeons.

This amazing comic created by Jack T. Chick in 1984 seems to be the perfect embodiment of Big Brother wiping out imagination and personal expression in exchange for the conformity of true-blue American Catholicism.

Or that’s how my boy Mitchell perceived it, at least.

There are arguably kernels of truth in Chick’s fear of fantasy overwhelming reality. It’s hard to take the guy seriously when you write such lines as:

“Lord Jesus … you guide me through life. I want You to be in charge of everything…not that lousy D&D manual.”

Following the deus ex machina of random friend appearing to save the damsel in distress — having apparently prayed and fasted for her off-screen.

Or at least… I find it hard to take this comic seriously.

Apparently others do not, as a short film adaptation came out in 2014.

Something I only know about because my friend Jonathan reminded me that JonTron put out a video about the movie in 2016.

Isn’t the internet just a god damn beautiful mess?

But wait, that’s not all!

On top of Dark Dungeons, we spent part of our class period watching and discussing Mazes and Monsters.

The 1982 Tom Hanks flick where then-unknown sentient toy cowboy / crazy stranded FedEx employee / historic figure with a pension for chocolate almost kills himself after getting so invested in a parody of D&D that he can no longer distinguish fantasy from real life.

It’s amazing that Hanks went on to have one of the most successful actor careers of all time with a start as wild as Mazes and Monsters.

With all of that said, it only makes sense that we get to risk our lives playing the tabletop role-playing game for our entire next class period.

By God am I looking forward to it.


P.S. — There was another cool part of my day that I wanted to talk about, but could not think of an organic way to include it. Outside of there being vaguely related fantasy elements.

So I’ll just pin it down here.

During the break between my classes, Dr. Sandra Perez (the Director of the University Honors Program) brought over an underclassman while I was working in the Honors Center because she wants to write a fiction novel for her senior project.

Apparently I was the expert in that department, as Dr. Perez said she was very impressed with all of the pre-planning she’d seen me do for my novel.

It was nice to be considered an expert in something like that!

Or at least the most readily available spring of knowledge.


Featured Image courtesy of Philip Mitchell via Wikimedia Commons

A video series to die for

A video series to die for

I can’t remember the last time I was so productive.

After a long night’s sleep, I got up early today and went to the gym. Then I came home, showered and made myself breakfast:

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Eggs AND bacon? Wild.

I don’t even know who I am anymore.

After all that, I also went ahead and kicked off my work for the day. Mostly sending out emails to various sources.

It’s the least I could do after wasting most of yesterday thinking too hard about Wacky Races. I love the post, but boy did I spend way too much time writing it.

Naturally that means it’s time to waste more time blog writing. Gotta finish what I started.

I’m always on the lookout for new videos and podcasts to play in the background of my life.

Those usually involve video game content (though I might have to reshuffle some mainstays after reading this stellar Kotaku article), but I also really enjoy movie-focused videos.

“Kill Count,” a new series I recently discovered by the channel Dead Meat — hosted by James A. Janisse — fits the latter.

Yet it fills a different niche than I usually focus on: Horror movies.

Specifically appreciating the often creative, over-the-top kills in horror movies. Or, as the pendulum tends to swing, also lampooning the uncreative and lazy sides of horror.

When the channel first appeared in my recommendations, I was a bit misled. I expected the videos to just be montages. A Buzzfeed-esque “top ten kills” kind of premise. Specifically my first experience was for John Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thinga video of his I watched because I’ve been interested in the film’s practical effects recently.

But that video, and the “Kill Count” series as a whole, is much smarter.

It’s essentially a series of spoiler-laden reviews, talking about movie plots, development cycles and places in history as much as they focus on the kills.

Every video also includes a break-down of the victims in each film (showing the interesting bent toward male deaths in cinema), a specified “best” and “worst” kill distinction as well as a live bit playing on events from the movie.

However, I think one of my favorite things about “Kill Count” is how funny the series is. The videos are nearly satirical movie reviews that provide great commentary and mile-a-minute jokes.

Janisse breaks the fourth wall a lot to remind the audience that they’re watching a review for yucks more than a serious catalog of deaths.

My favorite instance was in his 2010 Predators Kill Count:

“I just do these videos to make jokes, y’all. I’m not an official dead body census taker.”

I’m in the midst of binging through his reviews of classics like the Alien movies, and they’ve been wonderful background noise while working on Gladeo pieces.

Pieces which should be published by the end of the month, as far as I’m aware. Just so you all can keep it on your calendars.

Janisse also has a podcast that I may have to be on the lookout for now that I’ve blown through The Dropout.

So that’s my recommendation for the day.

If you like horror movies, comedic takes and creative deaths, “Kill Count” is worth a watch. Just as long as you don’t mind spoilers.


Featured Image courtesy of Gaurav Shakya via Wikimedia Commons

Truly wacky

Truly wacky

I was planning on taking today to write about a new YouTube series I’ve come to love.

However, that’s on the back-burner after I discovered something more wacky to discuss from a more traditional visual medium.

I’m not blind to the fact that the 2010’s media landscape is a minefield of reboots, remakes and sequels.

Properties that aren’t based on comic books or old television and movies struggle to break into blockbuster budget range. Just look at this line-up for remakes and reboots in 2019, which doesn’t include the glut of tentpole cinematic sequels.

From The Walt Disney Company alone we have Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars Episode 9, Frozen 2and now X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

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.

If the blanket of ‘memes’ don’t cover that idea in a personal enough manner, I’m in the process of writing a book that’s essentially just assimilating other fantasy genre properties.

There are no new ideas.

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.

It’s a phenomenon you see way before 2019 in all sorts of entertainment mediums.

So to reiterate: Content generally does better if it has an established name and does something to re-contextualize old idea.

Now, with all that said…

Who the fuck decided it was a good idea to bring Wacky Races back?

1968 vs. 2017

I discovered the 1968 Hanna-Barbera cartoon’s 2017 reboot while watching Cartoon Network’s IP graveyard Boomerang with my Mom this afternoon.

My two-year late discovery of the show might be a bad sign. But to be fair, I’m not as avid a Cartoon Network viewer as I was in the 2000s.

Considering the show has two seasons, perhaps it’s popularity in circles I don’t frequent.

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The Creepy Coupe [1]
Based on the two episodes I watched with morbid curiosity, I can’t imagine that’s the case.

It has a quickly cobbled together, rubbery and unappealing visual style akin to later seasons of Johnny Test (a show I enjoyed before its decade run gave way to factory-churned quality).

The show also has weird tonal inconsistencies. The original was true to its name, as every episode was a different wacky race with bizarre stipulations.

In the first episode of the 2017 series I watched, there was a wacky race in which the original Dastardly returned, suggesting less of a reboot and more of a continuation.

The next episode was in space, and wacky racers were now garbage collectors. For no explained reason. Even though they kept their individualized get-ups, there were no races.

A good sign for a show called “Wacky Races.”

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The Army Surplus Special [2]
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.

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The Mean Machine [3]
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.

The YouTuber Saberspark has a wonderful series on the rise-and-fall of different animation companies, and recently featured Hanna-Barbara.

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.


Featured Image, as well as [1], [2] and [3] courtesy of big-ashb via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s all go to Munchkinland

Welcome to “I put this off until late and decided to scrounge something together based on semi-recent activities as a last ditch effort” blog post #1738.

Trademarked.

Last night I spent St. Patrick’s Day in Fullerton celebrating with my friend Mimi and a few of her people. Even dragged my friend Juan out there with me, which was somewhat bizarre, but I would argue successful.

Bizarre mostly in that we’ve never really travelled outside of Redondo as a duo, that is. You can judge his personal eccentricities for yourself.

Oh and before you ask, I did not drink at the party. No Irish coffee for me.

Had to drive, and as Sonic Sez:

It was a small party with maybe eight people, and one that took up my entire evening with board games and video games and corned beef — hence my lack of a post yesterday.

Theoretically I could have written something before the party… But I got caught up with work meetings and getting homework done.

So sue me.

I figured you all would not be interested in the exciting adventures of leaving the gym early to go check on Grandpa after he fell out of his wheelchair. Especially since he’ll fine and will tell you he’s “impervious.” I believe it.

Instead, I think it might be fun to focus on a little game we played at last night’s called Munchkin.

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I took no pictures, so you’ll have to deal with a few stock images.

For those of you who only know Munchkins as delicious donut holes from Dunkin’ Donuts (Not an ad? But could be an ad), I’ll lay down the groundwork.

Munchkins the board game was developed by Steve Jackson Games and is, for all intents and purposes, a parody of Dungeons and Dragons. Players travel through a dungeon, collect treasure and class/race/gender changes and advance (mostly) by killing monsters like Lawyers and [Inter]Net Trolls.

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An example of some of the equipment players can utilize.

It’s a game where players can ask one another for help or screw each other over, which becomes an ocean of mind games once one player is poised to win and the rest stack curses and debuffs during their combat.

It’s a game which apparently has been around since 2001? Which is kind of insane to me.

This stupid game is as old as my little sister.

And only about half as stupid as her, am I right? *Insert Rimshot here*

*Insert inevitable slap upside the head for that comment here*

Jokes aside, the more I look into this game the more I’m generally impressed by it. There are nearly 200 products, playmats like in Yu-Gi-Oh! and. So many icons.

 

 

The fact that I’ve never heard of this game until yesterday is kind of astounding.

Though, to be fair, my board gaming experience didn’t go much further than Monopoly and Cards Against Humanity until my Gaming in American Culture class started.

That all said, I suppose this post has kind of turned into a bit of an endorsement for the game? It’s not an ad, but it could be an ad. Because I would certainly recommend it for people looking to play something engaging with a bunch of friends.

munchkin2
Counters from the game.

I’m not joking when I say things get intense by the end.

I absolutely would have won my game if Mimi didn’t sweep the victory one rotation before my turn. And I’m still mad about it.

Plus, the game fits well into my recent dives into D&D creatures for my novel. It’s just the kind of thing that’s up my alley.

So take my enthusiasm with a grain of salt. Or with a pile of soft, sugary donut holes.

Your choice.


Images courtesy of Bobbyfinger and Pegasus Spiele via Wikimedia Commons

Sacred Stones and The Dropout

Sacred Stones and The Dropout

Once again, a large portion of my day has been spent doing homework between a rock and a hard place.

I was feeling pretty lazy and had no desire to do work… But my weekend plans did not allow for procrastination.

Yesterday was the CBS Broadcast Center tour.

Tomorrow I have a St. Patrick’s Day party to attend over in Fullerton.

Both of which are great social things to do, so I cannot complain. However, my first paper for Gaming in American Culture is due tomorrow, so that became an assignment I was unable to push-off.

Luckily, in spite of my complaints about overwriting the other day, I was finally able to focus and cut the paper down. It’s now six pages exactly, with a bibliography and citations in Chicago Style — something I’ve never used before.

Long ago I wrote about my turmoil trying to decide what video game I should write about for this paper series.

That impossible choice wound up landing on Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, my favorite game in the turn-based tactical RPG. So far it has been a great one, as I’ve had a ton of fun analyzing how Sacred Stones is arguably one of the most replayable games in the series due to its unit variety, random stat distributions, intentionally restrictive player choice options, multiple pathways and Permadeath concessions.

All wrapped up in a polished, 32-bit handheld bow that I adore.

Perhaps when all three parts of the paper are finished, I’ll try to compile everything and post it on the old blog here. Seems like something that would fit.

I’ve also spent time working on my essay for Cognitive Psychology, which involves analyzing a study that corresponds with the presentation I gave in-class last Thursday.

While the paper was easy to pull together, having a 3-page maximum limit, I’m still kind of struggling with the finishing details because of how confusing the professor has made certain instructions.

Though I’ve talked about that before, so I won’t bore you here.

Something that has helped me work through all of this essay writing is a brand new investigative reporting podcast I recently discovered called: The Dropout.

Helmed by Rebecca Jarvis, the Chief Business, Technology & Economics Correspondent for ABC News, this podcast discusses the rise and fall of a company called Theranos and its female CEO Elizabeth Holmes — which basically defrauded millions of dollars from investors in promising a miracle medical test, also putting millions of people at risk.

Sounds like an ad, I know. But it’s not an ad.

Though… It could be an ad?

Hit me up, Rebecca. I’m sure you’re dying for these 10+ views/day.

Seriously though, it’s a fascinating story. I’m about three episodes deep and really looking forward to finishing the rest during my next couple commutes.

It’s another great addition to my growing collection of one-shot journalistic podcasts. Joining the ranks of Dirty John and The Butterfly Effect.

Because I could listen to Nando and DJ discuss movies on Mostly Nitpicking or Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman discuss celebrity news on Hollywood Babble-On for hours. But sometimes the real, raw journalism is far more of a fascinating subject to absorb.


Featured Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons