DC Comics goes full ham?! Let's carve up Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice!


May 2, 2016

Is Nintendo Doomed (For Real This Time)?


Not to immediately slaughter the momentum of this post by taking an axe to such a clickbait-worthy title, but the short answer to that question is a pretty firm nooooooooooooooooooooo.  It’s not over for Nintendo until they pack it up and scatter across the earth -- and that probably won’t happen with a new, mysterious console waiting in the wings.

With that said, I’ll be damned if there hasn’t been some sobering news recently.  And that’s not the worst of it.  I thought about starting this post off with “Man, Nintendo’s had a rough couple of weeks.”  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it’d be more appropriate to say “Man, Nintendo’s had a rough couple of months.”  But then that didn’t seem appropriate, because you could just as easily say “Man, Nintendo’s had a rough couple of years.”  And depending on your perspective, you could even say “Man, Nintendo’s had a rough couple of generations.”

I’m starting to think that being Nintendo is suffering.

April 28, 2016

Oh no! I’m on DeviantArt!


Oh nooooooooooooooooooooo!  By which I mean yes.

Admittedly, I’ve been on DeviantArt for more than a year, but my page basically went into hibernation a few months after I got started.  That’s not exactly something I’m proud to declare for a number of reasons -- the most obvious of them being that I’m potentially hamstringing myself by not going full tilt with as many online platforms as I can.  If I’m going to spread my message, my wares, and my very existence, I’ve pretty much got to put myself out there...even though that DA page is already getting kind of dusty as of writing, but whatever.

Inevitably, that means that I’m going to embarrass myself a lot.  And thoroughly.  And in ways I never would have begun to anticipate.  So you know what?  Let’s bring the cringe-fest straight to my virtual doorstep!  Because at least it’s not a burning sack of dog poo!

Or is it? #illuminati

April 25, 2016

So How Good is Pokémon, Really?

Not to start this off with a tangent, but I have to ask a question: which theme song from the Pokémon anime is your favorite?

I know that -- by virtue of being the first of the bunch -- the first theme is undoubtedly the most popular, and holds a special place in the hearts of gamers the world over.  (Voltech Pro Tip: look up Powerglove’s take on the song for a metal delight.)  But I think it’s important to at least give the other songs their fair shake, especially with so many songs collected over the years.  Compilations are fully available on YouTube, and I listened to one a while back.  Some are good.  Some are…less good.  But you know what?  My favorite of the bunch is the Galactic Battle theme -- which is weird, because I haven’t seen a single episode of that season.  I don’t even know what season the show’s on right now.  Twenty would be my best guess.

The takeaway here is that the sheer number of songs codifies the franchise’s enduring legacy.  You know you’ve made it big when a compilation of theme songs creeps past the thirty-minute mark -- and while there’s no guarantee that everyone will like everything you do, at least you’ve put something out, right?  There’ll always be people that buy in wholesale, no matter when they decide to do so.  We should celebrate that; newcomers, veterans, and everything in between can come together and enjoy something magical.

And now that that thinly-veiled argument against the “genwunner” mentality is out of the way, let’s press on with gusto.  And lots of fancy balls.

April 21, 2016

UnchartedPalooza?? The Last of Us (Revisited)

You know what?  I’ve always felt guilty about not liking The Last of Us.

As you’d expect from someone who didn’t sing praises about a critical darling -- the people’s champion in disc form -- I took some heat for my opinions.  In the eyes of some, I didn’t get it.  Or I just hate everything.  OR I’m too young to understand it.  I’m not the only one who’s been hassled for not seeing the game as anything short of a masterpiece (and to be fair I’ve only seen a little shade thrown my way), but I find it kind of silly that people can get so wound up just because someone doesn’t like what you like. 

I think the ’94 Street Fighter movie isn’t nearly as bad as public opinion suggests, but am I going to raise hell over it?  No.  Opinions can and will vary because they’re based on interpretations of substantiated evidence.  What’s gold to some is a lump of coal to others, and we shouldn’t hate others for seeing things differently.  I’d say “it’s that simple”, but the fact that I have to use this post’s prologue as an obvious disclaimer says a lot about the situation.

So enough of that.  Let’s get to it.

April 18, 2016

So How Good are Indie Games, Really?

EA.  Ubisoft.  Activison.  WB Games.  Square-Enix.  Capcom.  Konami.  If you know any of these companies by anything even a half-step beyond their names, then you probably know that they’ve each done some less-than-savory things over the years (either that, or you’re so filled with rage that you’re puking blood into the nearest receptacle you can find).  Whether it’s shady business practices, hamstrung games, or business decisions that a sleeping toddler would advise against, those companies and more have all done something to earn the ire of the gamers they cater to.  But what are we supposed to do about it?

I’ll contend that Capcom’s Street Fighter V is a very good game, but it hasn’t gotten off to a good start in the eyes of many -- and for a lot of legitimate reasons.  Things are looking up, but players have had to suffer -- and they’ve got no choice, when you get down to it.  What can you do when a company’s effectively holding that glowing new installment or beloved franchise hostage, especially when said company’s done some nasty stuff in the past?  Further, what can you do when you have to count on the big companies or pretty much be denied of video games, period?

Well, good thing we’re not living in such a bleak dystopia.  Indie games are here, and they’re saving the medium…well, probably.  Ostensibly.  Hopefully?  Eh, let’s just talk about indie games for a bit.

April 14, 2016

Eyes Open! It’s VR!


I consider it a point of pride to know as much as I do about games.  I’m no walking encyclopedia, but I still get around -- though there are still some pretty big gaps I’ve yet to reconcile.  Case in point: I first heard about the Oculus Rift from an old episode of Game Grumps, but never felt compelled to do any reading about it.  Sure, Facebook ended up going in all guns blazing with the then-upcoming VR headset, but it seemed to me that the House of Zuckerburg blew a ton of money on technology we aren’t even sure will last -- or how to work it, for that matter.

To be clear, I’ve never had anything against VR.  But I never had a vested interest in it, or unflinching faith in its potential.  I wanted to wait until there were tons of concrete details to go by, and more importantly, I wanted to see actual games instead of mere tech demos.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I actually got to try out one of the VR headsets.  And boy was it something.

But I’m going to take the high road and not make references to VR Troopers, because everyone else is doing that already.  I’m sure I’ll find something to compensate with -- and I promise it’ll be 100% relevant to the post’s context.

April 11, 2016

When a Name Just Isn’t Enough


So apparently, there are a lot of people that are angry about The Walking Dead and its Season 6 finale.  I can’t say I’m one of them, because I dropped the series an episode or two into Season 5 (because I’m me, and apparently “I don’t like anything”).  But imagine my surprise when I run a Google search for the show -- typing in “the walking dead” and nothing else -- and plenty of articles pop up about the outrage.  Well, that, and apparently a ratings drop from last year’s finale.

As far as I can tell (no spoilers): some people have taken issue with the fact that the finale ended on a cliffhanger that basically went “Who will die?  Tune in six months from now for the answer!”  Or, as a couple of critics from The Atlantic put it, AMC expected people to sit through an hour and a half of stupidity and filler masquerading as buildup to reach a non-conclusion.  But those same critics noted that the finale exposed a lingering problem with the TV series: the only card in its hand, in the worst-case scenario, was playing the “who will die” card.  It was less about creating a good show and more about using tricks to make sure people would tune in again, and again, and again.  And, notably, they both implied plans to drop the show.

I guess the fact that I realized the problem long ago puts me well ahead of the curve -- and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel vindicated by others seeing things my way.  But it helps illustrate a point, a problem, and a paradigm shift in one fell swoop.  Shame that that swoop smells like zombies, but I can deal.

April 7, 2016

Let’s discuss Final Fantasy XV: Platinum Demo.


You didn’t think I was going to let this one slip away, did you?  Please.  Even though I’m not “the Final Fantasy guy”, I’m gonna go ahead and be “the Final Fantasy guy” for a hot minute.  I’ve even got my hat ready.

But before I go into the demo, there’s some Square-Enix stuff and news worth staring in the face.  By extension, there’s a question I need to ask.  It’s a very important question, and one that I’m surprised I never directly asked before now.  So brace yourselves.

April 4, 2016

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice: Clods Among Us (Part 2)

So what’s the weirdest superpower you can think of?

I can’t help but ask, because -- speaking personally -- the vast majority of my characters are created based on what sort of powers I can give them.  Jury’s out on whether or not that’s a good idea, but recently, I’ve been challenging myself to come up with more powers from left field.  The end goal is to take a page from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (sans Stands): take powers that would be seemingly useless and have the characters apply them in ways that turn the “useless” into “incredible”.  Right now I’m focusing on a guy who can always be there to stop a timer -- on a watch, on a clock, on a microwave -- before it goes off…which gives him the power to effectively teleport. 

I’d say more, but chances are high that you’re here for more thoughts on Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.  (Plus that idea’s super rough around the edges.)  But since we’re dealing with superheroes, it’s important to think at least a little bit about their powers/skill set/equipment.  What do they mean for the character, especially in terms of personality?  How do they impact the world around the hero or heroine?  What do they bring to the table? 

I have to ask, because in terms of this movie, the answer is a resounding nothing.

Look!  Up in the sky!  It’s a SPOILER!  It’s a SPOILER!  No, it’s blatant and overwrought symbolism that has no reason being used by a team that’s demonstrated its sheer ability to fail on even basic levels of storytelling and film-making principles!

…I mean SPOILERS.

March 31, 2016

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice: Clods Among Us (Part 1)

You don’t know how tempted I was to make a reference to God Hand for this subtitle.  But since this title’s more fitting, I might as well do it now.

You know what, though?  I remember once on this blog, someone was under the impression that I don’t like God Hand.  That’s seriously not the case.  It’s not my favorite game ever -- and it’s not what I’d call a technical marvel -- but I like the combat, I like the customization, and I like the difficulty level (which changes depending on how well/poorly you do throughout the stages).  But what really sets the game apart from others is its sense of humor and spirit.  It’s wacky and wild, and very few games have captured that magic since.  Very few games have tried.

I’ve gone about this at length, but it bears repeating: by and large, the AAA game space has done its best to do away with (intentional) humor and charm.  So many titles are trying to be BIG and EPIC and SERIOUS and DEEP, yet so many of them have collapsed under their own hubris.  How did Capcom, the company that made the unapologetically-goofy Resident Evil 4 (and God Hand, of course) go on to make the embarrassingly-po-faced Resident Evil 6?

So in a lot of ways, I’ve built up a tolerance for products that adopt a “no jokes policy”.  It’s no surprise, then, that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice doesn’t leave much of an impression -- but trust me, the lack of humor is the LEAST of this movie’s problems.

To the SPOILER-MOBILE, Robin!  Oh, wait.  Oooof.  Ohhhhh.  Ahhhh, that’s awkward.