Let's talk about why Mercy's literally the best ever! Oh, and Overwatch too I guess!

August 22, 2016

I Hraet You Xrd: Revelator

*loads up blog one day*

*stares at header*

You know, I wonder how many people know who that purple-haired guy is supposed to be.  I mean, they should if they clicked on the I Hraet You tab instead of just looking for more Final Fantasy posts.  Then again, I guess it’d help if I uploaded some more chapters.  Maybe give them a reason to read through my wares.

Speaking of which, wasn’t I supposed to upload those chapters at some point?

Speaking of which, wasn’t I supposed to write more chapters?

*stares at screen*


August 18, 2016

Let’s discuss Street Fighter V: A Shadow Falls (Part 2).

Here’s a common question: do stories matter in video games?

Anyone who’s familiar with me or my work will know that my immediate answer is “YES, YOU IDIOT!”  Granted they’re not essential for every game out there, but in a lot of cases they’re as important to a game as the actual gameplay -- which makes it all the more infuriating when, say, Final Fantasy’s narrative does a swan dive into a chunk of concrete.  So by extension, the story in fighting games matter too, and for multiple reasons.  It’s a chance to enrich our understanding of our mains.  It’s a way to add something special to the franchise, while treating fans old and new.  And for those whose fingers are too leaden to toss out a V-Trigger cancel combo, there’s still something to enjoy,

I understand why people have written off the A Shadow Falls story, both pre- and post-release.  It hurts to admit that it’s not very good, but I know that SF as a whole will thrive because of its ever-enduring, ever-evolving gameplay.  Here’s the thing, though: even if it’s flawed, the new story mode is still important for three reasons.  One: if we keep declaring that “stories in games don’t matter”, then the bigwigs are going to take that lesson to heart and we’ll get more overpriced, short-lived multiplayer-only releases.  Two: considering all the touting Capcom did of its story, it demands to be judged accordingly -- so that everyone, devs included, can see the pros and cons for future reference (and improvement).  Three: even if there’s a lot to wince over in the story, there is absolutely a lot to enjoy.

I was pretty harsh in the last post.  But now it’s time to go over some of the good stuff.

August 15, 2016

Hijacked by Politics.

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog for even a few weeks, you may be well aware that I try to focus on fiction.  Games, movies, TV shows, stuff like that -- the stories that circulate throughout our world, what’s good about them, what’s bad, and the general concepts worth taking away.  I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a pretty strong lean towards gaming, though -- whether it’s putting the industry under the microscope, or taking shots at Final Fantasy again (which I’ve found attracts readers faster than a mound of poop the size of a rhino attracts flies).  But you don’t even need to be a longtime reader to know what I do.  Just look at the header.  Look at the layout.  Cripes, the titles for all of the sidebar widgets are references to Street Fighter.

So it’s not like I have either interest or experience in talking about real-world stuff via this blog.  I know where my expertise lies, and it’s not with politics.  But just this once, I’m going to make an exception -- a “break glass in case of emergency” sort of post.  If you’ve been keeping up with the news -- or more specifically, the fight to claim the White House for the next four years -- then you know what’s up.  If you don’t?  Maybe I’m being ignorant here, but…is it just me, or does this presidential race sound like something that’d make for a pretty striking (if bizarre) story?

I guess it’s like they say (the back half of which is now a major motion picture): truth is stranger than fiction.

August 11, 2016

Let’s discuss Street Fighter V: A Shadow Falls (Part 1).

Whew.  It’s been a while, but here we are again with Street Fighter 5 -- almost half a year after its initial release, as of writing.

You know, it’s funny.  A year ago I did a post aimed at trying to predict what sort of content Street Fighter 5 would have in its story mode -- the place of the Dark Hadou, the presence of Necalli, et cetera, et cetera.  And it served as a stark reminder that, yes, I write stuff on the internet.  That’s kind of a given since I have a blog, but I doubled down by uploading that post to Destructoid -- which led to it being shared on Reddit, which led to it popping up on EventHubs, of all places.  (Or it could’ve hit EventHubs first, and then went to Reddit.  God only knows.)  It’s always heartwarming to know that people have the chance to watch me make an idiot out of myself.  Like, c’mon, man.  Using the wiki as a “credible” source?  Get on the level, bro.

August 8, 2016

Ranking the Kamen Rider Seasons (Part 2)

So the other day, I asked myself a question: why do I like Kamen Rider?

Call it a crisis of faith, I guess.  It’s easy to get caught up in something and follow it out of some unspoken sense of obligation -- like you’re just going through the motions, because “I did the thing once, so I might as well do the thing again.”  I’m pretty sure I’ve typecast myself as some kind of Rider fanatic, given how many times I slip allusions, images, and even secret references into my posts.  (To say nothing of the posts actually about Kamen Rider.)  In a perfect world, people would pay more attention to that stuff instead of huddling around the campfire when I upload a post on Final Fantasy/Kingdom Hearts/the madhouse that is Squeenix.  But I digress.

Pared down to basics, I like KR because I like heroes.  And not to get maudlin or pitiable, but it’s a safe bet that I needed to see heroes in my life.  After all, it’s probably not a coincidence that I started seriously getting into the franchise in the same year -- 2013 -- that I went through some major personal losses.  Beyond that, I had to deal with the frustration of having my own works -- my writing, my dreams, and my own batch of heroes -- rejected to the point where I scrapped and rebooted years of work.  Beyond that, it seemed like fiction in the western world had basically given up on heroes.  Man of Steel turned Superman into a braindead whirlwind of destruction and angst.  The Walking Dead became a hit with a cast of survivors barely a cut above the zombies they routinely shot in the head.  I…I don’t even want to talk about DmC.

I’ll argue that the world needs heroes -- even, if not especially fictional -- but I’ll also acknowledge that that’s some top-tier projecting.  I need heroes.  KR delivered, again, and again, and again.  And that’s why I’m here today once again, as a fan, and as a spokesperson.  These are my Top 4 picks of the franchise thus far.

August 4, 2016

Ranking the Kamen Rider Seasons (Part 1)

Confession time: I was tempted to go on Twitter and make a joke about the recently-revealed Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, but decided against it.  I didn’t want to risk accidentally spoiling the new Rider’s look and/or plot details for those who actually care about spoilers.  Or Kamen Rider in general, which to be fair I’m not 100% sure any of my Twitter followers actually care about.  But hey, better safe than sorry.

Then again, I’m kinda-sorta spoiling it via this post, soooooo…safety is for yellowbellies, I guess.

I’ll be honest.  I had a pretty violent reaction to Ex-Aid’s look -- i.e. the gaudiest mix of colors combined with some design choices that make me tilt my head far enough to shatter my neck.  “Oh no.  What were they thinking?” I thought.  I couldn’t help myself.  But armed with the knowledge that Ex-Aid will have different forms -- and that the true quality of the season will come from the story and action -- I’m at peace with it.  I’ll give it a fair shake when the time comes.  Until then, though?  I think it’s about time I do something personal.

I’ve seen more than my fair share of Kamen Rider over the years.  And after putting some thought into it, I’ve decided to sort each season into a list -- so without further ado, here’s my take on The Top 8 3/5ths Kamen Rider Seasons.  Because, well, that’s as far as I’ve gotten so far.  And now that there’s a fraction in there, you know you’re in for a good time.

August 1, 2016

So How Good Were the 80s, Really?

Wait.  Should it be “How Good Are the 80s?”  Or is it okay for past tense?  I mean, it is literally the past we’re talking about here.  But we’re talking about it in the present and the context therein soooooooooooo…

Ah, forget it.  I’m done thinking about it already.

So anyway.  I’m pretty sure that if you’ve got a working set of eyes and ears, you know that Ghostbusters has made it back into theaters.  Again.  And as preferable (if not easy) it would be for everyone to just let it come and go, it’s been mired in controversy for months on end thanks to the less-than-ideal trailer and the boat-rocking by some Sony executives -- itself helped by the clash of opinions in nerd culture.  Now that people have actually gotten to see it, results have been “mixed”, as far as I can tell.  It had a good score on Rotten Tomatoes, which implies that a fair number of critics gave it their blessing.  On the other hand, plenty of internet/YouTube personalities have effectively loaded the new movie with bullets.  We’ll see what happens when the dust clears, especially in terms of money-making power (which is probably why Ghostbusters has been trotted out again in the first place).

But I’m not here to talk about Ghostbusters, because everyone else already has.  I have a more important question in mind.  Any guesses as to what it is, person who read the title of the post?

July 28, 2016

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE: Do You Remember Love? (Part 2)

I would be remiss if I didn’t start this post off with a story about Yourself.

No, I’m not talking about you.  I’m talking about Yourself, a girl I happened to meet when I was in kindergarten.  At the time, she was (presumably) a year older than me, but other than that she seemed normal.  Brown hair, brown eyes, freckles -- not exactly someone who’d stand out in a crowd.  But the thing about Yourself was that she had a certain verbal tic: as far as I could tell, she would end every sentence with the word “yourself”.  Say hello to her, and she’d say “Hello yourself.”  Moo like a cow and she’d go “Moo yourself.”  At one point I was walking through the school halls and spotted some art from her class; sure enough, I spotted a piece with Yourself’s name in the corner, written in the black ink of a Sharpie.  Permanently etched into green construction paper.

Since my family packed up and moved to a different town (and, you know, because I was six), I never got around to learning the full story behind Yourself.  Maybe she was just being cute and sassy, and tagging all of her sentences with that single word.  Maybe there was legitimately something wrong with her.  Maybe her parents had terrible naming sense, and spamming that word was to be their penance.  No matter the origin, I wonder about the end result: what’s life like for her now if she hasn’t dropped the tic?  Is it a waking nightmare, or proof that she lives by her own rules?  The mind boggles.

I just thought I’d tell that story because it’s so bizarre it’s actually kind of entertaining -- unlike getting tangled up in Tokyo Mirage Sessions “censorship” again.  So let’s do this lickety-split.

July 25, 2016

Who’s the Best Superhero Ever?

So both Captain America: Civil War and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice have made the rounds in the past few months.  One of them is great; one of them is not so great.  Still, they do represent an important talking point: even though superhero movies have been around for a good while now, they still have enough clout and momentum to stay self-sustaining, at least for a while yet (and more for the Marvel camp than, say, Fox, Warner Brothers, or Sony).  We’re bound to see more of them, obviously.  There are detractors, and they have a good point -- we’re at risk of oversaturation, for sure -- but hey.  Maybe we’ll get a good Doom Patrol movie out of WB, so that my dream of seeing Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man on the big screen can finally be fulfilled.

That does bring up something worth discussing, though.  Obviously, the Marvel movies (and others) have brought once-obscure characters into the spotlight, and pretty successfully; where would Iron Man be if not for the efforts of Robert Downey Jr. way back when?  But I wonder how many people the movies are actually converting.  That is, how many people have gained enough interest in comics thanks to the movies to actually seek out these heroes in their natural habitat?  How many people who weren’t already down with stuff like Asgard or the Infinity Gauntlet have even run a Google search?  Are people actually converting into true fans?

I’d imagine so, because the movies serve as condensed introductions.  But that leads to a follow-up question: who are people choosing to follow, and why?  Who’s captured their hearts and minds?  Who is the best superhero?

Okay, that’s like three questions (technically four), but whatever.  It’s for a good cause.

July 21, 2016

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE: Do You Remember Love? (Part 1)

Considering that Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE puts a lot of focus on Japan’s infamous idol culture, I was going to try and lead into it by talking about the recent anime series Macross Delta -- since it also leans deep into idol territory. The problem is that, even if I like the core concept of Macross/Robotech, I haven’t seen enough of it to be an authority.  And more importantly, I haven’t seen anything from Macross Delta besides complaints that it skews WAY too far in favor of idols/CD shilling, to the point where it cripples the show.  I don’t know if that’s a fair assessment, but for now I’ll switch to Plan B.

See, when I was in elementary school there was this special program that incentivized turning in stuff to the lost and found.  Even if it was just a few coins nicked from the playground, you could still be recognized for it on a bulletin board in one of the halls -- and better yet, potentially win prizes.  So by turning in some lost lunch money, I won a coupon for a free rental at the local video shop.  I thought that it meant I could get my hands on a new game, but the selection at said store was so limited I opted for a video instead.  And so it was that I discovered Macron 1.

Don’t worry.  I’m going somewhere with this.