What Happened To Gaming?

This is a question I often ask myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love video-games. I love the virtual experiences that talented developers put out. Not only that, but I adore getting immersed in a truly great and awe-inspiring game! The problem? There are so many bad games out there, a lot of which are made with crummy micro-transactions or are just generally unfinished.

I know that I’m far from the first person to talk about the “decline” in gaming that developed over the past couple years. However, I did want to bring my opinion to the discussion table. After all, I love video-games! However, I’d be lying if I said the medium isn’t eating itself alive right now.

So many games nowadays are just scams. They’re bottomless and unfinished money-pits, while also being chores to play. A good example of this was Fallout 76. Bethesda Softworks hyped this game up to no end! It was supposed to have “16 times the detail” that Fallout 4 had, while also being a persistent online world.

The game came out… And everybody hated it. The game was unfinished and broken, the pre-order bonuses were falsely advertised and incredibly cheap, and it was just overall a crappy product. This is just one of many examples of games that are cheaply made and terrible nowadays.

That’s not even getting into the disastrous launches of Elder Scrolls Online, No Man’s Sky and both Destiny games. However, there are still good games out there. Look at Indie games; that genre is full of hits! You’ve got games like MineCraft, Terraria and Undertale, all of which have a sizable fan-base to this day. Hell, a new and awesome Indie game called “Disco Elysium” just came out! Not only that, but it’s getting nominated for “Best RPG” of the year at the game awards!

That being said, gaming is still in a bad place right now. The problem is that its ruled by the publishers that distribute the games, not the developers who make said games. When you put corporations in charge of things, then problems usually arise. Regardless, there are still plenty of good games coming out, even if they’re sometimes overshadowed by the large amount of filth.

Let’s answer our original question: What happened to gaming? Gaming is still alive and well, it’s just in this rut of most new titles being rushed hack-jobs. That being said, the medium still produces a lot of truly great and amazing games. While I don’t think gaming will ever truly be as good now as it was in the 90s, I can at least appreciate that good stuff is still coming out here or there.

 

The Perfect 90s Anime: GaoGaiGar

Who here digs giant robots? I know I do! Giant robot/mecha anime have been a favorite of mine since I was a child. I grew up enjoying stuff like Mobile Fighter: G Gundam, Robotech, and Megas XLR. However, one mecha anime that I sadly never got to watch until adulthood was “GaoGaiGar”.

This show changed the way I viewed mecha anime. GaoGaiGar was a cheesy and over-the-top giant robot action show! It revolved around Guy, the most powerful cyborg on earth, and his quest to defeat the “Zonders”. The Zonders were a group of powerful robotic aliens who planned to destroy the earth.

Guy worked with GGG, a government agency designed to stop Zonders and similar threats. Guy could also combine with a robot lion and a bunch of other robots to become the powerful and titular “GaoGaiGar”! So, what makes this anime so “perfect”?

To me, what makes GaoGaiGar such a great 90s anime is its characters and world. Most of the characters feel like they’re ripped straight out of older anime from the 70s and 80s. A lot of them are a bit one-note, but they’re developed enough to feel interesting. For example, one of my favorite characters in the series is Guy’s dad, Leo Shishioh.

He’s this wacky mad-scientist character who starts off cliche, but fills a much more important role in the series at it progresses. The supporting cast also fills an important role in the show. All of the “Brave Robots” that join forces with Guy over the series all get their own moments to shine.

GaoGaiGar also does something that most modern kids shows don’t: Have grandiose stakes. Each battle has a lot riding on it in the show’s universe and a lot of the major story-arcs always do their best to top the last. It always feels like the show is building to something grander and more epic with each adventure.

GaoGaiGar is just the perfect mix of everything I love in a 90s anime: Epic adventures, badass battles, cool protagonists, and a constant raising of stakes. A lot of this can be seen as superfluous, but I really dug it back when I used to binge this show. It’s just sad that we’ll probably never get another show as epic as this one.

Samurai Robot Caillou AKA The Obscure Oddity That Is Karakuri Kengouden: Musashi Lord

It’s time to talk about weird and obscure 90s anime again, since that is my specialty! Something I’ve noticed with 90s anime is that they tend to be pretty unique when compared to modern anime. There was a lot more intense action shows, weird comedies, and strange genre fusions back then. Case-and-point: Musashi Lord.

Karakuri Kengouden: Musashi Lord has be one of the weirder obscure anime I’ve seen. The anime is loosely based on the historical Japanese story of ” Miyamoto Musashi”, a legendary swordsman who faces off against his rival, Sasaki Kojiro. The anime differs greatly from its source material, and instead centers itself on a parody of Musashi. The anime revolves around the young Musashi, who is a robotic entity with a dream of becoming “The Number One Swordsman” in his home country of Zipangu.

However, Musashi has a major flaw: He is completely inept. While Musashi is certainly a strong warrior, he lacks any skill and is a complete whiner. After being tied up and humiliated by his hometown for causing a ruckus again, he is freed by his childhood friend. He escapes and encounters another robot named “Kojiro”, who easily beats him in combat.

Musashi is humbled by the defeat, and decides to set off on a quest to become the greatest warrior and defeat Kojiro. Did I also mention that they’re both children and that the show treats robots as if they were just humans as well? Because all of that is definitely here and it makes for a weird package!

Musashi Lord is strange in that it feels like yet another Shonen anime, but it’s weird character details make it stand out. For one thing, Musashi himself is kind of a giant whiner and cry-baby. Heck, he doesn’t even have a real sword for most of the early episodes! In fact, he often fights with a useless wooden sword at the beginning of the series. Musashi eventually gets specially crafted swords made by a master sword-smith… Which are promptly disposed of and replaced in the next story arc.

On top of this, Musahi often stumbles into situations awkwardly and faces consequences for them. For example, the anime has the obligatory “tournament arc” that every anime must have. The twist here is that Musashi is late for the tournament and can’t participate. This is especially frustrating to the young robot, due to him wanting to prove that he’s the strongest warrior in the land.

You’d think that Musashi would just give up, but he’s just too hard-headed to do so. Instead, Musashi tries to BREAK INTO the tournament. This results in him becoming an enemy of the entire country and him being SENTENCED TO DEATH. Yes, an 11 year old character was sentenced to death in a kid-friendly anime for simply interruping a tournament.

However, they save him just in time which leads into the show’s second story arc. You see, the show doesn’t really get much of a plot until after the first 13 episodes. After those early episodes, Hanzo becomes the show’s main villain and our heroes spend most of the series stopping his various plans and trying to take him out. The more episodic beginning of the series definitely helps you appreciate the grander adventures in later episodes.

I think the real appeal of this show comes in its character designs. You see, this world features both humans and robot-like beings. The robots are essentially just humans, since they function in an almost identical fashion to them. They bleed, they get hungry, they have to relieve themselves, and they have emotions. Heck, some of the robots are even show to have HUMAN children!

Aside from rare instances where they acknowledge their robot anatomy, the show tends to shrug off the fact that half the cast are robots. I honestly really like this twist! It adds this level of surreal-ness to a rather basic Shonen action series. Musashi Lord is a show that is sadly forgotten nowadays.

To be fair, it’s not the most unique show out there. It’s still a fun watch though! With all of the episodes up on YouTube with subtitles, it’s easy to watch. If you’re looking for an entertaining and extremely obscure old anime, then give this one a shot! Again, it’s free to watch and it has subtitles! Just be warned that’s it is a pretty dumb and weird show!