E3 2017: A Really Good Comedy Act

Back in the 90s and early 2000s, I thought E3 was one of the coolest things ever. I mean, you have games that are previewed 1-2 years in advance for all to see! Some games end up cancelled after E3, but those rare few who got to play those beta builds of said cancelled games at E3 were often treated like gods. Over time though, E3 has lost that majesty. Once upon a time, E3 felt like this sacred place where only the chosen could go to witness the newest games before release.

Nowadays, E3 is more of a giant comedy act, full of technical issues, really cringy sketches and catchphrases, and very few newly announced games. I respect that a lot of people still enjoy E3 and hold it in high regard, I’m not trying to change the opinions of those people. What I want is to discuss why I think E3 has devolved from being this legendary event into more of a comedy act.

I think it comes down to the audience shift, mostly. You see, gaming was once upon a time a medium exclusive to mostly nerds and kids. However, as the casual audience grew, so did the demand to cater to said audience. Like I said before, I have nothing against the casual audience. The thing is that developers seem to think people who play games casually want just simple experiences and nothing else, when most casual gamers I know relish the challenge of trying to figure games out. I discussed this before about how RPGs are becoming oversimplified because of such demand, but sadly video-game related shows seem to be hit hard by this even more.

Both the Video Game Award Show and E3 feel more like they want to entertain the audience with bad sketches and crummy memes, rather than show the games. While this is done to cater to the more casual and modern audience, it fails at even doing that. A lot of people just watch these events and roll their eyes. Sure, the casual audience does tend to favor simpler game, but not simpler events.

I know I don’t speak for everyone, since I’m not a casual gamer, but it seems to me that these gaming events are just alienating a lot of people with how they present stuff. Most casual audiences go to these events for the games, not for odd skits and over-acting. Again, I can’t speak for everyone, but that’s the general consensus I seem to get from these events.

It probably doesn’t help that this year presented a rather small influx of new games. Aside from a crossover between Rabbids and Mario, and a new Monster Hunter game, there was nothing that really grabbed me. Sadly, it’s been like this the past couple of years. These shows feel like they are scarce on new games, and more like they just want to advertise stuff they already talked about.

The shows themselves are not too special. Nowadays, a lot of game studios put a giant video advertising new stuff, instead of having people come out to present the new games and content. Couple this with technical issues, like demos not running properly on stage, and you have a show that lacks substance. When you combine that with the terrible sketches and forced jokes, you have something that feels like more of a parody of itself.

E3 definitely makes me laugh, but not in the way it should. I laugh more because of how much I think the expo has fallen, rather than the sketches and comedy its trying to present. Now, you make be thinking that I hate this event. I dislike the event, but I have no real hatred for it. I’m just disappointed by this event, since it has been slipping in quality in the past decade.

I can still watch the show and get some mild entertainment out of it, I just have no urge to spend the 100s of dollars required to get me over to the States to go see it. While I respect that a lot of hard work goes into events such as these, I’m still going to judge an event by the quality of the entertainment. After all, you don’t go to a Metallica concert just to hear a bunch of aged musicians fiddle with a microphone for two hours.

Like I said before, you’re allowed to enjoy E3 and I’m not trying to stop that. I just don’t like that E3 is trying to advertise itself to a specific audience that comes to the event for what it used to be, instead of what it is now. Both the casual and hardcore gamers deserve an event that treats them with respect and intelligence. I mean, there is the Tokyo Game Show and a few game-centric conventions out there, but that’s about it! I can at least say that E3 manages to be more entertaining than most conventions, but that’s more in a bad way than a good one.

My Thoughts On The Samurai Jack Finale and Season 5 As A Whole(Spoilers)

So, the final episode of Samurai Jack hit and I gotta say, it was actually pretty good. Like it says in the title, this is a spoiler discussion, you’ve been warned.

<SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT>

 

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The plot THICCens!

 

Sure, it felt a bit rushed, but with only 10 episodes that are only 22 minutes long in length each, it’s difficult for it not to be. For those who haven’t kept up with the series, Jack forms a relationship with a female assassin named Ashi. This relationship forms into a somewhat forced romance, that leads into Ashi being revealed as Aku’s daughter.

This culminates in Jack’s defeat and capture, as he is unable to kill the corrupted Ashi. In the final episode, all those that Jack helped band together and lead an attack on Aku. Sadly, elements of this ending just ended up feeling a bit hashed together. The romantic elements felt a bit forced, and Ashi just gaining Aku’s time-travelling powers after mastering own abilities felt like it came out of nowhere.

Regardless though, it was satisfying. For a 22 minute episode, it felt evenly paced at times, and managed to do a fairly satisfying ending. I liked the final scene the most, after Jack kills Aku in the past (which inadvertently kills Ashi) he goes under a cherry blossom tree and mopes about for a bit. A ladybug lands on his finger, reminding Jack of the bond he had formed with Ashi and that even though she is gone, he can continue forward.

Jack has lost a lot, and this ending gives hope to this character that his new and much more peaceful life will have a higher meaning. I think the ending would’ve been even better if the past version of The Guardian showed up, walked up to Jack, and said “You’re the one”, before walking away and disappearing into nothingness. You gotta consider that The Guardian only existed to guard the portal that was destined for a battle-hardened Jack to use. I wish this was a part of the ending, but sadly it is not.

Regardless, while I felt the ending was rushed at times, I thought it did a lot of things right. It gave us good comedy and character development, and finally gave us that ending we’ve been clamoring for for years now. Is it perfect? Far from it, it’s got a fair bit of problems. It is still a fantastic ending though, just not what a lot of people were hoping for.

Certain things that happened in the episode felt a bit contrived and forced, and Jack’s ultimate defeat of Aku could’ve been a bit longer. Still, I stand beside the creator’s vision and willingness to finally conclude this saga. It’s been 16 years, 62 episodes, 1 animated parody, and several videogames later, but now we have a concrete conclusion to this saga.

Whether it’s a satisfying ending or not will be completely up to the viewer. I loved this ending, and I recommend season 5 as a whole to any fan of Samurai Jack new or old. If this hits DVD, I’m buying as soon as possible! I don’t love season 5 because I’m a fan, or because I’ve been waiting for this ending forever, but because I legitimately enjoy as its own product. While having disappointing elements here or there, I still think its a masterpiece of modern animation. Just… Be wary of episode 8. Having any sort of opinion on this episode is gonna get you a lot of flack on the internet.

Next Marathon Is Coming Up: Digimon!

Alright, I thought it was time to start a new marathon. I’m mostly done with my Phantasy Star Marathon that I stared last year, in which I review various games from the series and talk about the franchise in general. Well, now I want to do this with one of my favorite multi-media franchises: Digimon. I want to review various manga, anime, movies, and even games from the franchise.

Digimon was my childhood and come July, the franchise will turn 20 years old. I thought this would be the best time to talk more about the series itself. I have reviewed a few Digimon related things, but I want to get into the full swing of things and review a ton of things associated with the series. I wanted to see how much I can cover in the span of a month and a half, before the 20th anniversary of the series rolls around. Expect more Digimon-based content soon, guys!

200th Post + Picture With William Shatner!

This is officially my 200th post and I wanted to make it special. It’s been nearly 2 years sine I started this blog, and it has had its ups and downs. I’m going to continue updating and providing great content for you, and I hope you all continue to read my posts! Without further adieu, I show you one of the crowning moments of the entire year for me thus far:

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NEEEEEEEEEEEEERDS!

This is pic of me and my friends with the legendary founding father of nerd-dom known as William Shatner. I’m the guy in the blue and white striped shirt on the left, T. Hilde is the smiling guy in the middle, while the guy on the right is In92Days. 92 Days scheduled this whole meetup and the reason we went to the con is because of his planning. Honestly, it was a fantastic day and meeting William Shatner (even if it was for a few brief seconds) was something truly amazing.

Keep in mind, I got permission from both of my friends before posting this picture. This honestly was the center-point of the entire convention. I’ll probably never do a photo op like this again, but I feel this one was definitely worth my time and money. It was a great photo and something I’ll treasure forever. Anyway, thanks for reading! Like I said, this is my 200th post and I hope to have many more in the future. Have a good day, everyone, and keep it real.

Comic Book Convention 2017 Swag!

At the recent comic book Expo in Regina, I picked up some rather neat things. I honestly love going to cons, and I don’t really spend a whole lot when it comes to personal items for myself. If you guys like this, I’ll be sure to post pictures of stuff I got from previous years, since I have picked up several awesome things over the years. Anyways, let’s get this rolling! (Also, apologies in advance if the photos are a bit blurry, I’m not expert when it comes to taking pictures)

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A very courageous crest indeed.

One of the first things I picked up at the con was a tag and the crest of courage from Digimon. This is a little plastic replica of the crests commonly seen on the Digimon television show. I honestly loved this anime, so I jumped at the chance to own a crest of my very own. The crests were 5 bucks less than the Digivices (Which I felt looked really amateurish) which is why I ultimately decided on the crest. It makes a fancy little pendant, I must say!

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Wander Over Shiren!

The next thing I bought was the game “Shiren The Wanderer”, the PS Vita version to be precise. I heard this was a great little roguelike, and I jumped at the opportunity to have it on my Vita. I have yet to open and play it, but I’ll be sure to do so this weekend. I look forward to both playing and reviewing this game in the future!

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No joke, I still have yet to see this movie.

During the convention, my friend brought me to a booth run by the guys who made the film Wolf Cop. This was a film made in Regina that was a parody of old 80s cop shows and films. I had never this film before, nor even heard of it for that much. However, when I saw the comic there, I knew I had to have it! The art on the cover was so striking and memorable, making it impossible for me to say no! Honestly, I love 80s stuff, even when it’s made in the modern day as opposed to back then. I read through this comic in one setting, and I gotta say it was a fantastic. I still have yet to see the film, but I’ll be sure to tackle that next!

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And here’s an image of all three things together. Roughly, I spent about 75-80 bucks on personal purchases, this isn’t counting money spent on travelling, food, the tickets themselves, or the hotel. I fully intend to review both the Wolf Cop comic and Shiren at some point, and maybe even do a mini review of the crest replica itself. Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little convention special. I do have one more image I’m going to post, but I’ll save that for later. Trust me, it’s the high point of the convention.

Back From The Comic Con!

The comic book expo in Regina was fantastic! I only bought a few things, but overall enjoyed my time there. It was fun hanging out with friends, and we ever got to go to a nerd party at a bar. I danced like crazy there! It was a fun time, and I picked up some great knickknacks and a ton of great pictures. I’ll be sure to post pictures of things I got, as well as pictures of me and my pals on the blog here when I get the chance. For now, have a great night y’all!

Comic Book Convention Roadtrip In 2 Days!

Yeah, I’m heading to a convention in May for once! I usually hit up comic book cons in the fall, but this is the first one I’ve ever attended in Spring. My friends and I are going to get our picture taken with William Shatner, which is like a lifelong dream of mine. To me, this feels like a good event to be attending. It’s one of the first roadtrips I’ve ever undertaken with friends, it’s something I don’t get to do very often. And I highly believe it’s a moment I will treasure forever.

It Was My Birthday Yesterday!

Yeah, my birthday happened to fall on Saturday, right on Easter weekend! It was a fantastic time for me, my family, and my friends. I got to see my sister, hang out with some pals at a local videogame bar, and just generally have a ton of fun. I got some neat gifts from some relatives and friends (including a fancy journal and free lunch) and also got to hang out at some new places. It was certainly was one of the best birthdays I’ve had in quite a few years! Here’s hoping for many more that are as great as this one.

My Thoughts On Jade Empire In Style

Something I forgot to mention in yesterday’s review of Jade Empire, was the “Jade Empire In Style” mod. The main reason I didn’t discuss this was because the mod wasn’t really working at the time the review was up. I managed to get it working last night, and it seems to run fine now. So, you may be asking yourself: What’s so good about this mod? What makes it stand out from other mods for the game? Well, I’ll tell ya all about it!

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Yes, this mod introduces talking monkeys. AND IT IS AWESOME!

While, it’s true that this mod hasn’t seen an update since 2011, it’s probably one of the best mods I have ever played in a Bioware game. As I stated in my review, you are a martial artist in this game. One of the big draws is that you can learn all these different and unique combat styles. This mod not only adds over 40 new styles, but new ways to learn said styles. You see, you can now pick up new fighting styles by simply beating your opponents in combat.

After trouncing an enemy, you’ll be sent to a shop where you can buy a fighting style for a small fraction of what you’d pay for it at the store. This allows you to really beef up your character early. In fact, I’d argue that the mod makes the game a bit too easy. For you see, the only way to get style points in this mod now is by doing well in combat. While that seems like a tall order, it’s not if you spam the front flip technique like a mad-man. It’s possible to pick up 3-4 style points with random mooks alone! This unfortunately lead to my character being extremely strong before I even left the starting village.

While it’s true that I’m only on the early portions of the game, it’s still a noticeable change from the earlier playthrough I did of the game. Regardless, I still appreciate the increased variety. The game also introduces talking animals, who basically let you tweak certain elements of the mod or the game. It lets you change how frequently you get style points, which is something I should’ve tinkered around with earlier. I literally just discovered you can do that as I was typing this! Not only that, but you can also complete tough challenges given to you by the talking animals. This will allow you to get some overpowered styles early on if you invest enough time and effort into getting them. The challenges are usually just you fighting a small group of enemies in the game.

The mod also introduces a crap ton of new gems that you can slot into your talisman. There are now “gem armor”, which work as makeshift armor and bestow certain bonuses upon you. I also like that most of the item shops have more stock in them. In the original game, each shop had like 5-8 things to buy. This made shopping there really pointless, as there were so few things to buy. It felt less from buying from a thriving shop, and more like ordering off a small menu at a restaurant. The mod populates the lists of the item shops much more, which is much appreciated.

Honestly, while I may have some gripes here or there about the mod, it’s worth checking out. It ends up improving the game quite a bit, and I feel its necessary if you’re going to play this game on PC. Is it perfect? No, but it does make the game even more enjoyable, despite its age. Its one of those mods that are simple in execution, but make the game more complex. It makes the reward system feel a lot like a later game called Dragon Ball Xenoverse, rewarding you with new moves the better you do. In short, if you’re playing Jade Empire in current day, then this mod is a must.

Happy Birthday, Lou!

It’s my sister’s birthday in a couple days, so I thought I’d mention that in my blog today since she’s coming over tonight! Yep, I’m gonna wish her a good one. I often refer to her as “Lou”, as a sort of nickname. Not sure if she’d want her name up on the blog here, so I’ll just refer to her by her nickname today. I’ll be honest, I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye her, but I’m proud of her. She’s done a lot for me and I know I can be hard to deal with at times, so I respect that. Oh god, I’m actually tearing up while writing this! Geez, some man I am. Regardless, happy birthday, Lou!