Retro Game Friday: Gex Enter the Gecko

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with the sequel to Gex. It’s Gex Enter the Gecko!

Plot: The plot is just as nonsensical as the first one, with Gex being tasked once more to save the world. It’s not an amazing story, but it was fun as a kid and it’s not the worst plot in a platformer I’ve ever played.

Gameplay: This was the first entry in the Gex series that was in 3D and it did pretty well in making the transition. It kept the feel of the original game fairly well, but was different enough to draw in newcomers. That being said both the GameBoy Color and Nintendo 64 versions were much worse versions, so play the PC or PlayStation versions if you’ve never played this before. The constant pop culture references were great and pretty funny.

Art: Sadly this portion of the game has aged incredibly poorly, but back in the day it was pretty awesome.

Music: The music was okay from what I can remember, but I don’t remember much of it.

Overall: Give this a spin if you love Platformers, as it was a fun game for the younger crowd.

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Video Game Tuesday: Setting Expectations

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about the importance of a very key factor when discussing future games or plans for content. It’s all about Setting Expectations!

Expectations?: So recently we’ve had two really good examples of how NOT to set fan expectations both prior to announcing something and afterwards. The Diablo Immortal Issue, and Final Fantasy XV’s cancellation of almost every future DLC and PC support.

Diablo Immortal: Let’s get this one out of the way first. Blizzard royally screwed up with the announcement of Diablo Immortal at the recent Blizzcon. I don’t think I remember them screwing up so bad, ever. There was the Real ID fiasco that occurred years ago, but that wasn’t as bad I think. They could and had plans to announce not only Diablo Immortal, but also Diablo 4 as well at the end of that announcement. Instead they just announced Immortal, which was a huge freaking mistake. First hardcore gamers in general, and PC gamers in particular, all hate the idea of Mobile games, add in the fact that Blizzard was teaming up with NetEase to make Diablo Immortal and the whole situation looked like a huge betrayal of the Diablo fanbase. One of the developers incredibly poor response during a particularly pointed question during a Q&A session later only exacerbated the issue. They should have gone with their first plan, as it was would have been much better. People would’ve been upset, and arguably rightly so in some views. Having multiple teams working on separate projects for Diablo could be seen as overly ambitious, and division of potential labor towards the quicker goal of completing Diablo 4, as well as the blatant cash grab that was the initial response to Diablo Immortal. I don’t agree with the direction of making a Diablo game for mobile, first it seems like it could easily be a poor clone, and while the demo available was apparently okay, that was a controlled demo that was made to showcase the best of the game. The rest of the game could easily be a huge disappointment, and the response from the people who played the demo doesn’t rule out that possibility. The Blizzard seal of quality has meaning, and if they handle this poorly they could end up repeating Bungie’s mistakes that cost them pretty much every shred of credibility with the gaming community.

Final Fantasy XV: The loss of Director Hajime Tabata seems to be the root issue of this issue, and frankly it’s a huge disappointment. I was really looking forward to playing the second wave of DLC, and because it was announced I hadn’t touched the first wave of DLC. Now I’m not sure I will for a good while. I’ll probably have fun with the Final Fantasy XIV crossover stuff, but I’m highly saddened that Square Enix is cutting back on the entire DLC plan they had for 2019 and beyond. Unlike many, I was looking forward to seeing a different ending that would’ve been included in the Noctis DLC, as while I really enjoyed most of the game and the story, the later portions of the story were incredibly depressing. Knowing that we lost this DLC is highly discouraging and a huge black mark on Square Enix’s record of making Final Fantasy games for me.

How can Developers handle expectation better?: Honestly, knowing their consumers better would prevent many of these issues in my opinion. Nintendo lost many hardcore gamers with their decision to cater to the casual market with the Wii, and they are still feeling the repercussions of that decision still. Granted that the Switch is a huge success, but they lost a lot of trust with the decision to pursue gimmicky controls with the DS and Wii. Others should take note of their mistakes and keep them in mind when they are planning announcements.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Serial Saturday: Azarinth Healer Chapters 01-09 by Rhaegar

This week for Serial Saturday I’m covering another new series. It’s Azarinth Healer Chapters 01-09 by Rhaegar!

Plot: The plot is pretty great, and considering that the author states upfront that he’s a complete amateur it’s refreshingly well written. It is a LitRPG mixed with Isekai elements, but don’t expect our hero to be going off to slay demon lords to save the world. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a very fun read and these first few chapters are a great start.

Characters: We really only get to meet Ilea in these first few chapters, and that’s okay as she’s quirky and intelligent and very much a badass. The cast does fill out later on.

Grammar: The grammar is very well done, and given that the author went through the trouble of revising their errors out of the early chapters is a very good sign for the longevity of the series, at least in my opinion.

Overall: A fun read, and well worth the read.

For those who like: LitRPGs, Isekai, Fantasy, Magic, Action, Adventure, Female Leads, Interesting Plot, Good Grammar.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: Dystopia

Hey all I’m back for this week’s Bookish Wednesday with another topic that I’m finally getting around to covering. It’s all about my hatred for Dystopian novels.

Dystopians? Really?: Yeah, I absolutely hate the genre. It started with me reading The Giver as a kid and being utterly disgusted with it. Stories don’t have to end with a happy ever after, but honestly a story shouldn’t be so depressing and that’s what The Giver was to me.

So many novels, including stuff like Brave New World, The Hunger Games, 1984, and their like are just all made as social commentaries. Honestly if the authors wanted to write a social commentary, they should just submit an op-ed to their local or national news outlet or write an essay and submit it to a scholarly publication.

Instead they write incredibly depressing stories that are pretty much tailor made specifically for literary analysis in order to showcase what the author feels is wrong with the world. For me Dystopian stories are the epitome of terrible writing. A novel should be a way for the reader to escape their day to day lives, and these novels are all about the things most people will want to escape from.

How is that rational?: It isn’t and I don’t claim that my hatred of Dystopia is a completely rational hatred, in fact one reason I haven’t written this column until now is me coming to terms with that fact. I think that Dystopian stories are bad writing because they are made specifically to make the reader think about their life and what can go wrong. And for me that is absolutely the antithesis of what reading is.

I read to get away from my own inner despair and hopelessness that I struggle with every waking moment due to my severe depression, and Dystopian novels showcase the worst parts of my own mind and thrust it into my face. I don’t need that crap given to me in the form of a story since I get it already from my own inner voice that tells me to give up and just die every moment of my life.

That’s it for this week’s Bookish Wednesday.

 

Anime Sunday: Seishun Buta Yarou Episode 01 Impressions

This week for Anime Sunday I’m covering a new series from the Fall 2018 season. It’s my Seishun Buta Yarou Episode 01 Impressions!

Plot: The plot of this first episode is very intriguing and it sets the stage for the series really well. I will say that this is an adaptation of a Light Novel Series, but I haven’t read it. I don’t tend to enjoy the romantic comedy series, but hopefully this avoids most of the faults of those Anime. This first episode shows that it could go very well, but that could end up being just a short reprieve from another poorly done romantic comedy.

Characters: Mai and Sakuta are our main characters and they are both very interesting. Mai isn’t a terrible person and is actually incredibly likable from the get go, if a bit surprising in her choice of garb. Sakuta on the other hand is also fairly forthright in his interests with Mai, and it’s a refreshing change of pace from other romantic comedies that always have awkward love polygons for no purpose beyond making drama.

Art: The art is okay, but nothing spectacular. It’s not egregiously bad, but it’s not amazing either.

Music: I enjoyed the musical score, and the opening theme. Not much more to be said about that.

Overall: This could prove to be a delightful series if this first episode is indicative of the rest of the series.

For those who like: Romance, Supernatural, School Life, Drama.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

TNT: My Favorite Japanese Novels

Hey all this week for Translation Necessary Thursday I’m back with a continuation of last week’s topic. It’s all about My Favorite Japanese Novels! Warning there will be some major spoilers for Arifureta and Mushoku Tensei this time around!

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Movie Monday: Speed

I’m back with a movie I had a really hard time remembering the name of for some odd reason for this week’s Movie Monday. It’s Speed!

Plot: The plot is pretty great, and while it’s nothing spectacular by today’s standards, it was pretty good at the time. That being said it’s nothing amazing either. I enjoyed the movie when I was younger, mostly because it seemed so thrilling, but I’d probably be bored if I saw it for the first time today.

Casting: Keanu Reeves plays the lead male character Traven, and did a pretty good job at it. Sandra Bullock played the female lead Annie and she did an awesome job at the role. The rest of the cast was good as well, but those two were definitely the stars of the film.

Cinematography: There weren’t many special effects in terms of post-filming editing, but the stunts were quite awesome to watch.

Music: I don’t remember much of it, but I remember thinking it fit the film perfectly at the time.

Overall: A fun film to watch, but it may not be as thrilling with today’s standards.

For those who like: Crime Thillers, Action, Drama, Great Stuntwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.