Monday, July 16, 2018

Super Mario Bros. 2

And now, to reiterate gaming's most famous switcheroo: what we know as Super Mario Bros. 2 in Western territories is not the actual Super Mario Bros. 2, which was deemed too difficult and too similar for foreign audiences. The solution: take an unrelated platformer (Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, a Fuji TV collaboration that originally featured an Arabian cast), repackage it with Mario characters, get Shigeru Miyamoto and co. to polish up the gameplay, and voila -- you have gaming's greatest magic trick. It wouldn't be until five years later with the remake collection that was Super Mario All-Stars that rumors and urban legends whispered about Western audiences, with internet inertia finally dawning what would place among Nintendo's most historic fun facts.

In other words, this is why Mario and the gang are suddenly throwing vegetables at bad guys rather than stomping them. Without this knowledge, it becomes all too easy to label Super Mario Bros. 2 as one of the many infamous "black sheep sequel" so dreaded on NES -- sequels in the vein of Zelda II: Adventure of Link, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest or even the Japan-only Final Fantasy II, all which were being divisive experiments that messed with their predecessor's formulas a tad too much -- but even knowing that, is it really the game's fault it doesn't live up to the Super Mario name? Adding to the confusion is how despite the Japanese version being called "Super Mario USA," Nintendo has been all too quick to brush Super Mario Bros. 2 under the rug and not only inducting this localized version into series canon, but has since referred to this game as the real Super Mario Bros. 2 (as recently as being heavily referenced in Super Mario 3D World, in fact).

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Astra Lost in Space Vol. 3 Review (Hey Poor Player)

                                                                  Article Here

 This time, it was plain ol'l forgetfulness that delayed this archival post, LOL

Anyway, despite the additional delays in game reviews from last month, we're back on track with that for now, so expect some gaming goodness soon!

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Promised Neverland Vol. 4 Review (Hey Poor Player)

Annnnd The Promised Neverland.

I wanted to have Astra Lost in Space up by yesterday/tonight, but various difficulties (not the least of which is major writer's block) have prevented that goal from materializing. Unfortunately, this means I won't be getting to Vinland Saga in time -- bummer!

Still, you can expect it sometime this weekend, and we'll be back to our regularly-scheduled program. 

My Hero Academia (Hey Poor Player)

                                                                             Article Here

MY GOD I'M SO SORRY FOR THE DELAY!!! Between an exhausting new position at my job and an out-of-my-control delay for the manga reviews, I hadn't time for the blog; heck, even this archival post is a few days late!

Consequently, I really don't know if that E3 post is gonna come up or not, sorry! I may put up a "Best Of" picture list to make up for it.

Friday, June 15, 2018

E3 2018 Preview Hub

After numerous delays in everything from flight delays to LA traffic, I've finally begun writing my E3 2018 previews! These will last through Monday, and we'll be covering up to nine or ten games total. Each game will be divided into the days they're published, so review accordingly.

Friday, June 15th

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)

Saturday, June 16th

Kingdom Hearts III (PlayStation 4)
Jump Force (PlayStation 4)

Sunday, June 17th

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin (PlayStation 4)

Monday, June 18th

GunGrave VR (PlayStation 4)
Ninjala (Switch)
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (PlayStation 4)

And that's it! I'll follow up with a retrospective epilogue for this post within the week.

Monday, June 11, 2018

I'm at E3!!!

It''s actually real. I even got to step inside just before the show tomorrow. It was only to pick up my badge, and it was only the calm before the storm, but it was still breathtaking.

Has everything I've done lead to this moment? I've always been a believer in fate, so it must be true. Tomorrow, I'll be in the same event I've been following for nineteen years, doing the same job as the journalists I've followed for just as long, live the experience I've been dreaming for so long, and be in the very same building as my lifelong heroes. It's too much to be true.

As I mentioned before, I'll be doing previews over the next week for Hey Poor Player, so I'm thinking I'll provide a "hub" post to document them all. You can look forward to seeing it updated throughout the week, so keep an eye out that.

For Smash Bros. and whatever else may come my way I come!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Unforeseen Incidents Review (Hey Poor Player)

This was another one I wasn't happy to give a relatively low score with, but I did what I must.

Anyway...that "SUPER EXCITING NEWS" I was talking about  regarding E3 the other day? Sadly, it didn't go through, but due to confidentiality, I can't quite talk about it -- let's just say I missed the cut to play a certain game behind closed doors. Just goes to show I shouldn't tease things not set in stone, heh.

Still, given the meetings and tours lined up, there should be plenty of exciting content to look forward to next week!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Worldly Weekend: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

Note: Merely discussing the content of this game -- or even just looking at the below cover -- paves way for some early spoilers regarding Kingdom Hearts II. If you're planning on going into the series blind, you'd best skip ahead.

And so begins not just Kingdom Hearts further wedging itself into the realm of indecipherable names, but spawning what remains its biggest folly: an endless line of "bridge" games consisting of side-stories, prequels, and pseudo-sequels, all for the purpose of either divulging a particular interim  between certain games or setting the stage for Kingdom Hearts III. Be it the fault of a developer (Square-Enix) caring only to capitalize upon a successful brand or the burgeoning over-ambition of a short-sighted director (Tetsuya Nomura), it's vital to discuss why, exactly, this direction was problematic, beginning with the most obvious reason: it's been eleven years since the first three spin-off games (358/2 Days, Birth by Sleep, and Re:coded) were announced, and we're only just getting Kingdom Hearts III this year. Whoops.

This past decade's worth of wasted time and frustration is more than enough for fans to jump ship, especially when factoring in cost: over the next six years, engaging in the full Kingdom Hearts experience required the purchase of a Sony PlayStation 2, a Nintendo DS, a Sony PSP and a Nintendo 3DS. Being an episodic series, this is not like Final Fantasy's individualized entries where one can simply pass, say, Final Fantasy IX on PlayStation and pick up Final Fantasy X on PlayStation 2 without missing any context; nay, you must at the very least engage in Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop Distance to make any sense of the series hereafter, and for the most dedicated of Kingdom Hearts fans, that potentially means shelling out cash for systems you don't particularly want (or, in my example, you're lucky enough to know someone at college who's willing to let you borrow their PSP and copy of Birth by Sleep).

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Fullmetal Alchemist (Fullmetal Edition) Vol. 1 + Manga Reviews Page!

Here's something a little different: a rerelease of a classic I never got into! What do I think of a series I waited fourteen years to dive into...?

In any case, I've finally got around to not only fixing up the The Archives, but have provided a Manga Reviews page. It's hardly as elaborate as my Reviews pages, but such a collection remained necessary, so please take a look. 

Next month will be a juicy month for manga fans, as I have four reviews planned (including another favorite ongoing series making its first appearance: Vinland Saga!); however, E3 season will likely push most, if not all, of those reviews towards the month's end, so keep that in mind.

Speaking of E3, there's some INCREDIBLY EXCITING NEWS I can't quite share at the moment, but certainly will when I'm given the all-clear. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe

While we're questioning the eleven-year absence of Kirby spin-offs, we must also ask: why did it take it so long for King Dedede to get his own game? I mean, really, who doesn't love the gluttonous, self-proclaimed king of Dream Land? His plush design, self-centered antics, not-quite-a-good-guy but not-quite-a-villain morality and penchant for bugged-out eyes have won over many a Kirby fan, myself included, and it is simply ridiculous HAL Laboratory has not granted his own Popstar-trotting adventure to the gaming populace. No matter how you look at it, a downloadable rhythm game ain't gonna cut it!

Still, you could do with a lot worse than Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe. Like its brother Kirby Fighters Deluxe, this spin-off is also based on a Kirby: Triple Deluxe sub-game by the name of Dedede's Drum Dash, wherein the penguin king hopped along on giant drums to reach the goal all the while clapping and bouncing to the beat of classic Kirby tunes (or perhaps not so classic: not many may recognize the secret Extra song was from Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition) Requiring careful precision of jumping, clapping, and navigating obstacles, these four levels were not only among some of the most difficult of Triple Deluxe’s trials, but introduced a welcome dosage of variety hardly explored in the series hitherto (that’s to say, rhythm; only one of Mass Attack’s mini-games springs to mind)