Monday, March 18, 2019

The Promised Neverland Vol. 8 Review



Anyone who follows The Promised Neverland in Jump already knows this, but man, this series just keeps getting better and better. Ain't no stopping the Shirai/Pozuka train!

Unfortunately, as I've been cooperating with my bosses to branch out Hey Poor Player's repertoire, I've made the decision to cover only manga granted via review copies, so this means no more Silver Spoon articles. I know, such a masterpiece deserves better, but Yen Press just won't respond to my emails...

Monday, March 11, 2019

Mega Man 2



Okay, we're getting warmer: Mega Man 2's American boxart is no prize, but maligned as it is, I like to think it's not the catastrophe that was the original. Say what you will about inaccurate character design, but as they feature something resembling actual proportion, I think of it as a relative success in that patented 80's way of box arts fulfilling the template for our imaginations. This fantastic Eurogamer interview with artist Marc Erickson reveals it was a uncoordinated hodgepodge of circumstances -- a hapless art director's interpretation of Mega Man ("he's obviously shooting, so he must be using a pistol"), Erickson simply assuming the character was an actual man, and an overall lack of cooperation between the various Capcom branches in conserving the original character design. Simply put: let us not judge Erickson for simply doing his job.

Nay, we are here to judge Mega Man 2, otherwise known as one of the finest classics of the 8-bit era and what truly etched our Blue Bomber into gaming history. By the same token of the former, it's no stretch declaring it one of the NES's masterworks, and for my money, I consider it the system's finest third-party effort. When considering how many Mario knock-offs stumbled and fell in their ill-fated attempts to capture the golden goose, that it can stand arm-in-arm with the actual Marios and Kirby's Adventure is a miracle I cherish dearly. There's no slippery controls, no projectiles nonsensically thrown in arcs, no absurd difficulty for the sake of absurd difficulty -- it's just a damn good video game, one I'd dare even say reaches the vertigo of perfection.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

My Hero Academia Vol. 17 Review (Hey Poor Player)




Annnnnd more My Hero Academia.

A Worldly Weekend may or not arrive today! If not, uh, I may just post it Monday or Tuesday, anyway. Hey, it's my blog...


Monday, March 4, 2019

8-Bit Chronicles: Donkey Kong








Hello, and welcome to my new Hey Poor Player column: 8-Bit Chronicles, wherein I analyze classic arcade-munchers of the 80's! Giving I already host another column (Sleeping With The Enemy), I'm certain this is rather left-field, so let's break down how this came to be and what it'll entail.

As readers may recall, I announced last fall I'd be covering Arcade/8-Bit video games after 2019's New Year. The reasoning was simple: given their brevity, they'd serve as excellent outlets for maintaining a consistent writing output. As opposed to the 1500-2000 word caps I typically uphold for Leave Luck to Heaven, these would gravitate towards 1000 words -- a reflection of their pick-up-and-play breadth, if you will.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Sleeping With The Enemy: Admitting Fault (Hey Poor Player)






Truth be told, I've been bearing some unflattering insecurities regarding my writing, and Sleeping With The Enemy took the full brunt. With its objective in bearing my soul, I feared my topics bore irrelevant fruit, that I lacked the appropriate prose necessary to convey an effective thesis, or, worst of all, that such hesitation proved my inability to maintain an audience as a game journalist. This caused a significant delay, and it's weighed upon me heavily.

Regardless, here's the next iteration involving Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. True to the subject matter, I hope any criticism paves the road to a better future.

On a lighter note, there's been exciting developments behind-the-scenes for Hey Poor Player! I can't share them now, but you can expect them within next month. I suspect this'll finally be the breakthrough our little site's been waiting for, so I'll be giving it my all!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

One Piece Vol. 89 Review (Hey Poor Player)



....oh dear, I've been so focused on my next Sleeping with the Enemy that I forgot to archive this here. Anyway, BOY AM I READY FOR WHOLE CAKE TO END.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

US Government “Borrowed” Yoshi’s Island DS Music For EPA Flash Game (Hey Poor Player)



I'm sharing this for no reason other than that this is the funnest article I've ever written. Yours truly took it upon himself to document the latest feud between Yoshi, tax-thieving extraordinaire, and our own US government.

(In case you were wondering, no, I don't buy the EPA's latest statement -- clearly Yoshi had a hand.)

Nyankees Vol. 1 Review (Hey Poor Player)




What, you didn't think a cat manga review was inevitable?

Anyway, expect a steady flow of "one and done" Vol. 1 reviews beginning this spring -- I'm beginning to recognize it's not just about analyzing what you love, but the general influx of what the media produces.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Super Mario Bros. 3


Before I begin this review proper, I must confess there exist two factors that've always dumbfounded me regarding Super Mario Bros. 3, the NES game revered as the system's masterwork. Admittedly, one bears little on the game's quality in itself; mainly, the shock that its original Japanese release was a whole two years earlier in 1988 than its 1990 American release. Technically speaking, that's more so a year-and-a-half (Japan's October 23, 1988 to America's February 12, 1990 -- and that's to say nothing of Europe's August 29, 1991!), but the point is, I just think it's silly 1988 America was busy greeting a reassembled black sheep in Super Mario Bros. 2 while Japan was living it up with the Holy Grail of 8-Bit Gaming. As always with the medium, The Land of the Rising Sun really does have it good.

The other cause -- one immediately more relevant and, as evidenced by this Koji Kondo interview, has certainly confounded others -- is how I am never not baffled by the silent title screen. Anyone who's played the Super Mario All-Stars remake should certainly recall the jubilant ragtime remix of the classic Underwater Theme, perfectly accompanying the game's curtain-raising opening via choreography: the subdued drone introducing Mario and Luigi, the trumpeting eruption of delight greeting not only both the title and the theater's showers of enemies and power-ups, but our joy in playing one of the greatest 2D platformers ever crafted. A disorientation perhaps exclusive to those who played the SNES/GBA versions first (including yours truly), this aural absence unveils our first impressions of Super Mario Bros. 3 as a stunning retcon, its reduction to silent pantomime a bewildering relic.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Case Closed Vol. 69 Review




As mentioned on Twitter, this'll be the last Case Closed review for the foreseeable future. Not that I haven't fallen out of love with the series or anything, the series' rigid formula produced repetition that often impeded consistent critical thought. As I plan to branch out into other manga this spring, this difficulty rendered it prime for the axe. Consequently, I suspect my more ardent  readers may notice my wavering conviction throughout this particular review.

Regardless, we'll be back on track with game reviews here soon. Expect to see Sleeping with the Enemy return this month as well.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Dr. Stone Vol. 3 Review (Hey Poor Player)



It's insane how much better Dr. Stone gets once Taiju and Yuzuhira are out of the picture. I can't recommend this enough.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Promised Neverland Vol. 7 Review



And we've finally wrapped up the Manga Review Deluge from Hell! Give me a round of applause, why don't you?

Anyway, there's just two more reviews I scheduled for this month (Case Closed/Dr. Stone), so look forward to those.


Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue



Okay, now things have just gotten silly. Long have us patient Kingdom Hearts fans weathered wacky names in 358/2 Days and Re:Coded all for the sake of Kingdom Hearts III's ever-nebulous release, but Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue? That's not just absurd -- that's pretentious word salad scribbled straight from the aspiring teenager debuting their Kingdom Hearts/Animorphs/My Little Pony crossover fanfiction into the world. Not that Kingdom Hearts wasn't already a fanfictional fever dream in itself, but how on earth am I supposed to say that with a straight face? Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue -- gads, even just typing that feels nasty. Thankfully, our ever-oblivious director in Tetsuya Nomura comes to the rescue with his faux-rocket science:

"This Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance compilation follows the previously HD work 2.5...and is worthy as taking its place as 2.6. Since Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover/Kingdom Hearts Unchained is supposed to be the first game in the mainline series, that is being represented as '0' in the collection. And lastly, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep is '0.1' and that then leads into Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep."

Where do I even begin? The made-up math? The constant name influx? That despite said collection including Dream Drop Distance -- the convoluted but necessary step into the upcoming finale -- the presence of tech demo Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- and movie Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover only further inflates the baggage of confusing names and superfluous events? Granted, maybe the latter's unfair to 0.2 -- god, did I really just type that? -- but we'll get into that later.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Worldly Weekend: Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX

Disclaimer: This article serves as the "main" reviews for Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix, as I possess no interest in importing the original versions.



Now, here's something certainly more bang for your buck: two Final Mixes in one collection. Sure, there's a rancid movie adaption included, but why complain when there's two Holy Grails finally localized into English? To say Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX -- the second of the three Kingdom Hearts collections we're reviewing -- chronologically focuses on the post-Kingdom Hearts portion of the saga would be a tad misleading considering the presence of prequel Birth by Sleep, but it's not like 358/2 Days -- a game requiring intimate knowledge of Kingdom Hearts II -- being present in the first collection made much sense either. As we've elaborated countless times, no one really knows what goes on with this series, so let's just roll with it.

So anyway: Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and a movie adaption of Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded. For the moment, let us pretend that last one doesn't exist, and observe the majesty previously denied to us Westerners. True, dedicated PSP owners may've circumvented the handheld's region-free capabilities for Birth by Sleep, but let's not pretend the English language's presence doesn't produce convenience for everyone else. Yet with Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix being the more famed of the two, it's only natural we begin with the collection's main attraction.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Astra Lost in Space Vol. 5 Review (Hey Poor Player)


Article Here

Happy New Year!! To celebrate, here's my final manga review of, uh, last year. Coincidentally, this marks the conclusion of Astra Lost in Space.

My goodness, would you look at that sidebar: 81 posts for one year! My biggest yet -- I wonder if I can surpass it this year? Regardless, in all my hard work over the past fall, I've neglected to maintain my Game Journalism/Manga archives, so expect updates around those parts.

Here's to a bigger and better 2019!