E3, The Electronic Entertainment Expo has come under sever criticism as overpriced tickets, lack luster content, and Industry Lead companies start holding their own events and conventions for releases…
The year is 2019, E3 came and went, EA held their own event practically “Down the Street” on Saturday while Blizzard is already sold out for their own convention this year. Bethesda, Bandi/Namco, Lucasarts-EA, Nintendo and a few of the other huge AAA companies got to showcase their upcoming projects. However, this year we’ve seen a decline in popular opinion across social media and the general support provided.
Games announced like “Cyberpunk 2077” from CD Projekt Red with the sudden resurgence of the titular “Secret Man-Crush” Keanu Reeves whom not only announced said game but seems to be a key character in the game that got the crowd hyped. Another presenter, Ikumi Nakamura, wooed the fans and internet alike with her playful display and otherwise cute approach for “Ghostwire” from Bethesda.
While our hopes and dreams were lifted with these presenters and their products, Lucasarts-EA gave us a look at their attempt to “Cash in” on the popularity of “Dark Souls”/”Bloodborne”/”Sekiro” with “Star Wars: Fallen Order”. If you’re an Old School fan of Dark Forces, like I am, and they make a game 20 years after the fact where you can’t dismember enemies but you can impale them with your “Laser Sword” you’ve got to wonder just what exactly they were thinking when games like “Jedi Outcast” had better saber physics and realism. Not to mention the in game cinematic look like something from the Playstation 3 Era with less polish than the in-game cut-scene content from SW:TOR and a major step back for a franchise that already had so much. Mimicry is the greatest flattery for some but this is not a FromSoft game.
The best, however, was saved for last. Nintendo quietly sat in wait like a puma with it’s DLC release for Smash Brothers, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, Pokemon Sun/Moon, a Link’s Awakening Remake, Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Daemon X Machina, and some DLC for Xenoblade Chronicles 2. All of this was great news but Nintendo usually lets us all know what’s coming out with “Nintendo Direct” so E3 simply served them as a platform for launching such news.
However, it would look like the Corperately Owned IGN (by Gamestop) would be covering some strange content from our friends over at Ubisoft. What are you guys doing? Seriously, what exactly is going on? In addition Ubisoft and google Google “Stradia” is going to cost you every month like an MMO Subscribtion with a heavy emphasis on using as MUCH bandwidth they can however, in the USA, over in the pond Australia and the UK, and much of the rest of the first world data caps and bandwidth limits are more and more of an actual issue and “Playing lots of video games” is NOT going to “Make the ISPs increase your cap when they can just shut off your network and demand more money”. Someone didn’t think this all out (or they didn’t consider that you can’t strong-arm businesses that monopolize an actual telecommunication resource controls). I mean, at least they have a dog, right?
That all being said I’ve actually spoken to a few industry folks in California. They’re finding that it’s actually less money to spend starting their own venue and “Event” than it is to pay $3-8k for a table at E3 when other venues are willing to give you the whole floor and you can offer table space for vendors and smaller companies and require paid registration to get in. While E3 has been an industry staple since 1995 AAA companies are “Doing their own thing” as stated by one of the staff this year on the Show Floor (we’re not going to tell everyone your name but you know who you are). As mentioned earlier Companies like Blizzard-Activision, EA, Id, and various have begun their own “Events” and “Conventions”. Id of Doom and Quake fame have had QUAKECON for years (and this year QC will be “DOOMCON”) racking in tens of thousands in preregistration and attending fees while entertaining and providing an outlet for thousands of fraggers, gamers, fans, designs go to see the sights and while I’ve only attended in streaming form I can say watching John Carmack lecture on projects and game design.
We have our fingers on the pulse and ear on the ground. Stirring from many West-Coast based companies has begun. Smaller “Retro Gaming” conventions have been turning a profit and pulling enough to justify venues like the “Pasadena Convention Center” and ballrooms at Hotels and Resorts. It’s only a matter of time before E3 loses it’s teeth and we have multiple conventions populated by key publishers populated with dozens of vendors and fan-works that brings back a sense of community rather than this strange force-fed narrative and “Razzle Dazzle” for sub par AAA products.
The long awaited teaser trailer has arrived for the next installment of Star Wars and it brings the feeling back that’s been gone since Episode 3.
The Official name and working title is “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” harkening to an earlier time in the Star Wars Extended Universe. While people are feverishly analyzing the footage provided we can certainly say “There is a lot of nostalgia here”.
To add to the cast we have Lando returning (as mentioned in our last Star Wars article), the last footage of the late Carry Fisher, and a spooky laugh from “Zappy Pappy” Emperor Palpatine. Altogether it should be a solid “Wrap-Up” of the story as long as they can stay true to the original method.
Looking over the footage flashy set pieces and impressive CG Spectacles are abound the Producers and Director are saying “It will have a far more real-world feel about it”. The “World Building” that seemed to have lost much of it’s appeal in the last 2 “Official Films” like “Knock off Hoth with salt” and “Jakku being another Tatooine” or “Takodana being a somewhat colonized Endor”.
All this being said by the “Looks” of it we’re getting what seems to be some sort of “Condemnation arch” were the bad-guy actually resolves on becoming the monster he’s always tried to be rather than “Giving into the good”. Prince Kylo obviously having pulled the trigger on Leia in the last movie seems to be all out of sorts. So much so that after killing “Big Bad Snoke” for making him “Break the mask that grandpa Vader would have been proud of” and trying to get him to slay his crush he decides to fix his “Spooky Mask” (Death Mask for the Sith Cultists if you were into the expanded universe). To tie it all together at the end of the teaser we get the “Voice Over” of the long dead “Emperor Palpatine. Remember when he got thrown into the Death Star II’s core and exploded like a water balloon filled with lightening?
If it’s irony or just a solid nod to the old defunct “expanded universe”. The Emperor was obsessed with immortality and the prospect of clones. We’ve not been given much to go on but the foreboding laughing at could either be one of Disney’s classic “Fake out lines that are never in the movie but somehow in the trailer and no one bothered to do anything other than use said bit of sound-bite to embelish nostalgia and force a content expectation that won’t be there thus denying the fans what they thought was going to be there and leave us all bitter and angry that it never happened” like they’ve done with so many movies in the past decade.
While it’s not as scary as the first Sonic the Hedgehog teaser poster it’s still a little jarring.
It’s been almost a year and the designs for “Sonic” The Hedgehog gave Modern and Retro Gamers a reason to collectively groan and hang their heads. While Hollywood does not get Video Games like they did back in the 90s (yes, we liked Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Brothers, and the campy Street Fighter movies) some modern “versions” of “Game Movies” like Assassin’s Creed and Tomb Raider serve as middling “Pop Corn” flicks but not quite rip-roaring, laugh inducing, action packed blockbusters that they were.
As a kid who played Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Sega Genesis we were hamstrung with a game that was more action packed than it was complex (like Super Mario World was for the SNES) which would draw us to peer hard at the sprites that were our avatars. All things considered this is pretty close if we’re going for “Realism” however an anthropomorphic cartoon hedgehog with a colossal forehead in the image to the left may work alongside living actors. However, will it be a dynamic character? Will the interaction be more than stilted “One Liners” and berating the world about not having a “Chilly-dog”?
We know “Jim Carry” is going to play Doctor Robotnik. We’ve got a bunch of “Main Cast” characters that are human which will probably interact with Sonic just like the Human cast did in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. None of the other “Archie Comics” or “Sat AM” characters have been revealed but we have seen some “Principal Photography” of a large Billboard describing the town of “Green Hill” which is a nice nod despite the fact that the Sheriff patrol car in the background is not a Mobius Flying Patrol Vehicle but a Modern Day police-car.
Will it blend? We don’t know yet. However, character designs aside we’ve seen Hollywood do worse to “Video Game Based Films”. I remember the atrocity that was Doom with the “Genetic Tampering BAD” narrative and the whole “Demons from Hell” getting gutted from the story or the convoluted Uwe Boll “House of the Dead” and “Alone in the Dark” abominations that tarnished the solid horror of the original works. The clock is ticking on Sonic and it will require a solid viewing to tell weather or not Sega has gathered the Chaos Emeralds and produced a worthy product or they’ve run headfirst into a spike trap and lost all their rings.
We called it before it happened.
Animegate is here in it’s first incarnation. Many of us will remember the early days of Anime and the formation of our opinions on the talent behind the characters we love. Funimation has been there for most of it. Localizing Dragonball, Dragonball Z, Dragonball GT, Fullmetal Alchemist, and dozens of other titles. The month of February, however, seems to be quite the month when it comes to people touching too much…
Twitter caught fire as Vic Mignoga was accused of “Unprofessional behavior” by “fans” from conventions. What that constitutes we can only guess because we have not seen any public records of the following:
-Civil Law Suits against Vic
-Complaint Records from said conventions
Which leads us to state the following:
“If you feel violated at any time, say something and report it immediately!”
That being said, without evidence and witnesses all we can say and see is a lot of people vaguely saying “something happened” or “It happened to #metoo!”
“Witch Hunts” are what we normally call what’s happening here. Without proof beyond hearsay we can’t go carrying torches and pitchforks around screaming about how he’s a monster. However, other Voice Actors have come to give their own accounts and “encounters” with Vic…
Monica Rial is a major “accuser” out of Vic’s colleagues which she seems to be taking the whole situation in a stride. Concerning the subject she seems to have a large focus, almost obsessive, on Mr. Mignoga after having “Disclosed” his “Creepy Behavior” which she has “Forgiven despite him not asking for it” and even has gone as far as to say her “Lawyer advises her to stay off twitter”, only to continue talking about it.
Another one of Vic’s former associates was Jamie Marchi whom disclosed:
The above Tweet covered her experiences far less vaguely than Monica did. She mentions how Funimation, like Vic’s Fans, was caught up in hero worship and that the whole thing was brushed off. Her experience was horrible, tragic, and despite it she persisted, marched forward, and continues to be an exemplary actor.
As you saw in the first paragraph, Funimation has taken the first steps to blacklist and assure Vic Mignoga is no longer on the convention scene. In addition to that, Vic, will most likely need to find a “Change of Venue” as an actor. It’s not a far-fetched concern but a serious one to consider. However, we can only guess what kind of permissive atmosphere and culture lead the accused to think that this was standard if it really happened. The consideration that it’s real leads to a whole can of worms. What IS the culture of Voice Actors? Where do Production Clearing Houses, Dubbers, and Subtitlers fall into when it comes to liability of the staff? Who is shaping the narrative of the industry and shouldn’t the COMPANY be held accountable? Funimation does have a statement to make following all of this:
We wen’t a few days back in Jamie’s twitter just to be sure of it and we found a little more than disturbing reaction:
In this case it looks like there is no common ground or healing. We can’t condone accused acts or the subsequent harassment of anyone. However, we can say that things have gone a little overboard. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve written books about my abusers but I didn’t get them fired or publicly humiliated…
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Rating Overall: 4 <3<3<3<3/<3<3<3<3<3 5
Rating of how WE Feel: 5/5
Forward: While The Legend of Zelda was many of my generation’s first Adventure games nostalgia sometimes is hyped too far. Many games we play today dwarf what we considered standard in our youth, however, Zelda and Zelda 2 for the Nintendo Entertainment System were and still are some of the best and harder titles from the Retro Gaming Hall of Fame. When asked at a Game Development company “What was my favorite game?” Zelda 2 was the answer and I stand by that. Not a game to keep playing over and over again after beating it a few times but for sure a game worth it’s place in the author’s mind.
Game Summary: Once again you assume the role as Link of Hyrule. However, rather than gathering the Triforce this time Ganon enchanted Zelda and she’s been put to sleep. It’s your job to wake her and defeat the evil that plagues the land. This game is broken into 2 parts:
1. A top-down traveling “Overworld” where you go between the various locations and navigate the world at large.
2. A Side-Scrolling Adventure Platformer with unlockable doors, findable items and upgrades, and a Pseudo-RPG Leveling system where you spend experience earned by slaying monsters on Magic, Life and Spells.
Graphics: The Nintendo Entertainment System was put to the test in some of the scenes. You knew there was a problem once too many monsters got on the screen and they started disappearing. That was the systems limitations though. The overall visual was pretty good. The contrasting colors and layout kept to the Fantasy theme and colors made for establishing the visual asthetic of the world of Hyrule. While the sprites were simple you got a pretty good idea of what you were up against. They even forced you to navigate tunnels in the dark until you found the “Torch” which was some interesting world-building at the time. The color palette was stark but that’s what you get in a fantasy world where the ruler’s been K.O.ed by a phantom Pigman.
Music & Sound: Classing for what it was as far as 8-bit chiptunes can go. Sometimes, while I’m driving to conventions or looking for something that tickles the mind for writing fantasy I’ll throw on some of the soundtrack (like the playlist from above). The atmospheric composition and overall field fits the world nearly perfectly. Accompanying the music is the sound; Crisp and percussive. When you got hit you’d hear “OOF” and when you hit metal with your sword you’d hear the clanging of metal or when a fairy was near the soft bell chime. Classing and nearly perfect. Nearly. The low health beep broke the immersion and always added a serious air of tension because you knew “Death was near”.
Replay: If you’re not going to use a Walkthrough or all the various exploits you could be lost for a long time playing this game (thanks to Nintendo Power as a kid I was saved). The NPC’s in the various villages are “hardly helpful” and some even lie to you or try to kill you as I found about quarter of the way into the game. If you have not played, you have to at least try when you get a chance. They released the Classic NES Mini with it and it can be obtained from many retro-resellers for your NES or NES Playing system or the Nintendo Arcade on the Wii-U or Switch.
In the End: Nearly a 5/5 in our eyes here at Chasing Sasquatch, Zelda 2 is a solid Retro Gaming Classic. While it may be a little hard to find a hard-copy and some folks think they can sell it for more than 20 because of the “Gold Cart” that the game is housed in it’s always a nice centerpiece to a collection. Always remember, if it was hard back then it may be still to this day and Zelda 2 is no exception to the rule… The Hyrule.