Behold and quake in fear, mortals! For I have amassed 800 blogs here at the Wizard Dojo!
Thank you, my kind, dear readers, for sticking with me for these past four-plus years and seven-hundred and ninety-nine blogs. You people are what keep me keepin’ on keepin’ on.
Anyway, let’s get to celebrating this milestone with some answers to questions and lists and stuff!
Now then, let’s hop to it.
Chapter 1: Answer you Everything
I recently did my fourth addition of my “Ask Me Anythings,” and I got an astonishing four replies! Thankfully, each person who asked me something asked me a few somethings, which means this section will actually have something to it.
So let’s not waste any more time and get to the answers!
Matt from NintendoBound asked the following questions.
1: What is your earliest gaming memory?
That’s actually a pretty difficult question, believe it or not. I’ve been gaming for as long as I remember, and I mean that quite literally. As far back as my memory goes, ever since I was a wee tyke, I’ve been playing video games. As such, my earliest memories kind of blur together.
I will say though, since I had two older brothers who played video games, I had an NES, SNES and Genesis from the start. To my young mind, those were the long and short of video games (and arcades). It didn’t dawn on me that there were game systems beforehand, or that there’d be new ones on the horizon.
So I can’t think of one specific memory, as there are a lot of games and memories that stand out that could very well have been “the earliest.” But if I could pick one game that stood out above the rest in these earliest years of my gaming life, it would be Super Mario World.
2: What do you think the next Legend of Zelda on home console should be like?
A remake of Link’s Awakening. 😛
In all seriousness, I would hope the next “big” Zelda game follows suit with Breath of the Wild. Not every Zelda has to go BotW’s route, but I think getting one similar Zelda in the near future would make sense.
However, my big “wish” for the next big Zelda game would be to include entirely optional dungeons. I know people will point out that every dungeon in Breath of the Wild was technically optional, but if you wanted to see the full story, you still had to complete them all. And sure, there were also the shrines, which were great, but they weren’t full-on dungeons. I’d like the next Zelda to have some proper dungeons that are separate from those in the main plot, and only need to be completed if the player feels like it. Maybe these dungeons could tell mini-narratives of their own.
Even if the next Zelda goes a more traditional route, this is still what I would like to see incorporated. In fact, it might be even more welcome in that scenario.
But if we do go the Breath of the Wild route next time around, please make the dungeons look aesthetically different! Make more visually distinct bosses! And for heaven’s sake, make taming horses worth my time! Seriously, Link was way more versatile in travel than any horse, so why bother taking the time to tame them? Brilliant game, possibly my favorite Zelda. But those are the kinks that needed ironing out.
3: Which of the newcomers in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate have you been using most?
Without anything even remotely resembling a comparison, King K. Rool. He’s been my most played character by far in a way, with only Donkey Kong himself visible in the rearview mirror. There are a few other characters I want to get better with, but as far as the newcomers go, King K. Rool has completely taken the cake for me.
Red Metal from Extra Life Reviews asked the following questions
After truly getting into the medium and observing the many times film critics failed to see eye-to-eye with fans, I’ve come down to the conclusion that the former faction could stand to improve themselves. How do you think they should go about doing that?
The shortest way to answer this is that film critics need to stop being so elitist! They need to get off their high horse and stop with the “pop art vs. high art” nonsense. They have to open up more and accept that the likes of animated films, super hero movies, sequels and franchises can be just as good as any film. A film doesn’t need to be politically fueled Oscar bait or a small town indie flick to be good (if anything, if we look at the films that are regarded as the most timeless, the exact opposite would be closer to true than their stance).
As I’ve stated before ad nauseam, I support Andy Warhol’s stance on the matter, that just because a work of art is commercial does not take away from its standing as art.
The hilarious irony is that film critics love to present themselves as open-minded, yet almost seem to bask in the ignorant idea that only a specific type of movie can be good.
It’s okay if general audiences actually cared to see a movie.
What film do you consider “So bad it’s good”?
While I think the term “so bad it’s good” is a little overused, there are a few movies I think fall into this category (or, at the very least, are so bad they’re enjoyable), such as Super Mario Bros. (1993), Street Fighter (1994), and Jingle All the Way (1996). The 1990s were a good decade for bad movies, it seems.
However, if there’s one movie I would say is legitimately so bad it’s actually good (as in, I would freely recommend it to any fan of movies), and this is an obvious pick (but obvious with reason, I’d say), it’s Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003). As a movie, it fails on every imaginable level: writing, acting, pacing, continuity, even logic. The film is utterly incompetent and lacks coherency.
And yet, watching The Room is an almost surreal experience. Even with its countless faults and incomparable ineptitude, you almost feel sympathetic for it. It’s not so bad it feels offending to the soul in ways movies like The Love Guru and The Master of Disguise do. Instead, it’s so bad you want to root for it and cheer it on.
There’s a bizarre sense of earnestness to The Room that, somehow, shines through. This rings all the truer if you know the story behind the movie (as chronicled in the book The Disaster Artist, written by Tommy Wiseau’s best friend and co-star Greg Sestaro; as well as its 2017 film adaptation). Tommy Wiseau was a guy who simply loved movies and acting, and wanted to make a movie (and had the funds to do so, though how remains a mystery to this day). He may not have been good at making a movie in any sense of the term, but its genuine intentions somehow shine through in this truly disastrous movie.
Have you ever cleared a game while traveling abroad?
Unfortunately, I haven’t travelled abroad very much. And haven’t beat any games while I have. The closest I’ve gotten to that was when I beat Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story while traveling in Nashville. Not exactly “abroad” though, is it?
What lesson do you think film fans could learn from gamers?
As sad as this sounds, film fans still need to learn many of the same lessons as film critics. Now, the general moviegoing public seems fine. But when you see/hear of moviegoers who pride themselves as cinema buffs, they tend to replicate the same faults as professional movie critics, in what is an obvious example of ‘monkey see, monkey do.’ It’s pretty obvious that they think emulating ‘professionals’ somehow makes them seem more legit, and fail to realize they tend to also be emulating blatant prejudices against certain types of movies.
By contrast, gamers (for the most part) lack this sense of pompousness with criticisms. Super Mario is a surrealist Japanese fairy tale in which a cartoon plumber rides on dinosaurs and saves a Mushroom Kingdom from evil turtle monsters, and is also the medium’s biggest franchise. Movie buffs would scoff at something similar in their medium for being too childish and nonsensical, and for being too commercial. But in the video game world, Super Mario is the medium’s most acclaimed entity. Gamers seem to have an infinitely easier time accepting things that are strange and different, and don’t hold the commercial standing of games against them (because again, why do movie critics and buffs hate the concept of the general populace enjoying a movie?).
Sadly, it seems in the late 2000s, a number of independent game “critics” tried their damndest to try to bring this same ignorant mindset of only liking a specifically made work into the world of gaming, with the biggest offender being Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw (AKA the living embodiment of human waste). Clearly, they aimed to replicate film pretentiousness in an infinitely misguided attempt to bring “legitimacy” into gaming critique, without realizing that the gaming world already had a one up on film criticism due to their more openness. Thankfully, these clowns are frequently discredited. If only the movie world could learn to discredit the same type of clowns.
I’ve actually been meaning to write an entire blog about that. Hopefully writing this snippet will inspire me to finally go through with it.
Justacommenter asked the following questions
Which are some of your biggest memories made with Smash bros not related to speculation or debating online? Sheer experience with the games hands on.
I’ll list two different memories (although the first one took place over several days, so I guess it’s more than one).
The first memory is – while waiting to get Super Smash Bros. Melee for Christmas – my family rented the game and, over a few days, unlocked every character and (almost) every stage. So when we did get the game on Christmas, we had everything already saved on our memory card ready to go. Some might say that would have spoiled our big Christmas gift that year, but nah. It just means by the time we owned the game, we could just hop right into all of its features. It’s no wonder we played it regularly until Brawl was released.
Talking of which…
The other big memory is waiting for the midnight launch of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and going home to play it until six O’clock in the morning. Good times.
I’ve seen you talk about plenty of japanese animated movies, but are there any anime series you particularly enjoy?
Truth be told, I’m way behind on anime series. I’ve mentioned this a few times, but I’ve been pretty slow when it comes to TV shows in general these past few years. I really should catch up some time.
There are a number of anime series I watched in the past, however. Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star stand out. And I was BIG into Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z (but not GT, oh noooo). Of course Pokemon was one I watched a lot, and I even dug the Monster Rancher anime.
Digimon, however, was my favorite series as a kid. The first two seasons (especially the first) are still memorable, despite the lacking production values.
I watched a lot of anime shows back in the day. Hopefully I can catch up on a few, especially since I hope to review a few TV shows here and there in the near future.
Which are some of your mains in other more traditional fighting games? (you can name as many as you like but to give a few examples Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Guilty Gear, King of Fighters, etc)
I’m going to be honest, aside from Super Smash Bros., I royally suck at fighting games. With that said, I have played a lot of Street Fighter over the years, and my mains tend to be Chun-Li or, when available, Rainbow Mika. I also have played a bit of Soul Caliber, and my main there is usually Taki. Yeah, I guess you could say I have a type…
Mr. B from the Review Nebula asked the following questions
*But first, this was actually your second comment on my site, Mr. B. You also commented on my tribute to Stephen Hillenburg*
Do you have any plans to review a game from the Grand Theft Auto franchise? Given the critical acclaim received by Rockstar and the blockbuster sales that the games have made upon release, I have to wonder if you think any of the earlier games (be they from the PS1 era or from the rather epochal PS2 suite) still hold up.
I would like to review the GTA games eventually. Only problem in regards to the older entries is I don’t currently own a PS2 any more. So I guess I should start with the PS3 and PS4 versions of GTA IV and V. Maybe someday I’ll review the GTA3 series of games. I liked Red Dead Redemption 2 quite a bit, so it definitely raised my interest in GTA. Of course, RDR2 still had its share of flaws, and that’s their newest release. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see how well I think their other titles hold up.
GTA is definitely on my list, you could say. I just don’t know exactly when.
Given your tendency to review animated movies (which are all fascinating, although all the reviews posted on this blog are), I wonder if there are any animated TV shows that you are currently interested in. What, if any, are your favorites – western or anime?
First of all, thank you very much for the compliment. 🙂
There aren’t any animated series I’m currently watching. But I do plan to review animated television series in the future. Some of my favorites include Adventure Time, Regular Show, Digimon (seasons 1 and 2), The Simpsons (seasons 1-8, after that it went from bad to worse to unwatchable to “oh please, just cancel this garbage”), King of the Hill and Spongebob Squarepants (the first three seasons and select other episodes, before it got all disgusting and annoying). I also like the above mentioned anime.
Hopefully soon I can get around to reviewing TV shows, western animation and anime included.
Chapter 2: Sunshine Blogger Award From Red Metal of Extra Life Reviews
Now that we’ve got answering all those questions out of the way…let’s answer some more questions!
Thanks once again for Red Metal of Extra Life Reviews for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Here are the questions he asked and my answers to them.
In which cases would you deem the manga superior to the anime on which it’s based?
Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I read the manga, but I’ll go with Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki. Now, the movie is excellent in its own right, but (unpopular opinion) I don’t think it’s one of his better movies.
The funny story is, Nausicaa was originally planned as a movie, but this was 1980s Japan, and no one wanted to produce an anime film that wasn’t based on a manga. So Miyazaki decided to make it into a manga. And two years into the manga’s run, a movie was commissioned. But the manga would continue a whole decade after the movie’s release. As such, there’s much to the overall mythology that goes unmentioned in the film. As such, the movie feels like only part of the story.
Miyazaki apparently felt the same way, and later made Princess Mononoke as a remake of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, incorporating more of the narrative elements found in the Nausicaa manga. Again, the Nausicaa movie is great, but from what I remember, the manga feels more complete.
Which game do you feel has the best soundtrack?
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest. It’s haunting, atmospheric, melancholic, menacing, and serene all at the same time. So many composers would have looked at a game about monkeys collecting bananas and fighting pirate crocodiles and would have simply given it the expected bouncy, cartoony score. Not David Wise. Instead, Mr. Wise looked past its exterior and delved into the fact that DKC2 is a game about a couple of kids trying to rescue a fallen hero, all while trying to survive insurmountable odds on the villain’s home turf. The music beautifully reflects this journey and the emotions that come with it, and tells a better story than most narrative-heavy games do with their plots.
DKC2’s score also pulls off the subtle innovation of placing its most soothing tracks in its most difficult stages. Now, it makes perfect sense why most games would give their most difficult and stressful stages music that reflects that. But there’s something oddly original to how DKC2’s toughest challenges – such as haunted forests, icy deathtraps, and the (in)famous Brambles stages – are given the most beautiful and calming tracks. It lifts your spirits up and makes you want to push through them, instead of throwing your controller and quitting out of rage. I don’t know why more game soundtracks haven’t tried to emulate it.
Other favorites include Super Mario RPG, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (which in many ways is just as good as DKC2’s), Undertale, Donkey Kong Country (I sense a theme here), Super Mario Galaxy, Nights Into Dreams, Shadow of the Colossus, and a few others. I actually plan on doing a top 10, maybe even top 20, list of best game soundtracks at some point. Perhaps, once again, since I’ve actually answered questions like this it may help me actually go through with said list.
If you could revive a dead video games series, which one would you choose?
Super Mario RPG is my go-to example of a game that never got a direct sequel that sorely deserves one, but it isn’t exactly a franchise.
It’s a toss-up between a few: Nights Into Dreams, which received one sequel on the Wii, but believe or not, more time has passed between said sequel and now than between the Saturn original and said sequel, so I’d say it’s time for another. Ristar, which never received a sequel (Sega’s inability to franchise any of their Genesis games not called Sonic may have had something to do with how they ended up). Conker’s Bad Fur Day is in desperate need of one, but seems likely that it never will, given director Chris Seavor stating his taste has changed so much he couldn’t do it if he tried, and how other ‘quasi-sequels’ like Project Spark and the ungodly Young Conker panned out.
But let’s go with an even more obvious choice: Banjo-Kazooie. Like Nights, more time has passed between Nuts & Bolts and now than what passed between Banjo-Tooie and Nuts & Bolts. Given how Yooka-Laylee turned out, the gaming world could really use a proper Banjo-Kazooie game. No cars. Just 3D platforming, item collecting fun.
What game/film/album/book did you have a particularly difficult time adding to your collection?
Well, the only music I really collect are movie and video game soundtracks (particularly the latter), which yes, makes me the biggest nerd. But hey, that’s what I like.
Of all the video game soundtracks I own, the rarest I have are, ironically enough, my aforementioned favorites: Donkey Kong Country 2 and Super Mario RPG. It took forever to find them, let alone buy them.
Do you prefer to see a film at home or in the theaters?
It all just depends, really. In concept, I want to say the theater. But so many audiences these days are obnoxious and actively want to disrupt a movie. If you walk into a theater and see a group of teenagers or early twenty-somethings, there’s a good chance your experience will be filled with obnoxious laughter, chuckling at inappropriate moments, and unwanted commentary. The kind of stuff that really makes me hate my generation. Because if it’s not snarky and self-deprecating, it seems difficult to hold a Millennial’s attention (earnest emotion doesn’t make for memes! How dare they!).
Okay, I’m starting to sound too negative. When the moviegoing experience is good, it’s ideal. Of course, sometimes it’s also nice just to sit home at night and watch a movie. I guess it’s just situational for me.
In what cases did you find yourself siding with critics over fans about a work’s quality?
The Star Wars sequel trilogy. *Ducks for cover*
In what cases did you find yourself siding with fans over critics about a work’s quality?
There are probably a few examples I could list, but the one that’s standing out to me right now is the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me which, unlike the TV series on which it’s based, was rather lambasted by critics upon its original release (though its gained some appreciation in the years since). Granted, the film only works if you’ve seen the series, and it should never be watched before the series if you don’t want it biggest plot details spoiled for you. Again, it only works for fans, so I guess I can’t blame critics at the time too much for not getting it (especially since the series is already insane as it is). But I guess the fact still stands that I’m with fans over critics on this one.
I feel like there are other examples staring me in the face, but this is the one that came to mind for some reason.
What is the most difficult game you’ve completed?
Another predictable choice, but probably the Dark Souls/Bloodborne games. I even claimed the platinum trophies in Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne, and will one day try to do the same for the rest. The hardest game I’ve ever played still might be Battletoads, but that game is impossible. I can’t beat it.
Which game series have you been following for the longest amount of time?
As I said before, I’ve been gaming for literally as long as I can remember. So I could list a few series. But I’ll list the most obvious one and say Super Mario. It’s always been a part of my life.
In what ways do you feel video game critics to be ahead of their film-loving counterparts?
Well, I guess I kind of already answered this earlier, and I’m rambling enough as it is. So see my previous answer on this for now, and I’ll probably delve into this again another time.
How does hype factor into how you ultimately feel about a work?
It doesn’t, really. But hype may dictate whether or not I purchase a game. In 2018, I bought both God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 due to their hype. But I don’t think hype has any effect on how I feel about a game.
Chapter 3: Top 5 Most Anticipated Movies of 2019
You may say a list like this should have happened at the start of the new year. But oh well, we’re still in February. The year’s still young. So let’s look at my five most anticipated movies being released in the rest of this decade’s final year.
5: Detective Pikachu
Okay, so only the top four entries are ones I have high hopes for. Detective Pikachu could be good, but so far, between the cringe humor (a Pikachu fart joke? Really?) and some ugly reimaginings of beloved Pokemon (Jigglypuff has fur?), it’s not looking too great.
So why is it on this list? Think about it for a minute. Here we are in 2019, and we’re getting a live-action Pokemon movie made in America. It’s almost surreal, and a real testament to the timelessness of the Pokemon IP. More importantly, it could, much like the Lego Batman Movie, represent a new take on franchise filmmaking, in which filmmakers and studios can tinker around with franchises in playful new ways.
Plus, I just got a soft spot for Pokemon.
4: Toy Story 4
It seems odd to place a Toy Story movie this (relatively) low on a list like this. But after Toy Story 3 wrapped up the series in a beautiful way, Toy Story 4 has an uphill battle to climb in order to justify its existence. Seeing Buzz Lightyear and Woody in a new adventure is always something to be excited for, and Pixar has proven they can make tremendous sequels with Toy Stories 2 and 3, Finding Dory, Incredibles 2 and, to a lesser extent, Monsters University. So there’s still plenty of hope for another great installment. But, for the first time, there is a shred of doubt when it comes to Toy Story.
3: Avengers: Endgame
2019 is of course the final year of the 2010s decade, and interestingly, its lineup of movies really reinforces that. How to Train Your Dragon, which began the first year of the decade, is ending. And as mentioned, Toy Story 3 was also released in 2010, and is seeing a sequel this year. These next 3 entries also reflect this fitting finality of the movie decade.
Sure, the Marvel Cinematic Universe began in 2008 with Iron Man, but it was in this decade when the MCU truly took shape and saw Marvel’s heroes crossing over and finally team up in The Avengers (2012). Fittingly, the decade-long story that’s been building up in the MCU and came to a head last year in Avengers: Infinity War will be coming to an epic conclusion in Endgame.
What a wild ride its been, following the Avengers for all these years and witnessing Thanos’ quest to collect the Infinity Stones. To see it come to an end is pretty bittersweet. But at least the MCU will continue with its “younger” generation of heroes.
Let’s hope the original batch of Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Incredible Hulk) get the sendoff they deserve.
2: Star Wars: Episode IX
Yeah yeah, The Last Jedi was divisive. Moving on.
This is another instance of 2019 poetically capping off the movie decade. While the two previous Star Wars trilogies began at the end of one decade and ended in the next, the Star Wars sequel trilogy is uniquely a part of the 2010s. And it will be interesting to see how J. J. Abrams wraps the series up.
I actually liked The Last Jedi quite a bit when I first saw it, though I have come to understand a number of the (more civil) complaints. But I still love The Force Awakens quite a lot. Yes, it’s a little derivative of A New Hope, but A New Hope was derivative of The Hidden Fortress. We never fell in love with Star Wars for original narrative, but for its sense of wonder, adventure and imagination.
Say what you want about Rian Johnson’s take on Star Wars, but J. J. Abrams undeniably loves the series. The childlike enthusiasm that gushed from The Force Awakens was admirable, like a kid telling their own story through their Star Wars action figures, which makes me understand the complaints against The Last Jedi a little more, given how it unceremoniously wrote off much of what Abrams started (as if a school bully pushing the aforementioned kid down and saying “your characters are dumb!”). But I’ll write a whole other blog about that later.
Simply put, I love Star Wars (and yes, I still do like The Last Jedi). And if J. J. Abrams can combine his enthusiasm for the franchise with a little more narrative distinction, and he can easily bring the saga to a satisfying conclusion.
1: Frozen II
I am not even joking, that trailer for Frozen II may be the most badass movie trailer I’ve seen. It accomplished everything a good trailer should (piquing interest and curiosity, building hype) while also doing something very original for an animated sequel trailer; it set a tone entirely its own.
Of course Frozen II will still be a fun Disney musical. But given Frozen’s massive success, it would have been easy to just show some familiar faces and play things cute and safe. Instead, we got a trailer that said “this sequel will be its own beast.” Of course its still going to be a fun family adventure, but the trailer succeeded in conveying the filmmakers’ message that they’re aiming to do something different. Well done.
More important than any trailer, however… It’s Frozen II. As in, the sequel to my favorite Disney movie, the surprise hit of the decade (once again going back to 2019’s poetic reflection of the 2010s in the movie world). We’ve got the endlessly lovable characters, the same creative minds and songwriters, and really, a completely blank slate to work from as far as sequels go. There are so many possibilities to go with it. If Frozen II is even half as delightful as its predecessor, it will be a surefire winner.
Chapter 4: The Last One
Holy crap! How did this post become as long as one of my Christmas specials? I usually just fill these milestone blogs with a bunch of stupid gifs and call it a day. Guess I’m setting my bar pretty high for my eventual 1000th blog…
Anyway, let’s wrap this up with a big thank you to all my readers. Without you, I would just look like a crazy person writing all of these blogs for myself.
Special thanks of course goes to Matt from NintendoBound, whom I’ve known in the blogging-verse for almost a decade, I think. Good chap. Special thanks also goes to Red Metal from Extra Life Reviews, Mr. B from Reviews Nebula, AfterStory from… AfterStory (and also here sometimes), Justacommenter, Abraham Lincoln, Arthur Fonzarelli, and Grimace.
Once again, my dear, beautiful readers, thanks for helping me get this far.
Now if you excuse me, I have top men working on my next lineup of reviews. Who, you may ask?
…And by that I mean me. See you soon.