Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wrestlemania 34 Review

Hey, look at that! I’m talking about wrestling again!

Yeah, I don’t talk about wrestling much on this site, so who knows if I’m alienating those who do read my writings. But it’s hard to be a wrestling fan and not write about Wrestlemania. Maybe I’ll even start writing more on the intriguing world that is pro-wrestling.

Wrestlemania, the biggest event on WWE’s (and indeed, all of pro-wrestling’s) calendar has come and gone. Overall, the event could be argued as one of the best Wrestlemanias ever in terms of consistency (there was no truly awful match). But it did have it’s share of questionable booking decisions. I’m going to try and give a run down of every match, but because it was an exhausting seven hours long, I’m going to try to keep each match description/my opinions brief.

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RIP Isao Takahata

Isao Takahata, one of the world’s premiere animation filmmakers, has passed away at the age of 82.

Together with his protegé Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata served as co-founder of Studio Ghibli, which quickly became one of the world’s leading forces in animated cinema, inspiring other filmmakers across the world. Takahata personally directed five features for the studio, starting with Grave of the Fireflies, widely regarded as a masterpiece in the medium, and well known for being one of the most emotional impactful films ever made. From there, Takahata would direct Only Yesterday, a romantic drama that continued Ghibli’s trend of proving animated films can tell stories for any audience, not just children.

Takahata would later direct the ecological fairy tale Pom Poko, followed by the family comedy My Neighbors the Yamadas in 1999. After Yamadas, Takahata would enter something of an unofficial retirement, which he would come out of for one final feature with 2013’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (which earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature, which it really, really should have won).

Isao Takahata’s career didn’t start with Ghibli, however, as he had been making animated features and directing TV episodes since the 1960s, including Chie the Brat and Panda! Go Panda!. Once he and Miyazaki founded Studio Ghibli, Takahata personal produced Miyazaki’s earlier features.

Takahata’s films are well known for their emotional strengths, as well as for how distinct as each individual film is from the others. Like Miyazaki, Isao Takahata boasted a unique versatility in his handling of different materials, giving each one of his films an identity all their own. His films were (relatively) more “slice-of-life” than Miyazaki’s fantasies, but were no less magical. Isao Takahata’s films had a unique way of speaking to the child (and adult) in all of us.

The worlds of animation and cinema will never be the same without Isao Takahata, and already the world seems less magical. Rest in peace, Isao Takahata.

Thoughts on IGN’s Top Video Games Of All Time List (2018 Edition)

“The above image belongs to IGN. If you think I made it, you give me way too much credit.”

Well, it looks like IGN has wrapped up another list of their “top 100 video games of all time.” And since I wrote a thing about it last time they did such a list in 2015 (my how time flies), I figured I’d write one about this as well. And because I’m such an opinionated bastard, I’ll give a little bit of my two cents on the selections and placements and such.

It seems like this time around, IGN’s criteria was mainly focused on how much of an impact a game had at launch, how “ahead of their time” they were, and how well they’ve stood the test of time. Which is a pretty decent list of requirements, I must say.

Of course, you can check out IGN’s actual list here, but if you like to read some random blogger’s writing about someone else’s list, then sit your butt down and stay right here!

Here, in full, is IGN’s most recent Top 100 list. Continue reading

Once Again, A Most Necessary Update

Well, it’s been over a week since I last wrote anything, so now I’m writing something. Pardon the lack of updates as of late, I hope to rectify that soon enough. If all goes according to plan, I should be getting some video game and movie reviews done soon, and should be starting on various video game-related top 10 lists (in preparation for that list). So I hope you look forward to that.

The first video game review that should be going up post-this blog is for the PS4 version of Undertale. After that, I have a few newer games I’d like to review, as well as the remainder of the titles included on the SNES Classic. Movie reviews include Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo, among others. As for the top 10 lists. Well, we’ll see which ones I get to first. But I hope to knock a few out of the way relatively soon.

Sorry again for the lack of updates recently. The last thing I want is for my site to suffer. Life just gets in the way sometimes. Also, I hope to continue down the rabbit hole of learning video game development soon. Once that becomes a thing, I may update my progress on the subject here, if anyone is the slightest bit interested. I’m also still tempted to start sharing some creative ideas/art work here, but fear that may come across as some kind of bragging, which is the last thing I’d want to do (I’m a terrible artist). But hey, I am looking to expand this site in any way I can, so maybe?

And maybe it’s beyond hope by this point, but I have started a Patreon to help me continue providing content for this site, and to hopefully get me started on my long-promised video content. The Patreon can be found here, if you’re interested.

So yeah, looks like it’s back to the old grind. Hope you look forward to my future writings, and apologies again for the absence. Here’s Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle playing Shadow of the Colossus.

Toys ‘R Us Memories

It was announced last week that, as the rumors suggested for a while now, Toy’s ‘R’ Us is officially closing up shop. While this was expected in many ways, due to the rise of online shopping and such, the news still stings for those of us who grew up in the last several decades, as it was the go-to toy store for many kids for generations.

Of course I’ve long-since moved on to the likes of Amazon and such to do most of my video game shopping, but in my younger days, Toys ‘R’ Us played an important role in my introduction to the video game medium. Naturally, it was the place I would go to as a kid whenever it was time to pick up whatever game I had been eagerly waiting months for, with Nintendo Power and its ilk often directing me straight to Jeffrey the Giraffe’s abode on launch days.

Those were the pre-EB Games days (which in turn were the pre-GameStop days, which predate these days of online shopping). Granted, I still visited more independent game stores than most kids my age at the time (at least I like to think so), but in my early years, Toys ‘R’ Us was the first destination I’d go to when it was time to pick up an anticipated game.

Perhaps more notably, Toys ‘R’ Us was the place where I first encountered and discovered many games. At the expense of sounding like just another of the countless nostalgics on the internet, I do have to admit that kids in this internet age really will never understand what it was like to have toy stores play such a large role in gaming (that’s not a bad thing of course, just a different thing. But one that stings the nostalgia bone knowing that it’s a thing of the past).

One has to remember that the internet only really came into prominence during the 2000s. In the 1990s, a kid wouldn’t get an alert on a cellphone informing them of the announcement of a new video game. And for me personally, Toys ‘R’ Us was my introduction to many video games before I even knew about video game magazines (when I say I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember, I mean it quite literally).

“Behold, the location at which I first saw Super Mario 64, Yoshi’s Island, DKC and Pokemon.”

I can remember the first time I saw Yoshi’s Island was at one of Toys ‘R’ Us’s gaming kiosks. For the sake of better context, I was born in 1989, and the Mario games (along with Zelda, Mega Man and Sonic) were a a big part of my childhood. I was still a wee tyke in 1995 when Yoshi’s Island rolled around, so every Mario game at that point was either long established before I was born, or released during my infancy, when I couldn’t really understand the concept of them being ‘new.’ And I must repeat that this was before the internet, and before my knowledge of gaming magazines existed. So for me, the Mario games that were out at the time were the Mario series. I didn’t know franchises could expand beyond the games I had sitting next to my NES and SNES. Suffice to say my mind was blown when my five-year old self was just on a regular trip to Toys ‘R’ Us and suddenly I see a TV screen with Yoshi’s Island on it. Yoshi was that dinosaur from Super Mario World, wasn’t he? What the hell was he doing in his own game? Why did this game look like a drawing (which was, and still is, one of the best art directions in the medium)?

For a five-year old kid with no knowledge of the game’s development or promotion (if that gross-out disgrace of a commercial was on at the time, I hadn’t seen it); this was like some kind of phenomenon.

Similar experiences happened the year prior and the year after. In the case of the former, it was Donkey Kong Country, whose state-of-the-art visuals certainly caught my eye in that Toys ‘R’ Us aisle (though the details are a little fuzzier on that one). In the case of the latter, it was Super Mario 64. Now, unlike Yoshi’s Island, I had actually heard that Nintendo was making some kind of “3D Mario game” beforehand. But I hadn’t seen anything of it up to that time. Once again, stepping into Toys ‘R’ Us and seeing Super Mario 64 at a kiosk and, actually taking a controller in hand this time, playing it for the first time, is a gaming moment I’ll never forget. I can even tell you what section of the game it was.

It was the hallways of Peach’s Castle where you can follow that Boo to the castle garden, though I instead went into the lower chambers of the castle by using the key you get from beating the first Bowser fight (or the “Key from Zelda” as I called it at the time, as the key in question is basically identical to the boss keys from A Link to the Past).

Going back to the era after I discovered video game magazines, my first time playing Majora’s Mask was also at a Toys ‘R’ Us, in which I fought against the game’s first boss, Odowla, whose shamanistic chanting has stuck with me ever since. Though unlike the previous memories listed, the “Majora’s Mask experience” was at a differing location than my ‘childhood Toys ‘R’ Us.’ The location of said Majora’s Mask experience is long-since gone, while my childhood Toys ‘R’ Us, for the time being, is still standing (yes, I can still remember the exact locations of where these gaming kiosks once stood).

Okay, by now this is starting to sound more like “Video Game Memories” than “Toys ‘R’ Us Memories,” but the fact of the matter is, without Toys ‘R’ Us, I wouldn’t have these specific memories. And such memories spawning from Toys ‘R’ Us continued for a good while, and not just for games. Whether it was tracking down action figures from the upcoming Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace (a movie that would surely be good), or collecting every last one of those Digimon miniature figurines (which I proudly still have), Toys ‘R’ Us gave me plenty of childhood memories.

The funny thing is, I even have some relatively recent memories of Toys ‘R’ Us. Around Christmastime of 2010, after seeing a Christmas stage show with my sister, we decided to stop by the nearby Toys ‘R’ Us on a nostalgic whim, where I was greeted by a beautiful “25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.” kiosk. Sadly, the very next year when me and my sister tried to recreate the experience (after seeing the same stage show), the Toys ‘R’ Us in question had closed down. That was the first time in years I had stepped inside a Toys ‘R’ Us, and a few years later I would find another item to bring me back to the once iconic toy store: Amiibo.

Now, I’m not exactly a big Amiibo collector (I own eight total, two of which came bundled together), but there are a few that I simply couldn’t resist forking over the thirteen-or-so dollars for. The only problem is that Amiibo have a tendency to sell out quickly in online stores, and most of the ones I had interest in were gone from GameStops within minutes. And well, I really wanted the Shovel Knight Amiibo. After being unable to find one online or at GameStop, I decided to check out Toys ‘R’ Us (my childhood Toys ‘R’ Us, as I happened to be in the area at the time). Lo and behold, they had at least a dozen Shovel Knight Amiibo. From then on, whenever I wanted an Amiibo, I knew exactly where to go, and it never failed.

Sure, this was maybe telling about the future of the store chain (if a popular item can be easily found at a specific location, how many people are going to that location?), but it certainly was convenient whenever I wanted an Amiibo (what’s that? The Zelda 30th anniversary Amiibo are impossible to find? Not at Toys ‘R’ Us they weren’t!). More importantly, it gave me a means to revisit the aforementioned memories, and many others.

“See that blank space between the door and the gaming shelves? There was once a Donkey Kong Country 3 poster there. Why the hell do I remember this?”

Yes, Toys ‘R’ Us is only a toy store, and its inability to adapt with the times probably had as much of a hand in its downfall as its online competition. But for many of us, those trips to Toys ‘R’ Us were pure childhood bliss. For those of us who grew up with video games, Toys ‘R’ Us was a contributor to our love of the medium. And for someone like me, who hopes to one day make a game or two (or five, or ten) of my own, these early gaming memories of my life have clearly left an impact. I can still make my dream of making games a reality. It’s just a shame no one will ever get to see them at a Toys ‘R’ Us kiosk.

Happy Mario Day 2018!

Today is Mar. 10, which means it’s Mario Day! I had originally planned on getting a review for a certain Mario game up today, but I was unable to get it done in time (be patient, my loves). To compensate, let’s celebrate Mario Day with every Mario review I’ve written thus far (Plus one by Mr. AfterStory)! Here we go!

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker 

Dr. Mario 64

Luigi’s Mansion Arcade

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Arcade) 

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Mario Golf (N64)

Mario is Missing

Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart Arcade GP DX

Mario Kart: Super Circuit 

Mario Party 2

Mario Party: Island Tour

Mario’s Time Machine

Mario Tennis (N64)

Mario Tennis Open

New Super Luigi U

New Super Mario Bros.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

New Super Mario Bros. U

Paper Mario: Color Splash

Paper Mario: Sticker Star

Super Mario 3D Land

Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario 64

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. 2

Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Super Mario Kart 

Super Mario Maker 

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey (AfterStory Review)

Super Mario Sunshine

Super Mario World

Yoshi

Yoshi’s Story

Yoshi’s Woolly World

Yoshi Touch & Go 

 

Happy Mario Day, everybody! Let’s-a go!

Ask Me Anything: Episode III – Revenge of the Questions

Okay, so a decent amount of time has passed since the last time I did this (over a year), and since I’m approaching my seven-hundredth blog here at the Dojo, I figured ‘what the hell,’ let’s give this another go. And well, the fact that I’ve been slow in writing reviews as of late has me feeling like I need to write something. So hopefully this can tide me over until I write some reviews proper.

So yeah, this is another “Ask Me Anything.” It is what it sounds like. Just ask me some questions, and I’ll answer them in my 700th blog. You can ask me about this site, my opinions on things, what’s happening with my learning game-development, pretty much anything of the sort.

Not surprisingly, I’ve never got too many questions in the past, and I don’t expect that to change here. But since I’ve gotten some new followers in the past year I figured I may as well give this another go. I do recommend leaving any questions you want to ask me in the comments section of this particular post, but I suppose you can write them in one of my other blogs as well (though I recommend informing me that your questions are for the AMA if that is how you go about it).

So yeah, ask away, and I’ll answer in blog 700. And don’t worry your pretty little head, I’ll get to those reviews ASAP.