Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Impressions

Uncharted 4

I’m a little over halfway through the campaign in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, so I’d thought I’d give some impressions.

I suppose I can sum up my feelings for the game by simply saying it’s amazing! On one hand, it feels like a proper step forward for the series, like what the follow-up to Uncharted 2 always should have been (with all due respect to Uncharted 3, which was great in its own right, but didn’t exactly build on its predecessor). On the other hand, Uncharted 4 also feels like an homage to the series, and even to developer Naughty Dog itself.

Most of the usual gameplay and action of the series is present, with the set pieces I’ve seen so far ranking among the best in the series, and the same can be said for the puzzles. I still have a little ways to go before I finish the game, and already I’ve seen a terrific amount of variety in the gameplay.

The game also looks gorgeous! The environments are absolutely beautiful to look at, and the characters have some of the most realistic animations I’ve seen in a game, particularly the facial animations. It’s probably the best showcase of the PS4’s technical power I’ve seen so far.

I’m also greatly enjoying the story (though I’ll go into finer details later), and so far I think this entry has the best writing, dialogue and character development in the series. There are a few new additions to the storytelling formula, like some instances of dialogue options and optional conversations with characters. It’s nothing that changes the game too drastically, but they are a welcome addition as it gives you some instances to choose the personality of the dialogue.

There still have been a few instances of overly long shootouts (one of my only real complaints with the previous games), but thankfully they seem more spread out, and aren’t nearly as excessive as they were in Uncharted 3.

It also seems the secret treasures and such are more cleverly hidden this time around, and I’m having a blast scavenging for them all.

So far, I’m greatly enjoying Uncharted 4, and if it keeps up s it is throughout the rest of the adventure (and multiplayer), then I can say it’s my favorite entry in the series. Fingers crossed that this is still the case by the time I write my review.

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Don’t Let Classics Become a Thing of the Past

Don’t be confused by the title of this post. I understand that the majority of works labelled as “classics” earn the title in retrospect and, as such, tend to be works from years gone by. The title and point of this post is more about my concerns of how many of todays works will be “allowed” to be considered classics in the future, due to the increasingly cynical nature today’s generation has towards the creative works of others, which seems dead-set on not wanting to enjoy anything.

Now, before I sound too defeatist, I would like to point out that there are a number of movies, video games, and other art works of today that will achieve classic status, as this cynical attitude isn’t an absolute. But I think the works that are to be judged by the Millennial generation will have an increasingly difficult time in attaining that “classic” status, even if they fully deserve it.

"People liked this movie. Time to make sure we do everything in our power to make people hate it."
“People liked this movie. Time to make sure we do everything in our power to make people hate it.”

For example, films like Inception, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Disney’s Frozen will no doubt go down in the history books. Yet we live in a time in which such things will almost certainly be written off as “overrated” and labelled with even worse monickers by a number of people, simply because their initial reception was highly positive. The internet generation seems to have a dismissive attitude towards positivity, and if anything is greeted warmly upon arrival, they’ll be sure to do their damnedest to shoot them down.

"Frozen isn't as good as the Disney movies I grew up with because I didn't grow up with it."
“Frozen isn’t as good as the Disney movies I grew up with because I didn’t grow up with it.”

Part of the problem of today stems from nostalgia (lord knows Millennials love their nostalgia). Now, nostalgia can be a beautiful thing, but not when it’s at the expense of giving anything new a chance. It’s quite disheartening how frequently I see people on the internet defend literally anything that came from their childhood, and deride anything new as being inferior simply, well, because. It’s a mindset that automatically prevents anything new from joining the ranks of our favorites of yesteryear.

Nostalgia is only the secondary problem in this equation, however, as I feel cynicism itself is public enemy number one in regards to artistic timelessness.

We now live in a generation where review aggregates are readily available for us to peruse on the internet, and in which people will readily deride anything that has a positive reception on the sole grounds that it has a positive reception. Now, I’m not saying people can’t disagree with the general consensus, I myself have my fair share of disagreements with popular opinion, but there’s a difference between differing opinions and simply belittling something because how dare people enjoy things. And it seems that, all too often these days, the latter is the case.

"Uh oh, The Force Awakens made too much money. Guess I need to hate it now."
“Uh oh, The Force Awakens made too much money. Guess I need to hate it now.”

It certainly doesn’t help that we live in a time that frowns upon success. So you can bet if a movie happens to make a lot of money through box office revenue and merchandise, or a video game sells millions of copies, there will be a vocal lot of people who will hate them on those grounds alone. Whether or not these people even watched these movies or played these games is irrelevant. Because how dare success! 

Yet another problem stems from the self-indulgence that has emerged in this age of Twitter and Facebook. Now, I’m not saying these social media sites are innately bad, but they haven’t exactly helped fix the lack of humility found in Millennial culture. People want to feel important, and this day and age, feeling important means belittling the works of people with talent.

"Both the people behind Honest Trailers, and its audience."
“Both the people behind Honest Trailers, and its audience.”

Look no further then the likes of Honest Trailers and CinemaSins (actually, don’t look there, they’re rather insipid). These types of internet videos are wildly popular largely because they eviscerate popular and beloved movies in a snarky, self-important attitude. I get that such videos are aiming for “humor,” but again, there’s a difference between simply making jokes about movies (or anything else creative) and arrogantly bullying a work with no constructive criticisms to speak of, which is the trap Honest Trailers, CinemaSins and their equally vapid contemporaries indulge in. And people today eat it up, because it feeds their cynicism and self-importance, and punishes the movies, filmmakers and the people who enjoy their creations simply for existing.

"Sire, the possibility of a millennial actually enjoying something are approximately 3,720 to 1!"
“Sir, the possibility of a millennial actually enjoying something is approximately 3,720 to 1!”

This relishing in pessimism is making it difficult for things to be fondly remembered in the way they were in the past. Can you imagine if the original 1977 Star Wars had to be subjugated to to the same kinds of audiences who simply don’t want to like things? Such works may not have the status they have today if that were the case, and I think fewer and fewer works of today will share that kind of status because of it.

Again, I’m not saying there can’t be the usual contrarian to bring up a differing perspective, but I again point out that today there’s more of an attitude that frowns upon the very idea of liking things. We’ve grown to hate honesty and only allow the sarcastic and the obnoxious to thrive. People just don’t want to like things these days.

"It's not Super Mario 64. 0/10."
“It’s not Super Mario 64. 0/10.”

As far as video games are concerned, you can look at classics from years past such as Chrono Trigger or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as examples of games that are held on a pedestal. But it would be much harder to find newer games that are held in a similar light, simply because we aren’t allowing them to be. Every time a new big game comes out, it will almost immediately be declared “overrated” or people might go on and on about how much it “sucks” simply because there’s one mechanic they don’t like (as if the camera in Ocarina of Time was perfect). Sequels to big games, even ones with obvious improvements, are declared inferior to their predecessors simply because they aren’t their predecessors. We don’t even give things a chance, simply because we don’t want to. I guess hating stuff is supposed to make us feel special or something.

"brb brah, I need to go write a negative review of the new Zelda before it's released."
“brb brah, I need to go write a negative review of the new Zelda before I’ve played it.”

There was a time, not all that long ago, where video games, much like movies, had some exceptional works where it was clear they were going to be revered as classics. These days, it’s not so obvious. It’s not that video games or movies have gotten any worse (I’d argue movies are doing much better now than they were in the 90s), it’s that we don’t want to like things. We wish to indulge in our cynicisms, and it’s making some truly great creative works suffer because of it.

"E3 is just around the corner! I can't wait to hate every game!"
“E3 is just around the corner! I can’t wait to hate every game!”

If people continue to go down this path of self-importance, where creativity is shot down at every opportunity just so we can give ourselves a pat on the back, I fear we may end up with less and less artists who actually care about their creations. I mean, it’s not like we’re giving them much incentive to create things, since whatever they make will be belittled in obnoxious internet videos and any shred of success they may find will be turned against them.

I can’t help but feel a heavy sadness sweep over me every time I think about it. If everyone keeps up this destructive cynicism towards creativity, we can sure as hell expect the future of movies, video games, and other art forms to be riddled in nothing but sarcasm and self-deprecation. People often claim to want “smarter” stories, and yet we’re the ones who are ultimately making stories dumber with our utter distaste for honesty and genuine storytelling.

I can only hope more and more people can start appreciating creativity again, and remember how enjoyable it can be when viewing creative works with a sense of optimism and being able to form actual opinions. If we continue down this destructive road, classics will indeed be a thing of the past.

Star Wars Day 2016!

BB-8

It’s May 4th 2016, which means it’s Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you, you see)! I kind of wish I’d planned something to write for the occasion, as I might be able to turn this into something similar to my Christmas post in the future. But since I’m just kind of writing this as I go, I guess this first Star Wars Day celebration at the Dojo will be relatively small.

Star Wars is a big deal for a lot of people, and for good reason. It’s great! It’s provided the world with some of its most entertaining movies, has a timelessness about it, memorable characters, and a richness to its imaginative fictional universe. It’s probably the biggest franchise in all of popular culture, and one of the few that seems to transcend merely being a franchise and is more a part of people’s lives.

Star Wars, along with Jaws, marked a turning point for movies in the late 70s, one that saw them become bigger and, frankly, more entertaining. Most of the blockbusters of today owe a debt of gratitude to Star Wars in particular. And throughout the decades, Star Wars hasn’t lost a step (okay, so there was that whole prequel trilogy, and much of the expanded universe was basically trash, but we can leave that stuff behind us now). The Force Awakens, the most recent entry in the series, quickly became one of the most successful films of all time, few franchises (if any) could pull that off after going on for this long.

TR-8R

Simply put, Star Wars sits at the peak of popular culture, with its status seldom even approached (Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Frozen might be the closest contenders as far as movies and television are concerned). It’s just so cool!

So let’s all take a minute to sit back and reflect on the awesomeness that is Star Wars. And hopefully next year I’ll have something bigger in store for Star Wars Day.

May the Force be with you!

Stormtrooper Dance

Why Elsa Should NOT Have a Girlfriend

Frozen

Okay, this will be one of the weirder blogs I post here, but bear with me. As I was logging on to Twitter earlier today (while simultaneously wondering why I still have a Twitter), I saw a featured tweet claiming that many people are insisting that Disney should give Elsa, the elder royal sister from their beloved film Frozen, a girlfriend in Frozen’s eventual sequel, as a means to “give the LGBT community someone to look up to as well.”

Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea (lord knows if you aren’t entirely politically correct these days people will write you off as a fascist and vilify you for life), I have absolutely no problems with the idea of Disney introducing a gay princess to their character lineup. In fact I think it would be interesting to see. But it shouldn’t be Elsa for two reasons: One pertaining to the social issue, and one pertaining to Frozen itself.

The first reason is that retroactively deciding to make the character gay would ultimately end up making the issue feel forced, and subsequently, meaningless. You never want to go the bait-and-switch route with fictional characters, but it’s a route people go all too often with homosexual characters. J.K. Rowling revealed that the character of Dumbledore in her Harry Potter series was gay, but conveniently only did so several months after the last book in the series had been published. Similarly, video game developer Naughty Dog, when creating the DLC for their critically praised title The Last of Us, decided to make the character of Ellie gay, even though any indication of sexuality was never previously brought up with the character.

I’m not saying these authors don’t have good intentions. But to me anyway, if you’re trying to bring up some social issue or diversity, you should probably do so from the get-go. Otherwise, it feels like they’re just throwing it in there to give themselves a pat on the back. Almost as a means for them to say “look at us! Aren’t we so great? Look at how we’re representing diversity!” If you really want to make a statement, you don’t wait until after you’re in the safe zone to do so. If Disney just decided to up and make Elsa gay now, it would just feel like another instance of “hey, look at us!”

The second reason, which deals with Frozen itself, is one of artistic integrity (I know, shame on me for caring more about artistic integrity than political correctness with movies). One of the reasons Frozen worked so well is that it’s one of the few (if not the only) non-Pixar Disney animated film that manages to successfully integrate allegory and interpretive elements into its narrative. Yes, it’s still a fun movie where princesses sing songs and talking snowmen make jokes, but there’s a stronger sense of subtext to it than in other Disney fare. And a large reason for that is Elsa herself.

It’s true, many people have interpreted Elsa’s situation of being a misunderstood outcast because of her magic to being an allegory for homosexuality. And if people interpret it that way, then more power to them. But Elsa has also been interpreted in other ways as well, with some (including myself) making comparisons to mental illness and depression, among many other interpretations.

If Disney were to simply decide to make Elsa gay, it would negate what the filmmakers accomplished with the character narratively. By deciding to overtly acknowledge one interpretation as the correct one, it would undo much of the depth of the character and story. And yes, it would even demean the interpretations of homosexuality with the character to begin with. Personally, I think keeping the character asexual makes her more interesting and universally relatable.

One of the things that makes Frozen special, and yes, one of the reasons I think it’s remained such an unparalleled success, is that it employs subtleties in its narrative, characters, and themes. It helps it to break age and cultural barriers even more so than most other animated films. If Disney were to simply have Elsa come out as gay, it would diminish the film’s themes and even the desired social statement.

Yes, it would be interesting to see Disney add a gay princess to their lineup. But it’s not something that should just be forced (again, a forced social statement is not a social statement at all). And it shouldn’t be Elsa. If Disney can come up with a great story to introduce a gay princess, then that’s awesome. But making it a retroactive thing would ultimately be cheap and meaningless. If you’re going to do it, do it right.

Elsa being asexual never bothered me, anyway.

I Love Disney’s Dubs of Studio Ghibli’s Films. And I Hate Weaboos!

A rather funny thing happened today as I logged into this site to post some impressions on Star Fox Zero (still to come). I noticed I had a new comment, and expected it to either be one of my regular commenters, or perhaps a bit of spam that needed to be thrown out. What it was instead was something a bit more hilarious.

This comment was left on my review of Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky, and though I was tempted to approve it just so I could reply with a certain infamous Billy Madison quote, I ultimately decided against it, as to not give the depressing creature who left it the opportunity to leave more comments and lower the IQs of anyone who read them.

I will, however, copy and paste the comment right here, for a bit of a chuckle and to dissect just a few of the countless things wrong with it (I don’t have an eternity to pinpoint them all). Here is said comment, with the stronger language censored out because I like to keep things respectable around here.

“So you’ve decided to view the Disney dub instead of the PERFECT Japanese version or the REALLY PERFECT JAL LEnglish dub? You seriously think all these guys do a great job? You are a real moron if you think that. Every one of these actors all give the absolute WORST PERFORMANCES OF THEIR ENTIRE CAREERS. F*** Disney for butchering Miyazaki’s movies. Seriously, F*** THEM.

And you, STOP praising the Disney dubs. They are all a crime against humanity and you have no business calling yourself a REAL Ghibli fan. JUST STOP.

Watch them in Japanese ONLY OR the ABSOLUTELY PERFECT Non-Disney dubs (which use REAL ACTORS, not talentless celebrities who can’t act!) or don’t watch them at all. Otherwise you have no right to call yourself a REAL Ghibli fan. LEARN TO READ SUBTITLES! IT IS EASY! Unless you consider yourself a moron. Yes, that’s exactly what you are. A moron.”

Mind you, this was written by a human being, and not an inebriated chimpanzee. Though perhaps this comment would have had more eloquence had it been written by said inebriated chimpanzee…

Before I point out some of the criminal acts against human intelligence that are rampant in this comment, I’d like to point out that the commenter left the comment under the name “Real Fan.” That right there was already eye-rolling. I’ve always detested how fandoms seem to think being a fan of something means completely surrendering to a very, very specific mindset. Last I checked, being a fan of something meant you enjoyed something to a particularly strong extent. I guess I was mistaken, and apparently being a fan of something means to brainwash yourself and being a part of some bizarre hive-mind that blindly follows a certain set of rules, completely ignorant to the merits of finding even the tiniest shred of individuality.

Roger Rabbit No PainOne of the things I found most hilarious about this comment is how  Weabboo Nazi “Real Fan” mentioned learning to read subtitles. I have been watching Studio Ghibli (and other foreign films) for many, many years. I have seen most of Ghibli’s films numerous times, both in English and in Japanese with subtitles. I have watched Castle in the Sky in particular many times in both languages, and my review was based on the film as a whole, with the English dub being mentioned because it’s worth mentioning. But I also enjoy watching the original Japanese version as well. How about that? Variety! Such blasphemy!

"Go on, tell Mark Hamill why he's a "terrible" voice actor."
“Go on, tell Mark Hamill why he’s a “terrible” voice actor.”

Now, it’s also quite hilarious how this individual considers the actors in the Ghibli dubs to be “talentless celebrities who can’t act” while praising the recycled actors of other anime dubs. Let’s look at some of the individuals who have provided vocal work in Disney’s dubs of Ghibli’s films, shall we? Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Mark Hamill, Lauren Bacall, Michael Keaton, Cate Blanchett, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Anne Hathaway, Cloris Leachman, Patrick Stewart, Billy Crystal, and even veteran voice actors like David Ogden Stiers, just to name a few.

But, y’know, they’re all talentless for some reason. I don’t know, but I’d rather hear credible actors voicing these characters and giving them unique flair than hearing the same-old cliched “anime actors” that you often hear, with the nasally voices and high-pitched squeals. Now, are all the voices Disney gets perfect? No. As I stated in the Castle in the Sky review, Anna Paquin and James Van Der Beek, while giving solid performances, sound a tad too old for the characters of Sheeta and Pazu. But Mark Hamill’s vocal work has arguably never been better than it was as Colonel Muska.

See, I actually like to form an opinion based on the performances, instead of blindly thinking a dub is innately inferior just because it’s in English, or that Disney somehow automatically ruins what it touches (I don’t know, I’d rather have the people at Disney and Pixar – who know a little thing or two about animated films – work on these movies as opposed to a typical dubbing studio who would cast the same few actors into every role because it’s cheap and easy). But I guess Disney’s just butchering these animated classics because they hire actors with credibility. Oh, and for the record, while I rather enjoy Disney’s dub of My Neighbor Totoro, I do indeed prefer the original dub provided by 20th Century Fox in that particular instance. So I don’t simply think Disney’s input automatically makes them better, either.

Triple H is not ammusedAlso, what’s with the needless swearing? I’m not about to judge someone for the language they use, but what’s the reason for it here? Did the idea of me liking something that they’re too ignorant to keep an open-mind about offend them? I mean, what’s the deal there? And all the name-calling. Geez! You’d find more maturity in a Michael Bay film.

Perhaps the funniest bit of this whole incoherent rambling is in the last paragraph, when this hopeless creature commands me to watch them in “Japanese ONLY OR the ABSOLUTELY PERFECT Non-Disney dubs” (I have no earthly idea what kind of consistency they were aiming for with that capitalization). Apparently, if I dare watch the Disney dubs, I’m not a “real” fan. Well, if being a “real fan” means having such a communistic and dictatorial ruleset that I have to follow, then I guess I’d rather not be a real fan.

"This is Fawful, laughing at your existence."
“This is Fawful, laughing at your existence.”

I guess I’m just happy with, y’know, enjoying something and finding some form of inspiration in it. I guess I’m happy with appreciating the quality and effort that goes into a movie, and occasionally buying a T-shirt or a bit of merchandise based on it. I guess I’m happy with talking about something and finding a connection with someone else who might enjoy it. But, y’know, not a real fan. Because Disney.

Is this really what fandoms are becoming? It outright depresses me that such a lack of intelligence and human decency could spawn from any entity who is actually aware of such joyous things as Studio Ghibli movies. Is simply appreciating a dub really such a grave offense to these people? But I’m guessing drawing perverted fanart and writing nonsensical fanfictions wherein the writers ship themselves with their favorite characters is A-okay though, right?

Yes, I love Disney’s dubs of Studio Ghibli’s films. Not all of them are perfect, but oh well. There is an obvious “labor of love” factor that goes into Disney’s dubs of Studio Ghibli’s films (the Disney and Pixar employees can’t sing Miyazaki and co’s praises enough, so they clearly aren’t aiming to “butcher” anything about them). Disney gets big name actors because they care about the dubs, and in many cases (as with Christian Bale and Liam Neeson), the big name actors wanted to be a part of them because they themselves are fans. And let’s not forget that the very reason why Disney has the rights to most of Studio Ghibli’s output is because they are the only studio who made it a point to not edit anything about Ghibli’s films, adding in the English vocal tracks but leaving everything else in place. Would these “real fans” prefer someone got a hold of Ghibli’s films and made a bunch of glaring edits?

Perhaps “weaboo” isn’t the exact word for such undeservedly demanding “fans” (whom I’m assuming don’t even contribute to the things they claim to like, and instead pirate them online because it doesn’t require anything on their part), but when talking about Japanese animation, “weaboo” seems to be the more negative form of “otaku” as far as my knowledge goes.

Any fandom that has such twisted perceptions on what is required of someone in order to be considered a “real fan” is a terrible, terrible thing. But this seems to be a particularly vile epidemic when it comes to the realms of Japanese animation.

Muska thinks you're stupid.

While there is a lot of crap in the world of Japanese animation, it has also provided many great works of art. At the peak of the mountain of quality Japanese animation are the films of Studio Ghibli. Such wonderful works of art should be represented by respectable appreciators. They deserve to have fans worthy of their qualities. Anyone who is so willingly ignorant to the potential qualities of liking something in a different way is unfit to call themselves a fan of anything. This is doubly true for anything as charming as Studio Ghibli films.

I’ll continue liking things. Real fan or not.

Yet Another Update on My List of Favorite Video Games

Howard and Nester

Oh no. Is it that time again? The time where I write an entirely unnecessary post about my long-procrastinated list of favorite video games? Yes. Yes it is.

I really do hate myself for writing another one of these, when there are so many better, heftier things I want to write. But completing video games takes time, ergo it can take a while to get to reviewing them. I honestly don’t have a reason why I haven’t done more animation and movie write-ups recently though. I feel bad about that. Let’s not even get started on all the top five and ten lists I have back-catalogued.

Yet, here we are. I’m writing another one of these while I prepare for the good stuff (like a review of Dark Souls 3), as well as the bad stuff (like a review for Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric). So be patient with me and I hope you can withstand this post.

Yes, I’m officially delaying my list of favorite video games. Again. Granted, last time I did one of these, I said there was a good chance I’d be postponing my list from its then-May deadline, but now I’m officially postponing it. For how long? A couple of months, probably. Maybe September or something. I know, that’s a long wait (though hopefully you have more important things to keep you occupied in the meantime). But there are a good number of games I’d like to review first. Some new games, and some classics that I haven’t played in a while that I’d like to have a bit more fresh in the memory banks before I lump them all in a list.

I think I’m sticking with my plan for a top 20, with an additional non-numbered ten or so “runners-up” for a total of 30-ish games on my list. I could potentially do a top 50 or even a top 100, but such an extensive list from an individual seems more than a little unnecessary. Why bother ranking games that are in the 70s and 80s area, anyway?

So anyways, I guess one of the main reasons why I’m writing this is to let my fellow bloggers know, since I originally invited them to create their own lists around the same time. They’re no longer obliged to do that, but more than welcome. Should they not want to wait and make their lists before mine, they’re free to do that too, but I would still like everyone to add links to the subsequent lists once they are made.

All of the original blogs I invited to partake are still welcome to that invitation, as well as a few new names.

NintendoBound

After Story Gaming

Very Very Gaming

Extra Life Reviews

Miketendo64

The Well-Red Mage

Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews

And by the way, blogs with multiple publishers are encouraged to have multiple contributors make their own lists. The more the merrier! And any other bloggers who want to join in, feel free to ask for participation.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Sorry for the further delays, but September does sound nice (it is the month of my birthday, after all). Now I’m going to go write something better.

The 300th Blog Spectacularsaurus Rex

BB-8

It’s time once again for some self-aggrandizement! Huzah! For I have amassed 300 blogs here at the Wizard Dojo! Huzzah to me!

Mettaton

Part of me didn’t want to do this again, but these self-appreciative centennial blogs give me an excuse to write something silly. A means to ease up a bit and lighten the mood (because a website called Wizard Dojo is surely just too serious). No worrying about reviewing stuff, getting my opinion across properly, or stressing over any rating systems. Just writing some crap and giving myself a pat on the back. Yahoo!

Duke of Weselton

Anyway, I guess I should find some ways to drag this out. It wouldn’t be much of a celebration with so few paragraphs. I must sing more of my praises!

So, ummm… Let’s see. Ooh, I know! How about I write some random fun facts about this site? Yeah! That’s a good way to waste your time.

Fun Fact #1: Wizard Dojo was launched on Christmas Day 2014. Well, technically I bought the domain name and set everything up a few days beforehand. But it was on Christmas that I began publishing content. Made for a good Christmas present to myself, and makes my anniversary easy to remember.

Fun Fact #2: As of this post, Wizard Dojo currently houses 116 video game reviews and 69 reviews for animated films. I really need to start writing animation reviews at a quicker pace to catch them up.

Fun Fact #3: Of those reviews, only four video games have so far been awarded a perfect 10/10 score (Super Mario Galaxy 2, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country 2 and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night). Inside Out is currently the only animated film to boast a perfect 10. I know a few other games and animations that I will give perfect scores, but I’ll wait to reveal them to when they’re reviewed.

Fun Fact #4: This site was originally going to have the word “Power” somewhere in the title, as a means of paying tribute to Nintendo Power magazine. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of anything catchy using the word that also explained what this site was about (though I guess Wizard Dojo isn’t exactly explanatory either…).

Fun Fact #5: The very first post published on Wizard Dojo was my review of Mario Kart 8.

Fun Fact #6: I have quietly slipped some reoccurring “jokes” into my blogs. Namely, I try to throw the word “aforementioned” into most of my reviews as something of a joke on myself, as I once noticed I had a tendency to overuse the word. Also, the amazing composing abilities of David Wise is frequently brought up, and compliments aimed at actor J.K Simmons are also showing up more and more at the Dojo. On the opposite side of things, a disdain for FFVII’s Cloud, Dark Pit, and Shadow the Hedgehog are reoccurring talking points.

Fun Fact #7: That smug cartoony kid I often use as an avatar is Nester, the original Nintendo Power mascot. As much as I enjoy paying tribute to Nintendo Power, I may have to make an original mascot or something at some point. I don’t want to ride someone else’s coattails forever.


Kirby

Anyway, that’s enough fun facts for now. Let’s see, what else can I do here… How about I shed some light on some stuff to expect in the near future of this site? I’m not going to give any promises as to when you should expect these things, but it shouldn’t be too long of a wait.

You can expect some additional Disney and Studio Ghibli reviews in the near future, as well as a list of top 10 Disney animated films, top 5 video game genres, top 10 Nintendo franchises, top 10 video game composers, a top 10 ranking of the Mario RPGs, and plenty more video game and animation reviews, I’m sure. Not to mention my oft-promised list of favorite video games of all time. I feel I should follow that up with a list of favorite movies, though I’m not sure if I want to make separate lists for animated and live-action films or just a singular list for both…

I can also imagine I’ll be writing more opinion pieces on the recently announced Paper Mario: Color Splash and the Mario RPGs of yesteryear. I mean, Nintendo had such a great thing going with the Mario RPGs. Why the Hell they decided they needed to “fix” them is beyond me. Meanwhile, Pokemon games are all basically the same. Talk about a series that needs fixing.

Paper Mario

Let’s see, anything else I can do here? I guess I could name a couple more regrets I’ve made on this site since my Christmas post (I was tempted to wait until the next Christmas post to write these, but that’s kind of a long wait).

Regret #1: Not playing Bloodborne more before I did my 2015 Game of the Year awards – When I did my Game of the Year awards for 2015, I had only really gotten so far in Bloodborne. The only award I ended up giving it was Best Sound, and it only placed fourth for Game of the Year. In retrospect, I should have waited until I was more absorbed into the game. It definitely should have got an extra award or two, and definitely deserved better than fourth place. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I feel it would have made so much sense as my Game of the Year…

Regret #2: Not listing either Paper Mario or Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door as my Game of the Year for their respective years – You may remember I made a list chronicling my Game of the Year for every year of my life. Yet, for some baffling reason, I simply listed the first two Paper Mario titles as runners-up, instead of naming at least one of them as a Game of the Year. I suppose I was trying to aim for more diversity, but screw it. Quality over quantity! Exception for the exceptional! Only winners get trophies!

I guess if any good has come out of Color Splash’s announcement, it’s that it has reminded me how much the first two Paper Marios mean to me. Expect one of the first two Paper Marios to claim a retrospective GotY whenever I decide to revise that list. I hate to say it, but I may revise it sometime later this year…

Perhaps I’m just cursed to be indecisive with my Game of the Years?

TTYD


Here are some ID codes for some difficult Super Mario Maker stages I’ve made recently.

Lava-bstacle Course: F21A-0000-0152-5A61

Paratroopa Activity: DF3A-0000-0184-2525

There and Back Again: 5F62-0000-01FC-E761


I’m running out of things to say and ways to waste your time. I guess that means it’s time to wrap this up.

I just want to thank my readership and fandom (whatever that is) for continuously giving me incentive to keep on writing. Here’s to a fruitful future for the Dojo, filled with many more reviews, top 5/10 lists and other such nonsense!

May the good blood guide your way! Praise the sun! All that jazz!

Joy Dance