RIP Satoru Iwata

Iwata

“On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game designer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.” – Satoru Iwata

On July 11 2015, the gaming world lost a legend, as Satoru Iwata, President and CEO of Nintendo, passed away at the age of 55. The world of video games will never be the same.

IwataSatoru Iwata found his way into the video game industry as a programmer for HAL Labratory, Inc., which saw the rise of a fruitful career that spanned decades working on many beloved games, ultimately leading to Iwata working his way up Nintendo’s ranks to the role of President and CEO.

It was at the top of Nintendo where Iwata made his biggest splash in the gaming world. As Iwata found that video games were becoming too exclusive to who they appealed to, he lead Nintendo in a new direction to make games with a more universal appeal. This lead to the creations of the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii, which not only brought an unparalleled success to Nintendo, but also changed people’s overall perception of the video game medium. No longer are they simply a “nerd’s pastime,” now they are recognized as a mainstream hobby.

IwataIwata would also take an active role in promoting Nintendo’s games to fans, hosting the majority of Nintendo’s “Nintendo Direct” videos as well as his “Iwata Asks” segments, where he would interview game developers as they worked on their newest releases.

Satoru Iwata improved both Nintendo’s image and that of the gaming industry as a whole with his creative directions and leadership. He brought a new attitude and sense of humor to gaming, always willing to make himself the butt of internet jokes in the process.

Although the last few years have seen Nintendo through some financial struggles, the company had still produced numerous great video games under his leadership. Satoru Iwata has left behind a legacy that few in the industry could ever hope to match. He helped bring some joy to the lives of many people. May that joy find its way – directly – back to him.

Rest it peace.

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100th Blog Spectacular!

"I've already amassed THIS many blogs!"
“I’ve already amassed THIS many blogs!”

I tried to avoid making a self-aggrandizing blog such as this, but in the end I caved into the temptation. I just had to celebrate this milestone in some capacity. What better way to do that then with a blog that basically just reiterates this milestone again and again?

Wizard Dojo has now reached the 100 blog mark, which I must admit I’m a bit proud of considering I only launched this site back on Christmas day. Sure, there are plenty of blogs that have done more, but with how long-winded my writings tend to be, I’m perfectly content in giving myself a pat on the back for how many blogs I’ve managed to produce in that time.

Why, I may have to give myself a promotion!

Promotion

Sure, I’d rather be taking the time it takes to write this blog to write another review or something, but I must let the world know that Wizard Dojo is now in the triple digits! It’s a cause for celebration.

It's a Wonderful Dance
“When George Bailey dances to your success you know it’s legit.”

Rest assured that after I’ve finished this blog, my reviews and opinionated rants on video games, movies and animation will once again take center stage here at the dojo. Then everything will go back to being (relatively) serious. But for now… 100 blogs!

Duke of Weselton

I guess I could also take this opportunity to thank my growing readership, which has quickly started gaining steam. May more of you figure out how to click that Follow Button.

Fix-It Felix Jr.

Over the past few months I’ve tried to update this site as often as possible. It hasn’t been easy, but hopefully I’ve amused some of you in one way or another with all this stuff I write. I must say I enjoy adding more content to Wizard Dojo, so it isn’t exactly like reaching 100 blogs has been a chore or anything. May it continue to flourish.

Here’s hoping I can continue to provide you lovely people with something to read. Now let’s all take a moment to celebrate 100 blogs.

Sakurai

Sakurai

Once again, I thank you kind readers for giving me some extra incentive to keep writing these things. I would also like to thank myself, because 100 blogs! Here’s to many, many hundreds more. Thanks for reading!

Yooka-Vengers

A Liebster Award Winner is Me!

Liebster Award

I was pleasantly surprised to find out I had been nominated to receive a lobster (them’s good eats!), and then marginally disheartened but still pleasantly surprised to learn that I had misread the information, and I am indeed the recipient of a “Liebster.” As it turns out, the Liebster Award is given from one blogger to another, to recognize the growing potential of a blog. An appreciation kind of thing.

I would like to give a thousand thanks to Matt from Nintendobound (an exceptional Nintendo blog) for selecting me for this award. Can we give him a round of applause, please?

Joker

Of course, receiving this award comes with a catch  means I have to do three things: Firstly, I have to answer the eleven questions that were asked of me in my nomination. Second, I must list eleven facts about myself (because I’m so interesting). And C, I must nominate some fellow bloggers and ask them eleven questions of my choosing. I like to think this gives me power.

Let’s get cracking!


 

Questions, questions, just fill my head…

 

1: What is the best trip you have ever taken?

"Finally they're opening up the gate!"
“Finally they’re opening up the gates!”

It’s hard to say a singular best, but last year I did visit Walt Disney World for the first time, and it was magical. It was during the Summer, and they had just started their Frozen Summer Fun event. Being completely obsessed with Frozen, this made everything that much better. I’m hoping to go again once the Frozen Ride opens at Epcot, in which case I will shove children out of my way to be the first in line.

I’ve been a lifelong fan of Disneyland, but Walt Disney World is just so much more.

 

2: What are your three favorite movies?

Geez! Asking this big of a question right out of the gate?! Not fair! And why three? Why not five, or ten?!

My list of favorites wouldn’t include the usual checklist of Godfathers and Citizen Kanes. Those are great movies, but they are movies I “respect” and “admire” for their greatness, but not ones that I can claim to love in the way I love my favorite movies.

There are so many great movies out there that I’ll always feel bad for leaving some out. Some movies I ‘love’ would include It’s a Wonderful Life, Schindler’s List (that ending!), The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Spider-Man 2, the Toy Story series and, of course, The Dark Knight.

But when it comes to the movies I love most, they tend to be animated. More specifically, they tend to be animated by Studio Ghibli and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. While I could list pretty much any and every Miyazaki film (Porco Rosso, Ponyo, the list goes on), I think two stand out most for their personal impact on me: My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away.

So there’s two right there. As for the third one, the top contenders would be The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Incredibles, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Frozen. It’s a tough choice, but in the end I’m going with…..

Frozen.

And no, I’m not a 12-year old girl. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t absolutely fall in love with this movie. I could go on and on about why I love it so much (and I will. Oh, I will), but for now I will simply say it deserves all of its success.

So there you go, my answer (for now) for my three favorite movies.

Spirited Away

Spirited Away

My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro

 

Frozen

Frozen

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Return of the King and The Incredibles would probably follow…along with another Miyazaki film. It’s a hard question!

One day I will go way more in-depth with all of this.

 

3: What game does everyone seem to like that you don’t?

Easy. Bioshock Infinite.

There are games I think are overrated, such as Final Fantasy VII or Skyrim, but I can acknowledge that they are good games with plenty of merit, I just don’t think they live up to the hype for one reason or another.

"Please, nobody catch them."
“Please, nobody catch them.”

But I outright think Bioshock Infinite is a bad game. The gameplay couldn’t be more basic, the storyline couldn’t be more self-insistent, the social commentary couldn’t be more shoehorned, I could go on. It is utterly void of genuine creativity and inspiration. People call it art only because it (arrogantly) calls itself art. Bioshock Infinite is a bland game with a poorly contrived narrative, but it couldn’t have a higher opinion of itself.

 

 

4: What game do you like but everyone else seems to hate?

 

Mega Man 8.

Mega Man 8Yes, the voice acting is the stuff of nightmares (or comedy gold, depending on how you look at it), and the Robot Masters are a bit goofy (I like Sword Man though), but overall I think it’s one of the best Mega Man games. I’m not about to argue it’s as great as Mega Man 2 or anything, but it is one of the few entries in the series that stands out from the others. Not just because of the vibrant visuals, but it also had moments like the on-rail shooter in Tengu Man’s stage and the notorious “Jump jump, slide slide” segments in Frost Man’s stage and Dr. Wily’s castle.

It’s not perfect, but I think it is a lot more fun than it gets credit for.

 

5: What characters should be added to the next Super Smash Bros. installment?

 

Dixie KongGenoDixie Kong should have already been in the series by this point. We have three freaking Kid Icarus rejects but only two Donkey Kong characters? That’s just dumb.

Besides Dixie, I’m always rooting for Geno. If only Square could be a pal…

Other top choices include Fawful, King K. Rool and Paper Mario (not a clone). I would also love to see Banjo-Kazooie, but that could be complicated with all the legalities.

Anyone makes more sense than freaking Dark Pit though.

 

6: What long-gone gaming franchise needs to be resurrected?

 

I was going to say Toejam & Earl, but they’re making a comeback! Hopefully they won’t add some needless third character this time…

Instead, I’ll list Ristar! Seriously, only one game. One.

"Yeah, this is basically where Ristar has been the last two decades."
“Yeah, this is basically where Ristar has been the last two decades.”

There just seems like there’s so much missed potential with Ristar as a franchise. Just imagine him reimagined today, in glorious HD. They could build on the core concepts of the original game, while making a brand new experience.

Why Sega can’t seem to see the untapped goldmine they have here is a mystery…

Oh wait, does Super Mario RPG count as its own franchise? Because that needs a sequel as well!

 

7:  What long-standing gaming franchise needs to go?

 

I hate to say it since this series was a big part of my childhood, but it has to be Sonic the Hedgehog.

Now, I’m not saying the series has to die completely, but Sonic definitely needs to go for a good while. Sure, Sonic Generations was good, but it’s surrounded and outnumbered by so many awful titles from the once-great series, that Sonic has become an absolute joke.

Remember back in the day, when Sonic the Hedgehog was held in a similar regard to Mario and Zelda? Now the only time Mario and Sonic should be mentioned in the same sentence is if that sentence is “Mario stomps Sonic into dust.

Sonic Boom
“Why? …just, why?!”

The series just isn’t what it once was at all. Too many bugs, too many unthought out elements, and just too many dang characters! Message to Sega: You don’t need to introduce more dumb animal characters with every new entry!

Sega needs to either go back to basics (but do it better than Sonic the Hedgehog 4) or let the series go away for a while, and maybe people might actually want to see Sonic in another game.

 

8: What job would you never take?

Anything that involves going into a sewer, I suppose.

 

9: What would be your reaction if extraterrestrial beings made contact with us?

I’d probably think it’d be pretty cool. If they were friendly enough I may want to see how well they take to Mario Kart.

 

10: What is your favorite video game song?

It’s a hard choice, as I consider myself something of a connoisseur of video game music. There are so many great gaming soundtracks. Super Mario RPG, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Galaxy, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Banjo-Kazooie, Shadow of the Colossus, Nights, just to name a few.

But if I had to pick one favorite gaming soundtrack, it’d have to be Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest. It alone is a soundtrack filled with classics and all-time greats, but if I had to pick one track from DKC2 it would be… *Drumroll*

In a Snow-Bound Land.

DKC2
“Tough as nails. But that music!”

What is it with me and snow? Anyway, In a Snow-Bound Land is absolutely beautiful. It’s atmospheric, emotional, and it captures my imagination every time I hear it. It also continues DKC2’s brilliant trend of including the most soothing and beautiful music on the most difficult levels (one of the game’s many subtle works of genius). It’s simply captivating.

 

 

 

11: Will you forbid your children to play video games whose ratings are not appropriate for their age?

Of course. A ten-year old shouldn’t be playing Grand Theft Auto. Simple as that. There are plenty of great games for them to enjoy as kids, they can wait to play the more violent stuff.


 

Now for some random facts about me.

 

1: I can whistle pretty darn well. “Like a freaking bird” I’ve been told.* I can often be heard whistling various video game songs. I’m not quite Walter from The Muppets, but I’m getting there.

*Has never actually been told this.

2: I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs. Unless Dr. Pepper counts, in which case just inject it into my veins!

3: I attended E3 every year from 2009 to 2014, fulfilling one of my dreams as a kid. I got to play some awesome games before most people!

Bowser4: My favorite video game character is Bowser. The King Koopa is just too cool, and he never gives up. He gets knocked down and he keeps on keeping on. He’s an inspiration.

5: Whenever I’m not watching movies, playing video games, writing about those movies and video games, or dealing with that annoying thing called “real life,” I enjoy drawing and creative writing. I’m not going to brag about my abilities, but at least I do my own stuff.

6: My favorite television series include Arrested Development, Seinfeld, Monk and Regular Show. Though I also have to give my childhood a shout out with Digimon (the first two seasons, the third one killed it for me as a kid).

7: Super Mario RPG was the first RPG I ever played, and still my favorite.

8: I am a frequenter of Disneyland (annual pass holder!), and know the place like Gollum knows Middle-Earth. My favorite rides at the park include Indiana Jones, Star Tours, and Space Mountain.

9: I’m not one for watching sports, but I do enjoy pro wrestling (don’t laugh). It can get goofy, but the theatrics of it all can provide some great entertainment when it wants.

"The SNES launched with Super Mario World! How do you beat that?!"
“The SNES launched with Super Mario World! How do you beat that?!”

10: I still consider the SNES to be the greatest video game console of all time. A bigger lineup of all-time classics than any other console, and they haven’t aged a day.

11: Every now and again I like to have a go at some video editing. I’ve even managed to get some money from some of my YouTube idiocy.

 

 


 

 

And now for my questions.

 

1- What is the earliest game you remember playing?

2- What do you think are the three most important aspects of a great game?

3- What are your five favorite TV shows?

4- What are your five favorite movies?

5- What is your favorite color (very important)?

6- Who is your favorite video game character?

7- If you could live in any video game world, which one would it be?

8- What is your favorite video game song/soundtrack?

9- If you were an eccentric millionaire, what would be the first off-the-wall thing you’d do with your wealth?

10- How would you prepare for a zombie apocalypse?

11- Favorite video game console?


 

As for my nominees, well, I must admit that I don’t get around to reading too many different blogs (more time for Smash Bros. you see) but there are some great ones out there. I nominate…

AfterStory

GamesThatIPlay

And well, yeah that’s it. I would also re-nominate NintendoBound but I don’t know the rules on that. An honorary mention anyway.

Shine Get!

 

Welcome to the Dojo!

Welcome to the dojo!

To all who come to this opinionated website… Welcome! Wizarddojo.com is a place of video games and animations (and other movies). You will find reviews, top 5/10 lists, and other such writings on those subjects. Primarily by yours truly, but hopefully some other members of my fellowship will join in this venture. So stay a while and listen.

 

In preparation for the launch of this site, I already cooked up some reviews and other such things, so why not take a gander at them? Or you could look at that about page if you’d like. Get your magics ready and prepare for battle, you have entered the wizard’s dojo!