If you paid attention to anything about this year's Nintendo E3 showing, you were likely most excited by the revelations of the upcoming Super Smash Bros. game. After all, Nintendo could tease a quarter image of the Smash logo and the fanboys would go rabid in anticipation. But they did one better - showed off a few of the new characters joining the fray. Megaman, the Animal Crossing Villager, and (apparently) the WiiFit trainer will be making their debut in the next iteration of the landmark fighting series. So now that the game is on the horizon, it's time to start developing my fantasy list of other characters I'd love to see in the game.
Over the past six months, I've been lucky enough to play more great games than I could ever really ask for. The end of 2012 brought me the near-religious marvel that is Journey. Come Christmas and early 2013, I indulged in brand new Layton and the near-Galaxy-quality merriment of Super Mario 3D Land. Currently, I'm working my way through Fire Emblem: Awakening, and I can say without hesitation that it's the most elegant strategy game I've played, well, certainly in many, many years (I dare not say "ever" without at least a couple hundred words to back it up). For me, though, one experience in particular stands tall amidst this utopian throng of top-notch gaming encounters, and that game is entitled Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward.
I was late to the Adventure Time party. Not because I thought I would dislike the show - it's quite the opposite. From what I had heard, it had just the offbeat humor and fantasy RPG roots to hook me like no other. My reason for taking so long to dive in was a (I guess you could call it) moral hesitation. You see, from the one or two episodes I had seen in the past, I made the decision that Adventure Time was not fit for young children, despite it being advertised at the very demographic. There are some weird, heavy things that a college student who grew up on Dungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings would love, but a 7 year old might just get creeped out over.
Have you seen Man of Steel? If so, odds are you enjoyed it. That is, if you went into the film with reasonable expectations. Unfortunately, it seems that dozens of critics and what could easily be thousands of moviegoers have (I suppose not unsurprisingly) failed to take the simple preemptive measure of not being completely and utterly swept up by the hype train before walking through the theater doors. In fact, from the looks of things I'd say a fair amount of folks have already killed the conductor and taken the now compromised engine for a complete one-eighty, nose pointed directly at Zack Snyder's head. Why all the hate? Before I'm called out, I really don't think hate is an inappropriate word choice here - some of the criticisms being directed at this movie are literally causing me to have triple-takes at my computer screen. It's not because they are so invalid, or that people aren't entitled to their opinions, but rather the fact that the use of the same tropes and idioms that are so painfully rampant throughout all of superhero-filmdom is being absolutely torn to shreds, and I can't figure out why.
Another E3 has come and almost gone, and I still retain the luxury of getting to write about it sans the chaos, sweatiness, and general stress-induction of actually attending. Okay, I’m obviously full of it - I would absolutely love to attend E3, in any capacity, but taking in events from my couch this year certainly didn’t make the ceaseless wave of news nor the sizable assailment of stellar games any less exciting. Often much of the post E3 talk revolves around who “won” the show, and as much as I’d like to say I’m above such discussions, I’ve already spent hours engaged in them since the last conference (well, a Nintendo Direct actually) concluded Tuesday morning. As time has passed, I’ve realized I don’t really have a problem with these talks - they’re fun, and pulling for your company or platform of choice is an enjoyable endeavor. Whether you swear fealty to one of the big three or just go wherever the best games and hardware take you (what I at least try to do), E3 brings gaming to the masses for a glorious three or so days. It’s the one time of year I can discuss gaming-related news with almost any of my friends, and they’ll actually be in the loop.
Recent Film & TV
Rarely have I felt more sympathy toward a film character than I felt toward protagonist Hana while watching Mamoru Hosada's Wolf Children . The movie follows the single mother as she struggles to raise her two children, Yuki and Ame. And if raising children by yourself wasn't hard enough, her kids happen to be half-wolf. Despite this fantastical twist, Wolf Children carries with it a host of very real emotions. Never before have I seen all the pain, anxiety, and joy of raising a child so poingently captured on film. Hana's struggle to raise and protect Yuki and Ame is made all the more difficult by her fear of society's reaction to their uniqueness. Hosada brings the viewer on a journey into Hana's heart and home, beautifully portraying the first decade of her children's lives. The journey feels more like a ferris wheel than a roller coaster - the film is slow, so that you can truly soak in the view. However, the slow pace only makes the highs and lows of Hana's experience all the more vivid.
Fall Out Boy is fall out back. The early-2000s emo kings have reunited after a four year hiatus and dropped their fifth album, Save Rock and Roll. The album picks up where 2008's Folie a Deux left off, taking the band further away from the 'punk' of their 'punk-pop' origins. Without this 'punk' factor which so many angst-ridden adolescents fell in love with in 2002, FOB is still capable of crafting a fun, highly listenable pop-rock album, merging dance music and hip hop into the arena rock sound they had been developing on their last two albums.