The Penguin Booth At BookCon Was A Dumpster Fire, And Even That Is Too Polite.

Let me first say that I’m biased. I’ve been to different conventions over the years, and haven’t always had the best time. I have enjoyed conventions as many times as I’ve hated them. I’ve seen multiple giveaway systems, experienced the nightmare of the Funko booths, lotteries, and lines that only few could even fathom. I should also say that I was at Book Con mainly for my girlfriend, to help her grab freebies and things she wanted.

All that being said, fuck you Penguin Random House Booth at Book Con. Fuck you, and your terrible system.

I’m sorry for the language. I know if this post happens to gain some attention with the Book Con crowd, a lot of people there were a bit on the younger side. However, there really is no other way to express my disappointment and outrage with how poorly ran the penguin booth was.

The system that the Penguin booth decided to employ was a lottery of sorts. The claim is that 30 minutes before a signing starts, a person working the booth will go to a location around the booth and start handing out tickets to people who want to go to certain signings. If you arrive before the designated time, the workers will tell you to keep walking around, tickets aren’t being handed out yet. Simple, and could seemingly work right?

No, that’s a dumb ass plan, and let me tell you why.

For a smaller publisher, or a smaller booth, this plan is feasible maybe even reasonable. However, Penguin should have known this system simply would not work with a following of their size. Penguin is by far THE BIGGEST booth at Book Con. They are the first thing you’ll see from multiple entrances to the show floor, and are at least the size of 3-4 regular booths combined. Given that much real estate it is heavily implied that they are a big deal, and should be prepared for heavy traffic. They weren’t.

If a con goer decides to arrive a little bit early to wait for tickets to be handed out, others will follow, this should be fully expected. Everyone obviously wants the best possible chance to meet their favorite authors. So it is no surprise at all people will begin forming unofficial lines.

Penguin on the other hand, believes that you should randomly walk around in circles and just hope for the best. Even though doing exactly what they told you to do will probably net you absolutely nothing and in all likelihood leave you on the outside looking in. If you listen to the workers of the booth and decide to circle around the booth, there is a good chance that soon after, they’ll start forming the line for the ticket giveaway. You’ll be on the wrong side of the booth, and be incredibly lucky if you happen to get a ticket.

So, maybe you should try and just stand there and have booth security yell at you?

Nope. That’s a terrible plan as well, because then you form a fire hazard, and I promise you 9/10 times the booth will form the ticket line away from you to spite you, because you had the “audacity” to not walk around in circles hoping the ticket giveaway landed on you. The fact that there isn’t an effective strategy could be exactly what Penguin wanted. Which if that’s the case, let me tell you my personal story at the penguin booth yesterday, and why that’s a terrible idea.

The thing my girlfriend wanted the absolute most from Book Con was a copy of Bonfire by Krysten Ritter. She’s a huge Krysten Ritter fan. We probably could have increased our chances had both of us decided to stalk the booth, but I didn’t want that. I told her I think it was more important to experience Krysten Ritter’s panel, because going to a panel of someone you think is really cool is a special experience. So we split, she went to wait for the panel, I headed back to the show floor to attempt to scope the situation out.

Krysten’s signing is at 2:45 PM. This means that her ticket giveaway should begin at 2:15 PM. I’m scoping the Penguin booth out at 1:30 PM. However, this is a terrible time to be around the Penguin booth, because the ticket giveaway for Wonder Woman: Warbringer, which means there is already a sea of humanity crammed like sardines around the Penguin booth. It simply is a safety hazard and a poor idea to add to this cluster of humans, so I decide I’ll come back after they’ve sorted out the Wonder Woman signing.

I go to a different booth to pick up a free book. I was at the front of the line, but decided to leave because the author was late for her signing and I had to get back to the Penguin booth. I arrive back at the booth at around 1:50 PM or so. The sea of humanity for Wonder Woman is now reduced to what seems like a reasonable lake of humanity now. I quickly head toward the table where Krysten Ritter will be. I would say at this point there are about 100 people meandering around in the area. I join the unofficial line hoping that it somehow works out.

At about 2:05 PM security gets involved, and dissolves the unofficial line and it becomes just a huge mass of people. It is at this point an exceptionally loud girl (we’ll call her ELG) starts preaching about how people need to be fair and honest about who was here first. She claims she had been there quite awhile and if she waited she deserves a ticket to the signing. The lead security guy proceeds to tell her the rules, that tickets aren’t given away until 2:15 blah blah blah, and everyone should walk around because it’s a fire hazard. Mind you the line was fairly reasonable, it wasn’t until the line was dissolved and became a large mass of humanity did it start blocking the walking lanes.

A guy comes up next to me in this pile of people and asks what’s going on, I explain people are trying to get tickets to Krysten Ritter’s signing. We’re going to call him glasses guy, because that’s all I really remember about him.

At 2:11 PM someone from the Penguin booth whistles really loudly and starts yelling at people to move because it has become a safety issue. Everyone in the mass of people checks their phones for time and scoffs, because no one is moving 4 minutes before tickets are supposed to be handed out.

It’s 2:15 PM, the crowd is growing restless because no one knows where tickets will be handed out. ELG is talking about how the crowd is behind her and she deserves her ticket, and that anyone who cuts in front is terrible. One minute later, a group of 4-5 people push through to the front and greet ELG AND STAND WITH HER AT THE FRONT OF THE PILE, this is the same girl screaming about how she deserves her ticket the most and people who cut in line should be thrown out. Hypocrisy at it’s finest. At this point, everyone should realize this girl preaching fairness and respecting the time waited is a full blown hypocrite and just incredibly rude.

At 2:18 PM or so, lead security guy explains how things are going to work. He’s going to hand some tickets out to his people, they’ll walk into random pockets of the huge crowd (which at this point might be 500+ people squished together), and hand out tickets to whoever they want. If they saw people pushing they would stop handing out tickets.

I cringe at this because I know this is a bad idea for so many reasons, but also, during the entire time I was at Book Con I was regularly given looks because I clearly stick out. I’m a dude (if I had to guess the attendance was 85% female), and I’m 6’0 tall. I’m just saying I’m more physically imposing than most people there, and if any pushing happened, I knew I would get blamed. I’m not here to cry about discrimination or whatever, I don’t know if it played a factor at all, but I know it certainly didn’t help my cause.

It’s 2:20ish PM and a security woman walks into my area of the crowd with tickets. She stops right in front of me. People are pushing into my back and around me like crazy reaching their arms forward, I’m literally holding people back from mobbing this woman. She begins handing out tickets to people, and she hands them out to everyone in the front of the circle, I thought this would include me as I was right there. Even glasses guy was given a ticket (he had just arrived at 2:10 or whatever). As she begins to turn toward me people start pushing, and she stops handing out tickets.

Ticket lady begins to then notice a girl is having a PANIC ATTACK, I help clear some room because this girl is bawling her eyes out and hyperventilating. People behind me are still pushing and grabbing. Ticket lady calms her down and helps her out, gives her and her friend tickets. At this point Ticket lady says she’s going to start giving out tickets again. I then see that this LITTLE KID is getting squished. He’s getting absolutely destroyed, he was about to be trampled like he was Mufasa. The ticket lady also notices this kid getting squished, I do my best to pull this little kid out of of the pile. She gives him a ticket, and he’s on his way. At this moment the ticket lady announces she HAS ONE TICKET LEFT, and spins around in a circle looking around.

And of course, of fucking course the super hypocrite ELG, screams that she deserves this ticket. Ticket lady turns and gives her the ticket. It’s over. The ticket giveaway is done.

Being quiet, and not actively grabbing at this lady’s tickets worked against me. That’s tough. I really wanted to do this for my girlfriend and I know she absolutely would have loved to have Krysten Ritter’s book and meet her. It’s difficult, doing what you felt was the right thing, and coming up short, and more or less getting punished for trying to be fair.

That’s not really the worst part though. I hear people in the crowd talking about how they’ve been in the unofficial line since 11:30 AM, 12:00 PM and that this was the first place they came when the con opened, and they didn’t get tickets. My girlfriend and I woke up at 2 am, hopped on a bus at 3:30 am to arrive in New York at 7:30 AM, ate breakfast and headed to the Javits Center, mainly because she wanted to meet Krysten Ritter and get an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of Bonfire. I went through all of that, and yet I still somehow felt extra bad for these other young fans that had spend most of their Sunday waiting for just this signing.

My girlfriend went to the Krysten Ritter panel, as it turns out they handed out copies of the book at the panel. Krysten even responded to something my girlfriend yelled out from the crowd. That’s amazing. My girlfriend ended up having a wonderful time altogether at Book Con, even though she didn’t get a signed copy of Bonfire.

But the honest truth is, I can’t help but feel bad because I know plenty of people sacrificed going to the panel so they could have a chance to meet Krysten Ritter and get a signed book. They were completely destroyed, and most likely didn’t even get a copy of the book. That sucks. That just 100% completely sucks.

You’re probably thinking that yes it sucks, but if I can’t come up with a better system, why complain? Glad you bring that up.

My personal belief is that if you’re willing to put in the time, you are the most deserving of the ticket. If it were up to me, Penguin would use the Queue Hall to their advantage and tell people to form lines there and wait as long as they want for the thing they want most. If you’re willing to commit most of your day to see one author you should get to see that one author.

Penguin has to be better at anticipating which of their signings will be larger, and have lines set up for the tickets so people can commit as much time as they want to their signings. Penguin could also have lines at the opening of Book Con and hand tickets out at the start of the day and have people return to the booth when it’s time for the signings. This would alleviate foot traffic around the booth, and would allow people who are willing to commit the most time to see an author get their ticket while still being able to enjoy the con. This means that you likely will not be allowed to see more than one author though. However, it is very unlikely people did that under the current system, and if they did it really speaks more to the unfairness of the random draw.

People at the Penguin booth and Book Con, your job is incredibly difficult, it really is. By no means am I saying that anyone can do your job. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t disagree with how Penguin ran their booth, and that they can’t SIGNIFICANTLY improve.  Book Con itself was a fairly well ran event, and an enjoyable experience in my opinion.

Feel free to disagree with me on here or twitter.

twitter: @thetwentytwo

An Open Letter To The 2016-2017 Washington Wizards

First and foremost, I want to say thank you.

So thank you Washington Wizards.

Thank you so much for a season that I’ll never forget as a fan. A season that had a roller coaster of emotions. A season that started 2-8. A season that began with questions about our backcourt “disliking” each other. A season that had John and Brad sitting out back-to-backs. A season that showed John was a top tier point guard. A season where Brad got snubbed from All-Star, but let his game do the talking. A season where Otto got recognized as a sniper in this league. A season that included the greatest home stand I’ve ever witnessed as a DC sports fan, that could only be ended by the current best basketball player on the planet. A season that included a playoff berth and homecourt.

I know it ended in heartbreak, and I can’t even imagine what you guys as players go through. I won’t say time heals all wounds, because I’m ready to punch a wall when I lose in online video games against average players. I can recall a game I played years ago and still be angry about a decision I made. What I can say is that you’ve done more for this city and basketball than you can imagine. You’re helping make DC into a basketball town, and that’s something so incredibly special.

I remember the shame after the Gilbert Arenas era. I remember being MJ’s retirement tour. I remember getting consistent trash talk for drafting Kwame Brown (there really is no comeback to “your team drafted Kwame Brown”). I remember being called the Washington Generals constantly. I remember people saying there is no homecourt advantage at Verizon Center.

You guys changed all of that. Instead of shame, there was hope. Instead of a retirement tour, you were young guns entering their prime. John, Brad, Otto, and even Kelly(kinda) were all drafted by this team. You guys did moves that made looked like the Globetrotters clowning the Generals.

Courtesy of TheRinger

Most importantly, you brought homecourt back to DC. I’ve been to my fair amount of games in my lifetime. I’ve never felt a crowd so electric as I did in my trips to the Verizon Center this year. Every dunk was met with an explosive cheer. Every hustle play highlighted by thunderous clapping. Every beautiful crossover complimented with a collective “oooooooh”. Every three splashed was met with a deafening DEE CEE THREEEEEEEEE. You guys made basketball more important than free Chic-Fil-A sandwiches (and we all know how good the sandwiches are). I don’t think any DC basketball fan can thank you enough for that.

If you’re still reading, I’d like to talk to some players.

Daniel Ochefu/Chris McCullough/Sheldon Mac/Trey Burke

You guys cheered like hell, and I know you gave the starters great practice and competition. I look forward to seeing more of you guys.

Tomáš Satoranský(Sato)

I hope you had fun in your first season in the NBA Sato. I hope we get to see more of those pogo stick legs as you develop for the Washington Wizards.

Ian Mahinmi

Ian, a lot will be said about the money we spent, and things like that, but just get healthy and play a full season for us and prove otherwise.

Brandon Jennings

A late season addition, but appreciated help at the backup PG spot. Not to mention a dope article on the ThePlayersTribune.

Jason Smith

JSmoove, the midrange GOAT, are just a couple of names we came to know you by. You became a fan favorite quick, and you absolutely deserved it. A true professional, in every sense of the word. Thank you for knocking down some key jumpers and making hustle plays.

Bojan Bogdanović

Bojangles, Bo Buckets, Bogdonaswish, Bogie, the Croation Sensation, Olympic Bojan, you had quite a few nicknames yourself. You came here with red hot shooting, and the fanbase instantly loved you. Thanks for raining those beautiful threes.

Kelly Oubre, Jr.

Kelly OuBAE some might say. As tenacious on defense as you are loved by women (we’ve all heard the screams when you check in the game). Continue to develop and be as good as we believe you can be. That energy you brought off the bench was key all year.

Marcin Gortat

Thanks for setting those picks and doing the dirty work no one will recognize, because they don’t show up in the stats. Thanks for dropping the hammer and energizing the crowd.

Markieff Morris

A lot of people weren’t down with the trade we made to get you. This year you showed them you were worth it, and it wasn’t just all about the stats you put up. Thank you Keef for going to bat any time someone would get in a teammate’s face. Thanks for providing a bucket down low when we needed it most, and never backing down. Thanks for being the enforcer, and I think every Wizards fan is now #TeamFOE.

Otto Porter, Jr.

I remember the night you were drafted and watching your college highlights. I was so excited about your midrange game and defense. I remember reading a story about how you bought a sandwich for a homeless man then sat to eat with him and thinking “Wow, this is a big difference from the days of Andray Blatche and Nick Young”.

Then your rookie season was derailed by injury. Then you got a little lost in the team rotation because that’s the way Coach Wittman did things. Then The Truth came and mentored you a bit. Then you started last year, and showed flashes. Then this year you straight up balled. Thank you for being as good as we all knew you could be, and we know you can get even better. Thank you for playing the right way, shooting with your feet set, helping on defense, hustling for rebounds, and moving without the ball.

Fans will cite the game where you splashed threes as your biggest games this year. My favorite game of yours was against Brooklyn after all-star break. Brooklyn wasn’t even supposed to make us break a sweat but they pushed us to the brink, and they could have derailed our season losing a trap game like that. But you wouldn’t let that happen, and you chased down offensive rebound after offensive rebound, and wouldn’t let us lose. That was the epitome of an Otto Porter game.

A lot will be said about your upcoming contract, but I truly hope you will be a Washington Wizard for a long, long time. There’s something to be said about a franchise that takes care of the talent they draft.

Bradley Beal

A lot of people questioned your contract. I think it’s safe to say they’re now all bealievers(I had to). I was convinced from your first season that you were our guy. When you hit that buzzer beater in 2014 against the Orlando Magic, I knew you were the real deal. If John is the heart of this team, you’re the soul. They say that your soul is fulfilled by art, and my goodness is your game a work of art.

You didn’t want to be just a shooter, so you worked on your off-the-dribble game. You didn’t want to be just a scorer, so you worked on your facilitating. You didn’t want to just be an offensive player, so you worked on your defense. You didn’t want to just be a good player, you wanted to be a star. And you accomplished all of that, and more.

I know you can be even better, and you will be. Thank you for staying healthy and being the cold blooded assassin this team needed. Just thank you for being everything this fanbase hoped you would be, and more. I won’t say this league is yours for the taking, because nothing is given, but I know you’ll work as hard as you possibly can to be the best 2 Guard in this league. And we can’t ask any more than that.

John Wall

I don’t know what to say John. What can I say that really expresses the thanks for what you’ve done? Myself and other fans have been saying for a few years that you belonged in the top tier discussion of point guards. The WallStar. Soon to be Wall-NBA (if you’re not, the award is a sham). You’re DC’s Point God, and the heart of this team.  You’re involved in the community. A better human being than a basketball player, and you’re one of the best damn basketball players on the planet. This is your city.

We’re the same age John, and watching you grow up into the leader and player you have, has been a special thing for me. It was like watching a good friend work, grow, and achieve their goals. A lot of that has to do with your demeanor. Someone who isn’t afraid to celebrate his big shots, someone who isn’t afraid to talk trash(an elite trash talker at that) when he destroys them, and someone who isn’t afraid of the moment.

As I type this I’m smiling, because I know so many others our age feel the same. Watching you develop from a lightning quick rookie with talent to a nuanced floor general has truly been an incredible experience. From having a shaky jump shot to hitting one of the biggest shots in Washington Wizards history. From a talented PG with some turnover issues to arguably the best vision in the league. It’s been an absolute pleasure not just as a Wizards fan, but a basketball fan.

I probably don’t have to remind you where this franchise was when you were drafted. What I can tell you is how I and many others felt when we heard “With the first overall pick, the Washington Wizards select John Wall”. Excitement. Hope. A chance. It was a miracle to get a first pick in the draft in the first place, but to get the first pick in a draft where there was a generational talent available? It felt like a dream. So I know this time is tough, and a lot will be said about you in the coming weeks. But remember where this franchise used to be, and where it’s headed. And you brought us here. So thank you John. Thank you for everything.

Coach Brooks

When the Wizards hired you, I wasn’t sold right away, but I did remember your reputation about developing players. Then I read stories about you as a player, and stories about your upbringing, and it made me grow a deep respect for you as a person. And I became excited, I’ll admit that excitement was questioned a bit during our 2-8 start, but you righted the ship. You brought this team back from the brink and put them on track for one of the best seasons in this franchise’s history. Please continue to bring out the best in our players. Thank you.

Final Thoughts

A lot of people will say you’re just like all the other DC Sports teams. That you’re cursed to exit the playoffs in the second round forever. I don’t believe that for the other DC teams, but I especially don’t believe it for you. This team is young, skilled, talented, and hardworking. I know you guys will do everything you can to come back better and stronger. There will be more heartbreak, but I know there will be new things to celebrate, and that will make it worth it. I know I’ve said it a million times already, but just one more should top it off.

Thank you for this season, Washington Wizards.

P.S. Sneaking in one more thanks for being undefeated at the games me and my girlfriend attended.

P.P.S I’ll also miss Phil Chenier’s commentating dearly, and hope that there is a way he’ll stay.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A DC sports fan born in 1991, that sometimes hates the city and the traffic, but will always cheer DC sports when he can, especially the Wizards.

Hanging in the rafters one day, but hopefully a fans arms are good enough for now.

Thoughts About Stuff: Improving Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go took the world by storm, then it shot itself in the foot, then it climbed back up a bit. I, like many others, don’t really know what to make of the game right now. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy playing the game, because I do. I just know that I’m not playing it nearly as much as I did when it first came out. This is fairly normal when you play games that aren’t story driven or you aren’t highly competitive in, but trending downward is always at least a little concerning. However, there are a few things Niantic could do to really improve PoGo, thus improving the overall experience for all players.

Quality Of Life Improvements

Improving Pokémon Go

Tracking – I know that there is a beta version of a new tracking system. I haven’t heard much in terms of reviews about it. Fixing the sightings to delete things not nearby anymore was a great step, but most everyone I’ve spoke to about the game misses the original tracking system.

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Incubators – I’m not going to demand more infinite incubators, I understand the game is a business and needs to make money. However, I would suggest making incubators available in bulk like lures and lucky eggs are. Possibly even selling incubators that have more uses for more coins. For example, you should be able to buy a pack of 3 incubators for 400 coins OR an incubator you that has 12 uses.

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Transferring – The ability to transfer as you catch pokes was a great improvement. Now if we could do something like instead of favorite the Pokémon, you could mark for transferring to mass transfer that’d be great. Oh, and transferring higher evolutions of Pokémon should yield more candy.

Gyms – End sniping by giving a thirty second grace period to players who have recently battled the gym. Being able to set a stable starting lineup for battling would be nice too.

pokemon_type_chart

Balance – Everyone knows that outside of the kings of the game (Snorlax, Dragonite, Lapras) water Pokémon destroy everything, including most electric ‘mon, which should not be the case.

Content Improvements

Right now, PoGo lacks content.  There are essentially three things you can do in PoGo. Complete your Pokédex, claim gyms for your respective team, or grind levels. That’s pretty much it.  For some people that’s probably enough, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with being a casual player, but that doesn’t mean Niantic shouldn’t consider adding more for other players. Some people will say that I’m playing too much. As of this moment, I’ve caught 135 of the available 142 in the North America, and I’m level 28. I’d say I probably spend a bit more time than the average player. However, I don’t think I’m in the category of hardcore. I really think that my issue with the game stems from a lack of content and not the amount I play. So I want to discuss some possible ideas that could be implemented.

I agree with many ideas that have come up around places like /r/Pokemongo and /r/thesilphroad. I think there is so much room for improvement and imagination not being taken advantage of. Ideas like 1v1 player battling, trading, and quests are great ideas in the spirit of the original games. However, I don’t think Niantic should be afraid to venture and make their own Pokémon game stand out.

duo_gameboy

The CEO of Niantic has referred to the game as an MMO, and I agree. So why not add some MMO type content? An idea that I played around with and developed was the implementation raids for legendaries. Many rumors have stated legendaries will simply be gifts at events where you have to catch the ‘mon. I think this is a missed opportunity if they go that route. I think they could add a completely different dimension to PoGo when implementing legendaries by adding raids/instances.

Raids/instances might sound a little crazy at first, but I don’t think it would be all that hard for players to grasp. Let’s say we implement new items, these new items are feathers corresponding to the legendary birds (Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres). We make these feathers fairly rare drops randomly in the game. The rustling grass that used to be in the game would be perfect places to look for feathers (this would make it more equal for rural and city players as opposed to putting them in stops, I think).

After you gather 25 of Zapdos’ feathers, what do you do now? You go to a gym of your team’s color! Players can then use your feathers, and BATTLE Zapdos for the right to capture him. You can also have members of the same team battle with you to help (we may have to inflate some CPs for the fight or something). This would increase the purpose of teams. It would also add reason to get to know others of your same team. While it’s different from the rest of the game, I think making legendaries a little bit harder to catch and more unique just adds to their prestige and rarity.

All credit to the artist here: http://marcoh88.deviantart.com/art/Zapdos-311044310
All credit to the artist here: http://marcoh88.deviantart.com/art/Zapdos-311044310

On top of this, you can easily make this a scaling system. 25 feathers will get you a level 1-10 Zapdos, 50 feathers will get you a level 11-20, 100 feathers will get you 21-30, etc. It could also be a necessity to make gyms correlate, so your gym would have to be at least level 3 to use 25 feathers, level 5 to use 50 feathers, and level 7 to use 100 feathers. This makes pumping up gyms more worth your time, as well as increases the competition for them.

This appeals to all players. If you’re simply looking to increase your Pokédex count, just go for a low level legendary, because who cares right? If you’re a player who wants the strongest Pokémon, then you grind a bit and save your feathers up to battle a high level legendary.

Final Thoughts

To be super clear about this, I’m not a developer, and I wouldn’t expect these things to happen overnight. I have very little idea about how hard these things would be to implement. These are simply some ideas I had and wanted to talk about it. I do enjoy playing PoGo, I just had some suggestions that I think could make an even better game, because I do think it is wasting some of it’s potential.

Let us know your thoughts, bash/discuss/talk to your heart’s content! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

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From Smash to Street Fighter – The Fighting Game Shift Struggle

The release of Street Fighter V was hotly anticipated, as Street Fighter IV’s long road to reviving fighting games on console. Now, the actual release has been harped on, due to the severe lack of content found within the game, from character roster and extensive story modes, to different modes and character specific training. However, the gameplay does pick up a lot of this slack, but this is not a review. As a seasoned Super Smash Bros player, I have largely avoiding taking 2-D console fighters seriously like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and King of Fighters. With this iteration, I have decided to finally tackle this franchise that has defined fighting games since the dawn of video games.

Tech-Skill, where art tho?

Super Smash Bros is a game built upon a legacy of games, namely platformers. So when anytime picks up a control and takes hold of a character, say Mario, you move around like Mario.

Kirby flies like Kirby, Yoshi hovers like Yoshi, and Donkey Kong hits like Donkey Kong. While other characters are adjusted to the fighting formula, the core mechanics lie in controlling a platforming game with the characters you like with the goal of beating the crap out of your opponents. This is part of what makes the game so approachable; it gives an air of familiarity to anyone who has touched the games.

With Street Fighter, you have to learn what makes each character unique. Learning the basic inputs, their special abilities, their weight, movement, and overall flow of the gameplay is just an ounce of understanding the game. It doesn’t mean squat if you can execute a heavy hitting if you can’t find a way to break your opponents defenses.

GoldenDemandingAfricancivet

It’s Just You and Your Opponent.

Another main factor that separates Super Smash Bros from Street Fighter is stage selection. In Super Smash Bros, some stages are considered neutral, such as Battlefield and Final Destination, which feature mainly flat surfaces, non-moving platforms, and no obstacles.

225px-Battlefieldssbm

In Street Fighter, stage selection is aesthetic, so with that, the major focus is your opponent. Most of the mind games begin on this screen select.

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Managing the tools comes next. With most Smash Bros characters, all of the abilities are accessible right when the match begins. In Street Fighter, as you battle and take and inflict damage, you increase your EX gauge that allows to perform stronger versions of your attacks and hard-hitting special arts. Strategy involves managing this meter, time, and focusing on positioning your fighter to overwhelm your opponent.

Street-Fighter-V-Overhauled-Battle-System-Gets-Details-New-Gameplay-Video-484060-5

As a Smash player, most of my adjusting to Street Fighter is managing meter and executing. In my experience, Super Smash Bros conditions you to learn character match-ups, utilize the stage, choose effective moves, and understand every habit you have ever had. Street Fighter has many similarities in understanding the player and matchups, but there is a greater importance in carrying over momentum from round to round, as opposed to the stocks and lack of meter that give you a fresh start in each minute of Super Smash Bros. As I struggle in the online realm of Street Fighter V, I remain humble in the continuous learning curve that is brutal as it is rewarding.

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For more of our absurd stories and experiences, check out our opinions archives for more misadventures throughout nerd-life!

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ICYMI: This Hawkeye Fan Film is Super Charming

Many of you may know Hawkeye from Jeremy Renner’s portrayal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, comic book fans may know a very beloved and famous run of Matt Fraction and David Aja on the Archer part-time Avenger. He’s famously called HawkGuy because Fraction’s son couldn’t correctly pronounce Hawkeye, and it just happened to personify this beloved run on the character.

This comic was about Hawkeye just being a regular guy and not so much about his big time as an Avenger. How he’s a street level hero sometimes, but also just a regular dude with a bunch of regular dude problems. That’s enough prefacing right? Yeah, let’s check out the Hawkeye Fan Film.

I really love that they really capture the essence of the characters and the way they were written in this run by Fraction. The filmmakers also do a great job of capturing the style a comic book like this would be read, because they make very conscious choices about the way David Aja made his panels and frames and did similar edits and camera shots. Overall, I just really appreciate the work done by One Riot Ranger Productions. All that being said it’s still a fan film, so if you don’t like some rough production here and there, don’t watch, but I’d say it’s a good bit of work and HawkGuy fans will definitely enjoy.

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20 Years of Pokemon Red & Blue

This past February marked the 20th anniversary of Pokemon Red and Blue releasing and Nintendo honored this glorious event by re-release Pokemon Red, Blue, & Yellow on 3DS’s Virtual Console. Some of the staff have been playing, while others have been enjoying the reemergence of Pokemon, like the upcoming Pokemon Sun and Moon announcement, along with oncoming releases of Pokken Tournament and Pokemon Go! We’re all just excited to see the rise of Pokemon on different platforms and are excited to share our thoughts on one of the most iconic video game franchises.

From the original game, what part hooked you the most?

Alex: I liked the journey of venturing around and being the best. The silent trainer let his training do the talking; beating a gym would allow you to have your name engraved right in front, you filled up the pokedex, and your reward for defeating tough opponents and pokemon gave you relevant and key rewards. The sense of accomplishment from dismantling a huge crime organization and beating everyone to be the best was rewarding to no end.

 

Willy:Definitely the joys of challenging all the gym leaders. Since all the gym leaders were based off one pokemon type, it was always fun to go out and find a specific Pokemon to counter that gym leader. I had the most trouble with Brock and Misty since I picked Charmander but then I learned about the power of Butterfree. Since then, Butterfree has become one of my first picks every time I started the game over (since Beedrill sucks). Butterfree using Confusion was my jam, carrying me places I never knew about.

Yeksson: It had to be the theme music. I was immediately hooked when I first faced Brock in Pewter City. I remember always saving before the Gym Leader battle and turning up the volume to hear that awesome theme. It’s the closest I felt to being Ash from the anime. In a sense I was turning my cap backwards and about to throw down!

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What was your team back in the day and with another shot at the game, what would your Hall of Fame team look like?

Alex: Way back when, I picked up Pokemon Blue and since my brother got Charizard, I had Blastoise on my final roster. Alongside the big turtle was Venomoth, Flareon, Hitmonchan, Omastar, and Zapdos! I mostly picked Pokemon that looked cool, and I think my new team will do some of the same. As I’m playing through the game again, my final team will probably consist of Charizard, Nidoking, Pigeot, Gyrados, Alakazam, and Jolteon.

 

Willy:I don’t remember too much about my starting team but I know it had Charizard, Pigeot, and Gyrados for sure. As for my new team, I’d definitely run three Eevees and Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon. I’d name the Eevees Glaceon(<3), Espeon, and Umbreon since they didn’t exist at the time.

Yeksson: I started off with Red and remember picking Charmander because he looked the closest. Every play through had at least Pidgeot and Charizard. I liked to mix in Gyarados, Jolteon, Aerodactyl, Nidoking, Arcanine, Dragonite, Zapdos, Articuno and Mewtwo.

What is your favorite moment of the original games?

Alex: Anytime I beat Blue when I was completely taken off guard (Rt. 22, Cerulean City, SS Anne), I was so proud and glad to shove his bragging back down his throat.

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Willy: Abusing Missingno and going mad with power, harvesting rare candies for the rest of my life. Occasionally evolving the Missingno into a Kangaskhan that knew sky attack was hilarious.

Yeksson: Beating the Elite Four and Blue for the first time. Lance’s strongest Pokémon was a level 62 Dragonite whereas Blue had a level 65 fully evolved starter that countered your original in-game pick.

Pokemon Yellow was a follow-up game made to capitalize on the anime and overall Pokemania. Mainly featuring a Pikachu that follows you and a quest that resembles Ash’s from the show, what aspect from the anime would you have loved to have in the game?

Alex: Dodging. Anytime a Pokemon was able to dodge, I was so jealous. Still waiting when that type of move (similar to a Defend command) can be incorporated into a main franchise game.

Willy:I would’ve loved to see more Team Rocket trolling you around. Constant attempts of snatching my Pikachu would’ve made for an enjoyable experience. AND IF THEY PUT IN MEOWTH’s LOVE STORY. OH MY GOODNESS, GREATEST LOVE STORY EVER TOLD. HE LEARNED ENGLISH FOR HER!!!

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Yeksson: Being able to use more than 4 moves. I always found it phony that Ash also made up some moves. For example, using water gun, powered by a Thunderbolt.

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2014’s Twitch Plays Pokemon event was a fantastically bizarre experiment where countless Twitch users controlled one trainer in an emulated Pokemon Red game. Of the countless memes, which are your favorite?

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Alex: The religious connotations that came with the game’s play through were hilarious. Praise Helix and the False Prophet Flareon always crack me up.

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Willy:I didn’t dabble too much in the twitch plays Pokemon era so I wouldn’t know. I only heard stories.

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Yeksson: Bird Jesus, the Messiah.

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Most importantly, what’s your favorite Pokemon from the original 151 and why?

Alex: Eevee. I always thought his potential for growth was great and continues to expand.

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Willy:Probably Pikachu with Vaporeon being an extremely close second. But I mean Pikachuwilly sounds so much better than Vaporeonwilly. How unfortunate indeed.

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Yeksson: Jolteon. I remember having a first edition Jolteon card and seeing the move Pin Missile. As I kid I was like “that’s so cool! I want one!”

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Opinion: My Vendetta against Weekly Comics

Rage. Disappoint. Dumbfoundedness. Let down. These are but a few emotions that seeped from the depths of my soul after reading DC Comic’s big weekly event from 2014-2015, Future’s End. Although a bit behind, I decided to wait for the event to settle and read the event in a full weekend sitting. Here’s my one major question…

WHY DID FUTURE’S END HAVE TO HAPPEN?!?

A few major goals coming out of the event were:

  • Explore the past, the present, and the future’s of the current status quo of comics.
  • Refresh long-standing characters and give them life beyond the weekly series.
  • Introduce fan-favorite Terry McGuinness (Batman Beyond) into the main universe (New52)

As I address these issues, I can’t express the following enough:

SPOILER ALERT FOR FUTURE’S END!
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As an alternative future for an already blossoming new continuity, Future’s End saw many recognizable heroes in a disastrous future ruled by Brother Eye, an entity bent of regulating and destroying the current world. Darkseid’s army from Apokolips invaded Earth Prime (along with Earth 2) and Earth Prime hosts the refugees from the destroyed Earth 2. This becomes a point of conflict along with the growing conflicts between heroes and vigilantes, government agents versus soldiers of fortune, magic versus science, and lastly, the impact of new heroes versus the legacy of heroes from the past. While some characters attain noteworthy growth throughout the developing narrative, there are plenty of missed opportunities with characters like Mr. Terrific going from calculating to a moron with no control, Grifter constantly questioning his place and essentially being stuck on an island for most of the story, and King Faraday’s role as a secret agent/behind the scenes character leaves him a one-note character. The story’s overall ambition is to be applauded, but the large cast of characters, the multiple, convoluted storylines, and the slew of artists and writers that take over the story, mixing things too abruptly.

Like I said, the event takes liberties with some of the well-established characters and giving them refreshing new overhauls. Alfred becomes a captivating snarky AI that is lodged in Batman Beyond’s ear, Firestorm changes hosts to a new female form that shares experience and passion, and Shazam, the hero who takes over for a long-lost Superman. What makes these developments upsetting is tied to Batman Beyond’s both inclusion and separation from the New52.

What happens to Batman Beyond is that he becomes the main focus of the event, as he and Alfred are the only ones who traveled to the past (from 35 years into the dying future to 5 years from the New52 current day). As he works to stop the era he came from (the future world from the beloved DC Animated Universe), Terry McGuiness ends up losing his life in a last-ditch effort to save the heroes around him. Tim Drake, a hero who gave up crime-fighting after seeing the Teen Titans decimated, sees Terry’s heroics and decides to follow his path and don the cowl to prevent the apocalypse from the future. Unfortunately, Tim ultimately fails, as he only partly destroys Brother Eye, setting up for a new future where the old future is gone, the new future loses all of the characters established over the past year, and we lose the great Terry McGuiness. While Future’s End is aptly named, it fails to make a lasting impact, we lose an important character who never gets his shot in the main continuity, and the rich world developed over the course of a year is all lost.

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What’s worse is that the title has led me down a road to narcissism, as I wonder why weekly titles should exist in the first place. Does the tight schedule give creators more of a challenge? Does the large cast benefit from being together every week? I’ve been interested in other events, but the large weekly comics could not be more unappealing. The possibilities for incredible story-telling are outweighed by the large commitment. Some stories are told in single comics that last 6 issues and have incredible lasting effects for the characters, while some events have no singular point after 12, after 20, after 50+ issues. It’s incredibly disheartening to buy into these stories with great premises when they have a potential to let you down week after week after week.

It may be my huge love for Batman Beyond and how game changing the comic and show have been to me, but when great writers and artist take change to give a hero the spotlight they deserve and the last thing they leave readers with is his death, it makes it hard to believe that the writers really knew what they were doing. For now, I have to tread carefully, as good weeklys are still being made with great fan reception, such as Batman & Robin Eternal. But as for now, I’m not ready for that commitment. Let us know what you think in the comments below or via our Facebook and Twitter pages!

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4 Legend of Zelda’s 30th Anniversary Games to Get Excited For

Nothing says the best video game franchise (in this writer’s opinion) like a 30th Anniversary celebration. In case you haven’t set out to explore the world of Hyrule, there is no better time to start than now.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on Wii U

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Another big console re-release, Twilight Princess is out now on the Wii U almost 10 years after its initial release. Back when it was being launched, it was the insane time during the Gamecube/Wii transition. No one knew what to expect from the new console and Twilight Princess emerged as a progression from the base Ocarina of Time/Majora’s Mask had established (as opposed to Wind Waker’s focus on naval exploration and cel-shaded graphics.

Legend of Zelda: A Link to a Past on New 3DS

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Hands down my favorite Zelda and possibly favorite game of all time, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to a Past is an overhaul to the original Legend of Zelda on NES, but also established a mythos, introduced new weapons, made a quest staple that many games (including Ocarina of Time) have developed upon, and really brought Hyrule to life. Whether you’ve played it on SNES, GBA, or are getting a shot at it now, there’s no better way to experience Zelda than by playing this classic.

Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS)

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The Zelda spinoff you never expected but glad it exists, Hyrule Warriors initially released on Wii U back in 2014. The 3DS is getting its own version in March with new characters such as Tetra, Linkle, Skull Kid and more. The Dynasty Warriors gameplay may be hit-or-miss for some, but you can’t help but awe at the power of Link, Darunia, Zelda, and many beloved character being able to let loose on countless enemies.

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Legend of Zelda (Wii U)

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Obviously, the most anticipated title is the next entry in the series. Promises of a grandiose game that utilizes an open world, Hyrule will has never seemed so big. Not much more to say at the moment, but no doubt we will see something great at E3 this summer.

All in all, this year looks to be a good year for the Wii U. The wait is rough but the rewards for a Zelda fan like myself are great.

Let us know how you’re celebrating this anniversary below or via our Facebook and Twitter pages!

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SWOLE PATROL’S WEEKLY PICKS – WEEK OF 02/29/2016

Spring has come early, Leo finally has an oscar, and all is good in the world. Why not checking out the things we love that brighten up our days?

Alex: Green Lantern Corps by Patrick Gleason & Dave Gibbons

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As I catch up on my way behind reading, I tend to find series that I want to jump into. Unfortunately, for the completionist I am, I like to start at the beginning of a story arc. When I first read the great Sinestro Corps War arc, I thought it was fantastic after starting with Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern revival. However, I saw the series was mixed with Green Lantern Corps. I’ve finally gotten the opportunity to catch up on it and I’m liking the build up of the corps while Hal Jordan takes care of discovering the other lanterns. There’s definitely more camaraderie and military based team-building that goes on, as aliens of different cultures, warring factions, and royalty are all mixed into one police force designed for the good of the universe. Kyle Rayner’s growth is great to see, but seeing how fantastic Lanterns like Kilowog, Katma Tui, and even Guy Gardner.

Brian: Helldivers

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Local and online co-op, third person shooter, team attack on, opportunity to build for your own style, good times.

Shayna: My Grandma Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry

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Last week, I was stuck working in DC and spent my downtime/metro time reading My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry (a mouthful of a title) by Fredrik Backman. It’s a strange book in that it’s fictional but ties in so many fantasy/fairy tale elements that it’s really hard to categorize it into one genre.

Elsa, a seven-year-old, very intelligent, grammatically-correct child is best friends with her grandmother. In fact, her grandmother is her only friend. Elsa isn’t very popular with her peers. She’s not seen as normal. So, she and her grandmother created Miamas — a kingdom they travel to in their fantasies. In the Land-of-Almost-Awake as they call it, they build on their stories, travel through the kingdoms, and Elsa’s grandmother tells her fairy tales from all over Miamas. They even have a secret language so no one can understand them.

Elsa is shattered when she finds out her grandmother has cancer. When she passes away, Elsa is frustrated to find that Miamas wasn’t just something between her and her grandmother. Miamas is much more than a fantasy — it was directly tied to Elsa’s whole world and reality. Her grandmother has left her a scavenger hunt, leading her to find letters and deliver them to people from her grandmother’s life… people who correspond directly to someone from Miamas. It’s Elsa’s job to unravel her grandmother’s secrets and the darkness in her life.

I enjoyed this book because it ended up being brutally inspirational — it dived into issues such as self-acceptance and why it’s okay to not be normal. It was a light read, but thoroughly entertaining. It had its funny moments, but also some somber and dark moments. Definitely check it out if you’re interested in the fiction/fantasy genres

Be sure to check back every Wednesday for new things to read, watch, play, and enjoy!

Any of your favorites show up on this list? Leave your comments down below and let us know on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest what your favorites are!

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TV Runback – New Girl

Soooo we have those days where we catch up on a show. We missed the buzz. We become busy and forget an episode. Some of us are just plain old lazy. Thanks to the wonders of DVD box sets, Netflix, and the internet, more people are watching television shows than ever. This is what I’ve been catching up on.

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Roommate life can be boring, it can be obnoxious, it can be hectic, and it can be hilarious. New Girl may feature Zoey Dechannel in the spotlight, but the show takes a look at the lives of these roommates and how they live with each other. The opening episodes paint the picture three dysfunctional 30 year olds (Schmidt, Nick, and Winston) learning to live with the new, peppy Jessica Day. The goofiness unfolds relatively fast, as the quirky personalities drive the show faster than the standalone predicaments of the day to day fiascos. The best way to understand the show is to figure out what these weirdos are about.

Jessica “Jess” Day

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Quirky, super cute, and full of heart, Jessica brightens up the loft with her energy, her desire to help others, and innate need for friendship from everyone in her life. She has a can-do attitude about everything, which works best against the roommates who are insanely set in their ways. She knits and bakes, she jumps onto impossible situations, her teaching jobs makes her compassionate with kids and everyone, and even though her phrasing is always old-school and random, Jess always means well and makes the best of every situation.anigif_enhanced-buzz-31190-1375451817-7
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Nick Miller

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An old-man living in a young body, Nick is as stubborn as it gets. Nick can’t express his emotions or admit failure, his knack for home repair reaches dangerous levels, and he would rather tend bar than be the lawyer he trained to be. Longing for a simple life, the Chicago native wants the things in life that make him happy, like good company, less complications, and a lady to take home at his imagined happiness.

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Lastly, he can’t dance to save his life and does a terrible moonwalk to escape awkward situations.

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Winston “Winnie The Bish” Bishop

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The most low key of all the roommates, Winston is an ex-pro Latvian basketball player who is simply trying to get by, find his way in life, and maybe get to know himself a little bit better. He is a maintainer of the status quo who keeps to himself until the chaos of the loft drifts into his part of the world. As the seasons go on, he becomes a bit more of a lovable oddball as he opens up, with his puzzles, his lack of prank skills, and his weird coolness are all a part of his charm, with a bizarre blend of awkwardness, swagger, and naiveté.

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Schmidt……Schmidt

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Easily one of the biggest show-stealers, Schmidt is the success story come true. Originally a nice, overweight kid in college, Schmidt gained confidence, lost weight, got a job in marketing, and the rest is history. Part playboy, part metrosexual, but most of all, incredibly goofy in everything he does.

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Schmidt as the main money maker also has a large say on what goes on at the loft and is first to attack problems among the roommates. He is always the center of attention, whether he is hitting on women, making his own parties, reinventing himself at work, or just changing a new part of his pseudo-secure lifestyle. While his bravado pushes people away, he cares deeply for his friends who have stuck by his transformations.

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Cecelia “Cece” Parekh

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Jess’s best friend, Cece is more forward, confident, and pushy friend to Jess’s softer, more loving nature. Cece is self described as not nice and her brashness gets her forward, even if it pushes others away. Cece evolves by breaking her walls very slowly, as she learns to become friends the four guys who surround Jess that are attracted to her. Cece’s job as a model may pigeon hole her in the minds of her friends, but her personality and dedication to Jess shine through on countless occassions.

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Nothing says friendship like a boob fight.

Ernie “Coach” Tagliaboo

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The first and newest member of the loft, Coach left the crew after the first episode but then came back after a terrible breakup. He, like most of the loft, is looking to rebuild his life after a major disaster and his athletic tendencies lead him to be ultra competitive. Dating, watching sports, literally timing everything, Coach brings the boys closer to their college days, while slowly showing off his sensitivity to the ladies’ in the home.

The best moments really come down from the zany personalities and how this group meshes. New Girl is hardly stressful to watch, confronts a lot of problems twenty-somethings get into, work through as many goofy parties and life crises as possible. While this latest season is switching out main girl Jess with Megan Fox’s character, Raegan, we’ll see how swapping out the main girl for a short time will impact the other tone of the show. As long as the roommates continue to play off each other, the show will remain hilariously relevant and unapologetically goofy.635596335268587231814398259_tumblr_inline_nf7rlaP0kT1rrjq29 6355330130251051351347432919_giphy-4 05e3425f84c8c3f2314a066c9dfa40bb b06e5a20-1fb5-0132-4e38-0ebc4eccb42f

Loving the shenanigans going on in apartment 4D? Leave your comments down below and let us know on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest what your favorite scenes were!

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