Give the series some Space! – The Video Game Sequels Problem

When it comes to video games, there are so many different series in multiple genres and most of them gain sequels as the years roll by. As gamers and consumers, we will always want more: more quality stories, more options of gameplay, more innovation, and more quality productions. However, as is all business, the way to earn a profit on sequels may be to cut back on innovation, slap a new logo and new coat of paint, and call it the next best thing. From some of the successful series I’ve played (and many of the indulgent series that cash in on sequels), there’s plenty of things that can change to have more successful, critically acclaimed, and praised-by-fans sequels.

Give Development Time Breathing Room

It’s hard to want fewer games when the genre provides such visceral experiences for players. However, since demand is high and the business is a booming industry, it only makes sense to create more for profit. The Batman Arkham series is a relatively new franchise that has barely had a misstep. However, the latest title, Arkham Knight, suffered from delays and was pushed back 6 months. While we can all moan and groan, no one can complain now that the title has been released and I think the development needs to take its proper course. Patience is rewarded most times and I think more developers would benefit from slowing down the timetables to truly innovate on every conceivable level.

Only Make Necessary Sequels

We can’t talk unnecessary sequels unless we are talking about Kingdom Hearts. While the main titles have been great and seeing the spin offs tackle more new Disney worlds has opened up so many possibilities, enough is enough. Ironically, I fell in love with the series after playing Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, a GameBoy Advance connection between the first and second game. It was simple, it was fun, the replay value was incredible, and it all made sense. However, after Kingdom Hearts II, those sequels were left off the leash and ran rampant. The desire for Kingdom Hearts III has been a decade in waiting and all that has been left in the void are sequels and remakes. We have seen the same worlds, stories for every side character, a well-conceived prequel with Birth By Sleep, and the games are still excessive and repetitive. With the announcement of Kingdom Hearts 2.8, I can’t help but roll my eyes and wait even longer for Kingdom Hearts III. We all just dive deep into the next story, not simply wade in the kiddie pool that is older worlds with newer graphics.

Work on New Projects

Take a look at the Last of Us, one of the most incredible titles in the Playstation (or any) library. The game was developed by Naughty Dog, originally known for the Crash Bandicoot series and, more recently, the Uncharted games that have taken the world by storm. The team adapted the excellent third person engine that allowed Uncharted’s Nathan Drake to scale building and mountains, engage in shootouts, and fend off baddies with refreshing combat. This translated well to the cinematic and survival-focused Last of Us, which used the best aspects of Uncharted to make an all new game. If something works well, you can do the same thing over and over, or you can innovate in a new field (or in this case, genre).
uc4g

tlouslam

It’s for the love of games that I say we can all wait in between games for a few more months to get a greater product. Would I love to see a Last of Us 2, a new Metroid, or even a new Advance Wars title? 100%. But I would be kidding myself if I expected it within a year, two, or even three. Until then, I’ll replay the oldies, the goodies, and avoid the cash-ins of the month.

Let us know your thoughts! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole!

 

Thoughts About Stuff – Wanting to Do Everything

Ever felt like you’ve fallen behind on all the TV shows, video games and/or comics?   In my case, I’ve been rewatching the Dragon Ball Z series on blu-ray.  At the same time, I bought Metal Gear Solid V because I had to play it.  Before that I bought Arkham Knight and still haven’t finished it.  To add to the list, there are several shows on Netflix and Amazon that I’ve wanted to watch.

DBZ or MGS V today?
DBZ or MGS V today?

Sometimes. we just get caught up in trying to do a lot and not having enough time to do so.  There’s finding time for a social life alongside working to pay bills.  In my view, it’s rather difficult to binge hours on end while sacrificing sleep. That’s the part about growing up that you’re not taught in school.

fBkcjeL

Of course, not everyone is the same and I’m sure many of our readers don’t have an issue with falling behind.  For the rest of us. I think it’s very hard to stop ourselves from adding to our “To Do” list.  My advice is to stop while you’re ahead.  The next season of DBZ can wait.  Sure that Steam sale looks enticing but take a second look at what’s waiting to be played.  Why not take a break and tackle that video game for the next few days?  Or if your days are pretty booked up, just pick a day to stay in and catch up on your list.

thumbs-up-gif

Sometimes it may feel like a never ending battle to check off items on your list because of all the new content being released out there.  In my opinion, take the time to enjoy the content you already have because there’s a reason you added it to your list.

Any thoughts on how to effectively go through a “To Do” list?

Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

Apple TV – New Gaming Platform?

Yesterday, Apple introduced new additions to its line of products.  While most people were set on learning about the new iPhone, Nerd Swole was intrigued by the new Apple TV.  The product is being promoted for video streaming, music, sports and even online shopping.  However, our focus is on its gaming capabilities.  While it can’t rival or replace an Xbox One/PS4, it has the potential to expand the gaming audience.  For the first time, it will have its own App Store.  Therefore, third party developers are welcome to bring new content to the table and potentially become a family-friendly gaming platform.  On the other hand, the App Store does impose limits as to what content goes on there so expect an abundance of family-friendly titles.

crossyroad_samecars
Crossy Road

Now in terms of family gaming, Nintendo has been a power house for years.  Some have speculated that the Apple TV will take customers away from Nintendo’s audience because just about everyone plays Candy Crush.  That’s simply not true.  Nintendo makes games with intriguing and complex endeavors that caters to its most serious gamers.  Plus, Apple TV is pretty similar to the Wii/Wii U in terms of motion based gaming and the remote.

Wii U or Apple TV for family gaming?
Wii U or Apple TV for family gaming?

Apple never really promoted its new TV as a gaming platform.  It’s simply an upgrade/alternative to the many video streaming devices out there.  Siri is a nice addition if you rather talk to your TV and tell it what you content you want to see.  It also has the nice capability of checking for content availability across Netflix, Hulu, etc.  It’s hard to imagine anyone doing their online shopping through Apple TV but it’s the effort to appeal to everyone in the family.

The new Apple TV is set to release in October, just in time for the early holiday shoppers.  Will you be testing out its gaming abilities?  Do you think it can really add to the gaming audience?

Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

 

News Roundup: Shiny Rayquaza, Ronda Rousey, Constantine

It’s hump day but already, a lot has happened this week!  Unless you frequent the Pokémon subreddit or Serebii, you may have missed the news on the SHINY Rayquaza event happening as of today, August 12!  That’s right, this is no ordinary level 70 Rayquaza.  It’s the shiny form and it knows Dragon Ascent, therefore allowing it to Mega Evolve.  There’s no time frame set so hop on the Mystery Gift and receive this rare beast via an Internet connection.

Shiny Rayquaza
Shiny Rayquaza
Dragon Ascent --> Mega Rayquaza
Dragon Ascent –> Mega Rayquaza

Earlier this week, famed Pokémon/DBZ/WoW nerd and UFC fighter Ronda Rousey did an Ask Me Anything (AMA) and it was nothing short of glorious.  She named the fighting Pokémon Throh as her ideal opponent in the octagon and stated that she rather train with Vegeta than Goku in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber.  She named Kitana to be her favorite Mortal Kombat character and we all know Mew is her favorite Pokémon.

dcb3f961e69886fae0617372540949caa64eb7cf

Throh
Throh

Big news for DC Comics TV universe.  Actor Matt Ryan has received the green light to reprise his role as Constantine on Arrow.  Some speculate that his involvement will help revive a deceased main character on Arrow.

Matt Ryan as Constantine
Matt Ryan as Constantine

Now it’s time to turn on ORAS and land a shiny legendary!

Interested in writing for Nerd Swole? Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com.

Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

My Top 5 Random Pokémon Facts

I’m sure many of us are familiar with well known Pokémon facts.  Examples include the number pun with ArticUNO, ZapDOS and MolTRES. There is also the martial artist tribute in HitmonLEE and HitmonCHAN.  Allow me to share with you some of my favorite, most interesting top 5 random Pokémon facts.

1. Splash - Normal Type move
1. Splash – Normal Type move

Back in the day, I always wondered why “Splash” was listed as a normal type move.  It turns out the Japanese word for splash can also mean hop.  It explains why the grass type Hoppip or the psychic type Spoink can also use splash.  I suppose splash was initially used in the English versions because of its exclusive association to Magikarp.

2. Poliwag Swirl
2. Poliwag Swirl

The iconic swirl found on Poliwag is actually a nod to the visible intestine found in real life tadpoles.  The evolution line also resembles the real life Glass Frog.  This particular species has transparent skin, enabling visibility of its internal organs.

3. Azurill gender change
3. Azurill gender change

Azurill’s gender ratio is 25% male to 75% female.  The evolutions Marill and Azumarill share the same 50-50 ratio.  A female Azurill runs a 1 in 3 chance of evolving into a male Marill.  This is the only Pokémon to do this.  I think it was just an oversight.

 

4. Foreshadowing?
4. Foreshadowing?

In Red/Blue/Yellow and the remakes, a Picnicker trainer mentions that she wants to have a pink Pokémon with a floral pattern.  Perhaps game developers must have kept this in mind when the Pokémon Munna was introduced in Black and White (generation V).

5. Rhydon #1
5. Rhydon #1

Ever wonder what Pokémon was in statue form inside the gyms?  It’s Rhydon!  That Pokémon was actually stated to be the first Pokémon ever created.  It even predates its previous stage Rhyhorn.  I think its statue inside the gyms is a nod to its first one status.

Extra trivia  

Speaking of Rhydon, ever wonder why Rhyhorn’s cry sounded virtually the same as Charizard’s?  That is because in generation I, 37 unique cries were used for the 151 types of Pokémon.  Pitches, speeds, echoes and sound channels were manipulated to differentiate Pokémon cries.  For reference and nostalgia, here’s a YouTube video.

 

Thoughts?  Any random facts you would be willing to share?  Anyone want to take part in Pokémon battles?! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Amiibo – Wave 4

Nintendo just released what they call Wave 4 of amiibo.  In past releases, some variations of amiibo proved to be hugely popular and high in demand.  Therefore, scalpers have become an issue.  To address this, Amazon set a certain schedule to purchase the new set.  Basically, throughout the day on May 29, characters like Pac-Man and Lucina would be available for purchase at retail price via 30 minute windows.  One- click purchasing was disabled and customers were limited to one amiibo per purchase.

Cosumers everywhere
Consumers everywhere

According to various reports, Lucina and Robin sold out on Amazon within seconds.  What is it that makes amiibo so high in demand?  For one, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has stated that certain amiiboo would be produced at certain quantities for a limited time.  Amiboo like Robin and Lucina were promoted on that unicorn status (ultra rare).  In other words, people had one chance to purchase these rare variations at retail price.  In turn, this influenced online retailers and scalpers to swoop in and resell at much higher prices.

B-RzdEMCAAAmHzi amiibo_lucina_1

Others like Ness were exclusive to GameStop, Jigglypuff to Target and Greninja to Toys ‘R’ Us.  A silver version of Mario was thrown into the mix not to long before the Wave 4 release, just to make consumers’ mouth water.  So there you have it.  You basically needed a team to successfully collect all of the Wave 4 release.

Marcin Gortat on joining Celtics

Personally, I was never on board the hype pipe that is amiibo.  These items are meant to be played with and bring joy to Nintendo fans everywhere.  All this consumer craze to acquire amiibo reminds me of the Beanies Babies craze of the 90s. Back then, the Ty company began to “retire” and produce limited quantities of certain designs.  By the late 90s, these hot items began to fade out and I believe this is what will happen to amiibo.

m7qbq

Any luck obtaining Robin or Lucina? Any Wave 4 release?  Are you reselling an amiibo?  Share your thoughts with us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest!

Please visit our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

Explaining Epic Moments In Gaming To Non-Gamers 101: Clutching in Counter-Strike

Have you ever been watching a stream and a friend peeks over your shoulder when something really awesome happens and you get super hype and they just give you a crazy look because they say it’s just a video game? Or maybe someone is watching you play games and something incredible just happened and they think you’re just way too excited because of how happy you are. It’s probably because they don’t understand the epicness of what just happened, and I’m going to help you explain that. Here is how to explain epic moments in gaming to non-gamers. Mature language follows after this point.

Last time we talked about fighting game perfects, today we’re talking about clutching in Counter-Strike. To be clutch is to come through when your team needs you most, and that is essentially what clutching in Counter-Strike is, winning when you’re the last one alive in a 1 versus whatever situation, whether it making the shots, stalling for the bomb to explode, or ninja defusing these are all clutch moments. Here is an example of clutching at the highest level of play.

Most players don’t play for that much money or on that big a stage, so we’ll be toning down our levels of satisfaction appropriately.

You win a 1v1 clutch where you know exactly where the enemy is coming from? Level of satisfaction? Minimal. 

You win a 1v1 clutch where they had all of the advantages (HP, positioning, etc)? Level of satisfaction? You found five dollars in your pocket you didn’t know about. 

You win a 1v1 clutch where they had all of the advantages on match point and the last round? Level of satisfaction? Walking into a well air-conditioned room after being out with the sun beaming down on you in 100 degree weather. 

You win a 1v2 situation where you know exactly where the enemy is coming from? Level of satisfaction? You see a shirt you really like, but see there is only one left, but it is actually your size. 

You win a 1v2 situation where they had the advantages? Level of satisfaction? You take coins to the bank to get cash for it, and it is significantly more than you thought it would be. 

You win a 1v2 situation where they had the advantages and it was match point/last round? Level of satisfaction? You’ve had that terrible cold for a few days, and you have that one ginormous sneeze and suddenly you can breath through your nose again. 

You win a 1v3 situation? Level of satisfaction? Someone posts a picture of you online that you haven’t seen or knew about, but you look fresh as fuck, and everyone likes it. 

You win a 1v4 situation? Level of satisfaction? Putting on clothes fresh out the dryer after a shower.

You win a 1v3 situation on matchpoint/last round? Level of satisfaction? You’re wearing your best suit/outfit and there are rain clouds outside, but it only begins to rain JUST as you get into your car and close the door. 

You win a 1v4 situation on matchpoint/last round? Level of satisfaction? You’re sure you were going to be super late to that meeting you need to get to, but hit every single green light during your commute and are actually early. 

You do an ace clutch (winning a 1v5 situation)? Level of satisfaction? You’re at an event that you’ve been waiting in line for 6+ hours with limited seating, and you’re THE VERY LAST PERSON allowed in. 

You do an ace clutch on matchpoint/last round? Level of satisfaction? Your favorite sports team just made an epic comeback in a win-or-go-home situation in the playoffs/championship.

And during any of these situations, your teammates are pretty much like this as soon as you win:

Let us know your thoughts! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest! Contact me at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole.

Scott Pilgrim: 5 Years Later

When it comes to relatable characters for young adults, no other name rings true like Scott Pilgrim! Created by Bryan Lee O’Malley, the Scott Pilgrim series took the pop culture world by storm, with relatable dialogue, nods to gaming, movies, and other comics, a realistic group of people in humorous situations, and an emotional overtone that made even the most minuscule of accomplishments seem glorious. While O’Malley recently released the standalone Seconds, Scott Pilgrim has also been updated in full-color deluxe versions, with sketches, deleted pages, notes from the film and comic creation, and plenty more to fully round out the world that is fictional Toronto, Canada. So with the sixth book finally being released, how does Scott Pilgrim stand up so long after the initial run?

Grays vs Colors
SPBW1

SPC1

When the book was originally released, we only saw Scott Pilgrim with color in promotional material and in covers. Like The Walking Dead and other manga, the decision to stick with black and white is an artistic choice as much as it is a cost-effective one. And while the narrative is still intact, I have to say the overall addition of color is also a showcase for O’Malley’s evolution as an artist. Not only do we see colors, we see uses of shadow and shading where the was none, characters keeping a similar sense of style, and bold blacks being substituted for color accents. Just in this splash page alone, we see the sound’s bold black outlines being switched out for bright yellow-orange, which connects the sound more to the bordering panels.

“Why Don’t You Just Watch the Movie?”

c78

It may not have received a beautiful theatrical release, but the sales of Scott Pilgrim VS The World DVD/Blu-Ray went through the roof! So with many people loving the movie, there’s actually more reason to check out the source material. Many panels were used as direct storyboards and inspirations for scenes in the movie.

comic-movie-comparison

 

There is also plenty of storylines that didn’t make it to film. Fans miss out on stories such as Lisa’s relationship with Scott, Lynette’s role in The Clash at Demonhead, and Joseph’s role as producer of the Sex Bob-omb album. Some fights were changed or not featured in the movie, such as Ramona fighting Envy, more of the band helping Scott, and Knives fighting Ramona very early on.SPV3PG131

Bonus Round!

Another huge bonus for fans of both the movie and the book are the backs on the books. After the story, we are treated to O’Malley’s notes on character creation, sketches, and scripts. There’s a good amount of photos used for sets in the story that were actually used in the filming as well, such as Scott and Wallace’s home, the library, and the rail that Lucas Lee is challenged to grind on. There are also deleted pages that give some minor characters bigger highlights and featured comics from previous promotional books.

tumblr_llz5efgm9F1qbs6j4o1_400

With Scott Pilgrim having an incredible movie and a fully fleshed out beat-em-up game to enjoy, it is incredibly rewarding to enjoy the source material that set the series off for greatness. It may have been a long time since the series debuted, but the stories, the heart, and the comical action never fail to put a smile to this reader’s face. The book is a pure delight to reread and the colors along with the additional content, are well worth the price.

To check out the series in beautiful color, please visit the indie section in our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on Twitter and Pinterest!

Iinterested in writing for Nerd Swole? Contact Brian at twentytwo.le@gmail.com for details!

Thoughts About Stuff: The VOID

Don’t know what The VOID is? Prepare to get pretty uncontrollably hyped up if you’re a gamer, because this is looks pretty cool.

The VOID stands for the The Vision of Infinite Divisions, or it could just be called the dream of every gamer ever probably. If for some reason you didn’t watch the video or did not understand what was happening, essentially what The VOID is, is a virtual reality environment created in junction with what you see in the headset. So walls, obstacles, treasures, and things of that nature are made or at least have a similar placeholder so what you’re seeing in the headset is also bolstered by what’s around you. Pretty friggin’ cool.

I don’t know what to say besides what’s already covered in the video, it seems they’ve explored the idea quite well, and are incorporating multiple different types and styles of games. It’s worth wondering if this could someday replace things like laser tag/paintball, because if I had to guess the fps arenas will be a large majority of the draw of The VOID.

There aren’t any glaring drawbacks I can think of to this, it’s a really exciting and intriguing idea. However, it is only opening one center in Utah in Summer 2016, but that’s more of me being far from Utah and not a knock on The VOID. You do have to wonder how these “dimensions” will hold up over time though, but I guess that’s not such a problem because most everything is a placeholder and the real details and skins are put on by the headset. I’m also kind of curious as to how the enemies work, because will there be someone there to simulate an enemy, because what if your particular choice in the game is to just run at it? I’m sure there is an explanation or it’ll be just as simple as having no collision with the ingame monster, so they don’t have to have people to stand in for it. Other than that, I’m obviously pretty excited.

Heavy Breathing Cat

It’s a pretty good time to be a gamer.

Let us know your thoughts! Please check out our Amazon Store, full of items that we recommend as Amazon Associates! 

Please like us on Facebook! And follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest! Contact me at twentytwo.le@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing for Nerd Swole.

Game Summaries: 1st Time Playing Last of Us

It’s funny how one thing leads to another.  One day, I’m at a holiday party, playing Just Dance 2015 and by the end, I want to go out and buy my own copy.  A few days later, I decide to buy a Playstation 4 from a local Wal-Mart with the intention of getting Just Dance from Amazon for a much lower price.  Right about when the Wal-Mart associate opens the display case, I set my eyes on a game called The Last of Us: Remastered.  I had heard great things about this game from fellow writer, Brian Le and it made his list of Top 5 Games from the past 5 years.  While the original game on the Playstation 3 has been out for well over a year, I want to share my thoughts as this game just blew my mind from beginning to end.

  *Careful for spoilers*

 I thoroughly enjoyed the prologue, primarily because I experienced basic game controls through a minor character, Sarah.  What appears to be a cheery birthday turns sour very fast.  I don’t pretend to say I’m good at predictions but the amount of feels at the conclusion of the prologue are too much.  I was left wondering how the character Joel will live on despite losing his everything in the death of Sarah.

8oykXEf

 Fast foward 20 years to a future where the federal government provides protection, yet the average citizen struggles to live on rations and a revolutionary group is struggling to fight government control.  I’ll admit I died a quite a few times, mainly because I didn’t know what to expect and I like to do a lot of trial and error.  I’d say the biggest initial challenge was getting used to scarce ammunition and supplies.  Every bullet counts but it’s not always ideal to go full on Rambo at every given moment.  Many times, a stealthy approach is much more ideal and I saved supplies for much more dire situations.  In fact, my favorite weapon is the Molotov cocktail.  Many times, it came in the clutch when outnumbered by enemies.

2805b9_51c03e702650a

 The life of a teenage girl named Ellie is the primary concern at all times.  You can say that at her age, she’s seen and dealt with pretty gruesome situations yet she’s unafraid and always willing to push forward. She’s a source of inspiration and motivation for Joel as he had no true purpose in life after the death of Sarah.  Ellie has had no true exposure to the real world but Joel does a great job of helping her assimilate to the grim reality.  In the latter stages of the game, Ellie becomes more of a second option on offense rather than luggage for Joel.

14JPLAST1-articleLarge

This game did a great job at getting my palms to sweat and heart to race.  One wrong move led to quick deaths or someone just creeped up from behind to lay the fatal blow. Mix it up with snowy conditions or dimly lit areas to increase the difficulty of progress.  Often times, it felt like I completed the checkpoint on the last bit of health.  As I progressed through the game, wondering if I was in the clear, I began to pick up the trend of finding supplies.  Basically, if all seemed fine and dandy, yet I came across ammunition or supplies, I knew some serious action was about to happen.

about-to-go-down

The end result of your mission was pretty disheartening.  Your journey across the continental U.S. comes to a sudden halt and it’s up to Joel to save the day.  In the end, Joel alters the true nature of the long mission to Ellie as she was knocked out cold during Joel’s heroics.

joelandellie

  For those who’ve played the game, do you agree with Joel’s actions? I side with him saving the day because he was given the opportunity to find purpose.  While those actions didn’t promote the greater good, I feel that the what was left of Ellie’s innocence was spared.  In my view, this game leaves plenty of room for a sequel and I would definitely play it in a heartbeat.

yes