The Spook Factor Returns!

So, back in November, I wrote an update blog that mentioned a web show starring my fiance and edited by myself called “The Spook Factor.” What I’ve neglected to do since then is actually post the “true” episodes of it. Only two have been made so far thanks to personal, real life matters getting in the way, but I’m proud of what we’ve started.

The first episode is a mini-review on the Disney short “Runaway Brain.” This one was relatively easy to edit barring one little thing: YouTube. Since YouTube is a stickler for copyright and such, the safest way to upload a review with clips is to keep each one around 10 seconds long or less. This wasn’t TOO challenging as my fiance tends focus on specific points of a work, and “Runaway Brain” was no exception. It’s pretty easy to cut lengthy videos up into tiny pieces, so it was a short but breezy start back into editing for me.

The second episode is one that was just uploaded today after I managed to finish it in only about 3-4 days. My fiance and I both enjoy Top __ lists, and we’ve made some in the past. Capitalizing on our show’s theme of horror for kids, he went nostalgic and made a list of the “Top 13 Creepy Kid’s Show Intros.” Keep in mind that these are HIS favorites, rather than being based on the most popular or generally well-loved ones. While I enjoy making these lists for the variety of works I get to cover, they’re also a HUGE pain to make. I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to timing my edits, so these lists often test my skills and patience. I was more than happy to have it done last night. However, I’m also extremely pleased with how it came together, even if that friggin’ “Too Many Cooks” song keeps getting stuck in my head.

I should note that for both this show and a previous one we made when the YouTube counterpart Blip was still around, I’ve used the most basic editing software there is: Windows Movie Maker. Yes, I know, it sucks and I’ve pushed it to its limits many, many times. Until I get better software (and no doubt a better computer as well), I’m happy with what I’ve been able to accomplish with it. If you choose to watch these episodes, I hope you enjoy. Until next time!

Nintendo at E3 2016

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Nintendo wrapped up their E3 presentation yesterday, aside from one final Japanese Pokemon presentation earlier today. Since nothing else new was revealed on that, I’d like to go ahead and talk about what Nintendo had to offer this year. Yes, I did also check on news from the Sony and Microsoft fronts out of curiosity, but the 3DS and Wii U are my priorities. Anyway, the Nintendo Treehouse was live for the last two days, and it seems Nintendo only had enough content to offer for those days and no more than that. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, as we know they’ll announce more games before 2017 hits. But I can’t say I wasn’t a little disappointed at the lack of new titles.

Day 1 of the Treehouse covered the new Pokemon and multiplayer battles in “Pokemon Sun/Moon” and the “gameplay” and add-on features for “Pokemon Go”, and then spent the rest of the day showcasing “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” I’m excited for both of these, but especially “Zelda.” The vast, open world feels reminiscent of the original LoZ and there’s bound to be a lot to do that wasn’t shown during the demo. The game looks incredible and I’m even tempted to nab a Wolf Link amiibo just to have him as a companion in-game. I’m slightly apprehensive about how often I’ll have to stock up on food to heal, but that’s a minor concern for what looks to be hours upon hours of exploration.

Yesterday’s Treehouse, aside from a final segment of “Zelda”, consisted of all the other titles coming in the next few months. Most of it was stuff that didn’t interest me, even as a 3DS owner (I’m burnt out on “Rhythm Heaven”, not into “Monster Hunter”, and didn’t bother with “Yokai Watch”, just to name a few). However, they DID announce a new IP in the form of “Ever Oasis.” It looks to be a cute, Egyptian-themed RPG/Animal Crossing-esque game and I must say that I was intrigued. I’ll be keeping my eye on it, but much like with “Fantasy Life” two years ago, I’m not sure if my interest in it will last. I’ll have to see more to decide if it’s worth my time and money.

There was another slight downside to the Treehouse – an influx of 3DS games and barely any Wii U titles (also, not many indie titles either). My fiance and I only JUST got a Wii U, but it appears Nintendo is already making steps to move on to the NX (which was not brought up at E3 either, unfortunately). They were quick to announce that, much like with “LoZ: Twilight Princess” originally being on both the Gamecube and Wii, “LoZ: Breath of the Wind” will be for both the Wii U and NX. Only two other major titles were shown, those being “Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE”, a music-based action-RPG, and the next installment of the Paper Mario series called “Paper Mario: Color Splash.” I watched the Treehouse demonstrate both of these, and while I wasn’t interested in “Tokyo Mirage”, I WAS much more hopeful about “Color Splash.” I’ve been a fan of the Paper Mario series since the beginning, and while I’m still disappointed that they haven’t chosen to revisit their RPG roots, I’ve always liked the games for their colorful aesthetic, witty humor and fun gameplay. I liked “Super Paper Mario” and while I think “Sticker Star” was extremely flawed, I enjoyed aspects of it. “Color Splash” is shaping up to be like a second “Sticker Star”, but I do feel that they’re trying to make the combat have more of a point this time around, which was one of my biggest gripes about SS. I know many fans out there have cried betrayal, but it looks like a game I could have fun with. I briefly summed up my feelings on it after watching the live demo on my Tumblr.

All in all, I did enjoy Nintendo’s presentation more this year than last year, although I found that I got more out of watching the Treehouse last year than I did watching their Direct anyway. Even though I do wish Nintendo had an actual conference to ramp up people’s excitement, I also appreciate how in-depth the Treehouse is. They give each game the time needed to show things off and also provide plenty of information from the developers themselves. Plus, it’s always great seeing people like Shigeru Miyamoto or Eiji Aonuma get so excited and animated when talking about their newest creations. Nintendo may have had what felt like a smaller presence at this year’s E3, but I enjoyed some of the things they had to offer and can’t wait to see what else they have planned for the rest of 2016 and going into 2017.

 

Here There Be Spoilers (Not Literally)

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I have a weird attitude when it comes to spoilers. For the most part, if I’m interested in a work, I try to avoid spoilers like the plague so I can experience it with fresh eyes. If I get invested in a TV show or find interest in the plot behind a movie, book, or video game, it bothers me when a major spoiler is revealed to me. I feel this is because I like a strong narrative. If a key component of that narrative is told to me before I have a chance to find out myself, it takes away the fun and mystery.

But there are always exceptions to the rule and spoilers are no different. If I have only a passing interest or none at all in a work, I could care less if it’s spoiled for me. On the opposite end of this, if a work has aspects of it that I’m interested in, I don’t mind having them shown to me ahead of time. A prime example of this for me lately has been whenever a new “Pokemon” game is about to be released. I’ve come to realize that I prefer planning out who I want to use, even vaguely, and what Pokemon I might like to collect well before the games are out. However, some of that attitude has stemmed from the recent influx of online leaks as well. It’s become more and more common now for information to be leaked at the chagrin of the creators. For “Pokemon”, this isn’t a big deal to me personally, but I can understand how frustrating it is for others.

Even spoilers I DO want to avoid involve basically staying away from social media. Whenever a show I like, such as “Steven Universe”, comes out, my first instinct is to immediately stay off Tumblr until I’ve seen it myself. The same could be said for Facebook and Twitter (if I had the latter). I know people either do this to troll, actually start a conversation with others who have seen the work, or just want to express their love of it through words, artwork, etc. But it’s been made clear to me that if I want to feel excited or surprised by something, it’s best to be cautious of where I look online or at the very least experience the work for myself ASAP. I realize people like to make fun of those who despise spoilers, but some of us have a very good reason to if all they do is ruin something we otherwise might have taken an interest in (“Game of Thrones”, anyone?). So, while it’s easy to say, “Hey, be mindful of spoiling stuff,” it’s more likely for me to say, “Hey, I’m going to be diligent and avoid the douchebags who keep doing it.” At the very least, a simple “Spoiler Alert” would suffice.

Being Optimistic

I’ve always considered myself mainly an optimist. Sure, looking on the bright side of things tends to get people to exclaim, “That’s not being realistic”, but that’s not how I see it. I’m perfectly capable of looking at a situation from all angles and occasionally have leaned on the more cynical/realistic side. I always find, however, that my primary mode is optimism, at least when helping people deal with problems. It makes me feel better to try lifting someone’s spirits in the face of bad news and maybe even makes them feel better in return.

But in recent months, I’ve been tested again and again on that. My mom has been going through some physical hardships that I won’t fully go into. But between having conversations with her, my dad, and her family, it’s fallen to me more and more to try to keep her mood up. She’s had a history with depression and recent events have brought that out thanks to a mix of physical pain and frustration. It’s upsetting to see her in a bad state, though the depression hasn’t appeared to be as bad as you might suspect (i.e. no self-harming involved). Still, it’s become harder for ME to stay positive in the face of constant doctor appointments that yield no helpful, concrete answers.

I don’t want to come off as though I’m faking my optimism, and so far I haven’t felt like I have. But I won’t lie – my spirits aren’t exactly hunky dory either right now. I’m sick of entire situation and if a quick fix were available, you can bet I’d take it in a heartbeat. I love my mom and feel fortunate that this situation hasn’t caused resentment toward her, but everyone is aware of how hard this situation is on all involved and I’m no exception. Her family might see me as some kinda pillar of strength, but those closest to her aren’t blind to the fact that myself and my dad have been struggling. That said, I’m still going to do my best to stay positive until the situation HOPEFULLY resolves itself. I’m not only trying to focus on the possibility of that, but also a couple games/books I’m interested in perusing soon and my fiance’s visit in July. Because it’s one thing to lift someone else’s spirits, but it’s important for me to give myself a boost as well by any means necessary.