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SloganYams Blog

Smash Bros., Bayonetta and Princess Kaguya, Oh My!

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Smash Bros.

So Nintendo's new Direct basically said "lol Smash Bros. 3DS may be fun but it's really a joke compared to the Wii U version lololololol." Seriously, battles up to EIGHT PLAYERS, DLC characters (Mewtwo!), an amazing looking stage builder, glorious, glorious music, and more new modes than you can shake a stick at (some, like Smash Tour, look like meaningful changes to the Smash formula, while others, like painting, look like stupid fun for the heck of it, which is great!).

I was excited for Smash Bros. Wii U before, but now that it basically makes the 3DS look like little more than an appetizer, I'm more excited than ever.

But can we just get Dixie Kong in the game now?

Bayonetta 2

I admit that I wasn't too big on the first Bayonetta when I first played it (I let the whole "sexism" argument get to me I guess, but I've since came to the conclusion that Bayonetta's is more humorous and, in a weird way, female empowering than a lot of other games), but the series has grown on me.

As anyone here knows, Bayonetta 2 scored Gamespot's eighth ever ten (reminds me of the days when Edge Magazine and Famitsu used to be so protective of that top score), so now I'm really interested. I've enjoyed basically every other game GS has rated a 10 to some extent (though I'm not sure I ever played Tony Hawk 3), so again, interested.

I've preordered my copy and will hopefully be picking it up ASAP. Between it, Smash Bros., the tragically-undermentioned Captain Toad and Hyrule Warriors (which I still need to pick up), the Wii U is all but having its way with my wallet.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

After searching high and low for a theater that was showing Isao Takahata's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, I finally managed to find one! I saw it last night, and what a gorgeous film! The whole movie is like watching watercolor sketches in motion. It's absolutely stunning.

I know this year hasn't exactly been great for animated films (The Wind Rises was released as a 2013 film even in the states), the two most popular/acclaimed animations this year were How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Lego Movie, the former (like its predecessor), being decent but by-the-books and lacking any real imaginative spark, while the latter I found to be obnoxiously hypocritical and impossibly overrated. But even if this year had been a great one for animated films, Princess Kaguya would still be the best animated output. Hopefully Big Hero 6 can bring in another great 2014 animated film so that Kaguya won't be completely alone.

Other Stuff

As I wrote in my last blog, that "best games ever" list is going smoothly. I've had a lot going on so I haven't always had the time to write it, but hopefully it won't be much longer.

In other news, I should be making a new website/blog soon. I'll still keep the old one around and update it from time to time, but I'm hoping to make my new site something special. My oft-promised new site will be primarily about video games and animated films (of course), and hopefully that won't be much longer either.

Also, after finding something of a loophole in Youtube's rulebook, I think I will soon be able to make an all new channel and (hopefully) get money from it eventually. If you remember, I was going to make some kind of game-dedicated Youtube channel some time ago, but after Google cut off my payments (for reasons that STILL haven't been explained to me), I kind of lost motivation (yeah, I could do them for fun, but if you had started making money for making stupid videos only to have that privilege taken away you'd be disheartened too). But now I'm going to try to go through with it (once I think of the kind of videos I will make). Yeah, I'll have to start over (my old channel isn't going anywhere though), but at least I have the opportunity to earn something from Youtube again.

So yeah, I'm doing stuff. Aren't I great?

Best Video Games List Coming Soon! Also Smash Bros

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Long time no blog.

The moment you've all been waiting for is... almost here.

Yes, I've finally began writing the in-depth list of best games ever as dictated by the results of my survey. I apologize its taken me this long to write it. I've had a lot going on the past several months and, although I've written a good deal of blogs in that time, I never seemed to have the interest to take the time to write this biggest of blogs. And I didn't want to write it when I wasn't feeling it, lest it not be as good as my last list.

This time I'm doing things a little differently. Last time I did this I decided to make the list a top 25, but this time I've decided to go with a top 50. To prevent from driving myself insane, numbers 50-21 have shorter descriptions than the games on my last list did, but the top 20 are looking to be about equal.

I'm not going to make any promises as to when the list will be done, just in case I am unable to et it done in time. But it should be soon. Now if only there were someone out there to read it...

Smash Bros

Anyway, I've been playing Super Smash Bros. on 3DS like mad. It's true, the Smash Run mode definitely needed some work, but the online modes have provided countless replayability. Still, as good as the transition was for the series' first entry onto a handheld, I still feel the Wii U version is the "real" Smash Bros. 4. The game plays great on 3DS for the most part, but I feel, from what I played at E3 anyway, that the Wii U version handles a bit better. And, well, I like the stages more in the Wii U version. So sue me. If anyone wants to trade friend codes let me know.

Super Smash Bros. 3DS Demo Impressions

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I downloaded the Super Smash Bros. for 3DS demo a few days ago, and have already poured a few hours into it. So I figured I’d give some thoughts on it (even though there’s only so much to the demo and I probably experienced more of the game at E3). The demo only allows you to play as five characters (Mario, Link and Pikachu from previous games, plus newcomers Villager and Mega Man), and only the Battlefield stage is available. But even with these limitations, the demo proves that the Super Smash Bros. formula makes a great transition to the 3DS.

When playing the demo, it felt a little odd knowing that this is the first time Smash Bros. has appeared on a handheld. Aside from one distracting change in the control scheme (dodging is now performed solely by the R button, as opposed to both shoulder buttons, which can be fixed with customization in the final game), the gameplay feels very much like it does on the controller of a home console.

One notable restraint in the demo is that not only are you limited to basic ‘brawl’ matches against computer controlled opponents (or local multiplayer with anyone else who’s downloaded the demo), but you can’t change the two-minute time limit on the matches.

The limitations are understandable, being a demo, but the good thing is that, despite the limitations, I’ve enjoyed going back and playing a few rounds to see if I can better my performance (I’m quickly running out of the demo’s 30 uses).

But Smash Bros. has always been an easy series to go back to, for five minutes or two hours at a time. And the 3DS edition seems to be no exception, if the demo is any indication.

I’ve been using a 3DS XL when playing the demo, and everything looks great (the character animations haven’t lost anything in the move to a handheld), though I do have to wonder if the chaotic nature of Smash Bros. may get a little straining on the eyes for those who play on a standard 3DS.

Although only five characters are available in the demo, I feel it’s a good selection of characters, as each is quite distinct from the others. Mario, Link and Pikachu are virtually unchanged from Brawl (though notably, Mario’s FLUDD move no longer seems entirely useless), but Mega Man and Villager both bring their own spin to the series.

Mega Man utilizes various moves from his series, and notably lacks basic punches, instead using bursts from his mega buster for his standard attacks. Meanwhile, Villager uses an array of seemingly mundane objects (butterfly nets, flower pots, etc.) in very fun ways. Villager may even have the strangest Final Smash yet in the series.

There really isn’t too much more to go into about the demo, other than it shows a lot of promise for the full game. The gameplay has made a great transition to 3DS, and the new and returning characters look to bring some great variety to the series. Let’s hope that on October 3, that promise is fully realized.

An Angry, Angry Rant about Dark Pit Being in Super Smash Bros.

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This was my initial reaction to the news that Dark Pit is a playable character in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS. But now, onto the rant.

Dark Pit is in Super Smash Bros. It feels wrong just typing it. Palutena was already an unnecessary inclusion, but Dark Pit is the very definition of pointless. Pit was the only character representation that Kid Icarus needed. It isn't exactly one of Nintendo's biggest franchises after all, what with that whole 21 year period where the series laid entirely dormant. It had a nice quasi-classic on the NES that people remember fondly, then a Gameboy sequel that seems largely forgotten. Then nothing for 21 years. And while 2012's Kid Icarus Uprising was a good comeback/reboot, I certainly don't see it as a means to justify three separate characters representing Kid Icarus in Super Smash Bros.

So why is Dark Pit (and Palutena, for that matter) in Super Smash Bros? My only guess is that Sakurai, the creator/director of the Super Smash Bros. series, also directed Kid Icarus Uprising. And he's playing favorites.

This is eye-rolling not just because it seems a bit self-indulgent on Sakurai's part, but back when he was working on Super Smash Bros. Melee on the GameCube, he actively refrained from including King Dedede at the time, since Dedede is another of Sakurai's own creations, and Sakurai didn't want to prioritize his own characters (though Dedede, unlike Dark Pit, has actually earned his spot on the roster). What happened to that humility?

What's worse is that back when Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS was announced, Sakurai stated he was adamant about not including 'characters who are too similar' this time around. That is to say, clones. Not only do we have a host of Fire Emblem characters with little to differentiate them, not to mention the return of Dr. Mario, but Dark Pit is, you guessed it, a clone of Pit.

Given the hordes of weapons from Kid Icarus Uprising - which not just included bows and swords but also mallets, spears, and firearms, among others - you would think they could have at least used Dark Pit as a means to include more of the gameplay variety from Uprising and give him a unique moveset. Nope. Just a clone.

To make the inclusion of Dark Pit (as well as Dr. Mario and Lucina) all the more questionable, Sakurai even found a way around implementing clones for some of the characters. Olimar can be swapped for Pikmin 3's Alph, and Bowser Jr. can be replaced with any of the seven Koopalings. So if these characters can simply be palette swapped (and for more welcome characters than Dark Pit, I might add), why does Dark Pit need to be a separate character on the roster at all? Why couldn't he just be an alternate 'costume' for Pit?

If Sakurai was going to favor one of his own series this time around, he could have at least made that series Kirby. Kirby at least has the argument of being relevant for the past twenty years, and appearing in a multitude of really good games. I wouldn't have minded a fourth Kirby character. But Dark Pit really feels like a bottom-of-the-barrel character, but it's a barrel with Sakurai's name on it. I guess that gives Pit-but-with-black-wings priority over more deserving characters, and apparently it gives Kid Icarus more priority over more deserving series.

Let's take the obvious example of a series that deserves more representation: Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong was Nintendo's first franchise, it's iconic, and heck, the Super Mario series itself is a spinoff of Donkey Kong! Yet Donkey Kong is still stuck at two characters. Kid Icarus, a series that didn't even have a single game for over two decades, has three. I see no reason whatsoever why Dark Pit gets an inclusion while Dixie Kong (a character with far more creative potential) is still a no-show.

Some people complain that Mario, Pokemon and Zelda have too many characters on the roster. The difference between them and Kid Icarus is that they've earned it. I'm not exactly a Lucario fan, but I understand why he's there. Pokemon is a vital property for Nintendo, it's prominent, it's popular, it's relevant. And Lucario is one of the more popular Pokemon. So like him or not, he at least makes sense. But Dark Pit? What exactly has he done but be another trope of a dark-clad anti hero? I mean, as far as dark-clad anti heroes go, he at least wasn't angsty or brooding, but being a more tolerable cliche doesn't exactly make him great or memorable.

In short, I am overall ecstatic to play the new Super Smash Bros. games. But Dark Pit is easily the most questionable character choice in the series' history. At the very least, come release, I know exactly who my punching bag is going to be.

I've now Seen Every Best Animated Feature Nominee

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Well, I recently started making a goal of seeing every film that's ever been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and I already had a good start on that since I'd seen the majority of them anyway. But now I've gotten around to seeing the last batch of the 49 total nominees (winners included), from the good (Secret of Kells), to the bad (Jimmy Neutron) and the ugly (Shark Tale...good heaven above...Shark Tale). I plan on doing a bit of blogging about them soon, though I'm not sure if I should wait until next Oscar season to write more in-depth pieces about it (the timing would make most sense, but maybe I should do it now when everything is fresher having just finished them).

Anyway, I at the very least plan on making the following lists in the not-too-distant future:

Top 10 Best Animated Feature Winners

Top 10 Best Animated Feature Nominees (non-winners)

Top 5 Movies that Should Have Been Nominated for Best Animated Feature (because Ponyo)

I'm also tempted to make one of the 5 most undeserving nominees, though I'm not sure I want to get too cynical at the moment. So yeah, there's some stuff to write about.

Oh yes, and I plan on getting to compiling that list of greatest video games from my survey very soon. So sorry for the delays.