Japanese games used to dominate the western market. There was a time when Nintendo, Sega, and later Sony were the only names in mainstream games. As the PS2 and Xbox era matured Western games quickly overshadowed their Eastern counterparts and since then they have not been able to impact the market like they had in the past. In ways, Wonderful 101 is a beautiful reminder of why Japanese games are fantastic and at the same time why they will probably never have the impact in the west that they used too.
Wonderful 101 has its roots in a Super Sentai style aesthetic and narrative. A group of normal citizens transform into powerful Super Heroes called the Wonderful 100. Each individual hero has their special powers and weapons but when they come together and unite their powers multiply and lead to more powerful and effective attacks. The game starts you off with "Unite Hand" and "unite sword" but as the game goes on they add whip, hammer, bomb, boomerang, and more. Specific abilities are required throughout the game to defeat monsters and solve puzzles. Read More
Culture is a word I haven’t used much when talking about media, which is odd because no better word exists when discussing art and entertainment. We are all consumers of culture. We all give back to culture. Culture is defined by what people choose to consume and what they choose to ignore. It is used to define groups of people who consume a certain type of media that detracts from the mainstream: sub-culture. These are cultures that exist inside the larger cultural body. They are in ways isolated from normal culture but what they consume and create also gives back to the main culture as a whole.
Members of subcultures become blind to the fact that they are part of a subculture. There are a couple of key factors that lead into this kind of thinking. The chief among them is they start spending so much time and energy living in the subculture that they start to believe that everyone else thinks like they do. This happens, especially in the age of the internet, because the deeper they dive into the subculture the more they find and interact with people who think the way they do. This cements them into the subculture, gives them a feeling that they belong, and establishes a world view based around the subculture. Giving people a sense of community is great! But what this breeds is group think; the community becomes an echo chamber because the members of the community are surrounded by the people most likely to agree with them. Read More
I had the pleasure of sitting in on Charles Dunbar’s Convergence panel at Otakon Vegas, in which Charles addresses the issues around why other fandoms seem to be taking over anime conventions. Charles’ conclusion is that anime conventions are more welcoming places, that the anime fandom is just more accepting of other fandoms. Then there is the more bleak side of things, the theory that anime fandom is just a secondary or lesser fandom than some of the more prevalent media represented.
The chief cause of the weakening presence of anime at anime conventions is that anime is a medium, not a genre or a single show. So where a group of ten thousand people may not have that many shows in common, three thousand of them have all seen Doctor Who and the other seven thousand has seen the Marvel film adaptations. So the Iron Man cosplayer is going to have more positive attention than the Lupin cosplayer sitting in the corner. Anime is a unique beast in this respect. Single media conventions, like a Star Trek convention, assume that all attendees share at least a common cannon. Even the old school science fiction conventions were dominated by the mass media properties like Star Trek, Battlestar, and the like. With anime there can be almost zero connection between the forty year old fans drinking in a bar discussing the tape trading days and the fourteen year old girls running around in Hatialia cosplay. Read More
Joe Cross’ documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead has been out for a few years now and according to his website, has convinced a large number of people of his crazy scheme. I might almost be close to convinced, but everything he said must be taken with a gran of salt. There is no magic pill to weight loss, there is no simple trick that will instantly change a person's body shape or instantly force someone to follow a healthy lifestyle. What makes it easy for snake oil salesmen is that there is a massive market of people desperate for that magic fix. I'm clearly one of them: I don't like to eat vegetables, I like sweet and fatty foods, and I'm a chronic over eater. If someone was offering a magic way for me to completely change the direction of my eating habits, I'm going to at least listen.
The documentary has two parts; the first one follows Joe on his juice fast and the second follows Phil Staples, an overweight truck driver Joe met on his cross-country trip who later reached out to Joe for help. Both of these examples show the men losing a substantial amount of weight over the course of their 60-day juice fast but there are a few factors to consider when looking at these cases. Both Joe and Phil’s juice fasts happen when neither of them lived a normal life. They didn’t go to work, they didn’t have families to deal with, or people to cook for. They did their juice fast and nothing else. They had plenty of time for exercise and lots of room to avoid influences that may have tempted them to drift from their extreme diets. Read More
I was a little bit down on E3 this year. I’m not sure why, but in the last few months I’ve been in a bit of fatigue around game news and game hype. Even so, I’m excited for a whole lot of games announced at the show because even if I’m sick and tired of how the industry and fans use marketing to manipulate people… I still love games.
I’m being too negative again. I’m going to try and work on this.
Pokemon X and Y
The Pokemon games haven’t gone through a lot of changes since Red and Blue, but the original formula still works as I said during my Pokemon White review a few years ago. This seems to be the biggest change to the series and if they manage to work through some of the more painful UI elements that still pelage the games this will easily be a Home Run. It also includes some Nintendog like functionality, if you’re into that.
The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
Having missed the original on Game Cube I’ve always wanted to go back and play Wind Waker. With the graphical update and small game play improvements this is the perfect opportunity to jump into the game. With the other games coming out towards the end of the year this is also releasing around the perfect time to grab a Wii U. Read More