Too Many Games to Play & Cool Tech

Once again I’ve gone to long making any blog post, but this time I have the Switch to blame for it as well as other games that have come out.

Nearly a month later I’m still playing Breath of the Wild. The game deserved every single perfect score it received, and I don’t even know if I’ll be done with it before Mario Kart comes out at the end of the month. Then again, I’m actually kind of taking my time with it. I’m not rushing to defeat the Divine Beasts – I’ve done the Zora one and am about to the Garudo one – instead I’ve been running around claiming Towers and doing Shrines.

I’m also still playing Horizon on the PS4 Pro. It’s really good, almost a third-person Far Cray (not so much an UbiSoft open world game, it’s more like Far Cry) and it does look great on the Pro. The checkerboarding is done really well in Horizon, unlike FFXV where the artifacting (and frame rate) was pretty bad on the Pro.

Then on the Xbox I’m playing Mass Effect Andromeda. The animation is bad in parts, but most of the complaints have been overblown as the exploration gameplay and story is done well. Exploring planets and establishing outposts in Andromeda is exactly what I wanted from the game. I’m four hours in (first planet and outpost done) and really enjoying it.

Aside from having too many big games to play I’ve been playing around with Ring Stick Up cams. I’ve sold security cameras in the past, and before Ring came along what they offer was the Holy Grail. Outdoor, wireless, night vision, HD video, and cloud recording. I can’t tell you how many people wanted that sort of thing about five or six years ago. I know their doorbells work well, so I picked up three of the standalone cams (and will get a fourth).

Aside from one that had a battery issue (that was really painlessly dealt with via their warranty), they’re great. Just running off the battery they hold a charge for a very long time. One that’s running just on the battery is only down a small amount after a couple of weeks. Another one I have running off their solar panel and even though the positioning only gets great sunlight in the afternoon, it’s being kept at 100%.

I’m pretty happy with them and they’re much easier than running power and video cables from a DVR inside the house out to cameras.

This weekend I’m headed into the city to finally visit the Space Shuttle Endeavour, so I’ll be taking a lot of pictures and will post them then.

For Honor

I haven’t been able to blog much as it’s been a busy month, but I had to write something up about For Honor. I’m absolutely not one of those UbiSoft haters, Watch_Dogs 2 was easily one of my favorite games from last year, and I’ve been looking forward to For Honor for a while. I played both the closed and open betas, and immediately got the game on launch day.

The game is a pseudo-fighter focusing on melee combat between knights, vikings, and samurai with class based roles and multiplayer modes that are actually modeled a lot after those in FPS games. There are normal one-on-one duels (and others that add on other players in the duel). I did a 1v1 duel for one of the daily challenges:

My favorite mode is the domination mode, which is basically what it sounds like from other FPS games:

There is a single-player, but it’s not a really in-depth campaign like you’d expect but rather a few missions for each side.

It also seems like Ubi is handling the season pass and DLC in the same way they did Rainbow Six: Siege. In that game all the DLC was eventually free or purchasable for in-game currency, the Season Pass just gave you a boost to it and early access. That’s what it seems like For Honor is doing, which is a good thing as the R6 method was pretty well received.

I’ll be putting a lot more time into For Honor over the next two weeks until the Switch arrives. I’m playing it on the PS4 Pro.

Star Wars Legends & Blog Update

If you can see this you can probably tell I changed the blog’s theme (again). I really liked the look of the old theme a lot, but the carousel on it just made things a little sluggish. So I went back to a more standard blog-style theme, which fits what this site really is a lot better.

The other thing going on is it looks like my past two blog posts about the Bring Back Legends harassment I got have been linked on some private Facebook page. I still don’t understand why people who are so passionate about Legends do such a thing. The books are still in print and if anything Lucasfilm doing the Legends label kept them in print as Del Rey printed new versions of the books with that banner.

They even did new covers for the Thrawn trilogy:

About a year before Disney purchased Lucasfilm, Del Rey released all of their Star Wars books in just about every e-reader format (Kindle, iBooks, Nook, etc.). That there helped the Legends titles stay in print and then Lucasfilm adding the Legends banner to them earned the physical books re-prints. That actually keeps them alive longer, as otherwise they’d all go out of print and they’d be harder to find.

I still have all my paperbacks, and my favorite SWEU books that are on e-readers (such as all of the Zahn books) are ones I have no problem re-buying just to have them readable digitally.

So I don’t get the fear people have that these books are going away. They’re all still there and even more available for people to read now, and as was shown with Rebels and Thrawn Lucasfilm is pulling a lot of stuff from Legends into canon. So in a way now Thrawn is even more canon than he was before as the books previously were below the G and T canon levels that were above the novels and comics in the past.

And as time goes on I think Lucasfilm is going to pull even more concepts and characters from the old SWEU into the new canon.

My Thoughts on Nintendo Switch

It’s been almost a week since Nintendo officially unveiled the Switch, and there are still people out there overreacting over the system’s price…and I think I understand why.

Honestly I think a lot of people still have problems thinking outside of the console “box”. For quite a while mobile gaming (iOS/Android) has been rapidly overtaking traditional consoles and handhelds. Technically the iPad and iPhone are the two devices with the largest library of games and the most new releases on a regular basis because of the success of mobile gaming.

Nintendo has taken notice of this and has begun to do mobile titles with MiiTomo, Super Mario Run, and March’s Fire Emblem title. So when Nintendo revealed that the Switch as basically a tablet-based system I wasn’t shocked at all. I was kind of expecting them to go that way.

But most of the “hardcore gamers” who wouldn’t be caught dead playing a game on their iPhone definitely were shocked. They’re so shocked that the system’s $299 price tag is offensive to them, but when you think of it as a tablet with a capacitive touch screen, 32GB of storage, and the ability to play the games it can; it’s really not that bad.

Sure you can buy a two-year-old iPad Mini 2 with 32GB of RAM for the same price (and it’ll do more) but it won’t be running the same games. Even the comparable nVidia Shield Tablet (not the Shield TV) is $199 and that only has 16GB of storage (which is a complete joke even in 2015 when it came out).

I understand if Nintendo was releasing a console not as powerful as a PS4 or Xbox One for $300. I’d be upset too. But the Switch isn’t a traditional console. The system itself is the tablet, they just made a dock that will output it to a TV. So in a way Nintendo is fooling console fans in the US into thinking it’s a normal console.

They made a super powerful handheld, designed like a modern tablet, and made it look like a console for the US market where the consoles sell better. Handhelds do better in Nintendo’s home Japan.

The final version of Switch confirmed one of the oldest rumors about the system, that it’d be a console/handheld hybrid. I was ready for that, and looking beyond the hardware I’m very excited for it. I can’t wait to be able to play the first-party Nintendo games on the go, as well as stuff like Skyrim. It’s going to be very useful during the summer convention season with lots of lines to wait in.

‘It’s a Star Wars Life’

I had this idea the other day after so many smug elitist jerks on Twitter were outright attacking anyone who actually likes the Star Wars Prequels. Everyone from writers from legitimate newspapers to film bloggers were going on a crusade to tell those who liked the Prequels that their opinion was wrong and they needed to get started in a 21st century version of book burning to destroy the Prequels.

So I had an idea for a fan film (or it could be a podcast radio theater type thing) based on It’s a Wonderful Life where a Prequel hater prevents all Star Wars content after 1983 and finds that the franchise no longer exists.

So here it is.

It’s a Star Wars Life
By Jeremy Conrad

BATEY sits at his computer, furiously typing on the keyboard. He’s obviously very agitated at the flame war he’s participating in.

BATEY
I can’t believe these idiots on this subreddit. The Prequels are so terrible. Haven’t they watched the Red Letter Media takedowns of them? How can these people call themselves Star Wars fans?

He continues typing on the keyboard until realization hits his face. He has an idea.

BATEY
I got it! It’ll be like that movie Fanboys. I’ll find some other True Fans on Reddit and we’ll go break into Disney and burn the original negatives of the Prequels! That’ll show these misguided fans. If we can’t have our unaltered Original Trilogy, then they can’t have their Prequels ever again!

BATEY begins writing up his Reddit post to recruit his True Fans, but then there’s a knock on his door. He gets up to answer it, revealing the FORCE GHOST CLEATUS

CLEATUS
Hey dude, I’m here about your Reddit post and I think I can help you.

BATEY is confused. How is there a real Force Ghost at his door.

BATEY
Wha? I wasn’t even done…how did you know?

CLEATUS
Dude, I’m a Force Ghost. Just go with it, ok? Look, I can help you with your little problem. Just wait until the morning and by the time you get up for new comic day you’ll never have to worry about those Prequels again.

The next day BATEY wakes up to go to the comic store and pick up his comics. While passing his shelf of DVDs he notices something missing.

BATEY
That’s strange, where’s my Star Wars set? I must’ve misplaced it somewhere. I’ll find it later.

BATEY arrives at the local comic shop. The COMIC BOOK GUY is reading a Battle Beyond the Stars comic behind the counter.

BATEY
Hey do you have the new issue of Marvel’s Star Wars?

COMIC BOOK GUY
Marvel hasn’t published a Star Wars comic since the 80s. I think we have a couple issues in the back issue bin.

BATEY
What are you talking about? The Star Wars comic is a major on-going from Marvel.

COMIC BOOK GUY
Star Wars? That franchise died off in 1983. Those little teddy bears really were a mistake.

BATEY
You mean Ewoks? They’re awesome!

COMIC BOOK GUY
Since when? When I was a kid everyone hated those things.

BATEY
Since Jar Jar!

COMIC BOOK GUY
Who?

BATEY
Jar Jar Binks? The character George Lucas used to rape everyone’s childhood?

COMIC BOOK GUY
George Lucas? He’s been a recluse for years. He made those three Star Wars movies, two Indiana Jones movies, and then the flop of that Howard the Duck devastated him. He’s just doing artsy fartsy movies now. He and Terence Malick are having a competition to see who could put a theater to sleep the fastest.

BATEY
Wait, you’re saying you never heard of the horrible Special Editions where they CG’ed all the effects or the Prequel Trilogy?

COMIC BOOK GUY
Nope. But you know, if there were new Star Wars movies and stuff coming out to fuel the franchise it may have survived past the eighties with whole new generations of fans. It’s a shame. But hey, to make you feel better I have an extra ticket for the opening of the new Battle Beyond the Stars movie tonight.

BATEY
New one, what do you mean? They made a sequel to that piece of crap?

COMIC BOOK GUY
Sequel? This is the 12th! James Cameron is finally moving on from the effects to actually direct one of the movies. Ol’ man Corman is going to keep making these things until he drops.

BATEY looks like he’s going to throw up. He backs out of the comic shop and starts running down the street yelling for CLEATUS.

BATEY
Force Ghost guy! I take it back! I want Star Wars back!

The Force Ghost CLEATUS reappears in his path.

CLEATUS
You understand if I undo what I did the Prequels and all of the post-1983 Star Wars you hate will exist, as will their fans?

BATEY
YES! I just want my big and successful Star Wars franchise back! I’ll be different!

CLEATUS
Hopefully now you know how it would feel to lose your Star Wars the same way you want to take away another generation’s Star Wars.

BATEY
I’ll just ignore what I don’t like! Star Wars is more important than trying to be a gatekeeper and exclude people who like something I don’t! No more crusades for me.

THE END

No Words

It’s still early and I’m too upset to say much about the passing of Carrie Fisher right now but this is what’s going through my head.

With everything that happened at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim in the summer of 2015, the thing I’ll never forget as long as I live was that first panel on the first day. After no sleeping for more than 24 hours to get good seats, there were Mark, Carrie, and Peter on stage. It was my childhood come to life right there, and I remember getting emotional over it.

This morning I can’t stop crying. Next year is the 40th anniversary of Star Wars (and my 40th birthday) and that first day at Celebration in Orlando is going to be a lot less bright without the Princess there on stage.

I’m going to watch the trilogy tonight.

The Final Non-Star Wars Week of 2016

Today marks the start of the final non-Star Wars week of 2016. Meaning that next week we finally get the first Star Wars spin-off in the form of Rogue One.

I have my Thursday night tickets booked in the Harkins Ciné1 with the 80′ screen, 105,000 watts Dolby Atmos and the leather recliners:
harkins-leather-seats

I also have tickets booked in the same theater for that Saturday.

For every other day I have the Regal Ultimate ticket, so that first Friday I’ll be using it to see it on a real IMAX screen and then I’ll go to IMAX every Sunday to get those posters.

I’ve said before why I’m looking forward to Rogue One so much, and now there’s only 10 days to go!

Why I’m Looking Forward to Rogue One More Than The Force Awakens

We’re less than a month away from Rogue One (if you, like most fans, will see it on the 15th), but there are still those people out there complaining about getting a new Star Wars movie this year and just troll the official Star Wars social media accounts with dumb “we want Episode 8” comments.

I’m actually looking forward to Rogue One more than I was The Force Awakens. Not just because I like Gareth Edwards a lot and his Godzilla is one of my favorite movies in the last few years, but because of the story. Growing up with A New Hope, the opening crawl described a Star Wars movie in itself.

“Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.”

We finally get to see that battle and the first Rebellion victory in Rogue One:

rogue-one-korean-trailer

Of course, we then get to see the Rebel spies who use that battle as an opportunity to steal the Death Star plans.

More than any opening crawl in the Original Trilogy, A New Hope’s illustrated a Star Wars movie you’d want to see. That’s probably why it was pitched as a spinoff in the first place. It’s an incredibly cool piece of Star Wars history that we get to see, all based on a couple of sentences George Lucas wrote in the original Star Wars movie nearly forty years ago.

Doctor Strange is Now My Favorite MCU Movie

I saw Doctor Strange a week before release, in 3D, and I loved it. I reviewed it on Furious Fanboys then, and this weekend I saw it a second time on a 82′ screen in 2D with Dolby Atmos and I liked it even more the second time.

It should definitely be seen in 3D at least once, but the movie works just as well in 3D. Of all the Marvel films, this one gets the core origin and character down better than any of the others. You can bitch all you want about them changing the Ancient One, but that character could be a ground beef patty that gets BBQ’ed and still serve the same purpose in the origin. The gender/race of the Ancient One doesn’t matter as long as they end up dying in the end so Stephen Strange can become the Sorcerer Supreme.

I still had a huge smile on my face watching the movie a second time as they completely got Doctor Strange right in the MCU. There’s still a lot of weirdness that can be explored on a sequel, but this is basically the Batman Begins for Doctor Strange where the sequel could be its Dark Knight. It’s surprising that they were able to get the character so perfect in live action. It’s not a hard concept to do, but if this movie was attempted even a decade ago by someone like Fox they could’ve got it very wrong with an attempt to ground the concept in reality. 2016 seems to be the perfect time for Strange as Marvel was able to establish the magical and cosmic sides of the MCU through Thor and Guardians.

I intend to see Doctor Strange at least a couple more times before it leaves theaters, and if all goes well I’ll do so this coming weekend (probably in 3D again). Doctor Strange has always been one of my favorite Marvel characters, and I am so happy the movie turned out as good as it did. With the amount of money it’s pulling in, we’re going to see him a lot in the MCU. An appearance in Thor: Ragnarok is pretty much guaranteed, then we’ll see him in Infinity War, and then we’ll probably get a Phase 4 sequel. I can’t wait.

Collector’s Corps, Legion of Collectors, Smuggler’s Bounty, and LootCrate

To be perfectly honest I never really was too interested in those monthly delivery box services like LootCrate, but recently I’ve been looking at the Funko ones. I only have a couple of Pops, mostly because I only want to collect specific characters and not everything, but a bi-monthly box that comes with a Pop and often a T-shirt is pretty tempting to me for $25.

So I’ve been debating between the Star Wars, DC, and Marvel Funko boxes. I love all three, but I think I’ve settled on the Marvel one over the Star Wars one. Firstly, the October box was Doctor Strange. My favorite Marvel character. I missed the deadline to get in on that one, but I luckily found someone selling an unopened one in my shirt size on eBay so I should have it soon. And next month’s box is X-Men. That is enough for me to pull the trigger on the Marvel box over Star Wars.

I’ve read X-Men since the Claremont days, and it’s still the one Marvel line I try to follow even when I’m not reading it every month. So with the December box being X-Men, I’m probably going to start up a subscription due to that.

I’m not a huge fan of unboxing videos, especially when they’re stupid and open a figure that’s already in a clear case, but I may start filming the unboxing of these Marvel Funko boxes as I get them.

On the subject of those boxes, the new Marvel Gear and Goods box from LootCrate is very tempting. It’s $40, but the first one includes a bathrobe made to look like Doctor Strange’s cape. That right there is enough for me to get it. I’m still debating on that one and I have until Tuesday to decide.

Everything I'm Into