‘Final Space’ Embodies The YouTube Career Arc

The third season of YouTuber Olan Rogers’ Final Space is, at best, a mixed bag and, at worst, a shadow of its former, offbeat self. What started out as a vibrant science fantasy romp with Gary Goodspeed, a kind of intergalactic Alonso Quixano who’s delightfully loony due to his exile in deep space, is now so generic that its universe ending stakes feel without consequence. However, the plot of the show and Gary’s character arc align with the careers of major YouTubers, where success only stifles creativity and transforms a YouTuber into the kind of mainstream figure they previously rallied against. 

Whether it knows it or not, Final Space is about working as a YouTuber and the show’s decline serves as a grim reminder of how little stability and fulfillment the position holds as a long term profession. In examining the watering down of Gary as a character to a more generic protagonist, and season three’s suggestion that Gary might be a villain; it becomes clear that Final Space captures the rise and inevitable decline of so many YouTube stars.  

Final Space Season 3 In a Nutshell

Before we get too far into what Final Space is about thematically, let’s cover the actual plot beats of the season. This collection of episodes begins with the main cast of characters trapped in the titular Final Space, which is basically space hell with more, or fewer, giant monsters depending on how metal your views of the afterlife are. 

The season then follows our heroes trying repeatedly to escape from Final Space, getting forcibly separated and then reuniting a bunch, and some interpersonal relationships changing a little bit, but not in ways that feel satisfactory or are fully addressed. If it seems like I have a chip on my shoulder while I describe this season, it’s because I do and need to bleed out the venom this show injected into me.  

The only character to have any kind of meaningful arc this season is Ash, who’s voiced by the always terrific Ashly Burch. Apparently her psychic powers come from Invictus, the leader of the aforementioned giant monsters and a primordial evil. While processing how a major part of her identity is tied to a cosmic horror, she loses her adoptive brother, Fox, and begins to mistrust and resent the cast around her. As Gary’s priorities increasingly diverge from her own and as he unintentionally kills Fox, Ash even goes so far as to accuse Gary of actually being evil. This is a hell of an accusation, considering Invitus is literally space Satan, but whatever. Her frustrations with Gary are understandable, and Invictus was doing a ‘devil on her shoulder’ thing for most of the season, so this hard to swallow development is at least understandable from a character perspective. 

After thirteen episodes of Gary struggling, and sometimes failing, to protect those close to him, most of the main cast manag es to escape from Final Space, though Ash joins up with Invictus. She also captured and siphoned off power from the living weapon Mooncake, and Invictus used the energy to open a portal between Final Space and regular space. So, if an undeserved season four happens, it’ll probably focus on Invictus’ army trying to take over the universe. 

This season is a pretty standard space epic, which is exactly what makes it so disappointing. In the first season of Final Space Gary was an unwilling space hermit who was so desperate for friendship and intimacy that he tied up an assassin sent after him, Avocato, and forced him into a poker night. In season three, there just isn’t any of the weird shit that made the show so appealing in season one. There’s no encountering an alien family while wearing their dead mother as a disguise, no Gary insasting that he’s Little Cado’s new dad minutes after Avocato sacrifices himself to save them, and no jubilation in response to the death of the annoying robot KVN.

Gary isn’t a quirky guy trying to find his place in a universe that isn’t sure what to do with him anymore, he’s just the kind of space captain that the show mocked in earlier seasons. Even if it came with a pretty hefty price tag, Gary now has everything he’s ever wanted; a position of respect and power, plenty of meaningful relationships, and a partner who loves him. As mean as it might be to the fictional character Gary, these developments are a bummer and the show loses a lot of it’s charm and originality as it becomes a more standard and traditional story. 

Unless that’s the point. What if the third season of Final Space is about someone sacrificing their originality to achieve their goals and be conventionally successful? What if Final Space is about a growingly common kind of YouTube career arc? 

The YouTuber to Sellout Pipeline

Career YouTubers and the people behind the platform really like to brand YouTube as a space where creatives can express themselves freely. This digital space isn’t bound by the same regulations and ‘in-crowd’ mentality found in television and film production, meaning YouTube is a space where even niche communities can thrive. Now, in reality, YouTube makes LGBTQ+ content less discoverable and played a significant role in the recent growth of the alt-right and conspiracy theory communities, but at least YouTube and YouTubers like to paint it as a place for any content creator and their communities. 

On some level, this branding is true. As the current default video hosting platform, there’s something for everyone on YouTube. Where the lie really starts to breakdown, though, is when YouTubers paint the platform as being superior to traditional media industries. Now, how the problems found on YouTube measure up against every other entertainment medium and industry is a whole ball of wax that we’re not going to get into today. We don’t even need to, though, because most folks aren’t on YouTube as their last and best career move; they’re just doing it until they can move onto a better, more stable gig. 

If you’ve been on YouTube since it really started taking off in the late 2000s, chances are you can think of at least a dozen channels that have functionally shut down because its personalities moved onto greener pastures. You can hardly blame them too, as between the constantly changing algorithms, nearly unchecked harassment, and demanding production cycle; a nine to five gig working in a more established industry seems like a pretty cushie deal. That creates an unusual situation, though, where YouTube, which as a community that celebrates and demands authenticity, is functionally just a temporary gig for its biggest creators until they build up enough clout to move onto their ultimate career. It’s like working as a production assistant until you make enough connections to make the jump to a script writing gig; except there isn’t a convention for PAs and they’re not treated like celebrities. 

The job of being a YouTuber centers on presenting yourself as being as raw, original, and unique as possible; right up until you can afford not to be those things anymore. And then we have Final Space, which originally set itself apart from most other television shows by feeling one of a kind, and is now a generic sci-fi romp that feels like something that’ll just keep getting renewed until the second it’s unprofitable. 

I don’t know if this symbolism is intentional but, considering the rest of season three’s writing, I’m guessing it’s not. There are definitely parallels, though, and, as I witness Gary’s weirdo charm fade until he’s a monotone cliche, I’m filled with the same kind of sadness I felt watching the YouTube channels I grew up with chase algorithms until they’re not longer appealing to me before the creators leave the platform all together. 

Enjoying the Long Death Spiral

I don’t bring this comparison up to commend Final Space season three’s writing; as the season was so bland that I can’t even recommend it to my friends who watched the previous two. I’m bringing it up because this show accidentally reminded me that nothing great can last forever. That’s not even what I’m really upset about, though. Nothing genuine or anything trying to be can last forever. At least not in any kind of way that allows the people behind the project to live comfortably, or maybe even sustainably. 

With the systems we have in place, and how we as a global culture value art and entertainment, current media industries just don’t allow for authenticity unless it has, or can turn into, mass market appeal. Sure, anyone can do small projects that are wholly their own as a hobby, and there’s definitely value there, but only the lucky can make anything close to a significant amount of money off of those kinds of projects. That’s not even getting into the issue of creators burning out as people, the systems they form, and hosting platforms demand a steady stream of similarly high-quality work. 

As of writing this essay, Olan Rogers uploaded his last, non-promotional, video to YouTube ten months ago. If he never returns to the platform and the kind of material that helped him reach his current success, I don’t think anyone can fault him. He made the jump from being a YouTuber to successfully writing and developing his own TV show. He doesn’t need to come back; he’s outgrown YouTube unless there’s something he really wants to do that can only happen on that platform.

That really sucks for the people you enjoyed Olan Rogers’ channel. I think the only thing we can do, though, is enjoy the upward spiral of our favorite small-time creator’s careers, until they manage to ascend to anything beyond the initial stages of their career. YouTube and other hosting platforms aren’t the goal for most of the people trying to make a career out of their creative drive, it’s just one possible first step. No matter how YouTube wants to brand itself, that’s just how it is. 

I wish I had a more positive note to end on, but yeah, being yourself is just a means to an end for a lot of online creators and most will drop that veneer of openness the second they can take the next step forward in their careers. All we can do is enjoy these half-truths while we can and appreciate the stuff we connect with while the people behind it are able and willing to make it. 

I wish I liked the third season of Final Space more; I wish it was something that I could like. But it doesn’t have to be the things that made me like it anymore and the same can be true for the dozen or so YouTubers I loved in high school who aren’t around anymore or are no longer that version of themselves. 

I’ll always have the joy that the first season of Final Space brought me, though, just as I’ll forever treasure the niche channels that I and my high school friends revealed in; even if those channels have now been defunct for longer than I was in high school. Time goes on, things and people change, and we’ve just got to enjoy what’s good while we can. 

Thank you for checking out this essay! If you want to keep up with all of my writing, following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. Also, be sure to check out my media focused podcast, Voluntary Viewing

I hope you all enjoyed my ramblings about a declining cartoon, and good luck with whatever you have going on. 

‘Final Space’ Embodies The YouTube Career Arc

I Can’t Stop Thinking About Jackie Daytona

I’ve thought about Jackie Daytona from What We Do In The Shadows about once a week since his episode aired in May of 2020. Formally titled, ‘On The Run,’ this is the sixth episode of the show’s second season. I’ve only watched it once prior to working on this essay, but it’s forever ingrained in my memory and I think I finally figured out why that is. 

What We Do In The Shadows is just an incredibly well written, performed, and directed television series. For those unfamiliar, the setup behind the show is that a group of centuries old vampires are living together in Staten Island. They are incredibly out of touch with society, and are only really aware of major cultural events that vaguely line up with their own interests; such as Nandor, a relentless former soldier of the Ottoman empire, really liking the dominating force that was the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. 

Nandor, played by Kayvan Nocak, is the de facto leader of this clan of vampires, but that’s mostly because no one else wants to do it and it’s the only thing he really has going on in his life. Nadja — Natasia Demetriou — and Lazlo — Matt Berry — are a married couple that alternate between being madly in love and at each other’s throats whenever a squabble from their several lifetimes long relationship pops up again. Then there’s the energy vampire Colin Robinson, played by Mark Proksch. We’re not really sure what his deal is, but he feeds off of negative emotions and is exceptionally good at making people upset or frustrated. 

Basically, he’s every annoying coworker you’ve ever had. 

Anchoring these self-absorbed vampires somewhat is Harvey Guillén’s Guillermo De la Cruz, Nandor’s familiar. Guillermo desperately wants to be a vampire, and became Nandor’s familiar because he thought it’d be the easiest way to achieve that goal. Several years after taking the job, he’s frustrated that he isn’t a vampire and has an existential crisis when he learns that he’s actually really good at killing vampires.  

The first season of What We Do In The Shadows mostly focuses on these characters getting into hilarious situations because of their baggage or eccentric personalities. Like when Lazlo ends up in the pound after turning into a bat to mess with their neighbor. Other episodes, and the ones that I tend to like more, focus on exploring tropes in vampire fiction, and showing how they would go in a slightly more realistic setting. Like in the episode ‘The Orgy,’ when Nandor and company fear they’ll be ostracized from vampire culture if their kinky sex party is subpar. 

It’s a genuine delight to see this show depict how weird, sad, and horny vampires are, without dressing those characteristics up in any kind of mystique. Just about every vampire in this show is an out of touch theater kid with more confidence than they deserve, and it’s hilarious to watch these barely functioning people explore the lore and rules of their universe. What We Do In The Shadows does what good fantasy storytelling is supposed to, and uses impossible situations to explore the human condition and the societies we create. 

Things change abruptly in episode six of season 2, though. Until this point, each episode had focused on these characters living their mostly petty lives in the greater New York area, and bouncing off each other all the while. When Mark Hamill’s Jim the Vampire arrives unexpectedly to collect a debt from Lazlo, the foppish vampire just bails. He puts on a human disguise, renounces the culture and relationship that had defined him for hundreds of years, and fucks off to Pennsylvania because he thinks it sounds cool. 

Now going by Jackie Daytona, he starts a brand new life and is pretty successful. He takes over a bar after killing and eating the former owner, becomes a prominent and appreciated member of his community, and helps out the state bound High School Volleyball team as an assistant coach. 

Lazlo just decided to stop being a vampire and is having the time of his life as a townie in rural America. 

This abrupt shift works for a couple of reasons, with the first being that this episode absolutely nails the feel of small town America. From a hole in the wall bar that’s somehow a cornerstone of the community, to people caring way too much about High School Volleyball, this is what the so-called real America is really like. Having grown up in a community of around 5,000 people, I can confidently say that this is an accurate snapshot of this kind of town. For reasons I still can’t fathom, folks in my hometown lost their goddamn minds when our Volleyball team went to state, but barely got out of bed for the Girl’s Cross Country team which routinely made that level of competition. 

This is a really weird idiosyncrasy, but it’s in this episode of What We Do In The Shadows and it speaks to me. It validates an odd, but apparently foundational, experience in my life and that’s what makes Jakie Daytona the television equivalent of an earworm for me. I see this episode of television, and I see the most nostalgic version of where I grew up on screen. 

There’s another reason why I think ‘On The Run’ resonated with so many people, though. Like the other episodes of What We Do In The Shadows, this one sells a fantasy that people wish was real. It just hits a lot harder here because the desire behind it is much bigger. 

Every character in What We Do In The Shadows represents something that we want to be true in the world. Nandor embodies the idea that those in positions of power really do care about others, and that whatever harm they do comes from incompetence rather than malice. Guillermo as a character makes a viewer believe that they also have inherent worth and that they could be a badass if they just got over their own insecurities. Lazlo and Nadja show that even the most bizarre people can find a romantic partner and that they can make that relationship work. 

Then there’s Colin Robinson who validates a viewer’s frustration with the most annoying people in their lives, and feeds the darker impulse of thinking that the people behind these annoyances are acting intentionally; meaning that your anger towards them is completely valid. 

Just like all of these other characters, Jackie Daytona — and yes, Jackie Daytona is basically a unique character — depicts an idea that we all want to be true. Jackie Daytona makes us feel like we could also just uproot our lives and be totally fine with wherever we end up. In fact, we might even have a better life waiting for us if we just took a chance and decided that we wanted a change. 

I like my life. I think it’s a pretty good one! I can do the things I enjoy pretty easily when there isn’t a pandemic, and I have plenty of people in my life that are usually a part of those experiences. I do find myself wondering from time to time, though, what my life would be like if I made completely different decisions. 

Where would I be? Would I be happier? Would I be more successful? Whatever that means. 

Jackie Daytona, on top of being a fun idea and incredibly entertaining, makes me feel like I would be okay if my life went differently or if I just decide that I’m sick of my current one. That’s a pretty big comfort, and I think the main reason why I, and so many other people, can’t get Jackie Daytona out of my head. 

Also, Colin Robinson turning out to be a ‘what’s your deal?’ guy when he shoots his shot with Doll Nadja and gets rejected, is fucking histerical! 

Thank you so much for checking this out. If you enjoyed this essay, please follow me on Twitter, @LucasDeRuyter, to keep up with all of my work. If you’re reading this on BaddaBing BaddaBlog, please like, reblog, and share it on social media. If you’re watching this on YouTube, please like, comment, subscribe, ring the bell, and also share it on social platforms. Lastly, I’m on the Voluntary Viewing podcast, where I talk about pop-culture news, as well as the stuff I’m checking out. So please check that out if you can, as I’ll definitely talk about season three of What We Do In The Shadows when it finally releases. 

Thanks again for your support, and best of luck out there.    

I Can’t Stop Thinking About Jackie Daytona

Is It Ethical To Buy ‘Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game’?

The Scott Pilgrim game is coming back and that’s fucking rad! After abruptly disappearing from digital storefronts at the end of 2014, likely due to licensing disputes, the game was unplayable to new audiences for half a decade. This especially sucked because the Scott Pilgrim movie was a notorious sleeper hit, and it took a while for people to discover and appreciate the world and story first crafted by Bryan Lee O’Malley in his graphic novels. 

Developed and published by Ubisoft in 2010, Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game is as good, if not better, than the comics and movie that inspired it. Which, for a licensed game released in the early 10s, was a nice change of pace. The art direction perfectly captured the style of the later comic volumes, the loose story of the game does just enough with the world and characters to be endearing, and Anamanaguchi’s score is an absolute bop, if not an outright banger. 

Although, the music isn’t quite as good as the movie’s fire soundtrack, mostly because the game doesn’t have any Beck and Brie Larson songs, but then again painfully few OSTs do. Getting back to the point, the game also helped revitalize the Beat ‘em Up genre at a time when it was starting to stagnate. In short, Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game is a pretty good video game, and an amazing one if you were a nerdy teenager between 2010 and 2014 like I was.   

This rerelease comes with some caveats, though. In the years since Ubisoft delisted the game, a lot of unsavory material has come out about the company; with 2020 revealing that it was a dangerous environment for the people working there. Furthermore, it’s come out that leadership at Ubisoft had extremely problematic political and social opinions, deliberately contributed to women being underrepresented in games, and conflated a civil rights movement to a terrorist organization. 

Between all of this and the fact that much of the original team behind the game isn’t involved in this rerelease, many gamers are left asking themselves, “Is it ethical for me to buy Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition?” 

No, no it’s not. 

Okay, so obviously it’s a little more complicated than that — and this prompt is mostly just an excuse to create a master doc compiling all of the really shitty stuff Ubisoft’s done — so let’s get into why you shouldn’t give Ubisoft your money. 

Members of leadership at Ubisoft were scumbags, and performed a wide variety of misconduct while they were gainfully employed. Maxime Béland, one of Ubisoft’s co-founders, allegedly choked a female coworker at a company party. Employees have said that a lack of disciplinary action against Béland, and his overt sexist behavior, made them feel like there was a culture of sexism at the company. Which there was and still could very well be, even after Béland’s resignation, as many describe the company’s Toronto studio as having a “party culture” and generally using free booze and company events as an excuse to not pay their employees more. 

Serge Hascoët, the creative lead that had final say on a game’s content, also left Ubisoft in 2020. Hascoët actively prevented women from being the lead character in Ubisoft games, based on the assumption that games featuring prominent female characters wouldn’t sell well. Oh, and he also supposedly helped propagate Ubisoft’s culture of sexism by playing a sexually explicit song featuring the name of a female coworker when she left a meeting. 

Tommy Francois, the vice-president of editorial and creative services — which is to say Serge Hascoët’s lackey — was fired after an investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct. Yannis Mallat, the person leading Ubisoft’s Canadian studios, also left the company amid this controversy. Employees filed numerous complaints to Ubisoft’s HR department over the actions of these executives, all of which seemingly went ignored until recently. It’s no wonder then that Ubisoft’s global head of HR, Cécile Cornet, also left the company as, on paper, a company’s HR department is supposed to prevent any of this misconduct from happening. 

In fact, things were so bad at Ubisoft that an internal survey revealed that 1 in 4 employees witnessed some form of misconduct while doing their job. Imagine for a second working at a place where inappropriate behavior is so common, that 25% of your coworkers tell their bosses that they saw something inappropriate. In case you’ve never worked anywhere before, people generally don’t like to bring these issues up, even in an anonymous survey, meaning the number of witnesses was likely much higher and the behavior much more widespread than what we know now. 

In the face of all of these allegations, and the stellar reporting about them, it’s very hard to believe that Ubisoft’s co-founder and CEO, Yves Guillemot, wasn’t aware of this culture in his company. In fact, it seems more likely that Guillemot elevated these individuals into positions of power in spite of, or perhaps even because of, their problematic behavior and beliefs. While the immediate bad actors may be gone from the company, Guillemot is not, and any money spent on Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition is to the direct benefit of the person who enabled this detestable situation.  

Ubisoft also put the Black Lives Matter fist in a Tom Clancy mobile game and said that it was a logo for a terrorist organization! How does that even happen!? How does a company at the forefront of a billion dollar industry make such a callous and avoidable fuck up?

Oh, the manager of the studio that made it, Owlient, as well as the director of this game is Charlie Guillemot, Yves Guillemot’s son. And now everyone who’s ever worked for a family owned business knows exactly how Ubisoft got to where it is today. 

To top it all off, the remaining Ubisoft leadership is composed of cowards and they refused to address this situation during their Ubisoft Forward showcase event. 

Where does this leave an ethically conscious Scott Pilgrim fan wanting to play this game? Probably trying to rationalize how they can give money to an inarguably problematic company in exchange for a toy they want. 

“Even if the bosses are bad, that doesn’t mean the people who made the game are,” a gamer might argue while clutching their Scott Pilgrim Color Collection Box Set. “Their work deserves to be purchased and praised so that they can more easily get a job at a better company.” 

That’s a popular, if flawed, argument in circumstances similar to this one, but isn’t really applicable here as Bryan Lee O’Malley doesn’t profit off of the sale of the game. He also said that the original team behind it isn’t involved in this rerelease. To be fair, though, O’Malley does seem pretty jazzed about the game returning, if for no other reason than it being a cool piece of media that was seemingly lost to time.  

[Note: A limited edition physical version of the game was announced while composing this essay. While O’Malley and other original artists did contribute to this edition, this physical release is through a specialty publisher and the original team’s connection to the rerelease is still tenuous. As such, the previous point stands.] 

The fact of the matter is, the people most responsible for this game existing aren’t going to profit from the sales of this rerelease. Buying a copy now only pads the coffers of those at the top of Ubisoft, who have proven themselves to be pretty scummy. Also, if you wanted to support Bryan Lee O’Malley, you could just buy the Scott Pilgrim comics. They’re pretty good, if dated in the way that a lot of media from the aughts are. Seconds is pretty good too, and I really need to make time to read Snotgirl, but hear good things. 

From here, the last desperate argument made by somebody who really wants to buy the Scott Pilgrim game might be something like, “Well not buying a game from a bad company isn’t going to hurt the abusers within it, it’ll only lead to the most expendable employees being fired or paid less.”

Again, that’s fair and the gaming industry as a whole needs to get out of the practice of tying bonuses to sales figures and Metacritic scores. Or, in the case of CD Projekt Red, giving out tokens to employees who “deserved honors,” which almost certainly means that they were crunching really hard and didn’t complain about it. All that nonsense definitely deserves it’s own essay. Which I might get to by 2023 if my pace of one self-published piece every two years keeps up! 

The thing is, this argument also doesn’t really apply to this situation. The Scott Pilgrim rerelease is a cash grab by Ubisoft, even if fans really want it. It would be a shock if any more work went into the Complete Edition beyond getting it running on modern systems and having the DLC available from the start. This is a profit generator slipped into Ubisoft’s Q1 2021 lineup as they don’t have any major releases coming up, other than the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time remake in March. Meaning that Ubisoft doesn’t have any major releases this quarter. 

It’s hard to envision anyone at Ubisoft getting axed if this game underperforms. Hell, it’s hard to see anything changing at all at Ubisoft if this game only manages to break even after licensing costs and the minimal development expenditure. If it does well, it’ll be a nice windfall for them, and, if it doesn’t, then at least they earned some desperately needed goodwill from gamers. 

It’s clear that Ubisoft is a company that you really shouldn’t support through purchasing their products, and that justifications for this transaction don’t hold up under scrutiny. So what are socially conscious gamers to do then? Not buy the game? If you’re so inclined, kudos! Organize a boycott of the Scott Pilgrim game? Maybe, but those don’t really work in the gaming industry. 

The sad truth is that not buying a game has never been an effective strategy for creating direct and intended change in the world of gaming. Jim Sterling has a great video covering the history of video game boycotts and, spoiler alert, they usually fail because people buy the game! Whether it be Modern Warfare 2 or Pokémon Sword and Shield, people will buy a favorably reviewed video game even if there’s a part of it they don’t like.  

Gamers are a too large and varied group for a boycott to work in a meaningful capacity. Even when the issues surrounding a game are as significant as serial harassers profiting from it, and not just some people disliking a tree. 

Yeah, the hullabaloo around Pokémon Sword and Shield really was the moment that boycotts became untenable in the gaming sphere. 

Don’t worry, you’re not a monster for buying Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition. People have defended supporting worse pieces of media from even shittier people, and unfortunately a lot of games today are made under some kind of duress. There are some things that you can do to help make the gaming industry more sustainable and less skeezy, though. 

The first is supporting games from smaller studios that developed their titles in healthy working conditions. Hades from Supergiant Games is a brilliant example of how an indie game can be successful while still valuing the health and safety of the people who made it. In supporting games like this, not only are you keeping the gaming landscape from being a purgatory of AAA saminess, you’re helping prove that other models of video game production are possible. Things don’t have to be as bad as they were, and maybe still are, at Ubisoft, and by elevating better companies we can make Ubisoft the exception and not the rule. 

A second option is directly supporting labor organization in the video game industry. Ubisoft isn’t alone in its culture and how it treats employees, and the gaming industry is in need of systemic level reform. If consumers can’t pressure companies into changing, then the only ethical thing to do is support those within them taking action. 

This can be as simple as promoting the efforts of game industry workers trying to organize, or donating to a legal fund so that those affected can fight the circumstances found in Ubisoft. As a rule of thumb, it’s generally just a good idea to give money to good causes that need them, especially when power dynamics are as lopsided as they are between CEOs and employees in the gaming industry. 

These suggestions aren’t groundbreaking, and hopefully aren’t new to you, but they’re the most the average consumer can do to help make things better for the most vulnerable people in the games industry. Which really sucks!

Of all the industries that exist under the miasma of late stage capitalism, gaming gets some of the worst of it. People enthused to work in the industry are undervalued, subject to harassment in their workplace and too often online, and are either underpaid or forced to work so much that their hourly rate isn’t all that great. Many of these problems also exist outside of gaming, but they’re more apparent here thanks to the increased public scrutiny most media companies receive. 

Workers in almost every industry aren’t treated as well or paid as much as they should be. It’s also a struggle to purchase only things made under wholly ethical circumstances. That’s just how the world is today and, while I firmly believe that we can change it if those outside of the billionaire class come together and demand that we do, it’s not going to happen overnight. There’s also no point in depriving yourself of something that brings you joy, if there’s no benefit from the deprivation. 

 So, if you really want to, go ahead and buy Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition. I hope you enjoy it and that it provides some kind of respite from the weight of having to participate in the many unethical systems that make up our society. Just remember who’s profiting from your purchase and do what you can to help the people who actually make the media you enjoy when the opportunity arises. 

Thank you so much for checking this out. This essay was originally a pitch I floated around that a few outlets rejected, so I decided to make it on my own. If you want me to make something like this for you, I’m @LucasDeRuyter on Twitter and you can find my email without too much trouble if you’d like to reach out more formally. 

I don’t know if I’ll personally pick up the Scott Pilgrim game again but, if I do, you can hear my impressions on the Voluntary Viewing Podcast. Thanks again for watching/reading this, and good luck out there.

Is It Ethical To Buy ‘Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game’?

How You Can Celebrate 1000 Chapters of One Piece

© Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha

One Piece might not be the first manga to hit the 1000 chapter mark, but the beloved series reaching this milestone is still a monumental event in the relatively small world of manga. After all, the long running Weekly Shonen Jump title is arguably the most impactful ongoing manga today and its millions of readers will agree that it seems to only grow better with time. Longtime One Piece fans used to speculate if the series would ever get to this point and many new fans read through the manga at a blistering pace just to experience the 1000th chapter upon its release. 

Shueisha, the publishing company that owns Shonen Jump, knows that this is a big deal to One Piece fans across the world and has plenty of events in store to mark the occasion. From perhaps the biggest character poll in the history of manga to making the bulk of the series available to read for free, One Piece is kicking 2021 off with a bang!

World Top 100 Campaign

© Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha

The World Top 100 campaign is a global character poll where One Piece readers can cast one vote each day for their favorite characters in the hopes of having them take the top spots. This poll will run from January 3, 2021 to February 28, 2021. There’s no participation fee and anyone can vote regardless of how much One Piece they’ve read or watched. Some random voters will even receive AR character as the poll goes on. A promotion for this poll will even liven up the January 4th issue of the New York Times, and feature the 1000th chapter celebration, double wide color spread. 

This is set to be the biggest character poll in manga for two key reasons. The first, is that there are more than a thousand characters in One Piece, all with their own unique style and personality. While the first few spots are fairly safe guesses, it will be incredible to see what characters end up filling out the entire list. 

The second, and more groundbreaking reason, is that this will be the first One Piece character poll available to all readers, regardless of where they live in the world. The website for the poll launched alongside the release of the 1000th chapter, and is available in English, Chinese, and Japanese. While Viz, the company that localizes One Piece in western territories, ran character polls in the past, these are generally seen as less official, as only the Japanese rankings appear in the manga itself. So, this will be the first time that readers outside of Japan can have their appreciation for a character reflected in the manga itself. 

The inclusion of non-Japanese readers in an official character poll is practically unheard of in shonen manga. While manga readers have enough to celebrate from this alone, we can only hope that this is the beginning of a broader trend of a greater consideration of international audiences in the manga industry. 

Free Manga

© Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha

Beyond voting for their favorite characters, folks will be able to read the majority of One Piece for free on the Shonen Jump+ app. The free offerings on the digital manga reader will include volumes 1 through 71 of One Piece, which totals a gargantuan 711 chapters. This means that new readers will be able to witness Luffy and company begin their journey in the East Blue, rocket through the Grand Line, break into the New World, and make landfall just as the Dressrosa arc kicks off. 

Before this promotion, only the first three chapters and the three newest chapters were available for free on the Shonen Jump app and website, though the entire catalog is accessible with a two dollar monthly subscription. Physical copies of these volumes will usually set a purchaser back ten bucks so, either way, the promotion is saving readers a tidy sum of money.  

Considering the rampant level of piracy in the global manga industry, offering two thirds of one of the most acclaimed manga in the history of the industry is a pretty big deal. The barrier to reading officially licensed manga has never been lower, and those interested now have no excuse not to at least give the official translation of the series a try. While these efforts are fighting against a steep hill, hopefully this promotion gets more manga fans into the practice of legally and ethically consuming their favorite media.  

Considerable Commemorations

© Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha

A series of videos commemorating One Piece and the impact it’s had on readers across the world will appear on the polling site as well. News focusing on the upcoming 1000th episode of the One Piece anime will also appear. Live updates on how characters are performing in the poll will also run on the site. 

Additionally, One Piece author, Eiichiro Oda, penned the following letter to One Piece readers thanking them for their support and hoping that they’ll continue to enjoy the series as it draws closer to its conclusion.

“1000 Chapters!!
I, uh, wow…Words pretty much fail to describe the whirlwind these past 23 years have been. Literally half
of my life has revolved around the almighty ‘WEEKLY SERIALIZATION’ hehe. But it’s not just me, Luffy
and the Strawhats have navigated themselves to so many different islands and found themselves caught
up in so many adventures. At this point, even I’m not sure how many lives they’ve touched along the way!
But it’s thanks to them that so many special people have entered my own life; first and foremost among
them being my family. All of these people have supported me through the years and I am deeply indebted
to each of them. Meanwhile, my readers have been leading their own bustling lives. There’s a certain
theory that exists for long-term readership in the entertainment world that states, “A given pool of readers
will rotate out of a series after five years.” And so for a while now, I’ve avoided calling my readers, ‘fans’.
It’s like they say, “Pride cometh before a fall.” I convinced myself that I shouldn’t get too full of myself
because my readers would eventually leave the series and move on with their lives. Let me say that all of
you have put me to shame for thinking such a thing. Your belief in Luffy has led me to believe in all of you,
and that is what allows me to continue drawing exactly the kind of manga I want to draw. So here we are,
ready to dip our toes into the final stages of the story. It’s taken us a long time to reach one thousand
chapters. However, it’s because I’ve completed a thousand chapters that you must believe I’ll take us to
the end. The story waiting for you will defy expectations! I mean it!!
I have a favor to ask. This is for everyone with whom —by some means or another— I’ve managed to
create a bond, in other words, the ONE PIECE FANS of the world! My story is a long one. But for just a
while longer, please watch over Luffy and his crew as they continue their adventure!”


January 2021 Eiichiro Oda

How You Can Celebrate 1000 Chapters of One Piece

Tabletop Game Review: Principle Dilemma

Principle Dilemma

By design, games are meant to do two things: entertain and educate. Games of all varieties can teach a player about the world around them, ingrain useful problem-solving skills, and/or help them learn about the other people playing the game. Principle Dilemma — a card game created by Joe Tarnowski that’s currently raising funding on Kickstarter — is definitely meant to help players learn more about those around them.

For a game that centers on exploring ethically gray situations and the moral discrepancies between people, Principle Dilemma is a pretty straightforward game. Every round a single player will draw a dilemma card, which describes a hypothetical situation, and then that player will choose which of the available actions they would take in the situation. After they’ve made their choice, the remaining players use their deceit cards to try to make the first player change their action. These deceit cards adjust variables in the dilemma, such as almost ensuring that an actor won’t suffer any negative consequences for their actions or adjust the social norms of any given situation.

If another player’s deceit card can make the starting player change their answer to the dilemma, they get a point. If the starting player once again chooses their original action under these new circumstances, the starting player gets a point. This goes on for as many rounds as the players like, and then whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins.

As you’ve probably realized from reading this description, it’d be really easy to bullshit your way to victory in this game. But the goal of Principle Dilemma isn’t to win, it’s to better understand the people you’re playing with.

Whether you’ve known someone for years or are playing the game as an ice breaker, Principle Dilemma is a great way to learn more about people. The entire game is centered on figuring out the other players’ sense of morality and determining what kind of changes to a situation will alter their actions. Principle Dilemma is a fantastic game to play if you want to become fast friends with people or if you’d like really explore your oldest companions’ sense of right and wrong.

It’s also worth noting that Principle Dilemma is a stylish delight. The box containing the cards was etched with artwork inspired by Greek mythology and philosophy. The cards themselves continue this theme and it’s clear that a great deal of consideration went into creating the aesthetic of this game.

If you’re more of a competitive person and play tabletop games to outwit and defeat the other players, this card game probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re looking for a fun and original icebreaker, Principle Dilemma is perfect for you. Whether you’re playing with people for the first time or the hundredth time, Principle Dilemma is a great way to learn more about the other players or test how well you think you know them.

 

*Disclaimer: An early copy of Principle Dilemma was provided without charge for the purpose of writing this review*

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tabletop Game Review: Principle Dilemma

‘Pokemon Let’s Go’: Polishing Away Personality

Pokemon Let’s GO Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee released on November 16th, 2018. They exist somewhere between a remake and a reimagining of Pokemon Yellow, which is an enhanced version of the original Pokemon Red and Blue that borrows elements from the Pokemon anime and allows a player to start the game with Pikachu. The Pokemon Let’s Go games also exist in a weird grey area between sequel and remake, as some story events – like Red and Blue becoming powerful trainers – already happened, while other plot points – like the downfall of Team Rocket – happen over the course of the Let’s Go games.

Of course, these titles also incorporate a lot of mechanics from the exceptionally popular mobile game, Pokemon GO and dial back some more complicated mechanics from the mainline games to make these titles more approachable for newcomers to the series. More notably, though, are the numerous changes to the story, world, and characters. On the surface, these changes by in large improve the Let’s Go games over the originals, and make the games feel quite a bit more thought out and refined. For instance, in the Let’s Go games the Elite Four are far more established figures before a player encounters them and the rival character adds the Lavender Town Cubone to his team as a way of helping it cope with the passing of its mother.

However, in adding layer after layer of polish to Pokemon Let’s Go the games lost what made the originals great in the first place. Authenticity, character, and ambition were far more important to the Pokemon franchise taking off than impressive graphics or a well-paced story. In this essay, I’ll argue how the Pokemon Let’s Go games fundamentally misunderstand what made the games they’re imitating some of the most successful in the history of the gaming medium.

 

Authenticity: Something Only Friends Could Make

 

Game Freak, the company that develops the Pokemon games, originally started as a self-published video game hobbyist magazine, that saw enough success for the creators of the magazine, Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori, to pursue creating their own games. While they tried to make the original Pokemon games right out of the gate, financial constraints and a lack of expertise forced them to shelve the project and pursue developing games that would generate short term revenue. After bouncing back from near bankruptcy, the team rallied together and finished the first entry in what would become one of the most successful multimedia franchises in existence.

With this kind of development process, it’s no wonder that an absurd amount of passion and dedication pours out of every aspect of the original Pokemon games. They are the product of a cohesive group of people working towards a goal they all shared and could visualize as a team. They were making a game for themselves because they believed in the idea, not because they thought it’d be a commercial success.   

That’s why there are a good number of odd elements in what are children’s games, like playing slot machines in the game corner or a drunken man blocking your path in Viridian City. Game Freak developers imaged stuff like that as a part of the world of Pokemon, so they put it in the first games. The Pokemon Let’s Go titles whittle down these elements to make something more sterile and better suited for the millions of kids and young people whose first experience with Pokemon is likely Pokemon GO or the ongoing anime. These new Pokemon games care far more about making something that’s popular and has all the rough edges removed, instead of creating something that the people behind it believe in and want to put into the world.

 

Character: An Identity 20 Years In the Making

 

The original Pokemon games gave every character and monster just enough personality for the player to infer who they were and then fill in the gaps themselves. Brock was a shirtless, flexing tough guy that played into him being the first major hurdle in the games, and Pokemon like Electrode and Golbat were given just enough personality in their designs to figure out how they might behave. Sure, the personality of each of the characters and monsters were pretty barebones, but there was just enough there to engage with and suggest that the creators had a solid idea of who these people and creatures were.

The Pokemon Let’s Go games take this happy middle and push it to both ends of the spectrum. Human characters like Brock are now hyper-defined and in line with the version of the character made popular by the anime. Likewise, all of the Pokemon in the game lack the posing and expression that made them feel like actual monsters and are now presented more simply and animalistically. All characters are now rigidly defined if they’re people, or, if they’re Pokemon, blank slates for the player to imprint whatever personality they’d like.

For instance, Lt. Surge in Pokemon Red and Blue is a tough, brash, and a way into himself army guy. There’s also just enough lore in the original games to figure out why he might be like this and how he fits into this quirky world. However, in Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver, his character is built outwards rather than upwards. In these games, we learn that this rough and tough army guy’s favorite Pokemon is the adorable little Pikachu. In the Pokemon Let’s Go games, instead of expanding his character, his already existing character elements are merely reinforced, as seen when the full of himself Lt. Surge gives the player his autograph after his defeat.

Reducing the personality in the titular pocket monsters is also a detriment to these psudo-remakes. By placing more of an emphasis on how these monsters would realistically exist in a world, they lose a lot of their charm. In the original games, Golbat was a zany vampire bat with an impossibly large mouth and outstretched tongue that made it feel erratic and vaguely threatening like it couldn’t wait to bite into a person or monster. Similarly, Electrode’s wide grin and big eyes made it feel like it was full of energy and happy to be alive. The, admittedly beautiful, HD interpretations of the monsters in Pokemon Let’s Go place more emphasis on the creatures looking at home in the world, rather than giving them more personality. The end result is that in the newest Pokemon games Golbat and Electrode just end up looking like a big, weird bat and a slightly anthropomorphized ball, respectively.

The Pokemon Let’s Go games make the characters feel like they have to be a hyper-specific thing, rather than more fluid, realistic characters with a hodgepodge of personality quirks. Sure, Pokemon Let’s Go does give these characters more exploration than the original games, but it only plays up one element of their personality, rather than expanding outward to make them feel more fleshed out. This choice coupled with the focus on believability in the Pokemon designs, just makes the Pokemon Let’s Go games have much less personality than their predecessors. It doesn’t feel like there is any passion or thought put behind these characters like in the original games, instead, they are just presented as entities rigidly shaped by 20 years of marketing.

 

Ambition: Capturing The Feeling of Impossibility

 

The most impressive feature of the original Pokemon games, by far, is the scope of these original Game Boy titles. Held together with gum and shoestring, as evident by the many peculiar and game-breaking bugs, the developers used every shortcut possible to make these titles almost impossibly dense. Even by today’s standards, an RPG with 151 playable characters who all have their own unique movesets and stats is practically unheard of; and the original Pokemon games made this happen on a portable console originally released in 1989.

It’s a pretty well-known story in the Pokemon fandom that the mythical Mew was only added to the game after Game Freak removed the debug tools and realized that they had just enough space left to add one more monster. This really demonstrates how the original Pokemon games pushed the Game Boy console and Game Boy cartridge to their very limits. This is an extremely impressive feat that helped make Pokemon a hit series, and when Pokemon Gold and Silver topped this impressive density by having the games be literally twice as big as the first generation, it cemented the franchise as one of the greatest in gaming. Of course, neither of these feats would have been possible if not for the tireless work of the Game Freak developers and the last-minute intervention of coding genius Satoru Iwata in Gold and Silver’s development.

The Pokemon Let’s Go games don’t utilize the Nintendo Switch to its fullest potential. This is somewhat understandable considering how much earlier Let’s Go launched in the Switch’s lifespan than Red and Blue launched on the Game Boy’s, but the Let’s Go games don’t even push the console harder than the console’s launch titles. You never hear the fans in the Switch whirring up in Let’s Go to compensate for how demanding the game is on the system like you do when playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. These games don’t push the Switch’s features, they merely incorporate them into what is now the well tested Pokemon formula.     

Granted, this does make the Pokemon Let’s Go games the best looking in the franchise by far and it’s a genuine treat to have Pokemon running around in the overworld instead of hiding in grass, but these ideas aren’t pushed as far as the Switch allows. Each Pokemon could have more battle animations than the two or three they’re given, human characters could do more than just hop in place to convey action, and gym and dungeon puzzles can be more elaborate than what the original Game Boy allowed. Instead of changes that push the hardware, players instead are treated to cutscenes and story changes that wink at Pokemon’s extensive lore. While these are nice and certainly appreciated by veteran Pokemon fans, they aren’t what made the first Pokemon games successful. The original Pokemon games were incredible because their realized scope and ambition made them feel like something that shouldn’t exist, yet the passion, skill, and dedication of the developers made them a reality against all odds.

 

Conclusion: Polish That Misses The Point

 

Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu! And Let’s Go Eevee! are really good Pokemon games that seamlessly add new mechanics, are a great way for new players to experience the series, and a nostalgic feast for the franchise’s oldest fans. It’s an exceptionally polished work that can only happen after decades of refining the Pokemon game experience. However, when a game is polished to this mirror sheen – to a point where there’s no better version of this experience, merely a different one – it lets a player see into themselves and figure out what made them fall in love with Pokemon in the first place.

It’s not the stunning visuals, story, or even premise of catching monsters that made me love the first Pokemon games; it was the authenticity, character, and ambition of Pokemon Red and Blue that made me a lifelong fan of the series. The feeling that I was holding something in my hands that shouldn’t exist, something that took me on a magical journey with a bunch of cool characters and strange monsters, and that it never failed to surprise me at every turn; those elements are what made the original Pokemon games some of the best in the history of the medium.

Maybe I’m just nostalgic for that feeling of wonderment that comes with experiencing something terrific as a kid, when everything seems more magical than it really is. However, the Pokemon Let’s Go games were supposed to be a better version of Pokemon Yellow, which itself is an enhanced version of Pokemon Red and Blue. Pokemon Let’s Go misunderstood what made Red, Blue, and Yellow amazing in the first place and doubled down on the set dressing and story of the original games. If it really wanted to capture and surpass the feeling of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow, the Pokemon Let’s Go games should have strived to be as authored, imaginative, and ambitious as the games they are trying to improve upon.            

   

 

  

 

        

‘Pokemon Let’s Go’: Polishing Away Personality

Pop Culture Wednesday: “Tetris”, the Movie(s)

Happy Wednesday internet! This is Pop Culture Wednesday, the place where any and everything pop culture related is analyzed and critiqued with gusto. Today’s topic is a heavy one , so let’s jump right into it.

Would you believe me if I told you that the classic and phenomenal video game Tetris was being made into a movie? I imagine your reacting would be mix between being upset and confused. Video games being turned into movies is not a new concept, while it has never been an entirely successful one. However, most of those video game movies have narratives that would work in the medium of film, such as Rachet and Clank or Assassin’s Creed. Others, at the very least, are vague or broad enough conceptually that the can be easily molded into a movie, such as Mortal Combat or Street FighterTetris, though, has none of those qualities and exists wholly as an entity that can only be expressed through the medium of video games. So, of course Hollywood is not making a Tetris movie, they are making three of them.

Tetris

The first entry in the project is currently three years in development, has an eighty million dollar project, and will begin shooting in China shortly. I am not excited for this movie. I generally try to give every film or creative idea the benefit of the doubt, but I anticipate this film to be extremely, extraordinarily, intensely bad. Which I am upset about, not because I have a deep attachment to Tetris, but because it could stall a lot of other films.

Nintendo has recently been making some noise about bringing a few of its properties to the silver screen. This could actually be incredible, as many of the House of Mario’s properties,  Metroid, like Star Fox, and F-Zero, would be a perfect fit for film. There is even an ongoing bidding war over the rights to make a live action Pokemon movie, which is already a franchise that has transcended the video game medium to become a multi-media juggernaut.

However, if the classic game Tetris does poorly in theaters, I could totally see Nintendo no longer wanting to bring their classic franchise to the new medium. Granted, this is mostly speculation on my part; but it would be a shame if awesome movies were not made because of an ill advised bad movie. In summation, video game movies have the potential to be good, despite their track record, but the Tetris trilogy will most likely be bad.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Pop Culture Wednesday: “Tetris”, the Movie(s)

Game Grind: OVERWATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Saturday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Game Grind, the place where any and everything video game related is analyzed, discussed, and critiqued with gusto. Today’s post is going to be for a game that isn’t even out yet, but has already been declared one of the best games of 2016. I am speaking, of course, about Blizzard’s illustrious  Overwatch. 

Overwatch

This game’s beta, which ended two weeks ago and has since created a hole in most people’s being, was more successful than many of the titles that actually released that week. The beta and the game both received a crap load of free advertising due to the changing of a character’s supposedly “sexual” victory pose and searches for Overwatch on PornHub have risen by over 800 percent since the beta’s launch. People love Blizzard’s newest IP, and here’s why.

Overwatch contains gameplay that caters to all kinds of gamers. While everything is definitely molded around an FPS style, each of the playable characters are unique enough that playing with them makes the game feel more like one of FPS’s subgenres. If you like classic FPSs, you can get that by playing as Tracer or Solider 76. If you like FPSs that have MOBA elements, Torbjorn and Bastion (Android 16) have you covered. If you enjoy stealth and close quarters combat, Genji is your man. This game has been so popular because it really does feel like there is a little something for everyone in it.

Overwatch 2

This game is also brimming with originality, creativity, and great characters. There have been a lot of people saying that Overwatch is just Team Fortress, but with waifus; but that really does not do the game justice. Each of the characters have such a unique and compelling design and backstory that it pains me that none of that will be explored in this online only game. The Overwatch videos that Blizzard has been putting out helps to fill that void, but I really wish there was an aspect of the game that really got into the meat of each and every one of the characters. All of them are very fun and interesting and I wish we could get more of that in game.

Alrighty, that’s the bulk of it, but here are some stray observations.

  • Bastion is not OP; Genji, Widowmaker, and Reinheart can totally wreck him.
  • The fact that two of the characters, Bastion and Genji, are so similar to characters from two other franchise I love, DBZ’s Android 16 and MGS’s Cyborg Ninja, is very weird to me.
  • If you only ever play with a single character, you are not playing Overwatch right.
  • Every team needs a healer. If you get into a match and no one is a healer, play as a healer for a while.
  • Capturing Objective > Kills
  • The loot box system is a good way to reward players for leveling up, but I feel like there needs to be something more if Blizzard wants to keep players engaged for the long term.
  • Overwatch is available for purchase on May 24th. Keep strong in the interim.

That just about does it for this week’s post of Game Grind. If you enjoyed it, please leave a like or a comment down below and be sure to stop by here on Monday for the next installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. Have a great weekend!

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Game Grind: OVERWATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pop Culture Wednesday: Truly Titanic

Happy Wednesday! BaddaBing BaddaBlog is back bitches! We died a little bit going into finals week and the month leading up to it, but somebody used a Phoenix Down and now 4B is ready to go for the gravy! Also, I’m about 30 hours into Bravely Second, so expect references like that to become a bit commonplace. In the meantime though, here’s a Pop Culture Wednesday post dedicated to a cartoon that was so kick-ass it had to be cancelled, Teen Titans………..and by extension the infuriating remake/re-imagining thing Teen Titans GO! Before we start, I just want to give a quick shout out to one half of Blair Huggles for inspiring this post. Thanks dude! Alright, let’s do this.

TeenTitansLogo

I have said it before and I will say it again, DC does waaaaaaaaaaay better than Marvel when it comes to television. When it comes to movies…….not so much. I’m still marination on everything I want to say about BvS, but you can expect a post about why that movie didn’t work sometime in the near future. Today, though, this post is dedicated to the tragic awesomeness that was Teen Titans.

Teen_titans

This cartoon nailed it from the ground up. The basic premise of the program revolves around a team of teenage superheros fighting crime and super villains in a quirky half comic book half anime aesthetic, while repeatedly dealing with and confronting their own weaknesses, short comings, and flaws. The show’s ability to be humerus, heartwarming, and action packed all within a single episode is bar-none and truly a representation of the thematically diverse stories comics can tell.

And then it was cancelled, out of nowhere, on a cliffhanger that involved one of the more interesting characters in the show maybe coming back to life. This cancellation was made, to the best of my knowledge and after a fair bit of research, for literally adequate reason! Cartoon Network execs didn’t like the pitch for the sixth season pitch and decided to cancel it. Apparently the execs didn’t like the direction the show was heading. Which is doubly frustrating considering we got THIS a few years later.

GalleryTV_1920x1080_TeenTitansGo_554d48797553c0.94296848

Teen Titans GO!

God damn it all.

This fart joke infused, lowest common denominator of a comedic cartoon is the direction people in power at Cartoon Network wanted the show to head in. This show is not good at all; I suppose it’s passable by modern Cartoon Network standards, but it does not even deserve to be in the shadow of its predecessor. I do not like this show whatsoever; primarily because it gave me hope that the Teen Titans that I knew and loved would be coming back, only to take a colossal dump on it.

To be fair, I am being hyper critical here. The show has actually been pretty upfront about it being a let down to fans of its predecessor and has actually made some clever jokes for fans of DC comics. I’m just upset that when kids think of Teen Titans nowadays, they think of GO! instead of the better version I experienced. Damn, I got old.

Maybe I’m looking at the old show through rose colored glasses, but it really is stellar and a benchmark in DC’s incredible animated catalog. And I suppose that GO! can never really ruin these characters for me (despite it trying unexplained hard to). Sadly life is full of small concessions and I guess the untimely end and reincarnation of Teen Titans is just one of them.

Wow, that’s a bleak way to end, buuuuut here we are. I hope you enjoyed this post and if you did please leave a like and/or a comment down below. If you want to stay up to date with 4B, you can subscribe via email in the upper right tab. Alternatively, you can like the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook page or follow me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope all of you have an awesome rest of the week and be sure to come back here of Friday for the next installment of Game Grind. I’ma geek out about Overwatch!!!

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Pop Culture Wednesday: Truly Titanic

Game Grind: Covering “Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV”

Happy Saturday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! Was your week epic? If it wasn’t, don’t worry, your reading of this post is already gearing you up for an incredibly epic weekend. This is Game Grind! The place where anything related to the wonderful world of video games is covered with the vigor and diligence. Today’s topic relates to an event hosted by the video game company Square Enix called Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV. This event raveled a wealth of information about the highly anticipated game Final Fantasy XV. In this post I will go over some of the biggest take anyways from the event and outline why this information is important. With that said, let’s talk about the next entry in Final Fantasy’s incredible catalog of games.

Final Fantasy 15

The single biggest piece of news from this event is that we finally have a release date for Final Fantasy XV. The game will be released on September 30th, 2016. Well that may still be a ways off, it is incredibly reassuring to have a definitive release date considering that this game has been in production for over seven years. They cynical part of may brain acknowledges that their is a chance it may be pushed back, as is a trend in the video game industry nowadays, but I think that Square Enix is going to be on that ball for this release. They’ve had more than enough time to prepare, after all.

Final Fantasy XV 1

Other surprising news to come out of this event is that it seems like Square Enix wants to turn the XV property into a multimedia sensation. Both a movie and an anime that expand upon the games world and characters have been announced. The anime, which has already had its first episode released and is available on the official Final Fantasy XV YouTube Channel, and focuses on the main characters “bro-ad trip”. The movie will focus Noctis’ father during the events of the game. The trailer looks pretty good, with the CG animation being the high point. Some big Hollywood names are also tied to the film, with Sean Bean being the most noteworthy as the voice of Noctis’ father. Sadly, none of the actor’s will voice the characters in the game. This is understandable, as they would be crazy expensive, but still disappointing. It is also unclear how long the movie will actually be, but, considering that the first anime tie in episode was only twelve minutes long, the movie will probably be under the two hour mark.

Final Fantasy XV 2

The last big piece of information to come out of the Uncovered event is that a demo of the upcoming game is now available for free on the PlayStation Store.  The demo is titled Platinum Demo: Final Fantasy XV and is pretty good for a free demo. A single play-through is between thirty minutes to an hour and the demo mostly focuses on depicting the games beautiful graphics and establishing the main character, Noctis, a bit. Players are also introduced to the Rabbit/Unicorn/Cat/Fox creature depicted above, and its just…….adorable incarnate. Square has promised that our adorable companion will be in the main game, which I am greatly excited about.

All and all this event was a good one that gave some much needed information about Square Enix’s next big title. It really seems like they’re banking on this game being a success, and I personally hope that it is. I love the Final Fantasy series of games and I lament the fact that the last few entries have been indisputably sub-par. I love Square Enix’s game Bravely Default game, but it is kind of a shame that Bravely Default is the best Final Fantasy game to come out in close to a decade. I really hope that FFXV is a return to form for the franchise.

That just about does it for this installment of Game Grind. If you enjoyed it, please leave a like and a comment down below. It is greatly appreciated and I promise I’ll get back to you. If you want to stay up to date with this blog, you can subscribe via email in the upper right corner. Alternatively, you can stay informed by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have a great weekend and thank you again for reading.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Game Grind: Covering “Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV”