Game Grind: Pokemon Red and Blue, a Retrospective Review

Happy Saturday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Game Grind! The place where any, and everything, video game related is analyzed, critiqued, and appreciated with boundless enthusiasm. Today’s topic is one that holds a special place in most gamer’s hearts, Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue. I have been taking advantage of the digital re-release of these gems, and have decided to do a proper review of them. Bear in mind that there is no way for me to do an unbiased review of these games as they are a cornerstone of my childhood and have played a huge role in shaping my worldview. However, just like anything else in life, these pieces of history are not without their high points and faults, and this post is going to go over both in spades. With that being said, here’s my review of Pokemon Red and Blue!

Pokemon Artwork 1

There is a reason why Pokemon Red and Blue are two of the most popular JRPGs of all time. These games took a lot of what made the genre great, and improved it immensely. A lot of the best JRPGs have a diverse and interesting cast of characters.However, a lot of games at the time of Pokemon’s released capped the character list off at around 30 or so characters. Pokemon presented players with a staggering 150 (technically 151) choices for exploring its world. The games also reduced the standard JRPG formula down to its most basic elements in order to make it more easily playable to an audience unfamiliar with JRPGs. The games also whittled down the story elements to the most essential parts, which allows players to readily project themselves onto the protagonist. The game also makes the end goal the simple, childlike, objective of becoming the very best. Which is actually pretty awesome and gets right to the heart of a lot any epic storyline.

Pokemon Red and Blue

However, Pokemon Red and Blue do have their faults and, after being around for twenty years, these faults are pretty glaring. The most obvious of these faults is just how slowly the game plays. Battles take forever compared to the most recent generation of Pokemon, and, until you get the bike, players are basically slogging through the overworld. These games play incredibly slowly and have menu navigations that are far less then intuitive. These games also are extremely unbalanced. If you choose Charmander as your starter, you are almost required to grind before the first and second boss battle. Granted, choosing Charmander is supposed to be the “hard” version of the game, but this fact is never made clear to first time players and will undoubtedly catch each and every one of them by surprise. The Psychic type is also VERY overpowered in these games. This is partially due to a glitch that makes Ghost types week to them, when they should otherwise be superior, but is also due to a somewhat poor game design. Another fairly big criticism of these games is that there is very little explanation and direction given to the player. While these games are fairly linear, players generally have to figure our where to go, what to do, and what types are strong to which, through trial and error. Which, while immersive and realistic, is a bit hampering and confusing.

Pokemon Red and Blue 2

In spite of these issues, Pokemon Red and Blue do possess traits that make them worthy of their reverence. One of these traits is the impeccable artwork and sprite-work that is beyond an kind of praise. Ken Sugimori’s watercolor promotional artwork is now iconic and the sprites of each of the Pokemon within the game is overflowing with character and heart. You can tell from the get go that these games were a labor of love and that everyone who was involved in creating these games completely believed in them. These games are also filled with an incredible number of secretes and lore to uncover. The world of Pokemon is filled to the bursting point with teasers and secrets to uncover. The greatest of these secrets is the post game boss, Mewtwo. However, discovering the legendary birds is an incredible experience in its own right. Everyone who played the original games as a child vividly remembers the sense of adventure and jubilee that resulted from finding the Power Plant after curiously exploring an otherwise nondescript section of water. The sensation of being in a world much larger than the player when viewing Articuno through binoculars in a way-point is an experience that is ingrained into my memory as well. These games do everything in their power to surprise and entice the player in a way that has not really been expressed in any of the subsequent games, and because of that they will always hold a special place in my, and many other gamers’, hearts.

Pokemon Red and Blue 3

When all is said and done, these games are far from perfect. However, they don’t really need to be perfect. Pokemon Red and Blue are beyond charming and more enticing than perhaps any other game. While future installments in the series may be technically and narratively superior (I personally believe that Pokemon Gold and Silver far surpasses the originals, but that’s a entirely different post in and of itself), Pokemon Red and Blue go above and beyond setting up what would eventually become a multi-million dollar franchise and media entity. These games set up everything that Pokemon is today, and I definitely felt that replaying the games twenty years later. While replaying these games I laughed, I yelled, and I cried. In short, these games are the essence and spirit of the Pokemon brand and more then deserve the place they have etched out in countless people hearts.

Alright, I think that sappy note is the perfect place to end this post and Pokemon Red and Blue Review. If you enjoyed it please give this post a like and feel free to share your fond memoirs or opinions of the original games in the comments section down below. If you want to stay up to date with this blog, you can subscribe in the upper right tab via your email. Alternatively, you can stay up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page or by liking me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all enjoyed this post and that you all have a great weekend. Thank you so much for reading.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Game Grind: Pokemon Red and Blue, a Retrospective Review

Pop Culture Wednesday: The Venture Bros. Season 6 Review

Happy Wednesday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Pop Culture Wednesday, the place where any and everything related to the world of media is examined with enthusiasm. Today’s subject is one of my favorite television shows of all time (and my absolute favorite on Adult Swim until the advent of Rick and MortyThe Venture Brothers. The sixth season ended earlier this week, which makes this the perfect time to review this gem of a show. Let’s do this!

Venture Bros. 1

While The Venture Bros. just wrapped up its sixth season, it has been on television for much longer than six years. The cartoon premiered in 2003 and, thirteen years later, a lot of fans went into this season concerned that they show may have lost its charm since it first captured our hearts; or since season five ended more than a year ago. We were not disappointed. Season six changed some of the most basic elements of The Venture Bros. while also intensifying some of the program’s best elements.

Venture Bros. 3

This season was far more concerned with chronology than any other. Events built, characters changed, and relationships were adjusted all throughout the season. Which is a really big shift for a show that was originally broadcast out of order by its network. This spanning narrative allowed for a much deeper connection with the main characters to be formed more so than any other season. I felt sincerely happy a lot of the characters who have otherwise had their lives riddled with failure. Dean is going to college, Hank has a girlfriend, Brock is exploring his masculinity and becoming a more fleshed out character, The Monarch has found something that he is good at, and Gary (Henchman 21) has found a friend to replace 24. I am overjoyed that these characters are growing and moving on with their lives.

The Venture Bros Season 6

The biggest criticism I can give this season is also the biggest compliment I can award it, I wish there was more of it. Season six had only eight episodes (and a special that wrapped up the previous season, but that really does not count) which left me with a longing for more Venture Bros. hi-jinks. While I loved the growth in some of the characters, I did notice that a lot of characters I enjoy, such as The Order of the Triad, Johnny Quest, and Dr. Henry Killenger, were absent this season. I love what we got this season, but I really do wish this season had an extra three or four episodes.

The Blue Morpho

Closing Thoughts:

  • The Blue Morpho was easily my favorite element of this season. I also love the fact that The Monarch is immensely better at being a sort-of-good vigilante than an actual super-villain.
  • I wish the writers would just flat out say that Doc. Venture and The Monarch are brothers and Dr. Venture Sr. turned The Monarch’s dad into Vendata. I’m sick of getting cock teased for the past thirteen years.
  • Expanding Gary’s backstory was amazing and I am so glad that they included it.
  • My favorite moment with Dean this season was easily when Brock thought he was possessed.
  • My favorite Hank moment was the entirety of his first date and the lengths he went to, so that his date would see him as what he thought was cool.
  • The best fight this season was easily Think Tank vs Brock.
  • Lastly, Red Death really is a treasure!
Pop Culture Wednesday: The Venture Bros. Season 6 Review

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: All Work and No Cosplay, Makes Jack a Baka Onii-San

Happy Monday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! 4B is back and (hopefully) better than ever! Once again, I’m terribly sorry for the hiatus and hope these next few posts more than make it up to you. To kick off these redemption posts  (wow, that actually sounds kinda badass) here is an installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. In these segments we explore the wide, wonderful, world of Japanese media and the culture around it. Today’s post is going to focus on the latter of those parts, by exploring the incredibly popular and impressive hobby/career/activity that is cosplay.

Cosplay 1

Cosplay, as it is defined in a brief google search, is “the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genre of manga and anime.” This definition is actually pretty accurate. Cosplay is essentially super-mega-ultra-intense dress up. If that sounds like a mockery of the practice, it is by no means meant to be. Cosplay involves individuals handcrafting the extremely complex and often preposterous ensembles of fictional characters. This requires an incredible amount of time, energy, and skill; and it is no wonder that this activity has evolved into a greatly respected hobby or a professional career.

Cosplay 2

(Pictured above is cosplayer and internet personality Meg Turney.)

Cosplay has grown into the massive phenomenon that it is today, mostly due to the mentality behind the practice. Cosplay is, in a lot of ways, a labor of love.  Through cosplay, people connect more deeply with the character and story that they are bringing to life. Nobody would put the massive amount of work that is necessary, into this hobby if they did deeply appreciate the character they are representing. Each and every instance of cosplay can be taken as an expression of love for the character and work that they are embodying.

As cosplay’s popularity has grown exceptionally over the past decade or so, people have risen to fame due to the activity and can be considered the face of modern cosplay. These professional cosplaiers are masters of their craft and all but completely breakdown the barrier between fiction and reality. Some of these noteworthy figures aaaaaaaaaaare:

Cosplay 3

Jessica Nigri. Ms. Nigri is probably one of the most famous modern cosplayers, and for good reason. Not only does she make truly astounding costumes, but she also has a magnificent personality that makes her both lovable and admirable. I personally am a huge admirer of Ms. Nigri and her works and am grateful to her for the astonishing creations that she has crafted during her career.

Cosplay 4

Alodia Gosienfiao. Ms. Gosienfiao is perhaps one of the most famous and recognized cosplaiers in the world. Her works are incredibly impressive and she has been bringing cosplay to a wider audience since 2003. She has contributed more to the world of cosplay than perhaps any other, and will undoubtedly continue to make the practice even more respected in the future.

Cosplay 5

Sev. I had to include this DC area cosplay. With one of the simplest costumes ever constructed, this man  has generated a massive amount of interest in cosplay and will forever be an internet meme. Also, who among us would not want this Magicarp on our team?

That just about does it for this installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. If you liked it, please give it a like and if you leave a comment below I will be sure to reply to you. If you would like to keep up to date with this blog, 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 you all have an awesome week and be sure to come back here on Wednesday for the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: All Work and No Cosplay, Makes Jack a Baka Onii-San

Game Grind: Ninten-DAAAAAAAAAMN DANIEL

Happy Saturday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Game Grind, the place where anything related to video games or video game news is enthusiastically obsessed over. I know that it has been a while since the last post, and for that I am deeply sorry. However, I hope to more than make up for that today by going over the wealth of information presented in Nintendo’s most recent Nintendo Direct. With that in mind, let’s dive headfirst into the House of N’s latest announcements.

Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon

Pokemon Sun and Moon

While this information was not included directly in the most recent Nintendo Direct, it was reveled in a Nintendo Direct only a few days before the most recent one, and therefore merits being discussed. PokemonPokmeon Sun and Pokemon Moon have been confirmed as being the seventh generation of Pokemon games and will be released in time for the 2016 holiday season. Very little is known about the games right now, other than they appear to take place in a tropical climate and that there will be a new flying type Pokemon introduced. While I am crazy excited for this news, I am a bit curious what happened to the all but confirmed Pokemon Z? Gen. 6 really felt like it was gearing up for one more installment. Oh well, only time will tell how this is going to play out.

Bravely Second 

bravely second

It’s finally coming!!! I have waited (mostly) patiently for years for Bravely Second: End Layer to be localized, and now the goal is finally in sight! The squeal to one of my all time favorite JRPGs is coming to America on April 15th. I am crazy pumped for this game; it is a wonderful time to be a JPRG fan. That being said, I do have some concerns. What kind of role is Tiz going to play in this game? He was my favorite protagonist in the original and, going off the trailer, it feels like he’s being swept under the rug in favor of the new character named, Yew. Which is weird considering Tiz is on the games boxart. I’m sure SquareEnix won’t let me down, but I’m still concerned about the game’s story and characters.

Tokyo Mirage Session #FE

Fire Emblem Shin Magami Tiensen

Speaking of JRPGs, this stylish Fire Emblem crossover received a new title and will be released on June 24th of this year. Which coincidentally is my birthday! I know I’m weeb trash for playing this game, but I’m going to reveal in it anyway.

Star Fox Zero and Star Fox Guard

Star Fox Zero

One of the last big pieces of news in the announcement that Star Fox Zero is going to be released on April 22nd world wide and that it will come bundled with the game Star Fox Guard. This side game appears to be a blend of Five Nights at Freddy’s and tower defense games. Star Fox Zero, as it always has before, continues to look like an incredibly fun and well made game.I’m really excited about the fact that the game’s main story has a co-pilot function. I think it would be incredibly fun to play through the main story together with my roommate.

Alright, that just about does it for this Nintendo Direct. There was a bit more information, but these were the big stories that I really cared about. Oh, I almost forgot, Kirby has a mech in his upcoming game. So if you love that adorable pink blog, check that out. If you enjoyed this post, please leave a like and a comment down below. It’s greatly appreciated. If you want to stay up to date with this blog, you can subscribe to it via your email in the upper right tab. Alternatively, you an stay up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have a great weekend and be sure to stop by here on Monday for the next installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Game Grind: Ninten-DAAAAAAAAAMN DANIEL

Game Grind: Thank You Pokemon

Happy Saturday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! I do not have a lot of time to write a post today, but considering that it is Pokemon’s 20th anniversary, I felt the need to write something. Sooooooo, here it is.

Pokemon Artwork 1

I have been a fan of Pokemon, well, ever since I was self aware enough to be a fan of thinks. I’ve played every generation of games, I watched the show for way past the point where it stopped being good, and I collected the cards for a good long while. I just want to take a brief moment and thank everyone who created this franchise and everyone who has ever work on any part of it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing me countless hours of joy and fun.

Pokemon Artwork 2

I can think of no series that has better captured the feeling of childlike exploration and imagination. Pokemon has become the massive empire that it is today because it really is a perfectly executed marvelous  idea. Once again, thank you Pokemon for existing and consistently filling me with unrepresented amounts of childhood glee.

Alright, thanks for letting me gush. Have an awesome rest of the weekend.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Game Grind: Thank You Pokemon

Game Grind:Trendy Opinions About Trendy Games

Gooooooooood morning BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Game Grind, the place where any and everything video game related is discussed with vigor. Today’s article is going to be a bit different. Rather than talking about one specific topic, I’m going to be giving my opinion on a bunch of popular games. Not unlike a lighting round. So with that in mind, here’s my opinion on a bunch of games that I may or may not have played.

Five Nights At Freddy’s Series

FNAF

I have never played a Five Nights at Freddy’s game, nor do I ever want to. It really does not seem like my kind of game, although I appreciate how quickly the creator, Scott Cawthon, cranks these games out. I think the most enjoyment I have gotten out of this series is watching MatPat explain and analyze the lore of the games on his YouTube channel, Game Theory. Apparently the RPG is pretty sucky, though.

Flappy Bird 

Flappy Bird

Is Flappy Bird game still popular? Does it still exist even? I don’t know, and I guess I really don’t care. I played this game once and I think I got like a score of 8 or something. I don’t really care for this game, but I find it awesome and hilarious that the game’s creator made an obscene amount of money off of it. Props to you Dong Nguyen.

Undertale

Undertale Logo

I have not played Toby Fox’s Undertale. Which apparently means that I am not qualified to have any sort of opinion on video games or call myself a gamer. I think I would like Undertale quite a lot. It has a quirky charm that has not appeared much in gaming since the Mother/Earthbound titles. Undertale is indisputably a good game, but I do not think it is the best game ever made. Perhaps time will prove that statement wrong, but I’m doubtful of that.

HuniePop

HuniePop

…………………Nice.

Yandere Simulator

Yandare Simulator

………Huh, also nice.

Tom Clancy’s The Division

Tom Clancy's The Division

This game is not really in my wheelhouse either. It seems like it’s trying to be a new take on a more or less played out genre, and I commend it for that. However, from what I’ve seen of the game, I don’t think it is going to be quite unique enough to set itself apart from fps games that have been seen before. This game seems like a mix between Black Ops. Three and Destiny, which is by no means a bad thing; however I don’t think this game will sell as well as people want it to.

Alrighty, I think that’s a good stopping point for the first ever installment of the Trendy Opinions About Trendy Games series. I do plan on updating this sub-series regularly, as every couple of months the “popular” games seem to change. I really do want to regularly give these games the praise that they deserve, or call them out on their BS. Also the topical/click bait views are nice. :p  If you liked this post please leave a like and if you want to yell at me about my opinions, you can do so in the comments section down below. As always, if you want to stay up to date with this blog, you can subscribe via email in the upper right tab. Alternately, you stay up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page, or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have a great weekend and be sure to come back here on Monday for the next installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. It’s gearing up to be a good one. ;D

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Game Grind:Trendy Opinions About Trendy Games

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Platinum End

Happy Monday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Manga (And Also Anime) Monday, the place where any and everything related to anime and manga is eagerly analyzed and critiqued. Today’s topic is going to be a new manga by two of the best creators in the industry: Platinum End by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.

Platinum End 1

Platinum End is a new and interesting manga from the creators of the illustrious Death Note series. There are only a few chapters of this series released right now, but it is already gearing up to be a great manga series. The story follows Mirai Kakehashi, a student who is going into High School who tries to kill himself. He tries to off himself because, well his life basically sucks a lot. His parents died when he was a young child, his guardians are abusive, and he finds out pretty quick into the series that his guardians actually murdered his parents for the insurance money. We find all of this out in the first chapter after Mirai jumps off the top of the tallest building he can find. How does he survive the fall? His guardian angel rescues him!

Seriously, he is literally rescued by his guardian angel. After Mirai is saved, his angel, Nasse, tells him that God is essentially retiring. To determine the next God, a competition is being held between thirteen individuals on Earth over a period of 999 days. At the end of that time period, whoever is most fit to be God will replace the current one. Nesse then gives him the white arrow, that can kill anyone, the red arrow, that can make anyone fall in love with him and do whatever he commands, and the angel’s wings, that allow him to travel anywhere in the world with ease.

Platinum End 3

The tension in the series begins to emerge when other members of the competition decide that rather than risk not becoming god, they decide to kill all other participants in order to be the winner by default. This leads to a massive cat and mouse game between all of the God candidates and creates a host of ethical dilemmas for Mirai. Now that he no longer wants to kill himself and has been given the opportunity to live freely, he wants nothing more than to be happy. The story has not gotten their quite yet, but I feel as though its going to get progressively darker as it goes on as well as explore the nature of happiness and a person’s fundamental right to it.

I really recommend to anyone reading this that you start reading the manga. It is only a couple chapters in and you could probably get caught up in less than two hours. As expected form the team that created Death Note, the art in this work is exquisite, the characters come to life almost immediately, and  you will be compelled to read on after only the first few pages. Platinum End may still be in its genesis, but I can confidently say that it is going to quickly and powerfully establish itself in the manga world.

That just about does it for this week’s installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. If you enjoyed it, please leave a like or a comment down below. If you would like to be notified when new content appears on this blog, you can subscribe to it via your email in the upper right tab. Alternatively, you can stay up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page, or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you have a great week and be sure to check out the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday later this week.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

 

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Platinum End