Men who look at goat simulators?

SSB vs. Yakuza 4

Men who look at goat simulators?

Men who stare at goat simulators?

It’s been a good, long while since I’ve been throughly addicted to a game.  I first caught a glimpse of Yakuza 4 during a youtube browsing session, when I stumbled onto the madness of the Two Best Friends, and they were starting a playthrough of Yakuza 4.  I started the first episode and before I knew it I ran through the entire playthrough.  I was so impressed with the game that I later sought it out and bought it.  For 12 bucks at the GameStop by my house.

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The Ryu Ga Gotoku series (Yakuza’s original name) is a best-seller in Japan, and it’s not difficult to see why.  The game takes pride in its presentation and storytelling.  The series revolves around sometimes-Yakuza patriarch, sometimes-orphanage caretaker, sometimes-host, sometimes-taxi driver Kazuma Kiryu and his wacky adventures with his friends and foster daughter through the red light district of Kamuro-cho, Tokyo.  Kamurocho is based on the real life district of Kabuki-cho, which from all accounts is pretty damn seedy.  For longevity’s sake I’m not gonna run down the entire series lore, you can go to Wikipedia for it.

You kick people in the head.

You kick people in the head.

In Yakuza 4, you control Kiryu, loan shark Shun Akiyama, death row inmate Taiga Saejima, and dirty cop Masayoshi Tanimura.  The story is told through their perspectives at different times, and it all comes together in an explosive finale that’ll leave you breathless.  Each character has their own fighting style and is an expression of the character’s personality.  Kiryu’s fighting style is a mix of karate and street fighting, so he’s good at most situations (and since he’s the series protagonist, he starts pretty damn strong from the get-go). Akiyama’s fighting style is reminiscent of taekwondo, so he relies on good footwork and speed to string together attack combos.  Saejima’s got strength for days, so he relies on a lot of grappling and throws to do damage.  Tanimura uses a lot of parrying and counters to get the job done.  The game’s combat seems to be a homage to Shenmue and Streets of Rage, and many people consider it to be the spiritual successor of the former.

What the game truly excels in is the presentation.  When you play the game, you’re sucked into Kamurocho, and there’s no end to the things you can do.  You can:

  • eat ramen
  • play pachinko
  • play arcade games
  • eat ice cream
  • go on dates with hostesses
  • get a massage
  • fight in tournaments for money
  • shoot pool
  • throw darts
  • sing Karaoke
  • …..and lots lots more.

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The game somehow blends this all together into a single, cohesive experience that just seems totally immersive.  Everything you do has a purpose, and doesn’t seem like a waste of time, though you could seriously just ditch the main plot and just dick around all day with the side quests (JUST LIKE SHENMUE).

Tanimura with some kids.

Tanimura with some kids.

The story, which is told through a mix of in-game cutscenes and FMV’s, is chock full of twists and turns that it’ll keep you guessing to the bitter end.  And like I said, the finale is explosive.  Almost reminds me of Sleeping Dogs, but for some reason, I really like Yakuza 4 a helluva lot more.  Sleeping dogs did let you do stuff….just not to the extent that Yakuza 4 did.  The presentation’s better.

Soooo, is it worth the buy?  HELL YES.  The game’s pretty old now though, so you’ll probably have to get it used.  And as if to rub salt in the wound, Yakuza 5′s been out in Japan already, and there’s no sign of a localized release ever.

Maybe it’s for the best.

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OtakuFIGHTER: The Meaning

A loooong time ago, back when I was a college student trying to figure out his path in life, I met someone that changed my life.  Her name was Mae.  She urged me to not go down the path of full geekery and forsake a normal social existence in pursuit of the otaku life.  For the most part, I did.  I mean, why should there be one or another?  Just because I’m a huge anime/manga/videogame nerd doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy combat sports.

I did adopt this mask.  I wasn't born into it.  That would be weird.

I did adopt this mask. I wasn’t born into it. That would be weird.

On the contrary, those two seem to go hand in hand.  Combat Sports and the Otaku Life both require huge time commitments.  During training sessions, I usually go for about 3 hours, with a mix of drills, bagwork, cardio workouts, weights, and being kicked in the legs by Coach Caine.  I’ve got the bruises to prove it.  I miss the days of me vegging out and watching anime for hours on end, and then following it up with some Dynasty Warriors gameplay.  (BTW, Dynasty Warriors 8 is pretty hype.)

There are times when I feel that my otaku-soul is fading away from me.  For example, a couple weeks ago, I literally went 2-3 weeks without playing any videogames.  Seriously.  My PS4 lay dormant.  Work and training had left me without the energy to pick up my controller and play.  Didn’t even have the energy to download some anime.  (I’m behind on Mahouka Kokou No Rettousei.)

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Of course you want a slightly yandere imouto that can freeze people.

I can only hope that by writing on our website that I can maintain some semblance of my otaku self.  Just in case you’re wondering, I’m about to put my body through some crazy shit.  This fall, I’m going to be fighting in our gym’s next “Fight Night” event, in an exhibition kickboxing fight.  3 rounds, 3 minutes of kickboxing action.  Of course they’re exhibition rules, but it’s still full contact.  I’ve also got some more runs lined up for later in the year as well.

So to that end, I’ve begun a brutal training regimen at The Boxing Club.  Generally my sessions begin at 4:00 PM, where I do a Power Boxing/Kickboxing class for bagwork and cardio exercises.  The stuff that follows afterward varies, and this is what goes on.

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He’s trained many a fighter. And a few skaters too.

Monday: 3-4 mile circuit run in La Jolla.  I run outside the gym, down Nobel St., down to La Jolla Village Drive, and back to the gym.  With an elevation mask.
Tuesday: 1 hour Spin Class. With an elevation mask.
Wednesday: Muay Thai
Thursday: Spin or Muay Thai
Friday: Muay Thai or Personal Training with Coach Caine (Sparring, Padwork, technique drills)

I’m also taking steps to include classic boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu into my training regimen.  Plus cutting out booze and trying to eat clean is part of it too.  Trying, anyway.  Lord knows that Convoy Street is a cruel, tasty mistress.

You’re probably wondering “WHY THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELF!?”.  The answer’s simple.  I’m having fun.  When I run down La Jolla Village drive with my training mask on, I’m having fun in my own weird way.  Even with the weird looks.  When it’s all said and done, I want to be the guy that can say, “Yeah, I fought in a ring.  It was pretty cool.”

Maybe then I can put that in my comic.

-Francis

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E.T.’s Home Found in New Mexico

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via Yahoo

In September 1983, it was reported a mass burial of unsold Atari consoles and video games occurred in a New Mexico landfill. The game most associated with this event was the much-maligned Atari 2600 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. For over three decades many believed this to be an urban legend. However today, April 26, 2014, this burial was uncovered.

Based on the critically acclaimed 1982 movie of the same name, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial game is reported to have only sold 1.5 million copies despite a production of approximately 5 million copies. To make matters worse, many consumers returned the game citing general dissatisfaction with repetitive gameplay and poor graphics. Many observers have cited this game as one of the direct causes of the North American video game crash of 1983. To this day the game is regarded as one of the worst, if not the worst video game ever made.

Nonetheless a year ago Alamogordo, New Mexico officials approved an evacuation of the landfill. Then 2 weeks ago Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios and a documentary team began putting the plans in motion. Finally this morning was the moment of truth. Lo and behold, the landfill was indeed found and suddenly I have a craving for some Reese’s Pieces.

SMITE - Nemesis Screenshot 1

Bye Bye Beta! Hi-Rez Studios unleashes SMITE

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It’s official. The SMITE is officially no longer in Beta as of March 25, 2014. In commemoration of this, every account level 10+ received 600 Gems for retweeting the announcement (If you have an old account, log back in and check that out!) as well as a $200K tournament going down . The tournament begins tomorrow, March 28 and runs through March 30. Check that out at their official Twtich page here.

If you haven’t played, now’s the best time to jump on board. As a former WoW addict, I have refused to play anything like it the past few years. I was introduced to SMITE in December and have been hooked. SMITE is basically an awesome MOBA with different options for gameplay that ranges from 5v5 Arenas to Conquests with specific team objectives. The characters are gods and their abilities are generally based off the the mythology behind them.
SMITE - Nemesis Screenshot 1
In SMITE, you have a level playing field for everybody. Everyone starts off with the same amount of Gold that can be used to purchase items throughout that specific game. Of course, you earn more gold over time and when you slay an opposing team’s god or titans. The whole idea makes it easy for you to get a quick game in rather than sitting for hours waiting on a raid and fighting for gear. Generally arenas last between 15-20 minutes and conquests run about 25-45 depending.

It’s awesome to see all the new gods that are being added as well as the updated environments. I urge you if you haven’t played or haven’t played it in a few years, check it out!

Feel free to add me to make you feel better about yourselves ;). Username is Eriiiicka

 

 

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One Bloody Mary To Rule Them All

So it’s the weekend, and you wanna go out to eat…maybe go get some brunch with friends. You’re not sure if you feel like chicken, a burger, chicken wings, pulled pork slider, mac n cheese, or a hot dog. Why not have them all! This is America, and doggonit do we know how to be gluttonous. Crazy thing is if you want all those items in one order, you gotta go to Vancouver, Canada (or at least, for now, although we probably have something sinfully similar).

Check out this Canadian concoction being served in Score on Davie‘s as their version of the Caesar (or the Bloody Mary as we like to call it in America). Although, did you know that there is a difference between a Bloody Mary and a Caesar? The difference is in the juice. Bloody Mary’s use tomato juice, while Caesar’s apparently only use clamato juice. Now, I always thought clamato juice was in a Bloody Mary but I guess I was wrong. Not my drink of choice, although some studies say it helps with hangovers.

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 (via Score on Davie)

Anyhoo, Look at that beast! I forgot to mention it also has roasted veggies, for those who have the I-don’t-want-to-die-from-a-heart-attack fear. Oh and the piece de resistance . . . the chocolate brownie. Mmm hmm. Delicious!

Did I also forget to mention that the hot dog you see in the picture above is a pulled pork mac n cheese hot dog. Hot diggity dog right?! And they put a freakin whole chicken.

Do you think it was on purpose that it looks like a cross? Well, that surely is a sacrifice to your health, even if you’re supposed to share it with people. =P

Score on Davie’s has other Caesar drinks with different food toppings. The picture below is the Aint No Thang Caesar. Made me giggle. I think I would rather try that instead. Looks less aggressive.

 

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 (via Score on Davie)

Happy eating!! Don’t forget … when in doubt, spit it out! =P

(via Thrillist)

Rio-pacheco-and-jem

Creator of Jem and the Holograms Left Out of Movie

As you may have heard or read, Hasbro has teamed up with John M. Chu (the guy that brought you G.I. Joe: Retaliation) to develop a live-action Jem and the Holograms movie. As part of their creative process, they have enlisted the help of pretty much anyone with access to the Internet to submit their suggestions for storylines, actors, designs, etc. I think this is marketing genius as making these nostalgic characters a collaborative project will not only generate buzz for the movie, but also allow fans to feel as if they had a part in producing a movie for one of their beloved childhood cartoons.

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(via Wikipedia)

What you might not have heard is that the creator of the animated series was never approached to become part of the creative team. On March 20, Christy Marx posted on her Facebook page:

No, I had no inkling that the movie was being developed or had reached this stage until a couple of days ago. Someone high in the Hasbro PR department thoughtfully reached out to me to let me know about the movie and the impending announcement so that I wouldn’t be blindsided by it. I appreciated that gesture.

Note that John M. Chu had spoken with Christy on the phone that same day, and had a productive conversation about their admiration for Jem. Christy went on to say in her Facebook post that “He wants to reinvent Jem for a current audience.” Which is very interesting to read, and will cause much anticipation on how this movie will turn out. Kinda makes sense now why he enlisted the help of the public to create the movie, seemingly so he can gauge the public’s current view of Jem and what they expect from the end-product.

Christy also voiced a concern about the fact that there are no women voices among the top head honchos of the development of this movie. This movie is still in the development process, so it will be interesting to see how they deal with some of the backlash they have received. I can only hope that they do plan on bringing on some women as head honchos in order to stay true to the series. Although, is it a fact that men would not do justice with portraying a series that is so woman-centric? If roles were reversed, and it was women who were directing and developing a movie for, let’s say, G.I. Joe, would there be similar backlash?

However this movie gets made, hopefully it stays true to the soul of the animated series, and satisfies the show’s true fans who have been delighted and invigorated by the announcement of this developing movie. =)

Jem-pic

(via iHEARTcartoons)

(via Blastr and Comics Alliance)

 

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Truly Outrageous Making of “Jem and the Holograms” Movie

A truly clever move by the marketing team for the upcoming Jem and the Holograms movie.

On their official Tumblr, they announced yesterday a sorta type of open casting call for both characters and creative input. They are mostly enlisting help in costume design, music, script, etc. but leaving it open for triple threat actors to audition for parts. Crazy stuff.

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Image via Wikipedia

Production begins this spring, so take your selfie shots, your video selfie shots, or even shots of other people you think should be in the movie. Haha. And submit them NOW. You can do it here.

Check out the casting call video to the world below. Do you think they’ll do a hoopla at Comic Con this year? They would be fools not to try.

HUVr

HUVr – The Future has arrived

It’s 2014. We’re only one year away until the zenith of technology: The year 2015 (thanks Back to the Future II).  A very interesting video popped up on the Net a few days ago. Roll footage:

HOLY HOVERBOARDS! CELEBRITIES? WHAT THE HELL!?
A company called HUVr recently posted this video featuring hoverboard technology. First reaction: HOLY CRAP! Did they really nail the technology!? Celebrities such as Tony Hawk, Moby, Terrell Owens and Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd, are all featured in this viral video. With all this star power, it looks like HUVr is out to give Mattel a run for their money.

An interesting point out about HUVr’s website (link) is the countdown. The “destination time” countdown on their website points to December 2014. Ultimately, what’s being promoted with these videos is anyone’s guess at this point but this proves that we’re not the only ones dreaming of the future. Next thing you know, Nike will make self-lacing shoes…

HUVr
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Find more information about HUVr at huvrtech.com.
All images and video courtesy of HUVr Press Kit.

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Study Breaks.

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(image via: Anime Vice)

It’s
that time of the year again. Number 2 pencils sharpened. A thin film of Eraser dust covers the work space. A never ending, and ever changing itunes playlist carries through the background. Twitter and Instagram are more or less being left to the wayside. The same t-shirt starts to see more than a few days of wear in a row…Sounds like another All Nighter

SSB offers our blessings and the ability to stay awake all night and study! For all those at school who will need the well wishes for the approaching exams, Good Luck. Handle all those academic responsibilities and prepare to celebrate the completion of those exams and papers with a RAGER.