Category Archives: Uncategorized

WSJ is Breaking Nintendo

Takashi Mochizuki, The Wall Street Journal:

Nintendo Co. plans to bring its videogame franchise “The Legend of Zelda” to smartphones, people familiar with the matter said, the latest step by the Kyoto company to expand its mobile-games lineup.

More often than not, it feels like WSJ — Mochizuki in particular — is breaking Nintendo news these days. At the very least, Mochizuki has a keen eye on the beat. Never have I been so inclined to pay for The Wall Street Journal, which paints a picture of Nintendo’s audience as much as it does The Journal’s.

Here are some other recent scoops from Mochizuki:

5/1: Nintendo Shipped Switch Consoles by Plane to Quickly Meet High Demand

4/27: Nintendo Offers Bright Outlook on Expectations for Switch

3/17: Nintendo to Double Production of Switch Console

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Side-note: I really like how tapping/clicking a WSJ byline reveals the writer’s bio, Twitter handle, and email address — a treatment I’ve never realized I’ve always wanted.

The News Never Stops

The news never stops. Sometimes, this blog does. But only because the News never stops.

Disneyland’s 60th Nighttime Entertainment

I remember Disneyland’s 50th like it was yesterday. 50 Mickey’s hidden throughout the park. Golden Ears that sold out within hours of park opening. But most of all, I remember the firework show, “Remember…”. It took guests through memorable moments of each of the park’s past and present rides. Moments that many of these guests had experienced firsthand, likely that same day. And to make “remembrance” of those firsthand accounts all the more immersive and visceral, fireworks and lasers enveloped the audience standing in and around Main Street’s Central Plaza. It was awesome, breathtaking, and surprising. It was the part of the celebration that will stick with me forever.

The 60th’s Paint the Night parade followed by the Disneyland Forever firework show will not. The parade, a bombastic cacophony, flirts with the idea that it is the next evolution of the original Main Street Electrical Parade, utilizing over 1.5 million LED lights. Unfortunately, whimsy and character are stripped from the show in the name of gigantic displays, unnecessary rear projected faces (made famous by Midway Mania’s Mr. Potatohead), and a thudding and messy electronic/dub-step Owl City score. The only favorable takeaway I had was the brilliance of Mack’s (Cars) 3D LED ball trailer. 

In the vein of l Remember…, Disneyland Forever kicks off before the inception of Disneyland, in the orange grove before it, and mashes a seemingly unrelated Walt quote followed by seemingly unrelated Disney films from Mary Poppins to Winnie the Pooh to Jungle Book to Lion King to Frozen into a mish-mosh arch of past to current Disney hits. The show attempts to stretch the Main Street immersion created for Remember… by projecting an ever-shifting array of backdrops on all of Main Street’s buildings. It’s is a nice gesture to the folks standing in the trench, but it ends up becoming an unfulfilling distraction from the fireworks and story as it’s truly difficult to make out the projections against the building details themselves. And then there was something about the fireworks being a goodnight kiss. No cohesion.

Not to sound like an old stickler, but back-in-my-day imagination was key. The closest equivalent I can pin this spectacle to is the Star Wars prequels and their over reliance on CG. Now it seems Disney has injected the over stimulation today’s kids have with smartphones in strollers in Disneyland right into the park entertainment itself. It’s a noisy, chaotic, and confused affair that leaves nothing left to the imagination but the wonder of how many plush toys from aging Disney franchises they can sell before the night’s end. All I wanted to do after Remember… was ride every ride again by night’s end.

Mega Man 2017

Today, Capcom announced plans for a new Mega Man animated series.

Capcom-Unity:

Dentsu handpicked Man Of Action Entertainment, creators of Ben 10 and Generator Rex, to create, write and executive produce the all-new Mega Man animated series.  Disney/Marvel’s Academy Award®-winning feature Big Hero 6 utilized the characters and team created by Man of Action, the bi-coastal creative studio and writers’ collective formed by creators and acclaimed comic book writers Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle.  Marvel called upon Man of Action to produce and write Ultimate Spider-Man and Marvel’s Avengers Assemble for their successful launches on Disney XD.  The new Mega Man series has a target air date of 2017, coinciding with the franchise’s 30th anniversary.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to introduce an all-new Mega Man to loyal fans and kids,” said Kinoshita, commenting on the deal.  “Having a celebrated character from Japan reimagined by Man Of Action is the ideal project for Dentsu Entertainment USA.”

I’m trepidatious.

The original Mega Man sprite epitomizes not only onscreen character design, but humanized robot design. A user controlled robot with the face of a boy; a face begging for life. And so, he blinks.

He recycles programmed movements when he jumps or takes damage. Nothing more. Nothing less. He doesn’t pretend to become tired or irritated at the player. Why would he? He is a killing machine, awaiting commands from his user.

That’s why, during the nearly perfect Super Smash Bros. Mega Man trailer, the magic of Mega Man breaks down between 0:44 and 0:47. He stops. He breathes. He shows emotion:

It’s not that I worry about the new Mega Man animated series. I will always have the original Mega Man sprite. It’s that I hope that Man Of Action Entertainment will be able to pull off not only a loveable character, but a loveable robot.

Hats off to Baymax. Let that be the seed for the return of the Blue Bomber.

‘Everything is going to be OK. <3'

Mojang.com, regarding Microsoft’s Minecraft acquisition:

It was reassuring to see how many of your opinions mirrored those of the Mojangstas when we heard the news. Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. It’s going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK. <3

If I were a Minecraft player, these words would not bode well with me.

John Gruber after Apple’s September 2014 Special Event (iPhone 6, Apple Watch):

Believe it or not, this might be the biggest tech news of the day in the Gruber household.

I believe it.

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Love is Strange

Ryan Gilbey, The Guardian:

They have decreed that Love is Strange should have the same rating as Saw III (“strong grisly violence and gore, sequences of terror and torture, nudity and language”), My Bloody Valentine (“graphic brutal horror violence and grisly images throughout, some strong sexuality, graphic nudity and language”), and the new Sin City film (“strong brutal stylised violence throughout, sexual content, nudity, and brief drug use”).

It’s an insult to anyone’s intelligence to find that Love is Strange received its R for nothing more than “some strong language”. What – not even a teensy-weensy bit of terror and torture? No grisly images or graphic nudity? I wonder if the director, Ira Sachs, feels a bit like the faithful spouse accused erroneously of adultery: if he is going to be pilloried anyway, maybe he should have committed the crime for which he is being punished and thrown in a few chainsaw murders just for the hell of it.

Two nights ago, my fiancée and I watched Captain American: The Winter Soldier. Mid-way through the action packed, gunplay heavy film, she looked over at me and said, “it’s amazing they blame video games for gun violence.”

She echoed my thoughts exactly. I felt that I had seen more violence in this semi-children’s film than any video game I had played over the past year. There was something unnerving about the amount of bullets spraying into the air, masses of headshots, and deadly explosions. Something Polygon brought to light after this years E3 Expo. It was a feeling I’d also experienced weeks prior at a showing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Both films are rated PG-13.

I’m not saying that overboard gun violence shown in films is a problem; though, I am now easier unsettled than I when I saw The Matrix in high school. All I’m saying is that if violence isn’t the reason for an R rating, then we need to reevaluate the measure of two f-bombs (something kids are prone to hearing multiple times per day on streets, schoolyards, and homes) and/or expressions of sexuality or acts of sex that are completely natural landing R ratings. If a 13-year-old, nay the swaths of  children that watched Captain America: The Winter Solider and/or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, can handle lengthy gun battles and on-screen death, then a bit of language and sexuality is not going to hurt any.

Update: Ghostbusters, rated PG. Kids of the 80s sure turned out rotten.

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Goal: 15 Percent Turnover Every Year

Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.:

I know of one gaming company in Los Angeles that had a stated goal of turning over 15 percent of its workforce every year. The reasoning behind such a policy was that productivity shoots up when you hire smart, hungry kids fresh out of school and work them to death. Attrition was inevitable under such conditions, but that was okay, because the company’s needs outweighed those of the worker. Did it work? Sure, maybe. To a point. But if you ask me, that kind of thinking is not just misguided, it is immoral. At Pixar, I have made it known that we must always have the flexibility to recognize and support the need for balance in all of our employees’ lives. While all of us believed in that principle—and had from the beginning—Toy Story 2 helped me see how those beliefs could get pushed aside in the face of immediate pressures.

Only on Playstation, Bro

Sony has an IP problem. Short of Little Big Planet 3 and Uncharted 4, none of the other titles seemed to grab. While the exclusive experiences are interesting, their application to existing and expected titles feels lackluster. The chunk of time dedicated to the Playstation ecosystem felt like a slow, redundant message from announcements past. Sony needed to display PS4’s ease of development with ready-to-go titles rather than a collection of non-surprises releasing in 2015.

In 2013, Sony promised potential. In 2014, they are having a hard time executing.

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Why mobile games are so addictive

Why mobile games are so addictive
Polygon

The cognitive side effects of addictive games offer health awesomeness.

“Patients recovering from chemotherapy have been shown to need less painkillers if their minds are occupied by games — and the same has been shown to work on children with skin conditions.”

– Mark Griffiths, Nottingham Trent University

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