Friday, September 18, 2020

Hogwarts Legacy-Maneuver Through The Hype

Okay watch this trailer then we will discuss. 


Finished? Are you pumped for this game? 

Calm down. 

While the graphics look admittedly amazing, I have to point out the one thing missing from this trailer before the hype overruns everyone like the annoying internet troll that I am: 

There is no gameplay. 

We don’t even get a hint as to what kind of game it is. Presumably it’s some sort of open world affair akin to Bully, but for all we know it could be a Cooking Mama clone with a Bejeweled style minigame and microtransactions to unlock eye color. My point is that all this trailer really gives us is that it’s Harry Potter and it presumably takes place long before the books, so it doesn’t have to deal with a lot of cannon stuff, a la Knights of the Old Republic, but that it. 

What I Want To See

Okay so maybe I just want them to rerelease Bully, because honestly that game was a perfect school-based sandbox, so I basically want Bully but with magic, but let’s get technical. 

*Open World



Open world Harry Potter games have been tried before with mixed results, the best probably being the Lego Harry Potter games, but if we’re going to go open world with this thing then I want open world. I want a layout of Hogwarts castle with secrets, collectables, and fun easter eggs as far as the eye can see. I want Hogwarts to feel like a place not just a box painted to look like Hogwarts. 

*Limited Combat

The trailer shows the Harry Potter brand zombies and a bunch of Hagrid’s favorite pets, but honestly if most of the game is fighting I’m out. One thing about the Harry Potter series is that while combat is important it’s not the focus of magic. Being able to figure your way through a combat with a variety of spells, like levitating an enemy onto a nearby chandelier, turning them into a ferret, or animating a nearby suit of armor to fight for you would be far better than the standard shoot spells until the bad guy falls down. 



*Character Customization

There’s arguments for and against custom characters in video games. Established characters like Nathan Drake and Aloy let the player experience that character’s story, making a potentially rich story driven narrative as we see a character change and grow throughout the game. However, as I’ve argued many times before, I don’t read Harry Potter because I’m interested in what happens to Harry Potter. The world Rowling created is to me a far more interesting character than most of her mains (Except of course Snape who is straight up Shakesperian). I then would want to play a custom hero, a self-insert to see how I’d personally do in the hallowed halls of Hogwarts, what decisions I’d make and how I’d create my own story. As my contemporary Spencer indicates in his 5 Additional Harry Potter Story Ideas, this world has so much potential to be explored, so many untold stories, that it would be fun to tell one of our own. 


Please do it right.

-JOE

Monday, September 14, 2020

5 Additional Harry Potter Story Ideas

During the height of lockdown, I started listening to a podcast called “Tales from Godric’s Hollow”. It’s basically a virtual book club for Harry Potter. It’s got the series on my mind again (not that it’s ever too far away). With the third installment of Fantastic Beasts creeping up (wayyyyy too slowly… ugh), I’ve got thinking about other potential stories from the Potterverse that could be developed after Fantastic Beasts ends in a few years.

Harry Potter wouldn’t be the first franchise with an ever expanding universe. Star Wars has been doing it with its cartoons and The Mandalorian and the MCU has done it with TV shows, movies, comics, and shorts. It wouldn’t be a far-fetched idea for JK Rowling to continue expanding this magical universe. So following in the pattern of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I’m going to choose titles from the Hogwarts library as the basis for these potential spin-offs.


Hogwarts: A History
The school of witchcraft and wizardry has a rich history and there are plenty of stories to tell. From the founding of Hogwarts, to Slytherin’s departure, or even the Blood Baron and the Gray Lady’s story, there are lots of stories to tell. We could easily get a movie or even a trilogy telling the stories of the early days of Hogwarts. How did Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin find each other? What was the story of their falling out? There’s a lot that could be expanded on.


Quidditch Through the Ages
There are a lot of options for this one. We could have a magical movie about the origins of Quidditch. Or we could have some sort of feelgood sports movie (but with Quidditch). I’m sure there are some adventures around the Quidditch World Cup that we could show. Maybe something about Ginny’s time playing professionally? Again, there are a lot of options of where this movie could take us.


The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore
We’re bound to get more of Dumbledore’s backstory with the remaining three Fantastic Beasts movies, so this one might be a moot point. However, I'm sure there’s a lot more of the Dumbledore family’s story that we could develop. We could see Dumbledore Sr’s imprisonment, we could see Dumbledore and Grindewald’s teenage years (if we don’t see it in Fantastic Beasts), or we could see the in-between years after Grindewald’s defeat and Harry Potter’s birth.


The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts
There are any number of dark wizards we could choose from to do this story: Grindewald, Voldemort, or some wizard from centuries ago. The rise and fall of Voldemort’s empire during the First Wizarding War would be my ideal. We got bits and pieces throughout the Harry Potter books, particularly Half-Blood Prince, but the tension leading up to Voldemort’s defeat could be exciting. It would also give us a chance to see the original Order of the Phoenix, before the murder of the Potters.


Advanced-Potion Making
The story of Severus Snape. Even though I have a distaste for his obsession with Lily Evans, as I’ve stated before, seeing more of his story could be interesting. What was it like for him growing up with a witch mother and a muggle father? Could we get more in depth on his friendship with Lily Evans as kids? Most importantly, I’d love to see more of his time at Hogwarts and how things played out with the Marauders. We saw bits and pieces in The Order of the Phoenix and The Deathly Hallows, but that’s one small snippet that made James look bad. What was life really like for Snape?


The Tales of Beedle the Bard
It might be a book of unrelated short stories, but what if it wasn't? We know there was historical, factual basis for the story of the Deathly Hallows. What if Beedle the Bard's other tales have a basis in history too? Even better, what if they're intertwined? We could get a live action sequence of the Deathly Hallows story. Plus, we could get "Babbitty Rabbitty" and the others stories shown as well.

What Harry Potter stories do you want to see in the future? If you had your choice, which era would you want JK Rowling to expand on next? Also (I've said this before) can we please see Newt and Hagrid interact in a future Fantastic Beasts movie?

Friday, September 11, 2020

Muppets Now- What We Need Right Now

 If your house is still standing through the wind, earthquakes, fires and other natural disasters raining down on us, then it's probably a good time to celebrate. And what's a better way to celebrate not being dead than with the Muppets and their latest series Muppets Now on Disney+! (Seriously Disney, at this point why aren't you sponsoring us?)



The Setup

In Muppets Now we see the Muppets branching out into an internet streaming service type model, with small segments devoted to mini shows the Muppets are putting on. Miss Piggy has her lifestyle show, where you get to learn to be as fabulous as she is, the Swedish Chef has a celebrity cooking show, and so on, each bringing their own fun to the concept. Several of the segments are done in an online call-like format, giving it an authentic feel to the Zoom ruled world we live in now. Since the show was filmed at least a year ago, there's no way they could've known how things would be today, but like Animal Crossing New Horizons coming out just when people needed that type of game, I have my own conspiracy theories. 

The Muppets Back To Form

The last Muppets foray into TV, The Muppets on ABC, lead to some controversy around the Muppets making more adult jokes and spending time in bars (Okay but for real though, that show was delightful, check it out). In Muppets Now the titular Muppets are back to form making jokes for the whole family to enjoy, with both the zany silliness for the kids and the subtle jokes only the grown ups would understand. The Muppets have always been able to cross generations with ease, and here they do it in spades. 



Something To Look Forward To

Muppets Now has new episodes streaming every Friday on Disney+. With most sports cancelled, events put on delay and shows being put on hiatus for the foreseeable future, the steady drip of Muppet mayhem gives us something to look forward to weekly, which along with the laughs is something we can really use right about now. 

-JOE

Monday, September 7, 2020

Pokemon Nicknames: Disney (Gen VI-VII)

Throughout this year I've been working on some Pokemon/Disney nicknames. Now it's time to finish off the Pokedex--minus the Galar Pokedex, since I've yet to play Sword. So without further ado, here is my last Disney/Pokemon mash-up.

Braixen


Marian


Froakie

Thaddeus
Pyroar
(also Solgaleo)

Mufasa
Tyrantrum

Butch

Decidueye

Owl

Litten

Simba
Crabominable

Tamatoa
Rockruff

Bolt
Mudbray
Lampwick
(or Pinocchio)

Friday, September 4, 2020

Insert Mulan Review Here

 There's a parallel universe where Disney's live-action Mulan came to theaters, was a huge hit, we reviewed it, bought the merch, and there's talks of Oscars next year. Sadly, we're in the universe where movies were pushed back, the Oscars are in question, and Mulan is coming to streaming for an extra $30. 

And that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

Why $30? 

It's hard to imagine dropping $30 for anything on an already paid for streaming service, but as a lot of things are this year, this is a special circumstance. It's probably not surprising to learn that it cost A LOT of money to make a movie, money which is hopefully made back with ticket sales and merchandise. Mulan was an exceptionally expensive movie, considering its cast of thousands, location shooting and hundreds of other extra expenses to make the film epic. With the parks closed and other big releases pushed back, Disney Studio has to be feeling the hurt from having this $200 million dollar baby sitting in their vault collecting dust. So the film had to come out somewhere to start making a return, hence why they decided to go with the $30 on Disney+ strategy, since if they could just make some of that money back it would be great. 

Now before the cries of "They're greedy corporate pigs!" start, let's remember that at the end of the day Disney is a business. The only way they're able to make wonderful things is if people pay for it, and even in a time of crisis they can't afford to give everything away for free. The early releases of Frozen 2 and Onward  on the streaming service were done after the films either made their public ticket sales or after ticket sales were no longer going to come in, so it made sense. Mulan though never had a chance. 

The next question is: Why not just release it in theaters since other films are currently releasing like New Mutants and Wonder Woman 1984? Again this comes down to Mulan's budget. which was higher than either film, meaning that the returns had to be more. With only 25% of theaters currently open and only at 50% capacity, Mulan was not going to make its money back there either. The streaming fee seemed like the best option. 

So Why Didn't We Get It? 

Now that I'm done defending Disney's controversial actions, let me explain why we don't have a formal review on here, since nobody on the blog ended up forking out the $30 to see the movie. 

The $30 price point is reasonable compared to the price of tickets one may spend when bringing their family (parents, kids, or maybe a Mushu loving cat) and when concessions are taken in it actually comes out to be a bargain. The thing is, nobody on this blog has that kind of family situation. For families consisting of two adults and maybe an infant, the price is just not worth it. $30 to see a film that'll be on our already paid for streaming service later this year anyway just does not work for us. So we all made the choice to not get it, based on our own economic situation. 

That being said, we're not saying that it's wrong to purchase Mulan for $30 if that's what you and your family want. Even if it's just for yourself or you and the spouse, if you feel it's worth it then more power to you, make it rain. At this point the film is releasing like a free-to-play video game, like Pokemon Go releases. You can play for free to your heart's content, but if you want to pay the option is there, and on the back end enough people are willing to pay that it keeps the lights on at the company and allows more content to be produced. It's not a new business model, it's just the first time we've really seen it applied to film, and it needs to be the individuals choice weather or not they want to or can pay the entrance fee. 

-JOE

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Black Widow Binge List


We're finally nearing the release of Black Widow.Barring another pandemic, we're set to see Natasha's solo adventure on November 6--possibly with a Disney Plus release like Mulan. If you need a refresher on Black Widow before the movie gets released, check out this list. I posted it to Facebook back in March when it supposed to have a spring release. But since it was delayed, here we go again!

Iron Man 2 (2 hours 4 min)
Obviously the film mostly focused on Tony's issues (and he has lots of them) but Natasha was slipped in there to help him out/keep an eye on him. While Iron Man 2 tends to be associated with general distaste among fans, it did give us the introduction of Black Widow and War Machine. So despite the lack of focus on Black Widow, pull this one out and give it a watch.


The Avengers (2 hours 23 min)
Black Widow gets a bit more spotlight in this movie. The general focus ends up being on Cap, Thor, Iron Man, and Hulk. All the same, Black Widow gets a decent spotlight and we get a glimpse into her past when she talks to Loki. The movie also gives Natasha her new family, the Avengers.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2 hours 16 min)
Again, she's not the focus of the movie, but she gets more screen time than before. Black Widow teams up with Cap to fight against Hydra's infiltration of SHIELD. Like in Avengers, we get some small glimpses of her past. Nothing specific, but we see how big of a deal it is for her to reveal all of her covers when she spills SHIELD's secrets.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2 hours 22 min)
Unlike Avengers and Winter Soldier, where we only got verbalized references to Widow's past, in this movie we get some glimpses of her past when Wanda messes with her head. It's here that we really start to see how much the Red Room messed with her head. Finger crossed we get more of that in her solo movie.


Captain America: Civil War (2 hours 28 min)
Avengers 2.5, as they call it. Screen time is split pretty well between all the major heroes in the movie, but we get some good moments of Natasha still. Compared to when she was so secretive just a few years prior, this movie gives us a chance to see how much Black Widow has grown to care for her fellow Avengers, especially Cap; she shows up at Peggy's funeral and she lets Cap and Bucky pass in the end.

Avengers: Infinity War (2 hours 40 min)
Technically this one and Endgame take place after her solo movie, as we've been told, but I'm guessing they'll do some sort of tie-in. Even if it's just to lead us into how she teamed up with Cap and Falcon. I have some doubts that they'll show Cap and Falcon, but I'm guessing we'll get the connecting link.


Avengers: Endgame (3 hours 2 min)
Can't do a Black Widow prep list without showing her end. I'm guessing I'm not the only one that got thrown off by this. We probably all guessed that Black Widow was going to take place after Endgame, but since she died getting the Soul Stone, we got thrown for a loop. Endgame showed a great ending to her arc, in my opinion. She went from being a solo agent in Iron Man 2 to being a "family" woman in Endgame.

Agent Carter Season 1 (8 episodes - about 40 minutes each)
For optional, additional viewing, check out Agent Carter on Disney Plus. It takes place in the 1940s, so obviously you won't get any appearances of the Widow herself. However, you will see the Red Room where Natasha was trained, as well as the appearance of a spy they sent to face off against Peggy and her team.

Which movie do you think will be most important for your Black Widow prep? What do you hope to see in the movie? Any big tie-ins you're predicting? 

Monday, August 31, 2020

What does a 14-year-old autistic kid think of the new Phineas and Ferb movie?

Coinciding with the end of summer vacation, Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe was released on Disney+. (But really, with the quarantine, summer vacation was waaaaay more than 104 days!) I watched this awesome little film with my family, and we really enjoyed it. It had all the requisite Phineas and Ferb staples: amazingly funny songs, breaking the fourth wall, creative use of catchphrases, non sequiturs that make sense in the end. Yes, Perry kicks some serious butt and is the unsung hero of the show. (Though now that he has a song about being an unsung hero, is he still an unsung hero?) And yes, Doofenshmirtz has the best lines of all the characters and steals the show in every scene he's in. If you like Phineas and Ferb, you'll like this movie. And if you don't like Phineas and Ferb, what are you doing reading this article? And if you don't know what Phineas and Ferb is, go check it out, I'll wait.

But as I was making some notes about this show, I was listening to my 14-year-old making comments in the peanut gallery. This is a kid who used to watch Phineas and Ferb when they were younger, and loved it. Jamie is autistic and enjoys the show's creative use of repetition and some of the goofy, crazy things that happen in the series. And of course they love Doofenshmirtz because the Doof transcends neurodevelopmental disorders! So I decided to write down what this amazing 14-year-old kid was saying. Here are Jamie's comments, with absolutely no context. Enjoy.

"Oh, she's going to need some serious therapy after this.”

"Man, her phone must have some seriously high resolution.”

"The flossing dance? Ack. Not cool, Disney. Not cool."

"Bwa ha ha ha! I was NOT expecting them to just randomly interrupt their own song! That's perfect."

"What?! They had to create a specific sound effect just for that scene. That's crazy!"

"How long is this bit going to go on for? IT'S AWESOME!"

"They just need to kill that chicken."

"Of COURSE his axe-inator has a self destruct button."

"Well if that wasn't the definition of nonchalant, I don't know what was."

"Holy cow, why did he just have that in his pocket?!"

"Okay, this is going to be a not funny thing where she makes a big speech, but her big speech doesn't work. Classic."

"Dad, imagine there was just a chicken somewhere else."

"That list was kind of silly ... but I really relate to that last one."

I'm raising the quirkiest movie critic ever. Welcome to my world, people. I love it.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Love on the Spectrum

I have a child who is autistic. (And yes, I purposely didn't use "people-first language" because my kid doesn't want me to. They're proud to be called "autistic".) I teach sixth grade and have probably taught hundreds of kids with autism over the years, and probably many more who haven't yet been identified. Autism is close to my heart (I previously wrote reviews for Loop and Float, two Pixar shorts themed around autism). So it's no wonder that when Netflix released Love on the Spectrum, several friends suggested I watch it. Don't worry, I was already on it!

Love on the Spectrum
 sits boldly somewhere between a documentary and a reality show. It bounces between cast interviews, and following the cast as they interact with their families, as they get coaching advice from a dating expert, and as they go out on actual dates. At times the show can be heartwarming, lovely, and endearing. Other times, Love on the Spectrum can be cringy, maddening, and frustrating. What it is NOT is vapid. It's not exploitative. It's not just another reality series that tries to make light of its subjects. No. This show treats its subjects with dignity and respect. It's never condescending, never preachy. It works hard to present its people -- and their struggles -- in as real a light as possible. So the end result might have you cheering, hoping, praying, and celebrating. The end result might also simultaneously have you getting awkwardly angry, fidgeting and cringing in your seat, and even cursing at your screen. It's a beautiful mess. But isn't that what life is?

You'll fall in love with Michael, which is fitting since his main goal in life is find love. Michael will be an excellent husband, will treat his wife like a queen, and will debunk his proclamation that "a lot of people our age are not interested in commitment -- they are only interested in intercourse." Michael's interactions with his parents is a highlight of the show. These two people have instilled such an inspiring confidence and sense of love in Michael that it's infectious. Michael is easily a favorite, and you will root for him to find somebody. I mean, is Dawn Wells available? They seemed to hit it off! 

You'll also meet Olivia, the woman who belches without shame and collects tons of cat toys, all named Duchess. There's Andrew, who does the most unique James Bond impression, and will teach you his multistep process for making his favorite drink. You'll watch Kelvin receive dating practice from Jodi, the coach who is just as helpful as she is wonderful. I want Kelvin to be successful and to find somebody. Kelvin's dating practice was enlightening, and I walked away with some socializing tips! And then there's Ruth and Thomas, who are so adorkably cute and awkward and in love and perfect for each other. Keep an eye out for Ruth's amazing business card collection. Chloe is down to earth about finding her own path for love. Maddi is extroverted and has a really hard time hiding her boredom, but she also rocks a Batman outfit! You'll be impressed by Mark's paleontological knowledge, and you'll find yourself wanting and wishing and hoping he finds the right person. 

And then there's Sharnae and Jimmy. It's endearing to watch Jimmy correct Sharnae when she makes mistakes, because it's not from a place of putting her down, but from a place of making sure she feels empowered and just pure love for Sharnae. Watch Jimmy in the the fifth episode (and the Season One finale) as he struggles with having the right socks to match his outfit, and how he uses breathing techniques and a Rubik's cube to cope with his stress. At first I thought it was a quirk from his autism. But as I kept watching, I realized that he was under possibly the most stressful situation of his life, one I can relate to empathically and directly. Bring some tissues for that episode. You'll thank me later.

My only gripe about Love on the Spectrum is that they only depict autistic people dating other autistic people. True, some of the people spotlighted on the show prefer dating people who are also on the spectrum. But many don't. And unfortunately, only showing dates with people who are not neurotypical has the undesired effect of saying "These people are different and separate from the world." But whatever dating preferences these people have, the Love on the Spectrum shows each person as an individual, a unique creation with strengths and weaknesses. It's inspiring to see people face the complex world of dating and socializing, and how to navigate the tricky waters of nonverbal cues and making small talk. Love on the Spectrum is engaging, fun, disheartening, enlightening, vexing, satisfying, moving, funny, aggravating, and stimulating, all at once.


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Community Workout


Human Beings! It's time for another year at Greendale Community College! Or whatever school you go to.

Community hit Netflix in April and now people are beginning to appreciate the show that I've loved for years. I'm in desperate need of another re-watch. But in the meantime, I wanted to share another workout for it. Rules are the same as before, Greendale Human Beings. Turn on an episode and follow the workout plan. Special thanks to one of our previous bloggers T.J. for helping me put this together during his full watch-through of the show. (PS Check out his post about character development in the show)

  • Opening theme - Wall Sit throughout
  • Abed says "Cool cool cool" - 10 reps jumping jacks 
  • Pierce says something racist - 10 reps tricep dips 
  • Dean touches Jeff - 15 reps push-ups
  • Shirley says "That's nice" - 15 reps crunches
  • Jeff monologues - 10 reps incline push ups
  • Jeff appears shirtless - 10 decline push up
  • "Troy and Abed in the morning" - 10 reps squats 
  • Abed says a movie name - 10 reps leg raises
  • Britta uses an incorrect metaphor - 10 reps mountain climbers 
  • Dean wears a costume - 15 sets calf raises 

Check out our other workouts: The Office, Harry Potter

Monday, August 24, 2020

Highlights from the DC Fandome!

With LA Comic Con, E3, Salt Lake FanX and D23 all being cancelled for the year, it was a delight to find DC Comics was going to put on an online event for fans to hear what the company is up to and give us all a momentary likeness of our favorite yearly events. The show overall was spectacular, featuring interviews with people from across the industry, from film makers to comic artists, all answering fan questions and giving us what we need: something to look forward to in the years to come. Here are a few highlights from the show.


Gotham Knights
What was the Arkham video game series missing? All the sidekicks in co-op of course! Gotham Knights allows players to step into the shoes of Batman's loyal sidekicks after his death, leaving Batgirl, Red Hood, Nightwing and Robin to defend Gotham. Can they stop the mysterious Court of Owls? Will they be able to fill the Dark Knight's boots? Will this thing be available on PS4 so I don't have to buy a new system? Time will tell.



The Suicide Squad Reveal
A lot of talk has been floating around the Suicide Squad sequel (Reboot?) titled The Suicide Squad, and Fandome gave us the full cast lineup with who they're going to be playing. Reprising the roles of Harley Quinn, Rick Flag and Amanda Waller are Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis, respectively. The rest of the cast is full of familiar faces including Nathan Fillian, John Cena and Idris Elba, playing villains for the covert Task Force X. We still don't have who will be the official villain yet but with James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy onboard, we know we're going to be in for a treat. 



Wonder Woman 1984 

Several panels focused on the sadly pushed back Wonder Woman 1984, reminding fans that it is still on its way. Along with an interview with both Gal Gadot and Linda Carter, we got a new trailer giving us more on the villains of the movie, The Cheetah and Maxwell Lord, plus more cameos from Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. The two have not lost their chemistry although speculation as to how he's come back and why he wasn't around for Justice League is still going strong. 



Speaking of...

Justice League: The Snyder Cut
Fans have been begging for this since Justice League came out in theaters to underwhelming reviews. While The Snyder Cut was not announced at Fandome, a new trailer dropped with more hints as to what was removed in the theatrical release. We see more of Batman's vision from Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice with a destroyed Hall of Justice in the devastated city and more hints that Darkseid will be the big villain the League will take on. While I'm personally excited for this cinematic event, I'm still waiting to see the original cut of Suicide Squad. Call me biased. 



Speaking of my bias...

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
As an avid Harley Quinn fan, I was incredibly excited to see Margot Robbie come back as the Joker's Favorite Henchgirl. My squee came again when it was announced that the Suicide Squad was getting their own Arkham style video game where they need to take out the Justice League. We don't know much about game play, the idea is enough to keep me intrigued until it comes out in 2022. 



The Batman
I could go on with little anecdotes from interviews and other fun things that made the long lived DC fan inside me squee, but this is a highlight post so it's time for the biggest drop. We got a trailer for the upcoming Batman movie starring Robert Pattinson, and it looks amazing. Like, Dark Knight amazing. You've gotta check it out. 



What was your favorite part of DC's Fandome?
-JOE

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Taking off the Video Game Nostalgia Goggles

Like most Steam owners, I have a massive library full of games, more than I could ever play in a reasonable lifetime. I picked up the games for the usual reasons: they were on sale, someone recommended it, I was left unsupervised with a credit card, it existed... But there's a small group of games I have that I bought because I used to play them when I was younger, and computer advancements being as they are Steam is the only way I can play them. Recently while playing something from this list and I thought: "Why am I playing this? Why did I like this as a kid? How did I ever think that this was fun?"

The Issue with Nostalgia

Video games have a lot of components that contribute to making them a favorite. Gameplay, story, graphics, but I think most important factor is who you are when you play the game. Twenty years ago wanting to to be a roller coaster tycoon or march an army in the age of empires (You see what I did there?) would've been incredible. Hours spent perfecting a roller coaster feel like incredible creative freedom for a 13 year old, and it's remembered as having a wonderful time. 

However, years and pounds later, creative expression in a wonky finance sim with a tiny number of rides every level and no way to speed up time even though you ALREADY HAVE THE REQUIREMENTS to BEAT THE LEVEL so you have to SIT THERE AND WATCH THE STUPID AI GUESTS WANDER AROUND AND COMPLAIN ABOUT THE LITTER THAT THEY LEFT just doesn't have the same energy it once did. 

I'm not still angry.


So in short we remember the games we played as kids as being these wonderful experiences and try to play them now only to find them lacking because we've developed taste and have no tolerance for grindy nonsense. 

Good Nostalgia Use

The best use for nostalgia is to remember what you liked about the games you used to love and see if you can find modern interpretations of it. One game genre I loved was the Dungeons and Dragons based RPGs, like Baulder's Gate. However, Baulder's Gate was about as forgiving as deleting the ending of a loopy roller coaster to watch the riders crash because you've been playing for four straight hours and you're bored to tears. A few years ago the game Pillars of Eternity came out with all the best mechanics from Bauler's Gate but was easier to grasp and easier to get through, which makes it more accessible to all players. Nostalgia fueled the idea but the ideas of today helped make it better, creating a far better experience. Nostalgia should fuel innovation but not pull us back into the same things over and over. 


Lesson Learned

So now I've been reexamining all my Steam games looking for the ones I bought just for nostalgia sake, and the ones I bought because they reminded me of games I used to love. The list of inspired games is longer than I would've thought, showing that while the old games might not hold up their influence certainly does. If you're like me with piles of unplayed video games on your Steam list or other platform of choice, it might be worth going through some of the ones you bought for nostalgia sake and what it is you liked about them and see if some new games might fill that same gameplay need, but maybe with some much needed tweaks. 



-JOE

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