Saturday, January 17, 2015



The second half of 2013 was filled to the brim with expectations being met:

E3 2014's Nintendo conference set up a bunch of expectations with announcements about upcoming software and hardware and it subsequently began delivering them in the second half of 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy came out in August and defied all of the naysayers and Interstellar was stellar (deal with it), I filled up my time with shows like Fringed, Kill la Kill, and Bojack Horseman, Weird Al released an awesome new album, I played amazing indie video games like Shovel Knight and (subsequently discovering Kickstarter), discovered Loot Crate and began collecting figures and so many other little bits of entertainment inspired my articles and gave me something to look forward to every week.

Perhaps, even more important, I enjoyed these things all the more by sharing time with my friends because, while I looked forward to Guardians of the Galaxy and Smash Bros. for months before their release, I always look forward to hanging out with my friends every week.

And that's certainly something to think about as I look forward to 2015 being the year I get back in the creative saddle.

Part one can be found HERE.

Let's a-go.


Well, I got really into developing material from a continental map to custom races when I developed my first setting for Pathfinder, Nyumeneera.

Nyumeneera is reflective of a lot of influences in my media consumption from Game of Thrones to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It also incorporated ideas I had tried to use in other settings like "Half-dragons" and Hulderbergs, but also introduce a less vague world history. The setting started out as a few concepts for an A D & D game but, after I came up with a couple of building blocks, it inevitably became my own; I wanted an eladrin empire and a continent dominated by dragons.

The continent dominated by dragons was something I had been toying with for a long time but the way dragons shaped the world of Nyumeneera made it far more integral to the world design. As for the elves, the idea started simply by making the elves like the British Empire. The brilliant idea was to combine these two forces into a pact that was reminiscent of DS9's Dominion in that the Eladrin were basically benevolent tyrants that valued peace and order over freedom and an alliance with brutish dragons was a lesser evil the eladrin would tolerate to achieve their ends.

I just converted my campaign to 5th edition and I can't wait to get further into the story. I am glad to have seen my heroes already deal with some of the injustice of this world and the more complicated moral issues at hand in this far more serious setting. Easy answers do not always present themselves and sometimes the right thing to do is the wrongest thing you can do.

It has been six months since I recorded a Let's Play. I have several means to ramify this situation and plans that are in the ether. Stay tuned.

Shovel Knight would probably be my favorite game of the year if it didn't have to contend with Super Smash Bros 4 and if it was longer. Still, for a 2D platformer adventure game, it is a masterpiece on par with the best Mega Man games and should be bought/experienced by everyone who likes video games.

The gameplay, the character designs, the art, the humor and the music make for a perfect gaming experience that will be oft imitated but rarely matched in years to come.

On a side note, failing to kickstart this project, and others but especially this project, definitely made me turn my attention to Kickstarter since, while many projects are let-downs, Shovel Knight was such a rounding success.

Weird Al is not the Prince of Pop. He is the KING OF POP... music parody.


Jontron is still my favorite comedic game critic with his bizarre comedy, reminiscent of Tim & Eric, making every single video he produced this year a gem!

After Vel'Koz, my favorite champion to be released is definitely Gnar thanks to his adorable persona and fun mechanics.

And, y'know, I have mained a lot of ADC this year but, when I don't ADC, I tend to fill the gaps. The lane I am least comfortable with is Top Lane because so many of my friends play Top that I don't know the ins and outs of the champs and don't enjoy 1 v 1 play as much as others do. Still, lately my favorite top pick has been Gnar due to his ability to turn unlikely fights in his team's favor.

I am actually awaiting my sixth Loot Crate as I write this article and I gotta say that I have considered canceling the service, occasionally, but I have come to accept it as part of my rituals due to two points:

I love all of the figures I have gotten from Loot Crate that are honestly worth the price of admission alone. They spoiled me with my first crate thanks to the inclusion of not only a Glow in the Dark Groot Funko Pop but an awesome Ooze Action Michelangelo from Kidrobot.

The other reason I love the crates is that they give me a monthly scheduled event that can inspire reflection on the events of the weeks leading up the box's arrival. And that's actually kind of a neat added bonus.

If you ever wanna get in my headspace, these articles often have a lot of bloggy goodness.


Few games have such the possibility to be addictive to so many gamers while giving other gamers motion sickness from the nose dive that comes from riding the high of this Bungie title to only come to the crashing conclusion that game is fun but too flawed and repetitive to really keep your interest for more than a few weeks. It is sort of like buying an exotic fish. First, you take it home and you show it off and you kind of smile and can't wait to get more fish and show them off. Then, you realize the fish takes a lot of work to maintain and that, once you've watched him swim through the pirate ship at the bottom of his tank a dozen times, nothing is gonna change and there isn't much you can do with your tropical fish.

Meanwhile, Nintendo brings over a box of puppies.

I love puppies.

(And I will unrepentantly sing my praises of Nintendo until the mess by making collectible accessories that are so difficult to attain that it makes you wonder if they hate money).

And I gotta say I'm a little smug that I saw through Destiny's shallow but pretty exterior faster than some of my friends. Shrug.

Dunk is love. Dunk is life.

And this year he definitely stood out on my youtube feed so much that, every time I saw one of his videos pop up, I instantly knew I was in for a good time.

For other great Dunkey videos make sure to check out:

Final Boss and Overpowered.


I really should right troll articles more often.

Also, True Detective was good for my brain. I often say things are good for my brain. Because I am an idiot. Or whatever.

In retrospect, thanks to the perspective of the subsequent crates I received and after making comparisons to past crates, the Galactic Crate deserved a 5/5.

The Alien figure and Tribble were my favorite inclusions, the Firefly money is a fantastic fan piece and the crate's contents and design weren't as overly involved as some of the more recent boxes I've gotten.


This was the funnest game design articles I've written since the genius of Poro Poro's design for League of Legends; it combined my creativity with my knowledge of the character and worked it into the constraints of a particular game. In this case, I put Shovel Knight, a relatively new but I think destined to be beloved hero, in the ever expanding cast of Super Smash Bros.

And the results?

Shovel Knight would make for a helluva fun inclusion in Smash Bros 5!

This month became crazy because it also included a second weekly RPG session, this time on Wednesdays, in the form of a 5th edition game every Wednesday as Geth Dawnbreaker the Northern Cleric of Lathander, Folk Hero of Phandalin, and all-around team health smoothie machine.

I love the game and, while it is sometimes hard to work in a game session, I am glad that I manned up and joined it.

On a side note, is a good resource if you wanna do an online campaign.

This article was culmination of a lot of weird and stressful days this year and how sometimes when you mine for gold you end up hitting a sewage pipe instead and have to make necklaces/goblets out of the teeth and other weird stuff people flush.

It was also the confession of my attempts to re-enter popular anime fandom and to acknowledge that some of the youtube stuff I find funniest is totally effed up.

And that's probably okay. I think. Maybe.

Or maybe I should embrace the weird and scary as part of WTF Wed's basic pledge to be my audience's custodian to these things and try to show them the little odd gems that I find in the crevices and nooks down in the pits of internet hell.

Or I should embrace the troll-side of this blog.

About six months ago, critics were arguing that Guardians of the Galaxy was either gonna make or break the continued success of the Marvel Universe.

I would laugh but why laugh when I can instead simply sip my invisible tear and await the next decades oversaturation of super hero films.

I need to GM more Call of Cthulhu in 2015. Seriously.

Did you notice I have been doing more stuff on my blog about myself this year and trying to document my life better? Maybe that's part of getting older or maybe I am just getting more confident? Or maybe I just had enough things that were worth sharing this year?

On the subject of the Fear Crate, it is my least favorite crate thus far, though I have mellowed and like the shirt more than I did upon initial review.

P.S. Holy crap! I had a lot of stuff going on in October!


This video is probably my favorite viral video of 2014.

It is surreal, it is horrifying, and it is funny. This is the sort of thing that I would expect to put away in a box under my bed like I was embarrassed to enjoy it but, much my surprise, the internet embraced this oddity.

I guess they also embrace Kim Kardashian's fake butt, so that's not saying much.

This article speaks for itself.

This crate was a bust, in my opinion, besides the shirt.

As or the month of Novemeber, everything was about shopping for Christmas, collecting Amiibos, and surviving until I could play Super Smash Bros 4.


I have a lot of opinions for a film that comes out in about a year that I've only seen about 80 seconds of footage of spliced with cuts too black but, hey, it is Star friggin' Wars!

Besides perhaps Batman V. Superman, no film has me more anxious and excited.

Perhaps it isn't clear why I've spent so much time this year obsessing over and talking about Smash Bros 4:

1. It is the latest chapter in the Smash Bros series since the 2006 installment of Brawl on the Wii.
2. It is the first truly killer exclusive for the Wii-U (The first console I've ever paid for with my own money and have fallen in love with despite spending most of my gaming time playing on my PC).
3. It has so many of my favorite characters that represent a good bulk of my childhood memories and adult ones too! (I have a wall of amiibos for crap sake)
4. Even before I played the demo back in June, I knew that it would deliver on the promises of Sakurai.
5. I will be playing Smash Bros. 4 just about every week until Smash Bros 5!

That last fact is serious business.

Srs bizniz.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Time to dump out the last of the contents left over from last year's WTF Wednesday folder by looking at three videos I couldn't quite get rid of nor could I find the perfect article to share them until just right about now:

First up, we've got a pretty funny bit of commentary in the form of pointing out that, thanks to the modern map system in adventure/open-world games, things are a lot easier than they would be otherwise because the map system: provides detailed locations of people, places, things, objectives, etc., allows for fast travel, tracks enemies, can be zoomed in and out, has practically no limit to how many areas, biog and small are mapped, and is convenient to use.

Are we better off with or without the map?

Many people rightfully credit Bob Fosse as the sole engineer for Michael Jackson's dance choreography as the Prince of Pop copied almost all of his trademark moves from Bob Fosse's performance from the 1974 film, The Little Prince.


Oh! And there is a new animated film adaptation of the classic French fable coming soon to cinema near you.


The Onion stills brings it.

It is brought.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

WORD OF THE DAY! 1/13/15!

dominant strategy [dom-uh-nunt-strat-uh-jee]
1. A strategy is dominant if, a majority of the time, regardless of other variables like what other players do, the strategy earns the player the biggest payoff or least hassle.

EX. When an opportunity presents itself to a gamer, that leads to the greatest advantage or easiest/quickest experience, they usually take it. Unfortunately, this can lead to uniformity and repetition when games often are designed or intended to be played in such a way that players will find their own special ways to complete the game's goals. This can ultimately lead to players becoming bored or missing out on good game content that is only accessible via using other methods to complete goals. That is why dominant strategy is such an important thing for any game designer to consider. Before we talk about the comic above, let me give a super simple example of dominant strategy's limiting issues.

You give a player a simple shooting game and you tell them that they have a gun and grenades. The gun is supposed to be the primary weapon but, when the player discovers the grenades deal the most damage and they have an unlimited amount of grenades, they proceed to play the entire game without firing a single shot and conquer it with ease rather than learning the nuances of the game's gunplay. The way to discourage this, in easiest design, is to limit the number of grenades available to the player without making them feel like your cheating them out of the overpowered weapon. For example, you can make the grenades unlock or reload if they perform certain tasks (risk and reward).

In this, you can see how having a dominant strategy might bring down a game.

As for the Pokemon comic above, they can't really give you too many options because, like in the comic, if you had to choose between getting a Pokedex from the Professor or taking all three starters, you would probably choose the latter despite the moral implications because having three starters would seem the best option. In actuality, it would make the game's curve far easier as you'd be able to overcome more gyms with ease. Other ways dominant strategy can hamper Pokemon is overpowered pokemon, broken strategies, overpowered types/tms, etc.

And that's just some random thoughts on dominant strategy or, basically, "taking the easy way out" or "playing smart". Luckily, some gamers can look past dominant strategy and instead challenge themselves by either creating artificial limitations or odd courses to success.

Monday, January 12, 2015


The Last Unicorn is a very special book by Peter S. Beagle.

The film adaptation, and accompanying soundtrack, is also a special experience thanks to the combination of a stellar cast, Rankin/Bass animation, and a soundtrack written by Jimmy Webb and performed by the band America.

As a way to celebrate a film tour of The Last Unicorn with Peter S. Beagle, Dan Avidan AKA Danny Sexbang of Ninja Sex Party, Game Grumps, and Star Bomb collaborated with his partner (in both life, love, and music) Brian Wecht AKA Ninja Brian to create a cover of the song.

And, because Danny has a very nice voice and it is a very lovely song, the results are a worthy addition to any fantasy playlist. Enjoy.