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By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Jan, 2018 At 05:17 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, Television | With 0 Comments

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Ah Star Trek, the wagon train to the stars that has endured since the 60’s. It is a series that brought many firsts for television and movies and broke barriers. However, a realization occurred to me while re-watching episodes recently. That realization is that above everything else, Star Trek is a rejection of everything Lovecraft wrote and believed in.

It is difficult for many to understand now, just how H.P. Lovecraft was. While the racism in his work is still apparent, many don’t realize just how it fuelled his work along with his fears and paranoia’s.  Lovecraft’s work was deeply personal and from a dark place. The monstrous half human hybrids for example, were inspired by his fears of miscegenation, and his great old ones and cosmology in general were inspired by his fear of the unknown. Lovecraft came from an old New England family and was horrified by the changing culture, especially his brief time in New York  when he interacted more with other ethnic groups. His own family problems left him with many psychological issues, such as a fear of intimacy and openness.

But what does this have to do with Star Trek? Very simply, Star Trek rejects each and every aspect of Lovecraft’s work. Racism is attacked, black women are shown in positions of power, and interracial relationships are shown. Different cultures working together is shown as a good thing and even Spock can be seen as another rejection of the monsters of Lovecraft’s work, given that he is half human and half alien. But it is the opening of Star Trek that truly shows the power of idealism vs giving into fear.

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Star Trek is about rising above fear and hate and daring to explore. There is no fear of the unknown but instead a desire to learn more and see what has not been seen. Yes there are dark moments, such as in Deep Space Nine, but with one or two exceptions, the victories achieved are done by rising up above hatred, fear and paranoia. The entities that are above human comprehension are seen differently as well. In the episode ” The Squire of Gothos”, such an entity is shown to be a child ultimately, and then there is Q. Q is an omnipotent entity, yet the Enterprise crew is able to best him more than once, and even learn from him.

There are times that the unknown truly is terrifying, but these are not the norm ( and ultimately that makes these instances stand out better). The message of the show is ultimately a simple one, but one that needs to be heard time and again. If we work together we can grow as people and fear is something that can be overcome. Humanity has potential, and we must work to use it to its fullest and best.

 

 

Disclaimer: The above was the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of Real Otaku gamer or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 3 Jan, 2018 At 09:29 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Old School Otaku, Opinion, ROG News, Television | With 1 Comment

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25 years ago, the world of science fiction changed forever. Star Trek was already an established franchise, with Star trek The Next Generation having become a juggernaut in its own right. But January 3 1993 saw the premiere of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, a series that truly helped move the franchise forward. I have so many fond memories of this series, and I do not hesitate at all to call it my favourite of the Trek franchise. I will do my best not to give spoilers so people can experience this for the first time themselves, but I will in some instances.

DS9 stands out above the other Star Trek series by doing something that had not been done before, and that is developing long running character and story arcs. This was possible thanks to the series being set on a space station instead of a ship travelling to different locations, and the recurring elements this enabled ended up creating some of the best storylines.  There is so many great storylines that can be mentioned such as the Dominion War and the rebuilding of Bajor, but for many the best storylines were the ones that delved into showing both character growth and the darker side of Star Trek.

Ferengi culture was explored far beyond what was done on TNG, and so were the Klingons and the Cardassians. This was done thanks to great characters who showed off the different parts of the cultures. The Ferengi gave us Quark, the traditionalist Ferengi, his “failure” brother Rom, who was actually a genius engineer, and Rom’s son Nog who joined Starfleet. The Klingons of course gave us Worf once again, but also Martok. Martok was a traditional Klingon, and one who showed off the best aspects of the culture in contrast to Gowron, who showed the negatives. And the Cardassians? We received two of the most iconic non main cast members in all of Star Trek: Gul Dukat and Elim Garak.

The main cast went through many changes in terms of personality and growth. They were not the same characters at the beginning that they became at the end and the best example was Captain Sisko himself. When he came to the station as Commander Sisko, he was a reluctant appointee and had a lot of hostility in him due to the death of his wife during the Battle of Wolf 359 with the Borg. However, he grew into his many roles and became perhaps the greatest of the captains. Sisko was willing to do things no one else would and realized that if it got the results he needed, then he could live with himself. The infamous episode “In the Pale Moonlight” is often considered either the best or the worst episode in all of Star Trek, due to this.

The aforementioned Dominion War story arc that took up the later seasons also proved to be a triumph of storytelling. There were episodes that truly showed war to be hellish and the consequences to be long lasting, and this mention of darker content wouldn’t do well without mentioning the fact that the series also took a darker look at the Federation. For the first time, we got to see that some consider the Federation to be just as bad as some of the people they fight, albeit these comments tended to come from those who had betrayed the federations.

Characters like Doctorm Bashir, Odo, Chief O’Brien, Major Kira and more showed that this was a series willing to tackle deeper subject matter. Odo faces discrimination t times due to his species and Kira is a former terrorist ( this definitely would have been different if made post 9/11). the infamous O’Brien must suffer episodes are some of the most well known, and Doctor Bashir was forced into situations he wouldn’t have anticipated.

The show was not without humor though and the lighter episodes were extremely welcome. These often involved the Ferengi and did a great job, as a I said before, of expanding them as a people. If I can sum up Deep Space Nine in one word, it would be “growth”. This was a series where the characters grew, but so did Star Trek as a franchise. So Happy 25th anniversary Deep Space Nine, you were amazing!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 Dec, 2017 At 10:19 AM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Opinion, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The Nintendo Switch has been a major success this year, with high sales of the system and both indie and AAA games. Developers have noted high sales of their games and games that struggled on some platforms have found success on the system. This has reached the point where games like Wasteland 2 are now coming to the system due to the success the Switch has been having so far.

But what is the reason for this success? Well, the answer to that is the fact that the Switch has changed the way people view gaming. As my friend Nelson said, playing  a story game or lengthy RPG typically requires you to sit by a computer or TV while you play. You are stationary and in  a sense, trapped by the game. Sure you can take breaks, but in the end the game can only be played at one spot.

But with the Switch, this is not the case due to the hybrid nature of the system. A long RPG or story driven game becomes something you can play on the go or even in bed. I have spent several nights before going to sleep, just relaxing and playing some RPGs or beat em ups on the system, and as others have noted, the Switch is great for people who travel. A long game becomes perfect for someone taking a flight and needs a distraction, and the sheer amount of games offers variety if people get tired of the game they are playing.

In other words, games that would require a significant time commitment before can now be played in small bite sized portions  and be enjoyed in the way a player sees fit. This also has another effect as well, and that is that people might want to check out even more games on the system that can be played this way. This could very well explain why so many games have found success on the system compared to other platforms. I have seen firsthand, players of fighting games want more of the genre on the Switch so they can continue playing on the go. And as I mentioned at the beginning, developers who wrote off the Switch initially are now getting on board such as InXile Entertainment with Wasteland 2.

The Switch was intended by Nintendo to be a new way to play and it seems that they truly succeeded with that goal. This is a system that has changed the way people view and play games, and is the system for people who are constantly moving, as it offers them a fun way to play as well as giving other gamers a new experience. This really is a system for everyone.

 

Disclaimer: The Above is the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of Real Otaku Gamer or its staff.

 

Check out Nelson’s post here.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 Dec, 2017 At 06:52 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Opinion, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, ROG Retro | With 1 Comment

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Ah the NES, the little grey box that helped shape the world of gaming into what it is today. Its a classic system with so many great games, but also some not so classic ones. For every classic like Mario and Zelda, there were 20 horrible games, not even counting the unlicensed ones, so I decided I will take a look at the worst of these offenders. This will take a few lists, and what better way to begin than with the worst NES games Nintendo themselves released. But I am not doing this myself. Along for the ride is none other than Indie Gamer Chick, and she is holding nothing back.

Stack Up

Stack Up doesn’t, ahem, stack up. Stack Up was one of the games made to work with ROB the robot for the NES launch. Stack Up was released along with Gyromite, but while Gyromite is actually fun as a co-op experience and has value there Stack Up has nothing to offer. It is a mindless game based on tapping buttons to get ROB to move a certain way, but unlike Gyromite where ROB is needed unless playing co-op with another player, you can just tap buttons in Stack Up and the game will accept it. It was essentially a tech demo for ROB and has no value of its own.

Indie Gamer Chick says

“I’ve actually played Gyromite the way it’s supposed to be played. Stack-Up, I’ve only seen in videos, but it’s sort of one of those “what were they thinking?” type of games. ROB was meant to be a Trojan Horse to convince retailers that the NES wasn’t a video game system, and with Stack-Up, they could say “see, it’s not even a game at all!” Watching ROB slowly move blocks from stack to stack is like watching the world’s oldest grocery store stock boy arrange cans of soup on the shelf, only not as exciting because you can’t take bets on whether ROB will break a hip or not.

Donkey Kong Jr Math

Donkey Kong was a smash hit and the breakthrough title for Nintendo as a company. Donkey Kong Jr, was an excellent followup and a worthy entry in its own right, so anticipation for another game was at an all time high. How did Nintendo meet the demands of consumers? By having the little ape…..teach math. If Nintendo was trying to push educational games, they succeeded extremely well. It taught a valuable lesson to young gamers in the 80s: if you spend $40 on Donkey Kong Jr Math, you have $40 fewer dollars and 0 more decent games in your NES collection. Gamers hated this waste of time and Nintendo took the criticism to heart with Donkey Kong 3.

Indie Gamer Chick says

It’s scientifically proven that adding math to ANYTHING makes it less fun. “Donkey Kong!” YEA! “Junior!” OOOH SEQUEL! “Math!” Oh, um. Math? That thing that we do in school that isn’t playing Nintendo? Uh, what’s on TV? Though I will say the multiplayer mode is slightly underrated. Well, in the sense that it’s more exciting than a staring contest.

 

Mach Rider


This one confuses me. I have seen this hyped up by many retro enthusiasts but it is absolutely terrible. The controls are annoying and the game play is so monotonous that the fun factor is gone sooner than watching any Adam Sandler comedy The music will gnaw at your ears and make you beg for Mike Tyson to come along and relieve you of your hearing. Is it the nostalgia or group-think behind the inexplicable love that this game gets? I cannot say, but this is definitely not a fun experience.

Indie Gamer Chick says

Never has gunning down people while on the back of a motorcycle been so boring. Oddly enough, gaming has forgotten that Mach Rider also does the “Oh Em Gee, it was a girl all along!” reveal that Metroid is famous for. Maybe because the girl driving has an extraordinarily large ass and it’s awkward to point that out in 2017 because that’s body shaming. Or perhaps nobody talks about it because nobody played Mach Rider. Because Mach Rider sucks.

Ice Climber

This is considered an all time classic. One of the best Nintendo ever made and a true NES standout gem. It should be noted though, that this is only said by those who haven’t played the game and only know if from the characters appearing in the Super Smash Bros series. If you have played the game however, then you will know it for being a dull monotonous vertical scrolling game with little variety and little push to continue. As an arcade game it might pass, since this is a simple enough game for a short while for quarters at a time, but take it out of the arcade, and you have an NES game it is extremely lacking, even compared to other NES launch games that were lacking. There just is nothing to the game on NES, and it becomes boring very fast.

Indie Gamer Chick says

My first exposure to Ice Climber was from Animal Crossing, and to get it I had to buy a shit-ton of E-Reader cards. I understood immediately why it was so difficult to acquire: it’s perhaps the worst-controlling Nintendo-made game ever, and the collision-detection is so spotty that I often jumped right through bricks. It’s awful. My personal choice for the worst game on this list. I understood fully why Nintendo shoe-horned them into Smash Bros in 2001: anyone who ever played Ice Climbers probably wanted to pummel something associated with the game.

Urban Champion

I joke constantly that Nintendo should revive this game, but there is a reason I always say it should be in name only. The reason being, that the game is an utter abomination of a fighting game. The controls are terrible the screen moves awkwardly and the stage interactions- while ahead of the time- only manage to get in the way of what little joy there is. If this was your first time ever playing a fighting game, then I am so sorry for you. I also understand if this game scared you off of ever trying the genre again .Leave it to Nintendo to create new genres like the metroidvania but entirely fail at a simple fighting game by trying to be “inventive”. Perhaps the worst injustice is that Nintendo did make a good fighting game for the NES – Joy Mech Fight – but they only released it in Japan. Was there a meeting where some cynical Nintendo executive said “those Americans will buy anything, so give them some rush job and keep the good stuff here”?

Indie Gamer Chick Says

Really, I have nothing to say that hasn’t been said by every other gamer for decades. It’s one of the worst Nintendo games ever. Having said that, I think UFC would be ten times as interesting if the fighters had to dodge potted-plants thrown randomly at them during matches. Someone get Dana White working on this.

Duck Hunt

“Whoa! Now you are pushing it” I hear you say. After all, isn’t Duck Hunt one of the most iconic games on the NES? Well, no it isn’t. Duck Hunt is well remembered due to the double pack with Super Mario Bros and in that package, it did its job well. On its own, Duck Hunt was not a compelling game, with issues keeping the shooting from being precise and a lack of content left players feeling cheated. Remember, nostalgia is the biggest drug around and can make people believe things that are not true. How else do you think Adam Sandler keeps getting work despite his movies all being the same old garbage?

Indie Gamer Chick says

I was born in 1989 and didn’t get my first console, the original PlayStation, until 1996. By time I was a confirmed gamer, Duck Hunt was 20 years old and I had epilepsy. Lightgun games aren’t exactly compatible with epilepsy ( as discussed on IndieGamerChick.com here). But seriously, it’s a game where you line up a cursor with another cursor and push a button, and it repeats for infinity. There’s a reason why this was typically bundled with Super Mario Bros. It’s not exactly something that could hold up on it’s own. The real fascinating aspect is the Mandela Effect. There are people who swear they can remember that if they play the game long enough, you can shoot the dog. In fact, you can in the arcade version. So Duck Hunt at least is fascinating as it relates to false memories such as shooting the dog or having fun playing an atrociously boring game that never stops.

Baseball

This is the worst sports game ever to grace the NES. Worse than 10 Yard Fight, worse than Soccer, and worse than Volleyball. Baseball isn’t just bad, it is uniquely bad. The controls are awful and the visuals are so bland and off-putting that you will beg for a clown to vomit just to give some variety. But that isn’t the worst part. No the worst part is just how slow this damn thing moves. Sports games should be exciting and quick paced, but this just puts me to sleep faster than a mix of Vodka and Jack Daniels.

Indie Gamer Chick Says

The Issue with Baseball is the same as all the first-wave sports games for the NES like 10-Yard Fight, Pro Wrestling, Volleyball, and Soccer: it’s sooooooooo slow. Baseball is the worst of the lot, but besides Tennis (and even that’s not very good), they all sort of blend together to form something that’s like playing the Geratric Olympics. It wasn’t until Ice Hockey that a proper decent sports game hit the NES. And honestly, Ice Hockey is a genuinely exciting, face-paced sports game that holds up today. Maybe we owe that to how bad stuff like Baseball was. They were like blueprints on what NOT to do.

 

So there you are. The seven worst NES games published by Nintendo. More lists like this are being planned so stay tuned and also let us know what you think of this.

 

Thank you to Indie Gamer Chick for contributing. If you are unfamiliar with her work, check out her piece on the way Nintendo made these games good, through reusing them for NES Remix. Check out her site, www.indiegamerchick.com and check her out on twitter, @indiegamerchick. She is currently running #indiexmas, a massive giveaway of games. This is not a contest, simply ask for what is being offered with the only catch being that you must talk about he game in some way, positive or negative.

 

 

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Let’s be honest, aside from big name fighters, many great fighting games are not getting a lot of new players. The fact of the matter is that no matter how great a tournament scene is, without new blood coming in, the scene will get smaller. So how can we fix this?

I can think of a couple of ways and I believe the scene can still grow. First and foremost, the communities need to be more welcoming. Toxicity among communities is regularly discussed and nothing has really been done yet. This is a major turnoff to potential new players, since they feel rejected. I am not saying we need to end the “get good” culture, but simply refine it. Instead of mocking people as noobs, we should offer to help them grow as players. Maybe have some event just for newcomers to learn more in a welcoming environment. Mocking players constantly when they are just starting out, only ends up chasing them away.

Related to the above, is the fact that many communities in the greater FGC, have an elitist attitude. Not all but most, and it needs to stop. Keeping newcomers out or just saying “git gud” without offering help only ends up hurting the scene by causing it to shrink gradually. New players help keep fighting games alive and without them, our favourite series ( whatever it may be) will not continue due to low sales.

The second major way is for developers to make games more tempting for casuals. I DO NOT mean to say things should be dumbed down, but rather more single player and offline content should be added. This is what gets many people interested into a game, and can lead them into playing online. Street Fighter V suffered badly because of this, and Arcade Edition seems like it will finally right the ship by addressing this issue.

NetherRealm Studios games sell well because they have so much offline content, that a casual player can player for hundreds of hours and never go online. This is not a bad thing, as its been seen that many players do eventually try online after playing the offline modes.  Having a great amount of offline content brings in players, and that means sales increase. Increased sales in turn mean that a series can continue on. And we must fact the facts that if the games do not sell, they will not continue at all.

If we can bring in more players to the games, and make them want to stay, we can help the FGC grow and thrive. But this is just my two cents on the matter. These don’t need to be major changes to the FGC, and they don’t need to be intrusive but can be done organically.  For now, all we can do is just not be jerks to the newcomers.

 

Disclaimer: The above was the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of Real Otaku gamer or its staff.

 

By Jessica Brown On 7 Dec, 2017 At 04:26 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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So, today I turned 33, which not only means that this is the start of the last year that I can rightly say that “I’m in my early-30s,” but it’s also given me an opportunity to reflect back on a lot of things. One of the things that I’ve thought about a lot lately though has been the evolution of gaming (and technology, for that matter) over the past 30+ years and the fact that while some things have evolved in a massive, almost unpredictable way over the years, other things remain constantly in style.

When I was born, the sun was finally setting on the era of Atari’s reign in home console gaming. The Nintendo Entertainment System would shortly be released in the United States and the way people thought about home games would effectively change forever. While Atari had focused more on short, arcade-like gaming experiences you could enjoy in little bursts, the NES delivered much longer and much more detailed gaming experiences. You could easily write a dissertation on how exactly the original Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda would go on to redefine and revitalize the gaming industry as a whole, but the fact that I could mention this in a sentence and you’d likely know exactly what I was referring to says an awful lot. When I first played The Legend of Zelda I was probably about three years old and I remember stumbling around, trying to figure out where to go and what I needed to do. Sometimes this left me a little frustrated, but I definitely remember being excited every time I uncovered some little secret. Sure, back then I wasn’t good at all and probably died a ton, but the experience was memorable and something I’ll never forget. The original Dragon Warrior was the first real RPG I ever played and I’m pretty sure some parts of it were a bit beyond my reading level at the time, yet part of me thinks that the desire to figure out what was going on in games like it (and later Final Fantasy II on the SNES) really encouraged me to press on and really helped my reading skills improve.

Most of my favorite game series had their genesis during this same time period. In addition to the games listed above, I was very fond of Castlevania, and pretty much all the NES Mega Man games. This is probably why today I am very excited every time I read about a new CastlevaniaZeldaFinal FantasySuper Mario, or Mega Man game. This is true even if sometimes they might be games I won’t get right away, because despite that there’s still this big nostalgia factor that kicks in when I see things like the recent announcement of Mega Man 11 for modern game consoles and the PC.

I didn’t necessarily get every game system that came out as I was growing up, but I did get a fair number of them. I remember getting the Super Nintendo for Christmas the year it came out, eventually getting a Sega Genesis, a Nintendo 64, the original PlayStation, and then later the Dreamcast and the GameCube. I also had other ones too like the Game Boy (and later GB Color and GB Advance), the Game Gear, and the Virtual Boy as well. Later on, in college, I also went out of my way to go back and pick up a Sega Master System (and a bunch of games!) and a Philips CD-i.

Over the years, certain aspects of my tastes in games and what I play them on have changed, though. For instance, when I was in college and had my first really capable laptop, I got a lot more into PC gaming. Part of this also probably stemmed from the fact that when you live in a dorm you have a lot less space to work with, so lugging around a bunch of consoles and games becomes a lot less practical for a while. Still, I usually always had at least one console from each subsequent generation of systems and quite often would favor Nintendo over the others if I were only to get one system. Later on, I came to appreciate the diversity that having a powerful PC would allow, letting me not only play games on very high settings (enjoying modern titles on a huge 4K HDR TV these days), but also serving as a media center, entertainment PC, and work station. This has also certainly been a boon in the past when I’ve been more into media production, such as gameplay videos.

It’s been interesting though to see that home gaming consoles have evolved in many ways into being “small gaming PCs” with some pretty impressive stats backing them up. This was something I predicted a while back, saying that I thought that the lines between a computer and a game console would slowly get a bit blurred. I also remember commenting that I thought the lines between a portable and a home-based console would also eventually start being blurred as technology both improved and shrunk over time, allowing you to fit some pretty impressive hardware into much smaller devices. In this way, the Nintendo Switch has surely met this prediction and in many ways exceeded any expectations I might have had for that kind of technology.

I know that it’s easy to look at an older generation of adults and think that they have become out of touch with the changes in the world around them, possibly because they are already set in their ways and prefer those things that are already familiar to them. In this respect, though, I hope I never stop trying new things and appreciating all the exciting changes that are going on around us. It is easy to get comfortable with what you already know and thus become stuck in a rut, but it’s often very refreshing and exciting to take a chance and try something totally new.

Lately, I’ve been making much more of an effort to actually play and enjoy games because in recent years I was starting to feel like I was more of a collector and appreciator of games than I was a gamer. Often I would buy or get a game as a gift and really be excited about it, but life would get busy and I’d never get around to it or I’d always have one excuse or another for why I didn’t want to start a brand-new game just yet. Now, I see how massive my gaming backlog is, but I’m trying to approach it with a healthy and fresh mindset, aiming mainly to play things because I want to play them and just start enjoying them again.

Anyway, the past decades have certainly seen a lot of changes, and it’s fun to look back on them and reflect on how things have evolved. Thanks for dropping by and spending a little time with me as I’ve looked back on some of these things. Hopefully the coming years will see many more exciting advances that we will all enjoy together!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 7 Dec, 2017 At 02:13 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, Reviews, ROG News | With 1 Comment

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Some spoilers for Skyrim will be contained within; you’ve been warned!

The holidays are approaching, and for me that means it will soon be time to light the Chanukah Menorah and eat some latkes. But when it comes to holidays and being a gamer, one has to stop note that sometimes your favourite games have a similarity to a holiday being observed (whether or not the developers intended that to be so). This is the case with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the holiday of Chanukah.

The story of Chanukah is the story of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire to restore freedom, both political and religious to Judea. The empire had imposed new religious laws on the region and a revolt by the faithful was launched; that led to the liberation of the land and the re-dedication of the Temple. Judas Maccabaeus was one of the key figures in the revolt that led to the Jewish people being free, and his name and legacy have been preserved for generations as a figure to look up to and admire. After the revolt, a new dynasty of Jewish kings came to power as the Hasmonean dynasty, and ancient Israel was once again under their own control; Israel was no longer under the rule of a foreign empire that imposed laws religious of religious persecution. Now doesn’t this all sound familiar?

A key part of Skyrim is the Stormcloak rebellion: led by Ulfric Stormcloak, it seeks to renew the land of Skyrim’s independence from the Empire, restore the freedom to worship their patron god Talos. Should the Stormcloaks win the civil war, so the tale goes, one of the first acts they intend do is to restore the shrine of Talos in the temple of the divines; this is not disimilar to the Holy Temple of Israel being rededicated and purified after the Maccabean revolt. This could be coincidental, but even if it is, the similarities are enough that I feel Skyrim’s Stormcloak route truly does re-tell the story of Chanukah. But the similarities do not end there.

The land of Skyrim, as seen in the game, is populated with people who’ve abandoned the Nordic pantheon (for the most part) in favour of the imperial pantheon. This is notable in that the Nords of Skyrim traditionally despised some of the Imperial pantheon such as Arkay. Similarly in the story of Chanukah, many Jews were close to abandoning their traditions in favour of the culture & religion coercively pushed on them by the Seleucid Empire. While Ulfric’s victory is only seen to restore Talos-worship in the game, it would not be hard to imagine that it would eventually lead to a full revival of the Nordic traditions. Ulfric’s restoration of Talos in the temple of the divines is more than just a simple act; it marks the beginning of the return for the Nords to their traditions that were abandoned, or taken from them. So too did the re-dedication of the temple mark the Jewish people returning to their faith and traditions after a period of war, both with the Empire, and with the loyalists.

I noticed these similarities while I was playing the game and while I cannot be sure if they were intentional or not, they stood out to me. Things like this help keep gaming fresh, by showing you that there can be deeper meaning in the games you play. You just need to look in the right places.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The above editorial represents the point of view of the author only, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Real Otaku Gamer or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 5 Dec, 2017 At 05:12 PM | Categorized As Comics You Should Read, Editorials, Featured, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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We often see celebrities try their hand at writing comics and the result is not often good, unless its just them co-writing with an established writer. Umbrella Academy is different however, as Gerard Way, the frontman for the band My Chemical Romance, had been writing for years and his debut in comics happened before Umbrella Academy. He also had experience with working in TV writing, so this was definitely not a comic written by someone who didn’t know what they were doing.

 

The Umbrella Academy takes inspiration from comics such as Grant Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol, but takes things in directions not yet explored. We begin with the finishing blow in a cosmic boxing match, when at the same time 43  infants are inexplicably born to random, unconnected women who hadn’t shown any sign of being pregnant before. Seven of the children were adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves alias The Monocle, a space alien posing as an adventurer and entrepreneur. They are to be trained to fight an unspecified future threat as The Umbrella Academy.  But fast forward to adulthood and the team has drifted apart, with one of their number dead, one having gone missing many years before and so on. But with the death of Sir Reginald, the team is called back together, and even the missing No. 5 has returned, having time travelled from the future, but is still a child for some strange reason.

The Hargreeves family is a truly dysfunctional superhero family that cannot get along without going at each other. The various members such as Kraken and Spaceboy soon clash over unresolved tensions but it is not long before the threat that the Monocle predicted starts manifesting itself. What follows is a journey through identity and family, as unresolved feelings are addressed such as feelings of parental abandonment, love and resentment. This is definitely not a typical comic, and the art by Brazilian born Gabriel Ba is truly amazing and I can not imagine anyone else having done the artwork.

Umbrella Academy is definitely offbeat, but in a good way. This is a comic that merges writing and art in an intricate way, and Volume 2: Dallas only upped the ante. We see the fallout from the previous volume, and what changes the characters have gone through. We see more of the alternate history that Umbrella Academy is set in, including that JFK never was assassinated, and the dangerous fallout that leads to. More world-building is done, including of the backstory of Number 5, which was perhaps the biggest lingering question from Volume one: Apocalypse Suite.

To say that the series gets weirder is an understatement, and yet nothing seems out of place or awkwardly done. This is a testament to the skill of Way and Ba that the absurd world that they created feels like it actually makes sense. Dallas sets up more plot threads that will no doubt be explored in future volumes, such as a possible new enemy, and the status of the team.  The characters grow, but not necessarily in a healthy way, which is realistic. And given that this volume has completely insane time travelling assassins wearing oversized cartoon animal heads, that is saying something.

I cannot recommend this comic enough. It is simply one of the best comic works that Dark Horse Comics has ever published!

 

 

 

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Capcom just recently announced a slew of new things in honor of Mega Man’s 30th anniversary (wow, has it really been that long?), including Nintendo Switch ports of Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 and 2, new versions of Mega Man X1 through X8 on modern platforms, and something entirely new altogether: a brand-new Mega Man game!

The last mainstream entry into the series was back in 2010 with Mega Man 10. While Mega Man 10 was by no means a bad game (it was actually quite fun, really) and had some neat features to it (Bass being playable in his 8-bit form) it kind of felt derivative to me. In a lot of ways it felt like it was a quick attempt to capitalize off of the success and nostalgia brought about from 2008’s Mega Man 9, but other than a new story and new bosses (seeing the Rockman Killers brought back was really awesome!) the game felt like it had already been done before. Since Mega Man 9 had capitalized on being an NES-style 8-bit adventure, I had hoped that Mega Man 10 might have focused on the SNES style instead. Sadly, they decided to go with 8-bit for a second time.

Mega Man 9 was a lot more exciting for me when it first came out because it was the first real Mega Man game in the U.S. in quite some time. Mega Man 8 had been released back in January of 1997, so other than a Game Boy Advance port of Mega Man & Bass, it had been over ten years since we saw a main series entry. Also, the 8-bit style was perfect in MM9, really tugging on those nostalgia strings and giving gamers a sense of joy when playing the game. The bosses were really unique (with a female Robot Master for a change!), the soundtrack was great, and the game was difficult but fair.

Mega Man 11, which is set for release in late-2018, looks like it’s finally bringing the blue bomber into the modern era with a gorgeous 2.5D style to it. It reminds me of Might No. 9 but…Much better! There’s no word on the story just yet, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Dr. Wily is up to no good once again.

I’m left wondering if Mega Man 11 will usher in a new era for the iconic robot and his friends. Maybe if the game does well we will have the possibility of finally seeing a Mega Man X9 or at least finally getting some answers as to what happens between the two series of games. Regardless, I’m very happy to see that Capcom is putting its attention to this iconic series once again and that we may finally get some awesome original titles for a change rather than updated collections of previous adventures.

Now, the waiting game begins!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 13 Nov, 2017 At 11:19 AM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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It was 12 years ago today that wrestling fans received horrible news: the legendary Eddie Guerrero had passed away at the age of 38 due to heart problems. Eddie had touched the lives of so many and overcome so much in his own life, that it just seemed cruel for him to be taken in his prime. His death hit the industry hard and is still felt today.

Eddie Guerrero was the youngest son of Gory Guerrero, one of the best heels in Lucha Libre. He was born into a wrestling legacy and soon found himself getting into the business. Trained by the best and soon proving why he was the best, Eddie made a name for himself in countries like Mexico and Japan and developing friendships along the way with the likes of Art Barr, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit.  Eddie got married to his wife Vickie and their daughter was born soon after. But hardships came just as much as the good did.

After some time in ECW in the United States, Eddie was signed to World Championship Wrestling where things took a turn for the worse. Eddie’s troubles piled up, augmented by the already turbulent nature of WCW, where wrestlers were essentially put into castes and the backstage environment was not a healthy one. Drug and alcohol problems got out of hand and Eddie pushed himself too far. Eddie’s relationship with Vickie and their now two daughters was growing shaky due to his growing problems, but it all got worse after Eddie was in a major car accident and came back to work too soon afterwards due to WCW’s policies.  He was unhappy in WCW where he was treated poorly but could not get out of the company yet.

As stated, Eddie was one of the best wrestlers of all time. He could make anyone look amazing in the ring and had such natural charisma that it rubbed off on even the most bland individual he was working with. He had matches that were the highlight of every show and was such a star in Mexico that promoters continued his gimmick long after he left.  However, they could not replicate the results without him. In WCW, the better he did, the more the higher ups seemed to dump on him and it took a toll along with everything else in his life at the time.

Eddie, along with Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn and his longtime friend Dean Malenko, eventually jumped ship from WCW to the WWE and things turned around for the better. Eddie was suddenly given a chance he wasn’t afforded in WCW. He quickly won over fans and higher ups liked what they saw. But his demons were also getting stronger. Addictions to painkillers and alcohol  had wrecked havoc on his life,. His marriage was ruined and he was spiraling out of control and eventually it got to the point that Dean Malenko had to inform WWE what was going on, because he feared finding Eddie dead in a hotel bed one day.

Eddie was given the choice to go to rehab and was eventually fired by WWE. But that was not the end of his story. Eddie did rehabilitate himself and rededicated himself to God. He cleaned himself up and began working on the independent scene for a while, including with talents like CM Punk. He also began to repair his personal relationships, eventually winning back and reuniting with his family, and WWE took notice. Eddie had turned himself around and was brought back to the company in a big way. Latino Heat had been his nickname for a while and now he showed just what Latino Heat was capable of. In his tag team with his nephew Chavo Jr ( they were nearly the same age), Eddie wooed fans like never before. He lied, he cheated and stole in his matches and the fans went crazy for him. He was the wiliest figure in the ring and no one could outsmart him.

Eddie eventually impressed WWE so much that he was given a run with the WWE championship and represented the company and title with pride and honor. He became and example of redemption in wrestling, and it was not just an act. Former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas told a story in his book, The Three Count: My Life in Stripes as a WWE Referee, about how a young fan in a wheelchair had waited after a show to meet Eddie and wasn’t able to. Jimmy went to Eddie, who was in the changing room and immediately took the WWE belt and went to meet the fan because he wanted to make him happy. There were stories about how Eddie would encourage people to tip waiters and waitresses better because a good tip could mean all the difference to them in terms of their money for the month. He would read the bible frequently and discuss his faith with those interested. He never tried to push religion on anyone, but simply was willing to talk about it. He was willing to talk to others going through the problems he had, and would offer his guidance.

Sadly, 12 years ago this day, Eddie passed away. He had overcome his demons but the damage had been done. His substance problem had caused heart issues and he was found dead in his hotel room bed by Chavo and Dean. Eddie was lionized afterwards and rightfully so. El Santo may have been called the Saint of wrestling but Eddie had a good claim on the title also. He inspired wrestlers to do better, both in the ring and in life, and later to take care of themselves. He showed that one could bring himself back from the bottom and come to the top.

Eddie is gone but will never be forgotten. He is the inspiration for positive changes in the industry, including how smaller wrestlers are perceived. A hero to may, Eddie will always live on in our hearts and minds.

Viva La Raza!