Phone Losers of America Videos I Sponsored

February 8, 2017 Leave a comment

This post is just a way for me to list all the videos from the Phone Losers of America YouTube channel that I have “sponsored” or “produced” via its Patreon.

🌵Pizza Delivery Problems

🌵Rich People Recycling Problems

🌵Getting Info From a License Plate

🌵Hotel Guest Prank Call – Yet Even More Excessive Water Use

🌵Home Security Prank Call – Peace of Mind

🌵FedEx Prank Call – Marijuana Smell

🌵Bank Customers – Identity Thief

Will post more as I find them on that channel.

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Thoughts on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

August 31, 2016 Leave a comment

I tried to think of a witty title regarding the upcoming Wii U/NX Zelda game, but gave up. Was going to use “Fresh Air, With Rand al’Thor”, but whatever.

I’ve been a fan of The Legend of Zelda since I was old enough to play video games. It was the late ’80s and my parents had just gotten an NES. I played the hell out of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. I also spent a lot of time with games like Top Gun (never was that good at landing that damn plane!), Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers (loved the two-player co-op on that), Ultima: Exodus, Dragon Warrior, Golf, Kirby’s Adventure, and PinBot among many others.

I loved the open-world nature of the original Zelda. Hell, I even loved the sidescrolling dungeon design of Zelda II. (Although, for a reason I wouldn’t discover until just recently, the towns freaked me out (turns out my mom had discovered wrong-warping in towns decades before it was discovered and exploited by speedrunners and shown off at GDQ events, and it was the glitching out of towns that scared me as a kid)) To me, a true Zelda game allowed you the freedom to explore its vast world with little to no restrictions. To be fair, the first Zelda had some restrictions to explorations by requiring certain items (such as the raft or stepladder) to access certain ares, but most of the world was accessible from the start if you were daring enough.

A lot of Zelda games have turned out to be more linear. The Oracle games are decidedly linear, forcing you to beat the dungeons in a certain order (there is no real freedom of exploration in either Holodrum or Labrynna). Even Link’s Awakening is mostly linear. Ocarina of Time returned some nonlinearity to its gameplay, but you still can’t access the Temples until you’ve cleared the first three dungeons and collected the three spiritual stones and the Master Sword. Majora’s Mask offered a lot more freedom to the player. I’ve only played Skyward Sword once but I remember it being very linear. Twilight Princess bogged the player down with story, always holding a tantalizing glimpse of the larger world just out of the player’s reach. There was a lot to do in regards to story, and you never had much of a chance to just go and roam the world until late in the game. You didn’t even get an item to summon Epona until near the end of the game. Let’s not even get to the DS games

Much as I like stories in my Zelda games, they often just served as a barrier to the exploration I wanted. I just wanted to set out, no major backstory to sit through.

And here comes Breath of the Wild. Everything about this game makes me excited, but mainly the absolute freedom the game offers. Past Zelda games have limited players on how puzzles are solved and how dungeons are tackled. No actual dungeons have been shown yet, just the shrines. Aonuma has hinted that the dungeons are quite different from the shrines.

There’s a small bit of story to set you on your way, with Link waking up in the Shrine of Resurrection. However, once you leave the Shrine, you can go any direction you want. The only restriction at this point seems to be that you have to get the paraglider from the old man, which allows you to safely escape from the Great Plateau. From there, we don’t currently know what to expect.

I’ve not played any of the Dark Souls games, but I keep seeing people reference those games with how BotW plays. I like how you can ambush enemies, steal their weapons, distract enemies. There’s just so much to this game that the demos we’ve seen so far are clearly just scratching the surface.

I’ve loved the Zelda games over the decades, but BotW looks like a full realization of what Miyamoto originally intended with the first game.

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Twitter Printer Adventure

January 21, 2016 Leave a comment

In the early years of Twitter, there were a lot of experiments like this, where someone would connect a printer to the Internet and somehow set it up so that it printed tweets containing either a certain username or character string (the letter generally being what became known as a “hashtag”).

My friend Daily and I would find these, and start spamming messages to be printed. Usually these printers would also be shown on a live video stream, so you could see your messages as they were being printed out. These were fun to watch, but I could it was a relic of a time when Twitter was not as popular as it is now, or as frequently used.

These screenshots are from a printer that was set up on 16 November, 2011. Daily and I would send messages and watch as they were printed. I brought in my Twitter alternate account, IvanButtons, for additional comments. Lots of screenshots ahead, so I’m putting them behind a cut tag. Probably not necessary in today’s Internet, but I’m still doing it.

Read more…

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Collecting Amiibo

Amiibo was an odd direction for Nintendo to choose. Sure, we had Skylander figures for that franchise, but Nintendo was going to adopt that idea for the then-upcoming Super Smash Bros. games. For a while, it seemed the idea would be limited to Smash Bros., but after yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, it’s clear that Nintendo is leveraging this idea for far more than just Smash Bros.. We have Amiibo already for Mario Party 10, and upcoming Amiibo for Splatoon and Yoshi’s Wooly World, as well as Amiibo cards for Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. Suffice it to say that, while I still don’t think this Amiibo idea has any lasting potential beyond the Wii U and New 3DS, Nintendo will probably try to keep with this for as long as possible.

Anyway, that doesn’t mean I’ve not been collecting Amiibo. This post is mainly just to list all the Amiibo that I have.

As of this writing, I have 14 Amiibo (13 Smash Bros. and 1 Super Mario). I have: Sonic, Mario, Zelda, Mega Man, Link, Toon Link, Sheik, Pit, Kirby, Yoshi, Pikachu, Samus, Fox, and Toad. I could easily get Luigi, Bowser, and Peach.

As far as actually using the Amiibo, I’ve used most of them at least once in Smash Bros (those that are compatible). I’ve leveled the Link Amiibo up to 50.

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Kirby and the Rainbow Curse: First Impressions

February 24, 2015 Leave a comment

Yesterday I obtained a copy of Kirby’s latest adventure, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (as it’s called for the North American release) for Wii U. Gameplay-wise, it’s a follow-up to Kirby Canvas Curse, released in 2005 for the Nintendo DS. This game is played entirely with the stylus (the only button input is the start button, to pause/unpause the game), and as such, there’s really no need to have a television on for this, as it displays exactly what the Game Pad is displaying.

Anyway, the visual aesthetic for Rainbow Curse works rather well; it’s clay animation, with the frame rate slowed down a bit to emphasize the visuals. It’s a neat effect, and definitely sets this game apart even from other Kirby titles, but the visuals don’t really impact or inform the gameplay in any major way. A previous Kirby title, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, incorporated the yarn visuals into the gameplay mechanics, making for a unique game. As it is, Rainbow Curse is not unique and actually lacks some key features from Canvas Curse.

In Canvas Curse, you could tap enemies on the touch screen in order to halt their movements for a few moments. This proved incredibly helpful in navigating stages with the limitations on Kirby’s movements (Kirby is always in ball mode, and only moves with the ropes you draw on the screen, and when you tap Kirby). Another major gameplay mechanic in Canvas Curse was that Kirby could copy enemy abilities by bumping into them. This staple of the Kirby franchise was incredibly useful in Canvas Curse. However, both of these mechanics are absent from Rainbow Curse, and their absence is baffling. I could understand dropping the ability to halt enemy movement by tapping them, but excluding Kirby’s power-ups is even more confusing. It just doesn’t feel like a Kirby game without that. (On that note, there are some instances of Kirby gaining special powers, but those are bestowed by the paintbrush character, and reference the animal companions from the Dream Land series. You have a tank, a submarine, and a rocket, allowing for land, water, and air power. These sections are rare, though)

I’m about halfway through the game right now, and am enjoying it. I just feel that Canvas Curse is the better game.

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RIP [Moffat’s] Doctor Who

November 5, 2014 Leave a comment

This Saturday will mark an interesting turning point in my increasing frustration with the television show Doctor Who: it will be the first episode I’m choosing to not watch.

Doctor Who returned to the airwaves in 2005 with Russell T. Davies in charge. RTD left after The End of Time Part Two, which aired at the start of 2010, at which point Steven Moffat took over. Since then, the show has been going downhill, as far as I’m concerned. The most recent episode, of this typing, “Dark Water”, was the tipping point. The episode brought back the Master in the form of Missy, played by Michelle Gomez. I don’t have a problem with that change to the character in general, my problem is who is writing. Steven Moffat has proven time and time again that he cannot write women characters (see Amy Pond, Clara Oswald, River Song, Irene Adler).

That was just the latest point on an ever-growing list of frustrations brought on by Steven Moffat.

If you want to hear me bitch about Moffat for nearly 25 minutes, download this episode of Radio Free Caemlyn.

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Marble Hornets Ends

Two years ago, I wrote about the YouTube series Marble Hornets nearing an ending. Season three had been confirmed as the final season, and speculation was rampant about what that final season would reveal, and how the series would end.

Here we are, June of 2014, the fifth anniversary of the series at the end of the week, and the end of the series is in sight. The trio just had a very successful Kickstarter campaign to fund production of season three DVDs. That campaign stated that season three DVDs would ship in August. While the Marble Hornets guys don’t have to hold to that, they probably will, which implies things about the series itself. They will probably need most of July to compile the DVD features, prepare the DVDs for publication, and then to actually print and ready the DVDs and box sets for shipment. To keep to this schedule, the final Entry will have to be filmed and posted before this process begins, which means they’ve got until the first full week of July to end the series if they don’t want to rush the publication process.

This past Sunday night, Entry #86 was uploaded. Without providing spoilers, the video does provide an end to the series. Whether or not it is a satisfactory ending is a subject of debate among fans, as to whether this is the final Entry. There could still be one more entry to round out the series.

As of now, I’m waiting for next week, when the next THAC posdcast episode should be posted, and we’ll have word from the creators as to whether that was the end.

I discovered Marble Hornets back in September of 2009, shortly before Entry #14 was posted. I was a fan from that moment, and have been with the series since. I’ve met Tim, Joseph, Troy, and Brian at a Geek Media Expo event in late 2012. I’ve continued to do the Marble Operator podcast, discussing not just Marble Hornets, but TribeTwelve, Dark Harvest, and Andersen Journals. I’ve met friends through that podcast, through the fandom. Marble Hornets has been a huge part of my life. I don’t want the series to end.

Have questions been answered? Have the conflicts been addressed and resolved? Will a possible Entry #87 provide a satisfactory ending, or is it all ending here? Far as I know, none of the three have gone on record as to if the series has concluded. For now, we wait and see.

UPDATE (24 June, 2014): Entry #87 was posted on Friday, the five-year anniversary of the first video, “Introduction”, being posted. The trio behind the series were at a convention that following weekend, and at a Q&A panel, confirmed that the series has officially ended.

Marble Hornets has officially ended. On the next episode of Marble Operator, I’ll have a roundtable discussion on the final Entry, how the series ended, and an overview of the series.

The Marble Operator episode can be downloaded here.

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