2016: A Hope for Change…Maybe

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Finally, I get a chance to make a blog for the new year. So let’s look at the list I made for my 2015 resolution:

1. Looking at my activity on my WordPress Dashboard, I have only posted 6 pieces this year. I would like to restart my blog by posting at least once a week. I have managed to get a headstart by making a post on best winter holiday specials, and I would like to continue posting articles like these in the future.

Okay, so I got a little too excited in making that promise. At least I did make more than six articles.

2. I would like to make more adventures with Star Haven Studios’s mascots, Ashana and Lily. I have made an attempt on a short comic, but I would like to make an adventure with them.

After doing more research on creating a fantasy world, this step may take a while. In fact, I have plans on updating Ashana’s look.

3. I would like to make more prints, not just featuring Ashana and Lily, at least to sell at conventions or online.

This I would like to do for this year. I plan on going back to making illustrations. In fact, I submitted more artwork in 2015 than any other year since joining deviantArt in 2006. Again, regarding Ashana and Lily, particularly Ashana, see #2.

4. I would like to make my YouTube page worth something. Given my last attempt at a video, I think it would be smart to start small and work my way up. I also would like to expand the playlist to include traditional drawing sessions, as well as digital. I may even try a video blog series. First thing I would do is create a trailer to introduce the world to Star Haven Studios.

Another project I would like to do. However, I need to get the right equipment.

5. Work on my “Games to Beat List”. It’s going to be difficult thanks to Town of Salem, Smash WiiU/3DS, Mario Kart 8, Animal Crossing New Leaf, and Tomodachi Life.

I sold Tomodachi Life. Haven’t played the other games much lately, thanks to Splatoon and Undertale (both great games). However, I did beat one of the games and I will do a review of that game when I get to it.

6. Improve the look of the entire website. While it does seem to be mobile-friendly, it does need to be more eye-catching.

Another thing I have to put on my list of things to do. Truth be told, thanks to social media, it’s pretty difficult to get viewers on websites without offering something unique. The reason I made the website was to showcase the best of the best of my craft.

So, this is 2016. Not much to say. Even though I didn’t get them done this year, I still got started on some. I did keep this blog alive and I did get some artwork done. I even did #Inktober, which I will showcase in a sketchbook video.

Long story short, I’m just going to keep on going and see where this adventure leads.

Super Mario RPG Reunion

Control Your Opinions, Fans: Story of Nintendo Direct Smash Brothers Edition

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Today, I saw the recent Nintendo Direct, which covered the latest news for Super  Smash Brothers for WiiU/3DS. It was a bittersweet moment as it was the last time Super Smash Brothers will get an update. First, here are my opinions:

  1.  I remember playing Final Fantasy VII in my younger days and I didn’t enjoy the game too much. Then again, this was my second RPG game I played (with Super Mario RPG being my first). Because of this, I was not excited when I heard that Cloud was going to be in Smash. Perhaps if I am given an opportunity to play Final Fantasy VII, I might enjoy it (except that everyone has played it and I have run into spoilers now and then). Nevertheless, I will admit his moveset looks pretty good and his stage, Midgar, looks even more awesome.
  2. I am interested in getting Corrin from the upcoming game, Fire Emblem Fates. Yes, (s)he is a Fire Emblem character, but (s)he’s not a clone. He/she does have a pretty interesting move set, definitely different from all the other Fire Emblem characters.
  3. Bayonetta is the craziest and possibly one of the most fun characters to play. This witch is all about style an in Smash, she does not disappoint. From initial looks, she does seem to be overpowering, but we’ll see in the final cut.
  4. Geno is available as a costume, but not a fighter. Still a win to me (see featured image).

Now, with those opinions out of the way, I will get to point of this article. Almost immediately after watching the Direct, I shared my opinions on Twitter and Facebook. After reading them, I felt they were not exactly the words I want to use, particularly my opinions on Cloud (one point, I thought he looked like a Fire Emblem clone, to which, after thinking it over, it’s not the case). From a gaming perspective, as I have mentioned, his moveset looks pretty good. However, my unenthusiastic outlook of Cloud (and Final Fantasy VII, in general), has interfered with my judgement. Nintendo may please many with their drafts, but they can’t please everyone.

Even though I have never played Bayonetta, I would still play the titular character (I have seen gameplay, and she does serve as inspiration) and it may be a while after its launch that I will play Fire Emblem: Fates, but since I am slowly getting into the Fire Emblem series, I’ll give Corrin a shot. Truth be told, I wasn’t too thrilled with Ryu as a playable character, but I still downloaded him (and his stage). So, to be fair to Cloud, I will give him a chance and add him to the roster when I have enough in my eShop account. Besides, as I said, Midgar looks really good.

And, again, Geno may not be a playable character, but having his costume available for a Mii gunner is better than nothing. Thank you, Sakurai, for keeping Geno in mind.


Interrupting News: YouTube, #Inktober, and Possible AnimeUSA Visit

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Interrupting News: where I post things that are longer than 140 characters and cannot wait until Wednesday to mention.

Today, I shall announce some changes and some updates throughout Star Haven Studios.

  1.  As usual, any posts made on this blog will be updated on Wednesdays, as usual. Think of it as helping overcoming the busy weekdays (I know they have a term for those Wednesdays, but I think it’s being phased out). The only exception to that rule is articles labeled, “Interrupting News”, such as this article you’re reading.
  2. I have deleted some of my old videos that I may feel get flagged courtesy of YouTube’s newest rules. Better be safe than sorry.
  3. I am still doing #Inktober this year. I have plans of making a compilation of it.
  4. There will be a video for my 2014-15 sketchbook. I have plans for narrating it.
  5. There is a chance I will be attending Anime USA this Saturday, mainly to see the Cowboy Bebop cast.

Thank you and have a nice day. And for those who are coming to Anime USA, I hope to see you then.


club nintendo

Super Mario Brothers: A Little Tribute to a Big Game

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The year is 1985. Nintendo is banking on the next big thing that would make them the king of the video game market. Leading this project was Shigeru Miyamoto, and with his team of designers, programmers, and a composer, Super Mario Brothers was born. With its smooth-scrolling platform levels, unusual characters, and a memorable soundtrack, the game became a stepping stone for future games, as well as one of the best-selling games of all time.

It wasn’t until 1988 that I got to play the game, and begin my love for video games. After Super Mario Brothers, I kept playing more games, not just Mario games. Regardless, my bedroom is mostly decorated with a Mario theme in mind.

Now, on the 30th Anniversary of Super Mario Brothers, Nintendo has allowed gamers to follow the footsteps of game designers, Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, and create their own wacky levels of their favorite Mario games through Super Mario Maker, which is out now.

How wacky? Check out this clip from the Nintendo World Championships.
It will be a while until I get a chance to make my own level and play some of the crazy levels that have been created with Super Mario Maker (right now, I’m playing Splatoon), but when I do, I hope I get to have fun with it. I mean, I did have fun with the levels in NES Ultimate Remix and Super Mario 3D World. They were interesting, challenging, and very creative that you want to play over and over (whether it is required for you for 100% completion or not).

Satoru Iwata, wherever you are, rest assured that Nintendo is continuing the tradition of making games fun.

Thank You, Mr. Iwata

Thank You, Satoru Iwata: A Tribute to a Great Businessman

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On his business card, it reads ‘Corporate President’, but he is a developer and a gamer.

He had many successes in the games he developed and the console he launched. As for his failures, he took responsibility. For example, when Nintendo was failing in 2013, he took a huge paycut to avoid employee layoffs.

He was the man behind shows like Nintendo Direct and Iwata Asks, shows where he would interview game developers and present Nintendo news to gamers.

Now I say to you, President Iwata, please understand that you were responsible for making Pokémon Gold my favorite Game Boy game of all time by having me travel through Johto and Kanto to extend the gameplay. You were responsible for developing one of my favorite fighting games, Super Smash Brothers, as well as other games such as Earthbound (which I need to finish) and Balloon Fight. You made memorable videos that featured you surrounded by Nintendo characters, or voicing a puppet version of yourself. You made me admire you more when you ignored the naysayers who accuse you of being “behind the times” to focus on fun. After all, you even said, “Video games are meant to be just one thing. Fun. Fun for everyone!”

President Satoru Iwata, you truly were a great businessman. Thank you for all of your hard work. You will be missed. Enjoy your travel down Rainbow Road.

Jem and the Holograms Movie: It’s Only the First Trailer

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I apologize for not posting this earlier, when the trailer was released last month. I was busy and forgot that I made this article. So, enjoy!

This was my initial reaction when I saw the trailer for the upcoming Jem and the Holograms movie. I still stand by my Twitter statement. However, I can’t say that it will be a bad movie. In fact, my prediction that the movie itself will be a simple, “meh”.

Yes, I know it’s not the same Jem and the Holograms that many like myself watched when it aired in the 80s or on the Discovery Family (formerly HUB Network). But let’s think about this. This is the same reaction that people were giving when they showed Sony Animation’s Smurfs movies or Michael Bay’s rendition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So far, I can vouch that the first Smurfs movie from Sony Animation was…odd (Hank Azaria’s performance didn’t help). However, I will not say anything about any movie until I see the full feature. That’s how it should be, right? I mean, I remember dissing Super Mario Galaxy when it was first announced, but after playing it, I really loved it.

It’s inevitable that mainstream media (e.g., Hollywood movies and TV shows) will change a franchise, especially a franchise that is about 30 years old. And yes, sometimes adaptations fail; sometimes, they succeed. However, when you change something that is dated to make it modern, you have to make it timeless. Even Jem and the Holograms, a series that screams 80s mainstream from the outrageous fashions and slang to the magic or technology, can be made timeless. From the initial trailer, the only thing we see is the bad fashion sense and a plot that looks like it was ripped from a Disney Channel movie.

I know fans of Jem are angry that there little or no reference to the cartoon. I sympathize with them. Director John. M. Chu could have put in more effort into making the movie a bit more like the cartoon. He could have added “The Misfits”, which could add a rivalry subplot. He could have Jerrica be a computer nerd to program a hologram using the program, Synergy. I mean, Jem did say the catchphrase, “Showtime, Synergy” in the movie; he can’t have her say it for no reason, right?

Right now, from what the first trailer has shown, it looks very underwhelming. Regardless, please remember that this was only the first trailer for the Jem movie. We could see “The Misfits” and thanks to that iconic line mentioned, we might have Synergy in our story. But for now, we’ll have to wait until the movie is released and prove whether or not this movie is “truly outrageous”.


Splatoon: Nintendo’s Possible Next Hit

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This afternoon, I had the privilege to try out Nintendo’s newest game series, Splatoon. In this game, you play squid people (or inklings) who shoot ink on land and at opponents in order to dominate the territory. Yes, Nintendo has made an original, but fun, third-person shooter.

I will admit, I am not good at shooters. My college buds can vouch that in the few times I played Halo multiplayer. Of course, other than the Halo LAN parties, I have never played a shooter genre game. So, for those who have me on their team would have to be patient with me. Regardless, Splatoon is a great game for novices and pros alike, especially for something this creative. Continue reading


The Importance of Patience and Concentration: What I Learned from Mario Kart 8’s 200cc DLC

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Last week, Nintendo released the second set of downloadable content (DLC) for Mario Kart 8. These available items included the following: three new characters, Villager and Isabelle (from Animal Crossing) as well as Dry Bowser; two new cups (Crossing Cup and Bell Cup); new vehicle customizations to match the Animal Crossing characters and Dry Bowser; and the newly-announced 200cc class karts/bikes.

After spending hours of playing 200cc class and enjoying taking the tour of the Animal Crossing track in time trial mode, I learned that in order to be the best in the currently-fastest class that is 200cc, you have to learn to control your vehicle, either by hitting the brakes or releasing the acceleration pedal. You may also have to learn your tracks real well to get the timing of drifts in order to get your boosts. Regardless, don’t worry if you get hit by a weapon or stumble onto any other hazard; keep going until you reach the finish line, even if it is the final lap. The proof is in the video link.

In short, check out my tweet.

Yeah, it’s just a further explanation of a tweet I made. But my point still stands. In fact, this is true for other competitive games. Learning about a game’s mechanics and experimenting with characters and features until you get a good feel about it makes the game enjoyable to play and to compete. I know this sounds like a standard ‘practice makes perfect’ article, but this experience proves it. You may deal with some losses, but as long as you had fun and learn something about this, the game is not a waste of your time.

You know, it may seem silly to see Bowser racing on a Vespa-like scooter with wheels that have a leaf on the rims, but he actually looks fine. Pop on a Bowser glider and it makes up for it.


Don’t Jump to Conclusions on News About Your Favorite Franchise: The Steven Universe/Uncle Grandpa Crossover

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This February, Cartoon Network announced that there would be a crossover episode of the two shows, Steven Universe and Uncle Grandpa. When I heard this announcement, I was uneasy. But when I got to watch the crossover episode (titled, “Say Uncle”), I had a good laugh. Continue reading


Night of the Cherry Blossoms

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Apologies for not posting anything Wednesday so to make it up for it, and for the hopes of keeping a “one post per week” going (despite missing at least one week of it), here’s something I made in honor of the cherry blossoms blooming.Ashana an Lily: Night of the Cherry Blossoms (2015)