My thoughts on Pokemon Go

Like most nineties kids, I’ve been a Pokémon fan since generation one.  Admittedly, I lost touch with the series after a while, but I can probably recite all 151 of the original Pokémon.  When the trailer for Pokémon Go released last year, it rekindled my fond memories of Pokémon, and I was stoked.

When it came out a week ago, I downloaded it as soon as I could.  As soon as I did, I just felt underwhelmed by the lack of features and gameplay.  It felt like a hollow shell of a game. Everything that made Pokémon fun was gone.  Catching them is nothing but flicking a ball at them and hoping they stay caught with no strategy involved.  Training them is also boring since all it involves is catching duplicate Pokémon, sending those Pokémon to the professor for candy, and hitting the evolve button once you have enough candy.

Fighting, which can’t even be against friends and only done in gyms consists of tapping the screen repeatedly in hopes that the other Pokémon faints first.  No trading and no battling with friends.  Supposedly, this will be in a later update, but I’m talking about features in the present, not the future.  Worst of all, it’s a freemium game where you spend real money on game items (though, considering the franchise stems at least partially from cards that people pay money for, I guess the whole thing has come full circle).

Servers are shoddy and barely work.  Since this game can’t be played without an internet connection, that means you have to wait on its time.  Pokémon are also not distributed well, and if you live in a low populated area, no Pokémon for you.  Since the game is the equivalent to having your GPS on, you better have a really good dataplan for all those Pokewalks.

There’s no strategy in the game and there’s very little of what passes for gameplay.  Since there’s no real moves in this game, there’s no benefit to having a Pokémon except to say you have it, so Pokémon are just kind of collected with no rhyme or reason.

Everything about this game screams crappy cellphone freemium game.  The game isn’t all bad though.  The game has a heavy social aspect to it, and can be great fun if you have a group of friends to play with.  I admit, before deleting the app, I had good fun with my friends as we searched parking lots and Walmarts for Pokémon.

Many fans are starting to get defensive against any criticism, as if they themselves have just been insulted.  Maybe it’s because this is from the childhood of most present day twenty somethings, but it feels like this game gets away with a lot of crap just because it’s Pokémon.  Rarely do people say let everybody enjoy something, especially in the gaming community, which thrives on hating things for no real reason (console wars).  Look, if you genuinely like the game, then like it.  Nobody is stopping you from enjoying it.  However, there will inevitably be people who disagree with you.  Lots of people enjoy Call of Duty, yet few hesitate to shit on that series every time they release a game.  Likewise, people also defend the game by saying more features will be out later.  Don’t we hate EA for doing pretty much the exact same thing with releasing half a game to update it later?

In conclusion, look, if you enjoy the game, fine.  I know a lot of people do, and it at least is getting people to exercise more and socialize.  However, I found it to be boring as hell.  Now that my Poke-nostalgia is up, it makes me want to play a real Pokémon game.  Maybe I’ll hit up my local Gamestop.

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Haven’t been updating in a while

I apologize to those of who have followed me.  I haven’t been updated this in months.  Reason being is that I recently went back to college, and juggling school and work are difficult enough.  Fitting in writing is near impossible.

Notice I said near impossible.  I have been slipping in a chapter here and there.  Almost Night 2 will be ready to go to an editor soon, and I’m also thinking of new updates for My Roommate Is An Elf.

Don’t worry, I have no intention of quitting.

Barbarian office worker

From a reddit writing prompt.

—–

 

Axes clanged together and sweat dripped from my brow. I reveled in the slight pain as I went for another blow against my rival. We matched each other blow for blow, and I let a battle cry before backing away slightly. “We must put this fight on hold!”

My rival snarled and lowered his weapon. “Why?”

I pointed to the watch on my wrist. It was the only thing I wore other than a loincloth and a necklace of teeth. “I’m late for work.”

“Very well,” he bowed. “Until next time, Stevrok.”

I raced to my hut and washed as best I could. I donned my suit and headed to the office. Not a single coworker could tell what I did in my time off.

“Hey Steve. What happened to your eye?”

“Motorcycle accident.”

“Again?” He cocked his head. “You need more lessons man.”

“I challenge you to a death duel for insulting me!”

“What?”

I coughed and sipped my water. “Uh, nothing.”

A writing prompt

On the subreddit, /r/writingprompts, a prompt was posted for an intervention for a guy who has gone far too long sober.  All drugs are common and sobriety is frowned upon in this setting.

—-

They were all there. Uncle Bob was tweaking out on uppers. My mom was drunk. Dad was spaced on hallucinogens. And here I was, sober as could be.

“Son, what the hell is this?” Mom clumsily threw a baggy of ground up green herb.

“Holy shit, it’s a tarantula!” Dad climbed over the couch and hid behind it.

“Mom, it’s my weed.”

“Bullshit.” Mom hiccupped. “This is oregano. You think I don’t know what oregano smells like? I was young, I partied once too!”

“Mom, come on.” I tried to laugh it off. “I wouldn’t have oregano as fake weed.”

“That’s not weed!” Mom pointed at the baggy. “I know weed!”

Tears streamed from my eyes and I collapsed into the chair. “I’m so sorry everybody.”

Uncle Bob said nothing while he smoked meth in the corner and gave Dad another drop of acid. It was Mom that came and put her arm around me. “There there son.”

“It’s just, sobriety made me feel so alert and active.” I let the tears flow. “I just couldn’t stop once I started.”

“How long?”

“One year.”

“Take this.” Mom thrust the whiskey into my hands. “Take it now!”

I chugged and felt the vaguely familiar sting of alcohol. “Thanks. I needed this.”

Back to my webcomic

73. Do You Believe In Santa

It feels good to make a comic again.  For anybody following the webcomic, I do apologize for not having one for so long.  Just been busy.  I will try to make this more regular and will try to make it at least bi-weekly if not weekly.

This page brings up an issue that I’ve often wondered in Christmas-y movies about Santa.  He’s always a secret and adults never seem to believe.  If adults don’t believe in Santa, just where do they think all these gifts come from?

As for why Phil got coal, well, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Read more at http://myroommateisanelf.comicdish.com

Star Wars: The Force Awakens review – no spoilers

I won’t post any spoilers, so in case you haven’t seen the movie yet, feel free to read on.  No more spoilers than those in the trailers.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a refreshing addition to the Star Wars series.  It touches a lot on the original trilogy, while adding a lot of new stuff to the table.  George Lucas is no longer running the show, and that is very apparent.

The characters in this one are much more believable than the jokes from the prequel trilogy.  Characters seem to have real motivation and you understand why they are doing what they are doing.  You feel Rey’s struggle in the home she made for herself on Jaku, Finn’s rebellion against the Stormtroopers is nicely handled, and Han Solo is a great character as always, becoming jaded from the passing decades.  I could go on about Han Solo and Chewbacca, but I said no spoilers.  Carrie Fischer and Harrison Ford are the same great actors we knew, playing the same great characters we knew, albeit aged quite a bit.  Rey, Finn, and Poe are also great.

To be honest, when the trailers first showed Finn, I was skeptical.  Not due to race or anything stupid like that, but because they were humanizing a stormtrooper.  They’re supposed to be faceless goons!  But the movie calmed my worries, and indeed he turned out to be my favorite new character.

JJ Abrams adds his own take on Star Wars, and that definitely shows in his alien designs.  They closely resemble the designs seen in the new Star Trek movies, especially Maz who seems to be this trilogy’s Yoda.  However, we never lose touch of that Star Wars feel, which is important.  At the very least, let’s be grateful the aliens aren’t the transparent racist stereotypes we saw from the prequels.

Pacing is very good as well.  There is never a dull moment in The Force Awakens, and the action never truly stops.  No political debates, and no awkward teenage dates.

In conclusion, I high recommend this movie.  This movie has everything you loved from the originals with some new special effects and leaving behind everything you hated from the prequels.

Breaking Bad fanfiction

Here is a Breaking Bad fanfiction that I wrote a while ago.  It’s set after the show and features Walter White Jr. and what he does with the fortune left to him.

 

Walt Jr. supported himself on crutches made of solid gold. A silver chain holding a diamond encrusted ‘W’ hung from his neck. Black sunglasses hid his eyes that were bloodshot from smoking weed and staying up late.

The journalist followed him closely as he led her into his mansion in the desert. “Is this drug money you got from your father?”

“H-h-hell no, b-b-bitch! I got this from his old friends at Grey Matter!”

“So, you maintain that none of this is drug money?”

“B-bitch, you ain’t nothin’ but a h-hater!” Walt supported most of his weight on his left arm for a moment so that he could pimp slap the disrespectful reporter. “This my house! Wit my money!”

“I’m so sorry Mr. White. Let me kiss your ring.”

Walt generously extended his right hand. Every finger had a ring on it, each with a different jewel. There was a ruby, a sapphire, a jade, an emerald, and some pink thing that only Uncle Hank knew what it was called.

“Which one do you want me to kiss?”

“All of them, bitch!”

She looked up at him with green eyes as she tenderly kissed each rock. He thought of her doing something else from that position. There’d be plenty of time for that.

“So, this is how you spent your money that you received?”

“Hell yeah. My money, my mansion!”

Jessie Pinkman was busy scrubbing the counters when Walt came in with the reporter.

“Bitch, where our refreshments at?”

Jessie quickly got two beers from the fridge, and gave one of the reporter and one to Walt.

“Why ain’t there music playin’? Where the bitches at?”

“I’m so sorry Walt.” Jessie stopped in his tracks as he released his error. “I’m so sorry, Pimp Daddy White.”

Lights darkened as rap music blasted from the surround sound speakers. Women dressed in bras and thongs walked into the room and grinded against Walt and the reporter.

Walt snapped his fingers. “Yo, I want girl on girl!”

One of the black women grabbed the reporters long blonde hair and pulled her in for a deep kiss. Clothes began to come off and Walt cheered as he sipped his beer. Another of the bitches unzipped Walt’s pants and her mouth opened. “This is the l-l-life!”

Personality of toys in Toy Story

I’m a big Pixar fan, and I grew up with Toy Story.  After rewatching the magical movies from my childhood, I have developed a theory on how and where all these toys get their personalities from.

At the end of Toy Story 3, Andy introduces all the toys to Bonnie and tells her the personalities of each.  Despite not knowing toys are alive, he gets each of their personalities spot on.  Woody is a friend who will never give up on you; this one is obvious.  Throughout all three films, he shows that he is the best friend any toy could have, and never gives up anybody.  Not even Lotso who tried to kill him.  Slinky Dog is the most loyal dog you’ll have.  Also fits since he is so loyal to Woody in all three films.  In the first, he was the one that wanted to believe Woody the most and seemed the most devastated when he thought Woody got Buzz killed.  When trying to get Woody on the moving truck and stretched to his absolute limit to the point that in real life he would be ruined forever, his only regret is that he should’ve held on longer.  Andy also describes Rex as the most fearsome dinosaur and indeed, that is what he has aspired to be since the first one despite the other toys not really being scared of him.

So, where am I going with all this?  The toys from Toy Story get their personalities from what the humans imagine them to be.  As stated above, all of Andy’s toys seem to get their personality from what he imagined them to be.  While Mr. Potato Head and Hamm are not villains like in Andy’s fantasies, they are the loners of the crowd, and interact with the other toys far less.  They are always the first to turn on Woody and trust him the least.  Why?  Because in Andy’s fantasies, they are Woody’s archnemesis.  Also note that Hamm is usually nicer to Woody than Mr. Potato Head, though not by much.  Why is this?  Because, as seen in the first film’s playtime, sometimes Hamm is treated as just a simple bank, nothing more and nothing less.  Compare that to Mr. Potato Head, who seems to always play the villain.

So, what about toys without imagined personalities?  Well, let’s go in chronological order.  First, there are Sid’s toys.  The mutants appear terrifying, but at the end it is revealed they are well meaning toys who don’t seek to harm anybody.  This fits with other theories that state that Sid is a nice kid.  He doesn’t know toys are alive, so he doesn’t know that he is traumatizing them by mutilating them.  The worst thing we witness him doing is terrorizing his sister, which still doesn’t make him the sadist normal toys see him as.  Also illegally buying fireworks while underage.  He also seems to care for his dog., which further supports him not being a bad person.  So if Sid isn’t really a sadist, then he probably imagines all the toys he creates are Frankenstein-esque creations.  Frankenstein’s monster was not inherently evil.  Since Sid’s toys don’t talk, there is little else to know about their personalities aside from them willing to come to life in front of him and scar a kid for life to save one action figure.

We also have Buzz Lightyear from the first movie who didn’t even realize he was a toy.  Unlike Woody’s Roundup, Andy actually watched Buzz’s show.  Therefore, when Andy played with Buzz Lightyear, he imagined him as the action figure from the show.  At the beginning of Toy Story 3, we see that the toys see playtime from the perspective of the child’s imagination.  So every time Andy played with Buzz and imagined him as the real Buzz, his delusions of being a real space ranger were only heightened.

This explanation also explains how Woody forgot about Woody’s Roundup.  Andy probably never saw that old show from the 50s, and so just imagined Woody as a generic sheriff.  And that’s all Woody thought he was up until Toy Story 2.

Which brings me to the characters introduced in Toy Story 2.  Jessie is explained as being played with by a girl, so that fits the theory easily.  But what about Stinky Pete?  He was never played with, and is still mint in the box when Al buys him.  And from Buzz Lightyear, we see license toys seem to go through a phase where they think themselves real.  In Woody’s Roundup, Stinky Pete was a redneck old man with bad grammar and easy to excite.  The personality we see him have in Toy Story 2 defies all of this; he has good grammar and is calm until his immortality is threatened.  However, while he was never played with, he was owned.  It is unknown if he had owners before Al, but if he did, they would be fellow collectors like Al who kept him mint in the box to keep the value.  Collectors would be teens/adults.  He wasn’t played with and put into scenarios like his television personality.  He was treated as a high value commodity.  This explains his calm demeanor; he was never owned by a child, but by mature minds.  So his mind was shaped into something more mature.  He was never in adventurous scenarios from a child’s mind, so he has a more calm outlook on life.  It is also the reason why, out of all the characters from Woody’s Roundup, he believed in going to the museum the most.  All he has ever been was a commodity.

Now, as for Bullseye.  He is pretty unique among the toys.  He actually acts like the animal he is.  Compare to Rex, Hamm, and Slinky Dog who are also animals, but talk and seem to be fully sentient.  However, we know Andy gave Hamm a personality at least a couple times as the villain.  Rex is a dinosaur, which are seen as magical beings by kids so he probably had speaking parts.  And Slinky Dog was a cybernetic dog with a forcefield, so it’s not unreasonable to think that a cybernetic/magical dog would have advanced intelligence.  Compare that to Bullseye.  Outside of Mr. Ed, when are horses treated as anything other than horses?  Almost never.  So the kid who owned Bullseye before Al probably only ever played with him as a horse, or as the Bullseye from the show, who was also an unintelligent horse.  When Bullseye is adopted by Andy?  Again, he only ever seen as a horse and accessory for either Jessie or Woody.  Perhaps after going to Bonnie, he started to develop sentience?  No way of knowing.

That doesn’t quite cover all the toys of Toy Story 2.  What about all the unused toys in Al’s Toy Barn?  They were never played with.  True, but they did have imagined personalities.  I mean, kids go by these toys every single day.  They could’ve absorbed the combined imaginations of the kids roaming past them.  I mean, I know I would play with toys when I passed through, surely other kids did.  Especially the toys that had exposed buttons with a ‘try me’ sticker on them.  And since these aren’t the kids’ toys, they imagined them exactly as advertised.  Which also explains why license toys like Buzz think they’re real.  All the toys seen at Al’s Toy Barn have the default personalities they should have.  Zerg believes he is Buzz’s nesmisi, the Barbies are fun loving girls, and the display Buzz has the Buzz personality.  We see a rock ’em sock ’em set in Al’s office who are deep rivals of each other.  Since this is in Al’s office and not on the salesfloor, one can presume that Al uses this in his spare time, presumably with a coworker.  Assuming these are typical guys having fun, some rivalry is to be expected.

We also have the toys introduced in Toy Story 3.  First off, and most damaging to this theory is Lotso.  Surely no child in the Butterfly room imagined Lotso as an evil dictator, and it is safe to assume Daisy didn’t imagine that either.  Well, wait a minute. Let’s go back to when we first meet him. He has the personality that would match closely with what he should be; a loving, hugging teddy bear. Now, this gets twisted, but throughout the film we see that he still has the friendly demeanor. Not once does he lose his cool. He even states that Sunnyside is a dream come true if you pay your dues. And we know this is at least partly true from the other toys we have seen that entered the Butterfly room; more on them in a second.

Also, while he was loved by a child, he was left at some point. Similar to Woody in the first film, toys defect from the personalities given to them by children sometimes. Surely Andy never plotted for Woody to have a revenge plot against Buzz (or maybe he did, who knows with Andy?)

While speaking on Lotso, this also brings us to Big Baby. His size in comparison to many other toys gives him considerable strength and power. However, he still has the mind of a baby, and can barely speak. It is unlikely that Daisy imagined him as anything other than a baby, and indeed at Sunnyside, he was never imagined as anything else. Just like Bullseye, he will probably never develop sentience. Contrast to the baby from Sid’s house, who was likely imagined as a cyborg and not a baby at all. He developed sentience and seemed to be the leader of Sid’s toys. Though again, since we never see Sid’s toys actually talk, it is difficult to determine their personalities.

As for the other toys in the Butterfly Room. Why are they a bunch of thugs? Well, think about what they are. We have the rock monster, a bug monster, an octopus thing, and Ken. The rock and bug monster likely came from boys who imagined them as being tough. Their tough and survivalist personalities probably saved them from the Caterpillar Room. The purple octopus is, well, he’s anybody’s guess. Ken also came with a house and several sets of clothes. Having real estate probably gained him more leverage to stay in the Butterfly Room. Also, given the way that is in denial about being a girls’ toy, it is likely he was owned by a boy with misguided parents. That’s just a guess though.

Now, there’s Bonnie’s toys. Bonnie’s toys seem to be a mishmash, and they see playtime as drama. Bonnie is the kind of girl who thinks outside the box. In Toy Story That Time Forgot, we see that Trixie has never even been treated as a dinosaur, and Buzz expresses that Bonnie’s mind is strange even for a child. Since she thinks outside the box so often, it is very likely that any toys she owns would have the personality of a drama club since they can literally be anything at any time. Compare that to Andy’s playtime, where he saw distinct personalities in his toys with Woody as the protagonist and Mr. Potato Head as the antagonist.

And now last, but not least, we have the Battlesaurs from Toy Story That Time Forgot. Since it is not one of the movies, it is understandable if you did not see it. To recap, a bunch of dinosaur toys think they’re real and try to kill the main cast. They are saved in the nick of time when their owner plays with them. This probably confirms the theory the most, since kids probably imagined the toys as real whenever they were passed in the toy store. However, this façade is completely shattered after one playtime.   And not just any playtime, a playtime with Bonnie, who thinks completely outside the box. Playtime with Mason imagining them as Battlesaurs may have further confirmed their ‘real’ status. However, Bonnie imagining them as random characters on ‘Party Planet’ made all the Battlesaurs realize how not real they were and taught them the ways of peace.

So that’s my theory on Toy Story. Any thoughts you wish to add?

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If you like my writing and wish to support me, please buy my book; Almost Night: A Twilight Parody on amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Almost-Night-Twilight-Parody-1/dp/1517773881/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448792095&sr=8-1&keywords=almost+night