Monday, January 29, 2018

One Full Year of Writing

Man does it feel nice to be back in the comfort of my own blog where I can write whatever the hell I want. As you've probably gathered from the title, today marks the day of when I posted my very first article for this blog, which was effectively when I started writing about video games and anime in some sort of semi-serious fashion. Now that one year has passed I wanted to take a step back and reflect on where I've gone and where I want to go moving forward, and this post is sort of just a brain fart to get it all down in words. This will hopefully act as a self-binding contract so that I actually stick to the goals I set out.

The Written Word

This blog turned out to probably be one of the best ideas I had of the year. I initially started it purely to create an outlet for me to gush about the things I love. Even though I can't talk about games and anime that often with those around me, this blog allowed me to share my thoughts with those who do care. Because I started it for myself, I never really thought that it could lead to something more.

This blog was essentially my application for Goomba Stomp. Without it, there is absolutely no way that I would be writing in any professional matter like I am now. Writing for Goomba Stomp has been an eye-opening experience and has really helped me hone my written communication skills. It's taught me how to get to the point faster, trim the fat from my articles, and group pieces of information together in more concise paragraphs, among others.

Moving forward I need to do a better job of thinking up clever article ideas. I'm continuously impressed by the ideas my editors are pitching on a regular basis and to improve as a writer I feel like I can't always rely on them and need to really strive to come up with my own. Examining specific aspects of games and anime is all well and good, but sometimes goofy articles like my Super Mario Odyssey Anime Kingdoms piece are just as good. Coming up with those off-the-wall ideas is something I aim to improve on.

Relatedly, I will be attending my first US gaming trade show this April, being PAX East. I did attend Tokyo Game Show while I was in Japan but the fact it was all in Japanese and I was there as a consumer means that attending PAX East as a representative of Goomba Stomp will most likely be a very different experience.

My goal while I'm there is to not only cover the games I get to play, but also to forge connections with the various developers and journalists there as well. PAX East will be my first opportunity since starting to write for Goomba Stomp to do this and I want to take full advantage of it.

Goomba Stomp is a very culturally diverse team, with staff members from all around the world. This is great for getting a variety of perspectives on topics but it also means I'm pretty alone over here in Boston. Having more local connections to reach out to will surely go a long way in progressing my path in game journalism.

As for the anime side of things over at Goomba Stomp, I've been talking to my editor and some other colleagues and we're in the midst of getting something special worked out so look forward to that!

The Spoken Word

I also started my YouTube channel and producing video content last year, albeit in small quantities. While my first project was simply a video version of a post I had already made, each subsequent video was purely original material built from the ground up. I had a lot of fun making these videos but it's also clear I have a ways to go with them.

Producing more video content is a goal of mine for 2018. In addition to the video essays I've put out already, I want to get into vlogging. Vlogging has the advantage of being much more casual, so less scripting, and a lot easier to edit, since I'm not working with multiple clips of a game or anime. The downside to them is that I have to get used to speaking in front of a camera, and that will take some time considering I'm not even used to speaking in front of a mic yet.

One of my short-term goals is to buy a good quality video camera in February to start practicing live video material. Hopefully, come PAX East, I'll be comfortable enough speaking in front of a camera that I can make vlog entries on the games I played and the people I met in addition to written pieces for Goomba Stomp.

There is a huge potential for producing video content, especially when it comes to that of video games and anime, and I want to put forth a greater effort in trying to tap into it this year.

The Playable Word

Not many of you may know this but I actually started as a beta tester for Manga Gamer back in August. Manga Gamer is one of the largest localizers/publishers for Japanese visual novels in the West, a game medium that I think is vastly underrated. Being able to be part of that internal localization process has been incredible, especially when it comes to seeing all the tricks translators and editors use when localizing tricky lines. Heck, my name is going to be in the credits for Supipara Ch. 2 when that releases, and that's really fuggin' cool! I never saw myself being able to actually contribute to game development since I gave up on the idea back in middle school, yet here I am.

Unlike my writing gig at Goomba Stomp and my own YouTube channel, I don't really have any goals for Manga Gamer because I still don't know what it's capable of providing me. I intend to stick with it because it's still fun at the end of the day and if something comes of it, sweet. If not then I'm still having a good time and still contributing to the industry I love.

Here's to a New Year!

It's 2018! We're finally out of that awkward prime number of 2017 so we're already off to a better start! When I think back on how much my life has changed in that single year it astounds me. It astounds me even more that none of these are things I saw myself doing at the start of the new year.

With that in mind, I can only imagine what will happen in another year. My YouTube channel could end up taking off or it'll stay planted firmly in the ground. Goomba Stomp could lead to an even bigger writing gig or maybe the site itself will grow to an impressive size. Manga Gamer could lead to something in localization, or it could just remain a fun outlet. Or maybe none of the above will happen. Who knows? I certainly don't.

I published 38 articles, created four videos, and beta tested four games last year and I'll be damned if I'm not gonna work my ass off to make those numbers even larger this year!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

[VIDEO REVIEW] Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

So I've taken the next step in my quest for video content creation and decided to try my hand at making a video review of a game.  While my intention with this blog when I first started it was to avoid reviews, I feel like making some in video format will help me to improve my writing and speaking abilities for any other content I decide to make down the line.  I bought an El Gato capture card so this time all the footage shown was recorded by myself and I also have a pop filter for my mic so there's no more of those nasty P-Pops that I had in my Atelier video.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

[VIDEO] Atelier Sophie and the License to do as One Pleases

For my third video I made a short little thing about my time playing Atelier Sophie.  Even though the game has been out for a while it still struck me with how much freedom it affords the player and thought I'd make a video of it.

This was the first video that I used game footage captured by myself and also the first video I made with the new mic I bought.  I'm still trying to find the optimal conditions for using the mic so the voice quality can be improved still.  I also have a pop filter to attach now so that should help a lot with future recordings.

That said, hope you guys enjoy the video.  If you do then please do me a solid and give the video a "Like".

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Feelings of Unease in the Elite Classroom

"Something isn't right."

"Something doesn't feel right."

Two highly similar statements that have drastically different implications.  One brings a level of certainty while the other brings a level of uncertainty.  Humans take comfort in certainty by nature.  Even when an outcome is bleak or unfavorable, if it is certain then measures can be taken to come to terms with it.  This in turn provides some semblance of relief.  Conversely, humans find a lack of certainty discomforting.  Uncertainty can turn even the most joyful occasions into trepidatious affairs.  That nagging feeling in the back of the mind prevents someone from fully enjoying themselves.

From a story-telling perspective, the latter statement provides for a more intriguing experience.  If the viewer knows something is off, even if they don't know what that "something" is, then it becomes a question of when that issue will be addressed.  In some instances this may even cause the viewer to become impatient and lose interest if the matter isn't acknowledged in a timely manner.  If the viewer only feels like something is off, however, then the question becomes if the matter will be addressed, or if the matter even exists in the first place.  This causes the viewer to constantly reevaluate their understanding of the situation and, as a result, keeps them engaged in the story.  This is the state that Classroom of the Elite maintains with its viewers.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fine Dining in Another World

Restaurant to Another World Promo Art

Two genres have been making waves in the anime industry for the past couple years.  The "summoned to another world" genre, otherwise known as isekai, has gained traction with the accomplishments of breakout hits like Konosuba and Re:Zero. The other genre of note is cooking, or food more generally. While not on the same level of exposure as the isekai genre the success of mega-hit Shokugeki no Soma brought the genre to new heights of popularity.  In its wake were shows such as Sweetness & Lightning was also met with praise while Shokugeki no Soma approaches its third season itself.  Restaurant to Another World, as the name implies, combines the two genres in an unexpected, yet positively delightful matrimony.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Gamers and the Element of Surprise

GAMERS! anime promo art
There are quite a few shows airing this season that I want to write about, Restaurant to Another World and Classroom of the Elite being a couple of examples.  I want to talk about GAMERS! first, though, because I think the show is flying under a lot of peoples' radars, and who can blame them?  Take one look at the promo art and plot description and the series just screams a generic "boy-meets-girl" story and truthfully, it kind of is.  I'm not here to try and convince you that GAMERS! is some sort revolutionary series that will take the anime world by storm.  What GAMERS! demonstrates, however, is how you don't need to have a novel plot idea or killer production values to have little surprises and delights that add up to something warm and comforting.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Impressions [Video]

It's been a while since my last blog post and part of that was getting the "Top 10 Anime" and "Favorite Games" pages up.  Obviously the major reason why, though, is because I've been hard at work creating this video on Xenoblade Chronicles 2.  This marks the first video that I made from the ground up seeing as my other video I already had the script written in the form of a blog post.  I wrote the script exclusively for this video and you will only find it in the video.  There are a lot of things I want to talk about in my experience making this video but just like last time if you don't care about any of that skip right to the bottom of this post for the main feature.