Sunday, July 12, 2015

Spider-Man

Friendly neighbourhood...

As Marvel prepares to reset the Universe once again, the Spider-Man comics (amongst many others) will once again start with all-new issue ones.

If you follow me on my frequent nerd rants on Facebook, I talk alot about the longetivity of Western comics versus Japanese Manga and how the Western comics struggle to keep their characters relevant for centuries and centuries to come... Often leading to these retcon events, as we are witnessing now... Something I'm not a very big fan of.

But that's another story for another time... Just like Comic Book movies having too much of an influence on their source material... Another story for another time.

Whatever direction the new Spider-Man books take, I want to tell you more about this character that I love dearly and why I love him even more than other Superheroes of that time.

I never read DC. I never followed the books. I know one or two things, but wasn't fan of their books. Stan Lee once said that the biggest problem he had with Superman is that he was too good he could do no wrong. There was something about that that bothered him. I guess it sort of bothered me as well. Superman is indeed too strong.

Marvel was always my preference. Spider-Man was the first character I knew about and read.

Now bare in my mind I was just a kid... The things I look out for in Comic Books were characters with amazing costumes, action... you know, boy stuff... But even then, as a kid, the first thing that struck me was that Uncle Ben had died due to Peter's arrogance... Where the whole "With great power comes great responsibility." originated from... That was the first thing that struck a chord with me.

Spider-Man is very human, as human as you and me. He is a hero you can relate to, going through things you would go through. For me, what I always love about the Spider-Man story is the triumph of a loser making good with his life, despite adversity, despite everything, becoming a hero to rise above all and marrying the girl of his dreams, yes, M.J is the greatest... This is the part about Spider-Man I love the most. I'm sure it gave many kids, myself included, that belief that you could do it too. That's why Spider-Man is amazing.

I've enjoyed so many Spider-Man story arcs over the years... The Venom arc, when Todd McFarlane was drawing it... Even the newer stuff where they screwed the lore upside-down, I thought they would be bad books... But I actually really love the Superior Spider-Man run as well as the One More Day storyline.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, however they change the Spider-Man comics, let's hope and pray, the heart of the story always stays the same.

-

Fun Fact! The artist(s) that I think draws the best Spider-Man is Mark Bagley and Todd McFarlane.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The End of an Era - Street Fighter 4

The End of an Era - Street Fighter 4

Capcom has just announced that the "highly anticipated" Street Fighter 5 (SFV) will be released in the Spring of 2016. That marks the end of the Street Fighter 4 (SF4) series which only lasted about 7 years... Seems like it was just 2008 yesterday!

It also marks the end of many other things. Quite possibly Fighting Games as a staple in the Arcades... To a certain extend, maybe even the death of the Arcades as SFV is exclusive to the PS4 and PC, which from a business perspective makes more sense. The days of the Arcade are better to be left as a memory and any hopes of actually reviving it seems absolutely unrealistic. The Arcades, like any other business, has to generate revenue to be sustainable, cabinet games that run on 50 cents a game aren't going to give you that.

As the tournament front moves towards the console era of gaming, SF4 surprisingly did not last very long as compared to its predecessors, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo (Turbo) and Street Fighter 3 - Third Strike (3S), which have both achieved legendary statuses as a classic tournament game. Equipped with perhaps too many unbalance things that actually make the game perfectly balanced (A somewhat misplaced quote from a friend.) People still talk about these games with enthusiasm, as proven by the fact that you can still, on occasion,  catch the Ol' Skool Turbo Players duking it out on a Friday night at the Bugis arcade. 3S, while probably is the hardest Street Fighter game to master, is extremely entertaining to watch at a high level and is frequently requested for at tournaments.

Third Strike - The best version of Street Fighter in my opinion

The longevity of such games was one of the key inspirations in the development of SF4, as I briefly read Producer Yoshinori Ono, wanting SF4 to be played for another 20 years so the announcement of SF5 comes as much of a surprise to me.

And now, on to the more important question, What do I think of Street Fighter V?

I was asked this question on stream at the ALPHACUP last Saturday and while my brain was telling me to go ape on it, I actually gave a very low key account on my thoughts of the game.

From all the footage that I've watched thus far, the initial game trailer, demo exhibition matches between Daigo and GamerBee and also the recently announced inclusion of Nash (Charlie) as a playable character in SF5, the game seems to rely heavily on the use of the Unreal Engine 4 to really make that PS4 money shine. High impact graphics, characters flying through walls, yada-yada... Perhaps that sort of thing would impress the average gamer, but to me, I find the game sluggish, slow, a big question mark on whether it will become THE main event game at any tournament, THE sort of game that will be competed for 10s or 1000s of dollars... The same questions I asked about Street Fighter x Tekken, (Which I thought was an awful game by the way.)

Oooh, scary...

The theme seems recurring, with every new Fighting Game introduce by Capcom, and that theme is to make the game more assessable, make it easier for people to play, make it so that more people will play...  Then we throw a bunch of useless DLCs in and make them buy... I think in desperately trying to keep the business of video games afloat, the simple idea of making the best Fighting Game ever is lost. I'm talking about the glory days of Fighting Games... When Capcom went head-to-head with Neo Geo... Amazing titles after titles were released, each with it's own one up over the other... Fatal Fury... Samurai Showdown... X-Men: Children of the Atom... (To a certain extend Art of Fighting because you could make the female characters show their bra if you finish them off with a Fireball, great Fan Service.) All these games were so unique in their own sense, I remember as a kid going to the Arcades that I would find it really really hard dividing my pocket money (which was very little) just so I could PLAY ALL OF THEM! If SF5 was to be released in the Arcades today and I brought my kid there, I bet the only thing he would say is, "Wah, the graphics very nice ah?"

Awesome

But of course, many people said the same thing about SF4 when it was released, that it was a game for scrubs to play. Which isn't exactly true, SF4 is a game where scrubs could beat pros, if they did the right things at the right time. SF4 turned out to be a great game actually, I have my qualms about the AE Version though but they fixed that with the rebalancing patch, Version 2012. SF4 also brought me many new friends and brought me along a very long journey (Reference Round1.sg, TXL...), I was given the opportunity to establish myself as both a Commentator and Emcee for the game as well as being a Community Leader. (In a way, I was like an Ambassador) When SF5 hits, who knows... I might be too lazy to learn the game all over, would be a nice time to say goodbye to the whole show in general and just leave it for a new set of individuals who might want to do these things with the same passion I had back in 2009, cheers to that and all the best.

So I guess the bigger question is, what do YOU think of Street Fighter V?

With ♥,

The Vice Capt.

Jonda