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Showing posts from April, 2022

Stray Thoughts: The Future of Smash

✊ When everybody's smashing things down... Last year Masahiro Sakurai, creator and long-time curator of the Nintendo video game series Super Smash Bros , announced that he would be retiring from the series after the last new fighter was released for Super Smash Bros Ultimate . As part of the announcement, he speculated that whoever took over for him would need to take the series in a new direction for the next installment. That's because Ultimate --appropriately named--is effectively a summation of the entire franchise. In addition to all the new content, it also contains every fighter and level that came before (I'm 99% sure, which means someone is going to fact-check this and point out that the Nintendo Light-Zapper was a playable character in Melee ). Whatever comes next for  Smash , it's going to have to feel different. And this makes sense. Smash  is fairly unique among Nintendo franchises in that it doesn't get re-invented every console generation to take adva

Hoo-Boy, Twitter Just Got Itself Acquisitioned?

🐦 Well, Shit... There's a lot of ink spilled--and yet to be spilled--about Elon Musk's sensational and highly publicized attempt to purchase Twitter and what that means. He wants to bring it back to its roots as a platform for free speech, etc, meanwhile Leftist Twitter has been shitting its collective pants and threatening to move to Canada. A number of new social media platforms have sprung up to collect Twitter's refugees, and a few that previously existed are getting a bunch of new acolytes and their servers are crashing. (Bee-Tee-Dubs, you can friend me on  at @kurtpankau) Amidst a lot of this are a few points that are getting lost that I want to call attention to. So, in no particular order, here's why I'm pissed about this mess and, oh yeah, shit's going to get political and sweary in this post, so with that in mind... "Free Speech" is a Dogwhistle Y'all know that, right? Speech is roughly as free as it has ever been. We'

Memory Leaks: The Legend of Zelda

🐗 You could break my heart apart, I've got the power... The Legend of Zelda  is a top-down fantasy adventure game released by Nintendo in February of 1986 in Japan and over a year later in North America and Europe. It was inspired by designer Shigeru Miyamoto's childhood exploring the woods around his home in Kyoto, and is considered an important forerunner to the action-RPG genre of video games. The series is one of Nintendo's most enduring, having contributed launch titles to both the Wii and the Switch systems. Its protagonist, Link, is among the most popular and recognizable characters in Nintendo's roster, despite his being several different characters across the series. He's behind Mario in that department, but still... How I Remember It... I'm about 80% sure I received this game as a Christmas present in 1987. It was wildly  popular. It had been touted as "the best video game ever made" and that was undoubtedly true in 1987. At the time I got i

RUSSIAN DOLL and Non-Diegetic Storytelling

  🕰️ Time is on my side, yes it is... The second season of Netflix's Russian Doll  is dropping next week. If you didn't watch the first season, it tells the story of Nadia, an NYC programmer who is struck by a car after her birthday party and finds herself stuck in a time loop. It's a darkly funny drama about helping others and forgiving yourself, and it had the kind of conclusion that prompts inane "The ending of ______ explained" think-pieces and YouTube videos. Similar to Encanto , this is a show where the thematic elements bleed into the literal narrative, and re-watching the first season has had me thinking about the ways that works. So, with that in mind, let's talk about non-diegetic storytelling. SPOILERS FOR SEASON 1 OF RUSSIAN DOLL... AFTER THREE PARAGRAPHS OF TABLE-SETTING Let's do some vocabulary work. Diegesis is the world of the story. It's what characters are aware of and interacting with. You frequently hear this term in the context o

Memory Leaks: Starcraft

 🚀 Waiting in the sky, he'd like to come to meet us... Starcraft  wasn't the first real-time strategy game, but it was the one that blew up the genre. Released in 1998 after three years of development, Blizzard gave us a story-driven, highly-asymmetrical, and thoroughly world-built game about the struggle between displaced, fractious Terrans, the rampaging insect-like Zerg, and the advanced psychic Protoss. This game was also a popular vehicle for esports, especially in South Korea, which dominated and in many ways pioneered the activity in the late 90s. How I Remember It... This was the game that everybody played in my house in college. I resisted it at first because I had gotten into the Command & Conquer  series in high school and the two had just-different-enough control schemes that it was difficult to switch back and forth. But I was eventually won over. We played a lot more multiplayer death-match than any of the actual campaign--although I did try my hand at those.

Remake This!

Anything you can do I can do better... There's been some news about a reboot of Quantum Leap , which I am low-key excited for. It was one of my favorite shows as a kid. Basically a procedural with a time travel element, heavily infused with nostalgia and off-beat humor, and then you had these weird digressions like with the "Evil Leaper". Loved it. And I've revisited it as an adult and... it's a bit rough. Has not aged gracefully at all. But! The core idea is solid and I think a modern twist could be wildly entertaining. And this got me thinking about some other things that would be ripe for a remake. So without further adieu, here are some movies that I think would benefit from a modern update. Ace in the Hole A 1951 Billy Wilder film about a journalist who tries to reinvigorate his career by turning a story about a man stuck in a cave into a full-blown media circus, prolonging the rescue in order to milk as much as he can out of it. As a rule, I hate old movies,