Tuesday, May 31, 2016

No Man's Sky is Delayed...So Chill Out

A few days ago, it was announced that No Man's Sky would be delayed until August to give the game final polish, according to the developer. Which is fine. Game delays are completely normal in the industry. Given the backlash against triple A titles such as Assassin's Creed:Unity for shipping out buggy, flawed games, it would be a safe call for any developer to hold off on releasing a crap product. While there are a number of gamers who are understanding, Hello Games is working with a staff of less then 20 people, unfortunately the founder Sean Murray and other team members have been receiving death threats through social media for not producing the game on time.

Guys...seriously?

I'm not oblivious to how entitled gamers feel about a product they pine over. I did work in customer service at GameStop. People are not afraid to show their, um, "passion" over a game when it's not released on time. I haven't been privy to death threats (not until I started writing this blog), but I know a few co-workers who have.

I understand that the laws regarding online harassment are flaky in most states, but the legal system and police departments are catching up to the times. Threatening death on someone, even if you mean it as a joke (and that is never a joke, as far as anyone should be concerned) does have ramifications.

People. It's. Just. A. Game.

It's not a life or death situation here.

You can wait a few more months for your precious product and deal with it. You still have your health. You still have friends and/or family that care about you. You have a roof over your head, food in your belly, and enough comfort in life that a video game release date is your biggest concern. Be grateful for what you have. And leave the developers alone. It's their product. They have the right to release it whenever they damn well please.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Ghostbusters Debate - Opinion and a Half

They are the opinions no one requested, but everyone can't seem to stop talking about. And the focus is on the 'Ghostbusters' reboot.

By now it is safe to assume that Hollywood is scared to take chances on new content. The landscape for movies has changed to focus on licensing pre-existing material that has held success in the past, or on producing sequels, to ensure success for the future. Which makes no sense to me, but there you have it. Of the top 10 movies in the U.S. in 2015, based on box office ticket sales, only one was an original script. 'Inside Out.' In 2014, none of the top 10 movies came from original material. Before you try to argue, 'Big Hero 6' is based off a Marvel comic of the same name. Scroll down through the top 25 and you may see a lot of of sequels and books turned films, and little else.

It's becoming a depressing trend that almost no original content is seen in Hollywood these days. If it's not from a book, it's coming from a comic book, or it's a reboot of a film franchise looking to squeeze out a few extra dollars from ticket holders while it can.

So what does all of this have to do with 'Ghostbusters?' When the reboot was announced, it became a huge point of contention for a lot of fans. This wasn't like 'Jurassic World' which moved the franchise forward into a new direction. This isn't a prequel or a sequel. This is a full on reboot of a really great 1980's action/comedy film that was quite successful.

The A.V. Club has a great article about fandom, and how it's influencing the future of movies (and not in a good way). But it got me thinking about 'Ghostbusters' as a fan. Yes I love that movie. I would watch it as often as I could. Who didn't like Slimer and the hijinks of the cast? And the theme song will live on in infamy. You will hear it on an 80's radio station once a day - it's a guarantee.

But I don't think the A.V. Club article fully addressed all of the fans concerns. They hit the nail on the rise of nerdy culture and social media, and how the two are now transforming the way Hollywood looks at producing movies, by utilizing those comments to create films that people will spend money on. Yet a big reason that some of us don't want a reboot of 'Ghostbusters' is because there was no reason to do it. At all. And the media has been constantly overlook this point to focus on an all female cast and repeating the story line.

The movie was great as it was. Why do we need to tell the same story again? It's been done. Game over. Finished. There is no reason at all to re-tell it with different characters. It would be like taking 'The Shining,' 'Apocalypse Now,' or 'Blade Runner' and rebooting it with new actors but the same ol' story line. All fantastic films that have shaped film history in their own way - and should never be touched for reboots. Ever.

To note, I have no problem with women leading the 'Ghostbusters' film. What I have a problem with is the studio rebooting it when there didn't need to be one. If they wanted to make it a prequel or a sequel, okay. Alternate universe? I could buy that, sure. If this was a passing of the torch to a new generation of Ghostbusters, that's fine. But rebooting the original? No. I draw the line there. This is why I will never watch the 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' reboot. The original movie was just fine the way it was. I know the story is slightly different, but not enough to convince me to watch it. Leave old films alone, Hollywood.

While we may not know the full story specifics, and there are some small changes from the first story, much of the content we have seen in trailers and interviews have been very reminiscent of original film. Comic Book Girl 19 posted a fantastic overview on why some of us are just not into the new Ghostbusters. And her point centers around the concern I have: there was no reason to reboot the original. It did very well at the box office, even by 2016's standards when adjusted for inflation. It's not pushing the franchise forward, but holding it back from exploring new possibilities.

New things are great.

But that may be too much to ask for at this point. It's clear by the ticket holders that they are wanting to pay money for prequels, sequels, books/tv/gaming movies, and reboots. So they will keep seeing them until they stop paying. So to audiences everywhere I implore you to stop spending your money on rebooted films and sequels. They are littering and the landscape and not allowing for creativity to blossom. We all have the willpower within us to keep our wallets closed. Look at how many of us held off on giving 'The Force Awakens; spoilers on social media. We can do it. So lets! I'm all for more original, creative content in Hollywood. How about you?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Weekly Link Round Up

While some of you get absorbed by Overwatch, I'll be sitting here, typing away the next edition of the Weekly Link Round Up. Here is what we have in store:

- What went wrong at Disney Interactive? Two weeks ago Disney announced that it would be closing down their gaming division. Any projects in the works are being canned, or handed to EA (benefactor of the Star Wars franchise). A former employee spoke with Tech Insider to give an overview on how the business was brewing with disaster for almost a decade. The lack of risk taking (given Disney's history I'm not surprised, but entering into the game-toy market was a step forward for them), lack of knowledge on how to produce games, and creative oversight were part of the reasons for the studio closing.

- Machine Zone, developers behind the hit mobile game Game of War, is using their power for good by helping New Zealand's public transportation system. By using player data and how people set up paths and move characters in the game, they are transporting it to the real world and allowing the populous at large in New Zealand know the location of every bus and train in major cities. This allows them the ability to plan ahead or take another route instead of waiting. The hope is that this will increase efficiency for the cities. According to Machine Zone, the power behind this only consumes 1% of their resources, so it's feasible that it could be scaled up to accommodate LA or New York City.

- The Guardian hosted a live stream debate on Twitch discussing the value of video games to arts and culture. The event was brought to the paper by Continue, a new conference series from the National Videogame Arcade. And the speakers came from all walks of life, literary, film, television, gaming studios, and streamers. It is a bit lengthy, but well worth the watch during you lunch break today.

- Not enough Overwatch news for you? Okay. Conan played some Overwatch this week with Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey from Game of Thrones. You can see the video here. And...yeah...I still don't quite see the appeal to the game, but I've never been an FPS, multi-player battle kind of person. There was lots of focus on shiny butts too. So there's that. And yes, that Clueless Gamer spot was sponsored by Blizzard.

- Not into Overwatch but want to know more about Blizzard and some upcoming video game movies? Yahoo lists out some of the ones to watch for in the upcoming years. Did you know that Fruit Ninja was one of them? Yeah. Freekin' Fruit Ninja. Obviously it's going to be a film for kids, but why? What kind of story could one possibly come up with for Fruit Ninja? And Tetris? Just stop it already Hollywood. Please.

- A Geek opinion piece asks what has happened to the weird Japanese auteurs in gaming? There are some minor fact check issues with the article, but it is a good enough read overall. Japanese developers use to be named staples for creating some iconic and odd games. But today a number of those games never make it past the storyboarding phase in favor of content that people know will sell. Without those quirky games we wouldn't have Katamari Damacy, Seaman, and Deadly Premonition. Those titles are one of many that make video gaming such a wonderful hobby. So whats happening?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Warcraft Movie Reviews Are Coming In...And It's Not Looking Good

Should any of us be surprised that the 'Warcraft' movie is not getting stellar reviews? Two weeks before release, and it's only scoring 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. At the time of this posting, only 6 critic reviews were listed, but that will change very soon. But other websites such as BGR, TechSpot, and a round up from GameSpot are all echoing the same thing: video game movies are not working out.

I'm interested in seeing 'Warcraft.' The team took it seriously and they wanted to produce something that was faithful to the franchise while still being entertaining for the masses. My concern was that it would be too serious, and Kotaku's movie review emphasizes this as an issue. The great thing about Warcraft through the books, the tabletop games, and video games, is that it has a story that is full of adventure, action, drama, AND humor. It doesn't always take itself seriously. World of Warcraft created a Panda race after an April Fool's joke took off.

It's okay to mix humor into a serious story. You have to give audiences breaks to breathe because too much action is too much (and this is true in any story-telling medium).

This is one of the reasons I have a strong attachment towards the 'Ace Attorney' film. It's a movie that has a serious story, with serious consequences, but it doesn't lose the charm or the absurdity of the Ace Attorney series. A parrot is a witness in a trial. Need I say more?

And 'Warcraft' appears to have gone the direction of so many movies before it, such as 'Driver' and 'Max Payne,' where they try too hard to tell a super intense story. It's more then what the audience wants. It also seems to suffer from having too many subplots, and that's a thing now. Why is this a thing? I hate that it's a thing. One or two smaller stories woven into the major plot, okay. I can handle that. But why have 5 mini stories going on at the same time that may or may not involve the main story? I'm here to watch a 2 hour movie, not deal with more plot lines then a season of Game of Thrones.

We'll see what happens...maybe fans of the games will like it? Maybe it'll bring new audiences in to show that gaming movies can be worthwhile. Or it may be another tragic tale of all flash and no substance.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

E3's First Public Event

Something really cool was announced this week: E3 will have a separate event outside of the convention center for gamers called E3 Live. Completely free. Though tickets have all been claimed, it does offer gamers a chance to see what's inside and experience the new games coming out this year and not have to sit on their computers, waiting for updates from GameSpot. The event will take place Tuesday through Thursday in downtown Los Angeles. They will also have exclusive merchandise that you can only get at E3, gaming competitions, music, and some of the devs from across the way will make appearances.

For those who couldn't get a ticket? That's okay. E3 is planning on having a live stream through YouTube and GameSpot to allow people to see more of the show floor and game play then they have in the past. YouTube just launched an E3 gaming hub.

I have to say, I'm kind of happy with the direction E3 is going. Hopefully this works out for them. The past few years have been iffy since the expo didn't have a stable direction. They were trying too hard to please developers that they shut out gaming fans. And then they tried to please gaming fans, but then didn't satisfy investors. It's been a weird dance. But with these updates, it looks like they plan to cater more towards the gamers - we are the consumers. The whole point of the show is to develop hype for people to buy.

Expect nerdgasims to rise on social media in 3 weeks when E3 opens.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Minecraft in China

I'm posting so much about Minecraft lately and I almost never play the game due to my busy schedule. But it's news, and important news at that. So I shall continue to post! And this news  will put Minecraft in one of the most sought-after locations by the gaming industry right now: China.

Microsoft, Mojang, and NetEase announced on May 20th a 5 year exclusive deal for the licensing of Minecraft in mainland China for mobile and PC. Mojang will tailor the game to fit within China's gaming restrictions. Players in China will have access to most things that are available in the game today, but I have a feeling some of the skeletons, zombies, and adventure mode aspects will be removed to conform to China's policy.

But this is a huge step forward in an untapped market that's ready for something new. A country of 1 billion plus people and Minecraft, which currently sells 10,000 copies daily with 100 million registered users. Sounds like a money-making recipe.

It's estimated that China's video game industry will be worth $24.4 billion this year. If a company can get even 1% of that, that is a lot of extra cash flow.

"We'll always embrace opportunities to bring Minecraft to new players around the world, widening our community, and giving us a new perspective on our game. [N]etEase understands our long-term vision for Minecraft and supports Mojang's ideals, so we're delighted to have them on board. We look forward to welcoming China's builders and adventurers to the world of Minecraft." Jonas Martensson, CEO of Mojang.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Mario Minecraft Hitting YouTube Wall

Nintendo is causing trouble for Minecraft YouTubers with the latest update to the Nintendo Wii-U version of the game. A few weeks ago there was the announcement that a Mario update would be added to the game for free to all Wii-U users. It added new skins and textures to turn your Minecraft world into Mario.

I had joked in that post that hopefully Nintendo may not ban people for their Mario creations. I spoke too soon.

While not a ban, YouTubers are getting the brunt of the Nintendo arm through copyright notifications from their uploads. According to Nintendo's Partners program, the Minecraft update would be exempt. For those who don't know, in order to show any type of Nintendo content on YouTube, you have to sign up for their program as well as YouTube's adshare services. This splits any portions of profits you may receive with not only YouTube, but Nintendo as well. Not many people like it because Nintendo takes a pretty big chunk out of the revenue.

Since this is Minecraft, and the promise was given by Nintendo and 4J Studios, the team behind the add-on, that the copyright rules would be exempt.

And that's not happening.

YouTube uploads are getting hit left and right for music violations - but most likely it's due to YouTube's Content ID system, which automatically detects images and sounds and videos and flags them if another user (Nintendo in this case) has already claimed the content.

Both Nintendo and 4J Studios are looking into the issue. Which may turn into a bigger challenge then what they expect, depending on how YouTube's Content ID system works. Oops.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Weekly Link Round Up

It's the weekly edition of the Weekly Link Round Up.

I know that wasn't the most riveting opening line, but work with me today. It's been a tough week, personally. So let's liven it up a bit with snippets of the best, and weirdest, gaming news online! What's on the menu today?

- Where's a cool place to work? Well according to USA Today, it's EA's Tiburon office. They have a ball pit. In the middle of a conference table. Apparently that's all we need as adults to make us happy.

- GamesRadar looks at gaming trailers, and the most important component to them: you. That may seem like a cop-out response, but it's fairly accurate. Without you, the trailer means nothing. A trailer is the developer's opportunity to get you into the game. And this article by Alan Bradley takes a good look at the process.

- And for another proof of concept, GameRant covers how video games can positively discuss mental health. It provides some great insight into the growing world of indie games and the content being produced to tackle the issues surrounding hundreds of millions of people.

- As many of you know, Lionhead Studios is no more. The Guardian has written a fantastic overview on the history of the company, from birth to the end, and the numerous innovations the developer game to the gaming community.

- Sometime over the past few weeks, Senator Al Franken has questions about privacy and the Oculus Rift. Since Facebook owns the company and it'll link users to their Facebook account, of course privacy would be a concern. Facebook does quite a bit with our data that you may not be aware of.

- Looking for a quick laugh? There's a Tumblr for that. Kotaku shared a Tumblr designed around bad video game press releases. And yes, it's as silly as it sounds. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Nintendo and Miitomo Privacy Addressed

A few weeks ago Kotaku posted an article about the creepiness of Miitomo, Nintendo's first mobile game/app that allows users to create a Mii and interact with friends by asking random questions to learn more about each other. I still believe it's a silly app. Not quite addicting, but a good 10 minute time waster. The Kotaku article prompted questions on what Nintendo does with all of those answers. Are they selling the information to other companies? Seems plausable given that sometimes the questions that pop up are "What commercials have made the most impact on you?" and "What is your favorite movie?" Those can easily be sent off to marketing firms to tweak advertising messages.

Nintendo has responded to the data privacy concerns to reaffirm that they are not selling the information to anyone. They are using the responses to tweak and tailor content for Miitomo to fit what the majority of people want. Some of the Mii outfits and special Mii Drop events have been adjusted in the NA market to reflect the responses people have provided to questions.

And really, who the heck in marketing would care why I like ninjas? Ninjas are so 1990's. It's all about zombies, superheroes, and a pirate comeback these days.

If you're ever concerned about your data in Miitomo you can always pull up the agreement you signed by going to your account page within the app. Legally Nintendo has to inform consumers if they sell data. Otherwise they face not only lawsuits but hefty fines from the FCC. Their current agreement shows no indication that they do this, so you're in the clear. Most of the questions are pretty silly and meant to be ice breakers, so don't go 'big brother' on Miitomo.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mass Effect Ride - Now Available!

Yesterday, the Mass Effect ride at California's Great Adventure opened up to an early preview for a limited audience. IGN was among the crowd and brought a live video stream of the ride via Facebook. Later, they had an additional video of the full ride, from line-up to the exit. The ride comes with a costumed performer, portraying Conrad Verner...and I heard a collective groan from the blogging audience on that one.

The ride is a 4D landscape, meaning a 3D video with your seats moving, along with sprits of water and steam that may hit you to coincide with the action on the screen. Which is something that's difficult to capture on a video camera, so you can't really get the full experience of the ride from the video. The story is that you are on a "vacation tour" in the Mass Effect galaxy, and you're being guided by Conrad to one of the planets as you leave the Citadel. Or at least I think it's the Citadel...the bay doors like to stay closed during take-off. You set off on your cruise spaceship (har har) to go through a Mass Relay, you happen to run into the Normandy where Conrad freaks out and fanboys (which is kind of amusing to see that the actor really gets into it), and make it to your destination plant...which is currently being attacked by a Reaper. So it's up to your weird cruise ship and the Normandy to take it down, with cameos from a digital Garrus and Wrex. When you exit the ride, artwork from the games can been seen in some of the hallways. The cosplayers in the video, including Rana, the model for Samara and Morinth, are not part of the attraction. Just an opening day promo. But at the front of the ride line there are replicas of Shepard's armor, both male and female. Curious to find out who built them.

Ride response from the videos has been mixed. Some people like it, and others find it just okay. It reminds me a lot of the Star Trek experience in Las Vegas, but without the bar and extensive gift shop and museum. They had a 4D ride as well and it was fun. Cheesy, but that's what you pay for. You block out the world for 3-5 minutes by being a Star Trek nerd and go about your business. They could have gone in a multitude of directions for this attraction, but given their space and size limitations, it's nifty. I think kids will like it, or at least Mass Effect fans who understand the nuances of Conrad or what the heck a Reaper is. Bwahhhhh.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Great Reviewers Do Not Need to Be 'Good' Gamers

HeatStreet has posted an opinion piece about the website Polygon asking why some of their staff members suck at playing video games? Recently Polygon reviewed the latest Doom and posted a 30 minute game play video. It didn't take long for comments to appear criticizing the way the reviewer played the game. He wasn't moving and shooting at the same time. He didn't read menus or interfaces, and started firing randomly at objects that require a key card or a button press to open. A new, and very tiny, YouTube channel created a mini-video looking over the common errors in the Polygon game play, which has been viewed almost 250k times as of this posting. The Polygon video did have their comments section removed when the heat got to be too much.

The article on HeatStreet poses the question looking for answers, but doesn't dive into what the answers may be - other then Polygon needs to explain themselves. And it's not the first time Polygon has been called out for how they play games. There have been instances in the past with reviews, such as The Last of Us, where Polygon bucks the trend of giving out good scores because they couldn't get a good handle on the control scheme, the pacing, or the game play itself.

Back in 2012 I wrote a piece titled "Do you have to play video games well to be a good reviewer?" Seeing the HeatStreet article reaffirmed my stance. No. Why? Because we all play differently. There isn't a right way or wrong way to play a game. You don't have to be a master at Mortal Kombat to be able to review it - in fact part of the uniqueness of video games is that with the multitude of genres and game play types, you can have people from different gaming backgrounds review a product and come up with unique conclusions. An RPG or FPS gamer reviewing Street Fighter? They could create amazing reviews by looking at the product in a new perspective. It doesn't diminish the quality of the review if they don't play it the way you expect them to.

What one person may think of as a "bad gamer" may seem totally normal for another. So who's to say that the Polygon reviewer was playing Doom incorrectly? What rules state that someone has to run and shoot at the same time? The person was still able to complete the game's objectives. They didn't have any issues with the game's dynamics. They played the game the way that felt best to them. Over time as they learn the game, they can change up their tactics. But just because that person did not play to your standards doesn't make them a bad gamer.

I appreciate the fact that a multitude of gaming sites have a variety of gamers to provide us with reviews from their perspective. Sure, they may not know how to work the Wii controls, but if Nintendo is trying to grasp that "family" market, you're going to have non-Wii gamers in the mix who are in the same predicament. If a non-Wii gamer can't figure out the controls at Polygon, that's a good indication that the rest of your non-Wii audience will have trouble as well. And of course that will affect the review. We would be silly to think otherwise. Controls make up an important aspect of how we look at a game.

I'd argue that it's the same with film and literary critics as well, something HeatStreet mentions in their article. It's true that in those fields we don't expect critics to watch movies or read books well, but we do expect them to understand their content, provide insight into the mind of the creators, figure out the depth of the story and crack it open for the general public. Video games are the same way. I don't expect anyone working on Polygon, Kotaku, Gamasutra, Destructoid, GameSpot, or anywhere to be the best at the best in gaming. If they were, they would be peddling their talents with eSports leagues (and get paid a lot more money for less internet flack). They don't have to game well. But they do have to provide insight in a way few other gamers can - and that's through research, reporting, and reviews.

I'm going to quote myself here, but the point is still valid today as it was 4 years ago: "Just because you may play and review a game differently then how I would, it doesn’t discredit your point of view."

Monday, May 16, 2016

Nintendo Is Going To The Movies!

I...um...what?

Nintendo wants to make movies. That's according to an interview from The Asahi Shimbun with current President Tatsumi Kimishima. And look, I linked the interview! Not that hard to connect information to the source, news outlets. Just saying.

But that's a pretty big deal given the train wreck of the past movie attempts, where Nintendo's involvement was simply to license the product name. Maybe having a hand in developing the films will help create some credibility? Kimishima mentioned that they have been in talks with several studios globally to look for a team that can fully dedicate itself to producing films, but that they want to do as much of the work themselves as they can. Keep the Nintendo label clean and bug-free, so to speak.

As far as details, that's about as much as you're going to get today. There was no mention of what games would be licensed to films, or a turn-around time. Some outlets are reporting 2-3 years, but it could be longer then that. What Nintendo does want is to make films as part of a standalone business in conjunction with their games. They want something that will translate globally for all audiences. And they want something that will represent the company in the best life. So no 'Super Mario Bros. II.'

Frankly, I'm surprised Nintendo is going down this path. Gamers have hopes for the new AssCreed movie (hopefully Kanye West-gayfish-free after the trailer release), but as a whole the genre has been stagnant. Nothing has propelled game movies forward for people to take them seriously. And Nintendo is not known for taking these kinds of risks. It's interesting to review...and maybe this is exactly what game movies need?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Game for Change - Sea Hero Quest

I think I sense the start of a new series of blog posts. Hmm...

Researchers from the University College London and Alzheimers Research UK have created a mobile game that collects data about player's cognitive abilities. The game is Sea Hero Quest. By playing the game and recording user responses, they hope to find more of the causes, and understanding behind dementia. The game is available on both Android and Apple and was developed by the company Glitchers.

The video promo for the game looks like an odd cross between Moses and Noah's Ark, but it's not. Promise. In the game you play the son of an explorer, who has a journal of his memories and documentation of all of the sea creatures he has seen. The explorer no longer remembers his adventures. As the son, you now must take up the steward of the ship and help your digital father reclaim his memories.

The University and the Research center believes that if 100,000 people play the game for 2 minutes they could gather almost 50 years worth of data in that time frame. Not much is known about the cause of dementia or Alzheimers, and it's a growing issue among the aging world population as more people are diagnosed. The game tests a players ability to make choices, navigate, and estimate orientation - all focused on cognitive reasoning.

If your concerned about your information or your results being made public, don't worry. All of it is submitted anonymously without your name attached to it.

I may download this today and give it a whirl. Anything for science!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Keep That Web Slinger in Your Pants

It's another Cosplay post! 
The topic of dance belts in spandex suits. It's cropped up again. I had a couple of messages hit my Facebook inbox from page fans asking why there is a call for dance belt awareness.

I should preface this post is meant to be informative. A general awareness post, because I feel that a number of individuals don’t realize there are a multitude of undergarment options available. As women, we’ve known for decades. For men outside of theater, dance, and sports it's not as common knowledge. TLDR: Strongly encourage everyone (male, female, trans, all people) who cosplay to invest in undergarments. If you opt not to, that’s your call. Remember, just because it’s cosplay doesn’t mean that it bypasses all laws and physics.

As men, or anyone who chooses to not dress in female clothing, you may not be aware of the number of undergarments women put on in their day to day life. It’s not just a bra and panties. For quite a few we wear body shapers, hosiery, control tops and bottom, dress slips, etc. Not all of these pieces of underwear are meant to adjust our body shape - they exist to keep everything neat and smooth so garments can sit correctly on our body (i.e. no bunching). And in some cases, like dress slips, it’s to help those garments where the fabric and lining used are translucent - the opaque slip is an extra layer of comfort and protection from prying eyes.

Underwear is there to complete the outfit and help create the final look with seamless lines. Without it, you see all the jibblies.

That’s the real issue with the dance belt topic, which can get overlooked in the comments.

As a cosplayer, without the undergarments I won’t look or feel as fantastic in the outfit. Everyone has some part of their body they are not happy with. I wear dance tights because my legs look horrid and I’m prone to bruising. I wear a control top so my garments will sit clean on my body and there won’t be excess wrinkling. I wear the extra undergarments because it takes my costume to that level of amazing. It’s a necessary expense.

Especially in spandex costumes.

Men, you are not immune from this. There are plenty of undergarments out there that can do the same. From dance belts (Google 'full back dance belt' if the "thong" concerns you) and jock straps, to shaping underwear (yes these do exist for men at large stores like Macy’s and Amazon) and tops, there are a myriad of options available to help pack in your manly parts. And you know what? It’s not uncomfortable. *gasp*

That’s one of the biggest concerns I see on this topic. While I don’t know what it’s like to wear one, I can tell you from male friends (first timers in spandex and habitual users) they find them no different than wearing speedos. If you could wear a jockstrap for your high school sport years, you can wear a dance belt. Or you can wear one of the hundreds of products in men’s shapewear. They do the same thing, and those are more like traditional briefs.

If you want to argue that women are not upheld to the same rule because their boobs and butts are out, you can. My counterpoint is that we’re still covered up. We’re still wearing the dance tights and pantyhose. We’re still wearing the underwear. Our nips are still kept hidden behind fabric. You can have a very provocative costume and wear appropriate undergarments.

Why is the dance belt thing such a big deal? Well...it’s not so great to see someone in a spandex suit with their baby making parts outlined for the world to see. I’ve seen them loose, squished, and at attention in spandex suits. It’s not a sight anyone wants to gaze upon. It makes your costume look half-assed. Not to be mean, but it’s the truth. It looks like you didn’t put any care into what you were wearing or that you were too lazy to be bothered with putting on underwear. It doesn’t make you look cool. And it is most definitely not a hit with the ladies, or the gents.

So you don’t rail against me for not calling out women - ladies who don’t wear undergarments, it’s the same situation. Cameltoe and a sagging top do not showcase your costume in it’s best light. It looks sloppy.

And, as with anything involving our community, you’ll get made fun of it too. How often do we see female celebrities get picked on by gossip magazines for having cameltoe? It’s no different with cosplayers, men and women.

If you still feel like you don’t need underwear when you put on that spandex suit, that’s your choice. You are technically covered up in accordance with decency laws. But think before you make the decision. When you wear that suit, go to a full-sized mirror and take a look at yourself. Would you go to work with your pecker and sack outlined like that? Would you want to show off your red and blue spandexed dilly to your grandparents and relatives? Are you comfortable with little kids running up to you and looking directly at your Peter and hoo-ha’s and asking you 'what is that?'

Strap down the dongle and keep the girls in place.

Weekly Link Round Up

We are almost at Friday and the gaming world has been busy talking about Disney's unexpected news that it would be closing their Interactive studios. But what about the other stories on the internet? I'm here to help break through the noise and bring you some of the best, and worst, gaming stories of the week!

- GamingBolt has a list of 15 video game prequels that you have to play. Both in slideshow and video format! The video is unnecessarily long through, so don't watch that. Some of the hits on the list are KOTOR, Dues-Ex, FF7: Crisis Core, and Halo: Reach. I'm meh about the Halo entry. Reach was just okay. Interesting, but I think a lot of the issues that plague the game have to do with multiplayer, internet connections, and odd control schemes. At times the game becomes a challenge to play through when all you want to do is duck and shoot.

- The Toronto Sun has an article covering 2016's biggest video game battles. Given that it's only May 12 and we're not even close to hitting that half-way mark for the year, I'm wondering what kind of battles are they talking about? Apparently they mean between gaming companies and products: such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Because we have to make everything a competition, even in a free market. TLDR: Ignore this click bait. The last entry on the article if for the Wii-U and the Nintendo NX. Um...guy. I'm pretty sure Nintendo is not trying to compete with itself.

- A study was released that suggests kids take in more fruits and vegetables when they play video games will help their brain function, or something like that. I kind of glossed over it when they only tested it with 400 kids for a game that is on the level of Veggie Tales, that intentionally promotes healthier eating. And the kids didn't even play the game, at least if the article is correct. They "watched" the game. Watching and playing are 2 entirely different things. I'm taking the John Oliver approach to this 'scientific study.'

- The AssCreed movie trailer was released yesterday on the Jimmy Fallon show. 1.3 million views and growing! I ended up muting it when a Kanye West (gay fish) song appeared out of left field. And I'm not alone on my distaste for the song choice that cropped up. Comments such as "Why Kanye" and "Totally took me out of the trailer" are popping up below the video. At least the visuals are nice...unless Ubisoft manages to push fast on the release date and totally botch up some coding. Jokes aside, I am curious to see how the film plays out. It's taking a universe that is incredibly game-like and trying to stick it into a movie format. As long as there is no more Kanye (gay fish). That was awful.

- Thanks to Gamasutra for the link on Game Career Guide.com with a "So you want to make games" job path. It's a nice little "how-to" in figuring out where you would fit best in a gaming company. With so many aspects to game creation, simply saying "I want to make a game" is not going to work. The mini guide gives an overview on where you might fit in the industry.

- It's not a Round Up until we have a WhatCulture list on the board. This week, it's 13 Video Games that prove that Superman is cursed in this realm. I'm not sure why the author felt they needed 13, other then to get more clicks. Because Superman 64 is all you need to say for definitive proof. It's #1 on their list so I don't know why the author would torture himself with trying to find another game. Spend 13 pages talking about the craphole that is Superman 64. Done!

- If you want to hate on life today, I give you a Arlington, Texas based pastor who calls men who play video games and the XBox sinners. Because...um...bible stuff? The video is on Vimeo and it's password protected, which requires you to pay a subscription to view. But Opposing Views has an excerpt of the transcript and it's brutal. This pastor is very clearly has the 'men work, women at home' type of mentality that makes you wonder how these type of people still exist. He also made local news for his stance on the government shut-down and made some racist commits towards President Obama. For those wondering, I can assure you, as a female liberal gamer living in Texas, not everyone is like this. Most are pretty chill. Unfortunately we have a few of these people with very extreme views that make so much noise, everyone assumes all Texans are like this. They're not. Promise. We've got a really big gaming club here and we invite all to join. Including the ass-hat pastor who thinks all men who play XBox are sinners. Talk to the games who are doctors, lawyers, and business men who will be happy to put you in your place. :)

- Brisk Insights, an analysis and forecast group, believes that the sales of video games will top $118 billion dollars by 2022. Damn. That's a lot of money. They break down their study by studios, regions, even the market by device type. You have to have a license to read the results, but wow! Look at that table of contents! That's a lot of research.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Disney Interactive Closing Shop

Disney released their quarterly report yesterday, and in unexpected news the company is closing down their video game division and stepping away from console gaming. Which means no more Disney Infinity. A bit surprising since it was assumed that the release of Star Wars Episode 7 and the subsequent Infinity line of characters would have boosted sales.

According to the report, Disney is taking on a $147 million dollar charge to axe the division. There isn't detail on earnings regarding Infinity in the report, other then "lower results" from what was expected. The toy-to-game market overtook LEGO and Skylanders in December with their last release of product. Before that it was in the top 10 of product sales for several months. Maybe they weren't as high as Disney predicted, but based on the numbers, it seems like Infinity was turning a profit. But that's part of the problem - we don't have the exact numbers. This is all speculation so it could be that the profit was not enough to overcome the cost of production for the figures, and maintain updates to the game.

Just a few weeks ago, Infinity stopped supporting the Apple TV version as the company wanted to focus more on traditional, console gaming. Apple TV currently reaches 123 million adults, and it's a product not seen in standard households. From a business standpoint, I could see why Disney would not want to spend resources on a system that didn't provide much return on the investment as it would with a console. This must have been the start of the death march for Infinity.

Details about the console division closing are limited. The last 2 releases in May and June will continue, but production will stop for additional patches. Disney will still maintain all of their licenses for the products, and may shuck them over to another company (EA) to take over.

I foresee an increase in Infinity figure sales.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mario Minecraft!

I'm happy that this is finally releasing! Mario is getting a place in Minecraft, after it was announced last year with the release of Minecraft for Wii-U that the mustachioed one and his pals would have content in the game down the line. And it's coming next week! Nintendo announced yesterday morning that the "Super Mario Mash-Up Pack" will be available free next week on May 17th to Wii-U consoles. Starting June 17th, future versions of the Wii-U will be bundled with Minecraft and the add-on pack for $30 extra (to cover the cost of the game).

The downside is that this is only going to be available for Wii-U. There are no plans to expand it to other systems at this time, and it makes sense (as much as that sucks). Nintendo likes to keep their products on Nintendo platforms.

Users will get new skins featuring Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, the Koopa Kids, and more. As well as Mario textures to the entire Minecraft landscape including items, and music from Super Mario 64. Enemies and creatures in the world will also change to replicate the mobs from the games. And it looks like it'll include a pre-made world with homes and areas that mimic some of the levels in Super Mario. Let's see what crazy things people can come up with in their worlds...and hopefully not get banned by Nintendo.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Military Propaganda in Video Games?

I think someone jumped into the booze barrel a little early today with their gaming story. The Daily Review has published an article by Matthew Sainsbury, which should be labeled as an opinion piece, that makes me wish I had some of that secret drink in my coffee this morning. But it's par for the course based on his history of posts with Review.

The doozy of a piece today is pretty straight forward: Video Games Are the New Medium for Propaganda.

I'll let that settle in your brain for a moment and wait for the "WTF" face to cross your features before I continue.

In defense of the crazy thesis, if it can even be justified as such, video games are a powerful marketing tool. See Mountain Dew and the success it is has by linking up with Microsoft and cross promoting with Halo and Call of Duty. And this isn't something new. You can go back to games from the early 90's to see Cool Spot, the 7UP dot, that took marketing to an ultra wide level we haven't seen since, thank goodness. I don't know if I can take a game about Colonel Sanders seriously - at least on a gaming console. Or the more subtle way that is more commonly see is with games like Daytona where billboards posted on the race courses would advertise a variety of products, just as one would see on a real race track.

Product placements in games have been refined over the years to a level very similar to Hollywood. You may see a Coca-Cola drink can on a desk in the background, or a roll of Bounty paper towels on a kitchen counter. Or you can give Snake an Axe t-shirt, because that was totally a thing in the 1970's. It works and it's proven to work, else they wouldn't keep doing it.

But military propaganda? Not so much.

Sainsbury's argument is that the industry and the U.S. Army is attempting to "gamify" war. Call of Duty and Battlefield, according to the writer, are designed in a way to make joining the military more appealing. And that the U.S. army is creating simulators to publish to the public for the same reason.

I don't know what game Sainsbury is playing, but I never looked at Call of Duty and thought "Gee, that looks awesome! I should join the army!" As much as I dump on the current life cycle of CoD, one thing it does really well is look incredibly realistic and gritty. It's painful to watch at times because you can visually see the pain of war. You hear it in the gun fire, in the screams of civilians, the destruction of cities - there is nothing about this that is enticing and to argue otherwise is asinine.

Do these games tend to focus more on the U.S. side of the wars? Sure. Those are interesting stories to tell and based on centuries of studies with all entertainment mediums (from theater, to books, to movies, and beyond) people prefer watching war stories that center around their countries. Everyone wants their nation to look like the good guy, in some form or another. But the games Sainsbury calls out are known for providing historical accuracy to the wars of yesteryear, and for being completely nonsensical for the "future fake wars" that seem so unrealistic that no one can claim it as being glamorous.

Is the U.S. military creating gaming simulators? Sure. They have been for a while. Mostly within the confines of said military branch. Over the years they have seen how recruits have responded to games before entering into a test, or real life, combat situation and their improvements in results by using gaming methods over traditional training. The browser based games available through the U.S. Army are fairly basic - target practice and a top down "dodging" game that resembles an Atari football game. There is nothing exciting or entrancing about them. You're not shooting terrorists or Russians from the Cold War. You are hitting cutout targets that have no defining characteristics. I don't know how that's propaganda, but I didn't have any special sauce in my coffee today.

Again, I don't know what games Sainsbury has been spending with in his free time, but CoD and Battlefield are not propaganda filled, war-making machines. The chances of these games encouraging you or your friends/family to join the military are slim to non-existent because guess what: we all know that these games are not real! Gasp! Who would have thought we all had the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy? So go enjoy your Doritos and Mountain Dew while you play Homefront with the comfort of knowing you're not being brainwashed - at least when it comes to wanting to join the army. Marking? A different, and much bigger, ball of wax to tackle.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Games for Change - MalariaSpot Bubbles

Have you ever had one of those days where you felt like screaming in frustration at everything occurring around you? That's me today. So I'm not going to have the most "gem" worthy of topics for The Geek Spot today, but I'm not going to leave you all hanging. There will be content, come hell or...hell.

There's a new game out called MalariaSpot Bubbles from the Technical University of Madrid. It's part of a larger project titled Spotlab. Taking research and applying it to crowdfunding, the group hopes to find new ways to combat diseases with the help of the population at large in a different medium. Games like Planet Hunters did something similar, and allowed the populous to come up with energy saving solutions that would have taken years for the small team to figure out.

In the game, you are tasked to identify the different types of Malaria strains by popping bubbles. Why is this helpful? In a number of countries access to medical information can be limited. Something as simple as ID-ing a virus is tricky. That's where this game comes in handy. If more people play and can see the different strains of the virus, the more likely they can ID it in a doctor's office and help save lives.

It's a simple concept and has a lot of room to grow. Let's see how the crowdfunding works out.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Weekly Link Round Up

With so much random gaming news on the internet today, it seemed best to post the Weekly Round Up now before the goodies are buried tomorrow by other sites.

- WhatCulture's list of the week is 10 Video Games You Didn't Realize Gave Away Their Major Twists. What does that mean, you may wonder? Basically the game tells you the secrets within the game but indirectly. The Dead Space example is probably the best, where if you look at the first letter of each chapter title it spells out 'Nicole is dead.' One of your major goals in the game as Issac is to find your girlfriend Nicole, who is presumed alive for most of the game. The rest of the games...eh? I mean the FF7 one is not a give-away on the Aerith/Aeris death. Cait Sith's fortune could have applied to several people at that point in the game. The same situation with Red Dead Redemption. The man in black is a classic look for morticians in Western movies. If you couldn't figure out what was going to happen to John Marston after the third encounter with this man, then all hope is lost.

- Is the future of gaming going Free to Play? That's the question The Verge is asking, and even though the stats seem low for players that buy game content, many mobile and MMO games go this route. It's a 19 minute segment, but worth your time to get another point of view about the dynamic that is changing gaming. When you look at a company like EA, where over half their digital transaction last year ($1.3 billion dollars) are from microtransactions in free to play games, or in-gaming content, it's clear that there is money to be made.

- IGN has a list of the Top 10 Secret Bosses in Games. I don't know if this list means they are the "best" bosses or they best at being secret, because most of these are really easy to find and require little effort. Like Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts II, Culex in Super Mario RPG, and Emerald & Ruby Weapon in Final Fantasy VII. The last one in particular, those suckers are swimming in the ocean and standing in a sand dune outside the Gold Saucer. How can you NOT see them?

- The World Video Game Hall of Fame has added 6 more titles to their archives, and finally Oregon Trail is getting the recognition it deserves! Rejoice! The Sims and Sonic the Hedgehog will be joining the group as well. But it's about time Oregon Trail is highlighted for it's adventuring greatness!

- Want to know what it took to be cool in the 1980's arcade scene? Atlas Obscura found an article from 1982 that covers just that, and all the tackyness that is included.

- Another actress in skimpy, boobie armor, is being used in video game promotions. Megan Fox is teaming with the developers behind Stormfall, an online mobile game. Her character is a noblewoman or a princess who has casted aside her upbringing and choose to be a warrior. A warrior with no pants and a chest-piece that barely covers her. If you're interested, GameSpot interviewed her. I'll just continue to sit here and roll my eyes as developers once again pander to the male audience with non-practical female armor.

- And I don't know if this is a real article, but Snopes currently yields no results from this. Apparently an Egyptian official blames the cartoon Tom and Jerry to the rise of violence in the Middle East. Somehow Tom and Jerry set the precident that the violence in their animated show is real and totally okay to replicate. "“[Tom and Jerry] portrays the violence in a funny manner and sends the message that, yes, I can hit him…and I can blow him up with explosives. It becomes set in [the viewer’s] mind that this is natural,” said Ambassador Abdel Sadek. Yeah. Okay. Cartoon violence is totally the reason for Middle East violence. I'm pretty sure there were no beheadings in the cartoon.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

International Star Wars Day - Celebrating with Games!

It's May the 4th, international Star Wars day where we celebrate all things Star Wars in our own nerdy ways. Even large businesses such as iHeart Media are joining on the fun with a Star Wars music station today. And here I was ready to get my 80's groove on and I log in to see Star Wars. If there were a thumbs up emote in Blogger I would use it right now. Which means today I'm going to be throwing down a bunch of Star Wars links to help you get into the mood.

One of the things that I love about Star Wars is that it's one of the few experiences that can be shared globally. You can talk to someone half a world away and have nothing in common...except Star Wars. The moment those words leave your mouth you'll find yourself connecting to this other person though a movie. There is a power behind the Star Wars legacy that is impossible to deny. It's the type of movie, the type of cinematic artistry that will always live on. Centuries from now I would not be surprised if humans still quoted this movie, held the same day of celebration, and extended friendships to other lifeforms by watching Star Wars together. While I'm still a bit sour that the parts of the supposed "fandom" was bashing Prequel fans, the majority seem to be more calm about it: fans come in all shapes, sizes, colors, religions, backgrounds, and ages. Star Wars is a connection we have with our fellow human beings. It's a day to celebrate it!

- The LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens released a trailer featuring gameplay just this morning! u can view it on Amazon and it's about what you would expect with a LEGO game. There is a new multi-build system which allows players alternate ways to create objects in order to solve puzzles. You can also take those pile of bricks and build, destroy, and re-build into new items. The game is releasing on June 28th.

- Want a new way to watch The Force Awakens? How about the story being told be emojis? Because why not? We're nerds. It's what we do. And it's only 3 minutes and 18 seconds long!

- The history of Star Wars games is vast, but there is a growing number of cancelled games being added to the list. ShackNews rounds up some of the known, and unknown, Star Wars game projects that were wiped out. One game I had been looking forward to was the following up to Republic Commando - Imperial Commando. It would have focused more on the clone army from Episodes 2 and 3, as part of a squad that followed the Jedi's orders while working for the Emperor on the side. It was even rumored that the squad you played would be one of the groups that received the Order 66 message. The game was cancelled before it could get off the ground, but ohhhhhh how cool it would have been! It's rare to have a game dive into the Empire canon of the Star Wars stories.

- If you're looking for savings today, there are quite a few retailers offering the movies and the games for special prices - some are extended through the weekend so you can have a Star Wars goulash! This includes mobile games and even the 14 game Star Wars collection.

- UK's The Mirror has a bunch of random Star Wars facts and tidbits that will keep you entertained today, as it's updating their feed hourly with new content. Such as how much it would cost to make your own lightsaber - a real working lightsaber with a day to day cost analysis. There are also secrets from the Star Wars Rebels season finale, Star Trek fans trolling us, and more.

- We all knew that with Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm that a portion of their theme park would be devoted to Star Wars. The California location has held an exhibit for years before the sale, but now Disney is in full construction mode at both the California and Florida destinations with a Star Wars "land."   Announced in a presentation last month, more details were released yesterday on what customers can expect. There will be at least 2 rides, one with the Millenium Falcon (because why not?) and the second one will have you in the middle of a battle. Along with cantinas, dinner clubs, stage shows, some old and new costumed characters, the works. They want to do something along the lines of the Harry Potter park at Universal Studios where they immerse the guests in the world of Star Wars. There is no date on when all of this will be ready but I wouldn't be surprised if they pushed for a 2017 opening to get as much money out of the public as they can. And I fully admit that I would want to be there too. Damn.

- Interested to know what Star Wars games are coming out in 2017? EA released their quarterly results along with projected outlooks for the upcoming months. Included are the DLC packs for Battlefront and some new VR games.

- Or if you're looking to stick to The Geek Spot for Star Wars stuff, go here. I have a lot of Star Wars posts on some random topics, from the insanity of universal translators to a review of The People vs. George Lucas.

May The 4th Be With You! And see you tomorrow for Revenge of the 5th!

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Classic Games Get a Price Check

Used games posts are a part of The Geek Spot (TGS) family. It seems like every few months I'm typing up another post to talk about the used game market, best practices for selling, and why you should stop complaining when GameStop only gives you $2 for the latest Call of Duty release.

So it should not be a surprise that this is another used game post, this time with infographics! Sweet! MrGamez, which is an online gambling site (at the time of this post the servers were down and wouldn't allow for a link-back), created a series of graphics looking at some of the most popular video games from the 1980's-mid 90's, and the most someone has paid for a copy of said game. If you've stayed up to date with the used game posts on TGS, you'll know that a product's value will be based on multiple factors: the condition of the box and manual, the availability of the item, if the game plays, etc. A mint condition Final Fantasy VII is going to fetch a higher price then one that is in a generic CD case with scratches on the back of every disc.

The infographic focuses only on eBay auctions for the games it lists. It's possible that a number of these games has fetched higher prices, but it's uncertain. The graphic also doesn't list the condition of the game - if it was one of the golden Zelda NES games, or that one copy of Ice Climbers that had a coding error making it ultra rare. It is still interesting to look at and see what people are willing to pay for classic games. I'm a bit surprised that Crash Bandicoot has sold such a high dollar amount. I thought he went the way of so many gaming mascots and hid away, but I guess not! People still want the Bandicoot and are willing to pay for it. Now I will say that the pricing for Final Fantasy VII and Pokémon Red and Blue are obscene. No copy of FF7 is worth $1200. You can find it currently on most auction sites for $29-$89 (and if you pay more then the original MSRP you are wasting your money). With Pokemon, both games can be purchased together for $29.99 on eBay right now.

The problem with a number of these games is that they were popular at their release. Ice Climbers and Castlevania are the exceptions, but the rest have had anywhere from 8-20+ million copies produced. Millions. They are not rare products. Nothing about these games are unique or special, other then you get a physical copy of the disc. And with digital technology, most of these games are now available for download on Steam and through all three consoles. You can play them all over again, making the discs and cartridges less important.

Bottom line: don't get swept up in the image. It's fun to look at, but it's not a guarantee sale for your rare games. Hang onto them! 40 years down the road people will clamor for those artifacts.


Monday, May 02, 2016

Ratchet & Clank - Movie Review

I carved some time out of my busy schedule to sit in a theater for about 2 hours to watch the 'Ratchet & Clank' movie. Free passes and a snarky compatriot who understands my need to be witty at inappropriate moments in a movie, to join me on my escapade? I'll bite.

So there we sat. For 2 hours. Looking up at a screen and wondering why we wasted our precious time on this crap.

Like so many reviewers and audiences have responded, 'Ratchet & Clank' does not make for a good film. A 19% on Rotten Tomatoes and only $4.8 million in the weekend box office (which will completely disintegrate this upcoming Friday when 'Captain America' is released). The video game tie-in is getting much better ratings then the movie. And that's never a good sign by any movie's standards.

Here's my problem with the film: it feels like a direct to DVD release that is parading itself as a big budget film to feel fancy and be available in wide-release. And I wonder if the production team tricked themselves into thinking this way with the cast of A to B-list screen actors? The movie tries too hard to act big when the story is not. The animation, while good, is not crisp as it's counterparts such as 'Inside Out.' You could argue that it's the $20 million dollar budget they were working with, but when character lips don't sync with the voice actor, it's shoddy work. The lame kiddie jokes and repetitive content don't help with the clout of the film either. The movie is only 98 minutes long. Kids are sure to get tired of having to be reminded that "this is the good guy, this is the bad guy" every few minutes.

Another way to look at it is, 'Ratchet & Clank' is  like 3 or 4 Saturday morning cartoon episodes squished into a movie. Every 25-30 minutes you had an episode with a beginning, a middle, and an end. You are reminded every 30 minutes what Ratchet & Clank's mission is with mini goals in each "episode." Like what one would do with a direct to DVD movie. Hmm...

As a whole the animation was okay. The voice acting was fine. If you are in that 25-35 range who played the games as a kid, you'll delight in knowing that the original voice actors were cast as the main characters. The story itself was alright. Predictable, like any kids movie. Which lies the problem: the movie was tailored for kids. There's nothing in it for adults or gamers who grew up with these heroes. And that's not how Ratchet & Clank rolled on the PlayStation. They had a little bit of everything for every age group. There were silly jokes and some light slap-stick comedy for the kids. There was good action for teens. There was some interesting character development and thoughtful story lines for adults. You could find something about the games to enjoy.

This movie is just meh. It does not capture the fun that is Ratchet & Clank. It's not recommended to anyone, unless you're under the age of 10 and don't mind bad kiddy jokes, and being reminded of the plot every half hour. But if the game is living up to the expectations, that might be worth an investment instead of the movie.