The Fall of Channel Awesome…

I wasn’t sure I wanted to say anything about this… Honestly I don’t like getting involved in online controversies and drama. #ChangeTheChannel tends to fall in that category. So I may or may not leave this piece up, I haven’t decided yet. Enjoy it while it’s there.

So full disclosure, my post about this is strictly my own opinions based on what I’ve heard from creators who left the platform, as well as the official releases from the company themselves… and my own take on events. Much of this is hearsay and unconfirmed. I’ll do my best to point it out where I can, so remember that this is an OPINION piece based on what information is out there. If you discover something that’s incorrect, feel free to shoot me a message and I’ll be happy to change it.

One thing I want to get out of the way really quickly is the controversy surrounding the late Justin Carmical aka JewWario. There’s been a lot of back and forth regarding him and who knew what. Apparently there is a lot of talk surrounding him potentially being a sexual predator. Though none of this has ever been confirmed due to no charges being filed during his life. I’m not going to speak ill of the dead, especially given the fact that most of this is… well not necessarily confirmed, but I’m also not going to link to any of his stuff either. I will say that a few people I know did meet him at various social events and commented that, while nice, he could be a little sketchy towards women… so take that as you will.

Now, that having been said, there’s recently been some heat thrown at creators who worked with him over whether they should keep their videos with him in them up… former long-time content producer for Channel Awesome Kaylyn Saucedo, aka MarzGurl addressed this:

Okay… so should she take down her videos? IMO… No. We shouldn’t. Just like period pieces with things that are no longer politically correct should remain available in their original presentation, just like we don’t edit… most other movies when an actor goes awry. If we had to do that for every movie/book where a bad seed or something with a dark chapter in their life, we’d have nothing left, quite literally. To me, that would be a disservice to everyone else who worked hard and gave up their time to bring something to life. That is, however, my take on it. I’m honestly on the side of the creators who have left their collaborations with him intact. They shouldn’t be punished if they didn’t know.

All right… with that out of the way, let’s talk about Channel Awesome. There’s been a lot of reporting online that the Channel itself is dead. While the website is still up… I was able to confirm that most of the producers, are gone. Literally all that’s left is Guru Larry and Brad Jones…

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Rumor has it, even Brad Jones removed the Channel Awesome logo from his site. Though I can’t confirm this at the moment. This is a pretty serious hit. Literally all the people I used to watch save the Nostalgia Critic, are gone; Linkara, Nash, Todd In The Shadows, Phelous, Bennet the Sage, Film Brain… heck even Angry Joe, a guy I literally saw last week at Pax and was saying nothing but nice things about the people at Channel Awesome, appears to have jumped ship.

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So where do they go from here? Well if that wasn’t enough…  Rob Walker appears to have deleted his Facebook page and Doug’s primary FB account now lists him as having been previously employed by Channel Awesome…

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So what does all of this mean for people who loved the personalities that are or were on the site? Well… for the most part, nothing. A lot of the personalities that have jumped ship still have their own YouTube accounts or their own websites you can visit.

Please see this spreadsheet to find the ones you want to watch.

The problem rests with the fans of the Nostalgia Critic. Again, this is an unsubstantiated rumor, but apparently the Walkers are considering legal action against Channel Awesome, specifically their CEO Michael Michaud. If the rumors are true and the evidence I posted above means what many people believe it does… the Nostalgia Critic may be done for good. The current CEO owns more than 50% of the company, and that includes the Nostalgia Critic personality. Which means that Doug likely wouldn’t be able to continue as the character on his own.

We will have to see how that plays it.

So, how did all of this happen? Well for that… I’m going to refer you to the video put out by Allison Pregler, AKA Obscurus Lupa:

She details a lot of the problems that have been going on there.

I’m also going to provide a link to the ‘Not so Awesome’ document, here.

So, what’s my take on all of this? Well… I’m someone who usually defended Channel Awesome. Every company has it’s bad side, but as long as the good outweighs the bad, I’m not going to start boycotting. That being said, my patronage of the site has been close to nil since the producers have made their way back to YouTube. If the site goes down, it really doesn’t affect me as much as it may have in the past.

A lot of what’s being posted in the document, as well as some other claims online, is extremely troubling and something that I think the leaders at Channel Awesome need to start answering questions on. However, some of it is complaining from many years ago that, even back then, came off as vindictive.

They’ve certainly done themselves no favors in the response they’ve given. Ironically, it comes off as extremely vindictive and mean spirited. This is definitely a lack of professionalism that no company wants in their senior leadership. Now granted, I haven’t looked through the entire document, but the central problems seem to have around their CEO, as well as other officials including Ellis.

Doug Walker, based on the general consensus of the reports… (and this is from what I read of the summary, I haven’t had time to go through the entire document), is kind of the figurehead who’s been kind of oblivious to what’s been going on… until now. I hope this is true, given my fandom. If not… that’s going to hurt. Though, given what a lot of Allison said, at the very least, he may have just ignored the problems as they’ve been coming up.

So it seems like this will be the end for Channel Awesome. For whatever they are, and whatever they’ve become… they had a lot of influence, not only on YouTube, but also on the internet in general. It is sad to see them go, but this appears to be a long time coming, if it does happen.

So… readers, what do you think? Do you have any experiences with cast members or officials from Channel Awesome? Do you follow any of their videos? Let me know in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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Sea of Thieves… A Shining Example of Why I Avoid MMOs.

You ever want something to be good so badly that you pretty much know you’re setting yourself up for failure? That was me with Sea of Thieves. So full disclosure, part of my disappointment may be my own fault, but I think most people will agree that the majority of it is warranted.

When I heard that there was a game coming out that was one of the most immersive pirate adventures ever, I was super excited. I got my friends together, we all bought the game and agreed that we’d be on a crew together. We decided on a name for our ship, and were good to go. I even bought a new headset just to be optimally ready for the occasion.

So we all downloaded the game. Let me start off on what we liked… This game is on the Unreal engine. The graphics are beautiful. The design of the game is excellent, everything from the mechanics of sailing, to the way storms work, to having to maintain your ship. On the surface, it really looks and feels awesome. I like how you can pick up jobs and the ship to ship combat is pretty good… at first. When you open fire on another ship, the music changes to something more fast paced, and really get’s you in the mood to fight. They even have a brig for players who misbehave!

So my initial impression was that this game was a winner… sadly a week of running around doing the same missions over and over for no apparent reason, and quickly seeing the problems with the combat system… as well as the brig system… soured my experience. So let’s go through the problems…

  1. Ship Battles: 
    I could probably forgive most of the other issues if the battles were fun. See initially, you prep your cannons and are ready to get in and put up a fight. Then as you’re training your guns on an enemy ship… you die. You never even got a chance to fire. So what happened? Well apparently, someone either jumped off their ship, swam over and boarded your ship because you can’t retract the ladder… or they loaded themselves into a cannon and shot themselves over to your deck, where they then take out half your crew with a blunderbuss. This completely kills ship to ship battles because once someone boards and kills a few people… battle over.
    I get that real pirates used to board ships in order to steal them, but they didn’t do it like this, and it certainly wasn’t this easy. This completely ruined the ship to ship combat system for me.
  2. The Brig: 
    Okay, I get it. We all hate trolls, and we don’t want to deal with them. Unfortunately, the problem has become so bad that most teams just lock up random people who join right away, not even giving them a chance. Out of spite, I’ll often just stay in the brig and earn the rewards of the mission for no reason. It also keeps these people from inviting anyone else. This is a broken system and really just invites even more problems than it fixes. I hear there’s even talk of removing it.
  3. Single Players Disadvantaged:
    Let’s say you just want to sail your ship and not deal with a crew. It’s extremely difficult to do because the two ship options are fairly big and need more than one person to function properly. I get that this game is supposed to be for groups, but sometimes you just don’t want to deal with that, for obvious reasons.
  4. The Game is Horribly buggy:
    Need to minimize the screen for a second to check your sound settings? Heh, good luck staying connected. A lot of people have been suffering through having their connections dropped for the screen being minimized. The ingame sound system doesn’t always work, forcing players onto team chats and other services to interact vocally.
  5.  Lack of Ships: 
    Like ship battles? Enjoy them where you can. There are only 6 ships (MAX) on each map. So at most, you’ll encounter an enemy ship once an hour. For some people that may be enough, but for those of us there who like raiding and pillaging… it’s severely lacking.
  6. Minimal Content Upon Release:
    This… is why I avoid MMOs like the plague. The game comes out to get players hooked… and they blow through what little there is in no time. You do your missions, fight your battles, and… that’s it. You sit there shrugging going, “Okay, I’ve done the skull missions, gold missions, and the merchant missions. I’ve killed the Kracken, defeated Skull Island, and even sunken enemy ships… so now what?”

The truth is… that’s literally all there is to this game. It’s literally a set of repetitive misisons and ship battles. There is no story, no narrative, no nothing that I’ve seen. There is no sense of accomplishment for completing anything. All the upgrades are superficial and it’s like you’re grinding… for the sake of grinding.
The developers have promised more content in the near future, but that’s the problem with these games. They release and sell an incomplete product for $60 and, in some of the less scrupulous cases, force you to purchase the addition features to just make the game worth the original money you spent on it.
Yes, single player games have this problem too, but it’s nowhere near as bad. Often the DLC packages are either just cosmetic or additional side stories that you can play without and still have a good experience. That is not the case with many MMOs and… sadly this game seems to be one of them.
The other problem with doing this is that by the time the problems are fixed and more content is released, the audience will be greatly reduced as many will have gone on to better things.

So in the end, my apologies to everyone who spent the money on this game. You purchased something that had (and still has) a lot of potential, but the fact remains that you purchased an incomplete product. I haven’t attempted to get a refund as so many others have… personally… I am holding out a (admittedly dwindling) hope that this will eventually turn out to be a good game.

So take it for what it’s worth. Hopefully this review will help quell some expectations and maybe help some people avoid making a bad purchase.
Please keep in mind though, this is my own personal experience with the game. Others may view it differently, and that’s fine. What about all of you out there? Have you played it? Did you enjoy it? Am I right on or way off on my opinion of it? Let me know in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Detroit Become Human Review

Okay, before I say anything, if you haven’t seen the trailer yet… GO WATCH IT!

Okay, did you get through all that? Am I the only one who sees this being turned into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence?

Obviously the graphics look amazing, but what about the gameplay? Well… thankfully during my visit to Pax East, my wife and I were able to demo the game.

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I was truly scared that this was going to be a game that was pretty much a 3rd Person beat em up, shooter. However, from what I’ve seen, this is anything but that. The immersive surroundings, and flowing story makes this game hard to ignore. My wife and I both played the demo and both had a very different story to tell about how it ended.

So based on the trailer and what little of the game I was able to sample:

Immersion 5/5

Graphics 4/5 (they do seem a little behind.)

Story 5/5 I was really interested in Connor and David and can’t wait to hear more about them and how the scene unfolded around them.

Overall 5/5 (Dear God, please don’t let this game turn out to suck!)



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Pax East Cosplaying!

 

 

So each year when I go to PAX, I try to snag as many pictures of the best (or at least my favorite) cosplayers. As you can imagine, there is a massive mix of bad, good, and… the ones who clearly put as much time into their as I do writing, editing, and cover planning my books! Seriously!

We also get a reminder that cosplay is as much about being clever as it is putting money and time into your costume. (Seriously, that fighter… GOLD, PURE GOLD!)

So this year… we had a noticeable amount of Final Fantasy Costumes to go through, perhaps the best of which is that person who dressed as Squall from FF8. Seriously, they got the look and everything down.

So at the end of the day, which one was the best, in my opinion? Well… it’s a tough call. I can’t really attest to the one I think is the best. That being said, I can say which one was my favorite, and partially because I’m biased towards this character… We came across this cosplayer who did an amazingly good job of Talia from Mass Effect, going so far as to paint her face under the mask! In addition, the mask had a speaker, making her voice sound similar to the character.

So yes, the winner, IMO is Talia from Mass Effect.

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Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Opinion: Rinoa Should Have Been A Kingdom Hearts Princess!

Most of my friends from when I was in college would probably roll their eyes at this one… because I’ve said a lot about it. For everyone who’s played Kingdom Hearts, you know the basic gist of the game.

To beat the game and stop the darkness, you need the power of the 7 princesses… I know, I know, but trust me, it’s a lot more bad assed than it sounds. This isn’t My Little Pony Fanfic.

When you bring these princesses together, they use their combined power to put a stop to the enemy known as the Heartless… again, I SWEAR this isn’t MLP or Care Bears fan fic!!! Trust me, go play the game! It really is good!

Anyway… Let’s take a look at the 7 Princesses.

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As I said, there are seven of them. Six are Disney characters, one is an original character from the game’s own cast.

One thing I would to note, Kingdom Hearts is the marriage of Final Fantasy and Disney. There are several Final Fantasy characters (mostly from 7-10) in the game that play pretty major parts. They have their own worlds, though we only see one, as well as back stories as to how they got there. However none of them are among the princesses and that I do not agree with. If you wanted to go with seven princesses, I get why, and I think there was a space for one. One of the characters, in my opinion does not qualify as a princess. Let’s go through the seven one by one, shall we?

I’ll go through them in order of status, in other words the ones that most qualify as a princess vs. the ones that don’t.

Snow White: This one is a pretty obvious choice. She is a princess. Not only that, but she was the first of the Disney princesses. So I really don’t need to go into much here. She’s kind and innocent. So we’ll just leave it at that, an obvious choice.

Sleeping Beauty: Again, another obvious choice. She was an early princess in the Disney scope. She doesn’t really play that huge of a role I’d argue vs. the faeries and the prince, but that’s my opinion. She’s a princess, another beloved one in the realm of Disney, so no arguments here.

Jasmine: I was going to put her above Sleeping Beauty because honestly she’s a stronger character than Sleeping Beauty and honestly far more likable, but Sleeping Beauty is far more iconic and well-known, IMO. So take that as you will, maybe it’s a tie, maybe not, but that’s where we are, moving on.

Cinderella: Okay… I know she’s iconic, I know she’s beloved in Disney’s circles and her story is beyond legend, but she falls lower than White, Sleepy, and Jaz because well… she wasn’t a princess. I’m not kidding, at what point in the story was she a princess? We never see her get married in the movie, she’s nobility, but treated as a servant until the end of the movie. I guess she qualifies because the prince said he’d marry the owner of the slipper, so until the King dies, that makes her a princess by marriage, but that’s arguable.

Belle: Same as Cinderella, albeit arguably less so. She’s not a princess… heck she’s not even a daughter of nobility. She marries a prince by the end of the movie but… is he a prince? I mean we never see his parents, where are they? In another castle? (Insert Mario Joke) It’s never fully explored, so… I guess we’ll just take it on faith, maybe he’s not next in line to the throne. So again, princess by marriage.

Kairi: Honestly, we don’t know much about her in the first game. Is she a princess? It’s not really explored. However I guess it makes sense that she’s on there as it gives the main hero something to fight for.

Alice: I have no idea why they chose her. Why not Ariel from the Little Mermaid? That might have made more sense here. Though you could argue that she’s in Mermaid form in the game, but there are always ways around that. Alice is not a princess. She’s a girl who daydreams and goes to wonderland. So really… I don’t know why she’s counted as one of the princesses. She could have easily been switched out with literally any other Disney character… or perhaps a Final Fantasy princess?

Enter Rinoa… Now why do I say Rinoa over say… Garnet (Dagger), Tifa, Aeris, Yuna, etc.

Well… Garnet is a true princess, but to be honest… I never found her particularly likable. There really are no other FF9 characters in the first Kingdom Hearts, and honestly, she ends the game as the Queen.

Tifa and Aeris have no real connection to any form of nobility, it doesn’t even really exist in her world other than the nepotism within Shinra. Aeris is the last descendant of the Ancients, but… I mean she’s already a contributing character, so I think that really goes far enough.

So why Rinoa?

Well… Rinoa for one is a very well-liked character. She’s had her own following, multiple figures made, her friends call her a princess, and honestly, you could argue that she’s Gabaldian nobility, being the daughter of a well-respected, wealthy, general in the nation’s army. She’s not royalty, but honestly she fits in about as much as Belle or Cinderella when you think about it. Plus Squall is in the game. Cloud and Aeris are there, why not bring Rinoa in as well for Squall?

If it were me, I would have brought her in instead of Alice as I think she’s definitely a better choice than Alice. IMO it seems like Disney chose Alice because of a lack of princesses to choose from at that point that could fit into the game. However that is my opinion.

What does everyone think? Am I dead on? Not so much? Do you think Alice belongs there? Would you rather a different Final Fantasy character? Let me know.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Unpopular Opinion: Final Fantasy 7 isn’t as good as you remember

 

Oh I just know I’m going to piss off a lot of people with this one…

Keeping in mind, I’m just focusing on the main title, not the sequels or prequel here.

Final Fantasy 7 came out roughly a year after I got my first PlayStation. I was in either 6th or 7th grade at the time… I don’t really remember. The gamer magazines all gave it  outstanding reviews. Many said that the game was edgy in that it portrayed murder, rape, and prostitution among other themes in the story.

The public reception though… at the time and from my perspective, was mixed. A lot of people loved it, saying it had a great story, great graphics, and so on. Other balked at the turn-based system and how the game designers had seemingly focused on good graphics and offered little else. Keep in mind, I can’t gauge a universal fan response at the time. Public use of the internet was still in it’s infancy (You old 56K users know what I’m talking about), so the reception I speak of is strictly anecdotal. Take that as you will.

For years, I was in the first camp. I loved the game.

I saw a commercial for it and asked for the game for Christmas. Upon opening it and playing the first disc… I was hooked. I played the game straight through. I struggled through President Rufus’s inauguration scenes, I teared up when Aeris was stabbed through the back, my jaw dropped when Cloud was revealed to be a clone, and relieved when it turned out he wasn’t one, and chills ran down my spine as ‘One Winged Angel’ echoed through my ears during the final fight.

I cannot tell you how many hours I wasted on this game as I played through it several times. So when I heard that Final Fantasy 7 was being remade, like everyone else, I was excited. So much so that I downloaded the original on my handheld PlayStation to relive the glory days.

I kind of wish I hadn’t… The nostalgia goggles fooled me once again. It was like turning on Thunder Cats or the original Transformers and realizing that these shows were a lot cheesier then I remembered.

The graphics and, by today’s standard, laughable polygons didn’t bother me. I knew that was coming, so I give the game a pass on that. I am also aware of how endearing the turn based system is and how it’s come a long way. So again, not an issue.

So what’s the problem?

Well I think part of the problem is the gamer, yes the problem is us. You see, we’ve all grown and matured and as such, we can now see glaring issues with the game that we didn’t see, or didn’t care about when we were younger.

For starters, let’s look at Cloud. He’s moody, doesn’t talk much, doesn’t seem to care about anything or anyone, has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, and yet somehow people gravitate to him. Maybe it’s because of his supposed awesome power or something? I can’t really be certain. The thing is, there’s not much to him. He’s a moody character trope that seems to show up in most, if not all, modern Final Fantasies. Granted, not always the main character, but he’s in there somewhere.

Honestly, Final Fantasy 8’s main character was very similar, in fact I think Square was aware of this as they pared the two characters up and hand them basically taunting each other during the Battle of Hollow Bastion in Kingdom Hearts 2. However, Squall was slightly different. For him, there was a lot more reason given to his moodiness and quiet. He grew up in an orphanage, and the big sister he loved so much, eventually left him behind. Though his memory of all this was gone, the imprint remained, so it made sense.

With Cloud… he was a failure and didn’t want to deal with that or something? Granted the idea of a character concocting a lie about his past and having it consume him to the point where he believed it himself, only to have that backfire, is interesting enough… except there’s a bit of a problem there…

You have everyone’s favorite waifu, (Tifa) who was there for all of the previous events and can easily debunk everything! She doesn’t though because… she’s afraid of what it might do to Cloud? I don’t know, the reason isn’t very well given and honestly makes the whole plot line hard to believe. When Sephiroth reveals that Cloud’s past is a lie and due to his mental insecurities, is able to convince Cloud that he’s a clone because of it. The story started to fall apart, especially with Tifa knowing the truth.

But they explained that too! Sephiroth said that she also had her memory altered. 

Yeah I don’t know, that’s a bit of a stretch. She’s also a little too accepting of the idea. I mean maybe I could believe that Cloud’s true memories didn’t kick in because his mind was scrambled due to Mako exposure, but the rest is really pushing the suspension of disbelief.

Second issue with the story… Vincent. Vincent knows about Sephiroth. He knows about his past and where he comes from. So… why doesn’t he speak up? When Sephiroth is on screen spouting off about his destiny and his mother, why doesn’t Vincent tell him about Lucrecia? I mean yeah you could make the argument that Sephiroth probably wouldn’t believe him, but why wouldn’t you try? At the very least, it may give him pause.

Some people didn’t use Vincent. Others just didn’t have him in the party at the right time. 

True, but the official story has Vincent there so that doesn’t really hold water. Also, there are a few opportunities when the entire party is on screen where he could say something, despite not being in the party.

Third issue, the love interests. Tifa and Aeris (Aerith? Aeries? Aries??? WHATEVER!!)… what can I say about them?

Honestly, Tifa was the preferable character… and I’m not saying that because her cleavage was bigger than her head… no I’m not kidding…

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(I hope Cloud knows a good chiropractor!)

She honestly, despite her flaws was a very energetic and loyal character. Even when Aeris came into the picture, she still stuck by Cloud. Despite everything, she was still there to care for him and comfort him when he needed it. However she did let her emotions run wild and honestly… well let’s just say I didn’t have her in the party all that much.

Then why is she the better of the two?

Because the other option is Aeris.

I actually liked this character when I was younger and now for the life of me, I can’t remember why. Take almost any of her lines of dialogue in the game and try saying those things to people in real life. ‘Hey that’s Cloud’s thing to say, blah, blah, blah.’
‘Let’s ride the airship together, promise? PROMISE ME!’

They’re either going to think you’re a little kid or have serious mental issues. Granted, she’s not the only character with this problem… “Dr. Hojo has named me Red XIII, call me whatever you wish.”

… or you could just tell us your damn name! We’re likely to find out sooner or later anyway! Seriously, what’s your problem?

This actually was revealed a lot more in the game Crisis Core where people started to theorize that Aeris may have had some kind of mental deficiency. I remember message boards going so far as to ask if she was mentally retarded. Granted her character wasn’t done any favors in Final Fantasy Crisis Core, but we’re not really addressing that game here.

On top of that, Aeris is just annoying. She constantly laughing about something or acting like a little kid. On top of all of that, she was kind of the White Mage of this Final Fantasy despite this game not really needing one. Not only that, but her character is really in question. She barely even addresses the nature of Cloud’s relationship with Tifa during her time with the party and at some points seems to either try to sneak around behind it. Even if Cloud expressly says that Tifa is his girlfriend.

Thankfully you have the option of not being nice to her, at which point Tifa shows up for your date at the Golden Saucer and you don’t really have to deal with Aeris past the first act. So that’s a plus.

Let’s move on to the story… I’ve already stated what I take issue with in terms of the main character, but let’s look at the side quests. First of all, too many of them go nowhere. Who is the Kalm Traveler? What was his mission? Who was the man in the pipe in Sector 6? What’s his backstory? What is Aeris doing back in the church after she dies, only to disappear when you turn your back? A lot of these things go nowhere and it feels like there is an incomplete chapter in the game that was supposed to tie these things together.

Also when you leave Cait Sith in the temple and he’s destroyed, it’s written in a way that makes it a sad scene. Cait Sith was a likable character… despite having a bit of a forced introduction. So saying goodbye to him was actually a moving scene… too bad it was ruined two seconds later by a second model showing up. Also not helping things is when Cloud gives the black material to Sephiroth while your party… just kind of stands there. Yeah, they don’t make any effort to stop him… only a spectral figure of Cloud as a child… again not really explained, makes any effort.

When the inevitable happens, Aeris tries to comfort Cloud, only to have him jump on her and start beating the crap out of her… our hero everyone. When he’s not lying about his past to hide the shame of his personal failures, he’s beating up on women.

This is the major problem with Final Fantasy 7. It is edgy and it’s plot lines are interesting, but it never seems to follow through on them. Too little is explained and is up to the audience to figure out, and the whole thing just kind of becomes a muddled mess.

I will say that I was not a fan of the ending, but that may be more because of my personal bias against open endings.

So that’s pretty much my feelings on Final Fantasy 7. The characters are incredibly flawed to the point of unbelievably, the story is a mess and… really that’s all I can say about it. However I am someone who was a much bigger fan of Final Fantasy 8, so take that as you will. Of the Final Fantasies, 6(US) and 8 were the two best in my opinion. I never played any after X-2 due to 11 being an MMO and as I got older, I really didn’t have the time to put into them. So if you’re going to judge my taste, judge it on that.

Wait, wait, why did you like Final Fantasy 8 better?

Well honestly because despite being rushed into production thanks to FF7’s success, Final Fantasy 8 had a much more dynamic story, even more impressive graphics, and several twists and turns that made the game far more addictive. The characters were still pretty childish, but I had an easier time believing that these were teenagers… immature teenagers in some cases, but teens never the less.

The only major complaint I had was that its left up to the audience to figure out, despite being fairly obvious, who Squall’s parents were. (Hint: He shows up on the Ragnarok at the end of the game.) Also, up until X-2 came out, it had the best ending out of any Final Fantasy.

You actually liked X-2?

Haha… not really. The characters were annoying and the job system was flawed at best. I actually had to use a gameshark to get the 100% ending, but honestly… if you combine X and X-2 as one long story… the complete ending is actually very satisfying and wonderful.

So take that as you will. Final Fantasys 6(US) and 8 are the superior titles. Final Fantasy 7 isn’t a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, I just don’t think it’s as good as anyone remembers. It has very serious flaws that stick out more and more with each replay and sadly… its a major detractor in my opinion.

Will I play the remake? If I have time,  yeah I’d love to give it a try. Hopefully some of these things will be fixed and it’s not just a re-textured redress of the original.

Please don’t kill me!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Moral Guardians, Why They Should Be Ignored

I don’t usually get involved in politics or social issues on here, save for the occasional effects it has on geek culture and for good reason. Most of us are looking for an escape from such issues. However, there has been a major trend recently where such issues have invaded nearly every facet of our existence, including unfortunately, our escapism. As such, it would appear that my participation in such topics is not optional, hence the title of this post.

In many previous advice posts, I have said that a writer should write stories that they want to read and enjoy, let the audience decide later if they want to read it. If the writer spends all of their time worrying about what their readers or viewers want to read/see, then the work will likely be a lot more lackluster and forced in many places. Not only that but no matter what you do, you will never be able to please everyone.

So let me start by posing the question; should fiction cover controversial issues? I think most people would agree that it absolutely should. However, there are some out there that disagree because covering such issues would be uncomfortable. Unfortunately, these people tend to rail against anything that lands outside their comfort zone like Christian purist from the 40s.

Now I think that the appropriateness of covering a controversial issue should be taken on a case by case basis, and even then will be in the eye of the beholder. When Mark Wahlberg put out a movie about the Boston Bombing, a lot of people thought it was in bad taste, especially because of the timing. Others thought that those people were being oversensitive. As someone who experienced the Boston Bombing first-hand in that I wasn’t far away from the area when it happened, I’m on the fence with this one. I’m no fan of Mark Wahlberg by any stretch and the fact that he’s become a local hero is disgraceful to Boston, IMO, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think this movie should have been made. Those that say otherwise are what I refer to as ‘moral guardians’. The fact is, no one has the right to tell a creator what they can and cannot create. The exceptions to this are, of course, deliberate slander, threats, and incitement of violence. Everything else resides in the purview of the creator’s morality. Creators should be able to tackle any topic they want in any way they want and then the audience can decide with their dollars if the creator went too far. Telling someone before-the-fact that they shouldn’t be able to experiment and try out something new or uncomfortable is counter-productive in the worlds of fiction and fantasy.

Pandering to Moral Guardians and/or Culture Warriors is never a good idea. For starters, because they’ll often go into writing, video games, and several other mediums that tackle controversial issues and instantly label them as bad without any context such as… actually reading or experiencing the full work. Like it or not, feminist frequency has done this on several occasions with their attacks on video games while bolstering really bad characters simply because of their appearances and genders.

Polygon in their article “Stop using extreme violence to sell your game

Heavily criticized the abuse of women that were put in, as they called it, extremely violent situations.
“The violence is particularly upsetting as it features the assault of women. Violent attacks on women, many times for perfunctory purposes, isn’t new. The Killing Joke saw the Joker torture Barbara Gordon in a statement that reinforced the notion that gender influences violence. The volatile imagery used in the trailer to underline the heinous acts being committed are familiar scenes to us. We’ve seen this play out in other TV shows or movies before, and in real life. 35 percent of women have experienced violence at the hands of another person in their lifetime, according to 2017 report from the United Nations.”

However, these are the same people that complained about the under-representation of female protagonists in these stories. The problem is that… you got what you wanted; more women in fiction. The problem is that fiction can in many cases be extremely violent and as such, the more you put women in the forefront of these stories, the more you’re going to expose them to these situations. It is not avoidable if they’re going to get the level of equality they want.

Simply put, there is no pleasing these people. No matter what you do or how much you try to cater to them, they will find something to complain or faux virtue signal about. There will always be something that they find offensive. They want fiction to tackle controversial topics and then get mad when it does.

Another example I want to tackle is an article by Eurogamer. This time dealing with the imminent release of a game that both I and my wife are really looking forward to; Detroit Become Human. This game looks like its going to be amazing! A narrative-driven story where the choices you make have major consequences on the plot, perma-deaths, etc. A creator’s dream!

Before reading on, I’d advise everyone to watch the most recent trailer for the game. NSFW just as a heads-up:

(I smell a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence if this game does well…)

So… as awesome as this is, of course there are going to be some detractors. Eurogamer does not disappoint me here:

David Cage on Detroit and its depiction of domestic violence

I want to explore a couple of the questions:
The concern I have is that it’s using something like domestic abuse and child abuse – which is a very real issue for unfortunately far too many people – and using it as window dressing rather than exploring the ramifications of those issues.”

Okay, one it’s a trailer. It doesn’t really give you a lot of time to explore the ramifications. Literally, it’s a three-minute taste of something that many writers would have trouble adequately explaining in a 500-page book. Trailers are meant to give you a sample of what you’re going to be experiencing. If something dealing with child abuse bothers you too much that you don’t think this is something you would enjoy, that’s fine. Don’t purchase the game. I have no issue with that, as a child rights advocate, I admit that this put me outside of my comfort zone.

That being said, right after that scene, there is one sentence in the video that makes me think this writer didn’t actually watch the trailer ‘Things could have been different.’ The trailer actually shows you how the decisions you make in the game can change the outcome of this situation for better or worse. The child doesn’t have to end up abused, you as the gamer have the opportunity to prevent it.

However, even if you didn’t… so what? Child abuse is a very real thing. As someone who has experienced it both first and second hand worked at a program for children taken out of their homes, etc. I can honestly say that what goes on in the trailer is not far from reality for too many children. It’s uncomfortable, but it is definitely not something that should be ignored. If fiction can help bring a light to the discussion on this topic, I applaud any attempt made to.

The other question the writer asked that irked me…
Finally – I know I need to wrap up – is nothing off-limits as far as you’re concerned as a writer?” 

I think David Cage answered this one perfectly. So I’ll add his response here:
“Off-limits? What is off-limits is what goes beyond the values I believe in. There are things I’d never do. I’d never do a racist game, or a misogynist game. These are the limits. When you feel okay with the content and the meaning when you know you have nothing to be ashamed of because it’s fair and it tells the right story and because it’s moving. There are no limits.

There’s been these discussion in literature for years and years and years – one of the most famous poets was called Baudelaire, this guy was sued because he was talking about things he should be ashamed of. Today he’s one of the most famous poets in French literature. I think it’s normal that we have this conversation in games now. It’s part of the process.
He is absolutely correct here. The only limits on creators should be those imposed by our own morals and values. The whims of the readers or critics should not be taken into account because it’s not their story. It’s our story that we put out there for them to enjoy. I’m not saying our readers and/or consumers aren’t important. Of course, they are and we want them to enjoy what we offer them. The problem is that our readers typically come from a diverse background and have different wants, desires, and expectations. You can’t pander to all of them and in choosing to pander to any, you run the risk of alienating the rest.
Even worse if you try to pander to the culture warrior or moral guardian crowd. This is something Marvel Comics has done and frankly… they’re hurting bad became of it as I’ve explored in many other topics. These people cannot be pleased and even if you can appease them for a short time, eventually you will put a pinkie toe out of line at which point they will eat you alive.

So while I’m sure to not get many brownie points for saying this… You cover child abuse, spousal abuse, murder, rape, prostitution, or bigotry. Tackle situations that will make some people cringe. Make people who are usually the moral right the bad guys! You put your companion character in a skimpy outfit while giving your own absurd muscle masses that even a WWE superstar would drool over. Fiction and fantasy are yours to enjoy, so make them good!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim