Being a ‘real’ fan part 2: Fake Gamer Girls

Last time I talked about fantitlement: The idea that you have to meet certain arbitrarily set requirements to call yourself a fan of something. This is somewhat an extend of that. Because as a gamer who is also of the female gender, I have the impression that I, more often as males, have to prove that I’m really into games. That is because of the myth of the ‘Fake Gamer Girl’.

The Fake Gamer girl is a female who craves attention from guys. Somehow she can’t get it from ‘normal’ guys, so she pretends to like video games so she can invade the geek game culture to mislead those poor sexually frustrated male gamers into giving her attention. Fake Gamer Girls are everywhere: Online playing Call of Duty, posting sexy pictures of themselves on Instagram, or cosplaying at conventions.

Newsflash: Fake Gamer Girls don’t exist. Or at least, they’re very rare. I hate the term ‘gamer girl’ to begin with, because I don’t understand why my gender has anything to do with my hobby. True, gaming is primary marketed to guys, and it used to be ‘male hobby’, in the long-long-ago, but that doesn’t mean that girls who are into it have to be viewed with so much suspicion. ‘What? A girl who’s into video games? Impossible! She must do it for the attention, that succubus!’.

You know what does exist? Models. Models who pretend to play video games, models who pretend to fix a car, models who pretend to be a carpenter. But we don’t call them ‘Fake Carpenter Girls’, right? But we don’t go around accusing real female carpenters of being ‘fake carpenter girls’ who are only doing it for the attention, right?

 

Yes, there are females who get paid to stream Call of Duty half naked, but you know what? Those are models and actresses. They’re not pretending to be anything. They’re not invading your precious little geek circle. And even if there are girls who post a few pictures of themselves on Instagram, wearing a bikini, licking a controller, what harm are they doing? They might get a few likes! Oh no! Really, there is no malicious intend there guys.

So yea, learn the difference between models and reality and stop accusing female gamers of being ‘fake’, when they tell you that Mario is their favourite game of if they don’t have a favourite Battle Toad (again with the arbitrary standards). Just treat them like your male gaming buddies please.

 

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Satoru Iwata 1959-2015

As some of you might already know, today it was announced that Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo since 2002, has passed away on 11-07 at the age of 55. (source: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/pdf/2015/150713e.pdf ). I’m at work atm so I don’t really have time to write a long post about the magnificent Iwata-san (I would really love to tough), but I wanted to dedicate a short post dedicated to the late CEO of Nintendo.

Iwata-san was off the radar for a bit last year because of the removal of a tumor, but all signs pointed at a full recovery.

“In general, it is said that a bile duct growth can be difficult-to-treat, partly because of the difficulty of detecting it early. In my case, luckily, it was detected very early and I had no symptoms. I was counseled that removal at an early stage would be the desirable medical option. Therefore I had surgery last week, and I came through it well, as predicted.” -Iwata.

Iwata was seen in a video at the E3 last month and nothing hinted that he might still have health problems (in retrospective, he skipped the event itself, so that was probably due to his health). His death shocked the gaming community. Iwata-san was one of the few game developers that was well-loved by everyone and he gained almost a cult status by his Nintedo Directs and Iwata Asks. He had heart for Nintendo and he will be missed.

Nintendo's President Is a One-Man GIF Generator

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The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess Master Quest

Hellow everyone!

Story time: A long time ago, it was announced that there was going to be a concert tour of a symphonic version of songs from the Legend of Zelda. Okay, they didn’t come to the Netherlands, and okay, it wasn’t in a weekend. But I wanted to go so badly that I didn’t care that I had to go to London on a Thursday. I asked the only other hard-core Zelda fan I knew if he wanted to come with me, but he didn’t want to come because he didn’t want to skip school and he thought it was too expensive (pfffft). I didn’t want to go alone so I didn’t go to the concert.

-TUMDADADADUM *insert Doctor Who theme* 3,5 year time-skip-. Me and the boy who didn’t want to go are living together and we in a relationship for 3 years. It was announced that there was going to be a second concert tour, one week after my birthday. So I kindly reminded the boy who didn’t want to go/my boyfriend that he still owned me a Zelda concert. Again, the concert wasn’t coming to the Netherlands, but it did come to Dusseldorf, London, and Paris. As you might know I went to Paris last year, so London it was (because who’d want to go to Dusseldorf?)!

-TUMDADADADUM 0,5 year time skip- New concert tour dates are added! The tour is going to come to Amsterdam in November! DAMN. Or not? I was frustrated at first because we spent about €200,- for transport and a hotel in London and now the concert is also going to be a 25 minute train ride away. But then I realized: I was going to London for a weekend AND I was going to be able to see the concert twice. Besides, when I bought the London tickets, there was no way I could know the concert was also going to come to Amsterdam anyway. So I also bought tickets to the Amsterdam concert (I’m not greedy at all).

-TUMDADADADUM one week time skip, last weekend- We stayed in London for the whole weekend but I’m going to write about that in another blog that I will post later this week. The concert was Friday evening. After a day of traveling and exploring London, we traveled to Wembley Stadium, where the concert was held (or so we thought). We figured we could eat a fast snack before the concert started, but all we could find was a mall with a few fancy restaurants and a Subway (and I didn’t want to eat Subway, I wanted fries). Eventually I ended up at a Brazilian BBQ where I very awkwardly only ordered some fries and a coke (I don’t think the staff was happy with me, but they stayed polite, that’s something I’m not used to in the Netherlands).

It still wasn’t time to go to the concert so we decided to walk around some more, and then we found out that the concert wasn’t in the actual stadium, but at a smaller building close by, dedicated to smaller events. I’m happy we found out in time! I also met up with someone I know from the WITCH forum and his friend. It’s always fun to meet people you’ve known for years on the internet irl! We had very fun conversations, but we had to cut our little get-together short because it was time for the concert to start.

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It was getting really crowded, and there was a pretty nice and laid-back atmosphere. Most of the fans wore fan T-shirts, but some were in cosplay. There was less cosplay then I expected, but then again, I myself didn’t go in cosplay because of the luggage restrictions in the airplane and because I wanted to comfortably enjoy the concert without having to worry about my pointy ears and such. But I did wear my A Link to the Past map dress (the picture below was taken at comic con, but I wore the exact same thing) and I got a lot of compliments!

IMG-20150328-WA0003.jpg wordt weergegeven

When I booked the tickets, I could chose the general area where we were going to be seated, but not the exact seats. I figured we must’ve gotten pretty good ones because the tickets said row 6. But MAN, these seats were REALLY GOOD. We sat really close to the stage and because the room was tilted slightly upwards towards the back, we had a really good view. The orchestra itself was on the stage, and behind it was a large screen which showed footage from the games which corresponded to the music that was placed.

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When it was time to start, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra took place on the stage and stemmed their instruments. And then… they started playing. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. I had goosebumps and tears in my eyes. I saw several grown man around me peak away a few tears too. This was definitely worth taking a bus, a tube, a train, an airplane, another train and another tube to get here. It went on and on and I didn’t want it to stop.

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After the first song, the CEO of the whole thing welcomed us and told us this wasn’t a usual orchestra, and we were welcome to cheer and clap if we heard something we like. That’s the thing I love about Zelda gamers. I felt the urge of the entire audience (myself included) to cheer and clap when the music was playing, but we were all holding back out of respect for the orchestra. We only go in hyper-fan-mode when we’re allowed to. There was another problem with the cheering though. The concert was so beautiful that we all wanted to absorb every note played. So even when the audience started to cheer, it stopped very quickly because we didn’t want to miss a thing. Between songs (see the list below), we also got video messages from Shigeru Miyamoto (the creator of Zelda), Eji Aonuma (the director of the Zelda games), and Koji Kondo (the composer of all Zelda game music and this symphony), which was pretty awesome.

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After 2,5 hours of awesomeness, it was time to go back to the hotel again. With the most awesome tube of the world (because it was filled with Zelda-fans). So that’s about it! It was an amazing experience and I am extremely happy I can go to this concert again in November!

Do you want to know if the concert’s coming to an area near you? Check the schedule: http://zelda-symphony.com/pages/schedule

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Playlist

Part One

01) The Legend of Zelda: Symphony Overture
02) Gerudo valley (Ocarina of Time)
03) Boss Battle song medley
04) Majora’s Mask medley
05) Hyrule Castle & Lorule Castle (ALBW)
06) Prelude: “The Creation of Hyrule”
07) First movement: “Ocarina of Time”
08) Second movement: “Wind Waker”

Part Two

09) Interlude – Intermezzo: “Great Fairy theme”
10) Ocarina melodies from Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask
11) Third movement: “Twilight Princess”
12) Fourth movement: “A Link to the Past Finale”

Encore

13) Ballad of the Goddess and Fi’s Theme (Skyward Sword)
14) Dragon Roost Island (Wind Waker)

Encore 2

15) Majora’s Mask Medley 2

Tsunacon 2015

While the entire bottom half (no actually, bottom 1/3 or 1/4) of the Netherlands is dressing up as idiots celebrating Carnaval, I, for the first time in my life, attended a convention without cosplaying. Yes, on the only occasion (well, except Halloween probably) I can walk on the street in cosplay without everybody staring at me, I’m wearing my normal clothes. Why? Well the most important reason is that I didn’t have any inspiration and I didn’t feel like wearing my older outfits. Another one is that I just wanted to enjoy this relatively short convention, the dealer room, the shows and the lectures without worrying about my skirt, fake ears, sore feet, face paint, etc. The result is that I wasn’t as hyped as usual (but maybe that’s also because this is my 7th convention and it’s in my own university building), but attending the convention itself was a much more relaxed experience. I did wear a PeanutButterGamer fan T-shirt though. He’s an awesome youtuber who does game… stuff. Go check him out.

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So Tsunacon 2015. This was the 7th edition of Tsunacon. You know what they did? They took all the experience they’ve gathered in the past 6 years and they didn’t use it. The first half of the day wasn’t all that bad though. We came after the crowd, so we didn’t have to stand in line, but we were just in time for the opening of the dealer room. The dealer room is actually the same every year, and a lot of dealers also attend the other Dutch cons, but that’s not bad at all. You get to know the dealers, which ones have the best offers, what you can get and where, so that’s great! My pro-dealer-room-tip #1: When you see something awesome but they still have enough in stock, go check the other dealers first before you buy it! I found a Wind Waker Link Nendroid for €60,-, but I later found another dealer was selling exactly the same thing for €40,- (which I obviously bought).

Another tip: Go check if there’s a Bring and Buy! They basically sell second-hand stuff but most of the time the boxes are still sealed, and it’s so much cheaper than when you’ve bought it new! They also sell stuff in damaged or opened boxes (=even cheaper), without box (=even more cheap) or slightly damaged or easy-to-fix figures (=absolute bargain). I also bought super awesome-looking figures of Eren and Levi from Attack on Titan, and my boyfriend bought 2 Monster Hunter Nendroids and 2 Monster Hunter figures. I’m going to spread the pictures of our loot throughout this post because I don’t have any other pictures…

Because Tsunacon also included a part of the building next to the usual building this year, we were able to sneak into my boyfriend’s office (he works at the university) so we could dump our loot there. It was Sunday, so that part of the building was actually off-limits. I felt such a criminal (I loved it). Anyway, after dumping our loot we attended a panel of American-Japanese voice actress Lisle Wilkerson. I also attended her panel at Abunai, and I absolutely adore her. It’s a funny experience to hear her talk about Japan through an American perspective (you have to pay for extra ketchup at McDonald’s in Japan!), while we are of course looking at her American perspective through a Dutch perspective (well, duh, we’d be happy if ketchup is even included in the menu). Sadly, this is the fist occasion where I noticed that the organization could be better. Lisle probably came over from the US to attend Tsunacon (or am I being to egocentric here?), and the panel was held in a huge lecture room, but there were only, like, 20 people attending. I only came because I already knew who Lisle Wilkerson was because of Abunai, but Tsunacon didn’t promote her attendance at all.

After another round in the dealer room and a quick visit to the game room, we attended the cosplay competition. That… was not good for my mood. Because it was held in a lecture room, and not an actual theater, they were struggling with the lights a bit. You know what they did eventually? They turned off the lights above the stage and turned on the lights above the audience. I was staring at the dark corner the entire time. The announcers couldn’t possibly be more disinterested and they had trouble pronouncing literally everything. I get that you don’t know how to pronounce every Japanese name, but they even had trouble with simple English names. Before I go on, I want to say that I respect anyone who makes their cosplay themselves. It requires skill, patience, time, and those are all things I do not have. But when I go to a contest, I want to see quality. There were two contestants that didn’t even match their hair to their character (which is okay if you’re just casually cosplaying, but not when you’re entering a freaking contest!), one costume was just plain simple (a shirt and dungarees), and the majority of the acts were just bad (this is actually something I notice at a lot of cosplay contests/fashion shows). I have 10 years worth of acting experience, so it may be a bit unfair for me to say this, but when you stand in front of an audience, look into the audience, don’t turn your back at the audience (unless you’re showing off the back of your costume of course), use your entire body, make big gestures, radiate energy! Most of the contestants were just awkwardly moving at the music while staring at the ground or the ceiling, showing more of their side and the back than the front. They didn’t introduce the judges to us, so I kinda have the idea that they were just random people of the organization, and I absolutely did not agree with the winners. The only contestant I was really impressed with got an ‘honorable mention’. Again, I do respect people who make their cosplay themselves, but I blame to organization for not putting any effort in ensuring quality in this contest.

The only reason I sat through the cosplay competition is because the AMV (Anime Music Video) competition was afterwards. I love good AMV’s! I got introduced to so may good anime trough AMV competitions, and the previous years were good, so I was looking forward to this. But you guessed it, it was an ‘anyone can enter’ contest again. There were video’s with blurred subtitles (and even that failed sometimes), multiple video’s were so pixelated I could almost count the pixels, one used material ripped from Youtube, scenes were so context dependent that no-one could understand them unless you knew the anime… This wasn’t fun to watch! I once went to an AMV-101 kind of thing, and there are a few basic rules for making a good AMV: use raws (NO SUBTITLES), make sure they’re HD (unless your material is from before the HD-era), make sure that anyone gets what your video is about. This is kinda common sense right? But Tsunacon didn’t even apply the first two rules as minimum requirements! And there were 2,5 hours worth of video’s! That’s too long! They also told us that they wouldn’t be able to announce the winner in the end, because then it would be closing time. The winner would get his prize send to his house afterwards. They obviously had enough contestants, why didn’t they make a selection? And you know what you can do with AMV’s? Judge them beforehand! And you know who the judges were? The contestants themselves! Just like the Eurovision Song Festival. Because there is absolutely no nepotism (I googled that word) there. Oh wait…  On top of that, all the video’s were mashed behind each other on one huuuge video, and they gave no information on which anime was used as source material, which song was used or who the creator was. I left the room after 10 video’s. It just felt like the organization didn’t put any effort in this.

So I was very disappointed in this year’s Tsunacon. I’m not even sure if I want to attend next year. On the other hand, it’s too close to ignore (it’s in my city) and the dealer room is awesome. Let’s just say I’m happy I didn’t cosplay.

Pokémon 101: The Evolution of the Avatar

When I’m writing this it’s still 2 weeks from the release of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (let’s call them ORAS from now on), but when this little article is published, I’m probably a long way into the game. Time to celebrate the newest installments of the Pokémon games with a new Pokémon 101! Note that this blog is about the main characters from the games, who cannot be confused with their counterparts from the manga and the anime.

Generation I

Red (Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow, 1998 or Pokémon Red/Green/Blue, 1996 if you’re hardcore or Japanese):

Red

  • Home town: Pallet Town, Kanto
  • Age: 11 (R/B/Y), 14 (G/S/C/HG/SS), 17 (B2/W2)
  • Professor: Professor Oak
  • Starters: Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charmander (R/B) or Pikachu (Y)
  • Rival: Blue
  • Evil organization: Team Rocket
  • Name origin: Obviously, Red’s name is derived from the name of the game. 

Among fans, Red is considered the most bad-ass trainer of all. He started his adventure at the age of 11. We meet him again when he’s 14 in Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal/Heart Gold/Soul Silver. Here we learn that, after the Pokémon League, he travelled to Mt. Silver to train in solitude. When he’s 17, he enters the Champions Tournament in Unova (Pokémon Black 2/White 2). This is the boy who became a legend.

Generation II

Ethan (Pokémon Gold/Silver, 1999, Pokémon Crystal, 2000) and Kris (Pokémon Crystal, 2000):

Ethan

Kris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Home town: New Bark Town, Johto
  • Age: Unknown (probably 11 or 12)
  • Professor: Professor Elm
  • Starters: Chikorita, Totodile, or Cyndaquil
  • Rival: Silver
  • Evil organization: Team Rocket
  • Name origin: Ethan’s name origin is somewhat far-fetched. His Japanese name is ‘Hibiki’, which means ‘sound’ or ‘echo’. Biblically, Ehtan is believed to be a harp or cymbal player on King David’s court. Kris’ name is derived from ‘Crystal’, the name of the game.

Ethan was the only playable character in the Gold and Silver games. In Crystal, you had the option to choose for a girl for the first time. Of all playable characters, Ethan/Kris collect the most badges: After they collect the 8 badges of the Johto region and defeat the Elite Four at the Indigo Plateau, they travel to Kanto to defeat the 8 local gym leaders as well. After Ethan/Kris collect the 8 badges from the Kanto region, they are faced against Red in Mt. Silver. If you think about it, with 16 badges, they’re much stronger than Red. They even defeated Red!

Generation III

Brendan and May (Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire, 2002):

Brendan

May

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Home town: Little Root Town, Hoenn
  • Age: 12
  • Professor: Professor Birch
  • Starters: Treecko, Mudkip, or Torchick
  • Friend/Rival: May/Brendan
  • Other allies: Wally
  • Evil organization: Team Aqua and Team Magma
  • Name origin: Brendan’s name comes from the word ‘brave’. May’s name in Japan is ‘Haruka’, meaning ‘spring flower’. May is a month in spring (duh).

In the Ruby and Sapphire games, if the player chooses the male option, Brendan becomes the playable character and May your friend/rival and vice versa. This is the first game where you have a friendly relationship with your rival, and where you have a second rival/ally (Wally). It’s also the first time you have a father, in this case the Petalburg City gym leader Norman.  Brendan/May do no defeat one, but two evil organizations. Their story ends with their participation to the Battle Frontier.

Brendan seems more concerned with his wardrobe than the previous two male characters. Also, is that a hat or his hair? Keep reading to find out the answer!

Red and Leaf (Pokémon Fire Red/Leaf Green, 2004):

1996 Red

2004 Red

Leaf

Remake time! Eight years after the original release, the first Pokémon games got a remake. That meant a drastic make-over for Red and the addition of a female character! Because the story is almost exactly the same, Red is still 11 years old in this game. But this version of Red looks a bit older than the original (left Red for comparison). He also looks a bit more approachable, although he keeps his bad-assery. Their clothes are practically the same, but totally different at the same time.

Leaf’s name obviously comes from the name of the game. Leaf looks like a female version of Red, but she looks more feminine than her predecessors. I really like her design, it’s practical and simple.

Brendan and May (Pokémon Emerald, 2004)

2002 Brendan

2004 Brendan


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pokémon Emerald is the third installment of the Hoenn region series. But Brendan, what did you do!? Did you fall into your closet and came out this way? SHORTS OVER YOUR NORMAL PANTS!? Are you trying to set a new trend? Because it’s not going to happen. But, we have some clarification about your hair. It was dark all along (for proof, see left ear).

2002 May

2004 May

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah May, I’m glad too see that you can keep your head clear. You did a color swap and changed your shirt, but you still look as cool as you did before!

Generation IV

Lucas and Dawn (Pokémon Diamon/Pearl, 2008)

Lucas

Dawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Home town: Twinleaf Town, Sinnoh
  • Age: Unknown (probably 11 or 12)
  • Professor: Professor Rowan
  • Starters: Turtwig, Piplup, or Chimchar
  • Friend/Rival: Barry
  • Other allies: Lucas/Dawn
  • Evil organization: Team Galactic
  • Name origin: Lucas’ name comes from ‘lux-lucis’, the Latin word for ‘light’. Dawn’s name is probably derived from her Japanese name ‘Hikari’, also meaning ‘light’.

If you choose Lucas or Dawn as you playable character, the other becomes the assistant of professor Rowan. Their adventure ends with taking on the Battle Tower.

The guys in Pokémon become more and more stylish. Lucas even looks… metrosexual? I never got why someone would wear short sleeves and a scarf. But I guess fashion beats functionality in Pokémon nowadays. And Dawn… I just don’t like you. I don’t know if it’s because of the dumb look on your face, the fact that you’re not suited for travel at all, the fact that you’re wearing a super-short skirt, the fact that you’re wearing a massive bag around your arm, or the fact that you’re wearing a warm hat and a scarf with a cold dress. It just… doesn’t make sense.

Lucas and Dawn (Pokémon Platimum, 2008)

D/P Lucas

Platinum Lucas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D/P Dawn

Platinum Dawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucas and Dawn are obviously clad for colder weather, that is, they wear a more functional scarf and a jacket. Dawn still doesn’t seem to have learned that you need something on your legs too to keep warm though.

Ethan and Lyra (Pokémon Heart Gold/Soul Silver, 2009):

1999 Ethan

2009 Ethan

Lyra

 

Ten years after the release of the original Gold and Silver games, they got a remake. Like Red in Fire Red and Leaf Green, Ethan got a make-over. Like with Red’s make-over, the new Ethan looks older and more approachable. His clothes and bag got an upgrade, but his cap still seems the same. Fashionable but practical!

Kris, not being a part of Gold and Silver, did not make a return in Heart Gold and Soul Silver. She got replaced  by the new character Lyra. In every country, the versions of Lyra’s name are derived from a musical instrument. Lyra is derived from ‘Lyre’. When you choose to be a gender, the character of the other gender becomes your friendly rival (no worries, Silver is still there too!).

Generation V

Hilbert and Hilda (Pokémon Black/White, 2010)

Hilbert

Hilda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Home town: Nuvema Town,  Unova
  • Age: 14-16 (B/W), 16-18 (B2/W2)
  • Professor: Professor Juniper
  • Starters: Snivey, Tepig, or Oshawott
  • Friends/Rivals: Bianca and Cheren
  • Evil organization: Team Plasma
  • Name origin: Hilda’s and Hilbert’s names contain the Germanic element ‘hild’, which means ‘battle’.

It seems like the creativeness when it comes to names has dried out a bit. Unlike in the previous games, the gender you do not choose doesn’t become your friendly rival. In stead, he/she becomes your partner in the Battle Subway. You do have two friendly rivals though: Cheren and Bianca.

Unlike all previous playable characters, who are all 11 or 12 when their adventure begins, Hilbert and Hilda are older. Their precise age is unknown however, different sources place their age between 14 and 16.

Nate and Rosa (Pokémon Black 2/White 2, 2012):

Nate

Rosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Home town: Apertia City,  Unova
  • Age: Unknown (probably between 11 and 16)
  • Professor: Professor Juniper (the player receives their starter from Bianca, your rival from Black and White, who is now professor Junipers assistant)
  • Starters: Snivey, Tepig, or Oshawott
  • Friend/Rival: Hugh
  • Evil organization: Team Plasma
  • Name origin: Nate’s and Rosa’s names come from the word ‘resonate’.

The events of Black 2 and White 2 take place two years after Black and White. If the player chooses one of the two, the other one will become an NPC who fulfills a minor role in the story.

Nate looks like a male version of Hilda in the previous games. He looks pretty cool, but apparently the pants-over-pants thing is still a thing in the Pokémon world. Or is he wearing a wet-suit underneath? Rosa looks like… you know those dress-up flash games? She looks like the result of a 10-year old designing her own original character with it. Her clothes are random and bland at the same time. Big step back from Hilda. Both their bags seem kinda unpractical for traveling too…

Generation VI

Calem and Serena (Pokémon X/Y, 2013):

Calem

Serena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Home town: Vaniville Town, Kalos
  • Age: Unknown (probably between 11 and 16)
  • Professor: Professor Sycamore
  • Starters: Chespin, Fennekin, or Froaky (the player later can also receive Squirtle, Bulbasaur, or Charmander)
  • Friend/Rival: Calem/Serena
  • Other allies: Shauna, Tierno, and Trevor
  • Evil organization: Team Flare
  • Name origin: Calem’s and Serena’s names come from the words ‘calme’ and ‘serene’.

Calem/Serena get their first pokémon from a friend, not from a professor (in name of the professor, that is). Later in the game, they can choose one of the Kanto starters from professor Lysandre.  This character does not have 1 or 2 friendly rivals, but 4! The playable character of the opposite gender will take the role of your main rival.

Calem and Serena are the first characters where the player has the option to alter their skin tone, hair color, haircut, and clothes. The pictures here are the default appearances, but they do not say anything on how your character will look like in the game: that’s entirely up to you! I was really happy with this option and I used it a lot. I don’t think I ever spent as much pokédollars as I did in this game, just because I wanted to buy clothes. The options they give you are really cool. If you want to check out which outfits and haircuts are available, visit http://www.serebii.net/xy/customisation.shtml .

Brendan and May (Pokémon Alpha Sapphire/Omega Ruby, 2014)

Brendan and May got their 3th make-over since their conception. This remake of Ruby and Sapphire was released 12 years after the original and Sapphire and 10 years after Emerald.

2002 Brendan

2004 Brendan

2014 Brendan

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Brendan’s clothes look like 2004 Brendan’s clothes, but his hat seems more like 2002 Brendan’s. He finally got over the pants-over-pants thingy. He also looks more… tanned?

2002 May

2004 May

2014 May

May got quite the make-over. Her color-scheme comes from 2002 may, and apparently the pants-over-pants thing moved from Brendan to her. I liked the bike shorts! She looks a lot more childish now. I’m a bit disappointed, since I liked her original design a lot!

That was it! All playable characters in the main Pokémon games until now! What is your favorite character?

 

Goodbye 2014, hello 2015!

Hello everyone!

Another year has gone by! Time goes so fast! And what a year it has been. I’ve learned one thing: I’m terrible at New Year’s resolutions. I had 4 last year, and I failed at all of them. YAAAAY.

1) Participating at NaNoWriMo – Well, I did participate. I went to meetings. But I failed miserably when it comes to wordcount. But it was fun, so I’ll try again next year!
2) I didn’t set a goal for how many books I wanted to read, but I wanted at least to be reading a book at any point in time. I could take as long as I wanted to finish the book, but when I finished it I wanted to start reading another one instantly – I failed so hard at this one. I’ve finished one book this year. ONE. I’m a terrible person.
3) I wanted to follow at least 1 anime every season – This one worked out pretty well actually. Until the fall season started that is. I was way too busy with university and watching other series to also follow an anime. That said, I did continue watching ongoing anime, so I didn’t fail 100% at this one.
4) I wanted to visit the cinema at least once a week – That didn’t really work out too. Sometimes there are a lot of good movies at once, and sometimes none. I did go to the cinema frequently though.

That said, I am not going to make New Year’s resolutions for next year. You’ll understand why by now. But enough about what I didn’t do last year! Now it’s time for what I did do!

A lot of things changed in my personal life. I finished my internship and I finished my first master, after that, I started on my second master which I just finished last week. Go me! I went to Paris with Mendy and I went to the Azores with my boyfriend. Life is hard.

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2014 was also a good year for gaming. We *coughmyboyfriendcough* bought a Playstation4, on which I played Infamous Second Son and I’m currently playing Dragon Age Inquisition. This year Nintendo released Mario Kart 8 (+ awesome DLC), Hyrule Warriors (+DLC), Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Smash Bros for Wii-U and 3DS, and Bayonetta 2 (they released more actually but this is what I’ve played). And don’t forget the introduction of the Amiibo’s! I’ve also played Shovel Knight (which was multi-plaform) and I got a bit into pc gaming (Minecraft and Left 4 Dead).

As for anime and manga, I’ve caught up with the Naruto anime (I skipped the fillers tough), and the manga has finished after 15 years! I don’t read the manga though, so I’m waiting patiently for the anime to end. I am watching Dragon Ball Z Kai (I didn’t watch Dragon Ball Z in my childhood, so I was lacking some basic anime knowledge) and I’m watching the remake of the sailor Moon anime (Sailor Moon Crystal). I’m not going to name every anime that I’ve watched this year, but some honorable mentions are D-Frag! Gin No Saji 2, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta, Bokura Wa Minna Kawaisou, Isshuukan Friends, Mekaku City Actors, Soul Eater Not!, Ao Haru Ride, and Barakamon. Hayao Miyazaki released his last movie, The Wind Rises, and Studio Ghibli went on a break. But I got Mendy into Ghibli movies! And sadly, the legend of Korra came to an end. But what an ending it was! I’m planning to write a review of the Aang series and and Korra series next year. Oh yea, I went to Tsunacon and Abunaicon again too!

So that was last year. On to 2015! Having finished my studies also has a downside, because I’m sitting at home without a job now, *sort of*. I’m having a job in my field of study but I’m not getting payed for that and I have a job which has nothing to do with my field of study for which I do get payed. Both are part-time and temporary. So the next challenge is to find a job in my field of study for which I get payed! But I have a lot too look forward to, because I’m going to Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess in London in April, I’m officially graduating in May, and I’m *probably* going to Malaysia in June! I’m also planning to visit Tsunacon, Abunaicon and the first Dutch Comic Con! The New 3DS is probably releasing in Europe in 2015, and Majora’s Mask 3D, the new Star Fox, and Zelda U are being released next year too!

I wish you all a very very great and awesome and nerdy and geeky 2015! See you next year!

Game Review: Hyrule Warriors

Yay, applause for me! I’m finally writing my Hyrule Warriors review! *coughbetterlatethannevercough*.

Hyrule Warriors is a cross-over game between the Legend of Zelda series and the Warriors series. You’ve probably heard of the Legend of Zelda, but the Warriors series isn’t that popular outside of Japan. So it is important to know that this is NOT a Zelda game: this is a Warrior game with Zelda characters and maps. Now that we’ve got that out of the way: let’s review!

In warrior games, you start on a relatively small map where it’s basically your army versus another army. On that map, you have to conquer keeps (enemy bases). You conquer a keep by defeating a number of enemies within that keep and eventually defeat the keep boss. When the keep is still in enemy hands, new enemies will spawn from that keep. When you’ve conquered a keep, soldiers of your army will spawn there. So conquering keeps is a good way to outnumber the enemy army. Each stage has specific win and lose conditions. You lose when you die or if your allied base (your main keep) falls. Sometimes one specific ally must be kept alive. Winning conditions vary from ‘conquer all the keeps’ to ‘conquer the enemy base’, ‘defeat the boss’, etc.

As stated, you play as a character from the Legend of Zelda. You can either play as the good guy or the bad guy. There are many characters you can choose from, and that number will only be raised through DLC’s. The maps are based on settings from different Zelda games too. Controls are pretty easy: You can make combo’s, raise up power do do a special attack and you can enhance your attack once you’ve gathered enough magic. You can dodge and block, and you can use items that you know from the Legend of Zelda series. Like in the Zelda series, bosses are weak to one specific item.

Enemies will drop specific materials and weapons that will range in rarity, depending on how difficult it is to defeat that enemy. With materials, you can upgrade your characters and lengthen their combos. Weapons vary in strength and have different skills.  With these skills you can, among others, strengthen your attacks, increase rupee or heart drop, or increase your gained experience. With each enemy you defeat, you gain experience. With this experience your character will grow levels which makes them stronger. Some stages will require specific characters so you’ll have to train all your characters.

The main menu presents three different modes. There are two modes that you’ll play the most: Legend Mode and Adventure Mode. Legend Mode is basically story mode. Note that it is confirmed that this story is NOT canon for the Zelda series. You start as Link, a young soldier in the army of Hyrule. Hyrule is attacked by Cia (an original Hyrule Warriors character). Together with Lana (another original character) and familiar friends from the Zelda Universe, you’ll fight your way trough different maps as the story unfolds. I will not tell more than this due to spoilers. Legend Mode is a great mode to start your game and to get to know the characters. The story fits surprisingly well into the Zelda Universe. Through Legend Mode, you’ll unlock most characters.

In Adventure mode, you navigate through the map we know from the original Legend of Zelda (NES). Each square represents one stage. Some stages are similar to the story mode stages, but some provide very specific challenges. Sometimes you have to defeat 2 bosses within a time limit, sometimes you have to defeat a certain amount of enemies within a time limit, sometimes you just have to fight your way trough very hard enemies. When you clear a stage, more squares on the map will be unlocked. Sometimes you’ll be rewarded with an item card which you can use to reveal secrets on the map. These secrets are usually at the same place as in Zelda I. For instance, you’ll need a power bracelet card to move a stone on the map. You can use the compass item cart to reveal secrets on the map, but since collecting a compass for every secret on the map requires a huge amount of effort (you have to clear a stage for each item card), I used a map I found on the internet. When you reveal a secret, the reward for clearing the stage will be changed. This way you can unlock new characters and weapons. The difficultly of the stages will increase as you progress further over the map.

There is also a co-op mode, which can be really helpful in the more difficult stages on the Adventure map. This has a few downsides: The frame rate will drop from 60 fps to 30 fps and the resolution drops from 720p to 480p which is REAAAALLY noticeable (and ugly, to be fair). Another downside is that the second player is only able to play with the Wii-remote and Nunchuck (which sucks balls), or the Wii-U pro-controller, which is €50,-, which sucks for people who have the Wii pro-controller which is basically exactly the same as the Wii-U pro-controller, but which is not compatible with Hyrule Warriors.

At the time of writing, one DLC pack is already released: The Master Quest Pack. This pack contains new weapons, new stages in the Legend Mode, new outfits, and a whole new Adventure Mode map. The Twilight Princess Pack, Majora’s Mask Pack, and a Boss Pack are announced for the future.

So, is this game any fun? Yes, it is! I was a bit afraid because I’m a Zelda fan and I did not have any experience with Warrior games. But I love it! The mechanics are easy to understand and as I said earlier, the game fits really well into the Zelda Universe. It has a real-Zelda feel to it. Since this game was not made by Nintendo itself, that was a really hard task to accomplish. While the Legend Mode is relatively easy, the Adventure mode can be HARD. This game was pretty large to begin with (especially because of he Adventure Mode map), but with all the upcoming DLC, this game will be HUGE. This game will probably be a bit too hard if you’re a casual gamer, but I recommend it when you’re a fan of the Legend of Zelda series and/or the Warrior series. The only downsides are the previously mentioned difficulties with the co-op mode and the locking system sometimes is a little sucky (forgot to mention that earlier).

Final Grade: 8/10.

Hyrule Warriors is available on Wii-U for €50,-
The Master Quest Pack is available for €8,-
The Twilight Princess Pack will be available this month for €8,-
The Majora’s Mask Pack will be available in January 2014 for €8,-
The Boss Pack will be available in February 2015 for €3,-
You can buy all packs together (Hero of Hyrule Pack) for €20,-