Kingdom Hearts 3 & Disney’s Controlling Hand

I’ve been playing Kingdom Hearts 3 and it’s been an up and down journey. While on the one hand I’m enjoying the moment to moment gameplay and there have been some genuinely great scenes and events, there’s also been something missing from a lot of the worlds so far.

Kingdom Hearts as a series is ostensibly about being able to interact with the Disney worlds and characters you love. It’s what attracted hordes of children and teenagers to the series when it debuted in the early 2000s. There was something magical about getting to explore Agrabah with Aladdin and swim through the ocean with Ariel.

But some of that magic is missing in KH3. Perhaps it’s because the Disney of 2019 is different from the Disney of 2002, but there is a corporate oppression lurking in the shadows of KH3’s overall design. I just completed Arendelle, the world based on Disney’s Frozen, and it was by far the worst and most glaringly obvious showing of Disney’s influence on the game. And considering I’m a person who hasn’t seen Frozen but was still frustrated with the world…well, that’s saying something.

Spoilers for KH3 Disney worlds and their plots will follow – no spoilers for any overarching KH plots will be in this article.

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PS4 Screen Captures: A Brief Interlude

So for the month of January I pledged to have content on my blog every weekday for the whole month, and I succeeded at that. However, it was when I found myself laying face-down on the floor of my apartment on a Saturday afternoon, stressed out to the point of breaking simply because of the pressure of accomplishment that I had put on myself, that I thought maybe I should ease up a bit on my ambitions. (My girlfriend also helped me a great deal with this matter.)

It’s tough coming up with constant content for the internet, and sometimes you create things that people may never even read, watch, or listen to. So I decided to take a break from posting long-form articles this week, relax, play some video games, and do some self-care over forcing myself to write.

As such, this isn’t truly a long-form article: instead after the break I’m just going to be uploading and showing off some of my favorite photo captures that I’ve gotten over the long history of my PS4 use. So enjoy that, and I’ll see you tomorrow for a top 5 and next week I’ll be resuming writing in some capacity! (Warning: very image heavy, obviously!)

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TMan’s 2018 PS4 Stats

So Sony is doing a neat thing for US PlayStation users where they compiled a list of relevant stats for your PS4 playtime. While they’ve stated the data may not be 100% accurate it’s still fairly close to correct. You can check it out here if you want if you’re a US PS4 owner.

I’m posting this as a little bonus to the top 5 since I find this data neat and wanted to share, but don’t want to dedicate a full day just to these stats. Anyway, fun stats after the cut!

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TMan’s Top 5: Favorite Robot Masters

Hello again! It’s the last Friday of January, which means it’s been four weeks of continuous daily updates of some form! I’ve been doing pretty well with my New Year’s Resolution and I appreciate everyone who has been reading and keeping up with everything I’ve written! Next week Kingdom Hearts 3 is dropping which is going to be the first test of my commitment to daily writing since I’m going to want to do nothing but play through that as quick as possible.

But before we get to that, it’s time for another Top 5! This week, after a little bit of deliberation, I decided to dig around and re-explore one of my favorite series of all time – the Mega Man series – and list my top 5 favorite Robot Masters! Enjoy!

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Bandersnatch: Expanding The Gaming Medium

This past weekend my friends and I got together and watched Bandersnatch – the standalone Black Mirror episode/movie on Netflix. It was highly talked about when it released at the end of December last year, but I had put off watching it in favor of making it a group activity. My friends and I had fun playing both Until Dawn and Hidden Agenda (although we all agreed the former was way better than the latter) and this was likely going to be a similar experience.

Bandersnatch was touted as a kind of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure movie where you get to make choices for the protagonist and affect the ending of the episode. It ended up being very similar to a Telltale game or Until Dawn – where two choices were presented to you and you had a time limit as to decide which way to direct the character. The group seemed to have a lot of fun with it and the episode itself was pretty entertaining – over the course of about three hours we managed to see most of what the episode had to offer.

The idea of an interactive story has been around for a while – after all Choose Your Own Adventure as books for kids have been around since the 1980s. However Bandersnatch was definitely targeted towards adults and adds an interesting data point towards the future of interactive media (especially with virtual reality possibly just around the corner). But Bandersnatch’s viewer engagement also intersects with the world of gaming and how they give you choices, and I’d like to take a moment and talk for a little bit about Bandersnatch, games like Until Dawn and Telltale choice-based games, and games like Mass Effect which also offer the illusion of choice.

Since it came out several weeks ago, I’m going to be talking very openly about Bandersnatch, so just as a warning spoilers will follow for the Black Mirror episode as well as some of the games I just previously listed. You’ve been warned.

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H.Bomberguy’s Transgender Charity Stream

Last year I wrote a small piece about how Drake showed up on Ninja’s stream and how it was going to propel Fortnite and video games into the mainstream. This, of course, was shortly before Fortnite started taking over everywhere. It was one of those blink-and-you-miss-it events that was big in the gaming world but led to something bigger outside of it.

Today I was planning on writing about something else, but this past weekend something similar happened and I wanted to talk a little bit about it.

This weekend H.Bomberguy, a known YouTuber who does gaming and political videos, did a stream that lasted 50+ hours of him playing Donkey Kong 64. He did it as a charity stream to support Mermaids, a British transgender activist group that had recently made the news because Graham Linehan (creater of IT crowd and other shows) put together a petition to deny them lottery funding because reasons. Because of his petition, their funding is now under review, and so as a fellow Brit H.Bomberguy decided to put together a charity event to get them some funding anyway.

dk64

He decided to play Donkey Kong 64 because it was a game from his childhood that he’d never beaten because he had a lot of difficulty with it as a child, and so he pledged to 101% the game from start to finish and take donations for Mermaids the entire time he played the game – this took somewhere around 58 hours for him to do (with naps, from what I understand) so the stream started on the 18th and finished in the wee hours of the morning on the 21st.

H.Bomberguy managed to raise $344,000 and counting for Mermaids (as while he has finished his DK64 runthrough, he and his moderators have left his stream running for the purposes of allowing as many people to donate as well – here’s a link to it if you also wish to donate.

What was surprising about this stream was how it started to take off with more mainstream political advocates. Adam Conover (from Adam Ruins Everything) and some of the casters from Chapo Trap House were on (and apparently debated the merits of a banana-based economy while H.Bomberguy played, although I haven’t watched that part myself yet). Jim Sterling (another YouTuber from Britain) was on for a little while. Chelsea Manning showed up to lend her support. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also dropped by to talk and advocate for transgender rights, almost as a “screw you” to Aaron Sorkin’s recent comment about how young Democrats need to “grow up.”

It was a very surreal and fun stream event – at one point H.Bomberguy got stuck on a mini-game for an hour, so he ended up joining a DK64 speedrunning Discord and got tips from speedrunners to help him get through and move on towards the 101% finish. While I didn’t get to watch a majority of it, I’m sure fairly soon there will be highlights of some of the big guest moments as well as the more entertaining bits during the 58 hour stream.

I’m hoping this spearheads a greater movement in gaming towards supporting people of all races, genders, and orientations. I’m personally tired of the “asshole gamer” narrative that seems to permeate everywhere due to things like #Gamergate and high profile YouTubers being Anti-Semitic. Gaming can be a wonderful, inclusive place and also isn’t just a toy for kids – H.Bomberguy’s stream proved it, especially with the outpouring of support for him by all these other people.

That’s all I have for today – on today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and every other day please be good to each other and treat others the way you yourself would want to be treated. It takes very little to show decency and respect to your fellow humans.

I’ll end with links to H.Bomberguy’s stream and to the Mermaids website directly, in case anyone wants to show their support.

H.Bomberguy’s stream

Mermaids website

Movie Theory: The 2018 Movie Manatees!

So last year I wrote up the 2017 T-Man Movie Awards and talked about some of my favorite movies of the year in a wide variety of categories. This year I ended up naming my gaming superlatives the Manatees (see here and here, with special thanks to my good friend HarveyZ) and it seemed a shame to not also do awards for 2018 movies as well. Since I was struggling with a name for them last year, I might as well adopt my gaming name for movies as well. I will mostly be using the same categories as last year, with a few changes here and there. Some categories will have runners-up if I felt like there were multiple movies that were worth mentioning – others will only have one if they were particular standouts or if nothing else really impressed me enough to be mentioned.

Without further ado, I present to you TMan’s Movie Manatees for 2018!

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