Gaming Updates: Labo, Mobile Harry Potter, and Kingdom Hearts 3 “Leaks”

We’ve seen a lot of gaming updates in the last week! Check out my thoughts on the new Nintendo Switch Labo as well as the brand new Harry Potter mobile game, Hogwarts Mystery.

Then, I dive into a leaker’s viewpoints on The World Ends With You on Switch and how they affect Kingdom Hearts III.

Additional Footage from TheGamersJoint: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOKcF…

Follow Me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theOG_DANIMAL

Check out my podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrVN…

Keeping My Sanity

The End of Semester Check-Up

I’ve made it. Here we are, the second week of December. It’s Finals Week, stress is flying up and down, and many people are clinging to their sanity.

Let me say this folks: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi comes out tomorrow night. I’ve quit all social media (except this blog) to avoid spoilers. I’m that serious about this film.

You think I’ve let the whole semester build up to get worried about Finals? Hell. No. I’m way more worried about Rey and Luke Skywalker than I am about my English Final tomorrow.

Here’s the reality of the situation: I found out on Day 1 of this semester (the same day the Solar Eclipse beautifully saw totality over my campus) that The Last Jedi was on the same day as my final. I decided then that my grade better be as high as it can be so I can walk into that test knowing my lack of focus would be “ok.”

Many people will probably look at my attitude and think, “Wow, you’re a fool. How can you put aside a college course for a movie?”

And to them I say: I’m not. I’ve put my best efforts into this semester and the work I’ve done!

( I also say:)

Considering I have one exam, I can look back at the work I’ve done this semester.

In my other English class, I was able to work with a team of editors and put together a Class Book. The book entails the necessity for adaptations of classic literature to survive in the modern era. It was a lot of fun to edit and work with Adobe’s InDesign to put together a piece of art that has essays from classmates.

I also got to learn a lot about British Classic literature and their adaptations which is definitely knowledge I’ll take forward. The active learning environment mixed with great content allowed for me to keep my sanity.

Another class I took was a Film and Culture class. In the class, I learned about how food can represent so much more than hunger satisfaction in film.

The class reiterated a lesson from Remus Lupin that I’ll take to my grave:

Not only will eating make you feel better, but it can reignite memories from the past. Eating is a social construct that brings people together. The best silence in the world is when hungry people can sit with each other and just eat.

This class allowed for me to create my own film. It’s a 40 minute film. The amount of time it would take to upload it to WordPress would be crazy.

I’m sorry I can’t share it with you. But, I documented Sunday Family Dinners that my roommates and I would create and then serve to friends. It’s an unusual event for college students, but I think it’s a necessity for togetherness over a great meal.

Documenting these dinners and learning why they’re important not only allowed for fun but it too allowed me to keep my sanity this semester.

I’d be crazy to not mention my journalism accolades.

This semester saw the beginning of my real-world journalism career. I got to work for the Columbia Missourian and become a beat writer for the University of Missouri volleyball team.

I wrote my first feature and wrote several game recaps. I even got to participate in a published round-table discussing the team’s hopes in the NCAA Tournament.

Attached to the newspaper work, I was in a lecture that normalized the world of journalism to us newbies. Participating in discussions about journalistic ethics, sharing my experiences, and hearing the stories of others have all added to my journalism knowledge.

Being able to manage my time in the newsroom as well as talk about journalism, all added in to my ability to (barely) keep my sanity this semester.

The only class I’ve left is the English class I have to take an exam for on Star Wars Day. I learned plenty about American Literature from the Civil War until the Cold War.

Participating in this class allowed for me to extend my knowledge on American literature and the history of our country. It also assisted in my time management improvement this semester.

Now, all I have to do is briefly recall some Walt Whitman poems from the American Civil War and not confuse them with stolen battle station plans from the Galactic Civil War.

I trust myself to do between “alright” and “great” on the exam I have. If not, I won’t suffer.

Want to know why? Because all semester, I’ve worked really hard to keep my sanity in all of my classes. I’ve done well in them and have produced great works.

Each class contained knowledge that I know I’ll bring forward into the rest of my life.

But for now, I listen to Master Yoda:

Briefly, I will unlearn what I’ve learned behind the desk this semester and focus on Star Wars. The knowledge I’ve gained will come back to me but now, it’s time to focus on what really allowed me to keep my sanity all semester.

~DS

The Night Before “The Biggest ______ of Your Life”

How to cope with nerves and other things before the big day

Clearly for me, it’s the night before The Biggest _____ of my life.

I left that blank so I can keep you readers on your toes. But, you’re probably curious as to how I’m feeling. No? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway.

I FEEL NERVOUS.

I mean, why wouldn’t I? It’s The Biggest _____ of my life! I think the key thing to understand though is that I’m still just a college student with much life ahead of me, regardless of how tomorrow goes.

But I’ve had The Biggest [game, date, test, blog, etc.] before, so, why am I still nervous? I’m clearly still here after those events. They didn’t drastically alter my life but they provided learning cues for me to be able to write this blog.

I think one of the most important things I’ve learned is that I’m not the only one who’s feeling or has felt this way before. Everybody started as a nervous person faced with a daunting task. If you can understand you’re not alone in your situation, I think it provides quite the cool down of emotion.

Because you really don’t want to be jittery going into The Biggest _____ of your life. You must cool your emotions! Have a glass of water, listen to music, and do whatever you need to do to relax yourself before the event.

I can tell you I’ve gotten nervous just thanking somebody before. I’m serious. I was literally thanking someone for a favor and I was shaking and stumbling my words a little bit. Isn’t that crazy?

To me, it was! I was shocked at my reaction to that situation. I told myself, “You’ve walked into bigger situations and more nerve-racking moments than just saying ‘thank you’ to someone. What the hell was that?'”

Being able to evaluate myself and know where I went wrong is a big factor too. If you can break down your mistakes and weaknesses and turn them into strengths, you’re walking on rose petals.

Now, when I go to thank somebody in the future, I’ll know that it’s really weird to be nervous about saying thank you to someone and it won’t happen again.

I also think of my younger brother in a recent learning opportunity of mine. My former high school’s football team just won the 8A State Championship of Illinois. With my older brother as a coach and my younger brother as a player, I was able to live vicariously through them as I reminisced my days of being a part of that great football program.

I got to be a part of another state title run for Lincoln-Way East back in 2012. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way we wanted it and in all reality, no other game I ever played after that one ever came close to the magnitude of that loss.

As I bombarded my brother with congratulations and a hug after the semi-final win to go to state, he and a few of his teammates responded the same way: “We’ve got one more to go.”

The way they viewed a state title game really had an effect on me. I was so incredibly proud of the poise within my brother and his teammates. It’s changed the way I have to think before tomorrow.

Even a State Championship football game is just that– a football game. There’s no reason why you should view The Biggest _____ of your life as anything more than just a regular _____.

If the learning opportunities are learned from and the correct actions are taken at the time to take them, you’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. I just have to be myself, prepare correctly, and react the right way.

I appreciate you, reader, for reading this small vent session before my big day tomorrow. But, if my Biggest _____ steps have helped you in any way, I wish you luck in your endeavors.

It’s not everyday you have the opportunity at The Biggest _____ of your life. So, 1) Make it count when you do. 2) Relax. 3) Evaluate past mistakes in similar situations and capitalize upon them to make yourself better. And 4) It’s just another _____ so just go in there and attack it!

~DS

Never Lose Your Voice

Maintaining or creating originality in a world full of it

It’s been awhile since my last written blog.

Certainly, if you read my breakdown of the last Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer, you’d know why. But, this isn’t about that. Well, maybe it is.

In a lecture today for my Reporting Class, we discussed how a room full of writers still have to refine, adapt, and pioneer their writing styles. For it being a college course you’d think, “Well, why is it so crazy that writers are learning how to write in a reporting class?”

It’s a solid question, sure. My issue with it is that if a room full of people journalists need to be taught how to have a voice, we’ve failed. I observed the lecture hall and people were frantically scribbling down what came on the screen. The senseless sycophancy made me step back and think about originality and voice.

I brought up my Star Wars blog earlier. I didn’t write that blog and breakdown that trailer because I had to. I did it because I wanted to. I wanted to generate thought about what the scenes, sequences, and spoken words meant for the Star Wars saga.

This blog became a small forum for thought. Whether many people were going to see my breakdown or not, it didn’t matter to me. I just made sure my voice was out there in case anyone was listening.

An E.B. White quote was given in that lecture today and it really struck a cord with me. White says, “To achieve style, begin by affecting none.”

I even used it in my daily #AttackTheDay post:

White’s quote is significant to me because it opens up understanding about voice. You can’t change the world immediately with just your own voice. It’s unfortunate in that manner. But, White isn’t saying stop because of this. He’s promoting originality and style by starting small.

Nothing starts large. An idea can turn into a larger conversation and that’s the goal for us writers. Generating conversation through our style and words is what can change the world.

Understanding that your voice alone can be one that creates change is the first step to originality. Your style and your voice become topics of conversation once read. It’s a chain reaction from there.

I think a lot of people are worried about the judgement of others or the social barriers of voice. This past July, I made a change in my life: I started watching Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Since I began the show, I’ve become less concerned about what people will think about the things I say or do. I just make sure to not lose my ability to say the things I say or do the things I do because that’s what makes me who I am.

Larry David is someone that embodies the inside thoughts of many. He may be considered an asshole but to me, he is the master “Social Assassin.” He says what he wants to say regardless of what people will think or say back.

For example, this scene from the latest episode perfectly embodies Larry’s ability to speak his opinion in situations when people usually wouldn’t.

Everybody should say they don’t like tap water if they don’t like tap water! Speak your opinion! Write your opinion! Put your voice out there without hesitation from judgement!

That is how originality and unique voices stand out in this world. So many people want to pick sides on things nowadays. Try making your own side. Stand in the middle and create a unique voice whenever you can.

There’s no excuse not to speak freely as a writer or as a human being. Be honest with yourself and the world. Have remorse but don’t let anything go unsaid.

If you’ve done this, great. You have a voice and you can start generating conversations to make a name for yourself. If you haven’t, it’s never too late to generate your voice into a mass conversation.

Insert your voice into society. Speak loudly and clearly without hesitation. Generate conversation and most importantly of all, let out your inner Larry David.

~DS

My Breakdown of the new “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” trailer

Because sometimes, the fate of the Far, Far Away Galaxy is more important

Well folks, as journalism is something that is very important to me, I must admit that the story of the Star Wars saga is almost as important.

When this new trailer aired during the Bears-Vikings game last night, I found myself more concerned with the wellbeing of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and the Resistance much more than the wellbeing of Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears offense. Which, being from Chicago, is a dangerous thing to say considering the Bears future lies on the shoulders of Trubisky.

Regardless, this trailer has a lot to unpack and I’m sure it concerns many other journalists in this galaxy or in a galaxy far, far away.

So, let us begin:

Firstly, this brand new poster was released yesterday afternoon and it began discussion of what could happen in the trailer. A lot is going on here and the thing that stuck out the most to me was Luke Skywalker’s face being half blue and half red.

Clearly, there are some implications there about where Luke stands on the Dark side and the Light side of the Force. It also adds context to Luke’s line from the last trailer where he says, “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” Luke stands in the middle of whether he should or shouldn’t train Rey in the ways of the Jedi and the latest trailer shows us that. I’ll bring this back up later.

There’s also a heavy focus on Leia; something I’ll also bring back up later. Then, we also see a lot of Red and White in a vehicular battle on the new planet, Crait. Crait, according to director Rian Johnson, is “very remote. It’s uncharted. It’s a mineral planet and so there are mines on it. [There are some] beautiful design elements and I hope some really unique ones that we’re able to bring into it.”

And of course, we have an unmasked Kylo and other supporting characters (Poe, Finn, Captain Phasma) which again, I’ll bring up later.

Now, let me really begin:

Here, we see Kylo Ren observing the construction of First Order AT-STs and AT-ATs. For the uninitiated, AT-ATs are the robot camels from Empire Strikes Back and AT-STs are the two-legged ones (apparently non-Ewok resistant) from Return of the Jedi.

To many, this is unimportant, but in the next shot:

BOOM. Big-time front line of the First Order’s AT-ATs ready to fuck shit up on Crait. While this is going on, we receive narration from Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) about presumably, Kylo Ren. He says, “When I found you, I saw raw, untamed power; and beyond that, something truly special.”

We see quick flashes of Kylo and his troopers invading something that looks like a mine, so I’m going to assume it’s Crait. Then, we see a helmeted Kylo, which I’ll also assume is early on in the film, because later in the trailer, we see Kylo smash this helmet:

But, Snoke sounded like he was giving Kylo the lecture of a lifetime. He’s got to be chewing Kylo out for getting slashed in the face by an inexperienced Lightsaber dualist like Rey. Which, speaking of Rey:

PALE-BLUE GRAFLEX LIGHTSABER IGNITION FROM REY. Something I noticed during The Force Awakens was that Luke/Anakin/Rey’s Lightsaber looked a little too dark. So, to see it look like this again was a very lame nerd thing that I got excited about.

Then, we see the sweet reunion of Luke’s hand and the Graflex Lightsaber:

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 2.30.29 PM.png

This is nice, because the last time, it didn’t end too well:

Next, these flashes of scenes are being narrated by Rey:

Rey hiking to see some Jedi relics, which I assume is what she is reading or having visions from in the first trailer [link above].

Jedi training looks fuckin’ sweet by the way. But, Rey says, “Something inside me has always been there. But now it’s awake and I need help,” clearly indicating her use of the Force in Episode VII.

But then, shit gets real:

Rey’s powers are literally groundbreaking. We see Luke Skywalker nervous for the first time in a Star Wars movie since he was training with Yoda on Dagobah and saw this:

But, we see Luke’s flashbacks of a Jedi temple burning after an attack on it, by presumably Kylo and the Knights of Ren, whom we still know nothing about. Luke then says, “I’ve seen this raw strength only once before. It didn’t scare me then, but it does now.” Summed up in one picture:

Boom. Luke is nervous. He’s seen this strength once before: if it was a pupil of his, he’s clearly talking about his nephew, Kylo Ren. But, if we wanted to get deep into Star Wars
lore, maybe he saw this strength in his father or the Emperor back in the day. But, it’s probably and most definitely about Kylo.

But the craziness doesn’t stop there folks. The next thing we see is a mask-less Kylo, flying around in a TIE Fighter and narrating. He says, “Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”

He says this as we see this:

Will he go the ultimate evil route and kill his only remaining parent, Leia? Maybe. But, I think this is our first instance of misdirection by this beautifully edited trailer. I think Leia might be in a different location at this point in time, but, what do I know? Kylo might be very ready to take out his mom in this very cool-looking space battle.

Let me say this though: I really don’t think Leia Organa, one of the strongest and most iconic Star Wars characters ever, is going to die in a space explosion. I truly believe that she won’t. It’d be really lame if that happened and it certainly wouldn’t be an honorable death for her character. But, if Kylo has to “become what [he is] meant to be” then he really could be killing Leia here or anywhere throughout the movie. We really don’t know folks, this is one where we’ll have to wait until December 15 to see.

Next up, CHEWIE FLYING THE MILLENIUM FALCON LIKE A BADASS WITH THIS ADORABLE PORG:

Porgs are about to be the hottest toys of Christmas 2017 and maybe for the rest of time. They are absolutely adorable. This little guy only proves that. Regardless, this seems to be in a mine on Crait.

Could these crystals in here though, bear with me for a second, could they be Kyber crystals (the crystals that power lightsabers and the Death Star)? Probably not, but there aren’t many crystals in the Star Wars saga. But, a bit later in this trailer, we also see crystal foxes of some sort with Leia:

So maybe that’s just how everything on Crait is.

But, in these next few shots, we hear Poe Dameron saying, “We are the spark that’ll light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down.” While he, in his badass X-Wing, is trashing First Order ships like it’s his fucking job:

As a Resistance Pilot though, it is his fucking job.

Then, we see some more flashes of Finn fighting Captain Phasma:

This is what I’m really excited about. Phasma was the lamest character in Episode VII. She did nothing. She is now getting a huge chance at redeeming herself in this film by fighting one of the best characters from Episode VII, Finn.

Finn is also holding that electrocuted, bullshit thing that TR-8R (TRAITOR!) guy fought him with in Episode VII:

So, if you didn’t think this trailer was dope yet, then here. we. go.

Some battle-scene flashes lead to this:

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 3.03.14 PM.png

MY BOY LUKE HAS FALLEN IN THE RAIN. He narrates, “This is not going to go how you think.” This is without a doubt the entire theme of the trailer.

Judging by this line, The Last Jedi is about to be one of the craziest movies we’ve ever seen. My sister wants to believe that it could be better than Empire Strikes Back. If this movie is even close to Episode V, then I will be amazed. I’m just ready for a crazy-awesome Star Wars film. If it’s better than V, good. If it’s not, just don’t be as bad as The Phantom Menace.

Back to the conclusion of this trailer:

BOOM. We see Snoke(not as a hologram for the first-time) with the Force-chokehold of a lifetime. We thought Vader’s chokehold was impressive; Snoke literally has Rey screaming for mercy in mid-air.

Then, as Rey narrates the end of the trailer with the line “I need someone to show me my place in all this.”

She’s speaking to someone off-screen but then, these two scenes are spliced together:

IS REY REALLY ABOUT TO JOIN KYLO ON THE DARK-SIDE? In my opinion, fuck no. She’s the hero of this story. The giant prediction of her being a Skywalker is still left unanswered. Another Skywalker going evil is something the franchise can’t afford. Whether she’s part of the family or not, I really don’t think she’s going evil.

If you want more proof, look closely at the lighting and backgrounds of the two gifs above. Watch it again in the trailer if you want. They’re in two different places I think. Kylo is somewhere in a hellish environment with fire and hell falling behind him. Meanwhile, Rey just has a softer glow on her face with a plain background.

Also, remember this:

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 3.15.17 PM.png

Luke’s Jedi School burns to the ground and he consoles with Artoo. Kylo’s face also isn’t bandaged in this scene:

like we saw earlier in the trailer:

Therefore, it is my belief that the Kylo-Rey conversation is one of a figmented, Force-vision. Or, Kylo reaching out is during a time where he is destroying and overthrowing Luke’s Jedi school. I think it’s another case of clever editing and scene-splicing. The editors of this trailer are excited about trying to fool us. This movie is about to be insane. Whether these two shots are connected or not, this movie is going to be insane.

We still have so much to see. Don’t forget: Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, Domhnall Gleeson, and Kelly Marie Tran are all in this movie and they haven’t appeared in any of the trailers yet.

Rian Johnson and other Episode VIII execs apparently branded this trailer with *Spoilers*. I think it’s all part of the misdirection ploy. I don’t think the Rey-Kylo scene or the Leia-Kylo scene are connected. I think they were cleverly spliced together to get our nerd juices flowing.

Am I right? Maybe. Maybe not. What I do know is this: Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes to theaters on December 15 and that day can’t come soon enough. We will all find out then. Thank you for sticking with me for this crazy-long blog.

May The Force Be With You.

~DS

 

Food and the Feeling of Togetherness

Sharing food and good times will make us remember togetherness

I’m feeling a bit sentimental today. When I thought about the idea of this blog post and what it truly means, I was hungry.

Now that my appetite has been satisfied, it’s time to think about why the food I just ate was important. We can talk about its nutritional values, its price, etc. But, I ate that buffalo chicken sandwich all by myself in a crowded sandwich shop.

How could I feel so alone in a crowded place? How can that be possible if food is a comfort to the hungry?

Well, it’s because recently, I’ve changed my eating habits. Not in a nutritious way, mind you; in a way that allows me to share my food and my experiences with my friends.

Every Sunday night for the last month, my friends and I come together and create gigantic feasts to share amongst ourselves and our close friends. We’ve made fajitas, ribs, fried chicken & waffles, and we’ve even made our own crawfish boil.

This isn’t a brag fest about my friends and I being able to cook these; anyone can cook these. What I’m trying to relay is the togetherness of the dishes we make.

Before our guests arrive, my roommates and I prepare the meal while listening to music that relates to the dishes we are serving. For example, when we made the crawfish boil, we listened to old, New Orleans style jazz. When making the fajitas, we listened to Hispanic flute and dance music.

It’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had. With the fun preparation of the food and the bond of friendship, it makes the end product that much better(it tastes delicious anyway).

After the meal is cooked, a handful or two of friends swing by for good times. The last dinner we had, I finally took a step back to appreciate the culture we’ve created for ourselves. I can’t call myself a southern chef or a boil master and neither can a lot of people that prepare meals for their families or friends. We leave those titles to the professionals that cook.

But who are the professionals? No matter where they come from, no matter the ethnicity, and no matter the food they cook, these professionals are all just people who want to make everyone feel good through food. They want to bring together people of all shapes, sizes, and colors to share food and experiences.

When I took a step back this past Sunday and felt what hopefully anybody who has prepared food for others before, I figured out the togetherness of food. Food satisfies us all.

I’ve said it before, of course food satisfies our hunger. We need it to survive. But, love and togetherness can also keep a suffering world alive.

I urge anybody to try to replicate this feeling of togetherness and love. Take a step back with loved ones and friends of old and new to share food. Prepare a dish from scratch and bring together the aspects of your life onto one plate and in one place.

Food and togetherness are both experiences that should be served alongside one another. Although you may want to sit in a sandwich shop by yourself, just try once a week to share a meal with someone and appreciate it.

Appreciating the time spent over food makes the meal that much more memorable and much more satisfactory.

I hope that everyone can experience togetherness in a time of divide over a meal with friends.

(My friends and I are making a rum ham this Sunday…..I hope it’s good. Regardless, we’ll be doing it for the experience and the togetherness).

~DS