Review of Pokemon Detective Pikachu (from someone who played the game, too!) (spoilers)

I went and saw Pokemon Detective Pikachu today. Let me start by saying it was better than I thought it would be! The Pokemon designs were integrated well and the humor, and action were pretty good. Before the movie was released I was concerned that it would have too much that lined up with the Detective Pikachu game but would change the details so much it would be weird to me, but I don’t think that was an issue. (In particular I noticed that the movie had a lot of characters who clearly corresponded to someone from the game but had a different Pokemon, but they were all different enough that it was clearly not meant to be 1:1 and really Detective Pikachu was the only character I’d say was in both the game and movie, even if Tim Goodman shared his name between them.) I liked what they did with the story, both in taking things from the game and making new plot points.

I have a friend who has been somewhat vocal about not liking the realistic designs of the Pokemon, saying they should be more cartoony like the original designs and it’d be fine just suspend your belief they’re cartoons they should look like cartoons just put ’em next to real humans! I for one am glad they went the direction they did, though. I think it looked really well–immediately I felt like those Pidgey or PIdgeotto or Pidgeot or whatever were a part of the real world, as were the Bouffalant. Bouffalant? They’re starting with later gens already, cool! It wasn’t always perfect, but it made it feel more real than Pokemon ever has been.

Now, the game had a pretty formulaic setup. It was divided into chapters, and each chapter generally ended and began with Tim going from the apartment to the police station and sometimes the cafe. (Oh, right, Ludicolo was the only other character who had the exact same role as the game. I’m a bit sad they didn’t make Ludicolo’s partner a character like in the game but I suppose that wasn’t really necessary.) Obviously the movie wouldn’t be styled like that so it makes more sense they were more on the own and apart from any authority here. The identity of the villain kind of reflects this, although in both cases it’s someone who acts like they’re helping but are actually misleading them.

Lickitung is precious and I love it. I hope the home release has an hour of deleted scenes with it.

When the original trailer released some people were like “ryan reynolds as pikachu??? how crazy!!” But it sounded completely normal as a Pikachu to me because I’d played the game where he had this super deep voice and it was way funnier. I think ultimately they made a good choice for the more serious moments–a silly deep voice works when Detective Pikachu is talking to you a lot but here I think it works. I was kind of vocal about liking the game’s voice more so this is a turn for me.

Mr. Mime was also amazing. Just make a sequel starring Lickitung and Mr. Mime. It was goofy and expressive, making it a bit more cartoony than most of the Pokemon in the movie, but given it was Mr. Mime I think that works.

The action was actually way better than I was expecting! I wasn’t expecting much action at all but I think it was done well and smoothly. This movie, being made to mimic the real world a lot more than the game, makes sense to have a seedy underbelly where there are Pokemon fights in a city where they’re not allowed. It made a lot of stuff more sinister, really–while the laboratory was clearly more of an evil operation, the laboratory in the game actually consisted of scientists doing good things, and there just happened to be one bad apple who discovered R.

One thing I actually wasn’t a fan of in the movie was the giant Torterra scene. I was talking with a friend afterwards though and I’m less harsh on it now. As much as I liked the action in the scene I felt it dragged on a little bit, but my main issue was that I felt these kaiju Torterra would BE EASILY NOTICED BY PEOPLE MAYBE?? But my friend points out it was probably Psyduck’s headache blast that woke them up, especially since they lay back down shortly after, so it makes enough sense for me to be okay with it in retrospect.

I was worried that Mewtwo was going to be made into the bad guy in the movie so I’m glad he wasn’t. (I tend to have an issue when a legendary is made the bad guy because they’re often shown as being one-of-a-kind, which means this Pokemon species is just evil. Just make it a random Pokemon like a Honchkrow or Shinx.) In the game it’s clear he had something to do with Harry’s disappearance and Pikachu’s loss of memories, but he’s just there to make sure R is all disposed of, so he’s definitely more of a presence in the movie. Also in the game R is purely made to increase Pokemon’s battle capabilities and sell it. When the dudes organizing that are stopped it’s all over, but surprise! We still don’t know what happened to Harry Goodman! But then the movie goes and introduces R as a way for humans and Pokemon to merge, which is no doubt how Harry and Pikachu merge to begin with. But the games? Well…

I have a friend who suggested that maybe they’d planned the game to be three episodes, as the full release included what was originally a separate release of the first few chapters, and that the third episode would have them find Harry and solve that mystery. Which makes me wonder–was the original plan to include this human-Pokemon merging as a plot point in the final episode of the game? Was the movie actually based on the game’s plot a lot more than it seems?

Half of this review is just me explaining differences in the game and movie and throwing out fan theories I guess. But ultimately I give this movie the approval of both an old Pokemon fan and a player of the Detective Pikachu game. They leaned into the Pokemon references without going so far that it got annoying. (Although I still think having Looker appear played by David Tennant would have been amazing.) It had decent action and humor and some good silliness here and there.

Now I hope they make a sequel where Detective Pikachu gets married and has a kid and then that kid gets merged with Pichu accidentally and it’s called Pokemon Detective Pichu! Make it happen, whatever company made this movie! I don’t remember!!

Book Review: “Hard Times” by Charles Dickens

This is a 300-page Charles Dickens book, and that is INSANE. Most of them are 5 or 6 hundred, or a thousand! That’s crazy!

Originally I was just going to say this as a joke, but I realized that this book has a couple themes related to current times, which are also fairly hard times. It has schools teaching nothing but facts, facts, facts, which is rather related to the bloating importance of standardized testing and the limited critical thinking skills that generally involves. There’s a scene where the school dude is all “okay dumb kid, there’s a society, most are doing fine, there are some who are dying, some people doing great. is this a healthy society??” and the kid’s all “well those ones dying probably don’t think so” and the school dude is just “NO!!!!!”

Anyway the other thing is Mr. Bounderby is literally and absolutely all those rich guys who are all “whyyy don’t the poor just pull themselves by their own bootstraps, they just want to eat lobster and candy corn all day and not work, not like me, i started from nothing and made a million million by working hard at my own bootstraps with nothing but my own two arms and uphill both ways” but who got a bunch of money from their rich rich parents. BECAUSE THAT’S TOTALLY WHAT HE DOES. Except his parents weren’t rich but he still said “oh man i had nooothing, everyone else is just whiners” when his parents did a lot to help him.

The books just never stop being relevant.

Game Review: Detective Pikachu

Wow, this game is a lot newer than the last one I talked about! It’s only been what, a month? Well, I finished Detective Pikachu and the Case of the Coffee Cup, or whatever, so let me say a few things about it. SPOILERS AHEAD

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Game Review: Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

Think about it. It’s been 2/3 A WHOLE YEAR SINCE THIS GAME CAME OUT. It’s been known about for almost a whole year. For almost a whole year Mario and Rabbids have been together. Yeesh.

So anyway I got this game at Clichemas and finished it like a week ago–well, I beat the final boss, anyway. I haven’t 100%ed it yet, and it’s not particularly high on my to-game list, but it’s still on there. So what are my thoughts on this game?

Well, to be honest, the Rabbids are the least problematic part of this game. They’re easy to hate, but there are a few moments where they’re good and even cute. Pretend I got the footage of that, I don’t think I ever downloaded it. No, the gameplay is worse than the Rabbids. All games of this type have randomness built in, but there were absolutely moments where I only won because luck happened, or the opponent got a lot of luck to win. And let me tell you, replaying fights is the worst. Okay, maybe not the worst, but when you do it over again you want to get going quickly and instead it just slowly pans over the area like the first time you start with no way to skip that. I’m nitpicking, perhaps, but blah blah blah.

Speaking of quickly, maybe I’m just impatient but there were many times where I moved the cursor to a spot and clicked on it to make a move, only to realize I didn’t go to the exact spot I wanted it to go to and the wrong thing happened. So that was annoying and the camera movement in the battles is kind of off, it snaps to a square but that usually just means it snaps to the square before the one you want.

The difficulty is also really weird. There were a few instances where a chapter spikes in dififculty with a hard fight that takes me several tries, and then the difficulty goes back to where it was with some pretty easy fights. I suppose it could be based on how I upgraded characters, which was usually not focused on HP because look at all this other good stuff I can get. That said, one thing annoying about the level-up system is you can actually undo all the bonuses and redistribute them, but you can’t just undo one thing at a time? Just seems like it’d be a big time waster then…

Also, when’s the DLC to play as these guys, Ubisoft?

All that said, it was a fun game and fun to look at, too, and if you like turn-based strategy games and if you like Mario, I’d recommend it. Actually, isn’t that pretty much like how Fire Emblem plays?

is fire emblem+rabbids next?

Wikify the Encyclopedia

I’ve spoken before about the creation of an encyclopedia to keep track of your novel or novel series’ world. I had an entire series about it on some website, Obscure Authors Alliance I think, the website itself is even more obscure than the authors now so whatever. My own encyclopedia for the Cloudy Cuckoo Cosmos was all put in a Word document. I started with a rather random assortment of information, moved on to entries for species, organizations, characters, and locations, then ended with some random lists. The document became like 200 pages long or something and it was nigh-impossible to efficiently look through it.

I needed a better way to do it.

What about a wiki?

I mentioned I was putting everything on a private wiki earlier and that I would make this post so now I am. I actually have some weird wiki experience, having made one with some friends a while ago for our fan universe. This new one is private and not for a fan universe. It’s for my universe. And it helps immensely with organization. I fully recommend anyone creating their own universe put it all into a private wiki for easy access and organization of information. You might even find it easier to come up with new details when it’s so easy to find existing ones.

When I was trying to find a good program to use I checked Wikipedia’s personal wiki article. I probably should’ve tried all of them before going with one for sure but I didn’t feel like it and am always too busy so I just went with Dokuwiki on a Stick which is apparently its real name. It’s worked fine so far. Some of the syntax is different than what I’m used to (but apparently it’s the syntax MediaWiki uses so whatever) and it needs some extensions added for things that should be pretty obvious like categories, and also it has a bit of the problem of public programs made by coders which is that it can be obtuse to anyone who doesn’t code (like me) but it’s not too bad. I mean, I figured it out! See?

Okay. Okay. Okay. So on the Word document I just basically had one chunk of text with a few paragraphs smushed together with each paragraph being a different section (history, appearance, etc.) This was terrible, and for longer things, such as species with an actually notable history, it was terrible to look at because it was just one paragraph per section. It was… you know how dinosaur is like “terrible lizard” or something? What would be the name for “terrible paragraph”?

Anyway, having actual sections sectioned off for each section means I can use actual paragraphs now. It’s readable. And whereas before I could really see no more than one or two entries at a time and had to scroll the giant document to find them, now related articles can be reached right from a link. I know this is basic wiki information but I mean come on it’s really figgin useful!

So far the most time-consuming thing in transferring all this information onto the wiki is the formatting, but as I go I’m finding there are things that I never really detailed on, things that are easier to notice I never wrote down now that I can easily look at it all. Species culture, including any possible common religion, is but one of these. Eating habits is another. There is also a lot of information that I would put in lists, such as blood color, that I probably should have mentioned in the species entries. So now I do. Characters of a certain species is another example.

Honestly the Word document also got incredibly disorganized. At the start was a lot of information that should have gone elsewhere, such as planet histories, and for some reason I tucked a list of planet flora off near the bottom instead of actually in the entries for those planets.

With all this information in the wiki, I’ll be able to see a list of everyone who lives somewhere and simply click their name to see who they are. Before I’d have to like, put their name and then probably what species they are or some other identifying characteristic because honestly I just wouldn’t know, that’s why I write this stuff down so I can look it up, but I couldn’t effectively look stuff up in that document!

AAA

The character articles are probably the biggest relief of these. There was a lot of information I packed into places that it didn’t really fit in an effort to reduce the size of those terrible paragraphs on the Word document. Now they get their own section! I also never was really able to detail a character’s family in their sections because it was about them, but again, now a specific section for that can exist.

Being able to have specific sections also helps in looking up those specific things—before I’d have to scour their history for where they lived, but now I can just check the actual section for it. I’ve also started work on a properly-organized timeline article, which set me into determining just what the birthdates for all the characters are, so I’m not sure I can stress enough that having this be organized goads me to actually get more information made. Now I can tell when Ropak’s birthday is in Wandering Fortunes! Er, not that he can.

There is actually something of a timeline for a couple kingdoms in the CCC that haven’t appeared yet in the old Word document. They’re both too long to look through well and have a giant line of the kings and queens that is confusing to look at. This will, again, now only be vastly improved in the wiki format, but I can make the names of all these rulers link to pages that don’t exist, and when I find I don’t have anything important to make articles for, I can start really detailing that history. The red links to nowhere significantly help me see what parts of the CCC I still need expand on.

So I reiterate at this point in this post that I recommend organizing any world you’re creating for something into a wiki, especially if it spans for more than one something. Especially do it before you have more than 100,000 words worth of information to transfer over to it like I do…

Yooka-Laylee is here (and updates are near!)

Hey! I got a game in the mail yesterday! It’s Yooka-Laylee! I made a video.

I will have many more videos over the next week with more detailed thoughts on my impressions of the game. I went on a bit on Twitter about my thoughts regarding setting it up and I think a bit about the actual rollout of the game to Kickstarter backers, or, I might have only said that on Kickstarter itself.

Unrelated, I was thinking recently I don’t post here often enough. I often say that. Not here, though. I don’t post here often enough to say that here often enough. But if I keep saying I don’t post here often enough then maybe I will have said it here often.

I realized I say quite a bit on Twitter and sometimes have updates there. However, not everyone has Twitter. I do not blame those who don’t. I want to put notable or important updates on my website more, but I realized posting on here is just a hassle compared to Twitter. I have to go through several pages, oh my goodness, but mostly it’s just that WordPress is slow. For some reason it loads and moves slow and slows down my browser. I don’t know what it is.

Anyway I’m going to post simple updates here more often, such as each individual Pokemon comic instead of 10 at once (Next one coming tomorrow!). Nnnnot the YL videos, though. That’s a bit much. If you’re interested I plan to just have a new video once a day in a normal week (and some extra ones this weekend) until I run out of videos to post. I also might try to make posts in here when I sometimes run the risk of going on for a bit on Twitter. I need to make this place look alive, after all. It’s way more important than Twitter. Twitter’s just dumb jokes. This is writing.

Oh speaking of updates I’ll also have a new profile tomorrow or Sunday. I’ll be busy tomorrow with birthday shenaginags (oh yeah today’s my birthday) and Sunday I’ll probably go visit relatives but I’m sure I’ll get it up one of those days.

Creator Highlight: Amanda Rosenberg

In this last highlight post until I am again able to remove myself from capitalism for a while, let’s look at another funny person I found on Medium, Amanda Rosenberg. She writes funny stuff and is an editor at some group thing-or-other on Medium, I don’t know how it works, it just has a name, actually, maybe it’s the banner that’s important, which would make sense since it went with the ugliest color they could find, come on, that’s not not nearly the ugliest color. Not nearly gray enough.

She has also written some pieces on depression. I’m here to talk about the funny bits.

Amanda has actually written quite a few pieces of mock company email strings such as from CEOs. I um. I assume they’re mock ups. I assume I’m using that word right. I assume these aren’t real emails. Here’s “Emails From A CEO Who Just Has A Few Changes To The Website“, with infinite scrolling and this amazing section:

What if the homepage was just a picture of a white wall? Think about it. People will be like “Where am I? What’s happening?” and isn’t that the whole point of having a site?

There’s also “Emails From A CEO Who Just Had A Great Branding Idea“, featuring a website covered in human skin. How’s that for the ugliest color to be found?

Next there’s this piece about Apple removing the headphone jack. I have never used an Apple product. I can only assume this is accurate! There are also these amazing “Motivational Startup Taglines” such as “BUILD THE PAST, IN THE PRESENT, WITH FUTURE MONEY,” and “EMPOWER, OVERPOWER, CAULIFLOWER.” Though I prefer eggplant. After all, there is no “can’t” in “eggplant”.

Um. Let’s move on.

Last one, and definitely the most powerful of the bunch, is “My Thoughts On The Brexit Vote“, and if you read this, Amanda, I am in no way trying to downgrade your other stuff in favor of what does appear to be random keyboard mashings! (Because of course I am certain every single letter in that piece was chosen with precision and dexterity? Dexterity is a thing people use to choose letters, I am pretty sure.)

Anyway, that’s some highlights for the sharp-witted Amanda Rosenberg. I’m out for…

Wait, you know what? No. One more thing.

I Replaced The Word ‘Millennials’ With ‘43-Year-Old White Men’ And Now These Headlines Are *Italian Chef Kissing Fingers Gesture*

It’s a pretty simple piece that just changes one term, but, here’s the thing. Apparently there was a little hubbub about a week ago about an editor-in-chief on the news site Mother Jones tweeting about hating millennials because they won’t vote for Hillary Clinton (or something–the tweet has since been deleted).

“43-Year-Old White Men Just Aren’t That Into Hillary Clinton, and it Could Cost Her the Election”

Mrlneh? I think maybe headlines related to Trump are even better. “Can Donald Trump win over 43-Year-Old White Men?” Although just about anything related to the election seems to work pretty well. Unrelated to the election but:

“Will the Left Survive the 43-Year-Old White Men?”

Actually you know the original piece I didn’t find too funny, but apparently when the idea is applied to actual series-sounding titles with possible ramifications on the real world and not just weird faddish articles I find it funny! Look I may be editorializing a little here but I’m pretty sure what we can learn from this is that I’m terrible.

Amanda Rosenberg! Check her out! Her writing, I mean.

Creator Highlight: James Stuart

I’ve just changed the title for this to creator, because I figured, hey, if I’m doing more than just story-authors, why not do comics, too? I read a lot of comics, it turns out. So why not take a look at a comic? Why not took a lake– Sorry, what? I mean, why not take a look at a comic by an Australian pal of mine, James, called Sam the Dawg.

I mean, sure, he has a wonky update schedule where he doesn’t always update, but he’s been updating again, so why not get it noticed so that he can be totally embarrassed if he falls behind again? Yes, I am sometimes evil. I mean helpful.

Anyway! Sam the Dawg is a comic mostly about a dog named Sam. It doesn’t have a particularly established canon really, he generally appears to have an owner who at least has the same name as James. It’s a pretty clever and cute comic that generally seems to be about whatever he comes up with (there have been a few without Sam in the past, as well). James also works on other art and projects (and university) which is why the comic doesn’t always have updates but anyway before I lose track of what I’m saying I’ma just post some comics!

In fact, he updated with one just today. It has pirates!

Like all good webcomics, there are also sometimes video game references.

So I was scrolling through looking for something both good and that wouldn’t need other comics to understand and somehow traveled three years into the past. His art style has changed over time. I remember when he decided to start drawing Sam with a mouth that didn’t look just pasted on!

A lot of 2014 and 2015 had comics related to one another. There was an ongoing story involving a shovel, as well as the start of a short-lived series called Maximum Punch.

And then there’s this classic one that’s just silly.

And here’s a couple fun ones about Animal Crossing.

Anyway, there’s some highlights. I recommend checking out more! Comics from before 2013 have a lot more simplistic style than the later ones, although I wouldn’t say they were worse (note: I only wouldn’t say that because I’d have go look back through and compare them, and I’ve taken too long on this post as it is, as I do with every blog post, so I’m gonna end it soon).

One last thing I’ll note is that he’s also done some animation work. This one is pretty neat!

Oh yeah, and James was the guy who drew the art for the Nobody Ever Visits the Magma Monster shirt for the Cloudy Cuckoo Cosmos that’s available, and no I didn’t just highlight James so I could mention that.

Author (or Writer) Highlight: Lauren Parker

Whoa, wait, I started this two weeks ago? This last week kinda blew by. Yeesh. So today I have something a little different, because I realized if I just focus on those writing stories I’ll run out of entries before the month is over. That probably shouldn’t be the case since there’s so many people writing, but the crux is how many are writing good? Side crux, if I find it interesting. There’s also the factor of my wanting to focus on those who may not have a big following, which of course means it’s hard for me to find them.

Anyway! Let’s look at Lauren Parker. She’s a neat lady who writes and says things, but I’m focusing on the write because, ha ha listening to people? I first came across her on Medium, and she has some cool pieces on there! Her writing is pointed, funny when available, and sometimes even inspirational, though still with that zesty tinge of crazy that makes the internet amazing (no, not that kind of crazy, I mean the good crazy, you know, like high-density lipoprotein, aka good cholesterol).

A few examples from Medium: Events I Submit to be Considered for the Olympics, which is a rather quick read but long-lasting due to the images it conjures. It starts out strong and with a cereal I’ve never heard of so I had to look it up and now I have to assume that everything related to the cereal and its company went into the decision to name it mostly because the company is co-owned by the figgin Chinese government.

I think I got off-track.

Apparently there was some guy telling other guys to bother women wearing headphones a little while back, and Lauren wrote a companion piece related wherein she suggests you set yourself on fire. I mean, there’s other parts, including the important straightforward end paragraph, but fire. It works.

The last one I’ll post is longer and more inspirational/haggardational: An Open Letter to Myself. Actually, now that I think about it, this could totally be seen as a short story in second-person voice. It’s a little stream-of-consciousness, but I’d say it’s uplifting in a sideways sort of way. Not everyone can just stop and reflect a mirror at themself.

Okay! Join me tomorrow when it’ll suddenly be next week and I’ll realize that even expanding to “anyone who writes anything ever” I’ll run out of people in a month. I really shouldn’t. I probably won’t. But for some reason it sure feels like it.

Author Highlight: Graham Milne

Oh shoot I went out for a walk around the lake today and almost forgot about this, okay, okay, who’s next? This guy! Graham Milne, a guy who took his given name and made it into a pun for his weblogsite. Good for him! He is opinions and apparently Canadian. I don’t think I noticed that before, or more likely just glossed over it.

What has he done? According to his about me page, he’s written a novel, is working on a sequel, and has ideas for more, and is currently working on getting the first one published. But what actually puts him in a situation where I’m talking about and highlighting and throwing cabbages at him is that there is a full serial story that he wrote: Vintage: A Fantasy Serial. It’s also a pretty fancy serial. It is free to read, which means I read it, liked it, finished reading it, and am now going to talk about it a bit. Because it turns out free stuff captures my attention. It’s what I’m doing, after all. Although I think “free stuff captures my attention” can be applied to 90% of the human race.

Aside from his website, it’s also available on Wattpad. Though Graham I came across simply by wondering around the internet. There happens to be one chapter only on Wattpad though because it is rated euphemism! Taking place in the same world as the novels he’s working n, it follows a French-inspired country trying to cut off magic, and particularly the power of witches, which a government organization sees as a threat to their power. A high-ranked officer whose job is to root out these witches gets to know one and questions his choices, though, and, hey, wait, I didn’t summarize or describe the story in the last highlight.

It’s actually been like half a year since I read Vintage, so let me try to recall my thoughts on it. The story felt like it evolved naturally and nothing felt out of place. This is the case even when some characters returned without that originally planned. (Later on Graham had some reflections and mentioned how the story originally was meant to be only 4 or 5 parts long, and thus he hadn’t made an outline–instead he developed each part as he wrote and, because he posted them as he wrote, he couldn’t go back to tweak things and had to move forward.)

The characters work well together, even–or perhaps especially–the fellow with never more than two words to say. Perhaps the setting could be expanded some more, but with this being in a world that other stories are being written in, I can see that being easy enough.

There’s also French words. Last time I talked about a book with fabricated words and a glossary, now I’m discussing one with real words that nevertheless are French and therefore I have even less of a clue about them. So, um… snails? Yeah, I didn’t really research this part.

I’m looking forward to when he gets his books published, whenever that is, but for now he has Vintage up for free, and, in the end, that might actually be the most important criteria for me having a highlight post about someone! No, wait, awesome story is most important. Free helps, though. It means I have something immediate to point readers to. Anyway, next time I run out of people. Wait, maybe not quite yet…