Tears of the Kingdom is already one of the most profound video game sequels of all-time

I haven’t even come close to beating it and I wanted to write about it

While Hogwarts Legacy cemented itself as an all-timer for me and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is also an incredible sequel that might be the greatest Star Wars video game ever, there’s another game that has completely taken over my life this year.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is Nintendo’s latest and greatest addition to the Zelda saga. Building on top of the revered Breath of the Wild from 2017, it was hard to imagine this game would fail to meet expectations. I even said this in my Most Anticipated Games of 2023 blog and to little surprise, this game lived up to the expectations and then some.

I haven’t even come close to finishing the game or exploring all there is to explore in Hyrule, the skies above it, and the depths below it to crown it one of the greatest sequels in the history of video games.

I’m talking Kingdom Hearts II and Batman: Arkham City levels of great.

Everything from BOTW has been improved or expanded upon and with its new Ultrahand and Fuse abilities, weapon durability, combat, and exploration have all experienced an upheaval.

People have already come up with really creative ways to play the game. Whether it’s fighting enemies with a giant dick:

Or finding a way to complete something that took me an hour to do in less than two minutes:

This game has already made its mark on gaming history. And yes, the above Shrine quest that requires you to steal a giant green crystal and transport it to a different sky island took me more than an hour. Goes to show how two different ways can lead to the same result in this game!

The frustrations didn’t stop with me there with this game, however. And yes, you can still get frustrated with a game even though you love every second of it. I’ll just go ahead and say: Fuck these guys.

I have yet to complete a certain dungeon that supposedly gets me closer to the Master Sword because of these asshole Malice hands. They consistently pursue you, drain your health, and instantly kill you if they get a hold of Link.

Every video and guide I’ve seen online too is just like “You better hope you have bomb arrows and may the Goddess Hylia shine down upon thee.” So absolutely fuck these guys.

Other than that, I’m absolutely loving this game and I can’t wait to pour hundreds of more hours into it as I inevitably collect everything like I did in its predecessor.

P.S. Hestu is back and this is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen:


P.S. addition as of today:

I got the Master Sword but the Gloom Hands can still go fuck themselves. Hopefully the Master Sword will make any further encounters with them a little bit easier.


The law finally got me: I got a parking ticket

The jig is up, the news is out, they’ve finally found me

Welp, after being a licensed driver for 10 years, the law finally caught up to me.

I woke up this morning after a night out with friends and we had a great time. A couple two, tree beers were had so, me and my buddy took a morning stroll over to the greatest Bagel Authority in the city of Chicago: The Chicago Bagel Authority, for a hangover cure.

A Sausage Fest Bagel with Cream Cheese, the best thing you can have after a night out

The bagel was amazing. There was nothing that could’ve brought my morning down until I discovered a parking violation stuck to my window for $75.

I assumed the risk of the parking ticket when I parked there the night before so I’m not that mad at getting the ticket. But $75 is a little stiff.

The closest parking garage was going to run me $50 and the nearest SpotHero spot that was less than $50 was like over a mile away, so that wasn’t happening either.

Normally, my buddy gives me a guest parking pass to be able to park on his street. However, the village hadn’t sent him new ones for the summer yet so I decided to wing it. Plus, I still had four of his guest passes still stuck to my front windshield so I thought maybe a quick glance by any authority figure would keep me safe.

I was obviously wrong because I’m writing this blog.

I would’ve spent the $75 on beer, food, video games, or bills eventually so I’m not mad about that. What I’m more mad about is that the sticky shit remained stuck on my window after I took the ticket off of it.

This is more irritating than the ticket itself.

That’s a crock of shit if you ask me. I’m not even kidding about that, I’m truly more upset about this than I am about the ticket. Because now not only do I have to pay the ticket, but I also need to grab some WD-40 and a rag to scrape that shit off the window without damaging it.

But there it is folks: my spotless driving record lasted a decade. 2013-2023, you will be missed.

To be honest I’m happy with myself because a decade is like a Lou Gehrig run of spotless driving. A couple of close calls here and there but they finally got me for a parking violation.

Gehrig’s record for most consecutive games played was eventually overtaken by Cal Ripken Jr., but the record stood for over 60 years, thus, I reference him.

I unfortunately can’t claim to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth like Gehrig did, but I know damn well I’ll just pay for the $50 parking garage next time. Hopefully in 2033, I won’t be writing a sequel to this blog ending this new streak of mine.

Also, I hope this doesn’t start a stretch of other violations. I’ll keep you posted because I honestly think I ran a red light today too. So I either continue a fresh streak for a decade or I spiral toward Grand Theft Auto. You’ll find out either way!

I’m going to spend the rest of my Sunday playing Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and not behind the wheel of my car. It’s the only way you and I remain safe.



OTD in 2002: Kingdom Hearts releases and alters the course of my life

Sora’s old enough to have a beer now! Let’s reminisce and get excited for what’s next for the beloved series

It’s actually insane that the original Kingdom Hearts game is now 21 years old. Where did the time go?

I feel like the 20th Anniversary event and the reveal of Kingdom Hearts IV was just yesterday. But, another year has gone and here we stand!

I’ve touched upon Kingdom Hearts A LOT. Whether you’re friends with me, you’ve read this blog, or you’ve watched my YouTube channel, you’ll know that this series is my favorite series of all-time.

There’s nothing more I can say that I didn’t say in my 20th anniversary video, so enjoy that below (but then come back for a bit because I need to address some KH4 discourse happening online right now):

Funnily enough, the end of that video features a blissfully unaware past me not knowing that just a few short weeks later, Kingdom Hearts IV would be revealed at the 20th Anniversary Event on 4/10/22.

After 21 years, this series still has entries to look forward to! I never thought I’d have the hype level for a game release after Kingdom Hearts III. Go back through my YouTube channel and watch the buildup to that release as time moved along.

A glaringly obvious thing is that once that game came out, my level of productivity on YouTube went to like zero. I’ve been through a lot in life since that game came out. 3 jobs, lived in 3 different states, a global pandemic, etc. All those things added together certainly affected my upload desire.

But once there were whispers and rumors that KH4 could exist, a surge went through the community that hadn’t been felt since both KH3‘s DLC came out in 2020 and prior to KH3‘s original release date on 1/28/19.

Once KH4 was officially revealed, the hype was BACK.

I released a reaction to the KH4 trailer and a breakdown of the trailer on back to back days and that was the first time I had done something like that in a long time.

But up until this week, we hadn’t heard anything about KH4 since the announcement trailer. This is the online discourse I referred to earlier.

Last week, the Kingdom Hearts Second Breath concert occurred in Tokyo and the series director Tetsuya Nomura made an appearance to thank fans for their support. But he also shared an interesting dialogue on stage with the series’ music composer Yoko Shimomura:

Tweet from @aitaikimochi translating a witness to Nomura’s statement

So, people are freaking out because Nomura said “something” from the 20th anniversary event determined the course of the series moving forward.

A bunch of people think Disney is going to distance itself from Kingdom Hearts, people think KH4 is getting delayed, people think he’s being fired, and so on.

All baseless claims and worries that struck a cord in the community. One thing I will say after 21 years, the KH community never fails to disappoint when it comes to breaking down every little thing Nomura says or does to the greatest and/or worst of means.

I’ll be the first to say:

A.) KINGDOM HEARTS IS DISNEY AND DISNEY WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF THE SERIES. 2.) The game isn’t delayed because we don’t even have any idea when it’s going to come out. And D.) Nomura also isn’t going to be fired because the series is his.

So everybody please…RELAX!

Here’s what I think it is:

During the Kingdom Hearts IV trailer, we’re shown this forest environment that looks more realistic of a world than we’ve ever seen in a Kingdom Hearts game before.

Many people (myself included) have plenty of contextual evidence that all but proves this location as the Forest Moon of Endor from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983).

Ever since Disney acquired the Star Wars IP, it’s always been speculated when Star Wars would come to Kingdom Hearts. It seems now that it is.

However, it was not confirmed what this world is and it could very well not be Endor. But, there was one tiny little detail from the trailer that everybody noticed that absolutely makes it Endor.

What appears to be an AT-ST Walker foot in the Kingdom Hearts IV trailer

I discussed this in my 5 Questions for Kingdom Hearts IV video, but check that section out below before I wrap this blog up:

Watch 8:05-11:51 for the specific question about Star Wars

In the shots of the trailer that “could be” Endor, it’s very clear that an AT-ST Walker foot is visible, thus, making it Endor. This was not confirmed or denied by Square Enix or Disney because they want to reveal it at their own pace. But, it set the internet ablaze.

Now, I believe that this situation with the AT-ST foot unofficially confirming Star Wars for Kingdom Hearts IV is the “something” Nomura was talking about. I think we could all agree that Star Wars would be the largest Disney property ever in the franchise and I’m sure Nomura’s a little peeved that we all saw the Imperial Walker foot before they could reveal it properly.

But it’s this kind of speculation that’s made the Kingdom Hearts community a community that I call home. So much has adapted and changed in 21 years, but my love for the series has only grown.

There’s a reason why I would type this much about a series. I love it that much. So everybody calm down (a bit) about Nomura’s little tease and just ramp up your excitement for the series that we fell in love with 21 years ago.

I’ll wrap up this blog by saying: Thank You Tetsuya Nomura, Square Enix, and Disney for bringing us Kingdom Hearts on this day in 2002. As Sora says in the first game, “Although my heart may be weak, it’s not alone. It’s grown with each new experience, and it’s found a home with all the friends I’ve made. I’ve become a part of their heart just as they’ve become a part of mine. And if they think of me now and then… If they don’t forget me… Then our hearts will be one. I don’t need a weapon. My friends are my power!”

No truer words have ever been said. This game taught me more about hearts, love, and friendship than anything. I wouldn’t be who I am without it.



A Harry Potter and the Cursed Child film adaptation would be a mistake

If Warner Bros. decides to go through with a film version of the Cursed Child, it will be a lot harder to pretend that it doesn’t exist.

I’ve been away for a while with a reasonable excuse to not have written anything on this blog for a month, and it pertains to the subject of the blog anyway.

Hogwarts Legacy has completely taken over my life and during my first playthrough of the game, it reminded me why I fell in love with the Wizarding World in the first place.

It’s so incredibly immersive with details on literally everything. I completed my playthrough with a 100% completion and I’m diving back in for my second playthrough soon as I aim for that PlayStation Platinum Trophy.

Check out the two below videos from my first time through the game before I discuss Cursed Child:

So, it’s been heavily rumored online that Warner Bros. Studios is trying to recruit the Golden Trio: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, to reprise their roles as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger in a film adaptation of the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

This would be a GIGANTIC mistake.

Most of my reasons are for the sake of the story that we already know. But other reasons are for the success of the other stories that have emerged from the Wizarding World as of late.

Back when the “book” version of Cursed Child released in 2016, I made a YouTube video about all of my issues with the story. Feel free to watch below, but I’ll still write some of them out.

To sort of summarize this video, there are major flaws with the story and the way the characters behave within it. There are also lore breaking elements within the story that muddy the plot of the seven masterpieces that came before it that I simply can’t accept.

Since 2016, I’ve done perfectly fine with eliminating Cursed Child from my head canon. Since it’s just a stage play for Broadway goers, I can happily stay away from it and not have to remind myself that it happened.

If Warner Bros. decides to go through with a film version of the Cursed Child, it will be a lot harder to pretend that it doesn’t exist. Especially if Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson reprise their roles.

I said all I could about the narrative reasons why Cursed Child in that video from above, but there are other real-world issues that would make it a mistake as well.

With major motion picture franchises and adaptations completely dominating Hollywood over the last quarter century, it comes at no surprise that this idea and rumor is out there. The Star Wars saga and super hero genre is suffering from oversaturation at the moment and audiences are letting it be known online, but not necessarily with their wallets. Regardless of how these projects are recently received by audiences, I find it hard to believe that Cursed Child won’t happen.

The quality of Star Wars and Marvel movies has worsened over the last couple of years. While there have been diamonds in the rough for each: The Mandalorian and Andor for Star Wars and Spider-Man: No Way Home and Shang-Chi for Marvel, the overall quality of each franchise has suffered. People are becoming exhausted by these franchises and it seems there’s no end in sight for the content of each.

I don’t want this to happen for Harry Potter.

Some people would say that the Fantastic Beasts films were one, two, and three trips too many back into the Wizarding World. But I actually enjoyed those films. I like the ideas of prequels more than sequels if they need to be made at all.

It’s something I wish Star Wars did instead of returning to the time of the Original Trilogy and muddying up the plot of films that released 40+ years ago. There are SO MANY planets, stories, and eras to discuss when it comes to Star Wars but now, content keeps coming out that makes me rethink what we’ve already known about Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and more for half a century.

How about an Old Republic storyline? How about a story about an ancient Sith Lord? A story about the Whills and how the Force and Jedi came to be? What about the droid attack on the wookiees?

I’m kidding with the last one obviously since we see the droid attack on the wookies in Revenge of the Sith, but the first three would be very awesome stories to tell.

Don’t get me wrong, everything Dave Filoni has done for the Star Wars saga is brilliant. All the TV shows from The Mandalorian, to Andor, to Tales of the Jedi, all great. But for the most part, Star Wars has soured many fans on the film level.

Cursed Child is what went wrong for the sequel trilogy for Star Wars but for the Potter story. It’s like a fan-fiction gone wrong and I don’t want it glorified for the sake of money for massive audiences. But that’s the issue: it’s going to haul in thousands of Gringotts vaults full of Muggle money and there’s no denying that.

But WHY? Just like Star Wars, there are so many different things that you can write stories about and make movies or shows for!

Consider Hogwarts Legacy: a story that takes place in the 1880s-1890s. It’s 100 years before Harry Potter is born in-universe. While characters like Phineas Nigellus Black make appearances, this game is everything a Potter fan could want out of an extension of the saga: a world full of Easter eggs and callbacks while also being a brand new story that doesn’t diminish the original stories or characters that came before it in real life and what comes after it in the life of the Wizarding World.

The Fantastic Beasts films have still given so much more context to Albus Dumbledore as a character and I hope we get to see those films conclude on the big screen. Dumbledore’s duel with Grindelwald and his family issues were absent from the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but it’s something book fans are so excited for.

But the Fantastic Beasts films have done more than just tell a story about a younger Dumbledore. It introduced us to Newt Scamander, who is an absolutely lovely character that I’ve grown to care for. We also saw American and French wizards in action in their own native countries. They’ve done so much lore and world building for the franchise that have positively affected it, in my opinion.

There were rumors about two series being developed by HBO Max about the Four Hogwarts Founders as well as a series about the Marauders and Snape during their time at Hogwarts.

I would be fine with either of those! You might nudge into some strange territory with a series about Harry’s parents because that could muddy some stuff up potentially, but you still need to get to the point where they’re murdered by Voldemort somehow. While there’s potential to do a lot with a Point A in that story, Point B is set in stone and that protects it.

However, rumors for those shows have died down and rumors to reboot Harry Potter over again with a series have caught fire on top of the Cursed Child rumors.

That would be even worse than Cursed Child.

I know this blog is about how I don’t think Cursed Child should be made into a movie, but the rumors of this reboot show happening too is just as bad. This is actually a blog about how the idea room at Warner Bros. seems to be the worst idea room in the world.

I feel like the possible reason for this reboot series is because Disney+ is moving forward with a Percy Jackson and the Olympians series that will follow the course of the books and will be written by the series’ author: Rick Riordan.

I’m very excited for that show and that Riordan is writing it. You may ask: “But Danny: why is this a good reboot and the Potter one isn’t when there were Percy Jackson films that came out within the last decade or so?”

Here’s Why: because the Percy Jackson films weren’t faithful adaptations nor were they the worldwide phenomenon that the Potter films were.

A line outside a theater for the midnight release of “Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows: Part 2

I went to every film midnight release of the Potter films and the midnight releases for the books. Always crowded, always exciting, always memorable. While I read the Percy Jackson books and loved them too, the movies just didn’t have what Potter had.

This Disney+ series is an opportunity for Percy Jackson to get his due with a faithful adaptation that he deserves. The first two books were the only ones that were adapted into films and they were received poorly by critics, audiences, and fans of the book series.

The Potter films, just like the books, were acclaimed by literally everyone. It doesn’t need a reboot series a decade after the film adaptations concluded. As a book fan, yes, there are some things cut from the film adaptations that I wish were there, but if I really wanted them that badly, I’ll just reread the books.

Since Riordan is the one writing the show, you know great care will be taken of the characters in the Percy Jackson lore. You know damn well why JK Rowling isn’t going to be invited back to write about her characters, so any reboot would be starting off on the wrong foot (strictly for a narrative reason before you come after me about her world views).

I hope the Percy Jackson series does well and I hope the Potter reboot is killed and thrown in the garbage before ever being spoken about again.

I promise I’m wrapping this up now.

I really hope Cursed Child and the reboot series don’t happen.

Cursed Child will ruin a story that was perfect as is and the reboot series will unnecessarily capitalize on something that doesn’t need to be addressed for a long time.

Harry Potter changed the world. The way adaptations are made. The way children’s stories are written. The way movies are viewed. Potter had a hand in all of this.

Hell, you could argue that the reason the modern movie landscape looks the way it does now is because of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies in 2001.

Would it be the success of the Harry Potter franchise that will ultimately kill it if Cursed Child or a reboot release? It’s an interesting question to ask.

But since neither a Cursed Child film nor a reboot has been officially announced, all I’ll say is please don’t fucking make these. If they do, I guarantee I will not be a member of the audience.

Alright, I’m going to dive back into Hogwarts Legacy, reread the Potter books again, and watch the eleven movies that I hold as canon.



The perfect way to begin a video game

There are many ways to begin something, but these games are iconic for a reason

There are many ways to begin something.

Whether you open your story with a large monologue with story exposition, a slow reveal of your protagonist or antagonist, or dropping into level one immediately, there are many things a story can do from there to make it great or not so great.

For some of the greatest games ever though, the perfect way to begin the game starts at the main menu.

Now I know most games begin at the main menu, but the added element of the game’s main theme and the air of mystery provided by the menu art and score combines to create the perfect gaming experience from jump street.

I’m going to wind the clocks back to 2002 to begin this one:

To nobody’s surprise, this blog will mention Kingdom Hearts. It’s been 21 years since the original game came out and believe me, I wouldn’t still be obsessing over this series if it weren’t for the main menu, theme song, and the game’s opening.

Following a few white screens displaying the Disney and Square Enix (originally SquareSoft) logos and some branding disclaimers, we hear the soft crashing of waves paired with an image of Sora, our main protagonist, looking out into the horizon, with our game title and our starting options menu below.

The fact that I can still boot this game up 21 years later and still have the same emotional connection to it is what makes it amazing. The title screens for the rest of the series continued this trend, but the original one perfectly captures what the series is about.

Sora dreams of worlds outside the Destiny Islands. He wields a stick, not knowing he’d soon be wielding the legendary Keyblade and defending all the worlds from darkness. All while the calming waves crash and put your mind to an ease knowing you’re about to begin a journey of some kind.

Backgrounding the beautiful title screen is the series’ main theme: Dearly Beloved written by the legendary Yoko Shimomura. The original iteration of this song perfectly captures the comfort of home with an air of mystery that begs the question: “If I leave home, will I ever be able to return?

Then, as we hit “New Game” and choose our settings, we’re brought to our CG opening movie, soundtracked with Simple and Clean by Utada Hikaru, not before Sora reads the classic line “I’ve been having these weird thoughts lately…Like, is any of this for real…or not?”

The game then begins at the Station of Awakening, a stained-glass pillar with an image of Snow White from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The strange and mysterious opening to a strange and mysterious concept combining Disney and elements of Final Fantasy couldn’t have started any better.

The vibe of the entire first Kingdom Hearts game is basically a comforting mystery with the thought that you may not get to return home once it’s all said and done. You can’t go back to a world before Kingdom Hearts either.

Sora and his friends want to leave their home, but once his world falls to darkness and he learns he must protect the rest of the worlds, there’s sort of a somber realization that he may never return to the Destiny Islands again. Of course, since it’s a series, there are answers to the previous sentence’s concerns. But the opening for the original game perfectly captures the journey we’re about to go on and how it’ll make us feel.

Enjoy the rest of the iterations of Dearly Beloved below before I continue with the next game:

The next game that has a perfect title screen, with a perfect soundtrack backing, and the perfect encapsulation of the game you’re about to play is the other game that I’ve talked about most on the blog for the last couple of months.

The Last of Us is clearly at the forefront of everyone’s minds considering the first two episodes of the HBO show have been spectacular in capturing the original game’s essence to a T, while also adding in fantastic world-building elements in the background.

But we’re winding the clocks back to 2013 here. Forget what you know about Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey’s Joel and Ellie. Forget that you know all about cordyceps and clickers. Go back to a time you’re booting up this new Naughty Dog game on your PS3 for the first time.

The game boots up with the Sony and Naughty Dog logos on black screens while crickets and outdoorsy ambient sounds play in the background. Then the title card flashes The Last of Us before cutting to black again.

Then as an image slowly fades in on screen, a soft and somber melody by Gustavo Santaolalla rises into the acoustic guitar riff that has become synonymous with arguably the greatest story ever told in gaming.

The image we see is a window with nice-looking white curtains waving from a breeze blowing through an open window. However, the window isn’t naturally ajar. The glass has broken and plant overgrowth is starting to pour in from the outside.

While a calming sunlight is peeking through the window, we notice the dingy walls and the knife stuck in the wooden window frame. This is our key that this game is going to tell us a story about the deviation of normal life, and boy, does it do that and then some.

Santaolalla’s score is the perfect blend of sounds to make you feel both comforted and painfully alone all at the same time. In the world of The Last of Us, that is how every survivor of the cordyceps epidemic feels. But at the heart of it, we have Joel and Ellie. A former father not wanting to open himself back up to the pain of being human and a young girl that can provide the spark of life not only in Joel, but to the whole world.

The title screen perfectly captures the game we’re about to experience. It’s the deviation of comfort. The deviation of normalcy. The solitude. The sadness. But also, the spark of hope. The sunlight. The knife that shows we’re going to fight our way through this horrible world. It’s all just perfect.

When you hit “New Game,” the game introduces us to Joel and his daughter Sarah on Joel’s birthday. What follows is a classic opening that introduces you to the chaos of a global pandemic spreading too quickly and then it rips your heart out.

The second game and the TV series follow suit. I’m extremely glad they brought back Santaolalla to score the HBO series as well because nobody could do it better. This game will live on forever for its storytelling, its score, its emotions, and its opening.

To close out this section, enjoy some of Santaolalla’s best:

We’re winding the clocks back to 1998 with this next one!

It’s crazy to believe how far we’ve come from the era of the Nintendo 64. You can look back at gameplay or even blow the dust out of those game cartridges yourself today, but you can never seem to recapture the experience of playing it for the first time again.

But this one game transcends time with its opening title sequence. Time being the key word since the next perfect opening to a game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

I’ve mentioned Breath of the Wild, on this blog before. While I (and many others) think Breath of the Wild is the greatest game in the Zelda series, the title sequence for BOTW simply doesn’t have what OOT has.

Following the classic boot-up logo for the Nintendo 64, we hear the galloping of horse hooves as the black screen fades into a mountain ridge side with the moon descending from the sky.

Then, we hear the soft melodic title theme composed by the legendary Koji Kondo and we see our hero, Link, gallop across the screen on Epona as the sun rises. Then, our game’s title appears as Link and Epona stop for a pose and then continue on.

As this was the first 3D title in the Zelda series, this title screen meant a lot of things to a lot of different people. After a 5-year gap in storytelling, the Zelda series was introduced to a much larger audience with its technical marvels and beautiful music.

Since the game was in 3D, on the console of the era, and had wide open environments to interact with, this opening was absolutely perfect. It emerges from the darkness and announces itself in a quietly beautiful way. Then, with the music playing, we get a hint that the Ocarina of Time and music itself will play a major factor in this story.

With the Kingdom of Hyrule ready for us to explore it, this title sequence makes its way into the opening of the game. After you press start, the camera makes its way into Kokiri Forest where we find Link, the Great Deku Tree, and Navi the fairy. From there, an epic journey through a vast kingdom, time, and an unforgettable soundtrack begins.

So listen to Navi and “LISTEN” to Kondo’s best as we look forward to the next entry in the Zelda series this year:

The final game I’ll discuss is from 1997 with a remake from 2020 to bring a new audience to world of fantasy.

Without the success of SquareSoft/Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII, it’s hard to imagine Kingdom Hearts, The Last of Us, or even Ocarina of Time even happening. Certainly not Kingdom Hearts since the director of that series, Tetsuya Nomura, was the character designer and story director for Final Fantasy VII.

However, the story of Final Fantasy VII changed the landscape for how video games are presented to gamers. They’re not just mindless polygons fulfilling the needs of short attention spans. Video games are an incomparable medium to experience stories on.

Final Fantasy VII is a flag carrier for video games in general and who knows if it would’ve worked if the title screen wasn’t as iconic as it was?

The opening song to the game is titled Prelude and gaming’s most legendary composer–Nobuo Uematsu– transports us to the world of Gaia.

Following the typical PlayStation 1 boot-up screen and the SquareSoft logo, Prelude begins as we see an Opening Credits screen for the game’s creators.

Before the game begins, we have a title sequence opening like a movie would. We see all these names behind what we’re about to play…but why? If you don’t want to read all the credits of the people, you press X and are then taken to a nearly all-black screen with the iconic Buster Sword in the middle, wedged into stone as if it has been used for the final time.

What’s so great about this opening is that it tells us all about the cinematic gaming experience we’re about to have. Nothing like Final Fantasy VII had happened to that point, so to see a game begin with a long line of credits showing the amount of people behind this masterpiece was just different, but in a great way.

Uematsu’s score provides us a magical comfort but with a mystery to what we’re going to experience. Then, before we play the game, we see the Buster Sword as if it’s our last bastion of calm before we delve into the world of the evil Shinra Corporation, SOLDIERs, the mysterious Mako substance, and gaming’s greatest villain: Sephiroth.

After you hit “New Game,” the iconic opening continues with the Bombing Mission score beginning softly as we’re introduced to Aerith, the vast city of Midgar, and our hero–Cloud–as he leaps off a train and poses on the Sector 8 train platform. The rest was history.

This game itself was legendary enough to get the modern touch to it. 2020’s Final Fantasy VII: Remake was an amazing retelling of the classic story with modern updates and graphics. But, how can you remake an opening that had so much meaning behind it?

Well, you can’t.

Final Fantasy VII: Remake‘s title screen is identical. Remastered Prelude, remastered Buster Sword, but the emotion and imagery are the same.

Once you hit “New Game” on Remake, the iconic opening is redone beautifully, with some added scenes to show that this updated Midgar, and outer world of Gaia, is sprawling with life.

Enjoy some of Uematsu’s best before I wrap this thing up:

There are many more games that have similar openings or ones that also convey the perfect audio visual embodiment of what you’re about to play. But these four are some of my favorite games of all-time because their title screens and opening scenes still send chills down my spine.

Every playthrough of each game, I pause at the title screen for a second to take in the beauty of each. The journeys taken in each of these games all began with beautiful title screens, beautiful music, and iconic openings.

As I said above, there are many ways to begin things. But in my eyes, there’s only one perfect way to begin a video game and these four games did that.

Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know why!



Phineas Nigellus Black in Hogwarts Legacy bridges the gap between page and screen

For fans of the Harry Potter books, this will be the first time Phineas is fleshed out in visual media.

Another day, another blog about Hogwarts Legacy!

What can I say? I’m pretty damn excited! Especially since it was announced that Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, & more) will be portraying Phineas Nigellus Black in Hogwarts Legacy!

The above video is a little featurette on how Pegg came to be Phineas and how he behaves as a character within the game. As Pegg says himself, it’s only right that the long line of British acting royalty that has starred in the Harry Potter films continues with him and his video game performance. I also enjoy that despite Pegg doing the voice for Phineas, the in-game model strikes a resemblance to Gary Oldman’s Sirius Black, which makes familial sense.

Simon Pegg’s Phineas Nigellus Black in “Hogwarts Legacy” (left) and Gary Oldman’s Sirius Black in the “Harry Potter” films (right)

For fans of the Harry Potter books however, this will be the first time Phineas is fleshed out in visual media and that has me extremely excited.

Within Potter lore, Black was a Slytherin and became Headmaster of Hogwarts from the late 1800s until his death in 1925. He is the Great-Great-Grandfather of not only Sirius Black, Harry Potter’s godfather, but also Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange.

Phineas Nigellus Black (misspelled “Phineus”) on the Black Family Tree within 12 Grimmauld Place in the film version of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”(2007)

Sirius is quoted in the Order of the Phoenix book describing Phineas as the “least popular Headmaster Hogwarts ever had.” The Hogwarts Legacy video and the quotes from the book prove that as the last Slytherin Headmaster before Snape within the Potter books, Black isn’t fond of school children nor their aspirations as young witches and wizards. I imagine this will be cause for some funny interactions within the game.

I wanted to talk a bit more about why the inclusion of Phineas within Hogwarts Legacy is a big deal though. For me, it’s because he was almost completely omitted from the Harry Potter films despite having a very significant role in the novels.

Phineas Nigellus Black is first introduced to us in the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix novel. A painting of the former Hogwarts Headmaster graces the walls of the home of the Black family, muttering snarky comments toward Harry, his friends, and the Order while they live at 12 Grimmauld Place.

Later on in the novel, Harry learns that there’s a portrait of Phineas amongst the many portraits of old Headmasters of Hogwarts in Dumbledore’s office. Phineas is able to travel between his portrait at Grimmauld Place and Dumbledore’s office to commune messages and report findings between the Order and Dumbledore.

Phineas is the one who checks to see if Arthur Weasley had made it home from the Ministry the night he was attacked by Nagini. Phineas is able to not only confirm the legitimacy of the snake attack but also communicate to the Order that Arthur was in critical condition.

If it weren’t for Phineas, Harry’s frightening vision may not have been communicated quickly enough to save Mr. Weasley in time.

Dumbledore speaks with the portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black in the film version of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007)

Phineas also warns the Order to head to the Ministry of Magic at the end of the book to help rescue Harry and his friends from the Death Eaters and Voldemort himself. He has a cantankerous interaction with Harry before this happens:

Phineas Nigellus: I have a message for you from Albus Dumbledore.
Harry Potter: What is it?
Phineas: Stay where you are.
Harry: I haven’t moved! So what’s the message?
Phineas: I have just given it to you, dolt. Stay where you are.
Harry: Why? Why does he want me to stay? What else did he say?
Phineas: Nothing whatsoever.
 Harry: So that’s it, is it? ‘Stay where you are?’ That’s all anyone could tell me after I got attacked by those dementors too. Just stay put while the grown-ups sort it out, Harry! We won’t bother telling you anything, though, because your tiny little brain won’t be able to cope with it!
    Phineas: You know, this is precisely why I loathed being a teacher! Young people are so infernally convinced that they are absolutely right about everything. Has it not occurred to you, my poor puffed-up popinjay that there might be an excellent reason why the headmaster of Hogwarts is not confiding every tiny detail of his plans to you? Have you never paused, while feeling hard-done-by, to note that following Dumbledore’s orders has never yet lead you into harm? No. No, like all young people, you are quite sure that you alone feel and think, you alone recognise danger, you alone are the only one clever enough to realise what the Dark Lord may be planning –
  Harry: He is planning something to do with me, then?
  Phineas: Did I say that? Now if you’ll excuse me, I have better things to do than listening to adolescent agonising… good-day to you.

Harry Potter and Phineas Nigellus Black argue in the novel version of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

In the film version of OOTP, Phineas’ lone scene is the “Mr. Weasley” scene, however, it’s his only appearance in any of the film versions of Harry Potter. We don’t even see him speak to Dumbledore in the scene.

Even in one of the most iconic scenes from both the novel and the movie, Phineas’ line from the novel is given to Kingsley Shacklebolt (played by George Harris) in the film. While I fully support the Kingsley line change, it was actually Phineas who says it in the book.

Phineas also displays sadness for the death of Sirius at the end of Order of the Phoenix. While he constantly complained about his great-great-grandson, a portrait was actually disturbed and saddened by the loss of its subject’s descendent.

“‘Am I to understand […] that my great-great-grandson – the last of the Blacks – is dead?’…He would walk, perhaps, from portrait to portrait, calling for Sirius throughout the house.”

Phineas Nigellus Black learning the news of the passing of Sirius Black in the “Order of the Phoenix” book.

Phineas returns most prominently in the final Potter novel: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

In the seventh book, Phineas’ portrait accompanies Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s quest to find and destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes in order to defeat the Dark Lord.

Hermione shoves the portrait into her small beaded bag, which is charmed with an undetectable extension spell.

Mary GrandPré illustration of Hermione with Phineas’ portrait from the “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” novel.

As a mode of precaution, Hermione stows the portrait away so that the current Hogwarts Headmaster, Severus Snape, couldn’t be reported to on their whereabouts. Little did Hermione know that Snape was actually a very good man and assisted Harry, Ron, and Hermione while under the guise of a Death Eater.

Snape conjures his Doe Patronus to guide Harry toward Godric Gryffindor’s sword in the Forest of Dean about halfway through the book. While the events of the movie play out identically with the Silver Doe, what isn’t a part of the film version is that it is Phineas’ portrait that tells Snape exactly where Harry and Hermione are on Christmas Eve.

Snape, further proving he’s a good man, even corrects Phineas on his use of the word “Mudblood” when talking about Hermoine.

Phineas Nigellus: “Headmaster! They are camping in the Forest of Dean! The Mudblood —”
Severus Snape: “Do not use that word!”

Phineas Nigellus Black revealing the whereabouts of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Muggle-born Hermione Granger to Professor Snape in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Without the Sword, Harry couldn’t have started destroying the Horcruxes that kept Voldemort alive. Without Phineas, Snape wouldn’t have been able to deliver the Sword. Thus, without Phineas, Voldemort wouldn’t have met his demise.

While there are many plot aspects in the Potter books that are much better than the films (the WORST change being: Harry snapping the Elder Wand in the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 film rather than fixing his own broken wand with the Elder Wand in the final book), one of the key omissions was Phineas Nigellus Black.

Ludo Bagman in the “Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup” video game. The only visual adaptation of Bagman beyond the books.

I can forgive the massive omissions of Ludo Bagman and Winky the House Elf from the Goblet of Fire film. (Funnily enough, Bagman only appeared in the Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup video game from 2003, but this blog isn’t about him.) Sure, I can get over the lack of Lupin in the Deathly Hallows film adaptations as well. But one of the key characters that assists in the demise of Voldemort was completely left out of the film versions of the Potter series.

Getting to see Phineas Nigellus Black fleshed out as a living character in Hogwarts Legacy is a welcome bonus to what seems to be an amazing game. We finally get to experience a visual and interactive version of one of the more noble members of the Ancient House of Black.

We finally have a Potter character that can live beyond the page, long after the written series has finished.



My Top 5 Most Anticipated Games of 2023

2023 is filled to the brim with amazing video game releases, here are my most anticipated!

It feels like 2018 all over again.

The year that housed great video game releases like God of War, Red Dead Redemption II, Spyro: The Reignited Trilogy, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Marvel’s Spider-Man and more, was an absolutely unforgettable one!

I spent much of my time playing through all of these titles and unfortunately, some of them overlapped with the releases of the others. It seems in 2023, the best games of the year will be quite spaced out, but based on the sheer scale of each, I may not be completely finished with one by the time another comes out!

Either way, I will be playing A LOT of games in 2023. Here’s my Top 5 list of my most anticipated games for next year:

Honorable Mention: Final Fantasy XVI (6/22/23)

This game is set to bring back what makes the Final Fantasy series, well, a fantasy series.

Taking the live battle action that has revolutionized the series from Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy VII: Remake, FF16 looks like an incredible game, filled with legendary battles and an intense storyline about bloodlines, revenge, and claims to a throne.

Judging by the most recent trailer, this game is going to absolutely control my life this summer.

5.) Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth (Winter 2023)

The only reason Final Fantasy XVI isn’t #5 is because there’s still a high chance that Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth releases in the Winter of 2023.

Following the epic release of Final Fantasy VII: Remake in 2020, this game follows Cloud and the gang along into the next step of their journey, beautifully remade from the 1997 classic for the PS1: Final Fantasy VII.

FF7Remake told solely the Midgar chapter of the 1997 original and FF7Rebirth will pick right back up with Cloud, Tifa, Barret, Aerith, and Red XIII after their escape from Midgar. However, as I discussed in this video from 2020, the ending of FF7Remake wasn’t exactly a 1-to-1 reboot of the original game; it was something completely different.

So, FF7Rebirth is set to be a nostalgic filled remake with even more twists and turns from the original that nobody can anticipate! Here’s to hoping it does release in 2023 and doesn’t get pushed into 2024!

4.) STAR WARS Jedi: Survivor (3/17/23)

The journey of Cal Kestis from 2019’s instant classic STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen Order resumes in 2023!

I just replayed Fallen Order to get back into the swing of things for Survivor and I must say, this new game can go down as one of the greatest, if not, the greatest Star Wars game ever.

There were some combat bugs and gameplay mechanics that I was reminded of in my replay of Fallen Order such as abilities not working or not being able to fast travel back to the ship that frustrated me. However, it looks like everything that was great about the original game is being improved upon and then some for the sequel!

With more story about Cal Kestis and the surviving Jedi following Order 66, I’m sure we’re bound to get interaction between Cal and some more characters from the Original Trilogy, or even Star Wars: Rebels in this game! Let’s just hope we can fast travel to the ship this time…

3.) The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (5/12/23)

Being a sequel to one of the greatest games ever made is a daunting task. However, if there’s one game that can live up to the hype of its predecessor, I’m sure it will be The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

Following the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in 2017, hype for a sequel grew. As time went on, Breath of the Wild was recognized as the true flagship game for the Nintendo Switch.

Tears of the Kingdom is set to combine the timelines of the Zelda franchise and bring several of the series’ best storylines to the forefront with the series’ strongest entry as its base for gameplay.

Breath of the Wild is one of the few games I’ve ever played that I completed 100% of. All the Korok seeds, all the shrines, all the special armor, the Master Sword challenge, etc. I did ALL of it. I took my Switch with me everywhere and whether I grinded out several hours of discoveries or accomplished a quick shrine before my college classes, BOTW carved its way to being one of my favorite games of all-time.

I’m quite prepared to do all of this again, both throughout Hyrule and in the sky come May.

2.) Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (Fall 2023)

Ever since Insomniac’s announcement of Spider-Man 2 in 2021, gamers everywhere have patiently waited for more info on when the game will release.

In a recent PlayStation Blog, Sony and Insomniac guarantee the game’s release by Q3 of 2023, therefore, it makes my list for most anticipated games of next year!

Following Spider-Man (2018) and Spider-Man: Miles Morales (2020), this game will tag team the two Spider-Men together to face their greatest threat yet: Venom. Given all of the unlockable suits from the previous two games, including all of the movie iterations of Spider-Man’s suits, I’m beyond excited to see their black, Symbiote versions that are infected by Venom.

While I’m really bummed there haven’t been any trailers or gameplay reveals since the game’s announcement, I know full well that this game is going to be amazing….or even spectacular, or dare I say: the ultimate Spider-Man experience.

Just like Breath of the Wild above, I fully 100% completed both 2018’s Spider-Man and 2020’s Miles Morales with very little frustration. These games are both just so much fun to play and they’re the epitome of super hero games overall.

I just can’t wait to see how Insomniac improves upon games that already seemed absolutely perfect.

1.) Hogwarts Legacy (2/10/23)

Considering the fact that I already wrote a lengthy blog about this game, it should come as no surprise that my most anticipated game for 2023 is Portkey Games’ Hogwarts Legacy.

I have an intense fandom for video games, movies, comic books, super heroes, etc., and it all wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t grow up with Harry Potter. It has always been my favorite media franchise and it helped me grow into the person I am today.

Playing through the licensed games from Electronic Arts that coincided with the releases of the Potter films throughout my childhood, always made me want a game where I could create my own wizard and experience my own stories at Hogwarts.

Hogwarts Legacy is that game. I will get to create myself and explore not only Hogwarts, but the Wizarding World around the castle as well; encountering all the magical creatures, enemies, spells, and potions that made us all fall in love with the world of Harry Potter initially.

Beginning as a fifth year transfer student into Hogwarts, your created protagonist is thrown into the center of a mystery that could endanger not only the students of Hogwarts, but for all the witches and wizards in the Wizarding World. Equipped with a full arsenal of spells, potions, and magical creatures, it’s up to you to uncover this mystery and cement your legacy at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

February 10th can’t come soon enough. If this game came out any later in the year, I think I would’ve spontaneously combusted.



Kingdom Hearts Theory: Could THIS character be the Master of Masters?

God of War: Ragnarok helped me connect a mystery that has yet to be solved in the Kingdom Hearts series

So…I wanted to get this theory out before the Game Awards because I’m hoping to have more videos about Kingdom Hearts IV after the show on 12/8. There are no signs of that happening, but one must always be prepared.

As bad luck would have it, I couldn’t be where I wanted to be to record and edit a video in time to do that, so I’m going to write this out!

This blog will contain HEAVY SPOILERS for both God of War: Ragnarok and Kingdom Hearts Dark Road. So if you want to remain fresh on those, please leave now!





Alright, so this theory has all to do with the identity of the Master of Masters (MoM) in Kingdom Hearts. We’ve known about MoM for a while, but we still haven’t figured out who he is exactly.

It’s still not entirely clear whether he’s a protagonist or an antagonist, but he will be a heavy hitter in the Lost Masters Arc, which is the next phase of Kingdom Hearts following Xehanort’s demise in the Dark Seeker Saga at the end of Kingdom Hearts III.

After playing God of War: Ragnarok though, my mind started racing with a theory about the MoM’s identity. Why is this not as weird of a connection as it seems?

Well, because the next phase of Kingdom Hearts revolves heavily around characters named after legends in Norse Mythology and God of War: Ragnarok takes place within those Norse legends and includes characters of the same names.

As this is a theory, I could be completely and totally off. This theory could also already be out and about and being discussed, but after playing GoW, I was putting all these connections together in my own head. So if you’ve been onto this theory for awhile without having played GoW or without some background knowledge in Norse Myth, I applaud you and I’d like you to call me out in the comments for being late to the party.

So, there are a few red flags that went up in my head and I will be addressing who I think the MoM is in Kingdom Hearts. There’s going to be plenty of lore jumping back and forth between Kingdom Hearts, God of War, and Norse Mythology, so please buckle up and enjoy the show!

To begin with the seed that grew this theory: let’s start with the Kingdom Hearts side of things.

The Gazing Eye and the Case of Odin

In Kingdom Hearts Unchained X/Union Cross, we learned that the MoM has read and seen the future, but bestows his “gazing eye” to his disciples so he can ensure that the future that is written in the Book of Prophecies comes true.

We discovered that the little blue eyes in ALL of these keyblades throughout the series are the Gazing Eye of the MoM, including Xehanort’s keyblade.

Xehanort’s keyblade was passed down to him in a long line of keyblade masters that includes the MoM himself, his dark disciple Luxu, and Xehanort’s own Master, named Odin.

Master Odin from Kingdom Hearts: Dark Road

Xehanort and his classmates (Eraqus, Bragi, Vor, Urd, Hermod, Vidar, Sigrun, Vala, Helgi, Vali, Heimdall, Hoder, and Baldr) are all taught by Odin in Scala ad Caelum, the epitome of society for keyblade wielders. Scala ad Caelum used to be Daybreak Town, where the MoM taught his pupils. Once that world was destroyed, it was rebuilt by the survivors to create Scala ad Caelum.

In both Kingdom Hearts III Re:Mind and Kingdom Hearts Union X, we discover that Scala ad Caelum was created after Daybreak Town was destroyed.

Each of the classmates, except for Xehanort and Eraqus, are named directly after Norse gods of Myth…but I’ll be back to that in a second.

So, Odin both in Norse Mythology and in God of War: Ragnarok is considered the “All-Father” and the god of gods, in a sense. He taught or created all of the gods in the Norse myth and houses them all in the realm of gods, called Asgard.

Odin in God of War: Ragnarok

Odin loses his eye trying to peer too far ahead into the future and discover the purpose of his own life. This is also represented within God of War: Ragnarok. Because he loses his eye, he employs an army of ravens throughout the Nine Realms to ensure that the future he’s foreseen comes to fruition. We see these throughout God of War: Ragnarok as green ravens that Kratos can destroy for rewards within the game.

While Odin pleads the titular God of War Kratos and his son, Atreus, for peace, we also learn that he’s not afraid to let Ragnarok (aka the destruction of the Nine Realms) happen if it means he’s allowed to see his purpose without losing his other eye.

Atreus and Kratos come across all of Odin’s Ravens that they’ve vanquished.

Odin also uses his two main ravens, Huginn and Muginn, to travel the realms and communicate on his behalf. Huginn and Muginn are adorned with Odin’s blue eyes, so he can see directly what and who they interact with.

Atreus talks to Huginn and Odin’s eye.

If we head back up to Kingdom Hearts Odin’s design, he is purposely drawn with only one eye being visible. Tetsuya Nomura, the character designer and director of the Kingdom Hearts series, designs his characters very deliberately.

Going back to something as simple as the “Recusant’s Sigil” otherwise known as a symbol for the “X” throughout the series, Nomura used simple means of the “X” on characters’ clothes or within their names to mark them as attached to Xehanort.

Roxas, the Nobody of Sora, being granted his identity within Organization XIII with the Recusant’s Sigil.

Nomura is also very into Norse Mythology and he makes that quite apparent in his breakout role as the character designer for the all-time classic Square Enix game Final Fantasy VII (1997). In which, many characters, towns, summons, and more are named after Norse legends.

So, it makes sense that the Kingdom Hearts Odin draws more than just the namesake from the actual Odin of myth, and thus, the Odin from God of War: Ragnarok.

The parallels between the eyes of the ravens and the Gazing eye of the keyblade makes too much sense, as well as being the “high teacher” in the “highest realms” of Asgard and Scala ad Caelum.

While I was looking into the eyes of Huginn and I realized that God of War: Ragnarok Odin sends his eyes everywhere and likes to peer into the future, everything just clicked!

Kingdom Hearts Odin was in possession of the main Gazing Eye keyblade, is missing an eye, and taught all of the keyblade wielders in Scala ad Caelum that used to be Daybreak Town……..I MEAN COME ON!

It would make complete sense that the MoM put Odin in his line of succession prior to the destruction of Daybreak Town! His dark disciple, Luxu, has proven multiple times in Kingdom Hearts lore that he’s placed his heart into the vessels of others to continue to pass down the Gazing eye keyblade.

But wait, wouldn’t that make Odin a vessel of Luxu then and not the MoM?”

While this is an excellent question, we find out in the end of Dark Road that Luxu has been hiding within the body of Bragi, one of Odin’s students. Bragi is a Norse prince, and considered to be Odin’s prime pupil.

Bragi reveals himself to actually be Luxu in Kingdom Hearts Dark Road

The Case of Baldr

The other pupil that ties this whole damn thing together is Baldr. There are Baldrs that exist in both Kingdom Hearts and God of War that also gives this Odin/MoM theory legs.

Baldr in Kingdom Hearts Dark Road

I touched upon the full ending of Baldr and Dark Road in this breakdown video, so please watch that for further detail. But basically, Baldr was touched by darkness and began killing off all of Odin’s other pupils. Once discovered, it came down to a clash between Odin, Xehanort, and Eraqus to vanquish Baldr. Although, Odin didn’t strike the final blow, he held Baldr in place and Xehanort finished him off.

Xehanort kills Baldr in Kingdom Hearts Dark Road

Once Baldr is killed, Odin bestows the Gazing eye keyblade upon Xehanort, who eventually becomes the main antagonist for Sora in the Dark Seeker Saga of Kingdom Hearts. Seems like an oddly great reward for striking down another pupil, eh?

Well, no. Xehanort, a former inhabitant of the Destiny Islands, was viewed as the “Child of Destiny” AKA the child that would balance the light and darkness in the world, according to the Book of Prophecies that the MoM wrote.

What MoM didn’t know was that Sora, the real protagonist of the Kingdom Hearts series, also came from the Destiny Islands and would eventually defeat Xehanort in Kingdom Hearts III. Sora foils all that “destiny” has foretold in the MoM’s prophecy and thus, the MoM must find a way to defy Sora’s destiny in Kingdom Hearts IV and beyond, which hasn’t been written yet.

Here’s how prophecy and Baldr tie together to God of War:

In the first God of War (2018), Baldur is sent by Odin to confront Kratos, the Greek God of War, for trespassing in Norse Midgard. Kratos has settled down, but unbeknownst to him, a frightening prophecy tells that the offspring of Kratos would lead to the demise of Asgard. Kratos and Atreus have no idea the adventures they’re about to be on, but it begins with Baldur.

Baldur, the main antagonist in God of War (2018)

I won’t rehash the whole plot of 2018’s God of War, but it ends almost identically to how the Kingdom Hearts Baldr meets his end. Kratos kills Baldur and fulfills his prophecy by being able to raise Atreus to confront Odin and kill him during Ragnarok.

Following the demise of Baldur, Odin tries to make Atreus his pupil. He tries to defy his own destiny, the destiny of Ragnarok, by winning Atreus over to his side. It ultimately fails and both Kratos and Atreus become heroes of the Nine Realms by defeating Odin.

In Norse Mythology, the death of Baldr brings upon the events of Ragnarok. In God of War, that absolutely happens, but the true Ragnarok is defied by Kratos and Atreus. The remainder of the Realms live on in peace. In Kingdom Hearts, the world’s destruction is consistently defied by Sora, while Xehanort and all of the gazing eye pupils are defeated throughout the Dark Seeker saga.

While God of War‘s Odin is defeated, the fate of Kingdom Hearts Odin has yet to be revealed. While he may have died of old age off screen in between Dark Road and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, I truly believe that he returned to his true form as the Master of Masters and is plotting to destroy Sora in order to finally balance light and darkness, as he originally thought Xehanort would accomplish.

An Oath to Return…?

The current theme of the Kingdom Hearts series following Kingdom Hearts III

So, to wrap it all up, we have yet to see who the Master of Masters is. All we know is that he’s going to play a pivotal role in the next Kingdom Hearts saga, which is everything after Kingdom Hearts III.

Following a long and winding road through mobile games like Kingdom Hearts Unchained X/Union X and Kingdom Hearts Dark Road, we’ve learned very little about the Master of Masters, but we know that both he and Odin are mysterious beings with very little screen time in the grand scheme of things.

After playing God of War: Ragnarok and making some connections with Norse Mythology, it just makes complete and total sense to me that the Master of Masters and Odin are one in the same.

Ragnarok has yet to truly happen in Kingdom Hearts, but maybe the “Oath to Return” means more than just the return of Sora to the realm of light. Maybe it also means the return of the Master of Masters as Odin and the destruction that once brought Daybreak Town to its knees to become Scala ad Caelum.

We’ll just have to wait for more in Kingdom Hearts IV and beyond to find out!

Thank you so much for sticking around this long if you have! I plan on using this as a script for a YouTube video so I can pair all these words to some gameplay from God of War: Ragnarok and Kingdom Hearts.

Here’s hoping I’m right back here tomorrow after the Game Awards with some more Kingdom Hearts news and updates!



Hogwarts Legacy is going to continue the epic history of Harry Potter video game music

The soundtrack preview for the highly anticipated Harry Potter prequel game hit me right in the nostalgia.

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, but I can assure you, it’s because I was playing the literal Helheim out of God of War: Ragnarok.

It’s such an amazing game that for the second straight blog, I’m referencing it before I actually get into what I’m writing about. But before I proceed, I will say this: I plan on either writing a blog or making a YouTube video about God of War: Ragnarok and a theory I have about Norse Mythology as it pertains to another beloved video game franchise of mine.

So, why was today the day I was drawn out of the blog dry spell I was in? This is why:

The highly anticipated Hogwarts Legacy video game from Portkey Games and Warner Bros. Avalanche today released this music video titled “Overture to the Unwritten.”

This game releases on Feb. 10, 2023, and to my dismay, it can not come any sooner.

I’m a GIGANTIC Harry Potter fan. I would not like all of the nerdy things I do, video games included, if it weren’t for the Harry Potter series.

The book series literally helped me learn how to read. I grew up with the books, films, and video games all releasing as I was aging my way through school, wishing I was at Hogwarts.

The very first game I got with my very first console, the PlayStation 2, all the way back in 2001, was the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone PS1 video game. My older brother and I played the hell out of this game. The magical duo of the Ps2 and the game itself transported us within the castle walls.

You can even ask my parents about the Broomstick training level in this game; they still have nightmares about it. They stayed up “past midnight, easy” trying to fly through all the rings on my 4-year-old behalf.

What followed were countless magical journeys ranging from the GameBoy Color to the PlayStation 3 and spanned the course of 12 years. While the gameplay always slightly varied from game to game in the series, the one thing that remained a constant was the AMAZING score that backdropped these adapted adventures.

You want to talk about immersion? You want to make gamers feel like they’re actually in a magical castle? BOOM. You hire Jeremy Soule or James Hannigan. (Check out this website to hear all the music in one place.)

While the Potter films are epically scored by John Williams, Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Hooper, and Alexandre Desplat, this blog is specifically about the video games and the video game music.

To begin with Jeremy Soule, I’d say he is probably more well-known for his work on other epic video game soundtracks including The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. But I know him for the first four Harry Potter video games as well as the PS2’s Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup.

The greatest bit of music from any of the early Harry Potter games is one I listen to at least once a week while I’m writing something. This track called “Happy Hogwarts” is just the perfect soundtrack for wandering around with Harry, Ron, and Hermione within the castle. Listen below:

The only way to describe this track is magical.

Not to mention, this amazingly soothing track for Diagon Alley from the Chamber of Secrets video game:

Soule also captured my imagination while running through the Hogwarts grounds in the Prisoner of Azkaban game with this track playing:

After Soule, Hannigan picked up from the Order of the Phoenix game through the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2 video games.

With a wide range of composition credits, including the Harry Potter audiobook soundtracks, the series’ conclusion was in safe hands with Hannigan.

Whether it’s the “Exploring Hogwarts” track from the Order of the Phoenix game:

Or the “Friendship Theme” from the Half-Blood Prince game:

And even the EPIC “Wandering Part 3 – Mystery” from the Deathly Hallows Part 2 game:

Hannigan took what Soule started and did an absolutely amazing job at putting you within the walls of Hogwarts as you completed tasks with characters you loved from the books and films.

Huge props to both Soule and Hannigan for making the music they did, because if you swapped their tracks into the films, the transition would be seamless.

But where does it all lead? Well, into Hogwarts Legacy, of course!

Judging by the “Overture to the Unwritten” music video today, I’m prepared to say that Hogwarts Legacy seems distinctly prepared to take what Soule and Hannigan built and add to the epic history of Harry Potter video game music.

This masterful piece performed by the Seven Springs Orchestra and Choir and composed by Chuck E. Myers “Sea”, J. Scott Rakozy, and Peter Murray, seems to capture what its predecessors once did.

The key difference I’m most excited about when I dive into Hogwarts Legacy in February is this: this game’s score will finally be the score that backdrops my journey at Hogwarts.

This game will begin with character customization and focuses on a new journey in the Harry Potter world that was once “unwritten.” You’d bet your ass that I’m going to make a character that looks like me and I can’t wait to discover what Hogwarts has in store for me!

Since all the previous video games in the Wizarding World followed the adventures of Harry directly from the books and films, I’m beyond excited to have my own journey in Hogwarts with its own unique musical score.

The official Hogwarts Legacy channel has also released a few peaceful ASMR videos that show off the environment of the game, including this one:

I can already picture a score like the “Overture to the Unwritten” being paired perfectly with the incredible diegetic sounds that the game developers put into these breathtaking environments.

However, if Portkey Games and WB Avalanche are reading this and want to make me shed even more tears on release day, I wouldn’t be upset if “Happy Hogwarts” chimed in as I make my way down the Grand Staircase and head toward my first ever Defence Against the Dark Arts class.

As you anticipate Hogwarts Legacy, please go listen to the Harry Potter video game soundtracks when you study, write, read, or work. You will not regret it!


EDIT from 12/6/22

Oh My Goodness, we’re back again today!

The Hogwarts Legacy Twitter account posted this video this morning all about the music to the game:

In this video, one of the composers (Chuck E. Myers “Sea”) confirms they’ve been working on the project for over 4 YEARS! He compliments John Williams for making “Hedwig’s Theme” and that it was an incredible base to begin from.

Another one of the composers (J. Scott Rakozy) also confirmed that they were going for the nostalgic element but with something new! They didn’t specifically mention the scores of the original Potter games, but they absolutely meant those, alongside the scores of the films.

What’s further apparent is that there’s so much attention to detail and care put into the soundtrack of the game. And if half as much care goes into the overall game, us Potter fans are in for one hell of an experience come February!

~ DS…again


Where the hell is Jak IV?

The whispers and rumors have completely gone away…people don’t even bring up Jak any more because it’s so unlikely.

God of War: Ragnarok releases tonight at midnight, thus making today a HUGE day for gamers everywhere.

This was a weird way to start a blog that’s going to be about the Jak and Daxter series, but it ties in, I promise.

Since I just played 2018’s God of War for the very first time last year, I didn’t feel like playing it again this year in preparation for Ragnarok. The story’s fresh on my mind and my body is ready for whatever happens next!

Former Nintendo executive and video game legend, Reggie Fils-Aime

So, with time to kill before this HUGE release, I was looking for something to play to keep my mind occupied during these trying times. I didn’t want to truly start anything new, so I sought comfort in the past.

Available on PlayStation Plus is the entirety of the Jak and Daxter series including: Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001), Jak II (2003), Jak III (2004), and Jak X: Combat Racing (2005).

Jak X is TRASH so I will not be focusing on that at all in this blog.

Alongside Kingdom Hearts, Ratchet and Clank, and Sly Cooper, Jak is one of the heroes from my childhood that will always bring about nostalgia. Sly Cooper recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and with no new titles on the horizon, all fans can do is hope for his return.

With the Kingdom Hearts series alive and well in its 20th Anniversary and the Ratchet and Clank series still getting additions in 2021, one can’t help but get excited about who else is getting a revival soon.

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart (2021)

Jak and Daxter‘s 20th Anniversary came and went with the same fanfare that Sly got: absolutely nothing.

While it’s fun that I can play the whole original Jak Trilogy on PS5, I can’t help but be sad about the fact that we’ve never gotten a legit Jak IV from Naughty Dog.

The entire gaming community is in concurrence that this weird offshoot game developed by High Impact Games in 2009 titled Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier is NOT a canon addition to the story of our characters.

Check out SuperButterBuns’ breakdown of this awful game

Without the original development team and studio creating a game to expand upon the original trilogy, we can’t consider anything to be a true sequel to Jak III. While Jak X is a sequel to Jak III, it’s a racing game that doesn’t provide the fun platforming and combat that the original trilogy provided.

That’s what people want out of a Jak IV: New Story, Old Jak and Daxter. Meaning, Square is to punch, Circle is to Spin Kick, X is to Jump, and L1 is to roll…A LOT.

Also, I can’t get through this and not mention 2006’s Daxter. Daxter is a prequel game that tells the story of Daxter trying to find Jak in the two years between Jak and Daxter and Jak II.

I didn’t have a PSP and this game was a PSP exclusive. Only really rich kids had a PSP, but from what I gather, people enjoyed this game a lot more than Jak X and The Lost Frontier.

Daxter (2006) a PlayStation Portable Exclusive

However, since Daxter is a prequel, it doesn’t matter what console it came out on. It didn’t expand upon the stories of our characters following Jak III and Jak X.

With Naughty Dog focusing on more realistic characters and gritty stories over the last decade with the beloved Uncharted and The Last of Us series’, it seems Jak and Daxter have been completely left behind.

Uncharted 4 (left) and The Last of Us: Part I (right)

I absolutely LOVE Uncharted and TLOU, but not more than Jak. I mentioned this point in my TLOU blog, but I’ll say it again: it’s kinda wild that The Last of Us: Part I has been remastered for two different consoles before Jak IV was even rumored to be in development.

Tom Holland, our favorite MCU Spider-Man and live-action Nathan Drake actor, has even said in interviews that he wants Jak and Daxter to return. WHY WON’T NAUGHTY DOG LISTEN TO SPIDER-MAN/NATHAN DRAKE?!?!

There used to be whispers of its development online. So much so that a former Naughty Dog employee even leaked a few concept art pieces of a Jak IV online.

A much more “realistic” looking Jak
Jak IV concept of Jak and Daxter investigating an old Precursor ruin site

These concept images are all people have had to go on for a few years as it pertains to Jak IV. The whispers and rumors have completely gone away. Every single time a PlayStation: State of Play (digital showcase of upcoming games) is announced, people don’t even bring up Jak any more because it’s so unlikely.

You can even tell how much it makes sense Naughty Dog wanted to move forward with the “realistic” vibes with Nathan Drake from Uncharted and Joel and Ellie from TLOU because Jak’s “realistic” look is kinda scary-looking and unnatural. However, I would absolutely get used to it if it was a real thing!

Replaying through the Jak series these last few weeks has just reminded me of the hurt of not having another entry on the horizon. (And also the hurt of the Mission Failed screen from Jak II and Jak III because I’ve seen them A LOT)

My hope hasn’t been completely snuffed out like others’ has. But this playthrough of the original trilogy has also reminded me just how amazing these games are. They’ve aged like wine and I still find them brilliant, just as I did as a kid.

Hell, I’d contribute my borderline OCD to collecting every Power Cell and Precursor Orb in Jak and Daxter.

I’m one to never say never. So, I can’t say and don’t want to say that Jak IV won’t happen. But I hope we can still generate the hype enough to let Naughty Dog know we want it.

And Sly too. I know this blog was about Jak, but shit, I just did to Sly what everyone did to Sly! We want Jak so bad that we’re not loud enough about Sly!

Please bring back Sly and Jak! Even the developers for Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart want these characters back!

While I was revisiting the Jak series, I also found this great video from an amazing content creator that I already linked to above.

SuperButterBuns on YouTube has this amazing retrospective on the Jak series and gets a little bit more in-depth on what I went over in this blog on a game-to-game basis. Here’s that video:

Please show Buns some love and keep the love of Jak (and Sly) alive!

As we all nestle in to play God of War tonight, let’s not forget that we could very well have the power to bring Jak back.

Don’t give up hope, ever.



Why I think Halloween Town is the best Disney World in Kingdom Hearts

The immersion of this world is still impressive 20 years later

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday and I love going all in on my costumes. Part of the reason why I love the Halloween Town world in the Kingdom Hearts games is because Square Enix and Disney went all in on this world.

I explained it above in this clip from my Kingdom Hearts 20th Anniversary video, but it’s honestly crazy how cool they made a Nightmare Before Christmas world in Kingdom Hearts.

Not only does Sora, the main character, take on a Halloween Town appearance, but two of the most iconic characters in the history of visual media also take on these scary forms. Donald and Goofy having mummy and Frankenstein’s monster variants are just so cool.

On top of that, scoring the world is an instrumental version of the famed “This is Halloween” from the movie. The soundtrack continues to loop as you play through the world and it simply doesn’t get old.

While this is the general world theme, the battle theme goes even harder. Yoko Shimomura, the composer for the Kingdom Hearts series, is known for the series’ beautiful melodies and world themes. But the Halloween Town battle music “Spooks of Halloween Town” is absolutely top-tier stuff.

When you’re playing video games, sometimes consistently beating up the small-fry enemies on your way to a level’s boss battle can be annoying. Not when this theme keeps interrupting “This is Halloween.” This is an absolute BANGER. Certified fresh.

I’m an advocate for saving Christmas music until Black Friday every year. I know this is my Halloween blog, but part of the theme of the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas is the Christmas part.

In Kingdom Hearts, they didn’t do the Christmas part of the world. But in Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix, the immersion went even further.

*Play the music*

Christmas Town in Kingdom Hearts II got its own theme, its own battle music, and its own versions of Sora, Donald, and Goofy as well. Square Enix and Disney went that hard AGAIN!

Santa Sora, Reindeer Goofy, and Snowman Donald just provides that extra immersion that makes the magical gaming adventures through Disney films in attempts to defeat the darkness that much better.

The best part about the Christmas Town battle theme from Kingdom Hearts II is that you could score it over your upcoming Christmas shopping and it will provide all the stress. Listen below:

While the main characters of the Kingdom Hearts series taking on forms of the Disney films they visit is now a main staple:

Toy Story world in Kingdom Hearts III
Monsters, Inc. world in Kingdom Hearts III
Pirates of the Caribbean world in Kingdom Hearts III

The OG world to begin this trend was Halloween Town in the original game over two decades ago. While Toy Story may be my favorite Disney movie and a five year old me back in 2002 would’ve preferred a Toy Story world over a Nightmare Before Christmas world in the first Kingdom Hearts, there wouldn’t have been a Toy Story world in Kingdom Hearts III if it weren’t for the amazing visuals, soundtracks, and character costumes from Halloween Town.

Enjoy the holiday!



I recreated Michael Jordan’s “Shrug Game” in NBA 2K23

The court, the camera filter, the scorers table, and even the roar of the old stadium look and sound so much like the real thing.

From my previous YouTube upload about recreating Michael Jordan’s “The Shot” against Cleveland during the 1989 NBA Playoffs in NBA 2K23, it’s become quite apparent that the presentation of this video game is at an all-time high.

When I arrived at Jordan Challenge #10, I was absolutely blown away by how awesome it looked. You had the voice of basketball Marv Albert giving an awesome preamble, then you cut to an opening preview video that mimics the NBA on NBC Finals broadcasts from the ’90s, and then you get the full Chicago Bulls starting lineup narrated by Ray Clay with Sirius by The Alan Parsons Project blaring in a darkened virtual Chicago Stadium.

And of course, to see them decked out in the ’90s Bulls warm-ups is a nice touch too!

The court, the camera filter, the scorers table, and even the roar of the old stadium look and sound so much like the real thing.

This moment from Michael Jordan’s career is one of my favorites. Funnily enough, this moment is one of my first uploads to my YouTube channel over a decade ago.

There are now better looking videos with the original broadcast, but if you squint your eyes at the NBA 2K23 footage, it’s really tough to tell the difference.

I love this game and I can’t wait to play through the rest of MJ’s career virtually!



blink-182’s new song EDGING is a perfect way to start the weekend

I would literally call it Anthem Pt. 3 if EDGING weren’t perfect already.

This song is an absolute anthem from a band that the world needed to return. I would literally call it Anthem Pt. 3 if EDGING weren’t perfect already. I truly still can’t fathom that blink-182 is back together again!

After Mark Hoppus beat cancer, whispers quickly turned into full-fledged rumors, and rumors turned into conspiracy theories.

Tom DeLonge, who hasn’t been in the band since 2011, is finally back and the blink we all know and love is OFFICIALLY BACK! New music, a new album, and a World Tour are all coming!

I got tickets to one of their shows on this World Tour and it was not cheap. But, I don’t care!

I said this to a friend the other day: “I think the only bands I would pay that much for would be The Beatles, Zeppelin, and blink with Tom DeLonge, so considering the other two can’t ever happen, I had to pull the trigger.”

Happy New Music Friday and Happy Friday in general! I’ll be listening to EDGING all weekend, all month, all year, and forever.



The Last of Us TV Show Trailer has revamped my love for the series

One of the greatest video games of all-time is about to be a TV show and I’m hyped

If you know me or you’ve read this blog or kept up with my YouTube channel, you’d know my favorite video game series of all-time is Kingdom Hearts.

I love that series like no other and I’ll forever remain emotionally invested in its story and characters.

However, I think the overall best story of any video game I’ve ever played comes from Naughty Dog’s 2013 masterpiece: The Last of Us.

Set in a fictionalized United States, The Last of Us tells the story of a man named Joel, surviving on his own after the death of his daughter in a world where a horrific disease has caused its victims to turn into fungal-infested zombies.

After he meets a young girl named Ellie, who is immune to the disease, the pair fight their way across the United States to find a group of doctors who can help turn Ellie’s immunity into a possible cure for the disease.

Full of heart, morally ambiguous characters, factions, and true psychological studies of characters that are pushed to their limits, The Last of Us made an impact on me as a writer, gamer, and human being in general.

After HBO announced it would be turning the game into a show, I was sort of hesitant on whether or not to be excited. Given how cinematic the actual game is, I wasn’t sure the story needed revisiting as a television show.

But that changed this past week when HBO released the trailer for the show.

Scored by the eerily calm strums of Hank Williams’ Alone and Forsaken, Pedro Pascal’s Joel and Bella Ramsey’s Ellie seem to perfectly capture the atmospheric brilliance of the video game.

The Last of Us is so revered as a video game because it presents the world it takes place in as a real one. You go from Boston, to Pittsburgh, to Salt Lake City and you truly feel the emptiness of these once great American cities that have now fallen to the Cordyceps brain infection.

The characters speak to each other in a way that actual people talk to each other. It isn’t like other video games where lines of dialogue are sewn together. Characters cut each other off, they respond non-verbally, they talk over each other and react emotionally to what’s being said or what’s happening to them.

The trailer for the show appears to capture ALL of this and it has gotten my hype levels for the show, the games, and even the music all the way back up.

I’ve always sort of kept my opinion about 2020’s The Last of Us: Part II to myself because the game is quite divisive in the public sphere. I think it’s just as beautiful and outstanding as the first game and while I still dislike the choice they made with Joel in that game, I understand why they did it and why it made the story of the second game that much better in the end.

But still, the second game was more of a grim, revenge-filled game that rarely had a spark of charm and humaneness that made the first game a forever classic. I’m so excited to see how Pedro Pascal’s Joel and Bella Ramsey’s Ellie grow into the father-daughter roadtrip relationship that made the first game so damn special.

This blog is about how I’m all the way back in on the series and not how I feel about Part II, so that’s that.

So to put it all together, I’ve been listening to nothing but The Last of Us soundtrack while I type and work since this trailer came out.

Arguably the best thing about the series is its music.

Empty. Sad. Hopeless. But also, relaxing and comforting. This music is part of why the series is so impactful on me. This music puts you right into the environment of the game and as a musical backdrop, it’s arguably the best in any medium ever. Films, television, video games, etc.

So, while I wait for the show, TLOU: Part III, or whatever may come next for this series, I know I’ll be listening to the music and remembering the first time I ever played the game.

Hell, I may even sling $70 to purchase The Last of Us: Part I remastered for the PS5. While the game has already been remastered, this was the developer’s chance to give the original game the same life that the sequel had.

And apparently, it succeeded at that.

If you need calm music to listen to, need a great game to play, or want to immerse yourself into a world that, despite falling into a zombie apocalypse, is a lot more human than ours, give The Last of Us a shot.



“The Shot” Jordan Challenge #5 – NBA 2K23 (PS5)

On May 7, 1989, Michael Jordan sent the Cleveland Cavaliers home with one of the most iconic buzzer beating shots in the history of basketball.

On May 7, 1989, Michael Jordan sent the Cleveland Cavaliers home with one of the most iconic buzzer beating shots in the history of basketball.

One of the coolest things that has happened in sports gaming is the reintroduction of the Jordan Challenges in NBA 2K23.

Originally introduced in NBA 2K11, the Jordan Challenges provide gamers and basketball fans with an incomparable homage to the career of Michael Jordan, the Greatest Basketball Player of All-Time.

Back in 2K11, there were only 10 challenges, now there are 15. One of the new challenges is the one from my video above: The Shot.

Most of the challenges in 2K23 and all of the challenges from 2k11, were full games from MJ’s career. Having this quick mini-game to recreate this iconic moment is one of the great reasons that separates 2K23 from 2K11.

Not to mention the era-specific broadcast visuals and the accuracy to announcers.

2K23 is making strides to be the greatest basketball video game of all-time because of changes like this.

I haven’t even gotten to dig into MyNBA Eras mode, where it’s possible to jump in a time machine and alter NBA History from 1983 on.

I want to record and upload more of my Jordan Challenge experience, and maybe some of my MyNBA Eras seasons. But once again, I’m just happy to be adding to this blog again.

Let me figure out how to trade Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to the Bulls, still draft Michael Jordan and have a Chicago Bulls dynasty that lasts for 40 years and then I’ll be back!



Back to the Blog: Video Game Leaks

Returning to ramble about whatever, most specifically, recent video game leaks

It’s truly been a long time since I’ve blogged here.

My YouTube channel has remained steadily active with gaming updates and Lightsaber unboxings over the last few years and those have always been my personal escapes to content.

But when I realized that something sort of felt off about my life in the moment, I evaluated and realized that I hadn’t written anything creatively from my own voice in a while! Seriously, in between my last written blog and now might be the longest stretch of not writing something creative since before high school like 12 years ago.

So, I’m going to begin writing here again whenever I feel like it! I just feel like I need somewhere to put my brain out on paper and my Twitter timeline can’t be my complete, 100% honest self.

But to keep in theme with things that I care about: my blogs will be about food, video games, sports, etc. Always like they have been, but when my thoughts need more fleshing out, I’ll head here!

So, something big happened in the gaming world over the weekend and it’s sprouted into possibly the largest leak in the history of gaming.

Grand Theft Auto VI is Rockstar’s highly anticipated sequel to 2013’s GTA V, which for nearly 10 years now, has received online lobby support/updates and has been released on three different console generations.

In the early morning of 9/18, #GTA6Leaks started trending on Twitter and it was discovered that over an hour of pre-alpha footage of GTA VI had been stolen and published online.

It wasn’t just this one page that was posting the leaks, but this account has 8000+ followers and was one of the premier pages for the leaks yesterday. Thankfully, a lot of the images and videos from this page now look like this:

Rockstar released the below message earlier on 9/19, not only confirming the leaks but also saying that despite this, development is ongoing.

What an absolute gut punch for Rockstar and the development team. Nobody ever wants their creation to leak early, but it almost always seems to happen. Even to the biggest movies in the world:

But now this has happened, a REALLY STUPID debate has broken out online. Now that people have seen the leaked footage of GTA VI, they’re being extremely harsh about the gameplay.

For anyone that doesn’t understand how stupid the above three tweets are, let me explain it plainly.

When game footage gets leaked in a pre-alpha stage, that means it’s not even close to being done with development. When the leaker got ahold of this gameplay, they released things that haven’t been polished or fully coded yet.

So when somebody says it looks “ass” or “like shit” or “unfinished,” it’s because it’s fucking supposed to! What it’s not supposed to be is commented on at this stage by any of us because the developer didn’t intend for this footage to be seen yet!

Rockstar has always kept their cards close to their chest when it comes to video game announcements/releases. When they were developing Red Dead Redemption II, they didn’t announce the game until Oct. 2016 and only released two trailers in between its Oct. 2018 release.

Want to know their reward from that? The sprawling Old West open-world adventure game is revered as one of the greatest visual gaming experiences of all-time and new things are still being discovered about the game.

What will happen to GTA VI when someone doesn’t like something about a gameplay element from these leaks that makes it to the final game? They’ll say “OH, IT LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE THAT IN THE LEAKS! BAD GAME!”

This hits home for me as someone who’s heavily invested in the video game/movie/tv show/pop culture world. I don’t want to experience things before the developer intends for me to experience their creation.

Gameplay elements, story elements, character arcs, etc. are all meant to be revealed to us in a relatively equal manner. There’s a reason why release dates and everything like them exist. It’s so everyone is given an equal opportunity to experience a developer’s project at the same time and allow a proper cycle of criticism or reverence.

Like so ^

Two highly anticipated games from Marvel, now being snared at by people to get leaked. One of the biggest problems with the GTA VI leak is now this: people will want it for whatever game they’re anticipating.

This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about this. But see below how I felt when Kingdom Hearts III got stolen and leaked about a month before its release date:

It’s crazy it’s been almost four years since that video, however, my feelings remain the same.

We can’t have this shit.

Let’s put it into terms that I love the most, as I just did above: Kingdom Hearts.

Look at the original Beta build of Sora from the first Kingdom Hearts:

Compared to the final:

I mean, a million times better, right? And that’s from the Beta stage to the final! The GTA VI leaks are from a pre-alpha build of the game. Which comes before alpha and well before Beta.

How about Kingdom Hearts III, which went from absolutely ZERO new trailers and information between its first three years of developments to this trailer at Jump Festa 2016.

Sora’s upgrade between the original trailer to the final game is staggering:

Isn’t it crazy what just a few years of development will do for a video game? Wait, you mean, it’s not crazy at all? BINGO!!!!!

You’re damn right it’s not crazy at all! GTA VI will be no different when it comes to this. When you give companies enough time to finish and polish their product, the better it will look in the end!

I can’t believe this even has to be said, but today’s world is becoming less surprising with how people react to things off the cuff.

So I’m pouring one out for the Rockstar and GTA VI development team because what happened really sucks. But, within the next couple of years, GTA VI will be out and regardless of these leaks, I’m sure a lot of people (myself included), will be bought in for another 10-year, 3-console generation saga with Grand Theft Auto.

Leaking things hurts everybody. It hurts the creator, it hurts the audience and it hurts the final experience of the product. Don’t do it and don’t buy into it. Waiting for something makes the experience of it ten times better. I hope we’re all looking forward to the official GTA VI or Spider-Man 2 or Kingdom Hearts IV trailers when they arrive.

I know I am, and you’ll find me talking about them right here!




After a month of collecting all my thoughts and emotions toward Kingdom Hearts 3, I present to you: MY SPOILER REVIEW AND DISCUSSION!

A lot of work and thought went into this video and I’m really glad I was able to get my thoughts into a not-so-concise review. This game was the end of one journey and the beginning of another. It was amazing. It has so much meaning to me and to many. My review is unbiased and honest. Please stick with me and hear what I have to say about Kingdom Hearts 3!

Intro: (00:00:00)-(00:03:12)

Beginning of Game: (00:03:12)-(00:09:46)

Olympus: (00:09:46)-(00:13:39)

Gummi-Ships: (00:13:39)-(00:15:57)

Music: (00:15:57)-(00:18:29)

TWTWN, Remy’s Bistrot & 100 Acre Wood: (00:18:29)-(00:22:55)

Toy Box & Kingdom of Corona: (00:22:55)-(00:27:42)

Monstropolis & Arendelle: (00:27:42)-(00:32:25)

The Caribbean & San Fransokyo: (00:32:25)-(00:38:32)




Aqua Portion/Saving Ven: (00:39:07)-(00:42:46)

Attraction Flow and Why it Sucks: (00:42:46)-(00:45:21)

The Final World: (00:45:21)-(00:48:56)

The Keyblade Graveyard & Kairi Rant: (00:48:56)-(00:52:41)

Scala Ad Caelum: (00:52:41)-(00:54:44)

Overall Story thoughts + Secret Movie: (00:54:44)-(01:00:19)

Post-Game Content and Longevity: (01:00:19)-(01:03:54)

Will there be a Final Mix?: (01:03:54)-(01:05:58)

MY VERDICT ON KH3: (01:05:58)-(01:07:33)

BIG FINISH: (01:07:33)-END


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


NOT A DRILL. A full copy of Kingdom Hearts 3 has been stolen and leaked. BE CAREFUL!

Someone has STOLEN a copy of Kingdom Hearts 3 and is leaking things online. DO NOT share or retweet any of this content with me or any other Kingdom Hearts content creator.

Mute any words related to Kingdom Hearts 3 on social media if you want the game to remain pristine for you on Jan. 29!

Follow me on Twitter(but DO NOT send me spoilers): twitter.com/theOG_DANIMAL


Where sports journalism will be in 20 years

I’m only guessing

Image result for sports journalism

As someone who plans to be involved in sports media over the next 20 years, it’s about time I stepped back to take a look at where sports media is now and how it could move forward.

As society grows on into the future, people are only going to become more attached to technology. Newspapers are surviving at the moment, but digital subscriptions will likely eclipse physical papers in a few decades. What that doesn’t mean, however, is the elimination of storytelling. I’d like to get this point out of the way early. The quality of work that goes into sportswriting will not fall victim to time.

If I could throw sports in alongside death and taxes as life’s certainties, I certainly will. How could I not? Every year, people go back to their teams. Sports seasons are a part of society’s routine life. With those sports seasons must come sportswriters. Whether they report, blog, investigate, analyze, overanalyze or criticize, the media will always have a place in sports. Regardless of the medium, the sportswriting will remain as consistent as the sports themselves. The unscripted drama that sports provide is an unmatched thrill that spans generations. The media must take that unscripted drama and interpret in a way that makes the story just as important and memorable as the moment. It seems that the ways in which people receive their news is the only thing that’s changing. Other than that, people will always need their sports and their sports news.

The platforms on which people receive their sports news is a vastly growing horizon. Given that social media platforms are the quickest and easiest way to get news out there, sportswriting has adapted alongside it. Every major news outlet is now on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat or some other sixth one. If there’s a sports media outlet not on social media, they’re losing. As younger athletes of the technology age take over their respective leagues, social media has turned into a place where news is broken first. If a player wants out of their contract or if they are joining a new team or they just so happen to like Lucky Charms, social media provides a mean for reporters to gather content. Considering that social media is where any team or player can connect with their audience, any sportswriter, blogger or media outlet can connect with that same audience.

I don’t really see where social media adapts from here. As of now, the quick, clipped aspect of social media is what’s winning over many eyes. That doesn’t mean that sports media and the work that goes into it should completely put their eggs into the basket of brevity. If ESPN needed to trim a small portion of Lisa Salters’ interview with Kareem Hunt to promote that interview on social media, ESPN nor Salters should get upset with people engaging with that post. I’d say something like that trimmed promotion would get people to go watch the full interview. I think outlets like ESPN should have their interests across many platforms. Judging by the rise in social media, it’s best that all media outlets work just as hard in their social media department as they do in their investigative reporting department. There’s no foreseeable end to the social media platform, so I think that sports media should continue to rise along with it because that’s where both the audience and the athletes are.

For all the voices that are out there, I say keep speaking, writing, blogging, vlogging, or tweeting. The sports media market is home to so many voices. ESPN is clearly the behemoth of them all but places like Bleacher Report, The Athletic, The Undefeated, Sports Illustrated, SB Nation, Barstool Sports or any of the sports sides of the network television channels are all places to consume sports media. Each of them have unique voices and they’re all adapting to modern technologies while also sticking to classic, quality sports journalism. And yes, I include Barstool.

Here’re my two cents on Barstool. They were born out of the social media age and are thriving in it. I’ve noticed purists to sports media trash on Barstool, but I think it’s because they’re the new kid on the block. Just because it’s not sports media in the traditional way, people tend to hate their content. I don’t like all of their content. But I don’t like all the content that ESPN or Bleacher Report put out either. Barstool is good at what they do because they were born in the social media age. Some of the more distinguished outlets have even started mimicking Barstool’s habits whether they’ll admit it or not. I just think Barstool must be given their due in the world of sports media because there’s no foreseeable end to them just like all the others.

Given that there are many voices out there, it’s all about selective hearing in the new world. Technology has provided anyone with a phone or computer the ability to put their voice out there. Not everybody will absorb every bit of content out there. I think with all the voices out there though, each individual voice must continue to produce their content as if everybody will absorb it. ESPN reporters shouldn’t act high and mighty over Ol’ Billy Two-Shoes’ Sports Blog. ESPN clearly has more credibility but they have to stick to their quality guns. Given that they’re the behemoth, they must still report at a level they hold themselves to. That doesn’t mean Ol’ Billy shouldn’t have a blog. He should continue to write and work as if he had the same opportunity that an ESPN reporter has. The ESPN reporter may have a degree and all, but the reality of the situation is that you don’t need a degree to do what we do. It stinks to admit that but it’s true. But in journalism education, we’ve been prepped pretty well for the adapting world and we were taught the ethics and a quality standard. If you’re a better sportswriter than Ol’ Billy, show it. Don’t trash on Billy because he gets an audience. There may not be room for everybody at the top but there is room for everybody. To all sportswriters, just keep writing. Hold yourself to the ethical standards you were taught if you were taught them. If you want your voice out there, put it out there. The world is only going to continue being an open forum.

Of all things presented, I think in 20 years, as long as sportswriters stick to quality, sportswriting will survive in the ever-changing world. Quality has varying degrees of acceptance now but quality is in the eye of the audience. As long as any sportswriter or reporter or blogger etc. respects their audience and they want to continue telling sports stories, the field will exist. Time will only tell if social media or traditional newspapers will outlast the other. The only thing that can be guaranteed is that the Yankees will still suck 20 years from now and somebody will have something to say about it. That’s what sports journalism is about. That’s what it has always been about and that’s what it will always be about.


Back to work (?)

After a great Thanksgiving Break, a snow day and a lie from Amazon aren’t helping me

Short blog today. Short, just like my patience. I’ll get to journalism and the work stuff in a second but let me tell you something I’m really mad about at the moment.

Amazon promised BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW Kingdom Hearts III footage and news today on its 3-hour long Cyber Monday Twitch stream.

Image result for amazon kingdom hearts 3

There’s your promo. On the Black Friday stream, Amazon clearly stated that they would have a new trailer and DLC announcement.

You want to know what we got today instead? This vague tweet from Amazon:

A dumb Kingdom Hearts joke about Heartless consuming their exclusive trailer and then just baiting the stream they were doing. As a fan of the series, I was still going to watch the stream.

Then, they dropped the same exact effing trailer from last week. Spot the difference between these two trailers:

Right, you can’t. The Amazon one is just a shorter mashup of the “Together” trailer from 6 days ago. Not without the addition of an “exclusive” DLC for being a Twitch/Amazon Prime member at the end of theirs for this keyblade:

Image result for amazon kingdom hearts 3

Let me tell you something, this keyblade is not Amazon exclusive. Another lie. This keyblade was previously shown as a DLC for Japanese players if they pre-ordered the game at 7/11.

Image result for kingdom hearts 3 7/11 keyblade

This was announced way back in June. So, Amazon is a liar and they baited viewers into their stream with “exclusive” reveals and content but ended up just upsetting everyone.

I won’t bash the company because I’m a frequent user. However, I hope they don’t get any pre-orders. I’ve already pre-ordered the game twice: digitally and the physical Deluxe Edition. Neither with Amazon.

So, if you want to pre-order your copy of Kingdom Hearts III, get it from someone who won’t lie to you like from the Square Enix store itself!

Now to the serious stuff.

Thanksgiving Break just ended. It was honestly in the Top-3 best breaks I’ve had since I’ve been to school. I’m very upset it’s over.

But, I’ve got to roll with the punches and finish this semester strong. In doing so, I’m staying down at school over Christmas break to finish a class in order to graduate on time.

Something I’ve referenced in a previous blog. So, part of the reason why this Thanksgiving Break was so special was because it’s my last break for a while. It bums me out, but I’ve got to get my work done. I need to finish school.

What’s not helping me get back into the swing of things though is the fact that Monday classes got cancelled!

Well, not completely cancelled. But, all my classes on Mondays are before noon, so I was completely off! This is how I reacted:

That picture of Pacha from The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) couldn’t describe how I felt this morning any better.

Now, in the evening, I’m feeling much different. I feel behind and lethargic. This is not a good way to get this tough stretch ahead of me started.

But, I need to! I’m going to! Starting Now!

So, for the next few weeks, my blogs are going to be very journalism experience heavy. You may think, “Man, this guy has gotten pretty dry.” No, that’s not true. I just have to do my job and put my nose to the grindstone.

I promise to you that I’ll be fine. Snow days just don’t help too much.



The Boston Red Sox are World Series Champions (again) and I am absolutely delighted

My year with the Boston Red Sox has been very special


After defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 5 on Sunday, the Boston Red Sox reclaimed their throne on top of the entire world with a 4-1 World Series victory!

For me, this year was heavily involved with the Boston Red Sox. This year marked the rebirth of my love for baseball.

Let me tell you my story about how the 2018 Boston Red Sox season truly affected my life.

It begins in October of Last Year.

I knew the Sox needed to make moves after the disappointing Divisional Series exit last October to the eventual 2017 champions, the Houston Astros.

They began their off-season almost immediately. They fired John Farrell and signed the 2007 World Series champ with the Red Sox, Alex Cora.

Cora was just a bench coach for Houston and clearly had World Series experience both as a coach there and as a player with the Red Sox. I liked the move at first solely because it meant John Farrell was gone.

Then, the Yankees signed Giancarlo Stanton, the 2017 NL MVP and Home Runs leader, in December of 2017. I thought, well, there’s no way they have a chance now.

But, in February, just as the Sox are getting ready to start Spring Training, they signed JD Martinez. At that point, Martinez was the only other MLB player other than the Angels’ Mike Trout who had batted .300 with 125 homers and .550 slugging.

This was an incredible move. One that I thought the Red Sox truly needed to make in order to possibly move past the Divisional Series this year. If not, at least the Red Sox-Yankees series’ might actually mean something this year.

The Red Sox started their winning season with the best Spring Training record in the majors: 22-9. For all those that say Spring Training doesn’t matter, Alex Cora disagrees. He invited the players over to his house before the year started and there, a World Series championship was discussed.

After their Spring Training “championship,” the Sox began their regular season on March 29 and jolted out of the gate with a 17-2 starting record.

In their 20th game, the Sox were playing the Oakland A’s. As it was still really early in the season, I hadn’t watched too many of the games. Location restrictions also prevented me from doing so too but let’s not get into that because streaming exists.

Anyway, that night on April 21, I watched an entire Red Sox game for the first time this season. They got friggin’ no-no’d by Sean Manaea. The Sox dropped to 17-3 and I was appalled.

I felt personally responsible for the loss and the no-hitter against the Sox, but I had fun watching it. I thought “Hey, I hadn’t watched a full regular season game that actually mattered in a long time.” I noticed that my baseball watching habits were only present when it got to be August-October.

Watching the Red Sox getting 0 hits that night made me want to actually start watching more and get back into my love for baseball.

It was around this time I started listening to the Section 10 podcast, a Barstool Sports podcast all about the Red Sox.

This podcast helped me stay on track with every single Red Sox game this season and I’m so happy I started listening to it. By hearing Jared Carrabis at least twice every week, I stayed up to date with the team and I got so excited about all things Red Sox.

I was getting scoring updates to my phone and my Twitter had started to become invaded with Red Sox content. All the way through until now, the Red Sox have dominated my Twitter timeline.

My love for the game was growing again.

It was also around this time where I was getting interviews for internships. Actually, I wasn’t getting any interviews at all.

That was until I got in touch with Dan Rea, the GM of the Pawtucket Red Sox. This team being, of course, the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

Thanks to my Uncle Bill Stewart III, I got an interview with Mr. Rea mainly because my Uncle Billy was his hockey coach in high school and had helped Mr. Rea a lot in school.

I didn’t just get the job because of that family connection. I got it because I worked hard and I looked good on paper. I still had to impress in the interview and I guess I did because I got the internship.

I spent my summer in Boston and Pawtucket working for the Red Sox organization and I’ve never had a greater experience in my whole life.

I got to be close with the organization as they continued to win and win and win and win again.

I was still listening to Section 10 and working every day. I was having so much fun with nothing but baseball on my mind.

Here are some of my pictures:

Me at Fenway

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor

Me and Red Sox Hall of Famer, Fred Lynn.


Me and PawSox co-workers Aaron Weisberg along with Alyssa Hajos, Karen Zenteno and Sabriya Chaudhry dressed as Princesses.


Me and PawSox co-worker Andrew Ciechanowski dressed as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi on “Star Wars” night


Me and co-worker Luke Chiasson arm-and-arm with 2004 Boston Red Sox pitcher and World Series Champion, Bronson Arroyo.


Me with PawSox mascots, Paws and Sox.


Me back in CoMo wearing Pawtucket Hot Wieners gear to help promote the team’s name change on August 16.


I have so many more memories from this summer than I do photos.

To my co-workers that I don’t have pictures with: Addie Afonseca, Alex Hale, David Brake, Jacob Madsen, Jean-Manuel Martinez, Joe “K-Joe” McNamara, Kelly McGarry and Tommy Sullivan, I simply couldn’t have asked for better people to work with. You guys were amazing and made this season special all on top of the World Series! Thank you!

From Mr. Rea and management to all my friends who were the mascots, to the people who I just head-nodded at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, thank you.  It was an absolutely incredible summer and I’ll never forget it, ever. Most of the reason why I fell in love with baseball again was because of the PawSox and all of the people I worked with. I can’t stress that enough.

I learned so much about the team and the operations in baseball. I also learned that I want to spend the rest of my life working in baseball and I’m going to do my best to make sure I will.

I know I paused the Red Sox story to get into my sentimental PawSox bits, but let’s pick up where I know it’s good.

It does help that I was living at my Uncle Billy’s, a mere 30ish minute drive to Fenway. The stadium that kept seeing magic over and over again this season. This, too, helped me fall in love with the game and the team again.

They just kept on winning. You’d better believe that since I was in Boston and not Missouri, I watched or attended every single game the Red Sox played.

Then, by the time summer was over and I did have to leave the Northeast, I continued to stream and watch every Sox game.

So let’s run through a few of my favorite moments!

6/30 Sox blank Yankees 11-0 to take back a lead in the AL East

7/12 Mookie’s Time to Party Grand Slam

8/2-8/5 Red Sox sweep Yankees and take commanding 9.5 game lead of the AL East

That series was the biggest regular season moment for me. It felt like playoff baseball and the Sox killed them. There was no way the division would be let up after that.

So, the Red Sox finished the regular season with a 108-54 record. The best record in franchise history and a record great enough to clinch Fenway throughout the playoffs. They’d be starting the playoffs as a heavy favorite but their road was seemingly tough.

They played the Yankees in the Divisional Round. And after they split Games 1 and 2 at Fenway, Aaron Judge was seen and heard leaving Fenway with a boombox over his shoulder playing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”

The Red Sox outscored the Yankees 20-4 over the next two games and won the Divisional Series in 4. Red Sox 2B Brock Holt hit the first cycle in MLB Postseason history during Game 3 and that certainly helped break the backs of the Yankees and their fans.

With all of the bulletin board material that Judge and NY’s GM Brian Cashman had provided, the Red Sox-Yankees series finally felt like a rivalry again. One I could enjoy as an adult.

Of course I remember 2004. But I was 7. The context of the rivalry didn’t really hit me then. It has now. Destroying them in August and in October made this season worthwhile as a fan already.

Not to mention Giancarlo Stanton struck out 6 times and only had 4 hits with 0 HRs in the DS. And this was the man and the team I feared in December. Psh….

After destroying the Yankees and taking Cashman’s “Do Damage” slogan as their official playoff slogan, the Sox moved on to a tougher test in the ALCS. The defending champion Houston Astros.

The team that ended Boston’s season last year but the team that also began my reignited fandom in the Red Sox.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was a god in this series. He was JBJesus and the ALCS MVP. Let’s not forget his Grand Slam:

But, this ALCS series can be summed up with one other play:

Andrew Benintendi broke the backs of the Houston Astros on that catch. The Sox took a 3-1 ALCS lead on that catch and they never looked back.

Due to the fact that Astros 3B Alex Bregman hit that ball, it made it even more special. The Astros didn’t learn from the Yankees’ trolling mistakes.

Bregman posted an Instagram video trolling Red Sox RHP Nathan Eovaldi prior to Game 3 of the series. The video showed he and his Astros teammates blasting Eovaldi for 3 HRs while he was a member of the Rays earlier this season.

Eovaldi dominated the Astros and so did David Price.

Price, a LHP who’s struggled in the postseason throughout his entire career, started two games against the Astros. After leading the only loss the Red Sox took against the Yankees, Price had people worried.

I wasn’t in the slightest.

I’ve worn this shirt for every start Price has made all season:


Hell, I’m wearing it now. Want to know why? Because David Price is good. He got his first postseason victory in Game 2 of the Astros series. He clinched the ALCS in a dominating Game 5 performance.

Not to mention his World Series Game 5 effort. David Price is SO GOOD. And now He’s a World Series Champion! I’ve supported him to Hell and back throughout the entire season and now, he’s silenced his critics.

Just please, watch this and try not to get emotional:

Look, I can’t go too in-depth with the World Series. The Red Sox utterly dominated the series. If it wasn’t for that stupid 18-Inning Game 3, the Sox would’ve swept.

Though, this was how I felt after Game 3:

They came back from it. They won the next two games in dominating fashion. I mean, scroll through my Twitter after the above tweet.

The best part about the World Series was probably the final out. Red Sox LHP and Ace Chris Sale came in to close the game. Alex Cora defined himself as a players’ manager all season and he continued that in the playoffs when he kept putting starters in the bullpen.

Sale got through two guys. Then, he struck out that douchebag Manny Machado.

It speaks for itself. There are so many great moments I’m definitely missing, but they all lead to this:

Now, after 1800 words, we can celebrate.

It’s been such a long season. But it’s a season I’ve followed and have been a part of every step of the way.

It’s been so much fun to fall in love with baseball again and it was epitomized with this team; the team I’ve loved since I was literally a baby (Yes, this is me):


Pure delight came to me last night when Manny Machado struck out. This incredible season came to an end in the right way: A Championship Way.

My love for baseball is back and it came back alongside this blooming beauty of a Red Sox season.

I was supposed to be writing about Trauma Reporting this week, so let me report some Trauma:

Yankees, dusted. Dead.

Astros, dusted. Dead.

Dodgers, dusted. Dead.


Though some situations were incredibly stressful, the Red Sox only lost 3 postseason games. They won this World Series with ease because they’ve been the best team in baseball all year.

I’m so glad that it was this year.

My year with the Red Sox. It’s just been unbelievable.

My night last night was topped, not when the Sox won the World Series, but when I got featured on the MLB’s Snapchat story with this video:



The MLB censored me. But, I got on a National snap-story that was only featuring snaps from LA, where the Sox won, and Boston.

This was an honor for the ages. It’s got over 100,000 views now. My season with the Red Sox capped off on a national scale for everybody to see, including the Red Sox themselves!

Now, to complete my celebration, I’m flying out to Boston to attend the parade on Wednesday!

I just needed the time to get away from work and school in order to celebrate with my team. It just feels right.

I leave you off with the theme that powered this team to a 119-57 record this year and that powered me into falling in love with baseball all over again.

“It’s Time to Party!” LET’S GO RED SOX!




Challenge Accepted.

I’ve got a new challenge.

So, at the very beginning of this semester, oh, 10 whole weeks ago. TEN. Isn’t that nuts?

Well, anyway, in my first blog returning from a writing hiatus, I admitted that this whole year was going to be very hard.

This year’s craziness is forcing me to stop podcasting and it’s putting a huge stake in my YouTube video production. That part still holds true, unfortunately.

However, I thought that the main cause to this year’s craziness was going to directly link to written reporting for my classes. This isn’t the case. It still very well could be, but I’ve got a new challenge that doesn’t relate to written reporting at all.

This week, I register for my classes for next semester. Spring 2019: My Final Semester as a college student. Not one of the classes I have in my enrollment shopping cart is a writing intensive course.

I’ve definitely fallen out of love for written reporting and I haven’t exactly hidden that. So, I’ve been trying to focalize my final semester as a journalism student around multimedia journalism and emerging technologies in journalism.

In doing so, I’ve found myself doing more strategic communications work than print journalism and I’m thrilled.

But, when I tried to sign up for one class, multimedia sports journalism, I was held up from receiving a permission number for the course. The professor of the course interviewed me about my video editing capabilities.

If you read this blog and follow my YouTube page, you’ll know full well that I do pretty well at editing video. But, where I lack experience in editing video is in a news format. My hinderance lies in being a print journalism student for the last two years.

I won’t be very far behind but I’m taking this class without too wide of a base beneath me in news video editing. The course certainly isn’t for beginners.

The professor stressed this and asked me to convince him why I should get a permission number for the course.

I didn’t back down and I promised success.

My passions lie way more in multimedia work than they do in print journalism nowadays. I promised I wouldn’t fall behind. My work ethic and my passion wouldn’t allow it. My base in multimedia journalism isn’t wide but my passion for it is. I told him I’d do everything and anything I possibly can to make sure he wasn’t making a mistake.

He’s allowing me to take the class. I’ve got a brand new challenge because someone’s taking a chance on me.

I’m very excited about this specific opportunity and for my overall schedule next semester. I get to prove myself and it’s in my final semester of college.

During my reporting class last week, a visitor came to give a “master class” for journalism students. During this period, the guest gave advice to young journalists.

The one that stuck out to me most was: Don’t lose yourself, your voice or your passions. Life is going to try to make you lose all 3. Journalism acts as a way to not let it.

I’m definitely taking this opportunity to prove myself because I get to show myself for what I truly am. I don’t have to drag ass along and pretend to be enjoying myself. I’m determined to remain myself and to work hard to ace this class along with all my others next semester.

In doing so, I’ll have a degree in my hands and a personal achievement.

I can do it. I’ve even got some homework for this class already. So, I’m going to get started on that!

And now, this song is stuck in my head because it relates to my situation today….kinda. Wish me luck and enjoy the song!



Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches are the greatest sandwiches of all-time

This blog needs no reply

I feel very light-headed and tired at the moment. The only thing keeping me going is the PB&J sandwich I just ate.

The way I make PB&Js should be the only way to make this godlike sandwich. I learned from my dad. He makes triple decker PB&Js so that’s the way I make them.

First, you put peanut butter on one slice of bread. Then, on another slice of bread, you spread jelly, preferably grape. Then, you slam those two together.

On top of those two, spread peanut butter on one of the open faces. Then, take your final slice of bread and spread more jelly on that. Slam those together and voila, the greatest sandwich of all-time.

Image result for but wait there's more

I think Communists eat PB&Js with the crust on. I refuse to eat PB&J with the crust still on. My dad cut the crust off for me and now I cut the crust off of my sandwiches.

If I’m having any meat and cheese sandwiches, the crust remains on my bread. It’s only the PB&J where I refuse to eat the crust.

It’s just not good. A PB&J is a quick and easy sandwich that’s also very sweet while being somewhat nutritional for you. Because it’s sweet, I don’t need the poopy crust on there. I think the crust throws off the equilibrium of the peanut butter and jelly.

That’s why Uncrustables are awesome. The crust stinks and I’m glad Smuckers recognizes that. (Their lone fault is that they’re not homemade.)

Alongside my PB&J, I had a serving of Doritos. For whatever reason, Doritos taste better when eaten alongside a PB&J. There are just some foods that work together and the PB&J with a side of Doritos is at the top of the list for me next to steak and mashed potatoes and burgers and fries.

Look, it’s really hard for me to come up with content for a blog when the class I’m supposed to be writing the blog for hasn’t really started yet.

This blog is supposed to be about my experiences in reporting again but, I don’t start reporting until December. So, for now, I just have to write a blog once a week.

It probably should be about the class itself, but we’ve watched a movie in class the last two periods. We also talked about science journalism.

I don’t give a shit about science journalism.

Do I think it’s necessary? Yes. I’ve never been more afraid of climate change than I am at this moment because of some great science and environmental reporting.

But, learning about it at 9:30 in the morning really just kills me. It sucks. As a sports journalist, my journalism reporting classes have never really specified a week to talk about sports reporting.

It may be selfish of me to want a week of class dedicated to sports journalism. But, if we can have a week dedicated to science journalism and trauma reporting, I think we could squeeze in room about sports reporting.

Here’s the part where I turn a nonsensical blog into a worthwhile one:

As a sports journalist, I feel I must bring light to some sports talk in each blog that I do. I’ve done that so far, so I’m going to continue.

The last time I wrote, I was complaining about David Price shitting the bed in Game 2 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees.

Since then, the Sox have advanced to the ALCS and are playing a very daunting opponent in the Houston Astros.

Last night in Game 2 of the ALCS, Price didn’t do that shitty. He let up 4 runs. 2 of which were on a bomb by Houston’s Marwin Gonzalez.

The other 2 came after a ball that would’ve been a routine out, squeezed past the solid Red Sox shortstop, Xander Bogaerts.

Xander is awesome. But, two of Price’s runs fall on him. I’m sorry.

The great thing about last night though: the Red Sox tied the ALCS at one game apiece.

Now, Nathan Eovaldi, who I begged to have a great game in my last blog, had an outstanding outing in Game 3 of the ALDS. In which, Eovaldi pitched through 7 innings and kept the Yankees at bay while the Red Sox offense proceeded to crush the Yankees, 16-1.

I need the same thing out of Eovaldi tomorrow night in Game 3 of the CS. Then, it’s Ricky “Porch-lights” Porcello in Game 4. Then probably Chris Sale again in Game 5.

Sale literally, just now, got released from Mass General Hospital with a stomach illness. So:


Chris Sale got roped a bit during Saturday’s Game 1. I hope that was on part of the stomach illness that was ailing him. I’m just glad it’s not his shoulder.

He’ll be back with the team and the Red Sox have new life in this series.

I’m also very happy from a football standpoint that Tom Brady is still the GOAT and handed the Kansas City Chiefs their first loss yesterday.

So, that’s it. That’s my blog about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Go Sox.



Why isn’t anyone talking about these god damned aliens?

Well, I’ll tell you why

Over the weekend, this huge burst of light was seen over Los Angeles and only a small amount of people were talking about it.

First stage separation can be seen at right during the Space X Falcon 9 rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base

Images like these were taken and posted on Sunday night to Twitter. I feel like nobody’s talking about it at all.

The real reason nobody’s talking about it was probably because it was debunked by the LA Times to be Elon Musk and that god damned SpaceX program once again. This picture was in fact, a SpaceX flight and isn’t aliens.

But humble me for just a second. If this was aliens, they totally came to watch sports this weekend and tonight. Here’s why:

The Cleveland Browns won again on Sunday. This is just absolutely bananas. What could’ve happened was that these god damned aliens had money on the Ravens and then skedaddled because they couldn’t pay their bookie.

The Browns winning is throwing off order on Earth and in space.

The Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov fight was on Saturday night. The aliens may have come down to watch an awesome UFC 229 card and then scooted the eff-outta-here when Khabib jumped into the crowd after the fight.

I was rooting for McGregor, but you’ve got to give Khabib credit for submitting McGregor. The guy was 26-0 going into Saturday and he walked out 27-0, but with consequences. It somewhat tarnished a great fight night and could’ve scared people away from the UFC.

It’s a great sport and 229 was a huge fight for bringing in a massive audience to further the popularity of the sport. However, the post-fight garbage could affect the outreach of the sport to not only humans but to aliens. Maybe that’s why the aliens left on Sunday. Damnit Khabib.

These aliens might have also come down to watch a solid baseball playoff game and received an absolutely pitiful display of pitching on Saturday night by David Price. The Boston Red Sox lost 6-2 to the Yankees on Saturday night. Mostly because Price got absolutely shelled by Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez which led to Price getting yanked after 1.2 innings.

It sucks because the ALDS is even at 1 game apiece with the series headed to the frickin’ Bronx. It also sucks because instead of starting Rick Porcello in Game 3, the Sox are going with Nathan Eovaldi.

It may not suck because of this. Eovaldi has 0 earned runs against the Yankees this season and only 1 unearned run. But, it’s still the playoffs and it’s still scary.

I hope the aliens come back to watch Eovaldi. If not, Price may have pissed them off so much, they may come back to destroy us all. If that’s the case, I’ve got two things to worry about tonight: the Sox going down 2-1 and the vaporization of the human race.

On a real note, I’m just so nervous. Playoff baseball just fucking sucks sometimes. There are times, even on a World Series run, where you just feel like you’re going to vomit and die.

There’ve only been two games in this ALDS. TWO. I’ve lost some hair, sleep and years to my total life already. I’ve seen three Red Sox World Series wins in my time on earth though.

It’s kinda crazy that so much stress goes into this for me. As a Red Sox fan, I didn’t grow up with an 86-year-old curse. I’ve only known winning.

It’s not my fault for only being 21. I’ve just gotten lucky. But I shouldn’t be accosted for caring so much and wanting to watch this team continue to win.

Wish Eovaldi and the Sox luck tonight and wish me luck so that I don’t have a heart attack watching it.

If the aliens come back, I hope they can enjoy a Sox win tonight. And if not, start Earth’s destruction with the god damned Bronx.

Also, if you read this thoroughly, I was kidding about the god damned aliens. That’s the point. I don’t actually think aliens came down to earth this weekend.

I just needed a supernatural excuse for the crazy things that happened in sports over the weekend. Thanks.



How sportswriting hasn’t really adapted within the last 70 years

The only difference between how a sports story is written now as compared to 1951, is the medium on which a piece is written

When considering the evolution of sports journalism within the last 70 years, one can’t help to also consider the culture that has changed around sports journalism itself. The way people consume news and information on a daily basis has certainly changed. With the advent of social media and 24-hour news networks, the average human is bombarded with more news and information that they barely even know what to with. Yes, technology and the countless amounts of mediums to receive news has affected the modern news consumption patterns of many.

However, what has remained consistent in sportswriting is the understanding of the beauty in words and sentences to tell a story. At the thicket of all the technological innovations that has morphed and adapted the way that mass audiences receive sports journalism, the one thing that remains the same is the ability to tell a story. Within the last 70 or so years, athletic competitions and the stories that make them memorable are two of life’s guarantees accompanying oxygen. Every single year (barring strikes and lockouts), athletes, fans and sportswriters fill arenas around the world to participate in unscripted drama. It’s the job of athletes to compete at a high level in athletic events. It’s the job of the fans to exaggerate the line between life and death as they filter their passion for their team and players during an athletic event. And it’s the job of the sportswriter to author a story involving the event, create a memorable account of a certain place in time and make that account available to mass audiences for a long time to come.

In order to peer closer at how sportswriting may have or haven’t changed within the last 70 or so years, two stories nearly 70 years apart can be analyzed for their similarities and differences. At the core, the writing in Red Smith’s 1951 story on Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard Round the World” home run and the writing in Zach Berman’s 2018 story on the improbable Super Bowl LII victory by the Philadelphia Eagles both capture the emotion and impact of an athletic event. Despite the gap in time, the effectiveness of storytelling by both authors shows how the beauty of storytelling can transcend both time and the adaptation of technology.

Before taking a look at Smith’s memorable account of the dramatic finish between the Giants and Dodgers in 1951, insight into why Smith’s account is so memorable can be given some context. In a 2014 lecture on sports journalism, sportswriter Frank Deford emphasizes the difference between reporting and storytelling within sports journalism. He basically considers Red Smith to be the pacesetter for storytelling in sportswriting being more significant than simply reporting and covering an athletic event.

When considering Deford’s praise of Smith and his mastery of both capturing a memorable moment in sports history and authoring a memorable story recounting that moment, there’s more of a significant lore around Smith’s piece.

To begin his account of Game 3 of the 1951 National League Pennant playoff series, Smith leads with one of the most memorable ledes in the history of sportswriting.

Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again.

When reading this, it’s hard to tell that it’s even a lede about a playoff baseball game. However, Smith acts as a composer with his written work being a symphony of historic delight over a specific moment in time. Because it’s not a typical lede for a baseball story, Smith catches the eye by drawing people in with blatant curiosity. This lede provides an air of mystery that forces readers to read on.

What follows Smith’s lede is an anecdote about a drunkard storming the field during this cross-river playoff matchup. By continuing to write not too much about RBI, hits and other baseball stats, Smith entertains the reader with detail that one couldn’t possibly have known unless they attended the now-late Polo Grounds in New York City. Despite this game being the first nationally televised baseball game, Smith gives a detail that adds substance to his account. There’s beauty in substance. Smith’s commitment to the beauty of words guides the reader to the impactful moment of Bobby Thomson’s home run.

By the time Smith mentions the moment readers came for, a broader context and a prelude to the moment can be understood by mass audiences. By writing in the largest moment later on, Smith knows that readers want to get there. So he incites readers to continue reading so that by the time they get to the home run, they’ve gotten to follow along a journey of why that moment is so important.

From an anecdote about the pre-mature storming of the field, to a minor tale about players interacting during the game and all the way to the impact of “The Shot Heard Round the World,” Red Smith gives readers an impactful and memorable account of this Giants victory for generations to come.

Similarly to Smith, Zach Berman draws in the wandering eye of modern readers with a hard-hitting lede in his account of Super Bowl LII.

This night will be remembered for decades in Philadelphia, when old friends reminisce about where they were on Feb. 4, 2018, and parents tell their children about the moment the Eagles won their first Super Bowl. They’ll remember when Doug Pederson called the trick play at the goal line, when Zach Ertz dove into the end zone in the fourth quarter, when Brandon Graham stripped Tom Brady of the ball, and when the greatest dynasty in NFL history fell to an improbable champion from Philadelphia.

With this lede, Berman creates an impactful allure of impossibility. Berman addresses that the impossible became possible on Feb. 4, 2018 and by grazing the surface of the key moments that made the impossible happen, Berman forces readers to continue reading his account.

As a note on the changes in sportswriting, Berman does give more of the “who, what, where, when, why and how” more early on. Knowing that audiences may not read as long as they used to, Berman put the thicket of the moment earlier on in his article in contrast to Smith saving Thomson’s home run to the end of his article. Berman writes in an era where anybody with a blog or Twitter account can write a story about this game. So, he has to draw readers in a slightly different way than Smith.

However, what would follow in Berman’s article doesn’t differ too much from Smith’s story. Berman authors in the impact that the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory has amongst the city of Philadelphia and the fans of the franchise. He gives readers context into how the improbability of the moment created a spectacle that night in Minnesota.

Even if you aren’t an Eagles fan, you understand the impact of the moment. I’m a Patriots fan. Reading this brought back painful memories from that night. Berman’s writing still instilled memories within me and made me understand the impact from Philly’s side of things. After explaining how the improbable and nearly impossible was accomplished by the Eagles, Berman guides readers through the game and brings up key moments in the game and even from the halftime performance. Berman, exactly like Smith, is married to authoring a memorable story that makes the memorable moment an impactful account that can span generations. Most importantly though, Berman’s storytelling in this article helps him fall into Deford’s class of sportswriters. He makes himself a master storyteller and not just a reporter.

Overall, these two sportswriters tell impactful stories that emphasize the beauty of specific moments through the use of beautiful words. Although Zach Berman’s story was written in a time where a plethora of people have access to writing and reading about the same exact moment in his story, he draws readers in by committing to the ideals of great sportswriting. Red Smith helped create those ideals by committing to the beauty of words to define a specific moment by writing stories within his story. Despite writing nearly 70 years apart, both Smith and Berman effectively write stories that emphasize the beauty of both sports and sportswriting.



Kingdom Hearts 3- Big Hero 6 Full Trailer Breakdown!

After a tiring day full of Kingdom Hearts 3 news, I’ve finished my breakdown of the brand new, “Big Hero 6” trailer from Tokyo Game Show 2018!

There’s so much information to talk about. Including: the trailer, Norted theories and the beautiful Box Art for KH3! I hope you guys enjoy!

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/theOG_DANIMAL


Kingdom Hearts 3- TGS 2018 Big Hero 6 Full Trailer Reaction!

I told you I’ll be back to do this! I’ll have a breakdown of the trailer later, but please enjoy my reaction from very early this morning to this brand new Kingdom Hearts III trailer!


I’M IN TEARS. THANK YOU SQUARE FOR THIS AMAZING TRAILER! There’s so much to work with here and my breakdown will be out soon!

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


Just a quick update on sourcing and whatever else I’m about to write beneath this headline

There’s a decent anecdote about sourcing hidden in this

The Bears are on Monday Night Football right now. If you’re reading this blog and you’re wondering where my mind is at right now, it’s basically at Soldier Field in Chicago.

After the devastation of a loss last week, the Bears could use this win. Chicago could use this win. I could use this win.

I’ve already got a win from earlier today when the Patriots traded a fifth round pick to the Browns for a very talented receiver in Josh Gordon.

I’m also winning because there’s going to be a new Kingdom Hearts III between now and like, 10 AM tomorrow.

Why the uncertain times? Because Square Enix and Disney just like to mess with everyone.

They just said “tomorrow.” “Tomorrow” is today in Japan. Japan is where the big gaming conference, the Tokyo Game Show, is happening. So, I think they’re going off of Japan time. If they are, I will get very little sleep.

I’ll be damned if I miss the premiere of a new trailer, even it’s at 4AM CST (8PM Japan time).

Regardless, this is how everyone who follows the Kingdom Hearts series feels:

It’s also the 16th Anniversary of the Kingdom Hearts series today! On this day in 2002, my life and the lives of many other nerds were changed.

So, that’s pretty cool.

If you’re still reading, I still really haven’t found a subject to focus this blog on.

Maybe sourcing?

Sure, let’s go with that.

Because I want to make this blog as journalistically significant as I can, I’ll talk to you briefly about sourcing now.

Sourcing is very important for a quality, journalistic piece. Considering what’s going on at the New York Times right now and all that’s going on with Bob Woodward and Washington right now, you’re probably thinking, “How can these works be quality if they use anonymous sourcing?”

They can be with trust. Bob Woodward is a very trustworthy writer due to his past works involving Watergate. The op-ed piece is different because it supposedly came from the White House.

I’m not a politics guy. I do know that the anonymity of that piece is important because there’s more information to come.

If a source fears that their jobs, positions or their life may be harmed in the result of their information being released, anonymous sourcing is completely ok. This anonymous piece gives the author room to continue their work and reveal more about what’s going on in there.

Sources are the cornerstone of journalism regardless. The journalist exists to be the medium between the masses and the source. Journalists are the story tellers and the sources are the stories waiting to happen.

Get what I’m saying? Like,  the Kingdom Hearts Twitter account didn’t tweet that tweet up there just so I could write a half-assed blog about it. I operate around the tweet as a story-teller and include it in my content so that the tweet itself reaches my audiences.

Sources can be easy or hard to find. Just make sure to be nice to people so that you always are on a good enough ground to call someone when you know that they can be a help to you.

It’s all about who you know; in all aspects of life.

Keep your sources close.


Go Bears.

I’ll see you at 4AM or whenever the new Kingdom Hearts trailer drops.



Why Social Media is cool

A brief write-up on the significances and the insignificances of social media

As I said in my last blog, I have been doing little besides swinging through virtual New York City in Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4.

Legit, it’s the greatest game I’ve played this year. Above Fortnite. Granted, Fortnite is a massive game and is still the most popular game in the world. Therefore, it takes one helluva game to overtake its popularity.

Marvel’s Spider-Man has done that folks. It’s Amazing. Some would even say that it’s Spectacular. Others might even say that it’s Ultimate. (These are all different comic book iterations of Spider-Man and now I feel like it’s a wasted reference because I had to explain it.)

Anyway, this blog isn’t about gaming. Ok, there’s going to be some gaming mentioned. It’s hard to not to. Because today, ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking to you about social media.

Social media has made the world a smaller place due to the simplicity of connecting people from all over the world onto one social hub. Within the last week, my social media accounts were peer reviewed for their professionalism and content.

I was graded well because I limit my social media posts. As a journalist, I need to stay in the middle on most things. Except, I can’t be in the middle about my video game habits nor about baseball and football. Knowing this, though, gives me an advantage.

If you followed me on Twitter, you’re going to see daily motivational posts, retweets and actual tweets related to gaming (mostly Kingdom Hearts) and then of course, ALL BOSTON RED SOX. Pretty soon, it’ll be all New England Patriots but baseball season is still in full swing.

Now, as an objective journalist, is it bad that I tweet and retweet so much about the Red Sox? Unless I had to work for the New York Yankees or interview a Yankees fan, no. I’m not currently tied to any organization that prevents me from doing so. As a matter of fact, I worked for the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Triple-A affiliate of the Red Sox, this past summer. Some would say I’m just supporting my co-workers!

But really. Being in Columbia, Mo., there’s really not a big deal in tweeting so much about the Red Sox.

This is part of the reason why social media is so cool though.

I find myself being a fan of the Boston Red Sox but along with many others. You don’t have to be at the ballpark or near Boston to follow the team or the league. Other people can do that for you.

The best example is Barstool Sports reporter Jared Carrabis who consistently posts Red Sox game updates and also the best way to post Yankees losses.

Every single time the Yankees have lost this season, the Saugus Rocket has posted this video of Red Sox legend David Ortiz exclaiming “DAAAAA JANKEES LOSEEE!”

People are now even getting really creative with it:

Twitter is just so great. Reporting and connecting has never been easier for sports reporters.

You’ve got threads like these where hundreds of sportswriters who’ve made their mark in the BIZ giving out advice to up-and-comers like myself.

Sportswriting has thrived in the age of social media. Athletes use it as a medium to get the word out and whether you’re a team’s beat reporter or just a fan, you know exactly what the athlete says and what the athlete is doing.

You have highs of athletes and you have the lows:

For Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky, his lows came as like an eighth grader. But that’s why Twitter is so cool. You can just get anything from an athlete if they’re willing to share.

(I’m never going to talk about the Bears/Packers game from last night because it just hurt so much.)

Twitter’s made sportswriting a lot more accessible. Hell, it’s made all writing and reporting more accessible. That’s how most young people really find their news nowadays.

Anything from sports updates to journalists literally reporting the active shooting in their own newsroom. Journalists, just like everyone else, have means to connect and report to everyone on Twitter.

It’s just so good to have. It’s good to be aware. It’s good to know that big news can come at literally any time:

Like Kingdom Hearts III randomly having a random teaser trailer drop and a VR extension announcement at 4 AM. The connection and the reporting will never cease on Twitter and that’s why it’s great.

There’s also going to be a full-length, new Kingdom Hearts III trailer a week from today according to this tweet:

So, I’ll have to do a video breakdown for my YouTube channel for that trailer then. I can’t do today’s. There’s just so little time and it’s a teaser trailer. There will be more and I’ll cover it when there’s more to go off of, rather than just speculate.

YouTube is a good place for video game and movie trailers, music videos, TV shows, etc. to all show news. An underrated social media site for reporting if I’m being honest. But that can improve!

Facebook has turned into a pit for political speech and pictures of peoples’ babies. It’s not quite Twitter at all. It’s not as entertaining. The only reason I have it is to stay connected with my extended family and friends that I haven’t seen in a hot minute.

Plus, Facebook is dominated by mostly people around my parents’ age, reconnecting after years. For that reason, it’s very good. I like to keep my reporting off of there. It’s really just there to be like a “bubblegum Baseball card” for me. That’s it.

Facebook is a great place to share your works though. Considering a lot of your family members and friends are on there, you can get some traction on a web story.

Instagram is kinda the same way for me. It’s on private. I only post photos when I see something awesome or my friends and siblings have birthdays. That’s it. No need for my reporting there. However, it’s a great place for photojournalists to thrive.

That’s really about it for me.

Social media is really cool. It’s just such a great thing for journalism. As long as you’ve got a clean profile, it’s your medium to do as you please. Post Away!

I leave you with a post from Star Wars Prequel Memes, the funniest account on Social Media:




Nostalgia Sells

How supportive and manipulative nostalgia can be in all walks of life

In my previous blog, I mentioned how excited I am for the releases for several video games and movies. One of those titles is getting released at the end of this week.

That title being Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4.

Image result for marvel's spider man

This game is heavily anticipated by gamers and comic book readers of all ages. Me being part of that category, I have to take a step back and realize why I’m so excited.

I am a huge Marvel and Spider-Man fan. I’m also a huge gamer. But deep down, there’s another reason why I’m excited for this game.

On the original PlayStation 2, there were a few Spider-Man video games that had a punishing grip of my attention. Those games being the adaptations of Sam Raimi’s films Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. There was also Spider-Man on the PS1 that I played using my PS2 console. (Oh, backwards compatibility, you are sorely missed.)

Basically, I never finished those three Spider-Man games. I was between the ages of 5 or 6 at the time and I was still quite new to gaming. But also because these games were really hard anyway.

I remember specifically in the PS2 Spider-Man, there was this warehouse segment very early in the game. You, playing as a Peter Parker that just received his powers and not yet a cool superhero suit, have to navigate through hordes of armed thugs to escape the warehouse.

Watching this very slow, mechanized gameplay makes me feel nostalgic. I remember every single inch of that warehouse area. I remember the narrator’s voice and Tobey Maguire’s actual voicing of Spider-Man in the game.

What I don’t remember, however, is how easy this area was. Like I said, this part of the game was very early into it. By now, I’ve grown very experienced in video game playing.

I’d probably beat this entire game in a couple of hours if I played it today. Why does that make Spider-Man PS4 more appealing?

Because it’s finally a Spider-Man game I can fluidly play and have fun with. The way this new game is being hyped up, it’s supposed to rival the Batman: Arkham games as the greatest superhero video game ever.

With the incredibly high expectations set and my excitement through the roof, it’s time to analyze the deceiving role nostalgia can play in life.

Nostalgia can be your friend but it can also be your enemy. Nostalgia makes us feel young again and it can instill memories in us that we’d either forgotten or haven’t remembered in a long time.

Nostalgia is sometimes a sad feeling though. It’s a want for the present to be exactly like the past.

In life, the past tends to repeat itself a lot. However, in the repetition of the past, you become more and more numb to the root feeling of the memory. Thus creating an irreplicable standard for fun or happy memories.

Whether that be in video game playing, movie watching, article writing or picture taking, nostalgia can harm our greatest memories.

But it is nostalgia that sells. Nostalgia is an exploitable feeling.

If one can make people feel like they’ve been there before or generate a nostalgic feeling in people, they will go to lengths to feel that.

People will pay ridiculous amounts of money or do ridiculous things just to get that feeling they’ve had before.

It’s nearly toxic because, sometimes, that same-old feeling simply can’t be recreated. People just don’t realize that before it’s too late.

How do I make this journalism related? Well, here we go:

As a sportswriter, I’ve found quite a few issues I have with sportswriting itself that has kind of hindered my love for sportswriting itself.

Despite loving to write and sports separately, the world of sportswriting falls to one’s nostalgia frequently.

Opinion bleeds into fact and all of a sudden, we’re constantly bombarded with vicious “LeBron vs Michael” debates or “Brady vs Manning” arguments every day. Everybody in sports is eager to crown the next GOAT or so bitter in granting the GOAT title to anyone else because they’re holding onto the past.

But, people still tune into these shows every day. People still read these conflict-driven articles each day. As long as nostalgia or lack-thereof is involved, people will still buy into the conflict.

This is where nostalgia can be harsh. Some people are so conflict oriented that they forget the past completely and try to argue for the next great but some people are so tied to the past, they refuse to hear or see anything new.

The past sets the groundwork for lessons. It teaches us what’s right and what’s wrong. When we learn about nostalgia, we can learn what’s lasting and what’s lacking.

If there’s something that consistently makes you feel like a kid again, you should continue to do it. However, if somebody disagrees with your nostalgia or doesn’t understand, don’t rip them for their misunderstanding.

Nostalgia varies from person-to-person. If a person wants to forget the past or if they’re disappointed by the lack of enjoyment from nostalgia, that’s fine. Everybody grows away from something eventually.

I just hope for my own sake that Marvel’s Spider-Man instills good and happy memories alongside the destruction of nostalgia. I want to have fun swinging around New York and not have to remember virtual Tobey Maguire getting gunned down over and over in a warehouse.

What I can’t be too certain about other titles coming.

Spyro: The Reignited Trilogy isn’t even a brand new adventure at all. It’s a remastered version of the original three Spyro the Dragon video games that were originally released on PS1.

Image result for spyro reignited vs original

Will my experience suffer from nostalgia? Who knows. I’ll find out on November 16 when that gets released. Does Toys for Bob, the company who created the remaster, care if my experience is the same or different? Probably not. They’ve already got my money because I was sold on pure nostalgia.

I want to enjoy every minute of Spyro: The Reignited Trilogy. One thing it can’t do is make me 5-years-old again. I’ll just have to roll with the punches and go in with an open mind.

I didn’t want to write another video game-centric blog, but it just made sense to me. Video games do make me feel nostalgic. It’s easier to talk about in that sense.

It can be music, food, smells, etc.

Just keep an open mind about everything until you experience it. My views on Spider-Man, Spyro, journalism and photography aren’t ruined by nostalgia. There’s just an avenue for negativity with everything.

I just want my nostalgic feelings to be present when they can be but absent when I have a new experience to try. It’s easier that way.

You can find me locked away in my room come Friday. I’ll be swinging through virtual New York.Image result for marvel's spider-man




Writing for the sake of writing just to get back into a blogging habit

Hey there. I haven’t blogged in a while, which clearly means I haven’t vlogged on YouTube in a while because I post here every single time I make a video.

Which sort of stinks because I like doing YouTube videos, however, this semester and this year overall is about to be my hardest year of college yet. Being that it’s my last, it adds a sort of pressure to give up a lot of my free time to succeed.

I’m not a shut-in kind of guy. But I am the type of guy who’s not concerned with getting shitfaced every night of the week just because I’m 21 now. I’ve noticed this since I’ve been back to school.

My friends and I are all seniors and we’re all 21 now. Which means, everybody all of a sudden wants to do stuff and most of the time “stuff” involves alcohol. I like doing stuff, but I feel like I’ve never been this jammed in social traffic.

It’s nice to not be jammed in social traffic. It’s nice to steal away minutes and hours to just sit at my computer and either read or write. Regardless of wanting to go out or wanting to stay inside at my computer working, it seems I’ll need to spend more of my time at my computer reading or writing for school anyway.

I know the task at hand for me at the moment is to graduate on time. To graduate on time, I need to do anything and everything that’s required of me to succeed in all of my classes. Therefore, the keyboard is my friend more than my camera.

Unfortunately now, I have to be much more active on this blog writing and not vlogging or even podcasting. I just need to have my personal priorities straight.

It really is a bummer for me though because, this year is also one of the biggest years in gaming and film. There’re so many titles coming out that I’m beyond excited for.

For films, there’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Captain Marvel and Avengers 4.

This point stinks because podcasting for The Creatively Challenged Podcast has hit a standstill as it is. But the work that this year requires of me disallows a weekly film review podcast.

For gaming, it’s Marvel’s Spider-ManRed Dead Redemption II, Spyro: The Reignited Trilogy, Fortnite Seasons 6 & 7 all on PS4, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate along with Mario Party Switch all on Nintendo Switch.

No, I didn’t forget to mention Kingdom Hearts III.

Kingdom Hearts III is my most anticipated video game ever. I’ve been waiting for this game to come out for such a long time. It’s been 5 years in development time since Square Enix and Disney first announced the game. But it’s also been 12 years since the last numbered Kingdom Hearts title, the glorious Kingdom Hearts II.

So, naturally:

I Did My Waiting Waiting GIF - I Did My Waiting Waiting ...

I’ve literally never anticipated or waited for something for so long. Almost 2/3 of my life so far has come waiting for this game and it comes out on 1/29/19.

How will I keep my focus when that comes out? I have no idea. That’s a then problem. My now problem is that I’ll be swamped with work and the whole reason I started my YouTube page was to talk about gaming.

When my most anticipated game ever alongside other great titles are releasing and I’m not sure if I’ll have time to vlog about them, that bums me out.

I don’t want to make it seem like this blog post is all about me being bummed out, because it’s not.

I’m really excited to get this challenge started. I want to push myself to the limit because I know that the workload for the classroom this year will require that of me.

I apologize for the lack of content on my other channels and mediums. I hope everyone understands the reason behind my sporadic availability on those channels and mediums.

Now, I’ll end this blog with a small anecdote within this anecdote. I’ll call it Anecdoteception.

Anyway, there was this guy walking by me on the street the other night wearing Chunk’s shirt from The Goonies. It was literally Chunk’s shirt, same design and everything. I would not be unsure about something like this.

Image result for chunk the goonies

Naturally, I yell at this guy “DO THE TRUFFLE SHUFFLE!” I did not find this inappropriate at all. You can’t just go out in that shirt and not expect anyone to say that.

The Goonies Truffle Shuffle GIF

The guy just looked at me funny and kept walking. I forgot to mention also that I was standing in the line to get into a bar, at night. Columbia, Mo.’s finest typically posts-up outside the bars on Saturday nights like these.

An officer glared at me, after I yelled this and I felt a little scared. That officer and her partner began kind of walking around the entrance of the bar I was going into.

This completely threw off my night. Any want to go have fun and drink with my friends at the bar was gone because of the cops looking at me funny for referencing an ’80s film.

Could you imagine if life was like this though? I’m pissed that it threw off my night because there was literally nothing they could’ve done. You can’t get arrested or ticketed for quoting ’80s films.

“We’ve got this guy on quoting St. Elmo’s Fire, that’s 6-8 years in prison.”

Well, I think that’s a good place to wrap up. If you take anything away from this blog it’s this: if you go out wearing Chunk’s shirt from The Goonies, it’s socially acceptable to have a certain phrase yelled at you.

Welcome back to Average Yet Amazing Adventures, the blog.



Kingdom Hearts III: “Classic Kingdom Trailer” Analysis and More!

Check out my breakdown and analysis of all the biggest news from the Kingdom Hearts Union X Dandelion Meeting, including this brand new Kingdom Hearts III Trailer!

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

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


SaberForge Darth Vader MPP Mk. II Unboxing and First Impressions!

The newest addition to my lightsaber collection is: The Saberforge MPP Mk. II: Darth Vader from “Empire Strikes Back!” Check out my unboxing and first impressions of the Sith Lord’s lightsaber!

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

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



It’s 2:30 AM but, there are 2, COUNT ‘EM, 2 brand new Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailers! Here’s my live reactions and my breakdown will be coming later!
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theOG_DANIMAL
Check out my podcast channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrVN…

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.