Finally, After 20 Odd Years, I’ve Completed Shenmue!

For those who may not be aware, Shenmue is a game originally released for the Sega Dreamcast in 1999. An early example of an open world game, it was incredibly innovative for its time. Recently, Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki announced that the long awaited Shenmue III was finally being developed. To celebrate, the original two games have been re-released on modern consoles and PC.

I played Shenmue for the first time when it originally came out on the Dreamcast, but 14-year old me was never able to get past the early parts of the game’s closing act. Hopefully, with age and wisdom, the re-release would afford me the chance to finally see the game’s end.

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Mighty Max Article Follow Up

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently had published my first article for collector’s website Gemr.com, The History of Mighty Max. As a kind of follow-up to that article, I thought I’d write up a small article here about why I love Max so much and why it’s one of the toys that made me.

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My First Article For Gemr

For roughly a year I’ve been cataloguing my collection at Gemr.com, a social network of sorts for collectors. Well, about a month ago I was given the opportunity to contribute to their blog and today that contribution has gone live!

It takes the form of an (I like to think exhaustive) article on the history of my favourite ever toy line, Mighty Max.

I’ve very humbled to be given the chance to put my writing out there on a (much) larger platform than this humble blog, so please take a moment to head on over and give the article a read!

Cheers.

Read the full article HERE

What Could Sonic Mania’s Success Mean For Modern Sonic?

Sonic Mania was a huge success when it came out, and the recent release of Sonic Mania Plus has been just as successful. Indeed, the “main” Sonic game to have been released just after Mania, Sonic Forces, has been all but completely overshadowed by the reaction to Sonic Mania.

If you’re reading this you probably have a bit of an idea of the story behind Sonic Mania and its Plus expansion, but if you don’t check out the below video from DidYouKnowGaming.

So, Sonic Mania was made by fans. Hugely talented fans who had years of experience developing 2D Sonic games and were hired by SEGA, sure, but fans nonetheless. The irony that the “highest rated Sonic game in 25 years” – a line SEGA itself has been using in its promotion of the game – was made by fans has not been lost on the wider Sonic community.

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Six Epic Video Game Music Tracks

Far from their humble beginnings in the 70’s, video games are now a huge, gigantic, megalithic industry. However, while everyone seems obsessed with frame rates and graphical power and mega-huge open worlds to explore, something I feel has been criminally ignored is video game music.

While it’s widely accepted how important music is to film, there doesn’t seem to be the same appreciation for music in video games. Despite this, developers spend a great deal of time, effort and money to ensure the music for their games is top notch. Music really helps built atmosphere in a game, just as it does in film and TV. Be it a horror, action, puzzle or platformer game, music is often the unsung hero.

Thus, I thought that for this entry of Collectorized I’d share a few of my favourite pieces of video game music (in alphabetical order). I hope you enjoy.

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The 10 Best Graphic Novels NOT in the 100 Greatest List

Recently I picked up the magazine The 100 Greatest Graphic Novels of All Time! magazine from Future Publishing. I thought it’d be interesting to go through the magazine and see which ones I’d read and which ones I needed to. The magazine was very well written with some really thoughtful commentary on the books presented within resulting in my “to read” list gaining quite a few additions.

While the magazine covered many great graphic novels – and indeed you’d need a slew of magazines to cover all the graphic novels that you should read in a lifetime – there were of course a few of my personal favourites left off. Thus, I thought I’d write up my own list.

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Journal of Lehnah

After two years, I’ve returned to The Cavern.

In 2003 Cyan Worlds, creators of the mega-hit video game Myst, released Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. It was planned to me a truly cooperative MMO where players would help each other solve puzzles and continue the story begun in the five titles that made up the main series.

Sadly, it was not to be. In 2008 the game was taken off-line; lack of subscribers being the main reason sighted for its downfall.

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Liv Tyler: A Celebrity Crush Story

Liv Tyler was, and is, my biggest crush.

While not the first woman my younger self had a crush on (that honour goes to Secret World of Alex Mack star Larisa Oleynik when I was around 8 or so,) she is the longest lasting.

My first memory of seeing Liv was on the poster for That Thing You Do, a musical comedy released in 1997, the year I turned 12. I remember thinking how sweet and cute she looked. I didn’t actually see the film until a few years later when it aired on Australian free-to-air TV, probably in ’98 or ’99.

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The Issue With Variants

Variant covers for comic book issues have been a staple of the industry for some time now. The first comic book to have a variant cover was 1986’s The Man of Steel #1While there were technically variants before this, they were all due to small differences such as distributor logo. Man of Steel #1 was the first to receive variant artwork, which is what variants are mostly known for nowadays.

Variants played something of a not unsubstantial role in the “spectator boom” of comics in the 1990’s. There are a lot of pieces to the spectator boom puzzle which I won’t go into here, but if you’re interested you can read this great article by Michael McCallum on ComicBooked.com.

To give a brief history of the boom, people suddenly got the idea that buying a comic and holding on to it for 10, 20, or 50 years would eventually put their kids through university or pay off their house. Big firms such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times wrote articles about the possible future value of these once unpalatable items and so people started buying comics by the armful.

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Does Sonic Need A Reboot?

While I said in my previous post that I didn’t actually mind Sonic Forces, there is no avoiding the fact that it just has not been a hit with the vast majority of Sonic The Hedgehog fans or gaming fans/ professionals in general. This has resulted in a lot of people asking “what’s next” for the Sonic franchise, myself included.

In my reading of various fans opinions of what the next move for Sonic could be I came across several incredibly interesting videos by fans Billiam and TheKazeblade on YouTube. While all of their videos are well worth a watch, they made two points that really struck out at me;

  1. Sonic is – and has always been – reactionary. (Billiam)
  2. The Sonic franchise is now so fractured that the brand identity is at risk of becoming completely obscured. (TheKazeblade)

Billiam and TheKazeblade were making their points in regards to gameplay decisions and designs throughout the Sonic franchise since (roughly) Sonic Adventure. Let’s take a look at those points a little more deeply.

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