Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Power Rangers - My Top 5 Misc. Colored Rangers



Some ranger colors, mainly purple, are so rare that they don't even have 5 to pick from. So, let's scrape together some of them and see what kind of top 5 this will be. Click "read more" for the full article. One rule, a different shade doesn't count. So, no navy or darker reds.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Green Phoenix - Let's Talk...Mineta from My Hero Academia

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5a/Boku_no_Hero_Academia_Volume_1.png

Hello everyone! Let's get into yet another edition of "Let's Talk", my free-form editorial series where I discuss a subject that is on my mind all off the cuff and from the heart. This time we will discuss a topic that is tangentially connected to something very near and dear to my heart. If you are a fan of the anime My Hero Academia, you may or may not be surprised by what I have to say. But we will get to that in a moment.

It will probably be something of a hot take, but I feel like I do have something to say on the subject.

For those of you who follow my content outside of this website, you would be familiar with my very personal connection to fandom and fan content, including for the purposes of this article: fanfiction. I started reading fanfiction through the My Little Pony fandom, before then expanding into Steven Universe, Game of Thrones, and the subject of today's article, My Hero Academia,an anime written by Kohei Horikoshi that takes place in an alternate future Earth where most people develop superpowers and become superheroes. The show is incredibly good and I find that the prospect of superpowers to be a fascinating breeding ground for great fanfiction stories.

As of writing this article, the show is starting its 5th season, which you can watch subbed on CrunchyRoll. While I do plan on watching it when their are more episodes available for me to begin bingeing, I felt like this was the perfect opportunity for me to discuss an aspect of the fandom that severely disturbs me and that I want to discuss with some measure of detail. If you read the title of this article and are familiar with My Hero Academia and its fandom in any capacity, you likely already know what I am going to talk about.

So let's talk about the Fresh-Picked Hero: Grape Juice (otherwise known as Mineta Minoru, the pervert of Class 1-A) and why the fandom hates this character so much and why that's kind of a bid problem.

***

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

TCR #380 - PSN PS3




Power Rangers - My Top 5 Blue Rangers


Now it is time for the blue rangers. This is one of the more variety options to choose from as blue rangers have been the brains, the brawn, the girl, second in command, and sometimes ex-red rangers. So, I'll give it my best shot, click "read more" and let's see if this gives you the blues.


Friday, April 2, 2021

Green Phoenix - 1634: The Galileo Affair Review

 1634 The Galileo Affair-Eric Flint.jpg

I have covered several books in the 1632 series on this channel and made plans to review the rest of the series, even possibly including single reviews of the anthology stories found in the Grantville Gazettes. While I contend that the series is overall very good and remains my favorite series of all time, today's book stands as the first in the series that I'm not super crazy about. As I will explain in the review proper, this is the first book in the franchise that I don't go out of my way to read when the re-reading begins.

1634: The Galileo Affair was published in April 2004 as a collaborative work between lead series writer Eric Flint and Andrew Dennis. Narratively the book reintroduces characters established in "To Dye For", "Between the Armies" and "A Matter of Consultation" from the first Ring of Fire anthology book, as well as a few stories from the first Grantville Gazette, and begins the so-called Southern European thread of the 1632 series.

The story tells the tale of the Stone family, Americans from Grantville, who move to Venice in order to help teach the "modern" Europeans about American medical practices while also working to open up a trade route to the Middle East. Whilst in Venice, one of the younger Stone's gets involved with the daughter of a local political firebrand who has become a fan of American political philosophy and gets wrapped up in a plot to save Galileo from his religious trial in Rome, being presided over by the pope himself. Little do they know that an assassin is planning to use the scheme as a way of killing off the pope in the name of Protestantism, all while the pope is caught in a conundrum over the theological impact of modern Catholic doctrine coming through the Ring of Fire and how this should impact the future of the church.

***

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Power Rangers - My Top 5 Yellow Rangers

 


Yellow Rangers were a pretty even split with male and female in Japan, but mostly female in America. A flexible role on the team, could be the sweetheart, the tomboy, a muscle, the loveable gullible one, or a number of other roles. Sadly, few Yellow Rangers are given a chance to standout and shine even if they are good characters. It was not an easy list to make, but click "read more" if you want to see it.

TCR: 379 - Contra is Hard





Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Viola: The Heroine's Melody (Steam) - PC Game Review

 


Here is a brilliant little indie title that combines 2D platforming with turn-based RPGs and is music themed. That sounds like a mismatch of genre, but they all work together surprisingly well. Click "read more" for my full review.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

KaiserKast #8 - Pirate Party Edition (ft. Cameron Hons)

On this episode I talk Mario rom hacks, Retro Achievements, being in dangerous stunts in movies, and the new Pirate Party album.  Oh, director, musician, fellow Pirate Party band member, Cameron Hons guest stars in this episode.


You can buy our new album, "Sexy Times At Sea" on Bandcamp: Sexy Times At Sea | Pirate Party The Band | Cameron Hons (bandcamp.com)

You can find the rest of our albums (and the rest of Cameron's albums) on Bandcamp also: Music | Cameron Hons (bandcamp.com)

Closing song for this episode is called Pirate Code by Pirate Party the Band.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Green Phoenix - 8 Emotional Animated Movie Tracks

Hey everybody!

It's once again time for another countdown article. This week, we will be covering a topic that is very near to my heart and something that I relish in. But to explain it, I do have to go a bit into my personal life if you all will allow me the opportunity.

I grew up in a very traditional and conservative environment and was thus subjected to many aspects of masculinity that could quite frankly be described as toxic. Chief among these was an aspect perhaps quite familiar to many of my contemporaries in possession of a male identity.

The inability to have emotional catharsis through outbursts, especially crying.

Thankfully, I am no longer actively subjected or pressured by such an environment and have endeavored to remove much of the programming that was placed upon me as a child. However the scars of youth linger and I've always struggled to be able to cry, even for events that would normally elicit such a response.

As a result, I have often turned to the soundtracks of films for my emotional releases. Cinema soundtracks possess a powerful transformative capacity. Musical tracks are used by filmmakers to enhance the emotional timbre (to use a musical phrase) of a scene and the best musical tracks can even inspire beyond the scene in question.

Now I had initially desired to do a general countdown for both live-action and animation together, but it was suggested that animation might be better handled separately. Animated films have much more control over the timing and coordination of their soundtracks with their visuals and this can lead to some truly awe-inducing moments of cinema, alongside allowing composers the freedom to stretch their musical muscles.

So let's take a non-competitive look at 8 emotional animated film musical tracks.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Power Rangers: My top 5 Silver Rangers

Ranger Wiki


Oh Silver Rangers, one of my favorite Ranger colors. Unlike gold, there are actually a fair amount of interesting options to choose from, despite only having 10 rangers, plus 1 gray. Almost all of them are memorable, but click "read more" and I will do my best to pick just 5.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Green Phoenix - Walking with Monsters Review

 https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51eHOob7D6L._SY445_.jpg

 

Happy Friday everybody!

So this week has been very busy for me at my job. Most of my coworkers were out for the week and, for one reason or another, I was the only individual trained for my particular position in the company. As such, I'm currently writing these articles in the moments of downtime during my shift. But honestly, I find this environment highly conducive to my writing and this may be a continued situation for the foreseeable articles.

Felt like giving you guys a little update of my day-to-day life as it does tend to impact my output of these articles and the content therein. In my downtime at work when I'm not working on articles, I've been catching up with streaming shows. And among my favorite streaming channels to watch, CuriosityStream is definitely high on that list (I am not getting paid by CuriosityStream to say that, by the way).

I've stated on numerous occasions my love of documentary, with particular interest on geological and biological history. Many of my past documentary articles have been on the Walking with... series. The BBC documentary series has long been held as the gold standard of dinosaur documentaries with Walking with Dinosaurs and the franchise released another hit with its sequel Walking with Beasts (which covered the history of life following the extinction of the dinosaurs).

But with today's article, we will examine the prequel to Walking with Dinosaurs. Detailing the myriad forms of life which preceded the Age of the Dinosaurs. In Walking with Monsters, we bear witness to the evolution of the countless forms of life that inhabit our world and the innumerable forms which seem to defy logic itself.

How does the prequel stand up against the original and the sequel? Does the BBC's trilogy on the Tree of Life end with a bang or a whimper?

***

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Power Rangers: My Top 5 Gold Rangers

comic vine

 

Well, this one feels kind of silly. Just like white and silver, how can one make a top 5 out of 6 to 8 options? Well, click "read more" and I will give it my best try.


Friday, March 5, 2021

Green Phoenix - Thunderball Review

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1f/Thunderball_-_UK_cinema_poster.jpg

I hope everyone is having a good start to March. I genuinely want to apologize to everyone who expected a review last week. Unfortunately I had a particular intense mental health spike and had to take a very needed mental health break. Thankfully I am feeling much better and can hopefully return to regular releases of these articles for at least the next few months (until my Summer Break in June). 

With that said, let's get started on this weeks film to examine. EON Productions' 1961 classic spy thriller, Thunderball.

Going to be entirely honest here, Thunderball's backstory is almost more memorable than the movie itself. The film was involved in a series of legal battles over the rights to the story, which a pair of collaborators of Ian Fleming's accused the author of stealing from them. The results of this legal battle would result in not only a delay in Thunderball's release but also the release of a non-EON adaptaion of the same story in Never Say Never Again in 1983 by Warner Bros.

This means that, in some ways, Thunderball is one of only two Bond films to have received multiple adaptations, besides the  parody adaptation of Casino Royale produced in 1967.

It's just a shame that in my opinion, Thunderball isn't nearly as memorable as its predecessor Goldfinger. And as you will see, this is rather strange when one considers how many elements of the film have gone on to be staples of the spy genre or parodies therein.

***

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Power Rangers: My Top 5 White Rangers

ranger wiki



Now it is time for the White Rangers. Considering I am the White Ranger of this website, I should probably take my time and put a lot of thought into this top 5. However, considering there has only been 8 White Rangers (not counting Sentai or Kat Ranger who is classified as orange) it was not a hard or satisfying list to make. So, click "read more" and let's check out this list of limited options.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

New Podcast Network with Buzzsprout

 After some searching around and planning, we have signed up for some podcast hosting with Buzzsprout. Now, any show within our network including the newest Kaiser Cast can be found on Spotify along with a variety of other places and we have a proper RSS feed now. 


Check it out, 

HERE

Kaiserkast #7 - Cendoo, Chickens, Politics, and Retro Games. ft. Cendoo

 Cendoo joins me for this episode because I didn't have enough material.  


Song used at end is Save the Weed (Greatest Hits Version) by Pirate Party the Band.  

You can buy our album, An Explosive Barrel of Hits off of Bandcamp.: An Explosive Barrel Of Hits! | Pirate Party The Band | Cameron Hons (bandcamp.com)

You can download the episode here.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Power Rangers - My Top 5 Pink Rangers

 


Continuing my quest to cover my favorites of all ranger colors. Please note this bumper image are not the choices. Time for the power of pink, the only ranger color that always been female. As before, only rangers that are officially classified as Pink, anybody that was more then one color can only appear on up to 2 lists, and this is just my opinion. Feel free to comment with your opinion. Click "read more" for the list.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Green Phoenix - A Prophet Without Honor Review

A Prophet Without Honor: A Novel of Alternative History by [Joseph Wurtenbaugh, Manoj Vijayan] 

I will be completely honest with all of you. This review was something of a surprise to me. It had not been on my schedule to review until I finished reading it.

While I am a fan of alternate history and will always be ready to sing the praises of a book that captures my attention, I usually find myself drawn to the works of well-known or famous alternate history writers. That is not the case with today's novel.

A Prophet Without Honor was written by Joseph Wurtenbaugh and is, as one might imagine, an alternate World War 2 story. These are almost dime a dozen in the alternate history genre and it takes a lot to impress me; but Wurtenbaugh's outing chooses not only to approach the subject from a new angle, directing the point of divergence to occur at the Reoccupation of the Rhinelands, an operation by the Nazis to reoccupy Germany's western borderlands with military forces in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, but by revealing that approach through a narrative structure that I've rarely seen before in any genre.

The book is deeply challenging once one can engage with the unique story structure and is very poignant to a modern American reader up to date with the comings and goings of our current political climate. The rise and poison of Nazism and totalitarianism is revealed in a way that few books manage to accomplish successfully and it accomplishes this goal without resorting to the "Great Man View of History".

A Prophet Without Honor is quite simply a book that once I finished it, I needed to spread it to everyone else.

***

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Battleship (Switch) - Review

 


How do you like that, an old favorite board game made into a video game, again. This is the 2018 version, and the Nintendo Switch port to be exact. This is a direct port from Steam and mobile apps. Click "read more" and let's take a look.


Friday, February 12, 2021

Green Phoenix - Goldfinger Review

On a black background, a woman in underwear painted gold stands on the left. An image of Bond and a woman is projected on the right side of the woman's body. On the left is a phrase of the tagline: "James Bond Back in Action". Below is the title and credits. 

Hey everybody, its time once again to return to our slow review of the entire James Bond franchise. Over the next three weeks, we will cover another two films in the series (with a book review in between) before moving on and taking yet another break to focus on other subjects. This week, we turn our sights to the film that is widely considered among the best Bond films of all time and the one that truly helped make the James Bond franchise into what it is today.

Released in 1964, Goldfinger was based Ian Fleming's seventh novel of the same name. The film in may ways finalized the formula for the Bond films that would follow and has become a sort of benchmark for the franchise. Even if it wasn't the first film in the series, Goldfinger has managed to carve a place for itself with James Bond franchise as the first quintessential Bond films and has become mandatory viewing for anyone, even with it still possessing some of the more troubling cultural norms which were all to common in films of that era, which I will touch upon in the larger review.

But I am excited and do enjoy watching this film so as you can imagine, the review will be largely positive. Let's take a look at Goldfinger, the third film in the James Bond franchise.

***

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Power Rangers - My Top 5 Green Rangers

 


Continuing on our quest to list the best of every colored ranger, let's tackle the fan favorite, green. Now, there are a lot of great green rangers so this list was actually pretty difficult. However, I am only here to give my opinion. Rules are standard, any ranger who was multiple colors can only make 2 lists at most, also I am going by what they are officially classified as regarding colors. With that out of the way, click "read more" and let's get on with the list.


Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sea of Thieves: A Fanciful Seafairing Funhouse

 Sea of Thieves is An Engrossing Maelstrom of Mutiplayer Mayhem




As I pass from the disastrous year that was 2020 into the hopefully greener pastures of 2021, with all the baggage it entails, I've come to a number of odd self-revelations of late. One of which being that there are certain concepts in popular culture that I don't feel have ever gotten out of vogue. Certain evergreen archetypes in character and narrative design that, in spite of some genre-tiring brands, still remain in the common conscience to this day. Y'know, your cowboys, your ninjas, your knights and wizards. But I think out of all of them, one that seems to never truly fall out fashion in spite it all is that of the pirate. There's just something about pirates that seems almost eternal. Maybe it's the idea of the open ocean. Maybe it's the feeling of rebelling against a stagnant system and forging your own path, come hell or high water. Maybe it's the camaraderie one has with one's crew as your lot of seamen are stranded upon a ship for days on end, with only your company and a few songs in your heart to keep you company.


Hell, considering the fact that apparently singing sea shanties on TikTok is currently the hot new trend, maybe there's just something to pirates and their lore that has this almost universal appeal. Kinda like zombies, in a way.


To that end, the call to hoist my sails and fill my boots grew strong in the last few days of a politically and socially tumultuous winter season. My desire to explore a world at a more leisurely pace and go on smaller-scale adventures with a few mates weighed strong. With games like Destiny 2 and The Division 2 not holding my interest as they used to, and with my job finally offering me a minimal raise that gave me a bit more money to burn just in time for the holidays, I had a particular megalodon of a multiplayer game in my spyglass.


That game is Sea of Thieves, an Always-Online Multiplayer Open World Pirate Sandbox that is notable for a good few reasons. First off, it's a game in a genre that, with the exception of several licensed titles, Sid Meyer's own contributions, and some pretty poor RPGs, was never really that well served apart from maybe Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. Though I've also heard ATLAS is good, but I was spurned from that game due to it apparently performing worse than a dinghy being piloted by a man with one arm in the middle of an active hurricane. Second, it's a *multiplayer* pirate game, something that has almost never been done outside of a handful of titles like Pirates of The Burning Sea and the now-defunct Pirates of the Caribbean online. Maybe there are some obscure ones out there, but I haven't heard of them. Finally, this is the first Rare original game to come out in...*by the powers*, TEN YEARS. The fact this game exists as it is could be seen as an anomaly you'd find while sailing through the Bermuda Triangle.


While I could go all clinical and analytical and tell you every little thing about the gameplay, I intend on keeping things a bit more casual and reflective. As one ought to when they're on the ocean.


When I first began the game--after having to deal with some technical trials due to having to set up a Microsoft account to play--two things immediately stood out to me. First, the game's _stellar_ presentation. Every inch of this game is oozing with this delightfully toony aesthetic that I just adore in games like this. Every person has a distinct silhouette and appearance, with every skin tone and body type you can picture being on full display. They many shades of the open waters and their distinct crests as you sail each of the game's regions and keep an eye out for dangers. 


The second was one of many odd design decisions that I feel like only existed as some form of anti-bullying measure. This game doesn't have a typical character creator like most multiplayer online games these days do. Instead, you have the imaginatively titled "Infinite Pirate Generator", a bespoke procedurally generated wheel of pirates that brings to mind the "Dial-A-Pirate" Copy-Protection from *The Secret of Monkey Island*. While as mentioned before, the body types and skin tones on display are very nicely varied, and you can at least lock in designs you enjoy most, in spite of this diversity, you aren't given the option to fine-tune it until after you complete the maiden voyage. Once you get into the game properly, you can easily fine-tune the look to your liking, but until you do, you're stuck with what you've been given.


Those two first impressions past me, I set off to make my fortune--and bring my friends along for the ride.


I always enjoy loading into this game, because *every time* you start a new session, you're always waking up from what had to have been a raucous evening of grog swilling and storytelling, punctuated by the removal of a knife that you stuck in the table. It's a nice little touch. From there, the open ocean is your oyster, with a wide assortment of nautical nonsense to embark on, should you so wish. Whether you're into classic *Treasure Island* style treasure hunts, getting into naval combat with damned skeleton and ghost ships--or going *full* pirate and attacking other player ships to steal their things--or just going for leisurely fishing trips and freight jobs, you won't find yourself wanting for direction. Hell, there are even really nice, story-rich voyages you can go on called Tall Tales, in case you're one of those people who can't get into a wide-open sandbox without knowing why exactly the toys are spread around in it.


Or, y'know, you could just say "Balls to That" and just sail from island to island, seeing what you can find and using the horizon as your guide. There's usually a good chance you'll still find an NPC ship or a giant shark getting in your way to keep things exciting. Or if you're feeling particularly brave (or particularly cursed), you could attempt to hunt the Kraken world event. Just a word of advice--don't go heading towards the giant floating skull without a plan and *provisions to last.* That belongs to Captain Flameheart, and he will sink you harder than the bathroom section of your local home improvement store. Probably best to sail the other way.


Sailing is something that's pretty big in Sea of Thieves. It's kind of implied by its title, y'know? Much like that one Zelda game that everyone originally hated but grew to love later, sailing is about 70% to 80% of the core gameplay loop, with the other 30% to 20% being dedicated to disembarking to and making stops at ports to find and sell valuable goods you might find on the journey. And these stops can house just about anything--crews of skeletal pirates, buried treasure, live animals you can capture to sell to the Merchant's Alliance--or slaughter for their meat because meat is the single best health resource in this entire game--even a chance to get Ancient Coins, which are the game's real-world currency for premium goods. You might get even luckier still and stumble upon Ashen Chests and Ashen Keyes, which are *incredibly* valuable loot that reward you with some pretty great cosmetics if you turn them in.


In between all those trips ashore, though? Long, arduous trips with your mates, usually accompanied by one or two people keeping an eye for the heading while another guy decides to play random shanties on one of the many instruments available. And during this sailing, one of the game's greatest strengths comes into sharp relief--its strong sailing mechanics. While the rest of its core gameplay loop is plenty solid on its own--the game practically lives and dies by it--it's when you raise your anchor and drop your sails where you start to realize that Rare just *gets* what separates sailing from most any other form of transportation in games. While with stuff like planes, trains, automobiles, you have a fair idea of figuring out the controls fairly quickly--unless, of course, you're playing a sim game, in which case you'll likely need an actual owner's manual to make sense of anything--when it comes to sailing a ship? It's a whole different ball game.


It's not as easy as simply turning the wheel to turn the whole ship. These aren't your fancy *motorized* boats, you land-lubber. These are *sailing ships*. Sure, you could just steer them like any other vehicle, but you're not likely to get anywhere with speed or even precision. Just like in actual real-life sailing, you have to account for wind direction and speed, too. Do you tack your masts into the current headwind and go full sail to move at maximum nautical velocity, or do you draw your sails up to be able to make a crucial turn that'll keep you from reenacting the end of Titanic on your galleon? Do you drop anchor to make the nautical equivalent of a handbrake turn, or do you shoot your harpoon at the nearest rock to jackknife off it and pull some sick seven-seas drifting? Can you afford to take your hands off the wheel to get a good angle to sail with the wind, or do you let your mates do it for you? And this is all without even considering variables like flotsam and enemy ships you're likely to encounter. Just about anything can happen on the seas, and it's happening regardless of if you're ready for it or not. As much as sailing *can* be a relaxing experience at times, in this game, a moment's laxity can doom you and your crew to a watery grave in but a few instances.


Suppose I should briefly touch upon combat, on that note. Combat effectively breaks down into two types: man-to-man, and ship-to-ship. Man to Man has you chosing between any combination of a cutclass, a flintlock pistol, a blunderbuss, or the Eye of Reach rifle. Everything does respectable damage, and headshots will hurt like hell regardless of where it comes from. Though it's not very complex as far as combat could go, there's enough strategy in deciding what to carry to justify going toe to toe on an island or the deck of a ship.


Meanwhile, Ship to Ship combat is predictably a whole different beast altogether. You have the predictable stuff like cannonballs for simple but effective damage and chainshot for messing up ship components, but there's also plenty of specialty munitions on top of that. Firebombs for lighting the decks ablaze for that sweet damage over time effect, Blunderbombs for knocking crew overboard (or repelling ballsy boarding parites), and a *cornucopia* of cursed cannonballs to deal some truly debilitating effects to the enemy ships. From simple stuff like locking the wheel so they can't move to broadside you or avoid an oncoming obstacle or forcibly drop the anchor to make them a prime target for your own broadsiding to balls that make the crew uncontorllably drunk or fall alseep on their feet altogether to ghostly cannonballs that pierce through ships and knock players around. You can even load yourself inside an empty cannon and have another gunner fire you out of it to hurl yourself onto the deck of an enemy ship--or to hurl yourself into the ocean for a tactical retreat.


You can really tell the guys designing this part of the game really had fun trying to find creative ways to stretch out engagements between enemy ships, because a battle only ends when one ship is left afloat after they've put too much damage on the other ship to feasibly repair in ttime. While all kinds of damage can occur to a ship--broken masts that have to be hoisted back up and reinforced by wood to keep them upright, fires on any number of places on-board that have to be quickly put out before they spread and cause yet more damage, the wheel or capstone breaking, requiring a hasty patch job to keep things smooth--only one type of damage is truly king above the rest in Sea of Thieves, and that is predictably flooding. So as fights drag on, it's almost inevitable at least one of you will have to break off to go below deck to plug holes and bale water to keep you in the fight while your gunner tries to land a shot and your helmsman barks orders while trying to get you in position. This all comes together in the end to create one of the most tense, stressfull, panic-inducing, and ultimately very rewarding combat system that makes every engagement a gamble.


And the best part? No pay to win bullshit. No level or stat grinding! Everything in the game does the same kind of damange regardless of what fancy skin you end up acquiring for it. Some of you might now be asking, "But Adam, if there's no getting stronger, then what's the point in getting higher rankings in the trading companies? What's the point in fighting anyone if it doesn't make you more powerful next time?" To that I say, it's not *about* power. It's about *precision*. It's about *skill*. It's about pulling off masterfully coordinated alpha strikes on your enemies while wearing cool outfits and sailing on an even cooler ship that you and your mates came together to pick the livery for. The only thing that matters in any given fight is your aim with a gun and how much prep work you all did before you decided to raise the metaphorical (and perhaps literal) black flag to throw down. If all that's your bag, you might want to check out the game's Arena mode instead of the normal Adventure mode and prove you're a properly professional pirate.


"Then what's the point in Ancient Coins?" You may follow up with. "If it doesn't buy you anything that gives you a leg up, why are they asking for more money out of you?"


If you paid attention to the prior paragraph, you'd know exactly what the point is. It's not "Pay-to-Win", it's "Pay-to-Profile". None of the things on offer in the PIrate Emporium give any direct advantage unless you're one of those people who genuinely believe that having your ship be in colors that might camouflage it slightly is an advantage. That aside, the vast majority of things you can get are some primetime outfits, ship liveries that pay homage to Rare's history, or my personal favorite, interactive pets that you can summon to follow you around. Y'know, in case you get a little lonely on a voyage. These pets may actually be one of the best little touches in a game that has an astonishing amount of little details. Dogs will rest at the bedside, monkies will perch themselves on your shoulder, and Parrots will perch onto just about anything. But my *favorite* part? They *dance* when you play songs for them. *especially* the birds. When I first saw one of my friends bring out their bird and watched it bang its head in rhythm, I nearly had a stroke from how utterly adorable it was.


Honestly, if I had to give my worst problems with this game, it's that it is an incredible magic trick towards your time. Whether it be due to being engrossed in the journey or getting screwed by setbacks from the many griefers that are all but encouraged by the mere existence of the Reapers Bones trading company, what might have been envisioned as a short excursion with the lads will often be an hours-long odyssey that, by the end of it, will inevitably be an exhausting trek that may or may not end up being to some degree of a phyrric victory when all's said and done. This is *not* a game you can get any amount of good experience in just a few minutes. If you value your time, you'll have to make a night of this game to get the most out of any given play session, and by the end, you're likely to be left either smiling at what all you've accomplished, or blankly staring at the clock wondering very loudly where in Davey Jones's arsehole the time went so suddenly.


My other complaint, as previously mentioned, is the griefing. Much like games like EVE Online, griefing is rampant and expected. While I'm not sure if there are actual hackers at play, there are most certainly some incredibly bloodthirsty brigands out there who will be all but willing to run your ship into the ground if you even so much as look like you have something of value. The fact they tie a trading company exlcusively to this Open PVP mechanic and actively encourage a portion of the playerbase to embrace this vicious side to the pirate's life means that much like in the films that inspired it, alliances will be tenuous at best and toxic at worst. It makes me glad that any and all loot sold with a group is automatically split into a fair share because if that wasn't automated, I could not imagine what that would result in. it honestly makes me wish that there was a system in place to allow you to opt out of PVP altogether. Make it so you can't get damaged by player ships, but also can't damage enemy ships in turn. You could even tie it into the narrative in the same way that they tie scuttling your ship to a safer harbor as a deal with the ghost shipman.


Lastly, while the game *can* be played solo, it absolutely demands group play, and even when solo, you aren't given the option to pause the game in case you have to do something else for even a brief moment, because as previously stated, taking your attention away for a moment can be a horrifically fatal error. This is a game that will force your attention upon it and does not care if you have other obligations unless you're doing a Tall Tale and making good use of its checkpoints. And god help you if you crash during a voyage. This is a game you devote time to or you don't play at all.


In closing, instead of simply giving a numbered score or a call to action, I'll instead end this review off with a story of one amazing night I had with this game. If what I experienced this one night sounds like an experience you'd like to have for yourself, go buy it and find some mates to crew up with.


So a friend and I, the former of us having previously jumped ship from ATLAS to play this game, decided one night to be a dynamic duo in our own little sloop. We decide to go on a Gilded Skull Voyage (the most longform and involved of the Order of Souls's bounty hunting missions) and about halfway through, we decide to make a stopover at a nearby port to sell our plunder to quiet the whisperings of the damned in our hold and keep our ship from glowing like a nightlight resembling a traditional Khornate altar. As we're doing this, we find that our reputation and gold have put us over the threshold to purchase an Emissary Flag--special little pennants you can fly to rep a particular trading company a-la Tabards in World of Warcraft. As with the tabards in WoW, Emissary Flags reward you with increased reputation and rewards when doing stuff that furthers the cause of the faction, as well as customizations to honor your commitment to the cause.


It also indirectly makes you a target for players looking to up their reputation in the Reaper's Bones, who gain significant rewards from plundering other player's Emmisary Flags.


Almost *immediately* after we raise our flag, we find that our ship is attacked by a Reaper's Bones ship, and is sunk not long after due to our ship being fairly small and easy to flood. Naturally, we were pretty bummed out by this...until we saw that we were getting credit for the things of ours they were selling. Even better? They had yet to leave the port where they'd sank us. So, my friend, acting as captain and helmsman, got an idea. A horrible, terrible, awful idea. He wanted to get retribution, and with the both of us feeling particularly bloodthirsty, we say "screw it, carpe diem" and make an effort to chase them down. Of course, their Brigantine is swifter than our sloop, but that wasn't going to stop us. For miles on end, we tail them, getting potshots wherever we can, but ultimately failing to make lasting damage on them.


That was until a Skeleton Ship decided to join the fray. And being the tactical mavens we were, we realized we could force the enemy into a battle on two fronts, dividing their manpower and making the most of an opportune opponent. Hard to mount a counterattack when you can only fire one gun at a time, after all. This nets us a good chunk of damage as is, and with a continued chase, we might have had them.


And then a Megalodon showed up. In the immortal words of my helmsman, he proclaimed, "What god did they piss off, and how do I pray to them?"


Properly knackered by the extended battle and now officially routed by a giant shark eating into their hull, they're forced to scramble for the Reaper's Hideout in the vain hope of trying to dock and sell their filched flag to the NPC to get that sweet reward they so desperately wanted. This, of course, left them sitting ducks, and we very promptly put as much firepower onto their ship as possible before finally taking on their crewman to man as they boarded. Respawns were on our side in that fight, as we held out long enough to watch their ship sink into the depths, their ill-gotten gains now ripe for the stealing.


By the end of everything, we walked away with more firepower than the average Montana resident and a decent windfall of gold. While the actual quest we were on ended up bugged, we didn't care. We had an otherwise easygoing voyage spoiled by some arsehole sailors, went on a journey to avenge our honor, and had fortune's favor on our side for most of the duration. If that doesn't sum up the Sea of Thieves experience, I don't know what else does.


Ultimately, Sea of Thieves is very much a game where you get out what you put in. It is a game that all but demands your time and lives and dies by its core systems. Through infrequently fraught with unsavory folk, this game perhaps more than any other in its genre has the fantasy of piracy nailed down like a plank of lumber to a creaky mission mast. It's a game that despite its kiddy look and all ages appearance belies an engrossing and engaging experience that you'll seldom find in other sailing games like it. Just be certain to find some friends to play with, because with the right group (and perhaps the right amount of thematically appropriate snacks and alcohol) this game is a raucous time. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Green Phoenix - The History of Swear Words Review

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f8/History_of_Swear_Words.jpg 

 THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE WILL OBVIOUSLY POSSESS QUITE A LOT OF OBSCENITY, EVEN BEYOND MY USUAL AMOUNT. 

READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

*** 

It's not often that I come across the trailer for a film or series that makes me immediately go, "I MUST WATCH THIS!!!!". For all that I am a rabid viewer of cinema, my past economic difficulties have fostered in me a deep sense of "Wait and see" when it comes to many films, hoping that word of mouth can entice me into making the effort to see a new film. Even in the age of streaming services, where money is less of a pressing issue, the sheer amount of temporal investment (and time is money) into any movie or TV series is oftentimes difficult for me to get over.

So you can imagine my surprise and excitement when I came across the trailer for Netflix's documentary comedy series The History of Swear Words. Watching Nicholas Cage just scream the word fuck for thirty seconds was apparently enough to completely hook me onto the idea of this documentary series. Released on the 5th of January, 2021 The History of Swear Words is one of the first new releases on Netflix for the year and, as you will see in my review, a fantastic way to start this year.

***

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Power Rangers: My Top 5 Black Rangers



This will be the start of a series of top 5s I do for all ranger colors. There is no special reason why I am starting with Black. Just keep in mind, this is is purely my opinion and will more than likely not lineup with who consider the best black Rangers or your personal favorites. Instead of flaming, please leave a comment on who your favorites are. Two rules, I am going off what a Ranger is officially classified as, so the 6th Zeo Ranger is gold not black, and anybody who was multiple colors can only appear on 2 lists at most. (Looking at you Tommy.) Now, click "read more" and let's start the countdown. Spoilers!

Friday, January 29, 2021

Green Phoenix - Clear and Present Danger Review

Clear and Present Danger film.jpg

Towards the end of last year, I had the pleasure of introducing the second episode of my Let's Talk... series of articles by speaking upon my opinions of adapting the Jack Ryanverse series of books by Tom Clancy. In that article, I mentioned my absolute adoration for the 90s Tom Clancy trilogy of films. Now I've written about The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games previously, so we have only one film left to go.

Released in 1994, Clear and Present Danger has always been a strange film when compared to the other two. One part political thriller and one part military action film, I found Clear and Present Danger the most difficult of the three films to get invested in personally, though the film sees the return of a stunning cast, as well as the introduction of Willem Dafoe as John Clark, a character to actually plays a fairly significant role in the Tom Clancy universe.

Despite being a financial success, this film would mark the end of the Tom Clancy film series until the release of the failed rebooted franchise in 2002's The Sum of All Fears, which I don't have to tell you isn't a very good film and was clearly impacted by the cultural fallout from 9/11.

Which now that I think about it, could really be a summation of the entire Tom Clancy cinematic history. A franchise of excellent political and military thrillers, done in by the inexorable shifting of global politics that drive their stories into obsolescence.

At least...that's what I was going to say until the days leading into the January 6th Capitol Insurrection showed me that apparently a movie about a lone government official combating unconstitutional and illegal activities perpetrated from the very highest offices of government for a personal agenda weren't completely ridiculous. This review was delayed weeks by the change in my review format as well as the shifting sands of the American political climate. It all coalesced to make me reconsider my position on the relevancy of Tom Clancy in an age where internal clear and present dangers are very real and far more deadly than even fiction can come up with.


***

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Ninja Sentai Kakuranger Ep 1: We Are Ninja - Summary/Review


 

It's the Alien Rangers and Season 3 of MMPR. But, actually it is the first of many Ninja Themed Super Sentai. Airing in Japan from 1994-1995 and staring the first female leader of a Sentai, Ninja White Tsuruhime. (Although, she doesn't get to stand center.) Click "read more" and let us take a look at what this trend setter season began with. Thank you Shout Factory for the free English subtitles.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Kaiser Kast #6 - Live From TNR Talks 2021


It's back!  The first new episode in a really long time.  Live from some made up... I mean live from a real convention.  It's the Retrokaiser live panel from TNR Talks '21.  In this episode I discuss games, suicide, and more pop-culture stuff.  Out in both audio and video forms.  Hell yeah!

Audio Download: Here

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Minecraft(bedrock:ps4) Review

Amazon.com: Minecraft (PS4): Video Games

     Ah Minecraft, the game of games. This nostalgic open world survival game from 2008 has stuck around through thick and thin, even being popular to this day.  Minecraft is more popular than Jesus Christ himself. If you haven't heard of this game you must live under a rock... NO! You must live under a mountain if you don't know what Minecraft is.

 

Keystone Kapers (Atari 2600)


Like most Atari games, Keystone Kapers really has to be looked at in the context of the Atari era. Side scrollers were a new evolution in the platforming genre. Keystone Kapers came out in 1983. Only one year prior, in 82, David Crane's Pitfall was released and broke new ground with the platformer. Programmed by Garry Kitchen, who also programmed Pressure Cooker, Space Jockey and Donkey Kong on the Atari 2600, I see this as Garry's attempt at making a faster paced, and more liner version of the side scroller using the standard set by

Friday, January 22, 2021

Green Phoenix - Soul (2020) Review

Soul Poster.jpeg 

 THIS ARTICLE SHOULD'VE BEEN RELEASED ON JANUARY 15TH. DUE TO SOME SORT OF ERROR, IT WAS NOT PUBLISHED AS SCHEDULED.

***

Welcome everybody to my first proper film review of 2021.

Last week would've been the release of my review for Tom Clancy's 1994 film Clear and Present Danger but 2020 decided that it had a few more surprises left for the world and had to deliver them into 2021's hands. Suffice it to say, that review will be released in a couple weeks time once it has been re-contextualized to fit a post-Insurrection world.

Until then, the new plan is to start our reviews off with one of the few newly released films from the holiday season. Originally intended for a theatrical release, the global societal prolapse that was the coronavirus pandemic forced Disney/Pixar's Soul to be billed as the first Disney+ original film, a representation of what I believe may end up becoming the future of film releases even after theaters finally open back up once this pandemic eventually peters out.

This film was something of a mystery for quite a while. I enjoy learning about upcoming releases for films many years in advance and Soul was one of those films that was announced years ago, but was kept very much under the radar. But now that it is out, I have the wonderful opportunity to explore Pixar's latest emotional piece and see how it stands among Pixar's prodigious lineup.

***

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Mahin Sentai Kiramager Ep 3: You Fool! I Don't Need Your Help - Summary/Review

Alternative translation for the title

 Time to check out episode 3 of Kiramager thanks to TV-Nihon's free fansub. Last time, the Green Ranger learned to accept Juru as the leader and now it appears it is Blue's turn to get the focus of an episode. Click "read more" and let's see how they develop Shiguru.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Top 5 Hamburger Moments in Video Games

 



This is a very odd idea for a countdown, but one I have wanted to do for no other reason then a love of burgers and games. It is hard to really give "rules" for this list other then it has to be in a video game and something needs to have happened where a hamburger was an important factor. Why top 5? Simply because, that is all I could find in my experience. So, click "read more" and let us see what there is.


Thursday, January 7, 2021

Green Phoenix - Clear and Present Danger Delayed until January 29th...WTF America!

 Hey everyone!

So this is a quick little update to let you all know that I will be delaying my review of the Tom Clancy film Clear and Present Danger until the 29th of January. Instead, next week I will be releasing my review of Disney/Pixar's Soul and the week after that, I will review The History of Swear Words from Netflix.

My reason for doing so is actually quite simple. It's all because of what happened yesterday. Yesterday, the US Capitol building was invaded by a band of domestic terrorists at the behest of President Trump. For the first time since 1814, the US Capitol fell, even if only for a few hours.

What happened yesterday was nothing short of an attempted coup and will represent in my mind a watershed moment for the coming decade. It is in this mindset that I believe a review of Clear and Present Danger must be completely overhauled to fit with a new and essential perspective. Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger is at its heart a story about moral defiance of unlawful governance. About a good man standing up against a corrupt American president and his lackeys. It is a story that somehow rings strangely contemporary given our current climate, and I think we need to really examine that.

But to do so will take time and I need to really give it some serious thought. Thus the delay until the 29th, at least by then the tyranny of Trump will be over in the de facto sense, even if it is far from over in the de jure sense.

I hope you all stay safe out there and hope that the lights and fires of change are soon on the horizon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Viscera Cleanup Detail: Shadow Warrior DLC (Steam) - Review

 


This is an interesting form of DLC, one that causes a video game crossover between Viscera Cleanup Detail and the remake of Shadow Warrior. (Obviously.) Click "read more" and let's see what this combination has to offer.


Friday, January 1, 2021

Green Phoenix - 2020 in Review

HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYONE!

And good riddance to hot garbage, I say. This year was a trying time for all of us and it is my sincere hope that my articles might have done something to provide entertainment or education for my readership.

As we enter 2021 with, hopefully, brighter expectations than 2020, I would like to take a quick analytical look-back on 2020 in terms of my articles and viewership. Though this year was far from ordinary, perhaps there remains things that I can improve upon and aid in making 2021 a better year than the shit-show we were given in 2020.

***

Blog Archive