Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan Ep. 1: The Machine Empire of the North Pole - Summary/Review

Here we have the 5th Super Sentai, first 3 ranger team, and the only one in history to lack any female rangers. Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan. Roughly translating into Solar Squadron Sun Vulcan. Only thing I know about this season is that it got backlash for not having any girl rangers and is the only Sentai to be a direct sequel to the previous season, Denziman. The theme this time is Air, Land, and Sea. Because Fire isn't good enough. Click "read more" for my full coverage.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Green Phoenix - 8 Amazing Animated Canines

Back when I was working on my Balto review, I was suddenly struck by a bout of inspiration regarding a new countdown. Dogs have long been a quintessential part of human culture and media, owing to their long-standing relationship as "Man's Best Friend". Growing up, I certainly remember seeing many amazing animated canines that helped to transform me into the dog person that I am today (even if I have no plans to have a pet dog of my own).

Whether they talk or not, are protagonists or simple side characters, many dogs have become iconic or much beloved members of their respective franchises. There are obviously far too many examples of great cartoon dogs to ever be effectively condensed or listed in a single article without it being overwhelmingly long. So I decided to do just a general list of some particularly standout dogs from my childhood and early teenage years.

With that in mind, I decided that today's article should be slightly lighter fare than usual and a just short, yet sweet tribute to cartoon canines. So without any further ado, let's present 8 Amazing Animated Canines.


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Olson's Boxing Challenge (Steam) - PC Game Review


With Fight Night not looking like it will come back anytime soon and the new Creed game looking like a disappointment, I have been starved for a new boxing game experience. Sadly, nothing mainstream is in development and I have no interest in MMA. So, I turned to Steam to try and find something to fill this desire; sadly most of the titles that looked interesting were VR only games and I do not have access to VR. However, there is a new E-sports boxing coming next year, but until then, I found this little title that looks like a re-make of an Atari 2600 game. So, click "read more" and I will give you my review on Real Boxing and we can decide if it fills that need for leather gloves.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Green Phoenix - The ClueFinders 3rd Grade Retrospective


Going to elementary and middle school in the early 2000s made me and I'm sure many others very aware of educational computer games. Chief among these were those produced by the now defunct The Learning Company and distributed throughout schools as a form of summer supplemental learning programs. I know that my school district participated in such a program, despite the generally low quality of games issued out.

As a result, I have very fond memories of the Reader Rabbit franchise, which was aimed towards kindergarten through 2nd grade children, and the focus of today's retrospective, The ClueFinders franchise. Aimed towards older elementary and early middle school children, The ClueFinders really was a personal favorite of mine growing up, with my sister and I playing the games constantly.

As nerdy as that might seem, I really loved the hell out of the tone that the series maintained throughout its entire run and have enjoyed watching people playing the games online for years, even as the quality continues to age poorly (a staple of the entire Learning Company brand). The games had a heightened level of world-building and the combination of fantasy, science fiction, and mystery wasn't what one might expect from an educational game. So in that spirit of nostalgia, today's retrospective will focus on the first game in The ClueFinders franchise that I remember playing, The ClueFinders 3rd Grade - The Mystery of Mathra.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Kousoku Sentai Turboranger Ep. 2: Did You Guys See a Fairy!? - Summary/Review

More Turborangers. The first episode was mostly just a clip-show celebrating Super Sentai so, hopefully this second episode will gives us a proper introduction to this season. Click "read more" for my coverage.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Green Phoenix - 1634: The Bavarian Crisis

 1634 The Bavarian Crisis-Eric Flint.jpg

It's time once again for me to give yet another literary recommendation by going down the line for the next book in the Ring of Fire lineup. This time around, we are taking a look at a collaborative effort between head writer Eric Flint and co-author Virginia DeMarce, who also worked on several stories in the Grantville Gazettes and the anthology story, 1634: The Ram Rebellion (Which I will cover on a later article).

Released in 2007, 1634: The Bavarian Crisis was a sequel to Eric Flint's short story The Wallenstein Gambit from Ring of Fire I (A collection of anthology stories written by Flint and others), as well as continuing the story lines from 1634: The Ram Rebellion and 1634: The Baltic War. All in all, this book plays a fairly major role in setting up the state of politics in Central Europe during and immediately following the Ostend War first set up in 1633. The book also helps to set up several players that have been very big in the years following 1634, as the Emperor of Austria finally makes a big role and the presence of Bavaria as a major regional player against the USE begins with the outcome of this book.

This makes the reading of 1634: The Bavarian Crisis a rather important stepping stone for the rest of the franchise. Which is interesting given how much I'm not taken to DeMarce's particular writing style when all is said and done.

But I will cover that in the actual meat of the article. Speaking of which, let's get into it as we take a short look at 1634: The Bavarian Crisis.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Kousoku Sentai Turboranger Ep. 1: The Great Gathering of 10 Sentai: Counting on You! Turboranger - Summary/Review

This is a strange case. When this season came out it celebrated the 10th year anniversary of Super Sentai as the 11th team, now it is classified as the 13th. Fun fact, there was a point in time when Gorenger and J.A.K.Q. were not counted as Super Sentai incarnations and Turboranger came out during that time. Anyway, what we have here is Sentai's first vehicle theme team as well as the first team of all high schoolers. Kousoku Sentai Turboranger, roughly translated to High Speed/Speeding Squadron Turboranger. Click "read more" and let's see what this first episode has in store.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Pachinko Time (Gameboy - 1989 Japan Only)

 If you have never imported a retro game from Japan, you might not have run into these. Pachinko games are somewhat of an anomaly. They are ubiquitous in Japan, however they are completely absent in the United States. Consequently, when you look into importing for the first time, the cheapest options are usually pachinko games, and ever system has them. 

Pachinko Time is a game for the Gameboy where you play as a pachinko ball walking around a pachinko parlor with access to several pachinko simulations. On each machine, you are trying to completely bankrupt the payout base of the game, Thus "completing" that machine. Completing three machines will open a path to the next pachinko parlor. If you can complete three machines, you are able to move on to another parlor with newer machines to play on.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Green Phoenix - Let's Talk...DreamWorks Traditional Animation

 DreamWorks Animation SKG logo with fishing boy.svg

At the height of the Disney Renaissance during the mid-1990s, the company Walt built stood almost completely unopposed in the field of animation. Their only major competitor from a creative and financial standpoint was arguably Don Bluth Animations, and even they were beginning to replicate the Disney formula in order to attempt to achieve some level of equal financial success, to middling results. By the release of Beauty and the Beast, it seemed like Disney was on top of the world and absolutely unstoppable under the triumvirate leadership of Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Then came the unfortunate passing of Frank Wells in a helicopter accident. Suddenly the unifying element of the Disney triumvirate was broken and a power vacuum formed in the wake of Wells' passing. A battle raged for the soul of Disney between Disney's CEO Michael Eisner and the head of Disney animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg. As you can no doubt imagine by their positions within the company, the winner was a foregone conclusion and Katzenberg soon found himself fired and with a major chip on his shoulders.

Normally, that might be the end of the story. But Katzenberg had many friends in Hollywood and had been the largest force within the Disney triumvirate behind the Disney Renaissance. So when he made an alliance with Stephen Spielberg and David Geffen, DreamWorks Pictures was founded. For the most part, DreamWorks established a reputation as the edgier CGI counterpart to Disney, with some of their first outings like Antz and Shrek being either near rip-off of other Disney/Pixar projects or a criticism of the Disney corporation as a whole. And so was Disney's hegemony over the industry destroyed, ironically by the politics within their own rank-and-file.

However, in the early days of DreamWorks, a few traditionally animated films did pass through its halls. Nowadays, traditional animation is not very common from any of the studios. But I feel that the films that are spoken of tend to be exclusively from Disney.

And it is with that in mind, that today's Let's Talk... will discuss the short list of traditionally animated DreamWorks films. They don't make them anymore, but they were a vital part of the company's early history and represent a very unique aspect of the company's identity.


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Gosei Sentai Dairanger: E2 - Iiiit's Chi-Power!!! - Summary/Review

Time to continue our quest for thunder and chi. This is the second part of the intro saga that will now introduce the mecha in action. Click "read more" for my full coverage of episode 2.

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