My Super Smash Brothers 4 Wishlist

ssb4

As many of you probably already know, Super Smash Brothers 4 (SSB4) is just around the corner and myself, Luke, and some of the Savannah Gaymers have already started playing Brawl and Project M in anticipation for the new game. Overall, based on what I’ve seen of SSB4, I’m quite impressed with the way things are going and I’m all aboard the hype train. Tripping is removed, Little Mac is confirmed, and Namco, a company that actually has experience developing fighting games, is helping out with the balancing of characters. That being said, there are still some features, characters, etc. that I hope make it into the game. In no particular order, here is my top 10 wishlist for SSB4:

1) I want the speed of SSB4 to be somewhere in between Melee and Brawl. In general, I prefer Brawl’s floaty mind game-oriented playstyle to Melee’s fast-paced combo-oriented playstyle for the same reason I don’t like the VS fighting games too much (Marvel vs Capcom, Capcom vs. SNK, etc), there is too much stuff going on at once and I feel the gameplay devolves into whoever combos off first wins. That being said, I get that Brawl took it too far in the opposite extreme. The hit stuns on moves are too short, and the move animations are so long to the point where you can shield almost any move and hit the attacking character back before they are even done with their move’s animation. I would be perfectly happy with a medium between the two.

2) I want advanced techniques toned a bit from Melee. I don’t want to dumb down the competitive scene in the same way Brawl did, but I will say that the amount of hard to master but essential techniques in Melee was ridiculous. I remember when Josh and I were practicing Melee before Brawl came out and Josh was trying to learn to wavedash (he mained Gannondorf so it was essential for his character). At one point, Josh got frustrated and said something around the lines of, “Dammit! I don’t have the fairy fingers for this!”. And that’s my point, you shouldn’t need an 18 dexterity to be competitive in smash. Again, a happy medium between Brawl and Melee’s advanced techniques would be amazing.

Wavedashing

3) I want alternate costumes for characters.  Sakurai already stated that he doesn’t believe in alternate costumes since he wants all characters to be in their most iconic state, so the chances of this happening are small. Still though, it would be pretty awesome to have Dr. Mario as an alternate costume for Mario, or something like Dry Bowser as an alternate costume for Bowser.

4) I want Jigglypuff to return. This is a pretty obvious want of mine since I love her with all my heart. I wasn’t worried about her not returning at first, considering she’s been in every game since the original on 64, however, I recently discovered that she almost didn’t make it into Brawl (which explains why she was so bad in that game). Jigglypuff is basically irrelevant to Pokemon at this point and the only reason why she remains popular is because of Smash. Regardless, that bitch better make it back in AND she better have that sunhat so I can continue playing as Monica Beverly Hillz.

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Can’t you see I’m trying to get some sun?

While we’re on the subject, can Jiggly please have back her old Rest move from Melee back so she can do things like this again? Thx. (Editor’s Note: Video is optimally watched without sound.)

                        

5) I want a revamp of Pokemon Trainer. At first, Pokemon Trainer seemed like a cool character concept. He controlled three different pokemon that can be switched out mid-game and each pokemon got fatigued after fighting for a while in order to force the trainer to switch pokemon. It was great in theory, but the reality was that the fatigue feature along with the long transformation time between pokemon made the character almost unplayable. If you would’ve asked me my thoughts on Pokemon Trainer a couple of weeks ago, I would’ve said he should just be removed entirely, but after playing Project M recently, I think it would be a shame to remove Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizad from the roster. I don’t think they should necessarily be split up into 3 different characters like in Project M since that would take up way too many spots. I just want Pokemon Trainer to be more like Zelda/Shiek except with three different characters instead of two. If Pokemon Trainer is removed from SSB4, then can we at least get Mewtwo back? Thx.

6) I want Sakurai to continue to de-clone certain characters. Brawl made some huge steps here in trying to make characters like Falco significantly different from Fox, but overall there were still too many clones in Brawl. Why Gannondorf and Captain Falcon still had the same basic moveset in Brawl was beyond me. We know that Toon Link is confirmed for SSB4, so hopefully, they took some steps to make him something more than a faster, better, Link.

7) I don’t want Chrom on the SBB4 roster. Fire Emblem: Awakening is the most popular  Fire Emblem to date and basically propelled the franchise into mainstream popularity, so I expect there to be some sort of Awakening representative on the roster, I just don’t want it to be Chrom. Don’t get me wrong, Chrom is a good character, but I worry that he would replace Ike on the roster, and Ike is a unique character who feels and plays very differently from Marth. Furthermore, Chrom almost seems like he’s in between Marth and Ike in terms of power and fighting style, so it would be weird for him to be in the game with Ike’s moveset. Technically, they could all three appear in SBB4, but I would have a problem with all of the Fire Emblem representatives being blue haired swordsman. If they were to have an Awakening representative in SBB4, I would perfer it to be Robin (Avatar, Myunit). I think the blend of sword fighting and magic would be refreshing plus Robin can be played as either gender similar to Wii Fit Trainer. If that doesn’t work, can we at least get a popular character who isn’t a lord, like Tharja? Also, I want a Lucina alternate costume for Marth.

Marvin would have a new main if Tharja was added.

Marvin would have a new main if Tharja was added.

8) I want SBB4 to have decent online play. Let’s face it, Brawl’s online play was awful. Matchmaking took forever, it was laggy, and you could only play timed matches. I would literally kill for SBB4 to have ranked online matchmaking and options to play things like 1v1 4 stock matches with an 8 minute time limit.

9) I want two specific stages to return. The first is Dreamland 64. It’s basically the perfect stage: simple, balanced, great music, and with a low-impact stage hazard. It has been my favorite stage since 64 and I’m sad that it didn’t make it into Brawl. The second stage I want to see returned is a little bit more controversial. Story time! Back at EA, I was playing in the finals of a doubles tournament. It was me (playing Jigglypuff) and I think Ben (playing Fox) vs the developer who won our singles tournament a few weeks before (playing Marth) and his developer friend (playing Sheik?). We win the first round and lose the second round because the match came down to Jigglypuff vs. Marth and that’s a bad matchup for me (Jiggly needs to get in close which is hard since Marth wields a long sword). We’re about to play the final match and it’s time for Ben and I to choose a stage. We decide to go for the gambit and choose a stage where Jiggy might be able to maneuver around Marth. What stage did we choose? POKE MUTHAFUCKING FLOATS! What resulted was one of the most hilarious and epic games of smash I have ever played in my life. We still lost that round (barely), but Poke Floats still has my pick for the best moving stage of all time and I want it to return.

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POKE FLOATS!!!

10) I want the following characters to be added to the roster even though most of these will never happen: Birdo, Daisy, Dixie Kong, and Geno (from Super Mario RPG).

There you have it. Those are the ten (or more) things I want to see make it into SSB4. Will I still buy the game on release date even if nothing on this list actually makes it into the game?

In Defense of Looking

LOOKING

As you may or may not already know, there is a new show on HBO called Looking, following a group of gay friends navigating relationships in San Francisco. The main character is a ‘gaymer,’ so I knew that as soon as the show started I had to watch it and write about it. As of a few days ago, I’m fully caught up (there have been 5 episodes so far) and I have to say that overall, I think the show is just okay. I find that there are too many awkward scenes, there needs to be a touch more comic relief (the female roommate of one of the guys fills this role perfectly and is comedy gold every time she’s on screen but her part is not that big), and I basically want to murder the main character despite his gaymer status. So why I am writing a post called ‘In Defense of Looking’? It’s because this show is constantly being attacked online by various members of the gay community and I believe that most of these attacks are undeserved. The attacks are centered around two main points of contention: 1) That the show is boring, and 2) That the show puts gay people in a negative light by being overtly sexual. I will discuss each of these points in turn.

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WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

One of the most common things I’ve seen people post about is how they watched the first couple of episodes of Looking and stopped watching because it was too boring. Not every show is for everyone and I get that. My problem with the boring critique is that I think a lot of people are going into the show with a different idea than what the show actually is. If you go into the show expecting it to be a gay drama where boyfriends get into explosive fights with one another and a group of friends that are constantly fighting over the same guy, then you are going to be disappointed. Likewise, if you go into Looking expecting it be a gay Sex in the City-style comedy romp, then you are going to be disappointed. Looking is about trying to portray a realistic look at the modern gay dating scene. It’s about guys going on awkward dates with people they met online, hitting on gay coworkers and failing, going through a slut phase after a bad relationship, seeing the only guy you’ve dated for longer than six months getting happily married to someone else, trying to hook up with someone when all you really want is a relationship, getting too drunk and doing something embarrassing around the guy you’re trying to hit on, hooking up on grindr as a means of coping with depression/anxiety, and couples wanting to try something new to spice up their relationship. I, personally, have experiences with most of the things on that list, and, between me and my gay friends in LA, I’m pretty sure we have it all covered. While not everything is super realistic (of course one of the main character’s love interests has a British accent … urrgghh), I think it’s realistic enough to paint an accurate portrait of the gay dating community.

From left to right: The older gay who is promiscuous, the gaymer who is looking for love in all the wrong places, the artsy gay in a committed relationship.

From left to right: The older gay who is promiscuous, the gaymer who is looking for love in all the wrong places, the artsy gay in a committed relationship.

This actually brings me to next point. A lot of people put down Looking for being too sexual, and thus hurting the gay image in the media by being too stereotypical. Again, Looking is just trying to be accurate. It’s a show about gay guys dating so of course it’s going to have sexual themes. There is no way around that. I saw a comment recently on Facebook about the show, and the guy said that he stopped watching after the first 10 seconds because the show started off with two guys cruising in a park. Seriously? That is what you’re mad about? If you watched for literally another minute, you would have seen that one of the guys couldn’t actually go through with it and part of the episode was a frank discussion about whether or not cruising is even appropriate or right for that person. To be honest, I think the show actually needs more sex in it. If you’re going to go for realism then I think you have to take it all the way. Just speaking from personal experience, I’ve known a friend who got blown in public during pride last year, I’ve known friends who left parties I was throwing to go have sex, I’ve known friends who have left my house after hanging out to go on a grindr hookup with someone in my apartment building, and I’ve even heard tales of gaymer parties turning into literal orgies. Honestly, I feel like the show’s producers probably did tone down the sexual aspects of the show because they were anticipating some push back from the gay community. Granted, that push back happened anyways, so they should’ve just gone for it.

The scene at the Folsom Street Fair where Looking showed the only penis thus far.

The scene at the Folsom Street Fair where Looking showed the only penis so far.

Thus far, there has been maybe one sex scene per episode. That is not that much and they’ve all been pretty tame. Hell, Game of Thrones shows more sex than Looking does, despite Looking literally being about guys trying to have sex with each other. Games of Thrones has even shown more penises and male asses than THE GAY SHOW ON HBO. Let that sink in for a second and then come back and tell me how sexual this show is again. And if Looking is still too sexual than what’s the other side of the spectrum? Does a show about gay people have to be like Modern Family, where the gay couple is so heteronormative than they could be replaced by a straight couple and it would literally change nothing? The gay community is so splintered with regards to how gay people should be portrayed by the media that is impossible for a show focused on gay people to avoid criticism.

Personally, I applaud Looking for even trying.

Salt Life

Hello everyone! It’s been a while since I posted here, but I figured that since we moved to Savannah about a month and a half ago, it was about time for a life update. For the purposes of this article, this update is gonna take the form of a FAQ.

salt life

How do you guys like Savannah?

We like it alright. It’s not the best place we’ve ever lived but it’s serviceable for the time being. The city has a lot of good things going for it: It’s close to the beach (salt life), the downtown area is nice and it’s super walkable, there is a thousand places to eat (some of which are quite good), we like the hot weather, and there are all sort of cool events going on throughout the city (last week we did the Savannah Art Walk and this weekend is Savannah Pride). The city really does feel like Santa Cruz to me in a lot of ways. Savannah is really close to Atlanta, which is a super awesome city, but we’ve only been twice so far (once on the way to Savannah and once for my birthday). Our main problem with Savannah is the atmosphere. You can just feel the Southern Conservatism in the air. I was driving around a few weeks and literally saw this exact bumper sticker on the back of a truck:

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Seriously. Also, you pretty much can’t escape religion here. There are literally 10 churches within a half-mile radius of our house (and I use the word literally in its original definition). Luke and I are both very affected by our environment so we’re not fully comfortable here at the moment. I’ve been to three magic tournaments here already, and at every single one I heard gay jokes being tossed around as well as guys being bro assholes and making sexist comments. If you’re curious as to what was said, follow me on Twitter (@adinoruiz) as I live tweet all my tournaments. I won’t be going to any more tournaments until SCAD comes back into session next week.

SCAD (the Savannah College for Art and Design) is going to be starting back up at the end of the month and Luke and I can’t wait. Apparently the city feels very different when SCAD is in session, so we’re anxious to see what its like. A lot of people call the SCAD students pretentious, but I’d much rather deal with art school pretentiousness than southern conservatism, and besides, this city desperately needs an infusion of youth.

 OMG Paula Deen!!!11111?!?!!?!?!?!?!?????

paula-deen-lawsuit-reaction

No one is really talking about the scandal here anymore, and a lot of the Paula Deen paraphernalia has been quietly swept under the rug. You hardly see advertisements for her Savannah tours anymore. However, Savannah is still very racist and very segregated. The racism comes out when people talk about crime in the city, and people fucking love talking about crime in this city. You can’t escape it. I’ll walked into a game store recently and the cashier immediately started talking to me about Savannah’s crime rate. If you ask these people where to avoid walking at night, you always get the same answer, and while they never say it outright, they always point to the neighborhoods where all the black people live. We get it. As a side note, the police presence in this town is outrageous. If I’m in the car driving around for 30 minutes, I will see, on average, three cop cars. Both of us have already gotten pulled over once since we’ve been here. Luke was given a 400 dollar ticket for speeding (he was going 55 in a 35 zone).

You guys meet any friends yet?

We’ve met a couple of people here already. Andy is around, but he goes out of town a lot and has to go to bed early so we actually haven’t hung out much. There are a couple of other gays we’ve met online that we’ve been hanging out with a little. One of which is a Cooper clone, in that he looks like and has the same mannerisms as Cooper. Personality-wise, they are pretty different but there has been a few times where I forget I’m talking to him and not Cooper. I imagine we’ll meet more people when SCAD comes back into session and there are more people in town that share our interests.

How are Luke’s classes going?

Luke has been super busy with classes recently, even busier than normal. He’s trying to learn two different subjects and prep for two different classes at the same time, so he’s been pretty stressed out. One day last week he actually worked until midnight, which I’ve never seen him do. This week has gone a lot smoother and I think he’s finally getting into the groove of things. His students seem to love him as well, so I predict that he’ll probably get good evals.

Have you graduated from LMU yet?

No. My professor has read my article, I’ve done all my edits on it, and she delivered the final versions to the MBA office yesterday. Now I just have to wait for the change of grade to go through and then I’ll be graduated! It’s actually been a little bit awkward applying to jobs while I’ve been here since I don’t technically have my degree yet and some jobs actually want an unofficial copy of my transcripts. So hopefully, this process will finally be down with by this time next week.

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How’s the job search going?

It’s going okay. When I first moved here I was getting interviews like crazy, however, I either didn’t get the job in the end or I interviewed at a place and realized that the job wasn’t for me. I did have a very promising series of interviews at Gulfstream doing diversity and corporate social responsibility HR, but I ultimately did not get the job. Now, I’m noticing that the job boards around here are starting to dry up and there are less and less positions I’m interested in. Luckily for me, I just got a paying gig assisting an executive recruiter at La Verne University, basically doing the same thing I did at my part-time job at LMU. It won’t last long, but at least I have something to tide me over for a bit. If I don’t have a job once this gig is done and my PhD applications are complete, then I will start freaking out and applying to everything I see, but for now I can afford to be picky. Speaking of job stuff, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT TEXT/IM/EMAIL/FACEBOOK/CALL ME AND ASK ME HOW MY JOB SEARCH IS GOING OR HOW MY INTERVIEW WENT! Going through the process of finding a job is stressful enough without having to relay disappointing news over and over again. When I have an update about a job, I’ll let you know.

Ummmm …. is it alright to ask you about how the PhD application process is going … or will you murder me?

Yes, it’s okay to ask me about PhD applications and that process is going well. I have submitted my article to the journal Games and Culture, and I should find out if I’ll be a published author in a couple of months. I am a little bit worried that my piece might be too business-y for the journal, but at least I’ll get good feedback. In the meantime, I’ve been studying for the GMAT so that I can retake it and get my score up for my applications. I take the test on Tuesday, but I feel pretty good about it. I’ve been studying so much math that I’ve actually been having dreams about math problems. I heard that’s super healthy.

What games have you guys been playing?

Dungeons-and-Dragons-Chronicles-of-Mystara-360-PC-PS3-Wii-U-PC-and-PS3-Launch-Announcement-Screenshot-1

Luke and I still play Magic occasionally but we haven’t touched our EDH decks since Los Angeles. Instead we’ve just been messing around with standard decks and duel decks (Heroes vs Monsters is pretty awesome). It’s been pretty fun, and honestly, I think I needed a break from EDH. Other than that, Luke and I picked up a copy of Ticket to Ride, so we’ve been playing that with two players or occasionally with the cooper clone. We’ve also still been playing Mario Kart 7 and Animal Crossing for 3DS, and we just picked up the Chronicles of Mystara remake on the WiiU virtual console.

How is little Ponyo doing?

It took Ponyo a little while to adjust to the new house and to stop being mad at us for shipping him across the country and abandoning him in Atlanta for a week. He finally started to calm down a little bit a couple of weeks ago, but he got into this habit of screaming in the middle of the afternoon, right as I’m trying to study for the GMAT. We figured he was probably getting lonely, and once I get a job/get into a PhD program, he was going to be at home by himself a whole lot more. So last weekend, we decided to get him a friend:

Introducing Cake!

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Yes, we got another orange kitty. She is named after the gender-bent version of Jake from Adventure Time. For reference:

In addition, her name is also referencing something else amazing:

Anyways, Cake is a huge sweety and Ponyo has been acting crazy since we got her. We suspect that since Ponyo got neutered so late in life, he’s acting like he’s in heat even though he couldn’t get it up if he tried. I thought Ponyo’s screaming was bad before we got Cake, but now it’s way worse. He’s been yelling and crying now at like 4am every night and Luke and I are now extremely sleep deprived. Hopefully it gets better soon or else I might literally go insane.

That’s all for today’s update. Toss me a question in the comments or on facebook and I’l try to get to them soon.