The Journey so far

When I sat out to return to college and seek a degree it was one of those moves made out of desperation more than a seriously long hard look at where I was going. Before I ended up returning to college I was still running around trying to figure out what I was doing with my life and what I should be doing with my life. The problem is I was trying to do too much and not focusing on the things that were really important to me. I left Nevada partly because the economy was on the decline, the part time job I had only gave me usually 16 hours a week, and the signs were there that things were not getting better at least for where I was at. Some of my family had returned to Nebraska to start over and in the process I ended up where they were thinking I too would start over.

It isn’t so much that once I got here I had no idea what to do is that once I got here there just wasn’t much to do. We moved to a very rural area of the state were lets just say the jobs were beyond scarce and we were forced to try to start up our own businesses each of us. None of us were particularly successful and only one of my sisters husbands was able to land a full time job the rest of us were doing our internet stuff or trying to get some thing going out of nothing. I was working off what I had at the time, I had previously invested a lot of money into video production and editing equipment as part of a website I started with some friends as well as an extension of my music since I wanted to do some music videos also.

I had created a Youtube channel and was starting to really enjoy making video projects. For this reason and because I had some experience in computer repair and in web design I started a business doing those things for people, PC repair, making web sites, offering to convert old video tapes to digital files and put them onto DVD, things of that sort. It was a little rough going but I did manage to get a few decent paying jobs and was able to limp along for a brief period, before the money ran out and the market well dried up since there were just not that much demand for what I was offering.

I became a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and began attending development meetings and along the way I was hired to do a marketing video for the Chamber focusing on the local businesses and attractions that they would post online to their website, Face Book, Youtube, and show at the movie theater before the shows. Since they were a historic theater and were a non profit that showed movies for much less than others, they had an untapped market of people coming to town to see cheap films they could show case their video to and show off all the other attractions the town had to offer. Truth is the project eventually fell a part due to a lack of cooperation with the local business owners, and a lot of miscommunication on every end, so the project was scrapped and I was left again with nothing to do to make me any money.

This was shortly after the government changed the rules on how to apply for and qualify for student loans and since I had been rejected in the past for one stupid thing or another, I was reluctant to even bother signing up. Turns out it was a good idea as not only was I approved but I did get accepted into the school as a non-traditional student and from there I was in. This was great because it meant I had four years of basically free money to live off and a safe environment to plan my life.

I started out right away in the Broadcasting Major because well that was where I was at during that point in my life. I will skip over the part where I went through major changes during school and get right to the end. My last semester, which was my junior year meaning I had completed three years already and was only a year away from finishing up, due to a serious of events I won’t get into I was suspended from the school and kicked out of my apartment.

Up to that point I had kept my area of studies in the same general focus, mass communication, mass media. I moved around from Broadcasting to Content Development, Multimedia, Theater, Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations, Computer Science, and even changing to English Major at once point. The theme was the say, I wanted to do something in the mass media field mostly video production or maybe writing, but I was just finalizing my plans. A year ago I made a major change that threw everything into a big mess which ended up leading to my end at the University.

Not wanting to give all that up again out of pure desperation I immediately transferred for the next semester into the local community college and began taking classes right away in the area I wanted to be in, except I ran into problems, they wanted me to relocate to a town thirty miles away, then denied me the student loans I was going to need to move and live on, and to top it off I was not able to get a job to supplement my lack of income. So I made a quick change to the plan, I moved my major out of Mass media and into Business Administration, something I had been struggling with for a long time at the University. Why do this?

Well partly because I could do business classes online, which is the main reason, but also because I had previously completed an online diploma in business management a few years before so I already had the basic knowledge and being three years into a Bachelors meant transferring to an Associates all my general studies work was already completed and it put me a little closer to graduating. Still I felt like this was not the path I started out on and so I went into a panic and began doing what I always do, making quick changes without doing much thinking, I applied for a full time job at this factory that paid pretty good and decided I would just give up on school and go into that line of work, this proved to be a mistake I couldn’t shake off my conscience so I ended up finding some relief when they offered me a different job for slightly less money but better hours so I could continue to work on school.

Needless to say I was still facing other things that were getting in the way of me being able to enjoy or at least accept where I was at and so I went into a real panic, I sold all my belongings, packed up my van and took off for LA. As moms tend to do mine interfered and talked me into stopping off with her brother in Arizona. See the thing was he was just too close to LA for me to not run over and at least check it out so I did just that, and on the way as my money was running out and I was realizing the gravity of the situation I got a phone call from the company I was trying to get on and they offered my a full time position that would pay enough to live and go to school and gave me weekends off so I could still do my studies and things started to look like maybe they would work out after all. With just enough money to get me home I turned the van around and headed back, leaving California behind and that silly dream that somehow I was going to make it out there in the big city. Did I say big city I mean mega city and well let’s just leave it at that, that place was not for me.

Still looking back the reason I went into such a major panic was I didn’t want to throw away the last three years of my life and go back to what I was doing with no education no experience and skills that without education and experience weren’t worth much, I was doomed to return to bouncing around from one meaningless job to another. Well After taking a nice vacation/road trip I was able to clear my head and refocus on what is important to me. I am most likely not going to be truly happy with this job, there is no doubt about that. But it is the kind of job unlike most previous jobs that I can see my self sticking with at least for the time being.

My intention is to just do this for now, finish up my school, and see where I go from there. I don’t want to make plans too far into the future because one thing I have learned is plans change, they hardly ever go the way you expect them to anyways so it is best to stick with the short term and not worry about the future. So here I am now back on track but a little slightly off from where I was. At least I didn’t throw it all away and I have been keeping up with my school work, the best part of taking online classes is you can do them from any internet connection so far that has been very helpful for me. I am considering what my options are and as I look at the world, the job postings, and attending job fairs, I think that once I complete this degree I will be in a better position to at least look for better jobs than those I have been stuck doing in the past. It isn’t even so much about finding a job I will love as it is finding a job I won’t hate. Now that I at least have one of those, even if it is temporary, it is better than doing what I was doing before. I usually tend to remain optimistic in all things but lately it has been even harder than usual to do so. I think that with my head cleared and my new plans being something I can actually look forward to I am in a better place, even if very little has actually changed. Sometimes you just have to know what you are doing is the right thing for you and right now I can say that at least I am right where I should be right now. Stay Cool.

The future of Gaming, with or without Nintendo

I am going to just cut to the chase and not waist any time on a big build up, Nintendo is in serious trouble. As a long time fan of theirs it really worries me the state they are in. Die-hard loyalists continue to talk about all that cash they have saved up like it some how means they will just be able to exist forever, the problem is their stocks took a nose dive and they lose nearly $2 billion dollars in value over night. Now it didn’t hurt their cash reserves at first but their bonds became worthless and with the company expecting to post a $250+ million dollar loss for the third year in a row, that tells me they will start burning through that cash stock pile faster than they would like, and Nintendo loyalists (I hate the term fanboy), well they continue to bring up Nintendo’s past successes as proof of future successes, without ever getting into how bad it is when you consider the brand new PS4 sold more units in a single day than the Wii U did in an entire year, and sales keep going up for Sony and down for Nintendo, that says it all, their machine is doomed. But worse yet the truth is there is not a single plan out there that can save Nintendo, at least not in the way gamers are expecting.

Plan A, stay the course and release another console in 2-3 years time.

Why this will NOT work. First, Nintendo can not suffer three more years of losses and with Wii U sales flogging and 3DS sales on the decline, they could start running out of cash long before they have a chance to launch a dead on arrive console. Look at Atari and Sega, both dominated their markets at one time and then failed to move forward. Atari lost all confidence with the failure of the 7800 which followed the failure of their 5200, then they released a third failure, the Lynx, by the time they got around to scraping together enough chips and bolts to get the Jaguar on the market, they were so far in debt it was doomed from the start. Sega went through the same thing, they did great with Genesis and Game Gear but they lost face with Sega CD, 32X, Pico, Ex-Eye, CDX, Saturn, and Nomad, all those consoles released in the span of three years! Sega was so deep in debt when they launched the game machine the entire world had been waiting for, the Dreamcast, they could barely keep it afloat for one year before throwing in the towel and selling off their studios piece by piece just to stay alive as a (struggling) third party publisher.

Now lets look at Nintendo, they actually lost money big on the Gamecube, what saved them then was the GBA was a runaway success and they used the Game Boy Player to try to boost sales of the dying Game Cube. Want to know how bad Game Cube was, after only two years on the market they ceased production, slashed the price from $199 to $99 over night and bundled it with a Legend of Zelda collection that compiled all the best Zelda games to that point on one disk and gave it away for free. Sales picked up and they managed to stick it out for another two and a half years, during which time they released the GBA-SP a power house that could easily eat any losses Game Cube caused. Problem is, Wii U is selling WORSE than the Game Cube was at the same point in time, and it costs twice as much too. Retailers are already discounting the machine and several are shipping them back to Nintendo. Nintendo will soon be in worse shape than they were in 2003 when the Game Cube nearly destroyed their empire. Why bring that up? Because as low as sales were Game Cube was still a beloved system, sure it got a lot of jokes about being a purple lunch box but it still had a great array of games, first and third party all across the spectrum. The Wii U is not going so hot on that front, it has less than half of the games that Game Cube had in the same time and worse yet, the best selling game on the console, Super Mario 3D World, is the worst selling Mario title to date, even worse than the Game Cubes Mario Sunshine, a game that was considered a flop. Mario games tend to sell in the millions, not a million or two but multiple millions, Super Mario Bros. 3 held the title of best selling game of all time at 30+ million (this was of course before the multiple re-releases) Maario 3D World has YET to break the million mark and it is been out over two months, a bad omen when you put it in with everything else. Not to mention that with somewhere between 4.5 and 5.2 million Wii U consoles barely making it into gamers homes, Mario 3D World is already handicapped due to the low install base, even if every single Wii U owner buys the game it will still not reach Mario Sunshine’s numbers, and remember Mario Sunshine was NOT a run away hit. Put it another way Knack for the PS4, a game with mixed reviews and a lot of hate for being a knock off Nintendo anyways, sold nearly twice as many units as Mario 3D World which was the highest rated game of the year. How can a mediocre game out sell a main stream Mario title?

Unlike Game Cube where Nintendo was coming off the high of the N64 and the rush of Pokemon Fever, Wii U is in a slump the company has never seen. Wii was NOT a success despite the fanboys flogging the 100 million units so, when every nursing home in the world has at least 2 you can bet your ass half of those units are not being played any more, and the reality is Nintendo stopped making games for Wii in big numbers and started shifting focus to 3Ds in 2010, Wii was a fluke that only made Nintendo a few million bucks of easy money but cost them their entire loyal fanbase and then some.

Wii sold a lot of hardware but did not sell much software. Nintendo makes their money on software and a small profit on hard ware. Wii U they are actually losing on the hard ware and they are not selling software to make up the difference. Also fans and loyalists continue to say the 3DS is doing well sales wise, yes but they ALSO sell it at a small loss to grow the userbase and they just wasted millions of R&R, marketing, and shipping on a failed 2DS, which is a weird device that plays 3DS games but no 3D, or any of the features that make owning a 3DS great other than just the games. They had to sell that at a loss too. Reality is unlike GBA-GC where they lost money on one but made up for it in software and hand held sales, they are just losing money right and left.

Cue the remarks about how bad Sony is doing as a whole. Why does that not matter to Nintendo? Because Sony is not losing money in every division and if worse comes to worse Sony can sell off a money losing division, like Columbia Pictures as example, or their cell phone division, and make a profit elsewhere, Sony has plenty of room to wiggle around and plenty to fall back on, besides Sony is selling their hardware in massive droves and that will give them profits the likes of which Nintendo only remembers having once made. But it gets worse, Nintendo has nothing to fall back on, they are a toy company nothing more. In the video game space, their second best selling toy line to date, they make a ton of great games that do in fact appeal to a very wide audience. But their hard ware has NOT had universal appeal since about 1996 when they released the weird N64 that also struggle for a while but came out rosy in the end. Their most profitable product line is their Pokemon stuff but even that can’t offset the failure of sticking with the Wii U long term.

Plan B- go mobile

This is also a bad idea, people think they should either release their back log of games onto mobile devices or just make a Nintendo tablet/phone and make that separate. Why this will fail is simple, Apple and Android are killing Microsoft, a company 10 times as large as Nintendo, why in the hell would they want to compete with powerful companies that could chew them up and spit them out? They have no experience in this and people are too deeply invested into the tablets they have to make room for another entry, one that will be inferior anyways and whose selling point is to play Nintendo games, something people are already NOT buying Wii U to do. Why would anyone buy a Nintendo tablet to play even more inferior games than they would on a system they aren’t buying good games for? IF Nintendo released a smart device they would be bankrupt within a year or two tops.

Plan C- Make a hybrid machine small portable universal but can connect to a TV also.

Why this will fail. Hello, the 3DS is equal powerwise to a Game cube, a machine released 13 years ago, the tablets on the market are already more powerful, the Wii U is already more powerful and the PS Vita is already more powerful, in order for Nintendo to make a machine that can be portable, and still capable of displaying 1080p graphics on a big screen TV and have a controller built in, wait a second they already did this it is called the Wii U and it still is not selling? Now the hyrbid sounds good on paper but it is essentialy the same thing the Wii U already is but even more underpowered and potentially more expensive, well truth is if people won’t shell out $200 for a handheld, and they certainly won’t buy another tablet they what market is there interested in a hyrbid machine? It would basically just have all the mobile games anyways so its nothing more than a 3DS with TV output, Sony already did that with PSP and PS Vita TV, nobody bough those things. Why buy an even more underpowered games machine than the Wii U already is? This is a losing battle that many saw coming when the Wii U was announced and reality is Nintendo can’t pull this off either because who wants to buy a machine that is half assed as a mobile games and half assed as TV games? It would be the worst of both worlds not the best of both worlds. They would have better luck just dumping all their money into making as many Wii U games as they could and hope for the best, something they will still fail it but I will get to that.

Plan D- Just go third party.

I would LOVE IT if they did this but here is why it will not work. Unlike SEGA who has a rich and diverse portfolio, Nintendo is essentially a one trick pony, their main games are Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Pokemon, Star Fox, and Pokemon. Now if these games are already NOT enough to pull gamers into Wii U why would a PS4 or Xbox One gamer even care if they had Mario on their system, if they really wanted to play Mario they would have bought a Wii U instead right? Sega has ninja games, RPG games, Strategy games, sports games, fighting games, Sonic games, adventure games, movie based games, Ecco the Dolphin games, and so many weird odd games that gamers like its impossible to list them all. Having grown up on Sega I can assure you they in fact make more games than Nintendo does and often they have better games than Nintendo does. However going third party has caused Sega to turn into a shell of its former self and their games are hit and miss. Nintendo would do worse as third party than Sega is doing. Sonic sells well on Nintendo platforms but it falters on the other two. If Nintendo stopped making consoles Sega would stop making Sonic games as Nintendo gamers tend to be the only ones buying Sonic games these days. Nintendo has NO first Person games or open world games in their arsenal and that is where the mainstream market is. At least Sega still makes some sports games, the last sports game Nintendo made that DIDN’T have Mario in it was just Wii Sports, a generic game that only worked on the Wii. Nintendo does not nor can they compete with the likes of EA, Rock Star, Konami, even Valve. Nintendo does games tend to sell to quirky Nintendo gamers who like weird stuff but mainstream gamers pass over that stuff, even Sony and Microsoft have their share of quirky Nintendo-esque games that don’t sell well. Also Nintendo would be forced to actually compete in a market where their gamers would be split just like Sega, their fanbase would be split and therefore their sales would be all over the place. They would have a better chance just selling their games off to different studios and closing their doors than going third party.

Where does that leave them to go? Honestly I have no idea, I think no matter which course of action they take they are basically only delaying the inevitable. I would rather they did go third party and be forced to big into their catalog and bring back some great old franchises and really have to compete in a cut throat market, than if they just went away altogether. I would rather Nintendo end up like Sega rather than like Coleco, Atari, or Amiga, mere memories that fade further into obscurity with each passing generation.

Will I buy a Wii U? I was tempted just to you know throw them a bone, but if it will only cost them more money a true fan would better serve them by abandoning all hope for the Wii U and put the pressure on them to go fully third party. Nintendo could make money with Sony would step up and offer them money to put Mario or Zelda on their machine and Microsoft would pay them to get Star Fox and Metroid on theirs and Pokemon will go to iPhones. Then at least they can keep their fans happy. Honestly I think they are just on the death march so for me I will just wait to see where they end up, a tablet would be a bad idea, a hyrbid would be a terrible idea and riding out the Wii U would just further damage their reputation so as of now their best bet is to just go third party and stop all this jerking people around. I Would they ever rise to the top again, no they are finished Nintendo will NEVER return to the glory days the “golden age” of the NES/SNES, period. PERIOD. At least what they could do is is salvage what is left of their reputation and realize that Mario is not enough to Sell consoles BUT put Mario on a console that sells well without him and you have a better chance of selling Mario games at the very least.

Nintendo is holding an emergency management meeting on January 30th, that is less than a week away, expect big changes coming soon as their President has stated they are looking at a new business structure and even though they say it is not going 3rd party, I am willing to bet they are only saying that to save face when reality is they need to keep it secret until all the signatures are on the dotted lines. Stay Cool.

Michael Bay thoughts

I hear a lot of people on internet discussion forums blame George Lucas for ruining their childhoods because of the things he did to Star Wars over the years. People who had a specific view of what they in their minds thought Star Wars was supposed to be, and along the way they forgot that they were not the creators of the series but only the patrons of the company who was selling them a product.

I know for some people it is difficult to remember Star Wars is just a product, it is not a religion, or even a way of life, it is a media franchise that is designed to sell the brand to consumers who are willing to pay money for the products available. I never had that view, to me George Lucas could always do whatever he wanted with Star Wars, after all he created it who was I to tell him he was wrong?

The reasons I mention Star Wars up front is important because I will come back to that as I go through this. When I was a kid like most members of my generation, I grew up watching Star Wars. When I was a kid it was my all time favorite movie. What did I like most about it? Well let me be honest here that was a long time ago, it could have been any number of things. But what I do remember standing out in my mind quite prominently was it had robots in it and I really liked robots. I watched Space Camp because it had a robot in it for a brief moment. I liked Short Circuit because Johnny Five was a robot. And yes my favorite media franchise of all time, second only to of course Star Wars, is Transformers.

When I was a kid I loved the Transformers they were the best cartoon on TV, the best toys in toy stores, and they even had comic books that I found out about years latter. Growing up I will admit some of my best friends were either Autobots or Decepticons. Sure I would eventually discover other things like video games, comic books, D&D, and somewhere along the lines I started to get into girls too. But I never stopped admiring and appreciating what the Transformers were and represented to me. When I was about 18 I had gotten out of toys and been mostly devoted to trying to get my hip-hop career off the ground, hey it was the 90’s everyone was trying to get their rap careers started. Well one day I walked into a comic book shop that I often frequented looking for some X-Men comics and I decided to check out the other side of the store, the side I never went to and the dealer had a whole glass case filled with classic Transformers action figures. Out of nostalgia I grabbed a couple of the cheaper ones just to take home and re-connect with something from my childhood and from there it all came flooding back. One by one I built up a huge collection of these things, and I didn’t stop with the vintage ones either I even got into the new ones as they were just making a come back. Now this might be contentious but I don’t care, some people argue Beast Wars kept the franchise going, but I disagree mainly because for one Beast Wars wasn’t made by Hasbro is was Kenner, and two, when Hasbro brought Robots In Disguise out the headlines hailed it as a return of the Transformers, nerds could keep any fringe cult franchise going but if it isn’t mainstream then nobody cares and for me their come back was when they returned to the mainstream.

After a couple of years of dedicated collecting the toys became more popular than ever thanks to new cartoons, new comic books, and over all a revived interest in all things 80’s. But after a couple of years Hasbro took on this new practice of going overboard, pretty soon instead of launching one toyline, backing it up with a cartoon and comic and then moving on once it ran it’s course, they were running not two not three but FIVE toylines simultaneously. Each one had to be backed up by it’s own media, mostly comics as you can’t get kids to tune into too many cartoons at once their short attention spans don’t have room. But comics it is easier because they only come once a month and you flip through them much faster and more casually than a television program anyways. Then in 2007 Michael Bay came along and did to Transformers what George Lucas had done to Star Wars, he recreated it for a newer generation. Like Star Wars this caused a split in the fanbase and pretty soon Hasbro was having to launch even more toy lines, comic books, and promotions to try and keep everyone happy.

By about 2005 I had already given up on collecting as it became overwhelming, costly, and frankly I was getting more into video games so I sold my entire collection to this dealer and said good bye to my past. Sure every once in a while I might have an urge to want to go back and start collecting again, but as much material as there was in 2001 things are far out of hand now, I wouldn’t even know where to start anymore! So I realized something, I wasn’t going to do to Michael Bay what the Star Wars fans had done to Lucas, instead I was going to accept that I had *my* Transformers when I was a kid, and today’s youth have *their* Transformers. Thanks to good old Netflix I can go back and watch and old episode of the cartoon, laugh at how bad it is, and move on. But the desire will always be in me to return to collecting at least the vintage toys that I grew up with. As of right now I don’t have neither the time nor the money to even begin investing in a new hobby, or returning to an old one. But as least I can look back on it as a fond time and instead of hating Michael Bay for “ruining” my childhood I will just be thankful that Star Wars was popular enough to force Hasbro to launch a robot themed action figure line in the first place. Stay Cool.

New Gaming Generation is upon us

As an avid gamer it is always an exciting time when a new gaming console is about to launch. For many the question they have to ask is which console to get, an Xbox One, a PS4, or perhaps an Nintendo Wii U. Console gamers are an entirely different breed than PC gamers so I will skip the lecture on why I prefer one over the other and instead focus on what has me excited about this next generation, what has me worried about it, and discuss what I would like from this generation.

I will break them down one by one.

Xbox One.

I know most people are counting on Microsoft to repeat their previous success because frankly up till now Microsoft has been pretty consistent. The problem is Xbox One is not targeting the core gamer, it is instead going after an entirely different branch of the gaming segment, the sports fanatic. Microsoft has gone out of their way to talk about how Xbox One will be integrated with various Professional Sports services, their commercials and features they are touting are all focused on how sports will be the center focus of the machine. They will also rely heavily on TV services, in other words they want the Xbox One to be integrated with your Cable Box/DVR like no other device previously. There is a problem with this approach. The TV integration would make sense except for that fact that we already have Internet TV’s and just about every single DVD/Blu Ray player on the market as well as Roku, GoogleTV, Apple TV, Western Digital, etc, all these devices do the same thing, some more some less. Now sure the Xbox One will *ALSO* play video games but for some reason Microsoft is not really making that the central focus instead it is sort of a given, like an afterthought. Sure the machine will have games and post launch but if the market they are chasing is less gaming oriented and focused more on the TV integration and Sports services then they could have a problem, the core gamers might not follow suit and if that happens they could end up with a gaming system that doesn’t sell games but instead sells services. The very fact that Microsoft is relying heavily on cloud computing to offload some of the Xbox One’s features tells me that they are moving away from a dedicated gaming platform and more towards a multimedia machine that just happens to also play games.

In addition to all the above mentioned there is one really troubling problem with Xbox One, Kinect. Now the Xbox 360 Kinect was a travesty, some would say it was nothing but knee jerk reaction to Nintendo’s success with their Motion Controller. Others think it was just a matter of time. Either way Kinect was always optional and as such many people opted to avoid it. But the Xbox One will come with and require the technology in order to run the new machine. The new features of Kinect like it being able to tell when you get up and leave the room, being able to talk to the console and have it turn itself off and on is a but troubling to me. Some think it is a natural progression of technology but based on Siri and other voice activated computing services I think it is becoming clear that consumers regard these things as novelties that quickly wear off, or more often as an inconvenience. But the real problem is that forcing Kinect on gamers means that if you have no interest in the device and what it offers, that makes it harder to even consider buying the Xbox One.

Now what is there about Xbox One that would get me excited? For starters the whole idea of cloud gaming is exciting because it means that if, and a big if, Microsoft can invest in the right technology they can make it so the Xbox is just the streaming device and that all the heavy computing is done at a warehouse somewhere and this would force Microsoft to partner with Telecom companies to invest in expanding their broadband services and upgrading their lines, something that I believe would really benefit everyone. Also there is the idea that once cloud gaming takes off, that hardware costs will decrease dramatically and console gaming will become more enticing in the future.

There is no doubt that Microsoft takes their gaming division seriously but I am worried they have lost sight of who their core audience is and they might be making a mistake they can’t recover from. Nintendo went out of their way to reach an audience that is alien to their traditional core and now they are trying to get their core back they are in a bigger mess than ever. Microsoft could end up in far worse shape because Apple, Samsung, and Google are all chipping away at the division where Microsoft really makes their money and that could spell disaster for the entire company and all of their partners who are relying on them.

PS4

Of all the gaming consoles out there this is the easiest one to get excited about, Sony has the longest track record of being consistent, to date they have yet to release a console failed to reach their core audience. Playstation shattered all expectations and turned the entire gaming word upside down. Playstation 2 continued to break records and raised the bar. PS3 had a rocky start but in the end they were able to get their act together. Needless to say even though PS3 had a slow start in the hardware side, it has never been lacking in software. This is where Microsoft really has to worry, traditionally Xbox has been plagued by the very fact that a good majority of their must have titles were also available on PC’s and PC gamers continued to be troublesome to Microsoft. This was not the case for Sony, whose first and second party titles remain exclusive to their console, which can not be said for Xbox. True there are plenty of exclusives for Xbox but nowhere near the quality and quantity of Playstation. Brands like Ratchet and Clank, Grand Turismo, WipeOut, God of War, to name a few, have all had a strong place on Playstation consoles.

Unlike Microsoft, Sony has never been ambiguous about who their audience is, they are targeting gamers, people who live for gaming. Microsoft wants people who game, but not make gaming their life, Sony wants people who live to game and happen to also use their machines for other stuff. By making their machine a games console first and an entertainment machine second, Sony has always been able to show their core audience that they mean business. Also compare the amount of digital titles on Sony’s store to Microsofts and it becomes clear where the game developers want to put their titles. Playstation is hands down the most recognizable brand to core gamers and right now Sony is doing everything they can to show that PS4 will be faster, stronger, and better in every way than PS3 and they are doing it at an affordable price, which was the real reason PS3 was slow to take off. When it comes down to it gamers buy a games machine for the games, and right now both big consoles have their share of supports from the gaming industry, so that won’t be a major issue up front. However third party companies do need incentives to publish on a game console and I think Sony is looking to be the strongest contender for third party support whereas Microsoft looks like they could be in a position to fall behind.

What else can I say, Sony will continue to bring their back catalog of games from PS1, PS2, and now PS3 to their next gen console in digital form. The other difference between MS and Sony is that Sony has been in the game longer, in fact they go way back to the NES days. Sony has also been far better at attracting Japanese companies to their system and while Japanese companies have been struggling lately, they are regrouping and above all there are some really strong franchises coming from Japan that trump all other regions combined. Sega might not be as strong as they used to but they are buying up companies left and right, strengthening their catalog and giving them more options all the time. Capcom, Konomi, Taito, SNK, Square-Enix, these Japanese giants continue to prove their relevance and it is only a matter of time before they find their stride and return to the top. As for technology, the PS4 is basically doing the same stuff as Xbox One but without the Kinect. They will both offer similar features, the PS4 is slightly more powerful but that has never been a deciding factor for console gamers and isn’t likely to be now. What gets me most excited about PS4 is Sony has the desire to make their console the best it can be, they need it more than Microsoft. Sony is bleeding money and although they have begun to stabilize they are still in danger and PS4 is their golden goose, they are betting the entire farm on it being their return to glory and quite frankly they have the money to make it work. What that means is they need it more, so they will fight harder to attract the dedicated gamer and that bodes well for the gamers who will reap the benefits of a reinvigorated Sony willing to fight for their top spot.

Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo is in the worst position of all three, their console has already been on the market for a year, it has had an identity crisis trying to distance itself from the first Wii, and unlike Sony and MS, they no longer have a core audience to draw upon. See Nintendo has been in a slump over the last few years, they sort of drift along on nostalgia and a group of dedicated loyalists but as time has gone they have further alienated their core fans and have been shrinking their core user base for going on two decades now. They are in a unique position also because unlike MS and Sony who are corporate behemoths, Nintendo is still a relatively small company by global standards, they have three main divisions, their handheld division which as been under constant fire from Tablets, Smartphones, and other hand held devices, their Console division which has been in a troubled mess since the N64, they had a couple of good years with Wii but that was something on an anomaly as they were reaching an entirely different audience than their traditional gamer. Their third division which is their most profitable is their Pokemon division which is a little complicated but it is their only outside source of income unlike Sony and MS who have many.

The thing is, Nintendo has been around for so long that Nostalgia is their best asset. How many times do you see a commercial for the latest Mario game and instantly go back to your childhood and remember the first time you saved that princess from her tower? Unlike Microsoft who has been mainly the Halo machine, and Sony who has had a few strong franchises come and go, Nintendo has forgotten more franchises they the other two combined could ever hope to have. Nintendo has been the number one supporter of their game platforms since the earliest days and that is their biggest strength and their biggest weakness at the same time. Third party companies despise Nintendo because if they put their game on Nintendo’s machine it is not likely to sell with a Nintendo game sitting on the same shelf. For decades you would see third party games get discounted month after month while the same game that launched on the Nintendo machine, the Mario or Zelda, would sit there for years at full price, get discontinued and then immediatley become a best selling collectors item. Nintendo has always been in a great position in that people  but their machine to play THEIR games, not Capcom, not Midway, not Square, but Nintendo. Sony can’t say that people buy Playstation for the varied experiences, they buy Xbox for the online features and community, but if you combined all of the best selling games on MS and Sony you wouldn’t even have half of what Nintendo can sell. Let us not forget that their handheld division is still their main money maker and isn’t going away any time soon. So what is the deal with Wii U then? Well put it bluntly it has no games, or rather it has no compelling games that you either can’t get elsewhere or can’t live without. Right now the Wii U is getting better, with the new Sonic, Mario 3D World, and Donkey Kong Country coming out, but up till now they system has been plagued by a serious lack of games. Not to mention the consumer confusion over the name, not knowing if it is a new console or an accessory for the regular Wii.

What worries me most about Wii U is that it is underpowered compared to the other two and unlike Wii which had a brand new casual gamer market to draw on, Wii U is looking to recapture their core audience, problem their core audience was leaving them in droves even when they were making powerful consoles that could compete head to head with the big boys and they still lost ground. Now that making under powered machines is becoming a habit for them this has the hard core gamer worried because it means that even if sales do increase, third parties will still have to wrestle with putting their game on a machine that requires a tremendous amount of retooling to get it to work. PS4 and Xbox One are different in key areas but underneath it all they are basically the same, Wii U is entirely different, it has a weaker chip set, a smaller internal memory, considerably less RAM, and a controller that is as different as night and day. Sure it worked with Wii because motion controls were so intuitive and natural that anyone, including grandmas, could pick it up and play. With Wii U that is not the case, it utilizes a tablet style touch screen controller that is a cross between an iPad and a traditional game pad. Sure this means new and innovative gameplay features are possible, but it also means that game developers have to find interesting and innovative ways to make use of it, and gamers have to come to terms that a tablet is not the same as a remote. Not to worry as they still have remotes for the Wii U but that also complicates things, companies now have to decide to tailor their game to use the Gamepad, the traditional Pro controller, or the Remote, this is even more confusing than all those options the first Wii had. What is worse is devs might not be willing to make that investment on a console that doesn’t have the sales like the Wii did. And if it was a success so what, you just end up with and endless flow of party games, casual games, and other shovelware that would be better suited for the Android or iOS market.

What does excite me for Nintendo Wii U is what excited me for their past consoles, well prior to GameCube, and that is the new Super Mario game. Super Mario 3D World looks to be the most fun Mario game I have seen in years. I hated Sunshine, I wanted to like it, I tried to like it, but in the end it just wasn’t a Mario game to me. I never played Galaxy as by the time it came out I had already relegated my Wii to the party machine my parents played more than I did. If not for Virtual Console my Wii would have been collecting dust after the first couple of months. Now will Wii U I am no longer excited for Virtual Console because times have changed, and frankly I have purchase Super Mario Bros, original NES Zelda, and Donkey Kong classic from Nintendo more time than I care to admit, I am NOT going to shell out more money just to play those old games once again on another machine. What does that leave me with? Well Mario 3D World doesn’t look anything like Sunshine and whats even better is it looks like it is trying to reach the core gamer, which is who I am.

But are those three games enough to entice me to invest once again in a Nintendo console that I KNOW will lack certain third party titles I am pretty sure I will want to play? Games that I also know will NOT be coming to PC? Well the short answer is no, those three games are not enough. There are more games on the way but as of right now it is to be seen if those games will even make a difference or who knows they might end up getting canceled or pushed back to their next console, or even go multiplatform as Nintendo transitions into a third party like Atari and Sega did. Truth be told I am honestly worried for Nintendo and I would consider myself a fan, not a “fanboy” but a loyalist nonetheless. So for me I am realistically unsure if they can come back. I think Microsoft will either sell off their game division or they will morph into something core gamers run from, I think PS4 will sell strong numbers at first and then should start to level off as competition from tablets gets stronger, but Nintendo I am genuinely worried about, what could happen to them. Will I but a Wii U, PS4 or Xbox One?

If I had the money I would gladly pick up a PS4 in a heartbeat, I would get a Wii U once it has more than five games I want to play, right now it has three and that is not enough. I will never get an Xbox One period because some of the stuff MS is doing has me really worried. Plus I never owned an Xbox before, the first or the second so I have no desire to pick up the newest one. BUT I have owned every Playstation to date, and every Nintendo console to date so it is a safe bet that at some point in time I am going to get one, the other, or both, eventually. Right now I am leaning towards PS4 because it has features and a strong line up of games in the pipeline plus Sony is showing a strong hand at the moment. I might change my mind and get a Wii U if it has strong holiday sales that can lead to more games in the coming months because let me be honest I want to play that new Mario, I love Mario games in fact as a gamer I love Nintendo because they are the best at making video games, not so much interactive movies and sports simulations like their competitors. But Sony also has a knack for putting up a good fight and well Capcom makes some games I can’t do without that haven’t been strong on Nintendo consoles for years, same with Square and other Japanese games so for me, it usually is a two for, PS and Nintendo. The days of just getting the Nintendo machine and being happy are long gone.

In the end it doesn’t matter much to the rest of the world, each person will buy or not buy the machine of their choice for whatever their reasons are. As for me, I am in wait and see mode at this point but as a gamer I am tempted to get into the next gen at some point or another. Right now I will continue to enjoy the hell out of my PS3 which is nothing but awesome but eventually I will feel the need to get into the next gen and when that time comes I am going to have to make a tough call. Stay Cool.

Halloween 2013

Not much of a day, nothing went as planned. I didn’t watch any of the movies I set out to. I did end up going to a Halloween party they held at the College. It wasn’t my kind of thing so I left early. I didn’t expect anything much going in so I wasn’t disappointed. Then I watched the Bulls barely beat out the Knicks in their first match up of the season.

Movies Watched

The only Halloween related film I watched today was the original Hellraiser, I did watch a Halloween episode of Roseanne and then How I Met Your Mother, followed by Dream Warriors and Dream Master. I noticed Dream Child was on Sci-Fi Channel but since that is butchered for TV I just passed it up. Even though it will keep me up past midnight.

Chicago Bulls

Well not much to report other than they look like they are going to need some time to get back into the groove of things. Sure they won but it was a pretty close, low scoring game. I am glad to see Rose is back to playing, he looked to be in good shape, a little rusty but that is understandable.

Other than that not much else to report today. I had a quiz in my Geography class yesterday that I could have done better on but I wasn’t expecting to do that well considering I didn’t even study, mostly because I forgot until the night before. I hate it when that happens.

Tuesday I attended my film class and we were shooting footage for our projects and I was selected for a small on screen role so I got to see what it was like to be in front of the camera for a change.

#StayCool.

Journey to Perfection- Musical Therapy

I recently decided to take formal music lessons. I will be taking a piano class at school to officially learn how to play. I am also planning on taking a music production class and at least one music theory class as well. I have considered this for some time now so it has just been something I was putting off doing. I don’t want to change my major or minor, I finally settled on the perfect match for me that will lead me to a career that would be fulfilling for me. Still there is this big part of me that is musically inclined, after all I have been a musician pretty much my entire life.

My most recent attempt to get my music career going was in 2007, since then I have pretty much moved on to other things. The last song I composed was titled Journey to Perfection, which also became the first song I resurrected for my newest CD that I did last year for a school project. This was my first musical production that I made for my self no pressure to sell it to anybody just wanting to make something and it ended up being the best production I have ever put together. Well music is very powerful and I realized that maybe I won’t be a big record producer or a famous rock star but I think I can put my musical talents to good use in the business world. Recently I shifted my focus from Broadcasting to Advertising and Marketing. I decided that I would enjoy a career in media that allows for me to be creative but also has plenty of room for growth.

The foundation

The first instrument I ever learned was the drums, I was barely 3 when my parents got me one of those plastic drum sets and I banged the crap out of that thing. By the time I was old enough to join band in school that was it I was in every year, band, choir, music appreciation, I took them all. I mostly stuck with the drums but every now and then I would dabble in something different, guitar, piano, keyboards, turntables, I even tried the saxophone.

Eventually I decided to focus on doing music electronically mostly through computer software, mixing, and modern things like that. I still created my own samples and beats but I relied heavily on sampling and mixing sounds that I purchased or acquired. Sure I threw in some old school turntable mixing and scratching to mix it up.

Where do I go from here?

As a musician I have come to a point where I am no longer happy doing things that are not totally creative. I have decided that I am going to take formal piano lessons and learn how to get some serious usage out of that expensive electronic keyboard I spent my rent money on. I am also going to take some music classes at school. I decided that maybe with some real formal training I could get a gig writing themes for movies and television, or something else like video games, hell even commercials if thats what pays. I don’t think I will ever be the big arena tour rock star type but I could be the guy who uses the keyboard as a tool to further my career.

Traditional Holiday fluff

What are the best Holiday traditions? Going to the Fair, opening presents on Christmas morning, staying up till Midnight on New Years Eve, these are all holiday traditions that I am familiar with. My favorite holiday is not an officially recognized holiday by most accounts, but to me it is just as important. That is of course the day that ends October, Halloween. Sure it is not a legal holiday but it is a day of tradition.

Well I am too old to trick or treat, at least until I get some kids of my own. But My favorite tradition is watching scary movies. Who doesn’t like having a good scare on Halloween night? So keeping the tradition alive I am putting together a list of Halloween themed movies I am planning on watching this Thursday. There is a Halloween party at the college I am also considering attending but that shouldn’t interfere with my movie day.

So here is the list of movies I am planning on watching this Halloween and would recommend to anyone who also enjoys a good scream fest.

1. Pumpkin Head 2

I watched the original recently on Netflix and discovered they also have the second one so I will be checking it out. The original Pumpkin Head was not exactly the best horror movie ever made but it was a good Halloween vibe going on. Plus Pumpkins kind of go along with the day so it’s a good one to check out.

2. House 2- Second Story

Okay to be honest House was lame, really lame, but it had a few moments and I have heard that the second one was much better. I am not really all that into ghost stories but I do like haunted houses so it’s at least somewhat interesting.

3. V/H/S & V/H/S 2

I have been wanting to watch this one for a long time and now that they have the second one up I figured this would be a good occasion.

4. Child’s Play 2, Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky

I wish they had all five but I will settle for a mini marathon instead. I have never seen the latter ones so I am kind of not sure what to expect.  I will admit that out of the original trilogy part 2 was my favorite so it’s the one I would pick anyways.

If I have time I will also attempt squeeze in a Hellraiser and at least one of the Halloweens.

That is all for now. #StayCool.