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Chris S
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Chris S

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Does anyone else feel like it's been a while since Kickstarter felt like the promise land for independent creators? Those projects still exist, but the funding and attention is being drawn away by established companies essentially using crowdfunding for pre-orders and established creators "going independent."

It would be a bold lie to say that my money hasn't gone to support the problem. I very quickly supported the project of the Veronica Mars film. Fortunately, using Kickstarter to fund Hollywood movies didn't quite take off thanks to the failure of Zach Braff's project. It still set a precedent for things to come. Since then I've Kickstarted a spiritual successor to a video game series that I grew up loving, spearheaded by a game designer who has been established since the late 80's. I've also Kickstarted two games by Indie Boards and Cards, whose The Resistance game is quite popular and Flashpoint game is fairly well known. They don't seem very "indie" to me. Not everything of theirs needs to be on Kickstarter at this point. I could be wrong, but they seem to be at the point where they can take a financial risk.

It's hard to keep track of the new creators who come on Kickstarted. I hear about the projects from people who specifically look for and share those projects, but I don't hear much else. I don't hear about people supporting those projects. I don't hear about the results of those projects. In the end, I don't hear about those independent creators really doing anything. The big names are taking up all of the bandwidth. Maybe Kickstarter ought to change their policies somehow to disallow bigger names from using the site. These projects are already coming to Kickstarter after having quite a bit of seed money, it would seem.
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A more lucid response then…

Insofar as Kickstarter as ever been "the promised land for independent creators", it remains as much so now as before, if not more so. Dozens of articles, blog posts and general griping in the past two months have lamented "it seems like" large successes are driving out the independent creator (in computer and role-playing games, in particular). Cumulatively, these sources have come with exactly zero evidence, or even compelling argument, that this is actually happening.

If anything, the evidence I've seen suggests (but not entirely convincingly) the opposite: that large, loud projects wind up introducing new people to the Kickstarter ecosystem, some of whom back other things.

Since independently created projects have always relied on (virtual) word-of-mouth instead of large marketing budgets, the notion that marketing from larger companies are "drawing attention away" from smaller projects doesn't really pass the sniff test. For this to be true, your average social media feed would have to be suddenly buried in your friends shilling for "established companies" so much that more than just other Kickstarters would be drowned out.

Anecdotally, I see at least as many independent Kickstarters as I did before, probably more. That I also see more "established company" Kickstarters hasn't changed the number of independent Kickstarters I back.

One thing I have noticed is a strong, welcome decline in the number of incompetent independent Kickstarters being pitched, but I don't think that is attributable to "established companies" either.
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Chris S

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Is it weird that I want challenge coins produced for my meetup group? Is it somehow weirder that I honestly believe that everything I've ever been involved in should have produced challenge coins?
The United States Military is not known for being touchy-feely. There's not much hugging or head-patting, and superiors don't always have the authority to offer a serviceman a raise or promotion. W...
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This is awesome. Someone has physical proof of just how far Nintendo and Sony got with their Play Station.
Dan Diebold woke up to a hangover and a lot of emails Friday morning, all of them asking about a series of pictures he posted on reddit of what seemed to be the unicorn of gaming history: a prototype...
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Chris S

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Speaking of Mega Man Legends, I finally played the game! I've only had it in my collection for the maybe 6 or 7 years, but I finally popped it in and played through it. And it was...short?!

One of the main reasons I didn't play the game was because I feared the time commitment it would require. Turns out it's a less than 10 hour game. It's not an abrupt end like Zone of the Ender, but it still provides that way-too-soon feeling. It doesn't help that it happens just as the game and story are actually getting interesting.

I don't mean to be down on the game, but the overall experience was a bit disappointing. I chalk this up mostly to the hype surrounding the game by its fans. The game didn't feel like anything special to me. It struck me as another 3D-based Playstation adventure with clunky controls (up moves forward, down moves backward, left and right make you literally run in either direction without a camera shift (it's a sidestep, except his whole body turns), and turning requires L1 and R1), invisible walls, and bad voice acting. It doesn't even strike me as particularly amazing for its time. Sure, the R2 targeting predates the Z-targeting in Ocarina of Time by almost an entire year as far as original release dates are concerned, but it doesn't quite work. Mega Man doesn't track his targets, and he cannot move while targeting. It was a bad design implementation.

The story also has very little going for it until right before the end. Hey, there's this world that exists after some major event, so there are all sorts of buried treasures to find! Speaking of things being found, Mega Man Volnutt was found with a mysterious monkey helper when he was really young. But how young was he? Did he grow up? These are important questions to ask when it's revealed late in the game that Mega Man is not a real person - especially in that he can upload his memories into his monkey. At the end of the game, Mega Man runs into Mega Man Juno, who wants to eradicate all life from the island because humanity sucks. This is all just a taste of the much more interesting backstory that the game doesn't go into. Does Legends 2 reveal more? I have a copy of that game as well, so I'll find out someday.

I can see what is ultimately appealing about Legends. There's a promise of this really interesting world buried beneath, well, this game. I want to learn more. I'm just not that interested in actually playing the game.
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Came across some spoilers for Legends 2. The world that is teased is so much more interesting.
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comcept just released a teaser video for a new game called Red Ash. While information is not there, one word was repeated quite a bit - legends. Just as Mighty No. 9 is a spiritual successor to Mega Man, Red Ash may be the successor to Mega Man Legends.
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Turned on Apple Music last night to discover the same thing. Lots of alternates and instrumentals for The Fragile and With Teeth that I can't just, y'know, have. I give it a day or so to end up torrenting sites. Not the same, though. I always want to give Reznor my money. He needs my help to afford that mansion in Louisiana, I'm sure.
 
Just uncovered my first problem with Apple Music. Reznor just posted The Fragile as alternates and instrumentals. I want to buy it. I can't.
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Chris S

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Argh... Her flight out of Chile has been delayed a day. I suppose it's better that they discovered they had engine issues while they were still on the ground rather than the other option...but she's done now. Three hours sitting on the tarmac without information is torturous.
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No surprise, Red Ash, which can be read as "Re-Dash," is indeed another stab at Rockman Dash/Mega Man Legends. This time comcept is not only Kickstarting a game but also a companion anime (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mightyno9/red-ash-magicicada-by-studio4c). I don't see the game being funded quite as quickly as Mighty No. 9.

First off, the more I learn about the Legends series, the more I realize it's quite niche. Then there's the fact that fans haven't exactly gotten their return on investment from funding No. 9 yet. It was supposed to be out by now, which would have been perfect timing to announce a new game. Instead, with it coming out in September, fans can't quite get an idea of the quality resulting from their funding. Then there's the fact that these are two separate projects, which means that in order to see both fans will have to fund two projects at once. I think this is probably going to hurt the anime the most, since the game is what people want to see more than anything.

I have to admit that I really appreciate the vastly different endeavors on the part of comcept. A game about exploring an anime world is quite different from ReCore, their partnership with a Western studio for a game that...well, I don't quite know what that game is yet. Still, for such a young studio (which is not full of young designers), they've been doing a lot. I definitely want to see more. But I want to see fewer things that require Kickstarter, if I'm to be totally honest.
Running free in an anime-inspired game world! Embark on a near-future sci-fi adventure in search of the "Legendary Legacy"!
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Chris S

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I think the fear of everyone handling parenting better than anyone else is something bred about by this generation of online thought curators. Facebook in particular is all about looking your best online because you're likely to run into those people down the road. You put on your best face for everyone.

I don't know if previous generations were actually more honest. I always thought in generations where you never actually talked about the negative things that there was an understanding that they existed. Not to mention there were ways to talk about things in a roundabout way, like mentioning how the neighborhood is getting more dangerous but not talking about the fact that the people down the street are black. I imagine mothers referring to their children as little monsters in an ironic way, but it's understood that they really do exhaust her and bring her to tears.

The rest of the piece speaks with an honesty that I wish many could tap into about so much more. Lay your cards on the table and suddenly everything makes so much more sense. Parenting is tough for so many reasons. Kids cost money, they require a great investment of time, and they don't do what you want them to do - and sometimes it's simply because they don't care to listen. Everyone around you has an opinion about kids and what you're doing with them. That weighs down on you whether you value the person's opinion or not. The one that really gets me, that I've mentioned before, is they take time away from other things you might actually want to do, and they make you feel isolated and disconnected from others. But those are internal struggles that I and other parents need to face. Chances are if we weren't complaining about those struggles, we'd find other struggles. (In all honesty, I've harped on my mixed heritage or my hobbies as being reasons why I don't connect with others and feel isolated. With a kid front and center, and don't blame those aspects of my personality as much despite those being constants. It tells me that, really, I'm just anxious and insecure. Whatever it is that comes up, I need to learn how to own it and become better.)

Raising a kid is wonderful, though. Milestone achievements, someone looking up to you and basing behaviors on you (which makes you as proud as it makes you feel self-conscious at times), and someone you hope takes the best qualities from you and uses them to make a better tomorrow are just a few of those things. It's not easy. But what the hell kind of life are you living if you only take things easy?
I thought I was a shitty parent. I thought everyone was ‘doing’ parenting better than I was, because NO ONE else was saying one damned negative thing. I’m pretty honest on Facebook about how amazin...
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[Phillip Larkin nods]
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Chris S

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Something struck me about watching my discs for the official English release of Zeta Gundam. The English opening (https://youtu.be/vVp_jCwhFB0) reminds me of the opening of Robotech (https://youtu.be/WHfNniqT7bo). It's not the music. It's the unnecessary sound effects for what's going on in the animation. I guess they were added because the new theme is so unremarkable. Which is unlike Robotech's opening, which remains awesome.

It's still a shame that the original Zeta opening could not be used. I don't have the full story, but the song were adapted from Neil Sadaka songs - including a song that was never actually released. Someone should just buy the publishing rights to those songs so we can get the original opening themes back. They work so well. But now it's as if they no longer exist. With the release of the Zeta Gundam films, new songs now represent the series.

Bonus: Richie Kotzen released an entire album of Gundam covers. Here's his cover of the opening: https://youtu.be/ngaBfVeJ3i4
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After this Secret Wars business wraps up, Peter is suddenly going to find himself incredibly successful in the tech world. I'm always up for changes in the status quo in comics. Always. So I say. Uh... A successful Peter Parker doesn't seem right to me, though. Gone is the Parker luck, and gone is the fact that being Spider-Man is the sacrifice he makes in order to better world - a sacrifice that tends to hold him back in so many aspects of his life. At this point he might as well make a Tony Stark-esque announcement to the world about his being Spider-Man.

At least the street level character who's just trying his best to make it in the world exists in Miles Morales' Spider-Man title. Marvel has put him in the role of the more traditional Spider-Man, which is just wonderful. I just hope some of his cast of characters come along with him.
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It took me some time, but now I've watched through the original Mobile Suit Gundam film trilogy as well as the entire Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory OVA series. Next up is Zeta Gundam, which I suspect will take me the remainder of the summer. Perhaps even a large portion of the fall. After all, it's a 50 episode series.

I really need to find the 0083 compilation film. While the series overall goes down pretty smoothly, there is some fat that could be trimmed. Kelly and his mobile armor are unnecessary, and I could do without scenes of Kou literally running away from confrontation. ("Kou, I don't want you piloting Unit 1." "Nina, how could you?!" Then he runs away. What the hell is that?)

The best part about the OVA is that it provides a firm reason for the formation of the Titans. It also establishes their attitude early on with Bask's willingness to sacrifice ships to take out a single enemy (which is a mecha series trope at this point) and Monsha's...well, Monsha-ness. The Titans are full of pricks.

The fact that the series exists in what is essentially deleted history bothers me, though. The three Gundam units that appear in the series seem to be more advanced that the Gundam Mk II units that appear later in Zeta. It doesn't matter that the data were deleted. This still doesn't make sense. It's understandable that a series made five years later with then-modern animation techniques and a bigger budget needs to bring the big guns in, but still. Also, claiming that Gato was some sort of ace with a nickname like "The Nightmare of Solomon" when we saw nothing particularly nightmarish from a single unit while in Solomon during the original series sounds more like fanfiction than anything else. They needed to make a character seem like a viable threat as quickly as possible, just like they did when they introduced Char "The Red Comet" Aznable, but it seemed forced this time. Again, probably because we were watching the series during which time that incident should have happened. I get that it's a big war, though, and things could possible be overlooked. He's such a cool character that we didn't need to the forced elevation of character, though.

I'm now interested in finding kitbashes of various Gundams with customized versions of the Dendrobium mobile armor.
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Look at animeftw.tv they have tons of anime all subtitled. They might have the other Gundam stuff
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Chris's Collections
Story
Tagline
Rolling 1's teaches you more than rolling 20's
Introduction
I'm a general hobbyist. Board games, video games, books, comic books, TV, and movies. I used to collect more than I could consume. Now I'm working through the backlog and collecting fewer items. My media obsession is balanced by being a parent. That has helped me to realize that there are far more important things than keeping up with everything. Parenthood has also helped me to realize that happiness isn't elusive. It's just not something that can be expected all the time.
Bragging rights
When I was very young, I was told that the perception of me that other people have may differ from my own. Upon high school graduation, I soundly learned that lesson. It wasn't until after I graduated from grad school that I realized that while both perceptions are valid, neither one should limit me in any way.
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
East Lansing
Previously
Chicago - Ann Arbor - Detroit - Southfield - Redondo Beach - Hawthorne
Work
Occupation
Applicant Tracking Site Administrator
Skills
Jack-of-many-trades. Wish I could say I have a "certain" set of skills, but they're really quite all over the place. Very few are useful together.
Basic Information
Birthday
September 13
Relationship
Married