June 26, 2019

Farewell, Dear Friend



Today was a slightly sad day....perhaps I am being overly dramatic, but it was slightly sad.
Today I packed up and boxed my wii u and its games.
I do not yet have a Switch (I most likely will at, or by, Christmas), so it wasn't done to 'make space', but rather because I played the wii u literally to its death. I got it in Sept 2013, and now (June 2019) - it's finished.

What had happened, is that the GamePad can no longer hold a charge. It can charge, but it lasts approx 45 min - 1 hr 15 before The Red Light of Doom comes on, then starts flashing. The problem is, because the wii u 'failed' we got the Switch. Because of that, Nintendo stopped supporting it in 2017. That means no more GamePad battery replacement packs. I wish I had known of the 'extended' battery pack made by Nintendo which gives longer life (both to 'extend' and get a new battery for it.) There are sellers on Amazon, etc but the reviews have been mixed: from "it works!" to "it doesn't." It also doesn't help that the companies that make them aren't Nintendo. This isn't getting a third-party controller, but rather a component of the system.

So the wii u is packed away in storage (there are 'workarounds' with the GamePad issue, but with me getting a Switch sometime soon-ish, it would need to get packed away anyway.) Someday that box may be opened again...
However, not everything from the wii u got packed away: I'm still able to use the HDMI cable (will do so for The Switch's dock) and The Switch supports amiibos. So those are still 'out.'
I still remember the day that I got it. It was the Wind Waker bundle, and I got it in September of 2013. My work contract was going to expire, and if I got renewed or extended, I was going to buy it. Once I found out, I phoned FutureShop, and put it on hold for pick-up that day. Once I was finished work, I headed there, picked it up, and headed home. Over the course of the console's short life, I got some decent games and play time out of it: Mario Kart 8, Smash, Mario Maker some downloaded games, Mario 3D World, and the 'grand finale', The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. There were others too, but those are the highlights for me.

It's unfortunate that the wii u died - it had potential, but it just didn't 'catch.' Even the name: most people thought it was an accessory or add-on to the wii, not a whole new console. Then there was how the Gamepad factored in for multiplayer games: for some it can be used as a controller; not so the case others. In that aspect, New Mario U was frustrating multiplayer wise: the controller wasn't a 'controller' but to add blocks. The option to use the GamePad as such in that game should have existed. Plus, as per usual, Nintendo didn't get a lot of support from other developers for it.
With The Switch, Nintendo corrected themselves: no discs, it has a wide array of controller options (though you still need the JoyCons for certain games, so you can't go 100% ProController dedicated; but most games support it. Should be "all" but anyway...). The name isn't 'confusing' like the wii u. Nintendo is marketing and pushing the console, and it's getting tons of support. And it's working. I think within the first year, more Switches were sold than wii us during the wii u's life.

I was initially skeptical when The Switch was announced. I wanted to wait a bit ("hey our older console was a flop. Buy our new one!") but now, my faith is restored. There are a few games I'd 're-buy' on The Switch (hey if my wii u gamepad is truly on its way to the grave, at least I can still play some of the games...) such as Mario Kart. My Mario Kart reasoning is, Nintendo may not make one for The Switch (Mario Kart 9) because it already has one on it - Mario Kart 8 (Deluxe)

So farewell, wii u - you gave me a lot of great time play time, and memories; even. You had a good, loving home; but now it's time to say goodbye. Also, thank you for getting me through a few tough times here and there. over the years.    

June 2, 2019

Thoughts on The End of Game of Thrones



Since the show ended, I've been thinking and re-thinking about the series on the whole, the final season, and the final episode.

The final season has left the internet in an uproar. Most people seemed to have enjoyed it, however those that did not were very vocal about it.


Our ‘current’ Ssn 7 and 8 were good - problem was, they were too ‘crammed.’ HBO offered more episodes / seasons, D&D should have taken and followed that plan. Or, at the very least, make Ssn 7 and 8 10 episodes each, each at least 70 min.

Here’s how it should have been structured:

Season 7: 10 episodes, about the Night King
Season 8: 10 episodes, about ‘The Last War’ against Cersei
Season 9 (final season): 10 episodes (each being 70 min at least) about the rebellion against the Queen of the Ashes.

The final two episodes alone had enough potential for two seasons.

Of course, that would probably be another three years; however I'm speaking strictly of formatting of the story that was told, and how to flesh it out properly - not in regards to actually producing a TV series - an area of which I have no experience in.

As much as I loved Game of Thrones through the years, my biggest issue is that after Season 1, the story changed too much from the books. I get that books and TV/film are different mediums etc, but I noticed this in general: the Harry Potter films started off staying pretty close to the books. Heck, even The Lord of the Rings changed considerably, even with the extended editions of The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

This is a general statement: for some reason, fantasy adaptations start out closely and faithful to the source material, and then for some reason, the story changes in the adaptation. I wish it would be kept with the same quality, (in terms of being an adaption) as it is when it first begins.

I frequently state if one did not like Season 7, they probably would not enjoy Season 8. I'm not talking about plot or story, but rather the pacing. People often say that towards the end (Season 7 and 8) it's "rushed." I don't quite feel that's the case....or perhaps I am misunderstanding. I didn't find it 'rushed' but rather 'crammed.'

Ideally, I would have loved to have gotten 9 full, 10-episode seasons that followed the books, and had similar pacing as the very first season did. Consistently, throughout the years, I've always enjoyed Game of Thrones.

Was every episode perfect? No. Was every season perfect? No. But I've always enjoyed the ride, start to finish.

Before I go further, I wish to add that I enjoyed Lost (including the final season and final episode), though I did not enjoy the finales for Battlestar or Dexter.

I re-watched the entire series leading up to Season 8, then it was 'one episode per week, every week.' What I need to do, is re-watch Season 8 (or possibly the entire show, start to finish.) I've found that with Game of Thrones, as fun as it is speculating what will happen between episodes, 'wait times' negatively affects the show. I think that's where most of the disappointment sets in.

I give Game of Thrones on the whole a very solid 8.5 / 10 for the entire series.

I give Season 8 a 7.5 /10.

I give the final episode a 7 / 10. It did what it needed to do, it made sense (though in my scenario mentioned earlier) it could have been the last two, maybe even three, episodes of Season 9) and, for me, it didn't 'ruin' the series.

Even though Game of Thrones is finished, I still look forward to reading The Winds of Winter, A Dream of Spring, more Dunk and Egg, and other Seven Kingdoms-related content by Martin. If the Thrones prequel / spin-off series look good, I may check those out as well: though I'm not 'blindly' interested in them.