Ismael Martinez (1930-2014)

Hello everyone.

I’ve been here and there these past two weeks. I know I’ve been very quiet for the most part, and there’s a good reason why I’ve been floating about. On March 20th, my grandfather from Puerto Rico passed away here in Florida. It has affected myself and my family greatly, but we are doing our best to heal with his passing.

A week before he passed he went to see the doctor because he wasn’t feeling well. Scans had shown that they found signs of pancreatic cancer. So he was admitted to a hospital and was given the okay for surgery. What the scans didn’t show was that it had spread into his liver, and he had lost a lot of blood during the surgery. On the day of his passing, my mom called me saying that it was urgent that both my sister and myself be at the hospital. The day before she had told me that my grandfather had flat lined twice, and I had a feeling then that he wasn’t going to make it.

After picking up my sister, I drove as fast as I could to the hospital. When we arrived, our aunt from my dad’s side and our cousin from my mom’s side were waiting on us. We made our way the intensive care unit where we saw our grandfather in one of the rooms. From then on, it was an emotional four hours. Our grandmother, his wife, was always next to him and never left his side. One of my uncles from my dad’s side was there along with my dad’s mom and so were my mom’s sisters. There were even a few occasions when friends of my grandfather showed up to watch him and say their good-byes. My dad and my other uncle weren’t able to be there though. For my uncle, he had work to do, and my dad left rather late and was caught in traffic going through Georgia on the way here. In a way, it was good that they weren’t there because I know both of them wouldn’t have been able to handle themselves well especially my uncle.

I know I could go on and on about what happened that day, but I’ll keep it as brief as possible. I just know that I’ll never forget the sounds of the machinery that tried to support my grandfather during his final hours nor will I forget being there when he left us. It was really hard to be there for his final hours. I don’t recall walking very slowly as though a huge weight has been put on me. When we left the building, it just seemed that everything around me hasn’t changed. All I could think was how can anyone be so normal. Don’t they realize that a great man has passed away? It was when I realized that life goes on, and there’s nothing you can do to change it. We all have a course we go through, and it’s the choices we make in our lifetime that defines who we are and those around us.

He was a great man, and there’s hardly anyone like him these days. He was an inspiration to many that have known him well including myself. He accomplished many things in his lifetime, and he went on peacefully. I was told that his big goal in life was to live to 100 years old. That is a very good goal if you ask me because you want to try to accomplish many things before you reach that age.

It’s been a very surreal feeling knowing that he’s not here anymore. So next time I see my relatives from Puerto Rico it will take some getting used to that fact. However, I know that he’s in a better place watching over us, and I’m thankful to have been a part of his life. He’s done so much for myself and my family that I am truly blessed to have had him as my grandfather.

I recently finished Far Cry 3, and there was a tune that played during the end credits that I found fitting with what I’ve been going through. It’s the main theme from the game, and this is how it goes.

To Ismael Martinez, you will be missed. I love you, Papito.

Disney World Update (03/05/14)

Hey howdy hey, folks!

It’s time for yet another update from the wolf! I hope you guys are trying to stay warm because the weather has been super nice here. ^^ The only drawback about it is I have been sick these past couple of weeks with this awful cold. I have been mostly coughing up phlegm to the point where I had lost my voice. It’s coming back though as I’m able to talk properly.

Anyway, I wanted to take the time to say that I am alive and well, and I’m loving my time here at Disney World! It has been a bit stressful for the most part, but I am making the most of it. The training portion was probably what stressed me out the most, but I made it through. And if anyone follows my Twitter feed, @SonicHomeboy, you’ll catch all the pics I’ve been posting including my work shoe saying the word “Andy” on it. =P So I am officially one of Andy’s toys at the Toy Story Midway Mania attraction. :)

When I’m not working, I’m either going to one of the parks or at the beach in Daytona. It’s nice going alone to the parks, but it’s kind of hard to not be able to share the magical moments with other friends. Yes, I have co-workers and I have a roommate, but it’s a bit difficult to plan anything with them. For one thing, schedules don’t really coincide well with the people that you’ve just met. And then my roommate has his fiancé which is almost like an invasion of space and privacy whenever she’s over, but I try not to pay much attention to it. I think that is what I am missing the most is my personal space. I’ve been out of staying in dorm rooms for so long that it is probably affecting me a bit. lol

Lately, it’s like when I try to reach out to a few people I want to talk to it seems that I am stepping on their toes without even realizing it. I don’t know why I keep feeling like this. I understand that some are busy with stuff, but it never hurts just to go “Hey, how are you? Hope things are well.” Generic, yes, but it’s been my way of trying to start up a conversation even for a few minutes. But even then I feel like maybe I’m just being socially awkward around them, and they don’t say anything until they probably snap out at me. It’s something I really should try not to worry about so much, but I think it’s not having close friends around that has been getting to me lately. As I said, it would be nice if I had my friends here to enjoy spending some time with me at the parks or at the beach. lol

Outside of Disney, I’ve been drawing a bit. I just need to sit down and color some of my stuff like I keep saying I should. lol I am going to start on sketching out character references seeing that my characters can really use decent references when commissioning others. As for gaming, I’m almost done with Far Cry 3, and I recently started on Bioshock on the PS3 via Bioshock Infinite. Even though I’ve played the latter on the PC, the recent news of Irrational Games shutting down inspired me to play it again. It’s quite weird getting used to the game’s controls compared to other FPSs I’ve played with similar control schemes. Still, it’s as good and as eerie as I remembered it on the PC. :) Once I get both games out of the way, I’m going to work on Shadow of Rome on the PS2 and attempt to actually finish Tales of Phantasia on the GBA. It’s time that I try to focus on finishing up games I know I’m close to finishing, and I’m getting tired of putting them off for a while now. What will I play after that? I’ll definitely start over on Final Fantasy VI and then get a start on Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes on the GameCube. :) We’ll see how this all turns out.

I think this is now a good time to wrap this journal up. All in all, I’m doing all right. I’m in a better working environment, but it would be nice to have close friends here to share it with. :) Still, I am going to make the most of my stay here at Disney World and do the best that I can by looking into a few jobs with the Company. *nods*

So how is everyone doing? Tell me what you guys are up to!

This is Eddie the Wolf signing off!

You Are Not Stupid

Hey all!

Once again, it’s been some time before I made any sort of update. I want to let everyone know that I am now in Florida for the start of the Disney College Program. In case you weren’t aware of it, here is a link to the journal announcing about it. :) It’s exciting yet nervous at the same time. I don’t know what to expect really. I know I’ll meet tons of new people, and I hope to get along with them well. All I care about is hitting the beach more often. XD And I hope to draw during my spare time. Of course, gaming will be done as well. =P

Anyway, the title may seem a bit odd coming from me, but there is a reason behind it. Recently, YouTuber Justin Carmical, aka JewWario, committed suicide due to depression. I have known plenty of people that have dealt with depression, and it’s never a pleasant experience to see someone suffer from it greatly. Around that same time, someone posted a video excerpt of JewWario from one of his recorded streams, and seeing it hit very close to home. It’s something that I’ve often thought of myself when feeling like dirt. I want to share this with you because I am sure I am not the only one that feels this way.

 

Seeing this for the first time almost made me cry. The mistakes I make from time-to-time, whether they be big or small, have made me feel like an idiot or worse. It doesn’t help that I dwell on it, and it affects how I go about the day. Seeing this video was comforting in many ways. Sometimes you have to stop and tell yourself that everything will be okay. I know I have had to do that many times, and it helps to have friends around to support you as best as they can.

I can safely say that I am blessed to have come across many wonderful people in my life, whether they be face-to-face or online. With that, I want to thank those that I’ve reached out to for advice when I had hit rock bottom between late November into New Year’s. You guys know who you are, and I’m forever grateful for it. :)

As I close this, I want you guys to know that you are not stupid. You guys do mean something, and you are capable of doing great things in your own way. Don’t let anyone or anything tell you otherwise.

Thank you all for reading this and have a blessed day and/or evening.

Eddie the Wolf signing off.

The Mark of Kri Review

It’s been a while since I’ve done a written review on a game. I may eventually do this in video format, but a written one will do for now. I just need to get back into doing more video reviews on games soon. Lol This review is supposed to coincide with the one HartKnight did last month since we both started the game around the same time. However, I got sidetracked with work. Better late than never, right?

The Mark of Kri for the PlayStation 2 is an action-adventure game. Released in 2002, this game was developed by SCE San Diego Studio who would go on to develop various sports games. For their first outing, The Mark of Kri is a pretty decent action game even though it’s without flaws. The game puts you in the role of Rau, a warrior with an urge for adventure and fortune. He is even a character given the “Link syndrome,” which he doesn’t talk throughout the game but can only be heard when grunting or chanting attack combos.

During the game, he is accompanied by a bird companion named Kuzo. The bird gives an interesting element in gameplay as he is able to scout ahead to see what enemies Rau will come in contact with. This lets you strategizes on how you can approach your enemies whether you take them out full on or subdue them in stealth. The latter will become your very best friend as this game will test your patience.

Although The Mark of Kri contains six levels, each level may last between an hour to an hour-and-a-half. These levels are quite lengthy and are rarely forgiving if you take away the save scrolls each level offers. You will find that these save scrolls do become very handy upon completing a tough battle or completing one of Baumusu’s challenges.

The way the gameplay is set is very intriguing. You don’t have much control over the camera, but the right thumb stick allows you to scan your surroundings when there are nearby enemies. Upon doing so, an enemy is assigned a corresponding button command which you attack when pressing the button given to them. It makes for a nice way of switching combat up. Your enemies, on the other hand, will give you little room for attempting a weapon combo which can lead to frustration. At the same time, it forces you to block your opponents’ attacks in hopes that you can sneak in an attack before they come back with a fury of swings at you. I found the button commands upon attacking your enemies to be hit and miss. There are times when your attacks are effective, and you get that sensation even time your enemy stumbles backwards. Other times you wish that your character was quicker to your button commands even if the later weapons you obtain are on the slow side.

As mentioned earlier, the game is very short. For many players, it may take less than nine or ten hours to beat in a setting. The Mark of Kri does offer arena challenges in which you are given the choice between a time attack mode and how many enemies can you kill within a time limit. Both modes have a set of challenges similar to the Baumusu challenges in the main story. By completing these challenges, you are treated to some bonus content showcasing the concepts on how The Mark of Kri came to be.

Overall, the game is worth playing at least once. It may take some time to warm up to the game, but it was a fairly enjoyable experience even though it does fall short towards the game’s final battle. While some ideas could have used some fleshing out, The Mark of Kri boasts some fantastic art direction with superb music that changes dynamically between the game’s downtime and combat sequences. The cartoon look of the game may be a put off to some at first glance, but its graphic violence contrasts it very well justifying the game’s mature nature of its story. It’s rather a style I would not mind seeing more often in today’s games along with animated films outside of anime.

The Mark of Kri may not appeal to many action-adventure gamers, but it offers something different to the genre that some may find interesting to try out. The game’s length will probably put off many even though they’ll find that the long levels more than make up for the nine or ten hours of play time. The arena challenges may seem tacked on, but they do the job of offering players a bit more content outside of the game’s main story.

The Mark of Kri for PlayStation 2 gets a 7 out of 10.

Pros:

+ Fantastic art direction and dynamic music changes
+ A unique twist in combating enemies
+ Reasonable length in levels

Cons:

- Very few save scrolls in later levels
– Character tends to be slow on attack commands during battles
– Fairly short game; can be completed in nine to ten hours

I Should Be President Of Sega Corporation

I had been meaning to come up with a commentary of sorts. It’s not necessarily an opinion blog, but I do share some of my opinions on some things in this blog. Anyway, I had a thought that ran across my mind, and it was that I should seriously be the president of the Sega Corporation. I don’t know how or why it came to be, but it did. I went to my Twitter feed and made posts about it. And then a couple of my friends joined in on what their roles would be alongside me. Only recently did it happen again, and this time I thought I would elaborate on why I would want to be the president of the company and what I would do.

First thing’s first: give Sonic the Hedgehog a break. As much as I like the blue dude with the ‘tude, Sega should seriously cut back on the amount of games they’ve released year after year. Sonic Generations was good and all, but there seriously has been a steady decline on the reception his games have been getting. Not to say that Sonic and the All-Stars Racing: Transformed is bad (curious to play it), but it seems that Sega has been relying on Sonic way too much.

And Sonic really isn’t the one to be pointing fingers at! Notice how much Sega has put some emphasis on their classics? I’m mostly referring to their constant re-releasing of their Sega Genesis classics, and that should be put on the back burner as well. Granted, I loved the Sega Genesis as a kid and still play and collect games for it to this day. However, I think it’s a bit unnecessary that this time they’re re-releasing them in stereoscopic 3-D on the 3DS. Shoot, I’m guilty of owning some of the Sonic collections that have been released on the PC, Gamecube, and PS3. I even have a few digital downloads like Streets of Rage 2 and Gunstar Heroes via PSN. Even still, I have enjoyed playing these games all over again on different platforms. And yet, I still wish that they would focus on other games that have yet to be given another chance to more audiences.

Before I get on into any of that, I want to fill in a bit of history of my love for Sega. You guys know how much I have admired Sega since the 16-bit days. I started off with the Sega Genesis, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. The only games I played at the time were mostly those that Electronic Arts published at the time. Where In Time Is Carmen Sandiego, John Madden Football ’92, Lakers vs. Celtics and the NBA Playoffs, and Desert Strike were the games I started off playing as a kid. It wasn’t until Sonic the Hedgehog 2 that I discovered my love for video games, and the rest is history as they say.

Thinking back now, Sega had a brand going for them when it came to the Sega Genesis. Yes, the Super Nintendo was far superior in many ways, but there was something about the Sega Genesis that made me want to come back for more. It wasn’t so much the advertising that backed the console up even though their commercials were pretty bizarre. I will give props for Nintendo with how focused they were with their IPs along with many great RPGs that spawned on that system. However, I found that the Sega Genesis had a bit of everything for a variety of gamers. Platformers, sports, action, puzzle, fighting, RPG, racing. You name it! Even some of the developers for the system like Treasure and TechnoSoft knew how to program around the system’s capabilities to pull off some pretty stellar games like Gunstar Heroes and Thunder Force IV respectively. Sure, it may have been overshadowed by many sports games that came out year after year from Electronic Arts, but it showed how big of a role they played as becoming one of the Genesis’s big third party supporters.

I didn’t even get a new console until the Sega Dreamcast came out! And it showed then how much of a fan I was for anything Sega even though I completely skipped out on the Sega CD, 32X, and the Saturn. When our Dreamcast’s first player port stopped working, I switched to the Gamecube since I was slowly getting into Nintendo more at the time. Plus, it seemed that Nintendo came to Sega with open arms to publish games on its system, and it was a big deal when Sonic Adventure 2 was ported.  It was even nice to see some of the Dreamcast games that I missed out on or had played being ported onto the system like Skies of Arcadia and Phantasy Star Online. Of course, it was also nice to see Sega branching out onto other systems to create some pretty awesome games while re-introducing older games to newer generations.

Today it seems that Sega has just lost its spark in taking risks and not wanting to focus their resources on other existing IPs. That is why I feel that they have relied way too heavily on Sonic and some of the well-known Genesis classics. What that is good and all, I strongly feel that Sega can do better and get back into taking risks as they try to focus on the following.

  • Bring classic games outside of the Sega Genesis’s library! There are many games that Sega has created that aren’t from the Sega Genesis. I think it’s time that Sega has brought over their Sega Saturn library to digital format. If you’ve looked up Saturn games on eBay, you’ll see that the North American releases are very high, and that is due to how poorly the system sold during its timeframe. However, the Japanese imports are surprisingly cheap, but that was because it was more successful overseas than here. The Saturn had some really great games with NiGHTS Into Dreams to be one of the better known games for the system. It even had some really great RPGs that I look forward to get for the system! And that leads me into the subject of a forgotten IP of theirs…

 

  • More Shining games! I think it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a proper Shining game. The last one I can recall was Shining Tears on the PS2, and that was a poorly received game (I remember the 1 out of 5 review X-Play did for it). I feel that the Shining series is a strong IP in Sega’s history outside of Phantasy Star, and it would be a shame to see it go on the wayside. I understand that there have been some Shining games released in Japan, but it doesn’t feel right of Sega to deny us of this series. Another RPG series to mention as I did just now…

 

  • Give us Phantasy Star Online 2! As of now it’s been about two years since the game was released in Japan. I understand that there has yet to be an announcement on a release date, but it’s still worth a mention here. If anything, I think PSO 2 would be a system seller for the PS Vita outside of Tearaway. Honestly, PSO 2 would be the main reason for me to even pick up a PS Vita. If not for that, then I would be all for a straight up traditional Phantasy Star game. I loved Phantasy Star 0 on the Nintendo DS and made me reflect on how much I enjoyed Phantasy Star Online on the Dreamcast and Gamecube. So yes, bring on a Phantasy Star V if anything! I would put money down in a heartbeat! Yet another game that should be brought to North America…

 

  • Localize Yakuza 5! Thanks to a couple of friends I have found a liking to the series, and I would like to see it continue. The latest entry in the series has been released in Japan around November of 2012. You would have thought that it would have been released in the US, but it hasn’t! Now that Sega has acquired publisher Atlus, well known for the Shin Megami Tensei series, I think the guys at Atlus can properly localize the game. Plus, they would be capable of marketing the game to both the core Yakuza audience and newcomers, and that is something that Sega really needs as far as marketing goes. And now to a series that is similar to Yakuza…

 

  • Develop Shenmue III! Yes, I did go there. Yes, I understand that it’s a pipe dream for many. And yes, I’m crazy in saying this. If Square Enix has shown its fans with Kingdom Hearts III coming out later this year, why not have Sega do the same thing? Just give fans a proper conclusion to the Shenmue saga and be done with it. Plus, it would give Yu Suzuki and his Sega AM2 team an excuse to develop more games, and that is another Sega in-house developer that has gone on the wayside for some time now despite that they have release a game here and a game there. Even though I thought Shenmue was decent, I did appreciate for what their aim was for the game. It wasn’t so much for the story to me, but it was showcasing the transition of traditional Japan into a more modern society in the late 1980s. And this leads me to my final thought in regards to Sega AM2…

 

  • Release more classic arcade games! I mean, yes, Sega has released a few arcade games recently, but it would be great if they released others that haven’t gotten much attention. Games like After Burner, Out Run, Sega Rally, and Daytona USA could use some more iterations. Shoot, it would thrill me to see other not-so-known games like Power Drift to be given a chance. If you think about it that is how Sega got their start was by releasing some really awesome arcade titles, and I have come across some more recent Sega arcade releases wherever I’m able to find an existing arcade place.

 

Anyway, I believe this is all I can really think about at this time. I know I could go on and on with what I could see the company do if I were in charge, but my mind would probably explode as I try to think more on the matter. For now, this is a good stopping point, and these were all the main points that I wanted to address.

If there was a “too long; didn’t read” section, I just wish that Sega would focus more of their resources on other IPs whether they are existing or new. It was great to see them take risks back in the 16-bit days, and it seems that they’re too scared to do anything besides constantly reminding us how great they were during the Genesis days. I love the Sega Genesis and all, but it’s time that they try to move on from that and start creating new things. That is why I loved Sega to begin with because of how different they were from the rest, and they had a brand going for them. They have been the injured party for way too long after the death of the Dreamcast. It’s okay for them to move on and start becoming a very strong publisher/developer.

Thanks for reading! I know it’s long, but it was something I wanted to do. I actually had some fun with this. Any thoughts and opinions you have on this, feel free to share. I know some things in this weren’t fleshed out as I would like for them to be, but I feel that I did my best.

Just please no nasty remarks. I encourage any and all constructive criticism!

Eddie the Wolf signing off!

Frozen and Saving Mr. Banks

Hey all!

Yet another blog from me! I’m on fire, huh? =P This time I have two movies to talk about. I went out earlier today and saw both Frozen and Saving Mr. Banks. Both I thought were really great movies. If you think about it, I guess it’s in some ways preparing me for when I am in Orlando for my Disney Internship. =P

First movie up is Saving Mr. Banks, the untold story of how the movie Mary Poppins came to be. It features fantastic performances particularly that of Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, who play P. L. Travers and Walt Disney respectively. The movie goes back and forth between the 1960s and P. L. Travers’ childhood which helps us understand what her childhood meant to her and why she is very protective on her Mary Poppins character. It’s also one of those movies that hits right at home in regards to the relationship between her and her father growing up. Towards the end, I did shed a couple of tears but with good reason.

Overall, I was very impressed with how well-made the movie was as I had been looking forward to seeing the first time I saw the trailer to it earlier this year. So the movie earns a 4 out of 4 stars rating in my book.

Up next is Frozen, Disney’s non-Pixar animated film. As a guy, it may seem odd to be watching a princess movie, and I wasn’t that impressed with the teaser of it. After hearing how good it was, I was rather curious to check it out, but what really prompted me to see it was how dark of a tone it had in certain parts. After seeing it, I can see why they would say that. It brings back that foreboding feel from earlier Disney movies like Snow White and Pinocchio. Sure the movie had one song too many, and yes, it was a Disney princess movie. However, it had enough to keep me entertained, and I really enjoyed it way more than Tangled. :) With strong chemistry between the characters and a witty script, it’s great to see Disney animated films getting back on track! And that is a lot to say considering how the more recent Pixar movies have been.

Yet again, this movie earns a 4 out of 4 stars rating. :)

When I think about it, I’m all for more mature Disney movies! It’s very refreshing to see a Disney movie that isn’t so bogged down by one cliche after another, and that can drive a person up the wall as far as predictability goes. I mean it’s okay if they can be silly sometimes, but I would be all for something as witty as Frozen. Shoot, even the comic relief in Frozen was worth watching, and I find most Disney comic reliefs to be very obnoxious beyond belief!

Speaking of mature movies from Disney, I don’t know why, but I’ve always thought it would be cool if they did a Gargoyles movie. This idea occurred when The Dark Knight came out. Even though I’ve only seen a few episodes of the show (I seriously should watch that and all other cartoons I’ve missed out on), I still think it would be cool if it happened. :) But hey, one can dream, right?

With that, I think this is a good stopping point for this blog. :) Thanks for reading! And have a Happy New Year!

Eddie the Wolf signing off. :)

Christmas Vlog 2013

I did say that I would do a video blog. :) And here it is! =D

And here are the gift pieces I was referring to in the video. :)

Eddie’s Holiday Surprise by Mediziner

Christmas Piece by LostFeathers

Even though Christmas came late for me, I’m going to be in the spirit of it until New Year’s. I know it may seem a bit odd, but it does help to boost my spirits. :)

Any holiday song favorites you have you’d like to share? ^^

Once again, you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! =D

Eddie the Wolf signing off. :)