Friday, January 31, 2014

Kingdom Hearts: The Fans, The Love, The Hate, and the Uninformed

Many of us that love the worlds of Kingdom Hearts have fond memories of playing the game from our younger years until the present.  Although I was not as young as some, being in my twenties at the time, I did enjoy playing with my daughters.  The coagulated appeal of both Disney and Square Enix ensured fun and nostalgia for us all.

Still, there are those that are new to the series.  To assist in bringing those "noobs" up to speed, as well as reignite the passion of us that have followed since the beginning, Square Enix has provided us with a fantastically created collection in the form of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix HD and the future release of Kingdom Hearts 2.5 ReMix HD.

Despite being a family friendly game, themed with friendship, perseverance, and various life lessons, many of the fans choose to embrace the darkness when participating in various forums and groups.  We see this oftentimes when someone posts a simple message stating, "I Luv Roxas, why did he change his name from Ventus?", or"Star Wars/Marvel in KH3".  For those of us that are die hard fans, these silly posts are not only repetitive but detrimental to the Kingdom Hearts community because they inevitably invite the trolls into the mix.  Sadly, the poster tends to become the innocent victim of a serious condition known as "butthurt", when all is said and done.

Why is there such a strong level of hate and meanness in the fandom of Kingdom Hearts?  I think we can split this up into three categories.  The first being the uninformed noobs of the Kingdom Hearts series that have played one, maybe two games and believe they know more than they actually do, or ask questions that were easily answered in the games themselves.  Next, we have the roleplayers that hide behind a pseudonym and refuse to break character, even during a serious conversation.  Finally, we have those that understand the series, enjoy the complexity within, but dislike the annoyance of the other two groups.

If we start off by looking at the noobs, we find that they are usually the people that ask questions about Sora/Roxas/Venitas/Ven/Xion.  For a serious Kingdom hearts fan, explaining the differences and their roles
becomes tiresome and tedious.  Not to mention, the trolls feed on their ignorance, causing flame wards of keybalde war proportions.Despite their lack of knowledge on the games, especially with the individual titles placed on multiple platforms, the best way to treat them is to point toward the game that contains their answer.  Forcing them, or suggesting, to do their own research will draw them in further and provide them with he tools to be knowledgeable and intellectual members of the community.  Maybe they will even provide a different perspective on various theories.  As much as the noobs tend to get on my nerves at time, I do have a soft spot for them, assuming they do not take their minimal knowledge as a complete truth, while refusing to accept that answers lie elsewhere than Kingdom Hearts 2 and Dream Drop Distance, which seem to be the two games that many base their knowledge off of.

Next up comes the Role Players.  This group of fans actually become a character, oftentimes an original, and refuse to break out of the role for any reason.  Now, there are some that only role play in certain scenarios,
and that is fine.  However, those that dedicate themselves to the cause tend to upset the community to the World's End!  Why?  Simply because they inject their own truths into the role play that are not canon to the series at all..  This tends to not only confuse the noobs, but they can easily assimilate the falsities as truths, creating more confusion and ignorance among the fans.  At times, the Role players can become irate when others do not want to play along, hiding deeper within their character (which is usually an Organization Member) and cause arguments to ensue.  Oftentimes, those argument become grammatical in scope, bringing out the persistent Reich that aims to protect the English language to no end.  I will admit, I have joined the ranks at times.  The best way to confront a fickle band of role players is to simply dedicate a thread or two to their story, allowing them the freedom within to express their creativity.

Finally, there are those that know the series inside and out.  They are the leaders, the teachers, the peace keepers of the various groups and forums out there.  They show no fear when confronting those that are
spreading untruths, yet will take a noob under their wing to educate them on the ways of the worlds, all while encouraging the role player to be creative.  However, they also seem to be the meanest of the grammar Nazis, encouraging pride in their written communication, rather than give in to the darkness of internet speak.  They battle trolls with the ferocity of a Chernabog and the finesse of Marluxia's flowing hair whipping through the air on a breezy day.

Trolls are not included in the mix, because they are simply everywhere and cannot be avoided.  However, they can be controlled with proper adminship.

One of the most common questions asked within the Kingdom Hearts community is about the inclusion of Marvel or Star Wars in the next installment of the game. These questions upset everyone except those asking the questions, who are usually trolls in disguise.  Simply put, their inclusion should never happen.  Other than the original characters within the games, and the supporting actors provided by Square Enix, only the classical Disney characters and world's should remain in the current saga.  It would be ridiculously detrimental to insert something completely different just for the sale of fanservice.

With that said, we will be approaching a new saga after the release of Kingdom Hearts III.  Although I am
not a fan of Marvel or Star Wars included, because again it would be nothing more than fan service, I am not against the movement towards another set of worlds, like the Looney Tunes as an example.  Moving away from the safety of Disney to the more unpredictable and chaotic realm of Warner Bros. could be a perfect transition for the aging Sora and gang. The new saga could even begin in Toon Town, where Mickey and Bugs already live in chaotic harmony with each other.  But, that is just a thought.

Finally, there is much anger about the release of Kingdom Hearts III on the Xbox One.  Honestly, why does it matter which consoles it is released on:?  For the first time, Square Enix is allowing fans of multiple consoles to partake in the wonder that is Kingdom Hearts.  I think the real question here is why not the Wii U?  Some would argue that the Wii U is inferior, but they would be wrong.  A console is only as great as the games that are released on it, not by the graphics or the processing speed.  What if the PS4 was full of beautifully graphic enriched games, but they were all equivalent to Knack?  Not so great anymore, is it?  The Wii U would be able to natively provide an extra layer of challenge to the game, similar to the bottom screen of the 3DS when playing Dream Drop Distance, when using the gamepad by incorporating a flick rush type experience within.  However, for whatever the reason behind the decision, we should be happy that we are getting the game, someday, rather than complain about the launch consoles.

Despite the diverse fanbase, one thing is for certain, there are many that love the game and want to see it evolve beyond the Xehanort Saga.  If only we could agree on the path that evolution takes.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Violence, Video Games, Ignorance, Blame Game

It seems that lately, there has been continuing discussion around Video Games  and their contribution to violence in society.  Even Glen Beck has stated that video games are a gateway to violence.  This is a subject that I am VERY passionate about, so I thought that I would share an article that I posted previously on

As a Husband, Father, and Gamer, I cannot justify blaming a video game on future violence.  Instead, I blame those surrounding the individual for not stepping in and being part of their life.  If they were active with the individual's life, they would have seen warning signs...and got the person the help that they need.

Too many times, we allow inanimate objects, such as video games, movies, etc... to become babysitters as we go about our daily lives.  We need to be more involved with our friends and loved ones.  Together, we can stop the violence if we just know what is going on in the lives of the ones we love.

Maybe I am biased because I am a gamer, and write for both and, and am co-host on Infendo Radio.  However, gaming has been a part of my life since I was very little, and I have many friends in the same scenario, none of which felt the need to shoot someone in real life.

Hit the jump below to read my article originally posted on

I know this is not an upbeat story, but I feel that too many times video games, anime, comic books, music, cosplay etc… get a bad wrap.
In Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture Japan, a 14 year old boy was arrested  on February 19, 2012 at approximately 5:40 PM for stabbing his mother.
Why did he stab his mother?
According to “Japan Today” the boy bought a video game without his Mother’s permission.  The Mother was clearly upset that the Young boy had bought the game without her knowledge, so she took it from him.  The Student lost his temper and stabbed his mom in retaliation.  Luckily the Mother was okay and Paramedics were able to treat her wounds.
The young boy, who’s name was withheld due to his age, was arrested on charges of attempted murder.  There is no word on whether he has been released or what game the quarrel started over.  I had a brief conversation with a friend about this sort of happening recently.
  Are video games to blame for this violence? 
I have to believe that they are not the cause of violence, nor do they stoke the flame.  It seems that too many times violence of this nature is blamed on Video Games, Loud Music, Anime, etc…  For many, these video games, Music and Anime become an escape.  It is the one place they can go and be free of bullying from their peers, or abuse from those that claim to love them.  A place to meet people likethem, without judgement or pain. 
To be honest, I was bullied as a kid in school and my home life was not happy and cheerful, in fact it was pretty horrible at times.  My escape from the pain was Comic Books, Music, and Video Games.  I would immerse myself in the World’s of Final FantasyDragon Warrior,  andHyrule.  In the background my stereo would wear out the cassettes that I played over and over.  My Room became a fortress from outside harm.

During those lonely times, not once did I feel the need to fight off the urge to mimic my characters and act out against my Bullies.  Video Games, Music and Anime did not teach me that.  In fact, they taught me the opposite.  They Taught me to be myself, to follow my Life’s path and I would become what I am supposed to be.  I suffered through the hard times, and made sure that I shared some happy times and created some good memories.  I battled through the mental obstacles and became the Man I am today.  I am a Father, a Husband, and I am Me.  I would not say that I am the “perfect” Husband or Father, but I do my best to give my Family what I did not have.
I did not have a computer when growing up, so I did not have the opportunity to meet people like myself on forums such as, or  I had to go to local game stores that were similar to to find others like me.  Even then most kids my age did not feel comfortable sharing their stories.
Today, I still enjoy losing myself in games such as Final FantasyKingdom Hearts, and Many others.  In fact, over the last year, I have meat some really great people in a Kingdom Hearts group.  Within that group I found some people that have a similar background as myself.  Some are experiencing the pain and bullying now, and others have been through the pain and hurt.  After one conversation in particular, I created a page called “the Zone” where people that are misunderstood and bullied can hang out and share their stories and get support.  Many times we just discuss various topics of interest but other times posts can get serious. 
During the serious times, we all band together to help each other out.  It is never easy to learn that someone is suffering from depression, abuse, or even suicidal tendencies.  But gaming, comics, and anime has brought us together to help each other out. 
Very recently a member inspired me to write this article after he shared the story about the young boy that stabbed his mother.  

He later shared a s story about his life that was very open, honest, and demonstrated more bravery than anyone I know.  We may not hear from him again on the page, but if he is reading this I want to say” thank you” for being our friend.  I hope that by being a friend , we have helped to put a smile on his face a few times and maybe help him through a few rough patches.  The zone is an open group for anybody that would like to join and hang out with people just like themselves.
If you know anyone that is showing warning signs of any sort of depression, abuse etc.., I urge you to reach out to them and just be a friend.  show them that they have someone they can go to and talk to.
Video Games, Music, and Movies didn’t cause our problems…they were our escape from the pain.
Do you have a go-to-game that you lose yourself in when things aren’t going well for you?  What is it about the game that makes you feel free?

Iwata Addresses the Managerial Staff

If you have seen my work over at, there is no doubt that I am a huge fan of Nintendo. However, my gaming love does not stop there, in fact it extends to all consoles.

It is no secret that the Wii U has not lived up to its expectations in sales.  I attribute this to the lack of advertisement around why it is different from the Wii. regardless, it is a fantastic console that has a bright and prosperous future ahead of it, which can be foretold by Nintendo's refusal to give in to the pressure of the competitors.

Today, Iwata spoke to his managerial staff regarding Nintendo's plans in the future.  Nintendo UK has provided the following following topline summary:

"We can confirm that on Jan. 30 in Japan, Mr. Iwata made several announcements at Nintendo’s Corporate Management Policy Briefing regarding the short- and long-term plans for the company. Some of the topics covered in Mr. Iwata’s presentation include: 
Plans to drive momentum for Wii U, which includes launching Mario Kart 8 globally in May and releasing new software titles and services in 2014 that use the unique strengths of the Wii U GamePad.The global installed base for Nintendo 3DS has now exceeded 42.7 million units, and the company is well-positioned to drive strong profits from that business moving forward.While Nintendo does not have plans to port existing games from its library to smart devices, it will begin using smart devices in the near future to form stronger ties with its consumers and communicate the value of its entertainment offerings. This includes launching a dedicated smart-device service by the end of this year and considering if services previously implemented on Nintendo platforms could offer greater consumer benefit if moved to smart devices.Plans to expand Nintendo’s global character licensing business, including proactively finding appropriate partners and looking for new ways to expose global consumers to Nintendo characters. This approach will give consumers an opportunity to experience Nintendo outside the realm of video games.In the next few years, Nintendo will establish a new platform business that is independent of our existing video game platforms. This new venture concerns “quality of life,” and will focus first on health. This will leverage Nintendo’s history of creating engaging, nontraditional entertainment experiences such as Brain Training and Wii Fit. More details will be revealed in 2014, with the new venture scheduled to launch during the fiscal year ending in March 2016 (April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016)."

The rest of the translated speech can be seen at the following link: 

The contents of the link are pretty telling in regards to Iwata's passion for Nintendo and his refusal to be bullied by the competitors.  What are your thoughts about his presentation, and the future of Nintendo?