parts from Pashinyan speech: past & present, investigation, border demarcation
We will need a comprehensive evaluation of how and why things developed and ended that way. We must face the reality and admit that we have made mistakes for many years, the mistakes we have made have been systemic, conceptual, substantive. This cannot be a result of one person or events in just a few years. Did I understand all this while taking office as Prime Minister? Of course. Was I trying to change the situation? Of course. I am now more convinced than ever that there was simply no time to stop the spinning wheel of history. The borders in the Syunik sector are being adjusted, or rather, the Armenian Armed Forces are being stationed on the internationally recognized borders of Armenia (there were no soldiers here before because Syunik was not bordering Azerbaijan before the war). This process changes certain setups we're familiar with, introduces inconveniences, complications, and emotions. In reality, this is being done to ensure and strengthen the safety of Syunik. How? In areas outside of the Republic of Armenia, there was a high risk of military actions, which could carry on to Syunik with all their consequences. By doing the border demarcation of our internationally-recognized lands, we are introducing security assurances. Additionally, Russian border guards are already stationed in some parts of Syunik, which creates a whole new situation. The demarcation can complicate travel on some roads, but these are issues that can be resolved by having an AM-AZ-RU document (specifically about road safety). Not one millimeter of Syunik or Republic of Armenia land has been conceded. Any claim to the contrary is simply false. The people, only the people, should decide the fate of the government and not the elite circles. My November 18th Roadmap will address post-war issues and establish internal stability. "Let's build Armenia anew." I chose this slogan before the war to guide Armenia's transformation strategy. And this formula is useful for our future as well. We have to perceive the world in a new way, we have to look at what we have to do in a new way, we have to re-evaluate our capabilities in a new way, first of all in education, science, technological development, we have to build our dream anew, and we have to dream anew. Glory to our fallen heroes, glory to our living heroes, and glory to those who will still be heroes on the way to realizing the dreams of our people. Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038333.html
borders: fake news, rumors, and rebuttals
Artsakh president office: the media rumors about giving Karmir Shuka (south) to Azerbaijan is fake news. Moreover, we plan to build new housing there soon. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038399.html MoD denied media rumors that two Tavush villages are being handed over to Azerbaijan and that the soldiers were told to leave. "Refrain from spreading unverified fake news," said MoD. Tavush governor called the reports "irresponsible and dangerous". https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038457.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038464.html Sosu Purak is a park in Syunik province, bordering Azerbaijan. The Nature Ministry rebutted the media rumors about half of the park going under Azeri control. *"Sosu Purak, which is managed by Zangezur POAK, has 64.1 hectares of lands, which are located within the Republic of Armenia." https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038477.html
border demarcation continues in Syunik / Pashinyan visits the border settlements
NSS says: border adjustments are being made in Goris-Kapan road sections under the mediation of Russia. (read Friday report for details). The process will finish in a few days. It'll nesure safe passage for cars. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038380.html Syunik governor Melikset: don't exit the Armenian border to collect or chop wood. Keep your animal herds within Armenia. The border roads will have info-plates with numbers that you can dial if you have questions. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038383.html Pashinyan before visiting Syunik: I am saddened to learn that my visit to Syunik has ignited certain passions. I hope you will be convinced that my decision to visit Syunik is not intended to inflame everyone. I made the decision to convey my respect and appreciation for the people of Syunik. The second most important reason is to answer your questions, to give the necessary explanations. Not a single millimeter of land has been ceded from Syunik Province of RA and I hope we'll be able to talk about this. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038397.html protesters A group of protesters, lead by the city's deputy-mayors, closed the Goris road so Pashinyan couldn't enter the city. The police were involved, there was a scuffle. Goris mayor ex-HHK Arush Arushanyan was taken to the police station earlier that day and charged with attempting to organize an unauthorized event/protest (Code 34-2251) to prevent the PM from entering the city. HHK and BHK officials gathered outside of the police station to show him support. 2010 border demarcation law, the "GPS" myth Pashinyan met the crowd in Sisian. One of the opposition's complaints has been "GPS is inaccurate and cannot be used for demarcation", to which, Pashinyan answered, "[the demarcation] is done multiple times, with different methods. There is no issue in this regard." Pashinyan: There is a lot of talk about *"giving away" Syunik". In fact, it is quite the opposite. When we deploy our border troops in accordance with the Armenian border, our level of security increases because that border also becomes the border of the security system of which we are a member. The demarcation is carried out following the law adopted in 2010. The issue is that the current borders, the description of the administrative borders of our communities, were clarified by the law on the "administrative-territorial division of the Republic of Armenia", adopted in 2010. In that law, for example, villages Khndzoresk and Tegh were drawn to include borders with Azerbaijan. The government in 2010 had accepted that demarcation; now we're facing problems here. And today, some of the people, who ask why and how the borders are being demarcated this way, are the same officials who were public officials in 2010, who adopted this law.If what we're doing today is "treason", then what happened in 2010 is even more of a "treason". "why didn't CSTO get involved during war?" Pashinyan: why didn't CSTO act during the war? For the same reason: our 2010 law states that this is what our official Republic of Armenia border is and that anything beyond Tegh village is Azerbaijan. CSTO, naturally, couldn't act beyond our official borders. We have received assurances that in the event of action within our borders, the bloc will act. army & people Resident: our army did not lose the war. Pashinyan: Our army and the people are heroes, there can be no two opinions about it. That doesn't mean there weren't issues, or some soldiers and generals didn't complete their tasks. We must build our self-confidence and optimism one by one, we must rebuild Armenia and Artsakh. meeting in Sisian Pashinyan visited Sisian city Pantheon. He then met a crowd in the main square and thanked them for "for such an understanding, for such an acceptance". During a speech in Sisian, Pashinyan said he will avoid confrontation with those who closed the road to Goris city. He said there were families and supporters who wanted to meet in Goris, and that one of the reasons the road was closed to possibly prevent that from happening. Father of a fallen soldier: Pashinyan still has 8 months to go. He must and will answer all the questions. Tomorrow, ARF Ishkhan Saghatelyan and those guys [ex-regime] must also answer. Tomorrow they [ex-regime] will say "go ask Nikol if you have questions". So Nikol should do his part and answer the questions, so others can answer theirs. Pashinyan: please try not to politicize today [about giving ARF Ishkhan's name]. Father of a fallen soldier: we must give their names. The same names and their parties are gathered in the public square today. Today you [Nikol] must enter Sisian and elsewhere with your head held high and without bodyguards. Let's get rid of pain and sorrow then we will know what to do next. various concerns Residents spoke about various border and social issues. Pashinyan: I came to look at Syunik residents in the eye. I know that I'm guilty in many ways. Our citizens deserve more. Unfortunately, not a single government, including ours, has been able to deliver what our citizens deserve. I apologize on behalf of all governments. priest vs Pashinyan While in Syunik, Pashinyan entered a church and lit a candle in memory of the fallen. Upon exiting, he came across priest Pargev Zeynalyan. Pashinyan raised his hand to greet but the priest let it hang in the air. Pashinyan left. A church representative said the priest had the right to express his political beliefs. That didn't prevent the crowd, angry at the priest's conduct, to march to the church and block its entrance. They wanted to kick the priest out. The police told the crowd not to enter. The priest refused to meet the protesters. The protesters left and promised, "not to allow the politicized priest to enter that church again". The priest denied subsequent false rumors about police allegedly raiding his house over the incident. (of course, gotta throw a couple of fake news here and there for "political persecutions" illusion)
border demarcation: Shurnukh border village suburbs
Mayor of border village Shurnukh, Syunik: The 12 houses in the lower suburbs, which according to rumors were supposed to go under Azeri control, will stay under Armenian control, according to the latest updated information. The army and Russians came and began working on border installation beyond the village area. I'm not entirely sure this is the final status, it could change, so stay tuned. There will be a demarcation process but I don't know when. Our local volunteers guard the borders. Women and children were evacuated from the area for now, just in case. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203332
re: Russians will guard parts of 21km Syunik road
MoD says: some of the 21km Goris-Kapan road goes through disputed areas. We have an agreement for Russian border guards to monitor Goris-Kapan and Goris-Davit Bek sections to ensure safe passage. Armenian and Azeri troops will be stationed on opposite sides of the road. More info in the coming days. (if you look at the map, the road is the exact border) https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203346
press unions condemn attacks on media outlets / free press
First incident. Former regime's activists attempted to prevent Pashinyan and tens of thousands of participants from marching to Yerablur Pantheon on weekend. During the incident, they identified a journalist from "Azatutyun" (pro-western) and began assaulting him. (Azatutyun office was also raided by supporters of former regime on November 10th). Second incident. 5TV is owned by Kocharyan's friend. It has a record of manipulating interviews and information in general (e.g. the March 1st documentary). Some people don't like them for this reason. 5TV reporter was cussed by Pashinyan supporters, while QP MP Andranik Kocharyan refused to take questions from him. Third incident. Opposition activists cussed Azatutyun reporters and tried to prevent them from doing the work. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038471.html
PRESS casualties during the war
HR Ombusmn: Five foreign and two Armenian reporters received severe injuries during the war. One reporter was killed. They were targeted by Azerbaijan intentionally. They were wearing PRESS uniforms, which are visibly different from army uniforms. Azerbaijan prevented reporters from working in front lines and launched a felony investigation against some international reporters (Semyon Pegov) for visiting Artsakh. https://web.archive.org/web/20201219074426/https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203315
felony investigations post-war / SIS launches an investigation to examine:
1) Reports of officers disobeying commands during the war, and desertion. 882 cases are being examined. Dozens have been charged. 2) Several civilian and military individuals intentionally spread alarming information to create panic among soldiers in the front lines (Vitalik's friend's incident, possibly), and claimed that the war was already decided, it was a conspiracy, and that it was pointless to fight. There are multiple felony cases regarding this. Investigation continues. 3) A felony case is launched against an officer who refused to do his duties in the southern part of Artsakh. (if this is General Movses Hakobyan, expect him to cry "political persecution" because he was the first one to give a press conference to create a narrative, a-la Dodi Gago). 4) Investigations over claims made by General Movses Hakobyan on November 19th. We're investigating a group of high-ranking officials for possibly violating protocols set by the Defense Ministry, which lead to reduced performance, which impacted the outcome of the war. We are also examining the reports, submitted by various political parties, to investigate the $5 billion offer that was made to Pashinyan by Aliyev (the offer Aliyev made to Serj and Pashinyan to give away 7 regions without a fight). 5) A felony investigation was launched [to investigate Pashinyan] after [former regime figure] Garnik Isagulyan claimed that Pashinyan took a $48 million bribe from Turkey and that his NSS chief Qyaramyan gave away 1400 passports to Azerbaijan, and helped Azeris to invade Hadrut. Isaghulyan was invited to SIS to provide evidence; he refused. The examination found no proof of these claims. A felony case was launched against Isagulyan himself for making false reports. 6) There were multiple reports in mid-November that Shushi was "sold" and an order was given for soldiers to deliberately retreat so Azeris could take it. This was investigated by SIS and NSS, courts were involved, reports from various media outlets are being investigated, including Arayik's leaked phone call and General Samvel Babayan's "post-mortem" interview. Additionally, there is an investigation of the embezzlement of property belonging to the army. Besides investigating these claims, we will also investigate their impact on the final outcome of the war. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038432.html
lawsuits / Pashinyan's son / army officer / Dmbo Gago
Volunteer soldier Mikael Mikaelyan is suing pro-Kocharyan blog "Politik" over an alleged defamation. The soldier says: Earlier I wrote that on October 1st I was yelling at deserting soldiers not to leave positions near Jabrayil. Then a similar story in Kubatlu; I wrote that I witnessed how Pashinyan's son Ashot was yelling at deserting soldiers; he was asking them to stay and help. My post received a lot of attention. It's clear that these two were separate incidents on separate dates, right? They [former regime] began calling me a liar because I could not have seen Pashinyan's son on October 1st because he was sent to the front lines on the 5th. They wrote an article "Yet another chatlakh who says everyone routed except Ashotik". https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202933 Deputy Army General Chief of Staff Tiran Khachatryan is suing BHK MP Naira Zohrabyabn over an alleged defamation. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038342.html BHK chief Gago's casino "Onira Club" (Shangri La) was in legal trouble over alleged financial crimes. It also lost the license on July 9th over not paying the necessary fees. The casino is now suing the Finance Ministry to have its license back. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203413
306 refugees returned to Artsakh on Sunday. 1.6km of roads were cleared of explosives, and 1 house was renovated. The peacekeepers have so far renovated 23 houses and rebuilt 8km of electric lines in Martakert. 35 patients were given medical care in Chartar settlement. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038385.html
The Public Utility Commission decided to keep the electricity prices the same for low-income families, and 90% of those who consume less than 400 kW/h. The large-scale consumers will see AMD 3 increase. The rate will go into effect in February. (the nuclear plant will be closed for much of the year for the final big renovation; there were talks that it could impact prices) https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/288860/
7km of roads and water drainage were repaired and installed in Horbategh, Vayots Dzor. It's a tourist area. Locals hope the renovations will improve their economic status. Smbataberd, Tsaghatsqar complex, and St. Hreshtakapetats are located nearby. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203420
All Armenia Fund met Artsakh govt to discuss housing for refugees and the homeless. They plan 9 new buildings with 236 in Askeran, 132 in Martuni, while the assessment for capital Stepanakert and elsewhere continues. Contracts were signed with construction firms. Artsakh govt thanked Himnadram for continuous help. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203336
After I tried to stop this series and start a new series (which failed), I am back in the driver's seat for King's Survivor's final phase, since it would probably have lasted longer if Adobe didn't cancel Flash (thanks for rushing my series, mate!). This season, I tried to do what u/swoldow did before and make a season called Saints Vs Sinners, where 10 people who embody the term "Saint" will face off against the people who embody the term "Sinner", but unfortunately, it seemed like a lot of the people who signed up misunderstood the definition of saints and sinners. For the love of god, someone who is slightly villainous is not a "sinner", and average people are not "saints". Oh well. I guess it's the best I'm gonna get. Here is the cast: Kahramanca (Saints) Tribe: Ardet Prifti, 31, Rhythm Guitarist, u/Twig7665 Ardet lived a difficult life. Born in Albania with a family that was associated with the mafia meant that Ardet was never safe, and one day, he came back home to find his whole family had been murdered by the Albanian mafia. He spent years on the street, struggling to survive, before he discovered his musical talent. He played a guitar (which he had to steal), which enabled him to earn money. After a few years of doing that, he moved to the United States, where he did his best to get into the largest music college in that country, and actually succeeded. He met some people that became his bandmates, and soon they were pretty popular in the underground scene. When their fame exploded, Ardet's bandmates grew either egotistical or paranoid, but Ardet saw fame as a way to spread awareness for mental illness. He has now become a strong supporter of mental health charities around the country, and he signed up for Survivor to raise money for one of the charities he supports. Ava Chrisly, 23, Kindergarten Teacher, u/Gemini_B Ava was born deaf. After her father died when she was 3, her birthmother struggled to care for her and her 3 siblings. Ava was especially tough since she needed special treatment and one night her birthmother left her on the doorstep of a rich widow with a note explaining how Ava got there. The Widow, not wanting to deal with a deaf child, left her outside where she spent a cold night alone and scared. She came across Marissa, a young girl who ran away from home. Marissa took pity on her and the two banded together. They spent years together on the street with Ava learning to read lips and Marissa learning sign language. Marissa quickly saw that Ava had a gift with children and encouraged her to find a job with kids. Ava didn’t want Marissa to leave, but then Marissa surprised her by revealing she had a scholarship to a teachers college. Ava went off to the collage and became a kindergarten teacher, but when she returned she learned that Ava had gone to jail for stealing from a rich old woman and using the money to bribe a college administrator. Ava promised she’d help bail Marissa out, and learned about survivor. She’s hoping she can win the million to help free Marissa and get their lives on track. Chelsea Rutherford, 22, Lifeguard, u/IAmWolfNinja Chelsea was the heiress to the throne of a foreign country with a corrupt government. The wealth that came with such a status meant nothing to her, since she was utterly disgusted with the actions of her family. Knowing her resentment for their governmental policies, Chelsea's family gradually became verbally abusive towards her. Unable to take any more, she escaped as a teen to pursue her own path. When she arrived in America, Chelsea wanted to do everything she could to erase her dark past and the actions of her family, so she got a job as a lifeguard, where she has saved countless lives. She's occasionally recognized as an heiress, but when it's brought up, she tends to have nervous breakdowns. Chester "Cap'n" Richardson, 67, Retired Naval Officer, u/swoldow Some may see him as just the average old man, but Cap’n has seen and done things most people couldn't fathom. Cap’n joined the navy at a ripe young age about 5 years before the Cold War began, and learned everything from afar, slowly working up the ranks. When things got bad in Vietnam, he was given the chance to take charge of a ship during the war, and he immediately said yes. He ran the ship strictly, but he got both respect from everyone, as well as being genuinely liked as a person by his crew. He led them to many naval victories but unfortunately that didn't last, when his ship was shot with a torpedo, which blew the whole thing up and killed everyone on it, except for Cap’n. With the emotional baggage of watching people he has gotten to know kick the bucket, he immediately resigned from the navy after. As a result of the shipwreck, his mindset has changed, as he’s now super overprotective of his family, and still can't let the explosion go after years and years of retirement. He hopes Survivor can help him learn more about himself, and be the thing he needs to live the rest of his life in peace. Cornelius Von Helton, 52, CEO, u/Gemini_B Cornelius was raised by a family that had fallen from riches and was in tough times. He never expected to get to go to university but got lucky by getting a scholarship for his creative greeting cards. While at university, he enrolled in a business course and after collage started a greeting card business with some friends. All of his friends quickly gave up on the business, but Cornelius stuck through it. When he made a greeting card that was delivered to Eddie Murphy, the comedian was impressed and hired him to do his greeting cards to his friends, family, and invitations to parties. Quickly other celebrities started to hire his business and many fans wanted to get into the trend. His business rapidly expanded and he soon found himself with a company that covered parties, greeting cards, published books and even dabbled in a touch of Realestate. While in his thirties though, Cornelius was mugged while on a walk in the park and got stabbed. He was quickly rushed to the hospital and while there, he was nursed back to health by his soon to be wife. He claims that she saved his life and proceeded to date her after leaving the hospital. She was reluctant at first, but he quickly charmed her and the two have been married for 15 years now. He has two children, a son aged 10 and a daughter aged 8. He's continued to run his business, but leaves most of the work to his higher-ups as he wants to be able to spend as much time with his family and employees as possible. He views his employees as his family and does his best to remember all their names and make the workspace as nice for them as possible. He's come to survivor because his wife loves the show and wanted to compete, but due to growing health issues can't. She's trained him to win, and he wants to do this and win for her. Dana Vasquez, 43, Stay At Home Mom, (filler character) Greg Zimmer, 40, High School Teacher, u/AngolanDesert Greg is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He is very trusting and kind and will do anything for the people he loves. Since he grew up in Texas, hard work has always been his priority. He knows that if he wants to win this game, he has to work hard at everything he does. Greg decided to be a high school teacher so he could teach his students the importance of hard work. He has been a fan of survivor for a while, so when he saw that applications for survivor were going out, he knew he had to join in. Hopefully, he won’t disappoint his students. Gwendolyn "Gwen" Wallerby, 52, Baker, u/ghetra Gwen works at a bakery where she gets to do what she loves every day: make many different kinds of pies. She is a very warm, loving person and has a reputation for helping out whoever needs it, usually by baking for them. Baking takes a lot of patience and strength, and she is stronger than she looks. She naturally has a very loud voice that sometimes irks people, but once they get to know her it quickly becomes endearing. Now that her children are out of the house, she has started reading much more and taking classes on different subjects that interest her. The world is her oyster. Kirk Smolarek, 62, History Teacher, u/Twig7665 Kirk never had a normal childhood. His mom walked out on his family not long after he was born, and his father was a former Polish soldier with PTSD and a severe drug addiction, leading to Kirk experiencing abuse from him for as long as Kirk can remember. Wanting to escape his miserable life, he smuggled himself on a boat bound for Australia when he was 16. Lo and behold, the ship got caught in a windstorm and ended up sinking, and Kirk and a few other survivors ended up stranded on an island. After spending more than a month there, he was taken back to his homeland after being found there. He ended up being the only survivor of the whole ordeal. He was returned to his deranged father, where the next time his father tried to abuse him, he fought back, causing his father to end up in the hospital. Deemed not guilty because he defended himself, Kirk did not spend time in prison for this. His father on the other hand did spend time there for drug-related charges and child abuse, but was killed by another inmate before he could be released. Kirk then went to college, where he studied history there, and decided to become a history teacher. He then kept that job title for over 40 years now, and despite being in his 60s, he is still an enjoyable presence for his students, as he incorporates unusual teaching methods to make his students interested in what he's teaching. Despite being financially stable, he wants to win the money so he can be well off when he retires in a few years. Maralyn Sander, 32, Tour Guide, u/Void_Drone Maralyn gives tours of New York, driving around in her bus, answering questions, watching broadway shows. And she spends most of her money on her family, except for the money she spent on her pink pearl necklace. She enjoys the tours for the most part, but when she's alone she vents about how annoying the tours can be. Kotu Adam (Sinners) Tribe: Alexa Station, 20, YouTuber, u/IAmWolfNinja A 3AM YouTuber who arrived late to the trend, Alexa has a tendency to flex her belongings when no one really cares. She was recently involved in a scandal where she faked her boyfriend's death, causing endless amounts of controversy, and a near arrest. Her sub count is dropping significantly every day, so she joined to help gain her popularity (relevancy) back. Carter Witworth, 23, College Student, u/JTsidol Witworth, he was born to a extremely rich family, but his parents didn’t have time for him, but spoiled him rotten, when he got into school, he was known for being a bully, however no one confronted him, and everytime he’d get in trouble or fail a test, his parents would pay his way out, last year, he got a slap in the face, when his parents yet again had to bribe the college board to accept him, they cut off his allowance, he’s playing just for the money, nothing else. Irvin Eamers, 32, Olympic Sprinter, u/asiansurvivorfan A born athlete, Irvin loved competing in all sports but wasn’t known to play fair as he was never a team player and would often torment others to win. He started training for the Olympics at the age of 17 and eventually got the opportunity to compete in multiple Olympics where he took home many gold medals. However, they were striped from him when he was caught doping and using steroids to give him an edge in races. After the controversy, Irvin’s current wife left him and he was banned from competing in any future competitions. He came on Survivor for one reason and that is that is the money as he’s currently being sued by the Olympic committee. Jessica Abrefa, 25, Poker Player, u/Twig7665 Jessica wasn't the most well off growing up, she lived in Alabama, where racism was rampant. As such, she was bullied for her race, until one day, she decided that they will all be wrong about her not being able to do anything because of her skin colour. She publicly humiliated the whole football team at her high school, and that stunt got her expelled in her senior year. She didn't care, and then she decided to run away to Las Vegas, which she did. While there, she started modeling, but found it boring. She then picked up the hobby of gambling, and played her first poker match when she was 21. She proved herself to be a formidable foe by beating one of the top poker players at the time, a dude named Brett Herman. Impressed by her skills, he tried to form a bond with her, but she turned him down due to him being a very paranoid man. Now, Jessica dates and cheats on men almost daily, and is considered one of the top female poker players, despite only playing for a few years. An avid Survivor fan, she wants to be as flirty and manipulative as she is in her real life. The only problem would be meeting another poker player, but she finds it unlikely that she will. Joey "Wildcard" Caruso, 24, Poker Player, u/wordonthestreet2 Joey did not grow up with the best moral compass as his father notoriously had ties to the mafia. He used the money his father made through illegitimate businesses to gamble throughout his teenage years. When his father learned about his poker abilities and how easy it was for him to manipulate his opponents they began using his poker career as a way to launder mafia money through various casinos. He is known for his excellent poker face and unpredictable style of play which earned him the nickname Wildcard. Maize Nguyen, 28, Heiress, u/Vicctoryy From the outside looking in, the Nguyen Family Dynasty of San Francisco looks like a well supported and strong business, but from the inside, things are crumbling apart. The matriarch and patriarch are always at each other's necks over the company, leaving their children to clean up their messes. Maize, being the oldest, has taken it upon herself to lead the company, and she leads with an iron will and even harder iron fist. While she seems like a worthy replacement for her faulty parents, she has never been afraid to leave with force. Anyone at the receiving end of a verbal lashing from Maize is likely to not return to work the next day, or ever again. She is arrogant, rude, demeaning, and yet she gets things done. Saving the company from absolute bankruptcy caused a lot of backlash, but Maize couldn't care less. Success should be accomplished by stepping on the necks of those who aren't ready for the power, and Maize has done that exact thing. Any person in Maize's way has been an obstacle she has to conquer, and with a flip of her finger, that obstacle is no longer a problem. She has never been afraid to crack a few eggs to make an omelette, and unfortunately, those eggs have just been working class people struggling to make minimum wage and put dinner on their table. Too bad for them according to Maize. Maize has come to Survivor to prove that the Nguyen Dynasty is far from over, and their business monopoly will run on for years with Maize at the front of it. She is the iceberg, everyone else is a ship with no idea of what's in their way. Those too bold to step in her way are trampled, quite literally. Maize has no problem with controversy, controversy brings attention, attention brings money, and money brings power. Molly-Anne Benson, 26, Marketing Assistant, u/ghetra Molly-Anne is a social butterfly. She loves chatting with people about pretty much anything and loves meeting and getting to know new people. She has a natural charm about her that draws people in, but sometimes people are bothered by how chatty she is. She also loves to gossip and is not above spreading rumors. However, she is rather sensitive and can be set off by just about anything. She frequently will push people's buttons if they offend her and will hold a grudge until the end of time. Nikki Lopez, 29, Stripper, u/Void_Drone Randall Martin, 49, Real Estate Agent, u/TDSwaggyBoy Being a self proclaimed sleazeball, which is a very weird thing to be proud of, Randall's life was never too good. He didn't grow up with a lot of close friends. Sure, people liked him at first, but when they really got to know him they didn't appreciate him nor his antics very much. Randall had to make a name for himself. He quickly found a career in the world of real estate. Not even his co-workers enjoyed his company, but they appreciated his skills. Being a fast and smooth talker really pays off in his industry. And now, Randall wants to put his skills to use in SURVIVOR. How well will that pan out? Vito Luco, 49, Used Car Salesman, u/swoldow Vito is the last person you'd want to trust with anything. A true con-artist at heart, he now has a job selling used cars, but his past jobs would make you run away from him in fear. When he was younger, he was a part of a major drug-trafficking operation run by the mafia, and he later got a job selling illegal fireworks, both of which got him to do jail time for a decade. Newly released, he seems to be back to his old ways, as he scams people out of their money daily with his faulty cars. He was born constantly overshadowed by his perfect younger brother, who is a popular politician, while he just swindles from people. As a result, he hates people who play loyally, and wants to prove that evil is the best way to play. He isn't afraid to play hard, as that's what he did all his life, and he'll either win, or go out swinging. Link to Season Episode 1: The 20 new contestants are welcomed into Turkey, where their first task is to compete in a challenge for reward. The Sinners tribe win this reward due to having more young and fit members than the Saints tribe. As a result, the Saints are already demoralized as they arrive at camp. Cap'n starts to feel good vibes from Ardet and Maralyn, and takes them under his wing to form an alliance. Ava, on the other hand, reveals that she is deaf to Chelsea and Gwen, and the three form another alliance due to being close to one another already. Cap'n sees this and scrambles to find an idol, and does so. Over at the Sinners tribe, Witworth and Jessica see their opportunity to look for an idol, and they find it, giving them more security, while back at camp, Maize and Nikki get into a fight over thinking that the other has an idol, which neither of them do. Vito becomes the moderator of this fight, saying that the three of them plus Irvin and Molly need to stick together in the long run. Randall sees this alliance form and tries to get Alexa, Jessica, Witworth, and Wildcard on board, which they all agree to at first, but then Wildcard sees this as his opportunity to cause conflict within his tribe, so he becomes content with being a swing vote. The Sinners win immunity, and on the Saints tribe it quickly becomes a race to see who can scrape up the swing votes the fastest between Cap'n's alliance and Ava's alliance. Dana becomes the target for Ava's alliance because of her weakness in challenges and her blind loyalty, while Greg is targeted by Ardet and Cap'n due to his shiftiness. They are able to get Kirk and Dana on board to blindside Greg, and they try to talk to Gwen, but she does not flip. Instead, at tribal council, we end up with a 5-5 split, followed by a 4-4 vote split due to no one flipping. Then a rock draw occurs on the first vote of the season. Ardet becomes the victim of the rocks, sending him out of the game despite never receiving a single vote. Episode 2: After an explosive first vote, Cap'n tries to figure out who flipped on the six and sent Ardet home. No one tells him who did it, so he assumes it was Ardet. Ava tries to flip Maralyn from Cap'n's alliance, but is unsuccessful at doing so. At the Sinners camp, Jessica and Witworth, despite being closely aligned, argue over who gets to keep the idol, and Witworth ends up keeping it in the end. The Saints pull out a surprise victory over the fractured Sinners, and back at camp, Wildcard decides to snake the alliance he was pretending to work with, and joins Vito's alliance. Their first target is none other than Alexa, who saw this game as nothing other than a tool to get more relevancy back, and it particularly irked Vito, who wanted to play against people who played hard. So together, with his alliance and Wildcard, they vote for Alexa. Meanwhile, the four person alliance realizes that Wildcard snaked them, so they vote for him, and Alexa becomes the second person voted off in a 6-4 vote. Episode 3: After Alexa's vote off, Irvin tries to bond with Vito, wanting to be his right hand man, and they become closer due to both being sleazy people. Wildcard begins to feel like he's in control, and it starts to annoy people on his tribe. At the Saints camp, Cap'n starts to rub people the wrong way because of his cockiness due to having an idol, but no one catches on to him having an idol, which is good news for him, because he plans on holding onto the idol until the merge. The Sinners win immunity for the third time, and they grow cocky because of this. Cap'n and Kirk, being the two oldest men on the tribe, join forces with Dana and Maralyn to take out their biggest threat in the opposing alliance, Greg. However, the other side has majority, and they decide that Dana has been blindly loyal to the other three, and hasn't been pulling her weight in challenges, so she becomes the third person voted out in a 5-4 vote. Episode 4: After a somewhat boring vote, Greg starts to get paranoid, since he's already gotten 9 votes and it's only episode 4. He then tries to get the minority alliance to pin their votes onto Gwen, but Gwen gets angry at him for doing so, and they have an argument. At Sinners camp, Jessica tries to talk to Irvin, trying to get his alliance to help hers take out Wildcard, and Irvin tells Vito about the plan, and Vito starts to see Wildcard as not being of use anymore. After losing the reward challenge, the Saints come back harder and beat the Sinners at the next challenge. Wildcard lets Vito know that he is going to vote Maize, since he wants to make a big move early on. This becomes the final nail in Wildcard's coffin, as Vito was quite close to Maize. At tribal council, Wildcard becomes the first unanimous boot of the season, going out in a 8-1 vote. Episode 5: Vito starts to think that Irvin has been playing way too loyally, and he gets into a discussion with him that slowly devolves into a full-blown fight between them, but Vito, realizing that Irvin would make a bad enemy, tries to make it up to him, and it works. The Sinners win both reward and immunity, and they feel elated about it. Cornelius goes to Cap'n and proposes an alliance to him, allowing them to control things from behind the scenes with Maralyn. He also reveals that he has grown a disdain for Greg, and that they need to flip the numbers on him. They get Gwen and Kirk on board, or so they think, but Gwen blabs to Greg and their alliance, leading to Kirk to flip as well. They decide to vote Cornelius out due to him being the biggest gamer on the tribe, and he goes in a 5-3 vote. Episode 6: The tribes pack up their things, anticipating a swap, but then the host announces that they will be competing for individual immunity on their tribe, and whoever wins will be safe from the double tribal council taking place that night. Maralyn wins for the Saints, and Vito wins for the Sinners. The Sinners also win reward, earning food to enjoy while they watch the other tribe go to tribal council. Witworth, Jessica, and Randall decide it was now or never to get rid of Maize, who had a fight with Randall earlier that day, but Vito, hearing about this, decides that Randall is the biggest sleaze on his tribe, and he needed to go as soon as possible. In his voting confessional, he states there can be only one sleazy guy on the tribe, and that was himself, so Randall had to go, and Randall becomes the sixth person voted out in a 5-3 vote, and he is bitter as all hell about it. At the Saints tribe, Cap'n becomes angry over the fact he cannot vote in the majority, and it makes the majority annoyed with him, so they decide to vote him off. Luckily for Cap'n, he still has an idol, so he and Maralyn vote for the most threatening player in their minds, Chelsea, and Cap'n plays his idol, sending Chelsea out of the game in a 2-0 vote. Episode 7: After Chelsea's idol out, Cap'n officially became public enemy number one on his tribe, and he tries to find his rehidden idol, but Kirk finds it instead. Maralyn and Greg have a fight due to the food on their tribe running low, and morale being even lower. At the Sinners tribe, Nikki begins to be seen as an easy goat due to her one-sided loyalty to Vito. Morale at the Saints tribe dips even lower when they lose both reward and immunity. Not wanting to lose again,the majority decide to vote off their oldest member, Cap'n, as a last ditch attempt to prevent them from going on a losing streak. Cap'n and Maralyn vote for Greg, and Cap'n becomes the eighth person voted out in a 5-3 vote, missing out on the jury by one placement. Episode 8: After Cap'n's vote out, there are only five members on the Saints tribe, compared to the Sinners having seven. The Sinners increase their winning streak by two by winning both reward and immunity. At the Sinners camp, Jessica and Witworth have another fight over the idol, with Jessica insisting that she keep it. This causes the rest of the tribe to be alerted to the fact that Jessica and Witworth have an idol, and Witworth becomes a target because of this. At the Saints tribe, the women form a tight three, and Kirk and Greg are forced to band together to survive. At tribal council, the three women stay strong, and Greg is voted out 3-2 and becomes the first member of the jury, leaving only four Saints left in the game. Episode 9: With his back up against the wall, Kirk knows that he's probably gone next if he didn't have the idol, which ensured his survival until merge. The Saints finally win a challenge, a reward challenge, but lose immunity once again to the inflated egos of the Sinners. Not much else happens this episode, but Kirk tries to get Maralyn to flip and vote out Ava, but she disagrees to do so, and she votes for Gwen instead, making Kirk not trust her, and he decides to vote for her, while also playing his idol. This causes a 1-1-0 tie between Gwen and Maralyn, and Ava, misunderstanding what would happen if she forced a tie, votes for Gwen while Kirk votes for Maralyn, and Ava becomes the second person in King's Survivor history to be eliminated by default, due to there being no other options, and she becomes the second member of the jury Episode 10: At long last, the tribes merge into the purple Ucurum tribe, meaning balance in Turkish. Left in the game is Witworth, Gwen, Irvin, Jessica, Kirk, Maize, Maralyn, Molly, Nikki, and Vito. At first, it seems like it would be Saint Vs Sinner, but Jessica and Witworth come to the three Saints left in the game, and they convince them to vote with them come tribal council. Vito wins his second immunity challenge of the season, and his target was Witworth for being the strongest male not in his alliance, and also for lying about not having an idol, which he believed was given to Jessica. At tribal council, the lines cause a 5-5 divide between Irvin and Witworth, and on the revote, Maralyn randomly decides to flip to avoid a tie, and Carter Witworth becomes the third member of the jury, and also another person to go out with an idol in their pocket. He is understandably pretty pissed about this ordeal, but wishes his tribe well. Episode 11: The day after Witworth's blindside, the nine remaining contestants compete in a reward challenge, which the team containing Irvin, Maralyn, and Vito win. At the reward, Irvin and Vito realize how dangerous Maralyn could be after she starts trying to talk game with them. Soon afterwards, Maralyn finds the idol, and Jessica calls out Molly for following Vito almost blindly. Nikki wins the second post merge immunity challenge, and Vito tries to recruit Jessica for the vote, which succeeds. They then choose to target Maralyn, since she was the most threatening out of the three Saints, and the six remaining Sinners pin votes onto her. Unfortunately for them, Maralyn pulls out an idol, and the Saints vote for Irvin, a potential immunity threat, making him the fourth member of the jury in a 3-0 vote. Episode 12: After Irvin's blindside, only two men are still in the game, compared to the six women. Nikki is able to find an idol, after thinking that she hasn't been playing hard enough, while Molly gets into a fight with Maralyn over the latter pulling out an idol, which she hadn't wanted her to do. Molly wins immunity, and it becomes a battle of the Saints Vs the Sinners, just like the theme of the season. The Saints go after Maize, wanting to weaken Vito further before going after him, but they are unable to swing anyone over and Vito, fueled by vengeance, gets his alliance to vote for Maralyn. In a 5-3 vote, Maralyn becomes the fifth member of the jury. Back at camp, the final seven become annoyed at Nikki's arrogance after being safe from being voted out, so she becomes a target for the two remaining Saints left. Kirk also becomes a target for being a perceived leader for Gwen, causing him to be target numero uno. After Kirk wins immunity, the target shifts from him to Gwen, due to her being perceived as not wanting to play the game, and rather would be along for the ride, which Vito found unpalatable. Kirk and Gwen then try to vote out Molly for her strength in challenges, and in the end, Gwen gets the boot in a 5-2 vote, making her the sixth juror. Episode 13: With only six people left in the game, the final reward challenge takes place. Maize wins it, and she shares it with Vito, her closest ally, and Jessica, who her and Vito wanted to bring closer. Soon, they realize what a threat she could be, especially because she's a poker player, she becomes the biggest target instead of Kirk. Luckily for her, she wins immunity. Kirk tries to bond with Maize as a way to get Vito to not vote him out, but it backfires, and he becomes the biggest target yet again. At tribal council, he votes for Molly, but everyone else votes for him, making him the seventh juror in a 5-1 vote and completely eliminating the Saints from the game. Finale: Jessica, Maize, Molly, Nikki, and Vito remain. Five players who had remarkably different playing styles, but all came from the same tribe. They compete in the second-to-last immunity challenge, which Maize wins, and the biggest target becomes Jessica again, who has proven herself to be the only player not following Vito, and only voting with him just to get further in the game. Vito does not feel the same way about keeping Jessica around, so he and his alliance with Nikki, Molly, and Maize vote for her, and Nikki plays her idol in case someone flipped on her, and Jessica becomes the eighth juror in a 4-0 vote. Back at camp, Vito feels incredibly cocky, and he tries to influence a fight, and he does so between Nikki and Maize. He then goes on to win final immunity, and Nikki tanks her own game with her fight with Maize, and everyone votes her out, causing her to become the ninth juror in a 3-1 vote. The final three consists of Maize, Molly, and Vito. Molly gets criticism for her lack of strategy, only using her social game to get far, and her challenge capabilities. Maize is seen as following too closely to Vito, but the jury is willing to vote for her if Vito tanks his jury speech. He does not, and explains his game in great detail, saying he started out forming a five person alliance on the first night, he commenced the Wildcard blindside, the Witworth blindside, the Jessica blindside, etc. He did it all, but the bonds he formed in the game were genuine, and he didn't intend his villainous backstabbing to be taken personal. In the end, he gets all the jury votes, even from two people he never met, Greg and Ava. Maralyn wins the Fan Favorite for standing up to Vito and her idol play. Winner: Vito Luco, u/swoldow Fan Favorite: Maralyn Sander, u/Void_Drone Potential Returnees (yeah, I haven't done this in a while): Vito, Jessica, Kirk, Maralyn, WItworth, Ava, Cap'n, maybe Ardet, if I do a first boot season Next season, will be the final season before season 35, I won't spoil the theme for 35, but trust me, it won't be a season to miss. Season 34 however, with the release of the new Island Of The Idols sim, it will feature two King's Survivor Idols, who will be revealed with the sign ups. Next season will be King's Survivor Venezuela: Island Of The Idols!
Nintendo's missing franchises and their chances of coming to Switch (long read)
“I want X for Switch”, “when is X coming to the Switch”, “X is perfect for the Switch!” How often have you heard or said these sentences? Quite a lot, probably, especially about Nintendo franchises. Nintendo fans really like first-party games, and they’re always asking for their favorites to come back. Problem is, even though Nintendo owns dozens of franchises, there’s only a few that are guaranteed to show up during any given console, so fans of smaller franchises are left wondering when they’ll play them again. Well, today I’ll try to mostly answer these questions. I’ll take a look at several, Nintendo-owned franchises and try to figure out what are their chances of coming to Switch. I’ll be basing myself on this such as release schedule, success of previous entries, popular demand, market niche and internal interest at Nintendo. However, keep in mind two things. One: Nintendo owns a shit-ton of IPs, and I won’t cover them all. I’ll focus on the ones that have multiple entries, and even then, I might skip a few if I feel I have no meaningful insight. And two: No matter what I or anyone else says, the chances for any of these games to come back is NOT ZERO. Nintendo is unpredictable and they’ll sometimes bring something out of the blue when you least expect it. This year alone we saw the return of Brain Age (a franchise not seen since 2012), Clubhouse Games (a sequel to a game from 2005), and Famicom Detective Club, a franchise with two games from 1988/89, which then received a remake in 1998 and then nothing until twenty two years later. Granted, it’s another remake, but it is still a modern installment in a franchise twenty two years dormant. If Famicom Detective Club can come back in 2020, so can your favorite franchise. Now, let’s begin, in alphabetical order: Art Academy Starting off with a small one. Art Academy is a series of drawing games that started on the DS in 2010 and then released pretty consistently over the following years, with three entries on 3DS and two (well, one and a half) for the WiiU between 2010 and 2016. Already this feels like a franchise with a pretty consistent release schedule, even though it hasn’t been seen for four years now. I don’t think any of the games were blockbusters, per se, but they also don’t need to be. They’re small games, probably inexpensive to produce that seem to do consistently well enough to get new sequels. There are several obstacles that present themselves to the release of a new Art Academy, but I think all of them are easily overcome. For starters, AA is the type of casual game that thrived during the DS/Wii eras, a Touch Generations game. Since the Switch released, many have noted that Nintendo may want to distance themselves from that era due to the failure of the WiiU, and there may be some truth to that, but I feel like this is starting to change. Again, this year saw the return of both Brain Age and Clubhouse Games, both casual, Touch Generations DS games. I feel like, at the start of the Switch’s life cycle, Nintendo was indeed trying to focus on core gamers, but now that they have secured that core gamer audience, they may be more comfortable releasing more casual fare. Furthermore Art Academy is developed by Headstrong Games, a British developer that doesn’t seem to do much other than AA. However, in 2017, that team was absorbed into its parent studio, Kuju Games. This move, which happened the year after the last AA game released, may have something to do with the franchsie’s MIA status. But, Kuju games is still active, having released a game just last year, and I don’t see why they couldn’t take up the mantle. Finally, some speculated a few years ago that AA was dead due to the Switch not having a stylus but, OH WAIT, Brain Age fixed that too! All in all, even though Art Academy is hardly a hot franchise, there’s very little standing in the way of its return, and little reason to doubt that it will. Chances: Good Chibi-Robo! We may have started on a positive note, but here comes a downer. Chibi-Robo is probably not coming back anytime soon. This cute little robot debuted in his self-titled Game Cube game, developed by Skip Ltd. Like most games by the developer, it was quirky and fun, and not very popular, but had its fans, and Chibi-Robo must have endeared someone at Nintendo, because he kept showing up here and there. He got two DS sequels, though the second one was Japan-only, already a red flag. In 2013, he starred in a 3DS eshop game that was very different from the main games, more of an experimental spin-off, and was not well-received. But the real final nail came in 2015, with Chibi-Robo Zip Lash! The game was announced to be a 2D platformer, and many fans identified the change in genre (from a unique adventure game to one of the most over-saturated genres in Nintendo consoles) as a total sell-out, and they were totally correct! The developers basically admitted that they did it to try and get more players (red flag). Series producer Kensuke Tanabe then said that if the game didn’t sell well, it could be the end of the franchise (RED FLAG). And then, the unfortunate but inevitable happened. Zip Lash was a critical and commercial bomb, and neither the developer nor the franchise has been seen again. Aside from the inevitable Smash Bros mentions, Chibi-Robo has only been seen on that infamous flaming tweet from 2018 (I told you someone at Nintendo really likes them). To make matters worse, there are increasing signs that Skip Ltd may be going under So, a struggling franchise makes a desperate move to gain fans, a developer expresses concerns for its future if the game bombs, said game bombs and now the developer may be going out of business? It seems the writing is on the wall. Now, even if Skip goes under, that is not necessarily the end of Chibi. Nintendo would still retain the rights, as they did for Trace Memory and Hotel Dusk after developer Cing went under. As for whether or not Nintendo would want to give the franchise a second (third? Fourth?) chance, it doesn’t look good Chances: Very bad Custom Robo From one diminutive robot to another, the Custom Robo series is and robo-battle series that began on the N64. It was Japan only, as was its N64 and GBA sequels. Afterwards, Nintendo did try to expand it, releasing a GameCube game in NA, and a DS game in NA and Europe. However, despite the fact that players of these games will attest to how good these games are, they didn’t seem to do very well, and the franchise has not been seen since 2007. There was one statement of internal interest, when a developer in 2014 said that he heard demands both inside and outside the company for a new entry, but that there were no plans for one, and he was unsure when there would be. Six years on, it seems there still aren’t. In fact, the developer itself, Noise, is also strangely MIA. Though they are officially still active, with their website being updated for 2020, they have not worked on a game since 2015. Then, in 2018, many fans watched in horror the news that Nintendo let the trademark expire. Some have pointed out that this isn’t as bad as it seems, as it refers specifically to games on optical discs, which Nintendo doesn’t make anymore, but I don’t know enough about the subject to say for certain. Regardless, it’s evident that Nintendo still owns the franchise, as Custom Robo content appears in Smash Ultimate. On the other hand, one of the series creators, Kohji Kendoh, is still thinking about it. He is working for another developer, and released a suspiciously similar game called Synaptic Drive just this year, as well as talking about Custom Robo in social media. It seems like a Mighty no9/ Yooka-Laylee/Bloodstained situation, in which the owner of an Ip is not using it, so the creator releases a spiritual successor. Bottom line, there seems to be demand for Custom Robo. A developer saw it six years ago, and the creator is seeing it now. Whether or not thinks this demand is enough to revive the franchise, is tough to say, but doesn’t look great. Not as bad as Chibi-Robo, though Chances: Bad Daigasso! Band Brothers Here’s a franchise Americans never got. Daigasso! Band Brother is a rhythm game released for the DS in 2004 and stars Barbara the Bat, who has an uncharacteristically risqué design for Nintendo. The game was Japan-only but seems to have been successful, it received a sequel in 2009 (released in Europe, but not NA), and another in 2013 for the 3DS. Despite not having received new games since then, the series is far from inactive. Barbara the Bat in particular, like Chibi-Robo, seems to have fans inside Nintendo because she pops up everywhere. She had cameos in a few other DS games, she was an AT in Brawl and a spirit in Ultimate, she was a costume in Mario Maker, she appeared in a comic strip with WarioWare’s Ashley, and the series has a Twitter account that was super active all the way up to April of this year (more on that later). In 2017, that account even tweeted a comic strip of Barbara demanding a Switch. That was probably not a tease of anything, as it’s been 3 years and nothing, but stuff has happened with the franchise even more recently. Last year, in 2019, six years after the release of the 3DS game, there were 30 songs added to the game in celebration of the series 15th anniversary. So as late as last year, Nintendo was celebrating this franchise with an in-game event. Now, the servers for the game were shut down earlier this year (hence the end of the Twitter account), and the game was removed from the eshop (as it is basically pointless without the servers), but with recent news that the 3DS has ceased production, it’s pretty clear that the game’s end is a consequence of the 3DS’ end, and not a lack of players. So if the series is alive, but can’t be on the 3DS, it has to go somewhere, no? Bottom line: the games are successful, the series is active, and the character is popular. I don’t know if Barbara the Bat’s next tour will be an international one, but I’m confident it will happen Chances: Very Good Dillon’s Rolling Western DRW is a unique western-themed tower defense game released on the 3DS eshop in 2012. It received mixed reviews, but had a dedicated fanbase, and was successful enough to spawn two sequels, one in 2013, and a post-apocalyptic themed one in 2018. With a game having released just two years ago, its reasonable to say the series is not dormant, so the prospect of a new game is always likely. The developer, Vanpool, who mostly works on smaller scale stuff like this, is both still active and still working at Nintendo. So, really the only reason to believe the series wouldn’t continue would be if the latest game bombed really hard. It’s hard to say that it did, as sales figures are unavailable, but it was a 3DS game in 2018, probably didn’t set the charts on fire. But then again, unless Nintendo had some really unrealistically high expectations, I don’t think it could have bombed hard enough to kill the franchise that fast. There’s not much more to say. There aren’t any rumblings of a return, but also no reason to be pessimistic. Chance: Above Average Earthbound Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: There will not be a Mother 4 The Creator of the series, Shigesato Itoi, has said that he would not work on a fourth installment, as he feels the story is complete. Now, normally, Nintendo could just say “screw creative integrity, let’s make a fourth game anyway!” but Shigesato Itoi directly co-owns the series’ copyright so they actually can’t. So unless Itoi changes his mind, or he dies and Nintendo decides to ignore his wishes (neither scenario is completely outside the realm of possibility), Mother 4 is not happening. So, if new Mother content is made, it’d be either a remake, or Mother 3 localization. We all know demand for this last one is overwhelming, Nintendo themselves have acknowledged it multiple times, but it still hasn’t happened, and it doesn’t seem things have changed. A remake is possible, but don’t hold your breath for it. Despite the series’ popularity, I think all we’ll see of it is the first two games in NSO. Chances: Bad Excitebike This is a hard one to pinpoint. Excitebike is one of those classic NES games that Nintendo likes to reference all the time, like Ice Climber, Balloon Fight, Wrecking Crew and Duck Hunt. Unlike those, Excitebike actually received sequels and established a franchised. There was a great entry on the N64 and three entries on the Wii, but nothing more since. I can’t imagine the Wii entries were super successful, and there really hasn’t been any word from Nintendo about any interest in reviving the series, either from developers, or the fans. The developer of the Wii games, Monster Games, is still active, and still makes racing games and extreme sports games, but hasn’t worked with Nintendo in 5 years. Now, one point I see often, and that I’d like to address, is the idea that Nintendo doesn’t want multiple games from the same genre on the same console. I can’t agree. With the exception of the WiiU, every Nintendo home console since the SNES has had multiple Nintendo-published racing games released for it. WiiU didn’t but that console is an exception to many norms. I don’t see why Mario Kart, behemoth that it is, would stop any other racing game from being made, especially when they are so very different (although the fact that MK8 has an Excitebike track doesn’t inspire confidence). No, I don’t think Mario Kart is the problem, I think is just lack of interest. And though Excitebike is not a franchise Nintendo will ever truly forget, it’s not really revving up for a comeback either. It could happen, it could not Chances: Medium Fatal Frame This horror franchise wasn’t originally a Nintendo product, being released on the PS2 by Tecmo. However, since the fourth game, each title in the series has been published and copyrighted by Nintendo, and this seemingly applies to all future entries, as the series producer said the series’ future is up to Nintendo. So, how does that future look like? Well, the last game in the series, Maiden of Black Water, was a WiiU game, which means it didn’t sell well, but not as badly as you might think. From all I could find, which is admittedly not much, sales for the game seemed to be only slightly less than previous entries, a gap more than explainable by its console. So, if the series was getting sequels before, the WiiU game’s sales wouldn’t be the reason why there wouldn’t be more. And though Nintendo of America has had to take baby steps into accepting the franchise overseas, Nintendo of Japan seemed satisfied with it, releasing four games between 2008 and 2014. So sales aren’t an evident problem, what about the developer? That developer is Tecmo Koei, who is not only active and buddies with Nintendo, their current project is none other than Nintendo’s big holiday title. There’s obvious trust there. As for interest, there is a lot. From Koei Tecmo calling it a valuable IP, to the series producer stating multiple times, including this year, that he’d like to bring it to the Switch Now, this comment pretty much confirms that a new Fatal Frame is not in development as of now, but it has a chance of happening. And remember, the last game is on WiiU, and if we know anything about those, is that they like to come to Switch. And though I don’t see Nintendo breaking their necks to make a new entry, I don’t think they’d oppose it if Tecmo pitches it to them, especially if it’s just a port. Chances: Good Fossil Fighters This game is not Pokémon, or so its fans tell me. Fossil Fighters is a DS game from 2008 where you collect various species of dinosaur and battle with other ~Dinosaur Trainers~ Fossil Fighters in RPG battles. It didn’t receive great reviews, but was successful enough to get a sequel two years later, and another one on the 3DS in 2014. Three games in six years is a pretty good release schedule, and things were looking alright, until that 3DS game came. It was primarily developed by a different studio, and it showed. The game received abysmal reviews, and fan reception was similar. Sales weren’t awful, but not great either. Since then, the series has been completely quiet. The developer, Red Entertainment, is still active, but hasn’t worked with Nintendo since the 3DS game. As for interest, there hasn’t been a peep from Nintendo about this series at all. No interviews describing vague interest in bringing it bad, no acknowledgment of fan demand, no cameos in other games (aside from Smash, which doesn’t count, Smash has everything). Even fan demand doesn’t seem too high, most of what I’ve seen is a Change.org petition which has been up for a year and has not reached its 2500 signatures goal. It looks like this series could become a fossil itself. Someday some might dig it up and revive it to use in battle, but I’m not feeling it. Still not as bad as Chibi-Robo Chances: Bad F-Zero This is the reason you’re reading this. Oh, F-Zero. If fan demand alone was the deciding factor, F-Zero would be top priority. People want F-Zero, people beg for F-zero, people who have never played, beg for F-Zero. And Nintendo knows this, they’ve acknowledged it. They themselves haven’t forgotten it. Even putting Smash aside, there was an F-Zero minigame in Nintendo Land. There are F-Zero tracks in Mario Kart. They’ve done everything but make a new F-Zero game, but why the hell not? Well, it’s important to understand that the F-Zero series declined in sales throughout its life. The best-selling game is still the first, and though the following games were fantastic, they sold less and less, and yet, strangely enough, between 2003-2004, Nintendo released THREE F-Zero games. Around the same time, they also released an anime. There are several great articles and videos about what happened to F-Zero, but the best point I’ve seen is that Nintendo tried, in 2003, to really push F-Zero, but it didn’t work. So, with their attempt failed, they let the series sleep, and just never woke it up, even as fan demand increased. In 2015, Miyamoto commented on the series, and said that, though he heard the demand, he was unsure on what to do with the series, on how to make a new game. Many fans scoffed and said he’d just need to make a modern F-Zero and that’d be great, but I think internal concern runs deeper. Just doing F-Zero failed in 2003, so why would it work now? That said, I think there is hope. Fan demand is powerful, and more and more we see a new generation of Nintendo developers pushing the company forward. These younger developers are the ones behind new IP like Splatoon and ARMS, and great reinventions of existing ones like Odyssey and BotW. It’s possible that these same younger developers could hear the fan demand, and want to take on the series without the hesitation of their older peers. It’s been 16 years, but Kid Icarus was gone for 19, wasn’t it? Stranger things have happened Chances: I want to believe Golden Sun And here’s the other one. Few Nintendo fans are as vocal and dedicated to their dormant franchise as Golden Sun games. For those who don’t know, Golden Sun was a couple of excellent GBA RPGs released in 2001 and 2002, with a DS sequel in 2010. Such erratic release schedule would make predicting the series’ future difficult at the best of times, but the DS game was seen as a disappointment by many fans and sales were unimpressive. With ten years having passed with no new game, is the series done for? Well, let’s look at it. In 2012, one of the developers gave an interview in which he straight up said that, if there was fan demand for it, there would “naturally” be a fourth game. We know that developer interview doesn’t immediately guarantee a sequel, but this is also a much more positive statement than Custom Robo and F-Zero’s “We know there’s demand, but we don’t know what to do with it”. This is “If there’s demand, it will happen.” So, is there demand? You bet your ass there is. And it feels like it is growing. There was a high-profile hoax about a fourth game in 2017 (a similar hoax happened some time before the third game, by the way). The series received notably more content in Smash Ultimate than series of similar standing (quite possibly an acknowledgment of its popularity). And last year, Cory Balrog, director of 2018’s GOTY God of War, tweeted about all the franchises he would trade for a new Golden Sun. Nintendo could hardly have asked for a higher profile endorsement within the industry. So if fan demand is there, why hasn’t it happened yet? Well, it helps to look at the development history of the series. The first game took eighteen months to develop, considered a long time for a handheld game at the time. And though the eight years between the GBA and DS games may have you believe it took a long time to greenlight a sequel, that’s not the case. Signs point to internal discussion about a sequel to the GBA games as early as 2002, with developers quoted as saying that Nintendo was asking them to make a new one. One of the series producers also said that the series takes a long time to make because of its complexity. After the DS game failed to meet expectations, its understandable that Nintendo may not have been as enthusiastic for a new game as it was before, but it seems like, even if the series is alive and well, the long hiatus would not be uncharacteristic. In that same interview quoted before, the developer even said that a new game would take a long time. In fact, if GS4 had started development shortly after that interview, if it took as long as Dark Dawn, the game would be wrapping up production around now. Then there’s the developer, Camelot. Aside from Golden Sun, they pretty much only make Mario Tennis and Mario Golf. They release schedule is also super consistent, with a new game every other year, sometimes every year. We already got a Mario Tennis on Switch two years ago so, if not for COVID, their new game would probably have released this year. All things point, then, for the next Camelot game to hit the Switch next year. Smart money would be in Mario Golf, but maybe it is finally Golden Sun. Finally, I don’t think, as others do, that Xenoblade is the reason GS is not happening. Again, I don’t see evidence to support the idea that Nintendo doesn’t want to publish more than one game in the same genre. Both the GBA and DS had more than a dozen Nintendo-published RPGs, and the Wii and 3DS got RPGs even after Xenoblade released for them. I don’t see why Xenoblade would stop a Switch Golden Sun, especially when they are very different kinds of RPGs. GS is actually closer to Octopath Traveler, whose success was enough to impress SE, why wouldn’t Nintendo want a piece? Really, I think the biggest obstacle is that Nintendo might want to prioritize the safe investment of Mario sports games over Golden Sun, but the more I research, the more I feel like GS’s chances are higher now than they were at any point in the last ten years. I feel there’s hope this sun will rise again Chances: Above average Kid Icarus Sorry to keep you waiting. Kid Icarus was an OK NES game that had a forgotten Game Boy sequel and then nobody cared about it for 19 years until it was unexpectedly revived for the 3DS in 2012. This story is a testament to the fact that, just because its been a long time, it doesn’t mean it will never happen. But in order to know if it will happen again, let’s understand how it happened in the first place. It’s important to mention that reviving Kid Icarus was not the intent behind KI: Uprising, it was the idea of its director, Masahiro Sakurai. Nintendo had given him a project and Sakurai decided to use an established franchise for it. He briefly considered Star Fox, but decided to use Kid Icarus, for which he probably had a soft spot, considering he had added Pit to Brawl some years earlier. So, there wasn’t an exec at Nintendo who woke up one day and decided to bring Kid Icarus back, they gave the director a project, and, after some deliberation, he decided to use Kid Icarus for it. That director is currently busy developing Smash Bros DLC, but even after that’s over, he probably won’t revisit Kid Icarus. He has shot down the idea of him working on a sequel or a port. His words were: "For now, my thought is that perhaps we'll see someone else besides me make another Kid Icarus in another 25 years." Yikes. That’s pretty damning. Sure, Nintendo could get someone else to make the game, but if it was only Sakurai that was interested in the series in the first place, what is the hope of that? Well, that statement is not super accurate. Before Uprising, there was actually a Kid Icarus reboot in development for the Wii. It was cancelled, and thank God for it, as it was an awfully stupid gritty reboot, but it showed that there was interest in the franchise even before Uprising. Naturally, you’d expect interest to be bigger now than before. The fact that Uprising not only grew the series’ fanbase, but the that there are Kid Icarus characters in Smash Bros, means that the franchise has a permanent place in the interest in Nintendo fans. Smash in particular means that there are 18 million people who know Pit and Palutena and would turn their heads if a new game was announced. Furthermore, Nintendo’s new CEO is interested in bringing 3DS franchises to the Switch after the success of the Switch Lite, especially now that the 3DS is officially dead, so the opening is there for it. There is definitely demand for a new Kid Icarus game, but it is too sporadic a franchise to be certain, and if it were to happen, Nintendo would have to find someone new to do it. But, in the end, the series is definitely in a better place now than it was 10 years ago. Chances: Medium Legendary Starfy Legendary Starfy was a 2D platformer for the GBA that was apparently really successful, as it received four sequels in the span of five years. Not only that but, like Barbara and Chibi-Robo, Starfy himself was quite popular. He had cameos in Mario & Luigi and Super Princess Peach, music of the series was in Donkey Konga, he is a regular Assist Trophy in Smash and was a costume in Mario Maker. Though the series took until the last game to come to the West, there were plans to bring the first four games too, as well as consideration for expanding the series to the Wii. The series was widely advertised, with animated commercials and tons of merchandise, including plush dolls, CDs, pencils, birthday balloons, casino cards and two manga series. When asked if there were plans for a sixth game, the developer answered “Yes!”, no ifs, not buts, straight-up Yes. And then… nothing. The series just stopped. And the reason why is: I have no idea. Maybe if the last game bombed spectacularly, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Sure, Japanese sales declined with each entry, but not by that much. Maybe NA sales weren’t what Nintendo was hoping for, but surely not enough to kill such a steady franchise. The confusion only grows when we look at its developer, Tose. Now, this is interesting. You’ve probably played a Tose game without knowing. They have worked on over A THOUSAND GAMES, but they never receive credit. They merely assist with development in the shadows. As one exec puts it: "Our policy is not to have a vision. Instead, we follow our customers' visions. Most of the time we refuse to put our name on the games, not even staff names." They are a ghost developer. Even its Wikipedia page admits that the list of games on it is purely speculative. There are probably hundreds more, that we don’t know about. The only exception is the Starfy series. That series was their vision. So why did they stop? Could they have decided that it was against their vision to make a game of their vision? We can only speculate. The fact that the series’ end was so unexpected, and its developer so mysterious, means that any speculation about it is a shot in the dark. All I can say is that there’s no particular reason to expect it. Chances: Not Good Nintendogs Here’s a big one. Nintendogs was one of the biggest successes of the casual era, on par with Brain Age and Wii Fit, but unlike those, it remained a multi-million seller during the 3DS/WiiU generation. And though Nintendo may have tried, at first, to distance the Switch from that era, the return of Brain Age and Clubhouse Games indicates that other casual games would follow, and Nintendogs would be a no-brainer. There is, however, one big problem: the Switch does not have a microphone. While Brain Age on the DS also used the microphone a lot, it was not essential to it. You could easily make Brain Age without it. But not Nintendogs. Issuing voice commands to your virtual pup is integral to the experience. No microphone means no Nintendogs. But with that said, Nintendo did go to the trouble of making a Switch stylus, seemingly just for Brain Age, so maybe they could make a microphone peripheral. Sure, a microphone would be more complex to make than a stylus, but not inconceivable. They did something like that with the Wii Speak. I’m sure for that nintendogs money, Nintendo would do it. Worst case scenario, Nintendo releases Nintendogs and forces you to use the NSO app’s voice chat to talk with your dog. You know they’d do it. There’s also the fact that another developer released a nintendogs clone for the Switch last year, but I don’t think Nintendo gives a shit. Chances: Good Nintendo Wars You may know this series better as “Advance Wars” and you may also know that it is fantastic. In fact, it is one of the highest rated Nintendo franchises on Metacritic, and had a pretty consistent release schedule between 1988 and 2008. All was looking pretty god. But unfortunately the series has been dormant since the last entry on DS. Part of it may be because the series, though originally Japan-only, was never all that popular in Japan. In fact, that last game only saw a limited release as a My Nintendo reward in the region. There is, however, still demand for the series, both externally and internally. Producers from both Nintendo and developer Intelligent Systems have expressed enthusiastic support for a new entry, although they’ve also expressed some uncertainty on what they’d do with it, similar to the Custom Robo and F-Zero responses. The developer for the series is Intelligent Systems, who do a ton of stuff and will be discussed multiple times in this post. They used to release multiple games a year, but have slowed down this past game to just one or two games a year, another possible reason why Advance Wars has been deprioritized, especially in comparison with that boogeyman of Advance Wars and Smash Bros fans alike: Fire Emblem. There is real concern that Nintendo might not want to make a new Advance Wars when they could just make the similar but more popular Fire Emblem instead. That said, IS has already released a Fire Emblem and Paper Mario for Switch, and though we definitely will get at least one more FE during the Switch’s life cycle, there’s enough years left for IS to release some other games, whether they be AW or one of the three other franchises we’ll discuss in the future. Problem is, of those franchises, AW might be the most difficult to produce, and the most risky, so it could probably be lower priority. When asked about the series last year, one IS producer gave a pretty evasive answer, so things aren’t looking too good, but they aren’t hopeless either. Chances: Medium Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents This rhythm series for the DS is widely beloved by those who played it, but its life cycle was pretty limited. One game in 2005, and Americanized version in 2006, and one sequel in 2007. Nothing more since The games were critically acclaimed, but not blockbuster hits. The series creator said back in 2016 that he would love to create a new game, but nothing else has been said about it. The game’s developer iNis, doesn’t appear to be super active either. All in all, there is very little pointing to a return Chances: Bad Pilotwings The biggest obstacle to seeing this series of arcadey flight sims on the Switch is that the series has a very specific purpose: it’s a tech demo. All three games were launch titles for their systems and explicitly meant to show off each system’s new tech. The original game was made to show off the SNES’ Mode 7, the N64 game was meant to show off the console’s polygonal graphics, and Resort was meant to showcase the 3DS’ stereoscopic 3D. With the Switch’s release far behind us, and its graphics not really needing a showcase, Pilotwings chances seem low. Granted, Pilotwings doesn’t need to be a tech demo, but it could be how Nintendo views it as. There is some fan demand for it, but not as much as F-Zero or Golden Sun, and no developer has commented on the possibility of a return. Pilotwings has always been moderately successful, but not enough to justify constant releases. The only glimmer of hope is the comment from Nintendo’s CEO about wanting to bring more 3DS franchises for the Switch, but it’s quite possible that he didn’t have Pilotwings in mind when he said that Chances: Bad Punch-Out!! Another series popular enough to get a Smash character but not popular enough for consistent sequels, Punch-Out is a beloved classic with a consistent fanbase, but with a very erratic release schedule. After the SNES game in 1994, the series lay dormant for 15 years until it was revived for the Wii in 2009 and then laid to rest again. One explanation is that the series was never really popular in Japan. Neither the NES or SNES games were even available as full releases in the country, being instead, distributed as prizes or rewards. And though the Wii game got a full retail release, it sold very poorly. It’s always been a game more for Americans, so it is understandable that the Japanese developers at Nintendo aren’t super enthusiastic about it. That said, it was Nintendo who pitched the reboot in the first place, so they may want to do it again someday. The developer for the Wii game was Next Level Games, who release a game every three or two years, and they also develop Mario Strikers and Luigi’s Mansion. Having already released LM3, it’s likely they’ll release another game for the Switch some time soon. That could be Punch-Out, but it is just as likely that it could be Mario Strikers, or something else entirely. Some think that the series use of flagrant national stereotypes would impede it from coming back in today’s political climate, but frankly, I don’t think that’s as definitive a problem. Worst case scenario, they simply make a new cast, just like Super Punch Out, but less racially insensitive. Another interesting development is that Mike Tyson has been talking about wanting a new Punch-Out this year. I don’t think Nintendo cares what he says, and they definitely don’t want to associate with him again, but it is a pretty high-profile person talking about the series, which is bound to raise interest. Whether that’s enough for Nintendo to consider a new game? I don’t think so. But regardless, Punch-Out is popular enough that the door is never truly closed for it. Chances: Not Good Pushmo This acclaimed puzzle game was released for the 3DS eshop in 2012 and was successful enough to get three sequels. Although it hasn’t been seen since 2015, there doesn’t seem to be anything impeding its return. The developer is our good friend Intelligent Systems, and, of the aforementioned IS franchises still to launch on the Switch, Pushmo, being a simple, but beloved, puzzle game, seems like the safest investment. It likely could be developed alongside another major game. There is demand for it, and considering Nintendo’s eshop efforts, Pushmo would fit in perfectly alongside Snipperclips and fellow 3DS eshop puzzle star Boxboy. All in all, there’s no reason not to expect Pushmo to come back. Chances: Good continued in comments
Ok It's Time for my...Annual *Pre-Burning Man Rant and Predictions!!
Ok It's Time for my . . . Annual Pre-Burning Man Rant and Predictions!!! After 22+ years of attendance, I have watched this festival go from what was described by Wired Magazine in 1997 as, "what the internet would be like if it was happening in reality" to 2020 where, "What? In reality, this festival is happening on the internet" ?!? What a serious head fuck . . . So strap in or strap on and get ready for disappointment . . . like virtually everything in this virtual world right now. Here goes this year's Virtual Rant! PREDICTIONS The Virtual Burn is going the be everything you think it could be . . . an underwhelming and depressing reminder that you are not going the real Burning Man this year. While it is still better than nothing, nothing is an extremely low bar. Get ready for a clusterfuck of 8 separately-produced interpretive video game dreamscapes, made by skilled teams of programmers eager to prove that their world-building technology will be able to make future financial investors a shitload of money. Burning Man 2021 is a 50/50 chance at best. 2022 is not looking that great either. Between The Org burning cash on side projects, the FEDs wanting to crack down hard and the Bureau of Land Management clearly pretty fucking stoked that they did not have to deal with the whole shitshow this year, it's going to be an uphill battle for the festival to return. Huge changes will need to be made. Those few gluttons for punishment who do decide to go to the playa this week will be treated to Burning Man without the Burning Man Experience. It will take all the hard work, organization and preparation for survival in the middle of a harsh desert environment for a week of Burning Man . . . just without the Burning Man. If there is one silver lining of the event not happening this year, it's the fact that I don't have to pack up my dust covered Burning Man bullshit from last year, drive 19 hours, then have to smuggle drugs inside my ass to make it past the BLM rangers just go camping in one of the most fucking miserable and inhospitable places on earth. Without Shirtcockers, Megaphones and Massive Thumping Soundsystems, it's just a bogus camping trip in bad weather with a shitload of cops. This year we will NOT be seeing the usual post-Burn MASSSIVE FLOOD of social media posts from Burners who lost their nice $60 water bottle/container somewhere on the playa, often accompanied by a story of why this particular water container was of importance because it has a strap on it, followed by a brief description of unique camps stickers on it and a photo of said missing water bottle/container. In fact, while we are starting to think about cutting costs -- How about lost and found stops giving a fuck about your overpriced water bottle. You lost it, Becky . . . let it go. You spent 20 times More Money on Cocaine for the week than the price of your fucking stoopid-Smart-Bottle-container. THE VIRTUAL BURN This year’s Virtual Burn brings about more questions than it does answers. How will Shirtcockers express their hatred of pants without a Burning Man? In a virtual world, they become no different than unsolicited dick pics. How will Artcar Owners be able to swing their metaphorical dicks around without their Artcars booming Deep House music to show the world their girth. Sure, you can build one in the Minecraft world for this years Burn . . .But lets face it: No one is gonna be like "Who did that 3D CAD drawing, I totally wanna fuck them!" What will all the Assholes with Megaphones do without Burners to heckle? Without handheld amplified audio devices and wide-open spaces, they become no different than Internet Trolls. How will Hippies on a Vision Quest be able find their spirit animal online? Without a guided shamanic ritual and Temple to burn, they become no different than someone playing Animal Crossing. If there is no moop or trash to clean up in a virtual Burning Man how can Moop-shamers be able to prove to campmates and others that they are better at "doing Burning Man " than everyone else? In a virtual world they become no different than a Sarah McLaughlin Green Peace commercial. How will Dooshbonnets and Dooshbags be able to gain followers on Instagram without the giant Robot Heart to climb? How can they show the world that they not only have braved the pool of Piranhas chomping for position for line, negotiated past the all-seeing and all-knowing doorgirl with a clipboard, proving that they have climbed both the social and physical ladder to reach the top of the Robot Heart, so that they may look down upon the lowly dancefloor with both spite and pity for the unwashed masses who where not able achieve such greatness. Without this accomplishment, they become no different than average Twitter users vying for Celebrity attention. How will Burning Man DJs be able to disappoint us with poorly executed timing and bullshit Michael Jackson remixes? Without huge Soundsystems to bang out the worst in modern electronic music, DJs just become . . . The SAME TERRIBLE DJs just now on Twitch! #playatech #Djstreaming #Djsofburningman Although each Virtual World must have been an amazing feat of programming in its scope and size, it kinda feels like a huge project that was done in a short amount of time. None of the Eight Worlds, in any way, reflect the typical Burning Man experience. However, there are a few non-official super realistic Burning Man simulators out there. By far the most realistic experience has to be the "Getting Out More This Year" Simulator. The player is welcomed to a rich and tangible 3D World of Chris's DopeAss 70s RV, which is camped way out on 4:30 and H, where your avatar can spend all day and all night doing fun things like Ketamine, or other colorful interactive game play such as snorting Ketamine, and even interact with the virtual Chris’s chat box and watch his avatar do Ketamine. Other game play options include doing Ketamine, talking about doing Ketamine and also doing Ketamine. The more days and nights spent doing Ketamine, the higher the score! If you want to experience what a typical Burner really does the whole week, than this one is for you!! Then we have: "Let's Go Party" . . . the online multi-player game where the objective is to get your group of more than 6 Burners to try and leave camp, and all go out to party together. I did not have much fun playing. I was never able to leave the front of camp. 14 hours of game play later, Brenda still needs to go back for chapstick and Ricky can’t find his bag of blow. Then once Brenda arrives ready, Kaleporia is cold and needs a scarf. Darkwad David is going back to get some blinky lights for the 3rd time. Now Timmy can't find his cigarettes . . . Fuck. “ManBun Boyfriend”. In this first person POV game, you (the ManBun) has little to no control within the game, with only a single "Ok, Sure" button to navigate within the world. The game play opens as the player is dragged out of bed at 6 AM by the onscreen girlfriend who takes you (the ManBun) on an treacherous journey of sunrise yoga classes, self help lectures, think and grow rich seminars, yoga, positive affirmation workshops, mindful guided mediations, yoga, healing arts ceremonies, wellness and well-being talks, yoga, vegan lifestyle in the new age conferences, yoga, mindful-and-wellness-group-chat and also yoga. Extra points if you can score a selfie in front of the Giant BELIEVE letters!! After 8 grueling hours of game play, it simply flashes a screen where girlfriend says "I'm Tired", and the “ManBun Boyfriend” simulator then restarts game play to opening sequence. “DJs Girlfriend”. This simulation offers a similar experience to “ManBun Boyfriend”. However, in this first person POV game, you (the DJs Girlfriend) is invited to Follow "Dj GlockTrigger" on a dubstep-and-monster-energy-drink-filled adventure as you (the DJs Girlfriend) is rushed from empty dancefloor to empty dancefloor, while picking up extra points if you can find him a "line of blow". After 12 hours of game play the screen flashes "Hey babe I'm gonna go drink with the boyies" and game play is reset. THE RANT I am not that great at finance. Obviously. I’ve been to Burning Man 22 times. That should tell you enough about my poor financial / life choices. But even this burnout Burner can do the math and see that the Burning Man Org is in financial trouble. Burning Man may need to sell out to save itself. It would not be the first time.. Burning Man "sold out" to the PsyTrance community in 1997. To help ticket sales, the Bay Area was flooded with seriously lame underproduced Rave flyers. Or maybe Dr. Dre can toss in a few million to keep The Org afloat once again. Or hey why don't we start tickling Elon Musk's balls again, and see if we can start choking on his shaft in return for some sweet corporate demon semen sponsorship. The Org has already gone pinky finger deep with him. Like when Tesla brought out a full-on Electric Car Expo. That's right, in 2007, at Burning Man, right at fucking Esplanade & 9:00, they had what can only be described as an “anonymous car dealership” from “the green future”, complete with lengthy-worded displays filled with lofty promises of clean energy, infused with subtle corporate propaganda. In the center of the exhibit sat a life-size solid black plastic model Tesla car. As well as someone on guard 24/7 to make sure no one tagged or fucked with the stoopid thing. I personally got chased out for drawing a dick in the DUST on the window! All I know is they should have burnt it down or blew it up by the end of the week, but that lame ass mother fucker was still there on Sunday when I journeyed back to draw a dick on it again -- this time with a PAINT PEN. After executing a perfect fat-sacked-choad-headed-donger on the hood, I was once again chased out by rangers, this time with pitchforks screaming bloody murder for my head!! Fuck you, Ranger Doug! You will never be able to prove that was Me!!! So Look, it's not the first time The Org spread its asscheeks for a little bit of corporate dick on the side. They also bent over back in 2013 and let Mark Fucking Zuckerberg bring a Giant Golden 'LIKE' sculpture out there. I just hope they did the right thing by the end of week and it was killed with fire. SO we know The Org is corporateBiCurious. Time to snuggle up, get out of the corporate cocksucking closet and cash in on the fact that this place sold out a long time ago. Start flirting with attractive corporate entities like Mark Z, the Google Boys, Elon, Tommy Boy from Myspace, or maybe even P-Diddy to toss in some cash to get this fucking party started again! Yo, Elon! How can we have Burning Man on Mars in 2050 as planned, if we can’t keep it going on Earth for the next 30 years? At this point, The Org can spread their legs in the backseat of that Tesla and change next years theme to Space-X. I could give a FUCK!!!!! As long as we can keep Old Naked Dudes On Bikes rolling free. Let some of these cocksucking limpdick corporations like Doritos -- who have already profited from using our Artcars and culture in a their fabricated commercials -- actually fucking pay us money and we will let them shoot a real commercial out there. Have fun pixelating the nipples out of the background actors. I COULD GIVE A FUCK as long as Shirtcockers have a natural habitat to dongslap and roam free. Let Brazzers.com build the Temple! I sincerely really don't care what they do . . . as long as Assholes with Megaphones have wide open spaces to heckle Burners in the Black Rock Desert like GOD intended. BACK TO BASICS : THE FESTIVAL WILL NEED TO RESEST Maybe The Org will stop fisting themselves in the burnhole with all the Cultural-Direction-Bullshit and get down to brass tax here. They have spent years trying to market the festival as a family-friendly-non-offensive-all-inclusive-experience for the suburban upperclass while still catering to the super elite. We need The Org to provide the DPW and Tickets . . . Not for Cultural Direction, or Large Scale Art Funding Circle Jerks, Abstract Charity Causes, International Involvement, or any of the Meaningless Feel-Good Propaganda tools they use to control the image of the festival! The number one focus from here on out needs to be the festival itself taking place once again in Black Rock City! This defacto-defunding of The Org is a blessing. Look, when it comes down to it, it's not about the lame fucking themes each year. It's about the Burners who come and contribute to the festival that makes it special. It’s not about overpriced art grants, or Rich-Dick Theme Camp placement priorities. It about the shitty unofficial un-themed camp at 7:00 and J blaring Discotrance music on a distorted soundsystem while giving away room temperature margaritas! I could give a fuck about all of the elaborate expensive blinking bullshit! Cuts cost! Make the Burning Man effigy from toothpicks for all I give a fuck. None of that shit really matters. The spirit of Burning Man is in the person giving away ice cream from a cooler out in deep playa on a hot afternoon. The soul of the festival is in Old Naked Dudes on a Bikes rolling free across the desert! The heart of the festival is the Nightmare Hippy Chick on Acid rolling around in the dust, screaming about her spirit vegetable. Believe me if The Org had its way, Burning Man would be nothing but Transformational Mediation Seminars, Yoga Classes, Ultra Overpriced Sculptures, and TED talks about how to get rich quick selling a new type of investment portfolio. I am perfectly happy with the crappy bars and half-assed theme camps that are there just to have a good time. We don't need The Org's unique brand of new age capital-elitism bullshit. They have clearly dropped the ball on the Cultural Direction for years, and the less they steer the ship, the better, cuz we have already washed up on the rocks. BULLSHIT CLICKBAIT “Top 10 Burning Man Pictures You Must See To Believe!” And once clicked, sure enough it’s nothing but a bunch of super basic-ass photos of some super-hot-Coachella-swinger-couple at sunset in front of the most gentrified “OMG I need to get a selfie in front that to show my followers on Instagram” artwork on the playa. You already know exactly where these fucksticks took the stoopid photo is front of, OF fucking course it's in front of the BELIEVE letters. It’s Basically the "live, laugh, love" of playa art. Really, I won't believe this ?! What I won't believe is that their relationship is going to last beyond next week . . . cuz there’s a 90% chance they are gonna join the wrong gangbang at the Orgy Dome and suddenly someone is not happy about the amount of buttfucking the other one received. Thanks Business Insider Magazine for exposing the public to the wild and crazy world that is Burning Man. Now every fucking Chad and Becky from Wall Street is trying to come here to get laid. "Bro if I was there I would bang so many Hot Chicks on top of those letters" . . . "OMG I LOVE those Letters!! We are SOOO going to Burning Man to meet our future husbands <3." How about 10 REAL photos you won’t believe? Too bad the cameras weren’t there to snap a picture of the guy who took a shower with a fat chick and midget porn star! It’s a shame no one from the Daily Mail UK was there to catch video of the guy who was tripping his nuts off and could not figure out how to unlock the door of the porta-potty -- escaping only by busting through the plastic roof and climbing out the top several hours later. Or how about that chick at the meditation camp that was able to summon a higher power of consciousness and transcended the spacetime continuum for a short/infinite amount of time! Where the fuck was BoredPanda.com to catch a photo of the person who was hit with a rubber dildo when it was carelessly thrown from the top of the Space Pirate ship into the Mayan Warrior crowd. Now That’s some real stuff that happens out there that I would be happy to clickbait on! THERE WILL BE SOME CHANGES MADE The Large Scale Art: Instead of funding massive installations that end up being resold to casinos on the Las Vegas strip, why not treat them like large Rich-Dick Theme Camps -- give the Installation Artists 200 DGS Tickets, and in return, these assholes will be happy to spend shitloads of money on blinky light towers or whatever, just so they can lock in those sweet sweet reserved tickets for themselves and their friends. The Tone: The Utopian Blinkylight Dreamscape has been cool for the past 16 years . . . Buuuut . . . it has gradually fallen out of touch with the world around us. For far too long, The Org has ignored camps or underfunded art that could be perceived as dark or controversial in any way, shape or form. Yet again, another example of their Cultural Direction Tactics to market Burning Man as a blinky-light-mickey-mouse-Epcot-Center for wealthy-business-insiders-and-celebrities featuring a safespace-family-oriented-wholesome-body-wellness-green-living-environment for social-media-influencer-photo-shoots. Burning Man has NEVER been a Safe place! In 1998, I witnessed a beheading by guillotine at the Opera Performance that was so realistic I spent the next 5 hours (still frying balls on acid!) convinced that Billy Graham was right about this place being a Satanic death cult that would bring about the end of the world. IT WAS DISTURBING! If the Barbie Death Camp incident at last years’ Burn taught us anything, it is that there clearly need to be risky and controversial works of art at the festival. We can't be having pussy-footed Australians throwing temper tantrums like little punk bitches CUZ they don't like the way someone put Barbie Dolls inside an oven! Why did that do-good-koala-humping-limpdick-ASS-licker think it was OK? Well . . .The Org has shoved the narrative that Burning Man is strictly "good vibes only" down our fucking throats so deep that we finally gagged from it. Why the fuck was that guy even there? Well, he clicked on the Business Insiders’ “Top Ten Burning Man Photos You Must See To BELIEVE” and thought it was gonna be nothing but butterfly sculptures and Instagram Models in front of giant letters. No Kids: Yep. Sorry Minecraft Burners, but you are gonna have to wait until you are 21 to come to this party! Renegotiating the insurance policy as an over-21 festival will save The Org millions and millions of dollars. Out of 80,000 people, less than .05% are under 21 . . .yet we have to check IDs at every fucking bar !? Every year the gate gets closed down and no one can filter in or out because someone asshole can't find their kid. This should be a HUGE red flag ! Law Enforcement uses the fact that minors are allowed at the event as justification to engage in predatory conduct such as undercover stings, camp raids and random tickets for unsuspecting bartenders who forget to check IDs. Also I am not comfortable with the legal grey area the Shirtcocking and Titbouncing in the presence of minors creates. And if it ever comes down to nudity versus allowing kids, I am sorry but we can't sacrifice the heart of this festival on account of the fact that you don't want to get a fucking babysitter for the week. Your kids could give a flying-donald-duck-fuck about Burning Man! You and I both know goddamn well that given the opportunity they would rather play video games for the week at grandma's house then have to listen to Mom and Dad fight at Burning Man all week about who got buttfucked by whom at the Orgy Dome. . . LEAVE THEM AT HOME!!!!!! So the rest of us can be free to fuck, drink, smoke and wave our goddamn dicks and clits around whereever we see fit!!! The Temple: In the early days of the David Best Temples, they were constructed from the leftover hollows of wooden dinosaur jigsaw puzzle pieces. It was low cost, recycled and pretty fucking cool! Last year’s Temple was overdesigned, structurally unsound, and made from rare rustic-oak hardwood and redwood trees imported from China. Let’s cut costs and just do what those guys from Belgium did in 2005. It's a Very Simple Plan. We get a shitload of old 2x4 boards and fucking Wing It! The Belgium Waffle House would have made a perfectly good Temple. Garbage Dumpsters: Yep, that's right. In the future we will have dumpsters at Burning Man! All the Survivalist and Moop-shaming Burners say it will destroy the festival. Guess what, Burn Nut? It's already common practice for larger theme camps to rent dumpsters that are emptied at the end of the week!! It's been going on for YEARS! So what? Theme Camps will now have to pay a dumpster fee and there will be strict rules around any public dumpsters. Believe me The Org will provide the minimum amount possible to accommodate the BLM. It won't be nearly enough dumpsters for everyone to just toss all their trash, recycling and extra bikes into. Don't worry, Radical Self-Reliant Survivalist Burnertypes, other people will still have to suffer packing up and dealing with their own trash on the ride home. Moop-shamers rejoice! You will definitely still be able to shame people for mooping and not cleaning up, if not even more so now. I don't see why we can't be Radically Self-Reliant by having dumpsters on site. We will still Leave No Trace, while leaving one less thing for surrounding communities to bitch about. Build the Wall !!! Ya fuck it! Build the Wall. So what? Honestly, it will be more aesthetically pleasing than that fucking orange fence. And if that is what the Feds want, that's cool with me -- as long as The Org gets to choose who does Security! Thank fucking god we are not doing Burning Man this year. With the world on fire all around us, it seems a bit tone-def to hold a giant rave utopia party! I, for one, will be enjoying the week indoors under air-conditioning and rolling around in the heaps of cash I am saving by not going. I’m not attending a single workshop to expand my consciousness, not giving a single gift to anyone, and not being radical or self-reliant in any way. Fuck your Virtual Burn. I am Zapper Jones. I will see you in the Dust again . . . Sometime Somewhere in the Future!
** Wed 12/2 - Christmas TV shows - ALL CHANNELS ** - part 1 of 3
all times EST - check local listings. Deck the HallsTomorrow, 12:00 AM / FAM-E 52As two neighbors in a small town prepare for the festivities of Christmas, they get into an all-out war when one decides to decorate his home with so many lights that they are visible from space, but they soon learn the true meaning of Christmas. The Most Wonderful Time of the YearTomorrow, 12:00 AM / HALMRK 68A single working mother's disdain for the holiday season is put to the test when her uncle, a kindly, retired police officer, brings a mysterious stranger by her home in an effort to rekindle the Christmas spirit for her and her young son. Martin- Holiday BluesTomorrow, 12:00 AM / BET 71Martin wants to take Gina to Philadelphia in order to visit her parents for the Christmas holiday, but when their bus gets unexpectedly snowed in at the station, their bags also get stolen, jeopardizing their trip altogether. A Godwink ChristmasTomorrow, 12:00 AM / HALLMV 84When a St. Louis antique appraiser accepts a marriage proposal from her boyfriend, her aunt invites her to her Nantucket home near Martha's Vineyard, but while there, she meets a charming inn owner and begins to fall in love with him. People Presents: Once Upon a Main StreetTomorrow, 12:01 AM / LIF-E 38A woman makes plans to turn an empty storefront into a year-round Christmas shop, but when she learns a man has the same idea, they both agree to help the current property owner with his holiday chairman duties with hopes of winning the space. Finding ChristmasTomorrow, 2:00 AM / HALLMV 84After men from New York and North Carolina decide to switch residences during the holiday season, each one encounters a woman from the other's life, and as romance ensues, the time for each person to return home approaches. Dear ChristmasTomorrow, 2:04 AM / LIF-E 38A popular podcast host known for being a love expert prepares for her holiday episodes where she shares true romance stories with her listeners, but despite the subject matter of her show, she has never experienced love herself. PJ Masks- PJ Masks Save ChristmasTomorrow, 2:15 AM / DISNEYJR 179The PJ Masks work alongside Santa Claus when Romeo decides to ruin Christmas for everybody to being placed in the infamous naught list. Extreme Christmas TreesTomorrow, 3:00 AM / TLC 46From the breath-taking decadence of the largest Christmas tree installation in Las Vegas to a fragrant fir adorned with over $200,000 worth of specifically collected ornaments, the holidays will officially be kicked into high gear. Disney's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse- Mickey Saves SantaTomorrow, 3:25 AM / DISNEYJR 179Christmas is in danger of not happening this year when Santa's sleigh breaks down on Christmas Eve and he is unable to deliver all of the presents in his bag, so Mickey and friends come to Santa's aid and help ensure all the gifts are given out. Rick Steves' Special: European ChristmasTomorrow, 3:30 AM / WEDU-DT 3/ PBS / HDTVHost Rick Steves hosts a colorful celebration of Christmas traditions from all across Europe, with traditions from England, to Wales, France, Norway, germany and others; bright Christmas markets and performances from local choirs. Felix the Cat Saves ChristmasTomorrow, 3:45 AM / STRZFK 274The Professor and Rock Bottom are plotting to ruin Christmas by creating the world's largest blizzard, and it's up to Felix the Cat and Poindexter to journey to the North Pole and save Christmas with the help of Santa Claus. Double HolidayTomorrow, 4:00 AM / HALMRK 68A career-driven woman competes for a promotion opportunity at work with her office co-worker, but when the CEO asks the two of them to plan the company's Christmas party, they start to learn more about one another and feelings begin to develop. The Christmas OrnamentTomorrow, 4:00 AM / HALLMV 84After a widow decides to keep her winter holiday festivities relatively low key, she soon encounters a Christmas tree lot owner who provides her with a decorative item, and she starts to realize that there may be a lot more to life. Fresh Beat Band of Spies- Christmas 2.0Tomorrow, 4:13 AM / NGN-E 125The Fresh Beat Band of Spies must embark on an adventurous journey to the North Pole in order to deck the halls and prevent Christmas from being ruined by an elf, who is overly enthusiastic, and his mechanical Santa Claus The Great Christmas Light FightTomorrow, 4:55 AM / AMCALL 64Families from Pleasanton, Calif., Hillsboro, Tenn., St. George, Utah and Duluth, Minn. compete in a contest to see who can impress the judges with creative Christmas house decorations in order to win the prize of $50,000. Buttons: A Christmas TaleTomorrow, 4:57 AM / STRZFK 274Two orphan girls' only wish is to find a home for Christmas, and when they meet two unexpected visitors, they turn out to be their guardian angels who, with a little help, turn the tide of events and change their lives forever. Love That Girl!- Happy Hold Up DayTomorrow, 5:00 AM / TVONE 146The holiday season takes a turn for the worst when a group of bank robbers decides it is the perfect time to undertake a Christmas Eve heist that results in the unintended consequence of Imunique and her friends being taken hostage. Christmas in HomesteadTomorrow, 6:00 AM / HALMRK 68A famous actress comes to a Christmas-obsessed small town in Iowa to shoot a holiday-themed movie and is surprised to find herself falling for a local innkeeper who is also a single father as she receives a lesson in the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas on Honeysuckle LaneTomorrow, 6:00 AM / HALLMV 84When a woman returns to her hometown in order to celebrate the holidays for the last time in the home she grew up in, she discovers a hidden surprise in her mother's antique desk which teaches her the true meaning of Christmas. What's Happening!!- ChristmasTomorrow, 6:00 AM / TVONE 146Raj and Dee plan to have Christmas dinner at Bill's place because Mama has to work and cannot celebrate with everyone, but she may actually wind up being alone for the holiday when her plans suddenly change at the last minute. It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas MovieTomorrow, 7:00 AM / FAM-E 52Kermit the Frog and the Muppets have to scramble to raise money to save the Muppet Theater when the bank owner who holds their mortgage wants to transform the building into a casino, and they receive assistance from an angel. The Andy Griffith Show- The Christmas StoryTomorrow, 7:00 AM / SUN 89Andy empties the Mayberry jail in a gesture of goodwill for Christmas, unaware that the spiteful designs of Ben Weaver threaten to eclipse the festivities of the season unless Andy can find a way to impart some holiday cheer to the cranky codger. Disney Mickey Mouse- Duck the Halls: A Mickey Mouse ChristmasTomorrow, 7:00 AM / DISNEYXD 122Donald Duck gets himself into a peculiar situation when he decides to stay with Mickey and the gang to celebrate Christmas festivities with them instead of traveling south for the winter alongside Daisy and the other ducks. A Christmas Winter SongTomorrow, 8:00 AM / LIF-E 38A musical bond forms between a Christmas shop owner and a former jazz singer who has hit rock bottom as the store owner tries to help the artist reconnect with his daughter and grandchildren in time for the towns annual holiday concert. CMT Christmas MusicTomorrow, 8:00 AM / CMTV 45/ NewA selection of Christmas-themed music videos is presented from some of the industry's most popular artists, including rising stars and music icons. On the Twelfth Day of ChristmasTomorrow, 8:00 AM / HALMRK 68A woman is delighted when a man for whom she has long held feelings moves to town, and his lack of holiday spirit motivates her to come up with 12 Christmas gifts that offer tasks she hopes will inspire him to rediscover his passion. Operation ChristmasTomorrow, 8:00 AM / HALLMV 84After her military officer boyfriend is forced to deploy right before Christmas, a single mother and her children are inspired by their own difficulties to help other families of military members, with their efforts going viral. ...continued in part 2
An unnecessarily long analysis as to why I think Ride or Die is the best written book in Pixelberry's library
Okay, I want to start this by saying that while Endless Summer is my favorite book due to emotional attachment (Yeah, this is no longer the case as of October 31st, ROD GOAT) I still think that Ride or Die comfortably surpasses it and every other Choices story when it comes to writing quality. I've been consuming some truly kino media like Steins;Gate, The Last of Us Part II and Better Call Saul in the past few months but seeing that the tumblr side of the fandom was having a ROD Appreciation Week made me have the book constantly wrestling for time in my mind along all those other things that I greatly enjoyed (Obviously, I'm not trying to imply this is anywhere near the same level of quality as these other pieces, cause that'd just be stupid) but yeah, I've been wanting to talk in depth about why I hold Ride or Die in such high regard for a long time now, so this post is for me, for anyone else that might be big fans of the book or even for people that didn't like it and don't understand why it's a fan favorite. It's also my late, not proofread contribution to the appreciation week since I can't really draw for shit. PREMISE AND THEMES Quick summary, it’s a story about growing up and finding oneself that focuses on an 18 year old girl in her last weeks of high school that joins a criminal crew without even realizing it due to her sheltered life making her feel like she missed out on her teenage years for the past 5 years since, after her mother’s death, her dad became incredibly protective of her. As she grows attached to the crew she gets deeply immersed in their world until she realizes what the pursue of freedom, fast cars and bad boys/girls truly entails. Of course, you all know that. So, themes. Most Choices stories don’t have any big, noticeable theme that encompasses the entire story they’re trying to tell, which is completely fine since you can still write a good, compelling story without it (Unless you’re David Benioff). Of course, while not necessary, overarching themes elevate a story a lot more in my eyes if executed properly and I feel like Ride or Die excels at it. And what are these themes? Well, obviously, it’s up to every individual’s interpretation but to me the three biggest stand outs are freedom, obviously; the choice between someone’s own past and future; and how the typical Bad Boy Romance is not always the cheesy, idealized life most of us are used to. I’ll explain how the story presents these themes in the following segments. ELLIE WHEELER, aka THE MC I’ve raved about her at almost every chance I get because I feel like I can make a pretty compelling argument as to why she’s the best MC and one of the best characters PB’s ever written, but it’s about time I finally sat down to properly explain this stance. I might refer to her as Ellie at times instead of MC since I just don’t like having an essay this big and introspective and just referring to her as MC, even if I didn’t actually keep her default name myself. So, let’s start from what most of the ROD MC masterrace knows about, she’s different from 95% of the MCs. She has a clear goal, a clear personality and, one of the most rare traits in MCs, her dad’s an actual character and he has an actual relationship with her. She’s also far from perfect, she’s an incredibly smart young woman that lacks “street” knowledge and as she gets in deeper and deeper with the MPC, her previous and new relationships suffer because of it, because she doesn’t know how to juggle both sides of her life. The hardships Ellie has to face are both products of the environment she lives in and a product of her mistakes, which acts as a nice balance so that she doesn’t come of as a bumbling idiot that fucks up everything for everyone and an overly perfect protagonist who’s only flaw is that the world just plots against her so that there can be a story to tell. Her goal is a pretty simple one, she wants to go to Langston university, her dream school. The thing that stands out to me is how she never betrays her dream and it’s always present in the back of her mind, well, technically you can choose to skip out on all of her classes but that always seemed really out of character to me, so I’m not really taking that into account, since she expresses that she loves to learn and she sees it as a challenge to be better than herself from yesterday. She manages to involve Logan into her school life so she isn’t fully distracted from her studies and even when she’s living on the Gramercy Garage, she still finds time to study for her finals. Even when everything goes to shit and she starts losing sight of who she is, Logan, Colt and Mona know that being a criminal is not the life she’s meant to live and it isn’t until after prom that she realizes who she really is. There’s so many choices throughout the story that, while ultimately not relevant to the outcome, I feel can add a lot of character to her if you’re willing to “headcanon” a bit, so minor things such as picking the color of her car due to it being the same as Logan’s or the one Colt or Mona suggested, choosing to listen to rap music as she’s driving the MPC around since it can be seen as a rebellious sort of music that her dad probably wouldn’t have approved of, treating Brent’s party invitation as something of no importance to her, getting a tattoo… wait this one’s supposed to be big, why does no one acknowledge it dammit? Then there’s also some bigger choices such as her being able to tell Riya that she’s most excited about being able to leave LA on the first chapter or being able to choose to stay with Logan and help him fight Salazar, choosing to focus on her studies even when living with the MPC, and so on. Now, how is she tied to the themes I mentioned above? Well, it’s clear that her desire for freedom and independence is what initially leads her to want to be a part of the MPC’s life, when Kaneko brought her to the garage for the first time she didn’t quite see them as criminals, but as people that lived as they wanted and were still, well, humans. She’s constantly seeking her own freedom from her dad’s overbearing presence and from her own boring life and she achieves it twice, one is the fake freedom she got when she ran away after her dad found out about her involvement with the MPC and the second one is what I like to think of as her true freedom. The definition of true freedom is tied to the second theme I mentioned, the choice between past and future, after the Brotherhood attacks her and her LI after prom she realizes that she can no longer try to keep on living both lives, the nerdy valedictorian girl and the criminal that gets a thrill by being behind the wheel, the inability to choose between one and the other is what initially landed her into that mess and it’s only by finally choosing that she’s able to get herself and everyone else from the MPC out. It’s a very unique way of showing a character being strong, she got herself out of the mess she herself helped cause and she did it without the conventional strengths of MCs such as being a warrior queen, a part of an alien entity that transcends time or a literal vampire. Ultimately, she chose to embrace her future (And her past, in a roundabout way), her long time dream, which meant letting go of the life and people that once made her feel so free and alive and by doing so, she got the freedom she desired so much while also finding who she truly was and what she valued in life. That’s also tied to the third main theme I mentioned, in the end she couldn’t keep on living an idealized version of the bad boy romance where you get to keep a good life out of living on the wrong side of the law and while I could definitely go more in depth about how she embodies this theme, I’ll do that when I talk about other characters, since I’ve already talked about about Ellie a lot. LOGAN The cover boy, the boy with the car, the “bad boy”, the mandatory “good boi” LI, the only Love Interest that has managed to rival Quinn Kelly in terms of how much I love them. I feel like the love for all 3 LIs is mostly evenly distributed on this sub but I’ve definitely seen some people say that Logan is kinda boring compared to Colt and Mona and honestly, that just couldn’t be further from the truth in my mind. Prepare for another long ass analysis. Being a fan of the anime/manga series Attack on Titan has made me gain a great, great appreciation for story recontextualization and that narrative element is exactly what Logan brings to the story at the end of Chapter 10 and boy, did Luke and the team knock that shit out of the park with how they implemented that tool into their story. ROD Ch. 10 is notorious for being the chapter that officially turned the book from an initially hated book that people were slowly warming up to, to a current fan favorite as far as online communities are concerned, seriously, you can look up the discussion for that chapter in the search bar and the first comment you’ll see if someone taking back everything negative they said about the book and then it’s just constant praising for the next 6 weeks. Why did all of that happen? Because of how much starts making sense or becoming clearer because of the reveal that Logan initially started dating (?) MC because he was trying to get whatever intel her dad had on them from her, seriously, everything becomes so clear after the end of the chapter, everything starts falling into place like a carefully crafted Lego build, be it for the stories’ themes or for characterization of characters like Colt, Mona, Kaneko, Jason and Logan himself. Let’s focus on Logan for now though. A couple of chapters in, as we start learning more about his life, we can see that Logan is someone that’s never truly had someone in his life that could show him true human love and bonds, the closest he has to that prior to Ellie is his “cousin” Vaughn. Initially, it seems like a weak attempt at making the titular bad boy seem like a layered character, specially since he seemingly just fell for a random girl that literally stumbled upon him on a high school parking lot, but in reality the reason his fake interest in Ellie started to become reality was exactly because of the lack of proper, meaningful connections, which we couldn’t have known until after Colt reveals the truth. As we know, Logan always had the mentality that, no matter how good a crew might be, he should always be ready to bail when the heat is too much, that’s a philosophy that he adopted and he knows that any criminal that’s as good as him will share the same sentiment, which proves to be the case when the MPC immediately disbands after Kaneko’s death... but Ellie isn’t a hardened, professional criminal, she’s a girl that, while certainly enamored by the allure of their life, still sees them as people, not as mere means to an end that are just fun to hang out with, which is why she doesn’t run away after the escape from the mall or the encounter with Salazar’s crew at the drive-in cinema, that’s not something Logan thinks people are capable of, why would such a saint of a girl not get away from them after things like that? That’s when Logan’s guilt enters the scene. He tries to undo what he now considers to have been a great mistake since he’s slowly catching real feelings for the girl that was just supposed to spill all of Detective Wheeler’s info and leave them as soon as she realized how dangerous their life was, but how is he supposed to do that now when doing so would mean losing this person that’s so incredibly unique in his world? We see how his guilt starts weighing on him more and more as the story progresses, until he almost does something very stupid by almost revealing the truth right before the stadium job, so he probably wouldn’t have lasted much without revealing it but, for better or worse, Colt was the one that did it for him and once again Logan turns Ellie’s whole world upside down. For the rest of the book, he does everything in his power to show her that, while he was lying in the beginning, he actually did come to care for her a lot (even if his actions might’ve pushed her into the arms of Colt or Mona, or at least acted as the final push in their routes). After the MPC disbanded there was only one person I could see appearing on Riya’s doorstep when I played through ROD during release and that was Logan, because it just made all the sense in the world in my mind. Backtracking a bit, we know from his two diamond scenes on the early chapters that Logan dropped out of high school but he always liked to learn about random stuff, hence him reading while on the road, and that he always toyed with the idea of going back (He also says that he’d probably be graduating that year if he hadn’t dropped out, which tells us that he’s the youngest of the 3 LIs, which is a neat detail), so I always saw that as him showing up not just for Ellie’s sake but also for himself in a way, since it’d be a good way to live out the life he never had, even if just for a few hours. Speaking of prom night, I absolutely adore how when he tells Ellie he loves her, she can reply with “Logan… no you don’t.” since it’s only natural she wouldn’t believe him 100% since not only did they get together through a web of lies spun by him and Kaneko, but because as far as she knows, Logan can’t possibly know what real love feels like. Fast forward to the final chapter and it’s time for the MPC to go their own ways, for real this time, to avoid getting entangled with the FBI and, even if Logan wasn’t your actual LI he still shows that he’s completely accepting of the fact that he isn’t the one Ellie loves, and on both cases he shows that he also grew to truly love her by deciding to not be a part of her life any more, because it just isn’t feasible for her to pursue her dreams while also being involved with potential suspects on the FBI watch list, so he chooses her future over his because he can’t and he won’t let her risk her future for something as small as a space rock lucky enough to burn up in her atmosphere for a moment and with that, a heartfelt kiss, an explicit and tacit declaration of love, a request for Troublemaker to give ‘em hell and a brief but tense showdown with Detective Wheeler, Logan speeds off into the night. COLT KANEKO The actual leather wearing bad boy of the story that sauntered his way into the hearts of many fans, both as a character and a love interest, he’s sarcastic, he’s funny, he’s soft-ish only with the MC and he’s also a multilayered character, how could he not be liked? I want to preface this section by saying that, just like with really popular LIs such as Jake Mackenzie, Damien Nazario or Ethan Ramsey, I could never bring myself to like Colt in a romantic way, even though I can certainly see the appeal of their route but even then, just like the aforementioned gentlemen, he’s still one of my favorite characters of the series regardless of that, simply because of how much he brings to the table. So without further ado, let’s get started with Mr. “Christ, who caaares?” Kaneko’s unnecessarily long essay. Right off the bat we can see that Colt has a bone to pick with Logan due to their relationship with Kaneko, he’s always butting heads with Logan and Kaneko at the beginning because he resents both, the latter for sending him away to college and not being willing to let him in on the family business and the former for, in his eyes, being the son Kaneko always wanted, not knowing that the only reason his dad kept him away from the business and seemingly replaced him with Logan was because if Jason actually harmed the MPC he could live with the loss of Logan on his conscience, but not Colt’s. As time goes on Colt finds himself slowly warming up to Ellie, even if he initially just thinks of her as one of his dad’s mistakes waiting to blow up in their faces, and even if he does relentlessly teases/annoys her it’s very obvious that he can connect with her because of her complicated relationship with her dad and she can understand him, they both love their dads immensely but they severely disagree on the view they have of their respective child. And against Colt’s predictions, Ellie proves herself as a valuable asset to the crew (Not knowing until later on just how deep that rang true) and he eventually starts falling for her as well, which is what sets the Chapter 10 plot twist in motion. After the MPC manages to steal the super cars for the Brotherhood, Kaneko opens up to the idea of letting Colt into the business, since it’s clear he won’t just pack up and leave for college anymore, especially after Kaneko is shot and threatened by the Brotherhood and he has to rely on Colt’s plan of kidnapping one of their members and at some point he reveals the truth about their current situation to his son, where Colt finds out about the truth behind Logan and Ellie but it isn’t until after the stadium heist that he makes shit hit the fan by starting a fight with Logan and spilling his secret. That always seemed to me that it came from a place that’s equal parts being mad at Logan for using Ellie like that but also him seeing it as a petty opportunity to sow discord between them, which is why she later has the choice to unload on Colt for deliberately keeping the truth to himself until the right moment. This also marks the moment where the somewhat toxic, somewhat supportive, somewhat wholesome and entirely complicated romantic relationship between them can start to flourish, since Ellie obviously doesn’t see Logan in the exact same way she did 24 hours before and depending on the player, she could’ve actually started to develop her relationship with Colt (Or Mona) prior to the reveal. Something I haven’t seen being mentioned about Colt’s arc is how him being misjudged and misunderstood by both Ellie and Kaneko plays a huge role in it. After Ellie leaves the MPC, he decides to put the rest of his plan in motion, luring The Brotherhood into an illegal casino’s vault using the member they kidnapped and kill them via gassing. Toby completely disagrees with their actions and decides to recruit Ellie to help him stop the crew from crossing a line that they seemingly haven’t crossed yet, yes they’re criminals but much like Ellie’s initial impression of them, they’re not psychos and much less murderers, they’re still good people; so she sets out to stop them with the help of Toby and a Logan that’s desperate for atonement, but her biggest mistake was assuming that Colt isn’t the kind of person that can kill another person if it means protecting those he cares about. This is where it gets incredibly interesting and compelling to me, since not only does her misjudge of character ruin Colt’s entire plan but there’s also the possibility that she had been working for Jason and the Brotherhood the whole time, so in some cases they might’ve actually escaped the trap directly because of her and it doesn’t stop there, since as a result the MPC lose their entire advantage and are once again being targeted by The Brotherhood and that directly leads to not only another huge reveal from Kaneko’s part but also his death, him sacrificing himself so that the crew could escape as he let’s Colt know that he wishes for him to just let go of this life and do something better for himself. Before the rest of the MPC reunites at Gramercy Park, Colt tells Ellie how he plans to kill them all, to rebuild the garage and kill them all before finally breaking down on her arms as his loss catches up to him, right before the Mercy Park Crew splits up after their loss against Jason. In the end, the two people Colt cared about the most failed at truly understanding him, his dad kept him at an arm’s length for a long time, missing out on time with his son because he never considered the fact that what he wanted for Colt was not what he wanted for himself, despite of all the risks it might entail, and Ellie played a part in Kaneko’s death by not realizing that Colt would be willing to cross such a fucked up line if it meant protecting the people and legacy he cared about so much. Those two factors play a huge role in the rest of the book since they’re the reasons why Colt is pushed dangerously close to a downward spiral that will most definitely only bring him more pain at the end of the book. After Jason is dealt with, he laments the fact that he and Ellie met under such circumstances and not in a classroom where they could annoy each other and become friends and/or significant others but he doesn’t lament his current situation, he’s dead set on becoming the king of LA, on carrying on his father’s legacy, now more than ever. I’d argue Colt Kaneko is the biggest cautionary tale in this book about the dangers of the often glorified life of the bad boys and fast cars and how it can consume you, he was very special to Ellie and Kaneko but they didn’t fully understand who he was, how he was shaped by his ideal future and they couldn’t see how the most important thing for him was his past, his legacy and as a result, he’s alone against a dangerous world, but that’s a danger that he very much welcomes. If any of you have done Colt’s romance route and feel like I missed out on anything, do let me know in the comments, I feel like my appreciation for him only grew more as I wrote his section. MONA The bad girl, the loner, what even is her real name? I’m also going to dedicate an analysis to her but I also want to direct you to a post from a few months ago by user u/elbenji who has reviewed ROD from a WLW perspective that I think you should also check out if you’ve got the time. Anyway, Mona’s turn. So, who’s Mona? Well, she’s kind of the Drake Walker of the book, which is a role that you don’t usually see being filled by a female LI. She doesn’t seem to like anyone, she’s pessimistic, she rarely misses the chance to mock people, she’s damn good at her job and she’s loyal to no one but herself, to some she might actually be the worse person of the 3 LIs during the early chapters but as everything else in this book, the layers to her start to show the more the story advances. She shares Logan’s worldview of everyone only being out for themselves but unlike Logan, she knows that not everyone is necessarily like that but in her eyes those people are in for a rude awakening from the world at some point for being dumb enough to think that they can count on someone else and that’s why she’s borderline condescending towards Ellie when the topic of interpersonal relationships comes up between them. If Colt is shaped by his future, Mona is shaped by her past. Once upon a time she used to be little Miss Perfect like Ellie, honor roll, on the path to valedictorian, the whole thing, until she met a girl that she fell in love with, a criminal that made her enjoy life to its fullest and ended up becoming her whole world until one day they got caught and were taken to interrogation separately where Mona, fully trusting of her partner, lied about their involvement but was still arrested because her girlfriend ended up giving her up in exchange of freedom. That event shaped Mona’s entire philosophy, when it came down to it, people would always put themselves above everyone else and after Kaneko gave her back her freedom that’s the only code she stuck by, her own personal freedom and survival became the most important thing in Mona’s life, even when the man that saved her was in danger she considered multiple times to just leave the MPC to their luck. That is, until she met Ellie Wheeler. Obviously, in typical Pixelberry fashion, Mona doesn’t have as much screen time as her male counterparts but what she lacks in screen time she more than makes up in both narrative and thematic relevancy. As mentioned previously, Mona’s always reminding Ellie how out of her depth she is and treating her like a dumb girl that doesn’t know what she’s doing (Which, to a certain extent, is true) but when shit goes south after the stadium heist it turns out that she’s the only LI that never actually played with Ellie’s feelings and was always straight (Heh) with her. It's things like this that I love immensely about ROD, the 3 love interests have so many layers to them, they do good and bad things and they feel like actual people that exist in this fictional Los Angeles, their actions are a product of what’s established as their characters, not just as stuff that happens because the plot needs it to. Back on track, just like with Colt, this is the point where Ellie and Mona’s relationship really takes off if the player chooses to and unlike Colt, her going after Ellie feels like it comes off from a place of actual concern since she understands what she’s going through, regardless of whether their relationship is platonic or not at that point, she still sees a girl that feels like she’s got no one left that she can trust in, so she takes it upon herself to be there for her, slowly shedding her walls that she’s put up for so long, probably without even realizing it. After the failed job at the casino, Mona once again contemplates leaving the MPC in the middle of the shit storm but Ellie manages to get her to help since she owes Kaneko that much at the very least, only for her to find out a few minutes later that Kaneko knew The Brotherhood were corrupt cops from the beginning and never confided in them with that information and, in another cruel twist of fate, Kaneko ends up sacrificing himself so that Ellie, Logan, Colt and Mona could run away, once again, giving Mona her freedom even after completely betraying her trust. As the MPC discuss their course of action after that, she breaks and let’s out what’s probably my favorite quote in Choices: ”You wanted freedom? The fast cars, the bad boy, that whole life? This is it… and it’s not for you. Go home, for everyone’s sake.”, in that moment she let’s the entire pressure of the situation get to her and unleashes on Ellie, the main reason why they’re all in that whole mess. It’s an incredibly cathartic quote that perfectly encapsulates what ROD is all about, the criminal life is not something one can just juggle as if it were a part time job that’s there for the thrills, it can only lead to a life that most people, if presented with the choice, would never want for themselves. When I read that for the first time I completely forgot that I was just reading a story on a free Visual Novel app where you’d never expect to find writing of such quality. I can perfectly feel Mona’s anguish and anger in that quote, the whole weight of the events of the book finally come crashing down on us after we read those words and it’s just such a great feeling that I’ll never stop praising. Let’s get to prom night though, much like Mona going after Ellie on Chapter 11, I feel like her showing up for her prom is still really fitting and the diamond scene that follows after is arguably the best wlw dirty thirty in the app, the dialogue during it is just top tier to be honest. But even better than it to me is the scene after that, where she decides to join The Brotherhood if it means Ellie gets to run away from them since they’re obviously looking to tie up lose ends, it is especially hard hitting if she’s your LI but the version with Colt or Logan is still amazing and I especially love how she uses the hot wiring skills Mona taught her to run away. After the Mercy Park Crew’s last ride together, Mona ends up taking a bullet for the girl that reminded her so much of herself and as Ellie drives her to the hospital she talks about how hard she’s going to be to forget, before reaching the hospital and walking herself inside, knowing that she’d be imprisoned once again before the day is over. I’ve seen a fair share of people that were unhappy with Mona having to deal with such harsh consequences but I personally love, love the end of her route since Mona’s always been about self preservation and only being there for herself but meeting Ellie gets her to slip, she starts caring for her and in the end chooses to give up on her freedom if it means Ellie gets to walk away with hers, in a way being for Ellie the complete opposite of what her ex-girlfriend was to her all those years ago (The dramatic irony can be turned to 11 if you choose the options that show her slowly adopting Mona’s philosophy during the final chapters, so she can slowly become more cynical as Mona slowly sheds her cynicism). In the end, Mona might not be free but she’s still on her element, she’ll be on a place where she’d have to count only on herself and while she’ll definitely have to face some time for her crimes, I’m pretty sure she’d thrive in prison. End of Part 1 Okay, I initially wanted to talk about the supporting characters as well but this shit is truly living up to its title at almost 5K words, that’s already a decently sized one shot, so I’ll stop here since I still want to post it close to the appreciation week, though I might make some edits here and there as I reread it later on but I'm too lazy to do that right now. If I see there’s a good reception for a stupidly long post like this I’ll probably get to work on the second part where I talk about Kaneko, Jason, Detective Wheeler, Toby, Ximena and Riya and Darius, as well as maybe analysis for other books that I hold in really high regard such as the Endless Summer trilogy, Open Heart or It Lives Beneath. If you actually made it all the way here, I just want to thank you for taking the time of your day for reading my semi-coherent thoughts and definitely let me know what you think, if you agree, if you disagree, if you think I should go outside, etc. Thank you for your attention.
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