Whisper of the Heart: The Beauty and Charm

Whisper of the Heart, or Mimi wo sumaseba by the original Japanese title, is about a girl living in urban Japan who loves reading books, she stumbles across an antique shop after following a cat to the area, then she falls in love. The story starts off simple and is quite an easy watch if you want to relax or just watch something that is genuinely breath-taking.

Based off the manga by Aoi Hiiragi, Ghibli studios seemed to capture that essence of youth and is so different to any other Ghibli film. Of course all the films are different but one of the characters in the film ‘Baron’ a cat statue that Shizuku brings to life through her storytelling makes an appearance again in ‘The Cat Returns’ a story about a girl who turns into a cat and goes to the cat kingdom. The English dub for both the cat returns and Whisper of the heart features the same voice actor as ‘Baron Humbert von Gikkingen’.

Whisper of the Heart always had a certain charm to me. It was so, normal. Especially for Ghibli as they like to dive into the world of fantasy in most of their films. The only slightest element of fantasy was Shizuku’s book she wrote, when she imagined what the world would be like, it was simply beautiful. The way different times of day and weather were used to portray a certain emotion or capture the moment.

The charm continues with the music. Composed by Yuji Nomi the music is very light and uplifting, perfect for the theme of the movie, matching the main characters life and thoughts, Shizuku is a curious and adventurous girl. Some of the music however is humorous, the characters find themselves in funny situations that just gives more emphasis on how it’s relatable and light-hearted. Simple things in life make for the greatest stories. The ending was perfect, they didn’t drag it out, and it was just happy.

Whisper of the Heart may not be the most well-known Ghibli film but it’s definitely my favourite.

Toys In Summertime

When you’re young a big part of your childhood is getting and playing with toys. These toys are yours, you create a fantasy world with different things happening to them.

Toy photography is the same idea, except you’re putting toys in the real world, not only playing with them but creating a beautiful piece of photography that seems to be so fascinating.
I’ve seen thousands pictures from toy photographers and wanted to do some of my own. So I decided to take advantage of the lovely weather and get my camera out.

The first I’ve taken is Pikachu in the grass. I see it as Pikachu in the wild though, as if Pokémon are real creatures roaming around in your garden. The sun reflected off of Pikachu really giving him a distinct glow and definitely the centre of attention. A simple background is always the best way to go, then your picture can really shine.

pikachu1

 

The second picture I took was Koopa from Mario stuck in the grass. This one has a real charm to it and I feels tell a real story of its own. What happens after Mario sends the Koopa shells flying? This happens, they get stuck on their back, not a good situation to be in… I also took two other pictures leading up to it, as if they’re action shots. Koopa sneaking up towards something or hiding. Even though they aren’t actually moving, you can really imagine them moving or actually doing something, putting them in this real life setting makes them look normal and realistic even if they still look out-of-place.

The third picture was of Doraemon the Japanese robot cat. I experimented a bit with different angles and styles but there was one picture that really stood out. He’s placed on top of a rock next to a small plant. The difference in size makes the plant look like a regular size as if it’s a tree and Doraemon looks like he’s life-size even though he’s actually only a few inches tall.

Toy photography is an art form itself and it seems to be growing more and more. With the summer now being here in some places, it will be the perfect opportunity to take more pictures.

What Is Next For The Pokémon Franchise?

Pokémon has been around for over twenty years and with that we have seen 7 generations and a massive amount of main series games and spin-offs.

After the recent release of Pokémon Sun and Moon in November, news on new games or content seems non-existent, with the exception of Pokémon Go and some in-game Sun and Moon events.

The biggest rumor in the Pokemon world at the moment seems to be concerning if any Pokémon games are planned for the Nintendo Switch.

What has been speculated so far is that this Switch game will link to Pokémon Sun and Moon, being called ‘Pokémon Eclipse’ or ‘Pokémon Stars’. This is very unlikely to be true as the evidence to support this is very poor. However being a Pokémon fan myself, seeing a game like this on the Switch would have amazing potential and would probably convince a lot of people to buy one.

Nintendo has a lot planned for the Switch already and they could be developing a new Pokémon game right now. They really missed out with the Wii U as there was only one Pokémon game released on the console, Pokkén Tournament.

There were quite a few Pokémon games for the Wii which were really new and interesting concepts for the franchise. One of the best being PokéPark, a game where you played as Pikachu going around to different locations. The game even got a sequel that was just as good as the first one.

The future for the Pokémon franchise seems very confident, with their recent jump into mobile gaming with Pokémon Go, which seemed to have millions of people glued to their phones for weeks. Attraction towards the app has died down however, but still has a good following.

 

Hopefully Nintendo and GameFreak will announce something soon.

 

Overwatch: The Basics and Success In Its First Year

I’m not one for shooter games or MMO’s really, sticking to RPGs most of the time. However when Overwatch was released back in 2016, it instantly caught my attention.

Overwatch is a first person shooter that can be played just for fun or competitively. It’s an online only game so if you’re interested in getting it for a console then make sure you have Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus. I got the game about two months ago when I got PlayStation Plus for the first time and have been addicted ever since.

The game has so many characters to choose from that all have their own unique move set. There are 4 different classes to choose from: Offense, Support, Defense, and Tank. The characters are known as ‘Heroes’ and the game has a gripping back story that is darker than some might think.

There are also different game modes The first being ‘Payload’. In this mode you have to escort the payload to a certain destination and with a certain amount of time too. Your team of 6 players will have to try to escort it whilst the other team try to stop you. A hero has to be on the payload at all times for it to move. If no one is moving it then it will start to move backwards, losing you time and letting the other team win if you run out of time.

The second game mode is Point Capture. One team will defend a certain area whilst the other team tries to attack it. This is very similar to Payload but the point you’re capturing will stay in the same location. You will usually have two points to capture/defend. Once the both points are captured the game ends.

The last game mode is Control. Both teams of 6 will try to take control of the point trying to get the percentage bar to 100. The first team to get their bar to 100 wins but it’s rather difficult when the other team is trying to invade you and get their percentage up at the same time.

After each match you will get XP points to level up. Each time you level up you will get a ‘Loot Box’. A loot box contains skins and new items for your character to wear or say. You don’t get to choose which character it is for though, so there will always be plenty of thing to unlock especially since the Overwatch team release packages all the time with new stuff for your characters. The most recent package event was the Chinese New Year event where your characters can get really cool items based around Chinese New Year. They’ve also done events for Christmas too.

 

Each character has its own personality and everyone has that one character that they get attached to. This can be bad when playing though as you can have too many of a certain type of character. It’s always best to have a few different characters that you’ve mastered and like as sometimes people play as the character you want to play as.

 

The Overwatch team will continue to release new updates with great content for fans of the game. It’s received great success in its first year and even has new Funko Pops! coming out this year. They had a few out already but they’re releasing another wave so people can buy their favourite characters in cute little versions. Some of the new ones coming out include Mcree, D.VA and Mei.

 

 

The Lack Of Hamtaro Games Today: Where has this franchise gone?

Hamtaro is a less well-known Video-Game series nowadays, but back in the 90’s and 2000’s Hamtaro was everywhere. So what happened, did they change the classic gameplay and try something new like Toblerone is trying to do with its space between pieces? Or did they just run out of ideas?

Well for starters, Hamtaro wasn’t really everywhere but it was more recognizable back then than it’s now. With games like Ham-Ham Heartbreak and Ham-Ham games being great little GBA games for everyone. They offered great stories and lots of unique gameplay that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

I was surprised to find out that there were actually quite a few Hamtaro games. I’ve been a fan of the series since I was a kid but I just always thought that there were only a few games on the GameBoy and that was it. I was very wrong. One game I hadn’t played but had heard of before was Ham-Ham Unite for the GBC which was released in 2001 in japan. It was surprisingly, the last game released for the GameBoy Colour in Europe which was really cool for the series. The game has the same concept as Ham-Ham Heartbreak just with some different characters and a few different features. I’ve always wanted to buy the game, unfortunately I’ve never been able to find it anywhere except eBay.

One I hadn’t heard of till a few days ago was Hamtaro: Rainbow Rescue. I’d seen the box art before but just thought it was Ham-Ham Heartbreak with a different name. The game is supposed to be quite rare and to my surprise, was a completely different game to Ham-Ham Heartbreak. It was released in Japan in 2003 but for some reason was poorly distributed in lots of countries including the US. It was set to be released in North America sometime in 2004 but was cancelled for reasons still unknown to this day. There are lots of cases of games not getting released outside of Japan, but this game was released basically everywhere in the world except in the US.

Hi Hamtaro! Little Hamsters Big Adventure was released for the DS in 2008 and is another obscure Hamtaro title that isn’t like their usual game style. It’s a puzzle game but is apparently a sequel to Ham-Ham Heartbreak, even though the gameplay is completely different to its previous titles. Seeing as I can’t find ANY copies of it at all and it’s hardly known compared to all the other games, this is what I feel killed Hamtaro forever. I can’t say that I’ve directly played the game but looking at all of the footage online I’ve seen nothing that looks interesting. Yes the characters are awesome but the one of the things that made them so awesome was the story lines of the previous games. However Ham-Ham Games was more of a sports game and was completely different from the other games too, so why was that successful and this game wasn’t? The simple fact was, you still had lots of places to explore in Ham-Ham games, just like Ham-Ham Unite and Heartbreak. This one had you stuck playing mini-games, kind of like one of those rubbish DS titles that had 100 puzzle games in 1 cartridge. There were loads of other DS games, that had more to offer and were doing it some much better, and for a lower cost too. The game was also poorly distributed like Hamtaro: Rainbow Rescue, which is really disappointing for big fans of the series like myself.

The last Hamtaro ‘Game’ was released for IOS in 2011 and also seems to be a puzzle game. I feel like this was the right way forward for a mobile game as that’s the sort of games that people like, with games like candy crush being majorly successful in the past. After 2011, nothing else was released. This was most because the last few games were unsuccessful and the marketing for those games were very poor.

 

Nevertheless, Hamtaro is still one of my favourite video-game series that I still love playing to this day. I’d love to see the series make a comeback in the future whether it be as a playable character in Smash Bros or a game for the 3DS. I’m not very confident this will happen though but video-games are rebooted all the time, so you never know.

 

 

 

Nintendo’s Impressive Presentation

Last week on the 13th of January, The Nintendo Switch presentation happened. With some people still feeling skeptical it seems most fans are now eager to get on board with this new console.

Watching the presentation myself I was rather impressed, Nintendo showed off a lot of the Switch’s capabilities and game-play from a lot of the games that were shown in the launch trailer.

We now know that the latest Legend Of Zelda game: Breath of the Wild will be released with the Nintendo switch in March.

However the game that looks the most interesting is Mario Odyssey. Being set in a more realistic world for a Mario game seems at first glance, out-of-place. But whilst watching the trailer, you can really see the depth Nintendo has gone into to create a concept for a Mario game that will have something for everyone. There is still a while till this game is scheduled to be released so Nintendo will release more trailers showing off more content that the game has to offer. One new thing that has been left unexplained is Mario’s hat that now has eyes. Is this going to be like the minish cap? Will it offer tips, or will it be a main part to the game?

 

Splatoon 2 is another new game coming to the Nintendo Switch (Summer 2017). But will it offer enough new content for fans of the series. From the trailers we can already see that there are new hairstyles and weapons available, along with new maps. Splatoon is special, it’s different from any other shooter game because it’s got unique characters and doesn’t try to copy all the other games that are around at the moment. The trailer showed us a little snippet of new music too, which of course seems to be in the same style of the last games music.

 

Nintendo says that there are lots more games in development that haven’t been announced yet, which is a really good sign as one thing the Wii U was lacking on launch and in general, was third party games. The Wii U turned into a console that only really featured Nintendo games. The Nintendo Switch however seems to be a different path for the company.

 

Fans are so eager to get the Nintendo Switch, however pre-orders are being cancelled and are sold out everywhere since the presentation. This has been all over the internet, with fans outraged to find out that they can’t order one. Fortunately though, it’s less than two months until the release of the Switch, so fans won’t have to wait very long for it to re-stock in their local game shop.

The Wii U has sold 13.36 million units worldwide.
The Wii has sold 101.63 million units worldwide (That’s over 7x more than the Wii U has sold since release!).

 

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The Nintendo Switch: Reasons it will be a success

Nintendo to some people, seems to be a joke. With hardcore gamer’s being more interested in Xbox and PlayStation, there are areas were Nintendo have made a few mistakes, however the switch does look very promising.

Wii U Prototype

The Wii was a massive success having some of the best-selling games of all time on its platform. So what was the problem with the Wii U? The simple fact that it didn’t offer anything new. Yes two screens was very exciting but it was basically just the Wii with a fancier home screen and more internet access. It didn’t however, offer anything that gamers had already seen before.

The games were very enjoyable and the game pad seemed impressive at first, but soon people found the problems with the console. The battery life was awful, only lasting a few hours and losing its charge when you didn’t play on the Wii U for a certain amount of time.

It started to become a joke, Nintendo seemed more focused on releasing their own games, which were very impressive and enjoyable. The Wii U library however is still very small compared to other gaming platforms. This is because of the Wii Us lack of third-party content. There were however a lot of indie titles, which was a good way to get new game developers well-known. This wasn’t what people were looking for though. They wanted more well known third party games. Sonic the hedgehog games and a few Assassins Creed games on the console didn’t keep people’s attention.

The Wii U ended up being a test subject, a prototype of sorts. With the announcement of the Switch this seemed to grab people’s attention again with much more interesting features that other game companies aren’t looking at right now.

 

Amiibos

Most people who collect Amiibos tend to not use them. Being more of a collector’s item instead and with the recent release of more Legend Of Zelda Amiibos. Nintendo has no plan to slow down production of these little figurines. More games like Animal Crossing are encouraging people to use there Amiibos by adding more features to the game only unlockable when you use your Amiibos.  So Nintendo obviously has plans to use Amiibos in a better way in the future and it’s looking promising with the Nintendo Switch being released in March.

 

Unique Selling Point

Nintendo has always been different from any other game company. They think outside the box, whereas companies like Sega and Microsoft seem to be competing with each other to release the most powerful console.

None of this matters to Nintendo though. The Switch is the first home console that you can use without being connected to the main console. People seem eager to play more third-party games like Skyrim remastered. Nintendo seems to have learned from their mistakes and are slowly making their way back up to the top of the industry ladder.

 

Nintendo is about to release its first Mario game for iPhone this week and this also seems to be getting people excited. Hopefully Nintendo will keep doing this in the future and try to release apps that possibly link to future Nintendo Switch games.

 

Review: Hamtaro Ham-Ham Games

These days there seems to be a video-game for anything. The Olympics has many games centered around it, like the Mario and Sonic Olympic games. But with all the sports games that are around there are bound to be a few odd ones. One of those games is Hamtaro Ham-Ham Games for the GBA.

This game features Hamtaro and his pals competing in different events in some sort of hamster Olympics. Some people might say this concept might not work, but it did.With a wide range of events to take part in the game play seems to never end. Certain Hamsters are better at different events so for most events you will be playing as a different Hamster.

The soundtrack for this game always gets stuck in my head and never seems to leave. The music is completely different from Ham-Ham Heartbreak and sets the atmosphere very well.

The Ham-Ham games take place over 7 days and on the last day a ceremony is held to see who has won. If you decide to play this game or have done in the past you probably know that it isn’t easy as it looks… However, it’s the taking part that counts!

Competing isn’t the only thing you can do though. You can collect costumes from the shopping channel and take part in mini games too!

There are 4 teams:

Team Ham-Hams- Which include all of Hamtaro’s usual friends.

Team Djungle- Who always wear animal costumes (E.g Bunny, Lion).

Team Rainbow

Team Seahams- They seem to be pirates…

 

Ham-Ham Games took inspiration from the 2004 Olympics at Athens.

 

Review: Splatoon

With the last Splatfest nearly upon us I thought it was time to talk about this odd shooter game.

I wanted to get Splatoon for a while, and last month I finally got the game for myself, along with the green inkling Amiibo.

The game is pretty self-explanatory, you game mode you play at first is Turf Wars. The aim is to cover the most area in your teams colour. It gets very repetitive after playing quite a few rounds of it. But eventually when you get to level 10 you can play in the ranked battles that is for more competitive play and offers other game modes.

This is one of the most unusual shooter games I’ve ever played, and I’m absolutely obsessed with it. The characters are so memorable. (but i’m not surprised because it’s made by Nintendo) And with all the characterization options you have the opportunity to make your character one of a kind.

There are many different maps you can play on that change every single day (Marie and Callie announce the stages every day). My favourite map is the skate park. But you don’t vote for a stage, it just gets chosen at random. There are also a range of weapons you can choose from. Some of them being rather amusing, like the Splat Roller.

As you level up you unlock more weapons that you can buy. But once you get into the ranked battles you have to be more careful, it’s much harder with more experienced players. But if you lose a round you lose points. You start off with the rank of C-.

The clothes your character wears are rather interesting, as they determine the abilities you can have. And they can also be upgraded as you keep playing.

Even with the Wii U not being a major success for Nintendo, I still has some of my favourite games on the console. Hopefully they will make a Splatoon sequel for the NX when it comes out.

 

 

Game Collection: Part 1

So far on this blog, every time I make a post it’s a review of a game, either new or old. But I thought I’d start something different.

The Video-Game industry is filled with merchandise from various games across many different franchises. Some merchandise that is made however, can be rather odd. (Soap, perfume etc)

But across the biggest game franchises figurines are a big seller. Many people spending hours across the internet or around the country, looking for rare or old figures that you wouldn’t find in an ordinary game shop.

I am also very interested in this topic. It’s as if everyday I find a new piece of gaming merchandise that I want to spend all of my money on. Some of these figures and other items have incredible detail, so the hours spent hunting it down makes it all worth it when you can finally put that figure on your shelf, finally a part of your collection.

Of course you have to be careful of fake items. The Pokemon franchise in particular has many fake items that you can buy, but many of them look rather convincing.

I have been collecting Pokemon merchandise for about 9-10 years now. Seeing those bright colourful Gameboy cartridges made me even more interested in playing. Little did I know 10 years later how much that series would have effected my life. Collecting every main series game, even the spin offs. Then going on to the more inconspicuous items:  Figures, plushes, cards. The list was endless.

But now in 2016 I don’t buy the new figures that come out in shops. Costing much more and not really being worth it. Now I search the internet, for 90’s Pokemon merchandise. When the series was at its peek and was swimming in things to buy. Being born just after the 90’s ended , I missed out on all of these incredible items first time around.

I am though, rather impressed with the Japanese Pokemon merch. More interesting and appealing to fans who have been dedicated to the series for so long. One day I hope to go to a Pokemon Center.

Nintendo I feel has the most merchandise, for the simple fact that fans have stayed loyal and they create such in-depth characters that we all become attached to.

The pictures below are a few parts to my collection. Mostly newer items, but in the future I hope to share the older things in my collection.