Global Warming | Just Shapes and Beats (Spoilers)

Contains spoilers for the video game Just Shapes and Beats.

Over on the GTLive YouTube channel, MatPat and crew finished the game Just Shapes & Beats. It’s a video game of a blue square working its way through levels of deadly red shapes all to music tracks. *For the first part click here. For the second (final) click here.*

On the surface the game seems to be just about a square trying to save his friend (a larger square) from an evil collection of red shapes that looks somewhat like a rocker. But since I’ve obviously watched way too many Game Theorist videos, I started to come up with a theory as to what was happening.

In the game, the red rocker steals three giant triangles. The blue hero travels through levels in order to retrieve all three pieces. At the end of each level, the blue square collects a smaller triangle. Once you’ve beaten the final, final boss, the three giant triangles form a tree with a bunch of triangle trees appearing with it.

So, the red foe stole/cutdown the trees and the blue square is getting them back.

At one point in the game a volcano erupts. An erupting volcano is usually symbolic of nature’s wrath. The red rocker destroying the trees (aka nature) has caused a natural disaster. Nature is out of balance. On the way to the volcano, you have to journey across a red infected sea–once again, damaged nature.

After the volcano, you visit a factory to save the larger square. The camera pans up, quite a lot, to show the rocker standing on a tower playing its corruption music–or playing “noise pollution.” The rocker’s beats infect the other shapes. This factory is pumping out toxins.

During your stay inside the factory, you must escape blades as they grind up pieces of land. This looks very similar to a factory grinding up trees to make products.

Then after defeating the rocker, it gets hit by the triangle and becomes diseased. The rocker begins spawning in egg-like things which hatch and unleash virus looking monstrosities. Eventually, the boss transforms into what looks like an evil sun and says that you are destroyed. It proceeds to smash the blue square to pieces. If you respawn, it comes from the sky and smashes you again–almost like a solar flare or extreme heat.

You are saved by the larger square, who now wears a simple crown of two triangles–much like someone would wear a crown made of nature/flowers. The blue square is finally able to fight back and destroys the evil sun-thing. After this, the sun returns as its normal yellow self (the only time you see a color other than red, blue, or white). The trees reform and everything is normal again.

So, my theory is that the red boss/rocker began chopping down trees and putting them through its factory. The boss’ pollution began to damage nature, causing disasters. The damage then caused a virus (as seen by the corrupted triangle infecting the boss and spawning in egg hatching beasts). Finally, the sun becomes evil and begins destroying everyone and everything. But it isn’t until the blue square is powered up by the triangles (aka nature) that it is able to defend itself. The plant life is then replanted and the world is once again in balance.

It seems like Just Shapes & Beats is a game about global warming, or at least a warning against aggressive destruction of forests/nature.

Lastly, the title seems to be telling us the game is simple–just shapes and beats–but it really has something more going on. But, what that story is, just might be up to the listener/player. The images you see when you listen to music is different from what I see–kind of like how one person can see a bunny in the clouds while another sees a dragon. Just as I saw a rocker in the red boss, the Game Theorists saw their cat.

So let me know in the comments, what did you see? Cat? Rocker? Just shapes and beats? Or something else?

Thanks for reading. Consider following, leaving a like/comment, and sharing this post. And until the next wormhole…bye.


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Bendy and the Dark Theory

After watching Treesicle talk about their theories regarding the new Bendy game–Bendy and the Dark Revival–(see Bendy and the Dark Revival: New Game BREAK DOWN (BATDR/BATIM) for more), I thought I would throw my hat into the theory ring.

OFF SCREEN: [Cars crashing] [People screaming]

MAN (OS): MY LEG!

OS: [Cat screeching]

BRAIN: They did not mean to literally throw your hat into a ring. Next time, try aiming.

Ooh.

In the video the Treesicle team, mostly Grant–since he was on camera, talked about if the new game would be a prequel or a sequel. They mentioned how the word “revival” makes it sound like a sequel but the trailer shows the ink machine being lowered into the studio…so it could be a prequel.

The video continues on until a blurry picture of a new character is seen. Grant, after some investigation, says that it looks like the character is wielding a banjo. He also states that the character looks dog-like. Finally, he says how the character Boris is a cartoon dog-person. During one scene from the Bendy and the Ink Machine game, a banjo is seen with Boris. Grant states that maybe the new character could have some connection to Boris, like being a love interest. Or, it could be an imperfect Boris clone.

My theory is that it is Boris, but not an imperfect Boris. I’m thinking it could be the original Boris. If you know anything about animation and character development, you know that a character goes through many revisions before the final publication. Even after the character is published, the animators will tweak it. Look at Micky Mouse; he has a ton of different variations. He’s been altered many times over the years to fit in with new technologies or styles.

So, the plot could be someone is “reviving” the old original versions of the characters. Also, in storytelling, the original characters are usually seen to be more powerful or deadly than the “published” versions. Oooh! Henry and Bendy could team up to defeat OG Bendy! (Probably not going to happen but it’d be cool.)

My other theory involves the ink machine being lowered into the studio and the word “revival.” Maybe someone is doing a remake/reboot. Someone has bought the rights to Bendy and is bringing the cartoon crew back. The “new” character might be an updated/remake version of Boris.

This plot could also fit into the themes from the last game (ie doing whatever it takes to be successful, even if it endangers your friends and employees). The new game could relate to people doing remakes of old shows. AH! The evil Bendy creatures are the rabid fans who say that the remake isn’t as good as the original! Hee, hee.

According to a The Game Theorists’ Bendy video, one of the creators stated that Dark Revival is not a prequel or a sequel, so…it could be a remake (or reboot). I wouldn’t put it passed the creators to have a “remake” game of a game they made. Whew, that’s a whole new level of confusion.

But who knows. At least it makes for good discussion fodder.

PS: I love how the abbreviation for Bendy and the Dark Revival is BATDR. It looks like it is Bat-Dr. It sounds more like someone Batman would go see when he’s ill than a title for an indie horror game.


Sparks of Rebellion has been released!

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Google Stadia and Game Streaming

The big news in gaming (other than the Five Nights at Freddy’s teaser images) is Google’s announcement of Google Stadia. “What on Earth is this thing?” I thought. I began looking into it. Pretty soon I saw that just about everyone has something to say about it, which got me even more curious.

According to the Google Shop page, the Stadia will be a video game streaming service. The games will be on the cloud, so you’ll be able to play your games anywhere that has Internet connection and on any device. The page goes on to state that you’ll be able to shift from watching a video to playing a game.

There wasn’t much else on the page, but there was a place to enter your email address so you could be updated as news releases.

According to IGN’s article “Google Stadia Streaming Platform Launch, Game, And Feature Details Revealed,” Google plans to release the Stadia by the end of 2019–they just aren’t sure when. But sometime in the summer there will be more about pricing, what games will be available, and more.

Google plans to have the Stadia as a service without a console. They want it so anyone can use it with any device. The game controller, which you would need to buy, would connect to Google’s servers not to the device; this would allow the controller to work with any device. The developers did hint at that if you want to play the games on your TV you would need Google Chromecast–but at $35 it is still better than the $300 plus you’d spend on a console.

The controller would also allow you to capture and share gameplay and upload it to YouTube. Another Stadia feature is called “State Sharing.” This feature allows a player to create a shareable link of their progress. The player then can give out the link and other players will be transported to that spot and given all the equipment and levels the sharer had. I could see this as a cool giveaway option for YouTube gamers.

The main concerns of the gaming community that I came across is price, game selection, and lag. Players are worried that Stadia will come with a hefty membership price. Players are also concerned about Internet connection. When streaming a video, the stream is one-way–the movie comes to you and you watch it–but video games are two-way–you have the game coming to the player and the player responding. The data from the game has to travel to the player and the player’s input has to travel back. The players input also changes the course of the game and that data has to be sent back. It is a constant back and forth, which causes lag.

Hopefully as Google releases more information, some of these concerns will be addressed. The issue about lag has already been addressed somewhat in IGN’s video “Google Stadia ‘Won’t Reach Everybody Day 1’–IGN Now.” Basically, as the title says, Google knows that Stadia won’t reach everyone on launch day. Google can have the best servers in the universe, but it doesn’t matter much if the individual has a slow Internet.

Google has also repeatedly said that the Stadia will carry many AAA games like Assassin’s Creed (according to the IGN “Google Stadia Streaming Platform Launch” article), but there seems to be some concern about independent developers. The Game Theorists (under the GTLive channel) address this issue in their tea series live podcast “GTeaLive: Will Google Stadia be the Netflix of gaming?” The hosts mention how they strongly advised Google to somehow include indie games.

Personally, I would really like to be able to play a video game pretty much anywhere and not have to buy a few hundred dollars worth of equipment every time some slight new improvement comes along. But, I’m also worried about what it will do to businesses. We’ve already seen what happen to movie rental chains after Netflix started. How many more businesses will close and how many more people will lose their jobs?


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Are They Human | Kingdom Hearts III

May contain spoilers for Kingdom Hearts III.

What confused me most about Kingdom Hearts III was not the lore (though that is pretty confusing at first) or the fact that it starts out by saying Kingdom Hearts II.9, but how they kept talking about needing to keep “the order” of the worlds they visited.

When Sora, Donald, and Goofy visit places like the Toy Story world and the Monsters Inc. world, they change to fit into the world, such as turning into toys, but in places where the main people are humans, like in the Tangled or Frozen worlds, they look the same. Sora remains a human; Donald remains a giant talking duck that wears clothes; and Goofy remains a talking dog.

I don’t know about you but if I saw a talking duck and dog, I’d be a little bit concerned. Why aren’t Donald and Goofy transforming into human characters when they visit a “human” world?

This actually brings up a funny side note. When the first trailer for the first Kingdom Hearts game came out (so very long ago), for a long time I thought the plot was that Mickey had somehow been turned into a human. It wasn’t long before I discovered that person was Sora. But come on, don’t tell me you wouldn’t think the same after seeing Sora in his original red pants, oversized yellow-ish shoes, white gloves, and white and black shirt; he looked very similar to a certain iconic mouse. Plus, he was always hanging around Goofy and Donald.

Anyway, back to what I was saying.

No one seems too bothered by a talking dog and duck. I found it kind of funny and odd that Donald and Goofy had to be turned into monsters for Monsters Inc. I could understand why a human like Sora would need to but Donald and Goofy are “not human” already. Or are they?

Maybe for some unknown reason, even though they don’t look human, they are considered to be human. Since it is Donald that changes the group, maybe he doesn’t think to change them on human worlds because he sees Goofy and himself as human. Maybe to the people of the game, they are just another race of humans, much like there are Hispanic and Asian people. Kind of blows your mind, don’t it.

It would certainly explain why Goofy can talk and walk on two legs but Pluto cannot; Goofy is a dog looking human while Pluto is just a dog. But then how can Chip and Dale talk? Why aren’t they human size? They wear clothes too. Was Chip and Dale given some kind of intelligence serum? Are they the next step in animal evolution? Or are they human but just short? People come in all shapes and sizes mind you. More questions for another day, I suppose.

The other possibility is that people in realms like Tangled, Hercules, and Frozen are just used to strange creatures walking around. I mean, Rapunzel has healing hair, Hercules is a demi-god with super-strength, and Elsa is an ice queen. Seeing anthropomorphic animals might be a normal Tuesday for them. (Or they could just think they’re Furries.)

Or…it could be that the game developers knew that no one would want a video game that promises teaming up with Donald and Goofy only to make them look human every few levels. But I wonder what a human Goofy and Donald would look like.

Hmm…personally, I kind like the idea of Mickey, Donald, Goofy and the others being considered some kind of unknown (to us) human race. It just goes to show you it isn’t what’s on the outside that matters…Also, it could totally mean that there is some kind of anthropomorphic race of humans living on Earth. Hey, a guy can dream.

Kingdom Hearts III is available on Playstation 4 and Xbox One and published by Square Enix.


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

The first interactive story game based on my book series can be found here.

Test Your Might | Mortal Kombat 11 Reveal

Thanks to IGN, GhostRobo, and Gamer’s Little Playground, I was able to get a “peek” (as did the rest of the Net-mosphere) at Mortal Kombat…ahem, I mean, *in dramatic, Mortal Kombat announcer voice* Mortal Kombat 11.

The graphics looked crisp. I liked the character designs and the move sets look amazing. And the combos…just wow. I also like the addition of the “fatal blow” mechanic.

But, I’m not sure how I feel about the new meter burn mechanic. Instead of pressing the same button each time, rumor is that you’ll need to press a different button for each meter burn move, and the button press is different not only between moves but between characters. On the one hand, it makes the game more immersive. On the other, it really promotes the idea of having a favorite character. In order to be successful with the meter burns, you need to focus on one character, get to really know that character and what they can do. This new meter mechanic doesn’t let you play as other characters, unless you have a good memory.

The developers also cranked up the blood and gore to eleven. Whoa, that’s weird. They cranked up the violence to eleven for Mortal Kombat 11. What are the odds? Anyway, the cinematic scenes, like brutalities and finishers, were always full of gore, but now it’s worse and even during the gameplay fights you can see blood spewing about. The game is definitely not for the faint of heart. (Also, I wonder how long it’ll take the “video games cause violence” people to start talking.)

I do like the customization, sorry Kustomization (it’s Mortal Kombat), addition. It’ll be neat to make my own version of Raiden or Sonya. (Or my favorite, Sub-Zero.)

Lastly, I’m looking forward to the plot. Some new time-manipulating character shows up trying to restore the timeline. And of course, there’s Rouge Raiden.

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Grind Work

After watching YouTuber Grian’s video of him making a Matrix room in Minecraft, it got me thinking. In the video Grian talks about the hours it took him to set up a flat, white area in order to make the white map image for the room. So, I wondered what would it be like if people, like Minecraft YouTubers, contracted out others to do their grinding work. They hire someone to come on and do the mining and the level grinding.

Wouldn’t that be a weird thing to see on a resume? “I have six months experience as a Minecraft Grinder.” Or what about the job ad. “Wanted: Minecraft Grinder capable of mining diamonds and iron. Must be able to slay mobs for XP.” And just image what it’d be like if it was something taught in college. “Welcome to Grinding 101.” And what about the degree they woul–

Kkkktt.

Hello Old Friend.

Who is this?

You don’t recognize me? Well, I can’t say I’m not surprised; it’s been awhile. We were only, what was it…eight or ten when it all happened.

When what happened?

Doesn’t matter. That is the past, as THEY say. What matters is the future. Because of our old friendship, I’m giving you a warning. 

We’re coming.

Who’s coming? Jackal! Is that you?

Hahahaha-hahaha!!

Kkktt!

End of transmission.

Joe Rover eBooks are available at most online retailers.

Does Whatever a Review Can|Spider-Man PS4

I finally got my copy of Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PS4. And now that I’ve been able to actually put it down…for about ten minutes, I can give you an initial review–because boy is it going to take a while to finish it. I played it for like three hours and only have 10 percent completion…but that’s probably because I keep getting distracted by all the collectables and crimes in the city.

So, let’s address the white elephant in the room first (or I could say white spider). You know the first thing people want to know about: the graphics. All I can say is, “Yes, the graphics are good.” The city looks like a city and the lighting is excellent; it looks like they somehow digitized New York and put it into the video game. (New York City is still there, isn’t it? I mean, no super-villain has come along and zapped the city into the digital world, right?)

img_2674My problem with the graphics is that the people look a little weird. It was like they were good and the developers spent time on them but they still look odd somehow. But, what I did like is how every scene so far (remember I’ve only completed 10 percent) looks lived in. Birds and helicopters share the sky with our web-swinging wonder. The inside of the buildings are just as good. The lab Peter works in has notes everywhere and machine parts scattered across the desks; it looks like a lab that has people in it.

So with graphics out of the way, let’s again address the real white spider in the room: the new costume. I was a bit ‘eh’ about it and still am, but what I do like is that you can change the costume, so you can wear the new one or the OG costume or one of the others you unlock. I like how the costumes unlock as you level up and not by finding some random code or doing a certain amount of “X” things. Also, I like how the suit powers work on any of the costumes–once you unlock that power of course. For example, with the original Spidey costume you get a power called “Web Blossom,” but you can equip that to the new suit or you can equip the new suit’s power to the original suit. (My favorite suit power so far is the one that let’s you make hologram copies of yourself.)

The suit mods also work like the suit powers. They work across all suits so you can customize your Spidey as you like.

I do have to add here that sometimes the game had weird camera and response issues. Sometimes Spidey would get stuck on an object; like when a henchman was about to hit him with a rocket, Spidey kept running forward against the railing and wouldn’t move. But for the most part, it’s been very successful.

Finally, the collectables. I really like how the collectables mean something in the game. If you find one, such as take a landmark photo, you get a token. The tokens then can be used to craft new suits, mods, and gear. I really like how this game focuses more on Peter’s science know-how. You get to see him use that mind of his and there are mini-games that involve crafting and technology. I like how they show that the Spider-Man suit is machine-like, that it isn’t just spandex that it has circuitry and technology in it.

At this time, I’d have to give Spider-Man a 4.8/5. Now if you’ll excuse me, Spidey’s got some vent crawling to do.

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