Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Royal Family of Hyrule, The Shadow Temple and the Holly Inquisition Part One

I can't stop seeing this parallelism on the real world case that the Royal Family of Hyrule with the Spanish Inquisition and how the Royal Family consolidated their power through the blood of the goddess.

Is not weird to see the similarities as the ultimate means of the Royals to consolidate their power became religion, the religion centered in Hylia, the Triforce and the miracles executed in the Royal Family first born daughter who was always presented as the avatar of the goddess. The idea of centering a figure as the maximum authority is not strange in any religious organization, from the Pope to the Elders, there is always someone and Zelda plays the role or at least could be seen as puppet leader in which the shadow lead uses for the expansion of the ideology and the kingdom.

What is the hypothesis of my theory? If we use the unified timeline or dragonbreak as we can call it also call it, we can find a parallel that the Royal Family had an interest into unifying their religion centered on Hylia and abolish any potential ones that could create competition towards their power and hegemony on the land such as the Spanish reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula that was ruled by the Muslim in 1492, but to explain specific to regain control of the geography as because probably there was a riff and the family lose power before the Great Calamity.

We can see different religious fetishes and totems around Hyrule, i.e. Breath of the Wild, where the Seven Heroines are reverb or the Desert Colossus (Goddess of the Sand) in Ocarina of Time which show the difference in religions which for someone or a group that looks to execute their power that could a problem, as the act of proselytize could bury older religions and bring new adepts but subjugate and exterminate large ethnic groups.

There are similarities between antisemitic attitudes that many people held towards Gerudo's and even Sheikas, similar as the 13th Century up to the 14th Century Spaniard anti-Jewish sentiment similar as the riots that happened in Barcelona, which I can relate to the Hyrule Civil War that unified Hyrule under one banner but at the expense of the permanent lost of lore, language and traditions from tribes that weren't related to the Royals.

Albeit during the game there aren't specific examples towards conversion, but rather vague quotes that gives hints about the history, it makes me think what initiated the Civil War was that the King of Hyrule in the Ocarina Timeline timeline was extremely similar as Peter the Cruel and started a way just on a mere impulse in which he saw infidels on other tribes based on his own insecurities but also on what the cult centered around his daughter and the Royal Family as the guardians of the sacred power was placed.

The hatred Hylians and other races had to the Gerudos had over the different timelines borders the antisemitism that has been presented on with the Jewish population over the centuries, but also it can be taken on the Islamophobia as is a tribe that historically speaking with the franchise had been prosecuted because of the idea they are thieves but also they are a threat to the status quo or in better words the escape goat or the justification to preserve the Royal Family in the power. 

According to Don Hasdai Crescas, persecution against Jews began in earnest in Seville in 1391, on the 1st day of the lunar month Tammuz (June).[16] From there the violence spread to Córdoba, and by the 17th day of the same lunar month, it had reached Toledo (called then by Jews after its Arabic name "Ṭulayṭulah") in the region of Castile.[17] From there, the violence had spread to Majorca and by the 1st day of the lunar month Elul it had also reached the Jews of Barcelona in Catalonia, where the slain were estimated at two-hundred and fifty. So, too, many Jews who resided in the neighboring provinces of Lérida and Gironda and in the kingdom of València had been affected,[18] as were also the Jews of Al-Andalus (Andalucía),[19] whereas many died a martyr’s death, while others converted in order to save themselves. (Wikipedia)

But who were the core cult who preserved the the Royals? the similar to the Holly See, the answer lies on the Sheikas. Their role in the rise of the first family of Hyrule is quite complex because they are their bodyguards but also there is a parallelism on being clerics, since they seem to know and profess the message of the Goddess. The story of the Sheikas can be scarce and it adjust on each timeline but there are two games in which the players can see the roles of they are Ocarina of Time and Breath of the Wild.

The Shadow Temple and the Bottom of the Well are the two spots to see the torture devices and locations in which the Sheikas mimicked the inquisitors techniques of torture such as the rack that is seen in the photo to the left, which to explain in an easy way would break someone's back but also pull every single limb out of your body, which can explain the poodle of blood that is bellow the torture device.

The Sheika's were ruthless but also fanatics on their devotion to Hylia that they would support a war to protect the incarnation. Albeit on a far point within the timeline such as BotW the tribe that is presented is completely changed and has taken a more agricultural and trader because of the Great Calamity influence over the land.

The evolution of the Sheikas on the unified timeline probably offers a different interpretation as there are no signs of them on previous incarnation and they are more focused on them as a revolutionaries with technology, which itself is a contradiction in reference to them as Inquisitors in the real world because the Inquisition set back technology and human advancement several centuries behind, even on Hyrule Castle the traces of torture chambers are almost none existent.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Do you Remember When The Simpsons were Synonym of Counterculture?

It's been a long time since The Simpsons were associated with the opposition of 1980's American family sitcoms, maybe it's been more than 20 years since the legacy of the first 8 seasons was placed on thought without bringing controversy on how the show is extremely outdated and is due beyond the time of is prime.

It's time for The Simpsons to end, it's not even funny, the characters are shadows of who they were when the show started, the show focus more on the celebrity of the day and the consumerism towards the products that are in vogue in the market i.e. MyPods and Boomsticks which was one of the earliest examples of the decline of the show by bringing a "new" Lisa as a young woman that is more interested into fads than rather of the influence she could do on the society she lives i.e. Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy in which Lisa centered a fight against the stereotypes of the Barbie tie-in Malibu Stacy and the damage it could do to young women by offering unrealistic expectations about their bodies.

Much of the show as it's presented in the present vastly differs from the early seasons, we can infer that the today and yesterday are a product of the generations where the show started from the 1989 first episode to today, it's almost as two different shows which not only the writing from the present focus more on the stereotype and offer no content on the episode while the yesterday it was about the family dynamics and the surroundings which it was the main reason on why the show on the first half of the 90's became a synonym of counter culture.

Probably in a certain way The Simpsons had expressed some form of iconoclasm, they aren't as relevant as they were but they tackled ideas that shook conservators core towards family ideals, conformism and how we evolve as a society; the problem with the show goes on the writing and how the later seasons eventually evolved into a frenzy of consumerism leaving behind the socio-economical comments as sporadic content in the episodes.

One of the most crucial episodes at least the last 20 years of the show, involves the notion of same sex marriage which was aired on 2005 (almost a decade before it became legal in the United States) but for every episode with a social commentary at least much of the others in every season were just bizarre in nature, such as Lisa Goes Gaga which is just a 30 minute showcase Lisa just following Lady Gaga around Springfield, there was no plot, there was no substance, there was nothing and as that there are plenty of other episodes since the early 2000's.

We have to think that the show was explicitly criticized by George H.W. Busch  back when the show was in the apogee, because it was a show that showed a family the way it was without sugarcoating the problems that families could had. The Simpsons weren't The Cosby's or the Walton's they were honest and they exposed family dynamics on a brutal way which let the viewers know that families in television could dysfunctional too without going on the shoes of Married With Children.

There is an important part we have to know about The Simpsons, no other show at that moment in the 90's placed a former U.S. President a First Lady as guest stars (even if they didn't voice their Simpson's universe character) and essentially mock the feud that George and Barbara started by saying that The Simpsons were the dumbest thing they ever saw on television and that the viewers should have more of The Walton's and less than The Simpsons, that episode back in 96 was one of the highest in the rating but the cultural impact was even longer.

Over the years, the episode was cited as one example of great television but also on how to deal with pop cultural references and how reality can be stranger than fiction, not only that the cultural phenomenon that the show was in the last decade of the last millennium and the early part of the 2000's was big because there wasn't something like that - from video games, to movies, to music albums, The Simpsons had it all -, now the show only has a freemium game and that is still on the air because it generates some revenue to Fox.

I tried to remember when was the last time I heard The Simpsons where a synonym of counterculture, and I realized it has been a long time ago.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Interview with Monse Vallejo

I firmly believe into supporting independent artists, freelancer, creative people, you name it. I'm always trying to find proposals that really get my attention; but, also something that reflects the soul of the artist into their work. Monse Vallejo work is just wholesome, it appealed to my soul and I was very lucky to interview her.

If you want to support Monse, click on the link on the first paragraph that will redirect to her Twitter account and to her personal Etsy store.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Five Foot Fire Starter Cosplay Interview and the Art of Creating Cosplays

Cosplay is an art, not only getting into character but also creating an ever lasting impression; one of the first cosplayers I saw around 10 years thanks to the wonders of the Internet I met her on Metrocon without even knowing it, I met Justine or as she is known 5Foot_Fire_Starter_Cosplay, I met the person who cosplayed as Midna from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and she was cosplaying as Princess Bubblegum along with her boyfriend who had a cosplay inspired in a steam-punk postapocalyptic Finn the Human at MegaCon 2018. 

That first reaction where you see someone who creates a positive impression on you, as a con-goer Justine had it on me, because on that short time I was assisting to the conventions I never saw an approach that imprinted a personal sense of fashion and style towards the creation of the character and execution. 
The 2017 – 2018 Florida convention season was my first year assisting fully at the cons, and it was a magical experience, not only I met amazing illustrators but also the cosplayers, cosplayers truly are the essence of any con, they can bring magic to kids and adult by their creation and Justine the same person who inspired me to celebrate the work of the cosplayer gave me a moment of her time to interview her. 

If you want to know more about Justine, below are links to her Facebook and Instagram pages: 

1. What event influenced you to started cosplaying? 

Well it wasn’t an event but I’ve had plenty of influence throughout my life and the push in the right direction started when I was very young, like 5 or 6 maybe even younger, it was one morning before school, and my mom and I would have music or tv on in the background while we were getting ready and my mom had been flipping through channels, and she found what would be the first influence to push me in the right direction to cosplay culture. 

What she had found that morning was Sailor Moon, now this is going to show my age a bit, before Sailor Moon aired in the afternoon on the old Toonami block on cartoon network (along with DBZ and Godzilla)in the late 90’s it actually aired super early week day mornings on either PBS or another channel that aired cartoons super early on weekdays, but that morning my mom came into my room and proceeded to flip through the channels of my tiny tv (it was also one of those tv with the VCR attached) and she kept saying that I needed to check out this show that she found and that I would probably love it and loved it I did and it was the day that I became fully interested in anime, japan and all other things nerdy and geeky. 

From there I didn’t hide away my interests and always found a way to express myself, when I was shy it was through drawing and then eventually it was through musical theater (it was this that really brought me out of my shell) and competitive dance (both in school and ballroom dancing outside of school) and both of those really pushed me into costume design and costume making ( some of my first costumes that I made from scratch were costumes for my ballroom competitions); the only downside of all this was proceeding to get bullied throughout school because of my interests and not having very many friends because of it and I really didn’t feel accepted until college and I felt at home during my time at Ringling College of Art and Design as almost everyone there was nerdy and geeky in some way. 

During my time in college I was also in my first serious/long term relationship and my boyfriend at that time was also a huge nerd/geek so we connected pretty well and within the first couple of months of dating he told me about the convention scene and he had been a part of it and had been going to cons like Metrocon and Jacon for a few years now. 

It was at that point that I thought to myself how sheltered my life had been and what rock had I been living under, it was then during late 2007 and my first year in college that I started preparing and making my own cosplays and cosplaying. 

2. What was your first con? Did you cosplay or went as a mere spectator? 

My first con was Jacon ’08 and yes I did cosplay, my cosplays weren’t the best as I didn’t have the skills that I do now, but I managed to throw together a Pikachu hoodie that I converted from a regular hoodie that I had and I designed my first cat girl OC and I also just wore one of my ballroom competition dresses that I made which everyone thought I was cosplaying as a character from WoW so I just went with it and everything worked out. 

3. What memories do you have of that first Con? 

Everything about my first con was amazing including the bad parts, I seriously wish Jacon was still around it was the perfect first convention and from what I heard and from my own experience nothing tops your first con. 

It wasn’t too big or too small, there was plenty to see and do and it kept me going for all three days, I wanted to buy everything in the vendors room and in artist ally, I felt at home and accepted, most people were super nice and friendly, there were so many people to talk to and as a dancer I especially like the nightly raves/after parties. 

My experience was mostly good and I will never forget it and in a strange way I loved how it also introduced me to the negative side of cons and cosplay, that being that there are some toxic people in the community that aren’t as accepting and who think themselves as elitists who believe not everyone should cosplay, you should only cosplay in your race, gender, size, etc., that you should only make your cosplays and never buy them and other ridiculous beliefs and I’m glad that the community is trying to put an end to people like this as going to conventions today I don’t see as many toxic people like I used to. 

4. How was the process of creating your first cosplay? 

I have two first’s, my first cosplay in general and then my first legit cosplay, my first cosplay ever was my original cat girl design, I don’t have any pictures of it but it was all white and it had an ero-lolita feel to the design. It wasn’t my best work though as I didn’t have the skills and knowledge that I do now as I pulled what I call “a project runway” and glued the entire costume together with fabric glue, I have since gone back and remade and redesigned my original cat girl cosplay 

My first legit cosplay was Midna in her imp form from Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and I chose her for my first legit cosplay because for one, the game just came out and the character was super popular and two, it was a cosplay that I’d be able to make look good without have a strong skill set; but of course had to be different and instead of using a body suit, I used a bikini that I altered and painted and did everything else in body paint, I also chose not to make her headdress as I was again trying to be different and not like everyone else that was cosplaying her at the time but I also suffer from terrible vision so unless I pick a cosplay that lets me wear my glasses I’m normally blind while in cosplay and at conventions and with her headdress covering one eye it would have limited my vision even more. 

Either way I chose my cosplays like I do currently, by popularity or by just by how much I like the character and design, and after I make that decision I proceed by looking up references, gather materials (I’m a budget cosplayer so I try to use what I have or recycle materials from thrift stores or I normally always know someone who is trying to get rid of sheets or curtains ) and when it comes to the making of the cosplay I normally already know what I’m doing or how I’m going to make something before I even start. 

5. How were the reactions of your first cosplay? 

I got tons of great reactions from my first cosplays, but the most important ones were for my original cat girl design as not only was it my first cosplay ever, but it was my first original character as well and everyone loved it, although you could also say who doesn’t like a cute cat girl cosplay. In general, besides loving the cosplay design itself most people were amazed and surprised that I chose to do an OC for my first as even most experienced cosplayer aren’t even brave enough to cosplay an OC in fear of others not understanding or liking it enough so that they won’t get attention. 

Overall, I say that if you love an OC, be brave and go for it as it you love it and if it’s something that you’re interested in then the final product will probably better than what you think, as in general, people that are really into something normally produce better results. Then when I thought that it couldn’t get any better than that, I’m pretty sure people lost their minds when I debuted Midna. I first wore Midna to my second convention (and said convention also no longer exists), but I of course wore her on Saturday, the main day of the con. I remember my college boyfriend and I waking up at 6 am that morning to get me ready, the body painting process took 6 hours so we were able to finally leave the hotel room just after noon and as soon as I exited the elevator I was met by a swarm of people who wanted pictures of me and I probably stood in place for about an hour straight before I was able to move again. Shortly after all that I was approached by con staff who also loved my cosplay and urged me to enter in the cosplay contest as they told me that the judges would love my work, so I built up the courage to enter. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it through the pre-judging as the room that they had it in was below freezing inside and it just got to a point that I couldn’t stay and wait in there any longer seeing as all the I was wearing was a bikini and body paint. All the praise I got for Midna greatly boosted my confidence and self-esteem as a cosplayer. 

6. How do you see the evolution from then to know on your art? 

As a cosplayer and seamstress who is completely self-taught, I am still evolving, in total I have been sewing since the early 2000’s and I’ve been cosplaying since ’07 and it amazes me that I can now tell people that I’ve now been cosplaying for 11years. When I started all those years ago, I was actually too timid to use my sewing machine so I just hand sewed and glued my costumes together and when I was finally brave enough to start using my sewing machine, I asked myself what the hell have I been doing, and I never looked back. 

Now my cosplays and costumes look professionally made or look as though they could be sold in a store as my work is much cleaner and is less likely to fall apart. I am currently trying to teach myself embroidery and would like to learn more skills in using leather. Over all I feel like I am at a half way point in my journey as I’m not the best but I’m far from the worst. 

7. Which is your favorite cosplay? And Why? 

I don’t have just one favorite cosplay, but I do have 4 cosplays that I would consider my favorites each for different reasons. My first favorite is my original Persephone design, this cosplay was my third original, but it was the first really elaborate cosplay that I made, and it took over a month to make. Second would be my Rosa Farrell cosplay from Final Fantasy 4, Rosa was my second really elaborate cosplay that I made and Final Fantasy 4 is one of my favorite games next to Final Fantasy 6 and Rosas design it more on the simpler side I took inspiration from multiple artists and styles to come up with the design of the cosplay. 

Lastly would be sans from Princess Mononoke and Princess Bubblegum from adventure time and I put these two together because these cosplays are redesigns by Hannah Alexander (I have made a total of 5 Hannah Alexander cosplays as I’m completely obsessed with her work) but I love wearing sans because I feel like a bad ass and with the armor, spear and being covered in blood splatter people at conventions go out of their way to avoid me and stay out of my way but I still get plenty of people who want a picture or I hear people say from a far how awesome my cosplay is because they are too timid to approach me and ask for a picture because I intimidate them. I also feel just as badass in Princess Bubblegum just more over the top and elegant like a princess and both cosplays are some of my most recent and best work. 

8. Do you get into the character you’re cosplaying? 

I will sometimes get into character, but it really depends on if I like or know that character or if I can even do the character justice. I have a background in acting and musical theater and because of that and how I was taught I feel that being able to do the character justice is really important so if I don’t think I can do the character justice I just wear the costume. This happens most of the time anyways as I’m more into the costuming part of cosplay; but if I like the character enough to the point that I know a lot about the character other than the costume and I feel like I can do them justice I will get into character. 

9. What has been to cosplay with your boyfriend? How has been the process of cosplaying as a duo? 

Cosplaying with my current boyfriend, Andrew, is perfect, what makes it perfect is that I am a shy extrovert that loves being out and about and around people but I have a very hard time going out and doing a lot of things on my own so I am so grateful to have someone to do the things I love with as my biggest fear is loneliness and I over all hate being alone. 

If I wasn’t with Andrew, I would have a hell of a time trying to go to conventions, unless, of course I have a good/close friend that I could go with; plus, doing couples cosplays are so much fun as for those few times I do get into character I then have someone to interact with and whether one of us has an elaborate cosplay or both we tend to be a beacon for attention even if we are cosplaying from different genres. 

Then with Andrew being an introvert, he wasn’t sure if he was going to like the attention or being in the spotlight but after I first got him to cosplay with me he ended up loving it and he always tells me that being at a convention not in cosplay isn’t the same any more. It’s also nice to always have a handler as well as I like to wear super elaborate cosplays with trains and capes that drag on the floor so I normally need help getting in and out of cosplays and I normally need help holding parts of may cosplay while out on the convention floor and like I said before, I suffer from terrible vision and sometimes I just need a pair of eyes, although it does irritate my boyfriend when while at a convention he’ll get all excited and tell me to look at something just to realize that I’m blind without my glasses and can’t see what he’s so excited about. 

As for the process, it definitely makes everything more time consuming as my work load is doubled because I make Andrews cosplays along with my own so there are times when I’m making 8 plus cosplays for one convention, for an example I will be making a total of 10 cosplays for Megacon 2019, that’s 5 for each of us, one for each of the 4 days and one for each of us for the main after party. I treat every other year as a down year where I don’t make that many cosplays and just switch my line ups from the year before, like what we wear for Megacon this year we will wear to Metrocon next year and we will most likely wear what I make for Metrocon this year to Megacon next year. 

But it’s not all bad as while I do all the sewing Andrew helps makes the props and helps with painting said props and armor, although I’m hoping to teach him how to sew seeing that I have two machines and hopefully he will be just as good a seamster as I am a seamstress. Like myself Andrew understands that although cosplay is fun it is not always comfortable or easy and just like myself he loves it over all but hates just a handful of things like having to wear a wig, large amounts of body paint and having to help me in and out of cosplay and help me with my cosplay while out on the con floor as I regularly hear him ask me why I can’t make more cosplays that are more simple. Overall Andrew and I love cosplay and love cosplaying together, we take the good with the bad and we both look to further our skill set and knowledge together. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Sheikas - Between Blood, Magic and Technology

At first I was trying to write an article on genome and hereditary traits towards the Sheika's, but the only ending I had was their "red eyes and seemingly long life spans" then I thought why not to talk about a more applied concept towards the characters development in the real world and that has been the Sheika's influence in Hyrule technology, socio-political history and how they used magic as a natural resource to boost their discoveries. So, this is just the first entry of a few to explain how can a tribe implement a change within their cosmos.

To place a real world example the influence of the Sheika's mimic the rise of superpowers after World War 2  (1) in which an economical power rise and other whiter after an economical crisis that is tied to social problematic; historically speaking in our world an empire has a duration of 80 years which is also linked to how the world goes into crisis or recessions within a similar time-frame.

Generational speaking, within 3 generations we are destined to repeat mistakes that were on the time of our great-grandfathers but if we go on a more contemporary example right now we are repeating mistakes saw within the generation of the 20 which encompass our grandparents. If we analyze the Sheika's behavior towards their world events, they'd been there within almost every crisis.

We are going to place the Sheika's within every possible scenario with the new converged timeline and we are going to place the structure of the classic feudal Hyrule into a constitutional monarchy as it's the idea I could observe within Breath of the Wild because there were hints on how each dependency or province ruled their own land but ultimate they were influenced by the Royal Family of Hyrule.

The Sheika's power within the kingdom of Hyrule was merely economical, within a context they could be seen as some form of Silicon Valley (2) but also besides being the guardians of the royals they were also the people who influenced the political, mercantile and technological advances of the entire kingdom, we can see they were even more powerful in terms of influence than the Royal Family.

The most crucial aspect on their hegemony were their technological development such as the Gossip Stones (3) which they can decode, transmit information but also self-destruct if the situation is need thus keeping the information safe from the hands of the enemies of the Kingdom, in terms of warfare the Sheikas were ruthless and also could had seize the control of the Kingdom because at least in theory they were more powerful than the Royals but it would lead to a paradox what if you defy the reincarnation of the Goddess you swore to protect? Probably the best answer would be in the creation of the Yiga clan.

Why do I mentioned Silicon Valley before? Because the similarities are there, the two with their interaction on technology influenced politics but also on how the kingdom or the country developed (4) towards politics; politics are usually interlinked with how much you can lobby towards an ideal but also how can you benefit from the ruling class of the country.

Silicon Valley as a PR move they usually present themselves as more of nerdy influencer in which they are usually the first ones that give an idea that everyone should take on their homes or the latest technology, but reality is far macabre because we can look at the scandals of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica (5) in which information became the prime treasure in terms of technological warfare.

Talking about Breath of the Wild, we continued with on how the Sheika's are the protectors of the Goddess, but also through the game experience we are shown as spectators on how the influence technology over the millenia with the creation of the Divine Beasts in which it consolidated them as a race devoted to warfare; a hypotethis I have is that the Royal's didn't placed their power based solely on magic or Triforce but on war games.

In terms of military expansion, natural resources are usually the main objective on war declarations or conquest of territories, geographical outpost and appropriation of information tends also to be the related to reasons of war, because with information, with natural resources and conquest of territories you can become richer, lets think of oil but also precious mineral as our in our world and in between all of that the Sheika's where always there and they are the reason why the Hyrule Royal Family became extremely powerful.

Probably at the end of the converged timeline there wasn't too much information, but there are hints on why the empire fall and that's the lack of coordination to keep the socio-economical power of the kingdom at check   



Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Classic NES Memories Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Nostalgia is truly a weapon with a sharp edge, I always remember fondly the first time I saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and it was in the house of a former friend who had the original comic, I was seven years old and I was impressed by the graphics and illustrations but not too much by the dialogue because my English level wasn't there to understand the witty dialogues of the first issue, but the idea of the turtles as a product got stuck in my head.

With the rise of the show and the Turtle-Mania as many kids in the mid 1980's through mid 1990's I had a hefty collection of the Turtles merchandise, minus the original comic and a few figurines it was the video games who totally got my attention, because I could be Donatello inside the New York City where the turtles lived.

It wasn't until mid 1991 where I finally had the chance to play TMNT first game in the NES, again it was in the house of a friend during what we can call "winter time" in Cartagena - Colombia, is just a long summer that it rains no stop.

It was just some form of magical time for my 6 and half years old self, as the turtles where in vogue and it was the first time we were playing the first game. I always remember my first reaction and it was being mesmerized that it was an action packed game with tons of enemies, some of them that I didn't even knew they existed on the comics and others that I had seen on the show.

After a few hours playing and being stuck in the first part of the game, we were trying to decipher what to do and how to kill the enemies without ourselves being killed was probably one of the most interesting aspect of those days while playing the game; a week later I went back to my friend's house and I found it he was still trapped on the part, a few hours later we ended up in the dam and after that we never really played the game again.

Fast forwarding to this week (1/7/2019) and nostalgia kicked me in the stomach when I found my old games among the stuff I haven't touched in years and my surprise TMNT was there, again nostalgia can be a weapon with a sharp edge but it let me appreciate the game in a new light.

The game-play it's actually quite cool, from the soundtrack to the fights, the game knows how to captivate and with the difficulty level high the game itself can take a while to complete.

Towards the controller reactions versus the in-game enviroment, the game sucks, there is a small delay especially when you are swimming i.e. dam level and when doing jumps, some areas of the games especially the ones inside the buildings which give the platform sequences can be problematic to execute precise jumps because there isn't enough space and you as a player you tend to fall quite often.

The bosses themselves can go from easy to extremely difficult but all of them have one big foil and that is Donatello, a long range weapon can act extremely effective against almost any menace in the game, making much of the bosses extremely easy versus the hard difficulty on almost every part of the main scenario.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Caleb Hyles

Caleb Hyles and Jonathan Young
There is something unique about Caleb Hyles, maybe several things such as his amazing voice when he is singing live is equal as the audiovisual product that we can see on his Youtube channel but overall is his warmth to the his fans across the globe, the authenticity of a human being, of someone that takes his time in a genuine way to meet his supporters.

His musical style is quite diverse, it can go from pop, rock, metal, classical crossover and adaptations of popular songs (or covers as we can call them). His vocal range and tessitura are unique, it can be classified as a polivox since it can go from countertenor to baritone.

From all the indie artists that I followed over the decades, Caleb is probably one of the most interesting ones that I ever met because as I mentioned before he is probably one of the most genuine individuals because as it was mentioned before "he takes his time to meet his fans" and that simple action is something that fans reciprocate in an extreme positive manner.

The Metro Con 2017 Disney Sing-A-Long was the first time I saw him, but there aren't videos anywhere of the Disney Sing-A-Long of that year, but there is one of the 2018 which encompass the same feeling. On the 2017 event, after they finished the sing-a-long several fans where asking for a photo-op with him and Jonathan Young, which Caleb and Jon asked the security team of the event if it was OK to held a small improvised session in the hallway and the fans were quite pleased with the action.

2018 was similar on a certain scenario, after the Caleb, Jonathan and RichaadEB concert the three of them extended their autograph session almost until midnight to meet and greet with their fans, I honestly thought that was one of the most incredible aspect someone that is in the middle of spotlight do for their fans, because that moment where they can meet the people they admire can change lives forever.

The fan reaction on the 2018 was incredible, I never met so many fans from Florida because the room in the convention center was completely full, and it wasn't a tiny room, there were at least 1,500 minimum, it was incredibly overwhelming but also incredibly amazing to see so many people joined by the power of music and the nerd culture enjoying a peaceful moment.

Towards any future project beyond the covers, Caleb has been developing his own original album and from time to time he has shown previews of the song, they are really promising, but there is not much information I have at the moment beyond the few sporadic moments that he has shown a few seconds of the songs, but also as a fan I can't wait to see hear it.  

Friday, January 4, 2019

Jonathan Young

The first time that I heard about Jonathan Young was 3 years ago when he and Caleb Hyles made a dual collaboration on each other channels, within Caleb's channel it was Wolf in Sheep's Clothes by Set It Off and with Jonathan's channel a metal version of Bell's of Notre Dame which it hooked me up on his channel also on the spot after listening to it; my first reaction was "it was incredible, catchy, fast, chilly towards the instrumental arrangements and his vocals were mind-blowing"

For over a year, I probably watched his videos on a weekly basis when he released them, still do but I am not going far in the future, on 2017 I had the chance to see him and Caleb Hyles for the first time live on Metro-Con albeit not on the concert they played but on the Disney Sing-A-Long and I was extremely impress because they were two of the musicians I admire albeit nerves didn't let me say hello and take a proper photo, or even buy the merchandise.

Over the curse of 2017 and 2018 as one of my goals was to follow the evolution of my favorite producers and content creators, and Jonathan been one of them; I took a methodical approach to find as more information as possible as well the interests, some of his older videos where filmed at his high school where he was a member of the chorus, he had an interest in metal since the early beginning and also he seemed to enjoy old Disney and Fox movies.

Over the curse of four years, he crafted his image towards his rich baritone which it encompass his tassitura but also his public persona, as he crafted his voice towards the villainous side in which he developed content related to Anastasia such as In the Dark of the Night or Scar's Be Prepared from the Lion King, which the viewers could see and hear his tone on full range.

Apart from his Disney covers, he also made covers towards anime such as my Hero Academia - The Day -  which is one of the most incredible arrangement's because he transformed it into a new song keeping a faithful adaption to the original source, which people who have understanding on music adaptation, production and theory we can see that Jonathan Young has great array of knowledge towards content creation and music production.

On 2018 I had the privilege to see Jonathan Young, Caleb Hyles and RichaadEB on concert at MetroCon 2018 and it was one of the most amazing experience, the sound production was amazing and they sound exactly as if we were in one of their videos.

But, the experience of the concert made me ask me a new question towards branding positioning, especially when you as a content creator you are your own brand, how you as a cover artist could make the transition to show your originals to your audience? We have Boyce Avenue as a prime example but yet Boyce Avenue seems to have issues dissociating from the image they crafted which itself could apply towards artist as Jonathan himself, even if he create his own music.

Back when Youtube was starting and when I was as freelance journalist around Tampa, roaming around shows and listening to the first musicians I did cover I wondered the same questions and from a perspective that involves switching styles or positioning your own products, maybe the best route is to find a sound that is pleasant to the ears, that people can identify as mainstream but at the same time that relies on your signature, same as lyrical content that is extremely meaningful to the public.

That could be the start to dissociate yourself from the cover label and keep striving as an indie artist, as one of the precepts that people enjoy finding in indie artist is the soul and essence of the artist, which it can really sell. I honestly want to see more about Jonathan Young, more original songs and what trajectory he will take beyond the nerdom.