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   

References:

  1. https://medium.com/@ntsikayezwefakude/rise-of-the-superpowers-the-united-states-vs-russia-f298ce3767ca 
  2. http://www.csun.edu/~hfspc002/foucault1.pdf
  3. https://zelda.gamepedia.com/Gossip_Stone
  4. https://www.thenation.com/article/how-silicon-valley-hacked-the-economy/
  5. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/technology/facebook-cambridge-analytica-explained.html

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.