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We interviewed Artist Selena Frantastic!

We interviewed Selena Frantastic about her video! Check it out!

1.What inspired you to start creating art?

There was a large painting, in my childhood home’s living room, from a popular Haitian artist named “Casimir”. I always loved seeing the colours and shapes they used when I would come down the staircase or around the dining room. My mother is also incredibly creative; she doodles little faces on the family calendar and she actually taught me how to move dots across a Post-It pad, like a flip-book. I think it’s both nature and nurture as I’ve always been attracted to bright, colourful pieces outside of the home, so seeing the creativity around me was always reassuring. Early on, I realized I wanted to do the same for people that may not have a lot of colour in their lives.

2.What did you want people to take away from this video?

When viewers see my video, I want them to feel that there are other people/artists out there that can help inspire them along their creative journeys. Whether they’re just starting out or they gave up and are looking to get back into it or change gears. My favourite part is the comments section, people can have really great conversations and recommendations there too!

What are your plans for 2021?

My plans for 2021 are to continue learning. “You learn something new every day.” I’d often heard that saying growing up and never understood it’s full potential. Initially, I thought it was meant sarcastically as a response to someone doing something the wrong way, but I gave it more thought and realized it could also be a phrase to encourage people to reach further than what they know. (I think the difference lies in how you respond) I think that realization came with a level of maturity too. Distinguishing whether or not something is a personal dig at you or someone trying to help you succeed.

These are Just Some Awesome Youtubers!

Just a youtuber was trending on twitter recently and the All Ages of Geek crew decided to put together a list of some cool youtubers you should check out!

Denise Walker

Youtube Bio: “Denise Walker Animator Artist (Traditional/Digital) Video Editor/ Creator (Sony Vegas) This is channel that is going to be visual analytical breakdowns on animation and video games that I loved like character designs and talking about animators. Will post animations and video edits often.”

Check out their Youtube HERE!

The Southern Bella

Youtube Bio: “Hello and how are you? My name is Bella and I animate short stories from my life on my YouTube channel! I live in Texas (yeehaw) and I love cats!”

Check out their Youtube HERE!

The English Simmer

Youtube Bio: “Hi there, I enjoy procrastinating by playing The Sims and recording it for you guys to (hopefully) enjoy. Sometimes I even go as far as playing other games for entertainment. I am obliged to say that if you aren’t subscribed already then you should.”

Check out their Youtube HERE!

MessYourself

Youtube Bio: “Brandon MessYourself here! We have been making YouTube content for over 8 years. My content has grown as have I and I am really proud of everything that we have achieved as a community so far. I am a comedian and yes I do act very crazy in my videos with the intent to make you laugh! I’ll always try to do something unique or obscure in every video so trust me, you will be surprise where ever you go! MessYourself was originally a Gaming Channel but however currently has turned more into a topical humour channel. If you would like to see my gaming videos please check out my gaming channel MessYourself Gaming: http://www.YouTube.com/messyourselfgaming In March 2020 we launched our Animation and have set a goal of 100 Animations coming soon. We have a patreon if you would like to help by becoming executive producers.”

Check out their Youtube HERE!

Darrion Nguyen

Youtube Bio: “Science is fun!”

Check out their Youtube HERE!

Tell us who your favorite Youtubers are! We would love to feature them in an article!

An Interview with Cami-Cat

Art by: @KIDWMA

Will: Just to break the ice a bit, how has your day been?

Cami Cat: My day has been alright! A little tired, but who isn’t this year? laughs

W: For those who do not know you, how would you describe your YouTube Channel and yourself?

CC: I think the best way describe it is I post what I like to do.

W: Allagesofgeek talks about a variety of fandoms. What would you say is your top three that you are a part of?

CC: Ok. Critical Role, but I enjoy things without being major part of fandoms

W: What is your favorite cover you have sung?

CC: Ok, I give a different answer every time. Welcome Home is a good one, so is Friend Like Me. I like doing different voices.

W: What is one song you would like to cover?

CC: This is hard laughs Maybe more of the forever alone covers.

W: What is your favorite original song that you have wrote?

CC: This one is a tie. I love Maw of the King and Lioness

W: Is the Jingle Bells parody based on a true event in a Campaign?

CC: Not entirely. There were definitely moments in the Campaign. I’m working of a few other songs about the Campaign.

W: What are some interesting things about your bard Danni?

CC: Danni is more of a follower than a leader. When she performs being a leader.

W: What is one D&D class you have not played yet, but you would like to play?

CC: Ooh, I think that I would be interested in playing Ranger. I have seen people bashing the ranger, but I have seen so many others playing Rangers.

W: What is the oddest character you have ever made?

CC: I think Kiriki would be the oddest. She’s a Tabaxi that sells goods out of a bag of holding that she made out of yarn. The only bag she has that she didn’t make is a bag that allows her to teleport to a random location.

W: What is your favorite memory from a D&D Campaign that you were part of?

CC: Oof ok, it was probably the giant sword. We dropped a giant’s sword with a force ball attached to the bottom, the sword was imbued with our Paladin’s Divine Smite, and we just dropped it 100 feet off a peguses onto a pirate ship.

W: What is your favorite thing about D&D?

CC: I love the storytelling potential, interactions between characters. I’m not much of a Dungeon Crawler.

W: In closing. What words of wisdom would you leave the reader with?

CC: No matter what the numbers are saying, keep doing what you are enjoying. The more you are enjoying doing something, the more people will flock to you.

All Ages of Star Wars #4: The Original “Episode VII” Is Being Turned Into an Animated Series

For so many Star Wars fans, Heir To The Empire represents the Episode VII they grew up with. To many more, it represents the sequel they never saw on the screen. But now they can! And you can, too!

Anime To-Watch During Covid

I’m sure that, by now, most of us have run out of things to watch. Things have gone to some sort of normalcy for many of us, but the fact is that we should still stay inside as much as possible. Social distancing is important. Cases in the US continue to rise at a staggering rate. Safety precautions should still be followed as much as possible.

I’m sure we’ve all scoured through the entertainment that appeals to us. We’re bored. We feel like we’ve hit the wall for every bit that we’re familiar with.

Sometimes, going off the beaten path can be fun, though. Looking back in time at shows we’ve never heard of or at some more obscure topics that we didn’t know about is a great way to broaden our horizons.

So here are some suggestions for things to watch in no particular order from me!

ARIA: Animation, Natural, Origination

[Image source]
[Image description: A beautiful blue sky with several buildings in the style of Venice. A girl with long, black hair rowing a gondola sits to the left. She wears a white dress with red markings around it and a small hat. On the right a pink-haired girl stands up, also rowing. A blonde woman sits in the gondola in the bottom right corner, holding a white, blue-eyed cat. These two also wear white dresses but with blue markings instead.]

ARIA is personally one of my favorite anime. It has three seasons with around 50 episodes plus a couple of extra OVAs. Honestly, it’s one of the perfect shows for a time as difficult as this. It’s part of a genre called “iyashikei” which roughly means “healing.” This is a subgenre of slice-of-life. It focuses on people living their daily lives. The trademark of the genre is the conflicts being small to nonexistent or even large conflicts somehow feeling very tiny. It’s the same sort of sensation you get when watching Studio Ghibli films, namely those like Totoro.

ARIA is focused around the lives of mainly three young girls, training to be gondola guides called Undine. It takes place on in the 24th century on a terraformed Mars, now called Aqua due to the sheer amount of water on it. The city they live in, Neo-Venezia, is a recreation of Venice which has been swallowed into the sea by that point in the future.

This anime is absolutely gorgeous even though the first season came out in 2005. Thankfully, due to a kickstarter, it was remastered and released earlier this year on Blu Ray! I unfortunately don’t own these myself, so I can’t really speak to the quality of it. But it also has been dubbed thanks to the same kickstarter. To attest to how beautiful it is, it was actually the trope namer for Scenery Porn on TV Tropes. 

This anime whisks you away to a much simpler, slower lifestyle and lets you enjoy the beauty of Venice. If you’ve never been there, this is a good replacement. While it is focused on the life of Aika, Akari, Alice, and friends, that doesn’t mean it’s boring. This series delves into the fantastic with plenty of fantasy-esque elements. There’s more than one instance of time travel, magic, and more in the series. Cats are usually the culprits. (It makes sense in context.) 

But, despite those fantastical elements and episodes, it’s mostly grounded and down to earth. One episode is literally just focused around going to an onsen that’s overtaken much of a mansion. 

Iyashikei is definitely not for everyone. If you find slice-of-life boring, you’ll find iyashikei even worse. The pace is extremely slow and meandering. There’s generally no objective. The point is just to experience life. And ARIA is definitely that sort of anime. It’s quiet, simple, and extremely optimistic. Akari, the main protagonist, is your typical, wide-eyed shoujo protag. She can be a little bit of an airhead at times but she never reaches levels like Ui from K-On! 

The characters themselves are also generally…very simple. Like I said, Akari is a typical shoujo protagonist and not much else. Aika is the typical stern friend that balances out the wide-eyed protagonist but still causes shenanigans herself. Alice is the little girl that’s trying to grow up fast but still gets caught up in childish moments.

But, honestly, that’s all a show like this needs. It’s less about the characters and extreme growth as more just about the experience. That’s not to say the characters don’t grow slowly and incrementally over time; they do. But it’s small, slow growth and nothing that 100% alters the fabric of who they are. 

Townsends/TastingHistory

[Townsends Channel Link]

[TastingHistory Channel Link]

Now I’m putting these two together because they’re similar in content though very different in approach. 

Both are historical cooking channels. 

Townsends is a channel focused on a very specific point of history: American cooking from the 18th century when the colonies were just being settled. James is an extremely good host, having a calm, measured voice and upbeat personality. I’ve seen some people call him the Bob Ross of cooking (though I’ve also seen other I follow you YouTube called that). I agree he does have a Bob Ross-like attitude and temperament. You can just feel his absolute enthusiasm for what he’s doing and how much he wants to share this all of this with other people. I’m pretty sure historical reenactment is his job, considering he has a fully tricked-out 18th century kitchen in his backyard.

His approach to things is to do it as authentically as possible. Of course, most things he uses are modern reproductions of old utensils and such, but for the most part, he keeps things 100% straight. I have seen him bump things up to our technology level, mainly for people that’d like to do recipes but just don’t have the time to invest in doing it the hard way. The one that mainly sticks out in my mind is the portable soup recipe mainly because most people can’t spend days tending a stew. He taught how to do that in a slow cooker. I think a few other recipes were shown in one too. But outside of that? He does everything over a fire with wooden or metal utensils as best he can. Of course, this channel is huge with well over a million subs, but it speaks to the quality of his content.

TastingHistory is another channel in a similar vein, but he approaches it differently. He jumps around the world to different time periods while doing things in a modern context. That doesn’t mean his content isn’t pretty high quality, though. He’s only been making videos for five months and his production quality was already very high.

He takes the format of sitting at his table and talking about the recipe for a bit while doing it, then while it’s going, he’ll talk about the history of it in greater depth. His demeanor is extremely calm and open and feels fairly natural, all things considered. I personally find him to be a fairly engaging host. 

Honestly, even if you aren’t a history buff but like cooking, I’d say check both of these guys out. Or even if you aren’t into either, still do. I find both hosts engaging simply for their demeanors. You may just find some new recipes to try and learn some new facts along the way. 

Snake Discovery

Channel Link

[Image source]
[Image description: An off-white background with stylised logo. It reads “Snake Discovery.” The S in snake is a snake, tail off to the left, holding a globe in its tail. The rest of the word is in light green with a few dark green patches on the right side of the lowercase N and bottom part of the lowercase E. “Discovery” is simply written in black caps.]

Snakes may not seem like a geeky thing, but I think they are! I’ve personally loved snakes ever since I was a little kid. My uncle had two of them growing up and it made me a reptile lover for the rest of my life. 

Even if you’re afraid of snakes, Snake Discovery may honestly be the cure for that.

Emily and Ed run this channel and are avid reptile lovers. They obviously mainly do snakes, but they also do geckos, anoles, turtles, and even have an alligator! As hosts, they’re extremely warm, personable, and really know how to talk to a crowd. Granted, it’s mostly Emily front of the camera more than Ed, but her ease there is really owed to the amount of educational programs she does. 

The way they present information is extremely entertaining and easy to understand. They’ll often go into things like snake genetics, care videos, and a lot more. Most videos are packed with a ton of information, really brought to life by (mostly) Emily’s upbeat and friendly personality. A lot of people in the comments have attested to Snake Discovery helping them overcome their fear of snakes.

I know a lot of people would be tempted to click off videos like this to just listen to them, but don’t do that! One of my favorite running gags for them is the fact they make subtitles on the screen for what the animal is “thinking” in that moment. It’s so funny.

[Video]
[Image description: A black granite countertop with white speckles. A small, thin plastic bin sits in the center of the frame. A white snake sits in it. A few fake leaves sit under the snake on top of a paper towel. Near the snake, the words “Heck off” are written in white font, outlined in black toward the top center of the screen.]

My personal favorite videos of theirs are those involving Rex, their alligator, and their hatching videos. Sadly, hatching videos only happen during the summer after breeding season, so it’s a treat when a new one comes along. It’s just so exciting to see what they get from each clutch.

So if you like snakes and/or are just interested in reptiles in general, give these guys a shot. They’re a huge channel at nearly 2 million subscribers (at the time of writing), but still, they’ve created an interesting community and I hope they catch your interest!

Why Many Reaction Channels Need to Change – Fall of KissAnime

Over the last few years, Reaction Channels on YouTube have been hit hard due to copyright laws by COPPA and many new changes that are happening on the internet. What creators need to understand that it is extremely important for everyone to follow those changes and adapt to those copyright laws.

No matter how anyone views it, Reaction Channels are changing and HAVE to change. Taking content from an original source like anime and adding it to your commentary track isn’t how DMCA works. With new laws also launching in Japan all surrounded by copyright, creators have to adapt and also pay respect to original creators and sources.

An example of DMCA laws making an impact is KissAnime, a piracy website that streamed anime for years. The website which was recently taken down took original content from sources and streamed anime without it being an official streaming service like Crunchyroll, VRV or Funimation. Reaction channels that follow a similar format need to change their ways before 2021 when the new copyright laws will change how everyone consumes content.

We can get into the details about DMCA laws, but I’ll leave that to the professionals. Today the All Ages of Geek Crew and I are here to help creators and fans of those creators change their content in a positive way. Some people don’t even know about these new laws, and others are still avoiding them. This will be a way to help creators not only understand the importance of ever-changing copyright laws but also help them create much more transformative content for their audience. Here are a few tips and tricks to be sure you are following the copyright laws and a few companies who do this right!

How to Format Reaction Videos

All Ages of Geek’s Weeb Watch-a-Thon series follows a very simple format: Watch Alongs + Commentary + Analysis.

This format does not show the video of the original content. Instead, it gives the viewers a timestamp and countdown when we start the video, pause, and end. It gives an immersive experience for the viewer almost like watching a series with an online friend remotely.

We show no video from the original source and have no audio from that source playing in the background. Our content format is:

Host + Microphone + Camera (for video commentary) + Commentary and Analysis.

As the team starts doing more Watch Alongs + Commentary + Analysis (we have been trying to get Matt to create content too) we’ll be creating two types of content:

Video Commentary: For series much like you see on Patreon and YouTube already.

Audio Commentary: When we do LIVE shows on Discord and record our audio commentary to movies such as Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.

As a patron you get access to LIVE commentary track recordings for Movie Commentary Nights so if that’s something you’re interested in here’s where to access the events.

Examples of Successful Commentary

A perfect example of this Watch Alongs + Commentary + Analysis style is from two companies you may have heard of over the years called Red Letter Media and RiffTrax. They commentate, react, and analyze films and series, and give the viewers access to their recordings to sync up alongside whatever they are watching. Thanks to Matt, I’ve looked over these creators’ content and realized what an impact they both have on the Reaction Community and how that community should take some inspiration from them.

About RiffTrax

RiffTrax is an American company that produces scripted humorous audio commentary tracks intended to be played in unison with particular television programs and films, featuring comedians Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett and others.

About Red Letter Media

Red Letter Media, LLC, stylized as RedLetterMedia on YouTube, is an American film and video production company operated by independent filmmakers Mike Stoklasa and Jay Bauman. The company was formed by Stoklasa in 2004 while living in Scottsdale, Arizona, but is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as of 2011.

Reaction Channels can learn from this style and also improve on their commentating and improv skills. One thing many people have against Reaction Channels isn’t just the style of the video but how many channels do not commentate. If reactors were to change that format and give commentary just like Red Letter Media and RiffTrax do with their commentary tracks than many people would give more respect to the content.

Review & Analysis

Instead of just sitting silently watching a series give commentary! This will make the reaction much more transformative. You can even go as far to give a full review of the series you are reacting to, take notes, and give an analysis in an almost video podcast type stylization.

Example of some of our notes while we give an analysis/commentary.

Do a Watch Along

Do a Watch Along. It’s simple as long as you improve on your listening and analyst skills. We’ve mentioned above that it’s much more immersive when watching with friends, but also doesn’t harm any industry + encourages people to support the original source. Plus, it’s your commentary, footage, and audio. This is going back to what RiffTrax and Red Letter Media has done for years and is a great way to bond with your audience.

Need a Proper Set Up for Watch Alongs?

If you’re planning on changing up your content from reactions to Watch Alongs here are some helpful tech to do so!

StreamLabs
Microphone
Camera
Web-Cam

Apps for viewers

Many viewers are concerned about how they will sync up Watch Alongs if they are using mobile devices. It’s much easier to sync on your computers since you can have multiple tabs open but for mobile users, it’s much harder. So the AAOG Crew has done some research to find apps you can use to make this possible for you!

Stick-It! (Pop-Up Player) for Android (Recommended by Kat)
Grid-Player Local for iOS (Recommended by Chase)
Audio Share (App to sync up audio) (Recommended by Matt)

Sites Viewers can Watch Along:

There are many streaming services viewers can do Watch Parties and binge-a-thons, and just like they do with their friends they can do the same with their favorite reactors.

These are the streaming services you can use to sync up your favorite Watch-Along commentary with.

Funimation
Hulu
Netflix
Crunchyroll
VRV
HBOMax

As the internet changes it is up to creators to be responsible, change, and adapt to what’s to come. This change will also open new doors to the reaction communities around the internet to be much more respected and show a more transformative side to what their content can be.

If you are a reactor who is going with the flow of these new changes please leave your suggestions down below to help others in the Reaction Community also find ways to improve their content! At the end of the day, everyone is simply trying to do what is right and also help one other in the industry.

The Last of Us Part 2: Is it Really That Bad?

The Last of Us, a game developed by Naughty Dog that was, and still is, highly praised by gamers from all over. Ever since the ending, fans have been waiting patiently for the possible sequel, and now, after being revealed in 2016, we are finally able to experience the continuation of Joel and Ellie’s story. However, due to some serious backlash from fans, I felt that I should bring some positive feedback, to show that the game isn’t as bad as many claimed it is. Because of its playstyle, I decided to take the time to watch someone else (Jacksepticeye) play The Last of Us Part 2, that way I can really analyze everything about the game. Please note that this analysis will be spoiler-free, so I’ll be very vague about a lot of things that occur in the story (out of respect for those that have yet to play the game). One last thing that I want to talk about, before moving on, is that the only knowledge I have about the sequel is the first two trailers that were released. Please keep this in mind as you read this article.

The World and The Game’s Graphics

One of the first things that stood out at the start of the game was the major improvement in graphics and the changes in the world. Looking back at The Last of Us, it’s very noticeable with how much the graphics have aged. I wouldn’t say that they look terrible, they just don’t look as good as they did back in 2013. Despite this, the game is still enjoyable and it doesn’t take away the beauty of the story. Fast forward to 2020 with The Last of Us Part 2 and you can tell that Naughty Dog has really upped their game. Long story short, this game is gorgeous to look at. The amount of attention to detail with the characters and the environment is mindblowing, even small things that wouldn’t seem important were given plenty of love. The way the blood dilutes in puddles of water, the way that nature is reclaiming what human civilization took away, and the different types of reflections from different surfaces were some of my favorites. I also found it fascinating to see the actual changes that your character’s weapons, since I have little to no knowledge in that area of expertise. Even if it was something small, like adding a handle to a crossbow for more stable aiming, it added more to the weapons/equipment.

Despite only four years have passed in the story, the world has definitely gone through changes. Remember how much vegetation was growing everywhere on the buildings and roads in the first game? Well, that has increased when you travel to Seattle, which is where most of the game takes place. There are trees and grass growing in places you wouldn’t even imagine being a possibility. It’s not just the vegetation growing in unexpected places, the destruction that the buildings have gone through over time is absolutely mindblowing. While I have never personally been to Seattle, a ton of research and attention to detail was put into recreating a destroyed version of the city. While not every building is shown (due to copyright with different businesses), the people responsible for recreating Seattle did a phenomenal job. The craziest part is how much is surrounded by water. Hell, the famous Space Needle and the area around it is surrounded by water and has become an island. Because it’s Seattle, it rains ALOT in this game, which constantly made me concerned for the characters’ health. Despite there being so much rain, the rain is very beautiful, especially when you watch the drops hit the puddles. There are sections of the city where you have to travel by boat, and personally, those are some of my favorite sections along with the village area much later in the game. While you only spend the very beginning of the game in this setting, the winter setting is beautiful and brutal. When you’re traveling on foot and by horse, you can actually knock snow off of the lower tree branches, which is so much fun to watch. There are a few moments, however, where the textures don’t fully load and slight glitches, but other than that the game is like walking through a beautiful art gallery. The only warning I have is if you’re afraid of heights, there is a section where you climb up to the height of a skyscraper and the details make the scenario more intense.

The Last of Us Part II Game | PS4 - PlayStation
Photo from playstation.com

The Story and Characters

As the title of the game says, The Last of Us Part 2 is the sequel to the massively successful and award-winning game of 2013 The Last of Us. The story takes place 4 years after the events of the first game, which means new characters and new settings. As previously mentioned, Seattle is where most of the story takes place, but you start the game in a little town as part of a community. Let’s just say that things get intense fairly quickly, which isn’t surprising given how The Last of Us started. As much as I want to go into detail, that is an immensely difficult thing to do given the landmine field of spoilers I’m tiptoeing over. In a nutshell, the story revolves around Ellie and her growing up into an adult. There are some intense lessons that she learns and how her choices can lead to serious consequences. You also get to see the world from different points of view, since there are a few other main groups that you come across throughout the story. Unfortunately, that is all I can really talk about without going into spoiler territory.

The Last of Us Part II First Hands-on Previews, Screenshots and ...
Photo from videogamesblogger.com

With new sequels, comes new characters and there are a number of new characters in this game. There are some that you’ll love, some that you’ll hate, and then there are those that some of the fans will either hate during the entire game or grow to understand and enjoy. Joel, Ellie, and Tommy (played by Troy Baker, Ashley Johnson, and Jeffrey Pierce) return with some interesting development to their characters and have grown with age and experience. Like the first game, Troy, Ashley, and Jeffrey absolutely killed it with bringing their characters to life. Honestly, with all of the characters (old and new), their actors and actresses didn’t hold back, which is a great reflection on how hard the directors pushed them. When I’m talking about the director pushing the actors and actresses, I don’t mean in a bad way. There are negative ways for any director to push their actors and actresses, but with both The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2, you can tell that both sides worked together as a powerful team to effectively bring the characters and powerful scenes to life. While it took time, I really loved Abby’s character and Laura Bailey was phenomenal in every second of screentime she had with bringing Abby to life. While I personally can’t think of any characters that I hated the whole time, I know that there were times where I didn’t like Ellie (I know I’m going to get some hate for that), Abby, Tommy, or even Owen. It was mostly due to the choices they made and how they treated some of the other characters.

The Gameplay

The gameplay is pretty much the same as the previous game, although there are a few minor additions to the sequel. You spend a large portion of the game exploring the area and searching for ammo, supplements to help you gain new abilities, parts to upgrade your weapons, and supplies to craft items (there are a handful of new items to craft). Along with these, you also find notes (which give you more lore of the world) and cards of superheroes and villains (maybe Naughty Dog will make a game revolving around those characters). You also occasionally find coins, but there don’t appear to be as many as the cards, not sure why. Super listening and brick/bottle-throwing return in this game, which always comes in handy with using stealth to sneak past humans and the infected. Speaking of the infected, there are about three new infected, which makes adapting to various scenarios more interesting and intense. Remember those tense and spooky sections where you explore dark, spore-infested buildings filled with the infected? Yep, those sections are back and they’re just as intense. There are a few sections where you ride a horse and (as previously mentioned) you can also drive a small boat through the flooded areas of Seattle and there are small “puzzles” that you have to solve in order to get to other sections. Speaking of puzzles, there are a number of puzzle-like sections where you carry ladders and/or planks to reach your destinations. There are also moments where you need to wheel pallets of stuff in order to block gates or climb up to new heights. You also can use ropes or chords to climb up to or swing across to a different spot. Let me tell you, the physics of the rope and chord is one of the detailed parts of the game that has so many people talking (not sure if it’s a good thing or bad thing). A new mechanic that is super helpful for stealth moves is being able to crawl on you your belly and using the tall grass to hide from your enemies. Of course, the grass can’t help keep you hidden forever, since the human enemies have dogs that can track your scent, which is a cool addition. The only thing that myself and other gamers hated about that is…..you have to kill the dogs in order to move forward. Even if you take out the other humans, the dogs will keep on coming after you. While that is a hated thing about the game, it’s a very real thing that would happen in that world and our current era. Sometimes we have to do things that go against our morals in order to survive and The Last of Us Part 2 doesn’t hold back with the real and serious topics.

The Last of Us Part II Game | PS4 - PlayStation
Take a Look at These New The Last of Us 2 Screenshots, Check Out ...
Photos from playstation.com

The Soundtrack

Like The Last of Us, Gustavo Santaolalla (joined by Mac Quayle) created another soundtrack full of human emotions. This game’s soundtrack both blends in well with the gameplay and adds that sense of loneliness you might feel in a post-apocalyptic world. Along with the sense of loneliness, there a peaceful wonder, and this intensity, that fits perfectly with a number of scenes. You can tell that they went above and beyond to bring you another special collection of music that can be listened to on a variety of occasions. This probably should be discussed in the “Gameplay” section, but because of the brilliance of it, I felt that it should be mentioned here. Ellie does have some sections where she plays and sings songs on the guitar, but the most impressive part is that, with enough practice, you can have Ellie play a variety of songs on the PS4 controller (thanks to the touch-pad). There’s even a moment where Joel performs a song for Ellie at the beginning, which is an incredibly touching scene. All-in-all, even if you don’t care for the game, the soundtrack is well worth listening to.

Here's a free The Last of Us: Part 2 PlayStation theme • Eurogamer.net
Photo from eurogamer.net

What I Enjoyed About Jasepticeye’s Playthrough

Since I mentioned watching Jacksepticeye’s playthrough for research, I believe that it would only fair to create a spot to discuss the parts I enjoyed the most. First things first, I really enjoyed how much genuine passion he had for the game and the positivity he expressed towards the game. With the way the internet is destroying this game, this sequel that we’ve waited so long for, there needed to be someone to give some positive and constructive criticism. Sure, there were parts he didn’t enjoy, there were certain mechanics and parts where the story could’ve been told in different spots. Despite this, Jack made some good pointers as to what could make those parts better. Watching his playthrough was not just entertaining, it was also very informative in both graphics and story-telling. As a writer, this game and his playthrough commentary really gave me some good pointers on how to write certain themes in stories. When I get more serious with my writing and write one of my stories, this is one playthrough I am definitely going to look back on for guidance. If you haven’t Jacksepticeye’s playthrough of The Last of Us Part 2, below is a link to the first episode, if you’re interested

Episode One of Jacksepticeye’s playthrough of The Last of Us Part 2

Conclusion

All-in-all, despite the issues with the story’s pacing and the repetitiveness, I believe that The Last of Us Part 2 is worth giving a chance. Honestly, it’s not as bad as numerous people claim it is. Is it a perfect game with a perfect way of telling the story? Well…no. It has its flaws and some parts could’ve been done better with the pacing and deciding when to end. I whole-heartedly agree that chunks of it could be used for a third game. There were multiple times where it could’ve ended in preparation for The Last of Us Part 3. Despite this, it’s a visually stunning game with a decent story, a beautiful soundtrack, a powerful cast, and fun new additions to the roster of creative monsters. Personally I would give this game a 7/10 maybe even a 7.5/10, mainly due to the pacing issue.

Nielsen Discusses Programming and Gaming in Asian American Diverse Intelligence Series

As we are already in Asian American Heritage Month, the amount of content from the community has expanded in different mediums over the years and continues to grow. Nielsen, the global marketing leader in media analysis and viewership, commemorated the occasion with the launch of the Asian American Diverse Intelligence Series. The new initiative started with their first panel, Engaging Asian American Consumers at the Dawn of a New Decade. Led by Mariko Carpenter, the company’s VP of Strategic Community Alliances, the event touched on how Asian American-led TV programs, social media, and gaming has grown and represents new opportunities to reach consumers in the US. The webinar included panelists Veena Crownholm, a lifestyle host and content creator, as well as Christine Cadena, VP of Diversity and Inclusion at Walt Disney as they both talked about the growth of Asian American-led programs and their effects to the US market.

During the panel, Carpenter discussed the growing trend of digital platforms and influencers in the US market being led by Asian Americans. By the use of social media, the Asian American-led programs are growing in popularity as viewers remain engaged in what is being offered in different platforms. When it comes to TV programs, comedy seems to be the selling point for Asian Americans with comedians like Hasan Minhaj or Jo Koy providing content on services like Netflix.

The same goes for gaming as it caters to the younger audience with 37 percent using VR technology as well as 53 percent of the Asian American demographic are into Esports. Games like Minecraft or Pokemon Go are using this platform to cater to gamers and it makes sense as most of these are partially or fully developed by Asia. The webinar talked about how one can reach this market through social media, digital platforms, television, and events. By using the community, the Asian American market continues to evolve with the amount of content being produced thanks to  creators launching their own programming to the US and to the world.

We sat down with Carpenter on her thoughts about the growing content made by Asian Americans and the bright future that holds with the US market. You can check the interview right here.

About Mariko S. Carpenter

Mariko S. Carpenter is the Vice President of Strategic Community Alliances at Nielsen, the world’s largest consumer research company. Mariko serves as a thought leader on U.S. multicultural consumer insights with focus on Asian Americans – the fastest growing consumer segment in the U.S. She delivers the narrative behind the trends to help brands, marketers and community leaders build strategies to win in our ever-changing, diverse U.S. market.

Mariko most recently received the 2018 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Awards by Asian American Business Development Center and serves on the Board of the National Asian American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship. She holds an MS in Marketing from New York University and a BA in French and Asian Studies from Vassar College.

The Motivation Killer: Burn Out | All Ages of Geek

Hello class, please have a seat. We have a really good lesson prepared for you special snowflakes today. We shall be talking about what all YouTubers refer to as, “burnout”. For anyone who hasn’t studied, burnout is the term used to describe when someone spends all their free-time focused on one specific task until that task causes that person to feel unmotivated and even hate the task.

For example, if you are a creator who keeps a tight schedule, but leaves no room for other activities. Not letting yourself do something less stressful to cool off from a hard day of giving 100%. Then you will find your motivation reserves plummeting. Suddenly your creative outlet is just work, and work is all you know. It’s like all the color is zapped away, there is no substance. Quite the scary scenario. Burnout is the mass murderer of your potential. The silent agent that is ready to destroy your motivation. And when you aren’t motivated, why even continue?

I follow many creators on YouTube, who upload regularly, like clockwork. And never take breaks or holidays. While their comments overflow with suggestions and requests that their audience wants them to fulfill. They feel obligated to continue. Until they find themselves drowning in a silent sea. The S.S. Motivation, taking on water and sinking to the dark depths. And let me tell you, it is a sad sight to see.

My favorite YouTuber of the RWBY community Arnold, also known as MurderofBirds, gave his own experience recently while watching the Rooster Teeth series Red vs Blue. While the Rooster Teeth fandom can be very warm and welcoming, at the same time they can become obsessed with getting new reactors speeding through series without putting a foot on the brake. They are so excited to discuss future moments of a series that they are impatient and don’t realize when their demands are like me when I am at a buffet. Yes person scooping my mash potatoes, make Mount Spud-icus higher. Eventually, we hit the bottom of the pan. The food worker sheds a tear in dismay. His hard work, now a beacon of poor decision making on my plate.

On a Patreon update post, Arnold had been running behind on his schedule. He had been having trouble making sure to upload on time. Fans were hounding him, wondering why the video wasn’t up yet. Arnold had this to say. “I’m tired, guys. I put dozens of HOURS into Red vs Blue on a weekly basis. You guys might get 2-3 hours videos per week, of my reaction and in-depth thoughts and breakdown of the batches, with notes provided, but there’s so much legwork involved and I’ve been stumbling to keep up.”

To summarize, when you feel like you are drowning you search for the escape route. And when what is drowning you is the videos you are making. What is the solution? You stop making them. And this has happened. Many YouTubers end up ending their youtube channels after getting burnout. Some are gaming channels, sick of playing the same game over and over, a game that once gave them joy. Now feels like a chore. A past time spent to connect and create, suddenly a burden.

Now you may be saying to yourself. “Okay, Professor Kai, this is interesting and all. But how does this affect me? My motivation to do what I want. I’m not a YouTuber.” And it’s a simple as this. When you start to see your creative outlet as a burden. That is a clear sign to take a break. Motivation is all well and good. But one should never forget that they need to take a break from time to time.

And if you do feel like your motivation is waning. Try to mix it up. Don’t feel like you are stuck to one form of creativity. Or one format. Sometimes the best way to get motivated would be to stop trying to please others and please yourself again. Do not be stuck on making sure you don’t disappoint those you entertain with your creations. It is yours when all is said and done. Give yourself regular breaks, as well as getting out and doing things with friends or family. Go see the world. You’d be surprised how it will give you the charge you needed. And remember, we have an exam next week and I expect you all to ace it! Seriously this will be on the final.

All joking aside, thanks again for trudging through the word trenches with me, next time I shall make sure to pack an extra shovel. Until next time! Stay safe, stay motivated, and stay true!

The Aesthetics of Vaporwave | All Ages of Geek

Music has always been something that has an evolution every decade or so, as disco was very short-lived, The Beatles lasted all of the 60s, hair metal lasted all throughout the 80s, grunge, well, that died pretty quickly, not gonna lie, and rock had its evolution for almost a century. But there’s been one genre of music that has been interesting for the most part that quietly popped up in 2011 and didn’t get stupid popular until Vine happened and then YouTube caught wind. That genre is the interesting world, and the aesthetics of Vaporwave.

Sampling music has always been a common thing in the music industry, as such example is some of the old hip hop back in the day when it was created here in my home of The Bronx in the 70s and it wasn’t until 1979 that it finally got on the radio, and it became the eventual mainstream genre of today. It’s always been a genre where a sample of old songs, even in the rock genre to sing from it and that became its own song. A good example is “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice, as the famous bass line of the song comes from the song “Under Pressure” by Queen with a feature by David Bowie. Sampling has always been common in hip-hop, and even bands like Slipknot had samples of something back in their debut self-titled album, which is full of samples.

But what if whole songs or big chunks of them, commercials from the 80s and 90s, even computer startups and sounds, got sampled? What if its entire subculture is all about the aesthetics? Enter: Vaporwave

Probably the most interesting genre of music to pop out of the 2010s that quickly grew into its own niche subculture, Vaporwave is basically a genre of music that is all about the flow and aesthetics than becoming a mainstream genre. It’s a variant of Chillwave but taken on a satirical level that is mostly satirical in itself since it’s basically a meme that spawned a meme from Vine, that ended up launching the genre into the internet limelight. The album Floral Shoppe by artist Vektroid under the alias “Macintosh Pro” has been widely regarded as the birth album of Vaporwave, and the song that has defined the album and has been the meme of memes is the song “リサフランク420 / 現代のコンピュ” (Lisa Frank 420 / Modern Computing in English). This song has been the Vaporwave national anthem for quite a long time and one that has been used in the crying kid Vine, “The most satisfying video in the world” by the YouTube channel “Digg”, even YouTube bassist and multi-instrumentalist Davie504 gave the song a nod of approval in his video “30 Music Memes in 2 minutes” which the song came in at number 19.

Currently, Vaporwave is going strong, and it had gotten so well known, that there’s even a website called Vapor95.com dedicated to the aesthetics of clothing and personal gear and items. Pretty cool clothing and things that they have is what I’ll say. Vaporwave co-exists with its parent genre Chillwave, and now with the rise of Synthwave.

It seems like the music of the mainstream will be driven by money and commercialization, while Vaporwave, a music of and from the internet, will be known for three things: pretty cool clothing, really cool creativity, and, the most important one: A E S T H E T I C S. 

Photography by Tatiana Stec