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Cycle Across Unova Interview February 27, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Interviews.
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Happy Pokémon Day everyone! One of the greatest things I love of Pokémon fandom is seeing all the original content Pokémon fans have produced over the past twenty years. One of those projects is Cycle Across Unova, a documentary where a bunch of filmmakers will make a trek across New York City, the real-world inspiration for the Unova region from Pokémon Black and Pokémon White. The team will document all the famous NYC landmarks that could have inspired Game Freak’s Generation 5 games, all while traveling on bikes! The best part about this is they plan to to release the finished documentary for free online.

I was fortunate enough to get the chance to talk with one of the minds behind the project, Steven Aymond, of Gravity Dog Productions. Let’s see if we can get him to spill the beans about anything they haven’t already announced about their plans for the documentary!

Maniac: First off, thank you so much for taking the time away from your busy schedules to do this interview. To start, I was wondering if you could fill my readers in on your background in the film industry?

Stephen: No problem at all, and of course. I’ve been filming, editing, and animating since 2002, but it was around mid-2011 that I obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Filmmaking and Video Production. I’ve been producing content professionally for seven years as a producer, director, and animator. I’ve worked for several tv studios and advertising agencies producing content for Disney, PBS, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and many others; as well as helping pioneer a new local tv channel in Jacksonville, Florida. I’ve recently left the corporate scene and turned to starting my own company as well as establishing a working relationship with my friend’s business Gravity Dog Productions with the goal of producing our own original content fulltime. To see some of my works, take a look at my demo reel: https://vimeo.com/195188188

Maniac: What inspired you to make Cycle Across Unova?

Stephen: We first intended to create ‘Cycle Across Kanto’, a much larger scaled project, exploring the entire south-eastern region of Japan which inspired the land of the first Pokémon games ‘Red & Blue’. Without a large enough following however, raising the funds proved difficult, so we decided to start off smaller with NYC and then work our way up.

Maniac: What kind of equipment will you be using to make the film?

Stephen: We’ll be riding on a couple of fold-able Campo bikes by EuroMini. Their lightweight and space-saving nature will help with the speed at which we travel and securing them each night. We’re shooting this doc on the EVA1 camera by Panasonic. It’s an incredible camera. We’re also taking along the DJI Pro, an incredible drone, to get some dynamic, bird’s eye shots. As well as the usual equipment: lenses, boom mic, lavaliers, tripod, lights, and a rental car for the cinematographers.

Maniac: How long have you and your team been Pokémon fans?  What started your fandom?

Stephen: My friends and I all started with Gen 1 in ’98. We must have all been 8 and younger then. What caught my eye was the first episode airing on… I wanna say WB Kids? Is that still a thing? [Editors Note: Sadly no.] It was actually the first anime I had ever seen as well, so the style really caught my eye. It captured me.

Maniac: Could you give us a hint as to some possible locations you plan to feature during your journey?

Stephen: You can view the entire itinerary on our GoFundMe page. Hop on over there to check it out! gofundme.com/cycleacrossunova

Maniac: With fair use being a very important tool, which today’s filmmakers use to make their content, do you plan to use any archived audio/video from the franchise’s history during your documentary?

Stephen: No, we won’t be using any video footage from the franchise. We want to keep this project running under fair use to the best of our abilities, so all visuals and audio you’ll experience will be produced by our own means.

Maniac: Do you have a final running time you expect to aim for?

Stephen: We’re hoping to capture this in a feature-length format (90 minutes) but, because of budget constraints, we’re most likely looking at a traditional tv-hour (45-60 minutes).

Maniac: You had announced Cycle Across Kanto as a possible crowdfunded project before announcing Cycle Across Unova. If this project is successful, would you still like to produce Cycle Across Kanto, perhaps as a sequel?

Stephen: Absolutely. Think of Cycle Across Unova as a pilot for an entire ‘Cycle Across’ series. We hope to capture every location that each title is based on: Japan, New York, France, Hawaii, and whatever else is next to come! If ‘Cycle Across Unova’ proves successful, we’re looking at Hawaii next to cover the Alola region.

Maniac: What can my readers do to help you make this film? Once completed, how will people be able to watch it?

Stephen: The obvious things readers can do is share the project and, if they’re in love with the idea, donate to our cause, but, above all else, watch the completed video when it comes out early next year! There are incentives for donating as well. We don’t intend to release the film until 2019, but backers who donate $25 or more will receive an early-access Blu-ray around September this year!

Maniac: Finally, I’m sure everyone would love to know what your favorite Pokémon memory is.

Stephen: Honestly, my favorite Pokémon-related memory is recording everything for our ‘Cycle Across Kanto’ and ‘Cycle Across Unova’ trailers last September. (It’s hard to believe we’ve been working on this project for six months now.) It was a lot of hard work and a lot of money we didn’t have putting them together. Too many obstacles to count got in our way yet we tackled them one-by-one, but those are a story for another day.

Maniac: This all sounds fantastic. Thank you so much for your time. We are really looking forward to the finished product.

I hope you all enjoyed this interview. Special thanks again to Stephen Aymond of Gravity Dog Productions for talking with us about this documentary. If you’d like to know more about the project you can visit their GofundMe Page. Until next time, hope you all had a Happy Pokémon Day!

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How to Celebrate Pokemon Day 2018 February 26, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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The Pokémon Company has announced that February 27th, 2018 will see the return of Pokémon Day. This day is special because it is considered the anniversary of the release of the original Pokémon games in Japan.

So how will Pokémon Trainers be able to celebrate it? Take a look below for some ideas!

I can confirm Snapchat users will be able to find the Bulbasaur filter in their apps right now. You’ll need an Alexa-Enabled or Google Home-Powered speaker to use the Pikachu Talk skill, but that also should be up now in your speaker’s control application.

Pokémon Go players will be happy to know that Niantic is offering special Pikachus wearing party hats from 1PM PST today to 1PM PST Wednesday. You’ll also be able to buy trainer avatar items inspired by Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon LeafGreen with in-game PokeCoins or real-world money. In the past, limited time event gear was given away for free, so I’m a bit puzzled as to why Niantic is charging for this in-game content unless they plan to keep offering it past the event.

You can celebrate however they wish, but make sure to include the hashtag #PokemonDay with any social media posts.

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon are out now on the Nintendo 3DS platform. Pokémon Go is out now for Android and iOS Smart Devices.

Reboot: The Guardian Code Release Date February 26, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Uncategorized.
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Back when television networks weren’t run by complete idiots, my generation grew up watching cartoon shows that aired every Saturday morning. Because each television station had to compete against each other for our attention, some of the finest shows ever produced aired during the 90s and early 2000s. This included shows like Batman: The Animated Series, Max Steel (the good version), Bump in the Night, Men in Black: The Animated Series, Freakazoid, and of course, Reboot.

Netflix has picked up the Reboot license and they are close to releasing an all-new series. Based on the trailer alone I can’t tell if it’s a sequel or a reboot (ha ha -Ed), but you can take a look at it and decide for yourself. Here’s the official trailer:

My feelings are a bit mixed about this trailer. On the one hand, the concept of cyberspace superheroes is appealing to me, on the other, that concept had nothing to do with the original premise behind Reboot. Reboot was about computer programs living their daily lives, and this new series seems to focus more on the users on our side of the screen. If you’ve never seen an episode of the emotional series you’d like to get a better understanding of it, Shout Factory TV has the first episode of the series watchable for free online.

Netflix says every episode of Reboot: The Guardian Code will be available to watch on their service starting March 30th, 2018.

I’m holding off my final opinion on this series until after I watch it. Perhaps I may give a review of it if the demand is there. I just would like to make one thing clear, these are not the first humans to ever defend cyberspace on television. That honor belongs to guitarist Sam Collins.

Pokemon Go Community Day 2 Starts at 2PM February 24, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Niantic is hosting the second Pokémon Go Community Day in just a few hours. Today, between the hours of 2PM and 5PM EST, you’ll be able to find special Dratini in public parks across the region. The special thing about the Dratini you will find today is if it is evolved into a Dragonite, it will learn the special move Draco Meteor. Normally, Dragonites found in Pokémon Go will not know that move.

If you’ve got yourself a copy of Pokémon Go on your smartphone, fire it up and start catching!

Pokémon Go is out now on Android and iOS Smartphones.

Super Mario Odyssey Luigi Balloons Update Released February 23, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Nintendo has just released a free update for the must-buy game, Super Mario Odyssey. The new update includes several new costumes to purchase at the in-game stores and an all-new minigame starring Mario’s brother Luigi!

After installing the free patch, you will find Luigi floating around the main hub areas of each world. He will complement you on your clothing and offer you the chance to play an online ranked minigame. Luigi will give you a balloon and tell you to hide it. You will be scored based on how difficult you make it for other players to find the balloon!

Your Nintendo Switch will typically install its updates if left in standby mode while it is connected to the internet. If you have that feature disabled or you kept your Switch turned off, you can manually install the 1.2.0 patch manually before launching the game.

Super Mario Odyssey is out now exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.

Detective Pikachu Story Trailer February 23, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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A lot of people have been curious about the plot of Detective Pikachu. It isn’t a main Pokémon title as much as it is a side story in the Pokémon world involving a special talking Pikachu. Together, you can interview witnesses and solve puzzles to help you investigate mysteries throughout the region. Now, Nintendo has just released this new trailer for the game which takes a closer look at the game’s story, enjoy.

I’m happy this is finally coming to the West.

Detective Pikachu is coming March 2018 exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS.

Maniac’s Collection – Rare Aliens Vs Predator TCG Promo Cards February 22, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos.
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TCGs are everywhere, from Pokémon to Magic: The Gathering, but did you know there was an Aliens Vs Predator TCG in the early 2000s? It’s true. In fact, the game even received an expansion based on the film Alien Resurrection.

However, even if you could track down leftover boxes of Alien Vs Predator card packs, you will discover there were six cards made for the expansion that aren’t included in any box or any pack. These were prototype cards initially made before the expansion was mass produced. The cards were given out through various promotional means, and Maniac got his hands on every single one of them.

Let’s take a closer look at these six cards, and let Maniac tell you how he got them all in glorious 4K.

Nintendo LAN USB Adapter Close-Up February 21, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos.
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Since the release of the Wii, Nintendo has offered internet access by WiFi for their new game consoles. This was at the expense of offering a wired Ethernet port, something that Sony’s and Microsoft’s game consoles still include.

While less convenient, wired connections are faster than wireless ones, and for long time multiplayer gamers like myself nothing beats a local match. In fact, wired LAN connections are required for consoles playing in an accredited professional tournament for a game like Pokken Tournament.

Let’s take a closer look at this thing shall we… in glorious 4K!

The adapter may look old and its manual may have been printed for the Wii console, but Nintendo assures all customers it will natively support the Nintendo Wii, the Wii U and even the Nintendo Switch Dock.

The adapter is not sold in stores, and the best option consumers have to get a first-party product is to buy it directly from Nintendo. If you live in the US or Canada you can get it here.

iOS 11.2.6 Released February 20, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Sorry about the delay on this post, Apple has quietly released a software update for many of their personal computer devices including the iPhone and iPad. The new update, iOS 11.2.6, fixes some minor bugs including consistent app support for external devices.

If you are using an Apple device running iOS 11, you can install the update right now by selecting the General, and then Software Update tabs in the Settings App. If you had the previous version of iOS 11 installed on your device, the new update weighs in at around 26MB.

Gaming History You Should Know – Pokemon Live February 18, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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It’s Sunday, and that heralds the return of Gaming History You Should Know, where we look at some of the best content from across the web about gaming industry. Even in today’s world of video games, HDTVs and IMAX movies, there’s always room for the live stage. Heck, many of the greatest stories ever told started as stage productions made for a live audience. With high end stage productions so expensive, Broadway is now taking safe bets. Today’s Broadway lineup is filled with adaptations of recognizable properties from film, television and comic books.

Did you know that back in the early 2000s, there was one live stage production so ahead of its time, no company has dared do something similar to it since? It was an adaptation of the most successful gaming franchise in history, Pokémon Live.

Whether you’re a Pokémon fan or just a fan of theatrical productions, doesn’t this look awesome? Pokémon Live was a live-action musical stage show which launched during the peak of Pokémon’s popularity. The show was written by the same team members responsible for the English dub of Pokémon: The Animated Series, and featured an entirely original non-canon story based on the characters from the animated show.

I actually remember hearing about Pokémon Live, back when it first launched. I was watching Pokémon: The Animated Series daily at the time, and I would have loved to check out the show back in the day. Unfortunately, like with everything popular and important, no production of the show ever came anywhere close to where I lived, and I could never afford to go and see it. To make things worse, Pokémon Live didn’t last very long on stage. Pokémon Fever died down shortly before the release of Pokémon Crystal, and interest in the show must not have been able to sustain its production costs, closing the opportunity for me to ever witness it.

So while the show was no longer in production, was any footage of the show recorded on video? Enter the incredible YouTube video producer, Chadtronic. His channel describes him as “a pillow throwing manchild stuck in the ’90s [who] makes a variety of comedic videos.” I first heard about him when I was doing some research on Pokémon toy collecting, because he did a great video about Burger King’s original Pokémon Kid’s Meal toys. If you’re unfamiliar with them, they were a huge promotion during the height of Pokémon‘s popularity and you can watch it right here.

It’s clear to me that Chadtronic is a Pokémon fan, as he’s done plenty of more original videos about the franchise over the years. However, one video he did that should be considered his crowning jewel is his video about Pokémon Live, particularly his search for high-quality video footage of the live show.

After Chadtronic published his video about Pokémon Live, the internet set to action. One of those people from the internet, known as The Gamer From Mars, has been a great resource when it comes to finding lost material. While he hasn’t found that Disney Channel movie I talked about a few years ago, he first came under my radar when he made a video about the Nickelodeon made for TV movie, Cry Baby Lane. a film that most people believed was actually a myth… until it turned out it was real. The Gamer From Mars did a video of his own about the lost Pokémon Live production tapes. Some of his video covers the same information Chadtronic found, but some new information about the production surfaced since Chadtronic published his video, and it was included. I highly recommend giving it a watch.

So after all that anticipation, you want to see Pokémon Live for yourself, don’t you? Well here it is courtesy of its production stage manager, Chris Mitchell.

Unfortunately, this low-quality video is the best complete footage that currently exists of Pokémon Live. While I appreciate Chris uploaded what he recorded online, the public has never been able to get their hands on a higher quality video recording of the show. What a shame.

Some day we may see an official professionally recorded release of the original Pokémon Live stage show. Until then, you can read the actual script for the stage show right here (hosted with permission of the writer). The musical notes for the live show’s original songs are not included in the script but you might be able to listen to the show’s soundtrack with a simple Google search.

Here’s my question, with the entire script and a high quality recorded soundtrack now available to the world, is there a chance someone might try to resurrect Pokémon Live for a new generation? I guess we will just have to wait and see. I hope you all enjoyed this look into Gaming History You Should Know, post a comment below with your thoughts on the future of Pokémon Live!