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Why Doesn’t Disney Parks Incorporate Kingdom Hearts into a Fireworks Show? May 31, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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Across the US, Disney’s Theme Parks are finally reopening. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California are back open for business. With some of the best theme park rides on the planet ranging from Space Mountain to Expedition Everest, this is a much anticipated announcement.

Now that the parks are opening at close to full capacity within the next few weeks, and Walt Disney World has announced they will be celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Is it just me or is the music that Disney’s been using to produce their recent commercials just not doing it for you like it should? It might be because I’m a gamer. While I do not visit Disney’s parks regularly, I fondly remember visiting them on special occasions as I grew up during the 90s and I do plan to go back and visit again within the next year or two. I may not be the most well-versed on the history of the park (people like Tony Goldmark hold that distinction) but I was lucky enough to ride rides like Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and even Disney World’s Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror all within a matter of weeks of their opening.

Since 2002, Disney has had a relationship with the guys over at Square Enix, who have incorporated their Final Fantasy characters alongside Disney’s incredible catalog of films and shorts to create the beloved Kingdom Hearts franchise, and as a gamer you can be sure I’ve played many of these games. Square Enix’s contribution to Disney’s ongoing legacy, and the fact it is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary, should not be dismissed. Let me set the stage for you, starting with the opening of the very first game.

When I think of Disney, I think of how they’re depicted in the Kingdom Hearts games. The games were able to weave all of Disney’s most popular films and characters into one coherent continuity with characters that acted exactly as someone already familiar with Disney would expect them to act. In a way, Disney’s parks function on a similar principle. All the rides, shows and attractions can be fit into each park’s themed land, and guests can visit each land during their stay at the park.

I will admit to subconsciously referring to Mickey Mouse as “Your Majesty”, to recognizing the final battle in the animated film Mulan…because I actually FOUGHT in it. Then I asked myself, why DOESN’T Disney promote the Kingdom Hearts games in any of their theme parks? They’ve had no problem bringing franchises from Lucasfilm, Marvel and Pixar in to tremendous success, Kingdom Hearts would be a logical next step! The game’s art style is timeless, and new games are still being produced. Heck, that game franchise is still alive with its most recent release being Kingdom Hearts III.

I honestly would be satisfied with a Kingdom Hearts nighttime firework tribute show. There’s honestly no need to overwhelm the parks with Kingdom Hearts versions of each characters, but why not make a stage or night show? It would make for a perfect update to the Fantasmic stunt show! Just use the Fantasmic arena as a stage, Mickey could come out dressed in his King Mickey outfit, wield his keyblade, and team up alongside Donald, Sora and Goofy against the Heartless or the Nobodies. Or, if you’re against losing Fantasmic, you could show a tribute video to the games on something like World of Color’s projection fountain. Square Enix’s cutscenes are so well produced and edited the Disney Park staff would barely have to do anything. Just put the video below up on the giant water fountain screen at California Adventure and not a single patron of the park would bat an eye. Well…except for the gamers who wouldn’t be able to stop crying.

But while there is no question that Disney owns their IP, and merely licensed their characters to Square Enix for Kingdom Hearts, it is a little unclear if Disney has the ability to use Kingdom Hearts characters in their theme parks. It has been attempted, but only for very very limited special events. Disney Parks expert Disney Dan actually did a video about the very few times these events happened, and I recommend checking it out.

I know I must not be alone. After twenty years and millions in sales, there have to be tons of other people who’s primary exposure to Disney was through Kingdom Hearts. What Kingdom Hearts themed content would you want to see Disney bring into their parks and where should it go? Post a comment below! Here’s hoping they could sell some sea salt ice cream.

Kingdom Hearts games are currently avaliable on multiple platforms including the PS4.

Gaming History You Should Know – Sega’s Genesis Modem May 30, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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It’s Sunday, welcome back to a new Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best and most important independently produced gaming documentaries from across the web. As a PC user back in the mid-90s, I was strongly aware of the fact that I could use my PC to play games with people all over the world. Since high-speed internet utilities did not exist for residential consumers at that time, the only way I could get on the internet was with a telephone modem. For those of you who don’t know what that is, a modem would hook into a telephone land-line, and similar to how a FAX machine functions, and (depending on the configuration) transmits data either between two computers or one computer and their ISP. It was very slow, with even tiny downloads that would take hours, and very prone to disconnection but at the time it was the only way to play games online against people all over the world.

During the 16-Bit Gaming Wars, there were several attempts by console makers and their third-party hardware manufacturers to bring an online multiplayer experience to their game consoles. This was an interesting choice as game consoles typically supported two-to-four player gaming (depending on whoever else was on the couch with you at the time), and because of that online gaming was less of a priority. However, there were attempts. Today we are going to see the story of one of those attempts.

Enter Norman Caruso, better known as the Gaming Historian, with a documentary about the first attempt Sega made to bring a modem to their game console, the Genesis. If you had any interest in Japan’s gaming history, you need to give this video a watch!

As a person who lived in North America at the time, I vaguely remembered multiple attempts by Sega to incorporate a modem into their consoles over the years. The most successful of which was probably the modem that shipped with the Sega Dreamcast.

Dragon Quest 35th Anniversary Stream May 30, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Dragon Quest is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. While gamers in the west may be less familiar with it, the franchise, created by Yuji Hori, predates Final Fantasy and is a staple of Japan and may have been the inspiration for the Japanese RPG (also known as Console RPG) as we’ve known it.

This past week, the team at Square Enix held a live broadcast (yes it was VERY live) where they showed some of the next Dragon Quest games that will be released in various parts of the world. Take a look, the video starts at around the 24 minute mark.

As a site that exists in North America, we’ve actually had very few opportunities to talk about the Dragon Quest games here on this site. That really needs to change. Perhaps in the future we should devote an entire day to this franchise!

Unreal Engine 5 Early Access Video May 28, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Ladies and gentlemen, Unreal Engine 5.

When’s the next Unreal Tournament game, Epic?

Conversations With Curtis Episode 2 Follow-Up May 27, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Looks like Conversations with Curtis went into overtime this week! Last week, the two lead actors from the classic PC horror game Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh got together for a live video chat about their experiences making the game. Earlier today, the game’s lead actor, Paul Stetler, revealed a part meant for the stream he forgot to share during the live broadcast. His co-star had given him a personal gift after shooting wrapped. What did she give him? Watch and find out!

We will post up the details about Episode 3 as soon as we find out!

Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of Flesh is out now for the PC.

Pokemon Go Fest 2021 Price and Dates Announced May 27, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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For the past five years, Pokémon Go has dominated AR gaming and practically revolutionized the gaming landscape. Each year since it’s launch, the game’s developer has held Pokémon Go Fest, an event where trainers can come together to celebrate the game and accomplish some special event goals. Last year, they held the event worldwide, and they’re doing that again this year!

Niantic announced earlier this year they would hold Pokémon Go Fest 2021 July 17th-18th, and all players would be able to participate from anywhere in the world. Today, Niantic announced they teamed up with Google Play and the price for this year’s event will be $4.99 US! That’s a third of the price from last year’s event, and last years event was just great!

You can read all the details about the event on the official blog. Like with last year, you will not be able to purchase a ticket with in-game coins, participants will need to purchase credit on their respective device’s App Store to buy an in-game ticket.

Pokémon Go is out now for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

Control Coming To Stadia May 27, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Google has announced that the fantastic 2019 Remedy game Control will be coming to Stadia later this summer. The Stadia version of the game is expected to include all of its DLC expansions.

This is kind of interesting because a while ago I posted a list of all the games I thought should come to Stadia and Control was on the top of that list. Control was a great game, one of my favorites from last year, and as an Alan Wake fan, I cannot tell you how much it meant to me to play the game’s second DLC expansion. Now you won’t need a high-end PC to play it.

Control is out now for PC, Xbox One, PS4, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. It is coming to Stadia this summer.

Shin Megami Tensei 3 HD Launch Trailer May 25, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Atlus Games has just released this incredible new launch trailer to celebrate the launch of a highly anticipated re-release. Take a look!

Never had the opportunity to play this game back when it first launched, I’m excited to have the opportunity to play it on current platforms.

Shin Megami Tensei 3 Nocturne HD Remaster is out today for PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

Japan Travel Tips – Staying at a Japanese Hot Springs Resort May 25, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Japan Travel Tips, Uncategorized.
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Welcome back to our look at Japan Travel Tips, where we share the research we’ve done for those interested in traveling abroad! Over the past few weeks we’ve shared great tips for food, transportation, shopping and entertainment, but we’ve barely scratched the surface for everything Japan has to offer! In fact, the purpose of this week’s article is to expand upon something we touched upon in one of the first articles in this series, a type of hotel accommodations in Japan that is truly Japanese, the Ryokan.

You’ve had a long and difficult year. You deserve a weekend with your family at a beautiful natural hot spring hotel. There, you can relax in the hot bath and all your meals are prepared. That’s the Japanese mentality behind staying at an Onsen, or Ryokan. Typically, a Ryokan is a destination resort. They are built in beautiful mountainous areas with natural geothermal activity. The natural heat from the earth can be used to warm the hotel’s bath water, and provide a perfect place for groups to stay.

If you’d like to know more about the ins and outs of a Ryokan, its history, and how it works from the perspective of a guest, I’ll let Life Where I’m From take it from here.

So what goes into the food? One of the big reveals about a Ryokan that made my father interested in traveling was learning that the food served was all locally obtained and prepared. Typically, Ryokans are located near major harbors which can provide a constant supply of fresh fish, but even if you aren’t a fan of fish they will still find ways to accommodate you. Here’s a video specifically dedicated to the food courtesy of Only in Japan.

So, what if you aren’t traveling with a full family and are just traveling with a significant other? A Ryoken can accommodate you both. Here’s what the experience was like for a married couple who run the channel Flying the Nest.

Hope you enjoyed this look at the Ryokan. Stay tuned for next week, because we are FINALLY going to be talking about Ramen!

iOS, iPadOS and tvOS 14.6 Released May 24, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Apple has been busy. Hot on the heels of the 14.5 release, Apple has just released another major update for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV devices. The new update brings support for Podcast Subscriptions, the Apple Card Family and improvements with AirTag support.

You can download the update right now. Depending on your device, it could require a download anywhere from 550MB-850MB. That likely means you will either need to get it over WiFi, or you’ll need to use iTunes.