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[Let's Build] Attractions in a demon pleasure palace that aren't sexual
My players are going to be visiting the palace of a demon lord of pleasure who's more CN than CE. I want to show that despite his title, he represents all forms of pleasure and good feelings, not just sex. Also space in his realm doesn't work the same way as it does in the mortal plane. He essentially has an infinite amount of space to work with and can customize it as he pleases, so there are no size constraints.
A casino to feel the thrill of gambling.
A dining hall with an endless buffet that visitors are allowed to eat as much as they wish.
An idyllic beach with perfectly white sand to relax or play on.
An arena where gladiators brawl it out against each other. The point of it isn't to kill each other as much as make the battles look stunning to the audience.
A hotel with the most comfortable beds possible. Here anyone with enough money can enjoy a good rest after all the excitement.
A beautiful and well tended garden filled with aromatic flowers and sweet fruits.
A vineyard where exquisitely-aged wine can be produced just by pressing the grapes. (u/_SovietMudkip_)
An opulent concert hall where the best musicians of the realms perform (u/_SovietMudkip_)
A small, cozy looking wooden library, with a cushioned bay window where rain gently scatters against the glass and a cup of some hot liquid gently rising with steam. (u/QuietOracle)
An owl-bear hugging zoo. Go to sleep in the embrace of their soft down. (u/QuietOracle)
The room of sensory experiences. The room itself is fairly plain, with the main feature being long tables running the length of the room. On closer inspection there are fist-sized carved holes, each one holding a small round crystal... (u/QuietOracle)
A room with dozens of sacks filled with beans, lentils and grains where visitors can put their hands in and let the contents run through their fingers. (u/_WhiteCubeCat_)
A hag (or any other long nailed creature) giving visitors a scalp massage. (u/_WhiteCubeCat_)
A museum of little-known or long-forgotten art pieces, sculptures, and history. (u/MoonlightMancer)
A festival full of colors, music, and drinks. Everyone seems to love you, and you can’t stop laughing. (u/MoonlightMancer)
A hallway of endless doors. In each room is someone you know, complimenting you endlessly, sharing every positive, even begrudgingly jealous thought they ever had about you. (u/MoonlightMancer)
A hot spring/spa, with fluffy towels, those showers that are like rain with perfect water pressure, mud baths, and refreshing food and drink. (u/lionesslindsey)
A room full of people that constantly give you validation and laugh at all your jokes. (u/CountryJeff)
Never-ending line of gold chalices, crystal vases, silver artwork, and other valuables. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
People who are “better” than you are marched in a stripped of their superior qualities. Beautiful people are disfigured and turned ugly. Wealthy powerful people are ruined and made to beg you for pennies. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
Mass groups of people enter the room and tell you how they admire you and how wonderful you are. They stroke your ego and inflate your pride. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
Servants do everything for you. Feed you, give you drinks, wash you, wipe your arse, etc. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
You are given a wickedly barbed leather whip. A slave creature is bound to a post and you can whip this creature to inflict your wrath upon them as much as you desire. If the poor soul dies, another is brought in to replace them. (u/PutridMeatPuppet)
'Knight for a day'. The full experience; lance, shiny outfit, a squire, a trusty stead, a dragon and a princess/prince to rescue. (u/mr_earthman)
A magical version of a movie theatre, allowing you to watch all manner of stories, true and legendary. (u/Clickclacktheblueguy)
A moderately large pool where small battleships with tiny animated crewmen can be deployed in teams to shell and board each other for the audience's amusement. Honored guests can put their strategic abilities to a test against other players by directly giving orders to their ships, and in certain hours guests may even swim in the pool to live out the power fantasy of being a sea monster. (u/VIixIXine)
A colorizer-device that transforms any clothes/armoweapons/other gear to any desired hue you wish (as long as it doesn’t affect the workings of the gear) (u/PaigeOrion)
A grand screen, showing a nearly infinite number of (screen)plays from all space and time, including the show with the disgraced human paladin delivering a green baby gnome back to his home land through incredible odds. (u/PaigeOrion)
A tiara that allows you to experience the sensory experience of a black cat as long as you wear it and close your eyes. (u/PaigeOrion)
A plethora of small, multicolored blocks that will magically interlock with one another to render almost any architectural structure imaginable. (But don’t step on them barefoot!) (u/PaigeOrion)
A band of musicians who are the perfect musical backup for any performances. Alone, they are more low key, but no less skilled, playing haunting melodies of unknown origin. (u/PaigeOrion)
A massive walk-in closet where you can try in any clothes in any fashion you like. (u/Tezla44)
A "schadenfreude" theatre, with shows that rely on slapstick and cringe comedy. (u/Martinus_XIV)
A room designed to give you closure. When you enter this room, someone you loved and lost is there, sitting in a couch. The room feels vaguely familiar, but you can't place why. If Detect Magic is used, the room is full of magic (divination, transmutation, illusion) but the person seems like a normal person. You can chat with them for as long as you like. They behave just as you remember them, with the good and the bad. (u/ohsurenerd)
A theatre performing the most magnificent tragedies. When you watch the performance, you find yourself completely enraptured: you cheer when things go right, scream when something terrifying happens, and moan and weep at the inevitable horrible ending. When you leave, it feels like removing a backpack full of lead that you'd been carrying for so long you'd forgotten it was there. (u/ohsurenerd)
A room where there's a button, there's someone outside and it explains that if you enter there's a 50/50 chance of you dying or not, the room won't actually kill you and it's there just to make you feel the pleasure of near death experience. (u/SupremeGodDictator)
A massage parlor with the universes best staff pampering your every need as you receive the most relaxing massage of your life whether it be scalp, back, foot, full body, etc. Has the worlds fluffiest towels and robes to luxuriate in while you wait or if you simply want to sit in a comfy chair and enjoy your ache free muscles. (u/Blue_Mando)
An arena where you and your opponents heal near instantly, and you can fight endlessly (u/ellen-the-educator)
A reenactment of your greatest failures in life, but this time they turn into your greatest achievements. (u/CountryJeff)
A room with the world's finest works of art.... and a myriad of implements you can use to destroy them. (u/redrosebeetle)
A torture chamber with mages on hand to create illusions of the people you wish to torture. Or increasingly realistic versions of them, depending on the level of magic you wish to implement. (u/redrosebeetle)
A room full of gold and jewels you can roll around in, ala Scrooge McDuck. But woe betide anyone who tries to take a souvenir.... (u/redrosebeetle)
As you're walking through the gardens, a person comes up to you. They introduce themselves as an adventurer who's also here on a quest. They seem to be the same class as you, and they're incredibly attractive-- almost exactly your type. You immediately click and end up spending the day together, talking about everything and anything. You tell them things you've never told anyone else before. They understand everything you tell them, almost innately, but they're still impressed by your feats and your stories. The two of you find an empty bedroom and close the door behind you. It's perfect in its imperfections. In the morning they're gone. No matter where you look, you can't find them. (u/ohsurenerd)
A room lined with shelves and shelves of bottles and vials containing a crimson liquid flowing slowly (like a syrup), all with small labels on them. As you inspect the labels, you realize they've all got names on them: famous adventurers, kings and queens, great sages. If you drink one, you experience a selection of their memories as they experienced them: battles won, discoveries made, historical alliances and friendships being forged or broken... (u/ohsurenerd)
A room that turns anyone that enters it into a child. It is full of every toy imaginable (u/arual_x)
A tour of a chocolate factory. Kobolds work there, and the owner, who gives the tour, is a Metallic Dragon in Humanoid form. (u/arual_x)
A fortune teller who has a Deck of Many Things with only the good cards. If you in any way offend them, they will sleight of hand vs perception check slip you a bad card instead. (u/arual_x)
An island theme park of reanimated dinosaurs. The owner is a level 20 Necromancer called Hamm Johnand. (u/arual_x)
A Virtual Reality style game that allows you to battle horrible monsters over and over again without risk of injury physical. But still allows you to gain XP... (u/arual_x)
A perfect expanse of thick snowy ground. There is constantly a snowball fight going on. (u/arual_x)
A giant room full of mattresses where everyone immediately gets a wonderful massage. (u/Revanclaw-and-memes)
A room full of gold and exquisite things, from beautiful furniture to magic weapons (u/Revanclaw-and-memes)
A seemingly endless room where adventurers can drink a potion to grow wings and flit about to their hearts' delight (u/iriedashur)
An ordinary classroom containing the adventurer's childhood friends, enemies, and their most hated teacher. Upon entering the room, the adventurer discovers that they are invisible, and free to pull pranks as they wish (u/iriedashur)
A brightly colored room piled high with wrapped gifts, large and small, for the adventurers to open endlessly (u/iriedashur)
A purple and black dragon named Ace who cooks you garlic bread and cake. (u/sanorace)
A magic pair of goggles/glasses that simulate any “What if” question you pose to them. (u/lewiscann)
A magical weather room where you can ask for any weather for your pleasure (I love listening to rain) (u/lewiscann)
A room full of lounges with a floating slow burning piece of wood that warms the whole area, the piece of wood is so large you can see the flame spread through this piece of wood forever (u/lewiscann)
A room where you can bite your fingernails and they grow back instantly ( so you can bite them some more )(u/razenastie)
A room with incredibly weakened versions of powerful monsters. (u/Your_InsideMan)
A heist simulator where you always get away with the big diamond, chest, etc (thrill of theft) (u/reallyenjoyscarbs)
A sauna room with a central pillar. Inside the pillar is a chamber containing a magic stone which can detect the exact temperature preferences of those inside, and making each person feel said preference. (u/TgagHammerstrike)
An oval-shaped room with countless glass lotion bottles, with each smelling better than the last. If you look for a specific scent (no matter how rare), you'll certainly find it with the help of a goblin near the back of the room. (u/TgagHammerstrike)
A room that consists of A bunch of mortals so utterly jaded from years of plesure seeking that they need the hardest of drugs and the wildest of sensations to feel anything,with lesser demons feeding on their pursuit of euphoria. Think the emperors children from warhammer 40k. (u/TgagHammerstrike)
A buffet of the lids of yogurt/pudding cups to lick. (u/Hunter37594)
An olfactory room that reads your memories and replicates smells that remind you of your most joyous moments. (u/lecorbusianus)
A wildlife reserve for Druids to find new and exotic wild shapes. (u/lecorbusianus)
A room with musical instruments that you're able to master immediately. (u/lecorbusianus)
A room with a creature in a dark robe sitting at a table covered in maps and dice. He helps you play a strange game where you and your party make up characters that go on adventures while the robed creature acts as all of the other characters and determines new events. (u/Clickclacktheblueguy)
You can draw on the blackboard in front of the class. I don’t know if you can do this all the time but I did it once during the casino infiltration and got guts for drawing the thieves logo.
Unused Shadow negotiation files in the game indicate that Akechi was intended to have a palace at some point
Futaba and Haru were deliberately designed to distance themselves from directly interacting with Akechi during the third semester to display that they never forgave him.
If Akechi is invited to play darts, no other party member will show up alongside him, aside from Morgana. He will also mimic your behavior. For example, if you go for bullseyes he’ll do the same.
The MC’s persona was going to be Mephistopheles, but was later changed to Arsène since it fits better with the overall theme of the game.
The MC was originally supposed to live with Sae Niijima but reasons why are unknown
The reason why Futaba has HP and SP is so the game doesn’t crash when you mod the game to use her in battle
Sumire's codename was originally "Clown."
Coding in the game indicates that Sumire at one point used the protagonist's dagger and revolvers for her default configuration. Implying she was originally meant to be the female version of the protagonist
In Mementos, there’s a chance of atms giving you SP items on the wall when you enter the next floor
The book “Speed Reader” is available in the library on July 1st
You can tell how much you can do at night by the way Morgana poses in your room. If he’s laying down you’re forced to sleep, if he’s standing on all fours you can go outside
Coding shows that will seeds would originally show a cut scene of the palace ruler. These cut scenes would be memories that might’ve been the cause for their desires to became distorted. For example, there is a cutscene for the death of Yusukes mom for Madarame.
Makoto’s code name is Queen because it’s what Hifumi’s code name was before she was scrapped.
parts from Pashinyan speech: past & present, investigation, border demarcation
We will need a comprehensive evaluation of how and why things developed and ended that way. We must face the reality and admit that we have made mistakes for many years, the mistakes we have made have been systemic, conceptual, substantive. This cannot be a result of one person or events in just a few years. Did I understand all this while taking office as Prime Minister? Of course. Was I trying to change the situation? Of course. I am now more convinced than ever that there was simply no time to stop the spinning wheel of history. The borders in the Syunik sector are being adjusted, or rather, the Armenian Armed Forces are being stationed on the internationally recognized borders of Armenia (there were no soldiers here before because Syunik was not bordering Azerbaijan before the war). This process changes certain setups we're familiar with, introduces inconveniences, complications, and emotions. In reality, this is being done to ensure and strengthen the safety of Syunik. How? In areas outside of the Republic of Armenia, there was a high risk of military actions, which could carry on to Syunik with all their consequences. By doing the border demarcation of our internationally-recognized lands, we are introducing security assurances. Additionally, Russian border guards are already stationed in some parts of Syunik, which creates a whole new situation. The demarcation can complicate travel on some roads, but these are issues that can be resolved by having an AM-AZ-RU document (specifically about road safety). Not one millimeter of Syunik or Republic of Armenia land has been conceded. Any claim to the contrary is simply false. The people, only the people, should decide the fate of the government and not the elite circles. My November 18th Roadmap will address post-war issues and establish internal stability. "Let's build Armenia anew." I chose this slogan before the war to guide Armenia's transformation strategy. And this formula is useful for our future as well. We have to perceive the world in a new way, we have to look at what we have to do in a new way, we have to re-evaluate our capabilities in a new way, first of all in education, science, technological development, we have to build our dream anew, and we have to dream anew. Glory to our fallen heroes, glory to our living heroes, and glory to those who will still be heroes on the way to realizing the dreams of our people. Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038333.html
borders: fake news, rumors, and rebuttals
Artsakh president office: the media rumors about giving Karmir Shuka (south) to Azerbaijan is fake news. Moreover, we plan to build new housing there soon. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038399.html MoD denied media rumors that two Tavush villages are being handed over to Azerbaijan and that the soldiers were told to leave. "Refrain from spreading unverified fake news," said MoD. Tavush governor called the reports "irresponsible and dangerous". https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038457.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038464.html Sosu Purak is a park in Syunik province, bordering Azerbaijan. The Nature Ministry rebutted the media rumors about half of the park going under Azeri control. *"Sosu Purak, which is managed by Zangezur POAK, has 64.1 hectares of lands, which are located within the Republic of Armenia." https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038477.html
border demarcation continues in Syunik / Pashinyan visits the border settlements
NSS says: border adjustments are being made in Goris-Kapan road sections under the mediation of Russia. (read Friday report for details). The process will finish in a few days. It'll nesure safe passage for cars. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038380.html Syunik governor Melikset: don't exit the Armenian border to collect or chop wood. Keep your animal herds within Armenia. The border roads will have info-plates with numbers that you can dial if you have questions. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038383.html Pashinyan before visiting Syunik: I am saddened to learn that my visit to Syunik has ignited certain passions. I hope you will be convinced that my decision to visit Syunik is not intended to inflame everyone. I made the decision to convey my respect and appreciation for the people of Syunik. The second most important reason is to answer your questions, to give the necessary explanations. Not a single millimeter of land has been ceded from Syunik Province of RA and I hope we'll be able to talk about this. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038397.html protesters A group of protesters, lead by the city's deputy-mayors, closed the Goris road so Pashinyan couldn't enter the city. The police were involved, there was a scuffle. Goris mayor ex-HHK Arush Arushanyan was taken to the police station earlier that day and charged with attempting to organize an unauthorized event/protest (Code 34-2251) to prevent the PM from entering the city. HHK and BHK officials gathered outside of the police station to show him support. 2010 border demarcation law, the "GPS" myth Pashinyan met the crowd in Sisian. One of the opposition's complaints has been "GPS is inaccurate and cannot be used for demarcation", to which, Pashinyan answered, "[the demarcation] is done multiple times, with different methods. There is no issue in this regard." Pashinyan: There is a lot of talk about *"giving away" Syunik". In fact, it is quite the opposite. When we deploy our border troops in accordance with the Armenian border, our level of security increases because that border also becomes the border of the security system of which we are a member. The demarcation is carried out following the law adopted in 2010. The issue is that the current borders, the description of the administrative borders of our communities, were clarified by the law on the "administrative-territorial division of the Republic of Armenia", adopted in 2010. In that law, for example, villages Khndzoresk and Tegh were drawn to include borders with Azerbaijan. The government in 2010 had accepted that demarcation; now we're facing problems here. And today, some of the people, who ask why and how the borders are being demarcated this way, are the same officials who were public officials in 2010, who adopted this law.If what we're doing today is "treason", then what happened in 2010 is even more of a "treason". "why didn't CSTO get involved during war?" Pashinyan: why didn't CSTO act during the war? For the same reason: our 2010 law states that this is what our official Republic of Armenia border is and that anything beyond Tegh village is Azerbaijan. CSTO, naturally, couldn't act beyond our official borders. We have received assurances that in the event of action within our borders, the bloc will act. army & people Resident: our army did not lose the war. Pashinyan: Our army and the people are heroes, there can be no two opinions about it. That doesn't mean there weren't issues, or some soldiers and generals didn't complete their tasks. We must build our self-confidence and optimism one by one, we must rebuild Armenia and Artsakh. meeting in Sisian Pashinyan visited Sisian city Pantheon. He then met a crowd in the main square and thanked them for "for such an understanding, for such an acceptance". During a speech in Sisian, Pashinyan said he will avoid confrontation with those who closed the road to Goris city. He said there were families and supporters who wanted to meet in Goris, and that one of the reasons the road was closed to possibly prevent that from happening. Father of a fallen soldier: Pashinyan still has 8 months to go. He must and will answer all the questions. Tomorrow, ARF Ishkhan Saghatelyan and those guys [ex-regime] must also answer. Tomorrow they [ex-regime] will say "go ask Nikol if you have questions". So Nikol should do his part and answer the questions, so others can answer theirs. Pashinyan: please try not to politicize today [about giving ARF Ishkhan's name]. Father of a fallen soldier: we must give their names. The same names and their parties are gathered in the public square today. Today you [Nikol] must enter Sisian and elsewhere with your head held high and without bodyguards. Let's get rid of pain and sorrow then we will know what to do next. various concerns Residents spoke about various border and social issues. Pashinyan: I came to look at Syunik residents in the eye. I know that I'm guilty in many ways. Our citizens deserve more. Unfortunately, not a single government, including ours, has been able to deliver what our citizens deserve. I apologize on behalf of all governments. priest vs Pashinyan While in Syunik, Pashinyan entered a church and lit a candle in memory of the fallen. Upon exiting, he came across priest Pargev Zeynalyan. Pashinyan raised his hand to greet but the priest let it hang in the air. Pashinyan left. A church representative said the priest had the right to express his political beliefs. That didn't prevent the crowd, angry at the priest's conduct, to march to the church and block its entrance. They wanted to kick the priest out. The police told the crowd not to enter. The priest refused to meet the protesters. The protesters left and promised, "not to allow the politicized priest to enter that church again". The priest denied subsequent false rumors about police allegedly raiding his house over the incident. (of course, gotta throw a couple of fake news here and there for "political persecutions" illusion)
border demarcation: Shurnukh border village suburbs
Mayor of border village Shurnukh, Syunik: The 12 houses in the lower suburbs, which according to rumors were supposed to go under Azeri control, will stay under Armenian control, according to the latest updated information. The army and Russians came and began working on border installation beyond the village area. I'm not entirely sure this is the final status, it could change, so stay tuned. There will be a demarcation process but I don't know when. Our local volunteers guard the borders. Women and children were evacuated from the area for now, just in case. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203332
re: Russians will guard parts of 21km Syunik road
MoD says: some of the 21km Goris-Kapan road goes through disputed areas. We have an agreement for Russian border guards to monitor Goris-Kapan and Goris-Davit Bek sections to ensure safe passage. Armenian and Azeri troops will be stationed on opposite sides of the road. More info in the coming days. (if you look at the map, the road is the exact border) https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203346
press unions condemn attacks on media outlets / free press
First incident. Former regime's activists attempted to prevent Pashinyan and tens of thousands of participants from marching to Yerablur Pantheon on weekend. During the incident, they identified a journalist from "Azatutyun" (pro-western) and began assaulting him. (Azatutyun office was also raided by supporters of former regime on November 10th). Second incident. 5TV is owned by Kocharyan's friend. It has a record of manipulating interviews and information in general (e.g. the March 1st documentary). Some people don't like them for this reason. 5TV reporter was cussed by Pashinyan supporters, while QP MP Andranik Kocharyan refused to take questions from him. Third incident. Opposition activists cussed Azatutyun reporters and tried to prevent them from doing the work. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038471.html
PRESS casualties during the war
HR Ombusmn: Five foreign and two Armenian reporters received severe injuries during the war. One reporter was killed. They were targeted by Azerbaijan intentionally. They were wearing PRESS uniforms, which are visibly different from army uniforms. Azerbaijan prevented reporters from working in front lines and launched a felony investigation against some international reporters (Semyon Pegov) for visiting Artsakh. https://web.archive.org/web/20201219074426/https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203315
felony investigations post-war / SIS launches an investigation to examine:
1) Reports of officers disobeying commands during the war, and desertion. 882 cases are being examined. Dozens have been charged. 2) Several civilian and military individuals intentionally spread alarming information to create panic among soldiers in the front lines (Vitalik's friend's incident, possibly), and claimed that the war was already decided, it was a conspiracy, and that it was pointless to fight. There are multiple felony cases regarding this. Investigation continues. 3) A felony case is launched against an officer who refused to do his duties in the southern part of Artsakh. (if this is General Movses Hakobyan, expect him to cry "political persecution" because he was the first one to give a press conference to create a narrative, a-la Dodi Gago). 4) Investigations over claims made by General Movses Hakobyan on November 19th. We're investigating a group of high-ranking officials for possibly violating protocols set by the Defense Ministry, which lead to reduced performance, which impacted the outcome of the war. We are also examining the reports, submitted by various political parties, to investigate the $5 billion offer that was made to Pashinyan by Aliyev (the offer Aliyev made to Serj and Pashinyan to give away 7 regions without a fight). 5) A felony investigation was launched [to investigate Pashinyan] after [former regime figure] Garnik Isagulyan claimed that Pashinyan took a $48 million bribe from Turkey and that his NSS chief Qyaramyan gave away 1400 passports to Azerbaijan, and helped Azeris to invade Hadrut. Isaghulyan was invited to SIS to provide evidence; he refused. The examination found no proof of these claims. A felony case was launched against Isagulyan himself for making false reports. 6) There were multiple reports in mid-November that Shushi was "sold" and an order was given for soldiers to deliberately retreat so Azeris could take it. This was investigated by SIS and NSS, courts were involved, reports from various media outlets are being investigated, including Arayik's leaked phone call and General Samvel Babayan's "post-mortem" interview. Additionally, there is an investigation of the embezzlement of property belonging to the army. Besides investigating these claims, we will also investigate their impact on the final outcome of the war. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038432.html
lawsuits / Pashinyan's son / army officer / Dmbo Gago
Volunteer soldier Mikael Mikaelyan is suing pro-Kocharyan blog "Politik" over an alleged defamation. The soldier says: Earlier I wrote that on October 1st I was yelling at deserting soldiers not to leave positions near Jabrayil. Then a similar story in Kubatlu; I wrote that I witnessed how Pashinyan's son Ashot was yelling at deserting soldiers; he was asking them to stay and help. My post received a lot of attention. It's clear that these two were separate incidents on separate dates, right? They [former regime] began calling me a liar because I could not have seen Pashinyan's son on October 1st because he was sent to the front lines on the 5th. They wrote an article "Yet another chatlakh who says everyone routed except Ashotik". https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202933 Deputy Army General Chief of Staff Tiran Khachatryan is suing BHK MP Naira Zohrabyabn over an alleged defamation. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038342.html BHK chief Gago's casino "Onira Club" (Shangri La) was in legal trouble over alleged financial crimes. It also lost the license on July 9th over not paying the necessary fees. The casino is now suing the Finance Ministry to have its license back. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203413
306 refugees returned to Artsakh on Sunday. 1.6km of roads were cleared of explosives, and 1 house was renovated. The peacekeepers have so far renovated 23 houses and rebuilt 8km of electric lines in Martakert. 35 patients were given medical care in Chartar settlement. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038385.html
The Public Utility Commission decided to keep the electricity prices the same for low-income families, and 90% of those who consume less than 400 kW/h. The large-scale consumers will see AMD 3 increase. The rate will go into effect in February. (the nuclear plant will be closed for much of the year for the final big renovation; there were talks that it could impact prices) https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/288860/
7km of roads and water drainage were repaired and installed in Horbategh, Vayots Dzor. It's a tourist area. Locals hope the renovations will improve their economic status. Smbataberd, Tsaghatsqar complex, and St. Hreshtakapetats are located nearby. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203420
All Armenia Fund met Artsakh govt to discuss housing for refugees and the homeless. They plan 9 new buildings with 236 in Askeran, 132 in Martuni, while the assessment for capital Stepanakert and elsewhere continues. Contracts were signed with construction firms. Artsakh govt thanked Himnadram for continuous help. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203336
[OG+REMAKE SPOILERS] I'm Gonna Do It, I'm Gonna Talk About The Cat. Part 2 Theory.
Cait. Sith. Is. Valid. Also, buckle up, this is a long one. For those who dont remember, Cait Sith is a playable character in FFVII who appears as an anthropomorphic black and white cat wearing a small red cape and a gold crown. In later installments, he has a Scottish accent and no longer rides on that huge moogle robot thing. Cait Sith is a character that is tied directly to Reeve Tuesti, his creator and the man who is able to assume control over him from time to time. In so many videos and articles and such, Cait is often pinned as the "worst thing about FFVII" or "the most useless Final Fantasy character". As for me, personally, I actually like Cait, but I have come up with a few ways to get more on the fence people to warm up to him. Behold, my FFVII Remake Cait Sith Theory/Speculation. First things first, all of those people who think Square will entirely cut Cait out of the game are wrong. No, seriously, he's already in the Remake. He made a short cameo when the Sector 7 Plate fell. So many people were confused as to why he seemed so upset. One person, I don't remember who, wondered "Why would Reeve make Cait be all dramatic like that???" So, firstly, I thought it was common knowledge that Cait wasn't entirely remote-controlled, but oh well for the sake of this theory I'll have you know that I'm looking at it as though Reeve is not puppeteering Cait 100% of the time. He has an AI, at the very least, but for now, AI does not mean sentience, by the way. But Cait has a programmed personality, voice (the reason that Cait has a Scottish accent and Reeve doesn't), and movements. He may or may not become sentient but that's a story for another time. Also the reason Cait would have a personality and programmed "emotions" is so 1, he can calm people who are distressed during a crisis so they can get to safety, 2, he can further convince people of things using emotion in his voice to appeal to their sympathy, and 3, I dunno Reeve wants him to be more than just a robot. Now, this programming is the reason he spies on the group. I doubt Reeve has the time to sit and watch everything that happens, so maybe Cait sends a sort of report to him about any important info he gets in the day, if any. The thing is, maybe you can have a few scenes where Cait is showing uncharacteristic reluctance or regret over being a spy. Making him more sympathetic. The reason Reeve would even use Cait as a spy? Well, Avalanche is still the cause for the plate falling. If Avalanche hadn't bombed the reactor, Shinra wouldn't have viewed them as a threat, the plate wouldn't have been dropped. Reeve most likely doesn't know about the reactor being Shinra's fault moreso than Avalanche. You can see that Heidegger and President Shinra are the only ones in the room during that scene. Now, Reeve was in the room for the plate falling, he knows Shinra caused that, and he attempted to stop the President (to no avail). By the way, it is my theory that during that conversation or immediately following it, Reeve dispatched Cait to go to the pillar to stop the Turks, or maybe to issue an evacuation. Reeve was not controlling Cait at this time, so Cait's despair was his own, he was upset that he failed his mission and failed to save Sector 7. Another reason why he has programmed emotions, so he can have determination and investment in his mission, and the regret experienced when failing will make him figure out a different way to solve similar problems. So, while Reeve knows Shinra caused the plate falling, he probably does not know that Shinra caused the reactor 1 bombing to be much more deadly that it would have been. So, in Reeve's and subsequently in Cait's eyes, Avalanche is a threat just as much as Shinra is (and you could say that's kinda true, looking at being a threat to people, not the planet btw). Both hurt innocents. So Reeve could be trying to help the Turks get Avalanche out of the way so he could focus again on trying to mitigate the damage Shinra causes on it's own. Also, maybe it just isn't up to Reeve. If he refuses to do what Shinra wants him to, he will lose his job. You would think that losing your job could be survivable, but with Shinra and Reeve's position in the company, actually it isn't. Reeve knows company secrets, so he would be a very major threat. The Turks would probably have to either assassinate him or imprison him somewhere where he can't spread the truth. So, with that being said, there's your motives for Cait being a spy. Now, onto making Cait himself more likable and more useful. Firstly he can have a manipulate ability. In OG, he joins the party with a manipulate materia, though that materia never really became useful. I think, in Remake, manipulation can be simular to that thing Aloy can do in Horizon Zero Dawn. Basically, Cait can make monsters fight for us for a period of time. So using one monster to kill the others for you or distract them while you are healing or running away. That could have some use, especially in the Remake. Now, Cait fights by using a giant moogle as a sort of... mech. He rides on top of it and shouts commands... using a megaphone... This concept is pretty goofy and kinda cute, but I don't really think they should keep it in the Remake. So, remove the moogle mount. Now, what to do with his weapon? Sure, you can still kinda make him fight with a megaphone but why would you do that? So, inspired by an original concept (so it's not that far fetched), Cait can fight using whips and/or cards. The way this can work is when you purchase weapons for him, the name will be something like "Iron Whip" and the card deck that comes with it will be grey cards. Basically, the cards will be a color, the whips will be of different materials. But when purchasing, it'll just name the whip, the cards aren't named. That is thinking that the cards will even change. Maybe Cait can equip different whips. And the cards part of it will be abilities/movesets. Like, an ability can be named after a card game and he can fling a bunch of cards at the enemies simular in style to 1,000 needles. His abilities can be themed after casino based things and slot machines and all that, but they aren't actually slot machines. Example, his limit break, Slots, isn't randomized. It does the same attack every time, like Cloud's Cross-Slash. But the animation involves a slot machine. A slot machine appears with a bunch of fancy lights and Cait hops onto the switch, the slots roll, all three land on Cait's face, then I dunno, it explodes onto the enemies or sends projectiles at them or something. Another idea I had for his "Dice" attack could be him rolling a bunch of dice, and flinging them at the enemies, the dice exploding on impact kinda like grenades or something. Another thing to make him better in the eyes of those who dislike him, he can have some minigame uses. When at an inn or resting place, and all of the characters are just chillin, doin their own thing, you can walk up to Cait, and when you talk to him, after his dialog, there's an option to play a game. When you click it, Cait hops up all happy and more options pop up. You can unlock mini games as you progress, so there can be things like darts. They can do a card game as a reference to Tetra Master and Triple Triad (from FFIX and FFXIII, respectively), a memory game, anything really. So, there you go, another use for Cait Sith. In regards to level design, Cait can actually come in really handy. He is a robot created by someone in Shinra, so he would be able to hack into some Shinra tech to open doors and proceed through dungeons. This could come into play in part 3, or whenever the party gets arrested by Shinra and are brought to Junon. So, he's a hacker. Nice. Aslo, Cait is a lot smaller than the rest of the party, so he could squeeze into spaces that the others couldn't. Just a thought, and also another reason why he shouldn't have the giant moogle. Okay, now, this is a lot, but I have one last thing to talk about. His intro. So many people don't like Cait that I really don't think anyone would mind if his intro would change. Unlike the points people made in my post about Vincent, where some people pointed out that a lot of fans feel an attachment to his OG introduction, there's not much thats really... iconic about Cait's. Yes, I know, the way he joins the party is supposed to be sudden and weird because he's a spy and your supposed to be all like "oh that is... that's suspicious". But hey, I just wanna see who else thinks a new intro could be nice. This is purely for funzies and I don't actually think they're gonna introduce him like this. It's too specific for a theory so this is more of a "hey wouldn't it be cool if" kinda thing. Alright, for the sake of this, I'm assuming Remake part 2 goes up to at least Gold Saucer. Long story short(er), we find Cait in a casino. Maybe he runs the casino, maybe he's a prominent member. Anyway, he claims that you can win a better amount of GP (special points that work as currency in Gold Saucer) by playing his card game then with any other game. So, Cloud sits down to play. After you play the game, or maybe it's interrupted, there's some commotion at the entrance of the casino. Cloud looks over and almost everyone has stopped playing to look as well. None other than Elena of the Turks walks in, spotting Cloud. She is obviously looking for Avalanche, and has found them. (Also you can assume that Cait pretty much set up this whole thing.) They get ready to fight, when Cait springs up and says "Wait, you can't fight here, there's not enough room! You'll break things or hurt people! If you have to fight, do it in the Battle Square!" So, you go to the battle square and beat up Elena (also yay! She gets a solo boss fight! Next is Tseng getting a boss encounter and we'll be able to fight all of the Turks solo). When your about to defeat her, reinforcements arrive and... yeah, there is just way too many of them. Then suddenly, a smoke bomb goes off, and Cait rescues Cloud. They regroup at that Haunted Hotel, and Cloud explains everything. Everyone decides that it would be a good idea to leave, but then they hesitate. Where's Barret? Tifa says that he could be at the battle square, where else would he go? So, reluctantly, the group moves back to the battle square, avoiding the Shinra troops that are now crawling everywhere. The park has a completely different vibe to it, the music is no longer blaring, and instead someone from Shinra is on the speakers telling everyone to keep a lookout and report any strange individuals. Once we get into the Battle Square, we see that all of the Shinra infantrymen that were in there are all dead. Shot to death, each one. Then Barret runs in. So it wasn't Barret? Anyway, Dio, the owner of Gold Saucer, emerges, blames you for the deaths of not only the soldiers but a few staff members as well, and throws you into the desert prison, also notifying Shinra of your presence. This leads into Dyne's story and eventually Cait will convince Dio to let us go, or maybe we highjack a Shinra vehicle and escape the prison that way. *long exhale So, to wrap this all up, Cait has a good reason to be a spy, he can make enemies fight for him, he fights with whips and cards, when talking to him at an Inn or resting place you can play minigames like a card game similar to Tetra Master from FFIX or darts or maybe a memory game, and lastly he has a more interesting and memorable intro at Gold Saucer. ALL RIGHT! I'M DONE WOOOO I'M TAKING A BREAK!
Saints Row The Third: Remastered - Nostalgia Sexily Reinvigorated
Remasters in 2020 continue to be a popular theme, as newer IPs have been baking in the oven waiting for the right moment to be served on the next-generation of gaming platforms, it’s never a bad time to revisit some of gaming's biggest hitters. The Saints Row franchise has experienced an interesting journey, what started out or was seen as a bastardized GTA clone back in 2006 has survived the scrutiny thanks to its bona fide atmosphere that combined exaggerated gangster tropes with true crime motifs that resonated surprisingly well with fans of the genre. Volition embraced feedback from its community to develop on the wackier aspects of the first game to implement through its game-mechanics in its second release just 2 years later. What happened with Saints Row that other GTA clones failed to do was that it became self-aware of its over the top nature and capitalized on it. Seeing as most action-adventure games that fall in the spectrum of crime often tend to fall in the same grim and dreary undertones to the point where the storytelling and characters become comically predictable or the mechanics feel lacklustre. These pitfalls are masterfully avoided, if not, taken to zany creative heights in the worlds of Stilwater and Steelport. I could go on about Volition’s previous installments but it would detract from Saints Row: The Third, Remastered. Right off the (dildo) bat, graphics have rejuvenated this game to a whole new level; breathing new life into its characters, cut-scenes and decadent world. It’s clear that with the remaster, Volition/Sperasoft have proven they are up to date with modern standards of visual fidelity. If you own a high-end console or a PC, 4K and HDR support for this game are available. Regardless, the textures are sharp, detail oozes right down to the very skin pores, the overhauled game engine sells itself beautifully and does a great job at making the world of Saints Row even more believable as crazy as it sounds. Just watching a before vs now video says it all really. Of course it's still far from Rockstar Advanced Game Engine levels of immersion, it’s still a step up in its own right. The new lighting model is excellent, although RTX is not yet available, it still renders its environments to a level of stunning and detail that brings out every world element in true 4k fashion. Even though it's a remaster and not a remake, I can’t help but feel a little ticked off that Sperasoft haven’t found a way to fix the day/night cycle that the game clearly needs and not the random preloaded time of day antics. Come on, it’s 2020 and you still haven’t figured it out? Every character gets a very well done remodeling that borders on uncanny valley in spite of its more cartoonish origins. My only gripes with the character models are the lack of effort that went into the lip-syncing, this undermines the realistic approach it’s trying to sell; in certain cut-scenes it felt like I was staring at high-tech androids with the oral articulation of an animatronic mouth servo. It doesn’t ruin the experience but again, if you’re going for that uncanny valley feel, investing in better animations can go a long way. Steelport, even it being a fictional world, feels very believable. Each “district” of the island city has a distinguishable urban mood. Carver island in the southwest feels oppressively industrial with its smoking chimneys. The postmodern architecture of downtown Steelport and its towering Skyscrapers of steel and glass make for pleasurable obstacles to perform feats of aeronautic exploits on. The suburban neighborhoods of Stanfield in the northwest and New Colvin in the east are reminiscent of Manhattan’s Chelsea borough district style of public housing and Detroit's urban decay. This brings me to my next point; I couldn’t help but wonder if Steelport was on the verge of bankruptcy or if its mayor just hates public transport? Seriously it has an airport and metro system but they are both defunct, not a sign of life. I understand this comes down to Volition being a MUCH smaller company than Rockstar so resources were a lot limited and crime being so overtly rampant, perhaps could be written off as Steelport being a discouraged tourist location? I digress but the world feels more dystopic and is reinforced by that with its updated visuals that really liven up its decade old environments. The “cribs” give a lot for the eye to look at, it's packed with props that give credibility to the world and really convey the lived-in vibes of a world famous but dysfunctional criminal organization. The rifles and rocket launchers casually lying around Shaundi's Ex’s apartment feel more plentiful, the eccentric art deco of Zimos’ pad, the shiny floors and gaudy fixtures of the Saints HQ, the decrepit surroundings of a once booming casino at Angels Gym, Kinzie's secret hacker warehouse are all given the special remastered treatment and feel very distinct from on another and make them worth dropping by in every now and then if you’re in their respective neighborhoods. The audio and music are cleaned up but still use the old sound files. Still though, it felt good driving over to Planet Saints singing along to Sublimes “What I got” with Pierce, the nostalgia my inner child was feeling certainly didn’t die off. The “Party Time” mission when you jump out of a helicopter to Kanye’s “Power” to crash a rooftop pool party somehow feels more electric. Flying a STAG VTOL on your way to wreak havoc across the city felt even more epic than the first time I played it, and I must have finished SR3 like well over 6 times at this point. Nevertheless, the entire narrative story is blockbuster material that only occasionally takes itself seriously, the main characters are well written and expertly voiced by a robust cast (Troy Baker, Laura Bailey, Daniel Dae Kim, Hulk Hogan, Sasha Grey, Burt Reynolds, Danielle Nicolet, Arif S Kinchen to name a few). If you’ve never played a Saints Row game, Saints Row 3 is a great way to get acquainted as it is perhaps the latest of the series to have kept its head on its shoulders as far as the meta goes. What happens after the third game is hit-or-miss. Do not go into this game expecting a GTA immersive sim experience or you will be disappointed. SR’s core strengths lie within its addictive, offbeat gameplay loop and insanely rigorous customization schemes. All this is now amplified with its updated visuals and DLC that come included in the remastered version. EDIT: Good to read up on other Saints fans opinions out there! It's nice to know that this game still has a loyal base despite R*'s big shadow.
I would say that I'm relatively new to Reddit and the one thing that surprised me is the number of people that still play on Bovada, Ignition, Betonline, MyBookie, etc. Don't get me wrong, great sites for sports betting and poker, but absolutely horrendous when it comes to slots and live casino games. Hitting 1,000x on a slot on Bovada is like a once in a lifetime achievement and the live dealer provider is... awful. Over the past month or so, I have seen this Reddit flooded with random users promoting a bunch of shitty no-name crypto casinos that have been around for like 3 days. So I figured it was my duty, as somebody who has no ownership interests in any of these online crypto casinos, to share my thoughts regarding the ones that I believe are trustworthy. All of which is based on first-hand experience and countless hours of research. First off, for those who aren't familiar with crypto casinos, the one thing that you need to know, as an American, is that you'll need to access these sites via a VPN. Personally, I use ExpressVPN and connect to Canada (or various other regions depending on which slot provider is available). The nice thing about ExpressVPN is that you can download the app and play on your phone. All of the casinos listed below allow VPN usage. Apparently NordVPN is pretty good too, but I cannot vouch for them personally. Second thing, KYC is not required. Honestly haven't looked into this too much, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that KYC is not required in order to register or withdraw funds. All you have to do is confirm your email address. Some people have said you get KYC'd if you try to withdraw more than $2k, but again, I can confirm that it's not true (specifically for the casinos listed below). Just make sure that you only deposit/withdraw via crypto and you'll be fine. If you think this is sketchy, then please, continue making your credit card deposits at Bovada to random shell companies based out of China. Also, DO NOT USE COINBASE TO TRANSFER TO AND FROM THE CASINO. They banned me. It hurt. Don't make the same mistake. I recommend using BRD as an intermediary between Coinbase and the casino. Since being banned from Coinbase, I have been using crypto.com to buy and sell crypto. Nothing but good things to say thus far. Finally, I have wagered roughly $3.5MM in total across the sites below and have spent countless hours researching them, so I'd like to think that I somewhat know what I'm talking about. In no way am I an expert and in no way am I a high roller or a whale. Just a regular guy that enjoys gambling. Now the common theme amongst the below casinos is that you have access to game providers such as Evolution (live games), Pragmatic, NetEnt, Thunderkick, Push, etc. that you'll never find on the casinos advertised as available to US players (such as Bovada). As I'm sure you know, Betsoft slots can get old after a while. Just a few of my personal favorite games that I recommend you check out... Live Games: Crazy Time, Monopoly, Evolution Blackjack and Evolution Speed Baccarat Slots: Dead or Alive 2, Money Train 2, Lil' Devil, Sweet Bonanza and The Dog House Site #1: Roobet.com (Best for casual gamblers) What I like: Instant withdrawals, huge selection of slots and live games, generous rakeback system, instant bitcoin deposits (they will credit your account before receiving any confirmations-- this is really nice), every so often they'll run a 24 hour promotion where if you hit 100x on slot betting at least $1 you'll be "King Roo" (basically King of the Hill) and accumulate ~$20 per minute until you're dethroned What I don't like: Rakeback system only allows you to collect every 24 hrs/1 week/1 month, no clarity surrounding VIP status (assuming you need to be a whale), there was one instance where I won $36k on a $40 bet playing Reactoonz and was told I can only withdraw $10k per day (this was 6 months ago and never had an issue withdrawing since), lack of sports betting My largest withdrawal (at once): $9.9k Deposit/Withdrawal Methods: BTC, ETH Referral link to enable rakeback system without having to wager a shitload: https://roobet.com/?ref=hkgambler13 (you can also use code "hkgambler13") Site #2: Stake.com (Best for medium-high rollers) What I like: Instant withdrawals, huge selection of slots and live games, incredible VIP and rakeback system (weekly/monthly bonuses, rakeback can be claimed whenever, daily/monthly challenges to earn extra cash), active and friendly chat community, multiple crytpo deposit options where your account is credited in that currency (meaning your balance equivalent in USD will swing with the market-- could be seen as a con), enjoyable "Stake Original" games that have a higher RTP than 3rd party slots, averages ~2k users online at any given time What I don't like: Can be overwhelming for first time players (Roobet is much more straight forward and easy to use) My largest withdrawal: $13.2k Deposit/Withdrawal Methods: BTC, ETH, LTC, DOGE, BCH, XRP (highly recommend-- cheap transfer fee, if any at all, and confirmed within seconds), TRX, EOS Referral link to instantly enable 10% rakeback: https://stake.com/?c=6c2f1c60 Site #3: Gamdom.com (Best for gamers) What I like: Instant withdrawals, huge selection of slots and live games, newly implemented rakeback system, constant "rains" in the chat (which is free money if you join in time), ability to instantly deposit and withdraw via Rust and TF2 items (could spend an hour talking about this-- generally caters to those who cannot get crypto or have to use a CC to buy crypto), averages ~1.5k users online at any given time What I don't like: Prior to the newly implemented rakeback system rains and level-up chests were the only "rakeback", your balance is denominated in coins (1500 coins = $1 USD), browsing through their slot selection can be a pain in the ass My largest withdrawal (at once): $7.4k Deposit/Withdrawal Methods: BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC Referral link to receive a free chest that could be worth up to ~$53: https://gamdom.com/chase (you can also use code "chase") Final parting words: PLEASE DO NOT GAMBLE WITH MONEY THAT YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE. Gambling is not a money making method and you will lose in the long run. The purpose of my post is to make those aware that other trustworthy online casinos are available for Americans that will (hopefully) make gambling online a bit more enjoyable!
A Cinematic Guide to The Weeknd: Pt 3. My Dear Melancholy and After Hours
My Dear Melancholy
Gaspar Noe/Cannes Film Festival The My Dear Melancholy era notable for being a time when The Weeknd was in proximity to a lot of serious directors. While he’s had a foot in Hollywood for awhile, 2017 through 2019 he was actively engaging with filmmakers like the Safdies Brothers, Gaspar Noe, and Claire Denis, amongst others. While he had been actively courting the Safdies since Good Time was released, he attended the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where he crossed paths Noe, whose film Climax took home a number awards at Cannes. Noe’s Enter the Void had previously served as an inspiration for Kiss Land, and for MDM (and later After Hours) seem to call back to Noe’s other films, like Irreversible and Love, which are both twisted depictions of heartbreak. On the other hand, Climax is about a French dance troupe who accidentally take LSD, and according to Noe is not a “message” movie. It is an audacious psychedelic technical exercise, with numerous long takes and highly choreographed set pieces. The idea for Noe, who had previously captured the feeling of drugs in previous films, was to do the opposite, and present the objectively reality of drugs, watching people high from a sober perspective. Noe is a rather strong advocate of film, and the opening scene of Climax features VHS boxes of a number of films that have influenced his filmmaking. Two of note are Schizophrenia, otherwise known as Angst, one of Noe’s favorite films which The Weeknd name checked to the Safdies, and Possession, which would go on to be an influence on After Hours (more on this later). He is also said to have sat next to Benicio Del Toro at Cannes, which means he likely caught some of the Un Certain Regard section, where Del Toro served as a jury member. Outside of that section, there were a few other films of interest such as The House That Jack Built from Lars Von Trier (The Weeknd has previously expressed affection for Von Trier’s Antichrist), Mandy from Pastos Costamos, and music video director Romain Gavras’s The World Is Yours, as well as a restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Noe has referred to as the film that got him into filmmaking. https://preview.redd.it/qga7a3l8ct261.png?width=910&format=png&auto=webp&s=371cf20d42ee8783cc23bfe7f2cfa16a0a927a0e Asian Cinema Later in 2018, The Weeknd continued his globetrotting with a tour of Asia. He once claimed in an interview that whenever visiting a foreign country he only watches films from there. I’ve previously written about the influence of Asian cinema on Kiss Land, and there’s not enough work from the MDM era to glean anything cinematically adjacent to this, but now would be a good time to mention that the "Call Out My Name" video was heavily inspired by the work of famed Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. The Asian tour poster seems to be a reference to Ichi the Killer, which leads us to Takashi Miike. Though he is notoriously prolific across a number of genres, his most popular works internationally are genre melding blends of horror, comedy and crime, most notably Audition, Ichi the Killer and Gozu. Another film worth mentioning is Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon’s masterwork about a pop star’s mysterious stalker that The Weeknd posted about on Instagram before. Bloody and haunting, the film was a major influence on Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. In Interviews he has also mentioned a number of Korean films, such as The Wailing, I Saw the Devil and Oldboy. While Wong Kar Wai was previously mentioned as an influence on Beauty Behind the Madness, also worth mentioning is the work of John Woo, specifically A Better Tomorrow, well known for the shot of smoking a cigar off money, and Infernal Affairs, Andrew Lau’s crime classic which served has the basis for Scorsese’s The Departed. https://preview.redd.it/fx7o9s2bct261.png?width=642&format=png&auto=webp&s=0fec2f841e9d3b09104238d0f89595daa6140faa https://preview.redd.it/n4x7fiy9ct261.png?width=1316&format=png&auto=webp&s=8a9650263272518216fc5f36913e80a10d2b0a8e
Martin Scorsese While After Hours more so than any other Weeknd album is bursting at the seams with cinematic references, the influence of Martin Scorsese stands above all. Similar to The Weeknd’s body of work, many Scorsese’s are explorations of violence and masculinity, investigating them from a perspective that depending on who you ask (and how they’re feeling) glamorizes, condemns or just simply presents the reality of characters on the fringes of society. While there are direct references to a number of prominent Scorsese films, what’s interesting is that his influence also reverberates in other films/filmmakers that influence After Hours. Todd Phillips’s Joker is in effect an homage to Scorsese’s loner-centric New York films, and the Safdie Brothers have been putting their own millennial spin on the type of 70s gritty thriller that Scorsese trafficked in (Scorsese was also a producer on Uncut Gems). Specific Scorsese works will be discussed more in depth in the requisite sections, but it is worth mentioning upfront what a prominent role that Scorsese plays in the nucleus of After Hours. https://preview.redd.it/wcds9qpdct261.png?width=1196&format=png&auto=webp&s=246c560c72340782e26ad03b8ff63367999eaadd Urban HorroIsolation With After Hours, The Weeknd departs from the slicker sounds and influences that permeated Starboy and returns to the cinematic grittiness of Beauty Behind the Madness. While urban horror is a theme that permeates throughout The Weeknd as a project overall, there is a thorough line to be drawn here that follows a number of 70s and 80s cinematic and aesthetic references. For one thing, while the initial bandaged nose was a reference to Chinatown (previously, The Weeknd has a Kiss Land demo titled "Roman Polanski"), the full bandaged face that is so prominently featured throughout the After Hours era is a classic cinematic visual trope that was especially prominent throughout 60s and 80s, though it saw a slight re-emergence in the 2010s. The fully bandaged face is often used to remake someone in the image of another, usually against their will (The Skin I Live In, Eyes Without Face), or as a case of mistaken identity and doppelgängers (Good Night Mommy, Scalpel), themes present throughout much of After Hours. The "Too Late" video acknowledges these references, but instead presents the bandages on two Los Angeles models recovering from plastic surgery, in a nod to a famous Steven Meisel’s photoshoot for Vogue Italia. https://preview.redd.it/dtbxjc3ict261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=66a98cc3cba73d502f8586a215a65cc41c5408a1 The “masks” people wear is another horror trope that is featured prominently on After Hours, and this is best seen in the red suit character. One important reference in the film is to Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill, where a serial killer is targeting the patients of a psychiatrist (any more on this film will veer towards spoiler territory). The Weeknd is on the record as saying Jim Carrey’s The Mask as being a large influence on the Red Suit character, it being one of the first film’s he watched in theaters. One of the more complex references would be to Joker. While it sort of an in-joke that the character of the Joker is commonly overanalyzed and misinterpreted, referencing Todd Phillips’s Joker is more nuanced because it is in essence a full on homage to Martin Scorsese’s New York films, most notably Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, which focus on eccentric loners, and can both be seen as cautionary tale of urban isolation, a theme explored perhaps in songs like "Faith." The King of Comedy revolves around a would be obsessive stand up Rupert Pupkin haggling his way to perform on late night TV, with The Weeknd’s talk show appearances being a prominent part of the early After Hours marketing, most notably in the “short film”. This idea of isolated and compressed urbanites recurs throughout After Hours and it’s films. https://preview.redd.it/egap17ttdt261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=1aab204ac0845a7df74ceeff6d1f714274f9ace0 The idea of urban repression is in the subway scene of the After Hours short film. The entire film itself is something of a reference to the subway scene to Possession (another Gaspar Noe favorite), mimicking the (also subway set) scene in which Isabelle Adjani’s Anna convulses on the subway due to a miscarriage, as well as Jacob’s Ladder, a 90s cult classic horror film starring Tim Robbins as a Vietnam vet (like Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle) who is experiencing demonic hallucinations, encountering them in the subway and later at a party he attends, splitting the scene into two. https://preview.redd.it/g53copgmct261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=9d29e368ae695d295b36039e86125ccfd7b4eb88 Las Vegas As always, The Weeknd once again grounds After Hours with a strong sense of place, this time setting the album against a nocturnal odyssey through Las Vegas. One of the most prominent films is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s book. This is directly referenced in the "Heartless" video, which sees The Weeknd and Metro Boomin in the Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro roles as they tumble through a Las Vegas casino. The Weeknd has gone on the record to state that the famous red suit character was influenced by Sammy Davis Jr.’s character in the film Poor Devil. However, similar red suit has also been sported by a number of Vegas characters, most notably Richard Pryor and Robert De Niro’s Sam Rothstein in Martin Scorsese’s Casino. With the red suit, The Weeknd seems to be playing with the idea of a devil-ish other, another side of his personality that emerges in Las Vegas. https://preview.redd.it/gjow6hq2dt261.png?width=1992&format=png&auto=webp&s=10a379bc26df54af88064bf64813d5cdd29775d9 While the city lights are the oft discussed part of part of Las Vegas, it should be noted that similar to Beauty Behind the Madness, the desert that surrounds Las Vegas is just as important to the juxtaposition of its beauty. The "Until I Bleed Out" video ends/"Snowchild" video in the desert, similar to the confrontation between Robert De Niro’s and Joe Pesci’s showdown in the desert in Casino, as well as Joe Pesci's death in Goodfellas. The idea of a hedonistic desert playground also bears semblance to Westworld, both the film and the TV show. The desert seems to represent some sort of freedom to The Weeknd, as the "Snowchild" video portrays the desert as a pensive location for reflection, as well as the "In Your Eyes" video showing the girl prominently dancing with the dismembered head out in the open, in reference to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another prominent desert film. https://preview.redd.it/98ec10wxct261.png?width=1168&format=png&auto=webp&s=45e29aa361fa41ff74e2a6017e203015bdcbc6c3 New York/The Safdies Despite it’s Las Vegas setting, After Hours also takes a good amount from films set in New York, most notably Martin Scorsese’s 1983 film After Hours. Besides the title, After Hours is similarly about a twisting and turning nighttime odyssey. The film stars Griffin Dunne as Paul, a working class stiff who heads downtown to rendezvous with a woman he met at a diner earlier that night. Of course, things don’t turn out the way they should, chaos ensues, and Paul is set on a dangerous trek back uptown. Like the film, the album After Hours is set off by a woman (though the album takes more stock in romantic endeavors), seems to be set over a single night (or at least a condensed period of time), and involves similar chaos and misadventures (sirens at night at the end of Faith). Tonally, After Hours the film is more comedic perhaps than After Hours the album, however The Weeknd is on the record as having said that "Heartless" and "Blinding Lights" placement on the album is intended to be somewhat comedic, reflecting exaggerated machismo and ecstasy, respectively (to comedic effect). https://preview.redd.it/f3w7yz4pdt261.png?width=1346&format=png&auto=webp&s=fe7e4f003987fd843020a42a5b53f94092984267 Another of the most prominent filmmakers of After Hours are the Safdies, who featured The Weeknd in Uncut Gems. They also served as a link to Oneohtrix Point Never, who scored their last two films and later worked After Hours. I believe there are three major film tropes (not genres) that inspired After Hours, all of which the Safdies’s have engaged with. There is the one-long-night films, in which a character spends one-long-night on the run from whatever chaos and forces may be that they left in their path. This can be seen in the Good Time, as well as After Hours (the movie). Then, there is the descent-into-madness type, where a character slowly loses grip with reality and ends up in over their head (something like Scarface or Breaking Bad, but for our purposes Jacob’s Ladder can be categorized here as well), which the Safdies did with Uncut Gems. Lastly, but maybe most importantly, the Safdies also explored toxic romance (more on this later) in their less seen film Heaven Knows What, about two heroin addicts and the destructiveness their love brings out in each other, an idea that recurs throughout After Hours on songs like "Until I Bleed Out" and "Nothing Compares." A recurring song throughout Heaven Knows What is Isao Tomita’s synth version of Debussy’s "Claire De Lune", which is featured in some episodes of Memento Mori and bears some resemblance to the start of "Alone Again". https://preview.redd.it/em255b5qdt261.png?width=1344&format=png&auto=webp&s=a5226c9496d0ae5c14b6d6c05e16f5ea18678a9a Obsession/Toxic Romance While love and lust and the ups and downs with it have been a formative part of The Weeknd’s ideology and themes, I don’t think it would be remiss to say that After Hours is perhaps his most outwardly romantic album. Despite this, one of the major arcs of the album is toxicity that comes with it, which a number of already mentioned films deal with. While "In Your Eyes" is one of the more romantic and accessible songs on the album, a re-assessment of it Ala Sting’s “Every Breathe You Take” could frame it as lonely obsessing, such as Travis Bickle’s infatuation with Jodie Foster’s teenage prostitute Iris, Joker's fixation on Murray Franklin, Rupert Pupkin’s obsession with Jerry Langford. Casino also deals with toxic romance, another prominent theme in After Hours, best seen in the love triangle that forms between Sam, his partner Nicky and his wife Ginger, played by Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone respectively. https://preview.redd.it/eq1ioijvdt261.png?width=898&format=png&auto=webp&s=f9e4b781ee60762ae767c4dbd92066357ebc24b0 In almost all of the After Hours’s video content, The Weeknd seems to constantly meet his demise at the hands of women. Another interesting reference that may be something of a reach is to Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about Reynolds Woodcock, a couture dressmaker loosely based on Cristobal Balenciaga and his muse Alma, played by Daniel Day Lewis and Vicky Krieps, respectively. The film delves into their dysfunctional relationship, with Woodcock berating her and Alma poisoning his tea to keep him dependent on her. One of the highpoint of the film is a New Years Eve Party that bears strong resemblance to the "Until I Bleed Out" video. While the balloons may just be a callback to his earlier work, there is something about the color grading/temperature and the production design of the "Until I Bleed Out" video (as well as parts of the "Blinding Lights" video) that made me immediately think of Phantom Thread. A similar relationship is seen in the German horror film Der Fan, which The Weeknd has mentioned in a recent interview. In Der Fan, a young girl Simone spends her days obsessing over popstar R, until she finally encounters him outside his studio. The film is similar to the aforementioned Takashi Miike’s Audition in its exploration of obsession and idealization. In the film, an older man puts up a fake casting call to search for the perfect girlfriend. While Audition explores these themes from an Eastern perspective of societal pressure, Der Fan explores it through a Western lens of pop idolization and idealization. Both films deal with the idea that despite outward appearances, the perfect partner does not exist, and anyone that claims to be (or has the expectations put on them) is not who they seem. https://preview.redd.it/3m661q62et261.png?width=1342&format=png&auto=webp&s=c9377018cb53f67cf7ce95b24392afb471e4aec1 One film he has spoken at length about is Trouble Everyday, Claire Denis’s arthouse vampire movie. The film stars Vincent Gallo as Shane, a scientist who travels to Paris under the guise of his honeymoon to track down core, a woman who he was once obsessed with who has now become a vampire. Core is locked up in a basement but sometimes sneaks out to seduce and consume unwilling victims. This seems to be where some of the bloody face stuff comes from, but I believe it’s influence is a little more conceptual. To me, a good companion film to Trouble Everyday is American Psycho, which seems to also have been a thematic influence on After Hours. Both films concern idealized version of masculinity and femininity, both very sexual and physical, but hostile as well. American Psycho ends with Patrick Bateman confessing to the killing of a prostitute, but no one believe him. Trouble Everyday ends with Shane killing Core, but Shane is unable to arouse himself after that except through violence. Koji Wakamatsu, a former Yakuza turned prominent extreme Japanese filmmaker (and a major influence on Gaspar Noe) is quoted as saying “For me, violence, the body and sex are an integral part of life.” Despite being hollow, idealized impressions of the self, a vampire and as a banker (cold, seductive bloodsuckers = monsters), Patrick Bateman and Core represent the Frankenstein-ian relationship between sexuality and violence, which I believe is the main theme of After Hours. Truly, we hurt the ones we love. https://preview.redd.it/zfllbd83et261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=9c048ee98d86d7bbb9db67fa8302d34c36214c4f
To cap things off, I would just like to illuminate some key takeaways. As a filmmaker myself, this has been an extremely helpful exercise in understanding other artists process and ideas. Steeped in the history of the medium… It’s clear that The Weeknd is not your typical “I’m influenced by cinema” artist but an extremely legit film buff with serious credentials. The Weeknd’s film taste leans towards 70s-00s genre works, mostly horror, drama and thriller, and is well versed in the classics but also has the nose to sniff out deeper cuts and obscurities. The mantra of “good artists borrow, great artists steal” works even better if not many people know where you’re stealing from! What is impressive to me is that he is not just versed in “mainstream” obscurities, but also serious deep cuts. Films like Possession and Phantom of the Paradise may not stick out to the average person on the street but are well known in most film circles. Films like Inland Empire and New Rose Hotel (Der Fan was especially impressive to me, it is one of my favorite films) however are not as well known and it is very impressive to me that he can come across films like that, and really get enough out of it to bring into his own work. …is able to interpolate contemporary/mainstream films… This perhaps is one of the most impressive aspects of his integration of film into The Weeknd’s work. It is very easy for film buffs to get lost within their own obscure taste, living in a world where everyone is an idiot for not knowing who Shinya Tsukamoto. Trilogy and Kiss Land had a lot of contemporary obscurities, like Stalker, David Lynch etc., well known but they still existed as artifacts, not of the time we live in. However, perhaps picking something from his work on Fifty Shades of Grey, of late he has kept his finger on the zeitgeist and anticipated/integrated what the filmmakers of today are doing, such as his work on Black Panther and Game of Thrones, general appreciation of Tarantino, the works of Nicolas Winding Refn in Starboy, and his use of the Joker and Uncut Gems on After Hours, both of which came out just a few months before the album. It feels Jackson-esque, and I believe this is one thing that will help him further in his quest for pop stardom. …while also being fully in tune to the works of modern transgressive auteurs… In addition to keeping up with the mainstream is in touch with, The Weeknd also makes it a point to seek out and learn from the cutting edge filmmakers of today. While the Safdies were always going to blow up, I don’t doubt that a Weeknd co-sign accelerated their rise. Gaspar Noe is one thing, Enter the Void and Irreversible exist as masterpieces of the mainstream obscurities I’ve been mentioning, but he really truly tries to understand the heart of Noe’s work, even going so far back as to understand Noe’s influences (I sincerely hope he is tuned in to the work of Koji Wakamatsu). But most of all, to be a fan of Claire Denis is one thing, but to seek her out and make her an offer that she ACCEPTED is absolutely astounding to me. Just spitballing but it would be like if Michael Jackson shot a music video with Rainer Werner Fassbinder (who I’d bet good money that The Weeknd was put on to by Noe). We can only PRAY that one day we will be blessed with a David Lynch Weeknd video. --------------------------- …and that just about does it. Hope you enjoyed this and thanks for being patient with me. I got quite busy after the first two and had my own projects/work going that kept me occupied. As we’re still technically in the After Hours era, I also wanted to wait until a few more videos and interviews came out to aid me in my research. I also wanted to find enough time to make the Letterboxd for this. I personally don’t love Letterboxd culture, I find the popular culture surrounding the site a bit snobbish and exclusive, but I’ve gotten a number of requests for one and you gotta give the people what they want. Throughout the list are a few films that he hasn’t mentioned but are some of my personal favorites and I believe Weeknd fans will like, I encourage you to accidentally stumble upon things on it. Don't overthink, just pick something and watch! If you’d like to follow me further, you can find me on Instagram here, where I post about film reviews Letterboxd style. I prefer Instagram so that more average people see it instead of an echo chamber of film snobs. I am also a filmmaker myself, I just recently wrapped this short film and am currently in the process of putting together my next project. The main reason I did this however, besides a general appreciation of The Weeknd’s work, was to put more people on to the beautiful art form that is cinema. One thing I learned from Scorsese is that one must be an advocate and truly champion your medium. I hope that this encourages to check out more interesting movies than they wouldn’t normally come across, and I hope this will inspire more people to create more as well, whether it be to write, make films, music, anything. If even one person picks up a pencil, a camera or a keyboard because of these posts, I will be satisfied. Thanks all!
After I tried to stop this series and start a new series (which failed), I am back in the driver's seat for King's Survivor's final phase, since it would probably have lasted longer if Adobe didn't cancel Flash (thanks for rushing my series, mate!). This season, I tried to do what u/swoldow did before and make a season called Saints Vs Sinners, where 10 people who embody the term "Saint" will face off against the people who embody the term "Sinner", but unfortunately, it seemed like a lot of the people who signed up misunderstood the definition of saints and sinners. For the love of god, someone who is slightly villainous is not a "sinner", and average people are not "saints". Oh well. I guess it's the best I'm gonna get. Here is the cast: Kahramanca (Saints) Tribe: Ardet Prifti, 31, Rhythm Guitarist, u/Twig7665 Ardet lived a difficult life. Born in Albania with a family that was associated with the mafia meant that Ardet was never safe, and one day, he came back home to find his whole family had been murdered by the Albanian mafia. He spent years on the street, struggling to survive, before he discovered his musical talent. He played a guitar (which he had to steal), which enabled him to earn money. After a few years of doing that, he moved to the United States, where he did his best to get into the largest music college in that country, and actually succeeded. He met some people that became his bandmates, and soon they were pretty popular in the underground scene. When their fame exploded, Ardet's bandmates grew either egotistical or paranoid, but Ardet saw fame as a way to spread awareness for mental illness. He has now become a strong supporter of mental health charities around the country, and he signed up for Survivor to raise money for one of the charities he supports. Ava Chrisly, 23, Kindergarten Teacher, u/Gemini_B Ava was born deaf. After her father died when she was 3, her birthmother struggled to care for her and her 3 siblings. Ava was especially tough since she needed special treatment and one night her birthmother left her on the doorstep of a rich widow with a note explaining how Ava got there. The Widow, not wanting to deal with a deaf child, left her outside where she spent a cold night alone and scared. She came across Marissa, a young girl who ran away from home. Marissa took pity on her and the two banded together. They spent years together on the street with Ava learning to read lips and Marissa learning sign language. Marissa quickly saw that Ava had a gift with children and encouraged her to find a job with kids. Ava didn’t want Marissa to leave, but then Marissa surprised her by revealing she had a scholarship to a teachers college. Ava went off to the collage and became a kindergarten teacher, but when she returned she learned that Ava had gone to jail for stealing from a rich old woman and using the money to bribe a college administrator. Ava promised she’d help bail Marissa out, and learned about survivor. She’s hoping she can win the million to help free Marissa and get their lives on track. Chelsea Rutherford, 22, Lifeguard, u/IAmWolfNinja Chelsea was the heiress to the throne of a foreign country with a corrupt government. The wealth that came with such a status meant nothing to her, since she was utterly disgusted with the actions of her family. Knowing her resentment for their governmental policies, Chelsea's family gradually became verbally abusive towards her. Unable to take any more, she escaped as a teen to pursue her own path. When she arrived in America, Chelsea wanted to do everything she could to erase her dark past and the actions of her family, so she got a job as a lifeguard, where she has saved countless lives. She's occasionally recognized as an heiress, but when it's brought up, she tends to have nervous breakdowns. Chester "Cap'n" Richardson, 67, Retired Naval Officer, u/swoldow Some may see him as just the average old man, but Cap’n has seen and done things most people couldn't fathom. Cap’n joined the navy at a ripe young age about 5 years before the Cold War began, and learned everything from afar, slowly working up the ranks. When things got bad in Vietnam, he was given the chance to take charge of a ship during the war, and he immediately said yes. He ran the ship strictly, but he got both respect from everyone, as well as being genuinely liked as a person by his crew. He led them to many naval victories but unfortunately that didn't last, when his ship was shot with a torpedo, which blew the whole thing up and killed everyone on it, except for Cap’n. With the emotional baggage of watching people he has gotten to know kick the bucket, he immediately resigned from the navy after. As a result of the shipwreck, his mindset has changed, as he’s now super overprotective of his family, and still can't let the explosion go after years and years of retirement. He hopes Survivor can help him learn more about himself, and be the thing he needs to live the rest of his life in peace. Cornelius Von Helton, 52, CEO, u/Gemini_B Cornelius was raised by a family that had fallen from riches and was in tough times. He never expected to get to go to university but got lucky by getting a scholarship for his creative greeting cards. While at university, he enrolled in a business course and after collage started a greeting card business with some friends. All of his friends quickly gave up on the business, but Cornelius stuck through it. When he made a greeting card that was delivered to Eddie Murphy, the comedian was impressed and hired him to do his greeting cards to his friends, family, and invitations to parties. Quickly other celebrities started to hire his business and many fans wanted to get into the trend. His business rapidly expanded and he soon found himself with a company that covered parties, greeting cards, published books and even dabbled in a touch of Realestate. While in his thirties though, Cornelius was mugged while on a walk in the park and got stabbed. He was quickly rushed to the hospital and while there, he was nursed back to health by his soon to be wife. He claims that she saved his life and proceeded to date her after leaving the hospital. She was reluctant at first, but he quickly charmed her and the two have been married for 15 years now. He has two children, a son aged 10 and a daughter aged 8. He's continued to run his business, but leaves most of the work to his higher-ups as he wants to be able to spend as much time with his family and employees as possible. He views his employees as his family and does his best to remember all their names and make the workspace as nice for them as possible. He's come to survivor because his wife loves the show and wanted to compete, but due to growing health issues can't. She's trained him to win, and he wants to do this and win for her. Dana Vasquez, 43, Stay At Home Mom, (filler character) Greg Zimmer, 40, High School Teacher, u/AngolanDesert Greg is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He is very trusting and kind and will do anything for the people he loves. Since he grew up in Texas, hard work has always been his priority. He knows that if he wants to win this game, he has to work hard at everything he does. Greg decided to be a high school teacher so he could teach his students the importance of hard work. He has been a fan of survivor for a while, so when he saw that applications for survivor were going out, he knew he had to join in. Hopefully, he won’t disappoint his students. Gwendolyn "Gwen" Wallerby, 52, Baker, u/ghetra Gwen works at a bakery where she gets to do what she loves every day: make many different kinds of pies. She is a very warm, loving person and has a reputation for helping out whoever needs it, usually by baking for them. Baking takes a lot of patience and strength, and she is stronger than she looks. She naturally has a very loud voice that sometimes irks people, but once they get to know her it quickly becomes endearing. Now that her children are out of the house, she has started reading much more and taking classes on different subjects that interest her. The world is her oyster. Kirk Smolarek, 62, History Teacher, u/Twig7665 Kirk never had a normal childhood. His mom walked out on his family not long after he was born, and his father was a former Polish soldier with PTSD and a severe drug addiction, leading to Kirk experiencing abuse from him for as long as Kirk can remember. Wanting to escape his miserable life, he smuggled himself on a boat bound for Australia when he was 16. Lo and behold, the ship got caught in a windstorm and ended up sinking, and Kirk and a few other survivors ended up stranded on an island. After spending more than a month there, he was taken back to his homeland after being found there. He ended up being the only survivor of the whole ordeal. He was returned to his deranged father, where the next time his father tried to abuse him, he fought back, causing his father to end up in the hospital. Deemed not guilty because he defended himself, Kirk did not spend time in prison for this. His father on the other hand did spend time there for drug-related charges and child abuse, but was killed by another inmate before he could be released. Kirk then went to college, where he studied history there, and decided to become a history teacher. He then kept that job title for over 40 years now, and despite being in his 60s, he is still an enjoyable presence for his students, as he incorporates unusual teaching methods to make his students interested in what he's teaching. Despite being financially stable, he wants to win the money so he can be well off when he retires in a few years. Maralyn Sander, 32, Tour Guide, u/Void_Drone Maralyn gives tours of New York, driving around in her bus, answering questions, watching broadway shows. And she spends most of her money on her family, except for the money she spent on her pink pearl necklace. She enjoys the tours for the most part, but when she's alone she vents about how annoying the tours can be. Kotu Adam (Sinners) Tribe: Alexa Station, 20, YouTuber, u/IAmWolfNinja A 3AM YouTuber who arrived late to the trend, Alexa has a tendency to flex her belongings when no one really cares. She was recently involved in a scandal where she faked her boyfriend's death, causing endless amounts of controversy, and a near arrest. Her sub count is dropping significantly every day, so she joined to help gain her popularity (relevancy) back. Carter Witworth, 23, College Student, u/JTsidol Witworth, he was born to a extremely rich family, but his parents didn’t have time for him, but spoiled him rotten, when he got into school, he was known for being a bully, however no one confronted him, and everytime he’d get in trouble or fail a test, his parents would pay his way out, last year, he got a slap in the face, when his parents yet again had to bribe the college board to accept him, they cut off his allowance, he’s playing just for the money, nothing else. Irvin Eamers, 32, Olympic Sprinter, u/asiansurvivorfan A born athlete, Irvin loved competing in all sports but wasn’t known to play fair as he was never a team player and would often torment others to win. He started training for the Olympics at the age of 17 and eventually got the opportunity to compete in multiple Olympics where he took home many gold medals. However, they were striped from him when he was caught doping and using steroids to give him an edge in races. After the controversy, Irvin’s current wife left him and he was banned from competing in any future competitions. He came on Survivor for one reason and that is that is the money as he’s currently being sued by the Olympic committee. Jessica Abrefa, 25, Poker Player, u/Twig7665 Jessica wasn't the most well off growing up, she lived in Alabama, where racism was rampant. As such, she was bullied for her race, until one day, she decided that they will all be wrong about her not being able to do anything because of her skin colour. She publicly humiliated the whole football team at her high school, and that stunt got her expelled in her senior year. She didn't care, and then she decided to run away to Las Vegas, which she did. While there, she started modeling, but found it boring. She then picked up the hobby of gambling, and played her first poker match when she was 21. She proved herself to be a formidable foe by beating one of the top poker players at the time, a dude named Brett Herman. Impressed by her skills, he tried to form a bond with her, but she turned him down due to him being a very paranoid man. Now, Jessica dates and cheats on men almost daily, and is considered one of the top female poker players, despite only playing for a few years. An avid Survivor fan, she wants to be as flirty and manipulative as she is in her real life. The only problem would be meeting another poker player, but she finds it unlikely that she will. Joey "Wildcard" Caruso, 24, Poker Player, u/wordonthestreet2 Joey did not grow up with the best moral compass as his father notoriously had ties to the mafia. He used the money his father made through illegitimate businesses to gamble throughout his teenage years. When his father learned about his poker abilities and how easy it was for him to manipulate his opponents they began using his poker career as a way to launder mafia money through various casinos. He is known for his excellent poker face and unpredictable style of play which earned him the nickname Wildcard. Maize Nguyen, 28, Heiress, u/Vicctoryy From the outside looking in, the Nguyen Family Dynasty of San Francisco looks like a well supported and strong business, but from the inside, things are crumbling apart. The matriarch and patriarch are always at each other's necks over the company, leaving their children to clean up their messes. Maize, being the oldest, has taken it upon herself to lead the company, and she leads with an iron will and even harder iron fist. While she seems like a worthy replacement for her faulty parents, she has never been afraid to leave with force. Anyone at the receiving end of a verbal lashing from Maize is likely to not return to work the next day, or ever again. She is arrogant, rude, demeaning, and yet she gets things done. Saving the company from absolute bankruptcy caused a lot of backlash, but Maize couldn't care less. Success should be accomplished by stepping on the necks of those who aren't ready for the power, and Maize has done that exact thing. Any person in Maize's way has been an obstacle she has to conquer, and with a flip of her finger, that obstacle is no longer a problem. She has never been afraid to crack a few eggs to make an omelette, and unfortunately, those eggs have just been working class people struggling to make minimum wage and put dinner on their table. Too bad for them according to Maize. Maize has come to Survivor to prove that the Nguyen Dynasty is far from over, and their business monopoly will run on for years with Maize at the front of it. She is the iceberg, everyone else is a ship with no idea of what's in their way. Those too bold to step in her way are trampled, quite literally. Maize has no problem with controversy, controversy brings attention, attention brings money, and money brings power. Molly-Anne Benson, 26, Marketing Assistant, u/ghetra Molly-Anne is a social butterfly. She loves chatting with people about pretty much anything and loves meeting and getting to know new people. She has a natural charm about her that draws people in, but sometimes people are bothered by how chatty she is. She also loves to gossip and is not above spreading rumors. However, she is rather sensitive and can be set off by just about anything. She frequently will push people's buttons if they offend her and will hold a grudge until the end of time. Nikki Lopez, 29, Stripper, u/Void_Drone Randall Martin, 49, Real Estate Agent, u/TDSwaggyBoy Being a self proclaimed sleazeball, which is a very weird thing to be proud of, Randall's life was never too good. He didn't grow up with a lot of close friends. Sure, people liked him at first, but when they really got to know him they didn't appreciate him nor his antics very much. Randall had to make a name for himself. He quickly found a career in the world of real estate. Not even his co-workers enjoyed his company, but they appreciated his skills. Being a fast and smooth talker really pays off in his industry. And now, Randall wants to put his skills to use in SURVIVOR. How well will that pan out? Vito Luco, 49, Used Car Salesman, u/swoldow Vito is the last person you'd want to trust with anything. A true con-artist at heart, he now has a job selling used cars, but his past jobs would make you run away from him in fear. When he was younger, he was a part of a major drug-trafficking operation run by the mafia, and he later got a job selling illegal fireworks, both of which got him to do jail time for a decade. Newly released, he seems to be back to his old ways, as he scams people out of their money daily with his faulty cars. He was born constantly overshadowed by his perfect younger brother, who is a popular politician, while he just swindles from people. As a result, he hates people who play loyally, and wants to prove that evil is the best way to play. He isn't afraid to play hard, as that's what he did all his life, and he'll either win, or go out swinging. Link to Season Episode 1: The 20 new contestants are welcomed into Turkey, where their first task is to compete in a challenge for reward. The Sinners tribe win this reward due to having more young and fit members than the Saints tribe. As a result, the Saints are already demoralized as they arrive at camp. Cap'n starts to feel good vibes from Ardet and Maralyn, and takes them under his wing to form an alliance. Ava, on the other hand, reveals that she is deaf to Chelsea and Gwen, and the three form another alliance due to being close to one another already. Cap'n sees this and scrambles to find an idol, and does so. Over at the Sinners tribe, Witworth and Jessica see their opportunity to look for an idol, and they find it, giving them more security, while back at camp, Maize and Nikki get into a fight over thinking that the other has an idol, which neither of them do. Vito becomes the moderator of this fight, saying that the three of them plus Irvin and Molly need to stick together in the long run. Randall sees this alliance form and tries to get Alexa, Jessica, Witworth, and Wildcard on board, which they all agree to at first, but then Wildcard sees this as his opportunity to cause conflict within his tribe, so he becomes content with being a swing vote. The Sinners win immunity, and on the Saints tribe it quickly becomes a race to see who can scrape up the swing votes the fastest between Cap'n's alliance and Ava's alliance. Dana becomes the target for Ava's alliance because of her weakness in challenges and her blind loyalty, while Greg is targeted by Ardet and Cap'n due to his shiftiness. They are able to get Kirk and Dana on board to blindside Greg, and they try to talk to Gwen, but she does not flip. Instead, at tribal council, we end up with a 5-5 split, followed by a 4-4 vote split due to no one flipping. Then a rock draw occurs on the first vote of the season. Ardet becomes the victim of the rocks, sending him out of the game despite never receiving a single vote. Episode 2: After an explosive first vote, Cap'n tries to figure out who flipped on the six and sent Ardet home. No one tells him who did it, so he assumes it was Ardet. Ava tries to flip Maralyn from Cap'n's alliance, but is unsuccessful at doing so. At the Sinners camp, Jessica and Witworth, despite being closely aligned, argue over who gets to keep the idol, and Witworth ends up keeping it in the end. The Saints pull out a surprise victory over the fractured Sinners, and back at camp, Wildcard decides to snake the alliance he was pretending to work with, and joins Vito's alliance. Their first target is none other than Alexa, who saw this game as nothing other than a tool to get more relevancy back, and it particularly irked Vito, who wanted to play against people who played hard. So together, with his alliance and Wildcard, they vote for Alexa. Meanwhile, the four person alliance realizes that Wildcard snaked them, so they vote for him, and Alexa becomes the second person voted off in a 6-4 vote. Episode 3: After Alexa's vote off, Irvin tries to bond with Vito, wanting to be his right hand man, and they become closer due to both being sleazy people. Wildcard begins to feel like he's in control, and it starts to annoy people on his tribe. At the Saints camp, Cap'n starts to rub people the wrong way because of his cockiness due to having an idol, but no one catches on to him having an idol, which is good news for him, because he plans on holding onto the idol until the merge. The Sinners win immunity for the third time, and they grow cocky because of this. Cap'n and Kirk, being the two oldest men on the tribe, join forces with Dana and Maralyn to take out their biggest threat in the opposing alliance, Greg. However, the other side has majority, and they decide that Dana has been blindly loyal to the other three, and hasn't been pulling her weight in challenges, so she becomes the third person voted out in a 5-4 vote. Episode 4: After a somewhat boring vote, Greg starts to get paranoid, since he's already gotten 9 votes and it's only episode 4. He then tries to get the minority alliance to pin their votes onto Gwen, but Gwen gets angry at him for doing so, and they have an argument. At Sinners camp, Jessica tries to talk to Irvin, trying to get his alliance to help hers take out Wildcard, and Irvin tells Vito about the plan, and Vito starts to see Wildcard as not being of use anymore. After losing the reward challenge, the Saints come back harder and beat the Sinners at the next challenge. Wildcard lets Vito know that he is going to vote Maize, since he wants to make a big move early on. This becomes the final nail in Wildcard's coffin, as Vito was quite close to Maize. At tribal council, Wildcard becomes the first unanimous boot of the season, going out in a 8-1 vote. Episode 5: Vito starts to think that Irvin has been playing way too loyally, and he gets into a discussion with him that slowly devolves into a full-blown fight between them, but Vito, realizing that Irvin would make a bad enemy, tries to make it up to him, and it works. The Sinners win both reward and immunity, and they feel elated about it. Cornelius goes to Cap'n and proposes an alliance to him, allowing them to control things from behind the scenes with Maralyn. He also reveals that he has grown a disdain for Greg, and that they need to flip the numbers on him. They get Gwen and Kirk on board, or so they think, but Gwen blabs to Greg and their alliance, leading to Kirk to flip as well. They decide to vote Cornelius out due to him being the biggest gamer on the tribe, and he goes in a 5-3 vote. Episode 6: The tribes pack up their things, anticipating a swap, but then the host announces that they will be competing for individual immunity on their tribe, and whoever wins will be safe from the double tribal council taking place that night. Maralyn wins for the Saints, and Vito wins for the Sinners. The Sinners also win reward, earning food to enjoy while they watch the other tribe go to tribal council. Witworth, Jessica, and Randall decide it was now or never to get rid of Maize, who had a fight with Randall earlier that day, but Vito, hearing about this, decides that Randall is the biggest sleaze on his tribe, and he needed to go as soon as possible. In his voting confessional, he states there can be only one sleazy guy on the tribe, and that was himself, so Randall had to go, and Randall becomes the sixth person voted out in a 5-3 vote, and he is bitter as all hell about it. At the Saints tribe, Cap'n becomes angry over the fact he cannot vote in the majority, and it makes the majority annoyed with him, so they decide to vote him off. Luckily for Cap'n, he still has an idol, so he and Maralyn vote for the most threatening player in their minds, Chelsea, and Cap'n plays his idol, sending Chelsea out of the game in a 2-0 vote. Episode 7: After Chelsea's idol out, Cap'n officially became public enemy number one on his tribe, and he tries to find his rehidden idol, but Kirk finds it instead. Maralyn and Greg have a fight due to the food on their tribe running low, and morale being even lower. At the Sinners tribe, Nikki begins to be seen as an easy goat due to her one-sided loyalty to Vito. Morale at the Saints tribe dips even lower when they lose both reward and immunity. Not wanting to lose again,the majority decide to vote off their oldest member, Cap'n, as a last ditch attempt to prevent them from going on a losing streak. Cap'n and Maralyn vote for Greg, and Cap'n becomes the eighth person voted out in a 5-3 vote, missing out on the jury by one placement. Episode 8: After Cap'n's vote out, there are only five members on the Saints tribe, compared to the Sinners having seven. The Sinners increase their winning streak by two by winning both reward and immunity. At the Sinners camp, Jessica and Witworth have another fight over the idol, with Jessica insisting that she keep it. This causes the rest of the tribe to be alerted to the fact that Jessica and Witworth have an idol, and Witworth becomes a target because of this. At the Saints tribe, the women form a tight three, and Kirk and Greg are forced to band together to survive. At tribal council, the three women stay strong, and Greg is voted out 3-2 and becomes the first member of the jury, leaving only four Saints left in the game. Episode 9: With his back up against the wall, Kirk knows that he's probably gone next if he didn't have the idol, which ensured his survival until merge. The Saints finally win a challenge, a reward challenge, but lose immunity once again to the inflated egos of the Sinners. Not much else happens this episode, but Kirk tries to get Maralyn to flip and vote out Ava, but she disagrees to do so, and she votes for Gwen instead, making Kirk not trust her, and he decides to vote for her, while also playing his idol. This causes a 1-1-0 tie between Gwen and Maralyn, and Ava, misunderstanding what would happen if she forced a tie, votes for Gwen while Kirk votes for Maralyn, and Ava becomes the second person in King's Survivor history to be eliminated by default, due to there being no other options, and she becomes the second member of the jury Episode 10: At long last, the tribes merge into the purple Ucurum tribe, meaning balance in Turkish. Left in the game is Witworth, Gwen, Irvin, Jessica, Kirk, Maize, Maralyn, Molly, Nikki, and Vito. At first, it seems like it would be Saint Vs Sinner, but Jessica and Witworth come to the three Saints left in the game, and they convince them to vote with them come tribal council. Vito wins his second immunity challenge of the season, and his target was Witworth for being the strongest male not in his alliance, and also for lying about not having an idol, which he believed was given to Jessica. At tribal council, the lines cause a 5-5 divide between Irvin and Witworth, and on the revote, Maralyn randomly decides to flip to avoid a tie, and Carter Witworth becomes the third member of the jury, and also another person to go out with an idol in their pocket. He is understandably pretty pissed about this ordeal, but wishes his tribe well. Episode 11: The day after Witworth's blindside, the nine remaining contestants compete in a reward challenge, which the team containing Irvin, Maralyn, and Vito win. At the reward, Irvin and Vito realize how dangerous Maralyn could be after she starts trying to talk game with them. Soon afterwards, Maralyn finds the idol, and Jessica calls out Molly for following Vito almost blindly. Nikki wins the second post merge immunity challenge, and Vito tries to recruit Jessica for the vote, which succeeds. They then choose to target Maralyn, since she was the most threatening out of the three Saints, and the six remaining Sinners pin votes onto her. Unfortunately for them, Maralyn pulls out an idol, and the Saints vote for Irvin, a potential immunity threat, making him the fourth member of the jury in a 3-0 vote. Episode 12: After Irvin's blindside, only two men are still in the game, compared to the six women. Nikki is able to find an idol, after thinking that she hasn't been playing hard enough, while Molly gets into a fight with Maralyn over the latter pulling out an idol, which she hadn't wanted her to do. Molly wins immunity, and it becomes a battle of the Saints Vs the Sinners, just like the theme of the season. The Saints go after Maize, wanting to weaken Vito further before going after him, but they are unable to swing anyone over and Vito, fueled by vengeance, gets his alliance to vote for Maralyn. In a 5-3 vote, Maralyn becomes the fifth member of the jury. Back at camp, the final seven become annoyed at Nikki's arrogance after being safe from being voted out, so she becomes a target for the two remaining Saints left. Kirk also becomes a target for being a perceived leader for Gwen, causing him to be target numero uno. After Kirk wins immunity, the target shifts from him to Gwen, due to her being perceived as not wanting to play the game, and rather would be along for the ride, which Vito found unpalatable. Kirk and Gwen then try to vote out Molly for her strength in challenges, and in the end, Gwen gets the boot in a 5-2 vote, making her the sixth juror. Episode 13: With only six people left in the game, the final reward challenge takes place. Maize wins it, and she shares it with Vito, her closest ally, and Jessica, who her and Vito wanted to bring closer. Soon, they realize what a threat she could be, especially because she's a poker player, she becomes the biggest target instead of Kirk. Luckily for her, she wins immunity. Kirk tries to bond with Maize as a way to get Vito to not vote him out, but it backfires, and he becomes the biggest target yet again. At tribal council, he votes for Molly, but everyone else votes for him, making him the seventh juror in a 5-1 vote and completely eliminating the Saints from the game. Finale: Jessica, Maize, Molly, Nikki, and Vito remain. Five players who had remarkably different playing styles, but all came from the same tribe. They compete in the second-to-last immunity challenge, which Maize wins, and the biggest target becomes Jessica again, who has proven herself to be the only player not following Vito, and only voting with him just to get further in the game. Vito does not feel the same way about keeping Jessica around, so he and his alliance with Nikki, Molly, and Maize vote for her, and Nikki plays her idol in case someone flipped on her, and Jessica becomes the eighth juror in a 4-0 vote. Back at camp, Vito feels incredibly cocky, and he tries to influence a fight, and he does so between Nikki and Maize. He then goes on to win final immunity, and Nikki tanks her own game with her fight with Maize, and everyone votes her out, causing her to become the ninth juror in a 3-1 vote. The final three consists of Maize, Molly, and Vito. Molly gets criticism for her lack of strategy, only using her social game to get far, and her challenge capabilities. Maize is seen as following too closely to Vito, but the jury is willing to vote for her if Vito tanks his jury speech. He does not, and explains his game in great detail, saying he started out forming a five person alliance on the first night, he commenced the Wildcard blindside, the Witworth blindside, the Jessica blindside, etc. He did it all, but the bonds he formed in the game were genuine, and he didn't intend his villainous backstabbing to be taken personal. In the end, he gets all the jury votes, even from two people he never met, Greg and Ava. Maralyn wins the Fan Favorite for standing up to Vito and her idol play. Winner: Vito Luco, u/swoldow Fan Favorite: Maralyn Sander, u/Void_Drone Potential Returnees (yeah, I haven't done this in a while): Vito, Jessica, Kirk, Maralyn, WItworth, Ava, Cap'n, maybe Ardet, if I do a first boot season Next season, will be the final season before season 35, I won't spoil the theme for 35, but trust me, it won't be a season to miss. Season 34 however, with the release of the new Island Of The Idols sim, it will feature two King's Survivor Idols, who will be revealed with the sign ups. Next season will be King's Survivor Venezuela: Island Of The Idols!
Nintendo's missing franchises and their chances of coming to Switch (long read)
“I want X for Switch”, “when is X coming to the Switch”, “X is perfect for the Switch!” How often have you heard or said these sentences? Quite a lot, probably, especially about Nintendo franchises. Nintendo fans really like first-party games, and they’re always asking for their favorites to come back. Problem is, even though Nintendo owns dozens of franchises, there’s only a few that are guaranteed to show up during any given console, so fans of smaller franchises are left wondering when they’ll play them again. Well, today I’ll try to mostly answer these questions. I’ll take a look at several, Nintendo-owned franchises and try to figure out what are their chances of coming to Switch. I’ll be basing myself on this such as release schedule, success of previous entries, popular demand, market niche and internal interest at Nintendo. However, keep in mind two things. One: Nintendo owns a shit-ton of IPs, and I won’t cover them all. I’ll focus on the ones that have multiple entries, and even then, I might skip a few if I feel I have no meaningful insight. And two: No matter what I or anyone else says, the chances for any of these games to come back is NOT ZERO. Nintendo is unpredictable and they’ll sometimes bring something out of the blue when you least expect it. This year alone we saw the return of Brain Age (a franchise not seen since 2012), Clubhouse Games (a sequel to a game from 2005), and Famicom Detective Club, a franchise with two games from 1988/89, which then received a remake in 1998 and then nothing until twenty two years later. Granted, it’s another remake, but it is still a modern installment in a franchise twenty two years dormant. If Famicom Detective Club can come back in 2020, so can your favorite franchise. Now, let’s begin, in alphabetical order: Art Academy Starting off with a small one. Art Academy is a series of drawing games that started on the DS in 2010 and then released pretty consistently over the following years, with three entries on 3DS and two (well, one and a half) for the WiiU between 2010 and 2016. Already this feels like a franchise with a pretty consistent release schedule, even though it hasn’t been seen for four years now. I don’t think any of the games were blockbusters, per se, but they also don’t need to be. They’re small games, probably inexpensive to produce that seem to do consistently well enough to get new sequels. There are several obstacles that present themselves to the release of a new Art Academy, but I think all of them are easily overcome. For starters, AA is the type of casual game that thrived during the DS/Wii eras, a Touch Generations game. Since the Switch released, many have noted that Nintendo may want to distance themselves from that era due to the failure of the WiiU, and there may be some truth to that, but I feel like this is starting to change. Again, this year saw the return of both Brain Age and Clubhouse Games, both casual, Touch Generations DS games. I feel like, at the start of the Switch’s life cycle, Nintendo was indeed trying to focus on core gamers, but now that they have secured that core gamer audience, they may be more comfortable releasing more casual fare. Furthermore Art Academy is developed by Headstrong Games, a British developer that doesn’t seem to do much other than AA. However, in 2017, that team was absorbed into its parent studio, Kuju Games. This move, which happened the year after the last AA game released, may have something to do with the franchsie’s MIA status. But, Kuju games is still active, having released a game just last year, and I don’t see why they couldn’t take up the mantle. Finally, some speculated a few years ago that AA was dead due to the Switch not having a stylus but, OH WAIT, Brain Age fixed that too! All in all, even though Art Academy is hardly a hot franchise, there’s very little standing in the way of its return, and little reason to doubt that it will. Chances: Good Chibi-Robo! We may have started on a positive note, but here comes a downer. Chibi-Robo is probably not coming back anytime soon. This cute little robot debuted in his self-titled Game Cube game, developed by Skip Ltd. Like most games by the developer, it was quirky and fun, and not very popular, but had its fans, and Chibi-Robo must have endeared someone at Nintendo, because he kept showing up here and there. He got two DS sequels, though the second one was Japan-only, already a red flag. In 2013, he starred in a 3DS eshop game that was very different from the main games, more of an experimental spin-off, and was not well-received. But the real final nail came in 2015, with Chibi-Robo Zip Lash! The game was announced to be a 2D platformer, and many fans identified the change in genre (from a unique adventure game to one of the most over-saturated genres in Nintendo consoles) as a total sell-out, and they were totally correct! The developers basically admitted that they did it to try and get more players (red flag). Series producer Kensuke Tanabe then said that if the game didn’t sell well, it could be the end of the franchise (RED FLAG). And then, the unfortunate but inevitable happened. Zip Lash was a critical and commercial bomb, and neither the developer nor the franchise has been seen again. Aside from the inevitable Smash Bros mentions, Chibi-Robo has only been seen on that infamous flaming tweet from 2018 (I told you someone at Nintendo really likes them). To make matters worse, there are increasing signs that Skip Ltd may be going under So, a struggling franchise makes a desperate move to gain fans, a developer expresses concerns for its future if the game bombs, said game bombs and now the developer may be going out of business? It seems the writing is on the wall. Now, even if Skip goes under, that is not necessarily the end of Chibi. Nintendo would still retain the rights, as they did for Trace Memory and Hotel Dusk after developer Cing went under. As for whether or not Nintendo would want to give the franchise a second (third? Fourth?) chance, it doesn’t look good Chances: Very bad Custom Robo From one diminutive robot to another, the Custom Robo series is and robo-battle series that began on the N64. It was Japan only, as was its N64 and GBA sequels. Afterwards, Nintendo did try to expand it, releasing a GameCube game in NA, and a DS game in NA and Europe. However, despite the fact that players of these games will attest to how good these games are, they didn’t seem to do very well, and the franchise has not been seen since 2007. There was one statement of internal interest, when a developer in 2014 said that he heard demands both inside and outside the company for a new entry, but that there were no plans for one, and he was unsure when there would be. Six years on, it seems there still aren’t. In fact, the developer itself, Noise, is also strangely MIA. Though they are officially still active, with their website being updated for 2020, they have not worked on a game since 2015. Then, in 2018, many fans watched in horror the news that Nintendo let the trademark expire. Some have pointed out that this isn’t as bad as it seems, as it refers specifically to games on optical discs, which Nintendo doesn’t make anymore, but I don’t know enough about the subject to say for certain. Regardless, it’s evident that Nintendo still owns the franchise, as Custom Robo content appears in Smash Ultimate. On the other hand, one of the series creators, Kohji Kendoh, is still thinking about it. He is working for another developer, and released a suspiciously similar game called Synaptic Drive just this year, as well as talking about Custom Robo in social media. It seems like a Mighty no9/ Yooka-Laylee/Bloodstained situation, in which the owner of an Ip is not using it, so the creator releases a spiritual successor. Bottom line, there seems to be demand for Custom Robo. A developer saw it six years ago, and the creator is seeing it now. Whether or not thinks this demand is enough to revive the franchise, is tough to say, but doesn’t look great. Not as bad as Chibi-Robo, though Chances: Bad Daigasso! Band Brothers Here’s a franchise Americans never got. Daigasso! Band Brother is a rhythm game released for the DS in 2004 and stars Barbara the Bat, who has an uncharacteristically risqué design for Nintendo. The game was Japan-only but seems to have been successful, it received a sequel in 2009 (released in Europe, but not NA), and another in 2013 for the 3DS. Despite not having received new games since then, the series is far from inactive. Barbara the Bat in particular, like Chibi-Robo, seems to have fans inside Nintendo because she pops up everywhere. She had cameos in a few other DS games, she was an AT in Brawl and a spirit in Ultimate, she was a costume in Mario Maker, she appeared in a comic strip with WarioWare’s Ashley, and the series has a Twitter account that was super active all the way up to April of this year (more on that later). In 2017, that account even tweeted a comic strip of Barbara demanding a Switch. That was probably not a tease of anything, as it’s been 3 years and nothing, but stuff has happened with the franchise even more recently. Last year, in 2019, six years after the release of the 3DS game, there were 30 songs added to the game in celebration of the series 15th anniversary. So as late as last year, Nintendo was celebrating this franchise with an in-game event. Now, the servers for the game were shut down earlier this year (hence the end of the Twitter account), and the game was removed from the eshop (as it is basically pointless without the servers), but with recent news that the 3DS has ceased production, it’s pretty clear that the game’s end is a consequence of the 3DS’ end, and not a lack of players. So if the series is alive, but can’t be on the 3DS, it has to go somewhere, no? Bottom line: the games are successful, the series is active, and the character is popular. I don’t know if Barbara the Bat’s next tour will be an international one, but I’m confident it will happen Chances: Very Good Dillon’s Rolling Western DRW is a unique western-themed tower defense game released on the 3DS eshop in 2012. It received mixed reviews, but had a dedicated fanbase, and was successful enough to spawn two sequels, one in 2013, and a post-apocalyptic themed one in 2018. With a game having released just two years ago, its reasonable to say the series is not dormant, so the prospect of a new game is always likely. The developer, Vanpool, who mostly works on smaller scale stuff like this, is both still active and still working at Nintendo. So, really the only reason to believe the series wouldn’t continue would be if the latest game bombed really hard. It’s hard to say that it did, as sales figures are unavailable, but it was a 3DS game in 2018, probably didn’t set the charts on fire. But then again, unless Nintendo had some really unrealistically high expectations, I don’t think it could have bombed hard enough to kill the franchise that fast. There’s not much more to say. There aren’t any rumblings of a return, but also no reason to be pessimistic. Chance: Above Average Earthbound Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: There will not be a Mother 4 The Creator of the series, Shigesato Itoi, has said that he would not work on a fourth installment, as he feels the story is complete. Now, normally, Nintendo could just say “screw creative integrity, let’s make a fourth game anyway!” but Shigesato Itoi directly co-owns the series’ copyright so they actually can’t. So unless Itoi changes his mind, or he dies and Nintendo decides to ignore his wishes (neither scenario is completely outside the realm of possibility), Mother 4 is not happening. So, if new Mother content is made, it’d be either a remake, or Mother 3 localization. We all know demand for this last one is overwhelming, Nintendo themselves have acknowledged it multiple times, but it still hasn’t happened, and it doesn’t seem things have changed. A remake is possible, but don’t hold your breath for it. Despite the series’ popularity, I think all we’ll see of it is the first two games in NSO. Chances: Bad Excitebike This is a hard one to pinpoint. Excitebike is one of those classic NES games that Nintendo likes to reference all the time, like Ice Climber, Balloon Fight, Wrecking Crew and Duck Hunt. Unlike those, Excitebike actually received sequels and established a franchised. There was a great entry on the N64 and three entries on the Wii, but nothing more since. I can’t imagine the Wii entries were super successful, and there really hasn’t been any word from Nintendo about any interest in reviving the series, either from developers, or the fans. The developer of the Wii games, Monster Games, is still active, and still makes racing games and extreme sports games, but hasn’t worked with Nintendo in 5 years. Now, one point I see often, and that I’d like to address, is the idea that Nintendo doesn’t want multiple games from the same genre on the same console. I can’t agree. With the exception of the WiiU, every Nintendo home console since the SNES has had multiple Nintendo-published racing games released for it. WiiU didn’t but that console is an exception to many norms. I don’t see why Mario Kart, behemoth that it is, would stop any other racing game from being made, especially when they are so very different (although the fact that MK8 has an Excitebike track doesn’t inspire confidence). No, I don’t think Mario Kart is the problem, I think is just lack of interest. And though Excitebike is not a franchise Nintendo will ever truly forget, it’s not really revving up for a comeback either. It could happen, it could not Chances: Medium Fatal Frame This horror franchise wasn’t originally a Nintendo product, being released on the PS2 by Tecmo. However, since the fourth game, each title in the series has been published and copyrighted by Nintendo, and this seemingly applies to all future entries, as the series producer said the series’ future is up to Nintendo. So, how does that future look like? Well, the last game in the series, Maiden of Black Water, was a WiiU game, which means it didn’t sell well, but not as badly as you might think. From all I could find, which is admittedly not much, sales for the game seemed to be only slightly less than previous entries, a gap more than explainable by its console. So, if the series was getting sequels before, the WiiU game’s sales wouldn’t be the reason why there wouldn’t be more. And though Nintendo of America has had to take baby steps into accepting the franchise overseas, Nintendo of Japan seemed satisfied with it, releasing four games between 2008 and 2014. So sales aren’t an evident problem, what about the developer? That developer is Tecmo Koei, who is not only active and buddies with Nintendo, their current project is none other than Nintendo’s big holiday title. There’s obvious trust there. As for interest, there is a lot. From Koei Tecmo calling it a valuable IP, to the series producer stating multiple times, including this year, that he’d like to bring it to the Switch Now, this comment pretty much confirms that a new Fatal Frame is not in development as of now, but it has a chance of happening. And remember, the last game is on WiiU, and if we know anything about those, is that they like to come to Switch. And though I don’t see Nintendo breaking their necks to make a new entry, I don’t think they’d oppose it if Tecmo pitches it to them, especially if it’s just a port. Chances: Good Fossil Fighters This game is not Pokémon, or so its fans tell me. Fossil Fighters is a DS game from 2008 where you collect various species of dinosaur and battle with other ~Dinosaur Trainers~ Fossil Fighters in RPG battles. It didn’t receive great reviews, but was successful enough to get a sequel two years later, and another one on the 3DS in 2014. Three games in six years is a pretty good release schedule, and things were looking alright, until that 3DS game came. It was primarily developed by a different studio, and it showed. The game received abysmal reviews, and fan reception was similar. Sales weren’t awful, but not great either. Since then, the series has been completely quiet. The developer, Red Entertainment, is still active, but hasn’t worked with Nintendo since the 3DS game. As for interest, there hasn’t been a peep from Nintendo about this series at all. No interviews describing vague interest in bringing it bad, no acknowledgment of fan demand, no cameos in other games (aside from Smash, which doesn’t count, Smash has everything). Even fan demand doesn’t seem too high, most of what I’ve seen is a Change.org petition which has been up for a year and has not reached its 2500 signatures goal. It looks like this series could become a fossil itself. Someday some might dig it up and revive it to use in battle, but I’m not feeling it. Still not as bad as Chibi-Robo Chances: Bad F-Zero This is the reason you’re reading this. Oh, F-Zero. If fan demand alone was the deciding factor, F-Zero would be top priority. People want F-Zero, people beg for F-zero, people who have never played, beg for F-Zero. And Nintendo knows this, they’ve acknowledged it. They themselves haven’t forgotten it. Even putting Smash aside, there was an F-Zero minigame in Nintendo Land. There are F-Zero tracks in Mario Kart. They’ve done everything but make a new F-Zero game, but why the hell not? Well, it’s important to understand that the F-Zero series declined in sales throughout its life. The best-selling game is still the first, and though the following games were fantastic, they sold less and less, and yet, strangely enough, between 2003-2004, Nintendo released THREE F-Zero games. Around the same time, they also released an anime. There are several great articles and videos about what happened to F-Zero, but the best point I’ve seen is that Nintendo tried, in 2003, to really push F-Zero, but it didn’t work. So, with their attempt failed, they let the series sleep, and just never woke it up, even as fan demand increased. In 2015, Miyamoto commented on the series, and said that, though he heard the demand, he was unsure on what to do with the series, on how to make a new game. Many fans scoffed and said he’d just need to make a modern F-Zero and that’d be great, but I think internal concern runs deeper. Just doing F-Zero failed in 2003, so why would it work now? That said, I think there is hope. Fan demand is powerful, and more and more we see a new generation of Nintendo developers pushing the company forward. These younger developers are the ones behind new IP like Splatoon and ARMS, and great reinventions of existing ones like Odyssey and BotW. It’s possible that these same younger developers could hear the fan demand, and want to take on the series without the hesitation of their older peers. It’s been 16 years, but Kid Icarus was gone for 19, wasn’t it? Stranger things have happened Chances: I want to believe Golden Sun And here’s the other one. Few Nintendo fans are as vocal and dedicated to their dormant franchise as Golden Sun games. For those who don’t know, Golden Sun was a couple of excellent GBA RPGs released in 2001 and 2002, with a DS sequel in 2010. Such erratic release schedule would make predicting the series’ future difficult at the best of times, but the DS game was seen as a disappointment by many fans and sales were unimpressive. With ten years having passed with no new game, is the series done for? Well, let’s look at it. In 2012, one of the developers gave an interview in which he straight up said that, if there was fan demand for it, there would “naturally” be a fourth game. We know that developer interview doesn’t immediately guarantee a sequel, but this is also a much more positive statement than Custom Robo and F-Zero’s “We know there’s demand, but we don’t know what to do with it”. This is “If there’s demand, it will happen.” So, is there demand? You bet your ass there is. And it feels like it is growing. There was a high-profile hoax about a fourth game in 2017 (a similar hoax happened some time before the third game, by the way). The series received notably more content in Smash Ultimate than series of similar standing (quite possibly an acknowledgment of its popularity). And last year, Cory Balrog, director of 2018’s GOTY God of War, tweeted about all the franchises he would trade for a new Golden Sun. Nintendo could hardly have asked for a higher profile endorsement within the industry. So if fan demand is there, why hasn’t it happened yet? Well, it helps to look at the development history of the series. The first game took eighteen months to develop, considered a long time for a handheld game at the time. And though the eight years between the GBA and DS games may have you believe it took a long time to greenlight a sequel, that’s not the case. Signs point to internal discussion about a sequel to the GBA games as early as 2002, with developers quoted as saying that Nintendo was asking them to make a new one. One of the series producers also said that the series takes a long time to make because of its complexity. After the DS game failed to meet expectations, its understandable that Nintendo may not have been as enthusiastic for a new game as it was before, but it seems like, even if the series is alive and well, the long hiatus would not be uncharacteristic. In that same interview quoted before, the developer even said that a new game would take a long time. In fact, if GS4 had started development shortly after that interview, if it took as long as Dark Dawn, the game would be wrapping up production around now. Then there’s the developer, Camelot. Aside from Golden Sun, they pretty much only make Mario Tennis and Mario Golf. They release schedule is also super consistent, with a new game every other year, sometimes every year. We already got a Mario Tennis on Switch two years ago so, if not for COVID, their new game would probably have released this year. All things point, then, for the next Camelot game to hit the Switch next year. Smart money would be in Mario Golf, but maybe it is finally Golden Sun. Finally, I don’t think, as others do, that Xenoblade is the reason GS is not happening. Again, I don’t see evidence to support the idea that Nintendo doesn’t want to publish more than one game in the same genre. Both the GBA and DS had more than a dozen Nintendo-published RPGs, and the Wii and 3DS got RPGs even after Xenoblade released for them. I don’t see why Xenoblade would stop a Switch Golden Sun, especially when they are very different kinds of RPGs. GS is actually closer to Octopath Traveler, whose success was enough to impress SE, why wouldn’t Nintendo want a piece? Really, I think the biggest obstacle is that Nintendo might want to prioritize the safe investment of Mario sports games over Golden Sun, but the more I research, the more I feel like GS’s chances are higher now than they were at any point in the last ten years. I feel there’s hope this sun will rise again Chances: Above average Kid Icarus Sorry to keep you waiting. Kid Icarus was an OK NES game that had a forgotten Game Boy sequel and then nobody cared about it for 19 years until it was unexpectedly revived for the 3DS in 2012. This story is a testament to the fact that, just because its been a long time, it doesn’t mean it will never happen. But in order to know if it will happen again, let’s understand how it happened in the first place. It’s important to mention that reviving Kid Icarus was not the intent behind KI: Uprising, it was the idea of its director, Masahiro Sakurai. Nintendo had given him a project and Sakurai decided to use an established franchise for it. He briefly considered Star Fox, but decided to use Kid Icarus, for which he probably had a soft spot, considering he had added Pit to Brawl some years earlier. So, there wasn’t an exec at Nintendo who woke up one day and decided to bring Kid Icarus back, they gave the director a project, and, after some deliberation, he decided to use Kid Icarus for it. That director is currently busy developing Smash Bros DLC, but even after that’s over, he probably won’t revisit Kid Icarus. He has shot down the idea of him working on a sequel or a port. His words were: "For now, my thought is that perhaps we'll see someone else besides me make another Kid Icarus in another 25 years." Yikes. That’s pretty damning. Sure, Nintendo could get someone else to make the game, but if it was only Sakurai that was interested in the series in the first place, what is the hope of that? Well, that statement is not super accurate. Before Uprising, there was actually a Kid Icarus reboot in development for the Wii. It was cancelled, and thank God for it, as it was an awfully stupid gritty reboot, but it showed that there was interest in the franchise even before Uprising. Naturally, you’d expect interest to be bigger now than before. The fact that Uprising not only grew the series’ fanbase, but the that there are Kid Icarus characters in Smash Bros, means that the franchise has a permanent place in the interest in Nintendo fans. Smash in particular means that there are 18 million people who know Pit and Palutena and would turn their heads if a new game was announced. Furthermore, Nintendo’s new CEO is interested in bringing 3DS franchises to the Switch after the success of the Switch Lite, especially now that the 3DS is officially dead, so the opening is there for it. There is definitely demand for a new Kid Icarus game, but it is too sporadic a franchise to be certain, and if it were to happen, Nintendo would have to find someone new to do it. But, in the end, the series is definitely in a better place now than it was 10 years ago. Chances: Medium Legendary Starfy Legendary Starfy was a 2D platformer for the GBA that was apparently really successful, as it received four sequels in the span of five years. Not only that but, like Barbara and Chibi-Robo, Starfy himself was quite popular. He had cameos in Mario & Luigi and Super Princess Peach, music of the series was in Donkey Konga, he is a regular Assist Trophy in Smash and was a costume in Mario Maker. Though the series took until the last game to come to the West, there were plans to bring the first four games too, as well as consideration for expanding the series to the Wii. The series was widely advertised, with animated commercials and tons of merchandise, including plush dolls, CDs, pencils, birthday balloons, casino cards and two manga series. When asked if there were plans for a sixth game, the developer answered “Yes!”, no ifs, not buts, straight-up Yes. And then… nothing. The series just stopped. And the reason why is: I have no idea. Maybe if the last game bombed spectacularly, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Sure, Japanese sales declined with each entry, but not by that much. Maybe NA sales weren’t what Nintendo was hoping for, but surely not enough to kill such a steady franchise. The confusion only grows when we look at its developer, Tose. Now, this is interesting. You’ve probably played a Tose game without knowing. They have worked on over A THOUSAND GAMES, but they never receive credit. They merely assist with development in the shadows. As one exec puts it: "Our policy is not to have a vision. Instead, we follow our customers' visions. Most of the time we refuse to put our name on the games, not even staff names." They are a ghost developer. Even its Wikipedia page admits that the list of games on it is purely speculative. There are probably hundreds more, that we don’t know about. The only exception is the Starfy series. That series was their vision. So why did they stop? Could they have decided that it was against their vision to make a game of their vision? We can only speculate. The fact that the series’ end was so unexpected, and its developer so mysterious, means that any speculation about it is a shot in the dark. All I can say is that there’s no particular reason to expect it. Chances: Not Good Nintendogs Here’s a big one. Nintendogs was one of the biggest successes of the casual era, on par with Brain Age and Wii Fit, but unlike those, it remained a multi-million seller during the 3DS/WiiU generation. And though Nintendo may have tried, at first, to distance the Switch from that era, the return of Brain Age and Clubhouse Games indicates that other casual games would follow, and Nintendogs would be a no-brainer. There is, however, one big problem: the Switch does not have a microphone. While Brain Age on the DS also used the microphone a lot, it was not essential to it. You could easily make Brain Age without it. But not Nintendogs. Issuing voice commands to your virtual pup is integral to the experience. No microphone means no Nintendogs. But with that said, Nintendo did go to the trouble of making a Switch stylus, seemingly just for Brain Age, so maybe they could make a microphone peripheral. Sure, a microphone would be more complex to make than a stylus, but not inconceivable. They did something like that with the Wii Speak. I’m sure for that nintendogs money, Nintendo would do it. Worst case scenario, Nintendo releases Nintendogs and forces you to use the NSO app’s voice chat to talk with your dog. You know they’d do it. There’s also the fact that another developer released a nintendogs clone for the Switch last year, but I don’t think Nintendo gives a shit. Chances: Good Nintendo Wars You may know this series better as “Advance Wars” and you may also know that it is fantastic. In fact, it is one of the highest rated Nintendo franchises on Metacritic, and had a pretty consistent release schedule between 1988 and 2008. All was looking pretty god. But unfortunately the series has been dormant since the last entry on DS. Part of it may be because the series, though originally Japan-only, was never all that popular in Japan. In fact, that last game only saw a limited release as a My Nintendo reward in the region. There is, however, still demand for the series, both externally and internally. Producers from both Nintendo and developer Intelligent Systems have expressed enthusiastic support for a new entry, although they’ve also expressed some uncertainty on what they’d do with it, similar to the Custom Robo and F-Zero responses. The developer for the series is Intelligent Systems, who do a ton of stuff and will be discussed multiple times in this post. They used to release multiple games a year, but have slowed down this past game to just one or two games a year, another possible reason why Advance Wars has been deprioritized, especially in comparison with that boogeyman of Advance Wars and Smash Bros fans alike: Fire Emblem. There is real concern that Nintendo might not want to make a new Advance Wars when they could just make the similar but more popular Fire Emblem instead. That said, IS has already released a Fire Emblem and Paper Mario for Switch, and though we definitely will get at least one more FE during the Switch’s life cycle, there’s enough years left for IS to release some other games, whether they be AW or one of the three other franchises we’ll discuss in the future. Problem is, of those franchises, AW might be the most difficult to produce, and the most risky, so it could probably be lower priority. When asked about the series last year, one IS producer gave a pretty evasive answer, so things aren’t looking too good, but they aren’t hopeless either. Chances: Medium Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents This rhythm series for the DS is widely beloved by those who played it, but its life cycle was pretty limited. One game in 2005, and Americanized version in 2006, and one sequel in 2007. Nothing more since The games were critically acclaimed, but not blockbuster hits. The series creator said back in 2016 that he would love to create a new game, but nothing else has been said about it. The game’s developer iNis, doesn’t appear to be super active either. All in all, there is very little pointing to a return Chances: Bad Pilotwings The biggest obstacle to seeing this series of arcadey flight sims on the Switch is that the series has a very specific purpose: it’s a tech demo. All three games were launch titles for their systems and explicitly meant to show off each system’s new tech. The original game was made to show off the SNES’ Mode 7, the N64 game was meant to show off the console’s polygonal graphics, and Resort was meant to showcase the 3DS’ stereoscopic 3D. With the Switch’s release far behind us, and its graphics not really needing a showcase, Pilotwings chances seem low. Granted, Pilotwings doesn’t need to be a tech demo, but it could be how Nintendo views it as. There is some fan demand for it, but not as much as F-Zero or Golden Sun, and no developer has commented on the possibility of a return. Pilotwings has always been moderately successful, but not enough to justify constant releases. The only glimmer of hope is the comment from Nintendo’s CEO about wanting to bring more 3DS franchises for the Switch, but it’s quite possible that he didn’t have Pilotwings in mind when he said that Chances: Bad Punch-Out!! Another series popular enough to get a Smash character but not popular enough for consistent sequels, Punch-Out is a beloved classic with a consistent fanbase, but with a very erratic release schedule. After the SNES game in 1994, the series lay dormant for 15 years until it was revived for the Wii in 2009 and then laid to rest again. One explanation is that the series was never really popular in Japan. Neither the NES or SNES games were even available as full releases in the country, being instead, distributed as prizes or rewards. And though the Wii game got a full retail release, it sold very poorly. It’s always been a game more for Americans, so it is understandable that the Japanese developers at Nintendo aren’t super enthusiastic about it. That said, it was Nintendo who pitched the reboot in the first place, so they may want to do it again someday. The developer for the Wii game was Next Level Games, who release a game every three or two years, and they also develop Mario Strikers and Luigi’s Mansion. Having already released LM3, it’s likely they’ll release another game for the Switch some time soon. That could be Punch-Out, but it is just as likely that it could be Mario Strikers, or something else entirely. Some think that the series use of flagrant national stereotypes would impede it from coming back in today’s political climate, but frankly, I don’t think that’s as definitive a problem. Worst case scenario, they simply make a new cast, just like Super Punch Out, but less racially insensitive. Another interesting development is that Mike Tyson has been talking about wanting a new Punch-Out this year. I don’t think Nintendo cares what he says, and they definitely don’t want to associate with him again, but it is a pretty high-profile person talking about the series, which is bound to raise interest. Whether that’s enough for Nintendo to consider a new game? I don’t think so. But regardless, Punch-Out is popular enough that the door is never truly closed for it. Chances: Not Good Pushmo This acclaimed puzzle game was released for the 3DS eshop in 2012 and was successful enough to get three sequels. Although it hasn’t been seen since 2015, there doesn’t seem to be anything impeding its return. The developer is our good friend Intelligent Systems, and, of the aforementioned IS franchises still to launch on the Switch, Pushmo, being a simple, but beloved, puzzle game, seems like the safest investment. It likely could be developed alongside another major game. There is demand for it, and considering Nintendo’s eshop efforts, Pushmo would fit in perfectly alongside Snipperclips and fellow 3DS eshop puzzle star Boxboy. All in all, there’s no reason not to expect Pushmo to come back. Chances: Good continued in comments
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