Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pokemon: The First Movie Ending Theme Comparison

Anne of Pikapi Podcast joins in to compare the Japanese and English ending themes of Pokemon: The First Movie. What do "Together With The Wind" and "We're A Miracle" have to offer, and which one will come out on top?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Unboxing a "We're A Miracle" Mastering CD

Christina Aguilera's "We're A Miracle" wasn't written or recorded for Pokemon: The First Movie, but it did take some work to make it ready for the film. Here, we go over a mastering CD that I picked up off of eBay that fills in some details about how that song ended up where it did:

This was an interesting opportunity for me, as I'm always looking for ways to find out more about the production process behind Pokemon music. It's difficult to say if or when I'll have another chance like this, but I'll certainly keep looking.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master Review-Part 4 (Listener Mail) + First Movie Ending Theme Discussion

In the last part of the episode, we go over some of the mail Jowy and KC received:

Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

If you missed some of the earlier parts (or want to restart from the beginning), all four parts are available in a playlist:

If you still need more discussion of Pokemon music, Anne from Pikapi Podcast and I recently recorded a comparison of the Japanese and English ending themes for the first Pokemon movie ("Together With the Wind" and "We're a Miracle"). It will appear here eventually, but for now it's a timed exclusive on the Pikapi Podcast Patreon feed. Here's a sample:

Monday, September 19, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master Review-Part 3

We continue our discussion of the Pokemon 2.B.A. Master album by giving our overall thoughts:

Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Geek.Kon 2016: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Winner

At Geek.Kon 2016, I had an opportunity to interview Jesus Solis, winner of a Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament. We talk about how he got  into competitive Smash, his choice of characters, and his strategy for the finals:


Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Reich here at Geek.Kon 2016. I’m here with Jesus [pronounced hey-suess] Solis, who is the winner of the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament for this year. Jesus, we just have a few questions. First of all, how did you get into competitive Smash Bros.?

Jesus: Well honestly, I’ve always loved Smash Bros., but I just recently got into it when the game came out. I hung out with some friends around Geekplastiq, which is a local store around Madison. And they held these tournaments. I just figured I’d go, and I got to meet some friends who really got competitive with it. So, I kind of just hung around the crowd and kind of got into it.

Steven: That’s neat. So, what were the basic rules for this tournament? How many stock did you have, and what were some of the other things about it?

Jesus: The tournament rules were you had 2 stocks. It was timed for 6 minutes. The stages were a little bit weird, but they were tournament stages. And otherwise than that, it was just basic standard tourney rules.

Steven: So you are allowed in certain cases to switch characters. Basically, if you lose a round, you’re allowed to switch your character for the next round. So you actually used several different characters for this. What were the characters you used for this tournament?

Jesus: I only used 2, which were Mario and Kirby.

Steven: Why those 2 particular characters? Let’s start off, first of all, why Mario?

Jesus: Well, I love Mario’s move set. The mechanics just feel good. He always has a good reflector going on. And the FLUDD is kind of underestimated, because it can be used in very good moments, especially in gimping. And he just worked out pretty well.

Steven: And Kirby is your alternate character there. What do you like about Kirby?

Jesus: To be honest, he’s just a big ball of pinkness. But just his move set as well. There’s a lot you can do with Kirby that people don’t really quite notice. For example, if you’re trying to gimp a Little Mac off a stage here, they can just rush into you and you can swallow them up and poof them back out. But it’s kind of risky, because Little Mac is just this brute of superarmor.

Steven: Yeah, that did kind of come up in the finals as well. So, in the finals, you were paired against a guy-he used Cloud, which is of course one of the new DLC characters, relatively new, and Little Mac. So what was your strategy, first of all, against Cloud?

Jesus: Well, against Cloud- Cloud is definitely strong. And he definitely is fearful when he is charged of his move. So the only thing that’s unfortunate is his recovery. So my strategy was to try to gimp him off a stage here and make him fall off stage.

Steven: Yep, that was the basic strategy there. Eventually though, your opponent did switch to Little Mac. By that point, you had switched to Kirby, so what’s that matchup kind of like?

Jesus: Well, it was completely-it was a wait game, to be honest. Because if I had approached him in the middle of the stage, he would have definitely gotten me. Little Mac here, he’s easy to get in the corner of stages here, just because his recovery’s also really bad, his Up+B, and his side+B. From there on, it’s just a patience game with him. Because, you really need to just try your best to avoid his smash moves, because they’re all just strong. It worked out pretty good. It was just very, very intense.

Steven: It’s an interesting match up there. Well, this is the fourth, if you count the 3DS and Wii U versions together, fourth entry in the series. It’s almost certain, although nothing’s officially announced, that there will be a 5th generation Smash. What would you like to see in a new iteration?

Jesus: First of all, a good controller. Continue to have the GameCube controller as the controller for the mechanics, because the WiiPad is not the greatest, the Wiimote is not the greatest. The 3DS isn’t so bad as a controller, but it’s just a bit strange, just because people are used to this mechanic going on with Smash and so on.

Steven: It is interesting how that controller that was originally designed for games like Luigi’s Mansion and Pikmin and stuff like that has sort of lived on as the default Smash controller, especially for competitive players. Alright, well thank you very much, Jesus. This has been Steven Reich from Geek.Kon 2016.

Transcript by

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Preview: Geek.Kon 2016

I recently had an opportunity to talk to Adam Pulver, public relations representative for Madison-area convention Geek.Kon.  He was able to fill me in on some of the details of this year’s event, which runs from Friday the 26th to Sunday the 28th.

How did Geek.Kon get started?
Geek.Kon was started ten years ago by some University of Wisconsin students. After two free two-day conventions on campus, we moved off-site to a hotel, expanded to three days, and promptly outgrew the space in one year. We've been at the Marriott ever since.

Who are some of this year's guests?
This year's featured guest is Jason Carter, best known as Ranger Marcus Cole on Babylon 5. We also have voice actors Jerry Jewell, Christina Kelly, and Ryan Reynolds, author John Jackson Miller, and a number of great local guests including writers, game designers and other industry professionals.

This year there's a Pokémon Go panel, and a Pokkén Tournament competition. When are those?
The Pokémon Go panel is Saturday at noon, and the Pokkén Tournament event is Sunday at noon.

If someone came in a Pokémon-related costume, is there a meetup for that as well?
Yes, we're dedicating a special room for people to take cosplay photos and have suggested a number of photoshoot times. Pokémon’s shoot is Friday night at 8:00.

Where can people find more information about the convention?
We encourage people to visit our website  and download our online schedule

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master-Part 2 (Double Trouble + PokeRap)

In the second part of our review of the 2.B.A. Master album, we focus on the Team Rocket "Double Trouble" song, and the original PokeRap:

Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master-Part 1 (News + Album Overview)

Back in 2008 I recorded an episode of the WTPT podcast discussing the 2.B.A. Master album. In the first part, we discuss some of the details regarding the release of Pokemon Platinum in Japan, then talk a bit about the production of the CD.

Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pokémon TCG Steam Siege Prerelease: Madison, WI

Glen Ausse
The following is an interview with Glen Ausse, who participated (along with his son) at a recent Pokémon TCG Steam Siege Prerelease in Madison, WI.

Where are you from?

We’re from the Madison area.

How did you and your son get into Pokémon?

My son was introduced to Pokémon cards while attending camp last summer. A number of the kids were bringing the cards to camp and trading them and playing a simplified version of the game. He was really interested in the colorful cards and the social aspect of the game. That meant of course that he needed some cards for him to join in the fun, so we bought him a few tins to start off his collection.

After camp ended, my son wanted to continue playing so I located a local game store, where we quickly learned that they were not really using the Pokémon TCG rules at camp (for example, they didn’t use any Energy cards and just used any attack their Pokémon had). So we decided we needed to learn the rules so he could continue playing. That’s where I started to get more involved-I needed to learn the game myself so I could teach it to him and help him with questions and develop his skills. He learned quickly and his grasp of the strategy of the game often catches me by surprise. This year he even started a Pokémon Club at his elementary school (2nd graders) and I have gone in a few times to help teach the club members.

What’s it been like trying to learn about Pokémon as a parent?

I am a long-time gamer (RPG, strategy/war games, board games), so it wasn’t as hard for me to learn as it might be for others. I also have a few friends that play or have played Magic, so I was aware of the concepts of collectible card games but had never played them myself. We started by getting a couple of theme decks and a few card lots on eBay. We found a number of helpful videos on how to play on YouTube to get the basics down and eventually began attending Pokémon casual play events at local game stores. After we became comfortable with the basic rules we started attending the league events and that has become a weekly thing for us. That league play has helped us pick up some of the finer details and strategies for playing, deck building and trading.

The prerelease you attended was for the Steam Siege set-what are a few cards from that set you found interesting?

The stand out cards for me in Steam Siege are the new trainer cards Pokémon Ranger, Special Charge and Ninja Boy. Pokémon Ranger is useful because it allows players to bypass the effects of many popular “shut down” attacks like those seen on Jolteon, Seismitoad and Giratina EX. Special Charge will likely become a mainstay for decks (such as Night March) that rely on Special Energy Cards, allowing them to recover two of them from the discard pile. Finally, Ninja Boy is sure to create some surprises and interesting strategies with its ability to switch out the active Pokémon with another from your deck.

I also like the rereleased Yveltal, the new Yveltal BREAK and the full art Professor Sycamore cards. My son is looking forward to trying some strategies with the new dual-type Pokémon like Volcanion EX.

This is the second set using the new prerelease format. What are your thoughts so far?

I think the addition of the Evolution pack has really added to the playability and consistency of prerelease decks. Both my son and I were able to easily include ten useful Trainer cards to our decks with the new format. Before the addition of the Evolution pack we were lucky to find one or two useful Trainer cards. Without Trainers it was hard to employ any kind of strategy and it came down to basically the luck of the draw. The new format is much more fun to play.

One thing I have noticed is that if you are lucky enough to pull an EX card in a prerelease (like I was this time) it can really give your deck a power advantage. Maybe they could include one random EX in each prerelease package and place a limit of one EX in prelease deck builds to even that out.

Any general suggestions for other parents?

Get in there and learn to play, it is much more fun to play with your kids than just to watch them play. Start off with a couple of premade theme decks in a causal play environment. There are some good “how to play” videos on YouTube. The Pokémon TCG Online application is also a great place to learn the game.