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Featured Gaming Legends

Creator Highlight: DammnDee

“Thank you, kindly.”

The ‘YouTube bad guy’ is now bringing the pain to the gaming world, and he’s taking no prisoners.

Starting back in late 2019, sneaker and fitness content creator DammnDee engaged in a new endeavor. After much success on his sneaker channel and starting his own personal fitness business, it was time for a new challenge.  Dee’s always been a fan of video games since the days of the 8-bit era. Thus, with the technological advances now available, he decided to start streaming games on YouTube. For Dee, the success of his other two channels has helped with the growth of his gaming channel.

Those learning experiences that helped him achieve those successes are worth gold in today’s online world. It’s not just that, though. Dee has many supporters that truly enjoy his content. Some might feel that his content is ‘too spicy’ and that might be true, but you’ve got to give credit where it’s due. You have to stick to what works for you and for Dee, being the ‘YouTube bad guy’ is well worth it.

Now, it’s not like he’s that way all the time because he wants to ruffle some feathers. Dee is very outspoken. He likes to speak his mind and he’s not afraid to address the elephant in the room. Some people are turned off by this behavior and that’s fine, however, his content is not for the weak of heart.

Like our friend Nxtgen720, this type of entertainment will keep you at the edge of your seat. You want to be there because you never know when things will go left. You also never know when Dee will ‘rage’ and start ranting like a madman. It’s hilarious, especially for the facial and high-pitched expressions he’s known for. Dee’s a master troll, so to see him enter a new environment and adjust to it is a lot of fun to watch.

New beginnings

GBL has been part of DammnDee’s gaming community since the outset of his channel. We remember how new all this felt to him. Dee hadn’t been as involved in video games as he might’ve been when he was younger. I vividly remember the first day he got Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on PS4. Needless to say, he was a ‘noob’. Then again, everyone’s been one at some point or another.

Back then, there were just a few of us who would regularly join his stream. Regulars such as The Soulmates, JAYtheDRIPPA, KannapolisMadeDevinParks, Julian, Mr. LockItUp, Will Too Real Washington, JusVonKillington and HAWK EYES28. Each of us has helped add something of value to the community and have seen the channel grow to where it’s at now. Since we’ve been there since day one, we’re now seen as OG’s of the community. As I speak for myself, I’m sure others would agree: we’re glad to have been able to help Dee in any way we could.

Present-day

Remember how we told you that Dee was a ‘noob’. Yea, he’s gotten A LOT better since, and rightfully so. Like I said before, you have to give credit where it’s due. Dee has put in a lot of work into improving his skills as a gamer. He’ll stream nearly every day for at least 3 hours, per stream. Sometimes, he’ll even stream multiple times per day. That’s how invested he is and it’s something he should be proud of. The community has grown and there are always new people interacting with him in the live chat. We’re certainly proud of his development and expect him to continue to grow as a gamer. We’ll see you online, homie.

Check out one of his latest ‘W’ in Call of Duty: Warzone below. Rambo DammnDee is in the building!

 

Salute Dee.

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Analysis Featured Gaming Legends

Them’s Fightin’ Herds – Following the Hoofprints

Them’s Fightin’ Herds, available now on Steam. – ManeSix

The news surrounding EVO Online 2020 reached all over the world. A lot of people expressed their concerns around most of the major titles of the community not having a stable online to be used for an event as important as EVO. Games like Grandblue Fantasy Versus, Tekken 7, or even Street Fighter V, while being eagerly anticipated by fighting game fans, have huge issues on how their netcode is handled.

EVO acknowledged it, and they made big, unprecedented moves with their new line-up. For their first online event, the only games that will have an open tournament are four games that weren’t scheduled to be featured at this year’s EVO. This article will focus on one of them: Them’s Fightin’ Herds. The story around how this game came to be is fascinating, and we wanted to bring some spotlight to it.

“I used to wonder what Friendship could be”.

Fighting is Magic: the project that started all. – ManeSix

Them’s Fightin’ Herds is made by ManeSix. A development team that started working on a fan project. They had almost no experience in coding and animation, but they were able to learn and make a playable demo of a fan-made fighting game, in the universe of a phenomenon at the time; My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

The game was simply called Fighting is Magic. Back then, the fandom grew at a very impressive rate. A lot of people were eager to play the game for the first time. Funny enough, a lot of Bronies were far from being fighting game fans, and the fan game was even able to appeal FGC members that weren’t a fan of the series in the first place.

During the fan-games’ development in 2013, EVO started its Donation Drive. A charity event benefiting the Breast Cancer Foundation. The goal of that campaign was to make fans vote on the eighth game to be present at EVO as a sanctioned tournament. This set up the winner of that contest, Super Smash Bros. Melee, to be held for 6 EVOs in a row. Before the winner was announced, 8 games were listed. With them, Skullgirls, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and surprisingly, Fighting is Magic.

The cursed gift.

The first official tournament, held for the game at a Brony convention. – YouTube / 8WAYRUN

The game had an impressively growing popularity. The Bronies were massively turning towards the event to leave their mark on the global fighting game event. So much so, that during the first three days of the drive, Fighting is Magic lead the campaign, being the first game reaching more than a thousand dollars in donations.

This drew a lot of attention on ManeSix, which declined the offer, saying that their game was far from ready for EVO 2013. It didn’t stop people from giving money to represent the game, but by the end of the drive, people out-numbered the donation made for Fighting is Magic. The drive became an arm-race between Melee and Skullgirls. And Melee won, by a $15,000 margin.

The attention didn’t help ManeSix. Shortly after the end of the drive, Hasbro, the legal owners of the My Little Pony franchise, stepped in and sent a Cease-and-Desist claim to ManeSix, leaving them no choice but to stop the development of Fighting is Magic. It was a shock, not only for the My Little Pony fandom but also for a significant part of the FGC as they disliked the actions of a billion-dollar company shutting down a harmless fan project.

“Hope Shines Eternal”.

Back during EVO 2013, an early demo was leaked. Going from that leak, a marginal part of the community decided to take the matter on their own hands, and finish where ManeSix started. Outside of fan mods, like Fighting is Magic – Tribute Edition, nobody expected ManeSix to go back to the project, but it was far from over.

Another game was massively voted on during that EVO 2013 Donation Drive, and that was Skullgirls. Later on, LabZero Games used that popularity boost to launch their crowdfunding campaign, originally just made to release one extra character for the game; Squigly. The results of the campaign exceeded all expectations, and they reached their goals in a matter of days.

A 2013 picture of Robo-Fortune, riding a mysterious alpaca, not revealed to be Paprika at the time. – LabZero Games

Then, they had to pull off Stretch Goals, adding more and more characters. One Bonus Stretch Goal made a lot of noise at the time. LabZero Games would let ManeSix use the engine they made for Skullgirls, called the Z Engine, for a fully-fledged fighting game project. That stretch goal was beaten, and ManeSix, who started as friends in fandom, became a real development studio.

Saved by the Floof.

Lauren Faust.

However, just the engine alone isn’t nearly enough to make an entire game. After the big news, they were in hiatus for more than a year, spending time to do research on the engine and to construct what they will do in terms of gameplay mechanics and new characters. They created the movelists of each pony from scratch as they want to use as much as they could, by creating “alternates” of the original ponies they couldn’t use because of copyright issues.

To make the latter, they had a very unexpected reinforcement. The original character designer of the series that started the entire fandom: Lauren Faust. After Hasbro’s C&D over the original fan-made fighting game, Faust contacted ManeSix and offered her help to create a brand new universe for their fighting game. She designed new characters, stories, enemies, and an entire universe, tailor-made for that new fighting game.

The expectations were even higher than for Fighting is Magic. This wasn’t a fan project, anymore. This was a solid video game, backed by a veteran cartoonist who was behind big projects like Codename K.N.D, Powerpuff Girls, DC Super Hero Girls, etc. After that, ManeSix revealed Them’s Fighting Herds as their project’s new name. It had its successful crowdfunding campaign, released as an Early Access game on Steam, and just got out of it during this year.

The Future.

“Team Rollback Netcode”. With KI’s Orchid, MK11’s Scorpion, Skullgirls’ Filia, and TFH’s Oleander. – Twitter / shawcody34

The story behind the project is nothing short of incredible. Not just the humble beginnings, but everything that led to their current version on Steam. From the EVO spotlight, the huge help by LabZero, to Lauren Faust’s initiative to give the project its universe. It’s like a giant planet alignment.

It’s particularly poetic that Them’s Fightin’ Herds is now an EVO game, considering how they started. It feels like a loop because it’s not just about Rollback Netcode. Just like Skullgirls and Killer Instinct, the people making those games were true members of the FGC, loving and supporting the games we also love and support. This is the kind of fighting game future that EVO may have wanted to showcase.

Without being negative, I’m not a fan of most esports media focusing on the shortcomings of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for EVO Online 2020 without even caring to dig up this uplifting story. I truly think that it deserves more attention than it’s gotten, and I hope that this article will help.

I’m going to watch EVO Online and support the fantastic TFH scene. At the same time, I kinda hope that this huge spotlight will be used by ManeSix to show us more about the game’s future. The reveal of a certain goat, maybe?

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Analysis Featured Legends Movies Sneakers

Synopsis: The Last Dance

You already know how it ended, but do you know how it started?

Tonight, the 10-part docuseries covering the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls ended. Many of us were around when the ‘Air Jordan’ phenomenon started and took off. Some saw it from the beginning when Jordan first took the court for the University of North Carolina’s men’s basketball team. Others started to pay attention during his NBA rookie year in 1984. Those in Chicago certainly did. This ‘Guard’ from North Carolina was starting to help sellout the old Chicago Stadium. The Bulls, a team full of mediocrity, was an afterthought in Chicago before 1984. With historic franchises like the Cubs, the White Sox, the Bears, and the Blackhawks, there wasn’t enough time to follow the Bulls. That all changed during the 1984 NBA season, and this is where The Last Dance starts.

Pre-Chicago Bulls

With a 27-55 regular-season record in 1983, the Chicago Bulls were poised to pick third in the 1984 NBA Draft. The first two picks were for the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trailblazers, respectively. Before the draft, it was well known that Houston would take Nigerian prospect, Akeem Olajuwon, with the first pick. Portland, however, opted to pick Kentucky Wildcat Sam Bowie second. This set the stage for Chicago to take North Carolina Tar Heel, Michael Jordan, with the third pick. Previously attending UNC for 3 seasons, it was Tar Heel Head Coach, Dean Smith, that advised Jordan to enter the NBA Draft after his Junior year. Jordan found a lot of success at North Carolina, winning the NCAA Championship as a Freshman in 1982.

You may have seen the footage before. It was against Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas, where Jordan (then referred to as Mike Jordan) hit the game-winning shot from the left-wing, serving as a catalyst to his future success. As a Tar Heel, Jordan had a fantastic collegiate career. He averaged 17.7 PPG, 54% shooting from the field while averaging 5.0 RPG. He was selected to the NCAA All-American First Team in both his Sophmore and Junior year. Jordan also won the Naismith and the Wooden College Player of the Year awards his Junior year. With this much success, it was only right that Dean Smith advised Jordan to enter the NBA Draft since he’d likely be a high lottery pick.

The early years

It wasn’t easy being a Chicago Bull for Jordan during the first few years of his career. In 1984, he made the NBA All-Star team, led his team to a playoff birth against the Milwaukee Bucks, and won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. The following season, his season was almost lost due to a broken foot. However, Jordan was able to make it back on-time to lead his team into the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

Thought to have been a lost season, Jordan was able to will his team to an 8th seed playoff birth. Bulls’ management wasn’t very eager to reach the playoffs, but Jordan wasn’t going to quit on his team. Chicago’s front office was aiming at a lottery pick that season, as they didn’t expect Jordan would return to the court that year. Unknowingly for management, Jordan went back to UNC and was rehabbing his injury in secret.

MJ made it back in time and was poised to face the mighty Boston Celtics in the first round of the 1986 NBA playoffs. Inexperienced compared to the veteran Celtics, Jordan’s Bulls were swept, not before setting a still unbroken record of 63 points in Game 2 at the legendary Boston Garden. The following season, Jordan had one of the most prolific scoring seasons in NBA history. He averaged 31.7 PPG and led his team to the playoffs for the third consecutive year. Unfortunately for the Bulls, they ran into the Celtics and were swept once again.

The Chicago Bulls trade for Scottie Pippen

Chicago’s front office had been engaged in heavy scouting of a young prospect from Arkansas. He was tall, had great passing skills, and was aggressive on both sides of the court. It was NBA Draft night in 1987, and with the fifth pick, the Seattle SuperSonics drafted Scottie Pippen from the University of Central Arkansas. However, there was already an agreement in place with the Chicago Bulls. It was agreed that Seattle would draft Pippen and then trade him to Chicago. Standing at 6′ 8″ and with the skills to play multiple positions, Pippen was a great building piece to put alongside their star player, Jordan. In addition to acquiring Pippen on draft night, Chicago also acquired 6′ 10″ power forward Horace Grant from Clemson University. It seemed as though the help Jordan and the Bulls needed to reach their goals were now in place.

The Bad Boys

From 1987-1990, the Bulls would face and lose to the Detroit Pistons in the playoffs. Starting in 1987, Jordan’s first MVP and Defensive Player of the Year season, the Bulls would finally get past the first round of the playoffs. However, they faced an experienced and tough team in the second round. The Pistons would prevail 4-1 against the Bulls. They were the better team after having a then-franchise record-setting season. Detroit would then lose in the NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers.

In 1989, after getting past Cleveland with “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo and getting past the New York Knicks, Jordan and the Bulls would face Detroit once again. This time, they faced each other in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pistons would prevail in six games. They would then move on to win their first NBA championship against the Los Angeles Lakers. It was the first time Detroit implemented the infamous “Jordan Rules” to prevent Jordan from scoring at will.

Enter Phil Jackson and the Triangle Offense

Coming into the 1990 season, Doug Collins has been the Bulls head coach since 1986. However, he was replaced by Tex Winter protege, Phil Jackson. Jordan was a huge fan of Collins, who would allow him to score at-will and would rely on him every time. Jackson saw this as a hindrance. He felt that if Jordan would continue to be allowed to play this way, he would never get to where he wanted to be. To reach his goal, Jordan needed to learn to trust his teammates more. Jackson would implement Winter’s system, the Triangle Offense.

This system would ensure the ball and players move around while creating openings and opportunities for all players to score. Chicago would win 55 games during the 1989-1990 NBA season using this new system. It allowed Jordan to create opportunities for his teammates while also lowering his player usage. However, he would remain the number one option on the team.

After getting past the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers, the stage was set for a third encounter against the Pistons. It was a hard-fought series with more “Jordan Rules” activity. The series would go seven games, but Chicago would come up short again. They lost on the road and the outcome could’ve been different had Scottie Pippen not been suffering from a migraine that day. Detroit would then face the Portland Trailblazers in the NBA Finals. They would win in five games and win their second consecutive NBA championship. After losing to Detroit, Jordan knew he had to get stronger to get past them. The amount of punishment he was taking due to the “Jordan Rules” was preventing him from scoring at-will and getting over the hump. It was time for Jordan and the Bulls to bulk-up.

The first championship

The Bulls were thumping at the door, battling the best for Eastern Conference supremacy. For the past three seasons, they would fall short to Detroit. Knowing what needed to be done to eclipse them, Chicago was determined to get stronger as they prepared for the 1990-91 NBA season. The hard work paid off, as the Bulls would boast the best record in the Eastern Conference at 61-21. Jordan would go on to win his second NBA MVP award and lead the Bulls past the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers in the first two rounds of the 1991 NBA playoffs.

This would lead to a much-anticipated rematch against the defending champion Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Chicago had played their way to a top seed in the playoffs and worked all offseason for this showdown. They knew they were bound to face Detroit once again and that they had to get past this hump once and for all. They did. Dominantly, too. The Bulls would end up sweeping the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals, causing them to walk off the court before the game was over. The Bulls were finally on their way to the NBA Finals, getting rid of an old rival once and for all.

They would face the Los Angeles Lakers there, and although they lost the first game, they would dominate the rest of the series 4-1 and win their first NBA championship. Jordan would also go on to win his first NBA Finals MVP award. They’d finally arrive at the top of the mountain, and their reign was just beginning.

Back-to-back

The following season, the Bulls would continue to impose their will on the rest of the league. They would top their then-franchise record-setting win total by going 67-15 in the regular season. Jordan would go on to win his second consecutive and third overall NBA MVP award. Simply put, the Bulls were a class above the rest. They would get past the Miami Heat, New York Knicks, and Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoffs to reach the 1992 NBA Finals.

There, they would meet the top-seeded Western Conference champions, the Portland Trailblazers.

The matchup would be touted by the media as Jordan vs. Drexler, but Jordan knew there wasn’t any comparison there. It showed, especially in Game 1 where MJ would score 35 points in the first half, hitting six three-point field goals in the process. Jordan and the Bulls were too much for Portland. They would win their second consecutive NBA championship in 6 games and Jordan would once again be named NBA Finals MVP.

Three-peat

In 1993, the Bulls would continue to prove they were the best team in the NBA. Although they weren’t as dominant in the regular season as they were the year before, they were dominant when it mattered the most. In the playoffs, they would make easy work of the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers. However, they would be matched up with a new rival. One that took them to seven games the year before. The top-seeded, New York Knicks.

The Bulls would end up winning the series in six games, but the turning point of the series was Game 5. Better known as “The Charles Smith Game”. A moment that would forever live in Knicks-fans nightmares.

Back in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year, the Bulls would face the Phoenix Suns and NBA MVP Charles Barkley. Yes, that’s correct. Jordan would lose his chance at a third consecutive NBA MVP award. He would win the one that mattered the most: The NBA Finals MVP. Chicago would beat Phoenix in six games. They would become the first team to three-peat since the Bill Russell led Boston Celtics of the 1960s. A goal Jordan was determined to reach. One that his peers, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, never accomplished. A new dynasty was born with a new king sitting atop the throne.

A tragedy leads to retirement

Shortly after capturing their third consecutive NBA championship, the Bulls’ reign atop the NBA would be halted. During the summer, James Jordan, father of their superstar player Michael Jordan, was murdered. It was determined that Mr. Jordan was a victim of a carjacking that went wrong. The news of his passing devastated Michael and his family. He was very close to his father, describing him as his “best friend”. Mr. & Mrs. Jordan had been alongside Michael throughout his entire life, watching him grow into the man and superstar he’d become. Yet still, he was always their little boy in their eyes. Mr. Jordan was always there for Michael, supporting his son through all his failures and achievements. Michael wanted his last game in the NBA to be the last game his father ever saw him play.

Therefore, on October 6, 1993, at age 33, Michael Jordan announced his retirement from the game of basketball.

A diamond helps fulfill a wish

It wasn’t long after announcing his retirement from basketball that Jordan would make headlines again. On February 7, 1994, Michael Jordan announced that he had signed a Minor League Baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox. Fortunately for him, Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago Bulls, was also the owner of the Chicago White Sox. This facilitated Jordan’s transition to fulfilling a wish his father always had for him. As a child, Jordan loved playing baseball. He always loved the sport and his father knew that. Mr. Jordan wanted Michael to play baseball professionally and it was something they discussed before his passing. After the tragedy of his father’s murder, Michael knew it was time to make his father’s wish come true. Jordan was now a member of Double-A Chicago White Sox affiliate, the Birmingham Barons.

A strike leads to a surprise

Unbeknowestingly to Jordan and the Bulls, a player’s strike in Major League Baseball would catalyze a surprise announcement. It was August 12, 1994, when the player’s strike would go into effect. Jordan was still a baseball player at the time. MLB was planning to continue the season with replacement players. Jordan, still being a Minor Leaguer, refused to play against anyone that wasn’t considered the same.

With more free time on his hands than expected, Jordan found himself back in basketball circles. He reached out to former teammate B.J. Armstrong to meet up for breakfast and before he knew it, he was back practicing with his old teammates at the Bulls practice facility. During Jordan’s departure from basketball, the Bulls would enjoy some success, particularly during the 1993-94 season. They would make the playoffs, Scottie Pippen would put up All-NBA numbers and Toni Kukoc would become a revelation. The Bulls would win 55 games that year, two less than they did with Jordan the year before. Unfortunately, the chance for a fourth consecutive championship didn’t happen. The Bulls would lose to the New York Knicks 4-3 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The following season, 1994-95, the Bulls would struggle. The rest of the NBA had gotten better and gotten out of Jordan’s and the Bulls’ shadow.

The Bulls remained competitive and were in the midst of making the playoffs, but it wasn’t going to be easy this time around. Luckily for them, the player’s strike in baseball would work to their benefit, and Jordan was slowly working on a comeback to basketball.

“I’m back.”

It was March 18, 1995, and the word was out. Michael Jordan was returning to basketball and the Chicago Bulls. Right on time to make a playoff push, which they did. With just 17 games left in the 1994-95 season, the Bulls would go 13-4 with Jordan on the team. It took some time for him to get used to playing at a high level again, and it took time for everyone to get used to his new number, too. Jordan had been back in the NBA for precisely two months when the Bulls would be eliminated from the playoffs against the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. However, before the end of the series, he would be scolded about his new jersey number, leading Jordan to return to his patented #23.

72-10

After being eliminated from the 1995 NBA playoffs, Jordan and the Bulls would embark on a mission to regain supremacy in the NBA. They would do so in record-setting fashion. The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls would not only include Michael Jordan at full capacity, but they would also go 72-10 in the regular season. At the time, it was the greatest regular-season record in NBA history. The Bulls would be on a tear this year, looking to get back to where they once were. New faces arrived, most notably, Dennis Rodman. The former ‘Bad Boy’ was now a Bull, and he was as integral as management thought he’d be.

With a supporting cast that included All-Star forward Scottie Pippen, Jordan would now have a full season to play alongside European star Toni Kukoc, a player Jordan and Pippen had initially set their eyes upon back at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics. There was a lot of animosity between them back then, with Jordan and Pippen wanting to send the Croatian star a ‘clear message’ that he wasn’t on their level.

As the season rolled on, the Bulls would go on to prove that nobody, as a unit, was on their level. Jordan would go on to win his fourth NBA MVP award and the Bulls would make easy work of their Eastern Conference foes on their way to the 1996 NBA Finals. There, they would meet the Seattle SuperSonics and in storybook fashion, they would win in six games, clinching in Chicago on Father’s Day. Jordan, of course, would once again be named NBA Finals MVP. The images of Jordan hugging the game ball, laying face down on the floor and crying symbolize the return atop of the throne after an emotional departure.

Back-to-back, again.

For the 1996-97 NBA season, the Bulls would continue where they left off. They dominated the league as the NBA celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Jordan and Pippen would be named as part of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history that year. The Bulls would go 69-13, once again be a top-seed in the Eastern Conference and make light work of their opponents as they returned to the NBA Finals. Jordan, however, would lose out to Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone for the NBA MVP award, and it was only fitting that their teams would meet at the 1997 NBA Finals. The Bulls would show their superiority and experience against the Jazz, winning their fifth and second consecutive NBA championship in six games.

Once again, Jordan would outshine the league MVP on the grandest stage, just like he did against Charles Barkley in 1993. The series is best remembered for Jordan’s performance in Game 5 at Utah, where he was battling “flu-like symptoms”. At the time, there wasn’t any indication that it could be food poisoning instead. However, it was later revealed that it indeed was food poisoning that affected Jordan for Game 5. Nonetheless, we got one of the greatest performances in NBA Finals history with Jordan’s “Flu Game”.

“The Last Dance”

It had become clear before the 1997-98 season by Bulls management that this would be Phil Jackson’s last season as head coach. The front office felt that the majority of their players were heading into the latter part of their careers. They thought that it’d be wise to start rebuilding soon. Jerry Krause, general manager of the Chicago Bulls since 1985 helped mastermind the franchise’s success. He was adamant that it was time to move on and informed owner Jerry Reinsdorf that this was the direction he wanted to take. He received the support of the owner and was vocal about how this would be the final season for Jackson

These actions led to a greater disdain of the front office by the player personnel. It was no secret that many key members of the Chicago Bulls basketball team disliked Jerry Krause. Although they all gave him credit for assembling the team, the players felt that the success of the franchise was mostly due to the blood, sweat, and tears they endured on their journey. They felt undermined and unappreciated, both economically and emotionally. This all led to a roller-coaster ride of a season.

Jordan had already publicly stated that he would not be part of a rebuild. He also publicly stated that he would not play for anyone other than Phil Jackson. He was firm with his decision and the rest of his teammates supported him and their head coach. It was thought that if Jackson was in his final year, the rest of the team would also come apart. There were rumblings that if Jackson were no longer to be part of the organization, Jordan would leave the Bulls and retire from basketball.

In the midst of all this, there were also issues going on with Pippen. A lingering ankle injury Pippen refused to treat during the offseason caused him to miss almost half of the regular season. He felt that he was being snubbed monetarily even after the league’s massive economic growth. Pippen was one of the most underpaid All-Stars in the NBA. He felt that by opting to postpone his surgery until the start of the season, he’d be ‘sticking it to the man’. He would also demand a trade to spite the front office.

Eventually, things would come together for the Bulls. Pippen returned to the team. Rodman would return from his unusual mid-season ‘vacation’. Jackson and Jordan would be there to lead the way. They would win 62 games that season, clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Jordan would win his fifth and final NBA MVP award. They would easily get past the New Jersey Nets and Charlotte Hornets in the first two rounds of the 1998 NBA playoffs. However, they would have their hands full against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers took the Bulls to seven games. The first time since 1992. The Bulls would prevail and return to the NBA Finals to face off against the Utah Jazz in a rematch of last year’s final.

In true ‘Jordanesque’ fashion, the Bulls would defeat the Jazz in six games to win their sixth and third consecutive NBA championship. Jordan would once again win the NBA Finals MVP. It was the second three-peat for Jordan and the Bulls, a feat that hasn’t been done since. It also defined the end of an era, as this was the last time the band would play together. A remarkable run led by Jordan, who had been there since the beginning when the Bulls where merely an afterthought. He would never play another game for Chicago as he retired again on January 13, 1999.

Thus, we’re left with “The Last Shot” from “The Last Dance”.

 

You can watch The Last Dance, a 10-part documentary series on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls on Netflix. Directed by Jason Hehir. Co-produced by ESPN Films and Netflix.

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Featured Gaming Videos

Shib and Alianz talk EVO Online 2020

Welcome back everyone to another episode of GOTTA BE LEGEND TV.

Shiburizu & Alianz react to and talk about the new EVO Online trailer, showcasing the main games to be played in open tournaments this year and how the other games must adjust and adapt.

Continue the conversation on our Discord Server!

We hope you enjoyed the video and if you did, please give it a ‘Like’ and subscribe to our channel for more content. Thank you for all your support, it helps us grow and keeps us going!

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Featured Gaming Legends

Good Riddance Dire Wolf Alpha

Anyone who plays Hearthstone Battlegrounds knows that the first few turns can be tricky. If you get offered crappy minions on turn 1, it can quickly snowball into a 7th or 8th place finish. The dream is generally to get a token minion so that you can segue into an efficient turn 3. That said, the pool of tier 1 minions is pretty large, and sometimes Dire Wolf Alpha would be your best option. You’d think the +1 attack to adjacent minions aura effect would be useful, but unlike regular Hearthstone, the RNG in Battlegrounds means that the wolf would likely get sniped by an errant attack. In patch 17.2, we’re saying goodbye, and good riddance, to Dire Wolf Alpha.

New Beast!

There’s also other Battlegrounds news! Dire Wolf Alpha was replaced with Rabid Saurolisk, a tier 1 3/1 beast that gains +1/+1 for every Deathrattle minion you play.

I’ve drafted this lizard a few times and have been pleasantly surprised at how well it scales. I’m a big fan of deathrattle comps, and Rabid Saurolisk fits in nicely, especially with the Goldrinn beast deathrattle boards. 

New Heroes

Three new heroes have also been released. If you have the Tavern Pass, you can already play with and against these heroes. I haven’t been offered any of them yet, but I have seen positive first impressions from other players.

Lady Vashj looks like she can high roll and cheat out some higher rarity minions early, which is exciting. If nothing else, it’s a free reroll when you upgrade, so that’s at minimum 4-5 free mana. Just be make sure you upgrade after buying that triple!

I’ve been told that Maiev has an easy time setting up for triples. Paying one mana for a minion in two turns actually seems pretty exciting, provided that you survive. I look forward to trying her out.

There are some minions that can benefit heavily from the effect, such as Rat Pack, Mechano-Egg, or Holy Mackerel. If you finagle it just right, you can also get some good boosts onto fragile priority minions like Baron Rivendare or Soul Juggler.  Lately in Battlegrounds, it’s less about stats and more about deathrattles or repeating effects, so an extra 2/2 on a minion that will be able to attack multiple times can be really clutch.

Don’t tell the others, I’m rooting for you!

If you don’t have the Tavern Pass, the new heroes in Battlegrounds will be unlocked on May 26. Otherwise, they are already available. Looking for a date in the tavern? Add me on Battlenet: Fioyl #1549. Well met, and good riddance to Dire Wolf Alpha.

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GBL Podcast 5/8: The EVO Episode ft. MikeZ

Welcome back to another episode of the GBL Podcast!

This week we caught up with Mike Zaimont (better known as MikeZ) of Lab Zero games for the EVO Episode of the podcast, speculating on the feasibility of EVO scale online events and the mentality needed from players, tournament organizers and fighting game developers alike.

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Continue the conversation with us on our Discord!

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Analysis Featured Gaming Legends

Opinion: The state of gaming in 2020

Members of the GBL Team give their opinion on the year, so far.

ALIANZ

Personally, the start of 2020 was tough for me. To make a long story short, I dealt with the death of my father in early January. The day before my 33rd birthday. He was 80 years old. At the time, I was heavily invested in GBL (still am), but my mind and heart were in another place. It took some time to get back into gaming. It’s been about 2 months since I started playing video games again regularly, but still not as much as before. Luckily, there weren’t any games that caught my attention in January and February. Since September of last year, I had been playing a lot Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on PC. I made a lot of new friends and reconnected with a lot of old ones, too.

This isn’t to take anything away from my friends in “RL”, my family, my loving girlfriend, or the GBL Team. They’ve been there for me since day one and have been so supportive during this transition period. Therefore, before I continue, I want them to know that I love them very much, and that I thank you all for being part of my life.

However, this is supposed to be my opinion on the state of gaming, not the state of ALIANZ. But I felt I had to give some insight on a few things before proceeding. As I mentioned before, January and February didn’t have anything that could draw my attention back to gaming.

Enter DOOM.

That all changed with Doom: Eternal and quite honestly, it couldn’t release at a better time for me. 2016’s Doom was one of my favorite games this generation. So much so, that I bought it for PS4 and PC, just to get the full experience. I was eagerly anticipating the release of Doom: Eternal and IT DID NOT LET ME DOWN. It was the perfect game to draw me back into gaming, and it was the first game to release in what was my favorite 30 days of gaming in 2020, thus far. I finished Doom: Eternal within a week of release and I’m so happy I did.

It’d been a while since I sat down and played a campaign in its entirety and finishing Doom: Eternal felt so satisfying. I played the game on Ultra-Violence difficulty and although there were a few stressful moments, I was able to invoke my inner-gamer, get my shit together and get it done. It was all well worth it, making Doom: Eternal one of my contenders for Game of the Year. The levels of gore, violence, pace, and scenery reminded me of the beauty of video games. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? That’s because Doom isn’t just a game or a franchise, it’s a gaming icon. The stuff of legends.

STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARS

Next up was Resident Evil 3 Remake. A remake to a PS1 title I enjoyed as a teen at the turn of the century. I had a lot riding on this game, especially with the success of Resident Evil 2 Remake. We all knew the game was coming. Shib and I watched it get revealed in December, and I couldn’t wait. Lo and behold, the game came out last month and before it released, there were a lot of mixed opinions about it. I, for one, felt disappointed with what I had seen. Nonetheless, I was still going to purchase the game.

I came into the game knowing that it was going to be short, but so was OG RE3. I remember being able to finish RE3 in one sitting 20 years ago, and it didn’t take anything away from the game. It was a much faster-paced game than it’s predecessors which gave it a fresh feeling. It wasn’t RE2 but then again, it wasn’t trying to be. Resident Evil 3 Remake is no different and I’m glad it remained true to the original in that sense. I finished the game the same day it came out, splitting my 5-hour playing time into two sessions. You can argue that it wasn’t worth the $60 price tag. I pre-ordered it off Fanatical.com for $48, so it was a win-win situation for me.

Still, I need to go back and finish the game on Hardcore. I need to finish the game multiple times so I can get that infinite-ammo rocket launcher. That RE: Resistance multiplayer add-on though? Capcom should’ve added Mercenaries Mode instead. Maybe it’s still a work-in-progress and I think it’s safe to assume so. Either way, how could you leave Mercenaries Mode out of the remake!? That mode made OG RE3 so replayable by itself!

All-in-all, it was a solid release, but I want to be clear about one thing: Resident Evil 2 is still the better game. It always has been and it always will be, both OG and Remake alike.

COVID-19

While the aforementioned game releases were taking place, our world was brought to a sudden, frightening halt. It all started back in late 2019. Leaks and rumors of a disease that was infecting the Chinese population. There wasn’t enough information at the time, but the word in parts of the internet was that something weird was going on. A lot of people were dying of a pneumonia-related illness. Then the videos were being posted online. People dropping to the floor, hospitals filled with the sick; it was early January.

The World Health Organization (WHO) China Country Office was informed on December 31st, 2019. They said that “Health authorities in China confirm that dozens of people in Wuhan, China, are being treated for pneumonia from an unknown source”. This was reported on the WHO’s official website on January 5th. On January 11th, Chinese state media reported the first death due to this illness. The United States began screening in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles airports on January 17th. They reported their first confirmed case on January 20th. It was being labeled as “novel coronavirus” at the time.

It’s now May, and the entire planet has been or is still under quarantine. Some prefer to call it lockdown. We no longer call this illness “novel coronavirus”. It has a name, COVID-19, or as others like to call it, SARS-CoV-2. I believe it’s safe to say that there are confirmed cases in every country on planet earth. I don’t mention this to shift the focus of this article to the virus because that’s completely unnecessary. This virus has the attention of every human being capable of rational thinking, right now. How could I possibly give my opinion on the state of gaming in 2020 without mentioning the biggest “happening” of the year? Maybe of our lives?

Over 3,000,000 people infected. The number of confirmed cases grows each day, the death toll continues to rise, treatments and cures are still being discussed, and politics continues to have a grip on things. Right now, the only thing that matters is saving lives and protecting our loved ones and ourselves from being exposed to this disease. We’ve been told by our governments to stay at home. For gamers, staying at home is something we’ve always cherished. Now, not everyone has the luxury to stay at home. Some might be essential workers. Others won’t be able to feed themselves or their families tonight if they don’t work. It’s just not that simple. Let’s take this time to remember the important things in life and that everyone isn’t as fortunate as you. Count your blessings. Help others when you can. Hope for the best, prepare for the worse. Pray.

COD: Warzone

COD: Warzone was released as a free-to-play title on March 10th, 2020. It’s available for PS4, PC, and Xbox One. It takes the Battle Royale blueprint from PUBG, Fortnite, and Apex Legends, but takes it up a notch. You play in a field consisting of a maximum of 150 people. Oh, and did we mention that it includes cross-play, too? The game is a huge success. I’ve played the Battle Royale mode a few times but have watched enough streams to know what’s going on and how intense the game (and people) get. I do enjoy Plunder a little more, but Warzone is a lot of fun.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

On April 10th, Final Fantasy VII Remake launched. This had to be the most anticipated game of the generation. Officially revealed at E3 2015, the game was worth the wait. I never was a big fan of Final Fantasy, let alone JRPG’s, but after playing the demo for FFVII Remake, I was sold. I preordered the game and although I still haven’t finished it, the game is super engaging. It’s the type of game that pulls you right in, making it hard for you to put the controller down. All you want to do is keep leveling up your character, find new gear, spells, and continuing the story.

The graphics are great, save for some low-res areas, but the cutscenes are truly something special. The characters feel so fleshed out and the new gameplay mechanics are so welcoming to a newcomer like me. As I mentioned before, I still need to finish the game but I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent on it.

Final Fantasy VII Remake is fucking amazing.

So, I’m sure you’ve heard by now. The Last of Us Part II leaked online. The verdict: No Bueno.

There’s a lot of talk about the direction Naughty Dog decided to take this game. Being that it’s a sequel, a lot of fans were expecting a story similar to the first game. It appears that what they got instead was a lot of controversies. All we knew before the leak was that this was going to be a game ‘about hate’. I won’t get into specifics because I don’t want to include spoilers, but I’ll say this much: a lot of people are pissed. Some might say that those upset about the leaked details regarding the plot are ‘ist’ or engage in ‘ism’. That might be true for some but I don’t think that applies to everyone that’s pissed about the leaked details. I think what most people are pissed about is the fact that a lot of this stuff was being withheld.

Of course, a developer isn’t going to tell you what happens during the game because it ruins the story for you. It’s the fact that so many people are attached to the characters in the series that a HUGE curveball wasn’t even close to being hinted at. Before you even say it, no, that doesn’t make it good storytelling. I guess Naughty Dog and Sony were hoping to secure sales as players find out what happens while playing the game after release day. I mean, at that point, who cares if they hate the plot, we already got your money. Tough shit, right? Maybe. At least now, people know what they’re getting into and will vote with their wallets. A game ‘about hate’ that people already hate without playing it. How ironic is that?

Shiburizu

The Legend of the Strongest Creature, or Fight of Animals

It’s no secret I’ve dedicated much of my time in 2020 in developing events and challenges for players of Digital Crafter’s light-hearted fighting game about muscular meme animals, Fight of Animals. It’s an amazing crowd pleaser and an easy to play game for both hardcore and newcomer types, proving itself in the school of “less is more” game design. I didn’t necessarily expect this to be the case: It’s been surprising that Digital Crafter is able to keep a flow of free character updates and cosmetics that have all been received overwhelmingly positively by the community. I’ll be playing Fight of Animals well into this year, and if we’re lucky we’ll be duking it out into 2021. Now’s a good time to remind you that Fight of Animals is available on Steam and Nintendo Switch eShop, and you can join the Digital Crafter Discord for our events and matchmaking.

EVO 2020

So EVO is canceled! I have very strong feelings about this. I’m not going to recap every single thing I talked about in this stream clip, but I will say this: I tune in to EVO every year, for almost every game. If the most we get out of an EVO online event this year is a couple of trending twitter clips of 20 frame delay fighting games, I’ll be very disappointed in EVO’s management. I am not one to sit by and watch a dumpster fire, I’ll probably go back to playing games with good netcode instead. Which is what I do every day I play fighting games. Uneventful weekend, don’t you think?

Halo 2 Insider Flight

What a pleasant surprise! I stopped frequenting the Xbox as a console after Halo: Reach dropped, so I never got to experience Halo 2 re-imagined in the era of Halo 4‘s visual fidelity. I had a lot of fun with it! Not only that, but it also drops as a full release next week so I’ll have plenty of time to dig back into it. We’re that much closer to Halo 3, everybody!

Minimum Payne

2020 has become quite an unusual year for the entire world due to current events surrounding the ongoing pandemic. My personal life has seen little change aside from a few new protocols to follow at work. For the public at large, passing the time at home has boiled down to two options: baking and gaming. Given that in the average urban Hispanic household, the oven is the home of unused pots and pans, I have chosen to stick with gaming to kill time between shifts of ‘essential’ work.

Mortal Kombat 11

The year started fairly slow for me. Even as I write this it’s hard to think of anything I played beyond my usual grinds on Mortal Kombat 11 and Teamfight Tactics, the latter being a bit of a guilty pleasure even for a lapsed League of Legends climber like myself. Joker and Spawn both proved to be interesting additions to the MK roster but did not offer enough playtime to replace my standard Sub-Zero as my character of choice for Kombat League. On that note, I’ve seen diminished results in recent seasons after a decisive rise into the Demi-God tier in Season V.

I haven’t devoted the time needed to repeat this achievement. The two main reasons for this that relate to the game itself are the increase in skill floor as scrubs abandon the game over its natural lifespan and an increasing want for additional quality of life features in the online experience. MK11 is currently the most stable network experience for fighters out of those that I have played but without luxuries like region locking and Wi-Fi filters, it will never reach its true potential.

Doom: Eternal

It wasn’t until March when the games I was anticipating were just over the horizon. In the weeks leading up to Doom: Eternal’s release, I returned to the 2016 reboot and rediscovered its entertaining multiplayer mode. Thanks to noted Mortal Kombat and Quake shoutcaster PND Ketchup’s video on it, I found myself devoting about two dozen hours to explosive deathmatches that excited from start to finish. This proved to be adequate training for Eternal proper, due to its more demanding gameplay loop. Its combat requires you to understand the importance of weapon-swapping and resource management in a way few single-player games demand.

While this has proven to be rather divisive among the fanbase, I felt it was a great way to build on the foundation laid by 2016. Being the rabid Doom fan that I am, I finished the campaign on Ultra-Violence within the span of a single weekend. I anticipate going through it again in the future, albeit with a bump up to Nightmare difficulty.

Resident Evil 3

Resident Evil 3 was another game hot on my radar. While I didn’t get to finish the original game before its remake’s release as I did for RE2, I still got to understand how its elements translated into the modern-day. How Hollywood squandered its opportunity to make entertaining action-horror cinema with this license still baffles me as this game makes for the best Resident Evil movie yet made. Gamers nowadays use the term ‘cinematic’ disparagingly, most of the “filmic” elements of this game are a net positive. The battles against Nemesis epitomize the action side of the Resident Evil experience, which I feel reflects its source material well. While the game doesn’t compel or immerse in the same way RE2make did, its action setpieces hold up well among the series’ more high octane moments.

Valorant

The next major game to come to me would be Valorant, Riot Games’ answer to the juggernaut that is Counter-Strike. To recap my earlier thoughts on the game, it manages to polish up many of the rough edges of its competition, creating a compelling alternative in the market that I look forward to seeing develop. With that said, my own experiences leave something to be desired. I still struggle to do well in this game as my skills require further development. Bad habits from playing countless hours of more action-oriented shooters crop up often and the years of experience other players have with this kind of shooter mean I have a lot of catching up to do. One point in the game’s favor is that I do have the desire to develop those skills as I believe the game is good enough to warrant my time and effort.

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII Remake was a pre-order that turned out to be nearly a year in advance due to its delay. Had there not been so much of a media buzz surrounding this release I would’ve received it as a welcome surprise amid these current events. In the interest of a comparison, I also decided to return to the source material to have the experience fresh in my mind. Playing through the entirety of the Midgar section of FFVII classic turned in at a mere 6 hours of gameplay, which speaks to the magnitude of expansion Remake offers, clocking in at a respectable 30-40 hours.

Such a vague estimate is offered because I have yet to finish the remake as of this writing. The dreaded backlog rears its head in once again as the fear of missing out demands that I must get the game ASAP but thoughts of actually playing it get sidelined in favor of the games I haven’t touched. Devil May Cry 5 goes unfinished because I must beat 4 first but also I need to play Okami HD, Dragon’s Dogma, Detroit: Become Human, Red Dead Redemption 2, Onimusha, Dead Rising, Monster Hunter World, Final FantasyXIV, Yakuza2KiwamiFinalFantasyIXDeathStrandingAHideoKojimaGame STOP.

To slow things down a little bit, I’ve always had a fondness for short games. Perhaps it’s the demands of adulthood that keep me from investing the time needed for long games, my short attention span, or a childhood weaned on games from before my own time which operated with little memory for more than 3 hours of gameplay. No matter the case, for a person who is as devoted to gaming as I am, I’d like to feel as if my time is being respected. This is probably not an issue for someone who buys only a small selection of games in a given year, but I am not that person. This is a topic that warrants further discussion but for now, I’m including this to add context to my thoughts on the gaming landscape as it is at the moment.

In closing

All that said, I’d like to end this by highlighting two games that fit my gaming habits well. The first is Guilty Gear -Strive-, a game whose grind will ultimately be within my control as with any fighting game. Despite the issues both with the beta itself and the direction the game may be taking with its network features, I am looking forward to the finished product. This isn’t a game for beginners or Guilty Gear veterans but for the intermediates: those who have familiarity with how fighting games work but aren’t at a serious competitive level. The kings of their respective basements who would never find real competition without the advent of the internet. It’s a strange audience to aim for but if I’m part of that audience, I can’t complain.

The other game is Streets of Rage 4, a short but replayable game with a large legacy to live up to. I’m on track to finish the campaign with a friend and having a blast in the process. What will demand scrutiny is its soundtrack, a topic that deserves an article itself. 2020 will be a strange year for the entire world, but with the current efforts from game developers, it’s one that is a little easier to swallow.

DeeAiZee

Hoo boy, 2020’s been a ride and a half, huh? Everyone’s said what they’ve needed to say about the epidemic, so I’m not going to go on about it for too long; I’ll just say that the lockdown has changed how we look at entertainment as a whole, and everyone’s had to make adjustments. I’m fortunate enough to only be personally negatively impacted by the current state of the world a little bit, so I’ve been able to adjust pretty well, just with way more selective grocery shopping.

But onto gaming. I decided to throw my hat in the ring because my ride through 2020 so far has a few of the more unique titles that I can talk about. Due to never consistently being able to follow from big release to big release, I’ve typically had to look to smaller titles or updates to games that I already own. Neither front has disappointed this year, and I’d like to highlight a bunch of games that have come out that I’ve had the opportunity to devote some time to this year.

Bleeding Edge

The newest contender in the extremely varied genre of arena brawlers officially launched this year, and I think it has an overall great core for its gameplay and especially, its aesthetics. It pretty much nails what I want to see in a game like this from the heavy team-oriented gameplay to the large variance in playstyles within their current cast. While I think that what they have is solid, I also feel that the amount of raw content presented is very lacking so far, compared to other games within its scope. That being said, with a new character already on deck and clear plans to continue to support as time goes on, I think it has the potential to become something really special in the future.

DJMAX Respect V

I honestly can’t describe how happy I was when it was announced that DJMAX Respect would finally come to PC after a painfully long wait. Now that it’s properly released, I can say that the wait was worth it. On launch, it was still quite incomplete in comparison to previous versions of the game, but they’ve been cranking out update after update to bring in everything they can to put it on par with or even exceed nearly every other rhythm game on the market. My main gripe has been having to grind out the combo counter in free mode to unlock a few more songs to add on top of its already fantastic tracklist (limiting what I can play to only charts that I absolutely won’t make a mistake on), but that’s honestly my only negative as of this writing. Anything that WAS one, the devs caught in an update shortly after I even noticed. Neowiz is on top of things in a way not many devs are, and it’s been impressive to see this game grow. I can’t recommend the game enough, and it’s normally my go-to suggestion when asked about modern rhythm games to try out.

Legends of Runeterra

Shooters aren’t the only thing Riot’s been branching into. Legends of Runeterra has just launched officially, and the game is a real gut check to the digital collectible card game genre. The general flow of gameplay is unique, but very approachable no matter what your background from other card games is if any. The grind to make the deck that you want out of the gate is absurdly generous, which is something I’m usually sensitive about as a Control player that doesn’t like to spend often. And being within the universe of League of Legends gives them a level of reach that few in this era could even hope to achieve. The current landscape of the game is pretty wild due to them introducing another faction recently, so we’ll see how everything shakes out at the top as far as what’s good is concerned. But right now, I think it’s a great title that can compete with the more established card games, and that’s saying a lot for a game that’s only been available for a few months.

Neoverse

This one is quite the wild card compared to the previous games mentioned, but I felt that it deserved mentioning. Neoverse is a card game-based rogue-lite that came out of Steam Early Access in February, and I truly feel that it’s one of the best ones put out there in a genre that’s a bit hit-or-miss at times. I’ve watched the content grow and the gameplay refined since last year, and what they’ve got now on the official release is a game that stands out from genre-defining titles like Slay the Spire. Its core mechanics like constant drawing and universal combos make it a game that feels like it functions at a higher level of power than what would normally be expected, like an “anime fighter” feel in comparison to a “traditional fighter”. While there are still things that are pretty rough in readability and it has no Workshop to assist in its replay value, what they have is very solid and it became a game I sunk a lot of time into at various points in time, including during the queue for various multiplayer games.

One Step From Eden

I’mma be real, I’m already willing to nominate this game for Indie Game of the Year. One Step From Eden is a rogue-lite with gameplay based on the Megaman Battle Network series, making it a fast-paced action game with elements of card games injected. It’s extremely polished in look, feel, and sound, has a high variety in not only what you can use but also what you will face, and the community is already going ham in the Workshop, bumping the content to astronomical heights. This game has knocked it out of the park on all fronts, and I seriously can’t recommend it enough if you have ANY sort of interest in action games. Prepare to get worked over a bit, though. It’s quite an unforgiving adventure.

Phantasy Star Online 2

8 years. I finally decided to build a PC for this game, then had to wait that long for a proper release. I don’t mess with the MMORPG genre at all anymore. I played a few in the late ’00s but mostly abandoned the genre by now after trying to get back into it with inarguably great games like Final Fantasy XIV. But PSO? I came running back the instant it was ready. And because of the good fortune of owning an Xbox One, my wait ended earlier than normal (PC boys, I’ll see you at the end of May). While I’ve been playing it more sporadically as of now, I sunk insane amounts of time into it the first week it opened up. I love it on every front, and it goes out of its way to bring me back to when I sunk so much time into the original Dreamcast PSO. When the rest of my friends can join me through PC, I predict that my playtime is gonna go off the charts again. PSO2 might be the title that defines my whole year, and we’ve still got a ways to go.

Streets of Rage 4

This is a game that I didn’t believe the early hype for, and as such, judged it with a bit more scrutiny than normal, especially as a person that grew up with Streets of Rage being a prominent series in their youth. Everyone’s experience with this game has been very different, so I have no intention of speaking for them, but for me, Streets of Rage 4 was everything I could have asked for in a beat ’em up and more. The gameplay is magnificent, enemy variety is top-notch, look and sound are fantastic. The devs have completely turned my relative indifference into pure adoration of what they’ve achieved. Mind you, there have been network issues, a lack of a training mode to really understand these mechanics in, and a lot of the enemies are just BEGGING to be turned into full-fledged playable characters. But overall, the game is honestly a patch, and a “content drop” away from being absolute perfection.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution

Out of the gate, this is tougher to talk about due to being an updated rerelease. I’ve yelled about no longer needing to do these in fighters, so I’ve already gotta come after them a bit for having to do it in a card game. But as a standalone product, it’s fair for what it is. The card pool is up to date, the gameplay is solid and accurate to the physical counterpart (which Yu-Gi-Oh is sometimes not the best at), and the single-player is pretty fun. I’ve had some problems control-wise compared to some of the handheld titles, but it’s nothing devastating.

The big issue is that I feel like I have to grade this game on a curve. Like, it’s solid as a Yu-Gi-Oh game and about what you could ask for, but in this world where there are MULTIPLE digital card games with a more solid online infrastructure, a larger pool of potential players, and most importantly, NO ENTRY FEE, a game like this will just end up falling off for everyone but the entrenched players that only have this to turn to as an official option. I like the game, but it is what it is. It’s 2020 and the rules have changed for digital card games. And as a player that has played Yu-Gi-Oh on and off for a decade and a half, it kinda hurts seeing them this late in modernizing the game.

In closing

So yeah, as you can see, I’ve been a bit all over the place with my gaming so far this year, and there will be plenty more that I need to get into as the year goes on, and this isn’t even accounting for the updates for games that have been going for a long time now. This is a great time for gaming with another two-thirds of the year to go, especially for someone willing to cast a wider net to find some gems.

ProtoDad

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

It’s a truly weird time for gaming. We’re all under lockdown, remakes have been releasing left and right, and for some reason, one of the current most popular games of the past month has been Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This is the one game that has completely unified my household around Nintendo’s handheld/console hybrid, for better or for worse. My perspective is that of a father and husband who shares his Switch with his wife and two daughters, ages seven and four. The wife and I are Animal Crossing veterans, so we didn’t have a lot of rope learning once we got going. My kids, on the other hand… that’s another story. 

My kids aren’t huge into gaming yet, but they have been completely drawn in by the cute village we called Monti after our late family pet. Every day, they have to check their mail, check the shop and tend to the design of their houses and the town. They interact with everyone, and their favorite villager is Audie by far. We also tend to all play together with the local co-op option, but that’s where the problems begin with the game’s few shortcomings. 

Co-op is somewhat more limited than what I would like. The leader can do all the things you normally do while playing, but the followers can’t do very much. They can only follow around, fish, catch bugs, and occasionally move things. The problem is, any time they pick anything up (including bugs and fish), they’re immediately sent to the town’s recycling box and not into the player’s inventory. While I somewhat understand this decision, I feel it extremely limits local play. Honestly, even opening up full play between two players would have improved the experience tenfold. 

Other small things have begun to bug me throughout the month as well. These include repeated text in certain places like the Dodo airport, being unable to craft from materials in your home storage, and having a somewhat clunky menu. To top it off, at the time of writing, several features are missing from past titles. However, it should be noted that stuff like upgraded shops and swimming is likely to be patched in sometime in the future. 

Overall, while I adore Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I hope to see many QOL features patched in along with proper content updates. Only time will tell.

Fioyl

Keeping Constructive during Quarantine

Let’s be realistic here – 2020 is not looking good so far, and it might get pretty grim if the pandemic doesn’t let up. Unfortunately, my current gig in social work has been deemed essential, and the constant dealing with strangers keeps me on edge. I’ve had days where I’ve bounced from case to case and have stopped in numerous homes, hospitals, and government facilities; I’m a great candidate for being 2020’s Typhoid Mary. Here in Texas, we’ve also started to reopen everything at 25% capacity. Sadly, this means it’s still impossible to get a table at a decent restaurant in this town. The upshot is that when the bars open back up on May 18th, there won’t be any wait to get another round of shots.

That being said, the current state of affairs is likely to have long-reaching effects, and staying home is still a good idea. I’ve personally started falling back onto less electronic hobbies, such as woodworking, reading, and ceramics. However, I’ve also been taking this chance (and sometimes off) to work through some of the games on my backlog. I’ve included a few of my personal favorites that I’ve been spending some time with and finally getting the chance to appreciate.

Class Changing from 1995 to 2020

Trials of Mana is a recent release for the PC, Switch, and PS4. It’s a modern remake of the third game in the Secret of Mana series, Seiken Densetsu 3. For years, the only way to play this very deep action RPG was by using a fan-translated SNES ROM. I played this game as a kid and had a great time planning my characters and classes.

In 2020, you’ve got two options: you can either play the original SNES version on modern consoles as part of the Collection of Mana or play the new version: Trials of Mana. I’m currently 50 hours into my first playthrough and I just beat the postgame boss and dungeon earlier this afternoon. I’ll be replaying the game soon with a different party.

While the SNES version definitely has its charms, the remake has drastically changed up the gameplay experience and there are plenty of huge QoL fixes (critical hits actually work, for one thing). If you’re looking for a cozy experience, Trials of Mana has that classic 90s nostalgia feel, from the music to the enemies, and I look forward to replaying from the perspective of the other characters.

When’s Mahvel?

If you had an Xbox 360, there’s about a 103% chance that you owned the Forza 2 Motorsport and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 bundle. For years you couldn’t even get any trade-in credit at Gamestop for this title because there were so many copies out there. I only vaguely remember MUA2 (give me a break, it’s been over a decade), but I’ve put in a lot of hours recently with its sequel, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.

MUA3 loosely follows the Infinity War storyline and culminates in a big ole battle against Thanos, who looks a lot more like his comic version and less like the Fortnite version. Koei Tecmo did a great job absolutely flooding the game with content and the game clocks in with a little over 50 playable heroes.

There are also plenty of different game modes and challenges, and a level cap of 300. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken the time to appreciate most of the roster, as my preferred and highest level team consists of Deadpool, Psylocke, Wolverine, and Gamora. I thoroughly enjoyed Ultimate mode, the highest difficulty. Much like the previous game, the boss fights are a lot of fun and are varied enough to keep you interested.

Take a bite out of Snack World

Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl Gold is a top-down dungeon-crawling RPG from the folks at Level-5. You know them from titles like Professor Layton, Ni no Kuni, or Yo-kai Watch. Snack World is an enhanced port of the Japan-only Snack World: Trejarers. The game has a light, tongue-in-cheek attitude and a relaxing gameplay loop that stays fresh. The food puns do get a bit old at times, but the game confidently treads the line of “made for kids, but also fun for adults”, much like a Pixar movie. I also highly enjoyed the multiplayer aspect. Yes, I did occasionally get teamed up with crappy players. However, a huge majority of the high-level folks in online lobbies know exactly what they’re doing and can help give you the oomph to beat some of the game’s tougher postgame challenges.

Play video games – don’t play with your health

In my day-to-day I see how quarantine is affecting people, and trust me, I empathize. I worry every day about bringing home the virus to my girlfriend. I’m not going to spout the same platitudes that you see in every email that has a “message from our CEO” – but please, stay safe, and remember that self-care doesn’t stop just because everything is closed.

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Analysis Featured Videos

GBL Podcast 5/5 – The Catch-UP Episode

Welcome back to another episode of the GBL Podcast!

This week we sat down to talk about recent major news within the gaming industry before a special EVO episode on 5/8. We gave our impressions on major releases such as FF7 Remake & Streets of Rage 4 while also putting the verdict out on recent game tests such as Guilty Gear Strive and the Halo 2 Insider Flight. Additional topics included a discussion on Sony’s recent development with The Last of Us 2 and Ghosts of Tsushima, plus our early predictions on the Mortal Kombat 11 DLC.

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Featured Gaming Legends

Was Digimon Cyber Sleuth Worth It?

There are a ton of games out there vying for your attention and cash. Gaming studios want your time and money, and let’s be honest, some companies just want to bleed you dry. In Was It Worth It, we look at a full game and give you our insight as to whether it’s worth your time. We also look at the mechanics of the game and offer tips from someone who has actually completed the game. With that said, follow the link below to find out: Was Digimon Cyber Sleuth Worth it?   https://aggregatorreviews.com/was-digimon-cyber-sleuth-worth-it/

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Getting Started in Pokemon Sword and Shield

Read my article about Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth on GottaBeLegend

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