Tag Archives: Editorial

This Summer’s for Walkin’. Navigating the Pandemic, Comic Cons and Ausair

12 Jul

SDCC 2020 Exclusive Marvel Zombies Deadpool Bust by Gentle Giant, and MEA  Maximum Venom 2-Pack by Beast Kingdom - The Toyark - NewsBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Ever since the pandemic hit, I wanted a reusable mask instead of having disposable ones nearby. Amazon is still rife with tons of sellers because some parts of the world are still in lockdown or very slow in vaccinating their populace. As the Summer season is in full swing and people are hankering to travel, just where folks can go depends on whether border restrictions have eased. Some countries have physical comic book shows going on, but if people can’t get there from afar, there’s nothing anyone can do but wait or have proof of being vaccinated. Most operations are still asking that people wear a face covering.  

The delta variant is concerning. I don’t see an immediate future where masks aren’t mandatory. I predict mask usage will be required at indoor events–especially conventions and concerts–for the rest of the year. As for what brand I’ll be using, that’s still up in the air.

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“No Hope” for a Franchise. Transformers: Heavy Metal AR

16 Jun

Pokémon Go creator Niantic announces Transformers: Heavy Metal AR game -  PolygonBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The battle for which faction will occupy Earth is not likely at the core of the upcoming mobile AR game, Transformers: Heavy Metal. The media’s abuzz about bringing this Hasbro property to the videogame world again, and honestly, I’m not excited. I’m more curious in when the reboot will be brought back to the screen again (recent Netflix program notwithstanding).

Niantic Inc is involved in the development cycle, and early images suggest this product may well be another Pokemon GO clone. Seattle-based software house, Very Very Spaceship (known for Truck Stars) is leading the development. This four-year-old business doesn’t have a lot of recognition to get some fans excited.

This company is a self-described, “motley crew of space faring designers, engineers, artists and storytellers from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. For the past three years, under the leadership of BAFTA winning founder Sean Vesce (Never Alone, Tomb Raider Series, Mechwarrior Series), we have been solving the problems of the unknown for incredible partners like Google, Microsoft and others. We are a tight-knit group of makers thriving in our undiscovered future, making shared game experiences in AR, VR, Geolocation, Live Streaming and more. In addition to our client work, we develop and release original indie experiments like the recent Knife 2 Meat U, available at our itch.io page.”

Considering how huge Transformers fandom is, Hasbro’s quality control division ought to squash any bumblebees.

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Is the Pokémon GO’s Snap Celebration Event Broken? My Hopes for May Events…

29 Apr

pokemon-go-logoBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Taking part in these back-to-back Pokémon GO events can be exhausting. Not everyone has to participate, but they do anyways. Part of the reason is that most long-time players want mega candies for specific ‘mons as spawn rates are increased for a few days. I’m after more Magikarp candy myself. They help evolve the lil’ beasts beyond level 40.

The only aspect of the game which keeps me going are the weekly special event completion quests. The rewards are decent. This week’s celebration of the release of Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo Switch is okay at best, and the one-time special field research tasks are incredibly broken. It’s easy to photograph the same wild beast over and over to breeze through the tasks. There’s nothing unique to “photographing” your ‘mon with the real surroundings, other than to post on it twitter with the #gosnapshot hashtag that you’re is participating in this four-day event. The purpose is more about showing off your trophies and so far, all I got was a shiny Lotad. I’ve done a lot of photos of wild pokémon and only had one Smergle show up out of 60 or so snapshots. The rate seems better after random creatures are caught though. It’s hilarious that I can recursively photograph this artist and get another appearing on top over and over. 

In a world that is supposed to be in lockdown because of the third wave of covid-19 cases, we shouldn’t be encouraged to leave home and find these pocket monsters. Technically, it can all be avoided since parks and outdoor spaces allow for distancing. 

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Comic Cons, Concerts and Concerns in the Midst of a Continuing Pandemic

18 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Usually around this time, I’d be planning (or have attended) a pop culture convention by now. Emerald City Comic Con may run their 2021 event at the end of the year, but by then, are we sure it’ll happen when information of COVID-19 variants is the new concern? We’re in a pandemic, and although a vaccine is available, it’s not guaranteed to completely placate the virus. LiveScience published an article explaining how they work. People can still be carriers and not show any symptoms.

Plus, not everyone are able to get the shot right away. The rollout will target particular public health sectors first, before the public, and most regular joes–the fandom–is last in line. Changes to these events are expected because any show that doesn’t incorporate safety measures as a precaution is not only hazardous to everyone’s health but also a breeding ground for another wave.

As much as I like to resume that life of an avid con goer in a normally busy month of March, I don’t see myself feeling comfortable being at one unless these events invest in “the new norm” which includes plexiglass barriers to put between fans, dealers and guests along with many sanitizing stations. Whether that’s with ultraviolet portals to pass through or a table with cleansing dispensers, it won’t be enough. The shows that want to take place sooner than later may include waivers for everyone to impress their fingerprint upon so that the company can’t be sued if an attendee gets sick.

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How Pokémon GO Can Be Improved & Community Day Afterthoughts

17 Jan

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Updated: Jan 28th, 2021

Pokémon GO is off to a good start this new year. I’m playing a lot more because the first Community Day with Machop and triple stardust for every critter caught is exactly what I wanted. Toss on a Star Piece, and I was swimming in powder after playing for the full five hours. Hopefully, these types of triple offerings will pop up a touch more often.

But as for the augmented reality part of this game, I still keep the camera off. The feature still struggles with knowing the difference between three-dimensional objects, a wall and the floor. It’d be cool to see a Pikachu around the corner, and the player has to slightly chase after it in order to catch, but the various surface detection algorithms don’t work that way. This feature was supposed to roll out late last year, according to engadget, but it seems very little progress has been made. I’ve tested the option on an iPad Mini 5 and Samsung S20 FE. On both, the critter thought the curtain was a flat horizon surface–whoops!

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