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NERD SPOT, PAULIE SAYS

Toreba: Review!

Ser una chica gamer no tiene por qué limitarse a videojuegos y juegos de mesa o cartas, como en mi caso que juego hasta jacks. Hace poco descubrí la plataforma Toreba, un app para Android y iOS (cuenta con versión desktop) que te permite jugar las conocidas Claw Machines, Claw Cranes, Grúas o máquinas atrapa premios en tiempo real ¡EN JAPÓN! Ah, tecnología, tanto bien y tanto mal nos haces.

Mal porque no es un pasatiempos barato y quizás no lo debería considerar un pasatiempos porque es como apostar en un casino… pero más kawaii y de manera anónima sin el peligro que te busque la mafia.

En Toreba, el dinero se traduce en TP Points. 5,000 TP points equivalen a $5, 10,000 TP son $10 y así nos vamos. Cada jugada te puede costar de 1,200 TP a 1,800 TP. Más vale tener algo de experiencia con estos juegos, ya que muy rara vez conseguirás los premios en una jugada. Al abrir tu cuenta y verificarla, se te acreditan 5 jugadas gratis, que puedes dividirlas en 2 de prueba y 3 intentos, o intentar de atrapar algo en 5 turnos. En ocasiones cuentan con campañas de Login, en las que te acreditan TPs solo por entrar en tu cuenta diariamente. También debo mencionar que hay veces en los que tienes que esperar tu turno y cruzar los dedos que alguien se aburra o se le acabe el crédito antes que a ti.

Yo tengo algo de experiencia con los claw machines: me ENCANTAN (por cierto, todos los vídeos en este post son míos).  Así de que sale mi ludópata interna, me brillan los ojos y me pican las manos. En Panamá casi no se ven, y al viajar mis compañeros de viaje no quieren perder tiempo esperándome a que le gane a la maquinita. O la clásica de que no tengo cambio para jugar.

Otro tema es que a muchas maquinitas locales las surten de premios bastante genéricos (tengo el ojo puesto en una que tiene uno interesante). No hace mucho fui a un arcade con Ed, y la ÚNICA maquina tenía el claw roto y emparchado con tape eléctrico. Obviamente no iba a agarrar ni polvo.

La mayoría de las personas piensan que el juego está rigged, que es imposible ganar. Cada vez que gano algo, hay una conmoción porque la gente se sorprender de que la máquina no solo traga dinero. El primer peluche que gané fué un Snoopy de una maquina en Taiwan en 2003, y desde entonces se que SÍ SE PUEDE. Hay trucos y técnicas, al igual que con otros arcades en los que aparento ser bastante buena.

Creo que mi especialidad es ganar gatos, y necesité fuerza de voluntad para no jugar por el gato negro.

Volviendo al tema de Toreba, diariamente y más de una vez al día incluyen nuevos premios. Siento que las cajas, por más pequeñas y livianas que sean, son mil veces más difíciles de ganar que los premios más grandes como muñecos de peluche. Ojo, la “garra” es distinta dependiendo del fabricante. En lo personal prefiero la tradicional de 4 brazos, pero en Japón tienen las de 1 o 2 brazos, el gancho, el perforador, el Takoyaki, etc… Específicamente, en Toreba me va mejor con la de 2 brazos, pero es definitivamente más difícil que jugarlo en persona aunque tengas acceso a dos perspectivas.

Una vez que ganas tu premio, te aparecerá un mensaje y debes reclamarlo antes de un periódo de expiración de 14 días. Los envíos son gratis cada 7 dias, así que lo recomendable es reclamar tu premio y hacer un solo cargamento antes que expiren. Ojo, el envío gratis tiene sus restricciones. Lean bien, no sean perezosos, ya que no me hago responsable si quedan en bancarrota.

Sé que además de Toreba, existe el Akiba Catcher . No tengo experiencia con este último. La interfaz me parece algo clunky. Sin embargo, es una alternativa que creo también ofrece envíos gratis.

En fin, si este es un tema de interés, déjenme sus comentarios de qué tipo de juegos les gustan, si quieren que pruebe el Akiba Catcher, o si quisieran ver más de Toreba, quizás un live stream una vez descifre cómo hacerlo, y me sacrifico. Mientras tanto, pueden ver más vídeos de mis jugadas ganadoras en mi canal de Youtube. Intentaré ganar un par de cosas más para felizmente esperar mis premios en la comodidad de mi hogar, al otro lado del mundo.

EDGAR SAYS, NERD SPOT, POPCORN TIME

In review: X-Men: Apocalypse

The first act of 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse is so palpably dissimilar to the rest of the movie, that it should be considered a different film.

The first 30 minutes of Apocalypse are not a good movie. It’s passable at best, and clearly aimed at millennials almost exclusively. From the clearly tacked-on-by-a-script-doctor narration at the very beginning (about human flaws in superhuman beings), to the relentless barrage of blurry 60 fps frames, the third installment in the First Class trilogy starts with disappointment. Initiating with a confusing sub-plot full of already-developed characters that are consequentially inconsequential to the viewer, the film shoves En Sabah Nur’s transference ceremony to the audience amid a grand Egyptian setting that tells us in medias res that Apocalypse spent most of his story buried underground while “wreaking havoc throughout human history”, only to be awoken by the magnanimous power of daily sunlight.

Meanwhile, Magneto has adjusted to society, leaving his tragic past behind, using no mutant powers and no mutant name, while operating low key as a construction worker in Poland. Because this is an X-Men film, there has to be nostalgia, so naturally, it’s set 10 years apart from its prequel, as that prequel before it did. And because Magneto is Michael Fassbender ,and it’d be a sin not to overuse him as an actor, we need to see Magneto cry indignant tears of rage against an unjust universe. From a combo death that’s pathetic in every way, the Villain of the movie reloads in full form, portrayed by Oscar Isaac, whose only acting fault is that he can’t act what the script and direction don’t give to him.

Overall, though, X-Men: Apocalypse is a good movie, and the line can be sort of crossed around the first genuine line of dialogue between Moira and Charles regarding how the CIA would kill for Cerebro.

Following this quality of film-making, Singer raises his Apocalypse from the ashes until it soars as fan-favorite Jubilee remains yet un-showcased, but most other characters develop as quickly as teenagers. Some essence of First Class and a considerable essence from Days of Future Past permeates through this work, which combines Fassbender’s and McAvoy’s classic style of elegant theater school with a touch of the hip, the fast and the Quicksilver-paced. The movie isn’t tone-deaf as much as clearly stitched together by many different teams, minds, and cooks. This results in a work that’s polarized within itself yet ultimately redeemed by veteran filmmaking.

Also following Days of Future Past’s thematic relic, the fate of the Mutants can be determined by what the news media say about them. Guided by news media, Raven Mystique asks Prof. Xavier for help in rescuing her only other true ally: Erik Magneto (meaning both had left mutant life behind but were forced back into it). Thankfully, this touching character interaction is mirrored adeptly through Cyclops and Jean Grey, two characters who are much younger but who could also destroy the whole world by themselves. Starting from the death of Xavier’s favorite tree by his newest rising star, coursing through a sibling legacy to avenge, and ending as sloppily as Angel appeared, became Archangel and then ???, the film sort of just ends. It’s a tribute to entropy’s rapid decline. But the movie finishes with a strong portrayal of both Charles Xavier and Magneto, probably the most important constant in the trilogy. To be fair, this relationship never faltered in the movie, and its pace was appropriate and suspenseful enough for its source material.

Something to condemn was how relentlessly aggressive its marketing campaign ended up being, slapping YouTube ads with lines barely present in the movie (Apocalypse could control literally none of the Mutants). But its punches were so deservedly epic that Weapon X’s appearance wasn’t even gratuitous. Phoenix’s tease wasn’t even cryptic, and Charles Xavier was made of admirable star dust, challenging the Mutant epitome of Natural Selection itself.

From a first act of mismatched editing, poor writing and bland cinematography, to a second act of superb improvement, the film touts that only the strong will survive. Surely so, the film stands up from its crippled position in order to place the man who “wanted students, not soldiers” in its altar to transfer all power to him. Being defiant by nature, he challenges this notion, urging all citizens of Earth to use their power for helping those who have none.

The third act in filmed in an IMAX-size format, and the tension is managed accordingly well. Only one horseman out of four goes full circle from hero, to villain, to redemption. Another one becomes one of the good guys out of admiration for Mystique, but the other two become brand fodder as they disappear into the sunset. I do think this is just one of many X-Men films to come, but certainly the last with the First Class cast. Film perfection is rare, and it should be preserved in memories, like when Charles asked Erik to find power between anger and serenity. He reminds him that through all the loss and tragedy, there is still good in the world. And if anyone dares take it away, there is only pity for the poor soul who tries.

Ultimately, the X-Men series is all about hope for a better future. Walking out of the movie, it’s easier to yearn for a world that returns to its natural roots, free from weapons and war, from discrimination and inequality, and from Fox vs. Marvel.

NERD SPOT, POPCORN TIME

Captain America: Civil War – Movie Review

Having only directed episodes for nine TV series and three TV movies besides one feature-length comedy, brothers Joe and Anthony Russo weren’t necessarily regarded among the best filmmakers of their time prior to Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 2. But Captain America 3: Civil War leaves no excuse to disregard The Russo Brothers. Helmed by Disney, Marvel was smart enough to sign the siblings into both of the parts that will close the Avengers film series, concluding the era of superhero movies that so many skeptics are looking forward to seeing collapse.

latest-2In a time of readily available information, it’s becoming increasingly important to ask why in general. Not only in matters of questioning authority or finding oneself, but also in analyzing and thusly understanding the world we live in. Why are superheroes so popular? Why are they so hated by others in return? Why are love and hate of things mutually exclusive concepts? Civil War does not answer those primordial questions, but it does bring some fine quality entertainment for masses who enjoy mainstream accessibility.

Be it 3D, 4D, or good ‘ol 2D, Captain America’s final trilogy chapter closes so many loose ends and opens up so many new worlds of possibilities, in such carefully crafted ways, that even the most hard-hearted of purists would be delusional if they denied that Marvel actually makes good cinema that acknowledges the parts within its continuity.

Let’s start from the script. The very first slam superhero movies get is for being too formulaic, almost engaged in a tragically Oedipal romance with Joseph Campbell, immortalizing his name as the daddy of screenwriting clichés. Hero rises, falls, rises again. People weep in awe at the Phoenix and all ends as it started, only improved. But why is this bad? At one point does a story stop being full of conventions and instead become full of organic parts? My personal answer is that it isn’t. Superheroes are definitely a stage of film history (hell, Marvel was smart enough to divide it in Phases), and it will eventually end. But even the fall of its empire is entertaining to watch. After all, that’s all it’s supposed to be: entertainment. And entertainment itself is a human necessity. Ergo, superheroes are just a part of a human need.

Captain-America-Civil-War-Splashpage-TeamCap-Photo

Let’s move on to the film: everything the viewer wanted was delivered like a checklist. Anyone familiar with Civil War knows and expects a set list of things: Iron Man vs. Captain America, Black Panther, Spiderman, Ant-Man riding Hawkeye’s arrows, Ant-Man becoming a giant, a speech of planting oneself like a tree and telling others to move on, and so on. In various comic book iterations, both Tony Stark and Steve Rogers eventually die at some point, so the source material canon has some pretty high stakes raised already. But even if you know nothing of this movie and the above stated elements were spoilers to you, you’re in for a fun ride.

The marketing for the movie was exceedingly clever, down to the things that the studios didn’t even control: Batman v. Superman was definitely meant to be released earlier. And it was totally meant to be a much less entertaining movie (for one, it has less characters, it has a much more serious tone, and its intent is to bring some cinematic solemnity to the Justice League). Following Joss Whedon’s beloved method of quippy remarks, the characters in Civil War breathe like regular humans. They bleed much less than regular humans, but they do so nonetheless, and they complain, they hurt, they hesitate, they repent, they improve, and even though they don’t… spoiler… die at all (only ONE character with a known name and speaking role dies in the movie… if you solely count sequences more than five minutes long).

Civil War does many things right: it continues the storyline, mood, and settings introduced by its predecessor (in a world where, for instance, Iron Man 3 is so disjointed from Iron Man 2, this is particularly noteworthy). It introduces characters in the best way possible (Black Panther is the only character truly shown for the first time in film), and it gives just enough screen time to the many characters is crams together without turning it all into a mess. Where Dawn of Justice stumbled and struggled while building a fearsome villain, setting up sequels and putting one side of ideals against its opposite (I thing BvS did all those things well, but you could feel the work it took), Civil War maneuvered seamlessly with little more than a few seconds of awkward editing that is expected in action movies. At least for once, we’re getting a properly packaged product where every scene promised in the trailer is actually shown to us in the movie itself. That’s a relief nowadays (and we even get to figure out who the mysterious bald woman in the Age of Ultron is).

captain-america-civil-war-posterAnd the core of the movie itself is about minimizing damages: sure, superheroes will always cause deaths, as the nature of a hero is to challenge the very concept of mortality. Following the ideology that saving a few lives is ethically “more right” than saving nobody at all, the movie imploded its capacity of failure into enjoyable plotlines that preserve the magic we all love in cinema. No hero is tarnished in the movie. Even its main villain is given a bitterly heartfelt moment to tragically grieve his motivations into the audience, and into a character changed for the better as a result of this apotheosis (what defines a hero). This movie is about consequences, and the anti-hero’s journey is almost the same as the hero’s (watching an empire fall), the only difference is that the hero attempts to stray the least from the rules (even though the system descends into synonymous entropy that following rules in full results in not doing the right thing) while the anti-hero writes his own, and then ignores his own rules.

Certainly, the movie itself is not about opposing forces, about the impossibility of true neutral balance, or about the Confederacy raising musket bayonets against the Union, as advertised in the title and as the least clever parts of its marketing would have you believe. But it is about many other related things, and it feels real in a world with routine news of terrorist attacks, increasing climate change, and unending conspiracy theories by self-proclaimed clickbaity journalists. Civil War is a needed breath in superhero movies. It is a necessary conclusion to storylines left hanging by the company that keeps the dreams of mice alive. It is a fair product of sacrifice and hard work, mostly by the screenwriters, actor, directors, and even the audience. And it is a deserved moment in comic book history, where nerdy fans can see their haven immortalized in what is arguably the most complete of all art mediums. I keep saying “in this world”, because in this world the superhero is supposed to die any time. But mark by words, heroes never die.

 

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