PokeMonday 8/22/2016 – Team Leader Lingo & Onix in the Frontier!

Happy PokeMonday to all you awesome trainers out there! August is almost over and with September just around the corner, Niantic Labs released an interesting new update for poke-trainers everywhere. For me personally, it’s been a good week for hunting pokemon, especially with the recent migration changes. 😉

get ready to be judged!
get ready to be judged!

IMG_5089Just a few days ago, Niantic released a new update that allows trainers to get some personal time with their team leaders! Once you select a pokemon and open the options menu for it, you will see a brand new button: “Appraise”. Click on this button, and you’ll see you’re team leader pop up and give you some insider info about your pokemon. For me, that would be Blanche, because Team Mystic is the best. 😉 Candela and Sparky make appearances as well, each with their own unique phrases and tips. These phrases and tips aren’t always clear, however, so here is a quick guide to help you read between the lines of your leader. I personally really appreciate this new feature, it adds a new level to the game for me. Many of you trainers out there already used third-party sites such as The Silph Road to help calculate your pokemons personal power levels. However, I wasn’t that type of trainer, so this new feature is really useful to me, and trainers like me.

frontier-parkSpeaking of myself, this weeks adventure took me out into the wild frontier. Or at least, Frontier Park in Tustin. Frontier Park is a newly remodeled park that features frisbee golf, an interactive water attraction, and a free work out equipment. The frisbee golf and the work out equipment were particularly interesting, and definitely something worth returning to with my wife; however neither of these was my main draw to the park this week. I was at Frontier Park to hunt pokemon!IMG_4942 I was first attracted to this park as a pokemon hunting ground when I noticed that a Jolteon appeared there. Since then, I’ve returned quite a few times and have been able to verify that Frontier Park is an Onix nest!

IMG_5086 IMG_5087Personally, I have always loved Onix, way back since the first time Brock chose him to battle Ash. And to be able to find an Onix nest this week, after finding a bulbasaur nest last week, well – I must have eaten a lucky egg for breakfast! Now all I need is to find a Farfetched nest and I’ll have caught all three of my favorites! Who knows, if the effects of the lucky egg last, maybe I’ll catch a Farfetched next week! Good luck out there, trainers, I’ll see you next week!

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MIDNIGHT STAR RENEGADE: Run and Gun shooting on the go!

Intergalactic FPS shooting is now available on the go and in the palm of your hand with MIDNIGHT STAR RENEGADE, the latest free app from Industrial Toys LLC. Strap in, crack those knuckles, and get ready for an intuitive, fast paced, and action packed adventure that fits in your pocket! Midnight Star Renegade is filled with alien threats, armor and weapon upgrades, and tons of unlockables! If you find yourself in the app store in search of a fun run and gun experience on the run, then Midnight Star Renegade is what you’re looking for!


GEAR UP SOLDIER! 

Midnight Star Renegade thrusts you right into action from the very start! As soon as you open this pocket-FPS app, your training in how to effectively eliminate aliens begins. The controls are surprisingly simple and precise once you get a hang of it, considering Midnight Star’s FPS roots. The learning curve to actually get the hang of it, however, well that’s a different story. I have to be honest, the first time I played this game I was more than a little confused with the controls. I didn’t fully utilize the tools the game had given me, namely the zoom button on the bottom left of the screen. Instead, I chose to continually use the directional to look around the screen, which caused quite a bit of frustration on my part. Movement consisted of running, or jumping depending on if you’ve got the right boots on, from one blue icon to another, each of which are strategically placed around the arena. Swiping around the arena from icon to icon was a tricky mechanic to get used to at first. Once I had gotten the hang of it, however, I was doing mid-air head shots like a boss! But, that’s something that will come later in the game once you’ve got the right shoes on. 😉

Midnight Star Renegade is a fun filled action shooter that’s worth your time, that is, if you’re willing to put in the time to get used to the controls. There are 15 zones in total, with multiple stages within each zone. Every stage gives you an opportunity to earn 3 gold stars, and those stars are what you will need in order to see all 15 zones.

After you complete each stage, you will be rewarded with a loot box to open which will award you with new gear for either your guns or your armor.  These loot boxes are completely random, just like the loot within them. Your gear comes in different levels as well; common, uncommon, rare, epic and legendary- each class color coded for easy identification. The customization in this game reminds me a bit of Destiny, or at least a pocket version of Destiny. Which is probably part of the appeal that I have towards the game, seeing as I do love Destiny. 😉

All in all, I found myself truly enjoying this game. As I stated, it took me a moment to fully realize the potential for fun to be had in Midnight Star Renegade; mostly due to the learning curve when it comes to adjusting to the controls. But after I had gotten past that, I discovered an addictive mobile FPS with enough loot and gear to keep me coming back and killing aliens for quite a while. This game isn’t perfect of course; it has in-app purchases and the load times are slightly longer than some would prefer. But, the game IS free, and with such slick graphics and exciting game play, Midnight Star Renegade is easily a contender for hand held shooter of the year.

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PokeMonday 8-22-2016 – I Wanna Be The Very Best! : the hunt for Bulbasaurs!

Happy PokeMonday to all you Awesome Poke-Trainers out there! Unless you’ve been living underneath a Graveler for the past few weeks, then you’ve undoubtably heard about the hand held phenomena thats sweeping the globe, Pokemon Go! Niantic Games released this gem just a little over a month ago, and already the world is changed, or should I say, evolved. Some Uber drivers have begun to offer a service to chauffeur trainers around town to collect poke-stops. Yelp now includes the poke-filter option that lets you find dining locations that are close to poke-stops and gyms. Droves upon droves of indoor gamers have suddenly stepped out into the light, portable chargers in hand, with one mantra in mind: “Gotta catch ’em all. Gotta catch ’em all.”

We here at AGB are no different. With hats flipped to the back and a pocket full of stardust, we’ve all set out on our quest to be the very best there ever was! And if our pokedex is any indication, then we’re almost there! In fact, here’s a quick look of what we’ve each got so far!

Rob's Pokedex
Rob’s Pokedex
Brandon's Pokedex
Brandon’s Pokedex
John's Pokedex
John’s Pokedex

Definitely not too shabby, if I do say so myself. 😉

look at all those pokestops!!
look at all those pokestops!!

Now personally speaking, this has been a pretty good weekend for me in terms of hunting pokemon. Since the game was released in early July, it’s common to find me walking around Old Town Tustin in the wee early hours of the weekend mornings. Why Old Town Tustin, you ask? Well, lets just say that it’s particularly motivating. And by that, I mean the place is lousy with poke-stops! I mean, just look at all them! 0_O I love waking up early on a Saturday morning, activating an incense, and just walking around Old Town. I’ve found a perfect circuit route that is exactly 2.3 kilometers, perfect for hatching eggs, as well as catching whatever pokemon pop up and collecting from every pokestop I come across. One or two laps is usually all I need to hatch an egg or two and to stock up on poke balls before I set out to other locations. This weekends locations: Heritage Park in Irvine.

Heritage Park, editedThis beautiful park, tucked away on the corner of Walnut and Yale, not only boasts a community center and a regional library, but also hosts the Irvine Fine Arts Center. However, none of those were the reasons why I was visiting Heritage Park this weekend.

from just this weekend ;P
from just this weekend ;P

Instead, I was there for one of my favorite pokemon. For you see, aside from all those notable things that I noted, Heritage Park is also a bulbasaur nest! The wife and I were there for about an hour and it’s safe to say that I caught ALL the bulbasaur. ;P

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TAUROS!!!
But that’s not all! Because while I was there, I was also fortunate enough to snag myself a Tauros! Brrr! It’s Cold in here! There must be some Tauros in the atmosphere! Hahaha! It was my second Tauros, so needless to say, I was a little excited. 😀

That about wraps it up for this weeks edition of PokeMondays. I’ll be visiting different locals in Southern California, and every PokeMonday I will be giving you a run down of how my week went. I intend to go out there everyday, visiting different spots every week, hatching eggs and looking for nests, all in the name of catching ’em all. So be sure to join me here every week on my quest to be the very best!

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OVERWATCH News! Season 1 is officially done, what’s in store for Season 2?

That’s All Folks! 


Well, it’s official. Competitive mode for Overwatch season 1 has officially ended today, with ranks and special player icons handed out accordingly. Blizzard released this text earlier this evening signaling the end of a truly groundbreaking, opening competitive round for their newest IP, Overwatch.

From beginning to end, Overwatch’s competitive first season was one for the record books. There were a lot of patches, both to the competitive game play and in the form of buffs and nerfs for multiple characters, all throughout this first season. From increasing the respawn time from 6 seconds to 8 seconds and introducing the 1 hero limit, to including buffs for D.Va and Zenyatta which completely changed the meta. All the way to introducing a brand new character – Ana, and changing the meta yet again, there’s no denying that Blizzard’s first season for Overwatch was one adrenaline rush of a learning experience filled with bullets, bombs, and two headed dragons!

Winter is coming, and it’s gonna be a Blizzard!


But, now what? I know there are a lot of players out there who are already reeling from the absence of a competitive mode. Quick Play is great, but after feeling the hunger of chasing competitive points to collect that golden gun, well, Quick Play just doesn’t cut it anymore. Well, worry not because Season 2 is just around the corner! And here is Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan to break it down and let you know what to look forward to in season 2!

Blizzard also released information this week about a new map, and a new game mode. This new map, Eichenwalde, which will be a combination of payload and capture the point play modes. Much like King’s Row, where players must first capture the point, which then releases a payload to be carried across the map, this new map will play in the same way. Except for Eichenwald, this process will be in reverse; first move the payload (which appears to be a battering-ram of sorts), and then once you reach the end, defend! For more info on this map, check out the videos below.

I personally enjoyed every minute of Overwatch’s competitive first season, and I’m excited to see what season 2 has in store. The new map, Eichenwalde, looks particularly interesting with all of its new flanking paths and choke points. Along with the promise of two new characters, Sombra and Doomfist, there’s a lot of big things in store for season 2, and Overwatch doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. 😉

 

Seppuku for Suicide Squad!? :::WARNING::: Spoilers Ahead!

Suicide Squad Poster Art Title

It’s been a week now, and most of you who really wanted to watch Warner Bros.’s latest DC movie, “Suicide Squad,” have already seen the film and have formed your own opinions on it. That’s great. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, then you have undoubtedly seen the mixed reviews coming in from friends and critics alike. Well, now it’s my turn. To be fair to those folks who’ve yet to take the time to view director, David Ayers’s divisive DCEU contribution, I’ll leave the first paragraph or so spoiler free. But then after that, it’s on! Don’t worry, I won’t go crazy. I’ll just focus on some spots that really bothered me that I really haven’t heard addressed by other reviews I’ve seen thus far. Anyway, enough intro paragraph, let me tell you what you want to know about Warner Bros.’s “Suicide Squad.” 😉


KILLING ‘EM SOFTLY

Okay, what I’m about to say is important: this. movie. is. FUN. period. Yeah, yeah, there’s plot holes and editing mistakes and the pacing is off at times, blah, blah, blah. All that aside, this movie is fun. There are explosions, some laughs, great music (even if it doesn’t seem to fit the tone of the movie all the time) and some entertaining fight sequences.  It’s a bit of a mix between the bright colors of “Batman Forever,” with the semi-dark tone of “Dark Knight Rises,” and the bloated cast of “X-Men Apocalypse,” with a touch of “Kick Ass” thrown in for good measure.  If you liked any, or all of those movies I just mentioned, then “Suicide Squad” is up your alley.  Granted, this movie won’t win any awards, but it is a great way to have fun and not take yourself too seriously.
Suicide Squad Posters Image Tout
In the wake of the destruction left behind during “Man of Steel” and “Batman V Superman,” “Suicide Squad,” the latest entry into the DCEU, is a government sanctioned monster mash of some of DC’s more tame criminals. Headlining this Hari Kari cache of characters are Will Smith as Deadshot, the man who never misses, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, the Joker’s psychotic main squeeze. The other main characters are Rick Flag, the all-American soldier whose sole purpose is to serve his country and save his sweetheart, dutifully played by Joel Kinnaman; Advance Ticket Promos Amanda Waller Suicide SquadViola Davis masterfully portrays the role of Amanda Waller, the hard-hearted mastermind behind this criminal cadre of would-be heroes, who, in a movie filled with villains, stands heads and shoulders above the rest in terms of pure cut throat nastiness. Rounding out the cast of memorable main characters is Jared Leto’s Joker.  I’ll admit that when I first saw early screenshots of Leto’s Joker, I was a little bit more than underwhelmed. I was bewildered and put off, yet I understood what Leto was trying to do; after all, it isn’t easy to uniquely portray an iconic character such as the Joker, especially when you’re already under the cinematic shadow of such great Joker performances from both Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. However, despite even knowing that, I was still taken aback by it. That changed in a blink recently, due to DC’s comic rebirth revival, in which within the new Batman storyline it is explained that the Joker is not one, but actually three separate people. I know, I know, that sounds crazy. Well, here’s a link in case you want to know more about it (Trying to make sense of Joker’s new origin – IGN conversation). Anyway, with that knowledge in mind, Leto’s Joker performance in “Suicide Squad” was a lot easier to swallow, and actually made him a bit more appealing in my eyes, since I was able to see him as the third version of the infamous killer clown.

FALLING SHORT OF SQUAD GOALS

Suicide Squad Movie Characters Calendar
In terms of the rest of the squad, err, umm, well it should come as no surprise that the other members really take a big backseat in this movie. It is a real shame, too, because Jay Hernandez’s Diablo showed a bit of potential underneath all the facial tattoos. The rest of the characters: Captain Boomerang, Enchantress, Katana, Killer Croc and Slipknot (played by Jai Courtney, Cara Delevingne, Kara Fukuhara, Adele Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Adam Beach, respectively) all played second, and even third, fiddle to Deadshot and Harley. Even Enchantress, the main antagonist in the film, who starts out as a part of the Squad but then betrays them to unleash Armageddon, is lackluster, poorly lit and almost laughable. But then again, that’s part of the fun! Even if David Ayers didn’t intend for Cara Delevingne’s character to look like a possessed Shakira impersonator, that’s honestly part of the fun of this movie.
Despite Suicide Squad’s lack of a Jesse Eisenberg or any fourth wall breaks, this movie takes itself a bit too seriously (i.e. Enchantress and her minion and the apocalyptic doom she ensues), but not too seriously that it becomes a Christopher Nolan movie. I mean, who sends a guy with a boomerang, another guy with wrist guns, and Hot Topic’s employee of the year, to go fight an ancient centuries old resurrected evil anyway?! When you start to think about it too much, “Suicide Squad” falls apart under the weight of its own ambition. But if you try not to give it a second thought and simply enjoy the action-packed extended music video that is “Suicide Squad,” then you’re going to treat yourself to one hell of a hay ride!
Okay, so that’s the spoiler-free, personal review of “Suicide Squad.” From here on out, I’m dropping spoilers… and the professional pretense. You’ve been warned.

:::SPOILERS AHEAD::: AKA the WTF zone!?

Suicide Squad Can Be A Game Changer For Warner Bros And DC
Duuuuuuude!!!1!! What’s up with Batfleck and the Flash? Like, seriously Ayers!? You have them appear for a few seconds early on in the movie, and then during this world ending glowing debris doughnut in the sky catastrophe, which apparently was happening for 3 days mind you (3 DAYS!!), there’s no mention of the caped crusader or the scarlet speedster anywhere! And thats just for starters! I mean, Batman and The Flash felt so out of place in this movie, completely forced. I wager some big wig in a comfy leather seat had some say in that, but you didn’t hear it from me. And speaking of Batman, look, I get it. Everybody who totally lowered their expectations for B. Affleck to do a good job were blown away at his stand-out performance in Batman V. Superman. But honestly, it’s not hard to stand-out when every one else in the movie just dials it in. (cough cough).
Will Smith As Deadshot & Ben Affleck As BatmanNow, regarding the Dark Knight’s presence in this movie, well…
Ok, here’s the set-up for Batman’s first appearance in Suicide Squad. Amanda Waller is speaking all hush hush with a few other suits about setting up this “team” to take on “meta-human” level threats, and with Superman dead at the end of BvS, she figures now is the perfect time to get the ball rolling. This is when she gets into talking about Will Smith’s character, Deadshot: the man who never misses. One of the other suits at the table says something along the lines of “but he’s been in hiding and hard to get a hold of and impossible to capture yada yada” to which Waller says “I’ve got that taken care of. He (Deadshot) is in Gotham and I made a few calls” or something to the effect. Either way, the next scene is the Fresh Prince of Headshots in civilian clothes walking along a busy street with his daughter for an obvious Father/Daughter day. As they turn a corner to walk down a less crowded alleyway, who else would drop down from the roof top but our good old point eared, justice dealing, winged rodent, Batman. After getting the drop on Daddy Deadshot, Smith’s character instinctively pulls out a gun and aims it right at the Gotham Guardian, to which Batfleck says “I don’t want to do this in front of your daughter.” wait, WHAT? Like, are you kidding me Batsy? YOU’RE the one who attacked him, FROM BEHIND NO LESS, in FRONT of his daughter in the first place!! and now, NOW, you’re getting all high and mighty (and hypocritical) and saying “I don’t want to do this in front of your daughter.” Duuuuuude, shut the front door! Just, just… I can’t.
And then there’s the Flash. He makes a quick cameo, and we’re supposed to flip our lids? Ooooo, an expanded universe! Gasp! It’s a hint that they are going to make the Justice League movie! wutwutwut! #HalfLife3Confirmed!!? Seriously DC, calm your tits. Congratulations, you’ve finally gotten smart regarding your cinematic universe and decided to expand and connect and have some continuity. That’s a great idea, golf claps all around. It really worked well for you animated televised outings in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, so it was about time you took the same world building principal to the big screen. But honestly, you might want to focus on making a good universe first before you start expanding it. I’m just saying. Especially since the Flash, who’ve we’ve seen twice now (in BvS and now SS), has been basically useless every time he’s flashed on the screen. I mean, thanks for the cameo, but he would have been better served as an easter egg. To show The Flash “stopping” Captain Boomerang and the beginning of the film, and then do nothing else during a cataclysmic event unfolds is just a waste of a character and makes for another terrible plot hole in this swiss cheese movie.
Advance Ticket Promos Enchantress Suicide Squad
Speaking of plot holes, Enchantress was an ancient, centuries old let down. Cara Delevingne did her best with the script and direction she was given, but this character was dead in the water before the bath was even filled. For instance, apparently she can teleport. In fact, when we are first shown Delevingne transform into Enchantress from June Moon, the archeologist who found the cursed artifact that transformed her in the ancient deity, (hands down one of the coolest, if not THEE coolest scene in the movie) she demonstrates her ability to teleport from one side of the world to another in the blink of an eye, retrieving secret terrorist documents in the process. However, when she turns evil and starts to attack the city, there is a scene where the whole Suicide Squad makes it way to the top floor of a high rise building in order to secure a “special package”, aka, Amanda Waller, who has been trapped inside for the past 3 days. Now, as soon as the Squad rescue her, and Waller is inside a helicopter flying to safety, THAT’s when Enchantress starts to focus her attacks on her escaping chopper and tasks her minions to capture a helpless Waller. Ok, so the question then is this: if Enchantress can teleport, why didn’t she just teleport into the room to grab Waller 3 days ago?! Like, seriously!? And then, in the final battle, instead of using her ancient evil powers to do battle against the squad, Enchantress decides to use capoeira and then swords. Are you kidding me?! You have phenomenal cosmic powers and you go with hand to hand combat as your first choice?! Le sigh… At least she still had the coolest intro in the whole movie. Cara as June Moon is standing at one end of a long business table surrounded by military and government big shots, she puts her hands on the table, whispers “Enchantress”, and then the camera zooms in as a shadow hand begins to embrace June’s own real hand, and then BOOM, transformation. I loved it. In fact, here’s that scene now. 😉 That “Go get it, girl” at the end though, I don’t know if that was intended to be funny or not, but it surely got a gut bust from me. LoL
I have a few more gripes with this movie, but the more I talk about it, the more it honestly just sounds like quibbling. And believe me, there are quite a few more things I could quibble about (why was Killer Croc so small?! and wearing velour?! Slipknot dead in two minutes!! Diablo was able to “own up” to his past mistakes just because Harley told him to get over it a few minutes ago?! sigh…), but none of it matters. Not really. Because in the end, this movie was still fun. I enjoyed the explosions, and the one sided fight scenes, and the little easter eggs peppered through-out. Despite their placement in this movie, I was still happy to see Batman and the Flash show up on screen, even though I wish they did more than just.. nothing. There is a particularly enjoyable, however brief, easter egg in which you see Harley Quinn’s original costume that was debuted in Batman: The Animated Series. It only flashed on screen for a brief moment, but it was enough for fans to see and be gleeful for.

THE RUNDOWN 

Suicide Squad Skulls
Bottomline, this movie isn’t saving the DC franchise like they hoped it would, but its still a damn good time, IF you don’t think about it too much. Sort of like an compilation of race car accidents on youtube: entertaining to watch, definitely expensive, filled with “oo’s” and “aah’s”, and when it’s over, you just hope no one was seriously hurt. Ultimately, I’m going to buy the blu-ray, as well as probably watch it in the theater one more time. It’s a comic book movie, and that genre gets my support no matter what. No Super Hero Movie Left Behind! Except Green Lantern. AND X-Men: Apocalypse. Gaaah, please someone burn the celluloid for those films and spread the ashes in the sea, and then lets never discuss them again. 😉
Suicide Squad