The Walking Dead

This was definitely the best and most exciting season opener (for season 5) for The Walking Dead so far. Lots happening, and already we’re headed on a new course. The only thing that bugged me was the moment where the unknowns are getting killed (in the scene pictured above), and then it just “magically” stops just in time. This show so far has been pretty good about not being too obvious about who lives and dies, and also when those deaths will occur, and this scene just felt so standard. But the rest was fun, and that reveal at the end was great too.

The Flash

This is pretty much exactly what I wanted as a companion show to Arrow – something that is lighter and funner, but still feels at home in the “universe” that is being created for Arrow. Sure, the pilot is a bit too backstory heavy, but that’s what you’d expect from a pilot, and I’m quite looking forward to seeing how the series moves along. It’s off to a good start at least, and makes me not regret having given up on Agents of SHIELD yet again.

Automata

I really, really liked this movie. I’d say it’s the closest to a Blade Runner I’ve seen since, well, Blade Runner. It has a similar vibe and presentation of the future, mixed in with some classic Asimov robot “directives.” And there’s something really haunting and emotional about the way they portray the robots, despite the incredibly simple aesthetics used. Great stuff.

Columbo: Murder by the Book

They have all of Columbo on Hulu Japan, and so the other day I went and watched the very first episode, from 1971 (“Murder by the Book,” they’re all done as TV movies). I’ve seen some Columbo in the past, but just the last ones that were made, in the early nineties I think. I really enjoyed this, thought it was really well done, and I was pretty surprised to see the director credit at the very end of the episode: Steven Spielberg. I definitely want to watch some more.

This Is October

This is this, and that’s that.

A bit of an update on the various things I’m involved with, starting with the very happy announcement that was made a week ago that PressPause is coming back for a second season, starting on Thursday, November 6 (at 20:00). We – me and my fellow organizers, Daryl Cole and Ryan Ruel – wanted to take some time to reconfigure things, in order to produce something that would work better in light of what we experienced with season 1. I explain it more in detail in this post on the PressPause site, but in short, we want it to feel more inclusive to people who can’t really commit to spending a lot of time on producing an actual finished game, but who still want to get a taste of what it takes to make one. We’ll still have lessons – and homework for those who want to put into practice what they learned – but we’ll also have a speaker each time, and we have a nice ending in mind that we’ll talk about more next year.

So if you’re interested in the making of games, and more specifically using Unity as a tool to make that happen, then please join us. You’ll find updates on the PressPause site, and you can now follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribe to a newsletter.

As for PauseTalk, I apologize again for cancelling this month’s edition due to the typhoon. The typhoon business was actually all done fairly early in the day, and so there wouldn’t have been a problem, but I had to make the decision the day before, and didn’t want to take a chance – especially that we tend to get a lower turnout even when it’s just a rainy day. 

PauseTalk Vol. 82 will instead happen on Monday, November 10 – yes, it’s on the second Monday of the month instead of the first, to avoid clashing with the holiday and the end of Tokyo Designers Week. Hope to see a nice turnout then.

Although I’m not involved in producing PauseDraw, I’m really happy to see what’s happening with the series under the leadership of Luis Mendo, Adrian Hogan, and Eiko Nagase. After a summer hiatus, they were planning on restarting last week, which was also cancelled because of the typhoon, and so instead it’s happening today (Sunday, October 12). Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to stay updated on upcoming editions.

Lastly – but certainly not leastly – is our big Tokyo Designers Week edition of PechaKucha Night at the end of the month. As with the past couple of years, we’re having a big event under the dome on the TDW grounds, in a space that can hold up to 1000 attendees. I think we have a great lineup planned – with a possible surprise or two – and I’m especially happy that we got the creative director and lead dancer at the Robot Restaurant to present – should make for a fun presentation. It happens on Wednesday, October 29, and you’ll find the rest of the details here.

Oh, and I don’t mention it much here, but I do still write my monthly “On: Design” column for The Japan Times, which now gets published on the first Saturday of the month. The latest edition was published last week, and can be read online here.

So yeah, a big October (and start of November) with lots happening. Add to that much cooler weather and you have the makings of some nice times here in Tokyo.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

I do still like the Twin Peaks movie because I get to experience more of this world, but watching it again last night I was reminded why I will never like it like I do the series. The problem with the movie is that it only focuses on the dark aspects of the series. What makes Twin Peaks the TV series so enjoyable is the  balance of weird/wacky/fun with a darker undertone. If you take away that first part (or at least the fun), then you’re just left with weirdness and darkness, and that’s definitely not what made me fall in love with Twin Peaks, and why I’ve watched the series so many times (at least 4-5 times). But hey, like I said, I still liked watching it, and I’m about to embark on yet another viewing of the TV series, and I just can’t wait until 2016 for those new episodes.

Super Smash Bros. 3DS

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of fighting games – the only one I remember really loving a lot was Power Stone – and although I know that the Smash games have a reputation for being more friendly (in terms of the controls), I still have never really played them much (I think the one I’ve played the most was Melee on GameCube, and even that wasn’t much). But I’ve been feeling the hype all year, and was getting really excited to finally dig into the series with the 3DS version. Guess what? I love it. I’ve played hours so far, unlocking most of the achievements, playing all of the modes – and there are lots – and just plain smashing my way through the roster. Currents faves are a mix of Wario, Link, Toon Link, Zelda, Ness, and Mario. I like it because I don’t feel like the controls are overwhelming, and it’s just plain fun to be battling it out with all these characters, and in these wacky arenas. This is just getting me that much more excited for the Wii U version, to have friends over for a night of fighting.

Hyrule Warriors

Despite the fact that this is mostly a Dynasty Warriors game with a Zelda skin – and I’ve never felt any particular desire to play a Dynasty Warriors game – I so wanted to get this because of, well, Zelda. I’m happy I did get it. Sure, it’s mindless hacking and slashing for the most part, but I’m still getting a huge kick out of controlling all of these Zelda characters, of fighting my way through Zelda enemies, and just the pure Zelda-ness of it all. Did I mention I kinda like Zelda-related things? I even love seeing the cut scenes, with those characters interacting and looking fantastic. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re a really big Zelda fan like me, then I think you’ll have fun with this.