Fandom Fast Food: What even IS Kingdom Hearts?

This week sees the release of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue, a game that is somehow not the most ridiculously-titled entry in the popular JRPG franchise. It includes an HD remake of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, a new movie that examines the events of Kingdom Hearts Unchained X from the perspective of the Foretellers, and Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage – , which is a direct sequel to Birth by Sleep following Aqua’s adventures in the world of Darkness.

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…okay, sorry, let’s backtrack.

With all the hype surrounding Kingdom Hearts III’s development, a lot of new or lapsed fans are flocking to the franchise, wanting to see what all the fuss was about back when the girl they liked in 9th grade was talking about it. Unfortunately, Kingdom Hearts is a franchise that tries as hard as it can to be completely inscrutable, so even people who have played all the games can get lost in its complicated plot.

So you want to get to know Kingdom Hearts? Let me help you out with this handy guide. Just skip to the questions that apply to you!

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VB Appetizer: Voice Acting in Video Games

In this Appetizer mini-episode, Connor, Grant, and Paige are joined by Neil Phelps — an independent filmmaker and actor — to discuss the ins and outs of voice acting in video games. What makes for good voice acting, what voice acting has done for the industry, how voice acting can change a game, and examples of some games that got voice acting right/wrong all come into the conversation during this mini-episode.

*Photo credit: Nerd Reactor

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Getting in Character: How NPC Interactions Can Inspire VR Games

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Virtual Reality (VR) games. Specifically how they’re going to develop in the always innovating game industry. With the release of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PSVR, we’ve seen a fairly robust catalog of VR games start to come together. Many of them are simple — like playing with objects and physics or watching yourself get attacked by sharks — they’re still quite compelling to most people who play them. So, while they’re carving out their niche in the market, VR games will have to evolve to stay interesting.

There is one key area for VR games to expand upon: non-player character interactions.

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Ready to Switch? Everything We Know About Nintendo’s New Console

January 12, 2017 – Nintendo officially announces their new console, the Nintendo Switch, with full release date, retail price, and a handful of games to expect alongside the system.

    The presentation was classically Nintendo: bizarre. Each presenter had some kind of gimmick –  such as the Lead “Squid Research” Scientist who told us about Splatoon 2 (coming this summer) – and nearly every presenter exited by saying they were going to “switch”, complete with a snap, over to the next person. What I found especially charming was how, despite the unenthused monotone of the English translators, the presenters all seemed genuinely excited to share this new toy with everyone.

    So, what do we officially know about the Switch? Well, honestly, not much more than we got from their teaser video back in October, but now we know, rather than suspect, that we can play Skyrim anywhere. Here’s a breakdown of some other facts:

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Dear Pokemon Sun And Moon

Grant and I finally hopped on the Pokemon Sun and Moon train on Christmas morning. After playing through six of the new Pokemon challenges, I feel like I’m ready to pronounce at least some judgement on what the game does right and wrong. (NOTE: These views do not necessarily reflect VB’s views as a whole. That being said, anyone who disagrees can meet me in the schoolyard, behind the gym at 3pm. Fight. Fight. Fight.)\

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