Top Stuff of 2016 So Far

Hey buddy! Just wanted you to know that even though we are on the cusp of a post-T3 world, that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop doing the big, easy best of the year lists (for at least as long as we keep doing these irregular podcasts). That includes the top stuff of the year so far podcast as well, one of the shows that least well fit the T3 format in which we discuss an arbitrary number of video games, albums, TV shows, and movies that have been abnormally good during the first half of the year. Which ends today! It’s June 30! July starts tomorrow! We’re halfway there, living on a prayer!

Top Ways to Listen:
[iTunes] Subscribe to T3 on iTunes
[RSS] Subscribe to the T3 RSS feed
[MP3] Download the MP3

The Two O.J.’s

I’m not sure how this happened, but I somehow managed to be absolutely riveted by the same story twice this year.  You see, back in February, FX launched the first season of American Crime Story, which was dubbed The People v. O.J. Simpson, and it was fantastic.  Every episode was much-watch TV just as much as the 1994 trial that it depicted was, and I honestly didn’t think I was going to see a better piece of American television this year.  Then, by no one’s intended design, two months after the FX mini-series concluded, ESPN released their own mini-series — a five-part documentary under their 30-for-30 moniker called O.J.: Made In America — which somehow managed to be even more captivating than the fictional series that preceded it.  And what’s great is that I don’t think Made In America does anything to diminish what The People v. O.J. Simpson accomplished.  They both compliment each other quite nicely as two distinct and marvelously done retellings of this insane story that could have only happened in America. Continue reading

And Thinking Is Half The Battle…

Don’t Think Twice

Well, the Seattle International Film Festival has come and gone, and like most years, I ended up seeing way less SIFF movies than I probably should’ve.  But hey, at least I saw a SIFF movie, which I can’t say I’ve done the last few years because apparently I’m a bad Seattle film fan.  Anyways, because this is a film that won’t officially be in theaters for another month or so, I wasn’t really sure if I should wait until then to review Don’t Think Twice, or just do it now while it’s fresh in my mind.  And I would’ve preferred the latter, but have kind of procrastinated since this is a movie that I’m having a hard time thinking about completely objectively, since it depicts a world and an art form that I have some personal connection to.  That of course being the world of improv comedy, a world that somehow has been represented in TV and film far less than it’s crankier old brother, stand-up, and from what moderate experience I’ve had with the world of improv, I’d say this movie pretty much nails it. Continue reading

Rokk Talk Ep. 02: DontGetIt

Some people say, “I like all kinds of music.” Those people are either liars or pod people. Probably both. The truth is we all have different musical tastes. Nobody has the time to listen to and like everything. Meaning this week, John and Colin discuss some of the artists they have never gotten into. Maybe it’s a lack of interest or time or patience or whatever. I mean, who has the time for Krautrock? Everybody has their reasons, and on Rokk Talk… The Reason is you.

P.S. Don’t forget to stick around for John and Colin’s album recommendations. Click more on this page if you just can’t wait!

Continue reading

Gundam Dumb Fun

Gundam Breaker 3

Can you believe we’re already close to half of the way through June? That means were almost 50% done with 2016! Most years I’d write about how amazing it is we’re already this far into the year (and thus this close to Christmas) but this year has been, frankly, a slog. Between beloved entertainers dying, outright tragedies, the Trumpification of politics, and everyone’s personal struggles, I’ve got a depressingly large selection of reasons to wish we could just skip ahead to 2017, but a few compelling ones forcing me to focus on the here and now – like my video game backlog!

The Witcher 3 was such a good, long game that I’ve had a hard time since then committing to lengthy experiences since completing it. I’ve still barely scratched the surface of Metal Gear Solid V, and am paralyzed in fear of getting into the new Fire Emblem and X-Com games. Instead, I spent the winter and spring on lighter fare like Tom Clancy’s The Division (it was OK), Hearthstone (the new cards are fun), and VR games to go with that crazy expensive headset I bought. So it wasn’t until May that I saw the credits roll in a game. It was one I imported, a sequel to one of my favorite games last year, a crazy little gem called Gundam Breaker 3.

Gundam Breaker 3 is all about bringing the joy of building Gunpla (that’s the street term for Gundam plastic models) to the digital world. And they do that not by simulating tearing tiny parts out of plastic molds, but by letting you build, paint, and fight in a mobile suit made of all your favorite Gundam parts. This game features over 200 mobile suits broken down into their heads, torsos, arms, legs, backpacks, shields, and weapons. It’s up to you to pick the best combination, as pretty much everything is allowed, no matter how ugly things get.

The big change this time around is that stats for all parts are identical when they’re at the same level, so players aren’t forced to choose between their favorite parts and the most optimal build. To compensate, the game has added new optional parts which can be attached and positioned to the mobile suit’s body. These parts include various guns, missiles, grenades, swords, funnels, bits, reactors, and even the signature Gundam V fin, so all the most iconic stuff is available to you, if you want it. Even special moves, when used enough, will be unlocked for use without their default weapon type/part requirement. You even don’t necessarily have to migrate from the starter HG parts to the larger MG parts this time, as you can just keep leveling your HG parts and they will maintain stat parity.

Anyway, that’s the sell for people who already have tried Gundam Breaker games. For everyone else, here’s all you need to know: this is Gundam Diablo. There is a small set of levels which you will play over and over with increasingly stronger enemies. Every single one of them will drop parts, which you can take and use on your Gundam. So you kill a Tallgeese, you might get a Tallgeese head. You’ll do this over and over, as even if all you want is that Tallgeese head, parts have levels and you want to level yours up to the cap so you can have the strongest Tallgeese head possible. If that sounds good to you, go get this game now.

The story is actually a lot weaker this time around, as the melodrama of the last game is replaced with a lame story about a humble Gunpla shop trying to establish itself as the best team of Gunpla fighters in the world. It picks up at the end, with space elevator high jinks, but you can skip the whole thing. Which is a shame, because this is the first game in the series to be available in English (even though it still didn’t make it to North America). But being able to read the menus will be a big boon for those of us without the ability to read Japanese. And the game plays better than the last one too, so development effort was focused in the right area.

In the mid-2000s, I looked to the Armored Core series and dreamt of a Gundam game like that. We’ve got one now, just with a really light, cartoony tone. Which is fine. Gundams are toys, and my fantasy isn’t to fight in a real war against real humans who are trying to kill me. I just want to make the goofiest, most impractical war machine ever conceived.