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Anime Gaming Movie reviews Music videos Reviews

Review: Wreck It Ralph

For family fun last Saturday night, we decided to watch the animated Disney movie Wreck It Ralph. We all love video games, and the premise – of a downtrodden villain growing weary of doing villainous things, and wanting more – seemed appealing.

My kids mostly play their video games online on their PC, or on their consoles, or on their smart phones or ipods.  When I was a kid, if we wanted to play — we grabbed our quarters and cold hard cash, met up with friends and headed to the local arcade. To spend hours dropping quarters into machines.

But, what really goes on INSIDE those arcade video games?

And thus begins the story, of an 8-bit villain, wanting to be a hero…

wreck-it-ralph

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Movie reviews

Review: Brave – a Pixar movie

Princess Merida: I want my freedom!

Queen Elinor: But are you willing to pay the price your freedom will cost?

Last weekend we took the whole crew to see Brave – Pixar’s first fairy tale.  Originally called “The Bear and the Bow”, Brave stars Merida, the first female protagonist in a Pixar film, and is the first Pixar film with their completely redone graphics system.

Merida is a Scottish teenage tomboy princess, with a wild mane of red curls. She has a huge, burly father, a by-the-book mother – loving and kind, but traditional and determined – and 3 mischievous tiny triplet brothers.

Merida is “just not ready” for her impending betrothal (arranged marriage). Merida and her mother, Elinor can’t communicate well; each of them has a valid point of view – but the other can’t see it.  Merida rebels against tradition, and her mother. She wishes to change her fate.

But, wishes can be dangerous things and can turn out not quite as we expect…

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Video reviews What's Hot

What’s Hot: Simon’s Cat in “Shelf Life”

A carefree cat has a smashing time. 54 seconds of pure fun from the amazing Simon Tofield. Want more? Here’s Cat in “The Box”.

 

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Anime Music videos Video reviews What's Hot

What’s Hot: My Little Pony Friendship is Magic

Yesterday I read in the news about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a new show that was becoming an internet meme and gaining a following of grown men – also known as “bronies” – even though the show’s target audience is 7 year old girls.

Honestly, my daughter is 8, and she packed up all her My Little Ponies last year, put them in a bag and gave them to me, saying “Here, I am SO done with these”.

I was actually doing some research, getting ready to list them on eBay, when I realized MLP  was a hot item and selling for good money. I wondered what was up – why was MLP so hot now?

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Video game reviews Video reviews What's Hot

What’s Hot: Maplestory New Leaf Saga

My kids all agree the new animated Maplestory shorts, New Leaf Saga, by Brian Schmoyer (aka CirrusEpix) are hilarious.

Schmoyer, a teacher and animator from North Carolina, originally created 3 Maplestory parody shorts just for fun – as a satire of mmorpg gameplay and the typical neverending, repetitive, and illogical questing, endless monster killing (also known as grinding), along with “hackers, noobs and online romance”.

Ironically, as a result of Nexon’s marketing department seeing the parody shorts, Schmoyer ended up getting hired to produce original animations for Nexon.  Written and animated by Schmoyer, the New Leaf Saga animations explain a little bit about Maplestory, show how to play, and are informational, witty, and entertaining.

According to Schmoyer’s blog, messages he hopes to get across to the Maplestory community through New Leaf Saga include:  be nice to others, balance your playtime/play less, and create real friendships.  If you’re a Maplestory fan, be sure to check them out!

New Leaf Saga

MapleStory New Leaf Saga – Episode 1 – “Looking for Group”

(see video at top of post)

MapleStory New Leaf Saga – Episode 2 – “Epic Gear”

MapleStory New Leaf Saga – Episode 3 – “Classy”

MapleStory New Leaf Saga – Episode 4 – “B.R.B.”

MapleStory New Leaf Sata – Episode 5 – “Friends List”

MapleStory New Leaf Saga – Episode 6 – “The Problem with Portals”

A maplestory parody

Here are the original 3 shorts Schmoyer created that started it all:

The TRUE MapleStory

Another Maple Story

The Last Maple Story

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iPad Video reviews What's Hot

What’s Hot: Simon’s Cat in ‘The Box’

Got an iPad?  Need something cute to keep your little one entertained for a couple minutes?  Cat lover?  Check out Simon’s Cat in ‘The Box’, a witty line-art animated short, by Simon Tofield.  And watch, while, a curious cat investigates an empty cardboard box.

Categories
Video game reviews

Reviews By Kids, For Kids: Flipnote Studio and Flipnote Hatena

First, Flipnote Studio is one of the ways to reach the Flipnotes on Flipnote Hatena.  Flipnote Studio is only located on the DSi or DSi XL. It is an application that is completely free. You can find it in the DSi or DSi XL shop. In Flipnote Studio, you can create your own Flipnote and share it with the world if you access Flipnote Hatena and post it in your selected channel.  The way to reach Flipnote Hatena on your DSi or DSi XL is easy. Simply open Flipnote Studio and under Create Flipnote and View Flipnote is a green button that says Flipnote Hatena.  Once You Click the green button, a small window will open up. Click ok and you will proceed to Flipnote Hatena. The DSi has many applications, but this is my favorite one.

To reach Flipnote Hatena on the Computer, all you have to do is go to the website.  At this website, you can browse through the flipnotes, find your favorite ones, and show them to your friends. Some flipnotes are junk. These are some of my favorites:

Simon Z vs DK

Secret to Success

Ice vs. Fire, Part 1

You can make your own flipnotes, you can share them with the world, but I just like watching other people’s flipnotes.

Flipnote Studio: Free; ages 7 and up
Flipnote Hatena: Free-you can spend money for things if you want; ages 8 and up

Reviewed by Peter, age 10

Cell Phones Can Kill Bees:  video by gizmo (kingboo7), a 14 year old master Flipnote animator from California

A little more information about Flipnote Studio and Flipnote Hatena

Flipnote Studio:

Got a Nintendo DSi?  Then you already have access to the free Flipnote Studio software.  Using Flipnote Studio you can use your DSi to create flipbook-like animations.  Draw pictures and words (using only the colors black, blue, and red) with the DSi stylus, add images from the DSi Camera, and record sounds or music with DSi Sound.  Flipnote Studio gives you the tools to put it all together and create your own animations. 

Flipnote Hatena:

Once you’ve created your animations using Flipnote Studio, register (for free) with Flipnote Hatena, and upload your animations to share with friends.  Using Flipnote Hatena’s online service, you connect to the Internet to upload your own animations, and view other people’s Flipnotes.  On the Flipnote Hatena website you can add comments and stars to the Flipnotes that you like.  You can also track your favorite creators, which comes in handy when you see the thousands of Flipnotes available for viewing.

Guide to Flipnote Hatena
How to post a Flipnote
How to get a Hatena ID

So, if you see a bunch of kids huddled together with their DSi’s, and you hear laughter, and the faint strains of that classic “Do You Like Waffles?” song, you can bet your kids have already discovered the creative fun that is Flipnotes.

Categories
iPad Video reviews

Review: Komaneko

Got an iPhone, iPod Touch, Droid Incredible, or, best-thing-ever, an iPad?
Got a preschooler, or elementary school aged kid?
Need something entertaining to watch on YouTube?

If so, you’ve got to check out Komaneko, an adorable Japanese stop-motion animation.  Perfect for little ones, and captivating even for big kids and adults.

Komaneko is a cat, made in stop-motion animation, that likes to make stop-motion animation films and lives with her grandfather in their home near the mountains.  She crafts her own characters and backgrounds, and sometimes, when she’s not looking, her creations come to life.  Sweet, with an amazing level of detail, a lovely original music soundtrack, and a thorough dose of humor, Komaneko reflects innocence, patience, and persistence, along with the importance of friendship.  “Komaneko” itself is made up of “koma”, meaning frame of film, and “neko”, meaning cat.

Although the clips are Japanese, there is no real “talking”, just some meowing and easily understandable sounds, so they are appropriate for any language viewers.

According to AnimeNewsNetwork, Tsuneo Goda conceived Komaneko in a 2003 short “Komaneko Hajime no Ippo” (Komaneko: The First Step) for the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography with his Dwarf production studio.

A full length movie, Komaneko: The Curious Cat, comprised of a series of animated shorts, was next in 2006.

Komaneko: The Curious Cat

2006, color, 1 hour, Japan

Komachan is a kind-hearted kitten who lives with her grandfather in a small house on a hill, who spends her time designing film sets for her dolls and making stop-motion animations with them and her 8mm film camera. Over a series of five episodes, this adorable cat, a stop motion animation herself, makes short films, grudgingly befriends a radio repairman’s son, and cheerfully befriends a strange creature who may be the Abominable Snowman. “Komaneko’s overarching theme is friendship which, coupled with the pleasant background music, delightful designs, enjoyable stories, and endearing characters, makes Komaneko: The Curious Cat just about the nicest thing I’ve ever watched in my life. One viewing is enough to turn even a cynic like me into a happy trooper. Komaneko has no dialogue other than the occasional meowing so it’s accessible to viewers of all ages and language backgrounds. It’s great for kids, and for adults like me who need to be periodically reminded by a stuffed cat that the world is a good place after all.” (Editor’s Pick, yesasia.com)

And just this past winter (December 2009) a new stop-motion animated feature film, Komaneko Christmas: The Lost Present, was released in Japan.

Although both movies have been released on DVD in Japan, there is no english version, yet.  Luckily, several of the animated shorts are available on YouTube, and are actually viewable on an iPad or mobile phone — often when we try to view a YouTube video on our iPad, it won’t work, it says “not formatted for iPad viewing”, and it’s frustrating to click on video after video looking for one to actually play. 

So, add Komaneko to your YouTube Favorite’s, and enjoy some sweet peace and quiet next time you’ve  got 10 minutes to wait with your little one.