A few weeks ago, I had an extremely animated chat with Streamline Studios CEO and cofounder Alex Fernandez. Obviously, we spoke about his company, which develops original games and assists on some major franchises (Street Fighter, BioShock, Saints Row, and more). The conversation became loaded when Alex Fernandez wanted to discuss politics. He released a video statement (embedded below) speaking out against United States President Donald Trump’s immigration policy. As Alex Fernandez is a Latino-American that operates a business with offices in America, Europe, and Asia (in Malaysia, a primarily Muslim country), he had strong opinions on the matter. Here’s some of what he had to say.
Here’s a DICE 2017 chat I had with Jason Rubin, head of content for Oculus VR. Some of you will remember Jason Rubin as the cofounder of Naughty Dog, while those of you that follow the videogame industry closely will recall some controversial statements he made at previous DICE Summit events. In the chat below, he discusses what he said at DICE 10 years ago, how his views have developed over the years, and the tremendous potential of VR gaming. Here’s a clip from my conversation with Jason Rubin.
I’m very much excited for CHiPs, starring Dax Shepard and Michael Pena as California policemen Jon Baker and Frank “Ponch” Poncherello. Oh, I’m certain that it’s not going to be a “good” movie, but I’m also certain that it will have its moments. CHiPs is late to the party of ’70s television show remakes hitting the big screen. Charlie’s Angels, Starsky & Hutch, and The Dukes of Hazzard have already received Hollywood remakes. However, CHiPs holds a special place in my heart and I’m more excited for this movie than I was for any of its contemporaries.
Nostalgia is, of course, a tremendous factor in CHiPs’ appeal. As a kid, the show resonated with me for several reasons. First, motorcycles are frickin’ cool. My childhood friend Chris and I would ride our bikes as we pretended to be Ponch and Jon, substituting the bland sidewalks of New York for the exotic highways of California. The show was also the first time I saw a non-white lead. That was huge for me as a kid. All my other favorite TV characters were white (Batman, Buck Rogers, the Dukes, etc.). Sure, I wasn’t Puerto Rican like Erik Estrada (Ponch), but the fact that a non-white person could be the coolest guy on the show was a revelation.
Emma Watson is going to rule 2017. I’m fairly certain of this. This isn’t like the time I watched Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and thought, “That Alex Winter has a huge future in Hollywood.” It’s not like the first time I saw The Rockers and thought, “Man, Marty Janetty needs to get rid of that other guy.” Shortly before the release of Beauty and the Beast and for the rest of the year, Emma Watson will own 2017.
The early clips of Beauty and the Beast (a pair embedded below for your convenience) look amazing. It looks like a frame-for-frame real-life recreation of the best Disney animated movie of all time. Emma Watson is an intelligent and beautiful woman in real life. Beauty and the Beast’s Belle is an intelligent and beautiful woman in the movie. The casting is perfect and the role should show off Emma Watson’s gorgeous spunkiness brilliantly. She even does a commendable job (for someone that isn’t a professional singer) paying tribute to Paige O’Hara’s incredible voice from the animated movie. I’m positive that the movie will rule and elevate Emma Watson’s radiant star to a whole new stratosphere (in the atmospheric sense, not like that crap Las Vegas casino).
Vape Master is a recently released game for Android, iOS, and Flash, published by Play Chocolate. The app’s creator claims that it’s supposed to be a parody — something that pokes fun at a certain subsection of vapers. In reality, Vape Master is an insult to every vaper that’s not a “cloud bro.” Before I get ahead of myself, here’s the app’s (sophomoric) official description.
Description: Are you ready to become a Vape guru? Grab your mod and blow massive clouds to fill the room with vapor! Beware of security guard, beat your noob opponents at different locations, like bar, theatre or even stadium in this first vaping game ever!! Change your style! Lots of items, from haircut and caps, to eyeglasses and stickers, are waiting for you. Upgrade you vaper and battery! Begin with low capacity battery, end with gigantic MOD with ultimate vaper! Compete friends in “vape duel” online, earn points, rank up and become Vape Master!
The drone section of CES 2017 was one of the coolest areas of the show and DJI was king of the drones (as opposed to DaKingInDaNorf). The company showed off its latest and greatest, including the Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 Pro. Since my brother is a freelance drone photographer in addition to being a fine musician, I checked out the latest DJI models on his behalf…and also because drones are pretty cool.
The DJI Mavic Pro was especially fascinating. In addition to being a full-featured drone, it’s foldable. It can break down to 83 x 83 x 198 centimeters, making it perfect for travel. Here’s the official press blurb, along with some photos I snapped.
Pop star Ariana Grande has teamed up with Square Enix for a special appearance in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. In addition to appearing in the game during a mid-January event, the diminutive superstar with a larger-than-life voice has cut a remix of her song “Touch It” for the game. For those of you unfamiliar with Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, it’s a free-to-play RPG for Android and iOS devices. It uses a simple interface and old-school turn-based mechanics, similar to Brave Frontier.
Fans of Ariana Grande are surely familiar with her predilection for wearing bunny ears. On her Instagram account, she showed off some pixel art from her appearance in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius in all her bunny-eared glory. Check out the short video she posted below.
Here’s a chat I had with Bonnie Ross, corporate vice president at Microsoft and head of 343 Industries. The piece was for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences to promote Bonnie Ross’ upcoming talk at DICE 2017. She’ll be heading up a session called “Stewards of a Sci-Fi Universe.” The talk will cover how game creators and their communities can work together to preserve cherished sci-fi properties.
As Bonnie Ross is a huge fan of Star Trek, I was curious to hear her thoughts on how to work with longtime fans of a franchise that have…strong feelings about new takes on the property. While I love the new Star Trek movies, I know many longtime fans that loathe them. Here’s what she had to say.
Bartesian is an upcoming home appliance that aims to bring extreme ease-of-use to mixology. In many ways, it’s like the alcoholic-beverage equivalent of the popular Keurig coffeemaker. The base unit has four reservoirs that hold the liquors of your choice, while pods are inserted into the machine to make a tasty mixed cocktail. Forget about shaking, stirring, measuring the proper amounts, etc. Bartesian will make the drink you desire in seconds. It’s frickin’ genius!
The Bartesian hardware is quite handsome. It reminds me of several exotic coffeemakers that I’ve spied. It’s sure to spruce up the looks of any kitchen or wet bar it’s in. While the appliance looks great, the real magic is with the pods.
18650 batteries have been the go-to vaping battery for years, but will they be supplanted by 21700 batteries in the near future? The production of 21700 batteries is booming and poised to become tremendous. Samsung already uses the battery size for electric bicycles and is rumored to be using them in future BMW automobiles. Panasonic and Tesla will produce millions of 21700 batteries for the upcoming Model 3 car (Tesla is calling them 2170 batteries). With two major players in the battery market going large with 21700 batteries, will the other majors — LG and Sony — follow suit?
There are several reasons a move from 18650 batteries to 21700 batteries is desirable. The form factors aren’t too different and the performance gains are substantial. The cell itself would be roughly 10-percent larger, while the energy capacity would be 35-percent greater.