Character figurine with duct tape over his mouth and the text "Don't give up on silent protagonists"

Don’t Give Up On Silent Protagonists

Technology is amazing, right? In early video games, we were lucky if we got a few strings of text to move the plot forward. Today, we’re presented with cutscenes that play like short films, complete with voice acting and animation. This growth has been great for gaming, but the increased use of voice acting has often left one of my favorite tropes in the dust: the silent protagonist.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a silent protagonist is a video game character does not have dialogue. They may interact with other characters through facial expressions, gestures, or “assumed” speech (in other words, there’s a pause in which the protagonist is assumed to have spoken, but they’re not given explicit dialogue). Silent Protagonists are most often seen as player characters. A few examples would be Link from The Legend of Zelda, the player character in the Pokémon series, or Chell from Portal.

As voice acting becomes more common in video games, the silent protagonist is less common. After all, it would seem weird to have everyone else talking except for one individual character!

But I still think there’s a place for the silent protagonists in our video games, if for no other reason than the way they provide a playing experience that other types of protagonists cannot.

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Nintendo Switch with text "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Dream DLC"

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Dream DLC

If you follow video games at all, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – released barely over two months ago – has become Nintendo’s fastest selling game. The multiplayer fighting game is a hit with hardcore and casual players alike, with its colorful selection of stages, items, and characters setting it apart from the crowd.

Since the original Super Smash Bros. was released in 1999, the character roster has grown from twelve to over seventy different options. Of course, we’re still waiting on the new DLC (“downloadable content”) characters. Nintendo announced that Joker from Persona 5 will be joining the roster in February, but the other newcomers remain a mystery.

I understand the speculation train has long since left the station, and everyone and their cousin has put out a video or article about who they want to see in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I’m going to do my own anyway. After much deliberation, I’ve compiled a list of five characters I think would be good fits for the SSBU stage – not necessarily ones I think are likely to make it there, but if I were in charge, I’d pick them.

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2018: Year In Review

2018: Year In Review

Before I start, I think we should all just give ourselves a pat on the back for making it to the end of the year. Whether 2018 was the best year or the worst year of your life, finishing another calendar year is really something to be proud of.

As I do every year, I’m wrapping up 2018 with a look back at my favorite music, books, video games, blog posts, and other moments that made the year special. I do my best to keep it brief, but let’s face it… there’s a lot of great things to be thankful for.

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Which Pokémon Go Team Are Your Favorite Characters On? (+Quiz!)

Two years ago, a little app overtook the world. This app was Pokémon Go, a mobile game based on the popular video game franchise that used GPS and augmented reality technology to bring the cartoon creatures to the real world.

People everywhere grabbed their smartphones and left to explore their towns and neighborhoods. Even today, the game still brings people together regularly. I’ve made some great friends at my school through the game, and there were dozens of people at a local park for the most recent Community Day.

In Pokémon Go there are three teams: Team Valor, Team Mystic, and Team Instinct. Once players reach a certain level, they join one of these teams and then compete against the others.

The choice of team is arbitrary, but each one embodies a certain set of characteristics. Knowing this, it got me thinking – if fictional characters played Pokémon Go, what teams would they be on? I’ve decided to “sort” a handful of them and give a few reasons why. Plus, if you’ve always wanted to know what team you should be on, I have just the quiz for you!

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Life Lessons Learned From Pokémon

One fateful day many years ago, someone handed me a GameBoy Advance and a copy of Pokémon Sapphire, and my life was never the same.

I suppose you could take that in the literal sense – i.e. I became a huge geek after that, and my chances of ever being able to pretend I was a normal human being were completely shot – but I think there’s something more there too, something less tangible and obvious than discovering a new hobby.

The things that are a part of our childhoods often have a bigger impact on us than we realize, but we tend to brush these things off as being “not mature enough” to have any real significance in our lives. We look back at the hobbies we had and the games we played as children and think, “Yeah, that was fun, but it doesn’t really mean anything now.”

But that’s where we’re wrong, readers.

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The ABCs of Pokémon

Pokémon was my first “geek obsession,” right after I received Pokémon Sapphire for my brother’s birthday (it’s a long story, which you can read here). Ever since then, I’ve played almost every entry in the series, and so I consider myself something of an expert on these Pocket Monsters.

Have you ever wanted to be a Pokémon Trainer, but had no idea where to start? Or have you just been confused by all of the “Pokemans” your friends keep talking about? Well, today’s your lucky day, because I have the ABCs of Pokémon right here for a beginner like you. After reading this, you’ll be a Pokémon Master in no time!

But first, theme music.
(Look, it’s iconic, I couldn’t not include it)

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Week In Review – March 2

Happy Friday everyone, and welcome to a brand new month!

Not gonna lie everyone, this week was pretty darn crazy. I was gone over the weekend for my brother’s last basketball game (we won, by the way), and when I got back to campus, my week was pretty much nonstop. Fortunately, Fridays are a bit more lowkey, so I’m hoping to find some time to recover soon.

On Monday, I blogged about my Top 5 Nintendo DS games! There are a couple in there where you might think “well, duh,” but I do have a few surprises, so if you’re looking for some new/old games to pick up, be sure to check it out!

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My Top 5 DS Games

Gaming giant Nintendo pioneered the handheld gaming industry with the Game Boy, first introduced in the United States in 1989. The Game Boy went through a number of iterations and upgrades before Nintendo took the next logical step and introduced the DS, a device similar to the Game Boy, but with two screens instead of one.

Although the DS has since been replaced by its relative, the 3DS, it’s still home to some of my favorite video games. A while back, I wrote a blog post about my Top 5 video games on another old Nintendo console, the GameCube, and today I’d like to do the same with the DS.

The “rules” for this list are similar to the ones for my GameCube post, but with one small exception.

  • A game that was not completed can be included if I feel like I completed it enough to have experienced it fully
  • Only one game per franchise, spinoffs included
  • Games created exclusively for the 3DS are NOT included, as I consider that a different console.

Now, without further ado, here are my favorite Nintendo DS games in no particular order.

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Week In Review – February 16

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you all had a great weekend and that this week has been good for you! I’ve been doing pretty well myself – I had a cold last week, and it’s pretty much gone at this point, which is good. I also got to do a lot of fun stuff over the weekend, like visiting my friend’s apartment, going to a basketball game, and going Pokémon Go raiding with some people from school.

Since Wednesday was Valentine’s Day, I wrote a blog post about my favorite fictional couples and why they mean so much to me. If you missed it, be sure to check it out (after you read this, of course).

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Fantastic Fictional Couples

Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and you know what that means! No, not chocolate or fancy dates or anything like that. Nope, around here, we celebrate Valentine’s day a little differently – and by that, I mean I make lists about my favorite fictional couples and try to sound like an actual adult while writing about them.

In all seriousness, I do have my fair share of favorite couples (or “ships,” as the fanpeople would say). Whether it’s books, TV shows, movies, or video games, there are some really strong, healthy relationships in fiction. Even as someone who isn’t much of a romantic, I do love seeing happy and supportive couples, and so in celebration of Valentine’s day, here are a few of my favorites and why I love them so much.

There may be a few vague spoilers ahead, so tread carefully!

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