Announcement: Streaming Starting Soon!

Due to popular demand, I’m happy to announce my intentions to enter the world of livestreaming!

Starting next month, I’ll begin getting my feet wet by streaming some gameplay on Twitch and posting “Let’s Play” videos on YouTube. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time, but I didn’t really know where to start or how I wanted to make my entrance.

These days, Twitch streamers are a dime a dozen. Most play eSports related titles like Fortnite, Hearthstone, etc. I knew that if ever started sharing my gameplay with the world, I’d want to do something different. So after much consideration, I’ve decided to approach things from a different angle and stay true to my moniker: retro style gaming.

Now, notice I didn’t say “retro gaming”. Instead, I said “retro style”. These days, the game market is filled with nostalgia. Developers are making 8-bit throwback games in droves. There’s even a number of old school CRPG clones on the scene making a low buzz for all those with their ear to hear it. My plan is to explore the world of these throwback games on my streams. Having just finished my review of the classic Ultima series, one of the first new “old” games I plan to stream is Shroud of The Avatar – Lord British’s spiritual sequel to the Ultima franchise.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m shifting my focus from written reviews to streaming. Not at all. In fact, I’ll still be making written reviews for every game I’ll be playing. Including those I share on stream. I’m just going to be adding an option to watch me as I explore some of these retro-esque titles.

Another thing I would like to incorporate into my streams is what I call “blind playing”. This means when I start a game, I’ll actually be playing it for the first time. I’m not going to be some expert trying to speedrun my way through things. Instead, I would actually like to seek advice from my viewers and make decisions together. In a nutshell, instead of doing a “watch me play this game”, I want to do a “let’s play this game together”. I hope this will bring a new a refreshing dynamic to those of you who like to watch livestreams.

Over the last month, I’ve been purchasing some new equipment (a second monitor, microphone, etc) and designing graphics and animations for my upcoming stream. I also have my fingers crossed for a change in my work schedule that might allow more time for this new endeavor. Regardless, I’ll be sure to make a more concrete announcement once things are about to start.

It Came From YouTube: Cobra Kai

For my second “It Came From…” entry, I’m going to change things up a bit. I’m jumping from Netflix to YouTube. That’s right, in case you weren’t aware, there actually is a paid version of YouTube called “YouTube Red”. Until recently, there was never a lot of discussion about it as a platform because… well, there was really nothing of value to talk about. Most people knew YouTube Red only as a paid option that allows you to skip those pesky YouTube advertisements. For me personally, it was included as a bonus with my Google Play Music subscription. I certainly enjoyed the ad-free experience of YouTube Red, but I never considered it of any real value by itself. It seems like I was not alone in that sentiment…  Very few people paid YouTube Red any real attention when compared to other streaming services like Netflix of Hulu.

Finally, the day came where Google took notice of this and decided to make a push for better and exciting content. They needed something that would be instantly recognizable and that could generate buzz. Well, They found it. On May 5th, YouTube Red became the home to Cobra Kai. This ten episode continuation of the Karate Kid franchise took off like rocket and hasn’t stopped yet.

Who doesn’t love Karate Kid? As a child growing up in the 80’s, watching it was a rite of passage. I saw both the first and second movies on HBO back in the day and became an immediate fan. When my family moved to Okinawa in the late 80’s, the island was still booming from the sudden interest that Karate Kid 2 had brought to the local culture. Everywhere you looked street merchants were peddling headbands or daiko drums. So to me, the series holds a special place in my heart.

When I heard that a sequel series was coming to YouTube, I was cautiously optimistic. I loved the first two films, but the third film was a bit of a dud for me. So much so, that I never even bothered with the fourth movie. A big part of me was worried that any attempt to resurrect this series was sure to fall flat on its face. Karate Kid is a period piece. As such, trying to emulate the vibe of that film in a modern setting is likely to fail. Thankfully, the creators of Cobra Kai recognized this and avoided the traps that most writers would easily fall prey to.

Cobra Kai takes place in modern times. It’s been 30-odd years since the events of the Karate Kid films. Daniel LaRusso is now the owner of a successful auto dealership. His childhood rival Johnny Lawrence has not been so lucky. In today’s world, Johnny finds himself barely scraping by. He floats from job to job and spends most of his money on booze and child support. His life changes when he is inspired to begin teaching karate to a young man who lives next door. When Daniel discovers the Cobra Kai school of karate has been reopened, it sparks a new rivalry with Johnny.

It is easy to imagine that this series would end up doing nothing but paying homage to the original films. But the great thing about this show isn’t really the nostalgia trips (and there are some), but it is actually the quality of the story being told. Daniel is not the star of Cobra Kai, but then again neither is Johnny.  There are a number of powerful compelling characters in this show. These characters and their stories are what make Cobra Kai such a pleasure to watch. It’s like you’re watching a brand new television show, but you already know the last few decades of backstory.

Again, I can’t stress this enough, the attention to the various characters is the best thing about this series. You get to know the character of Johnny Lawrence in a whole new light. You get to experience the story of Karate Kid from his perspective. You find out that he’s not just the “bad seed” portrayed in the original film. In fact, nearly every main character in the show gets this treatment. By the time you’re halfway through the series you have no idea who’s side you’re on anymore. But you can’t wait see what happens next. All of this makes Cobra Kai some of the best television I’ve seen in a long time. It’s funny, inspiring, and worthy of your attention.

Target Audience: This is a show that actually aimed for general audiences. It’s a must-watch for fans of the original Karate Kid films, but anyone who enjoys a good story will find something to like about Cobra Kai. 80’s nerds and retro-fans will be in for the ride of their lives with this.

Mature Content: YES – Language, mature humor, sexual references, contact violence.

Number of Episodes: 10

YouTube Red Exclusive?:  YES

Score (1 out of 4): 4