Return to Castlevania

A brief discussion of the new Netflix series “Castlevania.”

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I’ve been a “Castlevania” fan since 1992. Playing the original NES title was not without its charm, but it was not until “Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse,” that I became a fan of the series. Years later, I’ve played and conquered most of the series’ installments, with my personal favorites being “Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin” and “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.”

I glossed over the 3D installments of the game, preferring the Metroidvania style to the classic arcade style games. As of this writing, the only Metroidvania I have yet to complete is “Castlevania: Order of Ecclessia,” which I’ll get around to one day.

Naturally, I’m interested to see what will happen with the new Netflix series. From the first look trailer here, it seems interesting, sort of like “Vampire Hunter D.”

The NES at the beginning of the trailer immediately piqued my interest. I chuckled when the person blew into the game cartridge before putting it in the system. That was a nice, nostalgic touch. I also loved the video screen, set up like an old NES title, complete with only a few colors and a few key Netflix originals listed in the options.

The actual clip is more of a teaser than a trailer, but it highlights a dark, moody artwork style and seems to be focused around Simon Belmont. There’s also plenty of blood, gore and horror, for those interested in such things. It looks awesome and I’m excited to check it out, even if it’s 30 years overdue

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The Economics of Nostalgia

Yesterday, I passed up the opportunity to buy a Nintendo Switch console. I stopped at Target for a few sundry items and decided, on a whim, to check out the electronics section. As I approached the aisle, I caught a glimpse of red in the corner display case. Upon investigating, I confirmed my suspicion: I found a Nintendo Switch in the wild!

These days, that’s like finding a needle in a hay stack, considering Nintendo’s well-known inventory problems.

The sticker price, at $299.99 (plus tax), is a bit steep. The decision didn’t take long. I already own The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, for the Wii U. Now, Zelda is the only game I’m truly interested in playing on the system. Because the system doesn’t come with a pack-in title, I’d be shelling out an additional $59.99 (plus tax) for the game.

Should I decide upon acquiring additional games, it would cost even more. Let’s say I want a to procure a copy of the new Mario Kart 8, another title I already own on Wii U; it would cost upward of $60, depending on where I try to buy it.

Ultimately, I decided not to go through with buying the Switch. I returned today and, sure enough, it’s gone. You snooze, you lose, as they say. Of course, the proverbial, “they” ( who may or may not be giants) don’t have to think about paying bills and eating.  I’ve heard Nintendo Switch carts taste terrible, anyway, so I’ll have to go buy some groceries instead. I did buy some of those delicious coffee nut M & Ms, though, so it wasn’t a complete bust.

We’ve already discussed the debacle of the NES Classic Mini. However, inventory problems and shortsighted marketing aside, the Nintendo Switch could potentially become one of the greatest Nintendo systems since the SNES. It’s difficult to say, really.

What drives our interest toward these systems? Is it simple nostalgia for “the good old days” of gaming? Is it a desire to experience our favorites in HD? I wonder sometimes. I’m planning to bide my time and get the Switch when Super Mario Odyssey comes out, though. It looks like fun and will make me feel nostalgic for the older Mario games, but at what cost? About $400.

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The Holodeck and Content Analysis in Science Fiction

I watched an episode of Star Trek: Voyager last night, where the holodeck characters became self-aware and decided that the creImage result for star trek voyagerw of the ship were demons, devils, sprites, fairies etc…It was bizarre and typical of the sorts of conflict a science fiction genre program would introduce during the time frame in which the show was produced.  If anyone is curious, the episode in question was Episode 237, Spirit Folk.  I find it interesting how two of the best episodes, at least in my opinion, in the series (One Small Step and Blink of an Eye) were in this season, but was followed by and interlaced with all of the bizarre holodeck weirdness that is The FAIRHAVEN Program.

This episode got me thinking about just how often the holodeck malfunctions in the Trek Universe. I wonder what percentage of holodeck characters in the Star Trek Universe become self-aware at some point during the execution of their program? Sounds like an opportunity to do some content analysis.

First off, we’re limited to the Star Trek Universe.  While it may be interesting to look at other worlds and novels, I believe that would only cloud the data.

Second, we have a relatively small sample size here, culled from only three, perhaps four television series’ and foImage result for star trek voyager fairhavenur feature films.  Remember, The Original Series didn’t have a holodeck; they had a Rec Room and a promiscuous captain. I’m certain there is a list of episodes over at  Memory Alpha.

Finally, I wonder how common the trope of a malfunctioning holodeck really is. I’m sure TVTropes has some information on the subject, but I don’t know much about that site, so I’ll let the reader decide for themselves. Also, why would humanity put themselves at the mercy of a series of light and force fields that can hurt them? What sort of research questions could we come up with based on this type of content analysis? These are the mysteries of Sci-Fi. If anyone is interested in helping tackle this just for the heck of it, feel free to let me know!