DADA NYC: A Digital Artist Playground by Randy Ortiz

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Art is life and amazing how it's always open to interpretation regardless of what thought or medium was used to create it. With soo many advances in the digital age we live in, visual expression was bound to hit the pixels hard and become something that many people participate in, converse and share. Now we have an amazing start in the art and collaborative space called DADA nyc, a visual social network where you can communicate, collaborate and occupy a space where expression is key. I absolutely love the idea of having daily topics where people create pieces from and also the ability to have someone else come in and draw in the same piece as you. 

Visual conversation by artists at dada.nyc

Art is an amazing tool to communicate with, share our lives and thoughts, especially when no barriers and labels. I believe this site has an amazing idea and drawing tools (desktop only for now) for an amazing collaborative movement in a public space without getting arrested, haha. Their interface is primitive yet beautifully stylized and I love it, from the illustrated site buttons to the way type is utilized in menu options. Want to start drawing right away? Below is what you'll see once you click the pencil on the site's bottom center. Nice clean canvas... have at it.

They have also released their first art gallery named "Creeps & Weirdos" (see below) where you can even buy a piece of digital art using Ethereum (ETH), I am completely on board with cryptocurrency and glad they have their foot in it. Yes you can own limited edition art on the blockchain, once purchased you will received the edition number and the right to resell the piece as well. They are currently working on the certificate of ownership which will even further solidify this projects contribution to the art space. You can literally collect art that's limited and most importantly support the artist for their work, how cool is that?

Easily said this is a highly ambitious project and one that has very cool achievements already in the art and crypto space. There seems to be a great community there with folks sharing their pieces and coming together as artists to create. I am also going to start using the drawing tools myself and hopefully I'll see you guys there as well.

For more information: DADA NYC | DADA NYC Blog

God.Damn.Chan.I.Love.This by Randy Ortiz

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Alpha Pup... you know I needed this right? The jazzy, oozing synths and fluffy reverberating bass in this album is unreal. Slush is God.Damn.Chan's latest project and a personal one driven by change in his life journey from last year till now, a beautiful combination of bass and inner visions as you let it bump and surround you in it's warm light. You feel what Maine and Cali are like in some of these tracks, it varies from icy highs to summer thumps and jazzy sax n keys laying some nice touches to the tracks. You can just let this one ride the fuck out completely but if I had to pick favorites... Syrup Bath, Slush, To My Friends, GroovybbySmoke Break (the last min., damn) and Deuces. Peep the video for Slush below and see what you're in for.
*Slush will be released tomorrow (Feb. 23, 1018) and will be up for purchase/streaming here*

YouTube's Wave of Monetization Hurt by Randy Ortiz

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**UPDATE: I recently got a notice on my channel that I am eligible for monetization somehow, I don't have the subs and the hours viewed are slowly climbing towards that 40k needed so this came at a surprise. Either way I still don't change what I said below.**

Recently YouTube sent out emails like the one above to folks (including me) with smaller/young channels letting them know that due to the new policy in their YouTube Partner Program, their channels are no longer available to be monetized unless they meet the new guidelines. You now must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of total viewed time within the past 12 months. They talk about safe guarding creator revenue while simultaneously stripping away what made YouTube great, someone with a camera and vision can create content and be able to gain revenue from their creation. We all know how difficult it is to gain that amount of viewership and subs, they just made it a shitload harder for the little guys.

What does that mean? Well... you're going to have to work a lot harder and for free longer than what you thought if you're thinking of making it in YT. This honestly just means that more and more new content creators will leave YouTube (IMO) and will find other ways like Twitch to broadcast their messages and stream their work and games, since now what it seems is that Google cares more about protecting the top tier only. This is upsetting due to knowing the amount of artists that have been making some cash from it, be it their new music video, a skit or their growing vlogs. They are now left to continue buying equipment and paying for things while their main or big portion of revenue gets tugged from beneath them, I personally don't get impacted but I feel for others and it's a tad disheartening.

Yes YouTube has fallen quiet a bit but in no way shape or form has their dominance been diminished due to their parenting and now monetization slap. Yes Jake Paul deserved what he got for that stupid video (or all his videos) and they took him down their top tier ad partner program. Yes there's been tons of hate videos and misguided agendas played on their website but it's free speech and while I condemn all hate and narrow-mindedness, it's not fair if you believe in free speech. Yes they are damaging their service and damaging the relationship that creators have with them. Yes they probably don't care and that's the sad part.

I'm with the creators on this one, they are handling it poorly and I have a feeling the viewing and streaming competition is going to really ramp up now. This is also a great indicator that folks running Patreon, Indiegogo and upcoming cryptocurrency (ex. Tron) opportunities to earn money by self-distributing their work and take away the middle (big)man. Let's make 2018 the year we step away from the controlling hands of our art and prosper.

J Balvin's Mi Gente gets some Willy n' Bé by Randy Ortiz

Already being a fan of J Balvin and seeing how he's constantly elevating the latino artist market with interesting collaborations and visual style, gladly he has no plans to stop this wonderful way of releasing music with this being a recent example. This time he has Mauritian-French DJ/producer Willy William and Beyoncé on his Mi Gente smash hit, this beat stays dope and props to Bé for that Spanish flow. Liking the raw simple style of the video, it seems to mix in Youtube clips, choreographed recordings and karaoke sing-a-long text at the bottom. 
To also know that you can do something small yet good and help recent victims to the natural disasters, Beyoncé is also donating her proceeds of this song to charity. Some interesting collabos J Balvin keeps banging out and this one keeps the bar at a high once again.

Yakuza Kiwami: Journal 1 by Randy Ortiz

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Seeing as to how massive Yakuza Kiwami is, I didn't think it would be fair to just give it a review once released and wrap it up, I'll be writing about the story and all it's pathways towards the end. I will be continuously playing the game and currently at Chapter 5: Purgatory, so far it's been fun regardless of it's flaws and has kept me engaged the entire time. From the family organizations, self reflection, side quests and the seedier underbelly of the town, you play thru it all and it's quite the experience. As you progress within the linear story you are presented with side quests that you either go out of your way to complete or just mini stories within the Yakuza Kiwami world, they are of usual fetch fare or just so happen to complete due to who you talk to which is my favorite and adds a certain level of life to the game. The graphics for the most part are hi-res textured awesome while showing it's age in motion and control, the sound packs a punch especially those hard hitting battles and soundtrack inclusion is on point.

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KIwami is the 2006 Yakuza 1 game with a major graphic overhaul and tons of content reworked, included or changed around to make it a definitive version of sort. I sit and marvel at how crisp most textures are but there are times where it shows how old the game is in it's animation and presentation. Animations vary from silky smooth to jerky and stiff depending the camera angle and area you are in, it's very apparent that they kept all the captures in place from the old game and look a tad out of place on a PS4. Most of the game looks incredible and full of life with reworked textures, certain facial animations and reflective surfaces to a highly satisfactory level. Can it be better? Of course it can but it still looks great and I could care less at this point since I'm having that much fun.

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The story begins after Kazuma Kiryu ends up finally getting out of jail for 10 years after a murder charge, it's his time to catch up and get acclimated with how things are now and what's been going on ever since. Needless to say many happenings and shifts have happened and you go thru a few surprises here and there, a lot can happen in 10 years and this shows it well in story. I won't write details from the story for spoilers sake and those that know of the story will still have a connection to what I write about. Remember when I said the game reminds me of Shenmue? Well it still does and after completing 4 chapters worth, it still holds true. Little hidden alleyways, interactions, storefronts, nature of the character, silliness in story and combat (BEAST!), it all has hints of Shenmue and boy am I happy with it. Keeping this entry shortish but will return with what I thought about chapters 1-4 soon and perhaps 5 if I'm near the end of it.
Hope you all are looking forward to reading about each chapter and thanks for reading, mucho thanks to Sega also for sending this my way!
MAJIMAAAAAAAAA!

You can purchase Yakuza Kiwami for PS4 digitally or in game stores now.

Aleph Vol. 1 Melts the Shader off your face (Good thing) by Randy Ortiz

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All I see and hear is bass heavy and grimy electronic glitches everywhere... I love it.
It's like Aleph turned life turned into a big continuous scene of dripping pixels with a constant sense of power and textures it's sound. Yeah fucking awesome. Some of it also reminds me of the 90's UK jungle music movement like Goldie's 'Temper Temper' in Goliath with it's heavy bass and industrial sound. Everything is complex and full of life. Trust when I say you should buy this (9/8/17) and have a listen below, you'll see what I mean...

From Alpha Pup:
The ALEPH project is a reflection of the heavily textured aesthetic found in today's electronic music, and exists as the evolution of the previous bass music incarnation known as Prophet. Where much of mankind's history in the exploration and study of music lies in the evolution of melody and harmony, the ALEPH project seeks to explore the nature of sound itself. When ideas are left unbound by dogma and tradition, the base concept of music blurs and breaks, yet foundations still lay within the wreckage of the old. ALEPH Vol. 1 seeks to capture this aesthetic, in both texture, experimentation, and raw power.
Solomon was a once great king whose legacy was forever tarnished by sin. The track of the same name was inspired by the fall from grace while in a position of power, and the devastating effects that can have. Goliath was the giant who conquered all in his path with his pure might and only fell due to his own arrogance. The song representing Goliath attempts to capture this fury with the simple yet heavy handed saw bass. "Monolith" represents a change in form, from a slow pounding rhythm, to a more complex percussive force, inspired by the stone that enlightened the Neanderthals in Arthur C. Clark's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
"Scintillations" is an even more complex song furthering this evolution, changing time signatures multiple times and meshing rhythm and bass with melody. "Lull" seeks to lure the listener into a trance, carefully changing its rhythm under the trembling bass and dust covered wind chimes. "Isalot" returns to the broken beats with a droning dull siren, exposing the forced imperfection of time and tone one can forge in electronic music.  The evil spirit calls us back to the past, with archaic rave stabs, but modern power.  
This project attempts to follow the change of form that music takes as the countless musicians of the past have shaped its previous incarnations, and attempts to explore what the future might hold, while still holding onto the lessons of old.

Get your (L.A.) Noire Back On! by Randy Ortiz

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Better tell that dame she's gonna have to wait and keep your snub close to ya, because Rockstar Games just announced new enhanced console versions (Even the Switch!) of L.A. Noire and a VR version with 7 cases from the original. This in my opinion is one of their most stylish games they've done to date and definitely looking forward to it! Can't wait to get my feet wet in them dimly lit streets again. I wonder if Zilla Rocca knows about this...

See below for details from Rockstar:
NEW YORK, NY, September 7, 2017
– Rockstar Games®, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), is proud to announce new versions of the blockbuster detective thriller, L.A. Noire, are scheduled to release on November 14, 2017 for the Nintendo Switch™ system, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment systems and for Xbox One games and entertainment systems.
Alongside these three new console versions comes LA Noire: The VR Case Files, featuring seven select cases from the original game rebuilt specifically for a virtual reality experience on the HTC VIVE™ system.
L.A. Noire takes place in the seedy and violent underbelly of 1940’s Los Angeles as decorated veteran and newly minted detective, Cole Phelps investigates an escalating series of cases inspired by real-world crimes. Each successfully solved case brings Phelps greater success, but also brings him closer to the dark criminal heart of post-war L.A. The game was an Official Selection of the Tribeca Film Festival for its cinematic approach to gameplay and narrative.
Utilizing a unique type of facial capture technology called MotionScan, L.A. Noire breathes unprecedented life into character performances, creating brand new gameplay out of the art of interrogation.
“We’re excited to bring L.A. Noire’s unique mix of real detective work, classic Hollywood atmosphere and thrilling action to these new platforms,” said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games.  “Now with a choice of spectacular virtual reality, stunning 4K, or the freedom of portable play, these enhanced versions are a perfect opportunity for players to experience this richly detailed world in a whole new way."
L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files for HTC Vive delivers seven of the original engrossing, self-contained cases from LA Noire rebuilt specifically for virtual reality, blending breathtaking action with true detective work to deliver an unprecedented interactive experience.
L.A. Noire for the Nintendo Switch features the complete original game and all additional downloadable content, with specific enhancements including a Joy-Con mode with gyroscopic, gesture-based controls, HD rumble and new wide and over-the-shoulder camera angles, plus contextual touch screen controls for portable detective work.
L.A. Noire for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One delivers the complete original game and all additional downloadable content with a range of technical enhancements for greater visual fidelity and authenticity, including enhanced lighting and clouds, new cinematic camera angles, high resolution textures and more. L.A. Noire plays natively in 1080p for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, and stunning 4K for PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, capturing the grit and grime of the City of Angels like never before.
L.A. Noire is not yet rated by the ESRB. For more information, please visit www.rockstargames.com/lanoire.

Travis is BACK! NMH Sequel announced on Nindies 2017 Showcase by Randy Ortiz

I knew the day would come, I knew it would be glorious. That day is here.
No More Heroes is getting a sequel! Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, the beginning is the end is the beginning? Whatever... I like it, just don't bring back that lawnmower mini-game ok Suda51?? This was announced on the Nindies Showcase for Summer 2017 which also has an impressive indie line-up. Ahhhh thank you my pretty Grasshopper Manufacture, thank you.

Save me Mr Tako: Tasukete Tako-San is GB Heaven by Randy Ortiz

A pacifist octopus granted land surviving ways in a land where humans are at war with octopuses, the world set to glorious Game Boy 4-color palette designed by French developer Christophe Galati. WHAT? This is incredibly charming and completely brings you back to the days of carrying AA batteries in your pocket. Something about the simple nature of that time period in gaming always reels me in, maybe it's the shading techniques or the way it sounds but I'm a sucker for it.
The premise for the game sounds bizarre enough to be fun and a great little escape from all this HDR and hyper-realistic brownness that finds itself into modern games. This is slated for digital Q4 2017 release and for Nintendo Switch and Steam, screens, trailer and more of the story behind the game below.

Set in a world where humans and octopi are at war with each other, Save me Mr Tako: Tasukete Tako-San tells the tale of a pacifist octopus who rescues a human woman from drowning. An octopus fairy sees this act of kindness and grants Mr Tako (the game’s protagonist) the ability to survive on land, where he can learn more about the ways of humans and help to resolve conflicts between the two species.

Mr Tako navigates through the game’s environments by spitting ink at enemies, which turns them into platforms that he can jump on to reach even higher ground. He can also acquire and wear 50 different hats that give him special abilities, fight 19 deadly boss characters and explore 16 mysterious dungeons scattered throughout six huge worlds.

Save me Mr Tako: Tasukete Tako-San was designed by French indie developer Christophe Galati as a heartfelt homage to the many games he loved to play on Nintendo’s original Game Boy® handheld console. The game’s color palettes are directly inspired by that hardware’s crude LCD display (allowing no more than four onscreen colors at a time), and the sizes of the character sprites are intentionally limited to 1989 standards. The game’s soundtrack also uses Game Boy-era instrumentation to complete the authentic retro vibe.

Save me Mr Tako: Tasukete Tako-San is planned for a simultaneous release on Nintendo Switch and Steam in the fourth quarter of 2017. Pricing info and release date to be announced at a later time.

Rock of Ages 2: A Great Journey into Smash Bouldering and History'ing by Randy Ortiz

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Rock of Ages 2 is the funniest and most entertaining Tower Defense type of game that I've had the pleasure of playing. It has the look of the walls in The Louvre, craziness of Monty Python with South Park animation and reminded me of Marble Madness... yeah sounds nuts right? Well it is but in a good way.
It has a hilarious art, history and even some greek mythology showing while having you roll and turn down hills, bridges and structures and on your way to deal the most damage to your opponents castle. While you place items and animals (yes) along your enemies path to damage their boulder, your boulder is also being chipped at and created. Needless to say it sometimes comes down to placing items down as fast as you can and rolling down before you hear that horn blare out, indicating your opponent starting their turn. For the most part this game manages to get many things right with the exception of a few snags that didn't hinder my gameplay nor lessened how much I ended up liking it. Sometimes it would come sooo close that right before my boulder was finished, I was bashing that square buttonto immediately go when it was ready. Fun, that is the key word and that's also what you'll definitely have when you play this.

Now let's talk a bit about the feel and annoyances which aren't many, overall it's a great game to bust out for a laugh or quick match and even a good sit n' play but there were a few things that could've been handled better. The controls while precise and not at fault didn't alleviate the fact that most boulders felt of the same weight regardless of their individual trait. Did it take a way from the game? Not really but I thought I'd mention it in hope to have specific heft placed and not just secrete tar for example to make them behave differently. The other is more of an annoyance and it was not being able to share a screenshot without the pause menu popping up, I kept wanting to show how amazing the sun was portrayed and wanting a photo mode somehow.
Again these concerns do not take away how great this game plays, what Atlus is putting out and ACE Team created is one heck of a game that deserves to be played and seen. The graphics are detailed and impressive, controls do their job and boy do you laugh with this game. It has quite a few modes and online play to keep you busy as well, my oldest (11) and I had a great time playing this game. Those are the important things and well worth your monies in my book, available today in the US on Steam (Windows), XBOX One and PS4 for $14.99.
Want to see it in motion? See the fun below and yes there is a Binding of Isaac boulder, avatars and army banners, that is a free download for those that purchase it up to 4 weeks from launch. I'll still be playing this and sharing thoughts so don't forget to add wgmeets on PSN and Steam!

*Played on PS4 using review code supplied by Atlus USA*