Category Archives: Soapbox

[Video Games] Final Fantasy XII gets a Remake coming in 2017


[Video Game News]
Final Fantasy XII HD Remake

Square Enix announced yesterday they will be remaking the classic Playstation 2 RPG, Final Fantasy XII, for an HD remake (presumably for PS4, but it’s possible Xbox One and PC may also receive the game). This comes not long after Squeenix announced a few months ago that they would be remaking the legendary Final Fantasy VII.

While the Final Fantasy VII remake appears to be more a remake in spirit and visually (graphic-wise): the combat action has changed from turn-based RPG to action RPG much like Final Fantasy XV, we have yet to see how much Square will change for the XII remake. In the trailer it appears they left the loved and hated, Gambit system alone. Albeit it looks a little more exciting (attack combos?).

I played the original Final Fantasy XII on PS2 many years back. It was actually one of the last new games released for the Playstation 2 before it was retired and entirely replaced by the Playstation 3 and was in the last phase of games before production stopped for the system. I liked the game a lot. The characters felt new and rich. The storyline seemed interesting, the fighting system was kind of new and best of all there was a nice, hefty amount of voice acting (more than any other FF at the time, next to or maybe even more than Final Fantasy X).

Unfortunately, like Final Fantasy XIII (though for much different reasons) I stopped playing the game maybe halfway through it (at some temple level). FF12 suffered due to some issues with the Gambit system (kind of like programming the AI to execute certain moves but only in certain situations). The game to me felt like it was trying to be a more storied version of Final Fantasy XI: Online (a game I sunk thousands of hours into when I was younger, before World of Warcraft came out). The whole time I played XII I felt like I should be online, or see other people but alas it was not. Not only that but the music choices seemed poor and the team decided to have music play through a whole area, as opposed to music for battles, music for cutscenes, etc. making the soundtrack seem very boring.

The remake is touting a brand new soundtrack and possibly new battle system so maybe it will succeed in ways its predecessor failed. We will know in early 2017.

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[Real Hip-Hop/Rap:] Erykah Badu – Trill Friends (Kanye West Real Friends Remix)


[Real Hip-Hop & Rap]
Erykah Badu – Trill Friends (Kanye West Real Friends Remix)

Homeboys, and some of them we wish we never knew at all…
Homegirls, and some of them we wish we never knew at all…

R&B goddess and hip-hop‘s ephemeral, ‘realest b*tch in the game’s’ take on Kanye West’s “Real Friends” puts a sweet, touching spin on the calming head-banger. With an instrumental beat characteristic of Kanye himself, as a producer; Badu raps and sings over a prominent 4-bar loop of the song to make a point about friends. The repeating hook (and even elements of the original song) have a very J Dilla or No I.D. feel in being different and unique, but still clearly hip-hop.

According to Badu, these days we use the word “friends” far too loosely and ambiguously which results in most of us having homeboys and homegirls that we wish we never knew at all. “Real Friends” are a problem that have plagued humans since existence. Who are our real friends? How do we feel when our so-called homeboys and homegirls turn out not to be our friends? In this Internet age, it’s common for us not to have any friends, except online or through social media, or to think we have friends then catch them slighting us on social media, or not having our back online.

Who do you consider your “friends”, your “real friends”, your “homeboys/girls”? A psychologist once told me that he thought we should do away with the word “friends” altogether. He claimed the increased rates of “falling out” with friends is due to our own high expectations we set for people who are our “friends”. When they don’t live up to these expectations we feel disappointed (if a friend doesn’t like and comment on ALL your posts, or is usually in tug with you everywhere but in one instance you can’t find them/count on them).

We have to remember that friends are simply that, friends. Of course some of us have certain friends we can count on more than others, but in general when we start placing them on pedestals or expect them to always have our back we being searching for and expecting someone who goes beyond a “friend”. Think about that as you go about your day.

Kanye West’s Original Song:

[The Glass Half-Full/Positivity]: A Media Analysis of “Gas Pedal” by Sage the Gemini SOAPBOX Post


So, I wrote this paper (see below) for my media and popular culture class last week that apparently was really good. I decided to analyze a song I’m very familiar with, “Gas Pedal” (the original and SALVA remix are on my tablet now) by Sage the Gemini. I kind of took an idea and ran with it and was unsure if my paper was any good at all, in fact I thought it was terrible. My professor graded it and thought it was excellent and wanted me to post it as an example. This completely turned my day around, as I was not expecting that kind of feedback.

Surprise, surprise.

Sometimes you can think that what you do doesn’t matter, isn’t good enough, or is not up to par. We get so caught up in things that we do wrong, we don’t always notice what it is we do right. In this aspect we all need to be glass “half-full” people and not “half-empty.” There is some truth to “willing” something into existence.

This scenario is common in college students; normal ones, and especially those with depression or other mood disorders. The classic example is the girl who freaks out about a math/chemistry/english test thinking she failed and she’s no good and then she gets an A.

all-night cram session.
How I usually feel when I study.

When we let doubt and criticism get the best of us, we don’t do things at all. How can you be good or bad at something if you never try, and how can you improve? I am guilty of this myself in other aspects of life, though I’m working on changing that. Our perfectionist society demands a lot and reminds me of a good article I read called “F*** Perfectionism” that basically said if we all were perfect the world would suck and be boring.

Another great example is the new SuperBowl commercial from Coke where the soda spilling on an Internet mainframe caused people viewing negative comments about themselves to see them positively and smile. The commercial was a bit random but it’s underlying message is powerful. Be happy, be positive, be confident, turn your negatives into positives, always.


Media Representation Study 1

                The media plays an important role in society, specifically the music industry which surrounds us in everyday life, advertisements, TV programs, concerts and many more activities. Music can tell us how to think, feel and even behave through its messages and meanings. This analysis will consist of the popular Hip-Hop song “Gas Pedal featuring Iamsu” by the artist Sage the Gemini. The themes and motifs of the video will be analyzed in the Frame Setting theory of mass communication. (Music video at: http://youtu.be/X8LUd51IuiA)

Sage the Gemini’s rap single “Gas Pedal,” achieved mainstream success after its release in early 2013. Not only is the song popular (with +55 million views on Youtube) it has also spurred an Internet “meme” of its own with people doing the “Gas Pedal” dance. Dominant stereotypical themes of rap music appear present such as when the rappers command a female to “slow down, then wiggle like [she’s] trying to make [her] a** fall off” then “speed up, gas pedal” in the lyrics.

The power of the male over the female is reinforced in the music video with many women appearing with their faces obscured by red hoods. The women all wear short skirts and dresses, while the rappers are dressed quite formally in suits. These “faceless” women stand around Sage the Gemini as he appears to sit on a throne. His “subjects” stand silently at attention unless “commanded” to dance as one woman does near the end of the song.

The ideas that rappers are cool, have a lot of power and influence and can make people (especially women) do what they want are very present. Despite the simplistic, mildly raunchy lyrics, the rappers appear in formal dress, possibly to make their message a bit more acceptable. One of the rappers appears on a throne in the music video, with women surrounding him, framing him more as a king, than for example a pimp or “player.”

Furthering their power over the listener to dance in a certain way is the popular meme of the “Gas Pedal” dance. The meme consists of people, mostly female but some male, dancing suggestively to the song, usually in the style of twerking. While in other environments twerking would seem inappropriate, when “Gas Pedal” is playing it becomes completely acceptable. (See:  Gas Pedal Vine Dance FULL http://youtu.be/JvAf2HJcjRA)

The rappers framing of themselves as cool, the notion of women as objects or symbols, and the acceptability of the “dance” are strong and largely successful. The popularity of the song has even led to it being re-appropriated into an educational song. A popular YouTube video made by a middle school science teacher parodies “Gas Pedal” with his students rapping, dancing and striking cool poses while rapping about metal. (See: “That’s Metal” http://youtu.be/BlBKsbCLY24 ).

The changing of the lyrics makes an otherwise inappropriate song OK for a group of mostly Caucasian teenagers to cover. Reflecting the ideas that cursing in rap is fine or OK, one of the students (though censored by silence) raps “They [metals] conduct electricity too, light it on fire. That sh– burn blue!” In all these cases the rappers have used framing of their media to their advantage.

Written by and solely owned by Darris Pope except for licensed material such as songs and pictures used under fair use for critique and study. Use without permission is prohibited.