Update status: Complicated.

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I’ve started a new blog over on Blogger than can be accessed here: http://hoopislane.blogspot.com/

The name doesn’t really mean anything; in my phone, I have a sticky note of completely random thoughts, words, and phrases typed, and “hoopis” was in that note.

It’s just an experiment to see if breaking new territory is an idea that can get off the ground.

See you there,

~S~



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I’ve found myself constantly on the hunt for a good mobile game to play, because let’s face it — apps that are capable of starting revolutions like Angry Birds did are few and far between. I did my usual, periodical trip to the top free games chart at the App Store. At the #4 spot was a seemingly intriguing game called Waterslide Extreme. Lured into a sense of false trust, I downloaded the game. After several plays, I can only be amazed that it even got in the top 10 at all.

First of all, the game hasn’t been updated since 2009, and I’m pretty sure that’s a really big red flag, and only adds more to the enigma of how this game is doing so well amongst the likes of Subway Surfers, the mobile port of the online Agar.io game, and a mobile solitaire (which is another mystery entirely). Additionally, the game has almost 230,000 ratings, which meant that there were people that really had to push this game to the top with as much effort as it would take to cut down a tree using a package of toothpicks.

“But Sam, is the game itself good?” Well, if you’re a fan of cheap downloadable browser games from 2004, then I think you’ll find yourself seated cozily in the “niche” that Waterslide Extreme carves out. The visuals are pretty shallow, even for 2009 standards; that year brought us Canabalt, the founder of the “endless runner” craze, which had more visual polish (even with an arcade-style interface!) with its 2D gameplay. When I start connecting dots and realizing that your app that has been released in the age of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 has worse graphics than the original Playstation or even the deader-than-disco Dreamcast, you know there’s a problem. The drab visuals are accompanied by even shoddier music consisting of Garageband compositions that give away all too well when one loop finishes and another starts. For some reason, there are no additional sound effects. Just because. It’s at the very least good that the game has the decency to offer to turn off the music.

Gameplay-wise, the game isn’t really much more than a spitting-image precursor of the water segments in Temple Run, down to the steering mechanics and the coins to nab and the obstacles to avoid. However, in this case the coins aren’t coins, but rather plumbobs ripped straight out of The SimsTHEY’RE NOT DIAMONDS. THEY’RE PLUMBOBS. GET IT RIGHT. Waterslide Extreme also has all of the generic collectables:

  • A “Mario star”, so to speak, something that grants you brief (emphasis on brief) invincibility
  • A boost that is so fast that you are virtually control-less for five seconds

The two games do have some differentiations, unfortunately. The obstacles are sensible in Temple Run, like having to sway out of the path of a blockage, or submerging yourself underwater to avoid a tree branch that you can’t sway out of. This game could’ve had you swerving to avoid breaks in the waterslide, but nooooooooo. That would make too much sense, so what are your enemies in the game? Crabs and evil rubber ducks.

What. Is. This. Game.

There isn’t really much of a change to this algorithm, except sometimes the sky gets palette-swapped for a sunset, although calling it a sunset would be disgracing one of the most beautiful parts of the day. What I should call it is a purple-orange crossfading gradient.

Besides that, I have to let the gremlins inside me run free. I need to address how if this were a real-life waterslide, both its ludicrous design and its safety disregard to both workers and customers would be absolutely implausible. This brings up two questions:

  • Why and how would anyone make a giant waterslide careening through the city?
  • Who would be ballsy enough and stupid enough to try and ride said waterslide?

Even if you did muster the courage to take on the slide, the ride would probably be one of the most terrifying experiences of your life. The waterslide is even made to have a glass bottom at times to show you how high up you are and what a horrible life decision you’ve made by getting on this contraption of death. Of course, it’s only traumatizing given that you survive through the whole thing, considering the game proposes a threat that if you lean your phone too far to one side, you can potentially fly off the waterslide. If you happen to do so, the game slaps you on the wrist with a tongue-in-cheek “Whoops!” that totally overshadows your grim fate in a way that almost feels taunting.

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WHAT. IS. THIS. GAME.

(I’m sure that if you can afford to construct let alone conceive this giant water park fever dream, you can afford to clear up a few lawsuits from casualties’ families.)

In the basis of formulating opinions for this game, I’ve coined a phrase that I’d like to connect to this game. The phrase is “dumb-addictive”, and it describes anything that doesn’t really make a high goal for itself yet at its core has a basic mechanic that is so easy to get hooked onto that you keep coming back. As film critic Gene Siskel once said, “A film that aims low should not be praised for hitting that target.” At the end of the day, Waterslide Extreme is just another dumb-addictive game that doesn’t even require touch so as to simplify the gaming experience further. It makes you feel belittled and you are all the lesser for allowing this game to rob your time, energy, and phone space. Had it been released as an early-2000s browser game, it would’ve worked better and made more sense. As a game that “boasts” 3D graphics that are outdone by many a 2D mobile experience, the only way Waterslide Extreme could’ve dug itself any deeper is if it asked for money.

Final rating: 3/10

Do you have any good mobile games to recommend to me? Leave them in the comments and have yourself a good rest of the summer.

Stay classy,

~S~


hey


sorry about all of this

i’d like to apologize on behalf of the 200+ drafts that will forever remain in limbo

i’d like to apologize for my incompetence

i haven’t updated this site since last august

and in the time between then and now

sammwak has turned five years old

over 400 posts of raw, concentrated thought

but i couldn’t be propelled to do a single post without you

thank u

i’ll try uploading more frequently since hey it’s summer

i’ll basically just take my brain and dissect it for you

i have the energy to create ideas but not enough to execute them for some reason

let’s see what happens, friend.

~S~



Hey guys, I’m back.

Now, last month Sammwak turned four years old.

This is by all means a milestone for me, considering I’ve never put so much effort and energy into a single thing ever.

Along the way we hit 100,000 hits, which was an even bigger achievement for me. Even now, I receive comments from people who sincerely enjoy my content. If my site statistics are right, I’m getting viewership from all around the world.

After my little hiatus last year leading into this year, I decided to dust off the old keyboard and whip up two posts that I put up back in April. But those two posts probably required the most work I’ve ever had to put into this blog, and I started to think about the future of the blog. Whether it would still be getting traffic, and how long it could be until it loses its sliver of limelight.

For a while, I thought about deleting the site as a whole and putting it behind me.

But that would put four years of hard work down the drain, never to be seen again.

I would blog more frequently, but school and personal obstacles are more often than not the reason behind my diminishing post frequency.

I remember back in 2010, when I was just surfing the Internet.

And I found an opportunity to make a blog right then and there.

And I took it and never let go.

I made an average of 5-10 posts a day with zero knowledge of blog etiquette, but still.

That is why I’m making this update.

I’m not saying Sammwak is over or anything.

I’m just sort of re-birthing it.

It’ll be an entirely new blog.

But not in the sense that I’m going to start talking about a brand new topic like fashion or nature.

It’ll still be the games and books and movies and videos that I started with.

Let’s try once a month, if I can keep up with that.

Maybe I’ll shave it down to once every other week.

Or I’ll just be usual and have a sporadic, unpredictable uploading schedule.

I could go back to the old days and do it every Monday.

Whatever I do,

just know that we’re in for a very crazy ride.

~S~



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The original Spongebob.

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The modern Spongebob.

“I really [missed] this show. I use past tense because it’s not even the same show anymore.”

– lemonhead75

Remember when Spongebob Squarepants used to be the greatest cartoon of all time? During its golden age from seasons 1-3, it was acclaimed for its fresh humor and nostalgic elements, while also remembering that it was underwater and therefore having its own aquatic take on human society. It was–and kind of still is–one of the most iconic televised series of all time, and has received notable recognition within pop culture to this today. Everyone and their grandma remembers the “FUN Song”.

Now currently in season ten or eleven, SBSP has seen what people call one of the biggest quality declines of all time. The show seemed to start losing its flow in season four, and stuff started to get serious by seasons 5 and 6. It seemed to get more disturbing as it went on to the point where it wrings jokes out of nothing, and actually makes situations the complete opposite of laughable. Take the notorious toenail scene from “House Fancy” (a season six episode), for example. Even in the midst of this, the show tries to hit us with what we were already hit with so many years ago. The biggest connection between the two eras are nonessential callbacks to the show’s heyday. Long-time fans will say that the new SBSP lacks the charm that made the old SBSP such a hit.

And with declining quality comes declining ratings. Despite the show’s ongoing popularity, the show took a shocking dip in 2012, with a 29% drop in the number of kids aged 2-11 watching the show, according to Nielsen. Another popular theory is that the show collapsed due to show creator Stephen Hillenburg resigning and leaving the show in the hands of creative director Derek Drymon, which spawned a legion of new writers and crew members that tinkered with the show to unbelievable extents, doing something that TV Tropes calls “flanderization“.

Flanderization is defined as “the act of taking a single (often minor) action or trait of a character within a work and exaggerating it more and more over time until it completely consumes the character.” All the characters have gone through dramatic trait changes, such as Krabs, who is now portrayed as something of an antagonist to appeal to the placeholder storylines of his fetish for fortune. Spongebob’s former persona as a naive Pollyanna has turned him into an eccentric idiot. Patrick went from a slightly dim oddball to one of the dumbest characters on TV. Squidward went from being the butt of every joke to the voodoo ragdoll of Bikini Bottom. Sandy went from the peppy female companion to a ghost who rarely appears. And let’s not forget when Mrs. Puff ended up trying to murder Spongebob…

The world of Bikini Bottom got flanderized as well; it turned from a light-hearted place with a couple off-color jokes to a sadistic hellhole where surreal situations and bawdy gags ripped from Adult Swim are the norm.

However, the show didn’t just go down the drain magically…

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For many, it was the Spongebob movie that marked the beginning of the end.

The movie just so happened to premiere in the time interval between the end of season three and the start of season four. The movie was a lot heavier than most regular episodes, containing darker plot lines such as the “ice cream lady” and Dennis the bounty hunter. It was sort of a somewhat-prescient insight onto what the series was going to transform into. It makes even more sense when one realizes that this was supposed to be the showstopping finale for the series before a couple things got in the way

Try imagining that scene where Spongebob and Patrick get drunk off of ice cream, looped for years on end, episode after episode, forever (or until the show ends, whichever comes first).
In the end, despite how the writers are clearly starting to get dry on their ideas, SBSP might have a sliver of hope to redeem itself and bring back some good stuff. Maybe we’ll see Sandy again. Maybe an episode will go by without anything disturbing. Only time will tell.
What do you think? Is Spongebob truly past its prime? Leave a comment about it.
Also, make sure to follow my Tumblr at http://www.prince-of-limbs.tumblr.com. WARNING: Not for moralists.
——————-
Authorities:
https://sites.google.com/site/tria1andfai1ur3/over-analysis/oa-tv-shows/spongebob-decline-in-quality
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpongeBob_SquarePants
——————-
Stay classy,
~S~


Hey guys, it’s Sam. Now, I know my recent post releases have been really out of order. Some come out on Mondays, some on Sundays, others on Saturdays, it’s a mess. I’ve been trying to get an every-Friday streak going on for a while, and my personal life has influenced my ability to blog frequently. I’m sorry there was such a delay in between my BookBuzz post and spark., I’ve just been really busy.I just suddenly realized I forgot to make a Halloween special and a Thanksgiving special this year. So, so sorry for that, and I’ll have to make the scope of this year’s Christmas/New Year’s special even bigger to make up for it.

Thanks for over 118,000 hits and fifteen subs! I know this sounds wussy for me to be getting excited over that, but it does mean the world to me that 15 of you have clicked that subscribe button and eagerly await a new post from me, no matter what day or what week it arrives. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without you, so I do thank you from the bottom of my heart!

This is also my 400th post on Sammwak. I did not even believe I was going to make it to 400, let alone 50. But thank you for making me want to make more posts and continue blogging for all of you.

Now, I’ve also been reading a lot, and here are the books I’ve been getting into:

  • Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis – My sister shipped this book to me a few weeks back. It’s the autobio of the frontman of one of the best funk bands in the universe. Stadium Arcadium is legendary by the way.
  • The Everafter War by Michael Buckley –  My sister got me this one way back. Two sisters live in a town where fairytale characters abound. Prince Charming is plotting war against the Master, whoever he is. One major person has already died, so it looks like it’s gonna be a bloodbath.
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame Smith and Jane Austen – It’s literally all in the name.
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore – The quintessential old-school DC comic book. It takes place in the 1940s-60s in an alternate reality full of superheroes. When superheroes are outlawed, a murder brings them out of retirement for one last job.

I’m becoming slowly addicted to this website called TV Tropes. Have you heard of it? If so, then your life has probably been ruined too. It’s a place that uses “tropes” to tackle all of the ins and outs of television, film, and literature. Every scene setup, every character cliche, every stock phrase, if you can imagine it, there’s probably a trope for it. Trope makers, trope namers, trope codifiers, tear jerkers, nightmare fuel, YMMV (your mileage may vary), getting-crap-past-the-radar, the list goes on. And I’m naming all of these off the top of my head. I’ve been troping for at least two months now, and I can’t stop. If you want to join me in my downfall into mayhem, it’s at http://www.tvtropes.org, and if you come across a Stuffedninja on those haiku pages, that’s me. :D

…………………………..

Thanks again for taking me on this wild journey.

Stay classy,

~S~ 8-)

Video of the Week well, I’m not sure if I’ll be publishing on time again, so let’s just call it Favorite Video: “YouTube Rewind: What Does 2013 Say?” by YouTube Spotlight. An awesome mashup of every meme, fad, hit, and popular thing of the year, featuring Youtubers such as Tobuscus, Pewds, Rhett & Link, Epic Meal Time, and more! 20.2 million hits in two days. Impressive.



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