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March, 2017:

Lameazoid.com – State of the Site Address

Last year, I made a bit of a resolution to make this site, a thing again.  I started out getting back into the habit so to speak with Weekly Haul posts and Agents of SHIELD recaps.  Literally anything else that popped up was gravy.  After keeping this up regularly, I planned to do a re-launch with 2017.  This would shift things up to full speed, and part of the point in having a “launch date” was that I wanted to get out ahead of things.

This was when I started making up the master schedule.  I laid out the entire year in excel, by weeks.  I set up which posts would go out by type on each day of the week.  I went through and picked out notable release dates of movies and games and TV shows so I could make little themed moments around these events.  The schedule isn’t set in stone either and as it trails off into the year it becomes more and more of a wish list of maybes.  January originally also included 100% reused old content in the Video Games Reviews, though the goal was to rework these old reviews a bit and sprinkle them in among new reviews, which I also ultimately accomplished.

Major content at 6PM local time, minor content at noon local time.

The idea was to prevent what has happened in the past, where I’d vomit out a pile of posts in a week then disappear for 6 months.  My original goal was to have the entire month of January set up by the time January 1st came along.  Granted this didn’t include on demand style content like the Weekly Haul posts and Trailer Tuesday and TV recaps.  I did manage to make that goal and then some.

I still intend to keep to this schedule, but I have also come to realize the schedule was a bit… overly ambitious.  In short, I cannot keep up this schedule long term, every single week.  Period.  Movie reviews, for example, are always a last minute scramble.  I bulk take photos for toy reviews, but that has also lead to less dynamic photos than I really want for these reviews, especially since the focus of the reviews is photos over text.  Essentially, rushed content isn’t very good content.

I also literally can’t afford the pace of the schedule.  I spend quite a bit of money on new stuff, probably too much money, but I do have a budget just for “fun money” that’s very strict, and that also includes things like eating out and subscriptions to Audible and online games.  Imports alone break my budget.  I have a backlog of imported toys I’ve picked up over the last few years, but at ~$50 average each for Figmas and Figuarts, I would have to spend ALL of my “fun budget” on imports to keep up weekly reviews long term.  And I mean every penny, leaving nothing for games, or domestic stuff.

Another issue comes on the Video Games front, I don’t play a wide variety of games like I used to.  I have enough decent “Legacy Content” from nearly 20 years of blogging that I could repost them weekly for like 2 years, but over the past 2 months, most of my video game time has gone to Overwatch.  This has kind of been an “issue” for a while, it’s part of why I started to reviews of shitty mobile games before nuking the site a few years ago.  Because I mostly just played WoW or TF2, aside from the occasional shitty mobile game.  It became the only source of new content.

I also just flat out don’t have the time.  The latter half of the year was slower, I had time to build quite a buffer of content and photos, but things are busier now.  We are looking at moving this year, soon, mostly for convenience to my job, but also for a house that works better for us, which has taken a lot of time.  Work in general has been busier, which means I’m too tired to do side things like write mediocre movie and video game reviews.  Most nights I just want to watch TV with my wife or play zone out and play Overwatch.

The re-launch rush isn’t a failure mind you, It’s served it’s purpose, it’s created a baseline of content.  I kind of knew going in that at best, The Schedule was only sustainable for around 6 months, and that was at best maximum possibility everything works out grand.

I’m not quitting (again, again, again) mind you, I’m just taking a step back a bit and re-evaluating.  I mostly just want to say to myself, it’ll be ok, if you don’t get something new in every category every week.  I also have considered what works and what doesn’t.  I’ve already ditched Tuesday Trailers for example.  It was an experiment, it went nowhere, it was more hassle than it was worth.  I’m probably going to drop the Wednesday Haul posts as well, or more likely, make them even less formal and post them over on Tumblr or Instagram, or both.  They are a bit of a hassle, they were a practice in blogging discipline but ultimately, it’s filler content.  I have zero and I mean ZERO in the works on the idea but I’ve toyed with the idea of reaching out to get other contributors again, and having a Weekly Haul post that’s explicitly related to me, doesn’t work on a multi writer website.

I also want to get back to doing more “editorial” style content.  Just a sit down sort of analysis or opinion on hot topics.  Like the recent Nintendo Switch Release, or VR in gaming, or general ideas and speculations on the MCU.  I keep “having the itch” again, like I used to, but all of the time spent on this strict schedule of posts is stifling that a bit.

Ultimately, I just need to loosen up a bit.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Scourge

Scourge, along with Blurr, is part of the first wave of Titans Returns figures that were not originally Headmasters.  Scourge is a bit of a funny character in terms of picking up “new versions”, because his character’s ability allows him to make clones of himself.  Or maybe it’s just that he commands clones of himself, whatever the case, there is a justifiable reason to have many Scourge toys.

Unlike Blurr, who is kind of the star of the wave, Scourge is possibly the worst figure of the first wave.  The problems are less with the basic design however.  This Scourge, like Blurr is a nice update to the original design, as basic as it is.  Scourge is the classic example of a Shell Former.  He is essentially a robot wrapped in the shell of the parts of his space boat mode.  Both modes are accurate representation of the G1 Scourge, but his transformation is pretty simplistic.

The real problems are with the basic design of the figure itself.  Specifically there are a lot of reports of looseness in the head connection of the Headmaster giving him a bobble head.  He also has a pop up head crest similar to Blurr, though it is also prone to being lose and doesn’t stay up very well.

One minor little nitpick on my part, his pretty sleek Space Boat mode is broken up a bit by odd panels on the bottom of the front.  These panels only serve to fill in the gap on his legs, and just sort of hang off the vehicle.  It really feels like this could have easily been engineered better to remove the panel kibble hanging off an otherwise clean vehicle.

That aside, he’s also just sort of boring.  The vehicle is just a wedge with a bit of kibble on top, it’s accurate, but it’s not particularly exciting.

Titans Return Scourge isn’t an awful toy, he’s just not particularly exciting, and is prone to some issue that can be irritating.  With exciting animal options in the Decepticons, or the really well done Blurr, I wouldn’t make Scourge my first choice of the line.

S.H. Figuarts – Yoshi

While he wasn’t part of the original Super Mario Brothers, in fact, he didn’t come around until much later in the series during the 4th full game, Super Mario World, Yoshi is as iconic to the Mario series as any of the main cast.   The popular Dino has even gotten several of his own spin off games.  He certainly makes sense as an addition to the Mario Figuarts lineup.

SH Figuarts Yoshi

Yoshi is quite a different little figure than Mario and Luigi, for the obvious reasons that, he’s a Dinosaur and not a plumber.  He’s actually a quite a bit more dynamic in some ways as a result.  His skinnier arms give him a lot more flexibility for outward motion than the Mario Brothers.  While his hips can rotate outward as well, he doesn’t have any knees.  I’m not sure where they would put the knees considering how short his legs are, not to mention the addition of knees would probably hurt his major gimmick.

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That major gimmick?  Mario can ride Yoshi.

Included among Yoshi’s accessories are two alternate shell pieces each with a clear saddle attached to hold Figuarts Mario or Luigi.  It’s a bit tricky to get Mario’s weight to balance on Yoshi without the use of a stand however.  Mario is a pretty heavy figure and sticking all that weight on the back of poor little Yoshi really sets things off balance.  It’s still a really nice touch to have it as an option given 90% of Yoshi’s function is carrying Mario around on his back.

SH Figuarts Yoshi

Yoshi’s other accessories are all based on alternate configurations for Yoshi.  He doesn’t have any power ups or blocks, likely because Yoshi is a bit larger than either of the Mario Brothers and he has parts like the saddle shell pieces, all of which already drive the price up.  One of the driving forces of these Mario Figuarts seems to be keeping them fairly affordable ($20-$40 vs the $50-$100 price of some Figuarts).

SH Figuarts Yoshi

Yoshi includes an extra set of eyes so he can look off to the side, an alternate mouth insert with an extended tongue, and an alternate set of hands.  He also includes a stand.  He doesn’t need the stand at all to hold himself up under normal power, and the hole for the stand is directly on the bottom of Yoshi anyway, the stand is meant to allow Yoshi to jump or hover like he does in the games.

The hands are slightly disappointing.  Yoshi has two fists and two open hands, but one of the open hands has an egg permanently attached to it.  It doesn’t come off, you’ll only break it trying.  Considering the Mario Brothers already gave us a method to attach objects to open palm hands with the turtle shells, it’s kind of disappointing that the egg can’t be removed in this same manner.  The egg would have made a great accessory for use with the other figures and having two bare open hands for Yoshi would have been a great plus.

SH Figuarts Yoshi

The tongue is a bit disappointing as well, though it may just be a problem on mine.  Basically, it doesn’t stay attached very well at all.  It’s not even a problem due to weight or balance, the pegs on the underside of the mouth piece simply don’t properly peg into the pegs in his mouth.  The real benefit that the tongue piece provides is that it means the mouth can open and close, something that I imagine wouldn’t have been a feature if it hadn’t been a necessity to allow for the tongue piece to work.

SH Figuarts Yoshi

While it’s still probably the best Yoshi Figure available, and it’s a good figure to be sure, There are a few little issue that keep it from being completely amazing.  Specifically the egg hand and the finicky-ness of how some of the accessories attach.  The riding feature really helps push the figure up an extra notch if you have Mario or Luigi to go with him however.