Monday, December 28, 2020

Year 4: December Update

Star Wars Galaxy #77
(Artist: Ralph McQuarrie)
Most holidays go uncelebrated for myself since I don't live near family and rarely travel, plus this year is especially difficult for that. I spent the 25th watching all eight episodes of The Mandalorian season two which had some fun surprises since I was able to avoid spoilers going in. Earlier this year I watched The Clone Wars animated series which I hadn't seen before and I do recommend it as at least a couple characters from that show up in The Mandalorian. The holidays also had me posting about Star Trek ornaments (boring?) that topped off a three Star Trek post month. I did attempt my first Instagram post with a photo of the Star Trek tree, however, it didn't seem to want to take the full photo (dimensions too long perhaps), just a portion of it so I deleted the post. I'll figure this smartphone stuff out one day.

December tends to be a slow month for gaming though there was one big release and it went sideways. I don't talk much about M-rated games here but it's worth noting that Cyberpunk 2077's console versions have technical problems and some retailers are offering refunds. If you want to play it try the PC version (physical release is a code in a box) or wait a few months to see if things improve. The video game awards show took place this month as well and awards are so subjective, especially when it comes to gaming, that they shouldn't be taken too seriously. There were 24 awards categories for games (other awards for eSports, most anticipated, and performer/streamer) released in 2020 and The Last of Us Part II won seven of those. Ghost of Tsushima and Final Fantasy VII Remake took a few too so the PlayStation exclusives cleaned up. 

I don't have too many things to bring up this month so let me mention Chuck Yeager. The retired Air Force officer and first man to break the sound barrier passed away on December 7th. He accomplished a lot in his 97 years though I mention him here because of his involvement with computer games. As someone who read a lot of gaming magazines in the late '80s/early '90s that when I hear his name I can't help but first think of flight simulator games despite having never played those featuring his name on the box. There is a great magazine ad for Chuck Yeager's Flight Trainer (1987) that you can find in the Electronic Arts (EA) ads article that I'll repost here along with a review of Chuck Yeager's Air Combat from the October 1991 issue of Video Games & Computer Entertainment. EA also published Chuck Yeager's Advanced Flight Trainer 2.0 (1989).

While the posts have slowed significantly this year, the blog has just about made it through four years as January 2nd will mark the 4th anniversary. As I've mentioned more than a few times, it was slower in part to a 2020 games project I undertook which won't take up much of my time now even though I still have some gaps to fill in. However, I should put more time into getting important things done in my life in 2021 rather than making many YouTube videos, and I should play less games. I actually only completed three games in 2020 because I was playing 30-90 minutes of every physical game release instead (that's more than 250 games). To put my 2020 completion rate in perspective, I've finished at least 15 games every year since 2008 and as many as 41 in 2009 (43 if you count replays). Too many hours spent playing games? Probably, even if it does help get me through each day and improve my knowledge of games which in turn makes me better at my job for as long as I work on a game database for a living. Thanks for reading!


Thursday, December 24, 2020

[YouTube] Star Trek Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments

An ornaments post may be unusual for a blog about video games and toys but the ornaments feature a great license and although not toys, they are very nice to display and similar to figurines. Back in 2017 I actually did a two part Star Wars ornaments post with videos. This will be similar with the only difference being I'm sticking to one post instead of two. Hallmark's Star Trek series began in 1991, five years before Star Wars, with only a single release each year until 1995 and new ornaments continue to be released annually. My collection consists of only ornaments from the '90s and covers classic Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. As I did with Star Wars, the video features those that have lights and or sound effects. In this case, that means none of the characters are in the video, and only two of the ships plus a stand have sound effects. When doing some research I came across a blog solely about this topic so here is a link to that if you want to get more details on the complete series: Hallmark Star Trek Ornaments.

I'm listing them in order of release rather than grouping them by series. With Star Wars I photographed each one next to its box but this time I decided to do front and back box scans, then photograph the ornaments separately. The scales vary between them and the three-ship set consists of miniatures about an inch in length. 

Shuttlecraft Galileo (1992)

U.S.S. Enterprise NC-1701-D (1993)

Klingon Bird of Prey (1994)

The Ships of Star Trek (1995)

Romulan Warbird (1995)

Captain Jean-Luc Picard (1995)

Captain James T. Kirk (1995)

Star Trek 30 Years (1996)

Commander William T. Riker (1996)

Mr. Spock (1996)

U.S.S. Defiant (1997)

Dr. Leonard H. McCoy (1997)

Commander Data (1997)

Captain Kathryn Janeway (1998)

Runabout U.S.S. Rio Grande (1999)

Group Photos