YouTuber Reggie Alarm’s Favorite Video Game Series of All Time

 On the eve of the release of Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 HD remix for PS4, I’m hardly able to sleep.  I’m so excited to revisit and relive some of my favorite memories from the series.  I shared with my significant other today that I have a slight obsession with the Square/Disney mash up.  I remember when I was just barely through my freshman year of high school when a 4-minute Japanese trailer for Kingdom Hearts 2 was released to the public.  It showed off some fast paced and stylish gameplay putting an emphasis on the combat.  It certainly had evolved from the previous game and I was loving it!  I gawked at that trailer for what must have been a whole year.  I dissected every second and frame with my brain trying to imagine how amazing it would be to fight Heartless once more.  After sharing that slightly embarrassing piece of life to my best friend, I had to ask myself, “Why do I love Kingdom Hearts so much?”

Let me start off by informing the reader that I have purchased every Kingdom Hearts game.  I even bought handheld consoles that I wouldn’t have bought otherwise.  If you are looking to try the game out, the best way someone described it to me is it’s like Zelda with deep RPG elements.  If you like Final Fantasy and don’t get put off by Disney cartoons then it’s worth a peek.

 I really enjoy playing through the games regardless of the convoluted mess of a narrative.  A friend from Montana recently asked me to try and clear up some of the story for him and I replied politely with, “Let me first explain the ending of Lost.”  I’m not confident that I understand the finer points of the Kingdom Hearts story and I’m not ashamed to say that.  I was ready every time a new game came out to jump right back in.  I am going to make a valiant effort to understand it a little better by playing the games in order of the timeline this go around.

The Disney worlds that Sora, Donald, and Goofy travel to are visually pleasing with each world adding it’s own unique flavor (exceptions being the Atlantis zones).  The most memorable worlds, for me, are Space Paranoids, Halloween Town, and Pride Rock because the characters look different in those areas.  Having Sora as a lion cub was a nice touch especially when he was breaking his neck swinging the Keyblade from his mouth.

Speaking of Keyblades, I always felt like Sora was progressing each time he got a new and better keychain.  I always tried to go for the Ultima-Weapon before taking on the last boss.  I remember the very first key chain I received after sealing the keyhole in the Tarzan world.  I still believe that it’s the perfect transition from the default Keyblade.  It rewards the player by giving them a taste of how strong and customizable the weapon can become. So satisfying!

I’ve discussed just a few of things that I appreciate about the series on a surface level. Why do I love these games so much?  Kingdom Hearts is more than just a game. Everyone experiences it differently. Maybe it’s a guilty pleasure or it’s like a bowl of chocolate ice cream on bad day. Kingdom Hearts was there to cheer me up when I was feeling lonely or out of place.  We all have our personal darkness that can be overwhelming at times. Sora, Donald, and Goofy remind us that we never have to face a challenge alone.  Though the darkness can be unyielding, a shimmer of light always makes it through.

Do you like Kingdom Hearts? Has it ever helped you through some rough patches? I want to hear your story. Please feel free to comment. I’m anxious to read your posts.

-Reggie Alarm

This has been Reggie Alarm’s second guest post on TGM. You can find more from him on his Twitch and YouTube channels. Look forward to more guest posts from Reggie in the future. Don’t forget to give us your opinion on the comment section below!

Apple’s New iPhone 7 Color Supports a Great Cause

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Photo by Apple: CC BY

For those out there who share my unspoken wish and hope of a greater color selection when it comes to your iPhone design, count your lucky stars because Apple has announced earlier this month that the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will be offered in a special edition (PRODUCT)RED finish, it’s now available for purchase in stores and online as of March 24th, 2017. You can see a sample of the red shade’s appearance with the iPhone 7 & 7 Plus build in the image to the left.

Besides providing iPhone users with a fun new color to use, all Apple (PRODUCT)RED merchandise sold will contribute to the non-profit, charity organization (RED)’s goal of ending AIDS in Africa. Apple has a history of supporting the (RED) organization in the past with a (PRODUCT)RED line that includes iPad Nano’s to Beats products and various accessories for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan has confirmed that Apple is the most significant contributor to the fund, totaling over $130 million as of 2017. The funds will help provide meaningful Antiretroviral medication (abbreviated as ARV) to patients in Africa. A combination of ARV drugs can suppress and even cease the HIV disease in those infected. The official (RED) Facebook page states,”90 million cases have been impacted” thorough their program.

Apple claims, “100% of the profits raised by (RED) goes to the global fund that supports HIV/AIDS grants that provide testing, counseling, treatment and prevention programs.” Which initially sounds reassuring that funds from the (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 release will go directly to the cause — however the multi-national tech company failed to specify a contribution amount. It raises some concerns that Apple may not be as charitable as they’re acting out to be. With their steep projected earnings from the (PRODUCT)RED line they could easily outweigh their contributions to the cause they’re using to market a new product. Especially if their unnamed contribution numbers are minimal, to say the least.

iPhone 6

There’s a reference of iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 colors above that you can compare. It’s undeniable that Apple has nearly doubled it’s color choices with it’s latest iPhone release. The (PRODUCT)RED color is the first bold choice they’ve offered thus far and I’m excited to try it out when I upgrade from my iPhone 6s Plus soon, just in time for the colorful Spring season. As for measuring how far my purchase will go towards saving lives — I’ll have to wait and see if Apple will ever tell.

Netflix Releases Death Note Film Teaser

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Earlier this week on Wednesday, March 22nd, the popular streaming service Netflix released a teaser trailer featuring an upcoming original film, based off the well-known Japanese manga and anime Death Note, set to be available for viewing on August 25th.

When I initially heard the news of Netflix taking on the project I was overjoyed. Death Note has been and remains today, as one of the few anime’s that rightfully occupy the top of my best anime ever made list. The concept and characters were refreshingly original and well played out from the very first episode and naturally attracted a large fan base in both Asia and overseas. A set of Japanese live action films were released in the UK and U.S. back in 2006, following the immense success and popularity of the anime series — adding significant international exposure to the story.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Death Note series I’ll provide a light overview: (chance of slight spoiling, fair warning!) The story is set in Japan and follows an extremely intelligent high-school boy Light Yagami, who often reflected on the purpose of life and his role in society. He was bored and saw himself above his classmates who wasted their hollow lives on short-lived pleasures without amounting to anything in the world. He comes across a magical black notebook with the power to kill anyone, as long as the notebook user has seen their face and written their full name in it’s pages. Light takes the chance to ‘cleanse’ the world of all criminals with the Death Note and further raise himself above the rest of society as a righteous god-like being that will rid the world of all evil.

The cast of the Japanese live action films were all of Asian descent, however the Netflix adaptation is composed of nearly an all-white cast, that has caused quite the stir on social media since it’s announcement. There was similar backlash to the American film adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, set to play in theaters on March 31st. Scarlett Johansson acts as the female lead, who has been previously portrayed as Japanese in all prior media production related to the franchise, which is similarly prominent in both Western and Asian audiences when compared to Death Note.

While some viewers have decided to essentially boycott Netflix’s Death Note after seeing the cast list and teaser trailer — I personally think it looks promising and will reintroduce one of the best anime series to perhaps it’s widest audience yet, and by the best method: home streaming. To reflect today’s consumer, who practically views cassette tapes and CD discs as archaic relics of the past.

To me, there would be a bigger concern towards the actor’s professionalism and accurate depiction of the character’s personality and internal qualities rather than basing everything on appearance. I’d recommend looking past the ethnicity of the cast members and judging their performance in the roles they’ve taken over. Because that’s truly what matters in the end, who they are, not what.

For first-timers to Death Note I highly encourage you to check out the teaser below and Netflix movie adaptation when it releases, but also to watch the anime series (conveniently on Netflix now by the way!) to get a perspective on the story’s origin. if you still aren’t sated after that, you should watch the live action Japanese films starring Tatsuya Fujiwara as Light Yagami and Ken’ichi Matsuyama as L.

How RE5 Brought YouTuber Reggie Alarm Closer to His Autistic Brother

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Growing up, my family had a gaming console in the house from the age of six. My brother Drew and I would come home after school on Fridays, and settle in on the weekends with a Sonic video game or whatever was relevant and fun at the time.  

For people with autistic family members, they understand it can be difficult to connect with them.  It wasn’t easy growing up with my brother but it shaped my sister and I into adults that my parents are proud of.  One of the challenges for me came from finding things in common with him.  We couldn’t always do what other brothers could do for fun. I did my best to involve Drew in my escapades while understanding there would be limitations.  

As I got older, I drifted apart from my brother and sister. We had different interests and different goals worth pursuing. I wanted to work in medicine and my sister wanted to be an educator.  

When I ventured to Basic Training to gain some much needed discipline in my life I was 20 years old. Resident Evil 5 had come out that same year on Xbox360 and PS3.  At the time, my only concern was getting through my medic training and getting home.  Resident Evil 5 was still in the back of my mind because l absolutely loved the Resident Evil series.  

Fast forward to August 2010, I got an opportunity to go to school to be a Paramedic in Spokane Washington. I officially left the nest and was started on my own. School was tough but I managed to earn great grades. Once I got the hang of school work, military duties, and various other tasks, there was plenty of time to game. In the place I was living, I had a small room with a tiny TV and my PS3.  

Drew and I made a habit of playing Resident Evil after I got out of school each day. It’s not that big of a deal now, but back then it was really cool that I could play a game a state away with my brother. After we both got headsets it was like being in the same room or being on a phone call. Resident Evil 5 offers a lot in gameplay and replayability with it’s upgradable weapon system, online versus mode, and mercenaries. We must have put over 150 hours into the game. Sometimes we just needed an excuse to hangout and would play just to talk.  We would discuss school, work, or whatever we felt like talking about. Most importantly, I got to know my brother and he got to know me.

Not everyone is going to be able to connect with the mentally disabled as I did with my brother, but I’m so grateful that I was able to. I have been very blessed to be able to have the opportunities I have had with Drew. If you are reading this and you have someone in your life with a disability, I can only imagine that you love them as much as I love Drew.  When you finally make that connection, it is more than worth it.      

– Reggie Alarm

Look forward to upcoming guest posts by Reggie Alarm on TGM in the future. You can also find him on his Twitch and YouTube channels where he frequently has charity streams to support local children hospitals as well as raising autism awareness.

Unlimited Storage Offered By Google Pixel Phones

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You might have caught one of Google’s frequent advertisements recently, either online or between cable shows, nonchalantly announcing their new Pixel and Pixel XL phones capability to store unlimited photos and videos. When I saw the commercial I had this weird image in my head; of a large Google sign in a bar deciding to buy rounds for everyone in there — for life.

Now I’m one of those rare people who believes you can find free things in life. But only if you actually search for them or have someone who loves you enough to give them to you. So when Google suddenly walks up and says as long as you use this new phone I’ve built you can take as many snapshots of your brunch as you’d like and die happily, I’m just a teensy bit doubtful.

I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking, what’s the catch?

Well, there really isn’t one because this is Google we’re talking about. They help you navigate the internet in seconds, not to mention the world’s traffic-ridden streets using Google Maps. Don’t forget Youtube, arguably the most popular video viewing/sharing website in the world. Then we have Gmail, the email account everyone expects you to have when you give them a hotmail or (heaven forbid) a Yahoo! address.

Unlike the Google Photos app the tech company also offers, the Pixel phones allow you to store photos at original quality while the free version of the app requires you to upload in high quality which compresses the images. If the photos are larger than 16 megapixels you can expect them to be compressed and that can be an issue for some.

As long as the photos or videos are taken with the Pixel then there is a smart storage feature that will automatically upload them when you reach either the 23GB space limit for the normal Pixel or 128GB for the Pixel XL. The data won’t count towards your account quota and you can see that by going to SettingsStorage > Manage Storage. You can enable/disable Smart Storage feature from there and customize the removal frequency from 30, 60, or 90 days.

So you do get unlimited storage on the Pixel phones, not to mention in high resolution at any size. Which I’ll admit is very appealing, when I think about my own never-ending iPhone 6S storage issues. Just imagine it, uploading multiple videos and photos on a Pixel phone and having them automatically uploaded to cloud storage. No need for an elimination process, deciding which photos to save and which to delete to spare the future headache of being blocked with a storage capacity alert, right as you’re taking the perfect selfie.

Logan Film Review

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Many of us have grown up watching X-Men films. Those who are especially fond have read the dozens of comics the film series is based on. You know them. The people who know the backstory, name and mutant power of each character within seconds of seeing them on-screen. But even a casual would recognize Wolverine, the character that introduced us to the film series in the first X-Men. 

By seeing the world through Wolverine’s perspective, we connect with him as an outsider to seemingly both humans and mutants. He seems initially aggressive and unfriendly, but before long we find that Wolverine is likely apprehensive and a loner because of the state of the world and the existing tensions between mutants and human population. Even with his mindset of ‘every mutant for himself’, we see Wolverine turn back on his beliefs to help Rogue, a fellow mutant still discovering her powers.

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Despite the defensive cover Wolverine puts up, he plays a key role in the X-Men and Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. He won’t openly admit it, but he believes in protecting those caught in the middle in the human-mutant struggle, and regularly does so. Professor X recognizes Logan’s nobleness behind the feral cover his alias offers, they gradually develop a strong connection that transcends their dispositional differences.

In Logan the film is all about looking beyond the Wolverine cover and seeing Logan as a fragment of himself. Older, resigned and withdrawn to the animalistic side of himself, that he’s continually fought against for years. It’s a disheartening scene to witness the X-Men world in the worst state it’s ever been, devoid of any mutants except for Logan and Charles Xavier, who both exhibit signs of extreme illness that could mean they’re close to the end themselves. Charles is fighting dangerous seizures that cause time to seemingly cease and any mutants nearby to keel over in pain. Logan’s healing ability is nearly inactive and it’s even more evident by his obvious signs of aging and loss of sight.

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They both live in a world they failed to protect, and though Charles remains hopeful that there are still mutants out there to save  — Logan considers Charles’ mind lost and his words mere ramblings of an old man who can no longer see the truth.

Because Logan focuses on a despondent character that thinks only of himself and Charles’ well-being, we’ve never seen him more brutal. The film’s R rating is clearly merited with several fighting scenes that can only be loosely described as gruesome. Gone are the witty words and idle bantering before Logan faces off an enemy (in this film, literally so), we hear strong language throughout the film and often from unexpected characters (I won’t spoil it by naming who!). What stood out to me more than anything else regarding the adult rating was the presence of many young actors in the film, especially considering one of the main characters is barely a teen.

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Different from previous PG-13 spin-offs featuring Wolverine, Logan fulfills an enduring desire to see the brutality he displayed in X-Men comic books. All the while staying true to the noble character fans know and love. By the conclusion of Logan it’s safe to say the Wolverine film many have been yearning for has arrived and finally fulfilled those desires, right before Wolverine’s departure from the X-Men franchise. A bittersweet farewell to say the least.