Tokyo 42 Video Game Review: Camera Angle Woes 

By: John Mills
Diversions Editor 

 

I want to confess something to start this review: I was hyped for Tokyo 42. Watching the trailers, gameplay teasers, and people playing it on YouTube got me really excited.

It was disappointing to learn then, when I actually began to play it, that I was going to be highly let down with the final project.

I’m hardly the first person to be let down by a game, but let’s get deeper into what went wrong. 

Actually, let’s start with the good aspects of this game. I realize that it’s a bit of a hard cut, but there’s some good things to say about this game.

First, it’s very aesthetically pleasing. The visual style is clean, bright, and colorful. The game is a joy to look at, and I enjoy just exploring the eponymous city.

The whole thing is propped up into the clouds and it makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. It’s wonderful through and through. Second, the music is right on point.

It has a digital sound that fits with the futuristic, bright landscape and futuristic technology very well. The third point I want to touch on is the exploring.

Every horizontal surface is reachable if you can find your way there. It’s amazing to move around this highly detailed landscape and figure out how to get where you want to be.

The world is rich with secrets and collectibles. Finally, finding your way to a tough secret or collectible is truly satisfying. Unfortunately, that’s where the good parts of this game really end. 

So what’s the bad? The camera is constantly problematic. To elaborate, the camera is isometric and controlled manually in 45 degree increments by the ‘Q’ and ‘E’ keys.

This actually works well when exploring and you can shift it around to ensure the best angle for whatever move you’re trying to make when contemplating your next move.

Problems arise in combat when—due to the game’s one-hit-kill bullet hell nature—you don’t have time to move the camera to a better angle for both shooting and dodging.

This has gotten me killed more times than I know. It makes an already challenging game more difficult than it needs to be.

I have no problem with difficult games—I wrote an entire column about how I enjoyed them—but overly difficult because of mishandled mechanics is in a different category.

This problem is magnified because it’s the core gameplay mechanic. It’s not something that can be worked around 

In the end, the issue with Tokyo 42 is that the problems with combat badly overshadow the rest of the game.

Everything that’s truly fun and enjoyable is unfortunately lost in the stumbling, creaky mess of combat mechanics.

Tokyo 42 is like a car the enters a drift every time you make a left turn. Sure, most of it works as intended, but there is still a critical flaw that ruins the rest of the car.   

 

Diversions

Prescott Winter Night Sky Planetarium Showing 

By: Oliver Davis
Social Media Coordinator  

On the 19 and 20 of January the Jim and Linda Lee Planetarium opened its doors to the public for the first time.

Tickets for these premiere showings were free, but did need to be obtained ahead of time.

The planetarium is using an outside company to provide the ticketing service that is easy to use and makes the process very simple.

Seeing as this event was open to the public, the majority of attendees were families from Prescott who wanted to see the first of many star-gazing opportunities that the school will offer.  

One student attendant, Taylor Green, remarked that, “There were so many people from Prescott who have no affiliation with the school, which means people really wanted to come to this event.” 

The theater quickly filled up with visitors eager to see the capabilities of the newly completed spectacle.

Guests were welcomed by the nights’ host who was beyond excited to welcome everyone to the planetarium.

Once almost every seat in the room was filled, he began to talk about the planetarium and all the many interesting facts about it and what it is capable of doing.

After this brief introduction, it was time for the show to begin. 

The lights were turned completely off and the dome overhead became filled with stars of all different sizes and intensities.

Some constellations were immediately noticed by many in the audience, like Taurus and Pleiades.

The host made sure to point out all the major stars that were visible so the audience knew where they should look in the sky.

The purpose of this event was to show what the night sky will look like in Prescott during this winter season, which means the information was relevant and of interest to the audience. 

The organizers of this event did a good job at targeting their audience and making sure everyone was engaged as well as learning about the stars that surround us.

The technology that the planetarium uses is exceptional in that it can take you anywhere in the visible universe and can show what the stars look like and their position relative to each other with astounding accuracy.  

An older gentleman named John, who is from Prescott, said, “I was very impressed with what this university has done to help spread science across the community.” 

It is safe to say that all in attendance were very pleased with their experience at the Jim and Linda Lee Planetarium and that they would come to future events that will be held in the planetarium. 

Diversions

Campus Safety Wants to Be Level with You About Parking 

By: Zoe Crain
Correspondent 

With the continued expansion of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott campus, it feels like there’s never enough parking for the ever-increasing number of students.

However, it is indeed a fact that numerically, the number of parking spots is greater than or equal to the number of student vehicles on campus.  

That being said, the available parking spaces may not necessarily be anywhere near you.

Sometimes, those of us who live in the Village have to park in the Thumb Butte lot.

A travesty, for sure, but a small price to pay for the low parking pass cost of $90 per semester (Arizona State University still coming in at a solid $240 a semester with no guarantee you’ll ever find a spot to leave your car).

And students may be surprised at the number of lots they can park in. 

Currently, residential students are allowed to park in Lots F, I, J, M, M1, N, and O (for those who don’t know: those are the lots by the Mingus Mountain Complex, the Village Complex, the Thumb Butte Complex, and the parking lot by Housing and Residence Life).

Commuter students and faculty are permitted to park in Lots B, C, D, E, F, F Overflow, and G (all the lots down by the Student Union/campus bookstore, in addition to the library parking lot).

Meanwhile, Lots F, Q, R, S, and T can be used by any Prescott campus vehicle owner. 

Currently, Lot G is undergoing expansion so that it’s no longer six solid inches of genuine Prescott mud.

Campus Safety has sent out messages to the student body stating that they may parallel park in the settling dirt in the lot if they’re okay with travelling through mud to get to and from their vehicle.

Soon, the whole lot should be paved and traversable for all students. 

If you have any questions about parking on campus, contact Campus Safety at [prsafety@erau.edu]. 

Diversions

Dueling Pianos Rocks the Hangar 

By: Madison Padilla
Chief Copy Editor 

On a chilly January evening, students of all years gathered outside the doors of the Lower Hangar of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for the eagerly anticipated event that is Dueling Pianos.

As the doors opened at 7:00 p.m., students poured in to receive free food and for those 21 and older a wrist band into the exclusive beer garden.  

Once people settled in, the two pianists introduced themselves to the nearly full house. Shortly after introductions began one of many songs that would fill the night air.

Once warm ups were done, the two performers encouraged students to send in requests via paper notes that Board of Campus Activity (BCA) members would take up to the stage.

Almost immediately, the duo got requests for songs such as the “Spongebob Squarepants” theme and the “Halo” theme, much to the dismay of the performers.  

Despite the goofiness, the classic that really started off the night was “American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

The requests began flowing in as the crowd sang along with fervour.

Other classics that had the audience going included “American Pie,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Fat Bottom Girls,” and “Piano Man.”  

Over the period of the night the genre switched from classic rock, to Disney hits, to hip hop, everything in between.

At a certain point the pianists began to spur a friendly rivalry between the audience in the beer garden and those in the general section.

Challenged to sing the best,each side strutted their stuff with victory going to the 21 and over crowd.  

As the night wound down, students were very pleased with how the event went, even for students who hadn’t been to the event before.

Senior mechanical engineering student, Katie-Beth Higgins, commented that, “They go ham,and they were way more fun than I expected.”  

Another student, Murtuza Lemonwala was ecstatic with the event, “When they were like ‘Rise up!’ we rose up! It was a lot of fun – especially the Journey song!”

Once again, the Dueling Pianos event was a raging success, as students were able to have fun,sing with friends and make new memories.  

 

Diversions

Neuromancer Book Review: Cyberpunk is Born 

By: John Mills
Diversions Editor 

I once discussed the cyberpunk genre with a friend here on campus. The conversation turned to various media examples, and he said, “Well, you’ve read ‘Neuromancer’ right?”

I had to admit, that no, I hadn’t, but was familiar with its position as the father of essentially the whole genre.

I further commented that I had seen a few very well worn paperback copies in second-hand book stores in the past.

“That’s the way they should be,” he replied, adding that, “if a copy isn’t old and worn, is it really a copy of ‘Neuromancer?’” 

This Christmas I was gifted a copy of “Neuromancer” which I devoured in a couple days. It’s not a long book at only 271 pages, but it doesn’t need to be.

When it was written in 1984 by William Gibson, there was nothing remotely like it available on the market.

It was the first novel to win the Hugo, Nebula, and Phillip K. Dick awards in one year, sort of the sci-fi literature triple crown.

It’s so influential, it can be directly attributed to the existence of the word cyberspace.

It also served as one of the primary sources of inspiration for “The Matrix,” which is high praise for any work of fiction, much less one by a first-time novelist.  

Reviewing this book is not particularly easy, beyond saying “go get yourself a copy.”

The first third of the book is a deliberate mess of unreliable narration, drug induced haze, and random skips into the memory of the protagonist, and then back out to the present.

This is compounded by large amounts of made up words Gibson uses to make the dialogue feel authentic to the futuristic setting.

It does feel authentic, wonderfully so, but it can be maddeningly difficult to keep up in the first ten pages.

The world of “Neuromancer” is one that has left us behind in many ways. No one person has any real value.

When we meet our protagonist, he’s an ex-hacker drug addict who’s been burned out and left behind by the world in his early twenties.

After he gets put back together in the first act, the story really kicks into gear and skips around the world in a way that can only be done on someone else’s money.  

“Neuromancer’s” greatest strength is the believability of its world and completeness. The world is simultaneously alien and a semi-believable future (given that some of its predictions have already been passed up by modern technology).

The earliest shades of vast urban sprawls, rampant poverty and techno-terrorism are visible in the world today.

There’s an uncomfortably recognizable fraction of “Neuromancer” that is present in the world today.

Perhaps the best praise for Neuromancer is that it keeps the reader pondering it for long after its been finished.

It doesn’t let itself slip away to be picked up again at the reader’s convenience, it forcibly grabs your attention and says, “Hey, look at this, this is what you’re thinking about now.”

For this reason, among many, it stands among the few books that will likely stay with me forever, both physically and mentally.  

Diversions

Drink “Review”: Distilling Brandy 

By: Russ Chapman
Correspondent 

The ingredients list for this drink review is less straightforward than most drinks reviewed here.

Rather than simply teaching you how to mix a tasty beverage, these instructions will instead be on how to make brandy from scratch, describing the base of the spirit and the process of distilling.  

First off, let’s talk about what brandy is. Brandy is a distilled spirit (yes, that means alcoholic) made from a wine base, and sometimes flavored with other fruits.

Brandy was first made in the early 15th century to compactly store stronger wine for shipping.

It would then be watered down to somewhat restore its original flavor at its destination.  

It was eventually realized that the distilled beverage itself was quite pleasant, especially after having been aged in wooden barrels during shipping.

The wood imparted a warm smoothness to the spirit, while its fruity base ensured it was sweet and flavorful. 

Now let’s take a step back in the description. Most have probably heard the term “distilling” before, but what does that mean?

First and foremost, I would strongly recommend against trying this process here on campus.

Distilling is heavily regulated for safety as not only is the process possibly dangerous (you are working with compressed chambers and flammable vapors), but if mistakes are made then the product itself may not be safe for consumption.

Overall, this is likely better left to professionals or undertaken with extreme caution and awareness of rules and regulations. 

Distilling is a process that involves boiling fermented, sugary liquid for a period. The alcohol in the mixture boils at a much lower temperature than the water.

So, the mix or “mash,” depending on what is being made, is held at the alcohol’s boiling point. The alcohol vapor rises in the boiling chamber into a series of pipes that will channel the vapor along to a coil.

The coil is bathed in cool water to lower the temperature enough for the alcohol to return to liquid. In doing so, the alcohol comes out both much stronger than the original mixture as well as purer. The vapor retains the flavors of its original mixture into the final product. 

Sometimes a still will have an extra chamber between the main boiler and the condensing coil. This chamber is called a “Doubler” or colloquially a “Thumper.”

The doubler collects the vapor in a mid-temperature chamber that allows it to partially return to liquid.

This is particularly for any excess water which may have boiled off in the initial chamber.

As more mixed vapor is pushed into this small chamber, the pressure will increase, and bubbles of alcohol will rise to the top before being sent to the cooling coil.

These bubbles can move rather violently and cause the chamber to shake or bounce, thumping against its base, hence the given name “Thumper.”

The pictured still assembly features all three of the above-mentioned stages. 

After distillation, the mixture is aged. Depending on what alcohol is being produced or what flavor intensity is desired, the specifics of the aging process may differ.

At its core, the process involves pouring the distilled alcohol into barrels of a variety of woods (or occasionally steel) which are then sealed and left for an extended period, commonly a few months or more in higher quality spirits.  

Diversions

Ballroom Dance 

By Zoë Crain
Corespondent 

On November 4th, 2017 at 6pm, Ballroom Dance Club threw their yearly Winter Formal in the Eagle Gym.

As is tradition, two half hour long dance lessons were taught during the evening, so that even inexperienced dancers could participate and dance the night away.  

Dances are structured so that during lessons, the “leads” line up on one side of the gym while the “follows” line up across from them.

Everyone takes hold of the partner across from them, and then the “follows” rotate through every couple of minutes.

This way, all dance attendees can dance with multiple partners, therefore becoming better and more dynamic dancers.  

This formal, the dance that could be learned was Cha-Cha. The dance was taught by Dawn Wilson, who also comes to campus each week on Tuesday evenings to teach the club’s weekly lesson.  

Dawn started off with a basic step, set to the counts “one, two, cha cha cha. One, two, cha cha cha.” After the attendees of the dance mastered this step, Dawn moved on to teaching more advanced moves, using more experienced attending students as demonstration partners.

Even with this added visual aid, some of the students were visibly confused as the moves got harder and harder; there were multiple times where mutters of, “Okay I’m just going to warn you: I have no idea what I’m doing” could be heard when leads took hold of their new partners.  

Normally, the music choices at these dances are songs that came out pre-1970.

This dance, however, the music was from a wide variety of genres and eras. Songs included “Sway” by Michael Buble, “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra, and “Try Everything” by Shakira.

And yet, all songs played could be danced to extremely easily. For example, attendees sambaed to ”Sway,” foxtrotted to “Come Fly With Me,” and hustled to “Try Everything.”  

When asked why he enjoys attending dances, Alan Davis said, “these dances are a nice break from school, and a good way to spend time with people you wouldn’t necessarily see outside of dance.”  

It was certainly the case that the group of attending students hailed from all corners of the Prescott campus. And yet they all gathered in the Eagle Gym that evening for one reason and one reason only: to dance. 

Diversions