A little over a month ago, a huge bomb went off in the Star Wars community, as merchandise for the newest film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, hit stores a whopping three month in advance, an event lovingly called “Force Friday.” Shelves were flooded with action figures, board games, apparel, and even notebooks, all for a film that hadn’t even been released yet. Stranger still, is that Force Friday was a huge success. Crowds of people showed up, waiting in lines and saving spots, all to buy merchandise for characters, vehicles, and worlds they don’t even know much about. In fact, much of what was released hadn’t even been seen until that day. Being both a fascinated scholar and a huge nerd, I realized I’d have to investigate.
Much like Black Friday, stores opened at midnight with freshly stocked shelves and a hoard of shoppers lined up at the doors. Being located in Carlisle, far from urban shopping epicenters, I believed that going after class during the day would be adequate for both finding people to interview as a scholar and stuff to buy as a fan.…Continue Reading
A few months ago, Nintendo released its latest iteration of its much beloved and anticipated Super Smash Brothers series. In this beat-em-up party game, players take control of the most popular characters from Nintendo’s most popular franchises to fight friends, computers, and even total strangers from around the world via its online mode. With this new version of the game comes a variety of new features, including 8-man multiplayer, character creation and customization, new challenge modes, and as always, lots of new stages and fighters. Perhaps one of the most interesting new features, however, is completely external to the game itself: small figurines called Amiibos.
Similar to Skylanders and Disney Infinity figures, Amiibos are toys containing computer chips that allow them to interact with designated video games. However, unlike these examples, which are figures containing a playable character that saves certain stats and items, Amiibos instead contain an AI capable of learning and leveling up through training, essentially becoming a digital pet that plays Smash.…Continue Reading