Zeke Counts Down The Pokemon Generations

Zeke Counts Down The Pokemon Generations

With the news of the latest generation of Pokemon games being set to release this year, Pokemon X & Y, this would be a great time to look back at the last 5 generations and rank them from my least favorite to most favorite. This is clearly a very opinionated and controversial topic, so I encourage a discussion of why you agree with me in your favorites, or why you are totally wrong in disagreeing when I snub your favorite!

A few caveats before I begin: I’m going to consider all 3 games of a generation as one unit: if there were issues in the first two games that was “solved” in a subsequent “third game” release, I’ll look past them (though I’ll try to still reference it). I’ll also look at remakes as part of their original generation, so FireRed and LeafGreen will be part of Gen 1, while HeartGold and SoulSilver will be lumped in with Gen 2, as opposed to 3 and 4, respectively.

With that out of the way, let’s begin!

Number 5: Generation 5 (Black, White, Black 2, White 2).
There were a great many things that were unique and fresh about Generation 5: triple battles, unique cities/zones in each game, the first ever “sequal game” to take place in the same region. When Black and White was first announced, I was very much encouraged by these prospects…but once I got the game I quickly began disfranchised by the whole experience. I don’t know if it was the fact that there were no old pokemon, forcing me to memorize a ton of different new pokemon, and I don’t have hours upon hours of school to waste looking up pokemon anymore. Perhaps it was the story just feeling less intense, with the PETA-esque bad guys being incredibly nonthreatening. I did like the designs of some of the pokemon…but I’m sorry, as plain as Voltorb and Muk were….garbage and ice cream? I’ve heard that Black 2 and White 2 are much better than the original Gen 5 games, and with the announcement of X & Y I’m tempted to go out and pick one up to give it another shot, but as far as Black and White go, I just didn’t like it.
Number 4: Generation 3 (Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald).
With Generation 2 having taken so long to come out after the originals, and Generation 3 even longer, I never got around to picking them up. Part of me wonders if I would have a fonder memory of this generation if I had played it back when it was first released. But I actually went back to these games after getting re-hooked onto the series with Diamond and Pearl. There was a lot of good in the game, but to me the one thing that ruined it for me was the pacing. It always felt like it was taking forever for the next part to arrive. The gyms were cool, the pokemon were sweet. I really liked Ruby and Sapphire (or May and Brendon, depending on how you refer to them). The story WAS really cool, but again, it just felt like it took sooooooo long to get from one point to another. I spent most of the time feeling bored, and that just took me out of the game.
Number 3: Generation 4 (Diamond, Pearl, Platinum).
Generation 4 was the game that brought me back into Pokemon. I was part of the generation that said it was cool to like Pokemon in college, and I dove in full force. This is also one of the only generations where I’ve been able to own one of every release. I originally bought Diamond, and while I still have the case for it, the game cartridge itself went missing. Since a couple friends of mine had bought Diamond as well, I went with Pearl for round 2. And then I was quick to snatch up Platinum when it was released, which in my opinion is one of the best games in the whole series. There was a great mix of new and old Pokemon, a compelling story, and a great atmosphere. If not for the nostalgia factor helping out my #2 and #1 picks, this would probably rank higher.
Number 2: Generation 1 (Green, Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, LeafGreen).

Ah, the generation that started it all. This generation is the simplest, as it was the first, but it also has a charm in it’s simplicity. I know a lot of people look back at some of it’s battle mechanics as broken or unfair, but to me, with how casually me and my friends battled, it felt right to us. Most of my favorite Pokemon come from this generation, and I still have my Red and Blue cartridges at easy access for a bout of nostalgia. Yellow was an awesome variation too, with the ability to start off with Pikachu, and gain every starter (something no other generation has repeated, for whatever reason), but sadly I never owned it myself, but I often played it with friends. Generation 1 will go down in history as the games that started the craze, and the nostalgia will help maintain it’s greatness.

FireRed and LeafGreen were an answer to the inability for Generation 1 and 2 games to be traded to the GBA games. They are polished, improved versions of the original games, and they are just as fun as the firsts. I loved the extra areas they added onto the game, with the 1, 2, and 3 islands giving access to pokemon never available in Generations 1, as well as giving some fresh content to a game that was eight years old. As great as the games art, the classic nostalgia of the original Red and Blue make the a little bit better, but that doesn’t take away from how excellent these two remakes are.

Number 1: Generation 2 (Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold, SoulSilver).

Released two years after the originals, Gold and Silver were sequels to the original Red and Blue. Unlike subsequent games in the series, Generation 2 were direct followups to the prior games, with connected story lines, and the yet-to-be-duplicated ability to travel to the prior region in addition to it’s home region. With 100 new Pokemon, a handful of new Legendaries, and a gripping story line, Pokemon Gold and Silver took everything Red and Blue did and improved upon it. The characters just seemed a bit “cooler” too. Crystal added the additional Color functionality of the new Gameboy Color, as well as added the first ever Female playable character. The increased interaction with the Unown gave a new angle to explore, and made the games even more of a “Gotta Catch Um All!” situation.

HeartGold and SoulSilver were hot on the players minds ever since FireRed and LeafGreen. I previously said that the nostalgia level of Red and Blue made them seem more fun, or at least “better” than their remakes, but HeartGold and SoulSilver are without a doubt my favorite games of the entire series. They took all the greatness of the originals, and added some awesome new features. The story line was just as compelling, the characters were improved, and the Pokemon, Gyms, and Elite Four were all given added toughness and repeat challenges, which just made you want to play more and more. Generation 2 includes my favorite games of the series, but even without that, is by far my favorite generation!

Well, that’s it! The Pokemon generations ranked from least favorite to most favorite! Do you agree or disagree? Tell me why! And tune in for more blogs, videos, and shows from aniRAGE!

Zeke’s Year in Review – Wrestling (Indy Edition)

Zeke’s Year in Review – Wrestling (Indy Edition)

In 2011, if you had asked me what “Indy Wrestling” was, I wouldn’t really know what to tell you. I honestly had no interest in it…not even TNA! Ok, TNA can be argued one way or another, but the way they handled the Bobby Roode (Rooooooooooo) situation at Bound for Glory made me just stop even trying on Thursday nights. But that’s besides the point. I was mostly unaware of the entire Indy scene until my good friend, and tag team partner, Jacob (go #SlightlyBlack) introduced me to Evolve and Dragon Gate USA. I was floored by the level of craftsmanship these guys brought to the ring. It was an easy jump in to also pick up Chikara, ROH, and PWG when I could. I didn’t watch as much as I wanted to, but I’m happy to report that I saw just about every Evolve and DGUSA event that went on this year, including getting to see Evolve life when it came here to Jacksonville. So with that being said, let’s move out to the Indy Edition of my Year In Review.

2012 Wrestler of the Year – El Generico.

Jacob is not a very loud, rambunctious man when we sit down to watch wrestling. He typically picks his seat on the couch, leans back it a Cold One, and enjoys. So when El Generico’s theme sit during the Dragon Gate USA “Chuck Taylor Invitational” I knew I’d have to pay attention. Jacob lost his mind. And by lost his mind, he calmly stated “Guys…I’m marking out right now.” His performance in the match was awesome, and he went on to have an amazing series of matches in Evolve/DGUSA alone with Samuray Del Sol (one of my favorite “rookies”), CIMA, Ricochet, Sammi Callihan, and more. I dove into his past work, as well as his work with other companies, and I was floored not only with his in-ring ability, but the sheer over the top nature of his gimmick, that of the “generic luchardor” (when he’s really just a white guy from Canada). His promos were witty, his tweets were hilarious, and the love that he has for the business and his fans is nearly unmatched. El Generico is my Indy Wrestler of the Year…and he more than deserves it.

2012 Tag Team of the Year – The Super Smash Bros

When I first laid eyes upon this tag team, I honestly didn’t expect much. I mean, they were named after a video game, how good could they be? Their first match was decent, but the more I saw of these guys, the more I wanted. They have a great “big power man, smaller agile man” tandem, and their chemistry is incredibly tight. Each match brought out something new and exciting. I found myself cheering for them to when, even when they were against a team of guys that, individually, I liked more. They are currently the PWG tag team champions, and I have a feeling they will be seeing more and more titles before their careers are done. The Super Smash Bros are definitely smashing.

2012 Pay-Per-View/Event of the Year – Chikara King of Trios

Every year, Chikara puts on a multi-team tournament consisting of, what else, trios. Some are well established factions and stables, who are together every year in and year out, like F.I.S.T. (First In Similar Tights), The Colony, and The Spectral Envoy. Others are blasts from the past like Team WWF (The 123 Kid, Aldo Montoya, and Tatanka) or Team Extreme (Tommy Dreamer, Jerry Lynn, and 2 Cold Scorpio). And then you have a team up of solid competitors, like Jigsaw, Quackenbush, and Toyota. These 16 teams compete over 3 days to be crowned the King of Trios! It’s an exciting tournament full of great tag team, singles, elimination, and of course, 3 on 3 matches. Prior winners include The Colony, F.I.S.T., and this years winner: The Spectral Envoy! It was a great event with some fun, exciting matches, for an all around grand time.

2012 Match of the Year – Johnny Gargano vs AR Fox vs Ricochet vs Akira Tozawa (DGUSA)

For over a year now, Johnny Gargano has defend the Open the Freedom Gate Championship in Dragon Gate USA. He’s taken on all comers, against the likes of Masato Yoshino, Chuck Taylor, and the three guys mentioned above. So for their final show of the year, they had a four-way elimination match, pitting the champion Gargano against the three men who the fans had voted his best opponents had been in 2012. And this match delivered! There was some amazing spots, some great counters, and in the end, Gargano managed to overcome an injury that almost took him out of the match at the hands of rival Jon Davis to retain his belt. If you want a match that shows you what the young, fresh competitors of the Indy circuit, as well as some of the best talent Japan has to offer, then this match is a great place to start.

2012 Story of the Year – Kevin Steen vs ROH.

Kevin Steen, sometimes known as Mr. Wrestling, lately has been referred to as Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare. When he rejoined ROH after his defeat against long time rival, and former tag team championship winning partner, El Generico, many thought that Steen had seen the light, and was ready to make amends for his former ways. That feeling didn’t stick around for long, as Steen began to run rampant over the entire ROH locker room, defeating anyone and everyone in his path. He eventually found his way to a match with Davey Richards, and walked away with the ROH World Championship. Since then, not a single person has been able to stop him, as he’s defeated every person thrown in his path. Even Jim Cornette, who at the time was in charge of ROH, wasn’t able to escape being his victim. At the final show of the year, Final Battle 2012: Doomsday, one man had stepped up to end his reign of terror. That man was El Generico. But at the end of the day, despite coming up the victor in the past, Steen was able to silence his eternal rival, and goes into 2013 with the belt firmly around his waist. Is there anybody out there who can stop Steen? From the looks of it, we ain’t seen nothing yet.
And that’s it for my 2012 Year In Review! Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know why! 2012 was a great year for aniRAGE, and we look forward to making 2013 even better! So stay tuned for more right here at anirage.com!

Zeke’s Year In Review – Wrestling (WWE Edition)

Zeke’s Year in Review – Wrestling (WWE Edition)

Ah wrestling. The red-blooded-american-male soap opera. The fake predetermined sport(s entertainment) program where the scripts made up by the points still don’t matter. I don’t care what anybody says, I love me some wrasslin. And 2012 was a good year, all things consider. So here it is, my best-of series for the year of 2012!

2012 Wrestler of the Year – Daniel Brayn.

Question. Did Daniel Bryan have a break-out year in 2012? Yes. Did Daniel Bryan have a solid run as World Heavyweight Champion in 2012? Yes! Yes! Yes! Did Daniel Bryan and Sheamus have an amazing match at Wrestlemania that proved all the pundits wrong, launching his career to new heights? NO! NO! NO! And yet, despite his 18 second match at the biggest show of the year, Daniel Bryan become a world-wide sensation on the back of one little word: Yes! I don’t think the WWE knew what monster they were unleashing when they made that call, but it likely was the greatest thing that could have happened to D-Bri’s career. He went on to have a series of amazing matches with CM Punk, and helped create arguable the best tag team the WWE has seen in a very long time. Daniel Bryan without a doubt proved everyone who thought he wouldn’t be a main eventer wrong. And he’s extremely worthy of being the 2012 Wrestler of the Year.

2012 Tag Team of the Year – Team Hell No

From the minute they started the Anger Management skits on RAW, I knew these two were going to be a great tag team. I was pushing for Team Anger Management, or Team Friendship, but Team Hell No has worked out well, and I wouldn’t have expected them to be so over after those six months. But let’s be honest, would Team Hell No: Friendship is Magic not be a great name for a saturday morning cartoon show? These two have breathed life into the tag team division, and made me actually care about those stupid giant penny belts. The classic “I AM THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!” is often quoted within my circle, and often shouted via Facebook at my tag team partner Jacob (one half of the greatest tag team alive: #SlightlyBlack). Their excellent mix of humor and in-ring ability have crafted a dynamic not seen since The Rock & Sock connection, and as great as these two are in singles competition, I find myself wishing that their run as the champs never ends. And that more means they are the 2012 Tag Team of the Year.

2012 Pay-Per-View of the Year – Money in the Bank

My god did this PPV have it all. Let’s look at the card, shall we? CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan, arguably the two finest in-ring workers in the company, in a no-dq match with the lovely AJ thrown in. Primo & Epico vs the Prime Time Players, two great, young tag teams with tons of promise. Sheamus vs Alberto Del Rio, before the feud got old and stale. Ryback vs Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks, The Ryback’s first handicap squash against 2 actual-named talents. And then you had the 2 Money in the Bank matches. The Raw was a whose-who of top-name talents: John Cena, Kane, Jericho, Big Show, and The Miz. And even more exciting was the list of up-and-comers that were featured prominently in the Smackdown match: Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow, Tyson Kidd, Sin Cara, Cody Rhodes…as well as some great workers like Christian, Santino Marella….and you even had Albert! Money in the Bank provided great matches, saw Dolph Ziggler finally get his ticket to the main event with his MitB win, and we saw Cena go down in history as the first person to cash in his briefcase, and not walk out with the title. All in all, a great ppv.

2012 Match of the Year – The Shield vs Team Hell No & The Ryback (TLC)

Let’s face it, in a year where you had multiple matches from CM Punk/Chris Jericho, CM Punk/Daniel Bryan, CM Punk/Ziggler, Cena/Lesnar, Cena/Rock, Taker/HHH…how the hell was a 6-man match thrown together at the last minute due to Punk’s injury going to top any of those? And then the match happened. You had everything you could ask for in a match, hard-hitting action, impressive double-and-triple-team moves, high-flying ladder escapades. You had some of the best wrestling you could ever find, as well as the solidification and validation of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose as they went over the current tag team champions AND The Ryback. Could you ask for a better debut? This match had it all, and it blew away the competition not only in in-ring ability, but in it’s complete surprise factor. While Taker/HHH had a great story both leading up to, and during, the match, I was on my feet for the entirety of this 6-man, and it not only stole the show, but the entire year.

2012 Underutilized Talent of the Year – Zach Ryder

Oh Radio, can’t get on a 3-hour show. That meme, tweeted by the Long Island Iced Z himself, perfectly describes the year for Zach Ryder. He came into 2012 with all the momentum you could ask for: the internet and fans loved him, and hailed his US title victory at TLC 2011. He was rubbing elbows with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, two of the best workers in the business. He had John Cena behind his back, pushing him onto TV. The future was bright. And then he got pushed off a stage by Kane, and “cheated on” by Eve. His once-bright future was extinguished before it even got a chance to shine, and he’s barely been able to have any TV time since. Thanks to the ruination of any of his stories by Kane, Cena, and the Ho-ski, he wasn’t able to live up to the “standards” that the WWE had set, and he find himself once again buried in obscurity. While his character may need a tune-up (cause let’s face it, it’s getting a bit stale), it’s hard not to love the guy, and respect the attention he’s been able to give himself. Look how many wrestlers have their own “youtube show” nowadays. They can thank the success of the Z! True Long Island Story for that. Here’s hoping that 2013 will hold more success. Do I hope he breaks out? Woo woo woo! You know it.

2012 Story of the Year – The Shield

A running meme on the r/SquaredCircle reddit was the “imminient debut of Dean Ambrose”. Ever since his indy days, people knew that this guy had the potential to be a superstar. He had the in-ring toughness to hang with the big boys, and the mic skills to back it up. But nobody expected his debut to be along side that of fellow indy darling Seth Rollins, better known as Tyler Black. At the time, Rollins was the NXT Champion, the first ever. So their appearance at Survivor Series alongside Roman Reigns (aka Joe Anoa’i, member of the famous Anoa’i wrestling family and brother of Matt Anoa’i aka Rosey) was both unexpected, but exciting. The Shield debuted in a big way, putting down The Ryback, who at the time was riding a huge push as an unstoppable monster. With his only defeat coming shortly after a low-blow from a referee, and the inability for anyone in the locker room to keep him down for long, the fact that these three appeared out of nowhere, and not just once, but twice put Ryback through a table was a huge impact. Their subsequent attacks on Orton, Team Hell No, and more pushed them squarely in the main event, and they, along with The Ryback and Team Hell No, stole the show at TLC, earning themselves my Match of the Year in less than a month from their main-roster debut. The sky is the limit for these three, and they’ve had me anxious to see what is next from them every week.
Well, that’s all for today! What’s that? Why is this called the WWE Edition, you ask? Well, there was so much to talk about this year that I couldn’t fit it all into just one post! Check back tomorrow when I discuss my Year In Review – Wrestling…Indy Edition!

They’re Getting The aniRAGE Bump! – True Geek Radio

This past month at Holiday Matsuri, we had the pleasure of sitting down with True Geek Radio for an interview. These guys are all awesome, and it was great meeting each and every one of them. These guys are Certified aniRAGE Awesome, so definitely add them to podcast repertoire!

And while you’re at it, check out their interview with us, as well as geek-rap sensation Richie Branson, at their website HERE! Our interview starts about about the 1-hour mark, but the whole show is well worth a listen!

Stay tuned for more of my Year In Review tomorrow! And as always, check out our videos and like us on Facebook!


Zeke’s Year In Review – Gaming

Zeke’s Year in Review – Gaming

As any good nerd will tell you, I love playing games. I’ll never claim to be a hardcore gaming, at least not anymore. With so much on my plate day to date, I just don’t have the time to sink 60 hours a week into a video game. My favorite games are those you can kill anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple hours with, and not feel like you “have to wait for that next save point” to go on. So with that in mind, here are my thoughts on the best games of 2012!

2012 Console/PC Game of the Year – Borderlands 2 (PC/360/PS3)

I can’t tell you how much I love this game. The words don’t exist in the English language. From the insane amount of guns availble, to the epic story (complete with heart-wrenching feels), to the great dialog and humor, Borderlands 2 took everything that was great about the first game and cranked it up even higher. This action/rpg first person shooter is a great example of taking some simple ideas and going crazy with them. For those that love non-stop action, there are swarms and swarms of enemies with the sole intent of seeing you explode. For those that love grinding, questing, leveling up, and farming, there’s the badass points, side-quests, exp galore, and raid-bosses. And the great thing is, if you don’t like one aspect of it, you can easily get through the game without it! I’m personally not a fan of farming and grinding, so as long as I stuck to the main storyline (and a few side-missions along the way) I was able to keep up with the rest of the game, especially with a few lucky weapon caches giving me some nice weapons. But every now and then I’ll find a particular boss, or area, that is ripe for looting, and I can’t help but load/unload several times to see what I get. It makes those repetative tasks fun, because you get to blow stuff up! And lest we not forget the amazing storytelling in the game. From the wit and humor to the great characters, this game has just about everything you could want. It actually makes you want to scavage through all the side mentions, just so you don’t miss any hidden nuggets of wit found within an echo log, or a dialog between two characters off in the distance. And not to mention the sweet sweet loot you get! With 2 DLC packs already out, and more along the way, you definitely get your money’s worth. I highly recommend this, and it definitely earns it’s spot as my Game of the Year for 2012.

2012 Mobile Game of the Year – Punch Quest (iOS)

If Dashi did one thing right this year, it was introducing me to this game. (Ok, he did a lot of things right, but you get my point). Punch Quest, or as I lovingly refer to it, Metal Slug With Fists, is a side-rails beat-um-up where you blast through a never-ending level with the sole purpose of punching baddies in the face. Along the way you collect coins, items, and unlock achievements to gain gear and power-ups to allow you to punch more people in the face. It’s as simple as you can get! And best of all, you get to punch people in the face! This game is a great way to kill some time on the toilet, waiting for a meeting, or to help resist the urge to punch a friend in the face. And best of all, it’s free! So if you have an iDevice, make sure you pick up this great game. And fret not, Android guys, it’s supposed to be coming out on the Google Play store soon!

2012 Disappointment of the Year – Diablo 3(PC)

I typically don’t highlight flops in my year-in-review, but I couldn’t let this one go. If you had asked me towards the beginning of the year what game I was most looking forward to, I would have said Diablo 3 without a doubt. Hell, that was my response for the last several years! I’ve been waiting for the third installment of this franchise for a very long time. But sadly, once it game out, I was beyond disappointed. Whether it was the stereotypical Blizzard server outtages, the “real money auction house”, the lack of ability to play offline…I can’t pinpoint just one thing that made it stand out in a bad way, but it did. Perhaps I had set my expectations to high, and I had been waiting for the game for so long, but it definitely left me wanting. And not in a good way. Don’t get me wrong, it was no Duke Nukem Forever…but an amazing sequel to Diablo 2? It was sadly lacking.
That wraps up Gaming! Tomorrow I dive into Wrestling, and highlight some of my favorite wrestlers, matches, and PPVs! See you tomorrow!