VTuber Kaia to Debut on January 15th

Today the VTuber Kaia posted a video announcing her streaming debut. The stream is scheduled for January 15th on Kaia’s Twitch channel.

The VTuber Kaia is a demonic goddess of destruction that has come to out realm to capture the hearts of the mortal world and fulfill her dreams of becoming an idol. She has over 36 thousand followers on TikTok, and her growing YouTube Channel has over 5,600 subscribers.

The announcement video gives a sneak peek at the new channel emotes, and reveals that new videos are in the works for Kaia’s YouTube channel inducing the VTubers first ever music video.

You can follow VTuber Kaia oh her various social media channels:

Pokimane Banned from Twitch

The Twitch.tv streamer Pokimane has been banned from the platform for streaming copyrighted material.

Over the past few weeks the latest “Twitch Meta” as been creators straight streaming full episodes of series to their audience. Larger streamers like Pokimane, and xQc have spearheaded this trend streaming full episodes of Gorden Ramsey’s shows Kitchen Nightmares, and Hell’s Kitchen. Last year Twitch Introduced Watch Parties where streamers can stream approved Amazon prime programs to viewers that have Amazon Prime subscriptions. Viewers without Amazon Prime subscriptions cannot see the copyrighted content. Large streamers started taking this outside of the watch party system and streaming all kinds of copyrighted content directly.

The trend has started to go beyond these reality TV shows with streamers broadcasting episodes of various other shows. This is a violation of Twitch’s terms of service which state that (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) DMCA violations are against the terms of service, and the copyright content will be removed and the perpetrators punished.

Pokimane’s stream tonight was showing full episodes of the Nickelodeon cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender which is available on Amazon Prime, Netflix and Paramount+ streaming services. Since the show is available on Amazon Prime, Pokimane could have streamed the content via Twitch watch party and not been in violation.

Pokimane’s ban will last for 48 hours and the streamer is vowing to have a 12-hour comeback stream when the ban is lifted.

Zeri, the Newest League of Legends Champion Leaked

Today Riot Games leaked the newest champion coming to League of Legends via posting the champion biography on the League of Legends Website. The bio was quickly pulled from the site but not before the internet got the scoop on the new champion.

The Champion is names Zeri, and she is an AD Carry that uses electricity-based magic in her attacks. Many fans have noted that the biography for the character appears generic and fairly shallow when compared to other champions. Some have speculated that the bio was a first draft and that the when the finalized bio is published the ideas for the character will be more fleshed out and have the spark of originality that is characteristic of League champions.

Zeri’s Bio reads:

“A headstrong, spirited young woman from Zaun’s working-class, Zeri channels her electric magic to charge herself and her custom-crafted gun. Her volatile power mirrors her emotions, its sparks reflecting her lightning-fast approach to life. Deeply compassionate toward others, Zeri carries the love of her family and her home into every fight. Though her eagerness to help can sometimes backfire, Zeri believes one truth to be certain: stand up for your community, and it will stand up with you.”

“Raised in a large working-class family, Zeri grew up surrounded by warmth, care, and many strong opinions. They were no strangers to hardship, having lost loved ones to Zaun’s dangers. Even so, their community was their strength. 

From birth, Zeri had a unique relationship with electricity. Each giggle caught a spark—each cry, a shock. Magic wasn’t rare in Zaun, but Zeri’s electric charm was. It charged with her emotions, sometimes grounded, sometimes building to fierce and fiery. By her teenage years, her neighbors knew she was more likely the cause of power outages than a broken circuit. Life in Zaun was beautiful chaos, her grandma would say, and Zeri embodied that all too well. 

Not everyone found her quirks endearing. To family and friends, Zeri was a lovable mess. To others, she was simply… a mess. During occasional outbursts where her stray currents shattered a street lamp or two (or twelve), Zeri thought she’d even see flashes of something—or someone—but there was no time to dwell. She wished she had better control of her volatile powers. Her determination was there, but her patience could have used some work. 

Still, with every spark came an opportunity. 

One night while Zeri strolled through the Entresol markets, the ground rattled from underground excavations that soon swelled into a destructive quake. She wasted no time zooming past fallen buildings to rescue trapped victims. As her world slowly crumbled, Zeri became a furious blur. She knew the chem-barons had mining facilities nearby that were installed after they’d claimed to have discovered resources better than hextech, but what they did not reveal were the risks of their uncontrolled digging. 

The faster Zeri moved, the more charged she became. She thrived under pressure, realizing what her powers could do and how much her neighborhood meant to her—even if it meant nothing to the barons. 

After the dust settled, survivors gathered to thank Zeri. Beneath her relief was anger. Zeri knew she could’ve saved more if she had better command of herself. 

What Zeri did accomplish was sure to catch the attention of the barons. She knew they wouldn’t think twice about who they went through to get to her, and she couldn’t risk others getting hurt. Not again. To guard them from herself, Zeri scoured the mining disaster’s wreckage and constructed a jacket to contain her electricity and avert the barons’ gaze. Now she could restrain her gift to protect those in need. 

Walking the damaged streets, Zeri saw broken faces. Families scrambled to rebuild, and Zeri lent her hand, doing all she could without her powers. But the more she helped, the more she witnessed. Workers struggled to jumpstart generators. Parents toiled to make meals with broken stovetops. These people didn’t have anyone standing up for them, let alone someone with a gift like hers. She knew her district—and those like it—would never truly be safe if things stayed the way they were. The barons saw them as nothing more than objects to be neglected and resources to be bled. 

Zeri knew what had to be done. She couldn’t wait for the next mining “accident.” She had to take the fight to the barons. 

Zeri was a one-woman force, sending shockwaves through Zaun. Word spread of chem-baron supply lines being destroyed, with reports of “lightning” striking faster than the eye could see. Enraged at their losses, the local barons formed a rare alliance, and their combined power trounced Zeri wherever she went. She tried to adapt—to strike faster—but against the barons’ endless resources, it wasn’t enough. 

She retreated with her body broken and her powers fizzling. The barons were united. She was alone. 

As she headed home, Zeri expected disappointment from those she let down. But what welcomed her was family, friends, and people she’d never met, all standing up to fight their oppressors. From their rebuilt homes came rediscovered courage. Zeri had never felt so inspired, yet it was she who had inspired them. She was the spark that ignited their fire. 

And she was no longer alone. With the help of their neighbors, Zeri’s mother had fashioned her a rifle made of materials given by those Zeri fought for: The people of the Entresol. The gun’s ammo was Zeri’s emotions, its conductive barrel amplifying her powers directly from her hands. Paired with her jacket, she could better control her voltage, charging up to shoot precise—or, at least, somewhat precise—electric bursts. Zeri gazed warmly at her family and her neighbors. She thought she’d lose them all in her efforts to fight back, but because she stood up for them, they stood up with her. 

Backed by her community, Zeri fights for those who cannot. Zaun is not perfect, and neither is Zeri, but sometimes a spark is all it takes to change the world.”

Zeri will be coming to the Player Beta Environment (PBE) servers for League of Legends in the 12.2 Cycle.

New Pokémon Legends Arceus Trailer Reveals Diamond Clan and Pearl Clan

Today The Pokemon Company and Nintendo released a new trailer for Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

The trailer reveals the two clans of the Hisui Region, the Diamond Clan and the Pearl Clan. The Diamond Clan is focused on the present and cherishing time spent with friends, the Pearl Clan is is devoted to protecting and valuing the vast spacious lands of the Husui region. This time vs space perspective causing the clans to disagree, however both teams are dedicated to protecting the Hisui Region and all of the people and Pokémon that live within it.

The clan members wear uniforms that resemble their perspective Pokémon, with the Diamond Clan uniform resembling Dialga and the Pearl Clan’s uniform resembling Palkia. The clans worship these Pokémon as deities and have members that worship and protect the Nobel Pokémon’s territories as wardens.

Adaman is the leader of the Diamond Clan. He is a daring young man that doesn’t like to waste time dawdling on the details, and will face on problems headfirst. His partner Pokémon is Leafeon.

Irida is the leader of the Pearl Clan. She is slow to trust new people, and dedicated to having the courage to face the vast Hisui Region. Her partner Pokémon is Glaceon.

Another group introduced is the Ginkgo Guild. This group of traveling merchants are not native to the Hisui region, they travel all round the region selling their wares.

Ginter and Volo are two members of the guild that the player will encounter on their adventure.

The announcement also including information that players with Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl save files on their system will gain the ability to encounter and capture Darkrai in game. They will also get a clothing set for you character based on the modern Team Galactic uniform that Cyrus wears.

Pokémon Legends Arceus will release on January 28th on Nintendo Switch.

Streamer Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker Banned from Twitch Over Use of Racial Slur

On Monday the Twitch Streamer Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker was banned from Twitch due to use use of racial slurs during his stream.

Piker’s account “HasanAbi”, which has over 1.6 million followers, was banned by Twitch staff following a stream where he used the racial slur “cr*cker”. Piker was complaining after hearing that two of his moderates had had their accounts banned for using the pejorative themselves.

In response to the ban Piker made a YouTube video ranting about Twitch’s anti-racism policy. The streamer made the implication that the policy applying to all races is ridiculous and that the streaming platform would “get clowned on” if they ever openly stated that the policy applies to all races and ethnic groups.

Piker’s assessment appears to be in error as Twitch’s Hateful Conduct Policy states:

Hateful Conduct 

Twitch aims to be a place where everyone can come together in shared, community experiences. This vision is threatened when people experience harmful rhetoric and abuse on Twitch. Twitch does not permit behavior that is motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance, including behavior that promotes or encourages discrimination, denigration, harassment, or violence based on the following protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, color, caste, national origin, immigration status, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, serious medical condition, and veteran status. We also provide certain protections for age (details on which bullets apply called out below). 

We define ‘protected groups’ as a subset of the population with a shared protected characteristic. Every Twitch user falls into multiple of these protected groups. Twitch affords every user globally equal protections under this policy, regardless of their particular characteristics, and we don’t make exceptions to these standards based on protected characteristics.

The policy, which has been in place since the start of 2021, does state that Twitch does not tolerate conduct that is motivated by or promotes hatred, discrimination and intolerance against any group based on characteristics that include race and ethnicity. Piker’s use of the slur is a clear violation of the hateful conduct policy. Piker’s ignorance of what the policy states suggests that the streamer and Twitch Partner may not have read the hateful conduct policy. Overwatch Streamer xQc stood up to call out use of racial slurs against calling it “trashy and unneeded” to insult anyone based on their skin color.

This is not Hasan’s first time violating Twitch’s policies regarding hateful conduct, according to StreamerBans, including this latest ban, his account has been banned on three occasions. In August of 2019 Piker received a 7-day ban and got severe public backlash after comments he made on stream stating that America deserved the 9/11 terror attacks. Piker sated during the stream “This is so insane. America deserved 9/11, dude. Fuck it, I’m saying it,” In that same stream he also made comments disparaging a sitting congressperson that is a veteran, in the comments he made light of the representative losing their eye while serving in Iraq to an IED. Piker said “What the f*** is wrong with this dude? Didn’t he go to war and like literally lose his eye because some mujahideen — a brave f****** soldier — f***** his eye hole with their d***?” Piker never made an apology for his comments only stating that the comments were “inappropriate” in an interview on The Young Turks, which is a channel owned by Hasan’s Uncle, Cenk Uygur. The half-hearted attempt at reforming his comments didn’t go over well leading to Piker bemoaning the consequences as having been “cancelled”. This pattern appears to be repeating as Piker is once again seeking fault with Twitch’s Hateful Conduct policy, rather than taking introspection on his own behavior and using this moment to become a better person.

Piker’s suspension is most likely a 7-day ban, Twitch’s favoritism towards large streamers often means that large channels being able to get away with serial violations without fear of permanent suspension or demonetization. Noting that,as with his previous violations, Hasan appears unapologetic so, sadly, this will not be the last time the streamer promotes and uses hateful conduct in his streams.

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax coming to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in 2022

During the Video Game Awards SEGA and Atlus announced that Persona 4 Arena Ultimax will be coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC, in 2022. The game is a 2D fighting game co-developed by Arc System Works and Atlus that originally released in 2013 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and in arcades. It is the sequel to the Persona 4 Arena which was a fighting game spin off to Persona 4.

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax will release on March 17th 2022 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC.

New Trailer for Sonic Frontiers Shown at VGAs

During this year’s Video Game Awards SEGA released a new trailer for the upcoming Sonic Frontiers. The game is the newest Sonic the Hedgehog main game from Sonic Team.

The trailer shows Sonic in a wide open world filled with various environments, confirming that this latest entry in the series will be an open-world game. A mysterious voice appears to be guiding Sonic indicating that there may be new characters in this adventure.

The trailer ends with Sonic encountering a massive Shadow of the Colossus style boss. At this time it is unknown who this boss is and if all other boss encounters in the game will be a similar style.

Sonic Frontiers is scheduled to release in the holiday of 2022 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series X.

Trailer for Sonic The Hedgehog Movie Sequel Revealed

During the Video Game Awards SEGA revealed the trailer for the highly-anticipated sequel to the Sonic The Hedgehog motion picture. The trailer debuts Knuckle’s design for the film, and a first look at the Idris Elba voiced character in action. Jim Carrey returns in the role of Dr. Robotnik and Colleen O’Shaughnessey, who has voice Tails since 2014, will be voicing the character in the film.

The plot of the mover appears to involve Dr. Robotnik discovering and sealing the master emerald, a powerful artifact that Knuckles is charged with protecting, and tricking Knuckles into believing that Sonic is responsible for the stealing the emerald.

The movie is set to release on April 8, 2022 in theaters.

Riot Games Merch Store Reveals Jinx Nendroid

Preorders are open now for the Nendroid of the League of Legends champion Jinx. The figure will be articulated and comes with 3 face plates, and accessories of Jinx’s iconic weapons Fishbones and Pow-Pow. The figure will also come with an explosion effect from Jinx’s Mega Death Rocket attack.

The figure will release on January 31st of 2022

Review: Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Versions are the long-awaited remakes of the 2006 Nintendo DS classics Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. These games hold the unique distinction of being the first main series Pokémon games to be made by a developer other than Game Freak with ILCA taking the wheel. These games stand as a faithful remake of Diamond and Pearl with some quality of life updates and modernization along with a few new features. This look at the games will help to paint a picture of just where these games fall in the storied franchise.

Story and Plot

The story from Diamond and Pearl is retold in its entity. This continues the now series staple of larger-than-life story lines that started in Ruby and Sapphire. In this story the player starts as a kid in Twinleaf Town who together with their friend and rival aspire to become Pokémon trainers. The pair decide to visit their local lake which is rumored to home a mysterious Pokémon and from there they end up encountering their starter Pokémon and embarking on a grand adventure.

The story is the standard Pokémon quest with the journey to defeat the 8 Gym Leaders and challenge the Pokémon League and become champion. Team Galactic will will encounter the player at several points throughout the adventure, this evil team is set on using the power of the legendary Pokémon to recreate the world. Since this is a remake those that have played the original will know all the story beats in and out, but it is a good story filled with fun and memorable characters so it is worth revisiting.

Game Play

The game play is a return to classic form with the battles being random encounters. Battles are streamlined and the game is much faster than the originals which were infamous for the slow game play. The battles are modernized and have all of the updates expected of modern Pokémon games, there is no Dynamaxing so the game is a marked return to a time before the super modes of Mega Evolution, Z-Moves and Dynamaxing. Those that miss the classic game play will be right at home with this experience. Quality of life improvements have been added to the game such as HM moves becoming a Pokétch app so it is no longer required to have a Pokémon that has learned the move in your party. The character moves freely and isn’t locked into grid-based movement. This being a remake of a classic Pokémon game the difficulty curve is greater than in modern games and unprepared players can find themselves getting wiped by boss characters like the Gym leaders early on. The experience share is permanent and always on which mitigates this difficulty curve a bit. This is an issue for the players that enjoy the challenge and it is a lingering question why this feature can’t be toggled on and off rather than being always on.

The Underground has been revamped into the Grand Underground which has enclaves called Pokémon Hideaways where players can encounter different Pokémon that wander around the over-world map, like they do in Sword and Shield, including many that are not in the Sinnoh Dex. This opens up a variety of Pokémon to players and helps to mitigate some of the issues like there being so few Fire-type Pokémon options available to catch during the story mode. The digging minigame is a perfect recreation of the original, and now players can find Pokémon statues that they can place in their secret base to influence the spawn rates of Pokémon. Secret bases have been entirely revamped and are no longer strictly decorative. Now secret bases impact the game via the Pokémon statues that players place inside their secret base. The main story will last about 40-60 hours, and there is near unlimited replay value with competitive breeding and battling, and completing the Pokédex.

The online features are standard. The games are missing the Global Trade Station (GTS) which was one of the major online features in the originals. In the modern series GTS has been removed from the games and is only available in Pokémon Home. It is disappointing to see this feature doesn’t return in the remakes of the games were the GTS originated. The games also have no ranked matches, and because of this aren’t being used as the games for the next season of the Pokémon Video Game Championships (VGC) official competitive format.

The post-game story content is limited but staples like the Battle Tower and Gym Leader rematches are present and provide at least some post-game content. Previous remakes in the series have had sizable post-game content including the acclaimed Delta Episode in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Compared to previous remakes Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are somewhat lacking in post-game story content. Now that the franchise has fully entered the era of DLC there is a possibility that more content could be added via DLC.

Graphics

The art style for the over-world is a chibi style meant to imitate the pixel art of the original game. In battles the art transitions to full-sized models similar to those seen in Sword and Shield. The 3D renders of the characters are perfect reflections of their 2D sprites. The animations for the Pokémon and their attacks are vivid and smooth. The trainer animations during battle are somewhat static however. The backgrounds during the battle scenes are varied and impressive there are no empty void spaces for battles like would happen so often in Sword and Shield. The over-world environments are crisp and accurate recreations that capture the spirit of the originals. The menu sprites for Pokémon and items have been replaced with vector art. The vector art for the Pokémon in menus lacks some of the charm of sprite art, but it is a decent substitute.

Sound

The soundtrack is a faithful recreation of the Diamond and Pearl soundtrack. Memorable songs from one of the most acclaimed soundtracks in the franchise are vibrantly recreated in a way that invokes the nostalgia of these tunes while presenting them in a new way. There is an option that gets unlocked in the game that lets players listen to the original version of the soundtrack so players can switch to the classic soundtrack if they want to experience the full classic soundtrack in action. Because this is a remake there is little room for original compositions so players that have played the originals shouldn’t don’t go into this game expecting to hear music they’ve never heard before. The sound effects are crisp and clear, the Pokémon cries sound as good as ever. Of course Chatot’s ability that let players record a sound for Chatot to cry has been removed It’s a solid and rich sound experience.

Final Verdict

This game is a quality update over the classics with quality of life features and modernization. The decision to go with a faithful remake with minimal changes from the original was a bold decision that pays off in how faithful this remake is in story and plot setting. ILCA does a decent job as the first Non-Game Freak developers to work on a new main series game. The game is somewhat hindered by the lack of ranked matches and loss of features like the GTS, and the game has some bugs and glitches on release that are being patched. Its worth picking up if you are a fan of the franchise, especially if you like the originals, or just enjoy fun JRPGs.