I’m writing this for my parent’s sake, because it’s hard to talk about these things face to face sometimes. It’s hard to keep the raw emotions out of your voice. And when I’ve attempted to do so, I can’t contain my own rage well enough to not have it turn into a fight with my dad.

So I’ll do the thing I’m known for. I’ll write it out.

I’m writing this because these protests — sparked by George Floyd’s death, but fueled by over four centuries of white supremacist oppression — don’t look like they’re going to end any time…

This is as much me making a personal checklist as it is a general guide. Since I first attended a protest two years ago, supporting defiance of the travel ban orders and the unlawful arrest of traveling Muslims, the methods and techniques of civil disobedience actually has shifted a bit.

Most of it is extremely basic. Protective wear, water, things to keep you energized no matter how long it goes. Others are the ingenuity of our peers in the fight against authoritarian bastards from around the world, particularly from my ethnic cousins from Hong Kong (五大訴求 缺一不可).

Core Material

High-ankled footwear. Prevents…

Spoilers for Makoto Shinkai’s “Weathering With You” below this line.

Image via GKIDS

Director Makoto Shinkai must surely be feeling his oats right now. This is two films in a row where you leave the theater feeling something other than the weighty melancholy and loss that defined his repertoire up til “Your Name (Kimi no Na Wa),” and the critical thematic shift raises all sorts of speculations about his own worldview in the intervening time. Whether it be his marriage or simply that he’s found more and more success in the footsteps of every gorgeously animated film under his name — the byproduct…

If your task were to itemize and list each and every aspect of the Star Wars universe that was of Asiatic influence — its themes, its aesthetics, its language, its characters — you would find yourself busy for the better part of a lifetime. That, in itself, is no surprise, and no demerit. Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress was an admitted inspiration and predecessor for much of the original films, and even as the backbone of The Phantom Menace plot. …

I play a lot of gacha games. I also STOP playing a lot of gacha games. VERY rarely, I even sometimes spend money on them. As such, my perspective is mostly F2P — my complaints and ability to stick with a game will largely reflect this.

Here’s how I feel about my playlist, at the end of 2019, in no particular order.

  1. Dengeki Bunko: Crossing Void

Christ, this was a waste of time. Anime fans’ll recognize the properties at a glance. Nominally, this is linked to the Dengeki Bunko fighting games series as well — they’re also kinda bad. But…

A couple anecdotes from my faltering career to date. One on an esports organization’s current rebranding attempt, and another that I’d witnessed personally.

The act of “rebranding” is supposed to be similar to the act of stoking embers. After an organization or team’s been around long enough, they need to do something to shake off the ashes and glow a bit brighter. Or to switch metaphors, to remind people that they aren’t, in fact, part of the background or furniture.

In short, a cry for attention. Whether that cry is interpreted as an act of renewal or desperation depends on…

I’ve survived the closure of more esports news sites than I care to contemplate, and am about to survive yet another, so this is me sitting at the ass-end of yet another industry blow-out, trying desperately to think of a better way to do this thing.

I’m far from the only one contemplating what the hell to do now, of course, and am far from the best-equipped to answer. …

Between his investigative journalism, editorial work, scriptwriting, and even augmented reality game design, this freelancer is a heavily field-tested asset — and available.

I’m the James Chen on the left.
I’m the James Chen on the left.
I’m the James Chen on the left. No, your left. Yes — no, not the FGC one.

If you’ve worked in esports in the last seven years, or read anything in relation to its various games and organizations, you’re probably familiar with my work. …

Alright, so, one: I friggin love the Persona series, warts and all. And yes, it has a lot of warts, often challenging my love for it, and that of others. Anybody familiar with director Katsura Hashino’s body of work will undoubtedly find their love for his games tempered heavily by his uneven treatment of the often difficult and psychologically-themed materials his repertoire is famous for.

Despite the often compassionate focus on relational tensions and spiritual growth and acceptance, Hashino has blatant blind spots. His attitudes towards gender and LGBT issues often leans conservative in the Japanese sense — most recently…


If you’re a Granblue Fantasy veteran, get outta here. You know what to do. While the games are extremely different in some senses — with GBF being more of a traditional turn-based JRPG and Dragalia Lost more like a button-mashing action-RPG — the progression systems and roster-building mechanics between the two are effectively identical. Meaning you don’t need this guide, and you’re probably ahead of me in grinding out dem gold medals against that damn unpronounceable Akantor lookalike in the first raid, damn you whales.

For the rest of you, here’s some basic tips and tricks to make your experience…

James Chen


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