Godzilla: The Game We Need

Fresh off the heels of learning Godzilla vs Kong has been moved up to a March release (plus another 0.05 second teaser!), I figured it’s about time we get a next generation game the G-Man deserves. His current library of entries is less than spectacular, to say the least. No worries. Here are 5 ways that will ensure the big lizard gets his fair shake:

1. True Next Gen Experience

No lazy, just cashing in on the license game development. No. 4k visuals. 60fps. Smooth gameplay. Polished controls. Monsters have weight. Proper physics. All the next generation goodies like Ray Tracing and Shaders. Night/Day cycle with weather effects. Spine tingling sound effects mixed with a riveting soundtrack. A control scheme that rocks. A fighting system that never grows old. Like Rampage meets Destroy All Monsters meets Awesome.

2. Maximum Destruction

Everything can be destroyed. Buildings, streets, cars, trains, and everything in between. Explosions, crumbling buildings, windows shattering at the sound of roars, downed power lines, ruptured water pipes flooding the streets, and tsunamis created in the wake of behemoths surfacing from the ocean depths. Advanced AI. Humans scrambling an awesome military to launch counter strikes. Like I said before, Rampage on steroids.

3. The Whole Catalogue

Every variant of Godzilla. Every monster ever introduced. Each with their own unique feel, attacks, and approach to combat. Include a Customize Your Monster mechanic just for kicks, but with all the bells and whistles. I want full-sized monster combat with all the carnage and cheesy goodness.

4. An Entertaining Story

This doesn’t have to be a Tale of Two Cities. Maybe just include levels pulled from 25 of the greatest Godzilla moments ever. Future story DLC can add another 25 moments. Give me enough single player content to be entertained and a deep enough multiplayer to keep coming back.

5. Mortal Kombat This Baby

Ok. So Mortal Kombat includes franchises like Robocop, Terminator, TMNT, and Rambo. Why can’t Godzilla have DLC including Pacific Rim, Gundam, Attack of the Titans, Dragon Ball, and Naruto? You could also throw in King Kong, War of the Worlds, DC & Marvel Comics, Star Wars, Iron Giant, and Demon Slayer. Maybe each system gets exclusives (Xbox – Halo, Sony – God of War, Nintendo – Zelda). Imagine tackling Godzilla Earth with the Avengers? Or stopping Shin Godzilla with giant mechs? Maybe Godzilla vs Mega Kiju?!? Or playing as Godzilla and giving Goku a beat down? The sky is the limit if done right.

Top 5 OSINT Analyst Tips

This year I will be logging 8 years and netting 15,000 investigative hours covering insurance claims, missing persons, and a slew of different types of private investigation work. As an OSINT Analyst and Data Analyst (I hit 7 years this year), my job deals primarily with the following checklist: mine the data, clean the data, analyze the data, and then present the data either via a report or a visual representation.

Having done everything from asset searches, heir searches, social media sweeps and archives, criminal & civil searches, DMV records, vehicle title history, SSN traces, bank searches, P.O. Box busts, skip traces, business searches, document retrievals, phone number trace, and even corporate brand protection cases, I know I’ve only scratched the surface in the world of digital forensics and data science. I am Certified in OSINT and am currently working on becoming a Certified SOCMINT Analyst and licensed PI.

Here are the top 5 things I’ve learned over the years to become a better analyst:

1. It’s Not Only About The Tools

The tools don’t make the investigator. The investigator makes the tools. Having used everything from SkopeNow, Maltego, Social Intel, ShadowDragon and Social Links, to a slew of online databases and Linux based applications, these powerful tools only see the full extent of their potential in the hands of an experienced sleuth. If you don’t learn proper analytical techniques and investigative methodologies, these tools will be capped by the level of your talent and skill set.

2. Critical Thinking is Essential

There are 2 methods of judgment we as humans utilize when we come to a decision: intuition and critical thinking. Intuition is great for split second decisions. It’s a “gut” feeling that is heavily influenced by experience, emotions and education. And it can be wrong. Critical thinking properly assess a judgment, weighing solutions against one another, conducting research and a thorough evaluation, before making a final assessment.

3. Unbiased Approach is Critical

Assumptions are fine as long as they are left in the “alleged” category. And when they are in the “alleged” category, they are nothing more than theory and conjecture. Never consider your assumption to be truth until your claim has been confirmed and properly validated. Don’t limit your searching to locating evidence to support your assumption. All data available must be gathered and thoroughly cleaned. Leave your bias at the door.

4. Store Your Findings

Archive your searches the right way. Capture metadata. Save your sources. List out your data matches. Date stamp everything. Like any scientific study, someone else should be able to go back over your findings and come to the same conclusions.

5. An Investigator, 1st and Foremost

The Analyst in your title means you’re not data entry and you’re not doing a bunch of busy work. You think like a detective, finding clues, connecting dots, and solving puzzles. This means getting creative with out of the box thinking. This also means there’s no straightforward checklist that will work with every case. Instead, identify your objective first, make a list of how you plan to achieve the objective (knowing the list will have to adapt), keep focus on your objective (so you don’t fall down any rabbit holes), and then complete your objective. This also means your final report should contain a detailed summary of your searches and findings. Articulate what you did, what you found, what suggestions you may have, and what you think it may mean.

Sony 2021 Forecast

My last forecast of the year. A special moment indeed. While not as earth riveting as new hardware (Nintendo) or a slew of studio purchases (Xbox), I still expect Sony to give players a reason to be excited about the PS5:

1. Exclusives Cometh

The sole reason for owning the Ps4 were those 1st Party exclusives like Spider-Man, Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War and Ghost of Tsushima. With sequels to God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn expected this year, in addition to Ratchet and Clank, not to mention we may see a new Silent Hill, I expect Sony to wow us with the power of their new hardware.

2. Timed Exclusives Increase

I immediately think of Kena: Bridge of Spirits, Ghostwire Tokyo, and Final Fantasy. I also remember hearing they tried to do an exclusive deal for Starfield (before Xbox bought Zennimax), and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony snags a timed exclusive deal for GTA 6. Not able to throw around the kind of money to buy a ton of studios, Sony appears content with pumping out extraordinary 1st party gems and snagging a slew of timed exclusives.

3. Give Meaning to Next Gen

That incredible controller for the PS5 is bubbling with potential. I would love to see it given the proper consideration by developers. I really believe this could give Sony a real edge over the course of this next generation of gaming.

4. Answer GamePass

Xbox delivers the best deal in gaming with GamePass. Sony has a lot of catching up to do, but truly cannot ignore the success Xbox has had with GamePass. They will need to respond with their own version in order to remain competitive, especially with new challengers like Amazon, Apple, and Google threatening to enter the ring.

5. New Studio Acquisition

Ok, so I don’t expect them to start gobbling up studios like Xbox, but a smart purchase like Nintendo did with Next Level Gaming? Absolutely. I feel the greatest weakness to Sony’s lineup is FPS. They have so many talented third person game studios. They need someone who can rival Halo. I think it’s the missing element in their arsenal and could be amended before the year is done.

Nintendo 2021 Forecast

While I was surprised Nintendo started off the year by purchasing Next Level Games, I don’t see them making any additional purchases for the remainder of the year. Still, I think it’s a great move by Nintendo and signals we may be in for a big year for the Switch.

1. Celebrations Galore!

For Nintendo, this is a year for celebrations and anniversaries. Zelda. Metroid. Pokémon. Three massive franchises that will hopefully all be getting a ton of love. Pokémon Snap and remasters of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Metroid Prime Trilogy remastered, porting over Metroid 2, and possibly releasing Metroid Prime 4. A Zelda All-Star Collection with Twilight Princess, Ocarina of Time, and Skyward Sword. Breath of the Wilds 2. I would love a “Link’s Awakening” like remaster of A Link to the Past.

2. First Party Thrives

Super Mario World 3-D + Bower’s Fury is a great start. I would love to see a Mario Kart 9 and a new edition to Donkey Kong Adventures. F-Zero? Star Fox? Mario Golf? A new Kirby adventure? I think we are in for a massive explosion of great 1st party releases in 2021.

3. More Exclusives & Ports

I immediately think of Monster Hunter Rise, Bayonetta 3, and No More Heroes. With the success and dominance of the Switch now an established fact, I suspect the floodgates are going to burst forth with even more incredible games to an ever growing library of awesome. And I do mean awesome. I love playing on my Switch.

4. Nintendo Switch Pro

Capitalize on the popularity of the Switch and the excitement over next gen by releasing an updated Switch. OLED screen capable of producing 1080p and 60fps on handheld and a dock that can not only hold multiple cartages but also give you 4k goodness on the big screen. More RAM, improved joysticks, more battery life, and maybe even an upgraded pro controller. Upgrade your entire library with a Switch capable of playing next gen ports? Sign me up.

5. Overhaul the Internet Service

Xbox Live Nintendo Online Service is not. It needs a massive overhaul, with improvements to every facet. It’s at the point where I would love if Nintendo just used someone like Mircosoft to do it for them. Their online is that outdated and is holding them back. It’s becoming more apparent with cloud gaming.

Bonus: I really want a Godzilla port of some kind in the vein of Destroy All Monsters. Also, where is Mass Effect and Dragon Age? How about KOTOR and Jade Empire? Fallout 4? Dishonored 1 & 2? Batman Arkham Knight? Shadow of Mordor? Bring on the ports.

Faithfully Out Of Place

“Don’t climb mountains so that people can see you. Climb mountains so that you can see the world.” David McCullough Jr.

Informed on countless occasions as I grew up that I’m a little odd, weird, or different, I took on the persona of being an outcast of sorts. I have a tendency to be shy and quiet in addition to thinking and talking too fast. I would much rather converse while walking than sit amongst a group of people to dialogue. And I simply don’t look at the world the same as many of my peers.

I still remember in class explaining how I sometimes observed cars as thy passed by and would consider what story they found themselves in. What struggles, trials and tribulations were they experiencing? What adventures had they overcome? And the realization that each vehicle contained a hero of their own story. Yeah, so this style of thinking was mocked, as you would expect.

Desperate, I suppose, to fit in, I took upon myself a variety of interests. From martial arts, sports, and comics to gaming, trading cards, and writing to science, history and mathematics. I was on the Model United Nations, CIBACS and the football team. I spent my senior year in high school as a Senior Business Liaison. I also watched cartoons, read books, rode my bike, swam, and enjoyed fishing. I did all of this while growing up in a coastal town known for its surfing and beach volleyball.

As I matured into an adult, I traveled the country, living in multiple areas and adjusting to different cultures. I enjoyed traveling, gardening, photography, cooking, and film. I earned a degree in business, worked in retail, studied film and professional writing, before landing a job as a graphic designer in the Deep South. By this time, I had already spent years doing freelance writing, covering mainly entertainment in addition to writing short stories, poems and scripts for graphic novels, television and movies.

Since I was from California, I was often told I was from the land of “fruit and nuts” while in the Midwest. In the South, Californians were known as “foreigners.” Still, I made a lot of wonderful friends who were genuine and sincere. I also met people who spoke behind my back that they thought something was wrong with me.

It really hit me once I returned to California. I’ve been through hard times. I’ve lived in poverty, endured a cheating spouse and a kidnapped child, not to mention losing loved ones. I also had an interesting job as an OSINT Analyst and Data Analyst. I had thousands of cases from which to draw from to dig up some great, at least I thought, interesting conversations. Yet, I’ve found very few people show much interest.

At the same time, I learned to play Magic The Gathering. To the point I competed in tournaments and won nearly every casual match. I loved the mathematical concepts, but it didn’t earn me too many new friends. In fact, most people wouldn’t play me because I won too much.

I dived back into martial arts after years of weight training, I picked up guitar and started to collect action figures. I have also always been highly motivated and driven. I like to learn and succeed. I enjoy getting certifications and licenses. School is fun for me. I figured other people were the same and I was always playing catch-up. It turns out a lot of people mistake passion for bragging, so you need to tread carefully. And if you talk to fast, people mistake you for being rude. And if you ask too many questions, they think you’re dumb. And if you joke around too much, they think you’re annoying. And if you have any depth to your person, you’ll likely be classified as a nerd or dork. Take a stand for truth and you might be labeled creepy.

I’m not good enough. I’m not successful. I’m a loser. A failure. I’m not where I should be. I messed up, again. I’m so stupid. Yeah, these are the thoughts of someone like me who has also struggled with depression. I once thought having all of these interests and accomplishments would make me a better, more interesting person. That I’d make a ton of new friends. It did not. In fact, I’ve had people ask me how I am doing and they walk away as I begin to answer. Like, I barely got out a full sentence.

Why do I bring all of this up? An important realization that dawned on me: I’m not climbing mountains to please other people or so that people can see me. I’m doing it so I can the world. I’m not going to love other people so they will love me back. I’m just going to do it because it’s the right thing to do. I may be the person people can’t wait until I leave the room, that’s ok. I can be polite, kind, and be as much a listener as possible. I can choose to be forgiving, merciful, and to rise above my circumstances.

So instead of murmuring over my situation or complaining this hasn’t worked out, I can press forward, upward and onward. I workout, do martial arts, play guitar, write, read books, watch football, travel, drink coffee, learn to code, interpret data, investigate, do gardening and baking bread, gaming and figure collecting, be a risk taker and entrepreneur, all because it’s what J enjoy. It’s who I am. I took apart a dryer and put it back together and I enjoyed doing my it. My investigative mind is how I was built. My wild imagination is how I am wired. Rather than resist it, I simply learn to excel in those areas I was made for. I enjoy teaching. I love exploring. And I know my weaknesses, I realize my flaws, but I don’t let this drag me into the pit of despair.

Does this make me weird? Possibly. Probably. Most likely. But I find peace in just resting in the knowledge of the one who made me. I don’t go about earning certifications so I can brag. No, I strive to excel at my career because it’s the tool given to me and I want to run this race, a race against myself, to win.

Is this a way of winning friends and meeting new people? Probably not. Be friendly, listen, and be kind. Don’t engage in trying to win people over. Just live your live in as much peace with others as you can muster. Dream big dreams. Make practical goals. And get after it. I’m convinced that when you finally make it to that mountain peak, you’ll not only see the world, but you’ll see that in all the valleys and along the rough terrain, when it appeared you journeyed alone, God was with you every step. And this adventure called life will be worth it in the end.

Xbox 2021 Forecast

I’m sure 99% of my predictions will fall flat, but what’s the fun in not taking a risk? My predictions for Xbox in 2021:

1. Xbox Buys New Studios

The purchase of Zennimax last year was huge, but not wholly unexpected. We heard rumblings of something transpiring about a year prior. Then silence came before an announcement was revealed. In much the same way, I could see Xbox adding any of the following this year:

CD Projekt Red – Xbox paid a visit to Poland about a year ago. They have a ton of respect for the studio. The poor release of Cyberpunk would also drop their price. Would be a good match. My likely meter: High

Asobo – Makers of the flight simulator and I hear they are already partnered up with Microsoft on a new project. A talented, young studio who would be a perfect fit. Likely Meter: Fire

Sega – This would give them a RTS studio (Total War: Halo Wars?), JRPG powerhouses, and, of course, Sonic, not to mention a foothold in Japan. Not to mention rights to Alpha Protocol. Then there’s Virtual FighterX, Shenmue, etc. Likely Meter: Mild.

Bloober Team – If the Medium turns out to be as big a hit as I suspect it will be, I can’t see Microsoft not reaching out to make a deal. A talented studio specializing in psychology thrillers and horror is a must have. Likely Meter: Hot

Ebb Software – Scorn looks incredible, and I think this situation is very similar to Bloober. A sci-fi horror studio would be an excellent addition. Likely Meter: Hot

Bungie – Coming home would delight fans. Plus it would further strengthen Xbox’s FPS crown. More Destiny? An original IP? The possibilities are endless. But will they make it happen? Likely Meter: Hot

WB Games – They have everything Xbox is looking for. Fighting games, third person games, family friendly games, RPGs, and horror games. They’d have access to the likes of Mortal Kombat and Fear. They’d likely swing a deal to IPs such as Harry Potter, LOTR, DC, and TMNT. Maybe even the Looney Tunes? It would really be an incredible match. Maybe we would get a LOTR game based on the Blue Wizards? Or Superman? Likely Meter: Fire

Crytek – Makers of Ryse and Crysis, I feel like there is a lot of good history here. They could finish their remakes of the original Crysis trilogy while making Crysis 4 and a sequel to Ryse. Likely Meter: Hot

From Software – more likely, Elden Ring may just be a timed exclusive. But imagine the shockwaves if this studio joined Xbox? Likely Meter: Cold

Platinum Games – I could see Xbox partnering with them again and reviving Scalebound. They are an incredibly talented studio and would be fantastic for Xbox. But, idk. Unless they became desperate for money I can’t see it happening. Likely Meter: Cold

Moon Studios – Makers of the two wonderful Ori gems, this seems like a perfect fit for Xbox. Likely Meter: Hot

Remedy Entertainment – Control. Alan Wake. This studio has a proven track record of excellence. We would finally get that Alan Wake sequel I’ve been dying to play. Likely Meter: Warm

Larian Studios – ok, so this is more of a dream. I mean, this is one of my favorite RPG studios. BG3 looks incredible. Divinity Original Sin 1 & 2 were fantastic. They bring so much energy and passion to their projects. Likely Meter: Cold

2. Xbox Buys New IP

Alpha Protocol from Sega? DeadSpace from EA? Honestly, they’d be smart if they pulled a Tom Clancy / Ubisoft style deal with Brandon Sanderson. I could also see them buying Max Payne from Rockstar if they were to acquire Remedy. I also think they need to snag some Star Wars games…

3. GamePass Adds Ubisoft

Like EA, this would be a tremendous third party boost to GamePass. It makes perfect sense in Microsoft’s quest to create the gaming version of Netflix.

4. Bigger Fall Than Launch

I think we are going to get Wolfenstein 3, Starfield, Forza, Halo Infinite, Age of Empires 4, Flight Simulator…maybe King Crusader 3, Martha is Dead, and Scorn. Not a bad way to end the year if it came to fruition.

5. Brighter Future Than Suspected

I think 2022 we will start to see the real fruit of all the studios Xbox has been buying and building up with a host of massive games hitting the market: Fable, Perfect Dark, Everwild, and Hellblade 2, just to name a few. Then you have Avowed, Elder Scrolls VI, and Indiana Jones, and that’s barely the tip of the iceberg. Odyssey to the West 2? More Doom, Quake, Rage, Dishonored, Prey, Gears, and Fallout? A ton of new IP? They might even incorporate the PS5 tech into new controllers? The future has never been bright for Xbox. Now if I could just find a series X in stock.

No Fear: Starting Over

I’ve been playing with a manuscript idea for some time now. How long you ask? About eight years now. Eight years. During that same amount of time I lived in the Deep South and on the West Coast. I started a career as an investigative intelligence analyst and data analyst. I got back into martial arts and am now on the verge of obtaining a black belt. I’ve had kids, lost my mom and my grandfather, built up and then sold a sweet MTG collection, and then built a pretty cool figure collection. I even built up and then tore down a social media platform.

I also read a lot of books. Several of them by Brandon Sanderson. And was introduced to a ton of great shows like Suits, BBC Sherlock, Leverage, The Office, Parks and Rec, Downton Abbey, and The Crown. I self-published a novel, it hit #12 on Amazon, and then I put it out of print. I then wrote a new manuscript for a manga and accepted a publishing deal. I even learned to play guitar and bake bread over the last eight years.

That’s a long time. Yet, here I am. Finally on the verge of finishing a manuscript that appeared destined to be shelved. I’ve re-written and re-written the outline and threw out so many pages and ideas, I’ve lost count. But I believe the story is better for it. True, it’s taken way longer than I thought it would. Kind of like waiting for Elder Scrolls 6 or info on Godzilla vs King Kong. However, I knew a rushed product was not a product worth making.

In other words, don’t be afraid to start over. I’ve done it with manuscripts, articles, essays and manga scripts. I’ve done it in life, having lived in multiple states, working various jobs. I’ve been well off, poor, and even homeless. New beginnings involve risk. But if you’re too afraid to take chances, you’ll find yourself missing out on life. Or as William Wallace said, “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”

A story idea is a lot like clay. Sometimes it can be transformed easily and quickly into the sculptor you want. Other times, the pieces may be a bit broken or jagged. It takes some work to make it look right. But when it’s done, it’s a masterpiece you can be proud of.

In my years of walking with Jesus, I am so thankful he is the God of new beginnings, of second chances, someone who restores the years the locusts have eaten. It says in the word that we are his poema, his poem, his masterpiece. And he will finish what he starts, he will make perfect, he will make it his finest work.

So, above all else, have hope. You’re struggling, you’re starting over (again), you’re plodding along, looking lost, don’t lose heart. You keep pressing, onward and upward. You, as Winston Churchill once stated, “Never, never, never, never, never give up.” And the story will be done when it’s good and ready. The reader will be better for it and so will you.

Starfield: 5 Things I Want

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: of course, I want gorgeous graphics that take advantage of all the bells and whistles of next gen, a silky smooth frame rate, a beautiful musical score, earth shattering sound effects, and a polished experience.

1. Galaxy As A Character

I want the galaxy and worlds we explore to be every bit as meaningful and rich in history as Rapture was to Bioshock. No lifeless worlds with empty landscapes. The worlds should convey a sense of mystery and intrigue. Environments that flourish with awe and wonder with a sense of danger around every turn. Variety in terrain, cultures, and civilizations would be a welcomed breath of fresh air. Imagine exploring the scene of an ancient battle or walking the corridors of a highly advanced city bristling with life.

2. Drown In Customization

From the character to your ship, including your crew, your weapons and your star base, the more customization options the better. It would be great to give your character and ship some history in addition to fine tuning it in both appearance and performance. But my ship should be an extension of my character.

3. Not Just Fetch Quests

One of my favorite things about Elder Scrolls IV was the side quest missions for the dark brotherhood. And the side quests in The Witcher 3 are phenomenal. And Mass Effect did a generally great job in this department as well. Give me deep, dark quests. Give me goofy, hilarious moments. Give me a blend of wild and zany mixed with brooding and scary. Give consequence to decisions made, and show them in both the short and long term. Show some imagination and eliminate fetch quests as much as possible.

4. Improved Gameplay

Better combat (have the Doom guys assist with the 1st person gun play, the Dishonored team assist with magic and stealth, etc), vastly improved AI, and real choice in how we approach situations. Diplomatic? Explorer? Conqueror? Spy? Assassin? Fool? Throw in some space combat and destructible environments, fun boss battles, not to mention the right feel of weight to your gear. And don’t be afraid to try something new.

5. A Main Story That Entertains

And if the story needs some DLC to get it done, do so. Loved the DLC for Elder Scrolls 4 and 5. But a good quality story that stays with you long after your shut down the system would be well worth all these years of waiting.

At least, that’s my two cents.

Tools Don’t Make The Person

As an investigator, it can be easy to get caught up in the all the glitz and glamor of super sophisticated tools and gadgets. Software that bounces off satellites, computers so tripped out they even have fancy lights, and such a massive array of bookmarks it takes you hours to skim through and make use of them.

It can be true for writing as well. Scrivener, Final Draft, MS Word, Google Docs…then you find yourself wanting a YouTube presence so you purchase Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, a camera and microphones. Not to mention fancy writing journals, a vault full of pens and pencils, and an ever growing collection of things meant to inspire. This can be in the form of posters, models, pictures, sculptors, a music collection, figures or statues, or even pricey wall art.

I’ve seen some people spend upwards of $20k to upgrade their office area. But does the $2k chair, $5k computer, and $3k camera make you a better writer? Does the $40k a year software truly make you a better investigator? I believe that tools are meant to make our lives easier, but they’ll never make up for shortcomings in talent and skill. In other words, tools are great and can be effective. But don’t mistake them for being anything other than what they are: a tool. A tool is not a writer. A tool is not an investigator. Anymore than a paintbrush is an artist, a water hose a firefighter, or a plunger a plumber.

We have a saying in martial arts that a belt’s color means nothing in the street. Call yourself a 20th degree grand master black belt in the dojo, but if you don’t have the skill to back up the belt, any old random person will give you a five knuckle lesson in landing on your back.

Tools for OSINT are great, but any professional will tell you the scene is an ever changing, ever growing landscape. So, if you become dependent on any given tool, you will become useless in the long run. And that expensive software you just bought, writer person? That novel won’t write itself. Just like the toilet doesn’t unclog itself just because you set a plunger next to it. The dryer won’t fix itself just because you set a tool bag on top of it. Tools are great for convenience, but they are not a substitute for hard work.

For an investigator, a cyber sleuth, a computer forensic expert and an All Source Analyst, a proper foundation is built upon an understanding of investigative methodologies and analytical techniques. The art form of deduction and the role of critical thinking can never be overstated. The ability to constantly adapt, think outside the box, and fully grasp the scientific method are mandatory requirements. Put flashy hardware and expensive software in the hands of such a capable sleuth, and magic happens. The full potential of any given tool can only be achieved by a professional who has taken the time to lay a proper foundation.

The same goes for writing. A professional writer doesn’t wait for inspiration. Nor are they reliant on sophisticated software or expensive hardware. Sure, tools are nice. They’ll lead to better results, better quality, better product. But incredible tools in the hands of an amateur can’t equal the work of a professional limited to napkins and a chewed up pencil.

Whatever your trade, identify the proper foundations, hone your skills and talent, and become comfortable in your profession before you start adding a bunch of tools to your closet. You may find a lot of the tools you thought you needed have become unnecessary. And you also are now able to identify the rights tools for the right job at the right time, maximizing your success on any given project. And above all else, always remember that tools are just tools and nothing more.

Most Wanted: 2021

Games:

1. Halo Infinite – My expectations could not be higher. The story, the multiplayer, next gen goodies, the works.

2. Zelda: Breath of the Wilds 2: really hoping we get in sometime as Zelda in this one.

3. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition – the remaster of my all-time fav game series. 4K? 60fps? Upgraded combat and inventory system? New ending? More cutscenes? All the dlc? Will have to wait and see

4. Starfield – Elder Scrolls in space? Hoping this is more Skyrim than Fallout 76.

5. Baldur’s Gate 3 – I loved the Divinity Sin series and this appears to be even more epic.

Movies:

1. The Swordsman – It screams epic

2. Godzilla vs Kong – hopefully it is coming…

3. Raya The Last Dragon – I’m so intrigued by this one

Figures: They look good in my office in a display case

1. Mafex Superman (Hush) – finally a good Superman

2. Aniplex 1/12 Eric (Full Metal Alchemist) – best manga ever

3. Mafex The Mandalorian – love this show

4. Storm Collectibles Ares – he could also be Sauron

5. Mafex Batman (Dark Knight Returns) Variant – my Batman collection is complete

Bonus:

1. LOTR Collector’s Edition Set 4k Remastered

2. Schecter C-1 SLS Elite Guitar and Positive Grid Spark Amp – my upgrade for my FireFly telecaster and Fender mini amp

3. Katana – a custom blade once I earn that black belt

4. Full Metal Alchemist Full Metal Edition – continuing the collection

Certifications / Licenses / Degrees:

1. Licensed PI

2. Certified Insurance Fraud Investigator

3. GOIS

4. Certified All Source Professional

5. Certified Tableau Desktop Specialist

Books/Novels:

I am so incredibly backlogged, I haven’t even had a chance to glance at the 2021 list. I did just pick up a few books off of Audible and paid a visit to Barnes. I’ll do better in the New Year. I only hit 50 or so books this year.

Television:

Honestly, I’m more interested in visiting the theater again and watching musicals. Boba Fett and more Mandalorian sound good though.

That’s a wrap:

I’m sure 2021 will offer plenty of surprises. Indeed, as a wise man once told me, “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break.”