Friday, November 30, 2012

Blind Bag Wave 6 Day 6 - Berry Green

Ahhhhhhhh! More pinkish purple (or would it be purplish pink) ponies.

Berry Green # 12 – has lots of friends she can always count on.

Berry green has some unfortunate coloring. Seriously Hasbro, why can't I get a cute green pony? Her name has green in it! She should be green!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blind Bag Wave 6 Day 5 - Cherry Spices

Another unicorn today!

Cherry Spices # 14 – Loves to bake and make up yummy recipes.

Cherry spices is a repeat pony from the first wave of blind bags but she has switched from the Rarity mold to the Twilight Sparkle mold seen here. I personally prefer this version. I am really hoping we get to see a brushable size or a cameo of her in the background as I really love her colors. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blind Bag Wave 6 Day 4 - Twilight Velvet

Twilight Velvet # 10 – loves writing stories about adventure.

Hooray! Today is a special edition pony. It may be difficult to tell in the photo but Twilight Velvet has a 3Dish star in her cutie mark. I admit that I light the "sparkly clear" version better, this reminds me of G1 Glory.

See, I'm not making it up!
Now I kind of wish I had a second one so I could customize it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Error Pony: Cheerilee

Quite a while back I won another error pony on ebay. I got it in the mail and put it.... somewhere before I could take photos. Just a few days ago I happened to find it (of all the places sitting on a shelf will all of the other ponies).

This Cheerilee is not terribly different from her standard counterpart with the exception that she is factory sealed with a blue tail.

I also noticed that her purple plastic color was significantly different from the Cheerilee set that comes with the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Blind Bag Wave 6 Day 3 - Crimson Gala

Crimson Gala #16 – gives everyone treats when she visits.

Poor Crimson Gala seems to have the worst paint job possible.  It's a little hard to tell in this photo (and that's one reason I chose it) but her eyes are slightly mis-stamped as well. *sigh* I just don't think I dig the pink/green color combination on her, though I suppose it is "apple-y". I think she'd be cute as a watermelon pony though!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Crystal Empire and Tambelon

Well I promised myself that this season I would try to write something about each episode. And here we are already 3 episodes into the new season and I haven't written a word. I must admit I am a little shy about sharing my feeling on pony episodes and part of that boils down to the fact that I am watching Friendship is magic with a completely different background than many of my fellow fans.

When I first read the synopsis of The Crystal Empire (the two part premiere for season 3) I immediately got nostalgic happy feelings as it seemed to be borrowing a bit from an earlier generation episode called "The Return of Tambelon".

For your comparison here is the synopsis from The Crystal Empire:
Northern Equestria's Crystal Empire has reappeared after being afflicted with a curse that made it vanish for 1,000 years. Princess Celestia asks Twilight Sparkle and her friends to protect the empire from disappearing again.

Followed by a synopsis from Return of Tambelon:
The ancient city of Tambelon disappeared 500 years ago. Now, all of the unicorns mysteriously vanish before it returns and Grogar attempts to enslave the citizens on Dream Valley. 

So needless to say I was both excited by the season premiere, and also a bit nervous about it. One of the creepiest things about Tambelon was that the unicorns disappeared there when they winked out (teleported), but this is essentially impossible in Equestria as unlike G1 unicorns only Twilight Sparkle has the ability to teleport in the current show. So I knew that if the opening truly were a reworking of Tambelon it would be quite different in some respects.

Cadence/Cadance shields the crystal empire from King Sombra

Luckily, I happened to enjoy the opener. It wasn't quite as strong as the season finale but I think in general that it is more difficult to write a season premiere than a season finale. The Crystal Empire has a lot of work to do in a very short amount of time considering we are introduced to a new territory of Equestria and a new breed of equestrian, the crystal ponies. I liked that Shining armor and Princess Cadence/Cadance were relocated to the crystal empire as it was nice to see them again and know that they weren't just around to have a wedding and disappear.

King Sombra, a unicorn with a black heart returns to attempt to reclaim the crystal empire.

In fact most of the complaints I've seen about this premiere is disappointment with the villain King Sombra. Now I think a corrupted unicorn is pretty interesting but he does spend a majority of his screen time as a gaseous cloud or laughing evilly. The traps he leaves for the crystal ponies, including a door that subjects anyone who touches it to their worst fear, are more effective than he is.

The crystal ponies have a collective amnesia when it comes to the last thousand years of enslavement.

The crystal ponies are the biggest difference between Tambelon and the Crystal Empire. In Tambelon the city appears under the power of Grogar and attacking Dream Valley so that the creatures (not just ponies) must band together to counterattack and defeat Grogar and the city.  In the Crystal Empire Cadance and company already have a hold on the empire (even if it is shaky) so the salvation of the crystal ponies comes (mostly) from within instead of through an external force.

In Tambelon Grogar is defeated by the ringing of a bell to break his power of the city. In the Crystal Empire Twilight Sparkle and her friends must find the crystal heart that Sombra has hidden and activate it with the power of the crystal ponies to protect the city from King Sombra. In one version the city itself is a force of darkness and a threat to the valley and in another it is a precious jewel to be protected. In both generations the ponies are ultimately victorious.

Success changes all of the ponies (temporarily) into crystal ponies.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Blind Bag Wave 6 Day 2 - Minuette

Minuette #7 – Is always on time to help with some magic.

Hey Hasbro, it looks like the next wave of brushable ponies is yet another wave of the "mane six" I know you need to keep the popular characters around and all, but do you see this lovely girl? She's a little blue that she isn't a brushable yet. 

Maybe it's just because I've been rewatching Dr. Who as I exercise but my nickname for this pony is "TARDIS". (Come on she's all blue and has the symbol for time it totally makes sense!)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Blind Bag Wave 6 Day 1 - Mosley Orange

They're baaaack!

I just got the shipment of wave 6 blind bag ponies in from BigBadToyStore and since revealing a pony day by day was pretty fun I think I'll do it again in a countdown to Christmas. So you the reader should theoretically get an updated every single day from now until December 25th. I even found a glittery "snow" background for photographing the ponies.

 Mosley Orange # 11 – Loves to have fancy parties.

I love the combination of yellow and green on ponies. It seems very fresh and springy. Unfortunately I think Mosley Orange looks a little more like Mosley Yellow Tomato.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Little Pony - Gameloft Review

Help, I'm addicted!

A few years ago I would have never dreamed of a pony game on my phone, but it exists and I have to admit it's a very addictive game.

The title screen of Gameloft's new game is quite pink when you consider a large portion of their downloads are bronies. I guess if I have a nice, new pony game to play I can ignore the pink for a little while. (Seriously though people I would buy non-pink ponies too!)

Actually I guess I didn't have to buy anythng because the game is a free download. I like ponies and I like free, what's not to love?

How about nightmare moon? This image is from Gameloft, but as far as I am aware, the big baddie doesn't show up like this at all in the game.... yet. 

There really are a few bad things about the game but I'd like to save this topic for a little later. First let me tell you a little about the game. 

The "plot" of the game boils down to nightmare moon threatening Equestria and turning the world dark. Many of ponyville's citizens have fled, but Twilight Sparkle and her dragon friend Spike have a spell to bring light back to Ponyville. You progress by purchasing shops and then ponies to work in the shops which produce harmony shards and more bits (money) for you to purchase other things. Once you have a certain number of bits you can convert a patch of dark land into light and then build on it. In the map grid are 6 harmony stones that need to be activated by a certain number of harmony shards. It sounds silly, but it actually works pretty well as every patch of land costs more than the previous patch so you can't just breeze through the game.

 In addition to buying shops, ponies, and objects you need to level up your pony citizens so that they can take more advanced shop positions. You level the character up by playing mini games with them. There are two mini games where you earn experience points for the pony. One you earn a whole "star" of points you play a different mini game called magic wings to collect gold and level up.

Each pony character gets a temporary set of butterfly wings to try and collect coins while avoiding storm clouds and shadowbolt ponies.

If I stopped here you would think the pony game is pretty darn good for a free game. Beware former farmville addicts! But the game has quite a few problems that do impact the enjoyment of the game. The problems boil down to cost and general bugs.

The bugs in the game are numerous. Many users have experienced problems trying to connect with friends and sometimes really bizarre things happen. One time after visiting another player's town my game had Twilight Sparkle arrive in the town (effectively the same scene as the beginning of the game). 

I think free games have a weird balancing act to play. People have spent a lot of time and effort coding and promoting the game, so they need to make money on the game somehow. This game has bit currency and then crystal currency, the "premium" currency of the game. Some ponies and objects are only able to be purchased with the crystals, but in-game generation of crystals is very slow, so one solution is to purchase more with real money. But someone has hacked the game and did the math and to only buy the needed objects to complete quests you would need to purchase $260 in crystals! 

I am not willing to spend $260, but I would have been willing to drop $1-2 here and there for special downloadable content or special items. Unfortunately my available quests are all impossible for me at the moment because I can't spend the crystals required to purchase the items needed and I refuse to buy them with my real money!

To summarize I think this is a game where you get what you pay for. It's a free game and cute but very buggy. Hopefully a success with this game will let hasbro know that we would very much like a bigger, better pony game.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Little Netherlands Ponies

One of my coworkers is originally from the Netherlands and he recently took a trip back home with his wife to visit their family and friends.  While he was there they happened to stop in a toy store and picked me up a little souvenir.


I'm really impressed Pinkie Pie and Electric Sky made it all the way here. I wouldn't have had the self-control not to open the packaging. I'm very grateful because not only did they take a few minutes out of their vacation to pick me up a pony, but they even stood around in the store smooshing the packages around to try and get two that felt different and wouldn't be a repeat.

In this shot you can see just a few of the many, many languages on the international packaging.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Custom Blind Bag Princess Luna

Several weeks ago I was browsing ebay and happened upon an auction for a very cheap blind bag Princess Cadence/Cadance. I had an inkling of an idea for customizing a blind bag Princess Luna so I put a very small bid on it and won. She shipped from China and relaxed around the house for a while before I had the guts to attempt customizing her.

Say hello to Princess Luna!

I kept her hair closer to the first season version as it fit the Cadence/Cadance mold better, and I personally like the blue hair better. I know I have seen other artists do amazing work with a "canvas" as small as the blind bag ponies, but I am very proud of myself for this one.

Who knows, maybe if I can find another cheap Cadence body I'll do a second season version of Luna. I wonder how glitter paint would work for the hair...

Edit to add that Princess Luna was featured on Equestria Daily!  You can see her and a lot of other cool custom ponies here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

To Taobao or Not Taobao That is the Question

Sometimes the pony collecting community gets advance notice of ponies that will be released soon because some of these are "leaked" from the factory onto the Chinese auction website taobao. As you have seen previously sometimes the products are new releases that didn't pass quality control or error ponies like Trixieshy or Lyrarays.

There are obviously some advantages to ordering from the company. It's an easy way to get error/prototype ponies that will never be officially released. Other times you can get a pony that is part of a set/playset for much cheaper than the cost of the set.

Some collectors are worried about the ethics of purchasing from taobao. We don't know how the ponies get from the factory to taobao. Are they trash, stolen goods, or somewhere in-between? Are they official since they were made in the same factory with the same materials? Or should they be considered "fakes"?

I personally am not against buying toys from taobao. (Though I am too lazy to deal with the website myself and order from ebay. )This may be a bit of a shock considering I generally try to support the companies I purchase products from instead of dealing with second-hand stores and I shop brick and mortar bookstores whenever possible.

But it seems to me the advantages of buying on taobao far outweigh the disadvantages (considering they are at this time unknown).

The major advantage to purchasing on taobao is that you never know what will actually be released and where. Last year a few people were lucky enough to get some toys of Minty,  a popular G3 character remade for G4. As I don't own her I'm borrowing her picture from a recent listing on ebay.

Minty is a cute pony, very much in demand and she never actually came out in the US.... or anywhere. A G4 minty like this just recently sold on ebay for $400.

Perhaps I should start shopping on taobao....