Monsters Present…Monster Lists! Best of 2014: Biggest Moments in Pop (Geek) Culture

Geek Culture was created by the bubble we call Pop Culture. Every aspect of what we cover here at Monsters is part of that bubble. Geeks just prefer parts of that sphere  more than others. So, we wanted to do a list of what moments in Pop Culture (or Geek Culture) were the most memorable to us. The picks range from character resurrections to serious subjects to everything in-between. Hope you enjoy! 
Joe CollierBlogpic

The Rise of the Golden State Warriors

                            Photo: Yahoo

There are many things that have happened in the sports world this year. The King returns to Cleveland and they become the City of Love. We have playoff football in College. Aaron Hernandez. Need I say more. The nation was brought together by soccer.

Growing up we wore the red and black of the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls’ fans of this generation are wearing blue and gold.

The rise of the Golden State Warriors is happening. As of today, December 23rd, they are 24-5  and are on course to break the Bulls season win record. The Warriors have two of the greatest shooters this generation will see, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, [and] add to that an up and coming coach (Steve Kerr) that knows both the front office and the game, and you get this generation’s team.

I have been watching them this season, and I say they will win the West. Do they break the Bulls record? No. They come close, but fall short. I am going to go ahead and say we will see the two biggest teams of the generations in the finals: The Cleveland Cavaliers and The Warriors. Red and Gold vs Blue and Yellow, and it goes 7.

Why have I picked this as my pop culture piece for 2014? Because I can tell the future. The 2014-15 Warriors will make history and be the 2014 pop culture icon of the NBA.

Jarred Collinsblogpic

Final Fantasy Being Ported to the Playstation 4

                       Image: Square Enix

On December 6th, producer Shinji Hashimoto announced at the Playstation Experience, that Final Fantasy VII will be released on the PS4. Unfortunately, this is not the HD remake or the Japanese release that everyone has been craving since the Playstation 2 was released.

There are some positives that come with the announcement. It will be a port of the version that came out in 2013 on Steam. It features a new boost system to help cut down on the grinding, [providing] an easier way to level up.

It is a small step toward the game that everyone wants, but one that we may never see. Any Final Fantasy VII announcement to me has to be at the top of my list.


Athletes Discovering Accountability

In years past, the prevailing thought has always been that those who are famous or blessed with superior athletic ability would always find a way to rise above the law. OJ Simpson of course comes to mind, and the infamous murder trial of 1994 and 1995. Names like Ray Lewis, Mike Tyson, and even nicknames like “Free Shoe’s University” (FSU, Florida State University) come to mind of people or colleges that have been able to take advantage of their fame, wealth, and most importantly, popularity to rise above the legal system to escape major situations relatively unscathed.

In 2014, however, we saw a significant shifting tide in this area. The central character in this? Well, you could say the NFL. But you could just as easily point to the current acting NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell. During this calendar year, he and the NFL faced two of the most public crises in the history of the league.

Image: Sporting News
                        Image: Sporting News

First, on February 15th, Ray Rice, the All Pro running back for the Baltimore Ravens, had an altercation with his then fiancé in which he struck and knocked out his significant other in a hotel elevator. Although the charges were dropped, Rice was initially suspended for 2 games. However, once TMZ provided the video of the assault, Mr. Goodell and the NFL reversed course, under growing public pressure, and suspended Mr. Rice indefinitely.

While dealing with the fallout of the mishandling of the Rice situation, Mr. Goodell was then faced with another issue with yet another player. Former MVP Adrian Peterson was arrested and charged with child abuse charges in September, as a result of his using a switch to leave several marks on his 4 yea-old-sons body. Initially suspended for just a single game, Peterson was ultimately issued a year long suspension from the NFL and Goodell.

Perhaps most telling of the “Year of Accountability” was the fallout that the NFL and Goodell faced for their handling of these two situations. The initial limited punishments for either player was bemoaned by both the sports and non-sports world alike. This caused the league to back track, reverse their field, and issue far more severe punishments. The questions of the initial decisions to simply brush these issues aside became as much the leading topics as the events themselves. It appeared that no longer was popularity, fame, and wealth enough to allow for the famous to hide their sins. But also, it seems, that the handling and punishment of those crimes is now subject to scorn as well. In the long run, Roger Goodell’s handling of the situation became just as detested as the actions of the players themselves.

Andrew Fultz

Jimmy Fallon Becoming the Host of The Tonight Show

I may be erring on the side of cheese here, but my favorite moment in pop culture is Jimmy Fallon taking over The Tonight Show. Not strictly a moment, sure, but work with me here.

Tonight-Show-Jimmy-Fallon-Poster-CropFallon brings a humor to the show that had long been gone from his predecessor’s work. His impressions are better, the games he plays with his guests shine, and The Roots are basically flawless. His willingness to wander from the beaten path of late night talk shows has made a noticeable difference, and while I’m sure other hosts have already beaten a new path, I am loving Fallon’s.

If you’re unsatisfied with “Fallon hosting the Tonight Show” as a moment, let me give you several from his 100+ shows since taking over in February:

The first episode when Robert De Niro, Tina Fey, and Mike Tyson made surprise appearances to pay off a $100 bet for saying, “You’ll never be the host of The Tonight Show.”

The entire Justin Timberlake episode (Here, have a whole playlist).

The entire Jennifer Lawrence interview.

Jimmy’s lip-sync battle with Emma Stone.

Daniel Radcliffe rapping Blackalicious’ “Alphabet Aerobics”.

Playing Face Balls with Julia Roberts. Shhhh! Just watch.

I’ll stop there, but going into Fallon’s Youtube channel is a surefire way to land in one of those “Where did the night go and why is it 5 AM and my hair is so greasy and I have to be at work in an hour” abysses that it’s best you stay away from. But it’s Christmas. Treat yourself!

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has definitely been one of my favorite new things this year. His simultaneous hilarity and humility are a treat to watch, even when it’s not perfect. And I know I just spent 250 words spewing a Fallon love fest all over myself, but he isn’t always “on.” But they are more often than not and it’s really worth it to check it out if you haven’t. There’s something for everyone, unless you’re someone who hates fun.

Aaron Blog Photo

Mega Man in Super Smash Brothers for Nintendo Wii U and 3DS

The Mega Man series from Capcom holds a special place in my little gamer heart.
I remember playing hours of Mega Man 2 and 3 on the original Nintendo, and then picking it back up on the Playstation with Mega Man 8 and, my favorite game of all-time, Mega Man Legends.

So you can imagine how excited I was when Nintendo announced Mega Man as a playable character in Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. I had a big grin on my face for pretty much the entire day of the announcement.

Image: Operation Rainfall
              Image: Operation Rainfall

The Mega Man property, once a big seller for Capcom, has been doormat for years. The last proper release for the series was the Mega Man X compilation for the PS2. The company did release Mega Man 9 & 10, but they were downloadable games, not proper retail releases, and the Mega Man Star Force series in 2007 for the Nintendo DS. Capcom also released a fan created mash-up, Mega Man X Street Fighter, for the Blue Bomber’s 25th Anniversary, but no major physical releases from Capcom on the major consoles.

It’s been rough for this Mega Man fan to watch Capcom ignore one of their most beloved properties. They even kept him out of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, though most believe that was a dig at the character’s creator, Keiji Inafune, for leaving due to the direction the company was going.

To finally get to play The Blue Bomber on a current console was a great feeling for this longtime fan. He looks and plays great in the game, and Nintendo brought all of the little nuances of the character as well. His trademark jump, him breaking into energy orbs when he perishes, and his power slide are all included. He is extremely fun to play as he uses his Mega Buster along with powers from the defeated robot masters, like Crash Man and Electric Man. You even get a cameo by his faithful pet robot dog, Rush, to aid in launching up in the air and out of harms way. And his final smash brought a tear to my eye, as all the versions of the character, from the X series to Legends, team up with the original for a powerful beam attack. It was awesome to see all the iterations of the character on one screen for one killer attack.

The character being in Smash does give me hope that we will see a proper Mega Man release in the future. And I’m not talking about just another 8-bit nostalgia trip, because we have those already, but a full-blown new entry into the series.

Capcom, I’m counting on you. Make 2015’s Comeback of the Year Award go to Mega Man. Fans want it and, more importantly, the character deserves it.

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