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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Jul. 1, 2002

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
1-7-2002 1-14-2002 1-21-2002 1-28-2002
2-4-2002 2-11-2002 2-18-2002 2-25-2002
3-4-2002 3-11-2002 3-18-2002 3-25-2002
4-1-2002 4-8-2002 4-15-2002 4-22-2002
4-29-2002 5-6-2002 5-13-2002 5-20-2002
5-27-2002 6-3-2002 6-10-2002 6-17-2002
  • Bret Hart was seriously injured in a bicycle accident in Calgary last week. As of press time, Dave has very little info. Hart was thrown off the bike and flipped over the handlebars going at a high speed and landed on his back and hit the back of his head. Over the next couple of days, he's undergone a number of tests due to issues he's had since the accident. Bret was forced to retire 2 years ago after he suffered a serious concussion during the Starrcade 99 match with Goldberg and it's believed the fall may have aggravated the issues he's had since then. Hart is expected to be hospitalized for at least a week and has little movement on the left side of his body and can't see out of his right eye. He's also suffering severe back pain, though x-rays and scans haven't shown any physical damage to his back. That's all Dave knows right now. (Much more on this next week, obviously).
  • After a year of questionable decision-making, Vince McMahon made his most questionable decision yet when he announced the surprise re-hiring of Vince Russo. It's a shocking decision for lots of obvious reasons, not the least of which is most of the wrestlers either outright don't like him or at the very least, don't respect him. And many front office employees feel even more strongly about him. Not even Stephanie McMahon, who is the head of creative, knew Russo was coming back and she was just as blindsided by the news as everyone else. It's believed the deal has been in the works for a few weeks. Russo had owned a CD store in Marietta, GA but he sold the store recently. He also stopped submitting ideas to the Jarretts for TNA a couple of weeks ago. There's also the fact that Russo's lawsuit against Hulk Hogan over the Bash at the Beach 2000 incident is still pending and now they're in the same company again, although Dave suspects the legal issues must be wrapped up for Russo to take the job (Turner was still paying his legal fees so long as he didn't work for any other wrestling company, which is why everyone was denying his involvement with TNA). Another rumor going around is that Russo is planning to write a tell-all book about his time in WWF and when word about that got out, the company rehired him in an effort to squash the book. Dave thinks that might be believable if Russo was just hired and stuck in a closet somewhere. But he was brought back in a key position in the creative department, which means that likely wasn't the reason (or not a big part of it). Most likely, it's exactly what it appears on the surface: Vince McMahon is getting desperate and he's going back to what worked in the past.
  • When word got out about Russo's hiring, needless to say, everyone was shocked and, as you'd expect, it was an overwhelmingly negative reaction. The plan for Russo on day one was for him to be in control of the creative team, answering only to Stephanie McMahon. The next day, those plans changed after McMahon, Russo, Stephanie, and the rest of the writing team had a big meeting. There's been multiple stories about what happened during the meeting. One version of the story is that Russo's ideas were so bad that he pretty much buried himself with everyone immediately. Another version is that Stephanie pretty much buried all his ideas and shut him down. And yet another version is that Russo obviously hadn't kept up with the product and was unfamiliar and out of touch with many of the characters and ongoing storylines, and that soured Vince McMahon on him. Regardless, the result was the same: the very next day, Russo was no longer part of the creative team. Word is he has already been sent home and will be brought back if/when they need ideas, as sort of a consultant on retainer. Officially, his role now is to critique the TV shows and report back to Vince McMahon what he thinks. So he's basically paid to be a critic and tell McMahon how he would do it better. Anyway, that's the story for now. Dave runs down Russo's history in the business, how he came into power in WWF, jumping ship to WCW with no notice, where he proceeded to help kill the company and all the drama that happened there (can't wait for that one Vince Russo superfan that always accuses me of lying about him to chime in on this one).
  • For the record, one of Russo's big ideas for TNA's debut was taking the Shane Twins and dressing them up as giant penises and calling them the Big Johnsons. Thankfully, when the show aired, the announcers downplayed the "penis" aspect of it a lot, leading Russo to tell friends that the idea flopped because the commentators didn't sell it hard enough. Just in case you're wondering what Vince Russo is bringing to the table in 2002.
  • WWE's King of the Ring is in the books. For the first time since Wrestlemania, it was a legit sellout on PPV. And sucks for them because this was a pretty blah show. Undertaker retained the WWE title over Triple H in a bad match that was hampered because Undertaker is banged up in general and Triple H came into the match with an elbow injury. 2 days after the show, he underwent elbow surgery to remove bone chips, one of which was embedded in cartilage and had caused his arm to lock up. He was nowhere near 100% during the match, but if he had been, Dave suspects they probably would have put the belt back on him. But for now, they stuck with Undertaker. They did a post match angle to set up Rock vs. Undertaker vs. Triple H at Vengeance, assuming Triple H is ready by then (he was not).
  • The biggest story of the PPV, in Dave's opinion anyway, is the Kurt Angle/Hulk Hogan match, in which Angle beat Hogan clean as a sheet by submission. Dave gives Hogan credit: he didn't treat this like Kidman. Hogan put Angle over as strong as he possibly could. Dave believes it's the first time in Hogan's entire career that he lost via submission as a babyface. He did have a few submission losses as a heel (once to Inoki in NJPW in 1981 and a handful in WCW during the NWO era) but that's it. If he had any as a babyface, it would have been before 1979, before he was a national name. Whether this ultimately springboards Angle into a certified top guy that fans take seriously remains to be seen, but Hogan did everything he could. Probably didn't help that, as soon as the match was over, Angle put his goofy wig back on, at a moment that should have been used to turn him into a serious threat. But regardless, nobody can fault Hogan here if it doesn't get over.
  • Other notes from the PPV: Jericho vs. RVD in the opening match was easily the best match on the show. Lesnar got loud "Goldberg" chants and Dave thinks he sold way too much for Test, especially since the rumor is Lesnar is being groomed for a Summerslam main event with Rock. Nidia in her hillbilly gimmick with Jamie Noble was great and Dave thinks they might have something with Nidia and this gimmick. Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero was.....not what you'd think. Dave has seen Flair drag talentless hacks to great matches for 20 years but somehow, Flair vs. Guerrero was a drag and should have been better than it was considering the two men involved. Two all-time greats just had a misfire somehow. Molly won the women's title from Trish and Dave thinks this whole storyline where they claim Molly is fat is insulting to probably every single female viewer they have and a lot of the males too. A backstage segment with Rock, Goldust, and Booker T was the most entertaining thing on the show. Lesnar won the King of the Ring tournament by beating RVD in a nothing match. And of course, the main event, which was an overbooked mess with two guys who probably didn't have any business wrestling that night anyway.
WATCH: Goldust/Booker T/Rock backstage segment at WWE King of the Ring 2002
  • NWA-TNA's debut show is in the books! Actually, so is their second show because it was a double-taping. And buckle in because we have a metric fuck-ton of TNA news to cover. Overall, it was a well-received debut. A lot of the young wrestlers were hungry and some of the old guys worked like they had something to prove. Guys like Konnan and Buff Bagwell looked the best they have in years and many of the people who worked the show said this felt like the real deal (many of those same people had worked the recent WWA shows and saw those as paid vacations, nobody took it seriously). Scott Hall, said to be the highest paid wrestler in the company ($3,500 per week) didn't do anything special but he got by far the biggest reaction and, according to all accounts, was sober and professional. There were about 3,000 fans in the building, but only 400-500 were paid. More than 10,000 freebies were given away around Birmingham the week of the show, but the crowd they got was actually a good, active audience, so it worked. Mike Tenay on commentary was great and full of knowledge, though Ed Ferrara playing heel announcer was useless. Don West was enthusiastic as hell, but knew nothing about the product. Regardless, he knows how to work a camera and he took charge of the commentary booth and Dave thinks he did fine in the role and will only get better. Ricky Steamboat was there, giving an emotional interview and putting over the NWA title. Ken Shamrock won the gauntlet battle royal (basically the same thing as a Royal Rumble match) to win the title, beating Malice (former WCW wrestler The Wall) in the final match after they were the last 2 left in the battle royal. There's been talk of doing a Shamrock vs. Don Frye match to try to catch some of that crossover UFC/PRIDE audience, but Dave is doubtful it'll be a draw here like it is in Japan.
  • What else? Country music star Toby Keith did a series of angles with Jeff Jarrett and Keith was by far the biggest star to the live fans. Keith got involved in the battle royal and eliminated Jarrett. NASCAR drivers Hermie Sadler and Sterling Martin got involved in a racial angle with K-Krush (R-Truth) using a bunch of "your kind" and "my kind" talk and Dave thinks that was pretty pathetic. The company was hoping all this celebrity involvement would get them some mainstream publicity but it got practically none. They brought in a bunch of women, most of whom were total unknowns except for ECW's Francine, Electra, and former WCW valet Daffney under the name Shannon, and their battle royal on the second show was said to be awful. The whole event definitely had a southern/regional feel to it. The opening match of Jerry Lynn, AJ Styles, and Low-Ki vs. Jorge Estra, Sonny Siaki, and Jimmy Yang was the show-stealer and was better than most of the matches in WWE this year.
  • Now the bad news: TNA was under the impression they had Dish Network cleared to air their show, but no dice. They don't have Cablevision in the U.S. either. For a company that needs to draw 50,000 buys a week to break even without a corporate sponsor, that's extremely bad news. They're also losing their Canadian PPV after the response to the debut show was said to be lackluster. At press time, InDemand has allegedly told TNA that their debut show did 80,000 buys but preliminary numbers are always drastically higher than the final result, so it'll almost certainly be less than that (for example, InDemand's number for WWA's first PPV was originally 40,000 but later got revised to 15,000). In WWE, they don't take any PPV numbers seriously at first because the thought is any numbers you hear within the first 2 months of the show are always wrong, the final tallies take time to come in. Regardless, even if this show did well, the more important question is how will they be doing in 4-5 weeks when the new has worn off?
  • Despite TNA claiming they aren't even interested in TV and are 100% committed to running exclusively on PPV, that's obviously not true. They have already struck syndication deals in Nashville and Chattanooga and are actively working to get a national television deal. The problem is that, as you can tell by looking at WWE ratings over the last year, the business is in a sharp decline, meaning the TV industry isn't chomping at the bit to give TV deals to some new startup nobody company. But anyone who understands the industry knows they have no chance of surviving on weekly PPV alone so getting on TV sooner than later is going to be essential to TNA's survival. The local syndicated deals they struck will mostly be hype shows with interviews and highlights designed to drive viewers to buy the weekly PPVs. Dave lists, like, 10 different promotions that have folded over the years in part due to the costs of paying for television.
  • Tons of TNA news in this issue which brings us to the debut "Random TNA News & Notes" section! Here we go: Bert Prentice will be working with the company and will no longer be running his own weekly shows in Nashville. There will be a one-night tournament at the next show to crown NWA tag team champions. Fun fact, those belts are currently held by The Shane Twins, who now wrestle in TNA as The Johnsons, doing the aforementioned masked penis gimmick. They'll be in the tournament even though they were already the champs in their previous gimmick. But the titles are being vacated and they will crown new ones.
  • We ain't done with TNA news. The dark match of the show featured a 450 pound dude named Cheex who is basically ripping off Rikishi's gimmick of doing things with his big ol' ass. And in case the ass gimmick and the "Cheex" name wasn't clear enough, he's being managed by a woman named Brown Eye Girl. So....yeah. If this ain't Vince Russo, I'll eat my shoe. Anyway, during the dark match, because Cheex is so big, the ring broke. As the show was going on the air live, the ring crew was frantically struggling to fix the ring, which is why it felt like they were stalling so much for the first 15 minutes. Because they were. The ring breaking also caused them to not be able to do the second dark match they had planned. Both matches were being taped to air on next week's show.
  • Actual notes from TNA's debut show (I'm gonna divide this into multiple paragraphs because there's a lot): it opened with some pyro, which is meant to make them look major league, but everyone else always looks minor league compared to WWE's huge pyro show every week and this was no exception. No graphics or details on any of the wrestlers, which is a mistake considering so many of them are complete unknowns to most fans. Started with a bunch of legends coming out to put over the NWA title, including Ricky Steamboat cutting one of the best promos of the year in any promotion and Dave thinks they need to hire Steamboat and put him in an on-air role as a commissioner or something ASAP. Jeff Jarrett cut a promo saying it was stupid to crown a new champion in a battle royal. Way to bury your own main event 10 minutes into your debut show, especially since most people also agree that it's a pretty dumb way to do it. But they still did. Then Ken Shamrock and Scott Hall came out and they both cut promos and they also shat on the battle royal idea, leading Dave to worry already that this company hasn't learned anything from WCW's mistakes. As mentioned earlier, the opening match easily stole the show. Next up was a little person match, with the jobber actually being referred to as "an enhancement midget." The Shane Twins did the penis gimmick, but as mentioned, it was severely played down from the original idea as conceived by Russo.
  • More notes from the show: They brought out a bunch of women for a big segment and Dave, who spends his entire life watching wrestling, didn't know half of them. And even if he did, it wouldn't matter because there were no graphics to name any of them and even if there had been, the cameras were often showing the wrong woman when a name was announced. Anyway, among them were Francince from ECW (who Dave is worried about because she looked sickly thin), Shannon (formerly Daffney in WCW), Alexis Laree (better known years later as Mickie James), Elektra from ECW, Taylor Vaugn (formerly Barbara Bush in WWF), Erin (who was a finalist on Tough Enough season 1 but got booted from the show before production started because other contestants saw her out on a date with one of the judges and they complained and got her kicked off), and some others. At least one of the no-name chicks was a stripper they hired specifically for this show because they needed one more woman to make 10. Anyway, this all led to the expected brawl with Elektra getting her shirt ripped off to show her bra. It wasn't even that risque. If you're trying to use sex appeal to draw viewers, the worst thing you can do is be less risque than WWE is on free TV when you have the luxury of PPV (give em a few months and we'll get actual nudity on this show). Alicia Webb, formerly known in WWF as Ryan Shamrock (and who is dating Ken Shamrock in real life) was playing a prostitute collecting money from referee Mark Johnson.
  • Even more notes from the show: the NASCAR guys got a bigger pop than any of the wrestlers. K-Krush came out to confront them about not being real athletes and they did the racial angle. Brian Christopher got involved and funny story there, they were debating whether to use the last name Christopher, or his real last name of Lawler. Nobody told the announcers which it was gonna be so Mike Tenay kept using "Christopher" while Ed Ferrara kept using "Lawler." More WCW-level shit. Toby Keith performed. The gauntlet battle royal to crown the new champion featured Buff Bagwell, Prince Justice (later becomes Abyss), Konnan, Rick Steiner, Scott Hall, Jeff Jarrett, etc. Toby Keith ran in and suplexed Jarrett, causing him to get eliminated because why not? Chris Harris, Vampire Warrior, Steve Corino, and more. And when it got down to the last two, it became a regular match and Shamrock beat Malice to win the title with Steamboat as the special referee.
WATCH: NWA-TNA' s debut PPV (Full Show)
  • So that's the notes from the debut show. Are we done with TNA yet? Not by a long shot. They taped a whole second show, remember?! It hasn't aired yet so Dave hasn't seen it so here's the scarce details. The crowd started filing out after the first show ended and kept leaving as the second one was going, to the point that Jeremy Borash and Bert Prentice had to get on the mic and beg everyone to stay and then moved a bunch of people to the hard camera side so there wouldn't be visible empty seats all over the place. Lenny Lane and former WCW star Kwee-Wee were put together as a gay tag team called Rainbow Express, managed by Joel Gertner, and kissed each other instead of tagging each other to swap in and out during the match, which got a lot of heat because Alabama. A 9-woman battle royal (guess they didn't let the hired stripper actually work) to crown Miss TNA resulted in a bunch of women getting stripped half naked. They did a 4-way elimination match to crown the X-Division champion which was won by AJ Syles in what was said to be easily the best match of either show, with even Harley Race going on record later to say it was one of the best matches he'd ever seen. But by then, there were very few fans left in the building. And that is finally it for TNA news for now. Whew.
  • PRIDE's latest show is in the books and once again featured pro wrestlers drawing the crowd. NOAH's Yoshihiro Takayama replaced Mark Coleman in the main event (out due to injury) against Don Frye, leading to last minute interest from wrestling fans that packed the house. Frye defeated Takayama in what many are calling the best fight in the history of PRIDE. Takayama has had 3 fights in PRIDE and has lost all 3 of them, but all 3 of them were also show-stealing outright wars that, despite losing, has grown Takayama into an even bigger star. Afterward, Frye hinted at retiring from MMA and returning to NJPW full time. Dave hasn't seen this fight but it was described to him as "something out of Dragonball Z or a comic book" the way they were just throwing bombs at each other, with the crowd going insane (yeah the opening minute or so if this fight is absolute madness, video below). The show also featured Bob Sapp vs. Kiyoshi Tamura, which was a total mismatch. Tamura is a skilled MMA fighter, but Sapp outweighed him by literally almost 200 pounds and the fight was over in 11 seconds, with Sapp basically murdering him. Dave says it's clear they're trying to turn Sapp into a huge unbeatable monster psychopath and it's working. But Dave thinks it's bullshit to put fighters this mismatched against each other in real shoots. It was funny though because after what happened in Sapp's K-1 fight a few weeks ago, they made some new rules like no knees and no kicking a downed opponent, which is fine. But they also announced other rules for the fight, such as no flying sentons or splashes off the top ropes, which have never been done in an MMA fight and is utterly ridiculous (If Cormier doesn't hit Miocic with a Canadian destroyer at UFC 252 next month, what's even the point?). Another NOAH star, Takashi Suguira, lost a split decision with Daniel Gracie and Suguira had several NOAH wrestlers at ringside cheering him on. And of course, Antonio Inoki came out at intermission and did his catchphrase.
WATCH: Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Don Frye - PRIDE
  • UFC made its TV debut with a half-hour segment on Fox Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period" which featured a full Robbie Lawler vs. Steve Berger bout, as well as highlights of other fights. "Fear Factor" host Joe Rogan did commentary with Mike Goldberg and Jeff Osbourne. They aired several warnings during the show, but the violence ended up being far less brutal than most average boxing matches. The show drew a strong crowd and there's talk that this may become a regular thing on the network. They also hyped the planned Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock fight for later this year and Dave thinks TNA would be wise to get the NWA title off Shamrock before the fight, because he's going into it as the underdog. Plus, Shamrock would likely not want to risk injury or spend time flying to Nashville every week during the last few weeks of training. Wouldn't be a good look for TNA if Shamrock goes to the octagon with the NWA title belt and gets demolished by Ortiz. Also on the show, Chuck Liddell defeated Vitor Belfort in a war that catapulted Liddell into title contention and he'll likely face the winner of Shamrock/Ortiz sometime down the road.
  • Dave got his hands on a copy of Shaun Assael's new book "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation" even though it hasn't been released yet. Review time! The original concept for the book was to chronicle the Monday Night Wars, but just as the book was being finished, the whole business changed and since Vince became the lone survivor, the book was changed to focus on him and the WWF primarily. The book is fair and accurate for the most part. Assael didn't run from any of the controversial stories, but he also didn't sensationalize things to make them seem bigger than they were. If you're a long-time Observer reader, you already know all this stuff and could probably point out details or inconsistencies in the story, but to the average fan who hasn't been following all the behind-the-scenes stuff for the last 20 years, it's sure to be an eye-opener. Anyway, Dave recaps the book in detail, mostly just correcting things that the author got wrong but also acknowledging that this is an early review copy and some of these mistakes will be corrected before it's published and released. Otherwise, he just pokes holes in various myths and stories that are covered. The Observer was credited in the book for being one of the author's sources, specifically in regards to Dave's coverage of the steroid trial (yeah, if you haven't read it, go back and check those out. Dave actually attended the trial and his recap of it is one of the most must-read issues of the Observer in its entire history). The book pretty much ends at the death of WCW, though it does note that business has declined significantly since then. Overall, Dave says it's by far the best book on the real modern history of professional wrestling that he's ever read and is a must-read for any wrestling fan. But it's also too short (288 pages) to really get into all the detail needed to tell so many of these stories. But for what it is, best book of its type that Dave's ever read.
AMAZON LINK: "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation" by Shaun Assael
  • In AAA in Mexico, there's a new guy named Canibal who's gimmick is pulling his opponent's trunks down and biting them on the ass. It's too late. You already read the sentence. You can't un-know that now.
  • AJPW stars Kaz Hayashi and Kendo Kashin were supposed to be working some shows for AAA at the moment. Fun story, when they arrived in Mexico, nobody from AAA was there to meet them at the airport and nobody they called from the AAA office would answer the phone, so they basically found themselves stranded in Mexico with no idea what to do and unable to speak the language. Dave says the exact same thing happened to Great Sasuke several years ago when he went to Mexico. Anyway, last Dave heard, Hayashi and Kashin were trying to get themselves booked on some indie shows in Mexico so they can get some pictures of them working there to take back to the magazines in Japan (which was the whole reason for their trip) so they're just looking to work one or two shows and then go back home. They can't work for CMLL because that promotion has a business relationship with NJPW.
  • Last month, AAA held its 10th annual Triplemania show in Los Angeles. Here's the problem though: it was an utter flop, with embarrassing attendance and almost nobody even realizing it happened. So AAA has decided to just pretend it didn't happen and has now scheduled Triplemania X again, this time in Mexico (maybe WWE should do that next year. Since Wrestlemania was pretty much just in an empty warehouse this year, they shouldn't even acknowledge it. Just redo Wrestlemania 36 again next year and pretend it's the first time).
  • Remember the story a couple months ago about how Invader 1 (the guy who murdered Bruiser Brody) left the WWC promotion? Well, he was scheduled to return this week as a special referee for a Carlos Colon match but it ended up not happening. He said he wanted his return to be a surprise, but the story was already out on the internet that he was coming back. For what it's worth, almost none of the wrestling fans in Puerto Rico have internet (I did the research, only 17.5% of the country had internet access in 2002 and you gotta figure only a fraction of those are wrestling fans, so Dave is likely correct here) so it still would have been a surprise to probably 99% of them. But either way, Invader 1 pulled out of the show over it and still isn't back with the promotion.
  • Spanky (Brian Kendrick) won a tournament at an indie show in California to get a shot for the Zero-1/UPW unified title. That's not the important part. How it happened is the original guy who was scheduled to win ended up pulling out of the show at the last minute because his pregnant wife was overdue so he stayed behind to be with her. So they made a call to Spanky, who was in Cincinnati. He immediately packed up his car and was on the road 30 minutes after receiving the call. And didn't stop. He drove 30 hours straight, some 2,200 miles, and made it to the venue literally an hour or so before showtime and did the match. That's freakin' dedication (I think he's talked about this in a shoot interview before. Said he masturbated to stay awake and started vomiting uncontrollably halfway through the drive or something, but still made it. Madness.)
  • AJPW news: there are no truth to the rumors of a WWE/AJPW relationship, which was mentioned last week. Motoko Baba and Tenryu were at WWE's show in Hawaii to take photos for the Japanese magazines to make people think something is up, but there's nothing there. They were just visiting because Johnny Ace got them backstage. Also, the newspapers in Japan have begun reporting that Keiji Muto will take over as AJPW president when Ms. Baba retires, which confirms what Dave has been saying for months.
  • Kenta Kobashi's first match back for NOAH will be this week at Korakuen Hall. He'll be working undercard tag matches so he won't be doing too much. If you recall, he was out for over a year with knee injuries, had one match in February in which he re-injured himself again and has been out ever since.
  • Speaking of Korakuen Hall, NJPW's latest show there only drew 1,200 fans, which means the building was only half full. Just in case you're wondering how NJPW is doing in 2002. Not great.
  • Don Frye did an interview claiming Antonio Inoki is working to put together a match between himself and Mike Tyson. "Nobody is taking that seriously," Dave says.
  • Speaking of Japanese companies trying to latch on to the WWE train and speaking of lyin' ass Inoki: there have been rumors that Inoki is putting together a relationship with WWE. Not true. Inoki claimed recently that he had met with Vince McMahon about using some of WWE's undercard guys in NJPW and of starting his own promotion in the U.S. Dave says the meeting with Vince never happened and, in fact, the two men haven't gotten along or really even spoken at all in nearly 20 years.
  • More on Jesse Ventura's decision not to run for re-election as Minnesota governor. Part of the reason may be that the polls are showing he would likely lose the race. Of course, that's what the polls said last time and he shocked the world. But after 4 years in office, his popularity isn't near what it was back then, when he was the exciting outsider. Now the voters have seen what he brings to the table and they don't seem to like it too much. Ventura was already planning to make the announcement, but then the story about his son hosting parties at the governor's mansion broke, and Ventura made the announcement 2 days earlier than he'd planned. Using the criticism that his son has gotten in the media as his excuse for not running provided Ventura a good "out" but he was already planning not to run long before that story happened and the press conference had been scheduled nearly 2 weeks earlier, so take it with a grain of salt. Most likely, he saw the writing on the wall and knew he was going to lose if he ran again.
  • Notes from the latest Ring of Honor event: it was said to be an incredible show, with guys like Bryan Danielson, Low-Ki, Christopher Daniels, Spanky, Jerry Lynn, AJ Styles, and more all having amazing matches. There was a moment during the show where Scoot Andrews went to hit Christopher Daniels' valet, Lucious. But then he stopped himself and said he'd never hit a woman, but he knew somebody who would. This was a tease to bring out another female wrestler, but the crowd started chanting for Steve Austin. The show drew 450 fans and sold out the building, which is the largest crowd ROH has drawn so far.
  • Famous St. Louis Cardinal announcer Jack Buck passed away a couple weeks ago and Dave notes that Buck actually had some involvement in wrestling back in the day. He used to do radio broadcasting of Sam Muchnick's shows live for KMOX radio in the 1960s and there's even a picture somewhere out there of Giant Baba picking Buck up and holding him like a baby. (I actually just watched the 30 For 30 documentary on the McGwire/Sosa home run race and they talked about Jack Buck in there. Good times. Anyway, someone find that picture because I'm having no luck).
  • Sting is scheduled to make an appearance, but not wrestle, at an indie show Harley Race is putting together this week in St. Louis. This will be Sting's first wrestling-related appearance since WCW folded.
  • In case you're wondering what XPW and Rob Black are up to these days, allow Dave to fill you in. Black is currently doing an angle where he's pretending he had a stroke and he pisses and shits on himself all over TV. They also did a segment where wrestler GQ Money (now a producer for NXT) broke into Black's home and tried to rape his wife until somebody made the save. The next week, they showed Money supposedly raping a girl in the parking lot and leaving her for dead, and the week after, he got sprayed with raw sewage. Now they're building up to a raw sewage match, based on this rape storyline. XPW, folks.
  • Dave has some more notes on Cody Runnels, the son of Dusty Rhodes who was backstage at WWE's show in Atlanta last week. Cody is a sophomore in high school and placed 6th in the state in amateur wrestling the past year. He also plays football. He was described to Dave as having a similar physical look as Randy Orton, "but with a face like Dusty."
  • WWA's scheduled tour of Europe has been officially canceled. The German and Switzerland shows had abysmal ticket sales and pretty much had to be canceled. The show in Ireland had more than 4,000 tickets sold and would have been a success, but even so, that one show alone wasn't going to make enough money to offset the cost of the whole tour.
  • This is actually hilarious. UFC fighter Vitor Belfort and his training partner were in a taxi before the UFC show when a bunch of cops showed up and surrounded the car. Why, you ask? Well the cab driver overheard Belfort and his partner talking about "shooting at the legs" and she got scared, not knowing what they were talking about, and called the police. Seems like they got it all straightened out though.
  • Rock will be working nearly full-time on TV from now until Summerslam, at which point he's leaving for a few months to go film his next movie. He won't be on every Smackdown, but he'll be on most of them.
  • Nothing new on the Goldberg/WWE negotiations. Vince McMahon told Goldberg's agents that he will clear his schedule any time Goldberg wants to have a meeting, but Goldberg doesn't seem particularly interested. The fact that WWE rehired Russo probably won't help matters because Goldberg is one of the many who doesn't like Russo.
  • Shawn Michaels is booked to be in Kevin Nash's corner on upcoming house shows once Nash is cleared to wrestle again. There's still no plans for Shawn to wrestle, but given how depleted the WWE roster is right now, Dave is sure they'll probably start pushing him to sooner than later (Nash ends up getting injured again almost immediately, so I don't think Shawn ever did these house show appearances).

Looks like this is one of those issues where I went over the 40,000 character limit. Hit the comments below for the rest.

submitted by daprice82 to SquaredCircle [link] [comments]

All the Major Released JRPG Translation Projects Guide! [2018 to July 2020]

Another day another guide, here is one I have always wanted to do, but didn't have time for, a translation oatch guide for the big releases that happened in the past 2 years or so for JRPGs, also know that This isn't ALL of them, just the ones I found note worthy, and there is still more but I ran out of space, but please do post anyone you think should have been here. I hope you find this helpful.

Important Notes:

  • Each title will include links to the translation group site if avilable, and/or to the romhacking project page.
  • Each title will also include links to a youtube trailer or gameplay footage.
  • The descriptions are either taken from the project pages (romhacking), the translation group website, or are written by me in case they had no description in either websites.
  • The dates are for the patch release, and Not the game's release.
  • Credits to individuals from each translation team are either in the project pages, or the translation group website.
  • I would like to thank all the people involved in these translation projects, for their hard work and love for the community.

Translation Projects Released in 2018:

Asuncia: Matsue no Jubaku - PS1 - 09 January 2018.

Asuncia: Matsue no Jubaku is a role playing game for the PlayStation.
An odd sort of RPG, with a simple storyline. Its strategic elements involve fighting your way through a series of randomly generated maps. You earn a score by protecting towns, defeating dungeons, defeating monsters in specific combinations and such. Through the Story Mode, you unlock characters and levels for the quick battle mode.

Shin Seikoku: La Wares - SNES - 14 February 2018:

In this 1995 J-Force-developed, Yukata-published RPG you get a fairly unique mix of medieval fantasy combined with mecha armour. The game is an official adaptation of popular Japanese pen and paper RPG brand Wares Blade, featuring Golems (mechs) from an ancient civilization that can only be piloted by certain people and shape the entire concept of civilization and warfare. The combat takes place in a Dragon Quest/Phantasy Star first-person viewpoint, but it's divided into classic party combat in the dungeons and Golem combat in boss fights and over-world encounters.
The game starts with a plot by a shady bunch to revive one of the eight sacred Golems and the unlikely pair of main protagonists: The young bandit Chiffon and tomboy princess Michelda. You can sample the new English translation in the prologue below. If the characters and box artwork style look familiar, you are probably a Sailor Moon fan. No, those designs are not just inspired by Kazuko Tadano, those are her actual creations! She was part of the team working in the game and these certainly translate her style very well.

MegaMan Battle Network Operate Star Force - NDS - 22 February 2018:

Rockman EXE Operate Star Force was originally released for the Nintendo DS in Japan in 2009. It never saw a statewide release. It’s generally regarded as a low-effort port of the first Battle Network, but with a Star Force crossover scenario tacked on. Despite this reputation, the game still improves the first Battle Network in many ways such as various minor text, graphic, and balance changes throughout the game. The game also includes the new multi-player Star Colo mode.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails To Azure - PSP - 28 February 2018:

Eiyuu Densetsu: Ao no Kiseki is a turn-based role playing game for the PlayStation Portable and is the fifth entry in Falcom’s Kiseki franchise and the direct sequel to Zero no Kiseki.

Importnat Note:

The translation group The Geofront, who did "Trails from Zero", are working on translating this game too, Here is a link to their website page, and I am told their releases are of higher quality than this one, in case you want to wait.

Atelier Marie+Elie: The Alchemists of Salburg-Episodes 1 & 2 - PS2 - 18 March 2018:

A remaster of the two first titles in the Gust’s Atelier series, Atelier Marie: The Alchemist of Salburg, and Atelier Elie: The Alchemist of Salburg 2, which features redrawn and improved graphics, a reworked graphical interface, and redone mini-games.
In Atelier Marie, the worst student in the Academy, Marlone, is given a final chance by her teacher Ingrid to graduate by making a special item in a span of five years. Therefore, Marie will have to adventure throughout the lands surrounding Salburg to find ingredients to synthesize items, take requests from the local bar to make money, and make friends with the adventurers that will escort her through the monster-filled lands.
In Atelier Elie, a newly-enrolled student called Elfir must overcome the fact that she entered the Academy under special conditions by proving herself as a capable alchemist in the Contest the Academy holds once a year, while also looking for clues about the person who saved her life when she was about to die from the plague. In addition to traveling around Salburg, Elfir’s journeys in search of ingredients will take her to even more distant places, with even more items to find and more people to meet.

Digimon Adventure - PSP - 23 March 2018:

Digimon Adventure is a JRPG that follows the first season of the Digimon anime. A group of kids get caught up in a freak snowstorm, and are transported to the Digital World. There they meet some strange monsters named Digimon and try to find their way back to the real world.

G.O.D.: Mezameyo to Yobu Koe ga Kikoe - SNES - 01 April 2018:

The year is 1999. A boy named Gen lives together with his mother in a small Japanese city. One day he goes to the nearby mountains and discovers an underground cave. In this cave, he encounters a strange bat-like creature guarding what appears to be a huge diamond. When Gen approaches the diamond, the floor crumbles, and all he can see is a group of aliens descending on the Earth… Gen is awakened by a man in a military uniform. He quickly gets up, and notices a calendar. The year is 2009! Ten years have passed, of which there is no recollection in Gen’s memory. The world has changed a lot during those years. Aliens have invaded the Earth, many cities are destroyed, and he finds himself amidst the members of an underground resistance movement. Now he has to travel all over the world, help the humans in their struggle, and discover the secret of the invasion.
The game is a console-style RPG with randomly encountered enemies whom you fight in turn-based combat viewed from “over-the-shoulder” perspective, similar to Phantasy Star IV. Gen and other party members develop special powers called “chakra”, which can be leveled up just like the characters themselves.

Last Bible III - SNES - 12 April 2018:

The Last Bible series of games began on the Game Boy as a spinoff of the Megami Tensei franchise. Instead of the usual near-future apocalypse setting, Last Bible’s setting is closer to light medieval fantasy. Combat is turn-based, and retains the Megaten standard of being able to persuade enemies to join your team, as well as fusing them together to create stronger beasts.

Super Robot Taisen A Portable - PSP - 19 June 2018:

The story is independent from other entries, so the game can be played regardless of whether you have played Original Generation for instance. You will however play as either Axel or Lamia, whose stories are more fleshed out here than in the GBA entries. As is the tradition in Super Robot Wars, the story branches on some occasions to invite you to multiple playthroughs.
The game features a special “evasion erosion” mechanism, and enemies with a lot of evasion. This has made fans consider this game as one of the harder entries in the Super Robot Wars series.
Other game features include (skippable) battle animations with voices, in-battle and in-dialog save options, multiple spirits casting in a single action, multiple pilots for some of the bigger mechs.
This is actually a PlayStation Portable remake of the Game Boy Advance game with the same title (without “Portable”). Some of the features mentioned above were not present on its GBA counterpart, and the graphics are obviously higher res’ and re-done.

Super Famicom Wars - SNES - 21 July 2018:

The immediate ancestor to the beloved turn-based tactics game Advance Wars, Super Famicom Wars is a turn-based military strategy game developed by Intelligent Systems, published by Nintendo and first released on May 1 1998. It can be regarded as the direct successor to the original Famicom Wars, vastly improving on the original game while retaining its core ideas. The game was made available exclusively via the Nintendo Power re-writable cartridge system, making it one of the hardest Super Famicom titles to obtain today.
During the months prior to its Nintendo Power release several teasedemo versions of Super Famicom Wars were released on the Satellaview broadcast service, each featuring one map from the full game. Super Famicom Wars have later been re-released on Wii and Wii U as part of the Virtual Console library, again exclusively in Japan.
While most fans will agree that the series made huge improvements with each consecutive game at least up until the first Advance Wars title, Super Famicom Wars does offer a few unique features and enough original flavor to make it stand out as a great game in its own right.

Aretha - SNES - 03 September 2018:

In a far away land, war was raging, as an evil ruler sent his troops to invade the castle of a mighty king. His minions stormed the castle and burnt it down. The king could not escape his fate, and the villain thought no one was spared by his wrath...
Present time. You are Ariel, a little girl who lives with her old wise grandmother in a small house near a mountain range, north to the forest. She just turned ten, and the grandmother sends her on a seemingly simple quest: to go through the forest to Nineveh, the nearby town, and to meet there a certain person. But what starts as a simple assignment soon develops into the quest for magic powers of Aretha, the ultimate battle against the evil, and the discovery of Ariel's own true identity.
The game is a console-style RPG, where Ariel and her party travel on the world map, through forests, mountain paths, and caves, occasionally visiting towns and fighting monsters in turn-based combat viewed from first-person perspective, using a variety of physical and special attacks.
Important Note: The 2nd game, Aretha 2 was also translated and released by the same group, you can find the patch in the same gourp's website.

Super Robot Wars Gaiden: The Elemental Lords - Masoukishin - SNES - 04 September 2018:

Super Robot Wars Gaiden follows the original story of Masaki Andoh, herald of the Elemental Lord Cybuster, both before and after events of the original Super Robot Wars canon (SRW 2, 3, EX, 4.) It is the first Super Robot War to only contain original characters and plots, the first (and one of the few) to have its robots represented in a realistic, non-SD style, the first to be isometric. It and its followups are the only SRWs to feature directional and height modifiers to damage and accuracy calculations. Due to its nature as an original story, and due to it taking place at the very beginning of Masaki’s timeline, it serves as an excellent entry point into the Super Robot Wars series.

Laplace no Ma - SNES - 06 September 2018:

Laplace’s Demon is a horror RPG with a Lovecraftian bent. Set in the fictional town of Newcam, Massachusetts in 1924, the player and several paranormal investigators look into some disturbing rumors surrounding a mansion on the outskirts of town.

Tenshi no Uta: Shiroki Tsubasa no Inori - SNES - 14 October 2018:

Song of the Angel was a game released in 1994 by Telnet Japan and had many of the developers who would eventually form the famous ‘Wolf Team’ that brought us Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean! Many musical tracks were also done by the same composer too. Play the game, and the music and atmosphere will be very familiar to fans of the aforementioned games. Even though the game is rather obscure, its developers certainly are not!
The gameplay is the typical 1994 RPG battle engine, with a few additions. The most notable addition is the Parley system. This system allows you to parley with monsters using several languages in order to befriend or negotiate outcomes. Options include gaining gold, purchasing special items, gaining experience, raising friendship points, and more! There are day/night cycles that effect dialog as well as changing wares in certain shops. You will walk, teleport, sail on a boat, and fly on an ancient ark by the time your adventure concludes.
Tenshi No Uta is a love story at its core. A young man named Rayard meets a traveling circus performer and songstress named Callana. They fall in love early, but part ways due to Callana’s traveling lifestyle. After many days of misery, Rayard pulls himself together and sets out to tell Callana how he really feels. Thus, the real journey begins! This game has angels, demons, and even Satan himself! The story and writing are the stand-outs of this game. If you appreciate substance over style, you’ll enjoy this game for its charming core!

7th Dragon 2020-II - PSP - 22 October 2018:

7th Dragon 2020-II is a direct sequel to 7th Dragon 2020. Producer Rieko Kodama (Phantasy Star, Skies of Arcadia), composer Yuzo Kushiro (Streets of Rage, Etrian Odyssey) and character designer Shirow Miwa (Dogs, Kiznaiver) return, as does Hatsune Miku herself.
It is essentially a dungeon crawler in a world control by dragons, but of course it adds it's own twist to the formula. You get to create your own party members (gendeclass/ect...).

Shin Megami Tensei if... - SNES - 25 October 2018:

The third primary SNES Shin Megami Tensei title, if... is a bit of an odd duck. Gone are the sweeping stories of biblical conflict, gone are the branching stories based on your choices and alignment, though your alignment is still present. Instead, if tells the story of a disturbed teenager who makes a deal with a demon, and in doing so drags his school, his classmates, and his teachers into the Abyss, where they are subjected to various tortures modeled after the seven deadly sins. Instead of having path splits based on alignment, individual changes to your story are determined by which of four partners you recruit at the very beginning of the game, one of whom is only available on subsequent playthroughs. The more character-oriented plot and the high school setting almost makes this feel more like a Persona game (or a Devil Summoner game, if you discount the high school bits) than a mainstream SMT.
In fact, there are distinct parallels that can be drawn between if and the Persona games, especially the first one. The plots are somewhat similar, for one - the final dungeons in both games are essentially the creations of one of the main characters´ psyches. The female version of if...´s main character is canonically Tamaki Uchida, who shows up in Persona 1 as a student and in Persona 2 as a Devil Summoner employed by the Kuzunoha Detective Agency. And whenever the protagonist or partner characters die, they acquire a new "Guardian," a demon whose darkened image sits behind their portrait and that grants them spells and stat bonuses... sound familiar? Unlike personas however, Guardians cannot be freely swapped or fused; a character unfortunately needs to be killed in battle in order to receive a new Guardian.

Majin Tensei II: Spiral Nemesis - SNES - 09 December 2018:

The 2nd game in the series, and it's like the first one, but just with more everything, and more focus on the story this time around, as for the story, will demons invade and you know the drill.
Of course just as the first game, this is a Fire Emblem like turn-based game, think Devil Survivor, but years before it, so its not far fetched to see this is the original Devil survivor game.

Ni no Kuni: Shikkoku no Madoushi - NDS - 09 December 2018:

The Original Ni Nu Kuni that came before the PS3 version, and while it ends earlier then where the PS3 version ends, it still has exclusive content to compensate, it has a unique turn-based battle system, a magic system that uses the styles and needs you to read through the magic book that was given with the game. The book was also translated of course.

.hack//LINK - PSP - 15 December 2018:

.hack//Link's story starts in a new version of “The World,” a popular series of MMORPGs known as The World: RX, and essntially it's a kind of a crossovefan-service action game rpg for all the different .hack games, you'll meet and join all the famouse and well known characters from the games in the series.

Translation Projects Released in 2019:

Linkle Liver Story - Sega Saturn - 02 January 2019:

This is an action RPG, though it's light on the RPG part, the gampelay is similar to Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but with some really good looking and smooth animations.

Medarot R - PS1 - 23 May 2019:

Medarot R is an RPG starring the characters of the Medabots franchise.
The battles take place on a separate field and they are turn-based. Each Medabot has separate health bars for the legs, arms and the head. Defeating a medabot is done by destroying the head part and each body part can have its own attack that players can use until the part has been destroyed. Up to 3 Medabots can take part in combat and some attacks have a limited ammo.
While sharing the characters from the Anime series, the story is loosely based on it and the story of the second Game Boy game. The game starts with Ikki waking up on his birthday to find a Medabot in his room - a present from his parents. Without a medal though, the Medabot is useless. After witnessing a customer at the store trying to sell his Medabot to the storekeeper, Ikki is engaged in a battle with the customer and receives a medal from the Phantom Renegade so he could confront the pesky salesman.
Players will gain experience to level up their medals, as well as win new parts for their Medabots after winning battles. Players can also spend money on parts if they want to.
A unique feature of the game is the Weather Forecast which is given by a Medabot and which offers hints on what would happen during the day. (Description taken from the Moby Games page)

Fire Emblem: Thracia 776- SNES - 31 May 2019:

It's The last Fire Emblem game to be made by the series original creator Shouzou Kaga, if you haven't played a Shouzou Kaga Fire Emblem game then you are missing out on what made the series so good to begin with, number wise it's the 5th FE game. It takes place between chapter 5 and 8 of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, and it attempts to improve on it while changing and adding new feature that since have become a stable of the series, also fun fact, Genealogy of the Holy War is considered by most fans to be one of the best FE games ever made.
While it doesn't have the gigantic maps that FE: Genealogy of the Holy War had with it's multi-castle capturing objectives, they are still big by today's standards and they traded in the extra size for more intricate map designs. It's the First FE game to have the Rescue system, which one unit basically takes another unit and drags it with it, it's used to take out units that are in danger of dying out of combat, and to protect weaker units.
The First FE game to have the Capture system. First FE game to have Fog of War, increasing the difficulty even further because you never know what's ahead of you while moving, and can run into enemies at any time.
First FE game to have the Fatigue system. The First FE game to have Gaiden Chapters, which are Extra chapters that are unlocked by meeting specific requirements in the previous chapter, where the player can get a new item or characters, and learn more about the story. The First FE game to have Escape chapters, which are chapters where you have to run away while while fighting unlimited amounts of enemy reinforcements, also your units can be captured in these chapters, and if they were, they can still be rescued in the Gaiden Chapters. First FE game to have Weapon Ranks along with Genealogy of the Holy War , but it is the first game where you are be able to increase the ranks by gaining weapon experience.
Finally, this is a challenging game, if you are used to the current FE style, then don't go into this expecting the same hand holding you get in the current FE games, seriously this game is considered to be one of, if not, the hardest game in all of the FE series.

Majin Tensei - SNES - 09 August 2019:

The first ever spin-off for the SMT series, and the 2nd SMT game ever (after Shin Megami Tensei) to be developed by Atuls.
With a story that follows closely the Manga by the same name, it's actually a Strategy turn-based game, similar to the Devil Survivor series, but with gameplay closer to Fire Emblem.
The story has multiple Endings, and while it might not as heavy on story as others in the series, it makes it for it with gameplay. But either way, if you're a fan of the series, this isn't one you want to miss.

Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Endless Frontier EXCEED - NDS - 13 October 2019:

The SRWOG Saga: Endless Frontier series, is a JRPG spinoff of the famous SRW series made for the DS, by Banpresto and co-developed Monolith Soft (Xenoblade/Xenosaga), but with a completely different combat system and universe.
To put it simply, if you ever played Namco X Capcom or Project x Zone, then you'll immediately be familiar with the concept of this game, to put it simply, it's a crossover game with characters from different games are teleported into the world of the Endless Frontier, a world that is already made out of a combination of multiple worlds connected via Gates. Of course this is a very bare idea of the games world, but it's enough for you to get the idea. Though the amount of game series that are in this crossover world are only 3 (excluding the Endless Frontier), SRW OG, Xenosaga, and Namco X Capcom.
The game's combat system is a mix of traditional turned based combat and a very well done Combo juggling System, probably the best version of this combat system right now, it's tweaked and balanced to maximize the fun value of the system, and just when you thought it couldn't get any better, BAM! comes SRWOG Saga: Endless Frontier Exceed to blow you away, sadly only the first one was offically released in English, but here comes Artema Translations to save the day, enjoy.

Hero Senki: Project Olympus - SNES - 24 December 2019:

Hero Senki is a crossover RPG. It is similar in style to Super Robot Wars but features tokusatsu characters such as Kamen Rider and Ultraman alongside Gundam characters. It is also the first appearance of Gilliam Jaeger, a dimension-hopping traveler who goes on to appear in several Super Robot War titles.

Mega Man Battle Network 4.5: Real Operation - GBA - 28 November 2019:

An outlier in the series, lacking the traditional story and battle system that players had come to expect. The game places you in the role of the operator; instead of controlling just MegaMan, you can choose from over 20 different NetNavis to play. In battle, you don’t control your Navi directly, but they move on their own, and you are restricted to sending them commands and BattleChips. The game featured a Real-Time Clock, and its slimmed-down single player campaign revolved around an Internet that changes in real-time, even while the game is shut off.

Sakura Wars - Sega Saturn - 18 December 2019:

Sakura Wars is a Tactical Mecha JRPG, but this one is more of a dating-sim/JRPG hybrid, while it does have mecha combat, the focus of the game is split between playing through a VN/dating-sim like gameplay where you make choices and decisions that will affect your relationships with the rest of the female cast of your party, while the other half of the game is a really satisfying ass kicking mecha action, and this game doesn't hold back because you can use killing moves galore, the whole combat is really flashy and a treat to watch.
The game also doesn't keep those two halves separate from each other, because both will affect the other, especially how the main character (you) behave during the VN/dating-sim part of the game, every choices you make, of which there will be a lot of, because this game is all about having you make choices and give a reactions to whatever happens to you or infront of you, and this is done by the series famous and classic system called LIPS, or Live & Interactive Picture System, and the choices you make will not only change the relations between you and the rest of the female cast, but will also change the relations they have between each other, and that will reflected on the battlefield.

Translation Projects Released in 2020:

Earth Seeker - Wii - 06 January 2020:

Stranded on a foreign planet is the least of your concerns in Earth Seeker, that place is full of monsters. Stop time in the real time battles to combo them. There are no complicated sequence of inputs, this easy to master system will appeal to players who are unaccustomed to action games or turn based battles.
Besides stopping time, players can recruit allies into their team. The inhabitants of the planet Guardians each master their element. With a bit of alcohol in your possession, you can have them fight for you. Come explore this dangerous and colorful world.(Description taken from the dolphine wiki)

Brave Prove - PS1 - 01 February 2020:

Brave Prove is an action-RPG in a similar vein as the ThoOasis series where you gather Elementals in your quest and save the world. It also features a combo system that is somewhat unique and more reminiscent of a fighting game or beat ‘em up. Give it a try, you might be surprised at how good it is.

Tear Ring Saga Series: Berwick Saga - PS2 - 19 February 2020:

Berwick Saga is a game made under the auspices of Shōzō Kaga, the man who created Fire Emblem. He left Intelligent Systems quite unceremoniously at the turn of the century and went on to found his own development studio, Tirnanog. Tirnanog only developed two games before it was acquired by Enterbrain, and they are collectively called the TearRing Saga Series. Because the games were made by Kaga and are extremely similar to FE, they are usually included among FE fansites as honorary titles. (taken from this post)

Trails from Zero - PC - 15 March 2020:

Time wise, this story happens right after Trails in the Sky, and at the same time as the Erebonian arc from Trails of Cold Steel. For the most part the game uses the same combat system, with some new additions.

Metal Max 3 - NDS - 23 June 2020:

Metal Max 3 is a nonlinear post-apocalyptic role playing game for the Nintendo DS, where you can fight inside vehicles as well as on foot. The game was released in Japan only. Think Fallout but crazier.
Finally as always please drop a thank you to people who worked on these patch, here or on their websites, it takes years of hard work, doing hacking, programming, translating, editing, and testing to bring these patches to the JRPG community, and all of it is done for free, so if you're going to use it, or hell, even if you won't, a thank you wouldn't cost you anything.
submitted by VashxShanks to JRPG [link] [comments]

Long-term effects of COVID-19 may create a generation of the disabled

Welcome, dear readers, to my semi-regular coronavirus roundup.
The title refers to Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine scientist, who told CNN: “We're starting to see long-term disability from this illness...In many ways we're gonna be producing a generation of disabled individuals." (video)
  • HOW TO SUPPORT: I know we are all facing unprecedented financial hardships right now. If you are in the position to support my work, I have a patreon, venmo, and a paypal set up. No pressure though, I will keep posting these pieces no matter what - paywalls suck.
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Long-term health effects

More research and anecdotal evidence indicate that those who survive the coronavirus often suffer long-term and recurring effects. This illustrates the foolishness of celebrating a lower death rate as indicative of a less severe outbreak.
The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study of Italian 143 patients (average age 56) discharged from the hospital after “recovery” from COVID-19. Two months later, only 13% were symptom-free. 87.4% reported persistence of at least 1 symptom, particularly fatigue and dyspnea (labored breathing). Worsened quality of life was observed among 44.1% of patients.
  • Further reading: “Report Suggests Some ‘Mildly Symptomatic’ Covid-19 Patients Endure Serious Long-Term Effects,” Forbes, summarizes European studies
There is increasing evidence that COVID-19 causes permanent lung-scarring:
In a study from China, published in March, 66 of 70 patients still had some level of lung damage after being discharged from hospital.
Radiologists in the UK say, based on the early results of follow-up scans, they are concerned about the long term-effects of a serious infection. "In the six-week scans we're seeing, so far I would say between 20% and 30% of patients who have been in hospital appear to show some early signs of lung scarring," says Dr Hare, who helped draw up NHS radiology protocols to diagnose Covid-19.
According to Berkley’s John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology, other organs are negatively impacted, too:
Another area is the heart. There is evidence now that the virus can directly attack heart muscle cells, and there’s also evidence that the cytokine storm that the virus triggers in the body not only damages the lungs, but can damage the heart… it could be that we will have a population of people who survive COVID-19 only to go on and have chronic cardiac problems.
The third organ system that we’re now pretty clear about is the central nervous system. There is evidence of direct involvement of the virus with neurons, and also the cytokine storm and inflammatory mediators can cause damage to the central nervous system. This is manifesting itself not only in neurologic clinical findings, but also psychological findings...
Finally, it has become clear that infection with SARS-CoV-2 triggers abnormal clotting of the blood in some people. This has led to pulmonary emboli, which are blood clots that travel to and damage the lungs, and strokes, which are blood clots in the vascular system of the brain. Both pulmonary emboli and strokes may have long-term consequences for these two organs.
  • Further reading: “Severe brain damage possible even with mild coronavirus symptoms,” DW
The Atlantic interviewed nine people who have COVID-19 and were never admitted to an ICU, meaning they qualify as having a “mild” case of the disease. However, they are just a handful of thousands suffering long-term health challenges as a result.
...their lives have nonetheless been flattened by relentless and rolling waves of symptoms that make it hard to concentrate, exercise, or perform simple physical tasks. Most are young. Most were previously fit and healthy. “It is mild relative to dying in a hospital, but this virus has ruined my life,” LeClerc said. “Even reading a book is challenging and exhausting. What small joys other people are experiencing in lockdown—yoga, bread baking—are beyond the realms of possibility for me.”
...As many people reported “brain fogs” and concentration challenges as coughs or fevers. Some have experienced hallucinations, delirium, short-term memory loss, or strange vibrating sensations when they touch surfaces. Others are likely having problems with their sympathetic nervous system, which controls unconscious processes like heartbeats and breathing: They’ll be out of breath even when their oxygen level is normal, or experience what feel like heart attacks even though EKG readings and chest X-rays are clear. These symptoms wax, wane, and warp over time.
Further reading: “How Covid-19 can damage the brain,” BBC; “New-Onset Diabetes in Covid-19,” PubMed; “Lifelong Lung Damage: The Serious COVID-19 Complication That Can Hit People in Their 20s,” Heathline

Equipment and supplies

The National Stockpile is still short on personal protective equipment (PPE)... An internal report revealed that:
  • FEMA and the national stockpile have fewer than 900,000 gloves in reserve after shipping 82.7 million of them — or just 30 percent of the amount requested by state, local and tribal governments — since the COVID-19 crisis began
  • there are 329,000 pairs of goggles on hand, and the administration has only been able to provide 29 percent of the 4.9 million requested by state and local governments so far, according to the tables.
  • Similarly, 8.5 million gowns are warehoused — the HHS Department did not break down how many are surgical and how many are nonsurgical — while only 5.2 million of the 17.9 million surgical gowns requested (29 percent) have been shipped out.
  • The administration has also struggled in its efforts to procure body bags. State and local governments have requested 175,797 of them, according to the HHS data, but only 69,067 have been provided.
In particular, nursing homes and long-term care facilities say there is a major personal protective equipment shortage.
"Currently, nearly 20 percent of nursing homes report to CDC [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] that they either do not have or have less than a one-week supply of PPE, and more than half of assisted living communities have less than a two-week supply of N-95 masks and gowns… N-95 masks are still not available and were not included in the FEMA shipments to nursing homes."
  • Further reading: America is running short on masks, gowns, and gloves. Again. Health-care workers are scrambling for supplies and reusing equipment as the coronavirus pandemic surges
  • Further reading: Nearly four months after invoking the Defense Production Act, the Trump administration has made only sparing use of its authorities, leaving front-line workers in dire need of supplies like masks, gowns, and gloves amid the recent surge in cases.
  • Further reading: Private sector officials testified to the House Oversight Cmte that the Trump administration’s failure to bring procurement efforts under a federal umbrella was “one of the biggest missed opportunities.” The companies informed Committee staff that they have serious concerns that “raw material for PPE is now in a really bad position worldwide.” As one company official stated: “Supply is still coming in, but not enough to meet demand.”
Some White House staffers argued against a DOJ effort to stop price-gouging and scamming during the pandemic… These “free-marketeers” felt the massive influx of people wheeling and dealing for PPE was a sign that the free market was working efficiently to move materials where they needed to go. However, some watchdog groups say that the DOJ’s task force didn’t go far enough.
Two federal agencies gave nearly $20 million in contracts to a newly formed California company without realizing the owner was sued by the same government. Jason Cardiff, of VPL Medical LLC, was sanctioned by the Federal Trade Commission for running a fraudulent scheme.
  • Further reading: The federal government is essentially providing seed money to PPE startups, including some run by people accused of fraud. Mask brokers describe a simple blueprint for buying masks from China to get rich.
Trump Is Donating Ventilators to Countries That Don’t Need or Can’t Use Them… White House officials have pushed the U.S. Agency for International Development to purchase thousands of the expensive devices from U.S. companies and donate them abroad...The administration’s decisions on ventilator distribution appear to have little correlation to the number of coronavirus deaths or infections in a country.

Testing in the U.S.

Numerous states are reporting shortages in testing supplies are significantly slowing down their testing capacity. For instance, Louisiana, Oregon, Arkansas, Nebraska, and California have experienced have seen a shortage in testing kits, chemical reagents, and other necessary supplies.
  • On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Trump to use the Defense Production Act “immediately to address the need for the testing equipment” and “equipment to make judgments about positive or negative.”
Some areas are experiencing testing delays of over a week, so long that the results are proving useless to the effort to control the disease. The surge in infection, especially in the southern states, has overwhelmed labs and caused a shortage of supplies across the nation. Private labs Quest and LabCorp say the backlog is growing unsustainably large.
  • The federal government never fixed fundamental infrastructure problems, experts say: “Instead of building that out, our federal response was to do the very least possible. So each time the system is stretched now, it breaks down all over again,” said Ashish K. Jha, who directs the Harvard Global Health Institute. “It’s frustrating because . . . it’s not like, ‘Oh my god, we just figured out we need to do testing.’ We’ve literally been talking about this for months.”
The ripple effect of the increased cases in the south has impacted other states, causing backlogs across the nation. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: “This is a challenge because these southern states are creating a huge demand on these commercial labs…But we need help from the federal government. I’ve said this now for four or five months… We need to have a very rapid turnaround time so that our contact tracing can be successful and we need national leadership to help in that regard”
The number of daily coronavirus tests being conducted in the U.S. is only 39% of the target rate needed to mitigate the spread of the virus. Just 12 states—Maine, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Alaska, Hawaii, West Virginia, Montana, Kansas, and Washington, D.C.—are testing at the optimal rate, NYT reported.
Trump has continued to rant about testing “creating” cases of COVID-19. “Test everybody, pull-up parking lots, everything else, what we’ve done is we’ve created a tremendous number of cases.” Trump told Fox News commentator Sean Hannity in a phone interview (video).
  • Fact check: The US is testing slightly more than similar places (113 tests/1000 people, vs 99/1000 people in the UK, 92/1000 people in Italy, 73/1000 people in Germany.) But it's finding a proportionately greater share of cases (U.S.: 9,250 cases/million, vs. 4,400 cases/million in UK, 3,900 cases/million in Italy and 2,500 cases/million in Germany.)

Reopening schools

Some further reading on reopening schools:
  • 'Science should not stand in the way' of schools reopening, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany says.
  • The CDC will not release a set of documents this week aimed at giving schools advice on how to reopen. Instead, the full set will be published before the end of the month, a CDC spokesperson says.
  • This summer camp in Missouri took extraordinary covid-19 precautions. It still failed. More than 80 campers, counselors, and staff tested positive.
  • At least 30 and possibly as many as 85 kids and counselors at two Georgia YMCA camps tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing closure.
  • Nearly a Thousand COVID-19 Cases Reported in California Day Cares
  • Millions of Seniors Live In Households with School-Age Children
  • Two researchers presented their ideas (informed by “pandemic math”) of how to most safely reopen schools: (1) stagger start dates, (2) have small groups of students alternate school days and work from home days to reduce class sizes, (3) everyone must wear masks and eat lunch in classrooms. The authors state that communities with high infection rates should postpone reopening schools.

Masks and anti-masks

Some further reading on face masks:
  • States that now have a statewide mask requirement in public indoor spaces include: Alabama (Repub. governor), Arkansas (R), California (Dem. governor), Colorado (D), Connecticut (D), Delaware (D), D.C. (D), Illinois (D), Kansas (D), Kentucky (D), Louisiana (D), Maine (D), Maryland (R), Massachusetts (R), Michigan (D), Nevada (D), New Jersey (D), New Mexico (D), New York (D), North Carolina (D), Oregon (D), Pennsylvania (D), Rhode Island (D), Texas (R), Virginia (D), Washington (D), and West Virginia (R). Montana is not yet on that list but issued a face-mask order on Wednesday.
  • Conspicuously absent from this list: Georgia, Florida, and Arizona, three of the biggest hot spots in the country. In fact, yesterday Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp banned cities from issuing face mask orders and sued Atlanta to invalidate the mayor’s mandate.
  • 15 major grocery and retail chains are now requiring face masks in their stores, including Walmart, Kroger, Costco, CVS, and Target.
  • Putting the onus on employees to enforce face mask requirements is adding stress to jobs previously lauded as “essential.” WaPo: “People see it as this big political message when it’s really just about public health,” said Shilo Barrett, 26, a shift supervisor at a Starbucks in Los Angeles, where about 10 percent of shoppers come in without masks despite local and state mandates. “It’s already unfair that we have to work right now because we have bills to pay, and now you’re going to put us in a compromising situation because you don’t want to wear a mask for 5 minutes? That’s not cool.”
  • A nationwide mask mandate would bring the coronavirus under control within 2 months, according to CDC Director Robert Redfield (video). However, presented with this fact during yesterday’s White House press briefing, McEnany said Trump will not issue such an order. “We leave it to localities to make the decisions with regard to face coverings,” she said.
  • Measuring geotagged Twitter posts that reference hashtags like “nomask” and “burnyourmask” revealed that Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Idaho, and Maine contain the most anti-mask sentiment. Keep in mind that prolific users and/or bots can drive these trends, though.
  • The international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA believes it's "absurd" that the Federal Aviation Administration has not mandated that travelers wear masks on all flights during the pandemic.
submitted by rusticgorilla to Keep_Track [link] [comments]

Hunting in California 101: How to Get Started (a Non-Definitive Guide)

Hunting in California 101: What I Wish I Knew When I Started

I swear it's really not as bad as people make it out to be.


So you're probably reading this because you're interested in hunting in California and/or you're a new hunter who is struggling to do more than take a long walk in the woods with your weapon of choice. That or you just want to find all my mistakes and point them out. Great! This is written for you (even the pedants).
Since someone will ask, no I do not work for Fish and Wildlife. No I am not some professional guide or outfitter. I've just spent a lot of time hunting here as well as other states. I'm a transplanted software engineer on the Losing Side of Twenty-Five who fell victim to the sun and salary trap of San Diego and now I'm stuck. I've posted quite a bit on this subreddit before on a different Reddit account and even met with people from here. Then I lost the password to that account and I guess I never set up a recovery email. I'm bad with computers. Thank God I can fool my employer.

Part 0: How do I actually get started hunting in California?

  • Step 1: The first step is to complete your Hunter Education Safety Course. If you haven't done this yet you need to do this first. There is no circumventing this. Stop asking. This is the first step and probably 10% of the posts on the sub ask this. At the time of this writing, due to COVID-19, you can do the course entirely online. The course is worth paying attention to. There are a lot of California-specific rules and regulations that are important. I'm not going to go into specifics on how to do the course. If you can't figure it out, please don't start hunting. On the subject of hunter's education, unlike some states such as NY, California does not have a separate archery license and does not require you to complete a Bowhunter's Education Course to receive archery tags. It's still a good idea to do the course as it contains some great knowledge as well as opens up the opportunity to archery hunt in other states.
  • Step 2: Purchase your hunting license. The cost of a license is $51.02 as of 7/23/2020. You should receive a GO ID number during the process of acquiring your Hunter Safety Card above. This GO ID number is used by Fish and Wildlife to track you. It will be linked to some kind of ID which is also used to track you. In my case, this is my California driver's license. If I go to a license retailer, I can get a license or tag showing my driver's license. You don't need to memorize the GO ID number or anything; however, it is printed on your license documents so it's easy to find (once you have those, of course). If you have a fishing license you already have a GO ID. You can either order your license online straight from CDFW, from a CDFW License Sales Office, or from a licensed agent (the search function here is poorly set up--ignore the name and put in your ZIP or do County and State). Also, remember, your license is valid 7/1 to 6/30. NOT 1/1 to 12/31 like a fishing license.
    • Does it matter where I buy my license? The answer here for most people is no. If you are a disabled veteran with 50% or greater service-connected disability you need to purchase your license at the CDFW office the first time and bring your VA letter showing your rating and that it's service connected with you. After that you can buy it online or at the retailer of your choice. Disabled veteran licenses are currently $7.73. You may not need to go into a CDFW office due to COVID-19 right now. You should call and ask. Do not take this as gospel. There is also the Recovering Service Member Hunting License which requires a bunch of verification. I won't go into detail since I believe CDFW sold something like 3 of these in all of 2019. If you are mobility impaired, visually disabled, or qualify for the disabled archery permit (allowing you to use a crossbow during archery season), you're required to get your permit as well from a CDFW office as well as provide documentation from a licensed physician. There is no fee for any of those three licenses.

Part 1: What do I really need for hunting?

  • A hunting license. No seriously. This is a hard and fast requirement for California. If you want to hunt without a license go to Nevada and shoot coyotes (but don't actually do that--just get your damn license).
  • The appropriate tags. We'll go over this in the next section.
  • Patience. Temper your expectations. You are going to fail a lot at first. Hunting in California isn't easy and hunting on public land especially so. YouTube and hunting shows make it appear a lot easier than it is thanks to editing. Much like I tell the women I meet: have low expectations. This cannot be stressed enough.
  • Lead Free Ammo. More on this in a bit. Just remember this is a statewide requirement. Also someone asked me once if this applies to broad-heads for archery. Just lol. Don't be that guy.
  • General/Basic/Useful Starting Gear (this list is not exhaustive--just some ideas to get started):
    • Inexpensive pump-action 12 or 20 Gauge shotgun. If you're a new shooter, new to guns and can only afford one to start with this is the way to go. It opens up trap/skeet shooting as a hobby and will allow you to hunt small game, upland birds and waterfowl. A 12 gauge shotgun is sort of the American standard and a worthy first purchase; however, if you're a smaller framed person I would recommend a 20 gauge shotgun. I own both and use the 20 gauge more often than the 12 just because it's lighter to take for a long walk in the woods. It's not a dick/tit measuring contest. Get what you're comfortable with. My recommendation is the Winchester Super XP (SXP) as it comes with two barrels (long for hunting and short for home defense) and three chokes (Full, IC, Mod). Another good choice is the Mossberg 500 All Purpose Field, Classic, or Turkey. Otherwise a used Remington 870 is fine, but I would avoid purchasing a new one due to some serious quality issues in recent years. If you're on a budget, buy a Maverick 88 model 31010, All Purpose. Yes it's cheap. Yes it works. Yes it's reliable. Just realize you won't be flexing on anyone with one. But, again, it's not a dick/tit measuring contest anyway.
    • Inexpensive .22LR for small game and plinking. Make sure you buy copper ammo for it. If you want a semi-auto .22LR buy a Ruger 10/22 and be done with it. It's basically the Honda Civic of guns and you can't go wrong with one. If you want a bolt-action either buy a Marlin XT-22 or Savage Mark II. You should be able to source a used .22LR in good condition as well if you're short on cash.
    • Decent big-game rifle If you can't afford to invest in quality for both a gun and a scope buy a quality optic first. Yes, this might seem counter-intuitive; however, you can move the scope from one rifle to the next and it's very unlikely that a new hunteshooter is going to be able to out-shoot even a cheap factory rifle for quite a while. There are tons of options for rifles. Some great options for guns which should be under $900 out-the-door at your local gun store are (in no particular order other than the first two are my favorites): Tikka T3x, Weatherby Vanguard, Bergara B14, Howa 1500, Ruger American, Savage 10/110, and a used Remington 700 (I don't recommend buying a new one anymore). Any of these guns will do you just fine. Don't buy some tacticool shit for hunting like the Ruger Precision Rifle. Don't get me wrong. It's a great gun. It just weighs 10 pounds. You'll find most of the tacticool rifles are excessively heavy or they have shorter barrels for urban combat (which results in lower muzzle velocity and reduces range). Another option is the Mauser 18 which you can get for ~$400 on sale at the moment and is criminally underrated. If you're on a budget the Mossberg Patriot, Thompson/Center Compass II, Savage AXIS Line and the Remington 783 will all be out the door for under $450-ish. They should all get the job done which is the most important thing. Also I only listed bolt-action rifles as I don't want to deal with the what-is and what-isn't questions of legal semi-autos in California.
    • BUT WHAT CALIBER?1!!?//? Ever want to see nerds fight on the internet? Talk about calibers. If you want a gun which can take any of the big game in California I recommend the following calibers: .308 (usually the easiest to find ammo for), .30-06, 7mm Remington Magnum, 300 Win Mag, .270 and 7mm-08. If you're recoil sensitive, a new shooter, or guns still make you nervous, I recommend the last two as the first two you look at--especially the 7mm-08 as it's criminally underrated. All of those calibers have in-stock lead-free ammo right now at the closest gun store to me (I actually called and asked) and can be used to ethically harvest deer, elk, antelope, bear and sheep. There are tons of other options which people are going to happily point out which are way less common (e.g. 28 Nosler) or rounds which are great, but apparently sold out in lead-free at the moment (like 6.5 CM). While I'm sure tons of people have a ton to say about calibers, no one starting out hunting needs to know that the .30-06 can be filled with slightly more powder than the .308 so you get higher velocities from hand-loads, or that the .300WSM is technically better than a .300WM out of barrels shorter than 24 inches. It literally does not matter. Buy any of the above calibers and you're good to go. Ignore the haters. In a similar vein, anyone who tells you 300 Win Mag is "too big" or "overkill" for a mule deer either a) doesn't hunt or b) probably believes a .50 BMG can kill you with the shockwave from a near-miss. Also don't buy a caliber that you're afraid to shoot. Once again, this isn't a dick/tit measuring contest. I once owned a .300WSM and legitimately hated shooting it. That was a regretful purchase. Don't make the same mistake.
    • Quality Scope. Buy Vortex. Hell, buy used Vortex and if you get a lemon just send it back to them under the lifetime warranty (no, seriously, it's that easy). Vortex is the best value per dollar with the best customer service and also the best Reddit presence (seriously--just ping vortexoptics with questions and you'll get answers within a day). When it comes to scopes there are tons of options with dozens of different reticles and I will try and briefly give some answers. To cover the focal plane debate, please watch this video from Vortex (I swear I don't work for them). My personal preference is First Focal Plane because I know what my subtensions are and I can accurately judge holdover regardless of my magnification as a result. As for MIL/MRAD vs MOA, here's a video that explains it really doesn't matter. Just make sure your scope adjustments match your reticle. Personally, I shoot MOA because 1 inch at 100 yards is easier for me to visualize. I've shot MIL/MRAD in the past and swapped. As far as reticles go, buy one that you can understand and use with appropriate markings. Don't buy one you don't know how to use (or aren't willing to learn how to use) or that just clutters your field of view. Finally, in regards to magnification, do not overdo it. You're not shooting a deer with a 338 Lapua from 2 1/2 miles away. The low end should be 3x or 4x and the upper end should be 12 to 16x. On my deer rifle I shoot a Viper PST Gen II 3-15x44 FFP with the EBR-7C MOA reticle. With this setup I am comfortable taking shots past 500 yards which is beyond the range most new hunters should ever consider. Now to avoid being accused of being a Vortex corporate shill, I should add that when I shot F-Class my rifle scope was a Nighforce NXS and I've owned Zeiss in the past (before I swapped to FFP) and was quite pleased with the quality of both. They're also more expensive than Vortex so there's that. Oh, and my .22LR has a Nikon Prostaff Rimfire scope on it which has worked flawlessly for 7(?) years now. Seriously. I treat it like shit and it's held zero the entire time. 5/7 would recommend.
    • A shooting stick. For a large part of California, shooting from a bipod attached to a rifle isn't practical. Whether it's sage or tall grass, it just isn't happening. The Primos Trigger Stick is what you want. There is also the tripod version. I own both and use the trigger stick more often. If I had to choose one I'd go with the monopod because it's easiefaster to deploy.
    • Good binoculars. Again, I'm going to suggest Vortex. A solid pair of 10x42s or 8x42s are what you're looking for. I rock Diamondback HDs 10x50s I bought used. Keep in mind, these aren't really the binoculars you'll see people "glassing" with. These are more for the mobile hunter and general scanning. If I were to buy a single pair of binos for carrying around, I'd swap my 10x50s for Diamondback HD 8x42s and it's what I suggest you do if you're starting out (again, buy used if you can). In the past I've owned Bushnell binos and they worked for getting started, but quickly left a lot to be desired. While Bushnell quality is a lot better than it was in the past, I still recommend Vortex because I've got personal experience with using them far more recently. Also just ask around. Tons of people have good binos they don't use and will usually part with for way under the replacement value.
    • A pack. If you're backpack hunting you're going to have different requirements than someone stand hunting within drag distance of their truck. If you want a good pack which will work for most big game situations, buy the ALPS OutdoorZ Commander frame and bag. I owned one. It held up pretty well although it's not waterproof. For the price it's pretty much the best you can do. I upgraded to an Eberlestock Just One Pack J34 with the J2SD Spike Camp Duffel and it's been good so far. I'll be really testing it this fall though. If you don't need a full pack, I use a ALPS OutdoorZ Pathfinder with the Turkey call and game bag. Granted when I purchased it the two came together so they may have since modified it, but I still recommend it. Keeps all your stuff handy. I actually use it for turkey hunting. If you just want a simple day pack (or want to mix the daypack with the Pathfinder), I bought this a few years ago at Big5 for like $50 and it's held up just fine. The buckles are a PITA but at least they don't break.
    • Good knife. I actually don't know that much about knives. I use a Havalon Piranta Edge because I'm too lazy to sharpen blades. I've skinned a lot of game with it and love it. My buddy has the Buck Knives 141 and another carries a Buck 110. As long as the knife is sharp it will work. If you don't know how to sharpen a knife, get the Havalon or similar knife with replacement blades.
    • What about archery???!?1 If you want to start bow-hunting--which you absolutely should--you really need to go to an archery shop and talk to the employees. Tell them your budget (make sure they know you need a full set up for that amount and not just a bow). They'll have you test fire bows and measure your draw length. Help you figure out what draw weight you're comfortable with. You'll need to find the bow that works for you. It's not the same as buying a gun. Bows are much more individual. Don't be embarassed because you're shooting a 40lb draw. The more you practice the more it will go up. I shoot a 60lb draw and have zero intention of ever going up. It's more than enough. Once again, hunting is not a dick/tit measuring contest. Don't believe the hype that you need to have an 80lb pull bow. If you've never shot a bow before don't waste your money on a flagship. I currently shoot a Bowtech Revolt X which is basically sex in bow form. It's also overkill for someone who has never even shot a bow before. If you have a limit of $500 for bow + arrows, the Diamond SB-1 Edge is a "good enough" solution and I know two people who have taken deer with one. It's not great, but it'll do the trick to get you started. If you need the recommendation on a bow shop in the San Diego area the only shop you need to go to is the Bow N Arrow Shop in Lakeside. Make an appointment and tell Bruce your situation. He will go out of his way to help you. One other thing: crossbows are considered firearms in California in relation to hunting seasons, so basically a crossbow can't be used on an archery tag during archery season.
    • Camping equipment for backpack hunters. Check Craigslist for good deals. I've had the same REI tent and stove for years. Also, look at camping's sidebar for all the camping-related and gear-related sub-reddits. They have far more on this subject than I could ever hope to fit here.
    • Cooler. If you're going to be traveling a distance and need to keep ice cool for several days I can personally recommend RTIC because I'm too cheap for Yeti, but Yeti are very good coolers as well. Otherwise Igloo or Coleman coolers work just fine. Don't let the marketing fool you. You do not need a Yeti/RTIC if you're just starting out and not leaving the cooler in the Arizona sun for 6 days straight. Hell, if you're going to be home within an hour you don't even need a cooler. As for size, 65 quarts fits a quartered mule deer and ice.
    • Clothing. I'll be honest. If you're just getting started and on a budget just go to Walmart and buy some cheap camo. Don't overthink it because it will work just fine. This might be sacrilege to the guy wearing $800 worth of Sitka clothes, but at least your credit card isn't max'd. If you can't afford Sitka, but also don't want to walk into Walmart, just look for King's Camo or Badlands. I wear a mix of stuff personally and it's mostly First Lite and King's Camo. Of course, if you've got the money, Sitka, First Lite and KUIU are great. Buy a good pair of gaiters. Also wool is your best friend. I have a pair of Kenetrek gaiters and they're great. You should also wear gloves even in the summer months. It will save your hands from getting cut up.
    • OnX. This is a requirement for public land hunting in California. I will write more on it later. Want to know where to hunt? Well, this is the answer.
  • And some nice-to-haves
    • Laser Range Finder This isn't a requirement to get started hunting, but if you've got the stuff above and especially if you're bowhunting it's a very nice thing to have. Personally I use a Vortex Ranger 1800 but the Impact 1000 is a great starting point. In the past I had a Leupold RX-1000i TBR that was great until it decided to die on me. Bushnell makes great rangefinders and if you're doing archery on a budget this is a good option. Also check classified ads for golf. Sometimes you'll find some deals on rangefinders there.
    • Binoculars for glassing and a tripod. This is especially true for anyone hunting SoCal where you need to glass. You want a good 15x56 or 18x56 and a solid tripod. I'm currently waiting on these Diamondback HD 15x56 to come in stock where I usually buy my optics so I can replace my less-than-great Nikon 16x50s. As for tripods, I have a Vortex Summit SS-P and it works pretty well. I use it for my spotting scope and it's admittedly a little light for that, but that can be offset pretty well by hanging weight from the balance hook.
    • Spotting scope I use a Vortex Viper HD 15-45x65 (angled). It's great and I can count points from crazy distances while also being light enough I don't mind carrying it. I love it. The only other spotting scope I've used is a Swarovski and the thing was incredible--but it also costs as much as 1.5 KLR650s.
    • Game Cameras Since I'm going to assume most people are hunting on public land I recommend you just buy some cheap Chinesium generic cams. Game cams are prone to wandering off for unknown reasons on public land. Obviously if you're hunting private property you should have a safer investment, so feel free to spend some more on actual quality cams. As for everyone else? Cheap Chinesium it is. Use lithium batteries with the cameras to maximize the cheaply-engineered battery life and a cheap 32GB class 10 SD card. It works out to something like $52 a camera between cam, batteries and SD card. You're going to lose them. Don't splurge here unless your daily driver is a Bugatti.
    • goHUNT Insider Membership. In reality, this isn't actually that useful when you're first starting out if you're only sticking to hunting inside of California. Once you decide to expand your hunting horizons it's super valuable. They also have great articles on their site.
    • 4WD Vehicle There are a lot of rough desert service roads--especially around San Diego and Imperial Counties--which open up a lot of public land for you to hunt, but they can only safely accessed with 4WD. Is this a requirement to get started hunting? Not at all. Should you buy a 4WD vehicle just to go hunting? Probably not if you ask personalfinance. Is it nice to have? Absolutely. Even better if it belongs to your friend. I can't begin to tell you how many scratches my truck has from going off-road...
    • Private Property. If you can't afford it find someone who owns property and ask for permission. You'll be surprised how many landowners will agree--especially if you bow-hunt. I've got permission in the past to hunt on private property in San Diego. How did I manage it? I asked. That simple. Tons of hunters complain about not being able to hunt on private property but have never even tried asking. Just get used to getting rejected. Thankfully my dating life prepared me well for this.
    • Hunting Buddy. More on this later. Suffice to say friends are good to have.

Part 2: Tags, Stamps, and Points. Oh my!

  • Tags 101
    • What are tags? Tags are a permit to harvest a specific big game animal. They're sold in addition to your regular hunting license.
    • Why do I need them? You need tags to harvest deer, elk, pronhorn antelope, bighorn sheep, wild pig, or black bear.
    • How many tags can I have? You are limited to two deer tags each year and one each of elk, antelope, sheep and black bear. You can purchase an unlimited number of pig tags.
    • How do I get tags? Pig tags and black bear tags are sold "over-the-counter" (OTC) This means you can drive to your local Big 5, buy a tag, and then head straight to the woods and try and harvest an animal. Well, in theory. If 1,700 bears are harvested statewide, the bear season is closed; however, that hasn't happened since California banned bear hunting with dogs c. 2011. We haven't even come close since then. Some deer tags are OTC but most are not. Most deer tags are considered premium deer tags and allocated via lottery, then there are restricted deer tags (these are less common), and finally unrestricted deer tags. I will cover these differences in the section on deer. ALL Elk, Pronghorn, and Sheep tags are awarded through a lottery drawing. None are sold OTC in the state of California.
  • Stamps/Validations 101
    • What are stamps? Stamps are endorsements on your license similar to endorsements on a driver's license. They entitle you to certain privileges. In California, these privileges are exclusively related to bird hunting.
    • Why do I need them? If you want to hunt upland game, waterfowl, or other migratory birds, you need the appropriate stamps. There are three stamps. If you want to hunt waterfowl (i.e. ducks) you need the "California Duck Validation" as well as the "Federal Duck Stamp." If you want to hunt upland game (i.e. turkey, dove, pheasant or quail) you need the "Upland Game Bird Validation".
    • How many stamps do I need? You just buy the stamps once per year. If you're going duck hunting, buy the two validations and you're good to go for the season. Same as the Upland Game stamp. It's valid for the same dates as your hunting license.
    • How do I get stamps/validations? Same place you got your hunting license. You can order it online or go to a licensed retailer. It's super easy. There is no limit or lottery or anything.
  • Points 101
    • What are points? Points, or preference points as they're technically known, are awarded for each year you enter a tag lottery and don't win the tag. They exist in an attempt to award a limited number of tags in a fair manner which rewards people who have tried for the tags the longest
    • Why do I need them? It's practically impossible to draw elk, pronghorn, sheep and a large number of deer tags without them. I'll explain them more in depth later, but suffice it to say for now each point increases your likelihood of getting drawn.
    • How many points do I need? That depends on the species and the hunt. It can be as low as zero or one to as high as the current maximum of 19 points on next year's application.
    • How do I get points? Say it's your first year and you entered for a Bighorn Sheep tag and didn't win. You'll be awarded a point for this entry. The next year you'll have one point. If you don't win in your second year, you'll get another point and so on. Once you win your points zero. You can also elect to just buy a point by noting "Preference Point Only" instead of entering a specific drawing on your application. However you can not choose both "Preference Point Only" as well as entering a drawing. It's one or the other.

Part 3: Finding Public Land to Hunt On

It's not that hard. I swear. There are 38,197,000 acres of public land--38% of the entire state--open to hunting. Is it hard to find GOOD hunting land not overrun by other hunters? Yes. That's why you scout and get used to hiking quite a bit. It's not impossible, however, and that's what matters.
Use OnX. No seriously. It's worth every cent. Every single time a new hunter asks me where to go my answer is OnX. I don't want to do a write-up on every amazing feature this software has to offer because they have a YouTube channel where they do it better than I ever could. That being said, there are a few things worth mentioning for people who are too lazy to watch some YouTube videos.
First - you can use OnX from both a PC and smartphone. I'm mentioning this because quite a few people I know were surprised when I told them the website works from PC. It's way easier to plan a hunt on a 27 inch monitor than a 5.8 inch phone. The website and the phone app are synced so if you add a marker to the website, it appears on the phone (and vice versa).
Second - check out the layers library and use them. As an example, you should have the layer for recent fires turned on when you're looking for bear, deer or elk opportunities. Again, I'm not sure why people don't realize this is available.
Third - use markers and colors which make sense. When I first started using OnX, I would mark everything in the most haphazard fashion. It's not useful. I suggest keeping it simple. If I think an area might have access I drop a yellow "A", if I confirm that it has access I drop a blue"A" and if it turns out there's no getting there I set a red "A". It makes it easy to read quickly. However, do whatever is easy and works for you. Just make sure you understand what you're looking at and you're consistent with it.
What kind of land can I hunt on? Legal Disclaimer: You should verify with all respective agencies and landowners that hunting is permitted at specific locations because I'm not responsible for you going to jail etc.
  • BLM Land. OnX marks BLM land in yellow. BLM land typically allows dispersed camping without permits. At least in Southern California deserts, the BLM has decently maintained dirt access roads throughout. On most BLM land throughout the state you can also target shoot however this needs to be checked with the local field office first. Also, if you see a "No Shooting" sign they're talking about target shooting. You can still discharge a firearm during the lawful pursuit of game. Just a protip.
  • National Forest. Most National Forest property can be hunted on and if hunting is prohibited it will be clearly marked. OnX marks National Forest property in green. Roads are typically maintained pretty well through National Forest property. A large number of the roads throughout Cleveland National Forest in San Diego can be access with a front-wheel drive compact car and a sufficiently brave driver.
  • Wilderness Areas. Most Wilderness Areas can be hunted. There are cases where there may be an endangered animal (such as a butterfly here in San Diego) which results in some acres being closed to any and all access--not just hunting; however, this is exceedingly rare and it will be clearly posted. It's important to note you can not operate a motorized/mechanical vehicle (including a bicycle) within the bounds of the wilderness area. You will be walking in and out. Don't drive your jeep down a fire road through a wilderness area. Just because the road exists doesn't make it OK. Follow the rules. There will be signs telling you not to do it. It's pretty hard to claim ignorance on this one. OnX marks Wilderness Areas with a dotted pattern. You will notice this wilderness area is part of a national forest from the color of the lower layer. See? Learning has occurred.
  • Some State Wildlife Areas. OnX marks Wildlife Areas in light blue. Each Wildlife Area has specific regulations set by the state. Thankfully those regulations are easily available online as well as very useful write-ups about each area.
  • In Imperial County specifically you can hunt on IID Land. I'm adding this here because the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) permits hunting on their properties. You will probably be stopped by an IID officeemployee at some point. They're friendly and usually super helpful. There's just a pretty big crime problem in El Centro right now where farming equipment (including things like full-size tractors) are getting stolen and IID actively checks their properties for suspicious people. All that being said, it is not the standard for private water to allow hunting. Vista Irrigation District in San Diego leases their land to hunters through the "My Country Club" program at $3,000 a year. However, it's still worth checking where you live. You can just call the local irrigation district office and ask.
  • Private Property with Permission. You can use OnX for this as well. It helps you locate property owners. I don't want to doxx anyone so no screenshot, but every registered property owner is available to you. If you find a piece of land you wish to hunt you can use this information to find the owner. My house sits on an 1/8th of an acre and if I click the parcel it has my full name (including middle initial weirdly enough) as well as address. And, no, you can't hunt on my tiny slice of land I call home. The HOA would definitely frown on that.
  • Hunting Clubs. This is particularly true for upland game bird or duck hunting. A lot of hunting clubs own or lease property they maintain specifically for hunting. If you can afford it, this is a good option and it's a great way to meet other hunters. Think of it as the Country Clubs of the hunting world.
  • Private Property through a Guide Service. Again, this will cost you. However, most guide services have agreements with property owners to hunt private property. There is no shame in hiring a guide either. If you want to get better at a hobby it's common to pay for lessons. Why is hunting any different?
  • SOME National Recreation Areas and National Preserves / Lands administered by NPS. In Southern California, the big one which permits hunting is Mojave National Preserve (which is a great place for quail by the way). OnX marks it in this purple (fuchsia?) color. National Recreation Area is the same color and places such as Lake Meade National Recreation Area in Nevada permit hunting. I assume there are places in California which do but I don't know any off the top of my head and I'm too lazy to do your research for you. Just check the regulations before you go. Everything is online these days. There is no excuse. The incomplete list of places you can hunt is here because the government can't be bothered to maintain it. Case in point: Mojave National Preserve isn't even listed but hunting is listed on their own website for those wondering.
  • Military Bases. Some military bases permit hunting to the public (Fort Hunter Liggett is one). Others permit hunting only to active duty service members or retirees (Camp Pendleton). Each base has their own rules and regulations. If you're close to a base it's worth checking to see if they allow hunting and what the requirements for access are.
  • ? Some Logging Company Properties ?. I've heard this from multiple people, but I live in Southern California where this isn't really a thing. If someone from NorCal can chime in that would be great.
What Kind of land CAN'T I hunt on?
  • State Parks. There is no hunting on state parks in California.
  • MOST National Parks / National Monuments. Again, research before you go. Just realize most properties are going to be a big no-no.
  • MOST National Wildlife Refuges. There are some you can hunt on though. It's worth checking. Just understand most refuges do not permit hunting and those that do typically regulate what you can and can't hunt.
  • Private Property without Written Permission. Seriously. Don't be that guy. Oddly enough there are exceptions to this rule in other places (dove hunting in Yuma, AZ is permitted on private non-residential farming property as long as there isn't a posted sign forbidding it). But when you're in California this is a hard and fast rule. Once again: don't be that guy (or gal).
Will you tell me your secret spot?
I don't have one and none of my spots are secrets. They're all on public land. If you're really lost-in-space or just generally nervous about going somewhere you scouted through a website and you happen to be local to Southern California, just message me and I'll help out. It's really not that difficult though.

Part 4: Alternatives For When You Don't Get The Tag You Want

SHARE Hunts for Elk
This is a California-specific hunting opportunity. It's another lottery but it's an agreement between the state and private landowners to permit very regulated hunting on their properties. Each hunt is different and, again, this is a lottery so it's basically a moonshot; however, the odds of getting drawn on an elk tag is actually higher here than most general draws are with zero points. The money goes back into the program. The SHARE elk drawings close 7/24 this year. Which happens to be today. You can read more about the SHARE opportunities here. Enter through the online DFW license sales.
Leaving California (Hunting out-of-state): Since you can check out, but never leave, right? It's worth looking at other states.
  • OTC Elk - Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington all offer OTC tags. This will cost you $450-$750 for the non-resident hunting license and the tag.
  • OTC Antelope - Wyoming has good draw odds (some are 100%). Otherwise I think Idaho is the only state with OTC antelope tags and it's archery only. New Mexico does weird OTC tags as well, but they're only valid on private property so if you pay for access this is a good option I guess.
  • OTC Sheep - Literally does not exist. You can do a ranch hunt in Texas if you want to harvest a sheep. Otherwise sorry.
  • OTC Deer - Arizona late season (DecembeJanuary) offers OTC archery hunts for both Mule deer and Coues deer with success rates as high as mid-30%. You will see TONS of deer. This is an excellent opportunity for archers. Otherwise, Idaho offers OTC Mule Deer and some 2nd/3rd season hunts in Colorado are OTC. Other states have leftover tags that are first-come, first-served. Montana and Arizona fit this category.
  • DISABLED VETERANS SPECIFICALLY - You can hunt in Idaho on a non-resident disabled veterans permit for cheap. A license + OTC elk tag + OTC mule deer tag is something like $100. Plus you can punch your mule deer tag on a black bear if you really want to. If you fit the criteria this is an absolutely amazing opportunity.

Continued Here: Hunting In California 102: Draws, Deer, and Dove. Plus a bit on finding a hunting buddy.

I noticed a mistake!
Great! Comment below and I'll fix it. We're all human and I don't pretend to be infallible.
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