Did July even happen? Between the heat waves and splashing ones, it feels like the past month was just a blur in the rearview mirror. But, rest assured - plenty happened in the month of July! Between the release of a new Pokémon entry toward the release of the latest Marvel flick, it’s been a quick one filled with plenty of excitement.
Here are just a few (seven to be precise) of our favorite things from the month of July 2021:
1. Pokémon UNITE Consumed Our Time
MOBAs are certainly one of the more divisive genres of video games. Whenever The Pokémon Company announced that they would be entering into the eSport, it was met with trepidation and excitement. July brought with it the release and reveal of the newest Poké-game in the form of Pokémon Unite. And, honestly, the response has been fairly mixed.
For Checkpoint Church and Nerd Pastor Nate, it’s been a hit that has consumed our every Monday stream (and some Wednesdays). NPN has even been caught on record admitting that he *gasp* is enjoying a MOBA. It’s even possible that an upcoming Nerdy Sermon might be related to the new title.
The world, however, still seems skeptical as to whether or not the game can cement itself as a contender in the eSport scene or if it will fizzle like the ill-fated Pokken Tournament fighting game. Until then, we’re certain NPN will be playing as Gengar on the reg.
2. Steam Deck Entered The Fight
In ‘out of left field’ news, Valve announced a new experimental product, the Steam Deck. While Valve has gone on record to affirm that the handheld PC gaming device is not intended as competition to the Nintendo Switch, it would be foolish not to at least consider it as an alternative for the Indie-seeking gamer.
Valve is known for big swings and big misses. But whenever they make a swing and it connects, it’s a game-changer. Here’s to hoping for the next big innovative step in mobile gaming and not another underwhelming flop. Given the multiple backsteps after the announcement, we would be remiss not to at least be cynical. But we can dream, okay?
Fortunately, even if it should flop, the method that Valve used for presale was a decent success at combating scalpers. At the very least, scalpers don’t get to win - so the rest of the world does.
3. Live Action Pokémon Set For Netflix
This is one of the news pieces to take with a grain of salt. Supposedly, Netflix has begun crafting a new series of live-action Pokémon a la Detective Pikachu. However, Netflix has yet to confirm this news and wise viewers will recall the long-rumored Legend of Zelda series that no one has seen or heard a tale of since.
Stranger still is the supposed linking of Joe Henderson, the producer of shows like White Collar and Lucifer, to the project. Henderson doesn’t seem to have any connection to anime, gaming, or adaptations - save for the devilish reboot.
But, hey, here’s to hoping for more live-action Poké-content, right?
4. Nintendo Release A New Console (Sort of)
The Switch Pro is another fine example of a long-rumored product that has yet to come to fruition. But this summer was supposed to be the big launch. Nintendo had big news, but it certainly wasn’t what any of us were expecting.
Nintendo is a company known for big, bold innovative leaps. They boldly introduced the world to motion controls with the Wii. They have always ruled the world of portable gaming, from the Gameboy to the DS to the Switch. One thing they’ve never been too adventurous with, however, is power and quality. Veterans of the Nintendo world should have known that there was little chance of a more powerful machine coming out of the company.
However, we did indeed get a new console. Nintendo has taken the Switch and made some steps forward. They took the Switch and… added a slightly bigger OLED screen and LAN port to the dock. That’s about it.
But I hear the Switch Pro is definitely for sure really coming next year tho.
5. Black Widow Releases With Scandal
Look, we’re no experts when it comes to Legal-ese, but it’s hard to not think about lawsuits when one thinks of Disney. The all-encompassing mouse company has seemingly bungled pretty big with their release of the latest Marvel flick Black Widow. In a truly unprecedented year, media companies have turned to streaming as a viable alternative to movie theater releases. Disney is certainly no exception to this - they have released several movies in theaters as well as in theaters amidst the pandemic.
Black Widow is one such case. The film was released in theaters and also made available same-day on Disney+ for $30. The $200M film made a profit of $60M from digital sales alone and has certainly made back it’s investment when combined with theater sales, but Black Widow remains among the lowest-selling Marvel films to date, making only $319M as of July 29, 2021. (Data from this site)
While Disney made back their losses, not everyone is happy - most notably the leading lady Scarlett Johansson, who is suing Disney over the breach of contract. She signed up for a salary balanced by a theater-release, not a digital same-day one. The amount of money in this case is so astronomical that it’s hard to relate, but ethically this is certainly looking bad for Disney. Not that the giant will suffer in the slightest - this ain’t Disney’s first (or last) rodeo at the courthouse.
6. CheckCraft Realm Launched
What if we could just play Minecraft… but together? Well, great news - we officially can! Checkpoint Church has launched our own Minecraft Realm, which is essentially our own unique Minecraft server that our community can join in and create together. If you want to join in on the fun, join our Discord and go the #Minecraft-Realm channel to get the Realm code. We’d love to have the community be there. Maybe we can even reach the maximum of 10 people in the server at a time - that’d be awesome.
Also, NPN has started working on his own Batcave, but not for any particular reason. He definitely isn’t Batman. Stop being ridiculous.
7. NPN Was Interviewed
If you’re into nerd ministry, then this one’s for you. Nerd Pastor Nate was interviewed this month by Ryan Dunn of the Pastoring in the Digital Parish podcast. In the podcast, he breaks down some of the foundational inspiration behind Checkpoint Church and why we choose to use Discord as our primary model of digital community-building. Check it out and support the awesome work that this podcast is doing!
So, that’s July in a nutshell. But there was certainly more that happened. What were some of your favorite highlights during the month? Share them down in the comments below.
Until next time, folks. Remember God loves you, we love you, and you matter.
What We’re Most Looking Forward To In August
Nerds of Pray Launch
The Suicide Squad (HBO Max)
Marvel’s What If…? (Disney+)
Nine Perfect Strangers (Hulu)
12 Minutes (Xbox, PC)
Shaman King (Netflix)