Sunday, October 23, 2011

War of the Pandas

Here’s a little something that’s been on my mind ever since I heard about it and I want to regurgitate this so my brain can move on to other things. This past weekend was Blizzcon. A gathering of the nerdiest of the nerds to see what Blizzard Entertainment (i.e. the Starcraft, Diablo and Warcraft computer game series) has in store. The most anticipated revelation was what the next World of Warcraft expansion was going to be. One thing you need to know about me is that I used to be a huge WoW nut and still am to a degree. I don’t play it anymore mainly because the storyline or lore has grown stale and that, more so than the attraction of better virtual gear or constant reruns of the same dungeons, is what interests me most about the franchise. However, this fourth expansion into the gaming universe may temporarily reignite my interests. The name of said expansion is called The Mists of Pandaria, which will feature the anthropomorphic pandas called the Pandaren as the new playable race along with the all new monk class that other races will be able to play as well.

                Okay, I know what you’re thinking. A heavily Chinese inspired race of Kung Fu fighting panda bears sounds really familiar. But here’s something you might not know. In 2003, Blizzard released Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne, which was the last installmentof the Warcraft strategy games that preceded the MMORPG. In that game, you eventually run into Chen Stormstout, the first time a Pandaren is introduced in the game. Interestingly enough, DreamWork’s Kung Fu Panda launched production one year after said computer game was out and another four years afterwards until the movie hit theatres. I haven’t found any quotes of Dream Work’s executives saying that the movie was inspired from ol’ Chen, but it is a definite curiosity that the one springs up after the other. Now, I'm not trying to dis against DreamWork's movie. I loved the show and am really looking forward to the third one when it comes out. 
                In conclusion, the only point I am trying to make is that, despite what people may say about the new WoW expansion being a rip off of Kung Fu Panda, it was Blizzard who came up with the earliest published idea in the first place. It would be comparable to Seth McFarlane of Family guy claiming that Matt Groening of The Simpsons stole his idea. All I'm trying to do with this post is to show that the Chicken came before the egg, but that doesn't make the egg any less as appetizing than the chicken. So pass the KFC, pour me some of that egg drop soup, sit back and enjoy both renditions of an endangered species kicking back. 

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