Thursday, September 26, 2013

Triptych: Here In Duckburg

"And Not A Single Duck Was Given That Day" by Dan Hipp

"Zombie Scrooge", artist unknown *

"Dagobert Duck, alias Scrooge McDuck" by Dirk Erik Schulz

* One of the more aggravating things about Photobucket was that, although I would always tag images with their source URLs without fail, the site would sometimes "forget" the tag, leaving me with no way of knowing where the picture originated from. That's unfortunately the case here. If anyone has a source on this image, please by all means let me know!

So last week I finished the HD remastered version of DuckTales, and man, let me tell you: that is one serious nostalgia trip. Also, somehow, despite being literally the exact same game in terms of level design and controls, it was somehow a lot easier than I remembered DuckTales for the NES being. For comparison's sake, I fired up an emulator and played, or tried to play, through the first few levels of the game. Sure enough, it was considerably more difficult.

I wonder why that is. Like I said, the HD version of the game offers the same controls and the same level, with the same monster placement and so forth. The new version does provide infinite lives, but I think I only died maybe half a dozen times from start to finish anyway, so I don't think that's part of it. Maybe Capcom rejiggered the control sensitivity somewhat, or made some other behind-the-scenes modifications. I don't know. All I can say is that if you get a chance to play DuckTales Remastered HD, you should absolutely do so. It was a great game back in the day and it's a great game now.

Triptych: Man of La Mario

"Proyecto Personal Retro Arcade" by Gonzalo Piacentino

"Mayan Nintendo" by Kronosceptor

"Isometric Mario Worlds" by Head Glitch

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Triptych: Being Weird Is All I've Got

"Street Countdown" (t-shirt) by ShayLei

"The Time Crowd" (t-shirt) by Nik Holmes

"Flippin' Blockhead" by Dann Matthews

I recently re-watched all four seasons of The IT Crowd. What a brilliant show that was. Then I watched the pilot episode for the US remake starring Joel McHale. What a steaming pile of nonsense.

Just a head's up: The final episode of The IT Crowd, "The Last Byte", airs this Saturday, September 27th!

Triptych: Let's Roll

"Kaneda's Big Adventure" (t-shirt) by Steve Dominguez

"Akira Sponge Bob" by Poubelle de Dav

"Dokira" (t-shirt) by Shumaza

Photobucket vs. Flickr

Well, I finally bit the bullet and transitioned my future image-hosting over to Flickr.  We'll see how this goes.

So far, I'm impressed with the fact that uploads are very fast and images are staying in the correct order within their set.  There also seems to be a lot more third-party support for Flickr, with regards to upload plugins and account management.  On the flip side, there's a bit of a learning curve - where Photobucket was designed for this sort of thing, Flickr seems a little more focused on self-inclusive "check out my photostream" sort of thing, and I'm not entirely sure how well it handles image linking.

I'll continue to host the archived images on Photobucket, but moving forward all new posts should be displaying links from Flickr.  Fingers crossed that this works out!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Triptych: Mr. Holmes, Investigator

"Consulting Detective" (t-shirt) by Ryan Astle

"The Detective of 221b" (t-shirt) by Winter Artwork

"Mind Palace" (t-shirt) by Nik Holmes

Triptych: Boy of Games

"Game Boy: Adventure Awaits" by Aaron Campbell

"A Happy Childhood" by Prakash Khatri Chhetri

"Playing With Power" (t-shirt) by The Hookshot

What's your favorite Gameboy memory from childhood?

For me, it was when I was about twelve years old and Final Fantasy Legend II came out. I had played the first Final Fantasy on Nintendo back in the day, as well as a Dragon Warrior or two, but this was really my first introduction to classic JRPGs and man, I played the hell out of that game.

That summer, I was sent off to visit my cousins for a few weeks, who lived on a ranch in Saskatchewan. That was all very exciting and everything, but at the age of 12, I was less interested in horse-riding and playing in the hayloft and much more interested in video games and TV. And man, my cousins (well, my aunt and uncle, I guess) were LOADED - meaning that they had an incredible home theatre system and an amazing (for the time) desktop computer and this sprawling, rustic mansion in the middle of the windswept prairies. So myself and my cousin, who was almost exactly the same age as me, fully well intended to spend the entire three weeks watching Ren & Stimpy on the gargantuan widescreen TV (this was before the introduction of flatscreens, mind you), playing Doom and Space Quest IV on the computer in the basement, and running through a stack of Nintendo cartridges that we'd driven into town to rent the first day I arrived. And, of course, I brought my Gameboy and Final Fantasy Legend II.

My uncle was a cattle rancher and a self-made... wedon'tliketotalkaboutitinourfamilybutI'lljustsayit MILLIONAIRE, and as such he and my aunt didn't really stand for two boys sitting around all day staring at screens. After about a day of leaving us to our own devices, they decided that we needed the guiding hand of a responsible adult, and we were told to go outside and do "something productive". So my cousin would drag me around the ranch while he did his chores, and I brought my Gameboy along and sat in whatever shady spot I could find and played FF Legend II. I don't recall ever doing anything more productive than that.

See, this was back in the day when portable game systems were a pretty newfangled thing, and so it didn't really register with my aunt and uncle that I was wasting just as much time with a Gameboy as I would be on the Nintendo in front of a TV. Or maybe they did know, but because I was out of the house, they just didn't care as much. Whatever the case, that Gameboy never left my hands in three weeks.

At some point, my aunt and uncle took us on an outing of some sort. A baseball game, maybe? At any rate, we had to drive for a few hours to reach civilization, and sitting in their air-conditioned minivan - air-conditioned! Man, the rich know how to live - I played the entire time. I'd been so dedicated that I reached the final boss of the game, The Arsenal, in the span of a few weeks, sitting there in that climate-controlled vehicle in the middle of the arid Saskatchewan prairie in the middle of August. And just as I was about to step into the ring and take him on, after I'd checked and double-checked my equipped gear and stocked up on healing items and geared myself up psychologically for what was to amount to the greatest battle of my young life to that point...

My batteries died, and the Gameboy shut down.

I sat in silent agony for the rest of the day, until we got home and I was able to rummage up a fresh restock of batteries. I popped them in and loaded up my save game, because of course I had saved, religiously and devoutly, every chance I got. I'd invested WEEKS of my life into this game, probably the first time this had ever happened with a video game, and I'd be damned if I wasn't going to beat that end boss.

Only my saved game slot had been cleared. Something had happened in the process of the batteries dying and the game shutting down abruptly that had corrupted my single save slot. All of my progress had been lost.

I don't really remember what happened after that. I probably put the Gameboy down and went outside and got some exercise of some kind. But man, I don't remember anything else that happened that whole trip after that crushing blow. Nothing could ever compete, in my memory, with the heady hours spent playing Final Fantasy Legend II, or the atomic-bomb-levels of emotional distress and loss I felt as a twelve-year-old losing my first-ever save game.

On My Sporadic Posting Schedule

Sorry, sorry.  I know things have slowed down to a crawl, over the last couple of weeks especially.  There are a few reasons for this:

  • I've been sick.  Like, crazy feverish throat infection sick.  It hit me on Sunday - Saturday night Heather and I went to some fancy-schmancy restaurant for her birthday, and the very next day I woke up feeling like hell.  By Monday I was a total wreck, running a fever of 101 which lasted about 48 hours, my throat felt like sandpaper and every joint in my body ached like I'd just run ten miles.  I was bedridden until yesterday when I dragged myself back into work, but I'm still not at 100%.  More like 65% at this point (which is up from the 52% I felt like yesterday).   
  • I've been busy.  I don't mean that in an "I'm too busy for you" way.  Believe me, I'd like nothing better than to focus on Apocalypse POW! for a couple of hours a day.  Unfortunately, the reality is that my department at work is staffed by a skeleton crew, and a bunch of things have happened in the last two months that have resulted in a massive backlog for me personally.  For example: I got married, which meant that I took two weeks off, and when I came back - much to my surprise - no one had done all of my work for me.  We also experience a yearly back-to-school rush around August and September, so that hasn't helped. 
  • Image-hosting problems.  Once again, Photobucket is giving me problems.  Their custom organize option is far inferior to the one their original site offered, and I might carefully order images for ten or fifteen upcoming posts only to come back to my Bucket the next day to find that ordering randomly shuffled, for no apparent reason.  It's really starting to tick me off.  So if anyone has any suggestions on how to transfer 800 unposted images, in existing order, to a different image hosting site, I'm all ears.

The good news is that much of this is now in the past, and I should be getting back to a slightly more regular posting schedule, assuming all the stars align properly.  By Monday I fully expect to be back in fighting form, our back-to-school rush appears to be slowing down, and while Photobucket is unlikely to fix itself in the near future, I'm sick of waiting for them to get their act together and I am looking at new image-hosting options. 

I have some good stuff lined up, so don't go anywhere!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Triptych: Hambonin'!

"Let's Play Punchies!!!" by Jango Snow

"STOP TALKING!" by Ryan Plaisance

"Tetris: Regular Type" by Josh Ln

Triptych: When The Doc Strikes Twelve

"Doc Around The Clock" by Nik Holmes

"The Satan Pit: Tintin Style" by Rick Eades

"Lucky Oswald" (t-shirt) by Billy Allison

Triptych: Always A Lighthouse, Always A Man, Always A City

"Bioshock Infinite" by Lazare Gvimradze

"Rapture \ Columbia" by FelipeFT

"A Lighthouse, A Man & A City" by Ben Huber

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Triptych: Hairballs in the Manifold

"My Neighbor 1930" by Kasey Gifford

"Catbus" by PaperHooch

"Kitten Taxis" (t-shirt) by Michael Holmes

Triptych: Four Brothers

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" by The Geek Gallery

"Lichtenstein Pop Martial Art Chelonians" by Butcher Billy

"The Turtles" by Kristafer Anka

All good stuff, but I love the TMNT redesign by Kristafer Anka. It's worth reading his writeup on his thought process for how he approached each of the turtles.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Triptych: Something Old, Something New, Something TARDIS, Something Blue

"Isometric TARDIS" by neronix17

"Who Paisley" (t-shirt) by zomboy

"Timey Wimey" (t-shirt) by OfficeInk

Sorry for the lack of updates the last few weeks. I did, however, successfully get married, go on my honeymoon to San Francisco, and get caught up on two weeks worth of backlog at work. So while I can't guarantee I'll have multiple updates every day for a while, I definitely haven't gone away for good.