January 2012


“Tired of this DJ? Shoot him.”

by Matthew Hawkins

Here are a few things I learned this past weekend:

1. It’s much easier to play a shmup than to be a DJ.
2. There’s an inherent risk you’re taking when allowing someone to stamp “FAKE” on a $20 bill of yours.
3. I should really go back to that bar in Williamsburg in which every girl was flirting with me (just ask Joe).
4. And next time, I shouldn’t drink as much, otherwise I would have noticed all the women making advances, instead of being fixated on getting back home in time, for some late night Wendy’s.
5. The Asiago chicken sandwich they serve at Wendy’s is pretty boss.

Been crazy busy for the past couple of weeks (yes, I know I say that way too much, but it’s been the first time in 2012 at least), providing regular video game news coverage for two different outlets, MSNBC and Guyism, as well editorial for Heavy, PLUS working on assorted side projects! And as a result, been a total hermit, hardly leaving the apartment at all.

The only breaks have been when Dave Roman came over to enjoy some Manhattan cable access, though we mostly ended up watching Evil Video instead (sup K Thor), and to enjoy some ramen with Steve Totilo, to discuss the latest in the world of professional wrestling and his obscenely large collection of Star Wars comics on his iPad (for reals).

I also just had Menkui Tei again earlier this evening (they serve what might possibly be the best Japanese curry in all of North America), this time with Anthony and Derrick. Funny books was the primary discussion point once more; the proposed sequel to Watchmen was brought up. And… EDIT: I think this tweet does a better job of retelling that particular exchange.

Back to sports entertainment, also caught the Royal Rumble with Steve Flack and his buddies on Sunday night, but less said about that evening the better. Now, if it was Urban Wrestling Federations‘s latest PPV (called Thug Assassin, I kid you not), it would be a different story.

Had plans to see the new Underworld flick over the weekend, which didn’t quite happen. Was always in the cards, but the recommendation from a coworker at MSNBC sealed the deal. Especially the answer I received when asking if it was any good: there’s supposedly a scene in which Kate Beckinsale wakes up from a cryogenically induced slumber, completely nude. I guess that’s a thumbs up!

Another thing I meant to go to, but didn’t, was Pulsewave on Saturday night. Instead, went to Art Hack Day at 319 Scholes. Mostly went to check out the shmup that Dave Mauro and the rest of his crew at Canvas had created, and in just 48 hours!

There was loads of other cool stuff to be found as well, which were also created under the same time constraint. But first, the aforementioned shooter, entitled aliensthatlooklikeskrillex.tumblr.com (best name eva, btw)?

So the boss, specifically its bullet patterns, were tied into the DJ, who was mixing records for the show the entire night. The more he scratched, the more intense the barrage. Onlookers could also help out, but texting a number, but that feature stopped working early on. It’s somewhat of a miracle that it worked at all…

Why? Because it was using an Xbox 360 joystick (which Joe had provided). And Lion totally kills support for such an input (and which I only discovered myself recently, when trying to play some recently acquired Humble Bundle titles). In the end, they had to get the game running in Windows, via VMWare. But hey, it worked!

Here’s a fun fact: the star field is from Aurora, one of Anamanaguchi’s summer singles from 2010! Which Dave also did the artwork for, obviously. Anyhow, as for some of the other stuff that was being exhibited, you had?

A photo booth, but instead of printing out pictures, it combined them to form animated GIFs. Which were being projected somewhere in Manhattan. Was told 6th Ave, between 29th-30th, though I can’t recall anything being there, aside from businesses. Perhaps they meant Herald Square, a few blocks north? Definitely wasn’t Times Square, as some excited patrons believed.

I also asked the two women who had built the thing if anyone had bothered flashing, and they both said no, with a hint of disappointment. Then one asked the other to flash for the camera, but she didn’t. That I was somewhat bummed out by. Moving on, and nearby, you also had?

It was this interactive video featuring some model that just stared at you, with much intensity?

Until you pushed this button?

And then she happily eats pizza!

Was loads of fun. Near the button was a smaller display, which had rolling footage of the model, flying in the air, attached to a large pizza pie, plus playing baseball with toppings, and other forms of wackiness?

Downstairs was a set-up by the folks at MakerBot, demonstrating their latest product the Replicator. Here it is, in the early stages of making a Totoro!

And here’s a companion cube it has already finished?

Nearby was a collection of fabric that was connected to fabric?

There were geometric shapes nearby that were being projected, and if you folded the associated piece of cloth, the shapes would behave the same way. Super cool, but none of the pictures came out, sorry!

Near the bathroom was yet another eye-catching “thing”; it’s kinda hard to describe. It was basically a DIY kaleidoscope?

Excellent use of water, and excellent placement as well, right next to the bathroom. I had to go already when stumbling across it, but just a few minutes and I almost pissed my pants.

Back to aliensthatlooklikeskrillex.tumblr.com; here we have Gabe, giving it his all?

And he killed the DJ!

Though, not to brag, but by this point, I had the highest number of wins, at three. I actually didn’t count the last one, since the DJ didn’t do much of anything, hence the challenge was pretty low, which mean I was mostly tied with Dave at two.

Speaking of the DJ, he actually had a second game attached to his turntable; by spinning the record, you also spun a pizza, with the goal being to scratch it in the proper way to allow either bananas or popsicles to land, as well as to ward off grenades. Or something like that?

Underneath was a PC laptop and MacBook Pro. Not sure if they were powering what was happening above, or just for show. I thought they were pretty at least?

And here we have Dave giving his game another shot, while the DJ was in the middle of scratching like crazy. The dude loves a challenge?

In fact, the default patterns were much harder originally, but the rest of the Canvas guys dialed it back quite a bit. Since not everyone is weened on DoDonPachi, after-all!

On the other side of the room was a web browser that was driven by the Kinect. To advance, you had to make swimming motions. Get it, you had to literally surf the web! Too bad it didn’t work all that well, but it was pretty dark, and that thing needs a good amount of light to actually work?

In one corner there was this pile of jello, and I had absolutely no idea what the hell it was, but I took a picture anyway?

So there was this guy, who I don’t think was even part of the show. At the very least, his thing has zero to do with hacking and the like; he simply had a rubber stamp that said FAKE and would apply it on people’s money for them. Like I did?

When I offered a $20 bill, he got all excited: “Dude, you’re totally brave!” He even took a picture, and you know my thing for taking pictures of people taking pictures?

Time to check in on how the Replicator is doing and? Totoro’s finished!

As the evening drew to a close, it was time for aliensthatlooklikeskrillex.tumblr.com to take center stage, with folks literally facing off against him, one on one. Here we have Dave, in an insanely heated battle, in which both gave it their best shot?

Many people took the challenge, and many people fell to the way side, but after a few attempts, Dave won! And as such, went up on stage to assume the mantle of Boss. Time, btw, to switch to my Instagram pics, since my regular camera began to fail me at this point?

Eventually Joe took him down, and then it was his turn?

And then, soon it was mine! But unlike Joe, who is actually a musician, and therefore knows how to scratch a record, and was therefore on stage for a very long time, I was able to defeat maybe one player? And it was out of sheer luck.

Was so embarrassing; had no idea what the hell I was doing. The fear of breaking this DJ’s equipment was my biggest issue. But whatever; when all was said and done, I was the true champion of the game, with a win record of four!

Afterward, I went to a bar nearby with Joe, and as noted in the beginning, all these women were flirting with me (trust me, it doesn’t happen all the time, hence why I’m bragging about it), but I had a bit too much to eat, hence why curing my drunk munchies was the priority.

And like I also said, the chicken sandwich I had was pretty awesome! Anyway, catch you later dudes.*

* in-joke

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The New Me

by Matthew Hawkins

As noted a few times already, this place is getting a long overdue facelift. Nothing dramatic (I still enjoy being called “that guy with the blue site”), just bringing things up to code. Though there will be some fairly significant changes.

Like a new bio pic. Joe‘s Garbage Pail Kids-inspired portrait has served me well, for 8 years to be exact. So it’s about time for something new and fresh. I asked Sweet Rot for an updated version, but the dude is too busy these days, making actual GPK cards! And his own stuff.

A few other close friends, whose work I also admire, were then called upon. And in the end, it was Lamar who answered the challenge! So because I’m still not 100% when the next iteration of fort90.com will debut, but mostly because it’s so damn awesome, how about I share it now?

Some of you have seen it already; been replacing the green chair on all the social networking channels I frequent all day today. Which, btw, was originally found on Newstoday, almost a decade ago as well (for those who have asked; sadly, I have no idea who it’s by and where it’s from).

Was a massive hit on Facebook. Too bad all the thumbs up and nice words that it accumulated mysteriously vanished early this evening (cuz Facebook is cool like that). But if you’re reading this Lamar, everyone loves it! And once again, thank you SO much!!!

Anyhow, another big change that some folks should maybe know about? primarily those that has ever referred to a specific blog entry? is something that shall be very “Marvel Comics-like”. I’ll say no more until the time is right!

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It’s a Saturday night, a snowy one at that. Not the kind in which one is out and about, merrily kicking up some freshly landed powder, but the kind in which one stays the hell indoors, to avoid slush filled potholes and other grossness. Plans to hang with a pal (sup Dave) were canceled as a result of the later, which means a chance to play catch up on stuff that had been left on the way side, and? a blog post?

Unfortunately, that massive link dump I mentioned last time must still wait; am way behind on some key Attract Mode/Fangamer business, plus various other odds & ends. So instead, kick back and enjoy the awesomeness that is Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, aka the voice of Daytona USA, demonstrating the karaoke mode found in the PSN and XBLA port (which again, was #3 in my top five games of 2011)?

Via Nobuooo. You know, Sega’s best days may be behind us all, but so long as they keep Mitsuyoshi and Nagoshi around, there’s still a reason to care about the true heroes of early 90′s gaming.

On a side note, the clip reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to mention forever: as a video game soundtrack connoisseur of many years, the pride and joy of my collection is a super obscure release called Psyched: Club Mix From Sega Racing Games. As the title implies, it remixes tunes from assorted hits from Sega’s AM2, AM3, AM4, and AM5 divisions into club music, with a heavy tinge of contemporary jazz.

Been meaning to pass along cuts onto YouTube, but I simply can’t figure out how to post mp3s on a Mac. Basically, you need an image as an accompaniment (with most folks using album art, naturally), and all the tools that put the two together are for the PC, at least from what I’ve been about to find. But at long last, someone else has finally done beaten me to the punch!

Unfortunately, the uploader didn’t provide my one other favorite track, but here’s a remix of Sky High. Which to be honest is one of the weaker cuts, yet is still quite neat nonetheless?

All right, back to work, though I also wanted to say thanks to everyone out there for all the well wishes and support during my first week at MSNBC! I’ve also sincerely appreciated all reposting and retweeting of some of my stuff; you guys are the best!

BTW, here are a few of my favorite (and most popular) posts from week one?

- Super Mario Bros Crossover 2.0 announced
- Google Maps becomes game-ified
- Riding in an elevator: the video game
- Want an Assassin’s Creed arm blade? Here’s how
- Take virtual girlfriend on real-world date with 3DS

Also, a friendly reminder: I’m still churning out stuff for Guyism every single day as well! Here’s a few faves from that end; can anyone tell the difference between the following and my MSNBC stuff?

- Thank God, someone is finally putting together a Tomb Raider porn flick
- The Catherine porno that you didn?t even know existed has been cancelled
- CNN was stupid enough to think that a kid tried chopping his arms off because of a game

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