05/07/2010

Inspiration For The Interactive Generation

by Matthew Hawkins

In this post:
1. Time to play catch-up.
2. My rundown of last weekend’s zine launch party/inde arcade opening
3. Plus pics from my birthday shindig and various crap I have recently come to possess
4. And a bit of what else has been going on elsewhere in the world of games

WARNING: LOTS of pics ahead. Hey, it’s been a while and I’m backlogged. Also, a few are slightly NSFW, but most should know by now that there’s always a good chance of exposed cartoon nipples.

The Right Person For The Right Job

Now that things have begun to somewhat settle down (make no mistake, I’m still doing/working on twenty things at once, but not the forty or so like the past couple of weeks… for example, a few folks have already noticed that I haven’t been doing anything over at Heavy for the past couple of weeks, and long story short, that will be the case for a while now, and perhaps permanently, so please write to your Congressman), I believe I might be able to give this blog the love and attention that it so richly deserves!

So a few nights ago, I went to a Lego Harry Potter press thing-y and the primary highlight, aside from trying to convince Stephen Totilo to pose in some wacky Harry Potter photo set-up with me, where we would have to don robes and look like complete idiots (which I totally failed at, unfortunately), was running into another writer pal of mine, one whom I hadn’t seen in ages, John Constantine! If the name sounds familiar, the dude has written for pretty much every outlet you can think of: 1UP, MTV, Play, Nerve, The Onion, etc. And the guy admitted to being somewhat a fan of all the wacky pics of the mostly naked schoolgirl figurines from Japan which normally graces this blog! Much to his girlfriend’s chagrin, of course, and who happened to be in attendance (btw, sup John).

Anyway, time to cover what’s been going on as of late! For starters, been taking it easy; last weekend’s zine launch party/indie arcade opening, on the heels of a week’s worth of census training, left me totally wiped out, so been mostly bumming around, watching anime (have become a pretty big fan of Heroman, and here’s reasons why), and playing games, including Alan Wake. I was one of the luck game journalists to receive an advance copy, and even though I should have beaten the game by now, I found myself stuck in lost in the forest, very early in, and was never able to find my way out. And wouldn’t you know, Katie started playing the other night, and was able to find her way out in no time flat (lol).

Also been trying to get through all the visual novels that MangaGamer was kind enough to pass along. Was also going to try and get some help with the workload, with either Hilary (the obvious candidate) or Mike (the even better candidate). But hasn’t happened yet, due to the former’s own heavy workload, plus lack of XP on her Mac, and Mike’s aversion to soul cancer in general; btw, his reaction to that right wing, religious zealot that recently got caught with the rent a gay boy was simply classic: “It’s like me getting caught at Otakon dressed up like a nine year old girl (who is also a battleship).” It’s funny cuz it’s true.

Hey, that just means more exploits of girlfriend-less, school focused dudes who all of a sudden find themselves sharing their roof with a hot exchange student, that’s both an alien and horny as hell (or something like that) for myself. Expect my first visual novel review, plus a few final words on Alan Wake, Monster Hunter Tri, and Super Street Fighter 4 sometime next week! But back to the last weekend…

A Guy Dressed Up As Cyclops, Screaming Stream Of Consciousness Video Game Poetry, With Footage From Random Sega Games Projected On Him

As previously noted, many fine folks helped to get the word out, so thanks is once again in order! It was simply awesome, having the info broadcasted via so many different channels, like Tiny Cartridge, GameSetWatch, NYU’s Game Center, and countless blog/Twitter posts from various friends/associates. But my favorite heads up might be from the Nonsense NYC list serv. Basically, you pass along your event’s details, in the shortest and sweetest manner possible, and they toss them in some monster email, along with other listings, which gets deployed to everyone in the city, to help them figure out what they’ll be doing that weekend. The following is the listing as it originally appeared. Pay special attention to the editor’s note at the end, which as far I know, is a first!

XXXXX SATURDAY, MAY 1 XXXXX

Messhof x FORT90ZINE x Glow Artisan

Special performance by Blue Leader from Baltimore. With FORT90ZINE, Cream Wolf, Jizzzmoppa, the original Diner Dash, Glow Artisan.

Talking: Ramiro Corbetta, Matthew Hawkins, Mark Denardo. Performances: Blue Leader, Graffiti Monsters. Secret Extra Game. About Babycastles: New York’s first independent games arcade, is named after bite-size Portugese cakes in Japan. As a new function of a legendary all-ages venue for Brooklyn music and other local DIY-culture, Babycastles offers a physical place to play games made by amateur and independent game developers. The arcade is open during four or five nights a week during shows at the Silent Barn, with an opening party every month for new games.

Silent Barn Street
915 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn
8-11pm

NOTE: The listing doesn’t make this exactly clear, but it looks like this is a night of independent and hacked video games. We edited down a lot of confusing stuff from the version we got, which probably means a lot to some people, but it seemed pretty insidery. But in the cool way that some subcultures are just really insidery. Anyway, probably a fascinating night that isn’t happening anywhere else in the city. Or a bunch of nerds who know it and love nerding out anyway.

As the show itself, for the most part, the evening was a smash success. Naturally, nothing is perfect; turn-out, while quite strong, still fell short of expectations. Though to be fair, the location is somewhat in the middle of nowhere and somewhat in a bombed out neighborhood, which imho, is part of the appeal. Not helping, as well as to further enhance the effect, is how the building itself is unmarked and looks deserted. Plus it’s right next door to a Spanish bar that’s actually a front for a bordello. Not only does the place itself scream atmosphere (which I prefer to describe as “hipster Pee Wee’s Playhouse”), but so does the surrounding neighborhood!

Also, the regular Silent Barn crowd never showed up, due to some big music show that was conveniently going on that same night, just a few blocks down. But in the end, the folks that did come had a blast; those who had been to a Babycastles opening prior was especially impressed, all of whom stated it was the best one yet. And for me, it was simply a thrill to see all my indie comic pals in attendance, because for the first time ever, the tables were turned and they were at long last getting a taste of the indie gaming world!

My only real regret was how I had never bothered to advertise the presence of both Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the PS2 (which I had worked on prior to Jizzmoppa, which had been advertised to be in attendance, both of which are talked about in the latest issue of the zine) and that almost legendary mine cart racing/sandwich making/girlfriend simulator for the PSone, Love Love 2 (which I’ve written extensively about, both here and in the 2nd issue of the zine). That and how I foolishly forgot my camera back home. And the main reason why this report took so long to file (I know well enough that most blog posts go ignored at the end of the week, plus many of my buds at this moment are on their way north for TCAF) is cuz I?ve been waiting for professional quality photographs that were taken, yet have to show up.

In the meantime, here?s some snapshots courtesy of Colleen and Dave Roman! First, a look at the space itself, accentuated by the neon sign that Kunal, one of the two awesome dudes that runs Babycastles, had just acquired…

In the lower right corner you can see Dave Mauro, giving it his all to beat Love Love 2. Seeing various folks not just go “LOL Japan!” but actually make a concerted effort to play the game made me quite happy, cuz it’s actually a really awesome game!

Cream Wolf was given the spotlight, and deservedly so; I’m of the opinion that it’s Messhof’s finest game yet, plus Denardo’s insanely catchy soundtrack which was blasted all night long not once got old…

Right next to the bar one could find Jizzmoppa, which I was equally shocked to see so many people play with determination. Starting with that evening, where the game has been on display ever since (and will remain so till the end of this month), it’s been since a real hit with the ladies!

A close up of my “description” for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. To further accentuate it’s crappiness, the stupid thing kept freezing all night long…

To make sure no one walked away with the DSi that housed Glow Artisan, Kunal came up with the brilliant idea of hanging it from the wall via fishing wire. I’m seriously thinking of doing the same here at home, cuz I just like the idea of various handhelds, just floating in the air…

The advertised secret game ended up being a text adventure, which was contained in a burnt out arcade cab. Unfortunately, some folks both got bored with the game and figured a way to fire up the SNES emulator that’s housed on the same PC…

Another shot of the crowd; can you spot the hipster in the goofy looking hat? And who among my friends fits such a bill? Yup, it’s Joe Salina way in the back, to the left!

And here’s Joe Simko with the gf…

Dave Mauro and myself…

Colleen with Travis, whose trying his best to make heads or tails of the train wreck that is the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon video game adaptation for the PS2. Again, I simply couldn’t believe all the people that made a concert effort to play the game…

Dave Roman playing Jizzmoppa while Raina Telgemeier watches on…

After a few hours open play (the only game not pictured was the other Messhof title, Jetpack Basketball), the performance and lectures First up was Denardo, who ended up doing the same acoustic set, with the accompanying footage from an old cartoon featuring a regular panda, a red panda, and a Chinese prince, from that Pulsewave a few months back where James Kochalka made his live chiptunes debut

Afterwards, Corbetta presented the evening’s first talk by discussing the developmental process of Glow Artisan. Once again, I’m fairly certain it’s the only color focused video game to actually address the color blind! Next was my turn…

… I went in completely unprepared, since I had absolutely no idea what to say, so I basically rambled on for a good ten minutes, about “stuff”. Mostly covered who the hell I was and why I did the zine, as well as touched upon my modest body of work as it pertains to game development, since most of it was on display and is talked about in the latest issue, as well as my two cents regarding local NYC game development/culture as a whole. Specifics are bit hazy, though again, I was literally making it up as I went along (I’m fairly used to addressing crowds from all my lecturing at animu conventions, but I usually have notes or other people to play off of), but everyone seemed to enjoy it, which I guess is the most important part. Or at least Dave Roman seemed to enjoy himself, via this pic…

There was only one person who appeared displease, far as I could tell, a hipster girl that was right up front, who was quite hot might I add, who seemed incredibly annoyed the entire time. I would later discover that she’s a roommate of Syed, the other dude who runs the place, and is apparently a diehard feminist; my game, in which guys jerk off to dancing women in booths, until it gets too dirty, which then causes the room to blow up, and knocking the naked chick out, is offensive to those types, or so I’ve discovered.

Oh, also, Leigh Alexander was in attendance and asked if I was a Holocaust denier. Yeah, not sure what that was about either. There should be footage available soon of my talk, along with everyone else’s, coming very soon. Which is good, because… after myself was Denardo, who spoke about the music in Cream Wolf, as well as his work in chiptunes as a whole, and then it was, in my mind easily, the highlight of the entire night. Blue Leader, who based upon this video, I figured would be awesome, but we were all completely unprepared for what go down exactly…

… Thank God there’s footage of this man’s madness on the way, cuz mere words, no matter how detailed and articulate, cannot possibly hope to do any justice. But basically, imagine a dude that’s dressed up as Cyclops (from the X-Men), screaming stream of consciousness video game poetry (note: generally speaking I hate poetry, but this time it just worked), with footage of random Sega games projected onto him (mostly stuff for the Sega CD and Saturn, though there was a bit of everything included). Halfway through his first piece, I couldn’t help but noticed that everyone in the audience’s jaw had dropped, and the whole time, myself, Salina, and Kunal look at each other to mouth in silence “This man is a friggin’ GENIUS.”

The dude is also mad cool too; he’s based in Baltimore, and I’m definitely plan on hitting the guy up when I head down there for Otakon later this summer. In the meanwhile, I have a feeling Ramiro will be joining myself, Kunal, and Syed next time we hit Kenka for drinks! Anyway, a few final pics, including pals, just chilling in the corner…

… Yes, that’s a working laundry machine back there; folks actually live there! One of the many laws that place breaks every day. Too bad the light was pretty low, otherwise I would have gotten some detailed shots of the awesomeness that’s plastered all over the wall, though this pot leaf poodle sketch was fairly visible…

… Overall a fantastic evening, and thanks once again for everyone who made it out! It was very much appreciated. And remember, next month will be a new Babycastles opening, though what exactly is not yet known, so stay tuned.

“Robert Downey! I can’t believe you broke that guy’s back and made that guy suck his own dick!”

Time for some more pictures, this time from the weekend before, when Katie threw me a belated birthday party! Again, a somewhat modest gathering, but it was all good, since if offered a chance for everyone to get to know each other a little better, since I ride in different circles and all. After-all, it’s not everyday that Rob & Michele gets to interact with, say, Joe & June, dmauro & Nullsleep, Totillo & O’Connor, or Travis & Colleen, plus vice verses…

… They’re both playing Espgaluda 2 for the iPhone, which to put it bluntly, is so amazing that it’s almost too good to be true.

… Though a good chunk of that pow wowing around the circle involved me reciting old stories from my days as an assistant manager at the Medieval Times gift shop and box office in Times Square. Apparently, hearing about me kick out Black Wolf from the store repeatedly never gets old, at least to Mooney. When it got late, and it was just myself, Katie, Travis, & Colleen, we fired up the consoles, and I believe that night was what led to them getting a Wii just a few days later! Not surprisingly, the PS3 was not purchased, despite Noby Noby Boy.

Now, going in, I had heard that Dave Mauro had gotten me the most epic of birthday gifts, and the surprise did not disappoint…

May as well take a look at some of the other cool stuff that I got for my birthday, though mostly for myself. Here’s a preview mini of that history of Nintendo comic that made waves a few weeks back, which made it’s debut at Stumptown, which was where Dave & Raina was at during my party (it, along with some other gifts, were passed along earlier this week)…

… As expected, it’s quite awesome, and I can’t wait for the final book, which at this point, looks to be nice and big and epic. And on a related note, guess what the UPS guy finally dropped off? That Nintendo book from Vertical Inc that made it’s debut at the MoCCA Art Fest, but which I missed out on (thankfully Vertical was kind enough to pass along a copy)…

… Haven’t gotten a chance to dig too deep into it, but thus far, it’s pretty awesome. Though I’ll hold off on the comparisons with David Sheff’s Game Over like so many have been asking till I’ve finished the thing. And speaking of books on game design, guess what I finally broke down and ordered…

… Yup, the autobio by the creator of The You Testament, as recently detailed here. I was originally going to write about the game in the latest zine, but it had to be axed due to time and space constraints. Besides, now I’ll be able to also include any insanity I’ll be able to gleam from the book, which would not have been possible previously. And the dude is TOTALLY insane….

I also recently picked this up…

… To accompany volume one, which I USED to have, but got lost during a move somehow. And which I would replace, but it goes for $100+ on eBay. This one, which is equally rare and expensive, was only snatched for $20 from some dude on figure.fm, desperate to get some cash in his pockets. Anyway, for those aren’t familiar with the tomes, it’s a comprehensive collection of production material…

The same dude also has plenty of doujinshi, like this Range Murata collection…

… Again, this book goes for big bucks online, but was gotten for mere peanuts! Hence why I blindly picked up a few others, based upon the covers alone…

… Yup, porn. And a bunch others were tossed in, mostly to help pad out the goods, and whose cover a far more NSFW than what you see above for me to actually post. They’re also not that hot, but hey, free hentai? Sure!

And for the record, to prove that I’m not just into the animu, I also finally purchased this…

… Yup, it’s a big book filed with glitched images. And it’s simply beautiful.

Oh, so for the party, Katie and I made a quick mid-week visit to Mitsuwa and H-Mart. Since it’s been a while since I’ve posted any images of wacky Japanese snacks…

… And a close up on the clear-cut winner…

Back to stuff going on, this past Monday I met up with Dave Roman for dinner, which is when I received my belated birthday comic, along with a few other goodies, mostly Speed Racer related. Afterwards we hit the UCB for the big Iron Man 2 premier party, hosted by Iron Man himself, Tony Stark, and Stan Lee! And the show was pretty awesome, plus somewhat of a blast from the past, since it harkened back to the days in which the two of us practically lived there, or at least at the old location (we’re both just two busy to fit the theater into our now hectic lifestyles). Anyhow, joining the two luminaries from the Marvel Universe were Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Cera, Robocop, the Melter (a super villain whose power is that he can melt things, though only certain metals, and with a gun that takes 30 to recharge between each blast), a Dennis Miller-esque comic book stand up comic (who was still far and away a billion times better than the real thing you see at the actual New York Comic Con), two Russian dudes who met Robert Downey Jr in prison when he was arrested for smoking crack and who claimed to be the ones who came up with the Whiplash character, which the actor then ripped off (Downey also ripped out some vertebrae in one of the dude’s backs, so he could suck his own dick for the actor’s amusement, or something like that), an cartoonist who claimed that Stan Lee ripped him off (every creation was based upon his, but with the racism taken out; the Incredible Hulk was originally an Irishman that became angry if he got too much whiskey into his system), and Doctor Doom, who is now doing the Doctor Phil gimmick of trying to help two kids that hate each other in high school (with the solution being for the bully to get some henchmen if he really want to step his tormenting tactics up). Overall a fine show! Plus it was nice the theatre did not reek of lettuce like normal (the place in under a grocery store). Too bad I didn’t take any pictures; just wasn’t thinking about it at the time. Thankfully I had my camera handy for…

Afterwards was the Harry Potter thing I already mentioned, and after that was another IGDA Drink Night. Did you know that No Idea Bar, which is where they always take place, serves rum & cokes in a regular sized glass? Maximum drunkenness guaranteed. And last night was the No Quarter exhibition at the NYU Game Center. Four games were on-hand, including Recurse, a full body game in which you want to basically jiggle whatever body part is in the green area and avoid the red…

Here’s Sixteen Tons, the latest from Eric Zimmerman

… Basically, four players have two colored cylinders to move around, and the winner is whoever gets theirs right next to each other. Billed as a strategy and negotiation game, you must “bid” for the services of others to do the heavy work, so it’s essentially a large board game that’s played via proxy. Kinda hard to explain and you sorta have to play it yourself to understand the nuances. On, and since money is involved, it’s essentially a gambling game; here’s Kunal and Frank Lantz arguing over terms. In the end, Kunal won like $20!

… And when I played, I lost about $2 to Nik Mikros.

Raging Hadron, the latest from Messhof, was quite popular. It’s a two-player platforming/swordplay title that is essentially tug of way; whomever wins an exchange can continue on towards their finish line. I think the use of NES controllers was what got everyone the most excited though…

Though my favorite would have to be Deep Sea, an audio only game in which you put on a mask that completely cuts off the senses. Via headphones, you have to track the motions of sea creatures and also carefully aim your torpedoes. The key is breathing, which must be controlled; too much causes air bubbles and obscures the helpful inputs…

… It wasn’t exactly perfect (was WAY too hard for starters), but still interesting nonetheless! And finally, Syed and Kunal making flyers for a Babycastles event happening next Saturday…

… Which is, next Saturday, the 15th, at 6pm is a potluck BBQ in conjunction with the Poppenkast to help celebrate the opening of Babycastles 2! For more info, be sure to hit the recently revamped site.

DAMN IT NADINE, GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER

So yeah, it’s been a while since I passed along a big mess or game related randomness, culled from the web. It’s not like I haven’t been finding stuff, I just haven’t had the time to post them. And because I’m officially short on time, I’m going to forgo the big recap of cool stuff that other cool folk have been highlighting, and simply stick to things that most have not heard about. Like…

- Are you familiar with Travis Hallenbeck? Among other things, he makes music with Mario Paint…

- Does everyone know that Konami’s latest Desktop Arcade Collection came out a little while ago? Volume 3 is none other than Pop’N Music!

- I passed along some pics from some crazy Japanese auto show a while ago, but here’s one I forgot…

… Via Danny Choo, where one can also find plenty of pics of animu girls plastered across rides from the same event.

- Semi-related: one of the main reasons why I’m kicking myself for taking forever to pass along links is due to how this page is now dead.

Basically, there was this dude on figure.fm who was chronicling his journey to become an employee of Square-Enix. Every step of the way, specifically after each interview, he would detail what went down, and it was a fascinating read, especially for any American that dares to dream to work for a Japanese video game company. Long story short, dude got the job, which is awesome, but I guess his new bosses were not happy to hear that their vetting process was detailed online. Hope the dude still has his job!

- Via an artist on Pixiv who goes by 27?, an even exchange

- Seriously, best Bayonetta fan art eva…

- And this Mario Paint one ain’t half bad either…

- Neither is this one for Portal…

- Moving onto cosplay, the cast of Silent Hill, all enjoying Pizza Hut…

- Hey, Mega Man Legends!

- And do I have a thing for girls dressed as Link? Well, does the Pope crap in the woods?

- Time for some game related videos! Starting with an expert from an old Japanese show featuring Super Mario Bros; be sure to hang in there till the very end, for the real life interpretation of the game.

- This one has been getting linked all over the place, and for good reason; it’s absolutely amazing. It’s The King of Famicom!

- There’s many reasons why the one game I’m frothing at the mouth to play the most this very moment is Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Here’s reason #1 and here’s reason #2 (Snake… okay, Big Boss… vs. Metal Gear Rex: the Dinosaur?!?! OMGWTFBBQ).

- Meanwhile, another game that I’ve pining for has been revealed to be complete crap. I’m talking about the official Strike Witches game for the 360.

- The “Game Over, Yeah!” from Sega Rally, extended for about ten minutes.

- That Old Spice ad by Tim & Eric X the moon stage song from Ducktales.

- Semi-related: Adventure Time X the Bridge Zone song from Sonic 1, Master System version.

- Easily the worst player ever on Nick Arcade. I can only imagine her partner off screen, repeatedly bashing his helmet head against the wall.

- Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney doing the The Girl Is Mine via Sims 2. Why? I don’t know.

- Anyone out there familiar with the all girl K-pop group Gee? Well here’s their hit song from last year (in Korea at least) as performed by a bunch of Final Fantasy and Dead Or Alive chicks.

Here’s the original for anyone that’s interested, and it simply proves my long-standing belief that Korean girls are far cuter than Japanese girls. Sorry.

- Does anyone know when that Masaya Matsuura iPhone game is coming out?

- Hey, it’s a guy dressed up as Ryu actually beating up a car! Somewhat.

- I’ll simply let the description do all the talking here: “A FOUND LOVE LETTER TRANSFERED INTO A 1998-2000 JAPANESE DATING GAME?? SEGA SATURN STYLE?? THESE GRAPHICS “R” SO CHOPPY … BUT I WOULDN’T TRADE THEM FOR THE WORLD!! BE CAREFUL NOT TO SCRATCH THE DISC!! THIS IS LO-FI!! IT IS THE BEGINNING OF A NEW MILLENNIUM!! IT IS MILKBBI’s KOINU ♥AI~ PUPPY LOVE!~*~*~*

- Simple but effective…

- God bless pinball…

- Hawt…

- At this point, I follow about 87 different Tumblrs. No exaggeration! Why? Cause most are good for animated gifs of crappy Game Boy Color-ized versions of Resident Evil.

- Though my fave at the moment a href=”http://fmtownsmarty.tumblr.com/”>has FM Towns Marty in the URL even though it doesn’t solely revolve that particular console, but it’s still has plenty of cool stuff, like…

… That’s it for now; time to get back to work and go see Iron Man 2. And remember, stay tuned for some additional pictures plus video of last weekend?s hijnks!

  • CozmoD

    Yo man, good post as usual, but when am I going to be able to actually buy Fort90: Third Strike? California needs some zine love too.

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