02/09/2013

Two Girls, One Cartridge Slot

by Matthew Hawkins

Time for part two of what’s been going on. And again, there’s been a lot of ground to cover…

GOTEVEN

Once Vegas was finally history, I was eager to get back to work on a couple of major projects that had just gotten underway, once the new year began, and which I had to put on hold for the aforementioned trip.

But I also mentally spent and needed to blow off some serious steam. And since I also hadn’t seen certain friends in ages, I decided to finally play some D&D with the Demin Club posse, aka Joe (Salina), Dave, Peter (Kassel), and Peter (Berkman)

Actually it was Castle Ravenloft, a board game variant of D&D. And the following night was the Golden Globes at Wax Eye HQ, where plenty of Joe (Simko)’s patented deviled eggs were served, along with the usual assortment of candy flavored booze…

The thing is, I’ve been getting together with Joke and June ever year since forever to watch (and drunkenly heckle) the Oscars. But this year. they’ll be in Virginia, where the Wax Eye warehouse is located (it’s June’s dad’s birthday or something). Plus Joe is boycotting the show anyway, due to his intense dislike of Seth McFarlane, which I completely sympathize with.

So to “fill the void”, we’ve been catching whatever else award ceremony that happens to be on. The Golden Globes were okay, but no Oscars, that’s for damn sure. At least it was better than the Screen Actor’s Guild. Though the best thus far as been the K-Pop music awards. Here’s some dude whose attire makes him look like M. Bison if someone selected him with his alternate pink duds. Hence “K Bison” as Henry dubbed him…

In addition to enjoying the company of dear friends, it’s almost been a time to remember those who are no longer with us. As noted in my 2012 recap, one of the biggest reasons why last year sucked so much is that I had four people I know pass away. And alas, 2013 kicked off with the death of Daniel Craft.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the guy; he’s that Star Trek superfan whose dying wish was to see the new J.J. Abrams movie. The wish was granted, and just two days later, he passed away. You can read more about it here. Anyhow, his memorial service not only celebrated Daniel’s life, but his love of Trek…

I met Daniel via the New York Asian Film Festival; he was one of their key organizers behind the scenes. Such an awesome guy; there was a ton of overlap, as far as our views on movies went. If he was still around, he’d be at the top of my list of people I’d show GETEVEN, which finally arrived after many long weeks (not surprisingly, it takes almost forever for anything to arrive from Australia)…

I am happy to report that it is as mind-blowingly _______ as I had hoped it would be! And speaking of stuff in the mail, I’m in the process of re-organizing stuff and I came across the following that I should have shared ages ago, cuz it was sent some time ago, by someone who’s a big fan of the blog. Thanks Jonathan!

The Vegas trip was the conclusion was a fairly hectic past couple of weeks, which included the holidays, and even though I still have a ton on my plate, it’s been a chance for life to get back to normal. In addition to some much needed housecleaning, I also finally got the chance to do some Japanese food shopping at Mitsuwa.

And right next door is the magazine shop; as I love the Japanese cuisine, it’s their world of print that I adore even more so…

And as awesome as their magazines on cars and fashion might be, it’s the ones on pets that rule supreme…

I decided to take my 3DS on the trip with me, and these are the kids of Miis you’ll encounter in Jersey…

Everyone always asks what I’ve been playing, and the answer as usual is “lots”. Including Tokyo Crash Mobs, which can be best described as the perfect mix of Magnetica/Zuma and Mulholland Drive

I’ve also been super addicted to DoDonPachi Maximum. It’s filled to the brim with “HOLY SHI-” moments for all the Cave fanboys out there (especially the ending)…

So another major highlight from the past few weeks has been all the Concrete TV I’ve been indulging in. For those who aren’t familiar, it’s basically one of the finest things you’ll find on New York cable access. The two latest episodes were world premiered at a gathering in Williamsburg, and of course I was there…

There I finally got the chance to meet the creator, Ron Rocheleau, and also acquire the entire series on DVD! Ron was also kind enough to throw in a t-shirt for free…

I’ve actually since hung out with Ron. Here we have where the magic happens, the set-up used to create his show, which is entirely pieced together with two Super VHS decks and that’s it. No computers, no fancy editing software…

BTW, KKK here is not what you think might be. It’s actually for Kustom Kar Kamandos, which is a film by Kenneth Anger. It’s basically the name given for his master tape for car crashes…

Behold Ron’s pile of tapes in which he has yet to pull footage from…

Along with his pile of stuff that has been gone through already (note the Olsen Twins tapes, which formed the bulk of one of his latest episodes)…

Finally, an episode being pieced together!

Moving on, meet mai new waifu. Whom I aqired from the nicest eBay seller on earth, aka my new best friend in Japan, as previously noted

Elsewhere on my toy and figurine shelf; my Miyazaki robot, whose legs are crazy sensitive, yet has been erect 1 week now! Sorry, am so happy with this that I had to share…

And check out what else showed up in the mail! And yes, I am going to be at TCAF 2013. More details on that to come!

As of this writing, it’s Saturday night and I’m home. Would have loved to have gone out, but in addition to taking care of stuff that pertains to the aforementioned major projects (there’s three major ones in total), I’m also sick. Due to Nemo, which is also the reason why I totally forgot about the Girl Scouts Cookie Truck that was rolling around town yesterday (though the blizzard cuts things short anyway). And I was really hoping to get a box of Samoas for Mathew

Last night was another evening at Wax Eye HQ, to work on yet to be unannounced project #3, plus to enjoy some freshly based cookies, berry flavored beer, and GETEVEN. Which was when the snow really came down. The following was taken on my way home; 2AM is basically the absolute best time to enjoy a storm in NYC…

… Though the trip back, mostly the long ass wait for the train, is why I have a cold. Oh well. At the very least, it’s affording me the chance to play catch up a tiny bit…

“‘WE’ ARE THE TRULE LOVERS OF THE GAMING WORLD!!”

Another question that comes up fairly often (and which is flattering to say the least, since it means people actually cared about such) is why I haven’t done a video game link/image dump in ages. All I can say is that I’ve been super busy! As a result, the TextEdit doc where I deposit all the links that I come across and save for later is basically 30 pages long! Unfortunately, I’m still on the busy side, so till then, here’s a few of the more pressing ones…

- So the $500 Metal Gear Rex from 3A is finally out! And… I’m kinda glad I didn’t bother. Because, at least going by the pics these assortment of pics, I am not a fan of the paint job.

At least you can make your own out of Legos! Too bad the following actually costs $900 to put together.

Thankfully, Slonie tells me that he’s going to pass along his spare Metal Gear Rex papercraft from the MGS3 E3 announcement packet! You can find pics from this German blog.

- I love how Steve, when letting me know about the Sega Daughters DLC for Samurai & Dragons went “I know you have to be aware of this already, but if there is anything more Matt Hawkins than this, I don’t know what it is.” BTW, I find Sega Saturn-tan to be cutest.

I also can’t wait for the requisite fan art, with Mega Drive 1 making out with Mega CD 2. May as well ad Super 32X and make it a threesome! BTW, various Sega games are also going to be added to the mix, like Burning Rangers, Roommania #23, and Fighting Vipers! Wait, no Cosmic Smash?

- Didn’t anyone else notice, from the Bayonetta 2 portion of the latest Nintendo Direct, the hella baller glasses that the female Platinum Games employee was wearing?

It’s the same frames that her chief rival Jeanne wears, for those who haven’t played the first game yet, FYI.

- Check out this cute little 4koma that Super Mario Broth recently posted.

And on a related note, something that GamOvr posted (which I can most certainly relate with at times).

Also, courtesy of Zack’s Tumblr, which am pretty sure I posted this ages ago, but whatever right? BTW, if you’re just like this girl, email me at matt at fort90 dot com plz.

… Sorry, but better put the wacky random links and pics to a rest, otherwise I’d be here all night! So how about we move onto recent Attract Mode posts that you may have missed? Like…

- I’m wondering if it’s worth the hassle of upgrading to Photoshop CS6 or is I should just stick to the Famicom version.

- Perhaps you’ve heard of the Press Paws art show? Which is happening right now in LA!

- Did you know that Masaya Matsuurahas a Soundcloud?

- In case you haven’t heard, Zac Gorman’s entire run of Magical Game Time comics is now available for sale! Dude needs the money to help fix is Mac, so help a brotha out.

- As much as I love messed upon 8bit pixels, screwed up 32bit polygons are far cooler.

- Blip Festival is officially no more.

- And my most recent Instagram dump for Attract Mode.

FYI, I have a new round coming up, first thing Monday morning.

- Oh, so there’s one AM blog post that I want to do but simply am not able to; a recent expose on the life and death of the American arcade that The Verge recently did reminded me of this awesome SNL sketch from the early 80s.

It was a mocumentary about video game addiction that I wish I could post, but YouTube won’t let me upload the damn thing, due to NBC Universal’s copyright claim. Which wouldn’t piss me off if I could instead link to it from Hulu, but it’s nowhere to be found.

Instead, was going to pass along the following clip starring Lilly Tomlin, but because I’m afraid that it might be a too old and obscure for the Attract Mode audience, here is here…

… Anyhow, even more odds and ends; stuff that I’m working on, alongside the three secret things I hope to reveal very soon…

- So I recently reviewed Noobz for Kotaku. Long story short: not nearly enough Zelda Williams. Also: it’s officially my last movie review from them. So does that mean I’m no longer writing for Kotaku? Nope. I’m actually getting my own monthly column! My first piece should be going live in the coming weeks.

- Next month is PAX East 2013, and I’ll be there of course. Though in addition to being a roving reporter and official Attract Mode rep at the Fangamer booth, I’ll have a third official function: moderator for one of the panels. Once the schedule is finalized and goes public, be sure to keep any eye out for Blending Games and Life: Showing Your Passion

- Speaking of the FG, I’ll be making another appearance on the official podcast. I’m recording my segment once the sneezing is under control, and the episode as a whole should be live by sometime next week, maybe sooner. And what will I be talking about? Why, the time I made a dating sim, that’s what.

- BTW, in addition to this long as blog post, how else have I been spending my evening? Why, watching episodes of the old Saturday morning ALF cartoons (both of them). How come? Because that’s what the next episode of the Saturday Supercast is all about, and which I’ll be a guest on!

Review: Parallel Processing

Parallel Processing is from Dan Behrens, otherwise known as Danimal Cannon, and Chris Penner, otherwise known as Zef. I’m only familiar with the first gentleman, and approaching his latest release, it’s good to know at least his story leading up.

When addressing Dan, I like to refer to him as a journeyman video game musician. Since he’s literally been all over the place; the first real blip on the radar was as a member of ArmCannon, an ensemble that specializes in video game remixes, mostly from the 8bit era. It’s worth noting that their first album was called LegVacuum. And their third album was called ArmCannon 3: LegVacuum 2, FYI.

Not long after, Dan was involved in WeaponeX, described as a “fusion influenced progressive metal project” by Dan on his homepage. I’d like to believe that it was about Mega Man X re-arrangements, but you never know. His next collaboration is the one that most people might know him from, as a member of Metroid Metal. As the name implies, they perform metal covers of classic Metroid standards, and have been wildly successful, to the point that they’re a staple at both MAGFest and PAX for years now.

As the story goes, it was from performing at both venues so often, alongside chiptuners, that Dan began to take an interest in creating his own Game Boy driven melodies. Late 2011 saw the release of his first full-on chiptune release: Roots. Aside from being one of my two favorite chip releases that year (the other being Bias by Minusbaby), it finally put him on the map for those who aren’t into the video game remixing scene. Including myself; I basically lost track/interest around 2002, once the OCRemix scene imploded due to drama.

Well, two years later… a span of time that happened to include a very memorable showing at the final flagship Blip Fest in NYC, plus an equally unforgettable performance at the VERSUS opening… we have his most recent effort, which might honestly be his strongest to date. Parallel Processing, at least to myself, feels like a culmination of the many roads travelled.

Hence the Danimal Cannon history lesson; knowing the long journey to this point will definitely help in the understanding and appreciation of Parallel Processing, as well as help form a narrative. Of a guy whose musical career starting off as just a dude doing happy go-lucky covers of popular games, who eventually found himself as a someone taking control, to explore the medium that inspired said covers and associated emotions. And finally, being in the midst of a deadly serious contest, a face off against some dude name Zef, whom I honestly know little about (though learning more the guy is definitely high on my list of things to do).

With all that in mind, the end result is something that honestly represents the purest form of chiptune. Or should I say, one of it’s most logical conclusions. Which is also why Parallel Processing might not be the most accessible 8bit album you’ll come across. It’s a dense mystery, one that will laugh in your face if you think you can just put on the headphones and be lazy. It demands your attention, and your respect. As with anything that’s aggressive and passionate, you simply have to step up the challenge and keep up.

Though, more than anything else, Parallel Processing is a great example of an album by two parties that honestly feels like it. Especially in the world of chiptunes; for many, much of it sounds the same, and to be honest, much of it DOES sound the same. So to have two very different personalities going at it, via the same medium, and having each person’s effort being unmistakable is quite the achievement (sure it helps that I pretty much know what Danimal Cannon sound is like, but still).

But what if you could care less about Danimal’s backstory, let along the world of chip as a whole? Should you give Parallel Processing a listen? Yes. Because we live in uncertain times, one that is filled with strife and struggle. As a result, we all need music to help us dive headfirst into adversity. Though we’d all like some say in what produces such sounds. And finally, there’s finally a worth soundtrack for such an occasion, done in 8bit. I cannot recommend the album nearly enough.

For those interested in a sample, simply head on over to its Bandcamp page and test drive the first two tracks; you will be sold. And, once you’re ready to put down some cash, might I suggest the Dannimal Cannon Combo, courtesy of Fangamer? You can get it and Roots, plus a snazzy shirt based upon the Parallel Processing, designed by Jon Kay!

One More Thing…

So, FORT90ZINE4ANSWER, what’s the deal? Well… as noted last time, Vegas is an expensive town. And, as a result, my excursion ended up costing me quite the chunk of change. Which means I am currently dirt poor and basically don’t have any money for printing!

I do have money coming on the way, and hope to have it finally printed up by… and I realize how foolish I look, constantly stating deadlines that I never end up meeting, but here goes… by March, in time for PAX East. And, like every delay, I’m using the extra time to add even more content! Basically, additional art.

As always, I sincerely appreciate everyone’s patience. Seriously, everyone’s been so kind and understanding! And anyone who thinks I’m not being serious, simply ask Dannel; he knows first hand what a basket case I am whenever talking about the monkey on my back.

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