07/31/2006

Went To A Chiptune Show To Confront An Internet Stalker And All I Got Was a T-Shirt

by Matthew Hawkins

Okay, so I’m not dead. I didn’t get killed on Saturday night, there was no big brawl, nor a confrontation of any sort. Basically, my internet stalker pussied out and didn’t show up when he said he was going to, which was the chiptunes show that evening.

I gotta admit, I’m rather disappointed… various folks thought I was nuts for wanting to meet the person face to face, but the thing is, the minute he told me “I can’t wait to me you in person so I can punch you in the face” (I’m not sure if that’s what he said word for word, but its very close), I just knew I simply had to meet him. And once the wacky emails starting flowing in, and I because some pseudo “father figure” of sorts, well, that simply sweetened the deal. And I wasn’t the only who was bummed out; Mike (O’Connor) really wanted to see shit happen as well, and Jake (a.k.a. virt) requested that the fight take place during his set. The best part of all this has to be everyone’s guesses as to what would take place, as well as what he would be dressed as. Mike hypothesized that he’d show up with a black& white zerox copy of my face worn as a death mask (which made me remember of this hilarious Ingmar Bergman parody from SCTV), and a machete. Most folks figured the same, that he’d be a doppleganger or evil twin, perhaps wearing a shirt that I’d seen me wear before in a picture, but in reverse. But yeah, the guy was a no show. I guess I shouldn’t have said anything; I guess it hardly a surprise that anyone who’s stalking me would be reading this site and there gotten the head’s up.

Anyway, this past Friday was the Silver Mt. Zion/Black Ox Orkestar show. Caught that with Mike and Joe (Salina); was introduced to Joe’s girlfriend and one of his band-mates, as well as Mrs. O’Connor whom I’d been interesting in meeting for a long while now. At least ever since Mike started passing along all my stories to her, since he himself seems fascinated by how much of a “shit-magnet” I am. Also, the BBC documentary on furries that I showed him sorta “scared” her, so I wanted to apologize in person.

The music went down at Northsix, in Willamsburg, so I knew ahead time that the evening would be chock full of annoyances. Its actually a nice space, and every band I’ve seen there has sounded just great (guess its the set-up they have or the acoustics), but man, the fucking dipshit hipsters in the crowd… Which, for this particular show, were actually fucking dipshit hippy hipsters. Also not helping was the insanely humid weather, though I must admit that where I was standing the whole evening was a sweat spot; there was just a tiny bit of AC in the whole place, hitting just one tiny area, which I happened to be in. But the biggest headache was how things were scheduled to start at 8:00, but Black Ox didn’t hit the stage till 10:00.

For those not familiar with Black Ox Orkestar, they basically infuse old Jewish folks songs with a contemporary and worldly slant. I can’t say that I’m a diehard fan of theirs, but after seeing nothing but chiptunes and punk shows live, I just wanted to check out something different, plus I Mike passed along some mp3′s of their a short whiles back and I dug what I had heard. After their set, A Silver Mt. Zion took over, and they’re even harder to describe (I’m not much of a music nerd, so I can’t really think of anyone at the top of my head to compare or contrast them to), so I’ll just say they’re an experimental, post-rock ensemble with heavy does of folk and politics, presented in a very orchestrational manner. Their set was a whopping seven songs, yet they played for over two and half hours, and that’s because each is between 20-40 minutes long. They sounded terrific as well, but I think I would have definitely enjoyed both if I was sitting down, perhaps in an amphitheater. Though it was the late start time which really took the oomph out of everything.

Also, the aforementioned hipsters. First off, almost everyone around us was text-messaging throughout the entire show. WTF. This one chick to my right during Silver Mt. Zion was crying almost the entire time, and at first I figured it might be the music, but then it sorta looked as if she was getting dumped by some dude, right then and there, via text-messages. Though the retards did provide some comedy gold, when front man Efrim Menuck asked the crowd for a statement… not one of adulation for the band, or a question, just a statement… so you had assorted knuckleheads belting out excessively trite shit, and each time Menuck responded with “Ehh… try again.” One guy behind us yelled out “Stop fascism now!” and Menuck pointed out how everyone sounded like bumper stickers. Though my personal favorite had to guy who asked the band to tell Israel to “chill out”, or something to that effect. I mean, seriously… did the douchebag know who the fuck was on-stage?!?!

Saturday was the latest Insert Credit NYC meet-up. The centerpiece was the chiptunes show at The Tank in the evening, but beforehand everyone gathered at Vol De Nuit, a Belgian beer joint near the West Village that Jeremiah is fond off. There were some old faces, including a folks I had meet at the previous meet-up in the winter, as well as Joshua and Jeremiah, who aren’t really IC folks, though Jeremiah just started posting there, and some new faces as well, including Heather, a fellow game journalist who’s also involved in sketch comedy (as previously mentioned, she from LA and is in town for the Upright Citizen Brigade Theatre’s Del Close Marathon). Heather told me that that I’m somewhat responsible for her foray into the world of writing about games; she had been reading this site for a while and decided to check out my links page, which is where she discovered Insert Credit, and through that she became acquainted with people at The Gamer’s Quarter, and her work in that led to her writing professionally, which in turn led to her current gig as staff writer at Play Magazine. I was totally taken aback by this news, and it sincerely is one of the nicest compliments I have ever gotten.

And I was also pleased to hear that, because of my site, she’s also a fan of the Beer Drinking Fools!

Heather, myself (man, why do I make such stupid faces for the camera?), Bit Shifter, and Nullsleep

I also got to meet like Dave (Maruo), who’s game-related artwork I have recently become a fan of (I’d pass along specific examples, but his site seems down at the moment), and Colin, who made everyone Cave Story shirts. The night before, I asked for Malco (here are all the character btw) and that’s exactly what I got…

Colin also produced a shirt for Mike that I’ll be passing along next chance I get…

There was also one made featuring Rei, from Neon Genesis Evangelion (you know, the 14 year old emo girl with blue hair), bent over with her ass in the air, and masturbating, which was made specially for Jeremiah. I was going to take a picture, but then thought against it.

So what do nerds who talk to each other on a message board that’s about video games talk about in real life? Video games, naturally. But other territory is covered as well. Harry Potter for example. I had heard about it a long whiles ago, but I didn’t know too much about Wizard People, Dear Readers till Joshua finally explained what it is: think Dark Side of the Moon, though instead of Wizard of Oz you have the first Happy Potter flick, and instead of a Pink Floyd album, you have a pair of mp3s, which can be found here.

After some booze, we all went downtown for the show. The show kicked off with Anamanaguchi, who are basically three kids (none of them looked any older than fifteen) with guitars who play along with a PC that emulates NES audio (I believe that was their chip set-up). And they were pretty damn good! Nice, fast-paced, high energy, Mega Man-ish melodic speed rock. Next was Priestcave, a brand new two-man outfit comprised of virt and Prozax (through I could have sworn they were called Beefcake since that’s what I though Jake kept on yelling). Prozax, just like virt, is yet another dude who I was a big fan of, back when I was heavy into the OCRemix/VGMix scene. He’s like the Steve Vai of guitar game remixes, so the chance to finally see the guy play live was simply awesome (and he’s a totally nice dude to boot). The highlights of their set include their remix of the 80′s classic Major Tom, in which Jake’s girlfriend went upfront to play on back-beat a Game Boy, which she actually composed herself (in either LittleSoundDJ or Nanoloop), with Jake handling the vocals (and since he didn’t know the words, he had to read the lyrics off his cellphone), the first ever chiptunes remix of the 70′s disco classic Apache, and the chance to hear virt’s simply amazing “What if Castlevania was done by Capcom?” piece, but without any technical problems this time around (and with an awesome guitar accompaniment). Last on the card was Mark Denardo, who I’ve seen a couple of times now, and each time the show has had a whole slew of technical problems throughout the set. But the thing is, I’ve actually come to sorta expect it, and it actually adds to the chaotic, experimental flavor. Of all the chiptunes folks out there, Mark is perhaps the most daring and unpredictable. Almost all his songs were (or at least felt like) works in progress, and this time around, he also has a girl accompany him on violin, and the effect was quite nice with certain songs (who happened to be the girlfriend of one of the other ICers who came out for the meet-up, “Mr. Mustache”, and the only reason why I’m not stating his really name is that I sorta forgot… sorry, I’m just really bad with names).

In-between the Priestcave and Denardo set, I was talking with Jeremiah when we spotted some guy wearing the click-stick TATE shirt (which you can find pictures of me where here, and we all instantly knew that he too was part of our secret society. It turned out to be another fellow ICer: NightsB(again, I’m bad with real names, sorry… anyway, he’s the guy who helped found N-Philes). And on the way to the trains, Colin gave a call to Matt Williamson, a.k.a. ShaperMC, who I’ve chatted with online via the IC forums and this blog to a certain extent, and whom I’ve been interested in conversing with for a while now, and I finally got my chance.

As for last night, Robin came over and I made him dinner: Bocca burgers on the grill, with a side of of cheese doodles. Yum! It was payment for services, i.e. Robin lending me his DV bridge and showing me how to capture all the crazy stuff I’ve captured over the years on VHS. And while my eMac was encoding Taste of Bread, the crazy black & white “movie” that Dave (Roman) & I made one lazy summer weekend in Long Island years back, I let Robin try out some of my games, including all Rez, which he had never played before, which he totally dug (and that made me quite happy), as well as Shadow of the Colossus, which he also really enjoyed.

Also, Robin passed along this, which I guess he came across at work or something, and just knew I’d totally go ape-shit over…

I tried to upload Taste of Bread on YouTube before going to bed, and found out that it was too long (they have a ten minute time limit), so I applied for a director’s account which allow more privileges. And when I have the time, I’m going to rip, encode, and upload even more stuff, and in the end compile it all as some crazy mix-DVD, similar to K. Thor‘s Evil DVD (not to be a copy-cat, but I’ve had the idea for years, and have created stuff similar but with just two VCRs). I think it’s time I raided Joe (Simko)‘s cable access on tape collection.

And as for today, it looked as if my trip to Otakon this upcoming weekend may not happen. Long story short, and not to get into too many details, but basically a “client” that owed me money really dropped the ball and I’m now getting paid for something a full month later than previously scheduled, leaving me a full $2000 deficit from what I was expecting to have this month. But, I’ve managed to make certain arrangements and will indeed be making the trip after-all. Though the best part is, Jeremiah is now coming along for the ride! Roadtrip to anime-dork central 2006!!!

May as well pass this along: since I’m going to mod my PS2 very soon, I’ve been on the look-out for imports. I already have Zombie vs. Ambulance, and I’m definitely picking up KOF XI and Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, so other than both those and some other Simple 2000 series games, my eyes are on shmups. Someone at IC was selling his copy of Espagluda, so I figured I’d save him the headache of dealing eBay, and also take advantage of the terrific deal!

I really dig the cute drawing he did! And I’m still waiting for a top-loading NES that I also bought from a fellow ICer.

Lastly, despite all the stuff that’s going on, I’m still trying to keep up with all the gaming news that’s happening. I’ve been meaning to pass along a bunch of stuff that I’ve found, but I’ll stick to the stuff that I’m assuming most haven’t heard about or which isn’t too old…

- Check out his awesome illustration that supposedly shows the entire cast of wacky characters that the Wii’s Virtual Console will provide!

For a bigger version, click here. It’s not official, but it should be! Every time I check it out, I noticed something new. Pac Man with the Mario 3 raccoon tails? Luigi and Roll in the OutRun car? Protoman manhandling Princess Peach? Bonk piloting the Vic Viper? The pirate ship with the cat head from Parodius shooting one of the bio-fish ships from Darius? Kid Dracula? Sweet!

- Remember the Nintendo 64 kid whose now all grown up? Well now it seems he’s truly parting with the past by selling his N64 on eBay.

- Another fellow IC guy passed this along today: an article he did for Lost Levels that’s all about the late, great shmup series, Thunder Force. The last boss in part 4 is still one of the all time greatest from any shooter, easily.

- Over at the NeoGAF, someone recently brought up how Psy-Phi, the bizarre touchscreen based fighter from Yu Suzuki, is actually going to appear in American arcades!

- Also via the Gaming Age Forums, Johnnyram has confirmed my worst fears: Senko no Ronde rev.X for the Xbox 360 is really good. Damn… I may have to get a 30 after-all

- Though I have to admit I’m not going as ga-ga over all the other Japanese games in development. I know I mentioned Trusty Bell, the RPG which is based up a dream that Frederic Chopin, a famous pianist from the 19th century, and while the premise sounds novel, it looks to be just another generic Japanese RPG with only an interesting premise going for it, and that’s it (and one which looks to be hardly utilized).

But people are going ape-shit over it, just like the new strategy RPG for the PSP in which you assume the role of Joan of Ark, which again sounds cool, but the game itself doesn’t appear to take advantage of the possibilities at all (and features fucking furries!!!). So what does this all mean? That creatively speaking, many game designers in Japan are in a rut it would seem? Maybe. Or that American gamers, at least ones that prescribe to the WACKY JAPPY train of thought, would gobble up a game if it was based upon the life and times of the guy who invented the septic tank if there was one.

- Though another reason why I would want a 360, which no one else seems to ever talk about, is the music visualizer that comes with it, which generates a cool light show when playing a music CD. I know that sounds like nothing special, but it is! Because it was designed by Jeff Minter. Anyway, I figured it to be small little application, but as evidenced by the recently released online manual, its actually quite an in-depth program.

- If you haven’t heard by now, Vic Ireland, the man behind Working Designs is coming back with a new publishing venture called, get this, Gaijinworks. Seriously, best-worst name ever. I fondly recall all those horrible Clinton jokes in Sega CD RPGs from the early 90′s, so its nice to know that razor sharp Ireland wit is still there!

- I simply can’t wait to get my PS2 modded so I can play Zombie vs. Ambulance. Though one major headache whenever playing import games is with the language barrier, which I was afraid my hinder my experience with ZvA (among other titles), but I need not worry anymore, thanks to this recently published FAQ.

- Here’s something else that was posted at IC that was totally news to me: a video featuring Metroid Zero Mission when it was still a beta. The most striking thing about it is super-deformed Samus, which looks quite nice, and fits in very well with the rest of the art design.

- Back to Rez for a moment, as I’ve mentioned numerous times in the past, I’m not the biggest fan of 1UP.com, but they do some really excellent special coverage at times, like their week long look at Q Entertainment. Needless to say, I really enjoyed the look back at my favorite game of all time, including some questions with the creator himself, Mizuguchi.

Though in less than thrilling news, I now hear that all those crappy songs in the American version of Lumines 2 will be appearing in the Japanese version as well (it was assumed that they were getting their own selection of music to suit their own tastes). Hmmm…

- For those who haven’t seen it, here’s the boxart for the latest chapter in the Metal Slug saga…

- And yes, its totally true: to off-set the ginormous cost of buying the ESPN license for Madden 2007 (and I bet they’re still feeling it from when they bought up the NFL license a few years back as well), EA is now going to have a behind-the-scenes look at the game in the form of a PPV. Meaning, gamers who want to check out the latest installment will have to fork over $20 to do so. Yeah, EA has done some crazy fucking things in the past, but this most certainly takes the cake.

… Finally, a few things that’s not video game related. First, an awesome vid that parodies the classic return of Optimus Prime. Trust me, everyone who grew up watching Transformers needs to see it. The guy who does the voice of Optimus is just perfect.

Next, another wacky YouTube vid, but one that’s not a parody (and one that John zeroed in on): its a PSA from the Star Wars droids against smoking. I so wish there was a safe sex one featuring Jabba the Hut and slave Princess Leia.

Lastly, and long story short, Ed Siemienkowicz and I like to go back and forth with MySpace comments, with nerdy pics and YouTube vids, and he just passed along this one. Hello Vader…

  • http://www.entdepot.com/ thatbox

    Hello Heather!

    It’s a shame you didn’t get any pics from the concert. I need my Wilkes fix for the week.

  • http://www.johngreenart.com John Green

    That “Hello Vader” costume unfortunately (or fortunately) isn’t real: it’s actually just a white Vader costume and the pink, yellow, and Hello Kitty logo have been Photoshopped.

  • http://www.fort90.com Matt

    Awww…. fuck.

    Once again, the internet is the home for empty promises.

  • Jason

    When I heard about the upcoming EA PPV, I was all huh!? But then it occured to me that they’re probably just beta-testing the whole idea of offering PPV video game events in the future. Halo, Madden, MMORPG battles, etc. I think. It’ll be like Hamlet (among others). Some gamers have already achieved some fame. Putting them in the same category of non-athlete-but-requires-skill (like cheerleading).

  • http://www.vitaminsteve.com Steve Flack

    While Darth Kitty wasn’t real, Darth Vera is.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2006/07/31/darth_vera_the_sith_.html

    -Steve!

  • http://www.fort90.com Matt

    As you probably already know Jason, I just find the notion of viewing professional gamers like they were real athletes completely ridiculous (and I didn’t need all those stupid shows from G4… back when it was still a purely video game channel… to make me realize that, though it certainly provided further proof). I’m not the biggest fan of professional sports, but even I have to respect all the physical and mental work that goes into being an athlete, and it deserves a certain degree of respect. Something which some lard-ass who’s good with a mouse and keyboard will never get, sorry.

    Even cheerleading takes a helluva lot more to do than playing Unreal.

  • http://www.gamersquarter.com Shapermc

    Dear god tell me that you know something about SNR Rev. X coming out to the US… play-asia reported it as NTSC-J only.

    Damnit all, nullsleep looks very similar to Wilkes in that picture. Also, sorry about the phone death thing.

  • http://www.fort90.com Matt

    I’ve heard from a few sources (okay, folks from the Gaming Age Forums) that the game disc is indeed Japanese only. But I’ve also heard that an American publisher might pick it up.

    You’d think with the lack of games for the system it would be a no-brainer for some company, particularly a smaller one, to nab it for an easy buck. But who the hell knows…

    So the best case scenario in my mind is that the game comes out in America, but with shitty, SHITTY American-ized boxart. and in really low numbers, meaning everyone will go nuts trying to scour a copy when it comes out because whoever’s GameStop/EB will invariably only order one copy, which will be gutted, of course. Also, the date of release will never once be made clear (due to constant, and unexplained push backs), adding to the meaningless frenzy.

  • http://www.dmauro.com dmauro

    My internet connection has been spotty for the past week or so, and since my website is running out of my closet, it’s off an on. I think it’s on right now anyways.

  • liam

    oh man!! I want that shirt SOOO BAD! (I was gonna cosplay as malco… >

  • http://dexantares.deviantart.com/art/From-Somewher Dex Antares

    I just came across this whilst searching for random CS artwork to show a friend. LOVE the MALCO shirt. and if you think that’s great, get a load of this: http://dexantares.deviantart.com/art/From-Somewhere-A-Hat-71482359

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