“Oh man, I messed it up. Can not go back to Japan?” (part one of two)

by Matthew Edward Hawkins

The original plan, after my commitment to GameSetWatch came to an end, was to pass along the stuff I would have posted on that end over here, essentially switching things back to the way they were (if that makes any sense).

But after I missed my first milestone, at making it a weekly thing, I simply figured that the end of the month would suffice. And here we are, almost two weeks into December? sorry, but you know how it is, the holidays and all. Though before I get started with the massive link and image dump, recent happenings from the real world:

- Saw a professional wrestler perform stand up comedy, at midnight on a Sunday night. The grappler in question was Mic Foley, who was in town for the WWE’s latest PPV, taking place earlier that evening at MSG (which he wasn’t at, as I had assumed), just a few blocks away from the UCB Theatre, where everything went down. Of everyone I knew, only ended up asking Rob and Stephen, since they’re board certified pro wrestling fans as well (that I know of at least). But they’re pro wrestling fans with day jobs as well, which meant it was way past their bed times.

Unfortunately, I completely underestimated the universal appeal of Mrs. Foley’s baby boy, because I quickly discovered via Facebook that numerous others would have gladly accompanied me (including a large number of female pals).Oh well. As for how it was, Foley spun a few of the same tales that can be found in his best selling books, along with a few fresh tales Including one featuring the Undertaker, which made my night), all with the same bravado and charm that makes him so beloved.

Granted, you had to absolute be into wrestling to get 90% of the anecdotes. And sorry, but I’m officially sick of his affinity for Tori Amos, which in this instance included him doing a cover of one of her songs. But otherwise, a fun time was had. Instead of just spouting stories (though there was plenty of that), Foley also played along with the current iteration of UCB’s comedy wrestling troupe. Which immediately made me reminiscing of the glory days, of Piledriver and the like. Jesus, I can’t believe it’s been ten years.

- I wrote a review for Joystiq (yup, my first thing for thing, hopefully of many). It was for Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3!

- I also saw the new Muppets movie. And? I thought it was pretty decent! Used to be a diehard Jim Henson fanboy back in the day; The Jim Henson Hour is still one of my all-time fave shows from my childhood. And like many others, I stopped keeping abreast of his studio’s output after Henson passed away, and what little I caught was simply adequate (though I did enjoy Muppets In Space). Anyhow, as most have already said, it’s hardly groundbreaking, but still loads of fun, and as good a “reboot” as you’re going to get.

Also, I’m simply a sucker for seeing things that once used to watch all the time, on television, but on the big screen, via film cameras. Which in this case was the Muppet Show set. Though now that I know the original ending, courtesy of Steve, I’m confused with why they chose to end things the way they did. But that’s showbiz. At the very least, I now have an even bigger incentive to finally catch Freaks & Geeks.

- Lamar stayed over last weekend! And? it was loads of fun! In addition to being the very first person to get a copy of his latest book, well before the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival even got underway?

? I had much fun simply asking Lamar to play, and beat, assorted Mega Man games on my behalf. Mostly because I always wondered what the ending to Mega Man 5 was like. Lamar is also the reason why I’m now watching old episode of Heathcliff and friends on Netflix Instant!

As for the show, what did I think? To be completely honest, I’ll mostly hold my tongue on this one, since I know way too many cartoonists who live in Williamsburg, as well as hipsters in general, plus I know that not everyone reading this blog is above the age of 30.

Though I will say? One of the things about any comic show is how everyone behind the table is essentially a sales person. And depending on the situation or person, it can be somewhat difficult at times, even a tad bit mentally taxing, to check out someone’s wares while also interacting with him or her. Sometimes you get the hard sell, other times you get the puppy dog eyes. So one positive about the BCGF was how so many behind the table did not give a rat’s ass about any of attendees.

For the record, I’m not the only one who noticed this, yet I’m also totally prepared for the “it was just you/you’re totally making this shit up” rebuttals. Whatever. But seriously, I’ve never been to a show in which so many exhibitors flat out didn’t care about the attendees. I also heard plenty of stories from friends who had a hard time even buying stuff because the creator couldn’t bothered, or in same cases became agitated.

In one extreme case, a pal of mine wanted to chat with the person responsible for the books he had just purchased, to see if the creator might be available/interested in work (said colleague is an editor). But all he got in return was “who the fuck are you/get the fuck away from me” attitude. It all comes down to one of the basic things I tell folks whenever I give my How To Get A Job In Video Games talks at conventions, though it’s fairly sound advice to any aspiring artist (or not even), regardless of the discipline: don’t be a dick. Also, the key to getting work in the world of arts is networking.

That being said, not everyone was like this; it was pretty much isolated to some locals, the same gaggle of pretentious art school kids that are part of every scene, and in every major city (which just seems extra annoying in Brooklyn, for whatever reasons). As for the content of the stuff on-hand, let’s just say that a LOT of it was super similar, and totally bled together. Which to be fair could be said for all super hero and anime conventions. So it’s not really a critique, just an observation. Besides, I was only there to get whatever Ryan Sands had for sale and that’s about it?

Though I also discovered the wonders that is Night Business by Ben Marra?

Also got the chance to see some folks, like Ryan Theodore with whom I had some drinks with (since the panels took place a bar nearby) plus they served these gourmet hot dogs in the basement that were actually really good (especially the ones with the Japanese curry topping), so overall, the Fest was okay I guess.

- That same weekend, I finally made it out to Chinatown in Queens. Lamar had suggested it, since he saw some food special about wacky, authentic Chinese eats, and since I’ve been meaning to swing by? for the past 15 years? it was finally time!

And the place we went was simply awesome; so much great food and dirt cheap! Here I am, enjoying my big plate of kimchee fried rice, with my chicken wings waiting in the wings. Lamar got himself some bulgogi and a big plate of pork chops. We ate like total kings?

Lamar also turned me onto adding bacon onto tuna sandwiches! The dude absolute loves meat. Alongside girls who fart. The two might be connected, somehow.

- So there was a Sony press event this past Wednesday, filled with all kinds of things for the PS3 and PSVita. I concentrated on the later, and will be saving it for a write-up for Guyism. But regarding the former, by far my favorite thing was PixelJunk 4AM?

It’s kinda hard to describe. Basically, it’s not so much a game but an interactive music visualizer that utilizes the Move and is the brainchild of Baiyon! And it’s super rad.

Also ran into an old buddy of mine, Job, who now works for Namco! He was demoing the new Katamari game for the Vita, and I’m not just saying this cuz I’m pals with the guy: it actually doesn’t suck! A first for a portable edition, I know. It’s amazing what dual sticks will do.

Seth Killian was also there, on the behalf of Capcom, showing off the Vita version of Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. I had erroneously told Seth that my favorite video of him, at GamesCom, for another installment of Ono X Harada (and not because of his attire of lederhosen, but because he’s flirting with a super hot German chick almost the entire time) was taken down. But I guess I had chosen some unofficial YouTube channel, attached to some random person that did something to get his account suspended; here it is again, thank goodness.

Though more importantly, finally found out why the Xbox 360 edition of Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition is missing the 360 on the box art. It’s cuz someone in production goofed and whomever else was too busy to fix it. Mystery solved!

Oh, and I also got some hands on time with Soul Calibur 5, and am happy to report that the ladies do not look nearly as “whorish”?

Also, the shindig hand some of the most outlandish and excessive finger foods I have ever seen?

- Thursday night was the opening for Play Station, a new group show at the Postmasters Gallery curated by Marcin Ramocki and Paul Slocum. Last I saw Marcin was at the opening of 8bit, so it’s been a whole. Was once again reminded of how I’m at the very end of his movie, as the screaming at the end of either Jereamiah or Josh‘s set? I forget. I also love how I was seen in other parts, side by side with Dave Maruo, well before we became friends!

It was also my first chance to say hello to Paul, whose work I’ve long admired, as well as Mary Flanagan, whose stuff I’ve also dug! She had several pieces on hand, including one that was in 8bit, in which she recreated memories of being in a house on fire via Unreal Engine I think? That’s Marcin to the right, btw?

And here we have two parts of an ongoing series; on the left was assorted clips from all sorts of games, of various characters jumping, and to the right is the same, except everyone’s ascending, going up somewhere?

Here’s Paul’s vintage game collection?

R G B w e b d r o i d s 2 by Mauro Ceolin; it’s essentially Asteroids, but replace your ship with an old school Mac and all the debris with assorted web graphics?

Another person whom Im a fan of, Eddo Stern, had something called Earthlings on display?

Here we have Electric Paint 2.0 by Mike Beradino?

And here we have (a blurry picture of) Raina Lee (taking a picture of the Atari 7800 controller that manipulates Electric Pain)?

Finger Battle by Rafael Rozendaal was loads of fun, and my first real insight as to how competitive Raina can be!

? I would later beat Raina, twice in row, in some iPod Touch game that utilized the camera and gyroscope. Basically, whoever shook it the hardest won; turns out, Raina is a bit of a sore loser!

Finally, by far the most impressive piece was in the back, in its own space; LUZES RELACIONAIS by Ernesto Klar?

As you can see, it’s a totally dark room, with just a few lights that actually interact to being touched (or at least, it has sensors that give that impression). Often, the manner in which they behave will change, in a manner to encourage “playful” behavior. Anyhow, here’s Raina having a good time with it?

The show is open till the 22nd and is HIGHLY recommended. It’s by far the best gathering of video game-y/interactive art I’ve seen practically all year.

- This past weekend was Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier for their annual holiday special party. The highlight, once again, was the He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special. It’s really good! Skeletor, though a series of events and circumstances, learns to become a not so bad guy by the end! Oh, and I forget who, but apparently someone in Coney Island I think (no doubt one of the members of the circus sideshow) once tried swallowing an iPod Nano, but could not. I honestly can’t remember how that came up in conversation.

- As for what I’ve been playing, lots of stuff. Aside from all the major, end of the year releases, I’ve also been a judge for the Independent Games Festival yet again. There’s at least one iPhone game that I’ve become hopelessly addicted to, but since I don’t think I’m supposed to talk about that stuff just yet (was part of the primary competition, and I’ve long since submitted scores for that, but now it’s time for the student competition), I’ll simply pass along the one other game that has completely overtaken me, and which most should already know about.

Believe the hype: Skyward Sword is an absolutely amazing, engrossing, and at times downright beautiful experience that will remind you of why you love Nintendo in the first place, and is a shining testament of everything that’s awesome about video games.

There’s so many reasons to list as to why it’s so amazing, though near the top of my personal list is how, as the first in the entire timeline, much of what would become series staples are explained. Like that bird on Link’s shield in Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, etc? Skyward Sword basically provides the origin of that! Unfortunately, not as many people are playing it as they should, though for completely understandable reasons: they’re too busy playing Skyrim and the billion or so excellent games that just came out in the past month or so.

We truly are living in the best time ever to be a gamer, with so many amazing options to chose from that we’re positively spoiled rotten. Though another reason why many haven’t picked up the game is quite a few folks had Wiis but sold them. Guess what: Skyward Sword is totally worth re-buying the system for, since it honestly is the one game, even more so than Wii Sports, that validates the hardware’s existence.

- While on the topic of Nintendo, guess what just showed up in the mail?

My SEIBEI shirt, from donating to his Kickstarter, arrived that very same day?

Though the best part would have to be the buttons that were included?

As well as the Andross tee by Meat Bun that I was gushing about a few posts back, which I picked up during their Black Friday sale?

? It’s my new favorite piece of game related apparel, ever. That is, until I get my grubby mitts on one Fangamer’s latest and finest! And with that in mind, time for the link dump to officially commence:

- As an extended member of the illustrious Fangamer empire, it is my duty to inform those who haven’t heard the news, that their new crop of designs are quite delicious. You have seen their Start Fox inspired design already, courtesy of Tiny Cartridge. But eve better, IMHO, is the loop?

- Back to Meat Bun, Adam told me that Meat Bun’s latest round, which made their debut at last weekend’s Game Night was awesome. But man, he didn’t say anything about Mariel Cartwright’s slime girl piece from Game Over 4, from earlier this year, being made into a shirt! The mix of Mickey and Sonic is also pure genius…

- Meanwhile, Starscream has finally set up an online store, including shirts. Here’s one, being modeled by Anamanaguchi‘s very own Ary?

- And in Japan, Atlus has just released a line of Shin Megami Tensei inspired shirts. They don’t look half bad for official offerings?

- Speaking of, did you know that someone’s trying to put together a MegaTen zine? Yup! For details, or better yet, to contribute (was asked, but I simply don’t have the time I’m afraid), just click here?

- Meanwhile, I’m still counting the days in which the Cory‘s Zelda Zines arrive in my lap?

Oh, so my favorite piece thus far, at least of what I’ve seen thus fart, is from the other Corey?

- So the big news from the past couple of weeks is how there is finally an English translation patch for that dating sim in which you try to hook up with pigeons!

Though seriously, it have to be? aside from all the panic that ensued when Shigeru Miyamoto supposedly claimed that he’s ready to step down from his high ranking position within Nintendo, to concentrate on helping the next generation of game designers and work on smaller projects (I think Nintendo is strong enough to have him step aside, but most folks clearly don’t like the idea, and as they say, perception is often reality)? plus Fumito Ueda quitting Sony, but still sticking around as a freelancer to finish Last Guardian (along with its executive producer quitting as well, and flat out walking away, to work on Facebook games of all things)? Metal Gear Solid 5 being an official go and Metal Gear Solid Rising is still alive.

Regarding the first thing: as much of a Metal Gear fanboy I might be, I’m also in the camp that believes part 4 was a perfect cap to the series (with Peace Walker being a decent epilogue), and thus a full-fledged part 5 is unnecessary. At least it’s nice to know that Kojima wanted Snake to off himself at the end of Guns of the Patriots as well. That being said, I’m still excited since it’s still going to be absolutely incredible, regardless.

Regarding the second thing: I’m sorry, but this looks awesome. I honestly don’t get the hate (“FUCK YOU HIDEO KOJIMA” is just one of many similar comments on the YouTube page). Personally, I’m psyched to see what Platinum does with elements of the Meta Gear universe; everyone whose all up in arms should chill and read the finer details.

In the end, without their assistance, Rising would be dead. And I honestly can’t remember when i’ve been this excited for a hack and slash! The unveiling itself, at the 2011 VGAs, is also worth noting. I too felt bad for Kojima, watching him stumble during the trailer’s intro (love the comment “He’s actually apologizing for the VGAs being so terrible. Kojima is an alright guy.”). But it did lead to his most entertaining tweet ever!

Oh, and, for those who may have missed it from before, here’s what his new business cards look like (apparently, it’s actually made of metal)?

- As for the VGAs otherwise, I really want to see the tribute they gave Miyomoto, since it was pretty much the only redeeming thing about the entire affair. Because otherwise, it was the same old bullsh*t, yet somehow worse. It also sucks how the best thing to happen was not captured by Spike TV’s cameras. But at least there’s always Facebook?

- I know this is really old news, in more ways than one, but I never get sick of hearing it sucks that the American cartoon didn’t look like this.

- At least Pharohman turned out kinda cool.

- There was going to be a Mega Man 2 toy line, back in the day as well?!?!

- As far as Mega Man fan art goes, at least this is somewhat different?

- I can’t believe this footage of the DOS version is legit. But it is.

- Behold the Mega Man Legends cell phone game that I bet you didn’t know about.

- No doubt everyone’s seen screens from the crappy looking iPhone port of Mega Man X due very soon. Well, here’s a really tight looking fan installment of X, done entirely in Flash!

- And this four player things looks pretty neat as well!

- Mega Man toast anyone?

- And here’s something far more functional, plus it’s time of the year yet again: for Mega Man-themed headwear?

- Back to the crappy American cartoon: I used to have the soundtrack that’s mentioned here. I especially love the bit about the crappy Eurodance Sonic song somehow making an appearance in a crappy Eurodance Mega Man CD. FYI: the Sonic portion of this link dump is just ahead!

- Hey, even more words with Tom Pon, that guy in the credits of all the old Mega Man games whose name used to make everyone giggle like total idiots.

- So Capcom is interested in publishing assorted Japanese indie/doujinshi titles? Actually, that kinda makes up for the lack of Mega Man Legends 3 for me! And according to Joystiq, Satazius comes out on the 20th.

- This also super old, but whatever: as pretty as the new Kirby game for the Wii is I wish it had stuck with the proposed cel shaded look.

- Now, this is some killer Darkstalkers fan art?

- This as well?

- I really wish this DS game in which you’re a manga artist would come out in America?

- Note to self; next time I go to the grocery store, get some onions?

- One of the truly great box arts that time forgot, that Americans missed out on?

- Here’s an ad for Rez that I’ve never seen before?

- Yet another bit of Cory Schmitz-branded awesomeness: here’s an illustration he did for IndieCade’s Postcard Fundraiser art show?

- And a piece he did for an art show celebrating the 20th birthday of Sonic the Hedgehog, thrown together by Amusement?

All the other pieces can be seen here. I also really liked this one?

- Another Sonic-themed art show just went down, one much closer, and which I somewhat helped out on (was asked to reach out to artists to possibly participate, on the behalf of the organizer, Christopher Beaumont, who is otherwise know as the guy behind Cubeecraft)?

A closer look can be seen here. I like the Eggman/Danny DeVito mash-up the best?

- FYI: this will officially set a new record for the most Danny DeVito related content in a single post?

… And that’s pretty much my cap for images in a single post. Continued here.

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