Friday, October 23, 2009

Review: Borderlands

As Brutal Legend proved to be pretty disappointing and not warranting a purchase, I decided to buy instead, Borderlands, Gearbox's new shooter slash RPG thing. I has a couple of doubts at first though, naturally.
The whole idea is a blend of RPG elements like loot, classes (sniper, rouge, tank, the usual), talent trees and most importantly numbers. It's all set in a sci fi wasteland full of Mad Max style bandits, all with a twisted sense of humor.

Hmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Where have I heard that before?

My biggest problem with this game initially was the fact that I am still, to this day, playing Fallout 3. That game is unbelievable, and nothing will ever come as close. Nonetheless, I wouldn't say Borderlands is trying to cash in on Fallout's success. Well maybe. The biggest unique bit about Borderlands is it's graphics however, which to be fair, are totally fucking awesome:

I apologize for the gratuitous ass shot but just look at those fucking graphics! They're gorgeous! All hand drawn textures with cel shading providing a total rad, totally fresh way of looking at things. Instead of making another paint by number Unreal engine blandfest, Gearbox did something different. Bravo, I say bravo. So how is it then?

The intro shows off the graphics beautifully, all to a really appropriate rock song with plenty of banjo. Excellent. I am pleased, despite the story apparently having to do with a mythical Vault (cough cough).
Then comes the tutorial. You're treated to a shitty AI "guardian angel" woman and a shittier (so much shittier) robot named Claptrap, who is as likeable as he is useful. It was around this point I got mad. I actually stood up and yelled "you're not Fallout!" at my TV.

The "plot" revolves around a vault, it's an RPG shooter blend, it's got wasteland all over it, there's a Pip-Boy wanna be (every item you get has a little cartoon Claptrap holding it) and there are fucking bobbleheads.

And yet there is not an ounce of charm. The dialogue (that isn't just text, which is predominant) is awful. The only NPC you ever actually talk to a crazy red neck doctor that doesn't do anything, and a red neck vehicle salesman. Everyone else is either trying to kill you already or stands there and communicates in text. There is essentially no narrative; playing it is like driving a luxury sports car with all the interrior ripped out, there's just the chassis and an engine.

Enduring characters notwithstanding, how are the graphics, which I am so totally in love with? Well they look totally revolutionary in the intro, and after that... almost entirely negligible. Up close they're unbelievable, but you will never ever get close enough to anything to appreciate it because if you do, you'll die. And at the proper killing distance, it looks like any other shooter.

Despite it uncannily trying to steal Fallout's charm (and miserably failing), I realized that it's not trying to steal it's gameplay. It has a rechargeable shield system, a super human jump, vehicles and co-op. It's Halo! And it has randomly generated guns ranging in quality from green to blue to purple to orange and co-op. It's Diablo!

It's HALABLO. Beautiful.

And it really is. As soon as I was preforming acrobatics around alien monsters and then swiping at them with my melee attack, running over shit, and most importantly (MOST importantly) getting loot, I was totally fucking hooked.

SO: It may be totally devoid of successful humor and charm, or really any fluff whatsoever, the engine at work here is so good it doesn't matter. It can be really hard and frustrating and the AI can be really bad, but it all just kind of disappears when you get your hands on a really awesome gun. They put there attention on making it fun, and they sure fucking did, but my heart skips a beat to think of what this game would be like if the narrative was good, and you got to look at the pretty graphics in cinematics, and there were actual characters occupying the world, but alas.

It's kind of like crack. It's not very smart or charming, it's ultimately bad for you, but it's addictive and fun, and you can do it with your friends!

Okay maybe not like crack so much.

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Mike Doughty Album October 6

New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 New Mike Doughty Album October 6 Doughty Album October 6

That is all

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Return Of The Blog (No Promises This Time)

So I really did not keep to my promise of... anything I said in the last post. I apologize profusely. Besides getting in the mindset that if I write about anything I have to write about everything (or nothing, and choosing the latter) The biggest block for me posting is that in order to talk about stuff I have to scan or sync my phone to get pictures and I never want to to that, laborious task that it is. People actually read this thing and I'm sorry I've left you hanging (not that you've been hard up for things to read on the internet).
Anyhow, this I can just link so I can talk about it. When me and Parker started updating 3 times a week in the beginning of Summer I wanted to do a quick little interlude about Mike fishing with his dad. Originally it was supposed to be water color but I've somehow learned to be a better draftsmen with just these 7 or 8 (I don't even know how many) comics. I'm more proud of them than anything else we've done so far. When I first wanted to do comics I wanted to do something like this, and the response I've gotten has been really positive from everybody, on pretty much all fronts.

Thanks everybody!

This last comic (which won't be up until Thursday so this is an early post) is maybe my favorite ever, and the last in the fish series. Maybe I'll make a little book and see who wants it, or give it away! That would be a fine profit margin, I wager.

In other news things are pretty much great all the time, in all regards. I haven't played or bought a new video game in a good while but Fallout 3 is still entertaining as hell. Firefly and Serenity were amazingly good watching them again, I'm even more proud to be a browncoat then I already was, and now I am really quite excited to go through Cowboy Bebop again. I actually get like, shaky with anticipation when I think about it or listen to the soundtrack.

Speaking of music, Genius is really nice when you have 60 gigs you've barely scratched the surface of. That's been pretty nice.

So other than that, school starts pretty soon here and I have a feeling I'm going to be updating more when that happens for whatever reason. I've also fucked around with the colors to see if it looks better. What do you guys think?

Thanks for the reads folks, I'll see you again soon.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blog Posts

More soon to come I swear, sorry for the lateness. I may actually have sketches soon too wow wouldn't that be cool it sure would.

Monday, April 27, 2009

An Open Letter to the Internet

I mean, what are blogs for right?

So I quit reading VG Cats a long time ago when the author pretty much told everyone who didn't like his comic to go fuck themselves. It's a gaming comic that is pretty fucking shallow, which is to say it's extremely fucking shallow intellectually overall. The problem with VG Cats, besides it's animu bullshit and shitty fanbase, is that it's totally unoriginal. The most recent one (which spawned this rant) is basically a rehashed series of Penny Arcades that are eight fucking years old. Both comics are about dealing with the age old gamer paradox of "casual" vs. "hardcore" games; the idea that the fact that everyone plays games dilutes the inherent nobility in the pasttime. As me and Parker found out working on Tea Time, in the webcomic world, "Penny Arcade did it" is defiently as aplicable as "The Simpsons" in that South Park episode, so I can't blame VG Cats for stepping on their toes, but it's more than that. It's a good example of what's wrong with it. He uses the Colbert Report's "Tonight's Word" (and a title of a Brian Posehn routine), shamelessly to rant about nothing (which we'll get to), and then aknowledges that he stole shit so you can't call him out on it (granted: that isn't a bad punchline). Furthermore, VG Cats is Scott's (the author's) full time job, but he not only is his update shedule once a week, but he misses updates notoriously enough that it's seriously like once every 3 weeks (for God's sake, there's a major recurring character that was spawned from his habit of missed updates), and after all that time the most you get is filler bullshit. I'm a full time student, and I can put out 2 comics a week. Shit, even Tim Buckley puts out like 3 comics a week, and he is an untalented peice of shit.

As for the comic in question though: Casual games are not destroying our pasttime. Not only can I hold a conversation with dudes I wouldn't have anything else in common with, but developmental costs for next gen games are enourmous, and if you make a game that sells ridiculously well then it can go to other things. That is not un-fucking-precidented, movie studios do it all the time. "When was the last time you played a really good game?", asks VG Cats. Dead Space, you asshole, produced by EA, a company that has a vice grip on the casual game market. They put all the money they made from Madden and Tiger Woods into the best new IP I've played in years (not to mention risked it on Mirror's Edge too) and got it to a mirror shine in one fucking year, and for a game that good, that is fucking impressive. Your last comic was about Fallout 3, which is like one of the best games ever made, and it just came out.

What's wrong with causal games anyway? I grew up on casual games, Spyro is not what I would describe as "hardcore". Neither is Crash or Pong or Frogger. What the fuck is "hardcore" anyway? Difficult? Fuck that shit, that's never why I played games, I'm not a sadist. Causal games can be hard too, like Rock Band on expert (or Spyro, unless your Ruth), so what does it matter?

And you know what? Fuck everyone, quicktime events are awesome.

And yes, I realize that what spawned the comic was some new show about "gamers". Fucking get over it, G4 has been on television since I was in jr. fucking high. There is always going to be shit like that, that doesn't mean the industry is in some kind of downturn.

What gets me more that anything about VG Cats though is the fucking fans. It's nowhere near the size of Penny Arcade, sure, but they are so ravenous and stupid it is like dealing with a brick wall. They refuse to acknowledge that their favorite comic is bland and unoriginal, and worst of all they can't see what a raging asshole Scott is. He misses his own pathetic update structure, and then bitches at the people who complain when he puts up a shitty comic. "This is my canvas" or "I'm giving you free entertainment" are common phrases in the webcomic artist's toolbag, but listen: Fuck you. We are the ones providing you with your fucking income from website hits. We are the reason you can afford to be such a lazy piece of shit. We pay your salary mother fucker, we buy your shirts, now make us some decent fucking comics or shut up.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Good Stuff

I have been in extremely high spirits as of recently! This isn't exactly uncommon because I'm not a terribly sad guy but most of the time I am a mix of content awkwardness and existential malaise. That sounds a little worse than it is. Recently though, like over the last week or so I've been feeling great, and decided to make a list of shit.
  • Weather. Colorado is fucking crazy! I love snow, I really do, which is one reason I don't ever want to leave Colorado, but I also love sunshine. This past week has had both, sometimes in the same day!
  • I have been watching Lost with Ruth and oh my, yes. Lost. Wow. (Coincidentally, I don't know what Ruth may have told you at my ability to play Playstation 1 games but it is naught but lies and slander)
  • My birthday approaches, on which I will be 20, which is weird, but I will not only be drunk when the clock strikes 12, I will also be dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi and hanging with (nearly all of) my best friends.
  • I have a new project in my sculpture class that is going to kick serious ass.
  • The cute gal with dreadlocks who draws all the time that usually sits in front of me in Art History kind of talked to me, that sure was nice.
  • I am either going to Bonaroo or on a road trip over the summer (or maybe both I dunno) so that is awesome.
The final point is Tea Time! As I mentioned in my little blog post, I wanted to try something new because markers suck, and for whatever reason I really like hatching with a pencil. It's pacifying I guess. So I found a happy medium which is shading with a ball point pen. I think it works really well, and coincidentally when I was ready to start this new style, some kind of fear I had about drawing that I was unaware I had left me, and I just kind of did it.

It was very liberating! We also got a shit load of hits and positive feedback from people about the new shit and that was very encouraging. I've had a drive to draw recently that I don't remember having for... I dunno, way too long. My good buddy Mecha also shipped all of his books out here, cartooning books and anatomy books and the like, so I am really excited to steal them.

Today I finished the comic, finished a T-Shirt design, and also showed Mikey the design I had for a new Crow shirt, and they're going to use it! I am more than stoked! There will be pictures, worry not.

I feel like I did a lot today.

Life is good ladies and gentlemen!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

MIX TAPE: The Trilogy, A Snowy Day Story

I awoke to find several inches of snow flurrying around the backyard, and not moments after I get out of bed, Parker texts me that Front Range is closing at 11:30, the exact time of my math class. After dancing, my mom texts me that CSU is also closed, which means I have the day off. I made a fire in the wood burning stove and have been taking in the sweet smoky smell that's filled the house, had some tea, watched the blizzard, and then sat down to do some real work.

My good friend Mecha is back in town (permanently now, for school, which is totally fucking rad) and while we were in the car, he asked if I could make him a CD of my favorite songs because the music I listen to is so awesome. I told him I would make him three.

Thus, MIX TAPE: The Trilogy, A play in 3 Acts was born. 47 ball explodingly good songs on 3 CDs, including Episode I, The Freshness (big openers and iressistable hits), Volume II, Life is a Series of Down Notes (where we dim the lights a bit), and Chapter III, Return of the Jedi (the triumphant return of happiness). Each CD has a little boooklet/peice of paper that dictates what the tracks are.

I never made a mix tape before, at least for another person, and this was way more fun than it should have been (I think owing a lot to the fact that this whole excercise pretty much was just ego stroking and justification for my recent feindishness in music), but none the less it has seriously inspired me. People should do shit like this more often. If I could mass produce these easier I would give them to all my friends and make them all the time. Also if I had this much fun then graphic design should be a cake walk.

(Special thanks to Ethan, who if you look at the set list up there, is responsible for like 70% of what's on there. I think I'll write that on the back of the case now actually)

Friday, March 13, 2009


When the Wii came out, I camped out for some 18 hours outside of Circuit City in freezing weather in order to obtain one on launch day, with Twilight Princess. It was worth it for a time, certainly, the Wii was a sound investment. Miis and Wii sports were greatly appreciated around these parts. After coming to terms with the fact that Twilight Princess wasn't anywhere near as good as Wind Waker however, and until Super Mario Galaxy, it collected dust (unless I wanted to play Gamecube games). Galaxy was great, and so was Brawl but the later can barely be called a Wii game, and the former came out like a year and a half ago. To the point, when I heard about Madworld I was very excited. When I was camping out on launch day I thought mainly of the Wii's potential for extreme gratification in violence. Snapping peoples necks and such by pantomiming the fucked up acts in the real world.

Madworld is the fulfillment of these prophecies.

Firstly, Madworld joins a growing number of games that are basically perfect, graphically. It wanted to look like Sin City with a dose of Japan and it does, pretty flawlessly. I'm tempted to call it the best looking game on the Wii because it set its bar and achieved it almost to perfection. I was worried that in the black and white world it may be really hard to see what the fuck is going on but it is surprisingly coherent, more so than a lot of games I can think of that use color, actually. It's also just stylized enough that the intense violence is still awesome and visceral but still comic enough that you don't feel like a terrible person.

The story is that you, as Jack (voiced by Steven "Spike Speigel" Blum) are on a gameshow that takes place in an entire city. If you kill someone in more and more extraordinary/violent ways, you get more points. That's about it. Also: You have a chainsaw arm.

God of War has some great violent cutscenes and quick time events (essentially in game cutscenes that prompt timed button presses) that really get you into the ultraviolence, but when you play Madworld there is some other force at work. For example, when you use the daggers (there are multiple weapons, each with their own combos and finishers), one of the finishing moves is straddling a man on the ground, and stabbing his chest over and over and over and over and over and over in rapid succession, and in order to do this you pantomime the act with the Wiimote and nunchuck. The first time I did this I actually started screaming/laughing uncontrollably and had to pause. It's kind of hard to believe. There are a ton of finishers in this game, all unbelievably violent (you can remove a man's spine with a chainsaw and hit him with it)

Madworld's stages are pretty much a series of sandboxes that you get to do whatever you want in, and in traditional Sega arcade style, all of them are replayable at any time. It's not terribly long (I'm at about 2.5 hours through and I think I'm like half way) but the sheer variety in killing different people with different things throughout the different stages makes for a very replayable game. I don't think I can ever get tired of how awesome the finishers are for some of the bosses either. You basically accrue points until you unlock the minigame (which can be anything from tossing people onto train tracks to hitting them onto a giant dart board), unlock weapons, and then finally the boss of the stage.

Here's some fucked up shit I've done to people in this game:
1. Thrown a man in a flamming oil barrel, impaled him with not 1, not 2, but 3 sign posts, then slammed him repeatedly onto a meat hook on the wall.
2. Ground a man to paste on a passing subway
3. Shoved fireworks down someone's throat and watched him explode, killing 2 of his friends.
4. Stabbed a wok through a ninja's eye, then tossed him into a deep fryer.

This list could go on for much longer.

The controls are a little unresponsive, and as ridiculously gratifying as the quick time events are, when they don't work it can be really frustrating. This has been rare however. The bike levels are also kind of shallow but over all, if you have a Wii, this is a sound, sound purchase. I have like 4 Wii games now, and I am getting comfortable with the idea that this was the title I was camping out for.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jon Will Give You Cancer and Can Turn Into a Car

Ok so I wasn't going to make a blog post until MadWorld was out and I could review it proper but Goddamnit, I can't stop watching this video and I have to share it with the world. It's a flash animation of what Watchmen would be like if it were a Saturday morning cartoon in the 80's, and it is so well done that everytime I watch it it gets better.

I saw Watchemn in costume at the IMAX in Denver and it kicked ass. I was actually really impressed but I do certainly have my grievances, but they are mostly minor ones. I saw it again with my dad, and the intro and the part with Dr. Manhattan on Mars only got better. I love those scenes, well done Snyder. Well done everybody. I think the biggest thing I can knock against the movie was Niteowl, and while the actor was dead fucking on and I love him for it, Niteowl is my favorite character and they fucked a couple things up. The first being his suit. I know the old one is pretty dated you guys but Niteowl isn't supposed to look that cool, he is supposed to look competent and adorable in his old age. He doesn't even really have a paunch in the movie! That is the best part. Also the part at the end where he smacks Veidt around is just stupid, and probably the biggest thing I didn't like.

Niteowl is my favorite character, hands down, and I love him so much I actually thing I'm going to make a little statue of him out of Sculpey. Which I will post here of course. Dunno when that'll be. Also I am doing stone carving in my 3D design class and I've grown quite attached to my rock, so expect full details and pictures in a couple weeks.

In other news, Mike Doughty has a blog and that makes me happy.

Stay posted for the Madworld review and also other things.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Noby Noby Boy

Katamari Damacy was the greatest $20 I've ever spent on a video game. It is completely deserving of its praise and the little niche its carved for itself in the gaming community. When the sequel came about, the creator didn't want to make any more games, but was forced, and We Love Katamari (despite being a really excellent sequel) was built on spite. When asked about Noby Noby Boy, he said he "didn't really know why he made it", which was a little concerning. I was worried they were going to force him to make something again and that it would be even more spiteful. I was very wrong.

Noby Noby Boy is the best $5 I've ever spent on a video game. It absolutely has the same spirit as Katamari, and while Katamari is more of a game than it is art, Noby Noby Boy is more art than it is a game.

There are no objectives in Noby Noby Boy, there's nothing to stop you from stretching any length you want, and there's no heads up display at all. You play as Boy (there is also Girl, Sun, and Fairy as supporting cast). One analog stick controls the front section of the body, and one the back. The shoulder buttons control camera and allow you to jump (and eat and poop, repectivley). You can eat objects of certain size, and in order to eat and store more you have to stretch (which you do by pulling both ends away from each other), otherwise you fire objects out of your back end like a cannon. So while that's really all you do, whatever you want, if you go into the menu you can "report length" of your Boy, which is then added to Girl, who sits on top of the earth. At the moment, Girl is trying to reach the Moon, and since the game is online, people all over the world contribute, and Girl gets longer, pretty much like a communal Katamari. When Girl reaches the Moon, we get a new stage, as well as all the rest of the planets in the solar system.

That's about all there is to it. You pretty much just do whatever the hell you want. (As of writing this, Girl reached the moon, and indeed, the moon stages are populated with different kinds of weird shit)

Noby Noby Boy's graphics are excellent, everything looks either perfectly square or perfectly round, and on an HD set, it's sharp enough to cut tomatoes. It's not quite physics based in the same way as Little Big Planet, but Boy's rope like animations are ridiculously convincing. watching food travel through his brightly colored segments is one of the most hypnotic things I've ever found in a video game. The sound design is equally pacifying, with weird baritones and bass to accompany both stretching and eating, as well as a gentle acoustic guitar soundtrack, put you in a real Zen state. This is easily one of the most beautiful games ever made, and up there with Wind Waker, Team Fortress 2, and Okami.

So bottom line is, it's totally unprecedented. This game has never been seen before. And it's great. I've thrown it on a bunch already even though I've only had it for 5 days. I'm as engaged by it as any other video game, and oh yeah, it's five fucking dollars. It's really hard to find fault in a game that costs $5. The controls aren't perfect, but honestly Katamari's are kind of awkward at times too. The biggest problem is the camera, which relies on the six axis too much and can be tough to wrestle into position.

This would be the part where I tell you to go buy it but that's actually kind of hard. It's exclusive to the PS3 for now, (and a bargain title on the PS3 is pretty ironic), which effectively keeps it out of the hands of millions of people. True, the graphics might not look as good if it were on the Wii, but it would be identical on the 360, and I doubt that Microsoft would care enough to fight for the right to make it available. Which is really a shame, because this is one of those games the whole world should play. If you know someone with a PS3, please check it out, I emplore you. I'm guessing if you're reading this that person is probably me, so you're welcome anytime to play it at my house.

The last game I played like this was fl0w, which is actually less of a game than Noby Noby Boy (and I think more expensive) and was also on the PS3. fl0w was pretty cool, but Noby Noby Boy is much more. It should be at the Guggenheim. There's something about playing it that's like being patted on the head by God.

It's a poem, a little playable poem.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Builders and The Butchers

Parker took me to the Murder by Death concert at the Bluebird in Denver today (yesterday?) and it was really fantastic. The first band, Fake Problems, was ok and seemed like pretty cool guys (and also had a shirt for sale with a polar bear on it... like ours, but not as good), but the second band, The Builders and the Butchers, was amazing. If you like Rock Plaza Central, which you should, you will love these guys. They had a singer with an acoustic guitar, two drummers that traded off and did other things like mandolin, an acoustic bass player (with an excellent, excellent mustache) and a mandolin/ banjo player who looked enough like Brian Posehn to make me very happy (I GOT TO SHAKE HIS HAND AND TELL HIM HOW AWESOME HE WAS AFTER THE SHOW). My favorites so far are Bottom of the Well and Coal Mine Fall. Give them a listen.

Needless to say, Murder by Death was extremely good, despite Denver's weird aversion to...showing any emotion at all towards music really. One of the best Valentine's Days in recent memory, which is good because it's usually miserable. I also played D&D for about 7 and a half hours today (which reminds me: Murder by Death mentioned a drinking game called Wizard's Death. You keep drinking beers until you have enough cans to stack up and make a staff, the lead singer informed us that he's a level 21 Wizard) which was also incredible cool.

Happy fake holidays people! I certainly hope you were not miserable, but if you were, listen to some Builders and the Butchers and cheer up, or revel in Murder by Death's incredible stark look at American life. Or drink.

You hold the keys to your future!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tea Pot Watch '09 Part II



Holy hell it actually worked! Both pots are doing splendidly only a week after their inception. The sprouts are actually uprooting some of the soil in layers which is not something I expected. I'm still really surprised this actually worked.
Still has a week and a half to go before it's due, so that means I don't have anything to do in 3D design expect fuck around (yay?) and hang out with Marina (yay!). Guess I'll just have to start doing Crow logos or something.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tea Pot Watch '09 (part 1)

So for my 3D design class I was tasked to do a wrapped object, which is a normal object wrapped with anything I can think of. I decided to take a couple of teapots and cover them in a mix of paper mache and potting soil, then alfalfa seeds. It worked surprisingly well so far and since it could fail at any moment, I decided to document the process.


Tea Pot 1

Hopefully the seeds sprout and it looks way cool but honestly just the form as is looks pretty interesting. I'll update when anything interesting happens. Fingers crossed people!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Democracy at Its Finest

So, Obama is now officially in office and Bush is forever in his ranch in Crawford.

In honor of our Nation's great political workings finally... working, I'd like to bring to your attention two causes which are perhaps more important than the presidential election itself.

The first is Crow in the battle of the bands. They're in second place and Give 'er Hell is in first, which is an offense of the highest order, because Give 'er Hell is total shit. You can vote every day, so do so.

The second is a cause that will profoundly touch the hearts of millions. Blizzard is letting people vote for what the new Dark Templars look like in Starcraft II. One option is the original option, the Lenassa tribe, which was what the original Starcraft Dark Templars were. The second option is that bulllshit Zer'atai tribe with their double scythes and shitty looking in game models. Don't stand for that shit, vote for the Lenassa tribe.

So get out there and do your democratic part people! Yes we can!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Press "One" For Soul Mate

I really don't want to go in.
I hate dealing with people and-
What's this? I thought this was the bank, not Heaven.
Stay calm, just (oh god she has perfect hands!)

No! Ok she's cute but that's moot.
Just stay in line and act normal.
She sounds cute too. Not that I can hear from here.
Just... Damn. She's extra cute.

Yes hi, I'd like to make a... withdrawal.
Why yes my name is really awesome sounding, yours is too.
I read it off your name tag (and cryed it in my dreams).
I mean. Um. Yeah.

My shirt? Uh yeah it is nice.
(Jesus! No one could get that reference!)
And that means she must have played the whole
series too cause... it's getting warm in here.

You leave and I'm left with that wave of creamy floral scent.

We're having a fight on the roof of your
studio apartment. You just love me too much dear.
I need my space. You tell me you'd do anything
but I already know.

I'm taking your glasses off in the back of my
subcompact and I get a look at your eyes for the first time,
the first real time. And then we have sex and it's like,
really awesome. Like way awesome. The sex is.

Your Dad is a pretty chill dude you know,
And I can just call him Larry, and
he's not wary of my character at all.
Your brother's pool is a pretty kick ass place for a bachelor party.

I don't tell you that last part but your brother and I wink at the reception.

He knows.

I know what we should name him, I've had it picked out forever.
Leon! It's the coolest boy name ever.
I know you want to name him after your grandfather, dear.
We'll compromise. (But George is a name I despise).

And we have sex and it's totally rad.

Your face hasn't aged at all dearest.
It's the truth, you look just as beautiful as the day we met.
You'll have to speak up I'm heard of hearing.
I love you too, happy aniver-

Huh? Oh um... yeah 300 dollars.
In twenties and tens, if that's cool.
No like, 200 in twenties, 100 in...yeah. Cool.
Yeah you too.

I go back to the car where we first...well you know.
As close as I looked at you over all those years,
as inscrutable as the details became...

...I must have missed your wedding ring.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


My good friend Vvinni always had really dedicated new years resolutions when we were growing up, and continues to to this day. The one I've chosen to emulate is "write something everyday", but since writing is the secondary to what I want to do with my life, I've altered it to "draw something everyday". The rule is it can be anything and I can only spend one hour on it. Comics do count because the longest they've been is around 5 hours, so c'mon.

So far I have drawn a banana.

As for Tea Time though I am more and more proud of everything I put up there, consistently. The DMV one was written really well and I thought drawn better than the others (like, it has backgrounds) and the exploding high five I've made into my desktop because it's so fucking awesome. Today's might be a little subverse and defiently more weird than the previous ones but I am very proud of what we managed to do.

Anyway Parker wants me to start fucking around with his Prisma color markers, and I'm behind by about 10 new years drawings, so it's very possible I'll scan some shit and put it up here, turn it into a kind of sketch blog.

Also keep a heads up for bad poetry.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Games of the Year 2008

I don't remember most of what came out this year because it's very hard to, and I missed most of the ludicrously awesome titles that have come out in the holiday season due to money constraints, however this is a list of games I've played this year and fucking loved. Also brief comments on games I played and was underwhelmed by.

Crisis Core
Holy God, people kind of had to shut up about the PSP after this game, and I had to shut up about Final Fantasy 7 getting fucked by assholes who don't know what they're doing. I'm still of the mindset that 7 wasn't all it's cracked up to be, but even objectively this game is better in almost every way. The graphics are gorgeous, the writing, yes the writing in a Final Fantasy game is superb, and of the titles with rich characters this year, CC takes a very high spot on the chart. The gameplay is basic but perfectly fun, the cinematics aren't just awesome but move the story, and the story is actually more engaging and coherent than the source material. Best prequel ever? Yes. 5th best game out this year.

Dead Space
I heard about this game about a year ago, and like that it was released. When EA decided to make a new franchise and spend some of their mountains of gold on it to make it totally fucking awesome, I was skeptical, but throw in a prequel comic illustrated by Ben Templesmith, ridiculously good looking graphics, and better gameplay than RE4, and you get my 4th favorite game this year. Dead Space really does set a new standard for survival horror, and while they don't fuck with you in the same psychological ways that I like to be fucked with, the idea that you never trust anything on the ship, from elevators to boxes to lights, for the whole game, is honestly phenomenal. The art team of this game either loved it to death or were paid massive amounts, but the fact that it isn't obvious is very nice. Scary, fun, worthy of all the praise it's gotten and ten times the sales.

Little Big Planet
I'm not sure that there's another game this year that could be more unanimously hung up in an art gallery than Little Big Planet. It's the essence of modern art; exceptionally beautiful and participatory on every level. The tools they give you are astounding, the levels that they created themselves within the games are so polished they are hard to look at. It's pretty much everything good about video games, and anyone can play it. I'd like to know why this isn't bundled with every PS3. LBP gets the third spot.

Fallout 3
This is almost tied for first place, and things being different it would take it, but I'll get to that. When I heard Fallout 3 got handed to Bethesda I was still a little burned by Oblivion, but I never played the Fallouts before it, so the worst it could be was an entertaining, solid game, not a sacrilege to the series like so many thought it would be. Everything I heard and saw about it seemed more and more encouraging, and by God, this game is a phenomenon. It has everything, and the universe is so complete it stands as a kind of monument. The main plot is incredible, your father's character is irresistible to grow attached to, and the combat is addictive and fun as hell. Not one particle of this game was halfassed, any one part of it feels just as well done as any other part. They didn't just do a great job but they succeeded my expectations far and wide. There was a point where I almost said "stop, I believe you that you're great" but the game was unrelenting. From what I understand of Fallout 2, they did a better job with this sequel than the original developer did. Second place.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
One thing you should know about me if you don't is that I fucking love Metal Gear. It's my favorite series, and this is the best of them, so logically it's my favorite game of all time. Logically yes, but there are a couple asterisks I throw in there. Let's start with the good. This game is the best looking game ever made. Dead Space looks more uniformly realistic but MGS4 has a couple scenes with are unparalleled graphically, and the models look so good they look like actors. Metal Gear's psudo realism aesthetic is fully realized, I don't think it can ever look any better than it does. Gameplay is lightyears ahead of where the first one was, and while the control scheme takes some serious getting used to, it's pretty excellent. The multiplayer mode is just the gameplay engine and by God, it's a blast (also, Multiplayer mode, excellent move).
What propels you in Metal Gear though, isn't the gameplay or graphics it's the story, and this being its conclusion it shouldn't disappoint. Well it doesn't, because it exceeds your expectations, but at the very same time, while you can see the game reaching for a narrative that's grander than anything ever previously represented in a video game, teetering on the shoulders of giants, it then very very quickly catches itself doing this and recoils back into mediocrity. While for any other game this would mean the difference between good and bad, for Metal Gear it's the difference between the greatest fucking video game ever made and exceptional, so you at least get a good story from it. What I mean is that at one point in the game, I thought one of the character's died, and in the way he did, I immediately started what could only be aptly described as a screaming cry-gasm. I've never cried so hard in my life. This was very quickly removed as we find out that he's actually not dead. His death was so magnificent that I can't help but think there was a last minute script change or something.
The fact that they didn't go all the way almost hits me harder than the ideas they didn't go all the way with.
It is the best Metal Gear, and it is a worthy end, and that's some very exceptional praise, but what it could have been is something I could hold as a shield to any of the "games aren't art" fuckers that still stick to their bullshit (yeah that's you Ebert, fuck you), but I guess that duty will just be upheld by Little Big Planet. It takes the number one spot not only for this year but all years previous, at least to me, but the silhouette left by what this game could have been is so massive it's almost disqualifying.
It's also not without its faults, like clunky writing (Fallout has it totally beat in this regard) and occasionally underwhelming gameplay. Even with it's glaring flaws it still manages to come in first.


The Force Unleashed:
Not only was this game half assed, it obliterated some 30 canonized Star Wars books in the process. The least you could say was that it was worth it but no, the story is an insult to the series, and the gameplay is fun at best. Fuck you guys, I want my Star Wars back.
Mirror's Edge:
Granted I only played the demo, but if that doesn't get you hooked what can? I like the originality in the idea, but it doesn't work. If it were third person, completely sandbox, and a little less pretentious, (and flash cinematics, really guys? Not going to show off those incredible graphics?) I wouldn't have been able to let it go without buying it. As is: meh, good try guys.
Prince of Persia:
While this a gorgeous game, and I want more people to make things that look like it, it isn't Sands of Time. While SoT may not be the greatest game ever I don't think they can top it, and if they were trying they should try a lot fucking harder. While I like the characters, and dialogue, they seem like they're plucked right from Uncharted, and in the Prince's case, they didn't even change his accent or vocabulary. Uncharted is not how you make likable characters you assholes. It worked there but it's barely above tolerable here. If I see one more "charming American badass" archetype I will fucking kill someone. I'm glad I got this for Christmas but I honestly don't know if I'll even finish it.

That's about it kids, thanks for reading.

Video games!