DJ Comic: July Holidays Part 3



Sorry it’s late again.  Rich and I have been working pretty hard on the new game for the IGM contest this year. We’re super excited!

I like to keep my clothes on, so that week just wouldn’t work for me.

I’m not too good at video games and I’m not embarrassed to admit it.  I totally suck an anything with shooting or driving.  The only games that I’m kind of good at are fighting games.  And that’s only because I button mash most of the time because I can’t remember the button combos.

I like any picnic that I can actually eat at!

Yep, that’s usually how it goes for us with computery stuff.

Rich looses his pants more than his glasses, but it’s still funny! =P


Tekko 2015: Day 2, Saturday

As I mentioned yesterday, Day 2 started awfully early for us.  9:30 am.

There's a the morning, too?

There’s a 9:30…in the morning, too?

Our young ward met up with her friends and went to a panel about an anime that the wife and I are too out of the loop to know anything about (they did a group cosplay from the anime, and we had no idea who either of them were supposed to be).  We decided to throw on our Hitatare outfits and wore them to the convention.

So, while our ward was away, we decided to head over to the Godfathers of Anime panel that my nameless friend I mentioned yesterday (the guy who ran the RTK panel a few years ago).  We walked in around halfway through because 9:30 was strenuous enough, there was no way I was getting there before 9:00.  He had some pretty good information, I wish we’d have been able to see the whole thing.  Definitely interesting.

We were going to hang around and chat with him and his ladyfriend afterward, but a big group approached him to chat and we were…well, still not entirely awake.

Us at 10:00 am.

Us at 10:00 am.

Next up we wandered around the convention center again, checked out the gaming area, trying to wake ourselves up some.  It didn’t work.  So we figured we would go veg out in the Premium Lounge for a few hours until Uncle Yo’s Magical Girl Bootcamp panel started.  It was 10:00 and the panel didn’t start until 12:30.  Good God, what were we going to do?

We zombie-crawled our way into the Premium Lounge (one of the perks of getting Premium Badges, and actually a pretty nice feature we have to admit).  We figured we could grab a bottle of water and get a few snacks, maybe try to get some fluids and food through us to try to wake ourselves up.  While we were there the Maid of Hearts Café group was running one of their events.

We were invited to play a game of Bullshit with the maids and a few other attendees.  I won.  Thus proving that every time I say that I can’t lie I am apparently lying.  We played a second round with a bigger group and I’m still going to claim victory, because at the end of the game I had the fewest cards of the group.

It was actually pretty fun and it helped to wake us up a lot, too.  The Maids were very interesting and fun to hang out with.  And they gave us a few trinkets before we left.  The wife got a plastic folding fan and I took a nifty Pop Art Disney Princess Bag, as they called it.

It pays to be a good Bullshitter in a café full of maids.

It pays to be a good Bullshitter in a café full of maids.

Yes, that’s Jasmine, Ariel, Belle, and Pocahontas in teary-eyed mode.

Jasmine says, “I didn’t even know his name!” Which, taken out of context, is a pretty whorey line.

Ariel says, “But Daddy…I love him!”

Belle says, in all her Stockholm Syndrome glory, “Please don’t leave me…I love you!”

And we finish it off with Pocahontas saying, “I can’t leave you!”

And on the side of the bag it even says, “It’s tough being a princess!”

The wife says I’m creepy, but I find it amusing.

So then we went to Uncle Yo’s Magical Girl Bootcamp panel.  I’m not sure what I was expecting from this panel.  It was Uncle Yo, so I figured it would be hilarious.  I thought he’d just riff on Magical Girl Anime.

I was wrong.

It was better than that!

It was better than that!

It was an intellectual panel on women’s equality, as told through the allegory of magical girl.  It was as hilarious as I expected from Uncle Yo, but it was also very poignant and thought-provoking.  I strongly recommend attending it in the future, if you have the chance.

We took a lunch break with our ward and a few of her friends.  Any guess where we took the poor girls to?

No, seriously.  Why have I not approached them for ad revenue, yet?

No, seriously. Why have I not approached them for ad revenue, yet?

With a lunch break in we did a quick jaunt through the dealer’s room and artist alley (which they have combined and are just calling the Exhibition Hall now) to see what we might be interested in purchasing later.  After that we decided there were no panels we were interested in.  Well, no, that’s not true.  We actually decided there were no panels we could stay awake through.  We made a quick trip back to the parking garage and slept for an hour and a half in my van.  With a good nap we made our way back to the convention and attended the Disability in Video Games panel.

The panel was hosted by a pair of women, I do not remember their names.  In my defense…I had just awoken from a nap and I’m generally bad with names any way.  One of the women suffered from anxiety issues and the other suffered from a deformed right hand.  At a few times in their panel they came off as a little whiny, but I’ll give them a pass because…in their situation I probably would have whine twice as much as them.

Being a game developer I have to say that I’m glad I attended the panel.  They talked about lack of positive portrayals of disabled people and disabilities as a whole in games.  I wholeheartedly agree with that, but I was already thinking of that kind of stuff.  What they brought up in the second section of the panel, however, was something that I had never thought of as an Indie Developer: Accessibility.

I make computer games so I don’t have to deal with how useless a Playstation controller is to a person with only one hand or arm.  However placing keyboard shortcuts far from each other lowers the accessibility for disabled players, same with requiring the mouse and keyboard to be used at the same time.  I’ll definitely take that into consideration in future titles.  This is especially important in RPGs and Visual Novels, the most likely titles for Nic3Ntertainment to produce.

After the disability panel was over we collected our ward and went home, because we were all sleep deprived and the nap had only let us make it as far as we had gotten.  So we missed the surprise fire drill that happened about a half hour or so after we left.

And that was Saturday.  Tomorrow we’ll talk about Sunday and the overall review of the convention this year.


June Dick of the Month: Katie Couric

Katie Couric is a respected member of the journalistic community.  A big reason the Today show had such good ratings was Ms. Couric; she’s smart, funny, and she worked well with Matt Lauer.

There's that, too.

There’s that, too.

So of course, when she got her own show in September of 2012 she would use it to do great things to further humanity and inform the ignorant masses, right?

Hrm…guess not.

Hrm…guess not.

That’s right, episode 140 was a big expose on how violent video games are what caused the Newtown, Aurora Theatre, and the Columbine School Shootings.  Not to mention the story of Daniel Petric who gunned down his mother and father.  Why?  As Katie’s show puts it, “Daniel Petric from Wellington, Ohio also played violent video games to the extreme, and when his parents tried to take them away, he shot them point-blank.”

Nope, she uses her show to pander to the fear-mongering masses who believe that Video Games are just murder simulators used by terrorists to create emotionless homicidal suburban commandos.

See?  Nobody wants to become that.

See? Nobody wants to become that.

Sure video games can cause violence, but there’s usually alcohol, drugs, or mental instability as an underlying attribute to the violence.  I know me, personally, I’m far less likely to be homicidal if I get regular doses of gaming in.

Gaming, of any kind, reduces stress and helps a person get their mind off of things.  This is why soldiers used to carry decks of cards, chess boards, dice, and the like into battle with them.  While on a prolonged campaign in between murdering countless enemy you can take your mind off the fact that you’re cold, wet, covered in lice, and smell like you just bathed in pig piss.

Even a frustrating game isn’t a waste; when I’m getting my well-armored ass owned trying to take over a castle in Mount & Blade I find myself fuming over the strength of crossbowmen.  But you know what I’m not doing?  Stabbing my boss who keeps firing my decent employees out from underneath me and then blaming me for having overtime every week.  Why?  Because I’m not fretting over my payroll, I’m fretting over fictional crossbowmen.  And since I’m not mentally incompetent, I know said crossbowmen don’t exist.  So once I turn the game off, I have no real worries at the moment because I realize I was angry about something that didn’t really matter.

Video games are a tool that can improve hand-eye coordination, can relieve symptoms of ADHD, can give Autistic children an avenue of communication and a sense of accomplishment, can bring together varied cliques with a common interest, and numerous other benefits.

But Katie Couric is professional journalist, she certainly didn’t commit to actual fear-mongering.  I mean, she talked about the benefits of Video Games, too, right?

Or not.

Or not.

Okay, so Video Games will turn you into a murderer, then.  There’s plenty of people who play video games that don’t murder people.  Surely you can’t think that those people are worse off because they played—

Well fuck you, Katie.

Well fuck you, Katie.

Quinn Pitcock ended his NFL career because of a video game addiction?  Surely it wasn’t because he suffered from Depression and ADHD.  Nope, definitely video game addiction.  Oh, wait, except that he went through rehab for his video game addiction (also for his depression) and still failed on the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions.  But he’s been playing for the Orlando Predators Arena Football team since 2012 where he has 11 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble; which is actually better overall than his NFL career of 18 tackles and 1.5 sacks, with no fumbles forced.

So what do you have to say for yourself, Katie?

"I’d say Fuck You, Dick."

“I’d say Fuck You, Dick.”

Oh…damn.  Katie Couric is gangsta.  Good thing I brought backup.

Power Fingerrrr!

Power Fingerrrr!

Katie Couric for your fear-mongering anti-gaming propaganda I hereby declare you the June, 2013 Dick of the Month.


Ebert’s Death Gets Two Thumbs Down

As you’re all certainly aware if you’ve seen the news at all recently: Legendary movie critic Roger Ebert has died of cancer, at the age of 70.  I’ve always been a fan of his witty movie reviews and valued his opinions, especially since he was one of those critics who would look at an action film devoid of any original storyline or fancy videography and say, “Two thumbs up, because it gives you exactly what you expect for a story-devoid action flick!”

He wasn’t a ‘hipster’ critic who would give a movie low ratings because it didn’t have a moral message or didn’t have fancy screen transitions or crap like that.  He would watch a movie and say he liked it and tell us all “if you like this stuff, you’ll like it, too”.

As a gamer, however, I have been on the supportive side of a lot of vitriol against the man.  This is because in 2005 he took a ‘greater than thou’ stance against video games.  Not because of violence, or overt sexism, or even over-sexualization…but because he believed that video games are not and will not ever (he later modified to ‘not in this lifetime’) be art.

I think his opinion is incredibly faulty when you consider this…

abstract_art Weeping Woman 1937 by Pablo Picasso 1881-1973 warhols_campbell_soup_image_flickr-15112330_std

…to be art.  But not this…

FF 20100207_heavy_rain LC

And we’re just talking visually, let’s look at sound.  Movies have iconic music such as the Godfather, the Terminator, Lord of the Rings, Titanic, Indiana Jones, James Bond, etc.

But what about video games?  Listen to the Halo opening, FTL’s Milkyway theme (which I’ve been playing a bit of recently, BTW), Final Fantasy 8’s theme song for the Landing at Dollet, Assassin’s Creed III’s title theme.  And that’s not even including the classic games like Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers, Mega Man, and Castlevania!

Especially considering Ebert felt that movies were art.  The same thing that in the early 1900’s was laughed at as a passing fad and writers and literary critics said that movies would never be considered art.

But that was just the start, calling games not a medium of art.  He went further when he defended his position and was asked whether or not he had ever even played a game to see their artistic significance.  His response?  “I’ve never found a game worthy of my time.”

He did later soften his stance and admit that he didn’t have enough experience with the medium to really consider any opposing views because he just had no interest in games to even research them.

Naturally even normally non-vocal gamers rose up in arms against Ebert, some going so far as to call for boycotts of his show, articles, and even appearances.  People wanted to see him fall!

But now?  Now he is dead…and gamers are sad.  We admit our differences of opinion and we lament the passing of a legendary movie critic.  We admit that ‘our’ boycott failed miserably because we valued his opinion on movies too much to ignore him.

This is, ironically enough, exactly why we were so mad about his flippant opinion.  Because it made our ‘art’ sound like some childish fascination, when really we are high-thinking individuals whose opinions and experienced should be valued and regarded just as equally and just as highly as a movie watcher.

That being said, it’s a sad loss for good criticism.  Not perfect criticism, because there’s no such thing.  But when it comes to movies…I know I’m probably going to be forced to watch a lot crappier movies without his advice to guide me in the right direction.


Shorty Shorts #5

On the local Bob FM station here I recently heard an ad for the station; one of their usual, “Bob plays everything” kind of ads.  But it started off with an unusual lead-in: The Final Fantasy VII victory theme.

I was so amazed they’d use it I didn’t even pay attention to the rest of the ad, to be honest.  But I thought it was nifty of them to use the FF7 victory theme in an ad for a radio station that centers on playing the ‘best from the 80s, 90s, two-thousands, and today!’ or whatever the hell they advertise; like I said, I missed the ad itself.

I wish there was a Video Game Music radio station.  Could you imagine that?  Snap the radio to WVGM at 99.9 FM (that’s a Final Fantasy 8 joke, by the way) and hear the Sonic the Hedgehog Boss Battle theme, followed by the Final Fantasy 7 battle theme, followed by Castelvania’s Bloody Tears, then a little ad or two, and then boom open up from the break with Chrono Trigger’s Main Theme (Corridors of Time), Mega Man 2‘s Wily Stage #1, Wild Arms’ Into the Wilderness, and before another ad we even squeeze in Tristram’s theme from the original Diablo.

There could even be special radio shows on it, just like any other radio station.  I know one of the stations on my radio dial has the, “Acoustic Hour” on from 7 to 9 Sunday morning (which is more than an hour, actually).  I know this because I used to work around that time on Sunday mornings and it was the bright point of my morning.

We could have the 8-Bit hour, the Lyrics hour, the Boss hour, the RPG hour, and the Orchestra hour.

-8-Bit Hour: Tunes from the NES era for an hour; Super Mario Bros., Mega Man, Ducktales, etc.

-Lyrics Hour: All game songs with lyrics, you could start it off with a Still Alive feature (first Portal‘s version then Mirror’s Edge‘s version).

-Boss Hour: All Boss themes; Dr. Robotnik, M. Bison, the Contra Hard Corps boss theme and of course Metal Gear Solid 3‘s theme for The Boss.

-RPG Hour: All songs from RPGs (which often have the biggest music budgets), Eyes on Me, Jecht’s Battle, One-Winged Angel, Star Ocean 2‘s Kamikaze theme, down to Lufia II‘s second battle theme.

-Orchestra Hour: It would be all Orchestra remakes of songs from numerous games.  Orchestra versions of Phoenix Wright’s Tonosaman theme, Metal Gear Solid‘s theme, maybe even orchestral remakes of older games like Bloody Tears and Mega Man 3’s title theme.

I’d listen to the station constantly, I’ll tell you that.


I Have Halted the End of the World!

Okay folks, I did it; I succeeding in saving the world (if you’re reading this from a fiery pit of hell, then I lied; sorry).  Today (the 21st of December, 2012) was supposed to be the end of the world, but thanks to my time in the Animus I was able find the key, open the door, and save the world!

In case you’re totally lost, I’ve beaten Assassin’s Creed III, just in time to thwart the end of the world, as is the purpose of that particular entry in the series.

As you might know from earlier posts I am a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed series and I have recently received a Playstation 3 and Assassin’s Creed III to go along with it.  I was ecstatic as I hurriedly played through Revelations, my other gift, for which you can read about my thoughts and exploits as soon as I find where I saved that post (yes, I lost it…ungh!).

Well now I have played through Assassin’s Creed III, beaten it, and finally managed to let myself get some sleep (8 hours at work, plus an hour and a half in commuting, plus eating and restroom breaks, plus 9 hours a night on the game…doesn’t leave much time for this fabled invention of ‘sleep’).

And all in all I have to say…

I was dreadfully disappointed.  In almost everything.  The sailing portions were frickin’ awesome, the hunting was an interesting addition, and there were a lot of nifty improvements to the game.  Nevertheless it was extremely buggy in weird ways: There were a lot of cut scenes where character’s lips wouldn’t move, all of the cut scenes had Connor (the main character) in his original assassin’s outfit even though for much of the game I was wearing one of the other available outfits (whereas in Revelations, which was a veritable bugfest, whatever Ezio was wearing in the game he wore in the cut scenes), and the storyline was…again, very disappointing.

As far as characters go, Assassin’s Creed has been fairly good.  Altair was a bit formulaic, but as the first game progressed he developed a kind of fascinating personality and this shown through in later games (particularly Revelations where you see his final days).

Ezio was an asshat when we first meet him, but you can quickly warm up to him.  He is on a murderous quest for vengeance, but he becomes more than that; going so far as to spare the life of the man who orchestrated the execution of his father and brothers.  He winds up becoming a man brimming with personality and emotion, he was truly a surprise for me when I realized I started actually liking him.

So with the writers at Ubisoft able to do all this, so-far, I went into Assassin’s Creed III with high hopes; of course, given the storyline my hopes weren’t as high as I had gone into Assassin’s Creed II, because I figured it was just going to be, ‘The founding fathers of America are great beyond measure, yay!’.

I was pleased at how they displayed some of the founding fathers:

-Benjamin Franklin as a philandering and conniving man-whore.

-George Washington as a poor military tactician and lost many of his battles with the British.

-The ‘founding fathers’ were wealthy, slave-owning, aristocrats who refused to pay taxes, for the war which kept them from being conquered by the French.

One depiction I wasn’t happy with, though: Benedict Arnold was depicted as a sniveling and cowardly fool when really he was a great warrior, general, and intelligence officer who was continually passed over for promotion and set upon by lesser man who wanted to steal credit for what he had done.

A few funny moments, I must admit, were the times you were with Paul Revere.  He was portrayed as kind of a fruit; he liked to grab Connor by the shoulder and he was awfully cheery when he mentioned how there was only one horse for his famous ride, so he and Connor would have to ride it together.

Nonetheless, Connor was a piss-poor character.  Now you start the game off as Connor’s father, Haytham, who seems a little dry and stiff at first.  But you can quickly warm up to Haytham, especially when he comes back into the picture while playing as Connor and you get to hear the banter between Haytham and Connor.

Haytham is definitely the greater of the two characters, the game would have been so much better if you’d just played as Haytham, instead of Connor, I think.  Not to mention, Haytham believes in his cause with determination and conviction.  He fuels his ideals with logic, cause-and-effect reasoning, and critical thinking.

Connor, meanwhile, fuels his beliefs with, “Ung…that man say you enemy, I kill you now, ung!”

And on the subject of poor speech…who the hell thought that leaving the Iroqouis language in the game was a good idea?  Especially when they then put white subtitles on the bottom of the screen…over top of white backgrounds?  I still have no idea exactly what happened between Connor’s mother and Haytham to explain why she left him, or at how far along with Connor she was when she left Haytham (or why Haytham never tried to see Connor, since he had to know where her damn village was the whole time), because her moment of soliloquy is spoken in the Iroquois language that they use for Connor’s tribe and has the white subtitles overtop of the Animus’ white background.  It can translate Arabic, Italian, Turkish…but not Iroquois?  Except that it can translate it, because it puts up subtitles!  Whoever had that plan was a schmuck who needs fired, immediately.  They must have spent a small fortune on translating the English script into this Iroquois language, finding voice actors who could speak it, and then typing up the subtitles.  Why not just make the Iroquois tribes all speak English with an accent or something?  That’s what they’ve done for four games, why not the fifth?  Or at least have black letters over the white background, or vice versa.

This becomes especially transparent when Connor becomes an assassin and is able to recognize his father, whom as far as the game suggests he has never actually met.  Even more interesting is when Haytham recognizes Connor as his son…even though Connor is now in his early twenties and the two of them have never actually met.

But anyway, back to Connor’s weakness as a character.  He has no logic or critical thinking skills, he wants to avenge his mother’s death, but even when he finds out that the man he has been tracking for almost a decade is not the man who killed his mother, but that it was actually the guy he is working with/for he just cuts ties with everyone around and decides to keep trying to kill the guy who has now been exonerated of Connor’s quest for vengeance.

Connor is a complete tool and when the game ends you just wind up feeling…used and disappointed.  Connor is also a fucking psycho.  I’ll go more into detail on that in a later post when I compare the separate protagonists a little more thoroughly.

But for now just know that Connor is a complete psychopath.  With a rifle, equipped with a bayonet, in hand…he bashes a soldier in the face repeatedly with the butt of the rifle.  With a knife in one hand and a hatchet in the other, he punches a man in the face…to death.  With a knife in one hand and a hatchet in the other, he grabs a man by the shoulders and slowly, and deliberately, slashes his throat…with the hatchet instead of the knife.  Psycho!

The battle system took a bit to get used to, since they completely changed the mechanics of it.  But once you get used to the new mechanics it is better than the old ways in almost every way.  Just a shame if you want full synchronization in the game…because 90% of the ways to do it are to avoid open combat.

The whole full synchronization thing was stupid, too.  Adding unnecessary difficulty and then punishing me with a ‘bad’ sound and little red ‘x’s all over the place.  And sometimes the synchronization options were just plain stupid.  Like when you’ve got to follow a couple of guys and listen in on their conversation, it tries to make you do it without climbing into the hay wagon their riding in undetected.  Which is, of course, the smartest idea.

Assassin’s Creed III was so disappointing, it has broken the spell that the series had over me.  I don’t think I can take another disappointment this bad.  If they make a fourth game or start a new ‘Connor’ trilogy like they did with Ezio…I don’t think I’ll bother buying any of them.  Between the shoddy AC3, the buggy Revelations, and Ubisoft’s piss-poor customer service, I don’t think I’m going to be buying a whole lot of their stuff in the future.


RPG Maker Video Tutorial

Don’t know how many of you folks utilize the program RPG Maker in any sense or semblance, but due to a question in their forums that I was helping to answer (I’m about lower-intermediate skill level with the program) I created a video tutorial and put it up on the Bitchido Youtube Channel.  If you want to know how to program doors and such in RPG Maker VX Ace, then take a gander at it.

That’s for today.  I’ve been busy building in said program to do much else.  I hope to have a demo and such up in the next few days to next few weeks.