Pokemon or Pervymon?

While working a ton of hours at work, I've been eating up breaks playing Pokemon Soulsilver.  Very addictive game.  Also playing Leaf Green and Pokemon Black.  Too addictive!

Well, I saw an "Ay Gurl" pic over at http://pokememes.memebase.com/ and decided to make a couple myself.  (The creeper Ash pic is from that site, the words I added)  If you haven't been over to those sites, the http://comixed.memebase.com/ (and the connected memebases, Demotivational is wonderfully hilarious in particular) is the only website I frequent daily, and would recommend swinging by to have a laugh or two.

I would also like to say that while I made these up, someone probably has something similar because I'm out of the loop here.  This is just me being an idiot with some pics.



I'm taking a break from helping move a neighbor's ridiculously heavy piano, average weighted washer, and destroying their tree fort so they can move away to post on blogger. 

At the end of June I went out on a 40 mile bike ride that had me meet this monster moth/butterfly thing.  Each of it's wings were larger than my hand and it tried to beat me up for lunch money.  Sucker!  I don't have any money!   Bwa-hahhahahahaha!

So now I know where Mothra grew up- Minnesota.
Anway- I thought it was pretty cool looking. 


Once again, it's been a while

Well, I've been working a zillionty hours a week and have like 100 things all on a back burner.  So I'll keep this post short while I work up some bigger and better posts. 

My friend, the great and terrible/powerful Miss Kenzington over at http://highteawithcougars.blogspot.com/ still hasn't followed me back so I'm posting this awesome pic I took of her. 

Feel free to check out her site as well.  Maybe leave some questionable comments...  just saying. 

I would also like to recommend the highly talented Nick Straight over at http://infinitywallcomix.com/ working with the one and only Mr. Speets.  Good stuff is to be read over there.


Imaginary Friends Page 4 (of 4)

I suppose for the last page I should tell people the title of this short comic is "Friends, I imagine."


Portal: Enrichment From Aperture Science

Portal 1 refresher post.

I remember the first Portal game in the Xbox 360's Orange box set quite well.  There was a weekend in October 2007 that I had off of work and was extremely sick for, and a coworker picked up the Orange Box for me to keep me occupied through the illness.

Even the sickness couldn't keep me from spending all my waking hours glued to the Xbox.  Sure Half Life is a great game with a good story, and Team Fortress is a fun multiplayer shoot em up, but Portal...  Portal was the real gem in the set.

The gameplay is simple: 
There are no weapons, no bombs or crazy explosive devices.  Just a simple portal gun.  This "gun"(the handheld quantum tunneling device) creates 2 portals.  One orange, one blue- an entrance and an exit, an in and an out, in either direction.  With the ability to make these on any surface painted in a special white paint, it makes for an infinitely changing, simple and yet challenging experience.

Here's a simple text based visual I made to give an idea of how things work:
Momentum is kept through they portal as well.  If you fall in a portal on the floor from a high point, momentum will carry through sending you flying out the other portal. 

You are a woman named Chell, armed with a handheld quantum tunneling device, solving puzzles for science. By science I mean "trying to escape with your life from a science facility run by an AI obsessed with testing your skills with the Portal gun."

Anyway the story starts as you wake in a holding chamber in an Aperture Science research facility.  The controlling AI, GLaDOS, informs you that you will be tested through various specially designed chambers in the facility.  Your victory of passing these tests are supposedly going to be rewarded with cake and the promise of grief counciling.  As you are guided by GLaDOS the testing area's become increasingly deadly being loaded with military training gun turrets, and hidden messages about the cake being a lie. 

At the last testing chamber GLaDOS attempts to drop you into a giant pit of fire and kill you, but you escape and GLaDOS tries to trick you into giving up.  After finding a way out you get into the back areas of the science facility while evading the attempts on your life.  Making your way to GLaDOS herself you defeat her and there is an explosion that leaves you on the ground and the screen fades to black. 
Someone told me they later added a segment of a robot dragging off your unconcious body.
The credits roll and GLaDOS sings the still alive song, explaining that she remains alive and will be back to continue scientific testing. 
After the credits, a room appears and a bunch of AI personality cores light up and put out a candle on a cake.

Wonderful.  I love this game.  The references to Black Mesa from Half Life are brilliant, the gameplay is great, and the dialog is amazing.

More videogames could learn from this.  Keep it simple and effective.

Imaginary Friends Page 2 (of 4)

Page 2: Written by me, Fantastic art by Nicholas Straight.


Imaginary Friends Page 1 (of 4)

Nicholas Straight and I made a 4 page comic for an art show/art compilation.  Here's the first page.
I did the writing and Nick did the art.


Mortal Kombat 2011

I am quite excited to say that this Mortal Kombat has fully renewed my interest in the series.  It has no semi 3d environments to worry about, no focus on switching back and forth between fighting styles, no mastering a weapon in addition to normal fighting.  It has been brought back to it's roots.  Back to what made it popular in the first place.  Simply two people beating the crap out of each other in all it's bloody glory.

This game finally brought back the full love I had for it as a 12 year old in the arcades. Back in the summer of 1992 I would mow all the lawns in the neighborhood for money just so I could dump the quarters into another chance at punching someone's face into submission.   I even agreed to work at the MN State Fair watching a friend's dad's art stand for coins just to play more. Remembering the first time I got to see the infamous Sub-Zero spine-rip fatality that clinched my love for the game is so nostalgic.  Ah, the good ole days.... (sigh) 
There are tons of little touches in this that bring back those feelings.  Seeing old levels like the "Pit" from MK2 with familiar faces fighting in the back on a second pit platform.  I have personally spotted Frost, Kenshi, and a male that looked sort of like Reiko.  It's also nice to see how filled out the areas have become.  Unfortunately, they have distracted me to the point of losing matches because I'm busy looking at things going on in the distance.  The new "Living Forest" is quite beautiful and has many people wandering around or dying in it.  Even Smoke is there peeking around like a perv from behind a tree.
(During a few cutscenes I believe I also spotted Bo'Rai Cho, Motaro, and Shinnok.) 
Anyway, the creators have taken years of a game that became bloated by additions and weighed down by junk, and cut out most the fat.  The main game is a basic "mano a mano" 2 dimensional fighting game, with the additional option of a tag team, where each side gets 2 players to swap in and out with. 

For single player there is the choice of Story mode, Challenge Tower, and Arcade Ladder.

Story Mode is a game that takes the player through the various levels and flips around which characters you use at any given time.  It's a good way to learn about the characters and what's going on in the game.  So near as anyone has ever learned, the story is something like this: In order to successfully invade another realm of the many out there, for whatever reason, a group of delegates must participate in a tournament of death and mutilation.  If 10 are won consecutively, you get to come on over and do whatever you please.  Usually more death and mutilation.  Well, this is the 10th tournament and Raiden has received a vision from his future self about needing to stop the Outworld emperor Shao Khan. 
The Story mode is both good for story and learning how to play, and bad because it forces you to play as most everyone without giving you a choice to which character.  Small price for a fairly decent story.

The Challenge Tower is 300 challenges that vary from tough to absurdly hilarious.  Of course they threw in recognizable old games like "Test Your Might" and "Test your Sight" along with "Test Your Strike and Luck". There is a win without blocking challenge, rounds without being able to jump, fighting without heads or arms, and even kombat with the screen flipped.  I personally think the dialog is better than the gameplay on some of these levels- Zombie Goro making gross noises as responses and Mileena's reaction to you not accepting her handmade teddy bear are wonderful. 
I personally believe this mode is good because die hard MK enthusiasts will learn new ways of playing and gaining insight into strategy.  There's also enough humor and strangeness to keep the play fresh.

Lastly there is the Arcade Ladder.  The mode that started it all.  Simple, effective, and entertaining.  One on one fights in a ladder that gets the typical normal matches, sub-boss, and main boss fights, finishing with an individualized video for your chosen character.

For multiplayer there is the regular one on one, two on two tag team, and a great new King of the Hill mode for online play.  King of the hill is nice because you can rate how the others are playing while watching like players in a theater to earn/give "Respect Points".  Which means cheapo players that are spamming the crap out of someone may get very low "Respect Points".  Whereas a fantastic player that goes easy on someone may get lots of points.  All rated by the others in the mode with you.  Granted- there will always be players with grudges that will give you a crappy rating no matter how decently you play.

Now to mention some of the downsides.  With all that feel-good nostalgia, it brought back with it the horrible aggravation.  The computer difficulty is unbelievably cheap.  It's one thing to make the AI a little faster and a little stronger, but it's a completely different thing to make it god like. 
When I first loaded up I left the difficulty on medium.  No big deal, just a guy seeing what he can do without knowing too much in the way of new combos and special moves.  The first 3 to 4 matches weren't too awful.  I certainly wasn't winning by a landslide, no combos or chained maneuvers.  Then out of no where the AI difficulty took on an entirely new mode.  God mode.  Blocking everything without actually blocking, constant streams of super moves that continue hitting you until you are dead,  and 6000 hit combos that take enough damage off your life bar to last the next 17 rounds. 

Somehow the "medium" difficulty became "you'll never win."  Which is odd because, while not an amazing player, I do fairly well against quite a number of other people in fighting games.  What I don't understand is why this would happen now.  I get it for a game created to be played in the arcades.  It gets into cheap tactics and unfair gameplay to sucker quarters out of people.  There was a time I remember playing Mortal Kombat 2 in the arcade and Shao Khan killed me in 4 hits.  Four hits.  As soon as the word "Fight" popped on screen he hit me with the sledgehammer and did the shoulder ram 3 times before i could even do anything.  The next round was roughly the same.  Unable to block the moves, i was completely powerless.  No contest.  I haven't played an MK game in an arcade since.

But... why now?  The difficulty level is absurd.  So I started a new round, this time on easy.  Same thing.  About 4 matches in it turned into a match that should be called "Mike Tyson Destroying a Toddler" mode.  With a couple of roommates gathered to make sure I wasn't just losing my mind, I tried again. 
The AI play skyrockets into insanity- I'd land a 7 hit chained combo that would do mere scratches of damage, the AI would retaliate with a small few hit combo that devastated my life bar.  What the heck?!?  Even if it was the SAME COMBO, my life bar took excessive damage, and theirs would have nothing gone.
AI opponents became fast enough to recover from being tripped and be returning a punch before I finished the leg sweep.  They could have your hand visibly THROUGH their skulls and they wouldn't register as hits.  Multiple times direct hits wouldn't phase the AI, but I would be caught in a move I was CLEARLY blocking or nowhere near. 
It is extremely infuriating to play against something that is so overpowered it's ridiculous.  Take the newly added "X-ray Moves", sure they are meant to do lots of damage but I landed a  fully charged one that did roughly 15% damage, the AI retaliated with the same one, through my block and took easily 50% off the life bar.  GAH!
It comes down to if you play even remotely well, the difficulty drastically increases to a level that is near invincible.  The AI will aquire impossible speed, super-superhuman strength, can block anything with a thought(actual blocking is unnecesary for them), and can hit you with any move, anywhere on the screen.  This might be so players don't get cocky.  Or it could be because the game's creators are just in love with making the gamers suffer as much as the characters they play as.

While the absurd difficulty growth is a serious issue, and there's a few imbalanced characters, the game is TOTALLY worth playing if you've ever liked Mortal Kombat.


Imaginary Friends Art Show!!!

Featuring the art of:
Todd Balthazor, Pat Callahan, Will Dinski, Katy Ellis, Sarah Hedstrand, Danno Klonowski, Pete Lochner, Lisa Luck, Chrysa Otto, Cory Speets and Nicholas Straight.

A limited edition Imaginary Friends mini-comic, drawn by members of the Minnesota Cartoonists Conspiracy, will be for sale the night of the show.
@Infinitea Tea House
2827 Hennepin Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 871-3900

My own addition is the writing of a 4 page comic illustrated by the always talanted Nicholas Straight from over at http://nicholasstraight.blogspot.com/


Crazy Weather Picture 3

Nothing fancy, just insane weather and I decided to take some quick pics.
The other ones were from the parking lot near the gym, and this one I took from my driveway looking East.
Wonderful storms are such a fun time.  I really love this stuff.

Crazy Weather Picture 2

Nothing fancy, just insane weather and I decided to take some quick pics. We got one side of the sky all brilliant colors and amazing cloud types, and the other looked like darkness.

Crazy Weather Picture 1

Nothing fancy, just insane weather and I decided to take some quick pics.


A suggestion for Netflix.

This post was a forgotten draft from 10/05/2010. 

As some of you might gather from the image above, I'm a massive movie nerd.  For those of you that don't recognize the pic, that is the number of movies(and a few television shows) I've rated on Netflix.  I would also like to note, there is a bunch of things they still don't have even listed, such as the cartoon Bionic Six.
When I was young I had horrible insomnia and would just stay up all night, every night, and just watch movies.  Sometimes watching whatever crazy movies were on late night television.  Occasionally biking up to the rental stores or theaters with a note from the parents saying they don't really give a crap what I see(allowing me entrance to, or rental privileges to obtain, "R" rated movies) to see anything that caught my eye.  Which a few times ended up horribly on a few rentals.  Luckily the really terrible "Adult" movies were in a back room.
I believe I personally wore out Mr. Movies' copy of Bloodsport.  Big Trouble in Little China was seemingly Fox's "Movie of the Week" every other week on Saturdays and I always watched it.  Same goes with Predator, which seemed like the alternating week's "Movie of the Week."  I've seen it like a bazillion times, and loved it each time. 

Then Netflilx came along and I was like, "Why didn't this come along years ago!?"  Rental movies mailed to damn near my doorstep?!  Amazing!  Brilliant! 
I only have to walk across the street to obtain a movie!?! 
Anyway, sure mailing movies directly to you is quite swift(usually I get one 2 days after most recent has been shipped back), but the downside is that occasionally my movie tastes change during the shipping time, leaving me with a film that I don't really feel like watching.  It happens.  With enough frequency to warrant this complaint.  Maybe I had a bad day and want a Comedy instead of a SciFi adventure or Drama that came in the mail.  Tastes can change instantly, I just sent back a movie watched last night.  It was one I haven't felt like watching for 2 months.  That's no good.  Too much time with a single movie I might want to watch some other day. 

Then they came out with the streaming movies.  Ingenious.  I think they should make ALL movies streaming.  It would be good for them, because I would pay MORE MONEY per month for the unlimited access to ANY MOVIE I want to watch at any time. 
Think of all the money they would save on shipping!?!?!?  Increasing monthly payments, AND cutting out shipping.  Win-win for them. 
Sure the big movie studios would lose a little.  But I would pay enough extra to make sure they could still produce films I would watch.  A considerable amount of more money for a larger convenience.
Eventually I think all movies will be streamable anyway.  Or downloadable for those that wish to get any special features(commentaries, deleted scenes, any bonus stuff).  Personally, movies I really enjoy, I'd pay extra for.  Not just to get the extra junk on the movies, but to support the film makers.
Netflix could even break the payments for it down into categories.  Maybe some people only want old movies and that would be cheapest to buy.  For an account with access to newer releases?  It would cost a bit more.  An account with all the newest movies, and in HD?  That would be the most expensive.  It doesn't have to be for everyone.  Possibly a tailorable, tiered system.  I don't know. 

Maybe even stream to my phone. That would be ULTRA convenient
A couple of my buddies already have the capability to watch Netflix streaming on their phone, but I still do not. Hopefully soon I may attain this wonderful phone application.

OK Netflix, I can do without the phone app, but make everything you have streamable for those that would like it.  If the price is decent, people will pay.