Doki Doki Picnic

'Shy Guys' by Nicole Gustafsson for I Am 8-Bit

Nicole Gustafsson’s Shy Guys, completed just in time for the SUPER iam8bit exhibit, which opens August 11 in Los Angeles. (It’s nice to see somebody exploring the softer side of “shy.”)

I am pretty sure I have mentioned this every summer for the last several summers, but my birthday is actually that very—oh, never mind. Twenty-three was the last birthday I celebrated, anyway. I know, I know.

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Mario Menpo

Defender of the Mushroom Dynasty by Elisha Hale

Elisha Hale (AKA Electric Method) is selling this print at various sizes and price points.

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“Ancient Mega Man” by Anak Binal

"Ancient Mega Man" by Papang, AKA Anak Binal

Artist Papang (AKA Anak Binal) reinterprets Mega Man for an upcoming art anthology. (See also.)

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I made you something!

So yesterday I decided it was time to get serious, grow some professionalism, and brand my Twitter page as if I were suddenly some sort of social media maverick. And wow, what a bad fit. I don’t think putting my email address on my Twitter page was the right decision for me at all. It’s just so douchey, right?

My friend Chris has said to me—and I think this might be true—that my tweets are all “snark and mortal peril.” Ugh, I hate when Chris is right. I generally tweet only when I’m annoyed, or if something has just almost hit me. I can’t brand that stuff! And I will need to be extra-careful with Google+, because there are only so many ways I can announce that I’m angry before everyone in my “circles” “mutes” me. We’ll see.

Nonetheless, while I was working on my Twitter background in Photoshop, I started thinking of the 1982 short film Arcade Attack, which is all about how Space Aliens are Invading the City and Murdering Pinball.

Inspired (sort of), I found a Manhattan skyline, complete with a Radiator Building—which looked more like a Chrysler Building until I sawed the top off—and then I grunged everything up using Eduardo Recife’s Photoshop brushes. The Invaders are just dingbats, anyway, so I basically did zero work.

My new Twitter background, as I discovered seconds after I uploaded it, makes for a terrible Twitter background. So I debranded it, rebranded it, and uploaded it as downloadable desktop wallpaper for you! I don’t know who on Earth would ever want Infinite Lives desktop wallpaper, so I’m sorry.

Here’s the good news! The image’s dimensions are 1920×1440, which is the size of nobody’s monitor, so if you clip the top of the image to fit your widescreen monitor, it’s debranded again like magic.

On my MacBook, using the “Fill Screen” desktop setting:

A live screencast! JK.

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Here’s the best Pip-Boy 3000

Late last year, Internet Guy Skruffy Nerfherder (yep) briefly sold a limited run of Pip-Boy 3000 kits, and I only just found out about them. So much for what would’ve been the best anniversary gift ever, huh.

Skruffy based the kits on his own resin sculpt, and—well, see for yourself, how amazing his Pip-Boy is:

On an arm.

My favorite part is the Pip-Boy’s “LCD,” which is just a little pane of plexiglass illuminated with LEDs. With the light diffused through a slip of paper, and with a green gel on top, the screen gets that authentically murky glow. (Don’t even get me started on the hinge.)

Also, I really admire that Skruffy took the long way around. Because some people have simply been cramming iPhones into their cardboard Pip-Boys, OK. And while running iOS 3000 (or better yet) is fine and dandy, physically putting your iPhone into your PipBoy is, just, what?

I am saying this as a person who is trying to figure out what to do with her spare iPhone, in fact. Hm.

Anyway. What was I talking about? Ah, yes: craftsmanship.

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Daily Linksplosion: Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic! in the Story of the Blanks

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Daily Linksplosion: “Swamp Ass”


Swamp Ass PSA with Nathan Fillion

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Daily Linksplosion: Weird Dreams edition

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Daily Linksplosion: Saturday, June 11, 2011

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Daily Linksplosion: Wednesday, June 08, 2011

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Daily Linksplosion: Tuesday, June 07, 2011

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BREAKING: Nintendo unveils its ‘Wii U’ touchscreen controller, and I didn’t get to invent it

Nintendo Revolution dual controller and handheld system

Oh, great. Great. In August 2005 I predicted the Nintendo “Revolution” would feature a wireless touchscreen controller that might double as a portable, handheld game system—a little like the Dreamcast’s VMU, but 800x better. And what’d we end up with? Glorified television remotes, you guys.

At Tuesday’s E3 press conference, Nintendo confirmed persistent rumors: the Wii’s successor, the “Wii U,” intends to make waves with its touchscreen controller. Is this genius? Yes. Could Nintendo have released it six years ago, far predating the iPhone’s ubiquity? Yeah, no, OK, probably not.

I’m kind of a fanlady, sure, but this thing is exceptional. It’s as if its designers took a Wii Classic Controller—which, thanks to the slow perfection of several generations, is a perfectly calibrated configuration of buttons, dual analog sticks, and a directional gamepad—and yanked at both ends until there was room for an iPod Touch in the middle. Add a microphone, a camera, subtle stereo speakers, and God knows what else, and they’ve cooked up something formidably functional.

Can we talk about me again, though? Can we go back to my prescient, six-year-old doodle again? (My doodle is now old enough to draw its own doodles.) This inane, jokey mock-up was COMPLETE WITH TILT ACCELEROMETER ACTION, AND ALSO, A CLIP-ON STEERING WHEEL. Today, clip-on racing wheels actually exist! For Wii Remotes! My dream became a reality! But does anyone remember my prediction? Absolutely not. This E3 game = totes bogus.

P.S. I also anticipated a cooking game where players would make frying pan “flipping” gestures. No one cares. I know.

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Fling mini pledges to make the iPhone a little more playable

When you play games on your iPod Touch, do you find yourself, erm, all thumbs (so to speak)? The Fling mini is here to correct that!

The mini, based on the original Fling for iPad, is a pair of “analog” joysticks that suction onto a smartphone’s touchscreen, grafting a physical controller right atop the onscreen one. Smart! And since the joysticks provide “haptic feedback”—that’s leetspeak for “gamefeel”—you might discover that these joysticks offer just what your iPhone (or Android) hack-and-slashes have been missing.

And though the joysticks certainly take up a whole lot of touchscreen real estate, the designers promise that, once the stick itself is backlit, it becomes nigh transparent. (Its designers also promise that the joysticks are “compatible with hundreds of great games,” but by all appearances the Fling mini has, so far, been tested against just seven. Oh, well.)

The Fling mini doesn’t appear to be in production quite yet, but you can pre-order each pair for US$24.95. Ah, the high price of high design.

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Fear and Shadows: a Mountain King retrospective

Atop the mountain where the perpetual flame burns: Mountain King's 5200 & 8-bit rendition.

Video game horror—that is, really effective, interactive horror—comes in all forms. Maybe good horror stems from easy, visceral jump scares, or from the anxiety of a timer, steadily counting down to zero. Maybe it owes to the dread of a moody atmosphere—eerie music, a creepy setting. Perhaps real feelings of fear come from an impotent or nonexistent combat system.

The Famicom game Sweet Home is often acknowledged by hobbyist historians as one of the first examples of the survival horror genre, and it may well be. But those of you with longer gaming histories know the truth—you might remember that unsettling adventure into the depths of a mountain, stealing treasure that ought never have been disturbed, and trying to escape with your life. This is the tale of Mountain King.

Mountain King was a multiplatform release primarily by CBS Electronics in 1983—with versions appearing on the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Colecovision, Commodore 64, VIC-20, and the Atari 8-bit computer line—though much of my personal experience came from the Atari 2600 port.

E.F. Dreyer Inc. is credited as the copyright owner for all these iterations, with Robert Matson generally credited as the program’s creator. Another programmer, Ed Salvo, put together the 2600 version in a mind-boggling six weeks as a contractor through VSS. (“I had an 800 version of the game, which I was to emulate,” Salvo told Digital Press’s Scott Stilphen.)

The game’s objectives are rather complex; without an instruction manual, however, they are downright arcane. As a child, I only knew that I had to collect these diamonds lying around the silent mountain corridors, the sole sound being the “ding” as the explorer treads across clusters of those gleaming gems.

In Mountain King your explorer is armed with nothing but a flashlight which, when its beam is trained on the darkness ahead, can sometimes reveal a shadowy chest full of treasure. Traveling the bottom floor of the cavern puts you in the domain of the giant spider, which will encase you in webbing as it skitters past. If you mash the joystick back and forth you might escape, but should the spider return while you are still trapped, you will be sucked dry as a spider meal.

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Daily Linksplosion: Sunday, June 05, 2011

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