healyg: (Frown)
So some of you might be wondering where that make-up review I promised by Sunday at the latest went. Well, the truth is, I lost track of time this weekend and spent most of today writing Gravity Falls fanfiction. (Technically I also wrote a fairy tale fanfic, but, well.) So! For this Monday, I think what I'll try to do is get two reviews in today. If I can't swing that, I'll try to get in an extra on on Tuesday or Thursday. My goal is to get at least 4 reviews done this week, maybe 5. We'll see if I can swing that.

Hey, I wanna read the Gravity Falls fanfic you did! Somehow I doubt that anyone's thinking this, but just in case, these two fics are the ones I feel can be best enjoyed with minimal knowledge of the show. All you need to know is that Dipper and Mabel are staying at their Great Uncle (or Grunkle) Stan's Mystery Shack for the summer, there's a lot of weird crap in their town, and Dipper has a mysterious journal that is sometimes helpful. Here goes:

Glam Cookies, starring Mabel and Stan )

******


Werwolf Date, starring Dipper and Mabel )

******


And there you have it! Of course, while you don't have to watch the show to enjoy them, I think there's a certain richness and-- dare I say it-- character that's added if you've watched the whole series through. Anyway, I'll see you guys later, hopefully with a review or two.
healyg: (apology)
Due to difficulties in getting my get-up and go into gear, the XYZZY Catch-Up review for Friday has been delayed to Saturday, or possibly Sunday. In the meantime, why not take a look at this video to help you calm down?

healyg: (apology)
The past couple of weeks I have just been lazing around, not doing much of anything that would prevent me from updating my blog. And I'm sorry about that! BUT: I do have an excuse for last week. Kinda. Sorta.

For it was right around then that I was putting the finishing touches on... Juni in the Haunted House! *lightning crash*

Spooky, huh?
Anyway, JitHH is another Knytt Stories level, this time a harder, mazier level about exploring (and maybe escaping) a haunted house. It's got thrills! It's got chills! It's got 4 endings and a They Might Be Giants tune you can listen to, if you play your cards right. Finishing up this level was a pain and a half, and it really drained my energy towards the middle of last week, when I was working on it final areas. But it's done now, and you can download and play it! Provided you already have Knytt Stories, of course.

Anyway, this week I hope to put this blog back on a normal schedule. Hopefully I can get Currently Reading Wednesdays on time, too. See you then!
healyg: (apology)
Sorry I waited 'til Sunday to get to this! A bunch of stuff just sort of piled up on me last week, and I've been rushing over the weekend to at least get around to some of it. So, I bet you guys are wondering what I've read this week? Well...

The Spirit: The New Adventures by various: It's a collection of new Spirit comics a bunch of artists did in the late nineties. There are some pretty great high points (Alan Moore's crazy reinterpretation of the Spirit's foes Dr. Cobra and The Octopus) as well as some lows (Neil Gaiman's story, which didn't seem to have a point, and which I didn't even recognize was from him until I checked the credits), but even the lowpoints don't bring down the collection. Recommended.

Sledgehammer 44 by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Jason Latour, and Laurence Campbell: Another monster smash-up by the brains behind Hellboy. It's basically the same monster-and-nazi-fighting formula as Hellboy, only the hero possesses (literally) an Iron Man-esque suit this time. The only problem I had with it was that the hero's energy powers made for some pretty "blah" fights sometimes, but there was enough going on that it wasn't too big a deal. Read it if you like the other Hellboy stuff.

Various RPG Maker games by various: Let's see here, I'm playing The Longing Ribbon (already on chapter 4), Standstill Girl (beating my head against an optional boss in the second-to-last area), and Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea (which I don't think I've made a lot of progress in). I haven't finished any yet, so I couldn't give you any detailed impressions, but so far I'm enjoying myself in each of them.

That's all for now! Tomorrow I'll get around to the Alice Saturday I've skipped, and then we're all caught up.
healyg: (Book Reading)
Sorry I've been away so long; I've just had trouble gathering the energy to update it or do much of anything besides playing old RPG Maker games and making snarky forum posts. So, what have I been reading over the past week (or two, or three)?

You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons by Mo Willems: This is a book of one panel cartoons the author drew, one for each day, when he took a year-long (give or take) trip around the world. The subjects range from locals to fellow backpackers to bad detours the author took and more; there's usually commentary under each cartoon, which can actually be pretty informative. It's a really nice look at different countries and cultures, I thought, especially those in Southeast Asia.

Oishinbo: The Joy of Rice by Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki: Another entry in the venerable Oishinbo series. It's a little weak in parts (the three-part rice ball competition at the end is pretty boring, for instance), but most of it is still pretty good.

The Last Night by Will Eisner: It's an adaptation of Don Quixote by the late, celebrated Will Eisner. It's a little simplistic; it started out as a children's introduction to Don Quixote, and it shows. The plot is stripped down to the bare basics, and it rushes through events with an alarming speed. I can't say I enjoyed this one; maybe it's better if you have a kid you could give it to?

Explorer: The Hidden Doors, edited by Kazu Kibuishi: It's an all-ages anthology of short comics that deal with secret doors in some way. I was a little disappointed in this one; I liked the earlier books in the series, The Mystery Boxes and The Lost Islands, but most of the stories in this one felt dull and unimaginative, in ways I'm still trying to shake out. Maybe the artists were struggling with the title subject. The stories by Jen Wang and Johane Matte are pretty good, though.

Video Classics: A Guide to Video Art and Documentary Tapes by Deirdre Boyle: Mostly I picked this up because there was an entry on Jane Veeder, who has the same last name as a guy I know, Ryan Veeder. Anyway, I don't think they're related, but I was struck by the coincidence, especially since her video art has a glitchy, early video game feel. The book itself I thought was rather too snobby. Perhaps I'll go into it in a later post. Anyway, I guess if you want an entry point into the early world of video art and documentaries, you could do worse than this book.
healyg: (Frown)
You might be wondering why I've left this blog fallow for such long periods, even skipping out on regular features like Currently Reading Wednesdays. The truth is, I've been playing a lot of video games lately, and there's one in particular that's got me obsessed: Romancing Saga 3.

Romancing Saga 3 is kind of a hard game to explain for folks not familiar with the Saga series. Basically it's kind of like Final Fantasy 6, only you can choose which character is the protagonist at the start of the game, instead of espers you get skills learnt at random during fights (with some purchasable magic), instead of level-ups you get random stat-ups, it's almost completely non-linear from the get-go, and in fact it's actually not much like Final Fantasy 6 at all aside from some superficial similarities. It's designed by Akitoshi Kawazu, the guy behind Legend of Mana and The Last Remnant, if those names mean anything to you.

The design is a bit too obscure for its own good, but the game has a lot of charm that helps smooth over the rough bits, like rushed questlines, awkward minigames, and hidden event counters that can screw you over. How can I possibly hate a game that has not one, but two Zorro-esque superheroes that you can recruit? Plus you can have an adorable little girl in your party who equips a teddy bear as a defensive item!

I hope to talk about Romancing Saga 3 more in the future, but there are other things that might get in the way (including, ironically enough, playing Romancing Saga 3). We'll see how the rest of the week shakes out.
healyg: (Book Reading)
I need to put some hustle in my Shufflecomp game, and that means taking some time off from here. That means putting a hold on Currently Reading Wednesday and other blog entries. Don't worry, I'll still check in from time to time, but it likely won't be as frequent. This should stop around May 6th, when the final versions of Shufflecomp games are due. Until then, goodbye, folks!
healyg: (Frown)
You might be wondering when that one post I promised at the end of my last review is coming up. Well, for whatever reason, I can't seem to find my writing mojo this week; I'm also trying to get my Shufflecomp game done before the April 25th deadline (I've already greatly simplified the concept for it). Given this I can't expect that I will get around to writing it before Sunday, April 26th; in the meantime, let me review the books I've been reading this week:

Uncle Scrooge: The Seven Cities of Gold by Carl Barks: This is a solid collection of adventure and humor comics by the master of the Disney Duck comics, Carl Barks. Like most people nowadays I got into Barks through Don Rosa's superb The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck; Barks' comics are generally more old-fashioned, for lack of a better term, than Life and Times, but no less good. Not all of the stories are big hits, and some of them are a little... racially sketchy, let's call it, but they're all cracking entertainment.

Alice's Adventures: Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture by Will Brooker (re-read): A rather fussy book about the myths and motifs we carry about Alice in Wonderland and her writer, Lewis Carroll. Goes into a bit of detail about the pedophilia allegations that have cropped up around Lewis Carroll over the past century, although it's far from the only subject discussed. There's a chapter that's devoted to the then-recent video game American McGee's Alice; as someone who is only familiar with it through the Old Man Murray Review, I found it rather amusing. There are also chapters about Alice adaptations, Lewis Carroll societies, and a rather touching one at the end about sites associated with Lewis Carroll and the Alice books. The author also wrote a book about Batman, which I'd like to read.
healyg: (Angry Dorito)
I updated my laptop yesterday (Windows Vista, in case you wanna know), and now it's acting up in the strangest ways. When I booted up today, the standard Aero theme was gone, replaced by the Windows theme from '98. (Here's a good example of what I'm talking about. There was also a message about non-admin users not being able to log-in, but I didn't catch all of it.) I tried to fix it in the personalization menu, but, well, the Aero theme wasn't loading properly there, either. I think I may be using up too much memory on this machine for Aero to load, as sites are loading kinda slowly too. I'll shut it down tonight and boot it up again tomorrow and see if it fixes itself in the morning; if that doesn't do it, I've got a diagnostic test that a friend showed me that I can run, and if that doesn't turn up a solution, we'll see how it goes.

In the meantime, this unfortunate turn of events has caused me to delay Currently Reading Wednesdays to Thursday. Don't worry, folks, I got a real doozy of a post planned for you guys. Also, because of this, my computer may be in the shop for a while (perhaps a month), so my internet presence here and elsewhere may drop off suddenly. Thank you, and have a great rest of the week.
healyg: (apology)
I regret to inform you all that Currently Reading Wednesdays, our weekly book review feature, has once again been postponed to Friday. To make up for it I will be reviewing three things by then, as usual. In the meantime, you might want to try one of the following things:

Try my new Knytt Stories level, House Key
Try the selection of games on nitku's Hugo Online Interpreter
Watch one of my favorite ASMR videos
Check out the meme-game-thing in this post, which is still ongoing
All of (or none of) the above
healyg: (Frown)
Due to some difficulties getting my pep in gear, my weekly feature Currently Reading Wednesdays is being postponed to this Friday. Fortunately, I plan to make up for my lateness by reviewing not one, not two, but three different books! One of them is the book about adventure games I mentioned last time, but the other two are a mystery. In the meantime, you can watch this video:

(I've watched this so many times today, you have no idea.)

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