Sunday, September 21, 2014
So Bayonetta 2 is getting pretty near release in North America, and I'm pretty excited about it. I've loved Platinum Games since back when they were Clover Studios, and more games from them is always a good thing. I absolutely adore the Wonderful 101, but I sadly missed out on Bayonetta, as I didn't have an Xbox 360 or PS3 when it came out, and never found the time to pick it up subsequently. The Wii U rerelease packaged with Bayonetta 2 will be my first time playing the original, and I'm looking forward to it.
It's been a long time since I did a real good demake, partly because nothing has caught my fancy and partly because I've been busy with other things which have occupied most of my time, but I enjoyed doing this kind of thing and thought it might be fun to do again. The goal was to picture a scene from Bayo 2, as if it were a classic 2D action game, ala Castlevania or Ninja Gaiden.
I'm probably most pleased with the sky, as capturing the sort of ethereal radiance was very tough, but I also am pretty proud of how much of Bayonetta's features I was able to squeeze into that sprite. People tend to 'oooo' and 'aaaaa' over really big sprites, but honestly those are much easier to make good, as they start to just become small drawings after a while. It's REALLY challenge to turn a hundred or so pixels into something that looks like anything, let alone a specific character, so I think I accomplished something good here.
I was also granted the supreme honor of having Bayonetta's real life daddy, madman Hideki Kamiya retweet the image with rare enthusiasm. Probably the first post I've eve made on Twitter that ANYBODY has ever looked at. Yay!
In other news, I'll be wrapping up the fourth issue of Nova Phase this week, which means it should be on (digital) store shelves in the near future, with the print compilation of 3 and 4 available on Amazon soon after. I hope. I'll make an announcement. In the mean time, issue 3 is available on Comixology now, so if you haven't already, check it out!
Also working on the next chapter of Ja-Ja-Ja-Janken!, which is coming along nicely. With Saturday morning cartoons becoming officially extinct like, next month, I feel like my work on Saturday Morning Anime is more dire than ever.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Imagine, if you will, that it is 6:00 am, and you are eight years old. In your hands you hold a bowl of Lucky Charms, and a television remote. The rest of your family is either still asleep or already out of the house, and the television belongs to you for a few glorious hours. Eager with anticipation, you turn on a fuzzy network TV channel, maybe twenty three or forty eight, and witness something magical...
The first, and perhaps most satisfying, was a box of Halloween themed Little Debbie brownies. LD brownies were the highlight of my lunch experience between grades 1 and probably 9, so I have a soft spot for the greazy little things. The Halloween theme, however, is what made these truly impossible to pass up. Each brownie is cut into a crude pumpkin shape, sort of an oblong hexagon, with orange frosting, flavored a bit like candy corn, and a spooooooky jack-o-lantern face. The fact that they were on sale for around a dollar or so was nice as well.
Armed with my box of tasty treats, I continued to troll the store for further satisfaction. I stumbled upon a sale on eShop cards, which basically amounts to free money, and was for several minutes engaged in a tumultuous inner conflict. Buy one, get a second 25% off... not exactly irresistible... Even with a 50 dollar card, you're only getting around 12.50 free, and dropping 87.50 on a casual trip to Target, exclusively set aside for future digital purchases, seemed unseemly. I eventually settled on two ten dollar cards, but only because they also came with AR cards for the 3ds application Photos with Mario. I love AR cards (I have as many of the Kid Icarus cards as I could get my hands on), so getting a couple bucks was a nice incentive. I got a Goomba, and Princess Peach. That was all they had.
Now, I had planned for this to be the extent of my purchase, but felt compelled to check out the impulse purchase wall by the registers, where they usually keep trading cards, whether they be Yugioh, Pokemon, Magic, or My Little Pony, baseball cards, and other little collectible junk. My eyes fell upon a blind bag looking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles package, a tie in to the decent Nick cartoon and not the Michael Bay monstrosity, and had my curiosity sparked. On closer inspection, the product claimed to be a puzzle eraser, a term I had never heard before and didn't really know what to make of. Still, the package contents felt substantial, and it was cheap enough that I was comfortable taking a risk, around a buck or so. I wasn't sure what I was getting, exactly, but I was optimistic.
I want to take a moment to just say that I have vastly under appreciated the development of eraser design and construction, as what I ended up with was surprisingly bad ass. It's basically a miniature figure that you assemble from a few pieces, constructed of rubbery eraser stuff, and the final product is pretty impressive. The figure is made up of a lower body (hips and legs), two pieces (front and back) that meet with the lower body to form the shell, two arms that plug in fairly sturdily, a weird little nub of a head, and a bandanna that is almost impossible to get on to the head piece, and that has hilariously dead googly eyes painted on.Once finished, the figure stands maybe 3-3.5 inches tall, and comes with a little weapon made of hard plastic. I had purchased Donatello, or Don-chan as we affectionately call him in my household, partially because I liked him as a kid and partially because his was the front most bag on the rack. I later coerced a friend into getting me Raphael, who, although less cooperative in the standing process, is pretty decent as well.
I really like these figures, for a few reasons. The sculpt and construction is surprisingly good, and considering these things are supposed to be erasers, they actually work pretty well as straight up toys, whether you mean to play with them or just stand them around your desk (I do a little of both). They are also super cheap, which is another major factor in their appeal. As a grown man, I find it pretty hard to justify toy purchases, which is why I tend to gravitate towards figures of the small and cheap variety. I would never drop the cash to have a full set of Turtles figures for desk display, as they're simply to expensive. These little guys are great, though, as I can cheaply get a satisfying set of the whole gang for less than the cost of a single, full fledged Turtle figure, without sacrificing too much in terms of detail or sheer coolness, as these are several billion steps ahead of the also small and cheap Lego Turtle figures in that department.
I don't know how well they work as erasers though.