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All My Worst Days
Apr 24th, 2017 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Boggit had lost a great deal of weight. While initially suspected of just being a success story as the new picture of health in our household (“what’s his secret?”) he lost enough to where I took him to the vet. His white blood cell count was extremely high, he had anemia, he – the vet said – probably has lymphoma.

Shit.

There is something I want to desperately communicate to you. The one thing to take out of this (waves hands) all of this. Boggit is the sweetest boy of all-time. My fiancee and I combined households a few years ago, and we had already taken on pets from previous relationships. So there’s a number of them. If I keep writing this paragraph I don’t have to end it, which is that we have two golden retrievers and five cats between us now. (“We tell people six so we don’t have to tell them seven.” — apologies to Ben Parrish.)

I didn’t wake up one day dying to live with that many animals, nobody does, but it happens and we are a family and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I can easily sort the animals into two groups: those that are effortless and those that create and cause huge problems. Boggit and Noelani are the only two in the first group. Everyone else is a radical hellion capable of a diverse madness.

Boggit didn’t deserve this, which (not to be a jerk) I couldn’t say about a number of pets in the other column. (It’s okay, they don’t read the blog either.) I got Boggit on December 23rd, 2006. He was born sometime in October of 2006. He is ten and a half years old and to not act up once in ten in a half years is AMAZING. He loves laying on a person’s lap (almost the entirety of Cryptozookeeper was written with Boggit on my lap as I wrote code) he loves playing outside (he is an indoor cat, so he’s not allowed to do that normally, but when I have taken him out it’s the greatest thing) he loves chasing after moths and computer centipedes and loves the laser pointer and cat toys and playing tag and sleeping upstairs on the couch.

They were able to take some cells after his ultrasound, but we’re all pretty convinced that it is lymphoma. I am reading everything I can. I want to maximize the number of his good days. It’s easy to write this now, it’s been a few days. He’s so good at the vet because he’s chill. They didn’t have to sedate him to get the cells. I broke down on the way home. I let the lid off the cat carrier but he was happy to relax inside as we drove home.

“I don’t know how we’re going to get out of this one, buddy,” I said.

Resident Evil 7 review on Caltrops
Apr 2nd, 2017 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I wrote a review to the opener of Resident Evil 7 over on Caltrops. If you like the sort of thing a chap like myself writes, you may find it amusing.

It’s here: http://www.caltrops.com/2017/02/04/resident-evil-7-opening-review-pc/. Thank you for reading!

Cyberganked’s been Greenlit
Jul 30th, 2016 by Ice Cream Jonsey



My upcoming CRPG / text adventure hybrid called Cyberganked has been Greenlit on Steam. After sending out dozens of messages to Valve assuming, trumpeting and inventing for them their “no backsies” policy and receiving what I can only assume is tacit agreement, I’m confident that what has been done can not be undone, and we can get into the important business of rubbing it in the face of the terrible people that dropped by the Greenlight campaign’s comments to give me unending abuse.

(Just kidding, though hug your developer friends next time you see them.)

In all seriousness, thanks to everyone who voted, retweeted announcements, agreed to be in the game and provided so much positive energy. I don’t want to throw out a guess on when the game will be done, because it really is just a matter of grabbing the time to do it. I’ve got little cards for the rest of the tasks in some project management software written up. It’s on a good path. It’s on a great path.

For anyone seeing this for the first time, here was the Greenlight campaign, which includes the introductory video. The introductory video includes some screenshots and gameplay. The gameplay includes potassium be– well, this could go on forever and I must get back to finishing it!

A Non-Baseball Fan Watches the 7th Inning of Game 5 Of the 2015 ALDS
May 18th, 2016 by Ice Cream Jonsey

The 7th Inning of Game 5 of the 2015 American League Divisional Series is the best non-World Series game I’ve ever seen. The game had everything, but the 7th inning is the single greatest inning, in terms of HIGHS and LOWS that I can remember.

Game 5 was the deciding game between the Toronto Blue Jays (at home) and the Texas Rangers. To be honest, I had a lot more respect for the Rangers before they decided to throw at Jose Bautista during his last at-bat in the last game between the two teams this year. So while — at the time — this was an unbelievable turn of events, now it’s great to see the biggest jerks in sports get comeuppance.

But this is not about the baseball.

My good friend Flack recently watched the 7th inning and provided running commentary. Flack is not a baseball fun, but he does follow basketball and football and is one of the most genuinely witty people of all-time. I don’t want to spoil anything, so without further ado is A Non-Baseball Fan Watching The 7th Inning of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS.

God bless Canada.

 



Pit of the Condemned (2015, Inform)
Jan 25th, 2016 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I wrote a review of Pit of the Condemned, a fun little number in last year’s IF Comp, on Emily Short’s blog. Check it out here.

Steve Miller and Deep Dish
Aug 21st, 2015 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Last night, my girlfriend and I went to a Chicago Pizza Deep Dish Style Joint. That’s its name. I’ll wait for Tdarcos to look that up and confirm there’s no place in Denver called that and return.

All right, thanks. So you can get many diffe– everyone wants the pepperoni deep dish but sometimes you don’t want to look like a ham machine in front of your lady, so you entertain the idea of going in there and getting a health pie.

Okay, she’s not a killjoy, it was me. For some reason I started enjoying green peppers, onions and artichoke on pizza now in a way that is a complete betrayal to young me. I ordered the deep dish for us with those toppings. To young me, I might as well have done so in a Yankees jersey.

They say that it takes them 35 minutes to make the deep dish pie, so that means everyone else in the place is gonna get theirs first because some people go in there and order thin crust, which is this whole other thing. The couple in the booth behind us got their deep dish and they ordered a pizza with bacon on it.

I know that bacon as a meme is a really tired thing the Internet ruined, but like Kate Upton on the cover of Sports Illustrated, sometimes you get a reminder why something got popular in the first place. The entire place smelled briefly of bacon. That’s a pretty great scent to have wafting around.

I said to my girlfriend that ordering a bacon deep dish pie is the exact opposite of going to a bar’s jukebox and queuing up the entirety of The Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits.

Now, regardless of what you thought of that line, she didn’t think it was funny and I insisted that it was. I tweeted it and one person clicked “favorite” and that person has the exact same sense of humor I do.

So MAYBE it’s not as uproarious as I thought it was.

But the point I was making is that we’ve all heard The Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits 1974-1978 a million times. That is not an exaggeration.

Look at this thing. Everyone has seen this and heard it way too many times:



I don’t mean “Everyone born in North America has heard it,” I mean everyone on Earth. When those scientists found that one tribe in the Amazon that hadn’t made contact with civilization, the natives shot arrows toward their boat, and the arrowheads all had inscribed some runes upon them that directly translated into the tabs for “Dance Dance Dance.”

I am not even saying it is a BAD album. Wintertime is one of the 200 best songs ever made. The Joker would have been as well if not for the fact that America’s radio stations haven’t gone more than 5 minutes without playing it since its release (helpfully noted in the album’s title to be sometime between 1974 and 1978).

I’m just saying that trapping the denizens of a bar with that album — it’s 14 tracks long and it’s important to remember that you’ve got to endure “True Fine Love” and “The Stake” before getting to The Joker — is the opposite of a nice smell in a bar.

Anyway, so, here’s the thing: someone playing the entirety of the Steve Miller Band Greatest Hits 1974-1978 on a jukebox actually happened to me in a bowling alley when I went home to Rochester one year. Doing this in a bowling alley is even more fiendish than doing it in a bar because you’ve already paid for the lane after someone in your party throws that first gutterball. You’re locked in! At least with a bar there exists the possibility of putting down cash and leaving. I’m not even getting into the fact that this happened in Rochester, another notch for my hometown’s belt. That is what is what I am saying.

(Well, I’m not saying that any more because nobody enjoys this.)

Anyway, if I had more drive, my version of Taken with Robb Sherwin instead of Liam Neeson would have me finding the jukebox guy who did this. 10 years later I’m still reeling.

A Little Q&A
Jun 5th, 2015 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Latest Q&A update on the Cyberganked Greenlight page is here: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/updates/438139803/1433221764. I answered some questions that Moop asked.

Cyberganked is on Steam Greenlight
May 27th, 2015 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I’m putting the character role-playing game I’m making onto Steam Greenlight, in the hopes that it gets on Steam proper. This is not the first time I’ve tried to put something on Steam. Long before the Greenlight program, I submitted Cryptozookeeper into their old system and got a rejection letter. I’ll give the old process this: they were quick. Before I had even finished filling out the form on the old system they e-mailed me a picture of someone in Bellevue making the “cut him off” gesture.

You can experience the Greenlight page for Cyberganked by clicking here. There’s a trailer on the page that I haven’t posted to Jolt Country, along with some screenshots.

Cyberganked is an RPG made with the Hugo programming language, which is what I’ve used for the last few games. I’m calling it a text adventure / RPG hybrid to keep all my options open. I guess the difference is that you won’t have to think of new verbs like you would in a normal text adventure. You’ll have all the commands you need in Cyberganked from the beginning.

Robb’s works are not for everyone, but they’re for the intelligent, good people. So the problem kind of works itself out. I interviewed him for a documentary on interactive fiction a number of years back, and his works before and since have been hilarious buffets of viciousness, intelligence and humor. I can’t recommend his way of doing things enough, and his consistency in working on these projects is admirable. Support this guy! — Jason Scott

I wanted to thank everyone that has commented and retweeted links and encouraged me through the process. I anticipated lots of Greenlight comments saying how much the game sucked and by extension how much I suck. Instead, I’ve already been getting great feedback. I’ll be putting updates here and there as I don’t think there’s a whole lot of overlap between this blog and the Greenlight page.

Cyberganked is a ways away from being finished, but I wanted to get it approved for Steam early. If you have a chance to vote that’d be awesome. (Greenlight Downvoter is in the game as a level six enemy, so if you ever wanted to be represented in a video game that’s your big chance. I’d still appreciate the yes vote, though.)



Unlike communism, your votes truly matter. I’m psyched as I can be to make this the best game I’ve ever worked on. I don’t care if the thing makes money — it’d be nice to break even. Steam allows me to have my games seen by more people, and that’s its value to me. It will get into the hands of people who would otherwise never experience them.

pfff — Sigurd

Pfff indeed, friends.

Forever Suspended
Apr 1st, 2015 by Ice Cream Jonsey

My friend Jason recently tweeted that Mike Berlyn is fighting cancer and just had a stroke. He encouraged us to say thanks. I’d like to say thanks.

Read the rest of this entry »

Atari 800 Flashcart – Part One
Jan 14th, 2015 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Recently I bought an Atari 800 flashcart. It’s pretty good, but not perfect. Every Atari 800 game in the world comes in the .ATR format, and the flashcart isn’t great at using that format – it prefers .exe or .xex. Which sucks, because NOT every Atari 800 game in the world uses that format. It can also fit 800 KB of stuff. I know the developer is working on a larger cart, and I’ll get that when it is available.

(The alternative to the flashcart is to use a SIO2PC cable that goes from your computer to your 800. And that works pretty well, and it’s OK with .ATR files – it’s just that you are tethered.)

Anyway, how do some of the Atari 800 games hold up? Let’s find out.

DONKEY KONG

Inspired by the fact that The King of Kong has been re-uploaded to Usenet, I picked this one out and started playing it. All four levels are represented! There’s some animation missing, like the upskirt shot of Pauline as DK drags her up another level to the building, but nothing important seems to be cut. Or everything important is cut, depending on how you roll. Much easier than the arcade, in so much as I can actually make it to the top of the first board with some regularity, instead of never on the real thing. (The nearby arcade even has it on “easy” mode and gives you five lives, which is extra-humiliating!)

You can select various difficulty options, but there is no way to tell which is which because instead of “1”, “2”, “3”, “4” and “5” they are “hammer,” “firefox,” “spring”, “barrel” and “pile of cement.”

It’s an easier game, but fuck this is fun. The molasses-encased like myself can now enjoy Donkey Kong. My goal in this project is to determine which Atari 800 games still hold up today. These aren’t in-depth reviews, in fact, some of this stuff won’t even load. Donkey Kong, however, is worthy of being on many “What’s your favorite 8-bit game?” list.

Donkey Kong: HOLDS UP NICELY!


SHAMUS

I personally believe that Shamus is one of the Top 100 games ever made, and the Atari version is actually superior to the one I grew up playing on the PCjr, due to the fact that it’s able to display more than four colors on the screen at the same time. Shamus looks great. He moves a little sluggishly when someone is going in the same direction as he is, but that won’t be for very long because everything dies nicely and quickly in this game, due to the fact that you keep throwing stilettos at them.

Apparently, Shamus is a private investigator, as the name of the sequel is “Shamus: Case II.” He also has a little fedora (well, maybe it’s a top hat: not enough pixels to really tell) and I think “shamus” means “drunken, Irish private eye.” This game is better than Berzerk in two ways:

1) It feels like you are making progress in Shamus.

2) “You can teach a monkey how to play a certain number of rooms but you cannot teach a man how to play Berzerk.”

There’s a few different skills levels to pick from and a running score so you can track your own progress.

Shamus: HOLDS UP NICELY!


CENTIPEDE

That’s Boggit, he hates buggies. I thought I would hate this game as well due to the fact that you control it with the joystick and due to the necessary changes from the arcade version’s vertical monitor to the horizontal TV. But it really is quick to respond. The extra horizontal room is nice and offers more chance to shoot down the centipede. The graphics are colorful and crisp. Centipede is the game that everyone used to point to and use as the one that women liked more than men. My theory to this is not because there are pastel colors in the game, but because of the spider. Allow me to explain. Wait! Come back!

You get 900 points if the spider is right on top of you when you kill it. You get 600 points if it’s a little farther away and if you’re some kind of baby you get 300. The game dispenses an afghan and booties out of the coin return if you’re continually trying to get 300 points from the spider. The spider can never retrace his steps. It can’t go backwards: if it enters on the left side of the screen, it can move up and down and right, but never to the left. If he enters from the right, he can’t go to the right. It’s the easiest thing in the game to avoid, so long as it does not kamikaze itself right at you before you can respond. But there is something ingrained in the male brain that will cause guys to pick a fight with an enemy that can no longer affect them, whereas a woman is more likely to have matured to the point to where they won’t make it personal with a goddamn video game spider.

I don’t have an 800 “trakball” so I don’t know how it is on that. Probably better, but there’s no negatives to this version being played on the joystick.

CENTIPEDE: HOLDS UP NICELY!


POGO JOE

What is this awfulness? I remember reading through computer game magazines and being jealous of the fact that Atari and C64 owners could play this, which had to be an awesome game, and I just had access to shitty version of Q*bert, including but not limited to the 2600 version (horrible) the Intellivision version (less horrible) and the version that came on a digital watch (surprisingly better than the 2600 version). This game is stupid. I don’t like Pogo Joe.

For starters, he looks like there is something wrong with him, like he’s been squashed in an industrial lathe accident, or somehow part of the Doug Flutie family tree. Going to cylinders instead of cubes was stupid. You have to press the button to do a “super jump” onto and off of the really high areas, and you can jump on most of the monsters I encountered, which limits the challenge. The monsters are all a single color and while you can tell that one is supposed to be a dragon and one a featureless blob, they look like rejects from Atari Football.

This game isn’t any good today, so if this was somebody’s huge favorite in 1983 I’m not saying you have no taste or that you’re dumb or anything. Pogo Joe now has competition against the MAME version of Q*bert and it does not hold up.

POGO JOE: DOES NOT HOLD UP!

 

 

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