FROM: Alan Karna
Are you still taking inputs for Separated at birth stuff?
Nope, sorry. That part of the site is not currently being updated.
I noticed you made some posts at both your board and my board recently. Am I wrong
in guessing that you're going to continue posting at the boards as a member, but you
just don't want the responsiblity of actually running the place anymore? Or are you
planning to reinstate the forums as a part of the site? Just curious. I'd actually
be cool with it either way, as I'll miss reading your posts if you left for good.
I never really planned to "leave for good", but every time I've entertained thoughts of reinstating the forums as part of the site, a million reasons why it wouldn't be a good idea pop into my head. I realize what I did probably offended and/or upset some people, so I hope I'll still be welcome to post in the community. It's not that I think the community did anything bad or wrong, but I sometimes feel "trapped" by it. I'd hate to post something like Image Arcane to the website and then have some random nutcase cause a fuss over it on the forums. Something like that, I can easily deal with, but how would I deal with it if the community tried pressuring me into quitting Image Arcane because they don't want to be bothered by these random nutcases? Severing the link between the site and forums seems to be the only solution.
FROM: Electro Sun Dog
A few points:
#1: Puss n Boots (the anime, not the game) was made in 1968.
#2: Zombie Nation originally starred a Tengu mask instead of a severed head.
#3: The NES Altered Beast title is actually a sequel to the original game.
It's hard to find the liscenced version.
#1: Fascinating. I had no idea the anime was that old, but it appears there are actually a few different animes based on the Puss n Boots character(s). This 1976 film appears to be the one the NES game was based on. So by the time that Captain N episode was made, we had a cartoon based on a game that was based on an anime that was based on a book.
#2: Hmm...might make slightly more sense, but it would be a lot less funny.
#3: Interesting. Storywise, Dragon Spirit: The New Legend is actually a sequel to the original arcade game, not a port, as I had originally thought, even though the levels in the NES game were all loosely based on the arcade game's levels. It's probably a similar deal with Altered Beast.
How do you feel about the state of portable gaming these days? Any plans to
purchase a DS or PSP in the future? I could ask about N-Gage and Gizmondo
too, but... :)
Or would you say it's not worth investing that much money with so many older
portable games out there to play, as well as GBA titles still being
I told Crawl awhile ago when we were out looking at games that I had absolutely no desire to buy a DS or a PSP and I don't think I will anytime soon. Crawl, however, expressed interest in the DS because of Next Super Mario Bros., so I wouldn't be surprised if we end up acquiring one eventually. I have to confess that I haven't really looked into what's available for each system, though, and I think it's because I'm feeling burnt out as a game collector. I've reached a point where I realize I'll never be able to finish, or at least play most of, all the games I own. And I problem I have with portable games (or at least the Game Boy Advance) is that the prices of these games almost *never* come down, which makes them less desirable to collect for than the consoles are. If I was as still into RPGs as I was during the Super NES era, I'd probably be more into the GBA than I am.
I'm glad you agree with me about the Q&A. I've actually been looking for
something "underground" to follow, but I think I'd be more inclined to get
into reading something (comic or fanfiction) if it was written by someone I
know. But again I don't want to put pressure on you or anything. I know
you'll be busy with college soon. Take care.
I like the idea of being able to discuss my work in the Q&A, but again, the main problem is that I just don't feel I have the time and energy for it right now. I also tend to be more interested in reading comics and game reviews if they're written by people I know.
FROM: James FP
Including Donkey Kong 64, how would you rate the Donkey Kong Country games? (You
don't have to include the Game Boy games if you haven't played them.)
Are you asking how I'd "rate" each one (as in number of stars I'd give them) or how I'd rank them (as in from "best to worst")? I'm guessing you mean the latter, so that's how I'll answer. First of all, I never finished DKC3. And I don't remember much about it now. So, I don't think it'd be fair to include that one in my ranking. The best one of those I've finished is undoubtedly Donkey Kong Country 2 (Diddy's Kong Quest) and I even used to have that one on my Top 100. The first one is okay, but I'd say it's only an average platformer at best. The same with DK64 - it's an average 3D platformer. But I'd still probably rank it above DKC1 just for the inclusion of the Donkey Kong Arcade game. So, for now, my ranking would be: (1) DKC2: Diddy's Kong Quest, (2) Donkey Kong 64, (3) Donkey Kong Country.
What did you think of To Kill a Mocking Bird or March of the Penguins?
I absolutely loved both movies, but they're not very comparable despite both having a bird in the title. To Kill a Mockingbird is probably my all-time favorite book, and I do think the book was a little better, as it showed not only the racism of the town but their hypocrisy, too, and in the book it was clearer what was really wrong with Boo Radley. But even so, the movie was pretty darn good with great performances from Gregory Peck, Brock Peters, and even Robert Duvall as Boo. I was glad that both the dog-shooting scene and the "ham" scene made it into the movie as those were two of the most vivid from my memory of the book. (I'll have to read it again sometime.)
The thing that amazed me the most about March of the Penguins (and is such what frequently amazes me about animals) is how the penguins know to do exactly what they do to survive and procreate (and exactly when to do it, too), and I was also surprised by how emotional the mother penguins can get if they lose their young. Before seeing that movie I had no idea the life of an Emperor Penguin was that complicated.
Well, what you decide to do with Image Arcane is ultimately up to you, but I
just thought it would be interesting if you did work on it again since the
Q&A could be an excellent forum for discussing it. I think the Q&A would
work much better than the forums since you can reply more directly to
questions and comments one at a time, and you can weed out moronic stuff
like that "Why doesn't he drive a Porsche?" thing.
I agree with you. I really don't want to get into discussions about Image Arcane on any message boards. If I ever do post it to the site I'd only be willing to answer to comments and criticism on it through the Q&A.
FROM: James FP
Oops, well, I didn't mean to imply that you were embarrassed about Image Arcane (or
that I was even embarrassed about my own comic for that matter), but what I meant
was that I just don't think it's necessary to be expected to make everything we do
for amusement public. I somehow get the feeling that your work would still be better
than most (if not all) of the current newspaper comics. It just really pisses me off
that there isn't at least one comic that's as good as what I can do. And I'm tired
of the insane number of comics that are about "the typical American family". There's
just no originality anymore.
I haven't been interested in the newspaper comics since Bloom County, Calvin & Hobbes, and The Far Side all bowed out, and of course, the death of Charles Schultz. I tried writing a newspaper-style comic years ago and I totally sucked at it. There's no way I'd ever want to try doing something like that ever again.
So, anyone who liked your writing is just stupid and easily impressed?
C'mon! Either you don't have enough confidence in yourself or someone's
feeding you a load of bullshit. Maybe people like your work because it's
legitimately good. Ever stop to think of that? And who's saying they expect
the "next great American novel"? Expecting that from a COMIC BOOK is what's
I thank you for your encouragement, but I have to say that I really don't like that "confidence" argument. My parents used that argument on me all the time. They'd tell me the only reason I can't do anything is because I don't have confidence in myself, as though little things like getting a good college education don't matter. It was their way of exonerating themselves from any responsibility for my future. "Oh, if she doesn't make it in life, it's just because she has no confidence." And even if that was true, who's fault would it be? My mother's for telling me every single day that I was going to "end up on the streets"? Or my father's for telling me that "I have no idea how difficult it is to live in the real world" and "you'll never make it"? People seem to think "confidence" = "fooling yourself into thinking bad work you've done is actually good work", but that just ain't so. Confidence is having actually done good work and knowing that you've done good work.
As for the comment about people being stupid, well let me tell you that the crowd of people I hang with now (mostly on-line but that counts) is generally a lot smarter than those I grew up with. Therefore, it'd be unrealistic for me to expect those people to be as easily impressed with my writing as those I grew up with were. Remember that Image Arcane was written by an autistic teenager for an autistic teenager, and I doubt that description applies to most of you.
FROM: James FP
I certainly understand where you're coming from on Image Arcane. I write my own
little sketch comedy-style comic and a lot of people have told me I should put it on
a website, but I really don't think that'd be a good idea. It's the type of thing
that I think only I can find funny, and even though others sometimes tell me it's
funny, I don't believe that would be how most people would feel about it. Sometimes
I think telling people they should put stuff like that on the internet is like
telling people they should put any embarrassing thing they do on the internet
(remember Star Wars kid?)
Let me reiterate that I'm not embarrassed about Image Arcane. I think that considering the work was done by someone who was between 12 and 18 at the end, the characterizations and stories were pretty well-done. But the main reason I can't just simply take my work and put it on the website is because I no longer have a lot of it. For reasons that are far too complicated for me to discuss right now, I destroyed a lot of my work and basically all that's left are cut-up pictures of the characters, a few rough sketches of comic strips I did for The Minerva Project, and some (but not all) of my old scripts written in notebooks. Basically, I'd have to start everything over from scratch, and I hardly have the time and energy for that these days. Even if I did have them all, I probably wouldn't want to put all the old scripts and comics on-line anyway, as there is much I'd want to change now. The writing steadily improved over time, but I had difficulty handling dramatic scenes in the early episodes, and I remember one that was literally angst, angst, angst for no real reason throughout the whole thing up until the conclusion (yet I really liked the conclusion of that episode because it was an important development for one particular character.) Also, one of the earliest episodes involved a villain that was a monster created from hatred, which is not something I'd criticize a 12-year-old for using, but since it's been done countless times in countless different things (Final Fantasy 4 and Arc the Lad to name a few), and since the way the monster was defeated was utterly ridiculous in retrospect, there is no way I'd ever want to do that storyline again. Thus, the entire beginning of the series would have to be changed. Even so, I do believe I had a lot to be proud of. I had consistent themes, my stories always had a good 3-act structure, likable characters, and there was humor that I thought was legitimately funny. "Embarrassment" doesn't have as much to do with it as "common sense" does. And I don't want to publicize stories that would now go against the vision I have for the series.
FROM: Nixxy Blayde
Why don't you take the time you'd normally spend posting around the boards and use
it to write Image Arcane? You're always complaining that you can't do things because
you don't have the time, but well now you do.
It's not that simple. Just because I no longer post at the board doesn't mean I automatically have enough time to write Image Arcane. Working a full-time job takes a lot out of me, plus there's a lot of other stuff I have to do, too. I probably could find time to write the series, but it would be very slow-going, especially if I wanted to make it presentable and not just do rough drafts and scripts only, like I did years ago.
But let me be frank about Image Arcane: I'm contemplating removal of that section of the website (this time for good). When I wrote it years ago, it was written for an audience of one. The only reason I wrote it was because I liked it. If it was a real cartoon that had been made by someone else and had absolutely nothing to do with me, I would've liked it and I would now be hoping to get it on DVD. I wasn't trying to write something great, just a silly little cartoon in the vein of the silly little cartoons I grew up with (like Transformers and Real Ghostbusters). Although I only intended the comic for myself, sometimes other people would read it, and they always said it was great and they liked it. But guess what? Most of the people I grew up with were stupid people and stupid people are easily impressed. As severely uneducated as I am, and from as piss-poor an upbringing I come from, to think that I could ever write anything that's even halfway decent, let alone good or great, would be foolish. Therefore, I do not care to take something that was meant only as entertainment for an uneducated, autistic person like myself and whore it out to the world.
That's not saying I'm not proud of my work. I had characters I truly cared about and my writing had actual themes like prejudice, redemption, and loyalty. There was irony and deep moral issues were confronted. The stories ultimately made a definite statement about society. That's pretty heavy stuff, especially from someone who was only between the ages 12 and 18 at the time it was written, and something that's lacking in a lot of modern writing. I also had somewhere close to 40 episodes, some drawn in rough format, many more scripted, so I had a lot of work that gradually improved over time. But you can't delude yourself into thinking that just because your writing has that stuff, it's automatically good or better than writing that doesn't.
And therein lies the problem: If I were to write it now, I wouldn't be writing a silly little cartoon that was meant to entertain an autistic teenager. I'd be writing something that everyone is expecting to be the next great American novel. Nothing can be done "just for fun" anymore. We have to push ourselves to achieve better, and not only am I not educated enough to pull that off, but I am not going to kid myself into thinking I'd be remotely capable anyway.
Am I a critic who simply can't take what I dish out? Maybe. But I don't really think so because Image Arcane was not created for any other purpose than to entertain myself. It's because I'm a critic that I know I can't waste people's time with an inferior product. I know the main reason people keep asking about it is because of the work I did for The Minerva Project - but I was young, stupid, and naive back then. I'm no longer any of those things.
I know you've beaten many games before you started reviewing them online. Are there any games you've beaten in the past that you'd especially like to review? Are there any plans to eventually go back and review those older games?
Well, I did recently review Shadowgate and The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, both of which were favorites from the past. Operation C, Radar Rat Race, and Defender were all games I've played before, too. I had to review Shadowgate soon because I knew eventually my memories of the first time playing through that game would become too hazy to rely on. The number of times I've discovered my memory's been wrong about something disturbs me (recent example: I always thought I first heard about the "pies" in Donkey Kong actually being "tubs of sand" from the arcade cabinet. But I recently saw an arcade cabinet and it wasn't on there...That being the case, I'm not exactly sure where I would've heard that.)
Some games I'd especially like to review are Might & Magic and Magic of Scheherazade, but I've sort of been holding back on those because I've been steadily trying to improve my writing. I'd hate to turn out a subpar review for an old favorite. (And Might & Magic is going to take a long time to replay.) I also really want to review Kartia eventually, and I was supposed to, but I was having a hard time and never finished it. For one thing, I think that game was harder to review because to review that game is to analyze its plot, and that's more like reviewing a movie than a game. And I've never been able to do movie reviews. I'm hoping some courses in journalism could help me there.
The bottom line is that you can definitely expect to see me review old favorites as well as newer games. It just depends on what I'm in the mood to play and review.
I just want to know if the Deathamster's Nest website is safe or should I consider
moving it to a new host? It may not be updated for awhile, but I'd hate to lose all
our hard work, what with you leaving the community.
And while we're on that subject, I can understand that you want to return to college
and I can understand the costs of running the board being too high (I know that from
running my own ezboard), but I really think you need to reconsider how you're doing
this. It seems like you're just ditching us without even a goodbye or a formal
explanation. Is that how people who have been friends for nearly 10 years are
supposed to act? Or did all those speeches mean nothing?
Have a good one.
How many times have I told you guys that Deathamster's Nest, and whatever you decide to do with it, is your jurisdiction and not mine? I only host the site. As long as I still have the domain, the site can stay there. If I ever have any problems concerning the domain, I promise I'll give you as much warning in advance as I possibly can. And don't worry about things like bandwidth or server space because your site doesn't use very much at all.
Yes, all those speeches did mean something...to me. Which is precisely why I feel a wee bit hurt and disappointed lately. I don't want to point fingers or single out events, because this is something that's been going on for years now. I think the obvious solution is to simply remove the association between the community and the site. And I just don't think it would be worth making a formal goodbye because I'll either end up saying things I'll regret having said later, or people will talk me into staying, or both, and I just cannot have either of those things happen right now.
That's great that you're going to try Eternal Darkness! It's one of my
favorite games of this generation and the first survival horror game I've
truly liked. Hope you enjoy it, but I have a feeling you will. (And if you
don't, that's okay, too.)
Thanks. I'm looking forward to it. I'll let you know what I think of it when I do play it.
What with you leaving and all.......Who's going to run the forums? Are you
going to close them soon? Give admin to somone random? Are you going to
destroy the Takeda Clan with muskets (you should!!)?
It really doesn't matter to me what happens, I'm just rather curious.
Crawl still goes to the forums, so he can run them for as long as he wants. He doesn't seem to have any plans of ever leaving, either. I have no intention of closing the forums. I don't really want to piss people off, but I just need to remove myself from social activity for awhile.
Continuing the prefered system issue, what about the previous generation (N64,
Playstation, Dreamcast)? I guess you haven't finished as many Dreamcast games, so
maybe that's not worth comparing yet. Funnily, I think we've played a lot of the
same N64 games, but have little (or no) overlap with our Playstation experiences.
I'm not even going to include the Dreamcast in the competition yet because I've only finished two games for it, one of which I hated (Record of Lodoss War), and the other was Omikron, which was weird enough to not make me hate it, but I'd ultimately give it a thumbs-down. In the past when I was asked which I liked more, the N64 or the Playstation, my answer would usually be that I liked them about the same. Now, I might be leaning a little more towards the Playstation. I think Super Mario 64 was the most important game of that generation, but Alundra 2 might be the best one I've played, and the first Alundra game was really good, too. I really dug Kartia for the Playstation, too, and for as much as RPGs get praised for having "great stories" that was one of the few I'd say really was truly great. On the N64 side, I thought Shadow Man and Ogre Battle 64 were really good games, and while certainly NOT "Game of the Century", Ocarina of Time is still pretty good (although I admit I haven't felt quite as interested in the Zelda series since). What's kind of funny is that nearly-perfect home ports of two of my favorite 80's arcade games were finally made available during that generation, one on the N64 (Donkey Kong), and the other on the Playstation (Yie Ar Kung-Fu). So, about now, I'd say it's a tie or just too close to call it.
I have a question I've actually been wondering for some
time: What is your favorite of the three current generation systems (PS2,
GameCube, X-Box)? Personally, my favorite is the GameCube.
Hope to hear from you soon!
To put it bluntly, I don't have a current favorite simply because I haven't played enough games for them yet. I've finished one game on the PS2, Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, which I really liked (aside from the crappy ending), and one game on the XBOX, Blinx the Timesweeper, which totally sucked (although I admired the difficulty of the final boss). I haven't finished anything on Gamecube yet, so the score right now is: PS2: 1, XBOX: 0, GCN: X. When I'm done with "Indiana Jones 64", I'm going to give Eternal Darkness a try.
FROM: James FP
I was wondering if you'll be accepting questions from people who are (or were)
members of the Port Saiid/Renuldar-Star community?
Yes, I will, but keep in mind that what I choose to respond to is at my discretion. So if you send me something and I don't respond to it, it's not because you're a community member, it's because I just don't have an answer.
Will you ever play R-Types or Shinobi?
I actually have played R-Types a few years ago, but only R-Type 1. I made it as far as Level 4. I don't think the first three levels of that game are really all that difficult, but 4 is definitely where the challenge picks up. It seemed like an interesting game that I'll surely give another try someday. I always have been a fan of (good) 2D shooters. Shinobi (the PS2 game, I presume) sounds like an excellent game, too. I'll keep it in mind when I'm feeling in the mood for a fast-paced challenging action game.