Latest News from Gamecreature
Monday, April 30, 2007
This week's cartoon
is the result of "if things continue in this direction" line of thought, a great way to come up with gags, if I do say so myself. BTW, we're just seven weeks away from the 100th Gamecreature cartoon! Tell your friends! Any ideas on how I should commemorate the occasion? And how am I doing so far?
Two weeks ago, with much fanfare, Fox introduced a new drama called "Drive," about an illegal, no-holds-barred, anything goes cross-country race. The intriguing part about the show was that in this race, how you get to the finish line appeared to be just as important (if not more important) than getting there at all. Notice how I used the past tense there? Yep, after three airings of the program, Fox programming directors (which seem to have the attention span of a hyperactive chihuahua in a room full of tennis balls) have decided that the show wasn't going anywhere and pulled the plug. This isn't the first time this has happened, either. I keep saying, nope, that's the last time I invest any time in a show on Fox, because they'll just take it away the moment I'm looking forward to the next episode. So this is it, you guys. You've teased me just one too many times. I don't care how great the show looks, I'm not going to watch it, because there's no reason to - the better the show, the greater the likelihood that it won't be around next week.
Hopefully Gamecreature will be around next week, in spite of my allergies. Please stay tuned, won't you?
Labels: Drive, Fox, Gamecreature
Monday, April 23, 2007
Yep, the latest installment in the highly profitable Pokemon franchise is due to hit the Nintendo DS this week. I don't expect that they will do anything to break what works in the game, mainly the need to complete one's collection of the digital critters that populate the game's landscape and cultivating the same critters to win confrontations that occur in the game. These concepts have been borrowed for use in other games. Some work well, some not so well. One of my favorites was Zoids, where you salvage parts from battles to improve your own stable of robot dinosaurs.
The core of these games is the fact that you use these creatures to fight other creatures like them. Which is all well in good, but sometimes the justification for having these fights gets downright silly. Having folks compete in sporting competitions makes sense, but to use the exact same mechanic to deal with people threatening you doesn't. In pokemon world, when a nasty villain attacks you, both parties resolve their dispute in a gentlemanly way by letting their surrogates fight for them and abiding by the results of the combat. Indeed, in Custom Robo Arena, there appear to be gangs of thugs who use robots to rob people, and the only way to defend oneself is to have your robot fight theirs. If your robot wins, the thug slinks away. Doesn't occur to anyone in these games to take the direct approach
? I mean, if someone attacks you and you've got a fire-breathing dragon in your pocket, wouldn't you use it against the attacker? But I'm rambling.
Labels: Custom Robo Arena, Pokemon, Zoids
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Blast from the Past
I'm trying my best to maintain some sort of daily updates on this site, but sometimes I get too busy and other times (more often) I just can't think of anything to say. So please bear with me as I find my groove on this thing, okay?
Recently I've found myself going through my old archives. I guess it's a good thing that I couldn't bear to throw out anything that I had drawn. A lot of the stuff I had forgotten about until I held the hardcopy in my hand again. Some of the pieces fell in the category of "did I really draw that?" because they really look like they were drawn by someone else - someone better. There were many, many more that fell into the category of "I can't believe I thought that was good.
" I've scanned a few and posted them up on my DeviantArt account
and I'll be scanning some more as time goes by. Hey, I've suffered for my art and now it's your turn.
One of the last games I contributed to before Dynamix closed its doors was a console offering called Minigolf Maniacs. We felt that the game was ready to ship, but the powers that be had other plans it seems. The game was buried and forgotten. Now, lo and behold, the game is back in the form of 3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures for the XBox Live. From what I've heard, not a whole lot has changed in the game, with the notable exception that all of our cartoon characters have been replaced with human characters. Oh, and they left the original development team off of the credits. Make of that what you will.
Labels: DeviantArt, Minigolf, Old art
Monday, April 16, 2007
More dangerous than a cell phone!
I want to just go on record as saying that I have never
played Puzzlequest while driving
. Though I've been tempted once or twice. While I was in the middle of the quest, it was unbelievable the pull that game had as I kept trying to finish the various quests in order to make my character strong enough to defeat the big villain. But now that I've finished the game, it doesn't seem to have the same pull for me. Sure, there are still a few side quests left to do, but the reward for completing the quests is no longer necessary. Who knows, maybe I'll start a new game just to see what happens when I do things differently.
But in the meantime, I've got another game to keep me occupied, Custom Robo Arena.
It's a game where you have bipedal robots fight each other with a wide array of customizable attachments. True, these robots are only a few inches high and they fight in holographic arenas, but hey, it's still fighting robots - in 3D
. Leaping and blasting are this game's main draw. It's got a story, but really, it's all about the fighting robots. Check it out.
Labels: Custom Robo Arena, Driving, Puzzle Quest
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Thursday the Twelfth
Forget about Friday the Thirteenth, I've had it with Thursday the Twelfth. First the foil tab on my carton of Almond milk breaks off, leaving no way to open it (off to the knife drawer, friends) and then my daughter lets me know that the back gate has fallen off its hinges, giving the dog freedom to roam the neighborhood. So I spent the morning in the slush and snow (with more coming down) lashing the gate to the post so the dog can safely enjoy the backyard. The wood is soaked from all of the snow clinging to it, but hopefully I'll be able to find a new hinge and fix the gate this weekend. The day's still young, but I'm hoping Fate will cut me a break. After all, you guys need game news, not carpentry woes!
Labels: Carpentry, Friday the Thirteenth
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
When I heard that they were forecasting snow for today, I thought there might be some flurries or maybe some rain and snow mix. Imagine my surprise to wake up to a real, blanket of white inch of snow in the yard. To make matters worse, several traffic lights were out to make my commute worse. Looks like mowing the lawn may have to wait for a day or two.
Getting back on topic, I'd love to someday make a game that really takes into account the nature of snow - more than just make everything white, but the real, malleable nature of the stuff. Imagine finding a snow bank and melting it to find what's underneath. If you'll pardon the pun, I think that would be cool.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Start your day with Gamecreature!
I've just added the option to have the Gamecreature Blog on your Google page. If you have a customized Google page (and why not? It's free) then click on the "Add to Google" button on the right sidebar (or just click here
) and you're good to go. Of course, this means I'll have to get off my butt and post more frequently. Life is rough, isn't it? Please drop me a note from time to time and let me know what's on your mind.
Monday, April 09, 2007
The idea for this week's cartoon
struck me when I saw the latest evidence of Big Oil's greed at the gas pumps. I'm still steamed. Still, a game where keeping your car going is just as important as getting to your destination seems like a good idea, right?
My son bought Guitar Hero II
for the XBox360. I've not yet had the opportunity to try my hands at it, but I can easily see why this game is so popular. This is "air guitar" taken to the next level. What's amusing is that the song selection is made by folks my age rather than my son's age. So most of the songs are new to him, but actually were classics before he was born. Still, for those of you who were born to rock, this game is for you.
I felt obligated to note the passing of BC creator and cartoonist Johnny Hart who died over the weekend. I read this in an article on his passing:
Newcombe said "B.C." and "Wizard of Id" would continue. Family members have been helping produce the strips for years, and they have an extensive computer archive of Hart's drawings to work with, he said.
Could someone tell me what that means? Are they going to just cut and paste panels from old comics to make new ones? Is this the future of the funny pages?
Labels: BC, Gas, Guitar Hero, Johnny Hart
Monday, April 02, 2007
This week I want to tell you about a new game I've started playing called Puzzle Quest
. What that has to do with this week's cartoon
will be revealed in time.
On the surface, Puzzle Quest
might not get a second look from many gamers. The initial impression is that of an ordinary puzzle game wrapped in a fantasy setting. But that's just where things begin to get interesting. First of all, the puzzle game in itself is fun, but by itself it wouldn't keep player's interest for very long. That's where the "quest" part of the title comes in. Because Puzzle Quest is actually an RPG (role-playing game) where all actions from combat to research are accomplished with variations on the puzzle.
You fight monsters by lining up symbols in the puzzle grid that do damage to them. You forge magical items by trying to eliminate special symbols in your grid. Each variation of the puzzle offers slightly different gameplay and requires you to approach it a little differently.
The more that you accomplish, the better your character becomes and the more you can accomplish in your puzzles. But why read my review when you can try it for yourself? You can download a PC demo of the game (the game is currently available only on the Nintendo DS and PSP) here
Now on to my gripes about the game. If you're stumped for a move, the game will suggest one for you. The only problem with this is that the computer's suggestions have an uncanny habit of setting up great moves for your opponent. It's kind of like when you play chess with your brother
(see, I told you there was a reason behind the cartoon). Another problem is that some of the menus are poorly designed (especially in the citadel) and do not respond well to user input. And there have been a couple of times when I've tried to access the forge only to have my game go to an unresponsive black screen. This glitchiness is below the level of quality I'd expect from a game on my Nintendo DS. Fortunately, the game automatically saves your progress, so nothing is lost during these failures.
There you have it. If you have a portable device, I encourage you to try this game out. And if next week's post is late, you'll know the reason why.
Labels: Puzzle Quest
Sunday, April 01, 2007
What's wrong with this picture?
Those of you who decide to check this site out on Sunday, April 1st, may notice something unusual with the cartoon.
It's just my little way of having fun on April Fool's day. But it means you can have a little fun, too. Let me know what you think the guys are saying. I'll post the real dialog on Monday.
Labels: April Fool, Cartoon, Chess