This week we have a very special treat - a Gamecreature cartoon
from way back, when clothes and hair styles were much more colorful.
And as an added bonus, some more gems from my sketch book:
Labels: Lost Episode, sketches
So I'm going through some boxes and I ran across these sketches I thought I'd share with you.
The first is a design that never made it into the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory game. In the book there was a mention of Candy Pillows, but no mention of how they got made. Our thought was that Oompa Loompas would fly around in this great chamber, collecting fluffy clouds and depositing them in a machine that would make the candy pillows. I came up with a backpack for the Oompas that not only allowed them to fly, but also collected any clouds the Oompas came near.
This sketch is also from the same project. These were my design for "bouys" that existed in the chocolate river. My vision was for a design that was large enough to be seen, yet fit within the design of the film. A little Oompa Loompa was sitting at the controls of the machine, doing whatever it is that they need to be doing.
Lastly, my design for a high-tech wolf in sheep's clothing.
Labels: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Oompa Loompa, sketches
Here's some sketches from the 1997 3D Ultra Pinball game, The Lost Continent. It depicts a "mini" table, that is an offshoot from one of the three main tables in the game. The evil scientist has not only developed a machine that turns people into dinosaurs, but he's put it on treads and is about to use it on the unsuspecting world!
Labels: Lost Continent, Pinball, sketches
Today begins a new (and what a hope, regular) feature on the blog where I share the contents of my sketch pad with you. I used to sketch all of the time, but now it seems I only put it into use when I have something I need to work out. So I'm going to get back into the habit of just drawing for practice and I'll share the results with you. Here's a few of my favorites from the first page.
Hey gang, I told you this day was coming. Now I've officially been doing Gamecreature comics
for two years! Wahoo! You know, I think I might need to start cleaning up around here. What do you think?
I still owe you guys a review for Meteos: Disney Magic
, but I don't know if I'll ever finish the game. Meteos: Disney Magic is a spinoff of the popular DS puzzle game, Meteos. Some folks say the Disney version is easier than the original, but this one is certainly daunting. In a nutshell, the player needs to launch colored blocks off the top of the screen by matching three blocks in a row, either vertically or horizontally. Opportunities abound for bonus scoring with combos, etc, and you'll need them, as the successive puzzle screens and what you need to complete them get incresingly more challenging. What's more, how the blocks behave changes depending on which puzzle you choose.
If the screen fills up with puzzle blocks before you can get rid of them, then you lose. The puzzles start out fairly easy, but as time goes on, the blocks start coming down more quickly and can easily overwhelm you. The game gets more difficult, but you're not getting anything new from the game itself to deal with the new challenge. In that respect, Meteos Disney Magic is a lot like Space Invaders - sooner or later you're going to lose. And that's the wall I've reached - I can't make it through the next to last difficulty setting to unlock the hardest setting and the puzzles therein. And now I'm beginning to wonder if I really want to. When you get to that point in a game, it's usually time to put it up and get another.
Labels: Meteos: Disney Magic, Second Anniversary
You know, I really should post these entries when I'm thinking about it instead of trying to adhere to a schedule. As usual, things got busy and I wasn't able to make my entry when I usually do. Sorry about that.
Yes, it's summertime and hotter than usual around here. Needless to say, the extra heat plays havoc with delicate electronic components
. I've heard that Microsoft has decided to extend the warranty on their XBox 360 systems to 3 years
. Fortunately, all is well with the XBox in our house so far. Which is more than I can say for the mysterious malady that's affecting most of the headphones around here. Moving on...
As promised, I'm presenting a review of the Nintendo DS Browser
. This product is a real Opera internet browser that takes advantage of the Nintendo DS built-in wifi capability. If your DS is already configured to use a wifi hub, then you can use your DS to surf the net in a matter of seconds. There are limitations, of course. The DS display isn't sharp enough for you to see your average page in the layout you may be used to. Fortunately, the browser has two configurations that either squeezes the page into the narrow DS aspect ratio, or a preview mode that lets you drag a magnifying window across the screen. Wait, I'm just getting started with the limitations. It's slow. 56k modem slow. And while you're waiting for your page to update, don't sneeze or it may start up all over again. Because of the speed limitations, you can forget about streaming video, music, shockwave and flash. The makers decided to leave those things out entirely. Also, cookies, downloads, etc - forget about those too. The only thing it will save are the bookmarks you decide to add to your favorites page. Everything else gets dumped from the memory as soon as possible - it just doesn't have the bandwidth for it.
The biggest problem I have with it is not the product itself but how they decided to market it. As you might know, Nintendo followed up the release of the Nintendo DS with the slimmer, "Lite" version of the product. Both products function the same, including having a second port for GameBoy Advance (GBA) cartridges. On the DS Lite, the GBA cartridge sticks out a bit, but still works. The DS Browser uses that second port for a memory cartridge for the browser. So, the marketing department had a choice - distribute the browser to stores with a full-sized cartridge that would fit all
DS units, or distribute it with a scaled-down cartridge that only fits in the DS Lite units. You guessed it, they chose to disregard to users who bought their first products in favor of those who bought the new one. This is the sort of behavior I'd expect from Sony, not Nintendo. Users of the original DS can either buy an appropriately sized cartridge directly from Nintendo or do like I did and pull the board from the Lite cartridge and drop it into an old GBA cartridge that's collecting dust (this requires a small bit of effort, but I'll post the steps for anyone that's interested).
So here's the bottom line. Compared to other means of surfing the internet, the DS browser falls far short. Once the novelty has worn off, you might be using this browser on those occasions when you just don't have access to a regular computer or laptop. Certainly, I've found it useful when I needed to look up a picture of a llama or Steve Jobs and didn't want to get off the couch to do so. As I mentioned before, it boots up far quicker than your average computer. If you don't have a laptop or you're just nostalgic for 56k surfing, this might be the product for you. Otherwise, I'd suggest giving it a pass.
Coming up next - a review of Meteos Disney Magic.
Labels: DS Lite, Nintendo DS Browser, XBox 360 warranty
I originally was going to do an iPhone cartoon, but a lot of other folks did some and, quite frankly, did it better than me. So this week GC complains to a radio station
Back to the subject of game made out of video games. I just finished playing Ratatouille for the Nintendo DS
. Based on the Pixar film of the same name, this game lets you follow the adventures of Remy (a young rat) as he pursues his dream of becoming a chef. Not surprisingly, you control Remy as he scurries, leaps and climbs his way through scenes inspired by the film. Not only does Remy have to avoid mouse traps and rat poison, but if he's discovered while lurking in somebody's kitchen, they'll throw things at him. Fortunately, Remy can hide under objects if it's likely he might be detected. This part of the game was okay, if a little predictable. The reason it worked for me is that it did a good job of conveying the feeling of being a small rodent scurrying around in a human world. Then there's the cooking.
To prove his worth, Remy has to cook up some delicious French dishes. These cooking games are a nice addition to an otherwise mundane platforming game. Those of you familiar with Cooking Mama
will find the cooking games quite familiar. You have to slice food, add it to the pot and keep a sharp eye on everything in your kitchen lest anything overcook. One advantage that Cooking Mama has over the Ratatouille cooking games is that you actually get the feeling that you're cooking something. Each step has a purpose and every ingredient you prepare is going to get used. Ratatouille obviously can't offer all of the cooking steps that Cooking Mama does, but in Ratatouille the ingredients are irrelevant. You could be dicing a shoe and dropping autoparts in the pot - it makes no difference to you and that lack of connection to what you're preparing really diminishes the sense of accomplishment you get from the game. One thing that Ratatouille does improve over Cooking Mama is plating - as fans of Iron Chef all know, plating is preparing your dish for the best visual appeal. At this point, things really come together and makes you feel like a real French chef.
Ratatouille is designed for a younger audience and an accomplished gamer will go through it rather quickly. I collected over 40 lives when the game was over, and I hadn't died a single time. Still, for it's innovative approach and fun gameplay, I give Ratatouille a 7 out of 10.
Labels: Cooking Mama, Ratatouille