Wednesday, September 21, 2016

ILLBLEED - Audio Easter Egg

October is coming!! So, I have a small bit of Sega ephemera for you.

Some games know they're dumb, and they embrace that. Illbleed takes this approach and runs off a cliff into a volcano with it. Released by Crazy Games (formerly Climax Graphics, the auteurs behind Blue Stinger), the premise behind Illbleed is just awesome: a horror theme park that is so scary that anyone who conquers it is awarded one million dollars (or one hundred million, depending on which script the voice actors are reading). The park isn't scary so much as it is filled floor to ceiling with ludicrous booby traps. Illbleed is a total mess, dumb as shit, poorly presented and I love it.

Apart from the many, many horror movie references sprinkled throughout there are two fun Sega references near the end--one extremely obvious one and one that is a little more subtle!

Enter Zodick the Hellhog, a boss in the final chapter of the game. There's your obvious reference. But check out the spoooooky sound that plays when he appears:

European and Japanese Sega fans probably picked up on this pretty quickly--the sound heralding Zodick's arrival is actually the boot up theme when you turn on a PAL or NTSC-J Sega Saturn!

I'll admit that when I first played Illbleed I was so disappointed, because I approached the game in the wrong way. Before it was released I was under the strange misconception that it would be a straight-faced horror game and to find that it was a goofy parody made me put it away for years. Now that I can appreciate how bonkers it is, going through and finding little touches like this is a real pleasure.

Playing it may be kind of a chore for some (most) people, but if you want to see it presented by someone who is Not Annoying and also has real enthusiasm for the game I recommend this series of videos by Stop Skeletons From Fighting!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Game Bird Color (it's a fan art zine and I made it and I love it)


I finally finished my first ever zine! It's called Game Bird Color and it's currently the only field guide to video game bird characters that I'm aware of.

Making the zine was a huge ordeal. Originally planned to be black and white sketches, I decided to color one and when I hid the lineart on Photoshop I fell in love with the solid color, lineless style and decided to make that the whole thing. The plan was to start small and draw 6 characters--just enough to get my toes wet and have a finished product to call my own. However, there are a lot of cool birds in the video game world and before I knew it the page count had more than doubled to 15 illustrations!

Then the troubles came. As I was just finishing up the zine and getting ready to lay it out and send it to the printer, I did...something with my photoshop file that ended up eating the project. All pages, gone forever. Rather than giving up (which I almost did) I redrew it, working from screenshots I had thankfully taken of some of the pages and relying on my terrible memory for the rest.

It wouldn't be a Ribbon Black project without references to games nobody but me cares about

So I finished the zine, again, and sent it to the printer. An eternity later and they come back, looking pretty damn good! Except for the artifacting, of course. I had somehow exported the pdf in a compressed form even though "Press Quality" had been selected. The artifacts are faint, but as Vanilla Ice said, "anything less than the best is a felony". Once I pulled myself from the depths of depression over that, I decided that for its flaws it's still a zine, and zines aren't supposed to be perfect. So I decided to sell it!

Game Bird Color is 15 pages, printed on nice thick glossy stock with cute hand-stitched binding by my fiance! Supplies are quite limited. If you want a copy, I have it for sale here:

Big Cartel shop (recommended as you don't need an account to purchase)

Etsy shop (more expensive because of their fees, but if you wanna use Etsy...)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Game By Its Cover 2016

It's almost time for A Game By Its Cover again! This semi-annual game jam pairs indie developers with entries from past and present Famicase Exhibitions to imagine what their fake games might be like if they were...not fake.

It isn't required to get the artists' permission, but if any AGBIC participants happen to know about this blog I am totally cool with my Famicase entries being used as inspiration for your games! Here are my previous entries along with their text blurbs.

Dungeon of Flowers

One thousand dungeons! One million monsters! Experience the flower of adventure.

Busy Planet

The neighborhood is getting so crowded these days! As the only human on a planet full of new creatures, you have to try hard to fit in. Everyone may have their differences, but we can make friends if we work together!

Elsewhere: Labyrinth of Cemetery

You are in an eerie place known only as ELSEWHERE. Can the lost monster girl escape the Great Graveyard or will she become its newest resident?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Cat Girl Without Salad - real life Gun Cartridges!

Have you heard of WayForward's Cat Girl Without Salad yet? Currently only available as part of June's Humble Monthly Bundle, Cat Girl Without Salad ~Amuse-Bouche~ is a bite sized horizontal shootemup with the most creatively meta gameplay mechanic I've seen in years.

Defeated enemies will occasionally drop a (very familiar looking!) weapon powerup based on a different genre of video game, completely changing the way the player approaches combat. In appreciation of the game (and my friends at WayForward) I produced a little branding project based on it!

Arcade Gun - AC-001 MRS. CHOMPER
After launching Mrs. Chomper, press the arrow keys to control where she goes! Can be a little tricky to dodge enemy fire while also controlling your bullet, cut chomping enemies deals big damage and even freezes the action for a split second, just like the way the screen pauses in Pacman when eating a ghost!

Platform Gun - PF-002 SUPER MEGGIO BROS.
Firing the Platform Gun sends a little man (or a little man's brother) running across the screen in a straight line. Pressing any arrow key will make him jump or double jump. Making contact with enemies will deal a small amount of damage, but bouncing off of them packs a big punch.

Upon picking up this gun the player will begin firing weak projectiles automatically while Dance Dance Revolution style arrows begin scrolling across the bottom of the screen. Timing your arrow key presses properly will make your next shot super powerful! One of the toughest weapons to use effectively due to the multitasking required.

Makes a turn-based RPG battle menu appear on the side of the screen that can be navigated with the arrow keys! Managing your MP properly can lead to the highest potential damage output.

Sports Gun - SP-005 NEO PUTT 2020
The Sports Gun projects a dotted line that rotates up and down on its own--pressing the arrow key fires a ballistic golf ball to deal moderate damage. The twist is that as the balls bounce around the screen they lose momentum and roll to a stop. If you want to fire more you have to go over and collect them. 

One of the most unique weapon ideas in a game that's already full of them, the Puzzle Gun works the same way Puzzle Bobble/Bust A Move does; arrow keys aim your targeting reticle and fire different colored bubbles. The bubbles stop when they collide with an enemy. Match three bubbles of the same color for a screen clearing bomb!

Painted and distressed the shit out of an old ammo box for a handy carrying case

Try Cat Girl Without Salad if you can get your hands on it!