Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here's to 2014!

Happy New Year from Jay and Julian (Animal Crossing New Leaf)! I haven't been able to do anything productive since my Mr. Splash post, but I wanted to do up something quick before the year ends.

This year was okay. I made some cool blogger friends, including a few people I had been following/reading for a long time! On the art front I didn't accomplish anything approaching the success of my Adventure Time famicom cartridge project, but that's okay--I had a lot of fun and success with comics, particularly "This Week In Town", my Animal Crossing series. This year I hope to make a lot more comics, organize a zine, get way better at illustration and pixel art, and lose weight/get better at running. I'll start with cleaning the bathroom...later.

Good luck to everyone in 2014.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Elusive Mr. Splash

Mr. Splash!Developed by Hiroshi Inukai aka Polygon (2007, Famicom)

I finally made a reproduction cart of the elusive homebrew game Mr. Splash! I love it. Rather than using the official art (which I couldn't find a good copy of) I designed my own label, going for a Game and Watch aesthetic. What do you think?

Mr. Splash is a 2-player only competition game created for a project called Game Generation X - Soul of 8-bit. However, the developer Polygon didn't seem to want the game to be widespread--those who preordered the Game Generation X DVD box set got the materials to solder their own Mr. Splash Famicom cart, and these were apparently limited to 101 pieces.

Some time later a run of 50 was produced for the NES in France, but a ROM of the game was impossible to find until 2011. Even now there don't seem to be a ton of them floating around but you can find it easily enough if you search.

So let's talk about the game! It's sort of like hockey, but in a swimming pool. Your Mr. Splash must pick up rocks that spawn along the sides of the arena and hurl them into the water. The waves you make with your rock will move the floating balls in the water toward your opponent's goal area.

Sometimes the game mixes up the arena with patches of land that the balls will roll over

What really impresses me about the game is the use of physics when it comes to how you move the floating balls. Chuck a rock right into the center of the ball and watch it go deep underwater and spring straight up; however, hit the ball off center and you can steer it toward the goal. Depending on how long you hold the throw button down, Mr. Splash will power up and throw it harder, altering the ball's trajectory in a variety of ways.


You don't have to hit the ball at all, though! Plunk your stone down near a ball and the motion of the water will nudge it instead of launching it. Nudging a ball into your opponent's goal will earn you one point while launching it into the proper area will net you 3 points. A long shot can get you up to 6 points! It's a simple game, but the amount of work put into the play mechanics is impeccable. Turn the number of onscreen balls up to 5 and enjoy the chaos!
There are also many versions of the game, apparently with edited arenas. The screenshots shown above are from the emulated "Columbia Version", though my cartridge is the vanilla Mr. Splash.
I got most of my info on the history of Mr. Splash from this article at RetroCollect. Give it a look if you wanna know more.


 Has anyone played Mr. Splash yet? What did you think about this homebrew gem?

Monday, December 9, 2013

I've finally made my own holiday cards

It's Beau from Animal Crossing: New Leaf! I've yet to get him in my own town, but he's one of my girlfriend's "lifers"; no moving out under any circumstances, haha. Kind of like how Jay was for me. And then the son of a bitch moved out behind my back.

Now all I need are friends to send them to! If nothing else, it makes a cute fanart. Anyone else out there make their own cards? It would be a fun project for a bunch of artists to have an exchange.

If I had thought of it earlier, maybe I could've set something up on Tumblr...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mario and Breakfast

Just having some fun. I took a photo of the empty frame and overlaid the Mario sprites in photoshop to make a gif. It's too bad the camera didn't pick up the steam from the coffee mug!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Flash & Batman (Famicom, bootleg)

Well...Flash & Batman. I found this at the local flea market (and overpaid too; most single-game bootlegs are kind of value-less and worth only what you wanna pay for em) but decided it was finally time to get some pirate Famicom carts just for laughs. I love Batman's face on the label there--his "OH SHIT" look really inspires confidence. Flash on the other hand looks absolutely sinister.

So, what were you thinking Flash & Batman would be? Were you expecting a rom hack of Monster In My Pocket? Neither was I. As you can see, these are emulator screenshots, so the cartridge unfortunately isn't some undiscovered bootleg gem. I decided to play as Flash (AKA Frankenstein's monster in the original game).

 I'm actually surprised they changed the character sprites for the intro cutscene. It isn't explained where Batman & Flash got that giant TV though.

 Stage 1: Batman      In My House


Monday, December 2, 2013

Pixel Junk

Just a dump of some animation/pixel art stuff you may have not seen if you don't follow my tumblr.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Steven Universe: Crystal Gems series (Famicom)

I’ll admit I was stubborn about watching Steven Universe at first because I’m a dick when it comes to new things, but it won me over big time. Excellent music, beautiful art direction and character designs, and the characterizations themselves really surprised me! If we can get more female showrunners it’ll be interesting to see what cartoons are like in the future.

"Never stop attacking!!"
Use Amethyst's crystal Whip to battle a seemingly endless wave of enemies in this blindingly fast sidescrolling brawler. Keep your multiplier up by whipping em quickly. Attack, attack and attack forever!

"End it in one punch!"
How hard can you hit in this arcade style collection of minigames? Collect powerups to boost your gem Gauntlets and blow them all away in one shot!

"No one can do it all alone!"
Use Pearl’s gem spear to defend Steven as he barrels carelessly through 8 perilous worlds! Can you handle the pressure of protecting a boy with no concept of self-preservation?

More photos at my Tumblr.

Hey, I've now got more posts on this blog than I did on my old blog before I moved over here. About 35,000 less pageviews than that one, but we'll get there.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Flower Crown (1991, Famicom)

Flower Crown, developed in 1991 by Ribbon Black.

A more horror themed semi-sequel to I’m Afraid of the Sun. Psychological graphic adventure in the spirit of Uninvited, Ripple Island, Shadowgate etc. The player takes the role of a young woman who gradually withdraws from the real world until she becomes trapped in a dream world she cannot awaken from.

Monday, October 28, 2013

New Leaf inspired Famicom cart: Suniekos Scramble

Hot on the heels of SWEATPANTS FOR EVERYONE is my second "Your Mayor Here" Animal Crossing: New Leaf inspired Famicom cartridge! This one was a giveaway prize for someone on Tumblr. Her favorite animal is Punchy and she asked that I work her town's name "Suniekos" into it somewhere, so I came up with a track-and-field style racing game where you have to beat the other villagers to the town's new snack bar.

 I made some New Leaf inspired stationery that I unfortunately didn't take any good photos of...maybe another time. I'd have liked to have shown the mayor's face on the cartridge, but I asked for a screenshot of her favorite outfit so scary jester mask it is!

Bonus Famicom action shot. Let's see what's being played on the TV shall we?

I guess Punchy ran out of Stamina or something? I'm testing the waters on Tumblr to see if anyone would be interested in commissioning me for one of these--wish me luck.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I found a version of Frogger I've never seen at the flea market

I often go to the local flea market in search of retro videogames, as many of you probably do. Of course, living in the swamps of south Texas you'd be surprised to know that I rarely find anything interesting!

However, this weekend I dropped by and not only found an NES racing game I'd been looking for (Al Unser Jr's Turbo Racing) and a $2 copy of El Viento for Genesis (of all things), I picked up the one of the stranger gaming related things I've seen there.

 And it was only 50 cents! Judging by that $1.98 Kmart sticker I got a hell of a deal.

And it's complete too! Wasn't even expecting that--I figured 50 cents was worth it just for the box.

Speaking of the box, it raises the question: What exactly are the guidelines for official Frogger art? I mean, that's a fairly realistic frog currently pissing itself up there. Here's the original arcade art:

AKA my favorite arcade art ever
But to be fair, there are more renditions (and releases) of Frogger than there are stars in the sky. At least the puzzle doesn't feature the character design they eventually settled on.

Looks like a Garanimal.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sweatpants For Everyone (Famicom)

Sorry about the crappy photos on this one, I've had nothing but bad luck with photography today.

First off, the title of the game is an Animal Crossing joke--sometimes your villagers will give you petitions to get signatures for, and the "jock" villagers sometimes want you to lobby for "Sweatpants For Everyone".

This was an example cartridge I made for a giveaway raffle I'm holding on my Tumblr--one random winner will get an imaginary famicom (or NES) game featuring their mayor and favorite villager! I'd like to test the waters with commissions for these, and I figure this is a good way to both show appreciation to Tumblr for the (relative for me) success of my "This Week In Town" comics, and to drum up awareness of my custom fake game service!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Games For October - Deep Fear

Deep Fear, developed by ISCO in 1998 (a contemporary of Resident Evil 2) and released onto Sega Saturn in Japan and Europe only. Deep Fear has the distinction of being Europe's last Saturn release, and they chose quite a note to go out on.

Gameplay wise? It's Resident Evil. Story wise? It's bananas. To briefly sum it up, ex-SEAL John Mayor is part of a rescue team called the ERS and must survive the horror of mutant creatures with murder on their mind--UNDER THE OCEAN. Gameplay takes place in an underwater research station called the Big Table.

The game's many cutscenes are well done for the time, but the voice acting must be heard to be believed.  The sound effects are sadly subpar, which hurts the immersion factor; still, I think the monster's moans can be downright haunting. This however is coming from a person who once paid his brother to walk through a scary room in Resident Evil, so take it as you will.

 For the record, this was the most fun "photoshoot" I've done yet--choosing which ones to post was tough. Of all things to have a passion for, themed video game package design photography is mine.

"Hereafter We Will Have Desperate Days With Nowhere To Escape..."
Hell yeah. Deep Fear's tagline certainly ranks up there with RE's "Enter The Survival Horror." And just in case that, the box art and the title didn't transmit the message clearly, blood red words at the bottom lay it on the line for you: DEEP-SEA HORROR AND SUSPENSE. I love this game's packaging more than the game itself.

While we're discussing promotional materials, here's the Japanese commercial for Deep Fear, featuring nothing but prerendered cutscenes and national treasure Segata Sanshiro butchering a fish.

If you can't get hold of the European version, the Japanese one is more affordable and very playable without knowing the language!

Ever played Deep Fear? Got any other suggestions for Survival Horror style games (any system)? I'm looking for more things to play this October!