First of all, I want to sing the praises of VirtualDubMod for rescuing my night yesterday - I played for an hour and found out in the most frighteningly direct way that CamStudio 2, being a 32-bit application, just stops saving a video file once it reaches above 2GB and leaves it unreadable. But VirtualDub could just reindex and rekey the AVI file automatically, save it out again and it was perfect - I didn't even lose any footage! So thank you to open source software once again.
Thankfully, then, you can now see the adventures and mischief that took place on my third night (fourth part) under Zebes. In this episode I defeat a big lizard, acquire some new goodies, descend to some volcanic depths, resurrect an old ghost in managing to tempt the game... and then get stuck. So on this occasion, if you want to help me get out of the situation I've landed in, feel free to give me a small hint, perhaps just a general place I should be looking or ability that I haven't considered using... because I certainly can't see a way out.
22 May 2013 | 9:02 pm
Er, Part 2 is here and I sort of forgot to link it.
Thanks to everyone who volunteered information after watching my first night of Super Metroid, in which I think I made a surprising amount of progress for someone who didn't know all the controls (rather like Marble Madness before it, as much as marbles can "run"). Here's the second session of the journey, confusingly titled Part 3, which I hadn't realized would be so short - I aim for about twenty-minute episodes, but exploration-based games compress down amazingly when you edit them down to just the interesting or relevant bits (particularly with me at the controls).
This part involves... getting lost, mostly, and also a fair amount of screaming.
21 May 2013 | 9:08 pm
Having now just about reached a point where I'm no longer utterly sick of the sight of Powerdirector, I've decided to open a new semi-grand project in the form of an extended Stumbling Through of Super Metroid.
This was inspired by the game suddenly landing in the hands of a large number of stupid people via its release on the Virtual Console, which led to a load of posts on Twitter by idiots who can't get past the first obstacles. Or so it seemed - to prove or disprove this, I decided to play through the game myself to see if I could do any better. Wish me luck.
In this first episode, I learn the backstory, bumble around finding my feet, and then get eaten by a fishbeast.
To disclose fully: I have played this game before, but it was in fifteen-minute bursts on a train on the way in and back from work, and consequently I could never remember what I was supposed to be doing or where I had been or where to go next at any time. Just about everything that I see this time around honestly seems new to me.
19 May 2013 | 4:51 pm
One of the writers for PC Gamer, Richard Cobbett, wrote a great article on the Hugo's House of Horrors series the other week - it's great to see the second game examined like this, especially as he raises so many of the same points as we did in my post on it on videogame_tales last month... I mean in 2009. Hmm. (Indeed, he proves a suspicion that we had all along and finds that at least the house on the first screen of the first game was a colouring-in of a piece of clipart.)
The rest of his Saturday Crapshoot series is well worth reading, too - it covers interesting relics from times gone by (or just recent oddities) and has exactly the right level of grumpiness that I love and nurture.
18 May 2013 | 11:37 pm
> Hi Dr. Chiropactor, [Do you have any appointments available?]> I can see you next Tuesday at 11:30-12:30 for an initial appointment, during which I will take history, examine, and treat (as indicated). My preliminary impression, judging from your gmail picture, is that your problem comes from your ears.
14 May 2013 | 9:26 pm
After the debacle of last year's grand meeting, where all proposals were shot down by the 300-year-old incumbents and we were collectively talked down to with a semi-psychotic rant about squirrels, I don't have much left but disdain for this entire process.
4 May 2013 | 7:44 pm
I have no idea how long I expected this thing to go on for when it was first started, but it's a bit of a special day in my online world - today marks this journal's tenth birthday. It was started in 2003 as a link in a circle of friends keeping in touch with each other after the first year of university - and after not being able to see the appeal of broadcasting thoughts about my life at first, ironically I'm now the only one of them still at it.
And in retrospect, I'm now very glad to have done it. I really enjoy exploring back through it sometimes, just to see memories - both of actual life events and just whatever I was thinking about at the time, vaguely remembering writing them and recalling the environment that I was living in. Through these pages, you can see an enormous stretch of my life, starting at one end with me being a complete idiot... and going all the way back to 2003.
Seriously, though, there's a massive amount of personal development visible by flicking through the history (although naturally I'd rather you didn't). The contrast is clear by looking back to the very first entry, which was one of those stupid quiz things where you put in some values and it told you what flavour of yoghurt you were or that in a previous life you were a depressed goldfish. I stopped doing those fairly quickly as I realized that they were hugely irritating, but unfortunately didn't realize the same about my own writing. The first couple of years are very introspective and more than a little repellent, talking about personal late teenage thoughts and crises of little interest to its small intended audience and of even less interest to anybody else.
Gradually, I would like to feel that I got my act together a bit, and started to realize that I had a platform to make myself seem like an interesting and funny person instead of a pitiable and despondent one - a turning point that you can recognize around the time that I stopped using lyric fragments as entry titles on the basis that it was bloody stupid. I started writing more about things that I thought were interesting rather than tacking up the day to day events of my life, and started producing things like this. Dreadfully written as it seems now, this was actually the first - and to date, only - thing I've written that seems to have been widely linked outside Livejournal itself (based on me finding a couple of people on other sites asking if anyone remembered the article that rated all the Prince of Persia games with turbans out of ten.)
Life events still naturally formed the basis of what I wrote about, and the focus of my writing (as much as there was one) shifted over the journal's lifetime - from university-related talk to work to moving to America, which has proved to be an inexhaustible supply of things to rant about and is probably the main reason for the journal's longevity. These posts could be anything from large essays on the suspiciously frequent bizarre events in my day to day life to just simple photographs of this insane thing I saw on the subway. Recently, things seem to have come full circle on the subject of it being aimed towards a very specific audience, as 2012-2013 was definitely the Year of the Pigeon, a period that saw most other posts (and other things I did with my life) disappearing in favour of updates to an improbably successful and largely accidental venture.
What now? Well, I'm going to carry on. I had been thinking of hanging on to the tenth anniversary and then just stopping, but I honestly have no idea what I'd do otherwise when I wanted to broadcast something worth sharing - I've met hundreds of people on the Internet through this, and I really value the twelve or so of them who aren't complete idiots. It's striking that there is nowhere that offers the same thing that it does, apart from the skeletally identical Dreamwidth - the number of people writing interestingly is declining in favour of streams of rapid-fire information.
With that in mind, thank you for staying around, for letting me share these fragments of my life and for sharing yours in return.
30 April 2013 | 8:20 pm
The final final short episode (because I forgot that this one existed until just now) is a collection of quite funny deleted scenes and a really lovely final message. And with that, the last Holidaystar video really is up - we've explored every avenue of the game that we're going to explore. xaq, budgiebin, ravenworks, kjorteo... thank you!
I hope that everyone else's experience with this game will allow them to appreciate the tone in which this is intended, along with its paradoxical nature: I've really loved putting these videos together over the last few months. Please don't ask me to do any more soon!
0:10 After After
0:50 One last time
1:15 THE CONDUCTOR'S TRUE FORM
2:40 Hitting on me
3:05 The conductor's true form!
3:40 More work
4:05 GOOD MANNERS
5:50 Tohri's letter
7:55 GET WELL SOON
10:30 TO THE SOUTHERN CROSS
11:35 Pillow fight
12:10 The end?
12:20 One more thing
13:00 The final gift
27 April 2013 | 6:01 pm
We spent a couple of days in New Hampshire in the end, with some miniature golf, lobster rolls and a hot tub - when we arrived we found that they had wasted absolutely no time at all, as the tourist shops were already selling commemorative T-shirts. But now I think things are beginning to return to what passes for normal in my life. The news about the events of last week will go on for some time - the MBTA buses all have "BOSTON STRONG" scrolling on their signs now, which is sort of unfortunate as those things are made of wet cardboard and bits from under the sink and regularly break down if a passenger sneezes too hard.
It gives me a chance to share this poetically incomprehensible supermarket receipt, though. They're like a DOS directory listing at the best of times (I have no idea what among the things we bought today might be identified as a LN C 3CH STF RIG), but this takes it to a whole new level of gibberish. If you stare at them long enough, they do eventually form words, sort of like a written Magic Eye.
23 April 2013 | 9:18 pm
The great Boston hide and seek match of 2013 eventually concluded 1-0 to the American side with one fatality (which is still less deadly than it was whenever the Venture Scouts played it). After combing Watertown throughout the day, the police eventually lifted the shelter-in-place order and the streets started coming to life again - then a resident about five minutes away from us noticed a trail of blood leading to the boat he had propped up in the garden, and the order was reinstated.
We were unaffected by that point, though, because the moment the first shelter order was lifted we had thrown pants, socks and toothpaste into a bag and fled to the north - we are now on spontaneous holiday in New Hampshire. We were listening to the radio on the way up, and when we arrived at our hotel we saw them finally move in and capture the bomber alive on the news.
The last week has not been good for my nerves, and I'm hoping to just spend a nice couple of days relaxing while waiting for the remains of the situation, along with my general displeasure, to calm down. But whenever I say I live in Watertown, this is going to be what people think of for a very long time.
20 April 2013 | 11:16 am
Just in case anyone is unaware of the situation just now, I woke up to find several messages asking if I was all right and one company-wide email saying "DO NOT GO INTO THE OFFICE" in all-caps. Last night, the two Boston Marathon bombers were chased from the city into Watertown, where we happen to live, and I managed to sleep through a high-speed gunfight with explosives being thrown out of a car window.
One of them is still on the loose, and the entire city of Boston has been advised to stay indoors, causing the streets to become frighteningly still and empty. And it turns out that being on a shelter-in-place order with a bomber running around your town is much more cripplingly boring than you would expect. It's strange, because left to my own devices, I could keep myself entertained by the Internet and remain in the house for about six million years - but when you know that your only options are waiting for news or becoming collateral damage, every consecutive hour stretches out even longer.
The police are outside just now on their door to door search, and there have been a couple of helicopters flying low overhead. We live out in a corner of the town and I don't think we're in any real danger, but I am certainly worried about sleeping here tonight. If they start allowing cars out of the city again by tonight, I think we may go off and take a short holiday.
19 April 2013 | 4:26 pm
Here's another unidentified greenish object, photographed just outside its native habitat in the supermarket of madness. (The material in the background is a tarpaulin cover that they put over the outdoor fruit section when it rains - the supermarket is not inflatable.)
I took this photograph several weeks ago and found when I came to write this that I no longer had a clue what it was at all, but Whitney was able to remember that it was a cherimoya. It's an odd-looking green thing, the only natural thing I know of to be heart-shaped (including hearts), with dark speckles and ambitions to be a sea creature - the outside resembles overlapping scales, but the bases of the oval shapes are just slight ridges. After eight episodes of this venture over the last couple of years, it's pleasant to find a specimen that possesses no ability to attack whatsoever.
Inside, the fruit has a cream colour, with large black seeds distributed at random throughout - they seem to grow out of veins branching off a stem running through it from the top. The flesh is very soft, like ripe banana, and needs to be eaten with a spoon - it's sweet and tastes something like a very juicy pear. It's really nice, but the seeds' size means that they get in the way a lot - perhaps it could be better enjoyed by working to remove all the inedible parts first and then getting to eat it, like some sort of fruit-lobster.
18 April 2013 | 7:51 pm
The final short episode is "Preliminary Inspection", or "The DavidN Special" - after some surprisingly good distribution throughout the game, all three of the characters in it are mine, though I didn't even realized what it was setting me up for until ravenworks said it. Therefore, enjoy a tour of Kyoto as voiced by me, as pigeons, talking to myself... with something strange being inserted right at the end.
I want to apologize to just everybody for how I pronounce the names - but it's not as if people here don't have tremendous difficulty with "Edinburgh" and "Inverurie".
0:35 All David
5:10 Our Murderbeaks
6:55 Iwameanie/missing the joke
11:55 Kyoto and Kawahara
12:15 Confusing Guide to Rokkaku-dou
13:05 Any quails?
16:05 Synchronized Yuuya
12 April 2013 | 8:05 pm
I had an MRI today. It wasn't for anything serious - it had just been ordered as a reassurance for me, something to close off a few more of the seemingly endless avenues that I seem to find of worrying about things being seriously wrong inside my head.
I hadn't been scared of the procedure until the day it happened - it didn't sound that bad to me when it was suggested, but it's difficult not to feel that you're doing something very serious when you have to tick through the list of precautionary questions that they give you. And when you see the machine itself, which is a mighty circular device that takes up an entire room and has a tube in the middle that looks only just about large enough to fit a small badger, you realize exactly why they ask you repeatedly if you have claustrophobia.
The door to the scanner room had a huge and unfortunately comical warning about taking any sort of ferrous metal into the room, showing airborne canisters, wheelchairs, pots, pans and other miscellany being attracted to the machine like someone had swallowed a magnet on Tom and Jerry. I had emptied my pockets, but I realized once I was in there that I had forgotten to take my rings off - despite the warning I was told that it was safe to just leave them on a shelf next to the darkened observation window.
I was worried that any sort of metal anywhere in the room would instantly fly at the speed of sound towards the machine and into my face, but this turned out to be a non-issue because during the procedure your head is put in a safe. You lie with your head cradled in the bottom half of a plastic device which is closed over you, and you are then fed gradually into the machine on a conveyor belt. From here on, the nurse communicated with me via a speaker somewhere in the head-safe, and I was given a bulb to squeeze to signal if things got too much.
The actual procedure isn't too bad if you close your eyes and do your best to think about something else, though - the worst part of it is concentrating on keeping perfectly still for spans of a few minutes at a time while the machine vibrates and plays a sort of post-neo-electro-trance remix of the Doctor Who music around you. I had earplugs in and I didn't think they were doing much until the end when I was slid out again and realized I could barely hear anything at all - this thing really is massively loud, and the vibrations you feel are the sound it makes rather than it actually moving.
And now it's a couple of days before the results come back. Nothing is expected to be special about them, but they will indicate once again that my head issues have been caused entirely by anxiety and are controllable. In fact, I have been very hesitant to say this out loud for fear of cursing it, but I've been feeling a lot better since Monday - I've had occasional pangs of fogginess this week, but it's no longer a constant, inescapable, distressing feeling of being out of balance. I just need to keep believing that I can get out of it.
11 April 2013 | 10:59 pm
Let's finish off another section of the game - these are both the remaining Radio sessions, because they're unusually short (even the one that says it's the extra-large edition). Our host throughout them all, xaq, almost gets through the entire ordeal without having to surrender, but the fangirls obsessed with various articles of clothing eventually prove a bit too much for him.
We get a long-awaited appearance from a character who we were wondering would ever turn up, as well!
1:20 Question 1 about panties
3:20 Question 2 about trousers
3:50 Question 3 about clothing
6:30 Question 4 about glasses
0:55 Question 1 for Hiyoko: Udon
1:30 Kaku udon
2:00 Question 2 for Sakuya: Sushi
4:00 Question 3 for Nanaki: Sleeping
5:00 Question 4 for Nanaki: Dark spot
6:25 Question 5 for Yuuya: Got it
8:30 Question 6 for Okosan: House
10:30 Sean Coonery
11:20 Bonus question for...!
12:45 Question for Rabu
13:55 Final letter
10 April 2013 | 8:51 pm
9 April 2013 | 9:00 pm
We really are in the home stretch now, and then I promise I'll get back to writing about something else. This is among the "short episode" side stories in name, but it's longer than many segments of the main game! And it gives some screen time and a surprising amount of intrigue and backstory to a character that we were introduced to all the way back in the first chapter and haven't seen since.
0:00 Looking forward
1:25 Joy and gaiety
2:20 Hoping for...
3:30 In trouble
4:00 Afternoon tea
5:00 The Man with the Yellow Crest
5:25 Heard that before x1
5:40 Heard that before x2
6:30 One line
14:55 Getting complicated
16:00 Everyone in his class
17:00 Albert's story
19:30 THE INCIDENT
28:40 Sakuya's plan
30:45 The signal
Oh, and Margaret Thatcher's dead, too.
8 April 2013 | 8:52 pm
In what might turn out to be the culmination of this insane chapter of my life, we - as the largely accidentally-formed Team Hatoful - got together for a webcam session and answered questions from the people who have so enjoyed our specific voiceover of an assortment of pigeons and the versions of the characters that we've projected on to them. This two-hour special includes an explanation of how the group came to be, details of the recording process, opinions on characters, a really nicely crafted table, impressions of each other, a giant Yoshi, plot speculation, future plans, and me running away twice. ...and My Little Pony.
For me, the most surprising moment happened quite early on, when it was suddenly revealed that I had been listening to ravenworks' voice years before I met him, as part of Misteroo's legendarily berserk Arfenhouse series. You can plainly see my brain melting from about here onwards.
I first found those because Misteroo was in the ZZT community at the same time I was (what else could cause the kind of mental decay necessary to produce something like that?), and with the combination of that and discovering kjorteo's link to xaq who were both on a furry-related forum I used to visit but somehow never directly talked to either of them... budgiebin is the only one not to have had a shocking revelation that went back to the very first place I established myself on the Internet! What's that going to be, once we eventually discover it?
7 April 2013 | 10:10 pm
I've uploaded absolutely tons of Hatoful stuff over the last week and forgot to announce any of it. Therefore:
Shrine Visit Sakuya
Shrine Visit Kazuaki
Shrine Visit Yuuya
Shrine Visit Shuu
Short Story 2: Midnight Attack of the Nightmare
Radio 4: Spoilers Ahead!
Chapter 3 Extras
Chapter 4 Extras, mostly wrong choices. SLEEP WELL
6 April 2013 | 9:09 pm