Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stan Lee... ATTACKS

Once again, the Ultimo manga presents incredible imagery of its fictionalized version of Stan Lee, Lord Dunstan.

My sister and I have increasingly come to believe that good ol' Stan has made an enormous impression on the artist, Hiroyuki Takei. Just what kind of impression, though, we can't be sure.

Although the images from the chapter previous to this one, where Dunstan is laying on the floor of a man's room, making increasingly terrifying leering faces at him, and talking about the present he's given him repeatedly, suggest that he's at least a bit intimidated. (There was also the interview with Lee and Takei where Lee bullied Takei into stating that he was the best manga artist, which is something that most Japanese people find offensive.)

And in this chapter, Dunstan shouts "Dunstrike!" while punching somebody out. (Sadly, the page wouldn't have scanned well because it was a double spread.)


My sister has commented that Dunstan is the main reason she reads this manga, and I'm inclined to agree that he's the most entertaining part of it.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (47)

From Space Adventures #2 (found here, though you'll have to scroll past the article), we have this... fascinating statement.

I think my favorite thing about this panel, other than the kooky dialogue (which stems from a conversation about how, without a brain, the robot can't concentrate on a job-yes, really), is the fact that the robot looks like it's wearing sunglasses.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #2

I enjoyed doing that last one, and I'm sorely tempted to extend the length of this one based on that, but instead, I'm going to try doing lots of them so that I can just throw them out there periodically.

Let's continue to "ae."

11. Aefan. The only appearance of the Aefan was when a hundred or so of them were conned by a pseudoreligious cult into becoming slaves for an illegal drug processing operation.

Rating: N/A. We just don't know anything about these guys, except that they were short and had orange skin. And they weren't necessarily easily duped-a lot of people fell for that scheme (something I'm sure I'll go into later, but it involved using a certain species' natural telepathy to induce ecstasy-quite devious).

12. Affytechan. Affytechans are some sort of plant people who don't have natural symmetry the way animals do (apparently, each one had a unique arrangement of limbs). There is little information on their normal culture and behavior, but I'm inclined to think that they were rather eager and energetic in general.

This is because a bunch of them were unsuccessfully brainwashed into thinking they were Imperial stormtroopers. It didn't take very well, and the majority of them ran around waving brooms and things as if they were weapons.

Rating: 3/5. As actual aliens, they're pretty poorly developed despite interesting descriptions (and the fact that they apparently all stink is kind of bothersome), but the story that they appeared in was quite funny. (You had to be there.)

13. Aganof. The Aganof are a race of blind centipede worm things that live in caves. They apparently have little to no contact with the outside world. Despite this, they are apparently highly intellectual and deeply philosophical.

Rating: 4/5. Aganof have apparently never appeared in any official fiction, but they are among the ranks of aliens mentioned in role-playing source books. As such, they are actually better fleshed out than most aliens who make extremely brief appearances. That, and they are a brilliant concept.

14. Agee. The Agee had wings, but apparently not all of them could fly. They were panicky creatures.

Rating: 3/5. While the Agee were a very simple, basic story device (panicky characters who tried to flee at the first sign of danger), they did fill the role fairly well. It'd be nice to have more on them than that, but we don't, and it could be and probably will be a long time before we do.

15. Aggoron. "Many Aggoron were traders and... formed part of the thousands of non-Gree... [in] the Gree Enclave." Lost? Well, that's okay. I don't know what to say myself.

Rating: N/A. Being a trader does not a species description make.

16. Agorffi. The Agorffi were apparently large and strong, comparably so to Gamorreans and Wookiees. This made them a frequent target for slavers. Nice.

Rating: 1/5. There's the germ of a good backstory for a species there, but just not enough yet. Sometimes source books are fail, too.

17. Ahra Naffi. "The Ahra Naffi were an ancient species that begat the Qonet, who in turn begat the Qella." This is the whole article on Wookieepedia, not counting references. Don't worry, I'll cover that when I hit the Qs, but it really isn't relevant here.

Rating: 1/5. While the whole historical/archaeological angle thing is interesting, I don't know that it's necessary to make up names for each iteration of a species as it develops, since they usually can't interbreed with other species, now can they?

18. Ailon. The Ailon are a warrior race with extremely ancient warrior traditions, and they believe in rule by the strong, which means they're very loyal to the Galactic Empire. As non-humans, they are held in contempt by the Galactic Empire, who likes to hire them and send them on suicide missions, telling them that they were the only ones who could possibly accomplish them.

Rating: 3/5. While it's a rather grim thing, I have to admit the Ailon appeal to the darker side of my sense of humor. I really rather like the idea of seeing these guys, whose elite had a reputation as being roughly as competent as the infamous Mandalorians, having a novel or two about them written.

19. Aing-Tii. At some point in the past, I mentioned the Aing-Tii, who are a reclusive race whose primary form of contact with the rest of the galaxy is through their warrior monks, Force users who can teleport starships and who spend a lot of their time killing slavers. Like the Aaris (which I mentioned in the first Guide post), they are natives of the Kathol Rift. They actually have quite a bit of backstory compared to a lot of the more obscure aliens of Star Wars, especially considering that, as far as I can tell, there have been almost no named Aing-Tii characters.

Rating: 5/5. The Aing-Tii are pure awesomeness. To top it all off, they were created for The DarkStryder Campaign, which was basically "Lovecraft meets Star Wars" and was contributed to by Timothy Zahn, my favorite Star Wars author. What's not to like about them?

20. Akurian. The Akurians were nicknamed "Snow Demons" because their planet was cold. They were apparently primitive aboriginals whose homeworld got invaded at some point; the Rebels helped them reclaim it.

Rating: 3/5. At least there are pictures of them out there, and they look vaguely interesting.

Some interesting ones this time.

-Signing off.

Monday, September 27, 2010


A real home-made magnetic projectile accelerator!

Though it supposedly stands little chance of killing anybody without the help of them fiddling around inside it and getting shocked by its massive electrical charge. Ah, well, it's a start.

-Signing off.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #1

(I decided that, since I enjoy wikiwalking, I might as well try doing some kind of regular feature here that exploits this fact.

When I call it a "guide to the Star Wars universe," I won't be talking about specific characters, at least not usually. Maybe I'll do a piece on the more exotically bizarre and inexplicable Sith Lords, because seriously speaking some of them are insanely weird and awesome and one of them is the hugest Mary Sue character in Star Wars [which deserves some kind of appreciation], or maybe I'll do something on Force powers that mentions them extensively instead. I dunno.)

Everybody remembers Star Wars IV: A New Hope as the film that essentially pioneered using weird aliens to add flavor to cinema. Let's take a look at some Star Wars alien species, and give them some basic ratings on creativity, interest, and coolness. For convenience, I'll be using Wookieepedia's alien category lists to compile these, which will allow me to move in alphabetical order. Oh, yes.

1. Aalagar. The Aalagar are "a subspecies of Bith." What this means is that they're similar to the aliens who were playing jazzy music in the Mos Eisley cantina. Their notable feature is that they tied together strings to communicate. No, seriously, they do that.

Rating: 3/5. The fact that they are a derivative of the Bith who do weird things with string makes me rank them lower than I'd probably rank the Bith.

2. Aar'aa. Large reptilians who "become sluggish in cold temperatures," the Aar'aa's greatest accomplishment seems to be coming up with a name that could be represented almost entirely by the letter A.

Rating: 2/5. For some reason, reading about "cold-blooded reptile" aliens always sets off my fantastic racism radar. Their species name is kind of epic, though.

3. Aaris. The Aaris were the inhabitants of a planet in the Kathol Rift, and were driven insane by a mysterious artifact that fell from the sky and caused them to fight a brutal civil war with each other, resulting in the collapse of their civilization.

Rating: 4/5. While they don't sound that interesting to look at (child-sized reptilians with warty skin) the Lovecraft references won me over.

4. Ab'Ugartte. The only information we have on this species comes from one individual, the unsavory Jak Sazz, who apparently didn't regularly clean himself and had a... suspicious relationship with his wrench. Yes, really.

Rating: 2/5. I can't judge the species properly from one ugly guy, but at least he looks ugly in an interesting way.

5. Abinyshi. These aliens look a bit like velociraptors with heads like the Greys. They were supposedly driven nearly to extinction by the Empire mining their homeworld excessively.

Rating: 4/5. They win points for looking excessively amusing.

6. Abominor. Are you ready for this? The Abominor are a race of sapient droids. They apparently originated outside the Star Wars galaxy. They were capable of consuming material and growing to near-planetary sizes.

All this to explain where the heck the Great Heep came from.

Rating: 5/5. I love the Droids cartoon (well, what little I've seen of it), and the fact that the Abominor graduated from being a crazy, somewhat rundown mining droid that wanted to eat R2-D2 to a species strikes me as the absolute height of incredible awesomeness.

7. Abyssin. The Abyssin are a race of cyclops who regenerate so well and so quickly that it caused diplomatic problems. Those problems relating to the fact that when they beat the living daylights out of visitors from other planets, they don't understand why they die instead of getting back up.

Rating: 4/5. The Abyssin amuse me, and whoever built their backstory gets points for naming their homeworld "Byss" rather than doing a more standard species name derivation, though that creates an issue with Star Wars' other planet named Byss... (More on that later, I'm sure.)

8. Adarian. Adarians are notable for being among those aliens who weren't merely run over roughshod by the Empire, for having some kind of nonsensical advanced technology, and for being stubborn. They're also notable because they have holes in their heads.

Rating: 3/5. They sound like they could be interesting, but the fact that they have the potential for a nickname that makes "Snaggletooth" sound like a polite compliment kinda takes away from them.

9. Adnerem. Adnerem come from the planet Adner. -snrt!- Excuse me. They have triangular heads with horn-like knobs on their foreheads. They don't have thumbs. They also have all sorts of really weird names for their family units and whatnot, and are prone to being criminals because they're not very social.

Rating: 1/5. A species prone to being criminals because they're not very social? FAIL.

10. Advozse. The plural is "Advosec," which is worthy of mention by itself. These guys are ugly dudes with forehead horns, who come from a planet which sounds like a pain to live on because of the constant volcanic eruptions blocking out the sun and the earthquakes everywhere. Also, "As a result, the Advozse people ended up having little attachment to material goods or long-term plans, and developed a pessimistic, selfish, and even paranoid outlook on life. This facet of their culture remained long after contact with the Galactic Republic gave them access to modern construction techniques allowing for more permanent buildings." Yeah, nice, backstory writers, nice.

Rating: 2/5. The odd culture and ugly (in an unappealing way) appearance leave me cold; on the other hand, at least they're different.

Ten down, only about a thousand more to go.

-Signing off.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


For some reason, it's been really bloody hot today, and at some point my higher cognitive functions just shut down. I'm afraid I've been burning my time wikiwalking over at Wookieepedia.

On the one hand, it's something of a waste of a lot of time, and I haven't got a blog ready, not even a stupid farty video post. On the other hand, I now have an idea for a semi-regular feature that I ought to be able to do for quite a while, so it's not a total loss.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dad's Home

Late last week, I linked/embedded a video called Walk-Smash-Walk.

The same guy who made that made this. This is a little more weird/inappropriate, but still enjoyable. (Newgrounds has a higher-quality version, but you can watch the YouTube embed here, as before.)

I'll admit, I did pretty much laugh the whole way through.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Golden Age Mugshots

Golden Age comics have strengths and faults in many areas. They have fast, simple stories and bizarre weirdness, but they also have rampant racism and often forgettable and interchangeable villains.

That's probably why I like Air Fighters comics-they manage to dodge this last one to no small degree.

Those are, respectively from top left to bottom right (in "English reading" order): A spy pretending to be a Nazi ghost; a "half-man" Nazi cyborg (they apparently hadn't invented the word cyborg yet), a generic tough Nazi who got a tattoo, and a Nazi with a mechanically enhanced mask covering his mutilated face who has superhuman vision.

Okay, well, yeah, obviously they're all Nazis. But at least they aren't all easily swapped with each other seamlessly like most Golden Age villains, right? (Air Fighters' "sister title" Clue Comics featured about one truly memorable villain, the Crane, who had extending arms... and was a Nazi spy. Hm, there's a definite pattern.)

-Signing off.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (46)

From Reptisaurus #1 (which I mislabeled as Reptisaurus #2 here because it was continuing from Reptilicus #1 in some kind of copyright boondoggle) comes this... insanely creepy moment related to several rather unsettling romantic plotlines:

Incidentally, the dude was named Clark Martin, and his ward/fiance was named Beverly Foster. At least they weren't Bruce Martin and Robin Foster.

To be fair, later on they deliberately played up the creepy to make the guy look evil...

What were they doing in a comic about a giant killer lizard? That's a good question. You see, Clark Martin was a big game hunter, and he was getting bored with traditional big game... (I don't need to take that statement any further, do I?)

-Signing off.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Also to be found (in much higher quality) here, I present to you Walk-Smash-Walk, a fun music video/animation which apparently is a completely original composition from the fevered dreams of its creator.

I always enjoy seeing nice flash animation and listening to nice original music compositions. Being able to refer people to them with a blog post is just icing on the cake.

-Signing off.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm Jealous of Fryhtan Parents...

...because the names they get to call their kids by are incredible. ([Note than in Seven Kingdoms and Seven Kingdoms II, individuals were given individual names.] Not that I think Fryhtans are likely to have parents in the traditional sense of the word. As near as I can tell, Fryhtans are spawned from the warm, wet, and squishy floors of their lairs at the behest of their All High masters. For some reason, this requires gold. And if you're wondering what in the world I'm talking about, just click the "seven kingdoms" tag.)

So what are the most impressive Fryhtan names, the ones that stand head and shoulders Grokken-style above the rest?

Well, first I'll compile my top ten (in no particular order), and then have a list of honorable mentions. The spellcheck is going to hate me for this...

10. Nuonekh. I'm not sure just what it is about "Nuonekh" that amuses me so. I think it has something to do with how much it sounds like "no neck," which is very funny. The oddball spelling also makes me think of "nek battledogs," so that might also be a contributing factor.

9. Smaucross. I think the best thing about "Smaucross" is that for no apparent reason, I imagine it being pronounced by a stuffy British guy. "Smaucross, your tea is served." No, it doesn't make any sense.

8. Coassdzains. One of the things about Fryhtan names that makes them distinctive is that they look vaguely Welsh. That said, I have no idea whether there's a compiled database of Fryhtan names, or if there's a primitive name generator in 7KII's code. Anyway, this name has even more bizarre spelling and probable pronunciation than most Fryhtan names.

7. Oadmoack. I just like the way I imagine it sounds. ("Ode-moke." Say it a few times.)

6. Uetkluoph. I like seeing "ph" in words, and I also like seeing vowels that look like they should be pronounced individually.

5. Khroack. There needs to be a Fryhtan name generator online somewhere. Seriously.

4. Urbregs. I like "ur" as a word/prefix.

3. Phebress. This happens to be the name of an independent Grokken Ordo you can hire in one of the 7KII tutorials. Since Grokken are my favorite Fryhtans, and Phebress was my first impression of them, you can guess how I probably feel about Phebress.

2. Krauckuss. I'm not perfectly 100% on the spelling of this, because I recently lost the sheet of paper I wrote it down on ages ago (I wrote it down ages ago, then lost the piece of paper recently), but I'm pretty sure it would be pronounced the same. I guess I just like seeing "au" in words, too. Heck, I just like seeing "u" in words.

1. Visbraync. I had this written on the same sheet of paper as the above, so the same remarks apply. This name goes the extra mile-if it was just "Visbrayn," that would be cool enough, but that extra "c" really makes it perfect.

Honorable mentions:

Oakhclaij (easy to misread as "Oakhclau" in the 7KII font, which is also a cool name)
Aizhgoum (note that "zh" is used in dictionary pronunciation guides to represent the "j" sound, so that's "Aijgoum")
Brogue (yes, really-I've seen it more than once, too)

Yeah, I'm still enamored of these silly names a decade later. Go figure.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (45)

From Planet Comics #73 (the same issue as yesterday's adventure) comes this... interesting event:

A flying saucer stealing moisture from the stratosphere and then... apparently shooting it up into orbit like a firehose?

Martians always want something from us, huh?

-Signing off.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Space Crazy Comics: Cerebex (Part the Second)

Last week, I began exploring some crazy old story where a German dictator that everybody thought was dead turned out not to be, then was killed anyway, but had his brain imprinted on a giant supercomputer/robot by a mad scientist, who was promptly killed by the computer/robot. (Just read the post on the other end of the link, 'kay?)

We pick up where we left off: The evil Hitler Schmackenburg brain is causing trouble.

A thousand times more powerful? Perhaps. That depends on how you define the power of his brain, I suppose.

Anyway, then "the brain runs wild!" Which is one of my favorite sentences ever now.

Incidentally, while I don't especially care for the artist's human forms and I think the robot designs could be better, he clearly can draw the heck out of perspective and is quite masterful at the craft of paneling. (Also, in retrospect I should have cut that black bar out. Ah, well.)

Things quickly reach the Godzilla threshold, and they're all out of atomic dinosaurs.

As the brain rampages, the lady and the guy watch with binoculars. No, I dunno.

Wait, what? Mary Schmackenburg? Seriously?

Never mind, who cares about the story. Let's see what the brain does next!

Robot minions such as the one that was invading that earlier panel! Awesome. (Incidentally, there was another instance of interesting layout breaking here-the last robot in sequence was entirely in the next panel. Also, that chick's eyes are terrifying.)

The inventor assistant guy decides he needs to build a robot to counter the robot/computer. So, after trying to requisition materials from the prime minister (wait, this is set in England?!) and discovering that the Hitler brain has already assassinated him (assassination by giant flying robots!), he gets materials from the brain's new slaves instead.

The test run went well; will the robot be successful against the gigantic Hitler brain?

Oh snap.

However, it's not size that determines the victor of this battle, nor is it brawn. It's brains a powerful new weapon.

Oh, dear, not magnetism. (Never mind that that kind of magnetic weapon should have done bad things to the brain...)

So what now?

Wooden robot.


Wooden robot wins!

I love stupid old comics.

This would seriously make the best movie ever. Sadly, "Cerebex" is now a trademark owned by a pharmaceutical company, so I don't see it happening (under that name). But it would be awesome.

-Signing off.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Game Review: Dodge

Dodge is a game that describes itself as being in the style of a "classic arcade game." Whether this means that it imitates some other game's gameplay is something I can't answer.

Dodge is unique in that it is the only game I've ever played where I was happy to notice the enemies have homing projectiles.


Because if they hit your enemies, they kill 'em.

In fact, it's the only way in the game to actually harm your enemies-you don't have a gun.

This game is fun for being different. You can outrun projectiles very nearly at will, and can fly right through enemies without being harmed (unless they shoot you). The graphics are clean and attractive, and make wiping enemies out very satisfying. (In addition to the explosions, little fragments of colored debris pile up as you progress. I have to admit I love that little touch.)

If you like simple, elegant games, this one is great. You could waste only minutes, or many hours, depending on your tastes.

-Signing off.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I'd Rather Be a Fryhtan

(Note: The following images [which there are a lot of-sorry if your connection's slow] come from two sources, Seven Kingdoms and Seven Kingdoms II. Close observation would reveal that there's an additional variation-sometimes, the buildings are bigger in the 7KII images. This is a game setting difference-when capturing the raw versions of these images, my old computer puked and decided it would never read the 7KII CD-ROM again, so I moved over to my sister's old computer to finish, where she had her own default settings enabled. Also, the only way to retrieve images from that particular computer is through a 1.44 MB floppy drive... and 7KII takes screenshots as massive BMP files, forcing me to use Paint, of all things, to do sloppy JPEG conversions.

Long story short, it was kinda involved, and that doesn't even go into how long it took to upload four batches of five images on Blogger's super-slow image uploader.

Still, this post couldn't have done without them, so enjoy. This reads best if you've read the other post on Seven Kingdoms, by the way.)

In the world of Seven Kingdoms, there are two major forces.

The Fryhtans...

...and the humans.

Your first inclination might be to sympathize with the humans, seeing as how you are probably a human yourself.

Let me tell you though, humans aren't very nice.

They're always infighting.

This, even though Fryhtans, those supposed monsters, can get along with humans quite well.

(For those of you wondering about the title text above? RTS units are huge morons, especially in old games. Those units were almost certainly enemies, yet still ignored each other unless ordered to attack each other.)

Further, humans attacked Fryhtans, with the only major provocation for a long time being that Fryhtans had cooler stuff than they did. (Fryhtans drop gold and magic scrolls that let you summon Greater Beings, immensely powerful special units.) Eventually, Fryhtans wised up and decided to rectify things.

Note that in the above image, some humans have turned traitor against their own kind, due to the overwhelming power of the Fryhtan armies they faced.

Fryhtans have a decided disadvantage, in that they number far fewer than the pernicious human plague. They make up for this with their raw strength and power-some Fryhtans are the largest, toughest units in the game, comparable to many buildings in size and durability.

There is the fact that now Fryhtans slaughter humans to power their arcane magics, but it's not like it wasn't done to them first, now is it?

Fryhtans prefer to be close to the enemy if possible-it's easier for them to overrun humans if their lairs are near human starting points.

This is an unusually lucky instance of this.

These Fryhtans in particular, the Exovum, are essentially the smarmy jocks of the Fryhtan world, but other Fryhtans will put up with them, for reasons explained later.

Note that Fryhtans have a hierarchy quite similar to that of humans-instead of a King, they have an All High; instead of Generals, they have Ordos. You can tell the All Highs by the little crowns.

Fryhtans have always had edges in durability, speed, and raw power, even when they were just wild, independent raiders.

Other Fryhtans, such as the mighty Grokken, make up for their lack of speed with powerful ranged attacks and sheer durability.

An army of high-level Grokken can be nearly unstoppable-they may be the strongest "mortal" units in the game.

Others lack speed and raw power, and need other means to make up for it, such as the Ezpinez, who have a useful ability I'll go into in a bit.

The Kharshuf are slow and lack ranged powers, but they likewise have a formidable ability, and are tougher and stronger.

With their mix of strengths and weaknesses, Fryhtans' greatest strength may come from teamwork.

Each map in 7KII is dotted with independent Fryhtan lairs, and these can be potent sources of fresh Fryhtan blood.

The Ezpinez are, as noted, not powerful units, but their specialty is producing excellent war machines, which rival or exceed their human counterparts in effectiveness.

Kharshuf have one of the more unique abilities, the ability to make camouflaged units/buildings called Lishorrs. These will attack enemies nearby, and there is an even more interesting variant, the Wilde Lishorr (dig the olde tyme spellyng), which doesn't belong to you, but replicates itself and attacks all non-Kharshuf units.

These can easily take over a map if left unchecked, and will ambush foes foolish enough to attack your deep territory.

The Exovum, already champs among Fryhtans, also bring the strongest weapon to the table of perhaps any group in the game-the Mage Tor.

The Mage Tor (here surrounded by camouflaged Lishorrs to defend it from their Wilde cousins) is a devastatingly strong building that can wipe out even the toughest armies and structures, given some time and energy.

Sadly, the Fryhtans seem to have too many weaknesses to stand for long against the human threat to their existence.

Their species is doomed to a downward spiral, where they'll eventually be replaced by something generic and stupid, like demons.

Except that one Grokken there. It looks like he might do okay.

Let us lament the lost Fryhtans. Shall we?

-Signing off.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sorry to Disturb You Again...

...but due to circumstances beyond my control, I don't have time for a real post.

Again, sorry.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Space Crazy Comics: Cerebex (Part the First)

In which we see poorest mad scientist survival instincts ever. And that's saying something.

"Cerebex" is a story from Planet Comics #73, which can be found on Golden Age Comics or (I believe) the Flashback Universe blog. (Look 'em up yourself, I'm in a hurry here.)

This amusing story starts with a large splash panel, a portion of which I stuck in yesterday's post. It continues with a couple more, each of which see a bit of crowding from the splash page, including a rather funny intruding robot thing.

Anyway, we learn that there's some kind of vaguely ominous job of computer design going on.

It takes a swift (and somewhat random) turn for the sinister:

Sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it?

Within a few panels, we learn that the woman is right-Hitler Schmackenburg is still alive, and the Nazi follower guy is modeling the brain after him.

But he's still copying the madman's brain, even though he's bumping him off. Does that seem... incredibly stupid to you? Because it does to me.

Let's see if I'm right.

First, it kills some guy I don't give a darn about. Then:

Duh, you nincompoop. You expect a mental copy of a megalomaniac to conquer the world for you, and not care that you bumped off the original?

There's plenty more, but as I've noted, I have limited time, so I'll leave you with that for now. I may not get to it again this week (I do have other material, it's just that that would take a lot more time-stupid yardwork), but rest assured, I'll cover it soon.

It's my solemn duty to talk about a robot Hitler brain trying to conquer the world, you know.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (44)

Sometimes, you just have to post a picture of a giant robot/computer thing slapping an airplane.

I really need to do a post on this story.

-Signing off.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Japan is Weird

Hey Japan, do you have anything incredibly disturbing I could post?

Thanks! That's... disturbing!

Wasn't quite feeling up to a real post... and now I'm not sure I feel up to eating.

-Signing off.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Once again, I find myself distracted and unmotivated. (I have some content I've been working on, but it won't be ready until next week.)

So I'll once again direct you to concept ships, concept robots, and the new concept vehicles. As noted in the past, these sites will be absolute murder on your download/processing speed unless viewed with the utmost caution, generally one post and one site at a time. (Stupid Flash tricks...)

Oh! Almost forgot that I also recently read a compact little webcomic called Seedless. It's actually on hiatus (and unfortunately the website takes you to the first page by default) and its archive system is kind of snafu'd, but you can still successfully read it all. It's a very weird, faux-kiddie kind of comic, but it's still a fun read if you can stand it. If you liked or still like '80s cartoons, you'd probably enjoy it. (The artist has successfully worked on several projects in print, and I became aware of the series when someone reviewed the print edition of it, so it's pretty solid quality, if kind of wonky at times.)

-Signing off.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Game Profiles: Seven Kingdoms (AA/II)

You know what old RTSs are totally awesome? Seven Kingdoms ("Ancient Adversaries" and "II: The Fryhtan Wars").

Years ago, I got a disc with some demos on it, and one of them was for 7KII. That disc influenced a lot of the game purchasing decisions my sister and I made over the following five years (well, all of them, really), and we eventually purchased at least three of the seven games on it. (I can't remember if there were any other games we thought about buying, but the three we got-Septerra Core, Revenant, and Seven Kingdoms II-were all games we both enjoyed and played quite a bit.)

More recently, I was curious about the game, and some careful internet searches later, I discovered that, like a number of low-selling games from the old days have of late, the first Seven Kingdoms (which is often called "Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries" because it was later packaged with its expansion pack, Ancient Adversaries) has been released under a general public license, and has been updated to run more smoothly on modern operating systems. Which means you can get it for free. (7KII apparently is somehow still providing enough income that Enlight, the company that created the games, is unwilling to GPL it.)

Anyway, if you've ever played an RTS, you know how they work. You look down on the game world, click on units and give them commands, and build units and bases to create and sustain an army with which to overrun your opponents.

Seven Kingdoms was the RTS that dared to be different.

Before games like Warcraft III introduced the idea of heroes who gain massive benefits from experience, Seven Kingdoms gave that feature to every unit (well, except war machines, because they're machines).

But that's a minor aspect of it. Seven Kingdoms (and its successor, Seven Kingdoms II) featured unique systems that forced you to consider how to treat your units, how to expand, and more. Each non-war machine unit other than your king has a statistic called "loyalty," which rises and falls depending on many factors, and enemy units have a statistic called "resistance" which is essentially the opposite of loyalty. It is easier to bring towns under your control with generals (or your king) if the general matches the nationality of that town. (7K:AA messes the math up a bit with its mixed nationality towns, but despite that, it was an interesting feature unique to the first game.) Also, while you could reduce an independent or enemy town's resistance by attacking it, this tends to drive down your "reputation," yet another statistic, which affects both general loyalty and resistance relative to you, and also affects your final score. There are also spies, which work in a way more like real spies than is possible in most games.

While 7K:AA had many features that were removed from 7KII, the things that it had weren't much of a loss (other than water and ships, which I love), because the addition to 7KII was a wonderful one: Fryhtans.

Essentially, Fryhtans are giant, murderous monsters that run around killing everybody and probably eating them. They appeared in the first game as "trolls," essentially annoying enemies with prizes for killing them (another thing featured later in Warcraft III), but in 7KII, you can play as Fryhtans.

For me (and my sister), this honestly makes all the difference: Fryhtans don't have reputation scores, and that means you can be as nasty as you want. In fact, you're encouraged to be as nasty as possible, because Fryhtans have magic that is essentially powered by killing humans. Seriously. (There's also another interesting vibe to Fryhtans, but I like Fryhtans so much that I'm seriously going to do another blog post at some point all about them.)

The second game also fixes a wonky thing I noticed about the first game: AI players in the first will attack independent towns to drive down their resistance, because AI players apparently don't care about their own reputation. (AI Fryhtans, of course, have no compunctions in the second game.) Another nice feature of 7KII is that you can choose to have bigger buildings, although if you're used to playing with the smaller ones, it's disorienting.

Both games also feature a number of other things, like summonable deities and other such stuff, but that's really just icing on the cake.

If it sounds remotely appealing, give that first game a try (you've got nothing to lose, it's free), and if you like that, try the second, too.

From what I've heard, the third Seven Kingdoms, Conquest, was panned by critics; it apparently only carried over some general ideas from the first two, those being the use of "gods/greater beings" and the idea that humanity had huge, terrifying monster enemies (generically renamed demons). It looks like it was very pretty, but that's probably the best thing about it. [/curmudgeon]

-Signing off.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Starcraft Trailer Thingy

As a fan of RTS games (though not much of a player of them), I took note when I recently learned that there would be a sequel to Starcraft (now out), the RTS everybody remembers (as opposed to Total Annihilation, an influential but poorly known game, which for its age had a far superior, even revolutionary engine*). I've never played old Starcraft and I'm not likely to try out the new one unless I get a new computer (RTS games tend to be really hard on computers), but I have to admit, I'm impressed by what I've seen.

My sister was impressed with the trailer too (note that my own judgment was not based on the trailer but on studying informative websites, because I'm a nerd like that), despite emphatically not being an RTS fan, though her admiration for it was expressed through the phrase "I'd watch it if it was a movie."

*Back in the day, when the Total Annihilation community was still young and vigorous, admitting to liking Starcraft bordered on social suicide in some circles. Well, not really, but you'd take a lot of flak. TA fans liked (and still like) TA because it had a far greater variety of units, was simple to modify, and had a physics engine, whereas Starcraft had a small group of units to keep things simple, could only be sloppily hacked, and had a combat system that ignored physics completely. It's that last point that particularly sticks in TAers' craws-these days they accept the other stuff as probably being useful and/or important and/or unable to be helped.

-Signing off.