big red rambling: 008 Links to Get You Through the Week of 09-20-2010

As you have probably noticed by now I am not exactly doing a great job of living up to the whole three times a week thing. Honestly, between the show, school, and work I just do not have the time. So instead of continuing to promise you something I cannot live up to, I reluctantly been going to adjust things for at least the foreseeable future and only post two columns a week. Essentially this is what I have been doing anyways, I’m just making it official. I may still occasionally as time permits post an extra column here and there and once my current busy semester is over I fully intend to go back to three columns a week. I really did agonize over this decision, silly as that may sound, because these days I take my commitments seriously. Hence this column going up a little bit late. Hopefully it is the last time timeliness is an issue within these writings.

Links to Get You Through the Week of 09-20-2010

Lets begin with a list of overlooked games from the recent Tokyo Game Show compiled by IGN. I should warn those with a low tolerance for squick (for those with no knowledge of this wonderful little internet term, here ya goes: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/squick) may not want to click on the below link. Personally, numbers 1, 3, and 4 particularly left me with the burning need to take a nice long dip in scalding water to burn the memory away.

Back in the days of my heady, immature youth (that’s right folks, the way I act know is mature realtivly speaking. Think on THAT for a while ๐Ÿ™‚ I was big devotee to the wonderful of fan fiction. Do not scoff to loudly, while the majority of fanfic is indeed crap (Sturgon’s Law states that is that 90% of everything is generally crap but with fanfic, due in large part to a lack of censors/editors/people with common sense that percentage is closer to 99.99%. There really is a metric ton of the stuff, with the amount being produced often rivaling professional book production in sheer volume and/or number of words) there IS some great stuff out there. For example, more than one fanfic writer actually writes professionally and simply uses it as a way of blowing off steam. These days my passion has cooled for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being a distinct lack of time brought on by a combination of work, school, and *gasp* actually having something resembling a social life these days. So do not worry about me starting up a regular fanfic section in these weekly links. Still, I will occasionally get a heads from some of the friends I made in that scene will give me the heads up about a particularly good piece they believe I should check out. So it was with the next link, a darkly entertaining little slice of Scott Pilgrim fan fiction. The story really captures the essence of the universe and the undertones of darkness that often lurked beneath the surface. If you have got a couple minutes, check it out.

Because I have always got time in my life for a cute cat video (or anything even tangibly cat related as followers of Twitter over the last week or so can attest to), here is one, this time involving an adorable young black furred cat playing around in a bathtub full of water. Say it with me now folks, AWWWWW.

I am a big geek. No really, surprising but true. In addition, I love comics in all forms including web based. Thus I always had a soft spot for the geek epic, Fans! aka Faans, about a diverse college Science Fiction/Fantasy/Geek Club that ends getting sucked into a world of real monsters, super villains, evil government agencies, and other assorted menaces. It started out as a light but fun comic and eventually became something much deeper and meaningful, nothing less than an examination of the entire concept, good and bad, of fandom itself. All while still keeping the pretty pictures, awesome action, and humorous hi-jinx. It ran for several years before drawing to a natural and perfect close in the early 00s. Then a funny thing happened two years ago, Fans! returned and proved that sometimes you really could go home again. Both runs of the comic have been outstanding and highly recommended for those looking for a little thoughtfulness in the escapism. Reading the entirety of this strip will be a potentially weeks long endeavor sure to entertain the whole time. Hows that for value in your free link. ๐Ÿ™‚

So what does a fine employee of WETA get up to in their free time? Well for this one at least, apparently making incredibly awesome pieces of machinima, including a nice little one minute teaser for a pending Half Life 2 fan project.

Along a similar vein, here is a photographer who chooses not to work in the real world but instead in the virtual worlds of video games. In particular, his series dealing with the endpoints of various video game worlds is truly evocative. I have always found it simultaneously fascinating and creepy to stumble upon the various holes, tares, and other visual bugs that can occur in otherwise increasingly realistic looking video games. It can indeed be haunting to stumble upon roads that go nowhere, literally. These photos really get to the heart of that idea.

I do not know who seems to be going crazier these days, the catholic church: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/17/pope-astronomer-baptise-aliens?CMP=twt_gu
or Archie Comics: http://blog.newsarama.com/2010/09/20/obama-palin-bring-politics-to-archie-comics/
although only one of these organizations continues to seem increasingly disconnected from the real world that surrounds them while also continuing to tacitly support pedophilia and child rape by way of their continued lack of action and outright cover-up. So you know, there is that. And no I do not fucking consider that a cheap shot, why do you ask?

While it is no flying car, living in a world where spray on clothing could soon be a regular thing does feel very Jetsons.

Dammit Jewel Staite, stop giving me new reasons to be depressed about Firefly being canceled after only one season.

While I have never played the Warhammer tabletop game, am unlikely to ever start, and not particularly interested in video games based on the property (unless they are made by Blizzard and have craft in the title. Oh snap, that’s right I went there.) I would be remiss in not sharing this bad ass little trailer with you.

There are many reasons I am grateful that Burn Notice exists. Not the least of which is that it prevents Bruce Campbell from having to star in pieces of crap like this.

Every week I like to fill the gaps that may exist in the education of my readers. This week in no exeption as I present for you The Adventures of Lil Cthulhu. Awww… Insanity inducing cosmic terrors have never been so adorable.

Video game time. A little warning with this first game as playing it may drive you to the brink of insanity.

I love me some great pinball and this little flash based game is nothing like it. It IS however pretty good pinball and probably worth at least a little of your time.

If power pellets had calories, a game of Pac-Man might just resemble this.

Need to improve the old typing skills and have fun while doing so? Then Clockwords is just the steampunk influenced game for you.

Next up is a classic example of simple, no frills, well done game design.

October is nearly upon us and you know what that means: Halloween. While I have some ideas in the works to celebrate my favorite holiday right by way of this column, here is a little something to start getting you in the appropriate mood. This oldie (because in internet terms 2005 IS old) but goodie still remains among the most effective creep fests, in pure mood if nothing else, that I have ever played.

Here is a game that proves the idea of a crustacean based fighting game is one long overdue.

For a browser based game, this actually looks pretty good and plays similarly. Plus who doesn’t want to vicariously live out the life of a person stranded on a far flung island?

Here is another one of those interesting little games that not only plays with the tropes and expectations of video games, but hints at the potential of the medium to produce works of genuine, indisputable art every bit as open to interpretation as any painting or sculpture has ever been. For me, this game is as much about how nonconformity can potentially bring equal parts beauty and difficulty into a person’s life. I wonder what interpretations you will drawโ€ฆ

And now for this week’s Deliciously Deviant(art).

Before we get to this week’s theme, I wanted to share something a little different with you all. This goes out to, though is hardly limited to, all the artist out there. There a few artists on deviantart whose work I am especially fond of. Of those, AquaSixio aka Cyril Rolando is at the top of that list, sharing the spot with B1ND1 whose art I also frequently feature. Here are few examples of favorite of mine from his work for context. (FYI Deviantart has been a little wonky the last few days so you may have to click on where the image should be or on the ‘download’ button to clearly view some of the links tonight. Don’t worry, the download button does not download the image to your computer. It is just the way they feature larger versions of the images as a space saving measure.)
Anyway the reasons I bring him up is because he has just posted one of his (too) infrequent tutorials. This the 12th one he has done and they are all well worth a looksee for those of an artistic bent or interest

On to the main event. This week’s theme revolves around popularity. What makes something popular? Why does one particular item succeed when hundreds of others around it fail? Is it skill? Luck? Divine fate? Answers are unlikely to be forthcoming, from God or otherwise, but I remain interested in the questions all the same.

Now where, you may be asking, do the links to all the pretty pictures come in. I will tell you. When you search for a term or phrase on deviantart, it will initially give you a selection of the most popular pieces that closest match that term. With this fact in mind, I went to a random phrase generator, cranked it up a few times, and then entered the results into the old deviantart search engine. The results were rather interesting and I will let them speak for themselves. To keep things in the realm of sanity, I entered five phrases/terms and am listing the top ten of each search, some of which numbered the thousands, in ascending order, unedited and unaffected by my own personal opinion of the quality of any given piece. Hopefully you will find the results as edifying, amusing, surprising, and confusing as I did. Enjoy.

1st Phrase: Stormy Weather
10. Stormy Weather by ~Pancakefries
9.Stormy Wizard by =Ferelwing
8. Stormy sea by ~darkrose42-stock
7. Stormy weather by ~fleurdemai
6. Stormy Weather by `TerrorCookie
5. Stormy Weather by *AthosLuca
4. Stormy Fishing by `gilad
3. STORMY WEATHER by ~Kodeine
2. Stormy Skies by `Sugargrl14
1. Stormy Weather by =VashTastic

2nd Phrase: Glory Seen
10. Morning Glory by ~kattnboys
9. Taldor – Echoes of Glory by *RalphHorsley
8. Former Glory by ~matt-durkan-railways
7. Morning Glory by *Gina-Marie
6. Dark Blue Jungle Glory 270909 by *inckurei
5. Morning Glory by ~KasaraWolf
4. The Glory of God – jmsnooks by #christians
3. Glory Hour by ~eggwacker
2. Glory by ~RowanTiger
1. Morning Glory by ~Wild-Soul

3rd Phase: Happy Monsters
10. Updated: Monsters of The Ring by ~Trelela
9. Monsters Escaped Again by =giorgos93
8. Sophisticated Monsters Rebrand by `j3concepts
7. Monsters Under the Mistletoe by *squeedgemonster
6. Monsters 1 by ~Trelela
5. Happy Monsters by *thedreamwolf
4. Monsters by ~FlyingRotten
3. We Are the Monsters by *messa
2. Monsters Escaped by =giorgos93
1. MONSTERS by ~ethereal-abstraction

4th Phrase: Lonely Bench
10. lonely bench by ~theprodiqy
9. Empty Bench by *ninereeds-DA
8. lonely bench by ~dracung
7. the lonely bench by ~Dare143Devil
6. the lonely bench by *mordachai71
5. bench. by `orangefruits
4. Lonely by ~DRUMMER-FREAK167
3. Lonely bench by ~eskimoblueboy
2. lonely bench by ~edke
1. lonely bench. by ~xxecchangraphy

5th Phrase: Dream Beach (By pure coincidence the number one of this list happens to be my 2nd favorite deviantartist behind the two I mentioned above. Funny little world.)
10. was it a dream by =warnaiman
9. Dream Beach by ~Kleemass
8. Unreal Dream by ~myINQI
7. Blastoise on the Beach by ~RecusantKnight
6. Beach Dream by `Pixydream
5. The Dream’s Beach by ~earendil09
4. Blue dream beach by ~ronhue
3. Walking On A Dream by =oO-Rein-Oo
2. .Victim of a dream. by `Nonnetta
1. …a dream on our way to death by `foureyes


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