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4:04 PM on 07.07.2009

My custom Watchmen shoes. Also, suggestions! [somewhat NVGR]

Ok, so I've taken up the art of custom shoes. I've been making custom shirts for a long time and had this idea for shoes for a while, too. After seeing the Zelda-themed KyozoKicks on the front page the other day, I decided it was time to make my idea a reality! So I went out and bought the paint and shoes I needed, and went on my way. Here is the end result:

My expert photoshopping skills are also present!

I went for something rather simple, but yet strong enough to convey the reference. I included the panel just in case for those unacquainted or who just forgot.

I created them the same exact way I make shirts, I trace the design onto freezer paper, which I then iron on top of the shoe. Once it's in place, I iron on any "islands" that need to be there (for example, the middle of the O or B), then take a roller and simply paint over. Once it's dry enough, I simply remove all the freezer paper and viola! Custom shoes. Once I plan for more intricate designs, the roller isn't going to cut it and paintbrushes will need to be used.

So, what should I do next? I've already got some ideas in my head, but I'd also like to hear of anything you guys might think of. I plan on doing mostly slip-ons, but I definitely also want to do a pair of Converse, just like KyozoKicks did (amazingly!) here.

So leave feedback on how you like these and any future ideas you might have!!!   read

4:52 PM on 06.21.2009

Through the tinted eyes of a colorblind gamer.

[Hmm, ok, well halfway through typing this I found that Anthony Burch also wrote about this last year. Never hurts to have a second, less famous, less witty opinion though, right? .......RIGHT?]

My brother and I are red-green color blind, which is the most common and, as the name implies, means we have trouble with green and red the most, but it's definitely not exclusive to those, as purple/blue mesh together as well as brown/red/green, etc. Being colorblind has it's ups and downs, albeit way more downs than ups. The ups include getting out of certain science labs because I can't see the color spectrum properly and having it be understood when you aren't wearing "matching" colors. The downs are numerous, but not too extreme, but one of them is that gaming certainly IS affected.

I recently got a new computer, and bought Left 4 Dead (I already own it on Xbox) because I can finally run it. While tweaking some of the options, I came across something. Left 4 Dead on the PC has a "Colorblind mode" option! Making sure I hadn't overlooked it on the Xbox version, I quickly threw it in my 360. No dice. Why would something so simple be left out of the console version? I have no clue, but man am I glad I now own the PC version. While it's not game-changing, the things they do change are very much appreciated. Take a look at Bill being mauled by a Hunter in both options:

Original color scheme

With colorblind mode on

With my expert editing skills, I've pointed out the differences
With these slight changes, the game is just much easier to play. Things that should be instantly noticed now are. Not that I had a problem knowing when a Hunter was on Bill before, but the new white outline is a breath of fresh air regardless.

As for puzzle games, thankfully most of them have a colorblind mode, or have symbols on the things anyway (the exception I can think of being Bust-A-Move, which has NO colorblind mode). However, developers should be careful with which symbols they pick. For example:

Do I match up the T with the squiggles? Or the other squiggles with a T?
I can't play puzzle quest because it's just so confusing which things to match up. Hexic does a good job on putting various basic shapes on their objects, and Bejeweled is nice enough to just use shapes to start with.

One game that fails in the color department is Overlord. It was the first game I bought for my 360 about a year and a half ago. I stopped playing it for several reasons, but I couldn't remember why.....until I tried playing it again yesterday. There are four types of minions in the game: red, green, brown, and blue. With the exception of blue, THEY ALL LOOK THE GODDAMN SAME. It's always easier for me to distinguish colors when nothing is moving and I can someone concentrate to notice any slight differences, but those conditions never really exist in games, especially Overlord when your minions are going all over the place. Not to mention the layer of brown all the cool games have over them for "realism!"

Speaking of brown realism, I love games that stray as far from that as possible. Rich, vibrant colors that stick out like it's nobody's business. This is one reason I bought Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. I mean, just look at it!

Just looking at it brings me a smile of great color justice!
Mario games have also had a good track record of vibrant colors, and Nintendo in general, really. I miss the old days when they only had a limited amount of colors to work with and no one cared what "mauve" was.

Hopefully more (see: most) games in the future will include this option if possible. I can't see it being that much trouble, seeing as how it's just a couple color switches. Luckily, someone long ago decided that if two unnamed teams are going against each other, one is the Red team and the other is the Blue team, as seen in Team Fortress 2, 3v3 Arcade Hockey, and Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars (all of which I play a bunch). All developers should adopt the tagline: "No rods, No cones, No problem!"
[Yes I realize that colorblindness doesn't mean we have NO cones/rods, but it makes for a catchier tagline, damnit!]

One day.....   read

6:05 PM on 04.13.2009

Judging Games: Nostalgia vs. Quality

First blog post, be kind!

This is an idea I've been thinking about for some time now. For a very long time, my top three games have been:

1. Shining Force II
2. Final Fantasy: Tactics
3. TMNT: Turtles In Time

In past years, however, so many good games come out that I've played and said "This is like the greatest game ever!" but never really consider them for my top games (at least, not the top three). And even as I look at these three, I realize that SF2 and FF:T are both strategy games, and quite frankly, FF:T is the better game, quality-wise. Especially with the remake on the PSP with a better translation and new classes, the game is much deeper and more in-depth than SF2. However, I just can't seem to knock the almighty Shining Force II off it's number one spot. It was my FIRST tactics game, and I instantly fell in love with it. My friend and I liked it so much we used to swap off the controller between us just so we can both watch and play. Playing it through again now (thanks to the Virtual Console!), it's still a very fun game, and it's not bad by any means, but had I not played this game in my youth, I highly doubt it would climb very high in my favorite ranks. TMNT: Turtles in Time also plays the nostalgia card. I can remember pumping quarters into this machine plenty of times. There are definitely "better" beat'em-ups out there, but the combination of TMNT (nostalgic in itself) and a great beat'em-up from my childhood have landed it the number three spot. So here in lies the dilemma.

A classic case of nostalgia vs quality would have to be Final Fantasy 7. For just about as many lovers of the game that there are, there are an equal amount of game-lover-haters. That is to say, people who can't stand those who praise FF7 as "the best RPG of all time" or something along those lines. I don't think it's quite that good, but it IS my favorite numbered Final Fantasy game. And I know that part of the reason I think that is because it was my first major RPG played, and it was a wonderful time. I've since played other Final Fantasy games, and I don't like any of them quite as much as 7.

Another problem comes into play with regards to game sequels. For example: Say Pokemon Red/Blue is your favorite game. Well, as they keep cranking out Pokemon, they keep cranking out games. Here we are now in the fourth generation, with Diamond/Pearl/Platinum. These games have most definitely perfected what it means to be a Pokemon game. Very clean, accessible UI, a crap-ton (that's metric, by the way) of Pokemon to catch within the game itself, plenty of events and games to take place in, wifi capabilities, etc. It's got anything your little Poke-heart can desire. Generation bias aside, it's difficult to argue that Red/Blue is better than Diamond/Pearl/Platinum. There are two things R/B has going for it, though: without it, there would be no D/P/P, and nostalgia.

Bottom line is: nostalgia is a powerful thing, a force to be reckoned with. I myself cannot decide on my own dilemma, but I think it's safe to say my top three will be safe for a while.   read

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