Hello! I am J. C. T. Holmes, aka Sonic9jct (the jct is pronounced "jay-see-tee"). I am a retro gamer. I'm slowly growing my game library which has very recently capped 175 games! Woohoo! I aspire to become a game developer and I really like animation and comic strips. Also, I'm not very sure what I should be writing in a profile thing, so here's some random facts.
My Favorite Games
Sonic the Hedgheog 2
Rocket Knight Adventures
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Beyond Good & Evil
We <3 Katamari
Mega Man 2
Mega Man 9
The Red Star
Metal Slug 3
Metal Gear Solid
Metroid Zero Mission
Crash Bandicoot 3
Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
Earthworm Jim 2
Mario Kart DS
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
Super Smash Bros Brawl
Little Nemo the Dream Master
Threads of Fate
Super Mario Galaxy
The Secret of Monkey Island
Ghosts 'n' Goblins
Sam & Max episodes
Um Jammer Lammy
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
Rhythm Tengoku Gold
Marvel vs Capcom 2
Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid 4
I like how Tubatic went about this, what with a Top Ten list and all, so I shall do the same! So without further ado, here are ten reasons why YOU, yes you Mr. PAX Attendee, should take my avatar with you to PAX and carry it around like a creepy security blanket. Once my avatar is adopted, I will send the adoptee a larger version of it.
1. First off, it's a mutherfuckin' bee! What's cooler than that? Oh wait, it's in space. AMAZING. And I drew it myself. That makes it self-sustaining.
2. I was a frequent user of the Goodwill thread on the RetroforceGO! forums. My best find? A complete in box 6-pack of classic LucasArts games that fetches for about $90 on the internet. I bought it for $15.
3. I have played the classic PS1 game LSD and have lived to tell the tale.
8. PAX spelled backwards is "XAP" which could be pronounce like "ZAP" which kinda sounds like "ZZZ" which kinda looks like "BZZ" which is the noise a bee would make and my avatar IS a bee. Coincidence?
9. I've purchased three different Dtoid t-shirts, so if I were at PAX I could promote Dtoid for an entire weekend. Could the same be said about you? Well, my avatar could make that possible.
If there’s one thing most of us here on Destructoid have in common, its that we’ve all grown up playing video games. That means most of remember running home when we were eight years old on a Friday afternoon, our heads brimming with the promise of an entire night of gaming. A night where we could stay up on our own as long as we wanted (or until we passed out at midnight) while noshing on that stash of candy we got at lunch from the other kids. A night where we could have our best buds over while trying to outrace each other in Maio Kart. A night of true escape from school, bullies, homework, chores, the world. Saturdays were often spent taking care of business, and Sundays were only spent dreading the next morning, but Fridays-- Fridays were a day lost in time.
It didn’t matter whether you were playing an Atari, a Nintendo, or even a Playstation, we all knew this wonderful feeling. It transcends all generations, really. I personally have memories of staying up and trying to beat Sonic 2 or playing through the entirety of the first disc of Final Fantasy IX every friday-- with a steaming hot Domino’s pizza downstairs on the kitchen counter, of course. But of course, I eventually grew up. I soon started spending Fridays hanging out on the town with my friends, and games became less of a treat and more of a regular thing. I need not wait until Friday to binge on games. Hell, even when I do, its usually on a Saturday. So what happened? I dunno, I think that really, there was no need for an escape anymore. School was not was a used to be, and I didn’t really find myself needing a way to “get away from it all,” I just needed rest, really.
But last year, something very strange happened one Friday night. I escaped one last time. On the way home from school and stopped by my local Goodwill and found a cache of SNES games, most notably Turtles in Time and Donkey Kong Country. I bought them right away, and took them home, ready to rip into some old school cartridge based fun. And I did. I just sat down and played through a few worlds of DKC, reminded of the nights when I used to do this all the time-- sit down and play a 2D platformer that was too long to beat in a single sitting. Good time, eh? And in due time, I started to get hungry. With no instant meals in the house, I was also feeling a little too lazy to just fix something to eat, so I did what any lazy gamer does-- I ordered a large $5 pepperoni pizza from the Domino’s down the street. I grabbed a plate, an ice glass of Coke, and set the pizza up on my desk. So there I was, playing Ninja Turtles on my SNES in my room, with the door closed, the sound cranked up, a hot plate of pizza to my left, and a chilled glass of soda to my left. I escaped.
I hadn’t felt this way in a long time, and it was amazing. Time lost all meaning-- three hours felt a lot more like twelve and to me, the outside world stopped existing. If anyone were to try and contact me, I would’ve just ignored them. My responsibilities were gone, my stress relieved, and it was all just about me and the game. Oh, what a night.
In a conversation with my best friend the other day, we somehow briefly touched on the subject on art games. In doing so, we both obvious believed that the classic Shadow of the Colossus is indeed a work of art, but in saying that she also pointed out that games can be art, but not every game is. I counterpointed by saying that every game is not, but every game can. She said that she thinks some games are art, but not really many. I think this upset me in some way, despite the fact that this is just opinion. I actually believe that MANY games are art, but each for different reasons. I tried to explain my rationale for this, but at the moment couldn't elaborate. But even once we moved on, the thought lingered in my mind-- how do we define "art" when we're talking games? I already knew the games that are art to me; Shadow of the Colossus, Wind Waker, the Bit.Trip games, Ikaruga, Wario Ware, etc. Many different games are "art" for many different reasons, but I still had no grasp on the concept.
I hate limiting it with the "only cinematic games are art" argument, because then what happens is a shift towards games that are developed more like films rather than taking advantage of the medium. Shadow of the Colossus kinda falls prey to this in that, though the game is beautiful in many ways, much of it's visual beauty could be emulated in film or painting. The only place where the game does something no book or film could is when you travel from Colossus to Colossus across long barren stretches of land. In a movie, this would be extremely dull, but in a game it's where we get to put ourselves into Wander, reflect on each Colossus death, learn about the architecture of the Forbidden Lands, and, of course, grow attached to Agro. But as soon as you reach the Colossus or return to the temple, the music swells, a cutscene starts, and suddenly the game is doing something that a movie could do too, just in a way that's better than it could typically express.
This isn't to say cinematic games can't be art, but I think the best examples of "art games" are the games that are least like movies and more like games. Shadow of the Colossus may be the most accessible example of an art game today, but is no where near the best. So what else could be "art?" What about games that may not bring anything new to the table, per se, but does what it does really REALLY well? Something like the Metal Slug games, Super Puzzle Fighter, Yoshi's Island, Street Fighter III, Mega Man 9, The Red Star, etc. Perhaps these games are pretty, perhaps not. Perhaps they are moving or maybe they're just plain fun. Whatever. The do what they do and they try to do it well. I would say that's more progressive for video games than trying to make the world's more realistic or movie-like game. In fact, to people who WANT to make the "movie" game, I say, go make a movie. Go make a movie, and see your dream unfurl. But if you're gonna make a game, go play good games first. Alot of good games. Not just pretty ones. In fact, play some of the ugliest games that are also some of the best. Because game design is as much an art of video games in the same way typography is important to a graphic designer; Something that most common folk take for granted, but those with an eye for it know just how truly important it is. It's depressing how most of gaming's front celebrities are people who have the amazing idea, but it's rarely the people who actually execute it.
But there's many other things that get games labeled as art! (Whew!) What about games intentionally made to express a message or meaning... or feeling? Suda 51 has mastered the art of creating the sought after cinematic game, while at the same time implementing it. However, he is not particularly good at implementation, but he is a hell of a lot more interesting than most people who do and succeed. Killer7 and Flower, Sun, and Rain are possibly two of the worst games you will ever play... but also the best. This is extremely hard to explain unless you have played these games, but Johnathan Holmes described it best-- these are punk games. Games that do what they want without fear of how they will be received. They aren't tooled to appeal to anyone and when they are, it's to a subset crowd. Suda's masterpiece No More Heroes managed to appeal to the young otaku crowd thanks to Travis Touchdown, a literal mirror on gamers as a whole and the crazy world he lived in that was literally a manga, anime, western, mystery, grindhouse, and underground arthouse show-- all at once.
Suda 51 isn't the only master of the punk game. Many endeavor's are punk and for the most part, many people miss them. The recent Bit.Trip series are incredibly punk. Upon playing it and reading up on its development, it becomes clear that this is the game is made for the undergound Chiptune crowd. The music (the most integral part of the game) is developed by first rate chiptune artists, the graphics have more in common with a futureworld Atari game, and the gameplay is more of a means to an end, not necessarily the most fun experience (though it is pretty damn fun). If games could be hung on walls like paintings, the Bit.Trip games would more than be a special exhibition. Another game just like this are two of the most artistic games Nintendo ever put out-- Wario Ware, Inc. and Rhythm Tengoku. In this case, both only the originals. The newer versions of both these games are extremely retooled to appeal to wider crowds, but the first are unforgivingly strange. Both are made up out of smaller games, each a window into its own world with its own feeling, playstyle, music, and even controls. The game barely plays by its own rules! It's the textbook video game example of postmodernism. The best way I can describe it is it's like picking up an Andy Warhol book and flipping through the pages rapidly; you get alot of different types of art and styles, but it all feels like it came from the same place. Some of it is familiar and other parts make you extremely uncomfortable. In the case of Rhythm Tengoku, you're flipping through the book while listening to music. It goes without saying that punk games are near indescribable.
So am I any closer to the answer? What is an art game? I don't know. I certainly see it a bit differently now. I acknowledge that some games, like Beyond Good & Evil and Shadow of the Colossus, will be alot more artistic by being alot like a movie. And sometimes, something in the development of the game comes along and makes it alot more interactive and inherently immersive-- your Bioshocks and Half-Lifes. It can also be a game that makes video games as a whole medium stronger by putting forward a well made product, proving that it can just be about the medium and not about the fame or recognition, with games like Viewtiful Joe and World of Goo. Other times, it might just be the game doing whatever the hell it likes, like Noby Noby Boy and the Bit.Trip games. It could be a game that's just really pretty like Flower or Gitaroo-man. And sometimes, honestly, sometimes it a little bit of everything. Something like Wind Waker or Far Cry 2, that does more for the game industry than we may ever know... sometimes, accidentally. And sometimes, art happens.
Recently I stumbled across a package of iron on transfers in my closet from a few years ago, so naturally I decided to iron them onto a bit of my apparel. I made a couple of shirts and a hoodie that I figured you guys would be interested in seeing. I used Adobe Illustrator to make the designs, to ensure that they would be smooth, crisp, non-pixelated look.
One of the first ideas I had (that literally came to me out of the blue) came from an episode of RetroforceGO!, the Castlevania episode, I'm pretty sure. Anyway, Collette was talking about how there was a classic gaming phrase that just needed to go on a shirt. So that's what I did...
It looks alot better than I ever expected to, the transfer has a plastic-like surface giving it a nice look. I also made this one too.
Took four tries to get this one right.
But now for the masterpiece of my works. A special Mother 3 hoodie featuring one of my favorite characters from the entire game-- the Pork Trooper, or literally translated the Scary Womanizing Pigmask. I have a feeling who might like this, too...
If you guys are at all interested in maybe making these for yourself, I can upload the PDFs of the transfers I made.
Call me crazy for posting this, but you guys are the only people who know where I'm coming from. Last night, I had alot of trouble sleeping. So once I actually got to sleep, I had some crazy-ass nightmares. Halfway through the night, I guess a smoke alarm near my room needed a battery changing. So every five or ten minutes or so, it would make a high pitched "bing" noise. Now, I had just finished Mother 3, so I had Mother on the mind, of course. Those of you who have played it (or Super Smash Bros Brawl) surely remember the Ultimate Chimera you find in the chimera lab. Whenever this monstrosity spots you, an MGS style "!" appears above its head and a "bing" sound is made. So I guess I could hear the smoke alarm in my sleep, because every time it beeped, the Ultimate Chimera showed up in whatever realistically trippy dream I was already having and slowly begin to pursue me and attack on sight. It goes without saying this made for one of the best and worst night of dreams in my life.
Just a video for reference for those who don't know this horrible awful beast.
So today was the day of the small Halloween party at school. As such, this was my first opportunity to wear my homemade Mr. Destructoid helmet. It goes without saying, I wore it almost the entire day. Me and my rather candid friend took this as our opportunity to get in a pretty good photo op. What you see here are the results. I must admit, however, that hemet is very empowering and I didn't want to do anything all day but take more pictures like these. This is gonna be a fun Halloween. Also, the Koopa poster in one of the photos below is one of my original designs, it's the second in a set.