Quantcast

Full Version     |     Sign Up     |     Login



Browse   |   Reviews   |   Pop   Blogs   Forum
Community   |   Promoted   |   Followed   |   Staff


Tony Ponce's blog

Who wants to go to Nerdapalooza in Orlando with me?
9:03 PM on 07.01.2011
C Blog style and formatting tips
2:55 PM on 03.31.2011
As days go by, it's the bigger love of the family
2:00 PM on 09.28.2010
Pixel Art: Bit Transmutation
6:49 PM on 06.28.2010
My Mega Mans, let me show you them
8:32 PM on 05.05.2010
Roger Ebert is not far off the mark
1:57 PM on 04.18.2010





Previous   |   Home



Home   |   Browse   |   Reviews   |   Popular

Full Version     |     Sign Up     |     Login


Community Discussion: Blog by Tony Ponce | Tony Ponce's ProfileDestructoid
Tony Ponce's Profile - Destructoid




Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android





Meet the destructoid Team >>   Tony Ponce
Tony Ponce 's blog
★ destructoid | Former Editor ★
click to hide banner header
About
(Decommissioned) Super Fighting Robot
Player Profile
Steam ID:megaStryke
Wii U code:megaStryke
Follow me:
Twitter:@megaStryke
Facebook:Link
Google+:Link
Instagram:@megaStryke
Tony Ponce's sites
Badges
Following  




Hey there, all you Chilly Willies! It's been a while since I've popped up on the community blogs. It's been way too long, I know!

Anyway, I've got a message for all my Florida peeps. From July 15 through 17 (two weeks from now), Nerdapalooza will be going down in Orlando. If you've never heard of it, it's an annual geek music festival featuring the hottest in nerdcore and arranged game tunes and what not. They've got great acts like brentalfloss, Mega Ran, Metroid Metal, The OneUps, The Protomen, and others, including a personal fave of mine, 8-bit Duane. It sounds like a blast and a half, doesn't it?

I am most definitely going, although I wouldn't mind having a bit of company. I really would like to go all three days, but I may end up just going on Saturday (that's when all the best performers play, anyway). If you are in Orlando or a few hours away, please stop on by! Just let me know by shooting an email to megastryke AT gmail DOT com or tony AT destructoid DOT com, or send me a message on Facebook.

Any takers? I'll be your best friend!
Photo










My good buddy Andrew Kauz recently became the site's new C Blog Boss, a role that tasks him with keeping an eye out for exceptional posts and offering useful tips and guidance to those in need. Of course, no one would expect just one man (One man!) to shoulder all that responsibility on his own. The rest of the staff is more than happy to offer a few words here and there.

In case you weren't privy to my credentials, I too am a C Blog graduate -- both Andrew and I were promoted to front-page editors at roughly the same time last year. After hearing concerns that the quality of user blogs was diminishing, I decided to compile a super post concerning proper blog style and formatting. Over the course of a few weeks, I continuously added to that post, resulting in the beast now before you.

Some of this information may be criminally obvious to some, but I wanted to be as comprehensive as possible. I've touched upon just about every formatting subject I could think of, from the proper use of BBCode tags to little multimedia tricks. If you find even just one useful nugget amongst my rambling, I will have done my job.

If you have any further questions or amendments, let me know in the comments below. You can also contact me via email at megastryke AT gmail DOT com or tony AT destructoid DOT com.


Every so often, someone complains because their newly published post is nowhere to be found. Upon closer inspection, it's either halfway down the list or on a subsequent page. Why does this happen? Our blogging software is a bit backwards -- instead of setting a timestamp when you publish a blog, it sets a timestamp the moment you start a new one. If you start writing at 12 PM and finish at 6, you better hope it's been a slow day.

The smart thing to do is to compose your piece in a separate editor. For the longest time, I would type up everything in a Notepad file, but you can also use Google Docs, Word, or any word processor of choice. Once you've proofread your work a couple of times, copy and paste it into the Dtoid editor.

Though convenient, this method doesn't allow you to check how your post would appear live in various states of completion. You'll want to know every so often whether your BBCode is broken or an image doesn't appear correctly, not at the very end when all your errors appear at once. For short-form blogs, the extra work may be manageable, but for long-form pieces...

I propose another method! Start up a new blog and type something like "FOR DRAFTS ONLY!!!" as the title. You are going to keep this blog in private view mode as your test center for all future blogs. Type out everything as you normally would, then add images, video, the works. Once you are 100% confident that your piece is ready for the public, start another new blog and copy everything over. You may need to re-upload photos and re-embed videos, but your post-editing work will still be greatly reduced. When it's time to bake a fresh post, return to the test blog, clear it, and start from scratch.


It's prudent to discuss spelling and grammar very briefly before moving on. This isn't English class -- no one is going to get all up in your grill for having a few too many typos as long as the overall blog is legible. At the same time, lax standards is no excuse for avoiding the most basic of writing rules.

1. Consult a dictionary

If you want to use a word and are unaware of either its context or proper spelling, don't guess. Reach for a dictionary and look it up. It doesn't take more than a few seconds, and there are so many available resources. If you don't have Merriam-Webster bookmarked, you can use Google's built-in dictionary. Right in the search bar, type "define:" followed by the word. As long as your spelling is close enough, you should hit the appropriate entry. For Firefox and Chrome users, there are various add-ons to help you look up definitions in-line while browsing through articles for research.

2. Use proper capitalization

I don't care how lazy you claim to be, hitting the SHIFT key with your pinky is not some Herculean Labor. The first word of every new sentence should be capitalized, proper nouns should be capitalized, the word "I" should be capitalized... you get the picture. It's not a writer's quirk to pick and choose when to follow capitalization conventions. It's just plain ugly.

3. Mind your punctuation marks

You ought to know how periods and commas work, so exercise that knowledge. However, it's not a bad idea to pepper a some of the more uncommon punctuation marks now and then. It gives your work a little pizzazz! Use ellipses (...) to show trailing thoughts, semicolons (;) in place of a conjunction to join sentences, and so on. Just don't go overboard! Use 'em sparingly, and research their functions if you have doubts. Don't feel like you need to use extra punctuation. Sometimes less is more.


You could be the greatest wordsmith of the modern age, but if you clump all your text together into one giant wall, you'll scare all your potential readers away. Don't be afraid to punch that ENTER key.

In school, we're taught that paragraphs ought to be at least four sentences long, consisting of a topic, a body, and a conclusion. That's well and dandy for academic papers, but it's bullshit in the real world. In the world of journalism (and for the sake of this lesson, I'm treating game bloggers as journalists), you have a bit more freedom with the construction of your paragraphs. Sure, it's still true that a paragraph ideally should follow a singular thought, but it's not rare to see two- or even single-sentence paragraphs.

As an example of someone who really knows how to insert breaks, here's fellow editor Chad Concelmo. You may think that his paragraph blocks are a tad on the slender side, but I think that it helps to give his articles a nice flow. You never feel overwhelmed since all the text is divided into easily digestible chunks.

Of course, it's not as simple as devoting a single line to every sentence. If the tone of your article is more serious, you may want to group a few more sentences than normal to properly flesh out an idea. Don't go crazy with a fifteen-sentence nightmare that takes up half the screen, though.


This is the blogger's toolbox. Proper use of BBCode will give your writing pep. It's useful for making simple subject headers, stressing certain words and phrases, and more. Unfortunately, even bloggers who have been around for a while can lose their grip on the finer workings. BBCode can be a finicky mistress sometimes, seemingly choosing not to work as intended.

When you are using the built-in editor to write a new post, you'll notice a little cheat guide in the bottom-right hand corner entitled "BBcode help." It is not a comprehensive list of BBCode tags in existence, but it'll serve you satisfactorily here.



The bold and italic tags are self explanatory -- just insert a word or phrase between the open and close tags and you'll get nyaa and nyaa nyaa respectively.

Speaking of italic type, you ought to use it whenever discussing a movie, book, game, or any other media title. It's what the pros do. For example, when talking about Total War: Shogun 2, render it as Total War: Shogun 2. Aside from being proper, it'll grab the attention of readers who are scanning an article or blog for mention of a particular game that catches their fancy.

The URL tag can be used to linkify either a URL address or string of text. By just dropping an address between the open and close tags, you'll get:

http://www.bbqaddicts.com/blog/recipes/bacon-explosion/

Usually, you'll want to direct your readers to some interesting off-site gem via a text flag as opposed to a lengthy address. In that case, insert an equal sign after the "url" in the open flag, then drop the address right next to that (no quotation marks necessary). The address becomes part of the open tag, and whatever you insert between the open and close tags will then lead you to that address, like so:

This recipe was a gift from the Gods.

There are other BBCode tags in existence, but for the most part they don't work with our blogging software. Some do, however. I personally have used the size and color tags in the past:

[size=<numerical value here>]TEXT[/size]

[color=#<hexidecimal color value here>]TEXT[/color]

The size tag changes your font size so that you can have mammoth or miniscule text. The default value is 12, so adjust accordingly. Be reasonable and don't use extreme values, although it's sometimes fun to hammer out a hidden message in size 1 font and force readers to copy and paste it into the search bar in order to view it.

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

The color tag changes font color, natch. A few colors like red or blue can be written out in English following the equal sign and without the number symbol, but for most you'll need the proper hexadecimal value. For instance, the value E18B6D gives you a nice salmon hue, while 00FFFF gives you Mega Man cyan. A quick Google search will yield a variety of useful color value tables, but make sure the color you pick stands out well on Dtoid's standard white backdrop.

You can even nest tags, one inside another. The following line makes uses of the URL, color, size, italic, and bold tags:

Lament, my lost childhood.

There might be a limit to how many tags you can cram together, but I doubt anyone is gonna to hit it. Five tags is already pushing the boundaries of sensibility, but if you want to prepare a BBCode turducken, the option is available to you.

With all these tags flying around, it's very easy to omit a close tag or to use the wrong tag pair from time to time. That's why you should frequently slam the "Save to drafts and preview" button below the editing window and preview your blog by clicking the link near the top of the page. Make sure everything is sorted out before publishing your piece. Having broken BBCode all over the place is disgusting and a sign that you were in a rush. Broken BBCode can also indicate that someone has copied and pasted an article written on another blog -- since different sites use different blogging software, it's rarely going to be one size fits all.

Sometimes, it may look like your code should function perfectly but doesn't. Say you want to bold the section heading and this happens:

Making Mayonnaise
Work for You


BBCode hates newline characters, the most common being the space you create when you hit the ENTER key. Essentially, the code will only work if the open and close tags are in the same block of text. Going back and merging my two lines together will give me:

Making Mayonnaise Work for You

Much better!

Other times, the code won't work even if everybody is hanging out on the same line. There is a trouble-maker somewhere. Maybe the newline character is masquerading as whitespace character (which can sometimes happen when copying and pasting quotes from other articles) or there is excess whitespace in either the open or close tags. Save yourself a massive headache by deleting the entire line and re-typing it manually. That usually solves everything.

You may have noticed that I held off discussing one other BBCode tag. That's because I'm giving it its own special section below.


A smattering of pictures can make your dull blog spectacular! Some people like tossing up non sequitur images, but typically you'll want to have pics that directly relate to your topic. Also, make a habit of including a header image in each blog. It's more welcoming than a straight-up block of text.

I still see a lot of you guys using third-party hosting sites like Photobucket and Imageshack, and if you're comfortable doing that, go ahead. I'd like to direct you toward an alternative. On the right side of your editing window, you'll notice a box labeled "Upload photos." You can add your photos and have them stored right here on Dtoid's servers.

There are a few benefits to using local image hosting. Most importantly, off-site images are at the mercy of the respective terms of service. What's appropriate for Destructoid may not be appropriate over there. Also, server failings may cause photos to spontaneously vanish into the ether, leaving a lovely "image not found" macro in your blog. By using Dtoid as your host, you are guaranteed the safety of your images for as long as this site remains active. We monitor our servers like a hawk and promise to recover any lost images in the event of a catastrophe almost without fail.

The standard column width of a Dtoid blog is 620px. If you use third-party hosting, make sure your images are scaled accordingly. It's not a problem if your picture is skinnier than the column, but if it's fatter, everything beyond the boundaries will be cropped off. If you upload your pics to Dtoid, they will automatically be scaled up or down to fit neatly in the column.

The following two images were uploaded to TinyPic:




The first image fits in the column with plenty of room to spare. The whole image is visible, but all the excess space is rather unappealing. With the second image, a reader who wanted to view the whole thing would have to right-click it and select "View Image Info." That's a hassle.

Now, here are those same images hosted locally:




Isn't that a lot cleaner?

When you upload images here, all the photos you attach will appear at the bottom of your post as thumbnails. Clicking any one of them will open a slide show gallery in which you can view the photos in their native resolution. If you want to post a PAX photo gallery, upload all the photos but don't actually insert any image into the body of the blog. That way, you can lead with a short introduction and have your readers pick and choose which photos to view in the gallery.

Uploading an image to a particular blog doesn't exclude you from reposting that same image multiple times in future blogs. With that in mind, you can create a new private blog to host all of your pics, then insert them into various blogs as needed. This also prevents a thumbnail gallery from generating, if you consider them too distracting.



The above photo was uploaded to one of my previous blogs. As you may notice, it doesn't appear in the gallery at the end of this post.

Sometimes, you'll want to post a small image without it being automatically resized. The O-face pic above has this address:

http://bulk2.destructoid.com/ul/user/1/13398-197698-CBlogTipsEgoFace1jpg-620x.jpg

If I replaced the dimension value with the phrase "noscale," I get:

http://bulk2.destructoid.com/ul/user/1/13398-197698-CBlogTipsEgoFace1jpg-noscale.jpg

Now, if I insert this new address into the image tag, I get:



With this particular image, we have the same issue as previously -- too much excess space. However, really tiny images roughly the size of a user's avatar could fit right on a line adjacent to a block of text. Possibilities, people.

One other little "hack" deals with centering an image that doesn't fill up the column width. To the best of my knowledge, there's no way to do that with the site's implementation of BBCode. However, we can cheat a bit by adding a buffer to each side of an image, resulting in an 620px-wide image. Taking the O-face pic once again, I just open up Photoshop, add a bit of whitespace, and ta-da:



The buffer on each side of the main image is colored white, so it blends in with the page background, thus granting the illusion of a centered image.


Giving your audience a short break from reading to enjoy an entertaining YouTube clip is always a nice treat. Instead of directing them off-site via a link, embed the clip right in the body of your blog. Embedding video is only slightly more complicated than uploading images, but it causes more problems for users than any other function I've already discussed.

Go to YouTube and find a clip that you'd like to share. Below the video player, there should be a button labeled "Embed." Click that and copy the HTML code that appears (sometimes, you'll get a notice that embedding had been disabled, so beware). Below the image uploader on your editing window, you'll notice a box labeled "Embed videos." Paste your code right in there and upload. The HTML will be converted into BBCode which can be easily added to your post as such:



Wait! You're not finished! This embed suffers the same problem as an off-site hosted image. Many web videos are 640px wide and must be resized to avoid cropping. Here's the original embed code for the Panty & Stocking clip above:

<iframe title="YouTube video player" width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nEpy0znKHWs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

We need to change the width and height values. I like all my videos to be 620 x 378 because it'll display widescreen video accurately and 4:3 video with black bars on the side as on a TV. So I alter the numbers:

<iframe title="YouTube video player" width="620" height="378" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nEpy0znKHWs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

When I upload the new code, I get this:



Compare this to the previous embed. It's a subtle but clear difference.

Can you embed video from sites other than YouTube? As long as the video in question has HTML embed code, of course you can! Here's a video from GameTrailers:



The embed code from some sites can be quite long. Your quest is to find every height and width value and change them accordingly. Missing a single value may or may not screw up your embed, but as mama always said, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Can you embed media other than video, like a music player? Hell yes, you can! The Zero Cool cats do it all the time! As long as the associated media has embed code, you are in the clear:



--------------------

If you are still with me, congratulations! Again, let me know if you have further questions or if you find error with any of my instructions. Now get writing!
Photo Photo Photo










This blog is about love, and not just any kind of love! The sitcom family kind! I've got mad, mad love for Qalamari and Funktastic, two cool cats who missed my presence at PAX so dearly that they sent me some mementos for me to treasure for the rest of my days... or at least until trash pick-up.

Qalamari adopted my avatar (along with GamesAreArt's) for grand photo opportunities up in Seattle. Sadly, his mishandling brought about our untimely deaths. As detailed in this post, Qalamari had us cloned and shipped off to our respective homes.

And so...




My original body has been returned along with my new and improved clone body care of GrumpyTurtle.



I thank both you and Grumpy for putting all this together, Qali. One love.



What ho? Seems like Funktastic sent me something as well. Boy, it's a big one!




Sweet! A copy of Dokapon Kingdom, the board game/RPG hybrid from Funk's favorite company evarz, Atlus! Shame I lack a second DualShock for multiplayer fun. I'll need to correct that error immediately.

I also scored an oxymoronic micro Mega Man pin! More Mega Mans for my collection! Get it? "Micro Mega"? Right on, brother!



Oh, you guy, you! Isn't that just like... wait... a Bobble Budd? I didn't notice any Bobble Budd! Where did I leave that box...?





Oh, it's a sour-faced Servbot! Hey, little guy! Did you make that long journey from Canada all by your lonesome? Awwww! Fear not! I've got someone I'd like you to meet!



Almost like looking into a mirror, eh? But wait! Who are those guys in the distance?



Le gasp! Giant Servbots! A real family at last!



Group photo! Happy days are here again!

Thanks for making this magic happen, fellas! I'll return the favor tenfold some day! Mark my words!
Photo Photo Photo










If you've listened to the latest Bit Transmission, you should be aware of a contest going down on the forums. Conrad has released the official BT sprite pack and is giving everyone until midnight this Friday to make an original piece using those sprites. I myself can't enter, but I still wanted to get the creative juices flowing.

I've posted all this on the forums already and am re-posting here because (1) I'm an attention whore, (2) I worked hard on this, and (3) OMG look how cute I made everybody!

I've been on this huge Fullmetal Alchemist kick lately and thought it would serve as the perfect theme. How to work that into a piece, though? I noticed that there are sprites for seven Bit Transmission hosts and guests. Coincidentally, there are seven Homunculi in the world of FMA.

I give you BIT TRANSMUTATION. starring (in order of appearance)...



Colette Bennett as Lust

The sexy and alluring Colette makes the perfect Lust! Feisty and deadly! To complete the look, I grew out her hair a bit. Now she's even hotter.

Chad Concelmo as Envy

Chad is definitely not the sadistic, jealous type. However, he and Envy share a common flair for flamboyancy. After Chad's transformation, I was shocked by how much he looks like Sailor Moon. I was worried that I made him too feminine-looking, but it kinda fits Envy's androgyny.

Topher Cantler as Sloth

Topher has always come across to me as the quiet, soft-spoken guy who enjoys taking it easy. I knew he had to be Sloth, but there was one tiny problem -- Sloth is a hulking behemoth while Topher is a stick. Taking some creative liberties, I constructed a new body entirely from scratch, retaining only the head. Now he looks more like Brad Nicholson, but I doubt he'd complain about the extra bulk.

Jonathan Holmes as Gluttony

Speaking of bulk, I'm sorry, Jon! You have the roundest gut among the cast! Don't hurt me! I also hope you don't mind that I shaved off what little hair you had left. Playing a role is a commitment!

Ashley Davis as Pride

The cute and adorable Ashley Davis is my pick for the cute and adorable Selim Bradley. Watch out, though! Like Selim, Ashley conceals a reservoir of unfathomable evil!

Conrad Zimmerman as Wrath

Conrad is the Bit Transmission ringleader and the only cast member with a full mustache. Who better than him to lead as the Führer? His outfit was the most fun to design. And he dual wields!

Dale North as Greed

By process of elimination, Dale is Greed. Honestly, I don't think the role fits... or maybe it does. Maybe Dale is a huge pimp who wants all the money and ladies in the world. Maybe he's biding his time for a full website takeover. Who knows?

...and featuring Mr. Destructoid as Father

I had to include Mr. Destructoid in the festivities! He is the big man in command. He is Father, and he will fuck you up.
Photo Photo










This post is dedicated to Funktastic. Here's to you, Mr. Obsessive Game Collector Guy.

I am THE Mega Man nut of Destructoid.

Of course, anybody can make such a bold claim, but how well can they back it up? I think a show of credentials is in order. I've got a little Mega Man collection going on over here and I'd like to share some photographic evidence.

It started around when Mega Man 9 was announced. My passion for the franchise had been renewed and I figured that, since I finally had a bit of money to my name, it was time to work towards my dream of a room dedicated to displaying Mega Man memorabilia. I've been making small purchases here and there, adding to the collection little by little, but it's by no means comprehensive.

Since the Mega Man franchise spans well over a hundred games, I set some ground rules for myself. I was going to focus mainly on the Classic series and buy games in their native region format first. In other words, most of my game purchases would be in the Japanese format with the tiniest possibility that I would pick up versions from other regions some time down the road. Though I try to get games in complete condition, I have every intention of playing them. Ironically, I don't own as many actual pieces of software as I would like. Most of my money has been going towards supplementary materials like CDs and books.

Honestly, I still think my collection is on the weak side. There is this one dude on the Capcom Unity blogs with a mind-blowingly comprehensive assortment of goodies. I doubt I'll ever get to that level, but I'm content to just do my thing at my own pace.

And now, let me show you my Mega Mans!



This was my library before I officially started collecting. At the bottom is the entire Game Boy series (pre-Player's Choice re-releases, I might add) that I've owned since the green-and-white days. I've got the Zero series and Mega Man & Bass on Game Boy Advance, the ZX series on DS, the three Mega Man releases for GameCube, and two X games on the PS2. As you can see, I didn't care much for holding on to the original boxes as a young 'un. At least I had the good sense to save my GBA manuals.

I used to own Rockman 2 through 6 back when I had my original Famicom, but my family had given the Famicom and all its software to my cousins around the time the N64 dropped. I don't know what they did with it. Probably sold it to someone for a quick buck. Way to keep it in the family, guys.



And here's what I've gathered in the past year and a half. I've managed to recover Rockman 2 and 3 in addition to the original and the obscure Mario Party-esque RockBoard. There's the US-only Game Gear title that literally recycles levels from the NES games, Rockman 5 for Game Boy, Rockman & Forte: Challenger from the Future for the WonderSwan, Rockman Battle & Fighters for the Neo Geo Pocket Color, and the Irregular Hunter X / Rockman Rockman two-pack for PSP.

In the corners are Rockman Mega World (Mega Man: The Wily Wars in Euroland) for the Mega Drive and Rockman Battle & Chase for the PS1. Up top are shrink-wrapped duplicates of the ZX games that I won by coming in second place in this Robot Master contest.



Not a Mega Man game, but if ever you doubted my love for Power Blazer, the Taito Mega Man knock-off whose main character is the inspiration for my avatar, doubt no more.



Now we are getting dirty! Behold! PC games!

Ever play Mega Man or Mega Man 3 for PC? Don't. No, they aren't ports of the NES games and no, there is no Mega Man 2. Joining them is the Chinese-exclusive Rockman Strategy and yes, it is official. I installed it on my computer, but without any English translation I can't make heads or tails of it.

That big thing up top is a collection of all the Rockman Complete Works games for the PS1, ports of the original NES games which were then adapted to be part of the Mega Man Anniversary Collection.



Here's a better look at the contents of the box. All six games are the discounted PSone Books versions. I'll try to get the originals eventually. Also included is a set of Mega Man pins and, oddly, Rockman X7. I don't know what an X game is doing here. It was probably the only way they could move such a terrible game.



This is my library. In the top row are a bunch of art books -- on the far left is the Rockman & Rockman X 20th anniversary book, next comes the Udon-published Mega Man and Mega Man X books which are just that first book split in two, and finally comes the English Mega Man Zero art book.

I have the Dreamwave-published Mega Man graphic novel, the only one made before Dreamwave went tits up. Next to that is the English release of the first issue of the Hitoshi Ariga Rockman Megamix manga. It was first released in the late '90s in Japan but has only just found its way here. I'm planning on picking up the entire series in Japanese as well as in English.

Finally, I've got the issues of Nintendo Power revealing Mega Man 9 and 10. I'm making it my mission to track down the special members-only 250th issue with the badass Mega Man 10 cover art.



Music appreciation! The top row spans the entire mainline series. Below that are a bunch of arrange albums -- two press-only mini-CDs from the early '90s, the 20th anniversary rock and techno albums, the Rockman 9 arrange album, and the totally awesome and totally meta Chiptuned Rockman. Finally, in the bottom left is the sampler soundtrack that came with the Irregular Hunter X / Rockman Rockman two-pack and a bonus disc that came with the Rockman 10 album.

I'm a big fan of Mega Man fan artists, so I've also included in the photo the Mega Ran rap albums, The Protomen's two albums, and The Protomen 8-bit remix album. Finally, I've got the first season of the Ruby-Spears cartoon and the special Upon a Star OVA that I wrote about last year.



Here are all five of the Jazwares Retro Roto figures plus Rush. I found them all at CVS and you probably can too. Jazwares had a lot of inventory that they couldn't move and dumped it on CVS's doorstep. On the far right are the Jazwares JUVIs. They were shipped improperly and now the boxes are all warped. I might open those two up and display 'em somewhere, but the rest of the toys stay in the packages.



Check this beast out! A huge Rockman X3 ride armor! Now I just need a couple of X figures and I can take some pretty spiffy action shots!



These might be some of my favorite toys ever! They are pretty worse for the wear because my dad bought them for me on a trip to Japan right around when Mega Man 5 came out. I had a lot of fun adventures with these guys! Not part of my official collection, but I'll be damned if I don't mention 'em!



I've got the Mega Man 9 i am 8-bit T-shirt plus the Mega Mistake T-shirt from Split Reason. The T-shirt on top that's still in its shrink wrap was another prize from that Robot Master contest I mentioned above. Eventually, I'll track down a Mega Man 10 shirt.



Not much to say here. Mega Man 9 and 10 posters. I'll frame them or something at some point.



Lastly, I've got some merchandise related to the releases of the latest two games. Right at the top is the super amazing Mega Man 9 press kit still in its shrink wrap. On its left are two Rockman 9-themed E-tank energy drinks and on the right are two Rockman 10-themed drinks. Both varieties are different and I promise to try one of each, leaving the remaining two unopened. The Rockman 9 drinks have expired, but that's not gonna stop me.

At the bottom is a can of Sakuma Drops candy, best remembered from the movie Grave of the Fireflies. On either side of it are packs of manju, a Japanese confection filled with red bean paste. There's a cute little play on words here -- "ten" in Japanese is "ju" and therefore "Mega Man 10" could be read as "Rockman Ju."

The left box apes the original Rockman cover art while the right box would be what the cover on a Famicom Rockman 10 would look like.



For scale, here's the manju next to the original Famicom box.

Not shown in these photos is a pair of Mega Man Zero hobby kits, one of X and the other of Zero. They are unassembled and unpainted, so I didn't think a photo of the nondescript boxes would do 'em any justice.

Anyway, 'sup, bitches?
Photo Photo Photo










It's been quite a while since renowned film critic Roger Ebert last shared his thoughts on video games. His opinion that games are not and cannot be art doesn't sit well with gamers, many who have taken it upon themselves to properly "educate" him on the subject.

Just recently, Mr. Ebert took thatgamecompany co-founder and president Kellee Santiago to task over a TED presentation she delivered early last year. Two games mentioned during the presentation were indie darlings Braid and flOwer. Ebert could not see the artistic merit in these examples and thus the Internet erupted: "You are an ignorant man, Roger Ebert! You haven't even played these games, so how could you pass judgment?"

I think you are being just a tad bit harsh on the man. No, scratch that -- you are acting like brats. Show a little respect, will you please?

How ridiculous is it that you ask for the man's thoughts on a subject that you damn well know he's not familiar with and then hound him because you didn't like his answer? It's not like he decided one day to condemn the entire pastime. Someone years ago assumed that with his encyclopedic knowledge of cinema lore he might have some insight into the rising interactive medium that has been compared to film on more than one occasion. He was merely answering fan mail.

Gamers must reeeeeally want the support of such an influential figure in the entertainment world. You want his support so badly that you will spam his inbox and blogs' comments with scathing degradations and grade-school rants until you wear him down. I mean, there are people actually trying to have list wars -- LIST WARS -- with Roger Ebert! When has that ever been an effective tactic?

If only the man would play the games, then he'll understand, right? It's easy for gamers to forget that games are not an immediately accessible medium like film and literature. Other than the ability to register images and words, movies and books don't require any extra skills in order to be consumed. Video games, on the other hand, require users to be well-versed in electronic "language," that is, a rhythm and familiarity that comes with play over an extended period. Aside from possibly Myst, I doubt that Ebert's gaming experience extends beyond a single quarter on a Donkey Kong cabinet. Expecting him play the games you demand of him without succumbing to frustration, regardless of how easy we find them, is beyond foolish.

So if he can't acquire first-hand knowledge of gaming, why doesn't he just keep his mouth shut? Because you people keep opening yours! You are the ones so bent on changing his tune. He could have ignored the subject entirely, but that would be rude to all the people asking for feedback. Ebert is a true professional and wants to be as fair to his fans as he can. If he were a dishonorable hack with a political agenda, he would simply cherry-pick the most caustic comments and then use that material to damn all gamers as barbaric miscreants. Give the man props for seeking out polite and well-constructed counterpoints such as Ms. Santiago's presentation.



As often as Ebert returns to this subject, I figure he would love to be persuaded by a thoroughly convincing argument. Unfortunately, he wasn't sold on the three games Santiago highlighted as proof that games can be and already are art. It has nothing to do with stubbornness and everything to do with her failure to state compelling reasons. She described Braid as a tool to help the players reflect upon their own real-world mistakes, but how does that in any way inspire a non-gamer to play that over, say, reading Chicken Soup for the Soul? How does illustrating the critical and financial impact of these games in any way address the art debate?

Roger Ebert is an extremely busy man who does not see the point in dedicating the amount of time needed to play games "properly." What kind of art, he figures, demands a set of skills that limits the number of people who can benefit from it? If you cannot effectively describe to a non-gamer how a game is a form of artistic expression without ultimately resorting to "well, you just don't get it," maybe there is a kernel of truth in Ebert's words.

Regardless of his opinions, Ebert doesn't discourage gamers from enjoying games however they see fit. Really, why should his thoughts affect your pleasure? He only offered his musings because he keeps getting pestered about it. And so he asks, "Why are gamers so intensely concerned, anyway, that games be defined as art?"

I'm mulling it over, trying to imagine how gamers would benefit from the mainstream acknowledgement of games as an art form. None of us were concerned about artistic merit back in our preteen years. What I think tends to happen is you hit that age -- about 20, 25, or 30 -- where your minor in-game accomplishments start to seem childish and nonessential. Then there's that gnawing at the back of your head, the fear that one day you'll look back and realize you wasted the best years of your life on a mindless hobby with nothing to show for it. Before that happens, you need to somehow validate your hobby to the world, make the people understand that you are engaging your body and soul by playing these games.

Can there really be any other reason than that? Games can't just be "entertaining," no. They have to offer some greater wisdom, serve some higher purpose. But let me ask this -- has it occurred to anyone that something can be meaningful and elicit emotional response without being art? It's like the boy whose life changed after dad took him to his first ball game. Doesn't mean baseball is art, does it? You get so hung up on this three-letter word, as if games are going to get any better once the medium is "validated" in the eyes of educators, political pundits, and disapproving parents the world over. Why should it matter what it's classified as?

But don't take my word for it! If anyone could give a straight answer on the "games as art" debate, it would be the "artists" who made those games possible. And not just any games! The best in their class!



Upon winning the British Academy of Film and Television Arts fellowship award, Nintendo wonder child Shigeru Miyamoto said this in his acceptance speech:

"It's a great honor that my name might be listed as a fellowship member along with such a great director as Hitchcock. I have never said that video games [are] an art."

Miyamoto has helped to shape some of gaming's greatest icons like Mario and Link, but he's been more focused on bringing joy to players than producing art. As we've seen with Wii Music, sometimes he doesn't even make games!



Speaking of not making games, Sim City-creator Will Wright dropped this nugget while at the Toy Fair in New York City:

"I always thought of Sim City as a digital toy. Most people call it a game, but, really, the rules structure is much looser than a real game. You can't really win or lose in Sim City or The Sims. You can try for certain goal states and maybe achieve them or not. But I think my games have always been more like toys than games."

Will Wright considers himself in the toy business! Even if you managed to form a convincing argument for why his simulation software is art, it wouldn't make a case for video games by his own admission. In fact, Ebert said as much in his blog:

"One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite an immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them."



In the past decade, the face of the "games as art" movement has been the one-two punch of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. During a GDC '09 panel, Team Ico designer Fumito Ueda said this in response to that honor:

"My team and I are making a game which is close to art -- that's what people say. Personally I don't think that way. We're making a game to entertain people. Sometimes my personality and my team's might be reflected on the game, and it might look like art, but it is a game to entertain people. That kind of feedback is welcome but it's not what I'm trying to achieve."

Here are three men whose landmark games have had tremendous influence on the shape and direction of this industry, yet not a one would consider what they do "art." If these powerful figures care so little for such a nonessential title, why should the rest of us care?

Please, take Roger Ebert's advice and enjoy your games for what they are. You'll most likely never convince him that games can be art, but maybe that's the lesson we should learn. Drop the circular debate and just play some damn games. Also, stop giving the man crap. I think he knows what's up.
Photo Photo Photo