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About
~Joe Ark Sun
ceark.net
my game collection
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dtoid year 2 comic

- my name is ark.
- my handle is ceark. it's pronounced say-ark. this is also my psnid/gamertag
- i'm a 27 years old artist.
- destructoid member since it's year 1.


ceark's current all time favorites:
0. persona 3 portable
1. terranigma
3. okami
4. odin sphere
5. valkyrie profile
6. valkyria chronicles
7. breath of fire 4
8. final fantasy 7
9 rune factory 3


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Along time ago, I made photography contest on DTOID. The rules were to simply make a photo comic of yourself in your favorite game of the time. The winners, would get a painting of them in that game.

Rio McCarthy, being the only female entrant, won the girl's contest by default with this entry (Persona 3):


and maybe like 9 months of procrastination later, I painted this for her (Rio as a prototype anti shadow weapon, pre Aigis if you will):

You can see the larger image on my side bar.

The guys category had several more entrants. The winner ended up being Conrad Zimmerman (who wasn't an editor at the time). Here's his entry (Dead Rising):


Now keep in mind, this contest was in February of '08. That means I've procrastinated for OVER 2 and half years now. I really suck.

I had a really difficult time deciding what to paint. I started over many times. Eventually I settled on the idea of Conrad getting dressed in a mall shop, weapons lying about, zombies pressed up against the windows (thus fitting the original consumer-zombie commentary that a lot of zombie lore rose from). One of my favorite parts of dead rising after all, was just changing clothes since it was so humorous that you would bother to do so while thousands of zombies wandered about.

I started blocking out this painting probably about a year ago, and then things got really busy at work. When you work all day doing artisticy things its hard to find motivation to do it when you get home. Terrible excuse I know, but I somehow just completely forgot about this again, for like the 5th or 6th time.

Anyway, I recently rebuild my computer and was copying over files to my new machine. While sifting through the folder, I found the work in progress of conrad's painting. The painting itself is only like 20% done (it's still in blocking stage). I used a photo of a shoe store I found for reference in the basic lay out of the store. It's missing alot of elements and fine details (weapons, clothes, blood, more zombies, clutter, etc.) since it's only in blocking stage.


Conrad's face has been roughly blocked out as well. It's not quiet "conrad" yet but its in the ballpark.


One of these days, I WILL finish this painting.
one of these days....
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Today, I listened to an incredible Song of Storms cover on guitar. It sent chills down my spine; it gave me goosebumps. Yesterday, I beat Mario Galaxy 2 with the assist of my girlfriend taking on the role of "P2." It made me crack a smile from ear to ear. A week ago I leveled my corsair to 76. I was absolutely cackling with joy as I ran around faster with the new Bolter's Roll. A month a go I was fraught with rage when I went to avenge Mr. Marston. A year ago I was crapping my pants as I walked down the halls of the USG Ishimura. A decade ago, I cried when Aeris died. These emotions aren't really mine, yet at the same time they are. I took these feelings from the adventurers beyond the screen and placed them in my heart; toys to fill an empty toybox.

Alot of other dtoiders having written great articles thus far about the escapism video games have provided them. Be it from bullies or illness, video games have been a crucial coping mechanism for the struggles of everyday life. But for me, it was the opposite; I was escaping from a life without struggle- a life that was extremely ordinary.

Don't get me wrong, I'm highly appreciative of the upbringing that I had. Our family was never rich, but we were most certainly not wanting of anything. I grew up in a family that never really had debt, never really worried about putting food on the table. My schooling was adequate. I wasn't popular per say, but I was well liked by everyone. I've never had really trouble with the ladies. The few kids that bothered to "bully" me got there ass handed to them and needless to say, they didn't bother to continue. I've never struggled with serious illness. No one very close to me has passed away. I went to a good college, graduated and immediately got a good job. The list of how my life is very peaches and roses can go on and on and on. It can only be described as an overly peaceful life.



I'm certainly not complaining. But I'll make one observation. When you don't struggle for things, they really do have less meaning. A life with struggle can be terribly...empty. Some of the most intense emotions I've ever had were from playing games. My admittance to this fact may very well be the saddest statement I'll ever make. But honestly, I'm not to bothered. Video games have given me an opportunity to experience joy, rage, fear, sadness, anticipation, laughter, and made an otherwise mundane life anything but. At the very least, they have given me an appreciation for all the good things in life I as I play out the tails of heroes and heroines who STRUGGLE to live ordinarily. I think this may seem like a fancy way of saying "video games kept me from getting bored," but the sentiment really does run deeper then that. I'm sure one day on my gravestone it will read "ceark. the life he lived was ordinary, but the life experienced was extraordinary."



Sidenote:
Hey Dtoiders, it's been a long time since I've regularly posted. You older non LA Dtoiders (I NARP in LA afterall) are probably thinking where the f*** have you been, of course all the new folks are probably wondering who the f*** are you? Anyway, I have a little more free time for the foreseeable future (on a slow project ATM, so next couple of months I got some breathin' room) so I thought I'd get back into the dtoid fray. Thought I'd start with my first ever monthly musing. Maybe I'll finish that painting that I STILL owe conrad (for 2 years now....). Maybe I'll give in and finally paint Yojimbo. Who knows.
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I got some goodies in the mail today. When you win a DTOID contest (which I've never done) it's customary to share the spoils in CBlog.

The t-shirts pretty sweeeeeeeeeeeeet. and actually a size I can wear (hurray!). . The dishwasher soap is...I'm trying to figure out whether or not I should actually wash dishes with it. It looks like dishwasher soap. It smells like dishwasher soap (it has a happy lemon scent). But it COULD actually be like....vampire saliva or something. Also included was a cool guitar pick (fortunately, I own a guitar! ...which I have yet to learn to play but that's beside the point) and two button pins.

also first post in a looooooooong time.


also, cocks.








What's up Dtoiders, happy holidays!

It's been awhile -_- But work is finally reached a point where I have free time again, so hopefully I can finally get around to finishing that painting I owe Conrad (I haven't forgotten man!). Ive only been occasionally commenting the past few months. It'e been so long that I took me a while to remember how to write a post due to some format changes (which are nice btw).

Anyway, I thought I post a quick lightning review of the games I played in 2008. This isn't all the games I acquired this year, just the stuff that was released in 08. I felt it unnecessarily to list the backlog of pre 08 games I acquired this year cause that would be a really long ass post.

Games that I had high expectations for that turned out to be utter shit
Alone in the Dark 360 - Buggy piece of shit.
Infinite Undiscovery - Lame Story, Lame Characters, Crappy Animation, Boring Gameplay
The Last Remnant - Lame Story, Lame Characters, Crappy Animation, Boring Gameplay, and Buggy and Unfinished

Games that I had high expectations for that turned out to be rather disappointing
Army of Two - Turned out to be not that fun. Co op gameplay left something to be desired.
Eternal Sonata - Very standard feeling RPG, slow, unnecessary, and long ass cutscenes.

Games that kinda sucked
Viking: Battle for Asgard - generic hack and slash.
Silent Hill: Origins - wtf is this?
Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon - Harvest moon games are either really good or really bad. This was really bad.

Games that I wanted to enjoy, lied to myself and said I enjoyed while playing, only to realize that I didn't enjoy it at all after playing it
Fable II - I want my 15 hours back.

Games that were ok
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII - I guess it was cool to get some more story angles on the FFVII world. it was just an average game.
Culdcept SAGA - ok for a card game I guess. Gets really old after awhile.

Games that I bought and barely played
Phantasy Star Portable (jp) - just wanted to get a preview because I'm excited about the US version. Seems good so far.
Eternal Poison - Slow paced, lots of lot loading. I shelved this.
PixelJunk Eden - pretty
Soulcalibur IV - not a big fan of fighters. I bought it just because.
Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness - I fell asleep.
echochrome - unique.
Warhawk - Operation: Broken Mirror - I think I've played warhawk like....twice.
Warhawk - Operation: Omega Dawn - I don't even know why I bought these.
Arcana Heart - school girl version of street fighter or kof.
Ikaruga - one of the hardest games ever. kicked my ass.
Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword - some one gave me this, never played it.
Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection - I bought this just cause I was missing the original games.
Wild ARMs XF - didn't play this yet. probably sucks.
Triggerheart Exelica - I have no idea how to play this.
N+ - I haven't played this yet.
Sins of a Solar Empire - I played like one tutorial level and gave up.
PixelJunk Monsters - your basic tower defense game.
Omega Five - I suck at this
Crash Commando - not sure what I'm playing here.
Castlevania Chronicles - haven't played this yet.

Games I let other people play for me because I didn't feel like playing it myself
Battlefield: Bad Company - stuff blows up
Dark Sector - you get some sorta sharp thingy on your arm.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 - people die

Flawed games that were still fun
Operation Darkness - this game is ugly, has a crap camera, but when you get a hang of the game play, it's actually quite fun. if only it were on valkyria chronicles level of quality, this game would of been amazing.

Games that were fun while it lasted
Mirror's Edge - Some of the levels really give you a rush. Pretty exciting, very short. Parkour is fun, fighting is not.
Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice - I never liked disgaea but I found this to be alot of fun. If you like tactical games, give this a shot.
SIREN: Blood Curse - pretty creepy. Challenging, but not frustrating like the Siren that came out on ps2.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - Cutscenes are long as shit. I enjoyed this the 2nd time through when I was able to skip all the freaking cutscenes.
Grand Theft Auto IV - Honestly, I never liked GTA that much, but I found this game to be far deeper then the rest of series. Nico was a rather likable character.
Patapon - pon pon pata pon!

Games that caught me by surprise in how fun they were
Valkyria Chronicles - I had really low expecations for this game. However, this is one of the best strategy games I've played this year. It was really lovely and involving. Beautiful pastoral color palette.
Dead Space - I never liked over the shoulder shooters, but I played through this 3 times. Beautifully lit, nice animation, smooth frame rate, well paced. All in all excellent craftmanship in the making of this game.
Silent Hill: Homecoming - I was apprehensive since this was made stateside, but I found myself very satisfied with this iteration of the series. Creepy. Great sound design and lighting.
Tales of Vesperia - Tales is another series that I've always been pretty neutral towards. It's very much like other tales games, but they killed a small amount of the suffocating cutesyness (now it's just bareably cute), which made it much more fun.
Lost Odyssey - I had really low expecations for this, but this by far trumps any Square Enix game I've played this year.
Burnout Paradise - most fun I've ever had in a driving game.

Games that I highly enjoyed
Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon - I think the rune factory branch off is my favorite of the harvest moon series. if you like harvest moon, you should like this. Starts really slow though.
Left 4 Dead - Dear god this is alot of fun with friends.
LittleBigPlanet - I don't think I need to mention how cool this game is.
Castle Crashers - Quirky, fun, and fast
Bionic Commando Rearmed - Beautiful and nostalgic

If pants could get pregnant, I'd be having triplets games. none of these games need descriptions. they're just flat out amazing.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Fallout 3
Mega Man 9
Braid

That was my lightning review. Hope everyone's having a merry christmas and happy new yeardespite the economy and the world going to utter shit this year! Hopefully I won't get piled with work in 09 so I can get some cool new paintings done for you guys.

also, bonus if you recognize what my new headphones are from.
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Usually it's Rio making these sorta posts, but I'm gonna sneak one in.

So my messenger fell apart a week ago. For an artist, it's pretty shitty when they're trusty bag/pack/whatever falls apart.

I spent a couple of days shopping around for a bag but couldn't find one to my liking. All I really needed was something that could carry some books, drawing pens, and have custom pouches that were exactly the size of a DS and a PSP. That last one was the hard part, I'm surprised no one's manufactured such bags.


Anyway, being that I'm an artist and sewing is one of my disciplines, I pretty decided to just go buy some materials and make a gamer/artist messenger bag from scratch. The design is entirely made up on the fly (I didn't have a pattern or anything, I just sorta sewed shit together). I'm actually quite pleased despite the fact that the stichwork is a little messy due to the fact that my cheap ass sewing machine sucks (you get what you pay for).



The front of the bag with my floral motif. The panels are made of two layers of thick canvas and a layer of water resistant nylon.


Back of the bag. finally found something to stick one of my bajillion dtoid patches on.


Inside Pouches.


As you can see, the side pouches are spefically tailored for handhelds.

Whole process took about 12 hours from beginning to end and about 40 dollars worth of materials. I think I could do this much faster a 2nd time because I wouldn't be making it up as I go. I think next year when I get my bonus I'm gonna get a nice sewing machine and maybe make custom bags on commission for peeps if anyone's interested.


Also, I wanted to show off something I ordered today.



If your jealous, it's cause you should be. I generally wouldn't drop a ridiculous wad of cash for something like this, but part of it will be reimbursed to me so I'm really only paying like 120 bucks plus shipping and tax. Will take pictures when it arrives.
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I'm gonna make this to the point. There is only one thing I actually "hate" in games, and that is things that are pointlessly not to the point.

IE:
- Scrolling text with no option of all text at once. I read like a demon on crack don't give me that slow shit and make me read at a kindergartner pace.
- Unskippable cutscenes.
- Shoddy controls trying to be innovative and making a good game take 10 times longer to play.
- Filler shit put in a game to waste time rather then add meaning.

That is all.