FALL 2002

Posts from October, November, and December 2002.

December 31, 2002...  Shrake 'n Bake

Looks like this'll be the last update of the year.  I've left you with something special you can enjoy before the champagne cork hits the ceiling and the ball hits the floor... just check out the reviews section.  It's a lot more functional than it once was, and I plan to sharpen up the layout in the near future.

I've also brought back Nature of the Beast, for the moment, anyway.  I've been meaning to make this comic for a while but it seems more appropriate now that the site's mascot has been on vacation for several months.

Just a couple more things before my hot date with Dick Clark... uh, wait a minute, that didn't sound good at all!  Er, disregard that, but DO listen to this.  I'm bringing back the fire sale, so if there's anything you want on the list, go ahead and order it.  If you've already ordered a game but haven't sent money for it, now's the time to do it.  Finally, if you can't find anything on the list that you really want, but have a strange craving for Emerson Arcadia games, Ward Shrake's your go to guy for multicarts.  You'll find more information about them on this site:


December 27, 2002...  Bam!  Zoom!  Right to the Moon!

I'm aware that Christmas is over, but I always have a tough time letting it go, so the banner's gonna stick around a while.

Sorry I haven't been updating much.  Truth is, I've been chipping away at a couple of other projects, most notably extracting the stupidity out of the ColecoVision version of Moon Patrol.  The game's programmer decided that, since it wasn't going to be commercially released anyway, he'd throw in some flying bras and screw around with the title screen.  I'm in the process of changing everything BACK to the way it should be, making the game a little closer to the arcade version and a lot less ridiculous.

[Screenshot of "Maoo Patrol"]

All right, there are a few kinks I need to work out, but once I figure out how to rearrange the title graphics it'll be an honest to goodness Moon Patrol translation, rather than the official ColecoVision game of the Communist Party.

Anyway, there's a new review by Phil Estes.  Have at it.

December 14, 2002...  Merry Kombat

Nothing says "Merry Christmas" quite like a fat guy in an ill-fitting Nights costume.  On the plus side, you're getting a lot of legitimate gifts this year along with the booby prize in the title banner.  John Roche leaps into the ring to do battle with the biggest villains in video game wrestling (they're not just bad, folks... they're even worse!), and Phil Estes ups the ante with his reviews of mech combat games on the XBox.  I suffer through another Mortal Kombat release, and for the first time in years, a batch of fresh Emerson Arcadia games.  Get 'em while they suck, folks!  Oh, wait... since they're Arcadia games, they'll be sucking for a good long time, so there's really no rush.

Oh yeah, there's more.  The mock screenshots which had first become popular in Advance Theory have spread to another section of the site, Colecotosis.  Ever wonder what Wizard of Wor might have looked like if Coleco had kept its promise to release it twenty years ago?  Now's your chance to find out, as well as see how Wizard of Wor might turn out if it were translated by one of the best homebrew game designers in the business.  Er, hobby.

Finally, this week's episode of Zoo Logic features guest appearances by the cast of Newshounds.  Thomas K. Dye agreed to participate in the furry card game I'm designing, and I thought this would be a fun way to celebrate the occasion. 

Speaking of occasions, have a merry Christmas, everyone!  Hopefully, I'll see you before the end of the year with a couple of new surprises.

December 9, 2002...  The Only Time the Creator of Happy Days Made Me Laugh

Usually, I spend most of Sunday night working on an update for The Gameroom Blitz, and tonight is no exception.  Perhaps that's not the best course of action to take, since I have work the next morning, but my creative juices flow most freely when everyone else is asleep.  Obviously, Friday and Saturday would be the best days to tackle the site, but usually, those nights are spent on other pursuits... either emulation or outside projects like, well, this one to name an example.

Oddly, I haven't added much to The Gameroom Blitz despite devoting most of Sunday to updating it.  I had spent several hours on the layout and reviews for a Neo-Geo section, but this section is far from finished, missing a ton of reviews and a suitable title graphic.  I suspect that you won't be seeing this new feature for a while.  What you will get, however, are a couple new reviews in Advance Theory and a Zoo Logic comic.  I'm sure a half dozen other comics have already beaten me to the punch, but hey, the more people who drag Honduras(s) through the mud for its idiotic decision to ban violent video games, the better.  It would be a lot easier to take this law seriously if third world countries made some attempt to protect their children from other negative influences... like, you know, Nike's sweatshops.

Before I sign off, I need to make a few announcements.  First of all, the new profiles are on hold, as the contributors probably guessed when they didn't get their forms over Thanksgiving weekend.  They're still not finished- hell, they haven't even been started!- but I'll try to get cracking on them once my college classes are over.  Second thing... if you ordered anything from the Fire Sale and haven't mailed out your payments, please do it now.  Money's been especially tight lately, and it would be nice to afford something fun this Christmas.  I'm going to reopen the Fire Sale at the beginning of next year, and all the items that haven't already been accounted for will once again be up for grabs.  Also, if you've received items in the Fire Sale and haven't sent payment for them, please do it now.  Finally, if you're still out there, Tombor, could you send me the rating graphics for the Robot Rodeo Roundup?  I'd love to use this article but I can't run it until I've got those pictures.

I'll seizure guys later.

(Jess shakes violently and falls into an inflatable pool)

(Garry Marshall walks by and casually drops his laundry into the pool)

December 1, 2002...  Contra Banned

Aw, crumbs... I just lost the Contra review I wrote for Advance Theory!  Guess I'm gonna have to replace it with a new one!  Ah yes, this will be LOTS of fun to write...  it'll be the next best thing to tying the designers to a torture rack!

You'll have to forgive me.  It's really late and my brain's on vacation right now.  Anyway, I've added a couple new reviews to the site... I think you know which ones I'm talking about.  I've also given the game Survival Arts its just desserts on Fighter's Misery (thanks to Chris Farrington for the suggestion), and thrown a couple of new reviews onto the Game Boy Advance page.  The only thing missing from this update is a new comic... instead, I've put some sample artwork on the bottom of this page.  It's for an outside project I'm working on right now.  However, since video game and furry fandom seem to be mutually exclusive hobbies, it's doubtful that any of you will give a damn about it.

I'm acting like a cranky jerk right now, so it would probably be best that I just go to bed before I miss even more sleep and take that behavior to my workplace.  Good night, Gracie.

November 25, 2002...  Pilgrim's Progress

Soon, we'll enjoy a very special time that comes only once a year.  Nope, I'm not talking about a Gameroom Blitz update... I was referring to Thanksgiving.  It's one of my favorite holidays, but one that's quickly forgotten by most Americans.  I can't understand why, because Thanksgiving offers that rare combination of family and top-quality food that no other holiday can top, not even the mighty Christmas.  Thanksgiving brings everything from plump roast turkey to creamy, satisfying pumpkin pie to your table... while Christmas loads you up on a bunch of sweet nothings like candy canes and cookies.  If you're "lucky", and I do use that term loosely, you might get some Christmas ham, but there's no way a greasy chunk of pork can compare to moist slices of warm turkey breast, accented with delicately seasoned stuffing and zesty cranberry sauce.  I'm not knocking Christmas, folks... I like Christmas.  Christmas is good.  But Thanksgiving is good eatin', and that is as the old saying goes the fastest way to a man's heart.  It's also the fastest way to clog his arteries, but that's a risk I'm more than willing to take!

Speaking of potent edibles, I just served up some hot, fresh food for thought on the site.  You'll find new Game Boy Advance reviews, additions to the ColEx, and a new Zoo Logic comic... just the thing to start off your Thanksgiving week right.  If you need second helpings, I've got reviews of X-Men: Next Dimension and Rachet and Clank baking in the oven.  I'll be sure to let you know when they're done.

November 21, 2002...  Picking a Fight with the Amiga

Normally, I don't update on Thursdays, but I just had to share this hilarious song with you.  It's the theme from Fightin' Spirit, a one-on-one fighter which somehow got lost on its way to the Neo-Geo and wound up on the Amiga computer instead.  Everything from the graphics to the characters right down to the fonts and loading screens will convince you that it's on the wrong system.  You also get the same high quality you'd expect from a Neo-Geo game, which is a relief after some of the other Amiga fighters I've played.  Elfmania and Mortal Kombat II are instant candidates for Fighter's Misery... Mortal Kombat II is especially ridiculous thanks to a typically poor conversion by Probe (it actually pales in comparison to the Genesis version!) and the option to play with a one button controller.  That's right, kids, just one button controls most of your character's moves.  The scary thing is that it's actually responsive and intuitive, but you can't help but feel that the game's functionality has been compromised when you could play it with an Atari 2600 joystick. 

It's not just Mortal Kombat II, either... a lot of Amiga software is like this.  You'd think that Commodore would have given the system a more complete joystick to complement its advanced hardware and superior gaming capabilities, but some Amiga users were still slumming with a single action button even after Genesis players had upgraded from their stock controllers to Sega's excellent six button arcade pad.  I simply can't understand this... if you're making a game machine that blows everything else on the market away, you might as well include a controller with at least four buttons so your customers can enjoy it.

I've got two things to mention before I go.  The first is that I'm changing my plans for Fighter's Misery... I'm not limiting myself to twenty games as I'd planned to do in the past.  Playing Mortal Kombat II on the Amiga and Survival Arts on MAME made me realize that there are just too many cheesy fighting games out there that simply can't be ignored.  Besides, limiting myself to my original twenty choices stifles my creativity.  It's been so long since I've tried Battle Monsters that I don't have much to say about it... but boy, I have plenty to say about some of the lame Street Fighter II clones I've played more recently.  Getting rid of the twenty game limit lets me review anything I want, whenever I want to, and that should make Fighter's Misery a lot more spontaneous and fun to read.

The second is that, yeah, I'm probably giving the editors of Penny Arcade more grief than they really deserve.  A couple of my readers pointed out that while Tycho and Gabe don't hesitate to bash people and websites that irritate them, their targets of ridicule are rarely as helpless as the victims of Something Awful's brutal (yet increasingly predictable) reviews.  Furthermore, Penny Arcade is still fun to read, which is a whole lot more than I can say for Something Awful... I swear, hatred and resentment have never been so dull. 

Having said all that, I still think my "Weenie Arcade" parodies are funny.  Hey, somebody has to.

November 18, 2002...  Around the Web in Eighty Days

You wouldn't know it from this installment of Zoo Logic, but I actually like Penny Arcade.  I'm just a little upset with the editors of this comic, who've let their egos grow to the size of mountains.  You'd think it would be bad enough that Penny Arcade has become so self-centered, but apparently, Tycho and Gabe are convinced that they need to make things even worse by attacking the editors of other web comics, using the most inflammatory rhetoric possible.  Maybe the editor of MegaTokyo is willing to shrug off the allegation that his comic is a "stroke-mag for pedophiles", but what about his hundreds of readers? 

I don't care for MegaTokyo myself... the artwork is great, but nobody needs a comic devoted to l33t speak.  I've read enough of that confusing crap to last me three lifetimes already.  However, if I did regularly read the comic, you'd better believe I'd be angry about Tycho's irresponsible blanket statement.  There really isn't much I could DO about it, though... except deflate his self-image a little with a comic of my own.  Maybe he and Gabe will find the humor in my parody, but if they don't, at least they'll better understand how the rest of us feel when they act like insensitive jerks.

Well, enough of that.  Let's talk about the future of The Gameroom Blitz.  What would you like to see on the site?  I've got several ideas but I can't possibly turn them all into features.  One thing I'm dead set on doing is adding new profiles for the staffers, but I'll need their cooperation to make that happen.  Everyone who writes or has written for The Gameroom Blitz in the past will receive a form in an E-mail over Thanksgiving weekend.  I'd like them to both fill out the form and supply a picture of themselves.  I'll use the photos to draw charicatures of the staffers, which will be placed in their profiles instead of the sprite art I've used in the past.  I'd like to have all this finished and added to the site on my birthday, the second of January, so if you guys could help me achieve this goal by filling out the forms when you get them, I would really appreciate it.

Everything else is still undecided.  I thought about adding film reviews to the site after watching the unlikely combination of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Jackass.  However, this is probably best left to the likes of The Flick Filosopher or even Toastyfrog... I do enjoy a good movie every once in a while, but I'm not what you'd call a film expert, and having little experience with the art and science of film making, I couldn't analyze them as thoroughly or as accurately as the editors of other sites.  I'm sure I could do a better job than that Ain't It Cool News guy, but let's face it, who couldn't?  He spent half his Blade II review talking about oral sex, for crying out loud!

Getting back to the topic of video games, I know I'll have to completely redesign The Re-View Mirror.  It's much too large to fit on two pages... I'll have to split this section of the site into multiple categories.  Here's my question, though:  what categories should I use?  Seperating the reviews by system seems obvious enough, but that would result in nearly a dozen pages, if not more.  I'd hate to force the readers to hop around that much just to check out the latest reviews.  I suppose I could go the Digital Press route and offer an index, perhaps with the five newest reviews at the top of the page.  I'll just need to whip up a layout that's appropriate for this site, yet fairly original and easy to use.

I'd also like to expand my coverage from game consoles to computers... I'm not talking about today's computers, but rather the older self-contained units produced by all the companies Intel and Microsoft ran out of business.  You know the ones I'm talking about... the TI 99/4A, the VIC20, and of course, the Amiga.  I'll probably throw in the X68000 for good measure.  It was never released in the United States, but man, you wouldn't believe the power of the hardware, or quality of the games.  Castlevania Chronicles was originally an X68K game before it was ported to the Playstation, and there's another Konami title, Gradius '90, which to this day remains exclusive to the X68000.

As you can see, I'm going to have a lot on my plate this Christmas.  In fact, I'll have so much work to do that I'll have to put the axe to other projects, starting with... yep, Rogue's Gallery.  My apologies to the three people who were actually looking forward to this site, but a web page devoted to my silly, juvenile drawings just isn't going to appeal to anyone else.  To be honest, even I'm not that excited about the idea anymore.  If it's any consolation, though, I'll post more artwork on this site, as well as the Kingdom 'Arts section of the Digital Press forum and Side 7, when (if?) they start accepting new contributors.

Now that I've attacked the topic from all sides (and batted around the wasp's nest I like to call Penny Arcade), I can go to bed.  Night, folks... I'll see you in about a week.

November 11, 2002...  This Post is Rated M for Mature

You've suspected it all along, but this update makes it official... I'm a pandering hypocrite.  I've always had reservations about the Grand Theft Auto series, even when it went from one of the worst games on the Dreamcast to one of the best on the Playstation 2.  The much publicized ability to lump two crimes into one by having your way with a hooker, then beating her to death for a quick refund, really disturbed me.  I wasn't the only one who felt this way, either.  The tasteless content in Grand Theft Auto 3 had earned it the nickname "Granny Sodomizer"; not from the likes of Donohue or Senator Joseph Lieberman, but from other gamers who found the game's content very unpleasant and even unnecessary.

One of my friends made a great point, though.  As nasty as Grand Theft Auto can be, it could be worse.  Some players (who've somehow managed to stay out of their local mental institutions) have asked DMA to include children in a future edition of Grand Theft Auto, and the designers have ignored and even spoken out against their demented pleas.  So fear not, citizens of Vice City... your children will be safe anywhere, at any time.  Unfortunately, the rest of the population still has plenty to worry about, at least until DMA starts making Grand Theft Deterrent games.

I'm sorry to say that I don't have much else to add to this update... after screaming at the last boss in Sly Cooper for thirty minutes, I developed a sore throat that was quickly followed by other cold symptoms.  I've got great ideas for both comics and articles, and I've finished the layout for Phil Estes' Robot Rodeo Roundup.  Maybe we'll see all of this and more on the site once I start feeling better and get caught up on my homework.

November 6, 2002...  Gone in the Blink of an Eye

OK, nobody blink.  If you do, it'll be November, and I don't think anyone's ready for that.  So just resist the temptation... staple your eyelids open if necessary.  Excellent... just stay strong, people!


Aw, crap... didn't I tell you people not to blink?!  All right.  Well, I guess I'll just have to accept that the year is almost over.  On the plus side, this also means that a lot of great games are coming out very soon for the Game Boy Advance, and, er, all those other systems. 

Seriously, though.  I just picked up a copy of Nintendo's demo DVD and was blown away by not only the quality of the disc itself, but the many fine products available for the GameCube.  Some of the minigames in Mario Party 4 are breathtaking, and Metroid Prime is just as amazing, even if it doesn't quite fit the mold of the typical Metroid game.  Plus, the GameCube is getting the kind of third party support its predecessor lacked, making the system a lot more tempting than it was a year ago.

And now a little somethin'-somethin' for the classic gamers.  The Intellivision had a somewhat selective audience, much like the N64 five years ago or the XBox today.  However, if you just happen to be one of the system's fans, you'll want to grab yourself a copy of Nostalgia.  Joe Santulli of Digital Press recommended it some time ago, and he's right... it really is the best Intellivision emulator around.

I guess that's it.  Enjoy the new comic and reviews.

October 28, 2002...  Enter Sandman

Whew... this has got to be the largest Zoo Logic comic I've ever made.  It's kind of silly, but heh, that's par for the course here.  More serious gamers will want to check out Phil Estes' latest review.  As for THIS gamer, he's just about ready for bed.  I'll catch you guys later, sometime after I've caught my forty winks.

October 25, 2002...  Sale of the Century

I'm on the verge of being overwhelmed by the orders I've received so far, so I'm putting the breaks to the fire sale until I can ship out everyone's purchases.  Everyone who's already ordered will be sent their games soon.  Everyone who hasn't put in an order yet will need to wait a little longer to do it.  I apologize for the inconvenience, but trust me, this is for the best... I'll be better prepared to handle everyone's requests if I'm not weighed down with so many at once.

October 22, 2002...  The Rings of Saturn

Wow... the sale's been up for just one day and I've already gotten orders for over a dozen games!  Thanks for all the purchases, guys... I really appreciate your support.  I'll start mailing out your orders this weekend, once I have your addresses.

I spent most of last night playtesting the games you'd purchased, and I must say (with the risk of stating the obvious) that the Saturn is one mighty fine system.  I enjoyed nearly everything I popped into the old girl, even Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3!  It makes me think I should do more to support the Saturn on this site.  The two dozen reviews of American Saturn games I'd published in one of my old fanzines would work pretty well here, I think.  I've spent a lot of time singing the praises of the system's Japanese library in the past, but there were great Saturn games available in the States as well.

I've thought about publishing even more content from my newsletters on The Gameroom Blitz, but that would be a better project for On-File, the fanzine archival site I'd founded back in the late 90's.  Unfortunately, that site went down for the count shortly after I moved back to Michigan.  I need to bring it back someday, hopefully with even more fanzine articles and a glossier look.  I don't know how relevant it would be to gamers who don't remember video game fandom, but I'm sure everyone who's ever published a 'zine would appreciate it.

All right... I'll keep you guys informed about the progress of the sale over the week.  The next substancial update will include Phil Estes' Gungrave review and, at long last, a Zoo Logic comic.  It took a while to get the wheels turning on the comic but I've finally come up with an idea, not to mention a joke I had that slipped my mind.  You'll find out which one gets published this weekend.

October 21, 2002...  The First Annual GRB Fire Sale

Is anyone out there interested in raking in more games for their collections this fall?  Well, if you are, and you'd like to give a hand to a web site editor in need, please click on the link below.


October 19, 2002...  Spam in the Place Where You Live

All right, all you happy people... if you've been sending me E-mail or plan to start soon, you'd better pay attention.  My personal E-mail address has been pulled out from under my feet, and after receiving thousands of spam messages from my Hotmail account, it's obvious that it's not really a valid alternative.  So I'm switching to a new E-mail service.  From now on, you'll be able to reach me at grb(at)ad-free.info... just remember that the address won't work until you replace the decoy "at" with a real "at" symbol.  I'm counting on all of my readers to use this address responsibly, and I'm sure most of you will do just that. 

I've got a quick note for all the spammers, though.  You have no business sending me your moronic pyramid schemes and empty promises of a larger manhood.  I DO NOT WANT YOUR CRAP.  I WILL NOT ORDER YOUR CRAP.  Don't even waste your time adding me to your bulk mail lists, because your advertisements will be ignored, and if your harassment continues I will abandon my current E-mail address and sign up for another one.  Haven't you ever stopped to consider how much you're bothering people?  Does it even matter to you?  Maybe if the tables were turned and disgruntled Internet users were picketing your businesses and throwing rotten fruit at your houses you'd finally get it through your thick skulls that you're hurting others with your irresponsible, selfish actions.

All right, maybe that note wasn't so short.  You can hardly blame me for that outburst, though... I'm sure most of you feel the same way I do.

Anyway, here's what you'll find in this week's update.  I've added a few reviews to the Game Boy Advance section, tweaked the links page slightly, and well, that's pretty much it.  I haven't drawn a Zoo Logic comic yet, but it's mostly because I don't have any good ideas for one... maybe I'll come up with something over the weekend.

October 14, 2002...  I Told You Webcomics Were a Bad Idea!

Roll out the red carpet... it's time for the return of Fighter's Misery!  It's been a while, but it's back in style, hitting the stage with Simon and Theodore.  Uh, wait, I mean it's back with a new review.  Forget what I said about the singing rodents.

There's also a new comic, which you'll find as always on the bottom of the page.  For the moment, at least, I'm sticking with Zoo Logic rather than alternating between it and a furry comic largely unrelated to gaming.  It's going to be tough to keep Nature of the Beast going with one of the main characters on vacation, and furthermore, it just doesn't seem like the comic BELONGS here.  I need to start work on Rogue's Gallery again.  That way, I'd have the appropriate outlet for my outside interests.

October 7, 2002...  Seal of Disapproval

This update's largely cosmetic... I just wanted to update a couple pages, introduce a new banner, and revive the weekly comic.

A few notes about all of the new additions and changes.  I know I said Byron was on vacation for the duration of his stay in Chris Farrington's comic 11 Will Die.  However, Chris sent me a cool piece of guest artwork that I just had to use... you'll find it in the title banner along with a logo I drew myself.  If you want to see Chris' original sketch, larger than life and with a dab of color thrown in by JessCREATIONS*, Co. Studios, you can check it out here.

All right, to the next order of business.  Zoo Logic's returned, and with a brand new character... I haven't officially named her yet, but she's based on a good friend of mine who's written for the web site in the past.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to bring the comic back at all, but thanks to the encouraging words of another comic strip editor (also burned by the alliance of pretentious furry artists commonly known as Yerf), Zoo Logic is back on its feet.  I've spent a lot of time with this new strip, adding everything from shading to thicker outlines.  I hope you'll agree that it was worth the extra effort.

Finally, I'm thinking of retiring the site's official Seal of Disapproval, Akane demolishing discs with a hammer, and replacing it with something a little more... uh, personal.  I haven't completely removed the Akane graphic, though.  You guys might want to take a look at the new animation, scattered throughout the cartoon page, and let me know if I should stick with it.

That's all he wrote for the week.  Hopefully I'll have the first part of Phil Estes' new feature published by next week.  From what I've read of the GunMetal review alone, I think I'm going to like the Robot Rodeo Roundup a whole lot.

Merry Christmas, guys.  I know this is late but I think you'll like what I got 'ya.