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just_nonplussed Blog

epic yarn

been playing some kirby's epic yarn.

i never really understood the appeal of kirby as a game (or really as a character). it just seemed like a watered down mario clone with some kind of suck/spit mechanic (kind of gimmicky). sometime later, i began to see kirby as a relation to pac-man, as a colourful ambassador of the female game-player. i thought into the character's origin and identity way too much. it's not like the developers were trying to make some kind of intellectual/philosophical statement. you walk from left to right, eat colourful things and repeat about 30 times with minor variations.

epic yarn is more special than that. it sort of transcends itself, mostly thanks to the unique art direction but also because of a broader harmony with its hardware (the wii). but i also think this all comes back to kirby herself as a character, thus creating a seamless aesthetic harmony on several levels. it's really difficult to explain this in words, becuase it's something that goes beyond rational logic and so when i say these things it comes out kind of garbled or unable to be easily interpreted.

it all goes back to buddhism and tantra, which have been part of the make-up of japan for centuries. kirby is the ego-less, and somewhat pityful and 'irrelevent' dot, or drop of water in the sea of life. this is mostly signified by her emptiness as she feeds off the abilities of others to find identity and power. epic yarn takes this concept further though, by transforming the world of kirby into yarn or thread. the thread represents energy in various vibrations and forms rather than just the outward appearance of a simple physical reality as seen in the original games. the theme of the game is connection. well actually, the game designers had to make up a silly hero's quest story of good vs. evil to make the product understandable to a larger audience, but underneath all that, kirby has to remember that the world is all connected and that it's part of the wider fabric of the universe. after each level she finds 'magic thread' that connects each world together; this would be consciousness. kirby can also transform into thread. in various segments of the game, kirby becomes thread, literally, and goes through walls. so playing the game is kind of kirby's realization of his ego-lessness. she used to transform, but now there is a real justification for the transformations. kirby weaves into the fabric of life.

anyway, i just love how the game plays with visual illusions and the great harmony of kirby's character becoming the whole game and the wii console itself, with its petite controller and elegant form, but also using the strengths of the wii to look forward and back at the same time. it's something of a swan song for the console. the craft and heart that has gone into the game is second to none. go look at some videos.

but other than that, it's a simple platformer. it takes liberally from games such as mario brothers, yoshi's island, little big planet, and sonic the hedgehog. so it's kind of a mini celebration of platforming conventions. but i also feel it as a wonderful unification of japanese culture and identity, but also an attempt at a unification of gaming audiences as the quality of the game is something everyone can appreciate. it's just a work of art. play it!

anyone getting a 3DS?

they seem really cool, but i'm not sure i can justify it at launch, as for me there is no killer app. maybe for christmas, because kid icarus should be out by then.

drawings

just a quick blog entry. pretty much a shameless plug for my deviant art. lol. but, maybe in future you guys might want a picture drawing or one of my small 'creatures'. but i didn't like the idea of just selling drawings, so i'm kind of selling a service. what interests me is illustrating, or interpreting some idea or desire or feeling, but in a way that is unique to me. in essence, i'm trying to be kirby. ;-)

with this way of drawing, what i'm trying to do is de-emphasize both the 'drawing as product' and also the monetary aspect, but not get rid of them. to me it's more about the drawing as an establishment or landmark of a personal connection between two people; in essence, the interaction.

so, if you're into that kind of thing go ahead and take a look. and pass the link on if you know anyone who might like my stuff. cheers.. :-) i've also been creating some funky new characters. maybe this is what pokemon will look like in 30 years time. lol.. 'pokemon: cretaceous edition'.

also, no games lately! :-( what's happening to me...

the industry is activision

i just heard a rumour on GS that activision is perhaps wanting to buy take-two, and thus gain some control over rockstar's IPs. it struck me as 'too much', as if activision would never stop gobbling up developers and getting fatter and uglier. this, just after the 500 layoffs at all their other studios. i mean, i'm glad that guitar hero is now 'retired', but it's utterly cynical to create multiple studios to work on one franchise and then close them all down when the series isn't making 10s of millions like a COD or a WoW. it's so arrogant and completely unjust. it also ruins any type of goodwill towards the video game industry, and doesn't encourage people to go and work in that field at all.

to me, activision is really a sign of the stagnation of the industry. it's becoming like the wallmart of video games.

lately

hello,

it's been a while hasn't it?

i haven't played much video games for a while. on occassion i've played vanquish and super mario world (both the same level of quality in my eyes). i played pac-man DX for a while, but not as much as i would have hoped. the challenge mode in vanquish is great - just concentrated madness. i love the 'campaign' too. i love maxing out the shotgun, boosting right up close to a massive enemy (like the monster tanks!), slowing down time and blasting it up almost in one hit. boosting and dive kicking the big scary robots is also so cathartic.

so why no video games? hmm.. let's say i have been busy with the art side of things; drawings mostly. i have my exhibition soon so that took some work to do. i also went back to yoga class, and i've started dancing, so games haven't been able to stand a chance! oh well.. the year has just begun. there's not really much out there at the moment.

so that's what i've been up to. i need a little bit more discipline to commit to my responsibilities at the AR union. >_< so, sorry guys as i haven't been around much lately.

what you guys been up to? :-0 +games

new platinum game!

'anarchy reigns'

these guys are probably my favourite game developers at the moment. i just wish more people would buy their games instead of just renting them and then going.. "oh s***, this is actually good. maybe i should have bought that! oh well." several months down the line. it's the okami syndrome all over again. gamers say they love it but they don't want to buy it. i'm not saying you should automatically buy every game a developer puts out (i didn't buy madworld)... but, put your money where your mouth is as they say. and be honest with yourself - do you really want original game design? or are you just saying that. personally, i don't think gamers really want original productions. some of them do, but they're in the minority.

anyway, it looks and sounds very cool. 'multiplayer brawler' according to sega. how do you think it will work exactly...?

jazz__

recently i've hit a bit of a brick wall with my drawings. sometimes you just stop progressing, and you have to think for a little bit on which direction you need to go next. lately i've been feeling that my drawings are more like a group of very broad ideas. i have a concrete structure that is constantly improvised on. all of my figures look similar, but they're not the same. there are always spontaneous elements of that moment, but for that to happen there has to be some kind of constant.

reading up a little bit on the history of jazz music (and listening to lots of coltrane and some ornette coleman), i feel i can describe my style as something close to 'jazz'. it relies on some kind of improvisation or individual influence.

what i'm searching for is the tension between what is controlled and what just happens. i also love this idea of a universal feeling that can be appreciated by anyone, and can represent anyone.

so i was thinking that i need some ideas, feelings or situations from people that i can work with. since the deviant art community spirit is near non-existent, i'm asking you guys for some inspiration. i just need something to work with, to represent. a personal story, an idea, or a situation, or a character; that kind of thing.

if you have anything, it will help me very much to try this experiment out. i'll post the pictures if i use the ideas.

x

---

here's the drawings. thank you for your ideas. this was a useful experiment. :-)

nudity etc.

my kingdom for a horse 1

my kingdom for a horse 2

the same but different

super mario world

oh my god. how did i forget how genius this game is..? how did i not see the beauty in this design before?

i went back to play SMW for 'nostalgic purposes', but ended up being absorbed into it, and analyzing every inch of its design. it's simply great. i will be reviewing it as soon as i can.

the need for new stimulation

last year i tried to dedicate myself to playing two games. each game was very different. i tried playing them for a year. those games were bayonetta and demon's souls. it kind of worked, as both were compelling and had enough content to keep me playing them exclusively. i also saved a lot of money.

before, i was tired of simply buying games in a set order of release. i never really finished them or fully explored them. the idea that i could play one or two games exclusively for a long time was an antidote for me. if all video games are the same at a fundamental level, i thought that it didn't really matter that i didn't play many games. of course, all games feel different and are differently balanced, but they tend to offer the same results.

but there are limits, i've discovered. new stimulation seems to prolong the play experience; new visuals, new audio, new environments etc. even though it's 'all the same'.

it makes me wonder.. in life, we have such a detailed world with endless possibilities. how long would the development time be on a simulation that offered the same kind of thing? if technology is capable of growing so fast, perhaps it won't be too long before..... hey, we're back at virtual reality again!

but anyway, i think the ultimate destination for the big mainstream video game is such a kind of virtual reality. but maybe we already have this in online 'persistant worlds'? developers always adding in new content and such. of course, you could argue about the depth of those worlds and that it will never be significant enough, but it's probably the closest thing at the moment.

i don't think all games should be persistant worlds though. it suits a particular type of design. i would love a non-MMO (no other people, no fees), version of shadow of the colossus, which is even bigger with lots of things to discover. but no bosses.