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Spiral Knights impressions

So I recently landed a job at a local ice cream parlor. It's the easiest job ever; I've pretty much learned the job within a day. It's also nice because the staff is small so hours are easier to come by. Not only that, but we get paid every week. It isn't very stressful nor can I express in words how happy I am to finally be paid to talk to people! It isn't the most interesting job, but it'll be a nice complement to my school life since there's lots of down time to fill my sketchbook with caricatures of customers.

But until I landed that job, I had been playing all the free games I could get my hands on (outside of Monster Hunter). One of these games was Spiral Knights. Because I'm lazy, I'm not going to give you a full review, just bullet points:

spiral knights


--First, let me say that this is a gorgeous game. Whoever was in charge of art direction most certainly had formal training. The textures are clean and effective; the colors and values work effectively together. For a 3D game, it has some visual pizazz. It isn't something I look for in a game, but it's certainly something worth noting.

--Collecting things is moderately fun.

--Auctioning system is probably the single greatest feature to be in a multiplayer game.

--Gameplay is a streamlined version of Zelda.

--Doesn't take long to level-up equipment like armor and weapons (both of which look incredibly cool).

--the premise is moderately interesting.


--Warning: this is a button masher. Normally this wouldn't be a problem; Monster Hunter three is a button masher. But what Monster Hunter Three has over Spiral Knights is exaggerated status effects and clever monster fights based upon your ability to observe a monster's tells and use those to mark the moments in which you attack or dodge. Spiral Knights is simply about getting close to the monster and swinging the bat as many times as you can.

--Collecting items tends to be the main focus of the game, but it's simply not fun.None of the materials are interesting, nor do any of them have multiple uses (like Monster Hunter).

--The game is basically about grinding. Which isn't fun.

Maybe it's just me, but my years of playing videogames has made me immune to the reward schemes that designers tend to throw at gamers. The game is just uninteresting in every way: There's no primary focus or clear gameplay ideas. The levels are incredibly linear and the prizes aren't worth winning. It seems like the only focused feature of the game is the artwork which is really only interesting to look at for so long.

In all honesty, it's only worth playing because it's free. If they added any sort of price to play, it really wouldn't be worth anyone's time.

spiral knights 2



I may be featured in an art gallery soon.

So I live in a relatively large small town famous for rock n' roll, blues and the phrase 'kickin' it small time'. One architect, who was my drawing professor last semester wants to inspire the towns folk to build a better city. That means finally building some sidewalks and bike paths while also motivating business owners to move back into the commercial district downtown. I actually got my professor on board with allowing me to make a game for this gallery (along with some charcoal drawings).

This wouldn't be a full game. In fact, it wouldn't be much of a game at all. It would simply be a way to show off some of my pixel artwork and simultaneously have motivation to work on a singular project. I plan on pixelating an idealized version of the commercial district downtown. I took a trip to take pictures yesterday. It's going to be difficult, but two and a half months is more than enough time to put something like that together.

Speaking of which, I should probably upload some of the pixel work I've been doing this summer.


That's not all of it, but that's a good portion. Have a good weekend!




So Monster Hunter is possibly the most addictive game I've ever played

I apologize for being more or less non-existant. I still check blogs from time to time just to see what most everyone is up to. It seems to be same old same old. No big upsets like Aber's downthumber anyways. Which is a bummer, because whether you like it or not, drama is pretty fascinating stuff.

Johnny Bravo

I haven't been here because of school, but mainly girls. I'm discovering that I'm quite the Johnny Bravo (sans blonde hair).8)In anycase, One of the reasons why I ventured onto this site was because I was lonely and bored with my highschool life. But going to a Uni was exactly what I needed to spice it all up. A little work, a little drama, it's all great fun when you look back (not so much when you're in the thick of it with your trousers around your ankles).

But now that my first two semesters of college have come to a close, I'm left with a very small list of things to do. One of them includes reading Reddit, of which I've seriously cut back on in recent times because it saps my productivity and also because it isn't quite as enjoyable as it was when I signed up. The other three check boxes are music, movies, and videogames.

The music front has been very fascinating indeed. My brother and I have joined up with a friend of ours to start performing regularly. Right now, we're talking about having a select number of people come to our house and listen to a pre-performance so we can practice performing all of the songs in front of a crowd of people. I've written a lot more songs as well. Most of them end up as junk, but I occasionally hit on something that I like:

Buried In the Sea

Number Three

I've also been using netflix instant watch to catch up on some c1assic movies like the 'Thin Red Line' and 'Bladerunner' as well as some more independent films like 'You and Me and Everyone we Know'. By the way, I would not recommend watching 'You and Me and Everyone We Know' unless you're ready for some odd and esoteric drama. It is by no means unentertaining. It's just a bit twisted. But on to the meat of the blog:

Royal Ludroth

I've been playing my copy of Monster Hunter Tri recently and I have to say that it is truly one of the best wii games I've played. It amazes me how much of a hypocrite I can be. I consistently bash RPG games and yet my favorite games of all time are, in fact, RPGs: Paper Mario, The World Ends With You etc. etc. The thing is, Monster Hunter has a simple and rather tame premise. It doesn't get in the way of the game. It doesn't interrupt you with unecessary cut scenes. It gets straight to the point; that point is management.

At it's core, the form is pretty much the same as 'Football Manager' or 'Band Manager'. The key to winning any fight is getting the right supplies (potions, rations traps, tools, weapons). But even those can't guarantee your head at the end of a fight. It takes some strategic thought. I've recently been given the challenge to defeat the mighty Royal Ludroth (pictured above). I first tried a straight forward approach: I stocked up on potions, mega potions, and an ancient potion just in case and I went for it. Not only did I die, but I was just about to run out of time. I had managed to break him down considerably, but at the cost of twenty six potions. I tried using traps the second time. It was effective for the most part, but monsters become wary of traps after they've been used once. So it's not likely that it could've been incredibly successful.

Right now, I'll probably try going the gunner route and going for him at a distance, although that might be a problem, because Mr. Royal Ludroth likes to keep you close when you're underwater. In anycase, this Royal Ludroth is a Royal Pain in my ass.

But I love this game. It's provided a really fascinating challenge. The fact that the monsters don't have strict patterns and their behavior differs depending on the time and environment you catch them in really adds that level of unpredictability that makes a game interesting. Overall, I have to say this beats out Muramasa and Sin and Punishment 2. Both of those are good games, particularly Sin and Punishment 2 which seriously plays with the on rails format in so many ways.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week. Make the most of it while you can! And remember "Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted at all."



Here are some demos/songs that I haven't shown you guys yet

I know I haven't been around, but I've been seriously creating lots of music. Here are three of my better songs written recently.

Wake With the Sun

The Green Fields Where the Bombs Grow Tall

The Burning West

I recommend listening with headphones or speakers. It doesn't sound quite as good without them. Tell me what you think!

In terms of gaming: I recently bought Super Smash Bros Brawl off a friend for 20 bucks and have been playing that quite a bit. It just doesn't get old!



Going in the Studio on Sunday

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last blog. I'll get around to addressing your questions and comments eventually!

--At the moment, I'm preparing to go into the studio on Sunday. I'm at a hotel in Chicago preparing songs, making last minute compositional changes. Here's our completely untested setlist:

Lunar Merchant

Talking Solemnly

Your Heart is Black as Mine

Don't Be Distracted (Buried Under the Sea)

Evicted Before the Northeast Blackout of 1965

Prodigal Son

You guys will like this setlist a great deal, I think. I'll let you know when I get it put together. Hopefully this will be a good leg up to perform around our home state a bit more. (I also plan on playing a few venues up around this area during the summer. Hopefully those plans don't fall through).

You know, being in a different place changes the way you write music. It's kind of refreshing to finally get out of the south and back into my home state (for those wondering, I was born in the lovely town of Geneva, Illinois). Yay for snow!

--If it's dark and snowy outside. Look out the window and listen to this with big headphones.

--I've recently been addicted to Reddit. Thanks to anyone who's ever mentioned it.

Game design, games as art (Don't give me that look!)

So, I haven't posted a good gaming blog in a while. It might be great to express my feelings on gamespot for the sake of irony, but I end up losing a lot of readership in the process. I want to post an editorial soon, but I think there should be some discussion and development before I post it. This is going to be a bit of a game changer.

Here are some points and general logical evidence to back them up.

1. Art is not a qualitative term. The difference between art and entertainment is simply the focus from the object matter to the approach. To represent this claim, I've chosen the book and it's plot summary. Both contain the same information, but no one says "That plot summary was a work of art". The reason why is because the plot summary is about the content of the book. The book is about the way in which the content is communicated. It works the same way with paintings, movies, music, and videogames.

Another thing, the essay I plan on writing is not art because the focus is on the information given, and not the execution of the information.

2. High art and Low art are qualitative definitions. It's the difference between Ravel (Romantic/classical) and Skip James (blues). These claims are generally subjective. Most of the time, it boils down to intellectualism v. anti-intellectualism. There is the same general philosophy of creating for the enjoyment of the artist, but the way in which the artist enjoys the process of creation defines whether they are making high art or low art. i.e. that blues guitarist who is simply making music s/he likes v. the composer who wants to expand upon certain atonal experiments. In a strange way, low art can become high art, and high art can become low art. Bela Bartok was considered to've made 'low art', but as time went by, his works were elevated in praise for his strange and heartthrob inducing harmonies.

3. Art doesn't have to be societally reprehensible. Simply because it's art does not mean it has a moral compass. Harmony Korine's "Kids" disgusted most of it's critics, but has since stood as a work of art only because the focus of the film was not in the information, but the method in which the information was communicated--as vomit inducing as it may be. Art can be 'bad' or 'wrong', but that doesn't rid it of it's status as art. Remember that it isn't a qualitative term.

The last point is the one I wish to expand on the most, but I'd like to hear thoughts. I'll be relating this all to games while similarly asking the question, "What defines a game as art, if emotional impact is not the qualification?"

What do you think? If you want to tell me that I'm wrong and stupid and art is nebulous then you can blame art school. DON'T GET NEAR ME! I'M CRRRAAAAZZZZYYYY.

Love Is Not a Battlefield

Life is a series of bad mistakes and blunders. If you don't learn from them, those mistakes were not worth making. Learn. Don't fight. You don't have to fight for your friends. You don't have to fight for your relationships. That girl you like is not an object to be won. Don't treat her like an object. Rather like anyone else you have just met. Getting to know someone has little to do with how much you know about them, but the things you experience with them. Value your relationships with other people. Give more than you take. Have patience.

Not all relationships work out. If your attempts to fix it don't work, there is nothing you can do.

Love is not a Battlefield.

I realize this all sounds corny and melodramatic, but these are some of the things I've had to tell my friend who's been going through relational trouble as of late. I don't know much about relationships, but this advice has removed a lot of self afflicted suffering from my life.


In other news, I'm seriously working on a Soapbox blog entitled "Composition over Content". You'll have to wait to see what it's about.