I think I mentioned before that I'm the sort of the (poor man's) Mr. Wolf of the family. So when one of my uncles passed a few years ago, I was called in to give his old place a bit of a tidy up. During the course of that, I happened on an old romance novel - sadly one that didn't have Fabio on the cover - and inside that, I found this:
A four-leaf clover, from goodness-knows-when, that someone must have been using the book to dry out and preserve. Despite living in Ireland, this was the first time I had ever even seen a four-leaf clover. Supposedly a good luck charm, this was a pretty awesome find that, obviously, someone long before me was also also quite excited to have uncovered.This was something that I needed to keep, and I decided the best thing to do with it would be to put it into a nice wooden frame, with maybe some cream-coloured backing paper.
Taking it home, I put it into a paper CD sleeve, put it away for safe keeping and set about tracking down the right frame and the right kind paper for the project. I don't really know much about that kind of thing, but acid-free seemed like it'd be the way to go. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find exactly what I was looking for in either department just then, so I ended up putting the whole thing aside for a few months. And then... I lost the freaking clover. :D I was sure I'd tucked the CD sleeve in between some DVD cases, but looking through them, I couldn't find it anywhere. That was that then, I guess.
Two years later, randomly taking out a DVD from my shelf, there it was again. I'm temped to say "Oh man, this thing obviously wanted to be found! Faaaaate!", but no, my lazy ass obviously just didn't search hard enough for it. :D And with that, the framing was back on. This time I quickly managed to find a nice frame and some good, high quality, acid free card in just about the right shade of off-white that I was looking for.
As I waited for my materials to arrive though, I started to wonder if the finished project wouldn't look a bit boring with a sea of empty space all around the clover. I started thinking about what I could do to fill in that space a little. That's when I remembered something else that I'd hung onto from my uncle's place:
This - the back page from some kind of financial diary that somebody had doodled a little house on. It seemed fitting to incorporate this into what was becoming a proper project now, and not just a simple framing, but how to do it was the question.
After some thought, I came up with the idea of placing the house above a meadow of clover that I'd draw myself, positioning the real clover at the bottom so it'd look it was sticking out of the field in the foreground - the one dried up old clover in the meadow from 20+ years ago, I guess, but whatever. :D
So, how to pull it off? Well, first I got out a sketchpad and started working on the clover-filled meadow. The house was drawn with a blue pen, so it seemed to make sense to use one for this too. I traced the basic outline of the house and the river in front of it (Well, I assumed it was a river. It does seem to be flowing out of the door of the house, which doesn't maker too much sense though.), putting it pretty high up to leave plenty room for the real clover. Around that outline I got to work filling in a mat of clover, flowers, grass and thistles, sticking to a fairly simple style that I hoped would line up well with the old drawing.
After finishing my first pass at the meadow and holding it up to the light with the old doodle, things were starting to take shape. I thought the house still stuck out from the new drawing a little too much though, so I tried to blend the old and new a bit more by filling in more flora closer to the bottom of the river, and by filling in the space above the river and around the house with some more meadow. After that, I was pretty happy with how things were looking. It was time to move on to the next stage: scanning in both of the drawings, and combining them into a single image.
The new drawing was pretty clean, of course, apart from some pencil marks that needed to gotten rid of. The doodle of the house though needed a fair bit of clone brush kung fu to wipe out the math all around it, but I think it turned out pretty well.
Not to get too far ahead, but the final, combined image I was going to be printing out onto the card, so I wanted a nice, clean line art image to work with, so the next stage was converting both images to line art...
... which made combining them together a simple matter of two layers and a bit of eraser brush work. It's at this stage that I drew in the tops of the chimneys, which weren't in the original drawing,..
I might have got a bit carried away "designing" the smoke.
..and, thinking that the sky above the house looked a bit empty, added in a couple of puffs of smoke to one of them - again, scanning them in after drawing them with a pen first.
And there it is: the final composite image. Not a bad attempt, though I wish I'd used a slightly thicker pen for everything I drew in. They still don't quite mesh with the house here, I think. Plus, I wish I'd filled a little more of that gap on the bottom right side of the river. Too late now though. :D So my image was ready to print onto that card. Black would have been a bit of a harsh colour for what I was aiming for though. No, I needed to Irish it up a bit:
It's time for another round of Junior Cert. art scans. This batch I'm dubbing the mostly mixed media special - something I tried my hand at early on in the project, following a call to vary things up a bit. The end results... left much to be desired.
I don't know if you can tell, but I really didn't have the slightest idea what I was doing. :D Yikes, this is bad! Worse than the haphazard use of different mediums here though is the general colour palette. Besides the flowers in the vase, it's just so washed-out and ugly, and that puke green and blue background is horrible. Bleah!
This is a little better though. The top left butterfly here is a mix of collage on top and colouring pencil underneath. The collage I think l pulled off much better here though - you really get the effect of it being made up of little bits of paper this time; the daffodils in the vase above just looked like solid orange blocks. But just like the daffodil leaves above, the bottom part of the butterfly here doesn't mesh with the collage bit at all, and that's not helped by my bizarre choice of colours on this bit.
The weird clown butterfly on the top right is pretty dope though. Not so sure about the oddly-designed one on the second row, which seems to be coloured-in with a pastel and marker combo. The rest of the page: yet more flat-looking flowers done in various mediums, even chalk (in the bottom left corner). If this wouldn't satisfy the art teacher, I didn't know what would!
It didn't. :D
Getting away from mixed media atrocities for a while and man, what a difference six months makes. Maybe even less. The two uh.. pieces above would have been from some point in late '98. This I specifically remember I drew (based on an art book drawing) in May '99 because, as I was slowly shading this in, I was also keeping one eye on the Man Utd v. Bayern Munich Champions League Final. By the time I finished up, all hope for a Man Utd. win seemed lost as extra time ticked away. As an avid fan at time, desperately I resorted to praying for a win in those dying moments. Amazingly, those prayers were answered with two messy, miracle goals. You're welcome, Alex Ferguson. :D
Moving to the 3D part of the project, here we have some more potential bowl designs. With the exception of the top right one, these would have all been far more interesting than the one I actually made. That black and white-colour combo on the top left is such a cool idea! You know what, I might make that bowl still.
The one in the centre here wouldn't have been a bad look either though. The bowl I made could have desperately used some of those white flowers on it to break up that awful wall of dark blue. Oh well, too late now.
More flowers, but from a slightly earlier stage of the project than the big rose above. I still hadn't quite grasped the whole shading thing at this point, but these are definitely a big improvement over say, the ones under the butterflies above.
Being a bit more well-versed in gardening type stuff at this stage though, I am noticing how weird the petunias - the pruple flowers here - look in all this stuff. Like most of the flowers I used throughout this project, I got the basic look of these flowers from a black and white photocopy from an art book, obviously not realizing that the rectangular sections in these flowers were meant to be a different colour. This ended up giving them this bizzare geometric shape that I just ran and ran with, right up until the final submissions of the project. Whoops. :D
1. A launch line-up filled with up ports and remasters.
2. Pretty thin western third-party support: If Skyrim and NBA 2K17 were both deemed trailer worthy, I'm fairly confident there isn't much else to show.
3. €300-350 for the main Switch bundle in Europe
4. Wave Race: Screw it, why not. :D
5. Animal Crossing: Probably not at at launch, but in sizzle reel form at least. I know I keep predicting this; eventually I have to to right! :D
6. Mario not at launch, but in the holidays: With Zelda at launch or a few months after, and the excitement of a new system driving early sales, they don't really need Mario right now. They can afford to take more time to polish it up, and I think they will.
♫ And here we go... ♫
00:00:00 - Pew! Pew! Lasers!
00:00:12 - Huh? If they're burning off a minute here with a countdown clock, they might have even less to show off than I predicted. :D
00:00:52 - Wow, it's been a while since Nintendo held a press event like this. I think the last one was the one where they spent an interminable length of time demoing that single mini game in Nintendo Land. Wasn't that how they closed that one out too? Yikes! Let's hope for a bit more oomph this time around.
00:01:04 - I think I just got my wish. The lasers have just gone OFF. THE. CHAIN!!!
00:01:19 - And the crowd go wild.
00:01:48 - Oh, it's Kimishima, with an English translator over the stream. This is all new and strange.
00:02:16 - In case you're still struggling with the basics. :D
00:03:15 - Okay. Date and price time. Surprised to hear they're going to be talking about online features here though. Because, you know, Nintendo.
00:03:22 - March 3rd. That's freaking soon. I was expecting mid to late March. The 17th seemed to be the scuttlebutt back at the end of last year.
00:03:38 - Oh boy, the price. Here we go.
00:04:02 - Oof! That's abut $50 more that a lot of people were predicting. That works out at about €280 right now, add on VAT and, yeah, that's about €350, depending on how, uh, generous our local retailers are feeling. :D Wouldn't be too surprised to see it going for €400 or so in the likes of GameStop.
00:04-17 - Online services now. "I'm pleased to announce the return of friend codes. Now double the length, and for extra security, made up of exclusively of indecipherable characters from NES password screens."
00:04:32 - So, the good news: there will be online multiplayer, and with some of the features people have been asking for it seems. The bad news: it sounds like you'll need to use a phone to access friend lists, send invites, chat and basically, do anything. Oh dear. This is bad. DeNaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
00:04:48 - And they're going to be charging for this? Just wonderful. Not that I play online much, but this service doesn't sound appealing or well thought out in the slightest.
00:05:25 - But hey, at least there'll be no region locking on the Switch. That's pretty cool. Switch Taiko no Tatsujin, here I come!
00:06:20 - A bit of a run-down on how past systems have influenced the Switch now. Oh yeah, now this is the kind of nonsense you just don't get outside of a proper E3-style press conference. Fingers crossed for some sales charts!
00:06:41 - Am I crazy, or did they tell everyone at the time that you weren't actually supposed to carry around the Gamecube by the handle?
00:07:22 - Ahh! It just wouldn't be Nintendo event without embarrassing pictures of models playing games. These look like a bunch of classics from the Wii and DS days. No game cop though? Come on.
00:07:42 - Another Switch trailer.
00:07:57 - "You connect it to the TV to play games" They're really leaving nothing to chance this time, are they? :D Not after the Wii U.
00:08:10 - Oh right! I guess Joy-Con (L) and Joy-Con (R) are the official names of these things (that no one will ever use).
00:08:48 - It would be nice to see some games, but it looks like were getting another breakdown of the different ways you can use the Switch. Joy! (Con) (TM). Well, I guess we are seeing Mario Kart here, which almost certainly has to be in the launch line-up, given how much exposure it's gotten, between this and the reveal trailer.
00:09:34 - I'm very much against handing a joy con to a friend or family member and sharing the joy right then and there actually; thank you very much.
00:09:43 - A two and a half to six and a half hour battery life. I was going to joke about that verging in on Game Gear territory (which it is), but that's also about the same as the 3DS, apparentley. I guess it'll do, not that I'll ever be taking this out of the dock. Well, unless I need to for Mario Maker. Hopefully this thing has a touch screen.
00:10:02 - It does. Mario Maker is saved! (Now watch them announce that the Switch version doesn't allow uploads either. :D)
00:10:19 - Eight player local multiplayer is pretty impressive, but I'm kind of doubtful that there will never be that many Switches in the same place outside of a retail outlet.
00:10:47 - These Switch puns are out of control! Well, I say puns; it's just been the same one over and over again.
00:11:23 - Oh good. More detail on the joy cons. Just what I was hoping for. I think at this point the only unknown about them is whether they have motion controls or not.
00:12:18 - The home button has a house on it!? Is everyone getting this? There's going to be quiz afterwards. NFC confirmed though, so there's still a chance of me getting that Tetra amiibo. :)
00:12:33 - A capture button. Well, for screenshots at least. Any chance of Twitch streaming though? I'd imagine not.
00:12:39 - In the future it'll be able to capture video as well, huh? I don't know, that sounds like a classically dodgy Nintendo promise. I'm still waiting for that DVD-playing attachment for the Wii.
00:12:56 - So, motion controls confirmed then. Look forward to that Skyward Sword remaster in about two years.
00:13:15 - SL and SR; geez, Nintendo, as if one set of weirdly-named shoulder buttons wasn't enough. :D
00:14:00 - What's even happening right now?
00:14:07 - Boy, I'm glad they had a couch on stage just for that. :D
00:14:43 - Oh, you thought they were done with the joy con? Think again. Colours! Wrist straps! Endless excitement!
00:15:05 - The wrist strap is a separate thing that slides onto the joy con with slightly bigger shoulder buttons. Just why? (Edit: Okay, those bigger shoulder buttons do seem a decent improvement if you're determined to use one of these things as a controller. I don't know why anyone would want to though. Look at the placement of the analogue stick compared to the face buttons!)
00:15:20 - And the wrist straps also cone in different colours. Of course! Not since the Microsoft E3 2016 conference have we been so spoiled for custom controller options. :D
00:15:28 - Boom! The right joy con has an IR sensor too. Perfect for re-releasing all those Wii games on the eShop. :) Hopefully they'll do a bit of upscaling this time though.
00:15:33 - Oh, it's an IR camera. It can tell the difference between rock, paper and scissors? Alex Kidd sequel here we come! :D I suppose it should still be able to replicate the Wii's IR pointer though, with the right sensor bar.
00:16:25 - HD rumble! Hopefully it'll be able to do more than simulate the feeling of holding a glass with ice cubes though. Otherwise it won't be much use outside bringing unparalleled new levels of realism to Tapper.
00:17:00 - Games! Finally.
00:17:23 - "A game everyone can play together: Mad Dog McCree Returns!"
00:17:58 - Wait, this can't be Wild Gunman sequel? Can it?
00:19:00 - Introducing: the two coolest guys in existence. Hold on, is this "game" basically press the button faster than the other person?
00:19:25 - Well, that was embarrassing. 1-2-Switch seems to be the name here. Looks like a mini game collection, and from that trailer, it looks like it's firmly aimed at the old Wii audience. Well, good luck with that, Nintendo.
00:20:43 - So it seems like this is a take on something like Johann Sebastian Joust where you're using the controllers, but not the screen to play. I get the feeling this'll generate plenty commentary from a handful of game journalists on how "genius" a move this is for Nintendo over the next few days/weeks. In the end, I expect it won't amount to much more than a short-lived novelty within the social circles of the games press though. I'm afraid that Wii audience is gone and I don't think there's anything Nintendo can do to win back that type of player at this point.
00:21:32 - Looks like this won't be bundled with the Switch either. Not a great move if they want this to catch on.
00:22:43 - Another game now. Some kind of boxing thing?
00:23:34 - Yep. Boxing with extendy arms. Looks just a tad influenced by the look of Splatoon.
00:23:41 - Wow, I'll bet a lot of people weren't expecting to be hit with an onslaught of motion-controlled games coming into this thing. :D This look like it might be fun, if not a bit wonky to control, like a lot of Wii games were. But no one's going to buy this. VR enthusiasts aside, I don't think there could be less of an appetite for motion-controlled games right now. I don't know what Nintendo are thinking leading off with this stuff.
00:24:20 - Arms. Certainly to the point.
00:25:30 - It controls exactly as you might imagine. Without a traditional control alternative though, I think this is pretty much dead on arrival.
00:25:37 - At least the jump is mapped to a button. I'm looking at you, de Blob!
00:25:43 - "Because Arms uses physical controls, anyone can pick up and play". (But they won't, Nintendo. They won't.)
00:26:44 - This fight would be so much better with some Halo stream commentators over it. Don't you think? :D
00:27:57 - And the first port of the night: Splatoon. (For those keeping track: nope, still haven't played it, yet I've started on Shenmue 2 recently. I have no idea either.)
00:29:35 - Oh, Splatoon 2 - not a port then. Have to say it doesn't look like a radical reinvention of the first game though.
00:31:12 - Traditional controls! At least someone knows what's up.
00:32:12 - Coming out in Summer. Just 1-2-3-Switch for launch so far then, right? I'm starting to get the feeling that the launch line-up might be a a bit lacking here.
00:33:14 - Okay, this totally just looks like Splatoon again. :D
00:33:25 - MARIO!!! Yes!!!
00:33:29 - Wow, this looks cool. That's New York, or New Donk City as a sign on the left suggests. Wait. "Dixie Street"? "Diddy's Mart"? Come on, Nintendo, you can't cross the streams of Mario and Donkey Kong Country like that. It will be bad.
00:33:34 - I guess this is the hub world of the new Mario game then. This is awesome.
00:33:48 - Not sure how I feel about realistic humans and Mario existing in the same world though - it's a bit Sonic '06 - but platforming in a huge open city like this? Sign me the fuck up!
00:33:59 - That's the Sambo de Amigo-ish like town again. Looks great.
00:34:19 - Looks like vegetable throwing is back. And damn, some of these levels look big.
00:34:27 - Not a great shot, but I imagine this is the vehicle that'll take you from the open world to each level.
00:34:32 - Mario and real humans. Nope, nope, nope. Mario better not be kissing any princess not named Peach by the end of this. Or hedgehogs.
00:34:45 - Damn. Bowser looks straight off the cover of a 90's hip hop album here.
00:34:56 - Hat-throwing seems to be a big feature this time around.
00:35:35 - Super Mario Odysee. Well, I guess there isn't much bigger you can go than Galaxy. (I'm sure they''re saving Universe for the inevitable Mario MMO)
00:35:41 - Well, that's unnerving. :D
00:36:28 - So Mario is visiting the real world in this game. They are taking cues from Sonic! This is a worrying development.