Friday, December 20, 2013

Animal Crossing: Back to Wiiville

Over the summer I spent a fair amount of time messing around with Dolphin, even throwing Animal Crossing to see if the NES games would work in it. They didn't, but seeing as I had my old town loaded up I thought I'd take a wander around and take a few screen-caps anyway.

Jealous? So yeah, as you can probably gather from the statue, I played a lot of Animal Crossing on the GameCube. In my defence, I really was at a pretty loose end gaming-wise at the time.

I picked up a copy on eBay in 2006; I think in early November. It was only meant to be a bit of a diversion before I strolled into my local gaming establishment to pick up a Wii the following month (hence the town name). Of course, there were no Wiis to be had, anywhere. So until I decided "fuck the Wii for now, I'll get a PS2" in the Summer, I had to make do with this, a few half-finished games ,and a couple of eBay purchases to tide me over. It was a pretty rough time; I played freaking Doshin the Giant for goodness sake. To completion! :D

To the right of my glorious monument, it's the Able Sisters, still sporting a bunch of my patterns on their wares. Got to say I never got tired of seeing my fellow villagers in that blood spatter shirt.

Looks like I've got mail. Not sure who was the worse spammer: the Happy Room Academy or my in-game mom. Also, a random billboard with my shoddy Tetris pattern on it.

Tah-dah! So, having started this town just before Christmas, I was just in time to grab a bunch of stuff from Tom Nook, allowing me to live out my secret fantasy of having Christmas decorations up all year round, as well as a few bits of snowman and Jingle furniture.

Mmmm, nice!

I do have a few bits of ranch furniture too though, which I thought worked well with the festive theme, even if those bastards at the HRA didn't agree.

But down in the basement is where all the really cool stuff is. Like cockroaches. Also down here are a collection of the shirts I wore while playing through the game. Ugh, how pathetic is that?. Probably not as bad as saving the letters you get from your in-game mom in the post office.

Which I also did, for quite a while.

There's some stuff down here too from when I popped the game in a few times in late 2007 to check out the events I'd missed the previous year, like my birthday and Thanksgiving.

Over here a few tiles from the model Animal Crossing town. I couldn't bring myself to throw them out, but equally I couldn't be bothered to complete the set. Oh, and I think that's a fishing trophy from the tournament in June. I think some time travel was required for that after I missed it the first time around. That's something I did a lot, either to go back to stuff I missed, or to play through several in-game days at once. Like I said: loose end. :D

In the corner: a couple of lockers storing even more of my virtual junk. Pretty sure they're mostly full of wallpapers and carpets, which I almost never changed so I don't know why I was hoarding so many of them down here.

And finally, the only reason for me to come back to Animal Crossing these days: my game room. Man, those NES titles were such a great addition to the game, and the possibility of acquiring more was certainty the chief reason I played as much of this as I did. Well, at least until found about universal codes. Never going to happen again though. (Thanks, Obama.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Clearoutageddon Part Five: Video Games! (and More)

As someone who keeps banging on their big gaming backlog, it's fair to say there's a good chunk of my gaming collection I could probably do with getting rid of. I'm not quite there yet (I'm still labouring under the (mistaken) belief that I'll get around to playing everything some day), but there were certainly a few games in there that even I had to admit I'd never touch again:

So, these two, I picked up in late 2006, in an attempt to squeeze some last-minute fun out of the Gamecube. Hitman 2 seemed pretty intriguing. Not being the greatest at stealth games though, I never got more than a few missions into the game before I'd put it aside and later end up deleting it's (huge) save file to make room for something else. Having decided to give the game another go on PC, there was no need to keep this version around anymore.

Having been THE football franchise to get on N64, and having sunk an immeasurable amount of time into ISS 98, I was cautiously optimistic about ISS 2 despite the middling reviews. Within minutes of putting it in, I knew the critics were right. It felt janky, the most glaring problem of all being that a player would freeze for a few seconds after receiving a pass. Something I can't fathom making it past testing,which pretty much rendered the game unplayable.

So first off, this is the Australian version of F-1 World Grand Prix. You're guess as to how it ended up in a crappy Kerry toy shop is as good as mine. I got this for Christmas 1999 after being wowed by the visuals on TV. Turns out I don't like Formula 1 games, or at least I didn't have the patience to get good enough at this one to find out one way or the other.

While we're on the subject of me having no patience, these are all games I almost immediately gave up on in the face of their complexity and/or difficulty. In my defence, I bought the lot of them with gift vouchers. Well, apart from NFS, which I sort-of inherited from my brother after he forgot about it. And I did give the two racing games a second crack before I sold them. Still couldn't get anywhere though; as far as racing games go, if there aren't karts, burnouts or ridges involved, I'm in trouble.

This is one of several fighters I picked up before I finally realised the genre just isn't for me. Apart from a select few older games anyway. I'm a bit gutted I sold this for a pittance though, minutes before I noticed another offer for €10; Street Fighter Alpha II - apparently rarer than I thought.

If I could have gone back and given this to a fourteen year old me, I have a feeling it'd be up there with my favourite N64 games. Back in 2006 though, I no longer had the patience or lack of other distractions to get past Body Harvest's clunky gameplay and lack of checkpoints.

I'm kind of ashamed to admit to it, but I only learned to use a keyboard and mouse for shooters in 2008 when I started playing through No One Lives Forever on PC - the PS2 version I only avoided because of how busted it apparently was. Only a couple of weeks earlier, still WASDphobic, I picked up this PS2 copy of Deus Ex - a game I didn't have the means to play back in the day, but that I'd always been interested in checking out. Several years later, of course I still hadn't played it, but if I ever do, it wasn't going to be this version and frankly, I needed the shelf space, so off it went.

But it wasn't without company. I sold it as part of a (depressingly) cheap bundle of other PS2 stuff I didn't want any more on a classifieds site. Just like Deus Ex, I'd recently upgraded my (unplayed) copy of Snake Eater to a superior version in the form of the MGS HD collection. PES 3 and Viewtiful Joe, on the other hand, I'd given a shot but I just couldn't get into. And Fantavision, well that's actually exactly the same version I'd tried to give away as a broken disk earlier in my clear out campaign. I'd since replaced it, but when I loaded up this disk again to make absolutely sure it was busted, it worked; perfectly. I'm not sure what changed exactly, but now finding myself with two copies, I bundled the resurrected version in with this lot.

And finally (sort of): my GameStop anti-haul. So, three of these I ended up with duplicates of after they disappeared into some sort of courier-based time crack, only to emerge again several months later. At which point, I'd bought them again elsewhere. But hey, at least I got a free Child of Eden t-shirt for my troubles. :D (A size too small, but anyway.) PGR4 though, like the other racing games here, I just couldn't get into. Did quite like the soundtrack though.

Not wanting to be arsed selling the lot of these online (and getting short-changed again), I decided I'd throw them into GameStop instead and just take whatever credit they gave me. Even with that attitude though, I was a little surprised by how little I actually got: 70 cents for PGR4 and €3.50 each for the rest.

Hah! But little did they know that I'd only bought PGR4 used for €1 on their web site. Getting €0.70 for that was tantamount to giving me €42 for a previously used copy of [insert current, big triple-A game here]. The joke's on you, GameStop. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha *inhales* ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, and so on.

But wait, there's more!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Archive Raiding: Art Scans Batch #1

Back in a galaxy far, far away, I took Art, Craft and Design for the Junior Cert. (kind of the Irish GCSEs). Many years later, I've still got all the work I did for it tucked away in a big, orange A2 folder; under a sofa, if you must know.

The best of what's in there I've already posted years ago on deviantArt, but there's a whole lot more to it than that; stuff that I haven't seen in over a decade. Now that I've got a half-decent scanner to use, I thought it might be fun to finally revisit it.

Ah, this is pretty nice. One of the many, many pieces of final project preparatory work we'll encounter, I'm using a mix of colouring pencils and paint here. Not much in the way of shading, but I was pretty early into the project here, judging by the date.

Jumping back a little further, this I would have dawn some time in late 1998, before I'd picked flowers as the sort-of central focus of my project. (Boy, did I get some stick for that :D). Butterflies, and I've gotta say a couple of cool-looking ones here, I ended up incorporating quite a bit into my final pieces though. Cartoon fish, not so much.

I do really like the expression the second one from the bottom has though. Oh, and the fish just above him to the left; that's a nice little action pose there.

Scan number #3 is: some more flowers. We've got some more mixed media going on here too with the top two being both done with pastels and the rest with colouring pencils (or just a pencil in the case of the middle right one). Not great really, and no shading again, which elicited endless complaining from my teacher (but she was right).

And finally, *yeesh* it's my first attempt at life-sketching from October '97 - something we did about once a month using classmates as models. It's something that I never got particularly good at, but then it's something that never interested me a whole lot either.

Oh, and to be clear, none of these sketches are in in any way representative of the girls that were my class. They were all significantly less ogre-like in reality. :)