I try not to go in for this stuff very often, but somebody's really been screwing with my nostalgia dials.
I just got into Ava's Demon today. The composition of each page, and the colour, are amazing. You have to read it.
It contains animated segments, and they're really something too.
I've logged 631 scrobbles of Grant Kirkhope's music, so I was pretty psyched to hear that he was going to be on Game Grumps. Those guys made a pretty silly video. I think it's great. I was excited to learn that Mumbo's voice is a randomly generated string composed of syllables which originally formed the sentence "Come on if you think you're hard enough!". His magic spell is based on an experience Kirkhope once had with a swollen testicle.
He dimly recalls that he "probably" based the tune for Grunty's Lair on the teddybear's picnic music. So, mystery solved.
But the best revelation: Grant Kirkhope turns out to be a sweary Northern bastard. Aces.
Part of my reason for writing here is that I wanted to start writing about video games again after the slow death of my last blog, Noble Carrots. At one point, in late 2008, for fairly arbitrary reasons, Noble Carrots was read by some people I admire, and gained some traction on the infrabutt. And then, two things happened:
- I decided that I needed to massively increase the quality of my writing, and vowed not to write anything unless I could make it really good;
- I decided that I needed to control every aspect of my site, from the code to which comments were approved.
And so, I was all set to turn a janky blog by a disaffected dropout with a couple of neat ideas on it into an über-self-conscious, tightly wound, bespoke publishing platform. I was going to become a discriminating tastemaker, with fans all over the world. I spent a weekend writing PHP I barely understood, hemming and hawwing over typefaces I pretended to myself to know the history of, wrote an introduction to my blog beginning with the amazing sentence, "I am tempted to ape Marx and Kuhn", and spent £80 on a piece of software I have never since used. During this time I remember saying things like "I don't really accept the notion of hubris".
So how'd it go?
How do you think?
After being fortunate enough to receive encouragement and patronage from some diligent, super smart people, I tried to overcommit, and totally burned out. I pushed so hard at trying to be "academic", or "pensive", and at trying to "redefine video games criticism" (without even knowing what in particular it was), that I couldn't produce anything up to my own standard, and even if I had, it wouldn't have been worth reading.
My ambition for Noble Carrots was so absurdly high that I missed the point of what had made the site even remotely popular in the first place: watercooler perseveration by a guy who plays games. Back then, I thought everything I did had to upscale, or make me famous, or somehow be monetised, in order to be worth doing. I posted on everyone else's blog, copied everyone else's ideas, and spent all day in my RSS reader trying to work out what my "audience" wanted to see. I don't want to do any of that any more.
I just want to write.
Insanely great. Alexandra Douglass was commissioned to draw an enormous promotional piece for Etrian Odyssey IV. You can read an interview about her process and taste in games on the official blog, and see her lineart and download a special, extra-hard dungeon (!) on hers.
But the new music doesn't disappoint, and if I'm really suffering for some old-fashioned FM synthesis, there's always yogurtbox.
Brb. I'm gonna go map some dungeons.