Saturday, April 02, 2011

Cute metroids

Hmmm, is "metroids" the plural of metroid, or is "metroid" the plural of metroid?

Whatever. That isn't the point of this post; the point of this post is to make as many people as possible aware of the amazingly cute metroid plushies produced by deviantartist and etsy seller misscoffee.

The larger metroids (metroid? ahhh!) are four inches tall and six inches wide, by the way, and can be purchased, for $11 plus shipping, here. The smaller metroids--which are brooches, actually--are two inches tall and about three inches wide and can be purchased here for $7 plus shipping.

To see more of misscoffee's sickeningly sweet creations, check out her deviantart gallery or her etsy shop.

Friday, April 01, 2011

8-bit Ellen Ripley

You know what my office--i.e., our rarely used guest bedroom--is missing? A pixelated portrait of Sigourney Weaver (aka Ellen Ripley) as depicted in Konami's Aliens arcade game from 1990.

Unfortunately, although it seems my favorite Atlantan artist, Ashley Anderson, has created just what the doctor (me) ordered, I doubt I can afford the graphite-on-paper portrait (below) he produced. (Assuming it's even up for sale, of course.)

Oh, well, at least I can look at it--via Anderson's Flickr photostream--whenever the fancy strikes me.

See also: Other examples of Ashley Anderson's abilities

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Take that, Elesa!

After, oh, six or so attempts, I've finally defeated Pokémon Black's fourth gym leader--some hussy who calls herself Elesa.

Apparently I had been training the wrong Pokémon in the lead up to my battle with Elesa (below). That's what I get for ignoring the game's oh-so-ugly (in my opinion) ground and rock Pokémon, I guess.

Next up: The title's fifth gym leader. Oh, and more Pokémon hunting and training, of course. I'm especially looking forward to spending some quality time with my recently captured Vanillite and Whimsicott.

The Stuff of Nightmares (PC Engine HuCard edition)

I write a lot of posts in which I wax poetic about what I consider to be great cover art, but I rarely seem to do the same for cover art I consider to be ghastly. Well, I'm changing that today by launching a new column called "The Stuff of Nightmares."

Although this first edition of "The Stuff of Nightmares" focuses on horrible PC Engine HuCard cover art, expect future installments to shine a spotlight on similarly hideous examples of, say, Famicom, Mega Drive and PlayStation cover art.

Drop Rock Hora Hora (Data East, 1990)–This piece of cover art almost crosses the line from horrible to “so horrible it’s kind of good.” The key word in that sentence being almost. So, what keeps it from crossing that line? Well, that oh-so-80s sweatshirt worn by the boy in the lower-right corner is one reason; the rather comical expression on the monster behind him is another. I can’t quite decide, though, if the “evil fruit” floating along the left side of the image are further examples of the hideousness of this piece of art (yes, I’m using that word loosely in this case) or if they raise it a few notches on the attractiveness scale.

Kick Ball (NCS, 1990)–Full disclosure: Although a large part of me considers this particular piece of cover art to be nightmare-inducing, a small part considers it to be rather nice–in a “colorfully over-the-top” way, of course. Anyway, I don’t know if the former reaction is due to the overall shininess of the illustration–everyone and everything in the image looks like its been buffed and waxed–or if it’s due to the Mike Haggar look-a-like striking a pose front and center. Oh, who am I kidding? Mr. Haggar’s definitely the main reason this cover art leans heavily toward “scary as all hell” territory.

Puzzle Boy (Renovation, 1991)–There is one reason, and one reason only, I consider this piece of cover art to be nightmarish: The smile plastered on the face of that potato-like creature in the foreground! It reminds me of a similarly freaky smile I once saw in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Curiously, the other (seemingly evil) vegetables featured in this illustration have much less horrifying expressions on their faces. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Rock On (Big Club, 1989)–This design was created by a middle-schooler using MS Paint, wasn’t it? That’s the only explanation I can come up with for it. OK, so most middle-schoolers wouldn’t have the skills to draw the dragon-like creature in the upper-left corner (or the anime reject in the lower-right corner), but I’ll bet a good number of them would be able to copy and paste those drawings into a Paint document and create something similar to what the designers at Big Club produced for this piece of cover art.

Ryukyu (Face, 1990)–Almost everybody likes a little ass now and then, but few people like that ass to be covered in the bikini equivalent of “granny panties.” The only thing missing from this piece of cover art, in my oh-so-humble opinion, is a field of cellulite. Or maybe some razor burn. Of course, I’m gay, so what do I know? Maybe straight guys really dig the cover art above?

Honorable mentions: Devil Crash, Hatris, Shada and Sindibad.

Note: This post originally appeared on my other gaming blog,

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #17: Obocchama-kun (PC Engine)

Game: Obocchama-kun
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Pack-In-Video
Publisher: Namcot
System: PC Engine (HuCard)
Release date: 1991

My first reaction upon playing this bizarre, Namcot-published platformer was, "oh, hell no." For starters, it's kind of ugly. Not Superman 64 ugly, mind you, but it's definitely uglier than your typical 16-bit game. That's due, in large part, to the game's homely protagonist--who bears a striking resemblance to Eddie Munster--as well as its garish use of color.

The thing is, after a while you get over the hideousness of it all (or at least I did) and that's when you realize this Pack-In-Video-developed title's actually pretty fun. Even better, it's interesting. It certainly isn't the kind of me-too, mascot-centric platformer that clogged store shelves--and brought the genre to its knees--back in the 1990s.

That's evident from the start of the very first level, when a seizure-inducing scene introduces each of the stage's featured enemies. Also setting this game apart from the platforming pack: the heavily browed Obocchama-kun doesn't just grab power-ups like the protagonists in other, more predictable examples of the genre; rather, he beckons them by jumping onto what looks like a giant turtle shell and striking a decidedly Elvis-esque pose.

Sometimes those poses produce power-ups and sometimes they summon allies--such as a blue-coifed bodybuilder, a crying teen who throws what appears to be hairbrushes and a helicopter-piloting Russian--that assist you through the stage at hand. Obocchama-kun's bosses, including one that can only be called a chicken choker, are a similarly eccentric bunch.

The game's sometimes-slippery controls can make those encounters and the stages that lead to them tougher than they would be otherwise, but even that quibble doesn't keep it from being an enjoyably odd experience.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

'Real life Dr. Mario'

I've long been a fan of Dr. Mario, so of course I smiled when I came across the illustration below--produced by Berlin-based artist, Barto (aka bartotainment)--while perusing Flickr the other day.

Check out Barto's Flickr photostream (here) if you'd like to see more examples of his work.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hubba hubba, part deux

Just about four years ago, I wrote--for the now-defunct article about "video gaming's hottest hunks." Because a number of additional pixelated and polygonal studs have arrived on the scene since then, I decided to pen a follow-up piece about a few of them.

Mike Haggar (Marvel vs. Capcom 3)--Is this how an in-his-prime Tom Selleck would have looked if he'd pumped iron with a similarly in-his-prime Arnold Schwarzenegger? Possibly. Even then, I doubt he would have shaved his chest or rocked a leather suspender like Mike Haggar. (Selleck certainly would have had a pair of nipples, though; something that's strangely absent in the image above.)

Little Mac (Punch-Out!! Wii)--It's doubtful that many gamers ogled the Little Mac depicted in the original Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! for the NES. His counterpart in the Wii sequel, though? Totally ogle-worthy. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised to discover there's a Yahoo! Group that's devoted to this darkly handsome character--although I would be a bit creeped out by it.

Altaïr Ibn la-Ahad, Ezio Auditore da Firenze and/or Desmond Miles (Assassin's Creed series)--That nose. Those lips. That ... chin. OK, so you have to use your imagination a bit when it comes to fantasizing about the multi-generational cast of the Assassin's Creed series. Still, it's clear that all three of these guys were blessed with great genes. If only they had chosen different career paths...

Jacob Taylor (Mass Effect 2)--It's a crying shame that the folks at BioWare didn't make it possible for gamers controlling a male Commander Shepard to put the moves on this, er, "amazingly gifted" Alliance soldier. (At the very least, they could have provided players with more scenes of Taylor sans shirt.) Here's to hoping they rectify matters in the upcoming Mass Effect 3.

Snow Villiers (Final Fantasy XIII)--Is Snow a bit of a douche? Undoubtedly. Does he have a questionable sense of fashion? Surely. Would any of that matter if he offered to buy you a drink in a dark (and possibly dingy) bar? Not on your life--especially considering the powerful pair of pecs he seems to be packing under that tailor-made trench coat.

Honorable mentions: Abel (Street Fighter IV), Ryotaro Dojima (Persona 4), Nathan Drake (Uncharted series), Chris Redfield (Resident Evil series) and Travis Touchdown (No More Heroes series).

See also: 'Hubba hubba' and 'Heartthrobs'

What big teeth you have, Ms. Pac-Man!

Everybody loves a good Ms. Pac-Man-inspired painting, right? Well, then everybody should love the following, which was produced by Madison, Wisconsin-based artist Ryan Grant Long.

Long's currently dating a friend of mine in Madison (my home town), by the way. What do you think are the chances I can get that friend to twist Long's arm and convince him to create something similarly fabulous for me (or, better yet, for this blog)?

To see more of Long's work, check out his blog or his deviantart gallery.

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Disgaea 4 edition)

One of the first games I'll buy after I (finally) obtain a PS3 will be Disgaea 4. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Until then, I'll stare longingly at the game's beautiful box art.

But which piece of art will I stare at--the one that graced the cover of the Japanese version of this Nippon Ichi-developed game (released in late February), or the one that will welcome Disgaea fans when the series' latest sequel appears on store shelves in the States sometime in the next few months?

Here's Disgaea 4's Japanese box art, by the way:

And here's the game's US box art:

Hold on to your hats, because I'm actually going with the US box art for once. The Japanese art is nice enough, but it's a bit too busy, don't you think?

See also: Every previous 'Let's Play: Which Box Art is Better?' post

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mental image of the day: Jake Gyllenhaal + Whitney Houston + Wii Sports

Who would have thought that Jake Gyllenhaal and I would have so much in common? I mean, according to, the hunky actor likes to play Wii Sports while listening to Whitney Houston, and so do I.

OK, so that's not true. I much prefer to play Wii Sports while listening to Robin and Róisín Murphy, thank you very much!

(Via by way of

The eyes have it

I know a lot of Pac-Man-inspired illustrations have been produced over the years, but I find the one below particularly eye-catching. I wonder why?

This piece was created by someone who calls himself NELSONICBOOM on Flickr, by the way. Check out more of this Twin Cities-based artist's work here.

So, who got a 3DS?

Well, the Nintendo 3DS was released (in the US) over the weekend. Who got one?

Also, what do you think of it--and what do you think of the built-in software and any of the games you picked up alongside the system?

Oh, and one more question: Did any of you get one of CTA's "pet-style protection carry case and puppet" accessories (above)?

If not, and if you'd still like one, you can order one through for $9.99 here.