Saturday, April 16, 2011

'Pipe Dream'

The following, Super Mario Bros.-inspired t-shirt can be picked up for just $10 at you visit the site in the next 10 or so hours. (The online retailer's tagline is "tee today, gone tomorrow," for a reason!)

Dutch artist Mathijs Vissers is responsible for the design, which Vissers calls "an homage to one of the most awesome games ever," by the way. Check out more of his stuff here.


Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm ready for my close-up, Monsieur De Mille

File this one under "who woulda thunk it?" folks:

My blog and I were mentioned in the April 2011 issue of France's "premiere magazine for gays and lesbians," Têtu!

Here's the blurb (sorry it's a bit blurry):

In case you don't understand French, here's the text of the article translated into English (courtesy of my Francophonic ex-boyfriend):

"Bryan Ochalla is an American gay journalist who says he is frustrated to not be able to write about video games. He has already created a blog and group on Facebook to share his passion. With a flashy pink background, the blog is mainly dedicated to gay-friendly video games, retro-gaming and sexy heroes. Bryan even offers a 'gaymathon' to rank his favorite games. A must for all gaymers."

Oh, and "le coin du gaymer" is French for "the corner of the gaymer."

The Great Gaymathon Review #21: Popeye (Famicom)

Game: Popeye
Genre: Action/Platformer
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
System: Famicom
Release date: 1983

Poor Popeye. Thanks to Donkey Kong and Nintendo's main man, Mario, everybody's favorite (or not) middle-aged sailor was all but ignored during the Famicom's earliest days on the market. That's too bad, because this arcade conversion--which tasks the titular seaman with collecting the hearts, letters and musical notes of his true love, Olive Oyl, while avoiding the fists of his mortal enemy, Bluto--is both an accomplished (for its time, anyway) and enjoyable one. Is it as accomplished and enjoyable as fellow launch titles, Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr.? Not really--Popeye's graphics and music aren't quite as "arcade accurate" as its gorilla- and plumber-filled counterparts, for instance--although that's not to suggest it's not worth owning. On the contrary, this short (it's just three stages long), Shigeru Miyamoto-designed game is well worth adding to your collection if you're a fan of old-school platformers--or particularly awesome cover art.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just say no to inappropriate profile pics

I don't know if you noticed, but someone who followed this blog for some time sported a profile pic that was a smidge disgusting.

I say "followed" in the past tense because I just blocked him.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize until this morning that I could block a follower, so all of you have been forced to stare at the aforementioned profile pic whenever you came for a visit. Sorry about that.

I actually wrote to the follower in question and told him I'd gladly un-block him if he changed the image, but I kind of doubt that's going to happen.

Anyway, there you have it. Hopefully it won't happen again. If it does, though, I'll block the follower so fast it'll make his or her head spin!

'P.S. the only reson im giving this a 1 is beacuase the voices where pretty good. But thats it!'

Anyone looking for a good laugh (and who isn't?) has to watch the following video, which was produced by the able folks at

The animation is the work of Mick Lauer (aka RicePirate), by the way, while Deven Mack (aka D-Mac-Double) is responsible for the vocal.


There's something about Brycen (or, Pokémon Black is pretty gay, isn't it?)

And by gay, I don't mean dumb or lame. I mean literally gay. At the very least, the game's gym leaders seem to be a rainbow-flag-waving bunch.

The thought didn't cross my mind until I encountered the Icirrus City gym leader, Brycen. What caused me to think he may be gay? Well, there's his name, for starters--which is bested in terms of gayness only by "Crys." Then there's the fact that he's obsessed with strength and working out. Finally, he likes masks and über trendy clothing.

Your gaydar is going off now, too, isn't it?

Brycen isn't the only seemingly gay gym leader in Nintendo's oh-so-popular RPG. Drayden (right), Opelucid City's gym leader, seems to be a "friend of Dorothy," too, if you get my drift. (Nudge nudge, wink wink.)

Honestly, how could Drayden--with his fabulously-coifed hair, broader-than-a-lumberjack's shoulders and perfectly-fitted clothes--not be gay? Like Brycen, he has a fairly gay name. Also, he looks a lot like Anderson Cooper--and everyone knows which way he swings.

Granted, Drayden's facial hair is a bit questionable--it covers up his mouth, for crying out loud--but I'm sure the right man could convince him to shave it. After that, he could very well be the perfect catch--assuming you like silver daddy-ish types, of course.

Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe all of the gym leaders in Pokémon Black and White are gay. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if they were, especially given the game's emphasis on diversity. Lenora's got a definite butch-ness about her, for instance, and Burgh has that whole androgynous hipster thing going on. Oh, and Clay is a bear--no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Elesa and Skyla (right) aren't as obviously or superficially gay (or bi or transgender), but that doesn't mean they don't love the ladies. I mean, Elesa easily could be a lipstick lesbian, or she could have been born a boy, and Skyla could be one of those oh-so-earnest baby dykes (sorry for using that phrase, ladies--I couldn't think of better one) we all know and love.

Of course, it's completely possible I'm just off my rocker. It certainly wouldn't be the first--or, sadly, the last--time that could be said about me.

Note: My tongue was planted firmly in cheek while writing this post.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Man, those Pokémon are blocky!

Are you eagerly awaiting the day when Pokémon games are fully polygonal? In a way, I am, and in a way, I'm not.

Regarding the former, for instance, I really like how the folks at Game Freak have incorporated polygonal backdrops into the most recent Pokémon titles. Regarding the latter, though, I'm quite happy with the sprite-based Pocket Monsters themselves.

All that said, I'd be perfectly content if the polygonal Pokémon that are sure to show up in a future installment of the series look anything like Flickr user Filip Johannes Felberg's LEGO-based creations (above).

See also: 'LEGO + Pikmin'

Seven down, one to go

Well, I just beat Pokémon Black's seventh gym leader, Brycen. Does anyone else think he may be a "friend of Dorothy" (i.e., gay), by the way? I think it's a distinct possibility.

Anyway, much like I did with his predecessor, Skyla, I beat the oh-so-gayly-named Icirrus City gym leader on my first try. Granted, Brycen and his ice-type Pokémon (below) didn't put up much of a fight, but I'll take what I can get at this point.

Next up on my journey through the game's Unova region: Dragonspiral Tower. I'm going to encounter a Pokémon every other step in there, aren't I? Oh, well, onwards and upwards, as they say.

See also: Previous Pokémon Black/White posts

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Calling all LGBT gamers

Mathieu Dehlinger, a journalism student at Paris' SciencesPo, recently approached me and asked if I would be willing to answer a few questions for an article he's writing about LGBT gamers. (The resulting article will appear on Ludique Ta Mère, a game-focused blog started by some of the school's students.)

Anyway, Dehlinger wrote me earlier today and asked if I knew any "average" LGBT gamers who might also be willing to respond to his questions. My first thought, of course, was to see if any of you (yes, you) would be up for it.

Dehlinger's questions are pretty straightforward. What do you think about the term gaymer? Why are sites like and needed in this day and age? How do you feel about games with gay characters and storylines? Why are games still behind the curve when it comes to representing the LGBT community? That sort of thing.

If you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT community and you'd like to be included in this article, send me an e-mail (bochalla at yahoo dot com) with "calling all LGBT gamers" in the subject line and I'll forward it to Dehlinger so he can contact you.

Note: The design above was created by Andrew Kovacs (aka hige91 on

The Great Gaymathon Review #20: Space Channel 5 (Dreamcast)

Game: Space Channel 5
Genre: Rhythm
Developer: United Game Artists
Publisher: Sega
System: Dreamcast
Release date: 2000

There are, in my famously (or not) humble opinion, a few must-play games for the dead-before-its-time Dreamcast. Among them: ChuChu Rocket!, Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, Rez, Shenmue and Skies of Aracadia. Oh, and this Tetsuya Mizuguchi-designed title. Yes, naysayers, at its heart Space Channel 5 is the video game equivalent of Milton Bradley's "Simon" toy, but the body that surrounds that blood-pumping vessel is what elevates this game to "must own" (or at least "must try") status. For starters, there's the game's graphics, which have a groovy, Jetsons-esque vibe to them. Then there's the extremely hummable soundtrack--composed by Naofumi Hataya, Kenichi Tokoi and Ken Woodman--which has a similar throwback feel to it. Oh, and let's not forget the story that ties it all ogether. It's completely silly--an alien race invades the planet (Earth, I think) and forces people to dance; "funky space reporter" Ulala, a Lady Miss Kier look-alike, comes to their rescue by defeating said aliens (and a few rival journalists) through dance-offs--of course, but what else would you expect from a game with a cover like the one above? There are just two things that keep Space Channel 5 from achieving perfection: 1) a sense of rhythm is required if you hope to get anywhere in the game, and 2) even if you have a sense of rhythm, the game sometimes fails to recognize it. Even then, the game is easily one of the more enjoyable and unique examples of the genre.

See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

I thought the graphics were better in the GameGear version

How would Rebecca Black's rather inane (I know, that's putting it mildly) hit single, "Friday," look and sound if it were a GameBoy Color title? Here's how a couple of comedy writers who call themselves Smales and Payne recently answered that question:

The imaginary game depicted in the video above was made using MS Paint, by the way, while the audio was produced by Nick Maynard. (The latter can be downloaded here for a buck.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Is that a jar of bees in your pocket, Donkey Kong, or are you just happy to see me?

Is Donkey Kong shooting bees out of a honey jar on the cover of the oft-maligned Donkey Kong 3, or is he shooting them out of something a bit more, er, organic?

Blogger Drew Mackie asked a variation of the question above in a recent post (read it here), and after inspecting said piece of cover art I have to agree with him that the answer *could* be the latter.

Hey, I actually beat a gym leader in Pokémon Black on my first try!

For the first time since, oh, the game's second city (or maybe the third), I've beaten one of Pokémon Black's gym leaders--Skyla--on my first try.

Oh, and I finally caught Victini (below), the legendary fire/psychic-type Pokémon. Yesterday was the last day to get the Liberty Pass--which gives you access to Victini's hideout, the Liberty Garden--in the US, so I begged the hubs to help me get my DS (back) on line, grabbed the Liberty Pass, found Victini (in the basement of the Liberty Garden's lighthouse) and challenged him to a battle. I caught him on my third try--after tossing many regular Poké Balls, Great Balls and Ultra Balls his way, of course.

Anyway, I'm currently making my way through the mine shafts of Twist Mountain. After I complete that task, I'll probably re-explore some of the game's earlier locations using the HM 03 ("Surf") I recently received from Champion Alder before continuing on with my quest to ... do whatever I'm supposed to do to complete this game.

Are any of you still playing Pokémon Black or White?