Friday, July 31, 2009

Movie Previews

I'm going to go see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with my friend Marianne tonight. I didn't like the movie the first time, but I'll enjoy talking the whole time and annoying Marianne by doing things like chant "Emo! Emo! Emo!" whenever Draco appears onscreen.

So I'm going to make sure to pick a seat that's far away from anyone else. As they say at the start of the film, "Please don't spoil the movie by adding your own soundtrack. Let us spoil the movie with a half hour of previews."

Boy, movie previews are annoying. There's a preview for a new Sherlock Holmes movie that's attached to the Harry Potter film. I like Sherlock Holmes--I've got a copy of the original 1926 The Complete Sherlock Holmes set made after Arthur Conan Doyle died.

Unfortunately, the preview for the Sherlock Holmes movie disappointed me. Holmes seems to be drunk throughout the preview, and there is far too much attention given to scantily-clad women. "Too much attention" here being defined as "any attention whatsoever"--sexism and entertainment are two different things. So I don't have high hopes for this movie.

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In respones to the book-related question on my last blog post, I will say that I have not read "Inkspell", "H.I.V.E.", or "Heck". I have read "The Lightning Thief", which was more fun than a barrel of monkeys, as well as "Harry Potter" and "The Lord of the Rings".

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Book Reviews

On my last entry, anonymous asked if I read Matilda. Yes, I did. And I'm using that as an excuse to bring out some old...

Book reviews! What I did was go to the library and find unknown books by known authors! That is, I found three books I never heard of by authors I have heard of in the B-C-D section.

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The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl

This book is about a family called the Greggs, who like to hunt. The narrator gets mad at them for this, and turns them into duck-men. They then build a nest for themselves. The experience teaches them that hunting innocent birds is bad.

I feel bad for not liking this book. I mean, it's got the typical Roald Dahl fun wackiness, but it just feels like there's something missing from the book. Like half of the book got thrown out accidentally, and it was the half of the book that had an actual plot. What we're left with is a short, utterly predictable romp with barely any life in it. Slap it together with one of Dahl's other short books, and I'd call it even.

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

I read the first five or so chapters of this book before stopping. It's about a girl whose father was shot and killed in a convenience store hold-up, and it is depressing as hell. Every page gets more and more depressing until I decided I didn't want to take it anymore. Superfudge, this ain't.

Mitch and Amy by Beverly Cleary

So this book is about two twins, and it alternates between each twin each chapter. It's typical Beverly Cleary stuff about fourth graders and mini-adventures they have to go through, such Amy having to make a pinata for girl scouts, or Mitch getting in a fist fight with a bully. Why this book isn't well known, I have no idea. It is just as good as any of the Ramona books, except it's a tad better, being longer and keeping fresh better by the alternating chapter scheme.

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So if you have to read one of those three books, read Mitch and Amy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Annoyances

I went shopping for pants with my mother yesterday, which was not very fun, because she didn't let me make any choices. She decided which pants I would try on, and which ones I would buy. I was just there to see if they fit, not if I liked them.

Then she complained that I'm horrible to shop with.

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Speaking of somewhat annoying things, sometimes, I get annoying comments on my videos. Whenever I make a mistake, I will get about 50 identical comments on the video, pointing out the mistake. It's not fun to be constantly reminded that I accidentally wrote "Senior Mode" in place of "Junior Mode", especialy when I can't do anything about it.

The most annoying kind of comment, though, happens when somebody has trouble solving a particular puzzle--the metal detector puzzle, for example--and they go to the video entitled Metal Detector Puzzle. Instead of watching the video to see the solution, they post a comment like "omg! i cannoT solve teh metal deetectur puzzle! it is ruuuuull hard!11!! HELP!!! PLS!!!!!"

And I'm not a fan of these comments either:

Question: I've done everything I'm supposed to, but [x] hasn't happened. Why not?
Answer: Obviously, you haven't done everything you're supposed to.

How I Make Video Walkthroughs

Every now and then, by total coincidence, I get a rash of identical requests from different people. For example, six different people asked me to make a guide for Danger on Deception Island all within a period of three days.

Recently, six or so people have asked me how I do video walkthroughs. So here's an explanation:

I don't use a video camera. I use a video capture program to record my computer screen. Video capture programs can record a specific section of your computer screen for a specific amount of time and turn that into a video file.

The specific program I use is called CamStudio. It doesn't work for everyone, I'm told, and so other people use programs like CaptureWiz, HyperCam and so on.

Got it? Cool. That's my bare bones explanation. There are plenty of videos on Youtube which will tell you how to work those programs and what their various features are. Check 'em out.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Picture Party

I was forced to go to a party tonight. I thought it was going to be a party with food, but it turned out to be a "watch pictures of my cousin's new house, then watch pictures of my sister's Euro trip" party.

A two-hour slideshow is not my idea of a party, by the way.

I suppose the pictures were cool. They wanted me to talk about the Greek and Latin stuff because I know all about it, but I couldn't do it. I mean, she took pictures of some of the Greek and Latin statues, but they were so far off that you can't actually see what the statues are of, so I wasn't any help.

Sister: What's that a statue of?
Me: It looks like a statue of Julius Caesar fighting the Germans.
Sister: (zooms in on the picture) No, it's some kind of big bird.
Me: Um...Caesar was a fan of Sesame Street.

I think the only useful thing I could do was translate that Latin sign above a temple. The sign read "M. AGRIPPINAE, CONSULATUS, FECIT", which means "Marcus Agrippinae, the consul, made this". That's kind of a boring thing to translate.

So all in all, not a very fun party.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Three Things

1. I like how the first comment to my last post said "don't play Monkey Island", and the second comment said "do play Monkey Island". That certainly makes it easier for me to figure out which game to play!

Anyway, after playing around with DS recording for a bit, I am pleased to announce that my next walkthrough will be for Professor Layton and the Curious Village. That's a puzzle-based point-and-click adventure starring a British guy in a top hat.

2. Speaking of comments on my blog, I agree that it's kind of lame in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that Snape finally gets the Defense Against the Dark Arts job, but we never see him teach. Then again, if I'm remembering correctly, we only saw him teach twice in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: the first time was at the start of the year, where he introduced the concept of non-verbal spells and gave Harry a detention which prevented Harry from being at the first Slug Club meeting. And the second time we saw Snape's class, he talked about Inferi. Neither of those scenes is particularly crucial to the plot, so I can understand why they were cut out.

After all, Snape got the awesome Unbreakable Vow scene in which he...well, he kinda stood there like a statue the whole time while Bellatrix spun around him in circles, giving a monologue. But it's still a very popular scene, so it's cool they kept it in.

3. I came up with a superhero yesterday. His superpower is the ability to know what day of the week it is. His name? The Calendater.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ransom of the Seven Ships: Supplemental Videos, Upcoming Projects

Here are two supplemental videos for Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships. First is a video of the bloopers in that game:



Second is a video of all the ways Nancy can die in this game. I think It's kind of gruesome to kill Nancy over and over and over again, but it's very popular. Over three people have already requested I make this video:



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There have been requests/suggestions as to what games I should make video walkthroughs for next. All of them are for point-and-click adventure games, I've noticed.

1) The Monkey Island series
2) The Pajama Sam series
3) The Moop and Dreadly game (I've never heard of it)
4) The Putt-Putt series
5) The Phoenix Wright series

I don't know which one I should do first. Suggestions?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pug's Adventures

Time for more of Pug's Adventures! Here's where I started doing more one-panel comics with puns, because those are the ones I had the easiest time coming up with.







This one isn't a very funny comic strip, but I liked it because it was an excuse to bring back Larry Burnam the eye doctor from one of my earlier strips.







I had to color this strip, because otherwise the joke doesn't work as well.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

So I saw Harry Potter #6. I know the movie is going to get tons of rave reviews, but to be honest, I didn't really like it.

Most of the film is a romantic comedy about Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny. Which I guess is okay if you like that sort of stuff, but it feels out of place in a Harry Potter film. It felt sort of out of place in the book, too.

Where did it come from? I mean, I can't say, "Oh, well, of course Harry likes Ginny in Half-Blood Prince. He's always wanted to be her boyfriend." because Harry has said about three sentences to her over the course of books 3 through 5. Same with the movies, where Ginny spends most of her time hovering awkwardly in the background of scenes. The idea that Harry and Ginny are a "meant to be" couple, one of the fundamental points of the romantic comedy nature of the film, just comes out of left field.

And it also bugs me that the movie establishes the fact that Ginny has a boyfriend (Dean Thomas), but then it doesn't get mentioned again. That is, she doesn't break up with Dean, like in the book. So...she's kinda flirting with Harry the whole movie, even though she already has a boyfriend, which you think would be a major deal. Instead, it's a dead issue. I don't know why.

I complained about this to my sister, but she told me to shut up.

I suppose the Ron/Hermione drama is a bit more understandable, because it was set up in the fourth book with all the Yule Ball stuff, where Ron hurt Hermione's feelings by being an insensitive buffoon (I don't know what she sees in him, to be honest). That's basically exactly what happens in the movie, although it's now helped along by characters who exist only to get in the way of the dream couple.

I suppose that romantic drama is popular right now, what with the Twilight series. Speaking of which, Draco Malfoy throws aside his role as evil villain in this movie for the role of tragically misunderstood emo guy. Get prepared for several shots of him being moody, and of him pulling the curtain off a cabinet. Yeah, you're going to see the curtain-pulling shot about five times in the movie.

The other half of the movie is Harry and Dumbledore's Most Excellent Adventure, where Harry and Dumbledore team up to do a bunch of random things that Dumbledore doesn't explain very well. As Harry says, he's learned to "just roll with it".

I dunno, I've never been a fan of Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. It kinda feels like he still hasn't decided how he wants to play the role, and so Dumbledore changes his personality with great frequency. One minute, he'll be friendly towards Harry, and the other minute, he'll choke Harry while yelling "HARRY! DID YOU PUT YOUR NAME IN THE GOBLET OF FIRE?" I still kind of get that feeling in this movie--sometimes it seems that Dumbledore cares about Harry's feelings, and other times he forces Harry to do things without even asking if Harry wants to or not.

There are a bunch of other questions I have, like "What's with the flying black smoke that breaks windows?", "Why do the Weasleys stand still and do absolutely nothing for a few minutes while their house is being attacked?", "Since when is there a wheat field and a swamp right next to the Weasleys' house, anyway?", "What the HECK is up with the Snape shushing Harry scene?" and "Why does Alan Rickman (Snape) act the exact same way in every single scene in pretty much every movie he's in?"

So, overall, I'd say, "Meh." It's not like it's a bad movie. It's just not for me, because I don't like seeing Harry Potter get all romantic comedy, and I don't particularly care for Movie Dumbledore, and those two things make up 90% of the film. It was definitely not worth the six-month wait for me.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ransom of the Seven Ships Walkthrough

Okay, so I'm working on my Ransom of the Seven Ships video walkthrough as I type. I've finished with six videos so far (with three more videos on my to-edit list), but I don't want to post them until I finish the whole walkthrough.

I also want to track down a copy of another game in the series. Like I said, the culprit was in one of the previous games, so I want to have a "helpful flashback" to that game when the culprit shows him/herself. The copies of the game are checked out at my local library, so I hope that they get returned soon.

The game doesn't officially come out until Tuesday, so I figure I'm in good shape, time-wise.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Finished with Ransom of the Seven Ships

I finished playing Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships today. YEAH! The ending was...aw, man, I can't spoil it for everyone. That'd be mean. But I was totally right! We have the triumphant return of a villain from a previous game, and there are lots of villains in the series so that doesn't count as a spoiler, right?

The only (minor) downside is that they had a new person do the villain's voice. They had a new person do George's voice, too, although George hasn't been in a game for years...since Danger by Design, I think. The same person does Bess' voice, though, and Coucou the parrot is voiced by the same person who did Loulou's voice in Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor.

So, to tide everyone over until I start and finish the walkthrough, here's the preview at the end of the game:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships - First Impressions

I got my copy of Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships today, even though it officially comes out next Tuesday, the 14th. YES!

But...no one's made a guide for it yet, so I have to solve all the puzzles by myself. NO! I've got three or so puzzles right now that I have little/no idea how to solve.

The game is pretty awesome so far. There are CRYPTOGRAMS, which are so much easier to do on the computer than in puzzle magazines (because you don't have to worry about erasing everything if you make a mistake).

And the plot has grabbed my interest. This game is...somehow related to the other games in the series. For example, in the demo, there's a map inside the closet. If you examine it, Nancy notes that there are nineteen pins on the map...one in each place she's solved a mystery. I'm interested in seeing how/if this pans out, how/if the other games in the series are related to this one.

I don't know how far I am into the game, but I have notes for seven puzzles written out. So...I've solved seven harder puzzles so far.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor

Today, I finished a special request video--somebody wanted to see Loulou translate all the Latin phrases in Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor. It's kind of an odd request if you ask me, but I did it anyway.



Someone also requested I make a video that shows Linda. Apparently, there's a rumor that if you look into the peephole enough times, you see Linda's whole body, not just her hand. I spent ten minutes looking into the peephole, then backing away, then looking into the peephole again. No Linda. I am declaring this rumor officially false.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pug's Adventures

The last entry had a few comments about my drawing. I need to start drawing again--I've got at least three pictures on my "to draw" list. In the meantime, though, here's more of Pug's Adventures.







Pug being mad is really cute, by the way.







The last strip is interesting for a few reasons.

1) I managed to draw Stacey and Loreen near-perfectly in the first two panels. Usually, I make some small mistake when drawing them (like in the last panel of that strip, where Loreen's chin has somehow become humongous).

2) It marks the point where I stopped writing dialogue by hand and switched to computer-generated dialogue.

3) The drawings have almost no computer editing work at all. Usually, I use the computer to change the pictures from color to black-and-white. You can tell the difference--the lines are thinner.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fourth of July

Here are some pictures from a Fourth of July pamphlet I made a few years ago. Enjoy!








New Shoes

I went shopping for new shoes yesterday, because my mom/sister were getting new shoes for Dad because his birthday is coming up. I don't buy shoes often. I'm still using my dress shoes from 2001, and my old sneakers have the date 2/9/07 on the label.

I don't like shopping for shoes very much. I know some people buy really fancy shoes that cost $100. I figure, why bother doing that? After all, I'm not going to take good care of my shoes. I'm going to step on them several thousand times. You don't do that to something you want to take good care of.

And besides, I seriously don't approve of the fact that most shoes are made by children in sweatshops. Children shouldn't be working in manual labor full-time, period. That's criminal, no matter what the laws say.

Well, we ended up having to go to three stores, because I apparently have mutant alien feet that don't fit in any shoes. The normal size eights are too tight, and the size eight wides are too big. Eventually, I had to settle for a pair that's too tight because it was the best fit. Now my feet are hurting. Mean old shoes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Phantom of Venice Deaths

So here are the death scenes for Nancy Drew: Phantom of Venice. See, I knew I could finish this video today!