Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Michael Offends Sega

When Sega produced Nancy Drew: White Wolf of Icicle Creek for the Wii last year, they sent me a free review copy. I like getting free games, and I like the Nancy Drew series, so I decided to make the review extra-special by filming a video review, not just writing a review.

If you haven't seen the review I did, here it is:



Recently I wondered, "Hey, why hasn't Sega sent me a free review copy of Her Interactive's Hardy Boys DS game that they produced?" So I checked in with Paul, my semi-boss when it comes to videogame stuff, and he says that Sega's PR person didn't like my review. Specifically, Paul shared this part of the email from Sega with me:

"Sorry that your reviewer didn’t enjoy the game…his score is actually drastically lower than any other score we’ve received so far."

Ouch! I guess that means no more free games from Sega for me!

Computers Don't Work, More Pictures

Man, the Internet up here is wonky. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, and I don't know why.

Computers in general are the same way. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. I've noticed this in my 13 or so years of working with computers (which is four or five different computer generations, I think). No matter how high-tech things get, they still don't work correctly.

So let's see, today I have a little bit of news about Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy that didn't get mentioned in my last few blog entries. If you look at the page for the game on Her Interactive's website, you can see two (new) small pictures, one of the purple-haired girls' room. Cool!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

September Newsletter

More news on Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy. Specifically, the September newsletter tells more about the various dates things are happening.

It also tells us a bit more about the plot--Nancy is going to be posing as a French transfer student named Becca Sawyer. And we have pictures of areas seen in the trailer--the doorway that leads outside and pink-haired girl's room.

There's also a link to a snack shop minigame with some animation of the pink-haired girl. Huzzah!

Friday, September 25, 2009

In Which I Discuss the New Trailer in Far Too Much Detail

All right, I think it's time for me to analyze the new trailer for Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy. That'd be the trailer in the post below this one.

The trailer starts with a picture with Waverly Academy, which looks nice. Then, it turns into an actual photograph on crumpled, yellowing paper, which looks less nice. What this means, I have no idea.

We also seem to have a scarlet-and-black coat of arms for Waverly Academy that features the one-legged crow from the preview of this game at the end of Ransom of the Seven Ships. And if you pause the video, you'll see a marble plaque on top of the building that features some sort of crow. This allows me to make a conclusion...

Michael's Conclusion: A crow will somehow be important in this game.

After that, we see Nancy look up at the building in the picture, while somebody says, "Welcome to Waverly."

Then there's a shot of Nancy going outside through glass doors, from what appears to be a common room (or not). And it's snowing outside. It looks sort of like she's going to the front of the building, because the design of the gray part of the concrete walkway looks identical to the gray concrete walkway in front of the academy. However, there are lighted lamp posts here, when there are no lamp posts outside the front of the building. So Nancy is apparently going out through a set of doors that are NOT the front doors.

Next, we see a new character talking about threatening notes from "the black cat". She's obvious in her dorm room, sitting in a chair at her desk. It looks sort of like my old dorm room, except more pink.

In the middle of the speech, we hear Nancy gasp as somebody drops a warning note that reads "Time's up". Some people are saying that this could be Nancy's hand that is holding the note. Interesting idea...

Then we see a flag drop down and break some glass in front of a glass bookcase. And the design on the flag is a crow. I'm guessing this bookcase is part of a library, especially since the next scene is a girl in a library, telling Nancy some gossip.

I'm not quite sure what the character says, but it sounds like "They said it was a teacher, Miss Howell, coming back as a cat to get revenge." I don't know what to make of this.

There's a shot of a girl in a closet, sorthing through what appears to be food. I mean, I see grape juice containers and tea bag containers. The camera zooms in as the door is slammed shut, and the girl is presumably locked inside.

Then we see Nancy solving some sort of sewer lid shape puzzle that looks difficult.

The next shot is tricky, but I think it's Nancy hiding in a tree, looking down on cloaked figures. We saw concept art for some cloaked figures in the last preview. So, maybe Nancy is spying on some secret group meeting. Then, the branch Nancy is sitting on breaks, which is not something you want to happen when you're in a tree, whether you're spying on secret groups or not.

Then, there's a girl with a funky pink-and-black hairdo. She plays the cello, and is apparently sitting in her desk in her room. There's a plastic spider and plastic candelabra left of her. That's...odd.

She's wearing some sort of uniform. The first girl we saw had some sort of uniform-looking outfit on, too.

Then we see the outline of somebody walking down a hallway with a flashlight in hand.

Finally, we have a boiler room puzzle with what I'm guessing is a corresponding death scene for incorrectly solving the puzzle. Then there's some cover art and release date and...wait, October 13th?

Ah, man, I have midterms that week! Looks like I won't be able to play this game when it comes out!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy - Trailer #1

Hey, we have the first official Trailer for Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy!



Pretty cool looking...and I'm liking the girl with the crazy pink hairdo! I'll probably make another blog post analyzing this trailer if I have time.

There was also a preview of this game at the end of Ransom of the Seven Ships.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Partially-Done Walkthroughs

So it's the fourth week of school, and I'm still not used to my schedule here. Each day, I make up my schedule as I go along. This usually results in certain things like "read one of the books I have" getting delayed every single day.

Something that usually gets delayed is writing walkthroughs. I mean, I made a video walkthrough for Professor Layton, I should write a walkthrough for it, right? After all, I've written walkthroughs for a lot of games.

But for some reason, I just put off writing certain walkthroughs. I've got partially-done walkthroughs for Legend of the Crystal Skull, Creature of Kapu Cave, Danger on Deception Island, Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, Phantom of Venice, and (my personal favorite) Dream Penguin Adventure for the NES.

I need to sit down one weekend and just do nothing but write walkthroughs nonstop in order to catch up.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Music - Stay Tuned for Danger

Someone asked me to make a video of various music in Nancy Drew: Stay Tuned for Danger. It's an easy request to fulfill, so I did it!









Interesting how they're all around the same length. I'm guessing they had a time limit of about 70 seconds for the various music tracks because this is one of the earlier games.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bu-new-cula Bunnicula!

One of the cool things about growing up is that you sometimes get new things added to the old things you enjoyed when you were a kid.

For example, I love the Bunnicula series by James Howe. They're both listed on my list of favorite books. I read them all as a kid, and they were awesome.

Well, now that I'm a grown-up, I've found that Mr. Howe wrote a new Bunnicula book, Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allen Crow (in 2006). So now I've got a new Bunnicula book to read! I'm really happy about this.

(Same thing goes for the new Ramona book by Beverly Cleary.)

If you haven't read Bunnicula, it's about a bunny rabbit who is also a vampire (!). At least, that's what Chester, the paranoid cat, thinks. There are many hilarious, crazy adventures when Chester embarks on a quest to destroy the evil vampire bunny. It's more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Youtube, Email

Youtube is banned from the Internet here, so I can do things like read comments on videos, but I can't actually watch any. That's kind of unfortunate because I have about 500 videos that I should probably keep track of every once in a while.

I suppose Youtube is banned because they don't want people wasting time on it, and because a lot of videos on Youtube are inappropriate. I suppose it's good that they're trying to look out for us here, but to be quite honest, I wouldn't watch the inappropriate videos even if I had access to them.

When I say "inappropriate videos", I'm thinking of some videos where people say mean things and swear the whole time in an attempt to be funny. I don't enjoy that kind of video. I'm sorry, but if you feel you need to a jerk in order to be funny...well, you're not really all that funny.

Anyway, here's a nice email I got the other day, and I thought I'd share it with you guys.

---

I had to write a thank you to Michael Gray for all the time and energy he puts into the walkthroughs for Nancy Drew. At 63 I tried my first pc game (Castle Malloy) and the help made it a fun rather than a frustrating adventure. The videos on you tube were an absolute riot. It was great to hear a pro get frustrated at times since at the junior level I was having some problems and just getting a headache.

The humor and thorough approach to the walkthrough was just great.

Thank you Michael for making an old lady happy! :)

Sincerely,
[name withheld]

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I don't get paid to make Youtube videos, so it's nice feedback like that which is the true reward I get. So I'd like to thank her and all the people who I've helped for making my life so rewarding.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Professor Layton and the Curious Village

After a lot of work, I have finally finished my video walkthrough for Professor Layton and the Curious Village.

That's a game where Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke solve a bunch of brainteasers/puzzles, while exploring the Village of St. Mystere in an attempt to find a treasure called "The Golden Apple". Along the way, they meet several intriguing people, including an evil villain who tries to kill them with a remote-control ferris wheel.

There are 38 videos in all, so that means the walkthrough is about 6 hours long.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pug's Adventures

School is busy right now, and I'm having trouble understanding the more basic parts to my Tuesday/Thursday class. Oh, well.

Anyway, here's the next bit of "Pug's Adventures". I did this during Thanksgiving of 2007, and it was the first time I did an entire week of joke strips based off one topic (Latin). I think it came out pretty well.













I don't know why I colored the last one, but I like it now more than ever, after graduating with a degree in Greek and Latin and being unable to find a job. Anywhere. Ever. Hooray for college degrees!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Today is a holiday in my country, and thank goodness for the extra-long weekend! With the extra day, I was able to start and get all the way through the second Professor Layton game. It was pretty good, but just like the first game, the explanation they gave to solve the entire mystery was completely ridiculous. As in "everyone was a kangaroo is disguise" ridiculous.

I particularly liked the reappearance of Don Paolo, Professor Layton's wannabe arch-nemesis. It's funny because the villain is so intense and dramatic about defeating Professor Layton, whereas Layton's reaction is simiply, "Oh, there's that weird guy again."

I get the feeling that when Don became an evil genius, he decided he needed an an arch-nemesis, so he picked a name randomly out of a phone book.

The other reason why I enjoyed the Don Paolo reappearance scene was because of the voice acting. Lani Minella (voice of Nancy Drew) and Christopher Miller (voice of Professor Layton AND Don Paolo) did some cool voice-blending work.

Let's just hope we don't have to wait another two years for them to translate the already-finished third game into English.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Newsletter

The latest newsletter from Her Interactive is about the new Hardy Boys DS game that's coming out soon. You get to play as the Hardy Boys and Samantha Quick in this game. If I can get my hands on a free review copy of the game, I'll be sure to let you know how it is.

Meanwhile, the Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting to Danger is also coming out soon, and you can check out the demo to see what it's like. I haven't beaten the first Dossier game because I'm busy doing other things (like making the 30+ videos in the Professor Layton video walkthrough), but I'll probably be sure to talk about it here, too.

...And there's the summary of this month's newsletter. Huzzah!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Professor Snaglefoompus Plays Basketball

One day, Professor Snaglefoompus decided to teach his class how to play basketball. It was a math class, but Professor Snaglefoompus didn't notice.

"Hey, class!" Professor Snaglefoompus said. "We're going to play basketball today!"

Rob, Professor Snaglefoompus' assistant, didn't think that was a very good idea. "Professor, we're in a classroom, not a basketball court. Give me the basketball."

Rob tried to take the basketball away from Professor Snaglefoompus, but the professor wouldn't give it up.

"FOUL!" Professor Snaglefoompus cried. "I get to take a penalty shot!"

"Where?" Rob asked. "There's no basketball hoop inside the classroom!"

Professor Snaglefoompus frowned. "Aw...that means we can't play basketball!"

"We have a trash can," Jenny Blackenship said. "We could use that."

"Great idea, Jenny!" Professor Snaglefoompus said. Jenny smiled.

The class elected Hilary Tallerton to hold the trash can up like a basketball hoop. Hilary was the tallest person in the class, so it made perfect sense.

Professor Snaglefoompus took a shot, but instead of hitting the top of the trash can, it hit the side. The trash can went flying out of Hilary's hands and hit Rob in the face. Rob fell down immediately.

Just then, the Dean came into the room to see what was going on, because he thought he heard shouting. He saw Rob lying on the ground with bruises on his face, trash all over the floor, and a basketball rolling across the room.

"Professor Snaglefoompus!" the Dean cried. "Why is your assistant lying on the floor, covered in garbage?"

"I guess it's because he forgot to empty the trash can," Professor Snaglefoompus said. "Or maybe he's trying some sort of recycling clothing program."

Rob groaned, because his head hurt from where the basketball had hit it. "It's because of the basketball game..."

"WHAT?!" the Dean shouted.

So the Dean told everyone that playing basketball wasn't allowed in class. Then he gave Rob detention for littering, which meant Professor Snaglefoompus had to teach his class alone for the next couple of days.

Teaching About Walt Whitman

The next day, Professor Snaglefoompus had to teach class because his assistant Rob wasn't there. "What are you supposed to learn today?" Professor Snaglefoompus asked.

"We're learning about Walt Whitman," Jenny Blackenship said.

"I don't know anything about Walt Whitman," Professor Snaglefoompus admitted. If you had to say something for him, Professor Snaglefoompus never pretended to know something he didn't. True, many times he thought he knew something, and was mistaken, but you can't hold that against him. Most people are like that.

"What a horrible teacher," Ernie Greengold said. "Not knowing anything about Walt Whitman! He wrote Leaves of Grass!"

"He wrote on leaves?" Professor Snaglefoompus asked. "That's kind of weird. Why didn't he use paper like other people do?"

Ernie groaned. "Leaves of Grass is the name of a book!"

"Grass doesn't grow on leaves," Professor Snaglefoompus said. "Leaves grow on trees. Anybody could tell you that."

Ernie groaned again. In case you couldn't tell, he didn't like Professor Snaglefoompus very much. "We're not supposed to talk about that. We're supposed to be learning about Walt Whitman," he complained.

"Well, we've learned he's a poet," Professor Snaglefompus said. "And we also learned that he doesn't know basic arboreal facts. So for homework tonight, make sure to read your biology books and come up with a list of ten basic arboreal facts."

"But this isn't a biology class!" Ernie Greengold complained. "It's an English class!"

"Nonsense, Ernie," Professor Snaglefoompus said. "Why would we be learning about trees in English class? Now if you'll excuse me, I understand the science department is having a buffet today, and I don't want to miss it. Class dismissed."

So Professor Snaglefoompus left class to go eat at the buffet, and it's a good thing he did, because if he had stayed to teach some more, Ernie Greengold might have gotten very upset.

Wednesday Blog Post

Well, it's Wednesday, and we still don't have Internet here yet for the new students. So I can't update my blog or upload videos--which is pretty annoying because I'm almost done with the Professor Layton walkthrough. Seriously, I stopped right before the ending cutscene.

And I can't upload any of my cool pictures from my recent vacation, either. I also have pictures from the zoo. I have a video, too--it's of the tiger in the zoo pacing his cage and whining because he wants to be let out. It's sort of like what my dog Snickers does, only it's a tiger, so it's mild whining sounds like, "RAOUAGH!"

So, yeah, it's a cool video. I also have a video of the grizzly bears fighting. Animals are awesome.

Gee, I wish I had more to say other than "I have all the awesome things, but you can't see them now so na-na-na-na-bo on you." Let me make it up to you by giving you two Professor Snaglefoompus stories.

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Emily, I'd suggest using Audacity, which has an "amplify" function to make your voice louder.