Keyboard Geniuses

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Catch Me If You Can

Highlights from the week’s comment threads.

By Matt Gerardi • August 31, 2012

Keyboard Geniuses is our weekly glance at a few intriguing, witty, or otherwise notable posts from the Gameological discussion threads. Comments have been excerpted and edited here for grammar, length, and/or clarity. You can follow the links to see the full threads.

Retro Schmetro

In the comments of this week’s Sawbuck Gamer review of Sheepwalk!, Effigy Power made an argument against the never-ending stream of indie games with graphics that harken back to the Nintendo era—or at least the lazy ones that might lean on nostalgia instead of striving for beauty:

I think I’d like to come to a point where 8-bit graphics are revealed to be not so much the adorable nostalgia cookie of yesteryear, but a soup of ugly, pixelated primary colors that could have benefited from a tad more effort. I know that as gamers, we are terrible easily affected by nostalgia. I think, however, that sometimes we are very prone to overlook slapdash and downright lazy game design in favor of those yummy feelings of sitting in front of the flickering TV in our footsie-pajamas, playing Hero Of The Defender Of The Crown Of The Deep. I also think we confuse the fact that games back then were limited to said graphics due to the fact that our gaming consoles were basically fancy calculators taped to a VCR.

Sure, as far as nostalgia goes it’s not as damaging as driving gas-guzzling, catalytic-converter free road-vessels from the ’50s for fun, but quite often I believe that game designers could at least put some effort into the graphics. Mooy’s recent pixel art has shown that you can create something atmospheric and damn awesome by manipulating pixels, so that’s not out of the loop by a long shot.

That appears to be true even when the pixels are sheep, as HobbesMkii demonstrated with a link to this video:

I Just Ran, I Ran All Night And Day
Mario 64 speedrun screencap

Peter Malamud Smith shared the story of a man’s quest for the perfect speedrun of Mario 64 and his fight to protect his world record. Mercenary Security number 4 questioned how anyone could endure the mental stress of repeating those levels and micro-level maneuvers ad nauseam:

I’m in the top 50 (score) on most levels of Zuma’s Revenge and Chime and was in the top 200 for Peggle for a long time. The amount of time I’ve spent in puzzle games is truly embarrassing. But I could never, ever, imagine running through a [platformer] that many times. The sheer tediousness of doing exactly the same run over and over and over would drive me insane (I understand and appreciate the creativity in figuring out the how, but the actual execution after the brain work is done has got to be repetitive torture.)

And Bad Horse disagreed:

It’s not torture. In order to even beat the original Ninja Gaiden for NES, you have to get into this sort of zen state where you know exactly, down to the millisecond, when to swing to hit that fucking bird in mid-jump in stage 6-2. That state is sort of its own reward—it’s sort of like a meditation in a way. It’s like playing a musical instrument, where no matter how many times you have to go through a really hard piece to learn it, you can still enjoy the feel of the strings and the sound of the notes, every single time.

In order to get to be the Steve Vai of Mario 64, like this guy is, you have to love that state way more than most people. I could never do that for the same reason that I’m only a decent guitar player instead of a virtuosic one.

We’ll Do It Live
Ico and Amy

Steve Heisler compared the effectiveness of two games featuring hand-holding and damsels in distress. In a mostly unrelated comment—not that there’s anything wrong with that—Cornell University aired his confusion about the ever-changing naming of Mario’s best ladyfriend:

Pointless yammering: when exactly did Princess Toadstool become Princess Peach? Mario 64? Or was it earlier? Whenever it was, I sort of assumed her FIRST name was Peach, so her full name would have been Peach Toadstool (rolls right off the tongue). But it seems that she’s just Peach now, no toadstool nothing. and are they still Mario Mario and Luigi Mario? Or has the series done away with surnames completely? And why am I even asking myself these questions?

I suppose her title of Princess Toadstool could have been akin to Miss America or something, unrelated to her true name. Were the Toads really just the panel of judges that voted for her? Skincare Consultant Toad! Local Gadabout Toad!

In this scenario, not only is Mario incredibly superficial, risking so much for a beauty pageant winner, but Peach is downright demented. I mean, they generally elect a new Miss America every YEAR, and she’s been going around calling herself Princess for decades. Some people just can’t let go of the past. Sad, really.

Putting the University’s questions to rest, Girard replied with this very much related knowledge bomb:

To take a light question perhaps too literally, and dump a bunch of info you probably already knew:

— Peach/Toadstool is like Eggman/Robotnik. She was always Princess Peach in Japan but was called Princess Toadstool in the U.S. Apparently (this is news to me), the first U.S. game to call her Princess Peach was the kind of obscure Super Scope game Yoshi’s Safari, but afterward was Toadstool again in Mario RPG. Mario 64 is when the name was first encountered by most English-language players (and by me), where they used both names in-game. From this, it was rationalized by some that her full name was “Peach Toadstool,” though I don’t think that was ever used that way in a proper game. Now, she’s pretty much just Princess Peach, the same was Sonic’s nemesis is just Eggman.

— ”Mario Mario” and “Luigi Mario” were used in the movie, and by some fans, as a way to make sense of the game title, which is pretty much standard NES-era trans-Pacific nonsense gibberish. That surname was never used in a game, and in an adorable old Inside Edition story on the NES (introduced by a young Bill O’Reilly circa 1985!), a NOA employee clarifies that they don’t have last names.

The video is great:

Nice Catch
Madden NFL 13

Drew Toal reviewed the latest iteration of Madden NFL, which claims to offer a whopping 430 new “catch animations,” whatever the hell that is. Caspiancomic quite logically issued the call for “430 ways to catch a ball.” They didn’t quite reach that lofty goal, but lokimotive, Raging Bear, Effigy Power, Kyle O’Reilly, George Liquor, Asinus, Citric, sirslud, HobbesMkii, Merve, and evanwaters all contributed to the effort. Here’s a slightly abridged compilation:

1. Right hand
2. Left hand
3. Both hands
4. Right foot
5. Left foot
6. Both feet (chimpanzee only)
7. In teeth
8. Behind the back
9. Between the legs
10. Between the pecs
11. In your helmet
12. Between index and middle fingers (”the cigarette”)
13. Between index and middle fingers (left hand variant, “the Frenchman”)
14. In right armpit
15. In left armpit
16. Between bicep and forearm (”the strongman”)
17. Between bicep and forearm (left arm variant, “the French strongman”)
18. Between buttocks
19. Between thighs
20. Down the front of your shirt
21. Down the front of your trousers
22. In the pocket of your trousers
23. In the pocket of your trousers (left pocket variant, “le Pantaloons”)
24. Up left nostril
25. Up right nostril
26. Down the throat
27. Bellybutton
28. Urethra
29. Vagina
30. On the end of a pike, then planted along the sidelines as a warning to other footballs
31. Inside your Steel Plate helmet while riding a warhorse below Whiterun
32. With your grappling hook while riding a pilot-less airplane
33. With a Slavic accent while driving Roman home
34. On your nano-assembled wrist-blade while charging for the citadel teleporter
35. In your fedora while backing up onto Rusty
36. In your fedora while shooting a minor thief in the back
37. In your imaginary fedora while wearing a silly MoCap suit
38. With your ballcatching app for the iPhone 15, coming 2014
39. With P.Diddy’s $300 ear buds.
40. With the debris from Kirkwall’s Chantry
41. By playing “Drop down yer balls” on a flute
42. By praying to Cthulhu to destroy all existence, thus also dropping the ball somehow
43. By spraying it with Mighty Boosh’s Goth Juice and just getting a ladder
44. With Cloud’s uber-attack, this incinerating the ball, smashing the stadium and killing everyone in it
45. By looking at it harshly in ArmA2, thus injuring it somehow and causing it to loose consciousness
46. With gay marriage, according to some people
47. By going back in time and murdering the Quarterback’s great great great uncle Aloisius during the Industrial Revolution
48. By waiting for the ball to go on Steam-sale
49. By making Bryan Cranston sneer at it, thus emasculating the ball for all eternity, causing it to roll up on the floor in a fetal position
50. Telekinesis
51. Reverse Pyrokinesis
52. Pigskinesis
53. Husker-spirit
54. Carrying a larger ball which has a mass that attracts the regular ball, like a small moon
55. Pretending it’s a snitch from Quidditch
56. Accio Football
57. Press X rapidly to catch football
58. Wormhole in your pocket
59. Enticing the ball with some delicious Raspberry sherbet
60. Tweet “@Madden13 I caught the ball!”
61. Pre-order Dead Space 3 to instantly grow necromorph arms and stab the ball out of mid-air
62-66. Various uses of the rodents Chip & Dale.
67. Align the balls mouth with your dirty-bits and vice versa
68. Place hands firmly on football
69. Hold the door for it. Compliment its appearance when you meet. Remember, chivalry’s not dead.
70. Be spontaneous! Surprise the ball at work with its favorite candy or flower. Heck, just try ordering something new off the menu at your favorite restaurant.
71. Double dates are a great way to get to know the ball better in a breezy social situation, but make sure you pick an activity everyone enjoys.
72. Be open with your feelings towards the ball, but don’t scare it off by being too forward too soon.
73. Pick up a flat rock and keep it in your pocket. When the ball is about to reach orgasm, press the rock against the football’s taint. AKA The Cosmopolitan.
74. Hop on the bus, Gus
75. Make a new plan, Stan
76. No need to be coy, Roy, just catch the ball
77. “Heeeeeeerrrrreeeeeeee football, football, football!” (The Ernie)
78. From that underage prostitute that works the corner outside your building
79. Carefully
80. A box, a stick, a length of string, and a papier-mâché sexy lady football
81. The overturned moss covered three-legged family credunza
82. Armbar

Only 348 to go. Elsewhere, Captain Internet rightfully called for the photographic evidence of Drew’s in-game character. And Drew obliged:

Drew Toal, Madden edition

Aren’t you glad you asked? That’s all, folks! We’re taking Monday off, but we’ll see you all again on Tuesday. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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416 Responses to “Catch Me If You Can”

  1. Merve says:

    Right not, I’m imagining Drew’s Madden avatar wearing his colourful blazer from the Digest a few months ago. It’s both scary and awesome.

  2. caspiancomic says:

    Well folks, the second entry in my probably three part series on The Void is available for your reading pleasure now. Hopefully, if nothing else, it will stand as an abject lesson in the perils of leaving the bulk of your illustrating until 3 am. (In all honesty, I’ll probably be updating those illustrations soon, and will definitely be replacing the holdovers from the previous article. Catch it while you can, in its unfinished state, like some sort of error-ridden collector’s item whose market price is grossly out of sync with its value)

    It concerns the Sisters, and attempts to analyze their various biographical traits to form as complete a portrait of each of them as I can manage. As it turns out I wasn’t entirely up to the task- everytime I thought I could see bottom the game revealed itself to be twice as deep as previously believed- but hopefully there’s something here that will allow you to understand a Sister in a newer and richer light than you saw her in previously.

    Or, if you’ve never heard of this game and don’t know what I’m talking about, next month’s topic will probably be Sonic the Hedgehog, and then we can all join in.

    • Girard says:

      I’m actually way more familiar with this game than any of the Sonics, strangely enough (I guess not that strangely, growing up a Nintendo kid). In any case, I’m still looking forward to the write-up. These are great.

    • caspiancomic says:

       PHEW. Alright, for anyone keeping track, many of the crappier illustrations have been tightened up, the holdovers from previous articles have been replaced with new images, I’ve given the article a general edit that mostly took the form of the correction of a few grammatical errors, and I’ve expanded on one of the introductory paragraphs to explore something I didn’t really find room for in the body of the article. I don’t know how @Mr_Glitch:disqus writes an article every week, this one took me almost three weeks to complete and I still had to run around fixing things after it was published. Part three will probably be here if not next week, then the week after.

      • Mr. Glitch says:

        I’d say it’s because you put a lot more thought into your blog than I do mine. You have a gift for nuanced analysis, that’s for sure. I’ve noticed that most of my reviews eventually devolve into a laundry list of the game’s features, while lacking much in the way of qualitative judgment. I’m hoping to change that a bit with a new little featurette: I plan to play through a few of those “legendary” games that everyone else has played, but for whatever reason I missed out on. For example, I’ve started playing Super Mario World for the very first time this week. (I never had an SNES growing up.) I want to check it out start to finish, and then yammer on about whether I think it lives up to its reputation.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          No need to be so hard on yourself, Glitch.
          Reviewing is hard, real hard, especially if you don’t want to sink to my personal lows and criticize everything with snark and cynicism, which is why I don’t have my movie-review page anymore. I know, huge loss, now there are only 2,999,999,999 movie review pages online.

          What I am saying is that everyone who can review things out of sympathy and genuine adoration like you do already has a one-up on everyone who reviews merely to show everyone how witty they are.

  3. Mr. Glitch says:

     Hi everybody! My review of Bust-A-Move, aka Puzzle Bobble is now posted. Check it out and relish its much less crappy screengrabs!

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Bust A Move is a lot of fun.

      On a side note…I had a friend in seventh grade who lived three houses down the street from me, whose mother and/or boyfriend had an NES.  After school a few times, I rushed over to his house to play Bubble Bobble before the boyfriend came home and kicked us off.  He would never let us play when he was home, or play two player with either of us.

      After this had happened several times, I called him a jerk as I was leaving and was banned from coming over for a while because of it.

      I was firm in refusing to apologize for a few weeks, but on Halloween my step-mother couldn’t give us a ride to a school party, so I apologized to him and begged him to drive us instead, which he did.

      I haven’t even really thought of that guy in 20 years, but now that you reminded me of him, I guess I can’t really fault him for not wanting to play games with a 12-year-old, as I was the same way at his age.  But now that I’m 35 and having a child of my own, I enjoy playing games with kids in preparation for teaching mine.

      • Oxperiment says:

         I loved Puzzle Bobble. I was the proud holder of the high scores on the Neo Geo cabinet at my local Golf N Stuff for several of my high school years. Goddamn, what a game.

    • caspiancomic says:

       In June, when my friends and I were on the west coast of the States, we found ourselves having to spend the morning in an LA laundromat- not ideal circumstances considering we only had four days in town and didn’t want to spend them doing chores. But all was not lost: the place had some truly righteous arcade cabinets, including one that was Bust-A-Move, Metal Slug 2, and some soccer game all in one. I was terrible at Bust-A-Move, just humiliatingly bad, but it was definitely a lot of fun. Metal Slug was almost unplayable: the controls were sticky and unresponsive from years of abuse, and player 2’s controls didn’t respond at all. The highlight of the morning, though (highlight of the trip!?) was getting the local high score on the Galaga machine.

      Also, anything called “Lethal Enforcers” with the subtitle “Gun Fighters” has my attention.

      • Mr. Glitch says:

        You, my friend, were lucky enough to stumble across a Neo Geo MVS arcade cabinet that still worked, more or less. There’s one at a bar I frequent that can handle up to four games, but it only has Bust-A-Move loaded.

    • Bad Horse says:

      Snood for the win

  4. Asinus says:

    I didn’t see your post the first time around, @Effigy Power (why aren’t you being @’ed?), I definitely have started to feel that way. What was first a nostalgia nod, became a lazy nostalgia nod and eventual lazy design, imo, anyway. I mean, I grew up with an Atari and a NES and, yeah, some of those games have a special place in my heeeaaart, but I didn’t like NES graphics because of the way they were, but because they were better than anything else I had the option to play with. When I started playing computer games and later consoles, I never though, “Gosh, I wish Skyrim looked more like a NES game…” WHat I miss, and what I’m probably most nostalgic for are some of the old game play mechanics. I love modern-looking games with throwback gameplay… if that makes sense. 

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I should have written that out better, but I wanted to state that the nostalgia comes from the fact that programmers back then worked with what they had and thus had to be very crafty to steer around their limitations. Those limitations have disappeared and for me 90% of 8-bit-algia works to either save time or tug on our emotional heart-strings rather than be a real part of the game. The air, as they say, is out.
      Now that games made with clay-mation are a selection on the menu, programmers (indie or not) have to work a little harder in the creativity-department to really interest me with the cooky looks of their stuff.

      • George_Liquor says:

        I’m glad to see someone else feels the same way I do about the non-stop march of indie games that trade competence for nostalgia. I raised a similar point a couple of months ago, but didn’t get much sympathy.

      • Asinus says:

        Yeah, sorry, I was trying to agree with that but have been sleep deprived and lost the chain of thought. I love what sort of creative things come out of needing to work within limitations; it’s one of the things that i like about the best wii titles– they have to come up with unique and interesting designs when “photorealism” isn’t an option. As I was writing that, I was thinking about how much I love the look of MegaMan games on the NES and how much beautiful design they were able to squeeze onto a tiny (by our standards) cartridge. 

    • PaganPoet says:

      Does the argument extend to SNES and other 16-bit graphics though? I’m not sure if I’m just wearing rosy, nostalgia glasses, but I genuinely find many 16-bit games to be quite beautiful even by today’s standards. They’ve CERTAINLY aged much better than the 32 bit days and early 3D…

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Of course it doesn’t.  Anyone who doesn’t love 16-bit sprite work is not borne of a woman’s womb. 

        • Girard says:

           Which is why Julius Caesar, who was instead cut from his mother’s womb, so hated pixel art that he unleashed a volcano upon Pompeii and its salacious mosaics. Or maybe I feel asleep in high school history class.

        • Merve says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus: The same was true of Macduff, which is why he slew the pixellated beast known as Macbowthser with a cel-shaded sword.

      • Asinus says:

        I completely skipped that generation of consoles (that isn’t to say I never saw the games, but I never played many other than a handful on my friends’ Genesises) and, I don’t know, I’m not all that in love with them. I’ve tried to play FFVI and SNES Zelda and don’t really like the look of them all that much. I think the 16-bit Marios look pretty good. This, of course, has nothing to do with how fun or good they are as games. 

        But my favorite nostalgia trip has been with 3D Dot Game Hero, which frames itself with 2D 16-Bit-looking sprites. 

        • PaganPoet says:

          I think the FFVI sprites are a bit…stubby. Most of the locales themselves look great (in particular, the Phantom Forest with that beautiful lake), but the sprites are definitely a bit simple to look at today.

          But, for contrast’s sake, I think the sprites and animations from Chrono Trigger still look quite nice today.

        • Bad Horse says:

          The key word in this is sprite, not 16-bit. Bright, colorful, creatively designed, decidedly unreal sprites are what people love, including ones that are newer than the 16-bit generation. Look at Final Fantasy Tactics, or Mega Man 8.

      • Girard says:

         I think the key is that 8-bit and 16-bit sprites, like any form of visual abstraction, can be handled beautifully, but can also be used as a lazy crutch.

        The original designers, trying their best to be inventive within those limitations, often handled them beautifully (I would argue the color limitation of the NES were also as instrumental in its unmistakeable and excellent aesthetics as the resolution limitations).

        Contemporary single-person game designers, however, often use the style to compensate for the fact that they are artists of code, not artists of image, and try and fail to mask their aesthetic shortcomings with an abstracted art style.

        • Asinus says:

          Contemporary single-person game designers, however, often use the style to compensate for the fact that they are artists of code, not artists of image, and try and fail to mask their aesthetic shortcomings with an abstracted art style.”

          This is a good point and an elegant way to say it. I think about Atari carts and how they had such a small team of programmers (or even a single programmer) working on them. I know that the original Atari was never going to crank out visually stunning games, but sometimes it seemed that they were proofs of concept that were then printed on roms and sent out. I wonder what dedicated visual artists could have done or if what we saw was really the best it could be. I mean, seeing a ship or some kind of naval gun (I have no idea) represented as an inverted T (in Air and Sea Battle) doesn’t seem like the visual pinnacle that the hardware was capable of, but I could be wrong.

        • Girard says:

           @The_Asinus:disqus : Solaris is probably the graphical pinnacle of the 2600, and shows the kind of stuff a technically (and probably visually) gifted programmer could pull out of that hardware. Robot Tank is somewhat similar in its creation of a pseudo-3D space occupied by fairly legible objects. In terms of a traditional Platformer, I would say Pitfall II is probably the most sophisticated graphically and gameplay-wise for the system, with a number of legible character/creature sprites, and several relatively sophisticated animations for the player character.
          (Looking back at these is reminding me how I’m old enough to remember a time when the ‘Activision’ brand was a guarantor of quality…)

          A contemporary project by a coder to recreate Super Mario Bros. on Atari 2600 hardware is also pretty illustrative of the relative graphical and processing shortcomings of the hardware, in relation to the NES.

        • Asinus says:

          Wow, I’d never seen Solaris before. I have Pitfall, but not Pitfall 2. Thanks for the links– the SMB project was also pretty interesting.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      I know what you mean.  As much as I vocally espouse a more artistic, progressive approach to gaming, I find such comfort in the game mechanics from the SNES days, what I consider to be my Ur-gaming system -then one that most informs my gaming identity.
         God help me, but I’m such an old man, sometimes I’ll play a role-playing game and just get annoyed.  I don’t want to have to worry about troop placement and the game’s time of day, I just want to cast a spell.
         Gamers accuse franchise of being ‘dumbed down’, but I take relief in that.  I often like my games dumb.

         Just not stupid, you know?

  5. zebbart says:

    I thought “Princess Toadstool” was the aristocratic title that Peach holds, like how Robert Crawley is “Lord Grantham” but someday maybe Matthew Crawley will become “Lord Grantham.” It kind of makes sense that Princess Toadstool of Mushroom Kingdom would be a thing.

    • Merve says:

      Her full title is actually Princess Peach the Third of Star-Upon-Shell, Duchess of Mushroom Kingdom.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        The fact that you know that is adorable.
        The kind and amount of lore from games we recall over the years is staggering and probably rivals what we know about our own history… even in games that don’t particularly require lore to function, such as Mario.
        If I knew half as much about the American Revolution as I know about the Ferelden Revolution… strange days.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Although in Super Mario 64, “Peach” seemed more like a nickname used at the end of her letter rather than her name.

      But eh, I try not to think to hard about Nintendo retconning their mythology, especially with the stuff from the 80s. Otherwise, I’d have to believe that Yoshi is having a cross-species relationship with transgendered Birdo.

      • Girard says:

         That’s pretty much the official party line in Japan, actually. It’s kind of awesome. Birdo is described as “Yoshi’s girlfriend…or is it boyfriend?” In official materials. And there’s the whole Captain Rainbow subquest thing…

        • Asinus says:

          Good! That confused me when I flipped through the SMB2 booklet as a kid, but it stuck with me as a fun piece of trivia. With the interwebs making all of this information more readily available, it’s not as fun to hold such a factoid, but it’s good that they haven’t totally scuttled it. I wish they’d kept that going in the US if for no other reason than to freak out the squares. And, hey, Birdo is proof that it gets better– she went from being beaten up by Mario and his band of bullies, to being their buddy. If Mario can change his outlook, can’t we all?

        • Girard says:

           @The_Asinus:disqus : I think in the US they’ve never really gone “full Poison” and declared her a girl – though they skirt the issue by not bringing it up, and just using the female pronoun (which would be correct to use whether she was or was not transexual).

          Apparently, according to Wikipedia: “Nintendo Power
          listed Birdo as one of three weirdos, citing her change from being male
          to being a love interest for Yoshi. They described her gender as one of
          life’s biggest questions, commenting on how she shoots eggs out of her
          mouth as another oddity.” So there’s a semi-official acknowledgement.

  6. apathymonger says:

    Eggman instead of Robotnik always annoys me, mainly because he was Robotnik in the UK Sonic The Comic series I loved.

  7. Scott Jones says:

    Excellent edition of Comment Cat. Loved the attempt to name all the catch animations. But the Nintendo video really knocked me out. I doubled over laughing when the guy at the Nintendo call line says, “Have you been to the mansion with the eyeball in it?”

    • George_Liquor says:

       Mad props to Spacemonkey Mafia for that fantastic Comment Cat artwork! I’m glad it’s become Soupy’s official logo.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Thanks, Mr. Liquor.  That’s super appreciated.  The vision came to me in an opium haze.  If it weren’t for my Hindoo manservant dictating my hallucinogenic ramblings, the image would be lost forever.

  8. stakkalee says:

    What a week, eh?  Here we are, at the end of summer.  Sure, it’s technical, not official, but school is now back in, and we all know what that means.  Plus, for most of us it’s the last 3-day weekend we can expect, so on that happy thought…

    First, the site.  The article with the most comments was the martyrdom Inventory, with 155 comments.  @lokimotive:disqus had the most-liked comment with 18 likes on his simple observation about the horror that is Jim Nantz (“I’ll swallow your soul!”)  Well done, Loki!

    Much love to @caspiancomic:disqus for getting the ball rolling (footballs don’t roll!) on that mini-Inventory; he helped net plaid jackets for @bad_horse:disqus, @cornell_university:disqus, @evanwaters:disqus, Kyle O’Reilly (of the Twitterverse), @mercenary_security_number_4:disqus and @sirslud:disqus.  Welcome, folks!  We always love people who contribute, so hopefully you’ll stick around!

    @effigy_power:disqus and @hobbesmkii:disqus each got an assisted double (thanks again to caspian), bringing The Cat to 8 pins and Queen Dubious to 9, which also brings her to a tie for second place with the Compassionate Canadian!  What’s up, Caspian?  She doesn’t need your help!  Dude, she’ll knife you!  Kidding, kidding.  Probably.

    In addition, Lokimotive gets a second pin, as does @george_liquor:disqus, @the_asinus:disqus and @citric:disqus, @captain_internet:disqus gets the “Three Times A Lady” achievement by getting a third pin (with the assist from @andrewtoal:disqus) and @raging_bear:disqus and @merve2:disqus are both at 6.  Harrumph, harrumph, well done, one and all.  And of course, @paraclete_pizza:disqus furthers his lead to 11 pins.  Girard, you truly are Soupy’s Choice.

    Let me close with a link to a Game We Wish Was Real – here’s Johan Vinet’s start screen for a Calvin & Hobbes game.  I’m having trouble articulating exactly what I would give to have this be a real game; A Lot, is what I keep coming back to.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an empty chair to harangue.  So enjoy the long weekend, everyone!  And remember to keep it scintillating!

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      I find it truly sad that, since Mr. Watterson refused to endorse any sort of merchandising, we’re left with nothing but unauthorized car stickers of Calvin peeing on random shit.  I HATE that.  Really, REALLY hate it.

      • Girard says:

         I’m kind of annoyed that it means every kid these days knows about Garfield, but Calvin & Hobbes is probably going to have to wait for them to reach their “20-something, reading AVClub, going to art school, discovering Krazy Kat” phase of comic reading – those that persist reading comics enough to get to that phase.

        On the other hand, I’m glad C&H isn’t as crassly ubiquitous as Garfield (apart from those stickers). But, damn, every kid should grow up with a Calvin and Hobbes collection on their bookshelf.

        One of my oldest friend’s kids (my first friend to spawn) turns two in September. Maybe my birthday present will be some C&H paperbacks to have on his nursery bookshelf for when he comes of age…

        • Mookalakai says:

           When I was between the ages of 8-12, I really loved Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes, and my parents bought me a shit ton of each of them. I don’t know how I was introduced to them, but they both really resonated with me at a young age. By the time I got to junior high/ high school, I realized Garfield was pretty lame, whereas to this day I can still laugh at and enjoy Calvin and Hobbes. I don’t hate Garfield as much as most people probably do now, and I think its better than most newspaper comics, but it’s still not something I would go out and read.
          Point is, make sure you pass on Calvin and Hobbes yourself to kids, because if the kids are worth a damn, they’ll love it.

        • stakkalee says:

          C&H and Far Side are must-buys for any children in your life; @Mookalakai:disqus really pegged the age range there for the best time to introduce kids to that stuff.  Beanworld is a must, too.  I have two nieces that have both shown an interest in comics – one’s at the perfect age to start Gaiman’s Sandman, and I’m thinking of getting the other one started with some of the Marvel Essentials.

        • Girard says:

           Calvin & Hobbes, Foxtrot, and Bizarro were my mainstays, in terms of newspaper comics, all the way through high school, and to some extent into adulthood (Calvin & Hobbes is probably the only one adult me would count as truly great, alongside my latecoming appreciation for Peanuts).

          I loved Garfield as an elementary schooler, and really enjoyed the Far Side, too, though I didn’t collect their books as fastidiously as C&H, which I made damn sure I had every book of. And my appreciation for Garfield waned pretty much after around 4th grade.

          In later elementary school, I enjoyed Bone a lot, though I couldn’t keep up with the individual issues and eventually had to wait a few years to get the TPBs, not actually getting the whole thing until sometime in college in the early/mid 00s.

          And in middle school and high school my absolute favorite comic bar none was the copy of Sam & Max Surfing the Highway that I totally lucked into getting at this weird comic shop in 95/96, shortly after discovering LucasArts adventures in middle school. That might be a little more idiosyncratic an enjoyment, though, and maybe not a universal “this needs to be handed down” sort of thing like C&H and possibly Bone.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          Calvin & Hobbes was wrapping its run up just at the time I was learning to love comics, to the point where I can remember reading what was eventually included in It’s a Magical World in the daily paper at the time (which simply hasn’t been the same since). I’ve never stopped reading the books. They’re great because while they’re written about a child, they’re far from childish. And yet, also very accessible. I credit Calvin & Hobbes with first introducing me to a number of ten-cent words that most of my peers fail to use, even in the adult world.

        • Girard says:

           @HobbesMkii:disqus : C&H ended the December of my first year of middle school. It was like the world telling me, “Yep. Childhood is over.”

          Afterward, Watterson retired to Chagrin Falls (his hometown, featured on the back cover of the Essential C&H), which was really close to my hometown, and there were urban legends (substantiated now by Wikipedia, but…it’s Wikipedia) that he would sneak autographed copies of his books onto the shelves of the mom & pop bookstore there. I could never get my mom to drive us out there to substantiate the rumor, though.

        • TaumpyTearrs says:

          That Sam and Max book is truly great stuff. I picked it up in the mid-to-late 90s, and my little brother probably read it even more than I did. I think we each read it multiple times in the book store before we bought it and we still wanted it. 

          I think any kid who has a quirky sense of humor would enjoy it, and it could develop that sense of humor in them if they don’t. Since i had grown up with the Simpsons, The Tick, and Freakazoid it was perfect for me. And then we got the short-lived but awesome Sam and Max cartoon for like 3 months (just got the DVD a few months back).

    • caspiancomic says:

       I don’t know if I’ll ever beat this new record of one point and eleven assists, unless next week Square Enix releases a game promising 870 ways to tie a shoe. Also, did @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus miss out this week? My projections based on the last few weeks suggested he ought to have gotten something like six pins today.

      In any case, another cracker jack week all!

      • Girard says:

        Seeing that amazing thread in this week’s comment cat taught me an important lesson: Even if it’s a review for a game you don’t like, you NEVER just read and close a Gameological story without checking back in on the comments later in the day. You are too liable to miss some transcendent stuff!

        • feisto says:

          I’ll second that. That list is AMAZING. If a game is lacking in surprises, I guess the commentariat will always make up for it.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Thanks, Casp.  I sorta took the week off from commenting.  After last week, I wanted to ease off lest my charms wear thin.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      -lighthearted laughter-
      I will so knife all of you…

      On a lighter note, I had a lot of time to comment this week, so I had to make something of it. Damn that @paraclete_pizza:disqus and his Cossack-wisdom, he’s going to remain aloof, isn’t he?

      I am also partial to the title of “Queen Dubious”, but it conflicts with my duties as “Empress Pretty”, so I might have to consolidate my realms.

      I don’t know what I am talking about. Don’t let me ramble. It leads to … this fiasco… :P

    • sirslud says:

      Woohoo, I get a plaid jacket! Stick around? I haven’t ever left! (I’m living under the porch.)