Herschel Biggs: You were never his friend, Jack.
Jack Kelso: I guess you're right... Herschel?
Biggs: Yeah, Jack?
Kelso: I was never his enemy.
Biggs: I think he knew that, Jack.
Wow. Just. Wow. L.A. Noire is one of my all-time favourite games and the quote above is right at the very end. Out of context, it's not very that compelling, but it's still epic. The dynamics between Jack and Cole (the main character) is really interesting. They're not friends, yet they're not enemies. There's this reluctant need to help each other but there's a lot of respect as well. I think part of the reason why I love this quote so much is that the actors absolutely got the emotions spot on.
I'm still hoping for a sequel with Kelso as the main character. He truly was the foil for Cole's character and I found myself enjoying Jack's storyline much more. If you've never played L.A. Noire, you definitely need to.
Hey, vault hunter. It seems you have found your way to my personal page where I keep a ton of junk and other oddities. That's cool, that's cool. I should warn you though that there's a lot of random things here.
If you ever need to contact me for any reason, click the envelope below.
Latest updates // May 13
- Edited Site Agenda
Mass Effect 3
With my renegade playthroughs in ME1 and ME2, I finally have my first "pure renegade" file in ME3....currently watching:
Too busy with gaming to bother with TV!...currently listening to:
Take Us Back by Alela Diane
A.K.A. the song featured at the end of The Walking Dead (game). A.K.A. "the saddest song in video gaming history". If you've ever played TWD, you'll understand how "Take Us Back" makes you cry every. Single. Time.
If something has a ? beside it, it means I'm still unsure and that suggestions/ideas would be appreciated! Below each set of goals is a "work station", an area where I keep track of my goals and such.
Need to contact me? It's advised that you don't contact me at bluestorm013 since I check that side account the least (tloef, my main, and polyanthus are two accounts I check the most).
Need a hand? Feel free to neomail me whenever you have a question or just need to bounce some ideas off of someone! Here's a list of things that I can help you with based on the skills I've learned at my various sites:
Writing (reviews, guides), design (both technical and aesthetics), coding (minor issues)
Favourite sites (old and new):
That Kills Me.
Some sites that are closed/not updated:
The Teahouse (review site), and Otaku.
Favourite things to do on Neopets: update sites, taking requests from visitors, Altador Cup (when it's on), Food Club, checking my stocks
Dream pet: Auroerie, and alien Aisha, which was given to me by PF! Thank you so much!
Favourite games: Borderlands 2, Mass Effect series, Dragon Age:Origins (I'll pretend DA2 never happened), Gears of War, Halo: Reach, Split/Second, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Dungeon Defenders, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Resistance series, Oblivion, Professor Layton series, Pokemon, and so many more!
Ultimate dream job: Game designer at Bioware or Bethesda! *drools* I totally promise that if Bethesda hire me, I'll check for bugs and other glitches!
My quirks: I tend to over use the :* and ^_^ smiley in neomails. It's an affliction, really.
Awesome movies: Inception, Citizen Kane, His Girl Friday, North By Northwest, Big Fish, Lord of the Rings series, Across The Universe
My TV usually plays: Fringe, Chuck, Supernatural, Curiosity, Museum Secrets, Pokemon (can you say "guilty pleasure?"), Star Trek (yes, nerd here)
Soundtrack of my life: Music: Muse, The Heavy, Sarah Brightman, Dragonette, John Williams, Death Cab For Cutie, Coldplay, and so many more!
If life was a video game, my animal sidekick would be: Pandas! But I also love chameleons.
And for those Mass Effect fans (drag and drop for full view)...
My sites' visitors,
alien aishas (*squee*),
the holiday season,
ABNEY (you know who you are)
Before TLB, there was Yooyuball Planet! I absolutely love the Altador Cup. My inspiration for YYBP was not on the popular Neopets event but football (or soccer as many of you may know it as). It was an immense project, coming up with over 80 team names and their history. The best (and worst) part was trying to come up with player names. Let's see...each team has five players, there's currently 90 clubs in the leagues, that makes...450 different players. Of course, I used the "real" players that TNT made so that shaved off around 90 players. But still, over 300 to go.
The site went through two "seasons" and I decided to call it quits and put my focus elsewhere (namely here). Some of my favourite memories include being asked to "report" on the user-hosted competition by WAM, and writing mock interviews with the characters.
Most people assumed that TLB was my first site. I suppose you can think of it as my "biggest" site, but the honours of "first" goes to YYBP. At YYBP, I found that I really enjoyed making graphics and designing stuff. At the same time, I noticed a lack of dedicated resource sites. Sure, many offered resources, but there weren't a lot of options or colours. TLB really started as mainly a resource site, and I only added graphics because it was something fun. I've put a lot of hard work into each and every item posted on TLB so when I see a site use something, I get super excited!
A while after TLB, I wrote this guide about service. The inspiration of this guide was actually a bit negative. Requesting buttons were painful. I remember waiting at least two weeks just for one! I decided, why do people have request sites if they treat their visitors so poorly? Thus, HTOGS was born. It got a lot of great feedback, especially from people who, like myself, were frustrated with the lack of high-quality service. An "extra" feature at the guide was the chance to get reviewed to see how high-quality your service was. Because of the popularity of the reviews, I eventually took that "extra" and made...
At FF, I continued the "story" element, creating a travel/vacation theme. My favourite part about this site was when I had to come up with different rubrics. I didn't want to offer two or three and instead, I wanted to tailor each rubric so that people felt they have more choice and freedom to get the review they need for their site.
I get a lot of questions at TLB asking whether or not I offer button requests. After getting so many, I thought, "well, I'll try making buttons and see where it goes". I did try making buttons in the early days of TLB but they were pretty bad (at the time I thought they were super awesome; click here and scroll to the very bottom to see some of the first buttons I made). I decided to make gift buttons for various sites to practice my technique and see if they were high-quality enough for others to use. I was surprised when I got a lot of positive feedback but the best part was seeing sites use my buttons! It made me super proud! I didn't want to offer button requests at TLB so I made a new site. The name was inspired after I saw a commercial for Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. The quote was All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. Again, like FF and TLB, I create a "story" at OE. What's unique about the site is the fact that visitors can request through a story mode, which I thought helped to make visitors feel more involved. With the opening of OE, it completed the "trilogy" and the story that runs across TLB and FF was complete.
This guide was based on my time at FF. I often get requests to review other review sites and I tend to see a lot of similar issues popping up, like not providing site owners with a detailed explanation of an issue. Like HTOGS, this guide is written in chapter format and is meant to be an in-depth look into the reviewing process. I hope that HTWGR can inspire others to open review sites and lend their knowledge to fellow site owners!
My latest project
(and hopefully my last for a long time) is AC. I was a bit nervous about opening it at first because I wasn't sure how it would work. The site community feels absolutely dead so that was one of my reasons for creating a community-driven site. After opening it, I received a lot of great comments, but still wasn't sure whether or not I should keep it up. Well, a few weeks later, I found myself posting news daily, getting a whole lot of awesome people on the staff list, and the positive feedback kept pouring in. So, AC is here to stay! Thankfully, it's not as "update" intensive as some of my other sites since this relies on outside contribution.
Wow, another site? I know, I know, I can't help it. People ask me about buttons all the time and I find that I tend to repeat myself when I'm reviewing button sites so why not write a guide? It's mostly for Photoshop 7 (sorry Gimp-users, no love for you today, unfortunately).
This site was actually supposed to be titled "How To Make Spiffy Layouts" but then I sort of wanted to leave the site more open ended so that I can add whatever tutorials I want. To, TTP was born. It includes a mini link directory for tutorials found at various sites' "Extras".
Here, you'll find a lot of my ramblings. Whether it's me talking about my latest video games (this will more often than not be the case), or discussing Arjun Appadurai's "Fear of Small Numbers", you'll find the most random topics.
Oh, yeah. If you see a topic with "Rant:" in front, then that's just me on a personal rant. If you've ever wondered what an angry turnip looks like, it's this: verbose and proper spelling/grammar-free.
Side note: You see the menu on your left? The larger the number, the more recent the blog posting.
I finally got a chance to sit down and watch this week's episode of Fringe and while the last episode delivered in all its "Fringe-ness", this one was lacking depth for the majority of the show.
WARNING: FULL SPOILERS FOR THE EPISODE BELOW.
Last episode ended with Olivia finding out that Peter's pretty much becoming an Observer, leaving things interesting for this week. When she got back to the lab with Astrid and Walter, I'm surprised she didn't spill everything. I would have been like "Oh lump, Peter's losing his hair, talking monotone, predicting the future, and being all Observer-like. Oh yeah, and he did that creepy head twitch thing!" Her revelation was done pretty much behind the scene. She shows up, Walter senses something's wrong, and then it cuts to a piece of the Observer tech in his hand. It's assumed that Olivia told the others about Peter having the tech in his head.
What's disappointing is that we don't get to see his reaction, which would have been a powerful moment to show. I mean, come on, his son has alien tech in his brain. That's big. While viewers do get to see some emotional exchange between Walter and Peter during a phone call, this was a missed opportunity that should have been explored.
This week, Olivia decides to head out by herself to continue Walter's plan. Travelling to a middle-of-no-where type junkyard, she meets a woman who claims to see "visions" (think prophet). This is a neat concept, though it's only a means to an end. This episode was all about faith and even though Etta's long gone, her character still has a huge impact on Olivia and Peter. Windmark is a great villain and he seems different than the other Observers. It's like you can imagine him sneering (but of course, Observers have no emotions, and so they wouldn't do that).
Finally, we get to see some Windmark/Peter action. The effects are really well done, especially the neat little fight scene between Peter and the Observers. Windmark, as usual, is his calm self. I love the moment he taunts Peter, telling him that he knows nothing about the tech inside him and that Windmark can alter Peter's future just as easily.
Though the majority of Olivia's storyline throughout the episode was a bit slow, the writers (and actors) really nailed the ending. I love the whole exchange between her and Peter talking about their daughter, and how they should handle things without losing their humanity in the process. What was really surprising is that Peter removed the Observer tech from his head. This is going to change a lot of things.
Will he still have the ability to manipulate futures? Will he still have some of his super-strength or teleportation abilities? Who knows. I'm thinking that perhaps removing the tech may have some negative effects in the long run (especially when Walter and Astrid are doing their tests on the Observer tech, the little device seemed to make a human brain grow at a faster rate). With only 3 or so episodes to go before it all ends, things are looking dire.
Best world premier of last night? (a.k.a. In which Turnip delves into speculation and clues)
To be honest, the vast majority of "premiers" were full-sized trailers of games we already knew about: The Last of Us, Bioshock: Infinite, Tomb Raider. It showed us more gameplay, but it wasn't exactly mind-blowing. However, one new game did stir a lot of discussion and speculation. The Phantom Pain. The trailer was not only disturbing to watch, but confusing and very strange (a fire whale eating buildings? People floating?). In last night's blog, I mentioned that I've never heard of the studio before. Well, it seems no on else has either. This mysterious new studio (Moby D Studio), apparently popped up overnight. This was a bit strange because new developers often don't have the resources (in both staff and money) to create blockbuster games like the one seen in the trailer. Off to the internets I go.
I type in "The Phantom Pain" and what do I get? Speculation that the game is actually an elaborate hoax by none other than Mr. Kojima himself. For those of you who don't know him, he's a legend that created the Metal Gear franchise. An absolute master. Here are some of the "evidence" people are saying.
Awards and winners
Some of the winners weren't surprising. Let's take a look at the following two categories:
Best Xbox 360 Game: Halo 4, Assassin's Creed III, Borderlands 2, Dishonored
Best PS3 Game : Journey, Assassin's Creed III , Borderlands 2, Dishonored
Not surprisingly, Halo 4 and Journey won their respective categories but the real issue here is the fact that we have so much overlap between two (apparently) distinct categories. It's no wonder the only exclusive game in each category won. I think they should totally revamp this system and nominees should be exclusive to their console. The experience you get these days with multi-platform games are very similar to each other, so why bother stuffing AC3 into both categories when that slot could have been filled with a PS3 or Xbox exclusive? This change might be a bit difficult since Xbox doesn't really have a lot of first-party developers so in that case, perhaps combine the two categories into one: Best Exclusive Game. In the previous VGAs, it's generally a 99% change the exclusive game that wins the category anyways.
Now, The Walking Dead winning Game of the Year was extremely surprising. It's definitely not a bad game by any means, but the "indie" game definitely won out here. It'll be interesting to see people's reactions since most of the people I know either skipped the series entirely, or have only bought the first few episodes (there are 5 "instalments").
Other than Borderlands 2 knocking out heavyweights Halo 4 and Call of Duty, all of the other categories were cut and dry. No surprises here.
Overall impression of the VGAs
Ok, let me get something off my chest. The VGAs = Video Game Awards, yes? Why in the world did they only announce the winners for 16 categories (12 categories didn't even have winners by the end of the show). Of the 16 winners announced on the show, about half of them were actually "announced". In other words, only a handful of them went to the stage and gave an acceptance speech. The rest were before commercial breaks: "Oh, this game won this award. This person won this award". Seriously, VGA? This is how you pay respect to them? When you watch the Oscars or the Grammy awards, they never do anything like: "Before we cut to the commercial, I just wanna letchu all know that this guy won Best Supporting Actor."
The VGA is hyped by the people who run it, but I find a contrast in what they want the VGAs to represent, and what it ultimately ends up being. They want the VGAs to be the pinnacle of the gaming industry in terms of awards and whatnot, but honestly, the VGAs make "award shows" like Teen Choice Awards look legit. What the VGAs actually end up being is a bunch of celebrities (who are mostly there to promote their movies. Movies?!) talking about "how games changed their lives" and how it's "a great time for the industry". I'm sorry, but if they were better actors, I'd maybe believe them for their performance. Playing half a level of Mario a decade ago doesn't make you a gamer. *is fuming once again*
What I believe should be done is handing the VGAs over to people who know about games and work in the industry (honestly, the only legitimate presenter last night was Ken Levine, and I'm thinking he put his foot down and said, "look guys, I'm not letting some actor talk about my game"). It's not so much the host that's the issue (Sam Jackson actually did a decent job, but more on that later), the issue is with the presenters. Half the actors or singers talk about games like they're reading off a cue card (oh wait, they are reading off a cue card), and the other half seem so utterly bored I wonder how much they're being paid to be there. Why not get real game celebrities? I'm talking about Cliffy B, Kojima, David Jaffe, Tim Cain, Randy Pitchford, David Gaiter and so on. I'm talking about real people that gamers will identity with.
On the other hand, why not get game journalists involved? Gamespot, IGN, Game Informer, Kotaku are all big sites that gamers flock to. These people would add a sense of legitimacy to a show that desperately needs it.
Ok, let's talk about Samuel L. Jackson. Surprisingly, he was a pretty funny host. He had the whole "hip" vibe going on (whereas last year, Zach Levi has the nerd/proud geek feeling). I laughed a couple times (because it was actually funny, not because I felt sorry for myself that I had to watch such a cringe-worthy "award" show). I really like how he "appeared" in various games, from Minecraft to Dishonored, Call of Duty to Halo 4. My favourite was when he appeared as a bird in Angry Birds Star Wars (shades of Mace Windu awesomeness!). "Those pigs stole our eggs? Our. Eggs!?
Well, another year, another VGA has come and gone. This year was marginally better than last year and while world premiers (for the most part) weren't anything mind-blowing, I liked the little cut scenes of the host in various video games and it's great to see developers go on board and put in hours to make these "extras". My rating for the 2012 VGAs is 5 out of 10. Unfortunately (again), the VGAs were more about celebrity sightings and less about the games and the industry. Maybe next year they'll pay more respect to the developers? Yeah, right!
Well, at least there's E3 to look forward to.
Ahhh! The show is starting! I have to admit the only reason I'm watching is because of the awesome exclusive game announcements (can't wait for The Last Of Us). If they didn't have that, I don't think I'd be able to withstand the attempts at humour. One of the things I'm most looking forward to as well is the new category: Game of the Decade. How are they going to choose between such awesome games? Here are the nominees if you're interested: Batman: Arkham City, BioShock, Half-Life 2, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Mass Effect 2, Portal, Red Dead Redemption, Shadow of the Colossus, Wii Sports, World of Warcraft. Okay, well, let's just say that if Wii Sports wins (meaning it beats the likes of RDR and Batman!), then it'll be a dark day for the game industry.
Let's get started (be prepared for snark and ramblings)…
First up is a preview for South Park: (but honestly don't care) but the trailer seems pretty funny. I always love RPG paradies.
First award is Best Shooter. *Come on Borderlands 2* You can totally beat Call of Duty and Halo 4... *loses hope* And it's…come on already…
BORDERLANDS 2?! OH MY GLOB! WHAT THE…ahem. BL2 just defied gravity! Whooo! Sorry, I'm kinda excited! It also won Best Multiplayer which I almost missed since it was a small text scroll at the bottom (thanks brother for catching it). Randy Pitchford is up to accept with a few of his buddies. He's smiling, as always. Congrats, BL2.
New premier coming up is a world premier…
The graphics look great. Not as jaw-dropping as Uncharted 3 or The Last of Us, but it's definitely higher tier. We have a first person view of a doctor. I'm waiting for a title card, yo. The character's left arm seems to be replaced with a hook. It's totally better than what I described it. Lots of questions pop up (Why am I here, What is happening, etc). The game is called The Phantom Pain. Looks intriguing, and it seems there will be some supernatural elements near the end with a creepy floating person in the top left corner of the frame. I'm not familiar with the studio developing it so I'll reserve my "excitedness" for now, hahaha.
Ohh, symphony (finally, something not cringe-worthy)! Starts off with a ME3 medley. Then moves to The Walking Dead's theme. Lots of game montage. Man, lots of spoilers in the video. Avert me eyes! Next is Journey (and you can definitely see, or hear, why it's nominated for a Grammy award). Next is Dishonored with a singer. Another good game. The music is very awesome, can't believe I never noticed while playing. It then moves to Assassin's Creed 3's main theme. Very epic score. Ohhh right, they're playing a montage of music from the Game of the Year categories, makes sense.
Before the commercial we're promised "two huge world premiers, including The Last of Us". Well, time to load up on my Chips Ahoy Middles!
Looks like we have The Last Of Us first. Oh never mind, not a preview, just a dude playing the guitar. Reminds me of that guy (what's his name) when he sang "Far Away" for Red Dead Redemption a few years back at the VGAs. Alrighty, now the premier of the trailer (yes!). *watchers with rapt attention* I'm not even going to talk about the trailer because I don't want to spoil it and you should check it out yourself. May 7, 2013! Finally, we have a date! Oh my goodness, this is possibly the game of 2013. And it feels like it's so close to being here (please no delays, please!).
World premier of a game by Konami. About Dracula? Okay. I guess. If that's your thing. It's interesting as the scenes shift from old/medieval to modern cities and the voiceover guy saying he'll "take revenge". Castlevania: Lord of Shadows. Meh, don't care.
Best Action/Adventure game is next. Presented by Jessica Alba? VGA, less "celebrities" who don't even know what an Atari or a Red Ring of Death is, more focus on games and developers, pwetty pwease? But that's after the commercial, which means more cookies. Surprisingly, quite a few video game commercials but no Nintendo Wii U promos yet. They're selling well enough, I suppose but some extra commercials wouldn't hurt. I know I myself didn't even know the Wii U was out. Sad, huh? I remember waiting in line for the Wii. Ahh, good memories.
World premier trailer. Looks medieval/fantasy/RPG. A dude in armour is totally scaling what looks to be a mountain/cave thing. Ohh, he finds bones of dragons! Crossing a bridge made of rope (that's like, a pre-requisite in adventure games). Can this be Dragon Age? A dragon (alive) swoops down.. It's Dark Souls 2. Did the other just come out…recently anyways? If you're a fan of the series, looks cool. Not my game though.
Best Action/Adventure. I'm hoping AC3. Darksiders 2 was underwhelming. Dishonored could be a dark horse. Sleeping Dogs? Never played that.
Winner is….Dishonored! Woot! Glad to see a fresh IP get some love. On a side note, good to see Bethesda's publishing history won't be entirely horrible!
After the commercial there's Best Independent Game. Loving the Far Cry 3 commercials during the break. I haven't picked up that game but it looks amazing. Vaas seems awesome.
Alrighty, we're back. Linkin Park plays their song from Medal of Honor. Ahh, remember when we all listened to Linkin Park, kiddies? They still have a spot in my old, jaded heart. I betcha they're going to win the Best Song award. Well, this gives me some time to browse Game Informer for any news. Be right back.
Song over, moving on. Looks like it's Best Indie Game. Fez, Journey, Dust: (didn't get subtitle), Mark of the Ninja. Journey all the way.
Winner is…Journey. No surprise. It also wins Best PS3 game (beating games like AC3 and Dishonored) and Best Original score (thanks for letting me know voiceover-dude). Apparently (I did a search) Halo 4 won Best Xbox 360 and Best Graphics, Daemon Clarke won Best Male Voice Actor for Borderlands 2 (well deserved, made the villain much more hateable). I completely missed these (were they in the scrolly thing at the bottom?). I hate how they don't show some categories because there isn't enough "time". VGAs, make time! I hate the system, but love them world premiers, ahaha. Commercial break.
This "live" reactions is fun to write. I find myself spazzing out much more, ahaha. Back from commercial. Urg, apparently ME3 won Best RPG. Not upset that ME3 won, upset I have to find out by doing a search online_ *inner turmoil*
World premier of AC3...DLC? Looks like it'll focus on Washington? Ohhh, Washington wearing a gold crown, sitting on a throne, holding a sceptre, and he has an evil look on his face D: Voiceover guy: "…one man to stop King Washington", cut to Connor. Wow, seems interesting!
Looks like a Gears of War: Judgement premier coming up (So. Excited.). Looks like it'll take place 30 days after Emergence Day. Lots of gameplay (maybe?). AND OH MAH GOODNESS! IT'S KOJIMA! HE'S HERE! He gives a spiffy wave to the camera, aww. After the break is the "Game of the Decade". Gears of War + Kojima appearance = me spazzing out more than before.
Looks like we've got a Tomb Raider world premier. Oh, never mind, just the voice actress for Lara. Alrighty, now it's the video premier. I'm super excited about this game but it's too…Uncharted-esque for me. Ohh, more symphony with the score for Tomb Raider playing alongside the trailer. Epic. Trailer shows a lot of action, Lara traversing across the island, falling from cliffs, being epic. "You can do it Lara. After all, you're a Croft. You just don't know it yet".
Nathan Drake Lara then jumps with a parachute, attacks evil guys, big explosions, bow and arrow action. Pretty neat! I'll reserve my judgement. Gears of War: Judgement, whoooo! Heh, can you tell I'm excited about GoW?
Character of the year goes to Claptrap from Borderlands 2! Yes, another win for BL2. His "acceptance" speech is quirky and totally in character. I love how he's in a tuxedo. After the break, we're promise the "Game of the Decade" award. Wait a minute, didn't they already say this before? Ah VGAs, you're as fickle as a Clefairy using Metronome (which turns into Explosion and it's your last Pokemon). Anyways, commercial time. It's 10:34 PM and I'd be getting tired if it wasn't for my stash of cookies.
Greatest video game of the decade. The winner won't be Wii Sports, I would bet my Borderlands 2 save files and my Pokemon Blue save file…
The winner is…Half-Life 2! Not surprising as it's not only a great game but it's something we need more up. Now, please. Moar. Freeman.
World premier of Halo 4: Spartan Ops. Epic trailer for an equally epic game.
Ken Levine! Yes, finally, a non-celeb (read: somebody who knows what they're talking about) talking about a game. Bioshock: Infinite! Looks like we'll be seeing a lot of gameplay including the first time players meet Elizabeth. Aww, Elizabeth is throwing books at Dewitt (who fell into her library). Cute. Wow, Elizabeth's hair is so long! It more "librarian" now and it's a pony tail, not the short bob players have seen before in other previews. She's gone through many design changes!
Elizabeth is an NPC, but she seems to be proactive in the player's experience, throwing you ammo. Wow, looks great! Wonder why Lizzie's appearance is changing so much?
10:52 PM. It feels like a lot of time has passed and yet they barely talk about the games. *yawns* As you can see, my cookie stash has run out so I'm short of energy. I tend to ramble more when I'm tired.
Commercial break over, and we're back. Looks like we have GOTY up! Finally, finally.
And the winner is…THE WALKING DEAD? Whoa! Oh my goodness, miracles do happen! It's a good game but wow, the other games were heavy hitters! The studio that made the game also wins Studio of the Year. Wow, I'm absolutely shocked! The dark, dark horse won this year!
And it's over! "Power to the players," says Sam. L. Jackson. One last band playing a song. Annnd, I don't stick around. I'm a bit annoyed. VGAs, what about the other 12 categories you didn't tell us the winners for?
Tomorrow I'll probably do a "post-VGA" blog. Maybe. For now, it's time to sleep since it's past 11 PM.
For those of you who don't know, the VGA (or Video Game Awards) is the biggest night in the game industry (9PM on Dec.7, tonight!). You get categories like Best Voice Actor, Best Action Game, Best RPG, and the ultimate prize, Game of the Year. It's like the Oscars or Grammy Awards for games, except minus the class.
And therein lies the VGA's downfall. The cringe inducing attempt at humour and making it "hip". Get ready for 2+ hours of lame jokes, lame attempts, and a lot of, well, cringe. Last year, Zach Levi hosted the VGAs (he's Chuck on…"Chuck"). It was actually a much better award show because when he delivered the necessary jokes and such, it didn't felt that lame. It sort of went with how I view Chuck as a character (
mutant geeky and proud). The year before (2010), I seriously wanted to throw my remote at the screen, ahaha.
This year is special at the VGAs as the awards is celebrating its 10th anniversary (of cheesy jokes and whatnot). It's going to be interesting and they're hyping it up by saying hosts from the past will be "brought back" and whatnot. I'm just worried that the organizers of the show are forgetting one thing: we're not here to celebrate your show, we're here to celebrate the games and the developers who spend 14-hour days making them. Rant done (for now).
While waiting for the VGAs to start, here are some of my ramblings.
Last year, Skyrim won the coveted prize of Game of the Year, something that probably didn't surprise a lot of people, but it still begs the question: do games that are full of glitches and bugs deserve to be GOTY? Is the title of GOTY reserved for games that deliver the most impact, regardless of final polish? As any PS3 gamer worth his or her salt, they can tell you that in its early days (and possibly still is), Skyrim was full of horrible game-breaking issues. In fact, it's been over a year and Bethesda hasn't published any DLC for PS3.
This year, the following games are in the GOTY category: Assassin's Creed III, Dishonored, Journey, Mass Effect 3, The Walking Dead: The Game. While some were obvious contenders, there are some surprising nominations here.
Assassin's Creed 3 Let's be honest and say we all knew this was going to happen. AC3 pretty much swept the major categories with Best Graphics, Best Xbox Game, Best PS3 Game, Best Action/Adventure Game, and Character of the Year (Connor). AC3 felt like an entirely new game, especially given the fact that naval combat was added and players finally saw Desmond's storyline move forward. Chances of AC3 winning GOTY? High.
Dishonored This game is a bit of a dark horse but I wouldn't be surprised if it clinched the GOTY title tonight. The gameplay is innovative and the combat is super crisp. Bethesda-published games never really get high reviews (Brink? Hunted: Demon's Forge?), so it was a nice surprise to see this game score so well with critics. Was the experience as memorable as AC3? Ultimately, no. To me, the ending in AC3 produced discussions and a longing for more. The ending in Dishonored, well, let's just say the rest of the game was nice. Changes of Dishonoured winning GOTY? Low.
Journey Now this is a surprise. Journey was a PS3, PSN exclusive, meaning that very few people will have played it. Does Journey belong to this list? Yes. It's a simple enough game and when compared to heavy-hitting, AAA games like AC3, it seems strange to compare the two. However, Journey is all about the journey. As anyone who's played the game will tell you, a lot is done with less. The game is emotional without trying to be. Changes of winning GOTY? Right now, I'm thinking borderline. I think I'd be more surprised if it does win.
Mass Effect 3 Hey, if Skyrim can win GOTY despite its massive game-breaking glitches and bugs, ME3 can win despite the public backlash of its endings. As a huge ME3 fan, I'm one of the few that are like "meh" when it comes to the ending. Sure, I wish the develops actually put more thought into it, but what sticks with me the most is the entirety of the game series, rather than 5 minutes at the end. Changes of winning GOTY? Mid to high. Since the 25 people voting on the winner consists of journalists at various publications, then ME3's chances are better than people would give it. Keep in mind that critics rated the game extremely favourably while it's the fans that are hoping for cheese with their whine.
The Walking Dead: The Game Very surprising. Let me say this again, very, very surprising nomination. TWD series is an excellent example of a licensed franchise actually hitting the high notes as a game, but I don't see it being the top dog in this group. TWD game was also released in "episodes" (5 episodes spread out over the year), so I'm not sure if this helps or hinders the game's chances of winning. Chances of winning GOTY? Low.
There weren't any Nintendo-published games, but that's no surprise. This was hardly a good year for them and the Wii U launch titles were less than stellar. Some surprising omissions include Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Halo 4. Both of these games were massive and scored excellently with critics and gamers alike.
*sigh and deep breath for good measure* I don't often go on rants, but I desperately need to vent. This issue is really frustrating especially in the site community where it happens the most. It's something that is so easily avoidable, but people do it anyways (quite like taking an arrow to the knee but knowing you could have dived out of the way).
First off, please don't take this out of anger. Ok, I'm a little bit angry, I'm not angry with you, just disappointed with how people refuse to want to learn. This is the quote I want you to keep in mind throughout the blog:
So, this whole issue came to a boiling point when I just spotted a new layout request site that basically ripped a whole lot of coding from one of the semi-custom designs (I'm a bit concerned that it was a layout request site). It was a bit of a laugh at first since it was such an easy spot. I saw the navigation CSS and instantly knew something was up. Honestly, I have no issue with people wanting to use the coding. It's taking it and saying they came up with it when all they've done is changed the colour - that's a bit frustrating and I know of site owners that would agree.
When confronted, the site owner had this to say:
Side note: this was sent 9/12/2012 04:39pm. It is now 8:15 AM, the next day.
Feeling lazy is not an excuse and does not mean a person gets the right to steal. A site owner can't simply say "I don't feel like putting in effort, so I'm going to steal from someone else who has put in the effort." I've (unfortunately) had to deal with this issue before at Frequent Flyer, when the site owner who stole one of my reviews said that they "didn't know what to write" so they copied paragraphs from me. This sort of behaviour is a bit odd, seeing as how being a site owner is super difficult and requires a lot of dedication. I think that's part of the illusions of sites. New site owners create a site, but a very large handful of them don't (or won't) understand that amount of effort required.
What concerns me the most is that it was a layout request site that did the stealing. I'm feeling a bit worried for anyone who requests there because:
A) The site owner knows that I'm keeping an eye out on his site. He's going to cover his tracks even more (in other words, he's not going to bother to learn how to code, but how to steal more efficiently)
B) The people requesting will receive a layout that isn't properly coded. If the site owner doesn't know how to code, then I'm really concerned that this is going to funnel its way to the requesters.
If you're currently saying, "but it's just a piece of coding? No need to get angry!" remember, I'm not angry. It's not like I'm going to start chucking Meepits at them from a safe distance. Besides, Meepits are expensive and that's just a waste of money! I'd much rather chuck something cheap, like Rainbow Dung (except for the fact that I collect Rainbow Dung and wouldn't part with it for all of Neopia). What I really am is disappointed that people aren't willing to learn how to code themselves and frustrated that this laziness seemingly entitles them to copy and paste coding from other people.
Side note: I get a lot of questions asking whether or not people can use the coding on the semi-custom layout page. First off, thank you. Thanks for taking the time to write a neomail asking that. I really appreciate it! If you're going to use the layout image and add in your own images in place of the original, then no, the coding is there for people who request. If you want to use small amounts of the coding (like link styles and headers), then sure, go ahead! Just send me a neomail and we'll work something out.
I don't get bothered when people use coding, it's just those small handful of people who think
changing the colour of one thing qualifies it as "I came up with it, me, me, me. I edited it, therefore
aliens I originally came up with the entire thing". Unfortunately,
it's also these people that make site owning a dismal reality. There are some days when I'm just hovering over the delete button and thinking "If I delete my sites, then these people wouldn't be able to take advantage of my being here". Thankfully, I quickly come to my senses when I realize that I still have a lot of work that needs to be done, requests that need to be fulfilled, so I can't give up now!
Because of this site owner's actions, I've (again, the word "unfortunately" comes to mind) had to re-work the semi-custom layout system. Yes, it's going to make requesting much more cumbersome and less convenient. But what can I do? I think the reason why that particular coding was stolen was because previously, I had the coding "out in the open" in textareas where people can just grab and go. I think if it was a different scenario (like the site owner had to right-click, choose View Source), then it might lessen the chance of theft simply because the coding wouldn't be as easily accessible.
My advice to all site owners: learn how to fish. In other words, learn how to code, teach yourself. Don't rely on person A, site B, and neoboard C. Rely on yourself! What I find with new site owners is that when they ask questions, they are given the coding, but they don't go beyond that. In other words, they're content with taking the fish, but not wanting to learn how to fish.
I admit that I'm guilty of this since I sometimes will edit someone's coding without asking that they actually figure it out for themselves. I suppose I don't want to come off as an unhelpful person, but I'm really beginning to doubt myself. Wouldn't advising them to learn on their own be helpful to them in the long run?
The moment I wanted to open up a site, I knew I had to teach myself how to code. I didn't want to rely on other people because A) I wanted my site (and myself) to be self-sufficient and B) I didn't want to annoy people with endless neomails. First, it's perfectly fine to look at someone's coding to see what aspects of their code does what. You can totally "View Source" this page if you want! The idea is not to copy anything, but instead, take a look at the different elements of the coding. Have their site open in one window on the right, their source coding in another window on the left. Start from the very top of the coding and work your way down. If there's something you don't understand, stop. Go online_ and search for it: "what does (insert coding here) do?"
At the very least, site owners should learn how to manipulate divs, create anchored links, create additional classes for links, and spiffy headers. These are fundamental.
To test your knowledge of coding, you can to go through a person's coding and try to understand why they coded it a certain way: Why did that person have a "class" for their links? Why did they use additional divs here? What makes the indent at the beginning of each paragraph? Look, and actively take in what you're looking at. Is the padding they've used for the headers functional or stylistic?
The CSS/HTML guides on Neopets is a start, but it's far from being in-depth. They provide you with the codes necessary to achieve an effect, but it's not enough to say how to add margins to an image, but to know why you should need it in the first place.
An excellent resource is Codeacademy, a very intuitive and easy to use tutorial. They have a whole stream that teaches you web fundamentals, like tables, divs, CSS, and the like. What I really like about that site is that it teaches you the what, why's, and how's, but it also lets you test out what you've learned. Once you successfully finish a certain part of the tutorial, you move on to the next.
So, flashback to younger days (yeesh, I feel old sometimes). After looking at the coding for various sites, I went online and searched for every piece of information possible. Start small. I searched for things like "CSS guide" and "HTML tutorial". As I learned the basics (how to bold, how to create a div, how to make a table, etc), I eventually typed in much more specific things: What is the difference between absolute positioning and fixed positioning on a div? How do I align a specific part of the text while centering the rest of the page? How do I create a background that has a fixed x-axis? How do I change the position of a div within a page?
Whenever I learned a new piece of coding, I would go to my petpage and experiment (which was both exasperating and fun). Sometimes, I would figure out things on my own. Tables can have borders, but what happens if I added border:1px; to my header styles? Awesome. Now, how do I make that border in a different colour? After experimenting for a while, if I couldn't find a solution I would search online and see how I can enhance my basic knowledge.
After learning the basics, I fine tuned the process by figuring out what I needed to learn if I would be a site owner. I knew that I wanted to have an anchored layout. However, the coding process seemed so complex! Especially when you're just starting out, the concept of a div in another div is just…mind boggling! It was definitely frustrating to code a layout and not have it work, but you know what? Just keep experimenting. Keep pulling out as many tutorials as you need and learn why you didn't succeed the first time.
The common downfall of many new site owners is that they expect success right from the get go. They're not willing to step back, sit down, and process.
Yeah, you can ask people for help. I'm not saying you can't. I'm just saying that when you do ask for help, you also ask them why your coding had an issue in the first place (I.e. learn from your mistakes, learn why they were mistakes). Ask "what was I doing wrong before?" or "why did my previous coding not work?"
I remember back in the day when every time I had to code a new layout, I always opened up my Notepad which had a list of coding that I tend to use. Things like header styles, link styles, and divs were on that page. Now I can code a layout from scratch because I got so used to it.
I'm not saying you're going to be an expert coder in 2 hours (it took me a week to really grasp the idea of anchors and how to manipulate that coding to my advantage), but you're not going to learn by copying and pasting someone else's coding. Doing that takes less time of course, but in the long run it's not going to pay off.
Well, that's my rant. I told you it'd be verbose! What I fear is that people who have no problem with stealing will have no inclination to learn (and people who are unwilling to learn will not have finished reading to the end of this blog anyways since they probably think they did nothing wrong). Unfortunately, it's a sad reality, but it's true nonetheless.
P.S. I find that the best site owners are the ones that are self-sufficient and know how to code. They're much more reliant on their own skills and therefore, their sites are much better because of it.
P.P.S. It was actually two sites that took coding without crediting, but one site owner simply forgot to credit. That's completely fine and I have no issue with that. I forget things all the time as well. It's the one that uses being "lazy" as an excuse that bothers me. It's evident that they have no respect for other people's work.
If you're a gamer and you keep up with the news in the industry, then you know things aren't going well for a developer named THQ. The company's history has been rough, but this was more apparent in the last few years. Just to throw off a bunch of facts, in 2011 Thesixthaxis reports that after Homefront was released, THQ had a 26% drop in stocks. Man, brutal.
Homefront wasn't a bad game. Yeah, it's clunky and graphics weren't that great, but the storyline was very interesting (I generally love "alternate" universe type games, like the Resistance series).
Eurogame later reports that THQ will scrap the Red Faction franchise, which delivered another blow to their gaming line-up. Honestly, if you wiki THQ and look at the 2012-present section, it's all bad news.
Let's shift gears for a bit and talk about the Humble Indie Bundle. This is when a group of games are distributed for a "what you can pay" price. You can pay $1 for the bunch, or $1000. It's up to you. I purchased Humble Indie Bundle V, which included Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Limbo (excellent game, just stunning art!), Psychonauts, Superbrothers: Swords and Sworcery EP. If you paid above the average payer, you also get Bastion, which I did. I also received their soundtracks with them. I paid about $15 for the bunch, an excellent deal.
The money goes to the site hosting the event, the charities, and the developers (it's really neat because there are bars which you can adjust. Do you want to donate more to charities and less to developers? All to developers? Move the bars).
Now, how does THQ fit in? Well, in November they announced Humble THQ Bundle, a group of THQ-developed games. The list included games like Metro 2033, Red Factor: Armageddon, Darksiders (the first game), and a trio of Company of Heroes. Their respective soundtracks were also included.
Whenever I hear news of a Humble Bundle, I get really excited because I can pad up my Steam library with some more great games for a great price. However, I was a bit saddened to hear that THQ had a "bundle" because it makes it so much more obvious that the situation their in is that bad. Earlier in the year, they already cut well over 200 jobs, and honestly, it's only a matter of time because THQ ceases to exist.
A few weeks later, another game was added to the roster such as Titan Quest and it became every more obvious that THQ isn't seeing the support they need. Yesterday, they added Warhammer 40,000 to the game pack as well. At the time of writing this blog, 780,547 bundles were sold, and about $4,418,800 have been raised (it's taken them over 2 months to raise $4 mill, while most "indie" game packages raise that much in a week. I think that is also an indicator that their games aren't drawing crowds). The average purchase is $5.66 a person. A bit low in my opinion and I really do feel bad for THQ. I think they were hoping for a bit more than that (they probably won't even get that since it depends on how people divide their contribution). The games cost well over $200 if you purchased them separately. Game soundtracks are super hard to come by as well so that alone is worth more than $6.
After browsing some gaming sites and reading the forums, a lot of gamers are intending to donate all (or the majority) of their purchase to THQ, if only to try to help them out. I know that I'll be donating the majority of my purchase to them as well. I have no illusions that it's going to do a lot. They're practically sitting in the coffin, it's just a matter of what delivers the final nail (if Metro: Last Light or the majority of their 2013 games don't sell well or get high reviews, they're done). They recently sold one of their franchises to EA (that's akin to selling your soul; yeah, I hate EA with a passion). I think THQ's plan is to sell off their IPs and hope for the best (or at least one of their studios might be sold to recover some costs).
The bundle promotion ends later today so I'm going to go soon and purchase my own bundle. My PC can't handle the graphics or the games so I probably won't be able to play them for a long time (at least until I upgrade my graphics card and such), but at least it's something.
The game industry (moreso than the movie or music industry) is super fickle. One bad game and your company can literally be shut down and hundreds of jobs lost (ex. see 38 Studios. The story is a bit more complex than "one bad game", but they put all of their money and hope in that one game). Insomniac, even with their excellent game history, isn't immune as Resistance 3's sales were abysmal at best.
Man, sorry for writing such a depressing and serious blog (I know we don't need any more of those especially with yesterday's).
P.S. On a lighter note, thanks to the kind folks who sent me a neomail about the coding theft issue. I know it's something a lot of people have to deal with (unfortunately), but it was great to hear your support.
P.P.S. I have to give a shout-out to the awesome staff at Jellyneo, specifically the people working in the Item DB section. I submitted a question and they answered very promptly so expect my stamp collection section to be fully filled out either later today or tomorrow.
P.P.P.S. Tomorrow, I'll totally turn my THQ frown upside-down. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to be happy.
Sometimes, I find buying gifts to be hard. I never know what to get some people! Okay, so some people are super easy. For my brother, I just get him games (most of the time he knows what games he's getting, ahaha). I almost never know what to get my dad though. My mom says he needs a pair of house slippers so I'm faced with choose the old-man varieties or ones that have bunny faces on them. :)
I always plan to finish my holiday shopping by the end of the first week of December (totally failing that this year).
What's the craziest present I've ever received on here? This from one of my friends (who has long since quit Neopets):
My all-time favourite petpet. Of course back in the day Bat Boy wasn't as expensive as he is now. It was only around 600,000 NP when she bought it. But it's an item I absolutely treasure!
I'm not much of a "Neopet gifter" since I tend to find people resell the gift anyways, ahaha. The only relatively "holiday" thing I've done is unload my entire bank account and SDB to the Money Tree on Christmas. That was a long time ago when I decided I wanted a break from Neopets. It was only about 750, 000 NP, but I had collected over 50 codestones (I keep finding them!) and other rare items. When the tree got flooded with codestones, I actually got a few neomails saying "uh...did you meant to do that?"
And because I love the stock market…
The HUW stocks jumped up to 58 today so I sold another batch (bought for 15,000 NP, sold for 58,000 NP). I think I'll leave 1000 shares in my portfolio and see whether or not it'll get any higher (HUW's history is quite good so I'm thinking it could push 65-70 range before it drops again.
COFL's currently at 15 but I'm not even going to bother with that. The last time I invested money, it took a long time for me to see any results with it. Today's invest is 1000 shares in PDSS. I don't usually invest in this stock either but it was the only other "15" of the day.
Meanwhile. SHRX is currently trading at 7. 7?! Here's hoping that it'll rise. I have about 20,000 shares (spent about 300,000 NP). I hope EEEEE drops to 15 so I purchase shares again. This stock takes forever to rise but when it does, it hit's the 80 range (as I remember from the last time I bulked up).
My sites are super important to me so the thought of leaving them behind is so weird. I've spent so much time on them and put in a lot of effort so it'll be hard to walk away (for the most part anyways). Still, that day's coming, and unfortunately, possibly soon.
I told myself that I would write guides "in place" of my sites (so ABC was written for OE, etc) so that something useable would be left behind. Nothing is set in stone, but here are my plans (maybe, possibly, hopefully, maybe not):
The Lunch Box
This will probably be my first site to "close". Of course, I could never just delete everything and put up a "sorry, closed" sign (though if I experience any more theft, I will probably do just that). It seems like a true waste when all of the content you work hard on is deleted with a push of a button, but I'm still undecided. I think TLB will come to a "close" somewhere after the summer (2013).
Anyways, yeah, TLB will probably be the first to no longer get updated. I think I've come to a point where I can say that I'm happy with the quality of the content and even happier with the amount of options I have at the site. The only thing I would delete straight away are the premade layouts and the semi-custom request layouts (basically anything that has layout coding). I have enough problems with people stealing my coding as it is, so leaving them there seems to be too inviting.
Another site I adore, but for completely different reasons. Thanks to people requesting reviews, I've been introduced to some amazing sites throughout the years. For FF, I'd probably keep the site up anyways since I'm a true believer that even if it's not a review for your own site, reading a review is still beneficial in learning something.
Before I close FF (I use the word "close" to mean "never update again", not "I'm tearing everything down and leaving a blank page"), I think I'll try to post every review I've written somewhere. It's really interesting to see how my reviewing style has adapted and changed over the years.
FF is actually one of the few sites I own that I could keep up with since I wouldn't have to rely on anything like Photoshop or GIMP.
To be honest, I love making buttons but I don't think I have the same emotional attachment with OE like I do with TLB and FF. While TLB and FF was started because of my own personal interests, OE was started due to visitor demand (mostly, anyways). I'd probably close down the site around the same time as TLB, if not a bit later. I'm undecided whether or not to keep the content up.
This is a site that I think needs to be up, whether it's run by me or someone else (though I'm not sure if I can find anyone who would be willing to update every day, because that's what I'd need). The site community is, at best, disjointed. I think AC serves a much bigger purpose than simply "reporting news". It's a resource by site owners, for site owners, for visitors, for everyone. Because AC is so low-key and doesn't require major updating, this may be a site I continue with.
How To Write Great Reviews, How To Offer Great Service, A Button Collection
These will obviously remain up, though for how long the content remains useful, I don't know. Somewhere along the lines, there will be new techniques, new TNT-imposed filters that take the "usefulness" out, but for now, I'm planning on keeping them up.
P.S. The animation for today's Advent Calendar is awesome. I love my Techo Super Fan! :D
Yes, reviews are basically a list of opinions. You will occasionally get the rare "fact" statement ("fact" statements where what is said can be answered with a yes/no question. For instance, does your site have linked borders? Yes. The fact is you do or do not have linked borders. Examples of something that is not a fact statement include "are your buttons high-quality" because different people will have different opinions).
You might be asking that since the concept of "originality" is an opinion, it should be included in a rubric. Besides, the overwhelming majority of a review is opinion-based. Well, you're right, a review is based on a reviewer's opinion, except that doesn't mean we should throw any opinionated topic into a review because then what reviewers write becomes more of an opinion piece, rather than constructive criticism. The concept of originality (and "creativity") is a bit too subjective and restrictive. It takes too much of the reviewer's personal feelings and preferences into account and it's not focussed on the site they're reviewing or the content they're reviewing.
Let's look at the Merriam-Webster's definition for the word "originality":
1: the quality or state of being original
2: freshness of aspect, design, or style
3: the power of independent thought or constructive imagination
First, I'm not disputing the fact that originality doesn't exist in the site community. It does. There have been many times (though less so nowadays) that I've come across a site and think, "wow, this site's pretty original and fresh". What I'm arguing here is that to include a highly prejudiced method of personal assessment in a review rubric is a mistake.
What I've often come to notice at novice review sites is this need to include "originality" (or "creativity") as a scored part of a rubric. While I have nothing against review statements that mention originality, having originality scored is, in my opinion, highly unfair and extremely subjective. I know that if I were requesting a review, I would not be comfortable with this as a scored category (I would probably ask in my form that the reviewer remove this from my review).
As reviewers, there needs to be a line drawn between critiquing someone's content based on quality and critiquing their content based on whether or not it's "original". In terms of quality, a site owner can fix it. You can suggest that they sharpen their images so that their banners won't be so blurry. You can advise them to improve their cropping technique so that their images have a clearer focal point. You can't really advise them on originality as it's something that the site owners themselves possess. For example, if you say "make your icons more original" in your review, what message does this send across to the site owner?
Rika (who owned the popular review site, The Teahouse) is a site owner that I deeply respect. In a neomail, she articulated the issue very nicely (quoted with permission below):
I mean, everyone has different ways of expressing their creativity, and naturally what they may think as creative may seem not as much to another person. I think it's far too much of a personal thing to assess on. I think mere advice or suggestions would probably be better; I mean, if every reviewer started to assess on creativity and asked them to "do this" or "do that", theoretically, we as reviewers are pretty much telling people how to run their sites and that's when people will lose respect for us. There should be a line between helping and dictating.
A lot of the times, the "originality" category is never explained in a way that I find satisfactory or fair to site owners. It's all about comparing one site with everyone else. Again, as reviewers, we shouldn't be comparing sites to determine a score. It's perfectly fine to give examples as long as they are just that: examples. The concept of originality demands that a reviewer compare and contrast your site with others, in order to see where your site "stacks up" in the scale of originality. This is not what the site owner getting reviewed wants. They wanted a review that would help their site improve.
How far does the concept of "originality" go? Take my own site, The Lunch Box. While aspects of it could once be argued as "original", that time has since past. One of the unique things I created, like mini-updates for the rankings, have been borrowed by others so the concept itself isn't exactly original anymore. It's original to a specific site, but to give one site extra marks because they borrowed the concept seems unfair, as if to suggest that all sites should follow suit.
Here are a few more examples. TLB also offers Neopet icons, but so does every other graphic site out there. There's nothing inherently original in having Neopet icons at a site. When you go into the realm of discussing "style" and how a site owner designs, then you shouldn't be writing the "originality" category. You should be moving to the "quality of content" category instead.
Another example would be button borders that I created for Open Eyes. At one point, they were completely unique to my site. A while later, other button sites started to borrow it as well. Now, to deduct marks from a site because they haven't create "original" borders is completely unfair (off the top of my head, I can only think of two current sites that offer some fully "original" borders. Two). Instead, why not suggest? Advise them that creating original borders will make their site stand out from the crowd, but don't actually deduct marks because why should a site be penalized for something that isn't there? If there's an issue (like a linked border or spelling errors), then it's visibly something that needs to be fixed.
Another thing that Rika suggested during our neomails was this:
…I think creativity in a site is something that should be discussed between reviewer and reviewee (bouncing ideas off each other, talking about what may work or not), rather than reviewers telling people what they personally think is creative and that's that.
There is not nearly enough discussion between the reviewer and the other site owner. It has always been "request review, write review, read review" and done. To discuss the issue of originality and creativity in private neomails is not only a fantastic idea, but something I hope more site owners take advantage of. Talk to your reviewer, ask them questions.
Let me get this out of the way: you can address "originality" and "creativity" in your review. I'm not saying you can't. All I'm saying is that including it as a scored category is unfair and unhelpful. In my own reviews, I've said things like "your method of doing this and that was very original. Great job!", but it never had any impact on the score.
To finish off this blog, here's an excellent passage from an article (I think it's absolutely brilliant):
When we are speaking about something as new, it is useful to ask ourselves for whom precisely it is new.
Subjective novelty is the apperception of something as being new by an individual person or a group of persons; objective novelty is something that is new for all humanity in its development through ages. It is unlikely, however, that even the most knowing and knowledgeable person boldly say that he knows everything that was before and take liberty to judge things from this standpoint.
Hence, it follows that we never can be fully confident that something is objectively new; thus, any forms of novelty are subjective or at least intersubjective, that is relative and probabilistic.
- "Novelty and originality" by Eugene Gorny (2007)
I was honestly stunned by the stats. Over 40 items stolen/misused (most likely the number is higher)! While I'm glad to see a (small) handful of them are frozen, it still begs the question of why people put so much thought into trying to steal something that they didn't come up with or why they work so hard to remove a watermark on a piece of artwork. Wouldn't it be more productive to use that time to try to create or improve upon their own artwork? Wouldn't it be much nicer (and more respectful) to give credit where it's due?
If you're a site owner and you've never experienced theft, then you're extremely lucky and fortunate. However, if you're a site owner that has had their work stolen, then you know how frustrating it can be to see some immature user flaunt your work and call it their own.
Why do people steal things that aren't there? Yes, you can probably answer this with psychology, too many nightmares about Meepits, and not being loved as a child or whatever, but really. I hate to see these things happen to an amazing site like AotC because this is one site owner should not have to deal with silly people. I mean, come on! Why would you want to steal from someone like Maryann? She's one of the nicest people I've met on Neopets and is amazingly talented as well!
I remember one time (I believe it was a post-review question) I asked a site owner why they didn't have a credit section on their site (it wasn't on their sitely page, extras, it just wasn't anywhere). Their answer? It didn't look good on the site and it made their petpage look "messy".
*sings Finn baby song out loud to calm down*
*sigh* I know. That was an actual answer in a neomail they wrote. They didn't like the look of it on their page. Fellow site owners may shake their heads but remember that this was said by a site owner, which is cause for concern.
AotC went into hiatus because of the numerous thefts and I hate seeing that happen to a high-quality site. As site owners, it's so frustrating because here we are putting hours into a site that offers free things, but there are handfuls (in AotC's case, a very very large handful) of people who don't respect the rules and the site owner.
There will always be people who steal or not give credit where it's due. As long as you're a site owner (and particularly if your site is high-quality), you may experience some form of theft during your time owning the site. It can range from people stealing directly and calling your content "their own", taking your content and "changing" it a bit, or not giving credit for something that obviously inspired them from your site (like content or other original aspects).
Unfortunately, this issue is never going to cease to exist.
In other news...
I coded my very first layout for a link directory today. It actually wasn't that hard because I knew beforehand what I wanted: large content area, fixed navigation. I originally went with a fixed top navigation with all the links but then there wasn't enough horizontal space (the list of links went on two lines and that just looked messy).
I tried putting the main site links in a fixed div at the top with the directory links in a fixed div on the bottom. It didn't look as messy as I thought, but again, same issue: there were too many links and it ended up becoming two lines. Well, I eventually just put the navigation on the side, but had to make the content area's width about 200 pixels smaller.
Hmm, didn't receive any review requests so I may open up fully custom requests or button requests early...
Dragon Age 3
Please, please, please be better than Dragon Age 2 which was a complete and total mess. I loved Dragon Age: Origins but the sequel didn't keep any of the things that made DA:O great. DA2 had horrible graphics, forgettable characters (or they botched previous characters, like Anders), major plot holes, lack of customization, ridiculously poor game play, and one story ending. Compared to other RPGs like The Witcher 2, DA2 is an absolute joke.
I also didn't like how the developers are trying to create a single "canon" version (this wasn't done in Mass Effect series). For example, Leliana is a permanent part of the story now, even if certain events in DA:O was chosen.
Could DA3 be better than DA2? Well, it certainly can't get worse. DA3 is using the Frostbite engine so that already gets me excited that the graphics will look way better (ugh, textures in DA2 were pretty much nonexistent). The development is taking much longer (I think DA2 had about a year to be made. Even the composer said he was rushed by the team) and the team said DA3 should come out around 2014, possibly for the next-gen consoles.
Mass Effect (4)
Casey Hudson already announced a new Mass Effect but the question is whether it'll be a prequal, a direct continuation of the Mass Effect trilogy, or a completely different story set in the same universe. I only have one wish: please, no prequel! I think what fans want the most is to see the result of their choices from Mass Effect 3 (specifically the three different endings). I'm thinking that if they do a prequel, it'll be about the First Contact War between humans and turians (a.k.a. the "I already know what happens" story).
If porting decisions from the Mass Effect trilogy is too difficult, setting the new game in the same universe is an option because then the writers wouldn't be restricted with Shepard's story. Maybe it could even take place a hundred years after the original trilogy (sort of like how Skyrim is set way after Oblivion).
One thing I would love is a Mass Effect game similar to Dragon Age: Origins where you can customize your character as human, asari, turian, etc (in DA:O for instance, you could start off as human, elf, dwarf).
Gears of War: Judgement
Speaking of prequels, here's one for the GoW franchise. The reason why I'm excited about this prequel is that it doesn't focus on Marcus Fenix, but rather another character. While players already know about E-Day in the game, it'll be interesting to actually play through it.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
It's Mr. Hideo Kojima. That's why you should be excited.
From the depths of the ocean to the skies, Bioshock is going in a totally different direction. Bioshock games are known for their intricate environment and plotline, so this one should be no different. What really drew my attention was the bright colours that really "pop" out at you. While the first Bioshock games weren't exactly monochrome in colour, it just wasn't as vibrant. I also love the main character's name: Booker Dewitt. So catchy!
The Last of Us
From the developers of the Uncharted series, this game was on my "to pre-order" list the moment I found out about it. It's definitely grittier and way more darker than Uncharted, but based on the trailers it keeps the same emphasis on story, visuals, and character development. PS3 has the best exclusive games and if The Last of Us performs well, it'll be a boost for the console.
Beyond: Two Souls
Ellen Page is in this game! When the trailer first debut at E3 this year, my jaw was literally on the ground. The visuals are nothing short of amazing. It's from the same developer that made Heavy Rain, so expect excellent graphics and an emotional story.
It's made by Insomniac (creators of the Resistance franchise among others) so the game play will be top notch. I'm not pleased with the art change (the "pixar" art style was much more creative) and I'm certain that EA had something to do with it. Anyways, I really like the idea of a co-op game similar to Borderlands. Each character has a different skill and such.
Developed by Ubisoft Montreal (Assassin's Creed franchise), this is an open world game that makes me excited. The game play looks absolutely awesome. I've probably spent an hour just re-watching the 10 minute demo.
Star Wars 1313
When you tell me that this game will be more gritty and dark compared to other Star Wars stuff, I'm in. When you tell me game play will not revolve around the Force or lightsabers, I'm stepping back, but then you show me the trailer, and I'm back in again.
The trailer was super cool but afterwards all of the news just sort of vanished. I haven't heard anything about this game in months which makes me worried it'll never get made.
Infamous 2 had two completely different endings depending on the "good" or "evil" path and it would be near impossible to combine the two to start one single storyline for Infamous 3. It could be interesting if the game was focussed around another conduit (I.e. person with superpowers), but the main character from Infamous 1 and 2 is so iconic.
While Resistance 3 did an excellent job of tying off Joe Capelli's storyline, it did nothing for the series' plot. In the case of Resistance, focussing on another character would work because there's already been one character change (and the characters themselves aren't very memorable to begin with).
A sequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Moar Adam Jensen, please! Eidos Montreal did an excellent job rebooting the franchise and we want more.
Overall, I wanted to keep it simple. Hehehe, does the right side of the image look too strange? I had to "repeat" the bookshelf because I didn't want any of the people to get covered by the content area. It's much more compact than my usual huge layouts, hehehe.
Finally got around to adding some more cards to my Neodeck. I only bought about 10 but that's a start, haha.
So, how's your "end of the world" day? Mine's going swimmingly so far. Woke up around 10:30 AM to find out the world wasn't burning and it wasn't overrun with zombies. As far as the apocalypse goes, this one's tame *cough* Awesome.
Well, I'm working on a new "extra" either for Frequent Flyer or How To Write Great Reviews. Today's pretty…quiet. I closed requests yesterday at Open Eyes so no buttons to make now. I may open up banner/icon requests at TLB, but chances are I'll get requests on the weekend rather than for today.
Oh yeah, still have to get my dad his Christmas gift *is running out of time*
So what are your plans for the holidays? Me? I'ma stuff myself silly with cake, sip come cappuccino, and take a break from my sites until January. Well, not AC, anyways. I'll keep updating that daily, ahaha.
Chances are I'll probably play The Walking Dead and break down in tears again:
So, I was discussing site making pet peeves with a friend when it turned into a conversation (and then list) of general annoyances, ranging from minor to rage quit. What are some of your pet peeves?
- When button request sites don't link to the site the button was made for. Sometimes I visit button sites just so I can click on the buttons and go to other places (seriously, button sites are like mini-link directories). It's super fun just browsing around and getting introduced to new petpages but alas, less button request sites are linking their buttons in the pick-up area.
- Linked. Borders. Border="0" should one of the first pieces of coding you learn.
- Ridiculously placed auto-saves. Skyrim, I'm looking at you. Rather than place your auto-saves every half hour, why not make them a bit closer? If my character wipes out, I don't want to reload the game to find out that I have to walk all the way across the country again.
- When people don't update their sites and they don't announce a break or hiatus. Use a "hiatus" graphic sign, anything to let visitors know that the site is not currently being updated or will no longer be updated. If that's too much trouble and you're feeling lazy, here's a copy and paste you can use for your updates, hahahaha.
- Walking slowly. Weird fact but whenever I'm with people who walk slow, my lower back starts to hurt. "Please," it yells out, "I beg of thee! Walk faster!"
- When reviewers go into RAGE MODE in their reviews. It gets so awkward and uncomfortable to read. If a site hasn't linked back, don't spend half the review talking about it. That's not going to make their site higher quality, ahahaha. :P
- When there's no paragraph spacing in reviews. This isn't Game of Thrones. Reviewer, you're not writing a Wall Of Text to keep the White Walkers out. I think
Westeros Neopia would be safer with paragraph spacing anyhow.
- When people neomail you but set their neomails to "friends only". I don't even…?
- People who request, don't use your requested item, and don't tell you even if you have this in your confirmation neomail: "Your request is ready and available for pick-up. If you'd rather not use your button, please let me know so I can re-use the base for something else".
- Video game fan boys. Honestly, it's so hard to discuss video games with someone who won't turn it around and say "well…Call of Duty sold more therefore it's better than (insert game here)" or "PC rulez man, like…it rulez. Consoles are for casuals". For every 100 gamers who wage console wars and engage in other game-related idiocy, there will be one person who actually can stay on the intelligent side and provide a lot of unique insight.
- Drivers who don't understand that when the "walking" light is on, pedestrians can cross the street. Apparently, walking to campus every morning was more dangerous than I thought. It is dangerous to go alone…
- Mandatory university courses that take place at 7:00 PM and end at 10:00 PM. With waiting for the bus, walking home, and getting ready for bed, that puts me at around 11:00 PM, with an 8:30 AM class the next day.
- Learning that said mandatory class is now "not mandatory as of next year" (in other words, the year after you're graduating anyways).
Ah, the university system. Love to hate it :D
P.S Played the DMC demo last night (downloaded it for Xbox). It's actually pretty good! I was surprised by how enjoyable it was. The music was excellent (many times, I usually mute the sound and plug into my iPod but the music in the demo was on par to what I usually listen to anyways).
P.P.S Enjoy your holidays, folks! Stay safe!
Another year, a few more sites. I always tell myself, "Turnip, no more opening sites. No moar!" I don't listen, I never do! Goodness…this year I opened four sites. *faints*
As I look back on 2012, I find that it's filled with a lot of fond memories. Starting things off on January 1st is Open Eyes, I site I truly never thought I'd open. The amazing feedback and support I've gotten from the site community is astounding. I always love to hear visitor comments!
Next up is a guide, How To Write Great Reviews in July 6th, 2012. I really like writing them because A) I tend to be quite verbose and B) They don't require constant updating. This is one I've been meaning to write for a while because I review a lot of other review sites and there wasn't any guides for that site type.
Next up is Always Connected, opening in August 30th, 2012. I love this site. When I close my other sites, I'm pretty sure that AC is the only one I will personally continue with. I just love the idea of site owners and visitors coming together in one spot to communicate.
Last but certainly not least, A Button Collection on November 16th, 2012. This was a guide I was intending on writing only when Open Eyes closed, but I figured that day is coming quicker than I thought so I should finish a guide.
So many awesome sites opened this year and I can't wait to see what 2013 brings.
Finally, a huge shout out to all of the awesome site owners in the community. Your hard work and dedicate to your sites never go by unnoticed (at least, not by me. I'm probably stalking your site right now!). Best of luck for 2013!
In 10 days, I'll be on a train with a couple of friends to New York City! I've never been before so it should be interested. Opting to take the train instead was an…unusual choice, ahahaha. It's a 13 hour train ride! *faints* I'm packing my Playstation Vita, Nintendo DSi, and all of my games, ahahaha. That, and a lot of food since our train only has a café that serves smaller snacks like muffins and such.
I'm a bit nervous about the train ride because first, it is13 hours. What does one do for that long? We'll probably wander around the train and take in the scenery. For…13 hours…ahaha.
The real fun begins once we get there ^_^ Apparently there's this store called Nintendo World (or something like that) and it sells a bunch of Pokemon stuff. I love my Pokemans, so I'm definitely adding that to our itinerary. Museum Mile is another must-visit location since I love museums like there's no tomorrow. Then, broadway! How can you go to NYC and not take in a show or two? The tickets are expensive but it's going to be worth it.
I think taking a break from my sites will be a good thing. Lately, I've been thinking that I should be closing them early (end of winter rather than end of summer), but we'll see.
If you're interested in my sites during this vacation time, I will not be updating them from Jan 20 - 27. However, here are some additional notes:
- Open Eyes: no updates; open requests on Jan 30.
- The Lunch Box: semi-custom requests will open the week of Jan 13
- Frequent Flyer: I hope to have requests open for an extended period of time (rather than only Sunday and Monday). Hopefully all rubrics will be available until Jan 15.
Other random stuff:
- Thanks to all the lovely folks who have been sending me Rainbow Dung for my collection. I'm currently at 1795!
- Pokemon X and Y (rant. Kind of). Oh man, I sort of saw this coming but it feels like we just got Gen V. This one is interesting though since the game will be rendered in 3D (which means I have to buy a Nintendo 3DS to play it - boo!). It's definitely refreshing to see the game series go in a totally different visual direction (Pokemon Blue FTW though).
Though the Black/White starters (and their entire generation) were "meh" at best, the starters for X/Y are somewhat better. I quite like the grass and fire Poke, but the water one is just disturbingly creepy. The two legendaries (the weird Y shape flying dude) and the "oh, we're totally running out of ideas" deer were pretty dull as well. In all honesty, though I'm growing tired of the lacklustre designs, it's the names of the Pokemon that frustrates me the most. It's like they're trying to come up with names that are impossible to easily pronounce. I mean, come on, "Yveltal" and "Xerneas"? I remember when names were like Charmander, Snowlax, Ditto, and Mew. Don't mind my musings. I just miss the real Pokemon from back in the day (why did Game Freak bring in new artists? D:)
The highlight of my trip was definitely seeing The Heiress (AHHH JESSICA CHASTAIN!!!) and The Phantom of the Opera. Both were amazingly awesome! It was funny comparing the two. On one hand, The Heiress was a very low-key production, with the entire play using just the one set and a small handful of characters. On the other hand, Phantom had a ton of set changes, a very large cast, a swinging chandelier, fog, boats, and jets of fire. Yes, there were jets of awesome fire!
That's not to say I prefer one over the other, but it was great that I got to experience both of them. I guess you could say that Phantom could be considered a "blockbuster" production and The Heiress is more like an "indie" movie, ahahaha.
I'm really glad I got to see The Heiress before the production ended. The story is simple and the ending was a bit bitter and sad, but I love sad endings more than happy ones anyways :D I waited by the stage door after the performance and it was freezing! For Phantom, I was excited because Sierra Bogess was returning as Christine Daae. Her performance was just fantastic!
I also went to Nintendo World, where I bought way too many figurines. Surprisingly, they still had a handful of generation 1 Pokemon so out of the 10 I bought, 4 of them were GEN1 (Pikachu, Squirtle, Blastoise, Mew). The others were GEN2 and 3, most of the ones they offered were the uglies from the latest generation, ahahaha. I did get a Snivy since that's one of the few new Pokes I can tolerate, ahahaha.
Museums! Boy, did I go to a lot of them. My favourites were The Met and The American Museum of Natural History. Ironically enough, I didn't get a chance to finish either of them because they were soooo big! I only finished the first floor of Natural History. My least favourite of the bunch was MoMA. I suppose seeing a bunch of pencil scratches and scribbles on a white canvas just doesn't strike me as "artistic" in the same way a Greek sculpture does. Though, I do recommend MoMA if you're a fan of Van Gogh or Picasso. They had a ton of their work (though, if you're a Picasso fan, I would direct you to Guggenheim museum instead as they house more of his work).
Well, back from vacation means back to work on my sites. I still had to upload the rest of the TLB content so I'm finding that the site is more or less complete. If I add anymore, I'm sure loading times would be unbearable, ahaha. I think I'm leaning towards customs anyways (I'm still in my banner-making mood from before I left on vacation). I'm still feeling a bit woozy so I think AC will be the only site I update frequently for this week.
P.S. Something I learned: I enjoy a 13 hour train ride much more than an 8 hour plane ride. It's so much more relaxing and comfortable.
So I haven't written in a long time but now that I have nothing to do, I'll vomit everything somewhat important here (love the imagery, huh?).
I signed up to be a review mentor at Imperfect Perfection, which is both exciting and scary at the same time. I can't wait to see what sort of "activities" Jackie has planned for us. It should be interesting! At the same time, I'm worried that I'm going to regurgitate (see, there's that word again!) things I wrote for How To Write Great Reviews so it won't be helpful to the person I'm reviewing.
It's a bit interesting at the moment because I think review sites in particular are sort of in an awkward downward decline. Take a look at the review sections over at Soroptimist or Little Black Book. Now there's only a handful and of that small handful, not many are active.
Funny thing, the same thing happened earlier to competition sites. Again, check out those two link directories. Competition sites used to be its own category. Its. Own. Category! Now, there's about three I can name off the top of my head.
Why am I talking about this? I reminisce way too much. Oh right, the decline or certain site genres. Well, I hope review sites never decline to such a level that we only have one or two left to visit. In writing HTWGR, a small part of me was hoping that it inspires at least one person to say, "hey, I think I can write great reviews as well. Maybe I'll open up a site!"
Ok, I sidetracked too much there. Back to the review mentor thingy. I'm glad Jackie is hosting this at her site because hopefully it encourages new/inexperienced reviewers to team up and learn more about reviewing!
I'm addicted to Chupa Chups. So. Much. The thing is that they're hard to find so I can't buy them often (which is probably a good thing).
P.S. I should totally re-name this blog "In which Turnip starts talking about stuff and it turns into a massive flashback about the golden age", ahahaha.
P.P.S. Let me know if you're actually reading this because I only know one person who read through my earlier blogs. I'm curious whether you're a fellow site owner or a random person. In other words, let me know if you're a stalker, ahahaha.
P.P.P.S. Oh. My. Glob: (drag and drop for full view)
If it's a flying type, then my all-Eevee team is green lit.
I'll also put old stuff here, like blogs, spider webs, and lint.
What do you get when you cross Assassin's Creed with turnips? You get pure awesomeness. I can't even describe how much I love this adoptable. Ashe is super talented!
*excited squeal* I was one of the three winners at Maryann's site, Sushi Roll. I absolutely love this "breakfast" sushi, hehehe. I won the "Brave Taste Tester" category with this sushi, composed of French toast as the roll, strawberries, raspberries and kiwi as the "insides", and honey and toasted almonds as the spinkles. I love this to bits.
Oh. My. Glob. Cupcakes are awesome, but video game-themed cupcakes are even better. I requested these
two from All of the Cupcakes (possibly the best adoptables site to set foot on
Neopets). The first cupcake is the newer one, and I requested it for Borderlands 2. The second is Mass Effect.
I currently have: 1894! / Last updated: Apr.14
Theme: The clothes-free, carefree aubergine Chia
Info: I remember a time when pets didn't have to wear clothes, the aubergine Chia scoffs with disgust. Those were the days, huh? I mean, now it's all about shirts and dresses and gloves and what shoes match my eyes, mum? Walking alongside Interlinear, I get the feeling that he still has a lot of deep, unresolved issues.
The lively Chia has lived in the Negg Forest for quite some time. When asked why he moved to such a remote location, he says with a smile, to get away from clothes, that's why! The nearest clothing mall is about 50 kilometres away.
Theme: Thief for hire
My next interview is with the mysterious Roque, a thief for hire. Cast down from Faerieland after a heist gone wrong, the Hissi has learned from her mistakes. I was young and inexperienced. I trusted the wrong people and they ended up turning me in to the Faeries! I barely made it out!
Sitting in a comfortable change in Roque's secret underground lair, I watch as Roque directs dozens of thieves, sending them to exotic locations around Neopia. Oi, Benny! Make sure your team's ready to hit that museum in Mystery Island by the end of tomorrow. Listen up, Shark! You were sloppy with the last job. Your gig in Shenkuu better be solid.
Theme: Currently, none yet (lab rat)
Still need to get:
Theme: Working all day for below average page
Wiping the sweat from her brow, the Kyrii rushes around the kitchen directing orders to her staff. Be sure to stack those dishes in the cupboard, get those utensils washed. And for the love of all things Fyora, can someone please clean that trail of dirt near the sink?
It's a thankless job, but someone's gotta do it, Solidarized mutters as she grabs a bucket of water. Neopia Central's a huge tourist market, so we have to keep the stores looking spic and span.
Theme: The steampunk explorer
As one of the best cave divers in Neopia, Ectophyte has no fear of the dark or enclosed spaces. I've been exploring caves for quite some time now, the veteran says. Just last week, a research team wanted me to travel to Faerieland and take a look at the caverns. Of course, I said yes!
When asked where she got the moniker "the steampunk explorer", the Flotsam gushes with pride, showing me her gear. I'm a fish out of water - literally! These steam-powered wings allow me to traverse in places I didn't think possible. My mask (also powered by steam) lets me see in complete darkness. As for my pocket watch? Well, any steampunk enthusiast worth her salt needs a pocket watch.
Theme: The pirate detective
Still need to get:
A krawk of few words, Energid puts all of his time into solving Neopia's most mysterious mysteries. I'm a bit of a nomad, he admits. I have properties in Lost Desert, Faerieland, and Mystery Island just to name a few. Still, under that sleuth exterior lurks the heart of a pirate. He visits his hometown in Krawk Island often and is a regular patron at The Golden Dubloon.
Right now, I'm on a case. Can't say too much, it's still very hush-hush. Sorry 'bout that...
Theme: Trapped on USG Ishimura
Still need to get:
Theme: Altador Cup Super Fan
Status: Mostly finished
Still need to get:
Interstade might just be the biggest Altador Cup fan in the history of the sport. I don't just have season tickets - I have lifetime tickets! This young tuskaninny fan gushes at the fact that she has a Krawk Island jersey that was worn by Dasher Soley himself!
I haven't washed it, she says with an almost obsessive look in her eyes. It's still in its original condition with grass and sweat stains!
Theme: The frozen robot
Still need to get:
Beep, beep-beep, beep, beeoooaahhh?! Knowing beforehand that my robot-speak is a bit rust, I opted to get a translation for our interview.
I love snow. I mean, who doesn't?! The little robot Jubjub starts rolling around in it, soon becoming lost in a giant snowball. After some time, it appears that he's stuck but he soon frees himself by firing a laser through the side. Maybe I like the snow so much because I can't feel the cold? I don't know. All I know is that I'm never leaving Terror Mountain!
Theme: The spooky neighbour
Oh, so nice of you to visit. I don't get many visitors out here... The pale Mynci looks over
her shoulder and gives me a
Noticing my attention on her front "lawn", Tribranch chuckles and says, I wouldn't get too close to them. They tend to bite if they don't know who you are! I asked what she meant by "them", but again, the Mynci only gives me a small smile before continuing on.
Theme: The Rich Robot Hood
Caerlaverock, who goes by the nickname "Caer", is so mysterious no one knows his last name! My work takes me all over the world, the robot Gelert speaks in a monotone voice. Right now, I'm...needed in Shenkuu. Though he won't go into details as to why he's "needed" in this region, it's quite obvious that he's well compensated for his work.
Taking off his signature green hat, he pockets it in his jacket - which looks like it costs more than most Neopians make in a lifetime.
Theme: Artist, not starving though
Still need to get:
The artist formerly known as Castlegard, "Castle" is the name that most art enthusiasts know him by. I'm very low-key, the Yurble admits, my studio is in my own home, I don't have a lot of painting gear, just the basics.
Castle's artwork has been shown in museums all over Neopia. His fame (and accompanying fortune) has grown massively throughout the years, but he's still very down-to-earth. I still live in the same dingy house n Neopia Central. Sure, I can upgrade and move to a fancier mansion, but what's the point?
Theme: Adventurer ('cause that's totally different than explorer...how?)
Palatium, or as his friends call him, "Pal", is one of Neopia's most famous adventurer. I can't stand the fact that some people call me "explorer"! The Ruki scoffs and continues on, I mean, don't they know there's a massive, gigantic, Kreludor-sized difference between an adventurer and an explorer?
Currently visiting Mystery Island, Palatium points out the scenery. At the end of the day, I realized that he never actually told me what the difference between an adventurer and an explorer was.
Still need to get:
Or Lenny Plague Doctor (I Make House Visits)
Still need to get:
Fans call him "Regal Regnal" and for good reason. This blue Pteri always shows a lot of class at his concerts. As an established cellist, Regnal has been in the classical music scene for quite some time. I started out playing the piano, actually. However, my...lack of fingers made it nearly impossible.
Known for his unruly hair and sad demeanour, Regnal's concerts are legendary. I play the usual songs but sometimes I like to make up songs as I go. Improvise, you know? It keeps things interesting for fans who will be hearing it for the first time.
Theme: Christmas in space
Ever since he was introduced to the holiday season, Zirconyl has been celebrating every...day?! Apparently waiting a year for the next Christmas is too long for this Grundo. I like to keep my decorations up in my shuttle, he says with a smile. I serve eggnog whenever I have visitors, and I'm always on the lookout for low-priced gift wrapping!
The quirky Grundo clutches his shopping list with pride. Here's my to-do list. In January (after the holiday season), I go shopping for new Christmas ornaments. One can never be too prepared.
Theme: Clown. What, you think this is funny?
While most people thing that all clowns must have a sense of humour, Crazedness proves this isn't true. The yellow Kacheek mutters, *sigh* Is this glass truly half empty, or is it half full? Perhaps it's only perception and our experiences that decide our answer. *sigh*
After a full hour of talking to him, I find that he's more of a philosopher than a funny clown. I mean...what's the point nowadays, man? Back in the 60s, Metalstock was where it was at. Now, it's...just devoid of emotion, man.
Theme: Karate (ouch)
Still need to get:
This is one Aisha you don't want to mess with. At "Aisha's Combat League", Karma is one of the head trainers, passing on his wisdom to the younger generation. Here are my trusty nun chucks, he says happily, throwing them in my direction. It's the first pair I ever got!
When asked to comment on the "Brain vs. Brawn" challenge, the Aisha grows quiet. We put up a good fight. I'm very proud of my side. Still, there are things we could have done differently. But still, that's in the past.
Theme: Going fishing with the boys
Status: Almost finished.
Still need to get:
You know what my favourite food is? Smoked salmon. Can't get enough of it! Phenix, the yellow Lupe, pounces excitedly near the water's edge. He's brought all of his fishing gear and is ready to settle down for the next few hours. It's strange to see someone with so much energy have a passion for such a relaxed hobby.
I started fishing when I was real young, he begins. Back then, I tried to sneak away to this fishing spot whenever I could. It's where all the good salmon are.. he looks dreamily into the water, slightly drooling.
Theme: Vacation's a beach
Status: Halfway there, but not really
Still need to get:
I always forget to pack something, the green Uni mutters angrily. Supergravitated (or "Super") walks back and forth on the sandy beaches. Let's see...I forgot my suntan lotion, my face cloth, my favourite book, and oh yeah, I only packed one day's worth of clothes.
Still, his vacation will go on. Bah, I suppose I can buy those cheap t-shirts they sell in the souvenir stands, but that's like putting a giant stamp on my head: hey look guys, he's a tourist!"
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