Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Be The Seal - Or, I'm Still Wobbling


Two years ago I dreamed I was standing in an empty room looking out a great window. On the other side was the seal viewing area at the New England Aquarium. A monstrous seal the size of a trailer slowly moved into view while a thin man pulled a curtain closed and I was left alone. I was told something important: "If you can't see the seal, be the seal." This wisdom will be the guiding ethos of my future.

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Hello Wobbly Friends! I hope you're all wobbling well and I apologize for the lack of updates. Life with a baby is tough! I'm already the kind of person who has great difficulty sleeping, and a tough couple of weeks for the Small Doodle have only amplified that. Still: Rewarding.

🐌 Still hard at work on the Kaiju Big Battel game, still hoping to have it completed this year but early 2018 is looking more likely.
🐌 Twin Peaks: The Return is nearing its end and it's been a wild, wild ride. While I haven't loved every minute of it, the Vegas plot was hilarious and heartwarming and Dougie Jones is one of my favorite characters on TV.
🐌 Favorite games of the year so far: Yakuza Zero, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pyre
🐌 Favorite movies of the year so far: Get Out, The Founder, Logan
🐌 Favorite music of the year so far: Roger Waters: Is This the Life We Really Want?, Lana del Rey: Lust for Life, Gorillaz, Humanz

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Persona 5 (2017, PS4) - How to Be a Heartbreaker



In spite of making my own turn-based RPGs and playtesting ones made by friends, my interest in the genre waned over the years. I'll pick up an occasional Pokemon game, but don't get excited for them. I've never played an Atelier or a Neptunia or any of the tens of thousands of similar looking games released every three months by Gust and Idea Factory. I enjoyed Final Fantasy XV, but even that series has moved on from turn-based combat. The last one I got excited about was Ubisoft's fantastic Child of Light, a small game that excelled stylishly.

I was a little unsure going into Persona 5. I've only played the original title in this series, released on the PS1 in 1996, and hearing that the latest installment was 80-100 hours long was honestly a turnoff for the modern me, while I would have eaten that up as a kid. With lots of flashy, graffiti style art, I knew it would win me over on style, but would I actually have fun? I'm happy to say that yes, this is indeed an excellent game, a high-water mark in its genre.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Yakuza Zero (2017, PS4) - Smooth Criminals



The release history of the Yakuza series outside of Japan has been a wild ride. Sega released the first two games on PS2 in 2006 and 2008 and I missed out on them, turned off by marketing which promoted them as Grand Theft Auto-style open world crime games, a genre I don't have much interest in. Two years later, a poorly-made demo for Yakuza 3, the first PS3 installment of the series, showed me a little more of what the game was about, but didn't sell me on it.

Yakuza 3 was largely doomed from the start: A bad demo, fan complaints over cut content in the English release, and a release date on the same day as the hugely anticipated Final Fantasy XIII. The series would struggle in the west for years, with an even worse, combat-only demo for Yakuza 4 and with Yakuza 5 coming out here a whole three years after its Japanese release, long after the PS3's lifecycle had waned, and without a physical release. I fell for the series after reading enough positive reviews of the third game, but there's no doubt it's been tough to be a western Yakuza fan, with long translation delays, questionable release strategies, and skipped spinoff titles.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Wonder Woman (2017) - Heroes and Hi-jenks



I've come to enjoy the weirdness of the flow of time in DC's current film series. With 2013's Man of Steel, we see a young Clark Kent on his journey to become Superman interspersed with scenes of Clark's childhood and, later, a vision of an apocalyptic future ruled by Krypton's General Zod. Its 2016 follow up Batman v. Superman takes things further, with Bruce Wayne's past and present trauma and fear of the future blending together to form a film that's both literally and figuratively composed of dreams upon dreams, with objective reality often kept at arm's reach.

We're first introduced to Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in a supporting role in BvS, playing a sort of dejected caretaker. She's disillusioned with the world of mankind, having witnessed a "century of horrors." Once everything goes nuts in the final act and the world's at risk, she steps back into the ring and rediscovers her inner strength, taking her place in what looks to be a pantheon of new gods: Truth (Wonder Woman), Justice (Superman), and the American Way (Batman, the insecure rich guy terrified of outsiders)


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Remember


Hello wobblers! I'm still alive, if anyone's still out there reading this. I'll get back to more regular writing updates once I'm finished with the Kaiju Big Battel game. See you in 25 years?

I hope everyone's enjoying the new Twin Peaks! I'm three episodes in, completely lost, and having a great time. I'll be writing a few thoughts once I finish episode 4. The direction the show has taken is not what I expected at all, but at the same time, feels right.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Springtime Sadness - Games That Left an Emotional Impact


Lots of games try to hit emotional chords and just fall completely flat, both among blockbuster titles and indie games. I've got plenty to say about the games that fail in this regard, but there's enough negativity in the gaming world. I'd like to focus instead on some titles that really stand out to me as success stories. This is far from everything (I could, and should, write a whole article on why Yakuza is the best comedic series in gaming) but here are examples of some of my favorites. Be sure to tell me yours!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Happy Bob Day!


This April 2nd, 2017, marks the 25th anniversary of the very first Bob Surlaw comic, drawn in 1992. I've come a long way with this wobbly, bloated fish character, and I'm hoping to take him on an all new adventure once work on Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy concludes. Take a moment to read up on Bob's history and take a look back at the hideous comics that started it all! Be sure to download Walthros while you're at it; both the PC and Android versions are totally free. Check everything out here: http://superwalrusland.com/wiki/index.php?title=Bob_Surlaw

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Eraserhead (1977) - A Cathartic Watch for A New Parent



Wobbler Note: This is a guest article written by my wife, Becki, reflecting on Lynch's film and our experience as new parents.

Eraserhead is gruesome, unpleasant, and seems to drag on and on. But as a struggling new parent, it’s disturbingly relatable.
The experimental, 1970s cult horror film by David Lynch has been analyzed for 40 years, and Lynch notoriously won’t explain its meaning, preferring to let viewers reach their own conclusions. For me, it captured the darker side of new parenthood – the middle-of-the-night misery that visitors don’t get to see.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Year in Review and Best of 2016 Part 3 - Music



If you haven't had a chance to read them, I poured out thousands of words about every 2016 movie I watched and every 2016 game I played earlier this month. 2017's already felt surreal on both a global and personal scale; the global elements are obvious to anyone living through it right now, with the personal being much more pleasant! My daughter was born a little over three weeks ago, entering this world a little early and making quite a show of it. We're thankfully all doing well now.

Life's slowly getting back to normal and I've taken a moment to finish up my 2016 Year in Review series with a look back at the new music I checked out. As with last year's piece, this is more of a bonus article. I lack the language to write in depth about music and my scope is limited; I missed out on many of the year's big releases. I spent more time continuing to listen to Marina and the Diamonds' three albums than branching out much this year. Still, it's fun to try!