March 31, 2014

Hyper Hippo Games – I Eat Bananas, Prism Break, and Rain Drop

Filed under: Hyper Hippo,Video Games — Screenhog @ 9:49 am

Last week, I started talking about Hyper Hippo’s game projects. I started with Mech Mice, but lately, Hyper Hippo has been branching into smaller games too.

I Eat Bananas

In this game, you’re a monkey, climbing an endlessly tall vine and eating bananas. The only thing stopping you are falling objects; bathtubs, forks, garbage cans, blue whales… you know the usual stuff. As you climb, you go faster and faster. Can you handle it? Can you get into space… or beyond?

Tip: If you get hit with an object, you still have chances to save yourself. If you see a leaf, grab it, and you begin to climb again. Or, if you collect enough bananas while falling, you’ll have the strength to save yourself.

Prism Break

Before you lies a grid of marbles of all different colors. You can click any of them, but the only way to score big is to find large combos of colors. Can’t find a large color combo? No problem; change the colors on the marbles to make big combos! Red, yellow, and blue combos change the colors of surrounding marbles (for instance, clicking a red marble will change a neighbouring yellow marble into an orange one).

Tip: Big combos also fill the “prism break” meter. Fill it up, and a prism falls. Click it for a huge effect on the game and your score!

Rain Drop

Have you ever gone up to a rainy window pane and touched your finger to the drops, making a bigger drop that falls down the surface of the glass? This is a game about that. It’s a relaxing puzzle game, where you bring drops toward one another with the goal of getting all of the drops off the glass.

Tip: Try and arrange the drops in a line below the spot where you want the large drop to fall. Getting every single drop is a requirement for solving a puzzle with 3 stars.

December 9, 2012

Video Game Mashup #4: Good Samus Hunting

Filed under: Sketch,Video Games — Tags: — Screenhog @ 9:31 pm

#4 of 4 in my series of chalk pastel art for an upcoming local art show.

GOOD SAMUS HUNTING

Samus from Metroid (1986)
Dog and Duck from Duck Hunt (1984)

Originally, I was going to do a character more modern, such as Halo’s Master Chief, shooting down the Duck Hunt duck. However, chalk pastels don’t lend themselves well to details, and the only thing distinctive about Master Chief is his helmet. In the end, Samus had a better silhouette, and it was more appropriate to use her anyway, since the ducks are used to being shot with a “light gun”, and it doesn’t get much better than Samus’ laser.

(Fun Fact: Duck Hunt and Metroid were both produced by the same man – toymaker and game developer Gunpei Yokoi. Yokoi was instrumental in Nintendo’s success as a game company, and was responsible for other classic games such as Kid Icarus. He also created many gaming innovations, such as the D-pad, standard on nearly every video game controller since the mid-’80s, and the original Gameboy and Gameboy Micro.)

December 6, 2012

Video Game Mashup #3: Creeper Got Lost

Filed under: Sketch,Video Games — Tags: — Screenhog @ 1:00 am

#3 of 4 in my series of chalk pastel art for an upcoming local art show.

CREEPER GOT LOST

Q*bert from Q*bert (1982)
Creeper from Minecraft (2009)

Q*bert and Creeper both come from very cube-based universes, so it seems only natural that they would meet someday. However, true to form, Q*bert is running away from everything that might hurt him, and Creeper wants nothing more than to make new friends shortly before blowing them up.

(Fun Fact: Q*bert really did say that string of nonsensical characters in the game if it got hit by an enemy. It was briefly considered that the game be named “@!#?@!”, but marketers were concerned that no one would be able to tell their friends about the game if they couldn’t pronounce the name.)

December 3, 2012

Video Game Mashup #2: ANGЯY BIЯDS

Filed under: Sketch,Video Games — Tags: — Screenhog @ 1:00 am

#2 of 4 in my series of chalk pastel art for an upcoming local art show.

ANGЯY BIЯDS

Red from Angry Birds (2009)
Various blocks from Tetris (1984)

Twenty-five years after the first iteration of Tetris for the Electronica 60, Angry Birds was hatched, and mobile phone gaming was changed forever. Both games have become cultural phenomena, embraced by gamers of all kinds.

(Fun Fact: The Я in this piece’s name is a reference to the Nintendo Gameboy version of Tetris, which had the letter R reversed in the word “TETRIS”. The Я is a Cyrillic letter, and sounds nothing like our R, but it made Tetris look more “Russian” to North American audiences.)

November 29, 2012

Video Game Mashup #1: The Wrong Ghost

Filed under: Sketch,Video Games — Tags: — Screenhog @ 4:36 pm

In January, there is a local art show entitled “Pixel Culture”. It will be showcasing art inspired by video games both past and present (but mostly past). I’ve had the good fortune to be able to have a space in the show, and so I’ve decided to make four pieces of art for the show. Each one combines two well-known video game characters that normally wouldn’t meet each other, and you guys get a sneak peek of what I’ve created!

THE WRONG GHOST

Ms. Pacman from Ms. Pacman (1982)
Boo from Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)

While Pacman is more famous for chasing and eating ghosts, Ms. Pacman was actually the more successful arcade game, with over 115,000 arcade cabinets produced. Boo, the ghost who would only chase you if you were looking away, has appeared in nearly every major Super Mario title since 1988.

(Fun Fact: Ms. Pacman and Boo have actually been in the same video game together. Mario Kart Arcade GP was an arcade version of Mario Kart, Ms. Pacman was a playable character, and Boo was an item that could be used in the game.)


The medium for all four images is chalk pastel. I’ll be showing the other three sketches over the next two weeks.

October 29, 2012

Club Penguin Documentary: Screenhog Commentary

Filed under: Club Penguin,Video Games — Tags: — Screenhog @ 9:38 am

On October 24, Club Penguin released something that I’ve been anticipating for a long time – a documentary. Or at least, the first part of a documentary. Either way, I was stoked to see the story of Club Penguin put to a video of some kind, and this video does not disappoint. Despite being only a 4 minute video, there are lots of little hidden tidbits about Club Penguin sprinkled throughout the video that you might not realize.

First, if you haven’t already, watch the video! Now!

So awesome. Now for my commentary!

0:01 This is Club Penguin’s hometown of Kelowna, BC.
0:04 “New Horizons” is about the perfect name for a Club Penguin documentary. Club Penguin was originally created by New Horizon Interactive, and when we made Club Penguin, we had to make our own rules about how our virtual world would work, because so few had been made before ours.
0:11 There’s Lane (Billybob). If you look closely on the shelf behind him, there is the super rare plush of the golden Viking Helmet penguin.
0:16 There’s Holly (Happy77). In the original New Horizon Interactive office, Holly and I worked on the first issues of The Penguin Times together.
0:20 There’s me (Screenhog). That room, in my opinion, is the coolest room in the Club Penguin offices. Every time I visit CP, I make a point to check out that room again.
0:27 Nickname1 was the first penguin Lance created for testing Club Penguin. Swampy was also Lance’s penguin.
0:30 There’s Lance (Rsnail). The framed picture is the original Far Side comic that inspired him to use penguins in his chat.
0:34 “massive multiplayer snowball war game” – this would have been called Snow Blasters. I still would love to see how that game would have turned out.
0:41 This was from my first attempt to create an animation model sheet for the penguins. It was not nearly detailed enough, and resulted in the penguins looking very different from one another for the first two years.
0:43 My first possible designs of the Tour Guide Hat (clothing ID# 428). After drawing these up, it was decided not to use the actual word “TOUR” since we were considering taking Club Penguin to other languages, and the question mark hat was used instead. (In Club Penguin, when a tour guide holds up a sign, it’s translated into the proper language).
0:45 I sketched these, but I can’t quite remember why. It might have been for an early Card-Jitsu prototype.
0:48 Here’s Dave. He funded the Club Penguin prototype, and was the third co-founder. Ironically, I don’t think he ever created a penguin on CP.
0:59 This was taken from the SWF file of the original www.newhorizoninteractive.com. I always liked that site design. New Horizon Interactive’s main job until 2005 was video editing and webpage creation. (Side note: There was a company based in the USA somewhere called www.newhorizon.com that also did some kind of web applications. After Club Penguin launched, they actually had to put a disclaimer on their homepage saying that they were not the New Horizon that makes Club Penguin. I feel so sorry for the amount of e-mails they must have received every day asking for a beta hat.)

1:09 The art here appears to be taken from my storyboard drawings for the first Card-Jitsu power card animations. The Ninja is from the Ninja power card, and the faint sketches behind appear to be from the Puffle Roundup card.
1:20 See that construction crane and those girders behind the fence? That was the only art I made specifically for Penguin Chat 3.
1:25 The original Snow Trekker (called the Snow Cat in Penguin Chat 3, renamed in Club Penguin for legal reasons). I think there’s a tiny version of it in a bottle in the Lighthouse.
1:49 “Items and places and minigames”. Penguin Chat 3 had no items (besides the ninja outfit, and briefly, the hard hat). It had no minigames. The Gift Shop existed so that you could buy actual, real T-Shirts and get them sent to you (but hardly anyone did).

2:00 That sketch of the party hat penguin was drawn by the second artist hired for Club Penguin. The song is “I’ve Been Delayed”, which played in the Night Club of Penguin Chat 3.
2:07 The first Club Penguin homepage. Lance was the one who designed it (as well as the New Horizon circle homepage).
2:28 The Beta Test party was a genuinely exciting day for us, if for no other reason than for the fact that the servers didn’t die. That was a big concern for us, but we had over 150 penguins on at one time, and for us, that was HUGE!!! (Fun fact: the original world we used for doing a beta test is now one of the safe chat servers.)
2:34 You know why they keep showing the same room over and over? Because it was the only one decorated. That was the entire Beta Test party. Ah, how times have changed.
2:50 My personal prediction of how big Club Penguin would get was demolished about 8 months after we launched.
2:57 This photo appeared on the front page of a Canadian newspaper, and was the very first appearance of a red puffle (see the bottom left).

3:01 Gin was the original “voice” of Aunt Arctic for the Penguin Times.
3:06 I’m not going to even try to point out details inside the pictures of the Club Penguin offices… I’m sure there are many. The important part is to notice the people. Club Penguin is still being run by an amazing team.
3:16 This was taken from this year’s Anniversary party. Rsnail, Gizmo and I were invited to the office to be special guests for the party. (I can only access my Screenhog penguin from within CP offices, so before you ask, no, I can’t meet you online. It’s locked for a reason.) This is Gizmo’s only appearance in the video, but if the rumors are true that a longer documentary is being made, I’m sure you’ll see him.
3:21 Looks like someone was playing too much New Super Mario Bros 2!
3:26 Man, Club Penguin has some awesome fan art.
3:39 Chris Heatherly, who’s taking over for Lane. EDIT: According to the Club Penguin blog, his penguin name is “Spike Hike”. (Thanks for pointing this out, Trainman1405!)
3:54 Say what you will, but I really like the room redesigns. They are slick. After seven years of growth, Club Penguin’s needed some changes to reflect the new features and games.

That’s it! I’ve heard rumors of a longer documentary coming… I hope they’re true.

June 12, 2012

The Wii U – Nintendo knows exactly what it’s doing

Filed under: Opinion,Video Games,Writing — Tags: — Screenhog @ 8:43 pm

I’ve made it no secret in the past that my favorite video game console of all time is the Nintendo Wii. So, I’ve been following the news about the Wii U, Nintendo’s upcoming console, with quite a bit of interest. Many of Nintendo’s fans have been wondering why the Wii’s successor looks the way it does. A tablet with buttons? What was Nintendo thinking? To be honest, I wondered the same thing, until I thought some more and realized that the Wii U is exactly what Nintendo’s next console had to be.

First, some background. When it launched in 2006, the Nintendo Wii caught the world by storm. For over 2 years after that launch, it was difficult to even find the Wii on store shelves. As of May 2012, over 90 million Wiis have been sold. Despite heavy declines in recent years, the system has been huge for Nintendo. However, the Wii also had some faults, some which got worse with age (such as the lack of support for HDTVs). Nintendo knew that it would have to make a new console soon, and that it would need these features:

- Backwards compatibility. When your previous console sold 90 million units, it would be a serious mistake to make those games impossible to play on your brand new console. (I’m looking at you, Playstation)
- High-definition support. HDTVs were relatively uncommon in 2006. Now, not so much.
- Better ways to connect online.

There are others, I’m sure, but I want to focus on the first one, backwards compatibility. To make the new console work with Wii games, it needs to support the Wii Remote, which is a big restriction. But, it also has to have something unique, something that will make the new console truly feel like an upgrade. What to do?

Nintendo’s answer? Turn the next-generation Wii into a gigantic Nintendo DS.

The DS was launched in 2004, and when its various incarnations are included – DS Lite, DSi, and DSi XL – it has sold a combined 150 million units. The newer 3DS, while having a slow start, has become a good-selling console as well, and both the DS and 3DS lines have been remarkably capable in a variety of game genres.

The handheld DS console has two screens, and games are played one screen or the other depending on context. The bottom screen is touch sensitive, the top screen is not. The left side has a D-Pad (directional buttons shaped like a plus sign), while the right side has four circular buttons in a diamond shape. On the top corners of the lower screen, there are two “shoulder buttons” for additional functions.

I have just described the DS. I have also just described the Wii U.

This is the Wii U. It has two screens; your TV, and the Wii U Gamepad, which looks a whole lot like the bottom screen of the DS. The Gamepad has a touch-sensitive screen that can communicate with the main TV screen. The Wii U is a super-sized DS.

I’m not the only one to figure this out, by the way. Scribblenauts, a popular game series for the DS, is making its way to the Wii U, and it appears to play just the same way on the Wii U as it did on the DS.

Bottom line, Nintendo knows what it’s doing with the Wii U.

Now, for some predictions about the Wii U:

- Scribblenauts won’t be the only major DS franchise to come to the Wii U. Other DS titles, like Pokemon and Rhythm Heaven, would be natural fits to move to the console.
- There will be more video games that end in the letter “u” released in the next two years than in the entire history of games combined.
- The Wii U will be less successful than the Wii was. The Wii was a perfect storm of popularity, and expecting Nintendo to beat that is unfair.
- At least a few of the most popular games on the Wii U will be completely new games, not based on any existing Nintendo IP (Mario, Zelda, etc.). The over-reliance on sequels isn’t healthy.
- I will help make a game for the Wii U. (At the moment, this is wishful thinking, but I am hopeful that it will come true.)

May 25, 2012

GLEAM

Filed under: 3D,Interactive,Unity,Video Games — Screenhog @ 2:27 pm

I’ve been working on a game made in Unity 3D. In it, you defend sheep from asteroids using the stars of the night sky. The codename for it right now is GLEAM, and here’s the first public screenshot of it:

It’s still being built, and much of the art you see here is temporary. However, if it looks interesting to you, tell me in the comments! If there’s enough interest, I’ll put up a version of it that you can beta test.

February 10, 2012

Remix: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – Oil Ocean

Filed under: Music,Video Games — Tags: — Screenhog @ 11:25 am

I was a pretty big fan of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in the early ’90s, and this was due in no small part to the music. Oil Ocean, a level near the end of the game, had some of my favourite music, so I decided to do a remix of that song:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I don’t get to play with Middle Eastern and Indian instruments very frequently, and this seemed like the perfect place to give that a shot.

August 26, 2011

Wii Game Character

Filed under: Video Games — Screenhog @ 4:01 pm

Two years ago, I made a post about how much I wanted to create a Wii game. Well, I’d still like to make that Wii game some day, and this is the main character:

Wanna see him in a game? Well, you’ll still have to keep waiting. Mech Mice is consuming most of my work hours right now. But I’m warning you, world, some day he’ll be in a game, and it will be awesome.

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