3/29/13

Animated Review - The Little Match Stick Girl (Disney Short)

"The Little Match Stick Girl" is a Disney short adaption of the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. Very familiar territory for Disney with their success with the "Little Mermaid" and the upcoming adaption "Frozen". This short was nominated for best animated short in 2006 at the Oscars.

For starters, besides being entirely wordless, "Little Match Stick Girl" is a surprisingly accurate adaption of the original fairy tale with the notable change being the switch in scenery from a Danish town to a Russian City. In addition the main reason why the girl has to urgently sell match sticks in the first place is not mentioned beyond the reason she has to earn money to survive in the economic conditions. However the short makes it very clear that like in the fairy tale times. living conditions are grim, as emphasized in the short's very muted grey tone colour palette and bleak snowy conditions.

Just like in the fairy tale, when the girl starts lighting her few remaining matches, visions of happier times spring forth until finally a vision of her grandma appears to comfort her with warmth and a Christmas dinner. The glowing visions of the match stick flames are the only things in the short that are awash with colour and fittingly (obvious;y) light. In keeping with the short's geographical setting, the traditional Russian motif is abound for example the city is a bleak urban, stone landscape however when the girl rides on a horse drawn sleigh in the happy snow covered country side to her grandma's house, which is a traditional wood plank Russian style house. I was stunned to find that the short still retained the bitter sweet ending of the source material, not going to say what it is.

3/28/13

Gamer's Review - The Cave (First Dive)

A rough gem from Double Fine. The basic premise is you control 3 out of 7 quirky characters as they explore a vast cave system seeking their wishes which fitting for a deep dark place....is darker then it looks and you have the choice of making them either give in to those dark urges or redeem their themselves for the good ending. So far I found the game like anything else from Double Fine healthy amounts of humor but with the slightly darker themes of human desire....healthy doses of black humor.

However the first thing that bugged me was the controls. Unlike in other Double Fine games where which button you push is blatantly stated...took alot of thinking and experimenting to figure out which button is which...along with the fact my game pad didn't respond to the games's control almost...eventually I found them out. Timing jumps was also an issue for me although that could be partly due to my inexperience with platformers. During game you get to switch between the 3 characters which you choose to solve certain puzzles....although I found this to be interesting it was kind of tiring to whoosh between the 3 and often I found my self exclusively controlling one character to solve a puzzle. I did find it comforting at certain point in the game all 3 characters are automatically gathered together. Each character has a special ability like for example the time traveler can phase through walls.


Besides the controller issue, I was delighted the humor Double Fine is known for....for starters the cave you explore is actual talks and every so often "he" remarks about the nature of the cast exploring itself, being the sports commentator of a snark of the cave exploration trip. The motives of each of the characters is where the black humor shines too as during the journey we find cave paintings explaining the story of each character's motives for even coming to the cave....for example guess how the story of the creepy twins turn out. In a expected surreal turn of event this cave system contains things you wouldn't expect to find in a cave...a gift shop would be one thing. The rooms available for exploration depends on the characters you choose to come with you for example if you picked the knight you get to explore the knight's room. However since I did have the knight with me in my party I couldn't enter his room because the front entrance (which hinted by "med-evil" flags) requires his ability to pass.

I want suggest this game so far if a big sale causes it to be

3/26/13

Gamer's Review - Your Doodles are Bugged (First Impressions)

What can I say about Your Doodles are Bugged other then you should have guessed it to be a comedy when the title is Bugged. Game play style I would say its a hand drawn free hand style of the Lemmings game mixed into one. However that where the similarity end as whimsical hilarity ensures as you have to help the doodles to safety after a magical doodle related accident.

The reason why I say the game play is similar to Lemmings in an odd way is you have to help a bunch of mindless bouncing bugs from point A to the honey pot call point B, however to help the bugs navigate the obstacles hindering them you have to use a magical pen to draw in bridges and steps to bounce them there. The catch is you only have a limited a

As for atomosphere and art wise....our doodles are bugged so everything is doodles....doodles and more doodles. The playing field is a doodled blank sheet of white paper and the doodles in question are a cross between avant art works and childish drawings. The creators must have had fun with that aspect of the game. in addition to add to the comedy a big booming voice from a tiny blue bug narrates the bugs plight and musical soundtrack is really buggy like bossa nova buggy.

If you can get this game discount or just love whimsy I would suggest this game.

3/25/13

Animated Reviews - Croissant de Triomphe


That was hilarious!!! Croissant de Triomphe is the latest Disney Short featuring Mickey Mouse. Super short but extremely high on the cartoon energy and comedy Mickey Mouse was known for in his early days. The most striking feature about this short is the fact the entire artistic palette has strong tones of the old Mickey Mouse Cartoons from the 1930's and 1940s. Even Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the rest of the cast take on their appearances from that era. In continuing with the retro style lookm cartoon physics reign supreme as Mickey Mouse and his trusty cartoon eye balled Scooter are rushing through the streets of Paris to deliver the croissants, avoiding cars, chickens and jumping off buildings. 

Adding to the scenery are splashes of water colours, alias a French water colour painting, thrown for that well french look and adds vibrant energy as it looks like a living drawing as Mickey whips through Paris. Another interesting note is all the dialogue is in French but it is really simple words mostly relating food, for example, characters demanding a "Croissant". Even with phrases that may not be familiar with other french phrases the characterization of the cast's vocal and body emphasize their thoughts, for example, when Minnie is in a panic over none more croissants while cafe patrons are getting angry.

In conclusion, it is very nice to see a return to the retro style Mickey cartoons and as i noticed mostly likely to the processing power of computers cartoon physics blinds seemingly with a hand drawn, water colour world.

3/23/13

Pirouette My Swanna! - Pokemon BC Provincials


Oww this has been a long day. Well firstly I'm a Poke Artist soo....I prefer to have fun battling with my favorite pokemon like Swanna and Beartic ( I prefer ice types) especially, over using the top cards and just having fun in general...which explains my make up today at the provincials. I was the kyogre girl with the white face paint covering the bottom half of my face. Provincials was fun.....I only had two wins (one bye and one actual win) and 5 loses. Considering no one plays with polar bears and swans its was ok...and it was happytime when the impossible happens and I actually win with these guys and girls. 

My actual win was epic and hilarious....both me and my fellow opponent were laughing over it. Why? What are the odds a Swanna wins a match. For those familiar with Dark Explorer Swanna, Incessant Pecks of torture have the potential of ranking in the damage very fast, when the defending pokemon has a weakness to water and is a ground type. Beware the Black Swanna. Oww long day... surprisingly my beloved Beartic didn't see much action but my EX's sure did.....I was this close at times. Anyway happy I got the promo Vaporeon card and I got a door prize of one booster pack.

Poke Conga!
 In addition my kyogre make up (yes I managed to get it off with a bath and cleanser) went over great. My pokemon club friends thought I had war paint on...which is technically true. I just thought I just want to have fun so being true to my creative nature I dressed up. Didn't want to go into heavy cosplay even though I do have a Kyogre cosplay but it was going to be a major pain to play in. So i just colour coordinated my clothing to be Kyogre blue, had my Kyogre Doll and painted half of my face to resemble his white under belly. Outside of venue....I got a few stares at my odd make up choice....some people (and inside venue too) thought I was cheering for the Canucks game...which is on tonight. Well I guess a giant blue orca would be mistaken.

One detail that was hard to see for some people. My poke manicure....it was intended to be kyogre blue but the crakle polish colour (Sally Hansen's Distressed Denim)  layered over the red (OPI's An Affair in the Red Square) made it look blackish blue. Still looks pretty and matches Kyogre somewhat. The glitter overlay is OPI's Pirouette My Whistle....the word pun inspiration for this entry.
Hyponotic poison techniques coupled with Virbank City was a real popular choice....and a constant bane to my little buddies. Away lets see if I can attend and have fun at another major and official Pokemon tournament. Oh yes for those who are wondering about my Pokeball tcg equipment case...I got it as a christmas present years ago and I truely don't know how my friend found it for me. Really handy as long as you don't drop it. 
Atleast I'm not last place.

3/19/13

Gamer's Review - To The Moon

Today on the chopping block Freebird Game's To The Moon....

Now although intrigued by the premise of dream and memory based technology in the far future alias Paprika but I was a bit confused with how I should approach this game interms of the RPG Maker program engine, having experimented with the program myself before. Should I approach this game as an RPG game made from such an engine or a point click adventure? However none the less I was still intrigued enough to continue onward and delighted I was at the story...what would you think when you enter rooms filled with origami bunnies? You control a pair of scientists who with their equipment can create new memories for people but under the condition it is on their death bed because of the nature of the technology.

For those who are not familiar with the RPG Maker program, its a make your own rpg alias old school Final Fantasy game program, some programming knowledge required....the engine and graphics of the program gives this game a kind of retro look. So far the game for me has been mostly point- click style adventure and i most likely messed myself up because I was expecting a rpg style game....which is poked fun at when engaging into a final fantasy style battle with a squirrel which gets quickly interrupted with. However the rpg style elements come into play with looking for mementos and searching around for 5 orbs to break the shields around such mementos. From then on you have to solve a puzzle to reassemble the mementos to travel onward into the next memory sequence.

In conclusion I give for the very creative and innovative use of the RPG maker. The retro style game play fits in with the themes of remembering and traveling into the past and so far the story looks good and intriguing.

Here is the official website address if you are interested....
http://freebirdgames.com/to_the_moon/

3/16/13

Cosplay Lover's Manicure - Virizion

When I got this as part of a shopping gift from my nail blogging sister...I thought the duo chrome shade of China Glaze's "Unpredictable" greatly resembled a particular muskteering pokemon's coat. So why not a Virizion inspired manicure. The pink is Rainbow Honey's "Be Mine" and the black is OPI's "Live and Let Die", both layered with OPI's "Lights of the Emerald City". I like this manicure:) Wait till you see what I have planned for my manicure at the pokemon tournament.


3/11/13

Gamer's Review - Bionic Heart

We got the second (I think) visual novel game on the chopping block today...Bionic Heart. What attracted me to this visual novel was the fact its a sci-fi story involving really realistic humanoid robots and their relationship with humans. Like any visual novel style game....there is no active game play elements rather you have conversations with various characters and when prompted to you choose the character's response.

The basic story line is you play as Luke. A man living in a dystopian future London of constant rain and who is in a strained relationship with his girl friend Helen. Suddenly a realistically beautiful robot on the run appears at his door. From then on the nature of story changes with each dialogue choice for example you could either side with Tanya or Helen on matters (some conversion choices affect each character's  with them or in a more dramatic cases report Tanya to the police or take part in the secret operation that revolves around Tanya and learn more insight into her robotic nature. As for story mood....its intriguing like the sci-fi short stories and can get a little tense especially when you get a "bad" ending or for me when Tanya shows her more sadistic side when you get her mad.

 There are 24 possible endings in this game and one play through is short however its doesn't give you much insight into the cast's nature and personalities. To understand the grand scope of the story you have to play through and explore all options. For example, if you aim for an ending where you side with Tanya (the robot) and do an undercover sewer search you only get to meet Julia right there unlike in another possible path you get to meet her more often and get to know her better. To get all the endings I highly suggest creating multiple saves files of different points in the story so you can jump back and try out a different path to get the different endings.

Visual style is anime-like influence and London of the gritty future is well gritty and dark. The world is forever nighttime and constantly raining with the only places not raining or even having some remote colour splashes are virtually recreated environments under domes. Conversation are carried out with static scenes.

In conclusion, in the realm of sci-fi story telling this is a new experience.....as for my next dive into visual novels gaming, its new for me too and despite not having the luxury of the smooth flowing interface of Analogue: a Hate Story...something Tanya lacks but it was very interesting experience. Oh slight warning its for older audiences with language and some artistic nudity.

Here is the trailer from Winterwolves's Official Channel....enjoy

3/9/13

Onigiris - Yummy

This is my dinner for tonight rice balls. A staple of animes and super easy to make....cook your rice just right, and as an optional step add in rice flavor that kind that is meant to be mixed with well rice. Fill half of rice mold with rice put in your stuffing of choice fill rest of mold with rice then take other half rice mold and squeeze. If you dont have a special rice ball making mold you can use you hands to form balls but prepare for messiness. My rice mold makes bear shaped rice balls....and i used egg flavored rice seasoning.

3/7/13

Gamer's Review - Big Brain Wolf

Fairytales seem to have fractured in Frima Studios' Big Brain Wolf.

Its cartoony, its zany and a head scratching puzzler of a point click game. Even its though completely unrelated, those who are familiar with Professor Layton's style of game play will be very familiar this game's style of play....exploring an environment finding hidden brain teaser puzzles to solve. You guide the loser of a vegetarian and asthma Wolf on his final exam of genie training trying but....the Wolf's mom has been arrested and framed for a unknown crime sooo you have to prove her innocence along the way which in traditionally broken fairy tale style its bigger then it initially seems.

The humor of the game is where this game shines along with the headscratcher of a puzzle cache....fairytales have been broken for the comedy, for example, Pinocchio is a really bad lawyer, red riding hood is the over weight ruler of this fairytale world, and her elite body guards are the Prince Charming....this is hilarious alias the fractured fairy tales of Shrek only in more gritty urban/criminal drama tones and palette

The only compliant I have about this is game is the bug that happened about 2/3 at the beanstalk stage into the game which rendered my file unplayable and....I had to make a new file and start all over again.

Here is the official trailer from Frima Studios

3/2/13

Gamer's Review - Trauma

First of all this is not a review of the surgical drama game.....this is Trauma, a graphical adventure game where you navigate the thoughts and dreamy landscapes of a women recovering from an accident in a hospital. I would consider this to have elements of point click mixed in with art game influences.

Game play pretty straight forward...in each dream the girl will narrate what the main goal is along with what this dream means to her. If you're fallowing just the main story then it will be a straight forward short game however game experience is extended as there are multiple paths to ending the dream which must be found through exploration and in addition there are camera pictures scattered through out the dream waiting to be collected.

The actual dreams you explore is where the gems and art elements are strong...lonely and eerily still photographs of Koln (this is the German spelling of Cologne) at night linked together make up these dreams. This brings back memories for me because well I did go to Germany one summer (not to Koln though) in 2008 and now this is how I remember the ordinary locations like shopping/cafe courtyards, train stations, and roads of Germany in my personal dream world as...lonely places both at day and night. Elements of the surreal are high in the game's dream worlds. For example one extra ending involved painting a symbol for the sky to suck up the world alias a drain pipe and one painting a symbol to magically levitate a rock. As you explore and perform these tasks the narrate will remark rather calmly that this reminds her about an experience with her past.



If just want to explore a surreal yet urban dream I would suggest this game....or if you're like me want to see past memories of another country again on screen.