There’s a scene in the Tim Burton film Ed Wood in which the low-budget filmmaker meets his idol, Orson Welles. The two briefly discuss their strikingly similar problems, and then the legendary director imparts the young Wood with this little bit of wisdom: “Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else’s dreams?”
It’s been a pleasure to write for LVLs. these last five (!) years. It’s helped me develop my writing skills, and I’ve done my best to try to provide worthy content for Wildcat’s blog. And at the end of the day, that’s what LVLs. is: Wildcat’s personal project. I’ve only been a contributor in that regard, and don’t get me wrong, it’s been my pleasure.
But as a developing writer, it was inevitable that I would begin to outgrow my position and feel the need to come into my own. That’s why I started up my own blog back in 2011. I figured that if I was going to put that much effort into something, I would like it to be my own project. As a result, I’ve drifted away from LVLs. these past several months, and focused more on my blog.
But I never meant for it to be an abandonment of LVLs. It’s been an online home to me for five years, and I’d be glad to continue involvement with it in some capacity. (After all, my writing still gets far more exposure here.) It’s simply the case that our visions are naturally diverging.
As I forge ahead in my own direction, I wish Wildcat the best of luck in his. I’m looking forward to seeing what new ideas and articles he and Jason come up with this year, and I hope to still make an occasional contribution. So, perhaps this isn’t as much a farewell as it is a “see ya around.”
With that, I take my leave. Thanks to all who have read my stuff on LVLs. I have officially gained experience and leveled up!
Posted by Nester on January 9, 2013
I actually wanted to post “Pacific Coast Highway” by The Beach Boys, but it wasn’t on YouTube. Still, this seemed appropriate.
Posted by Nester on January 9, 2013
It’s been a while, but TheSpeedGamers are back, and about to kick off their 72-hour Mario Marathon later today (December 14) at 7 pm EST/4 pm PST. As you can imagine, they’ll be playing tons of Mario games from past and present, including the recently released New Super Mario Bros U.
They will also be raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, with an initial goal of $10,000.
You can view the marathon live at their official site, thespeedgamers.com. There will also be contests, prizes, and other fun events, so please check it out and spread the word!
Posted by Nester on December 14, 2012
This Saturday, October 20, Pat the NES Punk will be holding yet another marathon in which he and Ian spend night and day playing nothing but NES games. Unlike the previous years, however, the NES games they play this time are determined by donations. As such, they’re attempting to raise as much money as possible before the marathon even starts, with an ultimate goal of $25,000. As usual, all donations go to the Child’s Play charity.
Get the full details in the video below, and by visiting the official site: nesmarathon.com.
Posted by Nester on October 17, 2012
Last year, the owner of Nintendo fan site NinDB challenged himself to draw one Halloween-themed Nintendo fan art every day in October. Well, he’s doing it again this year, and this time, he also needs your help to raise money for charity.
He’s already kicked things off with a great picture of Dry Bowser from New Super Mario Bros. Keep checking back to the Nintober Tumblr and deviantArt for more!
He is also raising money for the MS Society, an organization that researches Multiple Sclerosis. If you’re interested in making a donation, you can learn more at the above links, or his JustGiving page. Every little bit helps!
Posted by Nester on October 1, 2012
The latest entry in my “RPG Journal” (a series of articles at my personal blog, Lark’s Island) evolved into a mini-editorial on the state of Japanese game development. Perhaps I oversimplify the situation a little, dividing the industry into only Japan and the rest of the world, but I speculate on Japan’s resistant attitude towards foreign influence, and its consequences on the game industry as a whole:
If we step back and look at the larger picture, we get a sense of a cycle between advancements in Japanese and Western game development. Right now, we have an entire generation of Western game developers who were influenced by the groundbreaking Japanese games they grew up with. The lessons learned from the likes of Super Mario Bros., Final Fantasy and Resident Evil were evolved, pushed forward, and reimplemented, albeit in a Western fashion, resulting in the past decade’s rise of North American and European game developers. But what happens if Japan refuses to let the pendulum swing back the other way?
Check out my full article at Lark’s Island: RPG Journal – Last, But Not Least
Posted by Nester on September 18, 2012
The latest episode (109) of the All Gen Gamers podcast scored (no pun intended) an interview with former game designer/programmer Al Lowe, best known for conceiving (so to speak) the Leisure Suit Larry series. Al discuss at length his history with the series, his time working with Sierra, those other Larry games he didn’t work on, and his involvement with the upcoming HD remake of the original game. It’s a terrific episode that is informative and funny, and definitely worth checking out, so don’t get caught with your pants down. (All right, that was on purpose.)
Download the episode here: All Gen Gamers, Episode 109: AL Lowe & The Lounge Lizards
Posted by Nester on September 13, 2012
1UP.com’s Jeremy Parish has a rather lengthy and insightful interview with game producer Kazuma Kujo. Kujo had previously worked at Irem on games such as R-Type, Zettai Zetsumei Toshi (aka Disaster Report), In the Hunt, and Steambot Chronicles, as well as off-the-record work with Nazca on the first Metal Slug. Irem has since ceased video game development in favor of slot machines, which prompted Kujo and other former Irem employees to form their own company, Granzella. There, they hope to continue to work on the types of games they created at Irem.
They also speak at length about the Tōhoku earthquake, and how it affected game development, specifically the cancellation of the fourth ZZT game:
1UP: Did you hear from the public about the nature of the game? Was there support for it? Did people find it distasteful?
Kujo: Yes, of course. The earthquake happened on March 11th. And, we announced the cancellation of the game on the 14th, three days after the disaster hit. During that time, we received about 20 letters criticizing us for being insensitive in creating a game about earthquake disasters. Twenty letters from the public. Then, after the 14th when we announced the cancellation of the game, we received 500 letters asking us to withdraw the announcement. And, we (Nishiyama and I) read all 500 letters.
1UP: How did those 500 letters make you feel?
Kujo: Well, they all said basically to withdraw the announcement. And, about a week after the earthquake we even received a letter from the earthquake and tsunami victim. There was a government employee who wrote saying that they were writing from a disaster struck area but not to cancel the game. And that’s when I felt that we shouldn’t cancel the game. But, could I have released the game then? Probably not. I was scared to release the game.
Irem can no longer release that game. But, not me. When I read that letter, I strongly felt that someday I have to release that game.
Be sure to check out the full interview at 1UP.com: Kazuma Kujo Interview: Keeping Irem’s Spirit Alive
Posted by Nester on August 6, 2012
Apologies for the indulgence, but I’m a little high on The Beach Boys right now.
This is another track from their new album, and if it were up to me, I would’ve chosen this to be a single. Scaled back production, catchy hooks, and alternating lead vocals (which are always awesome on a Beach Boys song) make this a pretty cool little song. The lyrics are thinly veiled reminiscence, but that’s The Beach Boys for ya!
Posted by Nester on June 13, 2012
This song comes from Serious Monkey Business, a Donkey Kong Country 2 fan remix album from OverClocked ReMix. The music is from the Hot-Head Bop level, but lyrics have been added and are performed by Mr. Ault and Nicole Adams. Their duet is fantastic, and make the track one of the many highlights of the album.
Title: “A New Place”
Composer: Dave Wise
Arrangers: Mr. Ault, Nicole Adams, Tepid, injury
Posted by Nester on June 3, 2012