Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top and Bottom

As with every year, my brother commissions me to make him an illustration for his Christmas gift... Typically in the "Sci-Fi/Fantasy" genre. Thus, every year around this time I have something to blog about. I think I topped myself this year... I resorted to a similar concept as the DNA Tree  back in 0'... something, and created an outdoor scene with various animals both land-based and water-based. What made this one a little different than the ol' DNA Tree is that rather than make a couple of different pictures with various scenery, I did a split screen of sorts with the land scenery and the underwater scenery. A lot of the animals share white mask-like faces, others don't... There's no logic behind that, it just turned out that way... And I'm not all that original.

In any case, I don't like to ramble about my work, it makes me sound like a stuck up artist. I just like to draw. Enjoy!
Merry Belated Christmas and an even Happier New Year for ya! ... None of that "Happy Holiday" nonsense. I don't care what holiday you celebrate, I celebrate Christmas so I'm wishing you a Merry Christmas. Though you're more than welcome to have a happy "whatever you celebrate".

~ Mark

Friday, December 17, 2010

Video Game Tribute #14 – X-Men (Arcade)

I had all but forgotten this little gem from my childhood until XBox Live and PS3 revived this masterpiece of beat em' up arcade history... X-MEN!!! So just to clarify, the world of Arcades has gone through a few phases in our time... In the 70s and 80s, it was all about Asteroids, Centipede, Space Invaders and Donkey Kong... Simple pixelated shapes doing simple pixelated actions. Soon thereafter the 16-bit arcade era hit the gaming world like a sucker punch from your disgruntled Italian grandmother and trips to beach became less about the beach and more about the boardwalk arcades... Oh, it was glorious... Though I was raised in New England where the beach water is black and the temperature is 30 below... So the boardwalk makes sense.

In any case, this era was all about beat em' ups. The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles... And the one, the only, X-MEN. Granted there was nothing all that distinguishable about this game, it played like the others; supermoves that drain your health, enemies which were little more than color swaps to distinguish difficulty, bosses which would eat your quarters faster than the parking meters in Portsmouth, NH. What drew so many people to this game, however, was the fact that it was SIX PLAYER. That's right, the arcade itself was amongst some of the first wide screens ever... Or maybe it was two arcade screens next to each other... I honestly can't remember, all I know is it was HUGE. Especially when you're 9 years old. on top of this, comic books were all the rage, and the X-Men always took the cake, so we were all finally getting to interact with some of our favorite characters including Wolverine, Nightcrawler and... Dazzler... Okay, that was an odd choice, but still, the other characters were well worth it. I typically chose Nightcrawler cause let's face it... he rules. Usually the last person to join got stuck with Dazzler. Nobody wants to play as Dazzler.

Also memorable was how not every character was known for any kind of projectile mutant power, so the game had to improvise so each player could wipe out a screen full of badies... So Wolverine suddenly had the power to shoot shock-waves from his claws, Colossus would just emit a huge burst of energy from his metallic body (cause that makes sense), and Nightcrawler ran around the screen super fast and killed everything... What are you gonna do though, it was the early 90s, nobody cared about logic. Now people just think they do.

Also memorable (and I don't even really need to bring this up cause everybody already knows) was the broken English translations... Naturally, the game was made in Japan (cause what awesome game back then wasn't?) so you'd get one very epic moment where Magneto would appear on the screen and shout "X-Men! Welcome to Die!"... Oh man. I love it. Though, I can't really add this moment to my childhood memories because arcades were always so loud that you could never actually hear any of the dialogue coming out of the game you were playing... It could have been chanting antisemitic curses and nobody would have known... I discovered this catchphrase in High School when the PC program "MAME" came out and I was able to play this game on the emulator. I miss those days.

I finally got to play this game again last night when I downloaded it on XBox Live and I must say... It is just as I remembered and twice as fun... Sure I'm not getting the grandeur of playing in an arcade with my brothers and friends, surrounded by people watching us slice through hoards of multi-colored Sentinels, but I am getting the satisfaction of playing this game on an HD TV in the comfort of my bed with a coffee in hand and a song in my heart! I'm also reliving the frustration of fighting Magneto... I'd be broke if the XBox took a quarter out of my banking account every time I had to continue... It's like Magneto is literally jumping out of my screen and magnetically pulling the spare change from my pockets. Oh what fun times...

Welcome to DIE!
~ Mark

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mean Caffeine

I was thinking today about how much I absolutely crave Starbucks at any given time... It's almost cruel how addicted they've made me... When suffering caffeine withdrawal I sometimes see this little guy running around in my head...

Num num num!!!
~ Mark

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

AWESOME!: Santa Claus

Tis' the season to be jolly... And what's jollier than a flamboyant fat man flying through the sky dropping presents on unsuspecting children! You wanna know what awesome is, I'll tell you about the living, breathing embodiment of awesome... a magical being spawned from the good deeds and fictional beliefs of good boys and girls all around the world (but mainly America)... I'm of course talking about Jolly Old Saint Nick, the King of Kringles... Santa Claus!! Is he real? Oh come now. Of course he is!! Why has no one seen him? Well, according to C.S. Lewis, the man lives in Narnia... My guess as to why he lives there has something to do with the fact the US outlawed him from our dimension because he kept giving kids crossbows and swords as presents... So we get a much more toned down version of Santa than we used to back in medieval times. Just another reason why Santa is AWESOME!
Though if you ask me, I think the myth about reindeer and brightly colored robes is a little outdated, we'd see that coming from a mile away... I'm fairly certain Santa has had to up his game in more recent years. Any man who gave children crossbows in the 1950's has definitely caught up with the times. My theory is the reason we don't see Santa ever is because he's gone all covert ops; I'm talking 9 black ops helicopters, night vision goggles, the whole shebang... And don't mess with his elves, each one is highly trained to kill all the bad little boys and girls... No more coal. You just die.
Santa's so awesome it makes my head want to explode! Anybody who thinks their parents are buying their gifts every year at Christmas is a fool. They're in on it... And when you have kids, you'll be in on it too. Don't be surprised when one of Santa's little helpers shows up in your room at 3 in the morning with an offer. If you're not in, your kids get NOTHING. Just be glad this isn't another country though... Why do you think the US is in so much debt? We practically pay to keep his toyshop running just to keep our families alive... I hear over in France he straight up burns your house down if you don't accept.
That is why Santa is Awesome... He'll kill to keep kids happy. You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why... Santa's gonna shiv you!
~ Mark