Warp Drive

Showing posts with label Nintendo Rhapsody. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nintendo Rhapsody. Show all posts

Monday, August 3, 2020

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 8: Pros and Cons WIP + Cliffnotes)

With my unceremonious departure from Cerritos College, and the apparent end of my school career, I fell back on that which I loved. My ongoing endeavors with Goalsoft. In January of 2001, I launched my first ever online magazine dedicated to Goalsoft. It was no doubt inspired in part by Nintendo Power. The Goalsoft MAG featured monthly interviews with the web staff, release dates for upcoming game projects, short stories, poems and one very controversial comedy column. The latter of which was hosted by Dave Smith. Goalsoft's resident comedy writer and beta tester. In the span of time between January and April of that year, I released Sword Quest III: Dimensional Drift, Super Israel World 2 and Swashblood Isle. I had originally intended to develop Swashblood Isle in Glumol, but the tools were unfortunately not made available until much later. I would instead use Clickteam's The Games Factory. Much like Klik & Play, it left something to be desired when developing traditional adventure games. Everything, as usual, had to be created from scratch. That included an inventory screen and dialogue prompt for every possible scenario in the game. Timers were used to tell the game whether or not an event could be triggered, and when and where to display an item. As a result of these limitations and improvisations, Swashblood Isle was more than a little rough around the edges. Clearly, I had an awful lot of free time on my hands. It certainly felt strange being out of school, but I still had a teacher or two in my life. I became rather hooked on TechTV, a cable network focused primarily on the computer industry. Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton hosted a late afternoon show known as The Screen Savers. They covered every computer topic one could imagine, but my favorite segments were the ones where they built custom machines for gaming and whatnot. It would be several years before I attempted such a thing of my own. With 2001 rapidly drawing to a close, I had just one thing on my mind. Nintendo's brand new disc-based console. For the longest time, it was known simply by a codename. Project Dolphin. A name that left quite a bit to the imagination.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 7: The End of the Beginning)

I was a very reckless grade schooler one minute, and then the next, a high school graduate on his way to college. I was for the briefest of moments in time, as Ms. Davis said, "the man of the hour." It felt as if life were but glimpses. As I took my first glimpse of Cerritos College, I was filled with a fear of the unknown. The very same fear I had previously felt upon my arrival at California High School and every school before that. I entered into a large enclosed amphitheater. I was taken aback by the sheer scale of the college campus. It gave me such pause, I very nearly forgot the reason for my being there. I approached the front of the amphitheater to collect my entry exam before having a seat. I breezed through the multiple choice questions, but when it came time for the written portion, I struggled to think of anything. It was one of those scenarios where you have to write an essay response to a question. A very specific question designed exclusively for that exam. I consider myself to be a fairly creative person, but writing within those constraints always proved difficult. I had no choice but to take the entry exam over again. During the second attempt, however, I was given more time to wrestle with the question before me. I managed to pass the exam in the end and was thereby approved for three courses. An entry-level math class, a business class and a computer software class. As fate would have it, my computer software teacher was named Mr. Davis. No apparent relation to Ms. Davis. I found my mind a bit preoccupied those first few days in class. Squaresoft's Chrono Cross was set to release that week on Sony's PlayStation. A spiritual sequel to Chrono Trigger. I was eager to dive into the game having known of its existence for months.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 6: It's About Time)

In just three short years, I had made California High School my own. My performance in the classroom had afforded me the opportunity to choose an elective course or special task around campus. I chose to assist Mr. Hales, the physical education teacher, with his daily routine. I would deliver the sporting equipment to the field for practice, deliver the attendance sheets to the office and report any problems directly to Mr. Hales for inspection. More often than not, however, I spent this time standing around the basketball cart chatting with other students who happened to approach me. One of them was named Shalimar. Her boyfriend, Randy, had recently broken up with her and she was feeling quite down on herself. I would sit with her on occasion. I tried my best to lift her spirits. "You never know who you might meet out of the blue," I told her. I had personally experienced my own fair share of struggles in life, but something good always seemed right around the corner. I just had to believe in myself. She appeared to appreciate the sentiment. "Out of the blue" became a source of inspiration to her and she would come to remind me of that a few times. And then there was Jovani. We chatted about video games. One video game in particular. The then unreleased Perfect Dark for Nintendo 64. Rare's spiritual successor to GoldenEye 007. We would each comb the web for any clues we could find about the upcoming game and then report back in Mr. Hales' class. It would be quite some time before we actually got our hands on Perfect Dark.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 5: Nintendo Strikes Back)

With Barbara Dawson Educational Center now firmly in the past, I began attending California High School. The adjustment period was somewhat less unnerving than Hillview Middle School. I credit my early enrollment in summer school. I had a whole month to absorb the campus before the overwhelming invasion of students in September. During this relatively quiet time, I became acquainted with one of the more interesting teachers on campus. Her name was Tamara, but of course, everyone knew her as Ms. Davis. Gone were the days of being on a first name basis. Fellow class members remember her best for her love of pumpkin seeds. I remember, from the moment I first met her, her sense of humor. Ms. Davis was a lighthearted woman, sure, but she also had a rather strict side. It was not wise to upset her. The months flew by in the blink of an eye. Christmas arrived right on schedule. Santa Claus delivered a very exciting present to my brother and I that year. It was none other than the Nintendo 64 and it was not alone. It came with Cruis'n USA, Killer Instinct Gold, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, Wave Race 64, but most importantly, Super Mario 64. It was not long at all before a debate was had to decide whose room the system would reside in. A few days later, we all contracted chicken pox and the two week quarantine period began. Let the games begin.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 4: Trial Separation)

Nintendo's undisputed reign over the Haley household was, for the time being, at an end. Just as Mario hung his hat for a well deserved rest, an edgy new platforming star was beginning his own adventure. Sonic, a mysterious blue hedgehog without a speed limit, was set to conquer far more than my television screen. In no time at all, I owned everything from Sonic the Hedgehog sleeping bags to plush toys to comic books. I would eagerly visit the nearby Ralphs supermarket each month to score a new issue. It was almost as exciting as the animated series. Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog aired Monday through Friday at seven in the morning. Once I began attending Hillview Middle School, I had no choice but to record them onto VHS tape and watch them after school. Hillview was a whole new experience. There were an unnerving number of fellow students. Having been enrolled in non-public schools for many years prior, I was not prepared for the often twenty something students per classroom - or the fact I now had six classes a day. It was quite a bit to process. In retrospect, I always found smaller classes more focused and therefore rewarding experiences. One of those classes was, thankfully, a more intimate environment and it was there in which I began to take computers seriously. Previously, I saw them as rather dull educational instruments. I was assigned a floppy diskette and a desk terminal. My assignment was simple: Build and maintain a town in Maxis' SimCity. A town which continued to function whether I was present or not. It was like Quintet's ActRaiser, but without the action platforming stages. Computers were rad and all, but I really just wanted to get home and play the Sega Genesis.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 3: Genesis)

In the beginning, there was the Magnavox Odyssey. Utilizing an array of on-screen lights and television overlays, it marked the start of a worldwide phenomenon. One of many smiles, tears and jeers. Twenty years later, the video game industry was a bustling business. With the increasing popularity of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis, a whole new phenomenon was just beginning. As for the rambunctious Haley bunch, we arrived home from Toys "R" Us with the SNES in tow. It was quickly decided the system would reside in my brother's room. I cannot say for certain if this was punishment for my wrongdoings at Murphy Ranch Elementary, but whatever the event, it was rather effective. I would next attend Barbara Dawson Educational Center, where I would finally learn to read and write. I have Diane to thank for her encouragement, persistence and unique approach to instruction. I recall one book reading session in-particular for its use of non-linear progression. A "choose your own adventure" story in a world filled with stories fixed in stone. My mind was suddenly set ablaze. It would be quite a number of years still before I could write well, but she laid the foundation. I gradually became more proficient with practice of my own. I missed out on so many funny mistranslated NES games, but I had a plethora of dialogue heavy games to look forward to on the SNES. Of course, the first game to grace my brother's television screen was none other than Super Mario World - and it was good.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 2: Back in the Cradle)

With the experience of The Diagnostic School behind me, I moved onward to Murphy Ranch Elementary. My home life would gradually return to normal. I was in that awkward phase between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The Nintendo Entertainment System's reign, however, would continue for another year to come. Our home library was a bit limited, but thanks in large part to Blockbuster Video, we could play a different game each week. I also owe a debt of gratitude to my brother-in-law, David, for allowing me to borrow his gold plated copy of The Legend of Zelda. Of course, as would any true fan of Nintendo, I owned permanent copies of the Super Mario Bros. games - and Duck Hunt. Decades before the Nintendo Wii, I was firing at things on-screen with a pointer device. The NES Zapper was quite a marvel for its time. It was super exciting, but at the end of the day, all I really wanted to do was shoot the laughing dog.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 1: Far From Home)

When I was eight years of age, I lived away from home for a few months in East Los Angeles at a facility known simply as The Diagnostic School. It was a wretched experience. I slept in a dormitory-style bedroom with other children like myself. All the while being monitored from just outside by a member of their staff. My medication was also closely monitored. Various drugs and dosages therein were administered. At one point, a patch was applied to my back. If a child was especially naughty, they would lock them in a padded room devoid of light, until they were willing to cooperate. Needless to say, I was quite the school trouble maker to have found myself in a place like that. By day, I attended classes per usual and ate what everyone else ate from the cafeteria. I grew to loathe cafeteria food.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Farewell, Satoru Iwata

I, like many others, was shocked to learn of Satoru Iwata's sudden death. Yet another tragic victim of cancer. He was Nintendo​'s chief executive officer. But he was so much more to the fans; more than a mere businessman. He himself was a gamer. He touched so many with his Iwata Asks and Nintendo Direct initiatives.

IGN's tribute illustrates the man far better than I can put into words...


IGN's A Farewell Tribute to Nintendo's Satoru Iwata