Jamison Trumpets

The Penny Arcade Report

February 21st, 2012 by DanielRGT

Hey, it’s a new post!

I felt like it was necessary for me to make a post showcasing The Penny Arcade Report and why it is much cooler than you. You’re probably going over all the reasons that you’re incredibly cool, but I have to burst your cool bubble and show you why the Penny Arcade Report is one of the best things to happen to video game journalism in a long time.

I’ve had a big problem with the state of video game journalism for a long time. Being a former video game journalist myself (albeit not a very notable one), I know what it’s like to try and write news articles for a website. It’s very obviously different than writing for my personal blog.

Firstly, you have much less freedom when writing for a website. That’s sort of a natural realization though, isn’t it? The site has a certain image it’s trying to present, and if nine of the ten articles I’ve written are showcasing which video games have cocks hidden in them they are going to have trouble with me. Websites define how good an article is based on how many views, or “hits”, it gets. What type of articles does this produce? Well to be extremely blunt, it produces utter shit.

Ben Kuchera maps this out much more eloquently than me however. I’m not a weaver of words such as Ben or Tycho of Penny Arcade, but I try my best. Kuchera puts it as such:

“The super-blogs push content out at a furious pace, but the open secret is only a few interesting things happen each day in the world of video games. Everyone runs two or three interesting stories per day, and the rest is filler. The continual, relentless publication of stories that don’t say anything of worth, re-write an existing article, or exist only to grab page views with a few sexy images can be numbing. This is why so many people don’t take video game news seriously: there just isn’t enough out there to fill out a schedule that demands a story every twenty or thirty minutes.”

Wasn’t that a nice quote? He doesn’t even use any naughty words like I do! Truly this showcases the difference between a professional and an idiot, such as myself.

Back to the original topic which I brought up though (Remember what it was? It’s up there, where I said you have no freedom!). There’s a lot of rigidity involved in video game journalism. Articles end up being bland, mediocre, uneventful, and sometimes even completely nonsensical. Factual inaccuracies make frequent appearances in articles nowadays. This leads me to my second point.

Since articles are being shit out at an alarming rate, then the magic of “The Editorial” ends up becoming a dream rather than a reality. As a child, I have fond memories of reading video game magazines. The most notable in my memories would undoubtedly be the classic “EGM” (Electronic Gaming Monthly). It was my dream to write for this magazine, and it’s unfortunate but now that dream can never come true. EGM has since been out of print for several years now and it has everything to do with the internet.

Why have a subscription to a magazine that gives you month old news when you can get instant “gratification” from the internet news? I understand why magazines basically died out; even magazines like Game Informer need the endless bickering of a GameStop employee to shove their subscriptions down your throat.

Is that a good thing though? Obviously in magazines you had to wade through endless pages of advertisements, but what you got in return (at least in my opinion) were articles that seemed like they had actual content. Articles with some meat on their bones. Not every article was a winner, and of course even magazine journalism had its faults; however, I felt more comfortable reading those articles than the drivel that ends up on gaming websites nowadays.

Seeing an article with an outrageous headline to draw readers in isn’t gaming news. It isn’t even entertainment. It’s a poor attempt at drawing in readers that will eventually become enraged at the article as a whole. At that point, however, it’s too late. The person clicked on it, so the people running it count it as a win. “These types of articles interest people, look at all these hits!” The data ends up being read over the general response from the “crowd” as it were.

Gamers complain about all these types of articles, yet this is the norm; this is the standard of living we have become accustomed to. We read an article and go, “That article had no content,” then we are right back to the news feed to say the same thing about the 20 other articles being released. One could say it is an exercise in masochism how much gamers put up with this shit, but the reality is that there isn’t really an alternative. It ends up being “read this bad article” or “read no article.”

Why am I telling you this though? Chances are you aren’t a video game journalist, you’re a “consumer” such as myself. You’re one of the many readers who’s been victim to this type of poor writing and structure. You already know all this information. So what’s the point of me telling you, right? It’s sort of like me beckoning you over on the street and unveiling to you that yes, people tend to cry when they are sad.

I could lie and say that I have some sort of naive optimism that video game journalist will read this blog (which currently averages about 1 reader a month, usually myself) and change their ways. I could do that, or I could say that there are people making an effort to fix this type of shoddy journalism.

I mentioned it at the beginning of my post, Penny Arcade brought on board Ben Kuchera (the guy I quoted above) to present to you The Penny Arcade Report. They brought him on board awhile ago, but I suppose you could say that The Penny Arcade Report started up extremely recently, as early as yesterday or today.

What type of things can we expect from this endeavor? Well, if what they say is any truth at all (and I trust Penny Arcade’s backing, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the odds are high that it will be) then we will be seeing journalism that is respectable. Interesting articles about gaming? On the regular? How could this be possible?

So what is this blog post about anyway? Is it an advertisement? “Sure seems like it” you might be saying. You could be right, honestly. I’m trying my best to put this new thing out in the open. I don’t really see video game websites advertising this type of things to be honest. It’d be like if a new restaurant came out claiming to be way better than Red Robin and then Red Robin said, “That place is fucking banging check that shit out! Way better than us!” It just wouldn’t happen.

I want to see video game news that isn’t complete horse shit. I want to see articles with intelligent points and proper research done. I want to see news that gets my brain working. I’m tired of what video game journalism has turned into. I used to really want to be a video game journalist when I was younger perhaps out of some naive image I built up in my head. As I grew older, however, I soon realized that the field I wanted to join was turning into what it is now. There’s almost no part of me that wishes to be a part of video game journalism now, which is a shame because part of me thinks I would do okay in that field.

However, if journalists step their shit up and take a look at the type of things Penny Arcade is producing via The Penny Arcade Report I may be able to have that dream yet again. Is this about me? Not even a little bit, but everyone is a little selfish.

Best of luck to Ben Kuchera and The Penny Arcade Report. This is the first sign of hopefully better news; I’m hoping others will follow suit in whatever way they can.

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Follow Jamison Trumpets on Twitter. @JamisonTrumpets

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Dreamhack, SRK, and Why People's Opinions Are Stupid

November 29th, 2011 by DanielRGT

Some would say that I like to browse the internet. This is not entirely incorrect, but one of the main sites that I browse/peruse would definitely be the fighting game community’s center hub of Shoryuken.com also known as SRK. Recently, SRK has had an influx of new writers adding new content for them. They had a hiring and I guess these are the people they chose for the job.

They should reconsider their position on these new writers.

Despite this blog post’s title, I am not opposed to people having opinions. Opinions are great. They stir up debate and (occasionally) create fodder for some really dope ass conversations. I am fully in support of such products. Where opinions become bullshit is when people’s opinions are fucking retarded.

You may be saying, “You can’t say that about opinions! They are opinions, everyone is entitled to them!” You would be right except for the part where you are wrong. Everyone is entitled, nay privileged, to having a butt. People use their butt for many things, primarily they use it to defecate. The majority of people, and I use the word majority with the deepest expression of sadness on my face, use their butt to insert things into it. I’m not taking a shot at homosexuals, I’m saying that people take the time to put shit (not literally, because actually shit is the only thing that should exist in a butt) up their butt that has no business being up there.

My point is that people are entitled to their opinions, but that doesn’t mean that their opinion makes any fucking sense. Which brings me to the point of my article. Recently on SRK, there was a post concerning DreamHack, a huge competitive gaming exposition. Since SRK is a fighting game website (primarily), the post concerns the fact that in the middle of the Starcraft II semi-finals, they ran the Super Street Fighter 4 AE Grand Finals.

The tone of the SRK post is mostly disbelief that people watching could be so upset at such an event. The SRK article quotes a tweet made by an irate Starcraft II fan which states the following:

@terranfromtheyear5000: When you watch the Superbowl, They don’t play have [sic] the MLB World Series at half time do they? I want SC2, that is all.

The article quotes this tweet more in jest than anything, as if to say, “Check out this tweet made by a complete retard. This guy is wrong. The issue here is that this guy is absolutely correct.

Please don’t misunderstand, I love fighting games and I enjoy Starcraft II a lot as well. I think both games are incredible spectator sports as well as incredible games to play competitively as well. I think the issue stems in the ridiculous time slot the Grand Finals of SSF4:AE existed in. It was clearly placed there as if to say, “Hey guys check out this game! We’re relevant please look at me. 🙁 “

While I definitely agree that Starcraft II is astronomically more popular than fighting games as a whole, I don’t think that fighting games have to resort to ridiculous ploys such as that to attract fans and viewers. In fact, these types of shenanigans just make the fighting game community look bad as a whole. It makes it look like the guy who desperately seeks attention at all possible moments of the day. We all know that guy, he’s the person who in the middle of a party will do a headstand or start break dancing to get enormous amounts of awkward attention. Most people are in agreement that we fucking hate that guy.

Fighting games don’t have to resort to doing headstands at awkward moments during gaming expositions, they are already growing at an exponential rate. I only joined the fighting game community in late 2007 (basically right before Street Fighter IV came out) and the fighting game community has nothing but quadrupled, if not quintupled since my entrance. I can’t take credit for all of it (or any of it for that matter), but fighting games are not so deep in the mud as far as interest and hype that we have to sandwich our Grand Finals in between other games’ semi-finals.

Yet the whole SRK article consists of nothing but snotty “pishaw” attitudes and quoting “sensible people in the Starcraft community” to try and push its absolutely fucking retarded point. All the while they quote djWHEAT, who is not specifically someone in the Starcraft community. djWHEAT has been engrossed in the fighting came community for a long time, he’s just not as knowledgeable about fighting games as he is about Starcraft.

While I agree that e-sports are e-sports, and therefore Starcraft players shouldn’t complain about the existence of other games the biggest issue is the time slot in which the game was placed in. I could make the same analogy that the guy in the twitter post made, but he’s absolutely correct. If I’m watching Scrubs, I don’t want to watch ER sandwiched in the middle of my Scrubs episode. If I’m watching basketball, I sure as hell better not see any fucking hockey anywhere or I will go apeshit.

The time slots for these games should have been placed separately. Period. End. Starcraft from X o’clock to Y o’clock and Street Fighter from Z o’clock to A o’clock. Stop trying to support headstands fighting game community, I know we’re better than that.

Want to see Jamison Trumpets play fighting games? He goes by the handle DanielRGT when playing, check him sometimes on Monday’s at Option-Select’s Mixup Monday Stream.

Words an English Teacher Should Know (But Doesn't)

May 27th, 2011 by DanielRGT

I have a friend who is a middle school English teacher. I’ve known him for several years now and there are things about him that never cease to amaze me about him. The one thing that amazes me the most, however, would have to be his keen and almost encyclopedic knowledge of Webster’s Dictionary of the English language, except that I would like to ask that you respectfully replace “Webster’s Dictionary of the English language” with a song entitled “Slaves Built the Pyramids.”

I don’t claim to be some sort of English savant that hangs out with English every Saturday to play poker or some shit, but I do consider myself at the very least above-average at the incredible craft that is English. When one encounters an English teacher, the natural reaction would be to most likely humble yourself in the English department of your life. The main thought that comes to mind is, “This guy’s an actual English teacher, if I try to flaunt my fancy-pants English around he may trump me with the use of intimidating words and these semicolons I hear so much about.”

Thanks to my friend the English teacher (who for the sake of anonymity we will call “Buddy” from now on), I have never encountered that situation. It wasn’t until after I had met and talked with Buddy that it was revealed that he was an English teacher, which admittedly confused me. Talking with someone you can usually get a good feeling about their understanding and grasp of the English language, and my immediate reaction when talking to Buddy is that he was kind of a “bro”. So when the information that he was a middle school English teacher was revealed to me, I was immediately suspect.

“There’s no way,” I thought to myself. Now, I wish that the end of this long story was me being proved wrong and he actually has a shrine to Mark Twain in his closet, but alas life is not like in the movies. Everyday I am only reaffirmed of my initial thought when dealing with Buddy. Don’t get me wrong, Buddy is a nice person and that’s all well and good, but Buddy chose a strange profession for one still attempting to excavate past the meaning of high school level vocabulary and writing.

As such, I felt it only right to present you (the reader) with some of my findings. I shall update this list weekly (or bi-weekly depending on if Buddy’s having a good vocabulary week) with words that I think a middle school English teacher should know but quite frankly does not. This isn’t meant to be a big list trying to make fun of Buddy, except that just kidding it totally is.

The List

  • Solace – As Buddy put it when he had to look it up when I used it in a text message to attempt to demean him in some way, solace means “something that gives comfort.” It’s a very basic word that I knew, when sending a text message using the word, Buddy would have no clue what it would mean. After spending many years being friends with Buddy, it’s almost guaranteed which parts of the dictionary will confuse him the most. The X session probably just looks like mayhem to him, or possibly an MS Escher painting. Actually, Buddy almost guaranteed has no clue who MC Escher is.

  • Parthenon – Admittedly, the Parthenon isn’t really a vocabulary word as much as it is a place. The reason it’s listed here, however, is that Buddy is much older than I am. I’m currently 21 and Buddy is about 26. Not everyone knows exactly what role the Parthenon played in history, but goddamnit if you’re a 26 year old middle school English teacher I would hope that you would know how to recognize and  pronounce the word. Buddy pronounced it “Parthemom”, which brings to mind the question what does Buddy think a parthemom is? It’s got the suffix -mom, which might imply maternal aspects to this building. This might be the club house for moms who like to…parthe…things? Maybe parthe has to do with partitions? It kinda sounds like part, as in to part like the Red Sea. Yes, this makes sense. This is what it is.

  • Intercourse – Get your mind out of the gutter sonny, I’m talking about the literal definition here. Admittedly, this may have less to do with Buddy’s grasp of the English language and more a result of the society we live in today. I would be more inclined to believe this statement if it weren’t for the fact that Buddy is an English teacher. Intercourse literally means “dealings or communication between individuals, groups, countries, etc.” When two people talk with each other, they are having intercourse. This is something I learned my freshman year of high school; this is something that Buddy never learned. This goes back to Buddy’s “brotastic” personality. Buddy’s world revolves around making inappropriate sex jokes and farting every 5 seconds, so it’s not odd that when he hears the word “intercourse” he immediately wants to start talking about his sexual escapades. Except that Buddy is a middle school English teacher. Welp.

Expect this list to grow exponentially (Buddy knows this word) as I find more words that Buddy should yet doesn’t know. It’ll be like a science experiment, except that my thesis has already been proven so I’m continuing it for the absolute shit of it.


Aviation (And Other Things Made by the Devil)

May 23rd, 2010 by DanielRGT

I hate airplanes. There’s just something about packing a bag, getting to an airport (Just kidding there’s traffic!), waiting in seemingly endless lines to check my bags in, waiting in seeming endless lines to put all of my stuff through a special x-ray-o-matic, waiting for a seemingly endless amount of time as they personally inspect my bag because it’s got hella suspicious stuff in it, and then walking across the entire length of an airport to get to my gate only to find that it’s not really my gate anymore, it’s some other douchebag’s gate.

When I’m told that my gate is a certain place, I expect it to be in that specific gate. I don’t get this gate-switching bullshit. A specific plane goes to a specific gate; so, what, does a mysterious second plane (in true Miami fashion) cut the other plane off and steal his gate. Are not all gates created equal?

For the extremely small percentage of you who haven’t really flown, allow me to walk you through the process of preparing and taking your flight to a destination.

First, we start off by packing your bags. This is a very complicated process that involves exact knowledge of the location you’re going; or at least this is what I have been taught growing up. Normally, when I pack my bags I use the very popular method of grabbing any clothes within eyesight and clumsily stuffing them into an either undersized or completely oversized bag (It is constitutional law that there is no middle ground when it comes to bag sizes). My parents, on the other hand, use the method of meticulously going through every single one of their outfits and seeing if they are appropriate for their destination (Answer: No). They then, with (I imagine) the help of some crazy origami secrets, fold their clothes so neatly and perfectly that even after packing the majority of their wardrobe it would not be too far-fetched to say that you could fit much more in there as well, such as the entire state of Rhode Island. They are, of course, using the undersized model of suitcase; with the oversized bag they could easily fit all of Europe.

The next hard part is actually getting to the airport. One would imagine it’s just a simple drive to the airport, you drop off your loved ones (or park in an overpriced parking garage), grab your bags, and enter the lion’s den. This just goes to show how absurd some of our imaginations can be. It could be that I live in Miami, but whenever I go driving to the airport it ends up being as difficult and dramatic as a season of 24. Foiling a terrorist plot would actually be more appealing than driving to the airport in Miami to be honest. Traffic, for one, is horrendous. It could be that people have one common destination (Hell) and so they are all backed up trying to get there, but when there’s traffic in Miami it does not turn into bumper-to-bumper slow-moving bullshit traffic. People get restless, and they get impatient. People in Miami can’t spend very long without cutting someone off, honking their horn, flipping people off, running red lights, switching lanes without any warning, performing illegal U-turns, or foiling terrorist plots on the road.

So you’ve finally arrived at your airport, and boy are you relieved to be here; except your relief is soon replaced with horror as you realize there’s still a fuckton of things to do. You probably have bags to check-in, and this is another stressful process you must endure. We all know that you can only take a small “carry-on” sized bag onto the aircraft, which can be a problem if you use the “Grab-Anything Method” of packing as our bag is probably about three times its normal size now. More than likely, you’ll be asked to pay the airlines an absurd amount of money to take your bag and gently place it on the plane, which of course in “Airline” means to load your suitcase into a cannon and fire it into your plane (or towards the general direction of your destination).

The next part includes standing in a ridiculously long line waiting to put your shit through an X-Ray, walk through a metal detector, get searched, and then promptly deemed as “extremely suspicious” by the airport staff. Hold on though, because before you can even get to that fairy-tale experience you have to show a minimum of 30 airport agents your ID and boarding pass. This is of course so they know which gate to change once you get past their security measures.

Getting through the X-Ray machine section is no easy task either, because not only do you have to put your bag through the machine, you also have to take off your belt, shoes, jacket, and then depending on how many tips you get you can see where you go from there. Then of course you walk through the metal detector and upon reaching the other side of the gates of hell, you realize your stuff has been confiscated and a man is looking through it trying to find anything “suspicious.” To do this, they use their Clean & Clear oil pads to swab your bag, and depending on it’s acne level they determine if it’s a dangerous bag or not.

After getting past that point, you always want to double check what gate your flight is going to take off from so you head over to the special TV section of the airport. Here you can find useful information like the gate your flight will not be at. You can also check if your flight is delayed at all though. A good way to do this is to check if your flight has the words “On Time” after it, because this means it will most certainly be delayed a minimum of 3 hours.

Of course, the gate in which your flight is supposed to be at is at the opposite end of the airport from where you currently are, so it’s pretty common to have to walk a great distance to get to your gate. Only, as I’ve mentioned, your flight is really playing hard to get and has switched gates entirely, most likely to a gate at the opposite end from where you currently are standing. This involves a great deal of walking, swearing, and purchasing of beverages at your nearest newspaper outlet. Some people will buy plane tickets for the benefit of all the great exercise the gate changing does.

Now, after waiting for several hours and struggling to find something to do they begin boarding the plane. They will always, of course, begin by calling the people who are definitely not you to get on the plane. After several more minutes of waiting, they finally call your group to board and as you get on you realize that as you get closer and closer to your designated seat you see an exponential increase of babies and fat guys. This only spells trouble for your trip as you will most certainly have to deal with a 3 hour long flight (which will get delayed even more while on the ground because the pilots are having a hard time preparing their “smooth-jazz” pilot voice) filled with crying infants and bad B.O.

When you finally arrive at your destination it’s a great load off of your mind because you’re no longer in a enclosed death trap 30,000 feet off of the ground. It’s great to be on solid land again, only you can only be happy for so long as you remembered that you checked bags into the airplane, which means you must retrieve them from the airport.

When you get off the plane, you must immediately head towards an enchanted forest known as the “baggage claim.” The baggage claim is where you wait even longer for airport employees (who get cigarette breaks every 5 minutes) to throw your bags onto a conveyor belt. It’s common knowledge that they pick one set of bags to place on the conveyor belt dead last, sometimes 50 minutes after the baggage claim has started moving. This is their idea of a practical joke. Ha ha! It sure is funny!

There is only one conclusion I’ve drawn over years of experience, and it’s simply that flying is one of the worst experiences of my life, always. There has never been a time that I have been excited to get on an airplane. In fact, it is not uncommon for me to have vivid nightmares of an airport agent to swab my bag with oil pads and find out my bag has a horrible case of acne, and as a result I am deemed the most suspicious person of all time.

WeB^U Comics

May 20th, 2010 by DanielRGT

There’s a lot of things I’ve learned these past few years. First, it’s that shoeboxes do not make ample shoes. In fact, despite their name, they are quite uncomfortable and difficult to wear.

Second, I’ve learned that making webcomics is a hard business to be in. When it comes to video game webcomics, there’s a certain art of being able to portray a punchline and some sort of message about the video game in question in about 3 or 4 panels. There are some sites that, with a very high percentage of success, complete this in a way that is truly spectacular (e.g. Penny Arcade). Then there are other sites, with one in particular having a negative percentage of success, that fall flat on their face and, if there really is a merciful God, those sites fall under.

Just kidding though, because bad webcomic websites never fall under. The creator has some disillusioned fans who, for whatever reason, have stopped taking their meds and found the awful webcomic as a source of…something. It can’t really be identified as entertainment because by definition, entertainment is meant to be entertaining.

Certain webcomics (and I don’t intend to name any here, but I will tell you the one I’m talking about rhymes with Patrol, Palt, Pelete) have been going on for a long time with no rays of light, no tunnels of hope, no possible chance to become, at any point, an interesting or humorous webcomic. On the contrary, their stubborn attitude towards their critique digs them farther into the ground of awful writing, awful drawing, and 4 panels filled with nothing but nonsensical text (Sometimes you can see smidgeons of what could possibly be art, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet).

I don’t claim to be an expert in webcomics, but I do know a funny and interesting webcomic when I see one. First off, we should go over some of the basics of what makes a webcomic interesting. Webcomics, much like you’re regular run-of-the-mill comics, involve the use of art and text to portray a funny joke, an interesting tidbit, or artsy-schmartsy something-or-other. That’s right, webcomics don’t necessarily need to be funny to be in anyway a good webcomic. If it’s interesting to a particular group of people, and one can see how one might feel that way, then overall it’s probably an ok webcomic.

The most well received webcomics tend to be the ones that are funny, because often times when one thinks of comics they think of the “funny pages” in the newspaper. This means that these webcomics follow a general formula. Generally there are 3 or 4 panels, and the first 2 (or 3) will be used as some sort of set-up or lead-in into what is eventually going to be a great punchline. Sometimes, punchlines can appear in the middle panels, and the last panel can be a sort of resolution or funny comment on it. Penny Arcade does this a lot.

Like I said, I’m not expert in webcomics so I’m being fairly (very) vague here. But even the common idiot can understand what I am trying to say. Namely, I’m trying to say that humor webcomics are meant to be in, some form or another, humorous. There is many a recommendation to do this, and here are just a few:

1. KEEP TEXT TO A MINIMUM

This is not to say that you shouldn’t use text in your webcomics, but really try and make every word count for something. There are so many comics that just have bubbles of useless text that really need not exist. There’s one in particular that if it removed it’s 4 panels of War & Peace sized text, it would improve significantly (mostly because your brain would not be melting because of the awful quality of writing).

Text is a good thing, just not in excess. If you have a lot of text, there better be a damn good reason for it.

2. BE FUNNY

It goes without saying that if you are trying to make people laugh, odds are you should try and be funny. Jokes have things called punchlines, which is usually the part where the person laughs. If you’re writing a comic and you’re not able to pinpoint the punchline of your comic, you are doing something wrong.

Also, when someone asks you where your punchline is and you respond with, “Every panel is a punchline!” You are most certainly an idiot and an awful webcomic creator and should probably find a new profession immediately (such as politician).

3. DO NOT NAME CHARACTERS ETHAN

That name really sucks, you know?

4. CHARACTERS (SURPRISE!) NEED TO HAVE CHARACTER

Characters (as their name implies) have character. What this means is that they have a personality, they have strengths and weaknesses. A character who is just some wacky, brainless, can’t-do-everyday-things is not a character, he’s a mentally challenged person that requires medical help.

This is not to say that I look down on mentally challenged people, but it’s never in good taste to poke fun at them. They can’t really help it, you know? To base a series off of an idiotic character who is completely incapable of doing anything right, much less string together a coherent punchline, is just in poor taste.

Also, to write this character as someone so stupid that, much like an amazing game of Tetris, all the blocks fall into place for them to receive countless royalties, treasures, and what pirates call “booty.”

These are but some of the things to keep in mind when making a webcomic. You might notice that, without mentioning any names, I have singled out a particular awful webcomic in this post. A webcomic so horrible, so evil, that words appearing on syndicated television could not describe it (though blaring profanities could!). A webcomic so awful, that it’s mere mention makes people see nothing but flashes of pure white rage before their eyes. A webcomic so dumb, that only the dumbest and lowest of human beings could appreciate it for what it truly is. A webcomic so poorly written, that Stephenie Meyer constantly dines with its creator on weekends to discuss awful writing, and all awful writing related materials. A webcomic so poorly drawn, that my artists rendition of a falcon (as in the bird) dressed up as a clown (as in the circus) is far beyond what this webcomic’s creator could ever produce. A webcomic so disillusioned that the creator has created a fantasy world in which he is great, wonderful, and awesome and all the others who critique his webcomic as horrible have no idea what they speak of. “They’re simply jealous of my genius,” is probably something he says frequently.

Yes you may have noticed I was singling this webcomic out. I have to respond, however, with a simple, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Video Game Reviewers: Ask Yourself This Question

May 19th, 2010 by DanielRGT

I read a fantastic article (and by fantastic I mean pile of dog shit) the other day written by a gentleman (idiot) over at IGN (Canada). The article, in layman’s terms, stated that sequels need to die out, and that if you like sequels you’re awful and don’t like games or support games for that matter. He then goes on to say how much he likes sequels, but just kidding they desperately need to die, seriously guys fuck sequels. (“Sequels killed my brother.”)

His big analogy to wrap up his fantastically written article goes something like this (Author’s Note: I am paraphrasing a great deal here, so this is not what he said word-for-word, but pretty damn close to it):

“I lived in some shithole when I was a kid. This place sucked, you know? Well, you don’t know so I’ll explain it. It sucked, it sucked forrealz. But I liked it, maybe because I was a stupid kid. It had this magical charm that places have when you’re a very unintelligent kid. I went back there years later to visit the place where I grew up, and I realized how awful it was. This has something to do with video games somehow.”

I’ll translate the above quote for you, just so you don’t have to go through all the painstaking work I ended up doing to decipher these hieroglyphics. He equates his shitty hometown to original versions that sequels are based off of (Example: Super Mario Bros.). He then proceeds to equate his “growing up and returning to his awful hometown” as how he, as a supposed “adult gamer”, didn’t quite feel the same spark he felt when he was a horrible child.

Now here are some reasons why this guy is an idiot (other than the fact that he’s blatantly one). First of all, his analogy (in case you didn’t notice) makes no sense. Not even a little really, in fact it’s not even related to what his article is about (which if you forgot, was about sequels to video games). His analogy really states this:

“Old games are great when you are a kid, but when you get older the old games are not as great.”

This would make sense if you were a crazy person, but it doesn’t translate well over here in sanity-land. Old games are great when you are a kid, and the majority of the time they retain their greatness into the future as well. Sequels, while containing similar characters, settings, and sometimes mechanics, are completely different games in their own right and (with the exception of how they relate to their prequel) should be treated as such. Super Mario 64 is astronomically different than Super Mario Bros., with the exception of the characters used.

Eventually, he brings fighting games into his argument bringing up the widely received game, “Street Fighter IV.” In his article, he reminisces of the days he spent playing Super Street Fighter II on his SNES (which if you think about it, falls under his veil of sequels that shouldn’t exist thanks to those Roman Numerals there) and how he had so much trouble doing his fireballs back in the day. Those quarter-circle forward motions were a doozy man, let me tell you.

Now with the newer addition, he says that he still has the same trouble doing those quarter-circle forward motions which, if you knew anything about Street Fighter IV, you would instantly recognize as bullshit because you can’t do much in that game without accidentally doing quarter-circle forward motions. This is one of the game’s actual downsides as it were, but either he has never played Street Fighter IV or he forgot that quarter-circle forward motions involve the joystick part of the controller, you know that stick that moves the character around.

I can easily get on board with what was probably going through his head when he wrote this article (other than the cocaine), and that is nowadays it’d be refreshing to see some original games. No doubt, original games are always exciting to see and they, if done right, bring something extraordinary to the table. The fact of the matter is, however, when an original game comes out the developers and publishers instantly recognize that a sequel would be received fairly well, and even if you put it up to a “poor choice” by that developer/publisher, a lot of the time it is what the fans want.

This stems from the fact that a lot of the time, severe originality is a “turn-off” as it were to gamers. Familiar mechanics, setting, and gameplay put the gamer at ease and create an environment that is easier to have fun in. Games such as Katamari Damacy (which if you haven’t played, is extremely wacky and Japanese) are so vastly original that some gamers may think, “I’m not sure what’s going on here. This is fucking insane.” They’d rather sit in the comfort zone of Mario or Link, knowing easily what to expect from the game: platforms and pigs.

This doesn’t mean sequels are bad though, in fact they’re healthy. Sequels, if done right, bring something new to that series and are either executed great (e.g. Kingdom Hearts 2) or executed poorly and end up falling flat (e.g. Every Sonic Game after Sonic Adventure). These slight alterations to the series open the doors to change and originality, which eventually create great original titles that may not have been able to be received as well earlier, but can now be received with open arms.

So, as the title of this post says, I really wish video game reviewers would ask themselves this particular question:

“What exactly is a game?”

Part of me really feels that video game reviewers end up having to play way too many video games to do their job, and as a result almost get desensitized by it all. They’ve lost touch on what a game really is; a form of entertainment in order to achieve the abstract concept known as “fun.” Nowadays, gamers get split up into two categories: Casual and Hardcore. To me, what type of gamer you are is irrelevant. A game either appeals to you or doesn’t, there’s no such thing to me as a game that is strictly casual or hardcore.

Sequels, while unoriginal, fall under the category of game. You can bring up all the questions you’d like on whether they should exist or not, but the fact of the matter is the only question that really matters is if those games are worth playing; if they are fun at all. If the answer is no, then maybe you could make the argument that the game shouldn’t have existed, or maybe it could have been executed a little better, but if the game is outright fun there is no reason to ever think that a particular brand of games should die out, even if they do seem unoriginal to you.

I understand that with reviewing gamers comes great difficulty, as well as timing issues. Reviewers are often playing lots of games in a short period of time, and this brings up whether or not they can fully appreciate the game or not. Sure, you can have a “first impression” as it were, but I don’t think you can fully enjoy the game outright having a deadline impending.

I don’t expect for this article to change much of anything (especially considering the audience for this blog being to people I know), but it’d be nice to see less articles proving how asinine video game reviewers can be, and more showing how they truly understand what a game really is.

Castlevania: Haelp I'm Confused

May 19th, 2010 by DanielRGT

There’s a lot to be said about Castlevania. There are castles, certainly, and on top of that some obscure and unidentifiable substance known as “vania.” On top of that, there’s Dracula (or his surprise twist of a son, Alucard), Death, zombies, ghosts, zombie-ghosts, ghost-axemen, axemen-zombies, medusa heads, and fishmen.

It was certainly an original game when it came out for the NES, but when people go around spouting how good these games were, I get a little confused. The first source of my confusion stems from the fact that all old castlevania games, without fail, are fucking awful. I mean it, they’re really bad. Like any movie with Pauly Shore bad.

The old games, using a mixture of brilliant game design and mechanics, bring together the best parts and memories of falling in pits of water (and subsequently dying), attempting to hit some unreachable enemy (Spoiler: He can hit you), getting hit by random flying medusa heads or other related projectiles and falling in previously-mentioned pits of water, and attempting to jump across a chasm that was specifically built to harbor your doom.

Actually the only thing these games really have going for them, which is probably why people enjoy them so, is because of their exceptional music. It’s actually beyond exceptional, but I don’t want to spend several lines having a figurative boner over these tunes, so suffice to say the music is excellent. Which brings me to why I believe people play these games.

Good music in a game has a powerful effect on people. There are games I have played longer than I really should have (such as Castlevania) because of their music. Hell, I will sometimes even leave the game on, not move my character, and go and do something else because I want to listen to the music.

This does not, however, tell me that the game is good. If the game is a piece of ass, the music will not suddenly turn the game into a masterpiece. On the contrary, I feel pity for the game because it had such good music but was left to be a miserable pile of shit that not even its own mother could love.

This does not explain, however, why people like old Castlevania games. Pretty much everything before Symphony of the Night is an awful game and should feel awful, but you will see over and over again how much people liked the first Castlevania, how Castlevania 4 is the best game ever to have existed ever always, how Richter would look so cool in my apartment.

I’ve got to tell you I’m sick of it. Good music does not make up for poor gameplay and horrible jumping mechanics. Actually the only old Castlevania game with okay jump mechanics IS Super Castlevania 4, which is probably why people tend to enjoy it so much. It’s not a very good game, but even a pile of dirt will shine gold if compared to the previous piles of excrement you saw earlier.

Marvel vs Capcom 3

April 20th, 2010 by DanielRGT

So it’s finally been announced, and I would really like to say that I’m fucking stoked for this game. Unfortunately, with the way the teaser looked, I can easily say that I’m skeptical about what may happen to one of my favorite fighting game series. The producer of this exciting new game is the same person who produced Tatsunoko vs Capcom (TvC), and while I enjoy that game I hope they keep a couple of things from that game out of my Marvel vs Capcom game.

The first issue  I’m worried about is whether or not the art style of TvC will go well with this new MvC. My main issue isn’t the art itself, but more how this will look with Marvel’s intense speed. The next problem comes if they don’t maintain that  intense speed, because while TvC is fun it isn’t nearly as fast-paced and exciting as MvC.

These are my main issues with the teaser (and while that was not a long list of reasons, it’s a teaser so it isn’t really forthcoming with information), and anything after that is simply me wondering what they are going to do with the game. While I loved MvC2 (Marvel vs Capcom 2 if you’re dumb), this is a new game so I expect to see something new to the table. MvC2 and MvC1, while the art styles are similar (really, identical) they are two different games. Marvel 2 places a greater value on assists than Marvel 1 (which has a drastically different assist system than 2) and it of course upgraded the standard “2-Person team” into a “3-Person team.” It was an exciting transition to be sure.

Now that the new one is coming out, I hear a lot of people (a.k.a. idiots) bitching about change, using such phrases as “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is a poor choice of words to use when it comes to Marvel considering that Marvel vs Capcom 2 is one of the most broken games of all time.

Don’t get me wrong, the game is fun as shit.  It’s one of my favorite games, and while I’m not exactly great at the game it’s still boatloads of fun. This doesn’t change the fact that the game is broken, it’s just wrong. If you don’t know anything about the game, you’ll probably take a look and say to yourself, “Wow, what a wide selection of characters!”

This is your first mistake, because you are seeing the forest when there is a pack of bears ready to maul the fuck out of you right in front of you. These 4 bears are named Magneto, Storm, Cable, and Sentinel. They are kings of the forest, especially since the forest is just a bunch of trees and these are fucking bears.

What I’m saying is that these 4 characters are the best in the game, and there is no dispute on the matter. There are many different fighting games where people say “This character is the best”, but there is room for interpretation. This is not the case with Marvel, anyone who argues that Sentinel is not the mac daddy of all giant rapist robots from the future is clearly wrong and doesn’t know what they are talking about.

Which brings me back to my point (which was Marvel vs Capcom 3 in case you drifted off), Marvel vs Capcom 2 is EXTREMELY broken, so by all means attempt to fix it. However, I’m hoping that they hire those ass-crack piece of shit plumbers who you hire to fix your pipes, and they do the job, but in the process they kidnap your children.

I’m hoping Capcom keeps that plumbing past-time in mind when making this game.

Narrative Writing and J.T.'s List of No-Nos

January 25th, 2010 by DanielRGT

Don’t like writing? Think writing is for weenies? Do you pick up books and base their chance of being purchased based on the ratio of half-naked women on the cover to sexual euphemisms in the title (The most successful known ratio to date has been 10 to 1 belonging, of course, to The Bible)? If you said yes to any of these questions, then the following post is probably not for you. Why you may ask? Well the reason being is that you may confuse my list of what I believe to be trends of bad writing (and all bad writing related incorporations) for being exceptionally good writing. The confusion that will settle in your brain will be enough to kill you ten times over and then an eleventh time on top of that.

Writing has been around for ages (almost 4 years now!) and as a result of other people’s success, many have tried their hand at writing. They think to themselves, “If a story about gay vampires and personality-less women can be hugely successful, then my story about gay vampires mummies and personality-less women will be just as successful!” Unfortunately for the human race, they are probably not far off the mark. This doesn’t change the simple fact, however, that with new rookie writers comes a lot of new rookie bad and horrible writers.

The main offender would be those darn teenagers and their rap music, always stomping all over my begonias on my lawn. This isn’t to say that all bad writers are teenagers, but almost all teenagers are bad writers.

What makes bad writers so horrible though? To me, there are different types of bad writers. There are the bad writers who generally realize that they are not fantastic writers and want to improve. These people may or may not be good writers in a couple of months/years/decades, but the fact is that they have the right idea.

Then there are bad writers who write the worst shit in the world. The type of writing that hurts your brain to read it, the type of writing that you think to yourself only one word (“WHY?!”), the type of writing that absolutely needs to be buried very far underground so as to not harm other people with it’s harmful UV rays. Then when you say that their story could use some improvement, you are somehow at fault for not “understanding their vision.” Well yes, I suppose you’re right. I couldn’t understand your horrible, awful, atrocity of a vision. I apologize that when I read stories I expect to be entertained, not in physical pain. My bad.

This is supposed to be a list though, right? Then let’s get a-listing (not to be confused with A-Listing) on trends of bad writings and things that if you want to be a better writer, you’ll avoid.

Number One: Character Naming

If you’re writing a story, you probably have characters in it. Characters are a key part of any story (unless it has no characters, then it’s really more of a poem) and as a result these characters have names. Naming characters is a difficult thing to do, and trust me I am well aware of the difficulty. I can’t name characters for shit, so trust me I know your pain.

So there you are naming your character and you start going through names in your head. “What should I name my protagonist? Should I name him Randy…maybe Henry…what about Johnathan…or Candy. Yeah, maybe he’s a stripper. No wait, that’s not right…” You’re desperately trying to come up with something decent, so you start thinking of names of other characters you enjoy.

This may or may not be you, but this is a lot of other prospective writers. Confused as to what I’m about to talk about? Well, what I am saying is that there are people who thoroughly enjoy watching japanese animation. As such, the characters in these stories have japanese names such as Sakura or Me Llamo Biscuit. Then it hits you like way too many bricks falling on you (Any number greater than zero bricks is way too many bricks); what if you were to name your character something cool like that?

It’s perfect! You’re writing a story about a kid who grew up in the suburbs of Arkansas, he’s lived with his mother and father (Julia and Bobbert, respectively) and it’s only natural that they would name their child Ichigo. All normal American parents name their pure American child born in America on American soil in an American hospital living in an American city with their American relatives something  as un-American as possible.

Number Two: Setting, Setting, Setting

Your story has its characters now, but these characters have to interact somewhere right? What’s a story without a setting, a place for the action to take place? Now it’s time for you to make that difficult decision, so you think to yourself what’s the easiest place you can write about. Unfortunately, this is probably your thought process: “Hmm, so I go to school. I could make my character be a student and then something ca-razy happens that turns his life in school into being way ca-razy.” You are of course well aware that ca-razy is a sub-branch of plain old vanilla crazy.

Your idea of writing about a character that goes to school, however, has been overdone. It’s been beaten to death, been turned into the worst type of “new writer cliche”, been beaten to death by Colonel Mustard with the candle in the living room. It’s understandable that people would choose a school as their setting, because what do teenagers know better than the angst-filled public education institute that they are currently presiding at. So they’ll place their character in their “made up” angst-filled public education institute where they will undergo many angst-filled public education institute situations, possibly they are shunned or embarassed by other angst-filled students at the angst-filled public education institute.

I’m here to tell you that your idea is boring as shit (if you hadn’t caught that already). What’s the way to remedy this? It’s very easy, avoid writing angsty stories about angsty teenagers at angsty schools with angsty teachers. This is not to say that your setting couldn’t be a school, but think to yourself whether or not it really has to be a school. Your story is about a teenager (possibly filled with angst) who is seemingly normal. Your character meets a “suspicious” person and suddenly their world is turned “upside-down” because now they have all these special powers and the government is very racist against special-powered people and they don’t believe they should be married because they feel that marriage should be between a man and a woman…

Whoa, whoops! Got a little side-tracked there! What I am trying to say is that your setting doesn’t necessarily have to be in a school. For example, your story could be just as effective if performed in (why not?) the Sahara Desert! Your character could be a teenager (possibly filled with angst) who is seemingly normal in the desert. Your character meets a “suspicious” cactus and suddenly their world is turned into nothing new because they still live in the desert. This might sound different than your original idea, but the plusses are that it takes place in the desert.

Number Three: Pitiful Attempts at Humor

You probably think you’re a funny person. You remember very clearly that time you were out with your friends and you did something that barely qualifies as mildly amusing and suddenly you’ve decided that today you’ll work on your life-long dream of being a stand-up comic. This is nothing like yesterday where you decided to fulfill your life-long dream of being an artist, no this is completely different. Now it’s the next day, and you’ve figured out that your life-long dream since you were a small child has been to become a writer (duh). Why not combine the best of both worlds though? You want to write stories but you want to make people chuckle to themselves in the process. Maybe your story is very serious (possibly in the desert?) but there are openings for humor.

So you begin to write in a blaze of poorly written fire. You start writing your story and also try and add a few “chortle-startles” as you call them when not in the vicinity of anyone you know to breathe oxygen. You take a look at your first chapter and you think to yourself (possibly in the desert?) that you are the most hilarious writer to have ever existed. Unfortunately, your first chapter has almost no content at all and is simply just a sea of poorly written jokes, horrible punchlines, unhumorous situations, and (if you took my advice) the desert.

How do you remedy this? There are some ways to do so. The first and most obvious remedy is to stop trying to be so goddamn funny you horrible excuse for a comedy writer. Not everyone can write humor, it’s not a skill that every writer is capable of. It’s not easy to write in a way that’ll produce a chuckle, and then on top of that there’s always the possibility that the type of humor you are writing does not appeal to the reader. Trust me when I say this is a real problem, especially when you are deciding whether or not you want to attempt a certain type of humor. “What if the reader doesn’t enjoy it? What if they hate it? What if they get offended?” These are things I used to ask myself before I said fuck it and decided to write the type of humor that I wanted to write (specifically, good humor).

The other way to remedy this is to put humor but don’t put the amount of humor you initially forced in there. There’s a second part to this remedy as well, and that is to ask several people to read over your work and ask them whether or not they think the humor is good, helping, or detrimental to the storyline. Slapping in a joke in the scene where a pair of camels are ripping the protagnist’s best friend in half is not a good idea.

Number Four: Novels of Description within the Novel

Confused by what I am saying? You won’t be as soon as I explain it to you. I want to ask you if you have read any bad stories lately. You probably have because it’s staring back at you on your computer screen. Let me ask you this then, does this look in any way familiar?

“Becky entered the room desert walking pretty fast-like and stuff. She had golden blonde hair with curly pigtails with blue ribbons in her hair. She was wearing a red t-shirt that says ‘Show me da money’ with white squigglies on the sleeves and her pants were faded blue jeans that were bejewled to say her name only the person who bejeweled it misspelled her name as ‘Bucket’. She was wearing white sneakers with rainbow laces and she had painted on them to make them look prettier. Her skin was tanned because of the hot sun and now she was sweating and she had this look on her face like she didn’t really want to be in the sun but now that she was in the sun she sort of had no choice. There she was, there stood Becky.

Becky is also about five foot, eight inches tall and she was sort of lanky with a lot of freckles on her face…”

There is one question that comes to mind when you read this “excerpt” that I just wrote up right now: “Who gives a fuck?” Is Becky that important that we have to care so much about the excruciating detail of her apparel? That next paragraph better end in, “Then Becky was stabbed by fifty muggers Saharan thieves and she died what experts would call the most painful death that any human could ever experience,” because that is what everyone was hoping would happen the second Becky’s stupid face was mentioned.

Ease up on the detail when describing characters. Detail is good and all, but too much detail and every single one of your characters is going to have to end up like Becky for your story to even survive past Chapter Three.

So what now? I’ve explained some things you should avoid when writing, but your story probably still is lacking! Well, unfortunately I can’t help you in this one post alone. So what is Jamison Trumpets going to do for you? We’ll keep you in suspense (just like any desert-themed book would do) and continue with our insights on writing and how to improve it.

Do you have any suggestions or ideas that writers should generally avoid or be cautious around? Want to see your idea on this list come to life with my own personal brand of horrible writing? Shoot me an e-mail at jamisontrumpets@gmail.com and if it’s spot on or good enough, you’ll see it in an upcoming post (with your name in “da credits”) and you can brag to all your friends how you showed up on a no-name blog written by somebody who nobody really knows!

Welcome to the REAL Miami

January 6th, 2010 by DanielRGT

Heat! Sand! Ocean! Scantily-Clad Women! These are the things that people think of when they think of living life in Miami. Well I’m here to tell you that there are still also people who think that the world is flat.

Miami isn’t anything like this. I don’t know who started this clearly flawed rumor, but I would like a refund on my purchase because my life could definitely use some more scantily-clad women. People probably get this misconception of Miami from a place called “South Beach.”

I’ve only ever been there once, but as the name implies there is a beach and it is somewhere in the southern part of someplace that can exist as the southern part of something. Re-read that sentence if you didn’t quite get it because it makes perfect sense.

As I was saying, South Beach is exactly what people want from Miami. There is a beach nearby which, one would assume, has sand and an (Information still waiting to be verified) ocean. As for scantily-clad women, this information is still false.

“It’s a beach though, aren’t women wearing their super hot bathing suits?” Well, you would be right except that they aren’t wearing their bathing suits. How does this make sense? Let me repeat that for you. They would be wearing their bathing suits but they aren’t.

That’s right, I’m talking about the luscious fruit that men so frantically desire. I’m talking of course about ponchos, because unfortunately for people’s now shattered dreams it rains a lot in Miami.

When it’s not raining though, it’s what you think. Scantily-clad women as far as the eye can see, except that you’ve now clamped them shut because the wrong women are very scantily-clad.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not being insensitive anything. I’m not saying, “Oh man that girl is ugly so I don’t want to see her in a bathing suit.” I’m talking about moms, moms in their late 40s. Moms who have had upwards of four to seven children within the past hour. These are not the type of women you want to be seeing while cruising for chicks, booze, or bags of fattening potato chips. These are the type of women you want to be seeing in parkas, layers upon layers of parkas. Even when they go to the hospital suffering from parka induced heat-stroke, you want to see at least a minimum of three parkas on her when she’s lying in her hospital bed.

But wait! I’m missing something aren’t I? That’s right, I mentioned something about heat at the beginning of this didn’t I? Well, that part about Miami is painstakingly true. It is hot in Miami, it is very hot. It is hot as fuck.

When it comes to Miami though, there’s one thing you can take comfort in. If you haven’t heard, people in Miami are dumb. When I say that, you are probably imagining a dumb person in your head. What I need you to do is imagine a person who is eight to ten times dumber than your idea of a dumb person, and then multiply that by eighty. That’s how dumb people in Miami are.

Most of this idiocy is transported directly into Miami’s driving skills. People are shitty drivers here, and it has everything to do without how dumb (and ignorantly arrogant) everyone is here. Stop signs mean a very specific thing (To stop). In Miami, the word “STOP” means a completely different thing. It means “put the pedal to the metal”, it means “GO, GO, GO”, it means do everything in the world except for the very action of stopping.

This is just a look into what Miami really is, and I wholeheartedly apologize for crushing your naive Miami-based dreams. However, if you were to donate some money you could be the one to put some parkas on those mothers.

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