Saturday, October 8, 2011


So Halloween is around the corner (a holiday that I love), and it got me thinking about monsters and stuff. I've always been into vampires, in a few different forms, so I usually check out all sorts of vampire fiction, from Bram Stoker to Buffy. No Twilight, because I'm not a freshman girl.

However, I DID mention vampires to a freshman girl the other day, and we got to talking about Dracula... and I thought to myself, sweet, a cute girl whose only vampire knowledge isn't stupid Edward Cullen. Then she confessed that she HAD been a huge twi-hard, and discovered older vampire stuff afterwards. Sort of a regression back down the evolutionary path of vampires in fiction. I thought that was kind of cool... especially that, having explored that path, she was able to realize how utterly stupid Twilight vampire lore is.

So I decided to sketch how utterly baffling the evolution of vampires has been.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tuition and university... explaining the price

Sorry it's been a couple of weeks without a post - I'm not disappearing again, I just started a new school. I didn't have to move, fortunately, because my new campus is close enough to my old that I can keep my apartment. Which is amazing. Because moving is a bitch. I haven't decided which I hate more: packing or unpacking.

Anyway, my old university had a very good reputation and was relatively cheap. My new school has about the same reputation, but is ten times the price in tuition. I was wondering what explains the massive price gap. Like I said, it's not simply reputation, because both universities are about the same on that scale. I thought maybe it was the level of faculty? But no, again, about equal on that scale. So I looked into equipment and tech... labs and that sort of thing. Maybe the new school is more modern, better equipped for science kinds of things? Nope, not that either.

So it was a big mystery until I went to class for the first time. It's the campus. My old university was bland, plain, downright ugly in areas. It's a city school, so I never thought much about it. But the new campus is ridiculous. It's like a forested paradise. So that's my explanation. Ten times the cost, because the grounds are so much nicer.

And you know what? I might be ok with that.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

More school - and an old game

So, apropos of my last blog, my new school offers textbook rentals. Great, thought I, this way I can save tons of cash! Only as it turns out, the rental costs almost the same as actually buying the book. Like 85-90% percent of the cost. Now, you might say that any savings are good, but not if you think about value. If I buy the book, I'm paying 10-15 dollars more, but I actually OWN the book. You can keep these things forever, or even sell them on Ebay or Amazon, and get at least half price back. Renting it, paying nearly the full amount, and getting no lasting value? Makes no effing sense.

Anyway, rant over. No comic today, because I have youtube links instead. Remember Mario is Missing? That game was awesome. Education entertainment. Edutainment. I learned all about like, Roman history when I played it. For those of you who don't know it, it was an old game from the early nineties. Mario has been captured, so you play as Luigi, travelling to different places in the world via magic portals in Bowser's castle. You'd have to wander around these cities collecting clues as to your location, and when you figure it out, you could return and confront a koopa on every floor, eventually getting access to Bowser and rescuing Mario.

Anyway, I looked it up for the sake of nostalgia. Apparently, there were some huge differences between the computer release, which I had, and the far more popular SNES release. It's the same game, as far as I can tell, but it looks totally different. Was it remade when it was ported, or what? Just thought that was kind of neat. Check out the comparison below. And check out the game! It's awesome.

CD-Rom version:

SNES version:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back to School

I'm not sure how many of you are in school, like me..... though probably a fair few. This is a pretty high school/college aged blog, right? I think so. What is my target demographic, anyway? I should really look into that.... anyone know how I'd go about doing that sort of research? Who reads my blog? Housewives? Probably housewives.

Yeah, I'm going with housewives.

So I'm sure many of you ladies have children in college, like me. Course selection is a delicate process. Often time is a factor, so you have to wait up until the website grants access so you can nab the good courses before they fill. Then you have to find a schedule that works... no huge gaps between classes, nothing too early in the day. It's a science. An art. Ask your sons, ladies, I'm sure they can tell you.

But there's one factor you really can't adjust for until it's too late. For poor students like me, it's a problem.

Then it's back to the drawing board... and by then, you're stuck in the loser courses at 7AM.

Friday, August 12, 2011

More apartment news... and the RETURN

I'm back after a super long, unannounced hiatus. Sorry about that. Hopefully my loyal, intrepid followers are still around and will notice my return. :D

I won't bore you with the details of why I left, but I'm back now... back IN FORCE.

So. No gaming news today, life instead. My apartment is pretty rad. Newish building, clean... now you all know I had an inexplicable ant problem a while ago. Now I have an inexplicable fixture problem. There I was, minding my own business, idly leaning on the bathroom sink while I brushed my teeth... and BAM.

Now I'm no plumber, but I'm almost positive sinks aren't supposed to do that. Siiiiiiigh. Now I have to wait for the building handyman to fix it. Until then, looks like I'm brushing my teeth in the kitchen.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Dangers of Beautiful Days

Even more followers! This is so awesome. Thanks guys. I hope my excellent MS Paint skills are benefiting you. Perhaps you're studying my techniques, in an effort to enhance your own artistic abilities?

Yeah, that's probably it.

So I was visiting a friend a little while ago. He lives in a nice hot city, but when I checked the weather forecast for the weekend I was suppsoed to be there, it said nothing but storms. I was pretty bummed, but fortunately the forecast turned out to be total nonsense, because it was gorgeous all weekend. So we walked around, we enjoyed the city. We went on a boat. We drank some drinks. It was good times.

I was feeling great about being active and healthy and outdoorsy - as normally I'm the "stay in and read/play video games/sit on the computer" type. But, when we got home and I checked myself out in the mirror, I noticed something horrifying.

That'll teach me for going outside.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Traditional controllers vs the future

I sometimes feel like I'm the only person who hates hates HATES the direction video games are taking. All innovation and originality efforts are being poured into how the player interacts with the games, and not the games themselves. This, consequently, means companies will gladly make stupid, pointless, awful unsophisticated games, as long as they lend themselves to the current gimmick.

First it was motion controls... and now it's MORE motion controls.. and a bunch fo screens everywhere? Guys, it's like the rumble feature. It accomplishes nothing. Annoying buzzing in my hands does not immerse me in the game - it distracts me. Similarly, flailing around in my living room is not a superior, more interactive method of play than using a controller. Nor is whipping my head around the room to make sure I can an eye on every screen in use. It is, in fact, more difficult, less precise, and encourages developers to develop for that single feature instead of, oh for example: story, characters, challenge, humour, atmosphere, gameplay, or anything else.

I used to be a die hard Nintendo fan. I started to fall off the wagon when Gamecube failed to generate as many good titles as I'd hoped, and I jumped ship entirely with the Wii. I mean honestly now. And now, the other platforms are following suit with the motion control thing. When I talk to people about this, a lot seem to agree with me. But that doesn't explain how Nintendo and their silly gimmicks are KILLING in the market.

At this rate, in a few years, the only platform that will cater to my desire to game without gimmick is PC.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sorry for the absence... plus MILESTONE!

Celebrate! Lo and hither and yon, rejoice! Hark, the heralds sing!

But before all that, sorry for the inactivity lately. I was moving. Many of you, I'm sure, know what moving entails. It entails fighting with the phone company over the status of your internet, so I've been without for quite some time. You'll call, tell them when you need it. They guarantee it. They fail to live up to their guarantee. You call again, remind them of their guarantee. They simply apologize and offer a new guarantee.

So their guarantees clearly mean nothing.

Then more deadlines come and go... then they send somebody over to look at the inputs and phone jacks... that person concludes nothing is wrong... so you argue with the phone company again. Yadda yadda yadda.

Long story short, it took a while for me to get my internet up and running. Now initially, I figured this saga would make a fairly good comic, but honestly, it's just too frustrating to relive in visual form.


A much better reason for a new comic! I totally neglected to mention hitting the TWO HUNDRED (two zero zero) 200 follower mark! Thank you guys so much, I'm glad you find my a) ranting b) poorly drawn comics or c) both entertaining enough to subscribe to me. I really do appreciate it.

I'm partying hard in my room right now. There's fireworks and debauchery and everything. Seriously. This is how hard I'm partying:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I think not many of you will agree with me here, but I've just got to say, I think platformers are terrible.

Or, to be more specific, I think platformers are obsolete and should be put down.

They're a product of early video games. Back then, the technology was so new, that the simple act of manipulating something on a screen in a digital environment using physical controls was, in and of itself, so interesting and fun that games were built around it. The games were about, "how skilfully can you interface with the controls?" "How's your hand-eye coordination?" Hence early games like Mario. Timing jumps, judging distance... back then, it was new, and gaming technology was limited in how far it could push strategy elements, story elements, artistic elements, and so forth. So, platformers had their role.

But in this day and age? I'm sorry, but I think a game whose core still revolves around platforming is just lazy. I understand the nostalgia element, I guess, but since I came to gaming later than most, I never developed the love for platformers when they existed in their own time. Of course, all games involve timing and hand eye coordination - you're still using a controller, after all - but an FPS, for example, involves strategy and planning and coping with what other players or AI toss in your way. The game is not ONLY about how well you handle a controller. For the actual gameplay, and the challenge of a game, to be you, simply hitting the right buttons or flicking the joystick at the right time... and that's it? That's the whole thrust of the game? I just don't see the appeal in this day and age.

Take for example, the image below. Where's the fun in completing that level? I know what I have to do, I've figured it out. There are no surprises or ambushes or twists. The only challenge is that my finger might slip and I'll have to start again. This is fun?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

So apparently there was some big rapture scare. Honestly, I completely missed it. Not that I buy into insane mass paranoia (remember Y2K, anyone?), but it's fun to keep track of these things and make snide remarks.

But oh well, I missed it. I guess I need to keep a closer eye on the news?

Anyway, that's not the point of this blog. The point of this blog is to discuss a gaming quirk of mine. I am what I term a "compulsive saver." When I play games, I save them every few minutes, spread across multiple save files. If I play games that don't allow for this feature, for example, Final Fantasy games that only let you save at certain spots or in the open field, it makes me uneasy.

A while ago I thought to myself, "what is at the heart of this compulsive saving behaviour? What is it's root?" I think I've figured it out. One of my deepest gaming fears is that all my progress is going to be lost because something is going to happen before I get a chance to save. Not something in-game, something from the real world. Like my computer crashes. Or, my worst fear... a power outage.

Think about it, you're trying a boss for the 10th time, FINALLY making progress, you think you're going to win this time... and then ZAP. Power outage. All progress lost.

It keeps me up at night.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Escort Missions

So, I take gaming pretty seriously, and as such, I don't mind when games take me seriously. That is to say, I don't mind when games are insanely difficult. I take it as a challenge. I take it as the developers saying, "here, we have faith in you, try your hand at this!" The harder the game, the greater the sense of accomplishment. I go to advanced difficulty settings whenever I start a game. All in all, I dig the tough levels and modes.

However, games can cheat.

The cheapest, easiest way for a game to add a challenge is by throwing in an escort mission, where you need to guard some AI, or ally, or whatever. This is cheating. It's cheating because they don't give you control of whatever it is you need to guard - the game controls it. Let's think about that a second: the game is saying 'to pass this level, you must ensure no harm comes to this ally. Also, I control the ally." The game then goes on to make your character act like a complete and utter idiot, chasing after hostile bullets and explosions like some cracked-out danger junkie. Then, the game blames you for the consequences.

Case in point?

Here we have Natalya, from Goldeneye 64. There were several missions where you had to escort her through the crossfire of raging battlegrounds, while she literally runs around and remarks "Aren't these flowers pretty???"

Sorry, games, but this kind of challenge is not satisfying or interesting. Holding the gamer responsible for inconceivably bad AI is just dirty pool. I'm playing, here, let me control things on my end. Don't shackle me to a ridiculous liability whose behaviour I can't affect.

Now, you might just say that the concept is sound, it's the AI that's bad. And for Goldeneye 64, that may be true. But I was just playing the post-apocalyptic Advance Wars on my DS, and they give me an escort mission. And it goes a little something like this:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chess Games

I take chess way too seriously. I'm not even really that good at it, but I enjoy it thoroughly. Though it can get a little stale - it's a pretty slow, stuffy game. That's why I absolutely love PC chess games. My all time favourite was Battle Chess. It was a game where you could play against your friends or the PC (various difficulty levels) and the game was animated in 3D, with each piece being a character with unique battle animations versus the other pieces. It was really violent, and really funny. For example, Rook takes Queen...

Another great thing about the game was that it had fantastic music. The background music would change depending on how you were doing, and each piece had its own theme music whenever it moved - PLUS the music would be different per team, so your Knight would have different music than an enemy knight. Basically it was solid all around.

It even had a fully voice-acted tutorial feature, where each piece would come forward and teach you how to play the game.

Anyway, the reason for this post is that THERE'S a NEW battle chess coming out! I read about it on Joystiq. There wasn't too much info, just a few screens and the fact that it's apparently coming out this summer. So, I'm damn excited. I need to get back into form, so I can start taking Chess way too seriously. It's game time!

Ants update

Thanks for the support re: the ant battle, all. Just a quick update... we won!
Combination of raid liquid bait and strategically placed bait traps seems to have done the trick. No sign of ants in a while.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The most important issue of all...

Following an earlier post I made when things were first heating up in Egypt a couple of months ago, I thought it might be consistent of me to make a post about the killing of Bin Laden and my thoughts on that. But honestly, I think we've all heard enough about that, so I won't.

Then I decided, well, Canada is wrapping up a federal election which saw some big changes, so maybe that's worth a post? But no, that's not really that interesting or important either.

Instead, I will write on an issue that far eclipses these two: there are ants in my fucking apartment. Now normally, I find ants totally unobjectionable. I don't think they're gross to look at, like other bugs, and there's really no risk that you're going to be surprised by an ant in bed or anything, since they usually stick to their colonies or if not, they're on a mission for food and not dicking around in your bedroom. But these guys were making an anthill in my bathroom, using bits of cement and mortar they scraped up from in between the floor tiles. And that is just not cool.

So, the battle is on. Step one was to flush hot water down the cracks that I see them in. That'll kill a whole bunch - maybe even halt their progress - but I don't think it'll kill the whole colony. I should also mention that I'm in a clean, sixth floor apartment, so the mere fact that they're here is totally shocking. Anyone have experience with this sort of thing? Any good pest control brands or products I should know about?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

4X Games

I just wanted to make this blog to shoutout one of my favourite genres of all time, the Four X genre.

For those of you who don't know, 4X stands for Explore, Expand, Exploit and Exterminate. Basically, macro-level turn based empire building games. I suppose the most popular of this genre would be the Civilization franchise - and for a good reason, they're amazing.

4X games are great. Infinite replay, always with new empires/races to choose, new maps, new ways to win. The games are a good length, you can play in the background while you do something else or devote your full attention. They're just really enjoyable, really versatile games.

Personally, I've always had a soft spot for 4X games with a sci-fi twist. Master of Orion (2, too be specific) is probably my perfect example of this. The game is very dated now, and sadly, Master of Orion 3 was a disaster, but with MOO2 you just feel like an all powerful overseer, with the information and understanding of an entire galactic empire. I find it really satisfying.

Follow up re: Portal 2

No new comic just yet.

Just want to say, I've done the developer commentary and I seriously reccommend it. It's really very very interesting.

Also, somebody asked about multiplayer, so I'd say yes, the multiplayer is awesome. Totally amazing puzzles that seem totally fresh because of the co-op mechanic (4 portals at once?!), and it's got more great lines of dialogue. :D

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Game of the year, every year.

I loved the first, the sequel exceeded my expectations. I could not be more pleased with Valve right now.

I'm debating whether or not to walk through the game with the developer commentary on. On the one hand, I want more Portal, and that's the only content left I haven't already done. On the other hand, I'm worried that a sort of "behind the scenes" thing might ruin the magic. Your thoughts?

Saturday, April 16, 2011


WOOOOOO. Anyone in the mood for a little Alice Cooper? Anyone done school? Almost done? Join me in my celebrations!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Horror movies

Any of you out there in the blogosphere horror movie fans? I've never been much of one, myself. I think it's because the bulk of horror movies seem to be nothing but gore or cheap jump-outs. That's not artistic, or impressive. Anyone can startle somebody by being really quiet and then really loud. Also, anyone can make somebody uncomfortable by showing gore and torture.

I've seen one or two horror movies that didn't do either of those things, and I thought they were amazing. Consistently spooky... haunting. Scare the crap out of you without being cheap and easy. Unfortunately, these seem to be the vast minority of horror movies these days. What do you guys think?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm back! And healthy! Kind of...

Hello hello loyal followers.... sorry I haven't posted anything in a while. I got really sick. Like, bed-ridden for many many weeks kind of sick.

But I'm all better now! Yay! I actually feel great!

Being stuck in bed for so long made me feel really weak and slothful, so when I got healthy again, I started hitting the gym, so I could feel active. I really enjoy it! I like feeling and being active.

There is just one.. snag..... I like to go to the gym early in the morning and that's also when all the very old men decide to go... I don't know if its universal or if its just my gym but uh... these guys seem to like being naked. Imean really like it. Like constantly. In the changeroom, I change my clothes. I don't strip then dither around for several minutes... it's terrifying.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spring Break!!!!!!!!!

So it's that time, ladies and gentlemen. Spring break! Or, as it's officially called up here, "reading week." You all doing anything fun? Personally, I can't help but feel that I'm taking the name "reading week" too seriously. I might somehow be missing the point.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ordering In

I've never had especially good luck ordering pizza to my house. And that's too bad, because it's easy and delicious, and I'm a lazy guy who likes delicious things. Either my street name doesn't appear on their maps, or their maps are a hundred years old when my street was called something else... I don't know, whatever, it's been a lifelong struggle. Delivery to my place is hard.

This weekend though, I had an entirely new kind of frustrating experience.

Pizza was good, though.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

On a serious note...

No thoughts about games or gamer culture today. Just want to take a second to keep things in perspective. A lot has been going on in Tunisia and now Egypt over these past few weeks. Whether you follow politics or not, support or denounce a particular person, place, or government, I think we can all take a second to wish good luck and safety to people who are surrounded by unrest and chaos.

I say good luck to these people, and wish them all the best!

More fun posts to follow soon, but today, a friendly but serious message!

Thanks guys!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Xbox Live Party

Does anyone else seem to have the worst luck ever when it comes to party games? Now, I'm more of a single player gamer and I'm not too big on online multiplayer games, but there are a couple that I really like. Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead (2) are among the best, in my opinion. I love these games and play them all the time.

Unfortunately, they happen to also be among those few games that really really require communication and co-ordination among a team. Get a 16 person Halo map, or whatever, and you can all just do your thing. TF2 and L4D(2) are about teamwork.

Which is problematic at best, considering the usual teammates I seem to find...

Monday, January 24, 2011


No comic today, sorry. Just a quick placeholder entry until I have time to do a real one.
Thanks everyone who's been commenting and following, I appreciate it. Hope to have some more interesting/entertaining posts for you soon!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My problem with MMORPGs

I'm a big star wars fan and I get excited when I hear about TOR. I loved the KOTOR games, so I eagerly await the next installment.... but then I remember it's a MMO. I have serious problems with MMOs. The KOTOR games were immersive, they sucked you in with great story. Now that it's an online multiplayer game... I'm worried about a few things.

Now, Bioware has assured us to the contrary that the single player modes will stand alone, and will be as story-rich as the KOTOR games. I simply find that hard to believe. It's not a KOTOR game with a multiplayer option, after all. Designing a MMO is a completely different monster. I remain very, very skeptical about what they're going to do with this game. After all, if they were really interested in just making a standalone, single player story, they'd just do KOTOR 3.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Assassin's Creed auto-win

I love the Assassin's Creed games. I finished AC2 a little while ago. I won't spoil anything, but I did notice that there's basically an instant win in the game. Nobody but your character can swim. In a game based on stealth and escape, and in a game that takes place largely in Venice, being the only non-hydrophobe is pretty handy. Murder anyone you want, dive into the nearest canal, whistle a happy tune and go scott free. Anyone else notice this?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gaming: PC vs Console

I know, I know, the age old debate. I was talking about this very subject with a friend, and I decided it might be a good topic for my first real blog post (the intro post I just made doesn't count).

Basically, I'm very pro console gaming. For one thing, the controller means that the actual game-controls can only be so complex. With a keyboard and mouse, the game can expect way more of you and so it makes it controls more difficult to master. I think this can discourage people from getting into a game, especially new gamers. Console games are much more accessible and easy to learn.

I also just don't think there's as an intense "pro" culture in console games. Think of Blizzard games and E-sports. That's mostly on PC. While it's good for gaming to become more popular, I think the emphasis on pro-gaming really takes away from the rest of us, more social and casual gamers. What are your thoughts?


Hey everyone, welcome to my Blog! Basically I'm just going to discuss interesting things - either news items, or cool things I find online. Now I know lots of Blogs already do that, but hopefully there's room for one more.

One thing I plan to do differently is add comics to summarize my thoughts. That way, if people aren't in a reading mood but want to hear my thoughts, they can just read the comic instead! "Thought Comics!" =D

I warn you, I have no artistic skills. Hopefully that's part of the charm.

I may also ask for your thoughts on a certain issue, and draw them up in the next comment. Anyway, thanks for visiting, and I hope Thought Comics gets off the ground!

So, do you like the premise? Your thoughts?