August 31, 2013

Pikmin Power.

So far this year, I’ve really been getting into video game collecting. Well, I’ve always collected video games and kept everything in good shape, but that just seemed like normal to me. Now I’m really into the scene, trying to get the best prices I can on both new and classic titles. It’s not simply that I want to play them, but I just think it’s fun to collect them.

So, I’ve bought a lot of games. A lot of them I bought for $10 or $5 or even as low as 99 cents in a few cases. Let me tell you, it’s hard to go back after that! Mostly, this means I buy used games, but I have bought a few brand new, sealed games if they’re on sale or if the retail price isn’t $50+. In fact, out of all the games I’ve bought over the past 2 years, there is only one game that I paid the full $60 retail price for, and I did so gladly, because that was Pikmin 3 on Wii U.

Of course, I am a huge Nintendo fan, and obviously I love the Mario games, but among the various Nintendo franchises, the Pikmin series really stands out as being extra special to me. The gameplay is very unique. You control a tiny character who, in turn, commands a legion of tiny creatures called Pikmin, and you use these creatures to accomplish your tasks. There is really nothing else like it. But beyond the actual gameplay, there is a strange psychological element present. You are basically manipulating an entire species into doing your bidding. They seem incredibly eager to help, but really, they are just your tools. You throw them into battle against other, larger creatures as if their lives meant nothing to you, often to see several of them devoured or squashed. This is not really a big deal, as you can just go make more, and it’s not like you ever interact with them on an individual basis. But when a Pikmin dies, it lets out a death scream that is full of just as much sorrow and disappointment as it is horror. Is it crying out in pain as its life expires, or is it sad that it failed you? Whatever it is, it creates complex feelings as you play, and you simply can not help but be drawn into it. The in-game text has a clever writing style that enriches the game’s universe, adding a lot of humor and depth to the characters. It also raises interesting questions that add to the emotion of the game. While it may seem that you are exploiting the Pikmin, maybe they want to raise their status in the ecosystem and are actually exploiting you in order to get there!

I’ve been looking forward to Pikmin 3 since it was officially unveiled at e3 in 2012. In fact, I was so excited that I pulled out the original Pikmin for Gamecube and played it again. I still couldn’t beat the very last boss though. Leading up to the long awaited (and unfortunately delayed) release date this summer, I played through both Pikmin and Pikmin 2, though this time with the Wii New Play control versions. I was able to complete both games, and the added motion control was a great way to play. I enjoyed playing them, but I was a bit worried that I’d be tired of playing Pikmin by the time Pikmin 3 came out.

Nope! I love it! Pikmin 3 is the most enjoyable and robust entry in the series.

Gorgeous HD grPikmin gamesaphics, rich sound effects, smart dialoged, and absolutely perfect controls with Wii Motion Plus which prove that motion controls are not just a gimmick. It’s one of Nintendo’s most polished games. The only down side to the game is that it ends, and even though it’s about twice as long as the original Pikmin, I still wish it was longer just so I could enjoy playing it more. But even after completing the Story mode, I’m still playing it though the endlessly replayable Mission mode, where it’s all about getting the highest score you can in a short time limit.

Pikmin is kind of an underrated series for Nintendo. It’s been a long
time since a new entry has been released, and the franchise doesn’t have
the same exposure as Zelda or Metroid. Now that the Wii U is starting to come into its own with some great upcoming titles and a lower price,  I am hoping that people who are looking into the system and are looking into what games are worth playing will give Pikmin 3 a try. It works perfectly as an introduction to the world of Pikmin even if you’ve never played a Pikmin game before.

There’s never been much doubt that Pikmin 3 would be a great game, but I can safely say that if it could get a cheapskate like me to pay the entire $60 plus tax retail price and not regret a single penny, then it must be freaking spectacular!


August 3, 2013

TFcon 2013 Wrap Up.

Finally recovered from TFcon last weekend (and from all that other stuff I was doing leading up to it). It was another excellent show that was tons of fun. Here are just a few of the highlights.

There were a lot of costumes this year. This trio is actually a band that plays Transformers music and they’ve got a show in Toronto on Fan Expo weekend.

Here’s my comic projected on the screen for the Script Reading. People really dug the comic and were telling me that I did a great job on it all weekend. This will probably be the last time I am able to work on something that extensive for TFcon, so we’ll have to see what happens next year.

Here I am holding some artwork from the comic along with guests Marilyn Lightstone and Venus Terzo. They both had a great time at the show and were fantastic during their panels and the script reading.

Bumblebee and Prowl were parked outside.

Here’s Internet Personality Vangelus and everyone’s wacky buddy Guber. I am also in there, doing what I do best: filling in the negative space. Guber is a staple of TFcon, but he was actually not going to come at all this year as he was traveling in Indonesia. But he changed his mind at the last minute. Only myself and one other person knew that he was actually going to make it, so his appearance was quite a shock! It just would not have been the same without him.

Breakdown and Knockout are in the house.

IDW style Rodimus is here and ready to party. Pretty amazing to see so many costumes these days. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when Transformers costumes were not even thought to be a possibility.

Here’s the cool stuff I bought. Generations Deluxe Shockwave, Cliffjumper, Wheelie, Springer, Swerve, and Tank Megatron, Generation 2 style Fall of Cybertron Bruticus, Transformers Prime Ultra Magnus and First Edition Optimus Prime, and Generations Blaster along with Eject and Ramhorn to go with him. Also, in the non-Transformers front, I got a Marvel Universe Wolverine figure. Prices were fairly good this year, if you were willing to walk around and look.

All in all it was a super-fun weekend with many memories. Good times with good friends, trivia, late night Slurpee runs, poutine, karaoke, and a whole lot more. I wouldn’t miss it for the world, and I can’t wait for next year. See you then!


July 25, 2013

TFCon 2013!

The Canadian Transformers convention is here again! TFcon is absolutely the best time of year. In a way, its seems like it hasn’t been very long since last year’s show. Mostly because it also seems like I’ve barely done any artwork since then. I have done a lot though, it was just all for school. But after I was finished with my extended period of school assignments, I went straight into working on the TFcon script reading comic.

TFcon 2013 – Van-Guardian’s Gang by *ninjatron on deviantART

Here is the last page of the comic, featuring the convention exclusive Heroic “Gobits” Van-Guardian and Roswell teaming
up with a few new friends from another universe! Ultra Magnus, Rodimus
, and Blackarachnia join forces to take down the forces of evil.

You can read the entire 6 page story, with artwork by me, and find out more about TFcon on the TFcon Website. The conclusion will be revealed during the live script reading, featuring voice actors Jack Angel, Dick Gautier, Venus Terzo and Marilyn Lightstone as well as members of the audience.

Even though it doesn’t seem like TFCon 2012 was that long ago, it feels like ages since I’ve been to the Toronto area. It’s been way too long and I miss it dearly. Can’t wait to see all my buddies and buy all the toys. Hope to see you there too!


June 29, 2013

The Battle Goes On.

And it had been quite a battle since this blog was last updated.

At the end of April, school ended for the year. It was a hard battle right to end. Not only did the workload pile up, but I got really sick with a throat infection. And I mean like… really sick. I had a terrible fever and was miserable for weeks. It took 2 rounds of different antibiotics before things finally cleared up. During all of that nonsense, I was pretty much unable to get any work done, so I was granted extensions on a couple of the major projects. This was a big help,  but of course that meant I had to keep working on school stuff all through May. By the time it was all finished and submitted, it was June and I was exhausted. What a fun start to the summer!

Anyway, not that I really care about marks or anything, but all the work amounted to straight As in both semesters, so that’s all right I guess.

 Here’s a cool alien thing I made for a class in Decemember and posted a few weeks ago on my deviantART.

The Final Boss by *ninjatron on deviantART

Yeah, this was what school was all about. I’ve never really enjoyed going to school, but, clearly, this isn’t so bad. Beats taking a math class.

My birthday was this month. I spent that very special day at the dentist’s office getting an emergency procedure. After that I felt like my brains had been scrambled from the bottom up, so I didn’t do much partying. Still have to get back for another visit to finish it off. This is summer fun, let me tell you.

So even though I’m finished with school until September, I’m still hard at work. Once again, I have to finish drawing the script reading comic for TFcon. Which means I don’t really have much time for blogging right now, and probably shouldn’t have written all of this in the first place!


Hello again. Happy new year and stuff.

As part of the Video Game Art course I’m taking, we had a class on Video Game history. One of the projects was to create a pixel art scene, as if it was a game played on a classic console.  So I created this Godzilla scene. There were a number of limitations placed on the artwork as part of the project, so click the link to find out more information.

Godzilla Pixel Art Scene by *ninjatron on deviantART

You wish you could play this. I know it. I do too. Alas, it’s not a real game, it’s just artwork.