tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
Still not dead! Life is admittedly a little extra shitty these days, which means my dumb goofy escapism is all the more important to me. Whaddyaknow, I'm still weirdly stuck on this one sleazy miniboss from this one goofy hack-and-slash video game.

All those years ago when I first got a tablet pen I would draw exclusively in Photoshop and it was fine by me because I didn't know any better. Then I discovered Paint Tool SAI and after a bit of a steep learning curve I fell completely in love with it and its multitude of brush settings. Now I have found something to surpass even my beloved SAI and it's called... Manga Studio. You can select and manipulate several layers at once oh my God! There are a ton of other features but that alone is, gosh, completely amazing.

So this was gonna be a quick doodle to figure out Manga Studio without fiddling with any of the brush settings, but it kept on going even though adding and expanding a drawing without a sketch underneath is not how I usually work at all. It was a fun experiment though.

stop me if I ever imply I'm gonna draw another motorcycle )

I feel like nothing sums up where I'm at art-wise than me going "yes I'll meticulously recreate this RL polish logo" immediately followed by "ehh backgrounds, who needs'em".
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
More Metal Gear! You know, Revolver Ocelot is a character I have a lot of affection for but in a kind of "Jesus Christ you little shit" kind of way. When I discuss Ocelot with other fans I use about twice the amount of expletives I'd use than when we talk about villains I actually can't stand, so I see how it can get confusing.

He is a piece of trash bastard after all. He's great.

The sketch and a fair bit of rambling about character designs )

Man I just really hate this trend of making video game characters look exactly like the actors voicing them. It took me out of Mass Effect when the Illusive Man looked exactly like Martin Sheen, it takes me out of Ground Zeroes when I notice how Kiefer Sutherland-y Big Boss is starting to look around the eyes. I know I just said I liked it when Ocelot used to look like Van Cleef, but at least the rendering technology at the time didn't make it a 1:1 likeness.
tilly_stratford: (Bogie)
A week back I wrote a lengthy entry that LJ promptly ate about my unlikely but overwhelming love for Metal Gear Rising's Jetstream Sam. It's too bad because it would have prepared you a little for this entry, but it's gone so I'll try to explain it real quick.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a ridiculous video game about a cyborg ninja and its core gameplay is slicing robots and cyborgs into very very small pieces with a sword. Jetstream Sam is a villain -- not even the final boss, mind -- a Brazilian samurai with a smarmy attitude and an armour that accentuates his thighs and butt to a mind-blowing degree. In the entire game Sam only has about three important cutscenes (plus a DLC game that was pretty awful).

And I am so smitten with him it's embarrassing.

Oh and his armour also has these weird plastic bits that cover his ears.

That's you up to date )

Once upon a time I hit a point where I thought "my art is terrible anyway, I should only ever use it to tell corny, low-effort jokes", and it's really through these last two years I've made an effort to tell myself "no you know what, I'm allowed to attempt to draw genuine things, and even if I don't pull it off it's good practice". And now this; "Okay but I'm still allowed to goof off and have fun drawing too, though".

And the neat thing is that I realized that if I showed even these corny doodles to myself five years ago, I would actually notice my art skills had improved considerably. So thank you, dumb video game samurai that inspired me to draw him as Princess Leia.
tilly_stratford: (HB: Steampunk Bush)
So I got a PS3 for my birthday and finally played Metal Gear Solid 4. It was terrible. Nonetheless, it reminded me how much I love the non-terrible parts of the franchise, so now I'm back into MGS in a major way, apparently making up for my awful lack of obsessions this year.

I played Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance which was a lot of fun, and then I took a deep breath and watched all the trailers for MGSV in a single evening (I haven't played Ground Zeroes yet but I plan to very soon). So that's my excuse for this: I got so upset about Kaz Miller I felt a very real need to imagine him safe and warm and content and not being tortured and look he has all his limbs as well.

This is what these games reduce me to.

Don't you hate it when you fall asleep with your glasses on )

The funny thing is Kaz is from Peace Walker, which after MGS4 is my least favourite game in the franchise. I've just really taken to the guy and realized I've always been more invested Big Boss' goings-on than Solid Snake's.
tilly_stratford: (Darkwing: not convinced)
Finally (finally, that last big battle was a pain in the ass) finished Bioshock Infinite. Ugh, I did not enjoy it very much. I really liked the original Bioshock game (though it wasn't as ~deep~ as everybody thought it was), the second was a unengaging retread of the first, and I don't even know what to call this third one. I think maybe the studio are getting a bit too clever-clogs, now there's no end to the shit they put in the games in the name of "deconstructing tropes" and "subverting expectations"

The game really skeeved me out on multiple occasions (like in a "the game developers are creepy" rather than a "this game is creepy" way) and the central skyhook game mechanic handled like shit. Also, not much atmosphere to speak of -- at no point did it have me on the edge of my seat. Basically, it didn't deliver on the promise of that initial beautiful trailer.

There were basically two things that kept me going: The anachronistic soundtrack -- Bioshock Infinite takes place in 1912 but due to time rifts every so often you come across a modern song done in an old-timey style (I adore the jazz version of 'Tainted love') -- and the Lutece twins, Rosalind and Robert. I love the Lutece twins. They appear sporadically and mysteriously throughout the game accompanied by a lopsided waltz and talk fourth-wall-breakingly about parallel universes and quantum physics.

I'm so glad they won the VGX character of the year award, and got to do an acceptance speech:



Yes, I am still going to check out the DLC Burial at Sea -- one, it has Rapture from the original game in it, two; it's a homage to film noir, and three; The Lutece twins appear at some point. There is a distinct possibility it's better than the game I just played.
tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
Character loyalty is a thing among comic book readers and it is a bad thing. It's when you'll buy anything featuring that one character you like, no matter the quality of the product. Mainstream comic publishers will milk that loyalty for all its worth, and at the end of the day you're rewarding them for their cynical business practices.

I try to be mindful of character loyalty. I don't always succeed. Like when they made a video game of Deadpool.

I knew the head writer was one of my least favourite comic book writers. I knew every single review had deemed it "disappointing" at best. I even knew, deep down, that it'd be chock full of just the kind of inane "random" 4chan-humour that's stopped me from buying current Deadpool comics for years.

All I wanted was to see if they'd toss the old-school fans a bone. Some little reference. Maybe one of old fan-favourite members of the supporting cast.

But no.

When the joke character becomes too much of a joke )

deadpool

Here's one way to sum up the game: When it tried to break the fourth wall and talk directly to me, the gamer, it kept referring to me as a horny heterosexual teenage boy.

The game makers LITERALLY did not foresee that anyone who doesn't check those particular boxes would ever play this game.

Here's another way: Sometimes when Deadpool would take damage in the game, he'd shout "I blame YOU, Daniel Way!" So do I, Deadpool. So do I.
tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
Been dealing with insomnia all month long, which makes for a collection of very blurry December memories. On those nights I've started thinking "fuck it" and replayed Ghost Trick on the DS. For a game I love so hard, it's amazing I've hardly made any fanart of it -- though I guess it's probably because the characters are so VERY stylized it's kinda hard to do your own thing with them and still make them look recognizable.

But hey, how many Ghost Trick characters wears a long white coat with a bright red scarf, not to mention a half-open shirt and a medallion like something out of the last days of disco? Inspector Cabanela's not very interchangeable.

Mr. long legs )

Glad I managed to squeeze in one last drawing this year!
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Curious collection)
I've discovered the Metal Gear Solid games, and I'm hooked. I'm forever cursing having the play them out of order (I've played three games, but not the first one which sets everything up), but a minor issue like fully understanding the plot isn't going to stop me from enjoying these games!

See, prior to this my knowledge of the MGS franchise amounted to: The protagonist is named Solid Snake (and after a while you forget to snicker every time it's sasid aloud), he's a clone, he's a spy, the cut scenes are longer than the gameplay parts, the auteur behind the games is kind of pompous and insane, and characters pee their pants a lot.

Okay so none of that is incorrect, but it's really the insane, convoluted story that has really grabbed hold of me. Also the fact that the game designers have put a lot of work into making the characters attractive to both sexes, so for once in a game the male characters serve as much as eye-candy as the female ones (Snake's lovingly rendered ass is a sight to behold).

MGS3: Snake Eater is by far the best of them I've played so far. It's set in the sixties so it doesn't feature Solid Snake -- instead it's the original super spy (who they cloned later) Naked Snake (pfffhahaha) who has to go to Russia to stop World War 3 from happening.

And so fanart happened and I am much ashamed.

Non-gory torture scene because this is MGS )

Haha wow, this is a terrible introduction to the MGS franchise. Just trust me, it's good.
tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
I know I'm several years late but Batman: Arkham Asylum is a really fun game.

I always assumed it was largely based on the Nolan films so I didn't really bother with tracking down a copy, but man was I wrong. It's like they took all the best bits of all the different Batman versions and put them together (hearing Kevin Conroy voicing Batman again was a joy in particular).

Sure it had its warts - the strange redesigns on the female characters (why would you put less clothes on Harley and more on Ivy?), the occasional glitch, a not-quite intuitive combo system and a lot of the brawling got downright boring towards the end, but a lot of the game felt really clever. I'm no Batman aficionado, so some of the details were lost on me ("Who's this Killer Croc guy?"), but the game still made me feel exceedingly clever each time I recognized a detail from the Batman mythos.

Also, between the Scarecrow and Killer Croc levels, the game gets my "OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH SHIT" seal of approval.

sz

I've finished the story campaign, but I'm definitely going to go back to figure out more of the riddles. Mostly because I really dig whoever they had voicing the Riddler, and hearing him getting madder and madder as I figure out his tests actually feels more rewarding that defeating the Joker.
tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
I don't know what it is about me trying a game, hating it for several hours of gameplay and then suddenly, inexplicably getting hooked. It was like that with Assassin's Creed, and Bioshock - and now Mass Effect. God am I hooked on Mass Effect. I think maybe I finally realized it's not so much a dreary first person shooter as it is a fantastic Star Trek game (not actually Star Trek, obviously, but darn close).


The plot is good (I did get goosebumps meeting the Rachni queen), the voice actors are good, the music's good, the inventory system is absolutely terrible, but you can't have it all. I've got a female Shepard with a buzzcut and a badass scar and it's all good. It's going to be so fun following her progress through three games.
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Curious collection)
Yes here I am again. There've been some troubles with unstable internet access, but things are getting better all the time, and I'm switching companies tomorrow.

So what do you do in the evenings without internet when there's nothing but boring Olympic Games on the telly?

Games. You do games. Gaming.

Personally, I just finished Dragon Age II!


Also I played and completed L.A. Noire!


Right now I've gone on to the first Mass Effect game. I'm really intrigued by the "your choices carry weight in the sequels too" thing (which was very neatly done in Dragon Age 2), but eh, I really don't like those kind of dour grey sci-fi settings. I'm nine hours in and so far I just feel like I've done nothing but gotten lost in a lot of grey corridors, and done a lot of cover-based shooting at Geths.

Sometimes when I'm not gaming I'm reading. Right now it's The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht, and a massive one that I bought for my bachelor research but never read, about the plight of the common woman throughout Norwegian history.

Oh, and I'm still reading Justice League comics. Still early nineties issues, oh dear.


Oh wow, it's been so long since I wrote a long, random post just because I'm bored. And I'm not used to sitting on this hard sofa like this, ow ow ow.
tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
Ah, that's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney FINALLY finished! The franchise never made it to Norway (and so the hunt for the next game begins), which means it was the internet that brought it to my attention - for better or for worse. I remember my preconceptions (ca. 2005) about the setup pretty much went "There's an attorney with spiky hair who yells "Objection!" a lot, and then there's a fop who's some kind of villain, and they're gay for each other? Also there's a detective named Gumshoe who's a complete and utter moron."

And that was pretty much it.

Reaction post and stuff )

In summary: Gosh this game was fun, I need to find a job so I can get money and order the sequel.

tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
Just finished the main campaign of Revelations. Oh, Assassin's Creed, you were my favourite game franchise. What happened?

Mild spoilers, mostly whining )


I'm really pleased to hear the next game is going to go in a new direction, because it's clear they've run this particular iteration into the ground. I'm still not as excited as I used to be, but I haven't given up on this franchise just yet.
tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
I've hardly drawn anything so far this year, but here's my answer to the "draw yourself as the last video game character you played as" challenge.

Tilly Stratford: Ace Attorney )

Anyway, lately I've been trying to get back in the drawing habit by doodling when I've got nothing better to do. Not gonna lie, there's been a healthy helping of Dick Gumshoe doodles. And Larry Butz. Showing once and for all that when it comes to liking video game characters, I really haven't got a "type".

Hold It!

Feb. 29th, 2012 01:15 pm
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
I've been meaning to get into the Ace Attorney games, mostly because they were created by the same creative force behind Ghost Trick, and also because I'm always ready to jump on any DS title that isn't marketed to the seven year-old crowd (she said, blatantly ignoring her new Animal Crossing-addiction).

Problem is, I've yet to find any proof the Ace Attorney games were ever imported to Norway, but the other day I did find a Swedish used copy of the second game in the series (Justice For All) in a store. I've heard it's recommended to play the first three games in order, for the story-arc, but I jumped at the chance and bought it. Got home, opened it up - and the game in the cover wasn't the second game in the series, it was the first one! Best instance of "the shop sold me the wrong game" ever!

I'm almost halfway through it by now (only eleven years late!), and I'm enjoying it a lot. I do get a little rush every time this screen pops up:


Woo, finally my time to shine NO WAIT I've already forgotten what
time the murder was committed, okay wait where's that autopsy report...

- or this music starts to play (which means my cross-examination is going pretty damn well). So I guess I'm starting to get hooked. Sure it's not even close to being as good as Ghost Trick (which had complex characters, drop dead gorgeous animation and plot twists that made your head spin), but it's flamboyant and fun and just a little bit challenging (particularly when you're terrible at remembering numbers like I am). I'm sure I'm going to have to play more of this series.

Playing old games everybody else got sick of a decade ago, that's my purpose in life.
tilly_stratford: (Default)
"So I was just on my way to the fort, you know, and then BAM! A cougar killed my horse!"
"Oh man I hate when that happens!"
"I know right! And I hit the ground, and I'm so bad at shooting anything that's right up close like that..."
"Really? I usually just go for the Winchester."
"Nah, when it comes to wolves and cougars I use my knife."
"You remembered to skin the horse too, right?"

Maria and I have both been bitten by the Red Dead Redemption bug, which means we startled a fair share of patrons at the restaurant while we were waving our arms about and sharing our enthusiasm for a Western-themed video game.

I officially finished it yesterday (i.e. I completed all the missions and got the end credits), and it's definitely the best sandbox game I've played - in the sandbox sense. A lot of the characters felt a bit one-note and annoying, and it's a Rockstar game so you know everything will be relentlessly cynical as hell, but I was really really sad it had to end, and I started to eventually care for the characters despite myself. I loved the setting and the movie references (a Sam Elliot homage? Well I never!), the minigames, and how it actually presented some subtle storytelling now and then.

Of course there's also the multiplayer part (which I don't feel like spending money on) and the Undead Nightmare DLC (which friends are telling me I should splurge on, but... meh, zombies?). But as for now I'm just going to hope a sequel might happen one day.

So what's next; I have enabling friends, so Maria's going to lend me Assassin's Creed: Revelations. By all accounts it's a let-down, but ohhhh I need to fill this video game hole in my heart (and see Altaïr again, eeee!).
tilly_stratford: (Default)
So hey, I finally finished the Portal 2 single player campaign last night! Wonderful stuff. Innovative, funny, more than a little creepy at times (those poor deranged spider-legged cubes), a great learning curve, wonderful dialogue, did I mention innovative? I just love the Portal games for being mainstream games where your mission isn't to kill off enemies (dropping turrets into motes not withstanding), a game where it's your creativity that gets challenged rather than your trigger finger.

And while the first game was a series of puzzles with a very basic plot to tie them together, I thought the plot was outstanding in the sequel. So many "oh shit oh shit OH SHIT" moments.

And Wheatley the neurotic helperbot. The thing is, when entertainment of any kind introduces me to The Likeable Character, I always get very suspicious. I know this character has been specifically designed to be all-around lovable and interesting, and then I look at the choices the creators made and usually feel insulted.

With Wheatley, I kept expecting him to become annoying and he just never did. Once in a while somebody manages to write The Likeable Character just right.

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Now to bribe one of my friends to join me on the co-op campaign...
tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
Among the fab gifts I got this Christmas was a second-hand DS Lite (which proved a very welcome diversion on the seven-hour train trip home). I've named it Lance.

It needed a case though, so today I went down to the Salvation Army, bought clothes for 20 kroner and then went to work with the sewing machine:


I'm digging the pocket.

Got the pattern from here, but being my mother's daughter I quickly started making it up as I went along - which is incidentally why the back of the pouch (not pictured) is a disaster. Plus I didn't really take into account how quickly shoddily-sewn denim unravels - but hey, it works for now, and even if the denim-and-paisley pouch doesn't last long, it shouldn't take me too much work to whip up a new one.
tilly_stratford: (DW: Jamie/Doctor - true wuv)
The universe is just overflowing with things that makes me happy these days!

There's the two previously-lost Doctor Who episodes from the sixties that have been discovered in Australia! I knew it! I knew the world wasn't so unfair that it'd leave us derived of Patrick Troughton in such a fabulous hat.


Delightful.

Secondly, and pretty much simultaneously, the newest Lupin TV special appeared online - with English subs! The plot's a mess, the tone is all over the place (a gory Miyazaki tribute??), but the new voice cast made a fair debut (though I'm reaaally hoping Kōichi Yamadera's gonna grow in the role of Zenigata), the heists were fun, and the animation and art really were surprisingly good.


Hey it had Green Jacket references and the SWAT team, I'll overlook the bad writing this time.

Thirdly, my pal Åsmund's lent me his copy of Red Dead Redemption and I'm loving the hell out of it so far. I know it's just Grand Theft Auto in the Wild West but that makes all the difference. I even love the minigames - the horseshoe tossing, shooting rabbits, breaking in wild horses - I'm having so much fun!

Aaand finally, today I bought my train ticket. Traveling over the mountains on Thursday, with Linni as well. It's gonna be great seeing everybody again (and eating some real food!).
tilly_stratford: (Fred and Cyd: Don't mind you watching)
Alert the media, Tilly's been drawing characters from another fandom! Though there IS the same amount of fedoras and ties and slightly too short trousers.

Yes, Ghost Trick. Obviously. And my favourite Azul. Obviously.

blue skin - the fun alternative )

Apparently I can draw stylized roses, who knew.

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