The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posts Tagged ‘Design’

A List

Posted by Matt on March 1, 2011

Well, now that that’s over with, back to fun.

You know what’s coming out Sunday? I’ll give you a hint (by which I mean I’ll link to the answer).

To celebrate the incoming POKEYMAN games, Ill do something special. As the games introduce 156 new monsters, I decided that I’ll go through them all and pick the 25 (plus a few extras, as you’ll see) that really stand out. Yep, here are the coolest things to come out a game for 10-year-olds that I will also be buying:

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Posted by Matt on December 2, 2010

Maybe it’s because I’ve never had nothing to do long enough to decide to examine the intricacies of Final Fantasy character designs in the past, but this recently caught my eye:

No, not the first thing you’ll notice, look lower. HER PANTS ARE MADE OF BELTS.


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Posted by Matt on May 25, 2010

Look, an article about videogames that is interesting. Talks about what makes an appealing character in a game (fun fact: the goal of the Team Fortress 2 character designs is similar to how they designed characters on The Simpsons, to make recognizable from silhouette alone), and how that could be applied to woefully mistreated female characters in games.

The talk of a lack of variety among character designs reminds me that there really seems to be a lack of variety among game characters (and, consequently, game concepts) in big name games. It just seems weird to me that we don’t see more big games starring characters who are different from the same old human warrior archetype. Where are the games starring giant monsters? Weird aliens? Robots? Completely abstract concepts? Does no one want to make these kinds of games? Why?

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Posted by Matt on May 9, 2010

I’ll explain: the reason why I’m playing Pokemon again, aside from nostalgic residue, is because it plays perfectly into my OCD desire to customize characters and make a distinctly ‘me’ team in games. For this same reason, I also like SRPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea, as well as Worms. The fact that’s it’s a simple fun RPG that can be played anywhere is a bonus.

I don’t understand this trend among a lot of online Pokemon fans or former fans who seem to think every monster made after the first games are shit. They’ll say things like “Oh, well the first 150 were more like actual animals. and the later ones are too weird!” (there are several answers to this question: (a)there’s a mix of more ‘down-to-earth’ designs and weirder ones in every game, and (b)who cares? Did you not notice the part where this a game of magic monster fighting for kids?), and it seems to be based more on nostalgia than any actual logic. I mean, what kind of standards do people have for cartoon creatures? For me, it goes like this: if I were ten years old, would I draw this?

Is every Pokemon design awesome? No, but when you’re creating 100+ new designs every few years, each one attempting to fill a specific niche, that happens.

As you can see, I discuss matters of utmost importance on this here site.


Some have been freaking out about Marvel vs Capcom 3 since not long after it was announced. Capcom has made mention that they want the game to appeal to as broad a audience as possible. Since Street Fighter IV, ‘hardcore’ fighting players know what that means: they will not be the primary demographic the game is designed for! They will ‘dumb down’ the game and make it for casuals and scrubs!!!!! More importantly, it won’t be exactly the same as Marvel vs Capcom 2!!!!!!!!!!!

And now they have evidence: the game is going to use the 3-normal-attack layout (like Tatsunoko vs Capcom) instead of the 4-button of MvC2. Here’s the thing, though: that layout worked in TvC. In a more fantastic game like this, you don’t need to follow the Street Fighter standard 6-button layout, because you don’t need to have specific buttons for punches and kicks like those game do. Some people complained before TvC came out that it would be confusing not knowing which button is a punch and which button is a kick, but I think that’s more of a problem with preconceived notions than anything else. In any case, you have to figure out what the button does; even if you know it’s a punch or a kick, you still have to know what that punch or kick does. so what difference does it make if it’s not specifically either?

The other argument against this is that it limits the amount of moves that each character can have. That’s a possibility, but I doubt it’s really a significant hamper. For example, in TvC, Ryu’s moves are easy to figure out even without a Punch/Kick separation; and unless one thinks every character should have a dozen different special moves (which wouldn’t even be in-line with past MvC games), the system works out fine. Yes, the game will technically have fewer attacks than, say, Street Fighter IV, but so what? These games have never really been as ‘in-depth’ as the SF games, or at least not in the same regards. Don’t forget: this game also has lots of its own unique features (everything revolving around the assist system, snapbacks, aerial raves, stuff like that) to help provide a unique strategic experience, and they announced ALL those features being brought back alongside the new button layout. Losing an attack button really doesn’t hurt the possible depth of the game that much, from what I can see.

I had considered the possibility that they would use this control scheme; my only concern was it would use an odd number of buttons with the two assist buttons needed for a 3v3 game (in TvC, it worked out very well with only one assist, leading to 4 buttons). They solved this problem by adding the Exchange attacks, which actually sounds pretty interesting. Aside from providing one-button launchers (which is fine by me, I see no real difference between using a specific button and DF+HP for it) and other easier access combo-oriented attacks, it can also be used to counter other Exchange attack, depending on what they use. So, not only do they solve the even/odd layout issue, as well as make a certain important aspect of the game very slightly more doable, but they even added entirely new ideas in the process! I’ll be curious to see more about this new thing.

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Posted by Matt on January 7, 2010

School is underway, but for now nothing is particularly intense. So, I think it’s time to have some fun again.

After discovering this video, I became enamored with some of the characters of the Kinnikuman franchise (which I was aware of, but not particularly knowledgeable about). I mean, this is a franchise that has weird, cartoony characters as wrestlers, with delightfully simple concepts. In particular, the villains are hilariously insane.

Yes, these are the are the terrifying forces of darkness that plagued the superheroes of the Kinnikuman universe, often proving more than a match for any of them, with the standard last minute trickery or surge of power used to finally stop them. But as silly as they appear, you have to remember that the character design in the series seems to consist of taking any household object and turning it into a wrestler (which, really, when you’re writing something as goofy as this, seems to be an entirely practical way to approach this), so it could be entirely feasible that out of the object-people, these ones ended up being super-powered by Satan (that’s the actual backstory for them, by the way).

Let’s take a closer look at some of my favorites:

Maybe one of the lesser designs in terms of overall silliness, Sneagator still stands out for the bizarre combination of things he is. Not simply an alligator who wears sneakers, which is pretty neat, he is in fact an alligator wearing sneakers who is also a giant sneaker (thus, the laces). Aside from being an alligator and thus having all that entails, he also has the power to transform into anything that matches his leathery hide, primarily a giant dinosaur claw. There’s far more going on with this character than meets the eye!

Planetman is a man…made from planets. It’s sublime, don’t you think? He doesn’t have much in the way of extra fun details, except that he wears a mask, and that his head is really the mysterious planet Vulcan. He doesn’t really need that many extra things, though, because he is just a simple, fun concept. I mean, fuck, he’s made of planets!

This, my friends, is SteCasseKing, the warrior walkman. Like Planetman, his concept and design are just simple and fun, although SteCasseKing also has a classical toy robot aesthetic that gets him bonus points as well. For fighting techniques, his gimmick was that he had tapes that he could insert into himself to give him the signature moves of other wrestlers, being the requisite copycat. Using his headphone feet, he can also jump on opponents’ heads and pump loud music into their heads, making him even more deadly.

You don’t get much simpler than Springman, folks. He is a spring, and that’s that. But like Planetman and SteCasseKing, the simplicity works for him. The fact that he is also deadly, as can be seen in the picture, works for him to. Name me one other piece of fiction where a spring with arms and legs was a major antagonist? I don’t think you can. Probably for a reason, but Kinnikuman gets away with it.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find a picture of The Mountain or Junkman on a quick GIS, and I am not putting any more effort into this than I have to. But they are notable, so I’m going to talk about them anyway. So the next part will be sans images, but I’ll point out who they are in the group shot (if you can’t figure that out yourself).

The Mountain doesn’t even need ‘-man’ as a suffix, that’s how awesome he is. He is a literally a mountain, and is wearing a karate gi. Again, it’s such a simple idea, but it works incredibly well. Even compared to some of the other brilliant designs, he just might be my favorite, because he is A MOUNTAIN IN A KARATE GI WHO IS A WRESTLER. A wrestling mountain is something me and my ilk are not ingenious enough to design (the fact that many of these characters were often designed by children and sent to the comic’s author just shames us further.)

Junkman is simple, but simple than a different way than someone like Springman or The Mountain. His gimmick is that he has spiked blocks for hands, which defines his fighting style very clearly (hint: it involves the spiked blocks he has for hands). But you’re making up enemies for your character, that’s a reasonable goal for a design: Junkman looks deadly enough for the single battle he likely appeared in. His special power (aside from the obvious), apparently, is that he has a face on the back of his head. Details like that add to the overall quality.

There are other villainous characters worth note. I do like Sunshine (the big blocky guy, who is made of gold and is therefor malleable and can transform into landmarks to stomp on opponents; I like the Moai Head quality he has, too) and Ashuraman (the blue guy). But these ones stray a little bit further from the point I was trying to make with my favorites, in that I have a childish inclination towards the simple and silly. I spent most of my childhood, and now most of my adulthood, making up silly characters, and these are the kinds of examples of that type of idea that I look towards.

I’ve wasted plenty of time in a thorough manner, I would say.

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Posted by Matt on December 9, 2009

Speaking of Mega Man…

Didn’t see this coming! I love it when actual surprises happen.

And I personally like Sheep Man. He’s got the classic MM design, and his abilities are sort of clever.

But I wonder if this one will hit on some of the boss ideas my friend and I have had over the years? There’s only so many ideas for bosses in the world, so its possible the devs will hit on some of the same ideas as we did.

So anyway, we get karma if Spectrum Man, Toxic Man, or Sand Man make an appearance.

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Posted by Matt on December 7, 2009

Here’s something interesting:

An interview with the kid (now adult) who designed Bright Man in the Mega Man IV Boss contest

And the one who designed my most hated boss, Ring Man

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Posted by Matt on October 22, 2009

I’ve spent the last two nights editing the layout of a newspaper. Grueling, annoying work – but I got it done. And hope never to do it again. Well, okay, I’d be willing to do it again – with a bit more help and input, rather than being abandoned by the rest of the crew to suffer this ordeal.

I spend way too much time second-guessing myself to get things done quickly. Oh well, if it looks like shit, everyone will tell me and I’ll learn from it.

In lighter news, I saw the premier of the new Venture Bros. season (thanks to a handy program that guards my IP and thus lets me watch all those American video sites). They’ve set up a lot of interesting stuff for future episodes, and I can’t wait to see how they pan out. Plus, the first episode has Nazis (“Nein, we’re not!”) trying to clone Hitler from a dog descendant of Hitler. And they screwed with the timeline of the episode, and it’s always fun to see an experimental story succeed.

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