August 27, 2015 • Fiction: MG & YA, Video Games
On August 27, 1955 the very first edition of The Guinness Book of Records was released. Since then it has become a source of awe and curiosity, and certainly a few cringes. We all remember the annual school book fair in middle school that always had at least a few copies circulating with groups of kids huddled around, everyone pointing and talking over each other. You were out of luck if you hadn’t been given enough money to buy a copy because it was always checked out at the library—which got us thinking about some fictional characters and the Guinness Records they’d probably hold.
March 20, 2015 • On Writing, Video Games
Music gives the less writerly-insane parts of our brains something to do while we're putting words on a screen, and soundtracks are an excellent choice. Personally, I used to write to movie soundtracks (the TRON Legacy soundtrack is proof the universe wants me to be happy), but those can be tricky. John Williams' Star Wars soundtracks are amazing achievements but you're working away and here's the Imperial March and now you have to go march around your house like you're Darth Vader.
So for the past few years, I've switched to game soundtracks. Not the Tetris music (can you imagine? I would lose my mind), but the gorgeous and symphonic soundtracks with atmospheres. See, game music has recognizable themes, but also ambient background music, for those less exciting bits when you're running across a vast landscape or staring blankly at a jumping puzzle. This means you get wonderful ambient mood-music drifting through the background.
Want to try some videogame soundtracks out? Here's some suggestions.
February 27, 2013 • Movies & Film, Video Games
Forget flash cards for a minute--learning words can actually be fun. See, the great thing about the English language is just how flexible, fanciful, adaptable, and extendable it is. Individual words evolve with use, kind of like Pokémon. The entirety of vocabulary gets bigger when it needs to, kind of like a Pokémon deck with an expansion pack. And when writers can’t quite capture the correct word in the wild, they concoct one with syllables from other, older words…kind of like how Pokémon scientists built Mewtwo.
Seriously, and video-game metaphors aside, new words (or neologisms, for those without an Orwellian avoidance of all things non Anglo-Saxon) are a whole bunch of fun (kind of like…never mind). Here’s a few choice coinages from literature and beyond to embiggen your vocabulary.
August 1, 2011 • Video Games
Honorary Mention: Hills of Mario by Christopher Holthof
Etsy isn’t just for doilies and throw pillows. It’s got a panoply of nerdery buried in its easy-to-browse interface of homemade craft goods. Just because that person from high school spams you twice a week with her laundry-pin reindeer doesn’t mean that there aren’t 1-ups hidden in the bricks.
I have a book coming out on Super Mario, so I thought I’d see what Esty had to offer regarding my favorite mustached plumber. Turns out there are over four thousand Mario items: yikes!
What I expected going in was pillows, bedspreads, scarves, hats, pins, cookies, cupcakes, etc. Old-school pixel art is really easy to convert into crochet or quilting squares, so it’s much easier to capture Mario then, say, Darth Vader. But there’s a lot more than that: tech gifts, snarky things, hard drives shoved into NES games.
Sure, there are people selling their fan-art Mario watercolors for $500. And there are eight-buck children’s party invitations. But the breadth and clarity of creativity on display is pretty amazing. Take a look.
June 28, 2011 • Cats, Video Games
Bonus: You can download this as a desktop wallpaper, here!
The little cat wedged inside a Pop Tart has inspired a number of things, from video games (Nyan Cat iOS) to a custom YouTube slider bar. But perhaps most importantly, its driven a wealth of crafters to create his/her likeness, from scarves to necklaces, plushies to totebags. Below, you'll find my top ten Etsy creations, sparked by the Nyan Cat phenomenon.