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Status report: situation snoozy

Saturday, October 7, 2023 at 12:17 pm Comments (2)

Hello! I’m still here.

I finally covered that Metal Slug Advance prototype that got leaked three years ago, and forced myself to give Metal Slug 7‘s early footage a proper write-up.
I overhauled the sprites section and added somewhere over 200 sheets to it, and also rewrote the sprite-ripping tutorial, now with less jaded snark and more insight into tools and alternate methods, like RAM editing.
I’m still editing my “games I played” reviews from last year, but there’s a couple dozen entries you can read already if you fancy. I also never blogged about the games I played in 2021 article from two years ago, so I’m blogging about it now.

I’m very tired. How about yourself?

This update is mostly just tackling stuff I’ve been neglecting to address for a while now. I tweeted about how I would’ve jumped at the chance to document a Metal Slug Advance prototype in the site’s prime — that game’s been an inexplicable nemesis of mine for close to two decades! — and yet when one finally leaked, I was quite content to completely ignore it until only a couple of months ago. Don’t expect another Missing In Action update any time soon, sorry!
Likewise, the old sprites pages were seriously old, janky, and needlessly vitriolic and opinionated for whatever reason. That and the PHP pages had given up the ghost, apparently; I’m very grateful to Dazz for coding those up for me back in the day, but I think I’m in my comfort zone sticking with plain ol’ HTML.

Speaking of stuff breaking, there’s a lotta funked-up WordPress entries! Em-dashes, foreign characters and other symbols across the board have been turned into junk, and I dread the process of repairing it all. It’s almost tempting to just convert them all into static HTML so they can’t fall apart when I’m not looking, but, well, we’ll see what happens.

Random Hoo Haas will turn 18 years old in three weeks, which is terrifying to think about. If you expect me to commemorate the event in any way, be aware I have an unfinished draft announcing its 15th year of operation, if you want an idea of my work ethic.
The last few blog posts have all expressed how wrecked I am after a demanding year, so you shouldn’t be surprised that remains unchanged! My health is not superb and the faintest whiff of warm weather is enough to Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis the heck out of me. I’m doin’ what I can to keep myself busy and make myself happy, but when that may manifest into online content is another story.

One of those days I’ll remember to write these blog entries before the update, and not after when I’m zonked and want nothing more than to hibernate for five years. Sorry for sounding like a sadsack in these blogs! Glad you’re sticking around, hope my guff entertains or informs or whatever it is folks get out of it.

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#goodcrocs & #goodkraids

Sunday, October 31, 2021 at 5:46 pm Comments Off on #goodcrocs & #goodkraids

We’ve got two new General Writings at once! It’s almost like I’ve been delirious with flu for the past month and been spending my time inappropriately! Enjoy my attempt at sussing out what Croc 2 tried to do and why its attempts fell short, and endure my overly wordy manic episode about why Kraid’s neat and I like him.

Smaller updates include adding the last chapter of CoroCoro’s Spyro manga to Scans & Bits, and a couple of translated interviews I had sitting around for the Bomberman shrine. Both sections have to-do lists that have grown to intimidating lengths, and whittling them down is still on the agenda… just whenever I feel up to it, y’know?

One of the frustrating things about doing stuff is… you’re typically expected to do more stuff. I’ll churn out an update so I don’t have to think about that section for a while — and instead it makes people think about it and expect more from it? That’s not how it’s meant to work! That’s gotta be cheating somehow, right?!

So do forgive me if you really want to see the Metal Slug section get new content, or the myriad of Bomberman findings get documented, or even for Dinosaur Hunter Diaries to resume. I’m still keen on all those projects! But this past couple of years have been tough (never mind this past couple of months), and I am grabbing any bit of relief I can get. If said relief involves writing about fat dragons, or ignoring the site and all online responsibilities for months at a time, then I’ll take it. Look after yourselves, everyone.

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And So The Blathering Begins

Monday, August 23, 2021 at 9:22 pm Comments Off on And So The Blathering Begins

I wrote nearly 13,000 words about Croc. I threatened to do it back in 2016, and because nobody stopped me, here we are now. Look, the internet needs its overwrought defence of Croc, and like heck it’s gonna be a video essay. I wanna hear someone sell me on the merits of Ape Escape but without having to actually listen to them!

The summer heatwave totally drained me, which wasn’t much fun because I like to do things during my waking hours besides sweating and vegetating. There’s a lot of things I wanna be getting on with, it’s unearthing myself from beneath my mountain of responsibilities and procrastination that’s the tricky part. Thanks to folks writing in, apologies for not replying, all that good stuff.

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Some (belated) games I played in 2020

Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 7:11 pm Comments (1)

A phrase that’s been on my mind this past year is “use your words”. Whether it’s interpersonal communication or trying to get a point across, it’s a good mantra to remember. They might not be good words, but so long as there’s an understanding and a back-and-forth to bang those words into shape, then we can learn more from them than just saying nothing at all.

It’s on my mind a lot because so much of my website work lately is dry documentation: researching publication dates and stuff that’s cool to know and hopefully helpful to others, but a bit of a bore to write. That (and other petty reasons) have been why the Bomberman and Metal Slug sites have been lying dormant — there’s plenty there I’m eager to do, but just documenting guff is deadly. I wanna talk long-form, go on bizarre tirades about nonsense, or whatever — I wanna use my words!

My first step towards acting on that is fawning over Bowser’s various 3D models, so maybe that wasn’t a good idea. I’ll let you be the judge.

It’s months old by now, but I also finally cranked out all eighty-something-thousand words of thoughts about the media I absorbed last year. If ever there was a time to get needlessly verbose about Mario Party Advance, or try to understand the decisions behind the Mortal Kombat cartoon, it was last year, apparently. That sounded more pithy in my head.

Dinosaur Hunter Diaries has a little crappy hub page now, and I also updated old Kirby fangames post to include a couple of games that I was previously unaware had been archived — and also the fact the site is now operational again, rendering the whole post a bit moot. Oh well!

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Talking about RPGs because I don’t know!!

Monday, October 19, 2020 at 9:59 pm Comments Off on Talking about RPGs because I don’t know!!

I dread being asked what my favourite anything is. I’ve a whole lotta favourites! Literal stacks of favourites that I shuffle between depending on the mood or time of day! It’s like asking what my favourite pair of socks is — I cycle them! You can’t ask me to rank one pair of socks above the other! They’re all the same colour! And it’s at that point the analogy begins to fall apart. Not unlike my socks, actually.

This stinks because I sure would like to engage with folks on Twitter a bit more often, but unless it’s a multi-tweet thread about a topic that’s of interest only to myself and no one else living or dead, then I typically don’t wanna do it. I do appreciate folks daring to tag me in tweets, but it invariably results in a week of hand-wringing whether I’ll respond or not… and then not responding anyway because to reply after waiting a week just feels rude. Rest assured I read all emails, DMs and correspondence, and I appreciate it and give them a lot of thought, and then rarely actually put those thoughts into a reply. I don’t think that’s very reassuring, actually. My apologies.

Whatever point I was trying to make, I assume it applies to when pal herrDoktorat tagged me in naming iconic RPGs I’ve played in my life. There’s maybe a dozen I’ve played long enough for me to say with confidence I have played them, but RPGs aren’t really my strong suit…! To name off three game titles without context doesn’t gel with my brand of being needlessly fucking verbose, so let’s just rattle off all the RPGs I’ve played enough to have a tangible opinion on. I never said they’d be good opinions, so I’m throwing myself on the mercy of the court! You’re talking to a man who associates Mario with RPGs more than flippin’ Dragon Quest…!

Final Fantasy VII

My introduction to RPGs! A friend of my dad’s just gave the game to us for whatever reason, and it was unlike anything we’d played before. I, as a dumb youngster, was put off by the fact you couldn’t jump. Why have all these detailed 3D environments if you can’t jump!? But watching my brother play it was fascinating, seeing the story play out through text and many varied setpieces and environments. When Shadows of the Empire on Nintendo 64 was as cinematic as a console game had gotten in our experience, this was a whole other kettle of fish.

Because Europe missed out on so many iconic JRPGs, this was probably how most folks were introduced to the genre? Without Chrono Trigger or the like, the only alternatives were obscure Game Boy titles or flippin’ Rings of Power on Mega Drive, I don’t know. Even in America it seems like the first RPG to take on mainstream success, thanks to its big-budget advertising campaign.
As such, it’s kind of resulted in a lot of people reading the game the wrong way; for your first RPG to tackle a complex narrative and themes of unreliable narrators and withheld memories is going to cause some complexities, even before you factor in its iffy translation. I should be the last person to judge people for reading a story the wrong way, (Dok will attest to my lousy reading comprehension), but it’d be nice if people got their personalities right once in a while. Aeris is meant to be spunky!

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The lost fangames of Kirby’s Rainbow Resort

Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 8:40 pm Comments Off on The lost fangames of Kirby’s Rainbow Resort

Because I’ve already gotten a headstart on being a very wordy bastard, Some games I played in 2020 is up, though unfinished, as you might expect. Check back in four months and I might have some shockingly tepid takes on Persona 3! Though it’s likely I’ll have more to say about Croc 2. You know what I’m like.

And of course, Scans & Bits updated with the last missing episode of Crash Bandicoot Dance Jump Daibouken, some more CoroCoro Sonic, and also links to more scanning and translation efforts, as well more MEGA uploads of Fami2Comic and Dengeki Nintendo. My scanner’s currently on the fritz, so I can’t tackle the stacks of magazines I still need to scan in full. If there is a hell, that is absolutely not among the list of tortures, but darn it, I’m upset.

I assumed my internet connection was just being dodgy, but it seems longtime ClassicGaming-era fansite Kirby’s Rainbow Resort has finally shuttered this year. There’s still a gateway page, but almost all of the pages have vanished — not even replaced with a 404 error, but simply blank white pages! The forums are still accessible, though largely abandoned and plagued with PHP and MySQL errors… yet some of the site’s oldest pages are still alive, strangely.

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Just what sort of world is Angel Land where Pit has adventures?

Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 2:37 pm Comments Off on Just what sort of world is Angel Land where Pit has adventures?

Metal Slug: Missing in Action updated with unused objects in MS7 and Advance among other things, sourced from reader submissions that have been sitting in my inbox for at least two years. I don’t know what I do to deserve this kind of support, but y’all might wanna reconsider. Why, you can drop this stuff on TCRF without having to wait on me to get off my keister!

I’ve been on an inexplicable Kid Icarus kick lately, for some reason. It’s a game that’s always stood out among the early first-party NES library, automatically earning a reputation as the counterpart to Metroid in some capacity. Paired with its Game Boy sequel and prolific appearance in the likes of Captain N, for years it felt like a franchise that was forever missing in action, at least until Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Uprising gave it a very anime makeover.
Unlike other NES titles of its time, it’s a game you don’t quite immediately ‘get’ within just 30 second of playing. Most folks’ impression of the game is largely based off of climbing for a bit, entering doors that lead to nowhere, then falling down a pit and turning the game off. Not quite as pick-up-and-play as the likes of Balloon Fight, is it?

I figured I’d finally give the game the time of day, and did so by playing the 3D Classic version on 3DS, which offers a new “custom” mode that eliminates Pit’s slidey movement and allows you to slow his descent while falling. It doesn’t undo all the game’s old-fashioned quirks, but paired with the digital manual, it made the game that bit more accessible to a total rando otherwise unacquainted with the game. The price is still something worth balking at (someone please put bricks through Nintendo’s windows until they re-evaluate their dodgy prices), but paired with the colourful new backgrounds it’s at least a better show than just a raw Virtual Console release with no extras.

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BHB: Big Honkin’ Bombs

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 7:17 pm Comments Off on BHB: Big Honkin’ Bombs

Updated with some Scans & Bits, including the last remaining chapters of Sly Cooper, the final episode of Mutant Turtles ’96, the missing episode of Crash Bandicoot Dance! Jump! Daibouken, a few more scraps of Dr. Mario-kun and Shogakukan’s Sonic the Hedgehog, and all but the intro of the short-lived Advance Wars manga.

Under the cut: waffling about the story of Bomberman games, and the one story that actually made a good impression on me. Riveting stuff, I know.

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Capping off the year with bad opinions: a Random Hoo Haas tradition

Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at 11:39 pm Comments Off on Capping off the year with bad opinions: a Random Hoo Haas tradition

I’d intended it to just be another blog post, but then it spiralled out of control and I figured I might as well give it its own page.

And – you won’t believe this – the old Games I Own page got updated with some scattered whatnots! I had some old reviews lying around and figured I’d chuck them up. I’ve no idea what I’m doing with that page these days — apparently I began crossing off games I no longer own? But the Other Games section is still dedicated to games I never owned or only owned temporarily…? — and the temptation to restructure the whole thing would be strong if I gave that much of a toss. We’ve all got bigger fish to fry, surely!

People are making a big hubbub about the new decade and it’s making me anxious. It’s just a Wednesday, folks. Whether that Wednesday sucks remains to be seen, but we’ll take it from there and see what happens. Maybe we can ask for a refund if it doesn’t live up to expectations.
I’m working on a project that I hope to roll out in a month or two, and I’m looking forward to see where it goes. I’ve a terrible track record with hyping up projects that inevitably go nowhere, so I’ll try not to jinx myself!

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Get lost on Zebes!

Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 8:16 pm Comments Off on Get lost on Zebes!

I’m falling behind on reporting site updates here, especially when that’s all my Twitter is for these days. Do people still use RSS for that type of thing? Are my RSS feeds even visible in this terrible layout? Well, whatever. Old habits die hard.

Metal Slug: Missing in Action updated with more unused object documentation and other bits and bobs. This one, like all its updates in the past years, is possible thanks to reader submissions like yours. Please send less of them.

The Bomberman shrine updated with new coverage for GB 3, GREE and the Taisen * series, plus updates to World, Saturn and Neo. It’s practically all about cameos! Taisen *’s littered in cameos! Saturn Bomberman was going to have more cameos, judging by unused voices in the data…!

More Scans & Bits, because it requires no thinking on my part. Sonic, Sly Cooper, Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter and other guff. Also, do check out translations for Chou Soujuu Mecha MG and Sly Cooper!

For the past few months I’ve been posting gameplay videos on my YouTube channel every Friday, typically of fangames, mobile phone games, or stuff nobody otherwise wants to document. Some of them feature text commentary, where I get to bust out contextual titbits on the games’ development tools or fangame scene at the time, based purely on a few months of lurking in the early 2000s. This month I’ve been putting out two videos a week, mostly to burn through backlog, but also to free up time for a new project that’ll hopefully appear on the site in the new year. Get excited! Or don’t! Everything’s subjective! And you know what I’m like with premature announcements!

I’d gotten multiple requests (not they came from multiple people or anything) to document games from Metroid: Fan Mission, a now-expired fan game hub. Fan game projects have a terrible habit of going offline without anyone noticing, taking with them practically all evidence of their existence, and seeing a whole hub go down is a shame. I’m more miffed about the multiple Star Fox fangames that have completely disappeared without a trace, but that’s for me to fume about in my own time.

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