Solve Unamusement: 6/14/09 - 6/21/09

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Solve Unamusement has been closed, but that does not mean you can't still find random amusements or keep in touch with the former author of this blog.

Everything shall be on the author's deviantART journal and there is a feed to go with it.

The Dudel Journal

The Cat Came Back (Musical Cartoon)

Based on a folk song made in 1893 by the same name, this cartoon is about Johnson and an annoying yellow cat he can't get rid of. The cartoon was made by Canadian directer Cordell Barker in 1988. I didn't see the animation, myself, until much later during a Cartoon Network week from "Cartoons Around The World". Recently I saw it again while looking for something else.

"The Cat Came Back" holds up to this day. Its a nice adverse to the Japanese and American cartoons that are currently being shown. This short Canadian film has a hand drawn comic feel with a nice un-augmented sound to make a blissful creation. Coming in under eight minutes and ending on an ironic note, "The Cat Came Back" is guaranteed to make you chuckle.

The song has been reworked from its original version to be "less violent" but the style, tone and message are all still the same.

"Cats are EVIL! Yellow one's are especially evil."

For extra amusement look up the original song by Harry S. Miller or the remake by Fred Penner. Neither of these is the audio actually in the cartoon.

Reusing Characters (Shard's Shard)

A common abnormality among writers is the reuse of characters, be they main or minor. Each writer has their own personal reasons for doing so, some better then others, as well as their own ways of doing it. A good reason for doing this is continuity. Having a character you, the writer, know and keeping the stories consistent with in each other allows others to see the differences between the locations and situations the character is in. If the reader knows a character well enough they then expect certain aspects to come to fruition. This is with the assumption that all character repeats are clones independent of their reality. A case that should be avoided while using characters more then once as this brings about stagnation.

A Personal recommendation for writers who DO NOT stagnate is one by the pen name Shard. This writer uses a character with the same name she signs her literary works with, that name being Shard. A character that is only bound by the writer herself.

According to Shard (The Writer) her character has two main reasons for existence. One is to teach, be it herself or others, by means of actions she (the writer) could not normally do. The other is to entertain also by means she (the writer) could not normally do. The former is the most difficult of the two as it requires readers to be open to possibilities, the latter requires only a limited imagination as Shard paints a wonderful picture.

The Winged is the first time I had the pleasure of reading about Shard's Shard...

Exert From "The Winged" by Shard
Shard opened her eyes as the light flicked on in her room. She sat on her bed, staring with unfocused vision at what was to her a blurry outline of a man. She whimpered as he walked towards her, the blurry image coming clear as that of a tall man. His hair fell lightly on the shoulders of his gold inleid robes.

The Man kept his hands in his pockets as he nudged the door shut with his foot. He stepped over and sat down on the bed next to her. "How are you feeling this morning?"

Shard pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around them, folding her leathery black wings against her back "I..." She wasn't quite sure how to answer him.

The man reached out and put a hand on her cheek "It's alright, you can say what you want" The blond jerked her head away from him and watched as he glared at her.

To those who knew her only by reputation, Shard was a ruthless killer, she was the evil kings right hand man. Sent in the kings stead to missions and battles that were too great for even the highest ranking general, but too petty for the king to do himself. She would, on occasion, join the king when he went to address the public, though she never seemed to speak at these meetings.

... but soon I found the character to be more diverse then duck tape. The basics behind Shard's Shard become apparent very quickly to any who sees the character appear, but these things are only on the surface.

Exert From "The Chase" also by Shard
A blood red cloth fell over deep blue eyes, sliding down to cover a slender mouth. The blonde girl observed her appearance in the mirror, testing out the bandit look. Apparently her skinny tie look was getting old, so she had begun exploring her other options.

"Hmm, I think I Like this one." She said, turning to the tailor of the headquarters, still wearing the red cloth over her nose and mouth. The tailor nodded, and took down her name before handing her a set of similar red pieces of cloth.

"Thank you and have a nice day Commander Shard."

She was grinning slightly at her new look, though no one could tell, which made her smile even more. Shard exited the tailors shop and began to head towards her suite. Another hue of red crossed her otherwise all black attire... A Small Red dot became visible on her shirt, just over where her heart was.

The key with using characters over, and over again is versatility. Without this, you become repedative and/or stale. Shard solves this "problem" simply by changing the character's surroundings and environment.

Exert from "Hazard" once again, by Shard.

Shard had never seen any part of the Prison... The original verdict had her in for 12 consecutive life sentences (Life sentence; 35 years) But it was later decided that she would serve only seven of those sentences in exchange for her helping the King with his wars... For two week periods at a time she would be sent to help kill the oposing forces, and the rest of her time she spent in the prison. No, it wasn't because she'd never been to the prison that she'd never seen it, infact it could be argued she knew the prison better then most of the guards. Shard was a fire demon, and her eyes were her catalyst... If it wasn't for her agreement with the court, she would have been blinded upon entereing Hazard, instead she was fitted with a magically secured blindfold, the means of its safe removel were still unknown to her. When she went to fight, the blindfold was removed, but while in the prison, or on her way too and from it, she was kept blind.
How would any of us tolerate such an event as being drugged and thrown into a pit of criminals, magic eyes with or without? That is the challenge Shard (the writer) brings with her character. Bringing us into a situation we may not have ever even thought with one simple blond haired female. For the full effect of Shard's Shard, suggest reading "The Princess".

Character replication and repetition must be handled with a light glove, a glove that Shard (the writer) fits into very well.

Thursday Line Up (Burn Notice/Royal Pains)

For two hours on Thursday nights there is a block of television that involves two elaborate fish out of water stores. One, Royal Pains, is only on its third episode while the other, Burn Notice, is in its third season; both are going strong. Hank Lawson and Michael Weston have both been tossed into a, generally, unforgiving situation.

(Cast of "Royal Pains")

Hank has, through no real fault of his own, causes the death of a "hospital friend" which then gets him fired from his job at the hospital and blacklisted from every hospital, er, and free clinic within the city. Not being used to his situation Hank does what so many of have done, he gives up. Simply rotting in front of his big screen and watching time go by. Soon his fiance has had enough and leaves him for greener pastures. This puts Hank further into his "slump", not to mention his stacking bills. It is not long before all of his possessions are repossessed and he is left with only his television and a crappy broken chair. But things look up as Hanks brother Even shows up with a solution to his problem, "Visiting the Hampton s for the weekend." Hank's not amused with the idea but is out of beer and his Netflix account has been suspended so he humors his sibling and tags along. From there, Hank finds himself a new business opportunity. An opportunity his brother Even keeps trying to profit from.

(Cast of "Burn Notice")

Michael Weston has also lost his job and is left with nothing but his situation is a little different. Michael was an international spy who has been burned by an agency with the hopes of using his talents to their advantages. When a spy is burned they are left with nothing so using this against Michael with the hopes that he may eventually get his job make make him, so they think, easy to control. He does their errands while also helping those around himself with problems most wouldn't even know how to look at, let alone solve. Michael, like Hank, has his friends and family to help him out but the stand out is his one-again-off-again girlfriend, Fiona the explosives expter. (She has an extra place in her heart for C4 explosives).

Both shows have a core story as well as epesodic problems and solutions. Royal Pains is a nice compliment show to the other wise Thursday dominating line up and both are up to repeat viewings. Drama, comedy, action and a little PG-13 sexual content make Burn Notice at 9:00 PM (EST) and Roiyal Pains at 10:00 PM make a nice two hour excusion that will make you wanting more.

There is no fluff in this Thursday line up!

A World of Many Islands

As the title states, Syrnia is a world of many islands. From Remer to Elven and Kanzo, the world is spread far. Many players do not even dare to leave the main island of Remer for fear of pirates and strong monsters but those who do, have grand rewards waiting for them. Every island brings with it a certain level of difficulty be it the level of your fishing skill or your ability to fend off attacks. There are also benefits to each island, the most common being the limit in player density for more difficult or "higher level" islands.

Fifteen skills to master, four of which are combat related, in the game. Fishing, cooking, mining, woodcutting, farming and much more are involved in the lands of Syrnia. Ships to build for fishing for large and many fish, pickaxes to build for mining for ore and gems and hatchets for chopping trees for wood and sees. Syrnia has many things to do, all that reveal a small surprise, in its own right.

Buildings to build, shops and houses, at many locations; some locations safer then others. Each house with its own storing capability, the smallest being only two hundred and fifty units while the largest is over two hundred thousand. Shops built to allow other players to purchase goods you have collected but beware of thieves. Items left inside shops are always open to those with sticky fingers and gold is safe no where but your house(s).

The guild of thieves recruits players for their misdeeds, targeting marks at random. Each treasure chest and lock tool box grants you experience but the thrill is from taking what you do not own. Be wary, soon to be thieves, jail times are long and require you to wait in game for them to end.

Gameplay is simple, not requiring you to baby sit while you earn. Bot checks are implemented to prevent people from abusing this system but can annoy if you are trying to accomplish something. There is Google adds and limits to forum avatars and signatures, to prevent the game costing money. Donating can take these restrictions from you, provided you've given enough, and perks can also be given.

Srynia's interface is basic point and click, with minor typing for chat window and bot checks. You select an action with the mouse then get a count down timer based on how many players are at your location, equipment and other details. Once the action is complete it will repeat itself, unless you are traveling or have opted out of hunting all creatures at a location.

A great game for those at work or school who would like to accomplish more then their tedious work day without taking from their job or education. Besides the timer and chat box, Syrnia does not really look like a game and is work safe.

Gran Torino (Get off My Lawn)

Walt Kowalski is a man who knows how to demand respect, regardless of if he gets it. Not scared to explain exactly how he feels or use offensive language the man "irks" most people, family included. Possibly the only person who could every really tolerate Walt was his wife, whom he clearly misses.

Upon Walt's wifes funeral (movie opening) it is clear how much respect this old Korean War veteran gets from his family. Grandkids dressed up like whores and/or being disrespectful little punks do not bring out the best in Mr. Kowalski. Making a mockery of their grandmothers funeral and having the gaul to try and "auction off" the man's already well established home.

Family, however, are not the only ones "trying" to remove Walt from his home. In recent years his once, very nice and friendly, suburban area has turned into a getto populated by Hmong immigrants from Southeast Asia. He tolerates them in the manner he can by keeping it, some what, to himself while being a little racist to his neighbors.

This genrally, keep to himself, behavior slightly changes one night. A fight starts between the family that lives inside the house and a local Hmong gang which wakes Walt from his sleep. Grabbing his gun, Walt walks out of his house as the fight "bleeds" onto his property where he utters four words.

After that things start to slowly change for Walt Kowalski and the neighborhood around him. No one expects the things to unfold as they do, not even Walt.

Don't Shit Yourself (Flash Game)

Simplicity is key when creating a flash game and the game "Don't Shit Yourself" is as simple as it gets. Simply type in commands and the main character will follow them. Don't Shit Yourself (The Game) has to be one of the few games that you can lose before you start. It also has to be one of the few flash games with such an odd subject that doesn't somehow turn people/players away, myself to be specific.

With graphics and controls being "low key", looking like an old Macintosh floppy game, you are once again looking at the simplicity of "Don't Shit Yourself" but this keeps in tune with its general feel and look. Having an "odd subject matter" seems lightened by the blocky eight bit character following, very specific, old school text commands.

The trick is finding the commands while the goal is as the name implies, not shitting yourself. Try and collect all the rewards from "Sa-poo-ku and "Jumping the gun" to "Thinking (and shitting) inside the box". Eventually you might even be "The Shit King".

The game needs flash to operate and there is a link in the sidebar to its location. That being said, the only way to know a game is to, in fact, play it yourself.

Emulation (ZSNES)

Emulation, emulators and ROMs have recently been on my sight for solving the problem. Within the last few months I have played a few SNES games either for the first time, as I was not old enough to enjoy a few to their extent and/or lacked the attention span to finish them, or as a second, third and even fourth run through. The ZSNES is one of the most well founded and stable emulators that I've seen on the net not to mention the most popular. There, really, is no other way to play SNES roms. The major "selling point" for the ZSNES are its simplicity and some key features that everyone should know about.

ZSNES Key Features
(Not listed in particular order)

ROM zip: While the ZSNES is a ziped file, and you will need a program to unzip it, the ROMS can be used within the ZNES unzipped. Provided that the folder/file you saved the ZSNES into is either in the ROM folder or at least next to it, the ZNES will also auto-detect its games.

Controls: Because it is built with PC gaming in mind the controls are 100% customizable and it also works with several controller types, joysticks and game pads. Any hardware that is NOT your keyboard may need additional programing which could possibly be found on the net. Suggest simply customizing your keyboard to fit play style or to obtain a controller adapter to something you've got on hand, already.

Mods/Hacks: The ZSNES itself can't really "get hacked" but the program does allow you to alter somethings within the games it loads. It is simple to do and guides on hacking your ROMs with the ZSNES can be found online.

Low Requirements: This is a BIG selling point with myself. The file size for the ZSNES doesn't break a gig and most ROMS float at about 5 kilobytes. Larger and more involved games will be higher in size but will almost NEVER break a half gig. Not to mention, as you are playing low bit games, the vid and audio found on basic machines will allow for the ZSNES to operate.

Save States: The ability to create a save file at any point and then later to return to that exact point. Commonly used for "amusing" cut scenes, whether trying to avoid seeing them again because of constant death or to view something later. Excessive save stating can corrupt ROM files and save data, so watch out.

Speed Up Frame Rate: Holding down the tilde key causes the ZSNES to speed up its frame rate. This is good for skipping cut scenes, speed runs, or when you may get like me whos attention span may "slip and/or are in a hurry for no good reason. This feature can be adjusted.

Customizable Window: Has many options which include; the ability to play at many different sized windows and resolutions, adjust the color filters on the ZSNES and games it plays for a personal look and options to play full screen or not as well as number of pixels shown. Number of pixels shown may be limited by the "sync to monitor" feature.

Keycode Combos: Initiate a string of key presses without need for other mods and hacks. Works well with customizable keyboards, especially when you have multiples.

It is my full recommendation that anyone looking for free, low system requirement games that are not browser based, download the ZSNES and play the game catalog. Playing NES games would not be a bad idea either as the requirements for this would be even lower. Check side bar for links to emu and ROM sits.

Caution: Using emulators and having ROMs without owning the cartridges is technically illegal. Any ESA restricted titles that are obtained are illegal even with owning the cartridge.

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