thoughts

TASOAE: 058

Originally published at Ludus Novus. Please leave any comments there.

When there’s something you dislike, the last thing you want is to be reminded of it, over and over and over. In an environment where people tend to have a bit of trouble reading social cues (and you probably have a bit of trouble giving them those cues), it can be even worse.

thoughts

TASOAE: 057

Originally published at Ludus Novus. Please leave any comments there.

Bathing was often an issue at Rose. Students who tend to be geeky, less socially-adjusted, and stressed don’t put as high of a priority on hygiene.

Sometimes I didn’t plan speech balloons too well.

thoughts

TASOAE: 056

Originally published at Ludus Novus. Please leave any comments there.

Fantasy races are kind of preposterous when you think about them. There’s the short people, the pretty people, and the people who are dragons. Of course, Brynne must know about elves and dwarves and such; you don’t become Wiccan or major in Black Magic without a healthy childhood obsession with fantasy literature. Let’s just assume she’s screwing with Cassie here.

thoughts

TASOAE: 055

Originally published at Ludus Novus. Please leave any comments there.

Rose-Hulman’s first co-ed class of freshmen enrolled in 1995. Sexism was as rampant as it was on many campuses; girls were evidently only there to get married, or maybe the school used different standards for women, or she must be sleeping with the professor because she can’t be that smart. It was perhaps worse that most of these things were said jokingly. Few men seriously accused women of being lesser students, but the jokes and remarks were incessant and pervasive.

On the occasion of the 10-year anniversary celebration of this event, the Flipside was co-ed themed. In addition to cartooning, I edited the Flipside, the humor page of the Thorn. I had the difficult job that issue of making jokes about coeducation and sexism without the jokes themselves being sexist. Every issue had a Top Ten List, always full of ridiculous or satirical items. That issue’s was the “Top Ten Reasons Coeducation Was a Bad Idea.” It was intended to satirize the ridiculous arguments against coeducation and included items like “Women always getting pregnant, menstruating” or “Female upper-body strength insufficient to carry bookbags.” We got a letter to the editor about that one.

thoughts

TASOAE: 054

Originally published at Ludus Novus. Please leave any comments there.

Family Circus is one of my least favorite comics. It’s aggressively inoffensive, and it’s one of the tragic examples of a work being passed on from parent to child as if it were some sort of sequential art dynasty. The comic never had more to it than “aren’t childish malapropisms cute?” Its only redeeming feature is the occasional Sunday comic depicting Billy’s dotted-line path of mayhem through the neighborhood.

From time to time, I would half-jokingly tear a particularly bad Family Circus from the paper I was reading, to prevent any heirs of that particular newspaper from having to read it.

thoughts

TASOAE053

Originally published at Ludus Novus. Please leave any comments there.

Baur-Sames-Bogart Hall, or BSB, is a three-story residence hall on campus. For two years, I (and Cthulhu) lived in the basement next to the radio station. The top three floors were used to house freshmen; the third floor was women-only, while the other two were for men. BSB and the other freshman dorms had a lot of wall paintings in the hallways; it was traditional to paint something and leave it behind for posterity. I have no idea what that painting there is, but it kind of looks like the Screw Attack powerup from Metroid.

thoughts

PO(r)TA(l)T(w)O

Originally published at Ludus Novus. Please leave any comments there.

Valve Software advertised their release of Portal 2 using an Alternate Reality Game, or ARG. A series of puzzles led to a game that encouraged players to play a set of indie games in order to release the game early. The players participated, and Portal 2 was released 10 hours early.

A lot of people are upset about this.

At first I was really confused about how angry people were acting, even accounting for the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory. Valve had put together a cool set of puzzles, offered a bunch of indie games for cheap, and then actually gave players a real-world reward for playing. However, I’ve realized that the displeasure the ARG created is due to a classic problem in game design: miscommunication leading to false expectations.

Read the rest of this entry »

thoughts

Convergence

Originally published at Ludus Novus. Please leave any comments there.

I was recently linked to “Convergence,” the first game by a group called Streetlight Studios. It’s a Flash game about growing up and making choices; it could be described as a mix of “Passage,” “Pathways,” and “How to Raise a Dragon,” which is a pretty amazing combination.

The game asks you to follow a character from infancy to old age, making choices along the way. Infancy makes you crawl around your house as a baby getting toys before your sibling, in an odd exploration platformy way. Adulthood has you balancing love and work; I’m glad that they didn’t make this drag on too long. Shades of “Every Day the Same Dream” here. Old age, at least in the ending I got, was more of a little vignette to cap off the choices made in the rest of the game.

Looking up at my description, this game sounds like a mixing-together of various art games, and it’s definitely inspired by the work others have done before, but the polish and design in “Convergence” makes it feel fresh. Definitely something to check out for fans of blocky pixel games about life and choices.

thoughts

TASOAE: 052

Originally published at Ludus Novus. Please leave any comments there.

There was a ghastly rule for pet ownership in the dorms at Rose: the pet had to be “flushable.” In other words, if it died, it needed to be possible to dispose of it down the toilet. I’m sure the official rule was gentler: “small pets only,” say. Very few people had pets, though. It’s a bit rude to keep a pet with a roommate unless it’s something like a fish that’s silent and rather odorless.

Don’t ask me what’s up with the perspective on the background. Let’s just pretend that Tony’s fell aura is distorting the very laws of space and time.

thoughts

TASOAE: 051

Originally published at Ludus Novus. Please leave any comments there.

And the new year begins. This comic would have appeared in the Freshman Issue of the Thorn. Freshmen got an abbreviated issue of the paper in their orientation packets, which presented an interesting problem for my comic; I had to introduce readers to the comic without leaving anything out for non-Freshmen. Additionally, I was shifting the focus of the comic this year, which made it trickier. Finally, I just went for a quick cast intro. At this point, I evidently decided that the Civil Chick (Cthulhu’s name, not mine) was a major character. Absent are Cthulhu’s former roommates: the hapless guy and the grumpy Christian.

Cassie and Brynne are the first named characters in the strip. Cassie’s hairdo got simplified from this design; it was too overwrought. A triple major was not unheard of; more than one student in my year pursued such a feat. CS/EE/ME is a decent way to go. I don’t think you were allowed to do Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Electrical Engineering. Too much overlap there for them to justify awarding three separate Bachelor’s.

There was no Black Magic degree program at Rose. It was strictly a minor. I took some artistic license.