Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mari-Hole, thinking with Port-Holes

Ah, Classic Mario, Why do you never stop appearing on this blog?

Hey everyone. We're (well, I'm) back with our first post for April of this year, and I'm trying out the new Blogger post writer (or whatever you want to call it). It looks decent enough, but what I'm not really happy with was that they took off some of the old font colors for the user interference. But that's fine, i can live with it.

Now for me personally, March has been one hell of a year. And I'm not saying that to be anywhere positive, it has been nothing but a literal hell. Between the death of famous flash animator Edd Gould of Eddsworld, the removal of the Scott Pilgrim Avatar Creator, the possibly of Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel meeting it's untimely demise and being released in an incomplete form, and (not important) the drop of my once large fanbase (even to the point where my recent shite goes un-noticed). C'mon, do I really need to bring out fanservice?

And before you ask, no, that short sentence about my diminishing fanbase or it's viewers is not intended to be an attack, It's just making a point. Maybe if some people gave a honest crud about my art even if I prefer to self-teach myself and only listen to certain criticism from the people that I want following me, then I wouldn't have to take drastic measures.

Sadly it's true. I want to somehow find a way I can impress big-(not huge) time artists with my art. And to try and avoid any further damage, I desire these artists to remain anonymous in this post to try not to stir up trouble to the people reading and get a (possible) bad reputation, as if half of these artists don't already dislike me somewhat just for saying stuff I should never have said, even if said "knowledge" about the existence of fanservice and the presence of many people that envy it (like myself) is solely an opinion.

Why I changed it from me assuming it to be a fact is because let me ask you this; ever heard of the slogan "Sex Sells?" Well that can sort of apply here.

To put it simple, I'm not here to make myself or anyone else look like a dolt. I just haven't been having as much pleasure as I once had, sometimes making me ever regret starting a deviantART account.

Enough with that. Otherwise, school has also been really getting to me over the past few weeks, and it doesn't help that my English class has been demanded to read a novel titled We All Fall Down, and after reading 80 or so pages of it, I potentially don't have any interest in it whatsoever. And I know that everyone has their own opinions, and me personally, it tries way too hard to open up to readers that it ends up falling flat. There are too many branching storylines (two or three at once is okay, but five or six is just insane, however I've heard it does get better later on) and genres (begins as a mystery story, and opens up to many others, mostly murder and to a lesser extent slice-of-life), but the main seal on the bottle is that the characters are uninteresting thanks to the novel building up most of, if not all of them as smokers, drinkers, drug addicts, and murders, with little positive emotions and reasons for us to care about and sympathize with them. Even with my own series, the characters do end up performing bad tasks later on in their lives, but even before then the protagonists do positive things and give viewers a reason to like them. By the time We All Fall Down gives the characters good emotions, it's too late. And it doesn't help that they call one of the characters "The Avenger" rather than try to come up with a less inspiring name. Of course being 100% original isn't required, but it will help tremendously and make him somewhat a likable character until he murders a member of his family later on. Maybe.

Alright, that's all the pointless ramble. Onto the better news.
Once again, I go bull-istic over anything that has to do with 1985 classic Super Mario Bros because it's such a great game and a lot of interesting hacks and mods have been made for it over the course of multiple years. This one however combines the original game with a new twist: Valve's Portal series.

Mari0 is the talented effort of Maurice Gu├ęgan of StabYourself to cross Mario with the world of Portal.  Well it's more along the lines of "Mario with a Portal Gun" but it does have a graphic set that alludes to the Portal games, and even contains a level set that features test chambers, where the goal is to get from Part A to Part B without touching a red laser, falling offscreen, or (in some chambers) running out of time. There's next to no Mario enemies in these test chamber levels, but that is not always true.

Mari0's current release contains two official level sets, one that is a recreation of the original Super Mario Bros, but with the addition of a Portal Gun to enjoy the game further by doing pointless actions with the portal gun, and if you're lucky to have controllers and/or gamepads, you can invite up to three friends to kick bum in the Mushroom Kingdom. Then you have the Portal levels, the puzzle-orientated part of the game, where you use your Portal Gun to solve test chambers, with companion cubes and gel *squee!*.

The controls are a little complicated thanks to aiming and using the Portal Gun, and will take some time to adjust to, but when you do, it's awesome. With a physical controller, you might have better luck maneuvering Mario, but I've yet to try it out as I do not wish to connect any gamepads or controllers to my Windows 7 computer. It's also on Mac but Windows is more of a gaming system than a Mac; Macs are more of "art" computers, which was why I got one in the first place. You know how they say "I went Mac and I never went back"? Well not true with me. Do macs by default play Rosenkreuzstilette? Or run other millions of applications designed by (a) Windows user(s) for Windows users? Heck no.

Back on topic, Mari0 does have a lot of customization which allows you to change the color pallette of Mario and his two portal colors (the later feature being exclusive to multiplayer, in solo your portals are the default blue and orange). And for you inner game designers, there's also a full-fledged level editor to make the Mario level of your dreams, with PORTALS! *cough* It also allows you to import custom tilesets (level graphics) and music, though the methods of doing so are much more complex than Mario Builder, in which you have to put the .png or .mp3 files in the folder of your mappack, then re-title then accordingly. But that's not all; there's a few special rules for importing tilesets, so you can't just pop in a tileset and be good to go, you have to add another line and column to each tile and add in additional pixels based on the properties of each desired tile. It's that complex, but it will make you feel good inside in the end.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to set other things straight, with science.