Last weekend, I had to jump on a plane to Hawaii — a 12-hour marathon from Atlanta (Georgia) with a layover in the middle. As it is with every other time I tell people I’m going to Hawaii, most of my colleagues assumed it was going to be some sort of exotic, tropical vacation with sandy beaches, flower leis, and pineapple-flavored somethings. This could not be further from the truth.
Hawaii is rarely a vacation. Hawaii is family (even if we’ve never used the word ohana to describe it). Hawaii is eating delicious food (with family). Hawaii is not being an ethnic minority except when I dare venture into the tourist-trap insanity that is Waikiki (but only for the sake of eating delicious food).
Hawaii is where my parents grew up and is currently where most of my extended family still lives. Hawaii is visiting neighborhoods with flowering plumeria trees growing next to the driveways and monkey pod trees towering like umbrellas over the medians. Hawaii is running away from the giant flying cockroaches at night and watching geckos scurry across the ceiling of my uncle’s house. Hawaii is placing red ginger flowers on my grand-relatives’ graves, which rest in the shadow of dormant volcanos. Hawaii is stuffing my face with butterfish bentos, mochi-covered shaved ice, coconut-milk pudding, and ahi poke (long before it became the latest hipster food fad it is now).
Anyway, this quick visit back for family business was a little different because last year, Pokémon Sun and Moon were released and these 7th generation Pokémon games take place in the fictional Alola region, a cluster of four islands that are very obviously based on the Hawaiian Islands. The starting island of Melemele is almost a carbon copy of the island of Oahu, which is where my extended family lives. Thus, when I went back this time, armed with my copy of Pokémon Sun for reference, it was time for comparisons and a retrospective on why the game resonated with me so deeply.
Recently, in the name of “research”, I dug up Metroid Fusion and arm-cannoned my way through it again to see what was so polarizing about it (because I remember thinking the first time I played it that it wasn’t so terrible, especially given that I hadn’t played Super Metroid yet).
Okay. It’s no Super Metroid. It does some things better and some things worse. But this isn’t a comparison of Metroid Fusion and Super Metroid.
This is about the “not-quite-best pair of rooms in the game”1 and some really brilliant level design.
Happy February! Last year, I made a game about a dying flower. It’s been finished for a while, though I didn’t have the heart to put it up for a number of reasons. Still, it’s been long enough, so I’d better dig it up, brush the dirt off the leaves, and replant it before another season passes.
Last Hour for a Flower (LHFF) is a visual novel about interacting with a dying peony. It’s pretty short, so feel free to give it a poke here if you’re feeling whimsical.
I figured I should also jot down a couple of thoughts while I’m at it.
SPOILER ALERT FOR EVERYTHING AFTER THIS - You should go play it first before reading anything else -
Welcome to Algorithmically Animated 2.0!
Version 1.0 got obliterated in a server update. Whoops. A (not-really) vacation day went into getting this back up again. I’ll be trying to update this occasionally. Happy 2014 everyone!