Category - Shamoozal News

Updates, News and General Info on the Shamoozal Universe

Slowly bringing the blog back

If you haven’t noticed I have been trying to put a little bit of effort back into the “Nerdlog.” Over the last two weeks I’ve had more updates than normal. The fact is, I miss writing. I’m not the best writer, but it’s something I do enjoy doing and it’s been missing in my life for a while. Second thing is, people actually still visit this thing! Can you believe that? Third thing is, well, I pay for it, I might as well use it! So let me address all of these points.

Like I said, I miss writing. I can’t say expect the same level of activity like back in the Nerdlog’s heyday, but I’d like to start having fun with it again. I’m not sure if I’m going to do them, but I even have some ideas for stuff like the old Feature articles I used to it. The Nerdlog is not going to be my focus though. That said, I’d like to have one or two updates a week. Two updates a week would be great!

Then there is the fact that people still visit this blog. Mostly there are three evergreen features I put together that still get a lot of traction. They are, The Wizard: Where Are They Now?, Restore your N64 to your former glory, and The Ultimate Guide to Restoring the NES. These articles were put together from ’07 through ’09. Since they still get a fair amount of visitors I have actually gone through all three of them and added a bit of new content to them. So much has changed in regards to all three of those topics since I wrote about them. Retro gaming exploded, my cleaning methods have changed, and parts that were hard to come by (like N64 analog sticks) are in full supply. In regards to The Wizard, we’ve learned more about the movie now that it’s picked up in popular culture through interviews with the director, and cast. I felt all of these things were important to add into the articles to freshen them up and keep them relevant.

Finally, the money thing. I have paid for Shamoozal.com’s web space out of pocket for over a decade. For ages I never even had a single ad on this site. It wasn’t until last year I added one whole Google Ad to every page. Believe me, it doesn’t give me much. In fact, I haven’t even been paid out from Google yet, that’s just how low of a figure that is. That said, I do plan on testing different ads and revenue generators. In an effort to be fully transparent, I’ve scattered Amazon listing links into some articles. If people click these and buy products through them, I get a very small commission. I’m not telling you to click these and buy things using them. I’m just putting it out there that these things are in place and that the reason they’re in place is to potentially take some of the burden off of me from this site that has essentially been a money pit for 10 years. Side note: I have no interest in doing something like a Patreon because I have nothing to offer in a Patreon like set up.

Anyway, hopefully I can keep the streak of new posts coming.

Wrestlemasters – An Ongoing Shamoozal Project

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Usually when I work on a new animated short I tend to keep very quiet about it. I generally like to keep those kinds of things close to the chest. After all, how can I surprise anyone with cool content if they know everything that’s going to be in it? With my next project, I’d like to be a little more open.

What I’m creating is something wholly original and in my mind, like nothing I’ve made before. As of this writing it is being referred to as Wrestlemasters, a name which may or may not be final. Anyway, I’m done with parody videos. I had a good run with Read Only Memory all those years ago now and the 1980s Anime videos literally sucked the life from me, even if I do think some of them had some good ideas thrown in there. It has been a full year since I’ve animated a video, and I suspect it might be another full year until anyone sees an animated video from me again.

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We Played Nintendo: Read Only Memory Vol. 2

Mother of god. I actually wrapped up Read Only Memory Vol. 2. Seriously, there were times over the last two years where I wondered if it was even going to happen or not. After two years of work, here it is in its entirety.

Unlike Vol 1, I had planned this video sequence from the get go. I kind of cobbled together the compilation video of Vol 1 and tried to make it work as well as I could. While I managed to do a decent job at making the shorts interlock, I wanted to step my game up a bit for Vol 2. I knew from the start of this project that I was going to use live action video to link all the shorts together. The idea was to do a “day in the life” kind of thing from what it was like to grow up playing NES games.

I actually almost ran into a problem with the footage. I actually recorded all of the snow stuff two years ago. My nephew, who is the boy in the video, has obviously now aged two years since then. I recorded the second half of the footage, the drawing part and the going to bed part, only two weeks ago. I was able to make it work because I show as little of him as possible. The idea there being that I wanted him to represent the kid who grew up playing these games. The moment you give him a face is the moment he has an identity, so I stayed away from that. It worked in my benefit because he does look a lot different than he did two years ago.

You may notice many of the shorts in Vol 2 have gone through some changes. I did this to try and keep everything as consistent with the tone of the setting as possible. I rewrote and rerecorded Howard & Nester & Metroid to make it feel more like a legit Howard & Nester comic. The entire dog idea from Contra with Two Players was thrown completely out the window, turning Contra into more of an action cartoon than it was before. While I didn’t change anything thematically for Take a Key for Coming in, I went through nearly every single shot and made some sort of tweak to it. Link’s Triumph is the only short that was left virtually untouched.

I mentioned the music earlier. I was fortunate enough to be given permission from Simon St√•lenhag to use his track Fluvial Beat Deposits from Ubiktune’s SOUNDSHOCK 2: FM FUNK TERRROR!! album. When I first heard this track I knew it had to be used in this video. While it doesn’t quite give off a NES chiptune vibe, I think it fits the setting so well. I don’t know how Simon feels about his track being accompanied by what I’ve created, but I’m in his thanks. The music for this video was extremely important to me because it acts as the bridge between everything. It tells the story, it holds the feeling of the setting and creates the mood. I just love it.

So when I first set out to make Vol 2, I told everyone that it was going to be much better than Vol 1. Personally, I think I’ve completely outclassed Vol 1 by a long shot, and I hope that you agree. With ROM all wrapped up, it’s time to move onto my next big thing. Wish me luck.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a pretty solid year for Shamoozal, especially in the final days of 2012. Before I continue, I whipped up the video above today to showcase the version of the Fairy’s Theme from Link’s Triumph that Joe had wrote. There were a fair amount of requests to hear the whole thing, so I decided to put this together. I’ve included some conceptual art and early animation to go along with the music.

Anyway, these last few days have been pretty crazy. I can’t really put into words how it feels to see Link’s Triumph featured on so many large media outlets. Seeing the short grace sites like Kotaku, ScrewAttack, Destructoid, MTV, and GameInformer is pretty surreal. I’ve had a touch of that when ‘How to Hook Up the NES’ first launched, but never at this scale.

What I really like about this short is the trickle down effect that is happening with some of my earlier shorts. I’ve explained before how I was extremely let down by the performance of ‘Take a Key for Coming In’ but it’s experiencing a slight come back thanks to ‘Link’s Triumph.’ It is still by far the lowest viewed episode of Read Only Memory, but at least it’s starting to catch up to the others. The Shamoozal YouTube channel has also seen it’s subscribers almost double since last Thursday. It’s been a heck of a week to say the least. Of course there is still plenty of room to grow, but this feels like a step in the right direction.

Speaking of YouTube, I spent this year really trying to grow that channel. Starting with ‘Contra with 2 Players’ back in April I’ve actually managed to create 14 videos for the channel. Considering I had no new videos for an entire year, I’d say that’s pretty good. I think I’ve done a fairly good job coming up with supplemental videos in between the shorts like ‘This is the Part Where I Draw’ and the Postmortem videos to where I hope I’m engaging at least a few people.

We’ve been doing this Shamoozal thing for a very long time now. It has always been an extremely slow burn for us. 2012 saw a very big restructuring in the way I’m trying to get things done around here and I feel like I’m finally, FINALLY starting to see some of the benefits.

So what does 2013 hold for Shamoozal? I can’t really say for sure. Do know that ROM Vol. 2 will be coming in the next month or so. If not by the end of this month than by February for certain. As for what project I’m working on after that? I don’t know. I want to do something new. People will want me to make more video game cartoons and you know, maybe I will, I can’t say no for sure, but I do know it’s time to branch out again. I miss doing our own original work. I want to create something new. Whether or not it’s just some one off cartoon and I come up with some entire series is up in the air. I have one idea I’ve been kicking around for years now and it’s starting to look like the right time to jump into it. I can’t promise the output of videos/cartoons for 2013. I might end up with 1 cartoon for the entire year, I just don’t know. I just know I’m over 30 now. I can’t be sitting around making video game parodies all day. Right?

Regardless of what happens at least 2013 is starting off on the right foot. The trick is to just keep busy and to not give up. Working really is the key and it always will be. There have been times where I’ve wanted to veg out and play a video game all night and I didn’t. I shrugged it off and worked. There were nights where I was invited to go out and be social and I didn’t leave the house. I just kept on working. Of course sometimes I need those breaks and take them so I don’t burn out, but I always need to press on with this stuff. Hopefully I keep that mentality and 2013 proves to be even bigger than 2012.

‘Link’s Triumph’ has arrived!

Does anyone even read this anymore? I can’t believe I haven’t updated it since Candy Corns 2. I’ve actually had a couple of Where I Draw and Postmortem videos in between Candy Corns 2 and now. Sorry. I guess I’ve kind of let the Dot Com part of Shamoozal dry up a bit. I suppose people can’t even answer my question of whether or not they read this anymore since comments have been closed. Too many stinking spam bots just junking everything up and I don’t have time to moderate that sort of stuff like I used to.

So yeah, Link’s Triumph. Working my ass off to get this thing complete before the end of the year and I succeeded. I am glad it’s over because this short has done a number on my mentally and physically. Totally taking a few weeks break away from doing any animation and it’s time to get back into a regular exercise routine. I’m not kidding when I say I feel completely exhausted. Between this and the Holidays it has been insane to say the least.

Oh, so I guess I should talk about the cartoon huh? So this short is about the moment in The Legend of Zelda where Link fights the first boss in the first dungeon of the game. The goal was to show how an inexperienced and ill equipped Link would go about fumbling through this situation, and perhaps gaining a bit of confidence along the way. I got Joe on board for the first time in a ROM episode and I think it really shows through. The audio on this cartoon is great, and it doesn’t look too shabby either. I really tried to up my game a bit here and pull out all the stops. I even used After Effects on certain scenes.

I have high hopes for this short and I’ll admittedly be kind of upset if it tanks like the previous two shorts have (not that I expected much from Candy Corns 2). Now it’s time to start putting together the compilation short, ROM Vol 2. After that, who knows what the future holds. I have a few ideas I’m kicking around.

Also, I’ll be at MAGFest next week. I’ll be hanging out at the Elder-Geek table for a good portion of Saturday the 5th. I’ll be there on Friday as well, but I’ll be in full “business” mode on Saturday. I’ll be doing some sketches and what not, so if you happen to be going to MAGFest, please stop by and say hello. I’ll post more about MAGFest next week.

Anyway, hope you guys like the short. I really tried my best here.

“This is the Part Where I Draw” Video Series

So check it, I made a “new” video series. Well, I sort of did anyway. See the post about the Ghosts N Goblins art below? I decided to take that idea a step further and add a bit more to it so I could make a video series out of doing drawings. I decided to (ridiculously) call it “This is the Part Where I Draw.” The title is so stupid I call it the wrong thing every single time during my own video. At least the title logo is correct!

Anyway, the idea here, as explained in the video, is that I’m still doing a “live” drawing and still throwing it up onto eBay afterward. However I sped up the footage, recorded some audio over top of it, and added a little intro footage so that I could make it a legit “series.” The idea is to hopefully do one of these every other week. I’m going to try and aim for the Thursday nights in between episodes of Elder-Geek Game Club. I’ll be drawing whatever I damn well feel like it, though I may even take requests! I decided to choose “Nintendo Power” this time as I’ve been kinda sad to see it go.

Also, I don’t think I ever posted this on the Nerdlog, but I did another Postmortem video too, this time on Pizza Links. I’m thinking the Postmortem videos might get a bit of an intro added to them for the next time too. Now that I realized I can make custom video title cards I also want to make one for these so I can remove my big dumb face from the thumbnails.

I’ve really been trying to beef up the Shamoozal YouTube channel, but in a way where the time I’m able to spend on the shorts isn’t compromised. There was certainly some setup time in getting this first episode of Where I Draw put together, but now that most of the kinks are worked out they shouldn’t be too rough to put together. Hope you like them.

Take A Drawing for Coming eBay

During the development of ‘Take a Key for Coming In’ I had the idea of doing a bit of artwork to tie in with the short. I’d record myself drawing the artwork and then put it up for auction on eBay. So last night, that’s what I did!

You can bid on it here if you wish!

This is a bit of a test, just to see if it’s a worth while avenue to look into. Off the bat, I can tell you that unless the bidding on this item magically takes off (it won’t) that I’m not setting out to do this for money. If I sell the artwork at 10 dollars, most of that goes to eBay, PayPal and shipping fees. Considering it took me a night to put together the entire feature (between drawing the art, recording, editing the video and listing the item), well, it’s not exactly worth the remaining money that’s left. So this is more of a cross promotional thing. Despite how it goes this round, I will still likely do one of these for the next episode of ROM. Also, the few views the video itself has gotten, nearly all of those views have translated to a look at the actual eBay listing, so that’s encouraging to see.

If I may so be a grump for a moment, boy, ‘Take a Key for Coming In’ sure has limped along this weekend. It is easily the lowest debuting episode of Read Only Memory ever. Considering the amount of time and effort that went into the short, I consider this to be a flop. I knew I was taking a chance with this one, but I didn’t expect to be taking THAT much of a chance. It has completely failed to find an audience at this point. I was hoping that an upload to Newgrounds would help even things out, but it even seems to be having trouble over there. This is the internet, things could turn around, hell ‘Pizza Links’ got more popular than ever a year after its release, but as of now it’s just what it is. I’ll go more into why I think things have turned out this way in the Postmortem video for the short that I’ll put together in a few weeks. That said, I think I did nice work for this short, and technically it is the slickest piece of ROM that’s out there.