Can’t believe I haven’t updated the Nerdlog since the Contra Post Mortem video. Yikes! I had kept meaning to update it with lots of art and progress about the latest episode of Read Only Memory, but I just never ended up doing so. Well I waited so long that I can just update with the final video itself. Hooray for me.
So this short is obviously based off Ghosts ‘N Goblins. Shit, I love me some GnG, and working on this short really got me back into the series. During the time I was working on this I bought Ghouls ‘N Ghosts on Genesis, and have played the Arcade versions a few times too. I’ve also listened to tons of GnG series music, both in keeping with the spirit while working on it and to figure out what music I wanted to use.
I apologize if your knowledge of GnG is very minimal, watch this video, and have no idea what you just saw. With most episodes of ROM, I usually try and open them up a bit so that maybe someone not familiar with the games they are based on can enjoy them. With this episode, I just wanted to make a nice tribute to GnG and to tell the story I wanted to tell meant that I needed to exclude people unfamiliar with the series. It was a tough choice to make, especially with the amount of work that needed to go into it, but I’m glad I did so.
I was really worried at first if this short would be hard to follow. Switching back and forth between a past and present and telling a story in 45 seconds is a lot for a brain to process I think. When I decided that the short would be more of silent film (I was originally going to do narration) things became much more clear to follow.
Also, as you can see there is zero humor in this short as well. I believe this is the first Shamoozal short I’ve done without any jokes. I pretty much did so for the simple fact that I wanted to make something different for a change. GnG is not a humorless series of course, I mean Arthur gets thrown into his boxer shorts every five seconds, and turned into a duck or baby throughout his quest. I wanted to show armor less Arthur here, but I tried very hard not to make it funny. I hope that came through.
This is also the first short I worked on where I dealt with violence. I did everything I could to not show red blood. It would be easy to go into something like this and make it a blood bath, but I still wanted to stay in the PG-13 territory.
So there it is, another episode of ROM down and another one to go. Zelda is up next. It’s going to be brutal!
Welp, finally made it to the moment where Volume 1 of Read Only Memory is complete. It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on ROM for half a year now!
So, Volume 1 is pretty self explanatory, but I’ll get into it one more time. Each month we’ve produced a Nintendo related short for GoNintendo.com, and this month we’re bundling them all together to create “Volume 1″ of the series. Included in this set is Turnips In Love, Simon’s Supper, The Return of Captain N, and Pizza Links.
Oh, you’ve watched the four ROM episodes already? It’s okay, watch them again, and see how I “seamlessly” blended them together! But really, if you’re a long time fan of our work, please let me know if you like this format!
With this release I hope to spread ROM to a larger audience. I’m curious to see how this package works out in the end. Thanks dudes.
I’m a couple days later than I wanted to be, but the latest episode of Read Only Memory, Pizza Links, is here! So watch the above clip, then read the rest.
As many of you guys might know, this was actually the first episode of ROM I started working on before switching to Turnips In Love. I was tinkering around with this idea way back in February but didn’t really start to build all the assets until the middle of March. Once I had the big pieces in place I recorded my script and made the animatic for it. I absolutely hated it. I hated it so much I honestly didn’t think I could salvage it, and because I wanted to get something to Kevin over at GoNintendo, I came up with Turnips In Love. In Love was easy and cute enough that I felt it was a good replacement for what I was currently working on. Plus, it was perfect for nailing the “30” second run time I was aiming for.
While working on The Return of Captain N, I was trying to figure out exactly which idea I wanted to work on next. I decided that since I already put so much work into this short that maybe I should revisit it. I took a good look at everything I had script and audio wise and decided to throw away half of it. One of the problems with the original version is that it was much too long, going on for probably close to three minutes. You’re not missing anything as I managed to get to the point in a fraction of the time, though I didn’t quite hit my magical 30 second run time. Regardless, once I was able to really narrow down the key points, I felt much happier with what I was shooting for. It’s longer than your average ROM, but it is no where near the bloated beast it once was.
I had fun with this one because it gave me a chance to visit not just Link, but four different versions of Link. I tried to give each Link the same amount of attention, but obviously the star of the show is the Link from the old 80s animated series. Probably because he’s the most fun version of all Links. Sure, he’s corny and a total cheese ball, but that’s what I like about him so much. I tried to nail down the pure stupidity of Link from the CD-I games too. As for Wind Waker Link and Twilight Link, I needed to improvise with them a bit. I decided Wind Waker Link, being the smallest, should act the toughest out of the group. Twilight Link, well, I just wanted to turn him into a big baby. This video also gave me an excuse to put a Ninja Turtle in it, and you know, Ninja Turtles were rather key during the NES era, so he’s not out of place in the video game realm.
Despite already having a lot of work previously finished, this episode was much more involving than previous episodes of ROM. So much so that I needed to enlist the help of Frank to crank out a shot for me earlier this week (he did Twilight Link acting like a bitch, which I thought looked great). Having to deal with five characters was a lot of work, even if I did limit what they did in certain areas.
So anyway, I hope you enjoyed this episode. It’s sort of the last one for a little while. Next month I’ll be doing a compilation video of all the previous episodes but hopefully adding in some new stuff.
Just wanted to let you know that clicking on the Episodes tab will magically transport you to our new (and currently updating) episodes page.
So this is like what, the 40th time I’ve redone the episodes page? It was a hard decision to make, but I’ve decided I want to stop hosting the shorts as a swf format here on the site, instead I’ll slowly be uploading all of our shorts to our YouTube channel.
I said it before a few weeks ago, but YouTube’s encoders have gotten much better and I feel like the HD versions of our shorts look really nice through the service. Plus, YouTube also has all sorts of cool little stats I like looking into to see what points in the videos people generally like (and dislike). Never thought I’d see the day where I rely on YouTube to be the main destination to watch Shamoozal videos, but that’s the way it’s going to be for the time being.
Anyway the new page is very simple. The latest cartoon will always be featured at the front of the section while the rest of the shorts lay below it. Not all of our shorts are up on our YouTube account yet, so you still have access to the old layout in case you want to watch something we haven’t covered yet.
It’s hard to believe I haven’t come up with a new short for The Zoinks since 2007. The final episode I produced was Fruit Smoothies, and the entire creation process was streamed over UStream and made in about 12 hours total.
The Zoinks shorts were originally intended to be produced on average of once a month (along with everything else, can you believe it?) but that obviously didn’t happen. Seriously though, none of these shorts actually took much time, I just never really bothered to come up with a bunch of worthwhile ideas for the characters. Each of them probably took a solid day worth of work, sometimes spread over the course of a weekend. They’re very simple, and that was always the intention. Thinking back, I think I banged out Finger Paints in about four hours one night.
Carboard Box was actually the first Shamoozal short ever produced. When I originally bought this domain I had nothing but a logo up. Not much later I had a link for the forums, and then about a month later I had put up Carboard Box as a teaser cartoon. It stayed there until I finally assembled a basic site layout and our first “real” short, Candy Corns.
I have actually had some ideas recently to take the creatures in a slightly different direction. If I do another short, it likely won’t “look” like these original four, so I felt the best way to present them on this upload was to bundle all four of them together. Knock them out all in one shot, you know?
As a bonus, I’ve also uploaded the original theme music Joe came up with for The Zoinks. I don’t think it’s ever been heard in its entirety before, though different clips of it have been used throughout the four episodes.
Considering our core focus of this website are the videos we produce, our video section sure is a hassle to get through. I decided that I’m going to just abandon the idea of hosting our videos in their raw swf format and just upload all of our stuff to Youtube and host it there. YouTube’s compression has come a long way since we started making these shorts and they look pretty nice running through it (though ironically, I’m not too happy with how this Ninja upload looks. I’ll have to continue to play). Once I get all the videos up there, I’m going to begin the task of rebuilding our video section yet again. Not really looking forward to it, but it has to get done.
The first of the old cartoons getting the new render/Youtube upload treatment is ‘Ninja’. I can’t believe it’s been nearly four years since we made this short (three and a half to be exact). I loaded the newly rendered video on my PS3 and gave it the first watch through in a really long time. It’s weird looking back on it. I forget the long hours I put into it, and instead I just focus on everything I don’t like about it. I found myself thinking “I wish I could change this. I should have done that.” and for a moment I thought about pulling a George Lucas and “fixing” everything in it. To cover up the things you consider mistakes though, that isn’t how you really learn anything.
The one thing that stands out to me is the color. Yuck. The reds are over saturated and whenever one of the ninjas are over the red they bleed badly. The colors looked okay on my old monitor, but on my current setup and my TV, they just don’t work right. It’s pretty harsh on the eyes in that sense. Other than that, I’m still pretty happy with the fight. The ending though, that’s something I wish I could trim down. It needs editing, lots of editing.
Onion skin look at one of the scenes with storyboard behind it, roughs in the middle, and final animation on top. Tough to look at huh?
The original idea for Ninja was spawned from the reception I saw over on Newgrounds for fight scenes. I was new to the NG scene and saw that if people made a fight scene, even if it wasn’t a very good one, they loved it. I thought maybe I’ll make a fight scene, people would enjoy watching that, and then I’ll pull the rug out from under them with the ending just to throw them off. The reactions to that were mixed, which is something I honestly expected. People don’t like to be fooled. Even though it’s only a two minute fight, people must have gotten invested in it, they wanted to see a clear winner. When the big reveal is that it was just Jacquo and Grey goofing around, they feel cheated. That was kind of the point of that ending.
The other thing this episode needed to do was introduce the character of Plum. Originally Ninja Grey was going to throw an object which would then turn into a pillow and we’d go into the “real” world. This pillow was going to just so happen to hit Plum, who was apparently in a bath towel causing her towel to fly off and make for a really awkward situation between her and Grey… you know, with them being cousins and all (and Jacquo just loving it). Then I thought that was a pretty crappy way to introduce a character. Nothing like introducing a female character and she’s automatically naked. Instead I just decided to have Plum bitch them out (which, when thinking about it, is kind of an equally shitty way to establish a female character, even if she was rightfully ticked off). Unfortunately, that conversation goes on for too long, and there isn’t enough action. Grey and Jacquo are just laying on top of each other during this whole conversation.
I’ll admit, it’s a lazy ending. I put so much into doing the rest of the short that I thought I could get away with this whole conversation without much animation. It doesn’t work. If I were to edit that entire ending today it would be much shorter. I’d end the fight the exact same way, I’d have Plum say a similar line about what are they doing in her room, and I would have them go right into the whole “Ninja Vanish” thing. Forget all the rest of the bullshit, just end it. I think it would have been a bit funnier had it just ended quickly like that. But I felt the need to give Plum some screen time, and at the same time, wanted to throw some in-jokes in like how people pronounce Jacquo’s name wrong, and mistaken him for a dog. They’re kind of entertaining lines, but I think they hurt the whole experience.
Jacquo’s Ninja was originally going to be the same size as Jacquo, just as Grey’s Ninja is equal in height. I decided I wanted him to be more threatening in the end.
While I’m coming down pretty hard on it, I still like certain aspects. I really like Joe’s music for the fight. I remember watching the fight the first time with that music and feeling like we made something really cool. To have someone write music to a scene you created, and not just throwing a track of music over a fight, or animating to particular music, it gives it a sort of “complete” feel. It suddenly feels “right.” I hadn’t had that same feeling until “How to Hook Up the NES” close to a year ago where Joe wrote music for that short too. I also still like the designs of the two ninja characters. The Grey Ninja doesn’t have feet. My original idea is that he would be so nimble that he’d never touch the ground. Of course, he touches the ground the moment you see him. Still, I sort of still like his look. The Jacquo Ninja I modeled really close to Jacquo. He even has a pony tail in place of his ears. His eyes, if I can recall correctly, are Jacquo’s exact same eyes as his old design. Frank storyboarded the fight, and I like what he came up with there. Coming up with a somewhat involving fight scene with lots of moving action is hard work, I probably wouldn’t have been able to come up with something like that at the time.
Ninja and How to Hook Up the NES are barely related, but I like to think of them as the two high points of our work here. They’re the two shorts we obviously put the most time into and they’re also arguably our two most popular shorts as a result. I’m not sure if that is because of the work that went into them or if they were just decent ideas, I’ll never really know for sure. The internet works in mysterious ways.
This short was a lot of fun to do, and one of those cases where it totally took a different turn in direction than originally planned. I have been wanting to make a short featuring Captain N for a really long time, but just never really got around to it. When I planned out a bunch of ROM episodes, this was one of the first ideas I came up with, because ROM finally gave me a reason to visit this character.
The joke was always that an old retired Captain N was desperate to return to Video Land, and as a result, a faulty NES would get the best of him. Originally I wanted the short to begin with a camera panning across a shelf with a bunch of pictures, showing Kevin growing older and having children. It would eventually settle on Kevin, complaining about how much he hated his married life, thus making him long to return to Video Land. When I started boarding this, I wasn’t quite happy with how things panned out for Kevin. I didn’t really like the idea of him hating his own children and his wife, so I rethought things.
I started this episode as the TV series Lost was wrapping up. With Lost on the brain, I started to relate Kevin’s longing to return to that of Lost’s hero Jack Sheppard. I thought it made for a really good parallel, and decided to model Kevin after Jack’s appearance in the pivotal episode ‘Through the Looking Glass’. As I took this path, things started to sort of spiral out of control and before I knew it I was in full on Lost parody. The intro of the short is almost shot for shot right out of Through the Looking Glass, and I essentially turned Kevin into Jack. It was a lot of fun putting more focus into Kevin’s obsession with returning to Video Land, instead of him just being tired of life.
One thing I didn’t want to lose sight of is that this joke was about Captain N. It might be skinned in Lost’s clothing, but I’m hoping that the original idea and gag still hold up. If you’re a fan of Lost, I hope you enjoyed the extra layer of in-jokes that came along with it. Thanks for reading and watching the short. See you all next month!
I’m really sorry about the lack of Nerdlog posts on my part. I’ve been meaning to write more (I actually had a review of Galaxy 2 written but decided I hated what I wrote) but since I’ve actually been busy making shorts (FOR ONCE!) I decided my time is better off spent doing just that. The above is a still from the next episode of ROM.
I dropped probably too many hints during the last podcast (which should be up soonish) so I’ll save myself from going further into it. That said, I’ve been having a lot of fun with this short so far. It has given me an opportunity to merge two of my favorite things, and I’m enjoying how they play off of each other. I’m not exactly the greatest digital painter, in fact, the last episode of ROM was probably the first time in ages where I actually tried to sit down and paint something. I thought about going with backgrounds done in Flash this time around, but I think doing these backgrounds have been pretty good exercises for me. The one you see above has taken me about two nights to get through. I could have easily sat there and added more and more, and fine tuned the images to the best of my ability, but at some point you have to stop. Since I’m falling behind a bit on the short thanks to these backgrounds (another one which I thought about showing but gives away too much) I have to decide when enough is enough for certain elements. To be honest, I’m having trouble believing I can get this done by the deadline I’ve given myself. I might miss it by a day or two, but believe me, I’m trying.