New Perler bead art! (Pokemon, Splatoon, and Legend of Zelda)

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s been a while since my last post, and I was hoping to have one final book discussion before 2016 was over. I read through the ttyl series (or Internet Girls series, as it’s apparently been called) last month, but it took longer than I thought it would. I just finished the final book the other day and I’m hoping to have a post about it before the week is over.

However, I’ve also made some new Perler art in the past month that I wanted to share! The first three were made as Christmas gifts for friends, so let’s take a look!

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The first one I made last month was the Pokemon Espeon, who was first introduced in Pokemon Gold/Silver. It was one of the new Eevee evolutions, and a counterpart to Umbreon, Eevee’s other new evolution. While Umbreon was one of the new dark types and represented the moon, Espeon here was a psychic type and represented the sun. The friend I made this for loves Espeon, so I looked through sprites of it from different games and chose one I thought she would like. This particular one is from Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, and I chose it because it looks like a meowing cat, which my friend is also a huge fan of.

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The next Perler project I did was another Pokemon one. Here I made Vileplume and Oddish attached to each other. The friend I made this for loves Vileplume and used one in her party when we played through Pokemon Red/Blue together last year, so making this particular project held double the meaning for me. I made an Oddish with it because I had an idea to make a mommy and baby Pokemon together and wanted to see how it came out. I was originally going to have Oddish on top of Vileplume’s head, like it was riding on the petals, but I thought it wasn’t going to look good so I ended up putting Oddish slightly in front of Vileplume instead.

These particular sprites came from Pokemon Silver. An interesting thing about the entire Oddish family in the earlier games is that although their artwork depicts them as having grayish-blue body tones, some of their sprites depict them as all black. These sprites did something interesting and kept hints of the blue in the otherwise black bodies, and I thought they looked really stylized and pretty badass. I knew my friend would appreciate something like that, so I chose these sprites to go with.

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My next project is the squid mascot from Splatoon, a team-based game for Wii U. I finally purchased one last year, my first new video game console in eight years. One of the games I’ve really enjoyed is Splatoon. You’re paired up with other players to form teams of four, and your goal is to cover the most ground with a paint-like ink. You play as Inklings, characters that look mostly human with the exception of their hair, which are squid tentacles formed to look like hairstyles. However, you can turn into a squid at anytime, which is mostly used to travel quickly through ink you’ve splattered on the ground.

One of my friends and I have been playing Splatoon online together once every week or so lately, and I thought he would appreciate a Perler piece from that game. Since it’s an HD console game, however, there are no sprites to use, so I took an image of the mascot squid and put a grid over it like I’ve done a few times before. I think it came out rather nice, although I think the spots on the bottom came out a little too blocky.

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Finally, I made some smaller Perler art for myself. These are some characters from The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy. Link’s Awakening is a game I haven’t played through entirely since I was a kid, despite being a big Zelda fan. There was no real reason why, either; for the past few years especially, I’ve always said I should replay it soon but for whatever reason I never did. Three or four years ago, I started a new file but stopped halfway through, again, for no real reason.

So about a week before Christmas, I was getting nostalgic for some of the games I got for Christmas in 2002. That was probably the best Christmas for me for a number of reasons, but gift-wise, I got very lucky and got three Game Boy Advance games and four Gamecube games. I wanted to play one of those Game Boy Advance games again, and I chose the port of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, originally for the Super Nintendo. Now, I’ve played through this game many, many times since then, and although I always enjoy revisiting it, it’s unfortunately one of those games that I’ve played to death and feel like I just go through the motions while playing. I beat it in a few days, but I was still feeling nostalgic and still in the mood for a 2-D Zelda game. So I finally decided that this was the perfect time to finally revisit Link’s Awakening after so many years.

I could go on about my recent experience playing Link’s Awakening, but that’s probably better saved for its own separate post. The short version is, I loved it! It was so charming for a Zelda game, and since I haven’t played it fully since I was a kid and only had vague memories from then and a few let’s plays I’ve watched, it felt new. Anyway, I really wanted to make some Perler characters from this game, so I made a bunch of either my favorites or from characters I thought looked interesting. I think my favorite part of making these was that I had found this slightly off-white, almost ivory colored bag of Perler beads that I usually reserve for shades of gray, but here it’s perfect for how white appears on the Game Boy, making these Perler pieces feel extra retro. πŸ™‚

Well that’s all for now! Stay tuned for my Let’s Talk Books on the ttyl series, and possibly even a Link’s Awakening post shortly after that! Thanks everyone for reading, I hope you’re having a great week, and I definitely hope you’re going to have a great year! πŸ™‚

New S-P-O-O-P-Y Perler art and InkTober drawings!

Happy Halloween everyone!!

I feel like a broken record by this point, but once again… I don’t have as many Halloween Perler projects to share this week as I wanted to. In fact, it’s one again. :/ It took a lot longer than I anticipated, and it was sort of complicated too. But it’s better than nothing, right? So here it is, the last Halloween Perler project until next year — Death, from Super Castlevania IV!

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I’ve never actually played any Castlevania games before, so I can’t tell you much about Death here. It’s the Grim Reaper, and… well, I hear he’s super hard in the first game. I’ve seen some let’s plays of a few different Castlevania games though, and I know from those that they’re full of spooky monsters that are perfect for Halloween. I browsed some sprite sheets and went with Death because I just thought it looked cool.

Super Castlevania IV, like the Donkey Kong Country games, is one of those SNES titles with more complicated graphics. A lot of different colors, more realistic looking sprites — that sort of thing. I’ll admit, I was hesitant to even do Death. Honestly, I just wanted to make Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar from Pokemon and call it there. But I forgot that there aren’t many shades of purple for Perler beads, and I knew I was going to need more than was available, so I went here instead.

Which was stupid, because I ran into the exact same problem here except with blues. 😦

Yeah, I run into this problem a lot. And I’m still surprised, since there are actually a lot of blue shaded Perlers out there. But I never find any blueish purples or blueish grays, and those are the ones I always need. In this case, I had to improvise about half the colors, so it doesn’t look exactly like the sprite. I still think it came out all right, but it’s definitely one of my pieces I need to step back from to actually appreciate the details.

I’ve also got some more InkTober drawings. I didn’t hit 31, but since I started halfway through the month and still did at least one a day, I’m happy with where I’m at. I’m actually going to keep going with the InkTober challenge even though it’s over, so expect to see more in November. But here’s the next batch:

Anyway, Happy Halloween everyone! Dracula‘s about three quarters done, so hopefully I’ll have a review of it next week! πŸ™‚

New S-P-O-O-P-Y Perler art! — Muffet (Undertale)

Hey everyone! I was planning on having more stuff made for this week’s post. I was originally going to do more smaller projects, but at the last minute decided I wanted to go back and do something Undertale-related. I was originally going to do Muffet, the spider that runs the bake sale, for one of my spoopy Perler projects anyway, so here she is a little earlier than planned!

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Muffet’s one of my favorite bosses in the game, and one of the most fun. I love how she’s using four of her arms to hold teacups and teapots; I always love when multi-armed characters do a bunch of things with their hands simultaneously (the boiler man fromΒ Spirited Away immediately comes to mind). Her eyes also wink both in unison and from left to right during the battle with her, so I gave her a couple of winking eyes to make the project a little more interesting.

I had some issues ironing her together. I had a feeling this was going to be too big to iron without problems, so I did the head, legs, and body (with arms attached) separately. I should have done the arms separately too, however; a decent number of beads didn’t fuse right away and it took a little more effort to get everything connected. Some beads also tilted somehow while I was ironing, leading to some awkward bead clusters that I decided to cut out and replace. I think I did a good job saving it, though; I’ve been through worse scenarios where entire sections had to be redone. Overall it’s pretty nice, but the arms are a little flimsy because they’re so thin, and the head definitely feels top heavy.

I feel a little bad for two short posts in a row, especially coming off from posts every other week or two, so I’m gonna share one more picture today:

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I’m very late to the game, but I decided to participate in InkTober this year. If you didn’t know, the goal of InkTober is to make one ink drawing per day for the month of October. I started yesterday, and ideally I’d like to make one every day for the rest of the month, but I might try for more than one to try catching up. The first prompt was supposed to be speed themed, so I drew Sonic. I’m going to try doing these drawings a little more from memory and by copying as little from a source material as possible, although this particular pose still ended up being very similar to one of the official art pieces from the Genesis days.

Anyway, thanks for reading everyone! I hope you’re having a great week! πŸ™‚

New S-P-O-O-P-Y Perler bead art! — Boos (Yoshi’s Island)

Hey everyone! It’s October, and you know what that means! It’s time again for spoopy Halloween crafts! I have a lot of ideas for what I’d like to work on this month, but to start I made some new Perler bead art of the little and big Boos from Yoshi’s Island on SNES.

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I think most people that play games know Boos from the Mario series. But for those that don’t, they’re cute ghosts that are very shy. When you face them, they cover their faces and stop in their tracks. But when you turn around, they chase after you. I’m really happy with how these came out. They’re more detailed than the ones found in previous Mario games, including the Boos I made last year from Super Mario World.

Unfortunately, that’s all I got today. Normally I would have waited until I had more done, but I wanted something to post this week since I’ve been spacing reviews out a little longer than usual lately. It’s been taking me longer to read books, so unfortunately I don’t have as much to talk about. I’m reading Dracula right now for Halloween, so hopefully there will be a Let’s Talk Books about that before the month is over. But in the meantime, October will probably have more craft-focused posts.

Anyway, hope everyone’s having a great week! πŸ™‚

Let’s Talk Books — How Games Move Us: Emotion By Design by Katherine Isbister

Today’s book is different from the usual stuff I talk about in these posts. This time I’m going to be discussing a book that’s more like an analytical essay. And normally, I probably wouldn’t cover something like this since I don’t have as much to say (I normally wouldn’t read something like this, for that matter), but considering the subject matter I wanted to not only read it, but at the very least briefly talk about it.

First though, a couple of random things about me. I like to read. I also like to play video games. Despite most of my posts discussing books, if I had to choose I think video games hold more of a place in my heart. For better or worse, at the end of the day my video game related experiences stick out to me more than my reading ones. I don’t really know why, because both are important to me. Maybe one of the reasons is because I’m more of a visual and audio person, so when something particularly interesting or moving is happening in a TV show, movie, or video game, it naturally grips me more easily. That’s not to say there aren’t moments like that when I read, but I’ll admit that between a reading year that’s usually providing me with experiences that are mostly only okay at best and maybe even how quickly I go through them, I’ve been finding it more difficult to get those same memorable moments from books alone.

Maybe it’s also because of my current surroundings. When I was in high school, most of my friends were into video games so naturally that played a bigger role in my life. When I studied creative writing in college, books were naturally more of a focus because the people around me all had that in common. At the moment more people I know are into video games than reading books, so I guess as a result I’ve started leaning towards that side of the spectrum again.

But that whole time, I always thought it was weird that most of these people in my life either liked one activity or the other, but rarely both. And I can’t help but ask, why? Both are on the nerdier side of life, and I can get why hardcore readers and hardcore gamers might not like each other, but it always struck me as kind of weird there isn’t more of a shared interest.

Which brings me to today’s book, How Games Move Us: Emotion by Design. I felt like the title said it all: a book showing how video games can be as emotionally captivating as any other medium. I was pretty interested and hopeful that maybe this would be something that could show other people that video games have more potential than they may give them credit for.

How Games Move Us is separated into four main sections. The first takes a look at different parts of game design that help create a meaningful experience. Katherine Isbister talks about things like how player characters and the role they play within each game affect how the experience impacts the player.

The second section is about playing with other people and how that leaves a lasting impression on people. Whether it’s with people in the same room or one person playing online with many, the author explores how playing with others affects us.

The third section is more or less about motion controls, or using movement to play a game. Different examples of games show how physically moving contributes to a more immersive experience and how there’s more potential to connect with others through games like these.

The final section discusses examples of how video games build intimacy between people, but honestly it feels more like an extension of the second section. At the end of the day, all of these sections basically try to apply how emotional reactions can stem from game experiences. I think as a whole, it accomplishes this. But like I mentioned before, this book is more like a big analytical essay. And I think it kind of loses me there.

I enjoy a lot of analytical reviews on YouTube, so I don’t think being analytical is solely why I didn’t like it more. It’s more because this is like a scientific analysis. Despite talking about emotions and connecting with people, the entire book has that robotic feel you might expect from reading someone’s school essay on any given subject, filled with source listings in the middle of the read and everything. It feels like a formal presentation, and for a book about emotions and connecting with others I don’t think that’s the best approach. Like I said, How Games Move Us technically tells us how games connect people. But the way it told us could have been a lot more… moving.

The best parts were actual stories told by people. For example, a couple people that played the online game City of Heroes wrote about their experiences. There was a mother and daughter that played, for example, and it was a bonding experience. One of them gave the other a bunch of items in-game, and even though they weren’t great items she kept them the whole time they played because they viewed them as sentimental gestures. Another player wrote about how when the servers were going to shut down and the game would be finished forever, he reflected on all the friends he’d made and unique backstories for characters he’d seen, and how a bunch of them played until the last moments before the game shut down for good for one last hurrah. That was sad and a little moving, and I wish there were more personal stories like this in the book.

I want to say I was expecting something different, but realistically I guess this is the only thing the book could have been. After all, even though I’m sure a lot of people want to hear more personal stories about how video games affected them, a collection of them from random people probably wouldn’t sell as well as this academic essay on how game design affects people at an emotional level.

For that matter, I’m not really sure how well something like this sold. Despite coming out this year, I couldn’t find a copy in my library’s district or in any bookstores; I had to get this one online. I wouldn’t recommend buying it, but if you happen to have a copy in your library or know someone that has it, How Games Move Us might be an interesting read if you’re into this type of essay format.

The thing is, I don’t know who I could recommend this for. Gamers will probably appreciate some of it, but it’s mostly stuff they probably already know. And people that don’t play games might be interested, but I don’t think they’ll be able to fully appreciate what the author was trying to convey due to the mostly scientific tone of the book.

It’s just a shame because I was really hoping this book could have brought a common ground between gamers and readers. But in the end, I don’t think it will.

Or maybe it will. I don’t know. Who the hell am I to say?

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re having a great week! πŸ™‚

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Info for my edition of How Games Move Us: Emotion By Design:

Published 2016 by Mit Press

Hardcover, 192 pages

ISBN 9-780262-034265

New Perler bead art! (Undertale part 2)

Warning: Undertale spoilers

Hey guys! This week I have a few more Perler projects I recently did, and they’re all Undertale-related again. Here we go!

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First up is one of my favorite side characters, Napstablook. He — or she? I don’t think Napstablook was identified as any gender. Anyway, Napstablook appears early on in the game, trying not to be noticed by you. You can visit their house later in the game and lie on the floor with them, getting lost in a relaxing trance while listening to music. Napstablook has extremely poor self-esteem, resulting in one of my favorite lines that goes something like, “after a meal I like to lie on the floor and feel like garbage.” Naturally, a truly relatable character. πŸ™‚ Given the nature of their character, I felt it appropriate to have them lie down on my music collection.

I was recently at a convention where I met another Perler artist that gave me a great tip about ironing beads. He said instead of putting the beads over the pegs on the pegboard, put them between the pegs instead. I didn’t know if that would make a huge difference or not, but Napstablook was the first project I tried this with and HOLY CRAP it’s so much better! The process of ironing is significantly more smooth, even on my warped pegboards. The beads even fuse more quickly and easily. White’s always been the color that gave me the most trouble when ironing, but Napstablook came out very nicely, very quickly. I’d highly recommend trying it this way if you don’t already!

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Next up is another one of my favorite characters, Undyne. (Honestly, there’s too many characters from Undertale that qualify has “one of my favorites.” I genuinely enjoy so many of them equally.) She’s the captain of the royal guard that Papyrus desperately wants to join, as well as his good friend. Initially she hunts you down close to the halfway point of the game as a mysterious, armored badass. There are a few scenes where she attacks and you barely escape, but once you reach a certain point she takes her helmet off and vents some steam. She hates humans and is determined to kill you and take your soul, the last one needed to break the barrier keeping the monsters imprisoned underground.

If you choose to save her life after the fight, and if you haven’t killed any monsters, you can join Papyrus later to hang out at Undyne’s house. She’s angry you’re there, still being sour that not only did she lose to a human, but that the human also saved her life, but Papyrus challenges her to be your friend and leaves you two to get to know each other. She’s in casual clothes, which I chose to make her in.

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I also made a huge Undyne from her battle sprite. Well, not exactly her battle sprite, but the one used on the battle screen before the final fight at the end of the Pacifist route. I always liked Undyne’s many expressions. Her huge smile and frustrated faces are probably my favorite, but for this I chose the huge smile. Like the other two projects, I tried the new method of putting beads between the pegs instead of on top, and it continued to amaze me. Normally I’d separate something this big into different sections to fuse, and then fuse those sections together afterwards. But for this I only did the head and the entire body. The entire body was six whole pegboards and I didn’t have one issue fusing them. Maybe it’s because Undyne is incredibly thin, but I was so happy I was able to finish something this big so quickly.

My only real problem is with the sprite itself. This sprite makes it look like Undyne’s not wearing any pants. :X I mean I guess I could have made a belt or something but… ah, I don’t know. Didn’t really want to mess with the original sprite. πŸ˜›

Anyway, that’s all for today! Hope everyone’s having a great week! πŸ™‚