ANIME, CONS, CREATIVE, Eduardo Soliz, HavenCon, Uncategorized

Some Neat Stuff I Saw at HavenCon 2016


Con loot!

Instead of my usual ‘things I noticed’ list, I’m going to take a different approach with this post-convention blog post. At every convention, I see lots of neat artwork from independent artists. Sometimes there are independent game studios showing their wares, and they will often have some pretty cool demos to check out.

This past weekend I attended HavenCon in Austin, Texas. HavenCon bills itself as “the first geek and gaming convention in Texas to focus on the LGBTQIA and Ally communities,” and indeed there was a variety of things to see and do.

So without any further ado:

I purchased some nice X Files-themed prints from Megan Kluck featuring artwork similar to this.  Her art can be found at

This print from Robby Cook will be hanging in my home soon.  His wonderful artwork and mash-ups can be found at

I bought a zine from Bis Thornton ( and E. S. Mahoney named “Singularity: Contraption” that contained some neat stories about robotics.

“Redemption,” a comic written and drawn by Veronica Kathryn, is the story of a girl who’s trying to make up for the fact that she ENDED THE WORLD.  Oops.  It can be read at and her artwork can be found at

There were a few indie game developers there with some neat games, such as Black Ice, a funky Tron-inspired first person shooter with RPG elements by Garrett Cooper.  Finji knocked my socks off with a turn-based survival game called Overland, which is currently in development.

I had an enjoyable weekend at HavenCon, made even more so by these folks and their wonderful work!  I hope you check them out, and thanks for reading!

ANIMATION, TECH, Videogames, WHATS GOING ON, Wreck-It Ralph


You Can Fix It!

I’ve been hyped up for Wreck-It Ralph ever since I saw the first trailer.  While Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was a fun ride, it was more geared toward the NES kids that are just a hair younger than I am.  Tron and Reboot gave us a look into the ‘world inside the computer’ but Wreck-It Ralph is a love letter to the arcade games many of us dropped numerous quarters into back in the 70s and 80s.

The story centers on the titular Wreck-It Ralph, a “bad guy” from a fictional early 1980s arcade game who has grown tired of playing that role for the last 30 years.  He attends group sessions with other bad guys including such heavyweights as Zangief from Street Fighter, Kano from Mortal Kombat, Neff from Altered Beast and even Clyde (the orange ghost) from Pac-Man.  In an effort to become a hero he jumps into other games, eventually putting the arcade in jeopardy.

Disney has even gone through the trouble of making fictional posters, TV commercials and even real “Fix-It Felix Jr.” arcade machines.  I can’t wait, because the movie just feels right based on what I’ve seen in the trailers.  Those of us old enough to remember when arcade games were video games should probably watch this movie, it looks to be a fun one.


An Editor’s Tail

You MUST play this game.

I am the Editor/Voice Guy of and I all but handed in my resignation two weeks ago.  I had become burned out having spent the last two years and change reviewing games, editing and writing articles about games, voicing over videos about games, going to game-related events, and actually having to PLAY a bunch of games.  Video games had become work, and I had become sick of them to the point where even the Wii U announcement during E3 had failed to excite me.  What little joy I could muster from videogames came from playing 3DS titles.  Mighty Switch Force and Final Fantasy Theatrhythm were two recent titles that I had actually enjoyed.

I wanted videogames to be fun again, and so I told OG that I was done.  That was it. Game Over.  No mas.  Bueno, bye.  I would wrap up the games that were currently on my plate and be completely done with the site.  I reconsidered it over the San Japan weekend and decided that I would stick around, but would no longer review games.  This is part of a greater desire to cut back on ‘side projects’ so that I could concentrate on my writing.

I was happy to be getting a break from videogames.  I only had one or two more to finish before clearing my plate of everything that I ‘had’ to play and then I could get back to playing games that I wanted to play.  One evening while chatting, OG mentioned Dust: An Elysian Tail (or simply Dust).  He said that he was enjoying it and that I probably would like it, too.

At first, I wasn’t sure that he was being serious.  OG and I know each other well enough to mess with each other and I thought he was being all “you’ll like it because ITS FURRY LIKE YOU HURR HURR.”  But no, he said: “it is pretty damn good, and it looks amazing,” which is pretty high praise, especially coming from him.  I read up on the game, got excited, went to Ye Olde Electronics Store for a Microsoft-moon-money card and downloaded it the next day.  I was curious to see if it was really as good as he had made it out to be.

It was.  My socks were completely knocked off.  I cannot remember the last time I have been blown away by a game like this, but I should mention that yeah, I have missed out on a lot of excellent games these past two years.  Nearly every moment of Dust has been a joy to play so far: I have been laughing at the dialogue, gritting my teeth as I fight my way through enemies, marveling at the game’s beautiful world as I explore it and enjoying the story.

I think Dust has restored some of my faith in gaming.  Its not that I’ve been playing nothing but bad games as part of my role at Original-Gamer.  Far from it,. I have played games that were fun and that earned high scores for being fun, but they haven’t crossed that line from ‘this is fun’ to ‘this is AMAZING’ the way that Dust has.

Except for being (as far as I know) one of the few mainstream ‘furry’ games to emphasize its story, Dust really isn’t anything new.    It is a 2D hack-and-slash ‘Metroid-vania’ game with RPG elements.  That said, everything in Dust that I have seen so far has been executed very well: the art, animation and music combine to make a beautiful game to see and hear, the voiceovers have been very well done, the gameplay makes me feel like the mighty warrior that Dust is supposed to be, and the story is starting to suck me in.

At a time when everything seems to be recycled, rehashed or rebooted, it makes me feel good to know that a game can still come out of nowhere and move me the way Dust has.  I haven’t finished it yet, but from what I have played so far, I can only hope that Dust ends up being only the first of many Elysian tales that I get to enjoy.


RANDOM REACTION: Nintendo 3DS Unboxing

11:00 AM

Well, its finally here, and I’ve got mine. I picked up my Aqua Blue Nintendo 3DS this morning from Gamestop and then drove on over to Toys R Us to buy Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and Ridge Racer 3D.  I was able to knock $50 off the price of the system by trading in my DS Lite at Gamestop, and Toys R Us was running a “buy one get one 50% off” deal so I picked up Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and Ridge Racer 3D.  Thus, the blow to my wallet was softened a bit.  I also stopped at Best Buy to check out memory card prices, and they had units available as of 1030 AM, so perhaps we won’t see any of the shortages that plagued the Wii…yet.

Unboxed DS

Its a box!

The first thing I noticed about the Nintendo 3DS was that the box seemed to have a little bit of weight to it.  I was a little worried; one of the big things that I appreciated about the DS Lite and DSi were their extreme portability.  When you are done, you fold it up, stick it in your pocket and be on your merry way.  I hoped the 3DS wouldn’t be pulling off my shorts as it cruised along in my pocket.

Upon opening the box, I soon realized why it was so heavy.  For some time now, Nintendo has included English, Spanish, and French instructions in their games. This probably saves them on manufacturing costs, because they can sell the same box in the USA, Mexico or Canada.  That’s great for them, but it means that their games arrive with manuals that are three times as thick.  The trend has continued with the 3DS, there are three copies of a “StreetPass Mii Plaza” pamphlet, three copies of the “Quick Start Guide” and to top it off, a ‘Operations Manual” that’s 328-pages thick.  I guess the Big N won’t be getting any awards from Greenpeace anytime soon.  Not that they have before or anything. The box also contained a registration card, a Nintendo Power subscription offer and a pack of “AR Cards.”

3DS Documentation

That's a LOT of paper!

Now it was time for the good stuff.  Inside the box was the 3DS itself, an AC charger, and a charge cradle. The system has a glossy finish, similar to the DS Lite, but with a more metallic look to it.  All of the exterior casing has the aqua blue color.  Upon opening it up, I saw the bottom section was also aqua blue, but the top screen had a black background.  To the left of the touchscreen on the bottom were the Circle Pad and a standard cross-pad, and to the right were the standard A-B-X-Y buttons and a power button.

I found the charge cradle curious at first, because it had a plug for the AC charger, but there was nothing to plug into the 3DS or any connectors that I could discern, just a switch that would be depressed when the system was placed onto it.  I pressed the switch and nearby two connectors peeked out.  I looked at the back of the 3DS and saw two contact points next to the charger connection where the connectors would meet.  Clever.  I noticed that the 3DS charger looked very similar to my DSi charger and it turns out that they are exactly the same.  Same color, model number, voltages and everything.

3DS, charge cradle and AC adapter

The Hardware

The 3DS is about the same size as a DSi, is just a bit thicker, and feels just a tad lighter, too:

DSi vs 3DS


Having heard about he 3DS’ less than stellar battery life, I figured I’d let it soak up a full charge before getting my 3D game on.  I left the 3DS on its charger before leaving to attend to some geeky business.


Upon returning from the geek gathering, I was pleased to find the 3DS’ charge light was off, it was time to fire it up and play some games set up my wireless connection.  As much as I wanted to get my 3D racing and fighing on, I figured I’d go through the motions and set it up to connect to my wireless router.  The first thing I noticed upon turning on the 3DS was that it took a few seconds to start up.  I don’t know if this was a one-time thing or not but it took long enough to be noticeably different from the nearly ‘instant-on’ behavior I was accustomed to on the DSi.  UPDATE: It takes a few seconds every time.

I then went through the setup, it was fairly straightforward though I found it interesting that I had to select a ‘region’ (in this case, Texas) in addition to the country.  Another addition was a little helper character that appeared in the bottom center of the screen, consisting of two rectangles stacked atop each other, with the one of top being bigger and having a smiley face on it.  Tapping the character made some help text appear on the screen which seemed like a nice touch.  Nintendo seems be focusing more on the online aspect this time around, hopefully it proves to be less of a pain in the neck than the Wii’s online.

I spent a bit of time fiddling around with the 3DS’ built in apps, which include Nintendo 3DS Camera, Nintendo 3DS Sound, Mii Maker, Mii Plaza, AR Games, and Face Raiders.  I’ll have more on the system as a whole in a few days, but so far its looking pretty cool!


Five Reasons I Think The Nintendo 3DS Will Succeed

Following a successful launch in its native Japan, the Nintendo 3DS will drop into American gamers’ hands this weekend.  I think it will be as equally successful on this side of the Pacific for the reasons below.  I don’t claim to be an analyst, own a crystal ball or have my future self sending me cryptic hints, this is just one player’s opinion.  Admittedly, I have a vested interest in the success of the 3DS, as I will be getting one myself this weekend, so take that for what its worth.

Its not just about the 3D: The Nintendo DS is seven years old, and in terms of its polygon pushing abilities, it was almost dated from day one.  It certainly lacked the graphical oomph of the Playstation Portable and succeeded partially due to the unique games that its touchscreen made possible.  While the third dimension is the hook to get people to buy the 3DS, the biggest improvement will be found in the system’s improved graphical punch.

The 3D Is Nice, though: Nintendo got everyone’s attention at last year’s E3 with just two words: “No glasses.”  While the Big N is routinely panned for being behind the curve in the graphical arms race, the cutting edge display of the 3DS does work as advertised.  While its launch line up does appear to be lacking, the 3DS’ “killer app” is the 3D itself.  At SXSW a few weeks ago, I was not surprised to see fellow attendees being very impressed with the unit’s capabilities at the Capcom booth.

3D is the “Big Thing” right now- Like it or not, 3D is currently very popular, partially thanks to the wave  of 3D movies in theaters.  While folks are willing to shell out a few bucks more to see a movie in 3D, they are less willing to shell out big cash for a 3D TV set and glasses.  While the 3DS’ price point does seem high, it is in the right neighborhood for a new hardware platform and I’d wager that gamers will be willing to pay for the privilege of playing games in 3D.

Enough about 3D, How About Games Players Want: One reason we don’t see many shooters, racing games or 3rd-person action games on the Nintendo DS is that the system just doesn’t have the horsepower to handle them very well.  The 3DS, on the other hand, is powerful enough for action games such as Super Street Fighter, Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell to be produced for it.  Whether hardcore gamers are willing to give Nintendo yet another chance remains to be seen, but at least this time around, a Nintendo system has the ability to play core games, unlike its underpowered predecessor.

Its Not Just About Games, though: In addition to games, Nintendo has announced that Netflix Instant Watch will be available on the system as well as a ‘short form video service’ that will allow the viewing of 3-D movie trailers and other content.  In addition, an eShop should be coming this summer for classic game purchases and exclusive 3DS games.  The 3DS will also (finally) feature MP3 support in its Sound application.  While none of the above is reason alone to buy a 3DS, they are nice little extras to have and enable users to get more use out of their system.

So, there you have it.  I am sure there are just as many reasons for the 3DS to fail, but I think Nintendo will be able to pull off a successful launch.  Following that, we should see some big games drop for the system by the end of the year to maintain interest and reel new players in.  I should be posting a review of the system and/or whatever game(s) I decide to buy here sometime next week, so stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Agree? Disagree?  E-mail Eduardo “randomizer9” Soliz at

The author received no compensation for this post.