5th of Blaugust – D – Dr Mario

Now It’s my turn to get lazy and do the bulk of my post in a YouTube video! I mean, go ‘New Media,’ and give you a video post. D clearly stood for Dr Mario. I show you how the game works and one of the hardest levels just to be a show off.

You will notice that I use the Super Nintendo version because it is clearly better, Thom!

Unfortunately I had to use an emulator as I discovered my unreliable video capture device that I hardly ever use because of how bad it is, has finally crapped itself and will refuse to work anymore. I guess I could go out at get another one but that would involve doing the video all over again. Also, my voice sounds funny because I am recovering from the Post-AVCon plague.

Check in tomorrow where I progress on to E. And there’s only one thing that can stand for…

4th of Blaugust – C – Community

Whenever I talk about Adelaide I always seem to be met with a certain attitude. You know that one. The one that says Adelaide is boring. The one that says nothing ever seems to happen around here. The one that says everyone knows each other because we’re so small.
I will agree with you about everyone knowing each other. I see Adelaide as one giant pretzel when it comes to knowing each other. But that doesn’t mean that Adelaide is dead. Sure, the shops close early but stuff happens around here a lot more than you might think. You just need to know where to look. I thought I’d go through some of Adelaide’s clubs, groups and hangouts that I know about so that you can never complain about being bored in Adelaide again.
How many if you are into gaming? Well, if you’re in the city on a Friday then you can head down to EVAC. The “Extremely Versatile Acronym Club” might be a bit of a misleading title, but it is a group dedicated to video games, card games, board games and Japanese Mahjong. It meets in the Harry Medlin North Room in the Adelaide Universities Union House from 4PM until 8PM every Friday. Although it is a University club anyone is welcome to attend. You can just bring yourself or you can also bring your gaming console. We have some CRTs and 1080p screens to accommodate for you. Afterward most people then travel down to the food court of the Central Market for some affordable yet incredibly tasty meals.
Taking the board game approach a bit further, the Adelaide Board Game Group meet up every Monday at the German Club from 6PM to 9PM. Entry is just a gold coin donation to cover the venue hire. The kitchen is also open so you can play euro games and eat Schnitzels! I don’t believe the club has an inventory of games but everyone collectively brings enough for everyone to play. I’ve only been to two of these last year, but I might consider going back now that I have some free time. The only problem is that nobody I know that well enough attends these things. But you never know what could happen.
Another community I have yet to attend are the Streetgeek LAN Parties. But I do know a lot of people who are involved in them. They meet once every month at the Colonel Light Gardens Uniting Church. The main reason is that I don’t do a huge amount of PC gaming. But then again, they also have a console area too so I probably shouldn’t use that as an excuse.
Here is one I only came across on Saturday night. Are you into retro arcade machines and Pinball? If so then you I must tell you about Gameroom Essentials. They do up and sell arcade and pinball machines. But most Saturday nights they have a lock in where you pay $25 and can play everything to your hearts content from 7PM until midnight. I haven’t seen a collection this big or satisfying since Magic Mountain closed down. You do have to check on their website in advance though as they might have hired the place out for a party in which case there will be no lock-in that week.
Are you into game development? If so then ARGGGH: Adelaide’s Really Good Gathering of Game Developers meet up on the second Tuesday of every month at the Goodie Hotel where you can mingle with developers and other great people in Adelaide’s gaming industry. It’s all pretty informal so you can just rock up and have a few beers if you wish or even order a Schnitzel. Even if you’re not a developer you’re still welcome and I highly recommend that you do.
A really awesome group of people are the guys that run Retrospekt. It started as a retro gaming website where you can catch the latest news on all thing to do with retro gaming but has expanded to include some great events that they run including the Retrospekt Museum at AVCon, the Super Video Game Trivia Challenge and their Joypad music and gaming nights. Unfortunately Joypad is currently on hiatus, as we need a new venue. So if you know of somewhere suitable then please let up know so we can crank up the awesome again.
Jumping out of the Gaming realm and into Adelaide’s Anime community. Do you want to watch Anime on a big screen? Perhaps you want to discuss all things Anime. Well AJAS, the Adelaide Japanese Anime Society meet up every Tuesday night from 6PM to 9PM in the Centenary Building of the UniSA City Wast campus. It seems to be more popular nowadays to just turn up and talk about Anime then it is to actually go into the lecture theatre and watch anything. Which is a bit bizarre but still lots of fun. I may have transformed this group into a beginner Japanese Mahjong club as well. Afterward everyone goes to the Hungry Jacks on the corner of Pultney and Rundle street to complain about how bad the service is and debate about things. My suggestion is to ask Barron how his job is going.
In the end I guess community is what you make it. You could sit at home complaining that nothing happens in Adelaide or you could get out there and start something. AVCon only had 200 people at its first event and now it’s pushing closer to 20,000. That only shows that the people are definitely out there. So come out and have some fun and be part of our community. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

3rd of Blaugust – Alphabet Free Sunday – How I Write My Music

So now we get to the part where I get to write about whatever the hell I want, unless I break the rules and make it that way that is. So I thought I’d give you all a story about some of the music I have written, how make it and how I perform it whenever I play. If you don’t quite know what I a talking about then I implore you to listen to this.

This is what is known as a chiptune or, as I prefer to call it, chipmusic. It’s something I stumbled across originally on YouTube where I hear many an 8-bit cover of different songs. The ones I really liked were the ones that used real hardware, which is the whole point of chip music. I decided in 2011 to make the plunge and start writing my own chip music using the Nintendo Gameboy.

Something I’m constantly asked when I perform is “So how do you make that music and get it onto a Gameboy?” The answer is that I actually write it on the the Gameboy itself using a homebrew program called Little Sound DJ. After donating $5 US to the creators of this great piece of software you download a rom which you could either use in an emulator or get it running on a Gameboy cartridge. The cart that I use is called the GB usb smart card made by EMS. It’s a cartridge where you can stick any GB or GBC rom on there and it will work. You could use it as a piracy device if you really wanted to. You can load two roms on it, but only one rom works with the battery-backed memory which you need for save files.

From there you just write your music. LSDJ is a tracker, so if you’re used to regular notation then there will be a bit of a learning curve with that. This post isn’t a tutorial as to how to use LSDJ, as there are already a large amount of them around. My personal suggestion is this video guide by cTrix.

Once you’ve made your amazing chiptune you probably want to either perform or record your track. The problem is that the Gameboys don’t have a great internal amplifier in them so they produce an unacceptable humming sound. To counteract this, someone discovered a way to bypass the internal amplifier to get a clean line output. This is what is known as the Pro Sound Mod. It works for most of the Gameboy models as well as the Super Gameboy! My personal preference is the original brick, known as the DMG-001, due to the better bottom end sound as well as the ability to install a backlight to your screen and having more space to install different mods than the Gameboy Pocket or Gameboy Colour. The Pocket and Colour models are also a bitch to solder on as well. Nobody seriously even bothers with the GBA models either.

So now when people ask me how I write my music I can just redirect them to this post rather than try to explain myself over and over. Tomorrow I get back to my Alphabetical journey continuing with the letter C.

2nd of Blaugust – B – Bronies are people too, unless they want to be Ponies…

A few weeks ago I was in Melbourne to play at a chip music show (which went really well) and while I was there I stumbled upon Minotaur, a pretty large shop full of pop culture stuff that people wet their pants over to buy. I had looked through and stumbled upon a shirt that I thought was kinda cool but not too creepy. But I couldn’t go as far as to buy one. As I was discussing about it at AVCon I was told, “But you couldn’t buy it because you would then become ONE OF THEM!”

So what was the shirt of? Why, it was a cross between Nyan Cat and My Little Pony.

In case you didn’t know about the Brony culture let me take you on a history your as to why a 27 year old guy would contemplate buying something to do with My Little Pony.

The My Little Pony line of toys originally came out in 1983 and have been marketed by various means. One of the popular ones have involved TV shows. To keep the toys current they have gone through different revisions throughout the toys lifespan. For the latest generation of toys they decided to create a new TV series to base the new line of toys off. They decided on getting Lauren Faust as the Creative Director and Executive Producer. She has previously worked on The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Because she was given a lot of creative control she decided that the show had to have more depth to the characters and not play on girly stereotypes as well as appeal to the parents that would also be watching the show with their kids. Well it turned out to be success outside of its target audience of 3 to 10 year old girls. Especially to teenage and adult males.

These fans of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic call themselves Bronies, and go nuts about it on the Internet. They have spawned Memes, fan fictions and even Conventions. When someone comes out to openly show their appreciation of the show they become, “a part of the herd,” and try to spread the message love and friendship across the web.

Right now I am partway through watching the second series and I’m actually finding it entertaining. I even have a favourite character (which is Fluttershy in case you were interested). Yet I wouldn’t tell my family or people I didn’t know well enough about it. Possibly because Bronies tend to be seen as the butt of most geeks jokes a bit like how Furies are.

I try not to take the whole thing too seriously to be honest. I have a good laugh when I watch them and joke about it with my friends. But if I do go far as to buy that shirt then I will wear it with pride. It’s only because I like watching a show. That’s all there is to it.

1st of Blaugust – A – ASMR Videos

Every so often my hair grows long and I have to get it cut. So I go and book an appointment at my hairdresser of choice. I choose them not actually because of how well they cut my hair (which they do) but because they give it a shampoo beforehand using a basin where I get to sit in a comfy chair. While this is happening the hairdresser also gives my scalp a massage (which I guess is for the shampoo to go all the way to the roots of the hair or something) and every time I get this amazing tingly sensation from the scalp massage.
So imagine how I felt when I discovered you could experience the feelings of a a scalp massage based solely through the power of YouTube.
I know what you’re wondering. What the hell was that I just saw? 
This was just one of many videos trying to produce an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response or ASMR for short. It’s meant to be that tingly feeling you experience on the back on you neck. Turns out there is a whole bunch of people (mostly girls) who make all these sorts of videos to induce ASMR. As far as I know there is no scientific basis or research on this and even the name “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response” is made up by the community. That’s right, community. There’s even a sub-reddit.
Common ASMR triggers include whispering, tapping sounds, clicking sounds and light scratching sounds and crinkling sounds. However there are also visual triggers such as the dusting of feathers on skin.
Here is a massive video that hopefully sums up all the types of triggers.
But then we get to the weirdest of the ASMR videos. The role-play videos. The most common role-play involves a trip to the hair salon where the whispering hairdresser tells you how brilliant your hair is and gives you a pretend haircut. There are also makeup sessions, spa retreats and doctors appointments. 
Here is one where noodle packets are being crinkled a little too sensually.
Ever wanted a tingly feeling from an unboxing video? Here you go!
Here’s one for all you weaboos out there!
…and another one…
…and another one…
Well that ended up in Japan-land way to easily. Finally for all you gamers out there…
I get the feeling that most people who make ASMR videos are mainly doing it for the attention though. Still, if this is what they want to do on the internet then all credit to them. As bizarre as it may seem, I found some of them were actually quite relaxing.
So that’s one post down for Blaugust. I’ll be writing all my posts by going through the alphabet. Sundays, will be letter free so I can stretch it out though. It also gives me a day to catch up if I miss a day for whatever reason.
So tune in tomorrow where I will progress to the letter B. You don’t even want to now what I have in store for that one. I mean, you DO want to now what I have in store for that one and you will read and enjoy it. Just trust me…

Blaugust 2014 – This blog rises from the ashes!

A few of my friends have done this before, and I admire their enthusiasm. And I decided last night whist catching up with them that I would join in on the shenanigans.

So what the hell is this all about?

The aim (and I mean it loosely) of Blaugust is to write a blog post every day for the month of August. You could say that I’m starting this prematurely by doing one on the 31st of July. But you’ve gotta be informed. Right? That and I did also need to choose what platform I would use until I realized this blog still existed.

What will I be blogging about? Right now you’re guess is as good as mine.

How can you follow Blaugust? Do you want to be a part of Blaugust? You can follow all the hilarity at the Blaugust facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/blaugust/. Even if you start late or don’t do every day that’s all good too.

Wish me luck and happy blogging.