Monthly Archives: Juli 2016

Webcomics: Bonus Chapter – Nuzlocke

With PokémonGo being the topic all around I decided to add a little bonus chapter to the usual webcomic chapters here about an old phenomenon regarding the normal Pokémon games:

The Nuzlocke Challenge

The Challenge itself doesn’t have anything to do with webcomics, but I’ll get to that soon. First let me explain:

What is the Nuzlocke Challenge?

The Nuzlocke Challenge was created in 2010 by a bored student that by now refers to himself as „Nuzlocke“, when he wanted to change the experience he had with the Pokémon games.
Originally he set up these rules:

1. Capture only the first Pokémon you encounter in a new area.
2. If a Pokémon faints you consider it dead and release it.

To accompany his run for the Ruby-edition he started a webcomic called Pokémon: Hard-Mode (start from the Beginning). He shared this comic in different communities and they created the name „Nuzlocke“ as a wordplay on the fan favourite Seedot/Nuzleaf of the run that he occasionally drew like John Locke from Lost.
Inspired by this, many others took up the challenge and modified the original rules and added a few more rules:

1. If a Pokémon faints you consider it dead and either release it or put it in a „Dead“ Box on the PC.
2. Capture only the first Pokémon encountered in a new area, unless it’s a duplicate, then you have 1-3 more tries. You may re-catch a Pokémon that previously died.
3. All caught Pokémon must be nicknamed.
4. Healing items can/can not be used. Pokémon Centers are a must.
5. You can/can not catch any Legendaries.
6. If you encounter a shiny all rules are nullified.

This of course is not a complete set of rules as Challengers individualize them, so every run has slightly different rules, but you get the gist of it.

The Challengers

I put this into the webcomics category so I’ll introduce you to a couple of Nuzlocke runs that turned their experiences into comics. This is only a collection of the ones I enjoyed reading there are plenty more – even some that turned it into diaries.
There are some things – besides the challenge – they all have in common:

  • None of them are finished and they update irregularly.
  • The protagonist is either able to talk to their Pokémon or at least the reader is able to see their thoughts.
  • Each update has about 10-20+ panels.
  • Nearly all of them can be found on DeviantArt

Pokémon: Hard-Mode – Nuzlocke

The Original run I mentioned before was for Ruby. By now he added a run for Fire-Red and is currently running one for White, but you should read the others before that. The art improved greatly over the years and also the story telling. At first it’s just headwords/phrases that are drawn, later there is actual plot behind it. Still, some of the jokes are quite lame, but that’s also part of the charm of these runs.
As a start into the whole Nuzlocke business I’d recommend it, it is the original after all.

Tales of Sinnoh/Myths of Unova – ky-nim

One of the first runs I encountered.
While Tales of Sinnoh (Diamond) follows some rather unusual way of story telling with a foul mouthed and sometimes reckless heroine and some pretty weird plots (Team Gaga and Dialgaga), Myths of Unova (White) is an entirely different story.
It feels like Ky-nim put a lot more effort and planning into the comic-version of this run. She created whole new stories and legends about the in-game tales about Ancient Unova, she even used her own language system for telling them. Additionally to that are her character portrayals great. You come to like Nina and her team for all their different quirks and charms and you suffer with her, when one of her team members is left behind.
From all the runs I read, this is still one of my favourites and I’m fairly certain that if Ky-nim/Kylee ever decided to start her own webcomic, she’d do so awesomely – at least I couldn’t find an original comic on her pages.

Tala’s Nuzlocke Adventure – TalaSeba

A bit strange at first Tala’s Nuzlocke (Silver or Gold) evolves into something with an interesting sub-plot regarding the trainers origin and motivation, and an interesting twist to the normal storyline of the game. The art also improved greatly between the updates, as does the story telling.
The characters feel unique and have interesting designs and personalities.

Fire Red Nuzlocke – french-teapot

The art of French’s Fire Red Nuzlocke is quite cartoonish, but at the same time adorable.
It has funny characters and a twist to the usual Team Rocket story line, though that part has still to be explored further – it had only recently begun to fully include the consequences.
The seriousness of some other Nuzlockes isn’t as present here, as the focus isn’t too much on the catches and deaths, but more on the overall run and team – especially as some updates are a bit rushed and composed of notes, though that doesn’t really make it worse.

The Pokédex Project – Effsnares

A different approach to the Nuzlocke Challenge is the Pokédex Project (Leaf Green) by Effsnares. This run doesn’t focus on the actual story, but creates its own by making the characters not rivals but good friends/colleagues in the completion of the Pokédex, using their different talents to do so.
It’s also different as the main character is gender neutral – something that is still a rare thing in most media.
Additionally, is this one of the runs where you can only read the Pokémons thoughts/conversations, but the trainer can’t understand them.
And to top this all up: The art is quite beautiful. The way Eff draws the different Pokémon is simply amazing.

Honourable Mentions

These runs are quite short but with a lot of potential:

  • Fiasko by Nekiwii: Adorable Silver Nuzlocke (so far)
  • Cross Out by Protocol00: Interesting X Nuzlocke that hopefully wont be abandoned like it’s predecessor.

Gijinka Nuzlockes

These are special Nuzlocke comics that turn the involved Pokémon into Gijinka’s – anthropomorphic Pokémon – some of them have an interesting background as to why/how this is possible, others simply use it as fact. In these runs there is either a Trainer capable of recruiting Gijinka’s or Gijinka’s getting together to build a team without any humans.
Until I came across these, I’m not sure I even heard about the concept – at least not by this name.
So if you want to try something different, you may want to give these a try:

Doubt and Trust – Nyapapa

Doubt and Trust by Nyapapa is a really interesting Heart Gold/Soul Silver run.
This one does not have any humans in it, but a few original Pokémon and a nice back story as to why some things are the way they are.
The characters and their designs are great. They all have their own story and back story – and some still untold stories and secrets.
I also like the explanation of how the Gijinka change their outfits after evolution. 😉

That comic about that one kid – dejasquietplace

That comic about that one kid by dejasquietplace is a (sort of) Leaf Green run.
It not just has interesting character designs, but also great interactions between them. The different personalities are refreshing – again no real rivals but friends helping each other.
The concept how Trainer and Gijinka work together is interesting (synchronising and sharing experiences) and that not all Trainers have to be human. 😉
The narration and the art style are great, not only for the Gijinka, but also for the few real Pokémon that are still around.
I’m really looking forward to this story being continued.

Honourable Mentions

  • Conticent by Jonquilladin: A Platinum Classlocke (Nuzlocke variation) with an interesting concept behind the reason why and how Trainers and Gijinkas fight together.
  • Journey of Runaways by Kittiled: A Heart Gold/Soul Silver run, that still has to show how Trainer and Gijinka are connected.

Last words

The very first Nuzlocke comic I read was Mira’s Leaf Green Nuzlocke by xXDeath-N-HellXx. It is/was a great run, but it hasn’t been updated in three years, so I left it out of the list above.
I hope you enjoyed this little look into different Nuzlocke Challenge comics.
Have you ever tried the challenge or read any of the comics?
Do you know any other comics of the kind?
See you around

PoiSonPaiNter

© For the picture lies with its creators. I merely used it as example of their work and hope that’s okay.

What’cha Watching Wednesday: The Gamers-Special

Instead of my usual What’cha Watching Wednesday I’d like to focus on a certain project of Zombie Orpheus Entertainment (ZOE) and Dead Gentlemen Productions (DGP) that I re-watched since the last instalment (The other stuff will be included in the next official one).

WWWWhat is the WWW generally about?

Every fourth Wednesday evening I will publish a post in which I collected the thoughts I had throughout the week(s) while watching the latest or any episode of a series or maybe even a movie.

Depending on how my time allows it, the comment will also be for those that I watched that day.

You’re warned: There will be Spoilers.

Introduction

All the stuff listed below are „Fan supported“ and „Creator distributed“, which means they were financed through Kickstarter campaigns or continued support over their creators Patreon pages (ZOE, DGP). There is no TV channel/network or huge sponsors behind it and the fans‘ praises and complains are heard directly by the people involved – not that there is much to complain about…
People can also be directly involved, depending on their pledge-levels in the campaigns. They can become extras, producer for a day, chat with the cast/crew and other stuff. During the productions people are also allowed to announce a „Red Card“ – that they acquired during the campaigns – that sends an actor or other part of the production into a 5-min time out when they said or did something offensive. 😉

Anyway, let’s take a look at

The Gamers Saga

When I first watched JourneyQuest I soon discovered The Gamers: Dorkness Rising and was easily taken into it, before I realized it’s part of a larger story, but let me start at the beginning…

In 2002 a group of independent film makers got together to create something very special, a story about gamers, with gamers, for gamers that turned into a whole saga consisting of so far three feature films (The Gamers, The Gamers: Dorkness Rising and The Gamers: Hands of Fate) and an in progress series.
The respective stories follow a group of table top gamers (one in the first one, one for part two and three) and their campaigns, but instead of just talking the audience through what the characters are doing, the actors also take up the roles of their characters and show what is happening during the game, sometimes narrating or commenting it with gaming terms (Attack names, „Critical Hit“, etc.).

If you ever participated in a table top round, be it D&D, Pathfinder, DSA (Das Schwarze Auge)/TDE (The Dark Eye), Shadowrun or one of the many other RPGs, you’ll soon be engrossed in this universe. The characters act natural, the jokes are funny and the more you get involved, the more fascinating it gets. You can also see the increase in production value and lessons learned from previous endeavours. It’s great to follow the paths they took (this pun was not intended, but worth keeping, as the game they play is – based on? – Pathfinder) to create this saga and certainly worth many, many re-watches.

But let me tell you a bit about the stories of the different parts…

The Gamers

In the first part the group of gamers plays its way through a campaign with unusual methods, like thief Nimble sneak-attacking/backstabbing someone with a ballista, the Mage of the group being replaced by another one that is accepted on the spot and all the while annoying their poor dorm mate that just wants to study. In the course of their quest to defeat The Shadow! The Shadow? The Shadow… the gamers ultimately lead their characters through a portal into their own/our world, where the characters end up slaying them (their players).

It’s basic, it’s simply, it has quite a few stereotypes, but it’s still not over the top and quite enjoyable and of course the begin of something special. 😉

The Gamers: Dorkness Rising

Part two follows a new group of gamers lead by Lodge, who just wants his friends to finish a run for once, so he can turn it into a new module for the game. After some failed attempts they decide to add more players to the group, which are Joanna a newbie gamer and a NPC-character Lodge himself plays. With some difficulty (Gary wasting Level 4 spells on frying innocent NPCs and constantly forgetting that he’s actually playing a female; Leo’s bard that keeps dying, when he isn’t seducing random NPCs) they manage to beat the campaign that Lodge has designed. Though as the reward Joanna chooses for their quest enrages one of the gamers (Cass, Joanna’s Ex and the I-beat-every-game-there-is min/max wannabe-leader of the group) he storms off and leaves the group, while the rest remain dumbfounded.
Alas the others do not share his view and quite like the decision and want to know how the story continues, supporting Joanna and her way of gaming.
When Lodge finally releases his campaign Cass returns and reluctantly congratulates him and asks if he can return to the group, which the former accepts, but still leaves him standing, so Cass can apologize to Joanna.

This one went deeper than the first one, we learned more about the characters involved and got to like them. I really do enjoy Garys way of solving problems in-game, they are just absolutely hilarious at times and always totally chaotic. Even if I like all the gamers, he is kind of my favourite…
I really enjoyed the resolution of the „gamer girl“ sub-plot. The way they supported Joanna was just incredible and I like the characters even more for it. This part basically made me fall in love with the saga – though JourneyQuest is still a tiny bit above it. 😉

The Gamers: Hands of Fate

Part three takes a different turn. As life gets in the way of their actual gaming the members of the party started other adventures (Joanna and Lodge became a couple, Gary and Leo are busy with work), but here especially Cass learns the hard way that some games aren’t as stupid as they look from afar. Leo hosts a Card Gaming competition in his shop and Cass mocks it, but wants to immediately hook up with the only female gamer, who flat out rejects him and tells him the only chance he has to get a date with her is, if he gets her queen on the throne. Naturally Cass accepts the challenge and lets Leo guide him into the game „Romance of the 9 Kingdoms„; a story line based, user influenced card game; and ends up hijacking Lodge and Joannas trip to GenCon to include their whole group so he can participate in the tournament that would decide the fate of the story line within the game. Throughout Casses games we learn that the characters within the nine kingdoms have a mind of their own and slowly but surely become aware of what is happening to them. With some funny side stories (Joanna over-reacting over a ring she found in Lodges pocket, Gary exacting revenge on a mascot of a TV show that caused the cancellation of one of his favourite shows and Leo just trying to keep his people in check – and stumbling across a murder that is told in a novel where I’m not entirely sure if it’s tie-in, but sounds amazing…) the story culminates into an interesting, but foreseeable ending – at least on the card game story line – that I don’t want to spoil here. 😉
Finally a year after the Con the group manages to game again and continue their quest in the dungeon of The Shadow! The Shadow? The Shadow… yes, the same one.
In a cruel turn of events the gamers are transported into the realm of the game, while their characters appear in their world.

With the additional gaming world and the focus on the card game this part feels different than the previous one. It’s kind of strange for me to watch as well, as Cass is the most annoying character of the group, but I like how his ego gets a damper after the whole ordeal. I just really enjoyed the character development this Season – even if Joanna was the difficult one this time around. It’s also great to see that most of it was actually filmed at a con – even if I’m not entirely sure if it was the real GenCon and or the „fake“ ZOE Con, I lost track of what stuff was used from where [Edit thanks to Andi Dopieralski, see comments]- and it makes me want to attend an American con even more (we do have some Comic Con mock ups by now in Germany, but I don’t think they are anywhere close to the originals, I’ll find out in October).

Well, and this is where everything changes…

The Gamers: The Series – Season 0

It begins with a short that shows the old characters introducing themselves to the new ones which sets up the events of future Cross Over story lines (The Gamers was produced by DGP, the other two by ZOE).
The series 0 (zero not O) itself shows what happened to the original characters that got stuck in our world (at least they will as soon as the last part is released).

It’s a nice change of pace as the characters are narrating their fates that are visually shown. I already liked Nimble in the original movie (hello, ballista?), but his short made me like him even more, elven archer New Moon just has the most ridiculous short and I’m not entirely sure if I completely understood the one for the mage Magellan… The one for warrior Rogar is yet to be released, so I can’t say anything about it.

I’m really looking forward to the continuation of the series, where both stories connect…

So if you liked what you read – and maybe watched – so far, make sure to check out the Kickstarter DGP is running right now to fund the first episode of The Gamers: The Series! It will be a 45 min long episode that starts setting up the path that leads to The Gamers 4 (another path joke, I’m sorry…kinda…): The Gamers: Episode 1.

Natural One/Humans & Households

These two are also part of the Gamers universe, but more like add-ons than necessary to understand the whole plot.

Natural One takes Gary and Leo to Canada so Garys (possible) future brother-in-law can face his „Trial of Initiation“ in order to be allowed to marry Gary’s sister Monica. This time the game they play is set in a Cyberrun universe, but the concept is the same.

It is possible that this story is a prequel to ZOEs show Rude Mechanical, but I haven’t gotten around to actually watch it to make sure.

Humans & Households goes the other way round and shows a group of fantasy-gamers play a mundane game set in our world, where they have to survive crossing a street full of cars and house guardians (a very cute dog) and the simple fact that everything sounds too good to be true („The key is in the letter box“ – „It’s a trap!“).

While they’re fun, they’re not as great as the other parts as they’re too focused on being stand alone, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking them out as well. 😉
H&H is especially funny considering that they basically show how weird gamers act in a given situation (see trap-dialogue) and their kill-first-ask-questions-later mentality.

What were you watching?

What episodes (or movies) did you enjoy/dislike throughout the week/month?
Anything you’d recommend checking out?
Let me know in the comments below!

Final Words

I hope you enjoyed this little look into the universe of The Gamers and maybe you find it in yourself to help them continue to make this incredible show. I certainly did. 😉

Now I’m off to translate a few more minutes of Attacking the Darkness between sneezing, coughing and trumpeting (aka loudly blowing my nose).
Yay, for the Festival-flu…

PoiSonPaiNter

Blog-Parade ferngeweht – City, Country, River: P for Peene

Some time ago ferngeweht made a Blog-Parade about the old children’s game „City, Country, River“ or „Stadt, Land, Fluss“ as it’s called in German and asked for 26 Bloggers to write articles about a city, country or river for a respective letter. This time around Sabine wants 78 Bloggers (3 for each letter) to do the same.
I already participated in a previous Blog-Parade of hers (Fernweh) where my post got added to the e-book version containing nearly all entries and also two others about travelling (Strangest Travelling experiences and Travelling Glitches). When I saw the first Parade I wanted to participate, but my chosen letter was already taken and my time/motivation back then wasn’t that good to begin with.
Not that this is any better this time around (*click*), but I decided to apply for the river version of the letter P.
And as you’ve already figured out: I managed to get it. 🙂

Additionally, this post also qualifies as first „Travelling T-Day„, a category I introduced when I talked about the schedule (I just don’t have a picture for it yet >_<).

So without further ado, let me tell you a bit about

The Peene

The Peene is a river in North-East Germany; in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western-Pomerania) to be more precise and if there weren’t those huge corn silos I’d be able to see it from our bath-/bedroom windows. So it’s obvious why I chose it, right? 😉

Anyway, as the Peene is a German river the pronunciation has nothing to do with the English „pee“ – even if the Slavic origin of the word (Pěna) – meaning „foam“ or „foaming river“ – could be associated with the word. If you go for a similar sounding word I’d recommend a look at „penny“. Here you simply stretch the sound of the e for the „ee“ and add the short one at the end. Easy, right? 😉

River basics

(c) Ulamm

The Peene is a river system consisting of the Peene and other rivers that have Peene in their names (see picture) and several side-arms running towards or away from it. The Peene – that is actually only called Peene – I’m going to talk about origins near Gnoien and runs past Demmin, Jarmen (my home town that I’ll be using as an example throughout the post), Anklam and reaches the Baltic Sea as Peenestrom (strom = stream/river) in Peenemünde (münde being an abbreviation of Mündung, meaning „water mouth“) – at least that’s what I get from local knowledge and the quite confusing Wikipedia article.

This part of the Peene is about 126 km long, it’s longest distance is 185 km in total. The river is sometimes referred to as the Amazon of the North (Amazonas des Nordens) due to the curvy course of the river and its natural habitats of many different (sometimes endangered) species.

Wildlife sanctuaries and shipping

The mill & the filling construction

The mill & the filling construction

These natural habitats are often even sanctuaries, where beavers, (sea) eagles, otters and all kinds of little critters can live and re-populate. Some towns – like Demmin and Jarmen – even use the beavers for touristic advertisement (Jarmen recently got a wooden beaver statue at the town entrance). The habitats range from normal river valley (Peenetal 😉 ) to moors, with the moor even being the largest low-level moor (fen) (Niedermoor) in Middle Europe and other parts run through an Urstromtal.

Some parts of the Peene can be passed through on special river tours, where you can see these habitats. As the river(s) runs through a couple of lakes – like the Kummerower See – these tours are sometimes combined with tours there. Other parts are still used for shipping freight or (hobby) sailing, but pretty much every part can be accessed via canoe, with several stations along the way.
There are a few harbours along the Peene; in Jarmen there is the mill directly beside it and sometimes you can see the transport ships being filled from the mill and/or the tall silos that are blocking my/our view. ;)Obviously there are also a couple of bridges that are either high enough for boats to pass below or able to be drawn up.
Jarmen has two bridges: One for the (former Federal Road/Bundestraße B96) Country Road (Landstraße) L35 and one for the motorway (A20) directly alongside it. With an motorway entrance just outside of town it’s quite easy to cross the river here. The next proper bridges are, I believe, in Loitz and Anklam.

The feet below the bridge (by the yellow sign) belong to the motorway-bridge 😉

But that’s not all there is to it

The Peene also has a history of being a natural border within the state that is nowadays called Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, but used to be at least two different parts.
During the Swedish occupation of the North, for example, the Peene was basically the border in most parts between Swedish-Pomerania and New-Western-Pomerania. During that time a lot of towns alongside the Peene – like Jarmen – were under Swedish occupation. Later it cut off the Prussian region of Stralsund. Today the Peene is usually part of a county on both sides, but before we had the „Kreisgebietsreform“ (county area reform) where Jarmen became part of the new county called „Vorpommern-Greifswald“ the Peene used to be the border between the counties „Ostvorpommern“ and „Demmin„, if I remember correctly.

An especially interesting tale concerns the part of the Peene along the town of Anklam. Where the Brandenburger (or -ian?) and Swedish armies fought over the town and its access to the river.
In a bit more fictional way this plundering and destruction is composed as a theatre play called „Die Peene brennt“ (The Peene burns) and is performed every year around September and shows how the Anklamer drove off the occupiers. Unfortunately I never managed to attend one of the shows, but some day I certainly will. 😉

My Peene

As I mentioned a couple of times now, do I live relatively close to the Peene. Growing up we met down there to just sit around and chat, to explore or to relax in the sun – if it wasn’t that time of the year where all the dead fish lay in the river after repopulating (Nearby we also used to have a large playground with a wooden ship where you could climb and play, but only the giant sand box it stood in now remains of it).

I made a few tours on the river – and I really like being on a river boat or ferry. One was in elementary school, that I mentioned briefly before, where a classmate described the animals we could possibly see as „Bibers“, „Adlers“ and „Otters“ (horrible plurals of Beaver, Eagle and Otter) and the other a trip as part of a birthday party from a friend of the family. Both were great and I don’t mind going on another trip.
If you live here it’s easy to come across different parts of the river, so it’s not surprising that I’ve seen it in at least Demmin and Anklam as well.

As I now mostly stay in Neubrandenburg I don’t have time that I could spent down at the river – and it would be weird because off all the anglers standing down there. Still I enjoyed going down there again to take the pictures for this post.
fluss
I hope you enjoyed this little introduction to the Amazon of the North and maybe you find yourself thinking about visiting it one day. 😉

PoiSonPaiNter