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Subject:[Microblogging] Must not react awkwardly
Time:07:53 pm
Peak skin hunger is when you're at the doctor's office and just trying to get some iffy-looking moles ultrasounded, and moves like "you're lying down on your belly and the tech gently moves your hair out of the way so they can actually see your back" are almost impossible to get through without moaning like a thirsty porn star emitting pleasant subdued whine noises.

I'm very touch sensitive okay

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/455845.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:[Microblogging] I mean it's not like that's their job or anything
Time:06:33 pm
Peak anxiety is "Oh no I embarrassed myself and said something dumb to my therapist."

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/455129.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:Random Sara musings
Time:12:38 pm
To be a character seems at first like being a freeloader. After all, you are living rent-free in your creator's mind. While you might not have corporeal needs, your creator may still be spending resources on you, in the form of time/labor in drawing you or telling your story, money for commissions, etc.

But you are not a freeloader. You do have a job: To entertain. To inspire. To arouse, if you're that kind of OC. Maybe you're not contributing in the form of rent money (unless you're part of a published setting that has a monetized fanbase?) but you're helping your creator get through the otherwise dull and lifeless world of capitalism and day jobs. The income your creator earns is how they survive and get through the day; people like you are why.

And all that's assuming you're just a character, of course. If you come to life and turn real... well, then.

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/454397.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:Random Celine musings
Time:12:09 pm
When I was a teen, my parents had a dog I really loved. She eventually grew old and died, as they do.

It seems like, for whatever reason, she's been in my dreams off and on pretty much ever since. Like, constantly. Enough that it was sad at first but now I'm just kind of used to it. Enough that even my subconscious is somehow aware of how much this is becoming a running thing and is working that into the plot itself; in a series of dreams over several months or years, she has miraculously reappeared and reunited with us, been there in the background for a while, grew old, died again, and... is now back a third time, apparently.

It's getting to the point where I hardly even react anymore other than the sort of vague mild warm fuzzy one gets from hanging out with a friend for a couple hours. "Oh hey, how's things? Cool, cool, that's cool. Anyway, good to see you again. Catch you next time, yeah?"

Why her, though, I wonder? There have been at least a zillion family dogs we've gone through over the years.

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/454032.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:Moving and keeping busy
Time:07:16 pm
So, other than one or two game reports on nibble-sized mobile games, we haven't been super active on Dreamwidth lately. A lot of life stuff happened and it had the combination of leaving us (mostly me) incredibly busy, and often too frazzled and despairing to want to talk to people anyway.

Life in the old apartment had been growing more and more unbearable over time, but things finally reached the "I can't take this anymore, we have to get out of this hellhole" point... uh, about this time last year, like a month or two after I'd just signed the new lease for that year. Oops. So I've been in putting up with it mode for a very long time now, but the time finally came and the move has finally happened. It was brutal. I was reduced to tears on several occasions. But by God, somehow we survived, and things on the other end are so much brighter. We did it. We made it through.

There's a very strong link between the state of your home and the state of your mental well-being, you know? If everything is constantly a mess, then just living in that all day, every day, is enough to give you something approximating depression. This, of course, saps your energy and your will to live, which makes it impossible to find the strength to fight the chaos, and therefore things stay a disaster all around you, and therefore things stay a disaster inside your head, and you fall into this self-reinforcing feedback loop of everything being awful forever. It got to the point where I was almost physically incapable of cleaning anymore even if I wanted to, because once debris had sat there for long enough, I became blind to it. I'd step over this sort of vague pile shape every time I needed to go in or out of the closet without even thinking about it, and the thought that hey, that is a pile of clothes, which you can pick up and put away literally did not occur to me. It wasn't that I was lazy or chose not to tackle that pile, I just... couldn't even wrap my head around the concept that tackling that pile was an option. It was just part of the scenery, like a matte painting, and not something one could change.

It took the specter of moving, when everything had to go, to force the issue.

I had a hellaciously long commute to and from work every day and zero time to do anything besides get food and go to bed when I got home. Our apartment was small and cramped, in disrepair from negligent management, there were bugs everywhere, and just... on one hand, it was very clear why we had to move. I don't think I could have survived another year there, let alone subject Sara to it. She deserved better. We deserved better. On the other hand, packing up everything we own and moving is easier said than done, and I was not mentally or emotionally ready to face the challenges of it while still balancing work life and all the personal creative projects to which I habitually over-commit myself.

It turns out that the intersection of "I mentally and physically cannot do this in the time specified" and "I have to do it; turn-in-my-keys day is next week" is having a complete breakdown, and I'm sorry my closest friends and loved ones had to see that. For everyone else, I ended up disappearing from Dreamwidth because I was feeling sad and tired and irritable and in no mood to deal with people, but also out of a sense of... shame, I guess? I hated anyone knowing that we lived like this.

Things are looking up now, though! Hard as it was, we pulled through, and we're enjoying a clean slate for the first time in over a decade. The good news is that said feedback loop also works in the other direction; there's something about living in a home that is clean and nice and good, that's more spacious and closer to work and less run down, that's actually spotless for pretty much the first time since I can remember, that's... inspiring? It's nice. Look at the collection shelves all set up in the big and pristine living room! That just... makes me happy. I like just sitting there and looking at those, or wandering around from room to room, just drinking in the fact that this is our life, now.

Anyway, we moved at the end of July, and this last month has mostly been spent unpacking and unboxing and putting everything away. During that time, we've also taken some time to ourselves. We'd mentioned before that Sara's birthday celebration had to be postponed because her actual birthday fell right at the peak of preparing-for-the-move stress and it would have been miserable to try anything then. She deserved a good birthday, done right. We finally got around to that once we were in the new place and the dust had settled some. It ended up being a good move, because we were both feeling a lot better, happier and more energetic, and that enabled us to make a major breakthrough that has been eluding us for some time now.

We switched.

I think the trick before was that we'd gotten too caught up in expecting a complete change, thus leading to those issues we experienced where Sara didn't know how to move our body's limbs when she was in front because she'd never done it before. This time, I tried putting our mental processes into three piles instead of two: the moods and emotions and preferences and everything that made up the Celine personality, the same that made up the Sara personality, and the basic body stuff like breathing, walking, moving one's hand to scratch an itch, and so on. The system can handle that. We're just shifting whether it's the Celine or Sara Personality Core on top, you know?

That perspective shift was the key that allowed Sara to come forward, take over, and go on a hyperactive tear. She drew some doodles (Sara's first art, everyone!) She got on IM in a tornado of "AAAAAA I'M ALIVE THIS IS SO AWESOME HI EVERYONE I LOVE YOU" that lasted until the energy meter suddenly hit 0 and I was instantly shunted back to being me again. Classic kitten reaction, bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce flop zzz.

We watched Finding Dory (which is really cute and good) and that was Sara's belated birthday! For her birthday present, I made a donation to the Eden Reforestation Project, since you know her and the environment.

As the dust continues to settle (There's no more stuff to unbox! We're done moving in as of today!) Things may slowly settle down a little, but old habits die hard and I'm still very bad at relaxing and getting sleep when I could be over-commiting to all those projects. Current to-do list:
  • Deal with the discard pile (shred the box of ancient financial documents, see if anyone on Craigslist wants what's left of the old dresser, etc.)
  • Resolve internet situation (turns out I do use a bit too much bandwidth for mobile hotspot data to completely replace having a home ISP after all, but I still refuse to go back to Comcast. New place has a balcony, so a locally run fixed wireless service might be an option. Must call around and get something set up with someone at some point.)
  • Digital cleaning (email and art gallery inboxes, etc.) now that physical is done
  • Update Sara's page on refsheet.net (she's a cat now)
  • Keep an eye out for commissioning more art once references are updated and target artists are actually open
  • Update kjorteo.net with, geez, lots of little stuff here and there really
  • Work on player content for Istaria (they're soliciting suggestions if someone wants to write quests for them and such, and I have an idea I'd like to submit when it's done)
  • Work on Warm Fuzzy Game Room videos, still have a couple tone-setting episodes to start with and then the Interlight stuff
  • Do something with warmfuzzy.games, the domain I bought for said videos without actually having put anything on it yet
  • That Pokemon SoulSilver LP
  • Like a zillion other games I started and want to clear
  • Oh yeah, didn't I have like a novel or something?

The fun never ends.

But, you know. At least we're a lot happier now.

So, how have you all been?

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/451664.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:Dreamlog: A bold new direction for Nintendo (NSFW)
Time:06:54 am
( You are about to view content that may only be appropriate for adults. )
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Subject:<3s from Sara
Time:08:51 pm
Wheeee, birthday kitty. Uh, I guess we didn't celebrate much today, but like Celine said! We'll do that next month when the dust settles. Thank you to everyone who remembered and wished me well in the meantime. <3

Adapting a small speech I gave to a particular friend circle, because I think it applies to everyone else as well.

I just got hit with a wave of... like... wow, this is my life, huh. And it's a good one. <3 It's just... you think of spirits and noncorporeal entities like that, the popular image is they're either here to finish up one thing and then pass on, they're trapped forever in a loop of reenacting whatever they're trying to warn you about, they're just enemies that lash out mindlessly because they're basically astral zombies (ghost madness terrifies me and is why I don't go out much, by the way,) or whatever else. All this... serious stuff. Hell, "you look like you saw a ghost" conveys being traumatized from the encounter.

Meanwhile here I am like... oh hey guys, sup. Pokemon fusions are a fun meme. Wow, I remember Wingnut from the TMNT spinoffs (or Celine does). We should make fun of the games in our Steam Discovery Queue sometime. etc. Just casual hangouts and dumb stuff. Oh yeah and Sara's here too, no big.

I'm able to hold a mundane conversation, because a friend said a thing and I was like "ooh, hey Celine, go look up a picture of Max from Sam and Max and just reply with that." And the friend responded to that, and we went from there.

Compared to Ghost Hunters and stuff, this is really cool okay. I just... I'm grateful that I can be on this level, that I'm not some grim spectral presence from Beyond and that talking to you people doesn't involve a big-haired medium hinting that they're maybe sensing someone whose name starts with "S."

... I guess what I'm trying to say is thank all of you for letting me be, you know, one of you. *hugs* It could have gone a lot worse for me.

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/450210.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:Sara Day! Sort of!
Time:07:55 pm
Happy June 25! (Posting this early because I'll be working tomorrow, shush.) That is, of course, the estimated "ehh close enough" day we choose to observe and celebrate Sara's birthday. :D

She's turning (to our approximate knowledge) five years old as an living entity, with the past one and a half of those years (since January 2018) together with me. This year she changed her fursona species and we got engaged, so, you know, the move from 4 to 5 was a big and important year for her!

Last year, we celebrated by me taking the day off and... not entirely but at least mostly disconnecting all day. We watched a movie together, we played some video games, and we deliberately and pointedly did not spend any effort on any of my zillion personal projects or anything that could remotely be described as "working on" anything. Just a day to get my high-strung workaholic brain to stop and just... breathe, and enjoy each other's company. It was nice. If that becomes a tradition, it would be a good tradition.

However, this year, I will regrettably not be able to repeat that on Sara's birthday itself. We're right in the middle of packing and boxing and calling people and planning and stressing over the move because oh yeah we're moving next month. (Just to another apartment complex across town; bigger, closer to work, and hopefully less slummy and mismanaged. But whether you're moving a couple miles or a couple thousand miles away, it's still an endeavor!) Sara has graciously agreed that not only would attempting to stop now probably not be a great idea, but it probably wouldn't even be very effective--we're not going to have a good or productive birthday melt (is it really a party if the goal is to veg out and do nothing?) when a good chunk of our belongings are in boxes and I'm fretting about how much is still left to tackle.

Instead, we're going to postpone that, and have an even better birthday melt some weekend sometime after the move (aiming for around this time next month, give or take.) When the dust settles, when all this moving stress (and the stress of living in this increasingly insufferable current location) are behind us, and it's time to catch our breath and celebrate our new home anyway, then we'll be in position to really make this special.

... Of course, she already proposed last time we had a special romantic evening together, so I'm not sure what she could possibly do to top that. :P But it's not a competition. The goal isn't to work hard and outdo yourself, after all; it's relaxation, a resource that is in very short supply these days. It'll be nice. We're both looking forward to that, for a great many reasons.

But still, happy birthday in the meantime!

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/449800.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:Life with Kalantes: Complete This Sentence
Time:08:52 pm
(I guess the "Life with Woodrats" tag needs to be adjusted since someone decide to go kitty?)

I have a habit of half-talking to myself when alone. That is, I will start talking to myself when alone, but I often won't finish the sentence because I know intellectually that I am alone, I am not speaking out loud to anyone who actually needs to hear this, and I know what I meant in my own head and therefore I don't really need to bother saying the rest of it.

Of course, now that Sara's in my head, she seems to have made a game out of finishing these trailed-off thoughts with whatever Mad Libs-style quip is the most amusing.

Notable examples:

Celine: (Finishing up at work and getting ready to leave, a little late, and therefore the word I was thinking of was "Haste") All right, there. Let us make....
Sara: ... babies?

Celine: (Putting various stacks of boxes away) Okay, those ones are done. And the rest of these....
Sara: Are all I have to give.

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/448840.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:We are the kingdom of light and dreams / Gnosis and Life / AVANTASIA
Time:12:57 pm
Sara and I have been out of town this weekend to visit [personal profile] davidn. Part of the trip was just to hang out with him and his family, because they are lovely people and it is fantastic to see them. :) Part of it was to play Moss. Part of it was to do some in-person work on our upcoming album (which is... very, very early along, but the parts we do have sound fantastic and we couldn't be more excited for such an encouraging start.)

The catalyst that originally gave us the idea to have this trip, though, was to see Avantasia in concert, since they're currently in the middle of a world tour and they happened to be landing fairly close to David's house.

There are not many bands for which I would willingly drop close to a thousand dollars on plane tickets and concert tickets and etc. just to make it happen. David has also seen acts like Sabaton and a combined Helloween/Gamma Ray tour at that same venue near him, and I've just accepted that he's lucky to live in an area that bands actually visit, let him have his fun, and sit here at home, quietly envious. But Avantasia...

Let me put it this way. For those unfamiliar, Avantasia is a supergroup rock/metal opera project in which Edguy's Tobias Sammet flexes his connections and recruits pretty much a who's who of the entire genre to come do amazingly complex layered prog/power nonsense. Pretty much all you need to know from how all over the place their roster and styles are is to note that Blowing Out the Flame, Symphony of Life, and Alone I Remember are not only from the same band, they're from the same album, being the actually consecutive back-to-back tracks 7, 8, and 9 of Angel of Babylon.

Tobi has been making vague noises that "man putting all this Everything together and making Avantasia albums, let alone touring them, is fucking hard and this will probably be the last one you guys" noises for the past three albums in a row now. On one hand, this means he could very well keep going anyway because he's made that threat before, but on the other, you never know. In the meantime, God knows that even if they make another album and if they decide to do another world tour, they're not going to come any closer than this. Not only is Avantasia an actual bucket list item for me consisting of other actual bucket list items for me (pretty much all they had to do was bring Jorn Lande along and that's another huge one for me right there,) but this could (you never know) have been my last or only chance. It just... it was one of those things, which Sara helpfully reminded me when I was waffling on it, that I would regret forever if I didn't.

So, we did.

Set list and general writeup within!Collapse )

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/448051.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:Dream log: Well, that's one way to handle the redesign.
Time:08:37 am
Dreamed that we went to see the Sonic movie now that it was apparently out. It was openly, and I mean openly furbait as hell. Like, to the point that they just straight up stole the Group Room (Honey Bee Inn) bit from FF7 only with Sonic and a heavily anthropomorphized, SpelunkerSal's "Roommates" style Roy Koopa and... one of the other koopalings, I forget which but he was bara. This was deliberate; Sal had actually landed a role working on this movie and put this bit of direction in himself.

It was still kind of a letdown, mostly because I was mentally contrasting the ending credits (which, in the dream, were a basic-ass no-frills text scroll set to absolute dead silence possibly for artsy reasons?) to those of Detective Pikachu (which in real life are a ParaNorman/Kubo and the Two Strings-tier feat of fanservice so great that I really want to watch Detective Pikachu again just so I can watch the credits again.)

Woke up with the sobering realization that this is still an improvement over what we're probably going to get.

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/447627.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:City of Heroes: Teamwork!
Time:09:18 pm
As previously established, [personal profile] xyzzysqrl, [personal profile] swordianmaster, and I have all found ourselves back in City of Heroes. This means everyone in Clan Sugardoom except Sara plays, and she probably would, but, you know.

As we grow in levels, we're starting to put together some actual team dynamics and synergy and strategy, which is... not something I'm used to. Even the last time I played CoH way back in the day, I played a Scrapper, which was marketed as the "So you hate people and want to solo the entire game" archetype. This time, though, we all seem to have found our preferred playing styles, and said playing styles work together surprisingly well.

Allow me to ramble at truly truly truly outrageous length about them.Collapse )

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/447404.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:[Microblogging] Adventures in spam
Time:03:39 pm
Join the illuminati today contact great.illuminati@disciples.com

This message is intended only for the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by email at support@ercsd.org Thank you.


Seems legit. BRB secretly controlling the world I guess.

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/447044.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:Detective Pikachu [Film]: Non-spoiler thoughts
Time:08:48 pm
It was good!

It was strongly based on the game plot but freely took off in its own direction at times, which honestly was fine. In fact, the new bits were the strongest ones, I thought. By contrast, the parts that did follow the game script did so... uh, quickly? I feel like there were... not the whole movie (it was fantastic overall, please don't get me wrong!) but there were parts where the fact that they crammed a ten-hour adventure game plot into an hour 45 or so kind of showed.

I feel like I enjoyed the game better overall, but that's like saying Ori and the Blind Forest is better than Star Ocean 2. I mean, it is, but they're such different games capturing different experiences that they're not really competing, and both are absolutely worth experiencing. The game did not "win" just because I enjoyed its experience slightly more; again, the movie was fantastic in its own way. Each version offered some really good stuff the other was missing.

I recommend both, for sure. I feel like doing the game first is the better approach if you have the time, both are available, and it's an option, but that's probably just because I did the game first myself and I'm biased by my own inability to imagine doing it any other way.

But yeah. Is good. <3

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/446674.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:The Creepypasta of Jonah
Time:09:13 pm
(Dumb shitpost chatlog that I'm reproducing here because it's funny)

Everest, [26.03.19 08:22]
You should do a youtube series where you play these old games but things keep going subtly wrong in weird uncanny ways and it turns out the games are haunted like a youtube horror arg

Everest, [26.03.19 08:23]
Like "hmm, this is the trouble screen from the jonah game but im playing noahs animal stacker, thats weird... wait whats that behind m - AHHKK *stabbing noises*

Everest, [26.03.19 08:24]
YouTube fame in 2.5 seconds

Everest, [26.03.19 08:24]
Donr forget the hyper realistic blood

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:30]
Honestly I feel like the Interlight saga up until around when you got here really sounded like a creepypasta setup anyway--you had this RARE UNDISCOVERED GAME from a company (Interlight in this case) that basically works as a fictional OC company stand-in because it doesn't exist except for this game but the author can give all this exhaustive detail about them from their "research"

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:30]
that I acquired second hand from a mysterious yard sale ebay auction

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:31]
and you have all these blog entries about trying to get the damn thing working, VERY SLOWLY MAKING PROGRESS all while building intrigue

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:31]
and then of course as soon as we pointed that out the goddamn Lemmings thing happened

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:31]
it was perf

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:32]
Anyway so really all I needed to do was make some sort of Petscop/Ben Drowned like fake footage when I finally got to the part where I cracked the code and could show this game

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:32]
and make it creepy

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:33]
though tbh the actual game already has some really weird looking NPCs and, you know

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:33]
the trouble

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:33]
pretty much all I needed was some missingno glitchy shit and an entry about how bad things were starting to happen to me IRL

Everest, [26.03.19 08:33]
Youre talking while the old slave lady turns up ans whispers "kill your family..." in place of her usual line and you dont notice cuz ur talking

Everest, [26.03.19 08:34]
And ur like "wait what did she say?"

Everest, [26.03.19 08:34]
And just random single frames of corruption and eyes and stuff

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:34]
blood sheep
hear its bleat

Everest, [26.03.19 08:35]
Then you start seeing the trouble everywhere

Everest, [26.03.19 08:35]
You start dreaming about the trouble

Everest, [26.03.19 08:35]
Seeing that face behind your eyes

Everest, [26.03.19 08:35]
Woken up by the sirens

Everest, [26.03.19 08:35]
The edge of your vision you swear you can barely see those eyes

Everest, [26.03.19 08:35]
The trouble is going to catch you.

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:35]
I enter a door in my second run I KNOW FOR A FACT is safe because I just showed that area in the first, but there's randomly a trouble warp there now, and it looks... vaguely different somehow... mostly the same but a little more red-tinted. It's super hard to see because of how dark it is but it almost looks like there could be some blood on the floor.

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:36]
and it drops me off in a new area I've never seen before, not even when I was younger...

Celine & Sara Kalante, [26.03.19 08:37]
STAY OUT OF TROUBLE written in zalgotext

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/445426.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:Lost Sheep footage!
Time:08:30 am
At long last, here it... mostly is.

This is an unlisted video for now, because it's not the official version yet. I have big plans for eventually getting a YouTube game review show off the ground. I taught myself spriting in Pixel Studio and composing in FamiTracker just so I could make the intro splash screen bumper things. My first episode will probably be Family Dog (and will probably make a lot of the same points with the same basic mood as my COMPLETE entry for it) just to set the tone for what kind of show I want this to be. (Conversely, this one. This is exactly what I'm aiming for. The only thing I would change is that my show probably wouldn't have the live-action skit intro.) Once it's established, I'll do a thing on The Story of Jonah, probably as episode 2 or 3.

But that's going to be months down the road, and I didn't want to wait. This is footage from an undiscovered game, something that you might be among the first people in the post-Internet world to see. Of course I'm going to have a "just so you know what Lost Sheep looks and plays like" leak in advance of the official review.

But here it is. After everything... after the entire saga in the Interlight tag, I present to you: Lost Sheep.

This would not have happened without your continued support. I hope you find the whole thing as... you know, worth it as I do. Thank you.

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/445154.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
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Subject:New equipment arrived! Screenshots within!
Time:08:18 pm
My new microphone stand and capture card have arrived!

The microphone stand was supposed to be a solution to "how in the world do I use my microphone while I'm sunk deeply into my couch" because a regular vertical pole concert-style stand just... was not the right answer for that. This one looks like a boom arm on a C-clamp, so you clamp it onto something and then have an extendable arm from there. The problem is that I just plain do not have anything suitable it can clamp onto. I was really hoping the clamp was optional and the parts were compatible and I could just screw the boom arm into the top of my other stand instead, but no such luck. At least it came with a nicer pop filter that's probably an upgrade over my current one, but that's... vexing.

The capture card held much better news, though! After a brief panic where I thought I guessed wrong and didn't have the available free PCI-e slots required for it on my old potato of a motherboard, it turns out I could move some things around (fun fact: you're totally allowed to put one of those smaller PCI-e x1 type cards into a longer PCI-e x4 or x8 or x16 slot and it works fine) and everything's good to go now.

So! With the capture card in place, and the physical console and RetroTINK and everything feeding into it, my setup is good to go! I don't really have time to record the footage and make the actual videos just yet, but I of course had to take some test screenshots of various games and settings. I even made sure one of the test games was The Story of Jonah. This is still essentially an undiscovered game, after all. After all the hyping I've been doing, I have what may well be the first-ever images of this game on the Internet. After showing my friends and such in IM last night, you might just be among the first people in the world to see this....

Oh, and a couple other less-undiscovered games too, for referenceCollapse )

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Subject:Let's get physical, physical
Time:07:55 am
It's been a while since we had news on the Interlight front, because as tantalizingly close as we came, we just were not making progress on the input issue. It got to the point where I gave up on the obviously dire state of CD-i emulation and looked into getting a physical console, but even those efforts were thwarted by eBay's terrible rules and framework. (Protip: If you snipe an auction at the literal last second, you are a bad person.)

I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such loving and supportive friends and companions who believe in this project as strongly as I do, and so I actually had several people working on this from various angles (seeing if they could fix the emulator, seeing if they could find a physical console, etc.) I could make a thank-you list that would leave us here all day. That said, the first person to make a breakthrough and crack the case was [personal profile] xyzzysqrl, who just happened to have a friend who happened to have an old console and games in the back of their closet somewhere, and so she hooked us up with each other.

The console I ended up with (which just arrived last night--thank you!) is somewhat off-brand (it's a Magnavox CD-i player, not Philips) with the main drawbacks being only one controller port (you know, because I was totally planning to couch co-op CD-i edutainment titles) and no A/V output options besides composite (okay, the lack of s-vid hurts a little.) It's also very much in not-great condition, with quirks and nuances like "maybe try taping the CD tray lid down so it stays closed enough to register as closed and actually play." However, the good news is that meant the console itself was a fairly deep discount value-wise. This in turn meant that I was also able to afford yet another bundle of games, including one valuable collector's item (I now yes-really own Wand of Gamelon) for roughly the same budget I was looking at for a console alone earlier. The local retro game store might be able to repair the CD tray lid (and possibly one or two of the other issues as well?) if I bring it in, and in the meantime, it still runs perfectly with the proper workarounds.

I spent most of last night going on a major shopping spree that included a RetroTINK, capture card, and a new boom arm-style microphone stand that will hopefully allow me to use my microphone from the couch (further testing and fussing with setups required.) I think I might need to get some HDMI extension cables tonight just in case, but other than that, that... should be everything for the capture setup? We'll see what I'm forgetting as packages start to roll in.

In the meantime, I don't have the means of capturing and showing footage yet (ordered and on the way!) but I of course had to test The Story of Jonah with the console now that I have it. Some quick observations:

  • Even though it looks like it's in visibly flawless condition and should run perfectly, I was unable to get my roller controller to work or register at all. Meanwhile, even though it looks visibly gnarled and untrustworthy, the regular controller that came with the console works flawlessly. I might see if the retro shop has another one just in case when I'm there to get the console looked at anyway, but it should hold regardless.
  • Whoof, the animation and voice acting in the Story of Jonah have not aged well. Young me remembers it being... okay, not outstanding but not YouTube Poop-tier, you know? No, this is absolutely poopable.
  • On the other hand, other than the pixels being chunkier on a modern display (I really need that RetroTINK, it's kind of urgent,) Lost Sheep is exactly as batshit as I remember it being. God, you have no idea how much I'm looking forward to showing you. It is MAGICAL. The world needs to see this.
  • There are five songs in the sing-a-long room (I think--I only briefly skimmed the menu,) which surprised me. I thought there were three (one of which I can remember.) I picked one of the other ones out of curiosity, and it all came flooding back. And I... look. I'm not going to make the usual stand-up comedy observations about how I can't even remember my goddamn water bottle when I'm going to work, yet a decades-old CD-i children's bible edutainment sing-a-long is burned in memory forever, because those observations have been made before. Instead, I will boggle over where in the absolute hell my brain was hiding that memory for over twenty years. I had zero recollection of that song. None. It was gone. If you'd shown me the title of the song and offered me a million dollars if I could sing even a single word from it while threatening to murder my entire family if I couldn't... I couldn't do it. There was nothing, not even the slightest hint of a thread to go on. But as soon as it started playing, there it was, like it'd never left. By the end of the first verse, I already had the entire chorus (lyrics and all) cued up in my mind and ready to go. And the Lord (And the Lord) in His mercy and grace, put an end to Jonah's chase, and let him fall~

So, after having stalled out so long, things seem to be coming together... remarkably quickly, actually. The idle pipe dream of "man, if I were a gaming YouTuber, my show would be about..." is happening. And all I can say is... aaaaAAA??

Thank you, everyone who helped and even just the people believing in us from the sidelines. This wouldn't have happened without your support and encouragement.

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Subject:I dreamed a dream of foodcrimes
Time:11:04 am
Last night's dream, part 1:

Denny's unveiled a new set of menu additions for... I don't know if it had a name, but various kinds of grilled tortilla sandwiches.

Like, picture a grilled cheese sandwich, okay? Picture the texture of the bread, all buttered and crisp on the outside, fluffy and, well, breadlike on the inside. Now picture if someone took a somehow-thick-as-bread tortilla and did the same thing to it, then folded it in half and put sandwich filling in the middle. I might possibly be talking about the mutant offspring of a soft taco at this point.

But when I say sandwich filling, I mean, like, actual "things you feed your six-year-old" sandwiches. There was an entire line of them, but the three I remember include actual grilled cheese, peanut butter & jelly, and a lettuce/tomato/some sort of shredded meat (I think ham but could have been turkey) blend.

Last night's dream part 2:

I woke up about an hour before my alarm went off, tried to go back to sleep, and kept having 10-15 minute doze-off sessions, and every single one of them had a follow-up dream where I was telling someone (friends/family/etc.) about this and they reacted with equal parts "yeah that sounds like something Denny's would do all right" and "I want one."

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Subject:And then there were at least six more
Time:09:55 pm

*Screams externally*

I was on eBay looking just out of curiosity how much a physical CD-i would set me back, and I stumbled upon this lot. These aren't Interlight games, but Sandy's Circus Adventure and Zombie Dinos were similarly in the "My grandparents had all these kids' edutainment games" pile, and Sandy's Circus Adventure seems to have been met with Interlight levels of not existing anywhere on the current Internet that I was able to find.

God help me, this is going to be my thing, isn't it. This is what I'll be known for. Celine Kalante, the CD-i Children's Edutainment Expert.

Also keeping my eye on an auction for the system itself (fingers crossed,) which includes another game lot if I win.

I asked all of clan to please send help, but their reaction was basically the end of Edguy's Love Tyger video. I feel so enabled to do incredibly stupid things. Thanks, guys. <3

(Oh, and I got a roller controller, too. You know, for authenticity. Look, I honestly don't know how the edutainment pointy-clickies would even work on a normal CD-i controller. I thought this was the normal CD-i controller well into my adulthood; I'd never seen any other kind.)

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Subject:At least it wasn't Piglet in the City..?
Time:07:59 am
Last night's dream was the trailer for the upcoming realistic CGI Winnie the Pooh movie Disney was apparently working on (a la Jungle Book, Lion King, etc.) I've never been a huge Winnie the Pooh fan, but I mean I've never been a huge Jungle Book fan either and I loved the new movie, so sure I'll bite.

We start in a farm setting where a certain baby runt pig is being nursed back to health after being caught in a rainstorm or something. The other major characters are introduced as he recovers. The bee non-aggressively snuggles up to him, and given the stylistic choice to go for total realism, no anthropomorphism, yet still scale the bee's size (and, uh, waspiness) up to match, it pretty much looked like a baby pig spooning a Japanese giant hornet. A bit "uh" but I mean if Charlotte's Web can make spiders endearing, sure I'll give it a chance I guess. 8| Then the pig looks up at a certain bear cub over by the fireplace and "you know these two are going to be best friends forever and form the entire plot of this movie" music starts playing. Etc.

It was very Piglet-centric for a movie ostensibly about and named after Winnie the Pooh, but I guess it works out because stylistically this was literally Babe. Christopher Robin was nowhere to be seen, unless he grew up and became Arthur Hoggett, so I guess the whole "child's imagination and adventures with his stuffed animals" framework is gone and everyone is just real now.

It built up to the big triumphant fanservicey shot of an entire barnful of miscellaneous animals singing... uh... the well-known fanservice song from Winnie the Pooh. Is there one? I'm sure there is and someone in the comments is going to be like "HOW DARE YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS NOT USE (song) HERE" but I DON'T KNOW, I WASN'T REALLY EVER INTO WINNIE THE POOH OKAY. I think it just pulled some other famous Disney number (possibly "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes"?) and in dream logic context I just sort of knew what they meant and had that "aaa it's the Winnie the Pooh song" reaction.

My ex from two relationships ago was squeeing with excitement proudly showing off this trailer because she somehow landed a voice-acting role and was in this movie, as a gamer(!?) named Snorch. Your guess is as good as mine how gamers get worked into the plot of a Winnie the Pooh movie, since Snorch wasn't actually in the trailer (but the "and (other ex) as Snorch" byline was) but I was told it was kind of a one-scene cameo type deal. Still, that's impressive! Congratulations and good job and etc.

I woke up about an hour before my alarm was going to go off, so I kind of rolled over and went over what I'd just witnessed, trying to commit it to waking memory so I could write this out later, then drifted back to sleep and--


Wait just a goddamn minute.

Winnie the Pooh doesn't have a fucking bee in its main cast.

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Subject:Oh, you know, just Istaria things
Time:11:07 pm
Logged into Istaria with my dragon alt.

Showed up right in the middle of a (totally in-character, RP'd out with guildmates /em posing at each other) mini-crisis wherein we were struggling to get through to a wild dragon hatchling. The hatchling was deaf and mute and mostly unable to read or right, and was upset to the point of lashing out over something but the communication barrier made it impossible to tell what. Attempts to deescalate the situation failed, the wild hatchling attacked, was magically bound for a bit, then broke free and ran away. One of the others left some food on a nearby hill as a peace offering just in case they came back later.

With that crisis averted for now, the remaining guildmates sat around at just talked for a while. I ended up confessing through several layers of RP server obfuscation about "souls connected somehow" and "guiding forces" and whatnot to spell out the relationship between us and our characters (Syrahlia [F] and Ahrashace [M] are alts, Celine [MtF] and Sara [F] are a plural system, Celine controls both of them, Sara doesn't really play Istaria but watches) and ended up befriending another plural system OOC. We added each other on Discord and I'm looking forward to talking to them more.

Then wild hatchling came back literally right as I was signing off, so that whole saga is going to continue for everyone else. I just kind of left them to it because we had to get to bed.

And that was my Istaria session. Didn't do a single thing that made any sort of progression toward anything. Doesn't matter. Istaria: What Even Is This Game. (TM)

You know, I used to make fun of the fact that the only people who would play Istaria in the year of our Lord Current Year are the people treating it as Dragon Second Life. Turns out Dragon Second Life is pretty awesome actually.

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Subject:General life update stuff
Time:06:37 pm
I had a bunch of doctor's appointments and exams today, mostly because I only wanted to use one day's worth of PTO to get as many of them crossed off as possible because I'm stingy.

It was... not bad news, really, but not good, and now I'm just okay-but-kind-of-deflated.

Endocrinology and Mental Health:
Hormone levels look fine. The doctor suggested that I could try maybe taking my spironolactone every other day instead of every day if I wanted to boost sexual drive and function a little, but warned that various feminizing processes could regress as a side effect. If they do, I could just go back to every day. Basically their overall point was "you're in control of your meds, you're allowed to see if some adjusting makes you happy and go back if it doesn't." So, that part is all well and good, no problems here.

Because these visits kind of double as general doctor PCP checkups for me (the line in this clinic is kind of fuzzy) we also went over some mental well-being stuff and touched on some issues I've been having recently with my temper.

To be clear, I don't think I have it particularly bad right now. Like, I'm not a short-fused wrathful explosion machine or anything. Any anger or frustration I feel at daily inconveniences is probably within the normal parameters of what everyone goes through. I've even had friends I've explained this issue to react with genuine surprise and an inability to imagine me ever being hostile. Anger issues? Me? Pfff.

However, I used to be that bad. I have matured and calmed down since then, and I'm a sweetie now (or I try to be most of the time, anyway.) And even though I'm better now... I guess the problem is that I never really learned to adjust to the healthy normal person scale? Like, you don't go from being an alcoholic to drinking responsibly after rehab. I'm left with the worrying dread that what if every time I ever get irked at anything is a relapse. That dread itself tends to make outbursts worse, as now there's a sort of one-two punch wherein I first get mad at something and then get crushingly guilty and remorseful as soon as I cool down.

(Look, I have Sara in my head, okay? Even if I do everything right as far as counting to ten and not yelling at people and venting out loud, she gets to see and feel my rage and it's pretty hard to feel good about subjecting her to that.)

So I guess I need... guidance? On how normal people have a mood without turning it into a thing, and I now have an appointment with their behavioral therapist in a few weeks. This would be the same one who single-handedly cured my panic attacks, so at least I'm in good hands.

Speaking of Sara, there's a decent chance she she'll come up at that point. I mean, if even my PCP/endocrinologist knows about (and fully approves of) her, a therapy type environment is more germane to the topic, surely?

Or maybe it isn't? She and I did talk on the way to the bus after getting out of this appointment about how she's my daughter (/sister/girlfriend/however you define our relationship,) not my conscience. She's not a filter, or cog in the Celine machine, or whatever metaphor you want to use to convey it being her job to regulate my systems. She does do that, mind you. She helps me immeasurably in everything from general favors to urging me to get to bed on time to just being there for me as a companion and source of cuddling and comfort. But that's all stuff your partner does for you out of love in a healthy and mutually supporting relationship. She's not meant to be an automatic mental purifying organ like my liver is for the physical end.

The goal here is still to get to the point where I am okay with my mental state, not "my mental state is a mess but Sara cleans up after it and therefore we as a system are fine." Ideally, neither of us should be there because we need each other. We should be technically fine if we had to stand alone, but still together anyway just because we want to be, because we love each other.

So we'll see how this visit goes, I suppose. It's just hard to feel good about the notion that I'm officially entering some sort of Anger Management Treatment spectrum, even if it's, you know, treatment, to fix a problem, and is ultimately a good thing. It's like how getting a hearing aid/glasses is a positive and helpful improvement to your life but the idea of needing them feels bad.

Speaking of....

Oh, my hearing loss is getting worse. I guess that explains why I was making [personal profile] everestdragon repeat himself every second or third sentence. I thought it was a combination of already knowing my hearing is mildly bad anyway + his Australian accent, but it's actually more just because my hearing is moderately bad.

Going to hang onto my audiology test results and maybe think about bringing them into the hearing aid center I usually go to for equipment cleanings and such... in a few months? Maybe? At this point they may need to slightly recalibrate/reprogram the strength on my right aid, and I might have to consider getting a left. I was thinking of looking into if they have newer, fancier models than this old thing I've had for years anyway, but buying a new hearing aid (let alone two) is money, and January is usually not a good month for that. I should be fine by March, and I'll maybe think about scheduling an appointment with them then. And, I mean, it will be nice to get stronger correction if I actually need it, but... sigh.

Vision is mildly slipping as well! I'm at about 20/30 now, enough that I can get by just fine, but the doctor wrote me an eyeglasses prescription should I happen to feel like filling it at some point.

I haven't needed glasses since... well, before I had LASIK. I knew that wasn't a permanent rest-of-my-life fix and this day would be coming again, but it's still sad that here we are. I mean, I have no regrets; I got some good years of being 20/20 or even 20/15, and it was worth it for those. But... mmf.

Like the hearing aid prescription, I will probably hang onto this for now and fill it later, when I have more money. I don't expect to wear the glasses regularly, but I could see them being a special-occasions sort of thing if I'm watching a movie or couch console gaming or something. The hearing aid I probably should be better about actually using since I already have it, and even moreso once I get it reprogrammed/possibly upgraded. I guess we'll see.

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Time:03:55 pm

[personal profile] everestdragon happens to be visiting me for a couple days. Among the other things we've been up to, he took an interest in my ongoing Interlight saga and tried to help out with the emulation issues. Thanks entirely to him, we have made a huge breakthrough, and are closer than we've ever been to cracking this case... though agonizingly not quite there yet.

What you see above is test footage from our attempts to run The Story of Jonah. First off, it runs, which is a hell of a lot farther than we got before Evvy started helping! He found us a working emulator, which was able to read the image I dumped, and this is as far as we got from that.

The issue now is input. Once it gets to the title screen, all action stops. The game is entirely mouse-driven, but we find ourselves unable to move the mouse or click on anything, no matter how many options and settings we've messed with and what we've tried to do. It's agonizing to be this close yet this far... look! Lost Sheep is right there! Literally all we have to do is scroll over and click on it! ... But that is the point we're currently at.

Still, this was at least major progress, and we did learn a few things even from what we've been able to see so far. First off, wow that is some 90s edutainment aesthetic already. Those company and title screens are FONTASTIC. Like, Graphic Design Is Interlight's Passion.

Also, the splash screen goes back to crediting themselves as Interlight Productions, Inc. This even though the game's box (and LinkedIn profiles from ex-employees I found) credit Interlight International, Inc. David and Goliath (which experiences similar issues of working right up until you need to input something) also uses "International" even in its splash screen, making Jonah's splash screen... unique? I'll have to rip the others and see how many International versus Productions screens we have, but that's a project I'm saving until we get the input issue resolved.

Which has us completely stumped and we're stuck again.

But nnngh so close.

(Also, I just realized how much of a perfect creepypasta setup I've accidentally made this whole saga sound like so far. A completely forgotten game no one on the modern Internet has any record of at all, acquired from a mysterious old man at a yard sale eBay, with a series of slowly yet increasingly detailed blog entries delving into the history and backstory of this fictional game and company, complete with glitches and errors when attempting to play the game, and content we're desperately seeking but haven't been able to access yet this early in the tale. The question is, when we finally do get into Lost Sheep, was the CD-i capable of rendering HYPERREALISTIC BLOOD?)

Edit: I told Evvy that same creepypasta comment as above and then the very next thing we went to run another test with some Lemmings ROM and

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Subject:[Microblogging] Istarian Dragon Secrets REVEALED
Time:11:43 am
The main lands of Istaria provide a very guarded view of dragons, especially when approached by other, more bipedal races. We know they are typically very serious, and that there is a major faction-defining schism over whether to be openly speciesist or just politely speciesist.

In this daring exposé, I will roll a dragon go deep undercover to capture the hidden dragon secrets that they don't want the naka-duskael to know.

THIS JUST IN: Dragon hatchlings are giant puppies. Breath of Fire II was right all along.

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Subject:2018 in review: Friends and families
Time:08:01 pm
The year is drawing to a close, and we can all only hope that it takes the bizarre time vortex we've all been caught in with it. Much like [personal profile] xyzzysqrl pointed out, it really does feel like the beginning of this year was at least three years ago. Yet, at the same time, I found myself caught off guard by just about every advance event--my annual vacation, my birthday and Christmas, writing this post as well as the awards posts--in the "wait, that's tomorrow?" sense.

So. 2018. Whewf.

Whewf?Collapse )

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Subject:[Microblogging] How do you say "restraining order" in Spanish
Time:08:23 am

"Do you know Hector? Like, is he with you? He just kind of showed up in the office and he won't stop flexing. I am deeply concerned."

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Subject:Frustrations and setbacks
Time:07:43 am
I regrettably do not have any major discoveries or breakthroughs to announce this time, but I didn't want to leave the Interlight saga hanging with radio silence and no update.

At this point, the current status of the project is that I think I have successfully ripped and dumped The Story of Jonah. IsoBuster can see the contents of the disc just fine, and I extracted .iso and .cue files.

Testing and playing it is the trick, because it turns out that the current state of CD-i emulation is a dire mess. We have tried just about every CD-i emulator on the market, and they all either completely fail to read images (even an actual CD-i ROM I downloaded just to have a known good ROM to test as a control variable) or setting them up is such an arcane advanced degree-requiring nightmare that we haven't even been able to get far enough to read the images. It might just be easier to get an actual CD-i and a capture card at this point, but three problems:

1) CD-is are like $300
2) According to [personal profile] swordianmaster, at least some CD-i units have faulty batteries that tend to brick the system when they die, meaning the console itself is on that whole "better enjoy this while you can before that 30-year-old internal battery finally gives out" doomsday clock that is usually reserved for old console games with battery saves. This makes it harder to justify spending that much money on a CD-i.
3) Even if I capture-carded this, some YouTube videos of me playing Lost Sheep aren't really the same thing as getting dumps published. I mean, ideally anyone who's actually interested after reading all this should be able to check the Interlight games out for themselves, too.

At this point, we're at a loss. Tremendous thank yous to all my friends and loved ones who helped me get the project this far: [personal profile] xyzzysqrl, [personal profile] swordianmaster, all the Video Game Giveaways Telegram group mods but especially Jão, and of course Sara <3 But the next step might just involve expanding our support network out even further. At this point, we have what I think is a good dump of The Story of Jonah (I can dump all the other ones too if that one works, but may as well make sure we're on the right track first) and can provide the files to anyone who asks, but what in the name of all that's fluffy do you do with them? I can't... I'm sorry, I'm not smart enough to hack through the current CD-i emulation scene. If anyone reading this is, or can help spread the word to someone who is (https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/tag/interlight if you need a handy link to bring them up to speed on what we're trying to do here and what we have so far,) or knows something I missed, or.... Basically, what I need is someone to either poke around with the files on their end or hold my hand through how to do that on mine.

If you can do this, you will have my eternal undying gratitude. If I'm right about not seeing any of these already dumped anywhere, and Sword is right about even the physical consoles themselves having a shelf life... well. Losable gaming history is at stake.

(Actually, it might be anyway. CDs are more stable than old floppy disks but they are not a permanent safe and secure forever medium. It may take decades, such that these CD-i games from 1991 are still perfectly fine for now, but bit rot can eventually claim them if physical scratches don't first.)

Finally, I need to issue a correction for this part of the log from last entry:

Celine Kalante, [05.12.18 16:13]
Again, it's... mostly just because this is all going so easy so far. Jonah was like $40 on Amazon. All I needed was the full (corrected, thanks MobyGames) company name from the box and I found two ex-Interlight employees on LinkedIn with a simple two-minute DuckDuckGo search. I'm used to how epic that American Sailor Moon article made The Search feel, and this is all just... this is not hard. Why am I the only person who ever thought to do this.

Oh, because CD-i emulation is an unfathomable hellscape and anyone else who tried this probably hit the same hurdles I just did. I see.

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Subject:[Microblogging] Friendsplosion
Time:08:54 pm
Holy hell. I tried to scroll down from my most recent Interlight post to my second-most recent (which was a mere two days ago, mind) and it's two entire pages back. I had to click the Previous Entries button twice.

I, uh. Am a little unused to this.

I think I may need to stop subscribing to [community profile] addme in a way that displays all its posts on my reading page (I'll still remain a member and maybe still peek in and browse sometimes) because between that and the people I've added already since my post there went up, I am now somehow overflowing with Friends and Content.

And to think I used to worry about whether Dreamwidth was dead because everyone was on Tumblr.

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Subject:And then there were six more
Time:07:07 pm

They're heeeerrrrreeeeeee

I don't really have the time tonight to get higher-resolution scans of the front and back of the remaining five boxes, like I did for The Story of Jonah. Actually, time is going to be an issue for the foreseeable future. The winners post for the gameblogging awards will involve some writing, as will the year-in-review thing I usually do. We will be visiting family sometime over the Christmas break. Smash Bros. Ultimate arrives tomorrow aaaaaaaa and of course we at least have to peek at that a little, I mean come on. I'd ideally like to acquire and play Detective Pikachu before the movie comes out. All this on top of usual chores, day job, electrolysis sessions when I can squeeze them in, etc.

That said, the good news is I at least have all the Interlight games now, and they're here, safe and sound. The current state of dumping them is that IsoBuster can read the contents of each disc just fine, and extract them to PC as well, but either I'm clueless or it seems to be unable to extract them in the form of a single image file like a .bin or .iso or something. Instead, I get a whole uncompressed actual folder full of the individual asset files. (Things I've learned today: Apparently 90% of a CD-i's content is stored in .rtf files, even things like the video and audio clips. These are of course complete unicode explosion gibberish if you attempt to treat them like actual .rtf files and, you know, read them.) To play these on PC, I will need two things:

1) A CD-i emulator
2) A way of either converting/compressing the raw folder or extracting the actual disc image into a form that the CD-i emulator can read

And that's... more than likely doable, but enough of a fuss that I don't really have time to fight with it tonight.

I don't want to leave this update without any discoveries, though, especially since this marks the update where I have received and now physically have the entire lot of Interlight games in my possession. Much like with Jonah before (though without the time to scan them for now--I promise I'll do that later) I at least went over the boxes, and found some interesting tidbits.

All of them follow the format of primarily being an animated main story, with minigames and bonus features on the side. The usual assortment is the Playroom (which has a coloring book, connect-the-dots, slider puzzles, and singalong songs), browsable Bible passages and "Tell Me More" info about Bibical setting details, a glossary of difficult words (I mean you're trying to market Scripture to young children after all,) etc. plus one big side game. For The Story of Jonah, it's Lost Sheep. David and Goliath has something called Goliath's Challenge, Moses: The Exodus has Pyramid Pursuit, Moses: Bound for the Promised Land has Desert Quest, Noah's Ark has Rainbow Walk, and The Story of Samson has Riddler's Race. So I was right to suspect the other games might have a Lost Sheep equivalent. How good/noteworthy/interesting the others actually are remains to be seen, but this is promising.

Every game in this lot had the dust sleeve and case, and the disc. None of them had that registration card or catalog that came with the other copy of The Story of Jonah I received from Amazon. I now feel infinitely better about having made both purchases just in case; yes I have two copies of Jonah now, but I wouldn't have had access to that catalog at all if I hadn't done that.

So hey, now we're all set for whenever the dumping/emulation issues are worked out, and whenever I can find the time.

On a more somber yet heartfelt note, I'd like to thank everyone who's been following and taking an interest in this series so far. I got... uh... kind of down and discouraged about this entire project the other day, after the last update. Not because anything happened, but just... a kind of wave of... mood crash hit me, and left me feeling all existential-crisis-y about what I was even doing here. I talked about it with a couple clanmates ([personal profile] swordianmaster and Sara, thank you both <3) and they were able to cheer me up. Beyond that, though, every comment I get from you people here about "this is so cool and fascinating and I'm really excited to see what you found" just... keeps me going, let's put it that way.

Log if you want a fuller explanation of what specifically was bothering me about this and the wisdom that pulled me back out. It's kind of long.Collapse )

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Subject:Unboxing The Story of Jonah
Time:06:46 pm
Hello! Tumblr kind of caught on fire and exploded, Dreamwidth welcomed all refugees and got a kjghpillion replies, and I decided to poke around [community profile] addme to see if any of the newcomers might be interested in some inane woodrat gameblogging. If you're new here, hi! Dreamwidth is nice. Us woodrats will do our best to be nice as well.

So, if you are new here, you kind of caught me in the... not even middle, but like two or three posts into the beginning of my Interlight odyssey. I'm keeping a tag here, but super-condensed version: No we're not religious, but we're into old cheesy games and retro collecting, I bought a bunch of CD-i children's Bible games by a company called Interlight that might be literally undiscovered to the modern Internet, and I'm hype to do some gaming archaeology.

Today, I got a package in the mail! Not the lot of six, but... uh... I kind of bought a separate copy of The Story of Jonah from a third-party seller on Amazon, because I wasn't sure if the eBay auction was going to pan out. Best case, everything comes in as promised and I'll end up with two copies of that particular one. For a rare-ish game (you see copies floating around eBay/Amazon occasionally, but usually not for cheap, and good luck finding anyone who ever dumped or recorded or otherwise digitally preserved them in any way) that is not a bad problem to have. Worst case? If nothing else, I at least have this one now.

I can't play it and show you what's on it yet, because the next step in the process is to figure out how to read and rip/dump the disc contents to PC, and the step after that is to look into CD-i emulation once I have a disc image to emulate. But since I now have a physical Jonah box in my hands, let's at least go over that and see what we can learn, shall we?

(Click through for larger versions)

Right away, this is a lot of validating information, and arguably already an important discovery or two. First off, Lost Sheep is the name of that sheep game I've been blathering about that got me started on this whole mess. I had completely forgotten that it lets you pick your starting location, but now that I see that screen there, I instantly recognize it. Oh, yeah. That was part of it too. Anyway, yep, that's the sheep game all right. I mean, I knew it was there of course, but it's nice just to see it and have actual evidence of it in some form I can show off. I feel validated already. (And just you wait until we get the emulating set up so I can show it in action....)

Second, compared to the MobyGames database entry for this game, they have... well, they don't have anything at all in the way of box art. Secondly, there is a slight mistake in their listed company name: MobyGames credits this and all the Bible games to Interlight Productions, Inc. If you look at the back more closely, the full company name according to what's on the box is Interlight International, Inc. Significant?

Well, according to a quick Internet search, yes. Searching for Interlight or even Interlight Productions brought up a zillion companies by that name and almost no usable leads or info for any of them. Searching for Interlight International, I found what I believe to be their company credit report (with a dissolution filed 8/25/1995) and a name and mailing address that may or may not be current, and at least two LinkedIn profiles of former Interlight employees. If I ever felt the need to track someone down for an interview or something, I have leads now, thanks to this one small name correction.

Of course, there are two big obstacles to that: 1) I need a LinkedIn account to DM people and eeehhhhhhh, and 2) what would I ask them, anyway?

At the very least, that's... premature for now. Let's revisit this option after I've played and dissected all six games. That way, we can get any potential "this raises so many questions" moments out of the way first, and then get a chance to ask them whatever was raised. :3

Still, it's an exciting development!

I was hoping to strike even more paydirt in the form of liner notes, but it turns out CD-i games (or at least this particular CD-i game) didn't really do those. The only things inside the box are the disc, a registration card, and yes I know that thing on the left looks like a giant manual or liner note set or something, and I was excited too, but....

It's a product catalogue for more exciting Philips CD-i games and accessories. I'm sure you can totally still use these numbers and contact info and order all this stuff up and this operation won't have shut down two decades ago or anything.

Given the way this catalogue is bound with those center staples, I can't scan it on a flatbed scanner without severely damaging if not outright destroying or disassembling it. That... is another option I'm keeping in my back pocket for now. If the lot of six games comes, and they all have this exact catalogue and thus I have like seven of them total, and it's something the Internet has never seen before, then it absolutely would be worth sacrificing one of them to digitally preserve this wonder. If this is the only one I end up getting, and/or if it's already scanned and viewable somewhere else I could just link to, that would make me a lot more hesitant to take such a drastic action.

For now, I just propped it open to the center page with the dust jacket (or whatever you call the outer part of the box) holding it open on one side so I could get the photo.

You know, that roller controller was what my grandparents had with their CD-i, and what I always played this and all their other CD-i games on. I thought that was the CD-i controller for the longest time. The first time adult me did an image search and found the "normal" CD-i controllers, I was... surprised, to say the least.

A lot of the games in here are a nice lead just to have the titles and the fact that they apparently existed. We're dealing with a console where seemingly a lot of titles not bearing the words "Zelda" or "Mario" somewhere in the name are completely lost to Internet history. Recall that the first major plot twist in this whole journey was when I hit up eBay looking for the Story of Jonah and found that entire Interlight Bible set, unaware that Interlight even had other games besides that one. Is there anything else mentioned in this catalogue that's similarly obscure now? If so, will at least knowing its name prove a valuable clue in tracking it down later?

One CD-i archaeology project at a time, of course. I mean, I haven't even looked at the contents of the Story of Jonah disc yet (I can't until we figure out how to rip and dump,) nor have I even received the rest of the lot in the mail. If I give each title this much attention (this entire entry was just for Jonah's box!) then we're looking at, uh, months, easily. At least. Possibly all year. So, it's safe to say that I will not be ready to even start taking on the task of hunting down these other games for a long time.

But I now have the means to, someday, should I get around to it! And that's pretty exciting.

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Subject:Exit night, Interlight, take my hand, we're off to game collecting Hell
Time:07:03 pm
My pile of CD-i Bible games has apparently shipped, according to eBay. I haven't received it yet but it's in the mail and I have a tracking number, which means we've at least cleared the "what if the seller is running a scam and will now disappear forever" hurdle.

I am still unreasonably excited about this. Or is it that unreasonable? This may or may not be an actual big deal.

I've been doing some basic Internet searching while my mind is on the subject, and God help me I'm not ready to become an investigative journalist but here we are somehow. Learn from my mistakes, kids: Never be a game collector.

So, before we examine these games, we must first ask: just who was Interlight Productions, Inc.?

... No, really, that was not a rhetorical question. Who the fuck was Interlight Productions, Inc.?

MobyGames has almost nothing on them except the company name and the six games I just bought. These days, there seem to be about a billion Interlights per major industry, including at least one video game developer, making a search for this Interlight something like finding a needle in a needle stack.

Who were these people? Are any of them still around? Would attempting to track them down lead to an American Sailor Moon Odyssey?

I might learn more once the games arrive, if they have anything in the liner notes. However many decades later, I kind of forget if liner notes are a thing that CD-i games did. I guess we'll find out.

Also, making a tag for this now, just in case.

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Subject:A gaming update of Biblical proportions
Time:07:50 pm
Both Sara and I are, by necessity, spiritual, but neither of us is formally religious. However, we are retro kusoge enthusiasts, so of course I own the Wisdom Tree collection on Steam.

But that's... people know about that one. I mean, it's on Steam. It's right there. What if we want to go deeper for our Biblical edutainment?

Musings on The Story of Jonah and its sheep game; longCollapse )

That leads me to what has been a big source of frustration for a very long time: This game has to be seen to be believed, but you can't see it. It's so obscure that the Internet just does not have it, at all. Maybe I'm bad at searching, but I've found nothing on YouTube, it was missing from all the sketchy ROM sites... even the Internet Archive doesn't have it. Until now, I've been reduced to peeking around eBay and Amazon third-party sellers, looking for someone who can sell me a physical for what would undoubtedly be a fortune (protip: never be a rare game collector) with the eventual goal of ripping and dumping it myself.

All because I want you guys to know what I'm talking about when I talk about the damn sheep game that badly.

Well, this morning, something happened.

This set was on eBay. It's mine now. Kinkshame me if you must, but yes, I just bought the entire CD-i I Can't Believe It's Not Wisdom Tree bundle.

You might have noticed this whole entry up to this point was about the Story of Jonah, specifically its sheep game. "You mean Interlight made more of these," you ask? Yeah, news to me too, and I'm the one who was interested in collecting one of them.

I'm excited. We'll see what happens--the next step is to wait for them to arrive, and to make sure they can be ripped and emulated. But... if this works? Not only will I be able to show off the sheep game, but like... who even knows what these other discs hold? What if the Story of Samson has some kind of, I don't know, goat game or something that's every bit as amazing, and we never knew?

Not to mention I very well might be onto something new here in the world of digital preservation. I collect games, but I've never had an impressive collection before. I have a couple things that shot up in value a bit, like Earthbound and Mega Man X3, and those are cool and all. However, I've never been the kind of high-level collector you see in "GROUNDBREAKING DISCOVERY: This collector just found a completely undiscovered Mother prototype no one has ever seen before" videos. Those guys have always made me feel inadequate about what's on my game shelf.

But... no, this is something. This is big, potentially. the Internet doesn't have these. (Well, okay, AVGN featured one of them to predictably shit all over it and I'm kind of grouchy about that. Still, I'm told that even he mentioned there being three Interlight Bible games in all, and I just bought six. Either he misspoke, or I will soon have three that even he didn't know about.) If this works, I'll be that Pokemon scientist resurrecting Aerodactyl from fossils. We're talking possibly, like, an actual discovery here!

We'll see. I mean, I just won the auction this morning and haven't received anything yet, so let's try not to get too worked up before we know this will work out.

It's hard not to be excited, though. I mean, eeeee.

In the absolute least impressive case, this is similar to DavidN bringing Masterspy to the Internet's attention, only with an entire series of games. In the best case..? Well... maybe, just maybe, I'll get one of those discovery headlines after all.

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Subject:Team Hatoful's closing thoughts on Finding Paradise: A Message from Elijah
Time:06:31 pm

A special message from Elijah.

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Subject:Team Hatoful Can't Read Finding Paradise: Bloopers and Outtakes
Time:05:28 pm

A choice selection of the best takes that didn't quite make it into the main series.

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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 3.05 FINALE: Wish My Life Away
Time:01:17 pm

With that whole resolved, it's just a straight shot... well, *a shot* to the ending.

This concludes the main game, but stay tuned for a bloopers and outtakes reel and a little something Elijah put together. Possibly minisodes later, if those are made/released? You know we'll play anything with the Freebird logo on it, because we enjoy hurting ourselves.

Thank you, Freebird.

Thank you, anyone who's watching this. Thank you for sharing our journey.

Thank you.

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Subject:[Microblogging] Hashtag Peak Millennial
Time:08:21 am
You know you're living in 2018 when you RSVP to attend a short-notice flash political protest after work today because it's the right thing to do, but also because "Ooh, this will help me get those eight new PokeStops I've never visited before" as a side bonus.

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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 3.04: The vortex of all this
Time:12:27 pm


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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 3.03: Bad things
Time:05:25 pm

Is there no other way...?

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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 3.02: Unfinished interface
Time:07:46 pm

Things get a bit heated and also a bit personal.

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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 3.01: A tricky evening
Time:10:41 am


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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 2: Lemon juice
Time:04:32 pm

Nothing suspicious or alarming going on here!

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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 1.14: JELLYFISH
Time:10:05 pm

Beginnings and endings.

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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 1.13: Whacky gal
Time:03:16 pm

Reading is fundamental.

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Subject:All Sergals Are Problematic: The Furpocalypse 2018 Recap (with bonus coming out about plurality)
Time:07:29 pm
Disclaimer: The post title is a joke taken from some late-night banter with friends in our room. Someone blurted that out in response to some comment or another, I noted how that without context would make a great slogan or bumper sticker or something, and then added, "Watch, I'll probably make it the title of my recap post." We actually did not encounter or observe any sergals this con, problematic or otherwise.

What we did encounter, though, was friendship and camaraderie, a sense of welcoming and belonging and "being home," beauty, wonder, and a whirlwind vacation that was quite literally magical.

Wait, 'we'?Collapse )

Whew. That was a thing. So, how did the con trip go, then?Collapse )

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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 1.12: Family owned
Time:04:13 pm

It's worth a try, right?

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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 1.11: Late night conversations
Time:12:26 pm

Why not?

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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 1.10: The kid I was yesterday
Time:12:43 pm

Familiar setting, wrong room.

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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 1.09: Scales
Time:07:44 pm

You just need the right accompaniment.

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Subject:Team Hatoful reads Finding Paradise, Act 1.08: About a girl
Time:08:39 am

Salesmanship is a skill.

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