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Interview No. 137
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest is a wonderful artist that I came across in the Art Forum. His artwork is most notable due to his beautiful drawings of women. As well as the detail he has given to the drawing of hands. His works range from Glasses, to Slash, and to Windshear Plains. He is an older member of Newgrounds, being here since 2004, and I am pleased to welcome, Cairos.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: I was introduced into Newgrounds a long time ago by my cousin when I was a younger Cairos back in 1999. While everyone was flipping their shit over Y2K our teenage minds were blown away and (un)fortunately corrupted by the Assassin Page and the cutting-edge quality games like Samurai Asshole and Pico's School. (Ultra violence and adult themes are always such a hit with kids. I guess that's why my nephews love the Walking Dead.)
Q: Before you ventured to Newgrounds you would first be on DeviantArt. Why the shift?
A: Yeah, I think I signed up on both sites roughly around the same time. I had a strong creative urge back then because I was heavily influenced by Zhu and Xiao Xiao No. 3. I don't recall actually creating anything at that time as I was just spinning ideas in my head and daydreaming rather than putting in the work. (If I had a time machine, hoo-boy would I kick my own ass into a productive state.) While I still use both sites, most of my activity is on good ol' (busted) NG. I guess it's the small tight-knit community feel it has. It's like a small town in the middle of nowhere filled with fairly friendly looking folks who vigorously keep pushing tourists to taste and drink their water... I was thirsty I guess.
Q: When and how did you become introduced to art and in what form?
A: I guess I got introduced into creating art when my parents got me and my brother a bunch of Play-doh. We'd make like the usual stuff kids make like rolled out spaghetti noodles and hotdogs, hamburgers and pancakes. Come to think of it we mostly made food out of that stuff... Anyway, our edible yet non-toxic masterpieces were created ontop of this small kid-sized white plastic table. This table still exists today right beside me and is still in use for resting actual food or when my niece and nephew make their own works of art on top of it.
Q: What first inspired you to create art?
A: The realization didn't hit me until I pondered about it a few years ago but I'd like to thank my 3rd grade teacher for this when I was a wee Cairos. At the time she influenced the class to create things. From posters on the wall, to classroom decorations and dioramas, all made by her students. I remember having a hand in creating a scene with construction paper when we were learning about oceans and marine life. Whenever there was a picture in a textbook she would first say, "The artist that drew this..." then explain what was going on in the image.
It was in her class I drew this bobcat from a picture. While I didn't exactly copy it, it still looked appealing and correct for some reason despite it not being in the same pose. It was when my teacher explained that I was using the picture for "reference" and I did a good job at it. That's when I found out I could understand how to draw but unfortunately I didn't see the purpose of it. Though I did feel quite accomplished when she pinned it up on the wall for everyone to see.
During Career Day she would invite all these newspaper cartoonists, graphic designers and illustrators for children's books. They would all draw on one of the whiteboards demonstrating their skill. The drawings were kept up for nearly two months because we loved them so much. Eventually they had to be erased, it was quite difficult to teach the class with only half of the whiteboard space.
None of this added up until one day I took a peek at her notebook. And to my wide-eyed surprise, she could draw. Each lesson plan was accompanied with a cute well executed illustration, no page was left without some sort of image. The kid me couldn't fathom the idea that one person could create so many images each day, how so much work can go unrecognized. I asked her about the drawings and all she said was, "Oh yeah, I can draw." ...That was it. She was an Artist.
When I pondered about this I figured being an Artist doesn't necessarily need to be a job it's just something you do if you can do it. I mean while being an elementary school teacher she didn't stop drawing despite that her colleagues all had careers catered to their craft. I guess she also valued art so much she wanted to show it in a unique way, opposed from the standard we see in today's schools as throwaway course.
I know this is a convoluted explanation of how I was "first inspired" but really it's just something I do and what we all can do.
Thanks Mrs. Frape.
Q: Toast-Tony, Fifty-50, Flowers10, Lucky, Morthagg, Luwano, ZaneZansorrow, and CosmicDeath, are all artists who have been here before. You have something in common with all of them and that is you have your very own art thread entitled Cairos' Sketchbook. This is how I found out about you. I ask this of all artists of this nature, but why did you make an art thread?
A: Honestly I never wanted to make a Sketchbook thread because I'm a super introvert, haha. I was a heavy lurker in the Art Forum for a very long while. Everyone was so comfortable posting scribbles and I get anxiety when I post stuff to the Art Portal (I still do). I was extremely hesitant but I eventually made one and I couldn't be more proud of myself. It was a good step forward out of my personal bubble.
Q: When CosmicDeath was here we talked about the beautiful way she drew eyes. For you it is the beautiful way you draw hands. You stated that you attribute it to looking at the expressive usage of hands in mannerist art. Could you go into a bit more detail about this? Surely you didn't come out of the gates drawing hands good enough to fit a glove did you?
A: I'm grateful that when I was younger I understood that hands were frikkin' complicated and did take some time to draw. I was able to draw hands in stock poses like fists and with any number of digits splayed out in silhouette. I understood how to draw solid hands but I didn't know how to use them properly. What helped me in creating appealing hands is when I started looking at Mannerist Art and realized how the hands were used as literal arrows to guide the viewer throughout the whole piece or towards the subject. May it be the fingers themselves or the gaps between them. The hands portrayed in these paintings and sculptures felt very much alive despite them being still.
Mannerism can be seen as gentle use of energy without exertion with minimal tension used. To help people understand this better... Outstretch your arm infront of you, relax your hand and fingers, bend your elbow upwards, and move your wrist up and down. Notice how your fingers open and close without you making them. That's at most how Mannerism should feel.
Q: Your first piece of art posted to the Art Portal is entitled Red Fighter Dude. You say it is just a simple character design. It does not seem so simple though. Did it start off simple and then some form of possession took over you?
A: Aw man, Red Fighter Dude. One of my first attempts at digital art and an original character. I love Beat 'Em Ups and Fighting Games and it's what he's influenced from. Today I wouldn't say simple design but rather "simple idea". Bad dude, never smiling, likes to fight. It's not a terrible thing as the concept of him kept on being revisited in future pieces with familiar results. First Date, RFD2 , and Double Date. His name would be Michael Grey by the way. As for what he's capable of... I'm not inclined to say yet.
Q: One piece that certainly captured my eye was Windshear Plains. There is a lot going on in this one picture it boggles the mind. The curious part of this is your description. You said it was a comic pitch that never got anywhere. What happened to rob us of this comic and is there any chance of it being made in the future?
A: I wanted to make something awesome with cowboys and dinosaurs and it was getting positive reaction but what was pointed out was the way how I portrayed the women here is a huge no-no. Sexualizing Aboriginals is insensitive to their culture. I didn't want to be part of a problem a whole race of people have been constantly fighting against, so I dropped the idea. As for this becoming a real comic in the future: I'm not gonna fully say no, but maybe if I were to have ninjas added to the mix...
Q: My two favorite things about drawings and paintings are colors and shadows. You combine both of these in one of my favorite pieces by you entitled Glasses. What was the process and inspiration behind this?
A: A process of Glasses can actually be seen in my Sketchbook Thread. I challenged myself to use a limited color palette and had an overwhelmingly positive response with the piece. Especially during conventions everyone just wants a print of her. To be honest I drew the glasses on for fun as I thought her hair already looked hipster, eventually it just stuck and I kept it. I liked henna designs and the way they were painted on the body but to prevent symbolism I just used lines.
Q: Slash. This is just absolutely beautiful, mainly because I can see where it started and where it ended and I love when a drawing leaves a breadcrumb trail of colors. Looking back at your other works you seem to do that with all of these. Would you say this is just your style or is this just a coincidence of a rainbow in the right place at the right time?
A: When it comes to color I like settling with whatever feels right but different. I love exploring what works and what doesn't and digital helps speed up the process with this thanks to the ability to fiddle around with sliders and such. I'm aware of popular techniques that get results, and the internet is filled with them, and it's totally cool when folks use them but they just don't fit with me as an individual. Personally what I want out of my art is to not be new hip style that everyone should be, I just wanna be different.
Q: Your style is beautiful to behold. Have you ever thought about stretching your powers to that of animation? If not then why?
A: I have thought about it but I think I'll have to say maybe. I do want to make one short animation in my life but I don't think I'll make any more than that. I don't want to say much more on this matter.
Q: You've been on Newgrounds since 2004 and before that on DeviantArt. While at DeviantArt you made on journal entry describing yourself as an Invisible Man. Do you still feel you are invisible? Whatever your answer could you tell us why?
A: I'm not much of a social butterfly. I never really wanted to be noticed, but I guess it's inevitable as it comes with the territory with being an artist. I tend to be indecisive about my self- worth but it's proven time and time again that I am capable to inspire other individuals. I never wanted to do this interview but here I am because I think some folks deserve to know a bit more about me.
I'll never know what I want, but I know what I can do. I do what I can.
Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of art?
Q: When it comes to your art, where do you begin? How does the creative process start and when does the creation become finished?
A: My work is very feminine so ideas I want to use are influenced by glamour and fashion. I have a large collection of images that I browse through once in a while to help keep those creative juices flowing. Then I just sketch. A lot. A majority of the time sketches will be set on the backburner and may become revisited again sometime. A piece is completed when I feel that I've dropped enough lines down to get the idea across. Sometimes I wait a few days before looking at the image again to see if it gives me some sort of impactful feel. Once I'm satisfied I release it into the interwebs for folks to see.
Q: What can we expect from Cairos in the future?
A: As stated my work is feminine and I wish to explore more masculine looking things. Hopefully I can portray that in newer work.
Until then. Take care and have a nice day.
Cairos is a great example of what you can find. Here's a guy who has been here since 2004, and it wasn't until the Art Forum was brought into existence that he could truly shine. I shows what you can find if you just take a browse through Newgrounds. I still can't get over how he can masterfully draw hands and the shadows and colors in his works. It truly feels like his works can come out of the screen towards you. If he ever decides to animate, and let us all hope he does. I for one will be eager to see his imagination move with true fluidity.
Interview No. 136
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest has been an avid fan of those we have interviewed on here before from the small brewstew, to the big named TmsT. He has delighted us all with works such as Wool E, Zelda: Flying Fairy, Mine Mine MInecraft!!, and Sex Hair. We are most proud to welcome one of our own fans, WooleyWorld.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: Well, I used to make "animations" using MS Paint and Windows Movie Maker on YouTube. That was way back in '07. Right around '08 or '09 I start playing with Flash. I made an official transition to Flash in late '09 and I needed a place to put up the animations in their SWF format. I had stumbled on NewGrounds a couple of times and knew it existed so I sort migrated over and made an account. We used to watch the old classic flashes on NG and ABS way back in the day so I became familiar with the site. Been there ever since.
Q: What age did you become interested in animation?
A: Like most animators, I used to play around with old flipbooks and such. That used to spark my interest. Though I didn't really become hooked until the early 2000s when my cousin showed me the old Miyazaki film "Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro". Talk about a classic. I recommend it to any animators out there. Such a lovely film. It is my favourite animated film and among my top 5 films ever. That film made me want to animate. I know my animations are not even in the same ballpark, but that is what I strive for these days... a animation like that.... oh but to actually answer that question. I must have been about 10 maybe? Majora's Mask was still popular so that gives you a timeframe...
Q: Who is Tristan Weihmann?
A: Tristan is an old friend I used to go to elementary school with. It is funny because I didn't talk to Tristan when he first transferred to my school. I remember he started talking about some animation he watched (Which I came to find out as TMSTs "Bad Idea"). I did not know what he was talking about and thought he was weird. After I stumbled upon the animation myself on ABS, I called him on the spot and we had a laugh that that was what he was talking about. We became good friends and all that, you know how it goes. We used to watch old TMST animations and talk about stuff like that. We would fuel a lot of creative thought between the two of us. I usually write something and bring it to Tristan, and we can tear through it and see what works and what does not. Nowadays he usually does the little 3D elements that can be found in my animations. He keeps me grounded when my ideas get too wild. Haha.
Q: One of my favorite guests here on The Interviewer was a user by the name of TmsT, which is short for Too Much Spare Time. You and many others know him better as Andrew Kepple. When and how did you meet Andrew; was it on Albino Blacksheep?
A: TMST? Andrew Kepple? Never heard of it. Is it a piece of furniture? ... I'm lying. We did end up meeting on ABS during one of the TOFA tournaments. I think it was either 2011 or 2012. I do not remember. But yes, he was a judge and I was an animator still fresh to the animating scene. I shot him a message and he shot one back. Bip bap, all that. Andrew is among my favourite animators and is part of the reason I animate like I do. We used to watch his stuff _all_the_time_. The way he added buttons on his flashes so you can see his actual frame by frame work was glorious. I learned a lot of animating from his work and when we started talking I fangirled on him. He's still immensely helpful if I'm having Flash issues or have a question on something.That and the guy loves Flash with an almost sexual passion. So. He's got that going for him
Q: Your first movie submitted to Newgrounds was submitted twice. Once as Our Fore Fathers and again as Our Fore Fathers. They were subsequently blammed. Could you tell us what they were about and why you think they were blammed?
A: Ohh my. That one.
First off, they were the same thing. I did not know much about the submitting system and I submitted it twice. Both got so badly blammed that my Macromedia 8 still cannot walk correctly. Looking back now I, of course, think the animation is trash. All it consisted of was my character standing there and he spewed some unfunny line with a bad sex joke accompanied by some truly horrendous art. ... So it's basically like what I've been doing for the past six years. No really though. That animation was such garbage. It did it's job though. It gave me a taste of what I could do with animation, got me a little more familiar with the program (Macromedia Flash 8 at the time) and it also gave me a sample of the NG community.. The decently fair community with good, supporting people laced with ball-busting, zero-bombers around ever corner. But yes, that's my thinking around that entire slideshow-reject animation. Haha. Live and learn, I reckon.
Q: I tend to ask each person I invite on here about their first work, post, or thing they have done on Newgrounds, you are no exception. Your second submission which is now on your page as your first would be Space Bear!. What can you tell us about this movie and looking back on it how do you feel you've grown in terms of skill?
A: Oh God. Tristan and I watched that little number the other day... That animation was conceived between a highschool classmate and myself back in early 2010. It was just a silly little thing that I'm sure we were all killing ourselves laughing at the time. Looking back on the thing, it is clear I've come a long way. The entire piece is just cringe worthy. We are talking baby picture cringe worthy. I've advanced away from that style of animating. It is a style of people just standing around and delivering lines without much animation at all. It is something I try to get away from these days with the use of hand movement and body language matched with facial expressions and dynamic movement. That and I clearly did not understand layering and working with symbols back in those days because some of the things like the mouth on Ash at the end and the bullets going behind the character.. Simply horrific. Having said that, I find I have made great strides since then. Clearly. I try to keep my animations more lively and keep characters interesting. When I cannot keep characters moving, I want to make sure the background is also alive so that nothing stagnates. The last thing I want to do it have a break in the animation and the viewer is just sitting there and nothing is happening. It really breaks them away and it makes me look like trash. I have learned that since then and I try to impliment it when I can. I like to keep this little thought in mind when I am animating: "If I am not telling a joke or setting up to tell a joke, I had better be moving the story or letting the characters and environment breathe."
Also I have learned to take your time on your projects. Space Bear! is this silly little thing I blew out in probably a few hours. This current project I am working on is about three months in the making. I want to make sure this animation is following my own little rules so I can keep it as appealing as possible. If I cannot put the love and care into the animation, how can I expect people to care about it? Hence, I keep things moving, lively, and breathing so I can make people want to watch and see the world I am putting in front of them. I know I am making silly little game parodies sometimes and Sex Hair other times, but i always want to present the animation in a world the viewer wants to engage in. This I do by keeping it interesting and taking my time. Simple little things like making the clouds move or adding good background sound effects can really help an animation jump to the next level.
Wow that was long-winded.
Q: Your first video game parody comes to us with Fable III Basically. At what age did you become interested in video games? What made you want to parody Fable III?
A: I became a fan way back in the day with the Nintendo64 in the late 90s.We used to play that game system all the time. Fast forward a few years, I was fresh off of video game parody animations and I figured I could make one. I chose a popular game that I enjoyed. It just so happened that I was a very bad animator at that time and an even worse writer... If I was given the chance to animate a Fable parody these days, I would pass.
Q: Venezuela I feel is in my top 3 of your best written movies. Seems there was a lot of love and hate put into this. You gave a brief description about the issues you had in making this, care to expand?
A: Let me start this answer with my opinion on the animation. It is a nice little animation that I did when I was new to animating. Having said that, the animation itself is clearly me seeing I can do with Flash and also trying to make a complete story. The animation itself certainly is not anything to phone home about, and the writing is just a string of joke after joke. I like that I was ambitious enough to try and tackle a larger project (it being about six or seven minutes I recall?), and that I was trying to take on better animating techniques with tweening and frame by framing.
However, after a few months, the audio was giving me a load of trouble and kept lagging. This is what held the animation from release for about six months if I recall correctly. Of course I went on to find out, thanks to Andrew Kepple and a helpful google search, that the audio begins to lag with longer projects and that the frames need to be tweaked to make up for this lag. I wish I could have told 2010-Grant that and saved him all that time... Well. Lesson learned, knowledge earned. All that jive.
Q: One of my favorite Disney songs is the villain song in Pocahontas entitled "Mine Mine Mine". You would combine this in the wonderful world of Minecraft with your movie Mine Mine Minecraft!!. This movie is simply hilarious! Where did the idea come from for this? The backgrounds you used came from Minecraft, what was the process you took in integrating them into your animation?
A: So this one time in computer class Senior year in highschool I was really bored, because I was far ahead in my animating course and was sitting with nothing to do. It was at this point that we were in full gear and playing Minecraft. I had just heard the song from Pocahontas, and it just seemed like it went together perfectly. This song is about greedy mining... Which is like my existence in Minecraft (Ask Tristan).
So from that I started playing with a new lineless style which made the animating a little easier. The animation was pretty poorly received (story of my life), but I still enjoyed it. With regards to the backgrounds, They were all done the same way except for the moving backgrounds. We set up the shot we wanted based from a storyboard. We then got a shot of it and we could just drag the things into Flash. By that point I was using Adobe CS3. They were not the finest quality, but we did not have the space to have fine quality shots. The moving backgrounds were just video files that we captured using FRAPS at the time. From there I just animated on top of the shots based off the animatics. It was a different process, and I would like to do something else like that nowadays now that I have improved. However, I simply do not have a good enough idea for that kind of approach at this time.
Q: When brewstew was here we talked about his movies where he sheds light on his past or things that happen to him in society. He used animation to share these stories with us with some exaggeration. With that in mind what is the full story behind Sex Hair and what made you want to share it wish us in such glorious fashion?
A: Ah. BrewStew is a nice fellow. Right proper storyteller as well. He and I have some of the same kind of humour. But yes. Sex Hair. I was wondering when that one was going to come up. Much like BrewStews works, Sex Hair was based off of an actual situation from my first day in my Freshman drawing class. The drawing professor had asked the students what we enjoyed drawing so we could get to know each other. People were going off about what they like. Some girl said she liked mushrooms (what?) And another said she liked to draw trees (alright.) but this one girl right next to me goes "I like to draw things with fur, you know.. hairy things" And my mind just started ticking. In my mind I ripped open my shirt, dropped down on the drawing table, and went "I've got something hairy for you to draw". My mind works when I am not. I thought it would make a funny little animation short.A few months later, I told Tristan I wanted to start putting more 3D in animations and he said he could do that now so I started looking through ideas I had written down and there was Sex Hair. We thought it would be funny to stick a 3D statue in the background of one of the shots. It's funny because nobody probably ever noticed that little gag over the fact that the main animation was pretty funny and stuck in peoples minds. I am pretty known for that animation over all my others, and I get messages all the time asking where the third one is... It is funny because the animation almost did not make it through the wheel house and died in the back pages of a sketchbook. It only made it to the realm of the living because we wanted to mess around with 3D... 3D nobody even noticed. Haha. Funny how that works sometimes, hm?
Fun Fact: I'm looking at the original sheet right now that I dug up from the grave. Sex Hair was almost named "HappyTrails" .. because hair.. happy trails.. ha. I'm funny I swear. Please don't go.
Q: Going through your history you struggled quite a bit in your skills as an animator, but you have grown exponentially over time. What advice do you have to give to those who are just starting out themselves?
A: Oh man. I will just pretend I am speaking to 2010-Grant.
I just want to start off saying that you should get drawing. Practice drawing. Get good at it, because you are going to need it. I sucked so bad when I started and I have still got such a ways to go. The thing about that though is that I am still reading up and drawing and trying harder every time. You always want to push it to do the best work you can produce. You don't need to worry about what other animators are doing. You can keep up and learn from them, sure.. but you don't need to compare yourself to other animators. You just keep your skill sharp and your writing sharper. Keep your chin up and your head down. All that jive. Life Drawing classes are a _life saver_.
I want to tell the younger guys and gals to give their stories a try and push their own characters. They may not take off initially, but people become interested if you are interested. Your favourite characters and stories that you parody now used to be just like you and getting out there. So go for it and don't care about what people think. The right people will dig your groove.
A good piece of advice I got once was to keep drawing. Every day. And make sure you do it every day, because there are a million and four other Joes out there gunning for your job. And if you are not drawing, they sure are and they're getting better than you. It is your job to keep yourself trucking and improving. You can sit there and mope about how so and so is better than you and how such and such is a better animation, but it is not going to get you any better. If you want to be better, you need to _want_ to be better...
Oh God I sucked for so, so long... Just keep going. Don't stop. Ever.
Q: What can we expect from WooleyWorld in the future?
A: Well well. You can expect fewer animations, I am not going to lie. I am taking my time with them these days and putting more love into them. Like I said, this current one is three months in the making. I want to focus more on story and characters and good, solid jokes. To make animations that are worthwhile and you won't forget before tomorrows breakfast.
Push my animation like I've not done prior. Make people wonder "How did he do that?" Make them try it for themselves. Push new angles and new framework. I am just begginning to get good with my animating and I am at the point where I can do whatever I like. In the past, I would have to cut corners based on artistic handicaps. Now I am a solid animator, and I can achieve the shots and angles and frames I have in my head without being hindered. I have so many projects on my mind, hope I can live long enough to get them out. Haha. I just like to imagine I'm sitting there rubbing my hands together going to myself, "You fellows just sit tight wait what's coming up next...".
This interview like my past two have been on the back burner for a while. I found out about WooleyWorld due to his comment on the interview I had done with brewstew. He was interested in being interviewed. I looked over his works and thought, 'why not?'. So here we are today and I most certainly don't regret this encounter... especially when Sex Hair is involved.
Interview No. 135
Interview By: The-Great-One
[ Part 1 | Part 2 ]
Q: In the thread NG CD Featuring NG Musicians! Join! you decided to contribute towards it. It ended up being a project to raise money for charity. What can you tell us about your involvement in the project?
A: It started with an audition of sorts by @FatKidwitaJetPak, calling for people to submit their works to this CD project, and the best 20 or so would make it into this CD, it would be sold on the Newgrounds store and iTunes (I don’t think Bandcamp was a thing then), and the proceeds would go to a charity of our choice. I decided to enter along with Kingdom of Herts and we put up our first song, Juventud, in my NG account. It wasn’t great, I’ll admit, and I didn’t make it in.
When the songs were all compiled together, FatKidwitaJetPak called for artists to design CD covers, and T-shirts for participants. @ForgottenDawn (who at the time was going under the name @KKSlider60) submitted a design, and so did I. Mine was chosen as the final T-shirt design.
However, the project fell apart because CD suppliers were just not cooperating with us, and there were just too many CDs to make. I don’t know what else led to the project falling apart, though I’m sure the organiser has said something about it. It was a sad end to a project with a lot of promise, and I do not doubt that there are many who would have loved to see the CD in their hands.
Q: Happy Sunday Morning! is a really fun 8-Bit song that reminds me a lot of Kirby. Do you have a fondness for 8-Bit music. If so... and this might be a silly question, then where did it stem from?
A: I do have a fondness for 8-bit music, yes, and this stemmed from my years playing on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Up till 2002, I played NES games… a lot of NES games, and my interest in these games has recently resurged and I’ve taken to reacquiring an NES and a few games for it. My favourite NES game to date is Kirby’s Adventure, and I especially remember its music, its chords… I borrowed inspiration from Kirby.
When making Happy Sunday Morning I was asked to borrow inspiration from Mega Man, which I had never played before. I decided to listen to the music of that game, and then combine it with what 8-bit influences I knew.
Q: The Overthere Shrine is an underrated piece of video game music. I am not a religious person myself so I can't make the emotional connections that others do with this song. I will not deny that it is a beautiful song. Your remix is quite spectacular and it hits on a lot of different levels with you. Would you care to share?
A: It all started when Chuggaaconroy, a video game commentator whom I watch on YouTube, asked if anyone could remix or cover The Overthere Shrine, a theme from Super Paper Mario. It was so angelic, so calming, that I decided to undertake it.
This was in 2012, and I was grappling with news that my father and a friend of mine had both lost their faiths. I try not to be sad, and I respect them in every way I can muster, but I cannot help but cry for them as if I cry for a lost one. I poured these emotions into my cover of The Overthere Shrine. I also mentioned in the description of that piece that it brought to mind a desire to go home and set things right – I know this is not possible now. Right now, when I listen to my version of The Overthere Shrine, I find peace, and I ask for the grace to accept the present moment, and not rant about what could be or what could have been.
I have a deep desire to be at peace with God and neighbour, however hard this may be. I poured this into the cover, too. These days, I don’t think I’m doing a particularly good job in being at peace with God and neighbour. But then again, we are our own worst judges. The people around us see in us many good qualities and things that we ourselves don’t see. I’ve learnt that ever since.
Q: Proper Te is quite the awesome French rock ballad you present to us. You state that is was an entry in the 2012 Newgrounds Audio Death Match and it got you to Round 2, but it took a lot of you out in the process. Was this unfamiliar territory for you or by critiquing yourself were you pushing yourself into the shadows?
A: It was a bit of both. I knew how rock pieces went, especially progressive rock pieces, and I had an idea of how it would sound in my head. But not only did I critique myself, others were bound to critique me. It’s natural, and only right and just for such a competition. I’d been pushing myself into the shadows thinking that it lacked the power that I had imagined – and now, when I come back and listen to it, I cannot help but think the same. It still lacks the power that I had imagined for it. I hope to remake this song one day, as it was intended to sound.
My fiancé says that it’s his favourite piece coming from me, and that it would make a good Bond theme. Seriously now, would you honestly imagine something like that in Bond opening credits??
Q: Quite possibly your best song out of all of your works I can strongly say is Supplication. It has been a while since a song has made me cry, but this got me to bawl like a baby. And yet... this is a beautiful song from beginning to end and one I listened to multiple times. It is just one of those perfect songs. I honestly don't have a question here, I just wanted to make this comment to you. You do talk about your family though. What can you tell us about your parents and their influence on you?
A: My family certainly wasn’t perfect. My immediate family consisted of just my parents and me; I’m an only child. A lot of traditional Indian families grew up with the concept of matha, pitha, devam – “mother, father, God,” as the order in which these people should be reverenced or worshipped. I hated that ideal. I knew my parents were not perfect. They were bound to make mistakes, and certainly would not deserve reverence for such mistakes. But this ideal was forced onto me. On the surface, my parents were Catholic; in practice, it does make me wonder how much they adhered to Catholic belief, the way they forced this ideal onto me…….
If I disagreed with it, or anything they did for that matter, I would be beaten up… very badly. Call out your parents’ mistakes? Get beaten. Insist on writing and performing music? Get beaten, and possibly see your sheet music torn up. Get any grade lower than an A+ in exams? Get beaten. Even for the most frivolous things I was beaten, and no apology was given. No, my parents could not possibly be wrong. And their influence on me was frighteningly great. I was often scared for my life. What if I got beaten again? What would happen to me? I often tried to run to the front gate and open the lock silently, in a desperate attempt to run away from home. But where would I go? In whom could I confide? My only confidante was God, to whom I cried in the silence of my room.
And on the subject of being beaten badly, I remember it happening a lot of times. It pains me to say that my earliest memory is of being beaten until I blacked out, when I was 2 years old. My paternal grandmother, who had witnessed everything, said that I nearly died. She couldn’t be far wrong…
I also remember being beaten after a teacher spread lies about me being involved in the occult. She was so persuasive that my parents believed her, and not me, and decided to abuse me. The next day, the truth came out. I was in the clear. But my parents and this teacher did not apologise one bit. I remember many, many occurrences like these…
All these abuses make it hard for me to remember that in spite of everything, my parents did try to love each other, and love me. My mother and father were faithful to each other until the end, when my mother died in 2008. I try to remember the good times, believe me. I try very hard.
Yes, some good memories come back, like when my mother first played the drum for me to show me what it sounded like. I remember our Uno and Scrabble games together. I remember decorating the house with them on the first Sunday of Advent each year, in preparation for Christmas. I remember the house smelling of cookies and fruitcake in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Or, at times, the house smelling of pepper because my mother put in a LOT of pepper in a certain dish she was making… and the sneezes I made thereafter.
But in hindsight, the family home was not a safe haven for me. I wanted to call an abuse helpline so many times… but I hesitated because if it transpired that I did, I would risk being killed through beatings. I couldn’t even go see counsellors about this, because any notes that I wrote that I wanted to pass on to counsellors got intercepted, and I was beaten badly. I cannot help but think that all the frustration, hurt and anger my parents had suffered under their parents, they were now directing it to me. This knowledge came to me from the way my mother spoke to her mother once – my grandmother did not want my mother to beat me up. My mother pretty much told her to go and fuck off.
In spite of all this, I wrote Supplication. Even if the good things I could glean from my family were vastly overshadowed by all the hurt and abuse I’d been through, I wanted there to be something good, something which I hoped my mother and father would be proud of.
Q: We cannot talk about these next two songs separately. To do so would be criminal. Through the Woods I and Through the Woods II are pretty much representations of day and night - light and dark. Truth be told a lot of your songs as I listen to them like to play in that spectral realm of the twilight and play with our emotions. Why the sense to teeter-totter at times? Or again am I missing something?
A: I teeter in between light and dark quite frequently in my music, because in daily life, we do teeter between light and dark whether we realise it or not. I try to reflect this in the pieces I write. The things we do, how we feel, or even what we say – all of it is a representation of the struggle between light and dark. Through the Woods I and Through the Woods II were written to represent the conflict between innocent childhood and frightening adulthood, day and night, dawn and dusk. The game for which these were written, The Hut in Ayre Forest, plays with these same themes. These are themes which tell us just how complex of a struggle human life is.
Q: We now come to Bataille Royale EXTENDED. Where did the inspiration come from to remix your remix of a remix of a remix of this already beautiful song?
A: Actually I would call it a remix of a remix. ^_^' This is only take three of Bataille Royale, not take five. All I wanted to do was hear this piece in full instrumental glory, beyond what Mario Paint Composer could do.
Q: Whenever I interview someone here, I usually find something that they have done that is my all-time personal favorite. For you though there are two songs that I just could not choose from. We will talk about them both, the first being A Night in the Attic. I don't think I have felt such a haunting nostalgia since I watched Bear Bear here on Newgrounds. I love the inspiration and the story you tell behind it, but the atmosphere you built once again plays in this twilight realm. What is it that you see in this song?
A: I see lots of things… firstly, I am reminded of my fiancé’s big chest of model trains, which is the main source of inspiration for A Night in the Attic. This chest made me imagine a roomful of toys that came to life.
This piece is something rather ambitious for me; it was my first attempt at cinematic music since Westminster Tune, and also my first attempt at recording another instrument besides drums, piano and voice. I chose to record glockenspiel, because I have one, and because I thought its sound would be very toy-like. Here, I also chose to experiment with sound effects; I toyed around with a kitchen timer and the plastic cover of my glockenspiel to imitate the sounds of toys click-clacking on the floor.
Emotionally speaking, the piece is meant to convey fear of being judged, and subsequent relief at being shown approval, mercy and love. The story that I had imagined for this piece is that, you walk into a roomful of your old, abandoned toys. You’d heard stories of people being flayed alive or tortured by their old toys, as punishment for treating them badly as a child. You fear that the same thing might just happen to you. And as you hear the clicking of toys behind you, you fear the worst. But they come out as if to greet you, fill you with joy, and they come and rest on your lap and in your arms.
I have an inane fear of being judged, and based on my previous responses, you can probably guess why. I yearn to be loved, to be approved of, to be cherished.
This piece also represents failure, disillusionment and betrayal to me, because I had given my absolute all in writing this piece, spending a good three weeks, toiling day and night, through fears and panic attacks, until this was done and my mixing had been improved on. My fiancé had to come in and check on me and tell me to go to bed, many times during that three-week period. The opponent’s song was done only in two days. Nearly every one of my followers just went gaga for his piece and abandoned mine when I was most in need of encouragement and support. And the opponent won.
To say nothing about his piece, I felt like I was a thing to be trampled on and thrown away, because I had poured myself into it so much, only to be forgotten. Comments and reviews began to flow in, weeks after the results for that round had been released, and I began to ask, where were you when I needed you the most? I felt betrayed. Disillusioned, I decided to stay completely away from the Audio Deathmatch. I don’t even dare approach that song now (or even my opponent’s song), because all the hurt associated with it just comes flowing back. Objectively speaking, everyone thinks both songs are good. I think my opponent’s song is technically sound. But I have to be honest about the hurt that I’ve faced.
This whole experience has made me lean towards seeing that I am an inferior composer, and that any hope of succeeding is gone. My fiancé tries to talk me out of this state of mind, and sometimes, my friends try to do so as well. But the hurt from this, as well as from very many other things associated with my passion for music, has marked me indelibly. I only hope and pray that one day, I may be able to look upon this song and the experience I had creating it, without flinching anymore.
Q: The second song that is tied with my favorite by you starts with As Stars that Shine - Teaser. Afterwords we get hit by the full version As Stars that Shine (FULL). When a musician releases a teaser are they simply looking for feedback or are they simply stuck? Also what was the full inspiration and process you brought into evolving this song to where it is now? Also why is the teaser available for download, but not the full version?
A: The way I understand it, when musicians release teasers, they are either looking for feedback, stuck, or unwilling to share the full version of a track that is going to bring them earnings as the result of its use in a game. Or, shall we say, unwilling to spoil the fun. It keeps listeners anticipating more. At the time of me releasing the full version of As Stars that Shine, I had no choice but to release the full version since I did not want to risk another unfortunate hard drive failure or great file loss, and this was the only full track that I had salvaged from this great file loss that I had earlier this year.
The teaser is available for download, but not the full version, because of its intended use in @CartoonCoffee’s upcoming Eden game. I figured that, since it would be used for the purposes of the game, I did not make the full track downloadable.
I wanted to combine electronic sounds and Celtic melodies… this is something I’ve noticed about my recent style. To me, both nature and machine can go hand-in-hand. Eden has graphics that are colourful and resemble vast caves with immense amounts of foliage, and also has a reference to the Tree of Knowledge in the book of Genesis. However, the mechanics and costumes worn by some of the characters in this game are very reminiscent of Tron and Tron Legacy. I’m talking, of course, about the blue colour, the lines that resemble circuitry, and the visors and gauntlets worn by some characters in this game. This is also a reflection of the instruments I have. I have a lot of acoustic instruments, and I’m especially thrilled about my harp and my bodhráns, but I also own a Stylophone (which is a 1960s synthesiser), and I like 8-bit music and I use a digital audio workstation. It’s a reconciliation of differences, a combination of two schools of thought (acoustic music, and electronic music) which would otherwise be constantly bickering and debating with each other.
Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of music?
A: The inner resonance of its creator’s heart (or the hearts of the community it is associated with). It is indispensable to our lives. And the way I see it, it is a gift from God. Done well, it is a relic that can be passed on to future generations. Done badly… well……. um. What do we do if we find a piece of music that has historically been trash? I guess each person has their understanding of what is trash and what isn’t.
Q: When you were at the University of Hertfordshire you wrote for the Students' Union blogging project called Soapbox. What can you tell us about Soapbox and what was the experience like?
A: Soapbox was a project run by the media division of the University of Hertfordshire Students’ Union (HERTSSU) beginning in the academic year of 2010-2011, where a set number of bloggers would write about their student life, their joys and sorrows, the problems they face, and the events in which they take part. To my knowledge, I don’t think HERTSSU runs this project anymore. Only two of us who were chosen for the project were avid writers, and updated regularly, which I think is the main motivation for HERTSSU to discontinue it.
I found it a bit of a mixed bag. As a member of the Soapbox team, I had VIP access to a lot of HERTSSU functions, like the Summer Ball at the end of the academic year. The Summer Ball was something I really enjoyed – rides, concerts (in my case, I attended those of Feeder and Ellie Goulding), and free drinks and a party atmosphere throughout the university grounds. I guess in most cases, it was fun – I enjoy taking pictures, recording stuff and writing; I enjoy creating in general, and this felt like a nice side project to undertake while I was not going through the drudgery of my law studies. I covered Freshers’ Fairs, where various clubs and societies would put up booths to attract students. I covered some Students’ Union meetings, which were quite dreary and overly riddled with legal jargon and made me aware that a lot of people didn’t even know what changes they were voting in. And I spoke about my life as a law student, and as an aspiring musician.
Some events which I covered were a bit underwhelming. For instance, Student Elections took place in March each year and covered positions for student representatives and Students’ Union members (i.e. who became chairman, who became media manager, who became manager of clubs and societies…). I often had to deal with the childish behaviour of the people running for office, and the people who voted, because I recorded footage of the Student Election Results, which took place in the university’s pub called the Elehouse. The Elehouse would be packed full with people, a lot of whom were drunk or slightly tipsy. It was alright, I guess, if I could make a quick quip about it, but after a while, anyone would get fed up of that sort of atmosphere. Tensions around me were high and patience was low.
Another example, and a unique example at that, would be Question Time with Uni Hertfordshire’s newly-appointed Vice Chancellor in 2012, who at the time was Professor Quintin McKellar. This was meant to be done almost in the fashion of Parliamentary question time, where questions would be asked about things that matter, and the person would have to reply on the spot. Professor McKellar was doing his absolute best to respond to people, and to remain level-headed at the same time. But how would people react when dealing with a bunch of annoyed teens? I think he tried his best to be compassionate to everyone. I wanted to record some footage then. I think I did. I don’t really remember much. But then I grew tired of people demanding things that just couldn’t be done within his power, like the abolition of tuition fees. There were some good questions, but a lot of them got overshadowed by the impatience of a lot of the audience. This event was followed by refreshments after, granted, but it drained all the positivity out of me.
Q: You are not only a musician and a writer, but you are also an artist. What inspired you to take up art alongside music?
A: I think, quite simply, because I felt I could! When I was 6 or 7, I did my first visual copy of a Looney Tunes screenshot (it was a Speedy Gonzales screen). I coloured it, and it made me positive that I could draw things on my own instead of having to copy them. I’m always intrigued by colours, and sometimes, I draw because I want to give my colours form.
When I was younger, I drew for school assignments – “Draw a sunset scene,” “draw a ‘Say No to Drugs’ poster,” (what is this, the NES game Raid 2020?), “draw a highway safety poster,” the list goes on. These tasks were quite generic and didn’t really encourage creativity, and now when I look at my art, I don’t think that I have the makings of a good artist – my art’s always picked upon for being disproportionate, lacking in perspective… But I still want to draw. Sometimes, I can express my thoughts best in pictures, and I’d rather use this ability than waste it.
Q: What can we expect from Troisnyx in the future?
A: Either lots of works, or nothing at all, depending on the outcome of events that are soon to take place. I ask for your prayers and good thoughts.
Troisnyx, as I said at the start of this interview, I have had my eye on for quite sometime. A couple of months to be precise. A link to her profile just sat in a folder in my browser for a long time. I would look through her stuff from time to time, but never got around to sending her an invitation. Once I heard her new song As Stars that Shine (FULL), I knew it was time. She is a very skilled musician who decides to constantly keep learning and share the fruits of her labor with all of us. We are most lucky.
[ Part 1 | Part 2 ]
Interview No. 135
Interview By: The-Great-One
[ Part 1 | Part 2 ]
Today's guest I have had my eye on for quite sometime now. She has lit up the Audio Portal with her works ranging from Happy Sunday Morning!, A Night in the Attic, and As Stars that Shine (FULL). Her story is one that has taken multiple turns and thankfully brought her skills here for us today. I am pleased to welcome, Troisnyx.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: It was back in 2011 and I had taken part in a competition on a site called Audiodraft. I entered my first NG submission, Westminster Tune ~ Preuve de foi, into said contest and won. Mihai Sorohan (@sorohanro) happened to be there too, and he sent me a message, inviting me to come on to Newgrounds and submit my music there.
Now I had heard of Newgrounds as early as 2009 – a friend from the Kingdom Hearts Wiki used to submit music there, but I do not know what his username is. I used to go there to watch stuff from @TheWeebl, but that was about it. But here I was, in 2011, in this familiar place, and so I decided to join. I never knew what awaited me… what harm could it do? The help it could bring would be immense, I thought.
Q: Newgrounds knows you as a musician, but you also study law at the University of Hertfordshire. What brought you to this university? Why study law? Do you also study music here?
A: I am no longer a student; I graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in 2013. So yes, I did study undergraduate law in Uni Hertfordshire and graduated in 2012, and then furthered my studies with the Legal Practice Course and graduated from that in 2013.
To be honest, I never wanted to read law, ever. My mother used to ask me, when I was a child, if I ever wanted to delve into certain fields. Engineering? Teaching? Law? I kept saying no to engineering because I felt I couldn’t do what my father did – my father was an aircraft engineer, and a skilled one at that, you see – but more importantly, I kept saying no to law. I just felt it wasn’t my field. It never was.
When I was 16 years old and preparing for an examination equivalent to the GCSEs, there was a careers fair in my school. There, I saw booths for companies representing all the typical ‘townie’ jobs: law, engineering, medicine, actuarial science, government departments… Long story short, none of them interested me. I felt so lost. To try and circumvent the problem and find out where I would truly belong, I turned to one teacher in my school whom I felt I could rely on, and I asked her what she honestly thought I could do.
She said to me, “Have you ever considered performing music professionally?”
I let that sink in over the next few days. It struck a chord in me. For the first time, I felt I had a purpose in life – something to aim for! Still, I was scared, because I didn’t know what my parents would say. How they had treated me in the past with regards to my music is something I still grapple with, to this day. It was abuse, plain and simple.
Anyway… I mustered enough courage to sit down and tell them what I felt I needed to do. I want to make music, and I want to make that my profession, I said something along those lines at least. My parents spat at my idea and tore it to shreds, to say the least. They even went so far as to threaten to send me to a place far away, penniless, at the age of sixteen, mind you, if I ever insisted on performing professionally ever again. Knowing just what I had been subjected to in previous years, I had no choice but to keep silent. They refused to pay for a music degree. So my route was all laid out for me, as if my parents had predestined what I was to be. I was to read law – begin with A-Levels in law and other related subjects, and then follow up with a university degree.
As you may have already found out from my descriptions and posts here, my mother died in 2008, while I was still in the midst of doing my A-Levels. I tried to hint to my father several times that my passion for music, and my desire to perform, were still going strong. I did so by singing in the shower, or locking myself up in my room and playing drums. But my father hurled insult after insult at me, determined to tear it further apart, and he once even screamed to my face that I’d never be a good drummer, or a good musician for that matter.
I wound up in Uni Hertfordshire because my law degree had a twinning programme: I would do my first year in this law college where I did my A-Levels, and continue subsequent years in Hertfordshire. Several universities in England and Wales had already offered said twinning programmes – I tried Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Hertfordshire. Hertfordshire got back to me with a letter saying they were ready to admit me. I tried to make some decisions on where I would go next. But ultimately, the main reason why I wound up in Hertfordshire is because I have an aunt and uncle who live in Essex – which is about an hour’s drive away from Hertfordshire altogether. It was thanks to their persuasion that I wound up there.
It is painful, having to remember throughout one’s study period that one is not meant to study music, but instead be forced through the path one’s parents have chosen. In my first year there, I lived in university halls, and my particular flat was just opposite the music faculty. I used to pass by there with so much sorrow in my heart each time, with no means of telling my father or my family just how much it meant to me.
Q: At the age of 3 you were given music lessons after playing with a toy piano. By the ages of 10 and 13 you composed your first songs. Some may say that would make you a prodigy. What do you recall about your music lessons at this age?
A: I wouldn’t call that tendency “prodigious”, really, because where I grew up, it was sort of a thing for people to be trained young in this, that and the other. Having music, art or ballet lessons at that age was commonplace. Now, I genuinely enjoy music, and I certainly did enjoy music as a child, which made matters a lot easier.
My music lessons were a bit of a mixed bag. The earliest ones, I remember very fondly, because it was through these lessons that I discovered that I have a passion for the drums. (This was something I would not speak about to my parents until I was 15.) These were group lessons, with nine or ten more students, mostly at the age of 4. I was one of the youngest, if not outright the youngest, to enrol in said lessons – but it didn’t matter to me. My classmates, I looked to them as my friends, and I was happy to meet them. The teacher I had during my earliest years was kind and gentle, and I always looked forward to learning under her.
Three years later I continued music under my godmother, who is a music teacher herself, and she signed me up for my first graded examinations in piano. I did alright, I suppose. These lessons were individual ones – just me, and her. I enjoyed playing, but there was one part of the lessons I hated with a passion: piano exercises. Anything that involved training one’s fingers until one could play at high speeds.
I switched teachers quite a few times after, and I had good ones, bad ones, snarky ones… and even more piano exercises by Hanon. Uuuugggghhh. Any classically-trained pianist might remember Hanon for all the wrong reasons. The tune for the exercises gets stuck in your head and you want to get it out, desperately, but you just can’t…….
One awful experience I had with one bad teacher was that she gave me a hard shelling for making mistakes in a piece… on my eighth birthday. She had no patience whatsoever, and I found it frightening to learn under her.
I began composing at the age of 10 as part of a mandatory music project. Everyone in my class had to do it. I was the only one who went solo, I think… but at the time, I had so little guidance and I felt it was a drag to come up with my own tunes. The result I got from that project was a mediocre one, but I couldn’t care less at the time.
I think I was 12 or 13 when I switched teachers for the last time, and I stuck with that teacher until the end of my music education. I remember a few of my previous teachers making snarky, sarcastic comments about her, because she was the new teacher in the block and they just couldn’t trust new people. But this new teacher had faith in me, and I had faith in her, and she encouraged any musical endeavour I chose to undertake. Not long after I went under her wing, I regained my interest in composing, and she encouraged that too.
Q: When it comes to writing your music without really much to inspire you, where does it start? Where does the first note come down and where does the song end?
A: If I do not have much to inspire me, I think about messing on a keyboard. For me, when I mess on a keyboard, the first thing I think of would be chords. Groups of notes played together that would sound good. I would try piecing them together, until I found something remotely new.
The song would end as soon as I felt I couldn’t embellish the song anymore, that I’d done everything my mind and body would permit. My earliest audio submission in 2014, Sound of Creation, was done with this sort of thinking.
Q: Who are the Kingdom of Herts?
A: Kingdom of Herts is a little pet project of mine that is currently taking a hiatus. It’s a band that does contemporary Catholic progressive rock. Initially, it started with myself, Christo Tracey (@Merlyne) and Mark Tanner (@mark212). Mark left the band in 2012.
We’ve since had two more members in our ranks, both of whom are not on Newgrounds at the moment – Richard White and Kieran McMahon. We’ve done a few recordings – but just a few. I really hope we can do more over time.
Q: What is Project Chaplaincy?
A: Project Chaplaincy is a fantastical story that @Merlyne and I conceived in late 2011 about a priest finding out that demons are attacking places all over Britain. Determined to find out who or what is causing these attacks, the priest sets off all across the realm with a few friends by his side, and is faced with a lot of death, ruined towns and cities, and disrepair. How does he deal with this? How does he deal with friends betraying him, dying, or even calling him out on his weaknesses in front of a multitude of people? The story was conceived because I wanted to explore the emotions and struggles of a priest, versus the lofty idea of the steel-faced priest that had been propagated for centuries – I write this story with the intention of letting prospective readers/players depart from that idea, and remember that a priest is as human as anyone, but still strives for good, as anyone else does in the bottom of his heart.
I intended for it to be a bullet hell shooter, and I still hope that one day, anyone may work with us to make this dream come true. (Some of you may have noticed that I’ve even written a few pieces of background music for the purposes of this bullet hell shooter, and even conceived a few enemies.) Until then, I’m working on a novelisation of this story, exploring plot, environments and the extent of the desolation that could be wrought, rather than focusing on the characters too much.
Q: You once stated that two of your goals with music were to get your sung music on a big stage and get your background game music tracks sighted by a game company. Have you succeeded with these goals recently? Are these still your goals? Why these as you goals?
A: I don’t think I can say I’ve fully succeeded yet. I’ve gotten my music in games – indie games are always a good start, especially good indie games. I have announced that I’m writing music for @CartoonCoffee’s game Eden, and I hope we can see this project to fruition – this might just lead me somewhere. I’m also one of two people doing scoring for @Hoeloe’s game, Song of the Firefly.
If this dream comes true, I hope and pray that I do not become complacent as to think I could do without the humble, but brilliant artistry of the indie game developer.
As for my sung music going onto a stage at all…. well, no, it’s still an unrealised dream. Sometimes, I fight towards it with vigour in my heart, sometimes, I don’t know if anyone really wants what I do. I try to fight towards this dream, but the more I do, the more it slips out of my grasp. Recently, I’ve taken to presenting people around me with demo CDs (don’t worry, to the few people who have asked me for them on Newgrounds, you’ll get them, I promise you – things just have been a bit haywire lately). I have received a bit of feedback on said CDs from some people, but I’m still anxious to know if people really appreciate the sort of music I do, and whether it’s stage-worthy at all.
I’ve aimed for these dreams, quite frankly, because I yearn to share my music with as many people as I possibly can. I’d imagined stage performances and I sometimes have choreography and music in my head. And I’ve been inspired by video game composers to make background music of my own. Honestly, when we were children we believed that anything is possible, and did not hesitate to act upon this belief – however hard it is for me to believe that now, I still hang on to that belief for dear life.
Q: When learning about music what would you say is the different between learning through music theory and mechanical learning? What are the pros and cons of both?
A: Music theory, especially if you’re taking exams for music theory, not only explores how music sounds at the present time, but also goes and explores sounds from centuries back. I’ve had the privilege of exploring Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th century harmonies and instrumentation during various points of my study.
Theory gives written form to the sounds that we produce – notes, numbers with piano fingering and chords, performance directions (i.e. should it be performed slowly? Quickly? With vigour? In the style of a cakewalk?), all of which can be written on sheet. While it is not essential to be able to read or write sheet to make music, theory gives a person an understanding of why something sounds good and why something doesn’t, and allows a person to be able to write it for performance by a group of people, or maybe an individual. I could see sheet being important when it comes to a vast group of people performing a piece.
Personally, I find that theory has helped with my appreciation of music. When I listen to a piece from a particular period, I find myself transported back to the concert hall where it was performed, I hear the applause, and sometimes, the crowds attempting to mob the performers. I find myself transported back to the cathedral or church in which a particular Mass setting is performed, and I begin to imagine just what others would have felt when they heard it for the first time.
Mechanical learning, i.e. learning by sight and by ear, can be a faster way of picking up an instrument. A lot of my piano and percussion is done by ear (as is a lot of my instrumentation in general). Picking up something by ear is also advantageous in the sense that you get to hear the expression with which something is played, instead of relying solely on the guidance of the sheet. You can hear the loud and soft, the slow and fast. A lot of contemporary pieces are best picked up by this method, and it is also likely the method by which music is passed on from generation to generation. It’s just… natural, I suppose?
I hold equal respect to anyone who learns through theory, and anyone who doesn’t – these are two different methods of learning, after all. However, I would be very, very impressed with someone who manages to combine both methods of learning, and uses it to his advantage.
Q: Your first song here on Newgrounds is entitled Westminster Tune - Preuve de foi. In French that means "proof of faith". What can you tell us about the inspiration behind this song?
A: The idea for this song came to me when I was in Westminster Cathedral in early 2011. The new English translation of the Mass had been released and came into use in 2010, and so, there were new sung parts for it – and various musicians across Hertfordshire and the northern half of London gathered at Westminster Cathedral to go through these new sung parts together. I had also heard, from the volunteer instructor who led us, that new Mass settings would be written by people who could, in order to accommodate the changes in the words.
This led me to want to write a Mass setting myself. Westminster Tune started off as a poor attempt to try and put the English words of Gloria in excelsis Deo to music. The title came from the time I had spent with the many other musicians in Westminster Cathedral. For the uninitiated, the first few lines of the Gloria go like this:
Glory to God in the highest
And on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you
We bless you
We adore you
We glorify you
We give you thanks for your great glory.
The opening piano line of Westminster Tune was meant to have been sung to “We praise you, we bless you…” but then it all fell apart. I just couldn’t fit the words to the music, and then grew frustrated and decided to keep this tune as an instrumental piece. Then as I developed it, I began to imagine an internal clash between light and darkness, or an external one representing a hero of light and a prince of darkness. This visual picture stayed with me until I finished the piece.
Q: I normally have to dig through a musicians songs to find some vocals from them, but I get them from you right in your second song Exec_symphoric/. Was this an experimentation or is there something I'm missing?
A: This was partly an experimentation, and partly a favour for a friend who likes Hymmnos songs – songs from the Ar tonelico video game series. Fans of these games have written fan lyrics of imaginary Hymmnos songs, and this friend did her own with the help of another friend of mine. To demonstrate to her that I was capable of layering my vocals the way Akiko Shikata did, I decided to record a fragment of EXEC_SYMPHORIC/. so I could show her. SYMPHORIC was very well received by her, and I had indeed intended to finish it, but I just weaned myself off Hymmnos a year or so later, and this became one of my rejected titles.
(By the way, it is Hymmnos convention to write song titles in capital letters. The correct way of writing the title is EXEC_SYMPHORIC/. and not Exec_symphoric/. as Newgrounds formatting dictates.)
Q: Anyone who visits the Video Game Forum knows I am a fan of Mario Paint and the Mario Paint compositions not only from the game, but from the expanded program you can download. You give us a taste with Bataille Royale (SNES) and then hit us with your prowess in Bataille Royale (Piano). When did you become introduced to Mario Paint and why the inspiration to make music with it?
A: I got introduced to Mario Paint in 2010. I wanted a means to make music and share it with everyone online, and at the time, I had no knowledge whatsoever of digital audio workstations. I was drawn to Mario Paint because it relies on one’s knowledge of sheet music, and because there was a strong community making songs with it at the time.
It became my primary means of making music, especially instrumental music, because for a time, when I went to university, I had no instruments to my name except my voice. Mario Paint was quick, it was easy to record, and I could show the progression of notes to everyone. And I could correct some awful versions of video game tunes made with Mario Paint….. a certain version of the Hollow Bastion theme from Kingdom Hearts comes to mind…..
Q: One of my favorites by you is entitled Whispers in the Rain [NSJ]. What is the National Service Journal and what can you elaborate more on this challenge given to you by your friend?
A: The National Service Journal was intended to be a fictionalised version of the events of my conscription period – I grew up in a place where people at the age of 18 were picked at random as if from a lottery, and drafted. Conscientious objection was disallowed, and you had to go or be imprisoned. In addition to being singled out for my ethnicity (being the only female trainee of Indian descent), I had suffered racial bullying, and inhumane and degrading treatment throughout the stint, and the Malaysian authorities did not lift a finger to these and many other abuses that took place in the National Service training camps. I wanted to be able to write about it, but criticising the Malaysian authorities would land anyone in jail under the Sedition Act 1948, no matter how many times people try to circumvent this. Regardless, I persisted, and imagined it taking the form of a film or a game – a video game would be ideal – and so I went on to write music for it. Mind you, I had gone about the National Service Journal as a typical teenager did – immaturely, and overly focused on the characters and not on the plot, or the significance of things. I do intend to revisit it, but I will probably do so when I’m living with more peace and simplicity – recalling the events of my conscription has led me to panic attacks and other traumatising recollections.
This little project of mine received its title from two actual journals that I had kept during the course of my National Service stint in 2009, detailing what happened, day by day, and what I felt, and what I witnessed.
In 2011 @AlbertStClare gave me a challenge to write a theme based on a title he had given me, “Resounding Chime of Ice.” We spoke about this over Windows Live Messenger, as was the thing at the time, and I went on to compose, based on this challenge. The opening turned out to match the title, but as it progressed, it became a whole piece of its own. He provided the title, Whispers in the Rain, and it still sticks today.
[ Part 1 | Part 2 ]
Interview No. 134
Interview By: The-Great-One
For those who read The Interviewer you should be pleased that it will be returning for one last run. I intend to hit No. 200 as I originally promised, and then we will come to an end. I need to move onto other projects -- more for myself than anything else. I strongly apologize for the delay and ask for you forgiveness. Today's interview has been done for months, but I've been going through a rough patch so it has been long overdue. So without further or do.
Today's guest slowly lit up the forums here on Newgrounds. His posts has received him accolades from the users. He has been recognized as one of the users who brightens many a member's day. We are pleased to welcome to The Interviewer, supergandhi64.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: i've known about newgrounds for a while. i remember visiting the site briefly in 2002-2003. i don't remember the circumstances of how i came across it. considering i'd hang around in a lot of irc chat rooms back then i'm thinking i probably got linked here to see something or other, but i've no recollection of what it might have been. i didn't really visit the site frequently or do anything more about it for a while after that, but i knew about the site. i believe i also made an account way back, but i've forgotten the details. i'm the type who makes an account for just about every site i visit if it's an option.
fast forward a few years and i rediscovered the site. this time by referral from another site, a web forum i visit occasionally. i'm a big fan of web fora, actually. i've sort of grown up with different web fora as a source of entertainment. i believe i was 9 years old when i posted on a web forum for the first time. it's part of what made me decide to make an account on newgrounds again. it's probably not going to make me any popular on this site, but i don't particularly care for the actual content being hosted here. i'm almost exclusively interested in the forum.
to add insult to injury i don't think the forum on newgrounds is particularly good. there's plenty of better web fora out there and the newgrounds forum is more of an on the side thing for me. i still have a good time here and enjoy myself, and to me that's what's most important.
Q: I normally don't ask this question, but I believe you are one of those special cases. What is the story behind your username?
A: i wish i could say i had a fun story about my username. the truth is that it doesn't really mean anything to me personally except for what i've made out of it for myself by using it on this site. this is the only site where i use this particular handle. if you've seen it on another site then it's someone else using it.
that's not to say i decided on this nickname without a second thought. it's a deliberately constructed username and i had a clear intention when i was thinking of usernames about how i wanted it to appeal to other people. before i signed up on the site i was reading the forum for a while to get a feel for what kind of people were using the site. my username is in the end made to appeal to a demographic. the demographic which was posting on the forum.
i was thinking for a while about what format i wanted my username to be in. i settled with an old internet classic, the adjectivenounnumber username. a lot of people think it's clumsy and boring, but if you ask me it's a great username format and widespread for good reason. it's memorable and you have a sea of options for customizing it. i also think you need at least three or four syllables in a username to make it sound good when spoken orally.
after that i brainstormed for possible combinations. i still remember some username candidates which didn't make the cut. among names i might have taken instead of supergandhi64 were megafucker69, driestjungle13 and darklord97 to name a few. in the end i decided for supergandhi64 because i felt it had the right impact, rolled well off the tongue, gave me interesting associations and didn't use the same characters twice.
in 2013 i discovered that someone else had actually taken an almost identical name long before i signed up again. they had taken the account "superghandi64" which i thought was amazing. it reaffirmed a lot of my intentions with the username when someone on the site had already taken it so to speak. some person who was already a part of the target audience of the site could feel associations to the username and decided to pick it before me.
Q: What is a true doom murderhead?
A: a true doom murderhead is a rude boy and a hella gamer. a true doom murderhead doesn't care about gaming trends, stoners or corporate attitude. something like that. it's actually a demonym for a certain group of dedicated fans. the kind of people who are unhealthily obsessed with the barkley saga and the tales of game's universe.
if you're not familiar with tales of game's then you should educate yourself asap. in a sea of internet white noise it's easy to pass this prodigal group of gaming bad boys by, but now that you've my recommendation there's really no excuse. get some culture, learn your tales of game's.
they've made games like barkley, shut up and jam: gaiden and the sewer goblet. they're currently developing the next installment of the much anticipated barkley saga. the magical realms of tír na nóg: escape from necron 7 - revenge of cuchulainn: the official game of the movie - chapter 2 of the hoopz barkley saga... or just tmrotnn:efn7r-oc:togm-c2othbs for short.
Q: You appear to be a very spiritual person with interests in chakras and acupuncture. What can you tell us about your spiritual side?
A: i guess appearances can be deceiving. i own a yoga mat and i burn incense occasionally. and while i say that i mostly use the mat for body weight exercises like pushups, situps, curls and stuff like that because my pure and sensitive body doesn't abide with the hard floor. and the incense is mostly frankincense on sundays. i don't really have my head in the clouds and my feet are firmly planted on the ground. maybe the way i've posted about stuff like that makes me seem deceptively spiritual. there's a story behind that, though.
in 2011 i met a guy from estonia named yuri. i didn't make any remarks about his name. it's apparently a common name for estonian boys. it doesn't have anything to do with forbidden GIRLS❤LOVE in estonia. he was coach surfing and hitchhiking on some kind of journey to find himself i guess. i was living on a tiny dorm room then just like today, but i let him sleep over. nothing strange about two young boys sharing a cramped bedroom for a night. yuri was real into this kind of hippy stuff and told me all about it in english with an estonian accent. it was funny to me because it was so different from what i was used to. i haven't really heard from him since.
anyway yuri didn't strike me as the type who would post on web fora a lot. while i was thinking about fun stuff to post about i recalled yuri. i figured why not give him and his ideas his due representation on the net. if there was any consistency to the way he was thinking and he wasn't as spaced out as he seemed to me i've probably butchered his ideas about chakras and ayurvedic tea across several different fora. maybe i should feel guilty about it, but i had a lot of fun doing it and would do it again.
Q: In the thread Is sleeping too much bad for you? you talk about it putting your spirit-totem off-balance and it linking to leukemia. Could you elaborate more?
A: i've really posted a lot of different stuff! it's a very insincere post, unfortunately. i'd go as far as to say that it's sarcastic, even. looking back at it i offhandedly mention evidence based gold standard randomized control studies against placebo. it fits well with the date i was studying about in randomized control studies in depth.
while i don't really believe in spirit totems there's definitely a lot of health topics related to sleeping habits. restitution is an important part of our lifestyle just like hygiene, exercise, diets and more. if i recall the way you sleep will impact the way your body restitutes. your body can grow new cells or repair old ones. without going into the boring biology stuff you want your cells to repair themselves as much as possible rather than grow new ones in regards to cancer. i think it's more closely linked to your diet, though. you can for instance dramatically reduce your levels of insulin-like growth factor to inhibit cell growth by fasting a day in the week.
the post is mostly satirical, though. part of the joke was that i didn't really have a good answer based in any kind of valid studies. i don't think there's any authorities on the health implications of oversleeping on newgrounds. at least not anyone who frequently post about it on the forum. if i were a better poster i would probably have referred the topic starter to a certain site dedicated to questions and answers about health related issueas. instead i decided to goof around for my own amusement.
Q: Why do you always tag your posts with your own username?
A: for fun and attention. from the start i wanted my posts to stand out from the rest. that's not an easy thing to do by the merits of your posts by itself. signing the posts is easy though. it's a pretty cheap trick that takes minimal effort. the fact that barely anyone else does it also helps immensely. in the beginning i even got flak for doing it even though i'd been assured that it was within the rules of the forum.
i keep doing it because it has been very effective and still is. i've speculated a little about the whys and hows of it. as far as i can tell having my username that one extra time in my posts has made a world of difference in my impact on the forum. my best guess is that it people think that it's unnecessary. so much so that it not only goes against common sense but to some people is even outright offensive.
it's not unnecessary to me, though. signing my own posts definitely has an effect. it does what i want it to do and then some. i get that it's a little abrasive and annoying, but i'm not going to stop doing it. people have an easier time remembering my username this way and that's exactly what i want.
Q: At what age did you become interested in Catholicism and what about it interests you most?
A: i was originally baptized, raised, educated and confirmed as a lutheran protestant. however throughout my adolescence and early teens i wasn't really that interested in questions about faith. i'd usually just answer any questions about it in a way which would satisfy any curiosity the fastest. i'd take the path of least resistance. i didn't take a sincere interest in the subject before i was 16-17 years old.
i would ask different people about their faith and think to myself about it. i was thinking about different christian denominations as well. lutheran protestantism isn't that far from catholicism, really. martin luther was a catholic his whole life. it was only after his death that reformationists split the church. i don't think it was ever luther's intention to cause a schism in the church. the catholic church had a lot of difficulties at the time of the reformation which are not present in the catholic church of today.
at 17 years old i started my education in the cathechism of the catholic church with a catholic priest. i would ask my questions and get answers about christianity once a week for two years. meanwhile i was starting to attend mass in the catholic church instead of the protestant church. it. at 19 years old i was confirmed as a member of the catholic church during the easter celebration. it was one of the most important decisions of my life and i don't regret it one bit.
while there's some important distinctions between the cathechism of the catholic church and many protestant denominations (i.e. marriage, apostolic succession, eucharist) in the end it wasn't what made me switch. it was the people in the congregation. people from all over the world, of every age, nationality and ethnicity. they were all open and warm from the first time i met them. they gave without asking for anything in return. i felt more at home in the catholic church than i did in the lutheran protestant church.
the catholic church has plenty of problems, but to me it is far closer to being an ideal church than any other. it is open and welcoming to all the people of the world. ideally i want all christians to be united in a single church rather than different denominations. i feel that the catholic church is the closest i'll get to that ideal.
Q: You are a forum regular here on Newgrounds, which forums are your favorites and why?
A: definitely the general forum. the other fora are too inactive. i also like the low commitment when posting on fora such as the general forum. you see misc. fora like the general forum all over the net and i've become very familiar with similar fora from other sites. i like posting one liners more than anything. when i start writing more than a single line i usually stop myself and scrap the post entirely. that's just something i'd rather avoid. when forum posting i prefer to say everything i need with as few words as possible.
it might have something to do with bad twitter habits. twitter is another great site which i spend a lot of time on. there's a lot of amazing people all over the internet and i'm always looking for new ways to have fun and enjoy myself on the net. i've always liked social media like these where you can be an active participant rather than a part of the audience. i don't really care for in depth discussion. i can see why a lot of people would use web fora for discussion, but i honestly think it's a medium which is more suitable for technical support questions and answers and cheap laughs.
web fora are a great entertainment platform as well as a social media. my grandmother always used to say that you won't have any more fun than you make for yourself. i agree with that. i think we should all have fun and enjoy ourselves on the net.
Q: What all do you like about Newgrounds?
A: definitely the community. original artistic content is really good and all, but it's the people that i'm really interested in. there's plenty of sites which host excellent content. dedicated sites like soundcloud, imgur, min.us and youtube host lots of different media. they don't really have a cohesive community with any sense of belonging to the sites respectively. i think that's one of newgrounds greatest strengths.
internet communities don't really come to be by themselves. they're often connected to a common interest or site. even with a content hosting site like newgrounds you rarely get a dedicated and loyal community. i think a lot of other sites envy newgrounds' userbase. i'm thinking that the community doesn't fully realized its own value and has become an underappreciated part of the site.
i might be biased since i value social media over artistic media, though. while i think pretty pictures and song and dance are all really good i'd say it's the relations and connections between people which is the most important. a good friendship is more valuable than any fine art. even the mona lisa... even anime. maybe not anime.
Q: If you could change one thing about Newgrounds what would it be and why?
A: just one thing? the one thing which comes to mind first and foremost is emoji support. a picture says more than a thousand words. i think the lack of emoji support is one of those instances where newgrounds is just really showing its age, and not in a good way. twitter is a great example of a site with good emoji support. newgrounds could take some pointers from twitter. yes, i mean it. no, i'm not being facetious.
is it a feature the site can live without? sure, but for how long. the site feels like it's missing a lot of very common features like these. you'd think a site like newgrounds with a long history on the web would be faster to implement such a simple feature. as is i think the site feels pretty barebones. sure it's still a step above just plaintext, but compared to modern sites it's not many degrees ahead to be frank.
i highly doubt seniority alone would be enough to keep a site for content creators relevant. newgrounds is going to have to implement basic tools and features sooner or later. a content hosting site targeted at a creative community shouldn't aim to just survive, but to flourish.
Q: You are also quite the artist as well. Two of my favorites by you are vlad eats a chicken fry and the red knoon. You have stated that they are fun doodles, what made you want to share them with Newgrounds and will we be seeing more?
A: i had some doodles lying around on my min.us account. i did them for a certain forum game years ago. they weren't good enough to win the forum game, but i figured i'd try to upload them to newgrounds to see what other people thought of them taken out of context. i also wanted to have something to showcase on my account since it's pretty much empty otherwise. in earnest i don't think i have an artistic bone in my body, but i had a lot of fun drawing them.
of the doodles i've uploaded "vlad eats a chicken fry" is the one i had the most fun with making. i don't think the stuff i've uploaded is that good myself. i've considered taking them down since i'm not sure if they even belong in the art portal. i've been scouted and unscouted several times over the course of the time the pictures have been in the art portal. a lot of the pople who've been viewing the pictures have rated it very poorly as well.
i've considered sitting down and drawing something better. i don't really have the tools, time or training to make anything spectacular in a drawn medium though. it's just not my forte. a written medium is more suited for my way of self expression. and my genre is probably forum posts.
Q: What can we expect from supergandhi64 in the future?
A: more fantastic forum posts. i've been working on some great new memes which i'm planning to let loose on the forum. i'm not going to spoil the surprise, but it's going to be epic. brace yourselves!
supergandhi64's posts are always a delight to read on the General Forum and it has also been a delight to interview him. He is surely welcomed in our community and has great potential to do amazing things on this site if he really pushes himself. In the meantime we eagerly await for his next post.
Interview No. 133
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today starts the day of the special case interviews for The Interviewer. As I stated in the last one this is not the end, but the end to the regular updates. Our guest for today has made many Newgrounds members laugh with his contributions to satire with :the game:, REPLAYING :the game:, and Reimagine :The Game:. He recently came back into light on Newgrounds with his game Coming Out Simulator. I am pleased to welcome Nicky Case a.k.a. Nutcasenightmare.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: Gosh, I don't remember. Could be one of a bajillion fantastic things that originated from Newgrounds that led me to it. Madness Combat? Brackenwood? The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny? Goddamn I'm having some nostalgia up in here.
Q: At what age did you become interested in art and animation?
A: I started out drawing comics. I would pretend I had a daily newspaper comic - default format, three panels and B&W on weekdays, bigger and full-colour on Sundays - and draw every day, then share the comics with my friends and family. The comic obviously a mashup of my inspirations from other comics and animated films and videogames, and the result was a very surreal series.
The title of my comic was "A Nutcase's Nightmare."
And if comics are just drawings arranged in space, then animations are just pictures arranged in time! So I, uh, obtained a copy of Macromedia Flash, (It wasn't acquired by Adobe yet!) and made some silly animations for a while, participating in NG collabs and stuff. Eventually I noticed Flash had programming capabilities, so that's when I got into make games! (and other interactive art I wouldn't quite classify as "games", e.g. Coming Out Sim & Parable of the Polygons)
Q: I want to talk about the first game I ever played by you and one that got your name out there more and that is :the game:. A satire of many video game tropes and popular things in the media. Where did you get the idea for this game?
A: Heh - I actually used to be very insecure about where I got my inspirations from. I felt like, if my material wasn't 100% original, I was a hack. It was only years later, somewhere between finding out about Creative Commons and reading Austin Kleon's STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST, that I finally realized there is no such thing as 100% original. Now, I openly wear my influences and inspirations on my sleeve.
The point is, for the first time on the internet, I'm publicly "admitting" where the idea for :The Game: came from -- this one minute in this one TED talk. (starting at 12:25) And you'll notice it is shockingly similar. A comedy game where you jump off a platform, then some punchline. All I did was take his concept, simplify it, and expand it to three whole games, I guess.
Another major inspiration for :The Game: was South Park - as seen in my games' ultraviolent, pseudo-intellectual take on big ideas, current events, and pop culture.
Q: REPLAYING :the game: would be the sequel to :the game:. Even though I knew exactly what I was going to get, I was still incredibly eager to play it, as was many others. The sequel introduced a lot of new elements while still keeping what made the original intact. Is this a goal to strive for when making a sequel? How different should a game be? Also what gave you the inspiration to make a sequel?
A: I think the best kind of sequel - in any medium, not just games - keeps the same core ideas, but explores them in radically different ways.
A Game Example: Portal 2 had the same core mechanic of, well, portals, but brings a whole different set of mechanics into play, mostly the paint gels.
A Story Example: The Toy Story trilogy always explored the same depressing idea - "one day, your loved ones might not love you". In Toy Story 1, Woody's jealous of Andy's new toy. In Toy Story 2, they meet Jessie, whose kid abandoned her. In Toy Story 3, Andy grows up and leaves all the toys behind, and the cinema fills with salty tears.
I've no idea how that applies to :the game: at all, since its core concept is that there is no core concept.
I'll be honest, my inspiration for making a :the game: sequel was just "wow people really liked this, I should make more".
Q: We now come to Reimagine :The Game: thus making a trilogy. Making a sequel is one thing, but how can you build on more from a past game while keeping it fresh and new yet not alienating it with past games in its series? Also will we see a 4th :the game:?
A: Reimagine :The Game: was a really interesting turning point for me. After two anti-games in the series, this was the first time I tried my hand at actual game design, with real platforming puzzles, and each character had a different unique power loosely based off of a pop culture reference. (Double Rainbow Guy could double-jump, Lady Gaga could walljump with her Super Meat Suit, Justin Bieber could attract young girls with the power of song.) There's only two levels in Reimagine :The Game: where it's just you-jump-off-a-platform. And after Reimagine :The Game:, I spent a few more years doing mostly mechanics-focused games, like Gap Monsters and Nothing To Hide.
Also, by the time Reimagine :The Game: came around, I'd pretty much used up all the Big Ideas in the first two games - leaving me with mostly current events and pop culture. Which is why, I think, Reimagine has become dated far more quickly than the original :The Game: did. These two things -- a shift towards traditional gameplay + a bigger focus on pop culture & current events -- did alienate half my fans... but the other half loved the new direction I took in Reimagine, and thought it was the best in the series. Very polarizing reaction.
As for a 4th :the game:, no. I think 3 is a good number to end on, and besides, I've more or less explored all I can out of the core concept. In fact, by the time I made Reimagine :The Game:, I'd already started to move away from the core concept, hence the polarization amongst fans.
There is one thing I still feel I could do more with from :The Game:, and that's the hopping faceless caricatures. You won't see a 4th :The Game:, but you will see more of hopping armless fellas.
Q: When scriptwelder was here we talked about his game Don't Escape, which is an escape game, but in reverse. You have to find all of the elements to ensure you don't escape and hurt people. You would do the same with stealth games with Nothing To Hide. When I asked scriptwelder how he came up with it he answered this...
"'what would be the biggest twist to a certain game genre?' and just going for it with the answer."
Would you agree with this? Whatever your answer could you tell us why?
A: That's a pretty great approach to going about game design! And I loved Don't Escape. It was concise, clever, and well-executed.
Nothing To Hide's design process was really weird. It started out as a survival horror game, oddly enough. Seriously. Here's a GIF of the very first Nothing To Hide, first posted on reddit.
And then there were these half-camera-half-human hybrid monsters, whose behaviour would depend on your line of sight. (Kind of like SCP-173, or Slender) Only after a few months, I realized that satire would be a better fit than horror to talk about mass surveillance, and turned line-of-sight monsters into line-of-sight puzzle elements instead. And then I came up with the idea of it being "a reverse stealth game".
Yeah it's weird.
Q: Parable of the Polygons is a wonderful game built on diversity that anyone can play or even use in a sociology class. Where did you come up with the idea of this fun outlook on diversity?
A: Thanks! Although Vi Hart (my collaborator on Parable of the Polygons) and I deliberately avoided calling it a game.
It's the darndest thing. When I published Coming Out Simulator, I expected people to dismiss it as "not a game". What I didn't expect was for people to praise it as "not a game". A few mainstream press journalists, when writing about Coming Out Sim, took time to reassure their readers that it was "not really a game", and they meant that as a compliment. Because, sadly, most people (including some gamers) feel like games can't/shouldn't be anything other than escapist fun.
So, for the sake of reaching a larger audience, and avoiding the preconceptions that come with the word "game", Vi Hart & I avoided calling PotP a game. I still wouldn't quite call it a game.
As for the inspiration, math! And game theory! PotP is based off the work on Nobel Prize-winning game theorist, Thomas Schelling. Thomas Schelling proposed a game theory model, where you move around people with very small bias, and the counterintuitive result is that it leads to massive segregation. (You might know this phenomenon as "The Tipping Point," as popularized by Malcolm Gladwell) So, the first half of PotP is the same as Schelling's model. But the second half explored a bit further - could we have a tipping point in the opposite direction? Could a small, local "anti-bias" towards diversity undo the damage of segregation? And we found that, it could! We all kind of know this already - the civil rights movement was a largely bottom-up movement, and most lasting social change is done from the bottom-up, too.
As for why use cute shapes, it's because we sure as hell weren't gonna make people drag around "white people" and "black people" characters and segregate them. That's just weird.
Q: While making these games you have been going through a bit of a turmoil. During :the game: series and Nothing To Hide you had quite the number of life problems. Hans Van Harken (AlmightyHans), Zachary Louis, Brian Schmoyer (CirrusEpix), Edd Gould (eddsworld), and Nathan Malone (ZekeySpaceyLizard) have all shared their stories with me. You would share yours with us through your latest game Coming Out Simulator.
I'm not going to lie when I said I was happy to see you on the front page again. It is amazing when you learn so much about a person, one reason why I started this. I came out on Newgrounds as bisexual back in 2012 and came out to my family during that time. Playing your game brought up a lot of nervousness that I felt and the scenario that unfolded was the one I feared would happen to me. There is a lot of bravery in coming out which there honestly shouldn't be. Were the games Papers, Please and Gone Home inspirations for this game? What was the process you took in making it?
A: Wow. I'm honoured and humbled that my simple storygame could emotionally resonate with so many people, including you. Thank you.
It's always surprising, in a good way, to see the more human side of my favourite creators and writers and fans. Right now I'm just text in a blog post on a web site in a screen, and often it's really hard to remember that your heroes and fans are just like you -- a flesh and blood human, with fears and dreams. But it's a fact worth remembering.
As for the specific inspirations for Coming Out Sim: 1) Anna Anthropy's Dys4ia (another NG classic!) for giving me the courage in telling a personal story through the form of a web game, and 2) Telltale's The Walking Dead for the interactive narrative structure, how every choice you make in TWD matters, but in subtle ways. Flavouring the later story, as opposed to only a few key decisions creating whole new branches. (Papers Please does this too. I describe this further in a little article I wrote titled If Games Were Like Game Stories)
Q: When it comes to game development in giving the player choices you wrote a wonderful article entitled If Games Were Like Game Stories..., you challenge that games should not model after movies when making their stories. More choices that ultimately play out into the same story and ending. You reference Papers, Please where your story choices were your game choices. Should they always coincide or should they be separate at times?
A: Oh! Yeah, yeah I just mentioned If Games Were Like Game Stories in the previous answer.
It would be wrong for me to prescribe any "One Right Way" to make games, or do storytelling in games, but I did hope that article did give peeps useful tips & tricks. And hopefully to get them to see there is a better way than the current "norm" in games storytelling -- a separation of game & story, and at most a narrative that "branches" only at a few points.
There's so many different techniques I've seen - and a lot of them actually come from Newgrounds! I mentioned No-One Has To Die in that article, with its amazing use of multiple solutions to a puzzle as a way to make a story choice. And I mentioned Dys4ia earlier - although you have no control over the story, it brilliantly uses minigames to reinforce the feeling of its narrative, like "my nipples are sensitive" combined with a careful precision avoidance game, or "I feel like I don't fit in" combined with a Tetris piece that just clearly won't fit.
By the way, I wrote another popular game design article recently, this time on how to make educational games that aren't just glorified flash cards. (with lessons I learnt from making Parable of the Polygons) It's called I Do And I Understand, and like If Games Were Like Game Stories, it has a lot of ridiculous drawings.
Q: What can we expect from Nutcasenightmare in the future?
A: Well, well! Here's a LIST.
* A virtual reality animation I'm making with Mozilla. (youtube)
* An augmented reality toy to replace your head with cartoon character's. (gif)
* More playable posts like Parable of the Polygons.
* More interactive storytelling. (e.g. Coming Out Sim)
* More articles like If Games Were Like Game Stories.
Yup, it's a good time to be manic and burn out completely while I'm still in my early 20's.
<laughter to reassure you, and myself, that I'm probably joking>
I knew who Nicky Case was on Newgrounds. Never spoke to him or even reviewed one of his games. However I learned about him through his :the game: series, which I played and loved each and every one. At one point though I forgot about him as I'm sure many others here have as well over time. Until his game "Coming Out Simulator" hit the front page. I believed after that he was long overdue for an interview and thus here we are today.
He has a brilliant mind for video game development and storytelling. I would love to see what a collaboration from him, scriptwelder, poxpower, and Mockery would produce. Quite possibly one of the most perfect indie games we would ever see.
Interview No. 132
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today we come to the final regular interview for The Interviewer. I no longer have the time to dedicate to The Interviewer as I used to and I want to branch out with my other writing. There will be more interviews sure, this isn't the end though. So I figure for the last regular interview I would interview someone who has given me a great deal of advice for Newgrounds and is a bigger contributor to many well known artists, whether he wants to admit it or not. Ladies and gentlemen I would like to proudly welcome back ZekeySpaceyLizard.
Q: You were one of my first interviews here on Newgrounds. Back then I asked how you found Newgrounds and you told me your story of joining The Star Syndicate, your hatred of Foamy the Squirrel, and your passion for originality. You say that you have never changed your ways. Is this still true? If you have changed, what made you change and why?
A: This is all still very true. If there's one thing that's changed since then it's that I'm far more laid back. Newgrounds is the last place to look for inspiration and getting kicked out was the best thing to happen to me, psychologically. No longer was there a need to read the unending self-righteous stupidity. No longer was there a purpose to sharing good foreign media. And certainly no longer was there a reason to get upset. Being on a site full of angry stupid kids makes you angry and stupid. Now things are calm, I can count my blessings relatively peacefully, and I can do freelance to make ends meet instead of finding new ways of angering goths while painting and drawing my own little studies at home. It's been a massive improvement to my lifestyle.
I still speak to a few members of the StarSyndicate. Alot of them have moved on as well. Some work for animation studios, some became filmmakers, some became teachers. Life moves on and I think everyone is better for it. Getting away from that very dark, albeit hilarious, chapter of our lives.
Q: You have stated that you became interested in art at a young age through novels, cartoons, and old horror movies. Could you elaborate in which of each have fueled your artistic side?
A: I found cartoons fascinating from the moment I had any sort of cognitive awareness of my surroundings. I'm not sure why. I would get up every morning and watch Looney Toons reruns, old Hanna Barbera shows on cartoon network, and the slew of relatively new shows on Nickelodeon. The early years of Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy, Rocko and others. Somewhere around that same time period I saw the movie Jurassic Park for the first time. I won it at some Boy Scouts contest. I treasured that VHS tape because that movie was my favorite. I'd never seen a film that was SCARY before that point in my life. And that feeling of lightheaded terror the film brings when you see it for the first time....I had to have more! So I slowly managed to see everything I could that was available at the time at the local movie shop. Stargate, The Thing, Alien 1, 2 and 3.
Up until that point in my life the only monster films I had seen were Godzilla. And kaiju films, while endlessly entertaining, aren't that frightening (with the exception of Biollante perhaps). I had a hunger to feel unease and fear. And that hunger has only grown and become more refined since then. Horror and Science Fiction are my favorite genres and I am very picky about what I recommend, because I watch everything. While I am very much a supporter of original ideas, I am also a great fan of innovation. Taking an old concept and making it your own in such a way as to make it feel new and fresh again. In this day and age of remakes, a lot of directors try to do this and fail. But nothing makes me dance in my seat more than when they succeed. At the moment I am cautiously optimistic for Jurassic World, if only because the director of the film made Safety Not Guaranteed which, along with The Sound of My Voice, has been my favorite 'bait-and-switch' film in the last few years.
Q: When and how did you and TheWeebl meet?
A: I had been a fan of Weebl's work since the later years of my Jr. High school. Me and my friends would sit around a computer in the lab room and watch cartoons off of the 'omgwtf.superlime' website and another site that hosted .swf and .mp4 files called jenai or something. This was where I first saw Weebl and Bob, and some other cartoons that are now considered ancient like Blode and Kikkoman. I started following the Weebl and Bob official website and posting on the forums sometime around 2001. There I met Ray (Wolf Pupy to some) and W-P-S, creator of the infamous Anusboy cartoons. My friend BlueHippo (who used to be a moderator on Newgrounds and has since vanished from the internet) was very close to Weebl and had even helped him make a cartoon once or twice. Sometime around 2006 or 2007 just before he disappeared, BlueHippo let me know Weebl was looking for help. Considering I'd loved the man's work I immediately gathered up my crappy demoreel and crappy portfolio and sent them to him.
I was, and still am, exceedingly surprised he hired me in the first place. And even honored still when he told me he had considered hiring me before that point, which was a shock since I was sure he did not know I existed. I am still very honored he hired me and gives me work. It fills me with pride when I walk into a party and someone is watching 'Amazing Horse' or one of his other popular cartoons and I sit there silently thinking "I can't believe I work for that guy. Fuckin' awesome."
It also helps that he's a fantastic boss and forgives me for my multitudes of dumb decisions I sometimes make when producing animation for him. I've been working for him for about 7 years now I think and it has been a very cool experience.
Q: While following the Newgrounds Annual Tournament of Animation and the Tournament of Flash Artists (NATA and TOFA respectively) I tend to hear debate among animators to preferences of sites. You joined Newgrounds in 2003 and would later join Albino Blacksheep in 2005. What drew you to Albino Blacksheep and what would you say the pros and cons of it are to Newgrounds?
A: The pros of AlbinoBlackSheep are basically the fact its run by 1 person, and the people who run TOFA are all animators and artists. Another pro is that AlbinoBlackSheep never tried to bill itself as rebellious or cool or dark. It was simply another media site filled with odd funny bits of media. This meant it never attracted the rather grotesque community or staff Newgrounds would over the years. AlbinoBlackSheep was another site I visited in my younger years. Back then the administrator went by the username Sners and he was very kind. And still is! I don't talk to him as much as I once did simply because I am so busy producing work for other people these days. So what can I really say? ABS is full of mostly nice animators and artists, nurtures the idea of constructive criticism, and doesn't run on a business model designed around being as edgy as possible. It's just a nice neutral place. I am frequently asked to be more involved with TOFA in general but my busy schedule plus fear of fucking up the contest somehow, keep me from agreeing to say yes. I am more than happy to watch from afar while my friend AvidLebon fills me in on any interesting bits I might have missed.
Q: What was it about Foamy the Squirrel that you don't like?
A: It's shit. It is derivative in every sense of the word. It is the most whittled down, washed out, half-formed attempt at being a Jhonen Vasquez product ever produced. It is nearly parody in its wretchedness. It's like when you got to DeviantArt and you see ugly generic furry art that looks exactly like Disney's Robin Hood or Lion King except drawn with 1/100th of the talent.
Worse still was people gobbled it up because of the vapid buxom female lead of the show. It does amuse me that, ever since its fall from grace, the entire cartoon has basically been reduced to a cheap poorly drawn hentai. Constant unashamed badly drawn nudity, cumshots, and unsubtle sexual gags from a cartoon that once was so VERY proud to claim it was above that sort of thing. Good riddance.
Q: When I first started The Interviewer my earlier works were a bit crap. I wasn't as hardcore as I am now. So now that I have a second chance to speak with you I would like to talk about your movie -Created-. This is a beautiful piece of animation. Where did the spark for this movie come from?
A: I haven't watched Created in a long time. I'm actually rather scared to watch it again, as I'm sure it probably has aged like milk and I will cringe so hard my lower jaw will fall off my face and bite my crotch. As for inspiration, it should be fairly obvious. Fantasia! Fantasia, Allegro non Troppo, and Fantasia 2000 are near and dear to my heart for their wide array of styles and marriage of sound with animation. Created, like alot of my musical shorts, was simply my pitiable attempts at aping the masters. Plus I had a particular fondness for that Mozart composition.
Every time I listened to it, little pictures would dance in my head. So I made an attempt to replicate those pictures. I might have succeeded, but I'm not sure. As I said I'm afraid to watch it again since it might actually be horrid and horrible like a lot of my old cartoons.
Q: What can you tell us about the cartoon show The Dust Bunnies and how that culminated to your movie entitled Sliver?
A: The Dust Bunnies was a comic I drew while I was in High School and absolutely fucking miserable. Florida Public Education is shit. I am dumber than fuck and didn't learn a thing from it sadly. And I had to channel my misery somehow. So when I had spare time I would make comics about little dustbunnies that were mostly based on arguments and observations of people I knew. Later ones would be based on chatroom conversations I had read. The dustbunnies were basically just tiny moth-rabbits to me and they lived in a microscopic world of fleas, ticks, bedbugs, and other harmless monstrosities. When I was making Sliver, I figured since the characters were so wee and simplistic, I could sneak a Dustbunny into it and it wouldn't look out of place. I haven't made a new Dustbunny comic in about a year. The last one I did took a stab at "Bronies" and how poorly they treat the creators of the cartoon show they love so much. I really should update it again. It's hard for me to be funny when I'm not angry. And I'm rarely angry anymore, outside of being angry at russian kids in Dota2. Meaning I haven't had too much inspiration to update the comic lately. People who read it (probably less than 20 humans in the world) possibly think I have forgotten it. But I have not. I think about it every day, pondering what to make the next comic about. But the idea never comes.
Q: There seems to be story behind your movie Joey's Bright Idea. Where did you get the idea for it from and what did you decide to enter it in?
A: OH BOY ARE YOU IN FOR A STORY. Okay so, years and years ago, I learned of a Flash Animation contest on a website. I don't remember the website's name but at the time it was closely affiliated with the canadian flash cartoon Yam Roll which is very cute. The prize was like 10,000 dollars and I wanted that money. At around that same time period my friend Joey (who is a bit of a loose cannon entrepreneur) had the idea of making money off bees. He wasn't sure how but he was determined to do it. So me and my friends ragged on him for this for weeks. So I decided to make that into a cartoon. A very bad cartoon. Amusingly, the contest was fixed anyway. The winner of the contest was actually an employee of the website that was hosting the contest. So it was all a sham. After that I was very VERY upset (because I got like 3rd place and didn't win shit) and just stuck Joey's Bright Idea on newgrounds and ABS because at least then people would see it. I don't enjoy watching that film, although my friends all do, because it reminds me of one of my great failures.
Q: When you were last here you spoke adamantly about the Newgrounds BBS, stating that we need to delete it and start with a clean slate. This was back in 2009. Now the Internet has grown and the forums aren't as received as they used to be. Have your thoughts about the BBS changed or do you still feel the same about it?
A: I wouldn't know. I visit Newgrounds only maybe once a year, usually only if a friend links me to something there. For all I know maybe the BBS has grown into a nice mature forum where people discuss philosophy and animation techniques. But I really fucking doubt that. If I'm wrong, and by some miracle it's actually good now, then I must give major kudos to the moderation staff for remolding that cesspool. But again, I wouldn't really know. Were the spirit to seize me and make me visit Newgrounds willingly, the last place I'd be interested in clicking is the BBS, since that is not where the content of games and cartoons are kept and thus there's little reason to really go there!
Q: When AlmightyHans (a.k.a. Hans Van Harken) was here we talked about his movie The Ballad of CrippleKane. You had quite a bit of influence and a little helping hand in that beautiful movie. When and how did you meet Hans and how did you help him during his time of animating The Ballad of CrippleKane?
A: First off, you need to know that Almighty Hans is a baller. The man is amazing. He has fantastic taste in movies, and understands WHY a movie is good in ways you will not find with many people. Every now and then he comes to me with these ideas he has for films and I always nearly shit my pants at his brilliance.
We both loved spaghetti westerns and for a time there we were going to make a trilogy of them. He was going to do a western cartoon, I was going to do a western cartoon, and then a 3rd friend of his (SexualLobster maybe? I don't remember now.) was going to make a 3rd cartoon. Each cartoon was going to have it's own characters and ideas. Each was going to use music from classic westerns as the soundtrack. Then we were going to collaborate on a 4th film where all the characters from these 3 separate films would meet up during a standoff.
Sometime around this point is when I got banned from Newgrounds and made the decision not to come back after the immense relief I felt of no longer feeling a need to go there anymore. But I still wanted to help Hans out. Honestly I didn't do much for Cripple Kane. I did some run cycles for some horses and that's about it. 99.9% of that cartoon is Hans own sweat and blood and I barely deserve a mention in the credits for my paltry contributions. Hans did basically all of it on his own. He is the real deal.
Q: On March 15th, 2010, you decided to stop posting as regularly as you did on Newgrounds. Why did you decide this and will we see a return on Newgrounds from you? Are you browsing the site incognito?
A: Basically what happened was, somehow some spammer folk got ahold of the password for one of the mods of Newgrounds. I don't remember which mod it was. All I know is I wanted to see what their private forum was like. For years and years I had been telling people the reason Newgrounds was so bad was because the staff were OPPOSED to improvement. Not only did I find the evidence in the "mod forum" that I wanted, I also took one of my favorite quotes and made it my page header banner. It felt fantastic, being proved right after 6 years of just being pretty sure of something. Then I got banned. It was like taking a giant fart. Instant immense relief and the satisfaction of a bad smell dissipating. When Tom Fulp sent some half-assed apology a few days later I realized I had stopped caring. So I closed my eyes, changed my password to some gibberish I typed at random, and gave all my accounts, alts, and credentials to Hans van Harken.
Since my leaving from the site, some people who were close to the staff (and some who WERE staff) have told me so many interesting things about how the place was run. Things what would make most people never want to touch the site.
Will I ever go back? No. Newgrounds is dying. The now-fired staff who used to work for Tom, mostly hated the animators and game creators and disliked the idea of giving them ad money (a system that even at the time of its implementation was considered archaic). Who would want to be a on a site like that? People who refused to modernize? To think ahead? To listen to their own community feedback? People who no longer work there.
The lax attitude and lack of competitive ideals has killed the site. It is bleeding money. It is a sick animal and the vultures known as Youtube, Vimeo, and Vine are flying over it's barely breathing corpse, going CAW CAW SKREEE SKREEE. Sometimes a fat pidgeon named Dailymotion shows up and pecks it a bit then flies away.
In some ways, it is a sad chapter to close on, for a website that was so influential and infamous for a brief period of time. But as I think back on it, I have almost no happy memories from my time there that didn't involve pissing off dumb kids. So why should I be sad?
Q: Any advice you have to give to the artists and animators of Newgrounds?
A: Don't be like me. I have been very lucky to get where I am today. I've been in the right place at the right time for most of the opportunities in my life and have gotten by mostly through chance instead of skill. But eventually this little charade will come crashing down and I WILL lose everything. I will be yet another person who maybe had potential once. Don't stick around places that are preventing you from getting better. Don't stick around people who are preventing you from getting better. You are hurting yourself. You are chaining yourself. Be free you great big dummy.
Q: What can we expect from ZekeySpaceyLizard in the future?
A: I don't know, to be sure. I really don't. For the last few years, outside of Weebl work and the occasional freelance job, I've done odds and ends for Studio Yotta, which is run by an old friend of mine. We've done work for Rubberninja of the Game Grumps, and Happy Harry and College Humor. Ross and Harry, by the way, are amazing and friendly people to work with.
But I never would have met them at all were it not for my friend Jake who runs Yotta.
He has treated me well and continues to give me work that I probably do not deserve. But I can't help him as much as I'd like. I've been saving up money, hopefully to get a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet in the future. I want to at least try to be as useful as he hopes I can be. And my old Toshiba m400 is holding me back pretty hard. But once I've upgraded, maybe that will be my more certain future, being more helpful for Yotta and Weebl. That's what I'd like, anyway. But as for the rest of my future I'm not sure. It's a very grey area. Studios I once wanted to work at either no longer seem appealing, no longer exist, or have rejected me based on my relatively low skill. I'm not sure where I'm going, or if I'm even going anywhere at all. For some people, that might be a scary thought. Not knowing what tomorrow will bring. But I find fear a bit pacifying, so for the time being I am quite content, even happy if I do say so myself. I will do as I always do. I will look for work. I will do what I can. I will try to help Weebl and Yotta to the best of my ability. All the while doing what I love.
ZekeySpaceyLizard was one of the people on Newgrounds that I did not get along with. To the point that he banned me from sending him PMs. Later on I contacted him through an alternate account in which case he figured out who I was and found it nice that someone would go through an alternate account to apologize, so he unblocked me. I followed his works and his news posts on old, obscure, and underrated cartoons. I later came to his site and found out that he left, with a message from AlmightyHans.
Later when I interviewed AlmightyHans I stayed in touch with him for a bit longer and found out Zekey's E-Mail address. Therefore here we are today. ZekeySpaceyLizard is a highly underrated artist, a person who is very passionate and very capable of performing his craft. He only needs more skill and more tools. He is not open to selling himself and he is not open to anything like Kickstarter. He is merely an artist here to share his works and help others. Only if they are just as passionate as he is.
Interview No. 131
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest is a little unknown member of the Art Portal. You may have seen his piece Smash Time! on the front page. His other works include Meowth vs Gengar and Newgrounds Revolution just to name a few. It gives me great privilege to welcome, Pegosho.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: It was back in 2004-2005, a good friend of mine used to share with me links of funny stuff he found on the internet and most of them where from Newgrounds. One of the first things I saw was an animation called "Link's Quest for Ass", I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I never thought I'd be watching Link searching for a piece of ass instead of heart, it was so absurd and somehow I loved it. Then I started looking for more animations to see and I discovered the hot-shots like Mousekliks (Final Fantasy A+), Adam Phillips (Waterlollies), SamBakZa (There she is), O-Ovinnie (all his ++ stuff), etc. I couldn't believe what I was missing all this time, some of the humor and quality of these animations could rival anything on TV back in those days. This is the moment when I became a regular viewer of the site; however it wasn't till 2008 when I decided to finally make an account in order to participate in the “Winter Flash-Off”.
Q: At what age did you become interested in drawing?
A: Wow, for as long as I can remember. The most distant memory I have is of my brother challenging me to Draw-Off's, and I always ended up losing. My bro's skill was really evident. I remember seeing his drawings on school desks all the time; every classroom had at least one desk full of his sketches and no body messed with them. I even recall a specific drawing (a samurai on top of a mountain) that reached a whole semester completely untouched, that's how much people respected his talent (or maybe the janitors were really lazy). Anyway, I got really serious into drawing and I started practicing all the time; I even got famous at my school for making the high-school tournament t-shirts (volleyball, basketball, Field Day, etc) and other art related projects. By the end of my high-school years, I was able to surpass my brother. So yeah, competition actually helped me improve; just don't take it personally, losing is part of the fun.
Q: Did you study art in school? What did you learn from your teacher?
A: I didn't go to art school, but I used to have a good art teacher back in elementary school, so I guess that helped a bit. However most of my talent was innate and was probably improved by watching lots of cartoons like: Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry. Then it was anime like Dragon Ball, DBZ, Rurouni Kenshin and Ranma ½ that gave me a whole different view of how to draw. But even with all my art skills, I didn't have a clear understanding of what I was doing. It wasn't till a few years ago that I decided to actually learn more about certain subjects like: composition, perspective, color theory and anatomy, and it helped me immensely. It doesn't matter how talented you think you are, there's still lots of new things to learn.
Q: When did you become interested in animation?
A: I always had a slight curiosity for animation but was never able to fully satisfy it mainly because of my ignorance of the process. The closest I got to experience it was by doing flipbooks in school. It wasn't till 2008, when Tom announced the “2008 Winter Flash-Off” contest, giving away more than $6000 in prizes, that I felt motivation enough for me to learn animation once and for all. So I bought Flash (*wink*) and started looking for tutorials.
By the end of the week, I was able to understand the basics of Flash and was ready to start my Christmas animation. Unfortunately, after hard weeks of work, I still wasn't able to finish it. I remember spending my New Years Eve animating like a dog, looking at the clock, knowing I didn't have a chance at all. I felt horrible when I missed the deadline. However, after seeing the unfinished product and realizing that, for the first time in my life, I created something beyond a simple drawing made me feel pretty awesome. From that day on, I knew making animations was gonna play an important part in my life.
Q: At what age did you become interested in video games? What is it about video games that gives you inspiration? Also why are Grim Fandango and EarthBound two of your favorite games of all time?
A: I was 4 years old when I got an Atari 2600 as a gift from my cousins because they were getting the NES. Fortunately, I was young and didn't know any better so I had an awesome time playing games like Adventure, Human Cannonball, Combat and Missile Command, and thinking I was playing the most revolutionary thing ever. Then sadly I discovered I was actually living in the past all along, so I forced my parents to redeem themselves and they finally bought me the NES. And from there on everything was good.
In reality, my favorite games list is constantly changing, but one game that has never moved from its spot (#1) is Grim Fandango. I used to play lots of different genres of games, somehow but Point-and-click adventure games were definitely my favorite. There was something special about those kind of games that really captured my attention, maybe it was the fact that it revolved around an interesting story for once, full of funny dialogs and real world scenarios, instead of jumping from platform to platform, in a crazy mushroom world with turtles, till you reach the right-end of the screen.
My first experience with the genre was with Maniac Mansion (NES). It took me years to beat that game; I gotta tell you, sending that purple meteor to space was one of the happiest moments of my life. After that, I became a huge fan of LucasArts' point and click games. I even got familiar with its game developers, like Ron Gilbert (Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island) and Tim Schafer (Day of the Tentacles, Full Throttle). When I found out Tim Schafer was working on a brand new game I got super excited, that game was Grim Fandango.
What I love about Grim Fandango are many things like: the dark setting (The Land of the Dead), the awesome art style (art-deco), all the Mexican themes and music, the fact that no body has skin (everybody is naked!), and the dark humor among others. But what really makes this game shine are the characters. I always found myself clicking every line of conversation because I had so much fun listening to what they had to say. It never got boring. Who would have thought the Land of the Dead could be such a lively place. Ok, I don't wanna spoil anything more, let's say it's one of the best games ever made, it inspired me greatly and everyone should play it. Now go and buy it on Steam...oh, wait.
Earthbound was the last SNES game I ever bought and it rapidly became one of my favorite RPGs ever. For once, it's one of the few video games to take place in a normal looking world with towns, schools, cities, gangs, over zealous cops, cranky ladies, mad ducks, jazz bands, etc. But aside from that, there was a slight touch of the supernatural, for example: aliens, zombies, dinosaurs, hippies and other absurd stuff. It's this combination, along with its quirky humor, what makes playing Earthbound a unique experience that hasn't been match ever since. I loved it so much that I leveled up my character to the max (something I never do in RPGs) just to be able to play on this awesome little world a bit longer.
Q: One of your earliest posts on Newgrounds was in The MS-paint thread. You posted quite a few pictures there that are quite amazing to see made in MS Paint. How long did those take to make?
A: It took me around a day. When I got my first PC, I didn't have internet nor games to play in it, so the only fun thing to do was drawing in MS-paint. I liked it, it was like a better version of Mario Paint but without the cool chiptunes. I practiced till I became good at it, my mouse control was on another level; well, maybe not Luis' level. Then I got a small Wacom Graphire 3 and smashed my mouse to the floor; I was so impulsive back then, don't know what was wrong with me.
Q: What is the 24 Hour Challenge?
A: 24 Hour Challenge (aka 24 Hours of Sodom) is a collaboration organized by RedHarvest and RicePirate that consisted in having a bunch of talented artists animating 10 seconds shorts to go along with a specific music track, and we have to do all this in 24 hours. Pretty easy!
Even though it was stressful as hell, it was a great experience for me. It made me realize the torture some animators have to endure in order to finish their projects, I feel a deep respect for all of them.
Q: The first piece I have ever seen by you is entitled Smash Time!. Quite the literal interpretation of the Mario universe, I imagine the game would be quite different with Yoshi as a T-Rex. What was the process you went through this and how did you come about this idea?
A: Well, I always thought Yoshi was too dumb looking, even now he looks retarded, so I decided to fix him a little. But anyway, when I start an illustration I always do a simple sketch. Next I draw the outlines, and then add a new layer below where I'll put the main solid colors (Color Layer). Then I select those solid colors using the “magic wand tool” and then I'll make a new layer, you'll notice that, even though we changed to a new layer, the magic wand selection will still be intact. Now use the gradient tool (~30% opacity) and add shadows to it. The cool part of this technique is that the Color Layer will not get affected. After that, I go into crazy mode and I start changing the color balance, contrast, saturation, blending options, etc. It's quite messy and I can't explain it well. Someday I'd like to make a tutorial about it and go into more details, but for now that all you get.
Q: When we spoke with Sabtastic she talked about a bandwagon she jumped on started by artist arvalis who was drawing Pokemon in a realistic fashion. She would make the Pokemon Thunderdome Art Thread. You would share your piece entitled Meowth vs Gengar. Why did this take three hours to do and why did it hurt your hand?
A: The premise of the Pokemon Thunderdome was to illustrate a fight between two pokemon in three hours making one them look victorious; then another person calls dibs to draw another pokemon beating the hell out of the past winner. In other words, the Pokemon who won in one round will lose in the next round and so forth. But the fun part was that the fights could be as gruesome as you wanted it to be, so this gave people more freedom to creative. Oh, and I hurt my hand because I had to draw for three hours non-stop; Luckily, I haven't developed carpal tunnel...yet.
Q: Your first movie on Newgrounds is an interesting take on the grim reaper with El Fin. Could you share with us the process you took in making this? Also you share opinion with a man who says that animation is like running a marathon on your knees. Could you go into more detail about this?
A: El Fin (aka The End) was created for the Halloween Flash Contest 2009 and it was mainly inspired by the topic of "karma" (what goes around comes around). I learned a lot from my failed Christmas animation on 2008 and I wasn't gonna make the same mistakes as before. So I decided to make a simple story this time taking place in easy-to-draw places like a simple hallway and a simple elevator. Also, the first scene is full of frame-by-frame and it was taking me lots of time so I decided to implement more “tweening” instead. The “karma” topic wasn't that evident and most people assumed it was a random death; it was my fault for not giving them more clues, the only one I gave was the briefcase full of money beside the dead body in the end scene. So yeah, maybe he was into something illegal or maybe he killed someone in apartment room. Either way, people seem to like it and even though it didn't won anything, I feel really happy.
Oh, and about the quote. I used to watch a show about animations called “Splat!”. It had a bunch of animators talking about their inspirations and the meaning of their works. I recall a guy talking about the process of animation and he sounded pretty serious. By the end of the interview, he said that animation is like running a marathon on knees. It made sense back then but now it makes all the sense in the world. Spending hours and hours animating to make just 6 seconds of animation (or 10 secs if I'm lucky) is really frustrating. You really gotta love what you're doing to be able to endure this.
Q: Tom Fulp held a mini contest asking people to animate a clown dying. Your submission would be Die Clown Die. This gave me quite the nostalgia trip where animations like these were a regular occurrence on Newgrounds. What made you want to participate in this contest and why have children take him down with water pistols?
A: Every time I imagine an idea for animation, they always tend to be LONG and COMPLEX, I really can't help it. But with this mini contest, I felt the freedom to do something short and stupid because the premise was a clown dying, like, how more absurd can you go; I didn't have to add any complex scene for people to understand what was going on or give a justification for the clown to die, he'll just...die, simple as that.
The hardest part was to make it funny. In the first version of the animation (the one Tom judged for the mini contest) the clown drowns from the water shot by the kids (he didn't exploded at the end); I kinda felt it was too creepy, the way the clown was writhing in desperation was disturbing. Then I decided to change the ending by making the clown get inflated and exploding using the Wilhelm Scream. I kinda of regret relying on that meme, but it made it looks less disturbing and funnier, for me at least.
Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of art?
A: I think art is anything you can transport from your imagination into the physical world, However, the transport medium must involve the use of a skill. So in other words, it take time and effort.
I know there have been lot of debate with this art topic, especially when talking about video games. And it's understandable, they still haven't reached their full potential; you know, it's hard for people to suddenly accept as art something associated with wasting time and the cause of violence in the world. But once it gets a better reputation and people start seeing its benefits to the world, then they'll accept it.
Q: To artists looking to give animation a shot, what advice can you give to them?
A: The basics of animation are not that complicated, everyone can make the illusion of a walking cycle. Of course, it might not be super realistic; in fact, it might even look kinda crappy, but the audience will at least get the idea and that's the important part. However, it's once you wanna take your skills to the next level, when it gets really bumpy. And even at this level of complexity, you'll still have to fool the audience with illusions. So, if you wanna venture into this dangerous road full of suffering and carpal tunnel, then I'd recommend you to get the: Animator's Survival Kit! This books tells you EVERYTHING there is to animation. Btw, don't get discouraged if it gets hard, just practice and practice till you start getting it. Practice is the key.
Q: What can we expect from Pegosho in the future?
A: Right now I'm trying to make a little/simple game using Construct 2 and I'm having a blast with it. You don't need any programming knowledge, the program itself facilitates everything for you. It's a blessing! So yeah, I started with drawings, then moved to animations and now I'm making a game. However, I do most of these art related projects during my free time; the reality is that right now I'm studying for an admission test to apply to dental school. Yep, this little brain of mine is going mush. BTW, I wanna be clear that even though I'm taking this path, I'll never stop doing art. It's like a coffee stain that's impossible to remove; art is my coffee stain and it's right here in my heart.
This interview took much longer than it should have to been posted. There was a good bit going on in my life as well as stomach problems. Luckily though I have recovered. I can only hope that Pegosho will forgive me for this long wait. Pegosho though, is quite the talented artist here on Newgrounds and one that I am surprised that isn't more popular. His piece Smash Time! was what drew me to his works. His skills are amazing and I can only see greater things in his future.
Interview No. 130
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest has lit up the front page not too long ago. Him and his friend have been sharing their stories through animation. Whether it was through getting a haircut in El Haircut and Barbershop, to being a child in the Cub Scouts and Kindergarten. They were recently showcased on the front page with their movie Camping as a Kid. They are the underrated duo, brewstew.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: I was introduced to Newgrounds through a friend back in 2005. He sent me a link to the "Nuggets" series by the user Miggs. Since then, I've been coming back pretty regularly, and eventually created an account last year when I actually had some movies to contribute.
Q: brewstew is a combination of Chris Brewer and Tyler Rudolph. How did you two come to meet and form brewstew?
A: We met through my cousin back in 2007. We eventually lived together for 4 years shortly afterwards. We found out we have a lot of things in common, like being poor and wishing we were Bruce Springsteen. We originally created Brewstew to just make our friends laugh. I do the cartoons, and he does Vlogs. We're both huge stand up comedy fans, but we don't have the balls to actually go on stage. We don't care if we get humiliated on the internet, so these videos are a good alternative to stand up.
Q: When and how did you Tyler get interested in art and animation?
A: I've been interested in art since I was just a wee-lad. I can remember wanting to be a cartoonist at one point, but never really made an attempt until last year. I taught myself Flash, and now the crude, terribly-animated cartoons are a direct result.
Q: Your first movie is an interesting comedy entitled Aware Apple. Where did the idea come for this and how did you put it together?
A: That was all Brewer's idea. It was actually our third or fourth cartoon, but it was the first we submitted to Newgrounds. He came up with the concept while we were slacking off at work. I'm not sure what kind of fever dream he had to come up with it, but I thought it was funny.
Q: El Dentist would be the beginning of a series of rants and stories. This one talks about wisdom teeth and the pain from beginning to end. Is this a true story? What is fabricated for comedy and what is not?
A: This was a true story (along with all of the others) that happened to me in February 2013. It seems like everybody has an awful wisdom tooth story, so I figured I'd put in my two cents. All of it is true, I was awake through the procedure, and it did suck quite a bit. Shawn Michaels didn't really kick me in the face, but it sure felt like it. Oh, and the dentist didn't really put his foot on my head either, people always ask me if that really happened.
Q: El Haircut and Barbershop talk about two different views in the hair industry. The salons and the barbershops of the old days. What made you want to share both of these experiences and how did you go from taking moments of your personal life to the script?
A: Originally, the barbershop and El Haircut videos were going to be a single video, but I thought I had enough material to do a separate on each. Everything that you see in the video is what I've thought about while waiting for a haircut one day. Barbershops and Hair Salons are just completely different experiences and I figured comparing the two would make a good video. It’s all true. The Korean lady still cuts my hair, and the barbershop is still a 10 minute walk from my house.
Q: Stupid Jokes for Stupids is favorite by you. The writing for this is wonderful and the art and animation run with it perfect from beginning to end. It's something I didn't even think too deep about until you brought it up. What experience did you have to bring this to creation?
A: Thanks man. That all came from my day job working in the service department of a car dealership. Every damn day somebody forgets their keys, and without fail, they say, "Welp, you can't go far without these." Once you hear that 700 times, you stop fake-laughing and get very angry with that person. That's what inspired the video, along with inspiring my high blood pressure.
Q: I have been watching wrestling since I was 6-Years Old and I love the references you make to wrestling in your movies. You gave this a full movie with Front Yard Wrestling. What age did you become interested in wrestling? Most kids would have backyard wrestling though, why the front yard?
A: I think I was about 7-years-old when I started Stone Cold Stunner-ing pillows in my room. I originally was going to call it 'Backyard Wresting', but we always did it in the front yard like a bunch of animals. I think it was because we had a small audience of cars that would pass by. I don't really watch wrestling now, but I don’t think a day goes by without Brewer, or myself doing a Macho Man Randy Savage impression.
Q: Cub Scout Pocket Knife and Cub Scout Pinewood Derby are two movies that share your experiences in the Cub Scouts. What is the Cub Scouts and will we see more stories from your times in the Cub Scouts?
A: Cub Scouts represent the younger portion of the Boy Scouts of American. You were a Cub Scout until you were 11, which you would then crossover and become a full-fledged Boy Scout. I never made it to Boy Scout, but my 3 years as a Cub Scout was plenty for me. I could probably do a video on our Cub Scout Leader. He was this gruff ex-military guy with about 7 teeth in his entire head. He didn't molest any of us so I guess you could say he did a pretty good job.
Q: I believe that a lot of viewers relate to your movies and at least relate deeply with one movie. The one movie I relate to deeply is Dumb Dreams. Were these dreams you have had and will we see a sequel to this on more dreams... possibly nightmares?
A: This one was one of my favorites because everyone has a good dream story. Everybody has those ridiculous dreams that you wake up from and are like 'how much methamphetamine did I smoke?' The dreams I mention in the video are all dreams that I’ve had (especially the one about trying to put in my contacts that are 400x bigger than normal. I get that one like once a month). I wouldn’t be surprised if I did another dream/nightmare video in the future, they're too bizarre and fun not to talk about.
Q: Toy Guns shows a past that I remember. When did you become interested in guns and what do you think about the toy guns of today as compared to past toy guns?
A: I was a toy gun aficionado as long as I can remember. I'm 23 now and to this day, I'll be walking through a store with my girlfriend and see a sweet Nerf gun for sale ... and I'll consider breaking up with her and buying it like a weirdo. Toy guns today are way cooler than the ones I had growing up. If only I were 7 again.
Q: Eye Doctor talks about a subject that even people who have to wear glasses today don't like to talk about and that is wearing glasses as a kid. You highlighted your experiences here and when you show yourself as a kid in movies you show yourself without glasses. Why is that?
A: I really hated my glasses when I was a kid. I had the 'shift manager of Kmart' look going on, which wasn't really what I wanted. Because of that, I rarely wore them as a kid. I would have rather been blind than deal with my friends’ bullshit remarks. Now I have contacts, so there's no need to look like Daniel Radcliffe anymore.
Q: Camping as a Kid is a fun collection of stories about camping. Which parts are true and which aren't? Will we get to see more of your family in future movies? Will there be a possible Cub Scouts camping story?
A: All of the stories are true. Some are a little exaggerated, (my grandpa never kicked a bear in the face) but the core stories all really happened. I actually asked my cousin David before-hand, if it was alright to put his woods-pooping story out on the internet (which I would’ve done regardless of what he said). I'm sure my family will be in more. Particularly David, he was a strange little dude growing up. A Cub Scouts' camping story is a possibility as well, since we went camping just about every other week.
Q: One thing I have noticed is that your movies share similarities in design to explosm's Cyanide and Happiness series. Were they an inspiration or is it a coincidence?
A: They're an influence. I'm an absolutely terrible animator, so I figured why try to bullshit everyone. I'll keep the graphics simple and let the story itself do the talking. I think there is a certain charm to the crudeness, or maybe I'm just bullshitting myself. I'm getting better though! I think each video gets increasingly better, but it’s still pretty 4th-grader-ish.
Q: What can we expect from brewstew in the future?
A: As of right now, we're finishing up our second season of Happy Hour Saloon for Machinima's Happy Hour channel (of which we exclusively write and voice). If any of you are a fan of video games, check it out on Youtube. Other than that, I plan to keep on with what I'm doing. I have plenty of ideas that need to be transitioned into videos. Between work and school full-time, I don't have as much time as I'd like, but I'll still be uploading on a consistent basis. Right now, I'm working on videos based on my prior experience working for Toys R Us, and also when we had a bomb threat in my elementary school. Those should be up in the upcoming weeks along with plenty of others!
I came across brewstew when I saw their short Camping as a Kid on the front page. I was instantly hooked. Sharing their lives in the comedic format of animation is amazing to me. I remember these things as a kid and even as an adult now. Together they show that you don't have to be producing Disney or Miyazaki levels of animation to entertain people. A simple story can do just the same, and at times even better.
Interview No. 129
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest is one who has been on my list for quite sometime now. His works are varied from The Exterminator, Stranger Danger Game, Pico Radio, and Asslevania: Symphony of the Butt. He is also the creator of The Interview Codex, the flash based version of The Interviewer. We are pleased to welcome deathink.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: The Events leading up to my membership are trivial and unimportant, HOWEVER, why I became an ACTIVE member is another story altogether. Newgrounds is AWESOME! Overflowing with talented, passionate people, NeoGeo is a bastion of reality and creativity in this otherwise barren waist of mediocrity and false representations.
Q: When did you become interested in video games?
A: I can still remember the moment I first saw an NES game. I couldn't look away... and I WANTED TO TRY. That moment was pure sensory, but when I found Zelda I was hooked, it became deeply neurological. As a five year old, beating the game required me and my friends to share rumors and myths with each other. These discussions sparked my already overactive imagination.
Q: What made you decide to make games?
A: I love to create things, and have fantasized about making games since I was very little.
Q: Your first game is entitled The Exterminator. A shooter where you have to shoot and kill roaches, pulling off combos and getting through as many waves as possible. How did you come up with this idea of killing roaches? Why a shooter to start off as your first game?
A: This was really just a test. I wanted to make a game that loaded all its assets to the stage dynamically (using code only). And I wanted to keep the game simple. The idea for the the game came from an old Sega game I once had called "Pest Control". It was a light gun game, and I have always thought there was a relationship between the game play of a light gun and the game play of a mouse.
Q: When Oney was with us for a second time, we talked about his series Leo & Satan. In Leo & Satan IV, the titular characters played a game called Stranger Danger. You would bring this game into reality with Stranger Danger Game. I feel it was only inevitable that someone make this game, what spurred you to do so?
A: First off, I love Oney, and well I guess that was my idea of fan art. I also just wanted to make something nice for NeoGeo.
Q: Pico Radio would be one of your biggest undertakings. Taking in music, artwork, combined with the advent of medals to produce a huge musical playlist even before playlists were to become a thing. This is something a lot of Newgrounds fans have wanted for quite some time and you came along and delivered. What gave you the inspiration to do this and what all did you have to do to get it done?
A: The inspiration was simple, I love listening to NeoGeo musicians while I work, but hate having to stop and reload a new song every couple minuets. So I started working on what would be know as "Pico Radio", HOWEVER, when it was about 90% complete, I fried my computer. I lost "Pico Radio" (and about 4 years of other projects and assets). I told TomFulp what happened to my PC, and how I not only lost "Pico Radio", but how I also lost my new game engine. Tom offered to fix my PC for free, but more importantly he told me not to worry about losing my new game engine, because now I would have the opportunity to make a better one. And he was right. I remade "Pico Radio" and it was superior in every way, not only aesthetically, but the file was smaller, faster, with a better sound quality and I could now have an infinite number of songs on a playlist. I never took Tom up on his offer, because I could always remake everything better. You can see the original version of "Pico Radio" here.
Q: When poxpower and Mockery were here we talked a lot about their collaborations and how they picked up other people for their collabs. You are one of the lucky few to get to work with them on the Where's Waldo/I Spy Halloween themed game Hunt of HORROR. How did you come to meet poxpower and Mockery? Whose idea was it? What was it like working with them?
A: One of the first pictures I Favorited here on NeoGeo was "Halloween Pixel Poster" by poxpower and Mockery (I am a sucker for fine pixel art). I spent hours trying to guess all the different characters, the problem was I didn't know if I was right or wrong. So out of necessity, the idea for "Hunt of HORROR" was born. Seeing a chance to showcase some great artwork, I wrote to Pox and asked if I could use the image. Tom with his encyclopaedic knowledge of all things Newgrounds noted that Mockery was also part of the image's development and suggested that I contact him as well.
Q: You would return to work with poxpower and Mockery again for Frozen Pixel Hunt. How did you come to work with these two again and what inspiration did Tom Fulp give to you while working on this game?
A: There are actually four pixel posters made by Pox and Mockery, I plan to "gameify" them all. Addressing the Tom question, the answer is simple, he is a constant source of inspiration and motivation.
Q: I've been doing The Interviewer for five years now, we just celebrated our 5th birthday on February 10th. Since then I have always had a request for a flash based version of the interviews. An archive that could be updated constantly with all the interviews in one spot. I told people that I knew nothing about programming and had doubts in finding someone to make such a thing for me.
You however decided to surprise me with The Interview Codex. I never requested that you make this codex for me and it is a question you haven't answered. Why did you want to make this archive for The Interviewer?
A: I always really liked reading your interviews, I thought you were doing a good and important thing, so to show my appreciation for all your hard work I created the codex.
Q: Your entry for Pico Day would be entitled The Ventures Fulp. Referencing a lot of different users, animators, artists, and programmers in a humorous way. You even referenced Asandir's Interviews and The Interviewer. It is essentially two games in one which I found quite creative. How did you come up with this idea and will we be seeing a sequel for the upcoming Pico Day?
A: I have actually written the sequel, but it will not be ready by this Pico Day :( My submission for this Pico Day will (with any luck) be "Pico Radio 2". Firstly the game is a love letter to Newgrounds and retro gaming, but my secondary goal was to make a Pico Day sim, so people who couldn't make it to Pico Day office party could still kinda feel like they went (if that makes any sense).
Q: One criticism of The Ventures Fulp is that finding the skulls is cryptic on what you have to do. Why did you decide to hide the skulls in this manner?
A: "The Ventures Fulp" is a none stop parody of 80's NES video games. The cryptic objective was a hallmark of every great NES game. But I also knew people would be watching the pod cast and playing the game at the same time. The players could discuss and solve the problems together in real time, and in an odd way they would feel more like they were hanging out... like they were at the party with us.
Q: You would work with poxpower and Mockery once more in another I Spy game. This one entitled Cult Classic. How did you three come to work again for another I Spy game? Why this time pulling everything from anything with a cult following? Also will we see another one of these games?
A: Cult classic was another experiment, I listened to all the comments from the first two pixel hunt games, then I cut out anything that would distract the player from the art. I tried to NEVER use text or numbers. I also devised an new system that would mathematically control the learning curve of the game, while at the same time remove all restrictions. Pox liked it, and it was the most popular of the 3 games, Mock liked it to, however he said "I don't get it, how is this a game"
Q: Asslevania: Symphony of the Butt is your latest game. You acquired quite the roster of voice actors for this parody upon the CastleVania series. Where did the inspiration come from to parody this series and how did you get a hold of these guys to do the voices?
A: I wanted to make a de-make/parody game for Halloween. I started to create art for two pixel art games, "Left 4 Pixel" and "Pixelvania". I kinda wanted to make a platformer so "Pixelvania" seemed more appealing, but I still wasn't wholly motivated. But then one day I was watching RicePirate's video "Asslevania" (for inspiration) and the idea came to me to parody his movie instead. So I would make a game, that was a parody of a movie that was a parody of a game that was a parody of a movie. I told the Idea to Mick (RicePirate) and he loved it so "Asslevania: the game" was born. To tell the truth the game you see uploaded here is only the prolog of the actual game I intended to make (like the beginning of SOTN). As for how I able to assemble the cast, there were many sexual favors promised. Hahaha. I am just really lucky to have such talented friends. The text I wrote them wasn't even that funny, but they just nailed it and made it funny. There the best at what they do and there all extremely busy, so yeah...
Q: When it comes to making games, where do you start? How does the project begin and when do you know it is ready?
A: For me it begins with an idea (how is that for a cop-out?). And it usually ends when I can't extend the deadline anymore. My first instinct is to say "when everything is perfect", but that is not how I like to do things, nor is it how I like to think, instead I think it should be "when you are satisfied with the most important things" you are done, and you can use left over time to go through minor details with a fine toothed comb.
Q: When CosmicDeath was here we talked about her artwork showcased on the Newgrounds Shop Page. You were brought on to do the artwork for the Movies Portal page. How were you approached to do this and why did you choose the characters from said series and movies for the background?
A: I really wanted to make a background, but I kept that to myself. One day Tom came to me and asked "if I wanted to take a shot at it". He asked if I wanted to do the GAME or MOVIE background. While making the game page background seemed to make more sense because I have more games uploaded here than movies, I choose movies anyway because one: red is my favorite color and two: some of my favorite NG submissions are movies. Choosing the characters was simple, Prosnorkulus is AWESOME and red... done. I mentioned it to Tom and He thought Persnorkadork would be great so Porkdorkus it was.
I hide things in most all of my pictures so I couldn't resist putting myself in the background, and I slipped Oney in there too just for good measure. Prosnorkulus is also wearing a large number of middle finger rings, which is a nod to its creator MiddleFingerRings.
Q: What can we expect from deathink in the future?
I found out about deathink when I played Stranger Danger Game. I knew someone was gonna make this for Newgrounds after the Leo & Satan movie that it was in came out. I also knew about Pico Radio which was absolutley amazing and I am eagerly looking forward to Pico Radio 2. deathink was just a blip on my radar and he was on my list as a suggestion that I had intentions of getting to. Then out of the blue I got a message from him telling me that he was working on a surprise for me. It came to a point that he needed input on it, so he sent me the project entitled The Interview Codex. I was spellbound to say the least. It shows what one person can take and make into something wonderful. Whether it be an amateur writer's works, a picture, or some songs from the Audio Portal. deathink is a treasure to Newgrounds and if Tom is smart he would pick him up to work on stuff for the site and fast.