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29/9/04: Smile And The World Looks Awkwardly Away From You

[Thanks to Robert Shemilt for the twenty bucks, by the way. Did you have a website, or did you just leave no attached message to maintain an air of mystery and intrigue? Either way, thanks.]

What with all the advertising and donating stuff I've been adding to the site lately (MORE MONEY PLEASE OH GOD I EAT CANNED FOOD LIKE A HUNGRY DOG), I got to thinking about the genesis of the site, all those... er... both those years ago. God, what crazy days those were.

Who, for instance, remembers that FullyRamblomatic was originally to be the homepage of Ram-Blo Bubble Gum, the now-defunct confectionery based on Sylvester Stallone's most famous film role? And then, just when we were ready to launch, it was discovered that the product was made with the ears of Vietnamese war victims. While the company argued that this added authenticity to the gum, it was swiftly pulled off the market by an embarrassed parent company and I was left with a domain name I didn't know what to do with. So, I used it as my personal site, and now here we are.

One thing that took me a while to decide on was the site's mascot, good old yellow Sniper Smiley, at the time something of a prophetic manifestation of my growing hatred for those horrible smug internet smileys. At first I wanted to show him already shot with a bullet hole and blood everywhere, but that just looked like he'd glued an Oreo to his forehead with jam. So I opted for presenting in graphic the instant before his smug little yellow brain exited the back of his head and smashed against a wall like a baggie full of peanut butter. It took a lot of rejected mascot ideas to come up with ol' SS; why, just look at some of these I was considering.

Pirate Smiley:
As is well known now, pirates make everything better. The last few seasons of Friends could have been improved exponentially by replacing the whole cast with pirates who say 'arr, jim lad' every other word, and every professional chef knows that a few pirates are just the thing for thickening an Irish stew. However, at the time, popular culture was going through a period of 'pirate backlash' after the confirmed murder of a Royal Navy crew and theft of all her booty. While the pirates involved defended their actions with the statement "We're pirates, you bloody idiots", I decided to write off the pirate smiley as insensitive.
Cowboy Smiley:
Another rejected idea for the site theme was one that poked gentle fun at cowboys. A few unpublished early articles demonstrate the kind of thing I was going for, such as "Cowboys Wear Big Hats Because They're Stupid And Gay", "Why Cowboys Can All Piss Off" and the particularly hilarious "Cowboys: They Should All Be Raped By Angry Bulls Until They Drown In Their Own Blood And Shit". However, some people took these the wrong way, and I received an angry letter from the International Cowboy Anti-Defamation League. My response article to their letter, entitled "Cowboys Fuck Each Other With Spurs And Love Every Second Of It", proved a mistake, as it turned out that the ICADL is protected by the Japanese Mafia, with whom I had a progressive and mutually informative meeting. I took the site down as soon as I could move my fingers again.
Transvestite Smiley:
As the bloated tick of the popular culture's idealised view of the comedy homosexual continued to feast on the entertainment industry, the inclusion of a gender ambiguous website icon earned me a lot of support from homosexual image reinforcement groups, who were kind enough to send me a bunch of flowers delivered by a naked sailor. Unfortunately, forcing an alternative lifestyle onto Smiley caused him to become confused and rebellious. He started going out at night in black lipstick, and would come home whistling old Cure songs. I discovered he was hanging around with a bad crowd - a gang of semi-colons who hung around the docks - and reluctantly allowed Smiley to form his own sexual identity.
Smiley Durden:
After the bubblegum fiasco, I was approached by popular subversive writer Chuck Palahniuk. After initial talks, I agreed after some persuasion and the changing hands of a quite extortionately large sum of money to theme my website around Palahniuk's most popular novel, Fight Club. However, this deal fell through, when Chuck felt that my very first update about how hot the sun is didn't really go with his rabidly anti-establishment ideals, so he withdrew from our agreement and went to that whore David Fincher instead. I was so pissed off I kicked Chuck in the shins. Then he poked me in the eye. Then I ruptured his testicle and he bit my ear off. We both felt a lot better after that, and parted amicably.



- Yahtzee

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27/9/04: Cha-ching

Shrewd readers may well have noticed the link to my Paypal account that has materialised on the 7 Days A Skeptic page. Yes, Chefelf has been gently but firmly muttering in my ear about the bandwidth costs from all you tossers coming in to download my games and flee like a shadow into the night, so I'm making yet another attempt to get some fricking income out of all this.

Even before I drew attention to it, I got 15 bucks from a very nice company called Mad Scientist Studios (www.dmgenie.com) who make some useful tool for playing pen and paper RPGs online, which will also clean up your acne and make you virile again. You see? They gave me money, and now I plug them. That's called reciprocation.

The 'money for plugs' system has led me onto my next idea - selling ad space. Since Chefelf's favourite ad system rejected my site as being depraved and evil, I'm going it alone and cutting out the middleman. Have you ever dreamed of seeing your site's banner waving majestically over Sniper Smiley's head? Click on over to my advertising page and make that dream a reality, soldier!

If you think advertising is for the birds but still want to throw me the righteous Sword of Money with which to slay the crippling financial monsters, you can also just donate directly. Details on the donate page, as well as the Paypal link button, but I guess it doesn't hurt to plonk it here as well.


So basically, it's like this: if you want to see the site live on, everyone's going to have to chip in. Remember, readers: YOU DROVE ME TO THIS.


- Yahtzee

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25/9/04: Fight! Fight! Fight!

Apologies for absence of updates lately... stuff and nonsense abound keeping my weary brain off important matters. Important matters like who would win in a fight between a dark overlord from the world of science fiction and a hairy Mediterranean who likes to stab things! Yes, it's the second of my fantasy fight articles. Click here for the match report!

Anything else I need to cover today? Hrm. Well... hm. You know those banner ads we've seen lately with the cartoon woman who starts talking to you about some stupid shit when you wheel your mouse over her? Don't you just want to punch her in the fucking gut?

- Yahtzee

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19/9/04: Dainty Hentai... Hainty... dentai... yes.

Hooray! I wrote a nice in-depth review of some hentai cartoon I found on Stile Project. Click here to read it. Whee! It's fun to laugh at cultural differences! Japan are less sexually repressed than us! Let's nuke them! Yay!

Just read the damn review.

UPDATE 20/9/04: Thanks SC Manley for sending in the PC Zone sample on the left. I think their name was SC Manley. I kind of forgot to double-check before deleting the mail - SC doesn't seem to know how to compress image file sizes and my 2Mb Hotmail inbox limit wasn't seeing things my way. Look! Nice people say nice things about my nice games! I DESERVE A PROPER JOB DO I NOT!

- Yahtzee

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15/9/04: Depending On The Kindness Of Strangers

Well, slap me silly and call me Horatio. No sooner am I bowled over by the news that I have been featured in PC Gamer, that I find myself having my legs plucked out from under me once again with the arrival of intelligence that I have also had a mention in PC Zone, my childhood favourite, no less. My attempts to secure scans of the articles in question have so far come up fruitless - Australia is about three issues behind with both publications - so if any readers out there who have copies of the mags in question give the appropriate articles a scan and send 'em in, that'd be just peaches. I think it's UK PC Gamer no. 140 and PC Zone no. 147. Ta.

[UPDATE 16/9/04: Boo-yah! Thanks Fuzzydevil for sending in the image on the left, from PC Gamer. Controversial? Moi? I think perhaps he's mistaken me for Michael Moore or something. Oh well, it's a good write-up. Still need the PC Zone one. Thanks also to Dan Griliopoulos, 'Vaz', Jesper Stengade and Sam Tritsch for the rapid-response emails of support. And big thanks to 'Big Bertha' for her email: Yes, I would like to come and see your girlfriends getting down and dirty! Thanks!]

With this sudden arrival of media coverage, and the possibility of important people reading (not that the rest of you aren't important! Ha ha ha ha bitter laughter!) I feel the time is right to take a step. Prepare to be embarrassed for me, audience, because I'm about to let dignity take a slide, get down on my knees and plead like a fucking Frenchman.

An Open Letter To People In The Games Industry

Dear All,

I hope you are well. I am. Yesterday I went for a walk. It was OH GOD I CAN'T TAKE THIS FALSE JOLLITY ANYMORE JUST give me a DAMN JOB.

Now you've had a look at my opus, 5 Days A Stranger, and the sequel, 7 Days A Skeptic, both of which are frequently touted by players as being much better than the other for some reason, you're probably all thinking "Boy, this kind fellow obviously has such a steady career and income that he can afford to release his creative projects for free on the internet." DON'T THINK THAT AT ALL BECAUSE IT IS NOT TRUE. While I do scrape a living with temporary office work, I would rather STICK MY FACE in OPEN FLAME, FRY IT in HONEY MUSTARD SAUCE and SERVE IT WITH CARROTS than do it for more than a few years.

The reason I release games for free is because I like writing them, trying to charge money for something so technologically antiquated just feels so, so wrong in today's 3D rendered universe, and because the praise I get for them are a substance I crave for, heroin-addict like, until I'm crawling on all fours searching for my name on Google and demanding people send me email telling me I'm great. If you have a PC games magazine or a game development company handy and wish to praise me, there's a new, convenient way to do it - GIVE ME A DAMN JOB OH GOD I'VE BEEN WANTING A CAREER IN THIS SORT OF THING SINCE I WAS TWO AARGH AARGH AARGH ETC.

For games magazine people:

I can write! I'm a writer! I know how to spell words like 'staphylococcus' and I know how to use a semi-colon! Maybe I could write something for you about games! Originally my plan was to make some money and buy a new computer so I could play new games and write relevant reviews, but that obviously isn't working out because I HAVE NO MONEY AND I CAN'T AFFORD A NEW COMPUTER AND AARGH I THINK I'M GOING TO CHEW MY HAND OFF SOON. So maybe I could write a little column about freeware internet games or amateur adventures and why they're keen. Whatever you want, guys, I'll write Duke Nukem slash fiction if you ask for it, although I'll be doing it blindfold. And no, I can't contact you because I have social anxiety disorder and the thought of actually going to someone and asking for a job fills me with the kind of dread Indiana Jones feels when a spikey ceiling is descending towards him and OH GOD I HAD TWO SLICES OF MARMITE ON TOAST FOR MY EVENING MEAL THE OTHER DAY so I'm posting this here in the hope someone in a position to help me happens upon it.

For game developer people:

I wrote two freeware games that've been featured in two popular UK games magazines, surely that qualifies me for something! I've read a lot of online reviews that say my games have pace and storyline that exceed that of many commercial games - THERE YA GO WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT YOU BUNCH OF - er... nice people who have lots of openings in their company for people who can write well. There must be something I can do from Australia! Maybe I could write some dialogue for your game or something! Or maybe, you know those jokes you always have in action games where the hero blows something up and goes "Hm, looks like I've had a HOT TIME today!"? Maybe I could rewrite those jokes so they're less shit! I don't know, anything!

For Lucasarts employees:

Don't offer me a job, because you're all a bunch of tossers and I hate you. No, no, forget that, offer me a job and I'll take it: THAT'S HOW DESPERATE I AM, YOU BASTARDS! Just bear in mind I won't shake your hands until I've got some protective gloves on.

So there's my proposition to society. C'mon, guys, there's some serious wasted talent here looking for some kind company to come along and make my day. You want any more experience? I've written a load of news posts for the Lockergnome games channel if that's any help, although I haven't written many recently because I get lethargic when I'm DEPRESSED ABOUT NOT BEING GIVEN MONEY FOR WRITING OH GOD I CHEWED MY HAND OFF WHEN I WASN'T LOOKING LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO AND NOW I'M GIVING MY OTHER HAND SOME FUNNY LOOKS AARGH FOR GOD'S SAKE HELP ME BEFORE I LOSE IT COMPLETELY I DON'T HAVE ANY CONTACTS I COULD EXPLOIT FOR GETTING INTO THE INDUSTRY BUT I HAVE ABILITY AND I'M OFFERING IT ALL TO YOU YOU ELITIST FUCKS!

Thanking you in advance

Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
Brisbane, Australia

Oh, and even if you aren't affiliated with the games industry, you can still help by bringing this post to the attention of people who are in the games industry. If you don't know anyone like that, you could just send me email telling me I'm great.

- Yahtzee

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14/9/04: Batman Bewildering

Most days, the news just doesn't interest me at all, largely because it rarely pertains immediately to anything that might affect me, such as immigration policy, Bruce Campbell or the effect of the English accent on the grades of Australian schoolchildren. But while sitting in a waiting room this morning, trying to decide whether I should remain bored or pick up a women's magazine and risk giving off the wrong impression, I found my ear suddenly cocking to something I heard on the TV, blaring the news to an indifferent audience.

Ladies and gentlemen, the media event of the decade has occurred. Batman broke into Buckingham Palace.




News this cool just doesn't happen often enough. I haven't been this into news coverage since the September 11th disaster. I know it was a horrible senseless loss of many innocent lives, but can anyone reading this put their hand on their heart and say with complete honesty that at some point they didn't think "Man, that collapse of the World Trade Centre was just about the most awesome thing I've ever seen on TV!"?

Actually, maybe I should get back to the original topic before George Bush sends the frighteners around. Batman broke into Buckingham Palace. Here's the link to the story on BBC news. Batman (and up to a point, Robin, the Boy Wonder) managed to infiltrate palace security - much to the concern of the middle-classes, the right-wing press and all the other losers who get scared when the Queen comes within six thousand miles of being slightly inconvenienced - and staged a protest on behalf of Fathers 4 Justice, a group which champions the rights of divorced fathers to see their children more often.

A couple of things I want to discuss on this subject.

1. Everyone's really astonished that Batman was able to get past security. Duh! He's BATMAN. He's the indefatigable crusader for truth and righteousness. You think a little iron fence and some delightful greenery will stop him? He's probably got about nineteen different things in his utility belt for climbing up walls, as well as a little picnic set for celebrating once he gets up there. You ever wonder why Batman wears tights? Because if he wore trousers, his utility belt would be constantly pulling them down around his ankles, and then he'd have to fight crime waddling around like he's just cacked his pants.

2. Even if it hadn't been Batman, I still wouldn't be surprised. A three-toed sloth with cerebral palsy could get past Buckingham Palace security. Do you know why? Because the soldiers at Buck Pal are those bitter fucks who wear furry beer kegs on their heads and aren't allowed to blink. Every one of these guys are masters of self-hypnosis, to such a degree that they wouldn't notice a burning building across the street if their own grandmothers came running out and melted into a screaming pile before their very eyes. Of course they didn't notice Batman! They were too busy daydreaming about what life would have been like had they not failed the exam to get into the proper army.

3. I know it's probably a righteous enough cause, but doesn't Batman have better things to do than camp out national monuments to champion the rights of divorced parents? Maybe the police do such a good job nowadays that he is no longer required BWA HA HA HA HA (cough) sorry. Or maybe his well-known crime-fighting philosophy of sucker punches as first, last and only resort just doesn't sit well with today's namby-pamby ooh-they're-all-just-little-lost-lambs attitude to the criminal mindset. Whatever the reason, I still think Batman is overqualified for this kind of work. We could have him in the Middle East, kidney-punching Osama Bin Laden until he's pissing blood through a rusty catheter, but of course that's not possible because Bin Laden is dead and anything that says otherwise is part of a SINISTER EVIL MEGA GLOBAL CONSPIRACY.

What worries me is that this may set a precedent for super-heroes besieging national monuments to champion minor causes. I wonder what stories we'll be seeing next. Hmm. I wonder.

I wonder.

New York, January 2005
It's day seven of Wonder Woman's protest against unfair treatment of Vietnam veterans in the job market, and she is still refusing to come down from the Statue of Liberty, where she has erected a large banner featuring a picture of her magnificent tits and the words 'Hey! Vietnam veterans are awesome!' in garish yellow letters. Earlier this morning she underlined her strong feelings by doing a lengthy erotic pole dance to the applause and delight of cheering crowds. Officer Tom Flaherty, the police officer returning from his assignment to talk her down from her ledge, had this to say: "I must tell the truth. I haven't seen such splendid gazongas since I peeked on my teenage daughter in the shower."

Alarmingly, many other worldwide superheroes are joining Wonder Woman in a sympathy protest. Spider-man today took over Mount Rushmore to address the issue of the vanishing habitat of the indigenous wildlife of Brazil. Meanwhile, in Europe, Aquaman climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower to protest internet comedians writing his name as 'Aquafag' and calling him a useless pissant. "I'm Aquaman!" he was heard to shout. "I'm the almighty king of the seas! I can swim realy fast!" He was then ordered by the local gendarmes to get down and stop being such a prick.

- Yahtzee

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Hey, kids! Sick of me not updating often enough for your refined tastes? Read news posts by me, Chefelf and Heccubus pretty much every day on the Lockergnome.com Game Invasion Channel!


All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
Copyright 2002-2004 All Rights Reserved so HANDS OFF, PIKEY