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8-bit Theatre


Updated Every Weekday!

22/2/2003: The Gregs Of Wrath

Like many of you, or at least many of you who are both English and endowed with more time on your hands than can be gainfully employed, I sat down last Sunday to watch the much vaunted BBC 3 Launch Night, anticipating more of the same succulent, publicly-funded goodness that can be found in BBC 1 and 2.

I was to be disappointed almost at once, when the opening shot contained Johnny Vaughan, who proceeded to make a damned professional job of what may be the most important night of his career by producing some authentic 'seat-of-your-ass TV'. By this, I mean TV that appears to have never been rehearsed; it seems that the witty one-liners were thought up on the spot, and the show's structure and execution seems flowing and dynamic. Vaughan's particular way of executing this involves looking at the wrong camera for a good 5 minutes, shouting at half-asleep production staff to find out what time it is, and repeatedly breaking his guest off in mid-sentence to announce that his director is shouting at him.

Not to be out-done, the host of the evening's next show successfully produced the station's first racial gaffe within the first hour of broadcasting; specifically, he asked a group of 6 black people 'which one's the hardest black race?' The mind boggles. The only way he could possibly have phrased that so as to appear more ignorant would be to put on his best Jamaican accent and ask after their preferred weaponry.

It was then that I switched off, and indeed forgot the whole thing until just this morning, when Yahtzee's supercomputer, which I managed to borrow to do some scanning, was asked to scan the BBC 3 listings for the day, in order that I might see what happens when you apply the 'sharpen' filter to the picture at the top; however, as it turned out, I never got a chance, as it simply printed a single page, before unplugging itself and wandering off back to Rugby, muttering about needing a good defragmentation.

Its output clearly demonstrates an in-depth knowledge of the new channel; could it be that the MS Word Helper Doggie (which, as we all know, is the driving force within the supercomputer) has come up with a new way to conquer the world?

[put the picture here]

[Shan't. Too big. I'll upload it to here instead. -YZ]

Filling the minds of humanity with trivia, it would seem, wasn't enough. Once our minds have been reduced to grey cheese by the Doggie's demonic programming, who knows what it has planned? Avert your eyes, readers, for the good of humanity!

21/2/2003: Time We Say Goodbye

Paul at L&E did a naughty thing. He made yesterday's dancing bear update the Thursday article! Apparently I am the first Redclouder to do two articles in a row for many years. I'm not sure I can bear the brunt of this great responsibility!

Here's my proper article this week: A little story highlighting one of the theological problems with time travel. A story I like to call 'Richard and Maureen's Amazing Time Travel Adventure'.

20/2/2003: Bored of the Dance

I love my Black and White Dancing Bear Winamp Plugin.

The game itself I can take or leave, but the dancing bear rocks my world. Unlike real life dancing bears it doesn't need a red-hot plate under its feet to distract you and make you feel guilty. This is just a bear, getting on down to my MP3s and CD tracks on a little island in the middle of the ocean.

At the end of a long day of lazing around and being generally worthless, it's nice to unwind, put on a Green Day CD and watch my little bear shake his groove thang. Okay, so maybe his rhythm is a bit ragged at times. Okay, so maybe he can't dance to songs which lack a decent bass track. Okay, so maybe he looks like a bear that collided with a truck full of collagen implants. But somehow, his excitable dance moves and the constant expression of blank ecstasy on his face make up for it all.

"All we are saaaaaying ... is give peace a chaaaaance..."
Dance your way into my heart, you magnificent bear!

It makes me wonder if it could be possible (surely not!) to make a dancing thing that would be even more kickarse than the dancing bear. I applied some serious thought to it (ha) and here's what I've come up with.

1. Dancing Nude Lady

I wouldn't be surprised if you can get this somewhere (mainly because I already know that such things exist), but wherever they are, they probably aren't as kickarse as what I have in mind. My idea is to have the dancing nude lady on the left side of the screen, and the dancing bear on the right! I could watch that for days! Maybe sometimes, when I'm playing something like Bridge Over Troubled Water, they could ballroom dance together. Or maybe the bear could remove his bear costume to reveal another nude lady, while the first nude lady puts on the bear costume. Or maybe the bear could go insane with feeding frenzy and maul the nude lady to death. All in time with the music. Imagine the effect if a giblet splatted upon the screen just as a cymbal crashes.

2. Dancing Goldfish

The goldfish would only have two dance moves: Swim forward a little bit, and swim backward a little bit. It'll attempt to follow the music for about three seconds, then forget what it was doing and float still, bobbing up and down and mouthing occasionally. You have two buttons. One of them feeds the fish, and makes it remember that it's supposed to be dancing for a little while. The second button introduces an electric toaster to the fishtank. YOU'RE GONNA DANCE NOW, AREN'T YOU, YOU LITTLE ORANGE FUCK!

Then the bear could come and eat the fish.

3. Dancing Tin of Dogfood

This is a tin of dogfood sitting on a kitchen floor. It has over 500 dance moves. Unfortunately, they're all variations on the "sit there doing nothing" theme. In fact, in all honesty, it's just a still picture of a tin of dogfood. My idea is to add a little disclaimer saying "The tin of dogfood will only dance if you sit staring at it for an hour. If an hour passes, you obviously weren't concentrating hard enough." Then, after an hour, one of two things will happen: either a really scary picture will flash on briefly while a really loud scream is heard, or the bear will come on and eat the dogfood. Then I will burgle your house.

Whoo, I've just gone over this update and it seems to be giving off the impression that I've gone completely mad. Well, let me assure you now that I haven't. At least, I don't think so, and Boris the sock puppet agrees.

19/2/2003: Diablos Ex Machina

[I've had a hard day at work, and am worried that if I spend any more time away from a nice soft inviting bed then I will surely die. Here's something Slade threw together while I recuperate. Sorry. Sorry for everything.


Why it Would Kick Arse to be a Diablo 2 Character:

1. Immortal
Yeah, it's gotta be great to get completely mauled by a horde of monsters, only to wake up in town, in one piece. Sure, you're left only your skivys, and you lose most of the gold you were carrying, but that's better than being tortured for all eternity in the fiery Hells, right?

2. Inventory
Ah, the wonderful magic Diablo 2 backpack. It doesn't matter if you carry sixty potions or ten suits of chainmail, there is no weight limit in the game. Your only problem is trying to actually fit all of that chainmail in there. Wouldn't it be great to have one of those in real life? It's not even big enough to be drawn on the character.  You're walking downtown when a guy pulls a gun on you. You, however, have an amazing magic backpack hidden in your pocket. The bandit can only gape in suspense as you pull a two foot katana out of your six inch deep pocket and slice his head off.

3. Gold
Gold is apparently the standard coin in the Diablo 2 universe, and as such many monsters, such as yeti, crows, undead vultures, and giant rats, carry it around. It seems to be quite common, and your magic backpack can hold about a zillion coins.

4. The Stash
This thing is the greatest. Not only can it hold even more gold than you can on your person, every stash is linked to the same spot in space. That means you can access the same stuff in each town you visit. It's sort of like the chests in Resident Evil. It can also hold even more items than you can.

5. Skills
C'mon, who wouldn't want their very own undead army? Bullets wouldn't do jack, so while those hapless marines are trying to kill your skeleton, it runs up along with one hundred others and slits the throat of the soldier, and his buddies. And then, every person you kill will become another to add to your army.  You could rule the world, like that. Assuming you could teach zombies and reanimated skeletons how to fly transport ships to cross oceans.

Then there's being able to command the raging elements. If someone pisses you off, you hurl a cone of ice through his chest. Problem solved. The authorities come, you cast a spell and where ever you run, flames sprout up. No more police.

Then there's the auras of the Paladin. You mutter some words and bam, you can suddenly move faster than the Comic Book Guy at a Mr. Spock convention, along with anyone you are friends, providing that thay are near you. Mutter something else and a giant hammer made of lightning comes down and smites everything in your path.

Or how about this? You're running along, killing everything in your path, when suddenly you transform into a werewolf. You summon a sentient vine that eats corpses and transfers health to you.

6. Items
There are heaps and heaps of items in Diablo 2. Not only is there at least one of every type of weapon ever created, they can have magical modifiers too, leaving room for a zillion and two different items.

Why it wouldn't Kick Arse to be a Diablo 2 Character

1. Limited Choice of Skills
Yeah, each class gets thirty skills to train as they want. However, they can never get anything else. That means they can't tie their shoes, swim, or eat brusselsprouts. The Barbarian even needs a skill to jump. That would just plain suck. "Do de doo... ooh look, a ladder! And there's gold at the top! Aww damn it, I don't have the climbing skill. Now what?"

2. Never Dying
It may sound nice at first, but after a while life has got to get boring. I mean, there's no way you can lose, since the Demons you are fighting are mortal, and you aren't. And what about when you get old? You'll be bashing monsters, then suddenly have a heart attack and die. You appear at town only to have another one, again and again. And when you die, your corpse is left where you died, so you'd probably get pretty creeped out at looking at your hacked and mangled body after a few deaths.

3. Bad Size Ratios
Here's how it works. Armor takes up six slots, potions and scrolls take up one slot. That means six potions are the equivelent of one suit of armor.

4. Monsters
It seems that every living creature on the planet that isn't a townsperson has a personal vendetta against you. That's gotta get annoying after the sixteenth deer of the day headbutts you.

5. Stats
The only time you can increase your stats is when you level up, and you can only do so many points per level up. That means that points you could spend getting more magic points have to be spent on strength. What the heck's with that? If I want to be stronger, I go lift weights. So should these guys.

7. Lack of conversation
You're character doesn't say much, except a few choice words when entering a new place for the first time, or killing a particularly mean monster. And the townspeople can only give you quest information or gossip about each other. That's gotta get annoying after a while. "'No, not who's that guy?' I said 'Give me some food, damn it!'"

[I have no idea what the fuck Slade was trying to say in that last sentence, and as such could not edit it. Any suggestions? Answers on a postcard! -YZ]

8. Expensive Items
The price of an item is based on what magical properties it has. So something that only does 1 damage but increases all of your stats by twenty is going to sell/buy for more than your 80-300 Bastard Sword of Maiming +300% damage. "'Hello sir, what can I get you?' 'I'd like that coffee mug, please.' 'Ok, let's see. That's made of ceramic, has a picture of Santa Claus, and glows in the dark. You're total is... $7000.'"

- Slade

18/2/2003: Spooking Hell

So I arrive at the office of the most trusting company in the world for another data inputting job, and I find police all over the place dusting for fingerprints. Seems the building was broken into the night before, and a couple of offices were hit, including the one I worked in. Not broken into gently, mind; the doors were FUCKED. It looked like the Incredible Hulk had been walking the corridors in a particularly bad mood.

Having recently been spending a lot of time at home watching American detective dramas first shown around the time people were still calling each other 'daddio', I was kind of disappointed that no-one wanted to take my fingerprints, or even talk to me about it. But I did overhear a couple of officers assessing the case.

"What confuses me is the random choice of offices," said one.

At this, my ears pricked up. If Columbo has taught me anything, it's that if something seems unusual, look into it. Maybe, I thought, I could become one of those detectives who aren't policeman but poke their noses into cases and solve them anyway, like Jonathan Creek or that old biddy whatshername. I immediately set my mind to uncovering the answer behind the mysterious breakins.

I wondered if there was anything that connected the offices that were broken into. The only one I could see was that they all employed men. But there was something else - outside our office door, there was also a massive dent in the nearby wall. Was this accident, I thought, or some attempt to single out our office? A message to one of the people who work there? Maybe a message ... for me?

Then it hit me.

The first time I worked in that building, I documented an encounter I had with a ghost in the gentleman's toilet. The office doors, smashed in, belonged to people who had been in that same gentleman's toilet. And the special message to me was because I had encountered the ghost and written about it (I also theorised that the ghost was in fact me from the future, but abandoned this theory after the medication wore off).


So, I headed straight for the bathroom to confront the ghost, try to work out what had made it act so violently. Was it angry at something? Had someone pissed all over its nice clean floor or left the seat up? I checked the stalls, but all seemed fine. Someone had forgotten to flush, but I would have thought the ghost would have been used to that by now. I decided I hadn't found anything, turned around to leave, and found it staring me in the face.

A brand new wall-mounted hot air hand dryer. It certainly hadn't been there the last time I was in the building. For the first time, I noticed - I mean, REALLY noticed, not just noticed in passing - the fact that the men's toilets were much colder than the rest of the building. Everywhere else, the central heating was turned up to bursting and even in these freezing months I could mince around in my Fully Ramblomatic T-shirt (still only $13.99, boys and girls!). I had always put the chill in the toilets down to the fact that they were positioned at the top of the stairwell. Now I thought differently.

If The Sixth Sense taught us anything, it's that Haley Joel Osment is kept constantly on the verge of tears. Also, that inconsiderate bastard dead people make rooms fucking freezing. Of course the Toilet Ghost would be offended by a hot air hand dryer! I tested it, but it was inoperable. Upon closer examination, I noticed that the hand dryer's cable, which was presumably where you plug it in, looked like it had been mysteriously cut. I swear I'm not making any of this up.

"I understand!" I said out loud. "I know why you're angry! Show me you can hear me! Show me a sign!"

I don't recall ever having been as shit scared as I was at that moment, but all I heard was the constant gurgle of plumbing. Also, I was getting some funny looks from the people at the urinals, so I made my excuses and left.

I wanted to explain to the police (who of course found no fingerprints) who the real culprit of this mindless violence was, but I went over all possible exchanges in my head and realised that only contempt would be winging my way if I made my discoveries known. I will continue to look into the ghost, and document my progress to communicate with the poor thing. Then I will send boasting letters to Bill Murray and Bruce Campbell.


17/2/2003: Muchos Apologias

Since the AGS Awards recently, I've been finding myself interested in the AGS community again. Not because I'm designing another game on the quiet, you understand, but mainly through sentiment. More specifically, I've been looking through the forums every now and again to see what's goin' down.

They're slagging me off again.

I dunno, I thought we were cool. Guess I should have expected they'd jump at the first chance to get back on the I'm-a-dickhead bandwagon. No, sorry, let's keep the tone of this update civil. So, what, specifically, did I do this time? Well, a couple of throwaway remarks about the AGS Awards. These ones:

"The AGS Awards, which despite it's grand name can only afford free web hosting on Tripod..."

"I'm not sure who the other awards went to, but they probably didn't deserve them."

Now, I can sort of understand getting pissed off at the second one, if you have no sense of humour, but the first one wasn't even an insult. It was an observation. A bloody statement of bloody fact. It was a good-humoured little tease. Jesus. I feel like Georgie Porgie, kissing the girls and making them cry, except instead of kissing them I asked them for directions to the airport.

Well, I apologise if you mistook the tiny little jokey barbs in my asides for enormous impaling spikes.

Now then, the second one. To reiterate, I can see why you'd misunderstand it. Let me take a moment to explain it to you. I said the other award winners didn't deserve them. There are two basic elements of the statement which convey my meaning:

1. My game was better than theirs, and
2. I am a better person than all of them.

What's so hard to understand about that? Oh, sure, you might deny the fact that I am purely and simply better than everyone else, but in your denial, you are in denial! Deep down inside yourselves you know in your heart that I am better. Better, better, better. Better looking, better dressed, highly intelligent, talented and enormously modest. Whenever I watch beauty contests or World's Strongest Man contests, I find myself baffled as to why people are so anxious to prove themselves when they know they can never be as good as me in any respect. Why bother?

So, in summary, I'm the greatest person who ever lived. Don't just take my word for it, though!

"Yahtzee is truly the greatest person who has ever lived."
- My doctor

"[Yahtzee] is a fine and noble man, to whom I pledge my undying allegiance to for all time, secure as I am in the knowledge that I will never be as great as him. Look at me! I can fly!"
- Jesus Christ

"He's incredible!"
- President George W. Bush

"I agree!"
- Prime Minister Tony Blair

So there you have it! How can anyone argue with such evidence? Face facts, AGS community, I'm better than all of you and you just can't come to terms with that. So stop going over my website with a magnifying glass looking for things to get cross at when you should be averting your gaze and humbly thanking me for even having anything to do with you.

I'm glad we could get this cleared up.

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All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved and other legal bollock language