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8/10/2005 Special Update Tomorrow!

As always, there's a new ROM comic. As for Pebble Version, remember to vote and donate if you have a few extra bucks. Also, be sure to check back tomorrow for PV's 2nd anniversary! There'll be a special bonus comic, a new rant, and possibly some guest stuff as well. Meanwhile, I'd like to apologize to the people who have e-mailed me lately. I will reply to you, I just haven't had much time with all these final projects to work on.

And that's pretty much it for now. I spent all day fighting with the Neverwinter Nights editor (yes, fighting is probably the most accurate term) so I'm a little out of it at the moment. See you tomorrow!


8/8/2005 Dreaming of dialogue boxes...

Don't forget to vote and see friday's bonus comic. Also, remember that Pebble Version's second anniversary is this thursday. More about that on on wednesday, although I am accepting guest comics and fan art if anyone wants to submit some.

Well, I'll be going on a vacation in about a week and a half which means it's time to buckle down and finish all my final projects. For instance, I spent a considerable portion of sunday working on an interface design mock-up. Which, essentially means spending a heck of a lot of time in Photoshop making menus, dialogue boxes, and the like. Fortunately, I'm nearly done with that one. Of course, the next project involves Neverwinter Nights and, considering past experiences, I may be better off making those dialogue boxes. And that's only the beginning. Sigh... I hate finals week.


8/5/2005 Worst. Thursday. Ever.

As usual, there's a new bonus comic so please vote! There's a new ROM as well. Something else is new as well, check out the links page. No, it's not a link. See the new banners I made for Pebble Version? There's one for Brendan and May and one for Xain and Cali. You'll even get a glimpse at some of the pokémon they'll be getting later on. Hope you like them! And remember that the 11th is PV's second anniversary and if you want to send any fan-art or guest comics for the event that would be great.

If you've been reading this news posts you probably know that I'm in the middle of finals for my summer semester of college. There's lots of work to be done so I decided to spend most of thursday working on some of my final projects. I just had to go to one class then swing by the post office. Hardly an exciting day but at least I'd be getting a lot done, at least that was the plan. Class went by normally enough then I swung by my apartment to pick up a few things and headed for the post office. Got there, waited in line, mailed my stuff, everything was going just as I'd expected. Until I tried to start my car... Seems it decided to just die during the twenty minutes I was in the post office and I hadn't left the lights on or anything. Fortunately, I have AAA so I give them a call. Unfortunately, there's nothing nearby except the post office, I have nothing to do, no water, and it's nice and hot outside. An hour later someone arrives and trys to jump my car. It turns over but won't start so he calls a tow truck. An hour and a half later the tow truck finally arrives. He tries to jump my car and it works (why couldn't it work the first time?). He drives off, I try to drive away only to find that the car is stuck in park. After several minutes of jiggling things around in an attempt to get it moving, I decide to try restarting the car, which promptly died again. So I make another call and wait forty five minutes for the tow truck to come back. He jumps my car again and tries the shift which naturally works perfectly for him. Now that the car is actually working, for the moment, I drive to the repair shop and hang around for another hour while they put in a new battery. In the end, my car was fixed and it didn't cost me all that much but nearly the entire day was wasted as I spent somewhere around five hours bored out of my mind and getting nothing done whatsoever. Great, just great...

Enjoy the weekend people!


8/3/2005 Lots of stuff

Where to start... First off, new ROM. Secondly, Pebble Version will be two years old on the 11th. If any of you want to submit guest comics, fan art, etc for the event feel free to do so. Also, I'm having a bit of a voting drive to see just how high we can get Pebble Version this month on the top 100 so please vote everyday! Speaking of voting, Buzz Comix has returned from the abyss. I've looked over the new Buzz Comix and I have to admit, it has some pretty cool features but that doesn't mean I'm just gonna switch back. My current plan is to remain with Top Web Comics this month and keep an eye on Buzz Comix to see how it does. Then, come September, I'll decide if I want to stick with TWC or return to BC. If you have any opinions on the matter, please let me know.

On a sad note, one of my favorite web comics, A Modest Destiny, is coming to an end. Fortunately, Sean hopes to continue the story in some sort of off-line form. But, either way, I'll still going to miss it. The original pixel art was great as were the humor and stories. Goodbye AMD, and Sean, good luck with whatever you do next.

One more thing for now. To all drivers in the Phoenix area, contrary to popular belief, there actually is a speed limit on highways 10 and 17. It's 55 miles per hour. That's was all those signs that say 55 mean. That's the maximun speed, not the minimum speed. As such, you can get away with 60. 65 is pushing it a little, and 70 is way too fast. And, if 70 is too fast then it follows by simple logic that 75, 80, and 90 are even worse. Now most of you will probably say that if you follow the speed limit you'll never make it to where ever you're going in time. Allow me to propose a simple solution. Leave five or ten minutes earlier and stop being a safety hazard.

See you friday!


8/1/2005 August...

I don't think I've ever shone the characters this small before. Of course, their size in relation to the dock and boat isn't consistant with the game where the boat is barely larger than Brendan, but it looked too weird when I did it that way so I made the sizes a bit more realistic. Anyway, the new bonus comic is finally up (sorry for the delay) so make sure you vote. Meanwhile, there weren't enough donations in July to get and bonus content during August but that doesn't mean september has to be the same. If the donation bar reaches only $25 you guys will get a month worth of commentary on old Pebble Version strips and a chapter of ROM the Novel. At $50 you get all that and five new Pebble Version strips every week for the entire month! $75 also adds a new Zelda page (the old ones can be found on the Extras page) and at $100 or more, a special mystery gift.

One last piece of site news... The 11th will mark Pebble Version's second anniversary. That's right, two years. I could reminesce a bit but I think I'll save that for the actual anniversary. Meanwhile, if you feel like celebrating feel free to submit fan art, guest comics, and the like. Also, vote! Pebble Version ended July at a very respectable #24 on Top Web Comics but it sure would be cool to go higher... Can Pebble Version make the top 10, or at least the top 20? We'll never know unless we try.

As for me, I'm finally caught up on things (more or less). It's gonna be a busy couple of weeks with all the projects I need to work on but nothing I haven't done before. Look for actual rants to resume later this week.


7/29/2005 Curse you Neverwinter Nights!

Really sorry but today's bonus comic is going to have to be delayed until monday. On the bright side, there's a new ROM comic. I'm wearing a tie in it. Now that's something you don't see often. I never wear ties if I can avoid it.

If you want to know the reason for the delay, blame Neverwinter Nights. I'm leading a team doing a NWN mod in one of my college classes. But a due date got moved up a little forcing me to do a marathon session of design work which involved taking everything the others have made so far, combining it, and adding some key events and scripting. I spent wednesday evening and nearly all of thursday working on it and it worked, for a while... For example there was that one way door that consistantly worked wrong on every single setting. And the guy that mysteriously immune to the death command. Then there are the perfectly good scripts that refuse to work for no reason what-so-ever and just drive me insane because I can't find any way to get them to activate... I hate the NWN editor and, judging from the way it loves screwing up my mods, the feeling is mutual. I am never taking a job that requires scripting of any kind. NEVER! I don't mind building areas, modeling, or art and I enjoy writing and overall design but scripting and/or coding... Anyway, suffice it to say that I had a pretty crappy day and really need a break over the weekend. But it's not going to be much of a break. With final projects coming up I'm going to have a couple of really busy weeks...

Well, I'd better go. See you monday.


7/27/2005 Just what I needed...

There's a new ROM up and a new link on the link exchange page. And that's about all I have to say... Well, one more thing. If you live in or near Tempe AZ you can buy my book at Changing Hands bookstore. If you can't make it there you can order the book directly from me for $10 (includes shipping if you live in the continental US) which also counts as a Pebble Version donation.

Meanwhile, I'm still behind on PV stuff and something just happened to make this week a whole lot busier. I don't really feel like elaborating but it's a school project. I am not looking forward to the next few days...


7/25/2005 Sigh...

Well, mudkip has finally evolved. I'm not too happy with the dialogue in the fourth panel but I was tired and in a bit of a hurry when I made this strip. Actually, I've been a bit behind on PV strips for the last couple weeks, which is pretty unusual for me. But I needed some new sprites and that took a while and I'm nowhere near done on all the Xain and Cali sprites I need to do...

Well, I should probably get going. Remember to vote! I'll write more on wednesday if I'm caught up.


7/22/2005 I will survive! (if there's a good monk nearby)

There's a new voters' bonus comic up and a new ROM! And remember the donation special, if you donate ten dollars or more you get a free signed copy of my book, Guardian of The Stone! Please note, however, that if you don't live in the continental US, extra shipping charges will apply. And this is in addition to all the usual Pebble Version donation bonus content.

The title of this news post is in relation to Guild Wars. Monks are the healing class of characters (although some do specialize in protection spells or holy attacks instead). My current character is a primary warrior. That means my job usually involves charging into the middle of the battle and keeping the enemies busy so the spell casters can do their thing. Despite my high defense, there's only so much damage I can take, especially when I've got four or five enemies on me at once. I can tank practically forever if I have a good healer backing me up. Without one, well, it isn't pretty. Of course, not all monk players are created equal. I've had some guys that've been able to keep me alive and fighting in even the worst situations. On the other hand, I've also had ones that charge the enemies themselves and get slaughtered and ones that just stand around and heal themselves, leaving everyone else to die. Then there are the parties that have no dedicated healer... Actually, sometimes those work fairly well, proving that the best defense really is a good offense. Speaking of Guild Wars, I just reached the Crystal Desert.

On a completely different topic, I have to wonder what some companies are thinking when they decide where and when to show their commercials on TV. I'm getting really tired of seeing the commercial for that Ultimate Love Songs CD collection when I watch Dragon Ball Z. I can just imagine the marketing meeting that planned that. "I know! Let's advertise this collection during a fighting show!" "Yeah! People watching over the top martial arts fighting shows are bound to enjoy sappy love songs!" Not the smartest idea...

Well, have a good weekend everyone!


7/20/2005 Something different

Nothing much to say about Pebble Version, aside from there being a new ROM comic.

You know, sometimes it's just good to go do something different, even if it's just for an afternoon. Stuff like that is even more important when you're really busy. If I'm working too long without a break my brain tends to bog down. In that condition, things take much longer to do and the quality definately suffers. Taking a break and doing something fun or different really helps clear your head. That's what I did yesterday afternoon and man did I need it. I even picked up Munchkin Dice and some Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Fun!

Not much to talk about at the moment. I've just been getting some work done. See you guys on friday!


7/18/2005 Zzz... Huh, uh what?

First off, the usual Pebble Version stuff. Remember to vote and see friday's bonus comic. Also, I'm running a special. Anyone in the continental US who donates at least $10 to Pebble Version gets a free signed copy of my book (just include your name and shipping address when you donate). Plus, all the money goes toward the usual collection of donation bonuses. Not a bad deal. As for today's strip, was I the only person who found this trainer profile a little disturbing? Certainly seems like an odd thing to say for an introduction.

Well, I got my copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on saturday. Started reading around 8 PM, kept reading until it was really late and I was about to fall asleep, got up early, and read until I finished it. Unfortunately, I can't say much of anything about the plot without spoilers so let's just leave it at this. Harry Potter is my favorite series and have constantly impressed me with extremely good writing, deep interesting characters, and shoking plot twists. Book 6 certainly does not disapoint and, while I was expecting some of the events in it, other caught me completely off guard. If you're a fan of the series you probably already have HBP, or are planning to get it soon, but if you're new to Harry Potter make sure to start with book 1 and go in order or you'll be completely lost. Unfortunately, now I have to wait who knows how long till book 7. Sigh...

Yawn... Tired... Well, it's my fault for not getting enough sleep but it was worth it. Anyway, I have to get some sleep before class (I'm taking an extra semester of college over the summer).


7/15/2005 Glitches, books, and more

There's a new ROM comic up and a new bonus you can see by voting for Pebble Version on Top Web Comics. So far Pebble Version has been doing really well on Top Web Comics, which is great. Too bad there still aren't any donations this month... Remember, donations lead to cool bonus content like extra updates, commentary, and ROM the Novel.

First off, an important Pebble Version Announcement. For those of you who are having trouble with the menu on the archives page, it seems to be due to a glitch in newer versions of Internet Explorer. However, it works fine in Firefox and Netscape browsers and, since they're free, you may want to download one and give it a try. If the archives aren't working for you and you want to stick with IE, you can always click on the first comic or previous comic links then replace the number in the web site address with the number of the strip you want. If the archives work fine for you, feel free to ignore this entire paragraph.

If you've been reading these blurbs you may remember that I'm a writer. So far I've written seven full length fantasy and sci-fo novels. I self published one called Guardian of The Stone (see the books page). Speaking of that, if you'd like to order a copy directly from me, I'm having a sale! $10 for an autographed copy (includes shipping if you live in the continental US). Plus, the money you spend on my book counts as Pebble Version donations! Anyway, I'd really like to find a normal publisher. I had one but they suddenly went out of buisness so it's back to square one for me. I decided to try sending out a different book this time, it's called Bends of Time and it's a fantasy/sci-fi/comedy. Thing is, most people don't realize just how hard it is to get a book published. Even if you've managed to write something good enough to publish, there's a lot of work left to do. Basically, unless you have connections, which I don't, it boils down to lots of tedious letter writer and a heck of a lot luck. Trust me, I've been doing this for years. You send in a short letter and pray that whoever you sent it to actually reads it and sends you something besides a canned reply. And even if they do, the chance of them actually wanting to read a sample of your work is even smaller... As long as I'm talking about this, if any of you know someone who works at either a publishing house or literary agent that handles teen novels please let me know.

Have a good weekend everyone!


7/13/2005 Catching up

The new ROM comic up up. It's been a busy few days but I'm just about caught up on on all my work, school and otherwise. Should only take another day or too. That'll be a relief. Admittedly, if I hadn't taken those web design jobs I'd have a lot more time but I do need the money so I don't mind.

So... I've got nothing... Really. It's been work, work, work lately with an occasional break for reading and video games. I can't think of anything to talk or rant about right now. Maybe friday.


7/11/2005 Love those sundays

Remember to vote to see friday's bonus comic. And if you have a couple extra bucks there's no better way to help support Pebble Version than donating. Ok, enough of that. As promised, Xain and Cali have returned. Not to say too much but they'll be hanging out with Brendan and May for a little while. Not too long of course. They'd kill eachother if they were together for very long.

I am so glad for sundays. After the last few days I really needed to just relax for a little while. Ok, sunday wasn't entirely work free. I had to take a quiz, do a reading assignment, buy groceries, cook some stuff... But I had time to read a bit (still rereading the Harry Potter series in preperation for book 6), sell a bunch of extra items I picked up in Guild Wars (made 5000 gold!), and play some Front Mission 4.

Let's see, what else? Um... Any of you guys watch Monk? The new season just started on USA. While I'm mostly into fantasy and sci-fi these days, I started out as a mystery fan and still like them (my favorite being the original Sherlock Holmes stories). Monk is a little like Holmes in the way he solves crimes but he's also a major neat freak and has just about every phobia in the dictionary, which adds a lot of humor to the show. In a nutshell, Monk is pretty good show and worth checking out even if you're not a big mystery fan. While you're at it, here's some other good mystery series I've been getting into lately. First off is the Kindaichi Case Files, a series of graphic novels that will keep you guessing all the way till the end. Another mystery series from Japan is Detective Conan (aka Case Closed), an entertaining anime series following the adventures of a master dective who was accidently turned into a child by an experimental poison and has to try to find a way to get back to normal while keeping his identity a secret and solving all the other mysteries that keep popping up.

Well, later everyone!


7/8/2005 Munchkins!

The new bonus comic is up so start voting! There's also a new ROM comic up as well as a special ROM related item as well, both of which you can find on the ROM page.

If you've never played Munchkin, you really should. I know I've talked about it before, but recently I've been playing with some friends of mine from school. You need at least three people but it's so much fun. Be sure to look for Munchkin and its various spin offs (Star Munchkin, Munchkin Fu, and Munchkin Bites) at your local game store. There are many games that strike such a great balance between humor, luck, skill, team work, and back stabbing.

Well, I'll have to cut this short as I'm still behind on next week's PV strips. See you monday!


7/6/2005 Lots of work...

New ROM, as usual. So I started working on next week's strips which are going to have Xain and Cali. Problem is, I realized that I'm going to need more poses for them. And, as long as I'm doing a couple new poses I figured I may as well do them all and finish up Xain and Cali's sprite sheets. Then I realized just how long that was going to take. Even worse, I'm stuck using MS Paint since Photoshop, oddly enough, seems to lack a good color replacement tool. So, while Xain and Cali will be around next week, those new poses might not be since I'm not sure I'll have enough time to finish them and I can make do without if I have to.

Well, I could rant about something or I could work on next week's strips. Chances are, you guys would rather have new comics next week than a rant today so I'd better get to work. Later!


7/4/2005 Firework time!

As always, remember to vote and see friday's bonus comic. As you can see, the comic is moving back to Brendan and May for the time being. Although for all the Xain and Cali fans out there, they will be making an appearance in the not too distant future.

Now that that's out of the way, I'd like to wish everyone in the US a happy Fourth of July! To everyone who does not live in the US... Have a happy uh...nothing I guess. I've always liked Independence Day, mainly because of the fireworks. I love fireworks.

I've spent most of my break doing stuff with my parents, which has been fun, although it left me with a little less time to work on things than I'd planned. Oh well, I should have another month or so before school gets really busy. But I did finish my Final Fantasy VII replay (got everything, beat all the optional bosses, etc). Now I just need to decide what to play next (besides Guild Wars), right now I'm thinking Front Mission 4... I also saw War of the Worlds, which was pretty corny and had a lot of blatent plot holes although the special FX weren't bad. Finally got some spending money as well, a good chunk of which I used to get caught up on some of my favorit graphic novel series like Rouroni Kenshin, Beet the Vandal Buster, and Hunter X Hunter.

Hmm... Feels like I should rant on something. Well, maybe wednesday.


7/1/2005 300!!!

300 comics!!! Yay!!! I decided to cellebrate this monumentous event by giving you an early look at an important character. Who is? What does he look like? Will he have the lights fixed in time for his next appearance? All those answers and more will be revealed...eventually. Anyway back to strip 300, Opal (who is also known as Celebifly on the forums) made a little guest strip just for this occassion.

Also, there's a new bonus comic up for everyone who votes. Pebble Version made it all the way to #33 on Top Web Comics during June. Pretty impressive considering it got that it got there in only half a month. I can't wait to see how high PV can get in July so please vote! You can even do it every day if you'd like!

Disapointingly, June was entirely lacking in donations. But hopefully July will be different. Remember, the more donations I get during a given month, the more cool extra content you guys get during the following month including extra updates, commentary, and chapters of ROM The Novel, just to name a few.

As for me, my parents are visiting for a few days and I'm enjoying a much needed break from school. Have a great weekend everyone!


6/29/2005 299...

New ROM today. That's about it as far as site news goes. Just remember to be here friday for Pebble Version's 300th strip.

As for me, I had my last class yesterday and, after I finish up my last couple assignments today, I'll be free to enjoy my break. A few of the things I want to do include finishing my FFVII replay (just need to kill the weapons and beat the game), read more Harry Potter (I'm rereading the series to get ready for the upcoming sixth books), and putting some time into a couple of projects of mine.

I would like to say that whoever designed the Hunt Bar adware/spyware and anyone that puts it on their website should be shot, and stabbed, repeatedly, while being burned by acid. That is one of the worst non-virus programs I've ever run into. Not only does it seriously mess up computers its running on, it is also nearly impossible to get rid of and even manages to start itself up in safe mode. I had to get rid of it once myself and talked my brother through the process yesterday only to find that since I first saw it, it's gotten even harder to remove. In the end we had to go to safe mode, run the anti-spyware program, shut two two background processes that managed to start themselves up in safe mode and proved particularily difficult to terminate, and finally manually search for and delete all the remaining files. Ugh...

Well, that's it for now. See you friday!


6/27/2005 Just a couple more days...

Pebble Version's 300th strip is coming up this friday! What's going to happen? Well, you'll just have to wait and see... Meanwhile, remember to vote for Pebble Version on Top Web Comics, especially if you haven't seen friday's bonus comic yet. Donating would be nice too... All that aside, there's a new ROM comic up and a new ROM bonus comic.

I get a short mid-term break from wednesday thru monday and it can't come soon enough. Between school and a couple other things I've been working almost non-stop. I haven't even got to play and video games since last wednesday... I did get to take a short break yesterday and hang out with some friends, which was fun even if it didn't help my workload any. Fortunately, the end is in sight and that's something I'm glad for. I really need a break, even if it is only for a few days... I'll talk more later, after I finish all this work.


6/24/2005 Busy weekend

There's a new bonus comic up for everyone who votes. So please click the banner or button. Pebble Version is already in the top 50 on Top Web Comics, pretty good for one week. Can't wait to see how we'll do next month. Anyway, in case you didn't know, the old bonus comics can be found on the Extras page. In other PV news, just one week until the 300th strip...

My school had been having a Tech Forum this week. Basically they get various people who work in fields like network security, game and software design, special FX, and the like to come and speak. It's very interesting but also kinda time consuming, which means I'll probably have to spend most of the weekend finishing up my midterm homework. On the up side, I got to spend thursday evening haging out with some friends afterwards, which was a lot of fun.

Well, I'd better get going. See you monday!


6/22/2005 Normal stuff

Pebble Version is quickly climbing the ranks on TWC so please keep voting! Donating would be nice to if you have some cash to spare. Oh yes, be sure to check out the new ROM comic (the second one this week).

Been watching a lot of anime lately. I just finished watching the Arc the Lad complete collection. For those of you who've played the Arc the Lad video games, the anime is based on the events of Arc the Lad 2. For those who haven't, ATL 2 follows the adventures of Elk, Arc, and their respective friends as they fight to save the world from evil. By itself, ATL is a decent series although I wouldn't say it's particularily amazing. But, since I'm a fan of the game, I have to compare it to that. The first few episodes follow the game pretty closely but the further the anime gets, the more it changes. First off, the game had a lot of main characters. To simplify things for the anime many of those characters have greatly reduced roles and a few were cut entirely, which was kinda disapointing. Many have had their personalities changed as well. As the story goes on you'll notice quite a lot of changes compared to the game. There's even a new main villian and the ending has been changed significantly as well (although I never was crazy about ATL2's ending). The american voice acting isn't bad although the translation isn't exactly consistant with the game's translation so some of the names have been changed slightly. The animation is ok although Poco looks about ten years too young and Kukuru ten years too old. Overall, the ATL anime isn't bad, but the game is far better and there are plenty of better anime out there as well so I wouldn't recommend buying the anime unless you find a really good deal.

In other anime news, there's playing the classic Dragon Ball Z on Cartoon Network again (weeknights right before Adult Swim). DBZ is a great show, especially when it comes to over the top action, and if you haven't seen it yet this is a good time to start since they just started replaying it from the beginning on monday so you haven't missed much yet. It looks like they're doing the unedited version this time too. Well, I haven't seen enough yet to tell if it's completely unedited but at very least it has less editing than the version they used to play.

Later everyone!


6/20/2005 Sales, the good, the bad, and the cheap

If you missed friday's post, I've finally signed up for Top Web Comics. Which means you can now vote again and see new Pebble Version Blooper Reel strips every week. Just click the TWC banner or button to vote and confirm it to see the bonus comic. New bonus comics will be added every friday but you can vote once a day and, since Pebble Version got a late start this month, it'll need a lot of votes to catch up. In other site news, Shauni is trying to do two new ROM comics this week. The first of which is up.

Sales are great because you get stuff for cheaper. On the down side, they also tempt you to spend money because stuff is cheaper. I stopped at Fry's Electronics the other day because they were selling off their extra copies of the Guild Wars preorder disk (which gives you a special item) for a dollar so I figured I may as well pick one up. While I was there I happened to walk past a rack of games that were on sale, 2 for $30. I couldn't resist taking a look and spotted several games that I'd been wanting. I didn't really need any new games (I already have a couple I'm working on) but it's hard to resist a good deal, especially when you're actually in the store instead of just looking at an add in the newspaper, which I rarely get down here. So... I ended up with Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and Front Mission 4. I have a couple things left to do in my Final Fantasy VII replay before I start on them though.

Another thing I did over the weekend was see Howl's Moving Castle, the new Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, etc) movie. Oddly enough, Miyazaki didn't actually write this story. Instead it's based on an book by an author from the UK. Quick story summary... Sophie is an ordinary girl in a sort of 17th or 18th century British fantasy world. She's kinda a loner always thought of herself as rather plane. A chance encounter with the flamboyant wizard Howl rouses the jealously of the Wicked Witch of the Waste who see Sophie as a rival and turns her into an old woman. Wanting to find a way back to normal, Sophie leaves town and ends up on Howl's magical moving castle where she meets his young apprentice, a goofy fire demon, and a helpful scarecrow. Unfortunately, a war has just started with the neighboring kingdom and Howl is called upon to help fight by turning himself into a monster (something that could cost him his very humanity). The animation is spectacular, the voice acting is quite good although I haven't seen the Japanese version so I can't compare the two, and it's very interesting to see how the main characters change over time, often ending up far different from your initial impressions. The ending, however, it a little weak. I'm not sure if the book itself was that way or if it's just the movie but several rather important things that happen are either explained poorly or not at all. Basically everything work s out, but you aren't exactly sure why. Even so, Howl's Moving Castle is an excellent movie and definately worth seeing even if you're not a Miyazaki fan.


6/17/2005 Top Web Comics

Six more strips till 300... And I still haven't decided what I'm going to do for it. As you can see by the new button and banner, I've finally switched over to Top Web Comics. Like Buzz Comix, you can use the TWC button or banner and vote up to once per day. And when you vote you get to see a special Pebble Version Blooper Reel comic! It's the middle of the month so PV will be starting off at a bit of a disadvantage so please vote a whole lot to make up for it!

Well, setting up that TWC account took up all the time I was going to spend on a rant so I'll see you all on monday!


6/15/2005 Camera, camera, where's all the cameras?

And the skitty have been caught. Now back to the plot. Meanwhile, I'm pleased to announce that this week's ROM comic is up.

I'm also pleased to announce that I finally have a digital camera of my own, which is good since my brother wanted his back. Big thanks to my grandparents for giving me the money as an extremely late birthday and holiday present. While the end results were good, actually finding an getting it were a major pain. Now, I know a lot about computers so there's no way I'd trust the advice of some sales person so I pulled up my favorite website, read some reviews, and wrote down about ten different cameras that looked promising. My mom and I decided to get a camera locally instead of over the internet. After all, Pheonix is a big city and there's tons of electronic stores nearby. So I take my list to the giant Fry's Electronics by my school only to find that they don't have any of the cameras on my list. Unlike with many other types of electronics, there's no one brand that always makes good cameras. Just because Brand A's XZ-PSQ9000 model is good doesn't mean their ZA-T8500 is any good. And yes, most cameras actually do have names like that. Would it kill the companies to give them real names instead of long model numbers? Anyway, I went home, looked up some of the cameras that they had at Fry's, found a couple good ones, and went back to Fry's... Only to find out that all the good cameras in my price range were out of stock... Note to Fry's: if something is out of stock either take it out of the display or put up a sign saying that it's out of stock instead of wasting peoples' time. Since the weekend was coming up, my mom and I waited till sunday, bought a paper, and checked to see if any good cameras were on sale. Luckily enough, Staples just happened to have a very good deal on one of the cameras on my list. So we drove to the nearest Staples that morning and...they were out of stock too. But, on the up side, the guy there offered to sell me the floor model for 10% off. Plus compact flash cards were on sale too so in the end I managed to get my camera (a Cannon PowerShot S500) and memory card and get a good deal on them too. Maybe I'll start putting more pictures on the site now.



6/13/2005 I need a title?

Looks like Brendan still hasn't quite perfected the fine art of pokéball throwing. Will he ever stop screwing up? Eh, maybe.

Although the banners are back up, Buzz Comix itself still isn't working. FYI: I am currently planning to switch over to Top Web Comics. I've just been too busy lately to do it. Unless Buzz Comix suddenly starts working again, you can expect the switch to take place sometime over the next week or so. For now, remember that donating this month can lead to all sorts of cool stuff next month like more commentary, the second chapter of ROM the Novel, and five comics a week instead of three so if you have a few extra bucks please consider tossing them my way.

Today is Shavuot, which you can google if you don't know what it is, but I really don't have much to say about it. My mom will be leaving tomorrow so, by wednesday I hope to be caught up on things once more and get my schedule back on track. In other news, I actually have a topic to rant about now. But I don't have time to do so now so you'll have to wait until wednesday. See you then!


6/10/2005 Zzzzzzzzzz...........

This week's ROM comic is up. The delay seemed to be an e-mail glitch this time around. Hopefully ROM updates will resume their usual wednesday schedule next week.

My guests are leaving today. All except my mom who is going to stay a few more days. All in all it was a nice visit but it's left me a bit behind on homework, the place is a mess, and I'm really tired for some reason. Too tired to type any more. See you monday!


6/8/2005 Crowded...

So, Brendan did know what he was doing. Looks like May isn't much happier with her slakoth than Xain was with his though. And, if you haven't figured it out yet, I don't like slakoth. I mean really, what's the point of a pokémon that can only move every other turn. I guess it's second form (vigoroth) isn't so bad but its third evolution (slaking) brings back the uselessness. Ok, it's not completely useless, you can always skill swap it. But without skill swap there's no good reason to use one.

Meanwhile, we're drawing close to Pebble Version's 300th strip. But that presents a problem, I need to think up something special to do for the 300th strip. Hmm... As for ROM, there's a new version of last week's strip up. It's essentially the same thing only this time my name is spell correctly. Yay! In regards to this week's strip, I haven't gotten it yet so hopefully friday. Although, I can't say if it's just late or if it was a problem with my e-mail, which was acting up earlier.

In other news, the combination of school work and Guild Wars is keeping me pretty busy. I really like Guild Wars but it's a bit too easy to lose track of time when you're playing and get into that mentality where you just want to do one more quest or find that one last item before you stop. You just start playing and poof, there goes the afternoon. I need to be more careful in that regard. Also, my mom, grandparents, and cousin are out here visiting for a couple days. It's nice to see them but having five people in my apartment is kinda cramped.

Well, I don't have time to write any more so that's it for now. See you friday!


6/5/2005 Guild Wars

Did Brendan bring out the wrong pokémon or does he really have a plan? Guess you'll find out on wednesday. Remember to donate if you want lots of cool extra content in July. Now for a review.

At first glance you might think Guild Wars is just another massively multiplayer RPG but you couldn't be more wrong. It makes a lot of changes to the genre. And best of all, there's no monthly fees. Once you buy the game on-line is totally free, forever!
Story: MMOs have always been more about the gameplay than the story and that's one tradition that Guild Wars doesn't depart from. Although there is a decent story that you follow as you progress through the main quests, you're going to keep coming back to Guild Wars for the gameplay not the story. In a nutshell, the Guild Wars had been raging for years, trapping the kingdoms in an endless war that few wanted. Then the Charr, a beastlike fire worshipping race, launched a sudden assault. The kingdoms were forced to band together to fight them and for a time it looked like they might win... The game starts in the kingdom of Ascalon which has so far succeeded in repelling the Charr. But, before long, the Charr use a devastating new weapon and burns Ascalon to the ground. This event is known as the searing. The game picks up two years later. Ascalon has been reduced to a wasteland as has much of the world but the kingdom still continues its battle against the Charr.
Graphics: From the forests to the catacombs to the wastelands Guild Wars look really really good. And it even manages to do so with pretty modest system requirements. It runs great on my two year old latptop, although not at its highest quality, and the graphics are gorgeous, especially for an on-line game. The characters and monsters animate nicely and the the variety of magic spells are suitably impressive as well.
Sound: The sound effects are suitable if not incredible. The music is good but rather sparse and can be hard to notice at times. There isn't any speech aside from an occasional grunt or scream during battle.
Gameplay: GW actually reminds me a bit of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. The main game consists of going on quests given you by various NPCs. Quests can involve fetching items, escorting NPCs, killing certain monsters, delivering messages, and all that kinda standard stuff. Completing quests earns you things like experience points, gold, items, and new skills. The game world you'll be travasing is huge, fortunately, you can use your map to instantly warp to any towns, cities, and outposts you've previous visited. One of the biggest draws in any MMO is taking your character and building him or her into a powerhouse. Guild Wars uses a job system. There are eight jobs and you can choose a primary job and after completing a certain quest early on, a secondary job. There are six jobs which makes for 30 combinations. And how you combine your jobs matter. For example, you can only wear the armor of your primary job and when taken as primary, each job gives you a special stat. The jobs are Warrior (the standard strong melee fighter), Elementist (standard black mage), Monk (standard white mage), Ranger (bow using hunters who can train pets to fight alongside them), Necromancer (they can hex opponents, raise zombies to fight for them, etc), and Mesmer (big on hexing opponents and screwing up enemy spell casters). All the jobs are balanced incredibly well so there's no ultimate job or combo and each job as 75 unique skills. So you have the potential to teach a character a full 150 skills. But... You can only carry eight with you at any given time (you can switch in towns), which makes for a lot of strategy. Weapons are mostly won from monsters but can be customized to suit your liking. Armor is forged from raw materials that you can salvage from a variety of other items. You can also dye your armor different colors, if you can track down dye, which is rather rare. Gameplay takes place in two areas. Town areas and dungeon areas. Towns are pretty self explanitory. They're good places to shop, rest, trade with other players, and look for people to quest with. To keep them from becoming over crowded, towns are broken up into multiple copies called districts. Each is identical except for the players inside it. But, if you want to meet a friend, changing districts is as easy as opening a menu and clicking on the district you want to go to. Dungeon areas are everything that's not a town. But dungeon areas aren't shared. Each time you enter a dungeon you're put in a unique copy. The only player characters in it are you and your party, which eliminates, camping, item stealing, etc. Even your party members can't steal items since the game automatically divies up all the money and loot that enemies drop. And traveling in groups is very important, especially after you reach the post-searing part of the game. Enemies start to travel in large groups and the chances of a single character surviving are rather low. Parties (depending on where you are in the game) can range from 2-8 characters. The best way to play is with a group of friends but you can usually find some random people who need to so the same quest or even grab some NPC characters to help (although they're rather weak). Naturally, gaining enough EXP raises you a level. But levels aren't everything. They give you more HP and some points you can use to learn new skills and pump up one of your stats (which mostly effect how powerful various skills you use are). And, with the level cap set at 20, you don't need to spend forever leveling. Combat follows the traditional PC RPG style of click on enemy and watch your character and the enemy trade blows but GW makes it most interactive since you'll be using skills almost constantly throughout most battles. If you die, no big deal. Chances are someone in your party can revive you. If the whole party gets killed you'll be warped to the nearest revive point, which usually isn't a big problem. Although dying does impart a penalty to your max health and energy (HP and MP, which automatically regenerate over time) this penalty can be removed by killing enough enemies or by going to any town. And, while players can't normally attack each other, there are a number of arenas were you can do PVP team battles if you wish. You can even create a level 20 PVP only character right off the bat although it'll be lacking in skills and items until you unlock them with a normal character in the main game. The last thing I want to mention is Guilds. At some point during GW you'll almost certainly either join a guild or start your own. Guilds are a collection of people (1-100). Your guild is often where you'll find people to play with. It's always easy to see who in your guild is on-line and send private messages to your guild only. Many guilds also compete in worldwide PVP ladder tournaments. Each guild (guilds are pretty cheap to start) starts out with a name. But that's not all. After investing a little gold, a guild can design its own cape that all members wear. Really rich guilds can even buy guild halls that only their memebers can access.
Overall: Guild Wars isn't your average MMO. While it may not have quite the same massive crowded feel as the others, it fixes most of the problamatic gameplay issues that are often associated with them. Even better, it's just fun to play no matter what your job or level. All in all, it's very balanced, very addicting, and will keep you coming back for more without forcing you to spend hours upon hours leveling or looking for that must have ultra-rare item. Even if you've never played an MMO, GW is a great (not to mention cheap) game to start with. It's easy to pick up with lots of strategy later on. If you have friends that are that play, or plan to, by all means grab a copy and get ready for many hours of fun coop questing. If you don't have friends who play, get it anyway. Join a guild, you're sure to meet people. And with no monthly fees how can you go wrong?


6/3/2005 Can't stop laughing...

This week's ROM comic is up, although Shauni misspelled my name in it. Not sure if she meant to do that or not. Either way, that's now how it's spelled. Speaking of ROM, if you didn't see wednesday's announcement, the first chapter of ROM The Novel is available on the Extras page. And, since Buzz Comix is still down, no bonus comic. Once I have some extra time, I plan to look into switching over to Top Web Comics, unless Buzz Comix manages to get its act together first. Also for those of you that missed wedneday's news post, due to lack of donations, Pebble Version is reverting back to the old monday, wednesday, friday update schedule.

Let's see, I'm still playing Guild Wars and beginning to get into the whole party thing. Now if I could just get some of my friends to start playing... I'll try to do a review of it in the coming week. As for the laughing, I'm watching a really good Whose Line episode.

Hmm... I should rant about something. And I would, except I really need to work on next week's PV strips, not to mention my homework. I've got a few projects that I should start on.

Have a great weekend! And look for Keen Anor on Guild Wars!


6/1/2005 School time

Due to the lack of donations in May, Pebble Version will go back to updating on monday, wednesday, and friday. No bonus content during June either. Sorry. Shauni said that this week's ROM comic would be late so nothing today but it should be ready in time for friday's update. On the bright side, I finally finished the first chapter of ROM the novel. But that's barely the beginning. Things don't get really interesting until chapter 2. Anyway, chapter 1 is on the Extras page and and more chapters will be written every month the donation guage reaches at least $25.

Well, my little school break is over so back to work for me... I went to Big Surf yesterday, one of Pheonix's three water parks (two of which are pretty close to my apartment). I had fun although as far as water parks go it was pretty average. Nothing wrong with it, just nothing special either. Then again, after Water World in Denver, it would take something pretty incredible to impress me. But my new season pass gets me in all three water parks, which is pretty cool. And I heard that Sunsplash is suppossed to be better so I'll have to check it out next.

I also got a bit further in Guild Wars. Still not far enough to give the game an actual review though. Anyway, I just made it to the post-searing. The pre-searing was fun and I did most of the quests but I was a mostly solo event and I'm ready to get on with the main part of the game. From what I've heard, most of the quests in the post-searing require multi-character parties to survive and I'm not really interested in hiring a bunch of computer controlled henchmen so I'm looking for people to quest with (not sure if I want to join a guild yet or not). Look me up (or e-mail or check the PV forums or whatever) if you're interested. My character is Keen Anor and I'm a Warrior/Elementist. Right now I'm in Old Ascalon and will probably be there for a while looking for quests and people to do them with.

Well, I got stuff that needs to be done. See you friday!


5/30/2005 Giving it a try

If you want to get any donations in for May you've only got a couple days left to do it. Not much else to say about Pebble Version except that Brendan and May will be leaving the tunnel soon, which is good cause I've gotten pretty tired of that green overlay. Speaking of green, Pokémon Emerald is out. I've never gotten any of the 'special edition' pokémon games since I already spent so much time on the first versions that I just wasn't interested in doing it again. Still, after reading up on Emerald on-line, I have to admit that it does have a lot of cool editions. Now why couldn't they have just put those in Ruby/Sapphire to begin with? Emerald has some interesting story changes and new areas but, since I don't plan on getting it, those change will probably not effect PV. Speaking of Pokémon, I wonder if Diamond and Pearl (when they come out) will let you trade in Pokémon from the old versions. I kinda doubt it. Seems like a good time for them to reset it, again. I was pretty disapointed when I couldn't trade my pokémon from Gold into Ruby. Catching all 250 was fun the first time and I didn't mind catching the new ones but I didn't really feel like catchin all the old ones again. And I really miss my old battle team. What I'd like to see is Diamon and Pearl is all 386 (or whatever number they're at then) pokémon catchable between both versions and some sort of on-line mode. If you think about it, Pokémon would make an awesome MMO.

Speaking of MMOs, I finally decided to get Guild Wars (I've been thinking about it for the last month and Best Buy had it on sale so...). I just got it and I've only played a couple hours so far so I can't say much about the game yet. Right now I'm a level 4 warrior (I'm gonna set my secondary class to elementist soon) running around doing sub-quests in the pre-searing world. I'll probably finish that up and move on to the post-searing world (the main part of the game) in another day or two. I've never played an MMO before (the monthly fees being one of the main reasons) so I'm curious to see how the how coopertive questing and stuff goes. Although I haven't done much of that yet. Most of the pre-searing stuff seems to be set up pretty nicely for a single player. But, if anyone has Guild Wars and doesn't mind questing with a new player feel free to look me up. My character is named Keen Anor and I'm be glad for some help on all those quests.

As for the waterpark, I'm going tomorrow. Should be less crowded then. Besides, tomorrow's supposed to be hotter anyway.


5/27/2005 Four day weekend!!!

No donations so far for this month. It's looking like the update schedule will be reverting to monday, wednesday, friday in June. On a completely different topic, if you couldn't see the new ROM comic on wednesday it is working now.

If you haven't seen Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith yet you should. It finally completes the circle and perfectly connects the two trilogies. The action is incredible, especially the two final battles. The story is good too although it lacks any real surprises. If you've seen the other Star Wars movies you already know how things have to end. That said, the movie ends on a bit of a downer but that's to be expected. Even so, you can't help but hope that Aniken will do the right thing and resist the call of the dark side. Anyway, Revenge of the Sith is an excellent movie and a must see for anyone who ever liked Star Wars.

Oh yeah, I mentioned four day weekend didn't I? Monday is Memorial Day which means no school! Even better, there's some sort of staff meeting on tuesday so I get it off as well. This should give me a chance not only to catch up on stuff (I've been a little behind ever since the E3 trip) but also to check out one of the nearby water parks (it's been getting pretty hot here). Yay! See you monday!


5/25/2005 Time to get advanced!

So, it's time to introduce a new battle system to Pebble Version. Some people will continue to use the traditional battle style (mostly random trainers) but the more important battles will be conducted using the advanced rules. In case you wanted to know, the advanced rules are based off the Pokémon Adventures manga. Basically, battles take place in real time (no more turns) and pokémon can move around, dodge, and all that good stuff that the games won't let you do. Also, in PA the trainers put themselves in the middle of the battle. Because of this, they often become a target, especially when fighting with the bad guys. It really makes the battles much more intense and exciting and would have been awesome if they'd done it in the anime. It really what pokémon battling would be like in real life. Anyway, as far as Pebble Version goes, the advanced battle rules won't play a huge roll in the comic immediatly but they'll get more and more popular (and the battles will get much fancier) as the story goes on. Let's see... There's a new ROM comic up. As for ROM the Novel, I will have it done before the end of the month, really. The E3 trip screwed up my schedule a bit but I'm nearly caught back up and I get a couple days off for Memorial Day next week so I'll have time one way or another.

Hmm... With Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistance the Mega Man X Collection coming out later this year (both of which I'll definately be getting) it looks like it's time for me sell off a few of my old games. MGS3 Subsistance will have the complete version of MGS3 Snake Eater plus enough extra stuff to warrant a purchase and MMXC will include all the MMX games I have plus a lot of the ones I don't. Unfortunately, since I rarely trade in my games (I keep all the ones I like), I have no idea where I can go to get the best deal. If any one has a suggestion e-mail and let me know.


5/24/2005 E3 Report Part 2

If you missed the first part of my E3 report just scroll down the page to see it. Today I'll be talking about some of the more interesting games and systems I saw, organized by platform.

The Xbox is the only current generation system I don't have so I wasn't very interested in the games that are coming out for it. However, I did take some time to check out the Xbox 360. It's certainly a lot sleeker than the original Xbox and the controller has been modified a bit so it's more similiar to the PS2 controller which, from my limited experience with Xbox controllers, seems like a good thing. The games on display were certainly a couple steps above what we're seeing now and there were a lot of characters on screen. Overall though, it really didn't look that much better than what you could do with a good gaming PC. The graphics were nice, I won't deny it, but they didn't totally wow me either. Like all the other systems, the 360 will have wireless networking and internet gaming. The standard version of Xbox live will be free but you'll have to pay if you want all the good stuff.

The PS3 wasn't playable but there was a video of tech demos and I got to see the system itself. The system looked a lot like the PS2 only shinier and smoother. Ditto with the controller. In most of the pictures I've seen the controller looks to have a bit of a boomerang shape but, in real life, it's actually pretty normal looking. The controllers will be wireless, the PS3 will have a wireless internet enabled gaming network, etc. As for the graphics, I can only judge by the tech demos but wow were they amazing. A lot of the scenes approached photo-realism and the sheer amount of characters and details was unbelievable. If the actual games look anywhere near that good the 360 doesn't stand a chance (graphically speaking I mean). But the PS2 is far from dead. Here's a few of the cool games I saw coming in the near future.

Kingdom Hearts 2: I'm a big fan of the first Kingdom Hearts which blended characters from Disney movies and Final Fantasy games. Kingdom Hearts 2 continues the story two years after the first KH (play the GBA game KH Chain of Memories to find out what happened in between). Little of the story itself has been revealed so I'll talk about the game play. Like before, you'll be visiting the worlds from various Disney movies. Some worlds from the first KH are making a return in KH2 including Aladin's Agrabah, Herculese's Athens, and Nightmare Before Christmas's Halloween Town. Three new worlds have been revealed as well, they'll be based on Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, and Pirates of the Carribean. There's probably lots of others as well. Onto the gameplay. The demo had a level with Sora, Donald, Goofy, and FFX's Auron fighting their way out of Hade's lair with Cerberus waiting at the end. Sora controllers about the same as he did in the previous game although he has some new tricks. If he gets knocked back he can recover by performing a quick flip jump before hitting the ground. The triangle button is now used to perform a variety of context specific actions. For example, he can use it to perform combination attacks with Auron and Mulan if he's standing near them. It can also be used to dodge certain attacks or stun bosses if your timing is right. The other demos were from the Mulan level. The first has SOra and the gang battling through a heartless infested village before finally getting set upon by an army of a couple hundred heartless. Yes, a couple hundred. It's one heck of a battle and it's a good time to use another of Sora's new powers, transformation. Only one transformation was available in the demo. Called Valor form, it gave Sora a red outfit, second keyblade, new charging attack, and a significant power boost. However, the transformed state drained Sora's new focus guage and when it ran out he transformed back to normal. The Mulan boss battle was cool as well. Sora had to use wind currents to propel himself into the air to talk on a flying dragon. Overall, KH2 looks to have an awesome story and the gameplay has a number of useful tweaks, some very inventive bosses, and new worlds to explore. I can't wait!

Shadow of the Collossus: Formally Wanda and the Collossus, this very different looking game is made by the guys behind the excellent cult classic Ico. Once again the game takes a fairy tale approach to story telling. To save the girl he loves, the hero must find and slay the collossus that are roaming the land. Riding a horse and armed with a sword, you have to hunt down the towering giants, find their weak points, and figure out how to defeat them. Overall, the emphasis is more on puzzle solving then combat. There was only one collossus in the demo but so far the game is looking to be a very different and immersive adventure much like Ico before it. If you're looking for a change of pace from the usual action games that fill most systems' libraries then keep an eye on this one.

DBZ Budokai Tenkaichi: I love Budokai 3 but the imcomplete build of Tenkaichi at E3 took DBZ style fighting to the next level. While B3 played like a 2D fighter, BT is full 3D with large destroyable environments, free flying, and lots of new characters. The demo was missing a lot of stuff like ultimate attacks and transformations but the the gameplay was fun and really looked and felt like DBZ. At long last you can smash your enemey into a mountain then fire a whole bunch of energy blasts into the dust cloud. If you're a fan of DBZ you won't want to miss this.

Okami: Done by Capcom's Clover Studios (the guys behind Viewtiful Joe), Okami puts you in the roll of a wolf god who needs to save the world from evil. So what's so special? First off the gorgous graphics which are styled after traditional Japanese paintings, giving the game a very unique look. And, to go along with the painting theme, you can pause the game at any time, pick up a caligraphy brush, and paint right onto the game screen. This has a lot of uses including drawing paths over rivers and slashing enemies in two. Okami seems to be a bit slower paced than Viewtiful Joe with more emphasis on puzzle solving but the unique gameplay elements and excellent graphics are sure to make it worth your while.

Square-Enix had a bunch of new RPGs to show off besides Kingdom Hearts including Dragon Warrior VIII (an excellent looking traditional RPG), Radiata Stories (gameplay reminds me of Star Ocean for some reason), among others and is working on a .Hack style project called Code Age that looks quite promising.

Nintendo had a really strong showing, especially where the DS was concerned. Unfortunately, the revolution wasn't playable. There weren't even any tech demos or controllers on display. But it will have a free wireless network, can play DVDs, and is backwards compatible with Gamecube games. Even better, you can download Nintendo's entire library of NES, SNES, and N64 games! Now for the games...

Mario Kart DS: If you've played any of the 3D Mario Karts you know what to expect here. What makes this game special is its wireless multi player gaming which can be played over the internet using 802.11b wireless networks. They had it running on the show floor and it was great. It's certainly going to be a must for DS owners.

New Super Mario Brothers: Only the competitive multiplayer mode was playable but it was great to finally see a new 2D Mario platformer. Althought it played mostly like the old games, Mario has some new tricks asa well like coop mode, new power ups, and the ability to grow as big as the screen. As much as I like the 3D Mario games, it's the old 2D ones that are my favorites and I'm really excited about this one.

Other DS games included Mario and Luigi 2 (this time Mario and Luigi travel back in time and team up with their baby selves, looks every bit as funny and entertaining as the first one), Kirby Canvas Curse (kinda like Yoshi's Touch and Go but a full game, interesting...), Nintendogs (I'm not a big fan of virtual pets but a lot of people really liked it), Metroid Prime Hunters (it's Metroid Prime, need I say more?), and many many others. If you don't have a DS yet this is the time to get them.

The Gameboy Micro is absolutely tiny and very sleek looking. On the other hand, it's just another Gameboy Advance. There's already the regular GBA and the GBA SP. I really don't see any reason for a third version but whatever.

On the Gamecube The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess took center stage. Looks like Link can become a warewolf now. Unfortunately, that part of the game wasn't included in the demo. The new Zelda controlled just like the other 3D Zeldas although Link has a nice new downward stab attack and he can use his sword while riding a horse. Horseback riding seems to be a major focus in the game with lots of large open environments and a cool boss fight with Link and Epona chasing down a boss riding a giant boar. Part of a dungeon was playable as well. And had Link teaming up with monkeys. He also picked up the Gale Boomerang which, aside from being like the regular boomerang, can be charged up to create a small tornado which can blow stuff around and even pick up and carry items. Between my time with it and the demo movie one thing is for sure, Twilight Princess is going to be one incredible adventure.

Pokémon XD looked and played suspiciously like Pokémon Colliseum. The Orre region has been infested with shadow pokémon once more and it's up to a new snag machine equipped hero to snag and purify them all while finding out who is behind the outbreak. Shadow pokémon have some new attacks this time around but other than that there doesn't seem to be much of anything new or different in XD which is both good and bad.

Other neat Gamecube stuff included Mario Baseball and Mario Strikers (I'm not a fan of sports games but anything with Mario is fun), Kirby (finally, a full Kirby adventure on the GC), Mario DDR (interesting idea but it seemed to be a bit on the easy side), Fire Emblem (looks like fun), and more.

Oh man that took forever to type. There's more games I should probably talk about but that's enough. If you have any questions you can ask them on the forums. Later!


5/23/2005 E3 Report

Hmm, looks like I did miss an update last week. Odd, I could have sworn I updated every day but I still have an extra comic. Well, whatever. On to the E3 report. I'll start by talking about my trip itself then go into detail about the various games and systems that I saw.

Day 1
It was wednesday morning, the first day of E3 and I couldn't be more excited. Got up really early, drove to the airport, parked my car, and found the correct terminal where a group of UAT students were waiting. Surprisingly enough, most of us actually got there before the people in charge of the trip. Once they did get there they gave everyone UAT button down shirts. Nifty! About half the students, myself included, put on our new shirts while they handed out the tickets. After checking in and going through security, always a pain, we got to wait around at the gate for a while. Finally we were in the air. All of us were slightly annoyed that we wouldn't be getting to the convention itself till a couple hours after it opened but we were all too excited to complain. As far as plane rides go it was nothing special and relatively short. I'll save you the rather dull details and just skim a bit. We landed, got our stuff, crammed ourselves into small fleet of taxis, and made a quick stop at the Shareton (our hotel) to drop off our stuff and pick up our E3 bus passes. Oddly enough, the bus didn't stop at our hotel but it did stop at the hotel right up the hill so we found our way up, got on the next bus and, after rather long drive, made it to the convention center and got in line to get our badge holders. Excitement was mounting and the place was a buzz of activity, even on the outside. There were lots of nifty giant banners on the outside of the convention center as well. Fortunately, the line moved quickly so we were soon inside and everyone split up to explore the massive exhibit floors. The place was really crowded and full of loud music, flashy lights, giant video screens, and of course game machines. There were two main exhibit floors and I wondered into the nearest one and ended up in Sony's area where I quickly spotted a bunch of demo stations for Kingdom Hearts 2. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me take any photos of the game itself. After a short wait I got to play KH2 then continued to look around the Sony area and try different games like DBZ Budokai Tenkaichi. There was a nice view from the second floor, not that you can see it very well in this picture. I probably shouldn't have left the camera on full auto the entire time. And, while you had to stand to play the PS2 games, they had a more comfortable set up for the PSP stations. One of the things I really wanted to see was the Playstation 3 but there was a line that just kept going and going... Since I had left my GBA and DS at the hotel, I decided to hold off on the long lines until the next day. Nintendo's area was right next to Sony's so I headed there next and wow, did they have a lot of great stuff on display. The Revolution wasn't being shown (well, they had the box but no controllers, games, or tech demos) but there were lots and lots of awesome looking games. The Gamecube had stuff like Pokémon XD, Kirby, Zelda, Mario Baseball, and more but what impressed me most was all the stuff coming for the DS. There was Mario Kart, New Super Mario Brothers, Kirby, Advance Wars, Mario and Luigi 2, Metroid Prime Hunters, and that's just for starters. Looks like the $150 I spent on my DS will be worth it after all. After trying out some of Nintendo's stuff I took a look around the rest of the floor and started collecting all sorts of free swag. I didn't get nearly as much as some people but it wasn't long before I began enviously eyeing the people who had already found one of the booths that was giving out free bags. I stopped at Bandai's booth for a little while and played through their latest collection of anime based games which ranged from rather entertaining (One Piece, Inu Yasha) to kinda blah (DICE). And, as long as I was at E3, I figured I should get my picture taken with some of the 'booth babes' that were scattered about the area. I have to admit that Nyko didn't have the most attractive girls at the show but they were giving away free yo-yo balls. Around mid afternoon I finally made my way to the second exhibit floor and began to look around there. There was a lot to see, including more Kingdom Hearts 2, complete with giant Mickey statue. Fortunately, there were also lots of places giving away bags which, due to my ever growing swag collection, was very welcome. For some reason, Sony's on-line game booth was there instead of at the main Sony area. The Sega area was there too as was Namco's. Konami had a fancy set up too and, like several of the companies, featured a live entertainment show. Too bad they didn't invest in some decent dance pads, the ones they had made the new DDR games pretty hard to play. Square-Enix's booth was there but, unfortunately, the tickets to their special preview show were always gone when I got there. But they had more demos and a really cool statue of Sora. After a bit more exploring I returned to the first exhibit hall and checked out some more games at Nintendo's booth before the convention ended for the day. Took me a little while to find the bus back to the hotel, it was hidden around a corner, but before too long I was back at the hotel, dropped of my modest collection of swag, and headed out with a couple other students to find a place to eat. We headed to the City Walk, an out doors shopping area in Universal, and found a pizza place. It was fun and I got to meet some people that I may not have otherwise. Finally it was back to the hotel where I took a few minutes to jump on-line before getting to sleep since it was getting pretty late.

Day 2
Got up early and caught the first bus to the convention along with about half of the other students on the trip. We got there a bit early so we got a really expensive breakfast at the convention center. And I was able to snap this nifty picture before the crowds showed up. I had brought my Gameboy bag and was ready to wait in line. First stop, the line at Nintendo's booth to see the new Zelda. Three hours later I was finally inside. They had a pretty nifty set up complete with fake forest and dungeon areas. I got to spend out ten minutes playing Zelda Twilight Princess before they gave me my free t-shirt and kicked me out. Tired of lines, I went to take a look at Microsoft's area. They had some pretty interesting setups for their demo stations. There really wasn't much Xbox stuff I was intersted in but I did take a look at the Xbox 360 and got some great views of the exhibition hall from the second floor of Microsoft's area. After that it was back to Sony's section to wait in line for the PS3. Fortunately, although the PS3 line was long, it moved much faster than the Zelda line and only took about an hour to get through. Unfortunately, the PS3 wasn't playable but there were some really impressive tech demos and game previews and I did get to see the PS3 itself and get a bunch of pictures of it. Finishing that, I looked around a bit more, stopped by the Lucas Arts booth, and tried out some more games at Capcom, Konami, Sony, and Nintendo's areas before the show closed. After getting back to the hotel and dropping off my new collection of swag I joined a whole bunch of students and went back to City Walk. This time, we found a really nice Italian place (they actually walk you through the kitchen on the way to your table) and had a lot of fun talking about the show, games, anime, and all sorts of stuff while we ate.

Day 3
Not much to say about day 3. The travel package that E3 sold my school was a bit of a gyp since our return plane tickets were for friday morning, meaning that we had to miss the entire last day of the convention. Stupid E3. Oh well, I got to see most of the things I wanted to. Still, another day would have been great. So I got up, somehow managed to smash all my swag into a combination of my back pack and one of the bags I'd picked up at the convention (note to self: bring a suitcase next year) and flew back to AZ with everyone else. Once I made it back to my apartment I unpacked all my swag then started getting caught up on my mail and internet stuff. Overall, the convention was a blast. I got to see and try lots of cool games, made some new friends, and came back with a bunch of nifty swag. Can't wait for next year! Only problem is that, with so many great games coming out later this year, I'm gonna have to win the lottery or something to have enough money to get them all.

Wow, that took a lot longer to type than I thought it would. Hmm... Know what, I need to get going so I'll talk about the games and systems that I saw tomorrow. See you then!


5/20/2005 Whew!

Did you ever wondering about the green in the tunnel? I did. Once again, there's no new bonus comic. At this point I am seriously considering changing comic lists. E-mail me if you have any thoughts. In other site news, the new ROM comic is up.

I don't have time to talk now but I'll be flying back to Pheonix today. E3 was a blast and I got to see lots of really cool stuff. I'll have a full report, complete with pictures, on monday.

Have a good weekend!


5/18/2005 I'm off!!!

Nope, still no Buzz Comix. No ROM either. I never got an e-mail from Shauni although I'm not sure if she was busy or the e-mail got lost. Not much else to say comicwise, aside from the fact that you should donate if you want more commentary and extra updates during June. Not to mention ROM The Novel, the first chapter of which will be done soon.

Well, this is it, I'm off to E3. I'm a little disapointed that the school trip doesn't include the preshow stuff but hey, I'm still going to E3! I'll get to see the new systems in person, not to mention all the awesome games in development! This is gonna be awesome! Star Wars 3 is about to be released too! If I'm lucky I'll find a theater in CA to see it at, if not I'll just see it when I get back. Not sure if I'll have internet access while I'm gone so I'll post the new strips thursday and friday if I can but no promises. Either way, monday's update will be on schedule.

Ok, I got to get ready! See you later!


5/16/2005 Fun time

Still down. Nothing can fix Buzz Comix. It keeps dieing and dieing... Um, anyway it's still down so there's still no bonus comic. Back to the normal comic, can you imagine digging a tunnel without tools? No wonder it never got finished.

Well, it's been an interesting weekend. Friday afternoon my school had a party. No reason, at least not that I know of, but it was a lot of fun. There was a grill and it was all you can eat for $2 or in may case free since I spent awhile helping fill up water balloons. While everyone was eating there was a dunk tank. So I hung out with some friends while we ate and watched the school deans get dunked. After that we used all those water balloons for some rounds of water balloon dodge ball. Lots of fun although it was such a hot day that a lot of the balloons tended to burst in your hand when you were throwing them. After that some of us just hung out for a while and played four square with a jumbo sized ball while a group of people with super soakers ran around blasting random people. There was more stuff going on in the evening but I had to leave a little while before then to get some work done. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. We should do things like that more often. And that was friday. Saturday I had services. Zemar Levav was there which was cool. They're a family music group and a pretty good one at that. Anyway, I've met them a couple times before so I hung out for a while after services. Nothing much happened on sunday. I finally finished up Growlanzer III. I really should review it sometime soon... But I spent most of the day getting ahead on homework so I'll be prepared for the upcoming E3 trip. E3!!! I can't wait!!!

Well, see you wednesday!


5/13/2005 Oops, again...

What the?!? I did post the new comic yesterday but somehow it looks like it only got updated in the archives and not on the main page. Odd, I could have sworn I did the update right. Anyway, if you missed strip #274 you can see it in the archives. Meanwhile, Buzz Comix is down, again. So no new bonus comic until it's working again. Hmm, maybe I should switch to a different comics list...

I'm very pleased to announce that I'm going to E3 next week!!! I've been wanting to go for years, this is just so awesome! They'll probably have all the new systems and everything... Anyway, I'm not sure how my internet access is going to be while I'm away. Monday, tuesday, and wednesday's updates should go normally. I'll try to update thursday and friday but no promises. Either way, I'll update normally and tell you guys all about E3 the following monday.

In other news, school is going ok although I've gotten way too many reading assigments for the first week. I saw Kung-fu Hustle yesterday. While I've been meaning to see it for some time, it was kinda a last minute decision. See, they decided to paint my apartment building this week and I do really poorly around fresh paint. Headaches, lack of concentration, etc... Well, it really wasn't that bad until yesterday when they started painting the doors. I had originally planned to spend the day getting ahead on my homework and some other stuff because of that upcoming trip I mentioned. But then the paint smell got really bad and I had to either get out of my apartment or spend the rest of the day with a major headache. I quickly checked the net and saw that Kung-fu Hustle was showing in ten minutes at the theater down the street so I jumped in the car and made it just in time. As for the movie itself, it's a Chinese comedy/martial arts flick kinda like Shaolin Soccer, if you've seen that. In a nutshell, a gang battles against some kung-fu masters who have been living incognito in a poor part of town. The plot isn't that important, it's just a set-up for the goofy battles. The humor ranges from dumb to pretty funny. If you like that kinda goofy fighting stuff check it out. If not, then don't bother.

I'd say more but I've got a lot to do to make up for all the time I lost yesterday (stupid paint). Later!


5/11/2005 Caught up for now

HP, PP, MP, IP, FP, EXP, SP... There's way too many abbreviations that end in P. Anyway new ROM comic is up. And, if you've been enjoying all of the extra content this month, remember to donate so you can keep it coming next month too.

Well, I've spent the last couple of days catching up on mail and the like and getting back into the whole school groove. I'm not crazy about my schedule this semester (the times could be a lot better) but I'm getting a lot of important classes done and some of them could be pretty interesting. Too early to say much about the classes themselves though. Have to give it another week or two first. Aside from that I got hired to design a web-site so I've been working on that a bit. I'm also finishing up the last couple optional quests in Growlanser III and wishing I had enough money for Guild Wars. At first glance, Guild Wars might not seem like something that would interest me since I'm really more of a fan of console games than PC games, especially when it comes to RPGs. Still, I've always been tempted to try an MMORPG but two things have held me back, the amount of time required and the monthly fees. But now here comes Guild Wars with no monthly fees and much more emphasis on strategy than leveling or item farming. Sounds like fun. Now I just need to get the money together. Times like this that I'm seriously tempted to get a steady job but considering my schedule, a job wouldn't really leave me with any time to play games, or read, or use any of the other stuff I'd buy with the money I'd be earning, which pretty much defeats the purpose.

Well, back to work!


5/9/2005 Hmm...

Buzz comix is working again so vote, vote, vote and keep on voting! And, if you missed the previous news blurb, the commentary for the first twenty Pebble Version strips is done and can be found on the appropriate archive pages. Speaking of which, if you're having trouble with the menu on the main archives page, it's not just you. The page seems to have developed some sort of glitch but I'm working on it and it will hopefully be fixed soon.

Well, my flight was a bit late, again. But, considering how slow the lines in the airport were moving, that's probably a good thing since I would have missed the plan if it had left on time. Anyway, the end result is that I'm back in AZ and ready to get back to school today. I'm also really tired so I'll see you all on wednesday.


5/6/2005 Bonus content!!!

And the black suited guys are back! And now they're gone... Well, I'm sure they'll show up again eventually. Anyway, I'd like to apologize to anyone who is visiting this site for the first time. There is just no way you'll understand today's strip unless you've also seen this one and this one and maybe this one too. Sorry about that. But remember that Pebble Version is updating five times a week (monday-friday) for the rest of the month!

In other site news, I regret to inform you that there is no new bonus comic this week. I did make one but Buzz Comix has been down most of the week so I can't post it. Besides, even if it does start working it's been down so long that hardly anyone has seen the current bonus comic. Now for some better news... I've finished the commentary for the first twenty Pebble Version strips!!! To read it just go to the appropriate pages in the Archives. I hope you guys find it interesting. As for ROM The Novel, the first chapter should be finished some time over the next week or two.

Well, it's been a nice vacation but I'm gonna be flying back to AZ on sunday and then it's back to school monday morning (lousy summer semester). Between school, unpacking, and buying food, it's gonne be one busy monday...

Well, see you next week!


5/4/2005 Oops...

Heheh... Looks like I forgot to upload yesterday's strip. It's been a while since I did five strips a week I guess I need to get back in the groove, so to speak. Anyway, here's yesterday's strip and today's. And, in case you didn't see the announcement on monday, Pebble Version is going to be updating five days a week all month! Meanwhile, there's a new ROM.

Eh, not much else to say right now. I finally got around to finishing Boktai on the GBA. It's about time. I've been at the final dungeon in the game for months. Other than that I'm just kinda hanging out and getting stuff done. I've been going to a lot of karate classes. I really missed the dojo when I was down in AZ.

And that's all I got for now. Later!


5/2/2005 Mostly good

It's a new month to remember to vote! Also, thanks to a last minute donation, the total donations for April were...$50! Yes, $50! That means that during this entire month there will be five new Pebble Version strips every day! So be sure to visit on monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, and friday! And that's not all! You also get commentary on the first 20 Pebble Version strips and the first chapter of ROM The Novel, both of which will hopefully be completed sometime over the next week or two.

So far I've been having a pretty enjoyable vacation. Had a seder, read, played some video games, did stuff with my friends... Looks like I may even earn some much needed cash. Only one problem, I seem to have developed a bit of a grass alergy while I was in AZ, not fun. I saw Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I actually haven't read the original books so I can't really compare the two. Taking the movie by itself... It ranged from amusing to plain weird. Now I don't have anything against weird humor, I've even started to get into some or the weirder comedy anime like Bobobo and Cromartie High. Britsh humor, like that in Hitchhiker's Guide, I still don't quite get. Eh, still, the movie wasn't bad so I may check out the books when I catch up on the other stuff I'm reading.

Well, I need to get to work on all that bonus stuff. Later!


4/29/2005 Home for the moment

New bonus comic. It's the 50th Blooper Reel strip. Not the 50th bonus comic, there have been a few more of those. Does it matter? Not really?

Well, despite a delayed flight I made it home without trouble. I'll be here till a week from sunday. Relaxing and catching up with family and friends is the main goal, along with going to my karate class (which I really missed in AZ) although I may be earning a little money as well, which is good since I'm totally broke. Not much else to say right now. I don't have much time right now so I'll see you all on monday.


4/27/2005 If life had save points...

New ROM up. There's new fanart on the Extras page too. I'll be flying home today for my measly week and a half vacation but that shouldn't effect the update schedule.

Aside from the total impossibility of it all, wouldn't it be awesome if life had save points? Want to see what would have happened if you did something differently during the day? Load from your last save and give it a try. Didn't do so good in school? Load and try again. Something lousy go wrong during the day? Load! While it kinda kills the point of making good choices (since you could always go back and try a new choice), it would be so useful... Sigh... If life had save points tuesday is one of the days I'd redo. On the plus side, my group turned in our public service announcement project which turned out quite well. I also finished my last final exam, which seemed to go well enough. Plus I won a couple Smash Brothers games. So why reset? Eh, one of those super annoying things that's bound to happen to you at some point. Basically I went to get a haircut and the lady either didn't hear me right or didn't understand what I said. Either way, by the time I figured out what she was doing till it was too late and the haircut I ended up with is nothing like what I wanted. That's the last time I go there. Sigh... I hope my hair grows fast, I want my old style back and the sooner the better.

Not much else to say. I saw Sin City. It's a very well done movie, I'll give it that. And the visual style is certainly interesting. Too dark and violent for me though. I mean, I don't really mind dark and violent stories but there's a certain point for me where it just gets to be too much and Sin City was way past that mark.

See you friday!


4/25/2005 Evolution!

Don't forget to vote and see friday's bonus comic. Ok, back to the comic. Torchic has evolved! I have to admit, I'm gonna miss the little guy but pokémon evolve, that's the way things go (unless you're watching the anime). And, as today's comic points out, combusken is now a bit too big to ride on Brendan's head. Unfortunately for Brendan, it hasn't figured that out yet. If you think it's a little early for torchic to evolve, this is about when it happened in my game. Although I do tend to spend a lot of time battling random pokémon and use my starter quite a lot as well so that might just be me. As for mudkip, it won't evolve immediatly, still needs a couple of levels, but it won't be too much longer.

In other site news, look at the donation guage! $25!!! That means you'll all be getting bonus content in May so get ready. First off, I'll be doing commentary on the first twenty or so comics. So if you ever wondered about why I made a certain strip or just want to hear random musings, this is for you. Not only that, you'll also get the prologue and first chapter of ROM The Novel! Wow, I'd better get started. Of course there's still lots of other cool stuff you can get if the donation bar keeps rising. Remember, if it hits $50 that means five brand new Pebble Version strips each week for an entire month!

Meanwhile, Passover has just started to it's matzoh all week for me (if you don't know what Passover is google it or something). Other than that I'm relaxing and wrapping up the last couple of school things before flying back to CO on wednesday (Pebble Version should continue to update normally). Hmm... I've been noticing that a lot of popular web comics have fan made entries on Wikipedia. Unfortunately, Pebble Version isn't there yet. Not to nag or anything but if any of you are big Wikipedia users and have some time to spare...

Anyway, if you're on break like I am have a great time! If you're not, ha, ha! I'm on vacation and you aren't! Course, I'll be going back to school on May 9 so you'll end up with the last laugh there... See you wednesday!


4/22/2005 Nearly done!

New bonus comic, as always, so remember to vote.

Just about done with finals! I just need to do the last part of my web project, take some tests, and help my group edit our public service announcement. Can't wait for break! I'll be heading back home on wednesday, unfortunately I only get to stay for a week and a half. Someone screwed up the schedule for this semester so there's hardly any break before the summer semester starts. Sigh... Oh well, a short break is better than none at all. Hopefully I can catch up some stuff, go see some movies, and just relax. Plus I'll get to spend time with my family and friends.

Ever feel like you just want to smash something? I do from time to time. Especially right now... The guy in the apartment next to mine must have a really great stereo system with one incredible bass hooked up. How do I know this? Because he/she likes to play it, really loudly, especially at night... I'd really love to go over them and totally demolish that thing. To bad its illegal. Maybe if I pled temporary insanity...

See you next week!


4/20/2005 Just a few more days...

New ROM today. And, for those of you with slow net connections, Shauni promised that, from now on, she'll keep the comics smaller which means less scrolling and much faster load times. Yay!

A quick final project update... Two complete, two half complete, and one not even started. Course, that's not counting tests but I'm not too worried about those. I've certainly learned a lot this semester. Level Design was really interesting. I've been paying a lot more attention to the level flow and layout in games. It can really make a huge difference. Take Growlanser III for instance. It's a very solid strategy RPG with a good story, interesting characters, and lots of nitfy tweaks and features that I wish more games used. But the dungeons certainly drag it down a bit. The only good thing about them is that they're short and there aren't all that many. Which is good cause they're boring enough as is. The simple grid layout combined with square cookie cutter rooms are really uninspired and it doesn't help that, aside from a different coat of pain, all the dungeons are pretty much identical. The dungeons do one more thing wrong as well, dead ends. Now I have nothing against multiple pathes and dead ends in dungeons but if I'm going to spend my time exploring a long dead end passage there better be something good at the end to make it worth while. Empty dead ends suck and dead ends with basic healing items aren't much better. The guys who made Xenosaga 2 should learn that as well.

See you friday!


4/18/2005 Yes, yes, no, uh what?

Still no donations this month? Aw... Remember to vote and see friday's bonus comic. Gee, this reminders are really getting old. Meanwhile, back in the comic, it looks like Brendan and May have stopped goofing off and are finally ready to go after the thief and retrieve the Devon goods. Unless they get sidetracked along the way, which is pretty much guarenteed.

Well, let's see, what have I been doing? Went to see a commedian saturday night, that was fun. Finished my level design project, did some shopping... I got Munchkin, now I just need to find someone to play with. Well, at my school that shouldn't be much of a problem. I've been living here for nearly four months now but from time to time I'm still surprised by the sheer amount of stores. In ten minutes or less I can drive to just about any store imaginable (often two or three locations of that store). Make it twenty minutes and I can drive to any store imaginable plus several different malls. Huge malls. And that's not even mentioning IKEA, which is nearly as big as a mall all by itself... It's nuts. Do people really need five Fry's within an eight minute drive? Or three Home Depots within fifteen minutes? Probably not but they're here so I assume people go to all of them.

This is my last week to work on my final projects so it's gonna be busy. I'd better get going. See you wednesday!


4/15/2005 Work, work, work...

See, told you all the TMs and HMs wouldn't be cameos. Well, the promised ROM comic is up (sorry if it takes a long time to load, I compressed it as much as I could) as is the usual Pebble Version bonus comic for everyone who votes for PV on Buzz Comix.

I haven't finished any of my final projects yet but I'm most of the way done with two of the biggest, which is good. On a related note, nothing sucks more than putting a significant amount of time into something only to have it fail for no apparant reason and have to scrap the whole thing and start over (thanks a lot Neverwinter Nights...). Oh well, at least the new simplified version of my level is working.

Not much to say. It's been getting kinda hot here (in the 90's) but it's supposed to cool down in a few days. I really haven't been doing much outside of school stuff. There's some movies I want to see but I doubt I'll have time until finals are over. Have a good weekend people!


4/13/2005 Ugh my eyes...

No ROM today but Shauni says that there will be one on friday instead. Oh, and in case you were wondering, not all the TMs and HMs are going to be cameos.

Well, I'm hard at work on my final projects. On the bright side, my 3D Max assignment is coming along very nicely. On the downside, the scripting my Neverwinter Nights level refuses to work for no apparent reason, which really sucks since the rest of the level is almost done. Did you ever notice how sometimes computers just refuse to work even when you're doing everything right and there's absolutely no reason for it to fail? That's happened to me way too much this semester and it's driving me nuts. Anyway, working on final projects, especially when you're going to a computer school, tends to involve staring at a monitor all day. I was trying to get a lot of work done yesterday, which I did, but I probably spent around seven or eight hours on the computer and my eyes are begging for a rest. Maybe I'll try to tone it down a bit today.

Strangely enough, despite all the work, I'm getting more exercise than normal. Turns out that Growlanser III has this nifty secret trick. If you plug a dance pad into controller port two arrows appear on the screen every time your characters or the enemy characters cast attack or healing magic. That's your cue to hop on the pad and hit as many arrows as you can during the spell animation. The more you get the more power your magic gets and the less power enemy magic gets. I can usually add an extra 100-160% added to my stuff and reduce the power of enemy spells by 40-60%. Pretty cool, especially in the more difficult battles. I wish more games did that.

See you friday!


4/11/2005 One big ball...

You're probably all tuning these reminders out by now but I'll just say it anyway, vote to see friday's bonus comic! Doesn't that item ball in the comic look big? I originally had it half size but then I looked back at the game and it actually is that big. And they fit that in a backpack? On another note, if there anyone out there who actually uses the various x items in Pokémon games? Personally I always sold them as soon as I could.

Well, I'm finally finished with Xenosaga 2 so I started on Growlanser III. Had a good weekend, did a little homework, but not much, and now I'm rested up and ready to get back to work on all those projects. For those of you who didn't watch SNL you should have, the weekend update bit was really good, but then again it always is. And, on a rather distant note, there's a chance I'll be at Anime Expo in July. Nothing definite, but it's possible.

So, is it just me or are TV commercials getting stupider each year? I mean, I know they want commercials to be memorable and all but some companies' commercials are so consistently stupid <cough,Old Navy,cough> that I feel like boycotting the entire company in the slim hope that they'll go broke and I won't have to watch those stupid commercials any more. I have to wonder how much some of those commercial writers get paid to come up with that junk. I mean if it's only ten or twenty bucks then yeah, I guess it wouldn't be so bad but if they make as much as I think they do the companies are getting ripped offed. Do they really think people are dumb enough to like those things? Then again, considering that they keep making more and more dumb commercials, maybe we are. One of the worst offenders, or at least the one that bothers, is video game commercials. If I'm watching an ad for a game I want to know about the game. I want to see game play footage and hear about the story and/or features. I don't want to watch some weirdo running around in a costume or spouting ridiculous monologues. What does that tell me about the game? Absolutely nothing. All the game companies really should look at Square-Enix, who had made some excellent commercials (with the exception of the FF Crystal Chronicles one). Anyway, I'm not saying all commercials are lousy, Geiko for example does some pretty good ones, but the majority range from ho-hum to horrible. Which raises the question, do they make commercials like that because they're out of touch with what people like or because people actually do like them? I sure hope it's the former.


4/8/2005 Weekends are great

New bonus comic so vote, vote, vote! And don't forget to donate. Remember, if the donation guage reaches at least $25 you get commentary and a chapter of ROM The Novel!

Well, I've decided to take the weekend off from homework. I'll have a lot to work on starting monday but I already spent my last two weekends doing homework. I need a break or I'm going to be completely burned out, which definately wouldn't help the quality of my homework. Besides, I have other things I need to get done.

I've been watching Futurama more often lately. Man, that is such a great show, so many little hidden jokes... Too bad that they don't make new episodes any more. I've noticed something else, most TV commercials are really really really stupid. I can't believe they actually pay people to write these things. Hmm... I may have to do a rant on this. Maybe monday.

Well, I'd better get going. Have a great weekend!


4/6/2005 Whew...

There's a new ROM comic. Also, remember to donate if you want the first chapter of ROM The Novel!

Well, I'm caught up on homework, which is good. Although, with final projects coming up, I'm not gonna have much time to relax. As for Mikumari, I give up. I hate to do it, I'm the kinda guy who tries to do all the optional stuff in games, but I've had enough. I figured out a great strategy and how to deal with all Mikumari's moves, except one. I could take his Creeping in the Dark attack and his Between Heaven and Earth attack but not his freeze the game whenever he's losing attack. I've put around 60 hours in Xenosaga 2 and the game only freezes during that one battle and only when I'm about to win. I'm beginning to think the developers actually coded it into the game...

I did say I'd talk about something else didn't I? Hmm... Random comments perhaps? Bamboo is very easy to care for and makes a good house plant. Le Modesitt Jr.'s book Legacies is very good. Homework usually takes longer than you think it will. NYPD has great pizza if you live in the Pheonix area. AZ doesn't use daylight savings time. On one hand, daylight savings time is kinda pointless. On the other hand, the rest of the country does it and it's kinda weird being an hour different than everyone else. Dragonball GT is pretty lame. The original Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z are much better. My anime club is going to do a trip to Anime Expo in CA this summer. I'd love to go but that'd take money, something I'm probably not going to have much of for a while, unless I suddenly get a job or something.

And that's about it for now. See you friday!


4/4/2005 Uhh?

Remeber to vote, of course. Anyway, I've added two sites to the Link Exchange. First up is Comic About Carl, a very random comic that I've been meaning to link to for ages, next is Tri-Something, a site with three different comics.

Ever have one of those days where you're just a bit out of it? That basically sums up my sunday. Anime club was fun but other than that I spent most of the day working on my level design assignment which didn't go quite as smoothly as I'd hoped. Looks like I still need to put a few more hours into it. I did take a short break to play Xenosaga 2, which I would be done with by now except for one problem. There's this optional boss called Mikumari. Not only is he an overly powerful pain in the ass, but the game also has a tendency to screw things up just when it looks like I might be winning. It's pretty annoying when Mikumari suddenly speeds up for no appearant reason and gets three critical hits in a row (which pretty much kills my party). He's done that way to many times, including once when I only needed one more attack to kill him. Even worse, the game seems to like to spontaniously freeze during the last part of the battle (of course it never freezes anywhere else...). Nothing sucks more than having to restart a half hour battle because the game froze.

Hmm... Seems all I've been talking about lately is homework and Xenosaga. Probably because that's really all I've been doing lately. Ugh, I can't wait till the semester ends, I really need a break. Well, I'll try to think up something else to talk about for wednesday. See you then!


4/1/2005 Missed it again...

I really wanted to do something cool for April Fools day this year but I've just been too busy. So much homework... Oh well, there's always next year (probably gonna take that long to reach the next gym). At least I did get a new bonus comic done so be sure to vote. And, unfortunately, we didn't reach any of the donation goals during March. However, I still want to do the ROM novel so, if the donation bar reaches at least $25 during April you'll get the first chapter for May.

Hmm... I already talked about homework on wednesday but I really don't have anything else to talk about. Aside from school and playing a little bit of Xenosaga 2 I really haven't been doing much. I did rip some CDs to my computer. Of course, I had already ripped them to my computer around a year ago but Rio Music Manager mangled the track lists so badly that I had to delete the albums and start over to fix them. From now on I'm sticking with Windows Media Player 10. Rio makes pretty good hardware but they really need to spend more time on the whole software thing. On the bright side, it did give me an excuse to clean up and organize my mp3 and wma files.

Enjoy your weekend!


3/30/2005 The homework begins...

Buzz Comix in working again so you can finally vote and see that bonus comic from friday. There's a new ROM up too and remember, if you want the first chapter of ROM the novel during April you only have through tomorrow to donate.

With only a month to go until the end of my semester, the teachers are starting to pile on the assignments. I've got stuff to write, stuff to read, web pages to make, 3D modeling to do, a level to make, and a clay sculpture to start on. And that's just this week... Ugh, I can't wait till final projects start <insert sarcasm here>. I've been spending most of my time on school lately although I've had a little time to finish up the last couple of quests in Xenosaga 2.

So the PSP is out and, since I go to a tech school, I've gotten to see a couple in action. I have to say, that screen is awesome and the graphics (somewhere between the PS1 and PS2) are great as well. Sure the battery life is horrible but it does look great and I'd love to play Metal Gear Ac!d on it. But, at $250, I'm not going to be getting a PSP any time soon. I mean $250? That's $100 more than my Nintendo DS. The PSP is priced decently in Japan, you'd think they could have kept the same price here in the US...

See you friday!


3/28/2005 Fun!

If you haven't see friday's bonus comic you may want to vote and take a look although as I'm writing this Buzz Comix is down so it may not display. Also, remember that there's only a few more days left to get in donations for this month. And if the guage reaches $25 or higher you get a special bonus gift consisting of the first chapter of ROM the Novel (my retelling of the ROM RP on which Shauni's comic is based) in addition to the normal gift of strip commentary.

Well, Anizona is over and I had a blast. It was only my second con so I don't have much to compare it to, especially since my first con, Otakon, is around 10-20 times bigger. Anyway, let's see... Friday morning started out with me waiting in line to pick up my badge. Fortunately, I had pre-registered so it wasn't too bad. People who didn't pre-reg though, were in trouble. The hotel the con was located at set an attendance cap of 850 people and about 800 people had already don pre-reg so the remaining passes sold out fast, leaving lots of people unable to get in. Fortunately, they're already looking for a bigger location for next year. Anyway, there were two anime viewing rooms which were always a good place to hang out if you didn't have anything else to do. I got to check out a lot of shows I'd never even heard of before, much less seen. The dealers hall, while nothing compared to the one at Otakon, was pretty nice and there was lots of neat stuff to buy. I'd been setting money aside just to spend at Anizona and it didn't take me long to go through it. I found a really good deal on some wall scrolls and there were some soundtracks I wanted and some neat figurines... I could have easily spent at least twice as much. For panels, there weren't too many I was interested in but there was one with some of the voice actors from Full Metal Alchemist (I usually watch it in Japanese but the panel was interesting) and, as the guest of honor, Yoshitaka Amano the concept artist for most of the Final Fantasy series, had a couple panels. I even got his signature on my FFIX art book. There were some special events too such as a cosplay contest, a live action roleplay, and a scanvenger hunt. Unfortunately, I didn't get to participate in any of those. But I did spend some time in the game room. I played a little on the console games but most of my time in the game room was spent playing various card games. I was two Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments and took first and fourth with my Exodia deck. I was also introduced some to Steve Jackson games and had a lot of fun playing Ninja Burger and the various versions of Munchkin. Lots of fun if you can get several people to play. Anizona was a first year con so there were naturally a few rough edges but overall it was a really good first attempt and lots of fun. I can't wait to see how it turns out next year!

Anyway, I ended up staying up all night playing Munchkin and watching anime so I need to get some sleep. See you wednesday!


3/25/2005 Victory!

And the battle is over! So, what's next for Brendan and May? You'll find out soon enough. You probably know this by now but, since it's friday, there's a new bonus comic up for everyone who votes. Also, if you didn't read it in monday's news post, I've added a special bonus donation gift this month. If the guage reaches at least $25 you get not only the strip commentary but the prologue and first chapter of ROM The Novel as well. Yep, a ROM novel written by yours truely. It'll be based on the same ROM RP as Shauni's ROM comic but I plan on following the RP a bit closer than she is.

Anyway, I got to run. Have a good weekend. Say hi if you see me at Anizona!


3/23/2005 Getting ready for the weekend

This is what always happened to me in my game. It's good the gym leaders don't use revives. Anyway, there's a new ROM comic so don't forget to go take a look.

Well, like I already said I'm going to be pretty busy later this week. I'm going to a Purim party on thursday and then friday through sunday is Anizona! Speaking of which, if any of you are going to Anizona be sure to say hi if you see me. I could describe myself but here's a picture instead. I probably won't be wearing the jean shirt but that's what I look like.

And that's that. I've just been getting my homework and stuff done so I won't have to worry about it over the weekend. I made hamantaschen too (and I probably spelled it wrong), they're a type of cookie or maybe a pastry that are traditional Purim food. I always try to do something a little different. This year, it's oatmeal raisin cookie hamantaschen with peanut butter carob chip filling. Pretty good but really messy to make.

Well, see you later (hopefully at Anizona)!


3/21/2005 And back to school...

As always, there was a new bonus comic on friday so remember to vote. Meanwhile, the donation guage has hit $10. Not enough for the first goal but it's something. Plus, I've decided to sweeten the deal a bit. If the donation guage reaches at least $25 this month you'll still get the strip commentary but you'll get something else as well... The first chapter of Realm of Monsters (ROM) The Novel!!! Yeah, that's right. I've been considering doing a ROM based novel for quite a while but I've already got too many original projects to work on during my normal writing. But, if it's a donation bonus then I have a good excuse to work on it. For those of you familiar with Shauni's ROM comic, the novel would be considerably different. I'm planning to follow the ROM RP a lot more closely than she is although I'll still be making plenty of little changes of my own.

Well, I have to get back to school today. This is gonna be a busy week but most of the stuff that's coming up is gonna be fun such as Purim (a Jewish holiday) and Anizona (an anime convention). Amano is going to be at Anizona! Amano!!! Let's see, what else has been going on? We watched the first disk of Azumanga Daio (did I spell that right?) at anime club. Definately not your average anime series but it's really good. Also, big thanks to Carsten Hjorthøj and his Neverwinter Nights script generator which really saved my life. I never would have gotten the scripting for my level design working without it. The NWN editor is pretty easy to figure out for the most part, except for the scripting. They could have at least included a basic 'how to' file for it or something...

Now for a quick review of my latest gaming addiction, Yoshi's Touch and Go, one of the best DS games to date.
Story: Story? Um, not much of one. It has the same basic plot as the SNES classic Yoshi's Island. The villianous Kamek attacks the stork carrying baby Mario and Luigi. Mario falls onto Yoshi's back and it's up to the green dino and his pals to reunite Mario with his brother and get them back to the stork. Actually, the story is even simpler than it was in Yoshi's Island but in a game like this the story really doesn't matter in the least.
Graphics: The graphics look quite a lot like Yoshi's Island, although they've all been redone in a bit higher quality. Overall, the game looks very nice although it doesn't come anywhere close to showing off the power of the DS. Touch and Go would look quite at home on the GBA.
Sound: The sound effects are pretty much the same as the ones in Yoshi's Island (big surprise there). Needless to say, they sound very nice and fit perfectly. There aren't that many music tracks in the game but all of them are really catchy and reminiscent of tunes from various Mario games. And, when you add in the DS's excellent surround sound, you have one great sounding game.
Gameplay: Now here's where Touch and Go really shines. There isn't really any end to the game. There are four modes of play and you're only real goal is to try and beat your current highscore. Each of the gameplay modes plays pretty similiar. It starts out with baby Marion falling out of the sky. But the sky is full of enemies and coins so you need to guide Mario around the former and into the latter. You do this (and everything else in the game) with the stylus and touch screen. You can use it to draw clouds to both guide Mario and keep enemies away (you can blow them away with the microphone if you screw up too badly). You can also draw circles around some enemies to trap them in a bubble and turn them into more coins for Mario. The twist here, is that Mario spends the entire time on the top screen and you can only draw on the bottom screen so you need to plan ahead and draw based on where Mario is going to be. The points you get during the fall determin what color Yoshi Mario lands on (different colors can hold different amounts of eggs). Once you're on the ground, Yoshi starts walking and doesn't stop. Although Yoshi spends 95% of his time on the cottom screen, there's enemies, coins, and the like on the top screen for you to watch out for. You can touch Yoshi to make him jump (and again to make him flutter kick) you can draw clouds for Yoshi to walk on (to get over pits and enemies), trap enemies in bubbles, and shoot eggs to hit enemies and collect coins. You can also eat fruit to replenish Yoshi's egg supply. Now here's where the gameplay modes come in. In score attack the level never changes. You fall with Mario, go 1000 meters with Yoshi and the game ends. It only takes several minutes. Your goal is to get as many points as possible before reaching the end. In Endless mode the sky and ground level is randomly generated each time. Your goal is simply to get as far as possible before dieing. Every 1000 meteres you get a new Yoshi (color depends on your performance). Since distance is the goal instead of points, points are for something else. Every hundred points you get a star to turn into Super Baby Mario and get a few seconds of invincibility and unlimited ammo. Endless mode has tons of replay and is probably my favorite. Next up is Time Attack where you have three minutes to get to the ground, catch up with a group of enemies carrying baby Luigi, and beat them up with as much time as possible remaining on the clock. Last, and hardest, is Challenge mode. Like Endless, the goal is to get as far as possible but you have a 100 second timer and when time runs out it's game over. Fortunately, all the points you get added to the clock so it boils down to a tricky balance of speed, score, and egg rationing. And, once you beat the high score on all four modes, you got a nifty little balloon popping mini-game as well. All in all, it'll take you maybe half an hour to get the gameply down and several hours to unlock the balloon game. Not long but Touch and Go is all about replay value.
Overall: Touch and Go isn't a sequel to Yoshi's Island, keep that in mind. And, when it boils down to it, there really isn't much to the game but the gameplay itself is fun, challenging, and highly addicting. It's the type of game you can pick up and even if you only have five minutes while you can just as easily lose yourself for hours at a time trying to make it just a little further or get a few more points. Touch and Go may not be a game to buy a DS for but, if you have one already and have beaten Super Mario 64 DS, Touch and Go will give you something to play with until all the big titles get released in the fall (and you'll probably be playing it long after too). Touch and Go may be simple and it may be short but you'll have a hard time find a game that's more fun, addicting, or unique.


3/18/2005 Xenosaga 2

Looks like Brendan and May need to learn to cooperate a bit more. They'll have to get their act together if they want to defeat Roxanne. Since this is friday there's a new bonus comic so don't forget to vote!

Well, I've had a pretty good week. Got some work done, explored the city a little, saw Robots (it's not the Incredibles but it's funny enough to be worth seeing), and stuff like that. I got Yoshi's Touch and Go too. Man, that is one addictive game. I'll review it next week. Now for that review I promised.

Xenosaga 2, while a good follow up to the first Xenosaga, seems to take one step forward and two steps back in many aspects. But, if you're following the story, it's certainly a must play.
Story: The story is well, um, kinda hard to sum up. It's a sci-fi and you're trying to save the universe and... If you've played the first Xenosaga than you should have a decent idea of what's going on. If you haven't don't even think about getting Xenosaga 2. The plot is way too complex to pick up in the middle. People who preordered X2 got a DVD with several hours of cut scenes from the first game. While it's a great refresher if you haven't played the first Xenosaga for a while, it leaves some stuff out and would probably confuse new players. Anyway, if you liked the story in Xenosaga you'll love the story in X2. It answers a few of your questions and brings up about a hundred new ones. Unfortunately, after the cool prequel chapter at the beginning of the game, it takes the plot a while to really get moving but once it does it's incredible. Just don't expect the game to finish things up. The ending, cool as it is, is really just a setup for Xenosaga 3.
Graphics: In terms of quality, the graphics haven't really changed much since the first Xenosaga. Actually, I'd be willing to bet that a lot of the areas were pulled straight out of the first game. Of course, since those are areas that you visited in the first game, it does help keep things consistant and the graphics in the first game were pretty good. Still, some improvement would have been nice. The biggest change graphically is the characters and what a change. The cutesy almost chibi style characters of the first game have undergone a major face lift. They're now much more realistic. With some characters you'll hardly notice the change (Jr., Ziggy, Chaos, etc) but with others (Shion, KOS-MOS, etc) the change is pretty drastic. I have to admit, the realistic look fits the serious nature of the story better although it takes a while to get used to.
Sound: The sound effects are pretty good, nothing to say there. The music is nice and fitting although there are a few tunes you'll be hearing way to often and the majority are a touch on the forgettable side. Still, you won't have anything to complain about with the music. All the cut scenes (and there are a lot of them) have full voice acting. It sounds like they have the same actors from the first Xenosaga, which is good. Overall the voice acting is done well although it can get a little overdramatic from time to time.
Gameplay: In standard RPG style you walk around towns, talk to people, explore dungeons, and fight monsters, nothing new there although the pacing is a bit off at times. All your old characters are back (you can't import your old party but having a clear save from the first game does unlock a couple things). The battle system from the first Xenosaga didn't have anything in particular wrong with it but it was changed anyway. Some things, such as the boost guage, are back but you can now target different zones when you attack the enemy. If you hit an enemy with the right combination of attacks you can break their defence allowing you to knock them into the air or onto the ground and inflict some massive combo damage. While this might seem unnecessary, most monsters are so strong that breaking and comboing them is the only way to do a decent amount of damage. Characters can also combine certain ether (magic) spells and learn nifty double attacks. All of these are nice improvements. There are some problems though. The random enemies are pretty tough (which is a nice change from the usual weaklings) but, without a lot of extra leveling, there'll be times where you'll be nearly wiped out in at least every other battle and that can get annoying. Unfortunately, most dungeons only seem to have three or four types of enemies and once you've figured out how to break all of them, things get a bit repetitive. Add that to the fact that a lot of the battles can easily take several minutes, and a lot of the dungeons seem to drag. The character development system from the first Xenosaga was pretty cool. In X2 you still use AP to learn new spells and now you can learn special skills and abilities too. On the downside, in X2 all the characters have the exact same skill pool to learn stuff from, which discourages your from doing much character switching (although you can now switch party members mid battle, which is nice). Now, one of my biggest complaints about the first Xenosaga was that enemies didn't drop enough money. X2 solves that problem...by completely eliminating money. But with no money there's no stores which really limits the amount of healing items you'll have at any one time. And, they figured that, since you can't buy new weapons and armor for your characters, they might as well get rid of them too. Yep, that's right. No weapons, no armor, and no upgrades for your giant robots. All told, character development in Xenosaga 2 is pretty lousy. The first one did it way better. Speaking of giant robots, Your A.W.G.S. mysteriously vanish in X2. Instead you get E.S.S. They can't be summoned at will and can only be used in certain parts of the game. In battles, each has two attacks plus a handful of special attacks and only one can use magic. You can only use two in battle at any given time but there's only three anyway (each has a set pilot and a switchable co-pilot which determins its special attacks). All told, with so few moves and attacks and no breaking or comboing, E.S.S. combat is rather boring. Oh, in case you're wondering, since the E.S.S. can't be upgraded, they level up just like the normal characters. Xenosaga 2 is on the short side. You could probably beat it in about 20 hours. Fortunately, there's the GS campaign, a massive collection of sub-quests that mostly involves a collection of fetch quests and mini games which range from mildly amusing to insanely annoying. On the up side, the items you get for completing the various GS missions are usually pretty good. There are also some optional dungeons that open up once you beat the final boss. All told, you can easily add 20 or 30 hours to the game with all the sub-quests.
Overall: In the end, Xenosaga 2 improves on the first game in several aspects and falls short of it in a lot of others. In particular, the character development is really disappointing. There's not enough areas in the game and several of the GS missions seem to have been designed for the sole purpose of driving the player crazy. On the other hand, the story alone makes the game worthwhile. If you haven't played the first Xenosaga get it, don't bother with X2, but if you've played the first one and want to find out more of the amazing story, X2 is a must buy.

Have a great weekend!


3/16/2005 What an ending!

At first I was gonna bring back the kid from the first battle music strip. But then I didn't want to just repeat that strip so I did it differently this time. Unfortunately, Shauni is sick so there's no ROM comic this week, although there is a little piece of filler art if you want to look. Pebble Version is doing pretty well on Buzz Comix this month so keep those votes coming! Meanwhile donations are...nonexistant. Oh well...

I finally beat Xenosaga 2! There's still a few optional dungeons and quests to do but I did take out the final boss (actually there's a boss after him but it's one of those can't lose fights). Compared to some of the others, he really wasn't all that hard. And the boss right before him was just plain weird. On the other hand, the ending was a doozy. Basically it was just a setup for Xenosaga 3 but it did answer a couple questions and brought up a ton of others. Oh man, I hope 3 comes out soon, I've got to find out what happens! Look for a full mini-review on friday.


3/14/2005 And it begins...

245 strips and it's only the first gym battle... Remember to vote for Pebble Version on Buzz Comix, especially if you haven't seen friday's bonus comic yet. Hmm... It's been a while since I bugged you all to donate. Remember, even a dollar helps and, if the donation gauge fills enough you'll get all sorts of cool bonus content during April! For more on that read the donation info below this news post.

Well, spring break is off to a good start. I have a few things I need to get done this week but for the most part I can just do what I want. Despite the break, anime club still met sunday. We watched several more episodes of Kolaido Star (I need to get that series). Those characters sure have awesome balance. I don't know if it's humanly possible to balance on a swinging tightrope in the rain during a sword fight but man would that be cool! I keep thinking about what if would be like it you combined acrobatics and martial arts. Although, while I know my martial arts (I'm a 2nd degree black belt in Shorin Ryu Karate), I don't know enough about real life acrobatics or gymnastics to figure out how well it would actually work, but it's a cool idea.

See you wednesday!


3/11/2005 Woo hoo!

As usual, there's a new bonus comic so just use the vote banner or button if you want to see it. I updated the Cast page too so take a look. Anyway, it looks like Xain and Cali beat Brendan and May to the gym. As to how they managed to win, dumb luck probably.

Well, to be blunt thursday basically sucked (with the exception of a couple good Smash Brothers matches at school). I spent all afternoon doing a difficult school project that I needed to photograph. Unfortunately, I don't have a digital camera (yeah, yeah, I know) and my good regular camera broke several months ago. That left me with an old cheap camera. Anyway, I only needed pictures of my project so I had to waste an entire roll of film to get the pictures I needed. Then I take the film to the drugstore (skipping the weekly Yu-Gi-Oh tournamet so I could get it done) and waste an hour waiting only to find out that none of my pictures came out. So now I'm not sure if my old camera is broken or if the film was bad or what but I didn't want to risk that happening again since that project is due soon so I had to buy a cheap disposable camera. Tomorrow I get to waste it taking pictures of my project and get them developed again. And then there's a few more things I didn't mention... On the bright side, I'm now officially on spring break! Even better, I got almost all my homework done this week so I can use the time to relax, catch up on my reading and game playing, and maybe explore the city a little. At very least I'm gonna finish Xenosaga 2. I should have beaten it like two weeks ago...

Have a good weekend!


3/9/2005 Weird grading

Hmm... I was sure I mentioned this on monday but I guess not. Anyway, there's a new flash movie on the Extras page and it's the best one yet. And, of course, there's a new ROM comic as well.

So normally in school you get an A on an assignment for meeting all the requirements and doing a general good job. If you go above and beyond that you may get extra credit. With a more strict teacher, meeting the requirements might mean a B and doing extra stuff an A. Anyway, I had a talk with one of my teachers about the way he's been grading my assignments. Turns out his base grade, which you get for fullfilling all the requirements, is a C. What the heck is up with that? Besides, if doing everything you're supposed to do is a C, and going beyond that is a B, what the heck do you have to do for an A? This is stupid, those assignments take forever as is (especially since he doesn't do a very good job of explaining how we're supposed to do them) and I'm doing the best I can. And the reasons he gives me for why I got the grades I do are ridiculous. "It's too sharp." or "It doesn't have enough atmosphere." if he's gonna be that picky the least he could do is spell out what he wants in the requirements... Ugh, I'm not taking any more of his classes.

Oh well, at least spring break is coming up.


3/7/2005 At the zoo

Remember to vote, especially if you haven't seen friday's bonus comic yet. Meanwhile, if you're impatient for the actual gym battle to start, you won't have to wait long. Brendan and May will meet Roxanne on friday.

My dad and I went to the Pheonix Zoo yesterday. Not the best zoo I've ever been to but it's pretty nice and it's the first zoo I've been to in years. It was fun, they had an area where you could walk around inside one of the monkey habitats. They seemed to like fighting with eachother while hanging from ropes. Man, sure would be cool if I had that kinda balance...

Other than that, I'm just trying to use this week to get as much work done as I can so I can spend my spring break (next week) having fun. Fortunately, half my teachers are going to the GDC this week (I'd go but it's a lot of money and I really want to go to E3 later this year) so half my classes got cancled.



3/4/2005 Weekend

There's a new bonus comic up so please vote and help Pebble Version get off to a strong start this month. Meanwhile, that's one gym trainer down and one to go before Brendan and May reach Roxanne. And by now you've probably noticed the return of the little pokédex status display. What do you think? Good? Bad? I think there are some fights where it just isn't worth the effort to make and others where it can be pretty useful, particularly the more important battles. Actually I probably should have used it during the last Xain and Cali fight...

Well, looks like things are finally calming down over here, which is good since I've got a whole bunch of stuff I'm been wanting to read, watch, and play. Hopefully I'll actually be able to catch up on that a bit over the next couple weeks. I got to do my first short film for my digital video class, well technically it wasn't my first but, unlike the last one, I wrote and filmed this one myself. It's a funny Matrix style fight scene and was a lot of fun to make. If I ever get a get it converted from DV tape to mpg I'll put a copy on the net for you guys to see. Also, I joined a group at my school that just formed to make a LEGO stop motion movie. Cool, huh? Course, I probably should see about doing an actual video game related project... Ah well, I got plenty of other semesters for that.

Have a good weekend!


3/2/2005 Always busy...

I was hoping things would calm down this week but, guess not. Next week I hope... Anyway, there's a new ROM comic up and this one marks the first appearance of Silver, another forum member and one of the main characters in the ROM RP although he's a bit, um, different in the comic. Also, it's a new month (so remember to vote). Unfortunately we didn't reach any of February's donation goals but maybe this month will be different.

My 3D Max teacher gave us an assignment that required using a specific modeling technique. Which might not have been a problem if he'd actually shown us how to model stuff that way. I had to spend quite a lot of time on google before I found out how to do it. Fortunately, the next assignment looks a lot easier. Let's see, what else has been going on? Hmm... Not much. I'm just trying to get caught up on stuff but I do have some interesting things in the works. I might say more on friday...


2/28/2005 Tired...

Remember to vote and see friday's bonus comic. Hmm... Today's strip isn't all that funny but it moves the battle along. Look for a more amusing strip on wednesday.

My grandparents will be leaving tomorrow although my dad will be staying with me after that. I got to go the AZ Matsuri festival. It was a lot of fun and I wish I could have have stayed longer. There were lots of booths selling all sorts of Japanese stuff (and food too) plus there were lots of performances. I got to see Taiko drummers, Japanese singers, and some different types of martial arts. Really cool.

Anyway, I'm really tired right now, not sure why. Hopefully it won't last. See you wednesday.


2/25/2005 Insert title here

Lots of new stuff today. First off there's a new bonus comic so don't forget to vote. Also, take a look at the Extras page for another flash movie and look for a new site on the Link Exchange as well.

Wow, these last couple days have been pretty packed. Between homework and doing stuff with my grandparents, I haven't had a lot of free time. On the up side, I got some new Full Metal Alchemist DVDs (which, by the way, is an excellent anime series), now I just need to find some time to watch them.

Have a good weekend!


2/23/2005 New stuff

There's another flash movie on the Extras page and there's a new ROM comic too, it marks Jeff's first appearance in the comic. Jeff is one of the forums mods. He, along with Shauni, Silver, David, and I, form the main cast for much of the RP and it's nice to seem him in the comic.

Well, some of my visitors left but my dad and grandparents are still here. Doing stuff with them is nice although it's leaving me with less time for things like games and homework. Ah well, no big deal. Let's see, what else is going on? I like Xenosaga 2's battle system (more on that in the full review) although the camera positions in it are rather lame. And the random enemies are a lot stronger than the connon fodder you find in most RPGs, which keeps things interesting although some of the battles do take a bit more time than usual to complete.

I've been getting a lot more manga lately. Having an anime store nearby is really cool although not so great for my wallet. Recently I've been getting the new volumes of Ranma 1/2, The Kindaichi Case Files, Bleach, Yu-Gi-Oh, Beet the Vandel Buster, AI Love You, and Negima, among others. I'm also trying to complete my set of Dragon Ball Z graphic novels. So much great manga so little money...

And that's really about it. Right now I'm just trying to finish up several small homework assignments. See you on friday.


2/21/2005 The gym!

As promised, Brendan and May have reached the gym. On wednesday they'll actually go inside. And look, the donation bar finally moved! Just $15 more to reach the first donation goal and get you guys some interesting commentary on the older strips. Don't forget to vote either! In other site news, check the Extras page for a brand new fan made Pebble Version flash movie!

So, I got a three day weekend for President's Day, yay! Other than that, not much else has been going on. I've still got relatives visiting and I'm trying to get caught up on a few of my hobbies. And that's really about it for now. Later!


2/18/2005 Special bonus comic

Yep, there's a new bonus comic up but instead of the usual Blooper Reel I did something different this time so please use the Buzz Comix button or banner and vote. Pebble Version has been slipping a bit in the rankings this month and I'd certainly appreciate the support. Also, if you haven't read wednesday's news post you may want to scroll down and take a look. One last bit of site news, Brendan and May will be arriving at the Rustboro Gym on monday, don't miss it!

I got Xenosaga 2. I'll post a full mini-review once I've beaten it but for now here's some impressions. Overall the look, sound, and feel are true to Xenosaga 1 but the graphics have been improved. The new art style for the characters is ok but is kinda strange after getting used to the old look. I'm not really far enough to comment on the story but it seems good so far. The battle system has been changed, mostly for the better, and so has the character development system, mostly for the worse. The cutscenes are back but not as long as before. So far I'm liking X2 but a couple unexplained changes (such as the characters mysteriously not having their A.W.G.S. anymore and MOMO using a different weapon) are a little annoying. More on X2 later.

Meanwhile, it continues to rain here in Pheonix... Have a good weekend!


2/16/2005 Visitors

In case you're getting impatient, Brendan and May will reach the Rustboro Gym on monday. While you're here, why not take a look at the new ROM comic and the new fan art on the Extras page. Also, it's been a while since I last bugged you guys about donating. Remember, even a dollar or two helps. Also, if total donations for the month reach a certain amount, you guys all get cool extra content during the following month. If total donations reach $25 or more I'll write up some interesting commentary about the first month or so of Pebble Version strips. If donations reach at least $50 you'll get the commentary and five new Pebble Version strips each week for the entire month of March (instead of the usual three). At $75 you also get a new full page Legend of Zelda comic (see the first couple on the Extras page). And $100? Well, that's a surprise but it's gonna be cool.

Well, I didn't get Xenosaga 2 yet (hopefully today) but I did pick up the preorder disk which is a DVD containing several hours of cutscenes from the first Xenosaga. It's nothing amazing but, considering how complex Xenosaga's story is, it's worth watching if you haven't played the first Xenosaga for a while. In other news, my family is visiting and so are my grandparents and I guy I know from back home. Fortunately, they're not all staying in my apartment. It's nice to see them all again and it gives me an excuse to go out to eat more, which is certainly a good thing.

Well, that's about it for now. Later!


2/14/2005 Yet another short rant

Well, I finally finished the last of the big homework projects I had (which means I'll probably be getting more soon). Of course, the last one ended up taking about four times longer than I originally thought so I got stuck staying up real late sunday night to finish it, which is why this rant is so short. Be sure to vote, especially if you haven't seen friday's bonus comic yet. I got some new fan art too but it won't be up till wednesday.

Xenosaga 2 comes out today. Yay! Well, I'm gonna get some sleep. See you wednesday!


2/11/2005 The weekend is coming!

There's a new bonus comic up for all of you who feel like voting and there's new fan art on the Extras page too. Ugh, thursday kinda sucked but I don't feel like going into detail right now. I got a lot of stuff I need to finish before the weekend and I need some sleep so I'll see you all on monday. Have a good weekend everyone!


2/9/2005 Looking good

Alright, looks like I'm finally getting into the swing of things. Still have a couple big homework projects but I think I actually know how to do them this time, which is a big improvement over last week. And, now that the paperwork is done, I'll have more time to work on them too. I'm getting together with my grandparents today so that sould be fun too.

In game news, I'm trying to finish up with Mario Kart Double Dash and DBZ Budokai 3 before Xenosaga 2 comes out next week. If I actually wanted to get all the capsules in Budokai I could be playing for quite a while but I'm almost done unlocking the different characters and that'll be good enough for now. In Mario Kart I finally managed to unlock Mirror Mode and got a couple trophies in it. That game is fun but the computer cheats on the harder levels and that gets really annoying really fast.

Well, that's about it for now. Dont' forget to check out the all new ROM comic now that Shauni is back from vacation!


2/7/2005 It's done!!!

Yes!!! I finally finished converting all my dad's paperwork to and Excel file. It took forever but it's finally done and I made some spending money in the process, which is always good. Even better, I got most of my more time consuming homework done. Just a couple minor things and that Neverwinter Nights level left, unless the teachers decide to give me more. Ah well, with the paperwork done I'll have a bit more free time despite the homework so I can give a go at catching up on my reading, DVD watching, and game playing.

Speaking of Neverwinter Nights, I'm beginning to get a bit more into the story and character building aspects of the game, which is good, but the pacing is driving me nuts. I've played a little over 20 hours so far, my character is level 5, I spent 70% of the money I've been saving all game just to get one new weapon, and I just got through with the first main quest in chapter 1. Do all computer RPGs move that slowly? Maybe I'm just too used to Final Fantasy style RPGs but I keep thinking that, after 20 hours, I should have gone through several equipment sets, got my character to level 20 or 30, and gotten through at least a thrid of the game. I just hope my character will be strong enough to get through the level I'm making. It'll be kinda hard to demonstrate it to my teacher if I keep getting killed...

There was another anime club meeting yesterday. We watched some episodes of Excel Saga and Kalaido Star. I got to admit, the Japanese have an incredible knack for being able to turn any subject imaginable into an interesting anime. Sure there's all the usual subjects but then there's the things that you'd think no one could make an interesting TV show about. Collectable card games, people on sports teams, people playing Go, a girl trying to join a really fancy dance/acrobatic show... And that's just for starters. How do they do it? Hmm... Now I want to go buy more anime...

Don't forget to vote and see friday's bonus comic if you haven't already! See you all wednesday!


2/4/2005 General comments

There's a new bonus comic up and all you have to do to see it is vote so get to it! Also, the last ROM guest comic is up and this one is special. Why? Because I made it so be sure to take a look.

Isn't rush hour traffic fun? We had rush hour back in Grand Junction but it's nothing compared to the one here. It's the type traffic where you stop for a light, it turns green, but it changes red again before you ever reach it. If you drive anywhere around here between 4 and 6 PM be sure to ad an extra hour or two to the time it usually takes to make the drive.

I watched President Bush's State of the Union address on wednesday and I learned something. People clap too much. The president spoke for fifty some minutes and was interrupted 61 times by applause (no I wasn't counting, they mentioned it during the commentary). Really, the whole thing would have gone much quicker if everyone saved their applause till the end.

I've noticed a rather annoying trend lately. It happens most often when people (especially democrats but almost everyone does it) talk about political opinions, but that isn't the only time. Listen up everyone. You're perfectly entitled to your own opinions and you're also entitled to share and defend those opinions. That's what America is about. On the other hand, you have to realize that if someone doesn't agree with you it doesn't make that person a jerk, uneducated idiot, or anything else. You may be right or you may be wrong (everyone is wrong some times, EVERYONE) but understand that as good as your reasons are for believing what you believe, other people could have reasons that are just as good for believing the opposite. Looking down on people because they don't agree with you is immature and makes you look like a jerk, not them.

Well, back to homework. Enjoy your weekend!


2/2/2005 More of the same

Haven't you ever wondered why most characters in RPGs have nothing better to do then sit around and tell the heros about one location or another? Well, now you know. Since it's a new month, be sure to vote and get PV's rank back up. The donation bar has reset too. Unfortunately, none of the donation goals were reached last month. Hopefully this month will be different. Oh, and don't forget ROM, there's a new guest comic up.

In other news, the combination of paperwork and homework is certainly keeping me pretty busy. I already had to design a level on paper, write a couple essays, do some web site work, make a 3D martini glass, and help make a thirty second film. Next up, making a level in Neverwinter Nights (which I've hardly played), writing another essay, doing more web stuff, making a 3D light sabre (in a program I can barely use), and sketching out an original character (drawing has never been my strong point and I'm way out of practice). Sigh, this is gonna take a while...

My mom came to visit. She stayed with me for a couple days then moved to a condo my grandparents (who will be here monday) rented for the month. It'll be nice to see them and it should give me an excuse to go out to eat more, which is good since I've been too busy to do much cooking.

Well, see you all friday. If I'm lucky I'll have a couple of those assignment finished by then.


1/31/2005 Enough already!

Ugh, after all that homework last week I was hoping things would be better this week. Well, sunday didn't turn out how I'd hoped. I did get to go to the first meeting of my school's anime club, which was a blast (well mostly, helpful hint, don't watch Colorful), but other than that I spent most of the day doing homework and I still have a couple assignments left to do. I just want to take a break and have some fun... Maybe tomorrow...

Anyway, looks like Brendan and May are sharing a nice moment in today's strip. Or maybe not... Also, don't forget to take a look at today's ROM guest comic and vote if you haven't seen the new bonus comic yet.

Well, that's it for now. I'll see you all on wednesday.


1/28/2004 Stupid tie brakers...

There's a new bonus comic up for everyone who votes and there's a new ROM guest comic too!

Well, homework has continued to keep me busy this week. Fortunately, I'll have it all done by the end of the weekend so hopefully next week won't be so bad. I've also been spending some time this week playing Neverwinter Nights. To be honost, I got it more for research than fun. I'm taking level design this semester and my editor choices are NWN, Doom 3, and Half Life 2. Since I'm not much of a fan of FPS games the choice was obvious. I haven't had too much experience with PC RPGs before (although I play tons of consule RPGs). I haven't really formed much of an opinion on the game yet. All the D&D based character customization is neat but the combat is rather on the boring side. Guess I'll just have to see how the story turns out.

Ya know, they say Pheonix gets 340 sunny days a year. That would leave only 25 days a year for rain. Well, if there's only 25 days of rain alloted for the year, we seem to be using them all up right now. On a completely different note I've been watching, Whose Line is it Anyway is a lot. It would be pretty hard to find a funnier show.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with tie brakers. See, there's a Yu-Gi-Oh league on thursdays. There are three rounds and then the top eight people advance. If you win your game in all threee rounds you're in for sure but only several people manage that each week. Yesterday I used my Exodia deck. I've been working a long time to make a viable Exodia deck and this one is about as good as they get. If it works it's awesome, the rest of the time it gets slaughtered. Of course, with something as random as Exodia, that's the best you can hope for. Well, last night my deck was working awesomely. I won two of my three games and I was pretty sure I'd made it into the top eight. As usual, three or four people won all three games but there were a few too many people with two wins for all of them to advance. So it comes down to the tie braker which doesn't involve any actual skill. It's some weird math formula that has to do with stuff such as which round you lost, how well the person you lost to did, and some other number that, um, I'm not really sure what it has to do with anything. Anyway, I didn't make it into the top eight because of said tie braker formula. And this isn't the first time that's happened either. Sigh...

Have a good weekend!


1/26/2005 The homework begins...

There's another ROM guest comic up for you guys to see. That's about it for site updates today.

Anyway, all my teachers decided to give out home work this week. On the bright side, most of the assignments are pretty simple. On the downside, I have a lot of reading to do as well. A couple of my assignments could end up being pretty time consuming too. Sigh... I have two classes on tuesdays which isn't so bad except that my 3DMax class is 7:30-9:20 PM. Yeah, that sucks. Not only is it a two hour class, it's a two hour class that's not during normal class hours. Since it only meets once a week the teacher crams a lot into it which means he moves from one thing to another pretty quickly. Combine the pace with the teacher's accent and you have a rather hard to follow class. Well, once class finished I figured that I had some time before 10 (when I usually work on Pebble Version) so I might as well stay at school and do my 3DMax assignment which just involved following a tutorial. It sounded easy. Problem is, when things sound quick and easy, they often end up taking a lot longer than you thought. The assignment itself wasn't so hard but finding some of the tools I needed to use proved pretty difficult and the help system wasn't much help. Fun, fun, fun... And I get to do more homework tomorrow!

Oh yes, my school has a Gamecube set up for everyone to use and it had Super Smash Brothers Melee on it for a while. For some reason a lot of the SSBM players there think Kirby is the worst character in the game. I, on the other hand, am a master Kirby player. Spending entire matches listening to people say how bad Kirby is gets annoying but it makes it all worthwhile when I beat them all. Kirby rules!!!


1/24/2005 Another week...

It's been a while since we saw torchic flame someone hasn't it? I decided to try using the same effect I've been using for torchic's ember attack instead of the old flame thrower style attack torchic used to use to burn people. Hmm... I think I kinda like the old style better... Anyway, go vote if you haven't seen friday's bonus comic yet. Also, Shauni is going on vacation for a couple of weeks so ROM is gonna be doing guest comics for a little while. The first one is up today and there will be new ones every monday, wednesday, and friday until Shauni gets back.

Well, I'm still doing paperwork. Took a break to go see House of Flying Daggers today. If you've seen Hero or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon you'll have a general idea of what to expect. It has the same kind of flowing artistic look to it, sometimes to the point of ridiculousness. Sure having the final battle during a blizzard looks cool but having a blizzard suddenly spring up in the middle of what looked like a nice summer day is pushing it. The battles are the same floaty arcobatic mix of weapons and martial arts. They look really impressive and cool, if not realistic, but there's a less of them than in the other movies. Instead of focusing on the battles and conflict, House of Flying Daggers puts most of its energy into a tragic romance, letting the rest take a back seat to the emotions of the characters. I'm not a big fan of romance so I didn't like it as much as say, Hero, where the love story played a secondary role, but the cool battles and surprising plot twists make House of Flying Daggers worth seeing if you're a fan of similiar movies.

Well, that's all for now. I'll try and get a game mini-review done sometime this week too.


1/21/2005 What to say...

That stuff the kid says in panel three is copied almost word for word from the actual game. Take about stupid dialogue. I mean everyone knows that males have higher attack and defense and females have higher special attack and special defense, right? Wait, there's another difference isn't there? Anyway, there's a new bonus comic up, all you have to do is vote to see it. Remember, voting is quick, easy, and helps Pebble Version out. Of course, you could help out even more by donating and get some cool stuff during the upcoming month...

Let's see... What to say about the week... I've been doing lots of that paperwork I mentioned. School is good so far, of course, I'll have to see how it is a couple months in when the teachers start giving out lots of assignments. Other than that, I've been playing some video games when I get the chance. I got Mario Kart Double Dash for my brithday so I've been trying to unlock everything in there (right now I'm on the Star Cup at 150cc). I've also been playing DBZ Budokai 3 a bit. It's a fun game but I haven't even finished playing through all the different characters' Dragon Universes yet so I've got a long way to go. And I'm replaying Growlanser 2 for the third time, not because it's such an awesome game (although it is pretty good) but because I need to get all the endings so I can important my characters into Growlanser 3. I'll try to get a mini-review of at least one of them this coming week. And, oh yeah, been reading a bunch of graphic novels. Having an anime store a couple miles away is really cool although I'm probably spending a little more money there than I should...

Well, have a good weekend everyone. I'll see you monday!


1/19/2005 Papers, papers, and more papers!

So like I mentioned last update, I got a nice four day weekend. While my dad's paying me to take all his paper work records and turn them into a nice spreadsheet. Well, I certainly need the money and since I had a couple days off... Ugh... I forgot just how boring this kinda thing is. Which wouldn't be so bad but things are taking much longer than I thought. On the bright side, I'm getting paid by the hour. On the down side, I'm not looking forward to another ten to twenty hours of this on top of my school work.

Other than that, I've been enjoying myself. Finally got around to watching the extended edition of Return of the King. And, um, that's about it really. With this paperwork and stuff I haven't really had time to do a lot over the last few days. So I'll see you all on friday. Oh, and don't forget to check out the new ROM comic!


1/17/2005 Four day weekends rock!

I mean really, who'd want to visit a place called Rustboro? Anyway, like the title of this blurb says, four day weekends are great. I'm on one now. Which means plenty of time to read, play games, and earn some extra cash doing computer work for my dad. Oh yes, don't forget to vote and see friday's bonus comic.

So, my first week of school is done. Can't really say much about the classes themselves since the first week is all intro stuff but I like the school itself. They got lots of awesome equipment and the atmosphere is a lot more open than most colleges. This could end up being a pretty cool semester. Although it looks like I may also end up with a ton of homework. Well, that's all I have to say for now so I'll see you on wednesday.


1/14/2005 Running late...

Ack, no time for a real news blurb. Yesterday and today are really busy and on top of that I'm a bit behind on my comic strip work. There's a new ROM comic up and it's a real one this time, not just filler. And a new bonus comic is up for everyone who wants to vote. I hope everyone has a good weekend. Saturday can't come too soon for me...


1/12/2005 Yadda, yadda, yadda...

Well, I'm not really sure what to say. School is looking interesting. I like the campus and it looks like there's a good chance I'll meet some people that share my interests. It's too early to say much about my classes though. Other than that nothing has really happened. I've been rewatching some old Abbott and Costello movies. If you haven't seen Abbot and Costello you really should try and find some of their movies or TV shows to watch. They don't make comedy that like anymore.

There's a new ROM up, sorta. Just take a look and you'll see what I mean. In case you're wondering, I'm the one with the sword. Of course, don't forget to vote (it's quick, free, and you get to see the latest Pebble Version Blooper Reel strip). Donating is important as well. Of course, you don't need to donate to read PV but the more donations I get the more cool stuff you get. See the donation guage? If the total for the month reaches at least $25 I'll write up commentary about the first month or so of PV strips. If it reaches at least $50 you not only get the commentary, you'll also get five brand new Pebble Version strips each week throughout February. If it hits $75 you also get a new Zelda page (Zelda pages can be seen on the Extras page). And if it hits $100 or more? A super cool mystery gift that's so secret even I don't know what it is.

Well, I'd better get back to work on PV strips so I'll see you on friday.


1/10/2005 Pebble Version is back!

Hey everyone! Guest comics are over and regular Pebble Version strips are back! All the winning guest comics as well as the runners-up can now be found on the Extras page. In case you forgot what was going on, Brendan and May have just defeated Xain and Cali. They'll be entering Rustboro City soon so get ready for all the stuff that happens there including the first gym battle. Not to say too much but Xain and Cali may be showing up again soon as well. Not to mention a couple of bumbling guys with suits... And don't forget to vote and see that cool new bonus comic I put up friday.

As for me, I'm slowly learning my way around Pheonix. School starts today so we'll see how that goes. Other than that, I've spent the last few days trying to salvage the little bit that remained of my winter break. You know, reading (the new Sword of Truth book is really good), watching DVDs, playing the new video games I got over the holidays, and all that kinda good stuff.

Well, like I said, school's starting so I need to get some sleep. See you wednesday!


1/7/2005 Last of the guest comics

Well, this is it, the last guest comics. Come monday, regular strips will resume and I'll add all the guest comics, including runners-up, to the extras page. For now there's a new Blooper Reel comic up if you want to vote and take a look. Also, there's a new ROM comic and ROM bonus comic as well. I was going to post them wednesday but I had some internet trouble.

Ok, quick update on what I've been doing... I moved from Grand Junction to Tempe AZ for school. Naturally that required a lot of packing and then unpacking and the like. Then, just when we finished setting up my new apartment, it turned out there was a water leak so my parents and I had to move everything to a different apartment. Talk about a pain... Other than that, I don't really know anyone down here but that'll hopefully change soon. I'm gonna miss a lot of stuff from back home but moving to such a big city does have its advantages. Heck, I'm eight minutes away from an anime store, you can't beat that.

Anyway, I'll talk more about things later. See you all monday!


1/2/2005 Quick update and bonus comic up

Hey everyone. Due to circumstances beyond my control I may not have an internet connection for the next day or two so I'm updating a day early. I know I was planning a news blurb but it'll have to wait till friday now. Also, the new bonus comic is up. It's a little late thanks to the Buzz Comix outtage but no biggie. Since everything reset this is a great time to vote, vote, vote! And, a final note, donations for December were $20, just a touch shy of the first donation gift. Oh well, you can always donate now for next month. And that $20 did go towards the professional site redesign I've been wanting to do. Just $78 more to go!


12/31/2004 No new bonus comic

Hey, hope you're all enjoying the guest comics so far. Just a reminder, regular comics will resume on January 10th. Also, there will be no new bonus comic this week. I actually have one ready but Buzz Comix is down so it'll have to wait. And, of course, this is the last day if you want to get donations in for December. If any of you want to know about my move, I'll try and put together a decent sized news blurb on monday. Right now I'm too tired.


12/27/2004 Guest Comic Time

Hi everyone. Hope you had a good holiday. Remember, only a few days left to get in donations for this month (see the last news post for more details). And there is a new bonus comic if you didn't see it friday. Speaking of which, from now on there will be weekly bonus comics every friday (the first donation gift has been changed).

Anyway, I'm in AZ getting moved in to my new place (my birthday is coming up soon too (Jan 1st)), that will keep me pretty busy so I'll be posting guest comics for the next couple of weeks. Regular Pebble Version strips will resume on January 10th. Until then, enjoy some of the many excellent guest comics I received. Each guest comic will remain on the main page until the next update day. Once PV resumes updating I'll add all the winning comics, as well as the runners up, to the extras page. I had a really hard time choosing winners so please don't get upset if your comic didn't make the final cut, it may get listed with the runner ups later. Bonus comics will continue to update during the coming weeks so keep voting. There may even be a news blurb or two, depending on how busy I am.

Well, hope you all enjoy the guest comics.


12/24/2004 Getting ready to go

Well, I'm decided to make weekly bonus comics permanent (the first donation gift is now strip commentary) so there's a new one this week so go vote. This will be the last regular strip for a couple weeks but I've got lots of great guest comics lined up, it sure is going to be hard choosing winners. Anyway, I'll post more regarding the guest comic schedule on monday. Oh yes, if you still want in the contest this is the last day. And there's only a few more days to get donations in for next month as well. Remember, anyone in the US who donates at least $10 gets a free signed copy of my book.

It's been a busy week. I've had to do a lot of packing and other misc stuff to get ready to go down to AZ. Hope those of you who celebrate Christmas have a good holiday. As for me, my birthday is coming up on January 1. Course, doubt I'll have much of a party since most of my friends will be in CO. Oh well... Look at the neat present I got from Myou!

Isn't it cute?

Now for a mini-review. This time it's Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories. It's kinda like Kingdom Hearts 1 1/2 on the GBA.
Story: If you haven't played Kingdom Hearts you might as well stop reading here. Go get a copy of that instead. It's only $20 and it's a great game. For those who have played Kingdom Hearts, Chain of Memories starts right where KH ends, with Sora, Donald, and Goofy running across a grassy plain looking for Riku and the king. Soon after, a mysterious cloaked figure leads them to the ominous Castle Oblivion where he says Sora will find someone he is looking for but to do so he'll have to lose something important. Undaunted, the party begins to ascend the floors of the castle. Each floor is made up of Sora's memories or world's he visited in KH. The story takes a while to get moving but it's interesting and helps set up for KH2.
Graphics: This is one of the best looking GBA games out there. The sprites are all large and really detailed and the worlds look great. The animation is really smooth too. Plus there's even FMVs. Yes, you heard that, FMVs. While they're not quite as good as the ones from KH they do a pretty good job of imitating the ones from the PS2 game.
Sound: Once again, sound is top notch. Most of the tunes came right from the original KH so don't expect much new stuff but since you're exploring a lot of the same worlds it fits well and KH had some great music. And then there's the ending theme... Not to spoil is but COM constantly proved to me that the GBA can do much more than I thought. Sound FX are excellent too and very appropriate.
Gameplay: COM plays differently than KH. Like I said before, Sora goes from floor to each, each based on one of the KH worlds. In each world you'll explore a bit, follow an abbreviated version of that world's story, and finally fight a boss. The main plot mostly happens between the floors. Anyway, each floor is made up of rooms. In battle you win map cards that let you create each room as you go. Want a room with a treasure chest or maybe a save point? Or perhaps you want a room where enemies are more likely to drop rare items. There's lots to choose from but there are limits on what cards you can use where. Outside of battle, Sora can jump around and swing his keyblade. Whacking a heartless stuns them when the battle begins, yeah battles have their own screens here. Combat in Castle Oblivion revolves around cards. Sora can win cards from enemies, find them hidden in the castle, and buy them from Moogles. Keyblade cards are your basic attacks but the power and speed vary by card. There's also cards for all the magic spells in KH and the summons as well. And there's cards for the items as well, they're really powerful but can only be used once per battle. In battle cards disapear when used. Friend cards appear randomly for one battle and summon guys like Donald and Goofy to help you. Finally, enemy cards are rare but offer some pretty interesting effects. You can reload your deck to get them back but you need to stand still for a few seconds, making you vulnerable. Cards can also be used in combos, some of which form special moves but don't overy use them because the first card used in each one disapears for the rest of the battle. Each card has a number. Using a card with a higher number than your opponent breaks the weaker card, stunning the enemy. Of course, they can do it to you too. 0 cards are wilds. They always lose if played first but win when played last. So you just load your deck with high cards, right? Wrong. First off, you'd need to find all thsoe hard cards. Besides, cards with better numbers need more points to use. See, Sora has a certain amount of Deck Points and the total point value of cards in his deck can excede them. Deck Points, as well as HP, can be increased when you level up. There's certainly some strategy in the battle system, especially in the later boss battles, but most of the time you can just set up a good deck and start smashing random heartless. Battles are all in real time and Sora can run around, jump, an use his dodge roll. Battles play out quickly and do a good job of recreating the fun zillions of enemies feeling from KH. The only exception is a few of the later boss battles where things tend to drop into a bit of repitition when both you and the boss run low on cards. As a bonus, when you beat the game with Sora you can play through it again in Reverse/Rebirth mode. In it, you play a different character in a shorter quest. The story in R/R is really interesting and the new character plays differently enough to keep things entertaining.
Overall: If you're a fan of KH then COM is a must buy since it helps fill in some gaps in the story between KH and KH2. It also features a fun and unique battle system and some of the best graphics and sound on the GBA. Most of the worlds you visit will leave you with a feeling of deja vu (more original ones would have been nice) but the game moves fast enough that you won't get tired of them. If you haven't played KH, however, you won't really get the story (despite some bare bones recaps) so this isn't the greatest game to start on.

Ok, tune in monday for the beginning of the guest comics and my last new post for a while.


12/22/2004 Ouch...

Today's strip may be a bit lacking the punch line department but I think I make a good point. If you think about it, flying pokémon should be able to avoid quite a lot of attacks by simply flying instead of standing on the ground like they often do in the games. Remember, you only have till the end of the month to take advantage of the special holiday offer (see the previous news post for details). In a similiar note, I've decided to change the donation gifts a little. $50 still gets you five new Pebble Version strips a week, $65 a new Zelda Page, and $100 a special mystery gift, but I've decided to do weekly bonus comics regardless of donations so the $25 gift is different. From now on, whenever Pebble Version gets at least $25 in donations over the month I'll write up commentaries for one entire month worth of strips (starting at the beginning). If you haven't seen them before on other comics, commentaries are where the comic's creator talks about how they made the strip, what was special/important about that strip, or other stuff like that. It's pretty cool.

As usual, there's a new ROM comic up as well. Be sure to take a look because this one feature's my first appearance in the comic! For those of you who didn't know, ROM The Comic is based on the long running ROM RP on the PV Forums in which the comic's artist (Shauni) is one of the main characters, as am I. Speaking of which, I sure hope my comic character gets all the cool powers and monsters I have in the RP...

Ah yes, new links are up as well. First up is Count Your Sheep, a cute and humorous comic about a girl and her imaginary friend, a sheep. It's certainly worth a look. Made an addition to the Link Exchange page as well so take a look there while you're at it.

That should be it for now. Just remember that if you still want to enter the guest comic contest you have to get your entries in by friday night. See you then! Oh, and if you're wondering about the 'ouch' I went sledding with some friends and failed to land a jump. It hurt.


12/20/2004 Busy week, again...

Gee, I'd love to just spend my winter break relaxing and cathing up on my games and reading. But instead I've got to prepare for my move to AZ. But, back to the comic. If you didn't see the new bonus comic I put up friday then now is as good a time as any to vote and take a look. And remember, you only have until friday night to get your entries for the guest comic contest in. If you still don't knoe the rules, look at last wednesday's news post (bottom of the page). And then there's that new special I announced on friday. To reiterate... As an end of year special, anyone who donates at least $10 gets a free copy of my book mailed to them. Plus your donations get added to the total and you all know what that means since enough donations gets everyone all kinds of cool stuff. So, if you donate at least $10 be sure to send me your mailing address. Unfortunately, this offer is only for people living in the US. If you live in another country and want a copy you'd have to donate a bit more to cover the extra shipping costs, sorry.

Ok, if you've been reading these news posts for a while you may remember that I'm a fan of A Series of Unfortunate Events, really good yet highly unconventional book series. For those of you who haven't heard of it, it follows the story of a trio of sibling after their parents and home are lost in a fire, as narrated by the enigmatic Lemony Snicket.. Violent is an inventor, Klaus a researcher, and Sunny a baby that bites things. Basically they're shuttled from guardian to guardian while trying to avoid the clutches of the sinister Count Olaf who wants to steal their family fortune. most of the grownups are idiots who can't see through the Count's poor disguises. It's dark, dreary, and really funny. And, surprisingly enough, it actually has an interesting plot that kicks in around seven books in. Anyway, I went to see the movie.
Considering my past experience with movies based on books I've read (Lord of the Rings was the only one I've liked) I went fully expecting to hate it. First off, I like most of the sets and actors, for the most part the fit the roles. But then they got Jim Carrey as Count Olaf. I have kinda mixed feelings about that, like I do about most of the movie. Carrey doesn't fit the book's version of Olaf at all, the personality is very different. On the other hand, Carrey's Olaf is a funny reinterpertation of the original and fits pretty well with the movie. The movie combines the first three books in the series (with major abbreviation) but doesn't really try to follow anything more than the most basic plot of each. But in some respects, that's a good thing. Instead of trying and failing to copy the books (like the Harry Potter movies) A Series of Unfortunate Events settles for a pretty good reinterpertation of the series. While I do wish it followed the books better, it's pretty funny and a good movie in its own right so I can't really hate it for the changes. If you haven't read the books the movie is worth a look although the novels are definately better. If you have read them, go see the movie, you may be pleasantly surprised.


12/17/2004 Done but still busy but there's a NEW BONUS COMIC

Well, finals are finally finished now I just need to wait for my grades. Of course, I got other things to work on now like packing for my upcoming move and doing a bunch of other last minute things. So much for a nice break... Speaking of which, just one more week to get those guest comics in. Check the last post if you want to see the rules. You can send your entries here. And there's a new bonus comic up so vote, vote, vote!

I got a new announcement too. As an end of year special, anyone who donates at least $10 gets a free copy of my book mailed to them. Plus your donations get added to the total and you all know what that means since enough donations gets everyone all kinds of cool stuff. So, if you donate at least $10 be sure to send me your mailing address. Unfortunately, this offer is only for people living in the US. If you live in another country and want a copy you'd have to donate a bit more to cover the extra shipping costs, sorry.

Have a good weekend everyone!


12/15/2004 The end is in sight!

Almost done with finals, just have half of my final paper to finish. So close... Anyway, this is the first time the confusion status has appeared in the comic, yay! Actually, it may be the first time for poison as well. New ROM up so make sure to take a look there. And look, the donation guage finall moved! Just another $15 to reach goal one and only $40 to reach goal two which would mean five new Pebble Version strips a week during January.

Still need more guest comics. To repeat the rules yet again... You have now until friday the 24th to submit your entries. Comics can be jpg, giff, or png files no bigger than 800 pixels wide and 1000 pixels tall. Also, if possible, try to keep the file size to 200k or less. Comics can be sprites, CG, handrawn, or whatever as long as they have some connection to Pebble Version. Also, shoot for no more than a PG rating.

Now for that mini-review I've been promising. It's time to talk about Super Mario 64 DS! A great twist on an old classic.
Story: It's just your average Mario game so don't expect much. It starts out just like Super Mario 64 with the princess inviting Mario to the castle for some cake. But this time Luigi and Wario decide to tag along. They all head inside the castle. Several hours later Laktu (the camera man) wakes Yoshi (who was sleeping nearby) and informs him that the others haven't come out of the castle yet. Yoshi heads off to investigate and finds that Bowser has not only stolen the power stars and kidnapped the princess, but imprisoned Mario, Luigi, and Wario as well. Time to save the day.
Graphics: Wow, imagine these graphics on a handheld... 64 DS looks just like the N64 original, actually, there's even some slight improvements. The graphics won't blow you away when compared to stuff on your PS2 or Gamecube but they really show what the DS is capable of.
Sound: Unlike the GBA, the DS has full stero sound and 64 DS sounds nearly just like the original only with a few new sounds effects and other tweaks. The music is your standard catchy Mario fare and the sound effects are great although hearing the characters little shouts may get annoying after a while.
Gameplay: Gee, Super Mario 64 DS plays like Super Mario 64, go figure. If you haven't played SM64, you go through Peach's castle using the paintings to warp to levels where you complete certain goals to find stars. The levels are diverse and interesting and there's lots of hidden stars in the castle as well. Control is smooth but the DS's lack of a thumb stick hurts it a little. Controling the character with the touch screen is hard to get used to. It's much easier to use the d-pad even though you don't get the full analog control you're used to. There's now 150 stars to find (30 more than SM64) and a lot of the previous ones have been changes around a bit do to other gameplay changes. You start the game as Yoshi but eventually rescue the others and you can switch between them in the castle. You can only take one character into a level but you can temporarily change into another character by finding their hat in the level. All the characters play a bit differently. Yoshi has a nice float jump, can eat monsters, shoot eggs, and breath fire with the right power up but can't punch. Mario plays just like before and is the only one who can wall jump, power ups either turn him into a baloon or give him the wing cap from SM64. Luigi has a hovery jump good for covering long distances, can run on water for short periods of time, and uses power ups to turn invisible. Lastly, Wario jumps and runs like a rock but he's can break things the others can't and uses power ups to become metal. Some of the new stars require a pretty good use of a combination of characters, pretty cool. Finally, the DS's second screen is used as a level map which shows the location of hats and most stars, making some of them a bit easier to track down.
Overall: Super Mario 64 DS is a platforming classic and currently the game to get if you have a DS. If you've never played Super Mario 64 this is the version to get. Even people who have played the N64 version to death will find plenty to like with the new characters, areas, and stars. Plus there's a very large collection of fun unlockable mini-games to play as well that make excellent use of the touch screen. While this game may not be worth buying a DS for, at least not if you have the N64 version, if you have a DS Super Mario 64 DS is a must buy.


12/13/2004 Stupid psychology...

Pokémon like silcoon can't learn tackle if you catch them in the wild but if you evolve them from their lower form (which does learn tackle) they'll still have it. Kinda weird. Anyway, I'm really tired right now. Can't wait till finals are over. So much work... I never would have taken psychology if I knew I'd have to write such a long research paper. Then I need to write another paper once I finish it and take several big tests... Ugh, I need sleep... Just a few more days and it'll all be over... Remember there's a guest comic contest so read the previous news post if you want to enter. Later everyone.


12/10/2004 You have got to be kidding...

Been a while since I did a joke about Brendan's aim hasn't it? I suppose this is kinda becoming my version of Bob and George's guy behind Wily's back joke. Anyway, I finally got all that new ROM stuff up so go and check it out.

Now, if you didn't read wednesday's news post, there's a new guest comic contest running. To restate the rules... You have now until friday the 24th to submit your entries. Comics can be jpg, giff, or png files no bigger than 800 pixels wide and 1000 pixels tall. Also, if possible, try to keep the file size to 200k or less. Comics can be sprites, CG, handrawn, or whatever as long as they have some connection to Pebble Version. Also, shoot for no more than a PG rating.

Well, I made it home but I caught a small cold while I was out of town. I'm almost over it but not quite. Of course, that's the least of my problems as I finally found out just how much work I have to get done before finals and how little time I have to do it in. Things are gonna be pretty insane they're over (wednesday is the last day). I'm behind on school, behind on next week's Pebble Version strips, and fighting off a cold. To put it bluntly, I'm kinda out of it and really busy so the mini-review is gonna have to wait till sometime next week. Yeah, I know I put them off way too much. Sorry...

And finally, don't forget those paypal buttons. I don't like bugging you guys about donations. Just remember that enough donations this month means more bonus comics and regular strips during January and maybe even some other cool stuff. And all your donations go towards that professional site redesign I've been wanting to do for quite some time. Just $98 to go. It'd be really awesome if we could get enough by the end of the year...

Anyway, enjoy the weekend since I'll be too busy to do it myself.


12/8/2004 Argh!!! Why now?!? (IMPORTANT)

So I'm back home and, for the most part, the return trip went well. Until a couple hourse ago. Something seems to have happened to my hom network while I was gone but I can't figure out what. So basically I got a network that isn't working correctly and, considering how much I use it both for Pebble Version and school, it's a major problem. I do have a whole bunch of new ROM stuff from Shauni just waiting to be posted but thanks to this stupid network failure it's gonna have to be delayed until friday, sorry everyone.

Well, suppose I can still make that big announcement. Since I'll be moving to AZ later this month I'll need some comics to hold things over while I get moved in so it's time for the second Pebble Version GUEST COMIC CONTEST! You have now until friday the 24th to submit your entries. Comics can be jpg, giff, or png files no bigger than 800 pixels wide and 1000 pixels tall. Also, if possible, try to keep the file size to 200k or less. Comics can be sprites, CG, handrawn, or whatever as long as they have some connection to Pebble Version. Also, shoot for no more than a PG rating. You have until friday the 24th to submit your entries. For those of you who have already sent in guest comics I still have them and will enter them automatically, unless you'd rather I did not.

Well, that's it for now. Expect lots of updates on friday, assuming I can get my network fixed.


12/6/2004 Still out of town

Well, I don't have time to say much tonight either. Um, if you didn't see friday's bonus comic yet go vote! If all goes well I'll get home tuesday night and things should be back to normal, except for the all the extra school I'll have to do... Anyway, I'll try to get a mini-review of Super Mario 64 DS in this week. And there's a big announcement on wednesday.


12/2/2004 Made it

Well, made it to Boston but I don't have time to talk right now. There's a new bonus comic up though so vote and take a look.


12/1/2004 December begins...

Well, a new month begins. The official donation total for november? Absolutely nothing. Kinda disapointing after last month but whatever. It's your choice. Still, I was hoping to get enough money for that site redesign by the end of the year... Anyway, since none of the donation goals were met Pebble Version will be returning to its old update schedule during december. That means only three new strips each week (monday, wednesday, and friday) and only two bonus comics for the month. Of course, if you want PV to return to five updates a week come January all you have to do is donate this month. Remember, all donations go towards a professional redesign for the site and forums.

If you didn't read monday's new posts, I'll be out of town through tuesday. Updates will continue but may be a little early or late depending on how things go.

And now, a mini review of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
Story: MGS 1 and 2 take place in the not too distant future. 3, on the other hand, takes us back to the 1960s and deals with the origins of people and things like Big Boss, The Patriots, and Metal Gear. Since this is a prequel, it's not a bad place for new comers to the series to jump in although they'll miss out on many of the nuances and in jokes in the game. At the start of the game an agent code named Naked Snake is airdropped into Russia during the cold war. His mission, rescue a Russian weapons scientist who wants to defect to the US. Of course, since this is a Metal Gear game, you can expect plots within plots and lots and lots of twists. Saying any more would just spoil it for you so I'll leave it there. However, the plot is a bit easier to follow than the one in MGS2.
Graphics: The graphics are great. MGS2 had good graphics and 3 takes it much further. Everything is very detailed and the environments are diverse and beautiful. The cut scenes have a very cinamatic feel and you can even play with the camera a bit during them.
Sound: The sound effects are all dead on. All the weapons, animals, etc, sound great and the voice acting is top quality. The music is standard Metal Gear fare. While most isn't particularily memorable it's still good and fits very well. The addition of several vocal pieces (one of which sounds like it almost came out of a Bond film) is a very nice touch.
Gameplay: If you haven't played a MG game before, it's a stealth game. You can fight if you have to but your real goal is to sneak past, hiding in the shadows and either evading guards or dispatching them silently from hiding. You get a large variety of weapons to acomplish this task but since this game is set in the past most of the familiar series weapons have been replaced with things more appropriate to the time period. Even series vets will notice some changes. First and foremost, the handy dandy nano-tech rader hasn't been invented yet so you'll have to use your own eyes to spot enemies. This makes for some annoying 'crap there's an enemy here' moments but you'll get used to it eventually. Fortunately Snake is better than ever at hiding. The game depends heavily on camflauge. You can find new patterns hidden throughout the game and switch between them on the fly to fit your surroundings. If you're hidden well enough you can crawl right up to an enemy without being noticed, very cool. In past games you healed by using rations, not any more. Healing items in MGS3 are very rare, instead your life gradually refills on its own. Basic enemy attacks seem to do less damage as well. Snake has a stamina guage now too. If your stamina is low your life will refill slower and your hands will shake when using a gun. You refill stamina by eating food but first you have to find it. There's tons of animals and plats that can be tracked down and used for food. Just be careful, some are poisoness, some fight back, and some might just plain taste bad. Snake has some nifty new trick in combat called CQC. If you sneak up and grab an enemy with a CQC enabled weapon you can then: throw the enemy to the ground, choke them, slit their throat, or even interrogate them. It's pretty neat but it's easier just to avoid the guards or take them out from a distance. Like all MG games, you can expect lots of cool and unique boss battles and this time there's actually real advantages for getting stamina depletion victories. Instead of simply helping your rank you can get special weapons and camo patterns. One last change, Snake can now get injuries which require treatment via a medical viewer. Realistic? Kinda. But it's annoying to keep interrupting the boss battles to heal your wounds.
Overall: Although series vets may have a little trouble adjusting to the changes, MGS3 is a fantastic game that does a good job of overhauling the series. 3 is the longest game in the series and offers numerous secrets to track down as well as a fun mini game that pits Snake against the Ape Escape monkeys. All in all, MGS3 excells the stealth, action, and story, all the things that make the series so popular. If you're a Metal Gear fan there's no reason not to buy this game and even newbies will find a lot to like. Now bring on MGS4!


11/29/2004 Not another trip...

Hey everyone, hope you had a good weekend. Don't forget to vote and see friday's bonus comic if you haven't already. And there's a nice new piece of fan art up too so be sure to check out the Extras page.

So, I ended up getting volunteered to do the day after Thanksgiving shopping for my family. Now my family isn't really big on holiday shopping so I only had three shops and I knew exactly what to get at each one. So I get up at like 5:15 AM, get ready to go and head outside to find out two things. First off, it's actually not super cold, which was good since my brother had borrowed my coat. Second, it was snowing, just great. I reach Circuit City, my first stop, at about 5:50. Wait in line in the snow for about ten minutes then head inside, grab what I need, then head out. Next stop, Target. It's already open so no lines. I go in, find what I'm there for, and head out. It's now 6:30 and I'm practically done. Only one more place. I wasn't even going to go but my mom kept bugging me to get some pants at Herbergers cause she had a coupon that was only good that morning. So I go in, grab the pants I want, get in line to pay and stood in line. Then I stood in line some more. 45 minutes later I finally paid for the pants and left. And there's weren't even that many people in line. Slowest. Cashier. Ever. Ugh...

One thing I did get was a Nintendo DS. I had been saving up to get a TV when I move to AZ but my parents decided to buy me one for my birthday and chanukah so I suddenly had some extra cash. So I got the DS and Super Mario 64 DS. Here's some comments on the system itself. The DS is about the size of the original Gameboy Advance but thicker since it's a flip top. It's a little bulky but not too bad. Both screens are backlit like the GBA SP and the bottom screen is a touch screen you can manipulate with the included stylus, a nifty little finger strap, or even your finger if you just need to tap a button. It works pretty well although in games like Mario, you're better off controlling most of the action with the D-pad. You also got a microphone which I haven't had to use yet. The DS can do wireless multiplayer gaming and even connect to a wireless LAN, unfortunately, I haven't got a chance to test those features out yet either. I have to say though that the graphics and sound are incredible. Yeah I've seen screen shots and movies but seeing Super Mario 64 running on a handheld and looking a little better than the original... Wow. And the DS has full stereo sound. In the end, the DS easily blows away all previous handhelds and has a lot of promise. Just don't ditch your GBA. The DS can play GBA games but not GBC games and it's doesn't work with GBA or GBA to GC link cables. I'll tell you more about Mario 64 DS later.

Finally, my cousin is having her Bat Mitzvah this coming weekend so my family is going to Bosten for a few days. It's gonna be cold. And it's right before finals week too so this is really gonna screw with my school schedule. I'll be leaving wednesday and get back on tuesday. Not sure what my internet connection is gonna be like during the trip. I should still be able to update normally but updates may be a bit early or later depending on how things go.


11/26/2004 Early to rise...

Ugh, I was half asleep when I made this strip and couldn't think up a good punch line. As you'v no doubt noticed by now, we've switched back to Brendan and May. But don't worry, they'll be meeting up with Xain and Cali next week. Now, for starters there's a new bonus comic up, as usual. And there's a really neat new piece of fan art up as well so go see it on the Extras page.

I had a good Thanksgiving, hope everyone else did too. I got together with some friends and played football then my family got together with a couple friends' families for Thanksgiving dinner. Next up, day after Thanksgiving shopping. Which means, of course, waking up super early and going out on a really cold morning while fighting my way through tons of other shoppers. Yea... I didn't really want to get any sleep anyway... And after that I get to work on a research paper, and clean the house, and.... Gee, this just keeps sounding better and better...

Well, I'd better get going. Have a great weekend!


11/24/2004 My skills have returned!

This strip helps emphasize that Xain has no sense of direction (something that was hinted at way back at Professor Birch's lab). Tomorrow things will be switching back to Brendan and May for a little while. Then the big battle with Xain and Cali and then, finally Rustboro City where I've got lots of stuff planned.

Back to MGS3, I'm finally back to my old super stealthy self. It sure feels great to escape an enemy base with none the wiser. Taking down guards who are standing right next to you without even seeing you is fun too. And I have to mention all of MGS3's hillarious radio conversations. Snake will eat just about anything and it's always worth calling Para-Medic when you find some new type of food. And be sure to give Sigint a ring when you're in the cardboard box.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Hope everyone has a good time. Well, everyone who celebrates it anyway. My family is going to get together with some friends and it should be fun. Too bad I have so much school this week. Yeah, I get some days off but finals are getting closer and that means I have a whole bunch of final projects to work on. Fun, fun, fun, huh? Things are gonna be kinda hectic for a while. Anyway, enjoy the holidays!


11/22/2004 Change of Scene

And we start off the next hundred comics with a change of scene. Yep, Xain and Cali won the vote for what you wanted to see next so here they are. However, there were plenty of people who wanted to see Brendan and May get their first badge and there were some people who wanted to see the black suited guys too. So here's what I'm going to do. We'll have Xain and Cali in the next few strips then switch back to Brendan and May. They'll take care of a couple things then meet up with Xain and Cali and we'll follow both groups for the next section of the story. And those guys with the black suits? Don't worry, they'll be back before too long. And if you didn't see friday's voter bonus comic yet this is a great time to do it.

In Metal Gear Solid 3 news, the theme song is pretty cool and it sounds almost like it was ripped outta a James Blonde film. The story is starting to get moving too and its pretty cool. Had my first couple of boss fights too, which were good if not really hard. My stealth skills are returning too. The lack of radar though, is still leading to way to many "oh crap I didn't think there was a guard here" moments. Despite most of the game being outdoors, staying hidden is easy thanks to the new camo system. The guards seem a bit smarther this time around though, at least in most instances. But their attacks seem a bit weaker. Not that I'm complaining since healing items are insanely rare. But your HP does gradually recharge on its own so things aren't so bad.

Well, I'd better go work on strips. Later!


11/19/2004 I got it!!!

As usual, there's a new bonus comic up for everyone who votes.

I got Metal Gear Solid 3! Unfortunately, Gamestop got their shipment in a day late so I got it thursday instead of wednesday. Cause of that, I've only been able to play for a couple hours so far. Seems my stealth skills have deteriorated a bit since Metal Gear Solid 2. Plus 3 doesn't have a radar. While new players may not notice, long time fans of the series may have trouble getting used to the change. Speaking of changes, there's been a lot of them but in the end it's still good old Metal Gear and so far it's looking pretty cool. Speaking of which, I think I'm gonna go play more now.

Have a good weekend!


11/17/2004 It's a mini-review!

It's weird how days that you think are going to be nice and relaxing can suddenly end up being pretty busy. Anyway, there's a new ROM comic up and it's in full color this time. And, since I finally beat Metroid Prime, it's time for the mini-review.

Well, I'm a bit behind the times since Metroid Prime 2 was just released but better late than never.
Story: Shortly after the events of the first Metroid game, insteller bounty hunter Samus Aran finds a space station run by the evil Space Pirats. She also catches a glimpse of her old enemy Ridly and follows him to the nearby planet of Tallon IV where it turns out the pirats have been conducting experiments with a mysterious substance called Phazon... There's no dialogue in the game and the story of the pirats' research and Tallon IV's previous inhabitants is discovered by scanning records left on ruins and computers. While not one of the deepest plots around, it's interesting and the way you discover works surprisingly well.
Graphics: Metroid Prime is one of the best looking Gamecube titles around. All the environments are really detailed and look great. From the radioactive corridors of the Phazon Mines to the snowy cliffs of the Phendrana drifts, there's always something new to see. and the various weapon and attack FX look really good as well.
Sounds: Metroid Prime's music isn't super catchy but it fits the environments really well and adds to the tension when you suddenly find yourself surrounded by enemies. The soundtrack has a lot of haunting tunes and some more spooky upbeat battle music. The sound FX are appropriate too. Whether its energy blasts, missiles, or exploding monsters, the sounds always fit the occasion.
Gameplay: Technically Prime is a first person shooter. It's in first person and you shoot things. But unlike regular shooters, you don't just fight your way through wave after wave of enemies. Which is good since I'm not a big FPS fan. Often called a first person adventure, Prime expertly mixes things from the FPS, adventure, and platforming genres. There's lots more puzzle solving and exploration than fighting. Controls are responsive but if you're not used to FPS game they may take some getting used to. You see everything through Samus's helmet. It's got multiple visors you can switch between on the fly. You got the basic combat and scan visors and later on you'll find the Infrared and X-Ray visors, perfect for finding hidden passages, switches, and the like. Samus starts the game with a decent amount of equipment but most of it gets broken early on leaving her with only her basic suit and power beam. As you explore Tallon IV you'll come across better suits, more visors, new weapons, and other helpful and often necessary items. For weapons you'll end up with several different beams (each with its own pros and cons) and lots of missiles, not to mention combos and super charges. Combat is fast and you'll quickly learn which weapons to use agianst which enemies. Some battles may be pretty intense at first but later on you'll be taking on lots of stronger monsters with ease. Bosses are huge and varied, requiring good reflexs and quick thinking to find and exploit their weaknesses. The bosses are challenging but not to the point of frustration. Lots of items are required for your quest. Each time you find a new one you'll find yourself thinking back to places you weren't able to reach earlier and heading back to see just where you can go with your new abilities. Of course, you'll have to do some serious searching if you want to find all the extra missile capacity and life energy expansions. I'm the kind of gamer who prides myself on searching every nook and cranny for hidden items. Most are easy enough to spot if you pay attention but a decent amount are pretty deviously hidden and a few proved too well hidden for even me to find. Still, searching for them is pretty enjoyable and the expansions will certainly help you later on. Oh yeah, the morph ball is back too! Turning into a ball and rolling around is both fun and necessary.
Overall: Metroid Prime is part shooter, part adventure, and part classic platformer and does a great job of bringing the series to 3D. If you have a Gamecube you should get MP. It's a great game and even people who don't like FPSs will find a lot to like. Plus, at only $20, it's not gonna cost you much to give Prime a go.


11/15/2004 Free, or not...

Thanks for your feedback on strip #200. I know what I'm gonna do now. But I'm not gonna tell you. You'll just have to wait and see. And if you didn't see friday's bonus comic go vote for it. As for today's strip, I still haven't figured out how to make a good explosion in Photoshop so instead of doing another so-so attempt I decided to cop out and use a real picture instead. Remember, there will be five new strips a week for the rest of the month and, if PV gets enough donations, they'll continue through next month too! And all your donations go towards an awesome new design for the Pebble Version site, forums, and ROM site.

So, since I'm gonna be moving to AZ around the end of December, I finally got a cell phone. It's a pretty decent one too. Anyway, I was playing around with it a bit and decided to see if I could get some new ring tones. Now, let's see. I could go to any on-line music store and buy a MP3 of just about any song for 99 cents. Or I can go to any on-line ring tone store and pay $1.99 for a ring tone version of that song. See something wrong there? Why should the ring tone cost more than the song? I mean, I could see paying 25 to 50 cents for a ringtone but that's about it. So I decided to do some searching and see if I could find some free ring tones. Web sites have weird definitions of free though. For the record, charging $1.99 isn't free. Offering a single free ring tone doesn't really count either. And having people buy 'tokens' which they then use to get ring tones also isn't free. I spent quite a while on google before finally giving up. I mean come on, if you don't have free ring tones your web site description shouldn't say 'free ring tones'!!! I should sue for false advertising or something... Anyway, if any of you know where to can get free ring tones for a Motorola V300 phone please let me know.


11/12/2004 Kinda weird... And an IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

Ok, most of you are probably gonna think this strip is a bit strange but as soon as I thought about an attack where pokémon spit seeds the first thing that came to mind was those annoying monkeys in Yoshi's Island so... In retrospect, I probably should have made the seeds a bit bigger since they're a bit hard to see, especially in the fourth panel... Live and learn I guess. And don't forget since it's friday there's a new bonus comic waiting for voters. Oh, there's new fan art too.

Hmm... What else to say? I've been kinda busy this week editing the first draft of my latest novel (nearly done now). And I got a cell phone, yay! Never really needed one before but since I'm going to be moving to AZ I'll need it and my mom found some special deal so I'm playing with that a bit. Of course, what I really want is a phone that can play FFVII Before Crises but that probably isn't going to happen anytime soon (short of moving to Japan).

What the?!? This is weird... Adult Swim is previewing some of the new anime they're going to start. First off is Full Metal Alchemist which everyone should watch. I got the import a while back and it's a really awesome series even if I'm not entirely happy with the dub. Next up is the new Ghost in the Shell series. Personally, I never really liked the the original movie and the anime is looking to be in the same style (minus the fan service). After that there's what I'm watching now, Super Milkchan. If you think the name is weird that's nothing. Of course, compared to some of the stuff I've seen (FLCL, Bobobo Bo, etc...) this isn't the weirdest but it's certainly strange. Um, Powerpuff Girls gone wrong perhaps? Nah, that's not quite right but it's the best comparison I can come up with right now.

Ack, almost forgot. Strip #200 is coming up. At #100 there was the Mew Hunt and I've been thinking of doing another little side story for #200. But I'd like some feedback. I've got several ideas: A, don't do anything special and just continue following Brendan and May; B, The Misadventures of Xain and Cali; or C, the return of the black suite guys from the Mew Hunt. Well, which of those three things would you most like to see happen for strip #200? Write me ASAP and let me know. I got plenty of ideas for all three of them, I just can't decide which to do.

Have a great weekend!


11/10/2004 Clouds!!!

Notice anything different about today's strip? There's a couple things. The most obvious is probably the colored text. There's no realy purpose but it looks nice, at least I think so. I think the thought bubble in the fouth panel looks pretty nifty too. Check out the sky though. Instead of just a blue gradient like before, it's got nice whispy clouds now! Isn't it neat? Yet again, thanks to Wil from Mushroom Kingdom Hearts for showing me how to do it. Let's see... Don't forget to donate. Pebble Version needs to get at least another $50 this month if you want the extra updates to continue through December. Oh yes, for your viewing pleasure, there's a new ROM up.

Just saw the review for Metal Gear Solid 3 in EGM, I can't wait! Next week... Anyway, until then I've been playing Metroid Prime. Lots of fun, even if you're like me and not a FPS fan. I think I'm getting near the end so look for a mini-review within the next week or so. On a different note, Cartoon Network has finally started playing Wolf Rain on weekday nights as part of Adult Swin. It's about time. I've been wanting to see it forever but they only played in on Saturdays before when I couldn't watch. Why do they have to put all the new stuff on weekends anyway? Oh well, at least I can see it now.

Later guys!


11/8/2004 Incredible!

There's a new piece of fan art so go check the extras page if you want to see it. Also, if you haven't seen friday's bonus comic yet be sure to vote. So, hope you all enjoyed the extra updates last week. They'll be continuing for the rest of the month. If you want them to continue into December though, you'll need to donate.

I saw the Incredibles this weekend. Great movie, if you're a fan of Pixar, super hero movies, or neither one you really should go see it. like all of Pixar's stuff, it's got really spectacular computer animation but it's also really funny. Here's how it goes. It's the glory days for super heros. Heros and villians abound and everything is good. The greatest hero is Mr. Incredible, think super strong with a Batman esque car. When the movie starts out Mr. Incredible saves the day (several times in a row) and marries Elastigirl (another super hero). Unfortunately, soon after the people he saved begin suing him for neck sprains (ignoring the fact that he saved their lives), this snowballs and super heros are finally forced to hide their powers and intergrate into society. Fifteen years later Mr. Incredible is stuck working for an insurance company and reminiscing about his glory days while his wife and super powered kids are trying to act normal. But when Mr. Incredible is offered a chance to come out of retirement to help a secret research group with an experiment gone bad, he can't refuse. Naturually, things aren't quite as simple as they first seem and eventually the whole family (plus some old friends) are needed to save the day once more. The Incredibles parodies lots of super hero stuff and even stuff like Star Wars and, like all Pixar's movies, it's really funny. Unlike their other stuff, The Incredibles also features some pretty cool fight scenes. Overall, it's a really great movie and definately worth seeing.


11/5/2004 YES!!!!!

Actually, to be fair, that's probably the pokédex's most useful feature, especially since it can also show the location of pokémon you've seen but haven't caught yet. Of course, Brendan and May don't know that yet... And, of course, there's a new bonus comic up. PV is off to a kinda slow start this month so be sure to go vote, ok? Oh yeah, to repeat the last news post, I don't want anyone flamming or otherwise bothering Pokémon-X. If you like Pokémon-X that's great, if not just leave its creator and fans alone.

And, in case you were wondering, that YES!!!!! is there for a reason. I finished one of my novels! And not just any one either, this is a special one I'm been writing on and off for the last three years. It's really awesome to finally have it finished, well except for editing... But, since I stayed up really late writing the ending there's no time for a mini-review tonight or to add the new fan art I got. I'll try to do both on sunday instead.

Have a great weekend!


11/3/2004 New ROM

The title speaks for itself, there's a new ROM comic up. Also, check the nifty fire effects in today's strip. I was playing around with it a bit and am pretty happy with the way they came out. Like it? Also, just for the record, I do not want a war with Pokémon-X and I don't want anyone flaming them. Got it?

In other news, the election is finally over. Regardless of who wins, one good thing came out of this. No more political ads for a while! Yay!!!


11/2/2004 Ugh...

If you missed monday's news blurb, Pebble Version is going to be updating Mon-Fri for at least all of November so be sure to come read the new strips every day instead of just monday, wednesday, and friday. Hope you enjoy all the extra strips. Also in site news, I've add Shaded Sprites to the link exchange. Check it out if you like random humor. And I finally added something I've been meaing to for quite some time. Go to the Extras page and take a look at the new fan art section. Yep, that's right, fan art! There's only one so far but it's really good.

So why the ugh? That's just been today in general. Aside from the usual school and stuff I had two things I was really looking forward to today. First off was Yu-Gi-Oh league. I missed the last two weeks and really wanted to see how well the changes I made to my deck work. But turns out it got cancled. Then there was writing. I try to spend at least 1-2 hours a day working on my novels. The newest one is nearly finished and I'm really excited to get the last couple chapters written. So I start writing and then halfway through when I'm really getting into it some stuff comes up that I need to take care of right away and there goes the rest of my writing time. I didn't even have time to play any DDR today. Sigh... Oh well, always tomorrow I suppose.

See you then!


11/1/2004 Here it goes...

Hello and welcome to the first week of November. Thanks to October's donations, weekly bonus comics will continue throughout the month on every friday. Speaking of which, if you haven't seen last friday's yet go vote already! If you have seen it, vote anyway! It's a new month so this is the time to get off to a good start in the rankings. Also, thanks to October's donations you'll be getting five brand new Pebble Version strips each week for the entire month! Yep, all November Pebble Version will update monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, and friday! Hope you guys enjoy it! Not quite sure what I'm going to do about news blurbs. I could do a shorter on every day, or I could just do what I have been doing and do regular news blurbs three times a week. Or I could just forget doing regular blurbs and just do a new one whenever I have something to say. If you've got any opinions about that go ahead and e-mail me. For now, I got to get to work on more strips. And, FYI, I do have a new link to get up sometime this week.

See you later and enjoy the extra updates!


10/29/2004 WOW!!!

First off, it's friday so there's a new bonus comic. This one is a bit different than usual, since the election is coming up I couldn't resist a political gag. Keep in mind that this bonus comic isn't meant to endorse one particular candidate or party, it's just my take on political ads. Regular Blooper Reel strips will return next friday. Speaking of which, weekly bonus comics will continue through November. And that's not all. Take a look at the donation bar! $52!!!!! Yes, that's right! During November Pebble Version will be updating five days a week! That means new strips on monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, and friday! And look at the site redesign fund, we're over halfway there! Yeah!!! Of course, there's still a little time left to donate this month if you want the new Zelda page (at $75) or the awesome mystery gift (at $100).

Let's see... There are a couple mini-reviews I want to do but I wasn't really expecting the donation bar to jump so high so quickly so I have to go get some more strips done. Don't forget to vote and I hope you enjoy all the extra updates next month.


10/27/2004 Oh yeah, I'm supposed to say something...

This is another one of those strips that took a while to make. Actually, all of this week's strips did. Remember, there's only a few days left to get in your donations this month. Only $3 to and you'll continue getting weekly bonus comics throughout November and for a mere $28 PV update five days a week throughtout November. Pretty cool huh? Ah yes, there's a new ROM comic up and if you check the Link Exchange you'll find that new link I promised as well.

Let's see, what else is happening? I pre ordered the special edition of Return of the King. Amazon has a really good deal on it so I recommend checking there if you want a copy. Toys R Us is having a buy two get one free sale on video games. Unfortunately, the games I want the most cost $50 each which is a bit out of my budget but I may grab some cheaper stuff or maybe pick up some some games to use as birthday presents.

Guess that's about it. Although I did just get a great idea for a bonus comic for friday. I don't want to say much but if I can get it done in time it'll be good. See you then!


10/25/2004 Week off, sorta...

Doesn't today's strip look cool? Well, doesn't it? You'd better like it, took me forever to make. First I had to make the new motion blurs for Team Aqua and Magma then I needed to find a good way to fit five people and four pokémon in one panel and I added that nifty glow effect to mew...

I did say something about getting a link up today didn't I? Well, it's gonna have to wait a little while. And if you missed it friday there's a new bonus comic. Hmm... What else should I say? I know, I'll do a mini-review.

I've been playing some classic arcade and Atari 2600 games lately so here's a mini-review of Asteroids, a fun arcade game.
Story: Story? This is an old arcade game? You're a space ship that has to shoot an endless amount of asteroids, that's all the story you're gonna get.
Graphics: Asteriods was different than most games of the time, it used vector graphics. Which means everything is white lines on a black background. It's not that fancy but it looks kinda cool.
Sounds: Sound? Not much. Just basic sound effects. They fit well but they're nothing special.
Gameplay: Ever play Asteroids? You got a space ship in the middle of an asteroid field. Your ship can shoot but you can only have so many shots on the screen at once so you need to be careful. You can also move although you're often better off staying in one place and blasting anything that comes too close. In games like this there's only two things on the screen, you and things you need to shoot. Said things include asteroids (duh!) which break into multiple smaller asteroids with each hit and flying saucers which fire off a bunch of shots and basically try to make your life miserable, they also have a tendancy to crash into asteroids before you can shoot them. And that's about it. You try to survive and as long as possible and get a good score. Regular Asteroids also has a warp button that takes you to a random place on the screen, it can save you or it could drop you in an even worse spot. Asteroids Deluxe which is what I've mostly been playing, replaces that with a shield (which has pretty limited use) and adds a weird type of asteroid that breaks into abunch of triangles that chase after you shoot it.
Overall: Asteroids is really basic but it's fun and really addictive. Like most of those old arcade games it's lots of fun and worth a go. Especially if you can get a home copy that doesn't require quarters.


10/22/2004 Lots to do...

Sorry, this is gonna have to be a quick news blurb. I had some stuff to talk about but I'm a bit behind on next week's Pebble Version strips so I need to rush it. First off, there's a new bonus comic to check out and this one doesn't have any Windows jokes in it. Also, you'll notice that there's been some more donations. We're only $3 away from getting weekly bonus comics in November and only $28 away from getting five new strips per week in November. But remember, there's only about a week left to get your donations in this month. Oh, and there's a link ot two I need to put up, I'll get that up on monday.

Well, I better get back to work next week's strips. Have a good weekend!


10/20/2004 Battle Prep

If you're getting impatient, the battle between Brendan, May, and the Team Aqua and Team Magma grunts will begin on monday. Also, just like every wednesday, there's a new ROM strip to read as well. And, to answer your question, no one moves in this strip because I'm lazy. Well, that and the fact that without doing some editing of my own I have a rather limited amount of poses to work with for each sprite. And while I can recolor/edit sprites like I did for Xain and Cali and even make some passable ones from scratch (for an old project of mine), my attempts at making new poses for already existing sprites haven't turned out very well.

And before I forget I'd like to thank the people who wrote reviews for Pebble Version on Buzz Comix. Also, thanks to Wil from Mushroom Kingdom Hearts for making me this cool new banner. Haven't quite decided where to put it yet but doesn't it look nice? Hmm... That reminds me, I really should redo the PV linking banner with Photoshop and then... *looks at to do list* Hmm... Maybe I should just set aside a couple of hours to work on misc Pebble Version stuff over the weekend...

My teacher for History of Video Games (bet you wish your school had classes on video games) gave us some ROMs of old Atari and arcade games to use for research since most of the students are a bit too young to have played them back in the day. Yes, I'm playing Asteroids, Berzerk, and Donkey Kong so much for research... Not cause they're fun and addicting and I want to beat my high score... Heh, who knows, maybe I'll even mini review a few of them some time.

Yawn... Well, I'd better get some sleep. I got school tomorrow and lots more 'research' to do as well (if I have the time). See you friday!


10/18/2004 Dance Dance Dance!

I saw Sky Captain. First off I have to say that the special effects were pretty amazing, especially considering that everything except the actors was done on computers. Even the actors were recolored digitally. Special effects aside, Sky Captain feels like someone in the fifties wrote a sci-fi movie using modern special effects. Even the setting is a sort of parrallel universe version of Earth in the fifties with an odd mix of fifties technology and sci-fi stuff. The plot was your standard sci-fi comic book esque thing. Evil villian wants to destory world, good guy and girlfriend team up to stop him, yadda yadda yadda. It's entertaining enough but don't expect a particularily deep tale. It gets kinda corny at times too ("The city is being destroyed by giant robots! I know! Let's call a guy with an airplane! He can stop them!"). In the end, it's worth seeing once, especially if you're a sci-fi fan, but with the cookie cutter plot and rather lackluster acting I'm not going to rush out and buy the DVD when it's released.

I've also been playing way too much DDR. I've been playing DDR Max for over a year and it's great to finally have new songs to do. When it comes down to it DDR Extreme (the latest home version) is still just DDR. Arrows scroll up the screen and you follow them and dance to the music. It's great excercise and insanely addictive. I'm not enough of a DDR expert to tell you how many new songs DDR Extreme has and which ones are from the arcade or from some old version but I can say this, Extreme is missing a lot of the new songs from the arcade DDR Extreme so if you're expecting similiar songs lists you'll be disapointed. The music is the usual mix of stuff. There's the really cool songs, the ok songs, and the few you'd just as soon avoid altogether. Overall I think it's a pretty good collection of music although a lot of songs I was hoping for weren't included. Extreme has a new interface which looks sleek but shows a lot less info than the old one so it's really not that great. On the other hand, dancers are back (something that was lacking in Max) so now you don't just have background movies distracting you, you have a dancer as well. They have no practical use but they're fun. There's a bunch of new modes too. Aside from the basics (regular, oni, training, etc...) there's and endless mode which involves going through the entire playlist in one sitting and there's mission mode. Mission mode has 100 missions where you have to play through parts of different songs while completing certain goals (not using certain arrows, scoring between a certain amount, etc). To make it more interesting they usually add some modifiers like disapearing arrows or the like to make things more difficult. There's also lots of new multiplayer modes. Most are simple mini-games, a lot of which require the Eyetoy (which I don't have) so I can't comment on that. Overall, DDR Extreme is a solid version of DDR, it's not going to change anyone's mind about the series and a few of the changes are bound to bug veteran players but there's plenty of new songs to enjoy and that's what really matters.


10/25/2004 Lots of new stuff!

Teams Aqua and Magma have arrived! In case you didn't know, in the games one of the two teams is the bad team and the other is the good team that helps you fight them. However, which team is good and which is bad depends on which version of the game you're playing. And, since this isn't Ruby or Shapphire but Pebble Version I'm going to do things rather differently. This strip was a bit of a pain to make because I had to keep switching between Photoshop and Paint so I could enlarge the sprites without blurring.

Several Pebble Version news bits. First off this week's bonus comic is up so click one of the Buzz Comix buttons and take a look. And I promise this will be the last one with a Windows joke. Speaking of Buzz Comix, you guys do know that you can leave reviews for comics on it, right? Annoyingly enough though, it seems that most of the people who take the time to do so just want to say how much they think Pebble Version sucks compared to Pokémon-X. Would it be too much to ask for a few of the many many people who actually like PV to do some reviews?

Next up is the donations. October is half over and there's still only five dollars in the guage. Remember, it needs to reach at least $25 if you want to keep getting weekly bonus comics next month and, if it reaches fifty, you'll get five brand new Pebble Version strips a week throughout November as well. Considering how many thousands of people read Pebble Version you'd think getting fifty bucks would be pretty easy. Even if each person only donated a dollar it adds up and all donations go towards that cool site redesign I've been promising.

Finally, the links page was getting too big so I broke it into two. The main links page still contains my favorite sites plus a link to the new link exchange page which has all the other cool comics I do link exchanges with. Also, there's three, yes three new links! On the main links page there's Caution Man, a strange live action super hero comic that's kinda grown on me, and DMFA a furry comic that's got some loose ties to the Furcadia program. And, on the link exchange page we have ComixMont a site with a Final Fantasy comic and Zelda comic.

Whew! In other news, I got a copy of DDR Extreme! Finally, some new songs! I'll talk more about that on monday. Enjoy the weekend!


10/13/2004 A plot event!

Yep, this guy actually starts off a plot event in the games. Most of you who played Ruby/Sapphire know what happens next in the games. Of course, in Pebble Version things are going to be a bit different but either way it's nice to finally reach this point. Not that this is very far into the game but still it's something. Also, there's a new ROM comic today and it's a pretty cool one.

Anyone getting Paper Mario 2? It looks so cool but I just don't have the money. I've been playing Majora's Mask lately and I wish it was really that easy to make money, just run outside and slash the grass with a sword and pick up all the money. Sigh... I'd need that much cash to keep up with all the awesome games being released over the next couple months. Not to mention that I'd also need the Ocernia of Time to have enough time to play them all... Sigh, I'll probably spend most of next year catching up on all of this year's holiday season games...


10/11/2004 Back to normal

I decided to add text colors to this strip so you could tell who is saying what. Perdictably enough, Brendan is red and May is blue. Speaking of text colors, are they something you'd like to see in every strip? E-mail me and let if what you think. Also, don't forget to vote and see friday's bonus comic if you haven't already. Also, we almost hit the fifty dollar goal last month and I bet we can hit it this time. Remember, if Pebble Version gers at least fifty dollars in donations this month you'll get five brand new Pebble Version strips each week for the entire month of November. Hmm... I did promise some ranting this week didn't I?

I've been wondering, are drivers in general lousy everywhere or is it just Grand Junction? First off, people need to remember that speed limits are supposed to be the maximun driving speed, not the minimum. Ok, so everyone speeds a little but when I'm going five mph over the limit and everyone else is shooting past me doing fifteen or twenty over you have to wonder if anyone really cares about speed limits at all. Then there's traffic lights, is everyone is town colorblind or something? You're supposed to stop on a red light, not speed up and try to beat the traffic. I've had more people nearly hit me cause they tried to run a light... One guy actually scraped some paint off the front of my car, another inch and my entire hood would have been smashed. Then there was the time I was going through an intersection and some guy was shooting down the road about fourty over straight towards a red light. He jammed the breaks and stopped just in time only to shoot past me going just as fast as soon as the light turned green. And that's no even mentioning when peope change lanes. Helpful hint folks, it's a good idea to look first to make sure you're not going to smash into anyone in the other lane. I shouldn't have to honk my horn to keep you from side swiping me. Then back to speed limits, while I don't like excessive speeding, going twenty miles under the limit isn't any better. There's only like ten people in town who go that slow but I sure seem to get stuck behind them a lot... Maybe the traffic will be better in Pheonix when I move down there (tch, yeah right). Oh, and Myou, if you're reading this, trust me, driving in Junction isn't anywhere near as dangerous as I just made it sound. It's actually surprisingly easy with a little practice.

Well, I gotta get some sleep. Later!


10/8/2004 Finally over...

The holidays are finally over, for a while anyway. Now don't get the idea that I don't like holidays but my school doesn't take off for Jewish holidays which means I have to work extra the rest of the week to make up for the time I miss. Not to mention the preperation that goes into some of the holidays. It will nice to have a relatively normal week for a change.

In site news there's a new bonus comic up today (and every friday for the remainder of the month) so got vote. Let's see how high Pebble Version can get this month. Yawn... Man I'm tired right now. Probably has something to do with staying up really late last night doing stuff with my brother and friend. Hmm... What else to say... I'll try to get in a real rant or two next week now that I have some more time. Also, it's been a while since we've had any important plot scenes in Pebble Version. Look for that to change starting some time next week.


10/6/2004 One thing fixed, two to go...

I've been having some trouble with my router lately. Fortunately, I found a fix for one of them on the internet which proved that the tech support person I talked to about it had no idea what she was talking about. As for the other problem, I'm waiting for an answer from tech support on that one. Still having trouble with resizing stuff in Photoshop too. One reader did tell me how to resize entire images without blurring but I still can't resize individual frames without blurring them.

Sigh... I was gonna rant a bit but I have to go capture some Team Magma and Team Aqua sprites for upcoming strips. So no rant right now. But there is a new ROM page so go check that out.


10/04/2004 It's evolving!

I bet you were all wondering when I'd finally have a pokémon evolve. Well, the wait is over. I'm pretty happy with how the evolution effects look although I probably should have zoomed in on it for that panel. I would have but Photoshop has a nasty habit of automatically blurring my sprites when I enlarge them. I have a work around but it's a pain so I didn't do it. Also, that pink text in the first panel didn't stick out as well as I thought it would.

Anyway, if you missed it friday we have a new bonus comic and since it's a new month on Buzz Comix this is a really great time to vote. Also, it's only a few days into October and I've already got my first donation! Just think, a few more donations like that and we'll hit goal one and a few more after that and we'll hit goal two! You know you want five strips a week in November. And when you think about it, considering how many people read Pebble Version $50 is really a modest goal. Heck, so is $100 for that matter. I everyone donated just $1 a month I'd be rich so really, scraping together enough to fill the donation bar and pay for the site redesign shouldn't be that hard.

Yikes! Just remembered something I should have done hours ago! Later!


10/1/2004 Almost...

And the final donation total for September was... $40. Just $10 short of the goal so no five strips a week. Sorry guys. Although, since we did come close, I might toss out a few extra strips over the course of the month depending on how my schedule goes. No promises but we'll see how it goes. On the bright side, we did reach goal one which means you get weekly bonus comics on every friday in October. The first is up now so be sure to vote. Of course, the same goes this month. If we reach $50 in donations this month you'll get fives strips a week during November. Also, I made a minor change to the donation bar for this month. Now it doesn't just list the donations for the current month, it also shows how close we are to that site redesign. Currently we're over a quarter of the way there. I'm hoping to hit the $200 goal by the end of the year. Remember, all donation money goes towards the sight redesign.

Well, Sukkot has started and predictably the weather is horrible so we can't sleep outside like we're supposed to. Sigh... Also, Growlanzer Generations got delayed again. Knowing Working Designs, I'm not surprised but I am disapointed. But I started playing Majora's Mask instead (yeah, I know, another old game I should have played years ago). More on that later. Also, I got the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD, yay!

Guess that's about it for now. Later guys!


9/29/2004 Buisness as usual

If you don't get today's strip you need to take a look back at Strip 131. And yeah, I know that's a lame explosion but as I said before, things have been a bit hectic lately and will likely remain so until the end of next week and I just didn't have time to do a better one.

Um, let's see. Tomorrow is the first day of Sukkot. It lasts around a week and involves spending time in a Sukkah, which is a sort of booth you build out side. You eat in it, sleep in it, (well, if your not a wimp and if the wheather permits), and stuff like that. It's fun.

Last couple things, first off there's a new ROM page up so be sure to take a look. Also, if you want to get any more donations in for September there's only a couple days left. Any donations received after the end of the month will count towards October's total.



9/27/2004 Holiday madness

Well, Yom Kippur went pretty well despite a few deviations from the norm and I didn't get sick from eating too much pizze when it was over, although I did come close. So now what? Sukkot (aka The Feast of Booths). Why did God have to place most of the biggest Jewish holidays within about a month of eachother? I could really use a break.

Anyway, I'm really glad last week is over, things got pretty nuts there for a while. Hopefully this week will be better. For one thing I finally beat both quests in Front Mission 3. Took around 80 hours but I'm finally done! Yay!!!

Keep in mind that September is almost over so if you want to donate towards having five strips a week, a fancy new site design, and other neat stuff time is running out!

Well, I'd better run. Later all!


9/24/2004 Once heck of a week...

Ugh, this week has been so busy I'm glad it's almost over. Course, it's not over yet and saturday is going to be pretty busy as well since it's Yom Kippur. If you don't know what that is, it's a Jewish holy day considered to be the most important day of the year. It involves a lengthy service and fasting, plus our congregation's tradition of breaking the fast with tons of Diorios pizza.

Anyway, it's been three weeks since the semester started so I got a feel for my classes now so I may as well rant about them a bit, although none of you guys probably care. First off is History of Art Renissance to Modern. It's kinda interesting, kinda boring, but I took the first half last semester so I know what to expect. Game Concept Design is very interesting although there was some mix up with the text books so we had a little trouble with the first couple weeks. History of Video Games is really interesting too. Did you know that the first official video game was Spacewar! and it ran on one of those gigantic room sized IBM computers? Then I've got an entire class on copyright law. Yeah, you heard that right. I can't believe it's gonna take four months to teach us about copyright law. It's an easy class but extremely dull. And finally Psychology. I needed the general ed credits but I thought psychology would be a bit more interesting. Or maybe it's just the way the professor gives us a long lecture to read, and text book reading assignment, and a really long handout that basically says the same thing as the text book. Ugh...

Let's see, about today's strip... That guy wondering about the bottom of the sea is in the game. Of course, in the game he doesn't get hit by a giant wave. Speaking of which, I keep thinking the wave could look better but I only had so much time to work on this strip and this was the best I could come up with in said amount of time. Remember, there's only a about a week left before the end of the month so if you want five strips a week during October or some of the other special donation bonuses you'd better get those donations in.

Enjoy the weekend!


9/22/2004 The Grim Grotto

It's been a busy week. Aside from the usual school work, I've been doing some stuff for my dad as well, I haven't even had time to play video games the last few days. Sigh... Oh, before I forget there's a new ROM comic up so go check it out.

I did make time to read the newest Series of Unfortunate Events book though. It's called The Grim Groto. If you haven't read any of the previous books don't bother with it. Although the series starts out as simply a weird mix of comedy and a somewhat depressing plot. But, eventually a bunch of somewhat confusing plot twists work their way in and things get a bit complex, in a strange way. Anyway, The Grim Groto answers a couple questions, leaves many unanswered, and brings up a lot more. When am I gonna find out what's so special about the bloody suger bowls?!? Anyway, if you've been following the series The Grim Groto is a must read, if you haven't read A Series of Unfortunate Events yet go check it out. It's strange but very funny and the plot does get pretty interesting after a while.


9/20/2004 Button!

See the nifty new Paypal buttons? Don't they just make you want to donate? Or if that doesn't work how about five brand new Pebble Version strips each week of October? Only $25 more dollars and that goal will be met. Remember, even if just a few of you donate a dollar or two it all adds up. Also remember that all your donation money goes towards an awesome professional redesign for the site and forums. Oh yeah, thanks to Jeff (sirjeffrey) from the forums for making the new donation buttons. Also, if you missed it friday there's a new bonus comic up so vote to see it.

Let's see now... Hasn't been much going on lately. The new Yu-Gi-Oh tins came out way earlier than I thought so I'm trying to get some extra money and buy them all. Why does all the stuff I'm been waiting for have to be released at the same time? Aside from Yu-Gi-Oh, a lot of games and movies I've been waiting for are all being released within the next month or so which means that I have nowhere near enough money to buy them, not to mention time to watch and play them. Do they have to release everything right before holiday season?

Well, I'd better go. See you wednesday!


9/17/2004 New Bonus Comic
Once again, I stayed up way too late to write much of a blurb. Gee, this is getting to be a pretty bad habit... Um, I couldn't think of a good joke for this strip but it has been a while since I did a non-humor strip so I hope you don't mind. No more for a while, I promise. There's a new bonus comic so go vote. Also, if you missed wednesday's ROM comic, or even if you saw it, check again. Sirfeffrey, another forum member, colored the original black and white version so now it's in color. Ok, I need sleep. Have a good weekend.


9/15/2004 Almost Rosh Hashanna
Ugh, had to stay up late thanks to computer trouble. Helpful tip, never unplug your computer while it's running. Naturally, I already knew this but my mom accidentally unplugged her computer and scrambled a lot of important software. Sigh... Anyway, if you didn't already know this, Brendan got mew way back in Strip #137. There's also a new ROM comic up so be sure to take a look.

Rosh Hashanna is thursday so I need to get ready for that. Well, for now I need sleep so I'll see you friday.


9/13/2004 Tah-dah!
Check out the new speech bubbles! Big thanks to Wil from Mushroom Kingdom Hearts for showing me how to do them. I'll probably still be tweaking them from time to time but you got to admit that this is an improvement. Let's see... Haven't mentioned donations for a little while. Remember, only $25 to go till the next goal is reached, giving you all five new Pebble Version strips every week throughout October. Even a dollar or two puts is that much closer. Check the section below for more info. And now for a mini-review.

Lately I've been playing Front Mission 3 for the original Playstation. Yeah, I know FM4 came out pretty recently but I never played 3 so... Anyway, one of Square's lesser known series, Front Mission is a neat mix of Final Fantasy Tactics and giant robots.
Story: A couple hundred years int he future, Kazuki is a test pilot for a big Japanese company that, among other things, makes wanzers. Wanzers are basically giant robots that people pilot and are common for construction, warfare, and the like. But when a myserious explosion rocks the military base where his sister Alisa is working, Kazuki and his friend Ryogo head out to make sure she's ok and find out what really happened. From here the story follows Kazuki, Ryogo, and others they meet across a large part of the world as they try to find out about the secret MIDAS project. Naturually, it's much more complex than that and has plenty of twists, turns, and the like. Also (although it's not obvious), there's two different quests each with different battles, characters, and a different side of the story.
Graphics: The wanzers look quite good (for the PS1) as do the backgrounds and full 3-D environments although when the characters whow up outside of their wanzers they look a bit stilted.
Sounds: The sounds effects are good although expect to hear lots of explosions, gun fire, and the like over the course of the game. The music, while not on par with that of the Final Fantasy games, is fitting and there's a couple really catchy tunes.
Gameplay: Front Mission plays a lot like Final Fantasy Tactics. Battles take place on a field with a grid layout and you can use up to four characters each battle. Each turn your wanzer can move and/or do an action like attacking. Although moving and actions take Ability Points which recharge somewhat each turn so sometimes you may not have enough AP to do what you want. Instead of turns being speed base, teams take turns. First you get to have all your party take its turn then all the enemies take their turn. Also, when a wanzer is attacked, if it attacking wanzer is in range, the attackee can counter attack if he has enough AP. If this all sounds complex, don't worry, if you've played any strategy RPG before you'll pick it up pretty quickly. Outside of battles and story scenes you can customize your wanzers with differents weapons and body parts. Legs effects your movement range and evasion, the arms your aim, and the body (aside from being the primary part) the max weight your wanzer can handle and it's armor type. Finding a good balance between parts and weight can be tricky but it's a lot of fun. In battle, each body part has its own HP and becomes unusuable when destroyed, making things more interesting. Also, each body part can teach different abilities that your pilots can learn. Although the chances of them learning or using previously learned abilities seems rather low at times, learning and setting the a good group of abilities is another fun and important part of working on your wanzers. There's tons of parts and they can be upgraded and mixed and matched any way making for infinit options. All battles are scripted although you can particpate in training fights at almost any time if you want to power up your guys or get some extra money. When not fighting, working on wanzers, or watching the story you'll be reading your characters' e-mail and surfing the internet for files, story info, and other nifty stuff. Although mostly optional, this stuff makes for lots of fun and interesting diversions.
Overall: Although it might be a little complex at first, especially for newbies, Front Mission 3 is an excellent strategy RPG with great gameplay and a solid story. If you like RPGs, strategy RPGs like FFT, or just games with giant robots, Front Mission 3 is a great game to pick up.


9/10/2004 Yawn...
As far as pokémon goes this is a pretty old joke. Hey, at least I didn't use a metapod. Anyway... I was gonna do a mini-review but I spent a while playing around with some stuff in a strip I was making for next week and now I don't have time. If you missed wednesday's news blurb, Pebble Version now has a sub-comic of sorts. It's called Realm of Monsters or ROM and there's a link on the nav bar to the left so be sure to check it out. Hmm... Other than that, I'm back in school and already wondering why I decided to take a couple of the classes. Stupid credit requirements... More on that sometime next week when I get a better feel for the classes. I'll try to get that mini-review up on sunday and I need some sleep so I'll see you then.


9/8/2004 Introducing ROM
I'm pleased to announce that Pebble Version now has a sub-comic, sorta. Those of you on the forums probably know all about this already but for everyone else here's what's going on. For the last month and a half or so we've been running an RP on the forums called ROM, which is short for Realm of Monsters. Basically it's about myself and several other forum goers who get sucked into a Pokémon style video game world where we have to catch monsters, fight evil, save the world, and all that good stuff. The comic is based on the RP and is done by Shauni, one of the players. If you don't know her from the forums you might remember her entries in the last guest comic contest. Anyway, I'm hosting ROM as a part of Pebble Version and you can find a link to ROM on the left right above the Buzz Comix button. Also, don't forget to donate. Only $25 more and you'll be getting five strips a week throughout the entire month of October.

School just started for me so I don't have much time to talk now. See you friday!


9/6/2004 First goal met!
I updated the donation bar to show the donations I got over the weekend. I'm pleased to announce that we've reached the first goal! That means weekly bonus comics throughout October. It also means that we're only $25 away from goal number two. Reach it and you get five strips per week during all of October.

In other news, my school starts on tuesday so I've basically just been enjoying the last few days of my break. I reread my collection of Love Hina graphic novels, played some video games, and worked some Pebble Version for a project that I plan to announce on wednesday. And, um, guess that's about all for now. See you wednesday.


9/3/2004 Remember to donate for five new strips a week!
If you missed wednesday's update there's a new bonus comic up so go vote if you want to see it. Also, I've implemented a new donation system. Each donation is added to the monthly total. The more donations I get this month, the more stuff you guys get next month. For a full list see the donation info below. Although remember it only takes $50 to get an entire month of Pebble Version with five updates a week instead of the current three. You know you want it. Heck, if fifty of you guys donated only $2 the entire guage would fill up and you'd get weekly bonus comics, five new strips a week, a new Zelda page, and a cool mystery bonus during october. $2 isn't much and this site has way more than fifty readers. And remember, the majority of the donation money I recieve is going towards a professional redesign of both the site and forums, something I've been wanting to have done for quite some time.

Also, I got another Pebble Version surprise coming soon. This isn't set in stone but I'm gonna try to launch it on wednesday so get ready! It'll be cool, I'll say that. See you monday!


9/1/2004 Big Announcement Time!!! Do you want FIVE NEW STRIPS EACH WEEK?
First off there is a new bonus comic up so be sure and vote. Now onto the important part.

Your attention please... Thank you. Almost since the start of Pebble Version people have been asking me to update more than three times a week. Personally, I'd love to do that but a good strip can take a while to make and I just don't have the time to do more right now. Pebble Version barely makes enough money to keep itself on-line. I enjoy doing it but it's basically just a time consuming hobby right now. If I'm going to put more time into it I need to get something back so here's the deal. Starting today the old donation system is gone and the new one is starting. Here's the deal. Instead of sending out gifts to people who donate, all the donations I recieve will be added to the talley for the current month (see the new donation bar below). Each time the bar reaches one of the goal lines ($25, $50, $75, and $100), that effects what will happen next month. For example, during this month (September), if I get at least $25 in donations then during October I will do a new Blooper Reel bonus comic each week instead of the current every couple of weeks. If donations reach $50 or more then during October Pebble Version will update five times a week! Yes, you heard me, five updates a week all month long! If donations reach $75 or more you not only get the extra strips and Blooper Reels, you also get a new page from The Legend of Zelda A Dink in the Past. If you've donated in the past you may have already seen some of it. Basically it's based on The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past and each strip is a full page in size. I've already added the first two pages to the Extras Page, to see more you'll have to donate. And, finally, if donations reach $100 dollars or more, well, I'm not gonna say but I'll throw together something cool.

There's another advantage to donating. I've been wanting to get the whole Pebble Version site and forums professionally redesigned for better looks, improved navigation, less work for me, and the like but naturally that costs money. I need $200 to get the whole redesign project going so guess what I'm going to be doing with most of the donation money. Of course, since I'm going to be moving to Arizona for college at the end of the year I could really use some extra cash for that as well. Anyway, that's the deal. Your donations could mean more Pebble Version strips each week, cool extras, and a flashy new website. Information on how to donate can be found below in the Donation Info section.


8/30/2004 Have a good weekend?
Remeber everyone, there's going to be a big announcement on wednesday so don't miss it! Also in site news, I've had some people asking my abour Brendan and May's current pokémon teams so I decided to add that information to the Cast page. For now it just lists the pokémon, not their moves or levels although I might add that later. Currently only Brendan and May's teams are listed although other important characters will get theirs listed eventually.

I saw a couple movies over the weekend. The first was Shaolin Soccer, a wierd but amusing Chinese comedy. There's this guy who wants to prove that Shaolin martial arts can be a useful part of every day life. After some failed attempts he teams up with a former star soccer player and recruits his old friends to form a soccer team. Eventually they enter a big tournament, using their bizziare powers to dominate the game and advance to the finals where they have to face off against the evil champion team, Team Evil (original name isn't it?). It's definately strange but it's funny as well and worth watching.

I also saw Hero. It's based on a story told about China's first Emperor. As it starts out a nameless hero is brought before the emperor and honored for defeating the emperor's three greatest enemies, the assasions Sky, Snow, and Broken Sword. Nameless tells the stories of how he found and defeated each of the formidable assasions but all is not as it seems and there's a few plot twists before the movie ends. The heart of Hero is its battles and there's a lot of them. Nameless and the others fight in same unrealistic yet gracefull style as the characters in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Their lighter than air moves are graceful, deadly, and pretty cool to watch even if the special effects do make things look a little laughable at a couple spots. Note, Hero is subtitled so come ready to do some reading although there's relatively little dialogue as the battles often speak for themselves. Overall, Hero isn't your typical action flick. It's more intellectual than most and rather hauting, also like CTHD, but it's a very good movie and between the twisting plot and the cool battles you should check it out.


8/27/2004 Another link already?
Yes there's another new link on the Links page. This one's called Four Swords Misadvantures and based on The Legend of Zelda Four Swords. Turns out that sometimes four Links are definately not better than one. Anyway, check out the comic.

Heheh... You know how I promised a big announcement next friday? Turns out I got my dates mixed up. Wednesday is the first day of September so that's when I'll be making my announcement. Also, there may be another new surprise coming soon too. Those of you on the forums may already have an idea of what I'm talking about but more on that when it's further along. It's not actually one of my projects so to speak but it's got something to do with Pebble Version, more or less, and I am involved to some extent. It should be pretty cool.

Enjoy your weekend!


8/25/2004 This happens to me all the time...
I'm sure most of the Pokémon players out there can relate to this strip. I mean when you only have around a 3% chance of even getting into a battle with that pokémon and then you have to fight without KOing it while praying that it doesn't run away or knock your pokémon out of battle can drive you insane. In other Pebble Version news there's something a lot of you guys have been asking for practically since the start of the comic. I've got a plan that might just let me do it... Anyway, I'll say more on friday next week so be sure to check the news post then.

I haven't done any mini reviews on books for a while so what the heck. I recently read The Sword of Shannara trilogy (haven't got around to the rest of the Shannara stuff yet). It's one of the older and more popular fantasy series but gets kinda eclipsed when compared to stuff like The Wheel of Time and The Sword of Truth. The first book, The Sword of Shannara, wasn't all that impressive. It was entertaining and after a while I did get interested in the characters but it pulled just about every epic fantasy cliche in the book. Adopted boy from some remote place who's vital to the safty of the world, check. Evil guy that got defeated centuries ago and is now back for more, check. Diverse group of characters that team up to defeat him with some special weapon, check. And so on and so forth. Most fantasy novels use these type of plot devices but Sword makes them so blatently obvious that you just have to roll your eyes at times. Then there's how the book clearly copies Lord of the Rings such as when the group goes through a dangerous cavern to avoid traveling over some mountains and gets attacked by an ancient monster while crossing a narrow bridge and the wizard tries to hold said monster off while the others escape... And that's just one of the times. Fortunately each book in the trilogy gets progressively better (probably cause all the cliches were used up in the first one). All in all the Shannara trilogy shouldn't be on the top of your reading list but if you've already read some of the more top tier fantasy series you may want to give Shannara a try for a cliche but relatively enjoyable fantasy tale.


8/23/2004 Graphic upgrade!
Doesn't this look better than the old strips? I can do much better battle effects and the like now too although you're probably not gonna notice when the pokémon are just using tackle. Anyway, haven't you ever wondered what the purpose of that whole help Wally catch a pokémon bit is? He does fine on his own and by the time you get to that point in the game you probably already know how to catch pokémon. Now I just need to upgrade the site itself a bit... Well, more on that next week.

Now for an announcement. If any of you out there are using or want to use Pebble Version images as avatars or the like remember to give credit where it's due (Nintendo and myself) and please DO NOT link to them directly from Pebble Version. That's stealing my bandwidth and I really don't have all that much to spare. So if you're going to use them please download the image first and then upload it directly from your computer to the site or forums where you wants to use it. The same thing goes for link banners and buttons. I appreciate the links but please upload them onto your site instead of linking to them from mine.

Thank you.


8/20/2004 It's me!
If you still haven't seen the bonus comic go vote already. Comics in the new style will be starting on monday. I've already tweaked it a bit since the bonus comic and it'll continue to get better as I get more used to working in Photoshop. The next of my Pebble Version projects will be showing up at the beginning of September so keep an eye out for that too. And if any of you miss the mini-reviews, I'll try to get a new one done next week.

I also made an addition to the About Me page. It's a picture of me! Or, for those of you who are too lazy to load the whole about page you can just see the pic itself. Yes, that's me in my room. FYI: I don't always wear the jean shirt, especially with the heat around here, just in winter and spring usually. The pendant is a pretty recent addition. It's a copy of Squall's pendant from Final Fantasy VIII that I picked up at Otakon. Cool, isn't it? Oh yeah, Shauni, you wanted to know what my ROM character looked like, right? Well, since I'm RPing myself in that one you can use that picture as a base.

Have a good weekend everyone!


8/18/2004 New link!
If you haven't seen the new bonus comic yet vote and check it out. It's not the usual blooper reel strip but instead gives you a look at some of the improvements coming to Pebble Version in the near future. Keep in mind that it's just a test strip and things will be changing as I get more used to doing everything in Photoshop.

In other news there's now a link up to Pokémon Kanto Advance, a new Pokémon comic that's at least somewhat inspired by Pebble Version. And those of you on the forums probably already know the author.

Anyway this is my last day of school! Yeah! Unfortunately, I only get around three weeks until the next semester but it's something and I intend to get some work done (I got more Pebble Version things planned then just the Photoshop stuff) and mostly relax. See you friday!


8/16/2004 Special bonus comic!
You know those graphical improvements I mentioned? Well they should be starting next week since I'll finally be on break from school. However, I've been getting things ready for that time and couldn't resist throwing together a little test strip for practice. It's not the final version, the font isn't quite right and I may change the speech bubbles but this should give you some idea of what to look forward to. But if you want to see it you gotta vote so get to it! Once you've seen a glimpse of the future feel free to write me or check the forums where I'll be starting a thread on the matter if you have any comments.

Now for some quick thoughts on the YuGi-Oh movie. Made by studio Dice in Japan, the movie contains no surprises for fans of the anime. The animation is good and aside from Yugi's grandfather's outfit getting a color change, everything looks just the way it should. The music too, is standard fare, although the songs added in for the english version are pretty bleh. The movie uses the same voice actors as the american version of the anime. Personally, I haven't watched the american version for ages (I've been getting import DVDs from Japan) and I spent much of the movie muttering about how much better the original Japanese voice actors are. Still, if you're used to the american ones you won't mind at all. The movie supposedly takes place shortly after the end of the Battle City tournament. Yugi has the god cards and every trainer wants to be the one to defeat him. Although any serious fan of the anime will notice that there's enough inconsistencies to make it impossible for the move to have happened at that time (kinda like the DBZ movies). Anyway, Kaiba gets new cards from Pegasus and is sure that with them he can finally defeat Yugi. Meanwhile, a evil magician named Anubis who was sealed away long ago by Yami Yugi is attempting to return to power and destroy the world. The movie starts out a little slow and I was less than impressed with the american script but eventually the big duel starts and then it's all good. Also, if you collect the cards you'll probably be going anyway just to snag one of the four exclusive promos. You get one so-so monster that works good in some decks, one trap you you need cards from the seperate movie booster pack to use, and two super powered monsters that are a real force to be reconned with but are near impossible to summon. Anyway, if you're a fan of the anime or just want the cards go see the movie. If not there are better ways to spend your time.


8/13/2004 Ugh, finals...
Finals are always such a pain. So much to study and write and memorize... Anyway, they'll be keeping me busy till some time next week but keep an eye out for some changes in the week or two following that. Let's see... The Yu-Gi-Oh movies comes out tomorrow. I'll go if my tests don't take too long. Of course, I'm sure they've majorly overedited it and I'll probably pick up an import copy before long. Either way though, I gotta go for the promo cards. Problem is, there's four cards and you only get one card each time you go. No who do I know that would want to go to the movie but wouldn't want their card?

Anyway, remember to vote and I'll see you next week!


8/11/2004 One whole year...
Wow, I can't believe it's been a whole year since I started Pebble Version... It was 8/11/2003 when the first strip went on-line. If you're a long time reader or new to Pebble Version I'd like to thank all of you for you support. I hope you've enjoyed the first yeart. I was gonna do something special but I have finals this week so I just didn't have the time. Once they're over, though, I have some ideas to work on that should help improve Pebble Version so keep an eye out for changes.

Hey, today marks the first appearance of Brendan's dad Norman and another important chracter will be showing up on friday. Cause of this, I updated the cast page so go take a look! Also, if you didn't see it monday, there's a new bonus comic so vote and check it out. If you did see it already, vote anyway! Pebble Version may have gotten off to a slow start this month but who knows, maybe we can break our record anyway. You can vote every day you know.

Thanks again for a great year! Let's make this one even better!


Pokemon and all related images and trademarks are copyrighted by Nintendo, one of my favorite games companies who would certainly never waste their time by trying to sue me. Especially since I'm protected under the Fair Use Rule of the United States Copyright Act of 1976. Aside from that the actual site content is copyrighted by me, Josiah Lebowitz 2003.