DAN STINEHART: Comic/Graphic Artist

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UPDATE re: ~Natively Awkward 1-year post

Original blog post for those who missed it:

https://danjstine.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/natively-awkward-1-year/

Apparently I’m having technical issues migrating the comics to the newer WordPress page to the point I’m giving up trying to do so. The main issue I’m having is wondering why [NEXT] is omitted in some of the strips and despite the number of deletions and attempts resolving the issue, I can’t figure out why this is the case. Until then, I’m going to see whether the domain of the former may/will affect the content already posted and if the possibility its reverting back to (dot)wordpress(dot)com doesn’t affect what I already posted, then I’ll stick with the webcomic’s original page henceforth.

You can follow me as well as the webcomic on Twitter as well for further updates on this, if you’d like. (I’ll update this post on any developments in the next few days.)

@JiibayDan @NatAwkComic

Until next time,

Dan

~Natively Awkward (belated one-year anniversary + updates)

Seeing my current domain for my webcomic has expired, I [may] have no way of recovering the site page nor do I know how when a WordPress paid subscription comes to a close. Ahead of time, I documented the comic upload dates and created a back-up page WITHOUT domain subscriptions, just to be safe. For those wondering, here is the new link:

natawkcomic.wordpress.com

(still under construction but will be updated immediately)

Speaking of which, it never occurred to me until recently that said webcomic celebrated it’s ONE-YEAR anniversary! April 12 to be exact. I know I haven’t been active on the comic here and there and it has nothing to do with my lack of interest. Based on my ongoing experiences with webcomics and even conversing with some of them during that time, I never imagined it would be this much work in terms of [attempting to] keeping it at a pace. And that’s considered a positive in my part.

Nevertheless, I have so many ideas with the characters and what have you and am willing to explore into them as I continue this side project of mine. I have other comics projects in mind but just like any career, don’t start out big, start small in order to reach the big (if I’m making any lick of sense on the matter).

Comic 13 should be done sometime by the end of the month/early May and will try to work on at least one or two a week to maintain my artistic/creative juices; regardless of Indian Time/Native Time/Whateveryouwanttocallit Time.

Until next [see above] time!

Dan

@JiibayDan | @NatAwkComic

2014 Game of the Year (Re-Visited)

Close to a month after my 2014 Game of the Year blog was posted, I realized I made a swift, un-reasonable decision when it came to said year’s top winner. Sure, I enjoy Smash Bros. 4. I love it even more than Melee in the same lines as Mario Kart 8 ala Double Dash. However, choosing that as I realized later on was more in terms of hype as opposed to how it stands out compared to the rest for me in terms of said year’s releases.

With those reasons in mind, I went out of my way to KO its then high-status and grant such an honor to a much deserved “hollow” contender.


2014 GAME OF THE YEAR (updated): Dark Souls II (PS3 version)

Like its predecessors 2009 and 2011 (respectively), Dark Souls II is my personal “new” Game of the Year, one I should’ve came to terms from the start while working on my GOTY nominees. (This also means my runner-up is replaced by Smash Bros. 4 for said category.)

The stand-alone non-canon successor (as I often describe it) has had a divide within the Souls community in terms of its design decisions along with the online environment, though most of the online complaints I’ve heard came from the dedicated PvP community which is understandable based on the numerous Twitch streams I’ve watched since its release.

Despite the continuous (and off-placed) expectations the community still has in terms of difficulty, that is not the soul reason I love the series to death. (See what I did there?) As I stated on my previous post, I agree with some of the things From Software lacked in on this entry (especially the lore), the online co-op is probably the biggest improvement in the series I’ve experience yet, saying as much as surpassing Demon’s and Dark Souls 1 integration-wise.

With the free Scholar of the First Sin patch that came roughly four days before this was published, I’m finding the improved online features more convenient in regards to matchmaking (though I’m only saying this from a co-op player’s perspective, to clarify). After watching some footage on the Gen 8 version of the same game along with its refined tweaks, it’s a no-brainer I’m excited to buy the game again. Well, I need to anyway due to my peak interest in PS4 along with (unsurprisingly) Bloodborne which Hidetaka Miyazaki’s upcoming title will be released on the same week as my birthday. *heh*

Until next time,

Dan

That Definitive-Delayed-Limited Edition 2014 Game of the Year Blog

Below are my nominations for games I played for 2014. Note that I merged games released this year and yesteryear to balance things out re: nominations. Without further ado…

BEST PLATFORMER: Super Mario 3D World
This (along with Bayonetta 2 & the upcoming titles) convinced me to buy a Wii U this past November given Nintendo’s struggling home console has finally hit its stride despite being in the market for over two years. For a 3D Mario that is a much-improved console equivalent to its 3DS predecessor, the level design, its SMB2 approach (Peach for the win!), and the [adorable] cat suit ability make for some fun times. I’d choose this over the New Super Mario Bros. series any day.

Runner-Up: Super Skull Smash GO!

Honorable Mentions: Castle of Illusion 2013, Archibald’s Adventures, Life of Pixel

BEST SOUNDTRACK: Anodyne
The so-called inspired NES Zelda/GBC Zelda hybrid has some subtle if not eerie chiptune tracks, which works to its advantage within the game’s equally subtle/eerie atmosphere. Tracks like ‘Fields’, ‘Hotel’, and ‘Go’ are good listens, but ‘Cliff’ is among one of my favorites.

Runner-Up: Dark Souls II

Honorable Mentions: Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Bastion, Fez

GUILTIEST PLEASURE: Sleeping Dogs (Vehicular One-Night Stands)
During my playthrough, I played around with the possibility of bringing my motorcycles inside one of my apartments. After trial-and-error, I successfully did so and set them on my bed. Then I slept. The bike that following morning would “grind” off the bed as I woke up. I did this “exhaust” of an experience several times throughout my playthrough. It’s just too bad the [male] NPCs I attempted to bring in my apartment didn’t work. Those cock-blocking doors sometimes… >:3

Runner-Up: Dark Souls II (Bino-Boosting/Gravity Walk exploits *patched*) Image 1 | Image 2

Honorable Mention: Saint’s Row IV (Complete vigilante mayhem)

MOST UNDER-RATED: DmC: Devil May Cry
This was my first foray into the Devil May Cry series despite being aware it was a reboot which lead to a divide on said fanbase since its release. The substance is where it’s at, making it a solid action title that has convinced me to play the previous entries of the original series.

Runner-Up: Sleeping Dogs

Honorable Mentions: Thomas Was Alone, Anodyne

MOST OVER-RATED: BioShock Infinite
While I agree with both sides on the narrative context and themes debating the video game medium’s storyline potential (or whatever it’s technically called) on the matter, I found the story-driven experience not as impressive as I hoped. It’s not to imply I oppose story-driven based games, but it seemed it overshadowed the already-generic FPS level design regardless. Despite all that, I plan to play the first BioShock despite my overall thoughts on my experience over Infinite.

Runner-Up: Fez

Honorable Mentions: Tomb Raider 2013, Brothers

MOST UNDER-WHELMING: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Another story-driven game I played this year on this list? Unlike BioShock Infinite, Brothers’ environmental storytelling wasn’t well refined nor developed whereas the platforming level design overshadowed it (despite saying that too had its shortcomings). The game tries so (if not too) hard to make me care about all of the characters in the game given the little brother had more emphasis than the others (and that isn’t saying much, to be honest). Well, at least I got the game for free on PS+, which isn’t saying much either.

Runner-Up: LittleBigPlanet PS Vita

[Dis?-]Honorable Mentions: Analogue: A Hate Story, Kirby 64, Fez, Floating Point

MOST DISAPPOINTING: DLC Quest
After the post-Steam Summer Sale, DLC Quest was on sale for $.75 or something. With my then-Wallet at $.50 at the time, I can perfectly say it was the worst $.25 I ever spent on a game, given it’s a supposed satire focusing on the “evil corporations nickel-and-diming the consumer no matter what”. Except the delivery both in context and level design were poorly executed and my playthrough felt more of a chore than appreciating the concept doing so. I would’ve been more pissed if the satirical game forced micro-transactions in order to finish the playthrough. I want my $.75 cents back, thank you very much. *sigh*

Runner-Up: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Dis-Honorable Mentions: Floating Point, Sonic 4 Episode I, Claymates

BEST PLAYSTATION: Dark Souls II
Why am I not surprised by this? Is it because I clocked in 300+ hours since its March 2014 release? Or could it be that the online Co-Op experience is the best in the Souls series in my opinion? Or could it be that I just plain-right enjoy the entry? Whether or all the reasons (among others) mentioned, Dark Souls II was (and still is) enjoyable, multiple playthroughs and builds since then. And while I agree about the small things that From Software should’ve improved on (NPCs, matchmaking, etc.), here’s hoping Scholar of the First Sin will embrace those improvements given I plan on buying the game again for PS4 (regardless if I get a PS4 before then).

Runner-Up: Sleeping Dogs

Honorable Mentions: Metal Gear Rising, Assassin’s Creed IV, Saints Row IV, DmC

BEST NINTENDO: Super Smash Bros. 4 (3DS and Wii U)
Smash Bros. 4 is without a doubt a vast improvement over the slow and floaty Brawl (which I’ve been using the Project M mod since then). While the 3DS edition felt more of an introduction to what one was to expect for the console equivalent, the Wii U edition is the real deal. Expect 100’s of hours of playtime on my end, just like the previous entries. *heh*

Runner-Up: Super Mario 3D World

Honorable Mentions: Bayonetta 2, Kirby Super Star, Pushmo World

BEST STEAM/GOG/OS: Bastion
Despite still not comfortable with isometric-ish layout (had to resort to my mouse and keyboard after failed controller troubleshooting), Bastion was an intriguing Action RPG. Wanting to play the game since its release, it wasn’t until it arrived on Mac (along with the recent Steam Summer Sale) that I gave it a go. Because of my playthrough, I’m eager to play Transistor along with playing Bastion again on the Vita (whenever that will be).

Runner-Up: Anodyne

GAME OF THE YEAR (NON-2014): Sleeping Dogs
As much as I enjoyed the bat-shit shenanigans that was Saints Row IV, Sleeping Dogs to me was a more-deserved choice for said award category. The protagonist, Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer was well written, especially when it came to his interaction with family, acquaintances, other officers, etc. And of course being re-acquainted with his Chinese roots after being home away from home for years. Of course it’s not just the story that worked to its advantage, the combat and driving sequences were spot-on as well; for a middle-of-the-road title surprisingly. Given it’s also available for 8th-generation systems, I would recommend Sleeping Dogs for those needing some form of GTA/city sandbox fix.

Runner-Up: Saints Row IV

Honorable Mentions: Metal Gear Rising, Bastion, Thomas Was Alone, DmC, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

2014 GAME OF THE YEAR: Super Smash Bros. 4 (3DS and Wii U)*
Smash Bros. 4 is what Brawl should’ve been from the start: An entry that caters to both casual and core players instead of focusing more on casual instead of core. The latest entry shares all of the positives and strengths from its predecessors while maintaining its own unique likeness. Since their respected releases, I’ve played more on the Omega stages (aka the Final Destination counterparts) than the Normal stages; that and I’m learning the more advanced techniques within an already basic-yet-balanced moveset, among others. Overall, Smash 4 is the best game I played from the series since Melee, and that is somewhat saying a lot on my end.

Runner-Up: Dark Souls II

Other Honorable Mentions: The Binding of Isaac Rebirth, Kirby’s Dream Collection, Donkey Kong Country 3, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair

Until next year!

Dan

*UPDATE: See my “re-visited” blog post for a change in the Game of the Year winner with further explanation on reasons/etc. https://danjstine.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/2014-game-of-the-year-re-visited/

NEW Tumblr page!

Late last year, I created a Tumblr (as mentioned on said blog post) to showcase my artworks and other concepts. Months later, I deactivated said previous account due to lack of activity and motivation.

HOWEVER…

I realized it’s not just about sharing one’s artworks, concepts, whatever. I was reminded by some of the people I follow on Twitter that it’s also about being acquainted with other artists who use the social network service for the same thing as well. Because of this, I created a new account (see below) to give it a second chance. If you want to follow me, feel free too.

JIIBAYDAN (Tumblr)

http://jiibaydan.tumblr.com/

Until next time,

Dan