New Site

The site has been moved to http://cyclicwords.wordpress.com/

It will be most likely more of the same, posts about video games, and occasional stories about them, but the new site is not a theme site, in that there is no mission of it. It is just a place to post things I feel worth sharing.

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Future of the Site

The imagination that gives me the ability to write is my biggest obstacle in continuing to do it.

Almost immediately after a unique idea forms in my head my imagination moves on to another subject, how much everyone is going to love whatever I create.

As much as I work to temper my hopes on what will become of my writing my imagination never fails to set me up for disappointment. The more proud I am of something I wrote, the less likely I am to consider it something for myself, the more likely it’s to have expectations of grandeur.

I’m not just talking it’ll be viewed and liked by 1,000s of people, or that it’ll go viral in the number of millions, I’m talking crazy shit, like a job or commission offers.

I started writing to give myself an escape from boredom of daily life as a teen. Now it’s not empty minutes of the day, I always have something to do or that needs to get done. It’s the place where I’m parked in life that I want to ultimately escape from.  To be clear I’m not complaining, I have a job plenty have tried for and failed, I have a nice enough house, a son that I love, and a wife who is happy. But man, if I got an exciting job that people dreamed of, or if I got a commission to buy a new computer, or better yet, a new car, or even better still to pay for another adoption, well then wouldn’t that be an escape from my day to day life, if even only temporary?

So when the Monster Party fanfiction page registered fewer views than any of the other pages on my site I was at a loss. Even after keeping my expectations in check I assumed that the page would at least be shared once, or commented on, or I don’t know, something! So I told myself it was the format, people didn’t want to wait a month for a “pillar post”. I picked my next game and decided to write about the game itself, and then write a fanfic about it. The post about Milon’s Secret Castle had even less views than the previous post. That coupled with two other things, I was not happy with the fanfic based on Milon, since it certainly wasn’t going to get me those intangible job offers my motivation to write it dwindled, once my set deadline came and went it was easier just to not think about it.

The second thing that put a cork in the website as a whole was my mother’s fight with cancer took a very strong turn for the worse in November. She passed in mid-December, what followed after was probably the worst month emotionally in my life, not because of grieving and loss, but because my family kind of sucks. It was a mess, something which I will write about someday.

So that brings me to my point of this post, which is not meant to be a pity party for my lack of internet popularity. As much as my expectations are dashed every time I write something I still find myself doing it. So I’ve decided to move this site to a new WordPress site, one that is not themed, other than stuff that I write and consider worthy of sharing.

There will be no regular updates, no promises on what will be updated and when, and hopefully no crazy ass expectations.

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Milon’s Secret Castle

Milon’s Secret Castle is a terrible game. There are two primary goals in the game;

  1. Jump around avoiding/destroying enemies with no clue what you are doing.
  2. Fill your 9-year-old sense of betterment by withholding information from your friends and watching them struggle.

The first element anyone can experience by downloading the ROM, but the second can only happen organically, with a group of pre-teens before that whole internet thing blew up.

Back in 5th grade a friend of mine just got a new game, Milon’s Secret Castle. He said the game was cool, he said it was pretty hard, and he said I should try it. Little did I know I was falling into his smug little trap.

He would ask each day at school how far I had gotten, inevitably I had to fess up, “I don’t get what I am supposed to do, I keep getting stuck in the first room.”

“You can enter the window that’s on the first floor, there’s also a store.” He said coyly, giving me the impression that going into the first room was a typical rookie mistake.

That night I played the piss out of Milon’s Secret Castle, all I discovered was there were a varying number of rooms to get stuck in, a well, and a store that gave me pointless tips and a potion I could never afford because I couldn’t exit the rooms where you obtained money.

“Alright I checked out the rooms and the well, now what?”

Shock on his face. “There’s a well? That’s farther than I got, you’ll have to show me!”

“Well… I’m kind of busy this week..”

I had a taste of the true power of Milon’s Secret Castle, I knew something no-one else did, like hell I was going to give it up so easily. It was my thunder alone, until Craig got the game.

Craig not only claimed that he was able to exit rooms, but that he had made it to the second level! We had all seen the second level, with its inviting doors and tantalizing prospects of new rooms to get stuck in. We figured you could get there, somehow, someway. Musings of secret blocks to jump off became rumors, then some poor kid would think it was real and spend a night jumping 8,000 times outside the castle in hopes of a block appearing just like in Super Mario Bros.

The issue was that Craig was a liar, in elementary school he was the first to say he had any new toy, but his parents wouldn’t let him show it to anyone. In middle school he would be the first to claim getting to third base, but with a girl from another school. Our take on getting to the 2nd level much was much the same as the third base, its complete bullshit, there’s no way, but maybe, just maybe, he was telling the truth. Because if Craig can make it to the second level (or third base) that means we can too, and he can teach us how!

As other friends pestered Craig about how to get to the second level I decided to use a secret weapon, the Nintendo Power Line. I was going to get to that second level, I was going to put Craig in his place, and Heather the girl I had a crush on was going to kiss me, end of story.

“I’m stuck at the first level of Milon’s Secret Castle.”

“Alright… Let’s see..” Rustling of pages, only later in life did I realize most counselors weren’t doing walk-throughs off the top of their head, they had a printed guide for all the games.

“It says you need the spring shoes.”

“What spring shoes?”

“The ones you buy at the store.”

“The store with the potion?”

“Yes.. wait.” More rustling “No the other store.”

“There’s more than one store?!”

“Yes, I’d be happy to help you find it.”

Yes, the secret store! Prepare to suck it Craig, but then a funny thing happened when trying to explain to me how to leave the room.

“So I’m in the corner, with the arrow. But the door isn’t appearing.”

“You need to shoot it with a bubble.”

“I AM SHOOTING EVERYTHING!@”

A fun fact, when comparing things done successfully over the phone in 1989, the number of planes landings outnumbered the finding of hidden doors in Milon’s Secret Castle by a 3 to 1 ratio.

At some point my friends and I realized if we were ever going to have a chance of beating the game we would have to unite. Milon was the alien invasion into our inflated 9-year-old egos.

We discussed tips and someone started a notebook sheet, then it was rubber banded to the game, a tome of all our combined knowledge. ‘You gotta hit the glove to shrink!’ was one line, below it ‘You need the potion first!’ in different handwriting. In reality the only truly helpful tips were cut from a Nintendo Power and taped to the page.

But it wasn’t meant to be, everyone’s interest waned for one reason or another (Have you seen those commercials for Abadox?!), then someone, probably that fucker Craig lost the sheet, putting the final nail in the coffin. I don’t think the original owner of Milon ever got his game back from whoever had it, but I guarantee he didn’t really care.

Still I have to credit Milon for being a type of boot-camp for us, it tested us, it broke us, and forced us to unite like never before. It readied us for what would be favorite game of our childhoods, one that was much better, Maniac Mansion.

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Twitter

I’ve created a twitter account for those who want to follow the site via tweets, the handle is @NES_50.

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Changing it up

The plan for the next story is to make it much shorter, keeping it under 1000 words, if not less. It will also be more humorous than serious.

I will also spend more of the month talking about the game so there are more posts of interest. At last that is my hope. While the general premise of the site is set, the execution and details are a work in progress.

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Story #1 – The After Party

“You said I’d be fighting monsters, not kittens.” My voice is tired, I haven’t slept since this ordeal started. My bat stained a dark red, bits of kitten and blood, I’ve tried wiping them off in the grass, it’s no use.

Are you implying an 18 foot tall cat throwing deadly kittens is normal?” There is no tone to Bert’s voice except a certain hollowness, all he says is sarcastic retorts, but all without emotion.

“You know what I mean Bert.” I’m angry, so angry, but I’m stuck, I’m stuck in this stupid place.

Everything here has a wrongness about it. The air is thick and musty, like a humid attic, but we’re outside in the open air. The ground always feels mushy, but a scoop of it falls apart in your hand like dust. We’re on a riverbank, the water is moving at different speeds, like its alive, I can’t stare at it for too long without getting motion sickness. The sky is blue, but it’s fake neon blue, and for the life of me I can’t find the sun.

I crouch down next to the river to try to rinse some of the gore off my bat. The water feels thick like syrup, and it stinks. I pull the bat out, the guts are off of it, but the water left some sort of blue greasy coating. I can’t wait to get a new bat if I ever make it back home.

“You said we would have fun.” I lament out loud, mostly to myself.

I’m having fun.” Says Bert.

Monotone, always monotone.

————————————————————————————————————————–

The After Party – A Monster Party Story

————————————————————————————————————————–

She must think I am rich taking her to a place like this on the first date. Pressed linen tablecloths and candlelight, a guy whose only job is to get you water, salads where you have to cut the lettuce. I have a special diet, no onion rings, shrimp, or any sort of shish-kabob. Almost getting crushed to death by fast food will have that effect on you. It’s a struggle not to run out of the room whenever a Long John Silver’s commercial comes on the TV. This limits my dining options, Frederick’s doesn’t have any of those items, but it’s 40 bucks a plate.

Mmm, fried shrimp…

Bert tells me repeatedly that he loves onion rings, shrimp, and shish-kabob, fat fucking chance he’ll ever get any of them.

Promises Promises.” Expressionless.

“Sorry did you say something?” Angela looks across the table at me, a puzzled look on her face.

“I’m sorry, I just kind of drifted there for a moment.”

She forces a smile.

“Are you ready to order?” The waiter has appeared and has an impatience about him, I defiantly don’t come here for the service.

“Ready if you are.” I say to Angela.

“I’ll take the prawns please…”

“No, no” I say in a nervous laugh, I pause to get my voice under control. “They don’t have shrimp here.”

The waiter clears his throat, I look up from Angela to make eye contact with him.

“It’s today’s special.” He points his pen at the card-stock note laid in the middle of the table.

‘Today’s special; Broiled Prawns, asparagus, choice of potato’. My jaw drops slightly, I’m a little light-headed, my mouth is dry. Bert is somewhere smacking his lips.

Beak.”

Smacking his beak I mean.

“Sorry, are you allergic?” Concern lines Angie’s face.

“No, well yes, not like deathly allergic, um, it’s sort of, a thing?” Somehow I’ve turned my explanation into a question.

You’re doing well.”

Fucking Bert.

“Let me give you a moment to decide.” The waiter leaves annoyed, a panic starts to creep into me, this date is going horribly.

“I can.. just order something else, it’s no big deal.” She’s trying to salvage the date from our awkward moment, it reminds me of Mom, always working through those weird times when I was a kid.

I slowly inhale and exhale. “You’re right, I’m sorry, there is a reason for all… all…”

A whiff of cooked shrimp has caught my nostrils, the table next to us, an elderly couple, both of them ordered the special. I scan the room, the special is popular. Seems like everyone is eating prawns, is the room getting smaller and darker?

“Are you ok?” Angela is now worried, probably thinking who is this nut job I talk to in the elevator occasionally?

I don’t know what to do next, and I shut down. It’s done, I’ve failed again, there’s nothing left here but cooked shrimp and disappointment.

I mutter a muted “Sorry…” as I grab my jacket. I hurry past the tables, I can’t even look back. It’s just after 9pm, soon I tell myself, soon I will be in bed and everything will be better.

————————————————————————————————————————–

The courtroom is packed with all sorts of beasts and creatures, there’s never total silence, always a whisper can be heard in some far corner. The Honorable Judge Javelin Man presides over the room, he looks better than the last time I saw him, even with the eye patch.

Everyone is looking at me, a third of the room feels empathy for me, and the rest is angry and wants blood. It’s a bum rap when you’ve been duped into killing the democratically elected leader of Dark World. Who knew the found grotesque appearances and fits of anger to be good qualities in a leader?

“While my client’s actions are incomprehensible, it should not be forgotten that Bertrand is the true criminal in this!” Lefty is trying to take charge of the room, Righty sits silent.  Blazing a trail of destruction across an entire world doesn’t leave you with many friends. While a couple of zombies wouldn’t have been my first choice for legal aid, my options were limited.

“Yes, but they are one and the same! It is through only untested and forbidden alchemy that Bertand was able to hide like the coward he is in the body of a boy and kill our leader. But ask this, we do not know if the boy Mark even exists in that body! Based on the heedless destruction and sheer terror wrought upon our land at his hands, I surmise that it is Bertand, and Bertand alone in that vessel!” More shouting, talking, and cheering, I had no idea a fish with legs could whip the crowd up so well.

“Order, Order!” Javelin man is trying to restore order with little avail.

Righty looks at Lefty, Lefty slowly nods.

“If I may! A suggestion!” Righty’s voice booms over the noise, everyone stops talking for a second, eagerly awaiting the next statement to gossip about.

“As my esteemed colleague pointed out we cannot know if the boy Mark has control of this body, or if it is indeed the terrorist fiend Bertand. So I propose a compromise of sorts, no death penalty..” Angry yells fill the small room.

“Please let him finish!” Lefty pleads.

“Yes, as I was saying we cannot kill the boy simply because we believe him to be Bertand, but we could imprison him, keep him from Virium, keep him from all of us, even study him, and maybe attempt to separate Bertand from the boy!” Soft murmurs, it takes a few seconds for me to even process what my lawyers have proposed.

“What?!” My eyes are moist, I can’t control my outburst now that I’ve opened my mouth. “You can’t do this, I didn’t do anything wrong, I thought I was helping! He tricked me! He made me think I was helping, he makes me see things! He’s in my head! Please you can’t, I can’t stay in jail for the rest of my life!” I keep expecting Bert to chime in, but he’s silent. I hope it’s remorse, but I don’t think for a second that he has ever felt such a thing.

The prosecutor is staring at me, at least I think he is, his face is pointed in my direction.  There’s something else, probably pity, but it’s hard to read the emotions of someone with a fish for a face.

“We are not monsters.” He speaks slowly, purpose in his voice. “And this creature, whether it be Bertand or the boy Mark is obviously in need of help from the State. If the court agrees with the life sentence then we shall agree as well.”

Javelin Man releases a heavy sigh. He overlooks the room, now there is only silence. My vision is blurry, I’ve stopped crying, but can’t find the drive to wipe my eyes. Disbelief and anger fill my head, disbelief is a new feeling, being in this world shattered most of my expectations on what is believable.

“Then so be it.”

Bang goes the gavel.

————————————————————————————————————————–

I look at the four Unisom in the palm of my hand.

I used to avoid sleep, to stay away from there as much as possible, it was a losing battle, thankfully things changed.

I look in the mirror, even though I spend most of my time sleeping my eyes are sunken and tired, I look like someone who is becoming frayed around the edges, people who don’t know me must think I am crazy, maybe I am.

I don’t think you’re crazy.

Imagine having to ignore someone…

You can’t ignore me.

But you have to ignore them, without even thinking about ignoring them, it has to be a reflex. He told me it was temporary, he said it would be all over after I killed The Dragon King, but here he is, still in my head.

Those little white pills in your hand won’t free you, but you know what will.”

Virium, the green and white pill, Dark World’s ex-drug of choice, at the time legal, and easy to obtain. Bert did something to me, to himself, something that caused us to merge. I was normally in control, filled with terror and nerves. It was only through fear for my life and the constant goading from Bert that made me kill the first monster. But when I took Virium…

Power.

On Virium I was riding on my favorite roller coaster, cutting through the wind with leather wings, adrenaline at its peak, and when I spoke, monsters were vaporized. It felt like I was a god.

Hey, I know this guy back home..”

The catch is each time I took it, the longer it lasted, and the less I felt in control, I wondered if we would reach a tipping point, one where I am Bert more, and me less. Thankfully the authorities caught me before then and now I sleep willingly.

I take the four Unisom, soon I’ll get a break.

————————————————————————————————————————–

The prison is immaculate, if Walt Disney had a jail I assume this is how it would look. Stainless steel bars, your own shower and toilet, a comfy warm bed. When your rolling countryside is a stinking cesspool of blood, slime, and something that sort of resembles water you tend to over compensate.

“How was your day man?”

That’s Shou, he has the cell next to mine, he’s here for moving Virium. Programs were implemented, retraining and whatnot to help people who made a living with Virium find new jobs. Most of them still ended up here. Everyone blames me for the ban, Shou is different. Shou understands, says it’s the fault of Bert and ‘The Man’. Says the government wanted to ban Virium all along, just needed a reason to keep it all for themselves.

Shou and I  chat about my day, the doctors come and give me a red and black pill, Anti-Virium . After they leave Shou reminds me I should be careful of what they give me.

He’s right Mark, they will use us, they will use us like they used me before all of this started.

I slam down the pill without water, I don’t care what it does, all I know is it shuts Bert up for the whole time I am here and a few hours in the morning after I wake up. They’ve tried to give me some to take home, but I awake empty-handed every morning so this is my only break. Later they will ask me questions, trying to figure out what Bert did, how he got to my world, how he merged with me, and why I come here every time I fall asleep.

I answer their questions the same every time, I was just a kid, I have no idea, the only answer Bert will ever give is “Magic”. One would think I would hate this place, being stuck in a jail cell and interrogated everyday, but here everyone knows my whole story, I don’t have to hide or try to fit in.

Here is home, there is a nightmare that I cannot wait to wake up from.

————————————————————————————————————————–

I awake to the sounds of kids playing, out my window I can see a make shift baseball diamond in the courtyard. The neighborhood kids enjoying a game of makeshift baseball with a bat and a tennis ball. It’s just before noon, soon the moms will be yelling from the windows for them to come inside for lunch.

I loved baseball, I really did, after I came back from that place I couldn’t wait to swing a bat at an actual baseball. I called my friends, got the game together at the local park the next day, and first pitch I hit a line drive right at Sam who was pitching.  Fractured his skull, put him in a coma for a month. It was no longer a game for me, my bat was a loaded gun, hitting stuff with it was firing a cannon.

The lobby intercom buzzes frantically, jarring me from my reminiscing. I rush to it and without thinking press the answer button.

“Yes?” I ask, a thought enters my brain, what if it’s Angela, what am I going to say?

“Mail call.” Something about the voice.

“Who is this?”

No answer, where have I heard that voice?

Riding the elevator down my palms are sweaty, my heart is racing. I choke up on the worn grip tape, without realizing it I’ve brought my trusty bat, worn, discolored, weathered, and as deadly as ever. I found I could never get rid of it, not after all we had been through.

The doors open to the lobby, it’s empty, there’s a familiar odor hanging in the air. I open my mail box, it’s too early for the mail, but inside is a single envelope, addressed to me. Leaning my bat between my legs I open the envelope, inside there’s a note, scribbled on it one phrase;

‘Let’s go again?’

Taped to the note, a single green-white pill, Virium.

I realize now why the voice sounded familiar, it’s not Bert’s, but it was similar, monotone and hollow.

What did I miss?

Bert is awake already, it’s going to be a long day.

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October 2013 Story – Monster Party

October’s story is based on the NES game Monster Party. The roughly 1500 word story will be posted mid-day on Halloween. The following should be reviewed to refresh your memory if you haven’t played the game recently;

The Wikipedia Page

The Opening

The Ending

If you really want to see all of the game you can watch a guy beat it in 15 minutes.

See you on Halloween.

 

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Writing on the cloud

So over the last year I’ve started writing more and I’ve run into an issue, the ability to edit the same story over all my electronic devices. I have a PC at home, an iPad, an Android phone, and I use my work PC when I need to kill time or have a lightning bolt of inspiration. My main roadblock there is my job bans iPads and blocks icloud.com, making the Pages app I have useless while at work. Google Drive is also blocked there, and the app for Android phones is unable to edit even basic documents. I tried Kingsoft Office which has auto-sync with Google Drive, but it hates Swype with a passion, Everything Gets Capitalized Automatically. Dropbox? Also banned, I figure anything like it that isn’t banned would probably be banned at some point in the near future.

Then I had an epiphany, thanks to a tactic terrorists use.

My work still allowed Gmail, my phone had Gmail, my Ipad had Gmail. So I took everything I was currently working on, made a new Gmail account and created a bunch of e-mail drafts, one for each project, and pasted everything into those e-mails.

I can now edit any of them on all of my devices, or any PC that has internet, and it’s always instantly synced. I can even edit on my cell phone where I have no service, then when I get service the draft will sync automatically. Really the only thing I miss is italics and other advanced formatting, but that’s minor. I fix all of that in the final draft at home. I just want a way to easily edit a first draft till I’m happy with it.

Speaking of, the first draft of this month’s story “The After-Party” is done and planned for posting on October 31st. I’ve also started categorizing posts to make future navigation easier, I am still iffy on the current layout, so it may change next month.

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Progress and NaNoWriMo

About 1/3 done with the current story, on track for release right before Halloween. On another note I’ve signed up for National Novel Writing Month here. Check it out if you’ve thought of doing writing in the past but have yet to start.

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Stories

I don’t plan on revealing what stories will be written each month.  Just know this month’s will fit well with Halloween.

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