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 Issue 2   June 2001

  On deck

  dot calm space

  in the pipe

  fly soup

  the weekend

  deadbeats: forward


  guest book

  get your links



  Chapter One: Downward Mobility
 available May 4th, 2001

  Chapter Two: Concessions
 available June 1st, 2001

  Chapter Three: Conversations at the Convo'
 available July 6th, 2001

  Chapter Four: Straight Back Chairs and Belly Laughs
 available August 3rd, 2001

  Chapter Five: Drinks for Free
 available September 7th, 2001

  Chapter Six: Anything for a free meal
 avaialble October 5th, 2001

  Chapter Seven: Jukebox Jive
 available November 2nd, 2001

  Chapter Eight: Sunshine Daydream
 available December 7th, 2001

  Chapter Nine: Return to Paradise
 available January 4th, 2002

  Chapter Ten: Moving Day
 avaiable February 1st, 2002




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From-the-deck n., pl. (html) A hybrid of Video Game Reviews and straight Fiction. The novel is deadbeats, the reviews are from the hip. From the deck is an ethos of Twenty First Century Living.

On deck, its a wonder I get anything done, every time Squaresoft releases a game it seems I must answer the call.
From June 2, 2001

Dot calm space, in anticipation of the Gameboy Advanced I've gone searching for information and have come across some indispensable sites.
From June 12th, 2001


Chapters are updated the first Friday of every Month

deadbeats: street beat



jackson avery cain

For Your Submission

   The world inhabited by these characters is all too familiar: "freaks and benders flanking this way and that" on an endless quest for meaning in a joblessness that begs for their submission. Deadbeats takes perhaps the most depressing of pursuits, that of seeking employment and brings it home in a satirical manner. Marvin, Nina, Robert and D.G. have more time on their hands than they can consume and so their quest takes the reader on a journey filled with scams, family employment hell, and every conceivable depressing alternative to taking a job.
   The project began in 1994 as a novel, eventually progressing into an as yet unfinished short film. The story itself seems to carry on, and now I have brought about the final evolution coming back to where I started. Deadbeats is part of a grander scheme, a three part trilogy to be called Bachelors. Deadbeats as the first part of the the trilogy takes unemployment and lays it out before the reader in all it's senseless glory.
   My experiences, perched on the boundaries of society have been woven into this story. Ultimately though your friends more than anyone get you through the tough times. Freelance writing has netted some work, writing erotica, but Deadbeats and the novels that follow are where my heart is. Exposing forbidden dreams to the harsh reality of your pals, the only people who will tell you to get a job and get on with it.

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On deck: The Road to FFX or How Square took over the world.
Jack Cain
June 2, 2001

     The anticipation for the eventual arrival of Final Fantasy X has me looking for any signs as to how much innovation we can hope for. Screen shots and the videos of the week can only tell you so much. However they can also point you in the right direction. The movement of the characters in all the video's released thus far reveals a lush vibrant world that has so very much in common with another Square product, The Bouncer.
     One might not associate a fighting game with the mother of all R.P.G.'s. Now while The Bouncer has none of the infinite choice of how to develop your characters, it's sense of style and story structure seems torn from a small segment of the best moments of any great R.P.G.
     I'm sure a lot of people would write The Bouncer off, choosing instead to play D.O.A. 2 Hardcore or Tekken Tag Tournament, while both these games are superior fighters, The Bouncer and it's Square roots endeavours to be so much more than just another instalment in the fighting genre.
     The Bouncer is published by Square and produced by Dream Factory, the same team that brought us Ehrgiez, the similarities are obvious and yet while the game play hasn't changed that drastically from the Playstation one original (Ehrgiez) the addition of complete analog support opens up the possibilities. Ehrgiez was a fighting platformed game that was more than just a trip to the arcade. It gave the player the option of playing through randomly generated dungeons. The Bouncer picks up on this notion, instead however following on the tried and true format of the Final Fantasy series.
     The Bouncer's depth of story is conveyed through what seems to be a never ending stream of F.M.V.'s. Actual game play might at first seem disappointingly short, battles are limited to five minute increments. I've grown tired very quickly of games that throw the same actions at me time and again, or worse still the style of design that requires I have the repetitive attention of a sixteen year old jacked up on cola. The modern gamer, or better yet the new convert, is looking for a story. They may not be teaching media savvy 101 in grade school but on the education system of the console market kids are learning very quickly how to discern a quality game from one trying to make just another buck.
     The Bouncer isn't one of those games whose replayability is an after thought. This game keeps you moving through a familiar world, choosing between one of the three playable characters in story mode has far more consequence than just a greater variety of fighting moves. In Square tradition it is all about the story, the game development follows a pattern where by playing through the game once only reveals a full third of the layers to be found beneath. Sion Barzhad, Kou Leifoh, and Volt Krueger, our three main characters each have their own story lines that fit in with the overall adventure that we follow.
     The Bouncer is really more of a playable movie, fighting your way through the horde of enemies thrown your way. The special effects attributed to any of the possible combinations of moves and contacts with enemies are more a series of mini fire works.
     With "next generation" consoles game developers are finally breaching a wall. Now while The Bouncer, and Final Fantasy games operate in their environments on a rail the world that you are confined to is fully realised.
     If your going to rent a fighting game get The Bouncer. Once all your friends have gone home you can spend two hours going through the story mode and play the movie of the future. Stick with one character to follow their individual arc all the way through. After an hour and a half to two hours for each character you'll know the story back wards and forward. At first I thought I might grow tired of The Bouncer for the week that I had it out from the video store. Time and again I seem to underestimate just what philosophy Square is perpetrating upon us. The more I played the more I found I wanted to play around with switching the character choices around and see the subtle nuance allowed by following one story and then another in mid movie.
     I have heard the criticism and comparisons, I'm sure that from a certain perspective people are right, but then they wouldn't be considering the full scope and importance of what doors The Bouncer is opening. Square has vowed to make this the year of Final Fantasy. Whether it be Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (As break through C.G. film), Final Fantasy rereleases of earlier games, or what most hard core R.P.G. fans are awaiting, FFX-FFXI-FFXII, The bouncer has evolved from earlier endeavours and was in my opinion likely created to make the way and test the waters for future releases.
     Ten years from now people will look back and wonder why they ever just sat in front of their televisions as a mere passive observer. The Bouncer is the best example of the fully imersive interactive entertainment we have been promised for so long. It's at the very least, worth a look even if I am wrong.


Dot calm space:Disseminating the future...
Jack Cain
June 12th, 2001

    When I consider any kind of major purchase I always strive to get as much information as I can. In the case of a gaming system, the frantic pace of purchases having been accelerated in the last year, that search for information takes on a deeper meaning.
    The purchase of a new system, and the proliferation of information surrounding those new consoles, can be an introduction to an entire community. My long standing argument with my anthropology friends, that in fact a study of the video game community would yield a far more diverse population than anyone would imagine. No clearer is this concept than once even a momentary examination of Nintendo is undertaken.
    There is an overriding philosophy that is applied to virtually every Nintendo release I have ever picked up, the game play must be there. What's surprising is that Web sites devoted to Nintendo pick up on this theme and convey that same sense of fun and excitement. Nintendo has a 112 year history that dates back to when they began with playing cards, it is hard to ignore the fact that there must be an overriding philosophy that has become a corporate belief. I can't possibly hope to provide the kind of insight that my travels have revealed, and of course that is the point. Planet Game Cube, Tendo Box, gameboy advance development, and of course Nintendo itself provide information for any question that might arise.
    I have been racking my brain as to what is so appealing about the Gameboy Advance. It finally hit me that this is every hardcore old school video gamers dream come true. Looking down the list of games slated for release on the G.B.A. is a trip down memory lane. Sega, Nintendo, and a slew of developers are poised to bring back games from systems of yore. The G.B.A.'s 32 bits of power is more than adequate to run Sega Genesis re-releases, for that matter we will even see Sony Playstation games like the Broken Sword series finding new life on this little handheld.
    It's a strange bit of throw back, the G.B.A. is powerful enough to handle virtually any game that would have been developed pre 1995, or a select set of PS1 games that are ported with care.
    It's hard to put all the excitement and anticipation that I have, the sites with provided links at the bottom of this article will be an insight, however nothing can substitute taking the time to go and see the unit in action. While I thought the PS2 would be the innovative system of the future (and it still may be) Nintendo's devotion to games means that those in the community of fun are as dedicated. The gameboy advance developmnent site is a world unto it's own, demonstrating that the world of the "geek chic" is a growing community of power and importance. The amount of impute that those outside the development fields can provide, getting involved on the ground level, means that my dream of developing hidden treasures of great children stories into games will soon become a realisation. The PS2 should have been my development tool, instead I'll move over to the G.B.A., I'll deal with my displeasure in Fly Soup later in the month.

Planet Gamecube
gameboy advance development
Tendo Box


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