Saturday, July 18, 2015

Arcade Field Trip Photos- Pinball, Strange and Nifty Games, and Neo Geo Rubbish!

Hello! Today's post has nothing to do with cross stitching, but a lot to do with "dork," so it seems kind of appropriate! Today, a couple of friends and I drove for about an hour to visit a couple of arcade museums- the Route 66 Arcade Museum in Atlanta, Illinois, which has arcade games from 1935 until the early 1980s, and Arcadia: America's Playable Arcade Museum in McLean, IL, which has games from the 1980s until the early 2000s. The museums are both free to get into, but on their website (, it says that it's helpful to post about trips to them on blogs. I am good at chattering and passable at taking photos, so I shall be using today's post to document the trip!

Disappointingly, the Route 66 Arcade Museum was closed today, despite the fact that we went during its open hours. It was a tiny town, so I asked about it in the library, where they told me to ask about it in the artisan's shop, where the woman behind the counter told me pretty bluntly to get lost. I want to go back when it actually is open, and then post more rubbish about it then, but that could be a while. Later in the day, another group of nerd tourists said they'd heard at a local restaurant that the museum was repainting, which is more information than we got.

Even though the first museum was closed, Arcadia, which was ten minutes away, was open and very spiffy. We spent about an hour and a half there, and, thanks to my low to moderate skills at DDR, pinball, and Neo Geo games, I did not use up all of my quarters. I also got a bunch of pictures, with a handful of them actually being usable!

Setting the tone for this set of photos is my selfie by the miniature Neo Geo MVS cabinet. There were only two SNK machines in the whole place, but I spent several quarters on them to justify my horrible cell phone photography. This machine played Metal Slug and Blazing Star, and if you look behind me, you can see the title screen for Metal Slug.

I'm also in front of Pocket Racer, but since I don't have any misguided love for that game, I don't have much to say about that.

I couldn't get too good of a photo of this machine, since the lights on the display make it look even more out of focus than it would be otherwise, but this is the Doctor Who pinball machine that I spent a lot of time playing. It was really cool because when you do certain things, the Dalek on top starts screaming at you. I like it when pinball machines threaten to exterminate me, so this was essentially my dream game. Aside from the nifty nerd aspect of this machine, though, it was actually really fun.
This is about half of the pinball machines that they had. The Back to the Future one ate two of my quarters, but someone shut it off before we'd left, so the people working there at least seem careful about that sort of stuff. There was a really cute Super Mario World era Mario Bros pinball, too, but it wasn't on at all, so my picture of it looked dingy and bad.
This pinball, Space Mission, wasn't with the rest of the machines, I think because it was a little older (1975) and less flashy. It was so fun, though! It made dinging noises like pinball machines do in cartoons, and every time I did something, the score would click up on the number flaps at top, so even though it had less lights and stuff, it still felt like I was doing something impressive if I'd hit a target. It was a little slower paced, too, so one quarter lasted quite a while on it.
This is a tiny portion of the main room, across from the pinball row. The SNK machine from my first photo is over at the right, though I can't really make out the screen on it. The games in back are Burger Time, Pac-Man, Galaga, and Ms. Pac-Man, with Pocket Racer right in the center, taking up the best spot in the shot.
Here is the Tron machine, which was very cool looking, but also served as a confusing murder simulator. According to this, if I were in The Games, I would have run straight into my enemy and exploded many times while trying to spin a dial that served no purpose. If they had given me a tank, I also would have run straight into my enemy and exploded many times. Today, I felt very lucky that Tron is not a true story.

These two pictures are of Time Traveler, a super-fancy, but still kind of dumb FMV game that we kept playing. In the first photo, the close-up, you can kind of see the display. Instead of having a normal screen, it shows a 3D video of cheaply costumed actors on a small display inside of the black dome, with no backgrounds. It's really cool looking! 

The game itself is kind of like a more playable version of Dragon's Lair or Space Ace. Here, instead of trying to figure out some mysterious command, you turn left or right and hit the shoot button really fast. If you fail, a bad sitcom version of a wizard yells at you. It's not awful, but it wasn't great, either. Also, I died in the tutorial level and then cleared three levels, so I'm not sure what's going on there. 

My cowboy got stabbed in the guts by 80s punks for my game over, and since that was kind of awesome, I did not continue.
My last photo for today is of the other really strange machine I played, SNK's The Irritating Maze. The game itself was not too weird- you guide a circle through mazes with a trackball and try not to touch the edges of the maze. If you do hit the edge, though, the two yellow and silver bars on the side of the screen shoot a pop of freezing cold air in your face.

I can see where this play mechanic could be considered bad, or even horrible, but today, it was over 90 degrees, so The Irritating Maze became one of the finest games in the arcade. I didn't lose on purpose, but I wasn't good at it, either, especially once I hit the expert maze. Design-wise, I'm not sure why you would make losing turn an arcade cabinet into a personal air conditioning unit, but today, I appreciated it.

Those are the best photos I have from today, so I am done for now! I'll be back again soon with some actual craft-related stuff, though. Until then, have a good weekend!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Jumping on Tama's Bandwagon and Learning Chromebook Image Editing

Hello! Over at Stitching Daze, Tama has been posting a lot of cool stuff about a giant stack of pre-printed Chinese cross stitch kits that she bought. I was really excited to see them, as I have a couple of them, too. Mine are smaller than hers, and are of generic anime girls rather than pretty, classy stuff, but since that seems to be the cold, hard truth of most of what either of us stitch, it seems fair. After seeing her posts, though, I got all excited about my own pre-printed kits and made a renewed effort to actually finish them.

Tonight's post is dedicated to me showing these kits and my progress on them off while still learning to use my Chromebook for image editing. I did all of today's stuff without switching to Linux and am kind of proud of that.

First up is Kimono Girl, who I've shown WIP pics of here before. In this collage, every frame is a different color that I finished on her, with the big picture being how she looks as of right now. I think I'm about a third of the way done with the normal stitching on her, so finishing this kit feels like an attainable goal! A lot of the weird pre-printed colors are covered up now, and the real image is starting to show.

Since starting Kimono Girl, I've gotten a second one of these, which I call Moon Princess, because I'm very creative. (The kit calls her Moon Girl, but she's very fancy, so I'm upping her title.) This kit actually seems a lot simpler, but since the pre-printed squares are a tiny bit off, I get slightly annoyed working on her. Still, I love the image, so she's still fun to work on. I only have two floss colors done on this one so far, so the collage is the un-started canvas in the first frame (upper left corner) and then the first two colors of floss.

Now that I have these posted, I'm done for today, but I will be back and posting again soon! I want to get better at constructing printouts for my patterns on here, so I'll probably continue the Game of Thrones sprite pattern set. If anyone has any character requests, let me know, because without guidance, I'm just going to make the characters with the most elaborate clothes, because that is the kind of rubbish that I like to stitch. However that goes, though, I hope that all of you are doing well with your respective craft projects!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Testing Linux's Cross Stitch Pattern Making Abilities with a New Sprite Pattern

Hello! My Windows 8 machine met an untimely, sad demise that involves slowness, funny car type noises, randomly inserting capital letters into anything that I typed, and occasionally getting really hot and smelling weird, so I got a Chromebook. It is a cute computer that runs super-fast and does a lot of cool things, so I'm really happy with it. However, I was worried about making new patterns for this blog on it. It was taking me 6 or 7 minutes to open each image file on the last computer, so it's not like I was doing a fantastic job on that, but at least the programs were available.

Luckily, my sister showed me how I could download Linux distros onto a Chromebook, meaning that I could use a lot more offline programs on it! I was kind of slow with it, and spent a good week convinced that I was far too dumb to make Linux work, but today, I sat down for a few hours and decided it was time to figure it out. It took a while, but I got it.

After getting KXStitch, a nifty Linux exclusive cross stitch pattern maker, and GIMP, a stupid and bad image editor that I am going to continue hating for a very long time, I drew in my base sprite patterns and then set about making a trial chart. As I mentioned before, I have to buzz through way too much Game of Thrones this summer, so I ended up making a sprite pattern of Arya Stark. I think the pattern itself came out really well! Her outfit uses a lot of browns, so I got to play with the pallette editor on KX Stitch, and because she's shorter than standard height, I learned some of the editing tools, too. The layout is a mess, though. I ended up with a rubbish word processor that doesn't even have Arial, and am having trouble sizing my charts and preview images right now. Still, though, I think it's readable, if not weird looking.

Anyway, here is today's sprite pattern of Arya Stark! Would you guys like more Game of Thrones sprite patterns? I can pass it off as studying until late December, and the outfits are really detailed, too.

This is all I have for today, but I've been working on a lot of stitching of my own and have been considering posting some photos. I need to get better at using this computer to make cross patterns, too, so I will keep working on that. It's just going to be sprite patterns for a while, but I will work my way up to fancier charts as I get better at it!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Dork Stitch's Seventh Annual Heal Slime Day, With My Blog's House Banner

Hello! I have had this blog for over six years, which is cool, even though I am not doing well at keeping up with it this year. I've still been making patterns, but just haven't posted them, which somehow seems worse than not doing anything at all. I've been pretty excited for today's post, though, because it's always fun to try to make a new pattern for Heal Slime day!

In the fall, I'm going to be taking a graduate level history class on Game of Thrones, so I've been trying to read and watch the entire series over the summer. Because of that, this year, it made sense to take out a pencil and graph paper and try to draw Dork Stitch's house banner- a Heal Slime floating against a field of lilac. It may not be practical in battle, but it is cute and cheerful, which is what actually matters.

I've been stitching this on plastic canvas, and so far it's going pretty well, so I can say with certainty that it's quick and easy to stitch. I'm considering somehow putting it on a bunch of my school supplies for next year and being like, "It's my house banner, of course it's on all of my notebooks," so I may even be able to fairly judge what it is like to stitch this multiple times. It's simple, with no half stitches and only a few colors, and it's not very big, either, so if any of you have even the remotest interest in stitching it, I hope you enjoy it!

For today, this is it, but I hope to do better with actually posting here in the near future! Like I said, I have a lot of stuff to post, particularly where brightly colored anime characters are concerned, and I have some projects of my own to show off, too, including a charming Walking Dead sampler that I designed, one that would look right at home in any kitchen. Until my next post, good luck with all of your craft projects and all of your other stuff, too!