GIFs from Akira, the 1988 video game for Nintendo’s Famicom system

Last night I booted up Akira on an NES emulator and did my best to live-GIF the experience. Akira is one of my all-time favorite films and I remember hearing rumors of a 8-bit videogame version released in 1988, but it was only released in Japan for the Famicom. 25 years later, some volunteers worked their asses off to create an updated NES version of the ROM with english translations.

The game sucks. It’s filled with amazing pixel art and a really interesting (and at times experimental) chiptune soundtrack, but it’s downright painful to play without step by step instructions. It often requires clicking on an option that is hard to find (or off screen), or some convoluted sequence of clicks that require clicking on the same option a number of times even though the answers don’t change. At some point it briefly turns into a 1st person shooter, as you dodge bullets in the sewer, that’s super twitchy and kills you instantly, requiring a long slog through various dialogue options just to instantly die again. I hate this game so much.

But the graphics are incredible, so I captured a bunch of GIFs of the game’s best moments. You can download the ROM here and follow this guide for the best experience. FYI, I made it all the way to the final “boss fight” with Tetsuo and Kaneda before the game just glitched out. I’ll have to try another play through to get the ending animations, which I assume are beautiful.


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WesBurger activity sheets designed by Jeremy Fish

Update: I just found out that I won the placemat coloring contest. I didn’t even know it was a contest 🙂 So I guess my placemat (and others?) will be hanging on display at WesBurger for a bit.

I’m a big fan of WesBurger N’ More, the fantastic burger shop near Mission and 19th st in San Francisco. The place has a great look to it and the burgers are terrific. On our last visit, I was stoked discover a stack of activity sheets that were custom designed by Jeremy Fish, one of my favorite local artists.

I grabbed a sheet and some crayons and did some coloring before our burgers arrived. I had so much fun that I took the sheet home and added some cheap watercolors to it. These are the results:

WesBurger activity sheet by Jeremy Fish

Wes Burger's activity page

 

Yo-yoers react to the fidget spinners fad

I got into yo-yoing in early 1998, just before a massive yo-yo craze swept the world. For the next two years, there were contests in every major city, yo-yos in every corner store, and most schools had some sort of temporary ban on the toy. Since then I’ve seen several different toy fads come and go, including kendamas, hoverboards, tech decks, and razer scooters.

If it wasn’t for that first yo-yo fad, it’s hard to imagine how different my life would be today. I received a couple cool trophies (3rd place World Champ & National Trick Innovator being my two faves), became a regional manager of several yo-yo kiosks, and travelled around the country doing shows (eventually landing in San Francisco). Thanks to those opportunities, I’ve never liked to complaining about any of the other fads as they come and go. When you’ve had a career as a “professional yo-yoer”, it’s hard to imagine calling someone out on whatever weird hobby they happen to have. Fad or not.

It has, however, been interesting to see the yo-yo community react to the recent fidget spinner boom. I tend to think that the younger players, who weren’t around for the yo-yo fad and it’s eventual backlash, are quick to jump on the fidget spinner hate-train, while the older players are trying to figure out how to encourage fidgeters to cross over into other skill toys.

As an example, here’s a recent rant by Brandon Vu, who has a stellar series of yo-yo related videos:

Here’s a group of yo-yo and kendama players trying to seamlessly tie in a bunch of fidget spinner tricks into one of their videos:

And here’s Dylan Kowolski showing how to make the World’s Smallest Fidget Spinner using old yo-yo bearings:

And here’s me playing with some magnets… just for shiggles: