Radio Isopod

I have a friend with a webcomic! I mentioned her in this post when I talked about webcomics. But I am mentioning her again! Her webcomic is called Radio Isopod and it has submarines, sea creatures, radioactivity, steampunk, and mad science. What more could you possibly ask for? Oh maybe a podcast! Well she has that too. She also has a webcomic for The Secret Lair, which also contains a lot of mad science and supervillainy and a podcast, yet is connected to a group of local friends I get to hang out with and play games. See a theme? Hmm.

And I am going to do a guest bit on the Radio Isopod podcast – I’ll toss you a link when I get one. But I didn’t even get that far yet. Because I wanted to draw a little bit of art for Natalie, who even sent me an awesome Steampunk Christmas card (procrastiate much, Rach?) so I am posting it here.

Also I went over all of my original pencil work using my graphics tablet, and this is about the first time I have ever not despised doing it. This is a step forward!

Casually Speaking

I like me a big old-school, gigantic, level-grinding, random-monster-encounter-every-three-steps dungeon crawler of a computer game (Final Fantasy #, Morrowind, Sacred, WoW…).

But sometimes I don’t have time for that.  (Actually WoW is another story – too cheap to play it, and also it’s one of those games that will eat your entire brain if you let it, and lead to addiction, for some.)

So here are a few of my favorite casual games, for PC.
Note, most of these are on Steam, but some are also available in other venues too (notably PuzzleQuest & Peggle are also on Nintendo DS, which is the only other platform I currently own).

1 ) PuzzleQuest – it’s Bejeweled, but every time you make a match, you get mana of that color, to use for spells! It even has a (standard, adventure) plot. This has a Space spin-off game, too. There were allegations of the computer being a cheater in this game, but the game designers said they didn’t have spare resources to program the computer to cheat!

2 ) Peggle – Cross pinball with pachinko, and add special powers. Insane fun, and lots of replay value! There is a sequel called Peggle Nights, but I haven’t tried it.

3 ) Plants vs. Zombies – Super cute Tower Defense without towers. Add in sunflowers, zombies, and catchy music. I cannot explain how fun this is. Go at least try the demo.

4 ) Spectromancer – Card-based mage vs. mage battle in tiny bite-sized chunks, with typos. Has online play too!  This game makes me trash-talk the computer due to the high random factor in your card deck. The computer HAS to be cheating. Grr…!

5 ) Wonderful End of the World – Strange Katamari Damacy clone with catchy music.

6 ) Osmos – Eat everything. Grow. Simple. Beautiful. Relaxing.

7 ) Cogs – Actually I find this insanely frustrating, but it’s so gorgeous! 3D tile-sliding puzzler with a strongly Steampunk theme. Shiny shiny brass.

8 ) AudioSurf – Automatically generates a race track based on the music you decide to play. Fun because you can see how well other people have done when playing the game using the same song you did. You can use ANY song – or even a podcast, but I’m not sure how that would work. This Week in Audiosurf would be a long game!

9 ) GemCraft – I LOVE this game, and it’s a free browser-based game. Tower Defense, there are at least 3 versions/expansions of this online (GemCraft, GemCraft 0, GemCraft 2) and they are all great, though I noticed some caused lag when I tried to play using wifi.

10 ) Scribblenauts! – This is the only non-PC game, but I just HAD to include it. This Nintendo DS game is mind-blowing. Solve the puzzles with ANY method you can imagine. Just type in the object you want to create! I solved one by gluing a rope to the back of a pterodactyl. Over 220 levels. Controls are clunky, but there are no other games where you can summon Cthulhu and have it battle a Kraken. Or a kitten.

11 ) What’s your favorite casual game? Let me know!

Now if you say “I don’t want to spend $10 on a game I don’t need.” I understand that too. So check out http://www.oldschoolapps.com – home for nifty, nifty old abandonware that has no license.

Ok one more free game link: Pixelships !

Webcomics

I have a poor track record with actually keeping up with reading Webcomics, notwithstanding the fact that I keep considering making one. But these webcomics are ones written by people I actually know (or at least, have chatted with). So, for your consideration, I present an incredibly biased list:
My long-time great friend JB has TWO comics – not regularly updating, but fun to read the archives. And any day she plans to start them up again, really. Follow Gwen, Rremly the dragon, and friends with: http://www.catharsiscomic.com
Further, JB breeds and sells Crested Geckos! You can follow their fictional antics here: http://www.jbscresties.com/comic (And if you are in her area you could buy one!)

DJ Trousdale is a fellow Christian I met on deviantART. Check out his comic here: http://djtrousdale.com/hexfactorial

Sticky (or at least that’s the nickname I know him by) has a Morrowind-based comic here: http://www.skaarj.com/comic/ That was a fun game. I didn’t finish the expansions – I keep meaning to.

I just met Samantha on Ustream last week, as she worked her way through the “24 Hour Comics Day” Challenge.  I have a big soft spot in my heart for overweight red-haired magic users (you in the peanut-gallery, shush) so I fell in love with her comic: http://www.witchytech.com/lifesawitch

Urban Fey is written by a mother-daughter team! I know Windy (aka. Kim) from JB’s comic’s forum, and also deviantART – what a tangled web 2.0 we weave. I was also in their Guild Wars guild. Go Team Mystic Sheep! Anyway they have a novel take on the court of the Fey: http://www.urbanfey.net/ AND are in the process of working on some more comics too! See what’s coming: http://www.mysticsheepstudios.com/pages/comics.html

I know Natalie from watching her illustrate other podcasts, and from deviantART. She has a webcomic of mad science and underwater adventures: http://radioisopod.com She also has a podcast! I did a guest mad science bit on it, once. Natalie has webcomics over here too: http://thesecretlair.com but if I told you about The Secret Lair, well, they wouldn’t invite me back. (I have an honorary title and that’s all I can say.)

Got a comic yourself?
Tell me about it!