Although The Wind


In August we left Japan.


While we were studying in Osaka, we were alarmed by low offers on our house in the US. We discovered that this was due to damage from an aggressive termite season caused by an extra rainy Louisiana summer. It didn’t help that we were already beat down from culture shock, the demands of student life, and the price of living in the comfortable city center of Osaka. We stopped studying and went home to assess the damage and were shocked by how much fell apart while the home was left five months unoccupied. When we arrived, we couldn’t open the front door due to a damaged floor in our entry way, and the bathroom, laundry room and dining room floors were visibly crumbling in segmented rows. Spiders had made homes in the ceiling corners, along with an old stuffed bat (a Halloween decoration hanging in a dark corner that we thought we had lost), and a few large roaches iconic to Louisiana had found a final resting place in a few spots of the once beautiful, now spongy original hardwood floors.  We purchased cleaning supplies and got to work the day we moved back in, as well as spending our first week without hot water, as we were greeted by two major hurricanes that hit SW Louisiana/SE Texas. (and ruined my birthday, too.)

The reality of leaving our dream of living in Japan prematurely to protect our property in America was a tough pill to swallow, although I recently had the pleasure of stumbling upon a Tweet from Alysia Judge  of an ancient translated Japanese poem, Although the Wind, by Izumi Shikibu (translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani), from 10th Century Japan:

I felt a particular connection with it, particularly with this love/hate relationship with our home in Louisiana. Visually, I love it. It is filled with unique textures and architectural touches, was Colton’s childhood home, and was restored and designed entirely by his father in the 1970’s. The home is old and substandard but near the garden district in downtown Lake Charles, which the charm, location and history almost makes up for the lack of central heat and the fact that it leaks air like an old kitchen colander.


This year, my trusty old Magnolia tree saved our yard from the snow. I live an hour from the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve only seen snow here twice in the 10 years I’ve lived here.

This year has been a strange winter, and due to the severity of the cold it was the first year we experienced the Christmas of dragging the bed into the warmest rooms while I battled off the flu, and hoping my foot won’t go through a new part of the floor in the midst of the shuffling. It’s also been a costly project to restore, and it doesn’t come without it’s controversies, as most things left over after a family tragedy. It’s been a heavy physical and emotional load on Colton and I, and the decision on what to do with it leaves a knot in my throat. We’ve known that we went to Japan prematurely before fixing some damage, and now we are paying for it double. As of now, we’ve successfully repaired most of the damage, given ugly rooms new coats of paint and are feeling hopeful again about the future.

So, we decided that we’re going back to Osaka, although just for the short span of a tourist visa. We figured that our passion for Japanese art, lifestyle and culture wasn’t worth sacrificing due to coveting an old house on a piece of land in the shadow of bad memories.

77 days in Osaka, starting January 15th.
We will be budget traveling, with an average of 4000 yen (~35 USD) a day for a couple. I’m going to challenge myself to record everyday. No matter how mundane, I want to show you how we do it.
My primary goal is to focus on my art and writing while being somewhere I love, and just letting fate lead us into the right direction.

We’re going to do our best.

Thanks for reading


Cherry

A 5th of BitSummit: An International View of Indie Games from Japan

We went to BitSummit in Kyoto, Japan!

(disclaimer: this is our first video! If you like it, please subscribe!  Once we have a certain amount of subscribers, we are allowed to have a custom URL and a bunch of other useful stuff we can’t do without your help, and of course it’s completely free to do with a google account. The more people we know care about our work, the more motivation we have to keep making new content. Thanks in advance!)

BitSummit was awesome! Seeing this convention was a big event for me, personally. I had always wanted to go ever since I heard of its existence, and when I found out it was happening soon, I made sure that I made some time in my schedule to make it out to Kyoto from Osaka. I even filmed as much of it as I could, and we made our first video for our new YouTube channel, as seen above.


We were greeted at the entrance by this wonderful banner!

The event cost 2000 yen for a weekend pass, but since we were students we received a 50% discount (scoreee!) and this gave us access to a massive room filled with flashing lights and colorful booths. It reminded me of going to the school science fair as a kid, except more techy and way cooler.


Of course I saved the best for first, which is this giant PS4 controller you could actually use to play Parappa the Rapper, which was the first PlayStation game I ever played as a child.
VA-11 Hall-A, a game about a Dystopian future where you are the bartender listening into the lives of the remarkable people who visit. I picked this one up because I absolutely love the detailed pixel art characters, and it’s also quite engaging.
Indie Mega Booth

I. F. O., a very nostalgic, entertaining jet fighter game.  


Zombie Tokyo, an easy to play and enjoyable mobile game where you dodge zombies and collect coins, with multiple playable characters.

Iconoclasts. We didn’t get to play it, but it looks like a great game with some pixel art I can admire.

I also managed to see some great gameplay of CrossCode.
Brave Earth: Prologue reminds me of old Castlevania titles, which I am a fan of. It took me a minute to realize this was essentially Suda51.

Riverbond looked great as well!


Earth Atlantis was one of Colton’s favorite, as mentioned in our video above.


As a pixel artist, Owlboy was a game I had to see. Looks great!

I had a chance to play Save Me, Mr. Taco! and it was quite a fun platforming romp done in the style of the original Game Boy.  I had my eye on this one sine I saw it on BitSummit’s Website due to the cute promo art! Very clever execution and cute, nostalgic graphics.

One Shot, a very cute puzzle game

Playism booth showing a few games including Read Only Memories
Might Gun Volt Burst

 

We had a great time sampling the games at BitSummit this year. Unfortunately, there were still many games we wanted to play but always were occupied, and we couldn’t sit still to wait while there were other games to explore.  We even saw some friends exhibiting that we had met from some game developer meetups in Kyoto, so it was quite fun to see the games they had been working so hard on in action with plenty of new eyes getting to try them.  At the end of the day I snagged a T-shirt (they glow in the dark!) and a wooden button pin. We definitely plan on going again if we can manage it, but for now we have our eyes set on Tokyo Game Show in September…

See you guys there!

Cherry

Necroball Launch!

So for the bulk of last year I had the awesome opportunity to test my skills as an artist, as Colton and I worked on two games with King Crow Studios, one for game called Necroball, connected to another named Quest of Souls. Today I am excited to announce that as recently as of today, 1/10/2017, @ 12am Central Time (US), Necroball is now available on Steam!

It’s like graveyard Foosball with a dash of tower defense, with 4 playable characters.  It’s meant to be played cooperatively and can get hella competitive (from what I witnessed watching playtesters at PAXSouth 2016).  We demoed Necroball originally as a mini-game to Quest of Souls, which is still in development.  We beefed it up a bit by adding some new minions, play mechanics, achievements and playable characters, with more content as it phases out of Early Access.

Here’s a gif I cobbled together of Brunhilde from Quest of Souls.
She also makes an appearance in Necroball!

You can play the demo for Quest of Souls (as well as a primitive version of Necroball) for free on Steam

Check out Necroball Here!

Thanks to all that supported us during the dev cycle!

Cherry
P.S.- Today is also my little sis’s 14th Birthday! Happy Birthday Sam!! ^0^

 

Ludum Dare 37

Last month I participated in my second Ludum Dare, a weekend game creation challenge based off of a loose theme.

This run’s theme is One Room, so I worked with another small indie team in Louisiana, Raconteur Games (creators of games such as Close Order and Evangeline) on our one room game and we had a real blast creating it.

It’s a short story featuring a shop keep named Sam who lives in a town obsessed with death, building their own tombs throughout their lives.


A mock-up favorite I created. Unfortunately, it’s not real dialogue.

We had a lot of fun creating this one. It’s more of a graphic novel, but we did win some points for coolness! Check out our entry here:
The Tomb

I love participating in Ludum Dare.  If you are looking for an artist for an upcoming Ludum Dare, feel free to contact me on Twitter. I’m usually happy to join if I am free.

Thanks for reading,

Cherry