Archive for June, 2006


Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

One trip across country and then back is now in the history books.

I don’t like planes so much.


Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

Note: this was taken from a Wikipedia article that was nominated for deletion on the basis of non-importance. I am mirroring it here because I respectfully disagree and don’t wish for the contents of this article to vanish into the ether. –basscomm

LoadingReadyRun is a comedy website created by Graham Stark and Paul Saunders that serves an original short video each week and acts as a host for eight active webcomics. Its primary draw is an archive of original comedic videos. A new video has been added every Friday since the site’s inception in August of 2003 1. Nearly 150 videos have been aired, both on the website and as two DVD box-sets.

LoadingReadyRun videos have appeared and won awards at Film Festivals in the Vancouver Island area, and the site has an active relationship with the Texas comedy troupe Random Acts. LoadingReadyRun has also worked with other comedic acts such as the Arrogant Worms.

The Crew
Some of the Crew members of LoadingReadyRun. Back row: Left to right Bill Watt, Morgan vanHumbeck. Middle row: Matt Wiggins, James Turner, Andy Cownden. Front row: Graham Stark,and Paul Saunders.

Paul Saunders and Graham Stark created the site and are the primary driving force behind it. Paul designs and maintains the website, while Graham edits the videos. Both write and direct the shorts while they and many others serve as actors. The LoadingReadyRun crewmembers most actively involved in the site are Jeremy Petter, James Turner, Bill Watt, Matt Wiggins, Morgan vanHumbeck, Kathleen De Vere, Lissette Arevalo, Kate Stark, Ashley Vickers, Andrew Cownden and Adam Savidan.


LoadingReadyRun videos represent a variety of styles, and are organized by category. Some of the most common categories include:

Shorts: Scripted shorts in the classic style of sketch comedy. Shorts are generally approximately 5 minutes long.

Machinima: Re-dubbed and extensively re-edited footage from video games. “Celestial Sea” is a series of machinima videos created from the game Star Ocean: Till the End of Time.

Music: Music videos in various genres such as rap and showtunes appear on the site. The rap videos feature the faux-rap crew “64K,” comprised of G Star (Graham), Ice tray (Morgan) and JP (Jeremy). All music featured in LoadingReadyRun’s music category is originally composed, written and performed.

Sheer Stupidity: Sheer Stupidity videos are unscripted and feature the cast in a variety of situations that don’t fit neatly into one of the other categories. A more sophmoric style of humor, the Sheer Stupidity videos have featured the eating of gross foods to the crew Christmas carolling on Halloween.

X ways to Y: Quasi-instructional videos set to music designed to illustrate “X” number of methods to perform activity “Y”, such as: ways to get rid of a hangover, ways to get rid of your Christmas tree and ways to get killed in a horror movie.

Comics: Several webcomics have run during LoadingReadyRun’s existance. Some have also been printed in The Martlet, the University of Victoria’s student newspaper, such as Roomies by Graham Stark, Korea by Kathleen De Vere, Small Boy and Monkey by Anthony Fratarolli and Disce Pati. Other LoadingReadyRun comics are Canadian Waste by Ash Vickers, Cacti by Alex Steacy and Gumbubble by Mik Holmes.


Their most popular video is “1337”, a rap music video about the history of video games. It is hosted on AtomFilms and XFire and has gotten increased exposure from mentions on several high-traffic sites 2 3

LoadingReadyRun’s resident fake rap group, “64K” were interviewed and featured in German video game magazine, GEE Magazine (Jan, 2006) and the “1337” music video was also featured on the magazine’s DVD.

Other videos that received internet notoriety include “Uwe Boll PSA” 4, a rant against video game movie director Uwe Boll, and “Who Watches Movies” 5, a video parodying the MPAA’s “Who Makes Movies” anti-piracy ads.


Several LoadingReadyRun videos have appeared at British Columbia film festivals.
Some of their selections and awards are as follows:

Suspend Your Disbelief

Audience Choice – Vancouver Island Short Film Festival

Audience Choice – University of Victoria Student Film Festival

Best Male Performance – Andrew Cownden – Vancouver Island Short Film Festival

The Professor’s Funhouse

Best Writing – Edges Film Festival

Official Selection – Vancouver Island Short Film Festival


Winner of $2000 – BC Rock the Vote video contest

After Hours

Audience Choice – Vancouver Island Film, Video & New Media Festival

External links
* 1337 on AtomFilms
* Random Acts Productions
* Discussion of 1337 in the GEE Mag forums (German)


Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

I’m going to be away from the site from tonight until Monday morning.

Please try to not break anything.

Missing articles

Monday, June 19th, 2006

Since I changed over the guts of this site, I’ve noticed that there are lots of you coming in from old links or cached search engine links and finding that the pages have disappeared. You might want to try and going back to the home page or doing a search for the article you were looking for. Failing that, feel free to use the contact form and ask that I fix it. It should all still be here, I just had to move it around a little.

What I’m playing now

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

On the odd hour or two a week I’m not eating, sleeping, or working, I still like to play the odd game or two. Here are the games that are taking up my time these days.

New Super Mario Bros.

It took me a while to get warmed up to New Super Mario Bros. I kept comparing it to other games in the series, and was constantly trying to point out things that it didn’t do as well as the other games. Once I got over that and actually started to look at the game on its own, I realized that it was actually pretty good. I welcome the return of the Fire Flower, and the Blue Koopa Shell is pretty nice, but the mushroom that makes you really big and the mushroom that make you really small are just kind of… meh. The game also seemed to be extremely generous with the 1ups. About 3/4 of the way through I had the maximum amount of lives, and have since not dropped below 95. Maybe I’ve just developed an aptitude for the 2D Mario games.

Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

Four Swords Adventures is the expanded version of the multiplayer game included with the GBA version of A Link to the Past. As a single player game, it’s decent enough, but it’s really made for more than one person (ideally four people). I just finished it up this evening and only had a couple of minor issues with it. Each ‘stage’ is completely independant of each other. This lets you pick up and play at any time and each time you do, you start out fresh. Anything you collected in the last segment of your game is gone and you start out anew with no equipment. But really, that’s a minor quibble. There’s lots of color-related puzzles and a huge emphasis on teamwork that makes it an excellent party type game.

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance

I like strategy games, even though I’m not particularly great at them. This is the first Breath of Fire game that I’ve played, and so far I’m liking it. I haven’t gotten too far into the story, but I can already tell that there’s going to be a lot of dialogue. It’s not the kind of dialogue that’s spoken, either, it’s all text. That doesn’t bother me so much, but I can see where that could be a turn off for some people. For micro-management junkies, there’s quite a bit to do between missions like equipping your people, doling out bonus XP, listening to conversations between your troops, and so on. One of the things about the Breath of Fire series that is a bit different from some of the other strategy games that I’ve played is that once weapons break, they’re gone for good. Also, and this is the big one, if someone falls in battle, they too are gone for good. Important characters (i.e. they still have some part to play in the story line) will still show up in cutscenes, but they will no longer be available to battle. Kind of lame, but that requires you to either: plan your battles better, or reset your game when you lose one of your units.


Monday, June 5th, 2006

Almost forgot, I have a movie up on the front page of MachinimaHQ. Here’s a direct link

Game Tapped

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Ever since I heard the first rumblings of GameTap I was intrigued. They were offering me the opportunity to play lots of old classic games on demand for a monthly fee. I actually was able to get my hands on a demo of the service that they had set up at E3 and decided to give the two week trial a try.

Getting started with GameTap was relatively painless. After coughing up my billing information, I was able to register for an account and start downloading the launcher.

Once I finally logged in to the service I was able to see what (at least part of) the fuss was all about.

GameTap is divided into three areas: My GameTap, GameTap TV, and the Game Vault. The Game Vault is (obviously) where you’ll be playing your games, My GameTap allows you to change your account settings, and GameTap TV is where you can watch on demand programming, some original and some not.

Odds are that the Games section is where you’re going to be spending the majority of your time. There are currently upwards of 500 games to choose from with the promise of new games to be added regularly. In the couple of weeks that I’ve had the service new games have been added at least two times. The breadth of the games that are available on the service is impressive. There are of course games from the Genesis and the arcade, but there are also representatives from the Commodore 64, Atari 2600, DOS, Game Gear, Intellivision, Neo-Geo, 32x, Master System, Windows, and even Dreamcast games. There don’t seem to be any games for Nintendo’s systems available on the service, but I would venture a guess that’s because those games may be featured on their own Virtual Console service that’s touted to be a part of the Wii experience. So no Super Mario Bros., or the like, unfortunately.

Once you choose the game you wish to play, you are then taken to a screen explaining what the game’s all about, and should you still want to play, it begins downloading the game while showing you the controls and showing you commercials of other ‘stuff’ that you can check out on the network, like a new game or show or whatever.

If you’re thinking about trying out the service, I can not emphasize enough that you will want to get a controller to play these games. For some of the simpler games you could probably get away with using your computer keyboard as a controller, but to me it just ‘feels’ wrong. Of course, playing the arcade version of Street Fighter II with a game pad doesn’t feel quite right either, it’s a whole lot easier than trying to pull off a Shoryuken with the keyboard arrows.

Of all the games I played, they were all emulated pretty well. On some of the larger arcade games that I played the sound seemed to stutter a bit, but I’m going to attribute that to the game loading in the background as I was playing it, as the stuttering lessened significantly after I had played around with the game for a while.

Load times for most of the games on GameTap are pretty low. Understandably, loading the Dreamcast or Windows games is going to take a lot of time, but you have the ability to put the games in a download queue in the background so that they’ll still download while you pick some other games to play. You can have up to three games in your queue at a time, and most of the game’s assets (data required for the game to run) will be saved locally on your computer to lessen the time you have to wait to play the games again in the future should you want to do so.

GameTap TV is the part of the service where you can watch shows about video games or Space Ghost Coast to Coast. They seem to put up new content on there every so often, but honestly I didn’t watch a whole lot of it.

My GameTap lets you look at and change your account settings as well as creating Sub Accounts for restricted access (like if you have kids and want them to have restricted access to the games, for example). I have little no use for most of these features, so I didn’t spend much time goofing around this menu.

The main complaint I have with the service is that should you decide you want to cancel your account for some reason, you are required to call the company to do so. You are able to sign up and do other account management on their site, but just not cancel. I’m lazy enough that I didn’t bother to cancel my account in the trial period, and had to pay for another month. I suspect that I’m not alone. It seems a bit underhanded to me for them to have an easy way to sign up and make you jump through hoops should you decide you are through using their service.

If you’re into the classic games, you might want to give it a shot. The current monthly fee is pretty reasonable for what you get. Most of the games on the service will run just fine on just about any computer, you should be aware that if you want to run some of the Windows or Dreamcast games, you’ll want to have a pretty beefy PC for a decent experience. Oh, and the broadband. You’ll need the broadband. I wouldn’t want to try and download Beyond Good and Evil over a dialup connection.