Naomi's Rough Draft Blog

Honestly, I don’t no too much about sidescrollers.  The only two I’ve played are the old Sonic games (Sonic 1 to 3, not 4) and a Mario or two.  But I play more as a hedgehog than a plummer.

So why talk about them at all, you might ask?

For a few reasons: to mull and rant about something I can’t change, to talk about how we’ve moved from a side view to a 360 camera angle over the years, and . . . to say that I’m not dead, I just haven’t updated in a while.

Well, *ahem*, on with the rant.

I find sidescrollers very interesting, and when I do play them I find myself in a complete virtual world at my full control, all within a single and unchanging camera angle.  Sidescrollers hold both limited and unlimited possibilities.  I say limited because you have a single camera angle and, in some cases, a single direction, because sometimes once you’ve crossed to a further point on the screen, there’s no turning back thanks to an invisible barrier.

And I say unlimited . . . because if the camera angle can’t change, that doesn’t mean your direction can’t.

In sidescrollers, entire worlds can be found, but not just on the main surface, because just because we can’t go left doesn’t mean we can’t go up.  Hidden passages and secret doors can be discovered underneath your feet, or high up into the stratosphere.  You can walk on clouds, or burrow to the earth’s core.  Just make sure you bring extra lives.

Video games have evolved enormously since the era of sidescrollers.  We’ve gone from a side view to a first person angle, and the camera can be rotated a full circle in most games, so you can see more to your character than just the side.  Some game developers, however, still try to revive the old sidescrolling classics, such as Sega’s Sonic 4, a 3D sidescroller which was a continuation to the sidescrollers of the 1990s.     Numerous flash games have taken the sidescroller to the next level, creating unique gameplay and story that fits snugly into the genre.  The sidescroller has attached on to many different types of games, such as point-and-click, shooting, adventure, and horror.

We’ve gone up and up with sidescrollers, creating games that are different but special, adding on to the age-old game play.  And yet, when you play a simple sidescroller, all you have to do is turn right.

And the adventure beings.

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A short story I wrote for English class back in January.  It’s also here.

Hope you like it.

______________
At the base of Mount Fuji, completely surrounded by forest and nature, is the Tempest Dojo, which can only be entered by select youth, distinguished by their great talent and ability.  About twenty are there at a time, and the aging Master Sai Satou teaches all the students.  One particular student there, Fuuki, was sent there for a reason unknown to her.  She knew close to nothing about fighting, but a lot about running, as she had lived on the streets since five years old.  Even though Fuuki had seen many fights, she had not fought much herself, and was ranked as the worst student in the dojo.
This is her story.
_________

“Oof!”  The blow knocked Fuuki to the mat.  The Master gave her a reassuring smile, but she stood up frustrated.  “Why am I in this dojo, Master?” she asked.  “I can’t defeat anyone!  And you were going easy on me, I’m sure.”
“Now Fuuki, don’t be put down so easily,” Master Sai said comfortingly.  He fought well for his age of seventy-six, and a trace of a beard was growing on his chin.  His gray hair was put in a topknot; he claimed that made him feel younger.
Putting a hand on Fuuki’s heart, he said, “Inside you, your true power is sleeping, but nothing has awakened it- yet.  Even I can’t arouse your true strength from its slumber.”  He laughed warmly and took his hand away.
“How can it be awakened, Master?” Fuuki asked eagerly.
He shook his head.  “No one and no-thing can force it out of you, Fuuki.  You must awaken it by yourself, and in your own time.”
“Very well, Master.”  She bowed and walked out of the room.  Hana was waiting for her in their bedroom.
“Did you win?”  Fuuki climbed to the top bunk and flopped down on her bed.  “I guess that’s a no, huh?”  Hana was her roommate and friend in the dojo.  Out of all the students, she was the top third.
“Why was I sent here?”  Fuuki thought aloud.  “You’re a very good fighter, Hana, but I knew next to nothing about fighting when I arrived, and I still don’t know much.  I mean, I was arrested for thievery, and they bailed me out of jail for me to come here.  But for what?”  She put her fist above her head.  “I still don’t understand this “Heisei Heika”, the “Calm Warfare”.”  She sighed and put her hands behind her head.
“I’m sure you’ll understand it eventually and find your Signature Move.”  During their training, every student, no matter how good or bad, would suddenly discover their Signature Move.  The Master said it would come from deep in your heart, and that everyone has one, but they have yet to discover it.  Hana’s Signature Move was the Rose Thorn Assault; the Master also told them the name of their Signature Move would come the moment they performed it.
“I’ll help you train if you want, Fuuki.” Hana offered.
“Thanks, Hana.  You’re a really good friend.”  At that moment, the gong for dinner rang, and both girls bolted out the door.
When they arrived, there were two plates left on the table.  Hana lunged through the door and snatched one, but when Fuuki reached for the other, someone took it.  She turned around to see Tenri standing behind her with a grin on his face, with one plate in each of his huge hands.
“That’s not fair, Tenri.  You can only take one.” she said angrily.  Tenri was the top student, and known as a bully.
“Yeah?  Better think twice ’bout that.”  In a few minutes, he cleared the plate that would have been Fuuki’s.  But he stopped when he reached the second one.  “Hey, I have an idea.  Fight me for this meal.”
“No way!” she said, even though her stomach was growling.  “I can’t win, and you know it.”
“Fine.”  He cleared her plate within minutes and walked away, smirking.
“Fuuki, why didn’t you accept his challenge?” Hana asked, starting to eat her meal and giving some to her friend.  “You could find your Signature Move, and-”
“No!”  Hana jumped at her friend’s voice.  “I’ll get defeated miserably, and be shamed.  The Master would probably kick me out of the school.  And if he does, it’s back on the streets for me.”  Fuuki turned away.  “You wouldn’t understand, Hana.  You’ve never lived like I have.”  She walked out of the dining hall and back to the bedroom.  Hana watched her go, sad for Fuuki.
_________

An hour later, Hana hadn’t returned.  Where is she? Fuuki thought as she walked to the bathroom.  When she returned, there was a note on the door.
Go to the Outer Gardens if you want to see Hana again.  She growled in her throat and charged out of the bedroom, and didn’t stop running until she reached the Outer Gardens.  The plants were truly beautiful in the moonlight, but Fuuki had no time to think about that.
She reached the courtyard and saw Hana tied to a statue of Buddha.  Hana started talking franticly, but there was a gag over her mouth, making the words muffled.  “I’ll untie you, Hana!”  But she soon found out the knots were too tight.  “I need a knife to cut the rope,” she muttered, reaching for the gag.
“I have one.”  She turned around to see Tenri; he was cracking his knuckles and walking towards them.  “But you’ll have to beat me to get it.  You can’t turn down this challenge, Fuuki, unless you want Hana to die in Buddha’s arms.”  He laughed and motioned to the knife on his belt, the blade glinting evilly in the moonlight.
“I accept your challenge, you sick and unfair bully.”  Fuuki clenched her fists in anger.
“Alright, pathetic street girl.  I’ll beat you in no time flat.”  Tenri charged at her and threw a punch.  She dodged, and ducked at the kick aimed at her head.  “On defense already, are you?  Well, you can’t block this.”  He put his hands together, as if he was praying, pointed his hands at her, and charged.  “Tiger Soul Fist!”
Fuuki had no time to dodge, but she had an idea.  It was the move the Master had used to defeat her earlier.  She flexed her palms, as if stretching, and the palms of her hands blocked Tenri’s Signature Move.  “If I can’t dodge, I’ll parry!” she yelled.  Then she thrust her hands outward, turning the Tiger Soul Fist away from her.
Something started rumbling inside her, and not really knowing what she was doing, she clenched her fists and put them at her sides.  “Lighting Strike!”  Then, like she was possessed, she punched both fists at once, and they headed towards Tenri’s face.
The force of the blow snapped his chin back, and Fuuki used that distraction to land a series of blows to his chest.  When he landed on the ground, both fists were at her side, right where they had been when she started.  “Did I do that?” she muttered, looking at her hands.  Then she got the knife from Tenri’s belt and cut Hana’s ropes.
“That was amazing, Fuuki!  You’re finally found your Signature Move!” Hana said excitedly.  “Now you have to fight the Master, so he can tell you how much power it has!”
“I guess.”  Unsure, relieved, and surprised, Fuuki threw the knife on the ground.  “Thanks, Tenri.  This fight really helped me.  And Hana did help me train, like she offered to, even though I doubt this was what she had in mind.”  Then they walked away.  Finally, Fuuki was triumphant.
_________

The Lighting Strike turned out to be on the highest level of power a Signature Move could be.  Fuuki realized that it was from all the nights she had spent sitting in the rain, trying to stay dry with a newspaper, while listening to the devastating thunder and seeing the lighting.
After that day, Fuuki fought better than ever before, completely dedicating herself to the Heisei Heika instead of feeling sorry for herself.  She quickly became the top student, defeating even Hana and the devastating Rose Thorn Assault.  But her friend was happy for her, happy that Fuuki had finally found a purpose in life.
How do I know this?  I, to, was a student of the Tempest Dojo, learning the Heisei Heika, the Calm Warfare.  I was defeated by Fuuki and learned that I was not “all that”, as Americans would say, and that there was more to life than demanding something of others.
You are correct.  I am Tenri Goro, the one who bullied everyone.  Now, Fuuki, Hana, and I are good friends, and Fuuki was been an inspiration to me.  She overcame her past, but I had not overcome mine.
You want to know more, do you?  Come closer, and I will tell you how the Heisei Heika changed everyone who practiced the ancient martial art.  Including Master Sai Satou.

Haven’t posted anything since . . . wow, since mid-May.  So here’s something:

Inspiration isn’t something that you can order around, but it will come to you.

 

Come to think of it, that may be why I haven’t been posting anything lately:  lack of inspiration.  Or it could be lazy summer days just getting to me. 😉

Hope to put up the next part of Ninja Bodyguard up soon (since I haven’t put up any parts since January).  If you have time, check out my Deviantart account while I wait for that inspiration (http://nvzgirl.deviantart.com/).

Homework piled up on Wednesday, May 11.  Social Studies, Math, English . . . you name it, it was there.  But there was a problem with doing it in my room, where I usually do it.

The birds were chirping like crazy.

My sister’s bird, Evelyn Gray, and my bird, Miss. Dexter, were craving attention- and possibly food- and were screaming so loud I could hear them from my room on the second floor (Miss. Dexter’s name actually has a story behind it, but that’s for a different time)

So I decided to put them both on my shoulders- a feat I had only done once before, for you see, both birds weren’t exactly comfortable together.  Miss. Dexter was a very calm bird, but she was scared of Evelyn, because Evelyn Gray would snap at everything and everyone- except my sister.  But with my grades at stake, I walked to the family room where both their cages were, put both birds on my shoulders, got some paper towel from the kitchen in case any of them wanted to do their business on me, and walked upstairs.

After a few minutes, I was surprised to see them both sitting very calmly, even preening themselves, and Evelyn Gray wasn’t snapping at me like usual.  I suppose she just wanted attention, and it didn’t matter who gave it to her.

Soon I was on to my Social Studies homework, the last assignment of the day, and I decided to take a break.  So I put Evelyn Gray on my Social Studies book, because her sharp cockatiel feet were digging into my shoulder.  So she waked off my book and climbed on the moderate-sized stack of other school books on my desk.

Now, we were reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom in our English class, and that was on top of the stack.  And the old, worn copies the school provided showed off a two-inch Corrie face on it, with some other things in the background behind her.  Evelyn Gray walked on the book, and I saw some of her tail feathers lower.  Don’t- I started to think.

But it was too late.  She proceeded to do her business- right smack in the middle of Corrie Ten Boom’s face!  And the little bird looked quite pleased about it.

I hope you got a laugh out of this, because I sure did when it occurred.

Compare these sentence, each the same in words:

I have a question.

And:

I

have 

a question.

The second example?  That’s a little thing called poetry.

Poetry is a interesting way of expressing what you want to say, and there’s many ways to go about doing so.  One way is the one above, “splitting” a sentences into pieces.  So, while the exact same words are said, they are expressed in a different way, and we can “hear” how the speaker is saying his or her words.

All poetry writers (who can be just about anyone, if you have something to write it with) have something called their “poetic license”, which allows them to break the rules of grammar and split sentences, capitalize words wherever they see as necessary, etc.  (Warning- it is not a physical object, so don’t try getting one on E-bay.  I will not be responsible for any wasted cash)

When you’re writing an essay, you generally have to stick to the rules (MLA format, double spacing, things like that) but poetry is over-all a “free” way of writing.  You can split sentences or you can split words; you can indent and you can put punctuation on the next line.  Here’s an example:

No matter

where I turn,

I’m

                falling

                                into

                                                your      

                                                                arms

                                                                                .

I try run

ing, but you’re

everywhere I

go.

Neat, huh?

As a coincidence, we just started the poetry unit in my English class, and our first notes were given today.  Our English teacher, Mrs.  Chen gave this as a definition of poetry: the art and craft of putting feelings into special combinations of words.

That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?  Poetry isn’t just writing some words on a paper, it’s an art.  Poetry isn’t just looking up some words in the dictionary, it’s a craft.  Poetry’s not just plopping down what we think on paper, it’s feelings put into special words.

You probably encounter poetry every day.  Listen to some songs on your I-Pod?  Hear those lyrics?  That’s poetry, put to music.  Sometimes that type or poetry (which we call songs) makes a stronger impression that it could than by just being read aloud.  For an example, Google Letters From War by Mark Schultz.  I’m sure you’ll agree that listening to that makes a much better impression that printing the lyrics and reading them.

As you probably know, poems don’t have a rhyme.  Sure, most of them do, but it’s not a set rule that all poems have to rhyme.  Some of the best poets (Emily Dickinson, for one) had poems that did not rhyme, but still left impact on the reader.

Poetry is a good way to express yourself, or to put an experience into a more interesting perspective.  So, if you want to write poetry, grab your poetic license, get a paper and pen, and start doing the art and craft of putting feelings into special combinations of words.

Summer is coming to a close- that’s some words that we don’t want to hear, especially for school kids; it means that homework is on the way (groan).

For Scout, it means that Dill is going back home (sniff) and that today’s the last day to spend time with him.  So of course, Atticus agrees that she and Jem can sit by Miss. Rachel’s (Dill’s aunt, the person he says with over summer) fish pool during that last day.  And, while talking, Dill asks to go for a walk.

Hmm . . . something’s suspitious here.  As Scout says, “Nobody in Maycomb just went for a walk.”  After probing, she finds out Jem’s into this too, and they’re going to peek into the window of the Radley house to try and see Boo.  So Scout comes along.

They crawl under the high wire fence surrounding the Radley place, and they’re in; so far so good.  But when Jem tries to open the gate to the house, it squeaks.

After much spitting (and dry mouths) he tries again, and the door opens silently.  They’re in the backyard!  Soon they reach the window, and Dill and Scout boost Jem up to it.

He sees . . . curtains.  So, despite Scout’s protests, Jem tries the window on the porch.  His steps don’t creak, thankfully, and he looks in quietly.

Scout sees a shadow that looks like a man with a hat on.  At first she thinks it’s a tree, but then it.  Starts.  Walking.  Towards.  Jem!

Dill sees it next, and when it’s standing right over Jem he finally spots it.

They run from the Radley place, out the gate, to the fence, running from the sound of a shotgun behind them!  When Jem crawls through the fence, his pants gets stuck, so he kicks them off and they all run to the schoolyard!

After catching their breath, they see people gathering outside the Radley place and decide to join them.  “They’ll think it’s funny if we don’t show up,” Jem says.  So they go, and hear that Mr. Radley (Nathan Radley) apparently shot at . . . a Negro.  Phew; they’re safe for now.

But then they notice Jem’s in his boxers “before God and everybody,” as Scout says.  Atticus asks where his pants are, but Jem can’t think of a good lie fast enough.  So Dill comes up with a good one: he won Jem’s pants in a game of strip poker.

Now, you have to remember that Scout and Dill were six and seven, and Jem was ten.  Good ages to be playing strip poker?  I think not.  Not to mention the townspeople don’t know what strip poker is.

But Miss. Rachel seems to know, and she marches Dill away, talking about how bad she’s going to punish him for playing strip poker.  Luckily they were playing with matches (well, in their lie, anyway) or they really would have had it.  Nevertheless, Atticus orders them not to play poker in any form again.

Later that night, Jem decides to go and get his pants, and to Scout’s relief he comes back alive, but he is very quiet for a week.  Scout reasons that if she had gone to the Radley place at 2AM, she would have been dead that afternoon.  So she leaves him alone.

Second grade starts, and reading is still forbidden in the classroom (as Scout says, “The second grade was as bad as the first, only worse- they still flashed cards at you and wouldn’t let you read or write.”)  One day, when Jem and Scout are walking home from school, he admits there’s something he didn’t tell her about the night he retrieved his pants.

When he went to get them, they were folded on the fence, not tangled in the wire.  And someone had sewed them, but the sewing was crooked, not like a woman’s sewing.

Hmm . . . could it have been Boo?

Later, when they’re walking home from school again, there’s something in the knot-hole again.  Scout pulls it out, and they’re . . . carved figures of themselves (yikes!  I don’t blame Scout for freaking out when she sees them).  They decide to write a letter to the person who’s leaving them the knot-hole gifts.

But the next day, the knot-hole’s filled with cement.  Nooo!

Upon asking Nathan Radley why, he tells them the tree’s dying and you plug them with cement when that happens.  When Jem asks Atticus, he says the tree doesn’t look dead, but Nathan Radley might know it better than he.

Will we get anymore “Boo Clues” or is this it?  If I didn’t know better I’d say Nathan’s trying to . . . hide Boo.  Hmm . . .

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