Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pigeon's Eye in the Sky: NEPA BlogCon

Look at that squirrel, man. Such a proud, majestic creature. We of the avian community have always held our Sciuridaen brothers and sisters in high regard. As such, we can understand why the folks behind the inaugural North Eastern Pennsylvania Blogger's Convention would want them to act as the official mascot. Much like the squirrel, the organizers and presenters that were present for the big day were gifted with an excellent sense of vision. And today, I'd like to share a tiny bit of that vision with all of you.

The NEPA Blogcon was the brain child of these lovely ladies right here. Leslie Stewart, Karla Porter, Mandy Boyle, and Michelle Davies are talented, successful women in their own right. But one day, the four of them decided to form like Voltron and create an event that would serve to educate, celebrate, and inspire all of us little creatures that make up the local blogosphere. Oh, and what an event it was, birds. Glorious, like the rays of the sun that glisten off the dew covered fields outside the Coop. How I basked in it's warmth....

<clears throat> Uh...excuse me. Had a bit of a moment there.

 Anyway, BlogCon. It was a real good time, guys. Very entertaining and informative. Internet sensation Gala Darling kicked things off with a motivating keynote that encouraged us to 'be ourselves' when we're out there blogging our little hearts out. After that, it was one knockout panel after another, with prominent speakers both local and national offering up sage wisdom for all of us to partake. From Kris Jones' inspiring tips on how to squeeze big bucks out of your blog, to Lauren O'Nizzle's entertaining look into building a better blog community, to Kuhcoon's insight in to making social media work for your business...the list goes on. Blogcon offered something for everyone, regardless of skill or tenure. And they also offered up tasty viddles throughout the day! Mmm-MMM! Those turkey sammiches and delicious desserts from Whiskey Bacon really did BP's tummy good. And speaking of tummies, we were also treated to some fabulously geeky belly dancing, courtesy of the gals from Antipode. And to top it all off, an after party with lots of free pizza and socializing. That's a day well spent in my books, birds!

 I'd like to extend a warm Pigeon Coop thanks to all the folks that made BlogCon the experience it was. As for the rest o' ya's, I humbly suggest that you search out similar events in your neck of the woods if you have even a passing interest in creating an Internet presence for yourself. Or, perhaps you can take inspiration from the Fearsome Foursome and create your own blogging event! And for all you critters in these neck of the woods, please make an effort to come out to the next NEPA BlogCon. I promise you won't regret it!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ric Flair Fridays: A Feud in the Making

Whether you like it, or you don't, learn to love it! Because it's the best thing going every Friday at the Coop. All the ability! All the looks! Sixteen times the World Champion! It's Ric Flair Fridays! WOOOOOOO!

Allright, birds! I've got a nice treat for all you Flair fans today. Courtesy of Popculturestu at Youtube, here's a match from 1977 that pits the Nature Boy against a fresh faced rookie by the name of Ricky Steamboat for the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV Title. Anyone who loves wrasslin' knows that these two have had some of the greatest matches in the history of the sport. So it's pretty cool to be able to witness the brawl that started it all!

Enjoy, my feathered friends. WOOOOOOOOOOO!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A WARPed Retrospective: D

Welcome back, birds! It's been quite a while since we checked in with Eno-san and the WARP collective, what with all the hub and/or bub that's been surrounding the Coop as of late. But, the time has come to stop with the procrastinating. Grab on to my feathers, and let's soar into the wild blue yonder once more, as we continue on our WARPed adventure!

 So we've already discussed the birth of WARP, and I've showcased some of it's lesser known works. Now, it's time to take a gander at the heavy hitters in the lineup. If you talk to anyone who has any fond rememberance of Kenji Eno, these games are the ones that will most likely come to mind. Their the ones that helped Kenji find international acclaim, and are still considered cult classics today. While not the official title, I personally tend to refer to them as the Laura Trilogy.

 In the early 90's, the era of the Full Motion Video game was in full swing. Eno saw the potential the genre had, and sought to make his mark amongst the Night Traps and Sewer Sharks. However, instead of putting out a casting call for B-grade thespians and Hollywood has-been's, Eno tossed around the idea of using a 'virtual actress'. One you wouldn't have to feed and pay SAG royalties to, basically. So, in 1994, the crew at WARP grabbed a couple two tree Amiga computers and got to work on what would be the first game to feature their silicon leading lady, Laura.

D aka D no Shokutaku (D's Dinner Table)
Released: 1995, 96, 98
Publishers: Panasonic, Acclaim
Platforms: 3DO, Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, Ms-DOS, Windows

3DO cover art (US)
3DO cover art (JP)
Acclaim Cover Art (US/EU)

Laura's first starring role would be in the 1995 production of D as Laura Harris, a mild mannered college student from San Francisco. Late one evening, Laura is shocked to learn that her father, the esteemed Dr. Richter Harris, has decided to go batshit insane and shoot up just about everyone present at the prominent Los Angeles hospital he works at. Wasting no time, she hops into her sports car and rockets towards L.A. in the hopes that she can try to talk some sense into dear old Dad. After what I'm sure was an amazing bout of negotiation with the L.A.P.D, Laura crawls underneath the yellow tape and enters the hospital. Without warning, Laura is suddenly whisked away to what appears to be a medieval era castle. With nothing but her wits and a magical compact to aid her, Laura must unravel the mysteries of this foreboding estate and get to the bottom of her father's madness before it's too late!

D's premise is very simple. The player is given two hours real time to navigate the castle, solve puzzles, and locate Richter. Much like the classic Dragon's Lair, you're simply pressing directional buttons to move Laura around, and hitting a button to make her interact with the environment or examine her inventory. If you get to a puzzle that has you stumped, Laura can consult her mystical compact for clues. However, you can only do this three times before the compact mirror shatters and becomes useless for the rest of the game.

 While dated by today's standards, D earned a great deal of attention back in the 90's for it's slick pre-rendered presentation, moody and omniprescent atmosphere, and it's somewhat gory subject matter for the time. Indeed, Kenji was concerned that the game wouldn't be published in the US as a result, and came up with a rather devious scheme to ensure it would see the light of day Stateside. During it's initial development, there was no narrative attached to the project. The story was created in secret, and most of the WARP staff wasn't even aware it existed. When everything was finished, Eno submitted this 'clean' version of the game for approval. Since he had submitted the master discs late, he would have to hand deliver the final product to the US manufacturers if he wanted it published. This was all part of Kenji's plan. While on the plane bound for America, Kenji channeled the spirit of Folger's coffee commercials, and switched out the 'clean' version with the complete copy. As a result, Kenji was able to completely bypass the censors. Clever girl.

 While D made little impact in the States (much in part to the 3DO's low user base at the time,) it was well received in Japan. So much that WARP would produce a "Director's Cut" of the game in 1998, featuring new footage, interviews, and all kinds of neat goodies. However, Acclaim took a liking to WARP's little creation, and offered to publish the game for Sony and Sega's 32-bit systems, as well as PC's running Microsoft Windows and DOS. This helped D gain more exposure in the US and Europe, and led to even more sales for Eno and his crew. However, this move would result in Eno having a huge fallout with Sony and it's Playstation brand.

 You see, while retailers were able to secure over 100,000 preorders for the Playstation port, Sony decided to give it's in-house products publishing priority. As a result, only 28,000 copies of the game actually made it into customer's hands. Eno was understantably upset at this move. That's a lot of money that was left on the table. And when you're a small company like WARP, that can really hurt you. Eno wasn't about to take that sitting down. He would have his revenge.

 What nefarious plot did Eno have in mind for the villains at SCE? And what of Laura? What new adventures would she undertake? All this will be answered next time, as the Coop grabs a gander at the second installment in the Laura Trilogy. In the meantime, here's the first part of Supergreatfriend's comprehensive D walkthrough, for those of you who want to experience the game, but don't want to deal with emulators or old, scratched discs. Until next time!

 (SPOILER ALERT: Yeah, D got a sequel. However, that's a tale for another time...)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ric Flair Fridays: Flippin' Out!

Whether you like it, or you don't, learn to love it! Because it's the best thing going every Friday at the Coop. All the ability! All the looks! Sixteen times the World Champion! It's Ric Flair Fridays! WOOOOOOO!

Hey, Birds! Long time no see! Now that ol' Pigeon has got the lion's share of his workload out of the way, he can get back to Coop business. And what better way to get the ball rolling again than with another heaping helping of the Nature Boy!

Today, we're going to showcase another of TJWFilmProductions Flair tributes. Anyone who has ever watched Naitch on television is well aware of his tendency to go flying over the turnbuckle whenever he's thrown towards it. And this infamous stunt is exactly what we're going to be paying tribute to this week. So, without further ado, I present to you TJW's tribute to the "Flair Flip".

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blogging to Resume Next Week.

Yo, birds! No, I haven't forgotten about the Coop, nor have I abandoned it. I've just been really swamped with work the last couple of weeks, and it's left me little time for blogging. However, the storm is pretty much over, and I'm ready to get back to work. You'll be getting your Pigeon fix soon enough!

Also, if the fates allow it, I'll be attending the inaugural NEPA BlogCon convention on September 29th. So if you're really curious about blogging, social media, and fat, 33 year old nerds who pretend to be pigeons, then by all means come hang out with us! You can get more information at !