Thursday, December 22, 2011

Skyrim's Kind of Big, Y'all

Leave it to Bethesda Softworks to derail a cartoon studio's work schedule. Yes, we totally blame them for everything, them AND their awesome game, "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim," which is hands-down our pick for Game of the Year 2011 and completely and utterly the best value for your gaming dollar that the past year has had to offer... with the understanding that you may need to adjust your economic status in regards to the working hours you will inevitably lose to this beast of a fantasy-world simulator.

But we here at Spookingtons have already been playing Skyrim for better than a month, and while the game itself still has plenty left to offer us, we have at least been able to wear the patina of novelty off enough that we no longer have to come up with imaginary grandmothers to attend the funerals of. And this means good news for you, dear audience!

As evidence of our commitment to actually doing things, enjoy the penciled panel above from Spookingtons' forthcoming comic, "Dim, Dim Knights," starring the Otters! It has dragons in it, ironically! You can take a man outta Skyrim...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Here's a relic -- a half-finished painting that at one time was going to be the cover of "Hsu and Chan #8". Ultimately, I ended up going with a more-reserved  piece, which was about 85% black, thus eliminating the large areas of fur and hair you see in this -- each strand of which I was painting individually. Accomplished artists have a name for this technique -- "the wrong technique," is what they call it.

More interesting to my eyes, now, is how freakishly weird Chan looks painted -- all plasticky and blocky, as if he were a sculpture at the county fair, carved out of soap by unsteady hands. High cheekbones, too! Chan's part native-American.

And before anybody asks, yes, there will be a "Hsu and Chan #9." 


Friday, November 4, 2011

Inspirational Talk, part one

Pencils from the recent "Oblivion" game. Elder Scrolls 5 is seven days away! So, basically, I have to get all the work I'm planning on doing for the next four months outta the way before the week ends.

Game development! If you're a gamer, then the chances are very good that at one time or another, or quite possibly several times, you've thought to yourself, "Hey, why don't I make my own video games?"

Answer: Because they're a crapload of work, that's why.

You remember those documentaries you saw when you were a kid about filmmaking, where they'd tell you how, after three days of grueling labor and the creation of a full-scale giant alien prop and hot lights and temperamental actors and shooting permits and such, they'd end up with about two minutes of usable footage? Well, game development's like that, except for having anything usable at the end of three days. 

Usually, at the end of three days, what you have -- if you're lucky -- are a set of problems that are at least moderately different from the problems you had three days before. If you're not lucky, you're still working on the first problems, and can only hope to see the day when you get to work on new, exciting issues. And where do these problems all come from? Generally, they're the result of poor or incomplete planning. Is there a way to avoid poor or incomplete planning in game development? Of course!

It's just that nobody's discovered it, yet.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Killer Bees

More pencils from the forthcoming game! Who is this mysterious insectoid man? Does he get improved cell reception? 

Since the new Grand Theft Auto V trailer went live, yesterday, speculation has been rampant as to who the unnamed, and quite possibly unseen, narrator was. The prevailing rumor -- which I will go out on a limb and declare patently false  -- is that the narrator is none other than "Vice City's" Tommy Vercetti, owing to the narrator sounding very vaguely, and very temporarily, like Vercetti's voice, Ray Liotta.  I've heard it, and the resemblance is there, but only momentarily. Mike Myers has been able to sustain an uninterrupted Scottish accent for longer than the narrator sounded like Ray Liotta.

And, of course, Liotta's management has already responded to the rumors, stating definitively that he had nothing whatsoever to do with the creation of the trailer, which would seem to lay the matter to rest, but hope springs eternal. Me, as much as I'd like to see the characters of earlier GTAs again -- alive if not completely well -- I think it's best to look to the future, since there's so much more real estate there. Besides, low-polygon characters don't always benefit from a transition to more-realistic styling. I'm thinking here specifically of Cloud Strife, who went from a spunky rakehell in "Final Fantasy VII" to, well, a woman in the CG feature "Advent Children."

Besides, at last count, my version of "San Andreas'" C.J. had 100 percent muscle AND 100 percent fat. "San Andreas" took place in the mid-nineties, so there's a very, very good chance Carl Johnson has already been laid to rest by a massive coronary. That's the life he chose to lead, dog.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And a little color...

And here's the game background, with color more-or-less in place! If I know one thing about the future, it's that it glows like Christmas!

And in other game-related news, today saw the release of the first trailer -- I'll call it a teaser, though it was really more substantial than that -- for the long-rumored "Grand Theft Auto V." It's viewable now, of course, and required viewing for basically every member of the gaming populace old enough to watch it without upsetting their mothers.

What do we know? We know it takes place in San Andreas, Rockstar's fictional version of California (which, compared to its real-life counterpart, features way more carjacking and mayhem, and way less heroin use). We know it will feature a male character in the lead. We speculate that it will feature theft, and autos.

What don't we know? Everything else. Is it just going to be the city of Los Santos, or do we get San Fierro and Las Venturas as well? Is the dog at the beginning of the trailer indicative of dogs in the actual game? Will this be a return to the substantially wackier GTAs of old? Will we get to play as the dog?

So far as gut reaction to the trailer, I like it. It's not as mind-blowing as the trailer for GTA IV, mostly because it's clearly still using a souped-up version of GTA IV's graphics engine -- which is no foul, really, it's a great engine, and GTA IV's visuals are STILL really impressive, but it no longer qualifies as a revolutionary leap in graphics technology.

What little story that comes through the narrative speaks of a former criminal being drawn back into a life of crime -- which, honestly, sounds terribly cliche coming from one of the few game developers who have actually had some success in crafting a mature narrative. No doubt there are numerous twists and turns to come, however, so I should probably just sit back and wait for more details before I pass judgement.

Fortunately, Skyrim releases in less than two weeks, making it much easier to do so.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Background pencils!

Today, I invite you to enjoy a look at the pencils for my upcoming game-webcomic. Your individual level of enjoyment may vary, depending on how you respond to landscape pencils. Ten points for anyone who can correctly guess the game being parodied! Eternal shame on whoever guesses wrong, 'cause there's clues all over the page.

I forgot to mention it since I was on vacation at the time, and thus very busy forgetting a lot of things, but while I was out, a new videogame-webcomic debuted on, based on the "Elder Scrolls: Oblivion!" Yes, Oblivion, not Skyrim. If you've played Oblivion, you'll enjoy the heck out of this one -- check it out at:

Alternatively, if you haven't played Oblivion, you'll probably still enjoy it on some level, but if your only exposure to the Elder Scrolls series has been the stunningly gorgeous footage leading up to the release of Skyrim (soon!), you may be a little puzzled about what's going in. Specifically, you may wonder why there's so much fuss over a game series if one of its main, identifying features is that it has a ridiculously high number of bugs.

Technical glitches, that is. Not insects. It has those, but they're pretty lukewarm so far as game insects go. Two out of five stars, that's what I rate their insects.

No, the glitches of the Elder Scrolls series are the stuff of legends, and so varied! Many were terrible, game-killing bugs; quest-enders, instant death, falling through scenery, getting stuck in the landscape! Some were wonderful: item duplication! Gravity-defying paintbrushes! Some were just weird, and youtube can help you fill in the blanks there. The point is, if you played Oblivion on the first day, chances are good you had to reset at some point. Even now, five years and heaven only knows how many patches later, you can still find the errant bug cavorting through the game world.

Which I realize doesn't exactly explain why people -- myself included -- think these are some of the best games ever, regardless, but I was getting to that. The truth is, the game has so many bugs because there's so much GAME in there to start with. Elder Scrolls games aren't short experiences; they're as close as you can get to having an alternate life in a fantasy world that doesn't require a subscription fee, psychedelic drugs or circumvention of federal law.

In fact, for my money, they're WAY more immersive than an MMO, not just because of the beautiful landscapes and deep fantasy lore, but because you don't have to

1: hear other players, fully dressed in fantasy garb and suited up to battle the hordes of the underworld, talking about 'Family Guy' episodes, or

2: Feel like a complete wiener because you're the only one playing the game in-character. I'm not saying this because I've played "The Lord of the Rings Online" as a hobbit, spending several minutes alone on a hillside, strumming an in-game lute; I'm saying this because as far as I know, nobody else ever has.

At any rate, Skyrim's out on the 11th of November! Very exciting! Now go guess the game in the pencils.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Announcing: Dim, Dim Knights!

Hi, everybody! Norm here, and I'm pleased to announce that we have a new comic which will be coming out in a couple weeks, called... "Dim, Dim Knights!"  Which you'd already know if you read the title! Wake up, valued customers!

Stepping into the starring roles, this time, are our very own animal-centric comedy troupe, "The Otters!" Scamp, Chip, Max, Sid T. Sock and Andy are medieval knights, and a wizard or something, called into the service of the kingdom to exterminate a troublesome dragon! We are presuming, here, that most of the kingdom's other dragon-exterminating services had already been consulted.

Anyway, that's coming up! Keep watching this space for more details!

I mean, you can get up and make a sandwich or go to the bathroom or something. It'll still be a couple weeks.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Next Game-Comic is Up at 1up!

Spookingtons is proud to announce that Norman Von Scott's Videogame Webcomic, episode 4, is now available totally free on!

In our pulse-pounding parody adventure, Rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy needs to get into the Raccoon City police department, but a horde of flesh-craving zombies stand in his way! Also, he's not the brightest bulb in the bunch, which doesn't help, either.

Guide Leon through his various obstacles, both environmental and merely mental, and survive in a world undergoing a severe zombie fad! Features easier controls than the ACTUAL "Resident Evil 2!"

Check it out here, and be sure to click the orange 'thumbs up' link under the game to let everybody know you liked it!*

*presuming you did!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

E3 2011

If you're associated in any capacity with the gaming industry, the E3 expo and its associated press conferences comprise the single most significant week out of the entire year, easily edging out minor calendar blips like weddings, funerals and childbirth. The E3 expo is one of the most popular trade shows of any global business, attracting far greater crowds than even such powerhouses as the tractor manufacturing and pest control industries.

Given that the show turns out to be a minor disappointment nine times out of ten, all of this is a testament to the sheer power the gaming industry has attained in this modern age.

Before the show began, the one, big game on my radar was "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim." Now that the show's wrapping up, that really hasn't changed. There's neat stuff coming, but nothing I saw really rocked me out of my seat. With that said, I'm keeping an eye out for several 3DS titles, particularly "Luigi's Mansion 2," which, with its natural boxy look, is about the best 3D I've seen on the system.

Console-side, of course, the big news is the Wii U, not to be confused with the U Wii. Nintendo has once again risen to the challenge of providing another odd, odd gaming interface to delight and mildly confuse us with. I'm intrigued, although with the actual release so far away, I'm content to stand a few feet away, "ook" softly, and poke it with a stick until somebody else bravely tries it first.

And... that's kind of it. It's not that I didn't see good games, I just haven't been struck by the thunderbolt that stuns me long enough for a developer to make off with my wallet, unchallenged. But, maybe that's a good thing, as perhaps I'll be able to put my savings towards a 3D set with which to more bravely enter the fray when the bigger guns are paraded.

Your turn -- what's worth seein' at this year's E3?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Be it known that our second totally-free adventure-game/webcomic for, "Awkward Silence," is up and running! It's based on "Silent Hill," and features a romance that transcends the bonds of horrific, rusty, blood-covered terror! Play it now right here!

Also, remember to hit the 'like' button under the feature -- it'll let 1up know you appreciate the games, and, more importantly, the cash they pay me to make 'em. Just sayin'.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Big Ol' Announcement!

I told you it was comin'! Now you see that I am a man of my word, provided it doesn't require too darned much effort on my part.

 WELL -- here's the announcement. Uncle Norm's back at, doing something AMAZING! There's not a permanent page for it yet, but as of this writing, simply head over to and, on their main page, turn your attention to the right-hand column, right under the "happening now on 1up" panel, and you should see a little item labeled "1up's First Videogame Webcomic," featuring a tiny bit of artwork from a gentleman you may recognize.

"Wait," you may be saying, "Hasn't already hosted several videogame webcomics? Including your own, you stupid, stupid man?"

Allow me to explain. For you see, what we are offering to you now is the world's first TRUE videogame webcomic -- a webcomic that is, itself, a video game! Made by yours truly, this first installment is based on the very-good "Bioshock" franchise, and you, in true Lucasartsy Adventure Game style, have to assist a Big Daddy in coaxing a Little Sister out of her in-wall hideout.

It's a short experience, five-to-ten minutes, so you can take that much out of your busy schedules and give it a shot. And be sure to shoot off an email to your favorite editor telling 'em how much you liked it!

UPDATE: Bioshock's ACTUAL developers, Irrational Games, mentioned the game in a very positive manner on their blog! I'm kinda stoked about that. Game developers are awesome.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Waiting for updates? More like GREAT-ing for up-GREATS!

For anyone who was afraid that my new comics could never be as densely wordy as my old ones, I submit part four of Epicdemic -- I think there's, maybe, one square inch of actual illustration in this one.

And why, you may ask, did this update take so long? Oh, you didn't ask? You just went and found another comic that updates more frequently? Well, heck with you, 'cause I have a GREAT reason for taking so long, and I cannot WAIT to share it with you all!

...although I'm going to. Sorry. But stay tuned!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Epicdemic Part 3

The third exciting installment of "Epicdemic" has landed! Is it suitably epic? It i-- well, sort of, yes!

And, yes, okay, it's worth noting that despite Arnie's insistence otherwise, there's dozens and dozens of suitably epic MMORPGs that are, for all intents and purposes, being given away -- Lord of the Rings Online amongst them, which is notable because that's actually the first MMO I ever subscribed to. I played as a hobbit, and did peaceful hobbit things, and finally quit when I realized that virtual me was even duller than real-life me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Progress, the Report

As I write this, it is January the 5th, which as it turns out is the birthday of both renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki and my very own father. I am fonder of the latter, of course, although in fairness it should be noted that despite my father's good points, he has not, as yet, produced an animated version of "Nausicaa." Happy birthday, Dad!

So, this post is the first in what should be a regular series of progress reports on everything currently in-progress here at Spookingtons. Take everything that follows with a grain of salt and considerable patience for the numerous quantum fluctuations that plague all creative projects-in-progress. Features may change, release dates may extend, projects may be cancelled, natural disasters may occur and creative individuals may completely snap. In other words, nothing here is etched in stone.

Except for our ultra-secret tombstone-engraving project. Let's get started:

On the Web:

"Hsu and Chan's Epicdemic" -- H&C's newest full-color adventure is on-track for a strip update early next week. We've pretty much just started, and I confess there's not much along the lines of a script on this one, but expect this to provide some of the more-fantastic imagery yet seen in H&C's universe. There may be dragons!

"The Mummy's Tooth," -- totally complete, and already available for instant download in the store, but next free update will be sometime Friday. 

TOP SECRET WEB PROJECT: codename "Floppy Dawg." In pre-production, this project will represent something fairly new and different in a genre that's otherwise been as beaten as a dead horse can possibly get. You'll know it when it gets here -- but it's gonna take a while.

In the Store:

"The Keepers" -- Spookingtons' next downloadable comic release will be this classic Otters' strip, in which our little, furry heroes go to the zoo. The comic's receiving a splash of graytones in order to give a little visual boost to my circa-1999 cartoon art.

Spookingtons Gaming:

TOP SECRET GAME PROJECT: codename "Bacchus." In early production, and easily the largest project Spookingtons has yet undertaken. Keep your eyes open, because you'll be seeing a lot more of this one fairly soon.

And those are the projects that have seen significant work in the previous week. Note that there are other projects in progress that HAVEN'T been updated recently, but you'll hear about those as they become relevant. Got questions? Anything you want to see? Drop us a line in the comments!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New For 2011

The odometer just rolled, people, and Spookingtons is there! Well, here, anyway.

I've always found it somewhat ironic that the new year always begins in what is, for our hemisphere, the deadest season of them all. By rights, the changeover should happen in March, when there's some visible indication of the cycle renewing itself. That wouldn't screw anything up, right? I just don't see why we should connect cyclic rebirth with gray, frozen skylines and colorless landscapes.

Maybe ancient peoples chose to observe the new year in January as a passive-aggressive response to overly-optimistic New Year's Resolutions. Kind of telling the citizenry: whoa, there, Icarus, don't get your expectations too high. Start small. Survive through February with your fingers and toes intact, THEN conquer the world.