The Most Wonderful (Waifu) Time of the Year!

It’s May! Spring is (mostly) here, nature is blooming, birds are singing…and it’s the perfect time to pit the lovely ladies of HC is a no-holds barred tournament to the (sticky?) finish. That’s right, it’s Iron Waifu!

I, Nekochan, shall be your ever so humble guide to this year’s edition of Iron Waifu!

For those who are new or those just would like a refresher, during the month of May, everyday there will be a poll on the forum, featuring two of the ladies in HC. Anyone registered for said forum may vote once each day. The girl who gets the most votes moves on while the girl who loses is likely tortured in some sexy fashion by Hero for her failure. (Personal headcanon, may not actually happen)

If any ties occur, I get the the completely impartial and in no way biased tiebreaker vote. Does a match-up look like it’s going to the wire? May be time to sell me on the virtues of the fair maiden you want to see win!

Today’s (almost over match-up) is Brigadine vs Evanie. If you haven’t already please take the time to vote! Tomorrow`s will be a battle of the newbies Miri and Pandora! Who shall win? Nap-time waifu or the waifu who may be literally made of iron? (I dunno, NoMoshing won’t commit to what Pandora is made of)

The remaining match-ups for the preliminary rounds can also be found on the forum. They were selected at random via a RPG maker script that was viewed live at the last backer stream! (Plug plug)

Speaking of backer streams, the dates for the next ones have been confirmed:

  • May 4th from 3 to 6 pm EST
  • May 19th from 3 to 6pm EST

As always the first hour will be NoMoshing playing a PC game while our noble viewers get the giggles out of their system. The remaining time will be NoMoshing working on HC while the chat tries their damnedest to distract him by discussing the minutiae of Middle Kingdom economics or absurd fan theories (like Natya is the third secret sister of Therese and Alina! They all have brown hair in this technicolour harem – it must be true!).

I assume that for the month of May, the backer stream will be the best way to get the real-time thoughts and feelings about how Iron Waifu is progressing. (Fair warning, I may be the poutiest of Nekoes if too many of my cinnamon rolls get voted out) That, or the HC discord.

Anyhoo, thanks one and all and we hope to see you on the forums as you, the fans, determine who is the (4th) best waifu!

Iron Waifu- End of Round One

Conveniently enough, today is the final match of Round One of Iron Waifu 2018, so, we figured for today we’d look forward to round two, and post some insights about the previous round. Okay? Okay!

May 17th- Princess Quinta vs Yeon Ewona
NoMoshing: For most of the previous Iron Waifus, there have been a few truisms that emerged- Characters with completed love quests tended to perform poorly, characters who represented a niche taste did even worse, and most especially, unless your name started with “A” or ended in “Gandine”, harem girl trumped non-harem girls and party members trumped non-party harem girls. But this year isn’t like those previous years, and whoever is represented by these new voting blocs, all previous wisdom is rapidly getting chucked out the window.
Case in point, Princess Quinta, who lost so badly in her first appearance that we passed over her for IW 2017 in favour of her mother, managing a stunning turnaround on Violet. Now, Quinta will eventually make it to the harem, but she isn’t there yet, and that is usually a negative mark.
Will she be able to keep it up against a full-on party member though? While Evanie tends to perform well, Yeon winning out against her isn’t an upset, and I know Yeon has her haters. But the potential rewards might also weigh in Yeon’s favour- Quinta is only getting a single sex scene out of the crown, while Yeon is getting quite a bit more. It’s going to be a tossup for me, but an interestingly asymmetrical tossup.
Conash: Quinta’s match was a REAL head-turner to start off the tournament for me. I expected Quinta to do better since “Circle of Strife” and “Dude where’s my Sword” left people hungry for more storyline quests, but I was blown away not just by how Quinta won but how she won by a pretty healthy lead (7 votes). Violet hasn’t exactly given us incredible preformances in the past, but she hasn’t exactly been a push-over so this match took me by surprise and had me making a brand new bracket even because storyline quests might be able to even take on party members with this… And then Yeon managed to win out over Evanie who also offered progression on the Kellos storyline in one way or another as did Quinta. The matches that lead to this defied my expectations, new and old.
Nekochan: Hmmm legit princess vs wannabe princess…I’ve been a bit surprised by the Yeon-dislike given the fanbase around her fellow dungeon-mates, and it seems like players tend to be happy for a chance to coerce the girls to accept the hero. I was happy to see her win since that may indicate the tide is turning for her (or are people just tired of be teased with Evanie?). If Quinta wins, I suppose it’s not so much that she has her fans but the Yeon-dislike remains stronger than the first round indicated.

May 18th- Ser Brigandine De Mont-Fleur vs Eulania
NoMoshing: Brigadine’s popularity has always been a sore tooth with me. I mean, I’m glad that people love a character from my game so much, but look at it from my perspective- a skill trainer whose design I had no hand in routinely turns out to be more popular than characters I created and actively tried to make attractive, and has only lost to the event Iron Waifu herself the previous two years. On top of that, this year she won out over Chimei, whose redesign and love quest I’m actually really looking forward to. But this contest isn’t about what I want, it’s about what you all want, and I’m willing to roll with it no matter the outcome. Interestingly enough, she is not the top-voted non-harem girl this year… a possible crack in her support base?
I am pleased with Eulania making it to the second round, though. As a character routinely underserved with regard to content, I’m glad she’s managed to wrangle a few fans who want to see more of her. Will it be enough to stop the freight train that is Brigandine? Maybe there’s a slim chance. We’ll see what everyone thinks in a couple days.
Conash: Brigandine is my waifu, I’ve made this clear even back in 2016 before I was on the team. While I do feel sorry for NoMoshing that it might be a bit of a sore thumb for him, I’m sorry but just how some of the minor dailogues that come up with her paint a character that’s pretty open to what Hero’s doing and seems so unphased by it and then seems to look to have an implied, “Take me, if you can” feeling to her just lights a fire in me. Eulania’s win is nice to see as well, while I’m not exactly her biggest fan (call me a heretic if you must but I don’t particularly care for glasses >.>) it’s very nice to see people wanting to see more of her because hey, I want to see more of her and learn about her! Though with the few scenes that she’ll be getting added to the game with the 0.34 release hopefully people who votes for her will get a nice taste of her soon! Still rooting for Brig personally but I’ll make sure to keep my write-up on point.
Nekochan: Why do ghosts need glasses? Yes that is seriously all I have to say about this matchup. The outcome has already been decided.

May 19th- Kyrie the Burning Blizzard vs Jonagold Apple (Apple Kid)
NoMoshing: I really like writing for Kyrie. She’s smart, she’s flirty, she has more adventuring experience than the Hero, and she likes getting under his skin sometimes. I understand why she has her haters, though. It was something of a disappointment to see Serade get the boot so early, but I feel she had a strong showing and the improvements to her characterization are winning her a few fans. No regrets from this match in round one.
Even though I like Renfeld (And she’s one of the few characters who I have a pretty good idea of what I want for her LQ), it’s really nice to see Apple Kid get a victory. I think it’s pretty well deserved after washing out the previous two contests. It’ll be interesting to see what happens- Kyrie may be controversial, but she got to the semifinals last year, but this year Jonagold has the power of ShadowCluster’s lobbying behind her… I’m interested to see what happens here.
Conash: While I enjoy Kyrie myself, was sad to see Serade lose especially after all that Awiiabu stuff as it makes her the first competitor to ever go 0 and 3 in Iron Waifu. Maybe next year she’ll manage to break out against someone but yeah. As for Kyrie, I never really got all the hate she tends to get, I mean sure she played a part in our capture but I’ve always figured that she didn’t exactly have room to refuse, the Queen isn’t going to just use the carrot and stick method on the Hero, EVERYONE is under her thumb, something that Shally even confirms, so if Kyrie threw her life away for some guy she mildly flirted with to rot in a dungeon the Queen would have just found some other pretty woman to flirt with us, but hey never nice to feel betrayed I just don’t think Kyrie had a lot of room to not betray us personally. Apple Kid’s win was a bit of a shock for me, Renfeld tends to do the best ouf of all of the maids as she’s never lost a round 1 before, even making a turn-around and defeating Meline in 2017 after losing to her in 2016, but this was Apple Kid’s first time ever making it past round 1. I’m not Renfeld’s biggest fan but I get some of the appeal, still I like that Apple Kid scored her first win.
Nekochan: It’ll be okay Apple Kid. Your rival is just hotter. Just be a good sport about it ok?

May 20th- Elaiya the Relentless vs Lady Doralice
NoMoshing: Elaiya has has the disadvantage of being up against fan favourite characters like Raina and Larelle her previous two matches, and that combined with an already-completed love quest, I was not expecting Elaiya to go far this year. But for her to claim the narrowest victory from Gargan shows that she does have her fans, and it certainly was a deserved victory for the game’s second implemented harem girl.
Meanwhile, Doralice beating Randi gives me some hope that people are actually really engaged with the story this year and are interested in seeing where everything goes. Although, Randi has a bad habit of unlucky matchups against big time characters, so it was actually pretty hard to gauge fan interest in her, so I guess this isn’t 100% just yet. Elaiya vs Doralice is really going to be a test of story progress vs waifu-ism, and I’m looking forward to seeing it!
Conash: I’m personally more of a fan of Gargan than Elaiya, but it’s good to see both of them getting support and all! Elaiya’s win gives her first win of Iron Waifu, but it also marks Gargan as the only other person to go 0 and 3 which is sad to see. I was really torn up about Elaiya vs Gargan as I wanted them both to get to round 2. Doralice’s victory seemed pretty clear to me by the time we got there, the maids had been doing uncharacteristically bad the tournament, while story quests were doing pretty well. While we haven’t exactly gotten a super thrilling edition to the Harem Drama arc, it’s generally speaking been a fan favorite most of the time, the fact that it gives us Therese in the first quest (and only quest for many years) probably helped solidify it as offering one of the nicest rewards. I’m really looking forward to seeing how well Doralice does, as she could easily become an unexpected powerhouse here.
Nekochan: I consider Elaiya to be one of my cinnamon rolls. I have a lot but they all need love and hugs and to be told it’ll be ok. She’s the only one I have left in the competition since my other cinnamon rolls have already been eliminated *sniffle*

May 21st- Bronwyn vs Nerys Rainbreeze
NoMoshing: Holy cow, is the pro-elf voting bloc ever out in force this year! But this specific matchup is pretty exciting to me for two reasons- one, Nerys had a really strong debut last year, being one of the few non-party girls who have beaten out a fully-fledged party member (The only other girls who can claim that achievement are Alina, Ino and Renfeld) and Nerys managed it literally on the first try! However, this year, Nerys is the one character who I had to reach to come up with something for- which is why none of her rewards for being crowned the victor have anything to do with her. Bronwyn has a lot more to personally gain, but people seem to really want that elf orgy that was alluded to at the end of “Elf Half-Empty”. Look forward to this match, because with the pro-elf bloc split, it’s going to be a dramatic one.
Conash: Here we’re truly going to be putting the elf orgy to the test in probably one of the most fair shakes it will get. With all the talk of #savetheelves I imagine that the elves might be benefitting a bit from a more general positive attitude that they’re cultivating around the idea of being elves, though maybe I’m just overthinking things. Either way we’ve got a strong elf party member with a lot of personal rewards to offer, and a fair amount of support behind her (heck, I personally dislike Bronwyn currently as she is, but I tend to vote for her as I know that I won’t dislike her by the end) against Nerys who’s prize package is far from lacking if you ask me. This match will be deciding a lot of my round 3 and up predictions.
Nekochan: Bronwyn you bitch! Give me back my other cinnamon roll! Her hair is nice and swirly like one and all she wants is her fairy tale romance but the hero is a butt. #fucktheelves #yesImawareofthedoubleentendre #vengenceforRaina

May 22nd- Shally vs Clementine D’Orange (Orange Kid)
NoMoshing: It’s nice to see Shally get a victory in- I know a lot of players really like her, and are looking forward to her sex scene getting art soon. Up until this time she’s been a pretty consistent round one punching bag, but she finally managed to earn a win for herself and I think that’s pretty great. But she’s up against Orange Kid, a solid mid-tier waifu who is no stranger to the second round. That said Orange Kid is up next in terms of getting art redone, so her listed rewards are almost like a second entry for Apple Kid.
I don’t think either of these characters are getting to the finals based on their rewards alone, but this year has been nothing if not chock full of upsets and odd victories. I have great expectations for whoever wins this match!
Conash: Funny story, Shally scooted into victory at the absolute last minute. I had confirmed with NoMoshing how our tie-breaker was going to vote in advance and we were watching the clock very closely. If I recall the final vote that pushed Shally from losing a tie to winning her match came in the last 5 minutes. I had to redo both of my bracket images as I had assumed it would end in a tie as a result. Orange Kid’s wide margin for victory did surprise me a bit as I figured there would have been a bit more prize apathy holding her back against Ino, but I understand her winning as it’s not ALL about prizes afterall. I know who I think will win, but my gut tells me to not count this match over quite so soon so I’ll be watching this match for another potential upset.
Nekochan: Shally is grumpy and nevers like anything I do. Or laughs at me. Give me back my new cinnamon roll! I want sassy revenge orange. #vengenceforNatya

May 23rd- Meiriona vs Florine
NoMoshing: Talk about an explosive debut! In a powerful victory that *nobody* saw coming, newcomer elven MILF Meiriona scores the biggest wins of the year against perennial fan favourite Yamamaya! For everyone’s favourite berserker catgirl to go from semi- and quarterfinal finishes to lose to an absolute newb is probably the biggest upset of the year. While a lot of people are saying “ELF ORGY! ELF ORGY!” I’m honestly thinking that character fatigue might have more to do with Yamamaya’s loss. We’ve been doing Yamamaya’s art redesign for a long time now, people are just kind of tired of the catgirl. We’ll see if I’m right next year, I suppose, because if I am Yama should bounce back.
As for Florine, her victory is a bit of a surprise as Doll made it all the way to the semifinals last year, but I’m happy to see Florine end up doing so well. I’m looking forward to doing more content for her, so I hope she goes far! Will she be able to beat the pro-elf bloc, though? I wonder….
Conash: Meiriona, the girl who would turn fans into a parliament of owls, won over Yamamaya who’s been the exception to the typical prize apathy rules (making it to the semi-finals in 2016 and into round 3 in 2017). After that powerful of a victory round 1, I’d say that the elf orgy itself has a good chance of taking this entire contest. Florine winning against Doll was a bit surprising, though after the great commentary we got by orifalcon where it was pointed out that Florine has never lost a match by more than 1 vote in the past two years, I certainly wasn’t willing to count her out. Doll’s popularity however has become even more difficult to grasp though as last year she made it to the semi-finals… I will certainly say though, these two girls completely ruined my predictions of Q3 as a whole, I had Doll pegged as making it to the Semi-finals with Yamamaya being her biggest competition, turns out both my #1 and #2 pick for this quarter lost in the first round.
Nekochan: Florine takes away everything I love. Like cinnamon rolls. #savetheelves #yesIknowImcontradictingmyselfshutup #vengenceforDoll

May 24th- Diadira vs Larelle/Penelope
NoMoshing: I was going to do a writeup for both Larelle and Penelope, but at this point Larelle is leading by 21 votes, so I’m just going to go ahead and talk about it like Larelle has already won. Though that may change and this will look hilarious in hindsight. This is actually going to be a pretty exciting matchup from my perspective. These two characters represent the only girls getting into round two where a) they don’t have their LQ yet and b) I have a very strong idea fo what I want to do for them. Literally every other character I know what I want their LQ to be- Chimei, Gargan, Renfeld, Doll- are all gone. I’m really surprised that Meline and Penelope are both eliminated so decisively, though. Meline is a longtime fan favourite and Penelope did quite well for herself in Iron Waifu 2016. But so it goes, I guess. Either way, looking forward to this matchup, I have no complaints if either of these girls make it to the crown.
Conash: Before the tournament, I fully expected the finals of Iron Waifu to come down to Brigandine vs Larelle, given that Penelope also has her first love quest done I fully expected this match to be the biggest landslide of round 1, though Nerys vs Bell definately set a high bar so who knows if that prediction would come true. I certainly have my criticisms about Larelle but I recognize that she’s got her audience and I’m glad you all enjoy her. Diadira’s victory over Meline makes sense to me as well. While Meline is one of my personal favorites prize apathy tends to hit girls other than Yama pretty hard, meanwhile some of the reasons people have trouble getting invested in Diadira would be solved if she wins, which helps undercut some of the potential anti-voters out there.
Nekochan: Larelle is the harem girl I get the most requests to draw so I have a soft spot for her since I find drawing a character gives me more of a sense of the character (you wouldn’t believe how much I think about what kind of underwear each girl wears and what that says about them…). Rescue Me is also catchy. Good matchup and I won’t be bitter. #liesyesIwill

Why does Wednesday always follow after Tuesday?

Nekochan here because NoMoshing is playing Lufia and the Fortress of Doom.

A belated Happy New Year! It’s a bit late but I drew a little something for family and friends for the holiday season and wanted it share it with all of you as well!

(Yeah, it’s totally D’arcy. Trying to get a photo of her sleeping as a reference was totally a chore, she kept waking up and then staring at me)

I’ve been a busy Neko so far this year. I finished character reference sheets for two lovely ladies – Evanie and Elaiya. Evanie is actually a second attempt after the first one failed to properly evoke the right level of Evanie-ness. While Elaiya has sprite already and all, her reference sheet will help with the CGs and when her dialog/menu portraits get overhauled.

I’ve also begun work on one of the as-of-yet unintroduced harem ladies – the shopkeeper of Westcastle. I’m liking how much free reign I’m getting on her design – I even got to make a proposal for her name! The discord peeps have already heard about this one since NoMoshing has been running my name suggestions over with them and refining it from there. I’m excited to see how it will turn out!

I’m not sure what character I’ll take on after though, I’m personally leaning towards one that still needs a sprite. I’d love to try the Southport maid because I’m super excited to see what Yuko would do with the sprite but I’m sure if you, our loving audience has any thoughts on where I should focus my efforts, NoMoshing is more than happy to hear them.

Speaking of getting your thoughts out to NoMoshing – this Sunday (the 21st) will be the Devstream for backers from 3pm to 6pm (EST). As usual the first hour will be him playing Quest for Glory while the rest of the time will be dedicated to (maybe) getting some work done. Really depends of the temperament of the chat. If you’re backer and available, he’d love to see you there!

Aside from blatant promotion of husband and drawing reference art of pretty ladies, I have been finding some time to play games (mostly when I sick with the flu at the tail end of 2017…). I’ve focused all my time on the re-release of Tokyo Xanadu because I’m a sucker for Falcom games now (*cough*still need to finish Trails of Cold Steel 2*cough*). I’ve been really enjoying it because I love how rich the world is and how almost every person has a name and a story. The combat system is a bit meh since I prefer my RPGs turn-based but I’m getting by (mostly by grinding for high level orbs and buying shit tons of healing potions). Rion is my waifu in case you are curious.

Anyway, don’t want to ramble too much about my fandoms so I’ll think I’ll leave things here – have a great rest of the week!

Straight Outta The Nekobox

Greetings and Salutations! Nekochan here once more to bring you a blog post to obfuscate that NoMoshing is scrambling to get an update done.

I suppose I should first discuss my current work on HC. As NM has mentioned, my current project is working on getting new character designs for some of our lovely villianesses so he can get rid of the RPG Maker stock assets and so our artists have something to work from when drawing hero banging them. I’m focusing my work on Kyrie, Fiona and Queen Bitch (that’s not her name, but like Healbot that asshole I’ll use whatever name I want).

Recently (and probably to the delight of the like 3 people who like my art) I’ve been getting faster. My drawing/inking time hasn’t really improved at all but I have moved to colouring with Copics (the Cadillac of markers). The speed difference is staggering. I finished a test in one evening (a pic of Doll that is hanging out of the forum thread about the fanart contest) and a second piece of a character from one of NM’s tabletop games in about the same time. Hopefully this keeps up (and I stop getting colds, I’ve had three since the new year started) and my art output goes up. I’ve got two backer art pieces to get working on so I should probably work on those to (hahahahaha…*dies of delayed art shame*)

As NM mentioned it was also recently the 4th anniversary of the release of HC. To be honest, I was surprised it’s been that long. I thought we were still on year 2 or 3. Oh well, time flies. At the time it was first released, NM was working a shitty midnight shift job that he hated, and we were living in a kinda shitty apartment where the seal on the windows was gone so there was all this condensation and black mold everywhere. I was working at the same job I am now, but that has gone through it’s own ups and downs since then.

Since that time, NM is no longer at the shitty job, getting proper sleep and making a go of this as a full-time career. I’m still at my job, but I’ve since been through a promotion and a merger and some other drama. We are also now living in our first house together. So I think overall we’re in a better place. And partially that’s been a result of you, the fans. It was your interest that kept NM working on HC rather than abandoning it to the depths of the internet, your emails with comments, suggestions, praise and bugs, and your support (of those who are able) on Patreon. I know I’ve said it before, but I think it bears repeating. Thank you!

An anniversary always is a trigger for a bit of reflection (see above), and it’s odd to think of the HC that even existed a year ago compared to now. Obviously the big difference is the push towards getting more original art assets in the game, as well as the modifications of the game interface made by Conash. I think this has all helped HC to find its own “voice”, so to speak, rather than having the game’s unique style partially lost in the cavalcade of the stock RPG Maker assets.

By the way, it was NM’s birthday recently! If you’re interested in sending him a bit of a present, he has a Games Workshop gift list: go to https://www.games-workshop.com/en-CA/myaccount/giftlists/giftlistSearch.jsp and use list ID gl413661354 and NM’s email (nomoshing@badkittygames.net). You can send it to the Games Workshop store at 135 Harwood Avenue North, Ajax, Ontario for him to pick up. Please understand that Warhammer models are pretty expensive, but sending it to a store this way saves you shipping and handling!

So aside from art, NM’s birthday and my actual day job what have I been doing? Getting a shit-ton of music. One thing my friends/family know is a safe gift for me are iTunes cards because I’m a music junky. In addition, one of the last CD stores in my area went into receivership so are having “Everything Must Go!” sales. I like to have music in the background of most things that I do. I assume this is a byproduct of playing too many videogames at a formative age and being weirded out when there isn’t music of some kind in the background. Hell, NM is usually able to get a general sense of my mood based on whether I’m singing along/humming when working or otherwise occupying myself. I make soundtracks for tabletop RPGs I’m super-invested in (two so far for NM’s Exalted game, one for a Persona fangame I ran years ago, and a partial one for NM’s VtM game). I even go to the trouble of making CD art for it!

What am I listening to right now? Well my playlist is on random but includes (but is not limited to) albums from:

Xanadu Movie Soundtrack by Electric Light Orchestra (with Olivia Newton-John)
Froot by Marina and the Diamonds
Drones by Muse
Black Widow by In This Moment
The Shadow Self by Tarja
Transnational by VNV Nation
Strange Little Birds by Garbage
Bad Porn Movie Trax by Shaka Ponk
Shadowmaker by Apocalyptica

Before you say anything you shut up about Xanadu. It’s a fucking masterpiece!

Aaaand I’m done. Go away and find something naughty to masturbate to.

Landlords are Lazy

Hello and welcome. ‘Tis your friendly neighbourhood Nekochan!

So moving was…a thing.

It went smoothly, except for the fact that the renos we had scheduled weren’t done yet. So we’ve moved into a house without a kitchen that can actually be used. The stove, sink and all the cupboards aren’t set up. The basement is also basically unusable (especially since the plumbing needs to be redone so it drains properly). The upstairs is barely useable, but we can’t use the closets. The renovators, instead of tackling one room at a time, are bouncing from place to place. So the end result is that there is no place in our house where we can actually unpack.

…And then on the first night after moving day, it rained. And we learned the roof leaks. Haha. Got that patched but was warned:
a) the patch is only good for 6 months
b) except for the shingles, the roof is original to the house (which was built in the 20s), is rotten and should really be replaced.

So we have the roofers working on that too. So the renos won’t be done anytime soon. Haha.

The reno crew also noted that it looks like the A/C may be shot (since it’s overgrown with plants that no one ever bothered to clear)

These two issues weren’t caught during the house inspection since it occurred during winter. You can’t run an A/C in the cold and the roof couldn’t be inspected (though the prior homeowner insisted it was sound.)

This leads us back to the title. The former owner of the house was a landlord and our renos are making it apparent that any work done recently was a patch job or just cosmetic and any proper maintenance wasn’t bothered with. Since we actually want to live here, we’re getting caught doing all the work.

Anyhoo, what all this means is, NoMoshing has not been able to access the game since we moved. Our time has been spent working on renos, finding a roofer, finding someone to look at our A/C and waiting for deliveries. Also the PC NoMosh does most of his game work on can’t really be set up since there not enough open space to put it, the chair he uses has clothes stacked on it due to the aforementioned closet problem, and it’s not getting signal from our router anyway (mental note: if you’re going to put something in cloud storage for safekeeping, make sure you can access the internet to get it back!) Hell, we’re using handhelds to entertain ourselves since we can barely set up our TV.

We’ve been promised most of the renos should be done by this week, though our time will then be taken up with cleaning and getting enough shit unpacked so our house doesn’t look like some weird warehouse.

Clearly we underestimated the disruption this would be. Cuz we’re house virgins. Now that cherry’s been popped we’re sore and limping and this metaphor is going to a weird place. Sorry. Time to stop typing Neko.

(Note from NoMoshing: Sorry everyone… looks like release will take even longer. Hopefully I’ll be able to pull it off before August. I certainly don’t want to get to Fred Gallagher or (dare I say it?) Gabe Newell levels of update neglect.)

Nekochan on Character Design

Nekochan here yet again.

NoMoshing is otherwise occupied so yet again I step into the breach.

Since NoMoshing has been going into detail regarding how he designs quests and such, I thought I’d share some of the work I’ve been doing with the characters. Specifically their appearance. Much of what I’ve been working on lately is for HC2: Hero puts it in. Most of HC’s character designs are being handled by NoMoshing with sprite work by Chibi. This is mostly because of the demands my day job put on my time. I need looooots of lead time to have enough time to get art shit done. (Backers with the Player’s Guide will also note I’m usually about an update behind on quests included in the guide.) I’ve done rough drafts of about 5 of the new girls planned for HC and 1 of the returning girls. Can you guess which one? Elaiya!

When designing a new character, I’ve found the main challenge is the “blank slate”. NoMoshing provides some general outlines like, “battle-maid with bracers, no nonsense personality, modest bust” and then leaves the rest to me.

Returning characters present their own challenge though. Since there is a timeskip (about 2 years between the end of the events of HC1 and the start of HC2), it’s likely things have changed. A person may have changed their hair, gained weight, lost weight, changed occupations, or if they’re young enough, 2 years of growth could also impact height and appearance especially if they are pre-pubescent (looking at you Ino). Character development also has to be factored in since clothing is often a means of expression, even if it isn’t on a conscious level. So you’re looking at a new character who has to “feel” like the old one. Heck look at Kosmos from Xenosaga, she got an overhaul in each game of the series.

You mess up the design of a new character and people may let it go (“Let it gooooooo”). Mess up the design of returning character? You’ll have hell to pay for potentially “ruining” them.

When I thought about what Elaiya would look like in the sequel, my first thought was what her mindset was. After all, if you’ve finished her love quest, you’re aware that much of her drive that lead her to become a bounty hunter has been dealt with. She’s found some measure of peace. Hell, by HC2 it’s probably fair to say she’s not even a bounty hunter anymore. She’s sure as hell not taking on any more contracts and is one of the pillars of the hero’s core adventuring party. So how would that reflect in her appearance?

Elaiya HC2 rough concept

The first thing I thought was that she’d likely let her hair grow out a little. Her style in HC1 is on the shorter side. In fact, I personally imagine she cut the hair short when she chose to become a bounty hunter. Her jacket in HC1 is buttoned-up, with a shirt that has a high collar (which is funnily enough is hidden by her harem collar), indicating a withdrawn personality. By the second game she has probably relaxed a bit. Not entirely though, while she’s close to the hero and others in the harem, she’s still wary of new people. She still needs her guns and goggles, obviously. Don’t want to mess with her colour scheme too much, and she should be wearing something she can adventure and manoeuvre around in.

I also aimed not to make the design too complex. In the end, it has to be recognizable as a sprite.

It should be noted that this is concept art, and I’m likely to trash this and redo it at some point before final designs are required. (sorry it’s really sketchy, I try not to worry about making it clean when I’m working on a concept)

So, what do you think? Is it still Elaiya or have I ruined her?

Dueling Top Ten

So, this week Nekochan and I present our individual lists for “top ten games of all time”. Our primary criteria for creating these lists was how often we found ourselves wanting to replay these games- our thinking was that the quality of the games were best measured by how much we wanted to play them over and over again. So, without further ado, here are Nekochan and No Moshing’s dueling top ten lists for best games of all time.
(Nekochan’s picks are before the slash, NoMoshing’s pics are after)

10: Shadow Madness / Mario Kart 64

Nekochan: This is a deeply, deeply flawed game, I get that. But the dialogue and story earned it multiple playthroughs from me which is a bit of feat considering there are no branching paths or classes. I just like the story and the world that much.
NoMoshing: My choice was pretty simple- the first Mario Kart was great, but Mario Kart 64 was taking that same central concept and honing it to perfection. After Mario Kart 64, Nintendo would start adding weird features and new kinds of racing craft, but I really do think that 64 was the purest and best game in the series.

9: Star Fox / Sengoku Rance

Nekochan: This pick is a bit of a sentimental one since it’s the game my late father and I would take turns playing. Also the launch of the Ar wings and the Corneria theme gets me every. single. time.
NoMoshing: Sengoku Rance is easily the greatest H-game of all time. The art is strong, the mechanics are deep and involving, the basic game is hard but rewarding, but maxing out your stars and getting all the routes and bonuses requires mastery. And on top of all that, Alicesoft added on a Samurai Warriors Empires-esque conquest mode when they didn’t even have to. Now, if only they didn’t depict a ten year old getting raped….

8: Final Fantasy VI (III, fucking whatever) / Brutal Legend
Nekochan: There are very few lists that don’t have FF3, and I’m probably preaching to the choir here.
NoMoshing: This might seem like an odd pick in my list, given how poorly it did with critics and the public, but I feel that was mostly a marketing issue. But Brutal Legend has a lot going for it- a customizable ride, a huge, gorgeously-realized world done with a unique style, a killer soundtrack, and Jack Black. I could just drive around listening to the radio and looking at the world for hours if I wanted to. Also, it’s probably the best RTS on consoles at the time… not a prestigious list, considering that Halo Wars is #2, but unlike Halo Wars combat in Brutal Legend is fun.

7: Final Fantasy IX / Katamari Damacy
Nekochan: Now this I think I have to justify more, especially since I placed it higher than FFVI. When I was debating the order of FFIX and VI, it just occurred to me that I enjoy the characters more. (Especially Beatrix and Steiner) Also if given the option to replay both, I’m more likely to pick this one.
NoMoshing: Katamari Damacy is probably the best party game out there. I don’t mean for it’s lackluster multiplayer- I mean for the fact that it’s a fun game to watch, cheer on whoever is at the controls, and just see the fucked up little scenes that are scattered through every level. Plus, the music is rad.

6: Breath of Fire IV / Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire
Nekochan: While Breath of Fire II has more nostalgia feels for me, I preferred the overall story in IV and watching the arc of both protagonists. When Fou-lu decides to wreck everything, I was pretty much like, yeah if I that happened to me I’d be ready to break everything too. And then Nina’s sister. Also Ershin. Thank you Ershin. So many feels. Cray is also a cutey. His tail looks so fuzzy!
NoMoshing: The entire Quest for Glory series is worth a playthrough (except QfG V, which is really too bad because it sounds like it have some awesome ideas behind it- damn you executive meddling!) but QfG II is probably the best one. The last and greatest of the parser interface games, it has surprisingly gorgeous art, an awesome Arabian Nights-style setting, cool puzzles and fun characters. Also, X-ray glasses. Can’t forget those.

5: Katamari Damacy / Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4

Nekochan: Naaa-na-na-na-na-na-na Katamari Damacy!
NoMoshing: The latter Persona games have achieved something really special. It’s rare to see a game that asks you to get emotionally involved with it’s characters, then pulls it off masterfully. I pick Persona 4 over 3 because as good as 3 was, there are too many glaring flaws I won’t get into here. Persona 4 has less emphasis on grinding, all of your party members have social links and interesting conflicts to get involved in, the overarching plot is deeply involving. Now if only there was some way to mod the game so that Teddie was dropped out entirely.

4: Super Mario RPG / Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Nekochan: I remember I had a hell of a time convincing my parents this game exists. “Mario is a platforming game Nekochan, it’s not one of those weird RPGs you play.” Square did a damn good job making an RPG feel like a Mario game by using timed-hits, platforming elements in dungeons and making sure Mario never, ever spoke. (Mario is the best mime.) I also like it when Bowser throws Mario. =)
Also, put Geno in Smash Bros already. (I know there are legal issues, I don’t care.)
NoMoshing: I was tempted to put a Silent Hill game in my top ten, because many of the Silent Hill games are of extremely high quality. However, Eternal Darkness hits a note that the SH series misses- it is a fun game. Not that Silent Hill can’t be fun, it’s just that fun takes a back seat to the scares. Eternal Darkness is scary but also fun, each character brings a different experience in terms of mechanics, the plot is engrossing, and the game knows when to crack a joke.

3: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver / Final Fantasy III
Nekochan: Good god damn that voice acting. If I could I would hire Michael Bell and Simon Templeton to hang around me and narrate shit. The plot is pretty damn good – nice revenge plot. Story gets a lot more confusing later and lacks a proper resolution. *sigh* Also stabbing vampires with a pike is freakishly satisfying for me. Just that sound of it striking home and the vampire’s last gurgled cry. Saved me a lot in therapy bills.
NoMoshing: First of all, fuck that “FF6” nonsense. Many games receive name changes when they come from Japan, and also the Japanese FF3 is kind of a piece of shit. Why does the good game have to change? The game I played over and over again was called Final Fantasy III. Anyway, the game starts with Cliche RPG Plot #2- evil empire taking over the world with magic power that was obtained through inhuman means. The first half of the game gets by based on interesting characters, engaging combat and nifty individual sequences. But then the game does the unthinkable- you lose. The world is destroyed, the bad guy wins, and the characters are scattered to the four winds. The rest of the game is a free roaming exploration of a post-apocalyptic world, where you try to pick up where you left off and see if there’s some hope you can salvage in a world after the end. Fantastic.

2: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past / Dragon Age: Origins
Nekochan: “Zelda is your -” What!!! She’s what?! Sister? Damn that’s hot.
This game was never far from my SNES as a kid. I perfected it. Completed the whole thing, and found all the things through sheer brute force. (No Gamefaqs at that time) Then I beat the shit outta Ganon. Still my favourite Zelda game (second place is probably Wind Waker. [Ed. Note: Nekochan is crazy and Wind Waker is actually one of the worst Zelda games])
NoMoshing: What I said about Persona 4 goes double for Dragon Age. Dragon Age asks you to get really invested in it’s cast, and then rocks it with a spectacular party of characters. On top of that, it’s a refreshing shake-up of Tolkien fantasy tropes, has some pretty cool game sequences, and the emphasis on politics as well as adventuring makes for some interesting decisions. The lack of a morality mechanic of any kind really lets you role play your character- making your decisions and dealing with the consequences without being rated on a scale or having your options arbitrarily limited by a statistic. Plus, the end-game sequence where you take back Denerim from the Darkspawn is one of the single greatest stand-up-and-cheer awesome moments in video games history.

1: Chrono Trigger
Nekochan: Oh no, shock and surprise, this game at the top of yet another list. It shows up so damn often for a reason. If you haven’t played it, forgo all else and play it.
NoMoshing: Again, I think most of you know why this game is up here. If not, you badly need to play it- even if you have to steal it. I don’t normally advocate piracy, but unless you have fat stacks you probably won’t be able to afford the original cartridge. I guess there have been a couple re-releases, but I think the original is best. I remember how my jaw dropped when I first saw Chrono Trigger’s eyecatch, which is still a masterpiece.

So, do you agree? Which list do you think is superior? Or do you think we’re full of shit and missed something huge? Hit the comments section and let us know!

Beatrix, Eat Your Heart Out

No Moshing originally wrote this post, but then the computer ate it, so he got mad and went to play Sleeping Dogs.

Anyhoo, I’m sure people are concerned/curious about how my recent vitrectomy (fancy way of “putting your retina back” surgery) went.

The short version: it failed. My retina, once it detached got caught in bunch of other shit in my eye that was dislodged or leaked in during the initial injury. They had nothing to work with to put back. So they cleaned it up, sewed me up and sent me home. Until other advances in medical science are available, I won’t be able to see out of my right eye.

The long version: it faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaailed. (I kid.)

After being informed of my retinal detachment, I was advised the doctor (and his fellows) they wanted to try 2 procedures. The first was a lens replacement. My lens took some damage or got dirty and they wanted to swap it out. The second was the vitrectomy. The vitrectomy had two parts: cryopexy and the air exchange. The cryopexy is using liquid nitrogen to freeze the retina and lasers (you know lasers had to be involved at some point) to stick it back. They’d replace the vitreous humor (inner eye liquid) with a silicon based oil. If they felt the retina needed some extra help, they’d do an air exchange. Simply put, put a tiny air bubble into my eye and use that air bubble to hold the retina in place while it heals. However this second procedure requires you to stay face down, constantly, for about seven days. While that didn’t sound like fun, the promise of having two eyes actually doing their job outweighed the “how the hell am I gonna sleep on my front when I’m a fucking double-D?”

In the following week, I had pre-admission (boo) where we were given a shit ton of literature about what to expect (aka “how to know when shit’s gone wrong”) and how to care for a person stuck face down. We were also given the name of a person who rents mattresses and chairs for people who receive this procedure so you’re not stuck cannibalizing a lawn chair. (Dear God I love you employer health care plan that covers fancy chair expenses). No Moshing may have had a minor freak out when he realized that he would be stuck watching my face down ass rather than being admitting to hospital and having nurses to dote on me. [Actually, this pre-admission visit kicked off about a week where I regressed completely and did little more than play video games and eat sweets, which lead to my emo bullshit post last Wednesday. Sorry. -NM]

On the night before the surgery I had to stop all eating, drinking and all meds (including my pain killers from the last surgery…) at midnight. So in the morning I was a bit grumpy. Cuz it still hurt. And nervous. Do you know they keep you awake (but high) for this operation? We get to the hospital where I proceed to wait. A lot. Which does wonders for nerves. They get me prepped, put the damn IV on the inside of my wrist (which I later learn is the most painful place for it) because my veins are too well camouflaged. And they I have to wait more.

When I finally get wheeled away, I’m a stupid weepy wreck. Which goes away once I finally get the “relaxants” (get high). To their credit, I didn’t feel much of what they were doing. And what I could feel wasn’t painful. However since I was still awake, I did hear enough of the prognosis – they couldn’t salvage the retina. Put in the new lens, since they were already in there, and close me up. But on the plus side – no face down! I can sit how I want. Now when I later related this to my mom and NoMoshing, they didn’t believe me. You see the doc would see us on the following day to discuss the prognosis, they didn’t get a post-surgery visit.

After surgery I got moved to the room where you come down from the meds before we release your ass back into the wild. I came down pretty quick. Sadly I had to wait because they didn’t believe me. And they couldn’t take out the goddamn IV because they were giving me fluids.

My trip home was crap because the painkillers had worn off so my poor stitched up eye felt every bump and turn and sudden stop. Because I got released during rush hour. It was a 2 hour trip home. Also this is when the nausea kicks in. Luckily I managed to keep the three cookies (all I had eaten that day) down. Once home, I get dosed up with tylenol (the strongest painkiller I’m allowed to take) and gravol and sleep until 5ish in the morning since we had to be back at the clinic for 7:30 am to get the post-operation check and prognosis.

The doctor’s check confirms what I overheard in the operating room. At this point, their efforts will be based around making sure I can keep the eye for cosmetic reasons (it still moves around with the left and is less creepy than a glass eye, assuming it heals up okay and stops being a bloodshot mess) and to make sure it’s not in pain (if it is, it means an infection or something got in and the entire eye will have to be removed.) I get sent home with a pretty depressed family (my mom having taken it the worst, having had the highest expectations) to absorb the news and get back to recovering. Which I’m still doing now. Woot woot.

Anyway, thank you all for your good wishes, support, and above all, patience these last few weeks. No Moshing should be back on track soon, and we can put this incident behind us.

What the Hell Happened

(As dictated to NoMoshing by Nekochan)

Warning: Lots of delicious Eye Scream to follow.

So, a couple Thursdays ago was your average game night for us. Game proceeded as usual with the normal Vampire-related happenings. Everything was fine.

After game, NoMoshing started playing around with a recent acquisition of ours- a replica Assassin’s Creed hidden blade. This replica has a button which causes the blade to spring out, collapses back in on itself like a stage blade, and has a handy switch for locking the blade closed for safety. So, after NoMoshing was done mock-assassinating all the other players at our tabletop session, he turn to face me sitting on the couch. The intent was to jab in my direction as if the blade was going to pop out, while the blade remained locked closed, for NoMoshing to make me flinch and tease me afterward. NoMoshing believed the blade was locked, however, it was not [Or else the cheap locking mechanism simply didn’t work- NM].

The blade hit me in the left corner of my right eye. At first we thought that the blade simply hit me in the tear duct, as that was the only place I could feel it, and I was simply stunned. One of the remaining vampire players grabbed me a bag of frozen peas to put on the wound, and after holding it to my face for a few seconds and not feeling much pain, I pulled it away assuming no major damage had been done. However, the frozen bag of peas was now covered in blood. At that point, everyone kind of freaked out and an ambulance was summoned.

I was whisked off to the hospital while everyone else followed in their respective vehicles. While in the ambulance I asked the paramedics if I was their weird call for the night, and the paramedics said yes, but the night was still young.

Upon arriving at the hospital, I was triaged relatively quickly, but vision in my right eye was deteriorating. I was able to see a doctor who, after speaking with an ophthalmologist by phone, confirmed that there was so much blood in my actual eyeball it was impossible to diagnose me. The recommendation was to go home, stay upright as much as possible, and see the ophthalmologist the following afternoon.

When we finally got to see the ophthalmologist, we were initially relieved because vision in my right eye had improved. However, the doctor had so much trouble getting a pressure reading from my eye that I had to be dosed with Ativan and held down by NoMoshing before I stopped flinching long enough for the reading to happen. The specialist then informed me that my eyeball pressure was so low I had probably suffered a retinal rupture and needed to go into surgery immediately. After he confirmed that I wasn’t going to be awake for the surgery, I told the doctor he was welcome to whatever he needed so long as I was drugged unconscious.

Within the next couple hours, I was prepped for surgery and stoned out of my mind. I don’t remember much from here, but I am told the surgery was a success. The doctor told NoMoshing that there was a four-millimeter stab wound in my eye- it doesn’t sound very big, but when you consider the size of the eye that’s actually pretty huge. Another smaller cut had to be made so the surgeon could remove some of the blood in my pupil. Also, the larger wound cut across part of my iris, and I am told I now have an “eye freckle”- part of the iris broke free and is visible in the white of the eye. For would be, if I wasn’t constantly bloodshot.

NoMoshing was then provided with the list of fun things I am not allowed to do during recovery, which includes (but is not limited to):
-Standing for long periods of time
-Lying down (I continue to sleep upright, supported by a tower of pillows)
-Sneezing or coughing (You don’t know what you’re missing until it’s gone, trust me)
-Blowing my nose
-Making any facial expression that scrunches up my eyes
-Bending at the waist or lifting things, for example like you’d need to do to change a DVD or video game
-Leaving the apartment unless I’m being driven somewhere

I can read, but I can’t tilt my face downward so all books need to be held upright in front of me. I can play video games or surf the interwebs if it wasn’t for the fact that one of my five eyedrops leaves me so sensitive to light I can’t do it for more than a few minutes at a time. Recovery is sloooow, but I have NoMoshing on hand to take care of me. Thank you for all your well-wishes, I really appreciate them.

[Quick update from me- I haven’t had much time to work on the game, but in the next release you will be able to find and explore Shally’s apartment. -NM]

The Characters We Hate (And What They Say About Us)

Hello again! It’s your quasi-absent pal Nekochan here! NoMoshing has run out of topics to talk about (unless you want him to gush about another game again) so has asked me to step in and write…something else.

While searching my brain for topics, I kept returning to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. You see the season finale is tonight [Ed. Note: As of this writing] and I am (somewhat) excited for it. I haven’t enjoyed all of this first season, but there’s been some very great bits. One thing I’m sure NoMoshing is very sick of hearing about (aside from my predictions about who I think’ll get killed), is how much I dislike the character Skye.

Now my reasons for this generally centre around her Mary-Sue-ness but this did get me to thinking about characters I don’t like in Harem Collector.

Ah yes. Him.

Felix. Healbot. Stupid.

Okay so, you may wonder, why don’t I like him? Well personality wise, he’s a stick in the mud. Don’t capture that girl. Don’t be mean to children. Don’t do that cool thing. Ugh. Yet at the same time, I need him. He’s the only person who starts with healing spells. The only one who can cure most status ailments. Isn’t overly squishy like the other mages. Just ugh.

Moving on, while I know these traits bother me, I know MagicWhiteLady likes Healbot. She sympathizes with his plight to try and keep the hero’s id in check. NoMoshing likes him too. Then again, seeing as he created all the characters in the game, I don’t think he dislikes any of them. I’m sure the guy has lots of fans. So why does he piss me off?

I then thought a bit about one of the other loves in my life, Persona. One of the central themes of the Persona series (especially P4), is the idea of facing yourself. In P4, this manifestation was the Shadow. The Other Self. The True Self? The thoughts and traits that characters rejected or struggled with. Now the idea of Persona/Shadow is not unique to aforementioned game series. The ideas borrow heavily from Jungian psychology. But Jung went a bit further than that. The Shadow could also explain why you may dislike other people.

Nekochan's Shadow

If you’re a procrastinator, and hate that you do it (hell, who likes procrastinating?), you may dislike other people who also do it, even if you know it’s hypocritical. Why? Since you hate that you procrastinate, you also hate anyone else who does it too. After all, it’s easier to hate someone else then do the harder thing and look inward and try to do something about your own procrastination.

So with that said, let’s return to Healbot. As postulated above, if I dislike him so much, is it possible I’m projecting something I don’t like about myself onto him? Why did I say I don’t like him again? He’s a stick in the mud. Maybe I think I’m a stick in the mud. Maybe I worry that people only tolerate that trait because I’m somehow needed. When my friends drink, I often don’t preferring to remain the “sane” mind in the room. When we plan gatherings I worry about how everyone will get there and get home and who has work tomorrow so we shouldn’t be out that late and for that matter what is the weather doing that night, is that rain, maybe we should stay home. I play the “ego” to NoMoshing’s “id”.

Maybe instead of irrationally hating a fictional character I should let loose a little more.

PS: This is mostly a thought experiment. You’re totally welcome to disagree. I don’t necessarily subscribe to Jungian psychology myself but I find it fun to overthink things.

PPS: Skye is still a Mary-Sue. I don’t think I’m projecting there.

PPPS: Oh yes, No Moshing did ask me to add one thing unrelated to this post. Backers, please check your email for the Backer release of Harem Collector~! I even got off my lazy ass and got the Player’s Guide (mostly) caught up!