NC Backblog at Ten Years

So, today marks the tenth anniversary of my first post on what became “The Backblog,” a blog that started as a way for me to post articles to show other users of the old Nintendo City Forums about some of the dumb games I was playing; I had a keen and strange interest in canceled, pirated, or otherwise obscure retro games, and finally had the guts to download all the ROMs for them and take screenshots.

Here’s the first post:

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Kogarashi Shrine (Shizuoka, Japan)

I forgot to post this, whoops. This happened a few months ago, and I took a lot of pictures, but then I never actually posted the article:

It was early May when my friend and I traveled across much of Japan during the unprecedented, extremely rare ten-day Golden Week holidays this year. We went to several cities for a day or two each, without much of a plan or much research ahead of time. Probably not the kind of travel people should normally do, but hey.

In Shizuoka, we stayed for two nights at a really small hostel, the only one listed on Hostel World in the whole city. It was really nice. Though it was about thirty minutes from the main city, it was in a great spot and a nice little town in the outskirts that reminded me a lot of my hometown back in America.

I’m not cropping out the thumb

Neither my friend nor I noticed it when we arrived at night, but when we departed the next morning, we noticed that right near this hostel was something quite peculiar:

Is that a… holy crud, that’s a shrine, isn’t it?!

That, my dear readers, is Kogarashi Shrine (木枯神社), a beautiful, basically abandoned shrine out in the middle of nowhere, literally in the middle of a small river. Even in the spring before rainy season, the waters were still too high to pass, and we had to briefly wade through the water to get to this tiny island.

Yeah, we went there. When you see a wonder like this, you don’t just look at it. Just like the great Todd Howard says, you see that island? You can go there.

Turns out the view from the island is pretty gorgeous too.
Approaching Kogarashi Shrine…
This is some Legend of Zelda stuff here… It’s like you climb these stairs and enter a stealth loading screen. I’ve GOT to see what’s at the top.
And here it is. Super tiny, completely encased in a small forest. It’s like its own little world.
Yeah, you can tell this shrine is either abandoned, or almost abandoned. The upkeep on this place is practically zero.
The front door is locked… I wonder…
Oh wow it’s just a storage house.
A look from in front of the shrine.

I can’t really describe the atmosphere in this shrine, except that it was fairly fantastic. Gorgeous. Quiet. A little bit lonely. It all mixed up together into… Whatever Kogarashi Shrine is.

As far as I could find, no other English language website has ever covered this place, which is sad because this is the coolest shrine ever. If you’re ever in Japan, you better go to Shizuoka and visit this place!

On Posting My Story on Other Websites

It’s been a long, hard deliberation on whether to post ATL on another website besides http://atl.quinlancircle.com/.

But I’m finally going to do it.

Marge furiously taking notes before she writes a hit piece on how I sold out
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Revenge of the Sith Audiobook Prologue

I’ve been listening to the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith audiobook lately, and by golly is it well-written. I read it when I was like fourteen or something, and remembered that there was a Count Dooku POV chapter that was good, but otherwise I didn’t recall anything about it.

Which meant that when I listened to the opening minute-long prologue, I got to experience this for the first time all over again. What a way to start a space opera tragedy. I friggin’ love it.

While I absolutely adore the film–probably my #1 favorite movie ever–there is something to be said by a novelization that takes the same plot, the same material, and imbues it with such freshness that it becomes even MORE of an epic.

If you get a chance, read (or listen to) this book. Read this excellent Tor.com review too.

[S] Rex Duodecim Angelus turns five years old!

One of the coolest fan projects ever made is now five years old. Yep, the [S] Rex Duodecim Angelus flash is almost ready to go to kindergarten.

It’s astonishing to me, even to this day, that this flash even exists. Worked on by, what, a hundred artists? A project whose original creator and organizers basically vanished? A more complex animation than anything in the actual series it’s based on? That it exists is phenomenal. That it’s actually well-made is nothing short of a miracle.

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Advice to Teen Writers

I wrote a forum thread post about this. But it got pretty long so I decided to share it on this blog too.

I was typing a reply about this on another thread, realized this was gonna get kinda long, and so I’m making a whole thread about it.

Here’s my advice to anyone in their teenage years who is feeling called to be a writer:

Write lots of stuff.

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The Phantom Menace is 20 Years Old!

That’s right. We’re all super old now because Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is now twenty.

Pop culture’s favorite movie to make fun of is now old enough to drink in most countries, and we’re supposed to be okay with that? No, we should never be. We must fight against the passing of time and destroy the temporal oppression.

Until that, though, I guess it’s time for us to reflect back on the movie that consumed the world for a couple months back in 1999.

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Clay Models in Promotional Art

I love this stuff. Isn’t it great?

It’s honestly pretty silly looking back that you have these simplistic 8-bit or 16-bit graphics, and the way you think you can accurately represent that in marketing is by making some clay models of the characters. It’s surely expensive enough that 2D art, or even live-action actors, surely would have been a more sensible option.

But all these years later, and I look at the clay promo art for video games as some of the coolest stuff ever. Just look at all of this:

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