Hidden Gem: Crash N Tense (fan-made game)

Developer: Metalsonic3 aka Jargonfox
Publisher: Sonic Fan Games HQ

This probably won’t be old news to some people of the Crash Bandicoot fan base, but for others, you need to see this.

There’s an extraordinary amount of love for the orange marsupial. He was the first of the Sony craze to be reviatalized after the glory days of the late 90’s and 00’s. Ever since then there’s been repeated amounts of tries to keep him in the relevant light, but sadly the good attempts were cancelled, and the bad ones were published.

The fans, however, had plans to help him prosper. Go, and look for Crash fan games, and you’ll find so many. The fans have discovered why the unique formula of Crash Bandicoot worked for its time, but didn’t age well. 3D Platforming is a beast. I hate being one of those writers that claims to have never made a game, which is why I tried my hand at programming before giving in to my passions. Making a game that takes off is a combination of luck, and vision.

The most notable platformers of all time would be the Jak and Daxter series, and Mario. It’s impossible to say which of the previous two are better, because they are apples and oranges. Jak and Daxter is platforming with a story. Mario is platforming with gameplay. Both are fun, but serve two different purposes. Jak creating a functioning world, and Mario is for being the pinnacle of platform gaming.

All that to say, Crash is the weird middle experiment between a cohesive world, and pure platforming. It succeeded in the world of 3D by being a 2D game shifted so left and right became forward and back. It would become its own niche, and wear out quickly as the minds of Naughtydog saw, we fans saw with Wrath of Cortex. That’s why Twinsanity, and the Titan series, changed direction.

Twinsanity did show fans that an open world Crash game with a cohesive world is possible. It is a natural evolution, platforming is seamless, and the challenge is an adequate ascension.

Unlike Jak and Daxter, and Mario, getting around in Twinsanity is, most of the time, a one-way street.

Twinsanity is a precursor for a solid foundation of 3D Crash to work from. Lots of fan projects have used it as a template for that fact alone. But one fan game in particular decided to take two steps back, and bring Crash into a highly successful light that may take Crash Bandicoot further than 3D.

Crash N Tense went to 2D and slapped hand drawn art all over it to make Huge Adventure, and N-Tranced blush.

I played through all three levels of their demo and was amazed by the attention to detail. The crouching while holding on to the bars, the little faces he gives jumping, and hanging, and the way Crash and Coco behave during each and every breath is more love than I think the original developers made.

The controls are nearly perfect. In my opinion, the stop mechanics of Crash 2 were crisp, and clean, and Crash 1 had sluggish handling. The controls for N Tense did not hinder the game-play at all, so if they were the final product, it would be an excellent final product.
However jumping gaps as Coco in her kart is a nightmare. The box was extremely small and hard to find to make it perfectly across large and small gaps. I had the most failures there.

Obviously there are many things still in the works so I have no other critiques. Years ago, the games frame rate was colossal slow, and the animations were basic, Metalsonic3 cranked out more blood and sweat and made a flawless cartoon-ish Crash that rivals any Crash conception, and longer level layouts than the original trilogy themselves.

Best of all, this game is free, and it doesn’t take a good laptop to run.

In conclusion I make this same argument for Yooka-Laylee. It was fine as 3D, but the choices made and transition have proven that side-scrolling works in favor, overall. Mario works well in 3D because of how much toil went into making it work. Twinsanity proves Crash can work in 3D, but it only scratched the surface. Linear 3D like the crash trilogy is just side-scrolling from behind. The 2.5D with the trilogy might have been better for Crash, save the running, biking, flying, wave riding levels. This fanmade Crash game is proving just that. 2D Crash is better because of what more it can do. A modern 2D cartoon Crash Bandicoot works exponentially better than a classic Sonic.

Stop Getting Upset at Microtransactions

Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled having microtransactions is a good idea. Change my mind.

What are the arguments I hear from the side that doesn’t like it?

“Kids who are impatient could spend money, and not learn the value of a dollar.”

“Kids could be spending their parents money without consent.”

“It shows how greedy the company is.”

“It takes away the integrity of the game.”

“Gamers will feel the compulsion to play less.”

Here’s another side of the argument that Activision probably takes the side of.


I have a wife, a puppy, and a 40-50 and even sometimes 60 hour job. When I come home, I wanna play a game and relax. Those old games? Their requirements for silly trinkets and extra costumes were absurd, but back in the day when all I had was time, I didn’t think about. And it was a proud mark to bear, since achievements and online flexing didn’t exist yet.

But now if I want Crash to be purple, I don’t have time to play that long to earn it.

Would it be one thing if said purple said made me a better gamer? Gave me an edge, perhaps? Sure! I’ll earn it, then feel good about my enemies seeing my purple kuester in front of them.

But it’s not. It’s just a color swap.

Now Fake Crash, and N. Tropy are nice bragging rights. And they’re still in the game as unlockables; obtainables. So are others. And the adventure mode had a great amount of them.

Theres a great big reason why I’m glad theres a way to earn useless coins, for useless skins. My time is way more precious than my currency.

Almighty Nintendo isn’t even above this. Locking their Mario Run game behind a ten dollar wall, and their rainbow tickets. The entire game is locked behind a big money wall that’s giving Trump a seductive eye.

At least Pokemon Go isn’t that bad, you want coins? WHAT COINS?

You can earn them if you’re good enough to keep your Pokemon in a gym. But that’s an option. An OPTION. Because our parental game figures have many children of huge age differences. Those with time, and those without.

And that’s the crux of my entire point. Time, its precious, and most or us are wasting it. I’m to blame as well at times. Theres no absolute way of spending it, we just have to be careful and figure it out amongst ourselves.

I felt it was worth taking the time to say this. And of you’re right here at this word, thanks for spending yours with me. Maybe it wasn’t a waste, and maybe we can help others be a little wiser.

Anticipation for New Games

Yooka Laylee: The Impossible Lair

This. I thought the first game was okay, what with its massive empty map flaws, but great characters and return to form. But this is the perfect direction for this series. It looks so natural, so pleasing to the genre it’s a part of, and great for the time. I mean, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze has done well and Kirby Star Allies proves not every next gen jump has to be Breath of the Wild or Odyssey.

I am really looking forward to how they implement the other characters, like Kartos, into this dimensional shift, but I’m expecting a great result. This upcoming game seemingly will take all the potential it missed from its first title, and make Yooka Laylee a permanent name in households.

Are you READY KIDS?????

Because I am! Oh man, how I’ve waited for a new Spongebob game. And I’ll overlook the fact that it’s a remake. Toys for Bob have shown that old can be new again and remakes carry new stuff, like the almost released Crash Team Racing.

This is bound to make a lot of people happy. And create a cry for more Spongebob. And I hope THQNordic listens.

Yeah, you heard us, put down that Darksiders for a second, we need more Spongey… SHENANIGANS!

I was late to this party, but I’m just in time to enjoy a new sequel! I like the possibility that we’ll be exploring the old man’s mind, and exploring the Mother Lobe, on a brand new adventure this 2019.

So there’s a couple games I’m looking forward to. And now you know a little of what’s coming out. What have you seen coming out that you’re excited for? You should tell me!

Rip Van Runescape- The World Wakes (my thoughts)

The years of 2012 to 2013 were very pivotal for Jagex, as everyone knows. Especially those who have climbed the hill of Old School or RS3 and prepared their coffin, these years are all too familiar. Unfortunately, for myself, college took such a hard turn and my attention was super focused on life. These years went by, and my computer hardly signed on to the main page.

So, imagine I’m like the modern day version of Rip Van Winkle who slept through a massive Runescape revolution, and woke up on the other side looking at a divided fan-base going, “Why? There was just a graphical update, right?” And the chance to catch up has been long lost. Thankfully, a nice video of the last 15 years popped up recently on the Runescape YouTube channel, and I educated myself and am currently picking up the pieces as I go along, to get back into the know.

Buuuuuuuuuuut I’m still working on it.

In the meantime, I get to provide a unique perspective few Runescape veterans have, and even fewer post online.

When I stopped playing, my last achievements were the quests, Mournings End Pt. 2, and Devious Minds. I felt accomplished, and it felt like a good time to take a break. Years later, all of these wonderful new things kept popping up as I kept an eye on the game. I touched the EoC, watched the cutscene of Saradomin and Zamorak fight behind Lumbridge Castle (without knowledge of Guthix’s edicts), and I rode the Hasslehoff, got the crown, saved the town, and MR. KRAAAAAAAABS!

Sorry, got lost…

With a lot of touch and go, I rememeber the last update I wanted to see first hand was the Player Owned Ports, the best thing I think they ever could have made. But alas, my mere account could not enjoy it; the stats were simply too low. So while I enjoyed what I could see, I pushed the game back, went on, yet making sure I didn’t forget to check in on the game every once in a while.

But then my heart returned after heeding the call of some friends. From the PoS, to now, I didn’t keep in touch, so I’ve missed A LOT. I mean, new Asia themed provinces, more epic quests, new ways to level up the skills, new higher tiered weapons and armor, new metals, new costumes, and a whole trove of new dungeons, where was a guy to begin?

Well for me it was easy: begin where I can!

And that was World Wakes. I was barely able to start it. And even though While Guthix Sleeps, or The Ritual of Mahajarrat, were obvious prequels, I didn’t care! I wanted more glorious questing!

Well no one told me the first three enemies could instantly kill you.

And I learned quickly that EoC wasn’t Legacy fighting anymore.

So I took some time to get my way around the new system, learn the attacks, learn the strategies, look up some guides, and I tried again. It was a cinch, but an unknowing testament to the road ahead. Because after that, came a FREAKING GOD DUNGEON BOSS. People get in raids to fight this guy, and he wants a peace of me?

Runescape Kratos says, “Boi?”

After that fight, a harmless hallway descent down, turns into a huge ascent into lore. Many familiar characters appear, and join the story and lines are drawn almost immediately. Per true Jagex form, you have a say in how to proceed in dialogue, and the people you stand with. As well, puzzles and problem solving rely on you, which has been the crux of every hand crafted tale on Gielnor. While the brutish opponents of Guthix try and smash down the door, you cleverly work some puzzles and the door opens for you. Then a huge moment occurs in which a new line, the battle line, is drawn, and the followers true to their god come and attack.

The four major battles in the storage cells were all intense moments. I took advantage of every break to restock food and potions, and calm my nerves before entering again. Running around while rocks fell, keeping ymself secluded to a corner to avoid dangerous attacks, and ignoring small fry in order to attack magic portals was one thing. But the true enemy of that quest… Was Enakhra.

No matter what, the skill of passing a test always comes down to the individual. I had the guides, but they couldn’t beat her for me. I had to use my own skill, and it was a true challenge. To go against your instincts, and let your health drain, and keep it low tried not only your tenacity, but your butt cheeks. Every clenching moment where her health rose, and mine lowered was another bead of sweat down my forehead. Until finally she ran away like a punk!

And after all that, I still had to watch a saddening cutscene, which sets the online rpg game in motion to change ages.

It’s incredible to say the least, Jagex making humongous lore changes on a large multiplayer online game. Companies add content every day, but I’ve never seen such a bold change such as this. I think the Age change was great, adding galaxy levels of content for them making quest stories bigger and better, and adds possibilities for new dungeons like a Saradomin dungeon, and new lands to make. A personal idea of mine is Sky Land, where we’ll see Aviansie make a come back somehow, and we’ll learn how to get around on this new city, like gnome inventions, or winged dingy boats in the clouds? Who knows, maybe Jagex’ll hear me, maybe not.

As for the Evolution of Combat, I think making an Old School server was a good idea in the end. It hurts to see a divided fan-base, because the intentions behind the new RS3 I think are pure and good.

I’m an adult now. And gooooooooooooone are the days as a kid or a teenager. But once I heard that the new RS3 game introduced double XP weekends, and new ways the train skills faster, I was fully supportive. And I still have an account to go back into Old School and play and enjoy when I have that opportunity. The Old School is great on mobile devices and times when I’m waiting around, and I still will pull it up and grind fishing while working.

But I have to say that hardest thing to get used to was separate content. I’m all for it, it gives me a great reason to play both. But I don’t want it to make the division wider. I want both sides to respect each other and the livelihoods that are allowed to enjoy Runescape at any capacity.

So come on, fellow ‘Scapers, we have our corners, so let’s enjoy it all peacefully. There’s enough Saradominists and Zamorakians in the real world fighting because either is on one end of the spectrum than the other. We need to be more like Guthix and maintain a balance for the good of everyone happily, not begrudgingly.

So anyway, what’s this Kourend I keep hearing about?

Fish “TANKED” Shenanigans

Who doesn’t love a good fish tank? A huge glass box with water, some underwater plants, and colorful aquatic creatures. It’s a combination made for exquisite home design. You can stare at them mindlessly swimming all day, as much as you want! They are super low maintenance, and it’s awesome.

Could you imagine making them for a living? Well Brett and Wayde know what that’s like. They are the stars of the Animal Planet show, Tanked, and they go to ultra rich people and places and make the most extravagant fish tanks ever imagined. I don’t know if it’s going to get me in trouble for posting pictures on the blog here, but here we go:

On top of that, they are funny dudes. From New York, to Las Vegas, they spent many years perfecting their craft and company, and brought the family into it, and now have multiple seasons of a show all over media.

So why am I writing about them?

Well, I got to meet them!

In Lexington, they attended a home and garden convention (so many conventions lately), to showcase themselves. They had a Q and A, and spent some time telling their story to success, and how they landed a TV series. I didn’t get the chance to meet them personally, (unless you count running into Wayde in his hotel as he exits the elevator, then yes!) but I grabbed some pics and will tell you of some of their talk, and future endeavors.

They’re some funny guys, and I and my wife are convinced they are real on and off camera.

Brett explained how they got a television show, despite his father saying he’ll never do it, through his persistence, and his connections, they managed to get off the ground after waiting for a couple of… years. As an artist, that hurt. Imagining your dream being crafted, but then ignored for a couple of years I could feel the hurt when he said he put it away and went on with himself.


But with some connections from college, they became the famous tank builders they are today, and that’s inspiring!

But more importantly, since their show cancellation in December, they have announced “Lifestyle of the Fish and Famous”, they’re YouTube channel coming soon that will be behind the scenes to their works, and how they handle other elements of the job the show didn’t normally see. On top of that they’re talking to a network producer, but keeping any other info close to their chest.

So, if you haven’t watched it, let it be done so! Treat yourself to some great background watching while you read blogs, surf around on Facebook, or play video games.

Museum Shenanigans

Cincinnatti, Ohio is known for being super supportive for the arts. Wood carving, sculpting, painting, the works. Lots of people flock to become known, and to know the bright and beautiful.

Having been there twice now, The Cincinnatti Art Museum is home to three stories of famous art pieces.

I. Love. Going there. I get so inspired by looking at the paintings and seeing peoples and culture from long ago, and not so long ago. The sculptures are always a thrill to look at. It’s unbelievable how one person can perfectly mirror a real person out of rock.

So this will be a short post, because it’s going to contain some poor images from my phone’s camera. I hope you enjoy them!

As a short notice I want to say these are the ones I found inspiring for me, so they may not have an effect on you. I highly encourage you to go look through their halls if you can afford the trip. And if you’re in the area and haven’t gone… What’s wrong with you?

Meeting Authors Shenanigans


(The very famous first word of Beowulf)

If you’ve been looking at my Instagram, I managed to drop a butt-load of photos of people in familiar looking outfits similar to TV shows, Video Games, and Comic Books. What’s the reason for this phenomenon?

Comic Con!

The annual Lexington Comic and Toy Convention for Kentucky rolled around, and I was there, accompanied by my ever-cosplay-loving wife. This is my excuse for why my blog was silent for a couple of weeks. That and I have attained work! You are reading the words of the newest member of Pepsi!

With all of that out of the way, let’s go!

This year I wanted to do something special; spotlighting. There were a myriad of things to see; such is the nature of a convention. Comic books for sale, reasonably priced. Plushy toys, video games from the bygone era, special appearances of actors -on camera and of unique voice-, and independent artists from the area.

Naturally, I thought, “Hey, I’m a blogger, I should… do writer things!” ha ha ha, and I set out to ask some questions, to bring you, the reader, some of the rich ore the Kentucky art vein has to offer.

May I introduce, Ronald R. Van Stockum, Jr.

The face of scientific and fictional brilliance

I had a wonderful chat with Mr. Stockum. He told me about his book, Xortal, a fantastic idea that compelled me to know more.

Afterwards I asked Mr. Stockum some questions:

“What is your favorite movie?”
7th Seal

“Where do you get your inspiration from?”
It just happens. Your imagination compels to make you write.

“How long have you been writing?”
For over 40 years.

“How did you get your start?”
I was a Sentinel news article writer.

“What drives you to write?”
I cannot not do it.

That last one had me thinking, so much so, I almost forgot to be professional and finish the conversation. I wasn’t thinking it was profound; there are many people who live on the right side of the brain. Some live so far right, they have no idea of left. And those people interest me, they live for art, breathe art, and stay in below human conditions while pursuing the genius behind the craft. And with that way of living, they sometimes say things like, “I cannot not write,” like they’re possessed. And that’s sort of how Mr. Stockum came across. And I must admit, I labelled him as such, a total right brained, seeking the art to the point of insanity. I don’t mean that as a bad thing either.

And then…

I began writing this article. I turned in my homework, gathered my materials, and reached for some websites to gain some finer details, when all of a sudden a hidden cache of information appeared. I forgot to add the ‘Jr’ to his title, and found a highly decorated military soldier with the same name. Naturally, I was wrong, but with the date of the man’s birth, and his career, something interesting was forming. Even further on, when I was looking for the right man, I was finding a completely different side to… Dr. Van Stockum.

Dr. Stockum has three degrees in biology, one degree in law, and is a practiced attorney (or former).

Here’s his website:

A man teetering on the edge of a sane mind, AND heavily practiced researcher of science and law? It became apparent that I was looking at an “Ambidextrous Mind”

I am using that title from an article he gave me to look at. With all the pieces together, I see now his love for science and fiction come to life. His series, “Markman’s” takes place in an apocalyptic Kentucky. He gave me a gander at the map for the story…

For your viewing pleasure

And now you have a gander!

It goes without saying he was a very talented writer, with much experience in art and logic to provide a unique storytelling few can offer. If you’re looking for some apocalypse writing, and need to know what it’s like to read from a local Kentucky artist, then I urge you to try this. I certainly am, and I can’t wait to get my copy.