Letters from Somnolescent

 

April 4, 2022

Winter 2022 – The Final Recap

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What’s this? What’s going on? Why the sudden change? Is Somnolescent falling apart? I bet it is–look, people’s sites are disappearing! Something big is happening. We said it wouldn’t last four months, and hey, three years isn’t too far off–

Grab some wood there, bub. The blog is not going anywhere, nor is the group. This is the final recap in its current form. There’s a very good reason for it, and I think the new arrangement will make my friends in the group, as well as myself (having to write all this…), happier as a result. It’s a good recap though! Lots good happening. Let’s revisit the last three months one last time.


April 3, 2022

The Somnolescent Manifesto, Second Edition

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Today, the new somnolescent.net launches! It’s taken us a couple months, but we all love it here. Far livelier, far cuter, far better matching how we truly are as a group, and far simpler to boot.

With it comes a new manifesto, something I felt everyone should be able to weigh in on rather than the one I wrote in a few evenings back in 2018. While we elected to go with a simpler about page for the moment, I still think the new manifesto deserves a place in the spotlight alongside it. I’ll be looking for a place to link it on the site itself, no worries.

Tags: Somnolescent,

February 23, 2022

2600 Pac-Man: Was it That Bad?

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VCS Pac-Man's attract screen

I’ve recently been really enjoying RetroAchievements. It’s a site where you can unlock Xbox Live-like achievements for older games, provided you’re using a hacked emulator logged into the site. It’s a novel concept, and it’s a nice excuse to dig back into some of my favorite Atari games and try “mastering” (getting all the achievements in) them.

When I covered Racing the Beam on this blog back in 2020, I mentioned one of the games covered in that book being Atari’s Pac-Man. It’s a great tale of disappointment, one of Atari’s programmers given a mere 4K of ROM to produce the flagship game of the 1981 Christmas season. The results were not pretty, and along with E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, became the poster children of the glut of low-quality games being produced at the time and later symbolized the “game burial” in the Sunnyvale desert where Atari famously dumped their excess stock.

Game reviews of VCS Pac-Man often don’t dissect it any further than “it’s ugly and plays like crap and you already knew that”. But how does it play like crap? What are the little details that make it such a below-average port? Is it playable on its own merits, despite how alien it is to the arcade version? That’s what I’m here to discuss. You might want to wear ear protection.


December 25, 2021

Back to Basics: 2021 in Review

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Remember this one?

I couldn’t write a traditional year recap for this year because it just hasn’t been a traditional year for Somnolescent. I can’t lay out four seasons of what we all did together–too much has changed, my mind’s elsewhere, I’m ready to do something different and simpler, right now and next year.

Here’s what we’re doing instead: I’ve gone back through the old recaps, picked one thing per person I liked, and I’ll ramble about it some. Art highlights follow, as always, then I’ll talk about what exactly has changed and what the gameplan for Somnolescent in 2022 is. Less to write, less for you to read.

Oh, and Caby drew my favorite thing in the world for the occasion. Let’s review!


December 21, 2021

How to Reconcile Your Friends at the End of the World

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I often think of Somnolescent as an island, but we’re a rather interconnected bunch. We span the United States through Eastern Europe, and so, what goes on in a big chunk of the world is likely to affect at least one of us. Given the past two years, it goes without saying that Somnolescent didn’t make it out unscathed, though better than most, thankfully.

Though the world’s in a weird, precarious, unstable spot right now, given the 20th marked three years of Somnolescent (I wasn’t able to get this done in time, but I started it in time at least…), I figured I would write about a bit of an epiphany I had, and something of a silver lining while everyone heals: how social stress can cause good friendships to sour, and how pushing forward with that in mind can help mitigate the damage.

Tags: Somnolescent,

November 20, 2021

Hiraeth

caby

Hi! Bet you forgot this blog even existed. I personally haven’t posted on here in a long, long time. But I had a bit of a rant about a word, and I think it deserves a spot on the blog.

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