Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Textmode art roundup: Bloom County

In 2015, after bumbling around in a retirement exile of irrelevance for decades, we saw a return to the limelight. No, I'm not talking about ANSI art, but rather Berke Breathed's comic strip Bloom County -- which began way back in 1980 (I pre-date it only by one year, but it kept pace with me in my upbringing by eg. wallpapering the halls of my local campus radio station) as a kind of college paper Doonesbury clone (Doonesbury, now there's a comic that has never been ANSIfied, I'll bet!) (hm, I just lost that bet!) and basically kept pace with the '80s step for step, closing up shop in 1989, only to string along readers through the increasingly Bloomier "Outland" spin-off from 1989 through 1995. It saw a Sundays-only revival as "Opus" in papers from 2003-2008, so really, as it went directly from Bloom County to Outland and then gave it a rest for eight years between 1995 and 2003, now we're coming out of a second, 7-year hiatus.

Due to timing, the golden age of ANSI art was just beginning to ramp up as the strip was petering out. ACiD founder RaDMaN reports: "Bloom County (Bill the Cat and Opus), Snoopy, and the FidoNet dog were some of the first ASCII art characters I recall ever seeing in commonplace usage on public domain bulletin boards. They were all small scale line-drawn ASCII, typically no taller than 6-7 lines" -- this would have been in the late '80s and very early '90s, perhaps looking something like

_   /|
\'o.O'
=(_._)=
  |U|
 /  |
//|  \
Even though Bloom County was on its way out, its silly subjects, sassy attitude and iconic animal characters (with limited newsprint palettes) all combined to make the strip a frequent subject of underground ANSI art conversion -- in my estimation in the top 5* of "toon" ANSI subjects following the winner by a huge margin Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes (possibly the most ANSIfied character of all time? We could easily run an "ANSI Calvin of the Day" feature for several years running without any repeats), Steve Purcell's Sam & Max -- Freelance Police (and hm, if Earthworm Jim counts I may have to revise my stats), Warner Bros.' the Animaniacs, and Jeff Smith's Bone.

It's curious -- while the strip was popular in the newspapers for its time, it was by no means a success on the level of The Far Side or Garfield (or probably even Dilbert)... all of whom get represented in ANSI form also, only not with as great frequency. Maybe their respective art styles made them poor candidates for ANSI conversion, or maybe there was more of an ideological mismatch between the status quo funny pages and the grim elitism of the digital underground. One can only speculate as to why some properties successfully made the leap across mediums and others did not! But please, no further speculation. Without further ado, here's an ANSI art gallery of Bloom County characters rendered in textmode art -- taking as its point of departure an AOTD (ANSI of the Day) post from the 16 Colours Facebook group, which found itself topped up in the comments section. I've decided to devote a blog post to the topic so I don't need to keep "bump"ing a dead thread every time I find a new one. Instead I can just make amendments and additions here, the Internet's newest comprehensive source on Bloom County textmode art.

We begin with a short but sweet piece from my own artgroup Mistigris, a representative from our 1094 collection (our debut!) by Inquisitor, who quickly decamped with his pal Pestilence to Integrity. This is of course Opus the penguin, illustrating BBS menu options and freaking out. As the star of the strip, he's also the subject of the lion's share of the Bloom County ANSIs, so we'll open with a number of takes on his avian visage.

Update, a few totally PD (Public Domain) pieces recent research has uncovered: A situationally elaborate scene, deftly rendered in small scale by EE (update: which is, duh, of course short for PD ANSI legend "Ebony Eyes") in 1990:
And a variation on that theme by the same artist in the same year. I can't really explain it.
OK, time for an ASCII break -- hjw catches the subject straight-on:
                                  ,-.-.
                                .'  |  `.
                              .'    |    `.
                             (      |      )
                             .\    OIO    /.
                             | `..' : `.,' |
                            /   /   :   \   \
                          .'  .'    :    `.  `.
                          `._(             )_.'
                             |`---.   .---'|
                             | _   `-'     |  _
                             J| `--..___..-+-' |
                            / |     _[_]_      |
                           /  |_.--'     `---._|
                          /     .-"""""-.    \
                              .'         `.    hjw
This is some kind of threat, as best as I can tell -- an ANSI animation, effected with the help of some GIF2ANS-style automatic conversion utility. I don't see the need for such mean-spiritedness... we would see such excesses visited upon Barney the Dinosaur (textually) and "America's Funniest Home Videos" host Bob Saget, but those frustrated urges are understandable and perhaps even justified... now just what has Opus done to deserve it, though?
This is probably just about as small as an ANSI Opus can get and still remain recognizable.
... though Grampa Phoenix gives him a run for his money. Strangely, ASCII often trumps ANSI at the smallest-scale levels for fine detail:
      (\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)
      (\)77777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777(\)
      (\)MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM'aa.a@."`"m. `MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM(\)
      (\)77777777777777777777777 a@@@@@@@a    "m `777777777777777(\)
      (\)MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM @@@@@@@@@@@     "m MMMMMMMMMMMMMM(\)
      (\)777777777777777777777 @@""@@""@@@@      # 77777777777777(\)
      (\)MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM @@ '@@ '@@@       # MMMMMMMMMMMMMM(\)
      (\)777777777'oOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO @mm@@'      # ,77777777777777(\)
      (\)MMMMMMM'oOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo"@@'@      # MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM(\)
      (\)77777'oOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo`o@@    # ,777777777777777(\)
      (\)MMM'oO''OOOOO''OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO@@@|   # MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM(\)
      (\)77.OOooOOOOOooOOOOOOOOO''O _  `@@@  m## 7777777777777777(\)
      (\)MMM,`OOOOOOOOOOOOOO'',MM Oo..o@@";m###' MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM(\)
      (\)77777,`OOOOOOOO'.;777777 ##.##,mmmmm#'| 7777777777777777(\)
      (\)MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmMMMMMMMM ##' `######''#| MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM(\)
      (\)7777777777777777777777',#' mMm."#"   `# 7777777777777777(\)
      (\)MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM7.' '  ##   '      # MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM(\)
      (\)777777777777777777777  Grampa Phoenix  77777777777771907(\)
      (\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)(\)
Drew Olbrich, you have made a gaffe: it is Bill the Cat who says "Ack!", not Opus the penguin!
Merry Christmas! (I have a related project underway, but you'll hear more about it when it's ready.) Here an unshaded Opus is demonstrating his retro cred by interacting with something called a ... "land-line"? Can that be? But it's wireless! The picture is by Sub-ZeroX of Mind, from their August 1994 pack. The flat style is a bit of a throwback by 1994 standards.
And another Christmas piece, this Public Domain work (originally attributed to a "Mike Martell"? but I think he may have gotten it from Ebony Eyes) is likely the oldest of all represented here, perhaps even dating far enough back to a period when Bloom County was still in the papers! ... it just has "TheDraw" written all over it:
Bonus! One further Christmas Opus by RadioIsotope of GRiM! (Nothing could be less grim than this cuddly rendition!)
Who am I kidding -- here's another bonus Christmas Opus (with a mini Bill on standby) by Halaster of Fire!
The first of many from Nosegos of Fire, he lays a bit more texture (and, y'know, our first genuine background) on Opus in their March 1997 artpack.
Speaking of texture, here we have a coloured ASCII rendition of Opus by Zempf of Blade, dating to sometime in 1997. (Coloured ASCII -- neither ASCII nor ANSI. But it can be devilishly effective!)
Back to the background-less voids of 1994, but Ktulu (no relation) has at least found a highly compelling situation in which Opus seems to have gotten himself somehow mixed-up in. (It never fails to remind me of this one, but though I can't imagine that image coming from any source external to Bloom County, I also cannot associate it with any of the strip's events. Of course, a keener could take advantages of trade paperbacks and online comic strip archives to attach every one of these ANSIs to a source panel and the original date it appeared in newspapers! But that's going in a bit deep, even for me -- and that's saying something!) This was released in the February 1994 Relic artpack.
And another Opus -- a dissolving cyber bust of him, anyhow, by the impressively-named Cybernary, out of the January 1994 artpack by the totally forgotten (and apparently not living up to its name) Eternity.
Here's an Opus who gets to shed his neuroses briefly and enjoy a bit of the '80s good life, by the G-Man of Tribe from way back in 1993:
Finally, a piece that taps into the cartoon creature's 'toonish inner essence! (The tongue is a dead giveaway.) This is by a master of the style, Napalm, flag-bearer for the perennial number-3 group CiA. You may have noticed that it looks wider than the other pieces and that observation would be right-on -- this was saved as a .BIN, a peculiar file format typically employed to present double-width ANSIs in artpacks (and with no application on BBSes whatsoever, confined to an 80-column layout 8)
And another ASCII portrait of Opus, this uncoloured one by The Illusionist of Blade, from their February 1997 artpack. Bleah! (Not a judgement call -- just the sound effect associated with another tongue sticking out. Did You Know... Erik Larsen (of "Savage Dragon" fame), piqued at having to illustrate a character who he considered to be ridiculous -- Spider-Man's symbiote-suit gone wild, Venom (a product of the empty imagination of Spawn creator Todd Mcfarlane) -- held his nose and compromised by illustrating the character, but giving him a sinister dangling tongue and spatters of drool. This detail has since been adopted as canon and reproduced by many an artist in his wake! But I digress.)
Now where have I seen that penguin tongue before? (Actually, the proportions are so similar I might suspect one of tracing the other...) Here, Demon Death of Tribe presents both Opus AND Bill, his Garfield-knockoff feline companion. (note their screen saver). Like Animal in Dr. Teeth's Electric Mayhem, Bill D. Cat is the variety spice that's such a standout it really takes centre stage from an ensemble cast (even when the writers haven't noticed yet, like those agonizing first few seasons of the Simpsons where Bart, and not Homer, was the comic driver of the show.)
Another PD artefact, lovingly pored over -- yet another appearance by Ebony Eyes in 1990, echoing but not reproducing the tableau depicted above:
And a bit of UseNet ASCII by Karen A., this one commemorating Bill & Opus' 1988 presidential campaign:
                                    _______________________
                                   !_______________________!
                                   !                       !
                                   !  Bill & Opus in '88   !
                 .     .    . . ___!_______________________!____
       .        .    .  .      (________________________________)
  ___     .    .    . .    ___          / /         \ \
  `-_--__  .  . ___ -  __--_-'         ! !           ! !
    `-_  ---_ ./   \_--  _-'           ! !     !     ! !
      `--_ /o\|  O  | __-'.  .         ! !  _0/ \0_  ! !
        __-\_/\--__/_-                 \  \/       \/  /
   . . /     \/      \  . . .           ! /         \ !
 .   | .'.  |    .`..|.      .         / /           \ \
      .\_____/\______/   .             \(             )/
    .        |##|.^.                     \   "   "   /
  .          |##||  .                     \         /
             |##||                        /\_______/\
             |##|| .                     /   !   !   \
            / / ||:..                   /  __!   !__  \
           | | /  |                    /  !  \\_//  !  \
           | ' |  |                   /   ! \_!-!_/ !   \
          / \_/    |                 !  / ! / !_! \ ! \  !
      ___!__________!________________!_!__!__/___\__!__!_!___
     !                                                       !
     !                                                       !
     !                      W H I T E                        !
     !                                                       !
     !                      H O U S E                        !
     !                                                       !
     !                         O R                           !
     !                                                       !
     !                       B U S T                         !
     !                                                       !
     !                                                       !
     !______________________________ ________________________!

COUNTY88.TXT 60 lines/80 columns/7-bit ASC   Karen A.
Intended for public distribution -- not intended for resale.
And a return appearance from Ktulu of Relic, this piece showing Opus & Bill from their January 1994 artpack. Bonus points for Berke Breathed's surreal landscapes -- this looks more like the Dali-esque Outland than Bloom County, but the dandelion patch belongs canonically to Bloom County... and was indeed the very setting for the first installment of the strip's current revival! (Opus 'n Bill became a regular Batman & Robin power couple in the funny pages -- and became grist for a legal battle when leaping across the digital divide in 1993 and were heavily penalized for going on a screensaver hunting expedition against After Dark's famous flying toasters (themselves plagiarising album artwork from Jefferson Starship's 1973 "Thirty Seconds Over Winterland". I only knew about it as one of the few non-game pieces of software I keenly warez'd back in the day, unaware that very soon obtaining the product by legitimate commercial means would become impossible! I'm glad to see from the YouTube clips that someone hung on to their copy, because I've been trying to dig a copy of it it up again for literally decades, and the only references I could locate were to legal records 8)
OK, where were we? Yes, Ktulu of Relic just can't resist drawing Bill D. Cat snorting dandelions (somehow resist sharing anecdote about John K. working under Ralph Bakshi putting Mighty Mouse snorting cocaine in the Saturday morning cartoons) as though they're going out of style. (Most artists would never draw a Bloom County character, but of those who did -- it seems they would often make repeat visits.) This looks like interface artwork for an e-mag, but I found it in Relic's April 1994 artpack.
We've got an ASCII portrait of Bill...
From: [a--k] at [cscihp.UUCP] (Andy Santoro)

 <------- ____
  &&&    /    \  __ _____,
    `-- |  o   \'  `  &&/
       `|      | o  },-'
         \____( )__/
         ,'    \'   \
 /~~~~~~|.      |   .}~~~\
  ,-----( .     |   .}--.
        | .    /\___/
         `----^,\ \
                \_/  ACK!!
                        PHFT!!
This greyscale freehand effort by Lagomorph of CiA (hm, advertising his own BBS -- classy!) makes Bill D. Cat look almost like a Calvin Klein underwear model. (Er, sans underwear.)
There are more Bills, a popular subject in the PD set -- each more wretched than the last!: IC in 1991 focuses on his spray of spittle...
Other artists emphasize the whiskers...
Three for three they're wearing hats here. What's that all about?
More a sketch than anything, but the intent remains clear:
Here's another ASCII take, appropriately messy:
   \   \  /
            \ /               \  / /
           / \\  /----------\______________
             /---|           |      ___--/
 ------------| . |  .       /____---__/
  \---_______\__/=\--------/____----
    \--/        ===          \
      /           /           \  --\
\  /--|---        |         \ |     \
 \/    \--_____--/ \--_____--/
 /    /   /  ||       ||       \
         /   ||       || \  \   \
        /  / ||/--|--\||  \
             |/   |   \|   \
         /    |       |
               \_____
And while not strictly speaking textmode art (c'mon, the resolution is low enough that it should get an honourary pass), if you look in the bottom right corner of this 1986 C64 utility's start screen, you will see that an artist identifying as Bill The Cat has represented themselves with a very tiny self-portrait:
And that's it for Opus 'n Bill. But still there are more ANSIfications of the strip's second-stringers: here Lagomorph of CiA returns to the well with this 1995 depiction of computer prodigy Oliver Wendell Jones (and a peculiar negative-space font):
And here's another Oliver, this one from Sub-ZeroX in Mind's August 1994 artpack. The shading on his above portrait was a curiosity, of its time, but this rendition is just flat colours with no attempt at shading at all!:
Oliver, in his native element with his Banana Junior, drawn by Metal Head of ICE:
And our most minimalist Oliver of all, MH of iCE squeezes in both him and his Banana Junior computer. Could Oliver be the first comic strip character to share our interests and hobbies, the first hacker hero of the funny pages, predating Jason from Foxtrot? (As for Dilbert, there are no heroes to be found there, only victims and villains.)
One final Oliver, rendered in TTY-style ASCII art -- this would have been intended for display via dot matrix printout, likely hung up as a kind of banner. (It used some kind of tabs system that prevented its re-posting accurately, so please accept this screen capture in its place:)
I'll briefly dip into total obscurity here with a brutally outsider-styled rendition of an alien Zygorthian from the comic strip (elsewhere shown as telepathic puppy dogs) drawn by Phorce Phed and released in the March 1994 artpack by Leper Society. Some people curate for awesomeness and beauty -- I just try to achieve a comprehensive survey. (But I drew the line at machine-generated ASCII.)
Upping the aesthetic ante a bit, we zip ahead to Fire's October 1996 artpack, and a pair of pieces again by Nosegos, featuring a family's new dog from the post-Bloom-County strip Outland.
Nosegos revisits Outland again in this bit from Fire's February 1997 artpack, a visit to that strip's bizarre "Who Plugged Mortimer Mouse?!" storyline. Hard to see how Breathed got away with it then (not just got away with it, but went on to make a (bomb) movie -- Mars Needs Moms -- with Disney), but something like that slipping through the nets and ending up in hundreds of thousands of newspapers today seems almost unimaginable. Thanks to the Sonny Bono copyright extension act, Mickey was probably closer to achieving the sweet release of public domain status then than he is now! But I digress.
And here's another ASCII from Zempf of Blade, a monochrome 1997 rendition of Milquetoast the cockroach -- a character introduced in Bloom County but who figured much more prominently in Outland, drawn here for the first (and, as far as we can tell, the last) time:
. And Sub-ZeroX weighs in with another entry as well, the only picture on record of Milo Bloom, the Mary Sue after whom the strip is named, released in Mind's August 1994 artpack:
And one more appearance by Napalm of CiA, of the unforgettable Bloom County character Rosebud the Basselope:
Though there are many other characters from Bloom County, our best efforts were unable to yield any returns for human-drawn pictures of Steve Dallas, Cutter John, Michael Binkley, Hodge-Podge, or Portnoy. But what, isn't this enough Bloom County ANSI for you? The big question is: how long will it be for strip panels from its new 2015 run to become ANSIfied?

* You may be thinking -- forty pictures of something gets it enshrined in the top 5 of all time list? Undoubtedly there are more Bloom County characters ANSIfied out there and hiding in the sixteencolors archive in plain view, but due to the primitive attribution and metadata we have to work with, these are just the pieces that floated to the surface when the total database was queried for related terms present in plaintext.

Bonus! Through your patience and devotion, the long tail has delivered to us a prime piece of peak Bloominalia, Bill D. Catt at his Cattiest, drawn by Hoaks of iCE in May of 1994. Enjoy!

And one more -- not an ANSI, but a piece of RIPscrip vector art, also intended for transmission over modem -- an Opus vs. "After Dark" Flying Toaster (cf. that screen saver I alluded to but never elaborated on) by John Kwasnick!

Friday, 13 November 2015

Video game textmode art part 20 - MIST1015, the Mistigris 21st anniversary artpack!

Long time no post! I've been tied up -- you may have seen hints of the activity in previous posts: rather than interpreting and reminiscing about then-current, now-retro artifacts of technological creative expression, I've been occupied reviving (if temporarily) historical computer art practices, culminating in the Hallowe'en 2015 release of an artpack -- commemorating 21 years since the inaugural artpack release of my BBS scene artgroup Mistigris. If you like, you can download the whole shebang (warning: 200+ megs) or you can browse a gallery of its sights and sounds right in the comfort of your web browser. (For the elevator pitch, here is our video promo clip.)

That was MIST1015, our now-annual collection of new work. But also you probably have caught me yapping about MIST2000, a different collection dating from the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end, a compilation of unreleased works circa 1998-2000, still hidden (but not for too much longer) behind a devious series of puzzles. In today's installment of video game textmode art theatre, which will be showing you sights from MIST1015 (which contained game-related visual artwork, but no game-related music), we'll be opening with a musical selection from MIST2000 (which contained game-related music, but no game-related visual artwork.) Regular readers of this series have been in a situation to already have enjoyed exclusive leaks of two of the gamey tunes that ended up in MIST2000, so here's a third at the start of this post (no, the start was two paragraphs ago!) and a fourth at the bottom:

In the '90s, I was obsessed with a .MOD named "uralvolga fine" by a (now-deceased) Amiga composer named Bruno. The song distinguished itself by eschewing the easy and obvious approach of making computer music that sounded like computer music -- techno, if you will -- and instead making it sound like an Old Country folk orchestra. Due to my perverse tendencies, this electrified me, instilling a curious notion in my head that what I was hearing was klezmer and I ended up making three inferior derivatives of it using his instrument samples: the first was bluntly entitled "uralvolga harsh", the second my demoparty-rejected "In The Old Country... We Make Techno Like THIS!" (whose sampled vinyl noise fooled my father, who should have known better) ... and then there was this song. My "Hello, World" on musical instruments is to try playing the Bubble Bobble theme song on them. And so here we have an arrangement of it on samples of old-style instruments.

Moving right along to the main attraction -- a long-dormant ANSI by Happyfish once and again of Mistigris, dusted off and finished on a whim back in May, then submitted for competition at the NVScene demoparty where it placed ... last. (The last time Happyfish entered an ANSI competition at a demoparty, she came in first place! But Blocktronics did not yet exist at that time.)

I know, I know, you're thinking "I believe you promised me some video game ANSI art, or was that a deceptive lure to trick me into reading your memoirs?" OK, here it is -- Loom fan-art. (Fittingly situated following a musical opening, integrating so extensively with music as that game does.) It opens with the game's first draft, "Open", as cast by seagulls on a shoreside clam. Then we have Master Goodmold of Crystalgard, dissolving into a blue night sky (Loom: candidate for best use of the EGA palette of all time? Making it also eminently well-suited for ANSIfication, despite this being the only such specimen of its kind known.) Then we have protagonist Bobbin Threadbare, holding Elder Atropos' distaff, playing a "D" -- the second note, correctly coloured (which I verified! And consistent with her note-name colouration at the above clam, leading me to assume that they are all assigned their correct colours!) (And though they are are depicted in the ANSI, sharps and flats are off the menu in the game, which utilises only the "white keys" in the C major scale. Nerdy digression -- and considering the context, that's really saying something -- concluded.) Trivia: concealed in this piece in black-on-black is a conversation between Happyfish and myself regarding depiction of what really lies beneath Bobbin's Orko-ish hood.

(She really does have a tattoo like Goodmold's!)

The whole thing that got the ball rolling with Happyfish wrapping up her dusty and forgotten Loom piece (discontinued circa 1998) was my asking her if she remembered working on an unfinished Star Control 2 fan ANSI I'd tried and failed to engage other artists in sorting out around the Mistigris World Tour period (the first half of 1997.) Turns out she still had it, stirring interest in firing up the ANSI lobe of her brain, but put that lobe to work on a different unfinished piece, giving us the awesome Loom ANSI we have just enjoyed. I shopped the Star Control 2 piece around to the current ANSI masters of Blocktronics, but didn't get any bites. Finally, while mentioning it to VileR, a recently-discovered ANSI artists and retro game freak hiding out in plain sight, he noted that he, also, had a Star Control 2 ANSI: "Pretty sure I posted it a few years ago on the Ur-Quan Masters board as an April Fools prank with the premise that UQM now supports ANSI output. Can't recall if anyone fell for it" Such detail! He successfully reduces a 640x480 screen to an effective resolution of 80x50 -- yes, using the unusual 50-line mode I always employed in Telemate to facilitate multitasking by doubling the effective screen real estate (these are the kinds of tricks you will need to resort to if you want to run an underground computer art group in 1995) -- and yet I can still see clearly that his fleet complement consists of three Spathi Eluders, two Earthling Cruisers, a Pkunk Fury, a Chenjesu Broodhome, and ... let's call that an Utwig Jugger in the bottom right. This Thraddash is an unmitigated masterpiece of minimalism, is what it is. Getting it to display in the extraordinary 50-line mode correctly in Pablo and at textmod.es was a pain using SAUCE in ANSIs, so here's an updated version, more true to itself, in ACiD's fortified ANSI format known as XBin.

This humble prank is however only the tip of the iceberg for VileR, whose monumental ANSI works will resume following a(nother) brief detour away from ANSI. Also making a formidable representation in MIST1015 was the artist known as Vordreque, formerly dvandenberg of ACiD. While he did submit a piece of ANSI art, it is non-game-related and hence falls outside the scope of this series... however, he did also contribute a few pieces of music and related promotional high-resolution imagery from a collection of synthwave songs he dubbed "Arcade Summer". Arcades, now those have a hook! Here he presents a simulated mall of the simulated 1980s, including within it simulated video game arcade cabinets entitled "Pegger" and, recursively, "Arcade Summer".
Malls are already kind of uncanny, so that helps in leapfrogging the uncanny valley. KLOV lists no known games by the somewhat lewd name of "Pegger", and what is up on its screen appears to be Stern's 1980 arcade hit Berzerk... which uses a lot fewer buttons than are present on these cabs! (The screen on the "Arcade Summer" cabinet, on the other hand, appears to be displaying another view of the same scene... raising the unanswerable question of the mise en abyme, whether the Arcade Summer arcade cabinet inside of this Arcade Summer arcade cabinet also shows Arcade Summer... what is visible on its screen-within-a-screen, or if it's blinding video feedback all the way down... and, of course, what happens to the hypothetical player at the Arcade Summer cabinet when they move the joystick, and whether that influences the actions of the player in his game. But I digress!

Back to ANSI, everyone! (Cracks whip.) VileR's modus operandi appears to be making ANSI cover art for "the DOS collection" -- I don't know anything about anything, but if I had to speculate I'd guess that these are (annual?) historical collections of MS-DOS software. We begin with number 8 -- he has a picture for 7, but without any game subject, just some floppy diskettes. Here we get both -- disks (each variety -- 3.5 inch, 5.25 inch -- filling in for the appropriately-shaped vowel, well played!) and a delightful Cacodaemon from Doom chomping down on the logo, yum yum!

For the 9th instalment of the collection, the cover model has now turned into the Ghost Pirate LeChuck(tm), in front of some clouds with insanely wonderful colour schemes! (I know, not a lot to say about these, but the pictures really are worth a thousand words.)

Collection number 10 is where things get busy, VileR begging not to be compared to the similarly referentially-dense works by Reset Survivor such as we have seen previously. After a jarring Windows 10 fake-out (there have been many generations of Windows -- nearly all of them -- between the heyday of ANSI art and today), we have several layers of platforms populated by game characters. On top there are characters from Round 42 and Lode Runner, then the next later down we see Worms and Lemmings... downward there is Digger and the (itself Pac-man-ish) cherry Digger seeks, and finally at the wheel is Max Damage of Carmageddon fame.

All in all, VileR had a humdinger of an ANSI art scene debut in this pack. (And when he drops his "ANSI from Hell" the likes of which haven't been seen since 1984, jaws are going to hit the floor.) But for this post, we'll be ending where we began -- with Happyfish, and another song. After getting Bobbin Threadbare in the can, she still had a little momentum carring her forward into the realm of coloured blocks, and told me that next, she was going to draw an ANSI of her favorite podcast. Uhh... synaesthesia much? But it turns out that what she was talking about was the zombie apocalypse exercise audiogame, "Zombies, Run!" (written by, among others, the criminally underrated Choice of Games author Gavin Inglis) ... and so the way to illustrate such an experience could handily be boiled down to reproducing the icon associated with its app. (ANSI app icons for demade smartphones? Why not?)
OK, I've got one more song for you, but before we go, I need to let my local readers know that very soon I'm hosting another one of my vintage games parties -- not this weekend but the next, Nov 21st. Beating the scope of the machines back, we've pushed our earliest generation of vintage games on tap from SNES to NES to Atari 2600, which this time will hopefully be joined by a ColecoVision. As always, there are plenty of PS1 / PS2 / Xbox original games, and we'll see if we can't perform a little Game Boy Advance surgery and get Pac-Man Vs. underway on the big screen! Please contact me if you need further details!

And now, our final artefact in today's gallery -- a rare work by the accomplished musician (and occasional ANSI artist himself) Haquisaq (formerly AKA Handiboy, now known as the chip wizard bryface) from the hazy period after Mistigris closed up shop. The track is a remix of music from Double Dragon -- a fitting counterpart to our Bubble Bobble opening, the latter a game that cannot be truly won without a second player, the former a game that forces two winning players to fight each other to the death. On that happy note -- enjoy! Cheers and hope to be reporting on more of this great weird old stuff soon. Hope you liked MIST1015! We'll start accepting submissions for MIST1016 any time now, so start thinking about what you might cook up 8)