Thursday, 26 July 2012

Craft Containers

The weather has taken a nice turn around recently, so I have taken the chance to go sit in the park and take walks and potter in the garden. The downside of taking walks is this week is that I ended up in a retail park where Hobbycraft lives. As a lot of shops are struggling these days there are sales left right and centre. So I took advantage of this and picked up some storage for my sewing kit and dream catcher making kit.

The purple box in the middle is however a recycled gift box... several years ago I got given a very nice box of bath oils and such. The bath oils are all used up but the box was so pretty and sturdy thay it was kept and is a perfect home for the Dream catcher stuff. The fact thatnit is purple/blue like NiGHTS is a happy accident. :)

Anyway the organising neat freak in me enjoys sorting things out and making sure it is all stored nicley and easy to acess. It has also been a good activity to do that requires little movement in this recent heat spell that in comparison to the weather last week is just a bit too much.

The other upside is that I have started making dream catchers again today as well. Nowe I don't have to root around in a broken draw to get to the materials it encourages use more. :)

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Dreams of NiGHTS

So today 'NiGHTS into dreams...' is sixteen years old and today Sega announced that they were finally releasing a remake of the original in HD no less and with a port of the original Saturn game.

This game was special to me when I was around 15-16, although it is hard to explain exactly why. The simple answer is that is inspired me and held parallels to 'The Dreamstone' something else that I had held dear since I was very young. The complicated answer involves my introduction to games that were more than what I had played before on the BBC or Spectrum and the complicated relationship I had with the person responsible for showing me this five year old Sega Saturn game at the time when the Dreamcast was at it's peak.

Needless to day that this game coincides with a time in my life when nothing was certain other than the feelings I had towards that person and every time I think of this game I think of him. Not in the same way mind you, over a decade later I and he have changed and we have both moved on and gone in very different directions in our lives. As much as that time in my life feels like another lifetime and I look back as though I am looking back at another persons life it doesn't change the fact that this game along with'Ocarina of Time' and 'Sonic Adventure' started a change in my life that would lead to me to where I am today. All of that however is another complicated story and I shall leave at that for fear of rambling.

However I wanted to try and express an inkling of why, when I saw the Tweet leading to Sega's blog post about the HD remake, I was at a loss for words; squeaking in happiness with tears appearing on my cheeks. Yet I guess the reasons and such are only personal to me as I am the one who has lived it, but anyway, as you can guess I am a more than a little happy at the news that I no longer have to coax my failing Saturn into working each Christmas to play NiGHTS and Christmas NiGHTS. :)

It has also given me the opportunity to share something a little personal but also something I was proud of as well, the fan work I created when I was younger with NiGHTS as the subject.

This is a small Flash animation done back sometime in 2000-2001, I can't quite remember after all the computers this file has been transferred from the original Flash file and date have been lost. I was trying to learn the program by myself at home with the help of the previously mentioned partner at the time, to do so I tried to copy and imitate things I was a fan of so therefore knew well to get to grips with the program. This was among the first fully finished attempts at that. To this day I am still quite proud of it. :)

Going back a little further was this series of drawings I did, one of the original NiGHTS and then two other 'Elemental NiGHTS' concepts I did. Then a mash up of Sonic and NiGHTS inspired after playing as Sonic in Christmas NiGHTS. The drawings were done in pencil over the space of probably several weeks in-between classes as college, I was not happy at college when I was 16-17 and I didn't have any close friends there, so lunch breaks etc were spent walking in the woods along a river nearby. I found a clearing with a fallen log and that became my spot where I would go for lunch or lesson breaks. I spent many a sunny afternoon there with my sketchbook drawing, ironically occasionally skipping art classes as I didn't like my tutor or him me! Instead these drawings were among the many I drew back then, scanned in some years ago I fear now that I may have lost the originals.
Original NiGHTS
Water NiGHTS
Sonic NiGHTS
Then there was the image that started it all, when I first started playing NiGHTS was was commuting back and forth London and Brighton, so I had many hours on the train. Again when I was 16 I never went anywhere without my sketch book, the game had made an impression on me and I used to study the manual and box making doodles of the character. This was the first piece of fan art that I did for the game that I finished and as proud of, started on the train and then finished during my exam revision breaks I completed this from memory.

Original NiGHTS Fan Art

Looking at these again certainly brings back memories and a few regrets, as events in my life soon after all this led me to lapse in my drawing. I was working soon after college and along with a new found social life I found I had little time or inkling to draw as much as I used to. Yet it was this inspiration and passion that I had for games that led me to that job and the social life that sprung from that employment, which in turn led me to meet some of my most cherished friends, so I may regret letting my skills lapse I wouldn't change it. :)

Anyway, it is really exciting to finally be able to play the game without as much hassle, and to also be able to pay Sega for it as I missed it the first time around and was only able to play it thanks to eBay. :)

Although I do think the main thanks for this has to go to the community effort behind the NiD15 Campaign and the founder of the NiGHTS into dreams Fansite, Lynne Triplett. Who is a very talented artist and has kept the dream of NiGHTS alive for a very long time and has probably had the biggest influence in getting the game what it deserves a second chance to be played by fans and the those who missed it the first time around.