Father Figures: Fly By

Nathan Levesque

“I never knew just how fast it would all fly by.

Below is a picture of my two children this time last year. I just sat in a chair and silently observed their playful interaction. I took this picture because for the first time in my life I realized just how fast everything goes.

My son was going to start kindergarten in just a couple of months. Like holy moly!

Nothing will ever prepare you for the speed each day goes past, but every once in a while just observe and enjoy the beauty that is being a father surrounds you with.”

– Nathan Levesque

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Father Figures: My Hero

“This is my husband, Jesse, and our son, 24 hours after getting off ECMO from his heart surgery.

Our son is 5 months old and almost went into cardiac arrest two days after surgery and was placed on life support. Jesse has always pushed himself to be the best father, husband, and father figure.

He took care of me while I was battling Stage 4 Non Hodgkins Lymphoma our first year of marriage and now he is providing love and strength for our son in our third year of marriage. The obstacles that have been thrown his way have only made him love harder.

Our son is still fighting but getting stronger every day, and hearing his father’s voice, I believe, has been pushing him to get better. He is full of strength and love and deserves to be recognized for everything he has done and continues to do.

He’s my hero.

To all the good dads doing amazing things for their families, Jesse is right there with you.”

– Kirsten Boyer

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Giant Ape Finally Gets a Shot At Giant Lizard in Godzilla vs. Kong Trailer

King Kong vs Godzilla Trailer

With all of the real-world hullabaloo over the past few months, you may have forgotten that there is a Godzilla extended universe out there.

The modern-day Monsterverse started with Garth Edwards’ new Godzilla movie back in 2014, then there was Skull Island, featuring King Kong, which was a prequel that used a post-credits stinger to reveal its connection to the Godzilla movie, which got a sequel in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In that one, the big lizard fought classic enemies Rodan, Mothra, and Ghidora, but now he’s facing his most formidable foe, the giant ape himself.

The two king monsters are coming head to head in the forthcoming Godzilla vs. Kong, directed by Adam Wingard (The Guest), in which Kong looks like the child-befriending gentle giant good guy, and the quiet, angry Godzilla is having none of it. The two go head to head while the almost-incidental humans in the story (including Alexander Skarsgaard, Rebecca Hall, and Coach Taylor) seek to uncover ancient mysteries surrounding the two behemoths.

I’m not convinced the pair won’t eventually team up to fight some larger foe, but there’s no real hint of that in the trailer, which focuses on their no-holds-barred brawl.

Check it out:

After Help From Mark Cuban, Delonte West Works at Rehab Facility He Attended

Delonte West Working at Rehab
(Twitter/MarkCuban)

It’s one of the more uplifting stories from the sports world in the past year. Former NBA guard Delonte West had hit rock bottom with substance abuse and bipolar disorder in the fall, and photos of him looking disheveled, out of sorts, and living on the streets quickly made the rounds on social media. That’s when Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban picked him up from a gas station, took him to a hotel, and started his path to rehab.

Cuban shared an earlier update of his progress, and there’s an even happier update, as Delonte West now has a job, working at the same rehab facility that he checked into in the fall.

Cuban stays in close contact with West and with his mother, who he helped reunite with Delonte.

Honestly, it’s incredible to see Delonte West looking healthy and happy again, after where he was, and to even see him on a basketball court again. He was an incredible player in college at St. Joe’s and had a promising start to his NBA career, and it was such a bummer to see what had happened to him.

He played for Mark Cuban for one season. He played for many owners during his NBA career. Only one went to extraordinary lengths to help save him from disaster and get him on the road to recovery. Only one went to pick him up personally from a gas station. But it’s the type of Good News we need more of in 2021, as West begins working to help those in the same shoes he wore in the fall.

Dad Turns To Twitter for Prosthetic for Ballet-Loving Daughter

Ballerina Pollyanna Hope dances with a prosthetic foot
(Twitter/Christopher Hope)

When she was just a tot, Pollyanna Hope lost not only her grandmother to a freak bus accident in south London — she lost her own leg below the knee. While the accident hasn’t stopped the now 15-year-old from pursuing her dance dreams, she wants to trade in her running blade for something more graceful… which is where father Christopher Hope comes in.

The U.K. dad recently called out for help on Twitter for someone to “make our 15yo amputee daughter a prosthetic leg with the foot fixed in the pointe shape so she can do pointe work on it.” The appeal has been retweeted more than 3,000 times and counting, racking up nearly 6,000 hearts and more than 300,000 views.

The tweet received heartwarming responses and encouraging feedback, as well, with several people offering suggestions for the Hopes.

Many of the responses included references to a prosthetic limb designed by Pratt Institute graduate Jae-Hyun An. The relatively lightweight, carbon-fiber Marie-T allows amputee ballerinas to dance en pointe.

“In my research I came across Viktoria Modesta and she re-interpreted performance with her prosthetics,” An told Dezeen in 2018. “It was visually so powerful and opened a completely new area of prosthetics for me. I fell in love with the idea of designing something that could expand the artistic and cultural scene of a community with prosthetic users.”

Since the accident 13 years ago, Pollyanna has had no fewer than 21 operations and 20 prosthetic legs, including a “demi-pointe” foot by engineer Yusuf Mohammed in 2018, but Christopher said it became too heavy.

Whatever happens, the positive feedback has at least helped to restore his faith in humanity… or social media, at least.

“Social media gets quite a bad rep,” but the reaction to his plea has shown Christopher and Pollyanna “that there are actually really nice people out there who want to help.”

Watch Pollyanna’s beautiful pirouettes below:

A Cancelled PS1 Game Was Finished by Its Developer More Than 20 Years Later

Magic Castle Completed PS1 Game
(YouTube/PIROWO)

Usually, when a video game is canceled, that’s the end of it.  Kaput.  Finito.  With the rise of homebrew consoles and games though, the idea of something being “canceled” doesn’t really exist anymore.  Most recently, we saw footage of an unfinished Simpsons game for the Sega Dreamcast that was discovered on a broken developers kit, and an unreleased WorkBoy Game Boy add-on that was thought to be a mere myth was discovered and play tested.

Magic Castle PS1 Game
(Kaiga)

Now, we can add a canceled Playstation game called ‘Magic Castle’ to that growing list of long, lost gaming history that continues to pop up.  The cool thing is, you can go and play it right now if you want.

Developed by Keiichi Matsunami & PIROWO using a Sony approved homebrew development kit called Net Yaroze, they were finally able to complete the game they started back in 1997.  Magic Castle is described as being a fantasy action-RPG with the main objective to “grow your character and ultimately get the illusionary treasure.”  It features four different character types (Knight, Magician, Archer, & Fighter) to choose from and a four-player co-op.  If this game had released back in the PS1 era, you would have had to have bought that Playstation Multitap add-on (which I never did own as a kid) to be able to play with four players.  There’s even the option while you’re playing to drop unused equipment and items on the ground Diablo-style, so you can give them to your teammates.

According to the developer interview on NetYaroze-Europe, production on Magic Castle began back in 1997, with development lasting around eight months.  Incomplete, but with the “concept of the game fully expressed” it was unsuccessfully pitched to several publishers in 1998. However, PIROWO was able to track down the source code for Magic Castle and finish what they started.

While this type of game is pretty common nowadays, if you’re curious to play something that was never released, Magic Castle is available to download here and recommended for use on a Playstation emulator.  I’m gonna try and see if I can get it to work on my PlayStation Classic.

Lost Game Boy Add-on Called WorkBoy Has Been Found After 28 Years

Game Boy WorkBoy Discovered
(YouTube/DidYouKnowGaming?)

After 28 years, an unreleased Game Boy add-on called the “WorkBoy” has surfaced, and its features might surprise you.

The WorkBoy, which was designed by Source Research and Development and produced by Fabtek Inc. was supposed to be an accessory that would turn the Game Boy into a handheld computer.  By connecting the WorkBoy via Link Cable (that beautiful cable that would allow you to trade Pokemon with your friends back in the day), it would bring PDA-like functions such as an appointment book, calculator, and more to Nintendo’s handheld juggernaut.  If you thought trying to position your Game Boy under a light so you could see what you were playing was fun, just imagine how much more fun you would have trying to position the screen at exactly the proper angle under a light so you could jot down your appointments for the week.

All joking aside, it’s amazing this beauty was discovered after all these years.  This kind of tech would have been revolutionary when it was originally supposed to release back in 1992.

(DidYouKnowGaming?)

The one who gets credit for finding the WorkBoy and actually getting it to work is game historian enthusiast Liam Robertson of DidYouKnowGaming?.  Robertson spent months researching this long, lost hardware, and it definitely paid off.

During Robertson’s investigation, he was able to track down Eddie Gill, the architect of the WorkBoy and founder of Source Research and Development.  Gill said there were only two WorkBoy prototypes left in the world that he knew of and that one was most likely “deep in the vaults of Nintendo,” while the other was in possession of Frank Ballouz, the founder of Fabtek.

Robertson got in touch with Ballouz and as luck would have it, Ballouz did have a WorkBoy prototype.  What Ballouz didn’t have though was a Game Boy to test it out on, so he actually sent the WorkBoy prototype to Robertson in the hopes that he would be able to get it working.  Unfortunately for Robertson, it turned out that the WorkBoy needed a cartridge inserted into the connected Game Boy to fully function, and no one had one.

With a little ingenuity (and the unfortunate Nintendo ‘Gigaleak’), Robertson was able to find a ROM for the WorkBoy software online.  After burning the ROM to a blank cartridge,  Robertson was able to get it to work.

It really is fascinating to see the WorkBoy in action, so if you want to watch Robertson’s investigation, discovery, and messing around with all its features, definitely check out his video down below.

I still have my original Game Boy (albeit, in very poor condition) and it had a huge impact on me when I was a kid.  The Game Boy had a lifespan of 14 years (1989-2003) and it’s crazy to think about how far the tech could have gone if this WorkBoy had released as intended.  Maybe in some parallel universe, the WorkBoy released and we’re all carrying around WorkBoys in our pockets and we can talk on our Game Boys like cell-phones.

Unreleased ‘The Simpsons: Bug Squad’ Game Discovered On Broken Sega Dreamcast Dev Kit

(DreamcasticChannel)

The Sega Dreamcast was released in North America on November 27th, 1998, and was sadly only around for less than two years before it was discontinued.  Despite its short lifespan, it easily became one of my favorite systems.  Classic games like Phantasy Star Online & Jet Grind Radio will always be remembered, but you know what?  We never did see the release of a Simpsons game on the doomed console.

Recently, a user named sreak posted over on Dreamcast-talk that they had a broken Sega Dreamcast dev kit and asked if they were allowed to post the hard drive files for others to see.  Within a day, the files had been opened by user megavolt85 and a playable tech demo had surfaced for an unreleased game developed by Red Lemon Studios called “The Simpsons: Bug Squad.”

Shown off in the video above, you can see that the cell-shaded graphics look great for a twenty-year-old game and fit The Simpsons vibe, but as far as gameplay goes, it’s pretty barebones.  As an anthropomorphic bug, you can jump and glide around the Simpson’s kitchen and living room while Homer just wanders around aimlessly.  He doesn’t try to squash you and you can’t interact with anything in the rooms.  No story details are given either and yeah, I know it’s just a tech demo, but I really want to know why you’re playing as a bug gliding around the Simpsons house.

While the unreleased game is shrouded in mystery, a pinned comment on the video by DreamcasticChannel shows off a conversation they had with one of Red Lemon Studio’s founders Andy Campbell.  He does give a bit more context into the game they were developing and how the tech was also pitched as a production tool for the show itself.

“Oh my! Not seen that for 20 years! We had a great coder who had developed an amazing cell shading engine for DC. I knew Fox pretty well, so this was a demo we created and I pitched to them. We were never commissioned, so this was technically never an official title in development This was a trip down memory lane. The tech was great, developed by a guy call Rich Evans, great coder. Bug Squad concept came from Jamie Grant if I remember. A great art team built the models. The tech was also pitched as a production tool for the show itself. No game made though.”

It’s too bad we’ll never know what “The Simpsons: Bug Squad” could have been, but it is neat that discarded projects like this can just pop-up over time.  Who knows what other unreleased games are out there, just waiting to be found.  Also, speaking of time, it has been way too long since we’ve seen a new Simpsons game.  The last one we got was “Tapped Out” on mobile way back in 2012 and “The Simpsons Game” released on consoles way, way back in 2007.  I’d be down for a new one, or, we could see a re-release of “The Simpsons” arcade game on all the current consoles.  I’d be cool with that too.

Tim Allen Dropped an F-Bomb in Front of Children While Dressed as Santa

tim allen drops an f-bomb
(YouTube/Kelly Clarkson Show)

Unless you’re one of those always-perfect, do-gooder parents you’ve more than likely let some colorful language slip in front of the kids at some point.

Maybe you stepped on a Lego and dropped a guttural “Son of a…,” or lost your cool with a healthy “Eat sh*t!” when you got cut off carpooling to T-ball…

Whatever the occasion, most of us have done it at least once (1,249 times and counting for yours truly), and are no stranger to the subsequent wave of Shitty Parent Remorse that accompanies those deer-in-the-headlights kid stares.

Thankfully for us, Tim Allen is here to alleviate a bit of our collective guilt, albeit through schadenfreude (joy that stems from someone else’s misfortune), with a top-drawer, first-class cussing-in-front-of-kids story: he not only dropped the F-bomb in front of a group of child actors… he did it dressed as Santa.

Allen, who admittedly has the mouth of a sailor and jokes that he’s “not really a big fan of children,” recently told the tale on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” where he stopped by to discuss how he’s weaving his former “Home Improvement” character Tim “The Toolman” Taylor into his current show, “Last Man Standing.”

As the comedian tells it, back in 2002, at the tail-end of a very long, sweaty day on the set of “The Santa Clause 2,” he finally reached his breaking point after 15 straight takes were interrupted by kids bickering.

“I let out the loudest F-bomb,” he admitted to Clarkson. “I turned around and there are 12 children (who) looked like you’d ripped their legs off.”

Perhaps the best part of the story, though, was how the adults on set scrambled to walk back the gaffe, with quick-thinking Disney employees arguing Allen really screamed “fuch” (pronounced “fyook”), claiming it’s “a Swedish word. It sounds like that, but it means ‘holiday trim.'”

Still, he laughed, “Kids didn’t buy it. Nobody bought it.”

Hey. We’ve all fuckin’ been there too, Tim.

Watch the full clip below.

 

Hacker Combines Mario Kart, Ring-Fit, and an Exercise Bike for Some Reason

ring fit exercise bike mario kart
(YouTube/mechachoi)

When it comes to video games, they’re my relax time.  I think it’s pretty awesome that there are games out there like Ring-Fit Adventure that can be good for your health, but I like to keep gaming and exercising separate.  It would seem that tech guru and Nintendo fanatic Mike Choi feels the same way but needed to find the motivation to stay in shape.  Regular old workouts just wouldn’t cut it for him, so that’s where his new creation comes in.  It’s a combination of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a custom Labo exercise bike, and Ring-Con accessory.

The end result is something that works every part of your body at the same time and it looks… diabolical.

The ‘Labo Fit Adventure Kart Kit’ is a “total-body exercise program that gets you fit while playing Mario Kart!” and would probably have me sweating mere seconds after starting to use it.

The three key components to making the kit function are:

  • The Bike-Con, which is an exercise bike with Labo sensors attached that gauge how fast you’re pedaling, increasing your karts speed in-game.
  • The Ring-Con, which you use to steer by tilting it left and right and squeezing to use power-ups.
  • The TAPBO, which Choi created himself.  It’s a little device (which he even turned into his own Amiibo) that attaches to your Joy-Con and inputs button presses based on what you’re doing with your limbs, which in the case of this “total-body exercise”, is ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.

To win a race of Mario Kart with this kit requires steadfast determination, strong calf muscles, and plenty of coordination.  You’re holding your arms up constantly to steer, pedaling like a madman to gain speed, all while trying to focus on your race at the same time.  Could you imagine 200cc while using this contraption?

I might be laughing now, but Choi’s ingenuity here is admirable.  It’s very impressive what he’s pulled off and he even mentions that this creation of his has kept him working out regularly.  My hat goes off to him, but I’ll just stick to my regular pro controller Mario Kart thank you very much.