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Fatal Frame II

Fatal Frame II Turned Me Into a Terrified 12-Year-Old Girl

Fatal Frame II‘s cover says not to play the game alone. That was my first clue that this would be bad. The game made me walk through the dark, creepy woods before giving me the title screen. Through this walk, nothing happened. And by nothing, I mean nothing. No enemies, no music, nothing. Nothing but the sound of footsteps. The path led me to an abandoned village. Outside the first house of the village, I was treated to another cutscene. My character, who, again, is a 12-year-old girl, felt her sister’s hand on her shoulder. Then her sister walked past, and the hand remained. That was creepy. I soldiered on. The house was abandoned; still, no music. I was treated to wide-angle shots of the front room, the rafters and pieces of walls littering the floor, impeding my way.…
Low-Gain AKA Logan Erickson

Low-Gain Interview, Part 5: Life After 8-bit Collective

So what is Logan Erickson up to now that he’s no longer a major player in the 8-bit community? He and I talked about his post-8bc life for a bit. He did mention that chipmusic was still a part of his life, though its role had diminished considerably since the “glory days.” I still come back to it. I still listen to chipmusic all the time. Every now and then I’ll pull out my Game Boys and noodle on tracks that I started a year ago, or two years ago. It is nice to have the break, that’s for sure, because I view music a lot differently now than I did then. Unfortunately, I’d like to think that I was more productive when I was in the chipmusic scene.…
Low-Gain AKA Logan Erickson

Low-Gain Interview, Part 4: Low-Gain’s 8-bit Collective Ban

As the online chip scene continued to grow, a few people realized they could make considerable amounts of money off of it. Some of these people, Like Logan Erickson, had mostly good intentions. Other people, though, were consumed by the business end of this, including 8-bit Collective founder Jose Torres, who was accused of stealing program code from a pair of guys from Poland. (You can read more about this in the previous segment of this interview.) All the while, Logan and Jose’s friendship was deteriorating. Somewhere, he and I had some sort of a falling out. Whether it was because I was selling my products and he was selling his, and we were viewing each other as competitors or something.…
Low-Gain AKA Logan Erickson

Low-Gain Interview, Part 3: The Dark Side of the Chipmusic Scene

Be sure to read the previous segment of the Low-Gain interview, which you can find here. 8-bit Collective ( was hugely influential in connecting the chipmusic scene in way that would otherwise have been very difficult due to how scattered its audience was. Under Logan Erickson’s guidance, the site continued to thrive and grow, but it wasn’t without its controversy. The larger any community grows, the more work is involved in keeping it organized. 8-bit Collective’s community had become pretty massive by this point, and it was becoming harder and harder to manage. This was only exacerbated by the noncommittal attitude of site owner Jose Torres, who had also started to dabble in some things that a lot of people in the community weren’t exactly comfortable with.…
Low-Gain AKA Logan Erickson

Low-Gain Interview, Part 2: Blip Festival and the Rise of 8-bit Collective

(Click here to read Part 1 of our Low-Gain interview.) In the mid-2000s, the chipmusic scene experienced something of a boon. No, it didn’t technically break into the mainstream, but its worldwide community finally found a place to meet up, share music and encouragement, and just thrive. As I mentioned in the first part of this interview series, this wasn’t any physical venue, but an online one. In 2006, Logan Erickson (Low-Gain) and Stefen Keen (Unicorn Dream Attack) discovered 8-bit Collective, or We both joined 8-bit Collective probably around late 2006. It was shortly after it had started up. I think it had to have had somewhere between like 250 to 500 members at the time. 8-bit Collective was cool because [8bc  founder Jose Torres]’s concept was [to] just have a place where people can upload songs and have a forum.…
Low-Gain AKA Logan Erickson

Low-Gain Interview, Part 1: A Conversation with an 8-bit Legend

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I pulled up to Logan Erickson’s home in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. I mean, I knew the man was something of a legend in the chiptune scene, but this is a music scene that’s remained fairly subversive and has stayed below most people’s radars, meaning its history isn’t a very well-documented one. I was hoping to change that. Now, before I get too ahead of myself here, let me explain what chiptune music is for those who don’t already know. It’s a form of electronic music that’s basically programmed on retro videogame machines. (If you want to look at the earliest roots of the genre, you’ll find instances of what eventually became known as chiptune music being programmed on home computers in the late 1970s.)…
WOW tilt shift

World of Warcraft Gets Tilt-Shifted

You ever hear of tilt-shift photography? Essentially, it is a photography technique that makes real-life scenes look like miniatures. It’s a lens trick, and it’s kind of awesome. Hans Wallner, a freind of mine, decided to use Photoshop to simulate the effect on various screenshots he took in World of Warcraft, and they look pretty incredible. He’s long since quit doing this and has moved onto other projects, but he left an Imgur gallery of his work around for you to check out. We recommend viewing these beauties in full-resolution, and maybe even leave a comment encouraging Mr. Wallner to pick up the art again.…
NES guitar

The Best Guitar Is an NES Guitar

As I was casually procrastinating at work today, I came across a picture on Facebook of an electric guitar made out of an NES, reposted by my friend Tyler. Now, the photo comes courtesy of (check out their Facebook page), but it made me curious as to whether this was an actual real thing or just some clever Photoshop magic. Well, after a bit of research (thanks, Google!) I found the source of the image, Apparently, these guys had created an entire series of these NES guitars and were selling them at very reasonable prices. You could choose between a maple or rosewood neck, and between humbuckers or single-coil pickups. (Necks were all refurbished, and I’m guessing it’s safe to assume the consoles were too.)…
Battletoads 5,000

I Never Thought the Hoverbike Sequence in Battletoads Was All That Hard

There was this part in the third stage of Battletoads where you had to pilot a hoverbike through a series of jumps and obstacles, and your speed would continue to increase as the level progressed. This hoverbike challenge has gone down in history as one of the most frustratingly difficult video game segments ever made. The thing is, I never really found it that difficult. Now, it probably sounds like I’m just bragging here (and that’s probably valid), but I say it to make a point about the 8-bit and 16-bit game era: The games weren’t necessarily difficult, per se, they just rewarded repetition and memorization. Take the aforementioned hoverbikes in Battletoads. Sure, you were going to die a billion times before you got through that sequence, but once you memorized where all the obstacles were, it really wasn’t that bad.…
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