Looking over my Update Log for 2007, I realized a lot had happened to this website in the past year that would forever change its direction. I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on it.
A little before 2007 started, I began writing the RAU Gallery, which was the single biggest new addition to this site. Ever since I got on the internet, I had been hoping to eventually create a website that centered on my characters. Strange as it may sound, I am glad that I did not actually do that earlier. Why? Because I don't feel my writing skills would have been up to it. I've mentioned on the forums a few times that the Video Game Oddities section of this website actually started life on my old Acer harddrive as a sketch comedy in which my characters would make fun of random goofy things from games. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out well at all and it was completely unfunny. I took my characters out of the articles and rewrote them slightly, then uploaded them to the site as "the NES Oddities". The results were much better and the Oddities quickly became one of my most popular site sections. It was enough to cause the site's overall popularity to take off, even though originally I had never really intended it to be for anyone besides me and a small group of internet friends.
Years later, I have to confess that I don't think everything I wrote in the Oddities is funny anymore. The whole "point and laugh" at silly things in games schtick has worn thin on the internet. But I felt my writing skills had improved over the past few years enough to put a new spin on the subject and take it to a whole new level. Instead of just pointing out how ridiculous some things are, what if you put them into a real-life situation that would literally show how ridiculous they are on its own? This resulted in Dr. Honen Calzoun Teaches a Class of Breath of Fire 2 Cats, which has arguably been the series' most popular sketch. It was also a "comeback" moment of sorts for Honen Calzoun, a character I had not written with in years, but was one of my favorites back when I was writing. While technically he did appear in one earlier sketch, it was this moment where he took center stage and allowed various aspects of his personality to come forward - aspects that would be explored further as the series continued to grow and develop.
As I predicted, the RAU Gallery did cause a minor amount of controversy. I could go into detail, but I don't really feel it's worth it. Some of the complaints came from exactly who I expected (people I've had trouble with before, one of which is the entire reason this sketch exists), and they really aren't worth anyone's time. The other, more unexpected criticisms I received were in regards to the choice of using a sketch comedy format instead of fanfiction format or a webcomic. I could once again go into my reasons for why I chose the sketch format, but the last time I did, it just led into circular headache-inducing arguments, so I'll just leave it at this: My biggest influences are sketch comedies, especially The Muppet Show and Saturday Night Live. If you need something to be in fanfiction or webcomic format to understand it or enjoy it, then I can only offer you the old saying that goes, "You can't please everyone".
Considering the amount of injokes the series contains, I'm surprised people outside the community would even like it at all, but with the exception of those few complainers, most responses I've gotten have been overwhelmingly positive. While it had a shaky start and a few wobbly moments in the middle, I feel that even in the short time it's been around the writing has improved drastically. If I continue to write in the coming year, I hope to take it to new directions and beyond.
Moving on to other areas and changes in the site, the Video Game Music Downloads section continued to grow immensely in both popularity and content in 2007. My original goal of this section was to only feature songs from games that would be difficult to find elsewhere on the world wide web. When Dreamhost suddenly increased its customers storage and bandwidth capacities, I found myself with more space than I'll ever be able to fill up. I took the opportunity to ditch the "rare only" rule, and begin featuring as much of my favorite game music as possible. I've been such a huge fan of game music for years, that this had always been a dream of mine. Even in times when I'm not actually playing games much, I still find myself often listening to their soundtracks.
Along with the mp3 downloads, I continued to tinker with SPC2MIDI. I've gotten a lot better at using it lately and matching each instrument from the original composition as closely as possible to a midi sound sample. Considering that my first few attempts with SPC2MIDI were rather disastrous (and some stuff, no matter how hard you try, just does NOT work well with it), I was surprised I got more SNES midis out of it than I thought I ever would. We also had some new entires in the Hidden Game Music article. All in all, it was a good year for game music here at FlyingOmelette.com.
We also saw, for the first time in awhile, a huge update to the Kid Icarus Shrine, which has been another extremely popular site section ever since it began on Geocities. Complete scans of the manuals for both Kid Icarus and Kid Icarus of Myths & Monsters were added along with mp3s for each game's soundtrack. There were new oddities, codes, information on Pit in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and other discoveries added.
There was also a significant update to the Knights of Justice Shrine, including complete scans of all the comics and unused villager walking animation sprites.
It was actually in late 2006 that Crawl and 1000 made an archive of DiefWolf's legendary NES Enshrined website. However, some previously long-lost pages had been rediscovered at archive.org and were added back to it.
2007 also saw some new winners of the FlyingOmelette.com Golden Ridley Award of Excellence. They include Random Hoo-Haas, TheAlmightyGuru, and insomnia. It's getting harder and harder to find high-quality non-professional websites that have at least some content dedicated to retrogaming, so I always feel compelled to reward the efforts of those who keep plugging away.
FlyingOmelette.com was mentioned in UK gaming magazine, Retrogamer. In particular, they liked the Game Ending Songs Extravaganza article. Some of you may recall the 2006 controversy that article caused when digg, for no explained reason, sensationalized it as "The Top 50 Game Ending Songs of All Time". (Who the hell is digg's reporter? Fleet Scribbler?) Intelligent people were able to figure out it was just a personal favorites list, because you know, they actually could read it and see that it explicitly said that. In a move completely unrelated to the controversy, I changed the article to be a general showcase for game ending songs and added new content. The reason I changed the article was because I had new songs I wanted to add but didn't feel like rearranging the whole list every time I wanted to add something. I also didn't like the idea of removing songs to make room for new ones. Part of the idea of that article was just simply to have those songs available on my site, so wouldn't taking them down be rather stupid?
I learned how to make and upload videos to Google Video and YouTube and I started a whole new section devoted to them. This would be the second biggest new addition to FlyingOmelette.com in 2007 after the RAU Gallery. Although it may seem that I have abandoned this project, it's simply because the trial program I was using to take and compress videos has expired. If I can't find another freeware program when I'm ready to start making videos again, I'll simply have to purchase the full version.
The Port Saiid community continues to go strong. Early in the year, the community was still located on my original ezboard, but we switched it over to Yuku when I was offered a free upgrade around the time the CSC service was about to expire. Before I allowed the switch, I had been contemplating other ideas for the community, and we experimented with a php board hosted directly on the FlyingOmelette.com server. While the possibility of moving permanently to that board is still looming in the future, for now we have been content to stay with the Yuku service, especially since the linked accounts feature makes it easier for Crawl and I to post there.
The third biggest new addition to FlyingOmelette.com in 2007 was the Kitchen Sink, which is basically just a section for random stuff that doesn't really fit anywhere else. Longtime site readers may recall that this site has had a section called "The Kitchen Sink" before, which was a subsection that contained links to various other sections. This was done away with when I made some of those sections front page features and compiled the other discontinued or less-updated sections into the Museum.
What started out several years ago as an article pointing out that there's a naked lady hidden in Secret of Mana exploded into a massive special feature, detailing all the game's oddities, secrets, weirdness, references, and humor. This also spawned a spin-off article about nudity in NES and SNES games. The significance of these characters appearing in their birthday suits is that they were all from an era when Nintendo was heavy on censorship of American games, so it's a surprise any of that made it past the censors.
While "Switched at Birth?" continues to be a very popular section of the site, we didn't see as much of this year as we have in the past. We had one new article and some new additions to the RAU Gallery SAB, but generally there weren't as many finds and good submissions the past year. Too many people are either sending me entries with no pictures (sorry, but I'm not spending hours on Google Image Search anymore), or comparisons that really aren't close enough to be accepted, or entries that are actually already in the archive. On a side note, the RAU Gallery SAB has been, off and on, one of the most popular pages on this site in the past year. It was only the second site section to finally dethrone another SAB page as the second-most popular FlyingOmelette.com page after the main homepage index. (Previously, that other SAB page had only been knocked down by the Game Ending Songs article and that was only briefly when digg was sensationalizing it.)
One concern that had been brought to my attention was the lack of game reviews this year. Now you might expect me to address such a complaint with my usual "hide in my shell" sort of attitude, but I actually can sympathize with that criticism. I feel I have allowed myself to get too far away from game reviewing and I hope the next year will prove more fruitful in that area. As it stands, I only reviewed two games this year, Dynowarz and Alex Kidd in Miracle World, and both were negative reviews. As pointed out in the rest of this article, I did keep up on writing about games in other sections of the site, but I would like to have more actual reviews in the future as I feel my writing in that area has been steadily improving as well.
Other site areas that continued to be popular include Q&A and the game glitches section, the latter of which was given a new feature on the TMNT DOS game.
In conclusion, it was a productive year here at FlyingOmelette.com, and I hope to keep this site going far into the future. Its past has certainly been riddled with ups and downs and controversy, and there have been numerous times that I've thought about ceasing to update it, but it's survived so many hardships and catastrophes and continued to grow, develop, and improve throughout all of it that it would be hard to imagine quitting now. Fansites like mine are a dying breed but even if I was the last one still left standing, I'd continue to shine on.
Wagon wheels on the road
Withered by travel and heavy loads
And although I've been warned
I will ride with the storm
Weaving two paths into one
Flying Omelette, 2007