Monday, December 25, 2023

My Retro Games You Can Play For Free On Your PC

 Click these links to find my retro games that you can play for free on your PC.
(They are also available for emulator software.)

Super Silverfish
A side-scrolling shoot'em up with great music and lots of power-ups.

Zap Fight 2
A vertically scrolling shoot'em up with lots of power-ups.

A side-scrolling shoot'em up.

Split Second
A vertically scrolling shoot'em up with a twist...

Flying Cobra
A vertically scrolling shoot'em up.

Droid Rumble
A side-scrolling action game where you fight robots.

Double or Nothing
A vertically scrolling shoot'em up with a twist: You play two games at once!

Cosmic Combat DX
An homage to arcade classics like GALAXIANS.

An unusual shoot'em up...

#gaming #games #retrogames #retrogaming

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Book review: THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson (Reposted)


THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (1959) by Shirley Jackson

I had heard many good things about this novel - Stephen King has praised it - and I had seen the movie adaptations before I finally read it. (Haven't seen the Netflix series, though.)

And I think it's a remarkable piece of fiction - a successful fusion of psychological horror and the "haunted house" story.

The novel centers around the character Eleanor, who starts out with a clear hint of mental problems... and grows increasingly unhinged as she stays in the haunted Hill House. Somehow Hill House comes to haunt Eleanor, until she loses her mind. How this happens is never really explained, but it works perfectly as an uncanny tale.

One detail struck me: Even for a novel written in the late 1950s, all the characters have way too good manners. No one swears, whatever happens - and they're Americans! (I've grown so used to Americans cursing all the "effing" time...)

A recurring theme in THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is parental issues. Eleanor seems to have been psychologically damaged by having to take care of her sick mother. Hill House was designed by a terrifying, creepy father figure. One character laments that he "never had a mother." I leave it to you to figure out how the parental issues are woven into the haunted house itself...

Another striking subtext - not a value judgment, just an observation - is how "gay" the principal characters are. Not one of the male characters seem the least bit sexually interested in women, but the female ones flirt with each other repeatedly and become infatuated with each other.

(I'm not sure how important this subtext is to the story. In any case I assume it was too sensitive for 1950s audiences and had to be "masked" somewhat.)

As for the ghosts, the reader never gets to see them. Rather it is the house itself that is evil.

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is both a psychological thriller about a disturbed, lonely person and a weird, modern ghost story. It will make a lasting impression on you. Highly recommended.

#bookreviews #bookreview #shirleyjackson #thehauntingofhillhouse #horror #classics #literature #supernatural #paranormal

Monday, October 09, 2023

ArtStation Portfolio Open!

I have opened a portfolio page on where you can see a showcase of my work:

#artwork #artist #graphicdesign #illustration #scifi

Thursday, August 24, 2023

BLOOD & SWINE: A Comedy of Terrors

Meet your new boss.

He's a PIG. 



For real...

BLOOD & SWINE: A Comedy of Terrors

Buy the book here:

#horror #vampires #comedy #vampire #horrormovies #books #horrorbooks #satire #literature 

Merch For Sale!

Merch For Sale!

My merch shop is now offering "Captain Ishtar" t-shirts and posters of various sizes. Go to:

The title Captain Ishtar Vs. the Federation's Most Wanted is a C64 retro game in the works - not yet released. It's the sequel to Captain Ishtar, released in 2022 by Psytronik Software (UK). Read more about these game projects on my Patreon page:

#retrogames #retrogaming #retrogamer #retrogame #c64 #commodore64 #gamer #c64games #CaptainIshtar

Saturday, August 19, 2023

This is DARC AGES...


Long after our civilization has disappeared, a strange new age arises from the ruins... an age of adventure.

This is DARC AGES - an adventure for the ages.

Read more about DARC AGES on the official website .  #darcages #scifi #books #literature #bookseries #postapocalyptic #postapocalypse #adventure #starwars #spaceopera #dune #postapocalypticfiction

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Retro Game Merch For Sale!

Retro Game Merch For Sale!

y merch shop is now offering "Captain Ishtar" t-shirts and posters of various sizes.

The title "Captain Ishtar Vs. the Federation's Most Wanted" is a C64 retro game in the works - not yet released. It's the sequel to Captain Ishtar, released in 2022 by Psytronik Software (UK).

#retrogames #retrogaming #retrogamer #retrogame #c64 #commodore64 #gamer #c64games #CaptainIshtar

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Creepypasta: "It's Not Just A Show"


It's Not Just A Show

The first time I saw an episode of «Mystery Science Theater 3000» - or «MST3K,» as the fans say - was in the mid-Nineties. A colleague at the office brought a VHS tape with a few episodes, because the show wasn't airing in my country at the time.

For those of you who've been living on Mars for the last thirty years, an explanation: «Mystery Science Theater 3000» was created by Joel Hodgson in the early 90s for a local TV channel in Minnesota. His concept was to show really bad movies, mostly science fiction, while he was doing a running commentary with sarcastic jokes and quips. This was called «riffing» the movie.

He was accompanied by the two characters Crow and Tom Servo, two wisecracking robots with human voices. During breaks in the movie, Joel and his robots would do comedy skits. They would also interact with the mad scientist who had trapped them on a space station and was forcing them to watch these bad movies.

As the theme song goes, «Then repeat to yourself it's just a show, you should really just relax, for Mystery Science Theater 3000.»

I watched those grainy videotapes and soon got hooked. I had grown up reading MAD Magazine and listening to Weird Al Yankovic, so this comedy show that poked fun at the stupidity of bad movies was just my thing. I went on to collect episodes on VHS tapes, then started watching the old episodes on YouTube... and eventually the show was revived on DVD and streaming video.

I was well aware that MST3K had a global fan following, and that every single episode had been recorded. So it never occurred to me that there might actually be a «lost» episode. At least, not one that was worth watching, since the very first episodes were not the best ones.

I knew that some fans had made their own «tributes» to the show, where they themselves riffed bad movies with varying degrees of success. So when I happened to stumble on a «lost episode», my first reaction was: Must be a fan-made one. It's a toss-up whether it's any good.

It sort of found me. I was googling for something else entirely. Our dishwasher had stopped working. I typed in the search words «troubleshoot dish washer» on my smartphone... and among the search results, this came up:

«MST3, Episode Dish Washer, Troubleshooter».

Huh? I googled «Dish Washer, Troubleshooter.» No such movie title existed anywhere on the Web. It was the pun that made me click the link. «Dish Washer,» I said with a chuckle. I was always a sucker for goofy puns.

The link opened to a YouTube channel that played the video. Image quality seemed like a transfer from VHS or American TV – but those things can of course be faked.

Older MST3K episodes usually begin with a title card stating the episode number and name, if it comes straight from the producer. So this had to be a recording of a broadcast, because it began with commercials from the 1990s. There was no channel logo in the corner, like you would see if this had been on the SciFi Channel.

Commercials for soft drinks, dirt bikes and PlayStation videogames. Those were the days! And a teaser for the movie «The Matrix» – that was odd? «The Matrix» came pretty late in the Nineties.

The commercials looked legit though, no sign of AI fakery. The show's intro sequence began without any presentation. There should've come a voice singing the theme song, «In a not too distant future...» But only the familiar theme played without vocals.

And no Joel! The protagonist in a red jumpsuit was... I couldn't place him. He resembled Thomas Haden Church, but I'm sure it wasn't him. And the two mad scientists were also unknown faces. Older, too, maybe in their fifties, not looking too healthy. You know... lived-in faces. They didn't smile or go «La-lala!» either. The whole tone of the intro was off.

The space station was briefly shown from the outside, and it looked realistic, with solar panels and docking ports – and in the background a glimpse of Earth from orbit, looking just like it does in real photos from space.

The opening sequence ended with a papier-mache planet turning around to reveal a logo that read «MYSTERIOUS SCIENCE THEATRE 3000.»

Wait a minute. The spelling was wrong. That logo was followed by a camera pan through the space station, as expected... except that the interior didn't look fake. It was like inside a real space station, like the ISS, only grubbier and without any people.

This had to be a very clever joke. I was chuckling already. This could be a fun parody!

The image cut to the space station interior, with the Thomas Haden Church wannabe standing behind a white metal desk, flanked by two robots. He was tired and drawn and had dark spots under his eyes.

The yellow robot looked so real, with proper camera lenses for eyes and wires coming out of its neck. And it was huge, about the size of the human in the red jumpsuit, and it had big nasty pincer hands.

The red robot was much smaller and rounder, but the design was... serious. It had sharp needles sticking out of its body and arms. Syringes? Was this the ship's doctor? It seemed to float freely above the desk, without strings to hold it up.

«Hi, welcome to the Satellite O-LO,» said the human in a droning voice, looking into the camera. «I'm Joe, and I'm trapped here with my droids, Cronin and Doctor Service.»

The big yellow robot made a nod with its head and talked in a voice that sounded almost human, like a really good imitation: «Hi, everybody. I'm here to keep the order and keep Joe safe and happy.»

The smaller red droid said in a very good simulation of a human voice, deep and cheerful: «Hello, viewers! I'm here to keep Joe hale and healthy, and make sure he gets his exercise, nutrition and sleep.»

«And f*ck, are they dedicated,» said Joe, sounding a little bit more relaxed. «We've been up here in orbit for... is it six months or five?»

For two realistic robots, they showed a surprising amount of personality. I couldn't see any wires or sticks holding up their limbs. Cronin made tiny motor noises when he moved.

«Counting in ship hours,» said Cronin, «it's been just over four months. I register that you've lost weight, Joe. I mean that as a compliment.»

«I must add some more fat to Joe's diet,» said Doctor Service. «And see to it that he eats all his food. We don't want any more hunger strikes, do we, Joe?»

Doctor Service raised one of his small arms and spun a long needle in the air.

Joe was about to say something, when a red light started blinking on his desk. A gleam of fear came into his eyes. «The docs are on the line.»

The view cut to somewhere else, probably on Earth – a control center with lots of screens and hardware. How could they afford this set on low-budget TV? Among the computer consoles sat those two middle-aged scientists from the intro sequence. One of them was holding an old-fashioned clipboard and taking notes.

The chief scientist, who had unruly Einstein hair, harrumphed and said, «Greetings Joe and all viewers.» He sounded almost... bored. As if this was another day on the job. «Today's experiment is an obscure B-movie called... Heinz?»

The guy with the clipboard looked up. «'Dish Washer, Troubleshooter.'» He had a heavy German accent. Heinz glanced at his clipboard and read out loud. «A cheap Italian spy thriller-slash-comedy from nineteen seventy-six, never released overseas. I had to arrange the dubbing myself, at some cost to our already swollen budget.»

«How about that, Joe?» said the elder scientist, addressing the camera with a slight smile. «Ready to give the audience a few laughs and give us a few readings?»

The camera cut to Joe, who suddenly seemed tense and nervous. «Sure,» he said. «Whatever you say, Dr. Forbin.»

Cut to the control center: Heinz leaned into the camera view and said «Danke!» This seemed to irritate the other scientist, the one called Forbin. «Will you start the movie, Heinz?»

Heinz pressed a button on a console. Cut to the satellite: An alarm signal went off with blinking lights, and Joe called out: «All hands to the screening room!»

I expected to see another camera pan through the space station, but that didn't happen. Instead there was another commercial break, with more ads from the Nineties. I paused the video, and immediately began to download the whole file for safekeeping.

What was going on here? It wasn't AI-generated for sure, the quality was too good. And if this was a dark comedy skit, why hadn't I heard about it before? It was like watching a version of MST3K from an alternate dimension.

Then I had to take a break from the video, because I still had that broken dishwasher to deal with, and life in general. Things happened, life happened, and I didn't have time to check up on the rest of the video until next evening.

When I looked for it the next evening, the original YouTube channel had been deleted. The video could no longer be found in a Web search. All that remained was my one copy. So I watched the rest of it while I was washing the dirty dishes by hand – our new dishwashing machine hadn't arrived yet.

Joe and his two robots Cronin and Dr. Service were visible in silhouette as they sat watching the Italian low-budget movie «Dish Washer.» And it was quite bad, even worse than «Agent for H.A.R.M.» or «Secret Agent Super Dragon.»

I noticed that they didn't use greenscreen to create the silhouette effect – Joe really was sitting in a small screening room in front of a projecting wall. He seemed to be eating popcorn or something from a bucket while watching.

The robots didn't make a lot of comments during the movie. Mostly they said «Aha,» and «I see.» I could see their heads and camera eyes move, as if they were struggling to process what was going on in front of them.

Joe's delivery sounded much like Joel Hodgson – sleepy-voiced, a man sitting up late. His jokes ranged from lame to good.

Here's one of his best: In the movie, the secret agent hero knocks out two bumbling henchmen in a clumsy fistfight. He straightens his tie, adjusts his hair, looks into the camera and says – and this is dubbed into English with the worst lip-synching you could imagine: «Two for the price of one.»

Joe riffs: «Only twenty thousand lira, dirt cheap.»

Not so bad, eh? But here's one that fell flat:

In the movie, the main villain calls up some government and declares: «Tomorrow, the entire world shall know my name!»

Joe riffs, and his timing is off: «That's what she said.» He used that line way too many times.

«Dish Washer» ended, Joe muttered something about going to the bathroom, and there was another commercial break before the post-movie talk.

The two scientists Dr. Forbin and Heinz appeared, and they were not pleased. «You're slacking on the job,» Forbin said. «Weak performance,» said Heinz while scribbling on his notepad.

Cut to Joe, looking really frightened. He took a step backward as if he was going to get hit, he wobbled – and then I noticed his shoes seemed to be sticking to the floor, as if they had Velcro soles. As if there wasn't any gravity in the room.

As if they actually were in orbit.

He pleaded to the camera. «Look, sirs, I do my best with what I've got. The bots could at least help me out more with the jokes. Please.»

That way he stared - desperate, exhausted – it wasn't acting. Maybe Joe wasn't in an actual space station with two robots – who ever heard of such a thing? - but I began to think that perhaps a man really was being held captive by crazy people.

Dr. Forbin pushed a button on his console and there came an ominous warning beep. «I think you need more encouragement, Joe.»

I didn't see what happened to Joe next, but I could hear his screams and pleas for mercy. That lasted about a minute. Then came his sobbing noises. And during all that horror, the camera only showed Forbin and Heinz, nodding and checking their consoles without emotion.

«Until next time,» said Forbin and nodded to Heinz. The German pushed another button, and the view cut to the end credits. A short list of unfamiliar names scrolled by. The producer was listed as «Barry G. Forbin» and the production studio was called «BGF Limited.» No copyright year was shown. Then came more commercials, and the video ended.

It could of course all be a hoax, a sick joke. Could a video from an alternate dimension have made it onto the Internet? No. I may be stupid, but I'm not crazy. My best explanation is that there's an eccentric fan of the original show, who's rich enough to stage this video. That's far-fetched, but not impossible.

But I'm not going to share the video with you. In fact, I deleted it. Sorry, but I just couldn't bear the guilt of sharing something that might – just might – be a real hostage situation. I hated the possibility that others would make fun of it and laugh at poor Joe.

Now I'm thinking I made a huge mistake. In an emotional moment, I erased evidence of a crime.

I can't forget Joe's screaming. I can't stop wondering what became of him. I keep searching for another video, as proof of what happened. If you find any more such episodes, please don't circulate the tapes. Send them to the police. We've got to help Joe - if he's still alive. It's been decades. Maybe he's dead and Forbin has captured some other victim.

It's not just a show. You really should not relax.

Creepypasta text (c) A.R.Yngve 2023
"Mystery Science Theater 3000" © Satellite of Love LLC
#MST3K #MysteryScienceTheater3000 #TV #comedy #horror #creepypasta 

Friday, July 21, 2023

Summer escapist reading tips

Here are some reading suggestions to escape from reality in the summer of 2023...

DARC AGES (book series)

It's like "Star Wars meets Game of Thrones." Illustrated in comic-book style.


A horror comedy about a young man who finds out the CEO at his new job is a vampire.
If you like WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, this is the book for you.


A zany illustrated book with fairytales, all featuring monsters - some funny, some spooky, and the occasional scary one. Fun for the whole family.

PRECINCT 20: DEAD STRANGE (crime fiction)

Hardboiled cops tackle paranormal crime. This one gets genuinely creepy. Don't read the final chapter alone. A critically acclaimed book!

ALIEN BEACH (science fiction novel)

What if it finally happened? Aliens land in public, to visit Earth for one year. They seem friendly - but even so, their arrival cause upheaval both to the world and to individual lives.

These book titles are available on Amazon, in both digital and print format.

#books #summer #literature