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November 2, 2011 / jwaxo

Stamp Pad (Putting Off Buying)

Totally not a slightly fancier MS Paint.

So. Whooo. It’s November. And that means it’s also National Novel Writing Month. As I am addicted to self-inflicted projects and other masochistic things, I’m doing it for the fifth year in a row. I have never failed to write at least fifty-thousand words in the 30 days of November since starting, and I don’t plan to. But, god help me, I am continuing this blog and drawing my silly pictures, even if it means tripling my normal word output on Wednesdays and Sundays.

However, since my main time-sync on these blogs are the pictures, I’m limiting myself to only the screenshot and maybe one additional silly doodle. Maybe more if they’re short and I feel like it. Maybe less writing, too. So I’m sorry, fifteen people that check back here bi-weekly.

This is really a good excuse for me to focus on the silly little games that I don’t have full stories for. Which means our first stop is my actual first game-creations: Stamp Pad.

We found the demo for Stamp Pad… somewhere. I believe in the early vestiges of the internet I dug it up, along with a slosh of free “edutainment” titles. There wasn’t much educational about it: it was mostly a fancy MS Paint program. There were pixels, a motley collection of colors, and the ability to save your smaller drawings with a tool to quickly to place them all over your detailed (or not-so detailed) backgrounds. I’m not really sure what other people would use Stamp Pad for. There’s really not many applications.

I used it for making video games, of course.

This was prior to my discovery of BASIC, and so I had no ability to create anything resembling a video game at all in real life. But, as this was the early 90’s, a time when most games were based off of tilesets that were tiled across the screen, having the ability to quickly replicate those images across a wide field was a dream-come-true for little old me. It was like having a custom set of, well, of rubber stamps, all laid out exactly how I needed them for the ultimate arts-and-crafts project. I spent an entire day coming up with my own version of Captain Comic, complete with my own new enemies and two-stamp-high hero. There were caves and spikes and daring jumps and all sorts of action happening across the screen. I sat back and proudly surveyed my work.

And couldn’t save.

This is the problem with creative games’ demos. Sometimes you can save, sometimes you can’t. In this case, I didn’t realize that you couldn’t save until I had spent all afternoon, evening, and night crafting the ultimate game level.

“You can’t save… but you can with the full version!” it taunted me. It even had a link to the real website, and the ability to buy online with a credit card. If I could only talk my mom or dad into buying it for me…

Needless to say, I failed. I had it explained to me that while what I had created was very cool-looking and very neat, I didn’t really need this program. I had a million other ways to express my creativity. And I was upset. And I may have cried.

Naaaaaaaah. Probably not.

But you know what? I got over it. I saved a screenshot or two of my works, screenshots that got lost in time. And while I was very proud of it, it wasn’t a program that I needed at all. And by my parents reminding me of that, I put it off, and eventually pushed the program from my mind.

Until tonight, obviously.

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