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volume 1, issue 24

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

Real Life: Check out our newest comic strip, Real Life! Updated daily!

User Friendly: Updated daily!

T-Shirts: Stylin' loonygames t-shirts from Berda Compugrafix!

Artwork: Hey, dig the artwork on loonygames? We're selling some of the original art.


You've got an opinion...voice it! Drop a line to our Feedback column...you could end up with a free T-Shirt!

Random Feature :

Is Duke Sexist?: An exclusive look at this question that has dogged Duke Nukem's entire career (from our third issue).

Search the Archives!

The grr...argh! dept:
MailBag for Issue #24



Comments by Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman

Every week our associate editor takes on the big ol' pile of mail for your reading enjoyment...got something to say? Send it in. You just might win a swanky loonygames t-shirt. Letters are presented exactly as they are recieved.

Wow...someone who thinks like me!!

Subject: Hi-res Mario

WTF!? Hi res Mario, Like this is a big deal?? Like you are some master of the universe because you can run Mario at 1024x768 on your system, wow! truly amazing. Well I have a p2 400 w/ Canopus Pure3D (voodoo1) and I can tell you Hi-res Mario looks perfectly fine...so I'm cool too :) hehe. Good site.

Let me just say, this was EXACTLY the reaction I had when my brother started ranting about it..."so friggin what, I saw it at 800 x 600" (and crashed when I tried to go higher). He insisted it’s different and, well, yeah, the screenshots are cool, but hey, show it to me on my monitor, and then we’ll talk. :)

And the long-distance e-mail of the week...

Subject: Thanks!

You're doing a wonderful job in this mess called World Wide Web. Clean and "simple" layout and last but not least "depth." I try to tell my friends about you everyday, but everything they care about are portals...

You're My Favourite startup site!

Thanks again,

JoHS, Norway

Portals? Prey? Oooh....

Ya see, we don’t just do "reviews" here. Because we’re weird like that.

Subject: Xenogears and pixel obscura

Ummm....ok, so the game has a weird and anime-like story. What makes this any different than FF7, Parasite Eve, or any of the other Square games? Much like the storyline, Josh's explanation of the game was very vague and left me wondering what the hell was actually going on. While I agree that the story is important in this day and age and needs to be discussed in almost any game review, the -GAMEPLAY- and the -CONTROL- and the -GRAPHICS- and the -SOUND- are all excellent elements that should be discussed. After reading that frustratingly cryptic review I'm no closer to knowing if I would like the game or not. I wonder, was there a secret decoder ring included with every reading of loonygames and I just missed the online registration? Next time, how about discussing the -game- more and letting know if its worth my cash or not.


The column read, of course, was Pixel Obscura. Which is not a review of the game itself, but rather an examination of the game from a film critic’s perspective. The rest...that’s for the real reviews. Which are done in another column. :)

Not one, but TWO people found a perl script to fix some boo-boos that show up on here occasionally.

Subject: ?s instead of 's in Netscape

Upon viewing your excellent site in Netscape today, I was annoyed and disturbed by the fact that single and double quotes, apostrophes, commas, hyphens and many other punctuation marks were displayed as question marks. I need not point out how much this hurts the readability of the fine articles you so often publish. After trying the same offending sites in MSIE, which displayed properly, I became curious as to the cause. I found this perl script, http://www.fourmilab.ch/webtools/demoroniser, which converts and fixes these problems.

Evidently, Microsoft's Office 97's Save to HTML feature uses a special code page, which browsers besides MSIE on Windows. I'm more than certain that more than a minority of your users use non Microsoft browsers. I think that this program will help you a great deal. Thank you.

A loyal reader,

Ian Kendrick

And...this week’s T-shirt goes to the first person who found the script: :)

Subject: corrupted HTML

Hey, great site!

I really enjoy reading the articles on this site. However, I feel that I should point out a problem with quite a few of the articles. Apparently, many of your writers use HTML generation tools that render corrupted HTML, by inserting unprintable reserved characters of the ISO 8859-1 Latin-1 character set. It appears that a major HTML generator, Microsoft PowerPoint, has attained something of a high profile lately as people have begun to realize that it regularly makes use of reserved, unprintable characters of Latin-1. It seems that Microsoft has hijacked certain reserved characters of this character set for their own use. So, while the document MS PP generates may look fine to a user viewing it in Windows 95, using the standard Latin fonts, the rest of the world sees a slightly garbled, error-ridden document. However, MS PP users are not forced to abandon their reliance on this tool. Recently a free perl script called the 'demoroniser' has come to my attention, which will quickly and effectively correct the errors introduced into an HTML document by MS PP and possibly other buggy tools.

To quote from the documentation of demoroniser:

"A little detective work revealed that, as is usually the case when you encounter something shoddy in the vicinity of a computer, Microsoft incompetence and gratuitous incompatibility were to blame. Western language HTML documents are written in the ISO 8859-1 Latin-1 character set, with a specified set of escapes for special characters. Blithely ignoring this prescription, as usual, Microsoft use their own "extension" to Latin-1, in which a variety of characters which do not appear in Latin-1 are inserted in the range 0x82 through 0x95--this having the merit of being incompatible with both Latin-1 and Unicode, which reserve this region for additional control characters."

demoroniser may be downloaded for free from:


This is great for converting existing corrupted documents after the fact. The largest source of document corruption in MS PP and MS Word, however, come from the option known as 'smart quotes'. 'smart quotes' apparently takes a string such as:

"the string"

and turns it into something that looks like:

``the string'', where `` and '' are each single characters.

If 'smart quotes' is disabled, the amount of corruption inserted into future documents may be small enough that the use of demoroniser is unnecessary. Again, thanks for the web site, and keep up the good work!


Editor's note: okay, let me respond to this, since it's all my fault that this is an issue. loonygames is edited using a combination of Microsoft Word and Macromedia Dreamweaver. Apparently, in the conversion to Dreamweaver, illegal characters are getting stuck in there. Grr...

Don't worry, I'm fully aware of the problem and i'm working on solving it. Unfortunately, the perl script in question is fine for single files, but for the almost 600 (!!) pages of content here at loonygames, 3/4ths of which went through the MSOffice converter, this just isn't feasible. I'm working on a solution, so bare with the icky characters for another week or so while I work it out.


Credits: MailBag logo illustrated and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. The MailBag is © 1999 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited and not nice.