Just wanted to say Happy New Year to our loyal Smorg users here at Shamoozal. We had a rather decent first full year with the site. While we didn't put up as many sodes as I would have liked, at least we had a few hits here and there.
The year started out with what has been our most popular sode ever, Guitar Zero. What's really strange is that around this time last year we were planning Ninja. Guitar Zero wasn't even on the radar, but I recieved the game Guitar Hero for Christmas and quickly became a huge fan. I knew Ninja was going to take a long time to create, so we thought maybe we could do a really quick short about Guitar Hero before we finished Ninja. Guitar Zero quickly turned into a bigger project then we thought, and when Joe wanted to smake an original song, it really made the project into something much more special. When we finished it, we had no idea that it would become a big hit, with it spending two weeks on Newgrounds front page, and even a link directly to our site from popular game blog Joystiq.com.
Only two weeks later saw the revival of my personal friend Man-Bot. A little Man-Bot history for you, Man-Bot came from a character I created many years ago for the old Shamoozal website. Instead of a cartoon, it was just sound clips that we made with the robot voice telling absolutely ridiculous stories. Of course, he was way more bad mouthed (we toned down Man-Bot a lot) in those days. It was kind of hard to "make" a Man-Bot character because he was always just a voice. When I asked Frank to create this new Man-Bot, I pretty much told him to do whatever he felt like with the character, tone him down but keep the spirit of him alive. In the end, Stomach Crunch was born. I personally love the Man-Bot character, and I really think Stomach Crunch is misunderstood. Man-Bot is a story teller, he's basically an out and out fibber, and he's also a total horn ball. I truly believe Man-Bot is a visual show piece for the site. Frank's animation is leagues ahead of mine, it looks the most profesional of all the sodes, and it's looks amazing when watched through 'Shamoozal on Wii.'
After the two biggies a lot of thought went into Ninja. While it wasn't our full focus until July, I spent a lot of time coming up with designs for the two characters. How could I make the two Ninjas resemble Grey and Jacquo without totally giving it away? That was a big part of their design. During that time, I became addicted to Brain Age for the DS, and Stroopid Test was born. Actually, when we recorded the dialogue for Stroopid Test, we even recorded the dialogue for Shelved and another sode that never came to be (which will turn up in some form down the road).
When I finished with Stroopid Test the intention was never to "release" it like I did with Guitar Zero and Man-Bot by plugging them on tons of websites. It was created as just an off the cuff idea, and wasn't strong enough to really put out there. I also felt like it woud be good to have some site specific sodes, so I decided to make it and Shelved exclusive to the site. We tinkered with making Man-Bot a site exclusive as well, but I felt it deserved more then just waiting there in the Sode section for people to find it.
I find it kind of funny that I only released one 'The Zoinks' short this year. One of the ideas behind The Zoinks was to have a cartoon that was so easy to make, that I could crank one out in a weekend and eventually have a ton of them on the site. It's true, they do have a quick turn around time (Finger Paints was done in one night, Capsule Treats done in two nights) but it's actually kind of hard to come up with weird ideas for them, and when you're working on so many different projects, you almost forget that they exist! I also never released any Zoink cartoons off the site either, but when 'Capsule Treats' was finished I decided to make a compilation of all three Zoink cartoons and put it up over at Newgrounds where it pretty good. Maybe we'll see some more Zoinks soon. Maybe.
In the beginning of the summer I discovered "podcasts." A lot of the podcasts I tried out were absolutely terrible. I was talking to Sol one day on IM and I told him that we could do a better podcast. He liked the idea and we decided to try one out. I told my brother Jim (sith) about it and if he'd like to join, and of course had to make sure Joe was interested in it to. Everyone was all for it, so we gave it a whirl. Frank won't tell you this, but he was affraid of the podcast at first! Haha, and with good reason, we aren't radio guys! So we did our first "show" and it went fairly well. I think it convinced Frank that it's a nice addition to the site, and he's been a big part ever since. We've recorded four podcasts now and I do believe they have gotten better with each one. We still aren't radio guys, but I think we have gotten way more comfortable doing it. I also noticed that the podcast has brought in different fans of the site, people who don't even really watch or like the sodes! So I thought that was pretty interesting.
In September is dawned on me how slowly Ninja was moving, and how it was holding up the rest of the site. There wasn't a huge sode since Man-Bot which came out back in March! So I knew it was time to move full steam ahead on the project. I was off during the month of October, and if it wasn't for that month Ninja would never have been finished. I worked long 8 to 10 hour days nearly every day for that month, aside from the week I got married. Never in a million years would I be able to spend that amount of time on a cartoon while doing to the "real" every day job. When I went back to work, I would spend at least an hour and a half on Ninja every night, and during Decemeber it would be more then that. I think the work paid off, as we now have another show piece title next to Man-Bot.
Thanks to Ninja, we have had our most popular month at the site ever. I don't want to go revealing numbers, but the month of Decemeber has had nearly double the traffic of previous months to this site. I just kind of hope it stays that way!
Anyway, I hope everyone has enjoyed everything we put up here on the site this year. Have fun getting smashed tonight.