First of all, I've made a couple of additions to the Item Shop. As well as adding new category graphics, I've also come up with some plans for the weapons I'll be adding to the shop soon. I've already added one of them, but the graphic is incomplete. It's the Blaster, which is a weapon Gene Starwind fairly often uses. In fact, it can be seen in the first episode amongst others. It's a five-shot revolver. The graphic is only a Work In Progress as I've still got to fix the trigger and some other aspects of the gun, add dithering, soften the lines, etc. I'm finding it pretty fun, but it does take a few hours to complete a single weapon (it took a lot longer for the caster gun all that time back) *and since I have so many priorities to take care of on the site, I'm finding it difficult to choose what's most important. In any case, whether it's through Facebook or the forum, any tips on improving my graphics will be greatly appreciated. This is the current Blaster:

If you think the barrel is rather short, that's right. It works by attaching a barrel to it. Excuse my lack of gun knowledge, but maybe some of you US guys could help me out here. This thing wouldn't even fire without a barrel, would it? Or does it already have a very short barrel? It confuses me because Gene has a kit containing short/medium/long barrels for the gun. That's why in episode one, Gene yells at Jim when they're being attacked by pirates, "Jim, short-barrel Blaster!" Then this case is opened:

And you'll see, when Gene is passed the gun and the short barrel... *drumroll*

Gene's feeling rather cocky with his assembled "short-barrel" Blaster, which actually does nothing against the angry sword-wielding Kei Pirate! Am I to assume the Blaster represented in my graphic is therefore a paperweight? Regardless, I'll be adding all of the barrels to the Item Shop as soon as I can get round to it. The Blaster itself is a pretty cheap gun so you should be able to afford it fairly quickly. Anyway, I ought to get round to my second announcement: the competition. I announced there'd be a competition for that atrocity of a game I made when I was twelve years old called Super Sonic Smash. It's in the Arcade. (You must be registered to access this.) I said the competition wouldn't be about getting the best score. Tell me: are you a hardcore gamer? That game might be a chore to play, but it does contain (even if some are trimmed down in length) 25 music tracks from various video games, sometimes a few from the same game/series.

Some of these should be easy for any gamer if you're willing to through the hassle of playing Super Sonic Smash. That said, some of the video game music will be difficult even for enthusiasts. Oh, and there are two endings to Super Sonic Smash, each of which containing its own music track. You don't necessarily need to complete the game with both endings as if you just complete it with one you'll only be missing out on one track, and I'd be surprised if I even got three submissions for this competition. You must send your guesses via private message to Mantis (myself) on the forums. They don't need to be in any particular order. The second prize will be 5000 wong, and the third 2000 wong. The first prize winner will receive a huge 10,000 wong and something sent by me to his/her address. I don't know what yet! If you win and you're American maybe I can send you some UK snacks. If you don't like the idea of giving your address to me I'm sure we could come to some kind of other arrangement. Either way, crappy gaming and good luck. Oh, and if two people in the top three get the same score, the person who submitted earliest is chosen first.

p.s. Whilst I'm here, any requests for weapons/other items in the Item Shop would be useful. I'm open to suggestions, though keep in mind designing some things in a 50x50 pixel space can be pretty tough.