Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Late Christmas!

Well, only a day later.

Hopefully you got a nice laugh. Hope you enjoyed your Christmas season as much as I have!

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 23, 2010


It's about time I got this back up. This is my . . . second game that I consider worthy of actually being made.

BlankLand was the result of my attempt at a reasonable game for the YoYoGames Competition #05. Although much time and work went into this, I still think people will just grumble and say it's just another Jumper clone.

-45+ Levels
-Working, well-programmed gameplay
-Kinda cool music (it fits, so it works)

You are a stickman. No story. I know you're all extremely disappointed that there is no story, but it's the sad, sad truth.

Stuff the the tutorial doesn't tell you:
-In the menu, you use up and down to navigate, a space to select
-It saves after every level
-Ice is slippery

This was a collaboration between myself and my good friend Ethan Kilgore. We both did a good share of programming, and we both deserve credit. The music was done by a nice chap named Ness2022 (via GMG), and the credits music was from Yngwie Malmsteen. The track was titled "Farewell".

Enjoy, though I must warn you that it's hard!


Super Mario World

Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 for the Game Boy Advance, originally released as Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, is one of the funnest games I've ever played on a handheld system. Sure, the Metroid games were awesome, the Pokemon games were adventuresome, the Harvest Moon games were addicting, but so far the only handheld games I can think of that are better than this game are the Wario Land games for the Game Boy Color.

Super Mario World is a 2D platformer game developed by Nintendo in 1991. The GBA re-release that I love so much was released in 2002.

The story is about the Mario Brothers, Mario and Luigi (their last name was never revealed, even though their games have been coming out for the past 29 years), and their quest to save Princess Peach from the evil . . . guy named Bowser. Well, he's more like an extra-big koopa.

Along the way, the Mario Bros. are helped by the strange supposed-to-be-dinosaur called Yoshi. Along the way they help Yoshi rescue his friends from the Kooplings, who are Bowser's children (though it's never revealed who their mother is, or if they even had one).

This game is old enough to be considered one of those games that are actually long enough, unlike present-day games. It's long enough, with eight worlds full of several levels each, and about forty-five million secrets. That's an exaggeration, but there are way too many secrets in this game. And I love it.

With several power-ups, a long enough game, and an overall super-funness, this game will occupy your time for a long time. There's no way you're going to beat in in one sitting . . . unless you know how, of course.

-Super fun
-A whole ton of different levels and worlds
-It's a Mario game that's not too short

-Some levels are kinda hard
-If you have a cape you can clear a lot of levels very easily

In case you're wondering, I do actually own this game. I very rarely use ROMs. Why? Because it's always 5-10 times better to play a game on the original system it was intended for. That means you could play this game on either the GBA or the SNES.


Deep Magic

Deep Magic is a game created by the almighty Excalibur333. Just kidding, he's not almighty.

Deep Magic is a 2-dimensional platformer game about a wizard who must stop a giant, evil beast. Sound familiar? Well the story isn't that original. You level up by collecting exp that you get from defeating enemies. The higher level you are, the more spells you can use.

The game has five levels and a boss. It's fun for a while, but eventually you need to start leveling up a lot before proceeding. That can get very boring, but it's super satisfying once you get higher spells. It makes your job a lot easier.

You can get up to 20 different spells. Some are very different from others, and the really unique ones are the later ones you unlock.

I can't say I've use all of the spells myself, because they're not all necessary. They're optional, and actually you could, theoretically, beat the entire game with the very first spell. I would definitely not recommend trying, though.

The music and graphics are fitting. Overall, this is a pretty cool game. That is, if you don't mind grinding for a while.

-Fun, addictive gameplay
-Large variety of spells
-Fitting (and sorta cute) graphics and music

-Only five levels, not including the boss
-A lot of time goes into moving up levels
-Hard difficulty later on

Download Deep Magic on YoYoGames


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


After plenty of annoying time taken up that I should've spent with my dad, since it's his birthday, I gave up trying to find a good redirect URL for my blog.

But I ended up with these:

I'm not satisfied with any. Plenty of other ideas went down the drain, too.


The Bishop

Now this book is not just a normal thriller, it's the fourth book in a series of epicly awesome thrillers by best-selling author Steven James, who is a complete genius.

The Bishop follows the story of the previous novels, The Pawn, The Rook, and The Knight. Is the series about chess? Well, in a way. It's actually about FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers, in first-person, and some of his very interesting cases. Cases that involve the things that the FBI usually get involved in . . . such as serial killers.

This particular story takes place in and around Washington D.C. The daughter of a congressman was found brutally murdered, which eventually leads to a long string of crimes that have been perfectly orchestrated. The killers are two people, a man and a woman. They go by the names they used when they met in a game online, Astrid and Brad.

Torn by relationship issues and personal matters that threaten to tear his life apart, Pat Bowers is stuck in the middle of this case that seems to go nowhere, except when the killers allow it to go on.

This story takes you in and doesn't let go. Steven James is a grammatical genius and I looked and studied the entire novel looking for just one typo. I finally found it in the last ten chapters or so, and it made me more satisfied that you would guess. James is such an amazing person at storytelling and english-related subjects that he'll have my respect for the rest of my life.

Though, as this is a series about solving crime, the series is sometimes pretty gruesome. I could handle it, but I wouldn't be able to if it were a movie. I'd rate the book PG-13. If there will ever be a movie, I'd rate it R.

James is a Christian and finds small ways to hint at his faith through his novels. My guess is that by the end of the series, Patrick Bowers will find salvation. He needs it.

Armed with a gripping story, an unforgettable cast of characters, and cool futuristic elements (even though it takes place modern-day), The Bishop is a must-read for anyone who can handle the happenings. But please remember what I said about the ratings, and definitely read the series in order, starting with The Pawn.

And actually, The Queen is set to come out Summer 2011. Not nearly as far away as I thought it might be.


P.S. For those who might possibly be wondering, I returned Bill Myers' Blood of Heaven to the library when The Bishop came in. Myers is just kind of boring. I'm sure it would've gotten better if I'd continued, but I desperately wanted to read The Bishop, since it'd been at least half a year since I read The Knight.

Monday, December 20, 2010


VVVVVV is a game created and developed by Terry Cavanagh that was released in early 2010. It mixes awesome platforming elements with those weird gravity-involving games.

At first glance this game looks like any old platformer game with elements that involve gravity, and to some people, it might just be that. But I, personally, had a lot of fun with this game. It's like a mixture between Jumper (without the double-jumps and such) and that weird gravity engine that was released with Slayer64's "everything pack", or whatever it was.

You are a man. Well, maybe not a man. A humanoid at least. You are a humanoid who is the captain of a spaceship. This ship explores the galaxy for one reason or another. So, anyway, one day something strange shows up on the ship's radar, and suddenly it crashes for no discernible reason. You, the captain, are apparently the only survivor. You set out to find out what happened and, if possible, rescue any other live crew members.

In this adventure, instead of jumping, you can flip the personal gravity of the captain by 180 degrees. In other words, the ceiling becomes floor and the floor becomes ceiling. There are strange things with C's on them all over the game, and these are checkpoints. If you die anywhere in the game (which will happen a lot), you will be teleported to the last checkpoint you touched.

There are many secrets in VVVVVV, and also alternate game modes. Though the game isn't too long, it'll occupy your time for a long time, and has a lot of replay value. The soundtrack (composed by SoulEye) is very catchy and keeps you happy throughout the whole game.

Unfortunately, this game is not freeware. It costs $5 to buy/download, but then after that, you can give the installation application to anyone you like, as long as it's privately (and not for any money). Unfortunately, the soundtrack costs money too. $4, I believe.

-Fun, addictive gameplay
-Checkpoints everywhere, so if you die, it won't be a very big deal
-Sizable overworld
-Lots of fun platformer elements
-Awesome, addictive music (if music can be addictive)
-Tons of secrets and unlockables

-It's not freeware
-Could be longer
-Extremely hard in a couple places

I'd say, in my opinion, this game is well worth the money. It's jam-packed with as much as a little game could handle, and it's super fun. The addictive gameplay ups the replay value by a ton.

Official Homepage
Play 2-Level Demo at Kongregate
Buy the Full Game ($5)
Buy Official Soundtrack ($4)


Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Today I got to see the film adaption of the award-winning classic by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It is both the third book in the novel series and the third movie in the film series.

The story follows King Caspian X (portrayed by Ben Barnes) on a journey in his ship, the Dawn Treader, to locate and find Seven Lost Lords of Narnia. Somehow yet again some children from our own world are thrown into the great journey (this time they got to Narnia through a picture).

The movie takes place three years after the events of The Chronicles of Narnia: Price Caspian, and a lot has changed in the world since then. In both worlds, actually.

I saw The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 3D, but since this isn't a review of 3D theaters, I won't say too much. I'll say the 3D was cool, but it failed to meet my expectations. I'd like to see a 3D movie in an IMAX theater sometime, so I can see 3D at its best.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Dawn Treader. The acting was good, the special effects and music were completely awesome, and it was all done very well. It differed from the story of the book in several places, but I'm sure C.S. Lewis, if he were still alive, wouldn't mind too much.

I loved the character development of Eustace Scrubb, a no-good-very-bad-boy (boy, in opposed to day). The actor, Will Poulter, did an excellent job of playing a spoiled kid, and then later, after he changed, a used-to-be-spoiled kid. A changed kid. Poulter was just great at portraying the character created by Lewis. He'll probably do great in the next movie, too.

One thing I love about the Narnia movies is that you get to see the characters/actors grow up as the story progresses. It's already been around five years since The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was initially released in theaters, and not even half of the series has been made into movies yet. The Dawn Treader was just released in theaters a week and a day ago.

My final conclusion is that this movie is well-made, really cool, intriguing, touching, and overall just plain awesome. I, like usual, would recommend waiting until it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray until you watch it, but if you're a theater lover, totally be my guest. It's worth the admission fee for sure.

-Awesome story
-Amazing special effects
-Awesome music
-Extremely well made

-Story differs from the book in several places
-3D was disappointing (but that's the theater's fault)

Now, I can't wait for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair to come out!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010


We're up to an hour of internet per day, and it'll stay that way until Christmas (then we'll decide what to do next).

I'm currently working on various projects, and I've started reading another book (Blood of Heaven, by Bill Myers). It's slow progress, since the reading assignments I've gotten at school have made me lose my reading appetite for the most part (I used to love reading, but now I've almost grown to hate it since school started), but hopefully I'll get it done before The Bishop (by Steven James) comes in at the library (it's the fourth book in an awesome series).

Anyway, I'll see ya around. I might write a book review or something tomorrow.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Unfortunately . . .

My family is going on an internet fast, so unfortunately I may not be able to blog for another month or so. I might try to blog sometime when I'm at the library or at a friend's house, but most likely I'd just update my FaceBook or check my e-mail and all that crap.

Anyway, hopefully I'll see you soon!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

An Untitled Story

An Untitled Story is an exploration platformer game developed by Matt Thorson. It was released in 2007, and it took over two years to make. It has a very large world, with many areas and bosses.

The story of An Untitled Story, in that way similar to the stories of several games in the Metroid series, is very subtle. The game's main function is exploration, and it is full of adventure.

You start out as an egg in a nest, with no recollection of who, what, or where you are. Eventually you hatch and start out on a long adventure. In the end the trail is extremely long, hard . . . and fun!

This has for several years now been one of the best games I have ever played. It's long enough to occupy your time for quite awhile, and it's free!

-Great programming
-Massive world
-Varying difficulties
-Extremely fun
-One of the best games I've ever played

-Can get way too hard (if you don't choose the easiest difficulty)
-Music isn't perfect (but it's still fitting)

Download An Untitled Story (direct, .zip file, 19.4 MB)
Official Download Page
Creator's Website


Friday, November 26, 2010

New Erin Healy Sweepstakes!

Grand Prize
-Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi+3G, 6"
-Display, Graphite – Latest Generation (works globally)
-Black leather case included
-Be the first recipient to have a copy of The Promises She Keeps, by Erin Healy, preloaded
-Also included, preloaded with Erin’s three released titles:
Never Let You Go

2nd Prize
-3 second place winners will receive a second place prize of a $50.00 gift certificate to the Christian bookstore of their choosing

3rd Prize
-3 third place winners will receive a copy of Never Let You Go, by Erin Healy, signed to the person of their choosing

Prize Eligibility
Only persons who are at least 18 years of age can enter.

Sweepstakes Starts
November 26, 2010 @ 12:01 am (EST)

Sweepstakes Ends
December 12, 2010 @ 11:59 pm (EST)

Need more Details?
Read the Official Rules


I officially need to step out of the sweepstakes, because I'm not 18. >.< I wish I could enter, considering Erin Healy is one of my favorite authors. If I do enter, unfortunately I'd have to lie about my age. :( Maybe I'll get my brother to enter.

Anyway, Enter the Sweepstakes!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Immanuel's Veins

Immanuel's Veins cover

Do you like action? Adventure? Romance? Supernaturalism? Awesomeness? Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker has a perfect blend of everything, and to top it all, it's historical fiction (one of my personal favorite genres).

It's a story of love, and a story of hate. The story follows a Russian warrior named Toma Nicolescu in 1772, AD, who works specifically for Catherine the Great, empress of Russia. Toma was assigned with his best friend to guard and protect the royal family of Moldavia, but not everything goes as plan. Strange occurrences happen, and Toma is suddenly thrown into the impossible world of the supernatural. Things happen that shouldn't, people die and come back to life, and he's stuck in the middle of it all. He will have to put his soul to the test if he is to defeat the evil and save those whom he loves.

This is a story of heroism, betrayal, and sacrifice. I know I said something similar about an earlier review, The Silver Branch (by Rosemary Sutcliff), but this time I mean it in a stronger way. This book grabs your soul and shakes it, and in the end it helps you remember just how powerful and awesome our God is.

But I must warn you, this book is officially rated PG-13 by the author. I would not exactly call it family friendly. As has been said of this book:

This book is for everyone, but not everyone is for this book.

If you love supernatural stories that rattle the soul, but still shows us the greatness of God, I'd recommend this novel. It is one of the best books I have read in my life.


P.S. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tower of Heaven

Tower of Heaven is a 2D platformer freeware game for the PC. In 2009, it won the award for being in the top ten independent games of the year on The main character is at the bottom of a giant tower that only a being such as God could have designed. Whoever this being is, they seem pretty impatient.

The being keeps giving new rules to the player to play by, and some of them aren't very fun. But that fact makes the game itself funner. You have far too many disabilities by the end, but that just makes the game more awesome.

-Great programming
-Great, original idea
-Changing rules
-Extremely fun
-Totally awesome music

-Too short
-Pretty darn hard
-There's a powerful being claiming to be God, who's clearly not

I'd recommend this game if you're good at 2D platformers. It's an awesome game, and worth the time.

Play Tower of Heaven Online
Download Tower of Heaven


New x86cam Trailer!

This was a remake, made by x86cam. I still like mine though. :D

You can view the trailer Here.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Design

You probably wouldn't notice unless you saw the two side-by-side, but this blog now has a new background. It wasn't hard to make. ;)


I'm sorry, but I'm on an advertising spree right now. This is a video teaser I made for my friend's new website. There are practically no members other than the staff, so we need to start advertising or something. I know, the video is kinda bland, but I made it because I was bored.


Music by Positively Dark:


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


FaMoTrailers is a new blog that I created for fake/parody trailers of movies, TV series, and video games. Since for some reason I sometimes can't wait, I made five posts in the first few hours.

Anyway, if you know of any awesome fan trailers for things, send me a link at!

Have a nice day!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Found It!

I found the Station of Bridge Between!

Today I went to Naperville, IL to visit my brother at college. I had a great time, got to meet a few of his friends, and overall enjoyed the visit. The return trip wasn't so great, though, since the train took over an hour more than it was supposed to, to get to our destination.

But at the depot before we left, there was an underground tunnel that led from one side of the track to the other (like in case there was a train stopped and you couldn't get to the other side). As we were going through it, my mom remarked that it looked similar to the tunnel in 'that story' that I wrote.

I was like, OH GOSH, and a bit later (since it was about 30 minutes before the train even got there), I came back with my DSi and took a few photos.

This does actually really resemble Bridge Between. It's a little too bright, though. But it's just awesome that I found something that resembled that place in my mind so much. The place in my mind/story was quite different, but I think this is as close as we can get in our realm:

Naperville, Illinois

For those who haven't read, here is my story: The Station of Bridge Between


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ode to Minions - Brawl in the Family

I just found out how to embed videos in my blog, and I'm testing it. This is a song that was written and performed be a very successful webcomic known as Brawl in the Family. The song is about video game minions.

If you don't like video games, you probably won't find this humorous. If you do like video games, you'll probably think this is awesome. Enjoy!

Brawl in the Family's Website


The Station of Bridge Between

"Very intriguing, very classic but fresh—a contemporary Pilgrim’s Progress."
-Erin Healy, Bestselling Author of Never Let You Go


I wrote this . . . It might have been back in April '10, but that might have been Unfinished Plans. All I know is that I wrote this several months ago. I didn't publish it on my blog for some reason, even though it was my longest short story yet. I personally like the story, but since it had been a long time since I wrote or revised it, I decided to let a friend of mine go over it first. You can see her quote above.

She pointed out several things that could be better, but overall gave me a good score, so I'm leaving it as it is. As I said last time, "What's done is done, and what's written is written." I think that's becoming my motto. Alright, let's make that official: it is now my motto. ^.^

By the way, except for behind-the-scenes, the title doesn't directly relate to the story. Anyway, enjoy!


The Station of Bridge Between
By Reuben Horst

He was standing in something that resembled a tunnel. The walls, ceiling and floor were all metal, and the overhead lights were an extremely dim yellow, the type that usually hurts your eyes, but not always. Bright lights appeared at either end of the tunnel, both ends about thirty yards away. Near the center of the tunnel, where the man was standing, was a bench, next to which were a trash can and a pop machine. A newspaper was lying on the ground a couple feet away.

Something about this place made the man feel strange and queasy inside.

He could hear sounds from both directions. From the tunnel exit further away he could hear doctors and nurses in worried voices talking about someone. Was it him? No way to tell from this distance.

From the closer exit, which was only closer by a couple feet, he could hear wonderful music that made him warm inside.

Something about this tunnel just seemed wrong. What was he doing here, anyway?

As the man sat on the bench, an older, dark skinned man with a grey beard and half-bald head walked over and picked up the newspaper and sat down.

The older man turned while still holding the newspaper and said, “Do you know why you are here, Elliot Winters?”

The younger man, Elliot, shook his head.

“My name is Miguel Gonzales,” the man continued. He must be Spanish, from his accent.

Miguel started reading the newspaper that had been on the floor of this very strange tunnel. Elliot sat down and looked over at the paper. It was titled Earth’s Special Events.

As the two men sat there, Elliot started to get thirsty. Not really thirsty, but only kind of. He got up walked to the pop machine and fished in his pockets for cash. To his dismay, he found his pockets empty.

Miguel, upon seeing Elliot being dismayed, and the reason why, fished in his own pocket, took out a coin, and gave it to Elliot.

“Is it enough?” Elliot asked.

Miguel only smiled and mumbled under his breath, “It is for those sodas.”

Elliot turned back to the machine, placed coin in the dispenser, and looked at his options. There weren’t very many, but Elliot didn’t recognize any of the brands: Cool Fame, Spicy Power, Cherry Wealth, Juicy Selfishness, and just plain Truth. Such odd names for sodas.

He looked and Miguel and asked, “Which one should I get? They all look good.”

Miguel took off his glasses and explained, “Cool Fame tastes good to most, and others hate it. Some just don’t really care about it. Spicy Power has a strong taste that nobody can resist unless they try hard. Cherry Wealth is something that people think makes them cool when they drink it. It’s extremely hard to find anymore. Next is Juicy Selfishness? Oh yes, although most people resent the name, they drink it all of the time without thinking. It takes great skill not to. And Truth . . . most people hate Truth. The majority of Earth hates this drink. Of course, it is one of the healthiest drinks that has ever been made.”

Even though a normal person would feel confused by all this, Elliot didn’t. Maybe it was this tunnel.

Well, Elliot thought, he was just thirsty, so he could do with something healthy.

The other drinks looked more tempting than he would think, but he pushed the button for Truth anyway.

Elliot imagined telling his friends that he had drank a pop called Truth, and it was one they’d never heard before. Oh how they’d envy him.

He smiled, thinking how Grant, the flavor king at work, would be constantly probing him for information about the taste.

Elliot’s thoughts stopped dead in their tracks. Would he ever get back?

His anger suddenly welled up. What would it matter if he got back? Nobody cared about him. Nobody ever did, except for his wife and daughter.

But his wife was in Egypt last time he knew, which was six months ago, on another of her wild goose chases, and his daughter was in Heaven with some god who cared for her and not him.

He was completely alone in a world full of jerks.

That was when Elliot noticed he was already drinking his soda. So this is what Truth tastes like? It actually tasted amazing. And that was when Elliot noticed that it was Juicy Selfishness that he was drinking, not Truth. When he had pushed the button, both had fallen down.

Elliot immediately threw the Juicy Selfishness away and picked up the Truth. He caught Miguel looking at him intently.

He slowly opened the Truth, put it up to his lips, and drank.

At first he could taste nothing, but then the terrible, bitter flavor hit him like a punch in the face, and the next thing he knew, he was laying on his back.

Alright, he hated Truth now. What had it done to him? He was shaking all over, from head to foot, and his heart was pounding as hard as his mom usually did when she was gave him one of her massacring massages.

He looked up to see Miguel get up and walk away toward the closest end of the tunnel. The one with music. Wait, Miguel was leaving him? No, Miguel couldn’t let him die here, which is what would happen if he didn’t get help. Was he having a heart attack? If he was, it would be an opposite heart attack, which would be himself dying from his heart beating too hard.

Miguel disappeared into the blinding light. Has he really abandoned me?

Elliot noticed the newspaper that Miguel had been reading was now on the floor, next to the bench. He reached out and grabbed it.

At least there was something to read.

As he weakly flipped open the Earth’s Special Events, one of the headlines caught his eye. It was an article with the title Accident on Micah Street.

Funny, he had been driving on Micah Street just that day and he hadn’t noticed anything unusual. Unless . . .

Elliot started reading down the page, and his fears were confirmed.

“A tragedy in Chicago, Illinois has shaken bystanders off their feet. A  semi-truck driver named Clive Woods, 47, collided with the sports car of Elliot Winters, 37, causing massive damage to both vehicles.

"The truck driver was shaken badly; survived without much injury, but Winters was shipped off to Franklin Thomas Hospital for reasons not yet released to the public.

"Stay tuned for more information within the next few days.”

Elliot didn’t bother reading who wrote it. It didn’t matter who wrote it. He was in a hospital, dying. Is in a hospital, dying.

He finally managed to pull himself up onto the bench, putting the can of Truth on the floor.

But when he let go of the can, it stuck to his hand. He tried shaking it off, but it wouldn’t come off. After that he tried every way possible way to get it off his hand, each attempt failing miserably.

When a few minutes had passed, he gave up and went back to reading the newspaper, with the can still stuck to his hand.

Earth’s Special Events was a very unique newspaper. It was full of accidents and deaths.

Eventually he found a page that visited old accidents. That’s where he broke down.

“On June 22, 2004, Jasmine Winters had a very different thirteenth birthday. She got more than a trip to Pizza Hut and a huge party. The car she was in when she was her way back home was hit by the vehicle of a drunken ex-con, killing her and injuring her mother and her best friend.

"This is a sad story, and I cry every time I think about it. Whenever I revisit this accident, it’s hard for me to bear."

Elliot couldn’t read the rest. He was sobbing by the time he got as far as he did. He couldn’t help it. It happened every time he thought of his daughter’s death. Nothing could ever stop him from crying about it.

Minutes passed in the tunnel with him thinking about his daughter and his own impending doom, and then hours.

When Elliot finally looked up, he threw the newspaper across the room and screamed.

The newspaper landed next to the can of Truth, a few feet in front of him.

Wait, hadn’t that can of pop been stuck to his hand?

Elliot looked at his hand, and saw in despair that it was drenched in Truth. The purple liquid dripped down onto the bench.

He looked around for something to dry his hand on, and saw a drinking fountain that he hadn’t noticed before.

He got up and walked to the machine and pulled the little lever. Instantly, purple liquid spurted from the fountain.

Oh great, the drinking fountain was full of Truth.

Elliot looked around in despair. As he was looking, the Truth that drenched his hand fell to the floor in a small puddle, and made its way toward the can.

He watched as the puddle and the can came into contact. At first he could just hear a sizzling noise, but then the can exploded.

Elliot cried out as Truth spewed everywhere, and then came back together into the form of a monster. The frightening Truth beast looked like it came right out of a Square Enix game.

He immediately started sprinting towards the nearest tunnel—the one with music. Unfortunately for him, he hit an invisible wall within a few feet. Bad news, because the purple monster had noticed him and was advancing.

He quickly got into a defensive position, but it was too late. The monster threw itself at him, and he landed on his back, trying as hard as he could to keep his mouth shut.

He slowly and steadily lost the battle against the Truth that was flowing wickedly fast all around and on him, and he screamed.

Immediately Truth filled his mouth and throat and he experienced the worst feeling in his entire life. It felt like he was being skinned alive.

Elliot’s screaming grew louder and louder, torturing his own ears. When he couldn’t scream any more, it came as a relief, but by then his pain was so horrible that he barely noticed.

Finally giving up on trying to breath, Elliot Winters was dying. Very slowly and very painfully.

When darkness was closing in but showing no help with the pain, Elliot felt someone grab his hand and pull him up.

It was Jasmine.

Elliot blinked. His deceased daughter stood before him, looking prettier than she ever had on Earth. She wasn’t smiling, but looking at him intently.

The two embraced each other. Jasmine must have come through the nearby tunnel end, which Elliot finally concluded must be Heaven.

After a few seconds, the Truth monster picked itself up and hurled through the air, hitting Elliot dead on, but Jasmine immediately pulled him out of the creature’s grip again.

The two of them dodged around for a while, avoiding the monster’s attacks, and finally Elliot whispered, “What am I supposed to do?”

Even through the din of the Truth Monster, Jasmine seemed to hear him and replied, “You need to face the Truth, Dad.”

The movements of the advancing creature slowed as they continued.

“How can I face a monster made out of a soda that tortures me?” Elliot cried. Jasmine looked around.

“That is not a soda, Dad,” she said steadily, “But pure, raw truth.”

Realization hit Elliot like a fist. And so did the Truth Monster. Elliot was sent flying backwards against the wall.

“Dad,” Jasmine was screaming over the noise, “You need to face it!”

Elliot got up and whispered, “I need to face the truth. And the truth is that I’m a jerk who doesn’t deserve to live or go to Heaven.”

“No, Dad,” Jasmine screamed again, “The true truth is that you’re not!”

Elliot paused, though his limbs were hurting badly.

“You need to believe, Dad,” his daughter continued. “You need to believe that you are beautiful inside. And you need to believe that God can save you!”

A tear slipped from his eyes. “I don’t know what I believe anymore,” he managed.

At that moment the monster rammed into him, devouring him by any definition. He started screaming as the pain started all over again.

No, no, no, Lord! Help me!

Suddenly the pain started to ease off, though Elliot could still feel the liquid flowing all around him. He saw a light above him, and a man standing in the light.

It was Jesus.

Suddenly Elliot believed. He believed in himself, he believed in his daughter and, most of all, he believed in God.

He jumped up and screamed. Not in pain, but in strength. He could handle the truth now.

Immediately the creature shrieked and withered away, leaving the can behind. All of the Truth around in the tunnel dried up, and nobody would ever be able to tell that it was there in the first place.

Elliot looked and saw that Jasmine had been crying for him while he was engulfed in truth. But suddenly the tears of sadness were replaced with tears of joy as the two ran and really embraced each other this time. Tears poured from his own eyes as he wept for joy at seeing her.

It was almost as if he hadn’t noticed her before. Well yes, he had, but the realization had never hit him that this was, in fact, his daughter who he had lost to an automobile accident six years ago.

Seeing her and seeing Jesus had just turned his world upside-down. Or, more accurately, right side-up.

“I love you,” he cried, hugging her as hard as he could.

“I love you too, Daddy,” she replied, laughing.

Elliot and Jasmine suddenly found themselves at the end of the tunnel that lead back to Earth. At that moment Elliot knew that this meant he had to go back.

He finally pulled back from his daughter, and she let him. She too knew that he had to go.

“It was good to see you again,” she whispered.

Elliot smiled. “Good to see you too,” he whispered back.

With that, he stepped backwards through the tunnel exit, and found himself being flown away in a land full of light. He could still see his daughter waving, and the old man Miguel next to her, nodding his head, and the savior Jesus on the other side, smiling at him.

The next moment he was lying in a hospital bed, looking into the eyes of his wife Sarah.

They blinked at the same time.

“Sarah,” Elliot cried, “You came to see me!”

Sarah shrieked for joy and immediately called for the nurse.

“He’s awake!” She shouted.

The nurse came running in and stared at him, unbelieving.

In the next hour Elliot was told about all of the injuries that he had had in the crash, and how he had just died three hours before he woke up. Evidently some miracle had been performed and somehow he came back to life.

Yeah right, Elliot thought sarcastically.

When Sarah had heard of the accident, she’d raced back to the states as fast as she could to see him.

Elliot sat thinking as he was told all of this. He kept thinking back to his daughter and Jesus. It would be good to see them again. Someday he would, and that thought made him happy.


This short story actually was inspired by one scene in Deadline, by Randy Alcorn, which happens to be my favorite book ever.

Anyway, feedback please!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween! (A Day Late)

Click the image above for a humorous Trick-or-Treat video by Christian comedian Tim Hawkins.

Happy Halloween!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Reuben Sandwich Blog

I was messing around with Google, and I discovered there is a blog out there called the Reuben Sandwich Blog.

The creator claims to be named Reuben R. Reuben, but I don't know if that's his real name. He also claims to be the 'Reubenator', which I know is false, because people used to call me Reubenator all of the time. Well, along with other things, such as 'Reub', 'Ruby', 'Rhubarb', and 'Shorty'.

Anyway, this Reuben Reuben Reuben guy (okay, his middle name probably isn't Reuben) takes pictures that people send him of Reuben Sandwiches and posts them on his blog. He also writes about Reubens.

Sounds like a guy who really loves Reubens. I wonder if that means he loves me.

So go ahead and check out his blog if you want. I must warn you though, he has a lot of pictures of sandwiches!


Unfinished Plans

"You definitely have talent. Keep it up!"
-Charlie Dominici, lead vocalist of the Progressive Metal band Dominici


This was my second short story, written a while later. I wrote it for a competition, actually. For a long while, nobody noticed it. And then all of the sudden, soon after the contest ended, people started commenting on it and giving it their usual praise and constructive criticism. Yes, really soon after the contest ended.

When I first wrote it, I liked it a lot more than I liked One Weird Gas Station, but that has since changed, as I love my first story more than any other of my writing works. This story was partly inspired by Thunder of Heaven by Ted Dekker, which is one of my favorite books ever. When I look back, I see a lot of ways Unfinished Plans could've been a lot better, but what's done is done, and what's written is written.


Unfinished Plans
By Reuben Horst

Captain Jared Taylor stood with his left hand in his pocket, and his right hand handing a pistol at the man before him. Never mind the fact that his left foot was stuck in the mud, and his right foot was on the unconscious body of Karen Amir, the American wife of Muhammad Amir, the man before him and a well known terrorist.

His nerves were shaking and his heart beat like a thousand marching bands all hitting their drums at once.

Muhammad Amir stood confident, looking Jared in the eyes.

It had come down to this.

“Go on, shoot your little toy at me,” Amir spat, “I deserve to die. You’ve said so yourself.”

Jared continued to tremble. If this kept up, he would break down before he shot, and then Amir would escape.

But is it worth all this?

Jared Taylor caught his breath, and looked at the dead bodies around him. This was Amir’s doing, not his. It had to be.

Amir continued to mock him. “So you break into my secret base, lure everyone out, kill almost everyone, and then accuse me of killing innocents?”

Jared growled. “There were no innocents here, Muhammad.”

Amir raised an eyebrow. “So you’re saying that you’re not innocent?” he asked, a smirk on his face.

Jared felt his anger build up, and welcomed it. “I never said I was innocent.”

Karen stirred under his foot and started squirming. He stomped on her to make her stop.

Amir flinched when Jared stomped. Jared wondered how in the world an American woman as pretty as Karen would have met, let alone married, this beast of a human being. This demon from Hell itself.

But maybe he doesn’t deserve to die.

Jared mentally screamed at himself. This is Muhammad Amir! The world-known terrorist! The man who had killed your wife and children, along with a million other people!

He had sworn to kill this man six years earlier when it happened. It would never happen again.


This ends here!

Then something struck him. It wasn’t something physical, but . . . different. He remembered God.


What did this have to do with God? God had abandoned him long ago. He was starting to believe that the nuclear explosion that killed a million people also killed God. It was said that God was everywhere, and that included in the nuclear blast.

God has died and risen before, you fool! He could’ve again!

“So have you made up your mind yet, loser?” Muhammad Amir chuckled.

Alright, this was it. He was going mad. Suddenly, another voice spoke in his head. One not his.

I’ve always been here, Jared. I never left. I haven’t died since the time almost two thousand years ago.

He stopped short. “God?” he asked aloud.

Amir laughed. “And now the kid’s god is talking. As if he would care for you.”

Jared screamed, “Shut up!” and shot his pistol less than an inch above Karen’s head. Both she and Amir flinched, and Karen started to squirm again. Then sob.

Amir looked at his wife with pity in his eyes. In that moment Jared knew he couldn’t kill them. He just couldn’t.

He had done enough killing over the years to get to this moment, but he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. He slowly lowered the gun.

Karen immediately tried to struggle free, throwing Jared off balance, sending him crashing into the muddy ground.

Amir crouched, and then sprinted, headfirst, in the other direction.

Jared got onto his knees and, dodging an attacking Karen, fired his pistol.

Time seemed to slow as that bullet flew across the sky. It was going to hit Amir in the back, causing a fatal wound.

Wait, Jared had just decided that he wouldn’t kill Amir. He had just shot a bullet that couldn’t miss!

There was nothing he could do to stop that flying bullet. He registered Karen screaming beside him. Boy, what had possessed her to love that beast so much? Maybe the CIA or FBI could get her to tell, when this was all—


The bullet had hit! Jared looked up.

Muhammad Amir lay facedown in the mud twenty yards off.

Jared jumped up and ran towards Amir, barely aware that Karen was running after him.

He pulled up. Blood was leaking from a bullet wound in Amir’s leg.

Wait, hadn’t that bullet gone straight for Amir’s heart?

Jared looked down at the leg, not believing his eyes.

I have unfinished plans for this one, Jared.

God again. God always showed up at the weirdest of times.

Jared picked up his cell phone, and called headquarters. They would want a report.

Don’t forget, Jared, I’m still here. I always will be.

Jared smiled. Maybe now that he had captured the infamous Amir couple, husband and wife, he could find a real life. Maybe even find another woman of his own. One that loved God, as his last wife had.

He was still smiling when the CIA helicopter arrived. God was one his side again.

I always was, Jared. I always was.


Master of Shadow Matoran, an online friend of mine who is an Atheist, pointed out that even though this was written well, it makes it sound like we are being controlled. Like God is controlling our every move. This was not the intention, but I can see what he meant. But as I said earlier, "What's done is done, and what's written is written."

Feedback, please!


One Weird Gas Station

"It is so psyrealistic - it moves not outside of realism, but on a seperate track running an entirely different way than realism! Your characters, at times, can react opposite of what you would expect from any person, and at other times, be perfectly reasonable. It all fits into this nicely screwed-together universe of yours, and it turns out perfectly in a style that is all your own. Well done!"
-Master of Shadow Matoran, via VahiCove

"That really is quite a strange gas station, but with a strange place comes a great story, and you, my friend, have a great piece. Rather than go with the norm, you went with the strangest and most entertaining way to tell this story. From beginning to end, it was all good, so keep it up!"
-Xenogears, via Budding Writters


After quite a bit of frantic searching, I found the data I needed to repost this short story. I originally wrote it almost a year ago, and my writing abilities have, in fact, increased since then. When I first completed it from scratch (starting out not knowing what I was writing about), I received a lot more praise from my family and various other people on the internet than I ever expected I would. This is the latest version, with all (as far as I could tell) of the typos edited out.

So, alas, this was the first completed short story I ever wrote. At least after I started getting good at writing. It was also the first story I ever wrote in first-person.


One Weird Gas Station
By Reuben Horst

“John. My name’s John,” the man said. I looked at him with confusion in my eyes. He was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, extremely unusual attire for the crazy rainstorm outside. We were standing in my gas station on a very rainy day and he was wearing a T-shirt? Who was this guy?

Noticing my confusion, the man, John, said, “I know this seems a bit weird, but I can’t help it.”

I just shrugged and turned away. Some people were just weird. Most usually weren’t this weird, but I’ve definitely seen weirder people. Someone once walked in this station on Micah Street wearing a heavy coat and sweat pants in the middle of the hottest day of summer. This is a very weird gas station, I guess.

The man named John stroked his short beard and walked away into the soda section. As I turned back to my work, another stranger walked into the store/gas station. This one wore a grey top coat, long pants that had a dark blue color, sun glasses, a black hat, and a gun pointed right at me.

Now I’m not into guns, so I have no idea what type he had. But that didn’t stop the fact that all guns could easily kill.

The man wiped the water off his sunglasses with a cloth (I don’t know how he did it without taking them off) and smiled. Two of his top teeth were missing, and all the rest were a sick yellow that made me think he hadn’t brushed his teeth in weeks.

“Would you please be so kind as to give me all your money?” the man asked, still smirking.

Without thinking, I quickly reached into the cash register, pulled out a ten dollar bill, gave it to the man, and said “Here, this is all I have.”

Like I said, I did it without thinking. The gunman immediately burst out laughing.

John came around the corner, walked up to the counter, and asked, “Sir, how much are the A&W Cream Sodas? They don’t have a price.”

The gunman, upon seeing John, shouted, “Any other customers get out here or I’ll shoot the teller!” I rolled my eyes and told him that there weren’t any others.

Just to make sure, the gunman started snooping around the store.

John leaned over the counter and whispered, “It seems you’re in a bit of trouble, Mr. Sir.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Really, I never noticed,” I said, “Oh, and my name’s Luke.”

The gunman had reached the candy aisle and was currently chewing on some jelly beans.

“Hey, are you going to pay for those?” I called across the room. Startled, the gunman put back the bag, tried resealing it with some type of glue or something, then raced back to the counter. “Alright, all your money,” he said.

John immediately turned to the gunman. “Now wait a minute,” he said, “Why do you want to rob this place? It doesn’t have very much money.”

I looked at John as if he’d gone insane. What was he talking about? This gas station had more cash in the register than most others in the city combined! He winked at me, so I relaxed.

“This place only has about a thousand dollars,” John said. I immediately started to object to his ignorance, but decided against it.

John continued, “I could pay you ten thousand if you leave this place alone.” I stared at him. Was this his ‘great plan’?

The gunman thought a bit then smiled. “I guess I could take it,” he said, “Considering it’s ten times what you have here.”

John got out his check book and started to write a check.

“HOLD IT!” the gunman yelled, “I’m not going to sign a check so that the police can find my identity!” John looked hurt. “Then how can I pay you?” he asked.

The gunman shifted the gun so that it was pointed at me again. “Go to the bank and get the money,” he said, “and if you don’t come back, or if you call the police, I’ll shoot the pretty little teller.” Then he smiled.

I felt offended. He called me pretty. Pretty, for Pete’s sake! Couldn’t he see that I was male?

John just shrugged and walked out.

An hour later he walked back in with ten one-thousand dollar bills. He handed them to the gunman, who ran out of the building right after getting the money.

I turned to John and said, “Thanks, but why did you do this for me? I don’t even know you!”

John smiled and said, “Well, I guess it would pay for the gas I stole.”

I immediately jumped up. “You stole gas?” I asked quickly.

“More like recycled it,” the man said.

I was confused. “What do you mean by recycled?” I asked.

John’s smile grew broader. “Well, I took most of the gas out of the gunman’s car and put it in mine.”

I burst out laughing. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? What the gunman hadn’t known was that the bank was right across the street. “No wonder it took you an hour to get the money!”

John laughed too. “During the time I also got his license plate number and a really good description of his car. Now it’ll be easy for the police to find him. They just need to look for a dude in a blue Chevy that is out of gas!”

With that last sentence I stopped laughing. I just stared at him. When he noticed I stopped, he stopped too and asked me why I was staring.

“Did you just say a blue Chevy?” I asked. When John said yes, and told me what the plate number was, I rolled my eyes and chuckled.

I finally told him, “John, you didn’t get a description of his car; you got a description of my car!”

John immediately froze and started looking embarrassed. I laughed and eventually he joined in. This was one really weird gas station.


I haven't told anyone before, but the character John was named after my deceased grandfather, J. Alton Horst, may he rest in peace.

Feedback, please!


The Silver Branch

The Silver Branch, by Rosemary Sutcliff, is a historical fiction novel that takes place in Roman Britain at the end of the third century.

Much like it's prequel, The Eagle of the Ninth (film coming out in 2011, titled The Eagle), it is hard to read, but is a great story for any who enjoy epic stories. It is packed with plot twists and overall story changes. If you look at the story at the end, compared to how it was at the beginning, you'd see how much it changed.

The main protagonists are two cousins, Justin and Flavius, who are descendants of Marcus Aquila, the protagonist of The Eagle of the Ninth. They are thrown into a treasonous plot against the Roman-British Emperor, Carausius, which they are unable to stop. The adventure they partake in is long, and sacrifices must be made along the way.

I can say that The Silver Branch is a great book, but if you can't stand hard reading, this might not be for you. It took me one and a half to two hours to read the last two chapters, and afterward it almost completely took away my appetite for reading. I'll recover, of course, but the great writing ability of Sutcliff and the awesome story are what stopped me from quitting in the middle.

See ya around,

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Welcome, World!

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen! My name is Reuben Horst, aka Arkatox. I'm 14 years old, and a Christian. I was home-schooled through 8th grade, and I now go to a private high school. People at my school praise me for my writing and editing skills, and some people call me a genius (though I'm not). This happens to be my fourth personal blog. Yes, there is a reason for that.

My very first personal blog was at A while later I realized that Arkie's Blog was a piece of junk, so I made a new blog, which was at That one lasted the longest, but alas, Changjy announced that they would be closing down and merging with their sister site, So I quickly copied all of the posts I wanted to keep, quite a few, actually, to a new blog I created,

That worked really well . . . until Choseit went offline for several months. When it came back, somehow my Blog was deleted, and the 'Contact' section on their site didn't work, so I couldn't tell them.

So now I've lost almost all of my blog data, so I'll have to restart with almost nothing. The reason I chose to use BlogSpot this time is because, from what I've heard, it's a reliable host. I can't say the same for Changjy/Choseit/whatever their other sister site was.

Here is a list of books and games that I reviewed on my past blogs, as far as I can remember:

The Martyr's Song
Invitation to the Game
The Da Vinci Code

An Untitled Story
Castle of Elite
Super Mario Galaxy 2


Q. Why is this your fourth blog?
A. If you'd read what I've written above, you'd know.

Q. Why are you using Blogger/BlogSpot this time?
A. As I stated above, the past hosts that I've used have been unreliable. From what I've heard, this host is.

Q. Why is your new URL rjhorst, when in the past it was just rhorst?
A. Because there is already a blog at

Q. Are you planning on reposting the short stories you've written?
A. Yes, and the other two short stories by other people that I posted on my other blogs.

Q. Where do you live? What's your phone number? What's you e-mail address?
A. Go away, you stalker!

So yes, that's all for now. See ya around!