DON’T EAT SOAP! An Educational Game Starring Bob the Hamster

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on June 6th, 2009

For the 2009 OHRRPGCE 8-bit contest,  I have taken it upon myself to do a public service, and I have created:


An Educational Game Starring Bob the Hamster

Dont Eat Soap! - main title

Soap is bad for you to eat. It is good for washing your hands, but very very bad for you to put in your mouth. If soap ever accidentally gets in your mouth, spit it out! This game is an educational simulation using the latest in 8-bit gaming technology so that you can experience mouth-related soap accidents from the safety of your living-room without risk
of actual hospitalization.

August 2013 update:

I am please to announce that an updated version of Don’t Eat Soap has been released for the OUYA Console. This new version features 15 new levels (for a total of 40 levels) and 3 new enemies. There are also an assortment of small bugfixes and tiny improvements. Now you can not eat soap in even more style than before!

Remember! This is only a game! Do not try it at home!

Download it here in a ZIP file

Download it here as a Windows Installer

Download it here as a Mac App

This game is available on Android via Google Play

This game is also available on the OUYA console!

It is so dang much fun to draw Bob the Hamster.

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on June 6th, 2009

I have been practicing with Inkscape

I drew these for Meatballsub’s new site The Hamster Wheel

Ogg Nayboomer and the Fla’arns of Tra’al

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 7th, 2009

Ogg Nayboomer and the Fla’arns of Tra’al
James Paige

With formious churnations, Rog Ogg Nayboomer lifted his p’nurk ashurn the lerg mundions of Tra’ali.

“Mullgow Tra’ali!” he began, “our first gronom besets us! Now is the k’lurn to set balsern our trovels, and to take up our marguls and knit!”

“Knit!” chorused the askanseled Tra’ali, clashing their trovels together with great formio.

But Ogg Nayboomer scowled. Snurk among the Tra’alim narselled him. He leaped down from the uld’low, and seized a margul from the aleenest Tra’ali.

“What h’murk of margul is this?” he demanded burmiously.

“One gifted to me ve’sek’varingly by my flune Gloriak.” said the Tra’ali neberously.

“Foma!” bellowed Ogg Nayboomer. “My pleen have never seen an opsorn fla’arnious wagoo than this pegl of a margul. Do you think to change this boozel-knitting from a boozel-knitting to a blurk-floshing?”

“Never” said the aleen Tra’ali.

“I also boast for this Tra’ali,” uttered the lurg Tra’ali boolsern him.

“Do you all boast?” shouted Ogg Nayboomer, looking fulsern the mundion.

“We knit as one!” came the formious de’ponk.

“So be it.” said Ogg. “Knit like the blurkhog of Pummelgog were agstern thee!”

* * * * *

So the lerg mundions of Tra’ali, sat glomsern their polmoons with their trovels mumsern them and they knitted boozels with their marguls from mog’bok until mog’nuk. And Rog Ogg Nayboomer knitted boolsern them. Being the lergest of the Tra’alim, Ogg Nayboomer needed no polmoon, and walked, marguls in p’nurk, as he knitted, overlooking the baleen of the oms.

Sorgenly, Ogg stopped, dropping his boozel and garfing formiously. “Who dares?” he demanded, seizing a margul and holding it sern boomsern his pleens.

The wagoo that he held was bargolly the same fla’arnious margul that he had taken from the blurkey Tra’ali only mog’hark.

“Our glub is facing churmious gronom, and you play Fla’arniak.” roared Ogg Nayboomer.

“But Rog,” said the Tra’ali in de’ponk, “behold my plurn of  boozels!”

Ogg looked amsern, and saw that indeed, the Tra’ali’s plurn of boozels sernly glomed his polmoon.

“How,” demanded Ogg with grof, “How do you so barmiously knit boozels with such a fla’arny margul?”

“Thus did my flune Gloriak teach me.” said the Tra’ali, “for my flune Gloriak and my berf Fla’arn are the same!”

Ogg Nayboomer gasped, and he raised his trovel to do that blurky baleen which he knew he must do.

But the other Tra’alim fulsern him siezed his p’nurks and stayed him.

“Fla’arns! Fla’arns!” shouted the Rog, struggling churnaciously. “All of thee Fla’arns!”

“Flunest Rog,” said the aleen Tra’ali. “We all knit in the blorp of the Fla’arnim. We are lagsorn boozel-knitters and opsorn boozel-fla’arners.”

“We beg toglosity,” said another. “We wogsorn meant to pa’bargol you!” He showed his margul which was also fla’arnious.

Rog Ogg Nayboomer fell to his p’thorks and wept.

After his pleen had no more spurks to shed, he stood, and with great neberosity he spoke “Gronom besets us. If we must knit as the Fla’arniak do, then so be it. The Fla’arn of Tra’al we shall be!”


Bob the Hamster in the Crypt of Baconthulhu

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 7th, 2009

EDIT (2014): There is a new version of this game available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and OUYA Console! See this post for more info

I made Bob the Hamster in the Crypt of Baconthulhu for the 2009 OHRRPGCE Terrible Games Contest.

EDIT: My game narrowly won first place! See the results here: HamsterSpeak Issue 27

To give you a taste of the game, here is a brief “Director’s Commentary” video of it.

Also, I should note that the youtube video doesn’t do justice to the game’s music. It was composed by John Sebastian Willow, and it really makes the atmosphere.

If you want to try this game yourself, the direct download link is here:

This zip includes an exe for windows, but the game also runs in Linux, as long as you have the Linux version of the OHRRPGCE.

Dubious but true…

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on February 25th, 2009

I am delighted to note that my book is now available via a few more distribution channels, particularly amazon which is the cheapest place to buy it if you happen to already be buying enough other books to qualify for free shipping, and createspace which is the cheapest place to buy it if you aren’t buying anything else at all.

Of course, the real cheapest way to read my book is to just read it online for free.

Of course, what I really want to see is for more people to read it regardless of whether or not they actually buy it.

And if you have already read the book (or even just one of the short stories therein) I would be delighted if you would take the time to write a review.

StegaVorto: The Game that came to James in a Dream

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on November 23rd, 2008

Last tuesday night I had a dream… In this dream, Michael Sweet, frontman of 1980’s glam-rock hair-band “Stryper” appeared to me.. except he was wearing a business suit, and standing on the front lawn of a public library… and he challenged me to play a game, a strange game that I had never played before. When I awoke I knew that I had to program it…

Your challenge is to discover secret messages embedded in the works of great authors.. Secrets that have been waiting all along for you to find…

Download the Windows version of StegaVorto
Download the Mac OS X version of StegaVorto
Debian packages (preliminary) thanks to Miriam Ruiz
Android App (preliminary)
Download the source-code of StegaVorto (Linux, BSD, Other)

The source code is written using python and pygame.

Alternatively you can get the source code using Subversion to check out


The source code is under the GPL

2008-11-24: Updated! Check out new features such as author portraits, difficulty levels, and visualization of missed letters.
2008-12-10: Updated! More polish on levels, added a victory screen when you complete a level, and default to full-screen
2008-12-23: Many thanks to pygame developer René Dudfield who discovered how to fix the music problem (not just for StegaVorto, but for all pygame games that play music the same way StegaVorto does on the Mac)
2011-08-17: Updated! Added an Android version. Removed the flakey picsearch feature, and replace it with additional joyous kittens!

Arthur J. Paige & The Rose Technie

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on November 14th, 2008

I was unable to discover who wrote this, but this article was originally written for the Terre Haute Tribune Star, and archived on the Indiana State University website. Arthur James Paige was my great grandfather.

The first gasoline-powered auto on the streets of Terre Haute was built by Vigo County native Arthur James Paige while he was a student at Rose Polytechnic Institute.

Before entering his junior year at Rose, Paige began working on a motor vehicle in preparation for his senior theses. In the summer of 1900, he contrived a two-cylinder, six-horsepower gasoline engine (two single-cylinder engines coupled together with cranks). That fall he started work on the carriage. As he later explained, “The manufacture of automobiles was in such an experimental stage…that very little literature on the subject could be obtained, while much that was obtained was worthless for practical purposes.” After all, Ford Motor Company did not sell its first auto until July 1904.

Paige’s project was completed in the spring of 1902, consuming nearly two years. All work was accomplished in the Rose Poly Shops at 13th and Locust streets. Paige made patterns for castings but shares credit with Edward T. Wires, instructor at Rose Wood Shop, for the final product. He also received assistance from shop superintendent Alvah W. Clement, shot foreman Garrett W. Logan and several students. One of Paige’s gifted classmates, Claude E. Cox, designed the first Overland automobile for the Standard Wheel Company of Terre Haute in 1903.

When finally assembled, Paige’s vehicle, aptly named “The Rose Technie,” was a four-seat, 850-pound carriage steered by a center lever so it could be operated by either front-seat passenger. An unusual four-note musical horn was added. To enhance engine durability, Paige innovated the use of steel tubing liners for the cylinders. The car appeared much more sophisticated than the steam and naphtha-powered McConnell-Seger Co. auto that first operated on the local city streets in March 1900.

As a result of his theses, “Construction and Test of a Six Horse-Power Gasoline Automobile,” Paige received the coveted Heminway Award from his alma mater in 1903. He later described his work in the March 1903 issue of The Rose Technic, the campus periodical. The precocious son of Terre Haute piano tuner Almer H. Paige earned a mechanical engineering degree in 1902 and remained as an instructor at Rose until 1908, residing with his parents at 420 S. Center St. He was awarded a master’s degree in 1907. Thereafter he worked for several auto manufacturers beginning with the Fort Pitt Motor Manufacturing Co. in New Kensington, PA, where he designed the “Pittsburg Six.” In 1910 he was chief draftsman for National Motor Vehicle Co. of Indianapolis. And in 1911, he was mechanical engineer at the Western Motor Co. in Marion, IN.

After assembling the car that won the 1912 Indianapolis 500, Paige earned national renown for improving the design of rotary gasoline engines and two-stage carburetors. Though he lived in the Detroit metropolitan area for most of his life, the Terre Haute native died in Redondo Beach, CA, on Jan. 10, 1972, at age 89.

When I was growing up, my Dad had his “grandpa’s car” in the back yard. It was not the Rose Technie, it was a later car he had built. it had a single cylinder engine, and was fitted with an unusual looking fuel gage. I am pretty sure that my great grandfather was using this car to experiment with high mileage. My Dad tinkered with the car sometimes, but I don’t remember ever seeing him get it running (although I do remember one exciting day when I was about 9 years old and we pushed it down a hill while I was steering it) The car moved with us 3 times, but then we ended up giving it to a friend of the family who collected old machinery. I’m pretty sure it got destroyed when his garage burned down in the big Julian Pines fire of 2002. I know my Mom still has photographs of that car. if I can find any of them, I will scan and post them here.

The Old Man of the Forest

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on July 25th, 2008

The Old Man Of the Forest became ill. Thinking his days to be coming to an end, he lay down against a big tree, older than himself. He bid his offspring farewell, and sent them away, to walk their own paths.

“I have lived long and well.” He said to himself. “I depart this world in peace.”

And so the pain of death overtook him, and he faded away and died.

But a small part of him did not die. That small part of him remained there sitting beneath the old tree, and he slept, and rested, and regained strength. And when he awoke he was surprised to be still alive.

He stood and looked around him, and felt the bark of the tree, and felt the breeze through his hair. These things felt familiar to him. “Is this what it feels like to be dead?” He wondered.

So he walked through the forest, and his body felt strong, but his spirit felt powerless, and he was somewhat frightened.

Read More

Granny’s Knitting

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 29th, 2008
I wrote this last year as a slashdot comment in response to this story. Having just re-discovered it, and realizing I had not posted it anywhere else, I thought I should reproduce it here:

BAM! The door splintered off its hinges, and toppled into the room. The cats yowled and scrambled under the furniture. Six police officers with plexiglass masks and riot guns stormed into the room and surrounded Granny’s overstuffed floral-patterned armchair.

“Oh, my!” said Granny.

“Drop the knitting!” shouted one of the officers. “And keep your hands were we can see them!” he added.

Granny released the needles, and the scarf fell into her lap with the yarn. The officer who had spoken reached out with the barrel of his gun and nudged the knitting from her lap onto the floor.

“Clear!” shouted another officer.

A young plainclothes officer carrying a digital clipboard entered the room, gingerly stepping over the wreck of the door. He gave the heap of knitting a scowl, and stopped in front of Granny. The riot police shifted aside to give him a clear view of her.

“Abigail Theresa Winslow?” the officer read from his clipboard.

Granny removed her reading glasses and looked up at the man. “Yes, that’s my name.” she said.

“You are hereby charged with Economic Terrorism in the 2nd Degree. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say is being recorded, and can be used against you in a court of law.”

“I don’t understand!” wailed Granny, wringing her hands.

The officer ducked down and picked up Granny’s knitting. He held it up to the light, lifting it with only his thumb and forefinger, as if he did not like to touch it.

“This is a beautiful scarf, Mrs. Winslow.” he said.

“Oh, thank you, but–” Granny began confusedly.

“I can tell you spent a lot of time on it.” said the officer.

“Well, yes, I–”

“We have witnesses willing to attest that you sell these scarves for no more than the cost of the yarn…”

“Yes, I just enjoy making–”

“…Severely undercutting the prices of your commercial competitors by an order of magnitude, in spite of the fact that your scarves are obviously superior handcrafted products.”

“I… I… well, … Thank you?” said Granny, still confused, but recognizing the compliment to her handiwork.

“Don’t get funny with me, Lady!” the officer snapped, leaning in close to Granny’s face. “You should be ashamed of yourself! This sort of underpricing makes me sick! I’ve come to expect this kind of altruistic bull from hackers and teachers, but I never expected it from a respectable citizen with no criminal record. What is this world coming to?”

“Well, I never!” exclaimed Granny.

“Take her away, boys.” said the officer.

Two of the riot police gently handcuffed Granny, and lead her out of the room.

“Send in forensics to bag the evidence.” said the officer, dropping the knitting, and wiping his thumb and forefinger on his shirt. He looked around the room, and shook his head sadly. “When will people learn? She acted like she didn’t even know it was wrong.”

Provide Excellent Customer Service through SMASHING!

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 6th, 2008

Pyweek just ended, and my team *barely* got our entry submitted in time. At 6 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 30 seconds, I was literally shouting “Where is the upload button!? Why can’t I find the upload button!? It was here yesterday!”

You can download my team’s game here. I would also recommend checking out the numerous other nifty entries (although most of them are distributed as source code so you may have to install Python and some libraries)