Saturday, June 30, 2007

Jack and Stitch Sitting in a Barrel.

First there was Tomy's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" merchandize which featured Jack Sparrow in a barrel, now there's Stitch (from Disney's Lilo and Stitch) in a barrel. Basically the premise for both games is simple. Put Jack or Stitch in their respective barrels while giving them a twist.

Once this is done, start sticking in the plastic knives into slots on the barrel. One of these will cause Jack or Stitch to pop-out of the barrel. However, from my experience, it's better not to be aiming one of these barrels at someone's face, as Jack (or Stitch) will launch out a good 20 centimetres from the barrel; definately not something you want sticking into your eye. And yes, I have Jack, on my office table.

Site is Up, But Still Good For Some Laughs

While I doubt that the guys behind Nuffnang would kick a competitor (Adverlets) when the competitor is temporary down and out for the count, I certainly can't help but blog about it after being informed by Aaron ( via MSN.

A: *Sends file (screenshot of adverlets site down, with quite an embarassing error message)
A: Open and see
J: Oh *censored*
J: It's still suspended!!!
A: hahaha
J: wats wrong with them wor?
A: duno
J: hahaha
A: hahahahahahaa
J: ahahahha
J: eh
J: look at that adverlets poll on your blog
A: wat poll wor
A: lol
J: that... is a good one

Anyways, the site is up again. Plenty fast, I must say. But there's a minor problem re-occuring though. Read my archived post about it. It's just about the same thing.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Games That Leave You with "A Rapidly Beating Heart"

A friend and I were discussing about an upcoming Nintendo DS game titled "Dokidoki Majo Saiban" when the question on what "Doki Doki" meant, came about.

For starters, this particular game has the distinction of being probably the first non-homebrew ero (you know what I mean) Nintendo DS game with a Cero C (Ages 15 and up) rating plastered on its cover. No wonder it got all those Japanese otaku all excited. Purchase details: here.

Anyways, Wikipedia defines Doki Doki to be an onomatopoeia for "a rapidly beating heart", and just so you don't know, onomatopoeia is a word (or a group of words) that imitates the sound that it is describing. I don't seem to recall my heart beating like "do-ki do-ki" whenever I run or play badminton. LOL.

The term Doki Doki has seen some use in more decent video game titles. For example, did you know that Super Mario Bros 2 (NES) otherwise known as Super Mario USA (Famicom) is a remake of Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic (in English = Dream Factory: Heart Pounding Panic)? Because of this, Super Mario Bros 2 is a radical shift from that of the first Super Mario Bros game.

What other Doki Doki titled games are out there? I leave it to you to find out (hint: use Google)

Logitech Skype Phone on Sale!

While Low Yat's Compuzone is selling an Aztech Skype phone for RM 199, Play-Asia is selling a Logitech Skype Phone with almost the same features for RM 140 (click here). Combine this with free shipping and you got yourself a bargain. Offer is valid as long as stocks lasts.

Now in Technicolor 3rd Person View

Did you know that you can play HALO from a third person view, ala Tomb Raider? All you need to do is to download and run a particular mod available here. The good thing about playing the game in 3rd person view, you get to see more of what's going on, the bad part: targeting is crap with the aim being off by one inch from the targeting reticule.

Anyways, I installed the mod and re-shot videos about the plasma grenades. Let the debauchery commence!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Your 1 Gaming Wish..Tag Post!

What kind of weird tag question is that (*throws monkey wrench at Reveur for initiating this)? But since I'm waiting for my video to be uploaded to YouTube, I might as well answer the question: More great games at cheap prices. Enough said.

Lol. If you are reading this, well, consider yourself tagged (don't blame me for the weird question though) and don't forget to link back to the fella who tagged you in the first place.

Puzzled? Don't Be! Join the League!

If there's anything that screams Game of The Year material, it would be Planet Puzzle League for the Nintendo DS. A Touch! Generations title which is a combination of Bejewelled and Tetris, along with some interesting gameplay modes, PPL rocks and is really quite addictive.

Gameplay is divided into Single Player, Daily Play (think single player, in smaller doses), local WiFi and Nintendo WFC. Single Player features a variety of modes, with Endless being the choice for me (you should try it too, if you have plenty of time to kill).

Daily Play features game modes that require just 2 minutes of play; you'll be spending that amount of time trying to get a high score, or clearing lines of rubbish and even adding more rows (Tetris veterans go huh?)! I have not tried out the local WiFi and WFC modes, but this game has certainly proven its mettle in terms of the single player aspect.

I know I've said this before about another game, but it needs to be said here again: the soundtrack to PPL is of particular note. Electronica/dance combines well with the gameplay, and I can foresee a trend in this particular genre.

Like any other Touch! Generations title, Planet Puzzle League is very easy to pick up and play, with the stylus being the primary means of control. In fact I didn't even bother to read the manual when I received my copy of the game today. This must-have title is still available at Play-Asia (click here), and if you fancy the Japanese version known as Panel de Pon, click here.

Some PC Games, are better played with a Game Pad

If you are gonna play games like Shadowrun, Overlord and Halo 2 on a PC, you would be better off investing in an Xbox 360 controller rather than simply playing with your trusty keyboard and mouse combination. The reasons are pretty simple:

  • Mouse-aiming is crippled in Shadowrun. You actually get penalized for accurate shooting.

    Quoting a Gamespy review:

    "The fast-aiming ability of the mouse has been negated by an accuracy penalty when aiming via mouse (as opposed to plugging in a gamepad). Abilities add either a generous auto-aim (Smartlink) or conduct area-effect (Strangle) as to negate the need for accurate shooting."

  • Overlord's controls are more finely-tuned on the Xbox 360 controller, and offers more options compared to using a keyboard and mouse.

    Quoting a 1UP review:

    "Problem is you need finer control than the keyboard-and-mouse setup offers on the PC. Play enough battles requiring simultaneous attacks from a gremlin horde and your antihero, and you'll notice a huge difference when using a gamepad.

    As is now becoming the standard, Overlord maps its controller layout to the ubiquitous Xbox 360 pad -- the left stick moves the master, and sweeping the right stick gives total control of the minions. So if you don't already own a gamepad, add that to the price tag.

  • 4 words when it comes to playing Halo 2 with an Xbox 360 controller: "Force Feedback" and "Auto Aim"

    Quoting a Gamespot review:

    "playing with a controller is a bit closer to the original console experience, right down to force-feedback support. This creates some really weird and potentially unbalanced trade-offs in multiplayer. By default, a player with a mouse will be able to turn more quickly and, if that player is skilled, more accurately than a gamepad user. Gamepad players can increase the right-stick sensitivity to turn faster, but they also get another benefit that feels downright dirty.

    Like the console version, the PC game employs a certain amount of auto-aim when you're using a gamepad. This makes sticking to other players for up-close shotgun blasts or melee attacks significantly easier with the gamepad, and there doesn't appear to be any way to disable it or even detect that another player is using a pad. After pumping up the gamepad's sensitivity, we found ourselves doing more damage when armed with a gamepad"
So, if you are gonna play something that is released both for both the Xbox 360 and the PC, get the gamepad. Play-Asia has both wired and wireless variants in stock.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Halo Plasma Grenade Tossing...Not Again!!

Referring to yesterday's post regarding Halo's Plasma Grenades, I decided to make a video out of it. Well, it features my attempts to get the plasma grenade to stick to my character, which I managed to on my second attempt. It's easier to toss (and stick) the grenade at opponents but its hard to have it bounce off a surface and land on yourself.

The Making of the Video

Basically I used Fraps to capture the in-game footage, however I was limited to 30 seconds per capture since I'm using the free/unregistered version of Fraps. Just so you know, each 30 second AVI file produced by Fraps is around 180 megabytes, therefore I used Windows Movie Maker (comes with Windows XP and Vista) to compress the video down to a very Internet friendly size.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I must stick with you...BOOOM!!

What are those sticky bombs called in Halo? Right...plasma grenades. They are my new best friends in the game since they have a nasty habit of sticking (when thrown properly) to opponents. Try as they might to shake the sticky bomb off, they won't be able to do so, and the end result: Ka BOOM!

And did I mention it's visually satisfying to watch the physics at work. This evening's game was particularly brutal with people and weapons flying here, there due to heavy weapons fire (e.g. Fuel Rod Gun and Rocket Launcher). Very interesting indeed.

Have some cake, with that server of yours.

Not much of an update today, just that if you are going to install Virtual Server 2005 R2, Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 in one go, you'd probably be making several trips to the office pantry for some coffee, and have a slice of cake at the same time. Having a good book might help too, or a Nintendo DS with Final Fantasy III/Tetris DS/Mario Kart DS.

Having mention it, I had none of those to accompany me through the installation process today, except for that slice of cake, courtesy of my colleague's birthday.

Don't forget that if you are installing Exchange 2003, do install IIS on your server, along with the NNMP and SMTP services up and running.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

PC Gaming in Malaysia

I can safely say that original PC games are readily accessible and have become much more affordable in Malaysia, compared to that of console games. With official distributors bringing in and sometimes localizing games, PC gamers in Malaysia would be hard-pressed not to take advantage of these new advancements.

However, it would be in the best interest for everyone to see more localization efforts, and I believe the price can go down a little bit more. For proof, one just needs to look at our neighbour up north, Thailand. Localization efforts are really good up there and games can retail for 500 Baht, that's around RM 50.

Here are some useful links if you are shopping for PC games in Malaysia:
1. The Software Boutique:
2. New Era Games:
3. Sendi Mutiara:
4. PC

Some of these sites have bargain bins, so do take advantage of them.

Homer: Mmm...A Statue of Me! Found!

D'oh! Homer Simpson is no longer MIA (refer to my post here). Funny though, that I didn't see any notice of his recovery in any of the local English dailies that I read, but Google is there for a reason, no? In any case, I like how some of the articles mention that the theft was done by two college students who are "over-exuberant" fans of the series.

Well, over-exuberance is no excuse for innate stupidity, which probably is why they chose Homer in the first place (sorry bout that Homey, I'm a fan too :P). So D'oh! to the two of you.

Anyways, wonder what Homer usually says following the phrase Mmm...? Check out this fan-site (click here)! Mmm....Fan Siteeeeee...

Friday, June 22, 2007


Grenades are my new best friends in HALO. Nothing beats watching an opponent, in this case, Aaron getting blown up, not once, not twice, but thrice by grenades. Master Chief must have a pretty good pitching arm :P

OMG... Homer Simpson Has Been Kidnapped From One Utama!

Fans of The Simpsons would be disappointed/shocked to hear that a life-sized statue of Homer Simpson has been stolen from GSC One Utama. I even helped take a picture of a friend with Homer not too long ago when Homer, along with the rest of the Simpsons family were in a Cinemaonline exhibit (also at 1U).

To the chaps that stole Homer, you have been caught on CCTV and your actions have been published in an English daily with nationwide readership (picture below). You won't be able to show the statue to anyone without the risk of them knowing that it is stolen, nor do I think you'll be dumb enough to sell it on Lelong or Ebay, so do return it!

Gift Recommendations - For a Video Gamer

Remember that rather pissed-off chap, Kratos, from the God of War games? Well, he is on sale (literally) on Play-Asia. Kratos figurines produced by Neca are selling for a discounted price of USD 14.99 each, and when combined with free shipping, cheaper than what you might find on eBay.

Check out the pictures:

1. God of War Action Figure: Kratos, for further details, click here.

2. God of War Action Figure: Kratos Golden Fleece, for further details, click here.

P/S: I want one of these for Christmas ya.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Unable to Comply, Building in Progress

I had the cheek to ask my company's Microsoft Partner Program Account Manager for some copies of Halo 2 for Windows Vista. Since Microsoft is providing us with VLK Vista Enterprise, might as well throw in some games, I don't really mind even if they are under "demonstration" licenses. All work and no play makes us Microsoft Partners a little..dull.

Anyways, that's just in jest, but I really did ask her, and no, they don't have games to give out in the Partner Program (too bad). Work related comments and views stated in this blog do not reflect that of my employers or my colleagues, or the company that I work in.

So if Microsoft doesn't want to give you games to play with in your office, what's the next best thing to do.. as in the legal thing to do, without resorting to piracy? Well, you can try out first person shooters (FPS) such as Quake III Arena (Q3A) and Unreal Tournament 2004 (UT2K4).

Their demo versions are pretty comprehensive with Q3A focusing on deathmatch and UT2K4 with its myriad of team play options. The Onslaught mode in UT2K4 deserves special mention, since it involves playing in teams, capturing power nodes across a pretty big map. Create a path of captured power nodes to the enemy base and destroy the power node within that base to win the match.

Not into FPS? Well, if you can get your boss to spend a little on one copy of Starcraft... you'll get people yelling: "You want a piece of me, boy?!" or "My life for Aiur!", in no time. You can perform spawn installations of Starcraft (from a single copy of the game) for the purpose of having some localised multiplayer action.

When all else fails, get a PS2, a projector and a bunch of games, now that's what I call living, I mean, working. All puns intended.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and R4 DS, Strange Bedfellows

If you are looking to run that new Zelda game: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass on your R4, you'll need to update your R4 kernel to the latest version (currently at v1.10), otherwise you'll end up with a not so nice error screen in Japanese.

This is due to the 2 MB save file required by the game, and the previous kernel only created a 512 KB save file, triggering the problem.

The kernel update is available at the R4 website. But to save yourself from a gazillion headaches (just kidding) and do the developers some justice, purchase the original version over at Play-Asia (click here). The English version is available for pre-order as well (click here).

For more coverage of the US/English version of the Phantom Hourglass, head over to my brand new post over here.
*What do you know, this default font scheme looks nice on my blog!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Looking for WFC Games?

I spent a good amount of time looking for my R4 and it's accompanying card reader earlier this evening, and I found them in two different places. Which makes me wonder when was the last time I actually loaded up a ROM file?

Anyways, one of the more fun aspects of some Nintendo DS titles is the WFC connectivity, where you get to play games with people around the world, provided you have a WFC-enabled game and WFC-friendly WiFi router/wireless access point.

There are of course, the mainstays of WFC gaming such as Mario Kart DS, Metroid Prime Hunters and Animal Crossing: Wild World. But what about new games? Here's a list of them:

1. Itadaki Street
2. Transformers: Autobots
3. Transformers: Decepticons
4. Planet Puzzle League - Comes highly recommended, my copy should be arriving next week
5. Surf's Up - One for the kids, perhaps.
6. Marvel Trading Card Game - Not another one.
7. Tank Beat

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Professional Lego Bricklayer

There's MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional or Male Chauvinist Pig, depending on what turns you on), CNP (Certifiied Network Professional), CCNA (Certified Cisco Network Associate) but did you know there's a LEGO Certified Professionals program?

And they take their bricks very seriously. Quoted from the website:

"LEGO Certified Professionals is a community based program made up of adult LEGO hobbyists who have turned their hobby into a full-time or part-time profession.

The LEGO Certified Professionals program establishes a formal relationship between the Certified Professionals and the LEGO Group in order to help promote the aims of both groups. This formal relationship will offer Certified Professionals some significant benefits, including:

  • Ability to purchase bulk brick, for use in approved projects.
  • Ability to use the appropriate LEGO trademarks
  • Easy access to LEGO representatives
  • Lead sharing from LEGO PR and marketing groups

  • All LEGO Certified Professionals are expected to exemplify the program fundamentals of building proficiency, enthusiasm, and professionalism towards the public, other fans and the LEGO Group."

    I wonder whether do they have objective-type exams for candidates applying to be a LCP? I'm already chuckling over the acronym. LOL. Check out Sean Kenney's website while you are still chuckling (you wouldn't be for long, given the jaw dropping work he does with LEGO)

    Monday, June 18, 2007

    Let The Video Game Console Makers School You.

    If you look at the video games industry, particularly console makers, you'll notice that there are plenty of lessons to be learnt on how to survive in any competitive industry. Here's several:

    #1. Leverage, Leverage, Leverage

    Companies like Nintendo and Microsoft use their technical know-how and market knowledge to gain leverage. In the case of Nintendo, they realised that people that don't play games represent a huge untapped market and by introducing hardware such as the Nintendo DS and the Wii, Nintendo effectively lowered the bar for first timers to enjoy video games.

    Known as both a software and hardware behemoth in the PC industry (where multiplayer gaming/internet connectivity are mainstays), Microsoft created a compelling Internet multiplayer experience (Xbox Live!) for Xbox and subsequently Xbox 360 console gamers which is far superior than that of offered by it's nearest competitors.

    #2. Timing, is everything.

    Take for instance the release of the 32X add-on which promised 32-bit for the aging Sega Mega Drive, at the same time with the launch of the true 32-bit successor, the Sega Saturn! Nothing spells shovelware better than that, and if consumers and game developers did appreciate that sort of gesture, I'll gladly eat my hat...if I had one. I

    t did give them a bloody good reason to ditch Sega.

    The video game console business is a finicky one, if your product is late/has a higher potential of sucking big time, you would be better off working on the next product cycle rather than to flog a dead horse.

    #3. Common Sense Would Be Nice

    One particular example I have in mind would be Nintendo's Virtua Boy; it's like having Darth Vader playing games through those red-tinted lenses stuck on his helmet. O.M.G.

    What Am I Playing Now?

    I still can't get enough of Konami's Arcade Hits, with Circus Charlie and Track & Field being the chief culprits. Definately more fun compared to playing Pong on the Atarimix collection. And don't forget dip-switching!

    What games are you playing now anyways?

    Sunday, June 17, 2007

    End of Week Note

    I've finally seen the end of what has been a hectic (in a good way) weekend, with my cousin's pre-wedding dinner on Friday, the wedding ceremony which took a better part of Saturday's day time and the wedding dinner at night, Father's Day, and a post wedding dinner, which was pretty cool especially the huge crabs we ate.

    To my cousin and his wife, all the best and many happy returns.

    An Idiot's Guide To R4, or R4DS, or "I'm n00b, how j00 play ROM on NDS?"

    For more R4DS guides for the Nintendo DS, head over to the brand new

    Now, I'm pretty sure that everyone and their grandmother, or grandfather, or any distant relation would be sick and tired of people going about asking: "What is R4?", especially in a hush-hush environment such as the Lowyat.Net Forums.

    Don't get me wrong, I like the hush-hush environment, it's kind of like the US Military's "policy" on gays: "Don't ask, don't tell". Simple. It's only when people don't get the idea and start talking... that's where all the problems start.

    So taking the bull by the horns, here's a dumb ass' guide to the R4:
    • It's a Slot-1 solution for playing NDS ROMs, NDS homebrew and media files on the Nintendo DS. Since it's a Slot-1 solution, you stick it into the slot where you usually put in a NDS cartridge.
    • No, it does not run GBA ROMS, neither do other Slot-1 solutions
    • It works in conjuction with a MicroSD card, which slots into the R4 cartridge. The R4 package should come with a MicroSD card reader, which connects to the USB port of your PC/Laptop. Using the reader, you can drag and drop files into the MicroSD card.
    • Please note that the MicroSD card is sold separately (not included in the original R4 package), unless bundled by the R4DS seller.
    Now, for pwetty pictures, just in case you don't understand what the heck I'm talking about:

    Clockwise from top, the contents of a R4 package: lanyard, MicroSD Card Reader, the R4 cartridge and CD.

    Note: Do not ask me for ROMs, or sites to download ROMs as you are asking a fella who bought a R4 for fun, and for no particular reason... well... it used to be for homebrew, but come to think of it, it's like a white elephant now. So.. don't... ask

    This post was brought to you by copious amounts of wine. Red wine.

    Saturday, June 16, 2007

    Barrels of Fun, but Why is The Rum Gone?

    I bought something that looked like a Grenade at first glance from an online store, but it's actually a movie merchandise item for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

    According to the web site:

    • The U-Mate Pop-Up Pirate is an unique puzzle / strategy game.
    • Set the pirate into the barrel and slide the sword into the barrel, If the pirate pops out on your turn, you are out.
    • Pop-Up Pirate features the famous Pirate Jack Sparrow.
    • A great game with the family and a fun game with your friends!
    • It is available in different styles
    • Size: Approx. 8cm (L) x 9cm (H) x 8cm (W)

    I'm not one who usually buys this kind of stuff, but it does look, cute and I need something to boost my purchase price to qualify for a discount. With any luck, this and Planet Puzzle League will be arriving next week :).

    Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Retro DIP-switching

    I've been playing alot of old-school arcade games lately, courtesy of the Konami Classic Series Arcade Hits compilation, which brings games such as Gradius, Track & Field, Road Fighter, Rush N' Attack, Contra and 10 others to the Nintendo DS.

    Throughout the years, some of these arcade games have since been ported over to home video game consoles but the games featured in this compilation are true to their original arcade form (more on that later).
    The compilation itself reminds me of the other retro compilation that I have, Atarimix, both of which boast really nice production values and art styles.

    But what does this compilation have that differentiates it from the rest? The answer to that question would be... dip-switches, or at least a graphical representation of them. A collective "HUH?!" goes up in the air. DIP switches were present on the original arcade boards of these games and by flipping them on and off, gamers could manipulate the game settings.

    For what reasons you say? Well... some of the common ones would be to increase difficulty (and the level of challenge), speed things up, slow things down, and of course, to cheat, if that wasn't obvious enough in the first place.

    Under the Detailed Settings mode for each game in this compilation, the stylus is used to flip the DIP switches on or off to affect changes to say... the fuel consumption rate in Road Fighter or the number of lives in RainbowBell (a.k.a TwinBee). It is not as difficult as it sounds as a guide is provided (on the top screen) to what each set of DIP switches does.

    This is the first new game that I've purchased in a long time, and the opportunity to fool around with the game settings with the DIP switches makes the compilation worth the money I spent. More on the games next time when I get the opportunity to play them a little bit more. For purchasing details, visit Play-Asia.

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    A Father's Day Message

    He's probably one of the first people you called out to, or maybe cried at.

    He probably taught you how to tie shoe-laces and bought you stuff that you vehemtly wanted, less you unleash a tantrum.

    He probably talked alot about the hardships of (his) life, but that's so you can appreciate the one you are having now and not end up like a cretin.

    He probably was stern, but set you straight whenever you gotten into trouble.

    He probably never threw you in the deep end, but taught you how to swim instead.

    He probably gave you your first handphone and paid the bills, not to monitor where you are and who you talk to, but with the hope you would keep in touch with him.

    He probably told you about the birds and the bees, maybe not, but gave you pocket money, part of which you spent on woo-ing your other half and on "protection".

    He probably paid the entire fee for your 2+1 degree course, even if it meant digging up the retirement fund and working 2 jobs, not so you can go for a free holiday in Australia or the U.K, but as a stepping stone for a better life on your part.

    Due to your transgressions, he probably yelled at you to get out of the house (or to a lesser extent to go to your room), but do forgive him, he is human too.

    He probably was at your graduation, applauding your achievements regardless whether your's is a first class or a pass degree.

    He probably gave you your first car, which you promptly wrecked, but his chief concern has always been you, and not the NCB (no-claim-bonus), otherwise he wouldn't let you drive in the first place.

    He probably doesn't call, now that you are probably living away from him, that's because he's patiently waiting for you to call and doesn't want to pass off as a nag.

    This list can go on and on. The term "probably" is used, knowing that each of them is different, some have passed on or just weren't there, but to the people whose fathers are still around: What are you doing this Father's Day?

    As for me, instead of the normal lunch or dinner routine, I'm doing something different this year.... a present. It's a Tissot timepiece.

    What's on Your Desk? Is this supposed to be a Tag post?

    What's within arm's reach on your desk, without leaning forward too much? In my case, the following items are applicable:
    • My laptop, mouse and the one and only MouseRug.
    • My handphone
    • Orudis gel
    • Hair gel
    • My Nintendo DS, Konami Classic Hits and the Mario Kart DS cartridge
    • Air Cond remote control
    • Squash balls, 3 of them.
    • A postcard or two
    • Swiss Army Knife
    • Two books: Encyclopedia of Game.Machines and Performance Driven CRM
    That's about it. Notice that I didn't list down any food items. I don't like snacking in my room, so there's nothing to munch on, no even candy, within reach.

    Now, I'm taking the opportunity to tag (as if you didn't see this coming) Alex, Dyna-Storm, Aaron, Penman, Jon (everyone on my blog roll) and especially anyone else that is reading this, okay, that covers everybody. Don't forget to link back to the person who tagged you in the first place.

    When Even the Box Impresses More Than The Controller Inside.

    Despite being dead as a console hardware manufacturer, SEGA was probably one of the more polite/friendly/nice ones. When was the last time did you see a Thank You note attached to the inner flap of the box you are opening, conveniently located where you are bound to see it?

    Taken from a box containing a brand new original Dreamcast Controller:

    "Thank you very much for purchasing this product. Please read the instruction manual included and the Dreamcast instruction manual before use and retain for future reference."

    You would be hard-pressed to find even a thank you note on a box of premium chocolates, and I'm talking about a videogames controller here.

    This was taken from the back of the same box:

    " We all play games, it's one of the most natural things in life.
    It's how we learn to think on our feet and take our chances.
    It's how we get to know our friends and understand our opponents.
    This is Dreamcast - It's time to compete together. "

    I thought that was rather nice, and as a sum of its parts (minus the last line), a very good reason for playing any games. You can tell that I really dig this box as I brought it home with the new controller inside, despite my Dreamcast having a permanent residence in my OFFICE.

    Anyways, if you are wondering where would be a good place to get Dreamcast peripherals, Play-Asia is a good place to start if you are looking for brand new ones, the site sells them cheap too. Otherwise, if you can't find whatcha looking for, there is always eBay.

    Monday, June 11, 2007

    The Fine Line Between Junk, and Rare Video Game Consoles

    I'm starting to gain a reputation for enquiring/collecting previous gen video games consoles among my friends. Because of that I got the idea to research some really old video game consoles/machines. Using my handy Encyclopedia of Game.Machines, I scoured Ebay for their present day prices, not that I want to buy these junk, but I think it would make for a nice blog entry. Read on.

    First up is the Sharp MZ. First introduced in Japan as the MZ-80 in 1979, this was more office equipment, than a video games machine. Among the games produced by this platform were two Mario Bros titles. I've only found one machine, the MZ-700 (1982) for sale on eBay for USD 179.99 (click here)

    The next console is probably old as I am. The Commodore C64 debutted in 1982, selling up to 20 million units throughout its lifecycle. You can get one "like new" for a measly USD 49.99 (click here)
    The Magnavox Odyssey is touted by the Encyclopedia as the first home videogames system, and I've no reason to believe otherwise, judging that it was introduced way back in 1972 and looked like an oversimplified sewing machine...or something. I found one of these thingamajigs up for auction at USD 142.50 and counting. (click here)

    Of all the old junk mentioned so far, I managed to catch this console on TV twice. Actually it was the same documentary. In any case, the Intellivision, produced by Mattel and introduced to the US market in 1980, was competition to the Atari VCS. You can even connect a specially made piano keyboard module to this thing. Prices range from USD 150 to USD 200 for this console, on eBay.

    So there you have it, some of the old junk I've been reading up the past few days. And no, there will be no buying of these old junk on my part. But if you are interested to get the Game.Machines Encyclopedia, you can always get it at Play-Asia (click here)

    Sunday, June 10, 2007

    Diablo on the Game Boy?

    Apparently there was a version of Diablo on the Game Boy (Advance, I think, since it's in colour and moves rather fast - thus needing the processing power). But enough talk, you can find the video below... and start frothing.

    Found out about this while reading Kotaku.

    Saturday, June 09, 2007

    theSun Walk Hunt at Hartamas Shopping Centre

    RM 100. That was how much we won at the Walk Hunt event today in conjuction with the Neighbourhood Fun with theSun at the Hartamas Shopping Centre. Our team of 4, Happy Shopper (please don't ask about the name, it's a girl thing - we had 2 female members), took the final prize spot with the Top 20 teams getting cash prizes.

    Finishing 20th out of 34 teams doesn't sound so bad, and we got moo-lah for an hour and a half of walking around a shopping centre.

    The rules of the walk hunt was simple, make sure you are in the proper sector of the shopping centre, read the questions, decipher the clues in the question and write down the appropriate retail store's name on the answer column.

    The funny thing was, we were supposed to write the "entire" name, so if there were a preceding phrase such as "Butik" (Boutique) or "Kedai Kasut" and a tag line following the shop's name, we were to put it all in, otherwise full points were not awarded. We could have done better in this aspect :P.

    Aside from the actual walk hunt, the highlights of the entire event are the goodie bag give-away and the unveiling of answers/prize giving ceremony. The goodie bags were excellent, given that we didn't pay a single cent to participate in the Walk Hunt. There were a variety of stuff: can and packet drinks , car stickers featuring ING/Renault (bleh...McLaren Rules!), soft toys from Ikea, AmBank piggy (well..camel) banks, Chipsmore cookies, pens, badges, packets of coffee, a book about an orang utan...

    The answers were unveiled Powerpoint style on a projector, with some interesting explanations from one of the organizers. It was actually a revelation! Thinking outside the box and deciphering the clues makes finding the right shop name a less ambiguous process.

    And what about the prize giving ceremony? We got RM 100! Enough said :P. Actually, it's hats off to the winners, they got 38 points out of a possible 40. Imagine that.

    Friday, June 08, 2007

    Paper Mill: The Books That I Read

    Getting re-acquainted with J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy by reading the books that I purchased in the previous sales at Borders, makes the movies feel like a travesty. Sure, they are brilliant examples of cinema, but are they brilliant adaptations? No.

    If you worship the movies as a definitive guide to all things regarding the trilogy, I'll advise you to go read the books. What you are watching on screen is a water-downed, butchered, diced and cooked (add in a healthy dash of very nice special effects) "re-imagining" of the author's brilliant work. Sure, you may argue that the books are too long to be adapted in the first place. Hence: "re-imaginations".

    Now I've said my piece, I'm actually quite pleased with the 3-tier BILLY book shelf I bought from IKEA and yes, I assembled it single-handedly. Nothing does the male ego better than DIY furniture projects eh? However, the book shelf is way easier when compared to the IKEA workstation that I assembled last year.

    Fiction occupies the first row, with it being dominated by the LOTR trilogy along side the almost complete collection of Frank Herbert's Dune saga. There's also the almost complete works of Thomas Harris. While I'm still missing Black Sunday and Hannibal Rising, the latter doesn't seem to be a good buy, having read it at the local bookstore.

    An attempt to reduce probably the most evil fictional sociopath of all time to a "set of influences"? Thomas Harris, you are being a bit contradictory, shame on you. The movie "adaption" was atrocious as well, so much unlike Silence of the Lambs.

    The rest of the shelves are used to store games (both PC and Nintendo DS, boxes, folded bags, so on and so forth). No pictures this time, but I might take pictures of some things sitting on top of the book shelf. Hint: Star Trek.

    PSP doesn't (heart) my Dell laptops

    This might be an interesting bit of, well, trivia. If you happen to own a Dell laptop, along with a PSP that runs ISO games, do you have difficulty transferring the games from your laptop, to the PSP via a USB cable?

    Texan Field Commander says: "Don't go a-judging me now boy, else ah would be opening a can of whoop-a$$ on you."

    Now, where did that come from, go back to your hovel, Field Commander. For the record, I've two Dell laptops at home, and both are not able to transfer ISO games to the PSP. And as strange at it seems, my PC is able to do so, and if you think this problem is confined to laptops in general, I've seen a transfer taking place between an Acer notebook and my PSP.

    Weird huh?

    Thursday, June 07, 2007

    Notes From a Field Commander - Part 2

    " I've been down this road, with no end-sight, and it's painted with mines.
    And I've been shot at all the time, coz my tank's so big, I can't hide...
    I've been searching for NOD tonight....wanting to blow up their hides sky high, Now that I know that the end is nigh, I might not get to go home tonight "

    Hearing them Tank Commanders sing to the tune of that 20th century whats-her-name's song (the one who sang for that skinny feee-male lawyer series, I prefer mah woman with some ass and *censored, *censored, *censored), almost made this hard-as-nail Gee-Dee-Eye Field Commander attempt to shed a tear.

    Anyways, while my troops began their 20 day journey to the southeast enemy base, a whole bunch of enemy combatants decided to do an Al-Qaeda on mah base, jumping my boys on the back, of all places! Those sneaky bastards. I'm darn sure that my predecessor, the most famous Texan of them all, Dubya, would be proud of me having fend off wave after wave of Guantanamo candidates, with only the lost of several support structures.

    Ah know he's watching up there along with Grandpa. *sniffs.

    *Field Commander's Log. Supplemental: I wonder whether I can requisition some of them Scrin motherships, is that what they are called? Those are the largest things I've seen all my life, outside of a Texan BBQ cookout....mmmm....barbeque....*drools....

    Back at the southeast enemy base, them Nod boys (damn them all) were giving mah Mammoths some Chi-nese accupunture treatment but I doubt those troopers of theirs can do any harm with their toy guns. Can you smell the freshly brewed destruction courtesy of mah newly minted rail guns, Kane?

    That's cold hard Gee-Dee-Eye currency at work, think about it before you decide to show up the front door, or back door, or whatever that is that swings yer baldie-headed way.

    The thing about allies is this, they are unpredictable. That's why I had a complement of Mammoths facing his base. But aside from that, I was building my Ion Cannon uplink thingamajig when he decided to let loose his fancy Black Hole (I'm a quaking in my boots, and that sounds really wrong) on the northern enemy base.

    Them fools didn't stand a chance but not wanting to miss out on the action, I decided to call in some of mah crack troops to join in the mop-up. What's the next best thing to shooting at troops and vehicles? Trashing power plants....with just guns. Just so you know, we Americans are good with guns, thanks to the lack of, what's that the NRA says is taboo..oh yes, gun control, we got the guns to shoot anything and everything. Boooyahh!

    It was pretty much cigar-chomping/legs on top of the table/bring out the beer (but please, no pretzels) kind of time as mah ally proceeded to sweep the floor off the last enemy base. Now, don't go calling me a-lazy, not with those fancy ships of his.

    Note to self, I want one, or two dozen of them ships parked by 0800 tomorrow outside my garage. Mammoths and big-fat flying U-EFF-OHHHs that launch smaller U-EFF-OHHHs.... UNSTOPPABLE!

    Now, who's up for a race across that Tiberium field over there? Last one to the finish line is a dirty smelly, good-fer-nthing hog.

    For Part 1, refer here.

    EDGE Presents The Art of Videogames

    The closest thing you can get to the I AM 8-BIT exhibition, having missed it, or being stuck where you are, would be to buy the book which costs a pretty penny at USD 44.40. This is of course inclusive of shipping and it does come signed by the author.

    I didn't go that way and instead went and purchased EDGE's EDGE Presents The Art of Videogames from a local magazine stand. Although cheaper than the I AM 8-BIT book, this special edition of EDGE magazine is certainly expensive, at RM 57.90.

    Featuring art (screenshots, sketches, pre-renders, concepts, etc) from a variety of games along with nifty elaborations from game developers on the ideas behind the works, this special edition also features 15 artworks from the I AM 8-BIT exhibition. I particularly like the one featuring Blanka (Street Fighter II).

    More about the games featured in The Art of Videogames. Some worthy mentions that come with really nice art include Devil May Cry, Halo, Virtua On (Temjin) and God of War II. Freak yourself out with the art from Silent Hill and Stalker, I know I did when I first flipped through those pages.

    My colleague commented that some of the pictures in the magazine look really real and while the Dead Rising art was nice, the blood splatter did looked a bit like Ribena.

    Was it worth the money? Yes. And it's certainly recommended for those who appreciate video game art and design. Give it a few months and you might be able to find this issue with a nice discount to the price tag, usually at book stands with that specialize in back issues.

    Hey Advertlets!..By the way it's comparison, not comparision!

    I specifically remember that Advertlets did some changes to their homepage and changed the comparison chart to that of a competitive comparison "report". I checked the site earlier, and the "comparision" chart link is back on the front page, note spelling error, but the actual comparison chart page is gone, resulting in a 404 error.

    While looking at the following pretty pictures, read about my blog entry on that infamous comparison chart, here.

    Ok, so the link is back, but do take note of the spelling error. Comparision, instead of comparison, just in case you didn't notice.

    But clicking on it will lead you to an error page....

    But if you miss the competitive comparison "report", and you absolutely must read it, don't worry. Click on the nice looking Benefits tab.

    And on the left, you'll see the link. Click it and ta-da!

    *Note to Advertlets, do fix it.

    *Note to Nuffnang, despite this act of altruism, this site is still Nuffnang exclusive, when it comes to local ads.

    Wednesday, June 06, 2007

    Pop Goes The Weasel

    Currently my workspace covers a portion of the meeting room table, the surrounding floor space, a makeshift server room previously known as MY room, and two large tables (those workstation types you get from Ikea) whereby I do my Dr. Frankenstein work on apparently dead PCs and servers. Talk about being in a crisis mode (refer to previous posts).

    And there was another power failure earlier this evening.


    The thing about Puyo Pop Fever (PSP) is that it is very entertaining for a puzzle game, and it's great fun playing the game in near pitch black darkness, which is how my workspace can get whenever there is a power outage. Think Tetris meets Street Fighter.

    The AI is no pushover, even at normal difficulty settings and is capable of springing suprises (as in dishing out punishment). I notice that if I fail to beat an AI opponent, the game will dumbdown quite a bit, just to give me a chance at winning. A feature any new player would appreciate.

    aving watched a French Open tennis match live on TV, courtesy of Astro, I take back whatever I've said about Virtua Tennis 3 (also for the PSP) and I hereby bestow the title of "Overglorified Game of Pong" to that game.

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    Painkiller Talking: A conversation with Pain

    Me: Hi Pain, thanks for getting re-acquainted with me. Not to say that I missed you.
    Pain: ...
    Me: How are you?
    Pain: ...
    Me: I can tell that you are pretty intense.
    Pain: ...
    Me: And yeah, your enthusiasm is infectious!
    Pain: ...
    Me: But you need not reflect that on me...
    Pain: ...
    Me: Oh? You say you like to share as well. I can feel that vibe coming from you. I don't like it.

    I took a painkiller after dinner, for the horrible pain in my shoulder (read my previous post) and I applied a gel as well. The combination worked for the first two hours, but now the pain is back with a vengeance.

    Holy Power Surge, Batman!

    I have a fear of electricity, 2+ years working in the college lab left me with a habit of touching wood panels before turning metal door knobs to prevent static shock, a habit that I still have to this day. And yes, there's the certain degree of dislike when it comes to turning switches on or off.

    My old foe, electricity, decided to throw a curve ball at me today. What appeared to be an early morning power failure to an entire row of office buildings evolved into an IT Techincal Personnel's nightmare, a POWER SURGE.

    List of known casualties in the office: 2 PC power supply units, 1 LCD monitor, 1 Server power supply unit, and my PC's hard disk and motherboard (it's acting very weird). I got everything up before 4 p.m., except for my own PC, since it took quite a beating.

    According to the TNB guys (that's the Electricity Board), the neighbours were pretty unlucky themselves, the ones next door lost a bunch of PCs, and the office down the row, PCs and apparently a Server, along with their work in it.

    That info can't be vouched for but I do know that the sundry shop's fridges were knocked out, no cold Red Bull for me.

    And no, to the people who asked, I'm not dead, neither did I get zapped. My shoulder hurts from carrying equipment and servers here and there, but what doesn't kill me, makes me stronger. And also, the surge has created awareness for surge protection, something that I've been advocating for the past 2 years. Now I get to buy voltage regulators.

    *Nine Over Ten's game related content will resume after this post. Blame TNB if you absolutely must, but those chaps are trying their best as well.

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    Notes From A Field Commander, Part One

    The night started out pretty simple. I got enemy bases northwest, north, northeast and southeast points of the map. Mah ally was a few clicks east of my base. Mine was conveniently located on the southwest point, his was on the east point. It was all good business having him as a buffer, isn't that why we have allies for in the first place?

    The thing about us Gee-Dee-Eye folk, we are pretty straightforward. Got the refinery running and that big fat jallopy known as a harvester was cutting up those green kryptonite (I'm sorry, that's Tiberium) off the patch. Ma always said that power is an important thing to us, without that, we wouldn't have light bulbs to study at night, when I was a wee kid. Us field commanders had to start out somewhere, we weren't born that way ya know? So up went a Power Plant.

    Well, base expansion happened very fast. I sent a bunch of my tanks with some of me riflemen up the road escorting a surveyor, apparently there was patch of purpal Tiberium up there. Jackpot! I had a forward outpost along with some of my turrets deployed before ya could say Bonanza!

    My esteemed ally decided to strike the nearest enemy base (attaboy!), and decided that I should provide cover for him. Poor boy had the beacon placed wrongly. Mah tanks were where as you said you wanted them to be boy. The tank commander did tell me fighting was taking place a few meters down the road, but I told him to stay put, just incase someone else decided to bushwhack you, or me.

    Now, aside from that altruistic (some say it's atrocious, but I'm betting it's a typo since I don't think that word exists) act, I finally got my show running with my Mammoth Tanks along with their shiny new Rail Guns. Now, I swear that I can hear them tank commanders muttering "Are we there yet?" all the time, those tanks are just so slow. Them tech boys should give them tanks a V16 or a V24 in those engine bays. After all, no ad-jective describes the GDI better than fuel-guzzler, and we got the moo-lah for crying out loud!

    Tiberium Wars Observations

    Tiberium Wars does not run as fast as I would like it to be, but maybe this is the effect of playing a multi-player match. Speaking of the multi-player game, it was a mixed bag.

    Having teamed up with Aaron, we took down several enemy AI bases in about 20 minutes. Some observations:
    • Enemy AI on Easy tend to spam with a lot of troops, and some basic vehicle types, and they spam frequently too. Like mosquitos in a rainforest jungle.
    • It took quite awhile before I got to build Mammoth Tanks with the accompanying Rail Gun upgrade.
    • The build tabs are there but I prefer the old two column representation of what can be built, ala Red Alert 2.
    • Mammoth Tanks seem slower than usual. EA should change the unit acknowledgement to: "Are we there yet?"
    • Despite their apparent lack of speed, Mammoth Tanks are my new best friends. Mmmm...firepower.
    • The Scrin's big flying unit looks really bad-ass, same goes for the superweapon.
    • I like dropping troops behind enemy lines.
    • Troops are like cannon fodder.
    • Silos should come with bigger capacities. It gets a bit inconvenient everytime I find a rich patch of Tiberium.
    • To chat, press the Enter key.
    • Building more War Factories doesn't equate to faster vehicle production, not that I noticed.
    The game seems to suffer from the same "slowness" inherited from its series predecessor (Tiberium Sun) and its technological predecessor (Generals). I wonder what happened to the speed and urgency of Red Alert 2.

    Sunday, June 03, 2007

    MKDS Anyone?

    The response to the MKDS post was pretty encouraging, so lets take it one step further:

    Comments anyone? I betcha we got enough racers to start one.

    Saturday, June 02, 2007

    This is NOT a Nuffnang VS Advertlets Comparison Chart

    I was telling a friend earlier this morning that on a personal point of view (read: personal), I find that Advertlets' comparison chart to be a bit childish, and mean-spirited. I've only seen Josh Lim once, during a presentation for one of Microsoft's events and he seems like a nice chap, but this is certainly not a very, well, nice way to present things to people, or to do business.

    The problems described in the TenthofMarch blog (here, here) potray a rushed product which would have failed any decent usability test, and the comments do make for a decent read. Honestly, companies, especially fledging ones, shouldn't hide behind the BETA software moniker as an excuse to cover up software bugs and yes, this is a software developer talking from a user's/consumer's point of view.

    I'm in favour of closed beta tests, and even if you chose to make your beta software public, be forthcoming with the bugs and be courteous to those who actually find them in the first place. The point where you decided to let your beta software out the door, is the same time where you let your ego die.

    A simple: "I'm sorry, I'll go about and fix it. Thank you for your efforts, please help us to better ourselves to service you better", so on and so forth, makes for better PR than the comments in the previously mentioned blog, some of them being very caustic.

    Having worked in the CRM/Timeshare industry for several years, the thought of actually comparing SalesForce's or SugarCRM's (both are competitors) logos to that of my company's product has never crossed my mind, nor does it sound like fun. So please, grow up.

    MKDS - Malaysia Boleh!

    Tonight's result? Malaysia 3 - Japan 2. We won! Altogether there were 5 rounds with 4 races each resulting in a total of 20 races raced earlier tonight.

    For the previous MKDS session, look over here.

    Friday, June 01, 2007

    Final Fantasy III

    7 hours, 26 minutes and 22 seconds. That's the amount I've spent so far playing Final Fantasy III for the Nintendo DS, and it's not too shabby actually for a busy guy who was previously adverse to RPGs. In any case, there's nothing much to add on to my first impressions of the game (nice graphics, soundtrack) except that it is an excellent RPG.

    Random encounters are abundant around the map and players tend to bump into them, but it's a really good way to level up your characters. The job system complements the leveling up and if you are stuck in a rut (e.g. reduced to mini size vs pain-in-the-ass monsters), try changing jobs! In my opinion, the job system plays an important role in keeping things fresh, and I don't even sense the tedium normally associated with level grinding.

    Combat is turn-based and it's pretty clear cut (to me at least), when compared to the series' Playstation counterparts. New players and RPG virgins shouldn't have a problem getting into (or fleeing from) combat, just keep in mind that combat comes along frequently (refer to previous paragraph)

    Even with SD Gundam-styled character models, the game has a more mature tone compared to other similar RPGs on the Nintendo DS, such as Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time. And I actually favour this set up compared to that of the later, which had me in candy-coated, gum-drop flavoured anaphylaptic shock (metaphorically speaking) after 20 hours of play.

    In any case, Final Fantasy III is a worthy addition to any Nintendo DS owner's library. It pretty much earned its place in mine.

    Fancy being a Lego Sculpter?

    Ever thought of leaving your job, for a much, well, interesting way to may a living? Well, Nathan Sawaya did, by leaving his career as an attorney in order to sculpt with LEGO blocks full time. Yes, you read right, not plaster of Paris, but LEGO blocks.

    CNN has an interview with him, click here. Don't forget to check out photos of his sculptures while you are at it.