Tuesday, July 31, 2007

CIMB Malaysian Open Squash Championships 2007 - Finals (Pics)

I had a field day last Saturday at the Curve, Mutiara Damansara. It started with the Malaysian Open Squash Championships 2007 finals in the afternoon. Both Azlan Iskandar and Nicol David won their respective finals but pity the opposition were not very spectacular. I would certainly like to see Nicol versus one of the Grinham sisters in the final, that would probably be an exciting but drawn-out match.

Unlike the previous tournaments that were held at Times Square, this time I managed to purchase tickets, and therefore sat throughout the two final matches, instead of good ole-fashion standing at the upper levels and looking down below (LOL).

Here are the pictures, as promised (click for larger views):

Aussie Stewart takes on Malaysia's Azlan

Another picture of the first finals match

Nicole versus Tania in the second finals match

Nicol wins it!

The rather nice crowd

Men's Champion - Azlan

Women's Champion - Nicol

Picture of Nicol and Tania

Monday, July 30, 2007

Look Out! He is a Spider Pig...

Spider Pig...Spider Pig...that is one tune that you won't be able to get off your head once you have watched The Simpsons Movie. I caught this movie at Cineleisure after the CIMB Malaysian Open Squash Championships 2007 finals at The Curve on Saturday. It turned out to be one of the funniest movies I've seen all my life.





Full of gags, jokes and familiar characters and sights and sounds from the TV series, the movie had the entire cinema hall laughing, cheering and even clapping and it was almost a laugh-a-minute roller coaster ride with Homer and family. Bart's attire-less skateboarding sequence drew hoots... :P

The series kind of translates well from being 30 minutes per episode to a feature length movie and it doesn't disappoint. The 2D animation is retained and the writting is as funny as ever. So go catch the movie, otherwise it's D'oh! to you.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dogs Get A Sugar High Too

I attended my grand aunt's funeral yesterday evening. It was a sudden thing so I dropped eveything and went straight home right after work, in order to attend the funeral. When I got home, I was greeted by a hyperactive furball that also happens to be my dog.

J: Oi. Crazy r?
J: Why is my dog abit..errr...hyper?
Dog scampers around in the front porch like she's possesed.
M: Too much glucose....I fed her some sweets just now.
Dog nearly tags me by trying to scratch my arm and running around
J: Sugar high?! She's like a hyperactive/A.D.D American kids we watch on t.v!
J: Oi! Stop scratching me!!!!
Dog settles for a piece of paper that she promptly rips to pieces.

No more sweets for the dog. Anyways, I'm happy to read that Nicol David won her semi-final match. I might have the time to watch the finals today.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Are You Sure That's Spelt Correctly?

These Nonohon guys probably pay a fortune in licensing fees to produce merchandise such as the Hello Kitty Nonohon and the Stich Nonohon. What's a nonohon you ask? These are figurines that bob when exposed to sunlight.

There's even a new one for Pokemon fans in the form of Nonohon Pikachu. Now, if only my Paypal account didn't look as anemic as it is now. For the rest of the nonohon collection on Play-Asia, click here.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Squash and DOTA...TuT, TuT, TuT (Totally unrelated Things)

I fared so badly at DOTA earlier today that I didn't even manage to kill a single opposing hero throughout the entire match. Talk about being very bad at a game, I believe the appropriate expression would be "n00b".

Anyways, I'll be heading to the Curve at Mutiara Damansara tomorrow to watch the semifinals (or is it the quarterfinals) of the CIMB Malaysian Open squash tournament. Should be interesting to watch the game live instead on the tele, having been a fan all this while and did play squash during my primary school years, courtesy of the Royal Malaysian Navy's excellent sporting facilities in the Lumut base.

Some would find it hard to believe but try asking any other Navy brat and you'll find that we had access to a stadium (which used to host the Perak state team's home games when the Ipoh stadium was under renovation), tennis courts, badminton courts, squash courts, an Olympic size swimming pool with the coolest/scariest/indifferent things at that time (depending on individual preference and the height he or she is jumping off)...diving platforms!

Back to tomorrow's plan. I will be bringing the D40 along as well. Hehe.

Grand Theft America, Gotta Love the Title

I received my copy of the trade paperback Ultimates 2, Volume 2: Grand Theft America a couple days ago from Acmamall. It didn't disappoint and now my collection of Ultimates 1 and 2 TPBs is finally complete. Turns out that the publisher used the cover of issue #13 as the TPB cover and the main highlight is the multiple page spread of the Ultimates versus Loki's gang of mythical horrors, this was presented in foldable pages in order not to break up the action.

With Ultimates 2 ending its stint in May 2007, the same can be said for the writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch. The both of them have delivered in the Ultimates, a "re-imagining" of the Avengers that is closer to real life both in art, and in the storylines written. But this pair were also responsible for the series' irregular schedule, imagine a total of 26 issues since its conception in March 2002 to the finale of Ultimates 2 in May 2007.

To some fans, saying that the they are a patient and long-suffering bunch would be a major understatement.


With Millar and Hitch gone, Jeph Loeb and Joe Madureira are to each take over the roles of writer and artist respectively for Ultimates 3, and yes it would dictate a change of writting and art direction. I have not seen any panels yet (so no comment on the writting), but judging by the art style, readers would be in for a hell of a time:
It's more manga-like than I would prefer, and it even looks like one of those X-Men books. It's that Hawkeye and why does the Scarlet Witch look like her weird Earth 616 counterpart completed with the headgear? Aside from the above preview art, the jury has not convened on Ultimates 3, so let's just wait till the end of the year for it to debut.

And before I forget, Amazon currently lists the Volume 2 TPB as not available. You poor saps are best looking for this in Barnes and Nobles (haven't said that in a longggg time) or your local bookstore. Do some walking, it's good for you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Made in what? Wario?!

Take a look at the following advertisement for Warioware Twisted (Gameboy Advance)..



and then compare it with an actual video of someone playing the same game..



Yes. The video that you just saw is the rather infamous Stop It Stop It video and it does show what that compilation of mini games (Warioware Twisted) can do to you. I just ordered my own copy of Mawaru Made in Wario, the Japanese version of Warioware Twisted from Play-Asia for a discounted price of USD 16.90.

Looking forward to the ensuing madness.


Click here if you are interested in purchasing the game. The discount is a time limited offer.

State of The Mario Kart

My fellow MKDS fans,

Things are progressing a little faster than expected with Mario Kart DS. As some of you might have read, my entire save file went ga-ga and somehow managed to reset itself. Therefore I'm playing the entire game again to at least have a decent chance when it comes to online/local WiFi matches.


I've finished the 50cc class with 4 3-stars and 4 2-stars, I'm certain that some of you (the other Jason of not the Smash variety and Cooking Oil Boy) would be laughing and sniggering but OI, thats the best I can do so far :P. Thats just left the 100cc and 150cc class and unlocking the mirror mode...again.

We, I mean I, since you guys are not in the same predicament as me, shall prevail!!

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Add in a dash of Photoshop

I thought I would do something different tonight with some of the pictures of my gashapon/figurine collection. But due to some interruptions, I only managed to prepare only several, so here goes:

USS Enterprise

USS Rio Grande

Something more traditional, but dedicated to all Revoltech fans out there.

Fancy Zelda Gashapon?

Fans of the Zelda series from Nintendo better be prepared with their credit cards/Paypal funds as Yujin's The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Figure Collection Gashapon is now available for sale on Play-Asia! Click here for details.


Figurine/Gashapon Collection Photo Shoot - DSLR Ed. Part 2

A picture is worth a thousand words. So here are several of them, all from the re-shoot earlier of my entire figurine/gashapon collection.

Kazon Raider from Star Trek

Armored Veritech in Battroid Form (Macross)

Phoenix from Star Trek: First Contact

Optimus Prime (needs no introduction :))

Nintendo Family - Part 2

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Price Wars: Part Two

Tumultous times here in Hogwarts, I mean Malaysia as the Harry Potter boycott saga continues with:
  • One Cabinet Minister saying that the price war is good for consumers. Click here.
  • The Malaysia Bookseller Association telling hypermarkets to "Stick to your discounts on milk powder, rice and other food products" and not bestselling books like Harry Potter. Click here.
  • Carrefour will continue selling the books at the current price, unless the Trade Ministry stops them and Borders has ran out of stock. Click here.
  • Readers complaining that the action of the Big 4 deprived them of the books especially those not living in the vincinity of the hypermarkets. Click here.
Sure, the bookstore business isn't as nice as it looks, behind the soft cushions, well stock aisles, quite nice lighting and coffee chains right inside the store, you are stuck with allegedly low profit margins and a nation of people with not much emphasis on reading books. But the question is now what are the Big 4 going to do with their unsold inventory of HP7 books?

The director of one of the Big 4 even mentioned returning the books (click here) to the distributor. Might as well burn them while you are at it. I would actually recommend discounts or bundles, I don't think the marketing/sales/PR departments are as daft as their upper managements' decision making process, surely they can come up something to sell the books.

Won't work you say, how 'bout this, Borders gave a discount since launch day (20% off with purchase of any other item...just buy a damn pen along with the book if you lack imagination) and managed to sell off their books by yesterday!

Besides, I'm sure that there are readers out there who would throw economics to the wind and prefer to buy the books from bookstores and there are those who don't live near hypermarkets as opposed to bookstores to begin with.

I don't think what the hypermarkets did is wrong, it's a free market afterall. But not selling books, I think the Big 4 has a bigger social obligation to fulfil rather than just profit margins. After all, they are bookstores!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Done and Done

It wasn't too much trouble to finish reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Despite the formidable size of the book, it's no harder than say... reading Richard Adam's Watership Down. The ending proved to be a rather traditional and satisfying one, which provided closure to alot of stuff, especially if you are coming in from the previous books and/or concerned of the fate of a certain Mr. Potter.

Anyways, this is certainly better than the crap that is still hanging around my bookshelf: Tash Aw's The Harmony Silk Factory. I don't get critics. It's so boring that I have more fun flicking a lighter...or clipping nails. I'm sorry Mr. Aw, but your first effort is indeed appalling. Buying the book is the result of bringing in a compulsive shopping habit into a bookstore. Somethings...you can never get rid off.

Death is like a permanent theme for this book (it's there on the title) and with a soaring death count, I think parents of little children will have a more difficult time explaining it to their young audience at bed time. Talking more about the book willl definately cause me to reveal spoilers so here's my rating: 7/10... pretty good.

Now with DSLR for Greater Justice!

The pictures taken earlier of my Gashapon/Figurine collection with my camera phone didn't turn out great, so I retook them but this time with the Nikon D40. Much better. Pictures below (click to view larger versions):

Borg Cube

My Furuta Star Trek complete Alpha and Beta sets

All made by Kaiyodo except Robocop

Robocop

Nintendo characters abound!

Resetti...Amok

Redd... sniggers

The 8-bit brothers

The original photoshoot is in the post before this. Click here to view.

Gashapon, Toys and Collectibles: Finally A Showcase

I decided yesterday that there was too much clutter on my desk and some of the gashapon/collectibles that I've accumulated over the past few months had to go. So after arranging them into a big empty box along with the spares I had (and discarding unnecessary boxes..they were many), I'm left with the following:


The Animal Crossing gang together with the characters from Mario Kart DS. I put almost every single article of furniture into cold storage and stuck the characters in a medium sized display case as in the picture above. I bought all these (except the display case) at Play-Asia's toy section (click here).

Here's abit of trivia, all these were made by Kaiyodo with the exception of Robocop (made by Kotobukiya). From the back row (L-R): Megatron, Optimus Prime and Robocop. The front row consists of the complete Set A of Kaiyodo's Super Dimension figures(L-R): Armored Battroid, Skull Leader Battroid, Destroid, Miriya Parino's Veritech, Skull Leader's Veritech.

Purchase details: Megatron and Optimus Prime (XL-Shop), Robocop (Comics Mart), Super Dimension figures (Ebay)

These guys are my favourites and there's no way they are going into cold-storage. These push peg or push pin...things... (I know one friend who calls them LEGO) are quite fun to assemble. If you don't know who they are, thats Bomberman on the left and Link (of Legend of Zelda fame) in all their 8-bit glory.

And if you are wondering where the header of this blog came from.. you probably have the answer by now. Bomberman is still available at Play-Asia (click here) and yes, you can use the pegs to create other stuff...they give lots of extras.

And finally, my Star Trek armada. I used to be obsessed about buying the entire Furuta Star Trek collection (which is not limited to the ones I have above). It's not until I saw the size of the figurines in the previous collection (they were huge in comparison to the current ones I have), I decided it wasn't worth it.

Back row, from left to right: Borg Cube, Kaizon Raider, USS Pasteur, USS Rio Grande, USS Enterprise. Front row, from left to right: Phoenix, Shuttlecraft Galileo, USS Grissom, USS Excelsior, Spock.

I also did a stock count as to what I have in cold storage:
  • 2 spare Animal Crossing figurines (not including 1 that was broken) and lots of furniture
  • 3 Mario Kart DS figurines (Mario, Luigi and Bowser)
  • 3 Furuta Star Trek figures: Excelsior, Borg Cube and Grissom
  • 1 Rock Lee (from Naruto) figurine
  • 1 Gundam figurine
So that's about it, my entire collection.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Twice the Magical Fun

I'm just about two thirds through the latest Harry Potter book. Having bought mine over at Borders and wanting to see the effects of the boycott myself, I visited the MPH outlet over at 1 Utama. Nary a Harry Potter promotional material or the book were in sight, save for those at the back of the counter.

Those books were meant to fulfill pre-orders made earlier this year and the paper bags containing them do look mighty nice. And there were quite a number of them uncollected.

Aside from the "magical" new addition to my bookshelf (I'm pretty sure Potter fans would describe the book with that adjective), another magical item arrived today in the form of Magic Taizen (USD 12.90 @ Play-Asia). I'm not sure what to make of this game for the Nintendo DS, since it is entirely in Japanese. However, leaving the game aside, Magic Taizen comes in an oversized box (like Electroplankton) which contains a deck of cards!

Now, what better collectible than a deck of Nintendo playing cards? They look just the same as any other deck, but guess what's the Ace of Spades?


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hypermarket Discounts

I just woke up to a message saying that the bookstores (MPH, Popular, and Times) won't be selling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in protest of the cutthroat pricing by hypermarket chains Tesco and Carrefour. Pre-orders will still be fulfilled though. Click here to read all about it on The Star online.

What a weird morning call and I'm still sleepy having gone through a quarter of the transcripted version of HP7 (spelling errors here and there). Don't ask me how I got it though, not telling.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Of Pranks and Cooking Oil

For those who don't know, a friend of mine almost used cooking oil to remove smudges from his Nintendo DS Lite after listening to my suggestion (link here). It was a prank, and while it was pretty funny, the following one is funnier, although this is not of my doing:

Cthon98: hey, if you type in your pw, it will show as stars

Cthon98: ********* see!

AzureDiamond: hunter2

AzureDiamond: doesnt look like stars to me

Cthon98: AzureDiamond: *******

Cthon98: thats what I see

AzureDiamond: oh, really?

Cthon98: Absolutely

AzureDiamond: you can go hunter2 my hunter2-ing hunter2

AzureDiamond: haha, does that look funny to you?

Cthon98: lol, yes. See, when YOU type hunter2, it shows to us as *******

AzureDiamond: thats neat, I didnt know IRC did that

Cthon98: yep, no matter how many times you type hunter2, it will show to us as *******

AzureDiamond: awesome!

AzureDiamond: wait, how do you know my pw?

Cthon98: er, I just copy pasted YOUR ******'s and it appears to YOU as hunter2 cause its your pw

AzureDiamond: oh


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cables Part Deux

Working part time as a lab assistant during my college years, I used to crimp quite a number of CAT-5 cables. My team mates and I would be crimping and laying cables an entire afternoon till late evening whenever there's a full lab maintenance going on or a new lab to be set up. So naturally, I don't really like cables that are not crimped properly.

When I got back to the office last week after my long break, I chance upon a newly laid CCTV co-ax cable which was to be connected to a TV capture card. The odd thing was, it didn't have one of those shiny metal heads. And yes, I did ask loudly on what kind of an idiot will leave such shoddy work. Said idiot came back a week later to finish the job.

Talking about cables, some of you might remember that I bought a third party component cable for my PS2 (it's still in stock on Play-Asia, and it's compatible with the Playstation 3..click here for details). The good news is, it's still working fine, but the not good/not bad news is the PS2 is suffering from a lack of use.

Disappointing isn't it. And there's that Dreamcast sitting in a box in one of my office cabinets. Anyways, if you own a PS3 and an LCD TV, you are better off with a HDMI cable. Play-Asia has a variety of them for sale, ranging from the loosely pack 3rd party (here) ones to the expensive ones such as Monster (here).

I'm beginning to wonder what are the differences (aside from the price) between the two HDMI cables.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mario Kart Racing? Relax Dulu Bang..

I found out today that my game data on my Mario Kart DS cartridge was missing. I don't know how that happened and normally this would be considered a disaster for most Mario Kart DS fanatics (omg! my race times! my records! my triple star achiements!...the sheer horror of it all).

However, since I'm not one, the prospect of re-doing everything again seems to be a very challenging and exciting one. Besides, I'll get to practice a lot. Now, the only problem is time. This is gonna take a long while.

"What?!" you exclaim. Let me introduce to you the obscure category of "easy going gamer", gamers who are an epitome of Malaysian values of the "Tidak apa, lepak dulu...relak la" kind...in other words, have a complete lack of urgency. Gamers under this category don't usually blitz through games, even if they do the difficulty setting must be set at easy...or something milder.

If they get stuck at a particular level, the game is left alone for a while (for hours, days, weeks and sometimes even months) before another attempt is made. It took me almost an entire year to unlock the mirror mode in Mario Kart DS.

Procrastination aside (there's totally no excuse for that, but whattodo), the good thing about this category of gamers, they are not affected much by the release of new games, and probably have their heads screwed on properly when it comes to purchases. The last part of the previous sentence doesn't apply to "easy going gamers" who solely depend on flashcarts or R4 but even then they'll probably get someone to download ROMs for them.


So cheers to you July 2008! If there's anyone to blame for this...blame the plumber racing on a lawnmower. The fat chap is too slow.

Cheap Nintendo DS Games - Meteos

Play-Asia is having its weekly special, which happens to be Meteos for the Nintendo DS. You can now purchase it for just USD 14.90. This is a time limited offer, click here for further details. The discount only applies to the Japanese version of the game, but since it's a puzzle game, I doubt that language would pose much of a problem.

If you are looking for bargain prices for video games across a variety of platforms, don't forget to check out Play-Asia's bargain bin section.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

You Don't Have to Put On That Red Light...

There's a reason why Los Lobos' Beautiful Maria of My Soul is constantly being played on my iTunes playlist, Mambo Kings is way up high on my list of favourite movies. What other songs that I like came from movie soundtracks?

Let's see, there's Chris Cornell's You Know My Name (Casino Royale, but doesn't appear on the OST), Sugababes' Too Lost in You (Love Actually OST), Toploader's Dancin' in the Moonlight (A Walk to Remember OST), KT Tunstall's Suddenly I See (The Devil Wears Prada OST), The Clash's London Calling (Die Another Day OST), Linkin Park and Jay-z's mashup Numb / Encore (Miami Vice OST)...there's so many I can't really list them all.

Out of the top of my head, I can name the following movies as my favourites:
  1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

    Revelation that Vader is Luke's father...kinda expected. Luke's expression: PRICELESS.

  2. The Silence of the Lambs

    Anthony Hopkins was certainly creepy as Hannibal Lecter.

  3. Gladiator

    "Roma Victor!"

  4. Mambo Kings

    Antonio Banderas can certainly sing, or act like one.

  5. Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan

    Perhaps the template for all Star Trek movies to come.

  6. Casino Royale

    Bond is afterall, human.

  7. Love Actually

    A feel good movie for adults, especially during Christmas time. Killer soundtrack

  8. The Devil Wears Prada

    Imagine The Apprentice, but on the big screen

  9. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

    Fast cars..and yes..drifting..and a serious load of Gaijin Smash (look that term up on the Internet)

  10. The Bourne Identity

    Jason Bourne is James Bond, on steroids and loads of caffeine

  11. Moulin Rouge

    This...is really good stuff. The rendition of Roxanne (originally by The Police) was very, very, very nice, the same goes for the rest of the movie.




E3? Make My Day

Every other person I know who has a gaming blog is doing some form of E3 commentary. Not to be left out, I'm jumping on the bandwagon as well. Back when I was still heavily involved in PC gaming, E3 was basically the mother of all previews and of course a good indicator on what sort of upgrades I needed for my PC.

Now that I'm more into casual gaming such as on the Nintendo DS, what does E3 has to offer that would have me in anticipation? The answer: A couple of games.

First up, The Simpsons Game on the Nintendo DS. I'm a fan of the series and I can't wait to see what the devs can do by making a game out of it for the DS.

Here's an excerpt from a Gamespot hands-on preview:

"Although all the games on the different platforms are based on the same general storyline, the versions of the title are fundamentally quite different. For a start, while the next-generation console version is a 3D action adventure game with a very deliberate cartoon feel, the DS version is a 2D side-scroller with a unique feel and control system.

Like the console versions of the game, you control two Simpsons family members as they battle their way through Springfield, although never both at the same time. Character swap points are triggered automatically, so you'll never need to manually swap to complete a task with a different player. Our hands-on saw us piloting Homer and Bart, beating down would-be attackers and unlocking their special abilities as the story evolved. Bart, for example, can eventually turn into Bartman and achieve flight."

The second game would be Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command from the publisher of Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War. This looks pretty cool in my book and it would be interesting to see how does the PC game translates to a DS experience.

To check out both games, do visit Gamespot's DS section.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fancy Slime As Your PS2 Controller?

The latest entry for "Man, that is so weird" category of post would be the Dragon Quest Metal Slime Controller for the PS2. Those familiar with the Dragon Quest games or manga would know what Slime is but who would in the right mind would use a replica of one as a PS2 controller.

It comes with a base stand, so you can display the Slime in its proper position. To use it as a controller, you'll have to lift it up from the base stand and turn it over, that's where the buttons are.

It's pretty creepy looking but yet people dig this kind of stuff. It's available on Play-Asia on a discounted price of USD 39.90 (click here for details).

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Michael Bay Bad? Try Transformers...Animated

Old-school hardcore Transformers fans, who had a hard time accepting the Michael Bay sacrilegious version of all things holy to them, would probably read the following...and shudder. From the director of Teen Titans, comes what else but a new Transformers animated series aptly named.. Transformers Animated.

So, have you recovered from the oh-so-creative-uber-geeky title of the series, here's another bomb for you. Think superheroes, and now think ROBOTS with SUPERPOWERS. Here's an excerpt from the interview on IGN TV (read all about it here):

IGN TV: So I understand all of the Transformers will have some sort of super power, kind of making them a superhero team?

Youngberg: Yes. They are mechanical, so the powers are all mechanically based. They are powers nonetheless, so it does bring them into more of a superheroic role, but it doesn't feel like fantasy or magic - it feels like the Transformers.

Come on, how is that Optimus Prime needs to be "superheroic"? He is OPTIMUS PRIME!

Not suprised? Now, for the pièce de résistance:

I don't dislike the director, heck, Teen Titans is probably one of the best shows on Cartoon Network (I love Cartoon Network), but Transformers Animated? *rummages for reruns of Beast Wars.

I Can Has Cheezburger?

Hehe. LOL. Sorry bout the title. Just couldn't resist. To all of you Wii-owners out there, the cat in the picture below totally understands your feelings if you are feeling stuck at Zelda: Twilight Princess or...Wii Sports.


I can has cheezburger? Fast food ban overs on 19th. Lookingz for walkthroughs? Pwned? No want suxor? See guidez on how buyz guides here.

Full picture credits to http://icanhascheezburger.com


Nintendo DS Games for Kids

So how did the following games fare in the hands of a 10 year old, who has not seen a DS prior to yesterday and has never played anything on a GameBoy before? Don't worry about the Nintendo DS, the kid was well-mannered and treated it with respect.
  1. New Super Mario Bros.
  2. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
  3. Mario Kart DS
New Super Mario Bros.

This game earned the title of of "game lompat-lompat" from the kid after I demo-ed that bouncing stage to him.

This was obviously the easiest game for him to master, nothing more then moving left and right (and the occasional going up and down), jumping and ducking. He found out all by himself how to move about worlds and enter levels.

Time spent on it: A very very long time (think hours, good thing the DS was fully charged). It was very engrossing.

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin

I initially hesitated to let him play this game, it's pretty freaky even for my standards, but maybe to him it's just a game whereby the hero chops up monsters.

The flat graphics made it abit difficult for him to know whether there is a path where he can proceed to the next screen. However, the recurring monsters made for an interesting challenge for him. He got the concept of using different weapons in the game and even using the touch screen to start a new game!

Time spent on it: This game takes 2nd place, and its pretty funny to hear him make his own sound effects when chopping up zombies and what not.

Mario Kart DS

When compared to other racing games, Mario Kart DS is pretty easy to pick-up, once you discard the notion of explaining a. power-ups and b. drifting, cause it's too much of a hassle for absolute beginners.

The boy did get a hang of racing and using power-ups, but I guess driving around doesn't make for much fun.

This was the only game he spent less than 10 minutes on. Soon he was asking me.."Bang, ada game lain tak?"

Nintendo should be applauded to bringing games to the casual crowd and those who don't tend to play games. But the target audience tend to be adults and are well-versed in English. So what about kids? The language barrier is a downer and the lack of experience with a touch screen interface hampers understanding as well. Putting myself in my young friend's position, even Touch Generation's Club House Games would suck.

But if you are looking for a game for your 10-year old (or any other kid in general), New Super Mario Bros. is highly recommended. But do remember that video games are not a permanent substitute to a parent, so don't forget to participate during play-time with your kids.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Guide to...Cheap Video Game Guide Books..pun intended

Last week I was checking out Play-Asia's website at the very last hour of its Summer Smoothie Sale and I found out that the site stocks quite a number of cheap video game guide books. I don't need one, but it was worth looking around, after all, it was a sale and you'll never know when you'll find something you like.

Now that the sale is over, here's a more objective comparison between online retailers regarding guide books. Case in point: BradyGames' Gears of War Signature Series Guide. And the online retailers in this comparison are the Internet juggernaut known as Amazon.com, Malaysia's very own Acmamall.com and Hong Kong's Play-Asia.com.

Amazon.com:
The guide book retails for USD 10.82, down from its original price of USD 19.99. (click here)
Shipping to Malaysia via Standard International Shipping (avg 10-16 days) is at USD 11.98.
Total price: USD 22.80

Special note: If you are buying from Amazon.co.uk, it will be a whopping 17.07 pound sterling (inclusive of shipping to Malaysia).

Acmamall.com:
The guide book retails for RM 77.36 (~USD 22.75), a 10 % discount from its original price of RM 85.96 (~USD 25.28) (click here)
Shipping charges is at RM 7.50 (~USD 2.20)
Total price: RM 84.86 (USD 24.95)

Play-Asia.com:
The guide book retails for USD 14.90 (click here)
Shipping charges using Economy Air Box (5-10 days) is at NIL.
Total price: USD 14.90

It's pretty clear that Play-Asia has the best price among the three, but what's cheap for me, may not be cheap for you, especially if you are living in the States, where Amazon has some pretty good deals on shipping. Check out the rest of what Play-Asia has to offer

Since the sale is over, did you get anything? I got Magic Taizen for around RM 35, a very nice bargain indeed. And speaking of Magic Taizen, it will be released in English come this November as Nintendo Magic. Read all about it here.

You Have Very Nice Veins

Part 1:

"Fill this up"
"But I did this earlier."
"Where?"
"When I was registered just now...I don't think I can now"
"When was that?"
"An hour ago"
"An hour? Can-lah...go fill it up"

Part 2:

"You have very nice veins"
"I know and you know what, I hate needles"
"I was about to ask you that. I hate them too, but I've to go through this every 3 months"
"Why?"
"It's an appraisal thing"
"This gonna hurt? I don't go hospitals much..so I don't know"
"Ant bite"
.
.
"Clench and unclench"
.
.
"That wasn't so bad after all"

Part 3:

"She said I have nice veins"
"Of course la, badminton player.. even I also miss nice veins, we bloodsuckers"

Part 4:

"What's this tablet for?"
"It's for the pain"
"But I'm not in pain.."

Part 5:

"You know what, I'm probably the only non-sick person warded here"
"Do you want me to come over with a fruit basket?"
"What for? I'm not sick"
"So you can watch me eat"
"I'm not sick! Don't come!"

Part 6:

*reaches for a strange instrument...
*brain: biopsy?!
Checks ear

*reaches for even stranger looking instrument
*brain: biopsy?!
Checks nose, both nostrils

*reaches for a metal tongue press and an instrument with a mirror
*brain: biopsy?!?...don't be nuts
Checks mouth/throat.

Part 7:

"Nak makan apa untuk sarapan?"
"Ada apa untuk makan?"
"Nasi lemak, bihun goreng"..."chicken chop, sphagetti"
"Eh?...ada ke?"
"Takde la"..."Takde? Kantin bungkusla.."
"...nasi lemak...milo panas satu"

Part 8:

"Bang, ni GameBoy ke?"
"Oh..yang ni...canggih sikit"

A small boy was left his own devices as his dad was sleeping in the ward and his mum had left for work. Knowing how boring a hospital stay can get (even for a visitor), I let him play with the DS, while I went about my own business.

Suffice to say the DS was the babysitter (and quite an effective one at that) the entire morning; the most I did was change cartridges, and showed him how to get around a level or two of Castlevania. And he referred to NSMB as "game lompat-lompat". Hehe.

Friday, July 13, 2007

How to Cheat Using the R4DS - A Guide

For more R4DS guides for the Nintendo DS, head over to the brand new www.nineoverten.com.

The latest
R4DS kernel (v 1.10) comes with a built-in ability that allow users to cheat at games! Some call it Action Replay, others call it the golden finger. But no matter, here's a guide on how to cheat on your Nintendo DS with an R4!

First, the cheat data is located inside the _system_ folder in a file called CHEAT.dat. It is not necessary to use this as it is not constantly updated with cheats for the latest games. So remove this file and replace it with the USRcheat file which can be found constantly updated in this forum thread: http://forums.r4ds.net/showthread.php?t=2522. The file name is called usrcheat.dat and you'll just need to place it inside the _system_ folder.

*Note: Since the R4DS.net forum has conked out, you might need to search for the urscheat.dat file using Google. One forum I found that hosts a rather recent version of urscheat.dat is http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/6/505999

Once this is done, boot up your R4DS and select a game, for example New Super Mario Bros. The bottom screen will show the game details along with a button to cheat. If you see two cheat buttons, follow my first step described earlier. Click on the cheat button and you'll see on the top screen, a whole list of cheats and at the bottom screen, a whole bunch of buttons.

In order for you to be able to select and enable the cheats, do make sure that the bottom screen looks like the following screen shot before choosing the cheats you want to use.
Once done selecting your cheats, click on the Save & exit button and start the game!

Here are some of my observations and warnings:
  • I started of my research using Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. The cheats didn't work on the game, making me conclude that the cheat function was faulty on this game.
  • Which led me to use a New Super Mario Bros ROM, and it works.
  • The cheat UI sucks, the two check boxes must be checked, and the status shows as "Game DISABLE and "Cheat DISABLE". What gives, R4?
  • Don't select too many cheats. I managed to corrupt a couple of save files doing so.
  • Cheating apparently doesn't work on WiFi games (read it in the forum)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Of Traffic Jams and Frappuccino

It was worth the U-Turn and the traffic jam. I was heading back to the NKVE, having passed by the Curve and 1-U when I decided turn back into Damansara Uptown. I had a long but productive day at the client's office and I only had one thing in mind as a reward to myself, Starbucks' Azuki Frappuccino.. venti please, and to go. Thank you!

The Uptown outlet was the only place I could think off that I can stop by without needing to park inside a shopping centre parking lot.

The word Azuki refers to "red bean" or in Mandarin "hongdou" or as the Hokkiens say it "angtau". And yes, the Frappuccino will remind you of red bean soup, moon cakes, red bean paste and the quintessential snack on a hot day: red bean ice cream (or aiskrim potong).

Come to think of it, I could have been a nuisance to other commuters on the road, like in the following scenario:



*winds down window and waves at the driver in a nearby car on the LDP*
"Hey, you feeling frustated sitting in this jam...slow moving eh?
Look at me...I'm enjoying my venti Azuki Frappuccino..mmmmmmm"

Last Day of Play-Asia Sales for Video Games and Accessories!

It's the last day of the Play-Asia Summer Smoothie Sale and you probably have around 16 hours to make your purchases before the promotion ends. There are still a few notable items up for sale, such as Hori's Liquid Crystal Filter for the DS Lite, DS Lite USB Power Charge Cable, Final Fantasy III, and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow and Castlevania: Potrait of Ruin.

So don't miss out on this and make your way to Play-Asia. Just don't buy the stuff...tomorrow :P

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

These Legs Are Made For Running...and ARE YOU LADIESMAN217?!?!

It's suprising how fast the human body can heal itself. I must admit it was a rather dumb idea to have an intense session of badminton right after the Siemens Run 2007. But despite walking like Mad Eye Moody for the whole of Tuesday (and Monday night) and grimacing at the sight of stairs, I'm pretty much back to normal.

Come this August, not only I'll be running in the Adidas King of the Road event, but also the Subang Jaya 10K run. This would be the first time I would be running in events outside of KL, should be fun. I got a comment from a friend today that I like entering these sort of events; I replied that it's better than sitting at home and getting fat.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are getting on pretty friendly terms with the Malaysian population, and with the lack of exercise, the certainty that is death is gonna come knocking faster and with it the suffering associated with the two health problems. So, pick up some physical activity as a hobby, whether it is running, going to the gym, kick boxing, etc, and probably you'll make a difference in your physical well-being.

---


Come August as well, I should be receiving the final trade paper back to complete my collection of Ultimates 1 and Ultimates 2. The TPB in question, Ultimates 2 Vol 2: Grand Theft America, was released just last month and I ordered in via Acmamall.com. This is the same online retailer whereby I purchased Ultimates 2 Vol 1: Gods and Monsters.

I called the local Borders bookstore to enquire about the availability of the TPB, it turned out that they had already placed an order for 10 copies since LAST YEAR, and that order has not arrive yet.

And on the subject of purchases, I bought a Decepticon today, Barricade, the one that transforms into a police car in the movie. It's the cheapest version (RM 19.90) available and as such, it has a horrible looking robot mode, but a very nice Hot Wheels sized vehicle mode. And he also has a couple of the funniest lines in the movie (grabbed from IMDB):

Barricade: Are you eBay user LadiesMan217?
Sam 'Spike' Witwicky: Uh...
Barricade: ARE YOU EBAY USER LADIESMAN217?
Sam 'Spike' Witwicky: Uh Yes! Yes!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Get Off Your Lazy Bum and RUN!!


I submitted a total of 8 entries today for the Adidas King of the Road 2007 Run, which is going to be held on the 5th of August at Sunway Pyramid. This must be a record of sorts (9 entries in total, including mine which was submitted last Sunday) since there were only 5 of us who went for the KL International Marathon.


The idea of running on the NPE is interesting, especially when you have to pass the Dato Harun area, with that smelly tyre factory. I'll always drive faster whenever I pass that area since the stench (omg) is strong enough to invade the cabin of my car (don't forget to hold your breath!).

Anyone of you dear readers interested in signing up for the run? It's still not too late as you can register by the 21st of July. The entry form is available
here.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Siemens Run 2007 + Reshmonu Vids

I just got back from the Siemens Run 2007, and in a word, it was a BLAST! And I even got videos of Reshmonu performing at the Dataran stage after the race.

More about the race. It started a little late around 7.40 a.m. YAB Rais Yatim flagged us off at the Dataran. The course was pretty tough, as it led runners right into the Bukit Tunku area. I don't really like going up extended inclines, but that was the nature of the course. The downhill portions were pretty smooth, it was going up that made life abit difficult.

In any case, I like the way the organisers ran this race. There were small billboards indicating distance to the finish line throughout the entire race. And the water stations, there were so many of them along the way that I lost count. There was even one in the first kilometre!

I finished the race in an hour and fifteen minutes, not really a good time as I finished the KL International Marathon 10km race in an hour, but that was a walk in the park compared to this.

But despite all the very nice organization, and all the fun activities at the finish line, the abundance of sponsored drinks available at the Dataran (Powerbar, 100 Plus, Milo, Vitamilk, plain old mineral water), a massage tent, a recovery centre with inflatible pools to put your hot feet in, and having Reshmonu perform on stage, the disappointing part was the attendance.

I'm not expecting something to rival that of the KL International Marathon, but come on, give these guys (the organizers) a break. Are you people still tired after the Penang Bridge Run?

It was rather appaling to see not many answer the call to a good cause. I understand that the proceeds from the race go to charity. Case in point, I was talking to a lady manning one of the tents and found out that Siemens donated to the National Cancer Society.

So, this time next year, get off the couch, switch off that LCD TV of yours, and go running in the Siemens Run.

And before I forget, here are the videos. A little small though, since I was recording with my phone and I couldn't get closer without blocking the view for a number of people.




Saturday, July 07, 2007

Stick This Thank You Note on Your Monitor

I haven't got the chance to blog about this previously, but thanks to all of you visitors and readers of Nine Over Ten 9/10, this blog has passed the 10k hits milestone! I'm a little behind on posts this month because of my vacation, but you can expect the usual game and collectable reviews (100% on the stuff that I actually own), commentaries, recommendations, features, jokes and anecdotes about video games and other stuff that I do as well, in the coming days.

Thank you once again, and do leave comments either on the blog posts, or the chat box on the left. I'm open to link exchanges as well :).

Before I forget, I notice that some of the visitors to this blog are looking for Japanese/English dictionaries for the Nintendo DS, more specifically Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten. If you are one of them, you are pretty much in luck since Play-Asia is selling this with a 20% discount. Click here for details.

Siemens Run 2007

I'm participating in the Siemens Run 2007 this coming Sunday. Looking at the map, it looks like the route I walked for the Malay Mail Big Walk, with the exception that it is inverted. Here's my checklist:
  • Siemens Run T-Shirt - Checked
  • Bip Number - Checked
  • Receipt and Report Slip - Checked
  • Power Gel - Don't forget to buy at the pharmacy tomorrow
  • Orudis Gel - Indispensable, and not edible - Checked
  • Adidas Running Shoes - Checked
  • Phone Strap - Not necessary but nice to have, running with a lighter pocket is nice - Will look for it tomorrow
This Run should be quite interesting, as it is has a pretty hilly route. And Reshmonu will be performing post-race! Nice.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Time of the Season for Play-Asia's Sale!!!

Nothing gets me going better than a sale. If you are looking for video games and collectables, drop by Play-Asia as they are having their Summer Smoothie (wonder who thought this up) sale where its 20% off for everything in stock. Click here for further details.

Since PA has a wide variety of games for different platforms, I'm only listing my picks for the Nintendo DS (click on the titles for purchasing details):
Some of these titles hit a sweet spot at around RM 100 each, pretty good bargains I would say, considering they are not bargain bin items in the first place. So, what should I get? Maybe Puzzle Quest or something else? I'm pretty much up to my neck with puzzle games.

OMG..3ROD..CRASH...

Imagine that one out of three drivers of a particular automobile model, will experience a loss of control in their vehicles, sudden engine failure and end up crashing into a pole by the roadside. That would be the case if the car is an Xbox 360.

An article by Dailytech has the following headline: Retailers Estimate Xbox 360 Failure Rate High as 33 Percent (go Google it, I'm having a hard time accessing the article now). That certainly sucks for Xbox 360 owners but fortunately for mankind in general, Xbox 360 isn't an automobile or a vaccine.

But despite this sad state of affairs, the 360 is right on top of my list of consoles to buy. Actually, it's the only console that I want to buy, there's no number 2, 3, 4, or 5. But maybe I'll wait it out a couple of years. Good things come to those who wait... right?

One, Two... JUS

Nintendo DS gamers who not yet own a copy of Jump Ultimate Stars will be happy to know that Play-Asia is selling it for a bargain price of USD 29.90 and free shipping! At the same time, get the JUS postcard book which is also available on PA for USD 9.90. Click on the titles for purchase information.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

FPS, RTS, MMORPG, RPG....SLG?!?!

A friend of mine was trying to describe a game (Hoshigami Remix) when he came up with an acronym for the genre the game was categorised in: SLG.

I've not seen such a genre acronym before, and the feeling was that I hit a road block. Thinking it's probably some ero game, and the fella might be a closet perv, I hazarded a guess: Sexy Lady Game? Nope. The only thing I can think that is of suitable use for this acronym is: Super Lag Game.

Imagine during a crappy game of Halo:

P1: WTF...pwned by crappy head shot..^@^$#%$!#$@^%^&**(
P2: slg man....slg...

So, if you are faced with crappy play (on your part, or someone else's) in an online/multiplayer game, take a deep breath and repeat after me: "slg man.....slg.."