Sunday, September 30, 2007

Scoring an Own Goal With Fifa 08

You know how sometimes Nintendo DS owners get the short end of the stick with games that look like their ancient, 10-year old iterations on the PC?

Such is the case of Fifa 08 for the Nintendo DS. As an EA release, it has practically everything from the "E-A-Sports, It's in the game" intro announcement, a rather nice soundtrack that sounds like they hired a bunch of hooligans to sing for, lotsa nice teams to choose from, a bunch of gameplay options and online play (I think). And while it's missing an intro does sound rather complete doesn't it? The whole to say.

Once you start the game however, you'll be met with some of the ugliest looking graphics this side of wherever. To me, there is no point in having a brand new 3D engine just to dish out bland looking textures. Game developers should spare gamers from this sort of garbage by opting for no close-ups..or heck, cel-shade the entire game, give it an entire new look and feel.

It is a shame though as I thought the commentary was brilliant, given the limited resources available on EA's DS cartridge.

Personally I prefer the smooth, crisp graphics of Fifa 06 and Winning Eleven DS. Sure they didn't have close-ups of players in their (paper-thin) 3D models all the time not unlike Fifa 08, but those games were fun to play and you don't feel the need to barf looking at them.

Click here if you absolutely need to purchase Fifa 08. Personally, I can't wait for the release of Winning Eleven DS: Goal x Goal! this October.

Nine Over Ten Presents: The Halloween Gift Guide Catalogue

Let's say that instead of trick-or-treating this coming Halloween, you decide to give out gifts and you happen to have a friend who is a.. horror movie enthusiast/figurine collector/anime otaku/ videogamer all in one.

What are you gonna get for your friend? Let Nine Over Ten and Play-Asia help you with that (click on the links for purchase details).

First up, figurines. Neca has released Series 2, a bunch of figurines commemorating anniversary of the original survivor horror video game, Resident Evil. There's the Tyrant, Licker, Labcoat Zombie, Crimsom Head Zombie, and the Hunter. All of them suitably creepy and scary enough for Halloween.

There's also the ultra-cute, but still horror themed Neon Genesis Evangelion Horror Summer Mini Display Figure. Order a total of 4 from Play-Asia and you stand a high chance of receiving a complete set (no gurantees).

Castlevania fans will have something up their alley with the late September release of Neca's Castlevania 7-inch action figures. Collectors get to choose from Simon Belmont, Dracula, Alucard and Succubus (or get them all for that matter).

If your friend can't bulk up in time to look like Kratos for Halloween, cheer him up with a couple of God of War action figures from Neca.

Enough about figurines, what would Halloween be without some video games? Do you go old-school survival horror and pick up titles such as Resident Evil: The Essentials for the PS2 or Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition?

Or go for newer upstarts such as Dementium: The Ward for the Nintendo DS or F.E.A.R for the PS3 and Xbox 360 and based on its scary predecessor (System Shock 2) alone, Bioshock. And who can forget the Castlevania franchise with games such as Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin for the Nintendo DS.

On the other hand, you can head over to Ebay and trawl for even older horror games such as the aforementioned System Shock 2 (highly recommended by this particular blogger), Clive Barker's Undying and of course, those Blair Witch games which are pretty spooky as well.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

For The Greater Good

A laser beam blast comes from the very edge of the screen, a direct hit to my squad of Space Marines. How did they manage to spot us?

We pressed on, lifting the fog on war on those cowardly cybernetic constructs known as the Tau. As soon as we had sights on them, several assault terminators were dropped in to give them some melee love.

Meanwhile, my squads of Space Marines were decimated and replenishing troops and weapons seemed even slower now in the heat of battle. Suddenly there were more laser blasts, there were more of these jokers coming in from the edge of the screen!

Too many of forces are overwhelmed, and even the introduction of several Dreadnoughts merely served as target practice for the long-ranged Tau. Cowards! Come on down where I can at least see and reach you with my bolt guns!


Warhammer 40,000: Dark Crusade is pretty fun to play but not until I met the Tau. A friend of mine practically is in love with that faction, but as soon as he started playing as the Space Marines, he ran into more that just a small problem. The Tau thwarted/blunted/decimated his attempt at conquering Kronus for the second time.

In summary, they broke him. So much for calling them the cool Robotech faction... I call them the cheater-bots.

But in case you guys are raring for more Warhammer 40k action (I know I'll complete DC one of these days), bring on the Soulstorm standalone expansion set coming in 2008! Among the details that you'll want to know are "two new factions" (yay!) and an INTERPLANETRY CAMPAIGN spanning an entire STAR SYSTEM!

Woohoo! For the greater good indeed! Read it here.

Metal Gear-ed Figurines

Cannot afford to pay for Medicom's Real Action Heroes Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Raiden and Solid Snake figurines? At around USD 180 each, the price is indeed out of this world, save for dedicated figurine collectors or rabbid fanboys of the franchise.

So, how about getting the smaller but no less detailed Medicom Metal Gear Solid 20th Anniversary Edition Ultra Detail Figures instead?

In any case, both sets of figurines are available for pre-order at Play-Asia, along with those Metal Gear Solid Kubricks.

Digged and Glinked :)

If you get Digg, you'd probably get Glinkster as well :). I've added both to my blog template but since Glinkster is the fledging newcomer, do lend your support at Better still, "glink" my posts by just clicking on the Glink button at the bottom of each post!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Arigato, Sumimasen... Japanese Nintendo DS Games

Looking through my Nintendo DS games library (which currently stands at 29 titles) for some writting material for the upcoming 1 year anniversary of my blog, I realised that I have 9 Japanese titles, seven of them for the Nintendo DS and two for the GameBoy Advance.

Jon's comment on my previous post did highlight an issue whereby while Japanese games tend to be really great, the language barrier makes their target audience a rather limited one. Short of taking Japanese classes, there is pratically no way that I could enjoy Mother 3 the same way a Japanese speaking/reading player can.

What can you do to make your Japanese gaming experience a better one? Well, start by choosing games that do not require much reading or better still, games that rely on symbols and non-Japanese characters to interact with players. In other words: "Import friendly"

Action games such as Jump Ultimate Stars and sports games such as Winning Eleven DS do not require much reading from players, and games such as Electroplankton are almost totally language barrier free. Should you need to know how "import friendly" a Japanese title is, head over to Gamebrink for English reviews of Japanese DS titles and look out for the "Import Friendly?" section in each review.

More information about a game wouldn't heard (afterall, knowledge is power), so don't forget to scour forums and review sites.

The second step would be to get a good guide. Guides are usually created by players to assist other players in navigating or going through the motions of playing, in this case, a Japanese language game. One site that I always go to for guides would be GameFaqs. The search option is pretty good, and you'll just need to key in the title of the game, and you should be good to go.

The last point that I'm about to mention, is rather moot and it can be epitomized in one word: "WAIT". While it is almost impossible to see an English version of Jump Ultimate Stars (due to licensing issues), some games have successfuly survived the conversion to English with some not without drastic changes (e.g. Elite Beat Agents, the English version of Ouendan).

Even so, not all Japanese games are translated to English, hence the moot point. I for one, would prefer the Japanese version of some games over their English counterparts due to the fact that they have better and more interesting box art (yes, looks do play a part in the whole purchasing process).

It's interesting to note that some Japanese games such as the Gyakuten Saiban (Phoenix Wright) series of games and Theme Park DS come with dual-language options of English and Japanese, but these are more of an exception than norm.

Back to my own collection of Japanese games, the games that I've enjoyed the most are Winning Eleven DS and Warioware: Made in Wario. Football is a universal game, you don't need a user manual/translation guide to play a footie game...that's what I always say and Warioware's mini-games are in two words a "no brainer".

Finally, You Get Worms...Online

I had a taste of Worms: Open Warfare 2's Nintendo WFC multiplayer action earlier tonight, and it was a blast! The number of gameplay options and online leaderboards certainly make the game a must have. I absolutely do not have regrets purchasing this game from Play-Asia, but I can't say the same for Mother 3 (this is best left for another day).

Gameplay over the Internet is smooth, with hardly any lag and the quality of players online is really good. I probably would do myself a favour by practising more in the single player modes.

It is best to choose a intermediate weapons payload in a multiplayer game as some of the weapons available in the full mode can be potential game-breakers, especially the Donkey. It's fun stamping on opposing worms but once it becomes the weapon of choice between two combatants, it's definately a kill-joy.

Anyone looking for a Friend Code match? Do add my friend code to your Friends list in Worms Open Warfare 2. Looking forward to some warm worm war action online :P.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Games Come A Hauling

Is this going to set the tone for tonight? Two out of four the games that I received today have rather interesting FMVs.

Worms: Open Warfare 2 (USD 34.90 @ Play-Asia) for the Nintendo DS basically redeemed the sins of its predecessor, the one which I spent ... I don't know...RM 50+ for a miserable second-hand incarnation of the very first PC based Worms game on the Nintendo DS.

Whatever you have hoped for in terms of graphics, gameplay and weaponry, Worms: Open Warfare 2 has it... and then some.

I haven't got a chance to have some multiplayer action, but Worms 2 has the coveted Nintendo WFC multiplayer mode, which should be a blast. I'll write more about Worms 2 as I get some more play-time out of it.

The following came into mind as I first glanced at the cover of the second game: "Ultraman, Godzilla". It's interesting to see how Japanese culture permeates into the sub-concious mind, and it's probably the arrangement of the blocks, and the font set on the cover of Meteos (USD 19.90 - Jap version @ Play-Asia) that reminded me of the two old school live-action Japanese series.

Other than its interesting FMV (and cover), Meteos looks like a strange beast of a game. Perhaps beast was too harsh an adjective, how about a "cute quirky looking animal of sorts"? It looks like Planet Puzzle League and plays a little like it as well, but Meteos is the older game, having got 2 years on PPL.

Having said that, I think I'll stop buying puzzle games for the Nintendo DS, I've got too many of them in my inventory.

More on the rest of my haul today, tomorrow :)

Chattering Ads

I removed the forsaken Cbox on the navigation pane on my blog, cause it was serving pop-up ads to anyone viewing this blog on Internet Explorer.

Switching to ShoutMix, on Cincauhangus' recommendation. Stay away from Cbox, people!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Time to Finish the Fight

It's just one more day to Halo 3's release, and Xbox 360 owners would be raring to "Cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of war". But if you're an owner of the much maligned (3ROD) but still popular console and have not pre-ordered the game, that wouldn't do at all.

Play-Asia is selling the game for USD 49.90 and if you were to order it along with the Fedex/UPS shipping option, you should be able to have it a day or two (or three) after launch. There's also the USD 59.90 Limited Edition which includes amongst other things a steel case, a hardcover guide to the game's species, civilizations and cultures, etc etc.

But if you are in no hurry, there's always the free shipping option and you should be able to receive your game in a week or two. Either way you can put the Play-Asia discount coupons to good use and still have several of them. Fanboys should also look into owning one of these Master Chief ArtFX figurines.

Did I mention that there are also guidebooks, Xbox 360 controllers, headsets...all of them Halo 3-themed. Click here to view an entire list of Halo 3 products on Play-Asia.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mario Made Me Do It...Speeding That Is...Eating is under my own compulsion

If a traffic policeman were to cite me for speeding down the coastal highway from Sitiawan to Klang, I would lay the blame on Mario Kart DS. I had a little too much of that game during my holiday back in Sitiawan but at least it is now almost at the same level before the save file got corrupted (oh the tragedy of it all....cheh)

Besides loitering around in the old house, I took my paternal grandfather for an eating tour of Sitiawan and Teluk Intan... and probably freaked him out in the process with my capacity for food. In anycase, here's a general guide to what to take note of:
  • For breakfast, there's Aunty Jenny's noodles in Manjung. This friendly middle-aged lady serves her own version of mee kicap from her stall in the compound of her single-storey home.

  • For lunch, you can try out the restaurants at the Kampung Cina stretch of road, although they are now look like decrepit versions of their former selves..the food is still OK and cheap. Six dishes for Rm 75...try having that in KL.

  • A couple of months ago, I was introduced to Restaurant Mei Hock located at Jalan Simpang Dua, which is off the shortcut to Ayer Tawar. Not a bad place for dinner, or lunch for that matter as the business hours are: 11.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m to 11.00 p.m. What to order? Balitong...hehe.

  • Don't fancy seafood restaurants that much? Try the hawker centres. Blue and Yellow is one of the newer ones located in the same stretch as The Store..and is pretty hard to miss. What to order? The satay kambing is to die for ( each stick comes with some fat), the grilled stingray is very fresh and cheap, and the grilled chicken wings (which are staple in any hawker centre you visit in Sitiawan)

    Other than that, you can try out the hawker centre located pass the KFC in the town center. If you are coming from Lumut/Manjung, just go straight pass the KFC at the cross junction, and then turn left on the first turning you meet. If you coming from Kampung Koh, turn right at the cross junction, and then turn left on the first turning you meet.

    You should be able to see the famous Char Koay Teow guy who still uses charcoal to cook, on the left hand side of the road. The lady nearby serves nice porridge and the other lady in the adjoining hawker center serves up Hong Kong style Chee Cheong Fun!

    But here's a word to those who are squirmish bout dirty eateries. Yes..this particular place isn't really hygenic, and the hawkers don't seem to have changed anything for the past 15+ caveat emptor?

  • Teluk Intan... hmm... there's Glutton Square with lots of hawker stalls, and pretty good laksa. I'm not a fan of laksa..but my mum seems to think it's the best in TI. There's also the popular rojak stall nearby Convent and St Anthony.

    Don't forget to try out the steamed fresh water prawns and the Hakka noodles at the Lau Fong (locals call it Liu Fang) Restaurant near the old cinema. Just look out for the restaurant with the blue shutters and blue western bar-styled doors right next to a Sports Toto outlet.

    For western dining, there's Al-Fresco at Jalan Changkat Jong...stuff that you find at fine-dining establishments in KL are available at low TI prices and there are no compromises on food quality here. If you are clamouring for more seafood, Tai Chong (next door to Al-Fresco) should satisfy your craving...if it's not fully booked for a wedding dinner.

    And what's a visit to Teluk Intan without having some of those Heong Peah, biscuits with sticky centres...the Tiger brand is pretty popular here, and it's not that difficult to find the confectionary.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

His Name is Dino..and he's a Dooodoll..

Sing the title to Barry Manilow's Copacabana. The Skinwalker movie screening that I attended earlier courtesy of getting being one of the top 5 contest winners of the AllMalaysian Blogger Project contest, was pretty ok. I even saw Peter Tan hanging around the place where they were giving out tickets.

The movie won't be included any time soon in the list of greatest horror movies ever since it had the i-was-made-cheap vibe, but it was OK entertainment.

Movie aside (it's best to buy the DVD...better, I got my Dooodoll Henchmen. And yeah, his name is Dino.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dodol? No...Dooodolls!

I won something from the AllMalaysian Bloggers Project: movie tickets and a limited edition Dooodolls Henchmen designer plush toy. The screening time did messed up my holiday though. I'm supposed to leave for Lumut today... now I've to stay back to watch the movie/grab my prize tonight and then hop on a bus tomorrow morning all the way to Sitiawan.

The movie might suck, so say some reviews on the 'Net but boys and girls, I entered the competition to get a Dooodolls plush toy....and it looks like I've succeeded. A word of thanks (in advance) to the nice folk at AllMalaysia for organising this contest.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Did Someone Turn Off a Nuffnang? - Updated

I like receiving those Nuffnang e-mails with the subject line "Incoming Advertisement on your blog!". They came frequently when things just started, but of late, they kind of dried a trickle.

All I have now is a little blue guy on my navigation bar stating "I serve Nuffnang ads". *_*" But at least it looks better than some of the weird CPC ads that Nuffnang had in place when there were no ad campaigns going on.

Curious, I decided to find out what ad campaigns some popular Nuffnang affiliated Malaysian (and Singaporean) blogs are serving. First up, Kenny Sia's. This guy has a double combo of Hitz.FM and Chipster. Nice.

A visit to ShaolinTiger's site revealed that there were no Nuffnang ad campaigns running and there's that familiar little blue guy stating that he "serves Nuffnang ads". I'm starting to think whether the little blue fella deserves the title of "Sponsor". seems to have better luck, with a Chipster campaign running. Kyspeaks' blog roll reads like a who's who of Malaysian blog-o-sphere (sans the political ones), so it was a click fest from there onwards, just to see who else was running Nuffnang ad campaigns.

There seems to be no escape from the lil blue guy and I got bored of listing sites. Want to play a game of guess the blogs? Click for a bigger picture.

Should I offer up my first Nuffnang pay-cheque to the first person (Malaysian of course) to guess all blogs in the picture above correctly (and in the correct sequence)? They say I've RM...wait a minute...RM 50.00 more before I get paid? Hey! I have earned RM 41.23 already laaa....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Confessions of a Scrabble Hustler

For three years Scrabble used to feature prominently in my extended family's Chinese New Year gatherings, alongside mainstays such as Rummy and Mahjong. And being Chinese, we even found a way to gamble with Scrabble (losers pay up to a Ringgit for every point advantage the winner has over them).

I have a 100% win record for the 3 years and brought to the board a 300 point average per game (something like that). It wasn't until this year that my relatives wised up and switch to another board game which featured luck more than anything else, Monopoly.

We kept things clean this time, playing with real money would have disastrous consequences... I have better ways of spending my ang pau (red packet) money.

In anycase, I miss playing Scrabble. None of my friends play the game and I lacked a sparring partner. That was until I found Scrabble 2007 New Edition for the Nintendo DS. This recently released in Europe game, provides quite a challenge for any Scrabble player out there.

I find myself scrapping through the National level tournament, but the A.I is not unwinnable. I'm currently looking for this game in stores, as it is not available at the usually reliable Play-Asia. Anyone?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Halo 3 - Master Chief ArtFX

Hardcore Halo fans, here's your chance to blow a huge wad of cash. Kotobukiya's Halo 3 - Master Chief ArtFX non-scale prepainted statue is out now on the market.

It is currently available at Play-Asia for USD 99.90 each. Click here for purchase details. Pictures courtesy of Play-Asia.

I'm just looking out for them Halo Be@rbricks and a copy of Halo 2 for the PC.... anyone?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Colin McRae is Dead. RIP

Half Mast today. My all-time favourite rally driver Colin McRae passed away today in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his son Johnny, and two others.

Rally is one of the more popular motorsports with the people in my household, even more so than F1 and Colin might have played a part in that. The phrase "Why are you driving like a Rothmans rally car driver?" is often uttered when anyone of us (particularly me) start going crazy on the road, in reference to the Subaru rally car of old with the Rothmans livery on it.

Colin Mcrae will always be remembered as a rally legend. He was World Champion back in '95, and probably will live on in memory as one of the more exciting drivers in the WRC. Sebastian Loeb doesn't count... he doesn't trash his car as much as Colin does.

He will also be remembered for the string of video games bearing his name. Made by UK-based Codemasters, the Colin McRae titles have always been a favourite of mine. The latest game would be Colin McRae: DIRT, I haven't got the opportunity to try this out, due to the lack of a next-gen console.

R.I.P Colin, there'll be no other like you.

Epilogue: It's been a tough week for motorsports, especially for McLaren Mercedes supporters with the DQ from the F1 Constructors Championship, and now this.

SQL Express (Jolly Good Surprises)

If you are working with SQL Express 2005 and you encounter shit like this: "Could not attach file 'c:\blablabla\databasename.mdf' as database 'databasename'. CREATE DATABASE permission denied in database 'master'", you would be doing yourself a favour by installing Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express because granting permissions using queiries is just so passe.

Anyways, the solution to that problem was to add the ASPNET account, or the Network Service account to the master db in SQL Express.

Moving on now to another error message: "Failed to update database "databasename" because the database is read-only." Be sure to give full access to the ASPNET account or Network Service account for the APP_DATA folder, and you should be on your way.

Yeah... I'm working on something with SQL Express.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Revoltech Number 34: VF-1J

What a coincidence, it is Mech Week over here on Nine Over Ten and Kaiyodo has just released a new Revoltech figurine which will surely capture the eye of any self-respecting mecha/Robotech/Macross fan. I give you the Revoltech VF-1J (Veritech Fighter/Variable Fighter) in Battroid (Battloid) form.

Number 34 in the Revoltech series, the VF-1J is abit different from the other Revoltech figurines that I have, namely Megatron and Optimus Prime. It's less bulky but not as fragile/soft (read lame) as the Revoltech Eva-02 (Number 27). It makes quite a decent poser, with the trademark articulation of the series.

The inclusion of the fast pack and other extras like leg armour and munitions may be a nice touch to some, but I don't like them. I'm more of a Robotech fan... I prefer my Veritech fighter to have its plain jane look. I've got only one picture now, but stay tuned for another showcase round in the near future.

On purchase details, this is available at all XL-Shop outlets. If you don't see one on the shelf, do ask the sales assistant, they probably have a box full of this stuff lying around...somewhere.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Harry? Creepy?

I find this new release from Neca, the Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix Figure Set: 3 Kids with Pets.. rather odd or more appropriately, waxwork (House of Wax anyone?) mannequin kind of creepy.

Here are some pictures from Play-Asia:

Yup, these bunch of creepy kids come in a set, suitable for any Halloween fiend, or Harry Potter fan :P.

Click here for purchase details.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mech, Interrupted

My intention at first was to install Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries onto the PC, but then the demo for Enemy Territory: Quake Wars came along, and one thing led to another; the result being my PC getting pwned.

Here's abit of a primer on the rig I'm using. It's a Athlon XP 64 3000+ (laugh all you want), a gigabyte of RAM and a ATI 1600 PRO video card with 256 MB of video RAM. And the way it ran Quake Wars was a downright embarassment. This is the same machine that I've played through Quake 4 TWICE.

My first impression of Quake Wars was that it was very pretty. But the prettiness came with a downside of being unable to move due to very bad lag when I ran it on Windows XP. Feeling a bit slighted, I decided to do the crazy thing by installing the demo with Windows Vista.

With a bit of tweaking, the game ran... and I was able to play albeit with some lag and it got worse as the game went on. I think I had around 15 minutes of game time before ending the game and trying to exit to Windows (trying as in the game left me with a black screen to no where right after the credits).

Looks like it's time to upgrade the old rig, it's way pass its expiry date anyways; before this my PCs tend not to last more than a year. I wonder what are my options...

Mother 3 For Cheap

Fans of the Earthbound/Mother series of games can now rejoice as Play-Asia is selling the latest installment, Mother 3 at a discounted price of USD 14.90. This GBA game is probably one of the few games that has an average rating of 5 stars from a whopping 33 reviews on Play-Asia.

This is a time limited offer. Click here for purchase details. Mother 1+2 is also available over here.

Aren't We Supposed To Talk About Mechs? Hey!

We interrupt Mech Week for an important sales announcement. Those of you who are still looking out for Mario Kart figurines and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess figurines can do so at Play-Asia.

The Mario Kart DS Racing Collection EX by Yujin looks to be a re-release of the Nintendo Mario Kart DS Racing Collection Series 1 and 2 figurines, minus the duplicates. This re-release consists of Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Wario, Bowser, Donkey Kong and Princess Peach. Purchase details can be found here.

I've two full sets, one each for Series 1 and 2. Here are some pictures of them:

Play-Asia also has in-stock the Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Figure Collection Gashapon. I've a full set of this, here's a picture of Link, in wolf form:

Interested? Purchase details are available here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No Money For A Nintendo DS Lite? No Prob..Just Add Water

Now, if you cannot afford to purchase a Nintendo DS Lite, here's a much cheaper alternative that you can afford.

Caveat emptor, the amount of fun you get out of this is much (or lesser than) as the meager amount of money you pay for this thing. Say hi to the Water Game DS Lite Candy Toy. Only USD 4.90 :P

For purchase details, click here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Of Mechs, Mecha and Werewolves a.k.a The "Gimme a Prize" post

I was watching the Night of the Living Dead earlier on Cinemax and it made me realised that horror is pretty much a staple in both cinema and video games. You have games about vampires (Vampire: The Masquerade), ghouls (Clive Barkers's Undying), zombies (Resident Evil franchise), crazed computers (System Shock) and not to be left out, skinwalkers (a.k.a. werewolves) (does Twilight Princess count?...just kidding)

But since it's Mech Week, we are not gonna talk about horror here. I know, howl as much as you want at this blogger, but your horror fix will have to wait till Halloween.

I don't suppose you guys know from whence came the insipiration for Mechs in videogames, or sci-fi in general? I don't either. On one hand, you have Japanese-inspired mecha, like that of Gundam and Macross. These tend to be more humanoid in nature, despite being named "mecha", which denotes their mechanical status.

On the other hand, Mechs are more utalitarian and "tool"-ish in their western rendition. Unlike Japanese mecha, animation is not a domain of theirs and they are most often found in books (sci-fi), video games, board games and movies! Go to the sci-fi section of any English bookstore and you'll find that Mechs are quite difficult to miss.

One incarnation that has set itself in western popular culture would be the BattleMechs from the BattleTech universe. The popular franchise does span the above mentioned media (movies, books, games, etc). I don't think I've an answer for the question I asked earlier, but if you do, pray tell. :)

Still want a horror fix? Easy. Drop by a Cathay cineplex near you for a horror movie marathon.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Do The Chicken Walk

J: I got Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries!
G: ? You got the RM 25 one?
J: Yeah!
G: I have that too!
J: Game needs a frigging numpad! I don't have one!
G: Huh, you mean you are playing it with your laptop?
J: Ya....

OK folks. Welcome to Mech Week. What's a Mech you ask? A Mech is one of those lumbering metal contraptions with two legs that you read about in BattleTech novels; some of you might even fancy yourself as a MechWarrior (someone who pilots Mech, for those who don't understand Mech talk), having played Mech simulators such as Mechwarrior, Mechwarrior 2, Mechwarrior 3... you get the whole Mech-ing idea.

What do Mechs have to do with this blog? To put it simply, I love BattleTech and it's my blog anyway and I'll decide what week it is over here. Lol.

In anycase, I won't be featuring Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries, because as you can see, my machine lacks a num pad to play the game with. But if someone would be kind enough to loan me a joystick, I'll be a happy camper.

The game that I'll be talking about, is Mechcommander. In a nutshell, Mechcommander is probably one of the toughest games I've ever played. Combining Mechs from the BattleTech universe with an RTS feel from games such as Command and Conquer minus the elements of Gathering (maybe not, read on) and Building, Mechcommander was unique.

Before each mission, you select a number of mechs for the mission and you are limited by your total drop weight. This is interesting as it would mean deciding whether to leave the radar-jamming Raven at home for some extra firepower from a Catapult. Mechs are also customiseable, and with weapons obtained during missions (see below), interesting weapons payloads are possible for each Mech.

Mission objectives vary, ranging from destroying enemy mechs (which are salvageable provided they don't explode), protecting bases, capturing bases, etc. Standard RTS fare..with Mechs. Some maps are littered with supply depots and containers which you can capture and in return get additional weapons and sensor which can be outfitted to your Mechs in the pre-mission screens.

Terrain plays an important role in the game. Mechs firing from higher terrain have an advantage and standing on higher terrain opens up more of the fog of war (which doesn't come back once opened up).

Did I mention that the game was difficult? One of the early missions pitted your motly gang of light Mechs against, of all thing, a Mad Cat (Timber Wolf for Clan purists). The best way out of that mess was to blow up/soften up the Mad Cat with air strikes before moving in for the kill. It was imperative that the Mad Cat should be left in a salvageable state; the Mech comes in really handy in subsequent missions.

So am I playing Mechcommander now? Not really. I'm playing its expansion, Mechcommander: Desperate Measures. It's a walk in the park compared to the original Mechcommander, but I'm still having a blast playing it.

Since this is Mech week, what's your favourite Mech game?

Mizuno Wave Run 2007 - Thoughts

Yesterday while at the Mizuno Wave Run 2007, some things crossed my mind while running:

  • I asked myself whether I was in the right run, as all the other participants seem to be very good runners. Only a handful slowed down and walk at any point during the first half of the run. Pacesetter shirts EVERYWHERE.
  • The first half of the race was easy though.
  • Did they just give us 100 Plus Power at the water station? If so... it tasted really really good.
  • Green Apple flavoured PowerBar Gel is actually quite nice.
  • The guy starting next to me was wearing a pair of Adidas Uruhas, the ones I used to wear.
  • Red shoes definately get attention when running
  • Running in lycra does looking uncomfortable.
  • Not that many ang-mohs running this race.
  • Bukit Tunku is not freehold land (heard from a friend), wonder what will happen to all these nice houses when the leases expire?
  • Tugu Negara is a very creepy place to drive pass early in the morning, a little less so when we were running pass it. And it's not even a mausoleum.
Post Race:
  • My colleagues really should learn how to socialize a little. Don't la act so blur sotong if a stranger talks to you.
  • Runners are friendly and are quite chatty. It's nice talking about the race.
  • I don't like Gatorade, and they were serving more of that nice drink I had during the run, at the other tent.
  • The Milo guy should get an assistant.
  • People should really check their goodie bags before throwing them away, they contain your finisher medal! Seen a girl rummaging a garbage bin (or box..hehe) for her goodie bag.
  • Veteran runners give good advice and live interesting lives. One is running his next race in Thailand! He added: "You can run anywhere, anytime.. all you need is a good pair of running shoes". Yup!
  • More toilets (port-a-loos) please!
I had a blast, and a time of 1 hour 8 minutes 49 seconds with a 767 placing. For more of my experience during the run, head to my previous post here.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Mizuno Wave Run 2007 - Race Day Report - 1 hour 8 minutes 49 seconds

I can't begin to describe the course that we ran on for today's Mizuno Wave Run 2007. It was so... hilly.

We started of at Padang Merbuk and the first half of the race was pretty easy, having ran that part twice (both clock wise and anti-clockwise) earlier this year. Instead of bringing us to the highway for the 2nd half of the run, the organizers made us run through more of Bukit Tunku, with a spirit-breaking length of a slope as a preview of things to come.

On the way during the first half of the run, I saw a lady took a tumble in front of me. I was just too suprised to stop and help her up. So so sorry. And just before the Istana (Jalan Sultan Salehuddin...something like that), there was a guy already lying on the ground, I think he passed out or something. Some of the runners were looking out for him and apparently by the time my friend ran pass the same area, the guy was already in an ambulance.

What an eventful race.

The run brought us pass the National Monument (Tugu Negara), it was a hill climb all the up before a rather fast down hill back towards Padang Merbok. It was a pretty cool sight looking at the finishing line from the road crest I was running on and despite my rather complain-y tone early on (hey...the race was made up of hill climbs!), I finished with a placing of 767! I don't know how many participants took part in the rub but that sounds like a nice number.

My time: 1 hour 8 minutes and 49 seconds (on my watch). And this was a harder run compared to that Siemens Run which I completed in 1 hour 15 minutes. Improvement? Yes. Room for further improvement? Most definately.

I chatted with some of those veteran category runners, mostly when I was waiting in line for drinks and while walking back to the parking lot. All of them uncles said the same thing, "run more, young man!" (or variations of that). That's a sure thing :).

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Mizuno Wave Run 2007 - Pre Race And Other Shenanigans

Thanks to a friend of mine, I managed to get in a late entry for the Mizuno Wave Run 2007 and practically got my t-shirt and number a week early! But due to his forgetfulness, I only got the items from him yesterday. But at least I don't need to spend my Saturday morning making my way to the Padang to collect my stuff.

The t-shirt is abit heavy, despite how light it looks. I will stick to my Adidas t-shirt, like I always have. And I don't know why my running numbers have an affinity for the number 4 in my recent runs. Lucky number eh?

So see you guys Sunday morning at Padang Merbuk. I'll need to stock up on my PowerBar Gel. I'm pratically addicted to that Tangerine flavoured, 2X caffeine stuff.

And hopefully it doesn't rain tomorrow, otherwise it would be muddy shenanigans not unlike the Malay Mail Big Walk. And speaking of shenanigans, these two are totally up to no good:

Friday, September 07, 2007

Classic Picross Puzzle Packs on Picross DS

After a brief wait, Classic Picross puzzles are now available for download for Picross DS owners (US version).

Currently available are two Mario Picross Puzzle Packs and it's a simple matter of using Picross DS' WFC connectivity to download them. Download takes a couple of seconds each (fast!) and it certainly adds more value to an already value for money game.

Once you've downloaded the Packs, accessing them is simple, head over to the My Picross section of the game and select the Classic option. Tip: Just in case you didn't notice, use the shoulder buttons to scroll between the Packs.

To purchase Picross DS, click here.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Mappy..Not Ratatouille..Pegged!

If you had played games on the Micro Genius or any other Nintendo Famicom clones, chances are you have played Namco's Cat and Mouse game.. Mappy.

In that game, you control the main character, a police mouse who goes about retrieving stolen goods from a house filled with burglar cats. This was one of my favourite games back when I was a kid. I didn't own a Micro Genius, but I played everytime I got the opportunity at my cousin's place.

This game has now been immortalised in .S (DOTS) puzzle form and feeling abit nostalgic, I bought one box from Play-Asia (my purchase details and how I spent a USD 10 voucher here). Let's have the pictures do the talking.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that this .S puzzle came with two pegboards, and enough pegs to make two separate characters/items at the same time! Very good value for money, since this was selling for less than a single peg board .S puzzle (e.g. Bomberman).

We are talking lots and lots of pegs here, 520 pegs and two peg boards, Nintendo DS not included! This thing is sold out on Play-Asia, and there's no one selling this on Ebay. So... tough luck?

This is how it looks likes, once you are done pushing pegs into the peg board. I still have lots of leftover pegs from this set and my previous Bomberman and Zelda sets.. All I need is a spare peg board to make somemore 8-bit characters.

Meet the whole gang: Bomberman, Zelda, and the Mappy fellas.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Xbox 360 in Malaysia - Only in Selected Courts Mammoth Outlets

I grabbed a screen shot of Courts Mammoth's latest Raya catalogue and there's the Xbox 360 featured inside, sans price tag! Remember folks... only at selected outlets.

The PDF version of the catalogue is available here.

Xbox 360, Now at a Courts Mammoth (Malaysia) Store Near You?

So is the Xbox 360 finally coming to Malaysia "officially"? Judging by the posts in the forum (here) and this blog, this might be the big break some, if not most Malaysian Xbox 360 would-be-owners are waiting for.

Here are some details:

"If you guys really want to get the X360. Go and buy it from Courts Mammoth. They give 3 yrs warranty as they take all the stocks directly from Singapore. If anytime the 3ROD hit you guys, just send it back to them without paying any shipping charges that normally other game shops ask.

No other game shops in Malaysia can give 3 yrs warranty except Courts Mammoth. Furthermore can pay installment. I can confirm this as one of their employee who bought one told me about this when he came to my hse to mod his X360.

FYI : Price for X360 selling at Courts Mammoth, Premium Pack = RM1400 and Holiday Pack = RM1700." (Original forum thread here.)

But of course, like all things Malaysia, there's a catch..or two. A picture* from this blog shows that at least one of the units is a refurbished unit. But hey, if you were to buy it and it does goes down to the dreaded 3ROD and the warranty mentioned above applies, you are pretty much safe, I guess. *Picture credits solely go to pay4lei.

The guys at Gamers Hideout are probably doing a good job in providing Xbox 360 sales and service/warranty claims, my initial impressions of them non-withstanding. But you'll have to pay them some money in order for them to be able to claim warranty for your Xbox 360 with Microsoft Singapore.

The Courts Mammoth offer, if it does check out, looks to be a very tempting one. Is this the "official" Microsoft foothold that everyone has been waiting for? I never thought any Microsoft foothold will be this welcomed. :)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

How to get cheaper Xbox Live Gold Cards? Halo 3 Themed to Boot!

If you own an Xbox 360, chances are you have an Xbox Live account whether be it a Silver or Gold account.

Silver account holders can "download content, including dashboard themes, gamers pictures, game trailers/demonstrations, movies, game content such as new maps, weapons, levels, characters, challenges, expansions, arcade games and demos; connect with friends/players via voice chat, video chat, instant messenger and text message". (source: wikipedia)

All is nice and dandy but the real meat is in the Gold Account. A Gold Account "adds the ability (on top of the Silver ones) to play online with or against other Gold subscribers". (source: wikipedia)

Now, a Gold account isn't free, you'll need to pay for it. Hardcore gamers would go for the 12-month Gold Cards; Amazon sells these at a discounted price of USD 47.99 each. However, for those of you in Asia, free shipping is not an option for you, should you purchase them from

So what is an Asian Xbox 360 owner to do? Play-Asia sells these cards at USD 49.90 each and unlike, they come with free shipping and have a HALO 3 theme to them, click here for further details. With a little bit of ingenuity, it's possible to get them at an even lower price.

Say what? You read that right. All you need is a valid Play-Asia coupon (USD 5 off for any purchase above USD 50) and a small item from Play-Asia's vast catalogue of stuff to bump the price of your shopping cart to slightly over USD 50. Some examples include small figurines or junk food like this pack of Magic POP Strawberry Crackling Candy (USD 0.49).

Using that pack of candy as an example, lets do some math:

Xbox Live 12-Month Gold Card (Halo 3) USD 49.90
+ Magic POP Strawbery Candy USD 0.49 = USD 50.39
- USD 5 Discount Voucher USD 5.00 = USD 45.39

You'll just need to pay a total amount of USD 45.39 with free shipping to boot! I've used this method several times to purchase figurines and games from Play-Asia as well. As for Vouchers, kindly leave a message in the comments section and I'll provide you with one Voucher code (I've 5 of them).

Click here to head over to

Sunday, September 02, 2007

How to Play Videos and MP3s on the Nintendo DS: A Guide to MoonShell

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

MoonShell is a homebrew app used to play MP3 and video files on the Nintendo DS and is a much cheaper option compared to Nintendo's Play-Yan. But of course, you'll need a flash cart, and a handy guide like the one you are reading now. :)

Getting MoonShell to run on your Flash Cart (such as the M3 or the R4DS) is pretty easy. First, you'll need to download the latest version of Moonshell, which also comes with encoding tools for your video files (more on this later). The file can be found at

The Setup file will generate the Moonshell ROM file and its supporting subfolder and depending on where you instructed it to generate to, you might need to copy the ROM file and its supporting subfolder to your Flash Cart's memory card.

Part 1: Installing MoonShell

Here's a 5-step approach to using Moonshell's Setup screen.
  1. First, select the Setup Target Drive. To keep things simple, select the C: Fixed-HDD option, like the one shown in the screenshot below.

  2. Next, select the ROM image. This selection is based on the Flash Cart that you are using. Since I'm using an R4DS, I select the "R4TF R4(DS) - Revolution for DS".

    As for the rest of the options, just follow whatever I've selected here. Click on the Setup button to generate the ROM image and its accompanying support folder.

  3. To copy over the ROM image and the support folder, head over to your C:\ drive (that was the destination drive I set earlier in Step 1). Copy the file and the folder (boxed in Red in the screenshot below) to your memory card.

  4. Once you have copied over the file and folder to your Memory Card, it should look something like the following screenshot.

  5. To take advantage of R4's main menu, which will load Moonshell by clicking on the middle icon, you'll need to rename the MoonShell_R4TF_M3Simply-R4DS(MicroSD Card).nds to _DS_MSHL.nds. Once this is done, you are all set to go.

Now, using MoonShell to play MP3s is pretty straightfoward. As you can see in some of the screen shots above, I've some MP3s in my flash cart (an R4DS). MoonShell will detect the files and then you can get it to play the files. There's really nothing to it.

In the case of video however, you'll need to convert the video first before you can view it using MoonShell on the Nintendo DS. As mentioned earlier, MoonShell comes with a set of tools used to convert your videos to better suite the limitations of the Nintendo DS.

Case in point, a Beast Wars episode (222 mb) was reduced to a 90+ mb package after using the conversion tool.

Part 2: Converting Video for use with MoonShell
  1. The conversion tool is included with the MoonShell package that you've downloaded from Run the dpgenc.exe file.

  2. Be sure to set the language option to English, otherwise you'll be stuck with rubbish fonts or Japanese.

  3. From here onwards, it's all about the on-screen instructions. Pick a location where you want your converted video file to be stored at, and drag and drop a video file into the box to have the program convert it for you. Easy as pie.

  4. Copy the converted video file into your Flash Cart's Memory Card. Do note that the converted video file has a .dpg file extension.
You can now play the video file in the same manner that you play MP3 files with MoonShell. But don't forget to first stick the Memory Card back into your flash cart after all that copying. Hehe.

For my other R4 related articles: