Friday, February 29, 2008

Play-Asia's Sale: Last Day!!

For the latest highlights on bargains and discounts for video games, head over to the brand new

Play-Asia's Year of The Rat Lucky Sale is approaching its last day (today: 29th February 2008) and if there are any items that you need to purchase (be it video games, consoles, accessories, movies, toys, collectibles), it would be wise to do so now, by 11.59 p.m. (+8 GMT)

Anyways, I had a pretty hard time choosing what to buy due to budget constraints. After deliberating for 30 minutes, I bought Slide Adventure: Mag Kid and Space Invaders Extreme. Part of the budget was allocated to the delivery method in which I chose Fedex.

I wouldn't say I got a good bargain, since Space Invaders Extreme is brand new and not a bargain bin item, but that one is strictly a "collectors-only" purchase.

Happy last minute shopping, and do drop a note on what you have purchased. Hehe.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ultimate Paradox: Pirate Piggy Banks From One Piece

I was walking the dog this morning when I was passed by several buses and vans performing the important task of ferrying children from their homes to their respective schools. As a kid, I couldn't ask for a better wake up call than the school bus.

Enter a sleepy head, exit a fully awake/aware/and probably asthmatic kid due to the carbon monoxide smoke in the cabin, the bumps encountered along the way and the fact that you have to stand like sardines in a can.

Now, what do kids nowadays and kids of yesteryear love? In a word, manga. More often than not, I would find myself sharing reading space at the comics/manga section of Borders with both adults and younger readers as well. And I bet they like One Piece.

It's been awhile since I blogged about figurines, simply because I no longer buy them. They are a hassle to clean once they are out of the box, and some, particularly gashapon, can have saggy bits over time. But since the following are piggy banks, I figure it wouldn't do much harm (except to your wallets) to feature them, and yes, I want one:

Yup, it's the One Piece Pirate Piggy Bank Figure collection from Banpresto featuring Luffy and Chopper (two versions, i and ii). Click on the pictures or the links above for purchase details.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Are the Grass Courts Greener on the Nintendo DS?

Sega's Virtua Tennis 3, in my opinion, delivered one of the nicest gaming experience I'd ever had on the Sony PSP. Looking for the same sort of tennis experience on the Nintendo DS however, was a little difficult.

For starters, games that even feature tennis as part of their repertoire number in less than a handful. A couple of them, Prince of Tennis: Driving Smash! Side King and Side Genius are basically team management simulations. This leaves me with just the 2005 title Prince of Tennis: Crystal Drive.

I've always been a fan of the manga (haven't started with the anime yet) and like the manga, the game features a huge roster of players, with most of them waiting to be unlocked. The premise is really simple, win matches (duh!).

This is easier said than done as fans would attest that tennis is not what it seems in the manga, with characters having a whole lot of special moves. Some of these moves translate intact to the game, and players can pull them off under certain conditions (like filling up the bars and meters ala Street Fighter) with certain button combinations.

Each time this happens, the game will pause for a moment with a picture of the character appearing in full pose and yelling a catch phrase. This gets rather annoying as it interrupts the flow of a match, but it fortunately has an option to be disabled.

Graphics-wise, Crystal Drive is no Virtua Tennis 3, and has more in-common with GBA games, which is perfectly understandable as it was one of the earliest Nintendo DS titles. Audio-wise, it's pretty much expect of this sort of game, with characters quoting quotable quotes from the manga/anime.

While Virtua Tennis was a little intense and technical, Crystal Drive plays more of like a 2D brawler on a tennis court, which makes it rather fun. I'm currently waiting for this particular title to be available on my favourite online retailer, as it's back-ordered. Click here for purchase details.

Stay tuned for first looks on K-1 World GP for the Nintendo DS. It's not what you expect, and then some.

Real Collectible Card Games on the Nintendo DS, Card Readers Required

When I first read about The Eye of Judgment for the Playstation 3, I thought how nice would it be if WotC would release a Magic: The Gathering game for consoles, featuring the same concept.

The Eye of Judgment features a playing mat, cards with barcodes and the Playstation Eye camera. The camera works to capture card details and gestures from players. Players get to boost their collection of cards with what else, booster packs and like other collectible card games, each booster pack contains a certain number of rare, uncommon and common cards.

Recently Konami released something similar, a collectible-card based game for the Nintendo DS, complete with booster packs and in place of the Playstation Eye, a card reader. Sad to say, it's not Magic: The Gathering.

Titled Juushinden: Ultimate Beast Battlers, you basically get to battle against the AI, or another player with a deck of 40 REAL, not virtual cards (that's why there's a card reader). Think of it as a Yu-Gi-Oh DS game, with real cards. Such an interesting concept.

Now, if only it were in English. Or maybe I should just import it anyways. Juushinden is available at Play-Asia at a discounted price of USD 39.90, booster packs come in 3 volumes, and are priced at USD 1.99 each.

There are actually more collectible card based games on the Nintendo DS. More often than not, they are conversions from their arcade counterparts and thus arcade players can make use of their existing cards.

Oshare Majo Love and Berry (Fashionable Witches: Love and Berry)'s target audience is young girls and has the same mechanics as the arcade game. The supplied card reader reads cards produced from the arcade version of the game and these cards are used to dress up the players' avatars. This game is available also at a discounted price of USD 19.90 at Play-Asia.

On the other hand, Mushiking: Super Collection is an Nintendo DS conversion of an arcade based collectible card game that allows players to battle with beetles. These beetles are obtained from scanning the arcade version's cards.

The game itself comes with 7 cards and is played on a rock-paper-scissors format. The best thing about this game is that it is WFC enabled, allowing players to battle over the Internet. If you are interested, Mushiking is available at Play-Asia at USD 58.90.

Rick Astley In Doom.

I'm gonna tell you a secret, but please don't laugh (hehe). Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" is one of my all time guilty pleasures. And it's one of the nicer sing-a-longs when I'm stuck in a traffic jam.

Anyways, I found this Youtube vid via Kotaku, and I just had to put it up.

Imagine blasting aliens in Doom with a boombox featuring Rick Astley's song. Lol. Well imagine no more.

Play-Asia's Sale is Winding Down

There's just 3 days left to the Play-Asia Year of the Lucky Rat Sale. Check out the Bargains section for over 5000 bargains for video games, consoles, movies, and toys at low prices. I'm looking to snag myself a copy of Slide Adventure: Mag Kid and Sim City DS.

What about you? Don't forget that you stand to win fantastic prizes simply by purchasing those bargain items at Play-Asia. Read here for further details.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nintendo Domain Names For Sale

I've still got a bunch of domain names for sale on, namely

for a minimum offer of 150 US Dollars each. Feel free to e-mail me, or bid through

HD DVD Dead? Time For HD DVD Fire Sale at Amazon!

With the HD DVD initiative dead in the water following Toshiba's pull-out and Microsoft's decision to end production of the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive (which is akin to the hypothetical scenario whereby Sony replaces the Blu-ray drive in the PS3 with a plain-jane DVD drive), what are current HD DVD owners to do?

I know it sucks for you, but rather than mope over your beloved format going the way of the Betamax, do take advantage of Amazon's HD DVD sale, with a lot of titles (including the recent Transformers 2-disc Special Edition) going for less than half price.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fancy Poker on the Nintendo DS?

I picked up poker, more specifically Texas Hold 'Em, during the recently concluded Chinese New Year season. It's not surprising since gambling is a quintessential part of CNY and poker so far has netted yours truly the most money, compared to other forms of card games such as blackjack and rummy.

Anyways, like any other n00b, I find myself in need of practice. One excellent way would be to practice on the Nintendo DS with Clubhouse Games, otherwise known as 42 All-Time Classics in Europe. It has all three card games that I love and many more.

I wonder why publishers change the name of games for different regions. Is it due to a copyright issue, or the title "Clubhouse Games" is too vague for Europeans?

Now, did you know that Clubhouse Games is the international version of Darademo Asobi Taisen (cover above)? According to Wikipedia, both versions had different games that were exclusive to them. Unlike Clubhouse Games, the original Darademo Asobi Taisen did not have WFC.

This was "rectified" later with the release of Wi-Fi Taiou: International Daredemo Asobi Taizen. This newer version has also all the games featured in Clubhouse Games, and I must say, a very nice cover as well.

If you need something a little bit more robust, there's the new World Series of Poker 2008: Battle for the Bracelets.

Another game with a strange name, but I actually would recommend getting Clubhouse Games instead. With its variety of games, casual players can continue playing other games should they get bored of poker. And don't forget that it features WFC connectivity as well.

All four titles mentioned here are available at Play-Asia. Click on the titles, or the screenshot for more information, or for purchase details.

Mission Failed

After getting past Sayat-sayat, I decided to turn back while walking along the side of the mountain as heavy rain and strong winds battered our position. I felt it wasn't worth life or limb to actually tempt fate, as only God knows what conditions were at the peak of Kinabalu.

This is just one part of a very interesting journey to Sabah, so stay tuned for a multi-parter which include a missed flight, and a cancelled one too, among other things.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Virtua Fighter 5 in the Bargain Bin

For the latest highlights on bargains and discounts for video games, head over to the brand new

Virtual Fighter 5 for the Playstation 3 has gone the way of the bargain bin with Play-Asia putting it on sale for just USD 18.90. What are you waiting for? Click here for details.

'Don't Drop the Soap' Board Game: Nick Bring This In!

Some of us probably heard of prison horror stories (or jokes, depending on how you look at it), whereby you are not supposed to drop the soap in the communal bathroom, because if you were to bend over to pick it up, you'll leave yourself exposed to unsavoury experiences (I cannot find a better way to describe it).

So when John Sebelius, son of U.S Magistrate Judge Gary Sebelius and Governor Kathleen Sebelius produced a new prison themed board game, it had me chuckling. The title: "Don't Drop the Soap". Here's the CNN news article (available here):

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) -- The son of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is peddling a board game titled "Don't Drop the Soap," a prison-themed game he created as part of a class project at the Rhode Island School of Design.

John Sebelius, 23, has the backing of his mother and father, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Sebelius. The governor's spokeswoman, Nicole Corcoran, said both parents "are very proud of their son John's creativity and talent."

John Sebelius is selling the game on his Internet site for $34.99, plus packaging, shipping and handling. The contact information on the Web site lists the address of the governor's mansion. Corcoran said the address will change when John Sebelius moves.

The game also goes on sale starting January 31 at a shop called Hobbs in the college town of Lawrence.

"Fight your way through 6 different exciting locations in hopes of being granted parole," the site says. "Escape prison riots in The Yard, slip glass into a mob boss' lasagna in the Cafeteria, steal painkillers from the nurse's desk in the Infirmary."

The game includes five tokens representing a bag of cocaine, a handgun and three characters: wheelchair-using 'Wheelz," muscle-flexing "Anferny" and business suit-clad "Sal 'the Butcher."'

Corcoran said John Sebelius sought legal advice to be sure he followed proper requirements, and he even took out a loan to pay for the production of his work.

"This game is intended for mature audiences -- not children -- and is simply intended for entertainment," Corcoran said.

So Nick/Zio, what are you waiting for. Bring this into custody, I mean import it!

Kinabalu, Here I Come!

Just one more day before I fly off to Kota Kinabalu to climb Mount Kinabalu. It's a 4 days 3 nights trip so I'll be back on Sunday night. Am I excited? It's off the charts!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jumper - A Movie Review

You know what? Movie trailers are like those KFC food ads put up on billboards. They look very nice, and often are good at making you fork out money for the real thing. Movies on the other hand, tend to be like the KFC zinger burger you had for lunch, disappointing. The burger pattie is half the size advertised, and in actuality the real product bears no resemblance to the glorious ad you saw on the way to the restaurant.

The same thing can be said about Jumper, a movie based on a sci-fi novel of the same title by Steven Gould, starring two former Jedi Knights, Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson. The movie is about a young chap (David, played by Hayden Christensen) who finds that he has the ability to teleport, anywhere in the world, and with this great power, comes a spin on the old Spidy line: with great power, comes great consequences.

The first thing he does is to rob a bank and he soon finds himself being pursued by a ruthless
Paladin (Roland/Samuel L.Jackson), who hunts down Jumpers. David does get some help from a fellow jumper Griffin (Billy Elliot's Jamie Bell), and in the ensuing action sequences, saves his girlfriend, dumps Roland in the Grand Canyon, and meets his Paladin mom who left him when he was five.

The premise sounds ok, and the trailer looks even cooler, but the movie suffers from a lack of depth with the plot and characters being paper-thin. Hayden, like his Anakin Skywalker persona, is a piece of wood. Slap on a mask and a voice synthesizer and he is Darth Vader all over again. Anything not wooden, would seem forceful, and bleh.

I actually prefer his performance in Shattered Glass, where he took on the role of Stephen Glass, a journalist who fabricated his articles and sources. Now, that's the way to play a conflicted character.

There's not much explanation on Paladins, except for the fact they are quasi-religious and been hunting Jumpers since the 16th century because Jumpers are an abomination. These guys have to be REALLY dedicated to be carrying on the same "mission statement" right into the 21st century (the Jumper novel was published in 1992 by the way). Boring. There's not much explanation on how Jumpers, there..

The fights scenes were the highlights in the trailer but in truth, they are too few and spread far apart. And while the fight scenes look cool in the slap dash format of a movie trailer, they look rather akward in the actual movie. Doug Liman, if you want to shoot a movie with teleporting fight scenes, go watch X-Men 2's Nightcrawler fight scene in the White House. Watch it 10 million times if that is necessary for you to get it right in YOUR own movie.

So, after a rather unsatisfactory movie, and paying RM 40 for 2 Premier Class tickets at GSC Signature, would I recommend this movie? I would suggest that you watch something else instead. Or read Stardust. Modern fairytales for modern times.

Before I forget, Hayden Christensen's character in the movie doesn't look as cool as the one in the poster above.

When You Are Looking For The R4DS Website....

For the latest R4DS articles for the Nintendo DS, head over to the brand new

I just noticed a silly quirk on the R4DS website. If you were to type R4DS into your Google search box (example), the top 2 results returned would be and

The former is actually a not updated English version of the site, whereas the latter is the one that you should be looking for when it comes to updates.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New Juice From Dell

This morning was rather surreal. I was driving back from buying today's newspaper when a monkey crossed the road in front of me. Looks like someone's kera went on the loose because the nearest monkey colony I can think of is about two kilometers away in a palm oil plantation. I might be wrong but don't think they forage that far.

Anyways, back to the surreal morning. I was cooking scrambled eggs for breakfast, as I found not a single nasi lemak seller while buying the newspaper, when a DHL van pulled up at the front of the house with its horn blaring. I didn't other anything from Play-Asia with DHL; my courier of choice would be Fedex. In fact I didn't order anything AT ALL from Play-Asia these past few days.

The package that the DHL man passed to me turned out to be the laptop battery that I ordered from Dell a couple of days ago (Thursday). I was surprised because the lady on the other end of the phone (when I made the order) said that I would be getting the battery next week.

She must have heard the dismay in my voice (it was very audible and perhaps my colleagues heard as well), since I'll be off to Kota Kinabalu to climb Mt. Kinabalu next week. But I didn't expect the battery to arrive today! These Dell folks have game! Props! Salutes! Pimps! Hoo-ray! That's why I buy Dell.

Do you know that if you were to order a battery from Dell, their invoice comes an unexpected amount of legalese and a very funny Product Safety Data Sheet?

From the Product Safety Data Sheet:
3. Hazards Identification:
Symptoms of exposure: Skin contact, No effect under routine handling and use.

4. First Aid Measures:
Ingestion: If swallowed, Obtain medical attention immediately.
Ingestion: Drink milk/water and induce vormiting; seek medical attention.

8. Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
Gloves: Not required for handling of battery.

9. Physical and Chemical Properties:
Ordor - N/A

10. Stability and Reactivity:
Reactivity: None
All these (and many more point) and the lawyer/anti-terrorist-agency-friendly Invoice to prove that I didn't purchase a spent uranium rod.

Thanks to DELL, my laptop is now a mobile powerhouse! With its upgraded RAM, HDD and a new battery, it not longer needs to be tethered to a power supply brick. Yay!

Now to look for a chocolate chip cookie and to check on the dog. Hope she doesn't pick a fight with any unexpected stray monkey coming into our house compound.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Why Do I Buy Japanese Import Games on the DS, and if you do, HIGH FIVE!

For more imported video games and reviews for the Nintendo DS, head over to the brand new

Talking about Japanese DS and GBA games, if I were to get one dollar (USD please) for every single person who has asked me why do I purchase Japanese games whereas a. I'm not Japanese and b. I don't read or write Japanese unlike my Japanese aunts, I would probably get a decent amount of money to spend at Starbucks.

The same can't be said if I were to get a dollar for each person who asked questions about the R4DS. Now that would be a real bonanza.

Anyways, back to import games, specifically Japanese ones. There are nearly a dozen Japanese games in my collection, including the ones for the GBA. Let's break them down, title by title, on why did I actually purchase each title and how non-Japanese friendly they are.
  • Jump Ultimate Stars - I bought into the hype, which was like "OMG, must have" levels when it first came out. I manage to get this secondhand though, and in almost new condition.

    This game is in Japanese, but is playable with a guide and it's not too difficult to do so. And the gameplay is fun! Getting to use various Jump! IP to bash each other up, sweet!

  • Atarimix: Happy 10 Games - I must admit, I bought this for aesthetic reasons, and then only for gaming reasons. It seems the makers of the Japanese version of Atari Retro Classics had a little bit more money in the art department, so much so it resulted in a way cooler packaging (both cart and box) compared to its horrible US counterpart.

    I didn't realise that this was a Japanese game when I was playing it. Everything was in English, except for the manuals.

  • Winning Eleven DS - My first footie game on the DS, and it was in Japanese and it featured a gashapon machine (of all things) used to obtain new players! I bought this because it was a steal at USD 19.90 or was it USD 9.90 at that time.

    I had alot of help on the gameplay department, with my colleague showing me what buttons to press, but I figured out the menus on my own. I completed the entire world tour mode (yay!) and I ended up renaming players to have English names.

  • Ouendan - Most people would know this game as the Japanese predecessor to EBA. Hype levels for this game was apparently much greater overseas compared to that in its own native country! Enough said.

  • Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten - It has a mouthful of a title but don't be surprised that this is actually an Japanese-English dictionary! And yeah, there are some mini easter eggs inside to surprise you.

  • Electroplankton - This is also another case of the Japanese version of a game trumps the English version in terms of packaging. Collectors should consider this as it comes in a very nice extra large box and earphones!

    It's a rhythm game and with the exception of the game manual, whatever sparse menus it has in-game are in English.

  • Magic Taizen - Another game for collection purposes, it come in an extra large box and a deck of cards to help you with your magic tricks.

    Yup, you read that right. It's a game that would have you performing magic tricks PROVIDED that you know your Japanese.

  • Nodame Cantabile - It's cheap. At USD 14.90. A no brainer purchase but for a rhythm game there's a lot of text based chat bubbles. In any case, don't let them bother you as all you need to know is find out which button is for No, and Yes, to start the mini-games.

    The game is like Ouendan and you should have no problems playing the mini-games.

  • Gunpey DS - The fact that it is still in its shrinkwrap irks me to no end but I don't really know when I actually get to play this game. No time no time no time. Sk8land and Digidrive beckons!

  • Digidrive: Woohoo! Game crack! Yay! It makes me happy...and addicted! Argh! Part of the bit Generations series of games, the game is entirely in English with the exception of the manual and Japanese. You must be anal-retentive not to play this game simply because it's"Japanese".

    Did I mention it's cheap too?

  • Mother 3: I must say that all my GBA games are in Japanese and Mother 3 is no exception. I bought this soldly based on how good its English predecessor (Earthbound) was.

    This game requires dedication. Dedication in a sense that if you can't read Japanese, you'll need to stick with a guide and Mother 3 guides are like...huge-ass system specifications documents! Do tell if you managed to finish the game using this method, I've yet to pass the first 5 minutes.

  • Mawaru Made in Wario, a.k.a Warioware Twisted! Before the addiction that was Digidrive, there was the madness of Warioware Twisted! It tells you something when the cartridge comes with a built-in gyroscope to sense movement from left to right.

    I bought this on a discount at Play-Asia, and those have been denying themselves a dose of this madness simply because its in Japanese can go screw themselves over with the more expensive English version. I don't care anyways as I CAN play this game.

    Besides, the Japanese box is way cooler. The brown cardboard does exude a "Made-in-Somewhere" vibe.

  • Bura-Bura Donkey/Donkey Kong: King of Swing: I've got to admit it, I bought this because it was cheap. But don't be surprised as the GBA has very good games, that so happen to have cheap price tags!

    Anyways, the menus are pretty easy to figure out and the tutorials are presented really nicely. Players shouldn't have a problem getting a hang of this game, otherwise you would probably have the IQ of a ferret, or some other small creature who probably wouldn't understand the concept of "Shoulder buttons".

  • Famicom Mini Series Vol. 05: The Legend of Zelda. Strictly for collecting reasons, this game, a direct port from the original Famicom game is staying inside its box.

I find it irritating to hear that, "oh man, it's in Japanese, no way I'm playing it". Somehow people get the idea that playing a Japanese game is equivalent to reading a Japanese dictionary. With the exception of text heavy games, I (and many other enlightened gamers who don't read or write Japanese) have proved that it is entirely possible to play, enjoy and finish Japanese games.

What's more, there are very good and interesting games that will not see their English counterparts, so don't miss out!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Republic of Skate - American Sk8land

Acid Drop, Varial Kickflip, 540 Melon, Tail Grab, Spine Transfer. For the uninitiated, Nine Over Ten 9/10 hasn't gone gibberish, and instead, it welcomes you to Tony Hawk's American Sk8land!

This Nintendo DS title is actually quite old, by virtue of being released back in 2005. Being the first Tony Hawk title, and perhaps the first skateboarding game on the DS, Sk8land can still hold its own against other, newer games on the DS. You would be better off purchasing this off the bargain bin then getting, say, Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles.

The premise of the game's Story Mode is pretty simple, as you might expect from any other skate (or snow boarding) game. Start of by customizing and naming your character and in no time the game will drop you in the first of 7 maps/levels.

The thing I like about Sk8land is that you get down to business quickly. What business am I talking about? It's the business of SKATING and doing tricks all around the rather big map. And not forgetting the great cell-shaded graphics, reminiscent of Jet Set Radio (Sega Dreamcast), compliment the gameplay really well.

The level of freedom is not unprecedented, given the fact that Animal Crossing allows the same thing too, but Sk8land has more in common with Grand Theft Auto. You skate around, performing tricks and you can approach any of the NPCs populating a level, and they will pay cash if you complete their challenges.

What's the cash used for? Well, to build your very own skate park of course. Known as the Warehouse, you'll be spending your hard-earned cash buying elaborate ramps, jumps and the like to transform it into some sort of skating wonderland.

In Classic mode, you are given two minutes to complete 10 goals in each of the map. Nothing better than to let lose and see what you can get within 120 seconds. You can then upload your replays online!

Rounding up the skate modes is the Free Skate mode. The name just says it all.

Sk8land was one of the first non-Nintendo titles to offer a WFC connectivity. As mentioned earlier, you can upload your replays online but do you know that Sk8land has several more tricks up its sleeve? You can get onto an online match with a friend or have a random opponent. You can also download custom art, view pro and rookie scoreboards for players connected to the WFC service!

I got this game purely for the skating action, but it turns out that I got more game than what my money's worth! So if you are looking at a bargain bin in a game store near you, be sure to look out for this game.

Red Alert 3 Announced!

Cue rejoicing and air filled with confetti. Red Alert 3 has been announced! Well, at least on the cover of the April issue of PC Gamer! Finally I can quit playing with the herectics and fanatics of Dawn of War! For the greater good!..drats..

Original site here:

Discounted Japanese Import Nintendo DS Games You Should Buy

For the latest highlights on bargains and discounts for video games, head over to the brand new

Daunted by the prospect of looking through pages of Japanese import games during the Play-Asia sale? Here's a list of discounted Japanese import games that you should consider buying. Click on the titles for further details:

Be sure to check out the rest of what Play-Asia has to offer on sale by clicking on this link.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Play-Asia's Year of the Lucky Rat Sale is ON!!

Play-Asia is having its first sale of the year with it's Year of the Rat Sale! Quoting from the site:

Kung Hei Fat Choi! kicks off the Year of the Rat with another exciting Lunar New Year Sale. Celebrate the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar with us and enjoy thousands of brilliant bargains. But that's not all. Simply place an order for any discounted item and get a chance to win fantastic prizes.

Now is the perfect time to browse through our extensive offerings and find one or another product that was left on your Christmas wish list, with a good chance of it now available at a lower price tag. We have spent time carefully reviewing our inventory and the result is a total of
more than 5,000 in-stock items, all of them now available at discounted prices and only for a limited period of time.

Just like we've done with our sales in the past, you will again have the chance to win fantastic prizes, including an Xbox360™ or PlayStation3™ Console, Nintendo Wii™, Nintendo DS™ Lite or PSP™ Slim & Lite, store credit vouchers and much more by simply joining our New Year Sale.

And this is how it works:

Joining the Lucky Draw is easy. All you need to do is to place an order for any discounted item eligible for the Lucky Draw at between
February 13th and February 29th. You can recognize these items by the "Year of the Rat" icon located on each individual product page.

Every paid order item will automatically join the Lucky Draw. The more items you order, the higher your chance to win one of our prizes. The winners of the 50 main prizes will be announced in this news post during the first week of March 2008 and will also be notified by e-mail.

  • 1st Prize:
    A: Xbox 360 Console (Halo 3 Special Edition) (Japanese Version) + 3 Xbox 360™ Games of your choice
    B: PlayStation3™ Console (40GB) (Japanese Version) + 3 PS3™ Games of your choice

  • 2nd Prize: Nintendo Wii™ Console (Japanese Version) + 2 Wii™ Games of your choice

  • 3rd Prize:
    A: Nintendo DS™ Lite Console + 2 NDS™ Games of your choice
    B: Sony PSP™ Slim & Lite Console + 2 PSP™ Games of your choice

  • 4th Prize: GP2X F-200 Game System + Eigertec Easy Access Leather Case

  • 5-10th Prize: A copy of S├Âldner-X: Himmelsst├╝rmer [First Print Limited Edition] for PC

  • 11-20th Prize: A store credit voucher worth US$ 30 each, redeemable for any purchase at

  • 21-50th Prize: A store credit voucher worth US$ 20 each, redeemable for any purchase at

(*) The "game of your choice" is only valid for any game priced up to a maximum of US$ 70 per title. Winning choices may be limited to countries where shipping restrictions apply. Prizes cannot be redeemed as cash.

Click here to visit Play-Asia.

Massive Discounts On Over 300 Nintendo DS Games and Accessories

I notice that Play-Asia added a whole lot of Nintendo DS titles and accessories (more than 300 items) to its bargain bin section. With titles such as LostMagic, Luxor: Pharaoh's Challenge, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Spectrobe: Collectors Edition, LEGO Star Wars, Ouendan 2, Marvel Trading Card Game and many more being sold at very low prices (some discounted up to 50%, and even more), could it be a sign of an impending blow-out sale on Play-Asia?

Here's your chance to stock up on import games such as the aforementioned Ouendan 2. Click here to check out the Nintendo DS bargain bin on Play-Asia. Don't forget that you can save more by opting for the free shipping option (subject to availability).

Monday, February 11, 2008

First 4 Figures' Samus Aran's Gunship Model Q3 2008, Pictures

First 4 Figures will be releasing a new model of Samus Aran's Gunship from Metroid Prime 2 this 3rd quarter of 2008. Here's a write up on this model from the First4Figures website:

First 4 Figures is proud to present a new collection of models based on the different gunships in the Metroid universe. The first ship in the line up is Samus Aran's gunship based on the version seen in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

Samus Aran's gunship plays an important role in the Metroid games, serving as a save point and a destination for many of the self destruct sequences. Her gunship in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes closely resembles the ship from the Metroid II and Super Metroid. The gunship is custom built for Samus on Aliehs III.

The model has been painstakingly recreated from original game files to bring about the most accurate representation of Samus Aran's gunship from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

There are over 50 LED lights throughout the model. On the actual gunship, the windscreen and the four engines at the back all light up. When you turn off the lights, the LEDs very slowly turn off with a fading light effect. On the base, there are LEDs that create a circle light movement .

The point where the ship connects to the base has a swivel joint which lets you tilt and angle the ship to any angle that you want. Comes with a screwdriver to secure desired position.

Please note, you cannot rotate the model on the joint or you will damage the internal wires. The LEDs are guaranteed to last for a minimum of 17 days of continuous use.

Comes in deluxe full color packaging, hand numbered base, and includes a Certificate of Authenticity which allows you to purchase the same number of the model next in the Gunship series.

Limited: 750 pieces worldwide

Yup, you read the last line correctly. Only 750 pieces worldwide. So where to get it? Play-Asia has it listed for USD 249.90, 50 dollars off the retail price listed on the official site. So what are you waiting for? Click here for further details.

In the mean time, here are some pictures:

Home Boys? Learn to get off the Net before it's too late!

I didn't have an Internet connection for the past 3 days; actually it's more like I'm so much in a holiday mood that I left my laptop inside its bag during my time in Sitiawan. Anyways, The Star, or was it New Straits Times did serve up some rather amusing video-game related news.

Ever heard of home boys? Well, if not, they are defined as "a generation of single young men who spend evenings cloistered at home, playing online computer games, reading fantasy comic books and complaining in Internet chat rooms about women" a.k.a nerds with no life. The idea of being sequestered at home with a PC doesn't sound that bad, if you are bedridden, but it gets worse:

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Wearing colorful masks and black T-shirts with women-hating slogans, dozens of young men paraded through an upscale Taipei shopping center one night last December, yelling at startled couples, "Lovers, Go to Hell".

It was a rare moment of public exposure for Taiwan's so-called "home boys", a generation of single young men who spend evenings cloistered at home, playing online computer games, reading fantasy comic books and complaining in Internet chat rooms about women.

"You don't have to be sad if you don't have a date," said 24-year-old college student Lu Yung-ping. "We can huddle together and have fun."

Taiwan is not alone. Japan, Hong Kong and the fast-growing areas of coastal China all have their own versions of home boys. They use the Internet to construct an alternative reality, where fantasy characters and digital games trump domestic responsibilities and the formation of relationships.

Parents find the trend worrisome, and it has become a hot topic in Taiwan's media. Talk shows and popular magazines attribute the phenomenon to a desire to remain in the comfort of mom and dad's home rather than head out into the uncertain world of raising families and paying off mortgages.

There are no reliable estimates of their numbers, though home boys far outnumber home girls, because males tend to spend far more time with online games.

Sociologists say the home boys' obsession with computers inhibits their ability to conduct normal personal relations, including dating _ a concern at a time when young Taiwanese are delaying marriage and the fertility rate has fallen to 1.2 children per woman, down from 3.2 in 1971.

The home boys tend to be self-centered, less caring for others and incapable of problem-solving, said sociology professor Hsueh Cheng-tai of Taipei's National Taiwan University.

"Many 30-year-olds still have the mentality of children who want to rely on their parents' care and financial support," he said. "They're not ready to get married and fulfill family duties".

It's not so much that they hate women, the young men say; it's just that women ignore, reject or betray them. And rather than pining away in private, they prefer to gather electronically with fellow sufferers and bind their wounds by talking about anything except the hurtful side of love.

"The more a nice guy tries to act positively, the more he gets turned away," wrote one man who identified himself as Hsuan in a popular anti-couple chat room.

Many of the chat room denizens reject the idea that they are socially awkward, blaming their lack of domestic compatibility on women.

Said one who identified himself only as Klowa: "More so than politicians, women are swindlers among swindlers. They will cheat you of your money and time, or worse, steal from several men at the same time."

Not all computer addicts are so pessimistic.

Lin Wei-ting, a chemistry major at Hsinchu's National Tsing Hua University, describes himself as a positive home boy.

"The Internet habit can be an advantage if pursued in moderation," he said. His own favorite stay-at-home pursuit is reading comic books, which he said has given him useful knowledge about subjects from robotics to cooking; knowledge that Lin believes will serve him well in his still underdeveloped love life.

"Comic books can stimulate our thinking," he said. "They can better prepare us for dating, marriage and career building."

The more rabid home boys go public with their complaints on popular dating days, such as Valentine's Day and Christmas Eve.

Hsu Wen-hsiung, a bespectacled 26-year-old office worker who took part in the anti-couple demonstration in December, complained that women never have the patience to get to know him or allow him to show his good nature and sense of humor in a relaxed atmosphere.

Waving a fox-shaped mask that he made for the parade, Hsu said he felt like his own computer obsession had put him into a no-win situation with the opposite sex.

"You spend so much time on the Internet that you don't get to know women, and then failing to find a girlfriend, you go back to the Internet," he said. "It's a vicious cycle."

Original article here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Back from Sitiawan: A Where To Eat Guide

And I'm back! Holidays have always been a blast, especially in Sitiawan, where everything is cheaper, the traffic slower, and the streets are way cleaner than Klang. I need to emphasize on cheap: 2 roti telur, 1 roti sardin, 1 tosai telur, 2 apams, 1 putu mayam, 2 teh tarik, 1 teh ais: RM 11.90. Breakfast of champions for 3.

Having lived in Sitiawan for half my life, it's nice to see it on the fast track of development, while retaining its old town charm. Lumut town is a sight to behold, a bit congested but certain much developed and tourist-friendly.

So where and what did I eat?
  • Restoran Briyani: Located at Sri Manjung and it's one of the oldest ones there. Great and cheap breakfast fare (see first paragraph).

  • Restoran Mei Hock: From Kampung Koh, take the road to Ayer Tawar. Drive along that stretch until you see a row of shop houses, mostly empty with a restaurant on the corner. Order the chicken in ginseng soup dish, it's a bit expensive but very nice. Very Fresh seafood.

  • Ikan Bakar place: Take the road from Sitiawan towards Lumut, right after the cross junction (the one with the sea shells, and if you turn left, you'll head towards Teluk Batik), there's a ikan bakar restaurant on the right. Very fresh seafood, and the chef cooks them to perfection. The restaurant on the left hand side of the road serves red wine chicken and mee suah.

  • Amu Coconut: This is one of the older restaurants in Kampung Cina, a little bit down trodden but look out for the restaurant with the most fanciful, albeit also downtrodden, entrance. Fresh and cheap seafood is a recurring theme here in Sitiawan, and this restaurant doesn't disappoint. Order salted crabs, o-chien (oyster omelette) but give the razor clams a skip, they tend to be skinny.

  • Jook's: Located at the corner lot of one of the row of shophouses in Lumut, it's not very hard to miss from the Maybank junction (just look left). Parking is a bitch during peak season so be prepared to walk a little for your dinner.

    Don't let the tourist trap look fool you as this place serves great food. It serves up a really mean t-bone steak, bigger than anything I've seen so far in KL. Another thing to try out: fish and chips served in a paper bag. Just skip the cocktails, as they lack the alcoholic punch, and go for the beers instead.

  • James' Cendol: The original Cendol man with a bow tie and a chef's outfit complete with the hat thingy. He's been around for as long as I can remember, and now even his son and daughter are getting into the business. Peak seasons tend to invite a big crowd, sadly with their mostly horrible attitude from (just look at their car plates), Selangor, Penang, KL, Johor and Singapore. Sorry guys, you suck when you are on holiday. James, on the other hand, you rock!

    Location: Take the Sitiawan-Lumut road, drive towards Lumut, pass The Store supermarket (formerly known as Fajar). The stall is in front of the Hindu temple, before Marrybrown on your right. Opposite applies when you are driving from Manjung.

  • Blue and Yellow Hawker Center (or is it the Yellow and Blue). Just located a short drive or walk down from the Marrybrown restaurant, it is probably one of the cleaner hawker centers in Sitiawan, with cheap and good fare. While there, order the porridge, pari bakar, chicken wings, and satay.
There's plenty more to eat, and see in Sitiawan and Lumut. With the list above, I doubt anyone would go hungry, but do go exploring. If you are craving for a bite of the city life, there's the new 24 hours McDonalds drive-thru outlet located on the Sitiawan-Lumut stretch. It's hard to miss.

On a side note, I was reading the Food Blog section on yesterday's Sunday Metro. There's an entry on a restaurant in Sri Manjung. The original post is here, but I don't know how The Star got the address of the kopitiam wrong, where instead of Sri Manjung, they put it up on print as Sri Menanjung. Oi Editor!

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Fistful of ROMS

Since I'm going on vacation, I've loaded up my R4DS (yes, that notorious flashcart for the Nintendo DS) with a bunch of ROMs. The reason is two fold, I don't want to bring my original Nintendo DS games with me, as they are too cumbersome, and, I want to try out some of the games that I've not purchased yet.

There are some games in my library that I've not played yet and they are just sitting pretty on the shelf. I'm bringing these games in ROM form in order to review them and to say bye bye to cartridge switching. These games are:
What about the other games? I'm looking forward to purchase any of the following titles, but I intend to check them out first in ROM form:
Stay tuned for my write up for the games, on what to buy and what NOT to buy. If you need to purchase the originals straight up, click on the links above.

There are actually more games in my library of 38 games that I've not played yet, namely the newly arrived Gunpey DS, but there's just so much space on my MicroSD card. When you have that many games in your own libary, then you'll know how difficult it is to bring them along on a holiday.

Don't forget to check back, or better yet, subscribe to my RSS feed over here.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Some Video Games, You Don't Play to Win

In my opinion, there are some video games that are pretty difficult to win. You'll need to put in time, effort and not to mention, have some measure of skill to actually succeed. One such game that I can remember putting in alot of time and effort in, and actually succeeding in completing it, is SSX 3 for the Playstation 2.

Casual games might go along the same line too, and they tend to follow the "easy to play, difficult to master" doctrine as a "hook" for players. So it was no surprise (despite my laughter), when Cincauhangus told me that he actually sucked at Solitaire. If there's any semblance of surprise, that's because no one tells another person how bad they are at Solitaire! LOL.

Some games, like Tetris, Minesweeper and Digidrive do not have a winning condition, you just have to beat the current high score. Persistant world games such as Animal Crossing do not have a winning condition too, you just have to continue playing, collecting stuff, picking out weeds, etc, you get the drift, it's the daily grind, in virtual form!

Looking at my video games library, there are actually games with no distinct winning conditions, which has led to some of them to be called not as games. What do you actually do with Electroplankton and Jam Sessions? Well, make music. The latter even allows you to treat your DS as a guitar and the only semblance of it being a game is that it uses the Konami Code to unlock more songs.

So what video games have you played, that don't really feel like you are playing a game? Please don't answer GTA though, as it would show that you can't distinguish between video games, and reality.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Nintendo DS Games and Chinese New Year Spring Cleaning

I broke the 2000 metre barrier yesterday in Digidrive. The game is rather unforgiving as you progress, and like Tetris, you'd need a certain amount of luck. I wasn't playing Digidrive the whole time, I was actually taking a breather from spring cleaning (I'm doing it alone that's why it's been going on for days) and I got it in my first attempt!

Anyways, the postman dropped off my Play-Asia package, and yes, Gunpey DS (Japanese version) is here, and so is number five in the Famicom Mini series for the GBA, The Legend of Zelda (Jap version as well). I'll be writting about these games once I go on vacation, since I'll have a a little more time to play.

I was reading an article hyperlinked from Kotaku regarding how time spend infront of televisions and computers, dubbed as videophilia, results in not only less time spent on exercising but also, less contact with nature. And video games are to to blame too!

Perhaps one plausible scenario in the near future would be children learning about nature and their surrounding environment via National Geographic, instead of taking a walk outside. OR:

Son: "Daddy, what's snow?"
Dad: "That's the white stuff you were skiing on your PSxxx game last night!"

OR an alternative reply:

Dad: Why don't you google it, son?

A comment/statement/scenario like the one above tends to bring derision, as what happened to my Wii Fit article. I still stand by that article, and in fact challenge any of the detractors on Digg to stick to an exercise regiment on the Wii Fit and actually lose weight. I wonder how many would actually take that up.

Anyways, back to the great outdoors and what you, practitioner of "sedentary, indoor videophilia" have missed out For starters, there's hiking, which would lead to stuff like camping, trail running and even mountaineering. For the love of water, there's always canoe-ing, white water rafting, scuba diving, etc. Watching underwater wild life on TV is nothing compared to snorkeling or scuba diving in real life.

Now, some of you might be living in parts of the world not blessed with sunshine all year round, and in fact, you guys have snow! Skiing, ice skating, ice hockey and even building a snow man/igloo (maybe not) would be in my itinerary if I were you.

So, stop reading, or playing for that matter, put on a pair of shoes (and a shirt, if you are in a state of undress), step out and enjoy nature!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

CNY Is Around The Corner, and More Games!

With Chinese New Year coming up, I'm officially on leave till next Monday! There are several things to catch up on, especially on this blog. Updates have been coming in slower than I would like, and after the 57 post record last month, this month started off with a disappointment. Anyways, more posts are on the way.

Secondly, games. In several words, Digidrive and Warhammer 40K Dawn of War: Dark Crusade. Yup, I'm slowly getting the hang of Digidrive, with a new top score of 1679 metres! I still think this is one of the best under USD 10 GBA games you can find in the market today.

The new upgrades to my laptop caused a renewed interest in PC games, and I'm currently running Dark Crusade in my laptop's native resolution. Beautiful!

I'm waiting for several games to arrive at the moment, having ordered them from Play-Asia last week, namely the Japanese version of Gunpey DS and one of the Famicom Mini Series for the GBA, The Legend of Zelda.

I can't wait for the new Civilization game for the Nintendo DS coming out this year. It should be a blast. The latest Civ for the PC is a laptop killer, I don't know why but it is the only game that makes my machine overheat and crash, and reboot.. Strange but true. Speaking of strange stuff, did you know that PSPs don't like being connected to Dell machines, especially laptops, via USB cable?

Apparently there's a lack of juice (voltage) in them USB ports, so much so that connecting the PSP to an XPS laptop or my own Inspiron will cause it to be detected for several seconds before disappearing like nothing happened. Hairan bin ajaib (Malay for "strange but true").

One other strange thing is for those regular readers, why have you not subscribed to my feed yet? Just kidding, for those interested in getting Nine Over Ten 9/10 in their favourite RSS readers, you can subscribe to the feed, here!