Saturday, February 4

The Night Before

Tomorrow morning, my brother Jun and his daughters Patricia and Pamela will be flying off to the US, where they will be reunited with Jun's wife Mylene. Conceivably, we may not be seeing them in the flesh anytime in the near future. I've never really been overly emotional or sentimental, but I will miss them. Even if the kids drive me crazy every time they invade The Sanctum, the house will be a slight shade less lively without them.

When my sister and her family leave in a few months (maybe) for Canada, it'll be just me and our parents left to live in the country. I don't see myself flying off and leaving Metro Manila behind anytime soon, so I'll be around for a while. Things are going well anyway... and hopefully they'll stay that way. All we can do is just hope for the best, take on every test and let God do the rest. And all that jazz.

Friday, February 3

The Only Constant Thing

Sometimes... no, many times, I wish that you could just stop time and preserve a status quo forever.

You reach a point where everything seems right, you're having so much fun and you wish it could all just go on forever. Well, maybe not forever, but for a while. I think that's a sign that you were or are happy. That you've found contentment with the things around you and you could just stay there in that pocket of eternity for the duration.

But that really isn't possible, is it?

Time marches on regardless of how people feel or act or decide to act. Change comes relentlessly, either as a thief in the night or as a marching band blazing on at full volume. Whether it's a shock or a whisper, change enters our lives and the effects are things that we must deal with in order to continue living.

A lot of things have been happening lately. These events have rocked my world in significant ways. The most distinct recently was the fact that my friend Vin, the genial and jovial shopkeep of Comic Quest has entered a new chapter in his life... and that chapter apparently does not involve him being the CQ shopkeep anymore. It's a big thing, considering that 'The Store' has been more or less the center of my social life for the past, oh, six or seven years. Now, it's no longer that... it's just the place where I get my comics every week. Weird. Really weird.

But this shock of a change isn't the only thing that has hit me in terms of the gang I run with. Lately, we haven't been going out as much. The Saturday Night Outs that we once looked forward to as oasis of discussions, creative mixers full of laughter, anecdotes and experience-sharing aplenty are now few and far between. As people grow older, it seems, they grow more focused on their own interests and their own paths. Some people have left us seeming for dead. Some are about as rare to find as chicken teeth. Others are there but might as well not be.

Don't get me wrong. We still meet, and I still look forward to each time we do. Just not as religiously. Perhaps when some creative urge, opportunity or project appears and beckons, perhaps the old magic will well up and like Musketeers in hiding from Cardinal Richelieu (sorry, I saw it on Star Movies last night), we'll take up our swords and uniforms once again and meet all for one and one for all.

But damn.

Do I miss the days when we didn't NEED to have a hopeless cause or a ridiculous project to rally around to meet each other. When we just enjoyed to meet because of each others' company. When it was enough to just talk and laugh about things for little or no reason aside from it was just for the sake of talking about it.

Maybe we're just getting old. Nah.

That's the way it is, isn't it? You just try to fit in as well as you can. Even if you don't really fit in, you try to give what you can because that's what friends are for. To be there when it counts, or to just be there, period. That's all there is to it. This is as good as it gets.

There are stories to tell and lots of things still to do. I believe this. I really do.

It's just that if I knew that it would all come to this, I'd have recorded and videotaped all those nights out we had before. Archived them on optic disc or memory crystal and put them in a safe at The Sanctum, where I can just bring them out and try to find warmth in the memories for just a little while.

Damn. That's pathetic.

Again, the point of this post. Change happens, like shit. It happens and there's not a damn thing we can do about it but roll with the punches. Change anything that's wrong with you and keep on trucking. Move on as others move on and just find a place where there's more heat and warmth to partake of.

Because while there's really no point in crying over spilt milk or spoiled milk, there's even less point in crying over milk that you actually got to drink and enjoy. You've pissed it all out by now and so you've got to find a new quart to fill that thirst.

I miss the good times.

But I know there will be other good times.

And I'll be damned if I don't squeeze all the enjoyment I can with what I am lucky to have right now.

So this really isn't a rant. It's just an affirmation that I'm still here.

I'm still working at The Salt Mines (and hopefully getting better). Still dreaming about the next big Xbox360 game. Still getting a kick out of finding gems in the ol' DVD bins. Still working on bringing out The Last Angel Ace Story and the further adventures of Agent K and The Pink Ninja. Still counting on the next Project Hero and whatever else comes my way. Still kicking back in The Sanctum to enjoy loot from Comic Quest or Greenhills.

I'm still here and looking forward to the future. That's all I can do.

Moving on. Moving on.

Monday, January 30


I've more or less decided on my entry to the Fully Booked fantasy fiction writing contest. At least, for my prose entry. Not yet too sure about what 8-page comic story to send. That will certainly have to be self-contained, totally new and affecting even in the very short page count. Certainly, I have to give this one the good ol' fashioned college try. I'll do my best to start my efforts on this one come the first day of February. Then, we'll see what happens then.

Sunday, January 29

Ready to Rumble

Rumble Roses XX's new Create-a-Babe mode.

The first Rumble Roses game on the PS2 was a mixed affair. Obviously taking a stab at the niche established by the rival Dead or Alive series, the titillation-heavy all-female wrestling game from Konami had it's ups and downs. For one thing, it had a cast of female grapplers who fit a wide variety of fetishes and persuasions. You had the usuals (bubbly anime heroines, blonde cowgirls and S&M dominatrixes) and quite a few unusuals (megalomaniacal doctors, slutty judo champions) in the roster, with good and evil personas. As wrestling games go, the multitude of holds and grapples were perfect for putting the female characters into some pretty compromising situations. There was even some DOAX-type fanservice in the form of voyeuristic Watch Modes and even some iffy mudwrestling.
Unfortunately, even with all the eye candy and fan service, the game had limited appeal in terms of gameplay modes and variety. There simply wasn't enough game to get in this title. So while it provided a bit of bang, there was little to come back to after the initial play.

Well, a couple of years later, Konami is still at it with their DOA-killer, now aiming for the Xbox360 next generation console with Rumble Roses XX. Now, before you get any ideas, the 'XX' stands for tag team play, not for anything lewd (right).

Aside from the obvious assumption that the game will surely look tons better than the PS2 game (each character model will consist of 50,000 polygons, making for some very smooth and curvy characters), the game will rev up with new modes and gameplay elements. For one thing, there will now be two-three and four way fights, playable on or offline. This should make for some really interesting tag-team or triple threat matches.
What will really please creative types will be the new Character Edit/Creation Mode which will allow players to make up their own wrestling babe from scratch or edit/modify the existing 40 characters. In terms of editing, this entails everything from giving your babe more muscles, more boobage (yes, you read that right), changing hair and skin color, applying makeup or switching wardrobes. It seems that Character Creation is THE mode to have for next-gen fighters (except for snobby DOA). XboxLive users will be able to show off their Frankenstein-esque creations online. Don't worry though; developer Akari Uchida guarantees that you cannot create monsters or ugly wrestlers with his game- they'll always be babes. Wow.

Speaking of the 40 characters, there actually are just 10 base characters, each with three additional personas/versions; there's Face (good), Heel (evil) and the new Superstar versions of Face/Heel. The Superstar versions are flashier, stronger and more fab versions of the wrestlers, with all-new moves and over-the-top ring entrances. As before, the end boss seems to be the mechanical madame, Madame X. No Story Mode this time around, but with all the new stuff, we won't be missing the terrible dialogue or weird plotlines.
Also added will be a new 'Queen's Match', which seems to replace the now-missing Mudwrestling Mode. Losers in QM will have to go through DOAX-like penalty games, which are meant to embarass or put them into a titillatingly humiliating experience- from doing the limbo to bouncing on skippy balls or dancing some lewd dance. Weird but oddly compelling.

THis game certainly isn't for the easily offended or the weak of heart; it's really beyond being suggestive- the characters are just as good at being wrestlers as they are exotic dancers, it seems, and the game really doesn't care about depicting females in a pretty chauvanistic way (athletic as they may be, the girls act all girly and prissy in other situations). It's got it's own code and humor, but safe to say guys should keep this hidden away when offendable female friends are in the vicinity.

Behind all the tons of fanservice though, once again I hope they do the basic steps right, by putting in great wrestling gameplay and animation. When all is said and done, it's the wrestling and grappling that will keep this game in play as much as the T&A. Really. Well, we'll see when the game comes out in a couple of months in March 2006 on the Xbox360.