Friday, June 29


That's how I feel for the Transformers movie, which I'll be watching over the weekend. I've heard great things about this action-blockbuster, mostly about how awesome the action and special effects are, and how bad-ass the Autobots are compared to their TV cartoon incarnations. I was a pretty big fan of the original animated series right up to the animated Transformers movie, but I drifted away when the franchise took to weirder directions (like mechanical CG animals and worse, anime-style). I loved the old-school Prime-Megatron rivalry, Starscream's duplicity, Soundwave's menacing digital drawl and his menagerie of mini-monsters, the cool fights and big explosions. There were spotty, iffy moments, like that crappy ninja girl robot and the over-abundance of subgroups like the aerialbots, predacons and what the heck-ons that came after. But all in all, the Transformers hold a special place in my fanboy heart.

This weekend, perhaps on Sunday. We roll out. WOOHOO!

Thursday, June 28


This morning, while I was being driven by my Dad over to my drop-off point to work, he got into this talk that once he and my Mom retire completely, they'll probably sell one of our two vehicles. At present, we have two cars at home- an old but still well-maintained and excellently-running Toyota and an equally-well maintained but slightly newer mini-van/CRV type. He goes on to say they'll probably sell the Toyota and keep the CRV. Since they'll be retired, they don't really need two cars, and they can use the cash. He continues saying that perhaps when he wants to go out he'll just commute.

This pretty much horrified me, to tell the truth.

I commute every day. I do so because it's what I've been doing since I was a schoolkid in shorts. I've seen a lot. I've been through torrential rain, mud and puddles, molasses-thick traffic, sweat-stinking crowded jeeps/buses/MRTs, pickpockets, stick-up men, vagrants, annoying street urchins, plain bad-mannered bastards, bloody groupies, dirty cops and stuff that will make you want to pull out a machete and start hacking away at whatever and whomever is in range.

I do NOT want my Dad or my Mom having to go through that.

I will try my best to convince them to keep the cars. Both of them, for emergency purposes, or for simple convenience. I will try my best to make sure that my Dad never entertains this ridiculous idea of him ploughing into the wide world unless it's from the security and sure convenience and safety of a private car. They do not need to start commuting and mingling with the sea of humanity known as Rush Hour at this point of their life. Call me paranoid. Call me alarmist or an overprotective fuddy-duddy. I don't care. That's the kind of son I am.

Wednesday, June 27

A Game of the Highest Calibur

Some scans of the upcoming issue of EGM popped up online, allowing me to glean a few tidbits of information about the upcoming Namco-Bandai Beat 'em Up, Soul Calibur IV.

The game will supposedly look AWESOME, with graphical quality on a par with (or perhaps even surpassing) that of the current visual masterwork, Virtua Fighter 5. Character models and costumes are supremely detailed- the leather straps on Ivy's costume, for example, will actually leave realtime impressions/imprints on her body. The developers are going as far as to render stuff like Taki's nipples separately under her tight leotard. How's that for a job, eh? "Oh, I go to work rendering a ninja babe's BOOBS." Wild. So it looks that the character model of Ivy shown in the Soul Calibur IV trailer IS indeed in-game. Awesome!

As for gameplay, there are some juicy bits- how the usual lifebar works will change, and there will supposedly be a way to end a fight or round without needing to completely deplete an enemy's lifebar. One-hit kil? Disarms? Intriguing.

Character Creation, or Create-a-Soul, one of the more compelling additions in the previous installment, will return revamped and improved. There will be lots of new parts, clothing/armor and items to attach to your Ultimate Fighter, and some parts will even have an effect on gameplay. It will be more detailed and this time you will supposedly be able to tinker with stuff like character voices and other aspects. Hopefully the custom character models will equal the quality of the established fighters. The developers are working hard to ensure that players will be able to take their customized characters to combat online, and in a nod to players' demands, will allow you to now take your custom fighters' files and bring them with you for use on another console- something not possible with customized characters in the recent PS3 release of VF5.

The roster will supposedly see most of the cast returning, including the newbies from Soul Calibur III. Tira, the psycho-girl with the killer hula-hoop, in particular gets a new look as well as a more evil disposition and animations. As for new characters, Namco is keeping mum at this moment, preferring to reveal more about any new faces only when the game's release gets closer. Guest characters as well are a possibility- perhaps drawing upon swashbuckling characters from popular recent movies. Savvy?

With all this news (and just from less than half of the supposed 14-page blowout article in EGM), Soul Calibur IV looks to be even more incredible and intriguing a game than it's cousin, Tekken 6! With both awesome fighters set to release on Xbox360 and PS3 in 2008, it seems that Namco-Bandai will be taking the fight to new heights next year. I'm already sharpening my blades in anticipation. It's great to be a gamer. Heh.

Tuesday, June 26

Taking the Fight Online

Some intriguing early word from the humongous Soul Calibur IV blowout article in the new issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly. It's apparently now confirmed that the latest installment of Namco-Bandai's mega-popular blades-brawler will be coming to PS3s and Xbox360s with online capability. Yep, players will be able to slash and hack their friends from across the world via the internet. Even better, it seems that they will be able to do so using their own customized, created warriors as the game will sport a revamped, improved Character Creation mode. This feature, introduced in the previous Soul Calibur III, allowed players to select their custom warrior's gender, appearance, voice and weapon/skills, but at the time did not allow them to go online with their creations. Soul Calibur IV though, WILL.

This is great news, and bodes well for players who have been clamoring for online gaming with their beat 'em ups. Once again, 2008 can't come soon enough. The whole story can be found in the new issue of EGM, out on stands July 3. I'll be keeping my eyes out for this ish. WOOHOO!
Reel, Real and Unreal

If you are familiar with the live-action, testosterone-charged male soap opera that is the WWE, you'll probably have heard about the recent 'death' of Vince McMahon, via an apparent car bomb that exploded the WWE Chairman's limo... with him in it. This Sopranos-like demise (which was more Sopranos-like than the actual Sopranos finale) is, for the information of those unfortunate few who need some grey matter exercise, a WORK. Faux. It's the WWE's answer to the 'Who shot Mr. Burns' storyline from The Simpsons. Unfortunately, it seems that this big storyline now has to be put on hold, or even scrapped entirely given the most recent and tragic loss to hit the WWE.

Former WCW and WWE champion Chris Benoit was found dead with his wife Nancy and their 7-year old son Daniel in their home, the cause of death as yet unknown, but it has been ruled that it was a double murder-suicide. Things are still sketchy, but this just blows my mind.

Tonight's edition of Raw, which was supposed to continue the Who Killed Vince storyline, has been cancelled, giving way to a three-hour tribute to the late Superstar. According to news, Vince himself announced news of the tragedy to the gathered wrestlers and crew. Waiting fans outside the venue were told to go home and the wrestlers were allowed to leave the building and mourn the loss of a colleague, friend and wrestling icon.

Known as 'The Rabid Wolverine', Benoit was unequalled in his passion, dedication and work ethic in the WWE. The high point in his career was a couple of years ago, when he became the WWE Heavyweight Champion alongside his friend, Eddie Guerrero, who had also won the title of WWE Champion. Tragically, Guerrero would pass away shortly after. Now, Benoit is gone as well.
This news hit me like a ton of bricks today. Benoit was a great, great superstar and I truly enjoyed his reign as champion. He wasn't a big guy, so his 'underdog' image but bad-ass grappler style made him a favorite. His passing is a true tragedy. My sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues for this loss. I wish it wasn't true. I wish it was a work. But it seems to be real. Which makes it all the more unreal.

Monday, June 25

Kicking Back

In about a month, the Green Valley Country Club, where my parents have their Pro Shop (a service center for bowling), will close down for renovation. Actually, it's more of a rebuild as a new high rise will take the place of the aging recreation building. The estimated construction will take 2 years, so that pretty much spells the end of their present occupation.

I'm kind of worried... not really about the income, though, since I don't think we really rely too much on the sales/fees from the shop. The Pro Shop has seen better years... in fact, the last couple of years has seen my parents come home with little to no sales or profit. AND they still have an employee to give wages to. But I think it was more the fact that it gave them activity and something to do. A routine to follow, a job to keep you busy and active (even thought they pretty much only worked from late afternoon to evening). What happens when that disappears?

I'd like to think that it will be a good thing. My parents are both in their seventies or late, late sixties, and they've earned a relaxed retirement. It would be better for them to just stay home instead of hieing off to the club four or five times a week for little profit. My mom has her barkada and friends to keep her occupied. I'm actually thinking maybe she could start catering and selling her awesome spaghetti. But my Dad- he's got no visible hobbies or interests that I can discern. No activity or challenge means you age faster, so I really want him to have something when he finally retires. Perhaps a pet? A nice little dog (small so my Mom won't be bothered). Or maybe an aquarium to maintain?

I don't know the answer, but hopefully it will present itself soon. One month.