Saturday, December 1


I was able to watch the CG-fantasy flick Beowulf a couple of days ago, and I must say I'm glad I caught it in a theater. This sort of spectacle needs to be seen on as big a screen as possible. What can I say? I was certainly amazed and enthralled at the visual artistry of the film, much more so than Robert Zemeckis' previous CG cartoon effort, The Polar Express. The characters onscreen still, slightly have that 'uncanny valley' sort of thing; you KNOW they're not real, but after a while it doesn't matter. After a while, you're just watching performers onscreen, not thinking all the time they're just pixels made to look like Anthony Hopkins or John Malkovich. Strangely enough, the one actor who doesn't look the same onscreen and offscreen is Ray Winstone, who plays the titular hero. Apparently he was cast for his voice and his age, perhaps, since a great part of the story happens in the warrior's more senior years.

But as fabulous as most of the CG graphics are, I have to say there are things that still aren't gotten quite right; mainly WOMEN. Barring Angelina Jolie's succubus-like Demon Mother, the other female characters tend to all look like Glenn Close at the start. I can't figure it out. There's still something about the female form that the CG artists behind this flick just haven't gotten yet. Oh well.

All that aside, I have to say that this was a pretty slick fantasy epic, well worth watching and seeing. The best thing about it for me is how solid everything felt, like the world it was set in, the texture of stuff from wooden walls and gold-painted skin to the disgusting pus-laden flesh of Grendel's scummy skin. Also incredible, the way the camera moves everywhere, like it was attached to a fly, following everything from the path of a gold coin thrown from a king's hand to the bloody swath Beowulf's sword cuts through the gullet of a monstrous sea monster. ASTOUNDING.

I'll be picking up the DVD I guess, since this does seem to be a keeper.

Wednesday, November 28

Scummy iPhone

As if to remind me of its POWER after I have been doting recently on my new PSP Slim, my iPhone just got itself quite a bit of gaming prowess. SCUMMVM, the game system that powered all those classic Point-and-Click videogames like Day of the Tentacle, Secret of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, has been ported over to the iPhone platform. With an interface perfect for the touchscreen-master device, the SCUMMVM games not only play great but look great on Apple's mobile.

The trick is, of course, getting both the emulator program (freeware) AND the game files (bahala na si Batman how you get them) onto the iPhone. It requires an openline, unlocked phone and several apps, WiFi and a bit of fiddling with 1P addresses. But it's easier than it seems, and I got it working fine. So now, my iPhone's not so much the boring, non-gaming device I whined about yesterday.

Doesn't mean I'll be throwing away my PSP though. Not while Tekken and DOA are there. Heh.

Tuesday, November 27

New Toy!

Slim and Lite!

I got myself a brand new PSP Slim last weekend, and I'm having a ball with it. Yeah, I know, I know... I HAD a PSP several months ago, and I really didn't have it for very long. In fact, my first PSP was with me for all of less than three months, and I was really only able to play about three games for any length of time. The portable was a bit more expensive then, and all the games I had were originals, so I was paying for each title through the nose- even the crappy ones (and I did buy a couple of crappy ones). Sad to say, lugging around the PSP with delicate UMDs wasn't the most convenient or comforable thing to do, and the fun wasn't there for me then. So, I eventually bade goodbye to it.

Well, things have changed a bit since then. All over the place now is the new model PSP Slim and Lite aka PSP2000, which is unsurprisingly slimmer and lighter than the previous model 1000s. But never mind the specs about how the thing is 20% lighter and thinner- the nicest thing about local PSPs is that they all pretty much come with homebrew firmwares, large-capacity Memory Sticks and ISO games. What does this mean? Well, it means that you don't need to get those crappy, easy-to-get-scratched-and-ruined UMDs... games are little more than files that you load into your Memory Stick, and play from there. So you can pretty much bring a whole arcade's worth of titles in your PSP, and not a single UMD in sight- thus, Light on the weight but HEAVY on the gaming!
Add to that the niceness that the usual PSP package costs even less than the previous offers did months ago AND gives you tons of games from the get-go, can you say... SOLD?

So now I have my new Piano-Black PSP Slim (I passed on the Ice Silver, Florentine Blue and Rose Pink variants...), loaded to the rafters with games like the indispensable Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection (to tide me over until Tekken 6), Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (really, the game that got me interested in the PSP again), Puzzle Quest (a hilarious mix of Bejeweled and Fantasy RPGs), Jeanne D' Arc (Anime-themed RPG set in the War between France and England), Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops (which I sinfully didn't get to play on my previous PSP) and Sid Meier's Pirates (classic). Heck, I even have Dead or Alive PSX loaded in my PSP as well- running at a lovely 60 frames per second at BLAZING fast speed, it's like a whole new game with upped challenge thanks to the copy being the PAL version (which contains several extras unseen in the NTSC games). Plus, it's the closest thing to Virtua Fighter anyone can get on the PSP. Except with swimsuits.

So now, I have the perfect companion to my iPhone, which despite all it's loveliness and multimedia power, is pretty CRAPPY when it comes to games (Tic-Tac-Toe, anyone?), and another way to fight boredom whenever it rears its sleepy head.

Anyways, if you'll excuse me, I have an appointment to keep in Ivalice...