Saturday, May 15

Speaking of movies...

Haven't watched Van Helsing, and I want to despite the tons of bad reviews about this film. In fact, it's because of the bad press that I want to see it.

Will try to meet up with the gang tonight to watch the sandals and swords epic, Troy. Somehow.
Pocket Theater

Movies on the go.

Time for a bit of techie phone-whoring.

A couple of years ago, it was pretty standard to see someone come along and bring out their trusty, clunky mobile phone and kill time with a game or two of Snake. Or better yet, ALIEN SCUM.

These days though, I can pass the time instead by bringing out my cellphone and watching the latest hot movie trailer, an excerpt from my favorite anime, a hilarious TV commerical or even (my gosh) a bit of mini-porn. Heh. Video capability is the most exciting treat given to users of the Symbian OS smartphones- which comprises of the Nokia 60 series (3650, 3660, 6600 etc) and the Sony Ericsson P800/P900.
Until recently, I've been pretty happy with the embedded RealOne Player in my 6600. After discovering an easy-to-use PC program from Nokia which lets me convert MPEGs into 3G.PP files (a Quicktime-based format of video for Symbian phones), I've been loading up my 128 MBs of memory with all sorts of eye candy. The only limits were of course space for the vids and the resolution of the screen. The RealOne player only gives you the middle part of the phone's screen to use, so videos are pretty small (almost postage-stamp small) and there is usually a good deal of pixellation and blurring that occurs with videos. Despite this, I was in video bliss. At one time, I was actually carrying around 5 full episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in my phone.

In the past few days though, I've discovered an amazing new videoplayer called the Smartmovie Player, and I have to say it's probably the BEST videoplayer for a phone you can get. No, it's not from the telecom company- this lovely piece of software is made by a software developer called Lonely Cat Games, and the program is shareware online; you can try out a trial version and if it suits you, the full program can be purchased via secure credit card transaction.

Anyway, the Smartmovie player doesn't use the 3G.PP format- instead it plays AVIs, which makes for MUCH much clearer videos. Say goodbye to blurring and pixels!

The program comes in two parts- a 300+k-size player which is installed in your Symbian phone, and a PC-only converter which you use to convert almost any video file into properly-sized AVIs for viewing on your phone. The files are pretty easy to install in both your phone and on your PC. The converter is incredibly user-friendly and powerful for such a small program, at least after you get past configuring the video and audio resolutions and installing the proper codex. You can even edit videos so you can shave off unwanted seconds and save precious space on your phone's memory.

The best part about Smartmovie is that you can orient videos to play full screen on landscape mode on your phone- that pretty much uses the whole screen. And let me tell you, videos are super clear and HUGE (for a phone), which makes it a totally different and vastly more enjoyable experience than watching the dinky little 3GP videos.
While converting the videos, you can configure resolution of video and audio quality. With the right settings, it takes about less than 1 MB for about a minute of video- this means with a 256 MB card or 128 Memory Stick you can probably be walking around carrying an entire Lord of the Rings movie in your phone!
Of course, why waste phone space watching boring hours of Frodo and Sam climb Mount Doom when you can just watch Mumakil-killing at the Siege of Gondor right away? You can get the best, most exciting parts and bring those with you instead! A person on the go really can't afford to take a break for more than a few minutes- so a trailer or snippet is more than enough to pass the time.

So if you're packing a Symbian phone and want to videos to go, load up a large memory card/stick and try out Smartmovie player at Loney Cat Games.

I'm having a grand time, and it's great not only for me to kill time on commutes or when just waiting around- now I can actually show friends that new anime or game I'm obsessing about, that hot movie or this crazy commercial I saw. COOLNESS.

And of course, basking in the aura of peoples' jealousy is cool too. Heheh...
DOA Ultimate Dress-Up

DOAU is going to be the game that tides DOA fanatics over till the next true sequel. With DOA4 at least a year or two away, Ultimate is going to have to live up to its monicker.
Well, if the arcade-perfect translation of the original DOA doesn't make you go 'hmm', the redone DOA2 should. Aside from having all-new moves and techniques, spectacular multi-level stages (with mid-level sloping falls added as a mid point to the ridiculously high falls from DOA2 and DOA3), DOA2U will have tons of costumes to play with. According to gaming site IGN, Tecmo has mentioned that DOAU will actually have more costumes than even the recent DOAX. In fact, it may be a possibility that the swimsuits from that sidegame may be used for DOAU.
In anticipation of thousands of players going online to play and wanting unique looks for their fighters, or for the DOA fans who just want to play dress-up their ninja girl, this is a pretty cool aspect to the game.

DOAU is being prepped release in the next couple of months. We'll be grabbing our copy the moment we see it. Heh.

Wednesday, May 12

Tekken 5

The latest chapter of the classic fighting game series continues...

Namco finally revealed the latest Tekken game at E3 2004, so here's the info available so far.

There are three new characters; one female, two male. The lone new girl is Asuka Kazama, who fights more or less in the same style as the late Jun Kazama. She wears aikido-style outfits and has several of Jun's old attacks. Weng Fei is an angry-looking monk who seems to be out for revenge. Finally, the third new character is Raven, who looks all the world like Wesley Snipes' Blade character except with bleached hair. His fighting style seems to be ninjitsu.

The rest of the returning oldies includes almost all the fighters from Tekken 4- Paul Pheonix, Nina Williams, Julia Chang, Yoshimitsu, Lee Chaolan, Steve Fox, Craig Marduk, King, Christie Montiero, Jin Kazama, Lei Wulong, Hwoarang and Ling Xiaoyu. Heihachi seems to be absent since he goes missing after the events in the opening cinematic. Apparently, right after the ending fight between Jin, Kazuya and Heihachi, the Mishima Zaibatsu is attacked by an army of Jack Robots. Kazuya seems to escape, but Heihachi is not so lucky... Is Heihachi DEAD? I'm not putting good money on that, I can tell you.

Anyway, the graphics look similar so far to Tekken 4, though comments from people who have seen the trailer give the assumption that the costumes of the older characters are very similar to their original Tekken outfits- such as Paul's old red gi, Nina's purple outfit, etc... which is great since I HATED the Tekken 4 outfits.
Still not much word on any other new stuff... hopefully we'll be able to see the trailer and get more info as E3 2004 unfolds and wraps up.

Tekken 5 has been given a late 2004 arcade release, with home versions probably expected in early to mid-2005. We'll see where this one goes.
Gamer News

Rise of the Kasai

Tati's grown up to be a beautiful, if nasty, young lady.

The first trailer of Rise of the Kasai aka Mark of Kri 2 has been shown at E3. We've finally seen the new heroine and playable character Tati in action, and she looks to give her late, great elder brother Rau a run for the meanest warrior. Aside from handling twin daggers quite brutally in combat, Tati will wield an arsenal of death-dealing tools, use insidiously effective and deadly close-fighting and stealth techniques, and have the ability to become invisible and see through the eyes of the dead. If Rau was all noble warrior who kills with a stroke, Tati is a cruel torturer who inflicts terror in the dirtiest ways possible.
Apparently, events that happen before and after the story in the first Mark of Kri will shape Tati into the nasty anti-heroine she becomes in the game. Not the least of which will obviously be the death of Rau. Despite this, players will be able to control the original hero in some parts of the game, and Tati in others. At certain points, both characters will interact, though the other character will be controlled by a sophisticated A.I. engine. The trailer also mentions some online interactive element, but this is not yet clear.
Rise of the Kasai looks to be one of the sharper games to come this 2004. We'll be keeping out eyes out on this one...

When a woman slinks up to you like this, it's bound to be trouble...

Bikini Battling in DOAU

The latest trailer of Dead or Alive Ultimate shows off a lot of new stuff for gamers to chew on until the game's release in June. Shown at E3 2004, the video revealed a gaggle of new stages in which to fight in, such as a suspension-bridge hanging high over a raging river, an African stage teeming with wild animals (which fighters can get slammed against), a stage in the Great Wall of China and a beach stage seemingly torn from Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball.
And speaking of DOAX, not only a stage but costumes have apparently made the jump from the DOA novelty game to the flagship fighter. Ninja girl Kasumi and wrestling princess Tina are seen brawling it out on the beach stage wearing bikinis from DOAX. It is not known yet if there are a set number of swimsuits in the game, or if players can download them from a DOAX save in the Xbox HD.
Hopefully, more details and options will be revealed soon as the weeks count down to the game's release this summer.

And speaking of bikini fighting, there will be swimsuit-clad combatants battling in Konami's fan servicey-wrestler, WWX Rumble Rose. This all-female wrestling game will not only have detailed body physics and a cast of buxom brawlers, there will be a mud wrestling mode and a Hands-free mode. Oh-kay...

Gaming looks VERY interesting in 2004... Heh

Monday, May 10

Survivor: All Stars Finale


In a 2-hour special, the winner of the latest Survivor was finally decided.

The final four had lovey-doveys Boston Rob, Amber, hot momma Jenna and the gravelly-voicedRupert. Amber won the 2nd to the last Immunity, and to ensure her survival she voted out Rupert instead of giving her fate over to chance with a tiebreaker draw. B.R. won the last immunity and predictably brought over Amber into the final two.

The final tribal council meeting was perhaps the most emotionally-charged yet, with heavy accusations of moral degradation being thrown by jury members at the final pair, notably by tattooed Lex, motherly Kathy and farmer Big Tom. Calmer voices were that of Shi Ann, Rupert and Jenna.

The votes for the Survivor All-Stars winnder were read live at Madison Square Garden, with all the survivors present and all dolled-up.

Big Events of the Night...

Rob proposes to Amber, which ensures that they both get the million whatever happens, and sends a vast collective 'Aawww...' throughout the world. Heh.

Jerry Manthey storms out after a commercial break after voicing out her outrage at the show's exploitation of their pains and emotions (and getting boos after).

Richard Hatch, the original Survivor winner, defends the winners against the remarks of several others that they went too far in breaking friendships and their word during the show, saying that all's fair in the game.

Big Tom and Rob, despite their recent conflicts and some heated exchanges, eventually shake hands.


Amber, by ONE vote. She gets the million, and Rob gets a hundred thousand (I think).

Sub-winner: A new car is given away to another survivor, to be chosen by the winner, Amber. Amber gives it to Shi Ann, whom she says was the deciding vote that won her the game.

Final Surprise: Another million dollars will be given away by CBS to one of the 18 competitors (yes, Rob and Amber are also in the running). The winner is to be decided by audience vote, via text and e-mail. We'll all find out who in the later Survivor: More of the All Stars show.

I absolutely LOVED the show. The emotion was heavy but really now... It's a GAME, and everyone was playing everyone else at one point or another. You lost, tough. I really didn't like Boston Rob during his original Survivor show, but he just OWNED All-Stars. This guy played hardest, won pretty much every immunity and challenge and walked off with a car and the girl. Winner!

Oh well. What else is on today..?

Giving politics the Finger.

Today, millions of Filipinos went out to get their hands dirty in the world of politics. Yep, it was time to choose leaders for the next several years, the most crucial seat being the Presidential and Vice-Presidential positions.
I've been undecided till recently, and then I was choosing between two candidates. The movie star and the incumbent were not among them.

We'll see what happens soon, hopefully. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas.

Sunday, May 9

Mom's Day

She can't fly. She doesn't know martial arts. She doesn't have superpowers of any sort, but she's the strongest woman I know.

I hope she's with me for years and years and years more to come.
Paqc You!

Today, Pinoy superboxer Manny Pacquiao faced Mexican champion Marquez for the world championship. I've never really liked boxing. I mean, it's boring. The punches usually don't look anything like in the movies where sweat goes flying off, and men reel from power punches and combos... no, it's more like a battle of attrition, of slow whittling rather than super blows and flashy attacks. Boooooring.
My parents were so irritated by the tons of ads that they just asked me to find the results online. Heh. Anyway, the fight ended in a dead draw, which sucks. Well, here's to a rematch and a more conclusive end next time.