Friday, October 22

Game News

In the past couple of weeks, two much-anticipated and high-profile games in the US have been pirated before their release dates, the codes leaked into the Internet. The games include Halo 2 by Bungie for the Xbox and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for the PS2 by Rockstar Games.
Of course this has created a big hubbub in the US, with both companies announcing that they are going to pursue the thieves to the full extent of the law.
This brings the number of big-name pirated games to four- Halo and GTA join the company of Half Life 2 and Doom 3. This kind of occurence is a big issue in the US and Europe, where the authorities really enforce the intellectual property laws to the hilt. Well, that should teach game companies to hold onto their beta copies and master-ROMs a lot tighter.

I picked up several games recently- Dynasty Warriors: Empires is yet another game based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms tale of warlords and warriors in ancient China. This time however, the fighting extends to a bit of strategy and conquest as you take the role of various generals and seek to take over the whole of China one province at a time. It's still essentially the same game as every DW game, with the same cast of armoured guys and spunky gals duking it out in soldier-filled battlefields. It looks fun and when I get to have some real down time I might try to carve out an empire or two.

Shadow Hearts: Covenant is a PS2 RPG that's pretty quirky and unusual in storyline and design. Set in World War I, you take the role of a youth who can absorb demonic powers as he is attacked by a beautiful German agent and her allies. Soon though, enemies become allies and the heroes come together to expose an evil plot to take over the world. The unusual character designs (one of the playable characters is a pro-wrestling vampire!), superb translation and quick gameplay makes this almost an equal to the more high-profile Final Fantasy RPGs. I'll try to check this out when I can.

Only 5 days to the release of Dead or Alive Ultimate!!! There's still a chance for me to get the game before the Todos Los Santos holidays.... Crossing fingers... Crossing fingers!!! AAAAAHHHHH!!!!

Thursday, October 21

"Brain... Braaaaiiiinnn...."

Budjette posted an interesting article about the health and upkeep of our biggest organ... THE BRAIN, gutterboys. Well, here it is...

10 Biggest Brain Damaging Habits

1. No Breakfast
People who do not take breakfast are going to have a lower blood sugar level. This leads to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain causing brain degeneration.
Uh-oh... I can probably count on my fingers the times I actually get to have breakfast in a week... And when I do, it's usually at McDonald's or Deli France...

2. Overeating
It causes hardening of the brain arteries, leading to a decrease in mental power.
HEY! Damned if you don't, damned if you do...

3. Smoking
It causes multiple brain shrinkage and may lead to Alzheimer disease.

4. High Sugar consumption
Too much sugar will interrupt the absorption of proteins and nutrients causing malnutrition and may interfere with brain development.

5. Air Pollution
The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain, bringing about a decrease in brain efficiency.
Let's have no illusions. ALL of us in Manila have to cross this out. Hmm. Maybe I should start taking more walks in my Mom's garden.

6. Sleep Deprivation
Sleep allows our brain to rest. Long term deprivation from sleep will accelerate the death of brain cells.
Hmmm. My average sleeping time is 2AM... Gah...

7. Head covered while sleeping
Sleeping with the head covered increases the concentration of carbon dioxide and decrease concentration of oxygen that may lead to brain damaging effects.
Actually, I sleep with most of the body covered except for the head. Just gotta keep the feet covered, so monsters can't suck me out of the bed.

8. Working your brain during illness
Working hard or studying with sickness may lead to a decrease in effectiveness of the brain as well as damage the brain.
YAAAAAAAYYYY!!! Why am I cheering? I get points when I get sick!

9. Lacking in stimulating thoughts
Thinking is the best way to train our brain, lacking in brain stimulation thoughts may cause brain shrinkage.
Continuing to make comics is the best medicine for this.

10. Talking Rarely
Intellectual conversations will promote the efficiency of the brain
Darn. I tend to be quiet at the end of the day since I'm so tired. Gotta start talking again, I guess.

WELL! According to this checklist, I should by all rights be BRAIN DEAD! YEEEEBAAA!!! I guess I'm actually a zombie, typing away at my terminal as my limbs atrophy and fall away. I guess my cologne is really good that my workmates can't detect the stench of decaying flesh. But soon, when we are many, we will take the living and rule this land... Hahahahaha....

That's what I did to my P910i's battery today. Instead of plugging in the charger during the afternoon, I let the power supply go on it's own. By about 10 PM, the redlight. This from a charge about 24 hours ago. I'll be leaving the phone on the Docking Station overnight, so we'll see if that affects the longevity of my phone's power supply. I've been told that draining the battery and then leaving it charging for prolonged times will improve the battery life. We'll see if that works. Or is it really just an urban legend?
Anyway, If this doesn't improve, I'm thinking of getting a new battery, perhaps a P900 battery, and try that out.
A day's power is fine- I have no problem with charging the phone nightly. But I'd rather it not be so stingy with energy... I bought the phone to use and enjoy the features, not to constantly worry about losing power because I want to watch a couple of videos or listen to some MP3s during the day.

Still, I have to feel lucky I guess... real PDAs don't last as long as cellphones do, from what I've read. Perhaps I am being too hard on my mobile.... Hmmm... Nah.

Wednesday, October 20

W.I.T.C.H Warrior

Who needs frickin' magic when you can kick butt like Orube?

I found a reason to start reading W.I.T.C.H. again. Her name is Orube, the newest member of the five heroines in Disney's magical-girl team comic zine. Replacing the rebellious Taranee, the exotic-looking young lady seems quite out of place among the elemental magic-wielding witches, with her gi-type costume and martial arts. And predictably, she's gonna step on some toes and cause a bit of trouble thanks to her lone wolf attitude. But of course, if there's a Will (pun intended), there's a way for Orube to eventually find her niche in the team. Whether or not Taranee ever returns as a full-duty guardian, I hope they keep Orube around as a member or ally of the Witches. I'm a sucker for martial arts babes, and her design is pretty cool. Finally at least, there's gonna be butt-kicking action in a Disney comic. Excellent.
The Return of the Return of the King

Something to look forward to this December.

This year has the dubious distinction of being the year that ends without a Lord of the Rings film to look forward to. Well, we're going to have to live with that, but take heart! On December 14, the final, final, final feather in director Peter Jackson and crew's collective cap will be added with the release of the Return of the King Extended DVD Set. This 4-disc collection contains TONS and TONS of stuff for the LOTR enthusiast or completist, or for any movie fan in general. Aside from the widescreen version of the ROTK film with 50 minutes of new footage, the set is bursting with over 20 hours of additional content- makings of, features, interviews and galleries aplenty. There will also be the four customary commentaries to enjoy while watching the film, from the Director and Writers (always great), the cast (which will include pretty much everyone including an exchange between Smeagol and Gollum!), the Production and the Special Effects crew of WETA Digital.
The LOTR Extended DVD Sets are truly among the best DVDs ever released in terms of production, content and quality- this final set will complete my collection. If you want to learn more about the dvds and stuff, go on to the official LOTR site, Lord of the Rings.Net. The official trailer to the DVD set is also online, so check it out for some cool peeks into the ROTK goodness coming this Christmas.

Tuesday, October 19

Good as Gold

DOA Ultimate is on the way.


Dead or Alive Ultimate has gone GOLD!!! This was revealed today by major gaming websites Gamespot and IGN, from an official announcement from Tecmo, the makers of the sexy fighting game. Whereas in the record industry 'going gold' probably refers to sales, in the videogame world it means that the production and development of the game has been finished, a 'master copy' of the final retail version is done and on the way to the presses to be duplicated into thousands and thousands of copies. Copies that will inevitably make their way into the grubby paws of slavering gamers like ME.
It's about time. The first time a bit of news on DOA Ultimate, formerly Dead or Alive Online, was revealed was more than a year ago. Initially announced as DOA2 with DOA3 graphics with online capability, DOAO changed quite a bit in the many months since the original news announcement following the release of the offshoot DOA game, DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball. Since then, development team Team Ninja has tantalized fans and gamers with screenshots of surpassing beauty, of huge, new interactive stages, flashy new moves and modes, a new CG movie intro (which ironically has already made the rounds on the Internet) and LOADS of alternate costumes for DOA's virtual femme fatales/fashion models. The wealth of extras dates back to the first home versions of the original DOA, for the Playstation One and the Sega Saturn. Since then, fans have clamored for extras but strangely enough, Team Ninja kept extras and fluff to a minimum in every game since... until now. DOAU marks a return to the more playful, fan-servicey DOAs, and hopefully will carry on into later versions of the game, set to appear on the next generation of gaming consoles.

For now though, DOA Ultimate is poised to make it big with gamers, with every DOA fan at fever's pitch right now in terms of excitement to grab the game. Some sites have reported a release THIS WEEK, while a couple venture an in-store presence of the game next week. The sooner it arrives, the sooner I get it here in Manila, so I'm crossing my fingers. Whatever happens though, I am looking forward to getting the game before or by the end of the month, so I can enjoy it during the Todos Los Santos this November. Crossing fingers... crossing fingers...

Monday, October 18

Anime Acquired

Over the weekend I got myself a bunch of new anime. Among them, the last 3 episodes of Inu Yasha, the rest of the episodes of Tenjou Tenge, a new disc for Samurai Champloo, and new stuff called School Rumble and Bleach. The lemon of the bunch turned out to be one of the most promising- a VCD copy of the new Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence movie. The copy was pretty horrible; it looked like a film-transfer, which gave me deja vu to the days when VCDs were being hawked on the streets and cheap DVDs were unheard of. I decided to set the copy aside and wait for a clear version that will do the film justice.
Anyway, watched the Inu Yasha finale, and felt a twinge of sadness. It's over. No more adventures with Dog-Boy for the near future. But it was nice to see the last three episodes, which contained events that I had only seen previously in the manga version. Tenjou Tenge has disappointed me as a series- it seems to dwell constantly in flashbacks, and not enough realtime action. I'll reserve final judgement when I watch several more episodes, but it's not as appealing to me as before.

With Inu Yasha done, I'm looking for a new adventure series to chew into- top of the list is the ninja title Naruto, which I already have about 20 episodes ready to watch (more than a hundred are already out though). I guess I have to eventually watch the rest of Scrapped Princess and Last Exile. Well, we'll see if I can squeeze them in as I work on K.I.A. in the next couple of weeks.

Over the weekend, one of my pamangkins (niece or nephew for non-Filipino speakers) celebrated her birthday. Of course, I could have ventured to get her a game for her Gameboy SP on Friday, but I instead just contented myself with giving her cash. Cash rocks. No more problems of your gift not being liked, or being too big or too small, or not usable for the receiver. If they buy something and aren't satisfied with it, then it's all THEIR fault! Hehehehe. Too bad this can't do with grownups, though I have to admit I love receiving cash. Hoho...

Sunday, October 17

Fly the Friendly Skies

Can Sky Captain and Polly Perkins save the world from certain DOOM??!

From the mind of filmmaker Kerry Conran comes the retro-futuristic action-adventure Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Conran, a first-time director, won the right to make his dream reality by the virtue of a 6-minute concept video he made himself on an old Mac. Ten years in the making, the film finally hits the big screen.
Set in an alternate-reality world in the 1930s or 40s, Sky Captain takes glamorous retro-fashion and camera angles, glossy sepia-toned visuals, old-style fade-ins and radio waves and mixes it with giant robots, underground empires, dashing fighter pilots, flying airbases, intrepid reporters and good ol' fashioned Doomsday Devices.
The world is under attack from mysterious war machines being sent by an unknown mastermind. On the story of her career is reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is contacted by a terrified scientist who mutters with his dying breath the name "Totenkopf". Ooooh.
Anyway, when giant robots attack, the only defense against them is a mercenary force led by the suave Sky Captain, Joe (Jude Law) who flies into battle in a souped-up, loaded-with-more-gadgets-than-James-Bond propeller-driven fighter plane. After the initial skirmishes, Joe and Polly soon find themselves in a desperate quest to stop Totenkopf's scheme to bring about THE WORLD OF TOMORROW.

If it all seems pretty far out and kinda corny, it is... but in a good way. Going into this movie I really felt I was watching an old serial. The visuals are quite a sight to see, and the retro designs are appealing, unusual and quite refreshing to see. On the strength of the visuals and feel alone, this movie is worth seeing.
The story is a bit leisurely in its pace, but is not short in action, and it manages to get Joe and Polly on a trek around the world and into various locales before their adventure reaches a sky-rocketing conclusion. I would have preferred that the script and overall pace of the film be a bit faster, and I would have liked that Sky Captain be more a two-fisted hero. Jude Law is quite likeable as the titular hero, but it would have been nice to have him do more fighting outside of his super-plane. He and Gwyneth Paltrow don't seem to evoke a romantic chemistry between their characters- perhaps this was intentional- but I liked the way that their relationship, and the involvement of a third party (Franky Cook, played by a sexy Angelina Jolie in an eyepatch) was played lightly as comic relief.
Sky Captain's not perfect, but I can honestly say that I was having fun watching the film. I've heard from Carl that the movie didn't do that well in the US... I sincerely hope that it does better in other markets, and on DVD- good enough to warrant another high-flying adventure. Sky Captain and the Invaders from Mars, anyone?

Watch it in theaters now!