Friday, July 29

Bouncy Brawling in my Pocket

Sexy 3D fighting just became portable.

Okay, I have finally validated my status as a Dead or Alive fanatic. I not only bring around videos of Tecmo’s flagship fighter around for anytime watching, or use wallpapers of the DOA girls from time to time… now I can actually play DOA on my phone. Yep, ON MY PHONE. The original game on the Playstation 1 (and my all-time favorite of the series, honestly). It’s all thanks to fpsece, a cool freeware Playstation emulator that’s available online. Install this baby on your pocket pc and you’re good to go. Well, not really… you also have to track down several things, like all the apps you’ll need to create your own ISOs (basically the actual PS1 game compressed into a readable format, which are not easily found), some files that will make the app usable, and of course the know-how to actually do these things.

It took me several weeks (I discovered it all some time ago), but I finally found everything and was able to put together a virtual PS1 in my O2 XDA II Mini. And of course, I also managed to get the damn program working properly (basically the hardest part was actually getting playable ISOs) so now, I’m dandy. The game actually looks incredible on the Mini’s screen, hi-res and pretty smooth- albeit pretty much in slow motion- but it’s actually pretty cool… like fighting in bullet time. Heh.

Not only that, but I actually have made three games portably playable- not just Dead or Alive but Final Fantasy Tactics and Capcom’s cutesy but cool Pocket Fighters. I created the ISOs myself, and now I can load them anytime I want. The only flaws being that DOA is pretty huge (at 471mb, compared to only 62.2mb for Final Fantasy Tactics and 38mb for Pocket Fighters) and the games tend to play verrrrryyyyyyy slooooooooowly…. But still playable.

Of course, I have to consider that the Mini doesn’t have too many buttons, which makes strategy games like FF Tactics easy to play. Also, games using overly complicated joypad motions will probably be too hard to appreciate.
Anyway, DOA is basically all forward-forward movements, plus a button or so. It’s not like Streetfighter that has diagonal directions (which are impossible to do on the PPC controls), so it’s also pretty good as a fighter; you have a wealth of moves you can do even if some of the more elaborate moves are unusable.

Now I’m raring to get my hands on as many PS1 games as I can to rip and turn them into the portable format. Final Fantasy VII? Suikoden II? Soul Edge? Mmmm. We’ll see.

It’s just so awesome. Who would ever have thought it possible? Playstation games on a damn phone!!!


Thursday, July 28

Taxi Talk

Last night, I got into a cab going home from work. I wasn't feeling particularly well and I had to come in early the next day so I decided to spend a bit for a relaxed, one-shot trip back to The Sanctum. Within the first minute inside the cab, the driver spoke to me three times, so I resigned myself to giving up on having a restful drive and instead having a conversational journey. Well, it turned out to be a quite interesting talk as the driver was pretty articulate.

In fact, he was apparently a former salesman before he became a cabbie (he also quoted the interesting mantra of the salesmen- "Salesmanship begins when the customer says no."), and he apparently uses the communication skills he got from his former profession as a cabbie. Particularly, he finds himself often educating passengers on how some cab drivers cheat through tampered meters (which also launched a long talk about the infamous Wallis taxi company). Apparently, these horn-swaggled devices have special switches attached which the cabbie triggers (to add pesos to the price) by pressing buttons either on the radio (seen this) or near the gas or brake pedals (hmm). He himself never used the things, though he confessed to driving cabs with the cheating devices installed.

He also told me the reason why I find it sometimes hard to get a taxi to drive me all the way to Makati to work from Quezon City. It all has something to do with taxi boundaries, gas and the distance... well, I didn't really bother to understand aside from the apparent fact that taxis often don't earn from long journeys if they have to drive back and use up gasoline in the process. Well, tough... I can't, as a passenger, change the places I have to go, so we all have our crosses to bear. We also talked about how some taxis try to get passengers to ride by contract, and how he usually just get by with asking for additional fare if the passenger is inclined to do so (if they refuse, no problem).

Anyway, in the end, I got off at home, paid the guy extra for the good service and the chat (and since I was inclined to- maybe the guy has Jedi powers?), and that was it for another one of those interesting taxi talks. If only there were more drivers like that guy. Like... a million more. Maybe this country would be getting somewhere.

Tuesday, July 26

Sexy Next Level Gaming

There was a recent Xbox Gaming Summit held recently in Japan, and it showcased a lot of the upcoming games and developers working on the upcoming Xbox 360 system. Of course, the games that matter for me are the sexy action games, and joy-oh-joy there are some tidbits.
Dead or Alive 4 isn't the only game coming from Tecmo of Japan. The DOA babes continue to be the company's breadwinners, with no less than at least three games coming within the franchise. The flagship fighting sequel DOA4 was shown in a slightly-tweaked trailer (disappointingly too similar to the original DOA4 E3 showing), while a sequel to the hilarious Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball has been confirmed. The sequel, titled presently Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, will feature more sports aside from volleyball. Just WHAT these other activities will be remains unknown. DOA Basketball? DOA Tennis? DOA Track and Field? Is there nothing the DOA girls can do?

Another title long in development limbo is Dead or Alive: Code Chronos which was formerly for Xbox but now firmly slated for Xbox 360. Aside from Team Ninja leader Tomonobu Itagaki himself, no one has an idea of what this non-fighting DOA game will be all about. All that is known is that it will star ninja babes Kasumi and Ayane, and will explain more of the DOA world.

Yet another Tecmo title is simply known as Project Progressive and is totally an enigma. Feh.

Finally, another rumored game being worked on by Team Ninja is Ninja Gaiden 2, the sequel to one of the best action games of last year (if not the most graphically striking).

On another company's sexy gaming offering, Konami showed off the first peek into the sequel to their raunchy all-female wrestling title, Rumble Roses. The sequel, known provocatively as Rumble Roses XX will apparently feature tag-team modes and the return of the cast of sexy grapplers. Hopefully better play mechanics and more modes, new femme fatales and next-gen graphics will make RRXX something to look forward to.

Well, DOA4 is supposedly on track for a holiday release as a launch title with the Xbox 360. Given Team Ninja's tendency to miss deadlines, I'm not too confident in this. Bah. As long as they load in a gazillion costumes along with all the bells and whistles ala DOA Ultimate times ten, I'll be happy. It all starts later this year, by end 2005. I
Why Nokia suddenly released the 6681 right after coming out with the 6680...

Sunday, July 24

Culture Crash

Off to it's honored place in Comic Book Heaven.

The dream is over.

After months of speculation, the truth is finally revealed by Pasig artist/creator Taga-Ilog on his Deviantart Page.

After 16 issues and 2 great conventions, Culture Crash, the local manga zine that made a mark for itself has finally called it quits. Apparently struggling all this time to continue to operate totally on their profits and sales without the benefit of ad funding has taken its toll, and now Culture Crash is no more.

The zine has had its large number of supporters, and fair amount of detractors, but I have to say that I consider their achievements significant and a welcome thing in the local comic book field. I consider the Culture Crash Crew my friends and peers in the art of graphic storytelling, and I am myself a fan of their work. It's really sad to see that they stopped short of ever finishing any of the storylines they began, and even sadder to speculate what could have been if things had gone better with the country's economy. The saddest thing is the implications this has on comics as a business- that even Culture Crash, with good content and excellent production, could not be sustained indefinitely. Well, I don't treat comics as a business, so what the heck. Perhaps that's the way to go, ultimately. Anyway...

I'd like to think that in another world, Culture Crash would have continued, the stories would have been completed and moved on, and issues would come every month with great art and improving storytelling.

Perhaps Dante of Pasig will eventually make peace with his enemies and settle down happily with Mina.

The students of One Day, Isang Diwa will continue to have magical adventures with their fairy friends.

Airi of Cat's Trail will someday find the big score and maybe give Butler the time of day, finally.

The Kubori Kikiam things will finally get eaten. Whatever.

Of course, the guys at CCCom will probably still be in comics- I know a fair number of them have already moved on to work with Seven Seas Publishing (No Man's Land, Blade for Barter), and people like Taga-Ilog will without a doubt continue to work their magic in art and pages in other forms. Or perhaps, if things really do well, maybe we'll see a reunion or resurgence someday? We'll just have to see. But for now though, it's goodbye.

Well, I have 16 great issues to remember them by. It was great while it lasted, Taga-Ilog, James and the rest. I hope that you guys don't totally leave comics. Let's work on something again, someday.