Friday, December 29

HDTV a.k.a. Hassle and Disappointment TV

As I've probably mentioned before, I'm thinking of getting a big-screen HDTV to go with my upcoming Playstation 3. Well, today I actually got a step closer to my 1080p dream, but then suddenly jumped three steps back. While affordable LCD monitors are available now, I discovered a distressing property of the Samsung Widescreen LCDs I am eyeing for The Sanctum... THEY HAVE NO VIDEO OUT.

This is a pretty big turn-off for me, considering that I love to record video with my lovely Archos AV700. Is there a way at all to capture video on the Samsung sets? Or must I look to other brands? I guess I have to do more research into this before I take the leap into the HDTV pond. For now though, I guess my ol' Sony Wega will stay for a while longer for my viewing pleasures. Oh well.

Thursday, December 28

PS3 Bound

I've more or less committed myself to getting a Playstation 3. I've decided on getting the 20GB version- the 60 GB version is considerably more expensive for simply having 40 more Gigs of HD space, built-in card reader slots, WiFi and a spiffy chrome trim.
I can always upgrade the Hard Drive myself and use a separate USB card reader, plus I don't really need the WiFi. Not having the chrome trim hurts though...

Considering that PS3s go for upwards of 40 to 50K in malls these days, I'm getting my console quite cheaply. At least I maintain my record of keeping console purchases under 30K.
My shiny new console will hopefully arrive just after the New Year's. No hurry in any case, since my main reason for getting a PS3 is still due in February. Still, I can't say I'm not pleased... I already have the spot dusted off and ready for the new console in The Sanctum. Everything comes to him who waits. Even one who hates waiting.

Wednesday, December 27

Roll Out!

Here's a good look at Optimus Prime from the upcoming Transformers movie from director Michael Bay, courtesy of Empire Magazine (issue out this January). Looks a lot more complex and spiky than the Optimus we knew in our childhood, but at least the shape of his head is recognizable... and he'll sound right since voice actor Peter Cullen will once again be voicing the Autobot leader.

I've seen the trailer, and it looks more horror movie/ID4-esque alien invasion drama than action-scifi with giant transforming robots. Early impression has me thinking it's going to delve a lot more into the human characters and how they deal with the gigantic metal warriors rather than the way the cartoons presented the Cybertronians. Still, color me curious and intrigued. Of course, since it's from Michael Bay, expect lots of explosions, bad-ass slow motion walks towards the camera and monumental pans of the heroes. Heh.

Transformers, along with a shipload of other cool flicks, will be out in mid-2007.

Tuesday, December 26

Playing it Safe

It's about a day after Christmas and already, it looks grim on the nightly news. During dinner we watched TV Patrol report on multiple fires all around the country and several hold-ups in the Metro. It's both saddening and infuriating that quite a few Filipinos will be homeless just after the Holidays, and that there will always be degenerate individuals who are willing to knife you in the ribs just to get themselves money for a frickin' DRINK. BASTARDS. The Vanishing Ray is too good for these turds. A rusty axe would be better. A DULL rusty axe. Feh.

It's a good thing I've become more of a homebody now... It's far better to stay indoors and to keep your eyes on your home and loved ones, than to go out in crowded malls where predators are likely to be on the lookout for hapless people loaded with Christmas money. Still, I'll try to catch Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah and perhaps Super Noypi before the vacation ends. Let's try to make each hour of our break count for something other than getting back lost sleep.
An Epic Fantasy Adventure in 11 Parts

If you're a regular reader of SRM, you probably know that I absolutely LOVE the RPG series Suikoden from Konami. I love it even more than that OTHER big RPG from Square. Even if the structure will usually be the same (hero must find and bring together the 108 Stars of Destiny to defeat a great evil), the telling of the epic adventures has always been full of great stuff- conspiracies, political maneuverings, personal and large-scale conflicts and lots of great characters. With the exception of Suikoden IV, I've loved pretty much every one of the games, with Suikoden II and V topping my list.
A close third is, interestingly enough, Suikoden III. While I admit I have not finished the game, I really have fond memories of this game thanks to the great characters and the cool story. And so, I committed to collecting the manga that re-tells the story of the RPG. It's been several years but FINALLY, finally, the manga adaptation of Suikoden III is complete.

Manga-ka Aki Shimizu has done an admirable job of translating the complex story of a war between various factions and nations within the embattled Grasslands, a conflict whose viewpoint is seen through not one, not two or even three sides of the story. While the main characters of Hugo, Chris and Geddoe are retained as the leads, you still find yourself caring for their comrades and families, who are themselves given good exposure. In fact, Shimizu tries and pretty much succeeds to give pretty much every 108 Star of Destiny some role in the manga... not an easy feat.
The story is complex but not that hard to follow thanks to extensive notes and recaps in every book. The art as well is quite excellent, capturing for the most part the style of the source material and even expounding on the characters. The action scenes and battles are exceptionally well done as well, with lots of cool magic and clashing weapons making for much drama.

I've not seen any other RPG given such detailed and faithful adaptation as with Suikoden III, perhaps due to the difficulty of adapting the often twisting stories in such games. Shimizu however succeeds in bringing a work that not only captures the plot and feel of the game but stands on it's own as a wonderful fantasy adventure enjoyable not only by fans of the game, but by manga lovers in general looking for great art and story.

Suikoden III manga is an 11-volume series from Tokyo Pop. Look for it at Comic Quest and other good comic book specialty stores or shops.

After reading the manga, I suddenly have the urge to bring out the old PS2 disc and start playing again. Vinay Del Zexay, here I come. Heh.

Sunday, December 24

Merry Christmas to One and All

This year wasn't the best of times. The country has had its share of devastating natural calamities and the continued depradations of corrupt politicians. Somehow though, the Filipino people have to keep the faith, stay the line and keep walking on. Stronger storms and even more corrupt politicians will come, without a doubt, but we'll manage, somehow, with God's help and mercy. The strength of the Pinoy probably is in their resilience to keep finding humor and happiness even in the most dire situations. And in no other time does the Pilipino shine than at Christmas.

Hopefully we all find pause tonight with the people we love and have, for one night, peace and happiness.

Merry Christmas, everyone.