Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New Year's Eve + Misc. Game Awards

The end of another fine year. Overall, I'd say it was a pretty good year. A pretty good year for videogames too, for the most part. Hence, the following.

Best PS3 Game That Was Not A Sequel To Anything Else/Best Game No One Played
... So I guess that rules out most games. Anyway, Valkyria Chronicles. It was my Christmas present so I've only played it for like seven hours so it might get awful towards the end. I doubt it. It's very, very cool. It's basically turn-based-third-person-tactical-wartime-shooter. Which is very, very cool. The strategy portions make you feel like you are a big, tough general with your little rake that you use to push minature versions of all your units around, but the third-person-tactical-wartime-shooter part makes you feel like you are really there and that you are going to get shot in the face. Which I do on a regular basis. And then I feel guilty when a unit goes critical, but it's not like Fire Emblem where your shit is fucked up permanently if your HP is reduced to zero. On the topic of feeling guilty, onto the next category.

Best Game That Made Me Incredibly Guilty
Ah yes, I wanted to play Pikmin since the Gamecube first came out. I got mine on launch day along with Super Smash Bros. Melee. That was a good day. But they didn't have Pikmin, so maybe I got something in addition to Melee? Anyway. I borrowed it from good ol' Doctor J (and found out two days later that they were doing a remake on the Wii BUT THIS TIME WITH WAGGLE!).
Anyway. The Pikmin themselves are very fucking adorable. So adorable that whenever I hurl half my squad onto an enemy and watch as they take it down, I smile. But wait! The enemy's retaliating! Oh what the fuck, it's killed like four of them. At this point (in real life), I start yelling that I WILL KILL THAT FUCKER NO MATTER WHAT BECAUSE YOU KILLED MY PIKMIN. I defeat it. My remaining Pikmin hurl the monster's corpse back to my base, where it will be turned into seeds so that more Pikmin can sprout.
But the sense of guilt lingers. However, guilt does not equate to just feeling plain terrible. Thus, the next category.

Best Game That Turned Me Into An Emotional Wreck/Best Two-Year-Old-Game-That-Most-Of-Us-Played-This-Year
Mother 3 is sweet, quirky and one of the most charming games I've ever played. That being said, Mother 3 is probably also the most depressing game I have ever played.By halfway, it's pretty obvious how it's all going to end, but the way it was executed is amazing. You get the feeling that you could've done something to prevent the ending from happening but of course you can't, it's a game. But then the final scene comes in and like reality punching you in the face, reminds you that you were involved. You were as much a part of their world as all the characters were.
Of course, the whole 'Two Year' thing comes into play because the marvelous translation project was completed this year, which I made a big deal about when it happened. Speaking of big deals...

BIG DEALS PART ONE: Fuck Yes You Are The Cheapest Game Ever
Guess how much I bought Folklore at K-Mart for? Three-dollars-fucking-fifty-cents. I jest not. The box said $20 (a wonderful bargain for a PS3 game anyway) but when I took it up to the counter, it was $3.50. Holy shit.

BIG DEALS PART TWO: That One Game That I Would Not Shut Up About
Hey guys, remember when No More Heroes was first announced? And I jumped up and down and shouted 'OH HELL YES, HEROES IS GOING TO BE TOTALLY EXCELLENT.' From that day on, I marked NMH related stuff in my diary (like when the website was going to open), read all the interviews with Suda51, looked at the concept art and wailed like a little bitch when it was delayed. And then of course, NMH 2 was announced. I do believe the cycle will repeat itself. All this being said, I'm not really sure if I can give NMH 'Wii Game of The Year'. I'm tempted to give it to. Or I could just make a separate category.

Wii Game of The Year That Is Neither No More Heroes Or Brawl

Disaster: Day of Crisis is it. The whole thing is a massive parody of pretty much every single action movie ever. You do pretty much everything in this game. You run and jump and rescue people by lifting rubble off them or by cleaning their wounds, you go through some nifty arcade shooting action and you drive your car around by tilting your Wiimote this way and that. (The driving stages were not good at all, but everything else was enjoyable and well-done so I'm willing to overlook it.) This game also gets bonus awesome points because when it was announced I was pretty 50/50 on whether it would be a decent game. I'm glad it was good. The Wii needs more good games. 2009 should be a good year though. Next one's related, because of one thing...

BONUS: Most Attractive Character
Dammit, Ray. Dammit.

Best Worst Game of The Year
You know, I love rhythm games. I especially love Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents, because it's just quirky. So what do you get when you combine Ouendan/EBA and turn it into what is pretty much a dating sim? Well, you get Princess Debut which is about your character who is transported into an alternate dimension where she is a princess and has to find a dance partner for the upcoming ball. Awww. The dancing is actually the dullest part of the whole game as you are forced to grind one song about three times a day for five days before you get another. Not cool at all. There's no challenge, and it's not HARDCORE DIFFICULT like the later levels in Ouendan/EBA But the whole dating thing is really quite fucking awesome. You have your choice of like six different princes and you're pretty much dating all of them at the same time. Holy shit, I'm a princess! Are those accessories I can wear?! Oh my god, Prince Claus is soooo dreamy!
If you do plan on playing this though, do not choose Vincent. The little cocksucker.

Freeware Game of The Year
The thing about horror games nowadays is that they're all too action-oriented (see: Dead Space, Siren: Blood Curse, RE4). What's the point of putting creepy monsters in front of me if I can just beat them to death? And jump scares are not scary. They are shocking. People interchange the definitions of scary and shocking far too often. When I play a horror game, I expect to be terrified. I expect to be afraid of standing near my bed at two in the morning because something will grab me. And then when I'm in bed, I expect to keep glancing around nervously just in case something has silently appeared.
There's like, maybe two games that has made me uneasy and restless. Then there's Irisu Syndrome. You look at it and say, 'Oh hey, this looks like a pretty cute puzzle game', but you can't shake the feeling that something is very, very wrong. This game is the only game that has scared me to the point that I ran out of the fucking room. And because of that, it's a masterpiece.

Retail Game of The Year
Rhythm Tengoku Gold. It's one of those minigame collections, except it requires real rhythm. And of course, since I don't know Japanese, I had the bonus pleasure of trying to figure out what the hell I had to do every stage. Some of them are just plain hard, like the second ping pong stage. RTG is excellent and you should feel totally awful about yourself if you have a DS and flash cart and have not played it.

Well, Happy New Year, folks! Enjoy getting drunk and waking up next to a complete stranger. Remember to steal his/her wallet and send me a nice gift because I know how much you enjoy my blog.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

OH GOD I'M GONNA PRETEND IT'S STILL CHRISTMAS

MERRY CHRISTMAS DUDES AND LADIES

I HOPE YOU ALL GOT WHAT YOU WANTED

Friday, 19 December 2008

Review: Queer Village

Today is another very special review day! Because, y'know, the nice Datacom dudes haven't exactly given me much to do other than "HERE IS SOME DATA, FILTER IT OUT AND THROW IT INTO A SPREADSHEET" which takes like two hours anyway.

Anyway, today I review Queer Village, an indie freeware (is that term redundant yet?) game that I first played about a month or so back but forgot about. Out of the list of games I was considering writing a review for, this was the only one I could remember well enough. For reasons that will become apparent shortly.

Quick note: If I come across as being homophobic at all (although most readers know me well enough to realise that I am extremely supportive of gays and lesbians; besides, I pretty much posted a link to gay porn like, two entries ago), I'm just going to say: It's not hate if you enjoy it.

So you're probably thinking: "Queer Village, eh? That sounds like a game where you wake up in a town and you have to escape it but the only way to do so is to sleep with all the dwarves. Or strip poker or something." So it may disappoint (or relieve) you that there is very little actual homosexuality in it, other than the loading image, which is all rainbow-coloured and pretty, the village name and the bizarre ending which I will reveal later, assuming you are still reading.

The basic premise of Queer Village is as follows:

Your brother left the peaceful queer village and went to the forest in search of mehrehem. He is lost and you must find him.

That's taken directly from the game's intro. What the hell is 'mehrehem'? A quick search says that 'meh' means 'more' in German. 'Rehem', I have no idea, but apparently it's a legit word. Maybe it means to 'hem again'? 'More hem again'. Yeah, whatever. Anyway, the game takes off. You control your persona, who is a glowing ball, with your mouse. No clicking, nothing required. Oh, one more thing that is possible homosexual is the background. It's a nice background. I would put it on my walls, but it doesn't exactly scream 'manly'. And those arrows. Follow dem arrows.

Even as you follow the arrows you'll think thoughts like 'Oh god, what am I supposed to be doing? What is with this music? Do I have to go around those blocks?' Turns out you can actually pass straight through the boxes. Convenience? Some kind of metaphor? At first I thought Queer Village was like, one of those steady hand games. Except when you touch the edges you get mauled by wolves and you never find your brother.

Anyway, you eventually come across this creepy looking guy who offers you mehrehem. How nice of you to offer to rehem my clothes more! As you can see by what he says, I actually have found my brother at this point. Ok, why wasn't I informed? Technically shouldn't I be able to just go on home to Queer Village? But no sir, because once you talk to Creepy Guy, he follows you around. You can't go back to Queer Village either because apparently it's not on the map. Ok. That's cause for concern, I'd say.

So two minutes later when you've stopped screaming at Creepy Guy to hurry the fuck up and helped him when he gets stuck around corners by shifting your mouse slightly, the game ends, and not in a nice 'You brought the man home successfully and made it back to your village' way.



Thanks for letting me know.

I swear I am not making this shit up. I should've seen it coming from a mile away, but I suppose I expected it to happen after an hour of guiding Creepy Guy around the most dangerous of blocks and fighting wild animals with nothing but my bare hands because I'm that much of a manly man. I also have to say that this ending freaked me out somewhat because that is what happens when you combine a late night, coffee, drone, Creepy Guy and then suddenly 'YOU AND YOUR BROTHER WERE RAPED AND KILLED'.

So what's the deal with this game? Pretentious Indie Gamer has some pretty deep musings on it. Me, I'm not too sure. I'm trying not to think too hard about it because, like, I'll do it tomorrow or something. I mean, on one hand I love it for being a pretentious indie mindfuck game that - dare I say it? - jumps into the box labelled 'GAMES THAT ARE ART OR IF CALLING GAMES ART IS NOT YOUR THING ARE AT LEAST DEEPER THAN HALF-LIFE OR GEARS OF WAR' but on the other hand I am puzzled and wonder what the hell the creator was trying to prove. Maybe I'll just steal Pretentious Indie Gamer's opinion.

If you do want to play Queer Village, knock yourself out and tell me what you think.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

When I do work experience, I end up writing blog entries instead

Holy hell, three entries in a week! You should all be so lucky.

I really want the Street Fighter IV collector's edition. I mean, just look at it. That is a beautiful, awesome, excellent, etc. reason for me to part with $120+. But right now I'm refraining from dipping my mind's collectorfag fingers into my hypothetical 2009 budget, because I am simply awful at 2D fighters.

Don't get me wrong, I love 2D fighters. Despite the archetypes and the typical storylines (although it can be argued and accepted that 3D fighters - heck, videogames in general use them anyway), it's one of those genres which really interests me. I remember playing Street Fighter II when I was like, four (although it was probably Super Turbo I was playing) using Chun-Li. Yes, I did suck. I think I died on my first round. So it's true, I'm shit at them. I am much more content to sit and watch someone while being loud and obnoxious and blabbing about tier lists (and I know this makes me a bad person but I have never had to do it yet. I'd refrain from talking about tier lists completely but they're fun argument starters.) The thing is, I rarely ever play 2D fighters. Why? Because they are probably the most overlooked genre here.

2D fighters don't seem to be as prevalent in game popularity over here than in other countries. Well, Brisbane, at least. I swear I've only ever seen a group of people crowding around a King of Fighters machine instead of playing Initial D or whatever is hip and cool with hip and cool Sunnybank guys nowadays once. And I go to that arcade pretty regularly. And in some arcades I've been to, they don't even HAVE any 2D fighters. Go to any EB and there WILL be that lingering, unsold copy of King of Fighters 2003. So it's quite fair to say that arcade-goers and consolefriends think that 3D fighters are worth more of their time and money. If I'm not wrong, Tekken 4, Tekken 5 and Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection all went platinum here and I know many gamers still jack-off to them.

I'm not saying that Tekken, nay, that 3D fighters in general are bad games. I enjoy the occasional match and all, but it really is a cinch if you just button mash. If you can actually play it properly, good for you. Point I'm making is that I can beat story mode with any character even if I don't have a fucking clue what I'm doing - with pure button mashing. Or better yet: "Hey, that's a cool combo. I'll just spam it over and over to win the match."

I find that this is also the case with any 3D fighter of your choice (save for Virtua Fighter, save for maybe Virtua Fighter 5 because I don't recall wondering why all the characters were moving around in molasses). Button mash, spam knockback moves, pull off an infinite juggle combo. Oops, did I make a physics pun there? That too. People love 3D fighters because they're easy. And because they love boobs. In 2D fighters, you get nowhere with button mashing. You'll win maybe the first two matches by dumb luck but after that you'll be wondering how the fuck the CPU managed to land a 'PERFECT' on you.

As mentioned previously, just because I love Soul Calibur doesn't mean I'm not going to bag it when I get the chance. After all, it's not racist if you're mocking your own race.

It makes sense though then, that the overwhelming preference for 3D fighters over 2D fighters affects which games we are and aren't going to get over here. Street Fighter IV was obviously going to make it over, since it's so gosh darn popular. But I sure as hell haven't seen any Guilty Gear cabinets (and I've only seen the actual console games at like, one store, disregarding Judgement and Dust Strikers). It's like whoever's in charge of distribution has said: "Let's just not bother with any 2D fighters for Australia except for SFIV because it's the only one people give a fuck about." (Oh wait, SFIV's 2.5D anyway.) In any case, this is extremely upsetting. I want Accent Core! I want Blazblue! I want those games that people might not give a damn about now but will maybe fall in love with if they only gave them a chance.

... Looks like I'm gonna have to buy SFIV for my fix.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

I swear the next post will have nothing to do with adult content

Instead of getting photos off my phone so I could make the real entry (as mentioned here), let's just say that I was BROWSING MATERIAL THAT I CAN NOW LEGALLY BROWSE.

This page has made me curious. (Nothing TOTALLY NSFW - just a bunch of characters wondering whether having a big nose means you have a big penis. That's kinda interesting if it's true.)

I want opinions! Or if you'd rather not share your opinion, that is totally cool and I will go and hire some male prostitutes with big noses.

For reference, the name of this particular one is Rugby Dormitory 204 which is totally not gay at all.

And to make it so that this isn't a completely awkward and gay post, Metal Gear? On the iPhone? And Silent Hill and Dance Dance Revolution? I don't give a damn about MGS4 getting ported to the 360, rumour or not, so why do I give a damn about these Konami games getting on the iPhone? Especially since it is more likely than not that they will suck.

Monday, 15 December 2008

A VERY FUCKING BORING ENTRY (but I've got to post sometime, right?)

So apparently I now have a job. And by job I mean I'm doing work experience at this IT company called Datacom. After a day of working there, I still have no clue what they do. Maybe because I spent 5 of my 8 hours there today staring into space because I didn't have any login details, but the people seem nice. Apparently I'm doing service desk help or something that requires equally large amounts of talking into headsets to people, which worries me slightly. And it is really not like the IT Crowd at all, maybe.

I also still have no clue where the hell the office is, but I somehow managed to walk to the city with tremendous amounts of luck and the map the nice receptionist gave me, otherwise who knows how many times I would have been raped by now. It's in West End or something, so come and visit me. Or you could just call me and ask me ridiculous questions about your computer.

Nintendo also relaunched their new official magazine today (which I haven't read properly yet). I am a sucker for free stuff and bought it mostly for the calendar, because $9 for a calendar, albeit a Nintendo calendar, is very fucking cheap. What I expected: Twelve months of Mario. What I got: HOLY FUCK IS THAT MADWORLD, WIND WAKER, NO MORE HEROES, PIKMIN AND CHRONO TRIGGER ALL IN ONE CALENDAR? FUCK YES YOU ARE THE BEST CALENDAR EVER

Expect some game reviews soon. I promise the next entry will be more amusing and image-based. It is about what I saw when I went to Target last week. You will be upset, if you give a shit about the fandom at all.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Oh, goody!

Here is my NaNoWriMo entry.

It is called Whatever Happened to Kevin Kane?. Here is the synopsis, if you are debating reading it (which you should). The synopsis is not very good, but at the time of writing it (read: 9AM) I was very tired and pulled it out of my ass. Cut me some slack.

Remember that one guy at your school who was really smart but then everyone forgot about (well, except for you, if you were friends with him)?

This is his story.

I hope you enjoy this tale of mystery and intrigue.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Tiny update.

Dudes and ladies who came to my party - thanks. It was a grand time. Your presents have been put to good use, I promise!

Other news: Flower, Sun and Rain (E) was finally released on ROM sites. Character models look awful. Gameplay will not be everyone's cup of tea, no sir. But this game's wonderful and I'm glad I held out for the English version. There's just fucktons of reading. A full review coming soon, maybe.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

NaNoWriMo

It's November! National Novel Writing Month, fuck yeah.

I failed hard last year because my computer died and I didn't make up-to-date backups of my story. I don't think you're allowed to reuse ideas, so I've got a new one up my sleeve.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Monday, 13 October 2008

Oh lord, another kid's meal toy review

About a year ago, I bought a kid's meal at Red Rooster, purely because they had Transformers toys in them. Long story short, it was incredibly disappointing. It was basically Bumblebee (in his new and shiny Camaro form) which opened up to reveal... Bumblebee sitting inside.

Fast forward a year later and Transformers Animated is all the rage, despite the fact that we got the series about eight months late. So of course: HEY, LET'S PUT SOME TOYS OUT! Of course, after deeply regretting not getting a Clone Wars toy (despite my scathing opinion of it), I bought one. The lineup was different from the American one (ours includes Optimus, Bumblebee, Megatron and Ratchet), which kind of sucks. Decepticon faggotry for kids? Hell no.

Anyway, I nabbed Ratchet, the new Ironhide. His vehicle mode looked decent, although he didn't have that pull-back function that for some reason, most cheap toy cars have. Yes, I was pretty pleased with Ratchet!

Until I transformed him. FRET NOT! He does actually transform, unlike that goshdarn excuse for a Camaro. But the results are less than spectacular:


Unless you mean, y'know, spectacularly bad
.

Those arms are not very efficient. Ratchet, need a hand? I guess you could just fix yourself up, but jeez. Seriously. And those... those aren't even legs! Enjoy hopping away.

Long story short: TRY HARDER, MCDONALDS. Especially with legs. (Shut up, I know these are terrible, cheap toys. Let me have my fun.)

BONUS FUN PART

Oh goodie, it's my birthday! Here is a toy to grace my collection: TFA Blitzwing. I love this dude so much. The toy is pretty much a perfect representation of my three moods too: Icy, RAGE and BATSHIT INSANE. I am going to put him on my desk and switch his face around according to my mood.

Now I'm just holding out for Longarm Prime, Wreck-Gar, Galvatron and Cyclonus. Possibly TFA Prowl since I love that crazy gay Autobot ninja. It's going to be an overwhelming Decepticon victory on my shelf, the way things are going.

AND ALSO, The Witcher Enhanced Edition, fuck yes. I've been waiting over a year for this version to come out (FEATURING SHORTER LOAD TIMES, RETRANSLATED DIALOGUE AND A FUCKTON OF ROLE-PLAYIN'). I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it in the shop. It's like, it comes with all the shit (Making-of DVD, soundtrack, game guide, game manual, original story) that usually comes in a collector's edition? FOR SEVENTY BUCKS? Sign me up, Captain! And also a map.

Screw witty pop-culture posters, I'm putting maps of videogame worlds on my wall.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

OH MY FUCKING GOD

My next update was going to be a, you know, real one. BUT HOLY FUCKING SHIT.

If this is real, I will... oh my god. Yes. YES! OH GOD YES!

Monday, 29 September 2008

The poor blog is lonely.

Here's an update.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Review: Zombie vs. Ambulance

Zombie vs. Ambulance: The only chilling thing about this game is possibly the loading screen.

Title: Zombie vs. Ambulance (aka: Zombie Virus)
Developer: Vingt-et-un Systems
Publisher: D3 Publisher (JP), Essential Games (EU)
Year: 2006 (JP/EU)

Oh, Japan. You’re the zaniest country a lover of the bizarre like me could ever hope for. Sometimes I love you. Sometimes I just want to strangle you. Sometimes I want to have sex with you WHILE strangling you. This is exactly how I feel in the case with Zombie vs. Ambulance.

In Zombie vs. Ambulance (or Zombie Virus, if, like me, you got the PAL version), you’re a medical student who has survived a zombie apocalypse. Somehow. Realising that there could be survivors out there, you hop into an ambulance and rescue them. While running zombies over in large groups. With a female cheerleader voice urging you on. It’s one of those games that make you either go ‘That is the stupidest fucking thing I have ever heard of’ or ‘My god, that is pure genius’.

I’m not going to say what my opinion is because quite frankly, I don’t know. Ok, you know what? I’m going to give this two scores. One of these scores starts with a ‘T’ and ends in a ‘En out of ten because this is a fucking cool concept’ and the other starts with a ‘T’ and ends in a ‘Wo out of ten because GODDAMN EVERYTHING ELSE IS SO TERRIBLE’.

So, let’s get on with the review. As I have made clear, you drive an ambulance around in order to:
A) Run zombies over; and
B) Rescue people.

This is where it starts getting complex. All at the same time there are like several things you need to keep an eye on.

One is the ‘Morale Gauge’ – an indication of how your survivors are doing back at the hospital. This slowly drops over time. When I say slowly, I actually mean RIDICULOUSLY QUICKLY. Well, I’m sitting here now thinking that maybe, ok, in an actual zombie apocalypse type of situation, people would lose out pretty fast, go insane and all that jazz. So what, this game’s being realistic about a zombie apocalypse situation? I guess now’s a good time to insert a disclaimer.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not saying that a zombie apocalypse MOST DEFINITELY IS NOT POSSIBLE. I’m just saying that chances are slim.

Did I mention that when the Morale Gauge runs out, it’s game over? Yeah, you’ll be seeing a lot of those in this game. The thing I don’t actually get about the Morale Gauge is that it’s present in the very first mission, when you haven’t actually rescued any survivors. Well, ok, there’s your sexy friend and a couple of other sexy women, but they don’t do shit – they just stand there and look sexy. And report your statistics to you. And save your game.

There’s the ‘Survivor Icon’, which are little outlines of people on the lower left-hand corner of the screen. Of course, the number of survivors you have with you is relative to how many of these icons you have. These slowly fill up over time because guess what? They gradually turn into zombies! In your ambulance. When this happens, the only way to get rid of them now is to crash into a wall at fucking high speeds, otherwise they damage… you? Your ambulance? Anyway, let them stick around for too long and you die. Game over.

The only way to prevent survivors from turning into zombies is by getting them back to the hospital, pronto. (Oddly enough, even though all your survivors back at the hospital are fighting off the zombie hordes, there’s always someone on hand to make these people all better. I learnt in movies that you can never undo zombification! Well, maybe those sexy friends of yours has something to do with it.)

Match all this up with the fact that the controls, well, suck, and holy shit is this game frustrating. Not difficult, mind you – I’m sure if I invest more than half an hour I’d be able to get a fair way into the game – just very, very frustrating. Shaking zombies off (the zombies who are already roaming around and attack you so fucking aggressively when you slow down for like one second) by twiddling the left and right analogue sticks is just plain awkward, especially while racing around corners at high speeds without crashing while looking at the map, trying to get back to the hospital, all while trying to run over as many zombies as possible so that you can keep your kill combo up, so that you can keep hospital morale up, so that you don’t get a game over, but HAVING to crash into walls at high speeds in order to get your zombified survivors out of the ambulance so that they don’t damage your vehicle so you don’t get a game over.

You see how long that sentence was? Trying to process my run-on sentence is exactly what the gameplay in Zombie vs. Ambulance is like.

So despite everything bad I’ve said about this game, there are probably some people shouting ‘But it’s a game about running zombies over! In an ambulance! How else should I spend my hard-earned thirty bucks?’ Congratulations, feel free to run out and buy it. Don’t say I didn’t tell you it had fucking terrible gameplay.

Honestly though, much like seeing The Clone Wars in the cinema for $5, I’m happy I have this game on my shelf. It’s one of those games that’s so bad, it’s good and has the coolest (yet the worst) concept ever. So to repeat what I said earlier:

[10/10] – OH MY GOD I’M RUNNING OVER FUCKING ZOMBIES.
[2/10] – It’s like I suddenly can’t drive all over again.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

These are not the droids I was looking for

Watched Clone Wars today, because I am a Star Wars faggot. Before I checked it out, I read a bunch of reviews. I must've read something like five. Only one of them was positive. But I was positive and said to myself 'WHO CARES, I WILL JUDGE FOR MYSELF. ALSO, IT IS STAR WARS.' Turns out those negative reviews were right in being negative.

The basic premise of Clone Wars is that Jabba the Hutt's son (!) is MIA and that Anakin, along with some new Jedi apprentice chick named Ahsoka (!!) have to go save him. If not, the Republic pretty much lose the war because Jabba the Hutt closes off some trade routes. Seriously.

So, pluses and minuses.

PLUS:
- Clones. I love Jango Fett. I love Boba Fett. I. LOVE. CLONES.
- DEE MOTHERFUCKING BRADLEY BAKER voices many, if not all, the clones.
- SAM L. JACKSON! ANTHONY DANIELS! CHRISTOPHER LEE!
- Holy crap, is that KIT FISTO in the intro? AND HE TAKES UP MORE THAN A HUNDREDTH OF THE SCREEN? - It's, um, Star Wars?

MINUSES:
- It plays out like incredibly bad fanfiction. No wait, it IS fanfiction.
- Ahsoka is such a Mary Sue. I expected her and Anakin to lean in and kiss at any minute, despite the Padme factor. She kind of got away with more than anyone other apprentice would have been able to. Also, her personality was so annoying that she made Anakin look cool in comparison. I hate Anakin.
- Everyone is so out of character that it's stupid. Anakin's no longer the hot-headed, supposedly badass guy you once knew in Episodes 2 and 3. Suddenly, he is wise and not reckless. Then Obi-Wan, who I thought would be ok at first, but turned out to be sarcastic and wise-cracking (not to mention kind of sleazy). Then Dooku, who really just seemed more petty than strategic. TL;DR - EVERYONE IS OOC EXCEPT FOR C3PO AND R2-D2.
- Actually, I don't know if this is more a minus than a plus. But whatever, it goes here. A single line from Anakin contains more character than he ever had in the Prequel Trilogy. That is how bad Anakin is.
- The score, oh god. The score was by some dude named Kevin Kiner, who, instead of the orchestral music you traditionally hear in the films, threw in a whole bunch of tribal tunes. It really did not work. John Williams would be turning in his non-existent grave. Or spinning around in his house.
- A minor sort of gripe, but did everyone's eyes have to be so fucking big?

In short, while I don't exactly regret spending $5 to see this film on a 25m screen (remember though, Star Wars faggot), it was not a good movie. You should not see this movie. Unless you really like Star Wars. And then you can just rage at how it has fucked up the continuity.

[2/10 (one point for Clones and Kit, one point for... some voice talents.)]

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

We are finally reviewers

So I owed the good Topdrunkee of the K7 SINdicate a No More Heroes review. So here it is. Alternatively, here's the short version:

'No More Heroes is a game by Suda51. It is not as pretentious as Killer7 (EVEN THOUGH I LIKE PRETENTIOUS, BUT NOT TOO PRETENTIOUS) and also does not have as much of a storyline. You are an otaku assassin. You eventually reach number one but not before being cruelly disappointed. Namely because of the shitty graphics.'

... Well, not quite. The actual review was kinder. EIGHT LAUGHING SUDA FACES OUT OF TEN.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

The Great Singapore Adventure

EDIT: Fucked up the last entry, so now that I'm home I'm just going to merge all the entries together. This is about as personal as this blog is going to get: An account of what happens while I'm in Singapore. Expect pictures and the frequent use of the term 'some relatives'.

DAY 1 (25th June)
So the basic idea was that we would take the brand new, fancy-ass airplane, the A380 (it's a two-storey plane) to Singapore. However, the A380 leaves from Sydney, so we had to ferry ourselves over to Sydney first. EXCITEMENT ABOUND, until we actually got to Sydney's International terminal. I have to say, quite honestly, that it sucked. In my experience (not much, but hey), the International terminal is always better than the Domestic. But no.

The A380 was similarly disappointing. I was under the impression that it would be extremely spacious and that there would be many awesome games to play. No and no. The seats are pretty much the same and the games are all terrible. It's not even like on the previous Singapore Airlines flights I've been on, where I can at least play some SNES games. Just a whole bunch of Popcap games that froze and forced a reboot of the system. I'm serious.

Before we borded the airplane though, we had to go through the whole security screening business. I actually had a bottle of water in my bag from the flight from Brisbane which I completely forgot about. The man at the screening asked me if I had any liquid in my bag, to which I replied (honestly, I thought) with a 'no'. So they just let me go past, no questions asked. LAX MUCH?

But holy shit, I'm back. We got to our serviced apartment at around 11PM (Singapore time; this would equal 1AM for you Ausfags). Dad and I went to get some water from the 7-11 (we're smack bang in the middle of the city; HOW CONVENIENT, GOODBYE CASH).

DAY 2 (26th June)
We went off to HMV, which is a pretty kickass place in Singapore, where Chip purchased the MGS3: Snake Eater OST (FUCK YES CD QUALITY) and where I bought the Tokyo Shock edition of Alive. I felt sort of bad, because I want to expand my horror movie viewing but can't actually bring myself to buy any movies that are potentially ass.

DAY 3 (27th June)
Went gallavanting in Takashimaya, a Japanese shopping center/department store. The toy section is quite impressive but noisy as hell. Several small children screaming along with a bunch of toys all out of of their packaging going DING DING DING, DING DING DING. Jesus.

Followed my hunch and bought a copy of Orochi, thinking that it could be the manga that freaked me out when I was like ten. I was completely correct. It doesn't freak me out anymore, but the ending was still totally unexpected. Awesome.

DAY 4 (28th June)
Chip's birthday. Nothing much happened, really, apart from mum saying that I was a disappointment at lunch because I couldn't speak Chinese. Jeez, mum. The food was awesome though, and so well-presented.

DAY 5 (29th June)
Lunch with my obnoxious uncle who kept insisting that we make time for him after we came back from Thailand. After we managed to shake him off we travelled somewhere to meet up with my cousins and to have dinner at their place. SMALL APARTMENT AND MANY PEOPLE? Yeah.

DAY 6 (30th June)
Went to the dermatologist (because apparently we're related to her) and had no idea what I was getting myself into until they put a steam machine over my face. It was so nice and relaxing that I fell asleep and woke up to the lady pressing and pulling my face. I honestly wonder why this isn't a form of torture. It was probably the most painful experience in my life.

And then... DINNER with obnoxious uncle. This time he brought his on-off girlfriend (I don't think they're together any more though; she didn't look too pleased to be with him). He ending up telling all of us about how nagas were real and how once a year you can see them breathing fire out of a small hole in the ground to celebrate the Buddha's birthday. Sarcastically, I asked him what the scientific term for the naga was. "Naga," he said. I pretty much just facepalmed and went on my way.

Another thing I missed about Singapore: the really horrible soap operas. They are so bad they're golden. We were watching one about some guy who had just rescued his girlfriend but was getting held up by the police. The police shot him even though he wasn't doing anything threatening. CRAZY!

DAY 7 (1st July)
We went to this recently opened shopping center called Vivocity which was massive in size but also massive in fail. The only really notable shop in Vivocity was a bargain place where everything was $2. Yet I didn't buy anything.

The high point of the day was finally getting down to beating Silent Hill Origins. That, and eating lungs.



This is a lung. It is tasty and crunchy.

DAY 8 (2nd July)
Mum and Dad were invited to my uncle's birthday dinner while we were not, so we spent the evening gallavanting around the city. Not that there was anything new, really. Because it had been Chip's birthday, he had about twice as much cash as I did. He decided to be kind and bought me the Jazz re-issue (Meister for Japanfags). It's one of those things you should just never EVER take out of the box but FUCK, IT'S JAZZ.

Dinner was at Swensens, which I believe is an American chain of restaurants that seems to have infiltrated Singapore a long time ago. Hell, I know there were many of those when I was still living there, but I had never been. So we went. It is such AMERICA FUCK YEAH food.



I have never had cheese sticks before so I tried them. The first one was HOLY SHIT THIS IS AWESOME but by the second one I wanted to kill myself.



I mean, we're not even in America and the food still comes with little American flags. I swear I kept them, but I don't know where they are.

DAY 9 (3rd July)
Our last day at the fancy serviced apartment. So we moved to my uncle's son's place (same uncle who had the birthday dinner). Their place is pretty much just three houses combined into huge compound. One for my aunt and uncle, and the other two for my cousins and their respective spouses. They gave us the room at the very top of the house and we had to pass this fucking creepy painting to get to our room.



It just reminds me a little too much of this picture I see on the internet sometimes that scares the living daylights out of me.

DAY 10 (4th July)
Woke up at 0300 to catch out 0630 flight to Thailand. It was totally worth it though, as Thailand is awesome.



So awesome, the taxis are pink.

Our hotel was awesome too, purely because you can sit down in the shower.



Cut me some slack, ok?

Also, stuff in Thailand is really quite cheap. For example, a bottle of Smirnoff Ice costs about 59 baht, which translates roughly to AU$2. Which is just nuts.

DAY 11 (5th July)
The shopping center we went to was not only huge, but it was also having an anime/cosplay festival. It was painful to see several people dressed as catgirls going into a ramen bar.

There was also a DVD shop that might import from all over the world. The world cinema section basically equated to the erotica section and each DVD was about 1,800 baht (roughly AU$65). Ouch.

DAY 12 (6th July)
We decided to be really touristy and actually go on a tour to a bunch of temples and the Grand Palace. There are a lot of pictures.

DAY 13 (7th July)
Back to Singapore. Bummed around on Dad's laptop at my cousin's place all day long, messing around with the R4 I bought in Thailand. Did I mention that my cousins have small kids? Two of them are ridiculously loud. The other is still too young to be ridiculously loud. They are our nieces and nephew. Chip was nice to them and actually hung out with them while we were staying with them. So they probably know him as 'Nice Uncle Chip' and they know me as 'Mean, Grumpy Aunty Bev'.

DAY 14 (8th July)
Hung out with my OTHER cousin (who produces films and TV shows; shit is SO cash) who had a lot of credit at some beauty salon place. So I got persuaded into getting my brows threaded, which was kinda weird. Apparently they just use normal thread to yank the hair off your face, but it felt as though there were tiny razors on it.

DAY 15 (9th July)
Went back to the dermatologist for more torture. Started playing The World Ends With You which I'm really enjoying, despite the fact that I refused to touch it because it's a Square Enix game. Ugh.

DAY 16 (10th July)
Didn't do too much, just shuffled around tying up loose errands. Ended up watching Event Horizon (which my cousin's husband lent me). It made me laugh more than I should have, but it was quite an enjoyable and a genuinely creepy film. It still didn't do anything for me though.

DAY 17 (11th July)
Tagged along with mum to go see my other cousin (why yes, I do have many relatives!) Heard the news about Fallout 3 being RC'd by the OFLC, which made me rage. I was really looking forward to it. I mean, it's not as if the use of morphine hasn't been present in other games (Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth). Really, if that's the reason for the RC, it just proves that we need a goddamn R18+ rating. Jesus, what am I going to do with my preorder now? I've transferred it from No More Heroes to Brawl and now to this. Anyway.

Before we left, Megan (the oldest of our nieces) threw a huge hissy fit because she didn't want Chip to leave. AWW. That child will end up becoming an actress.

Then the airport and the plane. So I'm back.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Whoops.

Well, I had an Asian Drink Special I was planning to upload. However, it seems that my computers don't want to access the SD card. I've thrown the can out, meaning I can't take new pictures. So I guess I'll have to wait until I buy another can or something. (Not that I mind in the case of this drink.)

So in apology, here's a picture I took ages ago when I was most likely procrastinating doing another blog entry.

Expect more blog entries while I'm on holidays (well, depending on the days I gain access to the internet).

Monday, 2 June 2008

An amusing in-game item.

I got back on the MUD scene (specifically, Dark Legacy, my old friend!) a couple of days ago and came across this amusing item.

First I was horrified, then I laughed. I mean, seriously. It's a vibrating egg.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Horror Talk.

Shutter, that horror film that deals with ghosts and whatnot, hit the cinemas a couple of weeks ago. It's another one of those Western remakes of an Asian horror film, because for some reason it is always decided that the Western audience ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO SEE THIS FILM! But in English. With white people in it. Anyway, the original Shutter was a Thai film, which pretty much proves that they (whoever 'they' may be) have broadened the term 'popular Asian horror film' to actually include movies outside of Japan.

Thank god? Well, not really. The original Shutter was about a photographer, who, after his girlfriend hit-and-runs, is haunted by the victim of the accident (who was actually his ex-girlfriend). Ghosts in photographs, vengeful spirits, etc. So given how closely most remakes follow the original film, you'd think it would be about the same thing, right? It is, sort of. Except for some reason, they decided to set the film in Japan and use the standard (or what has come to be the expectation of Japanese horror) ghost-girl-with-long-hair.

I'll be fair, I haven't seen the remake. I did see the original, which was disappointing especially since so many people told me it was one of the most frightening movies they had ever seen. But if I go to see a remake, haven't seen the original, was told it was a Thai film but get presented with Japanese horror archetypes, I'm going to have to recheck those facts. It's more than a little misleading. Incidentally, the Shutter remake was directed by Masayuki Ochiai, who is obviously Japanese.

I dislike remakes. I'm unkind about them in the sense that I don't see them as the movie industry trying to showcase the kinds of movies that other countries can put out. I see them more as 'You don't have your own ideas, so you're going to take the idea from a film from another country because only a few people in the Western realm would have heard about it'.

Take The Departed, for example. Very few people I've spoken to who have seen that film knew that it was actually a remake of Infernal Affairs, which, in my honest opinion, was far better. Infernal Affairs didn't rely on sex and swearing (and that much violence) as The Departed did so often. It's possibly one of the things that I will never be able to shut up about.

Anyway, saw [REC] at the Spanish Film Festival with Jordaan yesterday. The whole thing reminded me of a certain videogame, but I thought it was very well done. It certainly wasn't as corny as I thought it would be (and it gets a prize for making me go 'OH FUCK' at one point without using a jump scare!), but the ending wasn't as frightening as I was led to believe. It was well-filmed (haw haw) and well-acted too. But I guess it made me laugh a little too much, especially during the parts that were meant to be scary. [REC], I give you 8.5/10.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

DVD Fun #2: Indiana Jones and The Raiders of The Lost Ark

In honour of the new Indiana Jones film that just came out, I bring you DVD Fun #2.

"Join the ligendary hero Indiano Jones (Harrison FOrd of the reates screen adventures of all time now on DVD. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark has been meticulously restored and remastered frame-by-frame and features all-enveloping 5.1digital surround sond. Accompanide gby his feisth, independent ex-fiame Maria Ravenwood (Karen Allen), the two-fisted archaeologist embarks o a thrilling quest to locate the mystical Ark of the Convenant. Indy must discoverthe Ark before the Nazis do, and he has to survive poson, traps ,snakes and treachery to do so. Explore thedarkest ujngles of Soth America, the ustling marketplaces of Cairo, and a top-secret submarine base with Indiana Jones as your guide to adventure. And finally witnessthe power of the Lost Ark unleashed as Indy stays one step ahead of the Nazisn this classic rteasure on DVD."

Images later; this assignment is kicking my ass.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

DVD Fun #1: The Accidental Spy

Back with some actual content.

I have a family friend who has a massive box that is literally full of DVDs. Some are legit, but most (95%) of them are pirated. This box of DVDs is big enough for me to get excited about going over to their house. The first thing I do on arrival is run to the box and lift piles and piles of DVDs out, finding ones that I want to borrow. So the last time I went over, I borrowed The Accidental Spy, a Jackie Chan movie.

Or is it? Sure, it may star Jackie Chan, but "Produced by Jackle Chan"? I'm not sure I've ever heard of Jackle Chan! This calls for some Wikipedia!
Oh, what do you know, it's produced by JACKIE Chan. No problem, I'm sure it was a simple typo.

Not at all.

In case you didn't click the link above, it's a scan of the back cover of the DVD. And in case you didn't click the link above, I'm going to reproduce the blurb exactly as written-

"Own to strangely prepare to feel the ability from the small north of device sales man of do exercise to keep fitting of of, and hope earnestlies to one day become the matchless and super spy of extraordinarily brave.A certain, small north by dint of prepare to feel and nimble of hijacker that artistic skill, loot the bank to t here and then arrest, become the newspaper head's news person.It is an orphan that private detective know from the newspaper's report way inside the small north, and may be his a Korea customer dollar of lawyer for son for scattering m any years, taking the small north go toing seeing the positive dollar of .Under th e order abouting of curiosity, the small north decision go to Korea with lawyer t o look for the life experience's. When father and son meet one anothers it, the ol d father is already the date have no many, at time of death and before tell small the north have a pen a mint of money at Turkey, immediately the pass away."

AN OSCAR FOR STORYLINE. Not to mention that the Warner Brothers logo that appears about three times on the DVD packaging shouldn't even be there, because the movie was distributed by Golden Harvest in Hong Kong and by Dimension Films in the USA.

Then there are the credits, which seem to be for a film called To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday. I mean, I had no idea that this film, whose cover states that it was directed by Teddy Chan and stars Jackie Chan, Eric Tsang and Vivian Hsu, was actually directed by Michael Pressman and stars Peter Gallagher, Claire Danes and Michelle Pfeiffer. Whoops!

Another point I wish to make is the MPAA rating. You may be unable to see it due to the quality of my scanner (sorry!), but it says R: Vampire Violence. I haven't seen the film, but a quick gander on Wikipedia makes no allusions to any vampires being present in the movie (well, they mention a cross, but that's about as close as it gets). I checked out the page for To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, but that's not about vampires either. CRAZY!

You've really got to wonder though, how close the blurb matches up with the actual film. But somehow, with a description like that, I don't really feel like watching it any more.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Asian Drink Special #4

Sorry about the delay in updates. I haven't been to the Asian supermarket in forever. So when we swung by the other day, I picked up the cheapest, strangest one I could find:



This drink, FIN...



... where FIN apparently stands for 'Fly In Nature'.

1. Originality - I think the main selling point of this that seperates it from everything else is the fact that they use 'Deep Sea Water'. Seriously. The whacked-out english description wasn't 'SOFT DRINK' as I expected it to be, it was 'Deep Sea Healthy Drink'. I believe it's healthy and all; it only has 4.3g of sugar. I don't know what other benefits it has - everything apart from FIN, Fly In Nature and the nutrition information label is in a mixture of Chinese and Japanese.
Actually, this whole 'deep sea' thing is making me think of Cloverfield. Oh shit. Anyway, I give this drink a nine, because why would you bottle deep sea water? [9]
2. Taste - Oh my god, what is this? It's like someone took some salt water (but then, what do you expect from DEEP SEA WATER), threw in a bit of lemon and thought, 'It needs to be sweeter', and throws in a few teaspoons of sugar. It's drinkable, sure, but at the moment I'm not even a quarter of the way into the bottle and I'm gagging slightly at each mouthful. But that's just me. If they keep selling this, there has to be a market for it. [3]



3. Packaging - Plastic bottle that says 'FIN' on it. Self explanatory. [1]
4. Price - $1.50. Which is reasonable for a drink that large, I guess. [5]
5. Other - Boy, I really don't know if I can bring myself to finish this.

OVERALL: Makers of FIN: you're trying to bust my kidneys, aren't you? In a discrete, supposedly healthy way. Keep trying. I'll probably go downstairs and make my own salt water mix. Because that would taste more awesome. [5]

By the way, happy birthday, Elaine!

Friday, 21 March 2008

I finally have it!

Obtaining No More Heroes though, was a real trial.

I made a picture to illustrate the worldwide release date schedule as it really happened:

You can imagine how I was feeling. So at the beginning of this week (around the 17th), I decided to go check out EB's online store to see if it had been delayed yet again. To my anger, the date stated was for the 27th, next week. Wondering if that was just the date for the online store, I went round to my local EB the next day to confirm this date. Sure enough, it was listed for the 27th.

On this same day (Tuesday), a JB Hi-Fi catalogue finally arrived at our household. My brother was flicking through it when he saw that NMH was being advertised in it for $79. In addition, JB usually puts little notifications next to items that are not available yet, right? Next to NMH, there was no such thing. Naturally, I believed that JB had an early shipment or something.

So on Wednesday, I walked to JB to make my purchase. Turns out they were in fact only putting them on the shelves on the 20th, the actual release date. Fair enough. At least it was definite that they would be releasing it then. So I put down $20 for a preorder there, just to guarantee my copy. Note that I had also preordered at EB at the beginning of Feburary.

In the middle of my tutorial at uni, I received a call from EB saying that my order was in. My reaction: WAT. However, I figured that it was cheaper at JB anyway, seeing as though it cost $99.95 at EB and only $79 at JB. The only thing was seeing if I could transfer my $10 preorder at EB over to another game. But if not, no big deal.

So yesterday, I went and picked up my game from JB. Happiness, joy, etc. Went to EB and they were surprisingly kind. So I transfered my preorder to Brawl and wrangled a 'June-ish' release date from them. Which means you can add another six months on.

So far, NMH is awesome. A full review soon.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Mary Sue fic: Chapter Two.

Chapter 2.

“Right this way, Miss Akura.” Shipwreck held a heavy steel door open for the new recruit as she heaved one of her bags into the hall. “Hey, you two!” He whistled, and a pair of soldiers raced to his side. They look like grunts, thought Akura, and hoped that she wouldn't end up being one of them.

“Get these bags up to quarters A-D25.” The soldiers saluted and hauled the bags off, but not before they gazed at Akura with obvious delight. Once they had left, Shipwreck handed her a key.

“Here y'are, Miss. It's one of the finest boarding rooms we have here at the compound. You'll want to stay there, at least until you purchase a house or somethin'. But it's free here, and the company is great.”

“One of the finest boarding rooms?” she exclaimed, as he began to lead her down the hallways. “But I'm not even sure of where I rank yet!”

“Don't be silly. Trust me, Miss,” He stopped when they had reached a grand-looking door which had a gold plaque on it. “Our commander ain't gonna give you anything worse. I'll be seeing you soon, then,” Shipwreck flashed a grin at her and opened the door. “Don't worry too much.”

He left, and Akura proceeded towards the man sitting at his desk, evidently studying some papers. When she had gotten within about three meters of it, he spoke. “Ah... you must be the new recruit. Akura J'Mir Richards, if I'm correct?” He looked up at her, his handsome face studying hers. She was surprised at how young it was, in fact – she had expected someone much older. She wondered how this man had become the field commander of the Joes so quickly. He must have been surprised too, for he said: “You look a lot different from your photo. For one... I thought you were twenty.” He held up a sheet of paper. “Unless these records are wrong.”

“Oh, it's a common mistake.” she explained. “I look older than I really am. But no, I am twenty years old, commander-”

“Conrad Hauser. Everyone around here calls me Duke, though.”

“That's your codename, the ones that all the Joes have?”

“That's right.” He smiled. “I see you've been doing your research. Incidentally, are you aware that you have already been assigned a codename?”

His smile made her heart skip a beat or two, but she managed to answer him. “Y-yes. In fact, I chose the name myself.”

“Hm.” Duke leaned back in his chair. “Yes... in fact, I think I may have heard of you. You're The Death Bringer, aren't you?”

“Oh!” The use of her old title astonished her for a second, namely because she had not been called that for a long time. “Yes, sir. That is me.”

“You wiped out three squadrons single-handedly!”

“It's not something that I'm proud of, but yes, I did.”

He smiled again from behind his hands. “You'll be a wonderful addition to our team. I trust you're familiar with our mission statement?”

“Yes, sir. You aim to rid the world of Cobra in order to secure a safer, more tolerant future for the world.”

Duke had gotten up, and offered his hand to her. “Not 'you'. 'We', Akura. Or should I say... Athena.”

She grasped his hand, trying to fight any trace of a crush she had developed on the man while shaking it professionally. “Thank you, Duke. I look forward to working with G.I Joe.” As she turned to leave, however, she heard him clear his throat. “Yes, sir?”

“I didn't comment on this previously, but...” He strode towards her until they were no more than a foot apart. “You certainly have very unique eyes. I don't think I've ever seen anyone with two different coloured eyes.” Duke was staring into them now, which made Akura blush.

“I... I don't know why they're like that. But I'm glad you like them,” she added brightly. “I was afraid that you would refuse me because of them.”

“I'm not that kind of person, Akura. Neither are the rest of the Joes.” He glanced up at a clock on the wall. “Speaking of the others, their break begins about now. Perhaps you should go meet them all.”

*

After getting lost in the large military complex, Akura had finally found her way down to the recreation room. She was able to do so with the help of a soldier that was strolling past, who was only more than happy to show her the way. He was quite talkative, asking her what she would be doing with the Joes and what she thought of the weather. Even though she hadn't been around for long enough to answer those questions, thoroughly, she managed to make decent conversation with him and was complimented on how interesting she was. This puzzled Akura greatly, but she accepted it just the same.

She slipped in quietly, not wanting to turn too many heads. The recreation room had a homey, pleasant feel to it. She could see a large brick fireplace in the middle of the back wall which had a large pile of wood beside it. After all, it was Autumn. She wondered if they needed any assistance gathering wood.

There were several arcade game machines lined up against the wall, along with a dartboard, a bookshelf and a bar. Its presence amused her and she thought, I bet it's the most popular feature. The thing that caught her eye though, was the pool table in the middle of the room which several people were congregated around. Among them was a red-haired woman who couldn't be much older than she was. The woman was talking to a burly, African-American man and she must have said something funny, for the both laughed uproariously at the same time. Once their laughter died down, she took the opportunity to come out of her corner by the door and approach them.

“I don't mean to interrupt your conversation, but I just wanted to introduce myself. I'm Akura, and I've just joined G.I Joe.”

The man and the woman looked at each other before turning to her and smiling. “Oh yeah,” the woman said, “Our commander said something about a new member earlier last week. I'm Shana, and this is Marvin,” The man raised a hand and grinned cheerfully. “But we're known as Scarlett and Roadblock respectively. What about you, Akura? Is that your... uh...”

“Oh, it's my real name. I've chosen a codename already, though: Athena.”

“That's a pretty cool name,” said Roadblock. “Where are you from, Athena?”

Akura noticed that they immediately started using her codename instead of her real name; but this probably came from being in a special forces group for so long. Accepting that she would most likely not be known by any other name while she was here, she answered, “I'm from Boston. I was in the national army for three years before I got selected by the military officials to come over here. Before all this happened I lived in a remote beachside community...”

A sick feeling, like a turning in her stomach suddenly washed over her and she breathed deeply, but it wouldn't go away. In fact, it felt just like a tidal wave...

Thankfully, Scarlett noticed this almost instantly and wrapped her arm around the younger woman's shoulder, guiding her to the bathroom. But Akura controlled herself and soon drew out of her hunched position, her hands rubbing her face swiftly before mumbling, “Sorry... it's just something that happens occasionally.”

“You sure you're ok?” Roadblock placed his hand on Akura's back, nodding at Scarlett to get a glass of water from the bar. “You really didn't look so flash just then.”

“Yes... thank you... I'm fine.” She gave an appreciative yet shakey smile, taking the drink from Scarlett in both hands and sipping lightly.

“I see you've become acquainted with each other.” Someone at the door said. All three of them recognised who it was, but Scarlett was the first to speak.

“Duke! I didn't know you had some time off today.” Her tone was full of amorous intent and Akura's heart sank. Duke and Scarlett were in a relationship. This was confirmed when Duke gave Scarlett a quick wink, one that the new recruit's keen gaze noticed.

“In theory, I don't, Scarlett. I have to finalise some administrative issues with Athena here.”

“Ah. That's true.” Scarlett turned to Akura and shook her hand. “It was nice meeting you, Athena. I'll be looking forward to working with you.”

“As will I,” added Roadblock. “See you around, Athena!”

Duke led Akura away from the recreation room. “I told you they were good people.”

“Of course. I was wrong to doubt you, Duke.” She felt shame well up inside of her.

“Don't worry about it, Athena. I've done questionable things before. It's alright to doubt – but I'd like you to trust me on the battlefield. That's the most important thing.”

She nodded, knowing exactly what he meant. Trust on the battlefield... of course it was important.

However, could she learn to trust her new colleagues off the battlefield? As of now, she could. But don't be too trusting, Akura... remember last time? How could she forget the last time she was betrayed so horribly, that it had shattered her for years on end?

But she had to stay positive. It was the only way she could show her strength.

---

Don't expect more of this soon. When I posted the first chapter, I actually had this one all done, but now that I've posted this, I haven't got chapter three. Don't hold your breath.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

In celebration



Hope your Valentine Day is better than Starscream's!

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

An exploration of Fanfiction.Net: Part 1

The other day, I decided to take a gander over to Fanfiction.net and see how much had changed. Despite the fact that I have been posting fanfiction, I haven't explored the categories lately.

Naturally, being the gamefag I am, the first category I went to was 'Games'. I just skimmed down the list and noticed with shock and surprise that the Devil May Cry category now has 1,536 fanfics. With the very recent release of DMC4, expect the number to double. I remember about three or four years back when I wrote/submitted DMC stuff, there were only a couple of hundred fanfics. And now, BOOM. It's one of those fandoms where you can tell that 95% is slash, 3% is Mary-Sue and the remaining 2% is... general stuff. Romance, action, Dante being a cockhead and the like.

This is the same case with American McGee's Alice. When I submitted my piece for that game, there were about 20 fanfics. It's since ballooned into 252. I dunno, maybe everyone's gearing up for the movie?

Oblivion has 374 fanfics, which is basically a resemblence of how many people can be assed writing out their character's journey. Noteable fanfic is: 'I dont know what to do when he makes me sad' by DuRiechstSoGut98.

A MARY SUE FOR VICENTE? It's very likely. It also portrays Marie Antoinetta as a giggling idiot who enjoys makeup and all that other woman jazz. I always thought the Dark Brotherhood were more serious. Going around and being tough. Killing people while they sleep and whatnot. I'm serious, I could really spork this fanfic.

It weirds me out that the category of Solitaire (21) has almost as many fanfics as Killer7 (24) does (and yes, I'm still the sole contributor of Killer7 on FF.Net. To be fair, everyone plays Solitaire while pretty much no-one played Killer7. On the flip-side, how the fuck do you write Solitaire fanfiction?

While on the topic of slash fanfiction, I wish to state my confusion at the lack of slash in the Gears of War category. I mean, come on. Big, muscley men? Three women in the entire game? Sure, it may not appeal to the majority (ie. about 95%) of slash authors/artists, due to the fact that they are not skinny, beautiful men, but I can't be the only one. If I am, looks like I'll have to take things into my own hands.

Incidentally, guess which fandom has the most fanfics? Kingdom Hearts takes the prize home once again! But don't worry, FFVII! You're just a little over ten thousand away! Remember, you FFVII fans, don't rest until you hit that mark!

More insight into this AMAZING CULTURAL CENTER soon, maybe.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

It's a Mary Sue fic.

Today I post something of a parody.

You see, in the world of fangirlism and fanboyism (although not restricted to), one will often come across an original character in fanfiction who displays an unrealistic, clich├ęd personality. That is, she is beautiful, kind, seductive, powerful and talented, amongst other things. This, boys and girls, is a Mary Sue. They are usually the result of an over-obsessed fan wishing that they could be in their fandom of choice and more often that not, a result of the fan desiring a romantic relationship with their favourite character. Back in the day, I used to write Mary Sue fics. Like, real ones. This was when I was totally obsessed with Duo Maxwell from Gundam Wing. Surprisingly, I never did the same (I think) with Sanzo from Saiyuki, even though I was about ten times more infatuated with him. Anyway, this Mary Sue parody. The fandom I’m writing for is G.I Joe, because it’s freaking awesome. Although if this was a serious MS fic (HAW HAW, OXYMORON) I probably wouldn’t pair my retarded character up with any of the ones that my MS has relationships with. Seriously. I don’t actually have a secret crush on Duke. I’d go for Zartan or something. The basic plotline and character of my Mary Sue was decided by the Mary Sue litmus test which, in theory, should be used the other way around. You write your plot and character first and then use the test to see if she/he’s a Sue. I haven’t done a full tally yet, but the last time I checked, she was on about 160 points. Note that you only need 70 points to be considered a MS. One of the criteria to score a whopping 20 points is to use a variation of your name. Real name, online name, whatever. So those who knew me back in the day when I used the screen name Akura (and I still use it on occasion) will groan and slap their heads. You’ll discover the rest of the horror yourself, if you choose to press on. As for why I’m writing this? I DID IT FOR THE LULZ.

Onto the fanfic.

---

Chapter 1.

She stood on the deck of the ship, the small waves dipping and curving along its edge. The cool, salty sea air brushed lightly against her golden skin and caused her long, dark, blue-black hair to sweep against her face. It was a very lovely face – one that was shaped like a heart and had nary a blemish. Her sharp eyes, shrouded with their long lashes, flickered over the military base ahead. It was G.I Joe's base; her new place of occupation. A small smile of excitement caused her full, red lips to curve upwards.

She knew that the ship would be reaching the dock shortly and gave a sigh in her soft, melodic voice. This attracted the attention of one of the ship's crew, a young lad by the name of Nathan, who bounded over. “What's up, Miss Akura?”

Sighing again, she leaned over the railing. “Nathan, what if... what if they don't like me?”

Nathan seemed puzzled. “What makes you say that?”

“Don't you think I may seem a little... odd to them?”

“Odd?”

“My eyes,” she said sadly, lifting her head. “They may think I'm a mutant of some sort.”

“Nah!” The boy laughed. “Trust me, Miss Akura, they're good people. They ain't gonna shun you for somethin' like that. 'Sides,” he added bashfully, “I think your eyes are real pretty.”

Akura smiled gratefully. “Thank you, Nathan. Your kind words have made me feel better.”

“It's no problem! But now, let me go grab your stuff.” The boy raced off as Akura watched him do so. She always had a knack for getting other people to do things for her, regardless of whether she wanted them to or not. She just hoped that her new workmates would not fall under that same spell. She needed independence. But her main cause for concern was that her co-workers might place themselves in danger for her sake. It had been this way all her life, ever since she had left the orphanage. Certainly, she had grown much stronger since the time she spent there, but perhaps there was still a kind of sadness about her that made others want to help her? Whatever it was, she hoped it was not pity. She couldn't stand the thought of being pitied. For despite her past, she wanted to let everyone around her know that she was just as strong as any of them.

*

Duke stood in his office, staring at the files he had been sent two or three weeks ago. Most of them were the standard administration files and what-not, but there was one that was particularly interesting. It was a notification of transferral or in other words, the profile of a young woman who had been recommended by the government. Running his eyes down the details, he noticed that she had previously employed by the national army, which did not necessarily mean that her skills were wonderful. But if the government had taken notice of her, she had to be a decent soldier.

Not to mention that she wasn't that bad a looker.

Just then, the door to his office opened and Shipwreck walked in. “You wanted to see me, Duke?”

“Yeah, I did. Apparently we've got a new recruit arriving today.”

“Oh, I get it.” Shipwreck folded his arms. “You want me to go get him from the port?”

“Oh come on. It's not as though the port's miles and miles away. It'll give you a chance to go out, smell the sea and what have you. Besides,” Duke pushed the photo that was included with the other files towards him. “She looks like your type.”

Snatching the photo up in his hands, Shipwreck squinted at it for a few seconds before looking back up at his commander. “Is it April Fools' or what?”

“Nope, no jokes.” Duke smiled, clapping the marine on his back. “You'd better hurry, though. Her ship arrives any minute now.”

*

Akura stood at the port with Nathan, her luggage piled neatly beside her.

“It's been fifteen minutes, Nathan. Suppose they aren't actually coming to pick me up?”

As soon as she said those words, a jeep drove up with Shipwreck inside it. He leapt out in an obvious attempt to impress her. He succeeded, with the young woman, obviously amazed, smiling.

“You must be the new arrival, am I right?”

“Th-that's right.”

“I'm Shipwreck, miss.” He hoisted one of her bags up onto his shoulders and began loading them into the jeep. “And what's your name?”

“My name's Akura. Akura J'Mir Richards.”

“Whoa. Nice name! A nice name for a beautiful lady,” he winked at her, and she blushed slightly. Of course, she was used to people complimenting her on her looks, especially men, but there was part of her that always felt slightly embarassed. She was wondering though, if Shipwreck had noticed.

“And hey, those are really nice eyes you've got there.”

She looked up at him in surprise. “You truly think so?”

“I mean it! It's not everyday you see a cute babe with different coloured eyes, right?” He had taken her hand, and was leading her towards the jeep. He smiled kindly and opened the door for her. She got in gracefully, still holding onto his hand. As the jeep began to move, she looked back at Nathan, who waved at her. She waved back before turning around and once she had done so, felt as though an old chapter of her life had closed.

However, another was just beginning.

---

More faggotry to come.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Asian Drink Special #3

Oh jeez. When I saw this one, I just knew I had to buy it.



Apparently made in Vietnam. Well, someone had to come up with the idea.

1. Originality - I don't think anyone else has ever sat up and gone 'Hey, I've got a great idea! Why don't we make a drink flavoured with the extract of artichoke?'
And should it really be brown in colour? I know that when I poured it into the glass I said 'What the HELL' several times.
2. Taste - Personally, I love artichokes. I can't get enough of them. But then when I saw this, it was kind of horrifying. I mean seriously, it's an ingredient you put on pizza and on antipasto platters and now you're making a sweet drink out of it? It's a world gone topsy-turvy. So I took a swig, expecting the worst...
... and for some strange, unexpected reason, it tasted like a grass jelly drink.
Grass jelly may seem a tad weird to those folks in the West, but over in Asia-land, it's about as common as Coke and lemonade. And it's not bad. So because the supposed artichoke drink tasted like grass jelly, it has this sweet but earthy kind of flavour. Which was pleasant, but too normal to my Asian tastebuds. That didn't stop me from throwing it out, though. [6]
3. Your standard can. It's got English AND German on it, which is weird considering it's a product of Vietnam. [1]

4. Price - $1.17. Yeah, I suppose that's ok. It's cheaper than your normal soft drink anyway. But whether anyone is actually churning out a profit from this drink is another question. Really... [7]
5. Other - I said above that I threw the drink out. Well, it was only after I had bought it that I realised this, which I guess is my main reason for only drinking half the can:

OVERALL: Whoa, it's expired, grass-jelly-tasting artichoke juice from Vietnam! [8]

In other, non-consumable related news, the No More Heroes soundtrack is awesome. It's like my ears are having an orgasm.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Cloverfield (Possible spoilers)

Saw Cloverfield today, the movie in which a giant monster attacks New York City. No, unfortunately it's not Cthulhu.

It was pretty good; the way it was filmed was very effective considering the movie's setting and storyline. However, anyone who didn't follow the promotional websites for the movie will probably be scratching their heads and wondering where in the hell the monster actually came from. I spotted a single visual clue, but as I said before, if you didn't follow the viral marketing sites, you would probably disregard it. I thought this was both:
A) Quite clever; and
B) Quite stupid.
Polar opposite opinions, I know. On one hand, it, well, rewards those who did their homework before hand with... with... the feeling that they maybe probably perhaps knew where the monster came from. I have a basic theory, but it doesn't make sense if I try to explain it.
However, on the other hand, it gives the viewer a sense of mystery and/or panic: "OH SHIT WHERE DID THAT MONSTER COME FROM IT COULD HAPPEN TO US IN REAL LIFE ANY WHERE ANY TIME". Some of the dialogue adds to this sense of uneasiness, with one character making a point about the fact that humans have barely begun to explore the depths of the ocean.

Also, whoever said that you never really saw the monster, just glimpses of it, was probably telling a half-truth. SPOILERS, SORTA - In my opinion, it looked like a combination of these three dudes.

Yeah, I'm not kidding. I found it a bit hard to be intimidated. Gwoemul's monster was much more awesome. Aesthetically, anyway. I mean becuase, really, if you were to put Gwoemul's monster up against Cloverfield, there wouldn't be a contest.

All my gripes aside, it was a rather enjoyable movie. Just make sure you're not surrounded by teenage couples making out like I was.

[7.5/10]

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Bargain of the Century

I picked up a little piece of nostalgia from Target the other day, the item in question being:

Now, guess how much I paid for this. Go on, guess.

Eighty-six cents. No, seriously. I did a double-take when I saw the price come up on the scanner because Target being Target, I expected it to be about $15 or something. Anyway, this is going to be kept in its packaging until the price skyrockets. Which probably means that it will be buried with me in its original packaging.

The supposed confirmed No More Heroes launch date is the 28th of Feburary. Preorder bonuses? Yes please. Although nothing can top what Japan got.

Incidentally, Happy New Year, everyone. Yes, I realise I am twelve days late. My resolution is to make my handwriting legible. Anyone who was at school with me knows just how important this resolution actually is.