Monday, December 8, 2008

The Persian Prince


I love it when big corporations take their product very seriously, to the level of artistic work, instead of just money making junk food. Fortunately for me, many of the mega game publishers have been changing their strategy towards this, and "Prince of Persia", the latest reboot of everyone's beloved franchise, received such love. This commercial is the proof of it..

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ghost in the Shell Live Action Movie?!

Did I just hear Hollywood making a live action film of Ghost in the Shell? Akira? Even Macross (a.k.a. Robotech)?? And not by anybody, but by big names like Spielberg, DiCaprio, and such?

Stop whatever you're doing, and check this out!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Missing Out

[Live Review] Coldplay - Philips Arena, Atlanta (11th November 2008)

Here's something I missed on last Tuesday. *sad face*


Coldplay Concert at Philips Arena last Tuesday

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hail Colbert!

This may be a old video, but it gave me a great laugh, which I couldn't do out loud because I was at work... but hope you can.

Enjoy:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

EU-English


A funny joke my co-worker gave me today.


Enjoy:



The European Union commissioners have announced that agreement has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for European communications, rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty’s Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phased plan for what will be known as Euro-English (Euro for short). In the first year, ‘s’ will be used instead of the soft ‘c’. Sertainly, sivil servants will resieve this news with joy. Also, the hard ‘c’ will be replaced with ‘k.’ Not only will this klear up konfusion, but typewriters kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome ‘ph’ will be replaced by ‘f’. This will make words like ‘fotograf’ 20 per sent shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of silent ’e’s in the languag is disgrasful, and they would go.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing ‘th’ by ‘z’ and ‘W’ by ‘V’. During ze fifz year, ze unesesary ‘o’ kan be dropd from vords kontaining ‘ou’, and similar changes vud of kors; be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil b no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru.

The World Is With Us


World reaction to Obama victory: Elation


One of the reason I support Barack Obama is because I believe that he'll bring back the sense of responsibility to this nation, reminding us that we don't live on an island, but on a globe full of different people.

Reading this article on World's reaction on our new president, I believe it even more.

We Made A History


Yesterday was truly a remarkable day. It was the first time I've exercised my most valuable rights as a citizen of the United States--the right to vote.

Until yesterday, all the numbers on all those election days I've lived through were just numbers. But it was different this time. Knowing that one of the vote in those numbers is mine, it was something invaluable, something one must experience to understand the significance. Yesterday changed me from skeptics of Democracy to a believer; I now do believe that the ideal this nation stands on is not just a sales pitch, but really one of the mankind's greatest achievements.

I was driving down the downtown Atlanta, and have seen people honking, dancing, screaming his name, and most of all, connecting with strangers next to them. I've neveer seen the country so energized and elated. Not for World Series, not for World Cup, not for Olympics, or Superbowl. And certainly not when G. W. Bush was elected president.

After watching another touching and inspiring speech of Barack Obama, one of the people in the bar exclaimed, "Now, that's a motivation." It's things like this that tells you, he is someone special. And I have my hopes up for him, and for this nation.

Video: Report on the Election Result
Video: Washington's Reaction to Election Result
Video: Obama's Acceptance Speech

PS. Watch the footage from Washington. I wish I'd been there.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Say Bye to Circuit City

Circuit City in fight for survival, to close 155 stores

As predicted, Circuit City is closing a large chunk of its retail stores.

So, can I please get nice deals now? I want sub LCD HDTV 42" 1080P at sub-$600 for myself, thank you very much. ;)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't Vote (Seriously)

The presidential election is right around the corner, and I just wanted to show a video why you shouldn't vote. How effective this video really is is up for a debate:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Proposal in Chrono Trigger

This is a video of a hacked Chrono Trigger, where a whole new level was created for proposal. I'm not sure how the future-fiance felt, but I'm sure she was happy.

Watch it and see if you have nerd in you as well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

MMO's Calling Me Again

BioWare has its engines engaged to its full capacity. Besides working on Dragon Age for both console and PC, and probably have a sequel to Mass Effect in back burner, they just announced the upcoming project, Star Wars: The Old Republic. And it's an MMO.

Check out their interview:

This Is Why He Should Be Our President.

Again, thanks to Christie, who's been politically charged prior to the election next month, for showing the following clip of Colin Powell endorsing one of the candidates. He really lays it out so everyone can understand why and where he's coming from.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One Could Dream. Yes?

Konami Officially Comments on Xbox 360 Metal Gear Solid 4 [Kotaku]

Ha, can I say "I told you so"? I know this is not a solid confirmation, but here this official statement from Konami:

"The worldwide demand for an Xbox 360 version (of MGS4) is quite high," admitted Konami's Yoshitaka Arai to Japanese investor bulletin Morningstar. "It is something we are currently looking into."
I think it's no brainer that this will come to Xbox360, provided they don't find a major technical obstacle, and then I will have saved $500.

Wait, Sony still has LittleBigPlanet... Damn it!

Monday, October 20, 2008

*Cries*

  • Sky Crawlers (Studio I.G. 2008)
  • ゲド戰記 (Tales from Earthsea, Studio Gibli 2006)
  • FRAGILE ~さよなら月の廃墟~ (Furajīru Sayonara Tsuki no Haikyo, Namco Bandai 2009? for Nintendo Wii)
  • 朧村正妖刀伝 (Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Vanilla Ware 2009? for Nintendo Wii)
  • Sky Crawlers (Namco Bandai for Nintendo Wii)

Friday, October 17, 2008

What We Need For The Right Change

There is one thing I ask from next president of the United States: To be responsible.

I don't mean that they keep their words on everything they talk about once they move into the office. They say a lot of things to get votes and to win the election--this is a wise thing to do, although many voters may get upset. I understand that's what they have to do, and that they may not have enough resource to keep their promises later.

Instead, what I mean is to instill the sense of responsibility of being the world's leader to the citizens of this country. Fareed Zakaria, a Newsweek journalist that I love, quotes economist Jeffrey Sachs in his great article, "There Is a Silver Lining" in latest issue: "'We've wanted lots of government, but we haven't wanted to pay for it.' So we've borrowed our way out of the problem." We were so adamant about raising tax rates, the main source of income for our government, that anything that we got became the national debt. Now, the debt became so big that National Debt Clock in New York City has ran out of space to display the figures.

National Debt Clock with the calculated value of your family's share.

I think both campaign got it right: it's time for change. The right change. And I think Republicans with their no tax but more spending policy isn't it. We got to downsize what we don't need (like fat and ugly military) and invest in our future (like our children's education and infrastructure of better living standards).

Everyone's following today's presidential race closely. If you're yet to do so, I hope you do. It's our future. And yours, too.

Another Sarah Palin Clip

I just have to put this one up. This clip is another one from CNN, comparing SNL with the real thing.

Enjoy:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Screaming Raptor Above Your Head

"Wings Over Marietta" Air Show Schedule

There's an air show going on this coming weekend, on Oct. 18-19, at the Air Force Reserve base where my work is. With only two more days until they open the gate, they're already running some practices.

And today, after a great lunch at local Japanese restaurant (ran by Japanese), I looked up in the sky when I heard a great roar, and found not just one, but two F-22s flying at extremely low altitude; I could even see the pilot at one point!

The aircraft was a pure awesomeness. The sound of jet that shakes the ground, that stiff turn at seemingly low speed... Man, I am really hyped for this weekend!!

I'll try to get some pictures, but since the only camera I have is the one on my cell, I doubt I'll get any good ones. I'll upload some after this weekend.

So Fragile, and So Beautiful

Nintendo's Wii is finally becoming attractive. First, it's getting Vanillaware's fantastic looking Oboro Muramasa, and now... they're getting this:


This game titled Fragile is developed and published by Namco Bandai for Nintendo's Wii. I think it's just announced at Tokyo Gameshow 2008. This looks like a game suitable for all ages, and I sincerely hope this is the first major title that does not include any combat and still delivers a compelling narrative and emotional experience. This game seems like a perfect game to accomplish that major feat.

...unless I'm missing out on another game like that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Finally. Today Is The Day.

It's here! It's here!!

Are you excited yet?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Soccer Mom for President

I haven't been interested in politics for that long, and now I am finding more interesting and exciting as the presidential election for US is coming up with very interesting candidates. I hope they are for you, too, because if you're not, you're missing out.

Take a moment and watch the below clip from CNN, which talks about an interview of Palin. You'll love it:

"...one 72-year-old's heartbeat away from being the president of the United States. If it doesn't scare you, it should."

And sure it does.

Be sure to check out the interview, where CBS's Katie Couric interviews Sarah Palin, the vice-president candidate for Republican party. And if you find a full-length clip, please let me know. I haven't found one, and would like to post it here as well.

UPDATE: Hey, gotta love this guy!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Makes Me Wanna Go Far Away

I wanna go here...









Monday, September 29, 2008

The Debate

UPDATE: Here's the link to the page I found the video: Video: Obama/McCain debate from Mississippi Sept. 26th

My thanks goes to Christie, who have linked the following video of last week's Obama and McCain debate. I thoroughly enjoyed the debate, and I think you will, as well.

If you haven't watched the debate, please enjoy it here:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another Story Begins

I may be getting over my head, but I just opened yet another blog, More Than A "Game".

As the name suggests, it will serve as a place to share my thoughts on today's games, and also, something called interactive storytelling. Or interactive entertainment.

It will also have my reviews on games I play, as well as news on games, and such. Pretty much, it will have everything game.

So, what are you waiting for? Hop on the link and jump already! (Although it does lack content... :D)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This Is What I Call Terrible Marketing.

Okay, I know marketing strategy better be changed to match each region's taste and culture, but how is this..

Ubisoft-altered US version of the title design

..better than this??

The Original Japanese Title Design

Please, Ubisoft, just bring back the old design...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Give Up. I'm Defeated By The Hype Machine.

I like being skeptical. I want to evaluate things with keen eyes. That makes it hard for me to like something very much. But when I do, I really, really fall for it.

This time, it's EA's soon-to-be-released horror sci-fi title, Dead Space. Check out the video below, and the comic releases I've posted before (plus new releases on their website), and hopefully, you'll also be pumped about this game.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Navy Got a Sense Of Humor

The Navy’s Two Newest Ships

Yeah, I didn't know but they do have some humor in them. Check out the link and you'll see... USS Bill Clinton!

From the article,

The ship is the first of its kind in the Navy and is a standing legacy to President Bill Clinton 'for his foresight in military budget cuts' and his conduct while president.

Ah, priceless..!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hug A Developer Today

I need a hug.... :'(

Friday, August 22, 2008

Intel Creates Magic Power Supply~

Let me show off first: I've predicted something like this will come along. Something that will free us of all the hassle that is electric cords in our houses. I mean wireless power supply, and a safe one, also--not microwave technology which will fry our skin.

In today's report, Intel, the leading CPU and computer technology company, has announced a wireless power supply technology. They not only announced this, but also demonstrated it by lighting a 60-watt bulb, which is more than enough power for typical laptops!

Think about all the wires that runs through your house. And now think about your house without them. Neat, isn't it? And if, and I hope, someone makes this technology more advanced so that it can power devices miles away, this means an electric car that can run endlessly without any need for refueling, at all. (Of course it will need some refueling if car is used for a while without resting and depleted its power. Stop being so picky.)

Sounds like energy paradise to me. To bad this tech will only be commercially available around 2050....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dead Space

From time to time, there are new intellectual properties (IP for short) developed that get massive marketing, and thus, get hyped. Many times, it's done by futile means like banner-spamming or using celebrities or hot developers to go on video and talk about the game. But other times, publisher does the right thing and lets the actual property do the talking. Things that are developed in this kind of marketing strategy creates deep and intricate world and creates appreciation towards the game and the property.

Such is beeing done by none other than EA, and it's promoting a brand new IP, Dead Space.

Because of the notoriety EA had for a long time--it was well known that EA used to focus solely on profit and worked its employees to death, and acquired and ruined numerous, well respected studios, along with their games--I dismissed this game as another cookie-cutter game that will start racking up number next to the title, created just to generate profit and profit only. Even the initial gameplay footage, while it does look promising, didn't penetrate my already-built distaste at the name EA.

Anyways, the fact that I'm blogging about this should already have told you; I am sold on this game. Yes, I am very hyped up about this game now that I am going to grab it once it hits the store shelf.

What happened? What changed my mind? As it takes things that shows developers' love, care, and sweat in the property that changes my mind, it is these comic episodes they have created that expands the world in which the game is set, and the are embedded below.

Watch them, and enjoy:













Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bio(logy)Ware

Okay, I know BioWare was founded by a couple or more of game enthusiasts who had professional career going as medical doctors, so, for long time, I've had this image of two bald, glasses wearing mid- to late-50s men donning white gowns grinning in front of computers. Well, I apparently showed a clear case of stereotyping, again; one of the founders of the company, interviewed in 1 UP Show (of 1UP.com) below shows he clearly doesn't fit my idea. Rather, he looks like an average gamer who seems to be interested in the young interviewer.

Never mind mediocre-looking Halo Wars, but when they talk about on BioWare's past smash hit, Mass Effect, I had to say a few things:

First, Mass Effect's romance subplot is not even average-rating story. It falls short of being a decent one, even.

That said, Mass Effect's main story is also nothing great. Far from it. (Really, the whole plot is really short and really, really straightforward.) Rather, the strength of the game is in the world, and its mythos. The real enjoyment came from learning about its really well thoughtout world and setting by reading codex and listening to dialogues.

That brings me to another point: the dialogue system, contrast to what tons and tons of reviewers exclaim, is nothing to go crazy about. It is the same old dialogue tree! But it did do a good job at letting player customize the tone of the game with it.

Anyways, that was my quick two cents on the game. Now, hope you enjoy the video.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Finally, Something To Look Forward To

All three major E3 press conferences came and gone, without any major new title announcements to get excited about; pretty much they focused less on hardcore game titles, but more of casual market and community experience. Because I was anticipating a megaton announcement of some title that will instantly grab my attention (something like a new IP on par with Assassin's Creed), it's obvious that I was very disappointed with the whole calmness--FFXIII360 isn't really a new title, and although there are several games that I am looking forward to (namely Mirror's Edge, for one), they're not the "exclusive killer app" I'm looking for.

However, that expectation was actually met just now, by a title that was long been announced: Prince of Persia.

The new, reimagined iteration of it for current-gen console systems, while not an exclusive to one platform, awed me just enough to get me looking forward to it. What does it do exactly? Watch the developer walkthrough below, and see what I mean:






That buzz-word "immersion" the developer talks about, is something I always look for in a game. The way the game transitions from failure to retry, the "dueling" feel of combat, how a clean strike with a sword actually means death, not just decrease in some artificial HP, and so on...

Assassin's Creed, from same studio, came close, and I hope this game carries it further.

PS. It feels like more innovative games are created outside of US these days. Is the center of gaming, along with center of world economy, shifting away from America? Although world economy certainly will inevitably be shifted and be shared by many in near future, I hope America stays as the leader of gaming for long. At least until I am ready to jump to wherever there is innovation.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Netflix and Xbox Live: A Happy Marriage


Besides the big bomb, I must say, the announcement of Netflix integration into Xbox Live Gold is also a great news.


They say Xbox Live Gold members will be able to stream and watch thousands of movies off of Netflix streaming service directly on Xbox360 console, and that they can watch the movie with other friends over Xbox Live. I'm not sure how watching a movie with friends on different couches and different TV set will feel like, but I am really excited for this new feature--I loved the streaming service from Netflix, but I didn't get into it because I couldn't watch the movies on my bigger TV screen. But now I can!


A great but a puzzling news here is that they claim Xbox Live Gold account holders will be able to enjoy this without extra charge; how will this play out for normal Netflix subscribers? How's Netflix's profit generated in this picture, if their normal subscribers leave them for Xbox Live Gold, which most likely will include myself?

FFXIII360


E3 2008's MS Conference should be over by now, and the software giant's pretty lame (if not completely lame) press conference didn't go away without a bang: Mr. Wada of Square-Enix declared the end of PS3 exclusivity for their flagship title, Final Fantasy XIII!!!! My God, how long I've waited for this announcement! This announcement alone topped the less than okay press conference Microsoft was suffering with for an hour.

But then again, with recent news of financial hardship and endless delay of development of FFXIIIVS (that's Final Fantasy XIII Versus), I guess it was only matter of time for this announcement.

Exciting news for Xbox360 owner. I think this just saved me $500+.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Paradox of Choice

Low expectation and some metaphorical fish bowl = Happiness.

But then again, after a book, all those years of study, and thirty minutes of my time, he basically says what has been said in church for millenia: Those with poor mind are happy.

All truths come to one place, and Jesus scores once again.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Another Demon Announced!

Did you hear the news? It's Diablo 3!!! I'm so excited and I'm not even sure why, because I didn't really like the first two games!!!

Okay, now my initial excitement is out, let me calm down and say that, I am instantly hooked because of the game's more than amazing debut trailer.

Watch it now, and get hooked!

Now I have to ask.... why is Barlog in there? Mhahaha...


Balrog confronted by Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings


Diablo from Diablo 3 debut trailer

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yahtzee on MGS4! Mmm~

Escapist Magazine's (in)famous Yahtzee reviews critically and commercially(?) successful Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of Patriots. I must add, he gives it very proper review.

Enjoy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Can PS3 Be Any Sweeter?!


Yes, I still remember this... boomarang-shaped controller. LOL.



SERIOUSLY, the evil Wal-Mart and Sony is tempting me like crazy!


Wal-Mart is having this special going on with any Blu-Ray players, and I mean any. That means it includes Sony PlayStation 3! So, if I go for PS3 with 40GB HDD, I can pay $399, and be treated with extra $100 to blow away.


But that's not sweet enough to get me salivating all over the floor, is it? Of course not. I just dished out almost $500 for Xbox360 only a month ago!


What if Sony, whom I've come to think of an evil corporation with its arrogance (which, I must admit, has been eroding away ever since obnoxious Kutanagi left the company), is offering $100 off of PS3?


No way? Yes way. :) Of course, the deal includes another credit card that you should get rid of later.


Still, think about $100 off of PS3 and then another $100 gift card... That's $200 right there! So, say I get the PS3 80GB at $499, and use the Sony Credit Card at Wal-Mart. With all the deals--that also includes 12 months no interest period--I'll only pay $399, and have extra $100 to spend! With Sony keep flirting us with all the promises--think Home and Final Fantasy XIII-- and with its interest and investment in artistic games, I am now seriously considering the buy. Of course, there's the release of a small game titled Metal Gear Solid 4, too. :)


Now, don't be surprised if I come back a few days later with a post saying "PS3 GET!!!"









PS. Somebody please stop me. :'(

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It's Not Helping, Capcom

1UP.com: 'Racism' Claims Not Changing Resident Evil 5



While Capcom has added an African female sidekick to the latest installment of its now-controversial franchise, Resident Evil 5, it seems like the racist claim on the game's setting--a buffed-out white protagonist against hordes of black African natives that turn into zombies--doesn't seem to ease off.

However, we all know no company in their right mind will intentionally back a racist product, and I'm pretty sure Capcom isn't about to publish one of that kind, either. So, the point here isn't really about racism. What is the point then? I'll explain in a little bit.

While I still am very excited about the game with its terrific looking graphics, animations, music, product design, and so on, and will purchase it when it comes out, I have to ask why? to Capcom. Why did Capcom make such a foolish decision to go ahead with this theme and setting? From the article, the producer Jun Takeuchi said that the game was meant for entertainment only, and not political statement of any sort.

Now, let's think about this. A game where players will be shooting, hacking and slashing bunch of people in poverty (who happen to be all black, I might add). To take this as just entertainment. ... Seriously? How could they ever pit anyone against poor and deprieved people, even if they're zombified, who should be helped, not massacred, and say to have fun? Maybe it would've been easier to accept, at least to me, had they say the game forces the gamers to do what they should not do in real world, or at least, have players agonize over all those deaths of poor people who could've been helped. But alas, they seriously did create the francise as a mere "entertainment," and so we shouldn't worry about it.

Right. I hope Takeuchi-san has a good-night's dream with his legs stretched.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oldboy

Roger Ebert reviews Oldboy




As much as I like to think of myself of having abundant artistic sense and talent, I am constantly forced humble by never ending stream of amazing art pieces. This time, a great review of one of my favorite movie of all time, Oldboy, left me in awe.

After listening to one of my coworker praising Oldboy, I looked up a review by one of the famed and respected movie critic of our time, Roger Ebert (linked above). And boy, am I not surprised by his ability to perceive things from the movie?

As Oldboy and director Park Chan-Wook's fan, I enjoyed watching the movie several times over, and was able to grasp a sense of great depth in the film, ingrained into each shot, each asset, and each word in each dialogue. But my limited comprehensive ability in cinema kept my tongue tied as to how to describe, no, as to know what it is that I am sensing.

And here is Roger Ebert, expertly understanding and describing what he sees. Reasons behind some scenes that I could not see, he explains. Why the movie seems to have great depth, meaning, and importance in today's world, he writes about.

So, to those who think this movie is overly-violent--which it is. There's no denying of its masochistic tendancy here--for no reason, to those who say this movie is just overly-hyped, to those who say this work of art is just another trashy foreign movie, may I inquire you to make the jump and read up what Ebert has to say about this moive?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Healthy Diet, Korean Diet.

Why Korean Women Don't Get Fat - By Cecilia H. Lee

Too bad no children in my family, including me, knows how to make real Korean food.

To think about it, I guess it is true that most Korean dinner table has no major meat on it. I do remember eating hell of vegetables and no meat, but fish on majority of dinner tables when I was still under my parents' roof.

Now? It's fast food (albeit "good" ones like Panera and Chipotle) all the way, baby!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Mid-Saturday's Thought on Economy, Energy, and Global Sustainment

I don't know how this came to be, but recently, the new color of trend has been "green." Yes, green, as in environment-friendly, recycling, and ..stuff. I remeber reading articles in magazines just about a year ago or so, that inserts the word "green" into one of the lines as something that's lame, weak, or cheesy, as if it's something luxury to think about. And look around now. Being green is looked as being a pioneer. It's like being so cool.

Anyways, while people are talking about finding other more abundant and greener energy source for the future, I can't stop thinking about a bigger picture; global sustainment.

Let's think about human population. It has been, and still is, exploding exponentially for awhile now, and with that, humans have been draining resources at an increasing rate. No, let's think past this--With super-advanced recycling technology that probably will be developed later, we may find a way to reuse resources that is put into daily uses, even those in currently, fastly growing economies like China and India. This is all good and merry, but will this be a solution?

What I'm asking here is, even if we really reuse almost everything we use, will that put a complete stop in our using of natural resources? Of course not. With growing economy, we'll have to bring in more and more freshly digged out resources from Mother Earth to create more pies for newly born people.

There's one more thing we have to think about here: humans. What are humans, really? Besides them being a "sentient beings, capable of coming up with grandiose and flashy ambitions," they are, in the most simpliest, resource-oriented view, natural resources. Where do our flesh and energy come from? It may pass various paths to get to your body, but ultimately they're from nature!

The point I'm trying to make here is that one more person added to our population is that much less resource from Earth. I know it's inhumane to think of people in this way, but it still is true that no matter how well we resue resources, as long as population grows, nature will become more and more barren.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we stop multiplying and stop having babies. That's against human, and all living being's innate nature. This will bring human race to extinction when we finally get invaded by aliens. What I'm suggesting is that we start looking into getting more resources, without hurting this poor planet.

Yes. I am talking about space, and expanding into outer haven. Even if there is no E.T. out there, there must be endless supply of resources we can use out there! And here we are sitting on our hands.

Oh, please. Let the space race continue.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Microsoft And Art. ...yeeeeaaah. But Sony And Art? Yes.

Seems like all the good things happen after I leave, or make a different choice.

First, only after my graduation at Virginia Tech did they found game media lab and started a experimental game development course. Second, only after two weeks of my leap from last generation PS2 to current-gen Xbox360 do I find clips like this:




This is a clip of self-claimed "interactive art" work that is developed by a small group of part-time enthusiasts, funded by Sony Computer Entertainment, and thus, will only be distributed on PlayStation Network.

Interactive art. Interactive storytelling. Interactive fiction. These are all the things I am really into, more than today's most popular form of interactive media, games.

I feel fooled by the fact that Xbox360's console design was inspired by a famous contemporary art piece, Constantin Brancusi's famous "Bird in Space", because knowing this, I thought the software giant Microsoft has some sense and future outlook into interactive art and literatures...

PixelJunk Eden, flOw, flOwer... and now Linger in Shadow. It almost seems like a hardware manufacturer has more artistic sense than a software company.

Monday, May 19, 2008

"Robot with Acne"

Japanmanship - Bar for Entry

Normally, I pride myself for being able to control Armored Core's super-overly complex control. Normally, I feel such an accomplishment from performing 10-hit combo using Paul or Hwarang in Tekken.

But now, I am beginning to remorse the controllers with 12+ buttons with two analog sticks and a D-pad. How many keys are needed to enjoy a game? Although the general trend of gaming is going towards more simple and accessible games, currently, it's not enough.

I wouldn't have even cared about controls had I not looked at the button layout of the lastest game I purchased, Splinter Cell: Double Agent.

The game is actually really fun, sneaking around and stuff (I haven't gotton far at all to where I am actually a double agent, yet), but having completely different diagram for each different "modes"--normal mode, underwater mode, scope mode, aiming mode... all with different meaning to each buttons... all of which you have to remember--is ridiculous.

I may be enjoying this game right now, but I can clearly see myself in 5~10 years hating all these different buttons and layouts, having to pull up the control layout every 5 to 10 minutes. I, after 5 or 10 years, will have so many other things I'll have to care for, much less key layouts for games.

Penny Arcade did a great sketch on this. Gotta love 'em Penny Arcade...

PS. The title is from the Japanmanship blog article.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Late Late Show + GTA VI = Win

Late Late Show Rants Rationally On GTA IV

Okay, I've shared this video through news feeds on the right side, but I had to put this up again; it's something you, a gamer, shouldn't miss. Fast forward the video to 3:30 mark.

Enjoy:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Xbox360 Get!!

Microsoft: Xbox 360 First To Reach 10 Million Sold In U.S.



Aside from Microsoft declaring themselves as the winner of the so-called "next-gen console war," I just want to say that I am one of those 10 million MS-huggers who've invested their hard-earned dollars in its product.


Yes- I have finally got myself a Xbox360 system! You probably have noticed already with the new addition of so called "gamertag" on the rightside of this blog. It's sort of like a online profile card of my Xbox LIVE account. With it, you can track my played games. Neat, isn't it?


Anyways, I currently have only two titles for Xbox360: Call of Duty 4 and Chromehounds. Both games are awesome; I don't need to explain COD4, but Chromehounds is a mech-game (from From Software, the ones behind Armored Core series) that focuses on an on-line, persistant war where players can get involved in the war effort and help one of the three countries locked in conflict gain their might. Although I've played only a few game so far, it's a great game, especially the part where team-work is a must. Because of that, I really appreciate Xbox LIVE service (even if it collects subscribtion fee) that makes this kind of feature possible, considering that Chromehounds didn't receive much marketing.



Anyways, this is one reason for not updating much lately... but I'll try to get back to regular blogging soon.


PS. If you have Xbox360 and play on LIVE, add me! Send me a invite to "nekonari". It's after my new cat, Nari. :D

Friday, May 9, 2008

ROK's President's Real Job Description: National Scapegoat

I know I'm harsh on Koreans most of the time (because I love them). But you know what? I think they deserve harsh treatment.

Today, I actually made myself read up on some news articles on Korean politics--I generally don't have much interest in politics, and have my hands full with following that of America. And what do I see in the article, or rather, the replies to articles on anything politics? The new president, after only 2 months of seizing the office, is already the scapegoat. Yes, scapegoat. Koreans are already too busy blaming any problem on the new president's inability. Too friendly with Japan? Traitor. Too harsh on North Korea? Idiot who'll bring end to the country. And the issue with imported American beef? Impeachment!!

I know it's within citizens' right to pass judgement on their government officials, but after only 2 friggin' months? What the f*ck? How can anybody do anything if no one gives them any chance to do anything? Even if JFK was Korean president, I bet he couldn't have ever stood a chance to do anything good with people like them.

Jesus, people. Stop whining and give the president you chose a chance.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Know This: You Are a Bot.

Blizzard attempt to kill WoW bot bad news for copyright law


I link the above article, which reports Blizzard trying to shut down a MMO bot maker by claiming that un-authorized copying of the game from one's hard drive to same computer's RAM is a copyright infringement--Yes, you heard that right!--not because such claim is down right ridiculous and preposterous, but because I want to point out something about popular game genre that is MMORPG.

MMORPG, in case you don't know, stands for "Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game," which entitles thousands of players to live in a world, be a resident of the fantasy world, and interact and form a community among other players.

Sounds cool, eh?

Well, you really shouldn't be impressed. Instead of bringing you living and breathing world where you truly live in, it gives you a static world that only rare patches and updates change certain part of the world. It doesn't let you change the world, not in a meaningful way, anyways.

The game itself is pretty simple: you do quest-grinding for money, experience points, in the name of netting the ultimate items. You may do stuff like chatting, forming clans, creating items based on static formula of other items--this isn't really creating anything--and on and on with mundane and simple grind-work.

Is this fun? I mean, I know there are tens of millions of people playing one or the other MMO games these days, but are they really having fun? I doubt it. I bet most of the MMORPG players are more or less like the potato-chip-eating character who kills off every dang players in the virtual world from a special World of Warcraft episode of South Park; they're being desk-chair-potato, playing games for hours, with frozen and expressionless face.



They are addicted to the game, not loving the game. And I think something's wrong in this picture.

The fact that there are bots that can do what players do is saying something.



Tuesday, May 6, 2008

An Amazing Edge


Some time ago, I was introduced to a new game from DICE, creator of EA"s Battlefield series, titled Mirror's Edge by a good friend's blog. Reading the description of the game by the developer, I could see that they are headed at the right direction; focusing more on the character instead of guns, and emulating the real-world relationship of player and the environment. In short, the game will have the player run around in a futuristic urban setting in parkour style, with simulated momentum of player's movement. And of course, in first-person.

The few--and far too little--screenshots they showed was so beautiful. It was bright, detailed, and had this inviting feeling that makes you want to jump in and around. What they were missing, is a video footage. Until now.

Check it out, and be amazed:





The feel of the momentum, Faith's feet hitting the ground, subtle movements of fingers, only average-looking, and so more realistic and personable character, and the amazing and refreshing music... Now, this is the next-gen game!

Consider me sold. I am getting this the day it comes out.





Friday, May 2, 2008

US Govt Says: "I Got a Surprise For You!"



I logged into my bank account to check if my rent has been withdrawn. Well, it did, but not without another entry from US Treasury. It was a surprise; a pleasant one, that is, because the amount indicated was not under "Debit," but under "Credit."

Yes, the money US government released to help stimulate economy just got deposited! *dance* And it's double the amount I expected, totaling $600!! *cheer*

Now this justifies the money I poured into buying Xbox360 this morning! :D

For the first time, I feel grateful towards President Bush. Well, besides that time when he smokes pot with a Korean and an Indian.



Thursday, May 1, 2008

Oh, Google, You Sweet Son of a...


Google NY Tour

Google Jobs|Benefits ... way beyond basics

I knew Google was a great place to work. I mean, who doesn't? They're like the number one revered company ever. When the company's young representative visited Virginia Tech, I wasn't really interested in them (that doesn't mean I didn't go to their information session for free food and nice shirt... I just didn't interview with them). I mean, they're cool search engine company with two big, flat-panel monitors to work with, and they get the whole Friday (or was it just the afternoon?) to spend time in whatever their curiosity leads to. But I could care less because they weren't in any area that awed me or inspired me.

But when I started reading the Google NY Tour post by Snowcat, I saw something weird; he(she?) mentions the cafeteria food as being famous for the taste, and it's free as expected. And I thought it was a strange way of putting that someone bought a lunch.

And what do you know? On Google Job's benefits page, it lists oh-so-many benefits that includes not only child-care, on-site doctor, but also... free food!! And they're not talking just free soda like this other company (*wink* at Microsoft); Google means the whole package, from lunch, snack, to even dinner! Considering food is one of the highest expense on everyone's list, free lunch and dinner is a tremendous envy generator. For someone who always has beef for bad cafeteria food and its un-deserving high pricetag, this is like salt on wound and pouring lemon juice over it. *cry*

Now I wanna work at Google!



Google added new themes for its iGoogle page. Snowcat's one of them!




Thursday, April 24, 2008

Crazy Koreans

Something I learned from the first episode of 30Rock Season 2:

Koreans wear white dress to funeral.


LOL... I, as a Korean, never thought of this that way...!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Our Distorted Perception of Beauty

Now I really want to master Photoshop skillz. -.-

A Year Ago

Remembering the day..

Monday, April 14, 2008

Resident Evil 5 Controversy; Take 2

Newsweek’s N’Gai Croal On The ‘Resident Evil 5′ Trailer:
‘This Imagery Has A History’

That Notorious “Resident Evil 5″ Trailer And The People
I Met In Africa

We've made full circle, and we're back to the same issue: Resident Evil 5 and racism.

My words here are worthless. Check those links out, and see what I saw when I first viewed the trailer.

(Image from MTV Multiplayer)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Only Toys

Opinion: The Case Against Writers In The Games Industry
Opinion: Feel Lucky, Punk? The Game Writing Fallout

These short opinion articles argue about the position writers have in today's game industry. The first argues that writers are really a luxury, something that is not of necessity. Adam Maxwell, a writer-turned-game designer, says that if there is a choice between a great writer, and a decent writer-game designer, he'd definitely choose the latter, who can contribute to other aspect to game development than purely on writing.

Second article, a counter-opinion to the first, talks about how writing is the jewel of any games, that what is left at the end of any games is the writing, not game mechanics.

In today's world where game is struggling to find it's place in our lives, this is another symptom that comes from having a sloppy identity. Yes, today's game is so young and energetic, that it's trying to be everything it can emulate. I say game is so busy being a copy-cat that it's losing it's self... that it's forgetting what it's best at.

On that line of thought, I strongly agree with Adam's opinion, that writer and writing is not the core of games, that it doesn't belong at the fundamental level of games.

Before starting to flame me, hear me out: I do think games are capable of delivering serious messages; I think games can become much more artistic; I think games are worthy of great writing, which may turn a game into a masterpiece; great writing may foster unprecedented experience. However, that is not what today's games are. Today's games are mere toys. No matter what kind, at the core, and at the bottom of our heart, we all know where games stand in our lives. They are distractions. They're something to help us pull away from reality, to unload steam or stress, to enjoy, to be entertained.

I am looking forward to the day a game (or something interactive that is not a game) solely focused on human nature or human story is created and finally opens everyone's eyes and let them see the great possibility that interactive medium can bring.

Until that day, you'll keep hearing me whining.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Something More Than Just "Game"

I'm starting this post to keep track of any discussions on Interactive Storytelling which is certainly an area more than worthy of deep, academic study. I'm starting with 1UP Yours podcast, because this topic keeps coming up repeatedly, making me think that there really is something to this topic.

List of 1UP Yours discussion on interactive storytelling within todays games:

  1. 12/21/2007 1:18:17
    Jeff Cannata: "I think the story of BioShock progressed the medium of videogames. I think it's as close to art as we've gotten in videogames. It's an experience that can only be communicated to you in an interactive medium. ... and it's because I was participating in the story. ... and this is the only entertainment medium where I am an active participant."
  2. 3/21/2008 54:00
  3. 3/28/2008 1:50:00, 1:54:17
    Shane: "Resident Evil ... the storytelling, not its strong point. ...compared to actual good story, Resident Evil does not have one."

Monday, March 24, 2008

In Treatment

I'm not sure what you think about receiving psychological therapy... you know, the one where you sit down with a stranger and start talking about the most intimate thing you've never told even to your partner of the life. But I've been thinking that it's actually really good and healthy for you, as long as the therapy maintains a great personality.

I'm not sure where I've read about this first, but today, I came across a little blog post about a recent HBO special titled In Treatment. You can actually watch it free online. With overwhelming charisma, the therapist has an hour long session with each of his patients... and goodness, it's worth every second. Please, do go watch it... I think it'll be of a lot of help to you.

While watching the show, while being sucked into other people's problems and the calm and wisdom-loaded response of Paul the therapist, I was hit by a tiny fact that everything they talk about.. they're actually very small things, somethings that you and I could be talking about, given a chance and a set of open hearts. The fact that we pay a stranger just so we can talk to them about our problem makes me think that this world has become a such complex and crowded place that, as one of my favorite movie, Crash, appropriately puts, we've come to "miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other just so we can feel something."

It's a sad reality we live in.

On CCM or "Inspirational Music"

I've been listening to many CCMs lately now that I've decided to help out my church's praise night, and I find them pretty good songs, to be honest. I'm not saying this because of the fact that they're Christian music, but I think they would've been good and fairly popular songs had they come out as normal Pop songs.

Now, I'm not saying that I was oblivious of CCM's existance. I did know there were a lot of these musics (from other praise nights and such events), but never had I really acquired copies of those songs and listened to them on regular basis like now.

One thing about CCM for me is that Roman Catholic Church, which I belong, are not so happy with CCM. Reasoning, I think, goes that the relationship between men (and women) and God is not so much about enjoying or having adrenaline rush or.. whatever feeling you get listening to contemporary songs of late. It's about deep contemplation, something like meditation, which I do agree. Since most of us Catholics don't really delve into studyinig what our religion is really about (which I think also has some reason behind this... loi), I can't really say anything other than this.

One thing is clear: while I am listening to these songs, I almost never really think about God or how mighty he is or praising him. I feel like I'm just listening to any other pop song. Guess I'm not really cut out for contemporary way of praising.

Edit: I just Googled CCM and found Wikipedia entry on this subject (All hail Wiki!), and found out its not just Catholic, but any conservative Christians that are against CCM. Ha... funny. I mean, the reasoning for the controversy is funny. Take this: "Some conservative Christians feel that the medium of popular music is unholy, and thus unfit for Christian participation." I bet these people are the same people opposing video game in every possible way.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Technology Nerfs Fantasy

This is a great find. Enjoy:

Watching the great trilogy of The Lord of The Ring, I've always thought how technology takes away many of merits fantasy settings bring. Think about it: Gandalf, in The Two Towers, calls for this white horse, Shadowfax, who's supposed to be the "lord or all horses." Coolness. Now, imagine how that great horse would've seen if a red pickup truck rolls by next to them at blazing speed! Not cool. (Gandalf probably stuck his thumb up and asked for a ride.) A silly thought, I know. But there are tons of this kind of moments in fantasy stories neverthless.

I'm making this point to let you think about how mixing fantasy and technology leads to many awkward development. Take most of Japanese fantasy games, Final Fantasy 7, for example. From the start of the game, Cloud encounters guards who pour bullets on Cloud. What happens to him? Nothing, except costing a few HP points.

Is anything wrong in this picture? I mean, gun is something amazingly powerful and is something to be feared. It enables everyday Joe to commit mass murder, and yet, here we are with games that take this totally away.

Okay, I do acknowledge that it probably was a design decision made by the devs to control the flow of game. However, I have to wonder, couldn't they have inserted some kind of explanation for this? Instead of simply "nerf"ing guns (because apparently guns are not cool but swords are) what about some kind of magic that prevents leathal wound from bullets? (e.g. something similar to that magnetic field generator one of the boss in MGS2 had.)

Stupid designs that we have to take as is because of inability on designers' side makes me mad.

Anyways... how did this post become a rant? Didn't mean to when I started typing. Hrm..

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Gaming, Gamer, and Man-Child

GP: "Prof: Game Industry Barbaric, Continually Chooses Violent Themes"

You know, more I read people's comments on game-related stories, more I get dissappointed with the people who call themselves "gamers." Why? Read on.

While vast majority of people follow news around their area, politics, sports, or world news to keep track of hot issues that may be more important than entertainment, I follow news and blog entries on game industry most of the time (the only non-game related news, I get from Newsweek). One of the source is Game Politics.com (GP in short), a blog by ECA (Electronic Consumers Association), which covers on political issues surrounding game industry. They report mainstream news to legislation relating to games, and so on. And because we're living in a time when "game" is such a new and hot thing, it's inevitable many of GP's posts relates to someone's negative view at games in general. It is very informative, yet can be very annoying.

The actual posts are good by themselves, although sometimes it consist of flame-starters. However, the response people write to such articles..are obnoxious.

Ok, some articles do deserve to be shot down, like the despicable Fox News' coverage on "SeXBox", or this "Customizable Sodomy" (this is about BioWare's respectable Mass Effect, BTW) but there are plenty of reasonable and well-thought-out opinions on current states of games. Yet, to any story involving anyone saying anything negative about today's games, people are just busy bashing the authors, talking about how ignorant and stupid they are, citing a single or two examples to counter their views (when there are tons that do support them), instead of actually heed the words and reflect on them. I am generalizing the gamer-crowds and do know there are mature and respectable people among the crowd, but looking at the comments and boards, I do find more of one-sided, so-utterly-biased, and irresponsible gamers who simply like to talk shit to those opposing games. And then, they immediately turn around and praise game devs who says practically the same thing.

I guess I can blame this on the anonymity of interweb, but this picture is not encouraging. Maybe "game" is what game is: a toy for people's entertainment. Maybe gamers really are man-child. Maybe gaming is something to grow out of.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Maybe Totilo Was Right...

Portal: A Mean Storytelling Machine

When MTV Multiplayer blog's Steven Totilo made a request to CAPCOM to cut gameplay of Okami when porting it to Wii, pretty much everyone disputed that notion of edit. People don't like "Director's Cut" version of movies, and people don't want to lose even one sec of their precious playtime.

And guess what? Arguable the year 2007's most influential game, Portal was able to deliver such compact, condensed experience with atomic punch of mindshifting story by, none other than, editing. Yes, "the secret," the article writes, "to crafting Portal's perfect blend of gameplay and story, ... was to cut, cut, and cut some more." And so the game became only about 3-hour-long game, and became such a charm. (You may think they may have removed dull moments and features only, but they actually have cut a whole NPC who they initially had players encounter on the course of the game.)

Are we seeing the birth of a new career as Gameplay Editor?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Next Big Work of Art is Coming! (Get Ready!)

Production I.G.'s Sky Crawlers Page

Are you ready to be exhilarated? World's reknown, and the favorite film director of mine, Mamoru Oshii (creator of Ghost in the Shell, Innocence, among others), is about to present a brand new animated film, The Sky Crawlers, based on Mori Hiroshi's popular novel of same title about Kildren, children of future who are inflicted with eternal adolescence, haunted by war created by adults.

This film is to be the next full-featured animation work by Oshii, after highly-praised Innocence. Upon finishing the novel, Oshii praised the book regarding it as...

"a work that should be made into a movie for young people now. ... It is time to face this new perception to our existence through the Kildren, who live indefinitely in eternal adolescence, and this theme should be dealt with now."
Upon the news, the author gave his consent on the spot.

Are you excited? I certainly am! It'll be releasd in this summer! Not sure how long it'll take to come to the state side, but I sure will watch it soon after the release, watch it when it's released here, and get a DVD (or Blu-Ray, since I prolly own a Blu-Ray player by then. Hopefully.)!

Oh, joy!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Great Expectation

Listening to last week's(2/15/2008) 1UP Yours podcast, N'Gai of Newsweek's Level Up claims he does not expect, nor should anyone, a game to tell a good story, at least to the level of novels. He makes an anology of film's cinematography to game's gameplay; as images in motion is the key feature of films, gameplay is the key to games, not stories. PuzzleQuest's heart was the puzzle itself, not the quest. Portal, which had a breathtaking revelation in the course of its short gameplay, would also be dismissal had it not nailed gameplay portion (which, it did with a state-of-the-art perfection). Asking for a grand epic novel from a game is like asking a painting to tell a story with same depth as a novel; that is like wishing as much sour taste from an apple as from an orange.

Although many of gamers may be compelled to object to this view, especially if you're a fan of most of JRPGs, Call of Duty, Half-Life, or any other major franchise out there, however, I am agreeing with N'Gai's view with my complete heart. As I've said in a previous post, we have to realize today's games that we so much love are in fact a meshup of various media; it's a mix of music, movies, books, games, dolls, and so on. This is like someone who wants sour taste added to apple creating a apple-orange smoothie.

However, I do think, or better yet, know that games can tell stories, or more like messages. Take widely acclaimed Passage for example. In its short 5-minute gameplay, it manages to trigger players to think about life and death, in very interesting way. (If you haven't tried this game, it's a must. Go try now.) Portal, too, delievered very compelling experience with its narrative.

I must say, gameplay as means of delivering messages is very hard. And game as a medium being still in an infant stage, it does borrow advantages of other media to help make itself sexier and more fun. But it's nice to know that more people are thinking about this issue, and are slowly driving the medium forward. Hope we see more Portal in future, not another Lost Odyssey.