Culture

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In line with the network’s goal of providing quality programs that appeal to many Filipinos, The Kapatid Network is tapping into an unlikely source of viewers: us gamers. On the heels of their previously-popular miniseries, “I’m in Love with a Dota Player”, local megastation TV5 turns to Square-Enix’ beloved Final Fantasy franchise as inspiration for their next big afternoon soap.

In a blockbuster deal signed last week by TV5’s Head of Broadcast Operations Jeric Mariano and Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda, the network will be slotting in their adaptation of Final Fantasy VIII in their afternoon programming block, now dubbed “Pinakahuling Pantasya.”  “It’s a captivating story that will put to test the value of friendship and love and will unravel a well-kept secret of the mercenary force, SeeD. The drama is topbilled by respected actors and actresses in the country,” Mariano states in a press release issued today.

Gelli de Belen
Gelli de Belen

“Pinakahuling Pantasya” combines the best of the old and new generations of acting talents, led by a powerful trio of two veterans and one upcoming young female star in the lead roles. Playing the major roles of Squall and Rinoa will be Jericho Rosales (dubbed “Buhawi” in the localized adaptation) and Angel Locsin, respectively. Performing as beloved goofball Zell isequally-beloved goofball Vhong Navarro, with Alice Dixon, Edu Manzano, and Vin Abrenica rounding out the rest of the cast. The series is helmed by award-winning directors Eric Quizon, Argel Joseph, and Bb. Joyce Bernal.

De Belen on her role as Sorceress Edea Kraemer: “It was hard kasi recession sa States, everybody values their job, so that was my fear na if I leave for a long time, baka mawala yung work ko dun… Then I spoke to my boss, good thing he understood naman. That was the sign na kapag pumayag siya then I’d really push through with TV5’s Pantasya.”

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Final Fantasy VIII, released 1999 for the PlayStation has sold over 2 million units worldwide and is one of the most popular RPGs of the late ’90s. TV5 (formerly known as ABC 5) is a major Filipino commercial television network based in Mandaluyong City, Philippines. Owned by TV5 Network, Inc., solely owned by MediaQuest Holdings, Inc. which in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of the beneficial trust fund of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company headed by business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan.

So I read about a “big issue” in the “e-sport world” of the Philippines from a phrase uttered by one of local e-Sport’s more prominent figures. The issue is apparently so big that it deserved coverage on some tech blogs; of course spouting the ever-so cliche feel-good ideas of “love of the game” and blatantly implying that the next generation of “cyber athletes” shouldn’t be “such money-grubbers”.

Excuse me while I laugh my ass off.

As offended I am at the sensibilities of the people who wrote that (blog post) garbage, I find it laughable that people still think that e-Sports is a thing in the Philippines or even in the world. Okay, maybe it is a thing with some local guys posing for MSI‘s gaming hardware, one of them being the subject of the other blog’s scrutiny. Or with the resurgence of Mineski and their brand of tournaments along with other emerging e-Sport promoters. More recently, there is a renewed interest in online games with Smart Telecom’s Game X platform for purchasing game credits for local game publishers. They also hosted a rather big tournament for Massive’s games with a more gratuitous prize pool in comparison with Assault Fire’s measly prize pool tournament which started this whole “debacle”. Mmm… maybe e-sports IS a thi—NOPE.

Are Filipino online gamers just that cheap, poor, or have they just moved on to other games?
Are Filipino online gamers just that cheap, poor, or have they just moved on to other games?

Still a big fat nope. E-sports is still not a thing in the Philippines, no matter how hard people try. It only appears to be a thing on the off-chance that people actually get with the program and make big money for e-sport promotions, game publishers, and sponsors. One of the key ingredients to making a successful e-Sport league is a big budget coming from a sustainable revenue stream. The lack of a sustainable revenue stream is something all online game publishers in the country have in common. I believe we have seen Level-Up, the country’s largest game publisher change hands more than three times in the past few years. It’s like passing a hot potato that nobody really wants.

If you actually follow e-sports, you will know that it goes with the game with the biggest player base and revenue stream. Back in the day it was Counter-Strike, and then Starcraft. There were many games they experimented in-between but it ultimately landed on massive online battle arenas (MOBAs), starting with that Warcraft III mod to League of Legends and then finally DotA 2. Most e-sport games in the spotlight are online games and there is no doubt as to why they are capable of having large prize pool tournaments continuously. That’s because they have a large base of players who buy their virtual items, merchandise and/or services regularly to the point that it has become the equivalent of printing money. It’s true, people go where the money goes both promoters and players and some people make it sound like a bad thing. As if these competitive e-sport types of games are the only games you can play “for-the-love-of-fucking-gaming.” By the way, I love how DotA 2 did their merchandise, that’s how I would have done League of Legends.

It really does print money.
It really does print money.

I’ve always told my colleagues that these e-sport events are necessary costs for the sole purpose of advertising your online game. They are glorious spectacles that cost a lot of money. You can hardly measure the results because there is a limited number of people you can accommodate in a day for a tournament so you won’t see a big spike in any measurable key performance indicators. But you know what, if you want to push your game into the mainstream, this is the road you have to take. You also need to keep your players interested in playing your game and spending money. Competitive games like first-person shooters and MOBAs thrive on competition so you need to conduct tournaments and the more newsworthy they are, the more advantageous it is to the game you are promoting.

Anybody remember this? It never materialized.
Anybody remember this? It never materialized.

The cost for logistics for a weekend tournament is already more than enough to make you shake your head in disbelief should you actually try to make money from these events; then there is the prize pool. What is the prize pool meant for? To reward players for their time and hard work? Hardly, it’s to make the tournament attractive enough to motivate people to take a crack at it and to make people talk about it. Then comes the hours of training, going through strategies, and even buying virtual items when needed. Preparation for these tournaments cost money too, if you’re serious about it. It’s an ersatz marketing tool, if anything.

Any spectator who comes into contact with staff or people in-the-know will scoff at a tournament with a small prize pool whereas their jaws will drop at disbelief at a fat prize pool. Big money tournaments are newsworthy, they can and will be talked about but that doesn’t equate an instant increase in your player base. A P1.5 million prize pool didn’t help Ragnarok Online keep it’s player base from bleeding to Ran Online. E-Game’s nationwide tournament for the now dead and buried Operation 7 which was also barking about a one million peso prize pool failed to garner enough interest and the tournament fizzled, never seeing the light of day.

I just contradicted myself. First they are a necessary spectacle and then they don’t really work. Why? I guess you’ll have to tune in tomorrow, as I dissect the requisite evils of these tournaments. Then, I will address the issue made by ignorant peanut gallery bloggers and the butt hurt of Assault Fire’s Community Manager. Also, it’s two parts because we are in dire need of hits before we “go red” and unlock the “In-debt knowledge of blogging” achievement. That sentence before this was sarcasm because I know it has to be pointed out.

Y’know, it just doesn’t seem right that we’re twelve days into 2014 but we haven’t even decided on our collective GOTY candidates. Since objectivity runs into subjectivity on these lists, we’ve decided to take the scientific route and use some actual math and statistics to determine our true collective games of the year, based on the 30lives team’s myriad tastes. True science at work, dear friends!

tomb-raider

10. Tomb Raider (PS3, Xbox 360)
Lara Croft makes a triumphant return in the most engrossing and action-packed Tomb Raider ever. There are few dull moments and you really see Lara’s character develop throughout the game. A brilliant inventory system, great level design, and responsive combat mechanics makes it a perfect introduction to Lara Croft for the new generation of gamers. – Shin (read my full review here, dolts)

rabidsmt9. Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)
My second foray to the Shin Megami Tensei world (Persona 4 Golden being the first), SMT4 was one of the games that kept kicking my ass. What a refreshing game for a change too, in a world where today’s games kept holding your hand through the tough levels, SMT will keep kicking your ass until you scream no more and change the difficulty level to Fellows. – Cheena

We reviewed this game a while back too! Point your browsers right here.

8. Dragon’s Crown (PSVita, PS3)
I like 2D scrollers and dungeon crawler games. This became an insta-favorite for me and my constant gaming buddy since it’s one of the few co-op games that we both enjoy. I even bought a Vita version so I can level up my sorceress on the go. – Cheena

Check out our review of Dragon’s Crown right here!

7. Pokemon X/Y (3DS)
Pokemon X and Y
represents the series’ apex as it marks several technological and gameplay refinements that may upset some, but ultimately level the playing field down so new players and those that haven’t been paying attention to the games for a while (this guy) can play at a much higher level than in previous iterations of the series. I truly appreciated how scaleable the game can be: you can either choose to simply partake in this game’s respectable 30-hour quest, or catass yourself all the way to tens of thousands of wasted hours breeding and IV training and such. I would recommend talking to friends and loved ones first before making the latter choice. – Ryan

ni no kuni

6. Ni No Kuni (PS3)
I have been waiting for a spiritual successor to Dragon Quest VIII (one of the greatest games of all time, in my opinion) and this is probably the closest that I’ve accepted wholeheartedly. Ni no Kuni has the elements for a legendary RPG: good writing, lovable lead characters, collectible monsters and crafting. What’s even better is that the game is ensconced in a perfect Ghibli-rendered world. Absolutely breathtaking. – Cheena

Read Ryan’s take on the game here.

5. Saints Row IV (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
To me, video games are ultimately trivial hobbies—this is why I loathe games that take themselves too seriously, or try to pretend to be anything else than an interactive time-waster/rollercoaster ride. Saints Row IV is the ultimate “fuck around” game and in my opinion curbstomps (pause for inappropriate visual) Grand Theft Auto V where it counts the most: the “fun” department. Don’t get me wrong, I had a ton of fun with GTA V but Saints Row IV simply outclassed it as an open-world game (despite recycling much of SR3’s assets) as well as a multiplayer experience. – Ryan

fire-emblem-awakening-624x4044. Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
Turn-based strategy games will always be my favorite game genre and Intelligent Systems has revitalized an old franchise by producing a high quality game. I instantly fell in love with all the characters with all the ‘shipping’ features plus the introduction of the Casual mode embraces all noobs who want to play without the stress. – Cheena

Click here to read Cheena’s musings on FE: Awakening!

 

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3. Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag (PS4, Xbox One)
Assassin’s Creed IV made me forget the whole obnoxious memories entertainment “corporation x conspiracy” theories because: Pirates. Fond memories of Sid Meier’s Pirates were rekindled in a much more badass and violent manner. There is so much swashbuckling to do that I almost forgot I was playing an Assassin’s Creed game. It’s that good! -Alex

Last2. The Last of Us (PS3)
Though probably on the top of most gamers’ and outlets’ collective GOTY lists, in my honest opinion The Last of Us falls short for the simple reason that—under any real scrutiny—it’s a solid B+ game and nothing more. Though Naughty Dog has crafted a fine narrative in spite of the staid source material, the game screams “AAA” through and through, splashing on a beautiful coat of paint on your standard “monster closet” design. -Ryan; my full thoughts here

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
A Link Between Worlds reinvents the best Zelda game (A Link to the Past) to make it compelling to play in a concise package. I have not played a game all year long (2013) that made we want to pick up my 3DS and play for consecutive days as long as I could. This is the one 3DS game you shouldn’t miss and one you can repeat through-out the years in the form of speed runs.  -Alex

And there you have it, that’s our GOTY list. Any other games you folks felt should be on our list? Feel free to drop us a line on our Facebook page!

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In possibly one of the most surreal CES keynote speeches ever presented in the event’s history, the WWE (read: decrepit wrestling company) today announced a rather forward-thinking initiative, the WWE Network. Going live on tablets and streaming devices (including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PS4!) on February 24th, the service will cost $9.99 and will feature a fair amount of programming from past and present wrasslin’ organizations that have been absorbed into the company’s umbrella. More importantly, your monthly charge lets you stream every pay-per-view event the company puts out going forward.

Kind of a bold move from the company who pretty much created pay-per-view television. Unlike similar networks from other sports organizations (cue the irony of implying that professional wrestling is a sport), you get a lot for what you pay for: on top of first-run, original programming running 24/7, you get a Netflix-like archive of past events to wade through; almost 150,000 hours have been digitized for the Network’s purpose so far.

 

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AMC’s Breaking Bad will air its finale this Sunday but Jesse Pinkman already has a new gig after that.

Aaron Paul will star alongside Michael Keaton, Dominic Cooper, and Kid Cudi for the movie adaptation of EA’s Need for Speed video game franchise. The film is directed by Scott Waugh and will release March 14, 2014. As with all game to movie interpretations, don’t get your hopes up and don’t expect too much.

So yeah. Get in the car, bitch!

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During relaxing vacations (those exist?) far and away from the country’s iron-handed communist grip, enterprising North Korean visitors to the isle of Rungnado can now experience what it feels to be an arcade rat. New photos released by the secretive state reveal that they’ve opened a new arcade for visitors of the vacation “paradise” to enjoy, which seems to be stocked with modern Japanese machines; a far cry from the Iron Curtain hand-me-downs we’ve seen a few years ago.

Scoff if you might, but at least they’re playing real games, and not the flavor-of-the-month chatroom MMORPGs their brothers in the South are wasting their lives with. Best Korea, confirmed.

Additional material worth reading is Hardcore Gaming 101’s short look at North Korean gaming.

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A new Youtube show is running the rounds lately and I have to say it’s HOT. Like, habanero pepper HOT!

Hot Pepper Gaming is a Youtube Channel which features Youtube celebrities and personalities of the gaming community doing video reviews of popular games… AFTER EATING A HELLMOUTH-INDUCING HABANERO PEPPER!

I gotta admit it’s quite entertaining seeing a grown man in tears, cursing, and practically dying while delivering essential info about a game.

I’ve embedded 3 videos in this post. So see for yourself!

Source: Youtube – Hot Pepper Gaming

 

 

 

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I posted about this a few weeks ago and now it’s out! Nobuo Uematsu’s e-book Blik-0 1946 is now out in iTunes and Amazon for the Kindle (sans the soundtrack).

There are 4 iTunes packages for Blik-0 1946:

Blik-0 1946_image(1)Blik-0 1946 is a story about a robot named “Blik-0,” created by a reputable artificial intelligence scientist, Dr. Mabuse. Blik-0 is a robot built with functions that let him emulate the human heart and brain. As he experiences life the way humans do, he starts to struggle with feelings and emotions like sadness, heartache, anger, and love.

There are three original tracks included in the iPad version composed by Uematsu entitled “Blik-0 1946”, “Ah, But Why?” and “So Close”. The e-book is also enriched by illustrations made by Hiroki Ogawa who designed and illustrated the EARTHBOUND PAPAS’ official character, which is featured on the jacket of the band’s début album, Octave Theory.

You can find out more at the Blik-0 1946 official Facebook page.

Blik-0 1946 is only available on the US iTunes store so you will not be able to find it on the Asian / Philippine store. If you have a US iTunes account though and some spare credits lying around, be sure not to miss it.

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serra_angelMagic: The Gathering is currently celebrating their 20th anniversary and they have some activities lined up for the week. To be honest, I can’t believe it’s been that long already since Magic launched. It seems like only a few years ago when my brothers and I were going to Greenhills (quite the trip if you’re living in the dirty South) to buy packs of Magic cards (and me buying Archie digests and Marvel comics). I’ve never played Magic during the ’90s and I’ve relegated myself to the role of pack opener and card organizer while my brothers furiously built decks, made card lists, perused Wizards, and card flopped when the opportunity presented itself. What I remember about M:TG during the ’90s though is the amazing artwork on some of the cards as well as the funny and bad ass flavor texts they put into some of the creature and ability cards. I used to spend a few hours each Saturday flipping through card binders and helping my brothers organize the cards in color-coded binders and card sleeves.

Fast forward to 2009, I was reintroduced to the world of Magic: The Gathering by way of an XBOX Live Arcade game called Duels of the Planeswalkers. My boyfriend was an avid collectible card game (CCG) player along with his best friends in college. He was inactive after he sold most of his cards but wanted to get back into playing the game. He then made me play the tutorial of the Duels one boring Saturday afternoon, and the rest was history.

Yesterday, Mark Rosewater (the famous Maro) published the article “20 Things That Were Going To Kill Magic”. It’s such a delight to learn more about the history of M:TG from 20 years ago and how from humble beginnings they were able to become such a huge card game. Of course I can only relate to the points from #8 onwards (the earlier ones I remember from my planeswalking friends’ personal stories), but it’s great to be able to recount these experiences.

nocturnus
This card always saves my day.

I’ve created and built only a few decks from 2009, and my personal favorites are tribal ones. I’ve always liked playing tribal creatures that shared abilities and helped out each other, while being under a unifying theme (beasts, elves, vampires, et cetera). Maybe this was influenced by Garruk and Nissa Revane’s decks in Duels and how efficient they were against the others. I was actually convinced that these decks are strong, only to find out they can easily be annihilated in a real Magic duel with more efficient spells when given a bigger pool of cards to choose from. This is actually what drew me in playing more of paper M:TG than the Duels game – the thousands of available cards to choose from especially if you include the legacy cards from the game’s beginning.

Another aspect of Magic: The Gathering that I like is being able to play against decks of different people. Each person has their own play style and their decks are sometimes built on their personalities. There was a study done by Wizards about M:TG player profiles which basically boiled down to being a Spike, Johnny or a Timmy. There are guys who want the most efficient cards in their decks to win, while there are some who just want to pull off a certain combo whether they win or lose, and there are others who just want to play with flair. I think that’s where I belong.

I am only a casual player – usually I only play with some friends and office mates during boring days. I’m nowhere near the advanced player level; there are still some spells where I struggle and some mechanics I keep forgetting. Sometimes I play spells wrong and my friends will have to give me a tip on how to efficiently play them for the next round. It’s experiences like these that make Magic: The Gathering special to me – the game is intelligent and you will constantly have to keep up and learn if you want to be a good player. Other things that I like about Magic are its different game modes – draft play, Planechase, and customized rules like playing against commons-only decks (pauper) and other silly rules that players come up with.

Thank you Magic: The Gathering for enriching my life – by making me meet different kinds of players and duel against their unique styles, for making me continuously learn by introducing changes and improvements, by always forcing me to think hard when I play, and most of all, have fun by myself (through the videogame) or with others. Happy 20th!

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My main problem with gamers—especially the self-titled “gaming journalist” types—is that these people are incapable (or at least putting forward the impression) of enjoying games for what they are. Gaming is in essence a hobby rooted in low-brow, bottom-of-the-barrel nerdy drivel. It’s why even the so-called “Citizen Kanes” of gaming like The Last of Us devolve into pandering, focus group-approved narratives geared towards the mass market. Simply put: aiming to be the “Citizen Kane” of gaming is a fool’s errand. The delta between the medium, its creators, and the audience at large has not yet intersected to a point where this is an acceptable goal.

ultimate_warrior_2With the prevelance of DIY blogs and online forums in the past ten years, I feel that there is a populist archetype that quite a few gamers are trying to shoehorn themselves into. The mythical “cool gamer” whose knowledge and experience is only bounded by how fast he or she can pull up Wikipedia on a mobile device. These are the types of gamers that will write pages of prose and fanfiction about which company executive should buy out what company, yet seemingly lack the fortitude or the funds to actually be a participant in the hobby. Read: simply play video games, and not try to make them more intellectual or hipster-cool than they actually are. Because at the end of the day, games are simply interactive experiences wrapped around B movie-level scripts.

Thanks to these nerds who somehow think they are above their societal echelon with their boisterous tough-guy personas on the Internet (of which the Warrior says “do you even lift, bro?”), the industry at large thinks that games such as Bioshock Infinite are acceptable, standard expectations of what a videogame should be. It’s most certainly not. Again, games are an active medium; the core strength that videogames have above other media is that the player is not simply a viewer, but a contributor. I feel that with the rise of the “learned” gamer who strives to make the hobby something it isn’t, that most games have lost their focus. The core strength of games is the ability to create engaging interactive experiences with sound mechanics that keep the player going. The role of cutscenes and gameplay have switched in the past year, the latter now becoming the end to the former’s means. And that’s sad.

This is not discounting games that are able to convey stories or evoke emotions through subtle means apart from simply forcing the participants to sit through a pre-rendered cutscene, of course. Dear Esther is a recent example of a game that can tell a story through gameplay and inherent subtleties with its characters and environment. But there are games out there that are as equally guilty of attempting to use pseudo-intellectual cues and the ever-pervasive “games are art” rallying cry. I’ll get a lot of flak and jeers from the peanut gallery about this, but Team ICOs games are excellent examples of these. In an attempt to squeeze out lachrymose “feels” from its audience, both ICO and Shadow of the Colossus sacrifice basic gameplay necessities to reach that goal of an artistic vision, masking inadequacies in their respective genre mechanics in order to reach a so-called “artistic vision” and force the player to feel something.

The Ultimate Warrior, of all people, woke me up with a fantastic truth bomb earlier this week about the enjoyment of video games. To put it into perspective, a man who made a living fake-fighting other scantily-clad men while wearing neon-toned makeup just gave me a life lesson: “if you love playing a game, play the game, man. Get caught up in it; don’t sit there and [pick it apart].” That statement would make complete sense to someone not fully invested in the hobby, but—after further reflection—for someone in our position it creates a false dichotomy: to stop criticizing games for what they are means that the hobby gets less tailor-made for our tastes, but to over-analyze and pick apart every single detail in a game ruins it.

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Good Sunday morning gamers! You may all know Nobuo Uematsu as a proficient composer of some of your favorite videogame soundtracks like the ones in the Final Fantasy series, but did you know that he has also written a book? And a sci-fi one at that!

Our friends from acttil sent us a press release of their e-book publication of Uematsu-san’s book Blik-0 (pronouned “Buliko”) 1946. The ebook will be available in iTunes this August.

Blik-0 1946_image(1)Blik-0 is about the eponymous robot created by a famous AI scientist, Dr. Mabuse. Blik-0 starts to struggle with his feelings as he experiences living with humans and begins to relate to them. The book is expected to be very inspirational, and aside from getting the full version of the book on purchase, three (3) original music scores and tracks (“Blik-0 1946”, “Ah, But Why?” and “So Close”) will go with it, along with Hiroki Ogawa’s illustrations to further enhance your reading experience. It is priced at $9.99.

You can check Blik-0 out at www.acttil.com or like his Facebook page.

 

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If you have played the awesome Secret of Mana on the SNES then you will be familiar with Hirō Isono’s art. Known as Seiken Densetsu in Japan, nearly all of the games in the series feature the legendary artist.

Isono passed away on May 28 due to heart failure. Isono was born in 1945.  The first game he worked on was Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy Adventure which is actually the first installment of the Seiken Densetsu series (Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden in Japan and Secret of Mana being Seiken Densetsu 2). His last game was Heroes of Mana (Seiken Densetsu: HEROES OF MANA) in 2007 for the Nintendo DS.

Source: Anime News Network

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HELP

Okay, someone needs to say something about this. I have kept mum about this subject for a while now and I think it’s a good time to air out what I have kept to myself for a long time and screw all this political correctness and being polite. Because I HAVE HAD ENOUGH of this bullshit.

Do people really care about a person’s gender where gaming is concerned? This labeling of “girl gamer” has always bothered me ever since I started seeing it pop up in blogs and forums for the past few years. I always get this tingling, uncomfortable feeling when I see intelligent women label themselves as girl gamers, or when people refer to me as one.

A bit of a background on myself: I have played videogames since I was very little. This was primarily influenced by my three brothers who owned a Famicom back in the mid-80s. I was contented with my Donkey Kong double screen, but when I saw them playing Super Mario Bros. in full color I was forever converted to console gaming. Now, I have played mostly with my brothers and some neighbors (cartridge swapping) since way before, but nobody ever said anything about me being a girl who plays videogames; in fact I think nobody noticed at all. So fast forward to the last five years, why is this “gamer girl” term being thrown around all the time like it’s a novel concept?

mmmhmm
mmmhmm

Okay. Granted the number of girls playing games are considerably smaller than the male population, but does it really have to be sensationalized? I feel iffy about referring to myself as a “gamer girl” because I’ve seen it being thrown around by girls who play games and want to be noticed. I don’t know if it’s fair to generalize, but based on what I’ve seen these girls are usually the ones who blog about being gamers but are actually less concerned about games but more of wanting to be shoehorned into this label of being a gamer. Putting up Facebook statuses such as “Just got out of the bath, not even gonna put on clothes because I have a kingdom to save” is just freaking ridiculous (and totally attention whoring). I mean, just look at Instagram’s hashtag of #girlgamer and #gamergirl… you’ll get sick of selfies, cleavages and controller-licking chicks in less than a minute.

Seriously, why?
Seriously, why?

Don’t even get me started about Jessica Chobot as well. That girl is forever on my shit list because I think she paved the way for these gamer girl starlets to start pimping themselves in the internet and think that they are legit gamers just because they posted a picture of themselves licking a PSP. I am forever ashamed of you, Chobot. No amount of XBL online commentary / game review will redeem yourself or undo what you have done.

Another thing I’ve noticed with most of the “girl gamers”, is that they are usually defensive. They are perpetually mad and start imaginary arguments like “I’m a girl but I play Call of Duty / Halo / whatever crappy competitive mainstream shooter you play” in their blogs or social networks. Why is there a need to always say that you can play as well as guys? If you are good at fragging people, then that’s well and good, but what is this need to publicize?

A point I also want to bring forward is the “feminazi” articles that are usually popping up in game blogs to gather clicks from gamer girls and guys who make it their business to be mad for girls. I mean, some of these articles are so ridiculous, it makes me shrink when I read it. If you want examples, I won’t link them here for added traffic but you can visit our favorite Gawker blog and look for a certain author who has PH as her initials.

One good thing I am thankful for is that I am not alone in this observation. I know a bunch of girls who play games and discuss them intelligently (or sometimes salivate at how hot Dante is, let’s be real) and never had the need to call themselves gamer girls or post their cleavages with controllers hanging out of it. Thank God.

Bottom line, I think girls who label themselves as gamer girls are attention-starved chicks who just want to be patronized. Stop being so full of yourselves; let’s just play games and enjoy the hobby like everyone else. Just play and stop marketing yourselves because honestly, nobody cares (unless they are creepy white knights who just want to get in your pants).

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Summer here in Japan has officially begun, and when it’s summer it means 4 things to me: Tanabata/Star Festival (七夕), Obon/Spirit Honoring Festival (お盆), Doro Nagashi/Floating Lantern Festival (灯籠流し) and my personal favorite, the Gozan No Okuribi/Mountain Bonfire (五山の送り火) in Osaka!

The season means everyone scooping up goldfish, rad heat, night fireworks, yummy street food and of course Yukata wearing (believe me, these things are NOT cheap), but this year, I think I’ll set aside my Yukata for these: Uniqlo X Monster Hunter (Monhan) 4 shirts and boxer shorts called Monqlo (モンクロ). Monhan 4 is scheduled for release this summer, Sept. 14 in particular, so what better way to prepare for the game by gearing yourself up in real life? To sweeten the pot, these WILL be available OVERSEAS as well as the online store! So Monhan fans back in PH, PREPARE TO RAID THE STORES.

Monhan 4 X Uniqlo UT Collaboration T-Shirts (1500 Yen):

mon uni shirts

100% cotton, sized in Men’s XS, S, M, L and XL. 21 colors, 5 different color patterns per store

Monhan X Uniqlo Boxer Briefs (2 for 990 Yen):

mon uni briefs

95% cotton and 5% polyurethane, sized in Men’s XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL. 12 colors, 4 different color patterns per store

 

As a present, those who purchase their merch early will be given a special limited edition Airou keyholder-keychain wearing Monqlo gear! There are only 100,000 pieces made and those who buy online can actually CHOOSE which one to receive, so there’s incentive for that, and if stocks on your chosen design are unavailable you will be notified beforehand.

All these will be available beginning May 31st so… THEY ARE OUT NOW! Stop gawking and get your ass down to Uniqlo! お先に行くべ、またなwww

Source: Famitsu

 

 

 

 

 

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takahashi_meijin3
Takahashi Meijin, the Lord and Savior of 8-bit videogaming.

Retro games are—inherently and by design—difficult. Game design simply had not evolved and homogenized into the product that it is today back in the ’80s and ’90s. Since home consoles were a fairly new venture back then, programmers still had the arcade gaming ethos in mind and as an unintentional result, games were a lot harder than they are today. If you think about it, the most successful arcade games were designed around the concept that the core gameplay needed to be simple enough for people to pick up the game with minimal handholding (or on-screen tutorials, sigh), get them hooked, and jack up the difficulty to a point where the player would happily dump quarters/hundred-Yen coins into the machine.

Home console games at the time still had that implicit limitation. The average Famicom game’s runtime is about three hours; however as we all know this would be artificially extended through gameplay mechanics that deeply favored the player’s opposition. As with arcades, programmers had to figure out a delicate balance between challenge and content to create a successful console game, otherwise your product would either get branded an easy rental or complete garbage that should be catapulted straight into the sun, depending on what side of the difficulty scale it falls under.

Getting back to my point, as the old guard of software developers moved into larger-scale responsibilities—coupled with the fact that storage media sizes had reached a point where developers didn’t have to worry about artificially lengthening their games—video games entered into (to put it bluntly) an era of “pussification,” which seems to be getting worse as technology improves. Thankfully, the retro gaming movement is in full swing, and console manufacturers are gladly supporting that through their digital download services. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being able to play a random SNES title without having to dodge through some shady Geocities site; digital downloads are indeed a fantastic convenience and as long as Nintendo or Sony continue to keep the titles comin’ I’d gladly throw whatever ludicrous fees they charge for glorified ROM dumps. Such is the life of a Virtual Console whale.

defeatThat’s all good and well, but not everybody has the time nor patience to trudge through a frustrating 8 or 16-bit game. This is where Fuji TV2’s wonderful show, Game Center CX comes in. Shinya Arino—better known in Japan as one-half of the comedy duo Yoiko—hosts the show and fills in the role of the hapless forty year-old everyman that revisits these frustrating (and oftentimes low-quality) videogames so you don’t have to. Though the show features various filler segments that range from educational tidbits to travelogue diaries, the show’s true meat n’ potatoes are the chōsenjō (challenge; according to keikaku) segments, where a pitiable Arino is forced (by nothing but his sheer bravado) to spend a full 24-hour day attempting to finish the game du jour. By his side are the show’s producers and ADs (assistant directors) who possess gaming skills that are exponentially better than Arino’s. Oftentimes the ADs will help Arino clear levels, find cheats and continues, or even dejectedly finish the game in Arino’s seat the next day if he is unable to clear his personal goal of seeing the game’s ending. If I haven’t gotten the point across yet, let me repeat it: the man is grossly underqualified for his job, and that’s what makes the show hilarious.

What exactly makes the show enjoyable to watch? Is it the sadistic, almost voyeuristic thrill of seeing Arino suffer through what is essentially torture by way of eyestrain and hand cramps? Or perhaps it’s that the victim himself seems to maintain a chipper attitude through his ordeal, finding ways to poke fun at the game or its designers along the way? Maybe it’s because Arino masochistically forces himself to slog through these antiquated relics of technologies past without fail, despite not having even an iota of hand-eye coordination in his weathered body? Whatever the reason, we are all hooked.

Game Center CX - Takeshi's Challenge LIVE[(036575)13-39-07]And so should you! There are several ways to partake in the madness. Kotaku (shudder) used to run random episodes until they lost the rights to the show; but thankfully someone picked up the show’s distribution rights and released Retro Game Master: The Game Center CX Collection on DVD, which should be a good starting point for any potential Kacho fan, as it features some of the best episodes in the series. Once you’re hooked, head on to the official Something Awful thread where episodes are continuously translated and uploaded by the goons (don’t look at me, that’s what SA calls its users) over there. The show doesn’t have any continuity whatsoever so you can pick any random epsiode and start from there, really. There’s also an insanely detailed episode guide out on Amazon, which is a great buy if you’re looking for good jumping points.

Episode recommendations? Wholeheartedly agree with this list I cribbed off the SA thread:

I want to watch a comedian struggle to play games I love:
Super Mario World (17, 18), Street Fighter 2 (37), Sonic the Hedgehog (64)

I want to see strange Japanese games that we never got in the US:
Umihara Kawase (31), Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (44), and Go by Train! (94)

I enjoy watching the depths of human suffering:
Attack! Takeshi’s Castle (12), Adventure Island (23), Castlevania 3 (38)

I want something epic:
Mighty Bomb Jack (39, 40, 41), Quest of Ki (54, 55, 60), Lemmings (73, 89, Live Compilation)

How bad can games get:
Doraemon (26), Dragon Buster (90), Paris-Dakar Rally Special (107)

I love seeing Arino interact with the staff:
Quiz: The Feudal Lord’s Ambition (25), Ninja Gaiden (29), Bomberman (DVD4)

The trips to arcades are the best part:
Game Center CX in Korea (50), Cannes Trip (65), Robocop (Game Center CX in the USA)

Can you solve the mystery?
Clocktower (53), Hokkaido Serial Murders (105), Night of the Sickle Weasel (113)

 

And with that, I bid you a hearty “Kacho, On!” Yes that was terrible and did not make sense at all, I’m sorry.

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Are you in Japan, or planning to visit Japan, anytime soon? Drop by the Artnia Cafe to enjoy some chocobo latte (since coffee foam art is pretty big now) with your stack of pancakes for only 600 yen.

cafe_cooktail_materia_blueThey also have original cocktails based on materia and summons from the different Final Fantasy games.  The materia ones are actually pretty interesting and I might just give it a try at home.  Freeze some lime juice!

There are also non-alcoholic HP and MP boosting drinks made from soda, honey and mint for all of you non-drunkards.  Food in Japan is always so very pretty! Those strawberry pancakes look glorious and yummy at the same time, I can’t deal.

Source: Artnia Menu

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Remember the Street Fighter: Legacy short film? The fan film that had the vision of what a Street Fighter movie should be promised to have a full length follow-up movie/series. The guys did a very good job that Capcom gave their blessing to go ahead with the project.

With that said, Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist is well on it’s way into production but they need further funding to make it the best possible SF film ever so they started a Kickstarter Campaign for it.

Watch the Kickstarter Campaign video pitch (pretty exciting stuff) above to know exactly what’s going on and head on to their Kickstarter page for updates on the project.

 

Source: Street Fighter – Assassin’s Fist Kickstarter