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Monday, June 27, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever

Well with all the hype built up, gamers anxiously waited for the release of DNF on June 14, 2001. Personally, I haven't got the game yet, but it seem like lots of other people did, and a majority of them aren't too pleased with it.
Bubble gum sir?

AFter 14 years in develoopment, a lot of hype has been built up. This may contribute to the ultimate downfall of DNF as it hasn't lived up ot everyone's hopes. Now I won't give my opinion on the gameplay itself, but I did make some judgements based on the trailers I was presented with.

For the most part, the trailer makes DNF look like Serious Sam (at least the style of the graphics and mosters do), and some critics slightly agree. They say that the geometric designs of the environment and monsters aren't appealing. There are many other critiques to DNF as the score currently on gamespot is a 5.3 average by critics, and a 6.3 average by fans.

I do not own or take credit for the above picture, if you would like them to be taken down, please message me.

I'll let the rest of you guys decide, and give your feed back on DNF. Until then, I'll have to get my hands on a copy of this and do a proper review.

So for the people that got DNF, how is it? So after all the hype from DNF, what game are you looking forward to now?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Team Fortress 2 is Free!

With exams done, I finally got the chance to get back on steam and did a lot of things happen or what. The biggest thing is that TF2 is now free!
Team Fortress 2 is Free!
Those that were interested in TF2 from my previous blog post can now check out what the hype was all about for free! Just go to the following link and click install game (if you already have steam, it should launch and download/install TF2) for the people that don't already have steam, you need to install the steam client (it's free), make an account (also free) and install TF2 (wait for it....also free!).

Enjoy guys! Tell me how your experience on TF2 is!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Brain's Base Studio (1 of 2) - Baccano

For the next two posts, I'll be doing reviews of anime done by Brain's Base (and have manga counterparts, done by the same author, Ryohgo Nariita). To my best recollection, Baccano is revolves around an elixir that makes one immortal. A group of alchemists summon a demon, which the demon gives them an exlixir. The demon also tells the alchemists the only way of ending each other's lives. This can only be done by immortals devouring each other. The alchemists drink this elixir but promise to keep this a secret, but one of the alchemists starts devouring the others. The alchemists then disband realizing the danger of staying together.

Honestly, I get confused by Narita's works and story lines. But I enjoyed the anime a lot. Another complement goes to the background music of Baccano. I obtained a copy of the OST and I love it. Lots of that jazzy style of music, much like Cowboy Bebop. If anyone else knows the OST, definitely check out "In the Speak Easy", probably my favourite track (mostly because of my background in piano).

The opening theme to Baccano
Full length episodes of Baccano! can also be found on youtube on Funamation's channel.

I do not own or take credit for the above picture and video, if you would like them to be taken down, please message me.

Any OST you enjoy? What's the best soundtrack you've heard? Any other anime's from Brain's Base or Narita you'd like to share?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Monster Rancher

A cool show I watched as a kid, Monster Rancher
I still have very faint memories of this show. After coming home from elementary school, I'd watch some guy place a disk with a dinosuar like fossil within it and it would spin and some monster would come out.

Based on my above description, you can probably tell that I barely remember anything from it. So I'll just give you the story, as it appears on wiki.

From Wikipedia, 
"Before the world's continents broke up into pieces, a huge disaster hit the world. People prayed to God for help, and God created new life forms. However, new life forms brought new troubles, so God became exasperated and sealed them in "disc stones". Many years have passed since then and God entrusted the humans with the secret of "disc stones". Today people still continue searching for these missing "disc stones" to unlock the lifeforms within.
It is said that the "disc stones" are almost impossible to find among the ancient ruins. It is said that one monster is trapped inside each one. One day a group of workers excavating the ancient ruins happened to dig up one of these mythical disc stones. The worker who first discovered a disc stone took the disc to the Monsters' Temple. There the priests, using the ancient methods, unlocked the monster inside the disc stone. In a place where ranchers and monsters coexisted peacefully, the battle of the monsters began! As time passed these monster battles became extremely popular, and monster breeding became the standard pastime of the land. Eventually disc stones were found around the entire world. Now ranchers across the globe come together and enter unto battle!"
"Monster Rancher." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 19 June 2011. <>.
I do not own or take credit for the above picture and synopsis of Monster Rancher, if you would like them to be taken down, please message me.

Have you watched monster rancher before? Any childhood shows you'd like to share?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Exam Season

This week is the last week before exams, so I'll be studying and do some last minute craming. As an effect, the frequency of my blog posts will drop over the next 2 weeks (Possibly to 1 post every 2 days).

Not much of a post for today, but I'll do another post in regards to a Japanese game shows for tomorrow.

In the mean time, check out some of my older posts about games, food and more. I'll be studying.

Any tips for studying? How do you prepare for your exams?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Japanese Game Show: Tonneruzu no Minasan no Okage deshita - Brain Wall

Another review of a Japanese game show, this time, the segment Brain Wall from Tonneruzu no Minasan no Okage deshita.
Behold, human tetris.

Upon looking at the segment name, you probably have no idea what I'm talking, but I think most people have seen this given the international variations of this game. Some official variations are called "Hole in the Wall", but most people know this as "human tetris." The concept is simple. A Styrofoam fall with cut-outs (which can be tetris blocks shaped, or any shape for that matter) approaches a cast member, and they must go through the wall with out breaking it.

I do not own or take credit for all of the above images and videos, if you would like them to be taken down, please message me.

Any variation of human tetris you like best? Any similar games you want to share?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Japanese Game Show: Gaki no Tsukai - Silent Library (2 of 2)

As promised from the last post, I'll introduce to you "silent library". This segment of Gaki no Tsukai takes place at a library with various cast members. The members must draw from a selection of cards where 1 card has a skull marking. The person who draws the "skull card" must be punished somehow. I'll share the first video I've seen of silent library (back then, I didn't even know it came from a game show).
Cast members of Downtown Kai no Tsukai

Silent Library

There has since been other renditions of silent library, but I still like Gaki no Tsukai's the best. 

I do not own or take credit for all of the above  video and image, if you would like them to be taken down, please message me.

Next time, I'll do another review of a Japanese game show. 

Have you sen Silent Library before? Are there other segments of Gaki no Tsukai you'd like to share?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Japanese Game Show: Gaki no Tsukai - Batsu Game (1 of 2)

When I was younger and naive, I knew the Japanese for a few things, mainly coming up with the coolest and weirdest things, and broadcasting the most creative and insane game shows. One that I'd like to share with you today is called Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! This is a variety game show with various segments, of which I'd like to share two particular ones.
The main cast members of Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende
          The first segment is called "Batsu Game", this translates roughly to "Punishment Game". This was a game a cast member had to "play" when they lose a bet. The game wasn't really a game, but really more a dare, such as skydiving or doing something really embarrassing. But then came another version of batsu game, called "Laughing Batsu Game". This game involved a few cast members where they would have to refrain from laughing for long period of time. Upon laughing, they would be punished, physically.

The video above is probably my first encounter of the laughing version of batsu game.
In this video, a man attempts to read and do various things in English, but of course, his English is terrible.

In this game, casts members must endure tag, for 24 hours. When caught/tagged, they are due for physical punishment.

Next time, I'll do a review of "Silent Library", another segment of the show.

I do not own or take credit for all of the above images and videos, if you would like them to be taken down, please message me.

Are there any cool shows you guys like, regardless of being Japanese? What's your favourite game show?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Not Retro, nor Modern - Red Faction

With the recent release of Red Faction: Armageddon, I've decided to revisit a came I played in my early, early teens, Red Faction. Red Faction was released on PC in 2001 and got pretty good feedback from gamers. I don't remember exactly where I picked up Red Faction, but I remember that I picked it out of some bargain priced games bin and I'm glad I picked it up. For its time, I'd have to say that the graphics and game play were pretty decent.

A Screencap of Red Faction Gameplay

     Red Faction features both single and multiplayer. Singleplayer follows a man named Parker, who works as a miner on Mars, but eventually the miners decide to revolt and Parker gets swept up in the revolt. The story is pretty enticing, but the multiplayer is what really kept me going. There were three default types of modes, CTF (Capture the Flag, DM (Death match), and TDM (Team Death Match). There are also a multitlude of weapons avaiable for players, such as the rail gun (This gun acts like a gun that can see heat through walls, and can shoot through walls). Many other modes were then added by the player community (such as rail games). 
     But all good things must come to an end. Red Faction's main server tracker was hacked which took down many servers. Then, modders also started to crash servers (modders are essentially hackers). THQ also stopped providing a necessary update to play multiplayer games for people who just bought the game (I'm not sure how this is handled since steam accredited red faction). Also, computers with more modern CPUs makes the graphics in Red Faction go wild (such as insane artifacts).
     Thankfully, the Red Faction franchise has been continued, albiet the storyline is diferent from the originally by main features are kept, such as a fully destructable environmental (dubbed GeoMod) which is also similar to Crysis, except that EVERYTHING can be destroyed.

I do not own or take credit for all of the above image, if you would like them to be taken down, please message me.

What game(s) do you like the most? Are there any games you really look forward too? (I'm waiting anxiously for Duke Nukem)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Valve Games Review (Part 2 of 2): Left 4 Dead 2

For my Valve game review, I take a look at Left 4 Dead 2 and its predecessor. I still remember, back in elementary school, my friend and I (both avid FPS gamers) were getting tired of CS 1.6 and CS:S, but one day, my friend spots an ad by Valve featuring L4D. Every single day, both of us would search for new Left 4 Dead gameplay videos, and I can't begin to describe the anticipation that was in both of us. Remember for us, this was essentially the newest FPS out since CS:S from Valve so we were very anxious.
Leaf 4 Dead 2 features Uncommon Commons
Getting incapacitated, picking them up and healing them? Playing as zombies? These were all unheard features of any game before its time (to our knowledge at that time). And when L4D was finally released, both of us immediately bought it. I'll have to say, both of us enjoyed it thoroughly and the game pretty much lived up to the hype. But not a year later, L4D2 was announced and this marks the split of the L4D fandom/community.

     I personally was initially against L4D2 being released so early. The main reason was that Valve promised constant updates to L4D, just like in TF2 where maps, weapons and new features were constantly added (see my other blog post). I remember I read a quote from a Valve employee that said (I'm paraphrasing), "There were many things we wanted to do for L4D but didn't, so we're doing them in L4D2". Immediate, I thought "It's not too late!", "You can release your ideas as updates for L4D". But no, L4D2 was released, and eventually, the fan base rose as time went on.
     To be fair, there are lots of new features in L4D2 such as mutations, new weapons (Military Sniper Rifle, AK47, deagle, adrenaline, uncommon commons and new special infecteds). I've enjoyed L4D2 along with a bunch of my friends, but with any good game, there are always a few downfalls.

     To give a basic gameplay overview, there is single player where you play as a human (with 3 others) and fight your way through various zombies to reach a rescue point. There is also a multiplayer mode (max of 8 people, 4 on each team) and you essentially take turns being the zombies and humans for each map (you get to play as both on every map) so obviously, teamwork becomes a huge variable for enjoyable games. Well, so with multiplayer, there are some idiots (we are talking about the internets) and some people enjoy ruining other peoples games. Some enjoy glitching (such as getting to unreachable places) and some griefing (such as team killing). But not all of this comes at the fault of the player, there are many evident glitches in L4D2 that haven't been fixed for awhile. But overall, I found some good friends to play with, to ensure at least an enjoyable game and I'm also expecting many more updates in the future (such as map ports from L4D1).

I do not own or take credit for all of the above image, if you would like them to be taken down, please message me.

Anyone else play games from the L4D series? What's the best zombie game you know? What do you like/dislike about co-operative shooters?

Monday, June 06, 2011

Valve Games Review (Part 1 of 2): Team Fortress 2

I'm starting off this week with a game review/rant, the first of two. I've been a pretty avid gamer over the years and there are two specific games that I've kept coming to, one being Team Fortress 2. Team Fortress 2, or TF2 for short, first came out as a package with some other games called "The Orange Box", during the fall of 2007 and was later released as a standalone game during the following year. TF2 is essentially a team based FPS (First Person Shooter) where you can choose classes to fit a certain style of game play. Each class has their own specific roles and abilities. Their abilities are dictated by innate skills and by various weapons/items. And heres a quick run through of all the classes, their names should be pretty explanatory: Scout, Demoman, Sniper, Spy, Soldier, Medic, Heavy, Engineer and Pyro.
Actual Game-play of TF2. Here a medic is healing a soldier
while a pyro attacks.

     For me, this game has been "the best bang for my buck", even though I bought this game at it's highest cost ($19.99) where as it's lowest cost has been $2.00 during promotion periods. There are a few things that keep this game exciting and fresh, and that is through constant updates. New maps, weapons and items are periodically added, but this can be viewed as both positive and negative.

   There are a few things that annoy some players, one being the number of weapons available and two, a specific type of item hats. First off are the weapons, there are probably over 60 weapons currently available (more weapons are constantly added), but the problem comes with the balance of all the weapons. Every update, there will be moaners and groaners about the "OP" of certain items and etc.., and I don't blame them. Take for example the "Natascha", this weapon came out for the heavy a few years back, but only last year did they alter the damage and attributes of the weapon. If it takes that long to "fix" a weapon, how do they manage to keep up with all the new weapons they add?

    Secondly, are hats. Most of these "hats" are just for your visual pleasure (some hats give a class a bonus gameplay effect). Hats are constantly added and traded (a trade system was implemented a year back where players can exchange weapons, hats and other items) and has become a huge part of TF2. Since the implementation of the trading system, there are many servers dedicated just for trading purposes. Now for hats in particular, there is a very high demand because of the rarity of them. Some go as far as to purchase hats from the TF2 Mann-Co store or even from other players. Some hats (unusual hats), fetch as much as a thousand dollars. I've personally haven't ever bought a weapon or hat, but I have sold numerous hats and I've taken advantage of this market. I've since detached my association with trading and I just play TF2 for what it really is about. 

    But overall, there are many things that players can explore and experiment with. Whether if you fancy the hats, or the always exciting game-play though constant map additions and an ever growing selection of weapons, there is always something for you to enjoy. 

Satirically speaking, some people dub TF2 as a great hat simulation game, rather than a team and class based FPS.

I do not own or take credit for all of the above image, if you would like them to be taken down, please message me.

If you play TF2, how do you find it? Any good FPS recommendations for 2011? How to you find other valve games?


Sunday, June 05, 2011

University of Toronto Scarborough: First Impressions

So for many Canadians, graduating high school students heading off to post secondary school had to choose their educational institution for next year. I for one, accepted my UTSC (University of Toronto Scarborough Campus) co-op management offer. For those that are not as familiar with University of Toronto, U of T is actually made up of 3 campuses, UTM (University of Toronto Mississauga), UTSG (University of Toronto St. George) and UTSC

For the 2015 Pan Am games, an aquatics and athletics complex (such as 2 Olympic sized pool,
runnings tracks and other facilities) will be available for UTSC students in the future

     Well as I said in the last post (Japanese Treats! Meltykiss Chocolate (Part 3 of 3), I would be visiting UTSC today for the "Ready! Set! Go!" event which is to really get first year students familiarized with course selection and the next steps students should take.I also opt-ed to go for a residence and campus tour.

The infamous trios of smokestacks that
towers over the campus

Upon entering the campus, I encounter a figure that my peers have talked about, the infamous smokestack that makes the building look like a factory.

I also visited various wings of the campus and I'll have to say, some of them look really great and others look not too appealing in my opinion.

The one that didn't appeal to me were the ones that were structured by complete concrete (at least it looked like concrete to me). As you can see below, the whole building's interior is just this dull grey and looks like an unfinished basement to me. Another building also looks like this, but at least they painted a coat of white paint to change the scenery.
Concrete, Concrete Everywhere!

On the bright side, this is the new
Instructional Centre/Management building open for 2011
Besides the infamous smokestacks, some people also know UTSC for its lack of social life. Honestly, I really think this is up to the individual and their involvement in extra curricular activities (this university is a commuter school). I'll once again make a post about life at UTSC once I'm actually a student there. I might make another post about frosh/orientation week.

I do not own or take credit for all of the above images, if you would like them to be taken down, please message me.

So how was everyone else's first experience/impression of their post-secondary institutional? How did you transition from secondary school? Or how is/was your post-secondary school experience altogether?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Japanese Treats! Meltykiss Chocolate (Part 3 of 3)

Mmm chocolate

Well this is going to be my last post in regards to the goodies that were shipped from Japan.
This last item is probably one of my favourites, Meltykiss. Meltykiss is a type of chocolate that has many flavour/varieties, such as creamy, strawberries, extra fudge...and the list goes on. Some of the flavours are only available as per seasons! I personally got creamy milk chocolate. I've had Meltykiss before, but that was a few years ago, so what a nice time to reacquaint myself with it.
When my package of goodies first arrived, I noticed that the Metlykiss box was actually opened! Customs probably broke into my package and saw Meltykiss and stole some from me.

Anyways, the overall quality of the chocolate itself is splendid. Each piece has light chocolate powder dusted around it, and the center is soft and velvety chocolate.

If you want to check out some Meltykiss or related treats, check out Jbox by clicking on the link below.

I'll probably post again on Sunday about university as I'll be heading to University of Toronto today to check some stuff out. So stay tuned for some university realted posts!

Any good chocolates you want to recommend? How was your experience with Meltykiss or Japanese treats?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Japanese Treats! Lotte Black Black Gum (Part 2 of 3)

Caffeine filled gum!
   Continuing my series of reviews on my confectionery purchase, Lotte Black Black Gum is next on my list.
This type of gum was available in two sizes, in the rectgular 9-stick pack, or in the plastic bottle.
What makes this gum unique is that it is caffeinated.

Check out a Japanese commercial of  of Black Black Gum featuring Duke Toko/Golgo 13.

Whenever I still feel that I haven't woken up yet, and I need to get to class, I just pop one of these. Do they actually work? Well, I can't really vouch for it, but I do feel more awake (even by the intense mint taste of it alone, could also be a placebo effect).

There is an additional feature for the plastic container one. You can see in my pic that there is what looks like green post-it notes inside the container. They're actually little pieces of paper that you can spit your gum into and throw out! How convenient.

Anyways, if you want to check this gum out visit the Jbox link towards the bottom of this post.

I do not own or take credit for the video above.

How to you stay awake for the day or get away from the 2:30 feeling? A cup of coffee? A slap in the face? Any interesting gum out there you'd like to introduce?