Saturday, October 31, 2009

The 2000th Game

I made it. It's here. Torchlight almost got that title but the game's demo delays me from its purchase. I got bored earlier this evening and decided to go out to the game store instead of handing out candies to the kids - well, I had a big bowl of candy ready but apparently, this neighbourhood where I live does not have a lot of kids trick-or-treating. My 2000th game is Gearbox Software's Borderlands for the Personal Computer. I am planning to do a tribute article - and video on YouTube - for the game very soon. I played the game a bit a couple of hours ago and it is quite strange yet it is definitely quite fun. Imagine Fallout 3 without the V.A.T.S. and the in-depth character interactions but with multi-player and you have a general idea of what this game is all about.

Update Note: 12/11/2009 - Because of the very visual nature of the tribute ideas I have to celebrate Borderlands, there will not be a tribute article for the game on this site. Instead, it will be in video form that will be hosted on my companion piece YouTube page. I have several episodic videos entitled "Life with the 2000th Game" ready for viewing.

Life Companion # 2000

Friday, October 30, 2009

Surprise 2000th Game Candidate

If you were to ask me a day ago about the possible name of my upcoming 2000th addition to my game library, I would answer with confidence that it would be between Borderlands or Dragon Age: Origins for the Personal Computer, and Forza Motorsports 3, or Magna Carta 2 for the X-Box 360. Well, I just learned today that a new action role playing game had just hit the digital download market a couple of days ago. It is called Torchlight and it was made by the same people who are responsible for co-designing the first two Diablo games and the promising online RPG Mythos that is currently in a state of limbo. I love action RPGs, especially one that's all about raiding dungeons and finding the next awesome loot drop. A demo of the game is available on Steam and I have started playing it earlier this evening. So far, I am quite impressed by the clean interface and pretty graphics. What's more is its ridiculously low price of $19.99! So, there is a good chance that I may be getting this game next. It will be hard to do the special things that I plan to do with my 2000th game when it's a digital download though but we shall see.

There are 3 classes to choose from.
Naturally, I am all over the magic using alchemist.

The addiction begins!

Click here to find out more about this intriguing game.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

July 2009 Monthly Gaming Analysis

I haven't done this part of the blog for quite some time now. The data collection process is more organized these days because of the restructure I did not too long ago so I am going to do some catch up over the next several days.

The results shown below are of course based on the combined data from the Daily Game Log which should provide a clear indication of a game's usage frequency. Bear in mind that even if a game is played twice or more during a particular day, it would still register as 1 in the Day Count column below. In a sense, "merits" are given based on how often a particular game can make me play it again throughout the entire period of the month on a daily basis. A game that makes a gamer play it over and over again or at least spend a lot of time with it... Isn't that what we mostly want from a great game? I don't think it's really fair to count all the way down to the number of hours played since some games only require a short amount of time to properly serve their purposes.


Total Games Played: 58

It's a bit hard to recall the details of my overall gaming mood for that month because this analysis came in a little bit too late but just by looking at the numbers, it is obvious that I was in my Demigod mode back then. I have stopped playing that game recently even though the game is now more stable than it was before with less crashing issues. The game will be receiving a couple of new Demigods with an upcoming patch in the near future so I will probably jump back on it then.

When I finally own the Personal Computer version of Street Fighter IV, my passion for that game was revived. The game looks absolutely remarkable on the PC and for a while, I was able to forgive the game for being lazy with its cast of characters. I love playing the game with the nice 6 button controller by Mad Catz. No regrets at all with selling the PlayStation 3 copy I used to have.

It must have been a slow month for me since SingStar was able to climb up to the number 3 spot for most played game. Well, that or I was probably just feeling down quite often during the month. Singing is a good way to relieve stress. It's funny how I would normally limit the time that I play karaoke games while I was living in the apartment and now, I hardly ever play these games even though I can pretty much sing my heart out way into midnight and beyond.

Best New Game of the Month:
Shatter (PlayStation 3)

Unexpectedly Forgotten New Game of the Month:
Rune Factory: Frontier (Nintendo Wii)

I Missed You I Want You Game of the Month:
I can't recall to be honest.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Games Alert!

I am just 1 game away to the 2,000 mark with the 3 new games I picked up today: Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time, Tekken 6, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (finally) for the PlayStation 3. Ratchet and Uncharted 2 showcase the new cover art banner for the PS3 and it looks incredibly ugly. The Blu-ray disc case is short enough compared to the DVD case and adding the huge grey border on top of the cover art makes everything look too boxy and cramped. Minus -250 points to Naughty Dog for printing the "5 out of 5 stars" quote on the bottom part of the cover art. That stuff belongs on the back of the case. Overall, satisfying buy today and I look forward to game number 2,000. I have a good feeling it may be between Dragon Age: Origins (PC), Borderlands (PC), Forza Motorsports 3 (X-Box 360), or Magna Carta 2 (X-Box 360).

Sony should be ashamed for mimicking the 360's console banner design.
The sleek side banner like the one on Tekken 6 above is infinitely better.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Games Played 10/19/2009 - 10/25/2009

- 10/19/2009 -
Heroes of Newerth Closed Beta - PC
World of Warcraft - PC

- 10/20/2009 -
Dead Space: Extraction - Wii
Demon's Souls - PlayStation 3
Raiden IV - X-Box 360

- 10/21/2009 -
Demon's Souls - PlayStation 3
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 - PlayStation 3
Raiden IV - X-Box 360

- 10/22/2009 -
Demon's Souls - PlayStation 3
Raiden IV - X-Box 360
Risen Demo - PC

- 10/23/2009 -
Demon's Souls - PlayStation 3
Pixel junk Eden - PlayStation 3
Raiden IV - X-Box 360
World of Warcraft - PC

- 10/24/2009 -
Afrika - PlayStation 3
Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy - PlayStation 2
Raiden IV - X-Box 360
World of Warcraft - PC

- 10/25/2009 -
Afrika - PlayStation 3
Raiden IV - X-Box 360
Shatter - PlayStation 3

PS3 Getting Netflix Direct Stream - Ouch!

It looks like the PlayStation 3 is finally getting the direct stream movies from Netflix pretty soon. This service is free for those who have a qualifying Netflix account. I like using the direct stream and since Netflix doesn't offer High Definition direct stream on the Personal Computer, I do have to unfortunately use the X-Box 360 to watch HD movies from the service. I hate using the 360 to watch movies because if it's going to die, I would rather have it Red-Ring from my game playing session than anything else - thus I would only do so very sparsely. A majority of these direct stream movies are in standard definition so I would normally watch them on the PC. When this finally arrives on the PS3, I can enjoy HD quality movies without the Heightened Dread I get when watching them on the 360. The very curious thing here is the so-called "instant streaming disc" that Netflix will be sending out to qualified PS3 owners. Will it require an installation? Does it need to stay inside the PS3 to run the program? We shall see soon enough.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Review: Saw VI

Saw VI (2009)
Genre: Horror
Format: Theatrical Release
Director: Kevin Greutert

Don't you wish that horror classics like Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th were able to retain their impacts and potentials after the first couple of sequels? I surely do after watching Saw VI. This is the best Saw movie to date and it is so good, it easily eclipses all of the previous entries in terms of sheer entertainment.

Of course, this movie cannot exist without the rich back story and constant tweaks that the series has gone through over the last 5 years. Saw VI is a direct continuation of part V and if you have not seen any of the previous movies, your brain might actually melt away, drooling out slowly from your nostrils and ears, if you even attempt to follow the storyline even slightly. Newcomers will still be able to enjoy all the sadism but as fans of the series know, there is more to the Saw films than merely being on top of the torture porn ladder: there's actually some really clever plot progression in each entry and every movie presents to the audience new revelations to ponder as well as mysterious plot threats to look forward to in the future addition(s) to the series. It is due to this reason that I cannot go into the movie's plot without revealing unnecessary spoilers.

The Saw movies have always been about people being put into terrible situations where they must do some unspeakable acts of bodily horror to be able to survive in the end. Everything is pretty much the same here. The serial killer Jigsaw likes to play games to punish those who are oblivious to the pain and suffering in life while taking life itself for granted. In this entry, most of the chosen victims are very appropriate for what Jigsaw wants to accomplish - corrupt health insurance employees. Even though you think that you may not have much sympathy for these evil folks, the horrible fates that await them will change that. The traps used to dispose of them are some of the best in the series not necessary because they are the most creative but it's because of the unapologetic and vicious ways in which they manifest themselves. The gore is also more prominent here, upping the ante from last entry's bloodbath - the very violent opening sequence had the whole theatre moaning uncomfortably in their seats, myself included. And that last trap - Jigsaw doesn't want to just kill you, he really wants to f&%# you up, pardon my French.

Saw VI is made for the fans but I find it hard to believe that any self-respecting horror fan would deny the allure of this franchise. Sequels are not meant to be this good but for some weird reason, even though the Saw movies have been in the hands of different writers and directors, they just keep getting better and better. It's a historic feat, an incredible achievement - apparently, those who have been responsible for these films have a deep love and understanding for Jigsaw and his devious traps. Yes, there will be a Saw VII based on how this one ends and if the fever-pitched climax is any indication, the next one is going to be very, very interesting indeed.

RATING: 5 out of 5

Not all Saw films are equal to each other.
Here's how I rank them from top to bottom:

Saw VI
Saw V
Saw IV
Saw II

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Games Alert!

I brought home two new games today: Afrika for the PlayStation 3 and Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy for the PlayStation 2. I was close to getting Uncharted 2: Among Thieves today but when I saw Afrika on the shelf, I was so overjoyed. I moonlight as a professional photographer sometimes and I loved every single second I spent playing Pokémon Snap on the Nintendo 64. So it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Afrika, a game where you photograph wild animals, is able to take precedence over some action adventure game. However, I just had to pick up Mana Khemia 2 - new role playing games on the PlayStation 2, especially the ones made by Gust, can be hard to find once they are sold out: I still regret not picking up Ar Tonelico 2: Melody of Metafalica when it was sitting right in front of me early this year. 4 more before I hit 2,000 games!

Photography + Alchemy = Yummy Games
The ugly "Only on PlayStation" banner is now on the PS2 cover as well.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Borderlands Purchase Decision

A first person shooter game with character level up system, 4-player co-op, and dungeon-crawler loot mechanics? Count me in! I haven't paid much attention to Borderlands until a couple of days ago after I heard about its loot-crazed gameplay: For the longest time, the game's screenshots fooled me into thinking that it was just another generic first person shooter and we know there are too many of those out there. It's definitely going to be one of the new games that I will purchase soon. The game is available for the Personal Computer, the PlayStation 3, and the X-Box 360. After researching the comparisons, I am definitely getting this for the PC. It's $10 cheaper, has twice the frame rate and is the better looking than the console versions. The only drawback for the PC version - if you even want to call it that - is that it is not Live-enabled, which means that it will not feature the achievement system. Hmmm... A better performance and experience or meaningless gameplay tracker that creates phantom goals for players? Don't get me wrong. Achievements and trophies are "nice" but if a game is good, you don't really need those things to keep your interest in playing that game now do you? But if you think you do, perhaps you don't truly enjoy playing video games - that the action of playing them only serves as the symptom and not the cause. Scary thought.

Winner! That was easier than pressing the Staples "Easy" button.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bad Deluxe Edition: Demon's Souls

I have been meaning to write about this since I picked up the game because the "Deluxe" edition of the game Demon's Souls for the PlayStation 3 is a far more disturbing product than the dark, demonic game itself and not in a good way. Here's why: It comes with a strategy guide. That and a cool looking cardboard box. The regular edition already comes with the art book as well as the soundtrack CD and it was $20 cheaper - at least where I picked it up. So, for the extra money that you paid for the game, you actually get something that will 100% ruin the game for you. Demon's Souls is a hack and slash adventure game that focuses on experimentation and memorization. It's closest cousin difficulty-wise, oddly enough, is the Japanese shoot-'em-up in which through rigorous repeated play, you remember what works and what doesn't and you have to play the game with extreme precision all the time. It's supposed to be a game that's hard to get into and even more difficult to master but with the strategy guide, the rewarding sense of discovery that makes the game incredible is taken away from the gamers who decide to use the guide. Look, if you are using the strategy guide to play this game, then this game is not for you. Well, generally speaking, if you are using strategy guides to play your games, then you are just wasting your time and money. It's like wanting to play soccer but you only want to use your hands to move the ball around. The silent co-op where you cannot communicate directly with the other players and the cryptic messaging system where you can leave short text on the floor for other players to read are helpful enough and they make total sense in the overall scheme of the game. Of course, the most mind-numbing thing about this is that publisher Atlus, who must be thanked for bringing the game over officially to the North American market - it's import friendly by the way - when Sony failed us, has inadvertently found a way to rob players of the true Demon's Souls experience because they were too lazy to come up with a cooler "Deluxe" package. A figurine of one of the game's demons would have been nice... Stay away from this edition of the game.

Demon's Souls + Strategy Guide = Soul-LESS!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Games Played 10/12/2009 - 10/18/2009

- 10/12/2009 -
World of Warcraft - PC

- 10/13/2009 -
Demon's Souls - PlayStation 3
World of Warcraft - PC

- 10/14/2009 -
Genji: Dawn of the Samurai - PlayStation 2
Demon's Souls - PlayStation 3
World of Warcraft - PC

- 10/15/2009 -
Demon's Souls - PlayStation 3
World of Warcraft - PC

- 10/16/2009 -
Demon's Souls - PlayStation 3
Raiden Fighters Aces - X-Box 360
SingStar ABBA - PlayStation 3
World of Warcraft - PC

- 10/17/2009 -
Raiden IV - X-Box 360
World of Warcraft - PC

- 10/18/2009 -
Raiden IV - X-Box 360
World of Warcraft - PC

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Review: Return to Sleepaway Camp

Return to Sleepaway Camp (2008)
Genre: Horror
Format: DVD
Director: Robert Hiltzik

I am a huge fan of the Sleepaway Camp series and this revival by the original's writer/director Robert Hiltzik has always been an exciting proposition ever since I first heard that it was in the works, even though it is merely a direct-to-DVD sequel.

Basically, Return to Sleepaway Camp is a slasher movie that takes place in a summer camp. Just like the Friday the 13th movies that inspired the series, expect to see the nasty deaths of ignorant camp counselors and careless campers by a serial killer - in this case, a gender-challenged psychopath named Angela. But is it really Angela who is causing all the mayhem this time around? The movie is very funny and entertaining with many awkward but engaging set pieces as well as lavishly extended death scenes. The movie is not terrible gory but the make up effects are convincing enough - especially the last kill. Return doesn't rely on cheap scares. Instead, you can see how a character is going to meet his or her end from a continent away. You just don't know when the punch line is going to hit you.

It must be hard for Hiltzik to make this movie works because the first one was an offbeat but dark chiller while the two sequels that came after it that were made by other writers/directors were tongue-in-cheek horror comedies. Instead of favoring one over the other, Hiltzik managed to combine both styles into the movie successfully. Thus, the movie still has some of the sinister tone from the original and the hilarity of the sequels. Return has a low budget feel to it and its poor lighting as well as the washed out colors made it look like something that was made in the early 80s. Kudos to Hiltzik for bringing back a very important cast member from the first film and using that person's comeback brilliantly.

Do you miss the old slasher movies? If you answered "Yes!" to that question, then this movie is perfect for you. The premise is ridiculous, the offbeat factor is high, the murders are crazy, and the ending is spectacular. Return should have hit the theaters but maybe Hiltzik will have better luck with his next Sleepaway that is scheduled to be released next year.

RATING: 4 out of 5

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Game Alert!

I picked up Raiden IV for the X-Box 360 today. Wow, I just realized that the last time I picked up a 360 game was in May! It's been a while. I have rented this game on GameFly last month and it is just one of those games that is silly to rent because it takes a long time to master. This game is hard to find locally and I was able to grab a copy of it while I was out of town visiting my close friends this evening. Raiden IV is my 1,994th game! 6 more games to go before I hit 2,000 games.

Soundtrack CD included.
More Japanese shoot-'em-ups for the North American market please.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Countdown to 2000

No, I didn't accidentally fall through a time slip and went back to the year 1999 - a pleasant thought to tell you the truth but I rather be propelled into the future if I can do some time travelling. I am, of course, talking about the amount of games that I have in my game library. "2,000 games" sounds grand does it not? And I am just 7 games away from achieving that landmark.

Honestly, it feels really nice to have the amount of games that I have now. There are two ways to look at this - 2,000 is a celebration for me but my harshest critics see this as a new low point in my life. I bet everyone has one or two negative people in their lives who always see that the glass is half empty - yes, I have them too. The biggest piece of criticism I usually get is that I have too many video games that it should already last me a lifetime of gameplay - which is probably true, World of Warcraft itself would last for another couple of years - so it is ridiculous to keep adding more to the amount when I should be playing and completing all the games I already own at the moment before I would even think about buying a new game. No matter how many times I have explained my modus operandi when it comes to video gaming to these folks, they still insist that I am being unreasonable with this particular hobby. I really do understand the point that was being made and where it came from but it just doesn't sit well with my situation. I am a bit of an odd hybrid of gamer + collector because I certainly enjoy the idea of playing and mastering a game but at the same time, it seems like the number of games I own is growing faster than the amount of time I have to play them. It irks me whenever someone refers to me as a collector before acknowledging me as a gamer because my response to that is always the same: I am a gamer who coincidentally buys a lot of games during his gaming adventure. The basics of my daily gaming life have always been the same: I play what I feel like playing at the moment, even if that means that I don't get to play games that interest me until years after I bought them and I love being able to select from so many options. I am a control freak, what can I say.

I wonder which game will become my 2,000th game. Will it be a Nintendo DS game? A PlayStation 3 game? A PC game? As you can see though I am not necessarily rushing to get there. The number doesn't impact my buying habits. Heck, I haven't even picked up Uncharted 2 yet. I am not in a hurry to get that game either - the first one was mediocre and judging from what I have seen and played with this sequel, it is pretty close to the original in terms of fun factor. As I have mentioned before, the graphics are stunning but you have to love how a game's hype will turn your average gamers into mindless worshippers: people really need to realize that just because a game has the best graphics to date, it doesn't make that game the best game ever made. The hype generated from the media is so powerful these days that it is even capable of turning something as oblique and obtuse as the PlayStation 3's Demon's Souls into a craze here in North America - now that's a miracle - even though the game is as unforgiving and complicated as From Software's other gaming greats like Evergrace and Forever Kingdom on the PlayStation 2. As a matter of fact, those games have similar feel and gameplay to Demon's Souls but that didn't get them anywhere close to the casual audience when they first came out. Apparently, the people at Atlus' marketing department have done their job very, very well. I know I am rambling a bit, but yes I am looking forward to game number 2,000. I have to start thinking about the kind of special treatment that the lucky game will receive from me when I finally have it in my hands.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chill or Kill?

Alas! The promised pet penguin is finally here. I was expecting it to show up over the weekend so it was a neat little surprise when I logged on to World of Warcraft earlier. It's definitely a newly designed creature instead of just merely being of a copy of one of the mobs found roaming about the game world. I was hoping that the pet penguin would be very cute, but this is just overkill.

Oh yes! Who needs a real world pet when you can have an in-game pet?

Ouch. There's a difference between looking cute and looking desperate.

Click Here to Restart GameFly

Well, that didn't take long at all did it? I cancelled GameFly earlier this month and I already got a return offer. During the cancellation process, the same discounted amount was offered to me for my second month of subscription - $14.95 - and it was supposed to be a one time offer if I decide to not cancel my account. So now, I have "two weeks" to make a decision whether I want to rent games again or not. I am in dire need to get too many new games at the moment after the last batch I picked up recently but it's always fun to have more games don't you agree? I'll have to think about it. It's not like I won't get another return offer if I turn this one down.

We want your business.
That "What's New" bit is misleading though.
They really need more Shipping Centers that's for sure.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Random Game of the Day

Genji: Dawn of the Samurai (2005)
Developer: Game Republic, Inc.
Platform: PlayStation 2
Purchase Date: 09/27/2005

It's good to be an effeminate samurai when your surrounding is this pretty.

What capitalizes on the success of Capcom's Onimusha series, plays like an Onimusha game, and looks like a gorgeous bastard child of Onimusha and Devil May Cry? Game Republic's shameless Genji: Dawn of the Samurai of course. As much as a rip-off that the game is, it still manages to be a lot of fun, even though your brain can get confused thinking that you are definitely playing an Onimusha game. Even the storyline is somewhat similiar minus the demonic overtone found in Capcom's revered series - You play as Minamoto Yoshitsune, a true military figure in Japanese history, who is on a quest to avenge his father's death and to vanquish an evil ruler. Don't mistake the game as being historically accurate though since your character can use some powerful magic at his disposal. The game is action heavy but even though you get surrounded by waves after waves of enemies, it never gets repetitive since your fighting finesse is evaluated by the game with each encounter. The more careful and precise you are with your attacks, the easier it is for you to level up your character thus you are forced to pay attention to what you are doing in battle. The addition of another character that you can switch to also breaks the monotony of the game's basic design. Genji: DotS is incredible both in terms of its visuals and audio. I haven't seen this game in years and I was literally stunned by how vibrant and sharp the graphics are and by the richness of the soundtrack. Sure, the game is a blatant copycat but at least it's made with a lot of love.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

F Me, Penguin

Blizzard has been encouraging players to convert their World of Warcraft account into Blizzy's account because soon, players will not be able to log on to the game without their login. Apparently, a lot of people need more enticement to do this so Blizzy is now offering those who have done so with a new pet penguin starting later this week. This will include those who have already done the merger - I did it while I wasn't even subscribed to WoW early this year. Hope it is going to look cute.

Thanks to those tardy folks, we are all going to get a pet!

Just a couple of updates on my WoW experience - yesterday, I encountered my first world changing event and it was quite a spectacular. I really like the idea that you can see big changes happening in the world at the player level - it happened after finishing a long chain quest - instead of the server level which is typical in other MMOs. This is quite groundbreaking and I love it.

The aftermath of a war.

I am still several levels away from the level cap of 80 on my main - been playing a lot more of my Shadow Priest now than my Restoration Druid - and even before I could get a taste of the end game gears that are currently available, Blizzy has a new tier of end game armor coming with the next big patch. A preview of some of these can be seen here - though these have a more subtle look to them compared to the wildly imaginative looks from the previous tiers, they are still visually striking. WoW still has the best looking armor sets in MMO history - those in Everquest II are dull and look similar to each other while The Lord of the Rings Online has the ugliest end-game gears ever. The architecture of each new epic or legendary armor/weapon is getting more and more complex as Blizzy keeps adding new graphical flairs to the game engine in both special effects and polygon counts. I am afraid I may be stuck playing this game for a long time.

Tier 10 set for Druids.
Not too crazy about the shoulder piece but that mask is delicious.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Games Played 10/05/2009 - 10/11/2009

- 10/05/2009 to 10/06/2009 -
Muscle Cramps II: Pulsing Toes - My Body

- 10/07/2009 -
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story - NDS
Raiden III - PlayStation 2
Space Invaders Extreme - NDS
World of Warcraft - PC

- 10/08/2009 -
Brutal Legend Demo - PlayStation 3*
Demon's Souls - PlayStation 3
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story - NDS
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 - PlayStation 3
World of Warcraft - PC

*Surprisingly fun. I have to check out the X-Box 360 version of the demo soon.

- 10/09/2009 -
Gley Lancer - Wii
Lords of Thunder - Wii
Raiden Fighters Aces - X-Box 360
World of Warcraft - PC

- 10/10/2009 -
World of Warcraft - PC

- 10/11/2009 -
Battlestations: Pacific - PC
Demon's Souls - PlayStation 3
Penumbra Collection - PC
Raiden Fighters Aces - X-Box 360

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Games Alert!

I almost forgot to check out the $5 game sale that is currently happening at Direct2Drive - they are celebrating their 5th year anniversary. I haven't been on that site ever since I downloaded The Path and I only knew about the sale through an email from a friend early this week. I am so glad to have visited the site because I was able to buy 5 games from the long list of games available: Battlestations: Pacific, Elven Legacy, Mount & Blade, Penumbra Collection, and World in Conflict Gold Edition. Today is the last day of the sale so if you are interested in this incredible deal, make sure to visit Direct2Drive today. They even have Bioshock for only $5 and it is the best version of the game across all platforms.

A small fraction of the titles on sale.
I missed out on some of the earlier offerings though.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Revealed! New Game Room

Okay, the room is hardly finished - you may notice some nasty looking wires slithering about and my surround speakers have yet to be mounted - but completing the final portions of the work will probably take forever because they are tricky to accomplish and my body is still aching from all the work I have done over the past several weeks. So, I have decided to share with you how things are looking so far.

This time around, I want to really expand the space inside the game room while keeping a simplistic, minimalistic tone to the atmosphere. I am satistfied with the result that I have achieved so far.


The futon creates a pathway towards the tower of Nintendo GameCube games.
The dresser contains my Game Boy Advance and my Nintendo DS games.
There is also another door to the left of this picture that can't be seen at this angle.

My PlayStation 3 is now sitting on top of the entertainment center.
The Nintendo Wii is laying down on its side because I want it out in the open.
My other consoles are hidden inside the entertainment center.

Charging station area. No more game boxes next to windows.

A lot of changes were made in regards to the placements of games by consoles.

Less posters on the walls.
I plan to install shelves on these walls in the future.

Had these bookmarks for a while.
I finally have a use for them which is to hide speaker wires.
That, and the fact that I am loving World of Warcraft at the moment.

The door I mentioned earlier.

No bogeyman inside. Only nice things.

It's not a closet. It's a game library.

Not done with that space on the left.
It's supposed to be filled with my favorite movie DVDs.

A lot of storage space on top.

Big and spacious. Perfect for the Loner Gamer.

A constructed collage of video game boxes.

No shortage of storage area here.

Yes, that Wii Fit should really be stuffed inside a freshly used toilet bowl.

Not pictured here is the space underneath my futon. I am able to stuff a number of game boxes down there as well as a container that I am using to store peripherals and controllers so that they can be out of the way, keeping the room constantly organized and clutter-free. If you are interested to look at my previous game room, please click here and/or here. Enjoy and yes, I am a very thankful for what I have and I am a very, very happy gamer.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Casualties of Inter-Spatial Transition

I was very careful while packing and moving my video game items to my new place. Even with all the precautionary efforts, I still managed to get a small number of them hurt during the process. The amount of casualties to report is very small but there shouldn't be any in the first place. I do take full responsibility for all of these damages because if I was just a little bit more careful, they wouldn't have happened.

Damage #1 - The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
If you look closely, there is a long, ugly scratch from the letter D downwards.
Cause: A small but sharp protruding screw inside a disassembled drawer.

Damage #2 - Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3
The top right hand side of the box is slightly crumpled.
Cause: Careless placement of heavy objects on top of the victim.

Damage #3 - Abandoned NBA Jam Cartridge
Not really a damage but I cannot believe that I left the cartridge in there all by itself while the cabinet was being transported by movers.
Cause: Rushing to get the cabinet cleared out for the movers.

Damage #4 - Sega Dreamcast Keyboard
Deep dent on the top left corner.
Cause: Bad placement of objects inside a crowded container.

Damage #5: Karaoke Revolution Boxes
Sun damage on the top and side sections of the boxes.
Cause: Well, these were being damaged throughout that whole time I was living in the apartment, undiscovered until now. I place the game discs in a CD organizer so I hardly ever had to check these boxes. If you look at pictures of my old game room, you will notice that these boxes where placed right in front of a bright sun-lit window. What was I thinking?

Review: Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity (2009)
Genre: Horror
Format: Theatrical Release
Director: Oren Peli

It's nice to see that Paranormal Activity is finally able to find a path of movie theater distribution and is showing in limited releases across the country via the demand feature. Though the scope of release is currently limited, it looks like Paramount Pictures will have this movie opened officially nationwide if the demand hits the count of 1 million - with the recent buzz that it's been getting, I can see it happening for sure. The movie arrived in a town about 2 hours away from where I live and I would have travelled that distance to watch it if not for the fact that I was still in the middle of moving at that time. I have only been waiting for it to come out for 2 years... So, I demanded the movie alongside about 3,000 other people in the area and last week, it finally arrived in town with 3 sold out midnight shows.

To describe to you how low budget this movie really is, Paranormal Activity is a film that could have been easily made by anyone with a nice video camera. Basically, you follow the daily lives of a young couple who are recording snippets of their casual activities and nightly slumbers in hopes of capturing whatever it is that seems to be haunting the girlfriend in their house. The actors are convincing and the way that the whole thing is presented is quite brilliant - even though we all know that this is just a mockumentary, the lack of the typical "framing" you see from any other motion pictures out there is not only refreshing but it also a testament to the Oren Peli's high integrity and adherence to his own art. The movie is sometimes humorous, sometimes intense, sometimes spooky, but it is never really flat out scary. There are not many special effects to be found here, which is also quite welcomed the fact that we see fake CG with each turn in almost every other movie these days, but some of the supernatural phenomenons that do show up on screen are clever and effective. The film uses natural sound to invoke dread - there is no room for bad horror soundtracks here - and there is just something unsettling about a still camera capturing what happens around the couple while they are sleeping even when everything seems so peaceful.

The only sad thing about this movie is that its hype will overwhelm its reality. Thus, its true impact will be undermined. Paranormal Activity takes a very creative spin on the haunted house ghost story. Its attempts at presenting realism first and fantasy second make the movie empty in content which may not bode well with the mainstream audience. In the end though, those who get the movie will appreciate Peli's vision and commitment - especially when they are home alone and suddenly find themselves wide awake in the middle of the night.

RATING: 4 out of 5

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Art of Spamming III

Last month, I encountered a new type of spamming that occurs inside World of Warcraft on the PC that is both creative and disgusting at the same time. Well, if you think that the dead body arrangement was pretty disturbing, be prepared for the next evolution of corpse spam courtesy of our friendly and very determined gold sellers:

They added more corpses on top of those that were already there.
Nice work on the stripe illusion from the layering.

This really made the competition mad... As in really, really mad!
The next day, they arranged their corpses below those of their competitors.

The good news is that soon after, they both got wiped off the ground. But yeah, this kind of excitement can only exist in World of the Warcraft for sure.

Games Played 09/28/2009 - 10/04/2009

- 09/28/2009 -
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story - NDS
World of Warcraft - PC

- 09/29/2009 -
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story - NDS

- 09/30/2009 -
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story - NDS

- 10/01/2009 to 10/04/2009 -
Muscle Cramps: Swollen Toes - My Body

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Games Alert!

What better way to celebrate the end of the miserable period of pain and limbo that I have gone through over the last couple of weeks than to pick up several new games for my library. I really wanted to pick up Raiden IV for the X-Box 360 but that game is as rare as they come at the retail level. I ended up with Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 and Demon's Souls for the PlayStation 3, Dead Space Extraction for the Nintendo Wii, and Patapon 2 for the PlayStation Portable. I almost picked up the import copy of Demon's Soul not too long ago but I am so glad that this game has gotten a North American release. It's one of my most anticipated game to play this year. There is funny story in regards to picking up the retail voucher for Patapon 2 - as we all know, this game can be purchased on the PlayStation Network Store. I actually need an extra PSP game case to replace one where the UMD holder is broken so now I got one! By the way, there is actually a game manual that comes with the Patapon 2 voucher!

New room, new pose.

Games Played 09/21/2009 - 09/27/2009

- 09/21/2009 -
World of Warcraft - PC

- 09/22/2009 -
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story - NDS
World of Warcraft - PC

- 09/23/2009 -
World of Warcraft - PC

- 09/24/2009 -
World of Warcraft - PC

- 09/25/2009 -
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story - NDS
Raiden IV - X-Box 360

- 09/26/2009 -
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 - PlayStation 3
Raiden IV - X-Box 360
World of Warcraft - PC

- 09/27/2009 -
Raiden IV - X-Box 360
World of Warcraft - PC

New Game Alert!

I picked up Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story for the Nintendo DS in the evening of 09/21/2009 and I didn't get the chance to post the announcement up due to the move. Notice that the picture below was taken in the my old room. Since I know that I will not be able to able to get quick access to my consoles while moving, I thought I should buy something new for one of the handheld systems. From what I have played so far, this game is as funny as the previous entries in the series. I thought that maybe I could finish this by the time I'm all settled in but what ended up happening is that I didn't even play any of my handheld games mid-way into the move due to the extreme muscle cramps and the utter lack of energy. Hey, moving close to 2,000 games from one place to another - in addition to other household items - is not an easy task.

Bowser is so lovable.