Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Eye of Judgement

Pretty cool ain't it? Order it here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Dragon Quest IV, V and VI DS remakes!


Dragon Quest IV, V and VI (Castle in the Sky or Zenith Castle trilogy) remakes for Nintendo DS announced. Details not known yet, but hopefully with the same engine that Level-5 developed for Dragon Quest IX (though the developer is likely to be an anonymous developer like TOSE).

With these, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings and Final Fantasy IV remake on the way I am a very happy RPG gamer.

Square-Enix confirmed richest buggers in the world.

List of S-E RPGs on DS:

Children of Mana
Final Fantasy III
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime

Pending (EU & NA):
Dragon Quest IV
Dragon Quest V
Dragon Quest VI
Dragon Quest IX
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker
Heroes of Mana
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates
Final Fantasy Tactics: Advance 2
Front Mission: The First

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Revisiting Metal Gear Solid

All these MGS4 megatons has been giving me a good reason to revisit Metal Gear Solid. I last played MGS about four years ago, so I thought this would be the perfect time to brush up on Metal Gear's history, starting with the third game in the series, Metal Gear Solid. It isn't long anyway (less than 2 hours clocked by the time I reached Sniper Wolf, half way through the game). As I no longer have the PlayStation version, I instead played the PC version, which was a bit shit because I no longer have a joypad. Playing a game on keyboard which was originally designed for console, was difficult! But at least I was able to make screenshots!

Spoilers aplenty:

Infiltrating Shadow Moses

Sneaking around the Tank Hanger

Meeting Donald Anderson, the DARPA chief

Before the first boss battle with Revolver Ocelot

Meeting Gray Fox

Hideo Kojima needs to make a next-gen Policenauts

Meryl possessed

After defeating Psycho Mantis

Sniper Wolf strikes

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


The UK terrestrial debut of Heroes, the hit TV series from the US, will be screened on BBC2 today at 9pm. Two episodes will be shown.

Make sure you watch it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Metal Gear Solid 4: new screens

Video here.

I take back whatever disbelief I had about a higher entity and today proclaim Hideo Kojima my god.

More screens and videos of MGS4 and Metal Gear Online here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Nice weather

Almost two months of awful weather interrupted by a spell of lovely sunshine... Yay!

Island of the Sequined Love Nun review

I last read Island of the Sequined Love Nun about three years ago out of a recommendation by eReader. It made me laugh so much, like all of Christopher Moore's novels later on. I read it again today (har har, Harry Potter)

The book tells the tale of Tucker Case, a 'hopeless geek trapped in a cool guy's body', who, as a typical loose cannon, happened to crash his company's Learjet while making love in its cockpit and became a eunuch due to it. The time not spent thinking of his damaged penis, he has to try to find his way. with a male Filipino transvestite and his fruit bat, to a tiny island where he has been offered a job as a pilot for a "missionary". While obviously presented in a dark comical way, the plot is just deep enough to offer some entertaining religious analogy (it exists!) between Christianity and a religion based on World War II pilots and conspiracies.

This isn't Chris Moore's finest book (that honour in my opinion belongs to Bloodsucking Fiends). But it is my first Christ Moore book and it got me hooked, which is why I adore it. The author reminds me of the late Douglas Adam. Though the style between the two are very different, both often injects nonsensical humour in the most unsuspecting ways into pretty 'convincing' plots.

Highly recommended.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter launch party

Pictures from blurry mobile phone cam:

It was very tempting to shout out spoilers, but I guess I am getting a bit too nice. Plus I don't want hundreds of Potter fans coming for my blood.

Sigh, I am guessing I am getting too old for this shit...

Update: I pity those people across the road at Waterstone's. It's raining and they have to queue outside. No hot coffee too...

Update 2: No sign of Madeleine McCann's eyes...

Update 3: Plenty of people are bitching about the price of the new book in Malaysia (storm in a fucking small teacup). My take? Just pay whatever you think the book is worth, then get on with it. If you think it is worth £18 then pay it. If you think it is worth £9 then go find a shop that sells it at that price. If you think Rowling is rich enough already, torrent it. If you worship her then send her a cheque. It is your choice. But you can't force a store to set the price based on your needs.

Facebook and MMORPGs

I am starting to notice just how much addicted Facebook users are to the current Web fad. And when I mean addicted I don't mean like spending an hour or two a day on it, I mean much much more. Many are totally consummated by it. They would not stop talking about it if they are not on it, like it was the only thing in the world (remember kids, Facebook isn't the first social networking site). It reminds me of the Ipod, where everyone talks about how apparently superior their Ipod is, but not about the actual music that supposedly resides in it.

Facebook addiction, I noticed, is much closer to that of MMORPG sufferers. How many friends have you lost to World of Warcraft? I have lost quite a few. Facebook addicts are now to take over too. I know how some MMORPGs work - by simulating the release of endorphins due to its work=reward pattern (and waste of time - e.g. Final Fantasy XI), but I do not understand how Facebook (or any social networking sites) reward you. I am guessing it is more of an ego contest to see how many "friends" you have...

Thankfully I understand that these things are just frivolous fads so I avoid them at all cost. Ah screw it.

/goes off to play Ultima Online

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Disgaea 3 announced! (PS3)

Haters be damned. Judging by previous Disgaeas hopefully this will be a 300 hour game. Only need an announcement of Atelier Iris and Makai Kingdom next-gen to make me crack.

I love you Nippon Ichi! *hugz*

Atlus, Konami: announce Shin Megami Tensei and Suikoden next-gen already.

via GAF

Mercury Music Prize 2007 shortlists

*sigh* I am not going to comment on the rationality of the organisers nominating the Arctic Monkeys again.

Here is this year's Mercury Prize shortlists:

Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare
Basquiat Strings featuring Seb Rochford - Basquiat Strings
Bat for Lashes - Fur & Gold
Dizzee Rascal - Maths & English
Jamie T - Panic Prevention
Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future
Maps - We Can Create
New Young Pony Club - Fantastic Playroom
Fionn Regan - The End of History
The View - Hats Off to the Buskers
Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
The Young Knives - Voices of Animals and Men

William Hill odds:

Arctic Monkeys 4/1
Amy Winehouse 4/1
The View 8/1
Klaxons 8/1
Jamie T 8/1
Dizzee Rascal 8/1
The Young Knives 10/1
Fionn Regan 10/1
Bat For Lashes 10/1
New Young Pony Club 12/1
Maps 12/1
Basquiat Strings 12/1

via Guardian music blog

Monday, July 16, 2007

Madeleine McCann is still missing but do we really care?

Posters of missing Madeleine McCann are to be made available to book retailers around the world at the request of Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
I hope those same posters will also feature prominent pictures of other missing children, you know, the thousands who has gone missing since Madeleine McCann became a newspaper seller, but has received zero publicities. But £5 says it won't be true. Cuteness sells (even I can't resist the charms of 'metoyou' teddies) and nothing is cuter (for the media) than a blonde girl from an affluent family.

Thankfully it will be just be posters of her at the launch events (as if we need reminding - we just want to know whether Dumbledore wanted to be killed by Snape). I want my copy of book seven to have no weird and creepy eyes. "Maddy" just isn't 'in' any more, like Beckham (knowing that they will be an ocean away makes me feel good) or Big Brother.

via BBC News

In other news the British press has continued its vilification of Robert Murat, the only 'suspect' in the case of missing "Maddy". Their lead is with Murat's alleged claim that he doesn't care about "Maddy" any more, as though it is a bad thing. Can you really blame him, when even half of Britain doesn't give a hoot about the McCann any more? If he is innocent, his life has been effectively ruined by trial by media and the only thing in his mind right now is to clear his name.

Conveniently, the Madeleine's Fund Ltd. Co. has so far continued raking in like there is no tomorrow. The lesson? Lose a child (while breaking the law) = gain close to a million quid in 'donations'.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sandisk 2GB microSD (TransFlash) Multi SD Kit

The problem with the SD card format is they have too many sub-formats. There is the generic Secure Digital format which I first used on my Palm m500 many years ago. Then the miniSD format and recently the microSD format formerly known as TransFlash. Within this are the new SDHC spec for high capacity cards. A card you buy now is not guaranteed to work in future devices. In my case a device I am using now requires a miniSD card, but if in the future I purchase a device that requires microSD cards than it would be obsolete.

It is fortunate that SanDisk release the microSD multi SD kit which costs only a few quid more than a vanilla microSD card (I paid around 1 quid for it two weeks ago). It comes with two adapters so that it could be used in any SD, miniSD and microSD slots. Wonderful as this provides the type of flexibility I require. So right now I am using a 2GB microSD card on a Nokia N80. I am planning to get a HTC Kaiser, which has a microSD slot, in the future so at least the card is future proof.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

E307: Did E3 change your mind?

PlayStation 3

I want one now. MGS4, Ratchet & Clank, Echochrome, Heavenly Sword, Little Big Planet, Killzone 2, Socom: Confrontation, White Knight Story and the unannounced Team ICO project says so.

From a gamer's perspective it is mind boggling how much I hated Sony and their PS3 just six months ago, and now am willing to welcome the PS3 into our lives. But with Eurozone getting no price cut I am sorry to say that SCEE won't be getting any sales from me, yet. I also need my jRPG fix and so far there has been no major announcement by Nippon Ichi, Konami and Atlus concerning their PS3 RPG roadmap (to be fair none has announced their next-gen plans yet). But if we get at least two *proper* price cuts then I might bite.

Xbox 360

As a PC gamer I am still not convinced on the 360. There are some jRPGs (e.g. Eternal Sonata) that are getting my attention but until MS can convince me that their newer hardware is not inheriting core design flaws, I won't get one. Mass Effect looks very lovely and may tip me over. But I beg you, fix the hardware first MS! Somebody here wants to play Ninja Gaiden 2 without having to worry about hardware failure.


We already have one. Now we can't wait to get rid of it to a non-gamer soccer mum during the holiday season for a profit. May still get Super Mario Galaxy, No More Heroes and Trauma Center: New Blood (that is if it ever gets a Europe release) but until some AAA 3rd party titles (not ports) start appearing we will be glad to see appearing on CEX's cabinet. Wii Fit will not be welcomed here no matter how revolutionary the delusional mainstream press think it will be (Wii Sport is fun, but we still think people ought to get fit outdoors).

The mainstream press ought to research more if they think the Wii board is something new and revolutionary, as many non-gamers journalists claimed

We may change our mind if Nintendo can prove that they are committed to online gaming (Mario Kart isn't a proof especially after the long-term on-line disaster that is MK:DS) and original virtual console content.

BTW Nintendo, still waiting for all those launch games to be released here.

Windows PC

Crysis, Assassins Creed and Unreal Tournament 3 still wows me. Enough said.

Nintendo DS

Still worth playing even after all this time. Third party games are improving, and in some cases, bettering first party efforts. With Dragon Quest IX, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, Final Fantasy IV and Golden Sun, jRPG line-up for the DS is pretty strong, though it will probably never match the SNES and PS2. However I am still not convinced with Phantom Hourglass. Good reviews doesn't change the fact that I am not looking forward to touchscreen Zelda action.

But as it was two years ago the DS platform is unstoppable.

PlayStation Portable

The redesign doesn't look much though the expanded RAM interests me. Maybe once it dips below £99. Need my MGS:PO and Jeanne d'Arc fix.

SEGA Dreamcast 2


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

E307: Sony Killzowned E3

Well, that certainly was interesting...

If you didn't watch it live just wait for someone to torrent the press conference or go here to read up on what happened. The organisers did screw up a bit by not zooming in on the trailers shown. Example. Here is Heavenly Swords. Zoomed out. But here is NBA. Zoomed in. WTF.

Plenty of "games, games and more games" to look forward to, mixed in with Chewy (he wins E3!) and a Home'ed Harrisson in his Ratchet costume. The childlike Jack Tretton (the new CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America) is already 1000% more likeable than Reggie or Kaz Hirai already.

Not sure about the new PSP announcement though. It may be nice to have something lighter or can output to the telly, but it doesn't seem to be that big a deal. I wouldn't mind them decreasing the screen size slightly to increase portability. But it is good news as it means the original PSP price will fall meaning I can finally play MGS:PO and the two Star Ocean remakes eventually!

Two PS3 games took centre stage today (well three if you include the potential sleeper hit Echochrome). Hideo Kojima's new Metal Gear Solid 4 wasn't as exiting as the previous ones, but does reveal more of MGS4's plot than before. Then there was the awesome duel between Raiden and Vamp. The big news here is MGS4 will be Kojima's last MGS game. Probably the last Metal Gear game to feature Solid Snake too as the series will supposedly passed on to Raiden. Bad news for MGS fanboys I guess, but it does mean more time for Kojima to do ZOE3 and Snatcher.

Then who can forget Killzone 2. The first Killzone game was hyped to death (not by Sony, but by the media and bloggers) and turned out to be a major disappointment, both gameplay wise and graphically. This time around, it is Sony who is hyping up Killzone 2 and I can see why. The infamous pre-rendered E305 trailer did gave the developers some lofty goals and for a pre-alpha (or whatever) game, the new trailer did exceed many, including mine, expectations. Kudos to them.

Now I need to go dust up that piggy bank.

E307: Nintendo got Killzowned

How have the tables turned. It was lucky that I did not catch the ultimate boring MS E3 conference this early morning. A new ugly green 360? No thanks. I thought Nintendo's E307 conference will be so much better (as evident in last year's conference), I rushed home to be met by 500 server errors and half-expected a megaton. But no...

If there is one thing Nintendo's current and Sony's past market domination proved is that winners loves to boast. Nintendo's E3 conference was filled with gloating, stats and PR fluff and almost no new games shown except some really awful ones with really awful textures. Stuff like Mario Kart Wii isn't really unexpected, but to proclaim the game as an ultimate online experience... Has Nintendo actually played MK:DS online recently? It sucks. I guess that explains the lack of crowd enthusiasm. Instead of DS montage we got YouTube montage...

The likeable underdog that was the GameCube era of Nintendo is gone. Now we have a new arrogant one... It is surprising to say this but I hope Sony will save E3.

Highlights of the conference so you don't have to subject yourself to torture:

Reggie: We expanded the videogaming market.

Audience: ...

Reggie: We have proof.

Audience: ...

Reggie: Check out this Wii-Zapper holder.

Audience: ...

Reggie: Super Smash Bros Brawl launches on Dec 3!!

Audience: ...

Reggie: Check out this Mii channel.

Audience: ...

Reggie: We take online seriously.

Audience: ...

Reggie: Check out this Wii remote wheel (that we ripped off from Ubisoft).

Audience: ...

Reggie: Mario Galaxy launches Nov 12...

Audience: ...

Reggie (face clearly dejected): ... Nov 12... This year...

Audience: ...

On the other hand Wii Fit does look promising. But it is a non-game. It belongs at an informercial, no E3! I want to play videogames Mr. Miyamoto!

Sigh... can't wait for Christmas so I can flog off our Wii console for a massive profit to non-gamer soccer mums. Will take DS Lite to grave though...

Excuse me while I drown myself in sorrow by switching to E4 and watch more Friends repeats and try to login into Nintendo's press site to find press kits of, your know, proper non-nongames.

Note: I can't believe how fast the internet is after the conference.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Tories have clearly lost their mind...

David Cameron has proposed a moral tax break of £20 a week on married couple, claiming that the 'downfall' in Britain's 'broken society' is due to 'anti-marriage bias' (which is non-existent as far as I know). Last I heard a marriage is supposed to be about love, not bribery or tax situation. The mind boggles to imagine the many who decides to get married and stay married just to be 'rewarded' with a pittance. And what about single parents, single couples who live together or same-sex couples? Wouldn't this work against them?
Mr Cameron said: "The kids do best if mum and dad are there to look after them and today we have a benefit system that encourages couples to be separate. We have no recognition of marriage in the tax system. These things have to change."

He told the BBC that "mending Britain's broken society" was the "big argument of our times". He added: "We need a big cultural change in favour of fatherhood, in favour of parenting, in favour of marriage."
What Dave here means is the people responsible for Britain's 'broken society' are single parents, childless married couples and single couples.

Next great idea for the Tories: tax breaks for the wealthy Eton educated Anglicans.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Judge Magister Gabranth Masterpiece Arts figure

Not having Tetsuya Nomura as the character designer for Final Fantasy XII was a really good decision by the Squenix folks (that guy just recycles his materials) as Akihiko Yoshida's design for Judge Magister of the 9th Bureau Gabranth was one of the more memorable ones of all the villains from any Final Fantasy games I have played (yes, that includes Kefka). The character design is just so brilliant, that even Yoshitaka Amano designed the box art around Gabranth. I have never entertained the notion of cosplaying, but if (a massive IF) I had to, it would be as Gabranth.

This massive 20" 1/4 scale figure of Gabranth is latest from Kotobukiya's Masterpiece Arts series. The figure will be made with cold cast resin, PVC, metal, faux leather and other fabrics. Play.com has this on pre-order for £230 while Forbidden Planet has this for a slightly better £200.

But what I really want:

Someone better buy me one.

You can pre-order it here.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Staying in

Today's weather was a rare one. The sun was out! For the first time in like forever! We could go mountain biking again! But we decided to stay in instead. The first stage of Tour de France was on and so was the Wimbledon men's final. We were glad we stayed in as it was a classic match. Though we were rooting for the Spaniard, the better man won today. Those buggers at Centre Court really got their money's worth.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Let me bore you with a rubbish blog post

True story. A friend of ours wanted to get his girlfriend, a close mate of ours, a birthday gift. We suggested a ice blue DS Lite, as she has been wanting one for ages (for more than a year, since laying her eyes on ours). Anyway this guy isn't a gamer. In fact he loathes videogames ('it's for children' is his favourite motto). So Jenni helped by e-mailing him the details required and advising him on the relevant information. Two weeks ago he placed the order from an Asian web company.

Now here is where it got really funny. When he visited her last week he gave her the gift. To his girlfriend's surprise the gift was in fact an old school blue variant DS. He was perplexed at first that his girlfriend did not play it straight away, deciding instead to stow it away. Our friend did not know that he bought the wrong gift, until he calls her a few days later and asked if she has played it yet. Of course she hasn't - she already has a perfectly healthy grey DS for that! He did not notice any difference between the DS Lite and old school DS, only the colour!

Some good news though. Today we went out together to the shops together and he bought a white DS Lite for her. Even better is he may actually keep the blue DS for himself! Imagine that, four player More Brain Training multiplayer FTW!


Just in case this story hasn't bored you to death yet, here's another videogaming sales tip. HMV has the fairly good Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories for £10 and the excellent Final Fantasy XII for a twenty.

Dixons Currys.digital has a special offer on Sony's PSP in rubbish pink for 90 quid. Fine print is you have to buy a PSP game, but I guess you can still consider it a good deal.

Still here? Well here's our Jenga tower, moments before it toppled, at the pub:

And no, it isn't 'in' to wear England underpants.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Church of England "Digital Code of Conduct" aims to demolish creative freedom

Manchester Cathedral today issued a "digital code of conduct" for videogame developers:
1. Respect our sacred spaces as places of prayer, worship, peace, learning and heritage.
2. Do not assume that sacred space interiors are copyright free.
3. Get permission from the faith leaders who are responsible for the building interiors you want to clone.
4. Support the work of those engaged in resisting the culture of gun crime and those involved in promoting the work of conflict resolution.
This was after Sony issued another apology to Manchester Cathedral and the Church of England over the some death that they (Sony) had no involvements. And like the greedy nutjobs they are the CoE isn't accepting the (second) apology, probably still scheming on extorting a pot of money from Sony and, indirectly, from us videogaming fans.

A couple of things is obviously wrong with this so called 'code of conduct', which I hope the videogaming industry as well as the whole entertainment and media industry will ignore, which I will attempt to explain here. An old building architectural design can not be copyrighted (at least extended beyond the original expiration date) much like books by H.G. Wells is no longer copyrighted. They will pass into the public domain, as I am sure if the design of the 600 year old Manchester Cathedral probably has (if it ever was copyrighted in the first place). Even then building a replica of a building, no matter how closely it resembles, isn't 'copying'.

It is how Las Vegas (the most 'sinful' place on earth) was able to rebuild replicas of famous buildings. It was also how the aliens in Independence Day were able to blow up a replica of the White House. It is how 99% of all homes in the UK isn't unique. Do they really think that Alfred Hitchhock's North by Northwest's climatic battle at Mount Rushmore was shot at the real location? If they do then they are in for a rude awakening. What about previous videogames when we could lob grenades into mosques? I never heard them complaining before. Oh wait, they are muslims, so it doesn't matter...

Gun crimes are a local issue. How they expect a multinational company like Sony, which is primarily based in Japan, to take issue on local Manchester gun crimes is beyond me. If Manchester Cathedral and the CoE wanted to tackle the issue head on then they have to do it through their local community - and the parents. At most they can take it on a national level by lobbying the government to tighten gun control and what not. But to blame Sony and the gaming community for the deaths of people they have zero responsibility for?

Last of all let us not forget the content of the game in question itself. The game, Resistance: Fall of Man, involves mankind battling some kind of alien humanoids to save the planet earth. Now, I have never played the game (nor has the church I believe, but at least they can afford a PS3 with all the begging for money stuff they do), but from what I garnered from my more trustful gaming buddies, the Manchester Cathedral was being used as a field hospital (a very noble gesture by Insomniacs, the game's developers) and actually involved alien humanoids attacking the Cathedral and killing sickly patients. Quite how protecting a hospital is bad I can't imagine. Maybe it is because the old farts do not believe in fictional aliens, but then again their bible made up of mythical content.

Or maybe they just want us to shoot gays. They are after all responsible for the miserable weather.

Eagerly awaiting a map mod of Manchester Cathedral for Unreal Tournament 2007 when it is released.

More Brain Training from Dr. Kawashima: How Old Is Your Brain? mini-review

In 2005 Nintendo released the first Brain Age game. Sales weren't spectacular but with word of mouth it soon became one of the best selling DS games in Japan. It even stayed in the top ten charts for months after it was released. When it was finally released (as Brain Training) in Europe 12 months ago it also saw a similar sales pattern. As of January 2007, 2 million copies of Brain Age were sold to 'non-gamers' and gamers alike, in Europe alone. Total worldwide sale currently stands at above 10 million copies. The success of Brain Age/Training is indicative of the path Nintendo is currently following - catering to people who would not otherwise invest in anything video gaming related. It has also reversed the fortunes of Nintendo (from a lame duck to leader in the video gaming industry) and contributed the the cultural phenomenon that is the Nintendo DS (and Lite).

Seeing how easy it was to develop the first game (it only took 3 months from conception to development), it would be stupid for Nintendo (and their competitors - the original Brain Age effectively spawned a whole new legitimate genre) to ignore such a money making franchise. The original Brain Age was a successful proof of concept that it was possible to produce a cheap 'edutainment' product and it would still be successful. Nintendo soon produced plenty of other 'Touch Generation' products such as English Training, Big Brain Academy and General Knowledge Training. It comes as no surprise that the most successful of the Touch Generation product would see a direct 'sequel'. That is where Brain Age 2/More Brain Training comes in.

Obviously not true!

Like the original 'game', More Brain Training has the usual Brain Age check which allows you to check your 'brain age'. These are based on random exercises which are different from those included in the first Brain Age. One of them requires you to use the microphone. Fortunately it isn't the flawed Stroop Test, which routinely failed to register the word 'blue', from the first game. This new microphone test is the one you probably have seen on those Nicole Kidman telly ads where players have a match with the A.I. in a twisted 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' game. For example the screen will show a hand with a 'scissors' pose and asks you to 'win'. As rock defeats scissors you have to say 'rock'. On the other hand if the game requests you to 'lose' you have to say 'paper'.

There are also now 11 new exercises in the training section such as the 'Correct Change' training for budding cash register hopefuls and the wonderful 'Masterpiece Recital' where you are required to follow a music sheet and press the correct piano key on a virtual keyboard. One of the more difficult and annoying exercise is 'Word Blend' where the game will speak several words simultaneously. A player must listen to the spoken words and write down the words that were spoken. It gets progressively harder as the stage progress with more words being being spoken together. Another exercise featured here is based on the very popular (and my personal favourite) 'Calculations x 20' from the first game (my record is 11 seconds). Instead of doing simple arithmetic calculations, in 'Missing Symbols' all the numbers are displayed in the equation but the player is required to complete the missing mathematical symbol.

While some may have to get used to the handwriting recognition system, I never had a problem with the system in this or the original game. Perhaps it is because I am used to writing on touchscreens since the Palm Vx days, but it shows that you do not need a massive processor for mundane tasks like recognising ones handwriting (Apple, do take note), a testament to the talented people at Nintendo. However like the original stroop test, 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' does suffers from not recognising my voice at times. You can always avoid the exercise, as personally it feels more like a tech demo to demonstrate the DS's microphone capability than a required software for measuring your mentality.

More Brain Training is certainly an oddity. The training games here are fun but challenging in comparison to the first game, which I really enjoyed (and continued to play weekly). Even Dr. Kawashima's reassuring but funny disembodied head is also still present. As a bonus the game also comes with 100 extra Sudoku games, an obvious target at London's ever Sudoku addict tube commuters. However as a gamer I do hope that Nintendo do not ignore their 'core' audience. Games like More Brain Training is nice but if given the choice I would rather have a Fire Emblem cartridge in my DS Lite slot. Either way More Brain Training is a good 'sequel' that more than deserves your attention. But Nintendo, don't forget about us Fire Emblem fans.


UK non-gamers can buy it now from Amazon with free delivery. International gamers can import it from Play-Asia.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

UK floods are god's judgement on society, says religious nutter

The recent floodings in this little island are caused by god's wrath due to increased homosexual acceptance in this country, says a senior Church of England bishop.

Never mind blaming a six month old videogame over a couple of murders that happened years ago, Rt Rev Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle decided to go further, beating his fellow CoE colleagues for insanity drivel, by arguing that part of the reason that people here are drowning is because god is pretty pissed off with us.

God, you see, is one moody bloke, granting us much summer warmth back in Springy April but has now decided that maybe it would be better to punish us folks because the sensible parliament here has giving greater rights to gays. Pro-gay rights are the cause of the Atlantic's high-pressure and Britain's low-pressure, thus causing me to cancel my Wimbledon plans (and pissing me off stupid evening hailstorm) - that was what loony Dow meant. Really.

I can already picture the headline for tomorrow's Daily Mail:
Muslims, homos and socialists: responsible for flooding!
The only way to escape death (at least for now) is easy folks. Read that bible of yours and repent. Then you do not have to worry about any natural disasters, like ever.

Oh, wait.

Via Richard and Anorax

Monday, July 2, 2007

Britain's terror hype

Incompetent jihadists tried to distrup London and, bizarrely of all places, Glasgow. Right wing hacks trying to pump up the fear factor over the failed attacks by these ineptitude "terrorists". I say terrorists because while they failed their mission, the paranoid and hysterical media seems content with pumping up the terror alert.

It's like Madeleine McCann all over again (or in the Harry Potter world, Voldermort - fear the name yet, eh???). Joining the paedos are now the Muslims of Britain. And I thought with Teflon Tony gone we would have it so much better.

Are they forgetting that London has gone through much worst during the IRA bombing campaign and the Battle of Britain? I remember being in London in 1996 (as a tourist) when there was an IRA bomb. I was also 300 yards away when the Real IRA planted a bomb in West London midnight six years ago. The media didn't over hype the terror alert back then. (note: unlike today when jihadists are often termed Islamists or Muslim terrorists, back then nobody called the IRA 'Catholic bombers')

All these when the country is gripped with terrible weather, houses being flooded because of incompetent flood defences and people actually dying because of incompetent flood defences (I just had to).

Still these so-called terrorists pisses me off as it caused delays outside Gatwick on Sunday.

EDGE Presents The Top 100 Best Videogames (and me being a fanboy)

Update (3 July):

I just got hold of the magazine. It is in the usual EDGE present format so nothing special there. A noteworthy exception here, when compared to previous EDGE special edition magazines: no adverts. At least nothing direct.

Now, the top 100 list is very console centric meaning if you are a PC gamer you will be disappointed by the lack of inclusion of many key industry changing games. Some notable absentees from both PC and console includes:

Any Command & Conquer variants. You heard that right. No Command & Conquer. No Red Alert. No C&C: Generals. No Red Alert 2. Nothing touches Red Alert for tank rush exhilaration.

Total Annihilation. The game that defined the 3D RTS.

Shogun: Total War

No One Lives Forever

Shogo: Mobile Armor Division

Warcraft III

Zone of the Enders

Empire Earth

Sam & Max

Grim Fandango

Gyakuten Saiban

Elder Scrolls: Morrowind

Any Commandos variants

Final Fantasy IV, V or VI

Golden Sun

Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan


Suikoden III

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker



Dragon Quest III
or VIII. Jesus.

Any Shin Megami game. Like what the fuck...

Metal Gear Solid. They included MGS2 so it isn't that bad. Glad to know that Solid Snake fanboys has grown up to accept Raiden. EDGE on the other hand does seem to hate him. Not one of the screenshots on the MGS2 double sided entry had Raiden in it!


Wing Commander


Now, for the crap (in my very honest opinion) games that did make the list. Fanboys will hate me, but who cares. That's the beauty of having your own opinion. You can make your own list.

Tekken 3

Pro Evo 6


Virtua Tennis 3

Guitar Hero (go play a real guitar, an entry level Fender Squier Strat costs very little)




Perfect Dark

Goldeneye 007


Super Mario Kart. A baffling inclusion. Personally I believe that the inclusion of this very average game is purely to appease to those seeking nostalgia.

and of course Ocarina of Time


Posted yesterday:

Another top 10 list. As with all lists, I have the urge to interject my own personal opinions. I could do with a couple of games off the list. An example would be dropping Halo off the Top 100 list and swapping it with Quake III Arena. I would also swapped Half-Life 2 for the first game.

I never truly like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, though I understand why it made the top of the list. It was probably awesome back then, but seriously with its crude 3D graphics, it hasn't stood the test of time. I have always thought that A Link to the Past was the favourite among Zelda fans but I guess I am wrong. Personally The Wind Waker is my favourite Zelda game.

I am a little bit surprised that Final Fantasy VII fanboys didn't manage to push the game into the top 10 list. Glad that EDGE readers and editors recognise that there are better Final Fantasies out there. Also while I truly adore Resident Evil 4 on GameCube, I believe that it would have been a much better game on the PC if the developers catered for WASD+mouse gamers.

Here's my top 10 console games of all time, that I have played:

1. Chrono Trigger, SNES
2. Final Fantasy VI, SNES (review of GBA version)
3. Final Fantasy XII, PS2 (review)
4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, GameCube
5. Soul Calibur, Dreamcast
6. Street Fighter II, SNES
7. Shadow of the Colossus, PS2 (review)
8. Dragon Quest VIII, PS2
9. ICO, PS2
10. Metal Gear Solid, PS1

Be sure to pick up your copy of the 260-page EDGE presents the Top 100 Best Videogames tomorrow.

Related posts: My top 100 video games (includes all platforms and formats), Top 5 exclusive PS2 games

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Smoking ban

Smoking ban starts today. Woo-hoo!

I apologise to my friends who do smoke, because really I do support your right to smoke if you want to, but unfortunately not all smokers are as considerate as you - therefore I am supporting the public ban. When I dine out I do not want some idiot diner lighting up a fag just because he or she thinks it would enhance the flavour of my food. I do not want to walk up the high street when someone puffs his or her disgusting ashes at me. Smoking revellers is the main reason I do not go out to the clubs and pubs as often as I would like to. I hate returning from a night out smelling like a hobo. It is frustrating and it pisses me off.

So yeah, despite the smoking ban eradicating the rights of smokers, I welcome it.

Apple iPhone FAQ

Q: Can the Iphone be used to send MMS?
A: You can't send MMS. A revolutionary phone like this requires no MMS.

Q: Oh? How about copy and pasting text?
A: You can't copy and paste. OS X on phone does not have that feature. Maybe in the next full priced version perhaps? Or perhaps you would be interested in purchasing this $2000 Macbook that would allow you to copy and paste?

Q: Yes please! I have nothing better to do with money but giving more money to Steve Jobs by buying the same laptop again and again. But please sir, what about recording videos?
A: Nah, you can't do that either. YouTube generation don't need video.

Q: Still pictures are blurry. Why is that?
A: To save money and increase their profit margins Apple has neglected to include auto-focus.

Q: No auto-focus? But isn't that an industry standard?
A: Apple customers doesn't share the same high expectations that other customers of other products have. And they know it. So no auto-focus.

Q: I am getting bored with everyone having the same ringtones. How can I install my own MP3s to use as ringtones?
A: You can't. You have to buy ringtones *exclusively* through Apple Itunes.

Q: My old phone has a 640x480 display. Why the downgrade to 480x320?
A: It isn't a downgrade. It is an upgrade. It has a glass surface and touchscreen.

Q: My Palm Pilot from 1996 had touchscreen...
A: You jest!

Q: I know I can't make video calls, but can I receive one via 3G?
A: No way. The $600 plus two year contract Iphone does not support one or two-way video calling. By the way, what is this 3G?

Q: Is there something like Adobe Flash Lite that would allow me to view flash sites or flash applications?
A: Flash is not supported. It isn't clear whether Java is even supported. You bet Quicktime will be supported though.

Q: I am going on a 20 hour flight trip to Australia. Can I buy a spare battery so I can watch videos all day long.
A: You can't. When your battery dies you are required to send it to an Apple authorised store and they will replace it for you. Parts and labour cost required. It's like the car industry.

Q: So they are going to charge me a fee for swapping the battery?
A: Well you have to make money to feed the fat cats...

Q: My free phone allows me to listen to music wireless via A2DP. How can I enable it on my expensive Iphone?
A: No it isn't supported in their 700MB Mac OS X. Apple consumers do not want technical jargon superior technology in their easy to use products.

Q: I drive a lot, so I would like to voice dial. Could you be a kind gentleman and let me know how.
A: Voice dialling isn't supported. But you can buy their expensive $120 bluetooth headset.

Q: Can I voice dial via Apple's bluetooth headset?
A: Nope! You would still need to touch the Iphone before making a phone call.

Q: So, after paying $600 for this and locked into a two year contract you are telling me my Iphone can't do anything that my free phone can?
A: But your free phone isn't by Apple.

Q: I am not sure if the Apple logo is really worth $600.
A: Steve Jobs says that this is the best phone on the market.

Q: You are right! This is an Apple phone and it is feature-packed! Thank you. It is worth it.
A: It is a brilliant product.