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Emilia Clarke
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Samsung Galaxy S6

 

I recently picked up the new Galaxy S6, opting for the standard model over the more hyped (and more pricy) S6 Edge.

 

Thing's I like so far

  • Gorgeous AMOLED High Resolution Screen
  • Fast and Snappy
  • Nice "Premium" Feel
  • Super Customizable
  • Dual SIM
  • Fingerprint Unlock
  • Wireless Charging
  • Great Camera

 

Thing's I don't like

  • No Removable Battery
  • No SD Card

 

Basically to expand a bit on the above points. The phone packs a lot of punch and feels super high end, an absolutely fantastic device. Of course it does have some negatives but the positives far outweigh them.

 

The screen is a 1440p resolution screen, which seems like overkill on a phone but looks absolutely fantastic with super rich colours and gorgeous deep blacks. The phone is blazing fast and responsive and can multi task like a BEAST. You can even have two apps open at the same time thanks to it's new split screen feature which opens both apps on the same screen. I've always loved the HTC flagships for their sexy aluminium bodies but the S6 is definitely on the same level with it's brushed gorilla glass faces and aluminium frame, it's truly FEELS premium rather than cheap and plasticy.

 

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My Homescreen! (Full Res Here)

 

Thanks to the new iteration of Android Lollipop you can customize the phone into oblivion and it's fantastic. It also supports dual SIM so you don't have to swap out your cards when traveling (useful for me so I can put my US and HK phone chips in it.).

 

The fingerprint unlock SEEMED stupid to me... until I tried it and now I'm a believer. All it takes is a brief touch of the home key and the phone is instantly unlocked, it works flawlessly even if my fingers are sweaty or whatnot.

 

The wireless charging is also another "gimmick" I didn't really believe in until I tried it.... it's super easy, just plop the phone on the pad and it charges just as fast as if it were plugged in the normal way. Speaking of which this phone charges FAST, I went from 50% to 100% in about 25 minutes.

 

Would I recommend this phone? Absolutely!

 

Below are a few screenshots I took with it as well as a video (Though I forgot to set up the video settings to showcase the higher quality settings whoops!).... the camera truly is fantastic. I didn't do any editing to these pictures, these are exactly as they were taken.

 

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Emilia Clarke

So I went to my first ever Rugby event this past weekend, and it was a blast! Here are some pictures and videos of what went down.

 

(NIPPON JAJAJA NIPPON JAJAJA)

 

Honestly I don't get Rugby much but like any other sport it was fun rooting for your favourite countries, in this case Hong Kong, USA and New Zealand for me :D

 

Hong Kong and the USA got knocked out pretty early on :(

 

There was also some special show stuff that went on between matches....

 

A traditional Chinese festival type thing with dragons

 

 

Then there was KUNG FU RUGBY.

 

 

and of course plenty of drunken singing!

 

 

And here are a smattering of pictures of the event! (My long range lens really came in handy xD)

 

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New Zealand versus Argentina

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Russia versus Tonga I think

11102944_10206238062460795_2339382373421837647_o.jpgThe HK Carlsberg Dragons versus the World Champions

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That kick!

1973419_10206238099301716_8069392539211708821_o.jpgJapan versus Belgium

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Possibly a Japan fan?

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I found the Pope!

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Batman and Robin?

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Who let the dogs out?

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Oh god

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ZZ Top!

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The dragon Festival

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Countries Represent!

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This is cool

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Really well done actually

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The Stadium at night

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People I went with

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I have no idea what this is

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Players up close and personal

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The final ceremony

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The 2015 Winners - FIJI!

 


 

So I hope you enjoyed this little slice of life from the other side of the world (for most of you that is

shut up Khorne

)

 

What did you think? Have you ever been to a rugby game? Do you have any interest in the sport?

Emilia Clarke

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So Kickstarter has been around for a few years now with many success stories coming out of it. Remember the Ouya? Well you can thank Kickstarter for its existence.

 

I recently took a gander at my Kickstarter account to see how the last two years have turned out in terms of projects I've personally backed and the results were probably as you'd expect.

 

STATS!

 

I joined Kickstarter in January of 2013, making it just over 2 years of being on the site.

 

My first pledge went to Akaneiro Demon Hunters in January of 2013.

 

My latest pledge went to Project Scissors: NightCry in February of 2015.

 

Total Projects Backed: 21

Total Projects Successfully Funded: 13

Total Projects Canceled / Unsuccessful: 7

Active Projects: 1

 

Category Breakdown

Games: 15

Film/Video: 4

Technology: 1

Publishing: 1

 

11 of the projects have pledge rewards, however of these I've actually only received TWO (well, 2.5 kinda). I received the digital rewards for Akaneiro and I received my Bubblegum Crisis Bluray set.

 

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Twisted Fusion offered a code for Blok Drop U along with a copy of the game once released. I have already received the code so that pledge reward is half fulfilled I guess?

 

 

I'm going to focus on some of the gaming projects since that's probably the most interesting to you guys! I'm going to give each project a "Kickstarter Score" which rates the kickstarter based on how well they ran it, updates, and sticking to schedule.

 

Akaneiro: Demon Hunters

A unique ARPG with classic design sense meets fast-paced action, inspired by Japanese themes and the Red Riding Hood tale.

 

January 2013

I backed this one mainly due to it being the next release from the much acclaimed American McGee. The game itself turned out to be not as good as I had hoped but they were really great about providing constant updates and sticking to schedule. They had a total of 72 Updates from Feb 2013 to April 2014 which was post-release.

 

Score: 10/10

 

Soul Saga

A love letter to J-RPG classics from the Playstation era like Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, Suikoden, and Persona.

 

July 2013

Backed this due to people hyping it up on here and some podcasts I listen to. Was supposed to be out last summer but ran past the deadline. It's had several betas since then but full release is not yet dated... they have however kept the backers up to date and are releasing new beta builds every few weeks.

 

Score: 8/10

 

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

A Belly Dancing Hair-Whipping HD adventure from WayForward: makers of Ducktales Remastered, Adventure Time, & Contra 4!

 

October 2013

It's Shantae! Of course I had to back it! Supposed to have been released October 2014 but has also been delayed....

 

Score: 8/10

 

Mighty No. 9

Classic Japanese side-scrolling action, evolved and transformed by Keiji Inafune, an all-star team of veteran Mega Man devs...and YOU!

 

October 2013

This was one of the biggest hyped Kickstarters I participated in. The ETA on this was April 2015.....

 

Score: 9/10

 

Bear Simulator

Explore, eat stuff, be a Bear!

 

April 2014

I'm not sure why I backed this... but it was supposed to be finished last October... but the creator appears to have run off and people pissed. Pretty shady.

 

Score: 1/10

 

Twisted Fusion

Join Cora, our dual water-gun wielding heroine on a epic adventure in this unique open world platformer exclusive to Nintendo Wii U.

 

April 2014

Seemed like a very humble project with a modest goal and it's Wii U exclusive? Figured I'd toss some sheckles his way. Supposed to have been finished December 2014 but he's run into snags, but is keeping his backers up to date with info and a playable beta.

 

Score: 8/10

 

Exogenesis ~Perils of Rebirth~

A post-apocalyptic adventure/visual novel hybrid inspired by Ace Attorney and Zero Escape games set in Japan.

 

May 2014

Someone pressured me into backing this ahahahaa. Supposed to have come out last December but also ran into issues. Plenty of updates however.

 

Score: 8/10

 

Project Scissors: NightCry

A brand new horror game from Hifumi Kono, the creator of the Clock Tower game series, and Takashi Shimizu, the director of The Grudge.

 

February 2015

I LOVE the Clock Tower series and it's been far too long since we've had one. I'm a huge J-horror buff so I went big with my pledge for this one :)

 

No score since it's still funding.

 

 


 

So what are your thoughts on Kickstarter? How much have YOU backed? How much have you actually received?

Emilia Clarke

So I went on what might have been the shortest trip I've ever been on, a full 28 hours in Singapore~

 

Below are some highlights of my brief time there.

 

To see the full album click here.

 

For some reason I put the images in reverse chronological order... ah well.

 

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Singapore Black Pepper Crab.... a dish you MUST try. So good.

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One of the most famous seafood restaurants in Singapore :D

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The beachfront near the restaurant, you can see the mass amount of ships anchored off the coast~

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Chinese New Year is just on the horizon, gotta be prepared.

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I love these temple decorations.

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Really cool building with the greenery all over it.

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Hehe....

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I've been thinking about SMU a lot lately....

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Did NOT expect to see a Wendys here....and its so tiny :3

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*Mouth waters*

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Such a small McDonalds xD

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Hehe....

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Finally here are some pictures off my phone of a HUGE comic book store I found, they didn't want me taking pictures so I put away my camera and snuck a few with my phone :) ...

 

 

 

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I definitely plan on visiting for a bit more time sometime soon, It's such a wonderful place with great weather (although it was HOT). There are many sight seeing things I didn't have time to see so...next time :D

Emilia Clarke
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So it's been six whole months since I made the jump from the US to live in Hong Kong whilst I work on going back to school. Living somewhere new is also an interesting experience, more-so when aforementioned "somewhere" is on the other side of the planet. Despite being very westernized (It's a global city after all!) it has it's own unique quirks and culture. What have I taken away from it? What have I gained? I appreciate all questions and comments but please refrain from digging too deep into personal matters, I still value a bit of privacy ;)

 

Also note, I am focusing solely on Hong Kong. I did go to Japan and the US in the past 6 months but for purposes of this post I will skip those.

 


 

Let's start with the elephant in the room, the Umbrella Revolution. No, this has nothing to do with Resident Evil but rather the deep-seated discontent Hong Kong Chinese have with Mainland China. As you may or may not know, Hong Kong was a colony of the British Empire up until 1997, when it was given back over to China.

 

The hand over was not, however, immediate as stipulations were put in place to gradually return Hong Kong to China using the "one country two systems" principal which allows Hong Kong to enjoyed democratic freedom and abide under a different governing system than the rest of mainland China whilst still being part of China, a fact that has grown ever more apparent in the recent months as changes have been put into motion for the next election cycle. Being democratic, Hong Kongers have the right to vote for their leaders, however with the next election China has mandated that only "pre-approved" candidates would be allowed to run, something that quite simply did not go over very well with Hong Kong.

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This one of the main roads through central Hong Kong.... FILLED with people

 

Thus the Umbrella Revolution became a thing. Thousands thronged the streets, marching and protesting daily. Entire sections of the city went under siege as huge crowds blockaded streets and set up barriers. The most affected areas were Admiralty, heart of Hong Kong's business district and home to Government offices as well as some of the largest companies in the world, Causeway Bay, one of the biggest shopping districts on the planet that currently commandeers the highest rent prices in the world at $2,600 USD per square foot of retail space compared to that of New York's Times Square at $2,500 USD per sq foot. Finally, Mong Kok, located on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong (for those unfamiliar, the heart of Hong Kong is located on an island whilst the rest of it is located on the mainland which includes Kowloon and New Territories) which was the most violent protest site for various reasons. Tsim Sha Tsui or TST for short was also briefly affected, but not really worth noting.

 

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While there were frequent clashes between protesters and police, the level of violence NEVER escalated to the point of people being critically injured or killed. No shops or property were damaged, and the protesters even cleaned up after themselves more often than not. This is in stark contrast to the Ferguson protests we saw in the US this year, in which many people were injured, shops were looted and people were scared for their lives. Not ONCE have I felt any fear of harm, despite being at two of the main sites during the protests.

 

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This is the highest level of violence that was seem during the protests, which happened only one day despite the protests lasting MONTHS.

The most surprising thing about all this to me was however, how divided the citizens of Hong Kong were about the whole matter. Generally the protesters and it's supporters were made up of the poor and the younger generation whilst the wealthy and those in the transportation industry (ie. Taxi drivers) were part of the "anti-occupy" movement mainly due to them losing money and business because of the blockades.

 

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However, enough was enough and the Hong Kong government finally put it's foot down mobilizing a force of 5,000 police officers to forcefully clear all the sites. The leaders of the movement turned themselves in and the Umbrella's seem to be in dire straits as people desperately try to continue protesting but simply can't gather enough force to do so leading to almost 50 arrests on Christmas Eve alone.

 

Whatever the outcome, though I suspect China won't tolerate this kind of "rebellion" much longer, I am glad to have lived through an event like this.

 


 

Crazy political social movements aside, I've also had blast adapting to a new lifestyle. I've lived on the West Coast, I've lived on the East Coast and until recently I was living in the Mid-west but I've never really lived in a city, certainly not one of this caliber. I'm also just around the PERFECT age for living life in Hong Kong to it's fullest in my opinion as the drinking/smoking/etc age here is paltry 18 (though I've never seen anyone EVER get carded), night life is fantastic and you get a chance to meet all sorts of people! Remember my Hong Kong Halloween?

 

 

I've had a lot of "firsts" here in Hong Kong, such as clubbing, which I'm not that into but with the right people can be extremely fun! There are plenty of western people around, and I have a few western friends (England, Brazil, German etc) but the majority of my social circle currently are locals which is definitely pretty neat. It can be a bit troublesome on occasion since I can't speak Cantonese but I've been picking up words and phrases here and there and am starting to be able to pick up the gist of what people say, though ultimately it doesn't matter too much since so many people here speak English anyway (Usually with British accents since they go to International schools or study in England).

 

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Food has been great as well! There are plenty of delicious Chinese dishes as well as hundreds upon hundreds of other cuisines available here in Hong Kong. One of my favourites is definitely Hot Pot, which I've had in the States but is even better here. For those who don't know, essentially you have a big pot of boiling water in the middle of the table and several dishes of things to cook in it or season it, a fun DIY kind of meal that's meant to be enjoyed over several hours while having a good time with company!

 

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Recent Hot Pot party :D

 

Of course Hong Kong isn't all just city! There is plenty of stuff to do outdoors as well, as I participated in the infamous OXFAM trailwalker, a 100KM hike that takes an average of 24 straight hours to complete. I wasn't able to complete it sadly, only managed just under 40KM in about 9 hours before nearly collapsing but it was nevertheless a great experience!

 

Health wise I've improved greatly as well, dropping from 180 pounds to 160, though I plan on bulking up regiment so I can't actually build muscle instead of just losing weight. GYM HERE I COME!

 

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The first 3 km was a paved path.... the rest.... WAS HELL (100 degree inclines up mountains with no path!

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Out on a boat, quite relaxing!

 

Videogames have sadly taken a bit of a backseat of late, but I've not completely forgotten them! Game shops are plentiful and have quite a selection of games (SUCK IT GAMESTOP) at prices that can usually be negotiated.

 

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Then of course there was Christmas! (And soon New years ;D)

 

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Christmas time was nice, though it's not reaaaaallly celebrated like we do in the States. I had a small get together on the 25th, below is our glorious Christmas dinner xD

 

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And if you wanna see my ugly face, here's a selfie collage :P

 

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<3 this city :D

I may have missed some stuff, and I might add more later or do another blog post or something I'm not sure. Depends on the reaction to this one. Any questions, comments...concerns? Should I do more or what would you like to see? Anything specific or...

 

Also, Happy Holidays :D

Emilia Clarke

As you might know I have a wedding coming up with fellow Podunker Ciel, however I had the opportunity to attend my buddy Cal's wedding which I happily accepted just so I could get a look at how the whole process went down.

 

Arriving five minutes early I was ushered into the waiting room in which the other invitees were already waiting.

 

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Soon though, we took our seats in the main hall and waited for the Bride and Groom to arrive.... but we did not have to wait long... as they arrived in splendid fashion!

 

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After which we had a brief stint of socializing and congratulating the lucky couple until they jumped on their Chocobo and ran off into the sunset.

 

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This makes me REALLY look forward to my own wedding coming up! Who's pumped :D

 

and more importantly, whos coming??? :D

Emilia Clarke
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It's always interesting to see how different places celebreate holidays and I didn't think that Halloween was much of a thing outside the USA....

 

LITTLE DID I KNOW.

 

Halloween is a big deal here in Hong Kong, but there is no trick or treating, but rather....

 

PARTY CENTRAL.

 

There are several hotspots in Hong Kong for this. Disney Land and Ocean Park host massive Halloween events for the younger generation and families to partake in while areas such as Lan Kwai Fong, SoHo and Central boast massive crowds and parties that last through the night. As such the police were out in in greater force than even during the Hong Kong protests in order to institute crowd control... and trust me, it was needed!

 

90,000 people would party in Lan Kwai Fong[....]Halloween is the biggest night of the year in the Central nightlife hotspot - just 60,000 people come out for New Year's Eve.[...]

Via SCMP

 

Below are some pictures I took, as well as some taken by others that highlight the madness that ensued. (Excuse my ugly face D:)

 

But first... A VIDEO :D

 

 


 

 

 

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Sorry for the bad quality but when it's dark and crazy it's kind of hard to take good pictures xD

 

So to sum it up, one of the craziest Halloween's I've ever had! How about you guys, what did ya'll get up to this Halloween? :D

Emilia Clarke

So I saw some people mention this elsewhere but thought it was something to bring up here as well. It feels like only yesterday that I was picking up my launch day copy of Uncharted 2 and playing through the whole in days.

 

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While there were plenty of games before it that had gotten us excited for the new generation, Uncharted 2 is one of the few that DEFINED it. It's easily one of, if not the best game of the past generation and a timeless classic. It's snappy action gameplay, lovable cast of characters and PLAYABLE set piece levels were ahead of its time and even now many games fail to come close.

 

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The train level is the perfect example for this. The entire level consists of you fighting your way up a moving train hopping from car to car. Fail to clear a jump and off the train you go making this more than just a "moving level". The same holds true for the truck chase level.

 

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And of course this was the first game in the series that added multiplayer. It never truly took off in the scale of games like Killzone or Resistance but it was extremely enjoyable, and in my opinion more fun that either of those other games.

 

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Thinking back to this game has left me nostalgic and I REALLY want to replay it, perhaps we'll be lucky enough to get a remastered edition one day? :)

 

How about you guys? What are your experiences with this fantastic game?

Emilia Clarke

Quite recently I was convinced into trying my hand at a new MMO called Archeage which you may or may not have heard. Seeing as it was free, I decided to give it a try and joined up with Khorne on the continent of Nuia. The game has four races split amongst two continents, Khorne plays as a Nuian / Human and I chose to play as an Elf since they occupy the same continent and are on the same faction in the games universe. The other two races the Firrans / Cat People and the Hirani / Asians. I experimented with the various races in the character creator (pictures below) but ultimately decided it was better to start on the same side as Khorne so as to be power-leveled through the early stages of the game. Take a gander at the pictures below, and consider joining us sometime!

 

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Here's the first character I created, a Hanari I named Kurokame.

 

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Here's the Firran I made, but wasn't too big a fan of.

 

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Here's my Elf who I am currently playing as (Archer / Ranger) named Narriko.

 

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Here are Khorne and I on my mount (a purple Elk) you actually get your mount extremely early on in the game unlike most other MMOs! :D

 

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You also get a Glider early on that allows you to travel by air, quite a fun gameplay element!

 

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Here is Khorne posing for the camera.

 

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You can also drive cars in the game, here are Khorne and I racing each other on the test drive track...

 

This ended quite badly....

 

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Khorne got his car flipped and lit on fire o_o

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You can also sail ships which require a crew as you get larger ships.

 

You can also build houses and castles, the latter which can be used to launch attacks onto other guilds and players castles and need to be defended. You can also be a simple farmer and grow crops, or a tradesmen and run trade routes supplying your faction and earning gold. Or just go crazy and be a pirate and raid everyone.

 

Archeage is available to play for FREE at the following website

http://www.archeagegame.com/en/play-for-free/

 

Khorne and myself are playing on the server EZI

 

Remember that you'll have start as an Elf or a Human to be in the same faction as us. Starting as a Firran or Hanari makes you our enemy unless you become pirate in which you're still our enemy but of a different sort.

 

So what are you waiting for?

Emilia Clarke

Check out the Golden Joysticks HERE

 

*Voting in this enters you to win an iPad*

 

I just wanted to go through my picks for this years Golden Joystick because it's fun! I've been pretty bad about playing games this year so my picks are far from definitive.

 

Best Original Game

 

My Pick: Child of Light

Runners Up: Broken Age, Shovel Knight

 

So many great games in this category, but sadly I've only played a few. However I went with Child of Light mainly because I'm playing it now and absolutely loving it. I considered Broken Age and Shovel Knight but having played neither I couldn't put my pick on them.

 

Most Wanted

 

My Pick: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Runners Up: Rise of the Tomb Raider, Uncharted 4, Bloodborne

 

SUCH A HARD CATEGORY. Ultimately I picked Metal Gear V because it's probably my favourite franchise of all time, preceded only by Resident Evil. Rise of the Tomb Raider and Uncharted fall in the same boat of being action adventure games that I love, it'll be interesting to see which one comes out on top since Tomb Raider 2012 was better than Uncharted 3. Bloodborne is something I've been following with increased interest... but really, most of the games on here I'm looking forward to anyway.

 

Best Indie

 

My Pick: Broken Age

Runners Up: Republique

 

I was able to give Broken Age some love here, because I really think it deserves a win. Had Republique not gone the iOS route I'd have likely played and picked that.

 

Best Visual Design

 

My Pick: Transistor

Runners Up: Child of Light, Valiant Hearts

 

Child of Light is love to my eyes but despite not having played it I really dig Transistors style, and the art I've seen for it is just beautiful... I had to pick it. Valiant Hearts has a great art direction as well but sadly not enough to put it over the top for me.

 

Best Multiplayer

 

My Pick: Mario Kart 8

Runners Up: None...

 

Since CSGO wasn't on the list I had to pick the game that I had the second best multiplayer experience this year, Mario Kart!

 

Best Audio

 

My Pick: Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag

Runners Up: Legend of Zelda ALBW, Transistor

 

I feel like this is a bit of a surprise for me but in terms of sheer audio quality it has to be Black Flag, not only because of the soundtrack which is full of shanties and upbeat pirate tunes but the environmental sounds as well, the crashing of waves, the creaking of your ship.... fantastic! My runners up were briefly considered because they both have wonderful soundtracks.

 

Best Gaming Moment

 

My Pick: The Last of Us Left Behind - The Kiss

Runners Up: Titanfall - Calling in a Titan, Ground Zeroes - Rescuing Kojima

 

Bit of a spoiler filled category eh? But mine has to easily be the Last of Us Left Behind, that DLC was amazing and that single moment just convey more emotion than most games do in their entirety. Titanfall was neat in the beta because the Mechs were pretty cool and rescuing Kojima was just plain awesome.

 

Best Story Telling

 

My Pick: The Last of Us Left Behind

Runners Up: Child of Light, Wolf Among Us

 

Last of Us again for obvious reasons, I shouldn't have to explain. Child of Light has really drawn me in and Wolf Among Us had a pretty cool story going on (Though admittedly I haven't finished it).

 

Best Online Game

 

My Pick: Realm Reborn

 

Moving on.

 

Best Handheld Game

 

My Pick: Link Between Worlds

Runners Up: Pokemon X & Y, Bravely Default

 

Zelda is just so pure and fun, and is pretty much perfect in every way. Pokemon is fine, though I grew bored of it and didn't finish it and Bravely well.... I spent more time in the demo than the actual game but it really is quite good!

 

Best Mobile Game

 

My Pick: N/A

 

I skipped because I don't play mobile games. I might've given it to Republique had they included it on this list.

 

Gaming Platform of the Year

 

My Pick: PS4

Runner Up: Vita, 3DS

 

The PS4 has just had an EXPLOSIVE launch and the months thereafter. It's provided tons and tons of free games via PS Plus and is just about everything you would want from "next gen". the Handhelds have both really shone as well this past year having tons of really good exclusive games.

 

Studio of the Year

 

My Pick: Nintendo

Runners Up: Media Molecule

 

Nintendo has been KILLING it this year with first party games, no other studio can top them! Media Molecule gets an honourable mention though for having the highest average metacritic score for any studio.

 

Innovation of the Year

 

My Pick: Dualshock 4

 

Not really an innovation (all the choices suck) but I really do like the DS4, probably one of the best controllers ever (right up there with the 360 controller).

 

Personality of the Year

 

Let's see.... #girlwood, #gamergate, Some British guy, Dude that abandoned Day Z, Occulus Guy, Luftrausers Guy, YOSHIDA SAN, No, and....some other British guy?

 

Yeah, YOSHIDA SAN wins this for me.

 

My Pick: Shuhei Yoshida

 

Game of the Year

 

While MGSV Proper will probably get GOTY when it comes out, Ground Zeroes wasn't enough to warrant it being GOTY. So this title goes to Zelda for me!

 

My Pick: Legend of Zelda Link Between Worlds

 


 

So now it's your turn! Go out and put in your votes (and enter to win an iPad Air!) and then report back here. Post away! :D

Emilia Clarke

Came across a thread that I thought was quite interesting. It was a line up of game releases in the US for the Fall of 2001. That also happened to be the year the Gamecube and Xbox launch, with PS2 having launched the year before. The Dreamcast had been discontinued that year but still had a few releases. The Gameboy Advance had been released that year and had a steady stream of games as well. Below are the most noteworthy titles from that short period, and what may easily have been the best Fall release schedule EVER.

 

While this list is not my own, I've added a few notes here and there summarizing my own thoughts on each game. Feel free to add your own thoughts and memories in the comments!

 

 

 

September 24

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Ah Silent Hill 2, forever ingrained in our hearts as one of the best in the series. There are some pretty diehard fans out there, including our very own Marcus :D

September 30

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Another modern classic, Ico was very much a cult hit for a while, receiving great reviews, but not a lot of sales. However, it eventually became a game any gamer worth their salt has played and even garnered an HD version on PS3 many years later.

October 17

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This marked the start of one of Capcom's most popular franchises, although the series has gone through quite a few chances since it's inception.

October 22

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The one that started it all. Sure, the previous GTA games were good, but no game had set the bar quite like GTA3 did. It was lauded and criticized by millions and while later games may have been better (looking at you San Andreas) this one got the ball rolling on the popularity of open world games.

October 28

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Personally I've never been hugely into the Tony Hawk series, but back in it's hey day most everyone was. Series has gone quite downhill since then though.

October 31

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It's been a while since the last Legacy of Kain game but the series is not forgotten. Soul Reaver 2 was a great entry into a great series.

November 1

 

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Never much been an Ace Combat fan unfortunately. Still a notable release however.

November 5

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SSX was always a fun game to play even if you yourself never had much interest in the actual sport.

November 11

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A classic, never played it personally but I know many of you have.

November 14

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One the biggest releases of that year (and that generation), at least for me. Having been a big fan of the original Metal Gear Solid I was insanely hyped for this game. Having bought Z.O.E previously just for a chance to play the demo I was a bit surprised at Raiden but unlike many other's not upset.

November 15

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The Xbox launch had a pretty rad line up as far as launch games go. Halo needs no explanation, though I was never a fan I can appreciate it's importance for sure. PGR and DOA were the token fighting and racing games for the launch, but weren't terrible as many launch games are usually fated to be.

November 18

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The Gamecube launch followed the fantastic Xbox launch with several titles of its own. Luigi's Mansion obviously being the cream of the crop and leaving a rabbit fanbase hanging for many years (until the 3DS sequel). Rogue Squadron and Monkey Ball were both solid titles on their own accord, and left launch owners with plenty to play.

November 20

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The beginning of Harmonix, this cult hit would spawn the more popular "Amplitude" a year later. Harmonix as you may know singlehandedly created the music genre fad with Guitar Hero and Rock Band later down the road.

November 23

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Although the Dreamcast was officially dead in the water, Shenmue II was that diamond in the rough, an instant classic that many still adore to this day.

December 3

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Launch gamers, finished with their launch line ups for the Gamecube did not have long to wait with a STELLAR set of games just in time for the holidays. Smash and Pikmin were smash hits and are forever loved. The PS2 also received some love with two more classic titles, a Jak and Daxter title from Naughty Dog which has gone on to continue to create hugely popular games for the PlayStation platform and Baldurs Gate another popular title coming over from the PC side of things.

December 11

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One of the best RPGs on the PS2, though many argue that it's sequel was even better. (Fight amongst yourselves guys xD)

December 17

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Oh yeah, and this thing.

 


 

So how many of you remember that year at all, and what were some of your favorite titles? Has any other season even come close to this swath of incredible games over such a short period or time?

Emilia Clarke

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I'm not sure if anyone noticed but recently there was an update on the PS Blog that Deception IV: Blood Ties was coming to the US on PS Vita and PS3 in March.

 

For those unfamiliar with the franchise, the series has been around a LONG time. The first Deception game was released in the US as Tecmo's Deception (Kokumeikan in Japanese, literally; "Cruel Life House") for the launch of the PS1 in 1996. The game was one of a kind, breaking the mold of traditional SRPGs with it's emphasis on passive, trap-laying gameplay. The game was very dark for it's genre, even carrying a disclaimer on the back of the box warning players of "satanic references" in addition to it's TEEN rating.

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The game was played entirely in first person, the first and last game in the series to do so. It also features much more traditional RPG-like system of upgrading items and stats by leveling up. It featured six alternate endings, certainly not the first game to do so, but the concept was still relatively fresh. It was also notorious for it's save games which took up more than half of the PS1's memory cards at the time.

 

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The second game in the series was titled Kagero: Deception II in the US or Kagerou: Kokumeikan Shinsho (literally; Mirage: Cruel Life House True Chapter) in Japan. It came out a mere two years after the release of the first game (1998 for both regions). This game switched the perspective to third-person, and expanded upon the trap system with a combo system that would be the base for future entries. Fans speculate that this game is intended to act as a prequel to the first game, with the main character, Millennia, being heavily implied to be the main character from the first game. Your character is stuck in a war between two sides, and you are able to dictate which side you will stand with. Tecmo completely reworked the gameplay to deepen the strategic aspects of the game adding multi-part traps that took a bit of thinking and planning to set up.

 

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Deception III: Dark Delusion was released in 2000, again for PS1. In Japan is fell under the title of Soumatou, or "Pale Demonic Light". The game featured a new, unrelated character named Reina, who is sold into slavery and must use her trapping powers to defeat her captors and discover the origin of the mysterious pennant she carries. The game added a few new modes, but other than that remained very similar to the previous game in terms of core mechanics.

 

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Moving into the PS2 generation gave us yet another entry, this time simply titled "Trapt" in the US (while still going under the Deception name in Japan; Kagero II: Dark Delusion). The game featured improved visuals, a new system of specialty traps and an exciting new story featuring Princess Allura, a young girl on the run who enters into a demonic contract to exact revenge upon her pursuers. This game came out a full 5 years after the release of the previous game.

 

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Finally we're back at where this post started, the newly announced Deception IV: Blood Ties or, as it is known in Japan, Kagero: Dark Side Princess. The game is a call back to the original Deception game, with it's gameplay heavily reminiscent of that first title. It's schedule for release for both PS3 and Vita on February 27th in Japan and March 25th in North America.

 


 

How many of you are familiar with this franchise? Are you looking forward to the new game? For those who have never heard of it, are you interested in trying it out?

Emilia Clarke

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The HTC One

 

So I recently upgraded my phone, and after a lengthy deliberation between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the new HTC One I ultimately went for the latter.

 

Before I go into my impressions of the phone, I wanted to take a brief look back at all the phones I've used over the years and how they've continually evolved. A little mobile nostalgia trip if you will.

 

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My memories of my first phone are a bit hazy, being that it's been over years since I had it, so I don't remember the exact model name. It was a Motorola flip phone under Cingular. It could text, and call, and take some really tiny grainy pictures. It wasn't much, but it was my first phone.

 

I'm not exactly sure when I got the phone but I had it for a few years before upgrading to my second phone sometime in 2005.

 

In 2005 I upgraded to the new hotness (at the time). A phone that many of you may remember as being one of the coolest phones of the early 2000's (alongside the Sidekick). Yes, if you guess the Motorola Razr you guess correctly.

 

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Though still a flip phone it was somehow more than that, it came in multiple colours and finishes. I opted for the silver model and I absolutely loved that phone. To this day I still think it's one of the nicest looking phones ever. This phone lasted me most of my middle school days from around 2005 to 2008

 

Around the end of middle school and early highschool I switched from my beloved Razer to something a bit more modern, meaning it had a full keypad, a touch screen and multimedia functionality and internet access. This phone was the Samsung BlackJack 2.

 

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The phone looked nice, giving off some serious Blackberry vibes which at the time was still a sign of prestige and the phone every businessman wanted to have. Having a full keyboard was nice after coming from the old keypad phones but the phone itself was clunky and it's Windows Mobile OS was terrible. I was not a fan of this phone at all and that may explain why I moved on from it so quickly.

 

in 2009 I switched to an iPhone 3GS. The iPhone's were starting to sweep the market and I just had to see what the fuss was about. Coming from the BlackJack it was absolutely incredible, especially after jailbreaking it. This was my first REAL smartphone and it was awesome. The sheer idea that I could carry around what was essentially a *functioning* computer in my pocket (BlackJack doesn't count) was incredible. However, in the following few years Android-based phones started to rise offering increasingly competitive features and a much more customizable experience. They started drawing my eye....

 

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ju9.jpgSo when my next upgrade rolled around in 2012 I shopped around a bit instead of going for the easy choice which would've been the iPhone 4. A cool new phone caught my eye, it was the HTC One X. It was slim, flashy and boasted a huge screen and killer specs. I quickly forgot about upgrading to an iPhone 4 and went with the One X. I definitely made the right choice. As my first foray into the Android OS I was pleasantly surprised and I grew to love the phone these past 2 years. However, it was time for an upgrade and I was planning on waiting until the summer but Best Buy's recent mobile promotion made me jump ship early.

 

The Galaxy line has been very appealing to me and I was deadset on an S4... that is, until I saw the new HTC One.

 

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Let's start with the specs; the HTC One features a 4.7 inch full 1080p screen encased in a solid aluminum body giving the phone a very "premium" feel over similar phones with plastic bodies. It has a quad-core 1.7GHz processor and 1.5GB of DDR2 RAM. The model I went with had 32GB of internal storage, though it is available in 64GB versions as well. It lists a 15-18 hour talk time battery life and a staggering 500 hour standby life.

 

It's running Android's most recent OS alongsides HTC's custom blinkfeed OS which is meant to keep you in touch with the world and your social life at all times. I found this menu to be a bit cumbersome and instead prefer to use the simple app library menu. Thanks to it's extremely beefy specs the phone is blazingly fast and can multitask with ease. The screen itself is absolutely gorgous and makes watching videos much more enjoyable.

 

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As with the previous HTC One X, it features Beats audio built in. It doesn't blow me away but having the extra "oomph" when listening to music is a nice touch.

 

It has two camera, one forward and one rear, almost a standard feature in phones these days. The forward camera is of course the more powerful of the two and is fairly decent. I haven't had much of a chance to experiment with it, but it does feel to be an improvement over the previous phones camera, if only a slight one.

 

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In terms of colours there were a wide range available, but I choose to go with blue because it's much more eye popping and a lot more interesting that simple white or black again.

 

All in all, I'm definitely digging this phone and think it will serve me well for the next few years.

 


 

What about you guys? What phones do you have? What were your past favourites? Any memories to share? Any questions about the HTC One?

Emilia Clarke

So for a long time people have been asking to see my set up and well, I finally decided to make a video. And yes, before you ask, I have too much stuff. (Due for some massive spring cleaning next year)

 

 

 

 

Basically a brief overview of everything, I didn't want to go into detail since it was already so long. But if there's anything you want to see more in detail just comment or something and I may or may not get around to it.

Emilia Clarke

So Gamestops Black Friday ads got leaked and there are some pretttty good things on sale.

 

First and foremost

 

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WE ARE GETTING THE ZELDA 3DS XL :o

 

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$40 for a Wii, dirt cheap for anyone who has a passing interest in playing some of its Exclusives and somehow still doesn't have one. Also, BF4 isn't even out yet and is already listed at HALF price (Also on PS3 and 360)... they're going to have a rough launch I think lol

 

Those PS3 and 360 bundles are pretty good for any people looking to get either console, though at this point I think it won't be affecting too many people...

 

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Meanwhile COD Ghosts is only $10 off....

 

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Black Flag isn't out yet either but as we've seen with previous Black Friday's Assassin's Creed games tend to drop $40 on BF. Xillia is only $20 as well, that's quite a steal. Wish Dragons Crown was $20 as well, $30 is not my buying range for that game.

 

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BEYOND is only $40, which makes me think it might not have had great release week sales numbers... Last of Us is at $40 as well, which is relatively high considering it came out in the first half of the year. Would have expected $30. Definitely will be picking up All Star Battle Royale, been waiting for that game to hit $10 and there we go!

 

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$10 for an 8GB Vita card is not too shabby, might pick it up just to hold me over until the 32 or 64 GB ones become reasonably priced. Killzone Mercenary sitting at $20 is a great deal too, that game only just came out on Vita and is one of it's best looking games for sure. Jak and Daxter on Vita for $15 is pretty swell as well.

 

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Nothing too great on the Wii U front. Rayman Legends for $25 isn't too bad, though $20 would have been a better sell IMO. A very heavy focus on Skylanders for Wii/Wii U, I suppose that's their biggest seller?

 

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Of course there are TONS of dirt cheap games from the past gen to grab, though most are the same as the ones from their 2 for $10 promotion, so it's likely they're just clearing old stock still. B2G1 on all pre-owned "products", which includes games for sure, but with that wording, does that also include consoles/tablets/controllers? Hmmm...

 

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And the last page of the ad answers my question. YES, B2G1 on ANYTHING Gamestop sells. So if you and 2 friends want to all get PS3's you can buy 3 and save a nice chunk of money there. OR you could buy yourself three consoles I guess?

 

Seems like a lot of clearancing out of older stock though....

 

So all in all it seems like one of the best Black Friday ads Gamestop's had in a very long time. I know I'll probably be making a trip to Gamestop, though I'd suspect that Amazon and/or other retailers will match many of these deals.

 

How about you guys? Anything you have your eye on? Anything you might get?

Emilia Clarke

The Battlefield 4 Beta went up today on PC and I gave it a quick checking out. The beta features only one map, the Siege of Shanghai that's been featured at E3 and in all the trailers. It's 64 Player Conquest Large which means full scale destruction and lots of vehicles. Unfortunately for some, the beta is only playable on x64 bit machines, though the full game will be playable on 32 bit as well.

 

I played a match and while I had fun it seems very similar to Battlefield 3, despite the new features. I didn't find the new features to be compelling or add much to the game. The game also doesn't look much better than Battlefield 3, in fact, I'd say they looked almost identical. The map itself wasn't very pretty and despite running at max settings, I thought it look WORSE than Battlefield 3 at times.

 

I found an empty server and just ran through the map and took a few screenshots, check them out below.

 

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Have you tried the Battlefield 4 Beta yet? Do you have any interest in the game? What did you think about it?

Emilia Clarke

I don't know how familiar you are with the term "Anti-Aliasing" but you experience it whenever you play a game. Basically, Anti-Aliasing is a technique used to smooth "jaggies" in 3D games. This is very apparent when going from early 3D games on the N64 and even up to the PS2 era where there was little, if any, anti-aliasing in effect. This past generation saw it starting to be used on consoles, though the lack of it in certain areas is still very apparent.

 

Enter, the PC master race.

 

While console games are constrained by the limitations of their hardware, PC games can be tweaked and forced into using several types of anti-aliasing. I won't go into the specifics of the various types and how they work, but needless to say, the difference is immediate.

 

This little blog post spawned out of me playing a few rounds of Need For Speed Hot Pursuit (2010) and becoming frustrated as to why the cars looked so terrible despite running at 3200x1800 resolution with maximum settings. Depending on your GPU, you can use different programs to achieve the same result and in this case I used Nvidia Inspector which allowed me to directly hack into the games graphics profile and increase the amount of anti-aliasing exponentially. Below are the comparisons.

 

Without

 

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With

 

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And here's a close up of the hood of the car and the roof, can you tell which side is which?

 

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And that's all for now! I'm always messing around with graphical tweaks and such so there will definitely be more where that came from (or more pictures in the game screenshot thread)

 

Here are some bonus shots!

 

 

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Emilia Clarke

Time for Hong Kong Park!

 

I think I've said this before, I have a strange fascination with the Lippo Centre buildings, they ALWAYS look cool in pictures.

 

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Anyway, Hong Kong Park.

 

 

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Flower Power!

 

 

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Tai Chi Gardens!

 

 

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BIRDS!

 

 

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More Park...

 

 

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Finally, a few more animals...

 

 

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That's all for this time!

 


 

Which was your favourite animal? Why? :D

Emilia Clarke

One of the most famous spots in Hong Kong is Victoria Peak, oft simply referred to as "The Peak". The view from the Peak is the absolute BEST view of Hong Kong you can get. Simply gorgeous.

 

We also had lunch up top as well as some drinks, royzoga went with Vincent's favourite, the Cuba Libre whilst I opted for a more simple strawberry daiquiri.

 

The view from the Peak

 

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The museum on the other side.

 

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The Intercontinental which we unfortunately did not have the chance to stay at this time.

 

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Boats!

 

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I've always loved the look of the Lippo Centres.

 

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The convention centre.

 

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The old bank of China tower

 

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The view on the other side of the Peak.

 

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Next up, boating in Repulse Bay and Shek O!

Emilia Clarke

Macau is similar to Hong Kong in that it's a SAR as well. This means that despite only being a half hour boat ride away from Hong Kong, you still had to go through Immigration and get your passport stamped to get in. Macau is far less impressive as a city than Hong Kong, but it thrives on the fact that it's the world's most profitable city for Casinos bringing in many times the income of Las Vegas. Other than the Casino's though, there's a historic district from the time when it was still under Portuguese rule (much like Hong Kong being under British rule).

 

Here are some shots of the various Casino's in the city, which we were not able to visit because they've raised the gambling age from 18 to 21 since last time I visited.

 

NOTE: I've tried making the pictures smaller and putting them in spoilers to help those who were having issues with the earlier posts. Please tell me if it helps.

 

 

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The Galaxy was giving away multiple gold cars, below is one of the ones they were giving away.

 

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Of course, we were mainly there for the ruins and old city district.

 

 

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The old Portuguese church.

 

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The Museum is located inside the old fortress.

 

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royzoga found his soulmate....maybe?

 

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Emilia Clarke

Going to Tokyo and Hong Kong obviously means stuff needs to be bought, and hopefully a lot of stuff. While I didn't go completely ridiculous, I still managed to find a fair amount of stuff I wanted and/or good deals. So as not to do what I did with the Travel posts, I only took a few overview pictures of everything. Now, without further ado....

 

GAMES!

 

 

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PS2 Games (Left to Right)

- Moeyo Ken

- Shakugan no Shana

- DearS

- Lucky Star

- Mai hime LE (Bottom Right, Left)

- Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro na LE (Bottom Right, Right)

 

PS3 Games (L To R)

- Robotics;Notes LE

- Steins;Gates Senkei Kousoku no Phenogram LE

- Robotics;Notes Std. Edition

- K-ON! HD (PSP port)

- Umineko no Naku Koro ni

- Atelier Ayesha LE

- Tales of Xillia Std. Version (Present for a Friend)

- Tales of Xillia CE (US Version, Kind of cheating since I didn't buy it in HK/Tokyo but it showed up while I was there!)

 

DS Games

- Jump Ultimate Stars

- Magical Star Sign (US Version)

- Lufia (US Version)

- Solarobo w/ OST

 

Other random games:

- Nyaruko LE (Vita)

- New Little King's Story (Vita, UK Version)

- Black Lagoon (Vita)

- Little Kings Story (Wii, US Version)

- Ragnarok Tactics (PSP, US Version)

- Metal Gear Solid Graphic Novel (PSP, US Version)

- To Aru Majutsu no Index (PSP)

- 3x3 Eyes (PS1)

 

*If you're wondering about all the US version games it's because we found several places selling a couple US games for very very cheap.*

 

FIGURES!

 

 

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(Left to Right)

- Takatsuki Itsuka (Ano Natsu)

- Chie Satonaka (Persona 4)

- Yamano Remon (Ano Natsu)

- C.C. (Code Geass, Wonderland Version)

- Kallen (Code Geass, Wonderland Version)

- Nathan Seymour (Tiger and Bunny)

- Pao-Lin (Tiger and Bunny)

- Antonio Lopez (Tiger and Bunny)

 

 

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- Kirino (Oreimo)

 

Two model kits from the new Code Geass anime, as well as the only nendoroid I bought this trip, but it's okay, since it's Teddy :)

 

 

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And my biggest figure purchase of the trip...

 

Femshep!

 

 

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Two Misc Magazines and some Eva Unit 02 Cologne....

 

 

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And finally, because you know I had to do it.....

 

 

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Stay tuned for a future contest or contests where some of this stuff (or the stuff I didn't show you....) may be up as prizes ;)

 

So what'dya think, good/bad haul?

Emilia Clarke

A few days later we went to Stanley, a oceanside town that's on the outlying peninsula of Hong Kong island. It is separated from the city of Hong Kong by a line of mountains that run along the center of the island. It's also one of the biggest tourists hot spots in Hong Kong and seeing as I had a Hong Kong first timer in tow I thought it'd be nice to give Stanley a visit.

 

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That's all for this post! I know it was a bit shorter but I didn't want to put two stops into one post. Next up Macau!

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