HEY, welcome back to GP! You should probably check this thread out here if this is your first time back on the forum since our upgrade. Suffice it to say, some things have changed! CLICK HERE to read more about it, including some new functionality.
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.
The Galaxy was giving away multiple gold cars, below is one of the ones they were giving away.
Of course, we were mainly there for the ruins and old city district.
The old Portuguese church.
The Museum is located inside the old fortress.
royzoga found his soulmate....maybe?
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.
Anyway, Hong Kong Park.
Tai Chi Gardens!
Finally, a few more animals...
That's all for this time!
Which was your favourite animal? Why?
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
The museum on the other side.
The Intercontinental which we unfortunately did not have the chance to stay at this time.
I've always loved the look of the Lippo Centres.
The convention centre.
The old bank of China tower
The view on the other side of the Peak.
Next up, boating in Repulse Bay and Shek O!
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.
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!
So as you may or may not have heard I was recently on a little trip over to the mystical Far East. This wasn't my first time over there, but this time was a bit different as I had invited along someone else. That someone else was none other than royzoga. It was his first real trip out of the country, and what a trip it would be!
This post, alone with the following posts, details our trip in written format, accompanied by pictures. We also shot several videos and vlogs which I will edit together and post at a later date.
After flying into Toronto from our respective cities, we embarked onto the 16 hour flight to Hong Kong.
After recuperating, we headed out and found an odd Ghibli exhibit on display at a Mall in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Aside from posters and descriptions of the films, there wasn't terribly much to see. However, that same weekend there was a convention in town called Ani Com. We weren't entirely sure what it was other than it had to do with Anime and Videogames, so of course, we had to investigate.
The $3 entrance ticket was great, the waiting in an hour long line that wrapped around several buildings and up and down staircases was not. However once we actually got into the con, here's some of what we saw.
The first booth we saw upon entering. Oh the irony.
royzoga even tried blending in......
And of course, the object of my desires......
There was a display with old manga art and sketches and signed sketches from famous mangakas.
Then back onto the show floor.
And of course it wouldn't be a proper Anime con without the biggest hit since FMA.....
And of course lots of Mecha stuff.
Sword Art wasn't left out of the fun either....
We also bumped into someone who seemed a bit lost.
And that concludes my first post about our trip, mainly because I don't want to overload these posts with pictures! These are but a small sample of the pictures I took, but I'm trying to pick out the best ones for these posts.
Be sure to comment and tell me what you think!
So Windows 8, Microsoft's attempt at breathing new life into their traditional OS, to put it bluntly; SUCKS.
Now, I'm not one to be against change, quite the opposite rather, I welcome it, embrace it, give it ...well anyway I think change is good. Change keeps the ball rolling, helps things improve upon previous mistakes and all that fun stuff. So I decided to give Windows 8 a fair chance.
The Boot Up Time
Never before has an operating system started so quickly and so seamlessly. From the moment I press the power button to the moment I am on the "desktop", it takes under 15 seconds. Now, I upgraded to Windows 8 in conjunction with installing an SSD into my system, which likely also helped the boot time, but I am told the Win 8 boots fast no matter if its an SSD or HDD.
The OS itself...
So much wasted space
Now to the real meat and potatoes of Windows 8. The UI. The Metro UI. Probably the most controversial change Microsoft has made to their tried and true Windows platform.
Lets take the standard Windows interface, the desktop with icons and a taskbar at the bottom. To the left of the taskbar you have the start button, a nifty button that lets you access a menu to get to other regions of your PC. The right has a clock with the date, as well as icons for programs you use. Simple, effective, easy to use and understand.
Now lets take away that pesky Start Menu (You didn't really need that did you?). Lets get rid of the standard desktop as your starting point and replace it with a bunch of tiles of various shapes and sizes for different programs and apps. Lets take that useful little desktop and turn it into an app to be run alongside other apps.
How do I switch between programs if I don't have a task bar you might ask, well Microsoft has replaced the oh so annoying taskbar with a much simpler option. To see which programs you have running (because apps are fullscreen and can't be put into windowed mode) simple move your mouse to the top left of the screen, then swipe down. Voila all your open apps appear down the left hand side! Ingenious!
What about shutting your system down? The Metro UI main interface has no power off button anywhere. Or does it? Simply move your mouse to the top right of the screen, swipe down and voila there are those essential Windows functions you've been looking for! Search, Start, Options, and whats this? A Power button! Simple click that, which brings you to another menu, then click "Shut Down". So much simpler right?
Notice the third party start menu, the odd shape/spacing of the taskbar
Back to the desktop, which functions as an app, meaning every program you run in the desktop (Non-Win 8 native programs) will essentially be a program running within an app! Appception am I right? Not to mention the lack of a start button which means find programs, or anything really is incredibly out of your way as the "Search" function in the left side menu (known as the Charms menu) only searches your apps, if you want to find a program to run on your desktop app, you'll need to search within the desktop app itself (an advanced search if you will).
The taskbar it gives you is about 50% thicker than the Win 8 default taskbar, and the icons on it are about 50% larger as well making everything seem like you're running at a lower resolution than you actually are. And did I mention, you can't customize or change any of that (Well, you can...by installing 3rd party software)? Fun stuff eh?
Now the apps themselves. The new start menu has a bunch of default apps already on it, such essentials such as mail or messaging or games...etc. It's safe to say all are generally terrible. All have terrible UI's and almost every app with prompt you to "log in using your Microsoft account". The Games app for example, looks and acts very much like the Xbox 360 dashboard, complete with advertisements! Because we all want advertisements in our Minesweeper right?
The only, slightly, positive...actually I won't even say positive but amusing thing I discovered was that these Windows games have achievements. Which amused me for a good 5 minutes trying to get an achievement in Minesweeper. Other than that. Garbage, the whole lot of apps.
I'll specifically throw Skype under the bus here. Skype (being Microsoft owned) has a Win 8 app, which WON'T LET YOU LOG IN WITH YOUR EXISTING SKYPE ACCOUNT, that is unless your existing Skype account is your Microsoft account. So I ended up having to install the Windows 7 version of Skype, on the desktop app, to be able to sign in with my Skype account and have Skype windowed while I worked on a Google Doc with someone, something the app would not let me do.
Sure, the Metro UI looks nice....at first, sure the boot time improvement is nice as well. The search (when it worked) was also seemingly a bit faster (though once again that may have been the SSD not the OS) but other than that, Windows 8 seems not like a step backward but rather a step out of the world of Desktop OS's into the world of Tablet and Mobile Phone OS's where the Metro UI actually works WELL. WITH A TOUCHSCREEN. ON A DEVICE NOT MEANT FOR EXTREME MULTITASKING. Imagine that.
I feel slightly obligated to give this a score now because I did put review in the title of this post, so I'll give Windows 8....
How about you guys? Anyone made the leap yet? Anyone planning to? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below !
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
2013 is a day away but it feels like I still have so much left to do in 2012, at least where gaming is concerned. I've probably played more new releases in 2012 than any other previous year in my life-as-a-gamer. That said, my played to finished ratio is terribly out of balance and there are quite a few games that would have likely made this list had I played them before writing this list (Journey, Tokyo Jungle etc). Still, it was a fantastic year to be a gamer and here are a few of my personal favorites of the year.
10.Retro City Rampage
(PS Vita, PS3, PC)
It's a bit of a love-hate relationship for me with Retro City Rampage. On one hand the retro-GTA feel of the game coupled with the plethora of old school in-jokes and references make this game a blast to play. On the other the story and missions feel a bit lackluster to me, and I fail to find any interest in them so far. Still, for a game that has been in development as long Duke Nukem Forever it definitely has more to show for it.
9. Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir
Being a huge Fatal Frame fan, this was one of the first games I picked up for my shiny new 3DS. It's not a very good game all things considered but the niche Japanese horror style, and the use of AR, 3D and the 3DS's cameras make it a fun experience for fans of the genre.
8. XCOM Enemy Unknown
I'll be honest, I've never played an XCOM game in my life. I have no idea what they're about. But people were hyping this game up as one of the best strategy games of the year, and seeing as it's made by Firaxis, the studio behind Civilization (another favorite of mine), I decided to give it a whirl when it popped up for under $20. This game is a BLAST. It's got all the elements of a deep strategy game mixed with faster pacing and style of an action game. Naming your squad members also gives it an added layer of depth as losing squad-member "Kawaii Khorne" (Nationality: New Zealand) to the alien scourge is alot more engaging than losing Joe XCOM. A must play for strategy lovers.
7. Silent Hill Downpour
Despite not actually having finished Downpour, I can still safely add it to my list of "good Silent Hill games". The tone of the game feels right, the combat and gameplay is clunky (As it should be). The rain adds a new layer of environmental decore to the game. It's not a perfect game, but it's a great entry into the Silent Hill series.
6.Uncharted Golden Abyss
Here's a title that I personally haven't even started. The little bit I HAVE played of it was on a friends system. That said, it still manages to snag a spot on my list because it does what Sony promised Vita games would do, bring the console experience to us on the go. It's not a watered down version of Uncharted with less features, or a shorter campaign. It's a fully capable entry into the series, every bit as good as it's console brethen. That alone puts it on my list.
5. Binary Domain
(360, PS3, PC)
Originally I brushed this off as just another third person shooter set in the future. But after giving it more of a chance I came to love this game despite its faults. At it's core it IS just a third person shooter but on top of that it tells a great story and shows wonderfully deep interaction between it's characters. You eventually come to like everyone in your squad (Well, except for Big Bo) and that just makes the events and choices that much more personal.
4. Walking Dead
(360, PS3, PC)
Not too much to say about this that hasn't already been said. Another great action-adventure game from Tell Tale with a much more emotional story than seem in their light-hearted Sam and Max series. While I got a bit chuffed at the fact that your choices ultimately don't affect the overall direction of the story the fact of the matter is, the story is excellent and you don't see many of this quality in videogames very often.
And speaking of choices...
3. Mass Effect 3
Lets just get it out of the way. The ending was garbage. Even after they "fixed" the ending it still wasn't what most Mass Effect fans envisioned as the finale of the space adventures of Commander Shepard. Still the preceding 30 hours of gameplay were great. And while the third installment of the Mass Effect franchise goes in a very scripted third person shooter direction, the story and characters that you've grown to love over 5 years and 3 games are all there.
2. Persona 4 The Golden
I've been meaning to play Persona 4 for years now, but never got around to doing so. The Golden has finally gotten me to make the jump. And I'm sure glad I did. This is by far one of the best RPG's I've ever played, and perfectly suited to Sony's handheld system. This may be the only Vita game I've played so far but it already has justified my $170 purchase.
1. Sleeping Dogs
You all knew this was coming didn't you? Sleeping Dogs takes everything I love about Hong Kong action movies and puts it into videogame form. It's got an amazing line up of top notch voice actors, the story is extremely engrossing and the gameplay is some of the most fun I've had in an open world game since Saints Row the Third. The visuals are jaw dropping, especially on a high end PC and the soundtrack is a wonderful mix of Chinese pop songs. I only had a few quirks with the game, mainly regarding the accuracy of the city compared to Hong Kong itself, as I am very familiar with the Streets of Hong Kong. But I can forgive it that because it truly was my GAME OF THE YEAR.
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....
PS2 Games (Left to Right)
- Moeyo Ken
- Shakugan no Shana
- 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!)
- 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.*
(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)
- 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
And my biggest figure purchase of the trip...
Two Misc Magazines and some Eva Unit 02 Cologne....
And finally, because you know I had to do it.....
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?
About a month or so ago Valve launched a trading card beta for Steam. This allowed users to earn cards by playing games that supported the system. Initially launching with only a handful of games supporting cards, there are now dozens of games getting support with more being added constantly. Trading cards came out of beta last week, and are currently the core of Valve's Summer Sale metagame.
Before I delve deeper into that, let me start by explaining how the system works a little more thoroughly. As I said before, you earn cards by simply playing a game with card support. Once you've collected at least one of every type of unique card tied to the game ( ranging from 5 to 10) you can craft the cards into a badge, which will grant your Steam profile XP, as well as giving you an emoticon and profile wallpaper. It's a nifty little way of adding user interaction with Steam beyond simply just buying and playing games. However, after a certain amount of time you might notice something, you can only earn a certain amount of cards per game, namely, about half the required amount to craft a badge. And this is where our journey begins.
So you start playing Left 4 Dead, which requires 8 unique cards to craft a badge. However you can only earn 4 cards by playing the game. Well, you ask, how do I get the other 4. This is of course assuming, that you got 4 unique cards, and no duplicates, which I might add, is VERY likely. Going off the assumption that all 4 cards were unique, you have two options. The first is seeing which of your friends has the card, and ask them for it, perhaps in a trade for another card. Your second option is, well, to just flat out buy the card.
So you have fairly deep pockets and decide to buy the cards you need rather than go through the hassle of bugging your friends for them. Once you've gotten the cards you craft them into a badge which gives you the emoticon and wallpaper you were after all along. Oh wait, you can just buy those too, in fact, it would be cheaper to do so in most cases.
So begins my problem with Valve's extortion racket here. And yes, that's basically what it is. Valve implemented a system where they reward you for playing games you bought, with cards, which you can, or rather, are encouraged to buy and sell. Every time a card is bought or sold, Valve takes a cut, somewhere around 10%. They've created a system where they make money off of users buying and sell what are essentially, absolutely worthless bits of data that took some intern 5 seconds to draw up. And you know what the best part is?
At least, from their perspective. Easy money for them right? Unfortunately I am not Valve, and I'm not enjoying the tidy profits they are likely raking in from this whole little thing they've got going on here. I am however, someone who enjoys using Steam very much. In fact, I LIKE the idea of trading cards. They're a fun way of interacting with your games and Steam. I used to collect Pokemon cards when I was younger, just as some people like to collect baseball cards, or Magic cards or whatever. However, the moment money is brought into the equation, the entire idea is ruined.
The badges formed from trading cards contribute to your overall Steam "level" much like the amount of trophies contributes to your PSN "level". Ideally, and I know this sounds like an ego-trip, the people with the highest levels are, to put it plainly, bigger gamers. These are the people who put the most time and effort into their gaming, or at least, thats what it should be. Quite the opposite, it's turned into the gamers with the deepest pockets. What's the point of this whole system when someone with too much money can simply buy into the system and max out their rank within minutes?
Only $3.56 for all these!
Indeed, why even bother going to the trouble of collecting cards to craft badges to attain that elusive emoticon when you can simply just buy those too? There simply isn't a reason for any user who doesn't wish to purchase cards to care very much about leveling, ego aside, there isn't even any self satisfaction to it.
This current Steam Summer Sale centers squarely around cards, sure voting on community picks will grant you a card every so often but for every $10 you spend you get a card, doesn't that sound so much easier? Just spend money on games and boom you'll get some cards, which of course, you'll need at least 10 to craft the Summer badge.....
Well, why don't you simply trade then?, you ask. Because who will you trade with? If you earn a card, you can immediately put that card up on the market and make some money, which you could put towards some more games. So why would you trade something that you could just sell and get something out of? That's right, you wouldn't. And therein lies the problem.
Of course, Valve won't fix the problem because doing so would negate their current revenue stream. Fixing the problem would entail eliminating any sort of monetary value tied to the cards and simply have them be tradable cards, the sole purpose of which is to have a fun little metagame on Steam with.
But people spend money on trading cards all the time right? Whether it be Pokemon, or baseball cards or Magic, cards aren't free! Why shouldn't Steam cards be buyable? I don't have a truly good answer to this, other than my belief that injecting money into a system that would serve its purpose better without.
Then again, it's entirely likely that the purpose of Steam Trading Cards is simply money for Valve.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you been participating in any sort of trading card activity on Steam? Should or shouldn't they be purchasable? Am I completely wrong in thinking this way?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
Recent Hot Pot party
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!
The first 3 km was a paved path.... the rest.... WAS HELL (100 degree inclines up mountains with no path!
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.
Then of course there was Christmas! (And soon New years ;D)
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
And if you wanna see my ugly face, here's a selfie collage
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
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
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.
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.
I“d like to start this piece off by asking a simple question; what exactly defines the term â€œindie gameâ€? We hear about it all the time these days, about the successes of small teams making equally small games and their gain in popularity, but what exactly are they?
I suppose you could start by defining what â€œindieâ€ means, because it“s not exclusively tied to the gaming world. We have indie artists, indie moviesâ€¦the list goes on and on. The word â€œindieâ€ of course is short for independent, and in the case of creators be it movie directors or game developers, being independent means you have creative freedom, no studio or publisher keeping you on a leash, making sure you â€œmake that guy more evil lookingâ€ or â€œadd some more koopas over thereâ€. Thus, indie games often tend to buck the mainstream trends associated with bigger productions.
The gaming landscape is dominated by several game publishing giants, all of whom spend a great deal of money making sure they put out the next AAA title. Their goal is after all, to make money, and lots of it. But you really can“t fault them for that, can you? Sure Activision COULD start funding Joe Indie“s new project Super Blasterman, but why would they if they could churn out another Call of Duty and raking in a few more billion dollars?
That“s where indie games step in. We“ve always had them, but they“ve really fallen into the spotlight in recent years due largely, if not entirely, to the marvels of digital distribution. 10 years ago it would“ve been impossible for a game with no or limited physical release, and no marketing or advertising, to reach even a few hundred people. But because of digital distribution making the selling and transferring of a game so easy and cheap it is now possible for a single creator to reach thousands if not millions of potential customers. Minecraft is possibly the best example of this, created by one man with a vision to make a game he wanted to play and made available for anyone to purchase, has sold well over a million copies worldwide, and its still being worked on!
So what sets indie games apart then? Markus Persson (the creator of Minecraft) himself has stated that he not sure that there“s anything that indie developers can do that the big studios can“t. He refers to Portal as essentially being an indie game in all but name, a unique game that took a risk at being different. The difference being Valve chose to make the game on a small budget, whereas indie developers oftentimes don“t have a choice. However, there is still the fact that Valve is a major (albeit private) company and still lacks the ultimate creative freedom that small team of indie developers has.
Another highly successful indie game studio, Thatgamecompany is one of the major players in the rise of the indie game craze of the past few years. They started with flOw a mildly successful title that garnered little attention, then moved on to Flower which was held up as â€œgaming artâ€, until finally releasing their Magnum Opus; Journey. But Thatgamecompany is but a drip in the giant pool of indie developers that have arisen these last few years.
I already mentioned that the ease of digital distribution helped make the indie game craze possible, but there are numerous other reasons as well. While AAA game development costs continue to soar, making simpler games are a much cheaper task. The affordability and access to better hardware and software has allowed even those of lesser means to bring their visions to life. Even funding no longer poses as much of a problem as it once did, thanks to a rise in sites such as Kickstarter which rely on crowdsourcing to fund an otherwise un-fundable idea.
Not only that, but smartphone use has seen a spike in usage in roughly the same amount of time as the rise in indie game popularity. Sure, indie games remain a largely PC staple but they are, and have been, branching out to mobile phones as well as other platforms, which also help increase their audiences. Rovio for example, made a simple little game called Angry Birds with a tiny team and tiny budget. That game is now more popular and widely played than most real videogames.
Even now, with the dawn of a new generation on the horizon, indie games are looking to stay, and I believe they won“t be going anywhere anytime soon. The decrease in the amount of smaller game titles released each year in favor of a few major hits is being compensated by indie games, and if things continue to go the way they are now we may very well see the line between these smaller game releases and indie games blur and eventually, disappear.
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PS3 Exclusive
Release Date: June 13h, 2013
ESRB: M for Mature
I completed the game in eleven and half hours and earned 2 trophies.
There is a multiplayer component, however I did not spend any time with it as of this review.
Naughty Dog has spent much of this past generation shaping Uncharted into one of the biggest franchises of the generation, yet it's latest foray, the post-apocalyptic survival adventure, The Last of Us, attempts to discard the lighthearted bravado in favour of darker territories. Prepare to step foot into a United States that has been completely devastated by a widespread fungal infection (read; zombies) that has decimated much of the human population. The game follows the journey of two unlikeliest of comrades; Joel, a weathered relic of the old world and Ellie, a 14 year old girl with a whole lotta spunk.
While the game never actually drops the "z" word, you are instantly aware of what you are up against the first time you come across an infected enemy. However it is equally apparent that this isn't just "another zombie game". The category in which Naughty Dog excels is story-telling and conveying the depth of its characters. Joel and Ellie are constantly evolving and developing as you continue to progress through the game. From witty banter to their dark pasts, you continue to learn about these characters, eventually becoming attached to their unique and poignant personalities. The varied cast of side characters you meet along the way are no different, each lovingly crafted to perfection.
The gameplay however is largely dependent of your patience with being stealthy. For someone like myself, a huge fan of series such as Metal Gear Solid and Thief, the stealth gameplay was immensely enjoyable. For those less-than-discreet gamers out there, it's very possible to enjoy the game, albeit on a lower difficulty. The higher the difficulty is raised, the more stealth becomes necessary to survival rather than an option. The mechanics aren't anything we haven't seen before but Naughty Dog nails it perfectly. Enemies patrol areas of the level in predetermined patterns allowing for Joel to use his heightened sense of hearing to pinpoint their locations so as to avoid them should he choose to do so. You can sneak up behind enemies and choke them out, or toss a brick and distract them allowing you to pass by unmolested. You are however, also provided with a veritable armory of weapons ranging from your usual assortment of pistols, shotguns and rifles to a bow, which allows for silent takedowns from afar.
While the combat can feel similar to Uncharted at times, the similarities stop there. Joel is in great shape for a man pushing 50, but he's no Nathan Drake. You won't see Joel swinging from pillars or climbing up any surface with the faintest suggestion of handholds, but rather rely on find alternate means of climbing up things. This unfortunately makes up the majority of the puzzle solving element in the game, I know I would have liked to have seen more complex puzzles in favour of some of the numerous enemy filled locales.
Naughty Dog has continued to push the PS3 to it's geographical limits, and once again they've exceeded all expectations. The game is one of the most visually stunning games of this generation, despite it running on 7 year old hardware. The amount of detail put into every area you enter is instantly noticeable, and very impressive. The game puts you in several set piece worthy locales, each more stunning that the last, whether it be a serene pine forest, a snowy village or a dank sewer. The Last of Us is one of the few games that offers 7.1 surround sound which is, to put it lightly, absolutely incredible. If the graphical fidelity didn't already leave you impressed, the immersion the comes from the audio will.
The Last of Us is far from perfect, losing a lot of what made it enjoyable towards the end, ultimately ending with a conclusion that left me scratching my head. I can't help but wish that they had included more exploration and puzzles sections rather than simply sneaking past enemies time and time again. That being said, I did enjoy every minute of the eleven and a half hours it took to beat the game, and will definitely be diving back in for a second helping with new game plus. While the level of stealth gameplay may not be everyone's cup of tea, I think that anyone who owns a Playstation 3 owes it to themselves to experience it's swansong for it's story and characters. Joel and Ellie are two characters you won't soon be forgetting.
+ Some of the best characters ever to grace a video game
+ Beautiful visual, varied level design
+ Generous with the weapons it gives you
+ Excellent stealth gameplay
+ Emphasis on survival well done
- Occasionally glitchy
- Lack of interesting puzzle mechanics
- Ending left a bad taste
Overall Score: 9.0 (out of 10)
The Last of Us is and will undoubtedly continue to be hailed as the PS3's swansong, a title it definitely deserves.
I've also summarized my (spoiler filled) thoughts on the ending of the game in this post, for those who have finished the game, I'd like to hear your opinions.
Publisher: Maximum Games
Release Date: October 30th, 2012
ESRB: E for Everyone
If the name "Myst" doesn't sound familiar to you, then you might want to brush up on your gaming history. Myst was a point and click adventure game released in 1993. It was the dawn of 3D graphics and Myst was groundbreaking for its time. It's a timeless classic that has seen ports to multiple systems over the past few generations. The 3DS version is only the most recent port of the game to be released, but does it hold up to previous versions, let alone the original?
The gameplay in Myst is what many would consider timeless, the exploration, the often-times tricky puzzles are elements of Myst that won't ever become outdated when a new system with better graphics comes out. The narrative of Myst is as brilliant as ever, with a deep yet oddly seductive tale that ensnares you, immersing you in its world. The 3DS version of Myst is no exception, the original brilliance of Myst is still there, unfortunately it has been marred by the horrendous port...
I should have known I was in for something bad when the Myst intro video cut out halfway through and the game took me straight to the main menu...
What were they thinking??
Where do I begin? Do I start with the fact that this is a point and click adventure game on a system with a touchpad...yet the game barely utilizes it? Instead they decide to make you use the analog nub, but it gets even worse! Instead of just moving the nub around as you would move a mouse, they've made the pointer snap back to center position when you're not moving the nub. You need extreme finesse to coax the pointer to juuuuust the right spot on the screen lest you be snapped back to center.
But wait! It gets even better! Myst has quite a fair amount of backstory in it that the player can learn about through reading various books and sign scattered about. Being a rather small screen, the text is too small to read so you can click it to zoom in on it. One slight problem though, the text stays the same resolution. Long story short, you can't read any of the books in the game. Yes, you read that correctly. A game, which has dozens of books that you're intended to read, has text that is unreadable.
So they've effectively butchered the controls, the story....what's left? Ah yes, the sound. Myst was known for it's eery tunes and ambient music. Well, the original sound WAS left in, however it sounds worse than re-recording of a re-recording of a youtube clip of a recording of someone playing Myst in a crowded room. It's terrible.
I almost thought I had run out of things to say about how terrible Myst 3DS was until I remembered I had forgotten to mention probably the biggest bombshell of them all....
THIS GAME HAS NO 3D. NONE. NADA. ZERO.
In any case, I'm glad it only set me back four dollars.
- Terrible Controls
- Unreadable Text
- Atrocious Sound Quality
- NO 3D
Myst for 3DS is one of the worst ports the game has ever received. Do NOT buy this.
Developer: Humble Hearts LLC
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: PC (Steam), XBLA
Release Date: May 24, 2013 (Steam)
ESRB: E10+ for Everyone 10 and older
This review is based on the PC version of the game.
A download code was provided by the publisher for this review.
For those who have never heard of it, Dust: An Elysian Tail is quite a remarkable game for several reasons. Chief among them however, is that it is almost entirely created by a single person. Dean Dodrill spent years applying his talent and skills to the game, which is immediately apparent when you start the game. Dust is a 2D action RPG set in a fantasy world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. You play as Dust, the mysterious hero of the story who is suffering from a case of amnesia, requiring him to set out on a journey to recover his lost memories.
Dust is far from alone on his journey however, as he carries with him the Blade of Ahrah, a magical sword that can talk as well as cut down enemies. However, the comrade you'll be hearing the most is your trusty friend Fidget, a nimbit, which is basically a flying cat-fox. Fidget is the diminutive guardian of the sword who never quite knows when to keep her mouth shut, often punctuating dialogue free portions of the game with a humourous quip or two.
As many of you probably already know, the game originally came out on Xbox Live Arcade. This isn't just a lazy port, quite the opposite in fact, while my preferred control type is still the 360 controller, the mouse and keyboard controls are surprisingly adequate for a game like this. You have two basic attacks, light and heavy, which you can combine to get a combo streak, as well as Dust Storm, your special attack which spins your blade creating a vortex to trap your enemies for added damage. Fidget also plays a role in combat, being able to produce sparks or other projectiles which are very weak on their own, but when combined with your Dust Storm ability can turn into a deadly whirlwind of death.
The enemies in this game are well-varied, though generally quite easy to fight, even on normal, those seeking a challenge should definitely up the difficulty from the get-go. The bosses are a bit harder, requiring you to time your parries and blows instead of just plowing into them. Enemies will drop loot upon death which comes in the form of equipables or craftables. Some of the better items in the game must be crafted using materials gained from fallen enemies, though you can generally get by without crafting much of anything.
While there is an overarching main story you are following, there are also a host of side quests for you to partake in, oftentimes opening up otherwise inaccessible areas for you to explore. Almost every area has secrets for you to discover, providing you with even more buffs as well as easter eggs for other games such as Super Meat Boy and Bastion. The platforming is reminiscent of Metroid, and requires some backtracking to reach areas previously unavailable. The save system in the game comes in the form of glowing monuments that quick save simply by passing them, or you can manually save by selecting them.
While the story and characters felt a bit uninspired, the fluid combat and breathtaking visuals make up for it. If the screenshots had you interested then the $15 price point is probably worth it for you, at $7.50 though, which is the current Steam Summer Sale price, I'd recommend it to just about anyone. As an indie title, its great. As an indie title essentially created by a single person, it's absolutely incredible.
+ Gorgeous visuals
+ Fluid combat
+ Great controls, even with M/K
+ Good focus on exploration and crafting
- Story is a bit of snoozefest
- Awkward unskippable cutscenes
Overall Score: 8.0 (out of 10)
Dust: An Elysian Tail provides a mediocre story and excellent gameplay with a stunning visual flare.
Developer: Hidden Path Entertainment
Release Date: April 9th, 2013
ESRB: T for Teen
The "Age of" series has a long running history of fantastic strategy games, spanning from the original Age of Empires, to Age of Mythology to the recent online focused Age of Empires Online, but Age of Empires II is arguably the best game the franchise has ever produced. It seems that Microsoft knew this, and tasked Hidden Path to breathe new life into the (now defunct) Ensemble Studios masterpiece. So does this supposed timeless classic hold up after all these years, or is this just a superficial money grab?
The most obvious change to the game is the ability to run the game on modern systems. I own the original disc version of both Age of Empires II and it's expansion The Conquerors (Both of which come included in this release) and was unable to play them properly. The HD edition has increased the max resolution of the game to 1920x1080 (The original was somewhere around 640x480) as well, as you might have guessed, adding widescreen support. This makes a WORLD of difference when playing, the extra screen real estate helps you survey the battlefield with ease.
Aside from the increased resolution and widescreen support, there isn't much else that's been added to the game, visually at least. A large portion of the improvements made to HD edition of the game are the ones you can't see (at least not directly). Hidden Path has gone and revamped the multiplayer for the game, taking out the old system in place and replacing it with a system that actually works. They've also integrated this multiplayer system with Steam so you can invite people to your lobby directly from your friends list. I played an online match with resident Podunk member DrPixel. We started a 4 player lobby, with 2 AI players + us (AI can fill in for human players). Originally we were all playing independently but before long Pixel proposed a truce and a shaky alliance to join forces against the Koreans and Britons. Almost 2 hours (
) later we emerged victorious...and utterly bewildered at how so much time had past. Obviously, the multiplayer has not lost any of its luster.
The final addition to this edition of the game is the addition of Steam Workshop. The "Age of" series has always had a dedicated modding community with all sorts of custom units, maps and campaigns available to download. Even if you aren't a modder, you can still upload to the Steam Workshop thanks to Age of Empires II robust map and scenario editor. You've always been able to create your own maps, as well as custom campaigns in these games, but Steam Workshop makes it easier than ever to share your creations with others.
The game does include both the base game as well as the Conquerors expansion pack which adds a second set of campaigns set in more exotic locations such as the Middle East and the New World.
If you're looking for an entirely new Age of Empires game, the minor additions made to this game probably won't fit the bill, though I'd still recommend it. However if you enjoyed this game back in the day, or are interested in Real Time Strategy games, then you should definitely pick this up. The game is available on steam, priced at a very reasonable $19.99.
+ The best Age of Empires game, now playable on modern systems
+ Functioning multiplayer
+ Steam Workshop support
- Not a lot of new additions added
- No way to change resolution in menu (defaults to your highest resolution)
Age of Empires II HD is a worthy upgrade of a much beloved strategy game. Whether you're a returning fan of the series or just a strategy buff in general you should definitely give it a try.
A certain member of this website, who goes by the name of Slayn Bacon, created a contest to put the writing skills of his fellow GamePodunk members to the test. As for myself, the topic that has been set before me is one concerning the differences between first and third person games.
This article is the result of many hours minutes of contemplating the broadness of this topic. I finally decided to form my argument around the level of immersion I experience when playing these games. This turned out to be a rather tricky concept to play around with as immersion can seemingly take on several forms.
Traditionally, the common reasoning is that the immersion is greater in first person games. YOU take on the role of a character in whatever story is being presented in the game you're playing. YOU are making the decisions, calling the shots, killing the baddies. However, I feel that there is more to being immersed in a game than simply "being there".
First person games rely on your ability forget the real world and place yourself into the game world. The major flaw with this concept, to me at least, is that there is an extreme disconnect between the player and the game universe. The player (you) don't belong in the game world, you are simply piloting an shell of a character to navigate the game world. Thus, you, the player, are neither truly a part of the fiction of the game, nor are you a simply a spectator watching on from the sidelines. In Skyrim for example you take the role of "a character" customized to look however you'd like. You spend the game literally building a persona around your character. However, your character really isn't important in the grand scheme of things, it is merely an interface for you to interact with the game. You are not engaging with the character you're playing, but rather with the entire world around you.
This line of thought effectively eliminates characters such as Gordon Freeman as "true" characters. This "Gordon" fellow is simply a vehicle built for players of the Half Life games to control in order to play the game.
The perspective this gives you, the one of YOU becoming the character is a perplexing one. It ultimately comes down to your desire to role play. Do you want to become a space marine, destined to save the universe? Do you want to become an elite soldier, piloting F16's over a battlefield?
Perhaps you do, perhaps you don't. It really depends on the gamer and the mood.
But not everyone wants to be "themselves" in a game, even if they are capable of things they aren't in real life. They WANT to be someone else. There's a reason more games are third person, the reason being that you are constantly being reminded of WHO you are. You are constantly looking at your character, how s/he looks, how s/he moves, voice, personality etc. If you were to describe a character from nothing but the camera angle used in-game you'd be able to tell FAR more things about say, Nathan Drake than Gordon Freeman, simply because you can see them. This added dimension of personality makes for more convincing characters in games. Aren't all games centered around us suspending our disbelief to take on the role of the character we're playing? So wouldn't it be better to know as much as possible about whose role we're taking on?
This lack of seeing your character allows for the reality of human movement to be swept aside in favor of strafing and spinning in games such as Call of Duty or Quake. You have no sense of weight, as opposed to playing Marcus Fenix in Gears who's lumbering stride imparts a sense of primal force which is different from playing Nathan Drake, whose ease of climbing and hap hazard running leaves you with an entirely different feeling.
So to finish off my thoughts on this, the perspective the camera takes in a game determines the connection to the game itself. Whilst in first person you are never truly you, but rather an impossible you, one who doesn't truly allow for seamless integration with the game world. In third person, your character has more layers to them, making your time spent witnessing their journey a more engrossing experience. Now as always their are bound to be exceptions or games that don't quite fit either mold, but I feel that this is a general observation of two types of perspectives in videogames.
First person or third person, which do you prefer?
Day 3 - Sunday
Here it is, the final day. Two of my friends had to leave at 7am since they messed up on their bus tickets and there was no other time/way for them to get home. So it was just 3 of us now, so we headed to the convention center (after checking out of the hotel) and the first thing I noticed when I stood in line to get in was the extreme amount of young children.
Apparently Sunday, kids get in for free. I don't know about you, but bringing your small children to a massive convention thats jam-packed with people isn't the best idea in my opinion. Needless to say, I saw several staff members running around with signs looking for lost children. ANYWAYS.
We ran around buying a few things (Such as my figures) until it was time for the Namco Bandai panel.
Namco Bandai Panel
We mainly went to this panel because my friend wanted to hear about the new Tales of Xillia game. They only talked about Naruto Ninja Storm 3 and Tales of Xillia. They had the directors of both game series there. However the panel was structured as Q&A but from "pre-selected" questions. That was probably the worst part about the panel. However, the two Japanese guests were awesome, especially the Naruto director who was cosplaying and making spazzy motions the whole time.
We then headed right over to the NISA panel after the Namco Bandai panel. The line was pretty long but not terrible. NISA mainly talked about their anime releases, though they did mention some of their games such as Witch and 99 Knights and Mugen Souls. They went through their releases, and talked abit about the localization questions and then revealed their December release for the first time, Umineko no naku koro ni, When the Seagulls Cry. They also gave out some freebies via lottery and my friend actually one an Anohana blanket from them!
After the NISA panel we went over to the Persona booth and tried to win a Teddy standee, which we didn't, but we saw some cool Persona cosplay. After that we were pooped so we left and chilled at a restaurant until our bus showed up. Was quite a long exhausting weekend but I had a blast!
Day 2 - Saturday
Saturday is always the most crowded day, so despite getting up bright and early and arriving outside the convention center before it opened the crowds were already out in force.
Me and one of my friends had already decided that the first order of business would be making a beeline to the Capcom booth. My other three friends (including to the one who missed most of Friday) just wandered about the convention making more purchases.
At the Capcom booth we first jumped on the Marvel vs Capcom HD remake (I think? My friend kind of dragged me to this one) and I proceeded to get my a$$ kicked, since I have no strategy when it comes to fighting games. We did get a sweet poster out of it though. I also tried a bit of the Okami HD demo booth, and that game looks GORGEOUS, despite owning a physical copy I'm very tempted to get this version as well.
We then swung around to the Devil May Cry reboot demo booth, in a line that lasted almost an hour and a half. The game itself looks pretty good, and despite not really being a DMC fan I feel as if I'll be picking this up eventually.
We then jumped over to the Monster Hunter booths, and we tried our hand at both the 3DS and WiiU versions. The WiiU, despite not impressing me on a graphical level, really got me interested with the creative use of the tablet controller. We also played a bit with the WiiU at the Nintendo booth, though we didn't spend too much time there since it was crowded as HELL. Sony also had a booth for God of War Ascension and some other first party titles that were equally as crowded.
We also jumped in the line for Lost Planet 3 since it was pretty short, and that game, while I'm still not the biggest fan, is looking better than Lost Planet 2 at least.
Finally we hopped into a round of Darkstalkers (once again, I lost) which, to my knowledge, is barely even an HD remake more of just a re-release on XBL and PSN.
We then checked out the artist alley, which was overall pretty bad this year even though it was much larger. We met up with the other half of our group and went back to the hotel to take a break. After a quick pit stop we walked over to the Kinokuniya import bookstore, which is one of my favorite places to go in NYC. I bought some import magazines, as did my friend.
Then we went back to the convention and went to the Yen Press panel, which due to some GENIUS planning on the convention's part was located on a stage in the middle of the bottom floor showroom, next to the Autograph Booth, the Quidditch Pitch and Performing stage.
Needless to say it was very loud and hard to hear anything the poor Yen Press guy was saying. He announced a few new series, and a continuation of some of their most popular titles such as Highschool of the Dead (Now in full-colored collectors editions) and K-ON. The panel was supposed to last 45 minutes but after 15 minutes they gave up and handed out a volume of either their Durarara or Black Butler manga. What was funny was that during the panel there were maybe 2 dozen people in attendence but the moment they started handing out manga crowds starting swarming over. I hope this disaster of a panel doesn't scare off Yen Press for next year...
We left the convention, picked up some Chinese food and watched anime and played the anime quiz game I made.
Day 3 next...
So instead of making a forum thread or something about my trip I decided to throw it all together in a blog, so lets see how this works out, I'll be making a post for each day and then a swag post at the end.
*I'm going to post all the pictures at the end of the article to make it easier on the eyes.*
So as many of you might know, I currently live in the wonderful state of Ohio. Ohio as many of you hopefuly know, is quite a ways away from New York, let alone Manhatten. As it were, I ended up making the 6 hour drive to my old town in New Jersey, where I met up with friends who were attending the con with me. We then hopped on a bus for a 2 hour ride to the city. Total travel time so far, a little over 8 hours. Not too shabby.
We arrived in the city at 11 in the morning, about an hour after the con had opened. We headed over to the hotel first to drop off our bags. Thankfully the bus stop, hotel and convention were all within a 6 block radius of each other. The hotel was great, but more on that later.
The convention center seemed a bit less crowded than last year, owing to the fact that it was Friday rather than a weekend day. We meandered about the show floor for a while before going to out first panel, the Sunrise Panel.
The panel itself was more or less an array of Sunrise's executives and studio heads announcing new titles to be released soon. However they were very charismatic and interesting to listen to, even though most of them had a translator.
The titles they announced:
Phi Brain season 3 (2013)
Daily Lives of Highschool Boys (already released)
Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere season 2 (recently ended)
Binbougami ga! (recently ended)
Battle Spirits another season (I know nothing about this show)
Gintama (going to continue until further notice)
Love Live! (2013)
Accelworld (Already released)
Gundam Seed Remake (2013)
Gundam Unicorn final episodes coming 2013
The creators of these various shows were all there and talked about their shows. The highlight would have to be the creator/director of Binbougami ga / Daily Lives of Highschool Boys , who cosplayed as a "highschool boy" and wore a "binbougami" hat (Binbougami means God of Poverty in Japanese).
After the Sunrise panel we strolled around the convention some more, and my friends all bought stuff. One bought Disgaea DS, two dot.hack games and a Megaman game for PS2. The other two friends bought assorted wallscrolls, a Yoko Dakimakura, among other things. We then headed for our last event of the day, the Robot Chicken panel.
Probably the biggest panel on Friday, it was set in the IGN theatre and unfortunately no recording or photography was allowed so I have no pictures of it. However the panel was fantastic, and I'm not even a huge Robot Chicken fan! Seth Green was there, along with various other people associated with the show and guest panelist Macaulay Culkin. They showed off some clips of the upcoming season of Robot Chicken and then launched right into Q&A. Most of the question were meant to be humourous rather than serious, and I felt it worked better that way for this panel. A good majority of the questions were, of course, sexual.
After the panel we stumbled across Mo Chocolate, who, if you don't know, was a contestant of Sony's PSN reality show The Tester. We met up with a friend who was unfortunately not able to make it to NYC until around 6pm because of an exam he had that day. We were pretty beat after that long day so we just headed back to the hotel.
The hotel itself was great, we stayed at the Staybridge Suites, but we ran into a bit of a snag when I realized that although I had made and paid for the reservation, to be able to check in you need to be at least 21 years old. That little technicality cost us about an hour of time but due to some quick thinking we were eventually able to check in. The room was fantastic, a two double bed room with a kitchen, which was just the right size for our group of five. Two of my friends had brought a suitcase full of rice, jerky, seaweed, ramen, kimchi, and various other foodstuffs. Yeah, don't ask. I just grabbed two slices of delicious NYC pizza for $2 earlier.
Day 2 to follow....
Yoichi Fujita wearing a binbougami hat
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.