I want to reach out into my computer monitor and give this imaginary character a big hug. Monika gets why I love orchestral music.
Had an incredibly stressful day at work today. So the only way for me to calm my mind after work, was to do this 1 hour and 18 minute workout. It caught my eye long ago, but I never really attempted it until now.
What I love about Team Body Project is how the instructors always find ways to motivate and push you in a positive way during the workouts.
“There is no such thing as failure.”
“Keep pushing, don’t stop!”
I easily completed the entire session without taking a break or feeling winded, which was a big surprise. Normally I start to get exhausted at around the 40-minute mark for their aerobics workouts, which is quite intensive cardio exercise.
I’m not asking everyone to start doing one-hour workouts, but exercise really helps you to de-stress. Even 20 minutes of stationary skipping or simple jogging is good enough to get your endorphins rolling. Healthy body leads to a healthy mind.
– The Delgados, lyrics from The Light Before We Land (opening theme of Gunslinger Girl)
I finally subscribed to Netflix last week, after having resisted the urge for so long. Mainly because I am a traditional, old-school viewer who prefers to purchase physical releases of his favourite movies and TV series. I want to own a physical collection, display them on my shelves, and then maybe pass them down and lend them to my children and future generations one day.
The idea of paying an online subscription in order to watch shows turns me off slightly: This means that each month, you need to watch enough hours in order to make your subscription worthwhile. Also, you need a good Internet connection to view Netflix on your devices. Not a problem here in urban Singapore where we have a strong, high-speed Internet infrastructure. But what if you live in an area without access to a reliable Internet connection? What if you’re traveling and on the move? Netflix does not allow you to download a digital, VOD copy to your device due to DRM and security reasons.
I still subscribed anyway for my first free month, purely because I wanted to listen to the English dub of Violet Evergarden, one of the best anime titles released so far this year. I subscribed for an English anime dub, and I’m staying for the rest of Netflix’s catalogue.
One of the problems that so many online app stores or services face is discoverability. Apple has been struggling with this issue for their App Store for years, and a few years ago Microsoft was facing the same dilemma for their Xbox online store. How do you curate, organise, and customise your catalogue so that the user is able to discover new and interesting titles? Within my first few minutes of using Netflix, there were already many other titles that caught my eye for the Singapore catalogue of shows available: Gunslinger Girl, Rurouni Kenshin, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and The Flash to name a few.
My excitement at seeing Gunslinger Girl turned to immediate horror when I clicked “play” for Episode 1. The opening theme song for the series is missing. I’m assuming that Netflix were unable to acquire the song licence for this territory (Singapore) from the original artiste. This was unacceptable to me. The opening theme for Gunslinger Girl is an absolutely vital component of the show, it was what gave the series its unique flavour and spirit. I can’t imagine other viewers discovering Gunslinger Girl for the first time on Netflix Singapore, unable to experience the stirring and memorable opening theme.
And there lies Netflix’s biggest weakness as an online entertainment hub. All because of the way online DRM, territorial restrictions, and digital licences work. Some shows and movies are going to be removed from the catalogue once their licences expire. Some shows have to be presented in an altered form like Gunslinger Girl.
I’m grateful to finally be able to experience the convenience, navigability, and discoverability of Netflix. But at the end of the day, I will still purchase the physical releases of shows that I really enjoyed.
Because Gunslinger Girl’s opening theme is very important.
NieR: Automata celebrated its one-year anniversary this week for the game’s North American and European release. I thought I’d share one of my favourite tracks from the game, the highly under-appreciated Forest Kingdom composed by Keigo Hoashi.
Of course everyone loves Bipolar Nightmare and Weight of the World, which are probably the game’s most popular songs due to their fast and powerful, percussive nature. This also explains why I really like Forest Kingdom: From the percussion notes at the start, to the chorus chanting, and the supporting violins in the background, it all comes together beautifully to produce a track that’s very different, tranquil, and relaxing to listen to.
Happy anniversary NieR: Automata. I’ll attempt to replay the game on Very Hard mode one day.
This pseudo-review contains some light spoilers for the Tomb Raider movie. Stop reading now if you want to enjoy the movie experience blind.
Videogame movie adaptations don’t often translate well to the movie screen, not because of the lack of interactivity, but because most mainstream games last way longer than the duration of a normal film. How do you take a videogame like Tomb Raider (2013), which requires about 8 to 20+ hours of playtime to complete, and condense it into a two to three-hour film, while keeping most of the story and characterisation intact?
For Tomb Raider (2018) director Roar Uthaug, the solution was quite simple: Remove 90% of the game’s original cast, and place the focus squarely on protagonist Lara Croft and her father.
Based on the rebooted 2013 Tomb Raider videogame developed by Crystal Dynamics, Lara is depicted this time as a hardy, gritty warrior-woman who has to find a way to survive on a harsh island inhabited by a group of mercenary thugs. Prior to the reboot, Lara’s character was more of a femme fatale — she was a pistol-wielding badass, but also a voluptuous one with her tight, busty tank-top and low shorts. It was also probably the reason why Angelina Jolie was cast as Lara in the original 2001 and 2003 movies.
I remember watching both movies but I honestly can’t remember anything noteworthy. It was so forgettable that not even Jolie’s charisma and star power could save the films. Alicia Vikander replaces Jolie for this reboot, and the difference is like night and day. She’s leaner, more athletic, and portrays the rebooted Lara with believable credibility. She’s a rich heiress to a family fortune, but refuses to inherit her father’s wealth. She’s figuring out what to do with her life while struggling to make ends meet. She’s mortified after being forced to kill another human being in order to survive.
By getting rid of all of the other unnecessary characters in Lara’s crew from the original game, we can easily emphatise more with Vikander’s Lara. She isn’t exactly a superhero like Wonder Woman, but she’s a British girl that we can identify with and relate with. I really applaud Square Enix for giving Uthaug and his crew the freedom to try something different that veers away slightly from the original story. Even Princess Himiko, the main antagonist, has been drastically altered from her videogame form.
Despite the changes, there are many subtle references in the film that pay homage to the original source material for fans to spot. From the parkour sequences, to the puzzle solving, to Lara sneaking around with her bow, and the notorious ice axe, it’s clear that Uthaug’s team have done their homework. This is a film adaptation created by people who respect and understand the original game, and it shows.
What makes a good videogame movie? I’ve asked myself this question repeatedly over the years after subjecting myself to a neverending highlight reel of some of the worst movies I’ve ever watched based on videogames (King of Fighters, Warcraft: The Beginning, and
the fucking Resident Evil films that have absolutely nothing to do with the games to name a few). And I still don’t know the answer.
All I know is that, I enjoyed the Tomb Raider movie reboot because it perfectly captures the game’s spirit. It also has its own identity and soul, something that the Warcraft film seriously lacked. Go watch it if you liked the rebooted games.
via: BBC News
“The most important quality of chess is that it’s a fair game, so young children start learning a game which is clean and honourable, and it teaches them good behaviour. The child is constantly making strategic decisions – assessing the situation before making a move.”
“I think this is a great benefit for society as a whole.”
I loved chess as a primary and secondary school kid. I wasn’t good at it, but I fondly remember buying chess books on basic strategies and openings, and trying to recreate and study them on my chessboard.
I eventually stopped this hobby because I couldn’t find anyone to play with, but it left an impression on me for the rest of my life: Turn-based videogames are one of my favourite genres, I greatly value the ability to pause, think, and slowly strategise your next move. It also probably explains why I dislike impulsiveness — chess taught me the importance of thinking ahead and knowing the full consequences of your actions.
Very amazed that Armenia has made chess education compulsory for six to eight-year-olds. You’ll never ever see this sort of thing here in Singapore. Our society is so focused on paper-meritocracy and elitism above all else, that “chess education” would seem like an utter joke to them.
Excellent video analysis on why Fire Emblem Heroes is still so popular. I’ve blogged about it before, but this video goes in depth with actual research and references. It’s a combination of several factors: Gacha psychology, slick and efficient UI design, and staying true to what the series is about while adapting it for mobile play. Also, the game is snappy and fun to play in short bursts (or longer durations if you want to).
One thing the video did not mention is how generous the developers have been giving out rewards to players, especially for the months of January 2018 and February 2018, where they are commemorating the game’s first anniversary. I’ve never seen any other mobage do such a thing.
The first and most important steps for any successful product: Treat your players well, treat the IP that you are using well, and work hard on designing a good game.
I got very angry at the beginning of last week. The kind of fury that makes me want to punch the wall. My colleague had accidentally spoiled the results of the Royal Rumble (specifically, the male competitor who won the Men’s Rumble event). I’ve blogged repeatedly over the years about how I absolutely hate spoilers, especially for wrestling events. But what really upset me was the manner in which my colleague had asked the question to me:
“Who is this Japanese guy that won the Royal Rumble?”
If you follow pro wrestling, you should know at that moment which “Japanese guy” from WWE had won, based on the question. There is only one Japanese pro wrestler on WWE right now who has that level of prominence and star power. But what made me even angrier was the phrase “Who is this Japanese guy”, implying that he has no idea who that person is.
So many casual wrestling fans these days are stuck in the past, only remembering wrestlers from the Attitude Era which ended almost 15+ years ago! It’s time to move on and start showing support for the current crop of wrestlers who deserve it. If you still don’t know who AJ Styles or Shinsuke Nakamura are by now, and what they have done for the past few years, I’m sorry but as Paul Heyman said on an episode of RAW: “You probably shouldn’t be a wrestling fan.”
I complained to two of my wrestling friends about the spoiler (thank you Aloysius and Yao for enduring my nonsense), and then loaded up Doki Doki Literature Club to calm down. Incredibly, the first conversation I saw after being greeted by Monika was this:
I wasn’t angry at my colleague, just angry at the fact that I was no longer able to experience Nakamura’s Rumble victory blind, without any knowledge of the results. And a videogame character instantly helped to soothe my anger. This is usually the part where I use my favourite catchphrase: “Sometimes, I wonder why I take videogames so seriously.” Here, a videogame is seriously helping me to calm down in real-life.
Fortunately, the results of NXT Takeover Philadelphia were not spoiled, and I was able to fully enjoy the NXT title match between Almas and Gargano, an awesome early contender for 2018 Match of the Year.
What is the moral of the story here?
- Never EVER spoil the results of any wrestling event for any wrestling promotion to me (WWE, NXT, TNA, NJPW, etc.), or you will make me seriously mad.
- Just Monika.
Author’s note: The above conversation only appears in a fan-made mod of Doki Doki Literature Club called Monika After Story. You can download the mod here.
via: The Washington Post
I used to write reports on eSports tournaments for a gaming blog, and seeing articles like these from the mainstream media just brings a smile to my face. You can know absolutely nothing about Hearthstone, and yet by reading the article you can feel the excitement and emotions going through the champion’s head as he eventually won the grand finals and received praise from his own president.
This is what sports reporting and journalism is all about really. To record down memorable moments like these into words for future generations to read about.
And if you’re the type of person who believes that videogames or chess aren’t a sport (as one user so recklessly declared in the comments of the article), I’ll fight you anytime. We gamers have been fighting people like you all of our entire lives.