we declare Your Perfection above and beyond all: we have no knowledge whatsoever except what You have taught us. No doubt it is You, and You alone that is all Knowledgeable and all Wise. (al-Baqarah, 32)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Halo is probably the biggest gaming franchise ever

This entry chronicles the launch of a little game called Halo 3 in Wellington, and why it has lead me to believe that its the biggest, most well known game franchise ever in the video game industry. First, a brief description of the Halo franchise, if you've never heard of it. Long story short, its a first person shooter. The first one was revolutionary, the next one, not so much and they were both, in my opinion, fairly good but the NOT best games ever. At 12.01am this morning, the third, and likely final installment was released and I was there at EB games to get the game exactly on launch time and here's when it starts to get interesting

I got out around 10.30, figured that it wouldn't hurt being a bit early. Got in front of my local EB games at around 10.40, EB's door was still firmly shut and already there were a group of people just hogging for space in front of the store. I decided to lay low and and sat at a nearby bus stop. As the clock ticks closer to 11, more and more people came so I had to get myself there lest I wanna be the last one to get the game, not that I mind anyway since Halo isn't really the top game in my list, but I just cant wait to get my hands on the collectors item inside the pack I pre-ordered.

santa sent me a present...

11p.m, EB's doors were open. I was greeted by familiar faces and all customers were then given tickets indicating their number to get the game based on who got inside the store first. I was number 19 since I gave those true Halo junkies the previlege of getting it first (or maybe because I was too small to push myself in first). There 1 whole hour before the staff can give us our games so I just chat with a guy or two to kill time. Around that time, more people keep on coming. More so than I ever imagined. I spoke to Dave, the manager, "wow, lookit the crowd. Halo is as big as the PS3". His answer, "Are you kidding me, its bigger. Remember the PS# launch, there was only you me and him." while pointing at another staff jokingly. Then, things start to get a little bit crazy. The press came. Yes, THE PRESS. I can understand them coming for a console launch like the PS3 (they never did come for the 360 launch) but for A SINGLE GAME?? This is just insane!!

The news was supposedly going to be aired on morning news but I kinda missed that. And then theres this guys who interviews people for some radio station. He was very annoying by the way. Shortly after, NZ's official gaming organization, aptly named NZ Gamer came and offered everybody hot chocolate. Ok, this is the first time I've received such treatment for buying a game.

At 10 to, we were all requested to get out of the store and form a queue and that was when I realized the actual number. It was more than 60, which makes it more than the amount of people who were there for the 360 and PS3 launch combined. Halo is definitely BIG. So big that some people have come to hate it. A guy, most likely a PS fanboy screamed from far away, "HALO SUCK!!! %#%$#%@$@" and spew a lot more of those rubbish. We paid no mind and at 12 we all got what we came for. In numerical orders of course.

The story doesn't end there though. On my way home I walked pass a couple and the guy, seeing me carry the huge box which was Halo said as he walked pass by me, "thats some serious s**t you got there bro". And then I walked pass a group of kids (whatever were they doing at midnight there anyways??) and their face was in awe and said, "dude...you got a halo 3..." with a tone you matches their expression. That is just how popular the game really is. Honestly, I think that the Halo franchise has transended games, becoming a big name which is on par, if not bigger than any big Holywood movie. I rest my case, and finally I present and up close look of the collector's item I got for buying the legendary edition at a premium price.
a limited edition individually numbered (550989) collecters item. just look at the detail...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Forza 2 paintjobs ep. 2 - more custom vinyls!

After almost two months hiatus, I now present you with more custom paintjobs on these oh so awesome cars in this second edition of forza 2 paintjobs :D

First in line is a Nissan Skyline GT-R with a Brotherhood of Nod motif, the evil faction from the acclaimed Command & Conquer series of games. It was kind of hard to make the scorpion tail thingy perfectly fit the emblem but somehow I managed to do it. I think it took me roughly 4 hours or so to get this done. If I'm not mistaken, it was done using around 150 layers of vinyl, mostly used to make the scorpion tail. The car itself is pretty bland but hey, bad guys' car are always black and bland right.

Next up, a car that I had made a long time ago, hoping to enter the ferrari race vinyl contest but slightly missed the entry date. Oh well, doubt I could win anyways as there are tons of people out there with even more out of this world design. Anyways, the car is an F360 bearing the vodafone logo. Why I chose vodafone? Well, vodafone and Ferraris are always associated with red, so I guess the two would go well together. Didn't take me long to get this done. 2 hours tops. the problem wasn't with the logo but to make an authentic vodafone font using basic shapes was hard.

Yay to cuteness. Honestly, this wasn't my original design. I saw a similar picture of a car floating on the net. Although this is a mere imitation, I did include some personal touches to differentiate it from the original car. Wouldn't wanna get charged of plagiarism now wouldn't I. Of all the cars featured in this edition of forza 2 paintjobs, this was the easiest one to do. Most of the layers are done using round shapes and the total didn't even break 50 layers. I got this done in abt 45 mins. Thats a new personal record. There was actually another screenshot of the car that I wanted to upload but it just wouldn't upload. Oh well.. Now on the the final one for this edition...

First of all, let me just say this : pls be open minded, its just a manga character :p Anyways, the car is Mitsubishi's FTO. The theme is Lum, one of the characters in the late 80's sensational hit manga you might have never heard of, Urusei Yatsura. I personally feel that this is my best work to date since last entry's Midori Integra. Unlike the Midori, which I only painted half her face, I took a huge leap and proceed to paint the whole head, hair and half of her body. Since Lum is an alien, I decided to add some starry effects in the background and it seems to be a cool effect (although it may not be clearly visible from the screenshots above). The paint packs quite a lot of detail and the amount of layers I used to paint Lum was staggering - a grand total of over 450 layers, easily brushing off my last big project Midori. I did this works in the course of a week, spending about an hour or 2 everyday on it and the total time seems to add up to somewhere between 8 to 9 hours. I probably wont pick up a new project anytime soon. Too busy with other stuff. I do have an idea of what it gonna be next tho. I'll give you a hint - its something bleachy. All this painting has also kept me off of actually RACING in the game. Hrm...I bought a racing game but it looks like I end up with a painting tool instead.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Why buy original

I've spent enough time in Malaysia to know that self-proclaimed gamers in Malaysia just don't buy original games save for a handful of them. Heck, even I spent years being a consumer of pirated stuff ever since the breakthrough that is the PlayStation. Back then, I never understood why people would want to buy original stuff. At one time when I went to Tower Records with Soya, she was thinking about buying a cd by Delta Goodrem while I was thinking : "you can easily find the thing online so why bother paying a hefty sum for the same thing" and it is the exact same case with video games. Fortunately for me, the Bed TESL course had me being sent to NZ and that was what really opened my eyes on the whole issue. It's a little something called, appreciation.
When people games, sometimes it never occured to us that someone somewhere was responsible for the creation of the game. They've spent months, some even year to get a single game done and for all their efforts, we paid to some other people who took the game for their own profit. Its like going to Pizza Hut for dinner but paying at Domino's. I'm no saint but I have to say that this definitely feels morally wrong. So now, I don't mind paying more than I usually have to to buy games because its a show of appreciation on my part as well as giving the developers what they deserved for giving me a great time playing the game they made.

Monday, September 3, 2007

month in review - august

So far, the month of august had been the most enjoyable month I ever had in Wellington. Its also the month that I spent most. There was the M-fest, that I had written a blog about before but the real fun part of the month kicks off when our 2 week holiday started. What made the holiday so much fun was because it was waaay more eventful than any other holidays I spent here (admitably, not that many). Here's a quick recap of some of the events throughout the holiday :

-a (sort of) social gathering at te kotahinga. Sayda's parents came from M'sia so they made nasi dagang for everybody. Great food, great company.

-found out a new halal kebab shop had just opened near to where I live.

-hang out with Leny & Aishah at the wharf while enjoying milk tea. Later went to the museum where we met Zul and a bunch of other girls who unfortunately I never knew who their names were.

-Daichi kun and Tak kun came over. We played dead or alive 4 and tekken 5. I'm really glad to know that I've really improved in tekken since the last time we played. 7 consecutive wins! Asuka power!!

-Ate at a M'sian/Singaporean restaurant at the Wellington market with a group of Malaysians after Friday prayer. I never knew such a shop existed!

-Traded in 3 old games and bought the darkness and bioshock. Darkness was a good game. Great story to boot to. Bioshock, I could write about this game for 2 days long and still not write everything I have to say about the game. Definitely one of the best single-player game I ever played. Several bugs and design flaws (in my opinion) however, cuts the game back from achieving total greatness. Oh, the limited edition comes with a metal figurine of one of the game character 'big daddy'. Way cool.

-Some friends came over and we played fusion frenzy for hours. The game is so much fun to play with people. I also played poker for the first time and won! Talk about beginners luck. Oh, I also made a new friend. Actually, I knew him a long time ago. Just never knew what his name was.

-Went to simply paris with Leny Suefin and Aishah to use our $20 voucher that we got from our sensei. First time being there. The croissant (ony $1.80) was simply delicious.

-Bought a pre-owned perfect dark zero at cash converter for $29. A good bargain as the game is a good game and especially fun as a 4 player game.

-Got another game, blue dragon because I had so many store credits I didn't know what to do with it :p It's an OK game but I'm keeping it because I need a long game to last me all the way to October.

Finally, September had begun and I still have about $300 to spend. Maybe I'll save some money to bring home at the end of the year. At least if there arent any good games around.

I think that sums up pretty much everything. Its probably not as lively as other peoples holiday but for me, thats plenty lively enough.
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