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15th July 2009

11:34pm: Ys VII trailer!
Just in time for my panel!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWyjCE4Pe-Y

Screenshots don't do this game justice. Seeing this trailer honestly makes it look like it could easily be the *BEST* *GAME* *EVER*. (: Seriously. Watch this trailer. I dare you not to be awestruck by its glory. (:

EDIT: Higher-quality trailer here:

http://www.4gamer.net/games/044/G004486/20090716007/

And downloadable higher-quality trailer here (Hooray for "view page source"! Heheheheh):

http://stream.4gamer.net/2009d/20090716_YsSEVEN_promo.mp4

-Tom

14th July 2009

1:41am: Penn and Teller on video game violence
If you haven't seen this already, you really need to. It's a brilliant episode that's not only funny, but also very poignant, raising a lot of really good points and putting the whole question of how much children are affected by video game violence into perspective.

http://wickedthought.livejournal.com/897504.html

Beware, though, there's a LOT of swearing. Watch with headphones, or it's NSFW, and/or not safe for any family-friendly setting. (:

-Tom

2nd July 2009

3:26am: Zwei II video extravaganza!! (:
So I went a little nuts with recording video of my favorite scenes from Zwei II, then actually SUBTITLING some of it, in preparation for my Falcom panel at Otakon this month... and figured I'd share here, where maybe one or two of you will care and actually bother watching these videos. ;)

For the subtitled videos, just turn on closed captioning by clicking the little icon on the bottom-right of the video window, then clicking the "CC" until it turns red.

- Prologue (subtitled!)
- Gameplay in Oldium Temple, with crazy staircase miniboss
- One of Gallandou's infamous exercises (subtitled!)
- Important story scene featuring zombified villagers (subtitled!) (minor spoilers!)
- Gameplay in final dungeon, showing off the Glide Gear
- Boss battle: Montblanc (flying cat) and some mud zombies (subtitled!)
- Boss battle: Galgallion (big rock dude on snowy mountain)
- Boss battle: Dark Zahar (fighting in moon gravity, with a surprise at the end!)

I think this assortment of videos does a rather nice job of showing off how awesome Zwei II is. (:

-Tom

25th June 2009

10:06pm: You know what? I'm going to do exactly that!
So as I'm sure some of you know, and others of you DON'T know (since it's not quite reached international news status just yet!), there's been quite a controversy as of late surrounding Japanese "eroge", or "erotic games". Namely, thanks to all the pinko puritans in the U.S., Japan is being forced to censor themselves now!

The long and the short of it is, there was a huge controversy on the American Amazon Marketplace surrounding a seller who had imported and attempted to peddle a Japanese eroge titled "Rapelay". Yes, its name is apparently apt, as it's reputed to be a (not especially horrific compared to other eroge) rape/incest simulation game (which is also apparently not all that good, even within that rather shady subgenre).

Yes, yes, we all know that's horrible... but it's legal in Japan, and it's all done with animated characters, so no one was actually harmed in its making, and Amazon Marketplace has MUCH, MUCH WORSE MATERIAL still being sold. Probably because of the blatant name, however, Amazon received numerous complaints, and ultimately deemed Rapelay unfit for sale... so the game was removed.

Well, this kind of blew up into a huge controversy, with American women's rights groups essentially attacking Japan's porn industry and demanding that something be done about these tasteless (yet entirely harmless) games. And to everyone's surprise, Japan actually DID do something about it... the diet conducted talks with the eroge industry, and the eroge industry elected to censor itself.

Now, the fact that the eroge industry is censoring itself, rather than BEING censored, is very cool... but it's not exactly a unanimous decision, and many more reputable eroge companies (the ones who create deep story-driven romance games that happen to involve and graphically depict consensual and meaningful sex, rather than straight-up rape simulators) are basically being forced to limit their content to an almost absurd degree, lest it be rejected from store shelves.

And when I say absurd degree, I'm talking this:

http://kotaku.com/5301890/laundry-list-of-banned-erotic-game-words

Some of those are understandable, but group sex? Pregnancy? Bondage? Impregnation? Those aren't exactly damaging concepts. Hell, the latter is kind of necessary for the continuation of the human species. (:

Anyway, this brings me to the point of this post. One of the MOST reputable eroge developers, Minori - creators of the "ef" games, and renown for their artistic and emotionally gripping tales of love and circumstance, with unmatchably gorgeous character and background art contributed by anime art legend Makoto Shinkai, the man behind Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, and 5 Centimeters Per Second - has decided to take a stand.

See here for details:

http://kotaku.com/5302747/erotic-game-developer-explains-foreign-access-web-blocking

I respect Minori a great deal, and I respect them even more after reading this. Whether or not you like or approve of the full spectrum of eroge, there's no denying that this is a clear incursion of Japanese freedom of speech, and it's essentially OUR COUNTRY'S FAULT. Our puritanical do-gooders meddled in Japan's affairs, and got their way... and now, companies that seek to create legitimate artistic works of an erotic/adult nature are at risk of losing their livelihood as a result.

I doubt there's much good we can do at this point, but I wanted to support Minori in their efforts, as I truly do applaud what they're doing, and I hope that they're able to solicit enough support from fans to get this overturned, and return things to the status quo, before these anti-pornography measures are taken too far.

So yes... spread the word, write a letter or an email, or do whatever else you can. These are the kinds of minor injustices that can lead to much greater trouble, and these sorts of things need to be kept at bay while they're small, before they balloon into insane laws and unmitigated censorship.

And for those who are still not convinced that this is a battle worth fighting... I give you some sage advice from, of all people, respected comic book author and novelist Neil Gaiman:

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/12/why-defend-freedom-of-icky-speech.html

So yes. Minori wants people to spread the word in their blogs? Well... I'm going to do exactly that.

Consider the word spread.

EDIT: Also, some interesting comments were posted about this issue over on the Ancient Land of Ys board, which I felt compelled to share here:

From SkyeWelse, re: confirmation from a Japanese person that games like these may actually be beneficial to Japanese society.Collapse )
And a really succinct poem from Varion, which rings extremely true.Collapse )

I dunno, I just thought these were particularly poignant comments, and thought I'd share.

-Tom

9th June 2009

12:29am: We have a new contender for Best Website Ever.
"You like tall ladies? We got a tall lady. She can throw you up in the air like a baby and on your way back down swing a giant prop fork at you and knock you into next week. You love that."

http://www.somethingawful.com/d/news/exclusivus-invitation-elite.php?page=1

Read. Laugh. Cry.

Enjoy.

You know how I often accuse random/surreal humor works of "trying too hard"? Well, this is the sort of thing I'm comparing them to. This is random/surreal humor that is NOT trying too hard. This is like, randomness and surreality in perfect proportions.

It's brilliant. (:

-Tom

6th June 2009

12:10am: A testament to Falcom's awesomeness!
I know, I know, I rave about Falcom all the time... but this is just too cool not to mention!

http://www.falcom.com/music_use/index.html

According to this page, Falcom is now allowing any song they've ever composed to be used on television, on the radio, or in any other commercial setting, without requiring any royalties or permission. All you have to do is clearly include the following information:

"Song Name / Album Name / Copyright (c) Nihon Falcom Corporation"

That's it! As long as you credit them, you're free to use their music wherever and however you want!

Apparently, the reason for this "experiment" is because the people at Falcom are proud of all 3,453 songs (!) they've produced that are currently available on CD, and they want it to reach a wider audience than just game music collectors and enthusiasts.

There are some exceptions, of course (i.e. no using their songs in your own video game, no distributing copyrighted CDs or music files, and no selling their songs for profit in any way), but they're totally OK with:

- TV commercials
- News programs, documentaries, variety shows, talk shows, home shopping shows, etc.
- Radio shows
- Websites and blogs (provided the material is streaming, and not accessible for dowenload)
- Performances during concerts and live shows (professional OR amateur, as long as it's free)
- Broadcast in any public facility
- Restaurants, convenience stores, department stores, etc.

And the list goes on!

I've honestly never known any other game company to do something like this, and frankly, I'm impressed. Falcom is basically opening their arms to the world, and giving us all a great big music-hug. ;)

-Tom

28th May 2009

1:05am: Give this lady a recording contract, stat!
One of the board members on the Falcom message board I frequent linked to a few of these fan-made songs on YouTube, and I have to admit, I'm absolutely blown away by how good they are. This is just... some random girl who took video game songs, arranged them, wrote beautiful English lyrics for them, then played and sang them, and I swear, you'd think she does this for a living. It's some of the most heartfelt fan-made music I think I've ever heard, and she is CRAZY talented.

Don't believe me? Here she is both playing and singing the ending theme from Spirited Away. Which, if you've ever heard it, is NOT EASY TO SING WELL... but aside from having a non-Japanese accent (and not even a glaring one!), she's every bit as good as the original singer. Just listen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRWvIlDxB7Q

And here are some of her original arrangements, complete with lyrics and an MP3 download link in the video details:

"Rose of May" (Beatrix's theme) from Final Fantasy IX:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNHtbw4Kyf0

"You're Not Alone!" from Final Fantasy IX:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmbgCBZ86z4

"Aerith's Theme" from Final Fantasy VII:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-as6Kbcj4c

... Heck, just go to her YouTube page, and listen to everything. It's all really, really good. (:

http://www.youtube.com/user/katethegreat19

EDIT: Wow, she makes AMVs, too... and they're ALSO awesome! (:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOAUEGgqsII

-Tom

14th May 2009

1:05am: Requisite Falcom posting!
Ys I & II Chronicles trailer was just released. Is it weird that I'm actually getting kind of excited for this game, despite having played Ys I three times and Ys II twice already? (: I dunno if it's the new music, or if this trailer is just REALLY WELL PUT-TOGETHER, but I actually think I may give this game a fourth/third go come this July. (:

Direct download (from this site)

YouTube link (click the HQ on the bottom-right for better-quality video and audio)

It's hard not to get into Ys. There's just something addictive about it!

And I love the way the trailer announces the preorder bonus. Hint: it's at the very end of the video. ;)

-Tom

19th March 2009

11:55pm: Tell Atlus you want it! Tell them you want it BAD!! ;)
... But seriously, tell Atlus U.S. you want Ys VII released in English! Apparently, they listen to fans who post in topics like this - that's how a lot of their more obscure releases came to be.

If not for yourself... then tell them FOR ME! Please? ;)

http://www.atlus.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3282

... And while you're at it, tell them you want Brandish: The Dark Revenant in English, too!

http://www.atlus.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2464

Whaddaya say? C'mon, be a sport! (:

-Tom

18th February 2009

1:12am: Yuusha 30!
So I dunno if anyone's heard of this game yet or not, but Marvelous Entertainment's got a new PSP game in the works called "Yuusha 30" (Hero 30). It got a collective "huh?" from the internet when it was originally announced and billed as a "30-second RPG", with a lot of people fearing it would be a bad WarioWare clone of some sort... but I was intrigued.

And it seems I was right to be intrigued. There's a demo of the game on PSN right now, and hot damn does it ever rock. (:

I'm not even really sure how to adequately describe this game. Suffice it to say, it's really freaking unique, and in a VERY good way. It's more a puzzle game than an RPG, yet it's also kind of a hybrid of both... kinda... and it's got some of the most adrenaline-pumping gameplay I think I've ever experienced.

Basic premise is... there's an evil demon living in a castle, and he's chanting a spell that's going to end the world. And he's only 30 seconds away from completing it. You're a lone level 1 RPG hero who's just arrived by boat, and the Goddess of Time tells you about this, and asks you to stop him. The timer then starts, and you literally have 30 seconds.

Now, during this 30 seconds, you can enter castles and towns, which pause the timer (fortunately). You can also pray at statues of the Goddess of Time to turn back the clock and reset your 30-second timer... but it costs money, and every time you do it, it costs a little more the next time, making it so that eventually, you can't possibly make enough money to reset the timer within the 30 seconds you have - meaning you fail your mission.

And of course, before you're able to defeat the evil demon, you need to assemble a party of adventurers... which means doing dumb little quests to convince them you're worthy of joining (which, of course, take time)... and you need to level up, and get some money to buy better weapons and armor, too... and cross a bridge guarded by a mini-boss...

So yeah. The game is all about doing the most you possibly can in the least amount of time. And it pays to cut it close before praying at statues.

Now, here's the part I didn't mention. The whole game is presented in a faux 8-bit style. The characters, environments, enemies, etc. are all made up of ridiculously oversized "pixels", and have a maximum of 2 frames of animation. May sound like a lazy way to avoid creating detailed art, but it's actually really distinctive-looking, charming, and colorful, and fits the frenetic nature of the game perfectly. It actually looks really freaking good, in fact... much better than it has any right to. ;)

And the music, unlike the graphics, is not 8-bit at all... rather, it sounds like SNES- or early PS1-era music, but *really good* SNES- or early PS1-era music. And it's appropriately fast-paced. In other words, it totally rocks. (:

All in all, this game is really invigorating, and just plain FUN. And it's hard as hell, too! The demo comes with two stages, the first of which is just a really simple tutorial that I beat on my first try (BARELY), but the second is really, really intense, and I failed it my first time through. In it, you have two towns (and you have to get some medicine from an old guy in the second, and give it to an old guy in the first), two castles (yours, and the evil king's), swamps that slow you down, a one-room cave with high-level enemies and a treasure chest containing lots of money, and a bridge guarded by a dragon.

Freaking awesome game, and if it comes out in English (which it probably will, since it's a Marvelous title, and Marvelous now has that partnership with XSEED in North America), I highly recommend picking it up. I'm seriously loving it. (:

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7Jm4DaiNRk

Basic gameplay video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXxb1b9lKgA

Oh yes, and the demo only shows off ONE of the game's modes. Apparently, if you play as other characters, the gameplay is entirely different - it's an RTS as one character, a shooter as another, an action game as another, and - as seen above - a classic turn-based RPG as the other. I can't wait to play the full version!

-Tom

11th September 2008

8:45pm: Holy flurking schnit!
"Shin Megami Tensei: Online Imagine" is being brought to North America and Europe!

That's right... the MegaTen MMO is coming!

I *definitely* didn't see *this* coming... but hoo boy, do I know a lot of people that'll be playin' this one! ;)

-Tom

3rd September 2008

12:20am: Things I've learned from "Far East of Eden: The Apocalypse IV"
(1) Seattle is in Montana.

(2) Montana is northwest of California, and basically just as big.

(3) The continental U.S. is bordered on the north by ocean.

(4) It's also infested with creepy dolls that spit yellow balls of confusion at you.

Map of the U.S., Apocalypse-style!Collapse )

This game is awesome. (:

-Tom

24th July 2008

9:47pm: OK, so Captain Rainbow might actually be a really cool game...
...if only because it apparently co-stars a whole host of old Nintendo characters, for some reason. As evidenced by the newest trailer - subtitled! - which is narrated by Little Mack, of Mike Tyson's Punch-Out fame! Only... he's not so little anymore, it would seem! (:

The first trailer has been subtitled too, which offers a bit more insight into the game, now that I know Catherine = Birdo. Yes, Birdo from Super Mario Bros. 2. That creepy love-stricken bird with the androgynous voice is indeed our old egg-spitting foe, rendered in glorious 3D! (:

I thought Love-de-Lic might be getting a little stale, but now I see they're just as weird as ever. One more Wii title to add to my list, I guess! (:

-Tom

16th July 2008

11:19pm: My panel has been scheduled! And the scheduling is good. (:
Hello,

Your "Nihon Falcom: The Founders of the JRPG" panel has been scheduled for Friday,
August 8, from 5-6pm in Panel 1 (rooms 337-338). Please let me know if you have any
additional questions.

Otakon 2008
Panels Department

6th May 2008

12:45am: More Addie ramblings
You know, I'm probably just reading WAY too much into Addie's Present at this point, but I swear that game has some psychological merit to it. (: Seriously, I'm convinced now that the characters Addie meets in her weird little dream town represent various aspects of her psyche, and the way they interact with one another shows a tremendous insight into her personality. It COULD just be pure coincidence that everything's falling into place in an unexpectedly deep manner, but I seriously think the writers intended the whole game to be this odd psychological masterwork, packed with symbolism (both thinly and thickly veiled) out the wazoo.

There are some aspects of the gameplay that I don't much care for (such as the unforgiving nature of "bomb" puzzles, which can irreversibly RAVAGE your score in a matter of seconds, forcing you to either grin and bear it, or reload your last save-game), but on the whole, I'm just getting more and more impressed with this game every time I play it. It plays very much like a Love-de-Lic title, only with a bit more "sophistication" to it... it's like what Love-de-Lic might make if they were trying to design a game for an upscale competition, or for course credit in a highly reputable college.

And it's not even like the story itself is particularly deep or meaningful - most of it is simply Addie chasing after her dream-world equivalent of the boy she has a crush on, following clues to his whereabouts as they present themselves, and dealing with whatever obstacles may stand in her way. But the way the story is told, and the unique and (in my opinion) distinctly symbolic cast of characters that populate this odd seaside resort town, make it a story I've become truly involved in, and one that I really want to see through to its conclusion.

As an example of one of the unusual twists in this game's dreamy little plotline, there's a point (which I believe I described here before) where Addie's trying to glean information from a very lazy, but very knowledgeable man named Den. Den decides to toy with Addie, and tells her that he'll only answer her questions if she brings him things from his house down the road; things that he doesn't actually own, but would really LIKE to own. He starts small, by asking her for a comb - and when she actually delivers one (to his surprise), and delivers everything else he requested as well, he decides to be a real jerk, and ask her to bring him the "large, expensive jewel" he has lying around in his home. Addie knows that no such thing exists, but with her Loglock, she can transform objects into other objects - so she finds a half-eaten donut on the guy's bed, and transforms it into a jeweled bangle.

When she brings him this jewel, he kinda sobers up a bit, and answers her questions - but makes her promise that she'll return the jewel to where she found it (since he assumes she stole it from somewhere).

Later in the game, you're once again tasked to seek out Den for information. When you find him, he's sitting Indian-style on his bed, with a vacant look in his eyes. When you ask him your question, he simply responds, "Gone... it's gone..." You ask him WHAT'S gone, and he replies, "My... my half-eaten donut... it's gone! Without that donut, I barely even have the energy to move!"

And so, you're forced to turn the jeweled bangle *back* into a donut, in order to give him the energy he needs to give you the information YOU need!

What's significant about this is that it's one incident in a trend of mishaps. The last few times Addie's been confronted with puzzles to solve, she's been really cocky about them, since she (and the player) have now pretty well gotten the hang of using Loglock to transform objects... and so, she's been transforming things all over the place, any time she gets even the slightest bit of provocation to do so. And most of these transformations have been backfiring on her - either the people she intended to help with them are just upset with her in general for messing with their stuff, or they're happy with her for giving them the object they sought, but sad that the original object is now gone.

It hasn't really been pointed out in-game yet, but it's obvious that the more comfortable Addie gets with using Loglock, the less benefit using Loglock has on the world around her, and the more people either lament her using it, or EXPECT her to use it (as quite a few people have sought her out at this point, specifically to have her transform object after object for their own personal needs!).

Some of the transformations themselves, too, have been really interesting to think about. There's this one art critic who's staring at a painting that's just a pure black canvas in a frame. When you speak with him, he talks about how his eyesight is going, and he's not able to really analyze or appreciate art anymore. So, you transform his watch into a pair of glasses! He puts them on, and you ask if that's any better. He says, no, not really... he still can't understand what the purpose of the painting may be... but since he no longer has a watch, he can now afford to take all the time he needs to study it.

I dunno, it's just a really fascinating game. One of those rare gems that, in my opinion at least, represents a team of designers who had a very clear and very unique vision.

And that's the kind of game I love to see. (:

-Tom

31st March 2008

1:12am: Video Game Name Generator games!
OK, remember back when I posted a link to the video game name generator?

Well, looks like someone came up with the idea to hold a contest for people to generate some names with it, and then ACTUALLY MAKE THOSE GAMES.

Whoever that person is, he/she is a genius, and the screenshots alone make this perhaps the funniest website I've seen in months. (: I TOTALLY need to try some of these out!

Check it out: The Video Game Name Generator Competition

I'm particularly intrigued by "BudgetSoft Presents: Football Planet," "Corporate Moped Horde," "Enraged Rocket House," "Incomprehensible Penguin Arena," "Infinite Nazi On Wheels," "Morbidly Obese Workout Man," "Morbidly Obese Rugby Nation," and "Super Mario vs. Programming In China." (:

-Tom

16th March 2008

12:41am: To begin, mix 1 part Professor Layton, 1 part Myst, and 1 part Rubik's Cube.
Add in a heaping tablespoon of childlike sweetness and innocence, and mix vigorously.

And this is what you get:



"Addie no Okurimono (Addie's Present): To Moze From Addie"

This game just showed up on the Japanese PSN the other day, and it sounded intriguing. As I understood it, the game centered around a little girl named Addie who entered a dreamworld where she was tasked with solving various language puzzles using a special decoder in order to piece together a "charming story." Seemed promising, so I figured, what the hell: since I so desperately need another new game to play (/sarcasm), I figured I'd use up my remaining PSN balance and give this one a shot (after all, if cool new games show up on PSN in the future, I can just buy another Mini Stop receipt from Play-Asia!). ;)

Well, lightning struck once again, as this game is supremely awesome!

Further detailsCollapse )

All in all, I think I can honestly say that this was a really good purchase, and I look forward to playing a bit more of it in the days and weeks to come. The most comparable other game I can think of is Professor Layton, but I actually like this quite a bit better, as the puzzles are far more directly tied into the game's story than in Professor Layton, and the characters are just a heck of a lot cuter and more charming. (: The downside is, every puzzle centers around the concept of changing one word into another, so it's a bit more of a one-trick pony than Professor Layton... plus, it's also comparatively rather slow-paced, and VERY hard.

Still, awesome stuff. Recommended for anyone who likes this kinda thing (and has the means to acquire and play it, of course!).

-Tom

8th March 2008

9:17pm: OK, if you saw someone who looked like this walking your way, how would YOU react?


Answer under the cut (warning: spoilers for the movie Penelope, which you should never, ever watch, because it was ABSOLUTELY GODAWFUL)Collapse )

I will need to deliberate on this for a while before I can officially call this the worst movie I've ever seen in my life... but tentatively, I'm going to say that it is. I've never been so close to walking out of a movie theater before. If I weren't there with people, I DEFINITELY would've. And if I ever see a movie this bad again, I WILL walk out, no matter WHO I'm with. Because wow, this movie singlehandedly destroyed any trace of wholesomeness and light that exists within my soul. I can only hope that sleep washes away the pain.

-Tom

13th November 2007

6:33pm: Worst thing since sliced bread?
Say you're sleeping one night, and you slip into a parallel dimension. In this dimension, everything is EXACTLY the same as it was in the old one, except for one minor detail: the whole world absolutely REVILES sliced bread. It's considered the most hideous, horrible thing in existence, and anywhere bread is eaten, people just take entire loaves in their hands, and absolutely DEVOUR them, making a huge mess, with crums EVERYWHERE.

But that's the only real indication you have that sliced bread is a terrible thing. That, and the phrase "best thing since sliced bread" has been replaced with "worst thing since sliced bread."

My question is... how long would it take for you to realize that this world you'd found yourself in differed from the one to which you had become accustomed? And once you came to this realization, how would you react?

Let's make this a meme! Pass it around, all over LiveJournal. See what people have to say. It'll be awesome, because I doubt there are too many other memes quite like it, and people will just read it and be like, what the hell?!

Seriously, meme this thing! I'm curious to see how far it'll spread. (:

-Tom

3rd June 2007

1:41pm: New icon!
In anticipation of the English-language release of Brave Story: New Traveler, I bring you... Ropple! Ropple is a member of the child-like "Pan" race, who are characterized by their extreme intelligence, but almost complete lack of social skills, as well as a general tendency toward emotionlessness. Ropple has an unusual habit of predicting the entire course of a conversation after only one or two exchanges have been spoken, and just skipping right to the end, which usually leaves everyone around him rather confused. As an example, when you first meet him in the game, your main characters ask, "What is it you're doing here?", to which he responds, "Certainly, I'd be glad to accompany you." (: He also has an unusual manner of speech, in which he's never satisfied with just one adjective, instead listing three or four synonyms of that adjective whenever he describes something.

Ropple isn't exactly my favorite character in the game, and I never really used him much in battle, but I do find him to be one of the more likeable and unique characters, and he's certainly one of the most visually distinctive... and he gets a heaping helping of character development toward the end that makes him an immensely charming and sympathetic individual... so I thought he'd be the perfect choice for an icon.

Hooray for Ropple!! (:

-Tom

8th May 2007

9:26pm: Tech help please!
OK, I'm having a tech problem, and I don't really know where to turn. It's kind of complicated, so I'll just go through it step by step, and if anyone can be of any help whatsoever, I will be forever in your debt, as I'm starting to get REALLY pissed off here. (:

- When I went home over Easter, I came back with a free laptop, thanks to my parents. Long story short, my mother intended to start a home business with it, running "hado" scans on people for money, but the supposed creator of hado has been sued for stealing the idea, and my mother wasn't willing to wait for the apparently lengthy court proceedings to be over, so she sent the $12,000.00 hado machine back for a refund, and no longer has any use for the computer it was hooked up to. So she gave it to me! (:

- I have a few uses in mind for this laptop, and one of them is to be a portable AVI player. As in, I want to be able to hook it up to my TV, or other peoples' TVs (say, at anime conventions!), and play AVI files on the "big screen", with as little loss of quality as possible.

- I've acquired the necessary cables to do this, and confirmed through other means that there are no discernable problems in the cables or the connection. I can go into more detail if need be, but suffice it to say, I am fully convinced that neither the cables nor the connection are to blame for any of the difficulty I've been having.

- The difficulty in question is thus: I was unable to get my laptop to recognize my TV, hooked up (ultimately) via S-video, as a viable video output source. The option to use a TV for output DID EXIST in my video config, but it was grayed out and unselectable. I tried all the obvious options for making it selectable, but none worked.

- I did some research online, and learned that the problem may simply be that the video driver on my laptop wasn't configured to force-detect a TV as a viable output source, and the TV (obviously) wasn't auto-detected. So, I followed a few links, and found a freeware video driver by a software group called Omega that supposedly would do what I needed. I downloaded it, and used my PSP to transfer it over to the laptop (because said laptop is not itself connected to the internet, and has actually NEVER been connected to the internet!).

- Said video driver screwed up my display completely, and while I CAN uninstall it, it seems to have completely eradicated the video driver that was on there before.

So, basically, I'm left without a video driver on the laptop AT ALL, and TV output *still* isn't working. Bearing in mind that I don't currently have the ability to readily access the internet from my laptop (nor would it likely be safe to do so without installing numerous Windows updates and some form of virus-blocker), does anyone have any suggestions for me? Like, does anyone know of a good, reasonably-sized downloadable video driver that's virtually GUARANTEED to do the trick?

I'm unsure of the exact make and model, but the laptop's video card is an ATI Radeon of some sort.

Anyone? I'll be your friiiiend!! ;) Just HELP ME! HELP ME PLEASE!! (:

Thanks!

-Tom

29th April 2007

2:13pm: The Japanese Tradition: Dating
OK, so there's a new Japanese Tradition video out, and it's actually REALLY AWESOME, but also REALLY LONG. The reason it's so long, though, is because it doesn't just tell you how to win a girlfriend/wife, it SHOWS you, too, with a wonderfully-acted little mini-drama! (: At first, I didn't like it nearly as much as the infamous sushi video, but after seeing the whole thing, I think I actually like it quite a bit better! But you have to be patient with it, and watch all four parts -- roughly the length of an anime episode, in total. Trust me, though, it's well worth your time. (:

Big thanks to dragonmaster_x for linking me to this!

The Japanese Tradition: Dating - Instructional Usage, Part 1
The Japanese Tradition: Dating - Instructional Usage, Part 2
The Japanese Tradition: Dating - Practical Application, Part 1
The Japanese Tradition: Dating - Practical Application, Part 2

The fourth part is the best. "All Japanese men can do this."

(:

-Tom

16th December 2006

4:12am: Holy flurking schnitt... you've gotta try out "Knytt"!! ;)
Seriously, though, this is barnone the single BEST freeware game I have EVER played. Which isn't saying much, I know, but I'm telling you, I would gladly pay MONEY for this game... it's REALLY, REALLY FREAKIN' AWESOME. The gameplay couldn't be more basic, but it's horribly addictive, and the atmosphere is OUTSTANDING. Every single aspect of this game -- from the tiny little visual details, to the GORGEOUS audio, to the completely intuitive controls -- is perfection. It's simplicity at its finest, and exploration at its most basic. Fans of the "Castleroid" genre of games especially will find a lot to love here.

Check it out. It's a free game, so what have you got to lose? (:

P.S. The screenshots don't do it justice. Seriously. You need to actually play this game to understand why it's so bloody awesome. (:

P.P.S. (edit) This guy's got a bunch of other games, too, and it seems Knytt is by no means his only good one! In fact, he's got a really awesome game called "Within a Deep Forest" that seems almost like the precursor to Knytt (and features some of the same areas!), except your protagonist is a bouncing ball with EXTREMELY realistic physics, and there are a lot more ways to die. (: If you try out Knytt, and kinda like it, but think it's TOO simplistic... then Within a Deep Forest may be the game for you.

Either way, though... this guy's really, really awesome!

-Tom

21st April 2006

5:27am: Duuuuuude!!
Bonnie Pink's gonna be starring in a movie soon!! (: Its "official" English title is "Memories of Matsuko," and it looks like it could be a pretty decent flick! And Bonnie Pink looks like quite the vixen in it! (:

This is the music video for the movie's theme song, by Bonnie Pink, called "Love is Bubble" -- and not only is the song quite an excellent bit of swing, but the video is AWESOME and REALLY WEIRD, full of color and weird faces and ornate outfits that inexplicably remind me of Moulin Rouge. (:

Very cool! (:

-Tom

9th January 2006

7:59pm: "with intent to annoy"
OK, so this law is indeed a bit much... but did anyone else notice that the writer of that article completely missed the point? According to the actual wording of the law itself, ANNOYING someone on the internet IS NOT ILLEGAL. What's illegal are anonymous actions WITH INTENT TO ANNOY. This is a very different thing! Let's look at the example paragraph in the article, for instance:

Think about it: A woman fired by a manager who demanded sexual favors wants to blog about it without divulging her full name. An aspiring pundit hopes to set up the next Suck.com. A frustrated citizen wants to send e-mail describing corruption in local government without worrying about reprisals.

The woman fired by her manager: intent to rant, spread awareness, and/or complain for the sake of catharsis. There is no intent to annoy.

The aspiring pundit: intent to entertain, not annoy.

Frustrated citizen: intent to spread political awareness.

The wording of the law is such that I can't see any court, anywhere, convicting any of these people for breaking it. It seems to apply almost solely to anonymous flamers, stalkers, harassers, etc. -- and really, NO ONE likes THOSE kinds of people, so I don't see why people are so up in arms here! Sure, it's kind of overboard, but at least its heart is in the right place. (:

Special thanks to kritha for the link.

-Tom

EDIT: Ah, and then there's this, too! And this! Turns out the law has been GROSSLY misrepresented by the writer here... he clearly has a political agenda behind it, which makes it even MORE annoying! (:
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