Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ragnarok Online DS scans from Famitsu

It was already announced quite some time ago (almost a year, in fact, but was drowned in obscurity), and just when I thought the whole thing was just a hoax out came a handful of screenshots for the fabled DS version of everyone's favorite bitch, Ragnarok Online:

Scans taken from Famitsu, provided by

As you can see, Ragnarok Online for the DS isn't that different compared to its PC predecessor, except for the bigger sprites. The Kafra maids are still there, and the interface mimics that of the PC MMO, with icons similar to the skill/item hotkeys placed at the top.

But don't be fooled: Ragnarok Online DS is predominantly offline. Does that mean, then, that we should refer to it as Ragnarok Online DS Offline? Or Ragnarok Online Offline DS? Feh, whatever.

To make things simpler, Ragnarok Online DS, like most DS RPGs, focus primarily on an offline single-player story campaign, and the only online action DS users will get is the three-person Tower of Mirages online mode. It's not even clear whether this is done over the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection, or just plain multiplayer where all participants are in the same room (like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates).

Here are the details of the game, taken from sites 1up and Go Nintendo:
  • gameplay remains closely related to PC title
  • offline story mode is main focus
  • Play as Ares, a mild-mannered kid who wants to start up his own guild and be a great adventurer like his father
  • recruit party members
  • takes place in the realm of Rune Midgard
  • build up characters to gain new jobs, skills
  • mostly stylus control
  • tap to pick up items, attack enemies
  • draw circles and more for spells
  • two brand-new jobs (Dark Knight can do special moves that drain HP, Shaman has various magic skills)
  • Online play: three people team up to take on the Tower of Mirages, a 50 floor random dungeon
  • December 18th release in Japan
  • no US plans yet
New character classes? Awesome TWEWY-like control scheme? Cool beans.

If the existence of a handheld RO was reported...say, years ago, when I was still interested in the game and it wasn't quite yet raped throughly, I'd be all happy wappy over this news and despairing over the fact that it won't probably see an English language release.

But my days with RO have already ended, so I'll just say this: Meh.

Update: It's confirmed, the multiplayer online mode will be hosted by Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, so partying up the usual way is still a go.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Saw this sign posted by the firearms depository in a military bank. I smell a Darwin award, somewhere.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Self-inflicted pain: online games.

There are times when you hurt yourself intentionally, and you love it. Yeah, some of us have those dayss. There's the time when you bang your head on the wall, idly, wondering why it feels so odd but you still keep doing it, all the same. Then there are times when you stay in a relationship that brings you nothing but pain, thinking that behind the cloud of angst and sorrow belies a sliver of promise.

Then there are times when you just idly sit by and do nothing but click away in an MMORPG that sucks so much...SO MUCH, you don't know why the hell you chose to use precious bandwidth to download the crap that would probably needlessly send you to carpal tunnel hell. You could have just streamed the latest top gay videos from Nico Nico Douga, but nooo. You just love having to mindlessly click away in a crap game that's going to give you physical ailments in the long run (backaches, headaches, heartaches, toothaches, what have you).

I picked up Cabal Online a few weeks ago, enticed by my officemates and the promise of having our own guild where we can have our jolly good time bashing ourselves to death and no one would bat an eyelash when we meet at work the next day.

...I knew that something's very, very wrong when the official site of the online game you're trying out uses Megaupload and Rapidshare to host the game client download file. This game, Cabal Philippines, was going to cause me pain - I knew it, but I went ahead and installed it anyway.

My suspicions were correct. Aside from the usual shitty atmosphere where thirty minutes wouldn't pass without hearing lametarded bot(witch)hunters harassing their quarry through global messages, there's the issue of having to wait for a few minutes, to half an hour, or more just to get into the game.

But I was being a sport about it. Hey, people still go for Cabal, I told myself. It must be good at some point, right?


After several mindless fetch quests and needless indirect harassment, or just plain annoyance, I eventually decided to drop the game.

Then my partner recommended some obscure game called Mabinogi.

My character, currently level 16

I thought that it was an anime series - I couldn't be bothered enough to actually do some research about it when I first saw Mabinogi in a questionable image board - but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was actually an online game that employs unorthodox online game mechanics, such as being able to develop your character with your choice of skills (no character classes here), as well as engage in other activities such as weaving, tailoring, and even music composition. Mabinogi sounded like a charm. More like the Sims (which I don't touch, not even with a ten-foot pole), but still a bit of a charm.

After I downloaded the client, though, I almost slammed the keyboard when I found out, too late, that the Global Mabinogi is actually North American Mabinogi. All IPs except Amerikka were blocked. America as the new definition of "global" nao? Whodathunk? Thanks to good Google-fu, I managed to circumvent the block by assigning an American IP to my PC (no, Hotspot Shield does not work), and try out the game for myself.

Granted, the game was fun. Until you get thrown into battles.

Suffice it to say that the character is mainly unresponsive while you ferociously click your way into carpal tunnel syndrome. It could be the lag, or it could be the silly charging time for attacks (both regular and special), or it could just be your utter helplessness of waiting whether or not your character will strike first before it gets raped by a mere puppy.

I don't know.

At least, I get to shear sheep.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Dark Knight movie impressions, and WHAR IS SQUIRTLE

1. The Dark Knight movie impressions

To set the record straight: I never liked superhero flicks. No, really. Not because I badly want to "go against the grain" or however you want to call it, I just don't. My days with superheroes ended when my brother's stash of comicbooks - comicbooks that I surreptitiously sneak out of his room whenever he's out - suddenly disappeared along with my childhood and my then-fascination with spandex-clad people.

With that said, I was surprised when I found myself clamoring for more superhero movies - of the same caliber, of course - after watching the Dark Knight. The question is IF I can see more superhero movies that can even be compared to Christian Bale's (*swoon swoon*) reprisal of the Caped Crusader. Everytime I remember The Fantastic Four movie, though, my faith in Hollywood wanes.

Back to the movie. The Dark Knight, first and foremost, transcends being just a good superhero movie into a feature that focuses on the psyche of the people of Gotham City as a collective whole, including its heroes and villains. In fact, it is the people who pushes Batman's hand when he decides to pass on his mantle as the pallbearer of justice to the "White Knight," Harvey Dent.

But of course, not even the thousands of citizens of Gotham City can take the limelight out of Heath Ledger's Joker. You know that he's certainly something after seeing him perform the "Disappearing Pencil" trick.

This is one Joker that many people will no doubt use as a benchmark against the future portrayals of Joker. You won't find a clean-cut or a theatrical Joker in THIS movie. No, what you get is a brilliant criminal whose cold logic is the complete parallel of Batman's own. Ledger's Joker is not insane - he's just a highly efficient criminal with a Glasgow smile who wouldn't let trivial things such as loyalty get in the way of his goals, and you can see that in the genius applied in the bank heist at the beginning of the movie.

And we go to Harvey Dent. Ah, Harvey. In the first half of the movie I sat back in my seat, relaxed at the thought that there's at least one predictable character in the movie, aside from the fact that he's going to be transformed as Two-face in the end.

I was glad to be proven wrong. What I didn't expect was for me to actually like Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent - a powerful district attorney who's as straight as a rod in many ways than one. One his shoulders lay what could be one of the biggest responsibilities for a city of Gotham City: bring hope to the people that yes, there is law. And yes, crime DOES pay, and there's someone incorruptible at the helm, always watching out for them.

Dent is supposed that person, and who better to champion him than Batman himself?

Unfortunately, Dent's portrayal becomes a bit forced in the later parts of the movie, starting at the cause of his transformation as Two-face. Not sudden or unexplained, of course, but just a tad forced.

But in the end, what impressed me the most in the movie aren't the main characters, but the supporting ones. Yes, I'm looking at Alfred the Butler, Lucius Fox, and even Rachel - Rachel, who didn't seem to change despite being portrayed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and not Katie Holmes. They're not the usual supporting home team who hands Batman his utility belt, pats his fanny and lets him go on his way. No - they're people with actual needs, opinions, and reasons why they help Batman. Fox is the best example - he still feels compelled to help Batman even if doing so goes against his morals.

Speaking of morals, I somehow feel that Joker's social experiment between the Gotham citizens and the prisoners, though impressive in its own right, was a bit stilted. Not trite, but it's as cheesy and as out of place as a heartwarming Hallmark scene in a movie that's all about mindfuckery and shooting people's brains out because they don't serve their purpose anymore.

Despite being an exceptional film, it's just a bit sad that the tagline of The Dark Knight movie poster, "Welcome to a world without rules," does not give the movie justice. It sounds awfully like something that should be pasted onto another poster with a random muscled, topless guy holding a machine gun in one hand and a chainsaw in the other. It's taken from the Joker, that one person in the movie who is criminal simply because he is not bound to any rules, literally, but that doesn't capture one of the greater thesis of the film, which is summed up nicely by Dent (in words and in action): that those who wield power either die as heroes or live long enough to become villains.

I'm not going to expound even further about the plot of the movie - I wouldn't take the pleasure away from you - but yeah. Go see the movie. The Dark Knight is so brilliant, I have already forgiven Bale's horrible raspy voice as the Batman. It's that good.

I read that The Dark Knight was optimized for IMAX, so if you have the dough (which I and my partner didn't when we watched yesterday), splurge on those IMAX tickets and wear those stupid glasses. It's way better than watching a girl hallucinate after smelling dino egg fart.


I'm not talking about my pet, Squirtle (apologies to those who thought I was referring to my pet - some contacted me in YM when I had "WHERE THE HELL IS SQUIRTLE?" as my status message). My pet is happily swimman in his container, and chillin on his platform everyday under the sun to dry his shell and get his tan. I'm talking about his namesake, the Pokemon.

I really don't watch Pokemon. I don't have anything to do with Pokemon. I only watched a few episodes when it was first aired in GMA 7 (heralded with Billy Joe Crawford's GAR opening theme), I couldn't be bothered with the card games and even the DS games (no, Rio, please don't hurt me. I didn't say the game was bad! D: )

But when I saw Squirtle waddle about as one of Red's Pokemon in Super Smash Brothers Brawl, I was in love. No, it wasn't because Squirtle was a half-tartol, half...squirrel (?), but because of how Squirt was portrayed in the game: look at him wag his tail! Look at him do cartwheels in the air! Look at him surf....BLARGH. THE EPITOME OF CUTENESSSBLARGHAHGAHAHGAH


Anyway, ever since I saw him in Brawl I started looking for anything Squirtle. So far, I found...nothing. No posters, no figures, no plushies, no NOTHING.

Was Squirtle retconned? His fellow starting Pokemon Charmander and Bulba/Venus/Whateversaur are still around. SO WHAR?



Saturday, July 5, 2008

It's annoying...

When someone clearly has a beef with you but can't say it upfront, has to either pussyfoot about it or just play hide and seek instead of directly confronting you about it.

Not my problem.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Plugging! : Fanfic Contest (no, not mine XD)

Awesome Deviant Artist Addy is holding a fanart/fanfic contest of the Ben 10 persuasion. Particularly, of the Gwevin persuasion. If you know what the series is...or better yet, what Gwevin is, it's likely that you're qualified to join the contest. Go check out the details here.

I'm also going to take this as a good reason to add a "Public Service Announcement" section to my sidebar.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Birthday.

Whether or not this anecdote really happened during the Sichuan tragedy, I BAWWWWED.


More strips can be found here: China 5.12 Earthquake Strips

Go go go go.