Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hitback! Hitback! Ragnarok Online beta.

Out of sheer boredom (and the need to take a break from my intense writing sessions), I decided to check out one of my older blogs. I couldn't help but smile at one of the entries that I wrote six years ago: it was about my first impressions on Ragnarok Online, when it was still in beta phase.

Some things that should be noted before reading the below excerpt: Ragnarok Online may be the first widely commercialized online game in the Philippines, and the concept of online gaming was practically unheard of to some extent the first time pRO hit the local PCs.

Also, what pRO was back then is very, very different from the cesspit that is the pRO of the present, barring the current patches and the gamebreaking business model, of course.

On the beautiful mockery of life - July 03, 2003

Where in the world can one find the following oddities:

  1. The pope who asks for a kiss for every wound he heals
  2. A merchant named "Don Juan" with a cute ribbon on his hair
  3. Plain, honest chivalry
In an online game, of course.

I stumbled upon Ragnarok online when it was mentioned to me by my college best friend. I was intrigued, and even more so with the prospect of playing a game with other real, live people (her brother's currently addicted to it). The promise is good enough to pull me away from my books.

I was not disappointed.

Simply put, Ragnarok Online is like chat client only with...diversions. You interact with other people in the world which is known as Midgard (my pet peeve is the game's superfluous references to Norse Mythology, but whatever), and take on a job of your own choosing. I took it upon myself to be an archer, the prerequisite to becoming a hunter--which has a nifty ability to own a falcon--even though I was recommended to become a mage.

What amuses me is that when people are logged into the game--in Midgard--people act as if they really live there, that they have a purpose there, even though they are not actually RP'ing (roleplaying), at least, not consciously. You could see that in their dialogues with their friends in RO. One asks a travelling knight which way is it to Prontera, one of the cities, and he will answer you with straightforward directions. Or you could try to haggle for a sword with one of the merchants in the city. You could help save a maiden in distress from being attacked by a wolf as well.

It's a mockery of life, but a mockery of a beautiful, simple life.

One of the interesting things in playing RO is that participants interact with others as citizens in that particular world...unlike in chatting, where you talk to the person behind the username, or YM handle. That's a lot different compared to interacting with the characters in-game: the merchant, the knight, the priest. You're not talking to your pesky neighbor, you're talking to a kick-ass knight.

But I like this fact the most: Chivalry is certainly ever-present in this miniature world. I could not recount all of the many instances other players step in to help me over my in-game predicaments, and I'm not talking about them merely stepping in to finish my quarry (that's KS'ing). Once, when my archer inept was recovering her HP, a thief by the name of Wakalinanka sat down beside me and offered to get rid of any hostiles while my HP is low. Yeah, I remember you. Thanks.

Archer Inept Selrotta and Wakalinanka

With those experiences in mind I realized that people are really more...interesting if only their walls are down: a security afforded by being able to become the person that they want to be, but at the same time is nestled within the confines of anonymity. The barriers that surrounds other people in real life distorts our perception of their true selves.

People are definitely sweeter if only they don't see the need to erect barriers.
(I think I actually went off-tangent there.)

It's just too bad that the locally-hosted Ragnarok Online eventually went down the crapper, but it's not really the game's fault. It's the fault of both the local publisher (for not doing anything to alleviate the problem when it was still not too widespread, for making use of a business model that turned the game into a contest of who's got the most money to waste), and the majority of the local gaming community for being skwater.

(For a good, in-depth discussion of what exactly skwater is, just refer to this page, written by one of the former members of the Knights of Obscurity. Haha I miss you man, wherever you are.)

Anyway, Ryan and I are now playing in a private RO server to reminisce about the good old days, sans the cancer and grinding. This privy server is actually decent: it replicates the good old RO gaming experience. There's still the need to grind, of course, but not as much. And there aren't any game-breaking changes, not like that one server that has the Jedi and Sith as job classes. I lol'ed.

We have to hand it to Ragnarok Online. Despite it's flaws, we still feel the need to go back "home."

My knight Soseji, and his monk Konpeito. They're more like twin sisters than anything else.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I wish.

To be honest, I don't have anything to write about. Nothing witty, artistic, or emo; nothing opinionated (stupid or otherwise) in mind. My brain is taking a blissful vacation, engorging itself in delicious lethargy and I'm fine with it for now.

I wish I brought along my digital camera to take pictures of the clouds during my flight en route to my parent's province, and post it here. But I wasn't able to, and no - I wasn't stupid enough to turn my trip into a hellish ride to the afterworld by turning on my cellphone in-flight.

I wish my parents would stop shouting out their answers while watching them insipid game shows (The Singing Bee is okay in my books though; they have a pretty good song selection and I can't help but sing along as well. Plus, Cesar Montano is a decent host).

I wish I brought more clothes. But I handcarried my entire desktop rig (CPU and widescreen monitor); any more and I'd have to pay excess baggage. Oh wait, I already did.

I wish the groceries here had Tom Yum in their inventory.

I'm actually having a hard time trying to come up with more wishes - I don't wish for a lot, since I'm already more or less content with what I've got - but I know that most of all, I wish most of all that the next care package that I get includes what I want/need the most.

I shan't elaborate - no need to turn this post into a mushfest.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Reading between the lines.

I'm good at discerning hidden, or subtly hinted, messages. Well, at least in text. Though I'm cursing that particular skill after seeing this image:

Do not want.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

When life gives you lemons... make onion rings and udon, of course.

In my case, I decided to make delicious onion rings and udon when I got a stress-inducing lemon. While it's not yet scientifically determined how a tangy, sour, acidic lemon can produce yummy fish and shrimp broth, anyone can do it anyway out of sheer will.

Here's how I did it, with Ryan's help:

First off we made onion rings. We got a single mutant white onion, enough to yield a plateful of onion-y goodness enough for three people, and Ryan sliced it to several pungent rings. I couldn't touch raw onions, because for some reason I have a certain...reaction to them, as long as they're fresh.

The casualty: Ryan's finger

In the meantime I set all the other ingredients - egg, flour, and bread crumbs - into separate bowls. Here's how he did it, according to what Cooking Mama taught him: dip the onion in flour, then egg, and finally coat them with the Japanese bread crumbs. I noticed that the coating stripped off easily, so Ryan tried another tack: dip in egg, then flour, then the crumbs (it made more sense that way). The onion rings then had better coating.

They're actually pretty good.

Next, we made udon. Or we cooked instant udon, to be more precise. There's a nice Japanese grocery near my place, Shinanoya, and needless to say all the stocked items in that grocery will make any weeaboo feel at home. Hey, Calorie Mate. Wasabi nuts. Natto. Nat-chan. Calpis.

We got ourselves a double pack of wet udon noodles, and just dumped it into a pot of boiling water along with the seasoning that came with it. Then we put in a fish broth cube, sliced cabbages and carrots, and shelled shrimps (Ryan morbidly calls them flayed shrimps). We topped it all off with a (half-assedly) poached egg, and the confetti-like Noritama toppings. Profit.

(L-R) The carrots, shoddily-chopped cabbages, the 'flayed' shrimp

(L-R) Ryan dumping the cabbages into the pot, the finished product

What's the lemon? There's something happening in the office right now and yes, it's quite an annoyance. It's more of an annoyance than an all out "oh, woe is me" affair, but let's not delve on that right now. Indulging in too much anger or turning emo won't help me (or anyone) and doesn't look good either.

You do things in style, instead of being immature, whining, and insecure. You do the right things. You do not complain and actually do nothing about the matter at hand (no, picketing isn't tantamount to doing something). You do GAR things, not whimper like a puppy. Nevermind the fact that some puppies whine and mewl just to look cute to their respective owners.



A postscript: If I need to get crabsticks, I'll certainly go for this brand:


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rhythm Tengoku Gold / Rhythm Heaven songs

Thanks to Google and forum-fu, I managed to find audio files ripped off of Rhythm Tengoku Gold (Rhythm Heaven in the US). Yay for fun muzak during work! Below are my most favorite tunes from the game.

If you want to get the zip file of all the tunes ripped from Rhythm Tengoku Gold, just drop me a line here or in my YM (the new one, I already abandoned the Zinfy nick) and tell me where to email it.

I'm not sure about the titles and artists that I put in the song descriptions, by the way. I haven't bothered trying to learn moonspeak so I just scrounged up the info from some messageboards; I just based the titles on their filenames from the audio rips for the rest of the tunes. Consider the names as placeholders, if you will.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sometimes, boredom can lead to something...nice.

I spied the word "Cuil" from someone's YM status message. Turns out Cuil is some upstart search engine that rivals Google, so I tried to test my old pen name on it for the lulz.

Then I found this post in a message board that I'm not familiar with. My old pen name is there, as well as those of my past online acquaintances and a few people I'm close with. It's mostly a non-derogatory post, so I'll go ahead and paste it here (if any of the names mentioned are yours and you don't like to see 'em here, please notify me and I'll take down the part with your name on it).

i don't read books.

i read fanfictions.

recommended fanfictions:

beyond black doors by selrotta(omg i never knew she was magician in jeans!!! i was actually talking to the very same person whose fic got me into the fanfic addiction!!!!!) and dm_punks.

~this was the first fic i read eh.... it did a very very big impact on my life.. without it, i wouldn't be anywhere near RB fanfare, moreso at writer's arcadia)

selrotta's oneshots(try to search if it's still in RB fanfare..)... priceless... T_T

redkinoko's shots(fave: rainfall(damnijustloverain), four seasons, ten arrows, writer's block, bittersweet, anawim, conversations(EL OH EL), in real life, letting go(inspired my oneshot ^^)... his war of the cards fic is great too.)

first circle's shots(fave: cold road(wowwhatatwist), the collector(hereallyisthetimburtonofRBfanfare), tower to the moon(anothergreatone)... then part time death(neverexpectedthistobeacomedyfic) )

t'wolf's controversy(damnwhatagoodsuspensefic)

karasawa's stuff(fave:polarity divide(it'ssobloodydetailed), all her oneshots(damn...i'mspeechless) )

athousandoceans's stuff (fave: a love destructive(you never ever see this kind of fic in RB), and everything else)

if anyone can't find them in RB i'll be glad to send them to you(have copies on HD, except selrotta-sama's oneshots... they're missing T_T)
Unfortunately, most of those one shots are still, gone forever. I distinctly remember A Night in Prontera, Lesson learned: DO NOT USE CD-RW AS BACKUP.

In any case, whoever you are, thanks. I came across your post just when I needed some boost, haha. :3 I haven't written for quite some time already - I'm not joking when I say that I couldn't write these days and this is the worse time for a spell of writer's block to hit me.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Console-sharing, and Rhythm Heaven

1. If anyone tried to borrow any of my electronics years ago, I would have said no and given that person a nice, sound bitchslap. That's how protective I am of my gadgets, especially my cellphone and my gaming consoles, handheld or otherwise.

Back in college, I was baffled to see classmates lending their boyfriends their cellphones. I guess they were rich enough to buy a second handset, but it was tantamount to sacrilege for me: personal electronics are expensive, and to me they are virtual/physical extensions of myself that enabled me to do stuff that I genuinely care about.

(A digression: No, I didn't care about texting that much. Years ago I preferred talking with my peers, though I guess it can't be helped nowadays. People now couldn't even rendezvous without having to text each other messages like "Wer u?" or "san k na?" every five minutes or so. It's retarded, given that hooking up with people used to require only a watch that told the correct time, and being punctual.)

There's also the issue of liability. If your trusted friend accidentally broke or lost your toy, will they be able to replace it? That particular question is certainly something to ponder on, especially if you're still in that stage when your parents bought most of your stuff. If that happens, who's to blame? Not your friend, surely, since he probably didn't want that to happen anyway. You're to blame, of course, who else? You're the one who lent it away.

In any case, I'm still perplexed with the idea of people sharing game consoles or cellular phones with other people, mostly between couples. Game consoles, especially the Microsoft Xbox 360, are sensitive and god knows what may happen during transport. Lol red ring of death.

My things are mine, and they're under my responsibility. Shoo. It's not as if I own anything that's worth borrowing anyway.

2. Rhythm Tengoku Gold (or Rhythm Heaven in its imminent English language release) for the DS is da shiznit. That's all there is to say about it, but here's a brief definition: it's a collection of mini-games and virtual toys that all revolve around one basic element, which is rhythm. For more information how to play it, check out redkinoko's Rhythm Tengoku Gold walkthrough.

Most of the minigames can even be completed with your eyes closed and feeling the beat, but where's the fun in that? Trust me, you don't want to miss out on the kooky eyecandy:

Eh, seeing the doughboy choir makes me want to play through the game again. Oh wait. Dammit. My Nintendo DS is with my beloved.

...Myah. X3