GGF#8: Initial D comes to the PS3!!

[Gamer Girl Friday]

When the Goonfather first tried to persuade me to watch Initial D, the anime series, with him, I was like, “Eew, I don’t want to watch a stupid racing car anime. How boring!”

So he watched it himself (in fact, at that time, he was watching Season 1 for the third time), although he very cunningly watched it while I was in the same room.

Once in a while, I would accidentally catch a glimpse of it.

Gradually, the accidental glimpses turned to cursory glances. Then they turned to lingering looks. Next thing I knew, I was sitting beside him watching the damn thing.

Once I bit into the hook and couldn’t wiggle my way out of the couch, I made him start watching from episode 1 all over again so I could enjoy the series from the beginning.

Yes, it’s that good. But I’m not here to talk about anime. I’m here to rave over the latest game release from SEGA — Initial D: Extreme Stage for the PS3.

Very nice!

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Table of Contents

  1. Initial D: Extreme Stage (PS3) gameplay
  2. Initial D: Extreme Stage (PS3) review
  3. Thrashed by a 10-year-old in soccer
  4. Adventures of Sheylara the Barbarian Part 7
  5. Last week’s giveaway winner
  6. Ask Sheylara
  7. Who wants a Blue Dragon faceplate?

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Initial D: Extreme Stage (PS3) gameplay

Fresh from the store! So fresh the paint on the cover is still drying! I mean the game.

Here’s a video captured while I was playing it last night. Watch the intro, too! It’s so good!!

Let it load up while you read the review below!

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Initial D: Extreme Stage review

Yes, the game is only available in Japanese but you totally do not need to understand the language to have a lot of fun playing it.

Platform: PS3
Language: Japanese
Manual: English
Require Knowledge of Japanese Language: No
Region Code: 3 (Asia)
Player: 1
Dual Shock 3 Support: Yes
Steering Wheel Support: Driving Force Ex, Driving Force Pro, partially G25

SEGA has been kind enough to include English translations in the manual for us plebians.

The only downside to not knowing Japanese is that you won’t understand and enjoy the conversations in story mode.

Not a biggie, in my opinion. You can always watch the anime, which has enough story in all four seasons to satisfy the child in you.

Initial D: Extreme Stage was released only yesterday, so I’ve had limited time to test it out, but my immediate opinion is that it’s worth the buy for Initial D or drifting fans.

(As a pure racing game, it lacks features, but Initial D is not a racing game per se, it’s a drift game! If you’re not into drifting, then you won’t want to play this, if you get my drift.)

Similar to the arcade version of the game, players can customise their characters and cars.

I don’t particularly like the way the characters look, but that’s how they look in the original manga so I’ll just have to live with it.

You can tweak stuff like skin tone, eyes and lips, but they still end up looking as lame as they came.

But never mind the avatars. The main point of this game is the cars. Choose from a range of Japanese makes (Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Initial D) and models.

Yes, there’s a make called Initial D. Haha. Very cute. It has only one model, though, the Sil-80.

Next step, create a license plate.

Then, select a race course.

Followed by an opponent.

There are seven courses available at the start, each attached with its own opponents (just like in the anime)!

After each race, you get points whether or not you win. Of course, go for gold to get more points. These precious points allow you to pimp your ride in the tuning shop. Just like any other racing game, I suppose.

I like the replay feature in this game (you can watch it in the video posted above). The entire match is replayed in different angles right after you win a race.

If you feel that you’ve put in such a rousing performance that you simply must show it off to your pals or to a chick you’re trying to impress (although that’s kinda iffy because chicks don’t generally get impressed by videogame driving), you can save your replay clip for future reference.

Well, it’s a very simple, straight-forward game.

But it’s Initial D. That makes it great, instantly.

Unfortunately, there’s no online play. And it’s only available for the PS3. And is only sold in Asia.

But it’s Initial D.

Enough said.

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Thrashed by a 10-year-old in soccer

Well, you can’t exactly blame me. I’ve never played a soccer game in my life. I’ve never even played real soccer.

These 10-year-olds, they’re pros with consoles. They’ve got lots of time to practise when they come home from school.

Me, the only practice I get a lot of is sitting on my butt and wearing out my keyboard.

So, this was at the UEFA EURO 2008 tournament last Saturday, organised by Adidas.

I was invited to take part in the tournament because I’m Gamer Girl Friday.

I said, “Yes, I may be Gamer Girl Friday, but I don’t play soccer games.”

“Never mind,” they said. “Just come and play for fun.”

“I’ll get thrashed in the first 10 seconds and totally embarrass myself.”

“That’s alright.”

Of course, it’s alright for you.

But never let it be said that Sheylara is a wet blanket. Sheylara is game for any game, any time!

So, off I went to play soccer.

Ten minutes before the tournament was slated to start, I found myself a coach.

Wilfred from Adidas gave me a five-minute crash course on button mashing, after which he set me up for a practice match with this little boy who just happened to be there.

I don’t know how old this boy is, so I’m just generalising that he’s 10 years old because it’s a good round figure. He could be 12 or 15, who knows?

He totally thrashed me. The score was like 4-0, two minutes into the game.

I was so traumatised that I went running to Eunice to cry on her shoulder.

We ended up camwhoring, of course.

Soon after, the tournament started. My name was called in the very first round! Stress!

And guess who my first opponent was.

The very same boy who was my practice partner just a while ago! What are the odds, really, out of like 100 participants?

Check out my stressed expression!

The official tournament match lasted 10 minutes. My fingers nearly broke at the end of it.

I did better this time, though. At the end of 10 minutes, the score was 3-0.

I congratulated the boy for getting into the next round and took a picture with him.

After that, I went to hug the giant football for comfort and to see if I might not metaphysically absorb the power of the great football spirit, which might turn me into an instant football pro.

Not very high odds on that, but you never know.

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Adventures of Sheylara the Barbarian Part 7

After doing a series of quests to help her find her destiny, Sheylara the barbarian girl became very stressed.

Her destiny mentor told her, “Now, you must pass the most gruesome test of all. You must wear ugly, ill-fitting rags!”

Sheylara stared at her in confusion.

“You must be brave and do this. Only then can you find yourself.”

Sheylara blinked in dismay.

“No more bikinis?”

“No more. These clothes, although ugly, give you better stats, anyway. And you do need them because I’m sending you out on more suicide missions.”

So, Sheylara embarked on the next phase of her miserable life.

Her first mission was to chat up the city drunkard without getting puke all over herself.

Then, she had to brave the cold night and climb a mountain to pick some stupid flowers.

For once, she was glad for her ugly rags.

She had to save an old man from a bunch of town bullies, for which she reflected that doing in bikini might have been more effective because it’s always more effective to be wearing a bikini when you’re dealing with a bunch of rowdy barbarian men.

Then, there was a… um… courtesan that she had to seduce, which she thought was a rather stupd thing to ask her to do. But the world never makes sense, anyway.

There were also plenty of bloody fights. Too many of them, in fact.

At the end of it all, she was so bone-weary she had to scream.

“Well done!!” said her destiny mentor. “Even though you did die several times, I’m proud that you eventually completed all your quests!!”

“I will give you a present to reward you for your great work! You can now wear this skirt instead of that ugly pair of baggy pants!”

Sheylara looked at her new skirt and let out an inaudible sigh.

“Great, just what I needed.”

(To be continued…)

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Last week’s giveaway winner

This was quite a tough one to decide, which is suprising considering that there were only six valid entries. (Why ah? The prize too small? Hehe.)

I asked readers to tell me what they like and don’t like about Gamer Girl Friday and I was going to pick my favourite entry to win this keychain.

To be honest, many of your comments confused me, specifically regarding the barbarian girl story. Some of you listed that item as both a plus and a minus. What is this, like, describing a girlfriend? I love her but I hate her.

Of course, there are those who either purely like it or purely hate it, and that’s fine.

All the same, thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I appreciate even those who confused me. I know you don’t mean to, so maybe it’s just me being too dumb and sleep-deprived to decipher your meaning.

Still, I have to pick a winner.

And the winner is…

…DRUMROLL…

(Hey, like, I can do that for real!! I’m a drummer!! :P)

aig!

(The problem now being that your name is so short that it totally anti-climaxes the announcement! =P)

But, yes, aig gets the keychain because he gave me constructive suggestions without being cryptic about it.

Please give him applause!

Okay, to end this, I do take all your suggestions to heart, but I may not implement them right away because of various limitations. Taking baby steps to improve, can?

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Ask Sheylara

Ask me any gaming-related questions! Post them in the comments or e-mail me, I don’t really care. I will try to answer all questions (unless I get like 500 questions a day).

quigonjinn42 asks a question about this video:

How have you done a dual monitor setup? AoC’s window is not resizable oO… Have you got DualMonitor from Matrox?

Sheylara Says:

No, I haven’t got DualMonitor. What you need to do is tweak some settings outside of AoC.

I’m using NVIDIA 8800 GT, so I go to NVIDIA control panel and select the Display folder. In there, I choose the option “As one large horizontal desktop”. This forces every application I use on my comp to think that both my monitors are only one monitor. So, yes, AoC is forced to play across both screens!

Not sure why anyone would want to play an MMORPG on dual screen, though. It’s a bit annoying because your avatar is split in two.

The Goonfather asks a trick question:

You can only choose one: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP, NDS, Goonfather. Which would you choose and why.

Sheylara Says:

Er… I choose the PSWii60!

Haha! Incidentally, PSWii60 was the Goonfather’s nick on MSN back at the time when he was torn between all the consoles. I think it’s a good choice!

Okay la okay la. I choose the Goonfather because he doesn’t run out of batteries, doesn’t get RROD, doesn’t cost money to maintain (buy new games), doesn’t make me lose sleep trying to beat the next level and, best of all, the Goonfather feeds me barbeque chicken wings.

Dexter Tiah asks an Xbox 360 question:

Recently, when I was playing a game on my Xbox 360, the screen shut off and the player 1 and player 3 light flashed red. This not only applied to my Winning Eleven game, but other games like PGR4 also caused the same effect when I played, barely 3 mins into the game.

Can I know what is the problem, in your opinion? I have a suspicion it’s the xbox rings of death or something. Is there anything I can do to correct it?

Sheylara Says:

The famed Xbox Red Ring of Death is indicated by at least three quadrants lighting up in red. If there are two reds, it’s most likely just a routine overheating problem. I guess the best immediate fix would be to turn off your system and go do something else first.

There’s a famous towel fix for the RROD which tons of people swear by, but I really won’t recommend that.

What I would recommend is that you place your Xbox 360 in a well-ventilated area or even aim a fan at it while you’re playing.

If you still keep getting red lights for no apparent reason, it’s best that you call the Xbox Singapore Customer Care toll free hotline at 800 448 1330 (Mon—Fri, 9am—6pm). More efficient to have a trained technician walk you through a fix!

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Who wants a Blue Dragon faceplate?

Yeah, I know the game is pretty old but I have this Xbox 360 faceplate sitting around at home, not being used. Never used, so it’s still brand spanking new.

I think it’s looks cool and sort of cute, and it’s an original limited edition Xbox 360 Blue Dragon faceplate, so I believe there will be people who want this!

Post a comment if you want it (before next Friday). I will do a lucky draw!

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There are a few other games I wanted to talk about this week, such as Happy Tree Friends False Alarm (Xbox 360), Guitar Hero Aerosmith (PS3), Guitar Hero on Tour (DS), Trauma Center 2 (DS). But, to be honest, I don’t really want to talk about games unless I’ve played them, and I haven’t had time to play them this week.

From the start, I meant for Gamer Girl Friday to be very personal, to share my personal experiences in gaming and my personal likes and dislikes.

So, I know you guys want to read about more games, so I will try and play more games so I can talk about more games in the coming weeks and in the future!

Meanwhile, feel free to suggest games you want me to play and talk about! :)

Oh, yes. To my American readers, happy Independence Day!

[Gamer Girl Friday]

GGF#2: Age of Conan special edition

[Gamer Girl Friday]

Oh, gosh, is it Friday already? While people are thanking god it’s Friday, I’m raising the panic alarm for a worrying number of deadlines unmet.

Nevertheless, Gamer Girl Friday is still in business, even if I have to sacrifice my Age of Conan game time.

In fact, I only had time to play for one measly hour since receiving my AoC registration key on Wednesday. But that’s enough to talk about AoC at great length because it gave me enough lasting first impressions to fill a book.

You’ll want to read my “Adventures of Sheylara the Barbarian” series because it’s funny!

And don’t forget to take part in this week’s contest. I’m giving away a Grand Theft Auto IV game! Ooh!

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Table of Contents

  1. Playing Age of Conan on dual-monitor setup
  2. Adventures of Sheylara the Barbarian Part 1
  3. Age of Conan first impressions
  4. Ninja patrol squad terrorizes Bugis Junction
  5. Results of last week’s contest
  6. Ask Sheylara
  7. Win a Grand Theft Auto IV game!!

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Playing Age of Conan on dual-monitor setup

Here’s a quite useless and self-indulgent video showing you Age of Conan played on dual-screen mode.

I was on a dual-monitor setup when I logged in to Age of Conan for the first time and found that I couldn’t force the game back to one screen, so I decided to play it like that just for the heck of it.

Of course, the game world looks incredibly beautiful spread across two screens, but it was a pain to play because of the gap between the two monitors, where your character is stuck the whole time.

So, bad idea. Next!

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Adventures of Sheylara the Barbarian Part 1

Once upon a time, onboard a slave galley, there lived a kind-hearted and innocent barbarian girl by the name of Sheylara.

[The galley slaves couldn't get entirely coordinated]

Sheylara had been kidnapped from her hometown in Aquilonia to be sold into slavery. Her talents include looking cute and owning an outrageously daring bikini (for that era).

[She often got teased for her birthmarks]

One day, as luck would have it, the ship got wrecked by some fearsome squall or something and everyone got thrown overboard. Sheylara passed out before washing up on some scenic beach shore, just like in the movies.

Shortly after, a strange old man, who just happened to be hanging out at the beach, came along and tried to wake her.

Amazingly, Sheylara wasn’t dead and even managed to wake up looking like she just stepped out of the latest issue of Swimsuit Illustrated.

[How is this pose? She asked]

The strange old man said to Sheylara, “Since you’ve washed up on the shore anyway, I might as well make you do some work. There’s this cute little thing got herself captured by an evil man. Go save her, would you please, if you’re not in a hurry to go anywhere.”

Sheylara, being kind-hearted and innocent and, in fact, not in a hurry to go anywhere, agreed to the old man’s request even as she coughed out the last drops of seawater from her lungs.

Now, it didn’t take her long to find the cute little thing that needed rescuing.

[Help!]

“Help!” said the cute little thing, whose name is Casilda. “You look like you have the stomach for a bloody encounter (even if you resemble a swimsuit model). Wouldn’t you please kill that meanie over there and get his keys to free me? Please?”

“Okay,” said kind-hearted and innocent Sheylara, and off she went waving the broken bottle that the strange old man had given to her to use as a weapon.

[This pose I'm sure you like, she said]

Incredibly, Sheylara managed to kill the meanie with nothing but the broken bottle and her charms.

[He was surely afraid of the broken bottle]

She returned to Casilda and freed the bimbotic wench. Then, the two ladies had a nice conversation about the latest trends in swimwear.

[The girls had a fine time chatting in the jungle]

Casilda said, “Hey, you know what? The city of Tortage has some really nice shopping spots. Why don’t we walk there together and I’ll show you around?”

“Awesome plan!” said Sheylara.

The two provocatively-dressed ladies then proceeded to leisurely stroll through the jungle, chatting and giggling as if they’d known each other forever.

Suddenly, Sheylara was attacked!

[There had to be a better way of donating blood]

“What is this?!?!?!?!” she screeched. “You didn’t tell me there were more bad men around!”

“Oops, sorry,” said Casilda as she scurried off to hide behind a tree. “My bad.”

Just as Sheylara was about to get slaughtered good and proper, a strange feeling overcame her.

[Dance Dance Revolution v200]

A fascinating blue light descended upon her, like a deus ex machina, and infused her with the strength of a panther and the courage of a man who’s about to get a root canal treatment without anesthesia.

“I can take on the whole world!!” she declared. “Come and get me if you dare!”

[Nobody was going to mess with her]

With that, the thug in front of her dropped dead with fright. He also dropped some loot just the way mobs are supposed to, when they die.

“Cool!! A new bikini!!” enthused Sheylara, as she changed into her new outfit right there and then, never considering prying eyes hidden in bushes.

[It was quite cooling]

Casilda ran out of hiding.

“Aww, pretty!” she crooned. “I told you, didn’t I? There’s a lot more of that where we’re going!”

Sheylara blushed before rolling her eyes and said, “Yeah, okay, let’s go. But next time, warn me before I get hacked almost in two pieces again!”

With that, the two happy maidens went on their merry way.

(To be continued next week…)

[She's a little of the shy wallflower]

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Age of Conan first impressions

Like I said, I could fill a book with my first impressions, but I’ll just pick a few things because I’m sure you don’t want to read a book.

Impressing me right at the outset was the character creation screen. It’s so dynamic I thought it was another intro video sequence.

[Character Creation is a game in itself]

As the story goes, you’re a captive on this ship on the way to being sold into slavery. The character creation screen shows you being on a ship, surrounded by oarsmen busy at work rowing and making a frightful din.

It’s a dark and stormy night and all that and you’re alone and frightened, but you have work to do. You have to choose a gender and race and class, following which you have to choose hair colour, eye colour, body shape and size, and all the rest of it.

[Never has such a beautiful slave been born]

From here, you have the option to go into an advanced customisation mode to tweak every single last detail, from boob size to eyebrow angle. Never has character customisation been so detailed since Star Wars Galaxies.

Past the character creation stage, the game world is truly a sight to behold.

[She thought perhaps the gate needed a good whacking]

The colours are vibrant, the landscape is lush, the avatars so detailed. Everything is just so beautiful it makes your heart sing with joy.

Once in a while, you get these cutscene animations when you initiate contact with an NPC.

[Hello, pretty!]

These are pretty cool. Makes me feel like I’m playing a console game. And the voice acting is really good. The only complaint I have here is that the character animation seems a little blocky, lacking the natural fluidity of real-life motion.

Not that I’m expecting a lot. Remember Beowulf (Angelina Jolie)? Even that didn’t achieve 100% fluidity. So I don’t expect any better from a game for which cutscenes are only a minor feature.

Age of Conan is not a game for MMORPG newbies. There is no newbie-friendly tutorial such as you would get in World of Warcraft and EverQuest II. You do get guides that pop out when the game feels you need some, but they are not as intuitive as those in aforementioned games.

But that’s fine because I’m not an MMORPG noob and I managed to get a quest and kill some mobs right away.

AoC is very bloody, which is a first for an MMORPG.

[Ouch, that hurts, you dope!]

It’s very tantalising. If you’re playing a female avatar, you’re staring at a pair of perky butt cheeks 95% of game time.

[Ooooh]

There’s also the option to disrobe your avatar almost completely but I’m not showing it here!

Oh, did I forget to mention spell animation?

I totally love it! If it’s so beautiful even at starting levels, I can’t wait to see what I’m going to get at higher levels.

[She felt a sudden chill]

I took a video with the built-in video recorder (also an MMORPG first, I think) but it’s in a weird resolution (1274×992) because I was playing in windowed mode and, somehow, YouTube isn’t able to play that.

I love the built-in video recorder, except that it doesn’t capture sound. I have no idea why.

Well, I think that’s enough AoC for a day. If I talk anymore about it, I’ll never be able to get out of my house and I do have an event to attend in a couple hours.

If you’re in Thog, look me up!

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Ninja patrol squad terrorizes Bugis Junction

There are only two days left to the Ninja Gaiden II preorder promotion and the current preorder figure stands at 327 (needs 174 more for the release of the second tier freebie of the NG2 notebook).

For such a popular long-running game series, I’m surprised the figure isn’t higher.

But then, it’s not my job to worry about preorder sales figures. My job is to worry about properly terrorizing random folks in the streets with my scary Ninja demeanor!

[Scary shit!]

As you can see, we were completely and utterly menacing.

In fact, people had to literally beg us not to harm them.

[Very]

Ferocious Ryu Hayabusa says, “You. Yes, you there. I’m watchin’ you, kid, I’m watchin’ you.”

[Get me a cheese toasted sandwich, please]

That was unfortunately the last of the ninja patrol tourist attraction pose squad, although we will be making a couple of appearances during the launch event on June 3 at Funan, which will be on from 12:30 pm till 8 pm.

There will be a lucky draw going on every hour for people who have pre-ordered the game. An exclusive NG2-themed Xbox 360 Elite will be given away! I wonder who the lucky person will be. Will it be me? (I wish).

You have until Sunday to preorder the game. I swear it’s really fun. Go for it!

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Results of last week’s contest

Last week, I put five Grand Theft Auto IV stickers and three Grand Theft Auto IV coasters up for grabs. The response was really quick and all items were snapped up within a few hours!

[Prizes!!]

Congratulations to the following winners!

GTA4 coasters
tedbear
bedlamite
Aves

GTA4 stickers
Leo
Bartman
modchip
Ayane06
siegeholler

The items will be mailed out to you as soon as I can find some time to zip down to the P.O.

[Back to Table of Contents]

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Ask Sheylara

Ask me any gaming-related questions! Post them in the comments or e-mail me, I don’t really care. I will try to answer all questions (unless I get like 500 questions a day).

BC asks a Wii question:

I wanted to connect to the Internet using my Wii and its in Japanese so I downloaded your site’s translation. However, when I went to press the wrench icon to go to system settings, it gives me an error message saying that it can’t connect to this certain url and that I should check if I typed it right. I have never touched the settings until now. Please help.

Sheylara Says:

This is one of the most common problems faced by users of a modified Japanese Wii set. When you insert a game disc of another region code which contains a firmware patch update, it will overwrite your original menu. You then get an error because the system is trying to locate the Japanese menu with the address “marc:JP/JP/JPN/index01.html” but it’s not there anymore.

This is known as semi-bricking your Wii. You can still play games but you just can’t access the settings menu. In some severe cases, you will get a fully-bricked Wii, in which case your set is totally unplayable.

You can fix semi-bricks by inserting a Japanese game with a firmware update that is higher than your Wii version. That will overwrite the menu again with a valid Japanese one.

Matthew Chua asks a DS Lite question:

I just bought a DS Lite for my girlfriend. But, being a gadget idiot, I’m lost trying to load music into it. Do I need any software to do it? I’m using an ezflash card.

Sheylara Says:

Please note that Gamer Girl Friday does not advocate piracy! But I will answer your question this once. If you’re using EZ-Flash V, it should have an MP3 icon which you can tap to launch the media player. If not, what you need is Moonshell. I can’t explain to you in detail because it’s not exactly legit. But you can Google it.

David Lee asks a console comparison question:

If you were totally unbiased, how would you rank the PS3, Wii and Xbox 360, in terms of games, performance, satisfaction?

Sheylara Says:

It’s really hard to rank them strictly, so I will tell you what I like about each console!

PS3: It’s sleek and shiny and it has Blu-ray capabilities so you save your money on a Blu-ray player.

Wii: It’s cute and the games are a totally different experience. I love the great workout some of the games give.

Xbox 360: For now, Xbox 360 has the best games library and the Xbox Live experience is unbeatable.

You know what, I’m going to open this last question out to all you readers. It’s really hard for me because I do like all the consoles almost equally. But there must be dedicated fans of specific consoles out there. So how would you rank the three consoles?

Post your answers in the comments here.

Best answer received before next Friday will get a small mystery prize!

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Win a Grand Theft Auto IV game!!

YES YES YES. I’m giving out a Grand Theft Auto IV game (Xbox 360 Asian version) because I’ve got a kind sponsor this week. And because it’s a bigger prize, the contest will be a little harder than last week’s (but not that hard).

[Wouldn't you like to take me home?]

This week’s prize is sponsored by The Xbox 360 team in Singapore. (Yaay! Give them a standing ovation!)

Here’s how you can win it!

  1. Write a review of Gamer Girl Friday.
  2. Post it on your blog or in a gaming-related forum (but don’t spam).
  3. Link the post to www.sheylara.com.
  4. Post a comment here when you’ve done it so I can check it out.

Rules:

  1. There is no word limit and it can be any style you like.
  2. Entries will be judged by me! I will pick the one I like best.
  3. You need to be at least 18 to win this prize. (ID verification will be required.)
  4. Closing date is June 5, 2008!

[Back to Table of Contents]

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Oh, my. Today’s issue seems very long. I don’t know if you read everything but thanks for reading!

Remember to take part in both contests! There is one sneakily embedded in the Ask Sheylara segment. Haa.

Okay, Gamer Girl Friday needs to sign off now to go play Age of Conan (after attending previously mentioned event).

See you next week!

[Gamer Girl Friday]