The following was first published in Stuff Magazine, May 2010.
I am going to suggest something revolutionary. I am going to suggest that, if you have kids, you allow them to play games. In fact, make them play games. Start them as young as possible.
It’s easy enough to keep the lads interested since they’re born with the ability to grow gaming controllers between their hands, with or without parental help. But girls might need some nurturing, so keep your home stocked with the latest releases to cultivate their love for gaming.
It’s very important for girls, especially, to love gaming. I’ll tell you why (or I risk my editor throwing this column back in my face).
You want your daughters to grow up as gamers because gamers are smart, fast-thinking and creative. Many important life skills are learnt in games, such as leadership, problem solving and cooking.
But the biggest reason to breed girl gamers is to encourage marital harmony.
Think about it. If women understood the absolute need to play just one more mission to unlock that new kickass skill before coming to bed, there would be fewer quarrels and more happiness.
If women understood the utmost importance of playing Final Fantasy XIII on launch day instead of celebrating one of those ridiculous “monthiversary” things, many household accidents (such as porcelain plates mysteriously flying towards walls) could be avoided.
Sure, there’s gaming addiction to contend with. I’m not denying anything. But I have turned out fine and I enjoy harmonious relationships with men, except when we get competitive over whose computer is more powerful.
So, breed a gamer today. Your daughters and sons-in-law will thank you for it. Not to mention the Singapore government.
I’m waiting impatiently for the Xbox team to send me my copy of Scene It? Box Office Smash! I totally can’t wait to play it!
I saw the game in action at a recent Xbox press event, where a few journalists were invited to pit their movie knowledge against one another.
It looks fun! I am embarrassingly bad at trivia games because my memory is horrible (a few times I watched a movie more than halfway through before I remembered that I had already watched it), plus I don’t watch movies often so I am effectively ignorant, but I want to play!
I love the use of the Xbox avatars, which you will see perform lots of cute actions.
And the fact that the game features mostly new movies, rather than movies made before you were born.
There are also 22 puzzle types which means it won’t get boring so quickly.
Oh, and big button buzzers that come with the game!
Here’s a video of the competition!
The game arrived while I was working on GGF! Wootage! Just in time for me to take a photo of the actual box. Sitting atop the epic mess on my desk.
Aww I feel like crying.
It’s such an emotional journey gamers undertake with their games.
On Tuesday, the Xbox team hosted a Chinese New Year get-together at Brewerkz, Riverside Point, for gaming journalists.
There were Lips and Scene It? Box Office Smash friendly tournaments to start off the event. It was pretty trippy. I think everyone had fun, not just because of the free-flow beer, but because all the gaming journos more or less know each other since they always meet at events.
I didn’t drink any beer because alcohol makes me either sleepy or tipsy, neither of which are recommended states of consciousness in the company of journalists.
We were also shown previews of Ninja Blade and Halo Wars, the two next hot titles coming out on the Xbox 360, which I will talk about nearer to the dates. But they’re very anticipated titles!
We were also shown the latest gaming mouse: the Microsoft SideWinder X8, which boasts BlueTrack technology and has a play-while-you-charge feature and, well, tons of other things. I don’t want to sound like the back of a blister pack so let’s leave it at that.
And we were informed that the fashionable Arc mouse, previously in black and red, now also comes in white!
(I know it doesn’t look very white in the picture. Bad lighting lah.)
I wonder if pink will be next!
Everyone went home with a Lips t-shirt and an Arc mouse!! How cool is that?
The t-shirt says, “I want you to play with my Lips.” Or something like that. I can’t find my t-shirt now to confirm. It’s either sitting in Makkuro or buried somewhere in one of the junk heaps in my room.
Maybe I’ll give that out as prize next week… if I can find it. =P
Many gamers have told me that they don’t like Norton because it slows down their computers, among other things. So, I wonder what they will say to this:
Norton AntiVirus 2009 Gaming Edition!
It’s designed to gamer specifications after taking into account endless feedback over the years.
This software, in the words of Symantec, “won’t bother you while you’re in the middle of a game”.
It uses less than 6MB memory, installs in under a minute, adds less than one second to boot time, averages scans in less than 35 seconds and waits till your computer is idle before performing resource intensive actions.
Symantec hosted a Counter-Stike gaming tournament on Wednesday to allow gamers to experience firsthand the NAV GE.
To be more accurate, you don’t experience it because you’re not supposed to feel or see it (unless you specifically want to). We had a few great sessions of lag-free gaming at Cathay E2MAX.
I took Unker Kell and RN1209 with me to the event and we were put in a team to challenge three other guests.
ME! PLAYING FPS!
Actually, I wasn’t too bad. I even managed to get in quite a number of kills. But our team still lost. Blah. It’s all my fault!! *cries*
I’ve never played Counter-Strike before but I think it’s fun. Don’t mind playing again.
Our tournament was actually just a farce. The real tournament happened with the real experts. Team Titans (four-time WCG Singapore champions) vs some other team whose name I’ve forgotten. I’m sorry!!
I’m sorry GGF didn’t make it last week! For the last few months, I’ve been getting progressively busier and busier. It’s quite amazing because every week I tell people, “I have never been so busy in my life!” And then, the next week, I’m even busier than the last week.
This has been happening for months!
Oh, well, that’s life!
Amazingly, also, I managed to cough out an issue of GGF today. I spent about five hours on it, after already spending five hours prior to that writing three blogs for my other, um, blogs.
Which means I’ve been writing nonstop for ten hours today!
If got typo, don’t kill me. =P (But let me know so I can fix it.)
Thanks for your patience and continued support of my business! I actually meant busy-ness, but that worked, too.
Okay, I really wanted to do a full review of this game, like, two weeks ago, because it’s a freaking great game, but I didn’t have time.
Sad to say, I still don’t have time now, lol. I’m working 15-20 hours every day, seven days a week, and that’s still not enough to finish all my deadlines. Haha.
Luckily, some of my work involves fun (so I’m not complaining too much).
For instance, I had to spend many fun hours playing this game with my friends and making movies so that the Xbox team can play them as demos in Xbox Xperience Zones.
I’m talking about the game called You’re in the Movies, which is exclusive to the Xbox 360.
Here’s one of the videos we made!
But let me explain the game a little.
The game software comes packaged with a LIVE Vision Camera which you mount above or below your TV so it can film you.
You choose a movie from a list of available movies, choose the number of players, then you each choose the role you want to play.
The game will then take you through a series of action mini games such as karate chopping blocks, running from tornadoes or washing clothes.
Yes, washing clothes. *lol*
Sometimes, two players are required to compete in a mini game.
Depending on how many players there are (1 to 4), you take turns to play your mini games.
Sometimes you’re required to act! The game will make you act surprised or laugh out loud or dance or whatever.
So, all this is recorded and at the end of it, a movie trailer incorporating everything you’ve done is produced!
Here’s another video for your viewing enjoyment:
The fun part is that what you do in the mini games is not reflective of what happens in the end result. Like, if you’re asked to wash clothes, it doesn’t mean there’s a clothes washing scene in the movie. It just means the movie needs you performing an action similar to washing clothes.
You’re always delightfully surprised by how the movie turns out in the end!
I took some behind-the-scenes videos of me and my friends playing but don’t have time to edit it yet. I promise I will show it some day cos it’s very funny! =)
In the meantime, please check out the next article cos you can get a chance to try this game for yourself this weekend! =)
YITM is also a great workout game. My muscles were sore and hurting for two days after playing this game.
Oh… and at the end of the movie screening, there’s a Best Actor award ceremony for the best performer!
I love You’re in the Movies!!
Tip: Buy this game at Xbox Xperience Zones this weekend and receive a free pair of Golden Village movie tickets (while stocks last)!
There’s a launch event happening this weekend at Xbox Xperiences Zones (Funan Challenger and VivoCity Best Denki) where you can play You’re in the Movies. You might even win something!
There’s also an avatar-making competition. Just turn up and the team will guide you towards making your customised avatar on the New Xbox Experience dashboard. The person who creates the best avatar will win a You’re in the Movies game!
A review contributed by a loyal fan and supporter of GGF
(That means this isn’t written by Sheylara.)
I’ve never really been a fan of fighting games on any platform, whether in arcades or consoles, but I’ve always made an exception for Mortal Kombat. Ever since I laid eyes on the first MK coin-op back in 1992, it has been the ONLY fighting game I ever paid any attention to.
I mean, life-like digitized characters, movie-like storyline, FATALITIES, what’s not to love, right? (Sorry, Street Fighter faithfuls, no hadoukens for this kid.)
Fast forward four arcade sequels (yes, I’m counting Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, too), countless console ports and hand-held exclusives, along with an action RPG — basically about 20 games — later, I’m still in MK’s thrall, though a teeny bit jaded by all the violence.
Being a parent of young children doesn’t help. But when Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe was announced, I immediately thought, “Didn’t it all end with MK: Armageddon? Could this be a franchise reboot? Or is Midway finally losing the plot?”
I just had to check it out.
Well, after trying out the title at a neighbourhood game shop, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The idea of merging worlds isn’t exactly revolutionary (Capcom vs Marvel, anyone?). But it’s great that Ed Boon and gang managed to pull it off. Not only is the storyline actually plausible (as far as superhero comic book storylines go), the gameplay is pretty solid, as well.
Here’s the gist: Remember Shao Kahn? Raiden and company kicked his butt through a portal. At the same time on Earth, Superman was just finishing up with Darkseid.
These two separate ass-kickings did not destroy either of the bad guys but, instead, merged them into Dark Kahn (!!!) and caused the DC and Mortal Kombat universes to merge.
With the merging, the characters’ abilities start to fluctuate. Which is why Superman can now actually be hurt and the Joker actually stands a chance against Raiden. Brilliant!
Now comes one of the key components of any successful title: the gameplay.
Reminiscent of MK: Dark Alliance, we have another attempt at a fighting system revamp. It definitely works but, man, is the learning curve steep.
You have the standard practice mode, sure. But hand-holding tutorials are nowhere in sight. Casual fighters (who aren’t rabid MK fans like me), will probably be turned off. Kinda reminds me of my short-lived experiences with Tekken. It’s more fun watching great players go at it than actually playing it yourself.
MK (and fighting genre) fans be warned: Just like any console fighters, nothing beats having an actual arcade stick.
Next. KILLER FINISHING MOVES, or FATALITIES, the cornerstone of any MK title.
Unfortunately, because of the tie-in with DC Universe (known for its teen audience), most of the characters’ finishing moves are less than awe-inspiring. Which isn’t to say that they all suck. But there’s a very good reason the game isn’t rated M.
Well, I definitely enjoyed what I’ve experienced in the game so far. I’m sold on this title. But take my recommendation with this proviso: If you aren’t at all nostalgic about Mortal Kombat and its arcade roots, and if seeing Batman facing off against the Joker, Superman, and even Sonya, doesn’t make you all warm and fuzzy inside, then you’d be happier spending your sixty bucks on dinner with your significant other.
Left 4 Dead has been out for some time now, but I just want to mention it because this is the first time I’ve enjoyed playing a survival horror FPS!
(That is, I dont normally play survival horror and I certainly do not play FPS.)
I played this on the Xbox 360 with the Goonfather and it’s so fun bashing each other. I mean, like, he bashes me for not keeping up with him (his style of gaming is chionging everywhere like a crazy peacock and shooting first, asking questions later), and I bash him for dying more often than all of us.
Of course, he gets more kills, too, so maybe it balances out, but it is still very inconsiderate of him to keep dying while we are all up to our necks in zombies!!!
In this game, you’re one of the four remaining survivors of a zombie epidemic, trying to escape the town. You can play multiplayer co-op or versus.
That means you get the choice to play a zombie in versus mode! Cool!
Teamwork and strategy are very important because you’re often swarmed (see above picture). And I love how, sometimes, someone on your team will get mugged by a particular zombie and you have to go save him before the zombie chews him up.
It can get pretty scary if you play this alone, at night.
If one of your player team mates goes AFK, uh, I mean, away from the TV, for a toilet break or something, the AI will take over him after a period of inactivity.
Any character not played by a live player is controlled by AI.
Do try the game! Remember, you can always download a demo to try first! ;)
So, I’ve started playing shooters on Xbox LIVE because it’s part of my job to have fun with the Xbox community, and I must say I really enjoy these gaming sessions despite my utter uselessness with kinetic projectiles of any sort.
I take heart from the fact that I’m allowing some gamers the enjoyment of racking up their scores.
Anyway, for some time now, I’ve been chatting with RN1209 about getting some less-expert folks to play and train together, which gave me the idea of hosting a Newbie Nite for Gears of War 2 on Xbox LIVE one night.
I thought I was going to get some kills in that night by playing with newbies… but I think I got conned.
I should have told them about Gamer Girl Friday so they can mention it! But I kinda didn’t know at that time why and for what they were interviewing me. I just answered questions. Haha.
When I showed this to a friend, he rightly pointed out that I don’t speak like what’s reflected in that interview. A lot of what’s written has been dramatically rephrased from what I actually said (since there was no tape recorder present).
Guess I’m alright with that, as long as there are no scandalous misquotes.
World Cyber Games, the world’s first global cyber games festival and perhaps the most well-known, is doing something right this year (in my books.)
In an attempt to attract casual and female gamers, WCG has included Guitar Hero 3 (Xbox 360 version) in its 2008 lineup!
I can’t tell yet whether this strategy has been successful so far, but it’s certainly gotten my attention. I want to take part in it, except that I haven’t got time to practise. Argh.
Here’s the lineup of official WCG games for 2008:
I believe some of the games still have slots left for registration if you want to take part. Sign up here for the Singapore National Finals, which will be held on August 7 and 8 in Suntec Convention Centre.
Intel has just released its new Centrino 2 processor, which is set to own the next generation of laptops.
Until now, there’s been a lack of gaming laptop choices. Not anymore!
Well, the chip wasn’t built specifically for gaming, but it’s been built to cater to gamers, too.
You can start checking out computer shops now for laptops with an “Intel Centrino 2 inside” sticker. But give it a few more months maybe, and more models carrying this chip will probably be released.
Intel took a bunch of journos out to sea to show off their new baby. These people sure know how to party!
But that’s not really relevant for this article, so let me show you something more relevant.
A powerpoint page showing you the improvements of the Centrino 2 over its predecessor:
So, anyway, everything about the Centrino 2 is good. Faster, better, cooler everything. I don’t really want to elaborate on it because I’m not trying to be a salesman about it. So, go read about it yourself if you’re interested!
Well, it is a good site and a great concept, even if it’s mostly for kids.
Neopets has constantly evolved over the years to meet new demands, which is good, although I didn’t like the last major overhaul when they commercialised almost everything. But I can’t blame them for doing that. A business has got to grow and make money.
This new MMOG is called Twin Skies and it will feature a persistent world, pets and mini games (which you play to affect what happens to you in the persistent world).
According to the FAQs, the game might impose a monthly fee to keep it ads free, but it’s still undecided.
I like the game concept, anyway. I might try it out when it’s launched goodness knows when, time permitting.
No, I haven’t run out of stuff to give away. It’s just that running even a simple contest takes a lot of time and I am swamped this month. I even considered postponing GGF this week, but then I had so much news I wanted to share.
I’m sure you understand. GGF is a personal project at this point of time and real life (paying jobs) have to take precedence.
By the way, Gamer Girl Friday recommends that you vote for Sheylara in the S’pore Blog Awards! (Yes, there is no escape for you until the voting periods ends with July.)
Thank you all.
Have yourself a great weekend and we’ll see you next week!
Welcome to another edition of Gamer Girl Friday! To those of you who have been supporting this little project of mine (silently or vocally), thank you very much! The reason I’m still going strong is you!
I haven’t had much of grand editorial plan for GGF so far. Like, I don’t plan my issues ahead and I just kinda write whatever appeals to me at the moment.
So, I know I’m not producing the best work I can, but I can only get better with your help.
Writing quality content, while having fun doing it, is my ultimate goal.
Sheylara couldn’t wait to bop enemies on the head with her new hammer.
“HWAH!! Come to momma!”
Excitedly, she wandered off in search of an enemy.
The ditzy barbarian girl came upon a one-armed man who looked rather like a statue.
“Hi!” Sheylara said chirpily. “Are you an enemy?”
“Um, no,” said the man. “Why should I be an enemy?”
“Aww, are you sure you’re not an enemy?”
“Are you very, very, absolutely sure?”
“Lady, see here now! I’m a one-armed man who looks rather like a statue, for goodness’ sake! Why would I be your enemy??”
“I don’t know. I just thought, maybe.”
“I quite assure you that I’m not an enemy.”
Dejectedly, Sheylara wandered off to see if she might not find an enemy before too long.
Soon, she came upon a muscular red-haired man.
“Are you an enemy?” Sheylara asked doubtfully.
“Nope,” said the man. “I am the famous Captain Redrik, scourge of the southern coasts. If I have slain one of yer loved ones and it’s revenge ye seek, then a duel to yer death it is!”
“Well, you didn’t exactly…”
“If ye have business with me, speak!”
Fortunately for Sheylara, she possessed at least half an ounce of brain matter, which advised her that she’d better leave well (and beefy captains) alone.
She decided to get on with seeking her destiny, as the lady in white in the previous episode had told her.
As she plodded along in search of the island in the south, a dodgy character pssted her.
“What’s with this city and psst?” asked Sheylara rhetorically.
“Lady,” said a man with a strange cape that covered his chin and a bit of his nose.
“Hi,” Sheylara responded.
“I am Idogbe. Heard of me?”
“Aww, dang,” lamented the man. “Do you think I should start a blog? Bloggers seem to get famous quite easily these days.”
“I suppose,” said Sheylara. “I will read your blog if you tell me where the island is.”
“Awesome! The harbor is just right there! Leave comments, too, will ya?”
“Sure, if I’m not too busy. I gotta find some enemies to bop on the head, as you can tell, seeing as I got a bigass hammer and all.”
So, off to the harbor Sheylara went. She spotted a grouchy guard standing guard.
“Oh, hello!” she waved.
The guard ignored her.
“Hellooooo,” waved Sheylara again. “Tell me about the harbor!”
“Harbor’s not your business, stranger. Leave me alone.”
Sheylara considered momentarily hitting the surly guard over the head with her hammer, then thought better of it. He did have a silly-looking spiky thing on his head and she didn’t want to break her new hammer.
“You people in this city aren’t very friendly,” she told the guard. “I shan’t bother with the lot of you anymore!”
It was then that the disillusioned barbarian girl decided it was a good time to go for a midnight swim.
After all, what was a swimsuit for if not for swimming in?
“Last one in’s a rotten egg!” she cried to no one in particular and jumped into the water.
“Ahhhhhh,” Sheylara luxuriated, all the stresses of the day washing off her.
She swam and swam.
And enjoyed the caressing waters.
And suddenly found herself on an island.
“Ooh, I found my island!”
First order of business was to take some touristy camwhore photos.
“Nice! Now, what shall I do on this island?”
Wandering around, she spotted an old man sitting by a campfire.
“Ooh, maybe that’s an enemy I can try my hammer on!
Happily, she ran towards the old man.
“Are you an enemy?” she asked.
Startled out of his reverie, the old man said, “Of course not, you dumb blonde. Now sit down and listen to my story because I’m part of your destiny quest.”
While listening to a somewhat long and tedious story, Sheylara camwhored. She was kinda getting into it.
Before long, the storytelling old man lulled her into a drowsy daze and she eventually fell into a dreamless slumber, all thoughts of quests and hammers and camwhoring forgotten.
Once again, Sheylara wasted another episode of Adventures of Sheylara the Barbarian not doing anything very exciting, but that’s the way the story goes.
At least, she felt, her life is a little bit more fun than that of the old man whose grandfather story put her to sleep.
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).
Alex Tung asks a general question:
If I had to decide between Nintendo Wii and a PSP, which one should I get? I am not into cute games… not much of a Guitar Hero fan too… I like RPGs with fantasy/magic/dungeons & dragons themes and stuff. The last time i bought a console (PS2), it ended up rotting in my storeroom after a year. So… any sort of advice is appreciated.
See, the thing is, if you really like RPGs, you wouldn’t have let your PS2 rot in the storeroom because the PS2 was, like, famous for its great library of RPGs (e.g. Final Fantasy). So I’m going to assume that the reason that happened was because you didn’t have time to play games.
If that’s the case, then the PSP will be a better choice because it’s portable. You can play on the go, while waiting in queues, while waiting for your girlfriend, or whenever. Well, of course, the PSP also has more RPGs than the Wii.
Wii has the monopoly on cute games. So if you’re not into cute games, your Wii will just rot in the storeroom together with your PS2, I think.
Wishbone asks a camwhore question:
For a person who isn’t that photogenic, how would you tell him/her how to pose for photos?
Everyone has a good side. Just take tons of photos, try all kinds of angles and all kinds of smiles and expressions to find the best one! Yes, it may sound strange, but looking good in photos requires practice just like everything else.
If that’s not working, then wear makeup, or wear a mask.
Apoorv Khatreja asks a comparison question:
If you had to choose a favorite, which one would you choose – GTA IV or Super Mario (The classic version for SNES)?
Definitely GTA IV. I’ve never been much of a Super Mario fan, although I do like some of the characters like the mushrooms and goomba.
But GTA beats everything else hands down, anyway!
junkie asks a Super Mario Bros question:
Did you play Super Mario Bros (the wildly popular one in the 90s), and if so, did you ever finish (I couldn’t because mum would yell at me to STOP PLAYING NOW before I even came close!)? If so, what happens at the end? I was convinced that this game was programmed to go on forever.
Eh, what’s the fascination with Super Mario, you guys? The only Super Mario games I like are the party games! Hehe. Like the one on the Wii where it’s like a board game (Mario Party 8) and also the board game one on the DS.
I don’t generally like 2D side-scrolling games, and I find endless coin collecting very annoying.
What a shame your mum never let you finish it, though. You should have told her that she needs to let you rescue Princess Peach if she ever wants to have a daughter-in-law and cute grandchildren.
Fridays used to mean nothing to me since I don’t have a regular job and, like, every day was a weekend to me.
But now that I’ve suddenly gotten very busy with activities and freelance work, I’ve had to specially put aside weekends for friends and family and fun. Now I look forward to Fridays (and weekends) very much!
Hey, don’t forget to go to VivoCity tomorrow for the UEFA EURO 2008 PS3 tournament! It’s happening from 12 pm till 7 pm at the East Court. I will be there from 12 pm to about 3 pm! Come say hi to me if you spot me!