GGF#42: Everyone has slitty eyes in Chinatown Wars

[Gamer Girl Friday]

The game of the week is Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. I was quite surprised to see poster ads of the game at various bus-stops in Singapore.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

This is the first time I’ve seen ads for a DS game in Singapore. So it must be quite something, huh?

Maybe it’s because the game features a Chinese main cast and all the characters in the game have slitty eyes. And Singapore, as everyone knows, is in China.

Not.

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Table of Contents

  1. GTA: Chinatown Wars first impressions
  2. Time Wasters by Swordplay
  3. Singapore’s Biggest Halo Fan (video)
  4. Funny quests in Guild Wars
  5. Results of last week’s contest
  6. Win 5 boxes of Norton AntiVirus 2009 Gaming Edition!!

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GTA: Chinatown Wars first impressions

I’m happy to get a new game for my Nintendo DS. I’m tired of playing Puzzle Quest on it. (Playing Puzzle Quest on the Xbox 360 is a lot cooler.)

So, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars shall be my new MRT companion for the next few months. Yeah, it’s probably gonna take me at least that long to complete the game because I don’t take the MRT a lot, these days.

First impressions of the game: Excellent.

Everything you love about Grand Theft Auto is there. Well, except for a few little things, such as graphics. But this is a DS game, so if anyone wants to complain about the graphics, I will shoot him in the legs and run him over with my Rhino.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Yes, you can buy all kinds of funny vehicles in GTACW.

Even a hearse. LOLOLOL.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

And a go-kart.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

A bulldozer!! Hahahaha.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

I’m sorry. I just find this very funny.

Of course, there are tons of speed demons you can buy, too.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Unfortunately, I’m only 3.6% into the game right now and can’t afford to buy anything. I have, like, $350. Most of the vehicles are still locked at this point, anyway.

In any case, the GTA series started off as having crappy graphics in the first place, so this DS instalment is no major infraction against the franchise.

It takes a bit of getting used to the top-down view, though, if you’ve been spoilt by the next-gen versions which last stopped at GTA4.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

But the gameplay is as top-notch as you could want.

As in GTA4, you start off as an out-of-towner brought to Liberty City by fate. There, you unwittingly get entangled in a life of crime. Before long, you start to lose all morals because its so easy to steal cars, kill people and make a fortune being a criminal.

All the usual GTA goodness.

In Chinatown Wars, you play Huang Lee, a Chinese dude possessing the Western stereotype of Asians with slitty eyes and a funny forehead, but speaks with Western wit and sarcasm.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Most of the time, you use the D-pad to move around and fight people. Occsasionally, you get to enjoy the touch-screen capabilities of the DS.

For example, jacking a car requires you to poke at your screen to hotwire it.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

To progress missions, you’ll sometimes be required to use your stylus (or your nails, if you have very sharp, pointy ones). One of the first things you’ll get to do, for example, is tap at a car windscreen to smash the glass and make an escape.

All that is rather cool. Who doesn’t love touch-screen? But I do find it mildly annoying having to pick up and put down my stylus repeatedly over the course of a game. (GTA games require a lot of coordination to drive vehicles or fight — there are even combos moves for combat — so it’s better to put the stylus down altogether when you don’t need it.

What’s great about GTACW, compared to other GTA games, is that you can teleport to a location if you’re doing a mission for the second time. That means, if you fail a mission and want to redo it, you can skip the cutscene and the travelling, and zip to the needed location instantly.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

That saves a lot of time.

Oh, another thing different. When you get cops on your tail, you can lose your wanted level by ramming into police cars or forcing them to crash themselves, effectively taking them out of the picture so that there’s no one left to chase you. Then you’re off the radar.

Well, I can’t say a lot more about the game since I’ve only spent maybe two hours on it. Reading some of the reviews out there, there’s a lot more fun stuff I haven’t uncovereed. But what I’ve seen so far is already good enough to keep me going.

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Time Wasters by Swordplay

Swordplay is my pesky li’l bro who spends all his time playing time-wasting games. To make him a little bit more useful, I’m sitting on him and making him find and recommend one fun and simple web-based game each week.

Today’s recommendation:

Cursor Chaos

Here’s a schizophrenic little game that will give you a few minutes of insane entertainment… if you’re good.

If you’re clueless, you’ll die within 42 seconds.

In Cursor Chaos, you’re given a series of simple tasks to do using only the four arrow keys and spacebar. You have to complete the task within about six seconds (which includes the time you need to spend figuring out what you need to do to complete the task).

If you fail, you lose one life. You have seven lives to get through 42 levels.

Cursor Chaos

If you die prematurely, you get insulted by the game.

Cursor Chaos

Haha.

My best score for now is 459. Can you beat my time? (Lower score = better.)

Cursor Chaos

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Singapore’s Biggest Halo Fan (video)

Here’s the video I said I would make a month ago. =P The finals of the Singapore’s Biggest Halo Fan competition. See what each of the five finalists did to convince us that they’re the biggest Halo fan in Singapore!

I thought they were all equally impressive but, as in all competitions, there can only be one winner, so.

Click here
for more photos.

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Funny quests in Guild Wars

I’m really surprised at how good Guild Wars is. I was never so impressed when playing the beta in 2003.

What I like most is the rich story and the way the game makes you feel part of it. At strategic points of main quests, you’ll get cutscenes in which you’re the leading character.

Guild Wars

Guild Wars

Whatever your character is wearing (or not wearing) at that moment is reflected in the cutscene, giving you a real sense of belonging in the story. If you’re grouped up with friends, you’ll see your friends in the cutscene, too.

The quests and dialogues in this game are actually worth the time reading. In fact, no other game has actually made me feel something for the NPCs and want to find out what happens to them next.

I also love the humour.

There’s this quest where I was supposed to help a city officer dispatch aid to homeless villagers.

Guild Wars

He gave me a bunch of mirrors and made me look for three homeless villagers to give them to.

My first beneficiary wasn’t too grateful.

Guild Wars

LOLOL. Ultimate funny.

The second villager said:

Guild Wars

And the third:

“I appreciate you delivering this, but can you not see we have no need for such things? All of us have basically given up on the ministry when it comes to matters of survival. Thankfully, the emperor is much more attuned to the people and manages to provide for us.”

That’s not the end of it.

I went back to the officer to report my mission and he said:

Guild Wars

Haha!

I love Guild Wars!

Guild Wars

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Results of last week’s contest

I guess the haiku contest was a little too tough. Only one person managed to do it correctly so, like, I didn’t have to do any judging~!!

Thanks, RN1209, for doing it correctly, and writing a pretty witty one, too. As a reward, you get an Xbox 360 laser pointer LED light keyring! Congratulations!

Xbox 360 laser pointer LED light keyring

Here’s the winning entry:

No loot, you say, girl?
I suppose that’s no surprise…
Sneaky you are, yes?;)

— RN1209

I’m overlooking the smiley. And the dig. Cos it’s kinda funny. lol.

Please e-mail me about your prize! Thanks!

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Win Norton AntiVirus 2009 Gaming Edition!!

WOAH WOAH WOAH!

I have FIVE boxes of Norton AntiVirus 2009 Gaming Edition to give away to five savvy gamers, courtesy of Symantec!

Norton AntiVirus 2009 Gaming Edition

From protecting gold earned in MMORPGs to keeping malware at bay, Norton AntiVirus 2009 Gaming Edition is designed specifically for gaming. It’s fast and light on system resources, and never compromises the gaming experience.

How cool is that? An anti-virus software made specially for us! Each box has a commercial value of S$65, which is quite a reasonable price for one year’s worth of protection.

Norton AntiVirus 2009 Gaming Edition

But, hey, you don’t have to pay even that because we’re giving it to you free! If you pass the tests, that is.

FIRST TEST

Answer the following questions correctly.

1. At the German Games Convention 2008, 16% of participants said they’d had a game account stolen by hackers.

a) No way!

b) True.

2. What exactly is Gamer Mode in Norton AntiVirus Gaming Edition?

a) The opposite of a younger brother: Won’t bother you while you’re in the middle of a game, but keeps you protected throughout.

b) Something that automatically suspends updates, alerts, and other background activities when the system goes into full screen mode.

c) All of the above.

3. What did I give the homeless villagers?

a) Mirrors.

b) Tin cans.

c) Food.

SECOND TEST

Prove that you’re a gamer.

I don’t care how you do it. Use words, text, image, video, sound or whatever you can think of. I’m quite flexible. Just do it!

THIRD TEST

Post all your answers here by April 2, 2009, 11:59 pm.

Five winners will be picked and announced next Friday. Good luck!

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YAy! It’s done!

[Gamer Girl Friday]

GGF#40: Don’t blame games for violence!

[Gamer Girl Friday]

The last two weeks, I’ve been so busy that the only time I got to play anything was during my four hours of Xbox duty.

We played Left 4 Dead, which was, as usual, hilarious, because the gamers on Xbox LIVE possess an unreserved quota of nonsense, which amuses me greatly.

This morning, I woke up at 6:30 am, suddenly depressed over a couple of things. I couldn’t quell the bad feelings, which meant there was no way I could go back to sleep. So I got up and turned on my PC.

I loaded up Guild Wars (after two weeks of enforced abstinence).

My one enduring cure for depression: MMORPGs.

I played for five hours straight before I was satisfied. Character dinged two levels. Depression totally cured. And still on schedule to work on Gamer Girl Friday!

Life always works out. Eventually.

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Table of Contents

  1. Countdown to Guitar Hero: Metallica
  2. Your dream girlfriend
  3. Singapore’s biggest Halo fan
  4. Help put Singapore on the gaming map
  5. Speaking at Media Fiesta 2009
  6. Results of last week’s contest
  7. Win an Xbox 360 laser pointer LED keyring!!

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Countdown to Guitar Hero: Metallica

The good news about the release of GHM: I am a huge huge huge Metallica fan.

The bad news: I don’t have Guitar Hero World Tour.

It’s no secret that I’m pro Rock Band because I own Rock Band, by virtue of it being the first to offer drums play.

Because of that, me and the Goonfather influenced all our friends to buy Rock Band, so, like, everyone has a Rock Band set, also meaning that we have already collectively invested a significant sum of money on song downloads.

Therefore, it was with some horror that I found out Metallica had gone Guitar Hero. Does this mean I must now switch allegiance and spend a few hundred bucks on a GHWT set?

Headache.

Argh! But it’s Metallica!

Guitar Hero: Metallica is releasing in Singapore on March 29 (only the game software for now. A bundle comprising game software and one guitar will be available in May).

I had a go at it yesterday at the New Era office, together with some other media people.

Metallica is awesome!! We played Enter Sandman, Battery, Fade to Black, The Unforgiven, Master of Puppets and Seek & Destroy.

For a full list of GHM tracks, check here. I can’t look at the list without hyperventilating!!!

And a few more !!! for good measure.

James Hetfield

The game also comes with bonus videos of Metallica recording the songs, wearing motion capture suits. It’s quite funny to watch.

And, if you can’t get enough of James Hetfield, there’s this silly place where you can go to make him say stuff by pressing button combos.

Well, we’ll see when the game is officially out. Be still, my heart.

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Your dream girlfriend

Meet Amanda Johnstone, who was last month appointed by Xbox as the hottest Halo fan in the UK.

Amanda Johnstone

This was announced last month before the launch of Halo Wars (of which I have a copy that hasn’t seen the light of my Xbox 360 console, because I haven’t even had time to part it from its wrapper).

What a novel way to rally the dudes to the Halo cause.

You must admit she is very sexy. Not to mention lovable. Girl gamers are always a welcome sight!! If I may say so myself.

Click here to read more about Amanda and see more pics.

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Singapore’s biggest Halo fan

The launch of Halo Wars sure gave rise to a ton of fringe activities. One of the most fun (to me) was the Biggest Halo fan competition.

Five finalists reported to the Xbox Xperience Zone at Challenger Funan last month to perform five minutes of show-and-tell each.

There was so much Halo stuff (brought in by the finalists) that you could have opened a Halo store there and then.

It was quite entertaining watching them convince the crowd to vote for them. I have videos, but no time to edit yet. Next time, okay?

Some of the Xbox gamers that day complained that I had worn the wrong accessory.

Note: Gears of War COG tag.

What the heck lah. Who says cannot wear GOW stuff to a Halo event?

Here’s a look at the five contestants (with me and Merdeka).

They were all wearing quite similar clothes because there aren’t many Halo clothes in the world.

And the winner was…

Marcus Lim, aka SPLiTZiCE (right), aka the guy who won the Halo vest from issue #37 of Gamer Girl Friday! He even went and got his name embroidered for the vest. Impressive!

He won a one-of-a-kind Halo medal, an exlusive Master Chief helmet and a $50 Takashimaya voucher.

Here’s a group photo of the remaining Halo fans who had stuck around till the end.

Photos were printed out on the spot for everyone.

So nice, right?

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Help put Singapore on the gaming map

This is our chance for more glory, people!

Some time back, I mentioned CarneyVale Showtime, a made-in-Singapore game which had won a global game development contest by Microsoft, after which it was nominated for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the 11th Annual Independent Games Festival.

Okay, I know you lazy asses didn’t read that last mouthful. But the following bit is important:

You can now vote CarneyVale Showtime for the Audience Award at IGF. Go here to submit your vote. Let’s give our fellow Singaporeans some support!

Yes, I played the game. It’s quite fun and addictive, in fact.

All the best, Team Gambit!

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Speaking at Media Fiesta 2009

I just wanted to mention that I was part of Media Fiesta 2009, thanks to Nicholas Aaron Khoo, a CNET blogger (among other things).

In case you have been living in your own world, like I sometimes do, Media Fiesta 2009 is the first month-long media festival that will be happening annually.

Nic had invited me to speak at the SCOGA Gamers Forum, one of the main events during the festival launch at Marina Square Atrium.

Basically, we had a panel of assorted professionals discussing the viability of gaming as a career, as well as the causes and effects of gaming addiction.

Basically, I look damn chubby on the big screen.

Basically, I look quite ugly when I’m talking.

Basically !!!!

Here’s a backstage photo:

Well, not a very good photo, but I generally prefer photos of myself not speaking midway.

Our backstage was kind of weird. It was an enclosed room but the walls were transparent. We could see people milling about outside and people could see what we were up to inside.

The place I was sitting at was a dressing table, complete with the lightbulbs-around-the-mirror thing.

I’m not sure exactly whom it was catered for, but I know I certainly won’t like being made up in the middle of a public arena.

But the whole setup was pretty cool, generally.

Man, Prasad is so tall (standing beside me)!! And I was wearing two-inch heels!

Prasad is a professional gamer, the captain of the famous Team Titans from Singapore.

Basically, professional gamers are teh winzorx!!!

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Results of last week’s contest

It wasn’t technically last week, but never mind. Let’s get on with it.

We have two winners for this very awesome limited-edition SF4 calendar!

Sorry this has taken quite a while, guys. Well, you still have at least nine months to enjoy it!

Ah, yes, the winners!

And the winners are …

1. moralis
2. ahtiong

…by virtue of their entries being slightly amusing.

You go!!!

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Win an Xbox 360 laser pointer LED keyring!!

I have this to give away this week:


Length: 6cm, not counting chain. Has laser pointer (red) and LED light (white) activated by two different buttons.

Let’s do something fun this week.

Let’s play Five-Word Story!

Someone start a story (in the comments) using only five words. Then someone else continues it using also five words. (I’m sure you’ve all played this forum game before, so I don’t need to explain, right?)

THAR BE RULES!!!

  1. Strictly five words per entry.
  2. No R-rated language or themes.
  3. No flaming, attacking or insulting any individual. You can make fun of friends insofar as it is in good humour.
  4. You can post more than once, as long as you don’t continue your own post.
  5. Ignore regular comments interspersing the game.
  6. Your continuation must flow logically. (For example: “She ran into the woods / Happy Birthday to you, dude” is wrong because, obviously, it doesn’t sound logical.)
  7. In case two people post at around the same time, leading to the slower post being illogical, the slower poster is disqualified.
  8. Do not end the story before the closing date.

Anyone breaking any of the rules above will be disqualified.

Everyone who participates and doesn’t get disqualified will get a chance to win the prize.

Bonus: The person who starts the story will get three chances in the randomising stakes (unless you get disqualified halfway through). (This is a special incentive for GGF campers.)

Closing date: March 19,2009, 11:59 pm.

(The story can continue beyond that, but I will stop counting entries posted after the cut-off date.)

YAR! Let the game begin!

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My friends are coming over to my place tonight with their laptops to play Guild Wars while I’m on Xbox duty. Wah lau.

In other news, don’t believe all the bad press you read about gamers and violence. There might be a correlation, but people just like to sensationalise things because it’s more interesting to report that gaming causes violence, rather than, say, movies cause violence.

Like, when a non-gamer does something violent, why don’t journalists report: “Movie causes psycho to gun down 10 strangers”?

Do we ever see: “Man apes serial killer after reading detective novels”?

No.

Yet, every time a gamer so much as gets into a scuffle, the press has a field day with “GAMES CAUSE BOY TO KILL FRIEND” headlines.

There are WAY A LOT MORE violent non-gamers than violent gamers, if it comes to that.

And it is perfectly logical to argue that movies and books and real life issues can cause an individual to become violent.

So, don’t pin all the blame on games!

[Gamer Girl Friday]