GGF#51: The geek bond that gamers share

[Gamer Girl Friday]

You can call this a really late issue, or you can call it a really early issue.

I won’t be publishing GGF this Friday because I’ll be in Kuching, Land of the Kolomee. It’s a media sponsored trip wherein I shall be expected to race up and down a mountain for a distance of 10 km, or until I keel over from leech attacks, whichever comes first.

Somewhere deep inside a subterranean secret hideout, I believe, is a conspiracy bubbling to turn Gamer Girl Friday into Sporty Spice Saturday.

Sheylara

To borrow Unker Kell’s catchphrase, SHOCKING!

But that’s the story of my life in recent times. I’ve been so busy being such an annoying health puss (minus the past one week of being sick with flu) that I haven’t had time to play games, much.

That will change after I get back from Kuching plus a consecutive weekend of debauchery in a Malaysian durian farm.

In the meantime, go ahead and play tons of games on my behalf while I battle with leeches and such in strange, foreign lands.

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Table of Contents

  1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  2. Time Wasters by Swordplay
  3. Virtua Tennis 2009
  4. Highlights from Video Games Live
  5. Very Hot! PSP
  6. Results of last week’s contest
  7. Win an Xbox 360 laser pointer LED keyring!!

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

This is going to be a really short thingy because I only managed to play the game for half an hour or thereabouts.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

After watching the movie, I was compelled to finally unwrap my game and pop it into my Xbox 360.

The movie is as crap as reviews have made it out to be, but I actually did enjoy many parts of it, mostly the inane comic moments that contribute nothing to the movie, plotwise.

Anyway, word of advice, don’t watch the movie. Just play the game. Unless you’re willing to pay 10 bucks to watch Megan Fox pout her lips too many times, in which case, go for it.

Megan Fox

Now, the game.

I instantly liked it because it’s very newbie friendly.

There is a detailed tutorial that teaches you how to do everything, from the simplest task like moving about, to the most complicated madness like doing a mid-air transform-jump-shoot-cook-an-omelette combo.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Of course, by the time I was done with the tutorial, I had forgotten 80% of the things I was taught, so I replayed it, and got a better score, unlocked an achievement, plus retained an extra 20% of the lesson.

The game starts off pretty cool. There’s a war between the Decepticons and the Autobots, obviously. You get to switch back and forth between both campaigns at will. You do missions to unlock more missions that further the plot, and you can replay missions.

You’ll probably want to replay missions to get better medals and scores in order to unlock more stuff.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

My first mission was quite disastrous, although I managed to complete it without dying. I was an Autobot sent to singlehandedly destroy all Decepticons in the area.

But the damned things kept running away from me. It was a chore chasing them all over the place, especially when the mission took place in skyscraperville. They kept hiding behind and on top of buildings.

So you start climbing buildings in pursuit, and when you finally reach the top, they wiggle their bums at you and jump off.

GRRRR!

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

But, generally, the game is fun. To maximise the fun factor, you need to not suck at it.

Transforming between robot and vehicle is fun. It’s instantaneous. It’s awesome. It’s like getting a free speed buff for travel any time you want. And you can even shoot at enemies while being in vehicle mode, but that’s one of those things I’ve forgotten how to do.

Also, different bots each have a different special power, although I keep forgetting to use those.

There’s also this flying bot whose name I can’t remember which is really fun. It took me about 5 minutes of practice in the tutorial to get the hang of flying without crashing into buildings.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I think multiplayer for this game will kick ass.

That is, I am going to get my ass kicked.

Although I haven’t tried it, I think it will be a lot more fun than the usual FPS/TPS. Since every bot has a unique skill (sniper, healer, attacker, etc), teamwork becomes crucial and there’s a lot of potential for strategic play.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Hmm, it turns out that my really short thingy isn’t so short after all.

Well, that’s it! No more! Go find out the rest yourself!

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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 recommend one fun and simple web-based game each week.

This week’s game: Upgrade Complete

Upgrade Complete

Don’t be fooled by the 8-bit graphic. There is more to this game beneath this embarrassing exterior.

Once in a while, a game comes along which is so atrocious and yet so clever that you’re secretly LOLing to yourself even as you curse it for existing.

The aim of this game is to earn money through shooting ships, after which you buy upgrades for just about everything, from graphics to music to the ability to even load the game in the first place.

Upgrade Complete

So, yes, the graphics get better.

It’s dumb but it’s also addictive and hilarious.

I won’t show you more pictures because the fun is in upgrading and seeing what you get next.

It will take you 30 minutes or less to complete the entire game. Highly recommended.

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Virtua Tennis 2009

As sporty as I have on occasion proven to be, I don’t like sports games.

That’s because playing sports games makes me want to throw my controller down and rush out to do the sport myself. I have this restless bone in me which outrightly rejects the concept of vicarious living and demands to do everything first-hand.

It’s the same reason why I don’t watch sports on TV or read sports news. I’d rather do it myself. So, when I received a review copy of Virtua Tennis 2009 some time back, I kinda let it sit around.

Virtua Tennis 2009

But I had to play it eventually. A game’s a game. Even a sports game is better than no game.

So I popped the disc in and I was immediately very excited. The starting screens and music brought me back to my arcade heydays when I would spend inordinate amounts of time and money being an arcade delinquent and collecting a crowd watch me play.

After reliving that embarrassing scenario, I was taken to a character creation screen. That was, to me, probably the best part of the game.

Virtua Tennis 2009

Hey, I like making characters, so? The level of customisation is amazing. You get to tweak every single feature, down to the angle of your ears. There is even pink hair!

Virtua Tennis 2009

You can also customise your playing posture.

Virtua Tennis 2009

I mean, that’s kind of cool for people who appreciate frills like that and are not really into the game for the tennis part of it. (Me.)

I’ve never actually played real-life tennis. The only thing I know about the sport is that women get to wear cute skirts when they play it.

So, once I got started on the actual gameplay—I opted for Career Mode—I floundered horribly.

In Career Mode, you do one thing per week. You could learn new stuff from your coach, or practise ball with an NPC friend, or take part in a tournament if there is one scheduled that week, or play a mini game to improve your skills.

Virtua Tennis 2009

My tennis coach is very irritating.

He would send me off to the court with a vague instruction, and then expect me to know exactly what to do.

“Hit a drop shot,” he would say, “Get in place early to make sure you get it right.”

Virtua Tennis 2009

Well, what the heck is a drop shot, how does it look like, and what is the right place to get into early?

He wouldn’t say.

I spent 20 minutes trying to do a drop shot—and I think I might have gotten one by accident—before I gave up on practice missions forever.

This game is obviously not for tennis noobs.

But it is quite fun when you manage to trick your opponent into running the wrong direction for the ball, even if it’s by accident.

Virtua Tennis 2009

The graphics is nice and the controls responsive. If you’re the sort who likes to play sports via a controller in hand, the gameplay is satisfying and realistic enough.

But I got bored very quickly because I’m just playing match after match to earn money to buy nice tennis outfits.

Fortunately, the Goonfather came home at this point of time. He had played and completed Virtua Tennis 3 (the predecessor) and had loved it.

So I threw the controller to him and he made a lot of money for me to go shopping.

Virtua Tennis 2009

Happy!

Virtua Tennis 2009 is available on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and PC.

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Highlights from Video Games Live

I took tons of videos at Video Games Live Singapore but when I got home, I realised that I didn’t want to upload tons of videos. It’s very tiring and time consuming. Plus, most of the stuff you can already find on YouTube, anyway.

Video Games Live Singapore

So, I will show you screenshots of my favourite moments, instead.

The show started off with a simple poem on the projection screen.

Video Games Live Singapore

Video Games Live Singapore

It’s hilarious, yet heartwarming. You can’t truly appreciate the geek bond that gamers share unless you’re a gamer yourself.

And then, there was the live Pac-Man video, where you see some dude dressed in a Pac-Man suit running away from dudes wearing ghost suits, in the middle of the day in busy streets.

Video Games Live Singapore

So creative and fun! I wish I could have been one of the actors in the video.

Shortly after, a member of the audience was invited up to play Space Invaders on the stage. He was given two minutes to kill all the invaders, to win a kickass arcade machine that has 5,000 games in it.

Video Games Live Singapore

The catch was that he had to wear a motion sensor suit and move his spaceship using his body. He was also given a button to press to shoot.

Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to win the prize. He was so close, too, with only eight invaders left to incinerate.

Diablo 3
music!

Video Games Live Singapore

It was mentioned at the show that the game will take another two or three years to be released. Happy waiting, Diablo fans.

Mostly, the show just featured popular game music after popular game music. Kingdom Hearts, World of Warcraft, Halo, Mario Bros, Metal Gear Solid, to name just a few.

Singapore had the honour of witnessing a new VGL addition — a live saxophone performance by Norihiko Hibino, the music composer of Metal Gear Solid.

Video Games Live Singapore

Famous video game pianist Martin Leung played Mario blindfolded. He is one of the main highlights for all VGL shows.

Video Games Live Singapore

Martin is super super super awesome.

In fact, he was at Funan the day before, for a preview performance, so that means I got to watch him twice! Wheee!

Video Games Live Singapore

There was a Guitar Hero tournament which finals was held on the VGL stage as part of the show.

The two guys were good, playing Sweet Emotion on expert mode and getting 95% and 94% respectively. The final scores were so close that I felt really bad for the guy who lost by a hangnail.

Video Games Live Singapore

Oh, I forgot the cosplay competition. It happened around the beginning.

Video Games Live Singapore

There was a Patapon, which received the most enthusiatic applause and catcalls, so he won. LOL!

Video Games Live Singapore

My absolute favourite moment of the night came at the end of the show. Co-creator and host of Video Games Live Tommy Tallarico got everyone to whip out their cell phones, PDAs and DSes and wave them around in lieu of glow sticks.

It was simply amazing! There was that geek bond I mentioned, coming to the fore as our geek toys lit up the Singapore Indoor Stadium like stars in a black sky.

Video Games Live Singapore

Suddenly, Tommy said, “That guy’s got a laptop up there, what the hell?” and everyone laughed like crazy.

I quickly turned around with my camera and managed to get the laptop on tape. Haha.

Video Games Live Singapore

A great way to end the show!

If VGL were ever to come to Singapore again, try not to miss it!

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Very Hot! PSP

Sony is heating up the the Korean market with its latest PSP bundle sale, which spawned this “Very hot!” ad.

Sony PSP ad

Read the story here.

I like the giant PSP in this ad. What about you?

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Results of last week’s contest

Sorry, I know you guys have waited long for the results of this contest to be announced.

Prototype mouse mat!

Prototype mouse pad

Well, here it is!

Mr Randomiser hath spoken and TaintedCross† be the winner!

Congratulations, ye with the slightly scary name.

If you see this message, please e-mail me to claim your prize. If not, I’ll e-mail you after a while. But only if I remember to.

I have too many things to remember, these days!

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Win an Xbox 360 laser pointer LED keyring!!

Oh, look! I found another one of these in my loot bag!

Xbox 360 laser pointer LED keyring

Which reminds me that I still owe RN1209 one because I always forget to bring it out when I meet him and he never reminds me so I never remember.

So, who wants to be added to my list of prize winners who never get their prizes because I keep forgetting to bring them out or mail them?

(It’s not a very big list, mind you. I generally, eventually, get the prizes to where they belong.)

So. If you want to win this keyring, please answer this question:

“Who do you want to laser point at and why?”

Best answer wins.

Closing date is July 9, 2009, 11:59 pm.

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Hmm. Now my blog is as long as a toilet roll again.

[Gamer Girl Friday]