Updated: 7/30/2004; 3:01:11 AM.
PC, Mac OS X, PS2, XBox ... So many games, no money and time :(

  Monday, November 24, 2003


It must've been around 1983-84. I remember my good friend Brandon had a Apple IIe with all kinds of bootlegged games. I used to visit his house every chance I got. His older brother used to get irritated, because he figured the only reason for my visit is to get my hands on the computer.
The game that I remember the most was Ulima 3: Exodus. More links:
My very first computer was the IBM PC Jr. I vividly remember the first time I got Ultima 3 on it I acted sick and didn't goto school. The PC Jr came equipped w/ a wireless Infrared "chicklet" keyboard. Advanced stuff in the mid 80's. Also, came equipped w/ a optical mouse that needed a mouse pad w/ a blue grid on it. I remember my dad maxing the RAM to 512KB. Speed demon!

The other game that I loved was Sun Tzu's Ancient Art of War by Broderbund. I used to spend hours playing it, and trying to beat the AI. It was my first RTS (Real Time Strategy).

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  Monday, October 06, 2003


A series of articles on Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games at GameSpy.
The 1st week's article is out. Pretty good stuff. I haven't gotten my hands on a Docomo handset yet; therefore, unable to explore the wireless version of Ultima Online. Ack!

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  Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Tokyo Game Show 2003

This expo ROQ'd! The event was open to the public this past weekend with Friday reserved for people in the business. I didn't get a chance to get good photos due to many booth's no photo policies, but I did manage to sneak some shots here and there. I'll post these soon.
The stuff that I bumped into:
  • Drag-On Dragoon - posted about this the end of last month. Got to sample the dragon portion. Fun air combat, but not enough. More, more, mooore.
  • Transformers - got to demo the game. It was classic. Childhood memories of G.I. Joe, Transformers, and comic books. I played while some guy up on stage sang the theme song to Raideen. Started off as Optimus Prime, and had to go through a valley full of hovering mines with Deceptacons shooting at me. I could transform from robot to truck w/ that classic transforming sound. It was a kewl demo, but I'm not sure if it'll be worth dishing out $50. Here's a review of the game from ign.com. Link to trailer videos. I hope they add the original song from the cartoons for the release in the states.
  • True Fantasy Live Online - XBox MMORPG. I didn't get a chance to play this, but from what I saw it looked nuts. Anime-style fantasy online game. The game looks beautiful and definitely worth checking out. Here's a good review.
  • Monster Hunter - saw this right before we had to leave. A multiplayer game to hunt ... monsters. Looked like dinosaurs. Looks fun if you're online or w/ some friends. Photos here.
  • Metal Gear Solid The Twin Snakes and Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater - the preview CG movies are intense.
  • Digital Creators School booths - many Senmon Gakkos or trade schools. They run around $12,000. Sounds like Heald, but for building games. Hmmm...
  • Pretty large Magic The Gathering booth - live blow-by-blow eplanation of two players going at it.
  • Large area reserved for board games.

** UPDATE **
Here are some pics:
Tokyo Game Show 2003,Glastron and PS2Tokyo Game Show 2003,XBox 'lineup'Tokyo Game Show 2003,  Kingdom Hearts 2
1) Some flight simulator Jet game w/ Glastron looking VR eyewear for the PS2.
2) At the end of events in Japan all the campaign girls lineup and the shooting begins. There are many men w/ BIG cameras. These 'fans' follow the campaign girls to various events and know them by name. Some of the popular ones even have their own sites.
3) Square-Enix's Kingdom Hearts 2 (link to GameSpy article) and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (link to GameSpy article). Big hoopla over this game. The Disney-Square mix has got the Mojo.

Tokyo Game Show 2003,Space InvadersTokyo Game Show 2003,Campaign GirlTokyo Game Show 2003,Full Metal Alchemist
4) Space Invaders - first the song and video on MTV. Now the game's back. The 25th anniversary of the coin-op classic. Now I feel old. :( The controller for the PS2 looks pretty kewl. It's actually just housing the controller. (see here)
5) I forgot what game she represented ... If you see me carrying around a bigger camera, please smack me ;)
6) FullMetal Alchemist - A new anime starting this month. Square-Enix game to follow. (link to GameSpy article). Sony Music's headquarters is located across the street from our office. Their 1st floor is like a show room / preview of what they are pushing. Last month was Metallica's new album. Now there's a huge Alphonse Elric.

7 and 8) Steel Battalion... The controller is pretty kewl and I was trying to get a clean shot of the lineup, but the girl got in the way. Jama!?! ;) I got to sample the game at Aso Bit City a while ago. Their setup was nicely done w/ large screen, private booth, and pounding sound. That's the way to play this game. Puts you into the VT. I just found out that there's a new Steel Battalion Line of Contact announced at E3. This new game supports XBox Live with 5 on 5 action. I don't know if the demos were of the new game.

Tokyo Game Show 2003,board gameTokyo Game Show 2003,board gameTokyo Game Show 2003,board game
9) Catan - Game originally from Germany. Looks fun. Link to Amazon product description. There was a whole area dedicated to board games like Catan, Monopoly, and various card games.
10) Magic The Gathering booth in all it's splendor. I guess g33ks do the same thing all around the world. Games ... on the console, PC/Mac, and offline on boards or with cards. Sometimes w/ just pencil, paper, dice, and alot of imagination.
11) Heated Magic battle. You are now being Televised.

Tokyo Game Show 2003,cosplay dressing roomTokyo Game Show 2003,Katamari Damashii
12) Dressing room for the cosplayers. This is another fanatical group. So there are the campaign girl 'fans', and the cosplayers. There must be cosplay 'fans' too. I forgot about the Karisuma (charismatic/popular) campaign girls and cosplayers. I don't think there are Karisuma 'fans's w/ big cameras ...
13) Katamari Damashii - control a Huge sticky ball throughout a city and pick up EVERYTHING. Link to review by GameSpot.

Tokyo Game Show 2003,built with Code Warrior
14) And finally for all the aspiring game coders ...

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  Sunday, August 31, 2003

AsoBitCity Revisit

Robot Computer Case Kit at

Took a quick trip to Akihabara this evening. Had to get my fix of G33K toys. Had to visit Aso Bit City. It's probably a good thing that I got there about one hour before it closed or else I would've ended up spending my whole day there.

There was one console game on the first floor that caught my attention. Drag On Dragoon from Square Enix. From the CM video on the overhead TVs Drag-On Dragoon looks like an awesome combo of Dynasty Warrior(movie) for ground combat, and a wicked jet fighter combat sim merged on top of a souped-up Dragon Rage. Add the Square CG touch and we have a WINNER. Links to movies on the official Drag-On Dragoon site: first video, second video, third video (the second vid roqs!).

Entrance console gaming area at Aso Bit

The photo on the top right is of a Robot PC case. The "do-it-yourself" kit goes for around $450. I couldn't convince Shirley to let me get one for our living room. ;)

The photo on the left is of the 1st floor entrance area. This is where you can test out the newest games.

On this visit we spent alot of time on the 5th floor. Model guns, soft air guns, and models. Checkout the gung-ho grrl testing out the fully automatic soft air gun. There's tons of "H" and KAWAII anime characters. An Otaku paradise. Next to the train area there was a display of a model train station. It reminded us of Sim City.

Gung ho girl at Aso Bit CityGundam models at Aso Bit
CitySexy Anime Characters at Aso Bit
Sexy Anime Character at AsoBitCityTrain models at Aso Bit
** Full disclosure: I did end up purchasing Star Wars Galaxies **
I had to. To please the Aso Bit City gods!

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  Saturday, August 16, 2003

The Key of Avalon

The Key of Avalon overview photo The Key of Avalon touchscreen The Key of Avalon number of people waiting

Finally got to play The Key of Avalon tonight. We visited the Capcom arcade in Kichijoji last week. That's where I discovered the game and bought a starter pack from the vending machine. There are other card based video games such as the soccer one, but this games' the 1st that I've seen that seems to be based on a similar concept as Magic The Gathering. I couldn't play last week cause there was 9 people waiting in front of me (see photo). F*kin NERDs. ;)
There are four touchscreen based consoles that are interconnected to the big screen. Whenever you get into a battle, the big screen is used. Each game runs at 300yen (current exchange rate is roughly 120yen per dollar), and you are allowed to put 900yen each time you sit in front of a console. That's like feeding the machine $7.50 for about 20 minutes of play. Before you shove money into the black hole, you insert your IC card that has your personalized info regarding your character into the machine. After the IC card, you feed it your life savings, and then put your deck of 30 monster and spells. The game reads your deck in a couple of seconds, and off you go into their world.

The Key of Avalon card vending machine The Key of Avalon Starter Pack

I was barely able to keep up, because everything was in Japanese. Here's what I did understand about the game:
There is one player called the key Holder and three players called Chasers. The Holder's goal is to visit 3 out of 4 towers, which opens access to the main castle. Then go to this castle. Chasers need to stop the Holder. By stopping the Holder the key is transferred to the Chaser and the roles are switched.
Your deck consists of monster cards, monster support cards, and character support cards. Each monster belongs to a color category(green, yellow, blue, and red) and has a movement, attack, and defense value. All cards have a rarity value(common, uncommon, rare, very rare, and super rare). Your deck can contain any combination of cards, but can't have more than 3 of the same card.
You move about on the board by using a monster card. The distance you're able to move for a single card depends on the monster card's movement value, monster's color, and your character's position on the map.
I think there's two phases of the game: Holder and Chaser. During the Holder phase that character can move, and attack. Remember there's only one Holder. The Chaser phase is in real time with other players; therefore, the faster you are at getting to the Holder the better. First come first serve to battle.
During your phase you're able to move, attack, or defend using your cards. You're allowed to use six cards in your hand. If you're not attacking, then before using your sixth card you should protect your character w/ a monster card. If you are attacking, your monster attacks first, unless the defending player has some type of monster helper card. You win the battle if your monster's attack value is greater than the defending monster's defense value. You automatically win if there isn't any defending monster. I'm sure I'm missing alot of details and strategy, but I panicked during the battles. Basically getting my ass kicked. ;) If you defeat a Holder you'll receive the key, and become the new Holder.
After you're done playing, the machine rewards you with a single card for each game you played. If you played with the max credits of nine you'll receive three cards. I picked up a Rare card this way! I'm not sure if you can get good cards through the starter packs. There's a super rare card on Yahoo! Japan Auctions going for 20,000 yen, which is roughly $167.
The game's highly addictive. I was watching and playing for around 2 hours, and never saw a seat empty. Every time someone sat down they put their 900 yen into the game. Let's see: 20 minutes for 900 yen. Let's say the game center's open for 12 hours. 12 hrs x 60 min = 720 min. 720min / 20min = 36 turns. 36 x 900yen = 32,400yen x 4 players = 129,600yen per day. Roughly $1080 per day. Plus people buying starter packs for 1000 yen.

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  Monday, August 11, 2003


Finally got accepted to beta test There.com about 2 weeks ago. I applied about 2 or 3 months ago. I guess they were busy. Installed and logged in for the first time today. I had a blast!
The Sims Online sounds very similar, but I can't make the comparison cause haven't played it yet.
The social aspect was really refreshing. The in-game culture. Maybe cause the game's still in beta phase.
Went Hoverboarding with an awesome custom board that someone lent me. It felt like going surfing at a point where there are some pretty nice swells and a friend of a friend lends you a board cause you're a dork without one. There are rocks and potential hazards that can wreck the board, but you get to borrow the stick just to share the experience. Basically, to go out and have fun.
This guy took me on top of some floating island that we can leap off of. Like sky diving with snowboards connected. It was nuts. Instant addiction. I think the person who took me up there just wanted to share this insane feeling. That was really kewl.
Maybe that's what makes games like this and MMORGs fun. Being able to share the kewl stuff. I mean that's what we do in real life anyway ... right!?!

As people spend more of their time in online worlds ... advertising is shifting from off-line to online areas. Look at product placement by McDonalds and Intel in The Sims. More info on ZDNet, and The Register.

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  Saturday, August 02, 2003

PSP vs GameBoy Advance

What makes the GameBoy Advance such a killer gaming device? What's the KEY factor. Is it the mobility ... being able to play anywhere, anytime, wirelessly? Or is there something that I'm totally missing?
Got an update regarding the PlayStation Portable from the KoKoRo blog. Hopefully these gaming devices will push mobile devices to the next level in terms of multimedia. Imagine being able to swap your video thingy in your PDA or Cellphone to play the latest/greatest. Your own connected virtual world with graphics that immerse anytime, anywhere. A new drug ... actually a revamp of existing drugs.
WATCH OUT for the bicycles ...

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