Remember

I’ve been mulling this over for a bit and after listening to a Ravi Zacharias pod about memorials I figure now’s as good a time as any to write this. But first a lil’ rhyme to give you guys a bit of background as to why this post.

I woke up one morning  feelin’ quite blue
I asked God for something at Uber’s annual do
I started my day and left it at that
I didn’t think He heard, I didn’t think He cared

But God He took notice and He had a  plan
Tho’ I was late for dinner with the rest of the clan
My number was called and God is no fool
A big gift He gave me, something way too cool

PS3 Slim (Black)

PS3 Slim (Black)

It really was a nice surprise and even though I already have 2 Ps3s (one’s busted) it really made me see God’ goodness and answer to prayer. I could’ve been ungrateful and told God, “What? Another PS3? Why not the LED TV?” but I decided to be thankful and even though there were offers to buy the PS3 off me I didn’t take any one up on it. Why? Cos’ the new console is a gift from God! And in lot of  ways it’s a tangible reminder of God’s goodness to me. Joshua 4 has a similar story about having monuments that remind us of who God is. Read on.

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

We all need physical reminders to remind us of God in our lives and much like the Israelites’ memorial on the banks of the Jordan, the black PS3 in my room now serves the same purpose. I am blessed and seeing it reminds me every day that God knows my heart and that if He can bless me with a PS3 then I should trust Him in the deeper aches in my life.

Thanks BIG GUY!

Dead Space 2 (Video Game Review)

Dead Space 2

Dead Space 2

Yep yep… just finished this courtesy of my colleague Ah Sai who loaned me his copy to play over the Chinese New Year hols and I finished the game in just under 10 hours I think. Dead Space 2 is not too long a game and while I enjoyed it I really liked the first game a lot more. I’ve not been playing my PS3 in awhile as I’ve sorta lost the taste for a lot of things in light of some personal issues.

It seems at times like I’m dead-walking through life much like Isaac Clarke here except that he gets to take out his pent up emotions by dismembering necromorphs… heh! I am however playing through the game at a higher difficulty which means I must be getting some flavour for some of my childish hobbies after trying too hard to be grown-up (doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped working on maturing mind you).

Anyways, I’m digressing, Dead Space 2 picks up a couple of years after the events of the first game and it’s great seeing Isaac Clarke again. Clarke’s hallucinating a lot this time round and is joined by a new cast of characters. The alien necromorphs are back again but this time there’s not much exploring to do as Clarke’s adventure goes on a guided path with little room for exploration unlike the first game. The game takes you on a somewhat on-rails kinda path that leads from Point A all the way to Point B in each Chapter.

There are a variety of weapons to choose from but as ammo can be scarce you’ll end up using the Plasma Cutter a whole lot to take out your enemies. The game essentially is a lot more of the same from the original so there’s plenty to kill. Dead Space 2 has the requisite scare moments and while the story explores Clarke’s fragile psyche a little I think they could’ve done  a lot more with that especially in the way he resolves his guilt over his girlfriend Nicole’s death in the previous game.

The graphics are in glorious 1080p unlike its predecessor and I guess if you liked Dead Space, you’ll most likely love Dead Space 2. My colleague Marauderz pokes a lot of holds at the story and the logic behind the ammo limitations in the game but I don’t really care cos’ the Dead Space series has a nice mix of action and RPG-like elements which I enjoy in video games.

The verdict? I give Dead Space a decent 3 out of 5.

Ni no Kuni

The gorgeous world of Ni No Kuni

The gorgeous world of Ni No Kuni

Hayao Miyazaki’s a genius! I just recently spent a weekend re-watching “My Neighbour Totoro”, “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke” which got me thinking about Ni no Kuni, a game that is currently being developed by Level-5 (the makers of Dragon Quest VIII, Rogue Galaxy & the recent White Knight Chronicles). Based on what I’ve seen so far. I’m like… Wow. Ni no Kuni is one beautiful game and the best part of it is that it features character designs and animated sequences by Studio Ghibli themselves.

The main protagonist Oliver & his magical friend

The main protagonist Oliver & his magical friend

The Nintendo DS is definitely the best platform for RPGs right now and there’s a tonne of stuff to play; which is great! I am so looking forward to Ni no Kuni and am currently waiting for my copy of Dragon Quest IX which my colleague helped order off Play-Asia. If Ni no Kuni has the same charm as a Studio Ghibli movie then I’m pretty sure the game’ll be a hit in Japan. It’ll be a welcome addition to my small but solid library of DS games.

The beautiful world of Ni no Kuni

The beautiful world of Ni no Kuni

For more on Ni no Kuni check out the Japanese trailer that was released at TGS o9′.

The Yellow Light of Death: @PlayStation This One’s for You

My Precious?

My Precious?

After 2 years plus of faithful service my poor ol’ white PS3 has succumbed to hi-tech complications and the worst part is that I’ve always used it moderately and taken care of it. Just a couple of months ago it started displaying the following symptoms:

  1. PS3 is powered up and the LED turns RED indicating it is on standby
  2. I switch it on, the unit beeps indicating it is powering up. The LED turns GREEN indicating it’s powering up.
  3. My PS3 beeps and the LED flashes YELLOW then it shuts down.
  4. What follows can only be described as Ultra Man-like cos’ the RED LED just blinks and blinks and blinks.
  5. I have to repeat the process at least 3 to 8 times before I can get it on.
  6. What’s more the system shuts itself down occasionally. *sighs*

I had a chat with my friends over at Gamer’s Hideout and I found out that this a pretty regular occurrence witn PS3s. Although not as bad as the XBOX 360’s 3 ROD problem, the problem has enough occurrences to garner its own monicker online – the YELLOW LIGHT OF DEATH or YLOD for short. From what little I’ve read on so far the problem occurs for two reasons:

  1. Some sort of problem with the heatsink that’s located in the innards of the PS3; or
  2. A loose harddrive

My brother tried option 2 but to no avail and the tools needed to muck around with the heatsink aren’t readily/easily available; which is why I dropped off my unit at Gamer’s Hideout to get a technician to look at it. The PS3’s a great machine but I’m truly annoyed that it just upped & semi-died on me for no good reason other than age. The build quality on hi-tech stuff is really suspect and it’s pretty disheartening to realise that some of these gadgets get pushed out to market so quick and not be given the time to be thoroughly tested due to market demands.

I miss my PS3 now more for its Blu-Ray playback cos’ I’ve been using it more for movies now than for actual gaming. I hope the technician can fix it cos’ it’d be pretty crummy to have to get a new one. The good news is that the HDD sizes are being increased in upcoming units but the bad news is that I heard that the current builds for the PS3 Slim have the same YLOD problems that occur much sooner during the ownership cycle. *sighs*

Where’s the pride that comes with making a product that lasts? I thought consoles were supposed to last a generation not die half-way in a generation. @PlayStation, I hope you are reading this cos’ as much as I love the PS3, an occurrence like this lowers my faith in the brand tremendously. The price for hi-tech tech is faster degradation apparently which doesn’t speak much for pride in workmanship in this day & age of fast moving consumables. It’s a good thing I have my Nintendo DSi to occupy what little downtime I have after work & church stuff. Nuff’ said.

Red Dead Redemption (Video Game Review)

Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption

To be honest, I never really planned to get Rockstar Games’ latest open world epic, Red Dead Redemption but I ended up getting it any way after my colleague Jason talked about it and I managed to catch some videos over YouTube on my phone. Boy, am I glad I picked up a copy of the game last week because it’s a real fun game with lots to do and I must say that I like it a lot more than GTA IV.

What I like most about RDR is the fact that there’s always something happening and there’s always something to do in the game. I could be galloping across the desert and I’ll stumble upon a random robbery and the game world is alive with people & happenings. Hang around or ride around enough and you’ll more often than not stumble upon something to do.

The game’s good fun and it has a a great sound track to boot. I haven’t played any of the multi-player yet but so far I’m content to wander the single-player campaign looking out for further adventures for John Marston in a fictional piece of the wild, wild west.

Unfortunately the game has a tonne of glitches. The biggest annoyance in the R3 version of the game that I have is the fact that most of the mini-games are broken because there’s a bug in which the X and O buttons are flipped. In case some of you don’t know, PS3 games in Asia use the O button as the standard OK button whilst American PS3 games use X as OK. It’s annoying cos’ the game keeps mixing up both buttons and in a lot of instances hitting X in a mini-game brings up the quit mini-game screen. I’ve already contacted Rockstar Games on this and they just replied me that they are aware of the issue but so far nothing has been issued out yet about a fix. *sighs*

Oh well, having said that the game’s a great one and I’ve not spent this much fun time on a game in a long while. Compared to Final Fantasy XIII, RDR is a whole lot more fun. I’m still stuck in Chapter 11 in Final Fantasy and am not really keen on picking up that game to progress at the moment; heh.

I give Red Dead Redemption a fun 4 out of 5. I would’ve given it 5 stars if it weren’t for the X-O flip bug. Dear Rockstar please fix it a.s.a.p.

Dead Space (PS3 Review)

Dead Space

Dead Space

I know, I know. This game is old but better late than never right? I borrowed Dead Space from a colleague of mine ages ago last year and played through it half-way before returning it to him. Now almost a year later I decided to complete it and boy am I glad that my bud WL over at work loaned it out to me again so that I could finish it.

Dead Space is a great! Plotwise it’s great sci-fi writing as the story mixes up religion, science and horror as its main themes. It’s pretty cool too that everything in the game engine keeps you in the game world rather than throwing you out of it with menus and such. I really liked the fact that story exposition occurred via in-game audio & text logs that you find plus a cool HUD interface that appears holographically for the various conversations with other characters. Neat! Stuff like that shows up on if you have a HD display which was why I stopped playing the game in the first place. Boy am I glad I’ve got my HD monitor and TV now. It sure makes a big difference in the game experience.

It’s good creepy fun especially at the start of the game when your weapons aren’t as good. Admittedly Dead Space was tougher at default difficult levels so being the wuss that I am; I played the game on the easiest difficulty just to get a hang of the combat system but found it to be a lot more fun as a start. I’m tempted to play the game at a higher difficulty setting now that I’ve finished the game but I’m neglecting that at the moment to collect trophies on a new run of the game. It’s a whole lot of fun to run through the game with all my upgraded weapons & armour zapping necromorphs. Give the Line Gun a try! Once it’s upgraded fully it causes major damage & kills enemies in a single shot! Heh heh.

Anyways, I’m really looking forward to Dead Space 2 and it’s pretty cool that teasers of the new game were released as I headed towards completion. Give this one a try if you can find a copy of the game or better yet drop by Gamer’s Hideout over at e@Curve in Mutiara Damansara or Tropicana City Mall to rent the game. As for me I’m pretty tempted to buy it off my colleague 2nd hand but see how la.

I give Dead Space a solid 5 out of 5.

Testing The Tester

PSN's The Tester

PSN's The Tester

PSN’s “The Tester” is a show in which a “select” bunch of gamers actually compete in one challenge each week that’s supposedly designed to weed them out to determine which of them gets a “dream” job as a game tester with Sony. It all seems far-fetched to me and it’s scary seeing these guys and the fanaticism they have for gaming.

I’ve been watching the show for the past 6 weeks now and it’s a strange show in that the contestants don’t really do much when it comes to actual competition. So far the contestants have done the following:

  • Played a game of “spot the difference”
  • Rolled around in a transparent plastic ball
  • Launched and caught American footballs with a make-shift slingshot
  • LARPed (Live-Action Role Play)
  • Answered PlayStation Trivia questions
  • Paintballed
The Cast

The Cast

The show doesn’t give viewers any insight into the gaming industry and in terms of entertainment-value it’s not that great. I really feel the creators could have done a better job with the challenges to make it a better watch for every one. Maybe they’ll do better if they ever decide to do a 2nd season of the show.

“The Tester” is available FREE for download if you’ve signed up for a U.S. account over Sony’s PlayStation Network so check out an episode or two and judge for yourself how poor the show is. Having said that, FREE content is FREE; so I download it anyways cos’ I’m curious if it’d get any better as they head towards the end-game plus AMPED (one of the contestants) is kinda cute.

Find out more on show’s official site.