Saturday, July 30, 2005

360 degrees of excitement

I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m starting to get hyped up for the Xbox 360. The promise of at least three more DOA games and Rumble Roses XX may have something to do with it. I would have bet money there would not be another RR, but I’m glad to be so very wrong. Hopefully, the next major surfacing of software takes advantage of the final (or whatever point they are at) hardware.

Mobile action
So I was pretty sure my Warioware Twisted cart was busted, so I decided to give it a few wacks just for kicks. What do you know, it works now. So weird. I also started playing Darkstalkers for the PSP. Man, I'm really impressed with it actually. It controls well and it looks really sharp. It's nice they let you choose to keep the proper aspect ratio or stretch the image to fit the screen. The only bad part is that I move my hands a lot when playing fighting games, so it's sort of hard to keep the screen still.

iTrip field report
I have a longer commute now, so I’ve been using the iTrip attachment for the iPod on a daily basis. The verdict so far is…pretty good. I get some extra static now and then over the Bay Bridge, but it’s fine. The main complaints I’ve read about the iTrip is in regards to durability so we’ll see what happens there.

The real Battlestar Galactica DVD
So you might have seen the Best Buy exclusive UK DVD set of Battlestar, but details are finally out for the general release version. You get a TON more stuff like commentaries on 10 of the episodes, plus the inclusion of the mini-series. Of course the requisite behind the scenes and deleted material are included. All for $5 more buck that the UK version. A fantastic deal.

Monday, July 25, 2005

L.A., a celebration, the Giants, and (gasp) work!

In case you were wondering where the posts went, I was in LA last week tying up loose ends such as finally setting up internet access for my mom. That is a long story in itself, but really not that interesting. Being down there did give me a chance to meet up with the Tips & Tricks magazine gang. I started my career there (on the now defunt Video Games & Computer Entertainment magazine, which eventually was renamed simply Video Games Magazine), and have lots of fond memories of the old place. I have a pic I took with my camera phone, but Chris made me promise not to post it. He remarked that I am the only editor to have worked on all three of the biggest game magazines of that era (VG&CE, EGM, and GamePro). The gaming version of Larry Brown you could say. Of course I’m not saying that, since my accomplishments are not even a tiny fraction comparable to coach Brown.

After I got back, it was time to celebrate my friend Arne’s birthday! Dinner was at a Hawaiian eatery in Palo Alto where much food was consumed.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhen you get a large group of Asian together, the cameras come out. I can say that because I’m Asian.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAnd yet still more, and bigger cameras. Obviously I am taking pictures of them taking pictures. I must have been drinking.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usA nice band played Happy Birthday and popular island tunes.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usTime for some cake poking.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThen it was off to the Sea Bowl in Pacifica.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI posted a monster score of 177, one of my best ever!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe sheer enormity of it demoralized the masses.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usExcept for Carol, who went on to beat me at the end of the night by one frackin point.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usA photo of the ass kicking in question.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAye aye mate. That's a wrap.

Giant vs. Marlins
The next day, my wife and I were invited to a Giants game by one of her cousins. It was a really beautiful and fun day, but damn hot. I wish I had taken my camera. Unfortunately my suffering Giants lost.

Last, but not least, I have joined the marketing department at IGN. It’s fun so far, but it certainly makes posting regularly a lot harder.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ojitos in the house

Fed up with the inflated housing situation in the Bay Area, Julie and Daryl decided to move south of the border to build their dream home from scratch. That was almost a year ago and they’ve been faithfully chronicling their adventures on Ojitos in Mexico ever since. They were recently in town, so we had a sushi night extravaganza just like old times!

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A closer look at the homemade (as if you couldn’t tell) rolls, packed with a generous fish to rice ratio.

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It was then time to get some poker on.

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A final group photo to cap off a full night of mirth.

Other stuff
Updates have been a bit slower than usual, but I do have some news on that front soon. This week is quite crazy with a lot of errands and loose ends that need to get cleaned up before events unfold Monday.

- My copy of Warioware Twisted seems to have gone bad. It just craps out shortly after the title screen. I barely got to play it too. Damn this sensitive gyro technology.

- Nomo and Takatsu are being released by their respective teams (Devil Rays, White Sox). Hopefully they get picked up quickly.

- I wish I had made plans to go to the San Diego Comicon. Next year for sure.

- I resisted for years, but now finally own an iPod. The 30GB iPod photo to be exact. That model is being phased out in favor of the now standard color screen 20GB iPod. Luckily, the Apple store in Emeryville still had some of the 30GB ones in the back for only $29 more than the 20GB version. Very nice. I know there is talk around the web that future iPods “may” play videos, so I figure the one I have has at least an outside chance of playing videos through software updates. If that does somehow end up happening, having 30GB is definitely nicer than 20. My wife got the cuter, more portable mini. Perhaps we are victims to the unending iPod hype machine. Either way, I’m enjoying music even more than ever.

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- The Japanese women’s softball team won over the US ladies 3 to 1 in the World Cup of Softball. It was a cool game to watch.

- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was great. I will probably buy the DVD, as long as it’s not a stripped down “cash in before a premium edition DVD” version.

- I messed with the AGP BIOS settings on my PC and have improved game performance dramatically. No crashes so far (knock on wood), so looks like I didn’t destroy anything. Glad I went this route instead of hastily upgrading to a new card.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Battlestar Get

I’ve finished the first season of Battlestar Galactica and the verdict is…awesome. The story plays out more like an Anime series than standard western-style sci-fi. A lot of it reminded me of Robotech and Gundam. I didn't know there was a previous miniseries (available on DVD right now) setting up the story of Battlestar Galactica, so I had to run out and rent it before I watched the recorded shows.

I might still buy the first season DVD set if there are good extras, but the visual difference between the miniseries on DVD and the HD broadcast of season one was huge. You can see every crater in Edward James Olmos’ face. Oddly, the HD marathon show was not broadcast in true 5.1, so the DVD definitely sounded better. I’m definitely psyched for the start of the second season this Friday. Sean tells me I need to watch Firefly, especially since the big screen follow up is coming soon. We’ll see.

I also finally sat through Resident Evil Apocalypse. I didn’t like the first one very much, but was pleasantly surprised with this follow up. It was very nice to see the movie incorporate scenes inspired by the game, specifically the opening cinema from Codename Veronica. Maybe my expectations were in check so I can just ignore the absolute ridiculous moments. Maybe I was wowed since I watched it in HD (I think it was on the Cinemax HD channel). I have to admit what really put the movie over the top was the addition of Jill Valentine.

I was baffled when I first heard the news that there would be not just one, but two more RE movies coming, but now I’m actually looking forward to them…when they appear on DVD. I’m not excited enough to pay theater prices just yet. Give me some credit.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The war must end

I’ve put it off long enough, but it’s finally time to sit down and finish Dawn of War. There has been plenty of actual work to keep me busy, so it’s not like I could have been going at it full throttle anyway. Maybe I’ll explore the skirmish battles or test the online waters if I get the itch later. I’ll probably go pick up Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones instead, although I have a burning desire to play through the previous installment once more. I wasn’t 100% satisfied with how I leveled people up the initial time through.

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High Definition space opera time
I’ve only caught fleeting glimpses of the recent Sci-Fi channel Battlestar Galactica series, but the start of the second season on July 15th has got me wanting to climb aboard. The bits I’ve seen look pretty cool and most of the internet buzz has been fairly positive. At first I was thinking of renting the season 1 DVD (comes out 7/26), but it’s only available as a Best Buy exclusive, and won’t be sold anywhere else till something like September. Ass. Well, it’s ass if you only wanted to rent it for now. The Sci-Fi channel is running marathons of season 1, but I wanted to see and hear the episodes in their full widescreen, 5.1 glory.

Now here’s where it gets good…for the lucky ones that is. Universal has a HD channel that consists mostly of Law & Order, Karen Sisco, and Monk repeats with sporadic sprinklings of feature films. They also show the occasional Battlestar Galactica, so I checked their web listings and discovered they too are planning a marathon, two marathons back-to-back in fact. I have since verified it on my DVR schedule so it’s a done deal. The complete first season in HIGH FREAKIN DEFINITION! Awww yeaaah. My only concern is how many hours of HD my DVR can handle. I’ve never gone above 50% capacity so it’s hard to say. The short explanation to my solution is that I’ll be recording the first seven episodes of the first marathon, and record the last six episodes of the second marathon. That gives me a window of 8-10 hours (counting only hours I’ll be awake) to watch seven hours of the show before I’ll need to clear space. It all depends on what the capacity meter reads after taping the initial seven. Make sense?

So if you are interested in the series and have Universal HD as part of your service, enjoy! And get up once in a while to stretch those legs.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Weekend events

A wedding and a parade were the main highlights of this 4th of July weekend.

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Probably the largest reception I've been to.

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The founding fathers: George Washington, Abe Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr.!

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That guy's facial hair appears painted on.

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The cardboard cat's eyes were...haunting.

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"Citizens of Alameda, we are starved for attention!"

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You can't have a parade without pirates.

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More pirates. Sort of. Giggidy, giggidy, giggidy!

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This means the parade is ovah!

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who emailed (folks prefer email rather than comments I guess) to let me know they don't like clickable thumbnails. All fixed crybabies.