Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thai PM questions fairness of SEA Games

I just had to blog and bitch about this short article saying that the Prime Minister of Thailand is "wondering" why we're winning in the South-East Asian Games here all over the country. Yeah, yeah, technically, he didn't say it was us or current second place in medals Vietnam, and technically he didn't say that the games were rigged or that we were cheating. But we're not idiots; we can still read between the lines.

First of all, it's not fair to those athletes who worked very hard for the medals. Second of all, this isn't a beauty contest. For most of the games, you earn points, and those points aren't subject to the whim of judges. I don't exactly know if he's implying a particular sport/competition. He must be watching our elections (rimshot).

I guess, I'm just being defensive. After all the competitions aren't all judged by Pinoys. Check out this item about questionable judging by a Korean judge.

Anyway, Eric Buhain of the Games and Amusements Board, and ambassador to the SEA games has this response.

For more on the SEA Games, heres the official website:

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pat Morita, 'Karate Kid's' Mr. Miyagi, dies

Here's to my childhood source of profound wisdom in the form of Mr. Miyagi. Pat Morita died last Friday (Thursday in the US) at the age of 73.

The last laugh

When was the last time you laughed so hard your jaw and throat hurted?

Me and my cousin, in all our shallowness burst out laughing at the sight of Manny Pacquiao being pummeled (to death it seemed) by Erik Morales while playing Fight Night Round 2 on Playstation2. In our attempt for vengeance, we decided to pit Pacquiao against Morales (whom the former lost to last March in one of the most highly regarded matches of the year (in the real world, of course)). Our approach was very strategic, almost like hacking the game, trying to defeat the computer AI more than pretending to be the boxer. In the early rounds, we delivered a combination consisting of midsection jabs before a hook or an uppercut. Very formulaic but nonetheless effective and easy to execute. Eventually, the opponent was almost literally at the ropes. Erik staggered many times across rounds but always got away with dodging and hugging. In the end, the Erik AI decided it had enough and connected on multiple haymaker hooks that shook the sweat out of our Pacquiao's virtual face. Here's where the laugh trip starts. You know in the game Mortal Kombat where the combos are number of hits you "juggle" the opponent? Well, our Pacquiao got juggled and got hit something like seven times WHILE going down for the count. And that happened about three times! We swear he got killed in there somewhere. I think he hit his head on the mat and broke his neck or something. One thing's for sure, he probably didn't look too good after that beating.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Basketball Jerseys

I like collecting basketball jerseys not just for hanging in the closet or some sort of shrine, but also for playing basketball. Before, I used to wear old white or sleeveless warm up shirts for playing but then I decided to move to wearing basketball jerseys. They're more comfortable, and if you buy the nice ones, the sweat evaporates much quicker than cotton shirts.

In the NBA Store there are more or less 3 kinds of jerseys: authentic, swingman, and replica. The authentic sells for about $150.00 and is the kind (they say) that the pro ball players wear. The swingman goes for around $75-85 and is the kind I like, with the little air holes; it's excellent for playing basketball. The replica is around $50-70 and is NOT so nice for playing basketball because the fabric doesn't really let air in or out. It's meant to be worn during the NBA games by fans who just sit down at the stands inside the airconditioned arena.

Anyway, I wanted a Dwyane Wade swingman jersey. The player's a good guy, and a budding superstar, and has got real talent AND more importantly, wears my lucky number (3). I only have the black replica, which I said is not so nice to wear while playing.

What's holding me back however is the fact that a lot of people already have these Wade jerseys (different color though). I can count three people I've seen, including one bald and hairy guy who wore it while he went to the grocery in Unimart. So that was basically it for me and the Wade jersey.

Right now, I'm setting my sights on a Chris Paul (my new idol) college jersey (Wake Forest #3). Here's what the Wake Forest black and gold looks like. It's very classy. And even better because there is no fear that Chris Paul might change college teams since he went pro and was drafted by the New Orleans/Oklahoma Hornets. That's also one of the problems with jerseys, when a player gets traded or signs with other teams, your jersey becomes dated already. Buying throwbacks are preferable (Magic Johnson #32, Michael Jordan #23, Oscar Robertson #1 and other retired players). Anyone going to Wake Forest? Anyone? Anyone?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Microsoft Age of Empires 3

Just before I got a copy of Civ 4, I thought I'd try out Age of Empires 3 for a while. I liked the previous installment, Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings, which covers the Dark Ages to the late Medieval period. So that means you get to control trebuchets, siege rams, the Mongol Horde (cavalry archers), the Byzantine cavalry, among others. It had an expansion pack named The Conquerors brings in the Mayans, Aztecs, and also the Spanish Conquistadors (horsemen with BB guns apparently). Too bad, smallpox isn't incorporated in the game. A very fine game, and I especially enjoyed the Regicide games wherein, as the name suggests, you kill the king (literally, a single unit with robe and a crown that can move around the map) of a team, and that team is defeated.

(I'll skip talking about Age of Mythology and Rise of Nations in detail)

This game covers the European colonization of the New World. I'm sure a lot of websites have already covered most of the technical and gameplay matters of the game, so let's just stick to the opinion.

First of all, the graphics are stunning IF your system can handle the stiff requirements. The water is reflective, pieces break off when hit by cannons and other mortar fire, and all in all, amazing detail up close.

I must confess, I didn't enjoy playing this game, and that if I wanted to play a historical real time strategy (RTS) game, I'd play Rise of Nations (which covers almost all the periods of history until the present time). If I wanted to play a non-historical RTS game, I'd play Age of Mythology. So why not this? It probably has something to do with the game topic because I come from a country on the receiving end of the age of "discovery". So when I move my troops to build trading posts on the colonies and build "native units" and have them fight for me, I feel for the native units. That's my main gripe from the game.

Off to the dusty shelf you go.

Reports of my addiction to Civ IV have been greatly exagerrated

blog drafts
Originally uploaded by ton2fig.
A lot of things happened in the past few weeks, both good and bad. I promise to cover it all (or at least most of it), maybe...this coming weekend. But meanwhile, I still gather blog topics using the extremely handy "Blog This" button from the Google Toolbar, as well as the Blogger function "Save As Draft". I don't really bother with changing the date (of when I originally encountered the article/website/topic) so you might see posts being inserted before this.

Anyway, wish me luck.

Monday, November 07, 2005

It begins...

Manang Tindera: Sir, installer, PC Games...
Me: (uninterested) Anong bago niyong games?
Manang Tindera: Call of Duty...Age of Empires...Civilization
Me: ... Meron na?!

So there, after weeks of waiting, checking out the Datablitz website, reading online message boards, and stopping by Greenhills, I've finally gotten hold of Civilization 4 -- the software equivalent of crack.

There are a few games which I had bought original: The Sims, The Sims 2, Sim City 4 and Civilization 3, among others. The rest, I admit, I get pirated copies of, if only to bypass the annoying and pathetic copy-protection techniques such as running the game without CDs (the infamous No-CD cracks). Other reasons have to do with my game purchasing philosophy.Take for example the NBA Live series. Every year, there is an NBA Live game out sometime before the beginning of the NBA regular season (around September or October). Now how stupid does buying the same kind of game for thousands of pesos every year. Yeah, sure, it's "different", even "better" every year but then the thing is, who plays NBA Live 2003 these days. Yep, nobody! So throw away the CD after a year? Let it gather dust? Give to the poor? They should come up with a subscription-type scheme that favors licensed owners of the previous year's version. If there is such a thing, I haven't heard it here.

This doesn't really explain why I buy those aforementioned games in original format when I can always buy them pirated (no matter how many raids the police conduct). The reason is simple: they are quality games and I like the developers to make more of them. I mentioned before that these games (or franchises/series) were timeless. I could pop in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (which I had my dad take home from the U.S. around 5 years ago), install it, and still enjoy playing it until morning. How's that for value-for-money?


Anyway, here's the uninteresting part of the post: me raving or ranting about the game.

Check out this Saturday-Sunday timeline:

11:15 PM - Arrive home. Try to install Civ 4. The game did not install properly.
11:30 PM - 1:00 AM - Search Internet for troubleshooting tips
1:30 AM - Game finally runs (Use Run in Windows 2000 compatibility mode)
1:30 AM - 5:00 AM - Play game. Game crashes occasionally. Put up with it.
5:00 AM - Thirty minutes na lang...
5:30 AM - Sun rises (though there's no crowing rooster anymore in our
5:35 AM - Try to sleep. Zzz...
9:30 AM - Sun is shining on my face. Wake up, have breakfast.
9:45 AM - Play more Civ 4 until it's time to get ready for church.
11:30 AM - 3:00 PM - Church, Lunch, walk around Greenbelt. Buy Visine. Go home.
3:00 PM - Play more Civ 4.

If that game didn't crash on my computer as frequent as it did, I'd have played a lot more than that.

(I'm not an addict!)

The franchise itself has acknowledged this type of addiction with Civilization Anonymous, a fictional support group for Civ Addicts.

But the crashes are really annoying since it runs quite a bit slow on my system (AMD XP2200, 512 MB RAM, 128MB Video, unbelievable), and so now I'm thinking of getting another 512MB of RAM. I realize that this could also be just a result of bad programming, with which a game patch to come can solve the performance issues. Until then I am seriously thinking of that RAM upgrade.

(I'm not an addict!)

That's about three-thousand bucks, hmmm...

(I'm not an addict!)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Important Note

Playing Civ 4. Be back in a few weeks :P