Saturday, March 27, 2010

Review: "AltShift"

Game Link: AltShift

As mentioned at the last post, I was searching for rather innovative games around various sites like AltShift displays one of the most innovative things I've seen. It starts out as a normal platformer, teaching you basic stuff like walking, jumping and restarting the game, etc.

Then it showed me it's main idea.

[futile attempt at describing]
AltShift happened to be monochrome in its color scheme for a reason. For the first few levels, your character (which is black, no racist comment intended) walks on black platforms. Press a button and the world will flips 180 degrees, causing gravity to tilt accordingly.

Your character will flips upon its origin (actually its more like reflection) and become white. With that button, you effectively become a white character walking on white platforms.
[/end futile attempt]

I know that sounded fuzzy, so I took screenshots to illustrate clearly.

Try the game. It's free for trial and I believe it's a good experience. For me, I still find it a mindfuck to think about how my character becomes white walking on white platform since I'm more used to the black counterpart. I'll just take it that as black I can access white parts, and as white I can access black parts.

It's hard not to make this article sound racist or weird =/

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hectic much?

I haven't really found much time to update last week. It's been really hectic for me mentally, especially with DigiPen suddenly offering subsidy for its courses. Worse, the application already started and is ending on 10th April. Right now I'm scrambling for recommendation letters because you need at least 2 to apply. (Not compulsory anymore as of 15 mins ago).

On the side, I didn't really want to go in so early. If the course starts on September, there's a very good chance that the 3 months' worth of 'Foundation Course' will start on June, right after my ORD. Hearing from many different people that life there is stressful (everyone goes home at 10pm kind of stressful) makes me a little hesitant.

I don't think I'm actually afraid to go through it again. I guess I just want to at least have some breathing space before I start studying furiously again. Then again, I suspect that Digipen having a subsidy COULD be a short term offer, so I might as well give it a shot now or never.

Despite what I said previous years about dropping off the game industry, I still feel happy to code. It's like an addiction, much like playing fighting games to me. I really liked working on Flash and 2D games, although I know there are so far I can go with 2D games. Anyway I'm just babbling.

Aside from that, I still like to critic games a lot (hence the blog). Despite that, I don't see myself working full time as a reviewer. I know as much as I try to be, my reviews are not really that organized; it's mostly thoughts straight out of my mind. Throughout NS, I still find myself wanting to try all kind of different games, not just digital. I've even made an effort to try out various card games, just to broaden my views. I always think that it's important to try.

Well, these few days I've been looking into casual games, even though I'm quite satisfied right now playing Mass Effect 2 and Bad Company 2. I find Bad Company 2 rather revolutionary in the FPS genre. Suddenly the spots you think is safe isn't so safe anymore with even the building walls making into the 'environmental destructible' list.

Anyway, for casual games, I've made an effort to look into the repertoire in There's really so many different games in there. Even if most of them all copies, it's interesting to see how some of them were repackaged. Of course, there are those which are polished or innovative, or both. I should really link some cool ones here. I don't know if I'm allowed to embed them though.

Well we'll see how things goes for now. Things are suddenly looking up, an opportunity is thrown in front of me and it's foolish of me not to go for it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Movie: "Alice in Wonderland"

I have to get this show off my shoulder; it has been bugging me for a few days now. I don't even know where to begin but I'll attempt anyway.

Alice in Wonderland is originally a book written by Lewis Carroll, a book I haven't read fully yet but I know it's a book that plays around with logic itself. As far as I know, this movie is based on the sequel book: Through the Looking-Glass, although I don't see much of a relation between the movie and the book. It's almost as if Tim Burton decided to make a completely different show and throw it onto the Wonderland setting.

The first 30 mins of the movie was greeted by the standard boring introduction which I care not to elaborate. Alice (now coming of age), sees the famous rabbit hurrying for time and chases it. Eventually she fell down the infamous rabbit hole full of curious items, and landed up in a room full of locked doors, a "Drink Me" potion and a "Eat Me" cake.

It was all going well here. Alice opened the smallest door and manages to go through it. The CG at this point was spectacular imho. I really felt that it was quite grand and beautiful, and expected this show to get alot better. Unfortunately, it was the point where everything just goes downhill.

I'm just going to run through the movie real quick along with my opinions. Basically everyone questions if she is the 'right' Alice, so they brought her to the wise caterpillar. The wise catepillar said that she is not really the right Alice yet (I can't remember the actual phrase, but it means something close to that). They then opened a scroll and told the entire audience that it was prophesied that Alice would return to the world, and slay the Jabberwocky with a vorpal sword.

At this point, I felt confused because I wasn't expecting something this linear to surface. It is the classic save-the-world RPG plot. Wtf is a lousy classic plot doing in a 'Alice in Wonderland' movie??

Anyhow, suddenly they were attacked and Alice somehow entered a forest.

Of course, in the dark forest, we anticipated the appearance of the Cheshire Cat, which led Alice to the Mad Tea Party. That when we all saw the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp btw). The Mad Hatter seemed pretty mad for the first 10 mins, but later you'd realize he actually isn't, due to the seriousness of the situation.

He actually seemed drunk, and largely reminds me of Captain Jack Sparrow with mascara and a hat. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just his voice. But the character is definitely sane, something I didn't want happening. I don't blame Johnny though, since apparently, that was the character design that was in mind. To describe the Mad Hatter in short for this movie: He was brave and loyal to the White Queen, and emotionally attached to Alice. What the hell, I don't care anymore.

Eventually, Alice, due to circumstances, found the vorpal sword and saved everyone in the process. Mad Hatter caused a civil conflict to happen in the Queen of Heart's domain. Queen gets angry, queen summons Jabberwocky, queen goes to war against White Queen. Finally they meet on the battlefield, with Alice resolving all the identity conflicts and donning a full plate, shield and vorpal sword. They fight. Alice fight the Jabberwocky. Alice beheads the Jabberwocky. Everyone is lives happily ever after.

That was the brief breakthrough of Alice in Wonderland. Other than the setting and the characters, I don't see how it is supposed to be an 'Alice in Wonderland'. The plot seems extremely similar to The Matrix.


- There are entities looking for the real Alice (aka the One)
- They are all unsure about it so they consult a wise blue catepillar (aka the Oracle)... See More
- Blue catepillar says she is not really the Alice (i.e. Neo wasn't really The One at the same point of time).
- But it was prophesied that Alice would save everyone (same as the matrix, and alot of others).
- Alice goes on a journey of self-discovery forced upon circumstances (like all save-the-world RPGs)
- She must find *insert item here* to save the world (zzz)
- Eventually she accepts her fate, and becomes The Alice[/sarcasm].

Throughout the whole movie, I kept feeling that something fun is going to happen. I really liked the way the Cheshire Cat is being animated. That's why I was a little confused yet interested when people said it was a little 'adult'. How can a fun book like Alice in Wonderland become Now I know: just think of an adult plot, and skin it with Alice in Wonderland setting. Well done.

That's why I was so disturbed when the movie ended. I felt there was so much potential to the movie, so much greatness that can be. Where did it all go wrong? After awhile, I realized that it is the feeling you get if you got cheated by a movie title.

Speaking of endings, it was easily one of the worse endings I've ever seen. Alice suddenly become a master trader, rejecting her betrothed, telling everyone that she wants more to her life, etc and sets sail to Hong Kong as an apprentice.

Rotten Tomatoes had a 50%+ rating as of this article. I would call myself generous if I gave it a 30%.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Marksman $$$!!!

I haven't updated recently mostly due to my fatigue. I haven't been this tired for a long time. I never thought I would be tired. Basically I went for my ATP shoot last Friday just to try to steal the $200 award (cleared by FFI for the run-down) from SAF. Halfway through the whole shoot, my upper body began to ache. The FIFTY friggin' meters run-down almost had me killed.

Still, I managed to get my Marksman (yay for SAR21, the main reason why I wanted to go for the shoot). It was unexpectedly a pain in the ass but I finally got something out of SAF. Subsequently the next day, I didn't feel like moving around. It's the same feeling that I got after every outfield. Maybe my back is actually getting worse? =(

Anyway, aside from army stuff, I returned Darksiders to YH. I didn't review because I haven't been through a quarter of the game yet, but right now, I'm under the impression that it is a really irritating and tedious version of Zelda games.

I haven't been playing much of the new games, though I'm rather keen on borrowing Mass Effect 2. But since I'm constrained to portable consoles, I'm sticking to replaying Xenogears, which my whole office ended up playing lol. The game is great and all, but the camera's really fucked up. I'm surprised I didn't notice that before (because I was young and innocent? I guess being ignorant is good).

I'm actually saving money, despite buying the $115 Kirisame Marisa nendoroid this month. Maybe because I haven't been spending on Weiss Schwarz recently. Then again Da Capo reprint is out so I might end up spending a little. But saving feels great.

Right now, I'm just blogging on my INet com (instill jealousy! mwahaha!), having just returned from watching Alice in Wonderland with my colleagues. It's really a show I'm HAVE to review, not because it's good. It's not necessarily bad either, but I can see why some gave it a 6/10. In short for now, all I can say it's a roller coaster ride for me, that ended up going downhill.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

House of Hidden Teasures??

One day I was reading some manga when I came across something called "House of Hidden Treasures". I thought it was a joke at first, but thinking about how open japanese are, I did a search.

Yes they exist. The original one closed down though: