Tekkenulture

Posted: August 22, 2011 in Gurugumawaru, Tekken

Growing up with two brothers has exposed me to different kinds of games throughout the years. And though I never became a fan of almost half of the things they do, there was something that has always intrigued me. My brothers’ have a certain addiction. Every time we go to a mall as a family, they will always find a reason to sneak into an arcade. And no, they’re not there to play basketball, DDR or any of the other games there. My brothers and a lot of other people go there for just one reason, Tekken.

Some Background Info

It’s been around 15 years since Namco released this arcade type fighting game. Ever since then, there have been 5 sequels, and the number of characters and the plot has expanded thoroughly. If you watched the movie, you would know that the plot revolves around The King of the Iron Fist Tournament. This is a fictional tournament that is supposedly hosted by the Mishima Zaibatsu. And when a character is able to win this competition, he/she is given the opportunity to control the company.

If you play Tekken in a gaming console such as the PS3, you have the option of playing the story mode. In the story mode, one will be able to see the character’s reason behind joining the competition, and what would happen if that character were to win everything.

What Makes Tekken Different

These features are things that are very common with other combat games. However the Tekken franchise has a very interesting interactive aspect that is available for both the arcade and console version.  Imitating real life martial arts, the Tekken franchise gives the player an opportunity to prove their skills and raise their ranks.  They begin with the 9 levels of Kyu, 5 levels of Dan then they become Shihan, Expert, Master, Virtuoso, Champion, Legend, Sage, Warlord, Conquerer, Diety and finally if they’ve passed all of these, they can become Tekken Lord. There are two ways to raise your rank. For arcade players, they can purchase a Tekken Card from their local arcade. The card will give them the opportunity to choose a username, purchase a costume for the character that they use, and it will also record data about that person’s gaming stats. By using this card when they challenge other players, they will be given promotion opportunities. The conditions will change depending on your current rank. For people using console, they can improve their ranks by challenging other players online.

So What?

This type of system has given the Tekken series a number of very loyal followers. They have developed their own form of dedication, a certain culture. This is particularly true for the Tekken players who go to arcades. If you search the Internet, you would be able to see recordings of battles of some popular Tekken players that normally come from Japan or Korea. I’ve seen people who hang out in Timezone just to watch other people play. And the players aren’t limited to teenagers and young adults. There are a couple of working class people as well.

It’s interesting when one starts to notice how committed some of these players are. They have platinum membership cards for the arcade. They always seem to be in the arcade either playing the game, or watching from the sidelines. When they lose a game, there are occasions when they take a peek as to who that person is. They talk to other regulars. They battle each other; learn from one another, and ultimately, they form a community. They’re a bunch of regular folk trying to get as close to the exhilaration of martial arts as they possibly can, minus the broken bones.  And hey, what’s so wrong about that?

For more information about Tekken, click the image below!

The Ultimate Tekken Resource

And, a new Tekken movie is coming up!

Hopefully, this one won’t disappoint 🙂

That’s about all from me today, see you guys next time!

❤ Gurugumawaru

Hey guys, Frillion here.

I’ve been blessed with a father who is not just computer literate but an avid gamer. I probably got the virtual obsession by watching him play tons of computer games. He used to pull a chair and placed it beside him for me to watch him play Mechwarrior, Red Alert and a bunch of First Person Shooter games until the late hours of the night. ( I know, not exactly a parent’y thing that my mother used to quarrel with him about my bedtime. I started watching him play games by 7 years old) Among the cool and kid – friendly games, I have watched some pretty scary stuff that traumatized me with nights without sleep, sweat and a very vivid imagination. I want to relive my 7 year old (and even present!) scary game experiences with you guys, and salute the concept art and graphics/animation teams of the games that stole lots of naptimes and sleeping times from me.

Aliens Vs. Predator (1999)

I was 9 years old when experienced watching this game. I also just finished watching all the Alien movies, and my dad plays this game late at night by himself with the lights off. So every time he plays, I collected all the courage I possessed and sat down cringing in my seat. I especially hated it when those stupid Aliens pop out from the dark corners of a game map (as my dad prefers using Marines, he likes guns.). It was less scary when he let me play the game, and I like playing with the Alien character.

Max Payne

Max Payne seems be like a normal Third Person Shooter game with the ex-police vs ban men storyline (well, it was developed by Rockstar Games hence the Gran Theft Auto vibe), but it really isnt. Trust me. I watched all of it with the freaky dream sequences. The game’s story has a noir film vibe to it using sepia and dark colored atmosphere. It centers on a troubled and bordering on delusional main character as he tries to hunt down the murders of his wife and children and solve the drug dealing case. All the dream sequences (plus awesome bullet time) that reveals the internal dialogue of the troubled Max made me neurotic for weeks. SEE THE CRAZINESS YOURSELF. (Fastforward it to 1:48 then to 3:50)

Forbidden Siren 2

I played this PS2 game with a small group of friends after school. It was a 1 player game, so we took turns playing the game. You basically control a girl who has to run around and figure out how to survive from ghosts and zombies (If I remember correctly). I remember the experiences of running, looking for the keys to open the truck door and driving away from the zombies. The scariest thing that happened to me in the game was when the map showed me that there was a ghost near my character. so i pivoted my character around…so we were all “where’s the zombie?” then when i switched to the 3d person view THE ZOMBIE WAS SUCKING THE BACK OF MY CHARACTER’S HEAD. Then we all screamed and turned off the game.

F.E.A.R Franchise

The game title already show the level of scariness contained in the game. Long haired little girls are always scary. The main point of the game is to investigate a supernatural phenomenon inside an equally mysterious facility in some fantasy world. You are a special forces soldier with enhanced reflexes and you basically need to find out why this scary girl is tormenting the base.

Open ended games.

You’ve heard of them, played them, seen them and at times, enjoyed them. The freedom of playing in a sandbox is the feeling that was likened to games that allowed you to do whatever the fuck you wanted in them.

And yes they are cool. Most of the time.

However, the concept has existed for a while now. The earliest versions of Metroid and Zelda had some form of an open-world concept going on already. They had a feel for exploration and action that didn’t exist at the time…and this was as good as it got.

 

BUT THINGS GOT BETTER!

 

Over time, developers found that games like this had potential. The only thing was that for the longest time, we were stuck in 2D. We had these little sprites that moved around and flailed a bit, and that kept people entertained. In the history of gaming, this was a big deal…and having that sort of adventure gave rise to what we have now!

This qualified as groundbreaking back then.

ENTER GTA 3.

For the first time, we got a full immersion into a world that you could explore. And by explore, I mean go absolutely nuts in.

You have to admit, no other game let you run around with a bat like this.

The game was a huge step up from the 2D pseudo racer that was popular on earlier platforms. It took the idea of driving a stolen car and took it to a whole new level by introducing 3D graphics, environments that no one else had done for a character based game/driving game to date, and all the weapons you needed to get your ass arrested. The game gave us things nobody else would: changable radio stations, the ability to shoot down cops (and the SWAT team choppers if you got that many stars), carjacking skills…and essentially every single immoral, criminal activity you could do in the game. It was fun. And not to mention it gave us something to do when you didn’t want to get on with the mission for a while. You could jack the car you wanted before a mission and set things up…just for kicks. No objective forced you to (well…maybe when a mission started, but more on that later).

 

This really got in the way of getting shit done.

You essentially had the option to do whatever the hell you wanted, or get on with legit missions. Either way, you couldn’t lose (from a gameplay stand point. You’d get busted at some point, pay cash, lose your car, weapons, and stuff…but not lose in terms of having fun) . And that is what makes the series shitloads of fun.

Nowadays, the sandbox, open ended game concept is very much alive. We have games that allow for alternate endings, games with branching storylines that lead to unique endings based on the way we play the game…and essentially games that have no “right” way of being played.

 

Unless you wanna die, then go ahead and try and kill cops. Because they really shoot back in this one.

So the future looks bright for these kinds of games, all thanks to the amazing gameplay found in one of the classics: Grand Theft Auto 3.

 

Game Over?

Posted: July 24, 2011 in Pokéman, Pokemon

Once you beat all the gym leaders, once you’ve become the master and caught all of them, once you’ve defeated everyone, what’s next?

Pokémon has always seemed like a game that would never end. There’d always be that other Pokémon in that other version that you haven’t bought yet, or you don’t have a link cable or another Gameboy nearby for you to evolve your Graveller. You’d always be stuck on a particular patch of grass, knocking out the same wild Pokémon that will barely move your level 72 Charizard’s experience bar. But for me, I’m glad that the game tries its best to keep us always moving, always on uneven ground (and inadvertently spending all our cash buying newer versions), because it gives us a sense of something to look forward to, of something we think we want, but have no idea what it is.

All the countless times we’d meet Nurse Joy or any of her 12129831 cousins, we’d always heal our Pokémon whether it be to recover its health or restock its PP so that it can use hyper beam over and over again. It may seem quite repetitive (and hellishly sluggish, especially when you have 6 Pokémon in your party, and Nurse Joy takes forever to place each one in the healing machine, and fancy healing music has to play while your Pokéballs dance on it whilst you wait!) to heal our Pokémon, but we still keep coming back healing them even if we know that they’re bound to get hurt sometime in the future. Curious, isn’t it?

Pokémon is such a simple game, but it shows us more about life than most real-life experiences may provide us:

It shows the uncertainty of life: You wouldn’t know when a critical hit would occur that will end your winning streak to the Pokémon League. Ouch that’s gotta hurt.

It shows real-world vices: All game corners have that addicting slot machine game where you need to align the 3 Pokéballs, Number 7s, or Pikachu faces to win their respective amount of coins to get that Porygon, Eevee, etc. prize. But will you ever reach that at the rate you’re bleeding out coins? Best way is to work your way to the top, defeat the Elite 4, gain money, then just buy what you want with what you earned, rather than squander away with game corner coins you wouldn’t really deserve.

It shows the beauty of hope: The Magikarp, after enough beatings, will dragon rage its way around the world. The Clefairy, after enough metronomes that only do tail whip and focus energy, will finally land that fatal guillotine/horn drill/fissure attack. You’ll finally catch that Chansey lurking around that small patch of grass after 12093103910 hours of walking back and forth.

Pokémon is more than a game that will end. Heck, it never will. Its simple 8-bit Gameboy morals have been more than enough to etch a passion for faith, and for always striving for what’s out there, even if we don’t know what it may be just yet.

Pokémon is a glimpse of life through a miniature screen.

– – – – –

Anyway.

There’s more to Pokémon that meets the regular perception of the closed-minded Pokéfan. Here’s a teaser trailer that I saw about Pokémon when it reaches the Apokélypse!

Keep walking guys. Catch that Shining Pikachu!

Last week, the final installment of the Harry Potter movie series was released. For an entire generation, it marked the end of their childhood. And now, Potter fans (myself included) from all over the world are facing a form of depression. And in an attempt to recapture my youth, I stumbled upon a game that not only personified childhood but also continues to remind me of those carefree days. And I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was still in existence. It is not a game with a single premise and goal. Rather, it is a world where you are able to discover different kinds of game. And the best part is, you never do it alone, you will always have a companion with you, a pet. Your pet will be by your side as you discover the world of Neopets.

Neopets is a website wherein a user is able to create his/her own virtual pet. Users are able to take care of their pet by customizing them, feeding them and playing with them. To be able to earn the currency (or Neopoints) a user has the option of playing an array of different games and through the other features of the virtual world Neopia. Neopia is divided into 19 lands. By exploring these lands one is able to go to places like the Money Tree where the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is brought to life everyday. You are able to get different daily freebies such as omelet and jelly to feed your adorable pets. You can even get the chance to battle with other pets in the Battledome. Aside from all of these features, Neopia has its own bank, calendar and time. It is an interactive world just waiting to be explored.

Aside from all of the fun things that you can do in Neopia, Neopets also has the Game Room. The Game Room is a collection of free online Neopets-based games that will never leave you bored. With more than a hounded games with different levels of difficulty, there will always be something that will entertain you.

A recent visit to the Neopets website showed me how much has changed in the past few years. I opened my old account and found out that my former Neopet does not exist anymore. I played the old games that I used to play and found out that they are more difficult now. I can’t even get past some of the simple games I used to play everyday. But then, some games came naturally, I didn’t have to figure out what to do when I start each game, I just go. And that really made me feel like a child again.

What makes this game so special is not its spectacularly exciting games or well thought out gameplay, it is the memory of childhood that one gets from it. The designs of the pets themselves show that they are geared towards a younger demographic, but that will never stop those kids at heart from exploring this world. It is an experience that makes you feel nostalgic, because when you’re in Neopia it would seem that nothing else really matters

During hot summer nights, it is Japanese tradition to tell horror stories to take their minds of the heat. All of these stories have similar elements: girls with long hair, Shinto priests and/or bizarre rituals.  And though none of us (the people who own this blog) are, or ever will be Japanese, the chill from being immersed in an authentic Japanese horror story isn’t exclusive to the Japanese anymore. It has been almost 10 years since the first release of the console game Fatal Frame, and since I’m in the mood for some horror, I’ll give you a snapshot of how this game will make you scared to look into a camera frame.

There are 4 games included in the Fatal Frame series, and all of them are available in Playstation 2  and Xbox Gaming Consoles.

They all follow the same premise — The main character comes to a desolate haunted location in search of something, or someone; they slowly discover the secrets of where they are and they fight of their enemies with a camera, the Camera Obscura. The camera has the ability to capture images of beings from another dimension (or ghosts) and prevent them from harming you any further than they possibly can.

Despite having similar premises, each game has its own captivating plot. And because I haven’t played the other two yet, I will only post the trailers for some of them.

 

Fatal Frame

 

Plot: Mafuyu Hinasaki has not returned home for 9 days. Because of this, his younger sister Miku decides to follow him to Himuro Mansion to check up on him. The Himuro Mansion is a secluded mansion deep in the forests that was built during the Edo era. As she enters the mansion, Mafuyu is nowhere to be found, but she does find their mother’s antique camera, the Camera Obscura.

As she continues to search around the mansion, she finds out that that her mother’s camera has the ability to harm and capture the ghosts that are trying to attack her. By using the notes from different people, her brother included, she slowly pieces together the mystery of the Himuro mansion and why it is the way that it is.

 

– – –

 

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly

 

Plot: Mio and Mayu Amakura are twins who have an affinity to the unknown. While they were visiting the forest where they used to play in when they were younger, Mayu follows a crimson butterfly and disappears deep into the woods. Mio hurriedly follows her and they find themselves in a mysterious abandoned village.  There, they find the Camera Obscura and learn about the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual.

Using the Camera Obscura, Mio must save her sister from being possessed by a vengeful spirit and get them out of the village before they become the next sacrifices.

 

– – –

 

Fatal Frame 3: The Tormented

 

– – –

Fatal Frame 4: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse

 

– – –

 

What I Didn’t Like About the Fatal Frame Series:

While I was typing the premise of the whole game, I had to stop myself for a bit because the premise really did sound stupid: “Take good pictures and the ghost will disappear.” Though I personally think the game play is exciting, I have to admit that using a camera as a weapon doesn’t really make for an exhilarating gaming experience; it’s kind of anti-climactic.

What disappointed me the most about the game was the minimal improvement in the game graphics through the 4 games. In terms of game play, there’s not much difference between the first and the fourth one; there’s also minimal improvement in character design. Though Mayu and Mio are supposed to look alike, it doesn’t make sense why Miku, Rei and Ruka all look the same. There must be another way to portray a Japanese girl with a sixth sense right?

 

What I Liked About the Fatal Frame Series:

Though all of the background stories included rituals for human sacrifice, the main plot per game was highly varied. All of them were interesting enough to keep me hooked despite the fact that all of the games were dark and terrifying. I’ve onlyplayed the first 2 games of the series, but I was still very curious as to what the other stories were about.

Another thing that I appreciated was the fact that the gaming area expands per game. The first game was set in a mansion, the second one was in a village, and the third one has a complex setting wherein you are exposed to two different worlds.

The thing I liked most about this game was the entire gaming experience. Yes, it was frightening but it was just enough to give you the chills without the nightmares. There’s minimal violence because of the weapon used in the game, and it’s just an entirely different experience from just shooting zombies. There’s really something about how the story combined with the game play that created something entertaining and unique.

Ultimately, I like Fatal Frame because it sparks a certain interest in me that probably won’t be achieved by a horror movie with a better plot. It really takes you into the world and makes you experience it in its full glory — isn’t that the reason we play video games in the first place?

And it ain’t one of the Younghusband Brothers!

Warning: if you have no idea about professional football or video game football, this is gonna be a difficult read.

I’ve been playing Pro Evolution Soccer 12 (which will henceforth be abbreviated to PES because spelling it out every time is too much of a mouthful)…anyway. I’ve been playing PES 12’s Master League mode which allows you to build a team up, much like most franchise modes in sports games. After my first full season of using the crummy default team, I got a chance to nab several bigger named players like Chicharito and  Luis Suarez (both of whom have made it an absolute joy to play offensive football), but still lacked a back up keeper. So I began my search on national teams and found that the Philippines had some representation!

AND TO MY LUCK IT WAS OUR VERY HANDSOME GK, NEIL ETHRIDGE.

I’ve played with him as my back up for about 2 seasons now and with his progress and in-game evolution, I have to say he’s proven to be quite useful. In the game, he’s pretty good at stopping just about any shot and is particularly good with ball clearance, something that the developers got right based on his performance today! (And if you haven’t seen him in action irl, i do suggest you watch his game tape…it is pretty nice.)

It is a good thing to see that more real life Filipinos are seeing action in games. Manny Pacquiao of course is in EA’s Fight Night series as one of the most (justifiably) imba characters. However neither of the two have the honor of being the first Filipino in a video game, the honor of which belongs to Jose Rizal who was an unlockable player in the original 1999 release of Medal of Honor! There are a few guys with Filipino roots who play in the NFL and are subsequently featured in more recent editions of EA’s Madden franchise, but they aren’t as cool as these guys…so I shall not feature them. (*insert evil laugh*)

But don’t expect to see our entire Azkal team featured in football games in the near future. Though they are becoming a big deal locally, we’re still small fry compared to other Asian teams with better players and bigger rosters, not to mention players playing in the big leagues. Ethridge is one of the exceptions, seeing that he is on the reserve squad for Fullham, an English Premier League team that isn’t that great. The rest of our squad is composed of guys who don’t necessarily play for the best teams in the world, but are world class.

And it really gives you an idea of how far behind we are compared to the rest of the world in terms of creating world class talent. We have many players who could be bench warmers on decent teams in Europe or starters on B league teams, but we still don’t have anyone that would put fear into the hearts of our Asian counter parts. In gaming however, none of our local players are exactly imba enough on any level to even be featured in a game…which is sad considering that the team we just destroyed in the last round (Sri Lanka) has 4 players featured in the game…and they looked pretty sad sackish.

Given this revelation, how soon do you think it’ll be til we have our Azkals featured in better numbers in games like PES or FIFA 11? Your thoughts in the comments!