Archive for July, 2011

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!

Here’s some Poké-Trivia about the most hated Pokémon in the game, the Magikarp!

Magikarp Cry (taken from http://www.upokecenter.com)

Here’s some Pokédex information about it!

(taken from http://www.serebii.net):

Magikarp – Fish Pokémon

Height: 2’11”

Weight: 22.0 lbs

Red/Blue Version: In the distant past, it was somewhat stronger than the horribly weak descendants that exist today.

Ruby Version: Magikarp is a pathetic excuse for a Pokémon that is only capable of flopping and splashing. This behavior prompted scientists to undertake research into it.

Sapphire Version: Magikarp is virtually useless in battle as it can only splash around. As a result, it is considered to be weak. However, it is actually a very hardy Pokémon that can survive in any body of water no matter how polluted it is.

Emerald Version: Its swimming muscles are weak, so it is easily washed away by currents. In places where water pools, you can see many Magikarp deposited there by the flow.

Fire Red Version: It is virtually worthless in terms of both power and speed. It is the most weak and pathetic Pokémon in the world.

Leaf Green Version: In the distant past, it was somewhat stronger than the horribly weak descendants that exist today.

Black/White Version: A Magikarp living for many years can leap a mountain using Splash. The move remains useless, though.

Based on all the Pokédex information, Magikarp is practically useless and is just a waste of Pokémon party space in your gameboys, Pokémon decks, and your memories, too! But I beg to differ!

See, Magikarp is a symbol of delayed gratification! You work your way up, splash and tackle your way when in times of trouble, flail your way when your life’s at stake (or when you have 1 HP left), and go to loyal teammates and friends you rely on when things grow dim! What may be horrible now is only potential waiting to be awaken! Also, Magikarp evolves at level 20, and from there on, it has 80 levels for it to truly shine as bright as it can get. We can never let this lowly Pokémon away from our sight because it is a fish of its word: it is a carp of magic(k).

In real life, we are all like little magikarps swimming along the stream of route 1 to route infinity, just waiting for that right time to splash out of the waters of hopelessness and personal insecurities! We all have that inner strength to hyper beam and dragon rage every personal obstacle in our way! We just need a hell of a lot of patience, and of course, a handful of respect,

Here’s a video about the true meaning of patience, the humble Magikarp. (Video made by http://www.youtube.com/user/pugfarts)

 

 

Keep splashing, guys! 🙂

 

Pokéman, signing off.

Hey Pokéfans!

Seeing Caveman’s earlier post about the original 150 Pokémon made me reminisce about the times gone by, and especially about the first adventure we had within our own little world of our now-extinct Nintendo Gameboys. I thought that the old days would only be a memory, up until one day when I stumbled upon someone’s blog site where he made a very interesting mix of the challenging-yet-addicting Tower Defense Genre with, you guessed it, the Pokémon storyline!

Yeap, you heard that right! For all those people who like flash defense games, and for all you Pokéfans and Pokémon Master Hopefuls, here’s one way to bring back the memories of THE game of the decade (and hopefully for the century), Pokémon Tower Defense!

Lemme share with you guys some of the awesome features of the game!

So the game is made through Flash software, and it requires the latest Flash version available (from what I know). But anyway, the game loads, and the first thing is you see is this Main Menu where you could opt to edit the gameplay and sound effect options, send some feedback to the maker of the game (he replies really fast, I tried.), and this is also the page where you can begin your Pokémon Tower Defense adventure!

 

The game allows you to save 3 profiles at any given time, and what’s cool about this is that it follows the Gameboy franchise wherein it makes you choose which version you would pick, whether it be Red or Blue! Each version also showcases the same exclusive Pokémon such as Growlithe and Oddish for the Red Version, and Vulpix and Bellsprout for the Blue Version!

Plus! In case you’re wondering if your save file can be played in different computers, the answer is Yes! PTD allows you to save your profiles and all game data online, and it also lets you import them to whatever computer you’re using as long as you have a Flash Player and internet connection!


So when you choose your profile, you then have the choice to begin your story mode, play a challenge, trade with friends, buy items (but you won’t have money yet), go on Mystery Gift to unlock codes and win prizes, and when you finish a particular mission, you get a Pokédex too that shows you which Pokémon you’ve already caught!

 

Once you click Story Mode, you then have to choose your starter Pokémon: The walking onion, Bulbasaur, the squirting turtle, Squirtle, or the dragon-to-be, Charmander! You’ll then be able to fight, weaken, and catch Pokémon that your Pokémon Towers damage! Take note that you can only catch Pokémon when their health is at the Red bar! But anyway, when you catch enough Pokémon, your PC Storage becomes quite big, as seen in the picture above! (Oh, currently, the maker of the game has set a level cap of 40 because he’s still in the process of creating the following storylines and synchronizing every Pokémon move learned by every Pokémon in each of their particular levels based on the Pokémon Black and White movetree.

 

The game also showcases a handful of cutscenes before each mission taken, wherein you can see the same Pokémon Sprites and Buildings as seen in the actual Gameboy Game! Now how cool is that??


You also get the chance to see and even battle legendary Pokémon! This stage shows my party of Pokémon battling the massive Kyogre from the Ruby Sapphire Version! Don’t worry, for those who still prefer the Original 150 Pokémon over any other version, this is the only stage (so far) that incorporates any Pokémon past the 151 mark (yeap, 151. Mew’s out there somewhere. Haha!)

 

The game also has the ever mysterious Mystery Gift!!! Each week, the maker of the game gives out riddles and puzzles for you to unlock certain Pokémon that you can use in the game itself! The riddles get very tricky, but the hassle becomes really worth it when you win Pokémon before other people get to unlock the Mystery Gift challenges! 😉

 

Yes, evolutions happen just like in the real game! Charmeleon evolves at level 36, Staryu evolves when given a Water Stone, so on and so forth! You can even cancel their evolutions so that they can learn moves sooner! However you also run the risk of not having stronger Pokémon Towers! The choice is yours!

 

And at the end of the day, after you have it unlocked, you can open your very own Pokédex  to check on which Pokémon you’ve already discovered, whether they be normal or Shiny (YES, they have Shiny Pokémon! Each Shiny has a .01 chance of being spotted in the wild! So get your eyes Pokéballs ready for ’em!)

 

Pokémon Tower Defense brings back the inner child in me, and shows me that Pokémon is still evolving, not just in the usual consoles, but also in all sorts of gaming media such as Flash!

Do check the game out, and start on your own Pokémon Journey, all over again! Click the link below and let’s catch ’em all over again! 😀

 

http://samdangames.blogspot.com/p/play-ptd_03.html

 

P.S. The game is still in its Alpha stages, so expect it to get even more exciting as the updates come every weekend! Keep your refresh buttons on standby, coz this game’s an upcoming hit in the flash game/tower defense community! 🙂

This is Pokéman, signing off!

There are just some experiences that only gamers could understand. We get involved (sometimes too much) to the world that we play in, and are affected by the virtual cultures, laws and lingo that exist in those worlds. This post here is to celebrate web artists and their game-inspired comics that expose tidbits and interesting opinions about gaming itself.

Frillion, http://frillion.deviantart.com/, RPG fan.

Some of my RPG moments that usually happen to me.

Inspired from an experience. Sometimes I forget to save and bad things happen to the computer when I don’t save, which leads to frustration and anger. (meaning, DAMEET I LOST 20+ HOURS OF GAMING). So good thing I have a sister who likes watching me play computer games to remind me to save (and acts as a peripheral guide to tell me “THERE’S A MONSTER THAAARRR” or “maybe you should check if there’s new armor available”). It’s also nostalgic to remember that I also watched my father when he was playing computer games when I was little…and used to do the same “reminding” thing.

I like playing RPGs because of the storyline involved. I put a lot of thought to the names and the story behind the creation of my virtual character…FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES. My sister and dad complains about how long I go through the intro part ahahha.

Heather Campbell, http://makani.deviantart.com/, Guild Wars/Team Fortress/Warcraft/Half-Life fan.

I’m a long-time Deviant art fan of Makani primarily for her Harry Potter work, but she has mother-loads of game inspired comics which I read also. What makes her stand out is the facial expressions, movement and genius panel-ing of her comics.

Lol. Stupid AI of Warcraft. And the chunky graphics of the characters. I also find the AI from Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion funny, especially when I use my character who is Master in stealth. I’m sneaking RIGHT IN FRONT of them and they still can’t see me until I attack.

Aww! Medic and Heavy Bromance.

Awkward Zombie, http://www.awkwardzombie.com/, Pokemon fan (mostly).

She’s got her own website to post her fun, awesome Pokemon comics.

I never thought of it that way. Darn Pokemon Nature Hoarders.

I like the pun. WHY YOU FIRE POKEMANS ALSO FIGHTING POKEMANNSS??

The fate of Pokemon Trainers with the creation of Pokemon Musical.

Zac Gorman, http://idrawnintendo.tumblr.com/, obviously a Nintendo fan.

I follow this awesome guy in a social networking site that I cannot speak/write of (it violates the “rules”), but you’d probably know the site name anyway. Zac Gorman’s web address reveals it. Majority of his posts are Zelda/Link related, but there are also Mario/Luigi, Samus, Starfox posts. He also has his trademark .gif combination to his comics to give it more “life”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Article by Frillion