Recently in Gaming Category

27-year-old Lu Yang playing ZT Online, photo by Southern Weekly

I feel the need to repost this interesting article about a Chinese MMORPG called ZT Online (article translated by the excellent Danwei), originally published by Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly, a newspaper known for its remarkable journalism (no matter what is said on freedom of speech in China, it is at times indistinguishable from Western liberal democracies).

It is a fairly long article. Unlike WoW, ZT Online does not require you to pay to play. In fact, for playing a certain amount of hours (120 per month, as reported in the article), you even get 100RMB! But unlike WoW, too, you must buy your way up in the levelling hierarchy, as monsters don't drop items, and you must buy materials to make the equipment.

Nintendo DS Lite: Zelda Edition!

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Nintendo DS Lite: Zelda Edition

The retail price for the Nintendo DS Lite at various locations in downtown Montreal was always $140 (no game included). If you get the Zelda Edition, however, they will throw in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass with your gold colour DS for only $150.

After registering my product online, I was very surprised to found out that my new web account was merged (thanks to my postal address, I guess) with the information they kept from orders that I made in 1993 when I was still a very young teenager, such as the Super Mario Adventures comic book, or the Mario Paint game guide (!). But then, no, I am not surprised, in the age of information.

I also bought FFXII: Revenant Wings, which had rather disappointing gameplay. It was a lot too slow and is sort of "flaky", in the sense that you could not feel the same level of control over your characters' location, which enemies they are fighting as you might in FF Tactics or even the original FFXII.

Therefore, after the 200$ challenge, it is now the 70$ challenge for the next two weeks.

John Hsu's Real Online

This Thursday, Friday and Saturday was Input II at Radio-Canada, an event that captures the best of the great pilgrimage of public television, Input (in Lugano, Switzerland, this year), and retransmits it to its Montreal-based artisans. One of the sessions on Friday was on fiction, and the meat of it was a 77" piece by John Hsu, that was originally aired by the Taiwan Public Television Service (English site). It is called "Real Online" or 請登入線實 in Chinese.

Real Online would probably sell better to a Fantasia 2008 audience than one of television buffs, but provided fodder to an animated post-screening discussion. Real Online introduces us to a cast of six main characters who lead real lives in Taipei, Taiwan, and online lives in the "Real Online" game (or 理想Online, which translates literally instead to "Wishes Online").

Gamma 256 - photo by Simon Law
Photo by Simon Law from the Gamma 256 set

I was at Gamma 256, an event organized by the Kokoromi collective, a Montreal-based group of game developers. Gaming and the industry of gaming is definitely a big thing in this city.

FFXII == hash and slash crack

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After playing my 18th hour, I decided that FFXII was absolutely no good, except for its fabulous cinematics. The graphics are alright, but I've seen better with WoW on a cranked-up graphics card. The landscapes are, ugh, as repetitive as one's mother's blather (<3 mom), especially now that I am in the Seasand.

As for the storyline, there are a few points of interest. First, are Gabranth and Basch actually two different people? For the longest time, until maybe the 15th hour, we didn't see Gabranth's real face, so were left to guess. At this point, we can believe that he might still be some weird apparition, which would spice up an otherwise "Dallas cliffhanger-esque" explanation. Secondly, noone should get together, except for Vaan and Penelo. Not that it is a reason, but Ashe is also older and more mature than Vaan, and she is not going to hook up with Vaan, except in some many fanfics to come to a computer monitor near you. Thirdly, well... isn't it confusing when all the White folks in that video look the same, save for baby-faced Rasler? Fourthly, I thought that Lamont (whatever his real name) really really looks like a young woman, but it's just an aristocratic accoutrement. Between about the 10th and 12th hour, one could've still believed that another interesting twist of event was for Lamont to be revealed as another woman posing as a man! But no, it's old, and Ivalice is a progressive place.

Off to the Bell Centre! My uncle and aunt fetched two tickets in the Rouges for myself and my brother. Section 110, Rangee V, Siege 1!

(The game's addictive, no duh.)

FFXII == red eyes

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So I caved in and bought a PS2, and have logged over 15 hours in two days. My blood-injected eyes won't do anything to stop me from playing, even as the storyline cries "Star Wars!". I missed a whole generation of games, so FFXII's in-game graphics do blow me away. The game, on active battle mode especially, plays a lot like World of Warcraft, as you slice-and-hack and gather loot, but you can't really block by moving around, nor are your spells stopped by an enemy's hit, and you can't target NPCs. I didn't play FF Online, obviously, but you can tell that the slash-and-hack mmorpg influence probably does come from its series predecessor.

So, tonight, before heading out to karaoke, I played (watched) 20 minutes of KH2 ('s intro sequence) as well as 20 mins of FFXII (over Alex's shoulder), which looks like such an awesome old-school feel, but super-modern game, with its whole new "dynamic" fighting system, which, with my 1990s references - b/c I skipped the DreamCast/GameCube/PS2/Xbox generation, reminds me most of Xenogears, still one of the games I played and loved the most (it is the longest, and your typical "middle-quality" typical roman-fleuve of a RPG)... Hmm, I was saying that FFXII reminds me the most of the renaissance brought in by FFIX to the FF franchise on the PS. Both these games are set in retro-medieval FF times, the one we departed from in VII, VIII and X. At about $120 the PS2, it becomes tempting not to follow your own judgment, and spend leisure time that one doesn't have (to be spent on getting a life instead, say) on, wut, video games!


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Like, seriously, it's this sort of thing that make me want to spend 2.5 times more for a PS3 than a Wii (considering that we don't have a PS2 or can't get one easily). I'm also hoping that someday, if I don't throw money off the windows for a PS3, that someone, somewhere will want to sell his PS2 at rebate such that I can play some... FFX. To think that it came out in '01. Sigh.

omg, rofl, wii!

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We briefly mentioned it at tonight's Rockaberry's gathering (I had the strawberry + peaches crumb, after having a strawberry + rhubarb on a previous takeout occasion), but maybe I subconsciously absorbed it from The Media: the Wii's coming out on November 19th. :O


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I finished Heroes V. The plot is so... bad. Maybe even the gameplay was bad, but I don't play enough to be able to tell.

Wii versus PS3

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My first entry for a gaming section will just be to say that all about the Wii since announcing the name-change has been magistral. Grabbing the media, blogosphere attention; and then flashing us repeatedly with the idea that Nintendo is an innovator with its cool controlling devices. Originally, I thought that if I were to invest in the seventh generation of gaming consoles, it'd be the PS3 (for h8 of MS, I am not even seeing the Xbox 360) for its superior firepower. And then I remembered that I skipped the whole PS2/Xbox/GameCube generation, and generally disliked the then high-quality graphics that the PS offered.

The Nintendo seems to rock in the ingenuity department, and that's what I am looking for. Even if FFXIII goes to PS3, there is a pack of cool innovative offererings from the Nintendo camp (just by looking at some recent DS releases like Nintendogs, and the upcoming, super-nice, New Super Mario Bros).

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