Reminiscing Point & Click: Three of the most epic games, ever.

Today, I’m proud to say I am an avid gamer. I play a large variety of games and am rarely picky when it comes to the genre. I mainly avoid sports games and recently RTS (because it seems I’ve lost the patience for macro-management). Yet, there is one genre that I’ve always loved to death. I usually notice them when I see that large inanimate background; that character in the corner waiting for your next command; and especially those stationary objects and people waiting for some sort of interaction… Hell yes! I’m talking about those awesome Point-and-Click Adventure games.

PCs always proved to have superior graphics to consoles and P&C showed them how. I admit that I was lucky enough to have enjoyed this genre when the graphics were pretty much comical illustrations. There were three games I loved the most – These games changed the way I looked at gaming and general problem solving. I will forever credit them for being some of the best games in time for the countless hours of fun spent on playing and re-playing them over and over again!

The first of these, is Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail. Sure, the story is about a dirty old pervert but it was the animation, jokes and puzzles that really caught me. I was probably way too young to play this game, but I didn’t understand 80% of the adult humour in it anyway – Didn’t bother me… I just wanted to finish the game. Larry is an old pervert looking to get laid. That’s it. The whole game revolves around him trying to get into the pants of every babe he meets on the cruise ship. Obviously he gets up to no good as things never go his way – But we go through a hell of a journey to help get this desperate guy some loving.

If the 2D-ness from Leisure Suit Larry didn’t give it off already, the next one up is obviously the Curse of Monkey Island. This was the third installment in the Monkey Island series and the first (and unfortunately last) one to use beautifully drawn 2D art. Everything about this game was perfect – It wasn’t too hard as long as you pay attention to your surroundings and listen out for the hints nor was it too easy because play-throughs were never under 2 hours; the music scores are perfect and will ALWAYS be remembered by Monkey Island fans; the humour in this game is corny as hell and yet delivered exceptionally well; the story is exciting, touching and immersive…

There are so many things I want to say about this game but the one thing I have to highlight is the main character… Guybrush Threepwood. He is no Captain Sparrow but he is by far one of the most entertaining character ever created. I doubt anyone out there who’s played this game can say they didn’t feel something for this character. Whether you felt sorry for him, laughed with/at him or even felt annoyed by him – The impact of this character made the game what it was: Legendary.

So where does this leave us? The third and final game I have to mention isn’t just one game but two: Broken Sword. The first two installments, The Shadow of the Templars and The Smoking Mirror followed the adventures of George Stobbart. This game has been described time and time again as one of “the best adventure games” and it definitely is. Our protagonist travels the world uncovering ancient mysteries, saving his girlfriend and searching for treasure – Everything that any Indiana Jones fan back in the day dreamt of. Today at least, these two games have been remastered and are available on the iPad. If you haven’t yet played them, do take a look.

There are obviously plenty more I haven’t mentioned like Grim Fandango, Sam & Max, Discworld, Day of the Tentacle and heaps of other retro games like the King’s Quest series. But these three games (sorta’) were my favourite. I loved them to death and have played them over and over again growing up. These games were entertaining and (now looking back) very educational because they taught us how to think outside the box. We all wanted to be like MacGyver – combining a pen, chewed bubble gum and a battery to make a laser beam – and that’s what made these games brilliant. This was the closest to sandbox we had back then, and yet ironically the most linear. The idea of having to explore a world to find everyday objects to get past insane obstacles made us giggle like little school girls.

So what happened to the Point and Click genre? Why aren’t there any sequels? Well, I hope to talk about this in my next post… Stay tuned.

Sorta’ figured it out: The meaning of life.

Something randomly popped in my mind. I probably don’t have all of the ends covered but this is just a theory so far.

We all live for our own purposes. These purposes aren’t pre-defined by a divine being and instead are defined by our own choices, actions, goals and influences. These definitions are forever changing based on the influences from the world around us, our state of minds and so-forth.

Just imagine a time of your life when you felt the urge to become the most popular kid on the block. You’d be hooked on social gatherings and parties with your friends. This was pretty much your purpose in life (at that time): To achieve that social status and be recognized amongst your peers. Even as a kid we had goals like becoming the greatest football player football in your school – This goal similarly translated into your purpose in life during that period of time.

Why? I believe that if you are sincerely putting your 200% effort into a goal, the impact you would have on the world is pretty much based on the outcome of that goal for that period of time.

So as we grow older, our goals shift & transform and hence so do our purposes in life. Some goals last a life-time (even when we forget about them) and so we keep this, while many are abandoned and left in our past. Eventually our goals stabilize when we join the working force because this is the time of our lives when we have to care for ourselves and our future goals begin to cater for survival and general success influenced by the world around us (as it has been throughout our lives, anyway!).

We start to aim for the top of the career ladders; to make investments for improved financial security; to finding our soulmate and starting  our own families… And hence this becomes the meaning of our lives: To strive for greatness in what we do to prepare a better future for our children. 

Now, the question is… Why conform to this generalized definition of why we exist? As mentioned, these goals have already been influenced by the world around us – Who says being on top of the career ladder exhibits success?

All I have to say is, choose your goals wisely and don’t just go with the flow. Also, don’t wait too long to stabilize these goals there won’t be a point knowing your meaning of life when there isn’t much life left to live, anyway.

Top 10 Ugliest Cars Ever

So I was bored and did a Google search for “the ugliest car” and got some interesting results. I’ve personally chosen the ones that I think are really disgusting so have a look :)

10

Nissan Cube

You know the list is going to be a concoction of nasty when the Nissan Cube is at the bottom of it. That rear-window-combined-with-side-window wreaks of a try-hard attempt to be ‘hip’.

Did you know that the market the design was targeted to was evenly split between 18-to-25-year-old males and females?

9

Bond Bug

Produced in 1970-1974, the Bond Bug was considered to be a sportier Reliant Robin. The reason why this is higher up on the list is because this little two-seater has a 750cc engine providing 31 bhp, is capable of up hitting speeds of up to 126km/h, is lighter and seats two people. Oh, and it’s a ONE-door coupe(!), check out the photos. So yeah, many cool-points for this car.

Did you know that the model of one of Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder from Star Wars was built upon the chassis of a Bond Bug?

8

Tata Nano

Yes, I know this car has been infamously created as the cheap alternative in India. Yes, I know that this is done by budget-cuts on materials making it extremely unsafe. Yes, I know it looks even stupid in the photo below because of the way it’s trying to be sporty with it’s angled wheel. But trust me… It’s a lot slicker looking than the others in this list – At least for the Nano, you can see some effort was put into the design process.

Did you know that the Nano’s trunk is only accessible from the inside as the rear hatch does not open? Makes you wonder where the spare tyre sits…

7

Bajaj RE60

This beauty from India has been dubbed the ‘convenient and inexpensive commercial transport on the road’. I understand that it’s supposed to be an affordable car but I swear this was designed after a cardboard box.

Did you know that the RE60 runs on a 200cc engine generating a maximum power of 20bhp? It’s like the family-hatchback version of the sportier Bond Bug.


6

Scion Hako Coupe (concept)

So I’m pretty sure this car was inspired by the Nissan Cube. Someone in Scion must’ve thought ‘wow, that Cube is sure as hell ugly, I bet I can do better!’ – He didn’t. This attempt at a vintage style clearly fails due to clashes with the contemporary design features.

Did you know that the Scion Vice President, Jack Hollis said “Scion’s Hako Coupe Concept embodies a distinct global perspective on today’s youth”? With today’s youth going batshit crazy over Bieber and Edward Cullen, I can see some truth in this.

5

Fiat Multipla

Come on, admit it. When you saw one of these on the roads you were disgusted at the realization that a car company had ACTUALLY decided to design a car based off a frog. This has got to be one of the more recent horrors on the road.

Did you know that the Multipla won the ‘Ugliest Car’ award in the 1999 Top Gear awards but then subsequently won ‘Car of the Year’ in 2000 and ‘Family Car of the Year’ over 2001-2004? How is that possible…? It’s NOT a fucking car!

4

REVAi a.k.a. G-wiz

Ah, the G-wiz. The electric car made famous by Top Gear. Produced by RECC (funnily enough, a company that also makes Golf Carts) since 2001, the G-wiz is ugly. No, really, that’s all I have to say about it.

Did you know that in Europe, this car is exempt from most crash test rules because of its low weight and power which registers it under the “heavy quadricycle” category? Ouch. That’s both dangerous and a big hit to any owners’ ego.

3

Weber Sportscar 2007

Most of the time, it’s hard to say a supercar is ugly since plenty of money is spent on their designs so to one person it may be ugly but this may not be the case to others. The designs are always justifiable by someone… But not in this case. This looks like an aluminium box was used as the chassis and lazily carved out; the headlights and taillights are horrendous; the sharp edges remove any hint of ‘sleekness’ and has anyone yet realized that idiots try to make something look sporty by splashing on a coat of orange paint? Look at the list so far and how many cars are orange! Also, doesn’t the front grill make you think the Pringles moustache? :D

Did you know that this has a stupid name? Oh, and the newer 2008 version is called the Faster One.

  

2

Stay Puft Car a.k.a. Fat Cars

I don’t know anything about this car. I just stumbled upon it in my searches and it probably deserves to be in a Top 10 ugliest car mods list but I just had to post it. This is like a troll car. I can’t say much about it… It’s has so much fail in it that it’s win.

Did you know any more information on this?

Update: Okay, looks like this isn’t really someone’s car but instead is a ‘work of art’ by Erwin Wurm as part of his ‘Fat Cars’ series. Doesn’t matter, still deserves the 2nd spot in this list along with all of his other creations, found here.

 

1

Corbin Sparrow 1/2

And in the number one spot, we have the Corbin Sparrow. Two models were produced, both of which are below. The first was dubbed the “jelly bean” model while the Corbin Sparrow 2 was nicknamed “pizza butt”. In all honesty, the jelly bean model sorta looks like a penis… “Har har! James, is that what your penis looks like? HO HO HO!”… Get over it, it does. And the pizza butt model just looks like a car got amputated of its rear wheels and this was what grew back. I do see the effort in trying to make these cars look sleek but they’ve still turned out to look ghastly.

Did you know that several Sparrows were featured in Austin Powers Goldmember, the Sparrow was initially produced by Myers Motors which was founded by Mike Corbin? Wow, that’s just… A strange coincidence?

Merry X’mas and a Happy New Year

Wishin’ everyone a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Unfortunately, did not get to post all of this earlier due to being way too busy over the holidays. Having that horrid sore throat didn’t help either. But here we are in 2012 – The last year of human civilisation according to the Mayans so let’s make it count!

Going to avoid writing too much on this, just going to attach a few photos from New Years at Waverton Park.

Humble Bundle – Pay what you want for awesome games and help charity.

It’s all in the title – Choose the price you want to pay and get the Humble Indie Bundle pack which includes the following: Gratuitous Space Battles, Cave Story+ (very good), Jamestown, Bit.Trip Runner, Super Meat Boy (challenging as hell), Shank, and Nightsky HD. Meet the average price (which is currently a measly $5.28) and get an additional five games (which includes VVVVVV) on top of that!

http://www.humblebundle.com/

As much as this seems like advertising, it definitely isn’t. I believe in a good cause and being appreciative of hard work (especially when it comes to Indie gaming).

Support the Child’s Play Charity. I have and always will be in full support for the Child’s Play Charity (which has nothing to do with that movie with Chucky the doll). CP is a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in our network of over 70 hospitals worldwide which includes purchasing new consoles, peripherals, games, and more for hospitals and therapy facilities. Yes, I’m part of the major population that isn’t a dumb fool who thinks gaming causes mass murderers.

Support the Indie gaming industry. I think it’s brilliant and extremely gutsy what these Indie developers have done to let you buy their bundle of games for whatever you feel like paying. These games are immensely addictive and I hope you’ll all pick up a bundle and give it a shot.

How much? That’s completely up to you. Unless you’re going to be throwing in $165 (the estimated cost of all these games), you’re getting discounted, high-quality games. On top of that, you’ll definitely meet the average and get the five bonus games.

So this Christmas, do a good deed and have a great time with these casual games while you’re at it!

Why do we feel the Christmasy butterflies?

Christmas is just around the corner, everyone! I’ve always been excited about Christmas: setting up the tree, shopping and wrapping the presents, and having the family feast. You know all those corny mentions in media about having that merry ol’ feeling during Christmas – I have it every year, whether there are presents or not.

But why? I’m not a Christian, let alone a hardcore one and I grew up surrounded by the Asian culture.So when Christmas comes, why do I feel that excitement and eagerness as if something special is going to happen on the 25th of December?

Memories. When I was a wee little baby in Australia, my Dad dressed up as Santa Clause over a couple of Christmas celebration and I have to say those memories are still with me today. Chinese-eyed black eyebrowed Santa rocking up to my house was cool – Apparently my brother even asked my Mum, ”Mummy, why does Santa Clause look Asian?”. This was only the beginning.

Media. When I think of Christmas, some things come to mind including Macaulay Culkin smacking aftershave on his cheeks in Home Alone, imagery of Mr. Bean with his head up a turkey and that episode where Alvin & The Chipmunks (the cartoon, ofcourse) play the Jinglebell Rock. These pieces of media always told us stories of Christmas miracles which were extremely inspiring.

Faith(lessness). I learnt a lot about the right things to do (ethics) and the beauty in simplicity (humility) throughout my childhood. Today, nobody can deny how disgracefully the world has evolved: Filthy rich people with dirty money doing illegal shit, spending it on alcohol and drugs; governments playing god, making decisions on how societies should live out their lives; people wasting time on their cellphones or computers to read and comment on their friends instead of actually spending time with them. I guess this sort of goes back to Media – back in the day, Christmas media always showed how the world would transform on Christmas and act saintlike. So every Christmas  gives me that glimmer of hope that I’ll be able to see a completely different world of happiness, humility, togetherness and generosity (yeah, I can be a hippy too).

Put these things together and you have a Christmas Addict looking for ways to make things feel more Christmas-y. Presents are only a fraction of the festival and deserve a lot less focus than they have today. If we put more focus on giving and less on the taking, the world would be a better place… For a day even, it would be well worth it.

Enjoy the photos of the beautiful displays at David Jones taken yesterday, below.

Saturday X’mas BBQ and Why Gunbound skills are not transferable

Last Saturday, we had a great Christmas BBQ feast which turned out to be more of an Ultimate Frisbee Training session for the guys. As part of this festive season, we partook in a game of Kris Kringle. So each of us were to bring a present: budget set at $20, no mugs, no edible goods. We drew numbers and then took turns to either unwrap a new present or steal a present that had been previously unwrapped and held by another person. If a present was stolen, the previous owner would then get a choice of unwrapping a new one or stealing someone else’s. The sneakiness and backstabbing definitely gets you in the festive mood, doesn’t it?

All this aside, what I really want to talk about is the Frisbee-ing. Throughout our adolescent life, we grow up building our skills: We learn basic mathematics so we can calculate whether it is worth while to make a purchase; we learn to run and kick a ball to build up that stamina and speed to catch the bus we’re running late for; we learnt to make up great exciting alibis for our teachers when we forgot our homework to use that exact same skill on our bosses to take sickies. Almost every skill or knowledge we picked up through our life has been transferable to something we do today (with the exception of useless subjects like History).

So I was a pretty decent player of that oh-so-awesome online game, Gunbound and while playing Frisbee on Saturday, I realized how similar this throwing-of-a-plastic-plate was to Gunbound. If any of you don’t know what Gunbound is or may have forgotten, it was a simple game where you’d use your character and fire projectiles at your opponents – Like Worms (see image to the right)

In this image, we have the cute little Boomer that threw boomerangs that were significantly affected by the wind. This made it possible for trick-shots at weird angles like doing back-shots (firing it in the opposite direction but being blown backwards to your opponent).

With this in mind, I adjusted my angles and power to based on the wind speed, and attempted “skill-shots” with the Frisbee. Needless to say, I failed pretty hard. Once, I even threw the Frisbee over a barb-wired fence into some dodgy area with snakes and crocodiles. This was when I used my transferable skipping-school fence vaulting skills to re-obtain our flying discus.

When I finally convinced myself that my golden hammer from Gunbound wasn’t going to help me out here, I started from scratch and eventually got the hang of it. Now, let’s see where these Frisbee skills will be transferable.

Photos of the X’mas BBQ, Kris Kringle, some Frisbee action and Gizmo’s new friend, Mosby below. Thanks for taking the photos, Sonia :)

Top 10 Things to look forward to in 2012 (5~1)

Counting down to 2012, there are plenty of great releases within the tech, gaming, music and entertainment industry to look forward to. Let’s take a look at the top ten slices of awesome that 2012 will bring.

As this is a large post, it has been split up into two posts:

Please bear in mind that this post counts down from 5 to 1. If you haven’t yet taken a look at the 10 to 6, please remember to view those first by clicking here

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Top 10 Things to look forward to in 2012 (6~10)

Counting down to 2012, there are plenty of great releases within the tech, gaming, music and entertainment industry to look forward to. Let’s take a look at the top ten slices of awesome that 2012 will bring.

As this is a large post, it has been split up into two posts:

Continue reading

How 2011 burnt a hole in my wallet

So looking back at 2011, I realized that this is definitely the year I have spent the most. This could be because it’s my first year of official employment; I’m getting bored of Australia or maybe I just found some great bargains I couldn’t turn down. While I’m hoping it’s the latter, the reason doesn’t matter – The damage has been done and I can only try my best to save my bank account from the evils of marketing and social influence (poisoning as we put it).

  1. 42-inch LCD TV ($600)
  2. Playstation 3 console ($400)
  3. Five PS3 games ($400)
  4. Monster Beats Solo HD ($200)
  5. Stanton ST150 + Serato SL1 + Stanton SA-3 ($1000)
  6. Macbook Air 15″ ($1,400)
  7. HPI Nitro RS4 RC Car ($420)
  8. Holidays ($4000)
  9. Four suits ($1,250)
  10. Three pairs of shoes ($350)
  11. Gifts/Presents ($550+$250)

Total: $10,820 AUD

Hey! That’s not so bad. In fact, I think I did pretty good. However, since these are just the large-ish purchases from the top of my head and a deep hole still burns in my wallet right now this brings the question: What the fuck have I been spending on?!