Thursday, August 18, 2011

dota 2 and dominion

Dota 2 is amazing.
And League of Legends Dominion appears to be right across the corner too!

It's a good time to be a MOBA player.
Capitalism and competition FTW.

Monday, July 25, 2011

aria di mezzo carattere

While skimming through random articles on Final Fantasy Wikia, I came across the entry for Aria di Mezzo Carattere and I was reminded of which I consider the best scene in a videogame, Final Fantasy VI's opera. Looking back, I'm impressed how such a simple scene can be so powerful. I would say that, even if it isn't the premiere cinematic/dramatic videogame scene, it's the greatest testament to the power of script in videogames.

In a nutshell, your party needs to cross the ocean in order to get to raid the Empire's capital city. It happens that the free-spirited rogue gambler who owns the world's only airship is an opera fanatic who has disclosed his intention of kidnapping and marrying the opera's main singer. Therefore, your party devise a plan of having the battle-hardened, former Empire general - who happens to look uncannily like the opera's main singer - take her place in the next performance, be kidnapped and convince the gambler to take your group across the ocean.

That's the unconventional background to the greatest scene in videogame history, the Aria di Mezzo Carattere. Mechanically, there's no challenge whatsoever: you play as Celes, the general, and just have to choose the right line three times among two available (which are conveniently presented to you right before you start the scene). Looking today, the mechanical constraints might even make it seem dated to some - to me, it makes it all the more charming. The song is intensely evocative and emotional, perfectly setting the appropriate mood. Without a doubt, it is one of my favourite pieces of videogame music, up there with masterpieces such as To Far Away Times from Chrono Trigger and Angel's Fear from Secret of Mana. I have a hard time listening to either of these without tearing up.

The opera's originality, lyricism, feeling and perfect composition are, in my opinion, still unparalleled to this day. That's why it's my favourite videogame scene.

Monday, June 13, 2011

fairy tail

I started reading Fairy Tail when it was released locally, around 7 months ago. It had been at least five years since I last bought manga from the newsstands. When I saw Fairy Tail was going to be released, it felt appropriate to rekindle that long forgotten habit. The first manga I read was Groove Adventure Rave, from Fairy Tail's own Hiro Mishima, about 10 years ago. I used to download it from a scanlation group called MangaHelpers back then. In that site few months later I found One Piece, which ended up becoming my quintessential manga series.

Fairy Tail reads just like One Piece-lite. It's entertaining in a generic shounen sort of way. It doesn't engage you completely the way Jump series do (such as the aforementioned One Piece, Eyeshield 21 or even Hikaru no Go), but I admit I was looking forward to next month's release after finishing each volume. I admire its concise fight scenes, most conflicts so far (just finished vol.7) haven't stretched further than I felt it was necessary, but at the same time it lacks brilliance. Something the series I can't help but compare Fairy Tail to (One Piece) has in spades.

I'd say it's a great introductory shounen manga. I'm not sure if I would recommend One Piece to a newcomer, since it sets an awfully high standard for a shounen manga, and it might lean a tad too heavily on the emotional side - far more than most shounen manga, and that might be deceiving to a newbie. Fairy Tail is more direct to the point. It's an adventure shounen manga that's filled with...well, actual adventures, instead of emotionally-draining, heartwarming (or at times heart-wrenching) moments of heavenly inspiration. It doesn't feel like a masterpiece, but it's been a pleasant read so far. And, to be honest, One Piece only evolved into a true manga masterpiece with the Usopp-Sanji-Nami backstories in the Capt. Kuro, Krieg and Arlong sagas, respectively. I'd love to be surprised by Fairy Tail.

My biggest complaint is the rampant abuse of female fanservice. Young girls with impossibly thin waists and watermelon breasts get old after a while. Particularly when there's no serviceable muscular manly men in sight, I'd say only Elfman and Laxus scratched that itch. Gray would have, if only he was older, or larger, or both (I sure appreciate his stripping antics).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

doujin game by kojiman

Gay manga artist and personal god Shoutaroh Kojima said on Twitter he's thinking of making a doujin game.
Kojiman, one of my favourite things in the world, possibly making a game, ANOTHER of my favourite things in the world. Time to explode in joy already?

This post is now diamonds.

(he still doesn't know how to make a game, so it isn't properly an announcement, more of a request for suggestions on how to do it... still, diamonds!)

Friday, April 15, 2011

how to buy at surpara

Surfers Paradise is a website that sells digital doujinshi, much like Digiket. Its catalog seems to be a bit less diverse than Digiket, but Shoutaroh Kojima fans will rejoice - it carries the exact same Kojiman doujin as Digiket! In fact, he just released a new book, called Nicchi Bocchi Station 2 - it's an apparent sequel to his Bakuman. book called Nicchi Bocchi Station from April 2010, but instead of featuring the chubby Miura, this new release's hunk of choice is our beloved 16-year old muscle monster slash football player, Rikiya Gaou from Eyeshield 21.

The best part about SurPara is that, unlike Digiket, it accepts credit cards! No need to buy WebMoney to make purchases at SurPara: all it requires is a credit card and an email address. You don't even need to register (Digiket does if you want to use WebMoney, check my guide here). The whole ordering process takes all of five simple steps that I'll show in pretty self-explanatory screenshots.

1st step: click the red button to add the doujinshi you want to the cart. Doing this will take you to the next screen:

2nd step: click the button to proceed to checkout. Pretty straightforward right?

3rd step: check the box next to the red text. Fill the forms with your email address (my account worked just fine). Choose "Credit Card" as your payment mode, then click the button proceed.

4th step: make sure all the information is correct, then click the button to proceed.

Final step: fill the form with your credit card information. Cardholder name, credit card number and expiration date. Then click the button.

After this, check your email inbox. You should have received an email with the download link. Just follow it, download your quality porn and fap to your heart's content! Buying at SurPara is super easy, and cheaper than Digiket too since you're paying n yen instead of having to buy a 1000-yen WebMoney card for 1200 yen.

Monday, April 4, 2011

hunks work shop fan translation

A few people in the Bara Board are attempting to translate Hunks Work Shop. HWS is a generation-defining game and I doubt anyone with even the slightest interest in gay manga hasn't heard of it. I'm attached to it for several reasons. Masanori was my first exposure to "bara", before I knew it even existed, and for that he will always have a special place in my heart, together with Takeshi Matsu for being the first gay manga I bought, and obviously Shoutaroh Kojima for being my personal god and influencing my nerdlife so damn much. Back in the day, when we "bara" fans learned he was working on a gay eroge, everyone went completely insane. Our expectations were extremely high, and they were fully met with the game's release - I wasn't disappointed in any way, it is THAT good.

Niikura, in particular, is my everyone's waifu. Not only is he one of the hottest manga ever drawn, his backstory (cop turned yakuza godfather's bitch) is so awesome it deserves a full-blown manga. Heh, even Masanori seems to like him better than the rest. Occasionaly he would tease us with images from Niikura's past. This one is my favourite:

I wish them luck and success in their endeavour. Hunks Work Shop is amazing in every sense - I might be repeating myself, but I'm absolutely not exaggerating. People who haven't had the chance to play it due to the language barrier need to be able to do so, and I sincerely hope this translation will make it more accessible to people. Masanori is a genius and deserves recognition.

Funny that someone in the thread said HWS was the first thing he fapped to. It made me feel so old! I can't remember exactly the first thing I masturbated to, it was either to a Boris Vallejo barbarian or a perfume ad with shirtless sailors. I think I was 13 at the time. When I learned of "bara" I was 17 and already an accomplished fapper. It's amusing to think that young gay nerds these days start masturbating to gay manga. And they have so much of that just a few clicks away. I envy them a bit. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

videogame heterocentrism and gay romance

In Dragon Age 2, there are four characters in your party that can be romanced by your main character, Hawke: Fenris, the typical angsty male elf; Merril, the cutesy, slightly childlike female elf; Anders, the smart, suave human male; and Isabella, the skanky oversexed human female. Hawke can be either male or female, and your choice of gender, made at the start of the game, doesn't influence whether or not you are able to romance those four: they are all bisexual by default.

I haven't had the opportunity to go through Dragon Age 2 yet (too busy playing Pokémon Black), but being a staunch defender of a broader portrayal of homosexuality in videogames, I considered this a major selling point of Dragon Age 2. While the game itself has several glaring flaws, giving more choice for non-het romance (the first Dragon Age had only one gay angsty morally-debatable elf) was something I considered extremely positive.

However, a straight male gamer wasn't pleased. He wrote a post in the Bioware official forums saying that the main gamer demographic - that is, the straight male gamer - was neglected in Dragon Age 2. His argument is that straight male gamers compose the great majority of players, adding two gay romance options (or, rather, four - he seems to ignore the lesbian possibilities) instead of increasing the het options contributed to making the game mediocre.

I obviously have a completely different viewpoint from everything he said. In fact, I had quibbles with Bioware when they didn't add the option to having gay romance in Mass Effect 2. Every remotely open-ended game that features romance (something I personally find superfluous, although it's apparently very popular) should have homosexual options. It's not even a matter of being politically correct. Heck, it's frigging REALITY. Homosexuality exists. Not having it makes your game less truthlike. So just add a bunch of believable gays in your games. Simple like that. Avoiding stereotypes is a major plus.

The crowning moment of awesome was the first reply, from David Gaider, an actual Bioware developer and the game's lead writer. His whole post deserves to be read, but this excerpt was my favourite of the lot:

The romances in the game are not for "the straight male gamer". They're for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention. We have good numbers, after all, on the number of people who actually used similar sorts of content in DAO and thus don't need to resort to anecdotal evidence to support our idea that their numbers are not insignificant... and that's ignoring the idea that they don't have just as much right to play the kind of game they wish as anyone else.
(important parts bolded)

Wow. This made me a bit emotional, even. Bioware took a pro-gay stand and stated as clear as daylight that we, gay gamers, deserve games that feature homosexuals as much as straight gamers deserve games with straight people. And the best information of all, gay gamers aren't negligible - we're a significant portion of their base! I get teary-eyed when I think that my favourite form of entertainment might be evolving to a point in which homosexuality is portrayed as a natural fact instead of an awkward comic device or an excuse to sociopathic behaviour.

I wasn't going to buy Dragon Age 2 because it's a badly-made game, rushed for release, padded with paid reviews and therefore wholly undeserving of my money, but after reading what Bioware said, I now feel almost morally compelled to making a purchase.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

that manga called one piece

I made an unspoken promise to myself long ago not to read manga or watch anime anymore. It's too addicting and it makes me feel almost physically ill. I remember when I read Eyeshield 21 compulsively, I cried for weeks when Musashi (AKA Takekura Gen/Red’s-number-one-favourite-character-ever-in-any-media-ever-produced-by-man) returned and became a completely different character. I must admit I never really got over that. Also, when I watched Fullmetal Alchemist... Hughes’s death had about the same impact on me. I'm easily moved by stuff and I always fall for the scriptwriter’s traps, as far-fetched as they might be. That’s why manga and anime are hazardous to me.

But for no real reason I felt like reading One Piece again. My past with One Piece dates way back. I started reading it around 2000-2001, over ten years ago, and it's ever since been among my favourite manga (I’d say it’s the runner up, Eyeshield 21 being number one). But One Piece consumes you, it feeds on you. Reading a whole OP saga is comparable to watching your heart being ripped off your chest and sliced into pieces. At least that's what it does to me. Everything about One Piece makes me cry buckets, it doesn’t matter if it’s a sad story or if it's a heartwarming, touching moment. I cry all the same. It’s a horrible combination, because it's exceedingly good and impactful, and I’m way too easily influenced by what I read. Reading One Piece is emotionally draining to an alarming degree.

Anyway, I felt I needed to make up for my lost time. I’m about 4 years late: I stopped right at the end of Water Seven/Ennies Lobby arc, around chapter 430. So I picked it up and, lo and behold, Smoker showed up around the second or third chapter I read. It’s hard to say exactly how much exactly but I was mad about Smoker back when I was a teenager, and he is still and will always be among my top favourite characters (and, gosh, he’s still ridiculously sexy and he's in a gratuitous shirtless scene – fanservice much?). I took it as a sign I shouldn’t drop One Piece again. Odacchi, I'll hate you forever for creating something that just so beyond what a manga is supposed to be.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


2010 is over, and it was... uneventful. Sort of a "do stuff you should have already done long ago" year, like surgery for making sex a bit less painful, or getting my driver’s license. Highlights of the year were League of Legends, new Kojiman books and the trip to Buenos Aires (Persicco owner, so sexy). I guess I might as well make a short list of resolutions to try to turn 2011 into a more remarkable year, even though I’ll probably forget about them in a few days.

- Get a new job. It's been almost 4 years since I started my current job, heck I was still in college, and I can’t stand it anymore.
- Save more money. My savings are at an all-time low, and since I plan on going to Japan with Shawn in 2012 I need to find a way to save money! Possibly by getting a new job, which ties in with the previous resolution.
- Read more books. All my free time is spent gaming, really. I think I need to read more. One of my goals is getting to the end of The Devil to Pay in the Backlands.
- Start working out. I have no money to afford a gym though, so I have no idea how to make this happen.
- Re-learn Japanese. I stopped well over two years ago and I’ve forgotten almost everything. Japanese is amazing, though, I really wish I had more time to take classes again.