Month: August 2011

It has been a while…

20 August 2011 | Day 102

7:52 pm

Hey folks! It has been a while since I last wrote anything. Well, school was busy, crazy, and tiring. I absolutely had no time to even attempt open WordPress. I had papers, quizzes, oral examinations, and tons of readings these past two weeks. I even thought I was not breathing anymore!

It is good to be back at home. Finally, I had time to go back here in Bulacan. I was free since yesterday, thanks to a no-class day. I just have one exam next week and have little things to worry.

I cannot promise to resume my daily blogging soon. College is getting more exciting than what I thought. I have some drafts here and I assure you that they will be published as soon as possible. Watch out for a review on Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D and some sports stories.

I want to thank everyone who is constantly reading my blog even if I published nothing these past weeks. It is a great pleasure to have one’s works read everyday.

– Erson (7:59 pm)

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Crownless Kings again

Seeing Petron Blaze Boosters crushing Talk ‘n Text last night (August 5) was painfully surreal. Not only it seemed, or rather was it conspicuously, out of calculations but also it dampened all the spirit and hopes of thousands of Barangay Ginebra fans for the Kings to have another crack at the championship. Analysts blamed the quotient rule, while the legions of Ginebra fans, more than anyone or anything, cast the stones to Talk ‘n Text.

Talk ‘n Text, a team that modified its roster by recruiting the “most expensive” players over the past couple of years and owned by “businessman” Manuel V. Pangilinan, could have otherwise easily thwarted Petron last night with its pool of talented players. Any team that has won two straight championships, finished with the conference best record, booked the first seat in the finals, and averaged more than a hundred points per ball game, by all means, can mightily destroy an opposing squad that only relies on an Arwind Santos and an import by the name of Anthony Grundy. Yet, the whole Philippine basketball community was shocked by the sequence of events in the last day of the semis last night. Petron led by 20 points or more during most of the entirety of the game and finally beat Talk ‘n Text, 98-83.

As Ronnie Nathanielsz, a respected sports analyst, tweeted last night: “Talk N’ Text could beat any team among those vying for a finals slot. Impossible to understand why they virtually gave the game to Petron.”

The games last night were to determine who will face TnT in the finals. It was a complicated situation, thanks to the quotient system, with three teams – Ginebra, Alaska, and Petron – viable to be that contender. Well, long story short, Ginebra was the most viable amongst the three. Not only did the team participated in last conference finals also against TnT, but also the Kings looked more deadly this conference with Mark Caguioa putting up MVP numbers, the return of his backcourt duo Jayjay Helterbrand, and an import who is a former boxer who is faster than anyone else. Granting that Petron loses last night and Ginebra wins over Rain or Shine, which they did, a rematch between Ginebra and TnT should have happen. Yet, the alternative and the nightmare of Barangay Big Dome happened.

I do not blame TnT nor the conference format. Talk ‘n Text’s decision, which apparently looks like it, to lose or sell its game to Petron last night will give them better chances of winning a grandslam since Petron is relatively weaker with a depleted line-up (no Jay Washington and Rabeh Al Hussaini) composed of three rookies. It was actually a wise decision. The format, on the other hand, can be a little frustrating, yet it was the rule that everyone has to follow. It looked crazy and stupid Ginebra and Rain or Shine playing for Alaska’s and Petron’s chances at the championship. As Noli Eala, former PBA Commissioner, also said last night: “Never imagined a game where 2 teams are playing in order for 2 other teams to make the Finals.”

What I want to blame is Talk ‘n Text’s cowardice and indifference. Everybody knew that Ginebra wass the best contender out there, and still is. Millions of basketball fans wanted to see that match up again. Yet, TnT made sure that they secure the grandslam by losing to Petron last night. They deliberately killed the majority of the fans’ excitement and enjoyment. They were playing for themselves alone, and did not even consider how it is better to give smiles to millions of basketball aficionados rather than securing laughter for Manny Pangilinan alone. Was it a matter of salary? Do they seriously want more money and incentives from Mr. Capitalist? And if they were really the best, why would they turn the people’s team’s challenge down? Scared? Afraid?

I am frustrated. My co-Ginebra fans around the world are mad. Sports analysts are laughing because of the ridiculousness of last night’s events. To Talk ‘n Text and Manny Pangilinan, are you not sensitive of what the Filipino people want? If ever you win that grandslam, you know that you do not deserve it. All these years you were contending in the finals and no one has ever criticized you about your victories. But last night’s game was practically bullsh*t and now everybody, even your own crowd of supporters, is against you. Think about this thing, if you still ever know how to think for other people’s sake rather than your own self-interests.

Long live Ginebra! In hearts and in minds, we shout NEVER SAY DIE!

Starting anew

3 August 2011 | Day 101

7:24 pm

Gone are the days when I look forward to every MWF class because of History. Gone are those days of 11:30 to 12:30 class when I learn while laughing and think while listening to good stories. Today, I felt the lost of my favorite teacher. Miss Coo is officially gone.

Well, last Friday was our last meeting with ma’am Coo as she has to go abroad for some reasons. She said she’ll be out for two years. She has been my favorite in my sophomore year so far and will forever be one of my all-time favorite teachers. She’s smart, funny, and make learning easier through personal stories which I find interesting. Too bad, we won’t get the chance to finish this semester with her. A new teacher officially replaced her today.

I’m not against the new professor. It is just that Ms. Coo is too good a professor to miss. I have said this before, and I won’t regret saying this all over again: History became interesting because of Ms. Coo. I used to hate the subject all throughout high school but everything changed during college. I was hoping all this time to learn more in History in Ms. Coo’s class. I don’t think that will happen as good as I expected it to be anymore.

Well, that’s how life goes. People go every now and then. And sometimes they have to be great teachers. Last year I experienced the same with national artist Salvador Bernal, my literature teacher, being hospitalized because of some sickness. I wonder next year if an excellent teacher won’t finish his or her term in one of my classes again. I wish they need not to go. I wish Ms. Coo finished her term with our class.

I have to start again. And I hope I’ll get to appreciate Ms. Gallardo’s class as much as I did with Ms. Coo’s.

– Erson (7:50 pm)

Game Review: Pokemon Black and White

Title: Pokemon White/Black Version
Developer
: Gamefreak/Nintendo
Platform
: Nintendo DS
Date Released
: 6 March 2011
ESRB Rating
: E (Everyone)
Grade
: 9.0

I might be too late doing this review for Pokemon White (and Black, they’re almost the same anyway) which was released since early March. Well, I just finished the game the other night (August 1) and played its majority since a week and a half ago, even though I got the game as soon as it was released. A couple of actually absurd reasons made this delay: (1) I was waiting for Smogon‘s release of the movesets and tiers of the new Pokemon in the game as well as the updated movesets and tiers of the old ones for this new generation and (2) I was just wanting to be competitive, raising Pokes up to level 100 for competitive battling.

It was only last week when I finally played the game again because I was bored of school stuff. Since then, I have been regretting delaying my Black and White gaming experience.

INTRODUCTION

Pokemon Black and White were intended to provide the latest spark in the Pokemon games series. They were created not only to be a continuation of the long running series but also to make the impression that Pokemon games are not just games for fun or leisure but in fact games with creativity, inspiration, and emotion. They were created as new, meaning the most unique and special Pokemon games there have been. Hence, 156 new Pokemon were introduced in this generation, the largest amount of new Pocket Monsters in a generation. Unova is the games’ newest region while routes were reset to start from Route 1 (instead of continuing the route numbers of the earlier games) to signal that Unova will be home to a new kind of gaming experience not only for the all-time fans but for beginners, enthusiasts, and ordinary people who happen to receive Black and White during their birthdays as well. A lot of improvements were made to make the game more interesting and more original. There is a plethora of adventures compiled in these tiny game cards that can make anyone say “wow!” or “yes!”¬† once in a while as he presses those DS buttons to have his Pokemon journey.

THE REVIEW

Graphics and screens. Let us start with the most obvious factor that every critic would first look at when a new game is released. People, all these years, have been condemning Nintendo DS games because of inferior graphics compared to their evil counterparts in Sony PSP. Early DS games were indeed just subordinates to PSP’s versions with pixelated pictures everywhere. Later games made improvements though (especially with the breakthrough of the 3DS), and Pokemon Black and White are clearly two of the best manifestations of this, if not the perfect ones. As a user of both platforms, I can say that these two latest Pokemon games can compete with any PSP game one can throw out there, even though the games did not fall in the latest 3DS console. Its graphics and screens are excellent and peculiar for any game, especially for the role-playing genre, and clearly could have been perfect if put into the 3DS.

A lot of new genius have been put in Black and White. As mentioned earlier, graphics and screens are way excellent. An anime-like conversation can be witnessed every time the Xtransceiver rings, unlike before that only texts can be seen when some sort of communication device comes into picture. The games’ short films can be compared side-to-side with some good animated films out there. Not only they were crystal clear (especially when used in 3DS) but also were in full and extraordinarily perfect details. Shout outs are not simply shout outs anymore. They are more comical now and more convincing to read. The new Pokemon look good especially the legendaries and the fully-grown starters. Even the tiniest factor, such as the town map, looked peculiar and attracting.

I would like to point out, though, that Pokemon are a little pixelated in battle screen, especially those in the user’s side. They look good on the Pokedex, though.

Controls. Although the controls have not changed that much and are basically the same with the previous games, it is worth mentioning  that Black and White work perfectly with the 3DS circle pad, especially with the games requiring new movements aside from up, down, left, and right as mentioned above. The circle pad makes movement in Castelia City, some stairs, and in that tower before the end game much easier compared if one uses the usual directional pad, or D-pad. Of course, the earlier versions of DS and their D-pads still work great, but not as convenient as with the circle pad. The touch screen is nothing much of use and in fact can be ignored all throughout the game if one wishes to.

The main problem of Black and White, though, for me that is, can be found in its controls as well. Whether one is using the circle pad or the d-pad, the bike, an item which is supposed to make the character’s movement faster, can be of extreme annoyance. When in bike, the character moves extraordinarily fast that he misses the door of the Pokemon Center seven times out of ten. One needs to move from left to right and vice versa a good number of times before the character, in bike, hits that door or cave or whatever hole you want him to go into. The bike in fact slowed me down instead of making the game faster for me. Hence, my character was in running shoes, which is slow but relatively faster than when in bike, the majority of the game.

Story. The story was inspiring, especially with the turn out of events in the end. This is something new with Pokemon since the earlier games’ stories were just loud expressions of excitement to become a Pokemon trainer. Well, maybe, this is because the story is on a more matured note with the characters as teenagers and adults rather than 10-year-old kids pampered by some old professors. I don’t want to spoil your gaming experience, but I must say that beating a trainer now means something rather than winning and raising Pikachu to level 100. Black and White’s story project emotions and feelings and makes gamers think. Although events are definitely surreal, they positively affect the user’s ideas in such a way that he is led to seek the good in his identity.

Well, I can’t blabber that much. You might have to check it out on your own. But for me, these versions’ story is the best in the Pokemon series so far.

Game Difficulty. Well, you’ll get annoyed, excited, pumped up, irritated, confused, lost, “whaaaat?!”, and once in a while you’ll see yourself throwing a closed fist up in the air. That’s how the exciting your journey will be. Well, most of the time, you’ll get stuck or lost throughout your journey, especially if you are not using any walkthrough.*

*There are a lot of websites that post walkthroughs and playthroughs. My favorite walkthrough site is Psypokes, which I have used since Emerald. I used Marriland in Black and White though because my internet here in the condominium blocks Psypokes. You might want to try Serebii and Smogon too. Also, check out YouTube and some blogs for useful playthroughs.

I can’t assess how difficult it is to catch legendaries here, because as far as I am concerned, I caught legendaries without much effort (I caught Zekrom with a Dusk ball in one trial and only wasted one Quick ball, which I threw at him at the start of our encounter). Marriland and other sites, on the other hand, ask you to store about 40 (or 60?) Ultra and Dusk balls for Reshiram and Zekrom. Well, 40 special balls mean something right? Guess what, I think it means that it is hard to catch Zekrom.

Battles can be tough, especially with the Elite Four, N, and Ghetsis. It gets tougher once you beat the game. Triple battles and rotation battles are added. You can now also choose to use items when battling with a friend. Check out the video below.

Raising Pokemon is not hard in these versions. Somebody in the middle of the game will give you Lucky Egg, an item that adds 50 percent experience, which is otherwise a very hard item to find in the earlier versions. It is just a matter of when and to whom you will use Lucky Egg.

Pokemon transfer from 4th Generation requires another DS. It is a prerequisite to beat the game and enter some codes that a scientist would ask to push through with the transfer. This means that you can’t have any Pokemon beside those from the Unova region unless you defeat the Elite Four, N, and Ghetsis. There is no limit in terms of the number of Pokemon that can be transferred per day. Items can’t be transferred, though. But don’t worry about Giratina, Dialga, and Palkia not holding their respective Orbs because they will be given in the game by some ninjas.

Hmm, what else? Ah. Conversations (if they make the games harder for you) are not novel-long in Black and White as with the previous games.

CONCLUSION

Well, salutes to this game! Interesting and challenging. Good graphics and good emotion stimulator. Best story. Intelligently done. Everything good (well, except the bike). What else can you ask for? Enjoy.