Saturday, May 29, 2004 @ 10:54 (Japan Standard Time)
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A hobbyist video gamer in the middle of Japan's gaming zone. Comments on console, PC, handheld and arcade games.
On this page

2004-05-29 Sat

Tripping out

2004-05-27 Thu

Halo off my hard drive

2004-05-25 Tue

Up a creek? Use a canoe!

2004-05-24 Mon

Slow as Master Chief

2004-05-19 Wed

Backtracking

2004-05-18 Tue

Onslaught!

2004-05-17 Mon

D.C. P.S. Murasaki end; Kudou begin.

2004-05-15 Sat

GT4 demo movie, VF4:Evo stats heaven

E3 and Jak

2004-05-10 Mon

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!

2004-05-08 Sat

Project Sugar complete!

2004-05-02 Sun

Pikmin 2 "finished", Shikigami no Shiro 2 Appreciate DVD

2004-05-01 Sat

Pikmin 2 looks really good, site format update

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Tripping out

Recently playing:
  • D.C. P.S. (PS2-jp, Kotori says "bye bye kin!")
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-us, I still like the rocket launcher.)
Not really much on the gaming front, except I will be on a business trip for a couple of weeks, which will impact my console and PC gaming. Yet again I have to go to Europe, so maybe I can experience european gaming once again. This time should I be bringing my GameBoy Advance or just try to stick with PC gaming? I'm pretty sure that I'll be busy again, but then again, I don't want to be bored.

So really should I bring my Ikaruga GC-EU disk or just bring a couple of GBA games. One other thing that I really want to do is buy an Ipod. I can't wait for a Ipod mini, so I might as well.

But this is a gaming log so i will talk about games. There are a couple of GBA games that I should be catching up on, such as that Card Captor Sakura - Sakura Card and that Prince of Persia: Sands of Time game I got from the last trip. How about Advance Wars 2?

Actually for me AW2 falls into those games I eel that are too hard for me, strategy games. I'm sure many people feel the same way, not about strategy games being hard but about having a class of games that one just cannot get used to. There are many games where I feel that I reach an epithany. But actually it must be less than that. Something like programming your brain enough so that you know the pitfalls of a level, or figure out the strategy. In a game like Military Madness or Advance Wars, I never reach that "aha". Is that where I quit? Yes. For me games are about fun and about escapism, not torture. Well I like torture sometimes. I.e. Ikaruga.

Halo off my hard drive

Recently playing:
  • Halo (WinPC-us, Finished normal)
  • D.C. P.S. (PS2-jp, Kotori scenario is better than I remembered.)
I finished Halo on normal difficulty last night. What an enjoyable game. Of course it comes with the normal tedium of dying and reloading dying and reloading, but the pump action shotgun is a gas to use. I feel pretty cool using that in a fire fight, hiding behind some cover and reloading. But no more please. I uninstalled the game from my PC just minutes after I watched the credits roll.

As far as the story is concerned, they really hit you over the head with the hint about the sequel. Halo 2 seems to be coming to the XBox in 2004/10. I saw a picture of a double fisted Alien Needler Action. The PC version will probably be another year, though. Here's to playing Halo 2 in 2006! I don't think I need to upgrade my current machine to play that.

I was going to talk about how there are too many sequels in the game industry here but I decided I would be rehashing the same arguments that everybody knows. Besides, I don't mind sequels at all. If it can bring stuff like Jak 2 or Grand Theft Auto 3 or Unreal Tournament 2004 or Final Fantasy X, I'm all for it.

I've decided not to skip the latter half of Kotori's scenario. I know how it ends I just find it enjoyable to read the build up again. I think I'll be able to finish this tonight if I'm not too tired.

I've been thinking that I should really play Air and Kanon. Given the amount of doujin soft created based on these two, there must be something really special about them. Yes I have "stacked" these console games and no I'm not interested in the PC ecchi version.

Talking about doujin software, imagine a english translated one? That's what this thread is about. I'm not really sure about the viability about this really. Liberal reuse of unlicenced characters aside, there is not much real gaming in the medium as a whole. Sure you can call up Melty Blood or Touhou Youyoumu - Perfect Cherry Blossom, but those are the exception, not the rule. When ever I visit the doujin soft stores, I first tune out the 95% over-20 gal-get doujin softs, then look for the all-ages shmups, fighters, and soundtracks. If this idea is going to work, it will work only once, with one piece of software. If it were me I would do Touhou Youyoumu. I still don't understand the story of this one, ha ha.

Up a creek? Use a canoe!

Recently playing:
  • Halo (WinPC-us, Use the vehicles chief!)
  • D.C. P.S. (PS2-jp, What if your teacher is having a baby?)
I got past a sticky point in Halo by using a vehicle. Oh yeah. Remember to use the vehicles. Don't destroy them if you can help it.

Now I am warming up to the idosyncracies that is Halo. The weapons reloading, the slow movement, the grenade throwing, the reuse of the enemies weapons, the necessity to punch things to make sure they are dead. I must admit this kind of gaming is a good change of pace from UT2004. I like it. As long as the story is good. Does that mean I'm going to try out Serious Sam, Heavy Metal F.A.K.K, Undying, American McGee's Alice, etc again on this computer? You betcha!

I like to take a time out from this gaming log to say something about www.Blogger.com. They have their act together over there, what with the in-page edit-and-preview feature. I need something like that to make my blogging easier. Although for gaming logs what you really should be checking out is the Conversant Gaming Log web site, which has people more serious than I am about skilled gaming, writing ONLY about their gaming habits. It has a shmups slant, of course. Well I've had the link for the latter for a while now.

Slow as Master Chief

Recently playing:
  • Halo (WinPC-us, Only one map?)
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-us, Second thoughts about Onslaught)
  • D.C. P.S. (PS2-jp, On the Nanako Saitama end)
I ignored work for the weekend. Yeh.

I finished the Nanako Saitama scenario for D.C. P.S. Thankfully there's only one ending. I did enjoy voice actress Masumi Asano } because even though her panicky voice is still cute. She was Saga in A Little Snow Fairy Sugar and Miduki in Yumeria, among other roles. About the scenario itself, I wasn't impressed. It was normal. In fact it was not even D.C. standard. I'll tell you a spoiler. D.C. is about a magic tree. This scenario just doesn't use it. That's why it lacks the D.C. flavor.  And about the art, I just didn't like seeing green hair. At least it's not as bad as Chitose Aizawa from Tokimeki Memorial 3.

So what's next in D.C. P.S.? I guess I'll slog through the Kotori scenario, so I can do the Kudo scenario. So far I'm enjoying Shirakawa-sensei's voice more than Kotori, even though she's a minor character. "Ippai ayamatte yarou ka? Gomenasai, gomennasai, gomennasai, GOMENNASA-I!" LOL! I need to put a save point on this one.

I finally got serious about learning UT2004. Practicing dashing, check. Practicing dash jump, check. Practicing the forward dash jump while strafing, check. Practicing protecting base points while in a manta, check. Binded the link gun to the "B" button, check. Binded middle mouse button/scroll wheel to Toggle Viewpoint, check. Great!

I am having second thoughts about Onslaught. It just isn't as fun as I thought. The bad: online team play just bites and rarely is good. When you don't have a vehicle, moving to where you want to go is just slow. I guess the bad occurs more often than the good. I may need to find a better server. What ever happened to StealthDP?

I want to post my key binding config here. Ah, the wonders of esdf instead of wasd.

For some dumb reason I installed Halo on my Project Sugar machine. I lost a lot of time doing that. I mean, I was slogging through the game on my puny Pentium 3-500, which as you may know has worse specs than an XBox. So now I have a new computer and I wanted to see if I can up the visuals. My new compy can only do this game at 800x600??!?! Well granted I turned everything else to "high detail", and yes it can do 1024x768, but it just is not responsive enough. In any case I did a 6 hour run through Double Betrayal and I met The Flood. Oops I meant to spoilerize that. In any case Halo is slow and annoying. I haven't finished the game. I'm stuck on the part where I need to get a flying machine and there is tens of enemies in my way. Doesn't sound like much but if you move as slow as Master Chief, it's a hassle.

Backtracking

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-us, Meeting old friends online and shooting them)
  • D.C. P.S. (PS2-jp, Guides spoil the fun of making the wrong choice)
So I played more of UT2004 and I met a guy who claims to know me from the time I was playing at StealthDP. Wow that must have been at least two years ago or something. In any case, I played my first small sized Onslaught map and it was tight. There's just something about sniping the core and people trying to kill you while concentrating on two base entrances. Heh..

And then I tried finishing the Kudo scenerio in D.C., but I only got the "normal" end. To get the "true end" I need to finish the Kotori scenario first, according to the guide book. What a waste of time backtracking. Another bad thing is that I want to rush through the Kotori scenario but then I'll miss out on all of Yui Horie's vocal parts. Then again I wasn't enthralled too much with Kotori this time around so I'll just deal with it.

Yes I am using a guide book now, I don't want to waste much more time trying to guess. You could argue that it isn't much fun without choice, but I say that backtracking just is not fun at all. Besides, it seems I have at least 15 more scenarios to complete before I completely finish D.C. Wasting time is for UT2004.

Onslaught!

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-us, First taste of Onslaught!)
  • D.C. P.S. (PS2-jp, going after girls dressed as guys)

I had a a taste of Onslaught, the new game type in Unreal Tournament 2004, and I seriously need a microphone. Hahah. "Oh yeah". My Project Sugar compy makes the graphical and audio experience just great. I tried tweaking the graphical settings just a tad and there wasn't any slow down. I bet I could put it on highest settings with a reasonable response trade off. But in any case I think I spend 4 hours in Onslaught just figuring out vehicles and suitable key bindings and just rocking around. Yup I need to bind a key to the Link Gun or something. I play more like a "medic" than some gungho soldier.

After that I really tried to continue reading D.C. P.S. but it just wasn't exciting enough to continue. Well I want to finish the Kudo scenario though. The story still hasn't revealed itself yet. Wait,  the voice actress is the one from Pitaten, the one who played Koutarou. Okay today I'm going to play some more, I think that it's just another couple of in-game days to finish.

D.C. P.S. Murasaki end; Kudou begin.

Recently playing:
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 (WinPC-us, First taste of CTF)
  • D.C. P.S. (PS2-jp, on the Murasaki ending)
I finished the Murasaki Isumiko scenario for D.C. and the story wasn't satistfying at all. But basically it was a "appearances can be decieving" plot, which for me feels some what preachy. It is laughable that anyone can fall in love with a giant sized pink teddy bear, but hey the premise sounded interesting enough, so much that I picked it as the first to clear.

Well now that is done and I am working on the Kudou story. We all can see that this i s a "girl dressed as a guy" story. Even you can tell from the voice actress, because she is the same as Puchiko in Digi-carat. It sort of reminds me of the Nana scenario in Love Chu (DC-jp), where your email girlfriend is enters your all-male school, complete with long ponytails. Okay, this Kudou scenario actually sounds interesting though, only because the story hasn't revealed the truth yet, just dropping little hints here and there.

I finally moved my Project Sugar computer to my desk from off the floor, so I am now moving all my important stuff to it. My weblog software is pretty sucky, I can't handle editing from another computer. Hm. I did play some UT 2004 CTF-FaceClassic and it was a joy to behold. Except all my key bindings were not configured so I put up with the default WASD config. Ugh, that's what I get for being impatient.

And yes I was the one who wrote down the lyrics to that E3 demo movie of Gran Turismo 4. Talk about non-sensical lyrics. But maybe there doesn't need to be meaningful lyrics, just something that sounds good. I guess that's my standard for good songs, "sounds good". That's why I still like Brittany Spears as well as Pebbles or Tevin Campell.

What's being said
What's in your head
What's in the words that we believe?
Pop to the sound
Drop what you got
'cause it's a song inside of me.
I can see your face
I can feel the sea
I can see that it's a part of me
Let's break the trance
Let's make them dance
You'll see what we are meant to be
Might be the end
Might be the start
Could be the air that lies between
Could be the song
Could be the beat
Could be the words that set you free
You say believe
I don't believe
I can't believe in what you say
I rather be a part of me
A part that you, you'll never see.
(Tell us what we should believe)

GT4 demo movie, VF4:Evo stats heaven

Recently playing:
  • Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution (PS2-jp, "Ready? Go!")
  • Jak and Daxter (PS2-jp, Aren't those precursor orbs just sprites?)
  • D.C. P.S. (PS2-jp, on the Murasaki ending)
I'm not a big fighter fanatic any more. But recently I've been eying a couple of things. That PS2 Street Fighter Anniversary game with DVD can now be readily found in used games shops. I'm thinking of picking that up. Also I picked up Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution for 1780 yen, not bad considering the depth of the tutorials for this game. Wow. 3 types of input displays. Command input menu, text guides giving you feed back on how to best complete a combo. Statistics heaven! This sure is a far cry different from the Dead or Alive: Hardcore experience. For some reason, I been wanting the Xbox versions, but I'll wait for the Dead or Alive: Ultimate. I just saw the new E3 demo movie and it was just funny. Zack snowboarding, using Jan Lee as board? Hahaha. New stages! Beaches! Elephants! Yeah new background elements, like that big Chinese bell that goes "bong". Hahahaha I can't get enough it.

But what blows me away again and again is the E3 demo for Gran Turismo 4. It's a combination of graphics and music. I haven't played my copy of GT3 in a long while but this makes me want to break out the Logicool GT Force controller again. Graphically they seem to push out the envelope for backgrounds this time. That European city track looks really cool, bright and sunny. Also the top down racers with the driver fully rendered is awesome. But still I don't know why I should get excited. Racing is not my thing. I didn't even get that GT4 Prologue game. It must be music tracks in the demo. I have been listening to the music on a loop while writing this. Heh. I'll get the game just for the music? Ha ha ha.

Did you see that Grand Theft Auto: Vice City got 10, 9, 9, 9 at Weekly Famitsu? And pretty soon it's coming out for the Japanese Xbox? If its coming out with these campaign girls I'm all for it! But already have the PC versions of both GTA3s, so I'm not gonna buy. Really.

Is it just me or is it happy time to game?

E3 and Jak

Recently playing:
  • Jak 2 (PS2-jp, "Next time, you open the valves.")
  • Jak and Daxter (PS2-jp, English voice overs, too)
  • D.C. P.S. (PS2-jp, pink bears flash into my eyes)
  • Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution (PS2-jp, This game will train you!)
The gaming news sites have turned their eyes toward E3. Look at all the new games. Mario Pinball looks interesting. I was interested in SpikeOut Battle Street as well. I was wondering when that was going to come to the console. The only cool part about that new Legend of Zelda clip was the look on Link's face as he deftly sheathed his sword. Flawless. The rest of it looked pretty cookie cutter. I was not impressed with the Star Fox Armada at all. I watched the same old Halo 2 trailer, which makes me want to finish Halo 1 now. I read more about Gradius V. I also watched a clip on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. Wow, group play looks kinda funny. Soul Calibur weapons effects are appearing everywhere now. Geez if your bo staff doesn't glow when you move it, it's lame.

Look at the new portable hardware. PSP and GameBoy DS. Companies are telling you that you need the ability to play games where ever you go. I hardly play my Gameboy Advance even with all the games I buy for it, so that message ain't getting through to me. As far as which side of the fence I am on, I bet the PSP will rock the GameBoy world because of the different types of games that will come out. Then again, Nintendo has gotten this far without adding too many multimedia functions to their base product. They aren't going to be putting extras stuff like wifi or memory stick. But why dual screens and touch sensitive screens? I use a Palm and only after I got a screen protector film I cared a great deal about scratching the screen. I bet I will be the same way with this system, if I get it.

I read a mainstream article saying that the average age of gamers is 29. Good thing too, I'll be helping to pull up this average pretty soon.

After proclaiming my satisfaction with Jak 2 twice over in this thread, and posting some little easter egg about Jak and Daxter, I decided to start playing Jak and Daxter again. Now in English. Haha. The color of the water is sickening though, too bright, compared to Jak 2. In fact everything is too bright. The contrast between the greens and weeds doesn't make it blend well. Noisy too. There isn't much story going on, which is kinda annoying this time around. I never noticed that void before.

I kept on having this dream that I just got the last item in Jak and Daxter which makes the display say 100% instead of 99%. Really. But then again I don't recall playing that save game. Hm. I am delirious.

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!

Recently playing:
  • Crazy Taxi (GC-jp, "OK! But don't freak out on me!")
  • Pikmin 2 (GC-jp, Escaped barely with my life)
I was going to talk some more about Project Sugar but I got caught up in playing the GameCube. I mean seriously, setting up the new computer and tearing down the old one is a bit of a hassle, so I escaped to console land.

I bought Crazy Taxi just recently, used with no manual. I remember playing just a demo of Crazy Taxi 3 High Roller on the XBox and I notice the intricacies of the control there. So when I got to the GC version I thought well hey, just go read a FAQ to learn the button pressing techniques. I warmed up to the controls, then read the FAQ, and the next time I took a break, 3 hours had passed by. Whoa. This game is hella fun! I remember my time with Grand Theft Auto 3, doing the cabbie thing for up to 100 customers. This must be my kind of game. I mean, go from place to place, trying to remember where things are, and along the way, trying to get speed boosts. It was like Jak II, where you're on the hoverboard and you jump spin to get a speed boost. You do it over and over and over again to the destination, and it makes going from place to place not so boring. Yeah, that's my type of game and I think I really like that.

So I was practicing the 10 minute mode, and I was getting around 17 to 19 customers, then I switched back to the arcade mode. Crazy Sliding, Crazy Boosting, etc. I "finished" arcade mode with two characters. Well, my best is around $5500, pretty meager. Wow fun fun fun. And the voices are pretty wacky. "OK! But don't freak out on me!" "Just shut up and let's roll!" "What am I, superman."

Where was this game before?!? This is the type of game I regret not playing sooner. Heh.

I'll be looking for this game on the XBox the next time I go bargain hunting. Plus the XBox version has Brian Setzer's song (or songs?). I'm a fan of this guy, well ever since the Stray Cats.

Project Sugar complete!

Recently playing:
  • Pikmin 2 (GC-jp, Stupid pikmin don't go there!)
What is project Sugar? Well it is my attempt to get into 21st century gaming, by upgrading my main PC to something over 0.5 GHz. And wow, what a difference 3GHz makes. Here's the specs of my system, which I will affectionately call "Sugar":
  • Motherboard: Asus P4C800-E Deluxe (Intel 875 chipset + ICH5R, etc etc)
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 3.0E (Prescott)
  • Memory: 1 GB total (2 x Samsung non-ECC non-reg PC3200 512MB)
  • Video: Sapphire 9600 XT (Radeon 9600 XT 256MB)
  • Audio: on-board
  • HDD: 120GB (Seagate S-ATA 7200RPM 8MB cache)
  • Case: all-aluminum with no flashing lights, no stupid "USB" words on the front
Upper end stuff if I do say so myself. I don't know how to overclock but the main thing for me is stability.

The first benchmark I threw at Sugar was the Yumeria Benchmark (version 1.2 direct link). Heh heh. The score at 1024x768 Normal was 11550, which was pretty good considering that my previous computer does 1105.

Unreal Tournament 2003 is now very very pretty. Oh yeah.

The old mainstay
Project Sugar
640
Flyby 39.670300
Botmatch 13.406803
640
Flyby 120.
Botmatch 66.6
-
1024x768
Flyby 105
Botmatch 60.6


I also wanted to check out more video stuff. Take a look at this demo for the Radeon 9700 class video cards: "Rendering with Natural Light" Sugar handled this one proficiently.

Now what am I going to do with all this power? ^_^; Play Unreal Tournament 2004, of course!

Pikmin 2 "finished", Shikigami no Shiro 2 Appreciate DVD

Recently playing:
  • Pikmin 2 (GC-jp, Collecting junk never looked so good)
I completed the story end of Pikmin 2. It turns out that there is a whole bit more to the game, namely collecting stuff. I only have 60% of the collection of monsters and "junk". And finally the puzzles are cranked up a notch. Well this coming from a guy who was too slow to complete challenge level 2 (of 25). There's just something about playing the game, and micro-managing. The challenges are right in front of you, not too hard, not too easy. Oops, I forgot to mention the part about dreading entering the caves. It's the reason I'm not playing right now. 20 hours of Pikmin 2, who'd thunk it?

Oh yeah, and using the Wavebird (wireless controller). It's taken me this long and I still haven't needed to change the batteries. Great!

Just this morning I got my Shikigami no Shiro 2 Appreciate DVD in the mail. I couldn't tear myself away from the Pikmin experience, but I got a chance to look at 3 different characters, including Wiz's Nigi. For some reason I was expecting shooting greatness, but to tell you the truth, I was a little disappointed. No, I'm not saying I can do duplicate the stunts in the video. It's just that I expected to be awed like I was with the Ikaruga Appreciate DVD. Yes I can see that they can buzz with greatness, and that I couldn't even follow the action with my own eyes. But there were a number of spots where they hit bullets, losing a life. I spend over 6000 yen, I should expect perfection. Well at least my definition of perfection in this case is a no death clear. But all in all, very risky play. I keep thinking to myself, why can I see the bullets fast enough like these people? I may as well be asking myself why can't run the mile in 4 minutes.

Pikmin 2 looks really good, site format update

Recently playing:
  • Pikmin 2 (GC-jp, Junk on the ground never looked so pretty)

I am now about 75% done with Pikmin 2. Great! It's fun pretty much collecting stuff. And the graphics are killer. Well, refined. I can't believe I'm about to spend maybe USD 1000.00 on a new computer that will equal the prowess of this one GC game. Maybe I just like looking at greenery.

I improved the navigation and view of this site just a bit, adding a calendar and reflowing the text. I hope you like it, I sure am not satisfied with it.
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