Tag Archives: video

The Friday Files

Square Enix is re-releasing Romancing SaGa 2 for the Nintendo DS (Final Fantasy Legend II as it’s known in the west). There’s also a retrospective video on the same site. It’s a crime how little of the SaGa series was actually translated into English. Via Gametrailers.com

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One more thing I forgot to mention about Tokyo: UFO catcher machines are everywhere. So much so that there’s apparently an industry event to showcase new toys. My favorite are these Gatchaman figures. There’s even a themed USB stick! Check out the rest of the 15th Prize Fair at Nekomagic.com

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I’ve never finished an Armored Core game before, but they sure put out some nice model kits. Check out the full review at CollectionDX.com

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Legend of Galactic Heroes. Seems like it’s the only science fiction series out there where the capital ships look built by an actual military. Via HobbyLink Japan

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There is absolutely no good reason why Tekkaman Blade is not in Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom. They should’ve gotten an injunction or something and just slotted him in there. Here he is (foreground)  in Soul of Chogokin form. Via SRW Hotnews

Society for Geek Advancement

Okay boys and girls, get your commenting caps on. I want to know what you think of this video I found via wilwheaton.net.

About 10 seconds in I was thinking to myself, “Look, just show me the logo for Axe, or Gillette fusion Gamer or whatever you’re trying to push on me. Don’t preach to me about what I am or am not.”

While agree with the video’s overall message, the presentation comes off as a little dishonest. Unlike the “I Am Canadian” commercials on which this video was based, geek stereotypes aren’t just based off the conjecture of people refusing to see beyond their overgrown lawns. I happen to fit in to some of the stereotypes that the those so-called geeks dismiss. I play D&D whenever I find a group. My wife knows that when I’m plugged into my iphone, that DOES mean I’m not listening. Most of the clarifications in the video sound derisive and condescending (“It’s pronounced MEEM not MEEMEE!”). With all of the specialization that goes on in Geek culture, I take for granted that I will have to slow down on the jargon at some point.

I’m not even sure there is a need for such a thing as a Society for Geek Advancement. Aren’t we a society for advancement, period? Aren’t we geeks all ready to wrestle with something that’s complicated and unfamiliar just because it’s there? To me, the geek life is the last bastion of the frontier spirit. In the past, if you wanted to explore the unknown, all you had to do was get a horse and keep riding over the horizon. Now, with the entire world explored, we are left to satisfy our mental wanderlust with computers, handicrafts, literature, science, and technology. We toil and struggle with whatever we’re obsessed with and more often than not we acquire more knowledge that we use to get ahead. It doesn’t even have to be a new invention,  because if you are the only person in town who knows how to string a CSS together, chances are you’ll be able to make some money from that.

While we geeks struggle to find our place in polite society, we don’t have to make any apologies for who we are. Geekiness is not a curse, it’s a blessing. The fortitude and discipline to follow your passion can sooth any swirly and weather any wedgie. If society has grown to depend on our knowledge and our inventions, we can handle a little stereotyping now and then.

The Trip Part 10: Kyoto

One thing I simply had to do while in Japan was ride the bullet train. One of the places Sara simply had to visit was Kyoto. Fortunately, we were able to combine the two when we took a 2 and a half hour train ride to Kyoto.

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We rode the Hikari train, which runs at a top speed of 285 km/h. Sara didn’t think it went too fast, but in her defense, the ride was so smooth you couldn’t really tell. I took some video out the window of us going top speed.

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Kyoto wasn’t bombed in the second world war, so many of the ancient temples and older buildings were still standing. Kyoto was still a huge city, so we could only see a couple of key places. Sara and I decided to see the Kyoto Craft Center and take the Philosopher’s way to the Ginkaku-ji, or Silver Pavilion.

The Craft center was over 6 floors of traditional Japanese Crafts. There was jewelry, lacquered dishware, and even Samurai swords for sale. It was really geared toward tourists, but the salesmanship was so classy that you didn’t feel put upon to buy anything. Sara and I got a lot of souvenir shopping done nonetheless.

We made our way through the back streets to the Philosopher’s way, which is a cobble-stone path running along a small canal where there were shrines that were hundreds, if not thousands of years old. Kyoto as a whole was a lot more laid back than the slick neon head-rush of Tokyo.  The path wasn’t exactly straight, nor was it exactly winding. One could really get a good think in without any turns to interrupt you or too many straight lines to bore you.

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At the end of the path was the Ginkaku-ji. The Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa built the temple in the 15th century as a place of rest and relaxation. I’d say he succeeded. This is what world-class serenity looks like.

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Once we finished at the Ginkaku-ji, we headed back to the Heian Shrine. It was built in 1895 on the 1,100th anniversary of the city. It wasn’t as old as the other temples, but it was certainly the largest that we had seen yet.

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We spent the whole day trying to cover the city, but by the time we were finished at the Heian Shrine, it was already time to go home. With so much more of Kyoto to see, we’ll definitely spend more time here when we come back to Japan.

When Political Parties Fail

There was an article on esquire.com recently about how the US Republican Party cannot survive in it’s current form. The author posted this video of RNC chairman Tom Price as evidence.

In that shaky, distorted video, Price derides the Democratic party for making “shady back-room” deals by daring to write their bills behind closed doors like every other political party in the free world. Now, the tone and format of that video sound familiar. Where have I seen it before?

If there is a sign of a party on the run these days, it’s the shaky video confessional. (To be fair, Stephan Dion’s video had higher production value. It just goes to show you what kind of shape the Republican Party is in.) In institutions where the flow of ideas is key, the muddying of communications is a sin of the worst kind. No matter what their stances on the issues are, I hope the Republicans and the Liberals both clean up their act in delivering their ideas to their respective countries. If they fail, their ruling government parties get a mandate to make laws that fit an ideology rather than reality. Debate is the lifeblood of Democracy, and it is just as bad for one side to cede control as it is for the other to dominate the discourse.

EGM And the Ravages of Time

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The world felt a little poorer yesterday when Ziff Davis announced the cancellation of Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine. It’s been years since I bought an issue, but I still vividly remember it as one of the joys promised by my weekly allowance in the early 90’s. The issues back then were monstrous, chock full of reviews, previews and curious looking ads. Large sections of the magazine were dedicated to Japanese games. They were primitive by today’s standards, but by 1993’s standards, they were all but magical. Some of them even offered a glimpse of this advanced form of cartoons known as “anime”, which at the time was mostly found on Nth generation VHS tapes in the back rooms of specialty comic book stores.

The passing of EGM makes sense. Over the internet I can get printed columns, talk radio, and even entire television shows dedicated to video games. Why bother with a magazine that’s going to be stuffing a closet within a month? Still, no one likes to see a piece of their youth dry up and blow away. Now that we have this recession on our hands, we can expect more of this sort of thing.

Everyone has a little corner of happiness that just isn’t economically viable anymore. It might be a favourite shop that’s closed down, a cancelled television show, or sports team that’s folded. We rationalize by telling ourselves that we’ve grown out of the things that we like, but when you’re fighting through the daily commute, getting yelled at at work, and paying your taxes, what’s so grown up about dealing with all that and gradually abandoning your happiness options?

In 2001, I attended Sakuracon, my first anime convention. It was a reward I gave myself after a university co-op, but it was really an excuse just to leave town for a while. It was apparent that I wasn’t going to graduate that year, and my social life was going nowhere. Thinking anime was still a rapidly shrinking niche genre, I was expecting a few card tables of merchandise in the dealers room and maybe a video room. I could not have been more wrong. There were at least a half dozen video rooms, a full dealers room, cosplayers, and riveting panel seminars. I also made friends that are still with me today.

What I’m trying to say is, don’t let go of those things you cherish, even if they seem silly. Following your passion can lead you to good places, even if that place is in an easy chair listening to a favorite album or reading a favorite book. It doesn’t matter that what you like isn’t economically viable at the time. Anime was on the rise when I went to that convention, but now most of the companies that translate and sell it in the west are scaling back like most companies these days. There’s a cycle to these things. Even as trends ebb and flow, we can always find new ways to experience what we like.