Monday, February 28, 2011

Henrietta Lacks, the woman who after follows immortal 60 years its death.

Henrietta Lacks was called, but for the scientists it was become simply into HeLa. Our protagonist was an agricultural diligent poor person of the tobacco farmings of the south of the United States, that worked hard in same lands where its ancestor cultivated the plantation using fetters. He died in 1951 because of a col cancer, and exactly thus he reached immortality.

Its family not wise person until then, but when Henrietta fought against the tumor that it would arrebataria the life, the doctors had practised a biopsia to extract part of its tumorais cells. The doctors had decided to conserve them without informing to nobody, habitual custom at that time. Those cells had finished for becoming themselves into one of the tools most important on which the medicine counts because of an incredible characteristic: they are remained alive and they grow vigorously. Immortal” human being is about the first cellular line “that the great scale can be cultivated.



She results ironic that she has left of its uterus follows living creature, each time with bigger volume, although that in October of this year she will make 60 years of the death of its giver. To finish with the HeLa cells she has that to submit them it the radiation, to deprive them of nutrients or water, or to place them in contact with other cells that fagocitem them. But if the conditions are remained steady, the tumorais cells, in contrast of sãs, simply do not age. If we could pile up in a scale all the cultivated HeLa cells until the date, its weight would surpass the 50 tons.

Thanks to them, it was possible to develop the vaccine against the pólio, to discover certain secrets of the cancer and some viruses and also to evaluate the effect of the atomic bomb. Also in served to conquer important advances in fertilização vitro, clonagem and genetic sequenciamento.

In a classic example of the total lack of ethics, the family of Henrietta did not inquire itself about “immortality” up to the 20 years after that biopsia, when the scientists had entered in contact with its husband and son to continue the research. Henrietta died poor, but thousands of millions of its tumorais cells had been vendidas the laboratories of everybody, generating a multimillionaire business of which its family never saw a cent.

In fact, one of the children of Henrietta, Deborah call, is asked with frequency if they did not clonaram its mother and it does not obtain to understand and to accept because its another sister, Elsie, died in an institution for deficient mental with 15 years without counting on no plan of medical assistance. All one contrassenso leading in account that Henrietta Lacks can have been the woman most important in all the history of the medicine.

Henrietta Lacks, the woman who after follows immortal 60 years its death.

Henrietta Lacks was called, but for the scientists it was become simply into HeLa. Our protagonist was an agricultural diligent poor person of the tobacco farmings of the south of the United States, that worked hard in same lands where its ancestor cultivated the plantation using fetters. He died in 1951 because of a col cancer, and exactly thus he reached immortality.

Its family not wise person until then, but when Henrietta fought against the tumor that it would arrebataria the life, the doctors had practised a biopsia to extract part of its tumorais cells. The doctors had decided to conserve them without informing to nobody, habitual custom at that time. Those cells had finished for becoming themselves into one of the tools most important on which the medicine counts because of an incredible characteristic: they are remained alive and they grow vigorously. Immortal” human being is about the first cellular line “that the great scale can be cultivated.



She results ironic that she has left of its uterus follows living creature, each time with bigger volume, although that in October of this year she will make 60 years of the death of its giver. To finish with the HeLa cells she has that to submit them it the radiation, to deprive them of nutrients or water, or to place them in contact with other cells that fagocitem them. But if the conditions are remained steady, the tumorais cells, in contrast of sãs, simply do not age. If we could pile up in a scale all the cultivated HeLa cells until the date, its weight would surpass the 50 tons.

Thanks to them, it was possible to develop the vaccine against the pólio, to discover certain secrets of the cancer and some viruses and also to evaluate the effect of the atomic bomb. Also in served to conquer important advances in fertilização vitro, clonagem and genetic sequenciamento.

In a classic example of the total lack of ethics, the family of Henrietta did not inquire itself about “immortality” up to the 20 years after that biopsia, when the scientists had entered in contact with its husband and son to continue the research. Henrietta died poor, but thousands of millions of its tumorais cells had been vendidas the laboratories of everybody, generating a multimillionaire business of which its family never saw a cent.

In fact, one of the children of Henrietta, Deborah call, is asked with frequency if they did not clonaram its mother and it does not obtain to understand and to accept because its another sister, Elsie, died in an institution for deficient mental with 15 years without counting on no plan of medical assistance. All one contrassenso leading in account that Henrietta Lacks can have been the woman most important in all the history of the medicine.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

One in each five people believes ET's

20% of the world-wide population believe that the extraterrestrial ones walk between disfarçados us of normal people.

The inquiry made for Reuters the 23 a thousand adults in more than 22 countries disclosed that 1 in each 5 people believes the existence of ET's, that is, 20% of the world-wide population. This means that 80% of the world do not believe `aliens'.

More than 40% of the inquired ones of India and China believe that the extraterrestrial ones live between disfarçados us of human beings, whereas Belgian, Swedish and dutch they are less believing, with only 8% to believe the existence of ET's. “The explanation can be in the fact of in the small countries if knowing the neighbors well”, affirmed John Wright, of the Ipsos firm.

One in each five people believes ET's

20% of the world-wide population believe that the extraterrestrial ones walk between disfarçados us of normal people.

The inquiry made for Reuters the 23 a thousand adults in more than 22 countries disclosed that 1 in each 5 people believes the existence of ET's, that is, 20% of the world-wide population. This means that 80% of the world do not believe `aliens'.

More than 40% of the inquired ones of India and China believe that the extraterrestrial ones live between disfarçados us of human beings, whereas Belgian, Swedish and dutch they are less believing, with only 8% to believe the existence of ET's. “The explanation can be in the fact of in the small countries if knowing the neighbors well”, affirmed John Wright, of the Ipsos firm.

Law Firm Marketing

If you're looking for a place to find the services of Law Firm Marketing safely grow your site's ranking in organic search results from Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. A strong online presence will help you gain new customers, Take advantage of professional websites that already rank high in search engines. With an attractive design and optimized content, all that's missing is your name, you also come to www.PrivilegedNames.com.

So right place for you to have the services of Lawyer Marketing http://www.PrivilegedNames.com is in, while running other companies to catch up with technology, our attorneys internet are already there. That's why we're free to discuss anything about Search Engine Optimization, We simplify the time consuming aspects of your business, helping you to manage them faster, giving you more time to focus on satisfying its customers.

When you look at online marketing for your website attorney, you can count on the marketing team of legal www.PrivilegedNames.com, because only they have the best professionals in addition to structure more qualified to assist you with everything you deserve, when you are in need of Attorney Marketing www.PrivilegedNames.com to come first, His next client is looking for information online and a lawyer who will help you with your legal problem, it's time you discover PrivilegedNames. com.

Law Firm Marketing

If you're looking for a place to find the services of Law Firm Marketing safely grow your site's ranking in organic search results from Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. A strong online presence will help you gain new customers, Take advantage of professional websites that already rank high in search engines. With an attractive design and optimized content, all that's missing is your name, you also come to www.PrivilegedNames.com.

So right place for you to have the services of Lawyer Marketing http://www.PrivilegedNames.com is in, while running other companies to catch up with technology, our attorneys internet are already there. That's why we're free to discuss anything about Search Engine Optimization, We simplify the time consuming aspects of your business, helping you to manage them faster, giving you more time to focus on satisfying its customers.

When you look at online marketing for your website attorney, you can count on the marketing team of legal www.PrivilegedNames.com, because only they have the best professionals in addition to structure more qualified to assist you with everything you deserve, when you are in need of Attorney Marketing www.PrivilegedNames.com to come first, His next client is looking for information online and a lawyer who will help you with your legal problem, it's time you discover PrivilegedNames. com.

Lost in Shadow, Ghost Trick, and Being Human

*
Games: I’ve called it quits on Lost in Shadow (Wii) and submitted a review. It should be up at GameCritics soon, and it's not a positive one.



While I think the premise of playing as a shadow is strong, the developers completely squander its potential by creating a repetitive, tedious and sickeningly bloated platformer that would have easily run on the Genesis or SNES. I say this not to slander the 16-bit era, but rather to point out that the developers have utterly failed to capitalize on the strongest asset this title possesses, and instead offer something that feels incredibly dated and bereft of creativity.

Countless titles have come and gone since those golden days, and Hudson seems to have ignored nearly all the innovations and leaps forward since that time. Great idea, terrible game.

*

In more positive news, I started playing Ghost Trick (DS) yesterday, and it's absolutely fantastic.

Being the immense Phoenix Wright fan that I am, I had high hopes that Shu Takumi’s new work would be of a similar quality, and I was not disappointed. While the concept of playing a ghost that can possess inanimate objects has been done before (anyone remember Geist on the GameCube?) it's never been done as well or as stylishly as it is here.


The graphics and animation are top-notch, the writing is clever, and the gameplay feels fresh, engaging, and new. Controlling a disembodied spirit that navigates each level by jumping from object to object is quite entertaining, and the time-travel-to-change-destiny mechanic is pulled off admirably.

I have nothing but praise for Ghost Trick so far, and I'm loving every minute of it. If you haven't checked it out yet, do so now.

*

TV: The string of UK programs viewed at my house continues. This week, the wife and I started Being Human… although, how we began this show was a little unusual.

I had heard of the series for quite a while, and the basic concept of a vampire, werewolf and ghost living together in an apartment was weird enough to get my attention right off the bat. However, we never got around to watching it for one reason or another, until this week. The twist is that this show was adapted for the SyFy network, and is currently airing in the United States with a completely different cast and altered storyline.

We had no idea whether the US or UK version was better, so we decided to watch the first episode of each before committing to the rest of the series.


The US cast - Werewolf, Vampire, Ghost.
We started with the Americanized SyFy version first. It got off to a bit of cheesy start, and in general it was dark and had something of a grim tone to it. It certainly wasn't bad, but I don't think either the wife or I felt an immediate connection to it.

The next night, we watched the UK version and it was quite interesting to see (basically) the same material interpreted in completely different fashion.


The UK cast - Vampire, Werewolf, Ghost
The UK episode didn't have the same dark, violent streak and had quite a bit more humor… nothing slapstick, just a natural amiability of the characters. Despite being lighter, I think we both agreed that this version didn't have the same cheese factor. Also, when the episode began, we both bought into it immediately, and the way the director established events felt very natural and free-flowing.

The final deciding factor was the cast.

Between the US and UK actors, we both strongly preferred the UK folk. A large part of that probably had to do with the material they had to work with, but the UK version’s werewolf (Russell Tovey) was an instantly-likable nerdtastic goofball, and the UK ghost (Lenora Crichlow) was written in more relaxed fashion… she was able to touch other people and interact with physical objects, while the US version was not. It may seem like a small thing, but to me it said that the writers were more interested in focusing on the character rather than establishing a set of rigid rules that might hamper development later on. Of course, I could be completely wrong, but that was my general first impression.

As you probably guessed by now, we decided to commit to the UK version of the show, and we proceeded to watch the next two episodes as well. So far, we haven't been disappointed...

Being Human (UK): RECOMMENDED.

Being Human (US): TBD.

*

Friday, February 25, 2011

To sleep consolidates the learning

Scientists of the School of Medicine of the University of Harvard, in the United States, designate that she has a bond enters the content of sleep and the acquisition of the susceptível knowledge of being applied in the ráticap, that is, to take off one soneca after to study would help to reaffirm the information.


The research showed that the acquisition of knowledge improves in the people who soon sleep after to study. On the other hand, those that do not sleep show more difficulties to carry through tasks previously proposals.

The study, that was published in the magazine of scientific spreading Current Biology, it showed that they had considered to a group of volunteers some possibilities to escape of one definitive digital labyrinth that later had been separate in two sub-groups. The first ones had been motivated to take off one soneca, however the others had followed with its quotidianas activities.

After some hours, those that had slept had shown to be well capable to escape of the labyrinth of that those that had not rested. Specifically, the volunteers who had revealed to have dreams related with the exits of the labyrinth had been the ones that had had greater success to find in the practical one.

- “The dreams can be a pointer of that the brain is working in the same problem to many levels”, it assured the doctor Robert Stickgold, who led this research. In turn, Erin Wamsley, co-author of the study, suggested that the unconscious brain works in the things that consider more important.

According to specialists, this phenomenon could be used to improve the learning and the memory. For example, when studying before lying down to sleep, or to take off one soneca after to have studied per the afternoon would develop the possibilities to consolidate the learning so that it was placed in practical successfully a little later.

To sleep consolidates the learning

Scientists of the School of Medicine of the University of Harvard, in the United States, designate that she has a bond enters the content of sleep and the acquisition of the susceptível knowledge of being applied in the ráticap, that is, to take off one soneca after to study would help to reaffirm the information.


The research showed that the acquisition of knowledge improves in the people who soon sleep after to study. On the other hand, those that do not sleep show more difficulties to carry through tasks previously proposals.

The study, that was published in the magazine of scientific spreading Current Biology, it showed that they had considered to a group of volunteers some possibilities to escape of one definitive digital labyrinth that later had been separate in two sub-groups. The first ones had been motivated to take off one soneca, however the others had followed with its quotidianas activities.

After some hours, those that had slept had shown to be well capable to escape of the labyrinth of that those that had not rested. Specifically, the volunteers who had revealed to have dreams related with the exits of the labyrinth had been the ones that had had greater success to find in the practical one.

- “The dreams can be a pointer of that the brain is working in the same problem to many levels”, it assured the doctor Robert Stickgold, who led this research. In turn, Erin Wamsley, co-author of the study, suggested that the unconscious brain works in the things that consider more important.

According to specialists, this phenomenon could be used to improve the learning and the memory. For example, when studying before lying down to sleep, or to take off one soneca after to have studied per the afternoon would develop the possibilities to consolidate the learning so that it was placed in practical successfully a little later.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Interview with: Ethan Nicolle, Co-Creator of Axe Cop

*
Comics: The last time I was at my local comic shop, a new collection titled “Axe Cop” caught my eye.

I didn't know anything about it and had never heard of it, but the person at the counter explained the interesting story behind its creation. That hooked me, but I also have to admit that I'm a sucker for stories which include babies with unicorn horns. Since there’s one prominently featured on the cover, what else could I do but buy it?



Suffice it to say, I thought the read was incredibly entertaining. I devoured the entire thing in one sitting and was left wanting more.

As luck would have it, one half of the comic’s creative team caught wind of some positive comments I made about the book on Twitter. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, artist/co-creator Ethan Nicolle was graciously granting me this interview…

*


Thanks very much for speaking with me, Ethan. So, to start, can you briefly describe how Axe Cop came into being?


The Axe Cop saga began on a Christmas visit to see my family. My father, a man with very healthy loins, has managed to produce a variety of children, ranging from me, a 29 year old comic book artist, to my 5 year old brother Malachai, a 5 year old boy genius, with four other siblings in between.


During the visit Malchai was running around with his toy fireman axe and he said he was playing "Axe Cop." He asked me to play with him, and I asked what my weapon was... so he brought me a toy flute (actually a recorder). I told him I would rather be Axe Cop than Flute Cop, and he seemed just fine with being Flute Cop. The story that followed became more and more brilliant, until I couldn't contain myself and I had to draw the whole thing into a one page comic.

From there the saga continued, and over the course of my week-long visit we cranked out the first four episodes of Axe Cop. I posted the comics to my blog and on Facebook and they got great responses. I decided to give Axe Cop a home on the internet here and attempt to continue the saga as often as I have time to draw them, and I can get Malachai to write them.


The writing process is basically just me quizzing Malachai as he develops the saga. I'll just try to pry all the details out of him and write them all down until something like a complete little story has been formed. Everything in Axe Cop started in Malachai's head, all I do is sort it out and draw it.


When was the moment you realized that Axe Cop was more than just something for your own amusement?

When it went viral just over a year ago. I knew my friends found it funny, and I knew my family loved it, but I in no way saw it ever becoming something I would do enough to collect into a graphic novel except maybe way down the road after lots more Christmas visits with Malachai. I assumed what I was making was funny to me because I am partial and I love my brother. When it got the amazing reaction it did, I was sort of shocked. I also didn't think that it could last very long. I thought the joke would wear off quick, but it's been fascinating to watch Axe Cop grow up and change as Malachai does the same, and the character development is unlike anything I have ever seen, because we are really watching Malachai develop through Axe Cop.

I fell into it and I would be just as skeptical of it as anyone who thinks a comic with a story by a 5 year old can't be that great if I wasn't experiencing it first hand. I also did not think it was a new or original idea, I thought someone must have tried making a comic with a 5 year old writing it at some point, I figured it just didn't work out. I'm glad I did it, and really glad I posted it online.




In the Axe Cop collection, you make a few references to people that didn't think too highly of the collaboration with your brother. Did that become a big problem, or were those people in the minority? How does your own family feel about it now?

It does seem to be a minority. I don't get much grief for Axe Cop. You have to be a real curmudgeon to sit there and criticize the writing of a five year old, and the people who really do it only embarrass themselves.

I don't think Axe Cop is made specifically for people who love comics. It is made for people who love kids. If you hate kids and love comics you probably don't like Axe Cop. There are some people who fit that description, but what is amazing is the people who will read Axe Cop cover to cover who are totally not into comics. Old people, little kids, all sorts of people are fascinated by it, because it's interesting to see where Malachai's brain will take things.



This is Wexter.
Who is Malachai’s favorite character, who’s yours, and why?

I am pretty sure Wexter is Malachai's favorite. When he created Axe Cop he didn't even realize he was creating a character. He just wanted to play cops with me, but the nearest toy was a toy axe, so he asked if I wanted to play "Axe Cop". With Wexter he had created a few comics and had gotten the hang of the idea that he was getting to create characters and see them sort of come to life, so he really focused his kid-chi and went all out on Wexter. He really is the coolest pet ever. For me, it's Axe Cop. I love always trying to guess how he will solve a problem or deal with a situation. Sockarang is a close second. He's so hideous and weird, yet lovable.


Axe Cop does some pretty crazy things, but have there ever been some story bits or action sequences you felt were too bizarre or went too far in a weird direction to make it into the strip?

Malachai will be in silly mode where he just kills off all the characters or makes them all poop or fart nonstop. I just let him get it out of his system and go along with it. Usually he takes it back eventually anyway, especially when he realizes that the comic will be read by his parents and those kind of jokes are a no-no. I let him make them because I am his brother, not his Dad, but I'm selective in the ones I actually use.

In general, writing Axe Cop is brainstorming with Malachai, so he often gives me alternate choices to work with when I go through all his ideas and piece them together. One of the funnest challenges in making Axe Cop is taking some of his really bizarre ideas and trying to render them into something coherent.




Is there anyone in comics that you or Malachai would like to collaborate with in the future? Also, does Malachai see a future for himself in comics?

I'd love to see Axe Cop take on Godzilla, team up with The Tick or Batman, or the Ninja Turtles. There are a lot of funny possible team ups. I think the more serious the character, the better. That is one reason I am loving the Bat Warthog man storyline because Bat Warthog man is a sort of Batman parody and I like putting Axe Cop in that world.

Malachai has shown interest in writing comics when he grows up, but in general he does not see himself as a writer, he just likes to play. He never actually writes any of this down. We play or talk on the phone and I take all the notes, organize it into an outline and make it into a comic. Really, he is being a normal 6 year old. I'm just being a weird 30 year old.


Axe Cop started when your brother was five. How old is Malachai now, and what does he think of the entire Axe Cop phenomena now that some time has gone by?

He is six, but he will be seven on March 6th. We do kind of get into a routine now, and I think that when he is watching movies and playing video games he will get ideas for Axe Cop and call me up. He was on a How to Train Your Dragon kick and he called me up super excited. That is where the whole Dragony Dragon Witch portion of the Ultimate Battle came from. Malachai is not as interested in the Axe Cop phenomenon as he is just playing. Talking about Axe Cop is basically talking about what it's like to be six. That is a really boring topic for a six year old. He likes playing Axe Cop, but talking about it bores him.


So you just put out a collection with Dark Horse comics and the website is going strong. What’s next for Axe Cop? Plush toys? A movie? World domination?

Lots of possibilities and a few things I wish I could say but we still have paperwork to sign. There has been a good amount of TV, movie and video game interest. We've got interest in the realm of board games, card games, costumes, toys and other things like that too. The big next thing is the miniseries Dark Horse is releasing starting on March 2. It is a three-part full color miniseries called Bad Guy Earth and it's print-exclusive, so it won't be online. I think it's the best Axe Cop story yet.




Since you mentioned it, what would the ideal Axe Cop videogame be like?

I think a beat'em up like Castle Crashers would be amazing, but the universe of Axe Cop opens itself up to all sorts of possibilities. I think a GTA type game set in Axe Cop's universe would be amazing. There are also so many characters that some sort of tournament fighter would be fun too. I want to make them all. Malachai says the name of the Axe Cop video game would be "Axe Cop VS. Evil".

[Interviewer's note - world exclusive announcement. You heard it here first, folks.]


Do you plan to do something along these lines for your own children (if and/or when you may have some) for publication or even just privately?

If it works out, I would love to. Axe Cop happened organically, so I wouldn't want to try to force my kid to fill his/her uncle Malachai's shoes, but I do often think I need to hurry up and get a kid so that I have a new writer when Malachai outgrows Axe Cop.


I imagine Malachi is in school, but what's keeping you busy when not working on Axe Cop?

Axe Cop keeps me plenty busy. Just finished the Bad Guy Earth miniseries, and we are planning more books and content. I also am planning on getting another comic rolling soon.




Open mic. Anything you’d like to say to the readers, or any current projects you want to pimp?

The project I was working on before Axe Cop took over my life is a comic called Bearmageddon. It is a comedy/action/horror about bears taking over the world. I plan on releasing it as a web comic series within the next couple months. My plan is to release a couple pages of Bearmageddon and Axe Cop each week. I don't have a set date, but now that I've finished Bad Guy Earth I want to get Bearmageddon rolling, but keep Axe Cop alive as well.

*

Infinite thanks to Ethan Nicolle for taking the time out to speak with me about Axe Cop.



If you'd like to read it on paper, the recent collected volume is published by Dark Horse Comics and should be available at all finer comic shops near you. If you can't wait until a physical copy is in your hands, you can click on over to the Axe Cop website and check out all of the online episodes right now. Tell ‘em I sent you! Also, a special thanks to Stephen McCall for contributing questions.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Online casino

In gamingguide.net you can find several casinos where players can play. The only advertises online casinos gamingguide.net genuine and safe. You can also learn the rules and strategy tips for the most popular casino games like slots, blackjack and roulette, get to know the best Online Casinos.

So when you're in search of an Online Casino to play and have fun with total peace and security need not go to other places, come the first www.gamingguide.net.

are the source of information about online casinos you're looking for and among the best sites, with everything you need to know about the best online casinos and where to find the best deals, then come right now to pick the casino you bet.

Online casino

In gamingguide.net you can find several casinos where players can play. The only advertises online casinos gamingguide.net genuine and safe. You can also learn the rules and strategy tips for the most popular casino games like slots, blackjack and roulette, get to know the best Online Casinos.

So when you're in search of an Online Casino to play and have fun with total peace and security need not go to other places, come the first www.gamingguide.net.

are the source of information about online casinos you're looking for and among the best sites, with everything you need to know about the best online casinos and where to find the best deals, then come right now to pick the casino you bet.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My First T-shirt Design


Well, I designed a t-shirt for my final year project in Uni and It is printed out! *happy*
I got very happy when it first got chosen among all the other designs but then I was really worried that people won't like it. I was really worried that the printing might not turn out to be the same like what I designed. This happened to my name card design =( 
Some people said my name card design is ugly *sad* Click to see Name Card

Lucky that the quality of printing is good this time. A lot of people like it & I'm really happy for myself as well as for my campaign. I hope we can sell all of them!! 




The reason why I decided to try design this was because I want my campaign T-shirt to be different. I'm sick of T-shirts that look very "school t-shirt". I want our campaign one to look like one of the T-shirts that we buy from shops. Because of the fear of buying and wearing another "school t-shirt" during my campaign, I decided to design a T-shirt for my very first time. I was so new to Photoshop that I spent a really long time exploring Photoshop. Of course, a long time scratching my head getting ideas. It was a damn hell fooking long night. This T-shirt design was inspired by Google. This concept matches my campaign too. 
I was trying to show that you can choose to search for your health or destroy health. Notice there is an arrow clicking "Search"? 
At the back of the T-shirt, the search results is my campaign name - "Healthy Lifestyle Campaign 2011"
It means, by joining us - Healthy Lifestyle Campaign 2011, your health can be improved. 

Forced Daniel to buy! Haha!


I feel very thankful to the people who like this T-shirt. Your support means a lot to me =')
The "damn hell fooking long night" was so worth it. =D

Get Healthy Lifestyle Campaign T-shirt at RM20 only and you might be one of the winners of 
Spot & Win Competition!




Please 'like' our Facebook fan page too >> Healthy Lifestyle Campaign 2011
Visit our official website to find out the coming activities >> Healthy Lifestyle Campaign 2011


Guest Blog by Anton Strout: Writing In Games by a Writer Who Games

*


Games (and also) Writing: Although I don't often have guest bloggers here at Coffeecola, I really enjoy it when I do.

Tonight is one of those times.

Returning for a second round of sounding off is Urban Fantasy author extraordinaire, Anton Strout. His cult favorite Simon Canderous series is going strong, with the most recent entry (titled Dead Waters) about to be released in two days. If you haven't checked out his books, I would strongly urge you to do so -- if you read this blog and enjoy it, the odds are that you'll enjoy Anton’s work as well.


(…And for the sake of convenience, here are links to the first three books in the series: Dead to Me, Deader Still, and Dead Matter.)

Without further ado, here's what Anton has to say on the subject of storylines in games…

*

Anton here.

Once again, Brad Gallaway (and Gamecritics.com) have graciously yielded their floor to me.

As Brad mentioned above, I’m a writer with book four in my Simon Canderous series (entitled Dead Waters, just out) but I am also a gamer. The author bio at the back of the book reads:

In his scant spare time, he is a writer, a sometimes actor, sometimes musician, occasional RPGer, and the world’s most casual and controller-smashing videogamer.”

Part of me admittedly smashes the occasional controller because of my frantic button mashing approach, but there are a lot of specific parts in a game that can drive me to Hulk-like rage as well. Given my career as a writer, it’s probably not too surprising that I pay attention to the writing in games, above all other aspects.

When the writing is great, it’s great, and it really sticks with me even years after playing:


Metal Gear Solid has long cutscenes, but also has great characters, memorable exchanges, and it actually tried to have a message to it.

Fatal Frame - scary Japanese ghost storytelling that is right up there in the creep factor alongside films such as The Grudge and The Ring.

The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time - the first game to make me both cry over Link’s loss of childhood and laugh as rocky King Goron danced to Link playing his tune on the ocarina.

Even Katamari Damacy, simple as it was, fit the game style, with the puny prince constantly trying to please the demanding, lovable whack-job King of the Cosmos.

All those stories brought plot and character to games alongside great play mechanics and helped create a totally pleasurable experience. Then there are a different group of games that stick out for their stories, but for all the wrong reasons. That’s where I think the bulk of my controller smashing happens.

It would be easy to pick on movie games here, but I thought instead I’d talk about two franchises that have both slowly driven me mad over the years, each with their own problems, but both causing the writer vein in my forehead to pop out.

I was never much of a driving game fan growing up, but when the original Driver: You Are The Wheelman! came out, I really liked what it initially brought to the table as far as game mechanics, but something always bothered me—the premise.


You play Tanner, an undercover cop, which apparently is enough to make all the rest of your behavior throughout the games a-okay. The amount of carnage, property damage, homicide, and vehicular manslaughter I perpetrated in the name of keeping my cover as a good cop should really have earned me several life sentences.

It just didn’t make sense in the grand scheme of the story, and in direct reaction, I think that’s where my growing love of Grand Theft Auto was able to swoop in and really dominate my soul.

In GTA3, you were unapologetically a criminal, and knowing that, it was easy to build a compelling storyline, unlike Driver where every action went against the very premise of who you were supposed to be. As the Driver franchise switched from house to house, they really tried to change up their game to keep up, but to me all future efforts felt forced and never quite reclaimed a place in my heart.

However, the series that I think could use the most help in the writing department is one that I loved at first… the Fable franchise, in particular Fable 2 and 3.


Now I have long had a love/hate relationship with Lionhead Studios and its god-emperor Peter Molyneux. While a legend in the field, he’s also an innovator whose excitement over his own ideas often kneecaps building a compelling game in the end. I keep hoping the Fable games will rally and get better, but more the fool me for keeping hope alive; his game-to-game implementation of new mechanics hamstrings the amazing tales he professes to bring us.

The part where the Fable franchise really falls apart is a huge story event in Fable 2, where you spend ten years as a prisoner in the big tower of evil before breaking free and returning to Albion.

I was kind of excited when it first happened. You see, during all my play time, I was building up my property investments, making money on all my properties and shops, so during my decade away, I was thinking “man, I am going to have so much waiting for me when I return!” So I went home… and my children had grown up (which was a nice touch) although nothing ultimately came of that.

As for my cash? Not a dime had been earned in that time, with no explanation. When your story and game mechanics do not jive, when they seem to be fighting against each other… this tends to make me throw my controller or stop playing. So, I put it aside and never looked back.

But once again, Peter Molyneux got all excitable when he started talking about Fable 3, and fool that I am, I got excited and picked it up.


Again, the story is a bit by the numbers and a bit lacking: ain’t-it-hard-to-be-king? (Not really, it turns out, thanks to new but busted innovation mechanic!). It’s a shame because there are real moments in the franchise that I love, like a miniature D&D game you get shrunk down into, but I find those moments fewer and farther apart with each passing addition to the series.

I understand part of the dilemma in building a game. I imagine the story and dialogue have to be locked in fairly early from a design perspective, but I think designers would do well to get some seasoned fantasy writers to come in and consult on the early phases of scripting. I really do think it would result in a better game play experience all around. So much goes into the gameplay mechanics, but I’d love to see the story aspects as less of an afterthought as they generally seem now.

So here’s hoping that game studios continue giving the writing in games the attention it deserves. I mean, I really would like to take “controller-smashing video gamer” out of my author bio at some point, you know?

*

Infinite thanks go to Anton Strout for contributing this piece, and if you are of the persuasion, please check out his upcoming book Dead Waters, or hey, his whole series for that matter.

*

Daiso Haul



Daiso is newly opened in Queensbay. Besides low price (RM5 each item storewide) there are things that others shop don't have. 
They sell various of products such as stationary, gardening, beauty, household, food, etc...
Although RM5 each item sounds cheap but I find a lot of things don't worth that price. 
Most of the products sold there are made for Daiso. There is "Made for Daiso" on the packaging. Daiso is big in many countries and the quality can't be bad I think. 
Anyway, I enjoy looking at the things there especially cute & creative things that Japanese invented/ designed. 


Daiso Outlet @ Queensbay, Penang.
(Near Maybank)



Things that I bought:

1. Porch Use Colorful Sandals - This is made from EVA rubber and it's very light. I really love this sandals. The color is bright and nice, It's comfortable & not to mention it's really cheap. I bought this to wear in my house (rent) because I can't walk without sandals on the dirty floor there. I used to buy indoor sandals that are made from clothes & they got dirty very fast. They didn't last long either. Now I have this one, I don't need to worry about them getting dirty or wet (can wear when cleaning Bibi's business in the toilet). 
I also made Daniel to buy a pair of blue one during my second visit. *happy*


2. White board with magnet - They have a few designs and sizes of white board but this is the nicest one because the rest were childish looking. This is to replace post-it me and Daniel use to leave each other notes. *Love earth*


3. Storage bag - I likey this one a lot. There are really a lot of different sizes to choose. This is very multipurpose and mainly I use them to keep my accessories.I put each of my accessories in a plastic storage bag before keeping them in my accessories box. This way, they won't tangle in the box. It helps keeping my accessories  away from dust & moisture in the air.


4. Dental floss - This is a regret purchase. I floss my teeth everyday, more than one time. So I though I can keep this in my handbag (It came with a cap) so that I can use outside when I needed. I thought S size was the smallest but when I tried using it, it was too big and it hurt my gum. My gum bled everytime I use it =( 
Later on, I found out there are SS size and also SSS. (fook) Anyways, I won't try anymore, not even the SSSSSSSSS. I'll just stick to the floss I've been using.   




"A bargain ain't a bargain unless it's something you need."




Germans create hair folículos from cells trunk

Scientists German of the University Hospital Charité had obtained to develop hair folículos from cells trunk. This, for joy of men traumatizados for as many gozações that they call its beautiful calvície of mosquito airport, sufficiently approaches in them to so waited “cure” for the bald. It is necessary to remember that the cells used in the experiments had been of laboratory animals, but if functioned with quadrupeds… why does not go to also function in bípedes that they use bath towel to dry the face, due to the prolongation of the forehead?

In fact, the researchers are so hopeful that they wait to obtain pilosos folículos from cells trunk human beings in less of one year. As they know the pluripotentes cells trunk have the ability of if transforming into any type of specialized cell: epidérmica, óssea, sanguineous, etc. Despite the great hope of the future medicine is considered, until the moment the advances are most slow.

However professor Roland Lauster, of the German institution, finds that this work could assume a hope in the treatment of 80% of the people who suffer from calvície in everybody.

He arrives to obstruct itself of hormones that can prevent the calvície, but they leave that you with the face of the Elza Soares. It arrives of bathes of hen or of pig, dust of bunda of tanajura fries, sweat of horse lame and things of the sort. Despite in the treatment it does not go to get rid itself of the needles. Probably it will have that to implant the folículos in the head one by one, as becomes now with the cultivos of the proper giver, but happily already it will not have that to yield part of the nape of the neck for hollowing of the roots.

If everything to run well, in 5 years the thing could start to function. Despite it is always well coming a good dose of skepticism since 1950 until our days, the cosmetic tests in animals for the growth of had been multiplied for them for 500, in way that how much before to find the solution, happyer will be the animal coitados ones of laboratory.

But as before it warned, better to read the notice with reasonable and had reserves. It is enough to remember that in 2004 a team of the University of the Pensilvânia also showed evidences of that the research with cells trunk could prevent the calvície, and since then so far, all remain luzindo the same bald spot.

Germans create hair folículos from cells trunk

Scientists German of the University Hospital Charité had obtained to develop hair folículos from cells trunk. This, for joy of men traumatizados for as many gozações that they call its beautiful calvície of mosquito airport, sufficiently approaches in them to so waited “cure” for the bald. It is necessary to remember that the cells used in the experiments had been of laboratory animals, but if functioned with quadrupeds… why does not go to also function in bípedes that they use bath towel to dry the face, due to the prolongation of the forehead?

In fact, the researchers are so hopeful that they wait to obtain pilosos folículos from cells trunk human beings in less of one year. As they know the pluripotentes cells trunk have the ability of if transforming into any type of specialized cell: epidérmica, óssea, sanguineous, etc. Despite the great hope of the future medicine is considered, until the moment the advances are most slow.

However professor Roland Lauster, of the German institution, finds that this work could assume a hope in the treatment of 80% of the people who suffer from calvície in everybody.

He arrives to obstruct itself of hormones that can prevent the calvície, but they leave that you with the face of the Elza Soares. It arrives of bathes of hen or of pig, dust of bunda of tanajura fries, sweat of horse lame and things of the sort. Despite in the treatment it does not go to get rid itself of the needles. Probably it will have that to implant the folículos in the head one by one, as becomes now with the cultivos of the proper giver, but happily already it will not have that to yield part of the nape of the neck for hollowing of the roots.

If everything to run well, in 5 years the thing could start to function. Despite it is always well coming a good dose of skepticism since 1950 until our days, the cosmetic tests in animals for the growth of had been multiplied for them for 500, in way that how much before to find the solution, happyer will be the animal coitados ones of laboratory.

But as before it warned, better to read the notice with reasonable and had reserves. It is enough to remember that in 2004 a team of the University of the Pensilvânia also showed evidences of that the research with cells trunk could prevent the calvície, and since then so far, all remain luzindo the same bald spot.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Get A Stylish Look With Bubble Dresses


Comfort level is a very important point that should be associated with every dress. One such universal dress that looks good on all, provides comfort and is for those want to look sexy and graceful is bubble dress. Bubble hem of a dress gives it a very modern shape. This dress suits all body types and looks very nice. This is the highly liked style of the season. Its main attractive quality, which makes it very dear to women, is that it’s very refreshing and gives a very young look. Almost all the women love to wear this dress.

Bubble dress is a many occasion dress. If you are invited in a party, bubble dresses are a very good option for short party dresses. You can also wear bubble dress casually. It’s a good modern daytime wear also. It is a mini dress that is very sexy and stylish in appearance. It is tied up in thighs, which gives it a trendy look. The bubble dress can look more beautiful with just little jewelry, as it’s a common saying jewelry completes look. Long necklace and bracelet embedded with beads looks very elegant and gorgeous with bubble dresses. A pair of flat bright slippers or even a pair of bright stilettos will make your appearance look complete. See Some Bubble Hem dresses.

Sweet Heart Neckline Bubble Hem Dress

Bubble Hem Dress With Waist Belt

Double Strap Bubble Dress

A Chic Bubble Hem Dress

Satin Bubble Party Wear dress

Multicolor Halter Neckline Bubble Dress

Animal Print Bubble Hem Dress


Monster Hunter Freedom Unite - Finished.

*

Games: I announced this on twitter a couple of days ago, but it was such a milestone for me that I felt like a little micro-commemoration here at the blog would be appropriate.

The big event?

I finally finished the single-player campaign in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on PSP.

Yian Kut-Ku
The thing that makes this such an accomplishment for me (to start with) the game is absolutely huge. I never would have expected a PSP game to be so deep and expansive, but it's larger than a lot of console games I've played. It's also significantly larger than Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii. In fact, I've heard there's something like a total of 400 missions (or thereabouts) in MHFU, and although I haven't verified that personally, I wouldn't be surprised at all if that was true.

The second thing that was a challenge is that the game is structured somewhat like an inverted pyramid. Well, that's how I envision it, anyway.

When a player first starts out, it doesn't take very many materials to craft weapons and armor, and most of the opposition creatures are relative pushovers. As the game progresses, it takes more effort to craft the gear needed to survive, and the bosses turn into death-dealing hellions. That's generally the norm for games anyway, but Monster Hunter takes it a bit further. As a means of illustration, it took me about two days of playing in order to collect enough materials to craft the weapon that I eventually finished the game with, and that's not counting the time invested for the armor I was wearing.

Daimyo Hermitaur
Those two factors were significant, but the final obstacle was by far the most problematic -- the camera.

Since there's only one analog nub on a PSP, camera control is mapped to the D-pad. The game offers a snap-behind camera function with the click of a shoulder button, but this is only workable on the easiest missions. Later monsters are so quick and so powerful that they have to be kept in view at all times. Losing sight of them for even a moment usually equals death.

The answer to this camera issue? “The claw”; a technique of keeping the left thumb on the nub and the left index finger on the D-pad.

The claw starts out feeling quite awkward and equally uncomfortable, and to be honest it made me quit the game for a few months out of frustration. I eventually came back and learned to perform the claw so effortlessly that I forgot I was even doing it, but it still took a lot of dedication and remains a sub-par solution the game's most crucial problem. To say that I'm looking forward to the NGP’s dual nub setup for Monster Hunter Portable 3rd is a massive understatement.

Gravios
So, with all that said, the fact is that I still found the game to be compelling, exciting, and (yes) addicting enough to stick with it in the face of adversity and persevere for 239 hours and 45 minutes of the single-player adventure. This was the longest amount of time I've ever spent on a singleplayer campaign, but I did it.

(I also logged about 35 hours of co-op with my son, to boot.)

I'm sure that if I started a new game from scratch, I’d be able to whip through things in a much shorter period of time, but I don't think I did so bad. I've seen some people who've logged times in the neighborhood of 500-700 hours, and while I'm sure a lot of that is attributed to noodling around in the game’s upper-level G-Rank difficulties, I'm still going to say that 239 wasn't bad for a first time through.

Tigrex
For those that are curious, here’s my info as of finishing off the final campaign mission:

Hidden Stinger Lance

Gravios S Armor, full Blademaster set

Gem Skills: Defense +40, Guard +1

Attack: 437 (+50% Affinity)

Defense: 445

Guild Points: 26,582


In terms of items, I had 20 Mega Potions, 5 Mega Juices, 2 Mega Demondrugs, 2 Mega Armorskins, 1 Ancient Potion, 5 Flash Bombs, 5 Cool Drinks, 20 Whetstones… and that was about it. I didn't even use everything that I brought, so although the Mega Potions and Mega Juice (for Stamina) were great, a lot of the stuff I was lugging around ended up being unnecessary.


Akantor
So, now that I've seen credits roll, what next?

Well, there's still a ton of content I haven't even seen and I could easily put another 200 hours into the game if I wanted to, but I decided to put it aside so I can focus on other things for review. However, as you might have guessed from the statement above, my son (age 9) is every bit as addicted to hunting monsters as I am. I have a feeling that when he comes back out to stay with me for spring break, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite will find its way back into my PSP for another round of co-op…

*

Three forms to travel in the time

The British physicist Stephen Hawking, in an article, showed one, but three not only forms to travel in the time that it considers possible.
The fourth dimension:
First you need to accept that the time is a dimension, as well as the length, the depth and the height. The used example for Hawking is an car passage. If you go for front you you move yourself in a dimension. If you turn for the left or right, you if she moves in another one. Third he is if you go up or go down some relief. E fourth is the time that you lead to make this.
In the films normally we see an enormous machine that creates a breach in the fourth dimension and it allows in them to travel for the future or the past. Although the question of the machine is ficcional, the concept can be until “practicable”.
The laws of the physics allow the notion of trips in the time, through what we know as “earthworm holes”. For Hawking, the earthworm holes are to our redor, only that they are very small to be seen. According to it nothing that we know he is smooth and completely solid - everything has small holes and rugas and this want to say that the time, as the fourth dimension, also would have imperfections that they could be used to advantage for trips in the time. This if we obtained to find them.

Quantum vapor and small holes of earthworm:
In very small scales - lesser still of what the atomic scale - the substance “capsizes” what it is called by the quantum vapor physicists. It is there that the earthworm holes of that we speak before exist. Small tunnels that if open and if close of random form that can take the two different places in the time.
Although to be a very small structure, Hawking believes that it is possible to catch an earthworm hole and to strain it, leaving great the sufficient so that a person pass for it. Theoretically they could taking in them for other places in the time. However, as he has strange paradoxes, involving trips to the past (for example, if you travel to the past and hinder that its parents if know, as you would be born for impediz them of if knowing in some place in the future), scientists find that only the trip to the future would be possible.

The time as a current river:
Hawking finds that, perhaps, the radiation could make unusable earthworm holes that scientists strained so that the people travelled in the time. However, it has another solution: to sail the river of the 0 variable of the time.
For it, the time flows as a river and us we are loaded for the chain. But, as a river, has places where the rapids is faster or slower - and this would be the key for trips to the future.
Albert Einstein behind considered this idea one hundred years e, according to Hawking, it was absolutely certain. The test can be found in satellites that possess internal clocks. When they leave the Land are certain, but the scientists perceive that they are advanced in the space because the time is of the planet would be faster.
Einstein believes that the substance makes with that the time if drags, therefore, in the planet, the time running more slowly.

Three forms to travel in the time

The British physicist Stephen Hawking, in an article, showed one, but three not only forms to travel in the time that it considers possible.
The fourth dimension:
First you need to accept that the time is a dimension, as well as the length, the depth and the height. The used example for Hawking is an car passage. If you go for front you you move yourself in a dimension. If you turn for the left or right, you if she moves in another one. Third he is if you go up or go down some relief. E fourth is the time that you lead to make this.
In the films normally we see an enormous machine that creates a breach in the fourth dimension and it allows in them to travel for the future or the past. Although the question of the machine is ficcional, the concept can be until “practicable”.
The laws of the physics allow the notion of trips in the time, through what we know as “earthworm holes”. For Hawking, the earthworm holes are to our redor, only that they are very small to be seen. According to it nothing that we know he is smooth and completely solid - everything has small holes and rugas and this want to say that the time, as the fourth dimension, also would have imperfections that they could be used to advantage for trips in the time. This if we obtained to find them.

Quantum vapor and small holes of earthworm:
In very small scales - lesser still of what the atomic scale - the substance “capsizes” what it is called by the quantum vapor physicists. It is there that the earthworm holes of that we speak before exist. Small tunnels that if open and if close of random form that can take the two different places in the time.
Although to be a very small structure, Hawking believes that it is possible to catch an earthworm hole and to strain it, leaving great the sufficient so that a person pass for it. Theoretically they could taking in them for other places in the time. However, as he has strange paradoxes, involving trips to the past (for example, if you travel to the past and hinder that its parents if know, as you would be born for impediz them of if knowing in some place in the future), scientists find that only the trip to the future would be possible.

The time as a current river:
Hawking finds that, perhaps, the radiation could make unusable earthworm holes that scientists strained so that the people travelled in the time. However, it has another solution: to sail the river of the 0 variable of the time.
For it, the time flows as a river and us we are loaded for the chain. But, as a river, has places where the rapids is faster or slower - and this would be the key for trips to the future.
Albert Einstein behind considered this idea one hundred years e, according to Hawking, it was absolutely certain. The test can be found in satellites that possess internal clocks. When they leave the Land are certain, but the scientists perceive that they are advanced in the space because the time is of the planet would be faster.
Einstein believes that the substance makes with that the time if drags, therefore, in the planet, the time running more slowly.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dead Island, Some Links, Monster Tale, and Doctor Who Xmas

*


Games: The hottest thing off the presses today was the teaser trailer for an upcoming zombie-fest called Dead Island.


There's not a lot of specific info on it at the moment, but from what I can gather, it's a first-person melee-heavy game. Apparently, players take on the role of a person vacationing on a tropical island which becomes overrun with the undead, and developers Techland (Nail’d) are aiming for quasi-realism by not giving the player tons of firepower.


I have a sneaking feeling that a certain ginger-tinged PR rep over at SouthPeak will have quite a bit to say about Dead Island in the very near future, but the meantime, check out the provocatively poignant video. You may even want to watch it twice.

*

In case you haven't voted yet, click on over to this site and cast your ballot for which games will be featured in the Smithsonian museum’s upcoming videogame exhibit. There are quite a few unconventional choices, and visitors to the site are asked to choose one title out of a cluster of three or four. Many of the clusters are no-brainers, but there are a few which are nearly impossible to decide on -- it's a fun problem to have.

*

Apparently this animated video criticizing Nintendo (in Silent Hill style, no less) made the rounds a while ago, but I somehow overlooked it. It's brilliant, sick and twisted, and a definite must-see. Big thanks to @iwatttfodiwwfa for hipping me to it.

*

If you love the DS’s Henry Hatsworth the way I love Henry Hatsworth (and by god, do I love Henry Hatsworth) you want to make sure to add Monster Tale to your list of titles to keep an eye on.

I'm a little hazy on specifics at the moment, but it seems to be a mash-up of platformer/pet sim. While that may seem a little bizarre, given how spectacular Hatsworth’s platformer/puzzle mash-up turned out, I'm more than willing to give developers DreamRift (formerly of EA Tiburon) the benefit of the doubt. Props to @NaviFairyGG for reminding me that this title existed.

*

TV: As of last night, the wife and I got completely caught up on our Doctor Who. Well, the new series, anyway. We still haven't touched any of the old stuff yet... Anyway, the last thing we needed to check off our list was the 2010 Christmas episode, and it did not disappoint.

While it was essentially a retelling of A Christmas Carol (you know, Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and all that) Matt Smith gave a fantastic performance as the Doctor, and the plot made great use of the show's time travel element.


My favorite episodes of Who are ones where the writers really capitalize on the ability of the TARDIS to jump back and forth in the timeline of the universe. It may seem a bit strange, but I don't think that many of the episodes really do; rather, it seems more often used as a simple transport. That's a bit of a shame, although in fairness to the writers, I can certainly understand how difficult it is to craft a strong tale while wrestling with the complexity of time travel. It's a lot harder than it sounds, so when someone pulls it off with style, my hat is off to them. In this Christmas episode, the Who team nailed it. It may be a bit early to say this, but I think this one is going to end up being one of my favorite episodes overall.

Getting back to Smith for a moment, I really, really enjoy his portrayal. Odd, alien, yet captivating and magnetic, I think the qualities he brings to the role are absolutely perfect. I also quite enjoyed that he seems to be getting more comfortable as the Doctor, as well. I hope that he sticks around for at least another season past the next.

… still not too crazy about Amy Pond though. She and Robo-Rory can feel free to make their exit at any time.

*

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Antivirals Successful!

*


Once again, many thanks to all the super-sharp people on Twitter. My PC has been running just fine since last night, and it's thanks to all of the advice I received in my time of need.

Despite being a youngish-looking dude with glasses, don't let appearances deceive you -- I'm really not very techno-inclined, and tinkering with computers is one of my particular weaknesses. I certainly know how to use one well enough for my day-to-day activities, but as soon as the first thing goes wrong, I'm worthless.

*

Writing: Progress on the Speaking in Forked Tongues edits has been going well. At this point, I think I'm about a third through what needs to be done, and although I would've preferred to have been a little further, I'm not complaining. Not much else to report other than to say that it's coming along.

*

Games: I don't know exactly what it is, but I've been in a bit of a game slump lately. I haven't been very excited (or incensed) by many recent releases, and I was a little hesitant to commit to a review while feeling so generally wishy-washy. Still, I usually average one review a week, and it feels a little weird to not be working on something.


Under these circumstances, I started up Lost in Shadow, a recently released art-house platformer on the Wii. (And wow, I can't remember the last time I turned the thing on.)

In case the name isn't ringing a bell, this is the one in which the player takes control of a boy’s shadow and makes progress by jumping and climbing on the shadows of objects in the environment. Manipulating light sources moves the shadows around, and gives the player an extra element to contend with as the journey unfolds.


Early impressions are good. The aesthetic and art design is appealing, although there is no question that the quality of the game shares more than a little in common with Fumito Ueda’s Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. This isn't necessarily a bad thing since I'm a huge fan of both of those titles, but the similarity in tone and vibe is a bit eyebrow-raising.

The premise of the action happening on the plane of shadows is a good one, and there are certain segments that are quite clever – the depth of field on-screen creates some neat visual effects, and shifting my brain to pay more attention to the background rather than the foreground is a pleasantly heady feeling.


On the other hand, there have been a few sections that felt quite “gamey” to me, losing the sense of being a shadow in a real environment and instead replacing it with a series of platforms and levers that don't make any sense in three dimensions. The combat feels a bit dodgy, as well. I'm still quite early in the game, but so far it doesn't seem any more complex than rushing forward and mashing the attack button. A block or a dodge maneuver (granted, there may be one later) would be quite welcome.

Although I'm liking it well enough now, the play has been fairly one-note and I found my attention wandering after a handful of levels. Speaking to a few reviewer friends, the word is that the game apparently takes about twenty (!!!) hours to complete, and if that's true, that's entirely too long for an action game of this sort. If the formula doesn't vary much from what I've seen so far, my feeling is that this would have been a perfect fit as a reasonably-sized DLC adventure. As a twenty-hour campaign? Hmm… not too sure.

*

In other games news, PC Gamer recently ran a story by Dan Griliopoulos (@GriddleOctopus on Twitter) about a disabled player in the UK named Gareth Garratt.


This particular piece was quite touching, and I've got to say that Gareth must certainly be one of the most hardcore gamers I've ever heard about. As much as I enjoy videogames, I'm not sure that playing by manipulating a mouse with my chin would be enjoyable enough for me to continue to choose games as my hobby of choice. My hat is off to you, Gareth!

Anyway, the piece speaks for itself (so I will let it do so) but this is just another example of an area where games need to advance. Although some developers get it, far too many completely overlook disabilities of also kinds -- control re-mapping options, visual cues for auditory input, even something as simple as having subtitles for dialogue isn't an industry standard yet.

Surely we can do better.

*

Music: While recording the most recent GameCritics podcast, host Tim Spaeth called out a brand-new video from musician Stan Bush. Although the name may not be well-known, anyone who's ever seen the original animated Transformers movie will surely recall the surprisingly-rockin’ soundtrack.

This is not Stan Bush, but I bet he knows the lyrics to Stan's songs...
Stan’s still writing tunes apparently, and this link leads to his latest. However, I'm not including it here because I'm in love with the song. No, I'm including it because the video is absurdly ridiculous. Take a look and see for yourself.

*

Finally, I admit that I don't usually post links or comment on things that feature cuteness as their primary draw, but this featuring a little boy performing Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” on ukulele is just too adorable for words. Why? The singer doesn't know any of them. This video has received something like thirty-five million hits so the odds are that this is old hat to you, but I only just saw it yesterday for the first time myself.

S0 AD0R3ABL3Z!!!

*