Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Final Fantasy XIII Trailer @ TGS 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 1
Thrilling combat, transforming hot rods, and enough drama to fill your average American high school, all in this Tokyo Game Show trailer for Final Fantasy XIII.




























































After the unwelcome real-time turn that Final Fantasy XII took and the fact that Final Fantasy XI completely doesn't count, I am more than ready for a return to more tradition FF values. This trailer is very encouraging. The battles look amazing, and there looks to be just the right amount of people screaming and reaching as their loved ones are ripped from their grasp. As an added plus, if all else fails, they've got Transformers! I can forgive a lot as long as there's something cool that changes into something even cooler included in the game.

Check out the video below for the full Trailer...

Final Fantasy XIII comes out in Japan on December 17, 2009.

Source: http://kotaku.com/5369386/the-epic-final-fantasy-xiii-tgs-trailer

The PSPGo! Sleek design, better gaming?

Smaller, easier to use and completely devoid of a disc drive of any sort, the PSPgo is powered only by digital media, a brave step into the future of gaming. But is it a future in which we want to live?

Loved
Pure Digital: The PSPgo is smaller, sleeker, better designed than its predecessors, but the thing that really separates it from all of the Playstation Portables that came before is its lack of a Universal Media Disc drive. Gamers will rely almost entirely on a WiFi connection to download pictures, movies, music and games to their system.

Granted, you can use the Media Go software and a computer. You can use the Playstation 3 and a cable. You can even use a Memory Stick Micro to put content on your PSPgo. But those are all safety nets. This device is meant for online purchases and play.

A gamer's main access point for buying content is the Playstation Store, a built-in option on the PSPgo's cross media bar. Once set-up, gamers can use a credit card or store-purchased redeemable cards, to get new content. The store, available on the Playstation Portable as well, is a well constructed digital shopping center that makes finding and grabbing the content you want a breeze.

Over the course of a week I purchased TV shows and games, rented a movie and downloaded demos from my home in the U.S., airports abroad and even the press room of the Tokyo Game Show. Getting content onto the device with a wireless connection from virtual anywhere was a breeze. And with five games, four demos, some music, pictures and a TV show and movie, I still had 9 of the 16 built-in gigs of memory free.

Accessing the content is also a breeze, with a folder for system storage and another for the Memory stick. Within each folder are icons for the games already installed.

The system of downloading, installing and playing full blown games is very similar to the iPhone, though the store is much better organized and the selection much more diverse and often of a higher quality than the iPhone's game section.

Feel: My more-than hour long sessions spent playing games on the PSPgo never ended in hand cramping, despite the device's smaller size. The portable has enough heft to keep it from feeling like a toy, but it's light enough to minimalize any hand fatigue.

The back of the features two slightly raised ridges which make clutching the go with your fingertips a bit easier while your thumbs dance across the front of the system.

The directional pad and face buttons aren't as raised and don't have as much give as the ones found on the PSP 3000, but that's something I adapted to fairly quickly. While the single analog stick is shifted over a bit, now down and to the right instead of below the d-pad, I got used to that quickly as well. The big issue will be with games that require gamers to switch quickly between that right d-pad and the thumbstick. The new location for the two will make that much harder to do. The shoulder buttons were far less clicky sounding and feeling than with the original Playstation Portable, but I felt that was a change for the better, not the worse.

The button changes that did bother me a bit were the Select, Start, Display and Volume buttons. All four have almost zero give when pressed. The volume buttons, tucked away behind the screen on the top edge of the system, were hard to find and use during play.

Overall, I found that for longer gaming sessions the PSPgo was a more comfortable system than the Playstation Portable. I do have relatively small hands, and thin fingers, so people with over-sized mitts may feel differently.

Look: Much sleeker than the Playstation Portable and both the DS and DSi, it is perhaps more apt to compare the go to the form factor of the iPhone. While the iPhone, unsheathed from any case, is about half as thick, both devices are roughly the same size. Both slip in a pants pocket almost unnoticed. In fact, I spent much of the Tokyo Game Show walking around with both my iPhone and PSPgo stacked in one pocket.

The PSPgo pops open to reveal a compact set of controls, but not too compact. While the screen is slightly smaller than the PSP 3000's (3.8 inches compared to 4.3) it wasn't something that stuck out to me. The only thing that I wasn't happy with was that the back of the screen reveals unfinished steel and a barcode when popped open to play games. The rest of the device is impressively slick.

Game Pause: During the course of any game you can bring up an option to permanently pause the title. This creates a save point exactly where you paused the game and allows you to turn off the system, watch movies and even play another game, without losing your place.

SIXAXIS Support: Using the PSPgo's built-in Bluetooth support, gamers can connect their Playstation 3 controller to the portable for full control in and out of all media and games on the system. While this may not seem very useful when on the go, it's a fantastic addition for those who plan to connect the device to their television when at home or to use the charging dock on their desk.

Bluetooth Support: The PSPgo's Bluetooth support means you can use wireless headphones, speaker systems and, yes, even the Playstation 3 controller with your portable.

Media Go: This software suite works with both the PSP and PSPgo, but it's a nice addition to a digital-only platform. Connecting your go to a computer with this software allows you to find movies, images and even your iTunes music to move to your PSPgo. You can also use the software to shop in the Playstation Store.

Hated
Compatibility: Almost nothing on your Playstation Portable will work with your PSPgo. That includes television cables, GPS, camera, TV adapter and of course your library of UMD discs. There is a hardware solution to get some of that to work, but it doesn't look very elegant.

The biggest let down of the system, and the biggest hindrance for those considering an upgrade from a Playstation Portable to the PSPgo, is the complete lack of support for getting all of those UMD games over to the new platform. While Sony initially said they were working hard to have a solution in place by launch, they recently told Kotaku that legal and technical issues prevented that from happening. They also seemed to indicate it may never happen.

While I understand there are a lot of obstacles to overcome in allowing gamers to transfer a physical disc to a digital-only platform, not doing so makes the PSPgo a very hard sell to current PSP owners. The PSPgo isn't not backwards compatible, it's not current game compatible for those nearly 60 million PSP owners considering an upgrade.

Price: At $250, the PSPgo is asking for a lot of cash for little more than aesthetic changes. The PSPgo's pure-digital approach to gaming is a big plus, but with Sony set to essentially cut retailers out of the game-selling formula, you'd think they'd be willing to subsidize the cost of doing that a little bit.

The Little Things: There are a lot of things going for the PSPgo, but there are also a few annoyances. The system, like the PSP and the DSi, is still virtually unplayable in direct bright sunlight: A big let down for a portable device.

The battery life is about the same as for the PSP and now, because the battery is stowed away inside the case beyond warranty-breaking seals, there's little chance you'll be able to buy an extended battery for it.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Sony also decided to change the memory stick type used in the PSPgo, opting for the smaller Memory Stick Micro, which means time to buy all new memory again. The good news is that you can get a 4GB one for as little as $12, though a 16GB one will run you $80.

The PSPgo, with an eye-popping redesign and no need for a UMD drive, is the sort of system I would love to see replace the current generation of Playstation Portables, but until Sony comes up with some system to transfer over all of those purchased UMD games I can't see current owners giving up their platform. The cost, both for the system and in terms of repurchasing games, is just too high.

For someone new to the Playstation Portable or even new to portable gaming, the PSPgo is an attractive option. With a price drop I could see the system flying off of shelves. The smaller, slicker design of the PSPgo is much more attractive and portable than the PSP and the promise of all future games landing digitally on the go is sure to eventually fuel the success of this portable.

If you're thinking of upgrading from PSP to PSPgo and have a lot of games, I'd say hold off. If you're new to the platform and don't mind the price, than definitely pick one up.

The PSPgo was designed by Sony Computer Entertainment and released on Oct. 1. Retails for $249.99 USD.

Source: http://kotaku.com/5369359/pspgo-review-a-peek-into-the-future-of-gaming

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The wrath of Ondoy (Ketsana); flood, rain and traffic everywhere!

Sunday, September 27, 2009 0
Major Cities in Metro Manila Philippines got wiped off the map as typhoon Ketsana/Ondoy brought down endless rain yesterday (Sept 26, 2009) which caused flash floods and rivers/dams to overflow. Here are some pictures of places around the Metro yesterday.

Cubao, in front of Araneta Coliseum... yep that's the roof of a car.


Loyola heights not really looking so high..


Makati Ayala, underground walkways become an "only swimming" zone..

more Photos/Videos at azraelsmerryland.blogspot.com

Two low pressure areas/impending typhoons headed for Philippine shores..



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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Typhoon Ketsana (locally named as "Ondoy") hits Manila, Saturday Dates officially canceled! lol

Saturday, September 26, 2009 0
30 areas in Luzon, including Metro Manila, were placed under storm alerts as tropical storm "Ondoy" accelerated further and moved closer to Central Luzon on Saturday morning.

Weather bureau PAGASA said Ondoy was cruising west northwest at 19 kilometers per hour, packing maximum sustained winds of 85 kph and gustiness of up to 100 kph. It was located 130 kilometers southeast of Baler town, Aurora province or 90 kilometers east northeast of Infanta, Quezon as of 5 a.m.

Public storm warning signal No. 2 was hoisted over La Union, Pangasinan, Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Bulacan, northern part of Quezon, Polillo Island, Camarines Norte and Rizal. Signal No. 1 was raised over Isabela, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Ilocos Sur, Bataan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Marinduque, Mindoro provinces, Lubang Island, southern part of Quezon, Camarines Sur, Albay, Burias Island, and Metro Manila.

PAGASA said the storm is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon and bring rains over the central and southern parts of Luzon, as well as the Visayas regions. Nathaniel Cruz, PAGASA's chief weather forecaster, said they expect Ondoy to cross Luzon while on its way to South China Sea.

Cruz said Ondoy may make landfall in Aurora province on Saturday morning and touch Pangasinan at night time before heading back to the sea. The weather bureau has also advised the Philippine Coast Guard to stop fishing boats and other small seacrafts from sailing in the affected areas.

The advisory has left more than 1,000 passengers stranded in southern Luzon and Bicol ports. PAGASA has also alerted the National Disaster Coordinating Council for possible flashfloods and landslides in the affected areas, partcularly in Laguna, Quezon, Zambales, Pampanga and Bataan provinces. Meanwhile, the Manila International Airport Authority said 13 flights of Zest Air SeaAir and PAL Express to Caticlan, Basco town in Batanes, San Jose town in Mindoro and Tablas in Romblon have been cancelled due to bad weather.

Source: www.abs-cbnnews.com

Friday, September 25, 2009

Free entrance to Enchanted Kingdom this Sunday!

Friday, September 25, 2009 0
Yep guys! You got that right, this sunday, Enchanted Kingdom themepark opens its doors for free to those who will come dressed up as their favorite Anime, Comics, TV, Game or Movie characters!
Enchanted Kingdom brings exciting and fun-filled treats for all animé, manga and video game fanatics with Otaku Kingdom on September 27, 2009! Come in your best “Otaku” costume and enter the Park for FREE!
Mechanics:
  1. This promo is open to all Guests in Otaku costume who will visit the EK Park on September 27, 2009 (Sunday) or who will pre-register online for the promo.
  2. Guest wearing an “otaku” costume of a character from Animation, Comics, Toys, Gaming, TV, or Movie, may enter the Sta. Rosa Park for FREE. Otaku is a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly animé, manga and video games.
  3. Tickets are upgradeable to Regular Day Pass subject to Php 250 upgrading fee.
  4. To pre-register online, cosplayers must fill out the registration form at http://www.otakingdom.blogspot.com/ before the event.
  5. To register at the park on September 27, 2009, cosplayers need to approach the registration area at the Park Gate near the Group Sales Office. Registration is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  6. Enchanted Kingdom reserves the right to refuse free entrance to those who do not meet the above criterion and those who do not meet the Park’s standard for wholesome and safe entertainment.
  7. The promo is valid on September 27, 2009 only.
For more details visit: http://www.otakingdom.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Red Mango, green goodness!

Thursday, September 24, 2009 0
The Frozen Yogurt Fever is here! And yes, no matter how cold and rainy the weather may become, no weather is too cold for a cup of healthy yummy frozen yogurt! Why the sudden craze? Well why not? For one thing it has less fat compared to ice cream or your usual Starbucks frappe, and if you'd read through yogurt articles over the net, you'd know why people are going crazy for this so called healthier alternative for dessert.

Anyway first up in my fro-yo (frozen yogurt) experience, is Red Mango from Korea!

After the bowling tournament with our office mates last August 28, 2009 at SM Megamall, we had a late lunch at El Polo Loco and then watched District 9, good movie by the way haha, sad though because the people that I was with didn't like it.

We ended the day with a cup of Frozen Yogurt at Red Mango. They gave us these mini red cups to sample both the Original and Green Tea flavors. Mich and I both loved the Green Tea so we ordered two Medium cups (p120) of that. As for the toppings, she got Mochi bits and Caramel, while mine had Mochi and Blueberries. The toppings by the way costs p20 for 1 topping, p30 for 2 toppings and p40 for 3 toppings. Make it a point to try their Mochi toppings since red mango's the only Frozen Yogurt at the moment which has this kind of toppping. Others usually just have a variety fruits and cereals.

Comparing the Original with the Green Tea, the original tasted a lot tangy or sour. The Green Tea flavor on the other hand kinda gave the tangy taste more of a contrast, the Green Tea taste was just enough to tone down the tangy/sour taste a bit which those who are not used to eating yogurt may not like. As for the toppings, the Mochi were great! I wish I didn't have blueberries and just had two servings of Mochi bits. Mochi by the way is the Japanese version of one of our Rice Cakes here in the Philippines. It's very similar to our Espasol.

Overall, it was a great dessert, unlike ice cream, Red Mango's frozen yogurt's texture was very smooth and creamy, next time we visit we'll make sure to order a Large one haha.

They also have waffles and hot coffee/tea drinks as well which we are also yet to try. For the yogurt prices, its p80 for a Small Cup (4 oz.), p115 for a Medium Cup (6 oz.), and p150 for a Large one (8 oz.), add 5 pesos for the green tea variant. You may also check the pricing chart picture above. Again for the toppings, its p20-p40, from 1-3 varieties respectively. Red Mango has branches at the following malls; Trinoma, SM Megamall and SM Mall of Asia. Till next time, happy Yogurt Hunting!

Honda U3-X, the future of personal mobility

Honda has developed a new personal mobility technology, the U3-X. It is a compact experimental device that fits comfortably between the riders legs, to provide free movement in all directions just as in human walking forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally. Honda will continue research and development of the device including experiments in a real-world environment to verify the practicality of the device.


This new personal mobility device makes it possible to adjust speed and move, turn and stop in all directions when the rider leans the upper body to shift body weight. This was achieved through application of advanced technologies including Hondas balance control technology, which was developed through the robotics research of ASIMO, Hondas bipedal humanoid robot, and the worlds first omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System, or HOT Drive System), which enables movement in all directions, including not only forward and backward, but also directly to the right and left and diagonally.
In addition, this compact size and one-wheel-drive personal mobility device was designed to be friendly to the user and people around it by making it easier for the rider to reach the ground from the footrest and placing the rider on roughly the same eye level as other people or pedestrians. Key features of U3-X: Free movement just as in human walking;

1. Device control featuring application of balance control technology cultivated through ASIMO research: The incline sensor detects the incline of the device based on the weight shift of the rider and determines the riders intention in terms of the direction and speed. Based on the data, precise control is applied to return the device to an upright position, which achieves smooth and agile movements and simple operation by weight shift only.

2. HOT Drive System (Omni-directional driving wheel system): Honda developed the worlds first wheel structure which enables movement in all directions including forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally. Multiple small-diameter motor-controlled wheels were connected in-line to form one large-diameter wheel. By moving the large-diameter wheel, the device moves forward and backward, and by moving small-diameter wheels, the device moves side-to-side. By combining these movements the device moves diagonally. Compact size which fit between the users legs.

3. Compact and innovative package: The combination of the balance control technology and the HOT Drive System enabled the one-wheel style compact and innovative package of the device. In addition, the device adopts a light-weight monocoque body in which the foldable seat, footrests and body cover that also function as the frame are stored in the body of the device, achieving highly portable convenience.

Key specifications of the experimental model:
Length×Width×Height(mm) = 315×160×650
Weight = Less than 10kg
Battery Type = Lithium ion battery
Operation time (when fully charged) = 1 hour (Based on Hondas internal research)

Now all I need now is a reliable gas mask to protect me against the pollution along EDSA and I'm all set to go to work aboard this nifty new gadget. I wonder how much would this cost when it's made available to public.

Friday, September 18, 2009

UP 3D @ Trinoma Mall: Away we go to 3D Land

Friday, September 18, 2009 0
Tada! Tickets! 1 Month old Tickets for UP 3D at Trinoma Cinema 4. Yep! haha it took me a month to have time to finally have this posted. Actually we watched this movie on the same day that we had dinner at Cyma (August 22, 2009).

Anyway, so its our first time to try and watch a Digital 3D Movie at Trinoma, sad since we weren't able to watch Ice Age 3 here. They say the 3D version of it was also great.

So how much does it cost nowadays to watch a Digital 3D Movie inside a Cinema? It actually depends on which Mall you're going to watch. I-MAX of SM Malls will cost you around 500 pesos/head. Guess that's the price you pay for the super big screen of the Cinema. In non-IMax cinemas in SM however, they say it'll cost you 400 pesos. But what I don't really like about SM Cinemas is how their seats are laid out. The person in front of you can easily block your view, even if they're just 4-5 feet tall.

So far the best deal out there, believe it or not, are in Ayala Malls. Their Cinemas are great, regular movie tickets doesn't really have that much difference in price compared to SM, maybe around 10-20 pesos at most? But hey, their seats are a lot more comfy and are well positioned that you'll never ever experience having a person in front of you block your view (not unless its Yao Ming).

And the best part of all... Tickets for 3D Movies are 100 pesos cheaper than that of SM! Plus they have an Online Ticket Reservation website! (www.sureseats.com) Of course there's an additional fee of 20 pesos (10 pesos if you have their movie prepaid card aka M-Pass), but hey, what's 20 pesos compared to falling in a long line only to run out of good seats, or worse, run out of tickets and actually missing the movie. =P

They have cool 3D Glasses as well, its made of plastic and is well maintained. Unlike those in SM which you can notice that it's been used hundreds of times already and looks pretty much like cardboard.

Here's a side view picture of the Glasses after watching UP. You could still see the credits rolling at the background hehe.

So how was the movie? It was great! I can say I enjoyed the story of ICE AGE 3 more, but UP was not bad at all. There's a pinch of Drama at the beginning, but it was not really the kind that you'd hate, it just tells a brief history about one of the lead characters. There were plenty of 3D Scenes which would really make you enjoy having it watched on 3D. You'll really get hooked, it's like having your mind play a trick on you, the video looks so realistic, the characters, the environment, you'd even want to try and touch it because it feels like they're actually right in front of you.


Movies have gone a long way, and to think it only started in Black and White accompanied by plain background music for the audio.

I can't wait for the next 3D film to come out. G-Force will probably be the next but I'm not really in to watching Guinea Pigs in 3D. Oh I almost forgot, the Trailers were also in 3D in case you were wondering. So you'll really get a 3D Preview as well of movies to come.

I'm looking forward to watching Disney's upcoming animated movie, A Christmas Carol featuring the voice of Jim Carey. The trailer was awesome, I actually got to experience seeing snow flakes fall right in front of me haha. There's also Astro Boy coming this October, but there's no news about it getting released in 3D. And lastly Toy Story 3, but it wont be out until next year. Oh well... Patience patience! Thanks for reading, till the next movie! Ciao!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wii joins the bandwagon! Price drops to $199!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 3
After Sony PS3 and Microsoft XBOX cutting down retail prices with PS3 Slim and XBOX Elite, Nintendo Wii joins the club by dropping its Retail Price to $199! That's roughly Php10,000! Wow now its priced the same as the PSP (i still love my PSP more though) haha...

Having to go to work everyday makes me have less interest with gaming consoles, but then again... this is still good news for everyone, better gaming experience at a cheaper price!

Looks like it's going to be a very MERRY CHRISTMAS for all you gamers out there!

below is the article from www.kotaku.com;
Last week, we got a peek at an alleged upcoming Walmart ad that indicated an official price drop would be coming to the Wii. Today, it appears that retailer Toys R Us may have heard the same thing.

While the Walmart listing we saw didn't put a price tag on the Wii—currently still at its launch price of $249 USD—the Toys R Us version does, pegging the new MSRP at $199. And that's with Wii Sports included, not a stripped down package. The ad is purportedly from the end of September, due to hit the week of the 27th according to the tipster that forwarded a shot our way.

That's a week earlier than we were expecting based on the Walmart tip we received, but still not official in any capacity.

If accurate, that would mean a price drop announcement from Nintendo sometime within the next two weeks, possibly during the Tokyo Game Show. Nintendo won't be exhibiting officially at the yearly game show, but will be present at the Kyoto Cross Media Experience 2009.

We contacted Nintendo to get clarification, but were told "Nintendo does not comment on rumors and speculation." And they don't comment on blurry shots of Toys R Us circulars either!

Source: http://kotaku.com/5359038/toys-r-us-ad-points-to-199-wii-price-drop-this-month
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