Monday, December 9, 2013

Scribblenauts Unlimited :: Where Your Dreams Come True

Imagine a world where all you need to do is write some words and they will become real-life objects. Not only that, you can write any adjective and attach it to any objects you created and they will become exactly like you write them to be. Welcome to Scribblenauts Unlimited universe!
You will be playing Maxwell, a boy and a big brother to Lily, who was given a magic notebook by their parents. The magic notebook allows Maxwell to write any things and it will turn them to life. After playing a prank by giving a rotten apple to a hungry old man, the old man placed a curse on Lily that will turn her into stone if Maxwell doesn't put his notebook to good use. Maxwell has to find Starites, the only thing that will free Lily from the curse. To obtain Starites, Maxwell has to help people solve their problems and make them happy.
One of the most awesome point in the game is that it has very vast choices of words that player can use. The choices range from everyday objects, households equipment, various weapons and armory, living organisms, magical creatures, game characters, fairy tale characters, literally almost anything you can think of can be realized in the game. You just need to write it in your notebook, and voila!
Beyond object's creation, you can also define the existence of an object by attaching an adjective or edit the whole appearance of that object. You will meet all of Maxwell's brothers, and you will be able to play as each one of them. You can also change their appearances as your Avatar. You can change the build, colors, body parts' position, height, weight, et cetera.
Scribblenauts Unlimited doesn't provide much difficulties and challenges. Based on its images' style, simple gameplay, and level of difficulties, I think Scribblenauts Unlimited is a most suited for children. More over, it successfully touches our inner child so that we enjoy playing it a lot.

AMC's The Walking Dead (2010 - present)

It's the fourth season of AMC's hit series, The Walking Dead, and yesterday the series finally release its mid-season finale. In a sentence: It's a war of power between Rick and The Governor, resulting in multiple deaths on both fronts. (Oops, spoiler alert!)

I've enjoyed watching The Walking Dead, simply because I love to watch gore movies. But in this post, I will try to delve deeply to the show; and I will put my conclusion as to why The Walking Dead is so popular. TWD is a show that's set in a post-apocalyptic world where zombies are the main cause of the apocalypse. Up until its fourth season, we still don't know what's the cause of this zombie outbreaks in the first place. I am curious, I don't know about others, but it would have been relieving to know why.

Contrary to popular belief, TWD is NOT a show about zombies. The zombies aren't the main characters, they're just means to tell a horrific story. They are tools for us to understand why the characters did what they did. But they are created and developed in such a great way that when they appear on the show, you know things are about to get bad.

TWD starts as a survival story, it's about a group of people who survived the virus' spread and try to live a safe life. But life loves its irony. As it turns out, they didn't escape the virus' effects, they merely delay it. They are not survivors, they are just another undead-to-be. When they die, no matter how they die, they will turn into one of the undead.

I'm quite excited to see how things are going to end. As it appears now, there seems to be no happy ending to the story. I can only imagine if there's a cure since the cause and the patient zero remains unknown until now. But, you don't know what these crazy creative guys will bring in the next episode.

FEZ :: A new dimension for 2D platform game

  • Title  : FEZ
  • Genre  : puzzle/platform
  • Developers  : Polytron Corporation
  • Publishers  : Microsoft Studios, Trapdoor
  • Designers  : Phil Fish
  • Platforms  : Xbox 360, Windows, Linux, Steam OS, PS4, PS3, PSVita
  • Release Date  : April 13, 2012 (Xbox)
FEZ take place in a 2D platform world where the main character, Gomez, was given a magical hat ('fez' means 'hat' in Turkish) by a magic mysterious artifact called Hexahedron. Using this hat, Gomez is able to perceive a third dimension in his flat, 2D world. But something went wrong and the Hexahedron explodes, causing glitches in Gomez' world. Now, Gomez' world is in 3D and he has to find all the fragments of the Hexahedron before his world collapses.

...THE GAME...
The objective of the game is to collect all cubes and cube fragments simply by touching it. There are also anti-cubes and treasure maps to collect. Collecting cubes and anti-cubes helps player to unlocked new areas. To obtain cubes, player has to solve various puzzle. Some of them contain encrypted symbols that need to be analyzed.

One of the most interesting thing about FEZ is the world itself. Although it is shown as a 2D platform world, player can manipulate the world by rotating the camera 90'. By doing so, player will be able to see doors and passage that won't be shown in the first perspective.
Not only that, player can manipulate the distance of platforms by rotating the world to the correct perspective. Then, he can jump greater distance than when he is in only one perspective. For the lack of words, I'm quoting the example from Wikipedia:
For example, while standing on a floating platform, shifting the perspective 90 degrees allows Gomez to jump to another platform that had previously been on the opposite side of the screen. Rotating back to the original perspective after the jump reveals that Gomez has moved a great distance.
Another thing that makes the game interesting, is that the Gomez character is very cute. Even when it falls and dies, it's still cute. The music sounds like a monophonic ringtone, which brings a lot of memories because it's similar to Mario Bros theme music. The dialogues between player and NPC are heard using some alienated words with cute sounds, adding more cute elements to the game.

There is no limited number of life in game, player can play for as long as he likes. Gomez will die if he falls from very high places, and will soon be re-spawned. Some of the areas are above the water; Gomez can swim, but there's nothing to do underwater so it kinds of unimportant feature. The scenes, however, remind me of some Mario levels and I think it's what the developers want to sell to the audiences. The memory of playing 8-bit games.

FEZ brings new experience to user in the world of platform game. We used to play 2D platform games such as Mario Bros or Megaman, now we can play 2D platform game with the ability to shift perspectives. It is a new experience for me, and it is awesome!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Our Pursuit of Happiness

I think happiness is the most crucial thing in our life. It's the thing we want most from our life, it's the destination of our so tiring journey of life, and of love. And since it's our last destination, it's only fitting if it is also the hardest thing that we might achieve.

Before we delve deeper into the concept, I would like to point out that happiness is a lot different from a happy feeling. Happy feeling is very easy to achieve, we see it everyday, it happens on simple matters. Like when a child gets balloon, when a student finally graduates after 4 year long studies, when a worker gets a paycheck at the beginning of the month. These are happy feelings. A feeling of joy that will last for several hours at most, before it turns to another worries.

The happiness that we seek, is a feeling of joy, of peace, and maybe of freedom, that will stay forever in our hearts. It's a more divine feelings that we can't conjure in days. It requires a very long journey, very long years, to finally achieve it. The path to happiness is not a one-way road, it's tangled with intersections, turns, and dead ends. Every turns, every path is our own choice. There's no right or wrong, no black or white, no certain answers. It's not an exact science that you can count and formulate, it's a journey of hearts, of truth, of self discovery.

Our pursuit of happiness is often clouded by our own limitations. Our wishes, our dreams, our ignorance, our pride, our fears, our will to seek instant happiness. These are our obstacles. We are incapable of ignoring them, we have a giant curiosity to fulfill and we keep pursuing the wrong things and thus dragged further from our true happiness. I think the only person ever to achieve true happiness is Buddha. He is able to leave every distractions behind, and therefore granted an eternal peace of mind.

I believe we all are still struggling on this pathway, trying to find our way around, trying to find our selves. Every turn we choose, every decisions, will likely cost something worthy from us. The journey to true happiness, is the exact same one that will lead us to pain and sufferings. It is our ability to rise above the pain that will make us stronger to keep going. However, we are racing against our own fear, fear of getting hurt, fear of pain.

Our journey to happiness is always be a battle of our bravery and fear. Will we rise or fall? Will we give up to our fear, or will we stand against it?