Archive for February, 2006

Video Games specifically the DS

YouTube – Children of Mana gameplay trailer

I have a DS and a laptop.

Everyday kids at school play my gameboy. 

Above we got Children of Mana for the DS.

it looks pretty bad. basically seems to be the same

game they released for the advance only with wifi

and a touch screen. was hoping for more. 

This looks awesome. Nintendo based game

about male cheerleading or maybe it’s just

a dancing game. Seen this thing around and never

picked it up. Will have to soon. Video is amazing too. 


Kirby game for DS

Beat this last week and it’s what my kids play all day.

It’s amazing. Coolest little game where you draw paths

for Kirby to move on while balancing movement and power-ups

all with well designed levels that adds up to a rather good platformer

with a twist.


Electroplankton. Already reviewed this. Was the reason I bought the DS.

Still good.


 Castlevania was ok. beat it.

Super Princess Peach is good.


Viewtiful Joe Scratch is ok. I actually didn’t like the

original Viewtful Joe that much while it’s ok I never

really got into it, but the games are fun and the world

is unique and this game lends itself well to the DS

while not straying to much for the franchise.


Mushiking King of the Beetles

is god here in Taiwain. Everyone plays this game.

It consists of cards and paper, rock, scissors.

extremely simple and rather stupid, yet it’s

kinda fun in a way. It’s essentially just a level

of abstraction to paper and rock, but it provides

a nice little way to waste time. The DS post hardly

even uses the stylus and may as well be the first

arcade game minus card scanner.


Yawaraka Atama Juku

one of several brain trainers nintendo has put out.

this is actually a really cool little game that consists of

spatial reasoning puzzles and word games with

some basic math skills. worth a look.


Jump Superstars

despite an interface to complicated to figure out

not a bad game, but one I still haven’t really touched fully.


Also have played doom 3 on linux and am enjoying a great deal. 

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February 25, 2006 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment

Taipei Game Show

Despite a name that could confused with a reality TV show the Taipei Game Show once again drilled in that techno and drum and bass are aparently the music of technology for what the 20th year running? All that aside, was a nice one floor exhibit with all the latest MMORPGs from Taiwan and Korea primarily taking over the floor. Stood in line for the PS3 video and was more amazed at the cool circular digital movie projector sony was showing off behind us. The videos were the standard fare, racing games, some FPSs, and a few “visions” of Gran Turismo and The Getaway. Videos from MGS4 (the one with Snake and Octacon(?) talking via the robot) was pretty cool and actually made apparent the realism of the game, one thing noticabley different from ps2 and ps3 games seems to be that the human characters in them move with an animism that makes traditional design seem cliched, but one forumla one game went so far as to situate the camera on the car’s chassis and watch things rumble, while certianly impressive it hardly seemed like something that would make a difference, graphics are nice and the ever increasing realism of the games physics is cool, but I really don’t care, I just want to play something that’s fun. The Biohazard 5 trailer was cool to, but I’ve seen it over the net so many times now… Final Fantasy trailer for ps2 was ok the PSP blob game where you tilt the screen looked pretty cool. MMORPG wise it looks like NC Soft and Webzen have some cool stuff. Huxley looks nice, new guild wars is neat, and a slew of Asia only RPGs seemed to be in abundance. Got a free disk for Silk Road. Mostly the Taipei Game Show was small and while it was crowded it didn’t seem to hold anything terribly special or worth the wait. It was interesting to see Asian men taking pictures of booth girls and their games and of course seeing booth girls off duty drapping coats over their bodies and eating with equally handsome boyfriends. Might consider hitting something in Tokyo next time. At the very least it was better than the Shanghai game show which almost seemed dead and NC Soft’s booth consisted of one shaking laptop with a table possibly becuase of restrictions on them.


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February 18, 2006 at 10:09 am Leave a comment

I’m from Alabama (apparently)

So since moving to Taipei I’ve admitted to the following: I’m afraid of black people (but I don’t think any less of them) and that I am against gun control. This is further impliecated by me being from “Alabama”. I lived there for 8 months, but basically when it comes to P.C. I’m pretty out of the loop. Jarvis comes back from the weekend and we’re hanging out when we meet up with some Canadains, we go to a bar and there I meet a dude from the hostel. We go down to a table and share it with a Taiwanese, American, and a German. I start to tell them about the gun control debate the guy from North Carolina tells me the U.S. looks pretty insane since he left it. This is reasonable I mean it is a pretty absolute-i-nish government with rules that completely disregard what might be common sensical behavioral norms, but part of the beauty of America has always been that you can do what you want. I meet a girl who looks like Lacey. The North Carolina dude tells me that people bigot against people from the South, it’s true once you leave it you may as well stop claiming it as your homeland etc. When I hit D.C. with Tilliander I meet a girl who didn’t understand how people in Florida could have no jobs, “I mean isn’t there like an art institutre they could work for?” In Florida? Kinda. Later I am leaving when the Lacey-like girl asks me to help her at foosball. She asks where are you from, I say you don’t want to know, she says where Texas? I hear they burn people down there. I am from Texas so so yeah but it’s worse than that. I tell them I’m from Alabama, after the game is done the girl across from the Ottawa girl (Tracey) keeps repeating (in a southern accent) “I’m from Alabama,” and won’t stop. She’s from the bay area she eventually confesses. It’s just ridicilous to be “liberal” and from “the south” and be treated this way. What possible incentive does being an asshole do to make the former person rethink their behavoir? And what is a generation that’s obessed with social norms likes P.C.s in the end of things? What happened to tolerance? When did tolerating someone’s behavoir become something unfashionable compared with being progressive?

February 18, 2006 at 2:41 am Leave a comment

Jubilee by Derek Jarman

Unsurprisingly Jarman’s paeon to eighties London opens with a Queen and her apololypitc visions which of course turn out to be a kinda Thatcher-esque London. An angel black eyes leads her around and plenty of proto-new wave and punk-ish stuff comes out of the seams. But Jubillee isn’t necessarily a bad film or another respite of London’s worst peroids, it is more or less a film about the subtle anarchy that emerges in any city or region as culture takes back the law. It’s not the best, but for a film that seems like Throbbing Gristle should be in it at any time (Adam and Ants make an appearance along with Sussie and the Banshees) it at least features a good amount of folks trying to codify their lives into something understandable but perhaps that’s part of the point, with out a universal standard of behavoir it breaks down into a competition of violence and bitterness to define what is life. It’s a distopyian vision of what we live through every day.

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February 13, 2006 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment


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Eureka by Shinji Aoyama

There are many bleak films these days, but Sinji Aoyama’s maps out a hard time that perhaps is idiomatic of the way we all end up treated sometimes. Makoto a bus driver is involved in a bus hijacking along with 2 children. To cut to the chase the victim becomes the accused and despite miraid intentions to the contray is treated pretty badly by society as a whole. If anything Eureka maps out the emptitus of what forces many into the bases of traumas and the beginnings of lives on the margins. It maintains a slight from of hope in the film through only by making the bleak a cutting point for morality. A test Makoto passes more so than others. The point being the best don’t always win, but at least they hold their passions through and through. Taiwanese DVD is dual-language and international code so will play anywhere. Music by Albert Ayler, Jim O’Rourke, and the director make the cut.

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February 12, 2006 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Good music blogs

moist works goes everywhere from Writer’s on music to Don Cherry side projects, french pop, doo wop singles, and yes… it also has new stuff ranging from kompakt ambient to indie-ish stuff.

February 10, 2006 at 11:09 am Leave a comment

Colonialsm or open standards

Recently a foreign cheif in Taiwan was saked for voicing the opinion that Japan had helped Taiwan by forcing them to learn to read. Such an opinion would be heretical in Korea where anti-japanese sentiment runs high, but in Taiwan the people live at a certian distance from the spited libels of other Asian countries. Democracy and literacy have been good to Taiwan and it’s international standing hasn’t hurt either. But the question remains years after colonialism ran out of fashion we are still trying to impose minor modifications on the world, universal human rights, free press, and perhaps most controversly free trade. Such virtues are primarily from the Americas and Europe and are not shared in heavily Islamic countries and upstart Asian tigers. While a percentage of the population will always see a value in these freedoms, the cultures that grow out of them aren’t always as controlled or as stable, American culture is an experiment where ideas have a somewhat free marketplace (although there is much that is taboo such as racism similar to the islamic taboos against picturing the prophet), but the question that our Taiwanese diplomat posses is vast: which is more ethical to impose one people’s advancement on another or to let differance foster itself in cultures?

“The West” that colonlies of people including Europe, Australia, and Southern and Northern Americas has professed to solving problems through debate (especially on the European side) while pushing for an agenda that favors the polite economic and cultural understandings that comprise Europe. Open standards seem to be the rallying call of the day, open debate, transparency, etc. While these methods would work well in many of Europe and the America’s governments and institutions they might be antithetical to the actual development of people in other countries. My point being if we’re really going to take the concept of tolerance seriously it’s going to require a more complex view of the world than just, “we’re all basically the same.” etc.

February 10, 2006 at 7:15 am Leave a comment

Guns, Germs, and Steel

Jared Damond’s book is a compenduim of geopgraphy as a determining force in the evolution of innovation and human societies. If somehow this is the first review you’ve read of this then you should probably check a different review,

Mr. Diamond seems to harp over his points. He frequently has to remind us that this book counters the racist view point that he seems to think is the predominate view. I’ve personally never heard anyone use race as a means to explain to the advancements of some cultures or races over others, if anything I assumed a lot of it had to do with entrenched insitutions like the church or government closing down all possible lines of innovation and hence choking the culture from the inside or just foreign invasions. I’ve recently begun reading Jared’s next book collapse and found it to have the same I’m so better than those racist over-tones. Something in the presentation of Mr. Diamond’s material is what makes it annoying, while he certianly has some good ideas, a brooding and high-minded ego comes out of his prose which seems to have little time to consider an arguement outside of a brutally logical context. Mr. Diamond certianly seems to like the rigors of philosophy or any discipline that would require elegance in arguements. While he’s good at collecting data and weaving an “I was there” type of approach of first hand accounts his consistent mentioning of the “status quo” of anthropological knowledge (i.e. native peoples are inherintly somehow more in touch with the earth etc) gets rather annoying. We’re more than willing to hear you out and accept the premises of the arguement, but at times Mr. Diamond seems to be content to just argue with himself and conclude this is such becuase I say so. Somewhere in this book a convincing arguement remains, but it’s layered in small pieces in what is highly redudant prose. Mr. Diamond underestimates his reader and fails to provide an argument that can surprise as much as some of his simple collections of data can (for instance no new domesticable plants in about 200 years etc.)

cut this

the book revolves around the fact that Mr. Diamond doesn’t seem to consider that maybe many of the cultures that occupy better lands inhabit those lands becuase of culture. If the benefits of living in one are are obvious (good water, food, and weather) then isn’t a competition going to arise from bands in the area? Were the orginators of China the first to stumble into the valley or the first to scuessfully assimilate or kill the others in the valley? My point being while geopgraphy is certianly a high factor in what societies could easily locate the resources to become empires, innovate, and conduct warfare the cultures the basic hunter gathers that saw the potential in the lands settled probably had to contest the land with others, hence some amount of leadership and cultural self has to exist for these people to come to occupy the lands that ended up making the founding cultures of mankind. Hence we can’t rule out that those cultures that grew up and became advanced might have been the cultures that were able to rally their bands into something more than just a family in the first place.

BTW my blog is massively dis-organized

February 10, 2006 at 7:12 am 2 comments

Vocabulary and Innovation

??? Ok we all know the following at the moment the number of ideas written in English far exceeds that written in most languages. Plus many of those ideas have high economic value i.e. sciences, medecine, arts, etc. But let’s assume the following. You have 2 static populations one that has just been introduced some new ideas from another. The culture in question, despite 5000 years of existence etc, latches upon these ideas and begins to master them. Why? Because they have an environment that emphaises this one idea more than the originating culture which is full of innovations and hence more likely to have a diversified intellectual space less likely to nit-pick ideas down to their bare bones.? In other words in a limited linguistic environment a new idea will have more people concentrating on it than in the originating culture.

??? This assumes though that the two cultures are static. If one or both cultures are growing (as is often the case with innovations and higher economic status) than a culture has the ability to produce enough people to off-set the effects of a diversified intellectual space. I.E. if population grows along with the innovation then it’s possible that the increasing number of people will be able to specialize into the fields in question and continue the line of thought faster than the culture just introduced the idea.

??? If you take this as a model for innovation then we can predict that a culture that’s population is not growing faces the potential that it will dwindle in the intellectual space too.

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February 9, 2006 at 5:23 am Leave a comment

More Ideas Marijuana is a decentralized network so are 3d printers

This is an old story, but one of the problems with outlawing pot is that quite simply there isn’t any really big influx of it into the U.S. anymore. Pot can be grown in small quantities indoors etc. While cociane and other drugs require refining techniques that your average person wouldn’t want to do (ya know mashing it down to an acidic bath and then drying it) pot is much more regular, you just pick and go. Hence the real problem with it is that you can’t catch it as easily because virtually anyone with a closet can grow it. It’s similar to the problems of intellectual property rights we already face with p2p (which I haven’t used in ages, but ya know) and 3D printers. Knock offs produced in China, India, where-ever can shut down by lobbying the government to better regulate the industries and police them, but if people are building the things in their bedrooms with just a few punches of a button the network becomes more redudant etc. This has been covered by Lessing, Doctorow, etc but just occured to me the other day in terms of drugs. What can be grown easily at home has a better chance of becoming legal than what can be stymmed and shut off. The question is what would become of pot if decriminalized? Would small time growers begin community gardens? Isn’t its illegal nature what makes growing it in small batches so effective versus the risks of bringing it in whole sale? Wouldn’t legalization basically make it more effective to grow in large batches and ship in or would it turn out that a few hydroponics here and there are actually more effective than growing in bulk? My point being the illegal nature of mairjuana necessitates it’s homegrown mentality and the profit involved in growing it, while any law favoring decriminalizing it would open up a market for people elsewhere. Pot already has been the subject of engineering both in the lab and on farms and like tobacco it’s greater profit might be in owning the patent to a particularly good seed than in actually growing an activity many people already undertake just for the convience of it. I prefer to leave things open with questions, but I think pot being decriminalized would create an international market with 7-11 stocking the favored blends, but it wouldn’t actually kill the home grown types as much as thought, the amount of work going into it isn’t great and the results store better than produce or fruit my point being like a 3D printer it only takes a little time and materials put in to yeild something that’s leisure far outweighs the work.

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February 9, 2006 at 5:19 am 1 comment

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