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Video Games, Marriage and Mom.

Wow. It's been a while. I haven't posted anything since last year, mostly because of my busy schedule, juggling between work and postgrad studies. 

And I'm getting married. 

That's right, and this led to many of my friends who knew me as a longtime gamer, to let me know of their opinion that they think I should stop playing these silly video games because I'm going to be a husband and father soon. This 'childish' hobby of mine will have no place in my future despite being my most favorite thing ever. The latest of these 'remarks' came from my own mother, as I brought up the news of announcement of the PS4 to my father (who ironically, is a gamer too, albeit a casual one who only plays football games these days). It went like this:

"So, dad they announced the PS4..."



My mom interrupted.

"That's enough, you're getting married this year, no more of this silly PS4 thing"

"But mom, that's not fair, dad plays too..."

My mom just repeated what she said previously, and knowing that I will never win this argument (trust me, Asian moms and dads are not to be messed with) I kept quiet, put my bowl of soup in the sink and just went upstairs to my room. I'm sure my dad wanted to say something, but he knows that my mother's defensiveness on the matter will not make my situation better.

Oh by the way, my dad got me into gaming in the first place. He was the one who encouraged me to play video games to improve my English, and he loved watching me play cinematic games like Uncharted. Yeah, he's awesome. 

You should know that I live in a country of conservative values and practices. To most of us, gaming is a hobby meant for kids and men who are unfairly judged as an immature lot. It's a damn stereotype and an ugly, untrue one. I've had a number of fellow gamers within my circle of friends who play games and still have fun with their wives and make beautiful babies. These people make me feel happy that I can still hold on to my controllers after my wedding this year. It's so unfair that they don't get noticed and be made shining examples. That stigma is still around and it's just frustrating for me. 

At the moment I can only wish and blog things like this. But I hope I will be able to change everyone's minds in this country, on their skewed angle on video games, one day. Especially my mother, who I adore so much, it's just that she has different opinions. 

I want be that example, of a great family man while logging into my Steam account, pwning noobs online. 

Wish me luck.  :)

Game of the Year 2011 awards by yours truly!

It's been ages since I last posted my last entry. I had been quite busy with my MA studies, and work has not been kind to me either. But amidst all the hectic schedule, I still found a great deal of time to play some games, some disappointing ones, but mostly, it was a year filled with, mostly, excellent games. Whereas last year I only posted 5, I had 10 of them this year. Please do keep in mind that I have not played several games like Battlefield 3 and Catherine (hence the omissions), which I'm sure are great games, but for several reasons, I could not play them within the 2011 frame. I'll probably get them later, when they're a lot cheaper.

So, without further delay, here they are, my GAMES OF THE YEAR!

10. Portal 2 (PC)

Portal is one of the funniest games I've played last year. It's also the game that hurt my brain the most. I was never good at puzzles, but at least it's not frustratingly hard. I do feel that the Source engine really is showing age, but somehow in Portal 2, they managed to make it look as glossy as other modern engines like the U3 engine.

9. Yakuza 4 (PS3)

Ultra melodrama aside, Yakuza 4 retains what makes the Yakuza series such an easy series to love. Great protagonists (now we have four!) great combat, immense exploration and its set in Japan, which is always a win for me.

8. Crysis 2 (PC)

Despite having not scaled the same heights of its predecessor, Crysis 2 still has some of the best action I've played this year. Yes, Crytek sacrificed the open ended levels of the original for a more direct approach in Crysis 2, but it is still entertaining as it retains that essential Crysis gameplay that forces the player to utilize the use of the suit according to the situation. And the online is much, muuuuuuuch better than the original's uninspired multiplayer component.

7. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3)

Uncharted 3 did many things well, for example a better exploration of the protagonists and some of the set pieces such as the ships and the desert are mesmerizing. But some of the (sometimes) surface touching animations are a little ropey, making Drake look sluggish at times and the lack of real innovation since Among Thieves is a little jarring. Still a rousing journey though. More Elena Fisher and Charlie Cutter would be great.

6. inFamous 2 (PS3)

inFamous 2, though still had some flaws, was a better game than the first game was. Climbing feels less of a chore thanks to new powers and neat use of new climbing mechanics, cooler powers and a better visual presentation (which the first game lacked, despite having decent visuals) that led to a more effective story. Let's hope they fix the camera in close quarters combat in the sequel.

5. FIFA 12 (PS3)

I've never nominated a FIFA game for a GOTY list (let alone a football game), for as long as I can remember as a gamer. But last year marks as being the first, as FIFA has matured into such a satisfying game of football. The manager mode is a lot more bearable to play through now, the online competitions are awesome. It's not perfect, as some elements like the sometimes dodgy collisions and the lame servers kept it from being perfect. Still, I'm spending tons of hours on this game, and loving every second of it. (Anyone interested in a game of FIFA, pls pm me your psn id and we'll see what we can come up with)

4. To The Moon (PC)

It's always wonderful to see indie developers churn out something good. I enjoyed Limbo, though I do find it to be very…abstract, and no matter how interesting the discussions on the game's story, it didn't grab me like how To the Moon did. Clearly inspired by Eternal Sunshine, the story tells us of a dying man who wishes to go To the Moon before he dies, at least as a part of a final memory. Intriguing you say? A little weird? It's both. And just so you know, the ending made me tear up.

3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC)

I absolutely adore how they can still make games like Human Revolution. You are given different ways on how to complete your objectives, while walking through a visually enticing futuristic setting. But at the same time, there is enough action for you adrenaline junkies out there. It doesn't have weird, I mean, console-like interface (don't get me wrong, I love consoles, I just feel that PC works differently and should have different interface made for the platform's games) like Invisible War, and has endings that actually make you think of possible futures ahead of us. The conversation system works really well, as there are actual consequences when you make a certain decision. Choices have to matter in order to really affect the player, and boy do they really matter in Human revolution.

2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC)

In a generation of gaming where open worlds are like our staple food, it's actually easier to forgive a developer when they have bugs in their games, especially when the game is good. Skyrim is such a case. I love the weather effects, the characters are as weird as those you can find in Oblivion. The map is huge with tons of things to discover. Knee jokes. And of course, dragons. And you can beat them with some wicked shout powers. And I'm still playing the game.

1. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (DS)

I know. Right now you're thinking:

"Are you f*%$#@! kidding me? A f*#@*% handheld game?? Have you gone casual dude? You want to be different?? You're trying to be that obnoxious hipster who only plays obscure games that no one played?"

If you still haven't gotten it already, I'm a fan of good storylines, and while Skyrim has a decent storyline, it just wasn't that interesting to me. Ghost Trick has this in spades. It's an unusual story that is superbly told, and has some endearing characters that I really get attached too. Time paradox has been used so many times in movies and games that it has somewhat become a cliché, but Ghost Trick's intricacy in tying up all the possible loose ends in the game dazzles me. But it's not just the story.

I love the time manipulation concept as well. The game introduces you to the basic powers of object manipulation, and then mixes it up with the help of a very adorable character later on. I have so many things to tell you about the game, but in the end, you're going to have to experience the magic yourself.

Yes folks, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, is my Game of the Year for 2011. Here's hoping for an awesome 2012. Cheers. :cool:

Yakuza 4: My Thoughts

So I spent quite some time with Yakuza 4, since I posted the entry below when I first got the game. So the obvious question that pops up here is, is the game good? The answer? It depends. :)

To those of you who have not played a single Yakuza game, (and I'm assuming that's almost 70 percent of you following me teehee) and have never seen its predecessors piquing your interest, then don't expect this to be the same. It's not really a game made for the masses.

Yes, it's a brutal and satisfying brawler (albeit a little too unrealistic), but a huge chunk of Yakuza 4's content is the story, be it from the melodramatic but intriguing main story, or the huge number of substories that range from quests that personally touch the characters' backstories, to the ones that are plain ridiculous.

Speaking about characters, there are 4 playable characters in this game including the super awesome Kazuma Kiryu. All of them are surprisingly likable characters, provided that you can tolerate some intense melodrama that make up most of the story. But don't worry, it ain't all cheesy cutscenes and lines. The story is significantly better than the 3rd game, which i found to be the weakest of the series. Oh, and there are lots of cutscenes in this game. :D

Yes, I LOVE THIS GAME. I am still exploring Kamurocho, which according to the game's stats, I've only completed a measly amount of 35 percent, so yeah, more asses to kick my way through. Heheh. If you like this kind of thing, go and grab it.

Yakuza 4

See you guys in a few weeks. :D

Oh and um,

And if you have Nintendo DS, please buy Ghost Trick Phantom Detective.

It's awesome, awesome and uh, AWESOME.


Happy New Year 2011, and My GOTY 2010!

Happy new year everyone! Hope you're having a great New Year's with family and loved ones!

2010 has been a great year for me and for the gaming community too of course. We've seen a plethora of good games this year, from start to finish. While it may not match 2004 as my favorite year, 2010 was still awesome.

But of course, every year there are these games that stand out among the rest as the most memorable of all. Since Gamespot and some of my friends have posted their GOTYs, I thought I'd jump into the band wagon and showcase my own.

I've played quite a number games this year, a lot more good than bad, so I had tough time picking, but finally, I was able to enlist the best, in my very humble opinion. They are in order, the last one, being the most enjoyable, and my Game of The Year. :)

First up, is Red Dead Redemption, which was the last game I played in 2010, and my, what a surprise. Yes, GS' decision to nominate it as the GOTY has somewhat had a hand in my purchase, but the game its self was great. Travelling was never boring chore like it was in GTAIV, as there's always something random happening in the game, forcing me to spontaneously react to things like hold ups, robberies and a lot more others. And the game really had this incredible feel and atmosphere, such as the music, the weather and the nice little details.

Next is the flawed, but fundamentally one of the most memorable experience in a video game, that is Heavy Rain. Despite the uneven quality of writing and some control issues, Heavy Rain presents an experience like no other where what you do will determine what happens later in the game. I was quite surprised with some of the intensity presented in some of sequences. Gripping stuff, this is.

My profile may not reflect it, but I'm quite a sucker for Japanese games, especially if they're as profoundly entertaining as Yakuza 3. It's over the top, it's got an awesome main character, a powerful storyline (albeit weaker than the first 2) and its my No. 2 game of the year.

And lastly, my GOTY is....


Sure, planet probing sucks, but that's pretty much the only thing that I didn't like about ME2. Improved gunplay, a simplified item management system (the first one's was veeeeery clumsy), loyalty quests, Yvonne Strahovski, great characters, a decent (not as good as the first one I'm afraid) plot, plenty of exciting side quests, meaningful decisions brought from the first game and you got yourself the best experience gaming has to offer this year. At least for me. Hope you find this a good read. Take care, and have a good 2011 guys and girls. :)

My Top 20 Games (Final Part)

5. Shadow of the Colossus (PS2) (2005)

I can assure you, that is NOT the biggest dude in the game.

Of all the games I've played for almost two decades of video gaming, not one game deserved the description of being a truly epic game. Sure, you may disagree with me. One can name tons of game they felt deserving of the title, such as the God of War series, or the Zelda series and perhaps to a certain extent, the Mario games. Even the Metal Gear series has some of that epic flavor to it.

To me, Shadow of the Colossus is the definition of epic itself. You play as Wander, a warrior who sought after the great power of the colossi to revive his love. But before that, he must undergo a trial that involves slaying huge beasts that vary from rhino sized creature to a titanic 10 storey high colossus that is both daunting and awesome to behold.

Shadow of the Colossus is unique to me because there are no small minions to fight through before a gigantic boss battle. The game itself is string of epic bosses, and you navigate through these huge lands with your trusty steed, Agro to find these sacred monsters in their hides. As you fight these monsters, the game's rousing score will make you feel even more heroic, as it dynamically changes according to your situation.

So yeah, the HD remake of the game is a no brainer purchase for me.

4. Crysis (PC) (2007)

It's almost 3 years now, but I still hold my breath when I reach this part.

It pains to see that many people giving Crysis a bad rep completely, just because it looked so good, too good for most people, when most cannot see how dynamic the gameplay can be, if the player allows it. I remembered watching Yahtzee of the Zero Punctuation fame dismissing Crysis as a mere "tech demo". I never watch the show anymore ever since.

You see, Crysis is basically like an action figure of a soldier. Sure, you can play it safe by imagining him in a typical military setting, but why not go the extra mile and imagine a space marine setting? Or an alternate dimension of aliens? With lesbian killer bunnies? Armed with chocolate Vanilla bazookas!!?? Right?


All right take it this way. If you play it just like a normal linear FPS, it certainly will be boring since the game is not ridden with scripted events like most FPSes. If you do experiment with it, you will certainly find depth in how the game reacts to you. Want to know more? Just try the demo first. :)

3. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PC) (2003)

Shootdodging. It never gets old.

Max Payne 2 has affected in many ways I never thought possible. Most of the stuff that I write during my degree days in TESL (Teaching English as Second Language, yes I'm a teacher) are influenced by Sam Lake's Max Payne series, and the second game had some of the most memorable lines and narration in videogaming. No I'm serious. Here are some examples of my favorites.

"When entertainment turns into a surreal reflection of your life, you're a lucky man if you can laugh at the joke. Luck and I weren't on speaking terms."

"The trouble with wanting something is the fear of losing it, or never getting it. The thought makes you weak."

"With no way to deal with the past, I kept my eyes on the road, off the rear view mirror and the roadkill behind me. I chased lesser mysteries, other people's crimes."

Max Payne 2 is also one of the first few games that used that ragdoll and Havok Physics engine effectively to enhance the chaotic action in the game. Particles fly around the screen as you slow down the time to aim at your enemies. The ragdoll bodies look a little silly as they wackily drop to the ground unlike those swift blend of animations seen in Call of Duty 4 or Killzone 2, but the lightness of these bodies helped make explosions much more stellar as they spin in the air in slow motion, amidst the plethora of boxes and dustbins. Sexy.

2. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (PS2) (2008)

I wish my high school days were as rad as this.

This, in my opinion is the finest RPG I have ever played. Now let me get this out first. I have never played an SMT game. Well, I did play Persona 2 on the PSX, but I never did finish it and I sold it to a friend.

And then Gamespot and many other sites gave fantastic reviews to Persona 3 and its definitive version, FES. My interest was piqued, but it never did persuade me to go and get the game, though friends were recommending it.

Persona 4 came and reviews were as enthusiastic as its predecessor. I had to get the game the moment I saw the impressive scores. I did, and for one whole month, my PS3 was collecting dust, making way for Persona 4.

While most would say that God of War 2 was the swan song of the PS2, I would disagree and say that Persona 4 should be the one taking that title. This is an RPG that has an engrossing story, wonderful pacing, a battle system that is simple, but deep enough that the game will force you to vary your tactics to wear out the stronger opponents.

The social link system is just plain genius. You get access to stronger fusions of Personas if you develop your relationships with people of different issues and morality. And this highlights what I like most about Persona 4. Characters. The characters are cute, realistic and very personal. A guy who's confused about his sexuality. A girl who wants to get out of town, so that she would be rid of the insurmountable expectations. A scandalous nurse working graveyard shifts at a local hospital. These are just a few of the many richly developed characters in Persona 4. If only they're real.

1. Metal Gear Solid (PSX) ( 1998 )

"Whose footprints are these??" Strangely, his boots leave none.

I know, most of you are not surprised, especially those who knows about my username, given the fact that it is inspired by one of the game's more enigmatic characters, Revolver Ocelot.

Metal Gear Solid is an experience like no other. Switching to controller port 2 so that Psycho Mantis won't read your mind? ****c. Looking at the back of the CD case for Meryl's codec frequency? Hilarious. Using a ketchup to feign death in a cell in real time to bait the guards? AWESOME!!

I actually cried when I first saw this scene. When was the last time you felt sad after you killed a boss character?

As crazy as all of these sound to you, they actually served to make the overall journey through Shadow Moses Island an intensely memorable one, even if these moments are downright silly at times. At the time games were mostly concerned with the fact that games has to be fun, instead of the obsession towards being realistic and gritty, taking the word "FUN" out of most games. No, I don't have a problem with realism; it's just that implementing it tends to make the developer neglect the fact that games are meant to be enjoyed. Metal Gear Solid a little bit of that realism by incorporating real life issues like cloning, PMCs and nuclear deterrence, but adds a little bit of fantasy by including bizarre elements like Psycho Mantis' powers, Cyborg Ninja's over the top agility.

Why the original? Why not the convoluted but still entertaining Sons of Liberty? Why not the tragic Snake Eater? Why not the epic and well refined Guns of the Patriots? To say that Metal Gear Solid is better than its sequels is an overstatement. I loved them all equally, yet none of the sequels stood in my mind as strong as the original does.

Metal Gear Solid bears the character which to me is the epitome of a great hero. Snake is strong willed and confident, yet vulnerable. Tough, but he still bleeds. And then, there is the perfect set of villains. Ocelot as the scheming rat, Raven the mystical brute, the hyperactive (kinda) Ninja, Sniper Wolf and Psycho Mantis both as scarred adversaries, and of course, the bitter and seemingly invincible Liquid Snake. None of the bosses in the sequels can match the complexity that is present Metal Gear Solid's boss characters, with some exceptions such as Vamp in Sons of Liberty and The Boss in Snake Eater.

The dudes of Foxhound.

I will always remember how I came out satisfied with the game's ending. I realized that a game, like movies could make me learn something about life. And until today I remembered the words that Naomi and Snake uttered about living one's life. That's quite a feat for characters with only a small number of polygons on them.

So what do you guys think of the list? :)

My Top 20 Games (Part 3)

Sorry for the huge delay (to those who cared ;)), I've already had the draft typed, but haven't got the time to publish them here. A lot of things I had to do lately, and work has become tedious lately. Here I present, part 3 of my top 20 games.

10. Mass Effect 2 (PC) (2010)


Mass Effect 2 is basically my FFVIII's western counterpart. Its storyline pales in comparison with the original game's awesome plot, but the characters are much more open and refined this time around, as the dialogues are much more personal and the loyalty quests allows us to dive deeper into the characters' past, making us care even more about them.

The action, tweaked to make the game feel much more of a shooter, actually works to enhance the overall action, thus eliminating the clunky feel of the cover and shooting in the first game. Take note dear Bethesda. This is how you make a fine shooter/RPG hybrid.

9. Yakuza 3 (PS3) (2010)


Though I'm not excited over the whole zombie spin off of the Yakuza series that was announced a couple of weeks ago, I still love the Yakuza series so very much. Yakuza 3 is pinnacle of the series in my opinion, because it finally realized the full potential that it had that was not possible on the PS2.

Yakuza 3 has more minigames and more things to do and collect, in a beautifully rendered Kamurocho and Downtown Ryukyu. Battles are also initiated without a loading screen, and the story is as intriguing as ever. Bring on Yakuza 4 Sega!!

8. Final Fantasy VII (PSX) (1997)

"Dun, dun, dun! Dadadadadadadadun, dun, dun!" (In case you were wondering, that's the FFVII's battle theme:P)

My first RPG ever is also my most memorable. I spent hours of my life roaming around the world of Final Fantasy VII, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. It wasn't just about leveling up my characters and finding Materias from secluded places in the world map when I was playing Final Fantasy VII.

The game rewards those who went the extra length to explore the game with interesting ideals and histories about the towns and characters. That is how you tell a certain history in a video game. Not through a barrage of codex when they can just be told through the events of the game. Codex are fine if they work as a way to inform the player of some minor trivia about the game's world, but when developers slot in even the essential things about the plot inside it, they'll just end up making themselves look lazy.

7. Demon's Souls (PS3) (2009)

Oh crap.

I was actually tracking this game since it was released in Asia, but I only got to purchasing it a month ago (yes, this is the newest entry in this list). The reason for my delayed purchase was the word of mouth around me about the game was not very positive. Many of my friends were complaining how much they hated the game, how unbearably difficult and unforgiving the game was. So I kinda got scared. Even when Gamespot crowned it as GOTY last year, I was still unsure about adding the game to my shelf.

Then the game dropped in price. I thought that maybe if I'll hate it, at least it wouldn't be that disappointing since I paid it for less. Got the game and I played it for 2 hours.

I hated it. I hated the fact that the game just punished me when I barely had any warning and I was forced to play the first part of the game as a phantom. That night, before I went to sleep, I went to thinking, and suddenly it struck me that maybe I was just so used to games explaining to me about everything I needed to know about the game. Maybe I needed to get to know Demon's Souls a lot more than I did. Maybe then I'll understand what the buzz was all about. The thought lingered until it lulled me to sleep.

The next day, I tried popping the game's disc into the PS3 again. This time, I was much more enthusiastic. I tried to be more cautious and wary of how I would approach my enemies. The "YOU DIED" screen still flashed across the screen many, many times, but with each death comes more understanding of the game. And perhaps, love too. I got better, and in 3 days, I went on to beat the first two bosses in the game. The satisfaction was immense and I felt really good about myself after that.

And the rest they say, is history. I'm on my first playthrough here, so any advice is deeply appreciated. :)

6. Pokemon Yellow (GB)(1999)

Cutest videogame creature, ever.

Surprised? You shouldn't be. There are thousands of reasons why the Pokemon franchise are still well loved to this day. I loved the franchise for two reasons.

First, the games have a very cute charm to it, especially within the game's art direction and the Pokemon designs, which ranged from the adorable to the bizarre. Secondly, the games were really easy to get into. The RPG elements were mostly made up of simple stats for your Pokemons, and different Pokemons have specific abilities like Surf and Fly, and they're mostly elementally attributed. That's it. I don't like RPGs that require too much micromanaging, so the Pokemon series really appealed to me.

Why Pokemon Yellow you ask? Well, I got into the Pokemon craze a little late than most of my friends, so the most recent Pokemon game that came out at the time was Yellow, so I picked it up. It was really cheap too. And I have been buying most of the Pokemon games ever since.

My Top 20 Games (Part 2)

15. Resident Evil 4 (PS2) (2006)

Yes, I know this game is pretty much on everybody's list, but can you blame them? It actually makes Resident Evil much more playable than before. They got rid of the "up middle down" aiming in the previous games and replaced it with a more accurate and practical manual aiming. And it works like a charm. The action is much more frantic than the past Resident Evils, with enemies coming at you from all directions, different shapes and sizes. But, they never were as cheap as the camera angles in the previous games.

I also felt that the quick time events in RE4 is probably the best in terms of execution, as you really feel like there is weight attributed to the events. The sequel had some improvements, but also took a step backwards with the lack of actual survival horror feel that the series is well known for. Yes, I only played the PS2 version which was the weakest in terms of visuals, but if the PS2 version already looked good, I can't imagine how excellent the Gamecube and the Wii versions' visuals are.

14. Mafia (PC) (2002)

This is the game that was responsible for my deep fascination with the mob, Mafia and eras that they were tied to. This is the game that made me watch The Godfather and Goodfellas. This game…is awesome. Though I've played the sequel and felt that it was better than this in almost every department, the story in the sequel was just left unfinished. I'm okay with cliffhangers, but at least leave us with a little closure, not stunned with such a shockingly dry conclusion after all the superb storytelling…

13. Circle of Blood / Broken Sword (PC) (1996)

Broken Sword was probably the first adventure game that got me interested in the once popular adventure genre. And it's also one of the best. I know the prospect of moving the cursor around the screen in hopes of finding clues to progress is not entirely appealing for gamers today, but to me at least, it was kind of compelling, especially the way the game's main character, George Stobbart narrates the story as you go further. The world of Broken Sword was hand painted beautifully, with characters that are well drawn and are given lots of personality and strong characterization. Brilliant stuff.

12. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC) (2003)

Knights of the Old Republic to me is the best Star Wars game, and probably one of the best RPG I've ever played. It had great turn based combat, great set of characters and a powerful story that will be remembered for years to come. Who would've guessed that *SPOILER OMAIGOD LOOK AWAY* unforgettable twist where you're actually the Dark Sith Lord Revan himself? Though clues have been given throughout the game, they were so subtle that you'll only piece the parts together when the twist unfolds. Thank you Bioware.

11. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) (2009)

Uncharted 2, not Metal Gear Solid 4 is the definition of cinematic gaming. While Metal Gear Solid 4 basked in the glory of fleshing out confusing storyline in long cutscenes and enigmatic (and sometimes silly) characters, Uncharted 2 was all about getting the player really inside the action. Action sequences that weren't possible years ago like the train sequence and the collapsing building scene is integrated seamlessly into the game, with astonishing visuals that rank among the best the PS3 could offer. The characters in Uncharted 2 may not have much to tell us, but they are defined extremely well, with Nate, Chloe and Lazarevic being my favorites. Ah screw that, I love em all.

My top 20 games

I have played video games for quite some time. Since my first encounter with Super Mario Brothers until the day I finished Yakuza 3 few days ago, it is quite obvious that it has become a pastime that I hold very dear to me.

Believe it or not, I used to be scared of that turtle.

So many characters that I admired, loved and even hated. Stories that have made my cry and cringe during all these years of gaming. Nowadays, with the amount of work that gets in my way, I probably won't be able to play as much as I used to. Heck, I might not even play games anymore, with all the responsibilities that I have to carry with me, if I have my own family someday. (here's hoping)

So I told myself, maybe I should post a blog entry about the games that I played, the ones that have touched me the most. The ones that I will fondly remember for all the excitement that it brought me. So, here are the top 20 games, my list of the greatest games, ever. (initially intended to post all 20, but changed to parts because some of the commentary was too long.)

20. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (2005) (PC)

Back then, it was actually challenging trying to grab an enemy from behind.

The third game in the Splinter Cell franchise was my favorite of the bunch because it had the best levels, coupled with the most intense action. Chaos Theory was also the last Splinter Cell that was awesomely optimized to suit all kinds PCs, including the crappy rig that I had back then. Nowadays Ubi Soft is more concerned in putting useless DRMs into their PC games.

19. F.E.A.R. (2005) (PC)

Don't you just love her?

I only got to play F.E.A.R a year after its release, since my crappy PC couldn't handle the game's then demanding requirements. My dad decided to help me financially with upgrading the home PC, and after the PC was built, I quickly rushed to buy a copy of this game. After Max Payne 2, there was no game that utilized the bullet time mechanic as well as Monolith did with F.E.A.R. Add that to the super-fast and ultra explosive gunfights and you've got yourself a game that never ceases to exhilarate the guy(or girl) behind the mouse and keyboard (or controller, depends). Oh, and then there's Alma...

18. Half-Life 2 (2004) (PC)

The perfect companions.

Can you name a more diverse 1st person shooter where you do more than just shoot things than Half Life 2? You probably can, but there aren't that many I think. In this game you get to do fiddle around with the environment, lots of physics based puzzles and set pieces, thanks to the versatility of the source engine. And it has characters brimming with more personality than most shooters out there, if not all. Plus you get to have a cool robot dog and the strangely attractive lady as your companion. And the game ran great on my crappy PC back then. That's why I never complain when valve delays their games' releases.

17. Silent Hill 2 (2001) (PS2)

"You uh, have very nice legs ma'am".

Too many survival horror games these days focus too much on cheap scares like BOO! Kind of approaches, and most have mediocre storylines that makes the game feel a lot less satisfying than it should be. Silent Hill 2 (and its excellent sequel) in my opinion is what all survival horror games should strive for. It has, arguably, the best storyline in the series, and the scares came not from the surprise encounters, but rather from the extremely unsettling environment, made even better thanks to the equally creepy soundtrack. I remembered staying up late at night alone playing this game and scary thoughts like the Pyramid Head appearing from the stairs, coming for me. And quickly shutting down my PS2 because of that thought. Next day, I played the game in broad daylight.

16. Final Fantasy VIII (1999) (PSX)

Annnnnddd.....all I get for beating this guy is a certificate.

Many longtime FF fans have called this the worst Final Fantasy ever, with the game's character leveling relying too much on the junction system. While I admit that criticism has a lot of truth in it, it did not bother me one bit. I loved FFVIII because of the world's huge variety of locales and characters. It may not have the best story (that honor belongs to FFX in my opinion), but the main characters are to me the most interesting, compared to other Final Fantasy games' main characters. I loved the characters so much that I wanted to be a part of this beautiful world they've created. (I'm serious)I wanted to fall in love with Rinoa, to train in a Garden, play a card game with the Queen of Cards, play a harmless banter on Zell and fight alongside the aloof but somewhat inspiring Squall. I still do today.

To be continued. :)

Are You Gonna Be My Girl

I got tagged. Well, rather, after I put a sad face on blazingsaddle95's profile. Do visit his awesome blogs about movies and stuff bout gaming too. It's bound to put a smmile on your face. :)

Ok, here goes. Put Your iTunes (or other music player) on Shuffle. For each question, press the next button to get your answer. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds! Put any comments in brackets after the song name. Tag at least 10 friends. Anyone tagged has to do the same, because fun pointlessness spreads like a virusHere we go....

If someone says, "Is this okay?" You say

Nobuo Uematsu – Sephiroth Theme (I'm so badass this song plays when people are asking for my opinion.)

How would you describe yourself?

Better Off – Theory of a Deadman (better off what?)

What do you like in a guy/girl?

You Say – Vertical Horizon (yes, I like em talking, just like the one I have now J)

How do you feel today?

Big Yellow Taxi – Counting Crows (Weird, I'm not in the mood for some nature bonding today :P)

What is your life's purpose?

You and Me – Lifehouse (please do forgive my somewhat mellow choice of songs at the moment, winamp's fault)

What is your motto?

The Tale of Sixteen Sacrifices – Koh Otani (Yes, I aspire to slay 16 colossi anytime in my life someday)

What do your friends think of you?

Second Skin – Darling Violetta (don't we all have one?)

What do you think of your parents?

Mind Reader – Silverchair (sometimes they can, which is scary...)

What doyou think about very often?

Heart Songs – Weezer (I like songs about heart *girly sigh*)

What is 2 + 2?

She's Got Me Dancing – Tommy Sparks (Unfortunately mathematics have tendencies of knocking unconscious instead of make me break into a dance)

What do you think of your best friend?

Exploder – Audioslave (Quite the opposite, he's very calm, most of the time)

What do you think of the person you like?

Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles (Well I know a girl named Eleanor, and one named Rigby, but I don't like either of them )

What is your life story?

Bella Notte – Lady and The Tramp OST (I do enjoy the occasional beautiful nights here in my country)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

The Moon and The Prince – Akitaka Tohyama (You mean roll an adhesive ball and make planets with it? YEAH!!

What do you think of when you see the person you like?

Enough For Now – The Fray (No, not enough, Haven't seen her in months :'()

What will you dance to at your wedding?

Metal Gear Solid Theme - Eminence Orchestra (AWESOME!! though my spouse will kill me if this is played )

What will they play at your funeral?

Limpbizkit – Livin' it Up (Oh the Irony)

What is your hobby/interest?

Elvis Presley – Hound Dog (lol)

What is your biggest fear?

Somebody Told Me – The Killers (???)

What is your biggest secret?

Warm Safe Place – Staind (Oh yes, it's quite warm here heehee)

What do you think of your friends?

Limpbizkit – I'm Broke (No, they're not, and they're not sharing the wealth. Grrr)

What will you put as the title?

Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet

I'm tagging anyone who's reading this!