Sam & Max has been released!

samandmax_ep1_max3.jpgA new Sam and Max has just been released for international customers and fans all over the world. The first Sam and Max since 1993 (OK, there was just one but that one was great!!!) is produced and published by Telltale Games. If you do not know TTG already: They do adventures and adventures only! They did some CSI Games and were the ones that brought you two Bone Episodes. Yes, Episodes! Telltale were probably the first guys that released an adventure in an episodic structure. And so is Sam and Max. The first Season is splitted into 6 Episodes all with a length of about 3-4 hours of gameplay. “Damn short” you might say but sum all episodes up and you get around 15-20 hours of gameplay. More than most Adventures, Ego-Shooters, Action-RPGs or Jump’n’Runs today. The first Episode is named “Culture Shock”.

You can purchase every Episode from the Telltale homepage for 8.95$ each. Or you buy the whole season for 34.95$ and will have access to every Episode at the day of release. That is a good price for the whole season so I bought it already ^^. The Episodes are going to be released monthly beginning from January (the first Episode is an exception). So it will probably be like a television series you like. I am currently downloading the first Episode and will give you my humble opinion later on. To get an idea of the game, the voices and the story for yourself just try the DEMO!!!

I have to get going, stuff todo, but I will play Sam and Max today!

Source of Picture: http://www.telltalegames.com/

Microsoft to the rescue!

I must admit I am no Microsoft hater. I use Windows since 3.11, loved DOS, have an affinity for Linux but if I think about a good graphical user interface Windows pops up (OK, maybe it’s all stolen and MacOS X is better but I needed about 5 minutes to crash OS X the first time I started Firefox). So I had my come out… I am a Microsoft fetish!

Why this post? In my opinion Microsoft has learned of its flaws in the past and is going in the right direction. Visual Studio 2005 has become an easy to use and intuitive development suite. Microsoft’s way to free the Express Editions is to support and not to criticize. Of course they want to push .net development. So what? Every company wants to push its own product but if Microsoft does so its the way of the devil.
I pretty much liked the Vista beta. It needs a better PC but a normal mid-range Computer today can run Vista just fine. I had it installed on my over 3 year’s old laptop and after updating the harddisk driver it ran good. The new color scheme is much more eye-friendly than XP (how blind do you have to be to mix green and orange…!?), Taskbar, Sidebar and Explorer have grown-up and the security system is much more witted than before. A little more compatibility with older software (I noticed some minor incompatibility) and Vista is the first Windows I will like from the first release on.
Microsoft Office 2007 made the biggest leap. I hated Office XP and Office 2003. Just more colors, just more annoying avatars that try to disturb your slumber at work and much to complicated. With Office 2007 everything changes, at least the user interface. The tabbed based bars give you fast and intelligent access to nearly all the features you need with live previews of the changes. It automatically gives you the right Tab based on what you currently edit. Most features are by far more stable as in Office 2003. It’s quick, it’s an ease to use and Microsoft definitely is on the right way with their current products.

Windows Media Player 11
wmp11_shuffle_list.jpg Microsoft released the Windows Media Player 11. The 24MB download gives you a new and improved (as always) user interface that is based on the Vista color scheme. It somehow reminds me of the Vista Explorer because of its pretty simple and straight forward style. Clearly structured menu on the top, content in the middle and mediabar on the bottom. The design is tabbed based which quickly lets you switch between Playlist, Layout, Library and MusicStore. As MusicStore it integrates the URGE Music Service (Yeah, Microsoft dictates your MusicStore but Apple, ITunes and IPod would never do so ^^) but you do not need to use it. The strong graphical interface is faster than WMP10 in my opinion and gives you quick access to standard features. I must say that WMP11 is not only a MediaPlayer but a MediaStation. As every new program tries to imply everything you may need the MediaPlayer covers every media that is on your computer and gives you administrative powers over them. So conquer them! Try it!

Internet Explorer 7
ie7_insanitydesign.pngAfter 5 years (IE6 was released in 2001) the Internet Explorer has been updated. And as nearly every browser on the Internet is has Tabs ^^’. But to be concrete again the interface is oriented on the Vista style which I like. It comes with common features you might know from Opera 9 or Firefox 2 so nothing special there. Overall the IE7 has nothing to really hype it for or complain about. It’s just a standard browser. Wait… standard? Maybe not as standardized as we would like. Some bugs and hacks have been repaired but others pop out. It is not as W3 compliant as expected so there still will be a lot of work for every real web designer. Not that Firefox or Opera or Konquerer or any other browser do better. Still every browser has its special behaviours so we dumb and underpaid computer scientists have to find the way in the middle to reach every user on the Internet. Much work to do! But to defend IE7: It is better. It is by far more compliant than before. It uses about as much memory as Firefox (a little more). It has an integrated Phishing- and PopUp-Blocker and makes an overall good impression. I will stay with my Firefox because of the plugins but IE7 has a plugin interface too. We’ll see what will come next…

Windows Desktop Search
wds_msndesktopsearch.gif The Windows Desktop Search follows all those desktop search engines on the market: Google Desktop, Copernic, X1 and many more. There is nothing special about just a solid search engine. It has a browser like search interface, quick access through a taskbar textfield and some minor options. Basically WDS is the first to concentrate on searching and not flooding your computer. I tried them all and many more but WDS was the first to convince me. It indexes faster than the most and while indexing you computer can still be used (had my problems with others in this point). The browser interface is not beautiful but functional. WDS categorizes your files into different Medias like Photos, Music or Video and let you specify what filetypes you want the content to be indexed too. With the taskbar textfield you can quickly access your indexed content and a little popup shows you the categorized outcome.
Why WDS? Windows Desktop Search is not new, it basically is the MSN Desktop Search but in its newest version. Now there are much more options you can control like index snoozing or what hdds to index. It has some nice plugins that add support for e.g. PDF, MP3 ID3-Tag, Thunderbird and more. Just try it once (I tried them all) and maybe you are as convinced as I am.

Microsoft Office Accounting 2007
Nothing for the normal house husband but definitely worth a look. Microsoft Office Accounting 2007 is as the name states an Accounting Software. Manage employees, time tracking, the payroll, track you’re in- and outcome et cetera. It is nothing anybody can make use of but everybody can have a look if it has some minor features to manage its own finances or anything else. Office Accounting is free but uses some plugins that are shareware so beware of them. The basic functions are all free and if you do not run a big business (which you probably won’t otherwise you would not read this) you do not need other features. The about 300MB download contains nearly everything to run a small business.

That’s it for today. This post is all about objectiveness. Do not curse Microsoft by default. Just try and you’ll see even Bill Gates has some good features. So for now: Hail to thy Microsoft ^^!

Source of Pictures: http://www.microsoft.com/, Desktop Screenshot taken by myself.

What troubled me…

…this week was most of all me. My 9th semester just started and this first week I had contact with what will keep me busy for about the next 3 months. But this was actually my first week at the University where I was pretty happy. The courses seem to be fun. Good lectures with good lecturers. Let’s hope my first impression is right and maybe you will read some news about it.

Lik-Sang closed down
liksang.gifYep, it’s true! Our beloved Lik-Sang has closed its doors. The number one contact point for all people to get their Asia imports of Games or Consoles in Hong-Kong discontinues its work. I do not want to take positions here but probably because of Sony. Sony sued Lik-Sang to stop exporting PSPs to Great-Britain and Europe. After several months and years Sony has won the legal proceeding in Great-Britain. The court marks the import to Europe of PSPs (and probably PS3 later on) illegal. Basically private import is everybody’s right in Europe. But if the platform suddenly shuts down there is no place to buy Games that never get released in Europe or Consoles that are released about 4 Month later than in other regions. OK, Lik-Sang had their problems with copy stations and it is ok to sue for that but an import stop is paternalism. I got my Nintendo DS from Lik-Sang month before the European release and cheaper even with shipment costs. Runs fine, no problems! I did so with games too. But to say they sued Lik-Sang to protect the customer because of uncertified power supplies is far beyond common sense. So until another brand of Pacific Game Technology Limited opens its doors we’ll stay with Play-Asia.

C64 Orchestra
I am a big fan of chiptunes. I love it when some freakin’ n3Rd5 in bunny costumes make music with a GameBoy and a three line synthesizer. It’s just awesome! So what is this about? I tripped over the C64 Orchestra. The Dutch Micromusic community plays C64 chiptunes LIVE. Not really chiptunes but as an orchestra. I understand if somebody says chiptunes suck but those old tunes rearranged on classic instruments is just fabulous and can compare with nowadays game music. *Tscha* Chris Huelsbeck was a genius back then and still is. So for everyone who is as dumb as I am (at least with musical taste) here are some links you might like:

Nanozoa
nanozoa.jpg Chiptunes are bound to the Demoscene. Demos had and have chiptune music. Even today with MP3s and Ogg a lot of Demos still use oldskool ModTracker sounds to give you the right feeling (and save beautiful bytes ^^). So if you know the Kewlers and the demos Protozoa or Asterozoa you may find the name Nanozoa suspicious. Nanozoa is a small game by Raist from the Marshals. The Asteroid like game sends you into a human body to fight all the germs. It combines an Asteroid like control with an R-Type weapon system. It’s nothing special but still better than playing Solitair or Minesweeper ^^. It is just fun to play! The game is about 10MB big and can be downloaded from here. The whole game is black and white so do not adjust your monitor. It’s supposed to look like that with its beautiful greytones.

That’s it for this week. Let’s see what will come next. Another week at the University, more legal proceedings, more stuff to not care about and much more nonsense from the Internet.

Source of Pictures: Nanozoa, Lik-Sang

Dead or Alive – The Movie

doa_plakat.jpgYep, it’s true… After Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter another fighting game has its own movie: DOA – Dead or Alive! And I have seen it…

Plot (so called)
Dead or Alive – The Movie adapts its story of the same titled game from Team Ninja. Several fighters from all over the world, each one the best of the best in their martial arts, are invited by the D:O:A Organisation to fight for honor and 10 Million US Dollars ($$$kaching$$$) in a tournament named DOA – Dead or Alive. Christie, Tina, Helena and Princess Kasumi (our 4 heroines) enter the contest for money and glory with several other characters from the game. Everyone has its own reason to challenge the elite fighters of the world. Tina wants to show everyone that she is more than a Wrestler. Christie wants the money… just not by fighting. And Helena Douglas is the daughter of the deceased founder of the D:O:A. But the main story builds around the Princess of a Ninja Clan. Kasumi is on a quest to find her older brother who attended the tournament the year before but never returned. In order to find him she throws away everything, leaves the clan and becomes an outcast, impelled to fight every ninja or die. She is followed by Ayane (heroine number 5), assassin of the clan and in love with Kasumis brother Hayate. The oi-shinobi follows Kasumi to the tournament and so the “story” begins.

The contestants are brought together and the successor of Helenas father, Donovan (played by Eric Roberts) explains the rules: Every one fights in One-to-One battles. The pairs are randomly selected and send to each contestant on their arm wrists. A fight can be at every time and everywhere. The first one K.O. loses. The DOA begins… the fighting begins. Whilst the tournament Kasumi tries to find out more about what happened to her brother and as soon as her appendage Ryu disappears the heroine rivals group together to find out what dark background the DOA really has…

doaheroine.jpg

The movie is directed by Corey Yuen. Yuen was the action choreographer for movies like The Transporter, So Close (also director) or Lethal Weapon 4. He also had some minor acting roles in movies like Fong Sai Yuk or Thunderbolt and lots of second director jobs. Everyone who knows The Transporter or other action movies by Yuen must expect nothing less but good solid action. Maybe you are right but what about the actresses? Not really a HK-Action cast, is it?

Devon Aoki, top model and most commonly known as Miho from Sin City, can be expected to do a good job but to my surprise all do pretty good. The girls even better than the men. Singer Holly Valance (for some people the reason to watch DOA) shows much skin and even more fine action moves. Actress Sarah Carter fights her way through the tournament and she fights good. The choreography of the fighting scenes is way better somebody could expect from a movie that is promoted as one hell of a B-Movie. The stunts and fights are fast, fresh, good filmed and acted well. The wire action is handled perfectly by actor and director.

doabeach.jpgSounds good you might think… and I must say it wasn’t really bad. I expected a movie around five hot women that just fight to show more and more skin. The Beach Volleyball Game is such a dispensable Scene but every man will love it (also a game from the DOA series: DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball – A Fanservice Game). But so is everything else. Every scene is beatiful and stuff but you cannot put your finger on what the film really is. There is not that much fighting to say it is a real fighting movie (The fighting is good especially in the rain. Looks like a Wet T-Shirt contest but is wonderful looking choreography). There are some Fanservice shots that will make every man happy but those are not cheap or dull. The story is too corny to base the film upon. The filming itself is good, pretty good, filled with some indirectness’s to fighting games like “Health Bars” during battles. Some minor flaws like when a deadly strucked down enemy falls down and afterwards takes back his arm to make way for the fighters can be overlooked. Overall the movie has everything and nothing.

Conclusion
Altogether I must say I was disappointed. Dead or Alive is not the bad B-Movie I expected, with some horny shots of women and real good fighting action. It just was a short Movie Mix which could be described as HK-Action-Adventure-Fighting-Love-Story. If I would rate it on a scale from 1 to 10 I would give it the amount of beer you had before you went to see it. DOA is fun to watch, nothing special but tries to handle every aspect of a classy fighting movie and a Fanservice game. If you are underage or as women loving as I am, go ahead, watch it, have fun, do not expect anything and just let it be!

I would like to end this post with a nice (and to the point) comic from Ctrl-Alt-Delete.

Dead or Alive (DOA)

Directed by
Corey Yuen
Official Website (eng)
http://www.uip.co.uk/deadoralive/
Screenplay by
J. F. Lawton, Adam Gross, Seth Gross
Runtime
approx. 87minutes
Devon Aoki
Princess Kasumi
Holly Valance
Christie
Jaime Pressly
Tina
Sarah Carter
Helena
Natassia Malthe
Ayane
Eric Roberts
Donovan
Kane Kosugi
Ryu
Collin Chou
Hayate


Source of Pictures: Official Movie Site http://www.doa.film.de/

The very first post…

This is it. My blog! And this is also my very first post. If you wanna know why I have a blog visit About.

I thought the beginning of a new semester, which probably (and hopefully) is my last, is a wonderful moment to start its own dispensable, needless and uninteresting site to spread more nonsense on the internet. And I will intensely work hard to do so!

Also I want to use this post as an announcement. Currently there is not much content, not much to read or see, but that will change very soon. Layout is in the work chain and content is permanently produced by my arcane but vivid mind.

There will be some Fun Stuff, there will be some Stuff about Software/Programs I tested (and which crashed my PC), maybe some code or tricks and there will be a lot of Letters and Words which try to describe my studying at the University.

For now I will prepare the first real posts, continue the layout and leave you with the impression that another student has its own blog to fill with more or less content nobody cares about… but you will, I promise! ^^’

The Imagination Enhancer