Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Mar 2008

On my way home today I passed by Megamall as usual, and there was a Scrabble tournament going on. I stopped for a few minutes and watched. I realize a lot of people would probably find watching Scrabble games boring, seeing only two geeky people spelling out words at random, not even making any sense. But watching the Scrabble games brought me back to a time when I didn’t have the internet to keep me up at nights.

Scrabble is a game close to my heart, me and my brother Kerwin practically grew up with the game.

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Feb 2008

Eagerly awaited, the fourth installment of the Ace Attorney series has arrived, with a brand-new leading defense attorney. Of course, not one week after I got my copy, I’m done. It kept me up at nights and made me come in to work late; well worth it.

To those who are not familiar with the Ace Attorney games, it’s hard to explain the appeal of the game; with all the thinking and reading to be done, it’s definitely not exciting to watch. Anyone who’s finished one of them knows what it is though. There’s that feeling you get when you all the testimony and evidence finally come together, and you figure out how it was done but you still have to figure out how to prove it!

Detailed review (and spoilers) follow.

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Despite the fact the allure of Final Fantasy Tactics PSP, I was still decided on finishing Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. This was only the second game in the series that I was playing, although I had greatly enjoyed Advance Wars: Dual Strike, so my hopes were high for Days of Ruin. Pros: – Still Advance Wars, battles are fairly good and challenging enough – New units: Bike – infantry on wheels, can capture as well; Flare – helps in Fog of War situations; Carrier – revamped from the AWDS Carrier, this one can now create its’ own Seaplanes; Antitank – a ranged unit that can counterattack, strong against Tanks, surprisingly; Duster – a hybrid air unit that has a weaker ground attack than a Bomber, and weaker air attack than a fighter

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Bought one last week, had not had time to log it until now. It was not so much planned and maybe a bit more of an impulse buy. Something like a cellphone conversation with my brother who’s standing in a store in Singapore pressuring me with “Well? Should I buy one or not?” I don’t like pressure, so obviously I just said, “Ok, whatever!” The inevitable question arises: which one is better, PSP or NDS?

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Jan 2008

Despite it’s age, I’ve only recently gotten around to loving Advance Wars: Dual Strike on the DS. It’s just the sort of game I enjoy: challenging enough not to bore me but not so difficult that I give up in frustration and has enough extras to keep me coming back. A bit of a learning curve though, and probably not for casual gamers. I beat the normal campaign last week (just barely – winning on Day 28 of a 28-day target), and I’m hoping I can finish the hard campaign before the release of Advance Wars: Days of Ruin next week.

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Nov 2007

2 days ago: My brother Alvin and Brian report suspicious activities on the computer in their room. Random Chinese popups appearing, mysterious processes in the taskbar. As needed, virus scans and adware scans are done. Trojans are identified and quarantined, but keep reappearing. Brian plays WoW on the machine despite the issues. Yesterday: Alvin decides to reformat the machine and begins backing up. Brian plays WoW on the machine in my room instead.

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Oct 2007

The game was not as long as I had hoped, although I finished without completing stuff. (Only had 11 hearts when facing the final boss). I told a friend that the current Zeldas are too easy compared to the Zeldas of old . There are a lot more hints this time around on how to get past stuff, etc. He told me that the 3d Zeldas are even easier. One of the sacrifices they had to make to become popular I suppose.

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Can holding a stylus cause carpal tunnel syndrome? Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for a few days now; the controls are purely-stylus driven so my wrist aches a bit after a few hours of play. Of course the game has been consuming a good number of my waking hours (I didn’t even play any Magic this weekend), but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the original Legend of Zelda.

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Sep 2007

Aug 2007

The official title is quite long. Actually, the English Title for _ Gyakuten Saiban 3 _ is even worse! Ace Attorney is an awesome series, I finally got around to playing the second game since the third one is scheduled for an English NDS release in September. I started playing the day I arrived in HK – so I beat the game in six days. Justice for All is a more difficult game than the original, putting the title character in more difficult situations, and making it a lot more tedious to ‘cheat’ with the save file.

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Jun 2007

Apr 2007

I obviously don’t have much time for gaming if it takes me more than a month to finish a “simple” choose-your-own-adventure style game like Phoenix Wright. Very entertaining game, it puts you in the shoes of a novice defense attorney, Phoenix Wright and your adventures in trying to uncover the truth behind several murder cases. The gameplay is composed of two parts: investigative sequences where you go around various locations gathering information and evidence, and the actual trial part where you have to spot contradictions in witness testimonies and prove your clients to be innocent.

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Feb 2007

List of games I’m planning (or want) to play: Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney (NDS – In progress) Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (NDS) Phoenix Wright, Justice for All (NDS) Final Fantasy VI Advance (GBA) Everything on the Top 20 Indie Adventure Games list. Too many games I want to play and not enough time… the story of every gamer-turned-working-man I suppose. Most of my gaming is done on the NDS these days, though I wish it had even more good games (When is Phantom Hourglass coming out anyway?

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Jan 2007

Wow. It took me three months to finish FF12! Fun game, weak story. No strong lead character to carry the game. Gameplay is very MMORPG-like. The grinding was ok, but they could’ve done some quests like WoW to make it better. I’ll fight the optional bosses someday. Will I play the next FF game? Don’t know. Time is the most difficult factor, as it demands a lot. Took me about 65 hours to finish this one, playing 3-4 hours a day after I came back from Hong Kong.

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Dec 2006

Via insertcredit.com : Apparently, DQ IX coming out on the DS is a big deal over in the land of the rising sun. And the fact that the combat system will be action-style instead of turn-based. Did they really expect the game to keep doing the same thing again and again forever? Anyway, the DS is a better platform for it… Square-Enix already has one flagship RPG series on the consoles (Final Fantasy), and none yet on handhelds, so why not just move their second-oldest title there?

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Something I didn’t expect from the Youtube phenomenon: apparently, FAQ writers can now link to instructional videos for difficult to describe game walkthroughs. If you don’t have any idea what I mean, an “FAQ” is a document that helps someone to do a particular thing by providing answers to Frequently Asked Questions. In my case, I most often read FAQs for video games to help through the difficult spots, usually from GameFAQs

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Awesome article in The Escapist titled The Rise and Fall of Troika, which gives a good view of the problems facing game development studios with regards to production/publisher issues. I got the link from the blog at rampantgames.com which I’ve been following for a while now. I find the articles about the indie gaming field very enlightening, and I have to say going the route of an indie game developer is much more appealling to me especially after reading about all the issues game dev studios have with big-time publishers.

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Oct 2006

Awesome thing for old-school gamers – CGW has made available PDFs of their first 100 issues here. It’s fun to read reviews and insights about old games. Ah, and the ads! I like seeing old ads for some strange reason.
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I predicted it as soon as I saw one of those DS thingies: “If I bought one of those, I’d lose the stylus within a month.” I didn’t even get to three whole weeks without losing it. =/ The stylus should have a little rope tying it to the DS.
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Soul Kerfuffle: The View From the Top Funny, just before I read this blog post, I was thinking about how I didn’t really have time for WoW. I’ve never gotten to 60, so I don’t know how addictive the end game is. But is it really all raiding? I don’t think I’d be able to devote 12+ hours on weekends for raids. 3-4 hours maybe, but 12 hours? Well, my brother just hit 60 recently, so I suppose I should ask him after a few weeks what it’s like.

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Mario Kart – it’s Mario Kart! Yay! Although we now have six DS owners at the office, we haven’t yet had time to pull off a six-player race. I’m pretty sure it will be insane though. Brain Age – mildly nerdy, strngely addictive. It’s not so much a game, more of a series of mental training exercises. Too bad the speaking portion doesn’t easily recognize my voice (and/or my accent)

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My brother’s back from HK tonight, so we got some new stuff. I get a 1gig Toshiba usb flash drive (my previous one was only a 256MB), and a Nintendo DS. First time playing Mario Kart since the frickin’ SNES! Woot!
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Aug 2006

In the current handheld wars, I’ve sampled both the PSP and the Nintendo DS, and I have to say, I’m much more impressed with the DS. The PSP seems to be a very serious device, as if you tried to cram a PS2 into a handheld and toss in a media player alongside. The DS on the other hand, is _ just plain fun _ . Since we’ve been putting in a lot of long hours at work lately, one of our developers had the bright idea to bring his DS to the office.

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May 2006

Suikoden V is hands-down the best game in the Suikoden series. In almost all respects, it beats out the previous best game of the series (Suikoden 2): The story manages to follow the old pattern of “oh I need to flee my home and now I’m leading a band of rebels in a civil war!” but infuses with a lot of new elements: usurpers to the throne, historical wars of succession, threats of foreign invasion.

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Apr 2006

One would think it an unfair comparision, seeing as how BG2 is at least 5 years older that Suiko5. But BG2 holds up pretty well, I end having a mental coin toss as to which game I will play at any one time. They both have their merits. Suiko5 Pros: Awesome story, lots of background and character depth. Cons: Extremely narrow gameplay, heavily scripted. Hero looks girly. Status: 12 hours in.

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_ (My previous practice was never to post an entry about a game until I’d finished it. This was a good idea during those days that I had a lot of free time and could finish the average RPG in a week. I haven’t been in that state for four years.) _ My brother warned me that according to reviews, the first eight hours or so of Suikoden V were quite draggy.

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Feb 2006

I am a Light Cycle . I drive fast, I turn fast, I do everything fast. I even breakfast. I tend to confuse people with my sudden changes of heart. Sometimes I even confuse myself, which tends to cause problems. What Video Game Character Are You?
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Dec 2005

Sid Meier’s Civilization – one of the most highly-acclaimed strategy game series in existence. Any serious gamer worth his salt knows about it – whether he plays turn-based strategy games or not. And the fourth installment was eagerly awaited in our home – two out of four brothers were eager to play the latest update. And Civ4 is in many ways the same game all over again. The basic premise is still there – explore, build cities, research technologies, kick other civivlizations while they’re down, race to space, etc.

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As I watched my brother playing the latest incarnation of EA’s FIFA game, I can’t help but consider that there must be a staff of developers over at EA dedicated solely to the task of churning away to release updates to EA’s flagship lines of sports games year after year. I wonder how fulfilling that kind of job actually is…
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Not that it’s a bad game mind you. From the ten or so hours I’ve played it’s definitely a lot better than the previous game in the series. And the voice acting is really great this time, with a bunch of British people doing the over-the-top voices. The battle system is still a bit simplistic, and the main quest seems very straightforward. From what I’ve seen, it’s probably an above average game.

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Oct 2005

Voting for the Walk of Game is up. My votes were: Starcraft, Civilization, Final Fantasy and Street Fighter II. Also Sid Meier and the Pac-man guy. Edit: After some thought, it’s kind of silly to have a poll where you could vote everyday. There’s no chance for Pac-man to beat Final Fantasy here, as FF has an army of fanboys willing to vote everyday, and Pac-man… well, a lot of his fans might vote once buy many won’t even realize or care that they can vote again.

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Sep 2005

A friend of mine said, “It’s for die-hard fans only.” He’s right. Luckily, there are roughly seventy trillion die-hard FF7 fans. And I doubt they will be disappointed. Advent Children is a DVD-movie about the events that happen two years after the events of the game. Some of the story-related parts might get you a bit sleepy, especially if you weren’t particularly fond of the whole Reunion/Jenova/planet thing from Final Fantasy VII, but that’s okay because…

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It may very well have been a mistake. Buying and installing World of Warcraft on the first day of my leave, that is. Now I spend some 3-4 hours daily on the addictive beast. It’s hard to stop! In case you haven’t heard, World of Warcraft is Blizzard’s MMORPG take on it’s famous RTS series, and it’s one helluva good game. It looks excellent, the gameplay is terrific, people don’t seem to be assholes, etc.

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Aug 2005

My brother estimates we have at least a hundred pirated copies of PS2 games. (Please don’t lecture me in any way on piracy, I’ve said my piece before.) In any case, we have spent at least ten thousand pesos (roughly two hundred american) on pirated PS2 games. And out of those hundred copies, some games we have two or three copies of (due to the problems generally associated with illegal copies); Out of all those pirated games, I’d make a conservative estimate that at least 20 games were actually playably good.

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Apr 2005

Well, I thought I’d write about Suikoden IV before I forgot all about it. I finished it around Holy Week, but haven’t bothered to go through again, even though I promised myself I would try since I did not get the magic number of a hundred and eight stars of destiny this time around. Curse my pride for not reading any FAQs while playing! Time is short, with work and all, so I should make the most of my games so I don’t need to re-play them.

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I’m not much into FPS titles, but over the past couple of weeks, my bro Alvin and I have been playing the occasional game of CTF or Zones in Timesplitters III (via split screen on one TV of course.) The last time I got into an FPS game multiplayer was when Mon, Dave, Paul and I would do a four-way splitscreen on a single TV with the PS port of Quake 2.

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Mar 2005

[Originally posted to the GameFAQs message boards] Now, there are rude and annoying people everywhere, especially on the internet. And normally, I don’t care, I just ignore them. On battle.net, I just let them be, and keep on playing. Every so often however, some guy comes along who just pisses me off completely. So I play random 3v3, right? It’s not the most “skillful” type of battles, but it’s fun and I enjoy it.

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Feb 2005

The last Zelda game I played (as in, to the end) was Link To The Past, and I think it was on David’s old SNES. Or it may have been on ZSNES, I’m not entirely sure anymore. Before that was the first Zelda, which I actually finished on its original console! Seems that the years have been kind to the Zelda formula: Octoroks and Tektites on the world map, Bats, Skeletons and Wizrobes underground, Boomerangs and Arrows to throw about, Pieces of Heart to collect, Swords, Bottles, hidden passages, name it, it’s all here.

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GearLive: Why Sony’s PSP will suck I’m not actually particularly interested in the PSP, but this article is interesting and has quickly convinced me that the PSP will in fact, suck. As a handheld platform, I think it’s pretty hard to beat the GBA. I’m already thinking of buying one, as it would give me access to all those great Nintendo franchises 1 in their pure 2D forms, without me having to buy a different console.

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I tried to play two PS2 games today: Spiderman 2 and Naruto – Narutimate Hero 2. I knew we had pirated copies of both. Spiderman 2 – failed. The PS2 wouldn’t even play the disc. Instead it made a wonderful churning noise that made me quickly hit the eject button. This is Sony’s best form of copy protection: In my experience, our PS2 can only play somewhere between 30% – 50% of all pirated discs out there.

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Jan 2005

Khan-fusion and a cabbie tale – INQ7.net Cool story on INQ7 about a 40-year old cab driver who plays popular MMORPGs here in the Philippines. Goes to show how well MMORPGs like Ragnarok, MU, etc. are doing locally. Even though they’re not considered “big” compared to American giants like Everquest and World of Warcraft, they’ve definitely captured the Pinoy market quite well.
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RPGamer – News Bulletin – Namco, Capcom Combine Forces to Create Sim-RPG Wow. I mean, wow. The game will feature playable Namco and Capcom characters apparently, and not just from RPGs. Street Fighter RPG! I’d play it. :p Note: This is the first time I’m using Blogger’s BlogThis! feature. It’s neat. Edit: They’ve got screens ! Morrigan finally gets a new sprite!
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This game is the third and last installment of Tri-Ace’s venerable space opera science fiction RPG, spanning across three consoles [1], and it’s a good finish. I finished the main story just before the year’s end [2]. But I’ve still been actively playing it, going through the bonus dungeons [3] The fact that I finished it, and the fact that I am still playing it, and the fact that I am still planning to finish it on both of the higher difficulty levels, all of these facts speak volumes about how good this game is, given that I don’t have nearly as much time to play as I did before I was working.

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Someone asked for this on the GameFAQs forums. w3chart is a program to analyze Warcraft III replays. I don’t know if my copy is old though, it doesn’t seem to have a version number.
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Nov 2004

The evolution of the web as a gaming platform seems to be coming along lately. With games often serving as pioneers into new frontiers, I believe this is merely signifying the trend of software products transforming into services instead of commodities. Anyway, what I mean to say is, I’ve been spending quite some time with web-based games lately. Mostly it’s the fantastic and funny web-based parody RPG Kingdom of Loathing, which I’ve mentioned before.

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Roy Tang is a:

roytang.net is a personal site, an E/N site, and kind of a commonplace book; I post about a random assortment of topics that interest me including software development, Magic the Gathering, pop culture, gaming, and tech life. This site is perpetually under renovation.