Xbox One Details (So Far)



Every single gaming site and tech blog are churning out as many articles as possible about the recently-announced Xbox One. So, in an attempt to wade through the sea of bloated articles (and to retain my sanity), here’s a list of the Xbox One (XBO) details (current as of 5/25/13).


Replacing my bootleg past


Tonight, I am marathoning a classic anime series, Noir. I recently ordered the DVD boxset to replace the horrible bootleg I bought over 8 years ago, and it feels good to finally right that wrong.

When I was a budding otaku, I would spend my Saturdays at Frank and Sons collectible show in City of Industry, CA. Wallscrolls, manga, anime, and figures, all at fantastic prices. I thought I hit the motherlode of otaku goods.

At first, my novice mind was blown away at the discounts over BestBuy and Suncoast. $20-25 for a complete series? Hell yea! I spent an entire paycheck on several series in the span of a few minutes (along with some sweet wallscrolls). Once I got home however, I realized the error I made.


PlayStation 4 announcement drinking game


With the Sony PlayStation press conference live-streaming later today, and the company’s long-standing history of both hilarious and awkward moments during these events, I feel it’s only right to watch this drunk. So why not make a game out of it! Here’s the link to the livestream.

You may either take a shot of your alcoholic drink of choice or a swig of beer.

One Shot/Swig for the following words.

“Cloud”  “4K”  “Touchpad”  “Frame-rate”  “Next-gen”

Two Shots/Swigs for the following phrases:

“Backwards Compatibility”  “Truly innovative”  “Cutting-Edge Technology”  “Improved Move/Controller”  “I’m happy to announce…”  “Always connected”  “Cross Compatible with PS Vita”  “Ultra High Definition”  “Hardcore/Casual Gamers”

One Shot/Swig if the following happens:

Kaz Hirai shows up on stage.

Cliffy B shows up on stage.

Gabe Newell shows up on stage.

Anybody in a video game character costume shows up on stage.

Anyone mentions a competitor’s system.

The new controller doesn’t have rumble.

Two Shots/Swigs for the following game announcements:

“Little Big Planet 3”  “Killzone 4”  “Uncharted 4”  “Gran Turismo 6”  “Final Fantasy”  “Infamous 3”


One Shot/Swig if PS4 priced at $399 or lower.

Two Shots/Swigs if PS4 is priced at $400-$499.

Three Shots/Swigs if PS4 is priced at $500 or higher.

Chug your beer if PlayStation Home is even mentioned.

Drink all the things if the following phrase is said:

“Riiiiiiiiiiiiidge Raaaacer”


These Ghost in the Shell PS1 game cutscenes are the closest we’ll get to the original manga.


Given all the latest news about Ghost in the Shell Arise, many fans of the franchise have expressed their concerns/frustration over practically every aspect of the upcoming 4-part series (myself included). Some fans were hoping for a return to the original character designs and story of the manga; a hope that was fueled by the involvement of series creator, Masamune Shirow.

Even though that hope didn’t pan out this time around, fans can still take solace in re-watching the anime cutscenes from the late-90’s Ghost in the Shell PlayStation 1 game. This anime remains the closest adaptation to Shirow’s original character designs, including the Fuchikomas (which were redesigned and renamed Tachikomas in the TV series due to a copyright issue). Like all Ghost in the Shell titles, Production I.G. handled the animation. While the gameplay was nothing special, the cutscenes were absolutely epic, and still are today.

These videos were taken from the “making of” Laser-disc, courtesy of ILLHYHL021.


J.J. Abrams sneaks in ARG link in Star Trek Into Darkness trailer


Ah J.J., some of the Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) that were attached to some of your previous works (Cloverfield, Lost, Super 8, etc…) were just epic. You even had a game set for your first Star Trek movie. Now that your second Trek film is on its way, I knew it would only be a matter of time before the next game would commence.

I was surprised that I didn’t see a link or a hint in the announcement trailer, but after watching the first teaser trailer a few times, there it was…


A well-placed and timed bit (1:05-1:07). I definitely checked out, hoping for some juicy details. I know there must be a few more details to iron out before this game goes live, but can you give me a little more than a static image and a mailing list to go on?


Oh well, guess it can’t be helped for now. Hope this ARG will be fun! Trailer is available after the break.


Waiter, there’s an ARG in my Reality…



For the past 8 years, I have thoroughly enjoyed Alternate Reality Games (ARG) that tie in with major media releases, whether it is a new movie, tv show, video game, or even a studio album (Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero). My best attempt at describing these experiences is to call them “chaotic interactive narration”. Instead of using a standard chronologically unified story or game outline, clues and challenges are strewn across a number of media platforms (websites, videos, real-life locations, etc…) which has players ending up collaborating with others across the country, if not the world, in order to reveal the complete story and beat the “game”. These games provide a deeper look into the mythos of a film/game/tv show and I have always emerged highly entertained. If you have not participated in an ARG, I would highly recommend doing so.

There are a few characteristics that are mostly found in all ARGs. First off is the initial bait, or rabbit hole, that gets players interested. More often than not this is done through a website, which is usually hinted at in a video or ad. Next is a partial basis in reality. There’s no need to role-play or create a character in order to participate. Some examples from past ARGs are gathering information at a specific location or solving a puzzle using real-world knowledge. Portions of the game have been found in the most random of places; from dozens of custom “underground” websites, to in-person conversations, and even deciphering clues in hex code. Another shared characteristic is the lack of standard marketing tactics. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a marketing company openly state their involvement with an ARG or attempt to directly push the game at a target demographic. Instead, it usually spreads via social media and word of mouth, eventually encompassing a larger demographic than what would be initially targeted.

One of the primary characteristics of an ARG is the “this is not a game” mentality, which is uniquely shared by both the game’s creators and the players themselves. The ARG coordinators (sometimes referred to as “puppetmasters” or “PMs”) never directly interact with players. Instead, they utilize in-game characters and/or clues to help…or hinder…player progression. Due to this lack of direct contact or set direction, players will band together online to share resources, which ends up creating a “hive mind” of sorts. Even with these expanded resources, there is a chance that parts of the game/story may not be found, which can significantly alter the game. ARG designers keep this in mind by intentionally leaving “white space” in the story so they can adapt it to incorporate the players’ content.

While sites like ARGN and Unfiction can more extensively portray past and current ARGs, I will point out a few that I enjoyed participating in.


Prepare for MLP:FiM Season 3 with your own custom pony


With the start of Season 3 right around the corner, what better way than to create your own custom pony!

Created by General Zoi, this custom pony generator allows for you to not only select color and mane/tail styles, but also body size, pose, accessories, and even background. Plus, you can upload your own custom cutie mark as the final touch to your creation. While there are a number of custom pony generators out there, this one is the most detailed that I’ve come across.

Be sure to post links to your creations in the comments!


OtakuLife’s coverage of the Madoka movie screenings


Jason went to talk to fans eagerly waiting in line to see the double feature, and had a change to talk to Mr. Hideki ‘Henry’ Goto, President of Aniplex of America, about bringing these movies stateside, plus what to expect from the company this holiday season.

Jason’s review of Puella Magi Madoka Magica movies 1 & 2 [UPDATE: video]


There is a nearly-inevitable announcement at the conclusion of all popular anime series: a movie. The majority of these films consist of one of two formats: a continuation/off-shoot/re-imagining of the series’ storyline, or essentially a “clip show,” consisting of a small amount of new animation (read: fan-service) that vaguely segues between several popular scenes from the series.

Also inevitable are the hundreds of forum arguments between fans about a movie’s quality or relevance to their beloved series. Regardless of these opinions, in the end, the movie itself is generally created for a single purpose: to squeeze the last remaining bit of money from the fandom before the studio moves on to its next project.

That being said, the first two (out of 3 announced) movies from the Puella Magi Madoka Magica franchise are an entertaining and well-edited re-cap of the 12-episode TV series. Those looking for a new story will be disappointed. It’s still about a group of ordinary middle-school students who are offered the chance to become “magical girls” and are faced with the vicious consequences of their decisions.

With only about an hour’s difference in run-time between the TV series and the 2 movies (TV: 276 minutes, OP/ED omitted. Movies 1 & 2: 239 minutes), there was a understandable worry that Aniplex and studio SHAFT would take the aforementioned “clip show” route. Thankfully, that worry can be put to rest…


The Iron Man 3 trailer is finally here!


After teasing us with new posters and 2 teaser trailers (never thought I’d see a trailer for a trailer), the first official trailer for Iron Man 3 has been released (check it out after the break). All I can say after watching it is, damn, Stark gets messed up.

In this third outing, Tony Stark/Iron Man is pitted against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

Looks like we’re in for yet another “death and rebirth from the ashes” story. At least we can hope for some epic action scenes and wishfully-realistic tech. (I’ll work on a breakdown of what we already know about the movie in a future article.)

I will give props to Disney for one thing, the trailer doesn’t lay out the entire story-line. Viewers actually have something to look forward to. If Disney can keep up the excitement and hype for the film without basically showing all the plot points during the trailers, it will get a helluva lot more people in theaters.


Funny but realistic checklist for Apple’s iPad Mini event


Apple’s events used to have a sense of wonder surrounding them. This is partly due to the company’s security policies, and also to Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field. Nowadays, with Apple’s asian manufacturing partners leaking news left, right, and center, these events have lost some of that excitement. Regardless of this fact, they are still enjoyable to watch, if anything to watch the Apple fanboys swoon over the latest iDevices (myself included, though I’m always too broke to partake in purchasing said products).

In order to prep yourself for Apple latest event, which is rumored/expected to include announcements about the iPad Mini, a Retina-display 13″ MacBook Pro, and new iMac/Mac Mini models, Joy of Tech created this handy checklist (seen after the break).

The Apple event will be held today at 10am PST/1pm EST at the California Center in San Jose. No official live-stream is available, but many popular sites will be live-blogging (I recommend watching TWiT for event coverage).


Monster Roll: Sushi Chefs vs. Giant Sea Monsters


Giant Sea Monsters have come ashore to destroy humanity, and the only ones who can stop them are…sushi chefs.

I love zany, off-the-wall kaiju movies. They are just so ridiculous and fun. Director Dan Blank feels the same way, which is why he created a 6-min proof-of-concept video, titled “Monster Roll”. (You can watch it after the break)

In an email interview with Wired, Blank stated “the combination of sushi chefs, sea monsters and strip malls just seemed like a clear movie premise, and one I desperately wanted to see. I thought there could be a good balance of this ridiculous premise mixed with strong environmental themes and interesting characters, so I started to take this whole comedy very seriously.”

During production, it is no surprise that Blank had no problem finding people who wanted to help with the production. People want to see these kinds of movies again. We don’t need a big-budget flick that turns sci-fi and fantasy into something dull and gritty. Why does everything in movies nowadays have to be based in reality? Screw realism, I just want to laugh and enjoy the spectacle. (Don’t get me started on how Hollywood has bastardized the kaiju genre as a whole.)

I’m hoping that this short film gets a lot of buzz around the industry and is picked up for a feature-length version. I would love to see this in theaters, wouldn’t you?