Tuesday, 30 April 2013

BLOG -- Recap of April

So April was a crazy month for me. Strangely, though, I was very focused, determined to finish the video game-related New Year's Resolution. After that, Work just took me by storm and now I'm crazy busy again. (haha, I need a vacation).

Anywho, if you are curious about my thoughts on anything, as always, please go ahead and ask. :)

Outings/Events in April:
- I got a new phone! The model is Samsung Galaxy S II LTE. It's my first smartphone, weeee!

- Celebrated my sister's birthday.

- Hung out with friends x6 (3 was the Monday ritual meetup with one friend).

- Downloaded my first apps for my new smartphone.

- Had Lunch with my team-mates and boss (my boss is so cool).

Yeah... I did barely anything this month.

- (food) Pizzaburger -- There was too much burger and not enough pizza.

- (person) Ryan Higa -- I blame my sister for exposing me to him, but Ryan Higa is a youtubber whom I find to be funny, ridiculous, and also kinda heartfelt (his "Draw My Life" video really spoke to me). Anywho, I am quite addicted to his videos, and I like his voice and his train of thinking. It was also from watching his videos that I learned the saying "YOLO" (I've never seen it before, lol).

- (band) The National -- I was first exposed to The National by Warm Bodies (everything good comes out of Warm Bodies). One of their songs was featured in the movie and my co-worker shared some albums with me and I liked what I heard.

- (app) Boyfriend Maker -- This is one of the apps I installed on my smartphone, and it's kinda ridiculous. You pretty much just have conversations with your "boyfriend", sending him a message. Then he'll respond back, either making sense, or making none at all. You can also go on dates and customize him, but I haven't done any of that yet. I also haven't had ridiculous conversations with him yet -- I'm just being "sweet" right now.

Yeah... I didn't get exposed to much this month.

- (Movie): Trance -- This is a trippy movie with a really good soundtrack.

- (Movie): Another Earth -- This was... meh. I have absolutely no sympathy for the main character.

- (Movie): The Game -- This was interesting, but made me uncomfortable through most of it. No idea if I would ever watch it again.

- (Movie): Zoolander -- I watched this to see if I should still keep it in my collection. It passed.

- (Movie): Final Destination -- Ditto here, too. Despite the horrible ratings, of the first 3 movies, I still find this one the best -- the most "natural" for Death being the culprit.

- (Movie): Final Destination 2 -- This one passed as well. I find that it's hard to keep the first movie and not keep the sequel that's so closely related to it.

- (Movie): Saw -- After watching this again... I now see that there is tons of yelling and screaming in the movie.

- (PS3): One Piece: Pirate Warriors -- I love this game. One Piece is the best! <3

- (PSN): Sound Shapes -- This is a really neat rhythm game. I totally enjoyed the "The Corporeal" album; awesome graphics and awesome music.

- (PSP): Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble -- This game is fun and hilarious. I'll probably play it again one day.

- Nothing this time.

Playing (not all at once):
- (PS3): Folklore 
- (PS3): Borderlands 2
- (DS): Legacy of Ys: Book I & II
- (DS): Contact
- (PSP): Persona 
- (Wii): Fortune Street 
- (PS2): Ape Escape 3
- (PS2): Atelier Iris 2
- (PC): King's Bounty: The Legend

- (Anime): Yu Yu Hakusho 
- (Anime): Shakugan no Shana
- (Anime): XXXHolic
- Nothing this time.

That's it for April. The image upload function in Blogger doesn't seem to be working, so here are just a couple of videos instead:

The National -- "Conversation 16"
This is one of my favourite tracks from their High Violet album.

 Ryan Higa -- "The Most Annoying People on the Internet"
This is one of Ryan Higa's videos that I like to watch a lot. 
It's so funny and random. I probably fall under a few of those.

Thanks for reading! :)

Sunday, 28 April 2013

BLOG -- My Beef With The Idolm@ster Shiny Festa in North America... PART 2

So... I'm going to be blogging about this... again. My reason for it is this:

After my last blog, one of my friends contacted me, telling me he was in favour of Namco Bandai's choice of localizing Idolm@ster Shiny Festa on iOS (yes, I'm revealing the company -- dun dun duuuun! Well, it's not really a surprise -- anybody can find out by looking up the game anyway). Well, I responded, going into more detail about why it was the wrong choice. Then we went back and forth for a while -- sometimes my text responses were as long as six pages. And then I realized something: I could just write another blog about it, hahaha. That way, I'll have a record of it, and well, everybody else can see it, too. So... another rant we go!

By the way, we both were in agreement to the $54.99 price being a ridiculous decision by Namco, but just to fully elaborate on everything wrong with Idolm@ster Shiny Festa being released the way it is, I will go over it again.

Releasing Idolm@ster Shiny Festa on iOS
There are multiple things wrong with this decision. When I think about it, my head sometimes hurt because of everything that floats through my mind. Let me try to list it out:

-iOS is a different platform from the PSP, the original platform it was released on.
-This is released for the iOS but not for the android (or PSP digitally)
-iOS owners are not PSP owners
-iOS owners do not equal to Idolm@ster players

The main issues here revolve around fan expectations, poor public relations, accessibility, and... well... guessing Namco's motivation behind their decision, but knowing that it won't be fulfilled. And I have to say... all of these factors are inter-connected.

Being originally released on the PSP, current fans were expecting a PSP release with this game. Some could have been saving up just to buy a PSP. Some could have already purchased a PSP in anticipation to play the game. For those who already own a PSP, imagine their reaction at finding out that Idolm@ster Shiny Festa was released for the iOS -- a device that they might not already own. I'm in that group. I already own a PSP, so I was only expecting to buy the game -- not the game PLUS another device. Those who don't own a PSP was expecting to buy the game and the PSP, which isn't a surprise for them.

When I think about iOS, I think about the iPhone. I've never had plans to own an iPhone, and I definitely wouldn't make that investment just to play one game. But Idolm@ster Shiny Festa is also available for the iPad 2 (or higher) or the iPod Touch. When I think about those other two, I think of this: expensive and not really needed. The iPad 2 is costly -- end of discussion. As for the iPod Touch: I already have an MP3 player. I don't need an iPod Touch. In the end, owning an i-device is just an extra expense for me -- an extra expensive expense.

Now, I don't think fans would be so outraged as they are now if Namco handled the release of this in a more acceptable way. They could have given more notice about the decision. You know -- so the fans could at least prepare for it and have more time to get used to the idea. What kind of notice did we get? Nothing. 

They also could have -- and this is super important -- given us a reason for the decision. Why is Idolm@ster Shiny Festa released for iOS instead of the PSP? If it is because the PSP is truly dead -- and it is not digitally compatible with the PSVita (no idea if this is true) -- and releasing it on the iOS would ensure the game's longevity and reaching a wider audience -- then why not just say so? Believe it or not, fans deserve to know this kind of stuff, especially since the game is so niche (thus the fans are also niche). This kinda ties in with my next thing: Namco's motivation behind releasing Idolm@ster Shiny Festa on the iOS.

I think anybody can imagine why Namco did what they did. I mentioned my guess in the above paragraph: to ensure the game's longevity, and to reach a wider audience. While those are valid points, there are still issues with this. I think they needed to ponder a few more things before making this decision:

1. Who are we really trying to reach with this release?
2. How many current fans own an i-device?
3. How many current fans own a PSP?

I'm stressing so much about the current fanbase, because, well, since Idolm@ster Shiny Festa is a niche title, I believe that their target market has to be the current fans first -- and then i-device owners. It will be the current fans who will spread the awareness to everybody else. And I still don't believe that Namco could really be targeting anybody else (because of the horrible pricing -- will be explained later). 

Right now, these are the fans Namco is reaching:

-Fans of Idolm@ster games who own a compatible i-device

They are not reaching:

-Fans of Idolm@ster games who don't own a compatible i-device.

Here are the fans they could have reached by releasing it on the PSP:

-Every Idolm@ster fan who were planning to purchase the game from the beginning. Those who had no plans wouldn't have complained (because a release on this platform is what they expected).

Now, if they released it on the iOS, and PSP (digitally), and android, Namco would reach:

-Everybody who were planning to buy it, and those who wanted it but didn't have a PSP.

Idolm@ster Shiny Festa is $54.99
I'm not going to go into much detail for what's wrong with this. The pricetag just says it all. I mean, how many people would purchase an iOS game for $54.99? A PSP game, at most, would be $50. So $54.99 is kinda like a super-premium pricepoint. This is also why I refuse to believe that Namco is targeting anybody else besides the current fanbase. Also, purchasing it would imply support for the game and also the possibility of future games to be released on the iOS. Those who don't want to send the latter message, will definitely NOT get it.

But... do you know who would purchase this specific game for $54.99 (some with hesitation, but would still get it)? The current fanbase. You know who would tell others that this game is worth the price? The current fanbase.

Then... this goes full circle to: who are they really reaching with releasing Idolm@ster Shiny Festa on the iOS? Only part of the current fanbase. Without the PR notifications and explanation about why they decided to go this route instead of releasing it on the PSP, the other part of the current fanbase is alienated and cut off. The iOS becomes a barrier to purchasing the game -- a barrier that never had to exist in the first place! The expensive $54.99 pricepoint becomes a barrier to everybody else, deterring fanbase growth.

And this is why Namco's decision to release Idolm@ster Shiny Festa on iOS only (and for $54.99) was the wrong move. I believe that for a niche title like Idolm@ster Shiny Festa, the current fanbase has to be reached, because they will be the ones to buy the product. Sadly, if this game doesn't sell well, it could mean an ax on future Idolm@ster localizations, with them blaming it on the game instead of this thought: well, it might have sold well if we released it on a platform that reached the people who wanted to play it.

To anybody who read all this, thank you (for reading it and putting up with my rant)! Have a great week! :)

Monday, 22 April 2013

BLOG -- My Beef With The Idolm@ster Shiny Festa in North America...

Okay, so... this entry will be more of a rant. Just to warn you.

As some of you already know, I am a big fan of the video game series Idolm@ster. I've imported the first two games (Idolm@ster 1 and a spin-off) on the Xbox360, even though I don't even have a Japanese Xbox360. Then I imported one of the Idolm@ster games for the PSP. And then I imported Idolm@ster 2 for the PS3. Yeah -- I am a big fan. 

Anywho, back in December 2012, I came across an entry in Siliconera mentioning that one if its spin-off games (on the PSP), Idolm@ster Shiny Festa, was trademarked in the US. While I knew that Shiny Festa was more a rhythm game instead of the full-on idol management sim that I experienced in Idolm@ster 2, I was very excited. Finally, I'll get to play an Idolm@ster game in English!

Then... fast-forward to today. I wake up, turn on my computer, and get ready for the day. I browse through the headlines in Siliconera (it's my go-to site for video gaming news). Then I hit this article about Idolm@ster Shiny Festa being localized in North America... and anger / frustration ensues.

Why am I so pissed? Here's why:

- In Japan, Idolm@ster Shiny Festa was released for the PSP.

- In North America, Idolm@ster Shiny Festa is being released for iOS... for $54.99.

I can't even begin to fathom how or why the publishers thought this would be a good idea. In my opinion, it is definitely not a profitable move. I could go so far as to say that it's almost an insult, to believe that the fanbase would be willing to:

1) pay that much for a digital game
2) buy an i-device just to play the game (if they didn't already have one)

I just find it so... boggling. Why change the platform? Did the publisher think there wouldn't be enough revenue if it was released for the PSP? I can almost say with utmost confidence that any existing fanbase for Shiny Festa (back when it was released in Japan) would either already own a PSP or would be planning to get one. I can't really say the same thing regarding owning an i-device or intending to own. I definitely had no plans to own one.

And I REFUSE to believe for one second that the publisher could be targeting a casual market, or even a new fanbase -- not with that horrible $54.99 price tag. It's one thing to pay $54.99 for a game on a video game handheld ($54.99 is still expensive); it's another to pay $54.99 for a game on an iOS. Those who are unfamiliar with the game will stay unfamiliar, seeing its ridiculous pricepoint and not looking into it any further. Only the current fanbase is really being affected, and they are suffering. 

One way to rectify this is to release Idolm@ster Shiny Festa for PSP as well. *fingers crossed* Otherwise... it's importing time!

Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to comment. Have a good week! :)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

BLOG -- Physical Media vs. Digital Media

So, this is an old topic, and I'm sure that many have already had debates or discussions about the pros and cons for both sides. But I've been thinking about them more these days, especially since my physical collection has been kinda overflowing for a few months / years now. Here's an old pic of my room. Surprisingly, it still looks the same (just with different titles displayed).

An old pic of my room, displaying part of my collection (that's overflowing).

Physical Media
-Ownership can change hands: after buying something and realizing that you don't like it, you can possibly sell it or give it away to somebody else.

-Can be lent out: this is the pretty much the same thing as the first point.

-Expression of interest: this is a little cheesy (well, maybe not), but having a physical copy of something allows you to display it, outwardly expressing your interest. And if you're displaying some limited edition version like this crazy version of Resident Evil 6, it also expresses your degree of interest in it. (FYI, I would never buy something that expensive just to express my fandom).

-Space issues: the more you own, the less space you'll have to own anything else. At that point, you'll either end up moving to a larger space, or you'll end up selling / giving stuff that you can give up (but wish that you didn't have to).

-Wears and tears: well, this is sorta a given. Everything breaks down eventually.

Digital Media
-Removal of space issues: this is fairly straightforward. Owning digital copies of 10 different video games means 10 video games that don't need to be put up on a shelf.

-Fairly portable: I'm thinking more about e-books for this point, but it can probably be applied for almost all media. I mean, I don't think I would ever bring a PS3 over to anybody's place, so digital PS3 games won't be portable for me.

-Harder to steal: if the device is stolen, you can often re-download whatever you bought. Though if your account is hacked... well...

-Ownership is stuck to you: whatever you buy is stuck to your account; you can't sell your media, even if you don't like it.

-Device/Server-specific-dependent: to read an e-book, you'll need to use an e-book reader; to play Steam games, you'll need to be logged onto their site. Now, most physical media already requires a device / console, but not all. And if the device breaks down (like, your computer), you'll have to replace it and re-download the media all over again. For digital media that requires you to be logged onto a site, if that site is ever taken down, your ownership of that specific media will probably be gone.


So, in the whole physical media vs. digital media debate, I see benefits and cons for both sides, though I personally still lean more towards owning physical media instead of digital. The main reason for that is the ability of changing ownership. If it ever came a time where I was super broke and had to sell my media collection to get by, I could. I wouldn't be able to do that with a digital media collection. 

To me, I also find that with physical media -- I'm thinking specifically with video games here -- it is easier to raise awareness, since it is easier to lend out / sell at a cheaper price. Video games tend to be expensive for a blind buy. If it's a blind digital buy, it could also be risky. I've bought some digital games that I now regret, and can't do anything about it.

I can also see the pros with owning digital copies, especially with manga and long-running anime / TV shows. I mean, I totally want to support One Piece since it's one of my favourite anime series. But I don't want to physically own 60+ manga volumes or who knows how many DVDs (it's over 200 episodes long). I would probably have no room for anything else if I did.

So... in conclusion... I tend to prefer owning physical media because they still retain some value. I also like to display / express my fandom. But for media that would take up too much space, going digital is then my preference.

Thanks for reading! If I missed any points or anything, feel free to comment. Have a great week! :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

BLOG (PERSONAL) -- A Random Rainy Day

So, I am blogging right now, while lightning flashes every so often and thunder crackles and roars outside (yeah... my creative writing is a little rusty here). All I want to do is just brush my teeth and hop into bed, because I'd rather turn off the lights instead of letting the crazy thunderstorm do it for me (so that it's still my choice in the end). But... I gotta do my blog -- I want to, and it's a late entry. I'll try to make this short and sweet.

Now, I've blogged about this long ago elsewhere, but when I was young, I used to think that the rain was a secondary expression of myself -- that it was shedding tears that I couldn't / wouldn't shed myself. Of course, I was very young, angsty, and really naive (also really superstitious, but I won't get into that this time). I think I was trying to find something so I could view the rain in a positive light -- so I could like the rain instead of seeing it as, well, a necessary nuisance. 

Back then, whenever it rained, I wouldn't really mind walking in it. If it was my tears, then walking in it would almost seem kinda... cleansing, in a way. That things could finally be expressed.

Nowadays, I do still sometimes think that the rain could be expressing some secret sorrow of mine (whatever it may be -- I guess I'm still kinda angsty, lol). It often does seem to coincide that rainy days are days when something sad or upsetting could happen. But now, I'll avoid the rain if I could. Especially if it's pouring crazily like it is right now. Getting wet doesn't really feel cleansing anymore. I just get wet, hahaha.

Anywho, thanks for reading my blog! Have a great week! :)