Friday, September 28, 2012

Comics this week

Justice League Dark #0- Much like Earth 2 #0, writer Jeff Lemire used Justice League Dark #0 as a way to introduce the main villain of the series. The story starts with a young John Constantine landing in New York and getting a mentor of sorts. It’s a pretty good look at Constantine and his journey from novice to magical SOB. His relationship with Zatanna was also touched on, though I have to say the love triangle was almost too obvious. Still, this is one of the better #0 issue I read so far.

I, Vampire #0- One thing about the art of Andrea Sorrentino is how eerie and dark it is. In #0, writer Joshua Hale Fialkov gave her the perfect script to pump it up to 100. This is an origin story of how Andrew Bennett became a vampire and the intense art of Sorrentino fit it beautifully. The scene when Bennett first awoke as a vampire was horrifyingly chillingly intense and even though you know how the story will end, the art never allow you to leave to issue. One of the best issues you will find this week, this month, this year! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Where’s the corruption? That’s the question Singaporeans are asking regarding the corruption trial of former Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) chief Ng Boon Gay. Three days into the trial of the former top civil servant and confusion is reining throughout the case. I (like most people I know) have been following the case closely via reports and I have to say I am at a loss at the prosecution case.

First off, the prosecutor says Ng is guilty of obtaining sexual gratification from Cecilia Sue in return for furthering the business interests of her then employers Oracle Corporation Singapore and Hitachi Data Systems. Then, at the same time, they agreed that Ng did not put any pressure on the committee who recommended the companies to the CNB.

In its opening statement, the prosecution said that while Ng had at no time influenced or was directly involved in the process of awarding two separate IT contracts worth S$320,000 related to a project Sue was working on, Ng was still guilty because he had "ultimate sign-off approval" on any vendor deals worth up to S$1 million.

Maybe it’s because I’m not a lawyer but how can those statements be correct at the same time? I mean if the case against Ng was that he got sex from Cecilia Sue in return for favors, surely he must had pressured or influenced the committee to pick the company Sue was working for right? I mean if the alleged trysts between Ng and Sue did not lead to Ng using his influence, doesn’t that destroy the prosecution case from the get-go?

Also why didn’t they prepare Cecilia Sue better? She was the star prosecution witness and she had to admit during cross-examination by defence counsel Tan Chee Meng that she has changed her story since her initial statement to the police.I sincerely hope the prosecution is saving arrows in its quiver (it's only 3 days) because if this is the best they got, they are in big trouble. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Should I; Shouldn't I?

I have never truly played World of Warcraft (WoW). I know it’s a strange thing for a gamer who plays MMORPG to say but it’s true.

I never got on the game when it first came out and frankly none of the expansions WoW had since then made me want to change my mind. The only time I played WoW was on the free trial offer they have. Playing the first 20 levels for free, I can tell it’s a good game but I always felt it’s not that great to make me part with over $100 to get the whole game with all the expansions.

Then came Mists of Pandaria!

Blizzard scored a coup with the launch of World of Warcraft's latest expansion. It’s the first expansion they have that makes me want to try the whole game! So tell me people; should I try it?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Why The Surprise?

It is said that John Terry is English football's most hated son and there’s good reason for that. Despite been the captain of the English national team, Terry had displayed a series of shocking behavior throughout his career, not least of which was having an infamous affair with the girlfriend of his best friend and teammate Wayne Bridge.  
So you would think most people in England would be happy when he announced his international retirement from the England squad right? Not so! Terry has quit international play as he had been ordered to face a disciplinary hearing related to allegations of racist abuse directed at another player last season. Last season, he had a verbal clash with Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand where both parties traded insults. Amazingly (at least to me), the incident became a court case and a British court had to clear Terry of criminal charges. However the English F.A (Football Association), under public pressure, ordered Terry to face a disciplinary hearing on the incident.
Terry had decided that enough is enough and walked out of the England team.
I’m no fan of John Terry but how can anyone be seriously surprised by him walking out? The incident with Anton Ferdinand was a small issue (people trade terrible insults on the field all the time), he had been cleared by an English court but Terry still has to face a F.A hearing.
Who the hell would continue to play for the national team after that? If the England captaincy wasn’t such a prestigious post for a footballer, he would have walked out long ago. So not only should people not be surprised, they (that means you English F.A) should have expected this.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Singapore GP Till 2017

As Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won the latest Singapore Grand Prix last night, the bigger news at the Formula One pits is the deal Singapore scored to host the F1 grand prix for another five years.

The deal till 2017 is bad news to retailers in the Marina Bay area as every year, business in the area slow to a crawl due the road closure for the F1 race. In response to the outcry, the Singapore government has already indicated that it will try to come up with some promotion to help drum up business in the area during the F1 period.

They can forget it.

As a Singaporean who works near the Marina Bay area, I can easily tell you any plan or promotion will be a futile one. Every year when the F1 comes to town, I make it a point to avoid the area like a plague and I’m not the only one. It’s not just the road closure; there are diversions for pedestrians, armed police officers, and construction for the race everywhere. That is just not an environment for a nice shopping experience.

So save your money and forgot about doing any promotions for the area during F1. That is just not going to work. What I think the government should do is to give rebates to the business in the area for the loss of income. That will help them a lot more than a useless promotion. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

About Time

Google has just reported that the anti-Islamic “Innocence of Muslims” is now blocked in Singapore. Google says that after a request from the Singapore government, Youtube will no longer be showing the “film” to viewers in Singapore.

I am shocked! Shocked I say! Shocked…that it took so long for the Singapore government to get this request! What was the Ministry of Home Affairs doing?

I mean this “film” is causing violent protests across the Muslim world, very understandably in my view, so I am shocked that the Singapore government waited till now to get Google to block the “film”. For all the reminders of the racial riots in the 1960s, I would think the Singapore government would go the extra mile on blocking a “film” that portray the Prophet Mohammed having sex with a 7 year old.

So “YES”; if you are wondering, I fully support the Singapore government’s decision to stop, block, and censor the garbage that is “Innocence of Muslims”.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Comics this week

Artifacts #21- After a few issues, the character of Dr. Rachel Harrison has slowly come into her own. Not only that but we also get to get a glimpse of what the Heartstone could actually do. I like the more mystical ability of the stone and I like the idea writer Ron Marz has to differentiate the powers of the various 13 artifacts. I can’t argue that the "Phantoms Of The Heart" arc is pretty slow but as a character story, this one is a winner.

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #0- Of all the #0 so far, this one makes the most sense. After the destruction of the team in the last issue, this truly is a #0 as Kyle Rayner go through the motion of creating a new team to take on The Guardians. Not sure about Carol Ferris new uniform but I have no problem with her replacing Fatality as the Star Sapphire on the team. The about change of the Zamorans was interesting. Last I checked, their Queen sacrifice herself to keep the Star Sapphires going so I’m interested to know what changed their mind. A pretty solid issue whose numbering exactly made a lot of sense.

Justice League #0- I’m not sold on the Shazam back-ups in Justice League. Writer Geoff Johns’ has made a Billy Batson who is basically a young punk. I have no problem with that. The problem is I fail to see how Shazam affect the current Justice League series! This issue does not change that. The Pandora back-up feature also has the same problem. I just don’t see why either character is in a Justice League book outside the fact that they are in Justice League of Americawhich is a totally different book. This should be a Justice League of America #0, not a Justice League #0.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why Wait Till 2014?

Weeks after American forces in Afghanistan stopped joint training exercise with Afghan security forces, NATO has just decided to “scale back” joint operations with Afghan security forces as well. This came after a series of insider attacks by Afghan security forces personnel against NATO and American troops.

Now I can understand why the decision was made, such "insider" attacks by the Taliban have killed 51 NATO soldiers this year, but if this is the decision made then NATO and America should go all the way and pull out of the country immediately. American and NATO troops are going to be gone by the end of 2014 and the only reason they are still in Afghanistan is to train the Afghan security forces to take over when they pull out.

You can call it a delay, a suspension or whatever, but the current strategy of the Americans and NATO is to train an Afghan army to fight the Taliban after 2014. If neither the Americans nor NATO is going to do that, then why bother to wait till 2014 before pulling out? Do the pullout now and get it over with. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

$60 Haircut

Recently 39-year-old sales manager Serene Ong filed a police complaint after a Unity Primary School teacher cut her child’s hair for being too long. The mother is now at the centre of a row as Education Minister Heng Swee Keat has cited Madam Ong as an example of a demanding parent.

Some Singaporeans agree with the minister while others disagree with the action of the school. Now I never understood the need to cut student’s hair because in no way whatsoever do I believe a haircut will install discipline in a student but I think in the midst of the midst of all the argument; everyone has missed the big point of this story.

The school cut the hair and destroyed a $60 haircut!

Mdm Ong’s boy has a $60 haircut! Seriously, I remember when I was that age and my haircut cost way less than $10.  And this 12 year old boy has a $60 haircut? Is the kid a budding movie star or something?

Forget about questions on the right of schools to cut the hair of its students; the demanding overbearing parents of Singapore; this is the big question. Should a 12 year old boy have a $60 haircut in the first place?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Change the Setup

Recently, Singapore national coach Radojko Avramovic publicly criticized the state of Singapore football. Most stingingly, he complained that the local S-League clubs had failed to produce enough young talent for the Singapore national team.

Since then, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) had step up to deflect, defend and “clarify” the statements of the national coach. There’s only one problem with that; most Singaporeans agree with Avramovic.

The S-League has been poor in recent years and there isn’t enough young talent being produced for the Singapore national team. I too agree with Avramovic but the thing is I won’t blame the clubs for the lack of talent coming through.

The problem I see is that in the S-League, there is the Young Lions (the national youth team), Home United and SAFRA (uniform groups) all playing in it. Anytime the clubs produced a good young player, the player will either be called up to play for the Young Lions or will have to play for Home United or SAFRA once they enter national service.

I can fully understand where the clubs are coming from. The clubs in the S-League has no reason to produce young talent for the future. In fact, in the current setup, they have a reason NOT to produce young talent for the future. Why should they spend time, money and effort to produce these young players if they can’t use the players themselves? Not only that, these players would be playing against the clubs in the S-League!

So what the FAS need to do now is to worry less about Avramovic’s statement and more about how to change the current S-League setup. As it is now, unless you give incentives to the clubs to produce young players, things are just not going to change. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

In Line For A Return

Opposition politician Chee Soon Juan is now in line for a return to politics after coming to an agreement with former Prime Ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong on his compensation to the duo due to defamation suits in 2001.

Mr. Chee, who is the secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), lost defamation suits to both Mr. Lee and Mr. Goh in 2001 and was to pay S$200,000 and S$300,000 in damages respectively to the duo. Unable to make the payment, Mr. Chee was declared a bankrupt in 2006 and was unable to stand for the General Elections (GE) last year.

The 2 former PMs have now agreed to accept a $30,000 payment from Mr. Chee to settle his debts and get out of bankruptcy. Once Mr. Chee pays off the S$30,000, his bankruptcy will be officially annulled and he would be in line to return to politics in the next GE.

I’m not sure that’s such a good idea for the opposition.

Mr. Chee was unable to contest in the 2011 GE but as leader of the SDP, he was in charge of the logistics of the SDP campaign and he did a great job. Even though he was not up for election, as the leader of the SDP, Mr. Chee had a great influence in GE 2011. He kept everyone in the SDP on message and the SDP got a 13.53% increase of votes in wards they contested in. Also, as he was not in the election, the PAP could not attack him for being a leftist.

So based on what happened last year, Mr. Chee is (surprisingly) more effective in the background than on the frontlines. Even though he was not up for a seat, Mr. Chee had more influence and success in the GE last year then he ever had in the past. I think that is why Mr. Lee and Mr. Goh agreed to settle the suit 10 times below what they were entitled to. They (and the PAP) want Mr. Chee to contest in the next elections.

Friday, September 14, 2012

How America Lost Libya

As reports continue to come in regarding the death of Chris Stevens, the late U.S. ambassador to Libya, one thing I believe should be very clear. This was no accident. The attacks were organized.

Ambassador Stevens and 3 other Americans were killed when gunmen attacked the fortified U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Now everyone knows Benghazi was the main city of the Libyan rebels that toppled Muammar Gaddafi last year. Backed by Western air-forces, the rebels took the Libyan capital of Tripoli and killed Muammar Gaddafi.

Right now the attackers are blamed as part of a mob. I don’t believe it for a second.

The U.S. consulate was attacked by men using guns, mortars and grenades. Not that unusual in Libya right now, but the attackers had a plan to ambush rescuers as they tried to save survivors in the consulate. Also it came on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. I am not a man that cares much about coincidences.

The main problem is that America only itself to blame for this mess. The whole time the Libyan uprising was in effect, America, UK, France and their allies in NATO were warned by Russia and China (mostly Russia) that extremists will use the uprising to gain power in Libya. Russian and Chinese warnings were ignored (much like what’s happening now in Syria) and now the world is paying the price.

Also things are not going to get better in the short term. America is now moving their people from Benghazi to Tripoli but this is a useless move as they might be in even more danger in Tripoli. Tripoli was the powerbase of Gaddafi, the man America helped ousted! His supporters are not going to go to bat for Americans.

In short, the Russian were right. Libyan extremists have used the Libyan uprising to gain power in the country and America is now almost without friends in Libya.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Comics this week

Demon Knights #0- Leaving behind the cliffhanger of the last issue, this zero issue surprisingly spotlight a character who is NOT among the Demon Knights. The character of Merlin looms large in the series and writer Paul Cornell gives his take on the famous magician. He also expand the story of Etrigan and Jason Blood. All in all, this was not a bad issue. There were a few interesting revelations while the character sheet at the end hinted that the overall plan of the Demon Knights might still be in effect in the modern day New 52. However even Cornell’s writing cannot change the fundamental problem of the zero issue concept. It has nothing to do with the regular story and the cliffhanger from the last issue was left…hanging.

Harbinger #4- Okay, I am now officially worried. By itself, there’s nothing wrong with this reboot by Joshua Dysart and Khari Evans. The art and story are solid but the problem with it is that it’s now something new. The old Harbringer has Peter Stanchek being recruited into Harbringer, rebelling against Toyo Harada, and then leading a force against Harada. That is exactly what is happening now in this series. Just like the recently released “The Amazing Spiderman” movie, it wasn’t a bad movie but there is a sense of “been there, done that” when I was seeing it. That’s the problem currently facing this series. Hopefully things will change quickly or this series will be in trouble.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Estate vs AXA

On 12th May, a tragic accident involving a taxi and a Ferrari occurred at a junction along Rochor Road. The accident resulted in the deaths of the Singaporean taxi driver, his Japanese passenger and the Chinese national, Mr. Ma Chi, who was driving the Ferrari.

The accident caused anger in Singapore as Mr. Ma was driving at 150km/hr (speed limit there was 60), and he beat a red light at the junction. Since then, Mr. Ma’s family has been locked in a struggle with the insurance company, AXA Insurance, on the payout of Mr. Ma’s insurance.

AXA is now going to court to avoid paying Mr. Ma’s family, and they are also trying to get money from the family to pay the families of the Singaporean taxi driver and his Japanese passenger. Now a lot of Singaporeans are seemingly applauding this move as it had been reported that Mr. Ma left his wife and two children over $8.1 million. “Serve them right” seem to be the prime feeling right now. 

I will ask the Singaporeans clapping their hands to be very, very careful about what they wish for. This is because if the insurance company wins their case in the high court, you can basically tear up every motor insurance policy in Singapore.

If you look at the case AXA put forward, you will see that they are not arguing the fact that this was an accident. No, their argument is that; although this was an accident, I do not have to pay you because you were at fault for the accident. Not only that, I can take money from your estate to pay the other victims of the accident.

Before you start arguing, just think about this. If the insurance company wins this, what’s to stop them to applying this “test case” to everyone in Singapore? If AXA win this case, this ruling could be applied to everyone in Singapore because every insurance company in Singapore will be looking at this case to see how it can be applied for them! In any accident, there is usually one party that’s at fault. If AXA win the case, doesn’t this means in every accident you get into, you only got a 50-50 chance of getting any payout from your insurance company?

Reckless or not, Mr. Ma Chi had a valid insurance policy and AXA is not only trying not to pay; they are trying to get money from his estate! Think about that, and think about the consequences for all Singaporeans if they win their case, before you clap your hands.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dragon Age 2

Dragon Age 2 is the sequel to the epic 2009 game, Dragon Age.: Origins. Made by Bioware, Dragon Age: Origins was a critically acclaimed game that was well-loved by gamers.

I’m not one of them.

I thought Dragon Age: Origins was good but I didn’t find it to be “that good” and maybe that’s why I took my time before getting Dragon Age 2. Not helping was the fact that Dragon Age 2 is considered one of the more controversial role-playing games of recent time. People complaining of the game’s narrative, story structure and gameplay had been vocal.

Dragon Age 2 has you in the character of Hawke, a refugee from Lothering. If you recall, Lothering was a town that was destroyed early in the original Dragon Age game and as you escaped the destruction of your home with your family, you will land in Kirkwall. In a fight for survival in a chaotic world, you must gather allies, fame and fortune to eventually be a Champion of Kirkwall.

I might get in trouble for saying this but after playing the game, I can honestly say I think the complaints are overblown. In a way, I can understand it. The story is told by Varric, a dwarf companion of Hawke, some time after the story had ended. As the story was about Hawke’s rise to power in Kirkwall, the geography is strictly in the city of Kirkwall and its surrounding regions. Also at the end of the story, Hawke didn’t save the world but arguably made things worse with his actions.

In short, Dragon Age 2 is a game that takes chances. It tried to take the unconventional route. And I enjoyed it for it!

I can understand why some people dislike it. The narrative of the story sort of limit the excitement and things can get tiring after the 10th you go up Sundermount, but the way the story is structured, it make perfect sense why you are around Kirkwall.

Dragon Age 2 is not for everyone, that I have to agree, but for gamers who are tired of run-of-the-mill role-playing game, this is a game you want to try out. It’s not perfect but Dragon Age 2 certainly tired to attempts something different. And for that, it’s a game worth playing.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Still Rising

It’s finally here! The fabled $1 million mark! News broke that a Housing and Development Board (HDB) executive maisonette in Bishan had been sold for $980,000. This sale is another example of the failure of the government’s cooling measures.

Already, the Singapore government is in damaged control mode with National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan coming out to say “more important is the larger picture” and ask that Singaporeans “not to be traumatized”. Alas, the problem is that the larger picture for the Singapore government is not good.

Simply put, despite their best efforts to talk the price down, concrete actions by the government have been slow in coming and housing prices in Singapore have gone up because of it. Data from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange shown that HBD housing prices have gone up 1.8% in the past 2 months. And that’s in the midst of the Singapore government’s so-called cooling measures!

When faced with these figures, Minister Khaw could only say that he’s not too worried about the month-to-month fluctuation and that’s things are better now than a year ago. Well, that may be true but a 1.8% increase is still a 1.8% increase!

When the cooling measures were first announced, Singaporeans were expecting the prices to go down. Singaporeans want the prices to go down. Right now it’s going the direct opposite direction! If that’s not failure, I don’t know what is.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Comics this week

Bloodshot #3- After the blood and guts of the first 2 issues, the story takes a detour as writer Duane Swierczynski has Bloodshot running around trying to figure out his fractured psyche. In the midst of making sense of his mind, we see the extent of the methods his former handlers are willing to go to cover up their mess. The issue was strange in that though it’s not bad, it’s also not that good. Bloodshot just seem out of character here (though to be fair, that might be deliberate by Swierczynski) and having a killer like Bloodshot taken out by a housewife and a nurse was laughable. Maybe it’s just a case of how good the first 2 issues were. The writing here was good. The art by Manuel Garcia & Arturo Lozzi were solid but #3 just didn't reach the level of #1 or #2.

Earth 2 #0- Timing is everything. With the regular series just getting into its stride, this #0 issue comes at a bad time. Not to say it’s a bad issue, the motivations and actions of Terry Sloan were interesting and although it’s hinted that his actions were more due to envy than anything else, writer James Robinson also makes a point that ultimately his actions, murderous as they were, helped the world. A villain that’s a “necessary evil” in a superhero world is not something that happened a lot so this character (and this issue) was more interesting because of it. However I can’t help but think that this issue would work better later in the series as a flashback, after Green Lantern, Flash and Hawkgirl were more settled in the series. The regular story is showing new heroes which have almost nothing to do with Sloan and this stick out sorely as the whole issue showcased Sloan, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman fighting the hordes of Apokolips. Timing is everything.

Green Lantern #0- A zero issue is as good as any I guess for writer Geoff Johns to introduce the latest Green Lantern. With the “death” of Hal Jordon in the GL annual, Simon Baz is now the latest human GL of Sector 2814. Now why does the ring keep on choosing Earthlings as GL is something that’s never explained (Hal was only the third human ever to be selected to be a GL and now there are 5 human GL alive?) but I have to give Johns credit for trying to do things differently. Baz is not only a criminal but also a suspected terrorist. In fact, he was under interrogation when the ring flew in and literally blew him out. Johns also did a good job hinting at the reactions of other heroes on the arrival of the latest GL. Good issue to set things up nicely for the immediate future; can’t ask for more in a zero issue.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Flawed Argument

Since getting into the Singapore government, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has managed to put his foot in his mouth a few times. In a way it is understandable. The man is basically a technocrat turned politician.

In another example of why some technocrats should not be politicians, the DPM has managed to do so again. Speaking at a forum at Nanyang Technological University in front of 750 university students and lecturers, the DPM argued that the Singapore government need to be involved in the running of the economy as it is needed to ensure the economic benefits goes down to all sectors of the Singapore population.

There’s only one problem with that excellent theory; Reality! 

No one can argue that the Singapore government is currently highly “involved” in the Singapore government. Government-linked companies dominate the economical landscape of the country, but does the benefits of Singapore’s growth goes to the Singapore people?

For the past few years, the answer has been a flat “NO”.

For the past few years, Singapore has a high growth rate but if you ask ordinary Singaporeans, most would say life has not gotten better. In fact, some would say it has gotten worse and they would blame the Singapore government for it.

The Singapore government’s economic and immigration policies has caused wages to be kept low, housing prices to spike and widen the rich-poor divide in the country. If the DPM want to argue that the Singapore government has to be involved in the economy for the good of the people; then quite frankly he need to make sure his government is doing a better job of it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

No Tears Expected

Housing prices in Singapore are still high. “Cooling measures” by the Singapore government has failed. And now the Singapore government is announcing that it will restrict the growth of "shoebox" private apartments in the country.

Despite conventional wisdom, most people I spoke to seem to think this is a good idea. You could think otherwise as the population in Singapore has shot up in recent years due to the government's liberal immigration policies and this has caused housing prices in land-scarce Singapore to go through the roof.

Yet despite this, Singaporeans generally has no love for “shoebox” apartments. In fact, most Singaporeans will be happy to see the back of it. A shoebox unit in Singapore is typically only about half the size of an average HDB flat and they were first built in responses to the lack of housing options in Singapore. Some Singaporeans don’t even consider them “real” flats.

So high housing prices notwithstanding, there will be no tears for the demise of “shoebox” apartments. Now maybe, property companies can get back to building “real” flats for Singaporeans!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

With Great Freedom Comes…

It must have seen like such a great idea to them at the time. Steam recently put up a service caller “Greenlight”. Basically this service allows anyone (and I do mean anyone) to upload their game idea for on Steam for community vetting.

No matter how ridiculous the idea is, Steam’s Greenlight service allows you to put it up there. It sounds like such a good idea and I admit, I had gone on Greenlight already to check on the ideas on show. However, with great freedom comes such stupidity! 

People have began to upload game ideas that are offensive. Valve (the company that runs Steam) has already announced “actions” to be taken against these game ideas but frankly I think it’s a losing battle for them.

Since Greenlight allows anyone to put up an idea, I just can’t see how Valve can take off the offensive games faster than people can put them up. There is just no way. Valve is just one company, and it is up against hundreds of thousands of people who use Steam everyday.

So unless they changed the way Greenlight is run, this is losing proposition for Valve. Of course, if they do change the way Greenlight is run, they will be admitting they got it wrong the first time! No matter how I see it, this is a no-win situation for Valve.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bye-Bye Capes

In 2004, City of Heroes was launched and became the world's first superhero MMORPG. Since then, the game has been cruising along nicely with 2 expansions as well as going free-to-play (F2P).

So it’s with some surprise to gamers when NCsoft announced that they are closing Paragon Studios due to a "realignment of company focus and publishing support". Since Paragon Studios is the company running City of Heroes, this effectively means the City of Heroes game is going to way of the dodo.

Sadly, I sort of expected this. Although the game has positive cash flow (they are still making money), it is already 8years old and problems between NCsoft and Paragon Studios have been reported for years. A few years ago, some founding members of Paragon even left the company to form their own company due to lack of support from NCsoft. Also the MMORPG industry is currently in trouble due to the lack of success of Star Wars: The Old Republic and The Secret World. Add to that, the big releases of Guild Wars 2 and the new expansion of World of Warcraft, and I can understand why NCsoft is pulling the plug on City of Heroes.

Still, it’s sad that a stable money-making game has been given the axe. So for all former players of City of Heroes; this is your last call to Paragon City!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Happy 25th Birthday!

Man, I am old! As in OLD!

I have no choice but to admit it because I can still remember the time when Street Fighter II first came to the arcade and I was looking at it wondering what the fuss was about. Well, the most famous fighting game in history just turned 25, so I am officially OLD!

It’s hard to believe but Street Fighter first came out in 1987. Of course, the franchise didn’t become a mega-hit till Street Fighter II came out but the original Street Fighter was the one that started the ball rolling. It’s amazing but till now, Street Fighter II’s controls (6 buttons, joystick movement) and gameplay (special moves, big cast of characters) are the base of almost all fighting games. That tells you how influential the game is.

Even right now when you go into an arcade, you can see people playing Street Fighter IV. So happy birthday Street Fighter!