Ninety degrees from everything else

No Bag of Tricks these days, I’m on holiday. So there. Instead, something a little more personal.

Have you ever felt like the complete antithesis to what is happening around you? I have. I hate it.

Saturday we were invited to a wedding. “We” being Otaku-chan (for those not following, that’s my fiancée), as it was her cousin’s wedding, and she dragged me along. The fact that she was the one invited and said “I know about nobody there” should have been a clue. More like an omen in fact.

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Bag of Tricks: King Heinrich is dead!

He was a mean bastard, but down he went, him and his clique of skeleton warriors and bone witches. Which means I finished Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

When I bought Return to Castle Wolfenstein (RtCW), I was expecting a nice FPS, with a few puzzles here and there. I got much more.

This game has gorgeous visuals (especially when you got a Radeon 8500 and TruForm activated; brag brag brag!). Decors are highly detailed, in-game characters are quite lifelike (game-rendered cut-scenes are a bit disappointing, tho), with nice special effects, to boot.

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Bag of Tricks: Spiderman vs. Shelob

So there was a porcupine tree, frogs and princes, adventurers in Middle-Earth, Nazi Uebersoldaten and some nerd in a red and blue costume. Oh, and Mister Garibaldi, too.

Quite a packed week-end, I tell you!

Last week-end, I bought Stars Die, the latest from Porcupine Tree. “Latest” may not be the best way to describe it, as it’s a compilation of their early efforts. I don’t know how it compares to what they do now, as it’s the first Porcupine disc I get, but I kinda like it. Porcupine Tree can be labeled as progressive rock, the kind of music you never hear all the time on the Radio. The two-disc set packs a weird cross between early Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd and Ozric Tentacles. Mostly instrumental, with some pieces over ten minutes. Gotta find some more!

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Bag of Tricks: Armchair God

It’s a simple Earth-meet-Aliens story. It’s part Lord of the Rings, part Adam Warren’s Dirty Pair, with a bit of Elfquest thrown in.

It’s my world — and welcome into it!

It all started when I got into role-playing games, maybe a bit before. I had a few ideas about characters moving around a sci-fi world. I eventually put them down on paper and it became The Game.

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Bag of Tricks: Get out of my Head!

I love anime, and I love my girlfriend too. But sometimes I feel like I could yell, kill her and then hurl my DVD player out of the second-story window.

The reason: soundtrack.

Now I understand that J-Pop (that’s Japanese Pop, I believe) is not something for everyone. People dig it, my girlfriend dig it (heck, she’s one inch away — in the wrong direction — from going all karaoke during credits) and I don’t.

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Bag of Tricks: A Room Full of This

A little bit of music, a little bit of movies, a pich of animes and a few facts of life.

All this in this new selection from the Bag of Tricks.

And more…

So there was this Star Wars: Attack of the Clones review I was talking about last time. I had the whole of today to think about it and realised that everyone and his dog probably saw it already. But then, when did that ever stop me from making a fool of myself?

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I went to see Star Wars:Attack of the Clones yesterday. Bless the World Cup and sunny weather: the theater was almost empty. But you won’t get a review today, sorry. I was about to, but then I got the news that a friend’s girlfriend died early this morning. It was not a surprise but it’s …

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Bag of Tricks: Of Gods and Men

You see, I had this weird dream (is there any other kind of dreams, by the way?) about going back to my old high school and talking with a priest about my religious convictions (or, arguably, the lack thereof).

The short of it is, I believe there is a god, of sorts, I don’t belong to any religion, but I share many beliefs with a few of them.

Before going any further, there is probably some need for definitions, just so that you know how I see things.

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Bag of Tricks: Blowing up The World, Feng Shui-style

What happen when you mix a noodle-making old kung fu master, (quite literaly) cat burglar siblings, a street-savvy Hong Kong tech head, a 19th century Wiccan sorcerer, hordes of mooks, idiotic plots and Evil Lunatics?

Well, our average game of Feng Shui, of course!

Feng Shui is a table-top role-playing game, published by Atlas Games. It’s based on action movies, especially HK-style action movies. Not only the cops-vs-triads kind, but also the Eastern sword & sorcery, wuxia type, and even wilder stuff. All rolled into one.

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Bag of Tricks: Enter the Spriggan

OK, first review then, more or less. I’ll start with an anime: Spriggan (or “The Spriggan”).

I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time, salivating in front of the ADV trailer. Finally it’s here, and I’m stuck with a severe case of trailer withdrawal syndrome.

You know the feeling: you watch a trailer and think: “Wow, all this action! It must be a very cool movie…” And when you eventually watch said movie, you realise all the great action scenes were in the trailer and the rest of the movie is a lot of filler stuff and second-rate action. This is especially aggravating when you wait about one year after first watching the trailer!

Now, Spriggan left me with that kind of feeling. Not the worst offender in that category I ever encountered, but bad enough. But then, trailers have a tendency to reinforce action scene by editing the scenes in very short, MTV-clip-like fashion. This said, it’s not a bad anime; I would rate it around my top 20% (i.e. if I’ve seen 100 animes, this one is among the 20 best).

Animation is very smooth, with a bit of CGI (not always well-integrated, but OK). Quite a few neat “camera” effects (you’ll know it when you see it) and really frantic action scenes; the chase/fight inside Istambul’s market is very impressive.

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Bag of Tricks: An Intro

Okay, into the fray then. TheantixWho You Are story incited me to make the plunge and start my own blog.

That’s the easy part. The hard part is, what am I going to talk / write about?

There came the Bag of Tricks.

Those of you with AD&D flashbacks (mine are quite painful, but I’ll get into that in a later entry…) will remember the Bag of Tricks; Nethack has it, too. It was a magic sack, from which you could get about anything.

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