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Grand Theft Childhood: What legislation SHOULD know about violence in gaming

Maila recently published a story on a house bill being passed for video game violence – and how it finally crept into Philippine congress.

House Bill 4095, initiated by ARC party-list Representative Narciso Santiago, proposes imprisonment of not more than one year or a fine not exceeding P100,000, or both, for violators.

In filing the bill, Santiago cited recent studies that revealed minors who play violent video games “are more likely to exhibit violent, asocial or aggressive behavior toward others, including other minors.”

A violent video game, he said, also depicts “human-on-human violence” in which the player “kills, seriously injures, or otherwise causes serious physical harm to a human or character with substantially human characteristics.”

My personal stand on the proposed bill? This is an outdated stigma. Do you want to know the surprising truth? The most recent study that has been conducted for video game violence is documented in Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do. Let me quote:

The surveys also found correlations (statistically significant relationships) between violent game play and some common childhood problems. Boys who played any Mature-rated game a lot had twice the risk of certain aggressive behaviors (e.g., getting into fights, beating up someone, damaging property for fun) or school problems (e.g., getting in trouble with a teacher, getting poor grades), at least once during the past year, compared to boys who played games with lower age ratings. Among girls, the risk of problems was three to four times higher for those who played violent games vs. those who played other games.

Interestingly, boys who didn’t play any video games during a typical week also had a higher risk for problems; however, there were not enough boys in this group to find statistically significant differences. Kutner and Olson stress that a one-time survey can’t show cause-and-effect (it could be that already-aggressive teens prefer violent games, for example) and that most children who play violent games do not have problems.

They also document many creative, social and emotional benefits from video game play, even games with violent content, which were used by many children to relieve stress and get out anger.

Ultimately, the authors express concern that “focusing on such easy but minor targets as violent video games causes parents, social activists and public-policy makers to ignore the much more powerful and significant causes of youth violence that have already been well established, including a range of social, behavioral, economic, biological and mental-health factors” (page 190).

Watch the video interview (Adam Sessler also did an interview with the authors at X-Play but I can’t find that particular episode on the web stream – it’s available though for download at iTunes):

I’m not a political or legislation blogger – but I AM a gamer and I’ve always found gaming – even “violent games” to be a huge source of relief when all other forms of stress relievers have failed. Studies like the aforementioned always fail to see the other end of the valley – on the number of gamers who play violent games and HAVE NOT resorted to violence to resolve an issue.

Okay let’s put this in check. The proposed bill only says that this shouldn’t be available to minors. All I’m saying is that although there are some connections to video games and violence, these are very loose ones. The correlation isn’t 1 is to 1. The book is a very good read and I highly recommend it to you if you can get your hands on a copy.

iPhone 3G unlocked and more coverage

Happy weekend folks! I have a few news items from Cellphone9, most of which are YouTube videos sent by the official AT&T video production unit on the launch and demo of the iPhone 3G:

## iPhone 3G isdelivered by mail guy and secured inside the AT&T store

## iPhone 3G unboxing by the AT&T guy, Duncan Riley and Wirelessinfo. More unboxing videos here.

## iPhone 3G is unlocked on the same day of launch by Furiousim

## iPhone 3G GPS and Maps navigation demo

## Walt Mossberg is not so amazed with the iPhone 3G

ACER launches Aspire One Ultraportable in the Philippines SRP 18,800.00

Today, ACER launched their new mid year desktops and portables with the Aspire One leading the pack. So ACER finally releases their first ultraportable and there are a lot of things to like about it. First off, a sweet Intel Atom processor under this ultraportable’s hood and a 8GB solid state drive.

One peculiar item of note is the RAM – 1GB RAM with 512MB soldered into the device and the other 512MB is expandable to 1GB giving you an odd total RAM expansion of 1.5GB. It’s odd that ACER would put a small cap to the RAM expansion capabilities as 512MB doesn’t really matter as much in cases of ultra light devices.

So we played around with it today and yeah, it’s everything an ultraportable should be (I obviously can’t give feedback on the battery life). I noticed that the Aspire One didn’t mention Bluetooth in the specs. So there you have it – three, wait, three big brand ultra portables in the Philippine market with the ASUS eee, HP Mini Note (review here!) and the ACER Aspire One. We’re waiting for the MSI Wind to come among the big players.

There are other ultra light devices out there such as the Red Fox but I honestly don’t know how these fare. Any feedback on these?

The Aspire One comes in Sapphire Blue and Seashell White.

Technical Specs
AO 110-L08b (blue)
AO 110-L08w (blue)

Intel Atom Processor N270
1.6GHz 512kb L2 Cache 533 MHz Front Side Bus
Linpus Linux Lite OS
1GB Memory (512MB on board)
8GB Solid State Drive
8.9 inch WSVGA TFT
Multi-card reader
WLAN
Webcam
Comes with notebook sleeve
89% full sized keyboard
1 Year Warranty on Parts and Labor
1 Year International Travelers Warranty

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LAGALAG: The Traveling Journal of Filipinos Project 14 months later

In May of 2007, the LAGALAG moleskine notebooks looked like this:

LAGALAG before the trip

14 months later, the notebook is FAT with stories to share from 20 Filipinos around the world.

14 months later, it landed on my doorstep via express mail and duty bound, I had to fill up two spreads. So here they are:

LAGALAG Spread 2

LAGALAG Spread 1

A tattoed military man in Japan rescues a dying man inside a car.
A writer in Cambodia loses himself in a foreign land through a painful ritual.
A former recording artist discovers new wells of creativity in Canada.
A man in the gaming industry prowls the streets of Manila in search of lost messages.

They have never met each other but they are bound to share one amazing journey around the world. They are just four of the twenty Filipinos in Lagalag, sharing one thing in common – they all take pictures.

Twenty different ways on how Filiipinos see the world.
Twenty photos. Twenty stories.
One destination. Your doorstep.

Dadaan ba sa iyo ang biyaheng Pinoy?

LAGALAG: The Traveling Journal of Filipinos Project

I interviewed Wil about Project LAGALAG back in May of 2007. This was as memories served me right, the first podcast interview I’ve ever recorded.

After finishing my two spreads I had wanted to deliver the moleskine personally to the next guy as he was based in Makati. I held back.

The novelty – the mystery of reading about the personal accounts of many other Filipinos I’ve never met seemed to be even more charming than reading it from a blog – which practically is the same thing. There really is some charm to it. The personality of the author’s penmanship, the awkward strokes on the edges of the paper, the glue and felt marker stains …

Kopi Roti Pergola, BF Homes has a blog!

Editor’s Note: Kopi Roti BF Homes is now open! You can proceed here for more details and photos.

Many reasons why I’m plugging this:

1. Kopi Roti is an excellent brand. Anybody who knows good coffee (and BREAD!!) knows Kopi Roti! And now finally, us folks from the south need not go up north to savor Kopi Roti. Their complete address is:

Unit 104 A Ground Floor,
The Pergola Lifestyle Mall Aguirre Ave,
BF Homes, Paranaque City

This is in the new promenade mall across BPI, right beside Jollibee BF and the Ruins Night Market.

2. This particular franchise is operated by my high school batchmate from PAREF Southridge ’98 (Sonny, pa-libre naman dyan!).

3. They have a blog. And this blog is rather specific to the franchise in the south. The anticipation is building as they plan to open this July. Sonny and Mike sure know how to market this thing. The anticipation begins with photos of the store under construction.

Finally construction of our Kopi Roti store started last June 26. We are estimating the construction to last only 20 days long. Our neighbor tenants in the Ground Floor Sarabia Optical, Simply Bread, Baker’s Depot, and Figaro are nearing completion in their construction and will open mid to late July. We will be opening shop before the month of July ends :D

Photo c/o www.kopirotisouth.blogspot.com

Audible Picks: That Mitchell and Webb Sound

They probably aren’t famous by name but once you watch this series of sketches, they might ring a bell:

Yeah they’re the official I’m a Mac and I’m a PC guys in the UK.

So it’s been a while since I last recommended an audiobook. As a huge fan of sketches – British sketches to be specific, who can’t ignore Mitchell and Webb? They’ve released a series of three sketches with 18 episodes (about a total of 8 hours!) titled That Mitchell and Webb Sound.

They’re extremely hilarious – if only just for the language!

One .. or a few personal stories I have for you readers

I’ve never done it – an omnibus post about a huge corporate entity – but I think it’s about time I send this one out of draft. It’s been sitting here for weeks. The reason mostly was because I had burned my fingers from the Fearless Cooking Challenge, went to Singapore for Nokia Connection and got food poisoned on the last 2 days, and then huge cramps from Lazer Tag which really made me feel like a lolo.

But anyway the fog has cleared up and I now have some time to write about my experiences with Unilever. You see, I’ve had strong epiphanies before but owe it to the timing of several Unilever events in the span of a month and you can really get immersed in the brand.

OK, here goes nothing.
(more…)

You know, it was bound to happen.

EDIT: And thus all things come to an end.

The Chikatime gang knew how to dig deep. And they did it well. Jenni knew how to fish them out – and still be very charitable (huge commendations to her). At the end of the day, it’s a battle of wits. Which is perhaps, at least in my opinion, a true reflection of the realities of publishing in the Philippines and maybe even worldwide. It may not always be about the news or the rumors, but about who has the power to seal fate. After all, we’re all human. Beyond that, we’re either heroes or just really stupid.

——–

This is a really small industry. This publishing thing.

Once you poke into it, someone is bound to be more brazen than you. It isn’t about right or wrong. For me, people are free to do whatever they want, as long as they are man (or woman enough) to face the consequences of their actions.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, as of yesterday Chikatime is down. And they’re being challenged.

Why waste time writing a hate/gossip blog? Guilty pleasures, I know, but still. I know nation building is all about conversation, but …

Gilbert Arenas in UAAP Ateneo – La Salle Game

Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas is coming to the Philippines this July 5 to 8 to endorse Adidas and make an appearance at the UAAP Ateneo-La Salle game (where both teams are conveniently sponsored by Adidas — hehe!).

Arenas has scheduled visits at various Adidas concept stores on July 6 such as Mall of Asia at 11:00 a.m., Rockwell store at 2:00 p.m., and TriNoma at 5:00 p.m. This will be followed by the Agent Zero Tour 2008 statement show at the TriNoma Activity Center where fans and sports buffs alike can have a once-in-a-lifetime experience to meet and greet Gilbert Arenas. Guests will enjoy the activities surrounding the venue and may just get lucky by winning the chance to have their Gil Zero jerseys autographed through the Agent Zero raffle promo.

Not really a basketball fan – but these shoes are hot! They actually remind me of turfs.

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Gotham Knight DVD Set

Alfred: Sir … give me your hand.

Batman: I … I can’t.

One of the best scenes I’ve ever seen from any Batman flick. This was taken from Working Through Pain, an episode from the 2008 DVD set, Gotham Knight starring Kevin Conroy as Batman / Bruce Wayne.

Batman: Gotham Knight will be available on both single and two-disc DVD editions, as well as a Blu-Ray version on July 8th, 2008.

The special features on the single-disc edition will contain an audio commentary of the film by Gregory Noveck, Dennis O’Neil and Kevin Conroy, as well as a sneak peek at the next movie of the DC Universe Original Animated Movies line: Wonder Woman.

The two-disc and Blu-Ray editions of the film will contain the above mentioned special features as well as a documentary titled Batman and Me: The Bob Kane Story, a featurette exploring Batman and the Gotham villains he faces titled A Mirror for the Bat and four episodes of Batman:The Animated Series , presented by Bruce Timm.[wiki]

You can watch the entire thing here but the original DVD set is so worth it.

LazerXtreme: Lazer Tag is Back! PEWPEWPEW

Okay, first off, do any of you remember this cartoon that used to air back in the day?

Laser Tag paled in comparison given that the selection of Saturday AM cartoons included hits like M.A.S.K., The Disney Hour, Silver Hawks, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, etc… But Laser Tag, for all intents and purposes was by itself a huge marketing campaign to sell …. Laser Tag merchandise and to convert kids to play the game (in the same way that Fred Savage’s 1989 hit, The Wizard sold Nintendo’s Power Glove and Mario Brothers 3).

So can you imagine, a few years later in the mid-90’s when Q-zar (and there was another one – Laser Quest was it?) opened in Shangri-La and Mega Mall? This was a huge mind f*ck to kids my age – we could actually play Laser Tag!!! Finally!!!

Then just like that the Lazer Tag phenomenon imploded as Q-Zar closed – perhaps because the rates were too expensive back then since this was “new technology.”

But wait. There is hope. 10 years later – today, Laser Tag is back.

Hello LazerXtreme! LazerXtreme is everything we loved about Laser Tag, and it’s back! It is located at the 4th floor of Market! Market! beside PC Express and conveniently located across Healthway.

In a nutshell, these are my observations after playing two team games:

## Laser technology is obviously so much better now as the guns are lighter and the vests are less bulky. The guns are VERY ACCURATE and you could actually see the laser beam shooting out of your phaser. I remember how inaccurate the ones at Q-Zar were.

## The playing field is very similar to Q-Zar except that it is loads bigger and the levels are more dynamic. There are a few camping spots for snipers but this doesn’t guarantee a full view of the area. You’ll be compelled to change locations often.

## Several modes of play. Each game is 15-20 minutes long. We played teams of 2 and teams of 3. Some went for the bases. But most just went for the bloodbath.

## Bases still exist and they’re still the same huge circular sensor on an odd part of the room. destroying a base gives you 2,000 points and can make or break your ranking. I honestly think bases yield too many points unless it really is an in-game objective. It’s actually more fun to run around and shoot other players than to camp the base and shoot it after it regenerates. Nonetheless, I can see where Destroy the Base can be really fun but for first timers it’s a lot more challenging to run and shoot the other organics.

## There are set call signs on your guns (mythological and comic book characters) but these can be changed for special events. I think the only reason why they didn’t do it for us was because this takes up time. Your phaser also displays the name of the guy who shot you.

## I didn’t notice any in-game marshals. Remember before when marshals had a huge light saber that could power down your outfit if you were caught running? The LazerXtreme staff is very forgiving with stuff like this (I guess, except for physical contact) as it is nearly impossible to not run or crouch. for concerned parents on their child’s safety, even though it was dark, the place is very safe as there were no sharp objects or things you could trip on.

Laser Tag is back in the Philippines thanks to LazerXtreme. Will this be another fad or will it grow into the next craze? I say the latter! Thanks to Benj for setting this up!

LazerXtreme Rates and Packages:

Games cost P170.00 on weekdays and P190.00 on weekends. It operates during mall hours. The venue also has a function room for events and team building activities.

Birthday Party Package
Weekday Rates P320.00 per head for 2 games
Weekend Rates P360.00 per head for 2 games
Birthday celebrant plays for free :)

Additional games is P150.00 for weekdays and P170.00 for weekends

The function room can be rented out for 2 and 1/2 hours for events. LazerXtreme caters as well (they have decent burritos) for P3,000 on weekdays and P6,000 on weekends (consumable).

LazerXtreme contact:
Maureen Scherrie Delantar
09194652654 / 256-6467
maureen@lazerxtreme.com.ph

Uncategorized

Watchmen the Movie: Criticizing the Character Costumes

There’s really no need to introduce Watchmen. For any fan of comics, Alan Moore’s creation is coming to the big screen in 2009. Watchmen symbolized the pinnacle of graphic novels and turned the tide for a comic book series to actually win a Hugo Award and a Time Magazine 2005 “the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.”

So the behind the scenes Flickr page is up and we have some character pegs of the costumes for Ozymandias, Rorschack, The Comedian, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre. I do want you to decide for yourself but as a fan of Moore’s original work, don’t the costumes look a bit too bad ass? Part of why I loved Watchmen was how crude and realistic everything looked. Like okay – in the original, Nite Owl looked like he was going to fall over his huge ass armored cape (and looked rather silly with the utility glasses) while Ozymandias was a perfect replica of Alexander the Great. In these pegs, Nite Owl’s costume looks too kick ass like Batman’s while Ozymandias is screaming emo.

I kinda like The Comedian’s leather armor get up (played by 300’s Leonidas!) though he’s reminding me more and more of The Punisher. I guess Rorschack’s costume is the safest – because you can’t really be too creative with an ink-blot mask and a trench coat.

Too bad ass? Or it’s just a realistic way to keep up with the times? Would love to hear your thoughts on how this novel-to-film adaptation will come to life and speculation is all we have.

On the flipside, we have another set of Watchmen character pegs you may also enjoy. :)

Diablo III, coming for real – let’s dungeon crawl!

Any Diablo player can relate to these: Remember how we used to trick the system and dupe a Ring of Jordan with our 3 1/2 floppies? Or exploit the overpowered poison damage with the Amazon until Blizzard addressed this with a patch? Or that thing with the Necromancer and Corpse Explosion?

Get Ready to Quit DoTA, because here it is, in the (rotting) flesh — Diablo III preview screenshots from Gamespot. Finally, they’re real!

Some highlights form Gamespot’s preview is quoted below, although we suggest reading the entire article for a pretty good overview of what to expect with the gameplay:

With different types of monsters on hand, it’s fortunate that the character classes in Diablo III will be just as epically powerful as you remember. The Barbarian is still a melee specialist (though not without his specialized ranged attacks).

The Witch Doctor will have control over disease, can summon pets, and can even control the minds of his or her enemies. We saw a few examples of these different approaches in the game demo: Locust Swarm is a spell that summons a nasty horde of flying locusts that can overwhelm an opponent.

Using new skills will be easier than ever in Diablo III, thanks to a new combat system and user interface that seems to put a premium on skill usage over potions. As explained during the gameplay seminar, Blizzard developers felt that potion use was too prevalent in the previous game, resulting in combat encounters that were rarely more than wars of attrition, as the user kept pounding health potions en masse.

In Diablo III, potions will still play a part of the action but their importance has been downplayed thanks to a couple of changes. The first are health globes, which drop off defeated enemies and will serve to boost the health of your character and those around you if you’re playing co-operatively. As the developers put it, the idea of enemies dropping health is one that will keep the player moving forward in the game, as opposed to trying to avoid combat.

The random scripted events sound like one of the coolest additions to the game. Each playthrough, players will encounter scenarios that are quite different from their previous trip through the game. In one area, you might see a house filled with undead enemies–along with a story about the home’s former residents.

On the other hand, we can confirm the game’s release date; it’s the same date as for all Blizzard-developed titles: “When it’s ready.”

So can’t wait. So many games, so little time! And we’re 100% sure this will have a strong online component as well.

Age of Conan: Fun times with horses

Horse + Cliff = LOLZ

Mega Man 9 RETROfitted into 8-Bit Epicness!

Mega Man 9 in 8 bit!

First off, this is an ACTUAL IN-GAME SCREENSHOT, and not a retro reference to an old Mega Man game.

This is pure epic! While everyone else is pushing the limits in turning games into cinematic-quality feature films (read: Metal Gear Solid 4), Capcom is going the other direction with Mega Man 9. The Blue Bomber is back to his 8-bit roots, a move that will either make you puke out your lunch or warm your heart. The game will be released through the online distribution networks of Wiiware, XBOX Live and PSN. In this installment, our beloved Blue Bomber will be up against the following Robot Masters:

Galaxy Man
Jewel Man
Magma Man
Hornet Man
Concrete Man
Plug Man
Tornado Man
Splash WOMAN

Yes, there’s a lady master!!

There’s a full length article with page scans to Nintendo Power August 2008 for more details on the Blue Bomber’s 9th installment (technically, not the 9th as Mega Man has had so many series iterations with Mega Man X, Mega Man Battle Network, Mega Man Zero, Mega Man ZX, and Mega Man Star Force).

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