Protocol Snow

Archive for October, 2007

Shibuya Stormtrooper

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The awesome Danny Choo posted the latest edition to his Tokyo Stormtrooper series yesterday. He went around the trendy district of Shibuya and showed off his slick moves. Definitely worth watching. I miss all the lights, I love Tokyo! Can’t wait until I can visit again.

Danny Choo tokyo stormtrooper japan

Written by Protocol Snow

October 29th, 2007 at 11:45 pm

Posted in Travel

Reconnecting

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I used to consider myself a hardcore gamer, but I’m not sure I am one anymore. Yeah, I still try to stay in touch with the industry by scanning RSS feeds and listening to podcasts while driving to and from school, but as for actual gaming… not as much as I would like.

These days, I appreciate squeezing in gaming time whenever I can, so I’m not above inputting a cheat code or two if I keep getting stuck (though I do so reluctantly). The purist in me gets sick just thinking about it, but time is more valuable now, and enjoying myself when I get a chance to play is more important than holding onto some arbitrary gaming code of honor.

I was playing through Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and was tired of conserving ammo so I typed in a code whenever I needed a boost. Not too egregious of an example. But the final level was irritating because you need to cover a lot of ground while defending a base and taking down some big enemies. Hope that wasn’t too spoilerish, but it was getting frustrating so I turned on god mode and noclip, zooming around the level like Neo and taking care of business. By that time I had gotten my fill of the game and just wanted to see the ending.

The me two years ago would be crying inside if he knew what I was up to now.

I love the weekend after a test because I have absolutely nothing to worry about and plenty of time to catch up on TV shows or play games. I spent a good four hours in Team Fortress 2 yesterday playing some absolutely thrilling matches on 2fort. Ask me what some of my all-time favorite maps are, and 2fort from the Team Fortress series and Facing Worlds from Unreal Tournament would definitely top the list.

I was playing the soldier class and was part of the attacking force on my team, which included three very proficient medics, a trio of soldiers, and a couple HWGuys and pyros. We rushed the opposing base the entire time and were so relentless that the other team was hopelessly pinned down. I don’t think they ever made a serious attempt to capture our intel because they couldn’t even leave their base. Later on, they resorted to becoming entirely defense-focused and had five engineers building sentry guns with the rest of the team acting as support.

Let me tell you, coordinating with my attack force and spontaneously figuring out ways to punch through their defenses made for some awesome “this is why I love gaming” moments. At one point, I had two medics backing me up and must have taken out at least 16 opposing structures and players in one exhilarating life before I finally succumbed. That made a serious dent in their armor, and I couldn’t help but grin when I saw a HWGuy and an accompanying medic rush past my dead body to take advantage of that run I just had and continue the assault.

It’s pretty amazing that complete strangers can work together as a functional team and be so in sync. I hope at some point, everybody gets to experience a moment when everything clicks together like that because it really is truly beautiful.

Ironically, Team Fortress Classic back in the late 90s was perhaps the game that turned me into a hardcore gamer. I was actually part of a clan and had skirmishes with other clans and all that, but more importantly, TFC was when I first started studying a game and learning nuances and strategy. The Dreamcast era was the height of my hardcore-ness since I had tons of time at my disposal to invest into gaming. Even when I worked in the industry as a gaming journalist, I don’t think I was as hardcore since covering quantity of games became the norm rather than quality time with them.

But in the midst of my Team Fortress 2 play session yesterday, I couldn’t help thinking, you know, maybe I still have it in me after all.

Written by Protocol Snow

October 28th, 2007 at 4:22 pm

Posted in Games

All the world’s a stage

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I spent the better part of yesterday shadowing a pediatric nephrologist (doctor of the kidney). It was interesting, but throughout the day I tried unsuccessfully to shake off an unsettling feeling. About two years ago, I was in a shadowing program where I followed around a bunch of doctors with an assortment of specialties to get a taste of what their jobs entailed. The goal was to observe the patient-physician relationship at work, and the experience was a reason (among many) why I was excited to apply for medical school.

You don’t actually do much when you’re shadowing; you just stand there and watch what’s going on, and the doctor discusses the case with you afterwards. But I was struck by how virtually identical that college experience was compared to yesterday. Back then I was an engineering major, months away from applying to med school. I am now a medical student and wear all the gear that identifies me as such: white coat with tie, medical center ID badge, stethoscope draped around my neck. Yet I didn’t feel any more doctor-y yesterday than I did two years ago.

In fact, I had an awkward sensation that I was an actor wearing a doctor costume. Perhaps doing some research for an upcoming audition by walking around the hospital and observing doctors in their natural habitat so that I can imitate them appropriately later. It was pretty unnerving. In two years I’ll be entering the clinics and will have the M.D. degree in four years. I still have a LOT of training ahead of me that will hopefully adequately prepare me for the real world. Because, christ, if I don’t feel like a real doctor after four years…

Written by Protocol Snow

October 18th, 2007 at 12:47 pm

Posted in School

Dead Fantasy

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Ok, if I had thought Smash Bros. Brawl was the ultimate in fan service, I hadn’t seen anything yet. Monty Oum, creator of the short film Haloid, is back with another cross-game brawl called Dead Fantasy I. No explanation needed, go check it out. The talent of people like this is just mind blowing, and it’s amazing to see how far he has improved since his first film.

(Bonus if you hated Final Fantasy X-2 and would love to see those girls get slapped around a bit).

Written by Protocol Snow

October 14th, 2007 at 10:40 am

Posted in Games

A new challenger

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Nintendo announced today that Sonic the Hedgehog will be joining the likes of Mario, Link, and Solid Snake in Smash Bros. Brawl. The novelty of seeing a Sonic game on a Nintendo console has long worn off, but this is the stuff of fantasy and fanboy dreams. It’ll be utterly surreal to pummel down Mario as Sonic.

There’s always bad news of course. The release might be delayed until 2008…

Sonic the Hedgehog Smash Brothers

Written by Protocol Snow

October 10th, 2007 at 5:07 pm

Posted in Games

A bounty of Treasure

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Wow, Nintendo announced that Sin and Punishment has been released today on the Virtual Console for Wii. S&P is of course the acclaimed Japan-only N64 shooter by one of my favorite developers, Treasure. It’s a game I’ve always wanted to play, but I never got an import N64 so I missed out. I don’t have a Wii, nor do I have any plans to buy one soon, but with this out, Samba de Amigo Wii confirmed, and Smash Bros. Brawl due in December, the Wii is starting to sound mighty appealing…

Sin and Punishment Nintendo 64 Treasure game

This was announced a while ago at Tokyo Game Show, but while I’m on the subject of Treasure, the Dreamcast classic Ikaruga will have a Xbox Live Arcade port, and there will be a new Bangai-O game for the Nintendo DS! Good stuff all around from Treasure!

Written by Protocol Snow

October 1st, 2007 at 11:13 pm

Posted in Games