Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Tribute to A Great Friend.

Greetings all and I am back,

Its been a long long long time since I last wrote, but its been hard times and I just could not find the words to write for the next post.

As you all may have known, Joshua and I have lost a great brother and friend to us and I thought it would be nice to just give my late good ol pal a dedicated post on the geekier side of him and what interests he had in terms of Nerdy stuff.

My dear friend Qamarul would always like to deny that he is a nerd. He would always be stating that he's got a rep to uphold. However, I reckon that despite his so-call "rep", his nerdy nature doesn't seem to go away even in Social gathering situations.

One of his distinct nerdy interest that he shared fervently with the other guys in my group was the whole Star Wars culture. While I was never really a Star wars fan as compared to the rest of my guy friends, I can safely say that that was the only one thing that we didn't really have in common. (Well, then again, there was Warhammer which was something he really never truly appreciate and would do anything to run away from :p)

(Dorkman vs Ryan, an Infamous Lightsaber Youtube Video that stood out for its effects and choreography)

Despite my lack of true fanaticism for Star Wars, I could say I was very much in love with the concept of the Jedi and their ultimate Light Saber Duels.

I could even say that it actually did help developed our friendship back in the younger years of our high school days. Back then, We'd choreograph Lightsaber fights using the wooden pole as substitute light sabers that we detached from dustpans. In doing so, we would mimic fights just like the one shown in the above YouTube video.

Aside from Star Wars, Qamarul had a great appreciation for pretty much everything that we collected or even played. While he wasn't a collector of anything, he was a "do-er", getting involved in playing nerdy board games like Battlestar Galactica, to watching epic 80s and 90s cartoons and movies like Conan the Barbarian to Transformers the Movie.

Definitely an Adama fan for sure. I can still recall him chanting Adama's name along with the rest of us for no reason whatsoever during our New Year Countdown.

It does make me smile now recalling the times when I had to keep a watchful eye for my Cheeky pal as he was always looking for loopholes or ways to play CHEAT in the game. Either that or he was unpredictable in the BSG Boardgame which made it all the more exciting.

Here we see Qamarul forced under duress to take pics of us showing off our nerdy boardgame extravaganza.

Ahh but the good ol buddy of mine never strays from being in the movement of nerdom. While he doesn't collect like how Josh Me or Weiting, he has played an influential role to the collection of nerdy stuff that I have.

Back in the days when I was just starting up my Model Kit collection in 1997, I had no idea on where to look or how to find out what war machines were modern day era and what was not. This was a time when the information super highway was still at its infancy and I had to rely on encyclopedias and the library to get what I needed to know. 5 years into my interest in all thing military and I got my 56k Modem, something made me delve even more into it.

One of the big catalyst that sped me to develop more into the Modern Military Enthusiast I am today (aside from being influenced by my Dad in the early years) was the endless playing of Battlefield 1942 with Qamarul.

Eventually, they had a mod (before Battlefield 2) that got me hooked into developing my modern military collection further. Obviously, it was the crazy experience that Qam and the rest of us shared in the game that really got me going.

Once Battlefield 2 came up, we had great bonding session burning the midnight oil and playing this game as an awesome fighting team. More often, we would play special forces where Me, Weiting, Joshua and Qamarul would be a four men team fighting insurmountable numbers of enemies to win the game in the Battlefield 2 Special Forces edition.

Those were the good old days with lots of yelling and covering each other's asses during those pressure cooker scenarios.

One of the other influential and memorable occasions that I had with Qamarul were our long debates and discussion on Warrior Culture of the ancient times. From the History of the Crusades, Knights, Saracens to the Warrior Culture of the Samurai, these were many fundamental experiences I had with him that led me to expand my mind on ancient warfare and the various culture around it.

Of which, Knights were the starting piece of my Warhammer collection if you all had no already known by now.

Qamarul had a strong sense of interest in the way of the Samurai and Bushido. This was due to the fact that he had a strong passion for the martial arts, especially Aikido. He got meinto it and it was also one of the influential things that got me interested in Japanese culture.

I can still recall the times he would be playing the theme song of the Last Samurai over and over again on his car stereo. We do joke about how it is always a White guy coming into Asian Culture and within a short span of time, emerges as the supreme hero but that is a another story for another day.

I leave off now to say tht my best bud has given me many memories. Memories I would share to my kids and grandkids of a friendship as true as it could ever be. A Nerd who enjoy the companionship of his friends and who is always there to enjoy, support and help out his fellow mates. He is a guy who never fails to uplift the spirits of all with his jokerish antics and one who has greatly touch my life.

Will sorely miss u bro,

Take care Qam.. I will see ya later..
And You will always be in my heart...


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Modern Military Update!

Hey Everyone!

It's been awhile since we last updated this blog and I will try to maintain a regular weekly/biweekly blogging schedule. I've been busy collecting stories and topics to share with you all...and I am indeed excited on the next few posts that will be up.

Battlfield 3 Out: October 25th!

Modern-military/computer gaming fans...this post is for you! You must have heard that DICE is finally rolling out Battlefield 3 in October 2011, to much anticipation and hype. This release is certainly big, especially for Battlefield fans. I played BF1942 A LOT....primarily its vanilla campaigns and the fabled mod, Modern Combat...which spawned the venerable BF2.

The trailers are pretty slick and overflows with high production values/professional editing, which tells me how much $$$ EA is pouring into areas of the game that are outside of game development itself. They recently released one that is timed with Jay-Z's "99 Problems" (and a bitch ain't one), do check it out!

As a game that comes from the "masters of modern warfare multiplayer", who promised to combine it with an engrossing single-player campaign...BF3 sure has a lot to live up to. Worried about PC requirements? Check out this website to see if your computer can run it. For me, I can barely run it on minimum requirements...and I am debating whether BF3 is worth the plunge or not.


It is interesting that the small text in the video (0.17) states that the video is in no way endorsing any of the manufacturers of the vehicles featured. Defence industry is big money and even game trailers need legal lingo. The last time I felt this excited about a video-game would probably be when Modern Warfare 2 was released about 2 years acclaim and controversy.

War Beyond Guns

All of us know that war is more than just soldiers fighting (or killing if you prefer) each other. Video games have mostly covered strictly army vs. army affairs...with some exceptions like MW2 that had civilian killing. I have to admit that I seldom think about other parties involved in a war when I play war video games, especially the civilians who flee their homes or live within battlefields themselves.

Interestingly, Tony Maniaty is a journalist who covered conflicts in East Timor and Pre-Soviet Eastern Europe...and he came up with the idea of making a training video game that had players hold a camera instead of a gun.


You play a female war correspondent, Jesse DeMarco, who follows government troops in a fictional African country that is torn by civil war (a theme sadly too common in today's world). Even if the graphics may seem "yesterday", the trailer does a pretty good job in making some chilling scenes of war. Afterall, the team is made up of media professionals, such as Robert Connelly who did a film on American journalists in East Timor. I am really interested to see how this game turns out in the end, since it gives a really different perspective on war and here's Ars Technica's article about Warco.

Lamis and her team of cluster-clearers, true heroines of Lebanon (BBC Outlook)

True heroes of the battlefield don't necessarily carry guns. I am a fan of BBC's Outlook, a radio/podcast series that covers the personal lives of people who face extraordinary struggles from all around the world. In one episode (Sep 21), they interviewed Lamis Zein, a Lebanese former school teacher who decided to do something for her war-torn country. In 2006, Israel used cluster munitions on Lebanon and a significant number of them fell onto civilian areas...and Lamis boldly decided to leave her teaching job to head an all-female bomb-clearing team organized by a NGO.

It is really touching to listen to how she chose to get involved (because of her strong belief to help the country), and the excitement + caution she experiences in clearing out clusters. Check it out here if you're interested in hearing about Lamis' extraordinary story. I highly recommend listening to it.

I am truly humbled by those who live noble lives under the shadow of war.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Warhammer: Spacemarine

Hey Everyone

Hope you all have been doing well and thanks once again for coming down to our blog! I have been busy for awhile getting settled back in the US and I am ready to rock and roll with new posts! JQ and I have taken a number of new shots of new minis during the summer, and we look forward in sharing with you all soon.

Spacemarines: Bred to kick serious butt for mankind.

Warhammer fans out there...I guess you must have heard that Warhammer: Spacemarine has finally come out! Some fans have gone so far to state that it marks a threshold moment for sci-fi gaming: the big granddaddy of the Space Marine genre is back in the scene of shooters. Warhammer fans can point out that WFB (Warhammer Fantasy Battle) and W40k (Warhammer 40k) heavily influenced related works, such as Blizzard's wildly successful Starcraft and Warcraft universes, but has a comparatively less successful penetration of the computer gaming market and remains somewhat obscure from the mainstream.

Starship Troopers: Spacemarines ala 1950.

But history has shown us that nothing is created out of a vacuum and W40k cannot claim to be the "definitive space marine maker". Interestingly, space marine as a concept first came out in the 1930s, being featured in the space opera novel Lensman by Edward Elmer "Doc" Smith, who wrote that their ranks were bolstered by inhabitants of a high-gravity planet colonized by the Dutch. I would be stating the obvious that Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers has had a massive influence on the space marine concept, such as the typical tough-guy marine attitude, orbital drops, flying into unknown threats...and of course: BUGS (or massive hoards of enemies). In fact, Starship Troopers became required reading for actors of colonial marines in the perennial classic Aliens.

Anyway, back to topic...

Relic is a gaming studio that has had much experience with the Warhammer franchise for quite some time, particularly coming out with the critically acclaimed Dawn of War series. I guess they're pretty well known to implement innovative approaches to computer game genres...such as Dawn of War focusing more on unit management than the "canon" resource gathering component.

I've played through the demo for the game, and I can say it did take me awhile to get used to the game mechanics. Even on medium I got my butt kicked a few times until I learned how to kill orks and stay healthy.

One thing I just don't get yet is: why do the orks have strong British accents???


It is comical for me to hear burly orks going "More spacemarines to kill!" or "Kill that spacemarine" in perfect good ol' Queen's English...which gave me a few good laughs. I always thought orks just said "WAAAARGGGGHHHH" and their usual compliment of mono-syllable grunts and other organic noises.

Redefining Death-From-Above...

The part I liked the most about the game is the jump-pack section, which is completely different from any previous experiences I had with computer games. You fly around in short bursts and land with a massive shockwave...either killing or stunning any foes who are too near to you. In all, Spacemarine is not a typical first person shooter and what makes it great is that it forces to to adapt to a new playing style. No longer can you hide behind cover like in CoD or even Gears of War...because Space Marines are real men and don't hide from danger heh.

Unfortunately I have a massive backlog of computer games and I might have to sit this puppy out for awhile :( If any of you have played the demo or the game do let me know! There are times when I wish I had the time to sit and game without worrying about life goals and work...part and parcel of growing up I guess :/

And let me end this post with a really funny picture of orks I spotted on the internet: