Monday, October 31, 2005

New Mortal Kombat animation

Here is another animation, a battle between all stars characters of the old SNES.

Playstation 3 vs Xbox 360

Which Numbers Are Meaningful?

However, whenever you look at console technical specs, you also have to take them with a whole truckload of salt since the game console market has a long history of making a big deal out of numbers that don't really matter, or even making up numbers that have a tenuous grasp on reality. Remember the internal data precision arguments? That specification measurement became useless fairly quickly once marketing departments start adding different specification numbers together to get up into 64-bit or 128-bit range (OK, Turbografix started doing it back when we were still in the 16-bit era).

Console specifications are a lot like statistics in that you can really change perceptions by paying special attention in selecting what you measure and how you go about measuring it. Microsoft may have been the first manufacturer to announce its next-generation console, but in order to gain that advantage Microsoft also had to reveal its console specs first--giving a fat target-list for Sony's marketing team. Do you really think that Sony would have even mentioned the 51-billion-dot-product-operations per second number during the PS3 press conference if Microsoft hadn't boasted that the Xbox 360 could do 9-billion-dot-product-operations per second? What if we told you that Sony combined the CPU and GPU performance numbers to come up with the 51-billion number while Microsoft only reported its CPU performance number? The Xbox 360 actually has 33.6-billion-dot-product-operations per second if you also include GPU performance.

We're not saying to ignore specifications altogether--most of them are relevant in some way or another. And we're going to talk about the specifications that really jumped out at us at first glance. Let's start with the processor. Sony has announced that the PlayStation 3 will have a 3.2GHz Cell processor that consists of a PowerPC-based core with seven synergistic processing units. The PS3 spec-sheet says that there's an eighth SPE reserved for redundancy--whatever that means. The Xbox 360, in comparison, has a multicore PowerPC processor that has three dual-threaded cores that can handle six total threads at a time. You might be able to call the Cell's SPEs overgrown math units, but we think Sony's Cell processor wins from a brute power perspective.

Apples to Apples on Graphics?

The Xbox 360's ATI graphics core also throws a wrench into our graphics comparison since it uses a new-fangled Unified Shader Architecture that mixes up pixel- and vertex-pipelines and makes comparison to older video card technology very difficult. The Xbox 360 graphics core may have 48-pipelines, but we don't know how powerful they are compared to dedicated pixel and vertex pipelines.

The PlayStation 3 has a pretty strong Nvidia graphics processor, but you can see how Sony may be afraid of the specification sheet comparison by the pipeline number conveniently omitted from the PS3 graphics specifications. We're guessing that the RSX graphics processors has a traditional, non-unified shader engine, so it likely has a smaller total "pipeline" number than the ATI chip. Even if the RSX's normal pipelines are more powerful than the Xbox 360's pipes, Sony doesn't want to risk printing a lower "pipeline" number since people won't understand that it isn't an apples-to-apples comparison.

So how many traditional pipelines does the RSX have? Sony has revealed that the RSX GPU has a 550MHz core clock and has over 300 million transistors. Sony has also stated that the chip is more powerful than two GeForce 6800 Ultra cards put together. Your first guess might be that Nvidia simply doubled the pipeline number on the 6800 Ultra to make the RSX, but you also have to remember that the Ultra only clocked in at 400MHz. If the "double" performance measurement is based on fill-rate performance rather than hardware, the clock speed increase up to 550MHz is clear sign that the hardware improvement isn't from a pure doubling of pipelines. We're guessing that the actual pipeline count is going to be at 24, which is about right for 300 million transistors and, at 550MHz, has just a slightly larger fill-rate than two GeForce 6800 Ultras clocked at 400MHz. Since the GeForce Ultra had 6 vertex pipelines, the RSX likely has 6 more vertex pipes in addition to the 24 pixel pipelines.

Memory and Media

From a memory standpoint, both systems are roughly equal with about 512MB of memory dedicated to system and graphics. The Xbox 360 has Unified Memory Architecture that lets the CPU and GPU share the system's 512MB of memory. The PlayStation 3 on the other had has 256MB of XDR memory and 256MB of GDDR3 memory dedicated to graphics. We still have to take a closer look at the memory bandwidth differences, but game developers will be happy with the graphics bandwidth and memory space available for both systems.

The PlayStation 3 comes with an array of data storage and transfer features. Whereas the PlayStation 2 only supported a memory card and the optional hard drive attachment (for a brief time), the PlayStation 3 supports numerous forms of portable media. The PlayStation 3 has 6 USB 2.0 ports, a memory stick slot, an SD slot, and, in stark contrast to many of Sony’s other consumer electronics products, the system actually supports compact flash. Sony even saved a space for a removable 2.5” hard drive.

The Xbox 360, in comparison, doesn't have as much in the way of media support. It has two memory card slots and a handful of USB ports that are rumored to accommodate a host of devices like the iPod, USB memory sticks, and even Sony’s own PSP. However, the real power of the 360 is in its networking ability. We can't forget that Bill Gates's new system can also reach across the network to access media from local, Windows-based PCs.

Sony and Xbox took different strategies when it came to decide on an optical drives. Sony decided to use the PS3 to further its own Blu-ray format, which allows for discs that can hold about 54GB each. The Xbox 360 will support dual layer DVDs, which can hold about 9GB worth of data. Both consoles will support older media formats such as CD-ROMs, conventional DVDs, and user-created DVDs. You'll impress a lot of ladies with the Blu-ray line, but the Xbox 360's normal DVD should serve you just fine in the near future.

A/V and Networking

Sony’s PlayStation 3 provides numerous A/V output hookups. The upcoming console comes with not one but two HDMI outputs, and PlayStation 3 will be able to utilize both at the same time to output two 1080p video streams at the same time allowing for dual-screen HDTV gaming. Microsoft hasn't finalized the console AV outputs yet, but we do know that the Xbox 360 has the more practical offerings with 720p and 1080i support. Both systems process multi-channel surround sound audio in software.

Network connectivity is going to be an enormous part of the next generation of consoles since destroying your neighbor in Halo 2 is fun, but making that random stranger cry on Xbox Live is priceless. Sony’s Playstation 3 comes with a built-it Ethernet adapter, and also includes an 802.11 b/g wireless adapter. The Xbox 360 comes with a built-in Ethernet adapter, but the 802.11 a/b/g wireless adapter will cost extra.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Soul Calibur 3 (Playstation 2)

The Good
Fun, fast-paced, highly technical fighting action is built on a proven foundation; Beautiful, silky-smooth visuals during combat; Good-sized character roster featuring three brand-new fighters; Fans will appreciate inclusion of English and Japanese language tracks.

The Bad
Many of the new modes of play are awkwardly executed; Fighting action feels a little too familiar, so it's not easy to tell what's different or better; No online play.

Fans looking for more Soul Calibur will find just that in Soul Calibur III, a game that mostly just updates the look and some of the subtler aspects of play for this great series. Once you fool around with all the new modes of play, chances are you'll find yourself going back to the same old versus matches you've playing for years. And if you haven't been playing them for years, it's hard to imagine what about Soul Calibur III might convince you to take the plunge. Nevertheless, this is still one of the fastest-paced, most technical fighting games around, even if it doesn't necessarily rock the boat.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Quake 4 on XBOX 360, mini-test

The Good
Sharp single-player campaign; Some of the best graphics around; Weapon upgrades make you rethink how you use your arsenal along the way.

The Bad
Multiplayer sticks too close to Quake III's blueprint; Kind of a resource hog; Vehicle sequences are a little too basic.

Quake 4
is kind of a weird case. The single-player is great fun, but the uninspired multiplayer leaves a lot to be desired. The end result feels like two different games. The single-player has a straightforward, no-nonsense approach to it that makes a great showpiece for the Doom 3 engine, while the online portion feels like it fell out of a time warp. If you're looking for Quake III Arena's deathmatch with better graphics and much higher system requirements, this is your game. But if you're looking for some new ideas from the series that made online deathmatch a big deal in the first place, you're barking up the wrong tree.

Monday, October 24, 2005

What happens with Shenmue?

If some of you wonder why I stopped posting about Shenmue, the reason is quite simple: since Shenmue 3 is quite sure to be developped on the XBOX 360, news about the game will come after the release of the console.
So probably 'till the end of the year, no official news will filter.
Keep checking the blog for possible updates.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Cheats: Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks (Playstation2)

On the main menu, input the following key commands to unlock characters and modes from the outset.

Unlock Scorpion for Story Mode ... Hold L2 and input SQUARE, UP, L1, R1, LEFT, RIGHT, SQUARE. Release L2 to finalize the code.

Unlock Sub-Zero for Story Mode ... Hold L2 and input SQUARE, UP, DOWN, L1, L1, UP, SQUARE. Release L2 to finalize the code.

Unlock Classic MKII ... Hold L2 and input SQUARE, UP, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, R2, SQUARE. Release L2 to finalize the code.

Unlock Mortal Kombat II
Locate and clear all mini-missions issued by Smoke.

#1. Break Walls in the Soul Tombs to reveal a secret fatality. This is is an area with spikes on the ceiling and about 6 Tarkata in the room. You can see out on the far side of the room and you need to break the four center sections of the wall.

#2. Destroy a statue in Wu'Shui academy and enter the Warrior Shrine. The Warrior Shrine is at the VERY start of the Wu'Shui area.

#3. Offer 3 Sacrifices in the Sacrifice Room in Soul Tombs. You need to go through the room that doesn't have a green or red symbol above it and then do air throws to get the Tarkatas into the spiked areas.

#4. To unlock the Portal, find all Purple Portals and throw an enemy into each one. There are only 2 portals to throw mobs into. One is near the Evil Monastery and one is at the lower level near the climbing spot.

#5. To unlock the Pit II, enter the Portal and survive in the frozen peaks. After you enter the portal you just need to keep killing the guys that show up until it says you've won. We found that tossing them off the side seemed to prove quite useful and then just killing one when you need to recharge your life a bit.

Unlock Reptile
Living Forest. Go to the section after the Brotherhood Of Shadow. Long Jump across the gap with the tiny waterfall. Go through the door. Now, get the Clay Statues to come to life. Destroy their shield. You only need 1 of them. Now, get one of them over near the Giant Stone Cloumn on the other side of the stream. It's the stone column right near where you entered. Throw the Clay Statue into it! It should come crashing down. Now, return to where the little waterfall was. There is no longer a waterfall. Just a Koin that contains Reptile.

Unlock Sub-Zero
After taking the boat ride across blood lake, his VS. icon is in back of the lion looking statue to your left (facing the big door), just run along the wall and when you get to the end double jump and its yours.

Unlock Scorpion
In foundry follow the pathway downstairs to the left of the save station. Two archers will bust through the wall. Throw one at the wall to the left of the door way and it will bust open revealing a secret room full of lava and a ying yang on a ledge. Grab one of the archers and throw them in the lava. Then double jump off the guards back to claim the Scorpion ying yang for VS.

Unlock Baraka
In the soul tomb portal, got to the area where you have to wall climb. You will see 2 paths. One leads left, the other right. The right path has a statue. Use fist of ruin and break it. Keep going and use the long jump ability across the gap and you will get him.

Unlock Kitana
In the MK2 arena level (right before the portal with the two statues in front of it) in the evil monastery, You will see many pillars. Jump on one of them which is half broken and then double jump onto the roof. You will find the secret there.

Unlock Johnny Cage
In the wu-shi academy where everything is burning. Go to the very right of the gate and jump onto the roof of the house. Run to the right and jump. If you did it correctly, you will be on a new platform with a boulder blocking your way.

Hint: Kung Lao Fatalities
Fatality 3: UP, UP, UP, RIGHT, QUICK
Fatality 4: UP, UP, UP, DOWN, QUICK
Fatality 7: UP, UP, LEFT, UP, QUICK
Fatality 8: UP, DOWN, UP, RIGHT, QUICK
Brutality 1: LEFT, LEFT, UP, UP, POWER

Hint: Sub-Zero Fatalities
Multality 1: UP, UP, DOWN, UP, LAUNCH
Brutality 1: UP, DOWN, LEFT, UP, POWER

Hint: Scorpion Fatalities
Fatality 1: UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, QUICK

Hint: Reptile Fatalities (VS Mode)
Fatality 3: UP, UP, RIGHT, LEFT, QUICK

Hint: Liu-Kang Fatalities
Fatality 3: LEFT, UP, UP, RIGHT, QUICK
Mutality 1: UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN, LAUNCH

Hint: Baraka Fatalities (VS Mode)

Hint: Johnny Cage Fatalities (VS Mode)

Hint: Kitana Fatalities (VS Mode)

Hint: Fight Kano
In the dungeon area before Shao Khan's throne, you encounter Johnny Cage and Kitana in their cells (a save stone is nearby). Opt to speak to Kitana three times and an encounter with Kano will ensue.

Hint: Fight Ermac
Once inside the warriors shrine you will notice statues of the Mortal Kombat characters. Interact with the left most ninja statue three times to fight Ermac.

Hint: Fight Mileena
You need the climb and swing ability to do this, go to the living forest. in the first area, near the save poin, there are two branches near the temple like thing. Grab the first one and jump to the second and jump towards the temple. You will then grab a tree coming out of it and climb up. You will then be in a new area thats just a jaged path with putrid corpses and masked guards. at the end youll come to an area with a purple portal. You'll fight Millena and two masked guards.

Hint: Save Your Health
When a player uses a save shrine in the game, he regains a portion of his lifebar whether you actually save or not. Repeatedly press BLACK or R2 to kneel before a save shrine until you are satisified with your lifebar.

God of War mini-review

The Good
An excellent, variety-filled combat system with plenty of upgrades; Lots of challenging yet not impossible puzzles; Kratos is a highly entertaining antihero, and the story constructed for him works brilliantly; Beautiful character designs and environments are backed up by a technically excellent engine; One of the best orchestral scores we've ever heard.

The Bad
Combat can occasionally get away from you and feel a tad button-mashy; A few janky animations here and there.

God of War is simply a high-class production in every single facet of its package. From the finely balanced gameplay, to the magnificent presentation, to the great roster of unlockable extras, you can't help but be impressed by what this game has to offer. It's simply a marvelously executed experience that's fun from beginning to end, and anyone with a taste for mature content and the action adventure genre would be foolish to pass it up.

God of War is one of the best action adventure games on the PlayStation 2, and it should not be missed.

The third Mortal Kombat Movie confirmed

Moviehole made a pretty defining updating on Mortal Kombat Devastation today. They confirm a filming date, as well as a list of returning characters. They also re-confirmed the ignoring of the MK: Annihilation events. Here is an excerpt from the article:

"After many a mixed-bag of rumours, Moviehole can confirm that filming on the third film, title "Mortal Kombat : Devastation", will begin in May. Essentially skipping over the events of the second film, "Devastation" reunites the cast of the original - Christopher Lambert as Rayden, Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage, Robin Shou as Liu Kang, Chris Casamassa as Scorpion with Talisa Soto and Sandra Hess in talks to reprise their roles as Kitana and Sonya Blade, respectively - with the remaining parts being cast as we speak. The film is being dev[e]loped by Mink ["Into the Sun"] and Threshold Entertainment. The Asst.Producer is Neil James."

To see the full article, Click Here.

Here is a first look of the plot:

It seems that since the halt of Shao Kahn's invasion, stopping the merger between realms, Earth Realm's balance with the universe has been restored. But it is unclear the future of the tournament thus far. For there are many enemies still burning with hatred, possessing an unquenchable thirst for revenge. And since Kahn's invasion was not prophesized by the Elder Gods, the future of the tournament is unclear. For now our planet remains a precious gateway between realms, inhabited not by gods or sorcerers, but only by humans. Will Earth Realm be challenged again, or taken? And by whom? Sorcerers, corrupt ninja clans, or powerful being from a distant realm? One thing is certain, now that Rayden is an Elder God, it is up to me to watch over Earth Realm and lead our fighters against whomever they may face, in Mortal Kombat. Fujin - God of Wind, Protector of Earth Realm

Friday, October 21, 2005

MK Comic: Ctrl+Alt+Del - Do You Like My Hat?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Make your own Mortal Kombat animations!!!

If you are one of the many MortalKombat fans, and inf you are interested in making your own Flash animations, I found a website that gives you all that you need to fulfill your goals.
Have fun ;)

And for those of you who want to earn some cash with their blogs here is an alternative way to adsense.

Watch MK: Another Freakin' Spoof!!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Microsoft Xbox 360

Microsoft's second-generation video game console features a multicore 3.2GHz IBM PowerPC-based CPU, a custom ATI graphics chip, and multichannel surround sound. The unit has wireless controllers and offers 720p and 1080i support for all games. The system is Wi-Fi ready and has a detachable 20GB hard drive.

Overview: Microsoft Xbox 360

Basic Specs for Microsoft Xbox 360

Controller: 2.4GHz Wireless
Processor: Custom IBM PowerPC CPU
Graphics Processor: Custom ATI Processor
System Memory: 512MB UMA (Shared with GPU)
Resolution: 480p, 480i, 720p, 1080i
Integrated Communications: 802.11 A/B/G Wi-Fi ready, adapter not included
Built-in Features: Backward Compatible with Xbox (limited), Stands Vertically or Horizontally, Interchangable Face Plates, Xbox Live Service, Media Center Extender

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Great news

Exclusive: Shenmue 3 Ready for Next-Gen

Amazing revelations as Sega's mythical sequel prepares for reality on next-gen platforms. It's nothing to do with the newly announced Ryu ga Goto Ku from Toshihiro Nagoshi. It's AM2 - and it's back, with Shenmue 3.

To read the Full article click

  • here

  • And here is a supposedly video preview of Shenmue 3, dating from 2003 to see it click here.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    I challenge you...

    ... to MORTAL KOMBAT!!!
    Here is the first of the two episodes of The Real Mortal Kombat, a hilarious MK parodie. There are a lot of other parodies which you can find in The Kombat Pavillon (see the links' list).

  • The Real MK, episode 1!!
  • Anime Vocabulary

    If you're a newbie to anime, you might run across a heapin' helpin' of unfamiliar words when trying to read a review on an anime series you thought looked mighty interesting when you saw it on the shelf at your favorite store. What to do? Well, rather than force you to confront your neighborhood fanboy about it, I thought you might enjoy a little anime glossary on this blog so you don't have to sit through an hours-long lecture on why you should never refer to Macross as Robotech.

    Ai - Love. Sometimes used to express relationships of an intimate level. For example, male/male sexual situations in anime are often referred to as 'shonen ai' or 'young male love.'

    Anime - Japanese animation. Preferences will change with every group of fans you meet, but some are truly insulted by the term 'Japanimation' so it's best to just refer to it as anime. Though most guides say it's pronounced "annie-may," in Japanese it's actually "ani-meh," so doing the former in front of fluent Japanese speakers may cause some wincing and giggling. Just FYI.

    BGM - Background music.

    Bishojo - Beautiful girl.

    Bishonen - Beautiful boy.

    Con - Short for convention, it usually applies to anime conventions such as Anime Expo, Otakon, and Katsucon. This is often where anime fans meet their online friends and display their best costumes.

    Cosplay - Abbreviated word for 'costume play' that involves fans dressing up as their favorite character.

    Doujinshi - Meaning 'same-person magazine,' this term describes the vast number of fan comics usually produced by amateurs and mostly not authorized by the original artist or publisher. Many doujinshi involve characters from a popular series in pornographic situations.

    Fan Service - Ever wonder why sometimes in an anime, the characters will go to a spa and get naked or take a lengthy shower and it does nothing to do with the plot whatsoever? That's fan service for you folks, put in a show purely for the purpose of pleasing fans.

    Fansub - Anime that has been made available translated by fans. These series are usually ones that have not yet been released outside of Japan for commercial viewing.

    Hentai - Literally meaning pervert, Hentai describes the genre of anime that caters exclusively to adults in the form of pornography. However, you'll often hear it screeched by female character in Japanese-subtitled films followed by a mightly slap to the offending pervert.

    Manga - Pronounced "mahn-gah," this word is used to refer to Japanese comic books, specifically the print kind. However, it is sometimes also used as a general word for anime as well. Most anime series originate as a manga series, though there are many manga that never appear as anime.

    Mecha - Pronounced "meh-ka," this term refers most often to the genre of anime that involves giant robots, but can be used to refer to most any type of technology in anime.

    OST - Original sound track.

    Otaku - Though in Japanese, this word carries the negative connotations of 'geek,' 'nerd,' or 'obsessed fanboy,' anime fans in countries other than Japan use this term casually to refer to anime fanboys. These are the folks you see at Anime Expo that often smell not so fresh, know the exact act of the exact episode that any line of dialogue ever spoken in a certain series appeared in, and spend most of their salary on anime. Or maybe that describes you. However, the use of the word is not limited to outside of Japan; you may recall a movie from the '80's called Otaku no Video that illustrated the life of an otaku in Japan.

    OVA/OAV - Original video animation or original animation video, these terms describe the same thing--animation specifically released for home video or DVD and not for television or theatrical release. These tend to be fairly short, usually consisting of less than ten episodes and are usually of higher quality than TV series.

    SD - Stands for "Super Deformed," an art style which is usually used for purposes of self-parody and in which characters of normal proportion are drawn with large heads and little bodies, or really compact, baby-shaped figures for extra cuteness.

    Seiyuu - Japanese word for voice actor or actress.

    Shoujo (or Shojo) - Meaning 'young female,' shoujo anime and manga caters to young or teenaged girls and is characterized initially by its flowery, softer drawing style. Characters in this genre are often drawn with massive, moist eyes, lanky limbs and great hair. Themes in shoujo manga and anime typically include love, relationships, family, school, action and the supernatural.

    Shounen (or Shonen) - Literally meaning 'young male,' it usually defines a genre of anime and manga that caters specifically to young men and often includes action, martial arts, sports, and the supernatural as themes.

    Shonen Ai - See yaoi

    Yaoi - Another term for 'shonen ai' that specifically describes male/male homosexual relationships in anime or manga. Not limited to pornography, you'll often find male characters that seem very 'close' in series, and these relationships are sometimes also described as yaoi.

    Yuri - Female/female homosexual relationships in anime or manga. Again as with yaoi, these are not limited to hardcore pornography but can be used to describe the relationship between characters.

    Keep checking this article for additions! Also, if you have suggestions, please write them in the forum of the blog.

    Sunday, October 09, 2005

    Hollywood eyes New Orleans

    Hollywood eyes New Orleans

    Sound stage deal reached; studio in works

    The producers of the "Mortal Kombat" video games and movies would like to build a $150 million studio and amusement park on the banks of the Mississippi River, which would be the first of its kind anywhere, the company's chief executive said Monday.

    In a separate event, Gov. Kathleen Blanco is expected today to announce a new sound stage in New Orleans that will quadruple production space there. A group backed by Hollywood-based Sunset Gower Studios plans to build a $20 million film production complex in Algiers on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, the online publication reported Monday.

    Meanwhile, Threshold Entertainment, which is planning to film "Mortal Kombat III" in Louisiana, is interested in building out 100,000-150,000 square feet of production space that would double as a tourist attraction.

    "I believe there's an extraordinary opportunity to build a state-of-the-art production studio-slash-Hollywood theme park and training facility right in the middle of town," CEO Larry Kasanoff said.

    "There would be actual movies being made there, and an observation platform to watch.

    "It would also be a training center because you guys have an awesome tax credit but are so lacking in experienced crew base."

    The project's future would depend on how much cooperation and support Kasanoff receives from the various governing bodies on the river, which include the Port of New Orleans, city of New Orleans, and even the state, said Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, who met with Kasanoff this past weekend.

    " 'Mortal Kombat' has made $5 billion. He wants to bring a $150 million studio theme park," Landrieu said.

    "In politics, I'm always skeptical about people bearing gifts, but Kasanoff is real.

    "He is the head of an entertainment company that is very fluid and very wealthy."

    Threshold, which claims to have licenses to $100 billion in intellectual property, also builds digital theme parks around the country.

    Kasanoff is eyeing several sites, including the cleared land next to the Morial Convention Center, once slated for its Phase IV expansion. He said the company would need some kind of support from the city or state.

    "Broadly speaking, we need the state or city to help be a partner," he said.

    "We're talking millions and millions of dollars of investment in addition to the billions of tourist dollars -- this is a big project, the first of its kind in the world."

    Since Louisiana's tax credit program began in 2002, movie companies have spent $900 million, producing at least 31 major movie and television projects in the state.

    The work has come so fast that the state has struggled to supply enough experienced crew members and production space. Studios in many cases have had to fly in trained crewmen.

    "Training, training, training is the message I came back with," Landrieu said about his trip to California. "We need to show them we can actually do the work."

    Landrieu went to Hollywood to reassure industry executives and pitch the state's movie business.

    Lawmakers revised the program this session to limit eligible expenses for the tax credits to those made directly in the state. They also expanded the cap on credits.

    Depending on the movie's budget, studios now can recoup up to 25 percent of their costs.

    That also includes expenses on hiring Louisiana musicians.

    And companies can qualify for incentives for building media-related infrastructure projects.

    "When you walk into a Threshold studio, you see people sitting in front of computers making sound effects," Landrieu said.

    "The whole point is attracting pre- and post-production. With technology, you can do that here, you can do it in Austin or you can do it in Timbuktu."

    Meanwhile, the studio reported by will house five sound stages with 125,000 square feet of space, state-of-the-art digital post-production facilities, a back lot and 200,000 square feet of office space. The deal would be the first major studio in New Orleans backed by out-of-state investors since the state passed its film industry tax-incentive program.

    The University of New Orleans' Robert E. Nims Center for Entertainment Arts, which houses two sound stages that total 30,000 square feet, is booked through the year.

    The Real Mortal Kombat (parodie)

    Here is a great animation taking place in the universe of Mortal Kombat.
    You can find a lot more of these parodies in The Kombat Pavillon website, which you can find in the links list.

  • The Real Mortal Kombat
  • Saturday, October 08, 2005

    The story of Shenmue

    The year was 1986; the place, Japan. In Yamanose, a tiny village nestled deep in the low mountains and thick forests of Yokosuka, the evening quiet was disturbed only by the sound of rapid footfalls on light snow as Ryo Hazuki, an 18-year-old boy dressed casually in blue jeans and a brown jacket, ran up the hill path to his home. Well-known and liked in the neighbourhood, he was also the son of a respected martial arts master – Iwao Hazuki – who had been training him from an extremely young age.

    When he reached the front gate of his house – an imposing remnant of a time when the place had once served as a temple – he was immediately on his guard. The gate yawned open, creaking in the wind, whereas its welcome sign lay split in two upon the steps below. An expensive-looking black car, a kind of vehicle rarely seen in Yamanose or the surrounding districts, was parked nearby.

    Taking a cautious step into the yard, Ryo quickly recognized a figure lying inert on the grass. “Ine-san!”
    The elderly housekeeper stirred slightly and Ryo rushed to help her sit up. “Ryo-san, I’m all right,” she reassured him. “But Hazuki-sensei…” Ryo followed her gaze to the right of the main house, where a side path led around to the Hazuki family dojo.

    “My father?” Ryo made Ine-san as comfortable as he could, then began to make his way down the path towards the dojo. All of his senses were rigidly alert, seeking the crack of a twig or the slight disturbance in the bushes that might indicate the presence of an intruder. However, everything was unnaturally still. Suspense hung in the air, and as Ryo reached the entrance of the squat building he had the feeling that something was going to happen at any moment.

    Suddenly the doors to the dojo flew open and Masayuki Fukuhara, still dressed in his white Jujitsu training uniform, was hurled out of the doorway and onto the ground below. A live-in student of Iwao’s but accepted almost as a brother by Ryo, he was 25 years old and had been training in the family’s unique style of Jujitsu for almost ten years. Now, he was so severely injured that he could scarcely utter Ryo’s name. Ryo laid him down gently before turning around to finally enter the dojo.

    There, opposite the stocky figure of his father, stood a richly attired man whom Ryo had never seen before in his life. A snaking Chinese dragon decorated his deep-green robe, and his long hair was braided into a jet-black queue that fell at the small of his back. Although two thugs in black suits quickly moved to block Ryo’s path, the stranger ignored his presence, continuing to calmly face Iwao. One look at his father’s expression convinced Ryo that this was not a social visit.

    "Stay back, Ryo,"Iwao said firmly, keeping his eyes on the stranger as one watches a poised serpent.
    “For the last time: where is the mirror?” the man demanded, in a voice full of quiet menace.
    “I’ve no intention of telling you.” Steadfast, Iwao held himself rock-still as the stranger carefully advanced towards him; then, at some inner signal, both men flew into their stances and began to fight. Though the elder Hazuki struck out with an explosive power, it soon became clear that the two were not evenly matched: none of Iwao’s blows managed to connect with his mysterious adversary. Momentarily leaving his defences open, Iwao was soon brought down as the man quickly wheeled around to deliver a fierce roundhouse kick.

    "Father!" Ryo broke free from the blacksuits’ grip and rushed for his father’s assailant, but there was a blinding impact as a swift palm thrust sent him feet away.
    “…Now then.” The voice was calm, and betrayed no exertion whatsoever.
    “No…no matter how often you ask…I’ll never tell!” Iwao choked out.

    The man's eyes flickered over to the figure of Ryo, now helpless on the floor. Seizing him by the throat and lifting him bodily into the air, he readied the killing blow as he threatened: “Hand over the mirror…or else, your son!”
    “Wait!” Iwao had no option but to capitulate. “The mirror…it’s…it’s buried, under the cherry tree…” His voice faltered, dissolving into a fit of choking.
    The man paused for a moment, then finally released his grip. As Ryo desperately fought for breath at his feet, he motioned his subordinates outside with an imperious gesture before turning back to Iwao.

    "Do you remember Zhao Sun Ming?”
    “Zhao?” Iwao was taken aback.
    “That’s the name of the man you killed in Meng Cun.”
    “It can’t be! You…”
    “Get up.” The man waited, poised to strike. “I’ll allow you to die like a warrior.”

    Laboriously Iwao got to his feet and lurched forward, but his punch was quickly countered. Utterly powerless, Ryo could only watch as his father was sent reeling to the floor from the force of a powerful twin-palmed blow to the chest. Holding his crouched position for a moment, the man rose and methodically placed his hands behind his back.
    “Lan Di-sama, we have it.” The blacksuits re-entered the dojo and one of them handed his master an ornately carved stone mirror. The intricate design was of an ancient Chinese dragon.

    Lan Di held the mirror up to the light, revealing a strange tattoo etched onto his forearm as he did so. Then, turning his back on the two figures sprawled on the floor, he left with his accomplices, the heavy wooden door of the dojo swinging shut behind them.

    Mustering all his strength, Ryo crawled over to his father and drew him close. “F-forgive me…for leaving you alone…” Iwao began almost in a whisper, his life ebbing fast.
    “What are you saying? …Father!”
    “Your friends. Keep friends…those…you love…close to you.” With that, Iwao’s head rolled back and his body hung limp in Ryo’s arms.
    “No! Father?” Uselessly Ryo tried to stir his father out of death. “NO!!”

    As if in furious echo, a piercing thunderclap sounded in the sky and the quietly falling snow became a torrent of rain.

    Four Days Later…

    The sun rose through the fading clouds, spreading light over the elegant house and the serene garden at the top of the hill. Somewhere in Yamanose, the faint sound of a motor scooter could be heard disappearing down the path and into the distance.

    Ine Hayata shuffled across the grass and opened the little red mailbox at the front of the Hazuki Residence. “A letter, for Hazuki-sensei…”

    She held the letter close, glanced around her, then went inside.

    Ryo’s Room
    December 3rd, 1986

    Ryo turned agitatedly in his sleep as the image of his father’s killer – Lan Di – came into vivid focus through the shadows of his dreams. Flickering light played over the dark green of the man’s robe, then the tapering queue; then the ominous, majestic Chinese dragon emblazoned on his back. His hands moved soundlessly through the oneiric haze, sliding into strange martial arts patterns; then Iwao was there and the moves became swift, ferocious, exploding out of the darkness, the deadly motion of the roundhouse kick repeated over and over again. Iwao twisted as he fell and the man’s face came into the light for a moment, the stare as hard and unforgiving as ice. Ryo’s eyes flashed open abruptly, and he woke up in a cold sweat.

    He sat on the edge of the bed and caught his breath. Ever since that day the events in the dojo had racked his thoughts, haunting him asleep and awake; and even as his strength had returned he had remembered himself prone and choking on the floor, unable even to get up as his father was murdered before his eyes, his years of Jujitsu training worthless and his helplessness like a knife in the gut. His mind churned with questions: did Father really kill a man named Zhao Sun Ming? What was that mirror, the one with the dragon design - and why had Father been hiding it here all this time?

    Was that why Lan Di…

    He inhaled deeply and got up, testing his balance. Slinging on his jacket, and trying to put his thoughts aside for a moment, he opened the door.

    Ine-san was standing outside his room. “Ryo-san,” she said in surprise, “you should still be resting.”
    “I’m fine, really,” he said with a half-smile, trying to dismiss her concern. “And you? Are you alright?”
    “Yes…but I must keep busy, otherwise I’ll get depressed.” Something in her face or voice showed through her stoicism, making her seem older than she had before.
    “Do you know where Fuku-san is?” Ryo inquired.
    “Fukuhara-san?” she echoed. “I believe he’s in the dojo.”
    “Really? Thanks.”

    Ine-san bowed low, then quietly went back to her work. Slipping on his trainers, Ryo slid open the traditional shouji door and stepped outside for the first time since he had come home to find her unconscious on the ground. The clouds had lifted and the garden sparkled with the shimmering residue of four days’ rain, the creeping fear and suspense of that day gone but replaced with an almost overwhelming emptiness. He trudged along the familiar side path and paused in front of the cherry tree, idly noticing that the hole in the ground had been filled in. Lifting his gaze to the stark branches, Ryo let his mind drift off to the countless training sessions of years ago, and the memory of himself under the patient eye of his father...

    "The faint presence of his father left him and Ryo shook himself out of his daydream, taking off his shoes and bowing formally before entering the dojo. Fuku-san sat in the middle of the spartan room, squatting on his haunches. His face was still cut and bruised from that day, and he winced slightly as he twisted to face Ryo.

    “Ryo-san! Is…is everything okay?” he asked tentatively.
    “Don’t worry, I’m fine,” Ryo answered. “I want to ask you about that man...”
    “Oh…” Fuku-san shifted uncomfortably. “That man...”
    “The man called Lan Di. What did he talk with my father about?”
    “Lan Di…demanded the mirror!” Fuku-san recalled, his voice dramatic. “And then they threw me out of the dojo!”
    “The blacksuits? Catch their names?”
    “I don’t know…” Fuku-san shook his head. “They came out of nowhere…”
    “I see.” Ryo turned to leave. “If you remember anything – anything at all – be sure to tell me.”
    “Huh?” Fuku-san hurriedly got to his feet. “Wh-why, whatcha gonna do?”

    Ryo did not answer. “You’re…you’re not going after them?!” Fuku-san cried after him, struck with disbelief. “Please, don’t! Look what they did to Hazuki-sensei!”
    “They killed my father,” Ryo said quietly, his whole body tightening at the memory and the rage that suddenly seared through him. “Right in front of me.” His voice hardened. “I will have my revenge.”
    Fuku-san opened his mouth to speak, but Ryo whirled around and cut him off. “I need to do this," he asserted, his eyes understanding but resolute. "For my father."

    He shall come from a far eastern land across the sea.

    A young man who has yet to know his potential.

    This potential is a power that could either destroy him

    or realize his will. His courage shall determine his fate.

    The path he must traversed brought with adversity.

    I await whilst praying, for this destiny

    predetermined since ancient times.

    Awaiting in anticipation. A dragon emerges from

    the earth as ominous clouds fill the sky.

    A phoenix descends from the heavens

    trailing purple from its wings. The pitch-black

    night unfolds with the morning star as its only light.

    And thus, the saga begins.....


    In my opinion the greatest game ever, and unfortunately, the most missunderstood and underrated one too.
    Its creator, Yu Suzuki is also the one behind the great series of fighting games known as Virtua Fighter.
    For those of you who don't even know what I'm talking about here are some reviews of both sequels of Shenmue:

  • Test Shenmue

  • Test Shenmue 2
  • Welcome to the Dojo

    On this blog, we'll try to
  • talk
  • randomly about what's going on in the world of gaming.
    As for those who wonder why the name of the blog is "The Hazuki Dojo", the answer is that I am a big fan of the epic game Shenmue, Hazuki being the name of the main character.
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