Category: Games

Mystery Manila – Justice for Jamila

Mystery Manila - Justice for Jamila

There are only a few activities available for friends to do in Metro Manila.  We usually just hang out by eating at a restaurant.  However, there is a new craze here wherein group of friends or family can solve a mystery in a room. Read More

Lego Miniland at Bonifacio High Street

Lego Miniland at Bonifacio High Street

While we were walking along the Fort last Sunday after dinner, we checked out the Lego Miniland.  Oh boy, seeing the exhibit brought me back to my childhood.  I wished I was still young so that I can enjoy every bit of the displays, the toys, everything!

I know Lego is good for all ages.  However, it would be nice to have most of your weekends and summer playing lego all day long.  I don’t have that luxury anymore because I love to do so many things.  So games with lego is out for me.

That’s why I felt it was a great treat to walk around the Lego Miniland at the Bonifacio High street.  We stopped by for around 15-20 minutes.  I took some photos, admired most of the toys on display, and had some sentimental moments while I was at it, haha!

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The highlight for me is the figurines on display.  All of them were built with lego.  There were community of figurines as well that looked so colourful and so lively!  I’m sure every one would enjoy looking at them.

Star Wars fans would love this exhibit as most of the big lego figurines are a tribute to the franchise.  Life-size Darth Vader, who wouldn’t want it, right?

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I think Darth Vader ‘lego’ version is taller than me.  Take note, every single piece of it was made of lego except for the red sword.  You should really check it out.  My picture don’t do justice.  It’s way prettier in person!

Of course, other popular characters of Star Wars won’t be absent.  They’re so cute, aren’t they?

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I must say that the brain behind this Lego Miniland at Bonifacio High Street must love Star Wars so much that he/she even have a complete setup of Star Wars!  It features popular scenes in Star Wars.  Coolness galore!

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Lastly, Lego is not only for boys but also for girls!  Look!  A life-size Olivia!  This particular figurine was made of 2,000 to 3,000 pieces of lego.  According to news, they completed setup of Olivia in 2-3 days.

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If you feel inspired and would want to build figurines like this in the exhibit, Lego sells beginner packs as well as advanced ones.

The Lego Miniland exhibit runs from October 26 to November 24, 2013.  Free entrance.  You still have one more week to go.  Make sure you bring your cameras and the inner child in you 🙂

Roch Signature

Temple Run Tournament at Beyond the Box

Temple Run Tournament at Beyond the Box

I’ve been seeing tweets posted by friends sharing their scores at Temple Run.  At first, I ignored them.  However, more and more people are tweeting about it.  I became curious!  What is Temple Run and why is everyone tweeting about it?

So I checked out the link to one of the Temple Run tweets.  Then I found out that Temple Run is an iOS game!  I immediately downloaded Temple Run and played for a few minutes.  I realized then that I couldn’t stop so I played and I played till I got a decent score that I could share with friends.

Temple Run is basically just a simple game.  The character you’re playing, a hero, gets his hands on the treasure but has to run his way through a maze in order to get out alive.  It’s an endless but exciting game.  If you have an iOS device, I suggest you download it.  I have to give you an early warning that Temple Run is addicting 😛

Current Temple Run players can only brag about their high scores.  But wait, I have some good news to Temple Run addicts in the Philippines!

Beyond the Box, an Apple Premium Reseller in the Philippines, is holding a Temple Run Tournament.  They are giving away prizes for daily and weekly winners.  Plus, weekly winners will have a chance to compete at the Ultimate Run where they could win an iPod Touch 32GB!  How cool is that?

See Gaming Mechanics as follows (Promo runs till March 3, 2012):

Temple Run Tournament Beyond the Box Mechanics

No purchase is necessary, just go to any Beyond the Box branches (Rockwell & Resorts World), approach their staff about your participation to the Temple Run tournament and play your way for a chance to win cool prizes!

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My Solitaire Experience

The game of solitaire is no doubt one of those games that gets shot down just because of all the games available out there especially to gamers.  Even when it comes to card games it is often underrated just because we dont have long lines at the casinos for people wanting to play this game.

But for an old school person such as myself, I relish its simplicity, and sometimes it acts as a way to clear my mind.

It’s definitely a game of patience, but mostly a game to just calm you down a bit.   Heck, Solitaire is also called Patience in different parts of the United States, just not here in Michigan where I am.

But honestly, especially because we definitely live in more hectic, stressed, and busy times, sometimes a game of solitaire is just what we need to get us back to a more calm state of mind.   And I still contend it’s defintely one of the more nice games out there. It’s a classic!

I’ve recently come back to this game only because I honestly don’t play that much anymore, but I found myself just wanting to relax the other day, and lo and behold I came back to solitaire.  If you don’t know what solitaire is and how to play, first off I would have to ask where you’ve been, second thing is that I would implore you to go and play right away.

There are many different variations to solitaire which makes it suitable to many people.  In fact, you don’t really need a deck of cards because most laptops and computers already come loaded with games such as solitaire.  The variation that is the most classic of them all is actually a solitaire game called Klondike, but which most people refer to as just solitaire.

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In the image above, this is what we call the initial layout.  The setup is quite easy.  From a deck of 52 cards, you take the first card and lay it face up, then dealing from left to right, you place the next six cards face down.  Then you start with the second column, with that card face up and the remaining 5 columns with the face cards down (again dealing from left to right).  You continue in this manner until you get the setup shown above.

What you see in the upper right corner are your foundations which become the receptacle for the four suits of cards (hearts, spades, diamonds, clubs).  Each foundation must start with the Ace then move higher up to the King.  When you have filled up these foundations according to the suits, then you have won the game.

During game play, what you see in the upper left corner is where the rest of the cards are placed (those which have not been used yet for the initial layout).  You deal in groups of three, such as what you see in the image above.  This is the traditional way of dealing and playing Solitaire, and by far, in my opinion is the hardest.  Dealing by groups of three is hard, because you don’t get to use all the cards for game play right away, and can only use the top card when it is dealt, thus the two cards below the top card cannot be used, unless the top card is used first.  Usually, you are able to deal indefinitely, in groups of three, until you have either won or there are no more moves to make and in which case you have lost.

But as I said, even the classic solitaire has variations, and usually these variations deal with how you deal the cards in the upper left corner to use during game play.  These variations include dealing the cards one by one, having unlimited passes through the deck, limiting the passes to just one, etc.


The actual game play itself is pretty straightforward.   The point is to basically build piles that are in sequential order but in order of alternating colors.  You can move parts of a pile or entire piles provided that it fits the sequential order and are still of alternating colors.  You can move piles into empty spaces provided that it contains a King as the base of the pile.

You continue in the manner of dealing in groups of three, filling up the foundations starting with the Ace, positioning your piles to sequential orders of cards that are alternating in color.

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In the picture above, this is usually the point where the game is certain, and you basically know that you have already won.  This is by far the most fun turning point in the game since you start filling up your foundations in terms of suits.  You need not think of your moves any longer since at this point it’s just a matter of route and you’ve won already.


Hard to explain, but definitely easy to play.  Sometimes, all these games out there, the more new and very realistic games out there, the role playing games, and others, they really can be too stimulating when sometimes all you need is something to relax you.  The great thing about Solitaire is that you can easily pick it up anytime and most games don’t take too long, which is another reason why it’s a flexible way to get your game fix.

Honestly, there really are a number of positives to playing a game of solitaire, or maybe I’m just too old school for my own good, whatever it is, I’m hoping I’ve converted a few of the readers out there, or maybe I’ve reminded some of you just how fun it can be to play.

Nick is Rochelle’s fiance. A blogger, Filipino, engineer, financial adviser, former business owner, and a lover of life. He loves to read, meditate, listen to classical music, and talk current events. Boring to most, interesting to a few.

Starcraft II – Definitely Worth the Wait

How do you improve on Starcraft, the top selling computer game of all time?  How much time do you take to develop the sequel?  How do you improve on one of the pinnacles of computer games and its genre real-time strategy games?  This is after all a game that has an almost universal following in South Korea, where its top players are feted like rock-stars or top footballers; a game used by the US Air Force to teach officers about crisis management, a game whose tactics is taught in UC Berkeley.

Is 12 years- an eternity in computer gaming- worth the wait?  Consider, in that span of time, we’ve had three Philippine presidents- FVR, Erap, GMA, Noynoy, three Olympics: Sydney ‘00, Athens ‘04, Beijing ‘08, four football (soccer) world cups- France ‘98, Japan- Korea ‘02, Germany ‘06, South Africa last month. Following the Moore’s law, we now have 64 times more transistors for CPUs now compared to the then state-of-the art PIII chips in 1998.

Was it worth the wait?  Is it worth the not inconsiderable P 3,500 (Datablitz) price tag, for just one campaign- Terran- at that?  Yes and more.  Hesitant to shell out P 500 for pre-ordering, even with the dog-tag and Starcraft 2 shirt incentives, and a little surprised by the price, all these concerns, and the long wait seemed trifling once I started playing.

The campaign resumes a mere four years after Starcraft’s Brood War finishes.  Jim Raynor’s raiders are still in a low-intensity conflict against Emperor Arcturus Mengsk.  The latter considers Raynor as the #1 terrorist, evident from the TV news coverage shown between missions.  Zerg, Protoss are relatively calm, but, as will be seen soon enough, this is more a quiet before the storm.  Massing Zerg swarms, the scattered yet recovering and still powerful and immemorial Protoss, rumors of Xel’Naga artifacts all mean the uneasy peace will not last.

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Jim, reunited with ex-con veteran Tychus Findlay, will soon be caught between Mengsk’s army and fleet, fanatical, die-hard Protoss and the Zerg led by Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades.  Old ally Zeratul does a surprise visit, sharing a crystal that unlocks visions, and Protoss missions.  Other unlikely allies, hardened mercenaries, branching decision points in technology investments and mission choices, make this campaign much more compelling than other RTS games and provides some (albeit limited) replay value.

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All 26 missions are challenging at the ‘normal’ level.  Carrots for points made me replay several scenarios to get more points. Examples of bonus achievements include destroying a prototype battle cruiser, rescuing all isolated allies and finishing a day-night hunt (where Zergs ruled the night, Terrans the daytime) in five nights.  One of the most difficult is the secret mission, unlocked in the Media Blitz mission, which pits Raynor and a select squad of marines against a top secret bio-weapons facility.  Other hero led missions with Raynor, Tychus, even the Dark Templar Zeratul, make for engaging breaks from the more typical resource gathering, force assembling and defending and eventual assault.

New Terran units such as the heavy assault mechanized walker- Thor and the Macross-like transforming Viking (aircraft to walker) rounded out the Terran forces.  Old favorites such as the ghost or equivalent spectre, battlecruisers and tanks make Jim or Mengsk forces more than a match for isolated or straggler Zerg or Protoss units. Protoss and Zerg units have also been updated, with the former’s powerful Reaper being replaced. Kerrigan’s swarm, on the other hand, has been reinforced by a powerful mind-controlling ability, able to control any unit.

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One, not exactly minor concern is a Blizzard confirmed bug that can overheat graphics processing units. A workaround is available, to limit the screen refresh rate. Fortunately, I’ve been playing with an external fan and air-conditioning. Of the 30+ hours played, I’ve encountered two crashes, where my PC just froze. Barring those, wait times and performance in my two year-old Windows 7 PC was fine.

This is one of the best PC games I’ve played in a long while. I can recall some milestones in computer games I’ve played- Civilization, Masters of Orion, X-Com, Diablo, Starcraft. The latter is a landmark, and builds on top of all of the great real-time strategy games forged by Dune 2 and followed by Warcraft II.

Some critics complain of SC2 being stuck in time, of not evolving beyond the original gameplay. That’s a very minor quibble. Just as Godfather 2 didn’t break new ground but simply improved, polished and built on an incredible original movie, SC2 doesn’t break new ground but polishes to a high sheen, updates the graphics and gameplay to the 21st century. Just as X-Com’s dated early 90’s EGA graphics do little to detract from the underpinning extremely addicting gameplay, so does SC2’s reuse of working elements, updated after an eternity (or Blizzard has once again come up with a masterpiece. Anyone into computer games should add Starcraft 2-Wings of Liberty to his or her library.