#XboxE3 2015 Briefing – The TOP 7 Exciting Announcements

[This is a totally subjective article based on what I find exciting and interesting.]
The XboxE3 Briefing event has just left me picking my jaw up from the floor, and even though I’m not a huge console game fan, I think I’m going to be making a purchase soon.For starters, here’s what we walked into this morning :


*disclaimer, my lens needs a servicing, so there’s a weird clicky sound through most of the videos I took… =(
Here’s the full playlist : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey8FbXIG5B0&list=PL38spF0rDDpwyNLOJtHlTzRvCcojlO417
And here’s the facebook page photo album : https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.916395605068936.1073741837.116843381690833&type=3

1. Microsoft HoloLens and Minecraft
This is handsdown the most exciting announcement.
Here’s a video of how these 2 will work together. It’s amazing how the camera was able to pick up what the HoloLens was seeing!
Even though I’m not an avid Minecraft player, THIS made me sit up and take note.
It’s also playable cross platform. The demonstration at the event shows it being played with the Surface and the Xbox.

2. Xbox Elite Wireless Controller
– 4 new bumper pad locations
– Swappable components
– Full sensitivity customisation
– User profiles
Check out the video explaining these features from theverge

3. Fable Legends – Playable cross platform!

An Xbox One and Microsoft 10 exclusive.
I guess I just love whatever is free to play, and as a predominantly PC gamer, being able to play cross platform is so exciting!

4. Partnership with Valve VR!
This was a by the way announcement, but it was one of the few statements that made me go “WOAH” out loud.
I’m excited to see what this will bring to the gaming world, and I’m hoping for a more in depth explanation on what this partnership means for us!

5. Fallout 4


Mods created on PC will be playable on Xbox, for free!

6. Xbox One will be backward compatible with Xbox 360 games


I believe this will be done in stages, with games added batch at a time.
This is amazing, and I’m really impressed at how the team has managed to make this happen. This is a huge step forward for consoles (Here’s looking at you, Playstation)

7. Day z On Xbox, and Ion
DayZ will be playable on Xbox, but that’s not all. The creators have also announced a new MMO called Ion which will also be released on Xbox.

On Nicknames

I was/am watching the TI5 qualifiers and I was well… I’m not sure what emotion I had, a mixture of disgust, irritation, and a drop in respect for a SEA competitive player who was taking part.
You can read the comments and view the picture here https://www.facebook.com/pmsfurryfish/photos/a.493649927343508.105461.116843381690833/906172916091205/?type=1&theater
It so happened that watching this game was a trigger for me to make this post and say something about it, it’s not to single this player out, but to talk about a wider issue of how players conduct themselves however they wish, without thinking about the bigger picture.

I’m from a very conservative family, where as a kid I was slapped for saying so much as “shit” or “damn”. I’ve witnessed my parents telling off young punks in public for swearing at the top of their lungs.
The general rule was, you have an education, you can speak multiple languages, so use that and express your emotions and thoughts in a respectable and logical manner. (Not saying that I agree wholeheartedly with this, but it’s just to let you know what it was like for me growing up, which probably contributed to how I think about this issue.)

I’m also currently part timing with a local NGO that’s pushing for eSports to become mainstream, and they’re working hard giving school talks and workshops, reaching out to the younger generation and their parents, so I understand a little about the difficulties involved in changing mindsets and trying to portray eSports as a legit, wholesome activity.

So now that I’m done with elaborating on my background, let me tell you why I find it unacceptable for players to use whatever derogatory or offensive nickname they want, and let me reply to certain comments.
Offensive nicknames would include vulgarities, derogatory terms, racist and sexist words/terms, symbols depicting something impolite…

1. There are people fighting really hard to show that this is a serious activity with a good future etc, but imagine if parents of young teens or elementary school children watch these games, see the nickname, and maybe hear the caster reading out the name. Does this help?
And no, you cannot control who watches the stream or game. So saying that only asians will understand the name (argument also not valid because I’m not just talking about this particular case), or that you aren’t expecting kids to watch this, also doesn’t make sense.

2. “No one else is offended, so I don’t see why you should be kicking up a fuss”
Is that what you’re going to say to a rape victim too? No one else was hurt or offended but you, so just shut up about it?
Maybe that example is a little too far fetched, but I am offended, and THAT IS ENOUGH FOR ME TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I’m not saying you can’t think otherwise or have your opinion on it. Feel free to state your point of view on your own social media page, but don’t tell me what I should or should not be offended by.
Also, saying it’s the norm, doesn’t make it any more acceptable to me.

3. It’s not like I’m one of those goody two shoes that doesn’t randomly emit an expletive, I’ve been filmed by dendi learning to swear in Russian. And no, my mum wouldn’t be proud of me if she saw it. But there is a time and place for everything. That was a relaxed, comedy video (that I actually didn’t know would be uploaded) and at the worst, the use of Russian expletives reflects badly on me as a person, also, I knew what I was being taught to say.
Using an offensive nickname in a professional tournament is much trickier because
– since it’s dialect, not all the casters or viewers might be aware of it, and it makes them look like a fool especially if they keep repeating it while casting.
– even if the caster was aware, it’s not a match I’d like to televise and show my parents, future kids (if I have any), aunties, uncles etc, and say that this is eSports, this is what I’ve given up a great part of my time and effort to be a part of.
– eSports already has a bad enough reputation, is there any need to create a greater barrier with the rest of the world?

4. I’m angry cos I’m a feminist and it’s cos it’s an asian guy???
This sort of comment totally didn’t make sense to me… so, wrong on both counts. The picture might have showed 2 teams in particular, but my caption is a general one about nicknames in general.
So just stop bringing up all the possible offensive nicknames that are used and asking me why I’m not pointing them out and getting offended by them.
Also, I’m not angry because it’s an offensive name. I’m angry that a professional player in a professional tournament would conduct himself in this way.
Try to imagine how it might be like if Messi or Ronaldo, or Lebron decided to take on a nickname meaning something similar.

5. “It’s just a nickname, let it be, let them do what they want”
Yeah, I ‘m not actively reporting them anywhere or pming them or their managers to get it changed, or making it known to valve etc. I’m just stating what I feel on my facebook fan page, and now on my blog.

At the end of it all, I’m not insisting organisers, or valve or anyone do anything about it, even though I would very much like them to. It would be nice if players and managers were a little more deliberate in ensuring professionalism in tournaments, It would make it much easier for people, who are trying to help the scene from the backstage, to make a more convincing case. And this isn’t limited to choosing nicknames, but also punctuality, statements they release on social media etc.

Just to add on, I don’t think this is the first time that in game nicknames have been considered offensive. A zenith standin created a big hoohaa in the NA scene for having a homophobic nickname a couple of years ago, and another Singaporean player created a racist nickname and played in a minor tournament and invoked the wrath of many – after a repeated offence he was removed from his team.

So the question isn’t “What’s the problem with using whatever name I want”, but rather, “why cant you choose a neutral nickname to avoid controversy?”

The CPL Championship – DOTA 2 Edition : UPDATES


We are currently at 43/64 teams!
A few teams who have signed up have yet to make payment, and we’d like to encourage you to do so to secure your timeslot.
The Saturday 27th June 2015 12pm-5pm and 5pm-10pm timeslots in particular are very popular, and they are almost full.
Teams which sign up later will be allocated into timeslots which have space, regardless of the timeslots they prefer.

In light of some queries received, we have decided to offer teams a special on-site accommodation arrangement.
Teams who are interested in participating in The CPL Championship DOTA 2 Edition may top up a small fee to stay on-site at the event venue.
This is a great idea for overseas teams who are travelling on a budget, and teams who might wish to have a small training camp at LAN together.
This offer is only valid for members from teams who have signed up and paid for the registration fee.

A sleeping space costs SGD30 per person for 1 night, or SGD50 per person for 2 nights.
If you also require a LAN connection, power plug and sleeping bag in addition to the sleeping space, it’s SGD 119 per person for the whole event.
(The SGD 119 package is recommended for teams who might want to train together on site. However, do note that computers are only provided for the competition games, but you are welcome to bring your own computer/laptop for training.)

If you wish to take advantage of this package, please fill up the google document below!

Prizes : SGD3000 in cash, and additional products for the top 16 teams
Registration Fee : SGD25 per team
Timeslots :
Friday 26 June 2015 8pm-1am
Saturday 27 June 2015 1am-6am
Saturday 27 June 2015 12pm-5pm (Full)
Saturday 27 June 2015 5pm-10pm (Almost full)
Teams who wish to register may do so at this link http://campusgamefest.org/cgf-highlights/game/official-tournaments/
Rules and regulations are available at this link http://campusgamefest.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Dota2Rules.pdf



You should play Heroes of the Storm

If you haven’t actually played the game because you hate it already, I have a whole half a page at the bottom reserved especially for you.

For those of you who have already played Heroes of the Storm (henceforth referred to as HOTS), you’ll be pleased to know that this entire article is about HOTS, without actually being about HOTS. You see, this article is actually about Doom.[1] This is the story of what would have happened if everyone played nothing but Doom for years on end.[2]


Scene: Everyone is playing Doom.

Quake gets released. Everyone touts it as a skill-less game, ditching the tried and tested “keyboard only” interface. Doom fans ridicule Quake players as “noobs who need to use a mouse to aim”.[3]

Team Fortress is released. Doom fans wonder why anyone would play a game that is so limiting and without depth. They moan the loss of being able to pick up any weapon. Of being stuck with only the weapons you spawn with. For letting players spawn with all the weapons and full armor. Where’s the skill in gathering power-ups and weapons if you start out with everything?[4]

Halo is released. Doom fans bemoan the loss of a persistent health-bar. “Noobs need to be punished for taking damage” they say, “instead of just regenerating all their shields.”

Unreal Tournament is released. Doom fans refuse to see the point of modes like “Assault” or “Domination”. They know what the first person shooter is about – the deathmatch!


I lied at the start. Now I’m going to talk about HOTS.

The point is this. HOTS takes a lot of things that were completely unnecessary in the genre, things that made playing a game less fun, and removed it. And perhaps if less people played DotA, and less people made the argument “this thing must be fun because it’s currently implemented”, it wouldn’t have taken 10 years for someone to come up with a game in the genre that was actually well designed. People just seem to be unable to separate “what makes a game good” and “what just happens to be in a good game”.[5]

And with peer reinforcement, stagnation occurs! Hoorah! Thank goodness for Blizzard. They don’t do anything ground-breaking, but in a genre that has been actually making worse games every year, their presence is welcome.

So here are some things that HOTS decided to remove. Thank goodness.

– Last hitting. Do you really want to spend 80% of your game trying to time your right-click so as to get minuscule rewards, then do the same thing OVER AND OVER AGAIN?

– Shopping. Because amassing gold isn’t bad enough, you need to spend time travelling across the map in order to waste your time spending your gold on something.

– Ridiculous scaling (and items). So why would you have heroes that are “weak early game” and “scale up”, and vice versa? So that players only can have fun for… half the game?

– Individual rewards. Because it’s really no fun to spend half the game zoning someone out (and staying at lvl 1) while your friend spends half the game farming (wooh! Now, HE’S having fun). Yet he gets all the rewards.

– A single point of healing. Because wasting 2 minutes to walk back and heal MAKES THE GAME SO MUCH MORE FUN.


So what do you spend the game doing?


And, ummm… that’s pretty much it. You spend the entire game fighting each other.

You can argue art. You can argue noob-friendliness. But as far as pace goes, this is a game that forces player-to-player interaction and confrontation.

Other advantages include:

– Less thrash talk. Because you’re almost always busy, you don’t have time to curse your teammates. Moreover, the game usually ends before any arguing can be done.

– Easy to learn. But without sacrificing depth. It’s easy to learn because it’s consistent and not needlessly complicated. You don’t need to do weird armor calculations. There are very few weird specific interactions (and those are bugs to be phased out) to memorize. You don’t have to wonder about which of the 100 items are actually viable to buy.

– Fast. But it doesn’t feel so. Because you spend 20 minutes in combat, the game feels extremely engaging. A much better usage of time.


That section for people who hate the game without trying it


I’m tempted to say a lot of mean things here. Including things like “people like you are why Hitler got away with the holocaust”. But without generic character blasting, let me address a few specific concerns.

1. It’s too much of a skill-less game.

There are a few people who can make this statement. You most likely aren’t one of them. Einstein can go “I did physics instead of chemistry because chemistry was too easy”.[6] But the 12 year-old kid studying algebra doesn’t go “I did math instead of computer science because computer science was too easy”,[7] because HE’S PROBABLY NOT GOOD ENOUGH AT EITHER FIELD.[8] If some 12 year-old kid comes up to me and says “why are you so dumb, studying computer science, instead of being like me? I’m so smart, that’s why I study maths!”, it’s not like I’d go “why, yes! Blimey, you’re too skillful for me to compare to!” [9]

2. It doesn’t have last-hitting/denying/items/farming. It’s stupid.

But wait, WHICH OF THE ABOVE ACTUALLY MAKES THE GAME BETTER? See entire passage about Doom.

3. I can’t carry by myself.

This is actually valid. You can’t Rambo around.



[1] – If you don’t know what Doom is, google it. It’s the first result. It’s also a commonly used word, and yet the entire first page of google is dedicated to a 12 year old game.

[2] – Most of what is said here is also said in this article. But that’s long as hell, and makes a lot of horrible points that dilute the greatness.

[3] – Another point to note is that about 1 in 1000 people can come close to being “good” at Quake. This has non-obvious parallels to the analogy being made.

[4] – In case you haven’t realized, the point is so as not to waste time gathering power-ups, and spend time on the fun part, ACTUALLY KILLING PEOPLE.

[5] – Not suggesting that DotA is or is not a good game (it isn’t).

[6] – Though they are different yet intertwined disciplines, but you get the analogy, I hope.

[7] – Math is really, really, really, hard. And if you don’t think so, you probably don’t know enough math.

[8] – Unless he’s Korean. They somehow produce teenagers that can be good at everything.

[9] – Though, true story: I studied computer science because math was too hard.

[GAMING/REVIEW] Battlefield Hardline (PS4) – 5 Reasons why you should play it.

bf hd

[Read my first post on Battlefield Hardline (BFH) here http://wp.me/p3ID2Y-z1]
Battlefield is long known for their huge maps, big teams and a multitude of vehicles to pilot.BFH keeps true to these features, and then adds more.

Here’s 5 reasons why you should play BFH

1) It plays like a Drama Series
The game was designed to be more than just a game. The single player mode will keep players riveted as each level continues like a different episode in a TV Drama. What Visceral contributed to BFH was the storyline and a character driven plot based around the protagonist, Nick Mendoza.
There’s plenty of dialogue and cut scenes, and really, sometimes you forget that you have to something other than just watching the plot unfold.
It was especially absorbing for me playing the single player on the PS4, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be just as enthralled on any other platform.

2) New Content
I don’t know about you, but I like games that don’t just stay static. Patches and DLCs are a very welcome feature for me, because sometimes they are game changing, and they breathe new life into it.
Whilst the Visceral staff were not able to comment on whether any DLCs were planned, they did say that there will be added features coming out for the BFH Premium members.
These include maps, Gun Bench (Which can track kills!), Challenge modes, tournaments and ladders, and Legendary status (which allows replayability).
There are a bunch of other perks for premium members, but I think that the above it are well worth the upgrade already!
Check out the whole list of premium features and perks here http://www.battlefield.com/hardline/news/battlefield-hardline-premium

3) New Game Modes
The new urban warefare setting has allowed the team to create a whole lot of new modes for BFH.
For example, “Hotwire” where teams capture objective vehicles, “BloodMoney” where teams have to pick up or steal cash and deposit it into their own vault, “Crosshair” where the cops have to escort a VIP and fend off attacks from the criminals within a timelimit of 3 minutes.

4) Competitive Modes!!
I’m one of the gamers who will never be satisfied with just playing a game for enjoyment, and BFH satisfies my need to take gaming to the next level – Competitions! It’s just rewarding for me to be able to match my progress and skill level against others. So for those of you who share my thirst for blood, do try out the competitive modes “Rescue” and “Crosshair”. You get 1 life per round (ie, you don’t respawn until the round is over); at halftime, you switch sides and teams play a BO7 (best of 7).

5) Cool stuff
If you haven’t seen this video of the in game motorized couch, watch it here

The American Dream, a motorized sofa, is the fastest land vehicle in BFH, and it’s only available on one map, provided you can find it!
It’s location is hidden, and it spawns once per match. It seats a total of 4pax (including the driver) and can be repaired.
It’s a tribute to Paul Mathus, the Director of Product Development, who in his younger days submitted a video of  himself on a motorized couch in his entry for “Battlebots”.
It appears from 28 seconds in, it’s awesome.

I can’t wait to see if there are any more hidden gems in the game, or whether any will sneakily be added!
Even if none are, I love the personal touch and cute story behind this one.


Here are some pictures from the event in HongKong which EA so kindly sent me up for!

Here’s how we were welcomed into the gang of criminals, mugshot!

Some pretty BFH branded gear provided for our use at the game testing areaDSC_9176

Yep, that’s me in the reflection!DSC_9178

Travis Hoffstetter, who gave the press interview together with Forrest Tarleton.DSC_9185


Free Stuff! a Duffel bag, BFH PS4 review set, a cops money clip and a brochure. Not pictured here is a BFH poster .

The various journalists and media trying out the game on PS4. Some just kept going at it in Blood Money, while others went for the single player storyline (ie, ME!).DSC_9196

Post-interview with Travis

Picking lucky winners of various products sponsored by Sony – including a grand prize of 1 PS4!DSC_9200

One of my fellow Singapore journalists won a 1 month subscription.
Sadly… I have no luck… 🙁DSC_9198

Just a parting shot of the BFH headset.DSC_9199

[A big thank you to EA for sending me up for this event. It was really interesting and I got to meet media from around asia, as well as the development team who created this awesome game!]