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From books to games, anyone? February 25, 2011

Posted by Cesar in gaming me, thinking me.
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The other day I was thinking about this: what electronic games came straight from books? It doesn’t count if the game is just vaguely inspired by a book setting, like the Rainbow Six series, or if the game is based in a movie which is based in a book (anyone thinking Lord of the Rings?). Ah! And comic books / graphics novels don’t count either.

Mind you, I never googled for results either (although I did research the games I found). So instead I posed the question to many of my friends, including several game designers, and I was surprised to find out that the answers never come easy. It is hard to list games that fit the criteria. Many of the mentioned ones are old school games, like the text-based Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Hobbit. Modern games are much harder to find. It seems like books now get movie versions before the games industry takes a stab at it. However, it is still possible to find some, like the successful The Witcher.

Pinpointing the reason for this small number of direct translations from books to games is very hard. It seems like it was easier 20 years ago, but that might just be because the games were so much simpler: a single programmer fan could be enough to spawn a text adventure back then. But even that is not obvious, the numbers I got in my survey are too small for any conclusive analysis.

Below are the titles I got, I still can’t believe I found so few. If you remember any more, disagree with one or if you simply have a theory on the subject, let me know in the comments!

See you space cowboys…

The PS3 hack and the freedom umbrella January 13, 2011

Posted by Cesar in gaming me, working me.
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Another year, another post. I went back to Brazil for the holidays (it was great!) and came back decided to keep up with the PostAWeek challenge. Let’s see what happens, this is my first entry.

What got me the most interested during my vacation was the PS3 hack drama. As a computer engineer, I find the whole subject very interesting. It is amazing what these guys went through to hack a piece of hardware like the PS3. Even though the security system had a significant and easy to avoid flaw (this is a good start on the subject), finding it required serious skill from the notorious George Hotz, aka geohot, and the chaps from fail0verflow.

As a guy who likes math, programming and puzzles to an extreme, I can easily see the appeal of searching (or should I say researching?) for such hack. It is a huge project which demands a very deep knowledge of the field: digital security systems, cryptography and other theory heavy subjects. And on top of it all, success is highly dependent on creativity, insight and tenacity.

Unfortunately for Sony, that’s not all. The uncovered security breach is embedded so deep into the system hardware that apparently there’s no way to prevent it through firmware updates. Now that the security key is known, no matter what Sony does the hack can be redone. Sony denies the allegation, but while Sony shouts without arguments, fail0verflow’s explanation seems solid.

Anyway, from a programming point of view, I think this guys are fantastic and deserve applause. However, I can’t help thinking of the big picture and, all things considered, I’m not so sure I like geohot and the others all that much.

Both geohot and fail0verflow are firmly against piracy. They say their only goal is to be able to dual-boot Linux + GameOS and be able to develop for the platform. Hotz claims the efforts to hack the PS3 were only intensified in face of Sony’s decision to remove support for OtherOS from the console. I confess I never even considered playing with the PS3 hardware, by the time I got it support for OtherOS wasn’t there anymore. But it was definitely a nice feature that any interested programmer would love to use.

On the other hand, the implications of the hack for the industry are considerable. Sony will now have to deal with the issue actively since there seems to be no way to truly avoid the exploit. I could be wrong, but we are probably looking at more frequent updates and the eventual ban of consoles from online space. But that’s the smaller of the problems. Piracy rate will probably increase considerably, making the PS3 a less desirable platform for publishers and, as a consequence, for developers. It shifts the stability of the ecosystem, every investment in the PS3 a little less safe.

It is very hard to tackle the problem from a legal standpoint, if anyone can explain what rights a PS3 owner has, please do! What I can say is that while it seems fair to demand and pursue the ability to develop for Sony’s console, it doesn’t seem right to cause so much trouble to manufacturer, publishers, studios and ultimately consumers that invested in the PS3. Not everything is meant to be public, some things are better off encrypted. Throwing everything under the umbrella of freedom and claim the right to information is just as dangerous as it is easy. As sad as it is, the good intentions of an individual cannot be translated to humanity as a whole; we cannot forget that homo homini lupus, there’s always someone looking for profit at the expense of everyone else.

Ultimately, geohot’s intentions don’t matter. In face of his discovery, some very few will indeed dual-boot Linux + GameOS quietly from their homes and just enjoy free access to the Cell processor. The vast majority, however, will use it to play all sorts of illegal software on the console, considerably stimulating the pirate software industry. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

See you space cowboys…

Not all game reviewers are nuts: Gran Turismo 5 December 3, 2010

Posted by Cesar in gaming me.
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I know, I know, I haven’t written nearly enough as I should. So here it goes, a short one.

I was never much of a simulation racing fan. Up till last month, my favorite racing game series was Rockstar’s Midnight Club. I just love driving like a maniac and dealing with heavy traffic, preferably on the wrong side of the road.

Interestingly enough, the other day I tried Forza III and was completely hooked. I don’t know what it was, but all of a sudden the intricates of simulation racing started appealing to me. Needless to say when I found out Gran Turismo  5 was about to be released, I got pretty excited. I bought my copy at launch and well… I was very disappointed. Navigating through the GT5 interface is nothing less than a nightmare. So much that on my first night with the game I got to the track after about 40 minutes struggling with the menus and the tedious (ok, tedious is an understatement, I should say disgustingly boring) background music and my experience even on the track was sub par. The driving felt less realistic than Forza’s. With such a horrendous menu system and a so so simulation, I was very tempted to resell the game on the very next day.

But, as you know, I’m a gamer and I was sure there had to be something there under the hood (pun intended) that gathered so many fans around the franchise. So I stuck with it and forced myself to play it again the next day. And the next. And guess what? Now I absolutely love the game.

What changed? I learned how to navigate the horrible interface, got rid of the background music in the menus and replaced the race BGM by my own playlist, straight from the PS3 library. I also figured out how to change the driving options and disabled a plethora of assists that were stopping me from having a true simulation experience. With all that and mostly driving premium cars (if you haven’t heard already, only 200 of the 1000+ cars in the game received premium treatment, the others are way less detailed), getting to the tracks behind the wheel (or the controller until my Logitech Driving Force GT arrives) is an amazing experience. Good enough to make me gladly endure the menus.

That is not to say I would give the game a 10/10 grade. As much as I love the game now, it is peppered with flaws and inconsistencies that still diminish the experience and were mentioned to exhaustion in every review. And more than that, a game which requires tremendous patience and configuration just to get behind the wheel with the desired settings simply cannot get a 10. This is a game, people, not an anger management test.

IGN put it perfectly, a 10/10 driving experience in a 5/10 game. But in the end, it gave it a questionable 8.5. So the Sane Reviewer Award of the blog goes to Giant Bomb. With a 3/5 overall grade, it expresses exactly how the game is. In a nutshell: if you love simulation racing games and are willing to ignore everything else, run to the closest store and get your copy, it is absolutely worth it. Trust me, I know, that’s my category too. But if you just want to have a fun car game, you are better off with other options (and if you are a 360 owner, I highly recommend Forza Motorsport III).

See you space cowboys…

It is finally here: FIFA 11 October 1, 2010

Posted by Cesar in gaming me.
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The most important game of the year was released this Tuesday: FIFA 11.

Most people I tell this look at me with an offended face (remember I’m in Canada, not Brazil!). But I do not intend to preach, I’m just expressing what the game is to me. And mind you, it is not the best game of the year. But it is definitely the one I will play the most. So, to me, it is also the most important one. FIFA 11 will shape hundreds of hours of gameplay until around September 2011 FIFA 12 comes out.

I’ve been playing the new installment of the EA Football series since its release and I read quite a few reviews. Most of them talk about the same things and I’ll summarize. In FIFA 11:

  • You can play as the goalkeeper;
  • Now there’s an 11 vs. 11 multiplayer option;
  • A new passing system was implemented;
  • An innovative animation system makes players moves more realistic;
  • The player can now record crowd chants and have them played during matches.

However, if you, like me, are a die-hard football game aficionado, who plays since the first Winning Eleven and FIFA 94 (I actually remember playing considerably older football games, but that’s going too far), you know there are only two things that truly matter: gameplay and multiplayer quality. We can ignore most other flaws as long as these two are top notch. And since the multiplayer in FIFA is notoriously great, let’s talk about gameplay.

Even though reviews are unanimous to say FIFA 11 is just a tweaked version of last years innovative game, the game plays quite differently. First of all, the pace went down a notch, mostly due to the new passing system. And this is a very positive change: before, with reasonably good players, all passes were perfect, no matter how difficult they seemed. This is not the case anymore. Now, even playing with the likes of Chelsea, Internazionale or Barcelona, if the body orientation of the footballer is not adequate and his pass skill is not high enough, the pass will not only go in a poor trajectory but it will also be slow and, as a consequence, way easier to intercept. This gives a greater edge to players with really high pass skills (like Frank Lampard or Xavi) and stops some crazy plays from working the way they did before. Gone are the eternal first touch pass chains, with the defending team unable to ever see the color of the ball.

At this point, fans of the PES series will look at this post with an ironic grin and say: “Big deal, that’s how it’s been in Winning Eleven for the past 15 years.” And they will be right! But the fact that EA finally made the change means the game got an important improvement and, considering the fact that for the past few years Seabass Takatsuka’s team has been underdelivering, it is now clear in this blogger’s mind that FIFA is better than its Konami competitor by a considerable margin.

However, not everything is perfect. The AI of the players gets confused with the new system. Passes that are obviously too weak to reach the target player are sometimes ignored by your other teammates, which means even if the ball goes slowly right next to one of them, they don’t do anything to catch it, no matter how desperately you try to make it happen pressing all possible buttons on the controller.

Another down side, this one way harder to fix, is that most of the time it is not possible for the game to distinguish an attempt at a fast pass from an attempt at a pass to a farther away player. So during the past few days I tried many fast passes (remember they are considerably slower now) by holding the button longer and ended up with a pass to the wrong guy (usually being intercepted by the way). Knowing a fast pass would have made the play work and not being able to pull it off is frustrating.

However, there’s an interesting way to make it better: pressing the lobbed pass button with the right bumper also pressed makes what the game calls a bouncing lobbed pass. This is a mid height pass, which can be used to avoid ground interceptions but is also faster than a simple press of the ground pass button. I’ve been learning to use it when I really need the speed and have seen some results already. And of course it is always possible to try the manual controls, but I digress.

Another noticeable change is in the physical interactions between the players. This is a less obvious update, but the impact is significant and I would say it is vastly superior to the old system. Reviewers gave a lot of emphasis to how physical contact looks more realistic, but it plays better as well. While heavy players can defend and dribble using their balance and strength (think Ibrahimovic or Drogba), small and agile players can still go around defenders and resist the occasional bump (think Messi or Robben).

Another interesting effect of the new physical play are the tackles: even though tackling is just as easy, it is now a bit harder for a defender to recover the ball if the other player thinks fast. It is possible for the attacking player to recover from weaker tackling efforts and fight to get the ball back, even if in a worse position. This was a rare event in FIFA 10 and it feels like a very positive change;. Tackles are not so binary anymore: there are bad tackles that let the attacker advance freely, good tackles that steal the ball precisely and not so good tackles in which both attacker and defender need to jostle for the ball.

All in all, I would say this is the best FIFA game so far. I’m still not sure the gameplay is as exciting as it was in the best versions of the Winning Eleven series (or Pro Evolution Soccer if you want to use the new name), the new changes still need some adaptation on my part, but if you take all other factors into consideration (multiplayer options, lack of lag, Be A Pro modes, etc), FIFA 11 is the best football simulation ever.

See you space cowboys…

Why is Tilt To Live so darn good? September 23, 2010

Posted by Cesar in gaming me.
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Forget Geometry Wars. If your gaming platform is the iPhone, I don’t think any game does it better in the shooter genre than Tilt To Live.

The most basic description of the game I can offer is: “It is like Geometry Wars, but you do everything without ever touching the screen”. That’s right: when the game starts, you control your ship only by tilting the iPhone, hence the name. Tilt To Live is not only a great shooter but also a fantastic example of how to make motion controls a perfect fit. You never feel like you died because the controls are flawed; quite the contrary, every difficult dodge is very gratifying.

The game offers multiple modes of play, but none of them is truly innovative, the appeal really is on the controls and the amount of effort put into the main game. Between new weapons and awards, it is easy to spend hours playing this little fella, so much that I found myself going for it even at home, with the FIFA 10 DVD inside the 360 and the Uncharted 2 disk in the PS3. Tilt To Live is that addictive. And this is coming from a guy who played Pacifism to exhaustion in Geometry Wars 2 (and I challenge anyone reading this to beat my 715 million points record).

Isn’t it interesting how this apparently simple game can be so good? I’ve been playing it for a while now, but recently started thinking about that. There are several factors in play. For one, the Geometry Wars formula is not new and very successful. In a self competition way (so it works even without online leaderboards), endless games in which the difficulty is constantly increasing provide a very satisfying search for a new high score. As the game gets harder, the reward for playing only increases, each move harder than the previous one, challenging and honing the player skills at the same time.

Of course that’s not enough, the twist are the motion controls. And, like I already mentioned, they are not a hindrance but very natural. So natural that I dare say in Tilt To Live the controls are transparent, playing is very instinctive (take a look at this post for more on the subject). This takes Tilt To Live to a new height, because making the controls transparent allows players to truly immerse in the game and enjoy it on a different level, which is very rare in such an abstract game.

Of course we cannot forget presentation and attention to detail play a big role in the formula. And the fact that Tilt To Live delivers in that area too contributes even more to increase immersion. The graphics are sleek, the soundtrack is a lot of fun, the gameplay seems to have been tweaked to perfection. Once again, there’s nothing off pitch to detract the player from the experience.

I wonder how far these components alone – transparent controls and a lot of polish – can take a game with a nothing but OK design. I suspect they are not enough to create a classic, but might be enough to ensure the game is not a flunk. However, in this case, it doesn’t matter, because Tilt To Live is just great. Seriously, go buy it.

See you space cowboys…

Video games and time: eternal brief moments August 6, 2010

Posted by Cesar in gaming me.
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Let me propose an exercise: think of games that have been around for a very long time.

If you thought of any computer game you didn’t think big enough. The first versions of Monopoly date to the beginning of the 20th century, when Lizzie Magie created a game to explain the downside of economical monopolies. It was published in 1924 as The Landlord’s Game. Charles Darrow’s variation, the one we know as Monopoly, was published in 1930.

Want to take it one step further? Poker can be traced back to the 15th century in Germany. Old versions of the game were played with 20 cards, the english 52 cards deck was introduced “only” in the 19th century. And if you think “new” variations are recent, the never so popular Texas hold’em dates to the beginning of the 20th century, more than a hundred years old.

Not old enough? Let’s talk about chess. The history of chess is huge and its precursors have been around for 1500 years. We can trace it back to 6th century India! And even the “modern” version, conceived in Europe and played across the globe to this day, has been around since the 15th century.

I could continue the list for a while. Olympic games are way older than chess. And I’m sure kids have been playing hide-and-seek since the beginning of mankind. But I digress, after all playing is part of who we are. So I will stop with chess for now and ask the big question: why is chess a secular game and video games have so short life spans?

When I initially thought about the subject, the first thing that popped into my head was depth: chess is a deep game, with millions of alternatives. No match is ever the same. It is probably true that a shallow game would have a short life, but video games history and theory defy the idea: since the games industry inception, games have been evolving pretty fast and as games evolve and grow more and more complex, the time people spend with them paradoxically gets smaller and smaller.

Look at the Atari generation: River Raid was played for a very long time. Then Nintendo came and we played Super Mario Bros for ages. In the Sega Genesis I played Sonic from the day I got it until I finally stopped using the platform. Even the concept of old games was fuzzy: we didn’t care if the game was from 1 or 2 years ago, we just played it.

But our games evolved and nowadays a game’s lifespan is much shorter (even though there are exceptions). For how long did you play Metal Gear Solid? What about Bioshock?

Someone might argue that, like I said before, Metal Gear Solid and Bioshock are shallow games. It is true, but not in a bad way. Some modern games are way more story driven. In old games, the goal was always to achieve the highest score possible. Some of them never ended and would loop back to the beginning so you could continue playing. When a game is too story driven, like Bioshock, it loses replay value. Of course you can play again with variances. But after 2 or 3 times, you got everything you could from it, unless you feel nostalgic afterward (like it happens with movies and books after all).

What really keeps a game alive is competition. We continue playing to beat the ever changing AI, a friend or ourselves, in score based games. So, in order to survive, a game needs to be entertaining, competitive and deep. And then I ask: how long did you play Modern Warfare 1? What about Company of Heroes (the best ranked strategy game at gamerankings.com)? Isn’t Company of Heroes deep enough? I’m sure it is.

So I was thinking about that. It is a bit sad that great games last so little, it feels like the cultural value of the game gets much smaller. I played Monopoly when I was a kid. My father taught me how to play chess. Yet somehow I don’t think I’ll be teaching my kids how to play Company of Heroes.

I think games are doomed with the curse of sequels. Be them direct sequels or not, the games industry is always recreating games. And the new ones replace the old inside the DVD drive. I stopped playing Modern Warfare 1 to play Modern Warfare 2. And stopped playing Modern Warfare 2 to play Bad Company 2.

The timing for this post is no coincidence. Last week Starcraft II, the sequel to the best RTS ever (IMHO), finally came out. Starcraft was a bastion for video game resilience: the classic from 1998 continued being played for 12 years without a sequel (just the Brood Wars expansion shortly after the original release), it became a national sport in South Korea. Is it probably just as complex as chess or even more. But its legion of players was getting smaller, the game surrounded by newer, better looking alternatives.

Last week, when reviewers started writing their impressions on the new game, probably the highest point of PC gaming in 2010, they mentioned innovations and improvements. And while I’m thrilled to see the sequel and craving to play it, I’m also a bit frustrated. It is sad to see a great game, that lasted 12 years, get a killing sequel. Starcraft was already loosing ground, even though many kept playing it even when Warcraft III came along. But I’m afraid it won’t resist a direct sequel. The old gives space to the new.

I’ll finish talking about the moments of joy games provide during their brief lives again. The current generation of players probably won’t teach the new one how to play Starcraft, not even Starcraft II. But while the games go back to the shelves, the genres continue alive and well.

In the constantly reinvented games industry, there’s no space for secular games, but there’s space for secular icons and concepts. The RTS genre won’t die. Nor will FPSs. And because the concepts remain the same, that’s what we’ll pass to the next generation, that’s the legacy of video games to the future.

And I’m sure Mario will be there too. That’s gotta count for something.

See you space cowboys…

Quick review: Espgaluda II for the iPhone July 21, 2010

Posted by Cesar in gaming me.
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I have to be honest: I’m slightly biased when talking about Espgaluda II. First of all because I love vertical scrolling shooters. And second because Guwange and ESP Ra.De., two old school shooters also developed by Cave, are in my top 3 together with Treasure‘s Ikaruga (which tops the list).

But bias aside, if possible, Cave did a great job with Espgaluda II for the iPhone. In a world where wide screens dominate the market (in Brazil I even had a rotating wall mount just to play Ikaruga with my LCD sideways), the portrait layout of mobile devices provide a great alternative for shoot’em up games to emerge again. And Espgaluda II delivers.

To be perfectly honest, if you played Espgaluda or ESP Ra.De. you’ll feel some déjà vu. The games are very similar in nature. But that’s not a bad thing, because Espgaluda II is awesome. The graphics are great, the controls are very responsive and there are more bullets on the screen than you can imagine.

Among these factors, the controls are possibly the most interesting. Analog sticks on the iPhone are very awkward. So Espgaluda II follows suit with other successful touch based shooters, like Space Invaders Infinity Gene and rRootage, allowing you to drag your character with your finger. And it works very well. But look at the screenshots above. Notice the border around the game screen? In Espgaluda II you can set the game screen to 3 different sizes and none of them fill up the whole screen. I suspect the reason for that is a proportion difference between the original arcade version and the iPhone port. But it ends up working very well. You see, you might not have noticed, but our fingers are not transparent. And until they become at least translucid, our moving our fingers always hide something on the screen. In manic shooters, it can be very frustrating to die because your forefinger is hiding the killing bullet. You get used to avoiding that, of course, but in Espgaluda II you don’t have to, because you can place your fingers on the bottom border of the screen, which is not part of the play area.

The other great aspect of the game is that it is freaking hard, as you would expect from a Cave manic shooter. Of course you can keep tapping continue and get to the end fairly quickly. But that’s the cheap way to play, it is not how these games are supposed to be approached. The idea is to resist temptation and get as far as possible with your original 3 lives and nothing more. If you do that I assure you: it will be a very long road until you finish this one on the hard difficulty.

So to sum it all up: if you like manic scrolling shooters and you own an iPhone, Espgaluda II is definitely a must buy.

See you space cowboys…

OnLive and latency: the milliseconds chalenge June 18, 2010

Posted by Cesar in gaming me.
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OnLive is finally here. The system launched yesterday and the team is being very cautious about it. They intend to do a gradual release, starting with fewer users and slowly opening up for everyone. But I don’t have any feedback on the service yet and it will be a while until we have solid numbers, so if you are reading and have something to say, write! I’m particularly interested in access farther away from the servers or in borderline connections (5MB according to OnLive’s FAQ).

Anyway, Gamasutra published a very good interview with Steve Perlman, OnLive’s CEO. And some of what he mentioned made me worry about the service, mostly about the issue everyone is worried about: latency. During the testing phase, Perlman said “99 percent haven’t had any lag complaints”. That is very positive. But in this article at PCWorld, Jared Newman states he experienced choppiness and lag during his tests. OnLive blamed the connection at the convention center.

However, if you put the interview and these first experiences together, you get to my main concern right now: OnLive works, but it takes such a toll on latency that you must be sure everything else works flawlessly.

First things first, OnLive’s main argument is very valid. That is: most of the latency is introduced in what they call the “last mile”. The distance from the server allegedly doesn’t matter much as long as the connection from the computer to ISP is good.

So they are already blaming someone else, right? “Our service is awesome, the problem is with the ISPs”. If you think about the network structure, it makes perfect sense. I hope the new age of remote computing forces ISPs to improve their networks and reduce overall latency. However, it is very easy to say something works in a structure that doesn’t exist. It is like making the most beautiful game ever, but that runs at 5 fps, and blaming GPU manufacturers (anyone thinking Crysis?).

But the other arguments I saw in the interview are worse. I never heard a casual gamer complaining about monitor latency, keyboard latency or mouse latency before. And those are the other reasons for big latency according to Perlman. Again: “Our service is awesome, maybe you just don’t have the right mouse”. Is it fair to blame the peripheral industry? Is it fair to say their service works and throw the problem over the fence? OnLive is the newcomer that should adapt to the current technology.

In my view, if mouse latency is a huge deal, that means it is just the last drop. I interpret that as: OnLive has an acceptable latency by itself, in vacuum, but take it to the atmosphere of the real world and the small latency caused by everything else adds up to an amount that makes the OnLive experience problematic.

Be that as it may, by Perlman’s speech it seems like all problems are solvable. So if you have a good connection to your ISP and small latency peripherals, OnLive should work and work well. And that’s a huge accomplishment. The problems shouldn’t stop gamers from testing the service. More than that, the choice to acquire OnLive and other remote solutions might in the long run force ISPs and peripheral manufacturers start making improvements. And if you have a good ISP at hand, OnLive still means you can run top notch games at high resolutions in low budget computers, which is amazing. I myself intend to try it as soon as possible. I want to play high res games on my laptop!

Just don’t come saying everything is fine and start pointing fingers. That’s just not right.

Side note: on January 29, I wrote a post mentioning OnLive on the iPad as a distant dream and somewhat of a joke. While it is still distant, other people thought of it (or maybe they read gaming me? lol) and it ended up in a proof of concept you can check here. Isn’t it cool?

See you space cowboys…

Mario vs. Pacman June 11, 2010

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According to Kotaku, this short animation is part of a Russian ad campaign promoting a potato chips brand. Sounds weird? The ads too. But they are awesome! Insanely hilarious! Each of the clips features a… erm… fierce competition between two famous characters, some of them from video games like the one above.

No point in saying anything else. Just watch. If you like it (if you don’t you are not nerdy enough), check the others. I highly recommend Leonidas vs. Chuck Norris and Skywalker vs. Neo.

See you space cowboys…

Telê Santana: the master April 22, 2010

Posted by Cesar in gaming me, sporting me.
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I usually write about technology and games on the blog. But I can’t let this date pass.

Yesterday it’s been exactly four years since Telê Santana died. He was considered by many, me included, the best football coach in history and led my team, São Paulo Futebol Clube, to its greatest achievements: two Libertadores da América and two Intercontinental Cups, in 1992 and 1993. I’ll always remember that team with a lot of pride and a bit of nostalgia.

My most emotional football moment also involves him. When São Paulo won its third Libertadores in 2005, twelve years after the last one, I was at the stadium. And when the referee blew the final whistle, the whole crowd, 70 thousand people, started singing Telê’s name, even though he had retired a long time ago. An homage to the greatest coach the team ever had. I confess it made me cry, I’ll never forget that moment.

Telê Santana was also an adept of nice, pretty, offensive football. When commanding the national team in the 1982 Word Cup, he created what most consider to be the best team Brazil ever had after Pelé retired. No one thought true legends like Zico, Sócrates, Cerezo and Falcão could play on the same team, there was no space. But Telê made it happen and it was wonderful. Pure magic.

When that team lost to Italy in what we Brazilians remember as the Battle of Sarriá, the country was in shock. In 1982, the beautiful and offensive football preached by Telê Santana didn’t win the World Cup. But it conquered the whole world.

We miss you Telê.

See you space cowboys…

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