Monday, March 30, 2009

Nostalgia infront of the screen

Even when you sip 100 bucks cappuccino from Coffee day, you would speak those nostalgic words on the 1 rupee coffee from the college canteen shared with your friends. This post is neither about friendship nor about coffee. It is about a similar nostalgic feeling of the computer games in my life. Please note, that by computer game, I meant not only the PC but all the video gaming devices that spawned from the electronic computing parts. Sometimes I wonder how someone came with the concept of gaming in computers. A machine which was entirely used for business and military purposes created an entirely new concept unknown to human kind and took the whole world by storm bringing a new race of people who would not mind leaving the real world as they get immersed into the unimaginable world of gaming and live out their life stuck in front of a screen. I wonder what made the programmer a geeky idiot like me bring in something different outside his purpose of life to introduce recreation inside a box full of zeroes and ones. And will you believe me that the very first computer game was Spacewar developed at MIT in the year 1961. This is true if you do not consider the radar simulation game on cathode ray tube developed in 1951. Anyway in Spacewar, two players control spaceships and have to shoot at each other. A simple but interesting game. So you know the mindset of killing each other in games was introduced with the very first game itself. So let us not complain about Quake and UT being violent. You would be voicing against the computer gaming kind.

Now back to my cup of coffee. Sorry. I meant my gaming memories. I was introduced into the computer gaming world with a cloned version of Sega-1000 at the age of 8. Video gaming has probably just been introduced in India and my uncle bought one for our home. I am not able to recall the feeling of my first touch of the joypad (controller) but I clearly understood that it is something amazing and I was sure that it is going to make a huge impact on the world and my life. The console had a maximum of 16 colors and the cartridge that came with the console had 8 games and there was not even a menu to select the games. You need to press the "SELECT" button on the console to switch games. And the game I remember the most and considered the most advanced game is "Police and thief" as we called it, was about a cop who jumps like a bunny trying to catch a fast running thief before the time runs out or the thief reaches the end of the top floor. It had elevators that you could use. But like every damn elevator in office, it would either close just before you reach it or you would forget getting down in the right floor and end up moving up and down while the thief escapes easily. If you do not want elevators, you can use the escalators available at each end of the floor. Trivial point is that the escalators only go up and there is none to take you down. Wonder how people would like in such buildings. But I don’t think any people would want to live in a building infested by honeycombs on the floor which we used to call as "Jail" for no reason and vans that will hit you taking away 15 seconds of your time not to forget a flying stick that you need to dodge by jumping and sometimes lowering your head. But if you are not scared of these and still keep on catching the cops, there will be helicopters inside the building taking your life away as they hit your police cap. And the bad part is that none of the obstacles would have any effect on the thief. Anyway, how much illogical the gameplay was, "Police n Thief" is the most enjoyed game I have played in that console and have went as much as 16 levels which had helicopters trying to hit my hat every second that I ended up sitting like a duck for the whole level.
As I can keep on talking about the golden days and I have blogged on this many times before, I would do a fast forward to the recent times. After many years of console gaming, and the sudden invasion of Mario and Duck hunt, my gaming interests increased tremendously and I started playing Pacman, Digger and then the legendary Prince of Persia in our PC-XT 386 and upgraded 486 personal computers in office. And here I am moving from Sega-1000, Nintendo entertainment system, Nintendo gameboy, PC-XT, PC-AT, modern games in the Intel Pentium computers and playing with new generation of gaming consoles like XBOX and Playstation 2 which I slowly planning to change to the next-gen PS3 console though which seems to be at far reach considering Chini's liking to see the consoles only at the stores. I need to do some hard work in convincing her that gaming consoles are basic necessities of a normal healthy happy married life. In that way, she can talk all she want and I will never say a word against her and the best way to get my attention is to let me play the games and block the screen for a second and rely what she wants me to do. Of course, please do not tell her that it will be done only after the game is over.
Why this nostalgia all of a sudden you might ask. I saw this post in Engadget about the 8-bit video game console with keyboard entering the US market for just $49.99 which every kid in India has played for years bought at Rs.500 or just $10. Who said electronics cost more in India? Is this some great business opportunity and I should buy 10 consoles in India for 250 each and sell at Rs.2000 or $40 in eBay and become a millionaire overnight? What would I do with that money? What else? Savings for the next PS4 or XBOX 720.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Where is the nonsense tonight?

I never thought that I would be writing this post in my lifetime. And what I about to say might shock people around and even kill some. So please prepare yourself for the next statement.

I watched Simbu's Silambaatam last weekend and I boldly say here that I found it quite ok to watch. Sometimes it was even interesting. And I could actually appreciate Simbu's work in it though Satman's ears were piping with hot steam for most of the scenes. One thing was sure; Simbu is lot more bearable if he does not throw away his punch dialogues often knocking us out altogether.

Now one might wonder what the hell happened to me to make such statements that might scare away the few readers I have. After deep thought, I found out that the whole reason to find the movie "watchable" was that we had set the expectations much below the level of T.Rajendran's Veerachamy, that I actually enjoyed few scenes in the movie.

And if I may speak more of the "stick dance",

  • Cinematographer turned Director Saravanan has done a good job in bringing this glamour and sticky masala movie into a watchable one with the help of Cinematographer Mathi. Good job on the camera moves especially in the song and fight sequences. If you forget Simbu in the scene, it is much more pleasant to watch.
  • Satman was in all crazy with steam engine running between his ears when Simbu was teaching few students on how to make "Panchamirtham". I was doubtful if he liked the sweet so much that he couldn’t watch the movie more.
  • Please don’t blame me if you are laughing to death when I say that Simbu acts as a Hindu Priest. Did I forget to add "innocent Hindu priest".
  • "Sneha! Is that Sneha?" She looks leaner and.... she is more.... competing well with the heroines of the current time. ......"Is it really Sneha????"
  • Simbu attacks each and every other hero in Kollywood by mocking them all over the movie. There is Vijay in the flashback Simbu, Vikram behind the priest Simbu and even a very apparent Ajith in Billa Simbu. And what the hell. Wiki reports that Simbu invited Ajith and Vijay for premier shows and they said that the movie is great! Is that smart for Simbu or dumb for the rest?
  • The main scene that I had to close my ears hard to avoid bleeding was the Billa spoof where he speaks in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and "SIMBLISH".

"You are the one who is new.
People who don’t know me are very few.
Who the hell are you?"

"Just because you are white,
not everything you say is right."

"You want to brew bear?
For me, the land and people are very dear.
I will fight you out without any fear.
Am I clear?"

Oh my God!!!!!!!!!

  • A minimal decency could have been maintained for the mass "Where is the party" song to be watchable with friends and family.
  • Santhanam's comedy rarely had double meanings as most of them had only one meaning which meant the second one. Boo boo!
  • Except for the glamour and songs by Sana Khan and Sneha, as expected it is Simbu all over Silambaatam director by Saravanan. Did you notice the "S" in everything in the last sentence? Was it just a coincidence or something Simby?
  • May be Silambaatam was not that bad at all when compared to Vijay's Villu? Take note of SS in Simbu's Silambaatam and VV in Vijay's Villu here.