Top 10 of 2012 : Anime

posted in: Anime, top 10, WYSBW | 0

#10 – Sword Art Online
Just barely beating out the honourable mentions is SAO, which had an incredible first few episodes and generally good first arc, but then the second arc started to become a little bit shit, and the ending was admittedly pretty bad. However the first arc was strong enough to carry the rest of it into my top 10. Had it kept going at the first arc for the whole 25 episodes this would probably rank much higher.

#9 – Lupin 3rd : The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
Highly stylized self contained episodes worked in this show’s favour, and reminded me how badly we need more shows like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. This is a great standalone watch even for those completely unfamiliar with the Lupin 3rd series.

#8 – Psycho Pass
One of the more serious shows on this list, Psycho-pass is an interesting gritty take on the sci-fi police detective genre. Still only half way through the season as its a 2-cour but it has convinced me enough in 11 episodes to make it onto my top 10 of the year.

#7 – Sakurasou
Guilty pleasure of the year, with a formula and story which seems unoriginal and almost out of a newgrounds dating sim, this show somehow still manages to tick enough boxes to be a very entertaining 13 episode watch.

#6 – Chuunibyou demo koi ga shitai
Emotional rollercoaster, from straight comedy to romantic comedy, to romantic drama, to drama and all the way back. A good watch all the way, and very moeeee~

#5 – Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou

Schoolboy sketch show comedy, hit and miss jokes, but the hits can pack some serious punch (also, literary girl is the best background character this year)

#4 – Yuru Yuri 2

Still holds the award for most entertaining ‘pointless schoolgirls doing fuckall’ shows.

#3 – Binbougami Ga!

Fantastic comedy all the way through, brainless as fuck and with lots of needless fanservice, but i’ll be damned if that ever stopped me from enjoying a show. Very lovable characters who get some good development as the show goes on.

#2 – Waiting in the summer

Lighthearted romantic comedy featuring an alien, with some not so lighthearted extra relationship drama thrown in. A few bumps here and there, but a great watch overall.

#1 – Kids on the slope

An amazing drama from start to finish, Friendships and relationships are formed and crushed, and the climax half way through features one of the best moments in anime.

Honourable Mentions: Another, Kokoro Connect, Tonari No Kaibutsu, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Phantom Blood, Spaces Brothers (which has been consistently good all the way through, but runs at a slower pace than the others)

A summary of everything i’ve watched in 2012, red blocks are shows uncompleted/dropped half way, green blocks are shows finished. 

Top 10 of 2012: Video Games

posted in: Games, top 10 | 0

Lets do it.

#10 – Diablo 3
Didn’t keep me engaged for as long as I would have hoped, but I cannot deny the time I spent with Diablo 3 playing with friends was great fun. It feels a shame the game was in such a broken state when it first came out, I believe they have made some significant changes now which I would love to go back and try but its too little too late really. Still though, a fantastic game for the first 2 playthroughs, and amazing fun with friends.

#9 – Guild Wars 2
I still haven’t had time to explore all of tyria, dat value for money.
Read more here

#8 – Quantum Conundrum
Puzzle game from people who made portal, of course it was going to be good. Similar to the original portal however, the game suffered from being about 1 hour long (or it felt like it was seriously short anyway). But, for the short time the main game lasted, it was great fun to play and one of the better 3d puzzle games out there.

#7 – FTL (Faster than light)
Indie roguelike goodness, where every enemy encounter has a reasonable chance of killing you and ending all progress you’ve made on that particular playthrough.
its great fun though, maybe i’m just a masochist. Read more here

#6 – XCOM
A surprise which came out of nowhere for me, installed after being urged by a friend. The game hooked me into its addictive SRPG bullshittery. I lost many hours to this beast and regret nothing. You can read more here

#5 – Max Payne 3

Max payne 3 is a sequel to Max Payne 2, major differences being the lack of comic book panels and max’s hair. But everything else is intact, the dry wit, the clever writing, and all the satisfying slo-mo shooting one would expect. Max Payne 3 does nothing special, but what it does, it does so very very well.

#4 – Hitman Absolution
Probably a controversial pick, but I really enjoyed this instalment of Hitman.
Yeah sure it wasn’t blood money, but guaranteed if it was, a ton of people would complain that it was too similar to the past game. I really feel like most of the complaints on this are completely unwarranted though, i’ve seen reviews saying ‘you only assassinate 5 people’ or whatever and these people are dumb as shit, you get to assassinate loads of people – and there is always the online ‘Contracts’ mode if you want to assassinate more, infact – the online contracts mode is probably the Blood Money most people were looking for. And to those complaining the game is too easy with ‘instinct vision’ (which lets you see people through walls and so on), try to play the game on hard or expert, then complain.

#3 – Sleeping Dogs
An overlooked gem, Sleeping dogs absolutely nails the open world sandbox genre, whilst stealing all of the good features from a ton of other games, the result is a game which seems to do everything right.
Fun melee combat, Fun and actually skill based shooting combat, Driving mechanics which dont feel awful, a level up system, clothes shopping, car shopping, optional races, a bunch of collectibles which arent forced upon you (and can be found on the minimap for those achievement hunting), and most importantly a Story which wasn’t complete garbage.

#2 – SSX 2012
Winner of ‘most underrated game of 2012’ for sure, SSX was a blast to play, 80% of the tracks are a pure adrenaline rush to play when accompanied by the amazing soundtrack which suits the gameplay perfectly. The live audio mixing and visual feedback from linking a perfect set of tricks down the side of a mountain is as great to experience as it is to pull off. The online system is also fun and well thought out and the Single player story does well at keeping each set of levels fresh and challenging.

#1 – The Walking Dead
An easy decision here, and a well deserved win for The Walking Dead video game, whose great storytelling has already been recognized on sites larger than my own.
Though the game is a mediocre point and click adventure, its incredible characters and story will keep you glued to the game from start to finish. You can read more here

Honourable Mentions: Sniper Elite V2, Hotline Miami, Mark of the Ninja

Stuff which would probably be on the list if I had a chance to properly play them:
Assassins Creed 3, Far Cry 3, Zero’s Escape: Virtue’s last reward
Assassins creed in particular I feel has top 6-10 potential, and Virtues last reward could probably make top 5. I’ll be getting the latter within the week I hope so I’ll blog about it when I finish it.

End Note:
Its been a reasonable year for video games, and whilst sequel fever probably isn’t going anywhere for a while (6/10 games on this list are sequels, 7/10 if you consider sleeping dogs was once intended to be part of the true crime series), its nice to see a few games changing it up.

Meng’s Guide to Restaurant Customers

posted in: work | 0

So whether I like it or not, i’ve been working as a waiter for about a year now, and the major categories of customers have become fairly clear.

Bare in mind that this obviously isn’t a 100% indication of anything.
Tip stuff is roughly
Small = <5%
Medium = ~5%
High = ~/>10%

Really Young white couple (<20y/o):
– Bill: Small
– Tip: Small
– Other notes: Girl is usually friendly, guy is socially awkward, probably due to age

Young white couple:
– Bill: Small – Big
– Tip: Medium
– Other notes: Friendly, easy to deal with

Heavily drinking white couple:
– Bill: 20% food, 80% cocktails
– Tip: None – Low
– Other Notes: Constantly orders cocktails, impressive tolerence for alcohol. Usually friendly enough but you can tell they are scum.

Young white family (with actual children):
– Bill: Medium
– Tip: Low-Medium (way less than it should be considering the mess they have made)
– Other Notes: Make a mess, children liable to be a complete fucking nuisance

White family (grown up children):
– Bill: Medium-High
– Tip: Medium-High
– Other Notes: Friendly, easy to deal with, father cracks bad jokes, daughter is still embarrassed of family despite being over 20 now.

Business people (dudes in suits):
– Bill: High
– Tip: Medium-High
– Other Notes: The older they are, the higher the bill and tip become. Spend the whole dinner dickwagging about how much their turnover is.

Very young group of friends (<20y/o):
– Bill: Small
– Tip: None-Small
– Other Notes: always one asshole in the group that tries to act grown up, boys will pull a “what is this shit” face when asked for ID despite being 5 days above legal drinking age

Group of friends:
– Bill: Small-High
– Tip: None-High
– Other Notes: Pot luck here.

Europeans:
– Bill: Medium-High
– Tip: None-Medium
– Other Notes: Usually fairly heavy drinkers, not unusual for drinks to outprice food

Blacks – Type 1 (95%):
– Bill: Medium-High
– Tip: None
Blacks – Type 2 (5%):
– Bill: Medium
– Tip: Low-Medium
– Other Notes: I’m not really educated enough to tell the two groups apart, but I’m pretty sure the difference is where/how they are brought up. If they have any sort of accent of any sort you are almost certainly dealing with a type 1. Both types are equally demanding, and are likely to complain about everything and expect it all to be done instantly. Women will not drink without a straw. Loves chicken (this is an actual fact, not even a stereotype). Steak must be cooked well done. Literally a waiters worst nightmare.

Chinese:
– Bill: Medium (would be high for certain if they were drinkers)
– Tip: None-High (assumedly depending on where they were brought up, tipping isn’t a thing in China)
– Other Notes: Above average chance of complaining, particularly if the food is bad/overcooked ,very particular about having clean cutlery and glasses.

Arabians:
– Bill: Medium-high
– Tip: Medium-Very High
– Other Notes: Very rude, can be shockingly good tippers, maybe they all own oil fields or something.

Indians:
– Bill: Low-Medium
– Tip: Low-Medium
– Other Notes: Surprisingly low sample rate at my restart, maybe they don’t like steak/western food?

JLPT N5

posted in: exams, Japanese Language, JLPT | 1

So I had my Japanese N5 test today in London, it was a little different to how I imagined it, in my head it was going to be much bigger and professional – In actuality it was in a lecture theatre with those little  fold out desktop things, several people had to move because their desk couldnt support the weight of their test paper.

The variety of people in there was impressive, there were plenty of guys around my age, some older people (going into their 50’s even by the looks of it), a few very very young girls (small adorable girl in pink who looked about 10), and a few very obvious otaku.

They made us swear to not reveal any of the test information on the internet, slightly odd because im assuming they will be changing the test paper yearly anyway.

I made a stupid mistake of essentially learning the wrong shit, the android app on my phone which I was basing most of my revision from (pro I know) basically had the wrong list of what is in each JLPT category, and hence I was hit by a few Kanji that I didn’t revise, and a few words which I have honestly never heard before in my life. (The app is ‘Obenkyo’, which is great for learning and revising kanji, but not for revising particular levels of kanji apparently).

The exam is divided into Vocabulary, Grammar and Listening.
To my surprise, the vocab one gave the most trouble, with plenty of tricky questions.
The grammar one thankfully doesn’t actually contain that much grammar (although the grammar questions kicked my ass), half of this section are comprehension questions, which weren’t too bad but you really had to haul ass in terms of reading speed, I didn’t finish this paper in time and had to rando-select a few answers.
The Listening one I found easy enough, felt like free points to me, but perhaps this is because of the way ive been learning (via Rosetta Stone, Anime and Music), those who have been taught strictly through books (are there such people?) might have more trouble with this.

Overall, the test was pretty fuckin’ hard. Like… way harder than I imagined, for the bottom tier examination which is supposed to infer basic command of the Japanese language.
I kind of took the test lightly, and if it kicks my ass, it’ll be for this reason.

Im not even sure what % you need to pass, but I really hope I end up above it.

(Rubbish and obvious) Tips for others doing the JLPT:

– Your best bet for the style of questions really is on the JLPT site itself
– Ensure you know what you are expected to know (obvious perhaps? Make sure you are learning N5 Material and not simply JLPT 5 material)