Category Archives: Blog

Kontestant: Mortal Kombat Theory

There are certain themes and stories which I grew up with and remained somewhat inhibited throughout the years – which I still enjoy or seek when indulging myself into a book, movie or game. And today I will talk about Mortal Kombat.

Who didn’t hear the famous “Techno Syndrome (Mortal Kombat)” song – written by Oliver Adams.. probably everyone at some point heard it somewhere. I know that I listened to the song thousands of times from the first time I heard it.

I think it was a TV ad which played it before the first movie was broadcast.

I still remember that after getting my first PC I listened to the song and started battling an invisible enemy in my room and almost broke my head off :))

Then I became acquainted with the Mortal Kombat Conquest TV series and then I discovered the joy of playing some of the games.

Old habits die hard – therefore – currently I am re-watching Conquest and I just got my hands on the Mortal Kombat Komplete game. And yes – the geek needed a little bit more and started reading the comics too.

The Mortal Kombat Theory is rich, filled with elements and story-plots that dictate the tale of each of the characters and each of the deadly tournaments.

You can follow the link for a detailed view on the story of MK here.

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In a world of multiple realms – Earthrealm is considered a treasure and it is wanted by the rulers of other dark worlds – like Shao Khan – ruler of Outworld. The story of the first movie and the Conquest series, also of some of the comics – is centered around the Mortal Kombat Tournament in which Shao Khan’s warriors battle the Earthrealm’s trained soldiers. Human warriors along with unearthly beings will face themselves in combat.

Mortal Kombat started as a video game for arcades back in 1992 – a concept created by Ed Boon and John Tobias. And the years after – because the horror-fantasy fighting game genre gained popularity through this title – more Mortal Kombat games were developed.

You can follow the link for a complete list of Mortal Kombat media.

Scorpion_mkx_RenderThe games feature quite an impressive list of playable characters. The story takes place in a fictional universe composed of six realms, which were created by the Elder Gods. The Elder Gods created a fighting tournament called Mortal Kombat to reduce the wars between the realms. The first Mortal Kombat game (just as the movie) introduces a tournament in which Earthrealm can be destroyed if it loses once again.

I personally prefer Scorpion – a vengeful hell-spawned spectre which is in dire need of violence. His spear attack dictated by the “Get over here” phrase will grab and draw an enemy towards him, facilitating other close combat moves. I will not talk much about Scorpion since I plan an entire article only for this character, with tons of details and facts.

But I will let you get familiarized with all Mortal Kombat’s characters in the video below.

Also, I found a site hosting the Mortal Kombat novels along with a collection of comics for those interested.

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BioShock – Elements Of Gameplay

So I just finished again Bioshock – one of the best first person shooters out there – and because of the rich content, story-line, plot and elements that make up the gameplay and modes of doing stuff around – I wanted to write a short article regarding the audio logs and collection of plasmids and tonics you can collect.

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Bioshock is quite abundant in story elements. In 1946 Andrew Ryan started building an underwater city where he would desire to live with various groups of people – who shared his vision and his world view. Rapture was designed to be entirely self-supporting, with all of its electricity, food production, water purification and defense systems powered by undersea volcanic vents. In Rapture, Science, Industry and Art would thrive undisturbed by intervention from governments, religious institutions or other social agencies. People from around the world emigrated to the hidden city during the years between 1946 and 1952, sparking conspiracy theories on the surface about mass disappearances that came to be known as “The Vanishing”.

A few years later – the sea-slugs that secreted ADAM are discovered – and from there everything takes a turn to the wrong direction. The properties of the new substance would permit the creation of the plasmids – potions that could rewrite the DNA code of a person – in order for him or her to possess various powers.

But using too many plasmids and other tonics – known as splicing – would harm the body and the mind of the users. In the first Bioshock game – you discover the city in ruins and filled with these Splicers – which appear not in their right mind.

The story of the underwater utopian city Rapture can also be seen by exploring all the passages and the locations in the game – but also many more details are shown in the audio recordings of the citizen who are living or lived there. Over the last few weeks – because I was quite busy preparing exams and other stuff – I listened to ambient recordings from the game. Reading while listening to Rapture ambiance is quite relaxing – the sounds of the underground tunnels and the whales outside is amazing.

Also I really wanted to share a video comprising all the audio logs in the first Bioshock game.

Regarding plasmids and tonics – I didn’t manage to collect all of them – because that would mean stopping the game and looking at articles about the locations and ways of obtaining the desired tonics and other leveling-up substances – and because I recorded my gaming sessions – couldn’t do that. I mostly used Electrobolt and Telekinesis. Electrobolt stops the villains and you can gain momentum in reloading of changing weapons. Telekinesis deals a lot of damage to all the enemies – including Splicers and Big Daddies. As weapons – I went a lot with the Crossbow and the Shotgun but also I used the Machine Gun and the Grenade Launcher as well – in most situations.

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Below is a list of all the Gene Tonics and the Plasmids you can collect – also with hints on where you can find, invent or purchase them.

Physical Tonics (19)

1. BloodLust – U-Invent machine / Inventable after Arcadia
2. Booze Hound – U-Invent Machine / Inventable after Arcadia
3. Eve Link – Sold at Gatherer’s Garden machines
4. Eve Link 2 – Farmer’s Market / On the ground near U-Invent & vending machines.
5. Extra Nutrition – Sold at Gatherer’s Garden machines.
6. Extra Nutrition 2 – Storage Basement of the mall area in Fort Frolic. Covered by metal grate if Cohen dies. Also purchasable.
7. Extra Nutrition 3 – Research Spider splicers
8. Hacker’s Delight – Cremate the body in the Medical Pavillion.
9. Hacker’s Delight 2 – U-Invent machine / Inventable after Arcadia
10. Hacker’s Delight 3 – Proving Grounds / Same room as the Big Daddy Helmet.
11. Medical Expert – Neptune’s Bounty / In the center of the muddy section of the Lower Wharf.
12. Medical Expert 2 – Fort Frolic / Awarded by an alive Cohen or bought in Hephaestus
13. Medical Expert 3 – Near the toilets in Dr. Suchong’s Clinic on the second floor of Artemis Suites.
14. Natural Camouflage – Research the Houdini Splicers
15. Scrounger – Research Leadhead splicers
16. Security Evasion – Arcadia / In the center of a group of splicers, near an Invent machine.
17. Security Evasion 2 – Hephaestus / Heat Monitoring / Across from electrocuted ghost scene, sitting on desk
18. Sportboost – Research Thuggish splicers
19. Sportboost 2 – Research Thuggish Splicers.

Engineering Tonics (16)

1. Alarm Expert – Fort Frolic / Theater / Top Left balcony sitting on the ledge
2. Alarm Expert 2 – Point Prometheus / Optimized Eugenics / on filing cabinet
3. Clever Inventor – Suchong’s Apartment / Beside the tape recorder
4. Focused Hacker – Neptune’s Bounty / In the area right before fighting Peach Wilkins.
5. Focused Hacker 2 – Hestia Fourth Floor, on the desk in the corner of the room near the safe.
6. Hacking Expert – Arcadia / Sitting on the first desk in Langford Labs
7. Hacking Expert 2 – Available in Gatherer’s Garden vending machine, starting in the Fort Frolic area.
8. Prolific Inventor – Awarded for saving Little Sisters / Last Tonic reward
9. Safecracker – Awarded for saving Little Sisters / First Tonic reward
10. Safecracker 2 – In the Autopsy room in the downstairs of the Little Wonders Educational Facility.
11. Security Expert – Medical Pavilion / On a small chest in the morgue.
12. Security Expert 2 – Research the flying Security Bot
13. Shorten Alarms – Neptune’s bounty / Near “Saw Masha Today” recording or buy it at a Gatherer’s Garden machine in Arcadia.
14. Shorten Alarms 2 – Hephaestus / On the floor right before setting off the EMP.
15. Speedy Hacker – Medical Pavilion / On the desk in the dentist’s lab.
16. Speedy Hacker 2 – Available at Gatherer’s Garden vending machines, starting in the Olympus Heights area.

Combat Tonics (18)

1. Armored Shell – Available at Gatherer’s Garden vending machine, starting with the Medical Pavilion area.
2. Armored Shell 2 – Awarded for saving Little Sisters / Second Tonic Reward
3. Damage Research – Hephaestus / Across from the EMP bomb on a table
4. Damage Research 2 – In the Mendel Family Library, on a desk in the rear of the room.
5. Electric Flesh – Fort Frolic / The Projector Room in the Theater / On bookshelf
6. Electric Flesh 2 – Olympic Heights / Fontaine’s apartment / In the office on the desk
7. Frozen Field – Fort Frolic / Awarded for killing the Cohen victim in the freezer
8. Frozen Field 2 – Hephaestus – Room off entrance to Ryan’s office – on desk
9. Human Inferno – Arcadia Gatherer’s Garden machine / 20 Adam
10. Human Inferno 2 – Available at Gatherer’s Garden vending machine starting in the Point Prometheus area.
11. Photographer’s Eye – In the bunk room of the wine cellar in Farmer’s Market.
12. Photographer’s Eye 2 – Research the Rosie Big Daddy.
13. Static Discharge – Medical Pavilion / In the hallway after fighting Steinman.
14. Static Discharge 2 – Research Leadhead splicers
15. Wrench Jockey – Medical Pavilion / Seen from a window. In a back room, reached by airshaft.
16. Wrench Jockey 2 – Research Bouncer Big Daddy
17. Wrench Lurker – Neptune’s Bounty / Sitting on the ledge near the plasmid machine.
18. Wrench Lurker 2 – Available at Gatherer’s Garden vending machine, starting at Olympus Heights.

Plasmids (20)

1. Cyclone Trap – Bought from Gatherer’s Garden
2. Cyclone Trap 2 – Bought from gatherers garden
3. Electro Bolt – Found during Welcome to Rapture
4. Electro Bolt 2 – Bought at Gatherer’s Garden
5. Electro Bolt 3 – Bought at Gatherer’s Garden
6. Enrage! – Bought from Gatherer’s Garden vending machine
7. Hypnotize Big Daddy – Given by Tenenbaum (*Note you must save little sisters for this prize)
8. Hypnotize Big Daddy 2 – Given by Tenenbaum (*)
9. Incinerate! – Found on 2 floor of Eternal flame Crematorium (Medical Pavilion)
10. Incinerate! 2 – Bought at Gatherer’s Garden
11. Incinerate! 3 – Bought at Gatherer’s Garden
12. Insect Swarm – Bought from Gatherer’s Garden vending machine
13. Insect Swarm 2 – Bought at Gatherer’s Garden
14. Insect Swarm 3 – Bought at Gatherer’s Garden
15. Security Bullseye – On an awning near the wharfmaster’s office above the Upper Wharf area.
16. Target Dummy – Bought from Gatherer’s Garden vending machine
17. Telekinesis – Found in Dandy Dental (Medical Pavilion)
18. Winter Blast – Bought from Gatherer’s Garden vending machine
19. Winter Blast 2 – Bought at Gatherer’s Garden
20. Winter Blast 3 – Bought at Gatherer’s Garden.

There would be so much more to discuss about the game – because it is very complex and each character and each aspect and component has a feature worth discussing. For now I I am playing other games – I have a week off from anything before my new job – and I indulge myself with anime and TV series and my favorite videogames- but I will play Bioshock 2 and Bioshock Infinite later.

I also keep uploading the gameplays on my Youtube Channel.

New Stories…

A few years back I used to write short stories and essays about different things – fan fictions and original stories which had various themes. And since from next week I will have some days off – far from anything – since I only got three days left at my current job – before my new one 🙂 – I decided to work on three stories.

They will be called The Last Broadcast – which will be a zombie themed short story, When Blue Butterflies Die – for this I am thinking about a few parts – a psychological horror story and Post Tenebras – a story set in the Penumbra game universe.

I am really looking forward to these days – when I will work on them – especially in the mornings – when I observed I am more creative. The zombie story will be a struggle for survival for a group lost in the middle of the undead hordes. When Blue Butterflies Die will deal with the unlimited frontiers of the human mind and the last one will be a lonely journey of survival in the Greenland’s abandoned mines, through uncertainty.

As I was saying – I got three days left at my current job. Lately I’ve been busy with my exams and getting ready for the new job (after getting it) – and I want to make most of the time before starting it. I think I deserve a break. So.. these days I will think about ways to write the stories more and more interesting and I will wait for the right time to begin writing. Once again, looking forward to it… 🙂

Vectorial Factor: The Elfen Lied Hyperbole

It is like a tradition now – to re-watch Elfen Lied every summer – to engage in the story of my favorite anime – a story filled with tragedy and also darkness. I remember the first time I saw the anime – home – in the afternoons – and I was captivated by the rich set of elements that put together the plot. And after completing it I was left with this sense of sadness – which I experienced each time I finished the series.

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Elfen Lied – which refers to a German poem translated as the “Song of the Elves” – was originally a manga series created by Lynn Okamoto. It presents the story of a species of super-humans called Diclonius – which are extremely violent by nature and enjoy tearing apart everything that they can reach. From the very beginning we witness the destructive powers of the Diclonius – as the main character – Lucy – escapes the facility she was kept in. The Diclonius possess a number of invisible arms called vectors, which varies from one individual to another.

The Diclonius also can be differentiated from humans by the set of horns they present from birth – and as they reach the age of three – they become killing machines lacking consciousness.

On the other hand – we see another fragment of existence – in which we see the Diclonius kept in laboratories and studied through various experiments. Through various violent tactics – the humans wanted to examine their capacities, boundaries and their way of thinking.

The themes in the series range from the double personality cliché and social identity to torture, regret, family life, perception of the past and present. The series follows the psychological evolution of the characters, which are deeply marked by their past (sadly otherwise). It is like a group of individuals which are rejected by the society end up living together and making the best of their remaining days- while still battling this rejection.

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The predominant genres in Elfen Lied are drama, horror, psychology and some elements of comedy. The evolution of the characters is marked by their way of thinking, the way they perceive reality. The drama of the existence of these individuals is explained episode with episode. From orphans, people with mental disabilities, unconscious assassins, all these characters can be found during the 13 episodes. Elfen Lied involves themes of social alienation, identity, prejudice, human conditions, revenge, abuse, jealousy and regret. The series also has graphic violence.

List of Episodes

01 – “A Chance Encounter ~ Begegnung (lit. Meeting)
“Kaikō” (BEGEGNUNG 邂逅)

02 – “Annihilation ~ Vernichtung (lit. Annihilation)
“Sōtō” (VERNICHTUNG 掃討)

03 – “Deep Feelings ~ Im Innersten (lit. At Heart)
“Kyōri” (IM INNERSTEN 胸裡)

04 – “Attack ~ Aufeinandertreffen (lit. Encounter)
“Shokugeki” (AUFEINANDERTREFFEN 触撃)

05 – “Receipt ~ Empfang (lit. Reception)
“Rakushō” (EMPFANG 落掌)

06 – “Innermost Feelings ~ Herzenswärme (lit. Heart Warmth)
“Chūjō” (HERZENSWAERME 衷情)

07 – “Confrontation ~ Zufällige Begegnung (lit. Coincidental Meeting)
“Saikai” (ZUFAELLIGE BEGEGNUNG 際会)

08 – “The Beginning ~ Beginn (lit. Beginning)
“Kōshi” (BEGINN 嚆矢)

09 – “Reminiscence ~ Schöne Erinnerung (lit. Beautiful Memory)
“Tsuioku” (SCHOENEERINNERUNG 追憶)

10 – “Infant ~ Säugling (lit. Infant)
“Eiji” (SAEUGLING 嬰児)

11 – “Complication ~ Vermischung (lit. Intermixing)
“Sakusō” (VERMISCHUNG 錯綜)

12 – “Quagmire ~ Taumeln (lit. Tumble)
“Deinei” (TAUMELN 泥濘)

13 – “No Return ~ Erleuchtung (lit. Illumination)
“Fugen” (ERLEUCHTUNG 不還)

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“In the Passing Rain, Or, How Can a Girl Have Reached Such Feelings? ~ Regenschauer (lit. Rain shower)”
“Tōriame ni te arui wa, shōjo wa ikani shi te sono shinjō ni itatta ka?” (通り雨にて 或いは、少女はいかにしてその心情に至ったか?)

Black Rose – Indie Horror Game

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Black Rose is a free indie horror game first published in 2013.

Since the original release – it has been updated with new textures, storyline elements and other graphical components. The game has been also released on Steam in 2016.

The game is relatively short – but the first time I played it – this weekend – I spend more than 2 hours exploring the dark mansion/funeral home where the game takes place.  You end up in this haunted abandoned funeral home in which those who die in fear or filled with hatred and other strong emotions – remain trapped and vengeful. You discover the tragic events that led to this dark atmosphere – and you encounter two of the most evil entities living here – Myrtle and Sullivan James.

The jump scares, the quick time events and the lack of lighting in the game make it enjoyable. There is a scoring system in which you can accumulate points by having close-calls. Closer you are to the entity hunting you, the more points you achieve. The game has two playable modes – Time Mode and Story Mode. In the time mode you have to quickly finish the game and obtain a certain score. In Story Mode – you can listen to fragments of the story through other character perceptions.

I recommend playing the game at night. Makes it more… vivid.  Below is a full gameplay of the game – I just uploaded on Youtube. Enjoy.

The National Ethnographic Park in Cluj

The National Ethnographic Park in Cluj-Napoca, Romania – is one of the well preserved ethnographic parks in Romania. It was established in 1929. The initial park had a surface of 75 ha, today only 16 ha still remained as part of the park. Some buildings have been destroyed during the second World War and the renovation works implemented in the following years help rebuild this “village” with its old and tranquil atmosphere.

Today, the first sector includes technical installations and workshops dating back to the 18th-20th centuries, illustrating the traditional techniques of wood and iron processing, gold making, woolen fabrics, clay, stone milling, grain milling and ways to obtain edible oil.

The second sector contains traditional peasant farms representative of distinct ethnographic areas in Transylvania, including buildings dated between the 17th and 20th centuries, equipped with the necessary household inventory.

I’ve only visited the park twice – but it feels like a place you don’t want to leave – the old structures and how everything used to work a few centuries ago – takes you back in time.

 

Dear Esther – Conceptual Essayistic Review

“When this paper aeroplane leaves the cliff edge and carves parallel vapour trails in the dark, we will come together”.

Imagine yourself outside the comforts of this world. Imagine a time when technological and industrial advances weren’t a key subject in the local newspapers. When electricity wasn’t singing its song into the blissful evenings that were setting upon the little farm houses.

Picture the flickering pale light of a candle. It whispers nuances around it.. It whispers translucent bedtime stories of heroes and villains alike – with they swords and shields polished for the greatest battle they’ve ever seen.

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Visualize a storm in the distance, the sound of waves crashing down gently into the rocky facade of an old-forgotten island. And the aged lighthouse not emitting life-saving signals anymore… just memories of how vigor used to caress perpetual smiles.

A boat without a bottom, a means of transportation without passengers, a lonely seagull looking for shelter and the sea, the ancient sea witnessing all the humankind’s history.

You have a mission. To reach one final destination before closing the deal with this existence. You travel across the deserted island and encounter rocky formations that stand up like pagan altars – used for praying to Gods and Goddesses for health and prosperous harvests.

All you can see are abandoned ships. Seems like the world traveled afar from here and never came back. Like people never existed and this tragic game of souls wasn’t developed properly. Source code for sadness.

Beyond and above the scarred, dried bushes – there is an abandoned house. You take shelter there – hoping that the coming storm will leave soon and will never betray its origin. You can hear its cruel moaning entering the broken windows. Little drops of rain touching your face. This was only meant to caress you, to reassure you that everything will be fine from now on, but they feel like cold spikes on a everlasting winter. It is too lonely here. Yet, you continue your journey.

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Watery caves. Fluorescent mushrooms. Stalactites and stalagmites.

Underground lake formations. Rivers of calcareous water. The rocks beneath you are slippery. You touch the walls of the cave with your bare hands and feel the magical coldness installed here. Wet, unstable, unfriendly, unwelcome, deadly…

The air is filled with sprinkles of humidified substances. A cavern of troublesome trips. A labyrinth of paths that lead outside through a collection of survival attempts. You have to ascend, then descend and repeat the whole process. Following the waterfalls you engage in a deadly dive. It is now a crucial point in your journey. It is just a leap of faith. Faith that cannot be comprehended, nor explained in any book.

And all this leads you to the last portion of your journey. The longest journey ever taken…

What once was a port for large vessels – became now a ruin of nothingness. The skeleton of a dead whale… a reminder that where life ends… possibilities are unknown. The storm has passed, but strong winds still haul above you – attacking the mountain you are about to climb. Shadowy figures appear to be watching you… yet when you reach the point where the dark stranger sat – you find nothing, only a half-burned candle.

You take a deep breath. And you ascend. You are at the tower. A Babylon ready to be reborn. Damascus at dawn, with no-one around.

And you – poetically progressing – take another leap of faith… faith that cannot be comprehended, nor explained in any book…