Penelope's forum posts

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#1 Posted by Penelope (262 posts) -

It's nighttime here in China. The sun is going down. Pouring one out for Ryan. I hope he likes Baijiu.

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#3 Posted by Penelope (262 posts) -

I live in China. Christmas is about as eventful as any other day here.

I worked today and since I'm away from my family I spent my Christmas Eve drinking beer and eating Korean food alone in a restaurant.

I need a little Christmas.


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#4 Posted by Penelope (262 posts) -

@dungbootle: The Youtsuba books are really the only Japanese books I brought with me to Japan because they are amazing and adorable. Absolutely my favorite. I'm just happy to meet someone who knows her not as "that four-chan girl".

@Zelyre: Yeah, Mandarin is easier than Cantonese, but it's not as useful unless you're going to live in Hong Kong. Mandarin's four tones are wiping the floor with me so when I heard that Cantonese had even more I simply went "Fuck that! Never learning that language!"

I learned bu pu mu fu in Taiwan as well. Not that it's doing me one iota of good here in Beijing.

Also, If anyone is planning on learning Japanese and then coming to China like I did... uh... don't bring it up a lot here. Japan is about as popular in China as a unwashed asshole.

Have fun learning Japanese dude. It's a cool language. Any idea where you'll be staying in Japan? I lived in both Tokyo and Osaka for a year. Loved both of them, but if you have a choice, I'd say aim for Osaka (even though they have a slightly weird dialect, it's awesome).

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#5 Edited by Penelope (262 posts) -

@Dudacles: I am the person you want to talk to about this.

I've attended high school and college in Japan, had an additional year of college in Taiwan, and am now living in Beijing. I speak Japanese fluently and can boast some moderate skill in Mandarin Chinese although my studies are ever ongoing.

Your post and questions could have been ripped directly out of my head 5 years ago. Let me share some of my experiences.

As far as languages go, Japanese is a MUCH easier language to learn than Chinese. There are several reasons for this.

First Chinese is a tonal language. There are 4 tones in Chinese (excluding the 5th toneless variation) so saying the same thing in a falling tone when you should have used a rising tone can be the difference between wanting to ask a question and accidentally asking for a kiss. This is counter-intuitive for most native English speakers as we use tones to imply emotions and this takes a lot of practice and muscle memorization to overcome.

Cantonese has 9 tones. Fuck learning Cantonese unless you really want to live in Hong Kong.

Japanese on the other hand has incredibly few sounds. It's very easy to pronounce. Outside of the "n" sound they don't even have regular old consonants. You never just see the "k" sound in Japanese. It's either 'ka' 'ki' 'ke' 'ko' or 'ku'. Think of all the Japanese words you know. Sushi, karaoke, and... what other words do non-speakers know?

I forget. Either way, it's easy shit.

The only real difficulty with Japanese is that the grammar differs in one large way. English uses the subject-verb-noun sequence (I eat chicken) while Japanese uses a subject-noun-verb order (I chicken eat). Japanese also has several levels of politeness (keigo, slang, casual) that are used in different circumstances, but that's pretty high level stuff you won't need to be concerned with and don't need to understand to be understood yourself.

Chinese people will tell you Chinese grammar is easy because they have so few rules. They are dirty liars. The lack of organized structure to their grammar and overwhelming abundance of 'special' rules for certain phrases has been a huge hindrance to my studies, not a boon.

Which language is more useful? Well they only speak Japanese in Japan, and China has a population of over 1 billion with other countries speaking formal mandarin as well, so Mandarin would be the way to go right?

Not really. Saying that Mandarin is the spoken language of China is like saying Mexicans only eat Tacos. I started studying Mandarin in Taiwan. At least I thought I had. Turns out Taiwan has a drastically different set of vocabulary, on top of it's own language/dialect (Taiwanese?). This is true for almost every goddamn province in China. Sometimes it's so severe people have no chance of understanding what the other person is saying (I'm looking at you Sichuan and Hunan province!) On top of having its own dialect Taiwan also uses traditional Chinese characters whereas the mainland uses the new simplified ones. That meant that essentially half of the characters I spent a year learning in Taiwan had to be re-learned in simplified with new mainland pronunciations and even tones.

Also, Beijing people laugh at my Taiwanese accent. It's pretty awesome.

Chinese only uses Chinese characters, Japanese has three sets of alphabets: Chinese characters, and two sets of phonetic alphabets (hiragana, katakana). Hiragana is used for native words, and katakana for foreign words. The existing of a phonetic alphabet (often used as furigana to give the correct readings of Chinese characters) also makes it an easier language to read, and fewer Chinese characters will get you a lot further.

As for the gaming culture? Japan embraces it whole heartedly. Game and game culture is everywhere. I loved going to TGS and browsing old game shops and Akihabara for Superfamicom carts and other nerdy paraphernalia. It's not cheap, but game culture is everywhere there. Also, the arcades are awesome.

China does have PS3, XBOX, and Wii. It's all just bootlegged. They sell modded systems here at electronic shops, and games can be bought in boot leg stores or on the street from poor people who make their living copying games onto discs and selling them. Want to buy a DS? They sell you an R4 right along with it.

The good? PS3 games and XBOX games can be gotten for around $1 U.S. This is obviously amazing.

The bad? Forget about using your system to go online. China laughs at the idea. Also, these aren't high quality officially released discs. That means a lot of the time I'd get halfway through a game only to have it lock up in the same place again and again, or never even run in the first place. A lot of times you buy a game, and it won't go past the title or first loading screen. You only lose a dollar though so it's not the end of the world. At least Skyrim worked for me.

As a side note I brought my Wii from the U.S. here and it looks like China has blocked access to the Nintendo network since it can't connect even though it hasn't been hacked.

Access to the rest of the internet can be easily accessed with a VPN. I use freegate (it's free and it works fine except no porn!) so save yourself some trouble and download it before you join us behind the great fire wall of China.

Hope that helped. If you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask.

Languages yo. I speak them.
Languages yo. I speak them.
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#6 Posted by Penelope (262 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Hmmm. Well I live in China so I need to sleep on this as I work tomorrow. Something is still niggling at me. Might bounce some ideas off of you later.

G'night from Beijing.

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#7 Posted by Penelope (262 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Penelope said:

If not, that feels a lot like criticizing old movies for not having color. I hate people who do that.

I imagine a lot of older movies make that complaint irrelevant, but no. I don't take into account all that other stuff you mentioned.

If movies can make that point irrelevant, why not games? And wouldn't Diablo seem like a prime candidate for making gameplay/control/usability issues irrelevant?

I don't actually know or have an opinion either way. I'm just playing devil's advocate.

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#8 Posted by Penelope (262 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Well yeah, but in what way? On its own now is very different from on its own when the game was originally released. Do you take into account the environment, time period and situations in which it was created?

If not, that feels a lot like criticizing old movies for not having color. I hate people who do that.

@YI_Orange: Yeah, that's about where I stand. Just having a hard time reconciling giving amazing classic games middling scores when compared with games that might not stand the test of time this generation.

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#9 Edited by Penelope (262 posts) -

@Questionable said:

@DJJoeJoe said:

Jail and morals exist during life, so unless you include those as also being none existent then I don't see why anyone should change how they act.

I can consider (hypotheticly) that killing my wife and running off with the insurance money is worth the risk of 15 years jail, Now if the risk is 15 years prison and "eternal damnation" that really tips the scale even when you take the jail time entirely out of the equation.

Personally i would feel allot more inclined to take risks that would cross morals. perhaps invest some money in a sound isolated basement in a remote location and see where it goes from there. afteraal, if the only thing that matters is your life now. why not fulfill every curiosity and fantasy you might have or whatever you consider living life to its fullest.

If there is no afterlife than all that morals are are just rules imposed onto you by your fellow man.


I'm an atheist. A devout (ha!) one. But just because God doesn't exist doesn't mean I would ever kill or harm someone for money or personal gain even in a hypothetical situation which guaranteed no negative repercussions for myself. If the afterlife is the only thing stopping you from being a dick, I think you probably need to take a look at yourself and you're motives.

I guess I had always naively assumed that if people had a choice, it would be TO NOT GODDAMN MURDER EACH OTHER.

As for the sound-proof basement, weird curiosity, and living life to the fullest?

Uh yeah. Go nuts. That about matches my lifestyle.

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#10 Posted by Penelope (262 posts) -

I'm not a very consistent person. This is especially so when it comes to my opinions. This especially struck me today as I was glancing over some of the reviews I've written here on Giantbomb.

I gave the original Diablo and Lucidity both three and a half stars? Diablo is a classic genre defining franchise starter, and Lucidity is a charming-but-middling all-but-forgotten platformer.

I gave the incredibly simple Osmos five stars which, according to me, puts it on par with Ocarina of Time, but above Knights of the Old Republic.

...what am I doing?

I've been trying to work out in my head exactly why I give games the scores I do and why that leads to some of these bizarre anachronisms.

I think I've arrived at the opinion that reviews, just like the games themselves, encapsulate an idea or opinion at the time they were written.

I played Diablo when it first came out, and like everyone else, it blew me out of the water. Back then? 5 stars. Last summer though? I think now... well to put it simply, I would be just as inclined to replay Lucidity as I would be to replay through Diablo. Time hasn't been especially kind to Diablo, and Lucidity has had the benefit of more than a decade of game design refinement that makes it much more polished and less clunky despite its other flaws. This is especially apparent when comparing something like Diablo to other games from that era that have aged significantly better.

So when I give Diablo three and a half stars, I don't think I'm really saying its a "three and a half star" game. Giving it five stars because it was amazing when it came out, despite its obvious flaws now, also feels disingenuous though.

I think for me, reviewing old games is an exercise in seeing how they hold up and where I would put them on my scale of enjoyment nowadays.

What about you guys? How do you go about comparing or reviewing old games?