Disney Infinity: First Impressions

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I blame Queen Elsa and Princess Anna, and the movie Frozen, for ending up with a Disney Infinity Starter Pack purchase.

Well…that is not entirely true.  I had, actually, been contemplating about getting the game for the Sony PlayStation 3 system ever since I watched the game trailers.  After all, I have always been a sucker when it comes to games that requires one to use her/his imagination. Having said that, however, I had a brief foray with Minecraft, and a little bit of LittleBigPlanet streak a few years back.  I’ve stopped playing those two games now, though since I grew bored with them.  So, you can see why I was going back-and-forth on whether I should get a copy of this game or not.

In the end, however, after watching “Frozen” for a couple of times and liking–no, loving–everything about that animated movie, I decided that I wanted the Elsa and Anna figures that Disney Infinity was offering.  Of course, I felt stupid at buying just that so I thought, ‘What the heck.  I’ll buy a Disney Infinity Starter Pack, too.’.  And I did.  I have yet to regret the purchase since then.

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First off, Disney Infinity isn’t just your average sandbox building game.  It’s more fun than that…and that’s coming from someone who is in her mid-twenties.

Developed by Avalanche Software and published by Disney Interactive Studios with a whopping $100 million funded into development, the game utilizes collectible figures in the form of select Disney characters to bring these characters–and their world–to life.  This figures synchronizes with the games and allow Disney and Pixar characters to go on pre-designed adventures, or adventures that you create for yourself.

disney-infinity-35It has physical toys (in the form of the figures), open-world sandbox action-adventure, and story-driven gameplay.  The pre-designed adventures, however, are from the PlaySets you can buy (one is part of the Starter Package featuring The Incredibles, Monsters University, and Pirates of the Caribbean).  Add that to the multitude of character figures currently out, and the powerdiscs that you can also buy, and this game is…perhaps…a parent’s nightmare.

Having said that, however, the good thing about this game is that the figures, playsets, and powerdiscs can be used on different systems where the game is available.  Not only that, it is backwards and forwards compatible as well.  Meaning, they can be used for the upcoming sequel and the sequels after that.  It is genius on the developer’s part, and something the Skylanders series failed to address.

Disney-Infinity-new-112313-1The gameplay itself isn’t just geared for children.  It’s made for everyone.  Although some in-game missions tend to be repetitive, it still manages to provide entertainment.  The sound can use a bit of work, too.  Sadly, I noticed that some of the original voice actors didn’t provide the voice overs for this game.  Although some of them do sound like the original, some are noticeably different which can irk you a bit…depending on how much of a fanatic you are.  (EDIT: I’ve been told by Mr. Thomas Estrada on the comments section below, that Kristin Bell and Idina Menzel DO reprise their role as Princess Anna and Queen Elsa for the game.  That.  Is.  Just.  Awesome!)  As for the graphics, well, it’s sort of right there in the middle.  Not too shabby, but not the best either.  The characters, the world, and everything in-between DO look straight from the movies they are from, though.  I’m merely stating this from the next-gen’s (which is now current-gen (PS4 and XBOne) perspective.

The game also provides online/multiplayer modes where you can visit a friend’s toybox.  The toybox is the place where you can build your own “world”, your own adventure, and where the figures who do not have playsets of their own can be used.

DisneyInfinityE3screen4Although there are still some quirks Disney Infinity could fix, the game itself is a fun addition to any videogame library, especially if you have children or young cousins who come over to your house from time to time to play.  I’d recommend this game for anyone who wants to build their own Disney “World”, play with their favorite Disney and Pixar characters, and those who simply enjoy videogames that strengthens ones imagination.

It’s impossible NOT to have fun with this game.  I never got bored with it during the times I can play it (which is right after I have done my quota of chapters to write for my novel).  Lots of things to do.  And with the figures, the powerdiscs, and the playsets that are available, it really does provide an infinite amount of possibilities.  Add the multiplayer functionality and, well…Infinity sounds just about right.

Disney Infinity is available for the PC, XBOX 360, Wii, 3DS, and the PS3.

 

Posted in Video Games Tagged with: , , , ,

Farewell, 2013. It Was One Heck of A Year!

2014

I never fail to contemplate on all the things that had happened to me during a previous year, especially during the last day of the year–which also happens to be my birthday.  I often find myself being awed and thankful for the things that happened over the course of twelve months, and even more so this year.  A lot of things happened–from the start of 2013 up to its “last hurrah”–that I often see myself blessed.

On January of 2013, we started working on the cover for Winged: The Unraveling.  It was (and still is) a milestone for me.  After all, I had worked hard on writing the second book of the Winged Saga.

On February of 2013, I was able to watch one of my favorite books come to life in the big screen.  There are only a handful of book-to-movie adaptations that I felt satisfied after watching and “Beautiful Creatures” was one of them for me.  As it happens, the authors of this best-selling New York Times book, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl are two of my most favorite authors of all time! And while watching a movie might not be much of a “milestone” to anybody, watching this movie (which I waited for and had so much anticipation on) is one of the things I will remember most during this month.  Apart from that this was also the month when I quit my job–one where I have so much to say but would rather not post them here.  Suffice to say, leaving that job was one of the highlights of my year.

 On April of 2013, I unveiled the cover of Winged: The Unraveling.   After months of debating and making drafts of the “perfect cover” for this book, it all came together and I was able to share it with all of you.

On May of 2013, our country held its mid-term elections.  It was the month that made me wonder why I even bother to vote.  It made me very skeptical, and I am even more so now, after all, I see no changes.  It makes me wonder if our country would move forward as a nation.  Not such a positive highlight of the year, but it does make an impact on me as a person and on my country as well.

On July of 2013, I bought a new laptop!  I was so happy about it.  I finally have a computer and I wouldn’t have to get frustrated by my desktop’s keyboard.  Plus it was mobile, which meant more writing for me.  Of course, it was also the month where I hated anti-theft softwares…especially the Intel (which is actually McAfee) one.  Holy crap that was one frustrating software that nearly deleted all of my story documents with its stupid encryption.  This was also the month when another one of my highly-anticipated movies was shown on the big screen: Despicable Me 2! Hurray for the Minions! :D  This was also the month when I got a new job, and this one is one where I feel appreciated (unlike my last one).  It is also a job that allows me to help people and contribute my talents and skills.

On September 0f 2013, one of my dreams became a reality when I attended the 34th Manila International Book Fair.  I got to meet my favorite authors: Melissa de la Cruz, Allyson Noel, and one of my all-time heroes who is an author, Margaret Stohl.  I almost had a heart attack when they were signing my books and talking to me…especially that moment when I handed Ms. Stohl a copy of my book as thanks for being one of the authors who inspired me and she asked me to sign it.  That memory is the happiest memory of 2013 for me–right up there with the release of my second book.  Even now, when I remember it, I still feel giddy. :D  It was also during that time that I met great people who share the same interest as me and whom I would like to call my friends.

On November of 2013, parts of the Philippines were battered by the most powerful storm to ever make landfall: Typhoon Haiyan.  We saw the tremendous damage this powerful force of mother nature brought.  A lot of lives were lost.  But, in the midst of this tragedy, the victims showed the world the unconquerable Filipino Spirit.  The events that followed–the number of aid from all over the world that reached our shores–it was a moment to be remembered, for it was a moment when the world show that it could unite and help each other in the midst of all the conflicts, all the disagreements.  That underneath all the allegiances, the races, the different beliefs that separate us, there is one thing we all have in common: we are the same in our humanity.

And so we come to this month of December.  A lot of things happened this month that made me even more thankful.  My second book became available, I got myself a PlayStation 4 as an early Christmas present, and I got to celebrate my birthday once more.  So, yeah…this year was a year full of blessings for me.  Even the bad things that happened taught me a lot and had a purpose that I now see but couldn’t comprehend before.

This coming year, I know I’ll be just as blessed–if not even more so.  I am claiming this year as my own once more and keeping a positive attitude throughout.  I have so much to look forward to, from meeting the other favorite authors on my list to releasing the third book in the Winged Saga.  I may not know what 2014 will hold, but I know it’s going to be a blast!

So, having said that, I am wishing you all a Happy and Blessed New Year!  May this year fulfill our hopes, dreams, wishes and aspirations!  Dream on; Fly on!

Posted in Personal Updates Tagged with: , ,

Merry Christmas

christmas

So, it’s that time of the year again.  A time of hope, joy, love, peace, and wishes of prosperity.  And that is what I want to wish all of you–my family, friends, and readers.  I’m hoping all of you are having as much fun as I am (despite the fact that it freaking hot today, hottest Christmas that I could remember).

And, just in case you’re looking for another reason to smile today (as if Christmas is not enough of a reason), then perhaps this short clip may make you smile wider (Note: You might not find this as funny as I did if you don’t know about VanDamme’s epic split stunt, or if you don’t know who Chuck Norris is…if it’s the latter, then you must be living under a rock. :D).

Once again, happy holidays! Dream on; Fly on!

Posted in Personal Updates, The Law of... Tagged with: , , ,

Winged: The Unraveling Now Available

Winged Book 2, Title

I know a lot of you have been waiting for this particular announcement for a while now, and I am as happy and ecstatic as the rest of you guys with this news.  After what seemed to be a road paved with unexpected situations that caused the release to be pushed back, it’s a blessed ans sweet relief that we have managed to deliver this book just before the year ends.

Like with the prequel, Winged: The Unraveling will be made available in a number of stores–both brick-and-mortar stores, as well as online ones.  For the moment, however, it is just available in online retailers (which are listed on the Winged Saga page).  In 5 to 8 weeks time, it will be available in Barnes and Noble as well.  If things go according to plan (which I sincerely hope it would), local bookstores will be selling copies of the book early next year (late January or early to mid-February).

We will also be releasing ebook version.  I will update you all when the time comes that they become available, probably next week (or the week after that).

Anyways, that’s all for now.  I hope you guys enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. :)

Until the next update, dream on; fly on!

Posted in Books, Personal Updates, Winged Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Give This Christmas Away: Help Typhoon Haiyan Victims

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Unless you have been living under a rock and are oblivious to the goings-on around the world, then you probably know about the devastating monster typhoon that struck the Philippines.  I mean, it’s hard not to hear about it when major news stations locally and internationally are broadcasting it.

131111084834-09-haiyan-1111-horizontal-gallerySuper Typhoon “Haiyan” (“Yolanda” in the Philippines) struck the island nation last Friday. It has since been dubbed as “the strongest typhoon in recorded history ever to make landfall”.  The aftermath of this monstrosity showed one devastated city/town after another and the death toll has been rising by the hour.

We hear stories–unbelievable stories–of survival, loss, and bravery all over the news.  We see images and videos of the destruction caused by “Haiyan”.  We know the magnitude of this tragedy as a whole and have witnessed the pledges and millions of help pouring in from all over the world–a testament that in times of hardship, humanity has each others back regardless of their race, their beliefs, political affiliations, or whether or not they had just been at each other’s throat days before.  It’s amazing, humbling, and awe-inspiring.

131111084934-10-haiyan-1111-horizontal-galleryWe can only imagine what the victims of this storm are going through…and that’s as far as we can ever know what they are feeling.  We can’t really say we know, because, do we really?  These people have lost–not only their home and their livelihood–but also lives of loved ones.

It is with these people in mind that I decided to write this post; to ask for people to help–to give what they can give.  No one really is without anything to give to these people who have lost everything.  Even a small amount of money or help can bring about tantamount of hope to these desperate people.

And hope really is one of the best gifts anyone could give, especially in a season that speaks of hope and love: Christmas.

So, how can you provide help and assistance?  I’ve taken the liberty of copying this from an article in CNN as it provides a list of where you can donate and volunteer and such:

Emergency support

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has deployed rescue and relief teams to evaluate the damage in the areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. You can donate to the Philippine Red Cross by selecting theSupertyphoon Yolanda campaign on their donation page. TheInternational Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies(IFRC) and Red Cross networks from around the world are supporting the Philippine Red Cross. Many have created specific funds for this disaster, including the American Red CrossCanadian Red Cross and the British Red Cross.

The Salvation Army is on the ground serving storm survivors, primarily with food, water and shelter. Emergency Disaster Service teams have been providing help since the typhoon hit, but are challenged by the lack of accessible roads to transport goods and medical supplies. The non-profit has set up a designated fund for Haiyan relief efforts, which you can access here. You can also make a donation by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is working with local authorities, the Filipino Jewish community and their global partners to assist in providing for survivors’ immediate needs. You can support their efforts online or by phone at 1-212-687-6200.

CARE‘s emergency response teams are coordinating with local partners in the Philippines to provide food, water, shelter and health care for those in need. Their teams in Vietnam are preparing for the potential need there as Typhoon Haiyan continues its devastation. You can support CARE’s efforts on their website, or by phone at 1-800-521-2273 within the United States or +1-404-681-2252 outside the U.S.

Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the U.S., is on the ground helping with water purification, shelter materials and essential living supplies. You can donate to the organization’s efforts online or you can call 1-877-435-7277. You can also type in your phone number on the website and a representative will call you back to take your donation.

Convoy of Hope‘s Global Disaster Response Team has shipping containers full of food and supplies on the way to the Philippines. The organization is preparing more supplies to be sent like canned goods, hygiene kits and water filtration units. You can visit Convoy of Hope’s website to donate funds to their efforts or call 1-417-823-8998.

Mercy Corps is preparing to deliver food, water, temporary shelter and other basic supplies to devastated areas throughout the Philippines. You can support the organization by donating through their websitePayPal, or by calling 1-888-747-7440.

Oxfam America aid teams are on the ground in northern Cebu, northern and eastern Samar and Leyte, in the Eastern Visayas region in the Philippines. They’re working to provide immediate access to water and sanitation materials. You can support this effort by donating online to their Typhoon Haiyan Relief and Recovery Fund, or by phone at 1-800-776-9326.

Adventist Development and Relief Agency‘s (ADRA) emergency response team is working in Manila and in the province of Bohol to provide food, emergency relief and medical aid to those in need. They have launched an emergency appeal that you can supportonline or by phone at 1-800-424-2372.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has dispatched an emergency team to Manila and launched a $10 million appeal in order to ensure immediate needs like safe water, hygiene and sanitation are met. If you would like to contribute to their efforts, clickhere.

Operation Blessing International (OBI) has deployed disaster relief teams in multiple locations following the massive devastation from Typhoon Haiyan. The organization is providing clean water and food, emergency shelter materials and medical assistance. To help the charity’s mission, you can make a contribution on their website.

Food and water

The World Food Programme was already providing emergency food assistance in the Philippines following the October earthquake. With these emergency food stocks stretched thin, they’re now mobilizing additional supplies and are flying in 40 tons of fortified biscuits in the coming days. Additional food supplies are needed. You can help these efforts by donating online or by calling 1-202-747-0722 domestically or +39-06-65131 for international calls.

Samaritan’s Purse has sent disaster relief specialists, including water and nutrition experts, to the Philippines to deliver immediate aid. They have launched the Philippines Emergency Relief fund for this disaster, which you can support online or by phone at 1-828-262-1980.

World Vision is responding in the Philippines by first providing emergency food and clean water. They will also work to create child-friendly spaces and help families rebuild from this disaster. They have launched a Philippines Disaster Response Fund that you can support online or by calling 1-888-511-6443.

Action Against Hunger is on the ground providing drinking water and survival kits containing buckets, soap and chlorine tablets. They’re also working to distribute sanitation equipment to prevent outbreaks of waterborne diseases. They’re requesting assistance and you can help by donating online or by calling 1-877-777-1420.

Shelter

ShelterBox was already in the Philippines providing shelter after the 7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol on October 15. They are now expanding their operations to provide tents and essential equipment for families left homeless after Typhoon Haiyan. You can support their work in the Philippines either online or by calling 1-941-907-6036.

Habitat for Humanity is already providing help to 30,000 families with shelter repair kits to rebuild their damaged homes. You can support this work by donating from the Philippines to their Re-Build Philippines Fund or from the U.S. by contributing to their Disaster Response Fund. You can also make a donation by phone at 1-800-HABITAT.

Architecture for Humanity is mobilizing to assist with post-disaster reconstruction and the organization’s working with local architects to identify the most critical rebuilding needs. You can support their Super Typhoon Haiyan Response online, by calling 1-415-963-3511 or by texting REBUILD to 85944 to make a $10 donation from your mobile phone.

Medical assistance

Americares has an emergency shipment on the way to the Philippines with enough medical aid for 20,000 survivors, including antibiotics, wound care supplies and pain relievers. You can support Americares with an online donation or by calling 1-800-486-4357.

International Medical Corps has pre-positioned medical supplies and their team is on the ground coordinating with their partners in the Philippines to distribute and provide medical aid. You can support their Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Response fund online or by calling 1-800-481-4462.

More than 1.5 tons of emergency medicine and medical supplies are en route to the Philippines from Direct Relief. The supplies include antibiotics, pain relievers, nutritional supplements, antifungal medications, wound dressings and chronic disease medicines. You can call in your donation by dialing 1-805-964-4767 or you can goonline to support the organization.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF) have emergency teams in Cebu city with an additional 50 people including medical personnel, logisticians and psychologists arriving in the Philippines in the next few days. They’ll bring tents, supplies of drugs, medical equipment and material to purify water, as well as essential plastic sheeting, cooking items and hygiene kits. Teams will monitor possible outbreaks of infectious diseases. An additional cargo is being prepared due to leave later this week from Bordeaux with an inflatable hospital and medical material. You can make your donation by calling 1-212- 763-5779 or online.

Helping children

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is helping children and their families in the Philippines receive shelter, clean water, nutrition and vaccines. Their emergency response can be supported online or by calling 1-800-367-5437. You can also donate directly to UNICEF in the Philippines here.

Save the Children is offering disaster relief support for children in the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam after Typhoon Haiyan. The charity has pre-positioned relief material kits for children and families, which will include toiletries, household cleaning items, temporary school tents and learning materials. You can support their Philippines Annual Monsoon and Typhoon Children in Emergency Fund online. You can also donate by phone at 1-800-728-3843.

Emergency response teams from ChildFund Internationalprepositioned supplies, including emergency kits and tents, and made arrangements with local suppliers to access food and non-food relief supplies. The organization is also preparing to setup child- centered spaces where kids can feel safe. Donate to ChildFund online to help children cope and recover confidence after this disaster.

Teams from Plan are also on the ground responding to the needs of children and their families. Their priorities are vulnerable youngsters and communities in rural locations. You can support their appeal on their website.

 

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So, there you have it.  I hope you guys can provide help to these people, and also spread the word and get other people pitching in as well. Because, you know, you have the power to give someone hope far beyond their wildest dreams.  No matter how small that help is, it can make a difference.  Make this December different.  Be someone’s miracle. God only knows hundreds of thousands of families affected by “Haiyan” need a miracle today.

Dream on; Fly on!

Posted in Inspirational, The Law of... Tagged with: , , , , ,

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