Friday the 13th Spooks

It’s Friday the 13th! While some may dub this day as extremely unlucky, it’s the total opposite for me. I love the number 13 and every time it hits my favourite day, Friday – my luck increases up to 200%. And because it’s Friday the 13th, to scare the wits out of you dear readers, allow me to share my all-time favourite game which you MUST play tonight – given you have a Play Station 1 or 2. *Insert evil laugh here*

~Le Camera Obscura

Ever heard of the game, Fatal Frame? Did I see you nod, “no”? Well, here’s all you have to know. Basically, it’s a role playing game where you simply take pictures of ghosts. Yes, you read that right, ghosts. Nope. You won’t find any other weapon here but the Camera Obscura – used to  exorcize ghosts by simply taking a picture of them. There are three games in the series (fourth if you count the Fatal Frame game created for the Xbox 360).

Fatal Frame Game Characters

In Fatal Frame I (girl on far left of image), you control the girl named Miku who searches for her brother, Mafuyu Hinasaki in the Haunted Himuro Mansion. The twist? Miku gets stuck inside the house and you have to help her search for Mafuyu and a way out using only the camera and a small flashlight. For Fatal Frame II (Crimson Butterfly), the gameplay is exactly alike but this time you control two individuals which in this case are twins (image in the middle). There are three alternate endings (For the Play Station Game): one you leave your twin behind; two you kill your twin to get out of the mansion alive; or three you and your twin both escape alive. Peachy, isn’t it? As for Fatal Frame III (The Tormented), all three games are tied up together and this time you control three different people namely Miku from Fatal Frame I, Kei (cousin of the twins) from Fatal Frame II and Rei (girl on the far right). The game has two endings, one: all three characters come out alive and two: Rei is the only character left.

Oh hello there! Yes, I am your test subject. Now snap a picture of me quick!

It’s a total scream fest for some parts. CG animation and the background music is enough to keep you glued to the chair in fear of Fatal Frame ghosts actually appearing beside you. Try turning up the volume, placing the controller on vibrate mode and play the game with the lights off to get yourself into the mood – which I did, oh and yes, by myself. *insert evil laugh here again*

And if you’re thinking this game is pure fiction, think again. The game was actually based on a real life event that happened in Japan. Even the name of the mansion in the game exists in Japan.

The Himuro Haunted Mansion is known as the most haunted spot in Japan. Located just outside the busy city of Tokyo, is the Himikyru Mansion. According to urban legends, it was home to the most gruesome murders in modern Japanese history. The family, who lived there, the Himuro family, participated in twisted rituals, Shinto or Strangling Ritual, to allegedly seal off bad karma within the earth.

Tale is, every December bad karma would emerge from the ground. To prevent this, a maiden was chosen by the master of the household and was isolated within the house. This isolation would cut off all ties from the outside world to make the ritual actually work. If however, the maiden has ties with the outside world then the ritual would be jeopardized.

The Strangling or Shinto Ritual

During the last recorded Strangling Ritual, it was said that the maiden had fallen in love with the man who tried desperately to save her. This “tie” to the outside world caused the ritual to become impure thus jeopardizing the whole thing. The master of the household found out about the maiden’s love affair and to “save” his family from karma, he brutally murdered all his family members before finally committing suicide.

It is said that souls of the murdered family continuously roam the mansion in attempts to repeat the failed ritual using WHOEVER enters the abandoned mansion. Splashes of blood were reportedly seen on the walls while some have reported figures completely dressed in white roaming the grounds.

Still don’t believe it exists? Well, here’s a quote from Makato Shibata, Chief Producer of Fatal Frame about the Himuro Haunted Mansion.

“In an area outside Tokyo, there lies a mansion in which it’s said seven people were murdered in a grisly manner. On the same property, there lie three detached residences that surround the mansion, all of which are rumoured to have ties to the mansion’s troubled past. It’s said there is an underground network of tunnels that lay beneath the premises, but nobody knows who made these tunnels or what purpose they served. Many inexplicable phenomenons have been reported occurring on the property. Bloody handprints have been found splattered all over the walls. Spirits have been spotted on the premises… even in broad daylight. A narrow stairway leads to an attic where a spirit-sealed talisman is rumoured to be locked away. Men have sought this talisman, only to be found later with their bodies broken and rope marks around their wrists. There’s a crumbling old statue of a woman in a kimono, but its head is missing. If you take a photo of a certain window, a young girl can be seen in the developed picture. These incidents have provoked fear in the people of Tokyo, and many believe that those who live near this area will become cursed. The deaths of those seven people are unexplained to this day.”

Now, who wants to come with me to Japan and take a quick tour of the Himuro Haunted Mansion? *Grin* Anyways, don’t be a baby and try out the game tonight or whenever you please. Take a look at the game trailers below (just to give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself into)

Artsy Fartsy: Making Things Easy in a Digital World

It’s easy to express yourself when it comes to art. You can express your thoughts and feelings through dance, music, a poem or through drawings. For me, I express my innermost thoughts, ideas and feelings through my drawings. I’m not as gifted as Leonardo Da Vinci nor am I the modern day Picasso but I know I’m pretty good with a pen and paper. All thanks to video games, anime and manga, I learned to draw. So why the arts?

A few of my favorite characters from all versions of Final Fantasy

Well, I’ve actually dreamed of working for Square Enix simply because their art is AMAZING.  Working for them is one step closer to my dream of becoming one of the animators for Final Fantasy but where I am now is a bit too far from where I dreamed of being in. Ironic, I know. Another thing to note, I’m more of the traditional artist who draws better with a pencil over paper. Plus, taking up courses on digital art are way too expensive. Oh and since I am talking about art, here are just two of my most recent “deviations”. I have a few more over at my Deviant Art page. Click here.

Zee traditional art. Hihi

Thankfully, there’s a tool that can save us a lot of money. All you need would be the epic tool created by the brilliant minds of Wacom. Introducing “The Inkling”, it’s the Wacom drawing tablet WITHOUT the tablet. Imagine being able to draw on paper and have all your movements recorded and sent directly to your computer. “The Inkling” bridges the gap from traditional to digital.

The Inkling: The Wacom Tablet without the Tablet

The set includes an actual pen with ink plus a sensor that tracks its position. Now, there are limitations to the device, it NEEDS line-of-sight. The tracking area only corresponds with an A4-sized paper plus your pen can’t get too close to the sensor. For a price of $199, you can learn everything there is to know about digital art right in the comforts of your own home. This baby is definitely going into my Christmas wishlist.

Check out the video bellow and start puking rainbows. Haha

Person-apps-ity: My Top Five Favorite Apps

I’ve only started using my iPod for eight weeks. In that span of time, it has gone from being a music player to becoming the ultimate photography tool. Like everyone else, I’m attached to the device and it is a must-have in the bag.  The iPod, like any other device, is only useful with apps. So here are my top five personal favorites of which I have on my iPod and a few of which are on my Android phone as well.

One: Evernote

The Evernote App

Being a writer at heart, I am used to bringing a notebook or sketchpad with me wherever I go. Thanks to the Evernote app, all I need is my iPod or Android device. It’s like having a pen and paper at the ready without the additional weight. Its other features include: to-do lists, voice reminders, capture photos and attach to notes – all in the palm of your hand. The best part is that the notes are easily searchable. Unlike with the actual notebook where you have to go through the trouble of physically flipping through the pages to find the exact note. To date, I have 17 notes in my “notebook” entitled, “Ramblings & Reminiscing”. The Evernote app is installed on both my iPod and Android phone.

Two: Kindle

The Kindle App

This is the perfect app for book worms like me who can’t live a day without reading. While I enjoy reading “actual” books, my books,”Dracula” or “Sherlock Holmes”, are too heavy and big to fit into my everyday work bag. Thanks to the Kindle Book Reader, I can enjoy reading e-books on my iPod. Like tangible books, the Kindle app has a “bookmark” to keep you updated on the page from where you last left off. The only downside would probably be not being able to sniff the addictive scent of new books. Haha

Three:Camera360

The Camera360 App

I’m not really good with cameras. Fact is, I don’t own one nor do I plan to get one for myself. Why? Well, I suck at taking good photographs with a professional camera. Yet, like anybody else, I’m a shutterbug when it comes to a handheld device such as the iPod or cellphone. With the Camera360, all the photos I take look as if they’ve been taken with a professional camera. Photo editing is as easy as counting from one to three. So who needs a DLSR when you have this app on your iOS device?

Four: Picstitch

The Picstitch App

Again another photo editing tool perfect for iOS users. Got a lot of pics you want to compress into one frame? Well, with the Picstitch app, you get to choose from a range of layouts to put in all the photos you want. It also offers photo editing tools perfect for your taste. It’s easy and definitely a must-have on any iOS device.

Five: Instagram

The Instagram App

Now who doesn’t have this app? I’ve got this installed on both my iPod and Android phone. Apart from the ease of taking photos, it allows you to edit and share these photos to hundreds of users. Instagram makes photo editing an easy and uber fun activity.

So there you have it, my top five favorite apps that best sum up me as a person – a bookworm, a writer and a wannabe photographer.