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9/4/2015 Another weekend

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Well, I haven't gotten too far into MGS5 yet, but it's pretty great so far. Not much to talk about today though, and it's getting kind of late. Here's hoping all the rain the island has been getting lately lets up in time for the Okinawan Festival this Sunday...


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9/2/2015 The end of an era

I remember playing Metal Gear Solid 4 seven years ago, not too long after returning from my first job in Japan. It was actually the first game I played on my PS3 (which was sitting around unused in the US since I hadn't brought it to Japan with me). For that matter, I remember playing all the MGS games over the years, ever since the first MGS on the original Playstation. Over the years, it became one of my favorite series and its creator, Hideo Kojima, one of my favorite game designers. Well, at long last Metal Gear Solid V is here. It fills in the final gap in the story's timeline and, according to all the reviews, is one of the best games, not just of the year but ever, making a fitting finale to the series.
And it probably is the last MGS game. Or at least the last one worth playing. While details are still murky, all signs point to Kojima and probably most of his team leaving Konami for good. I'm sure Kojima will go on to create more amazing games (with his skills and reputation, I can't imagine he'll have any trouble starting a new studio or joining an existing one), but the licenses for MGS, Zone of the Enders, and his other games will remain with Konami. They might get sequels...or they might not. Konami's games division has been falling apart lately, losing a lot of top talent, letting great brands languish, canceling promising projects, and switching focus to mobile games and pachinko machines. Not to mention the reports that have circulated recently about the extremely poor way they treat their employees, sounding more like a prison than a modern company.
Konami used to be one of my favorite game companies but I think MGSV is actually the first Konami game I've bought since 2013. And, unless they make a drastic turnaround, it very well could be the last. Sure, Konami says Metal Gear is still an important brand, but its future without Kojima is iffy to begin with and with Konami backing away from console games... Well, I wouldn't be surprised if the next "big" Metal Gear title is a freemium mobile game. And, while I have nothing against mobile games (and there's some I really like), that's when I'll stop following the series.
So, goodbye Konami. I'd really love to see them turn things around but and become a top game company again but, right now, all signs point to things only getting worse. I'll always have my memories, and collection of awesome Konami games, and I'll be sure to follow Kojima, Igarashi, and other top ex-Konami developers in their future ventures. But, once I finish Metal Gear Solid V, I think I'll have no choice but to bid a fond, though sad, farewell to what was once one of the best and most innovative game companies out there.


8/31/2015 Greek Festival

September already? Well, almost. Time continues to fly...

August 30th (Sunday): Hawaii Greek Festival
While not quite as unexpected as the Scottish Festival, the fact that there's a Greek festival here in Hawaii surprised me when I first attended last year (see the August 24th entry). While I certainly enjoy all the Asian festivals, these European ones are a nice change of pace. Like last year, there was plenty of Greek music and dancing. You know, now that I think about it, it's kind of interesting that virtually every culture developed some type of circle dance. Just about every European, Asian, and Middle Eastern country I can think of has one of some kind...
Anyway, there was also plenty of Greek food, of course. I tried ouzo sorbet, which was good and really refreshing. For some reason, I had it in my head that ouzo was citrus based (guess I got it confused with kitron), so the taste completely caught me off guard. For the record, ouzo is a liquor made with anise, giving it a liquorice flavor.
Next year, I'm kind of tempted to go to the festival in the evening instead of early afternoon, since it may have more of a party atmosphere later in the day. On the other hand, it's probably a lot more crowded and I bet that they'll have sold out of a lot of the food by then (I arrived an hour after the festival opened and they were already out of a couple things), so maybe not...


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