I let a Japanese play Majiang

On the Japanese gaming consoles there are hundres of games about Majiang (or Mahjong, 麻雀, 麻将, マージャン, according where it’s played). The game it’s totally different to the “Mahjong” we know in the west, that “puzzle/find couples”, but it’s some kind of poker, I never understood the rules.

I always wanted to play this game, but I was unable to learn the rules, so I asked to a Japanese friend to play to Mahjong Fight Club DS – Wi Fi Taiou for Nintendo DS ed I recorded the gameplay:

Unfortunately, I didn’t record mic input, it would have been much more interesting…

No Super Mario Run on rooted phones

Finally, after waiting for months, Super Mario Run is available on Android too! (A totally inexplicable delay – being programmed with Unity, compiling a version for Android it is a matter of a few hours!!!)

I go now to install it! Play Store can’t find it. Strange. I search it from my computer, and I got his:

What does it mean that the app is not compatible with any of my devices???

I have an horrible feeling… maybe they got the same brilliant idea of Pokémon GO and then block the app on rooted phones? The game doesn’t really have online multiplayer, just racing against “ghosts”, and everyone could potentionally cheat via a MITM attack or a cracked APK.

Ok, maybe it’s just a simple check before the installation, just download the APK from some other shady store and it will work, right?

No, as soon it can see that your phone is tampered, it exits immediately!

WTF!!! 💩💩💩💩💩💩💩

Solutione:

Pokémon GO: my adventure ends here

pokemon go no rootI opened Pokémon GO for my evening stroll and … game over!

They blocked the game on any rooted phone!

On Android, root is a must have, so I won’t remove it just to play a games that eats batteries like cakes! (One day I’ll write “10 reasons to get our phone rooted”)

It’s like as the ban on clippers on airplanes: totally useless!

If they wanted to ban cheaters: they’ll continue to cheat, with Magisk, Tasker and Xposed, they can continue to use the fake GPS, move around using a joystick instead of waking, catch chance calculators, and so on.

If they wanted to ban map scanners: they are using a program written for it, so they’ll just use the old API or pretend to be an iPhone.

I could continue to play it by setting Tasker to disable root via Magisk Manager as soon as the game is run, but is it worth?

Well, I removed the game and left an one star review, my battery thanks me 😂

Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat

Pirates_The_Legend_of_Black_KatBy chance I found this old PlayStation 2 game, it’s Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat. Kat stands for Katerina, not cat.

The story starts with a big mystery, not because of flashback or other suspense, it’s just because I don’t understand anything what’s going on.

There’s a video where a pirate tells a story to a little girl and then… you’re controlling a ship, without any tutorial, come on, sink the enemy!

After sinking the enemy without even a reason (what if they were good people?), there’s another video: someone is dueling with somebody else, talking on the classic lines of “you have to walk over my dead body”, getting his wish fulfilled.

Our hero, after sinking a random ship, sees some black smoke from far away: “hey, maybe my father is in danger!”. She runs back home and everything is on fire! And her father has been killed! Luckily he wrote a long letter with the explanation! But if he had all this energy to write a full page with a quill, couldn’t he try to escape? And the bad guy, that was giving fire to all corners of the villa, didn’t notice that his victim was writing a book?

From the letter we get a shocking news! Katerina’s mom was a pirate. I would never imagine that!
So starts her revenge: time to get back to the ship, moored on the other side of the island, of course. You have to kill all the enemies on the road: pirates wearing the same outfit, giant crabs and, if we enable a teleport to an “underworld” like in Stranger Things, we’ll meet also skeletons. Here also no tutorial, good, we’ll learn the buttons in the hard way! There’s no violence, defeated enemies disappear immediately and become gold or powerup.

This “underworld” stuff doesn’t make sense, at least at the beginning of the game… maybe it will make sense later in the game?

Something interesting is that Kat can “smell gold” like Scrooge Mc Duck: when you walk over a treasure, the controller starts to vibrate and she says “I smell gold”. If you want to take it you have to walk around pressing L2. It doesn’t always work: when I was in the “underworld” she kept telling me for 5 minutes that she was “smelling gold”, but I didn’t found anything. What’s the purpose of this gold, I don’t know yet, maybe later in the story we’ll find a store or something like that.

When you have killed everyone and arrived to the ship, you get the tutorial. Why???? Why after 25 minutes of play you put 30 pages of tutorial???? I already got the commands at that time!
When you are nearby to the water, a force field will stop you, you can’t jump into it: this saved the developers from unnecessary programming complications. Another thing that we are not be used anymore is that you can only save when you find a save point (a parrot), no checkpoints or automatic saves.

When you get in the boat, there’s the second game mechanic: sea navigation and cannon shooting. After all, if you ignore the bland story, it’s a good game: adventure, exploration, sea fights: you would be curious to see what’s in the next island.

Another extra point to the player vs player mode: who loses gets a more powerful ship. So, if you play against a friend who has never touched the game before, the game automatically balances the fight! Great!

Graphics and sound are obviously outdated, but if you consider that it’s a game published in 2002, it’s great: for example the water is transparent, with fishes and sunken ships, on sand you leave footprints and monkeys are playing cheerfully.

When a good idea is not enough: before Pokémon GO

This morning I read an article on Multiplayer.it where there’s a video showing a Pokémon GO “clone” from 2011. This is the trailer:

So, has Niantic copied the idea?

I don’t think so. The idea is similar but the game play it’s totally different.

Ok, the game isn’t working anymore, and if it still was, i wouldn’t work outside Korea (Olleh is a brand of Korea Telecom), so I didn’t personally try it, but from the video I can see the difference.

The purpose in Olleh catch catch was to catch as many Mon as you can, and then convert the points in coupon, while in Pokémon GO you gotta catch ’em all™ and become the strongest trainer.

It’s also monetized differently, in the first one, the target is increase customer loyalty, go in partner stores to gain coupons to spend in partner stores. In Pokémon GO instead the devs make money from in-app purchases (power-ups) or pokéstop sponsorships.

In the end I think that Niantic didn’t got inspired at all to this game, but simply has took (their) Ingress and simplified the gameplay in order to make it appealing to any age range.

What do you think?

The Sims freeplay sucks!

Some months ago I noticed a new game for my BlackBerry Z10: The Sims freeplay. Lots of enthusiastic reviews, console-grade quality, I was so excited. But I was in holiday, and I couldn’t download 700 megabytes over 3G.

Recently I remembered about it: now I’m at home, and with unlimited wifi I downloaded it.

It’s cool, it’s polished, I waste about one hour to create three Sims and then I run out of money. It’s ok, I’ll continue tomorrow, I tell to myself.

But the day after I’m just too busy at work I open it after a few days while I’m waiting at the post office.

Shock! All of my Sims are dying! I supposed that the game was pausing while it was closed! Well, not a big issue, I say. Just take a quick nap, a fast shower, watch some TV and some chit-chat between them.

WRONG! Now it works in real time! If you sleep, it takes 8 hours, if you want to watch tv, it takes 30 minutes; 2 hours to cook, and so on. And no, you can’t just give them a list of tasks to do while we are away! Moreover: the Sims aren’t self-sufficient! They need to go to pee? Even if they aren’t doing anything, they won’t go unless you tell them!

QSo, if you don’t play at this game for a single day, you have to waste three days to restore health levels… or you just PAY and continue playing!

Of course, with the big amount of RAM on the BlackBerry Z10 (four times as the iPhone 4S and twice as the iPhone 5s), it’s not a problem to leave the game running on the background forever and take a look every 5 minutes “hey, take a shower”, “hey wash your hands”, but in this way it becomes an addiction, it’s an unhealthy habit, it’s not a game!

I had three options:

  1. Leave it running on the background and dedicate my life to it
  2. Pay a couple of dollars EVERY TIME I play
  3. Uninstall it and leave an 1-star review

Guess what I did…

Nintendo 2DS?????

2dsI was thinking that was an hoax! A new Nintendo console to play 3D games on a 2D screen, with a “door stopper” design that’s impossible to put in pockets and take on the road! After the big gamepad-tablet on the Wii U, the great design geniuses conceive another monstrosity!

What do you think? In my opinion doesn’t make sense, for just $30 more it’s better to take the original 3DS.