Saturday 21 November 2015

Mini Ninjas

What an enjoyable game with a fantastic premise.

PS3 Cover Art

The storyline goes something like this:

A ninja master sends out his (at the time) strongest student to combat the forces of evil.

That student fails to return.

The ninja master then sends out his second strongest student to look for the first student.

The second student fails to return.

Then a third student is sent, with similar results.

Soon, the ninja master realises he must send his worst two students (of which one has the potential to be the strongest student yet --but they are students who are not yet ready or properly trained) to look for the others.

This is a great premise for a game or movie.

The storyline demonstrates that a team is only as strong as its weakest links; and it also shows that a team - quite obviously perhaps - functions better as a collective unit, rather than individual units (ie. sending off the ninjas one by one was a bad idea - using each of the ninjas' special abilities was the key here).

I quite like movies or plotlines where there is a a chain of command or a hierarchy in place. What happens when your strongest or second strongest is temporarily missing or gone? Will the others step up? Can the others make the right decisions when faced with adversity?

The short films offered in this game, each a brief biopic of each ninja's unique traits and special abilities, are also fantastic and ought be applauded for their imagination and creativity.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mini Ninjas - although its downsides are that movement in this game is quite slow and the enemies are rather repetitive (though the level designs do make up for this to a certain extent - though they too can be a little repetitive in some respects). The game also felt far too short.

A score of 7.5 to 8 out of 10 for me.

Andre Lim

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Pens for Hire

I just watched this story on the Feed.

One of the major themes of the story concerned students paying impersonators to sit for their university exams.

Now, I can't remember exactly the words Peter McCallum of USyd used but they were words to the following effect:

"We need to engrain a culture within students such that they champion this notion that cheating is something we just don't do."

I agree. But this is no answer to the problem at hand!

In my (largely "unlearned") view, a majority of all university students probably already agree with this philosophy that says cheating is wrong.

However what this view fails to appreciate is that, on one hand, while most students would accept that cheating is wrong, it is probably more accurate to say that cheating, whilst undesirable, is actually a last resort for many.

That is, your typical student would say: "If my life depends on it, I'll cheat if I have to even though I know it is wrong."

I would even go so far as to say that, any one of us, no matter how good our intentions are, or no matter how noble our values are, could easily fall into the trap of cheating.

When a student is put into a dark corner - now the reasons for this could be numerous: family problems, financial difficulties, health, pressure etc - it is my strong view that even the best and most altruistic of us (for lack of better terms) would probably be consumed by the temptation to cheat when push comes to shove.

Yes, we all start off with lofty ideals of fairness and justice.

Yes, we are generally "good people" (whatever that means).

However when our livelihood, pride or finances are on the line - when say the cost of retaking another subject is all too much for a student (especially an international student who has to pay 3 to 4 times the fee of a domestic student) - caving in to cheating is more realistic than universities probably care to admit.

I realise I am being repetitive but my point is that we are all prone to temptation. Including myself.

Not one of us is immune to its lure.

So if the universities want to do something about it, they cannot merely leave it to this lofty notion of "culture" which is subject to the weakness of man - they must do something much more than that.

Andre Lim

Saturday 7 November 2015


Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed this movie.

Despite what the critics say, and despite the supposed lack of an all-star cast or appropriate dialogue, I quite enjoyed the plot. And for me, the plot is pretty much everything to enjoy about a movie, so long as everything else remains slightly above average or thereabouts.

In particular, the interpretation of a "true love's kiss" and the non-canon backstory as to why Maleficent turned "evil" is interesting.

However I think the film showcased far too many magical creatures that were hard to keep a track of.

So that's a 7.5-8/10 for me, not that I'm a film critic.

(I can already hear that crowd at Rotten Tomatoes calling for my head)

Andre Lim