The *BEST* game series I have ever played – Prince of Persia

Word count: 330 | Estimated time to read entry: 7 min

Prince of Persia: A comparison


It was 4 years ago that I got serious about gaming. And the first game I ever picked up was “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time“. I spent hours everyday completing the various levels and I would look forward to returning to my room from office and progressing with the game. It was a world in itself in which I was totally immersed in – a feeling that I was longing for till then.

Looking back in retrospect, now that I have completed all the games in the series (not to mention, the movie as well), I think some of the most pleasant moments of my life have been while playing these games. I thank Jordan Mechner, creator of the game , Ubisoft the publisher and all other design artists, musicians and others involved in this effort for creating a truly absorbing and unforgettable virtual experience.

Above is a quick review of the games released so far, click on the image for a full readable view.  If you are a POP fan like myself, I would appreciate your comments and feedback.

If I were to give away the Oscars this year….

Word Count: 470 | Estimated time to read entry: 5 min


 

Well now, that’s truly wishful thinking especially for a guy who can barely tell the difference between Cinematography and tomato ketchup and whose closest brush with movie stars was gaping at Madhuri Dixit in the first class section of the plane from his economy seats almost a decade ago.

But having seen 8 of the top 10 nominated feature films, 3 of the 3 animated films, nearly 170 of the top 250 IMDb films, widely acclaimed world movie great masters like Bergman, Kurosawa, Dutt, Panahi, Miyazaki, Majidi, Kitano, Yimou, Ki-Duk, Ray  etc and of late Indian National Award winning movies across Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam etc *AND* considering this is my own blog, I can safely claim some, if not enormous, authority to post the following 🙂

Since I am not steeped in the finer techniques of movie making, I have gone by just 2 things – novelty or unconventionality of the movie/actor/role/performance and the impact (tears, laughs, introspection etc) it had on me.

And since this is just a blog entry, I didn’t invest much on rolling out a red carpet or cared to invite backless beauties before declaring the awards – pardon my inhospitality. 🙂

So here they are:

1. Best Film: Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton. Doubtlessly the best film of 2010. The book is profusely insane and the movie managed to keep most of it in tact. I think that was commendable.

2. Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio for Inception. It was masterly. The theme of the movie was barely imaginable and in enacting it and bringing it alive (to whatever extent the audience finally got) DiCaprio did a fantastic job.

3. Best Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech. He was comic, ironic, satirical and touching in various stages of his role. I found it really good.

4. Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit. Good performance considering she was a first timer. Had it been any other guy than Jeff Bridges in that movie, she would be running for Best Actress and not Supporting. And had she had 2 more movies before this one, she would win too – I see no other reason why she didn’t win, especially considering the other nominees.

5. Best Animated Film: L’illusionniste by Sylvain Chomet. Again, very offbeat. It is a film on loneliness, on failure, on broken relationships, on the inability to impress – basically all those emotions of human life that no one wants to have or talk about. And therein lies its beauty, which again, no one wants to appreciate.

6. Best Director: Tim Burton for Alice in Wonderland. I have already explained why.

 

As for the rest of the categories I have either not seen enough movies (like for Best Actress for example) or don’t know what those terms are.

Yippdee-Yippdee- That’s all folks! What do you think?

 

 

Who wants to be a multi-millionaire when one can be The Dude??

Word Count: 650  | Estimated time to read entry: 6 min

The Dude

I recently came across this Joel and Ethan Coen movie called ‘The Big Lebowski’. For those who haven’t had the good fortune to see it yet, the movie is about an unemployed guy called Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) who insists he be called ‘The Dude’. His only priced possession, a carpet, gets urinated upon by money recovery agents, due to a case of mistaken identity after which The Dude sets out to find the real person whom the harm was intended, seeking compensation. The actual person, also a Lebowski (and hence the confusion), is a super-achiever with multiple decorations, riches, a sizzling hot wife and all that any ambitious fellow in the world craves for. The movie then goes on about how The Dude is asked to undertake some assignments by various family members of the other Lebowski, how he gets duped by all and how his two close friends superbly “assist” him in all his endeavors.

 

On first watch, I dismissed this movie as mindless, stupid and idiotic. But now that I take a relook at all of The Dude’s pursuits, I find it almost Messianic. Here is why:

 

  1. The Dude is unemployed. He lives on dole and moves about without a cent in his (torn) pockets. The metaphorical meaning of which is that he is not greedy and doesn’t seek more than what is necessary. True to the teachings of the Buddha, he follows the middle path of neither too much nor too less, but just enough. And since he doesn’t carry any money on him, he doesn’t tempt others into sin.
  2. The Dude never bears any ill-will against anyone. The only philosophy in his life is ‘The Dude Abides’, meaning he accepts things as they come, isn’t bothered by people who duped him or wronged him and moves on without any feelings of remorse or revenge. He is a living embodiment of Christ’s saying, “Forgive and you shall be forgiven. Blessed are ye, if men revile you, persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake for great is thy reward in heaven”.

 

Well, you don’t have to be religious to appreciate The Dude because he illustrates a life of no responsibilities, no accomplishments, no ambitions and therefore, no worries, no consequences, no disappointments. Without any of the things that is “supposed” to make one happy – a job, a house, a great car, a wife, children, social security, medical insurance, a social circle (no, not even Facebook!), riches and fame, The Dude drives home the fact that you actually don’t need any of this to be “happy” – if that is what you care for.

 

So if your goal is to be Happy and not Rich or Famous or Someone important, you must perhaps watch this film. The philosophy of The Dude is one of no philosophy; his aim is that of no aim; his ambition is to have no ambition and his goal is to have no goals whatsoever. In short, The Dude tells one that you don’t have to be ‘Successful’ to be ‘Happy’ because Successful is what everyone else tells you; Happy is what only you can tell yourself.

 

And The Dude is perhaps a litmus test who separates the Happiness seekers from the Success seekers – if you find the movie and this blog entry stupid, idiotic and mindless (like I first did, until I ‘woke up’) and The Dude a wastrel, a useless no-gooder then you are clearly a Success seeker. All the best mate, see you on top of Forbes!

 

But if Happiness is what you seek, I suggest you take a relook at your priorities, the things you are chasing and the things that are chasing you. If you really look at it, you don’t need much to be happy. Not much at all. All you need to do is say, “The Dude abides”! 😀

 

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Blogger’s after-thought: If you are fascinated/obsessed by The Dude, you might want to know more about the philosophy called Dudeism on Wiki, after which you might want to get yourself officially ordained into Dudeism by the Church of the Latter-day Dude, buy some gear online at the Dudeism Store and check out other great Dudes of History. And for the Dude’s Anthem, check out ‘Looking out my back door‘ by Creedence Clearwater Revival at Grooveshark and the lyrics of this song on lyricsfreak.com.

I can always run movie-marathons or sleep 40 hours on weekends but…

Word Count: 429 | Estimated time to read entry: 5 min

Image Source: istockphoto.com


The months approaching placements in any B-school are full of apprehension, doubt and uncertainty. But for the few who are getting back into family business or entrepreneurship, the rest are trying to master every trick in the book to land their dream job. TAPMIans are of course no exceptions – all that BrandScan, Theme papers, Group work, Markstrat, MIP and other ‘learning’ better culminate into something fruitful, eh??!

Now, I am reminded time and again, from junies of various batches, that my blog is eminently popular among most of them. “Out of sheer modesty” 😛 I will skip all the eulogies.  I also get friend requests on Facebook from junies who ‘follow and appreciate’ my blog and I am surprised most of the times because I don’t see comments from (m)any of them and hence, I have no way of knowing my readers.

If the first paragraph is what you guys are feeling right now and if the second paragraph is even remotely true, I guess I can use both of it for something really useful. Here is the idea:

I have a couple of friends placed in various companies across various sectors from various batches, thanks to this blog! I can request them to address your queries on placements and all things concerned with it. We can have a nice discussion right here on the blog. And since this is an open forum, you never know what this can blow out into. In fact, every TAPMI junie is welcome to post queries and every senior to answer them. I will (of course) only moderate.

You send me your queries in the form of comments to the entry that I will be posting subsequently and seniors from relevant sectors with matching profiles who consent to help out will address your queries. I will pick some of the best comments and responses and make entries out of them so that they are not lost in the trail of comments, with due credit to the contributors. And yes, you can choose to stay anonymous but you risk getting into my comment spam folder.

I am not guaranteeing you guys a job here but if you think this is a good idea, please let me know. You can also suggest ideas on what you want featured. Based on the number and quality of comments I get, I will take a call. So the better your response, the higher the chances.

And if you come to think of it, I didn’t give this entry such a long title for nothing, did I? 😉

Why I Delete Facebook ‘Friends’.

Word count: 705 | Estimated time to read entry: 10 min



As if I haven’t been labeled a freak for being over-organized about many aspects of my life, I had to get myself into this unimaginable habit of deleting friends from my Facebook list and make matters worse.  If that wasn’t malicious enough for you, I am sure you would appreciate that I first announce the impending doom of the special few with an update on my profile. A lot of people have asked me the double-why’s – seeking a rationale behind deleting in the first place and announcing the deletion in advance. So far, I have given brief explanations, having to live with the character limit imposed by Facebook in updates but I’d rather be over-specific about this as well. So let me categorize, label and list down the top few reasons why I do so:

Reason 1: Gut feeling. The person just doesn’t look familiar enough in the list anymore. It is like seeing your neighbor’s left slipper in a snap full of close family members. It is the odd man out.  They might have been great friends once, life-mates even, but if repeated attempts at reinitiating the magic fails, I believe in moving on.

Reason 2: Sorry circus watchers, you can’t stand back and enjoy the show. I am sure you find my updates entertaining, ridiculous, funny, thoughtful, weird, biased, inflammatory whatever. But I see some guys just stand by the gallery and watch the show safely behind the protective moat of inactivity. No updates, no comments, no responses. When it comes to such spectators, my whip cracks pretty loud and hard.  I expect some interaction here but if all you seek is some gossip material, sorry mate, try Filmfare.  Am certainly no Russell Crowe from Gladiator to roar, ‘Are you not ENTERTAINED??’


Reason 3: The man in the loo. Guys hardly known to me request to be in my list. For all I know, I once took a leak standing beside him in a public loo by the bus stand and the next thing I realize, I see his invite on Facebook. Eventually it stagnates and stinks and the best thing to do then is to flush it down the drain, aint it? Well I do get invites from unknown gals as well but hey this ‘loo metaphor’ doesn’t hold good for those instances OK??!     😉

Reason 4: Privacy! Whoa guys I said it despite being a total atheist when it comes to web privacy. There is no such thing as web privacy and the last thing to determine or govern that are improvements in policies of social n/ws that ensure additional privacy. Sorry, I determine my own privacy so I decide who stays and who goes.  I’d rather keep my door closed and locked than rely on the great new service revolvers my local police department is going gaga about, eh??

Reason 5: Inappropriateness or showiness. Some updates don’t cut well with me. Abuses and rants especially. And yea, the Einstein wannabe’s who share nothing but ‘path-breaking insight ‘by putting up links to news items, fall on the other extreme. C’mon guys if all I want is rants and abuses, I’d rather go get married, eh? :P.  And if all I want is meaning and info I’d rather eat some pages off Encyclopaedia Brit… hey wait a min, that’s obsolete, eat some pages off Wikipedia by printing it on a forest full of papers.  Repeated instances of such can tick me off.

If you look at it, these guys are all there in our everyday lives. The ones sequentially listed above are – Misfits, Gossip Mongers, Strangers, Intruders and Offenders. You normally don’t make space for such in your lives do you? Sometimes you just feel someone ain’t good enough to be with; some others only listen and spread slander without ever revealing their inner self; some don’t connect at all; some are mindlessly trying to seek your attention and some always peeve you either by their cacophonous thoughts or their extreme pseudo-intellectual showiness.  To me, Facebook is a large part of my everyday life and is probably the most important means of connecting with people and staying close to them. So when I don’t entertain such people in my ‘non-electronic’ (1) life, why should I on Facebook?

But why do I announce the deletions in advance? Well, I am just being malicious there! Go ahead and delete me! 😉

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(1) I don’t appreciate the usage – ‘Real’ life. I could probably write volumes on why no one should ever call it so or alternately, why every mode of existence can be called so but I have skipped all that here as it is not relevant to this entry.

It took me four

Word count: 600 | Estimated time to read blog: 8 min

Image source: Leathersupreme.com

When I was a teenager, I had a great fascination for leather jackets. I found it a cool add-on to the denims I was sporting in those days and neither John Travolta nor Arnold Schwarzenegger told me anything otherwise 😉

The first one was purchased after a surprisingly lucky break with the exams – my parents (and to this day, I myself) couldn’t believe I got such marks and as per terms decided before the exams, were compelled to buy it for me. I felt as great in it as a hippopotamus in a steam bath – the weather of Manipal is just not suited to leather jackets. But it was ‘cool’, you know! And in a short while i had quite a collection. Until…
…Until the day when I learnt that some being had to pay with its life to make me feel cool. It was then that the whole fascination came crashing down. The jacket felt as soft, as wonderful and as warm as before but it wasn’t the same thing at all. It still was the best jacket brand in the world – no other brand came close to it but I didn’t feel cool wearing one anymore.

Now you don’t need to be a student of marketing to realize that what just happened was a transition from a mindless, sense gratifying consumer to an informed one. I couldn’t ignore anymore the fact that the creation of that jacket was possible only by the death of something, however far removed and unimportant to me.

I have similar feelings about fireworks and crackers. To me, they signify the death of someone’s childhood. I also don’t promote movies of directors who repeatedly portray violence and glorify gangsters. To me, they signify actual deaths in the society as cinema is a very strong influencer and by glorifying such acts, there will be at least one among the viewers who will go ahead and commit such acts as are glorified.

Maybe I am over analyzing things. True, if you look at everything this way, no form of consumerism is ever possible. But to me, there are some more glaring than others and I choose not to ignore them for a start.

Moreover, you and I have a responsibility towards society – in the real world and online. Our choice and behavior will largely determine the future of how we all live in this very society. And in that, we can choose to support a Hitler who will promise great things at the expense of someone or a Mother Theresa who will promise equally great things by involving everyone. And it is my opinion that great tomorrows come from being open and allowing openness. A tomorrow however great, achieved by curbing/eliminating something forcefully isn’t worth the sunrise that heralds it.

To me, it is a sign of greatness and confidence to include everyone despite difference of opinion, conflicting business interests etc for the benefit of the collective good. It is a sign of insecurity and doubt to forcibly snub and exclude someone, not to mention a disregard for the collective good. How can such a one lead?

In making our choices, we at some point in time should cease to merely evaluate wrt our senses and employ rationale. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The real seat of taste is not the tongue but the mind”.

So how many leather jackets does it take you to realize that you must look beyond that cozy feel and the hep looks?

Now read the title.

Movie Review: Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

Word Count: 812  |  Estimated time to read entry: 10 min

“There are only 2 kinds of people in this world, those who have played Prince of Persia and those who haven’t”.

Image source: IMDb

It won’t come as a surprise to people following my FB updates that I am a die-hard fan of the Prince, having played all 4 games and eagerly awaiting the next. While this could mean I’d be unfairly biased in my review, it also puts me in a position to assess the movie better wrt the game.

And since I have been watching as many good movies as I have been playing good games over the last 2 years, I have decided to split this review into 2 perspectives to avoid any last traces of bias and to keep the review relevant, depending on the kind of person you are – refer my quote above 😉

GAMER’S PERSPECTIVE:

If you are as ardent an admirer of the Prince as I am, you wouldn’t even be reading this review in the first place because you already know the movie is superb. It brings the legend alive! The setting is good, Jake Gyllenhaal looks astoundingly similar to the character we so admire. Many of the moves – the wall run, the ledge swing, the masterly wielding of the sword, avoiding the death traps are all neatly and realistically portrayed. The movie is exciting and fast-paced and the action sequences are fantastic. And with the Rewind of Time by pressing the gem on the Dagger of Time, the spirit of the game is kept alive.

But is the movie as good as the game? No! Despite the settings, there is a lot of Americanism in the movie which was hardly noticeable in the game. Other characters like Farah and Vizier are changed to Tamina and Nizam respectively and they are nothing great in the movie. Some of the fatal moves of the Prince like the Vault attack, Asha’s Fury, Breath of fate, Wall rebound and other environment based attacks are totally missing, which is a big let down. The puzzles and turnstile based sequences have also been excluded and the sand beasts, the concubines, Dahaka, Shadee, Golem and all other bosses are completely missing. A new breed of enemies, The Hassansins, has been created and they are good!

What is most unpardonable is that the soundtrack is a complete let down and it is no where close to Stuart Chatwood’s fantastic track ‘Time only knows’ for the game.

The Prince is not as gentle as he was in ‘Sands of Time’ neither is he the merciless, blood thirsty guy we knew in ‘Warrior Within’ – he is somewhere in between. The red sash seen in the poster is not seen in the movie at all.

All said, the movie is not as good as the game but it is thoroughly entertaining and as close to the game you can get. For a gamer who has played even 30 min into any PoP game, this is a must watch.

Rating: 8.5/10

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MOVIE BUFF’S PERSPECTIVE:

If you have never heard of Prince of Persia let alone played a min into the game, you will want to watch this movie for some really great action sequences. It is a thoroughly entertaining watch and really exciting. The story line is tight and gripping and requires no prior knowledge about the Prince or anything related to the game at all. For once, I found most of the accent understandable and Alfred Molina is hilarious in the movie.

Jake Gyllenhaal looks terrific and the gals might want to see the movie for him alone. Gemma Arterton has managed to keep most of her clothes on most of the times and still looks good, if that is any motivation for the guys 😉

But with a reputation like the all-time great ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ behind them, Walt Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer have failed to create as much an appeal in this movie. Though a mindless and inappropriate comparison, Captain Jack Sparrow seems a far greater hero than the Prince of Persia. It is not that Jake Gyllenhaal fell short, it is just that Johnny Depp is simply par excellence! I see no other reason why, with (most) other things being equal, there is such an enormous difference in the two movies. My honest opinion is that this movie would have been far more successful had it been an animation movie.

Therefore, don’t expect to be as entertained by this movie if you (like me) have seen and liked all three parts of POTC.

Overall, this is a movie you can watch once and forget. This, unlike POTC, isn’t the kind of movie you will store in your DVD collection and want to watch again and again on lazy Sunday afternoons.

Rating: 7.0/10

PS: IMDb rates this 6.8 and IMO this wont exceed 7 after 10,000 votes. Would be surprised if this crosses 7.2 but then there are always gamer fans like me!