Friday, December 28, 2007

Watch them GROW!

I can't remember who introduced me to the first GROW game but one thing for sure, it had me wanting more. GROW is a series of flash games created by On of Eyezmaze from Japan. The concept is pretty simple; drag and drop - or just click in some - items in a particular order and watch them grow. You complete the game when all items reach the maximum level. What makes it unique is the items affect each other as they grow so to complete the game at the max possible level, you'll need to select the items in a correct order. However, it's okay to try other combinations as they may yield interesting results leading to different kinds of endings. The animation, the graphics are just amazing and it is such a delight to watch the gameplay unfolds.

Some of the best games in the GROW series are:

1. Click here to play GROW Cube! GROW Cube
This was my very first GROW game and definitely not the last. Like its namesake, you start with a brown cube and with all the right moves, magically turn it into a wonderland!

In the beginning.. Voila, a fun wonderland!

2. Click here to play GROW RPG! GROW RPG
GROW RPG has the same gameplay but with an RPG twist. Here you get to fight the enemy, buy health and weapons from a shop, as well as find hidden treasure at the end. All you need is to drag n drop in the correct sequence then sit back to watch how good triumphs over evil and how the flying winged devil and its minnions are defeated!

In the beginning.. Good Triumphs!

3. Click here to play GROW ver.3! GROW ver.3
The first GROW game according to the site though don't ask me why it's version 3 (and yes, there are version 1 and 2 at the site as well.) And interestingly enough, there are multiple endings to this one though not all will give you the maximum score of 20,000.

In the beginning..
Maximum result Alternative ending

4. Click here to play GROW Island! GROW Island
The latest in the GROW series and this time it makes use of university courses such as Civil Engineering, Computer Science, and Applied Chemistry. By prioritizing these fields, you'll create the perfect island where men live happily - how boy meets girl and fell in love Love at first sight, how nature is protected and technology is utilized to make the world a better place. However, you should try putting the wrong sequence and watch disasters strike in the form of deforestation, earthquake that cause a house to collapse even computer viruses. Also, this time around On informs us of a hidden ending - involving aliens. How cool!

In the beginning.. Disaster strikes!

5. Click here to play GROW Ornament! GROW Ornament
And in conjunction with the holiday season, Eyezmaze made one specially to celebrate Christmas. Click on the items to decorate your Christmas tree and have yourself a white Christmas. Even the music box style tune puts you in Christmas mood ;

Season Greetings!

A bare tree to start with.. Have a merry little Christmas!

Check out the site not only for more GROW games but other flash games as well, some of which are just as cute. Ahh..looking forward to the next GROW game!

My Rating:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How Far Will You Go?

The Kite RunnerIt's been a while since I finished a book in one seating. Okay, maybe 2 seatings... but only because I started at 11pm the night before and had to force my eyes off the pages after the clock strucked 3!

From the very first sentence right up to the last full stop, I was gripped. I followed every single word, every single laughter, every single tear, every single fear. It is the life of Amir we followed but it is the life of Hassan, who is destined to be of a lower class from the day he was born a Shi'a, that completes the book. It is about friendship, cowardice, betrayal, loyalty and more, beginning from a peaceful Afghanistan backdrop in the 70s through to what Afghanistan is today - war-torn.

I must admit I had to stop for a breather and wipe those tears when Amir found out what happened to Hassan, 15 years after he left Afghanistan for America. A marvellous read and definitely one I will not forget in a long time.

"For you, a thousand times over."

My Rating:

P/S: They are making this into a movie so hopefully the impact will be as good as the book.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Snap Away!

Into photography? Then you might just get hooked on Snapshot Adventures: Secret of Bird Island.

Here you can give your best shot at bird photography while searching for your grandfather, a famous bird photographer who went missing 6 months ago. He however managed to leave you a map, his treasured camera and a half-empty journal, all in a shoebox with your name on it. Along the way, you'll meet his colleagues, his old friends as well as a stranger or two, solve clues leading to his disappearance while taking on assignments (day and night) at different locations to capture a variety of birds - in different poses too such as flying, singing, eating, or preening. Assignments get increasingly difficult the further you are into the game, such as from only needing to capture 3 3-star photos of a blue jay at the beginning to capturing 5 5-star photos of a Yellow-throated Warbler in flight later on. If you have extra film and time left after completing an assigned task, you can then earn bonus points by snapping at other species.

Different type of bird watching locationsZoom in & take your best shot!

Sounds challenging? You bet, especially when the birds are flying around or refusing to stand still for you to get a close up shot or partially hidden by bushes, leaves, etc. Furthermore, you get to choose which of the shots you think look best at the end of each level by selecting between two side-by-side shots and once you do so, points and star-ratings will be revealed to see if you've made the right choice. Also, the best shots will grace the cover of magazines while the rest can be viewed from your journal.

Which one do you think is your best shot?You made the cover!

To make things easier, you do earn some useful tools such as the zoom lens (2x, 4x, 6x), which will enable you to take closeup shots, and the night camera with flash and silencer suitable for night bird watching activities. Other interesting gadgets would be bird seed (to get them to eat), flight simulator (to make them fly), coffee (to slow down the bird's movements), and the greatest of all tools, the stopwatch, which will freeze everything for ~10seconds so you can then shoot all you want. Ah..if only we could do that in real life photography =P

Gadgets..The power to stop cool is that!

Once you've solved the mystery, you can continue playing still but this time try your hands on creating your own bird species instead. With this tool, you can create any bird you like (body style, beak style, wingspan, color, etc), and name it any name you want to. You can also download custom-made birds created by other users. This way, you'll always have new species to add to your journal ;)

Field journalCreate your own birds!

Real life bird-watching might not be a common hobby particularly in this heat and humidity (and mosquitoes!) but you can now sit in the comforts of your own home and enjoy what the games has to offer while polishing your photography skills as well (figuratively!) =)

My Rating:

Friday, December 07, 2007


I watched Stardust - finally! Had been wanting to watch this eversince I first heard of it but never quite took the time out so luckily still managed to catch it (probably at the final screening) last Sunday @ 11.45am.

What is Stardust?
Stardust is based on Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name and stars Michelle Pfeiffer (wonderful, wonderful performance from her!), Robert De Niro, Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, and Sienna Miller just to name a few.

It is about a young man's quest to retrieve a fallen star in order to win the hand of his love, the beautiful but vain Victoria (Miller). Little does Tristan Thorne (Cox) knows that his adventure has just begin as beyond the walls of his village lies a magical realm where the star is not a mere rock but instead is a young woman named Yvainne (Danes).

Rarely or should I say, almost never do stars step foot on earth so when one eventually does, it most definitely never goes unnoticed. Lamia (Pfeiffer), an evil old witch, and her two equally evil sisters desire for eternal youth, beauty as well as power and to achieve that, they would need to consume the heart of a star. Thus, with the last piece of star's heart, Lamia sets out to capture the new star - not before first admiring her young body in the mirror! Meanwhile on his last breath, a dying king transforms a ruby into a diamond, sends it flying away into the night (which subsequently knocked Yvainne out of the sky), and leaves a final message to his surviving 3 sons - while their dead brothers looked on as ghosts - that whosoever managed to return it to a ruby shall be king.

As both Tristan and Yvainne battle to evade capture, they come into encounter with many characters, most notably the "notorious" Captain Shakepeare, who commands a flying pirate ship that captures lightnings. Most important of all, Tristan's quest changes as he discovers the meaning of true love and must now do everything to protect it...

What is Stardust?
Stardust is a charming fairy tale intertwined with dark, humorous, romantic, and exciting moments. Together with a great theme song by Take That, it's one magical adventure no one would want to miss...

Here's the theme song cum trailer for anyone who'd never seen it ;)

My Ratings:

P/S: On a different note...I tried JCO Donuts for the second time last Tuesday but had to queue for 1 hour this time only to find out in the hecticness of it all, they now limit the choices to only those that are already on display plus there's no more flower-shaped donuts, only ordinary ones...blimey!