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Make Your Move

Posted on 10.02.2011 at 00:59
Olen istunut Suomen Tanssipelaajat ry:n hallituksessa sen perustamisesta vuonna 2006 alkaen ja puheenjohtajan roolia olen hoitanut vuodesta 2007 lähtien. Tänä aikana on tapahtunut paljon. Laji on saanut paljon uusia harrastajia, Suomessa on nyt enemmän arcadelaitteita, kilpailijoiden taso on noussut ja Suomeen on jopa saatu mestaruus EM-kisoissa. Kaikki kehitys ei valitettavasti ole ollut positiivista, vaan esimerkiksi uusien kilpapelaajien vana on ehtynyt ja laji kamppailee edelleen laitteisto-ongelmien ja uusien pelien puutteen parissa.

Yhdistystä on toisinaan moitittu jämähtyneisyydestä ja toiminnan puutteesta. "Sisäpiiriläisenä" olen itsekin sitä mieltä, että toiminta on ollut pientä ja hidasta siihen verrattuna, mitä parhaimmillaan voitaisiin saada aikaiseksi. Puheenjohtajana omaan rooliini kuuluisikin etenkin johtaa yhdistystä ja motivoida jäseniä toimimaan yhdistyksen ja lajin hyväksi. Viimeisen puolen vuoden aikana olen kuitenkin huomannut koko ajan selvemmin, että itseltäni puuttuu tällä hetkellä jaksaminen ja motivaatio johtaa hallitusta ja jäsenistöä, ja motivoida heitä tarvittavalla tavalla.

Aina toitotetaan, että yksi hyvän johtajan tuntomerkeistä on tunnistaa omat heikkoutensa. Olenkin nyt pitkään pohtinut tilannetta ja todennut, että yhdistyksessä ja etenkin sen hallituksessa on henkilöitä, jotka kykenisivät hoitamaan puheenjohtajan kriittiseksi muodostuneen roolin minua paremmin. Muodollisesti puheenjohtajan rooliinhan ei juurikaan kuulu sen enempää kuin hallitusten kokousten organisointi ja niissä puheenvuorojen jakaminen, mutta käytännössä yhdistyksessämme puheenjohtajalle on aina laskettu huomattavasti enemmän vaatimuksia. Koska minusta ei enää tunnu siltä, että voin vastata tämän roolin vaatimuksiin parhaalla mahdollisella tavalla, otin asian esille edellisessä hallituksen kokouksessa viime sunnuntaina. Pitkän keskustelun päätteeksi päätin kyseisessä kokouksessa erota puheenjohtajan roolista ja luovuttaa tehtävien hoitamisen varapuheenjohtaja Juha "lord_diablo" Manniselle.

Jatkan edelleen kuluvalla kaudella yhdistyksen hallituksessa ja toimin myös edelleen lukuisissa vastuuhenkilörooleissani (mm. kilpailuvastaava). Jatkan myös vuoden 2011 EM-kisojen järjestäjätiimin johdossa. Mistään maailmaa mullistavasta muutoksesta siis ei suinkaan ole kyse. Tarkoituksena on mahdollistaa yhdistyksen toiminnan tehostaminen uuden ja motivoituneemman johtajuuden avulla. Nyt virkaa toimittava lord_diablo ja tulevassa vaalikokouksessa valittava uusi varsinainen puheenjohtaja pystyvät toivottavasti uudistamaan toimintamalleja ja motivoimaan jäseniä, jotta yhdistys voi paremmin suorittaa tarkoitustaan, eli ajaa tanssipelien asemaa Suomessa ja parantaa harrastusolosuhteita lajin harrastajille. Ehkäpä jäsenistölle saadaan myöskin paremmin tuotua esille se, että vastuuhenkilörooleissa tai muuten vain toimijana voi hyvin olla hallituksen ulkopuolisenakin.

Toivottavasti kukaan ei kuvittele, että kyseessä on jonkinlainen mielenilmaus tai muukaan negatiivisessa mielessä tehty päätös. Kyseessä on pitkään harkittu ja yhteisen hyvän nimissä tehty roolin vaihto, joka toivottavasti johtaa yhdistyksen kannalta parempaan lopputulokseen, jonka hallitus on myös kokonaisuudessaan hyväksynyt ja seisoo päätökseni takana. Huomattavaa on myöskin se, että käytännön toiminnassa ei lyhyellä tähtäimellä tapahdu suuria muutoksia, koska kaikki vastuuhenkilöroolit pysyvät entisellään. Muutos tapahtuukin todennäköisesti vähitellen, kun uudet johtajuusmallit toivottavasti parantavat yhdistyksen toimintaa kokonaisuutena.

Nyt lienee hyvä paikka lopettaa tämä jo liiankin pitkäksi venynyt viesti. Jos sinulla on kysymyksiä mistään tähän ilmoitukseen liittyvästä asiasta niin tähän blogiviestiin voi hyvin vastata kysymyksillä tai minuun voi ottaa yhteyttä vaikkapa ircissä.

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Baila Conmigo

Posted on 05.04.2010 at 01:46
I've been thinking about writing another entry for a long time, but I never seem to get it done. I finally got the extra push needed to write as another blogger from the Finnish dance gamer community updated his blog today after an even longer break.

Even though I haven't written to this journal that doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything. The most important news are probably that our game company, Trix Games, has opened a development blog (http://blog.trixgames.fi/) where we write about our game development and related things and we have also opened a web shop concentrating on dance gaming products (http://shop.trixgames.fi/). I've been personally writing a lot of stuff to the company blog and that's probably the main thing to divert my attention from my personal blog. Setting up the web shop has also taken up time as we've been testing products, making deals to buy those products, setting up the website, setting up payment options, starting up with operations, etc. In addition we are of course working on the game itself and then there are other things like my fiancee, studying, games and so on.

Yesterday was our first play testing session with people from outside of our development team. We didn't test the actual game software yet. Instead we loaded up ~2/3 of the games songs into our arcade machine and had the people listen to the songs and play the choreographs and comment on them. Feedback was generally very positive and all songs had at least one player (out of 5 testers) liking the song itself. Most players also liked the majority of the songs in the game, and they generally agreed that the genre selection is wide. Since the selection was missing one third of our songs I'm very sure our music selection will please most players very well. On the choreography side most of them were rated very well, although there still were ones where players pointed out problems. Most of these we already knew, but we also received some new pointers and ideas that we might use. All in all I think that testing was a success and any testing sessions held will improve our game and hopefully reinforce the testers belief in our game. (If you still haven't signed up for testing, do so at http://trixgames.fi/pelitestaaja/).

Thank you for reading and being interested in my writings! I will try to update this more often, but remember to follow the Trix Games blog for more frequent updates.

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War Against the Machines

Posted on 27.01.2010 at 02:12
It has been a long time since my last journal entry so there is a lot of catching up to do.

Last year I ordered the components for my new and awesome PC. I was a bit sad that the parts were going to miss Christmas by a week as I was looking forward to spending a week gaming with my little brother when visiting my parents for the holidays. Well, all other components arrived on time, but the GPU kept being pushed further and further. When the year changed I got desperate as it seemed like I wasn't going to get a gaming worthy GPU at all in Finland. After some extensive searching the only option available was a HD 4890 which I then bought immediately. I've been an avid NVIDIA user for years and was disgusted by having to buy an ATI card, but that was all I could do to get my PC working. My deep ATI hate was quickly enforced. First of all installing anything else but the driver is a huge mistake. The rest of the ATI software is crap. Also, the GPU doesn't work well with my new monitor. If I use the HDMI cable and set the resolution to the maximum I get black borders around the image, so I have to use a lower resolution. I could avoid this problem for a while by using VGA instead, but after a while something broke and my maximum available resolution for VGA dropped even lower than the resolution that I could use with the HDMI cable. These problems with this monitor are apparently not present with NVIDIA cards, so basically I'm now using a lower resolution just because I had to buy ATI instead of NVIDIA. Currently I'm waiting eagerly for any chance to buy a gaming capable NVIDIA card. I'll never ever again buy an ATI card.

Now that my personal computer hassle is almost over I have another headache in front of me. My mother asked me to build the family a new computer. This is going to be an even worse pain as it's hard to meet the needs of the four family members with a reasonable budget.

As we all know, computers are untrustworthy piles of metal (and various other materials) so the previously described problems come as no surprise. Also it should be no surprise that our ITG arcade machine also suffers from problems as it is a computer system too. A few weeks ago the machine suddenly got stuck at the boot up and no one knew what the cause was. We did a full day of work with the machine and eventually had an exact copy of the original software on a new hard drive plus all of the custom content from the earlier game drive. Everything worked for a few days, but then the problem appeared again. Eventually we found out that something with the new additional themes that we had put on the machine were causing problems, so we just removed all of the themes all together. This week we are trying out if we can insert some of the themes back and maintain a working machine. At this point there are no guesses on what could be the cause, but I hope we can solve the problem. This week we are also trying to solve some other longer lasting issues such as the non-working USB memory cards and some problems with the pads. Hopefully we will have an incredibly well working ITG arcade next week.

My life seems to be all about games (and occasionally about my girl) if you base your assumptions on my blog, and to be honest, it mostly is. In addition to spending any free time that I might have with games of various types (sometimes playing them, sometimes advocating them, sometimes just rambling about them on various places on the internet) I also work with games. If you aren't aware yet, I am the owner of a company called Trix Games Ltd alongside with two other people. We announced our company and our first project in a topic on the Finnish Dance Gamer Association's message boards ( http://www.tanssipelit.fi/palsta/t1632-trix-games-hae-testaajaksi.html ). We have been making a dance game of our own since last year and are aiming to launch it later this year. This has meant a lot of work for me and is a large reason for why I've been so busy all the time even though I haven't seemed to get a lot of things done. Currently there isn't much information available on our project, but you can look forward to an official development blog next week. We will start off with some basic information and later on move on to more detailed information that will be of interest to anyone interested in the development of a new dance game. We will also have regular competitions or other activities where you can win a free copy of our game (delivered when the game is released, of course) and other nice surprises, so remember to check the dev blog every week.

That's most of the major news for the past months. I've also had other stuff going on (like the on going war with my car that doesn't want to let me in, and when I get in doesn't want me to drive it), but those wont probably be of any real interest to you. I'll let you back to what ever you were doing earlier (though it was probably nothing important or interesting if you stumbled here).

Remember to get back here once in a while and especially the Trix Games development blog next week! I'll post the blog address here and on the FDGA message boards when the blog is published.

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Dream to Nightmare

Posted on 07.11.2009 at 15:53
I rarely talk about any dreams I have because they aren't worth remembering. There are a couple of nightmares from when I was way younger that I still remember, but that's only because I saw the same two nightmares a few times. Repetition is easy to remember.

This morning I woke up to a nightmare that felt so bad at the moment that I want to write about it. It started off with a Godzilla-like creature roaming around causing trouble. Me, my honey and a bunch of other people formed teams of two and started to chase the creature to trap it. The following part is a bit blurry, but it ended up with my honey in a very bad situation and I had to sacrifice myself to save her. Everyone thought I was dead, but miraculously I "rose back from the dead" with no explanation and we continued our hunt. The second time we again continued in teams of two. Each team had a Jurassic Park -style car and the car somehow had a T-Rex (stored in another dimension perhaps?) that could be released. Each team was frantically escaping the Godzilla creature and we hoped that it would somehow meet two or three cars at the same time so that we could release the T-Rexes at the same time to attack and win the creature. The plan didn't go so well though as the creature caught our car and smashed it to peaces. I was about to be killed, but this time my honey sacrificed herself for me. I got knocked out though so I didn't see what happened to the creature. I then woke up (in the dream) in my parents' apartment unaware of what had happened. I opened my computer and immediately saw the news of the death on the Internet. I quickly rushed to find my mother and asked her if my honey was really dead. My mother just nodded. I felt terrible. And with terrible I mean something so bad that I've never felt that bad before. I fell to the ground and started crying and screaming. This is where I woke up (in real life).

I was in a very fuzzy near-dream state and facing the edge of the bed. I quickly tried to turn around to see if what I had seen was actually real and she was dead or if I had had a nightmare. I had been sleeping on top of both my arms and they had no blood in them so I didn't have the strength to turn around and I was seriously worried. I kept trying to move myself while at the same time asking her to speak to me. After a while I was able to push myself around and she was also responding to me. Everything was okay and I finally woke up enough to realize that it had only been a dream. What a relief!

What I learned from this was how terrible it would be to lose the most precious thing in my life. And such a sudden loss would be even worse. I could probably cope with it if I had a fair warning and time to adjust, but a sudden loss would devastate me. I just hope it never happens.

Okay, time for me and you to cheer up. I'll probably forget about the dream before bedtime and you'll hopefully forget about it quickly after reading about it. Wait... you don't even care, do you? Of course not. *wink* Anyway, I'm off to playing some nice and relaxing game (Torchlight most likely). It's a Saturday and I really need to relax, so I wont feel bad about spending the rest of the day gaming. *wide smile*

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Inside The Fire

Posted on 06.11.2009 at 02:17
People haven't expressed much interest in my journal entries which has dropped my motivation to write. I got asked for a new entry a couple of times within the past week however so I decided to write again.

When I think about the past few weeks the main thing to come into my mind is fire. Everything seems to be fire themed apart from studies and work. It started off with me playing Team Fortress 2 and discovering how fun Pyro can be. I've spent time flaming my way through some favorite servers and familiar players while gathering achievements. Pyro quickly surpassed Heavy as my most played class as I haven't been enjoying the slower play style of the Heavy as much after having so much fast paced action with the Pyro. It's almost sad that I do so well in the game considering that my FPS experience is quite limited. My first FPS games were Doom, Doom 2 and Duke Nukem 3D. After those I've only played Unreal Tournament GOTY edition for a longer time period. I've dabbled with other games too, but not much. I'm having a blast with the game which is quite interesting, as the FPS games I've had the most fun in the past have been single player instead of competitive multi player. Maybe I ought to try out more game genres that I haven't appreciated much before. I might find other new things that I really like.

I also spent some time with a game called "Madballs in... BaboInvasion" during the Halloween weekend due to some special unlocks available. I bought the game through Steam some time ago due to its cheap price during a sale and it was surprisingly entertaining. Not a game that I'd play for extended periods of time but an hour or two in a month or two it can be fun. Due to my Pyro craze in TF2 I decided to give the "Crackler" (flame thrower) a second chance in competitive play and was surprised how good it can be in certain situations. I still prefer a few other weapons over it, but surprisingly I had fun playing with this weapon that originally seemed inferior. You never know, do you?

Interestingly this game demonstrates how seemingly stupid game mechanics or achievements can actually make a game more enjoyable. The game has a rank system where you progress in ranks by unlocking the characters, weapons and skills in the game. When you have everything unlocked you are offered the option to lock everything again, and you then continue to unlock everything again to raise in the ranks. After unlocking everything for a total of three times you have finally achieved the highest rank. Initially this system seems very stupid, but it actually forces you to use all characters, all skills and all weapons for a few different times so that you actually try out everything after you are more experiences with the game. This way people realize that there are a lot of good options to use, not just the one they initially thought as the best.

Another game I've been enjoying recently is Torchlight. Torchlight is a new action RPG released last week. It is developed by former Diablo/Mythos/Fate devs and is an awesome Diablo clone. I still remember the first time I started playing the original Diablo. I had just received the CD as a gift from one of my mothers friends and I was quite skeptical based on the image on the CD cover. But when I started playing the game I was sold. It was incredibly fun and immersive and each level was full of new and surprising elements. Later on I was very enthusiastic to get to play Diablo 2, but somehow it just didn't have the same feeling. It had more content and more variety than the original game, but there's something in deep dungeons that is more interesting than open fields. Torchlight returns back to the roots and takes the adventurer down to the dungeons to hack his or hers way through the hordes of enemies. I'm having even more fun than with the original Diablo. This time the environments look more gorgeous than ever with WoW-like graphics. All of the varied landscapes of Diablo 2 have been implemented into a dungeon environment, combining the best of both Diablo games. Also the dev team has done an incredible job in fixing a lot of small things that were irritating in the Diablo series. No durability, no inventory tetris, no stamina, more inventory, shared stash between characters, less trips back to town (due to pets ability to go sell your stuff), no class restricted items, player made content (with the soon-to-be-released editor), etc etc. I really really recommend this game to any Diablo fans out there. It's definitely worth the 15€ or $20, especially once the editor gets released within a week or two. (it's the same exact editor that the game devs used when creating the game) As an interesting fact the devs are also working on an MMO based on Torchlight. The MMO is scheduled for release in 18-24 months, so it's still quite far in the future, but I'm sure we'll have a lot to do with Torchlight and its player made content until then.

To buy the game visit http://www.torchlightgame.com/.

In addition to these fire themed gaming experiences I've been listening to very fiery music lately, such as songs from Disturbed. I'm getting more and more tired to my crappy laptop speakers while listening to music and I'm about to buy new good speakers to enjoy the music I listen to even more. I'm also getting tired of my laptop slowly stopping working and the OS slowly getting slower and slower, but those are entirely new topics I wont touch now.

Stay tuned for more gaming related entries sooner or later. I'm hoping to write a more detailed post about Torchlight later with analysis about the good and bad things in the game and possibly with a list of my favorite player made mods. If I get the time from school and work I might even try out modding the game myself. Ideas are plenty.


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Destination

Posted on 16.10.2009 at 01:41
This entry will be of a very rare kind in my journal. I'm going to discuss politics. There are a couple of reasons why I don't generally write or talk about my political views. First of all I don't want to get into fights with people who have very strong opinions on political or religious matters so I tend to keep silent just to make sure that I don't offend someone who is quite fanatical. There are quite a few fanatics around; Either political, religious, or something else (like Windows vs. Linux vs. Mac, or WoW vs. other MMO's). Also, I'm usually not very interested in most of the political discussions going on in the media and between other people. I do have opinions on anything that I see as important, but if I think it's not too important for me or the world then I don't bother with getting enough information to form an opinion. And I don't like to form opinions without enough information. That's just stupid. (Sadly so many people do it anyway).

Todays topic is the Nobel peace prize awarded to Obama. To be honest I was personally just as surprised of the fact that he was the one who got the award as everyone else. Currently a lot of people are saying that Obama didn't deserve the Nobel since he hasn't done much yet. It is true that he has only been working as the president of the USA for a very short time and has barely had time to get things rolling, but it's hard to say what he has already accomplished and if it is enough or not. On the other hand the people who are in favor of Obama and think that he deserved the Nobel are saying that it's not so important that Obama hasn't yet had so much effect world wide. They say that the important thing is the change that Obama has brought to the global political co-operation. In their opinion his open and friendly attitude is vital to making the world a better place and this alone deserves the Nobel prize.

I personally don't know if the other candidates had more merits to receive the prize. Maybe they did or maybe they didn't. But without knowing that I still think that awarding Obama was a very good thing to do. Even thought it might be questionable to award someone who doesn't deserve the prize as much as someone else, I think that in this case it might be a very good thing worldwide that Obama was awarded. I think that the Nobel acts as great political pressure towards Obama, basically forcing him to be very careful and try to be as peaceful as possible to avoid too much negativity later if people think that he has been counterproductive to worldwide peace. Even though the Nobel prizes are not meant to be political tools, in this case I think that the Nobel peace prize works as a great tool towards peace and that alone makes it a great thing that it was awarded to Obama, as he is in a position where he can affect a lot of peace related decisions.

If indeed another candidate had more merits towards the prize than Obama did, then this might be a minor blow to the credibility of the Nobel committee, but it's definitely worth it if you ask me. We should do our best to make the world a better place, even if that means breaking a few rules.

What do you think of this Nobel hassle? I'd love to hear your opinions, but please keep it civil. I don't want a fanatical war in the comments, thank you.

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Days Go By

Posted on 06.09.2009 at 18:16
Time goes by quickly, and so do blog entries. This damn buggy software just destroyed my blog post for today. I used 30+ minutes with it, so I will now write a shorter version only.

Challenge #6:
Play the following songs with the highest difficulty level and highest score that you can.

* Temple of Love (from ITG 3)
* TechLo (from ITG Rebirth)
* Megablast (from PRO Pack)

Post screen shots in the comments as usual. A download link for the three songs will also be available in the comments later.


I had some nice thoughts about time, the past and how it seems like no one has time even if we do, but I'm not in the mood of rewriting it all, so I'll just move on to the next topic.

In March 2009, 6 months ago after the association elections, I posted a list of things that I want to improve during the year (http://gemigemi.livejournal.com/4649.html). I would now like to revive the list and see how these issues have evolved.

1. Better situation with home versions
1.1 New games and game pads with a wider variety.
1.2 Better availability for all games and pads.


The list starts with an issue that has actually gotten worse. After Christoffer closed his dance gaming web shop it has been increasingly difficulty to find any resellers of dance gaming products in Finland. To combat this I might start a web shop of my own later this year, but a lot of details are still hazy and I'd have other uses for my time, so let's see if I can pull it off.

2. Better situation with arcades in Finland
2.1 Move the second Pump It Up: Pro from Helsinki to Tampere or Oulu permanently.
2.2 Move the Dancing Stage: Fusion from Helsinki to any city without an arcade machine.
2.3 More arcades and a better variety between games. Other rhythm games should also be available.


One of the Pumps was moved to Tampere for the summer and now to Oulu for the time being. This is great love for the other larger cities and I hope the machine will stay in one of this cities. One of the Fusions is still in Helsinki and another one is in state of disrepair, but I guess it doesn't matter that much since it is the worst DDR/DS machine.

We haven't received any new machines since 2007 and currently it seems like Pelika isn't going to get any in a long time. I'm hoping that someone would set up a private arcade business in Helsinki, but there are only very vague plans so far and nothing solid, so it will probably not happen anytime soon if ever.

3. Better community
3.1 Stop the internal fighting of the core scene.
3.2 More players of different types. Different types of events and competitions for different types of players.
3.3 Stop the internal fighting of the core scene.


Well well... This one hasn't really improved, but it hasn't gone worse either. In the meanwhile I've heard and seen so many and so huge problems in other countries such as the UK that I'm actually very glad of the situation in Finland compared to the others.

4. More and better events and competitions
4.1 The European Championships are my main interest this year. I want to make the event something far better than any EC so far.


We've definitely had more different kinds of events and people seem to like it. We are experiencing a push from larger events to smaller "sauna evening" kind of things, which seems to tie people together more efficiently. We've also had a few different types of tournaments and most players have enjoyed them quite much. The event side therefor is a lot better than previously and I think we are going to see even more improvements in the future.

The European Championships were a huge success, I think. Before the event I really feared quite a lot of things that could have ruined the EC, but we actually handled it very well and everyone enjoyed the party. I didn't hear any real negative comments at all. Even all of the machines breaking down at the same time didn't cause serious trouble with the new tournament software and pretty efficient testing and repairs. I'm very glad that we could pull this off so well. It was the best dance gaming event I've been to so far, which means a lot.


That's it I guess. Some things were achieved, some things are worse now, and most things have stayed the same. There's still time though and I think we will be able to salvage most of the problematic situations before the next election.

Next time I hope to be able to post the original text instead of a short rewrite. See ya!

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London Bridge

Posted on 26.08.2009 at 20:38
My apologies for having such an inactive journal for a while. Life has been very busy with the European Championships, Assembly Summer, and a holiday trip to the UK. A lot of traveling, but I'm finally home and wont be going anywhere in a while so journal entries will be more regular again.

When reading the following bear in mind that it most likely doesn't interest anyone else than a couple of people for the most parts. This entry is more of a personal one so that I can later on return and remember all this nice things that have happened to me.

I've had an awesome year so far and I expect this to be a very memorable year compared to most others that I've lived through. First of all I've been traveling a lot. I did a trip to Sweden to play ITG (or was that last year?). Then I went to Essen, Germany to take part in the FIBO Fitness and Health trade show and discuss some things such as the European Championships with the Positive Gaming team. This was a fun trip of a few days. I met the important PG members and was able to get to know them better, plus I saw and tested out a few interesting dance games (though at least one of them very illegal with content ripped from other games) and dance game pads. After a longer time in Finland I then had a few weeks of intense traveling. First we held the European Championships for dance gaming in Zwanenburg, Holland (close to Amsterdam) and I stayed there for 6 days. The EC trip was a very fun one (although I missed my honey a lot as you can notice from my journal entries from that time) and I have to say that the even was the best and most fun dance gaming related event that I've been to. When I returned to Finland I had two days to rest before the start of the Assembly Summer event in Helsinki (so no travel necessary), which took 4 days. This years Assembly went in a small chaos as I was organizing the dance gaming related things there (playing area, promotor team and tournament), but all in all it was also a fun weekend. Then I had a week to rest a bit before leaving to London/Bournemouth for 5 days.

This was the only trip that really counts as a vacation as all of the others were full of "must do" things, and this was also the only time when I had my honey with me. We spent the week with a good friend of ours and his friend and girl friend and we had a real blast! Thanks guys! The first full day we did a quick sight and arcade tour, visiting the most important sights and the Trocadero and Namco Station arcades, both of which had some dance games in them. I have to say that I am very sorry for the UK dance gamers, as most of the machines were in a very crappy condition. The best experience for me in London arcade wise was the Pump NX Absolute. I played 9 songs and 6 of them had step charts far better than any step chart in the Pump Pro, which we have here in Finland. I'd really like to get a real Pump series machine in Finland. An NX Absolute or NX2 would be so awesome to have! The Japanese DDR X machine was also quite nice, but sadly both pads had a panel which got stuck and almost caused me to fail regardless of the songs selected.

On the second day we visited Camden Town, a nice market area with a lot of different kinds of interesting shops. The first one was Cyberdog, a place aimed at ravers and the likes. There were some quite interesting things for sale, but the prices were high enough to stop me from buying anything. I was interested in a couple of pieces of clothing for myself, but pants with the price tag of £110 are not leaving the store with me. The next stop was a small shop selling figurines and I broadened my collection with two new ones. I'll be uploading images to my image gallery soon. Sadly the quality of the new ones wasn't as high as the quality of my other figurines, but still close enough for me to buy them and have them on display. There were other nice shops there too, but nothing worth a more detailed mention. After this we drove from London to Bournemouth.

In Bournemouth we got to test out the EZ2dancer owned by my friend. The games foot panel and hand sensor layout is unique and I enjoyed playing the game. As it is an old game the song selection was quite small and the step charts didn't use all of the potential of the unique panel sensor layout, but I think that this game has great potential if someone would create a cool looking theme and a new and larger selection of step charts for it. It's not a game for rhythm game beginners obviously, but it's great fun for a rhythm game veteran. My only gripe with the game was the fact that the hand sensors were positioned a bit too low for me, so when playing "real mode" I had to crouch a bit to reach my hands below the hand sensors, causing me some unnecessary trouble.

Other than playing on the EZ2 we did some random stuff on our computers (internet connections in the UK suck compared to Finland btw) and went on another arcade tour in Bournemouth. The condition of the machines was better here, but the selection was far smaller. Also, the Pump Prex and EZ2dancer were out of order and it seems like they might be sold or scrapped. We also went to LaserQuest (known as Megazone in Finland). To be honest the LQ sucked. I heard that it was better in the old days, just like the old Megazone in Itäkeskus was far better than the current one in Helsinki. The layout of the LQ was badly done and it was far too easy to shoot very far on the field, taking a lot of tactics out of the game. Also, the bases could be shot from a long distance, making defending a tedious job. Halfway through the game I also realised that the bases didn't shoot back properly when they were destroyed so you could just camp at the enemy base and shoot it whenever it was revived from its last destruction. And that's not all; The equipment for the players was very poor too. I still had fun though, but I'd never play there again.

Apart from the arcades the other thing to stick in my mind was the food. I really enjoyed every single meal we had, apart from a Thai place where the service was poor and the food was nothing special. Just some of the memorable foods are the one made by my friends girlfriend (sorry, I forgot what they call the food), the chicken curry on the airport, the pork meal at the Japanese restaurant and the spaghetti bolognese made by my friends mother. Everything else was good too. Overall, the UK trip was pure awesomeness and I'll definitely make another one later on. (And for those who understand what the joke is about: The final score for UK was 0-6-2-1-0-2, each number corresponding to one of the days)

In addition to the traveling this year has also had other marvelous events that will keep this year in my memory. The most notable one, of course, is my engagement with my love, which I revealed in my last journal entry. Other memorable things aren't even worth a mention next to that one so it is time to stop babbling and reach the end of this entry. Next time I will be continuing the weekly challenges and hope everyone is still interested in doing them. Until then!

Gem-icon-50

All That Matters

Posted on 06.08.2009 at 02:38
I have everything that matters to me. I envy no one for anything.

Gemi <3 kms 19.7.09

That's what is inscribed to the inside of a round metal object. A ring to be precise.



Yes, we got engaged roughly two and a half weeks ago. Yes, we made it public only now. The actual proposal was very spontaneous and therefor we had no rings. We decided to go public once we'd have our rings. Today my love finally got hers and I will get mine next week.

Don't get picky with the image above. The ring actually looks awesome, but the image lacks the possibility to show the play of light on the white gold, which is a really important part of the whole ring. So yeah, our taste does not suck. The image does.

Anyway, the past three weeks have been some of the happiest times in my life. We have enjoyed each other a lot, we got engaged, our love has prospered and we have done a lot of fun and romantic things together. Sadly I had to be away for almost a week for the European Championships, but even then we talked a lot by phone each day.

For the past four years and one month we have been together almost all of the time. There have been some days and sadly even a week or two now and then when we have been separated and each time we were both very eager to meet up once again. For me personally it is very hard to sleep a night without her next to me or spend a day without talking to her. The longer the separation, the worse I get. From my last few journal entries you can see how that goes.

Tomorrow I need to wake up at 6 am and head to the Assembly Summer 2009 event to build up the dance gaming equipment. Only 3 more hours to go so I'll head to bed now. I'll be writing more about the championships and my love in the following few days. Stay tuned!

Gem-icon-50

Brightness Darkness

Posted on 02.08.2009 at 03:54
I'll post again later. The title gives you some hints on what's coming

I just wanted to say: I JUST TURNED 21 (and almost forgot)! This is probably the best thing today, and one of the few positive things actually. I don't even know why it's so great. It doesn't really matter at all, and I've never cared much about getting older. I've always felt myself intellectually old enough, so physical aging doesn't matter.

Today has been mentally really hard for me. I've been thinking about my honey all the time, and she only called me once. :( I've been missing her a lot, but at least she is having fun with a friend for the past few days, so I feel good for her. Just now is the first really good feeling moment of the day. Me and 7 other finnish players are hanging out in my room at the hotel and having fun talking about stuff. Wait... 9 other finns now. I still miss her, but there's something else to occupy a small part of my thoughts, so it's better.

Tomorrow I'll have to see if the local bakery still has the large chocolate bunny (>50cm tall) that they had last year. If they do, I'll try to finish it off in one day. Oh well, I think I'll put the laptop away now. See ya!


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