Chikan Chuui

So Tomonobu Itagaki, producer of the Dead or Alive series, is facing a sexual harassment lawsuit after he went out with a woman from Tecmo and “groped her and forcibly kissed her”, amongst other things.

The general reaction when people hear this is that they’re not surprised, mainly since the DOA games don’t do a lot to advance the feminist cause, to say the least. I’d probably agree. The men in it aren’t exactly bright and well-attired, but then again they don’t have a game about dressing them up in swimwear and making them jump around.

It’s not the fact that the lawsuit happened that surprised me at all. What surprises me is that there are actually women working at Team Ninja. Surely that has to be a joke?

Topfield TF5800PVR Impressions

Another day, another new gadget. This time it’s a PVR funded, as always, by my good old student loan. Hooray!

Topfield TF5800PVR

Say hello to the Topfield TF5800PVR, known to its friends as the Toppy. By day it’s a mild-manned Freeview PVR with a 160GB hard drive to record 80 hours of material, which by my calculations is how much TV I watch in about three months. It also has component output which is a great boon for an LCD TV user. This thing has some real tricks inside that bland little case, however.

First up is the USB port on the back. It’s used not only for the obvious firmware upgrades, but also to pull the recorded video off the hard drive to the computer where it can be edited, burnt to DVD, stuck on the PSP/iPod, or whatever. Obviously this in no way encourages piracy and putting copyrighted material on YouTube. Never. Not even all the weekend’s goals like they show on Match of the Day 2 in a handy two-minute package.

It’s real killer app here, though, is that it can run its own little applications known as TAPs (Topfield APplications). With some judicious tapping mine now pulls EPG data for the next two weeks from the Radio Times site instead of the basic 7-day EPG that Freeview has (this means much more extensive information including mini reviews of every film that’s on) and has a number of searches running that record anything that matches them (e.g. it searches BBC1 and BBC2 at the weekend for names beginning with “Match of the Day” that are on after 10pm, catching both versions). It also allows me to browse the listings by genre, name, and even content summaries. And that pair is just the beginning. There are tons of the things.

I only got it last Thursday (from Superfi, who were pretty good and the cheapest on Pricerunner) so I’m still learning the ropes and doing that perpetual tweaking that I do – I’ve only just become happy with the setup of my Harmony remote that I bought in March – but I’ve been well impressed with this thing. It’s a decent box on its own merits, and when you factor in the ton of extra functionality that you can download for nothing, it’s brilliant.



Forget De Niro and Pacino, because Sacha Baron Cohen may just be the best actor in the world. It’s one thing to be a great actor, immersing yourself completely in the character, when surrounded by other actors and working from a script. It’s quite another to do so with Joe Public, improvising your lines and keeping up the pretence while actually managing to keep a straight face.

Besides having possibly the best title in the world – Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – Cohen’s latest (I’ll just call it Borat for the sake of my typing fingers) is one of the funniest films of the last few years. When Empire say that it’ll prove as timeless as Airplane! and This is Spinal Tap, I really can’t argue.

The format isn’t much different to the TV show and indeed some of the “interviews” could have been lifted from it, but this essentially adds a plot and goes further than the budget and taste constraints of television can allow. The fact that the credits name the provider of “Mr. Baron Cohen’s feces” (sic) goes some way in explaining it, as does the fact that Borat has the police called on him and is tackled by security guards on several occasions. Not always while clothed. You’ll know what part I’m talking about when you see it. It’s the part where the whole audience is crying with laughter. Continue reading Jagshemash!