I'm going to Fiji!

Around this time last year, I was about to go to China... Now I'm going to Fiji! My Aunt's having her 60th there. I'm there for a week, on the main island for 2 nights and 5 nights on an island called Mana. Is there any advice to what I should do while I'm other there?

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My top 20 strongest video game characters

This is like my list of strongest anime characters I made a bit back (which, I'm proud to say, has gained a bit of fame around here). Feel free to argue with what I put. To avoid confusion, there'll be no Visual Novel characters here (I''m not even sure if they count as games). They have to have originated from a video game.

  1. YHVH (Shin Megami Tensei) - Megaversial Omnipotent; defeated only because it chose to be, came back anyway
  2. Wave Existance (Xenogears/Saga) - The Supreme being of the series, but little is known of it
  3. Zeedmillenuimon (Digimon) - Multiverse destroying living parradox
  4. Perfecto (Super Robot Wars) - Multiversial being
  5. Giygas (Earthbound) - Universe+ destroyer; can attack through time and dimensions; the chosen one with Universal Pk couldn't even scratch him
  6. Exdeath (Final Fantasy V) - Can only truly die if everything else in existance is destroyed; even in his weaker form he merged two planets into one
  7. The Profound Darkness (Phantasy Star) - The Ultimate darkness of the Universe
  8. Sheogorath (The Elder Scrolls) - As the Daedric Prince of Order, Jyggalag, he was so great that the other Daedra feared him and ganged up against him to make him Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness
  9. Pyron (Dark Stalkers) - Planet-eating fire-demon that can grow to the size of the Milky Way
  10. Amaterasu (Okami) - Celestrial Brush God who can even manipulate galaxies with her power
  11. Asura (Asura's Wrath) - Destroys planets and stars with ease; beating Chakravartin could make him much higher
  12. Sirius (Megaman Starforce) - Lives inside the blackhole in the centre of the galaxy; can destroy solar systems with his blackholes
  13. Maxwell (Scribblenauts) - Strong reality warper who can bring things to life and kill them again with a word and create almost anything, though has only showed solar levels of destruction with blackhole; this isn't including Unmasked
  14. Iris (Golden Sun) - Starbuster
  15. Overlord Laharl (Disgaea) - Very casual planet buster; someone who has actually played the series can correct me
  16. Kirby (Kirby) - Can eat almost anything his size; has a few planet busting feats
  17. Bayonetta (Bayonetta) - Kicked a Moon-sized Goddess into the Sun; may have a power boost with he next game
  18. Gravemind (Halo) - Galactic Lifewiper
  19. Bowser (Super Mario Galaxy) - Moonbuster
  20. Lavos (Chrono Trigger) - Casual lifewiper
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New show from Cowboy Bebop creator, Space Dandy

This may be old news to some, but new news to me. Shinichirō Watanabe, creator of the mythological Cowboy Bebop (as well as Samurai Champloo and Kids on the Slope) is working on a new title called Space Dandy. It's scheduled for a release in January 2014. It'll be produced by BONES, eho also did Fullmetal Alchemist, RahXephon & Eureka Seven.

Cowboy Bebop (and Samurai Champloo) is one of the best animes of all time (fact), so that even people who dislike anime are fans of Cowboy Bebop. It's that good.

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Are Superheroes disliked in Brittan?

I've seen the opinions of many UK (and Irish) authors from comics and otherwise, and many of them hate superheros or are bored by them. Brittish comic writers writing superhero stories often even degrade the superheroes (Garth Ennis has done this). I know there are British superhero fans, but why do many from the United Kingdom hate caped crusaders?

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Are Superheroes disliked in Brittan?

I've seen the opinions of many UK (and Irish) authors from comics and otherwise, and many of them hate superheros or are bored by them. Brittish comic writers writing superhero stories often even degrade the superheroes (Garth Ennis has done this). I know there are British superhero fans, but why do many from the United Kingdom hate caped crusaders?

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J.K Rowling secretly publishes crime novel as Robert Galbraith

Turns out author of Harry Potter J.K. Rowling has a book out called The Cuckoo Clock, only she didn't want you to know she had written it...

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling has been unmasked as the crime author Robert Galbraith. Using a pseudonym is a common trick among authors who want to hide their identity, swap genres or just get a better spot in the book shop.

Rowling joins the likes of the Bronte sisters, Doris Lessing and Ruth Rendell on the list of authors who have adopted noms de plume.

"I can absolutely understand why JK used a pseudonym," says literary agent Jane Gregory, who co-founded the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival and the Orange Prize. "The knives were out for her, weren't they?"

Rowling invented Robert Galbraith as a pen name to publish The Cuckoo's Calling without the hype and expectation that came with being JK Rowling.

And it was met with enthusiastic reviews, if modest sales.

"When she wrote The Casual Vacancy [her first post-Harry Potter book], they were all waiting desperately to attack it," Ms Gregory continues. "And this time actually the reviews across the board are fabulous."

The Robert Galbraith novel follows a private detective with a wooden leg

EL James must be watching with interest. The 50 Shades author recently said she would write her next book under another name. Critics and readers will now be desperately trying to spot it.

There is a long history of authors changing their names. In 1984, Doris Lessing said she wanted to escape "from the cage of my literary reputation" when she began writing under the pen name Jane Somers.

She did not reveal Somers's true identity to her British publisher, who rejected the manuscript. The book did find a publisher, but sold only 2,000 hardback copies.

Other authors have different reasons to obscure their identities. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte initially named themselves Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell.

Their gender was deliberately ambiguous because, Charlotte later said, they knew that "authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice".

Have times changed? JK Rowling's publisher changed her name on the first Harry Potter book cover from Joanne to JK because they believed that girls did not care who had written a book, but boys would not buy a book by a woman.

For some writers, a new name can create a new persona and open the door to a new genre.

Booker Prize winner John Banville writes detective novels under the name Benjamin Black. He has said he can craft 100 words per day as Banville, but can rattle out a couple of thousand as Black.

Despite being a billionare, I think J.K. Rowling likes some quiet. And some trolling too as it turns out.

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Attack On Titan Creator recieves 1000 death threats

Recently, the creator of the popular Japanese manga & anime Attack on Titan received over 1000 death threats on his blog...

Attack on Titan has proven to be a flashpoint for controversy, and not just relating to production concerns and plot developments. Japanese otaku have been less than pleased by Korean commenters on author Hajime Isayama's site. The flame war heated up when Pixis was introduced into the anime, and his resemblance to imperial general Akiyama Yoshifuru was remarked on and accompanied by accusations of the series' right leaning politics.

These hostilities are being seen as a possible motivation for a rash of death threats being made on Isayama.

On June 28th and 29th Isayama's blog was flooded with thousands of repeated threats that the author would be assaulted and murdered. The harassment also included claims that police incompetence would ensure the messages' originator would not be caught.

Another source here describes the incident in greater detail. I'm not sure about the Japanese, but the Koreans (at least the Northern half) and the Chinese seem to take their politics very seriously, and rarely let by-gones be by-gones. Your thoughts on this controversy?

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Saints Row IV banned in Australia

Remember I said R18+ games were allowed down here now? It's not all good yet...

Even with Australia's new R18+ rating, Saints Row IV is deemed to push beyond acceptable limits for the local censors, and has been refused classification.

Saints Row IV banned in Australia for sexual violence and drug use related to incentives and rewards.

Saints Row IV has become the first video game to be given a "Refused Classification" rating since Australia introduced an adult R18+ rating for videogames at the start of 2013. In a statement on the decision (PDF) the Classification Board stated:

Saints Row IV includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence, which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.

Since its introduction, 17 games have been classified R18+.

Saints Row IV is one of the highest-profile releases to be given an RC rating since Left 4 Dead 2 and Alien vs. Predator. Left 4 Dead 2 was later released in a censored form, and Alien vs. Predator successfully argued for reconsideration.

There is no official word from the game developers or distributors on whether the game will be modified and resubmitted to attempt reconsideration for Australian release.

Why, you ask? Anal probes, of course.

It was revealed yesterday that Saints Row IV had been refused classification in Australia due to interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context and illicit drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited under the guidelines.

Today a report provided to IGN outlines the specific elements of Saints Row IV that raised a red flag to the Classification Board.

“The game includes a weapon referred to by the Applicant as an “Alien Anal Probe”. The Applicant states that this weapon can be “shoved into enemy’s backsides”. The lower half of the weapon resembles a sword hilt and the upper part contains prong-like appendages which circle around what appears to be a large dildo which runs down the centre of the weapon. When using this weapon the player approaches a (clothed) victim from behind and thrusts the weapon between the victim’s legs and then lifts them off the ground before pulling a trigger which launches the victim into the air. After the probe has been implicitly inserted into the victim’s anus the area around their buttocks becomes pixelated highlighting that the aim of the weapon is to penetrate the victim’s anus. The weapon can be used during gameplay on enemy characters or civilians.

In the Board’s opinion, a weapon designed to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians constitutes a visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context and as such the game should be Refused Classification.”

The report also details the offending drug-related content.

“The game contains an optional mission which involves the player obtaining and smoking drugs referred to as “alien narcotics”. Smoking the “alien narcotics” equips the player with “superpowers” which increase their in-game abilities allowing them to progress through the mission more easily...

In the Board’s opinion, there is insufficient delineation between the “alien narcotic” available in the game and real-world proscribed drugs. The Board notes that the label “narcotics” is commonly used assigned to describe a class of real-world drugs that include such proscribed substances as cocaine and heroin.”

Deep Silver has issued a response to the RC classification, opting to remove the offending content rather than appealing the original decision.

“Deep Silver can confirm that Saints Row IV was denied an age classification in Australia. Volition, the developer, are reworking some of the code to create a version of the game for this territory by removing the content which could cause offence without reducing the outlandish gameplay that Saints Row fans know and love. Saints Row IV has been awarded PEGI 18 and ESRB M ratings where fans can enjoy their time in Steelport as originally intended.”

The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association of Australia also issued a response prior to the exact details of the offending content being released.

“We can’t specifically comment on the Classification Board’s decision to issue Saint Row IV with a Refused Classification as we aren’t privy to the specific content of the game. Broadly speaking though, one of the key reasons an R18+ was introduced was to ensure that we strike a balance between giving adult Australians access to adult games while protecting children from inappropriate content. Under the new guidelines, we celebrate the fact that adults can now access age-appropriate games which may have otherwise been refused classification, but as we have argued, we also must accept that there will be some video games which will fall outside the scope of the R18+ guidelines. Whether we agree or not with this specific classification, it highlights that the classification system is functioning as it should and that R18+ was never meant to open the ‘floodgates’ for all types of content.

Overall, we remain confident that the Classification Board is applying the new guidelines as they see appropriate, but we also recognise that with any change to a system as subjective and complex as applying classification guidelines, there will always be a ‘settling in‘ period where all stakeholders strive to find an appropriate middle ground. Currently, we’re at the ‘high water’ mark where there’s a natural inclination to err on the side of caution.”

No further information on when Saints Row IV will be resubmitted for classification is available at this time.

So Deep Silver/Volilton are going to try and make a censored version. Really, it's okay to have serious "Sexual Violence" in Metro: Last Light but not something silly like this? Do they even play video games? Will they ban South Park: The Stick of Truth too? I hope not. Luckily, the English wont have to put up with a ban.

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Fable: The Lost Chapters remake on the way

Remake of the original (and best) Fable game officially coming to Xbox 360 some time later this year:

When Ted Timmons started work at Lionhead over a decade ago, he didn't know he'd still be working on Fable: The Lost Chapters ten years later. In those days, he was a humble tester working his first job. Now he's lead designer on Fable Anniversary, which retools the original Fable and its 2005 Lost Chapters add-on.

Timmons job is to make sure fans of the original game get the remake they've been demanding. Because it was the noisy campaign by die-hard fans of the storybook RPG that persuaded Microsoft to remake the game for the Xbox 360 generation.

Craig Oman is producer on the game, working alongside Timmons. "My job is to make sure the game stands up on its own for this generation of gamers," he told Polygon. "While Tim is looking after the older guys. He's well qualified for that, because he played the original 400 time or more, back when he was a tester."

There's someone else with an eye on this project, Lionhead founder Peter Molyneux, who has now moved onto new things with 22Cans. "He's very interested in progress," said Oman. "We chat about it often. He and Tim had breakfast today and talked about it."

Famously, Fable was one of Molyneux's great development projects, a living, breathing world that, he said at the time, would redefine gameplay. Even if it didn't quite pan out according to the Molyneux hype, Fable is, according to Oman, "one of the most successful IPs in gaming history."

He said that the new game will retain the exact same controls as the original, but with "a more intuitive design, that feels exactly like the original." he added, "Visually, it's completely updated, in all the environments from bright outdoor scenes to misty graveyards. We're able to do the things the original designers could only dream of."

The game also comes with SmartGlass functionality allowing tablet owners to call-up maps, access gameplay tips and compare those new visuals with screenshots from the old game. Fable Anniversary is out at the end of this year for Xbox 360. There are no plans for an Xbox One release.

Good new, eh? It'll be coming to Xbox 360, and no word of it for Xbox One. Which will please a lot of people, knowing Xbox's Ones popularity. Lionhead also said that they'll keep supporting Xbox 3660 (they said it somewhere, I forget where, but I'm pretty sure they said it. Hopefully the 360 becomes like the PS2, it is a good console). You looking forward to this?

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