Monday, April 17, 2006

Taipei Gamer Sidequest: Zhongwen RPGs

Yeah, that's right...Chinese RPGS. The stated purpose of this little voyage, the Main Quest if you will, is to learn me some Chinese. But there's a lot more to any good RPG than the main quest. You gotta get out there and explore! Talk to the people and all that jazz! Today I finished up a little quest that I'd been hoping to complete for a while now.

It all started on Yahoo Auctions Taiwan. I finally decided to take the plunge and create an account. Completing this stage mostly involved much copying and pasting of Chinese characters into various electronic translation tools. This culminated in me receiving an automated SMS with a special code to enter online to verify my phone number, something I hadn't anticipated. Luckily I had bought a phone and a prepaid sim card a couple weeks ago. Once that was done, I was in. I just had to find Zhongwen RPGs. Actually, I had already found two for the megadrive. I just needed to bid. Click here to take a look at one of them. For a good laugh, scroll down a bit till you see the 3 tabs -- the rightmost one should read "問與答(1)". Go ahead and click on that one to see how I operate when I'm looking for Zhongwen RPGs. For a really HUGE laugh, copy my question into Google's Chinese-English translation tool(ignoring the fact that this is traditional Chinese and the tool is for simplified). Now, my Chinese there is babytalk and I can see one error right away, but still, Google's translation is pure nonsense!

Reasonably satisfied with the seller's response, he gave the address of a McDonald's where I could meet him to do the exchange in person, I went ahead and bought both of the Zhongwen RPGs he was selling. One of them was the fabled Beggar Prince. The other one, the one I linked to above, I had tested out on an emulator. To put it succinctly, I was floored. The sprites were about twice the size they usually are in these type games, there appeared to be tons of characters, and combat played out on the same screen as movement. Holy hell it was awesome! I might not have bought either of them if that game hadn't struck me the way it did.

Moving on, after a few brief emails, the seller sent me his phone number and told me to call him. I was a little nervous about this, but I was even more afraid of not fulfilling my contractual obligations and getting thrown in the slammer. So I called the dude up this morning, but all I get is a bunch of Chinese and some music. He calls me back a few minutes later, and damn, I couldn't understand a word he was saying. Somehow I pulled it together though, and I was able to tell him that I would go to that damn McDonald's and I would call him when I got there. It definitely worked a lot better when I did the talking and just asked him yes or no type questions.

So, off I was to the McDonald's in Xinzhuang City, at 303 Xintai Rd. Xinzhuang, although I guess it isn't technically part of Taipei, is still basically in the Taipei Metropolitan area. The MRT, however, doesn't go all the way out there yet and I had heard it was kind of a shithole out there in the Western suburbs. Well, I would soon find out. I hopped on the MRT and took it as far westward as it would take me, to Xinpu. From there I hailed a taxi and showed him the address. Over the Danshui we went into a very noisy and crowded Xinzhuang City. About four bucks later, I was standing outside the McDonald's at 303 Xintai Rd.

To make a long story short, I met the seller there, he was a fairly young guy on a scooter, and got my two Zhongwen RPGs for 600NT(about $18). Smooth transaction. A++ seller. 很好! After that, I snapped a few pictures of Xinzhuang -- definitely overcrowded, but not nearly as bad as I had feared -- and grabbed some lunch. Then I started looking for a bus to take me back, and then decided I might as well just walk all the way back to Xinpu. Unfortunately I was blocked by a bridge that was absolutely not safe for pedestrians. So I gave up on that plan, walked back the way I had came and found Bus 802, bound for Xinpu.

I feel like a damn resourceful bastard to get these Zhongwen RPGs.

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At 11:07 PM, Anonymous trel said...


resourceful indeed.

so where are these pictures?

At 11:19 PM, Blogger Jon said...

So, I finally drew you out of hiding, eh?

Yeah, I need to make a decision on photos. Maybe I should investigate Flickr? Any better suggestions?

I only have two photos from Xinzhuang; they are camera phone pics and not really worthy of the main page. I'll add a link if I put them up somewhere else.

I also have some pictures of...zhongwen rpgs!

At 8:26 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Very cool. Despite having pretty adequate Chinese, I've never been resourceful enough to get any of that stuff. Way to go!

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Jon said...

To be honest, I was a little nervous that I had made a mistake. The last thing I wanted to do was make things inconvenient for some poor guy trying to make a living selling stuff on yahoo auctions. Everything worked out great in the end though; the seller didn't seem annoyed or anything like that.

Now I just have to slog my way through the Chinese in these games.

At 5:39 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Level Up!

You should get a game about farming, just to say that you have a Chinese Farmer game.

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Jon said...

I would probably buy a Chinese farming game if I saw one. I'm not sure if I'd go all the way out to Xinzhuang for one though. It would depend on how much XP I got :)

I probably should mention that I also have a Chinese 1-on-1 mahjong to the death game. It is pretty sweet!


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