This father’s day, I can only think about my late stepfather

This morning was an interesting time… While the part about waking up was pretty normal with the sounds of a boisterous and very awake 1.5 year old baby girl acting as my alarm, the rest of the morning wasn’t.

Oh I wished people happy fathers day as usual and dug out last year’s poem to share again since I couldn’t quite work out a new one in time that I was happy with, but something was missing. Or rather, someone. My late stepfather. Someone whom I had at least made an effort to get to know despite his rather sudden entry into my life when he proposed to my mother 5 years ago.

I miss his dearly. When I was sharing the poem and wishing other people happy father’s day, I thought of him and how I’d never get to wish him happy father’s day again until the day we meet in heaven. I only knew him for a few moments but those moments impacted my heart greatly.

Lou Dao, I will make you proud of me. Your death has to mean something despite the suddenness and speed of the heart attack that took your life.

I may have solved the mystery of the copyright claim in Europe against Atlus’s Attack On Titan: Humanity In Chains

I may have solved the mystery of the copyright claim in Europe against Atlus’s Attack On Titan: Humanity In Chains

AttackOnTitan-Copyright

On 1 May, Atlus issued a statement detailing their plans for the Western release of Attack on Titan: Humanity In Chains, a localisation of the previous Japan-only entry, Attack on Titan: Last Wings of Mankind, which released in December 2013.

While North American fans of the blockbuster anime series were delighted to learn that the game would release stateside on 12 May, European fans were left disappointed by the announcement of a delay due to a copyright claim.

Baffled fans said things like

Attack on titan copyright

and

Attack on titan copyright2

and

Attack on titan copyright3

And they had a point. A quick search on Google Play reveals dozens of entries with with “Titan” as an integral part of the name. Atlus didn’t release any details or hints about who issued a copyright claim against them for Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains. But I’ve done some internet sleuthing and discovered who might be the real culprit behind it.

The official European Union trademark database (OHIM/CTM) contains details of the copyright filing and the subsequent opposition for Attack on Titan (CTM013347331).

Timeline of events:

10 Oct 2014 – Trademark application by Kondansha Ltd for “Attack on Titan” wordmark under classes 9 and 28 (covering computer games and electronic games)

25 Nov 2014 – Application published for opposition with a deadline of 25 Feb 2015 for any trademark opposition to be filed.

25 Feb 2015 – Opposition filed by PT Entertainment Limited against “Attack on Titan” under grounds of “Likelihood of confusion”.

26 Feb 2015 – OHIM begins investigations into the validity of the opposition claim and informs Kodansha Ltd about it.

6 March 2015 – OHIM declares the opposition claim is admissible as it is based on an earlier right for “Titan”.

11 May 2015 – Expiry of ‘cooling-off’ period

12 May 2015 – Beginning of adversarial part of opposition proceedings

11 July 2015 – Deadline for submission of further material to substantiate earlier rights.

Who are PT Entertainment Limited and what do they do?

From my investigations, they are an “interactive gaming” company based in Antigua and operates Titanbet and Winner, both online gambling sites. It’s also a subsidiary of Playtech, “the world’s largest online gaming software supplier”.

Now, back to the copyright claim in question. According to the trademark filing information, PT Entertainment Limited filed opposition against Attack on Titan for the following trademarks on 25 Feb 2014:

  • Titan Poker
  • Titan Bet
  • Titan Casino
  • Titan

What did the opposition possibly mean for Atlus?

This is speculation but I believe Atlus held off as long as they could for PT Entertainment to withdraw their opposition claim but ultimately felt a decision needed to be made.

To the casual observer, there is no chance of anyone getting confused and mistaking Attack on Titan as a gambling game but this is a legal issue and it’s one for the lawyers to deal with.

In the meantime, I invite casual observer to be confused by Attack on Titan’s similarity to Titan.

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

Attack on Titan -in-game death scene

And here’s the Nintendo eShop trailer:

The next #SteamWorld Ambassador challenge wants you to put your design hats on

The next #SteamWorld Ambassador challenge wants you to put your design hats on

The next SteamWorld Ambassador challenge (for those of you good at math, we’re on to the second challenge) is now live on the Image & Form blog.

The challenge this time is for the visually creative types out there, with those possessing steady hands being in an advantageous position – or if steady hands aren’t available, then the ability to scribble in the shape of a hat will do just nicely. Essentially, you’ll need to “design a hat that will appear in SteamWorld Heist”.

SteamWorld-Heist-Hat-sketch

From Image & Form

What’s the payoff for this? As with the first challenge, the winner will be “among the first in the world to play SteamWorld Heist before release” and will get codes for every platform it releases on plus a few spares to give to people you want/need/desire to be indebted to you. SteamWorld Heist is slated to release on the 3DS, Steam, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Wii U and mobile.

Intrigued? Watch this video and quickly mosey over to the Image & Form blog page for the competition and make your submission (or just forget the video and just get over there and make a submission quickly). And please please please make sure you complete your submission by Friday May 8th at 23:59 CEST (EU) / 5:59 PM EDT (NA).

Good luck!

I’m one of the first SteamWorld Ambassadors!

I’m one of the first SteamWorld Ambassadors!

A week ago, while putting my baby to bed, I noticed that Image & Form were running a competition to find their first SteamWorld Ambassador. It was right up my alley too considering it involved giving a funky and creative name to something, in this case, an in-game weapon.

I came up with a few suggestions but felt I wanted to revisit them since I was quite tired already when I came up with them (laid out in order of submission):

  • The Water Cooler
  • The People Splasher
  • Rust In Piece (which apart from the pun could also handily be shortened to R.I.P.)
  • Rust In Pieces

Rather in keeping with my idea generation style (which involves going through rubbish before the good stuff comes), the very last idea came up trumps.

Excerpt from the announcement:

The first SteamWorld Ambassadors are…

TheGamingWolf for providing our weapon with the name “Cranky’s Delight”!

James Jackson for suggesting the name “The Bolt .45″ which will be given to another weapon.

jsty3105 for the incredibly creative pun “Rust in pieces!”. We’ll not use it as a weapon name, but it will appear in SteamWorld Heist as a bark (epic one liner).

So, whoopee! I didn’t name the weapon in the end, but my submission will be added as in-game text! Wee! Another mark to add to my copywriting portfolio.

Today, I received the formal announcement email from Image & Form:

Howdy!
My name is Brjánn and I’m the CEO at Image & Form Games. With this e-mail I’d like to congratulate you on winning last week’s challenge and officially welcome you to the SteamWorld Ambassadors Club!
As a SteamWorld Ambassador you’ll be among the first in the world to play SteamWorld Heist before release. The game will launch on one or two platforms at a time starting this fall, and prior to every platform release we’llsend you a download code free of charge. We’ll even add a few spares you can give to your friends.
You and the other ambassadors also get access to exclusive information about the SteamWorld games as they progress. We’ll send you the first secret some time next week 🙂
We don’t expect anything in return from you for this, but of course we hope you share our videos and blog updates or just tweet or comment about the SteamWorld games once in a while. Sharing a link on NeoGAF, Reddit or your favorite gaming forum would also be of tremendous help to us.
We’ll continue the SteamWorld Ambassador challenges every other Tuesday. In the weeks between the challenges you’ll find blog posts with exciting new info, pictures and videos about SteamWorld Heist directly from our dev team. We’ll keep you updated via email 🙂
We have major stuff coming up, so I hope you’re ready!
PS. Are you on Twitter? If so, let’s connect! Our handle is @imageform 🙂
Best regards,
Brjann Sigurgeirsson
CEO, Image & Form
Soooo looks like I’ll grab this opportunity to start sharing new stuff about SteamWorld Heist. I got a lot of joy from playing through SteamWorld Dig on my 3DS and I’m really looking forward to experiencing this next entry in the SteamWorld universe on my Wii U and 3DS.
Happy days! Check out the couple of official screenshots and the gameplay trailer below.
A farewell poem to my Lou Dao

A farewell poem to my Lou Dao

On 11 January 2015, my family suffered a great tragedy when my step-father passed away from a fatal sudden heart-attack in the company of my mother and her family at their favourite Sunday afternoon hangout spot. The great consolation for me was that his moment of passing was in the company of those who held him dear in their hearts.

He was only in my life for just under 5 years after marrying my mother in the month of July in 2010, not long after I set foot on British soil. And during those few short years that he was with us, he made certain to ensure all of us were made to feel loved equally without judgement.

I’m slightly surprised (or maybe I shouldn’t be) that writing this short introduction piece to the simple poem I wrote would still bring up such raw feelings of loss. As I write this, a song plays in the background. A song written and sung by my Lou Dao (a cantonese term, meaning Father, which we settled on because me and my wife felt that ‘stepfather’ was too ‘cold’ a term and we wanted to show that we had truly treated him as our father) about his own desire to be closer with God.

This write up has probably been delayed by at least a week now as I’ve been wanting to get my thoughts and feelings down ever since the tragic news reached me and my family in London. After rushing back to Malaysia to see through the wake, the funeral, and the scattering of the ashes, I now find myself in a new kind of normal. It’s tempting to continue living in ignorance but the stark reality is that nothing is normal anymore. There is a new living environment which I will have to adjust to.

Before I go on any further though, here’s the poem I wrote during the evening of the last wake session:

Poem: A farewell to Lou Dao

The stars shine bright tonight,
Though we’ve just lost a shining light.
A man of principle, in word and deed,
A man who moves mountains when we need.

Sorely missed he is from far and near,
And though we now shed many a tear,
For a man, a husband, a father, and grandfather most dear,
We shall meet again, some day, some year

(C) 2015 Johnathan Sia 

Raw feelings

I suppose the raw feelings I feel right now are due to the ‘realness’ of it all. As I write this out, I’m forced to confront the fact that the house would be that little bit quieter. That my mother has lost a great love of her life – one who obviously gave her great joy and who obviously loved and doted over her. The dogs lost a loving owner and trainer. My mother’s brother’s and sisters lost a loving in-law. And me and my sister’s families have lost a loving Lou Dao.

The sudden nature of the parting is probably what hurts most and I’m very glad we took every effort to get to know and be close to our Lou Dao despite the relatively short period of time we got to know him for.

Have to take a break here to recompose myself. I’ll like work on writing out another part to this as a follow up of sorts.

Emirates Airlines’ response to my very long complaint

Following on from my previous complaint (and a further addendum after they responded back with a less than satisfactory response), Emirates Airlines has responded. At least they apologised for missing out on addressing my full complaint (here’s the link to it – Me and my wife had to crawl like dogs on Emirates Airlines (among other problems)).

Their previous response on 10 November was poor:

Naturally I was sorry to learn of your disappointment with the seats you were assigned on your Emirates flight EK347 from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai, on 12 October.
 
Firstly, I would like to assure you that we do place a great emphasis on the high quality of service that we provide to our passengers, both in the air and on the ground, and it was therefore concerning to read that we did not meet your full expectations on this occasion.
 
Due to the points raised I have checked our records which indicate that you were allocated seats 38FG which you had pre-booked in our London office on 05 August and the same were selected when you checked in on-line prior to your flight. Nevertheless, we appreciate any disappointment felt as a result of the seats that you have chosen not being to your satisfaction and I wish toapologise for any inconvenience caused.
 
Mr Sia, regrettably I was unable to view your full complaint on the website provided in your correspondence due to restrictions installed on our office equipment. Nevertheless, it is not our intention to dissatisfy our customers and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on our service.  I would like to assure you that our passengers’ views and opinions are of enormous value in helping us refine and improve the quality of service.

To that, I immediately responded with: 

This response is most disappointing and suggests a lack of regard to investigating my problem. This also suggests I may need to report this to trading standards and/or BBC Watchdog in order to get a proper response.
Why do I feel this way? Because it took two weeks for a response that effectively said that you can’t click on links to view the full complaint which I couldn’t fit into your 3,000 character limit due to the severity of my problem. This is a serious problem that created a great amount of emotional distress for my family.
Now that I have this response from you though, I can include the full complaint in this email and I request that it be thoroughly investigated.
Full complaint follows: Me and my wife had to crawl like dogs on Emirates Airlines (among other problems) … This is an incredibly long complaint letter that I’ve spent a great deal of time crafting with the wife to ensure all the relevant details are included. Since Emirates Airlines has a 3,000 character limit, I’m forced to use this method to air my (considerable) grievances.

I received their most recent response today (17 November). And I’ll need some time to investigate whether 10,000 Emirates Skywards Airmiles for each of us is actually worth something more than the paper it’s printed on (initial checks suggests that it’s not due to the lack of opportunities to actually use them but I want to make sure I won’t just be uttering hot air when I get back to them). 

Dear Mr Sia,
Thank you for your further correspondence dated 11 November 2014.

Firstly, I would like to apologise for having omitted to address your further comments regarding your recent Emirates flights.

This was due to technical restrictions which I explained in my response dated 10 November.

I believe that I have addressed your seating allocation on flight EK347 from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai based on our records, and therefore I am unable to comment further, other than to apologise for any inconvenience that you experienced.

I note however that our cabin crew managed to swap your seats with other passengers and your family travelled in bulkhead seats.

At this point, I wish to clarify that bulkhead seats are desired seats and generally reserved for those passengers travelling with infants. However on some occasions these seats are also allocated to passengers who may require the bassinet row due to other reasons, i.e. a medical requirement. Such requirements are not always visible to other passengers.

I also hope that you can appreciate that there are times when operational reasons can force changes to the aircraft scheduled to operate a fligh. Whilst we always do our best minimise equipment changes, our Network Control Centre must naturally focus on ensuring effective use of our aircraft at all times and in recognition of this fact, we always state that operating aircraft are subject to change, without notice.

You indicated your disappointment with bulkhead seats location.

I wish to advise you that we fly the best and most comfortable wide-bodied aircraft, with seat pitches in all classes that are also amongst the most generous in the industry.

Please rest assured that we do appreciate the importance of providing care and assistance to passengers travelling with infants and therefore offer adequate facilities. I regret however if the bassinet for your baby compromised your comfort onboard.

Furthermore, I was concerned to learn of your disappointment with the overall service displayed by our cabin crew members onboard your recent flights. I wish to inform you that we do emphasise to our staff members on the importance of observing passengers’ requests and following our service standards. May I also clarify that negligence, or any lapse in service, on the part of staff members is not tolerated and we take a serious view of such feedback.

Moreover, our cabin crew are instructed to minimise their activities both in the cabin and in the galley after the main meal service, especially on night-time flights, so as to not disturb those of our passengers wishing to sleep. I trust that you will appreciate that our cabin crew were acting in accordance with our company policies and procedures. I can only apologise for any discomfort felt.

It is regrettable that your daughter did not receive a meal service onboard your flights, despite being booked.

I wish to advise that our onboard ‘Baby Meal’ service is the provision of baby food jars, which our cabin crew will provide and heat upon request. We do not carry a range of baby food jars and milk formulas to cater for all infants. Nevertheless, whilst we do provide baby meals, it would always be our recommendation, when travelling with young babies, that parents/guardians provide their own baby food as they are aware of their own child’s taste preferences.

We also note your comments regarding the distribution of children amenity kits. I wish to explain that these are distributed on demand and when our cabin crew walk in the cabin with these, passengers are welcome to request them.

We also appreciate your constructive comments regarding designating the storage of supplies onbord.

May I assure you that your feedback has been forwarded to the respective Cabin Crew Managers, for review and internal action as deemed appropriate.

Mr Sia, I am truly sorry that we did not live up to your expectations on this recent occasion and I would like to assure you that it is never our intention to have dissatisfied passengers. Therefore as a gesture of goodwill I have arranged for 10,000 miles each to be credited to your and your wife’s Skywards account.

We hope that we shall be given another opportunity to welcome you onboard Emirates in the future.

 

Me and my wife had to crawl like dogs on Emirates Airlines (among other problems)

This is an incredibly long complaint letter that I’ve spent a great deal of time crafting with the wife to ensure all the relevant details are included. Since Emirates Airlines has a 3,000 character limit, I’m forced to use this method to air my (considerable) grievances.

The full complaint is placed after the break.

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