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AnthonyServinio
02-09-2006, 01:13 AM
Freestyle Philippines the Newest Casual Game from Level Up!

* * *ANOTHER FIRST IN the Philippines, Level Up! brings basketball, the Pinoy’s favorite sport, online. Developed by JoyCity of South Korea, this casual MOG (Multi-player Online Game) is based on hip-hop culture, a fusion of the highly competitive sport, Streetball, and the cool hip-hop music and lifestyle.

* * *In the game, you can choose your position: Center, Guard, or Forward; and play one-on-one, two-on-two, or three-on-three games. With moves motion-captured from experienced Streetballers, Freestyle gives gamers an authentic Streetball experience in cell-shaded full 3D animation. “It’s your chance to do ankle-breaking tricks you’ve only seen on TV. Serve up a mean no-look behind-the-back pass or a ball crushing block you only saw Lebron James pull off,” Dennis Abo, Freestyle Game Manager says.*

* * *The second casual game of Level Up!, Freestyle hopes to reach a wider audience; including people who’ve never played online games before, especially the emerging market that’s interested in hip hop music and culture. “Freestyle will definitely attract a lot of balling fans in the Philippines. Because it’s a casual game, Freestyle requires very minimal space in the hard disk. Its simple controls make it easy for anyone to pick-up and play. For the fun part, players get to do some trash talking and dress up their characters in wicked-looking gear with stat-increasing powers. And to top all that, they can play the game for FREE. That will definitely have them hitting the court in no time,” adds Abo.


Level Up! Kicks off its Newest Game with the Online Streetball Tournament Dakdakan 2K6

* * *To celebrate the coming of this new game, Level Up! launched an online streetball tournament entitled Dakdakan 2K6 last Jan. 16. Over 308,000 players from a select 850 Internet cafés from all over the Philippines are now vying to be among the top players in the game. The top 16 ranked players by Feb. 7 will compete in the championships for cash prizes, over upgraded PCs and tons of Freestyle merchandise.

* * *Level Up!, the same company that has brought to the Philippines the first and most successful online game here to date, Ragnarok, expects Freestyle to break barriers and make online gaming an official sport.

* * *This concept of video gaming being viewed as a real sport is not new. In neighboring countries like Japan, China and South Korea (where most of the online games in the Philippines originate), online gaming competitions are considered legitimate sporting events. Players who excel in online games are called cyber athletes and earn anywhere from USD 10,000 to 50,000 per year.

* * *Locally, the biggest pot money for an online game tournament was given in June of 2005. During the Ragnarok Philippine Championships at the World Trade Center (Pasay), one million pesos went to a group of nine players aged 16-21 years old. They competed against hundreds of thousands of players across the country throughout the three-month long tournament. Aside from the cash they kept for themselves, they also won PHP 500,000 for a school of their choice and PHP 100,000 for their sponsoring Internet café.

gameface_one
02-11-2006, 09:26 AM
A level playing field

THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco
The Philippine Star 02/11/2006

There is always one complaint about our love affair with basketball. Make that two: the game is American, and we’re too short to be a world power in it. So there will always be that knock, that we can’t go much farther in the game, despite past successes.

But now, there is a way for diminutive locals to play the game competitively, and even beat experienced players at their own sport. It’s a new online game called Free Style.

"We knew we had something, because it is basketball," confessed Miniette Navarrete, who runs LevelUp! (www.levelupgames.ph <http://www.levelupgames.ph>) in the Philippines. "Our challenge was to adapt the game from the original version to something more culturally suited to the Philippines."

Free Style is a street basketball game which originated in Korea, so it is naturally in Korean. The job of Level Up! was to translate it into English, and refine some of the moves. Since the very quiet launch on Jan. 2, Level Up! is currently holding its first online tournament, dubbed "Dakdakan 2K6", and has racked up over one million — yes, one million — subscribers, almost entirely by word of mouth.

"We were really excited when Free Style came along, simply because it’s basketball," admits Mike Constantino, business unit director for Free Style. "And what does an ordinary person like me have against a taller, more experienced pro? But in Free Style, we can beat them at their own game."

What makes Free Style unique is that you can greatly personalize the players. Not only can you choose their height and position (and add skills purchased through online "currency"), but you can also outfit them. From head to foot you have a wide selection of styles, and can even dress your avatars in the latest hip-hop fashions, from hairstyle to clothes, even underwear. You can compete as an Asian, Caucasian, or African American, and play in a variety of scenarios: a playground, the street, on the beach (replete with sounds of seagulls flying overhead), and even on a busy highway. You can play one-on-one, two-on-two, or three-on-three.

"The next step in the evolution of the game is for us to culturally adapt it even further," says Navarrete. "We’re collating the local street basketball terms in different dialects, and seing how we can implement them in terms of trash talking."

A sportswriter commented that he had been in an Internet cafe in Iligan City, and everyone was playing Free Style, and trash talking in Cebuano. Level Up! has already initiated talks with at least one local sports broadcaster to provide the background voice for the Pinoy trash talking.

This week, Level Up! had the formal launch of Free Style at the National Sports Grill in Makati, with PBL, UAAP and NCAA players in attendance, along with the And1 Flip Ballaz. It was also the first time that the IT and sports media came together for an event of this nature. The press readily challenged the players, albeit in cyberspace.

"So far, the response has been overwhelming," Constantino admits. "Players can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s basketball."

In the future, with VOIP (voice over Internet) technology, players will even be able to talk with each other and strategize (or zing the other players) even if they aren’t in the same room. The game also compiles your stats, so you can always know how well you’re doing.

Free Style, in effect, levels the playing field.