Finally back in SG after 1+ year, and reunited with my favorite housemates! One of them (bestie), has excitedly prepared a list of steak places for us to try out.
We agreed to go for something that’s more affordable first, thus bringing us to this little bar & grill that’s situated just outside the Amara Hotel in Tanjong Pagar.
We took a look at their menu. Since there were 4 of us, we thought of ordering their signature dry-aged beef tomahawk.
I haven’t had much dry-aged beef since my first experience with it at Vantador 🇲🇾, reason being that I really didn’t like the strong flavor that reminded me of peanuts and their slightly pungent edge.
Also, most steaks that they would dry-age are not wagyu, i.e. less fatty, more chewy.
Well since it’s bestie’s recommendation I decided to keep an open mind and give it a try anyway.
Ours was 1.3kg so about S$205. I generally feel like tomahawks are a scam because you get charged for the weight of the bone (it’s heavy af). Bestie disagrees though, he feels that the bone adds a lot of flavor to the meat.
The bread was barely warmer than room temperature, and not nearly warm enough to melt the butter. So we just placed the slabs of solid butter on top of the bread, and so each bite was room temp bread with a chunk of cold butter.
Plus the skin was so tough (not crispy just tough) that I gave up on it after a while.
We were all confused upon first tasting it because both the texture and taste were not what we’d expect from grilled octopus.
The spicy and creamy sauces were nice but a tad overwhelming, reminiscent of thousand island sauce with added herbs & spices. The octopus was breaded, but the breading was soggy unfortunately, and it felt like we were eating chicken rather than octopus – the meat somehow lacked the springy texture.
After a while we concluded that it tasted like mamak tandoori chicken. Mostly because of the sauce.
Tasted really interesting, just not something we expected when we ordered grilled octopus.
First time having foie gras with pancake which was something new, but the morel sauce that the dish came with somehow made it taste like Chinese cuisine. It tasted like the 卤汁 (marinade) in marinated duck.
And because the pancake is so porous, it soaked up lots of sauce and when you bite into the whole thing at once, the first thing that hits you is the marinated duck taste, then if you really pay attention you may be able to discern a faint hint of foie gras.
So once again, as in the previous dish, I’m really not sure if the sauce is necessary or suitable.
Main Course #1: Wagyu Steak
When it was first served I recall thinking, “Wow, that looks really red. Is it rare? Or is that what dry-aged beef is supposed to look like? We ordered dry-aged?“
I honestly thought we ordered regular, non-aged steak, because I already knew from experience that I may not like the dry-aged one, and so this was to be my back-up plan for the night.
But the color just looked so odd and suspect.
We grabbed a piece each and started eating. Then, one by one, we all frowned.
It just tasted… really off. There was this rancid, sour taste. Two of us immediately spat out the pieces we were chewing.
We asked the server who’s a very nice aunty, to help ask the chef if it’s supposed to taste & smell this way, and to maybe sear it so it’s fully-cooked. Doneness is honestly less of a concern at this point than food safety.
After a while the aunty returned, menu in hand, “The chef said everyone’s taste buds are different, so maybe you cannot accept the taste. He asked you to order another steak instead.“
We were puzzled, but politely declined to order a replacement steak as the tomahawk was already served by then and it looks pretty huge.
After the aunty left, we started pondering why the chef didn’t pick the option of cooking the steak fully for us.
And we thought, maybe he also found it problematic but can’t admit outright that they served meat that had gone bad, which was why he asked us to order another one instead.
Because if “everyone’s taste buds are different“, what are the chances that all four of us, with our different tastes & preferences in food, found it unpleasant at the same time?
I asked bestie to describe his experience. He said,
At the thought of it, we all scrunched up our faces in disgust.
Main Course #2: Dry-Aged Tomahawk
After the ordeal of the rancid (?) steak, the tomahawk was a saving grace. We were almost in tears.
“Omg, THIS is beef!“
“God I didn’t know beef could taste this good. Amazing.“
Drama-aside, the meat’s color was nice. I commented that it was quite unevenly cooked, i.e. almost well-done near the edges, and medium rare in the middle, and bestie commented that tomahawks are usually that way.
Portion-wise there was enough meat for 4, but overall it’s a tad dry. The outer layer was crisp and nicely-charred, but the meat itself was not that tender or juicy.
In fact, it’s rather chewy and there was also a lot of silver skin that was unchewable & can’t be cut through.
This one was really popular among my sweet-toothed housemates; I personally only tried a little bit of it and found it sickeningly sweet. But to be honest it’s probably the tastiest dish we’ve had all night.
I hoped that this place would be able to change my mind about dry-aged steaks in general, but after this meal my impression of them went from bad to worse.
Throughout my steak-tasting journey, the hanging tender wagyu was the first piece of steak I’ve encountered where I wasn’t able to swallow even a single slice of it.
The tomahawk was just okay and not really worth the price.
I appreciate that they’re trying to be creative with other dishes, but the sauces are simply too overpowering or out of place at times.
For a bar & grill-type of establishment, our server tended to several tables in the area, but was very attentive and responsive. She also helped to relay messages between us and the chef about the problematic steak, and asked us to rate or provide feedback for the restaurant online when we were leaving.
Points were deducted due to the chef’s response to our feedback, which barely made sense.
It wasn’t a particularly good experience for us, and we won’t return for another meal.
In town for a bit before flying off to Singapore, so decided to give this new establishment a try, since I saw in ads that they do wagyu omakase. When booking they specifically mentioned that they’re not a restaurant, but a “wagyu experience hub“. Color me intrigued!
A small unassuming shop front hidden in a row of old car workshops & hardware stores just off Old Klang Road. The interior was cosy, just enough to fit an L-shaped bar that could host 3 diners on each stretch.
“Hello! You’re Tiffani, right?” I was greeted by name by a friendly, suit-clad server once I entered the shop, and while I sat down in amazement of the fact that they remembered my name from the reservation, I was even more surprised when I caught sight of my name on the place mat.
I arrived half an hour ahead of time for the 6:30pm session, and was told that they can only start serving food when two other diners for the session has arrived. Of course I said okay, and while sipping hot genmaicha I was given an introductory course to the basic types of wagyu and cuts, and shown the block of Miyazaki wagyu with its ID and certification.
They mentioned that they’ve been around for a long while as a wagyu supplier, and they’ve decided to branch out into a wagyu experience hub about half a year ago. Initially it’s just to serve their friends, but they recently started opening up for the public to reserve & dine in.
Soon after the other two diners (a couple) arrived, got seated, and after another brief round of introduction to their block of Miyazaki wagyu that’ll be used in the courses today, the server & chef started preparing the first course together. It didn’t take long, because it was sashimi.
1st Course: Wagyu & Tori Sashimi
They checked prior to serving the first course if we were alright with raw food. I had no issues with the wagyu, but the chicken was a little iffy to me.
Out of respect towards the chef I took one bite of the raw chicken. It had a fresh springy texture but was relatively tasteless without the wasabi, and that’s when I decided that I won’t be missing much, and requested the chef to sear the rest for me.
While serving the seared chicken to me later they added that it’s common in Japan to eat chicken sashimi, and reassured me that they’ve tried it personally hours before serving it to customers and that they use food-grade sanitizer etc.
I knew that chicken sashimi was a thing in Japan, but I didn’t have the heart to tell them that my apprehension was stemming from the fact that we’re in a country where food safety is not as strictly-regulated, and I’m really not sure if they’re trained in handling sashimi properly. And even if they’ve tried it and survived doesn’t necessarily mean the absence of parasites or bacteria on other pieces that were served to us.
So though I allow myself to be adventurous with food at times, one bite was as far as I’d go this time.
The raw wagyu tasted good with the kombu salt, though I also questioned if it would taste better lightly-seared. With my limited understanding of wagyu I imagined that a bit of heat would release the juices and melt the fats and make it taste more buttery. But that’s just my own speculation.
There was also a bit of silver skin.
2nd Course: Wagyu Spring Roll
The chef explained that the vegetables were fried using wagyu fats, but overall I didn’t really get much of a wagyu taste from the spring roll itself. Even when biting into the meat it was overshadowed by everything else that was going on in the spring roll.
I’ve never been a fan of spring rolls, so it just felt very… fusion. The homemade tartar sauce had a refreshing lemon tinge to it though.
3rd Course: Wagyu Brisket
The brisket was tender, but the fact that it was minced (iinm) was quite disappointing to me. It’s not that I wasn’t open to new ways to eat wagyu, but it simply tasted like minced burger patty, just a bit more tender and flavorful than normal beef I suppose.
I’m not sure about the act of mincing up wagyu though, like don’t you lose the original buttery fatty texture that highly-marbled wagyu is prized for? Maybe that’s the right way of processing that cut of meat. But from a diner’s perspective I don’t feel like it’s particularly tasty.
4th Course: US Wagyu Tongue
It’s tongue. It’s chewy. And it’s not Japanese wagyu.
After the meal I reread the menu and asked the chef about the foie gras, to which they replied that it was lightly shaved onto the dish. I missed it though, was too caught up with chewing the tongue.
So if we’re trying to introduce wagyu to people or get people to fall in love with the texture that wagyu offers, I’m really not sure if serving chewy tongue is the right way to go about it.
5th Course: Wagyu, Enoki & Asparagus Maki
This one was really tasty and juicy. The seared wagyu went really well with the crunchy vegetables, and though the asparagus kept threatening to overpower the wagyu, it all melted together in the mouth into a perfect blend of juices. One of the courses I really enjoyed!
6th Course: Wagyu Katsu Sando
This one was a pleasant surprise for me, one of the best wagyu sandos I’ve tried eaten. I think the bread made all the difference, it was coated in a layer of wagyu fat and lightly grilled so it was crispy and not oily at all. The wagyu too was crispy on the outside yet tender and juicy on the inside.
The plate came with some blueberry jam, a sweet juicy tomato and a small salad with strips of pear. It was a great mix of sweet and savory.
This was when we were also served a cup of sweet yuzu sake to be paired with the dish. The sake was so sweet that I didn’t manage to finish it; I suppose it was also meant to balance out the richness and oiliness of the sando.
I took my time to finish up this sando dish, alternating between sweet and savory as was intended by the chef. Everything was amazing, including the creative touch that was the blueberry jam.
7th Course: Wagyu Tendon Soup
The soup was very rich in umami and flavorful, and the pieces of meat were surprisingly soft, tender and easy to swallow. I don’t particularly like soup, but this to me was acceptably tasty.
When the chef asked me how the soup was I wasn’t sure how to reply though. I figured in hindsight that at that point I was a little disappointed at how little wagyu (in the conventional sense & style of cooking) there have been in this omakase, and this was already the second last dish on the menu. So I went with a pretty bland,
That was when they started asking me about omakases I’ve been to and which one was my favourite. They’re rather attuned to the omakase market locally, and introduced me to a couple of other must-try omakases.
But truth be told, I was unimpressed not because I’ve tried too many other omakases before, but because I love wagyu, I came for the wagyu and we’re at the 7th dish and I feel like I’ve barely had any wagyu.
8th Course: Wagyu Yakiniku Don
This was by far the closest to what I came for, just grilled wagyu on rice, no frills, no fusion. But the sad thing was, by the time I got to this last course, I was already so full that I was hard-pressed to force the dish down so as not to let down the perfectly-cooked wagyu.
There was also another surprise in the form of crispy beef fats (牛油渣). As a sucker for fried pork lard, I was really excited to try out the beef version. However, some pieces were impossible to chew, some had an unpleasant oily taste, some were just okay. Either the frying wasn’t done well or pork lard is superior.
Dessert: Wagyu Ice Cream
This was yet another surprise, this ice cream tasted like salted caramel with heavy hints of something meaty. According to the chef it was made with wagyu fats. It was rich and salty, with bits and pieces of what feels like beef jerky. Pretty unique as ice cream goes!
Expectations vs Reality
To be honest, when I saw “wagyu omakase“, I was expecting more wagyu and less omakase. Perhaps my expectations were a little misplaced, which is why at some point during the meal, I started to wonder – where is the wagyu?
Also, the price point is set at RM 628 per pax. My initial thought process was along the lines of, based on the market price of raw wagyu steak that I’ve bought from suppliers before, sans the service & presentation, I should at least be expecting 300g+ worth of wagyu.
Truth be told, I was expecting a full educational course on how wagyu should be prepared, with the melty buttery meat served in different cooking styles; perhaps the chance to explore the differences between wagyu from different prefectures/farms.
Some different unconventional cuts and small creative dishes are welcome, but preferably not anything filling.
Comparison with Yakiniku Great’s Wagyu Omakase
I tried another wagyu omakase in KL about 4 months back, at Yakiniku Great. I went for the RM 390 per pax one, and I remember it to be a pretty darn good meal full of buttery wagyu goodness.
My only complaint about Yakiniku Great is the lack of personal touch in terms of service, as they had the servers going from table to table serving and explaining each dish. There were no counter seats where the chef would cook, serve while chatting with you about wagyu, which is different from other omakase experiences. And the wagyu they used was from Kagoshima, which in my limited knowledge is not among the top wagyu brands (cmiiw).
For Wagyu Dojo, they use primarily Miyazaki beef which is presumably superior, but it’s more of the style of cooking which I feel takes away from the experience.
I can understand where Wagyu Dojo is coming from, since they brand themselves as the wagyu experience hub, that perhaps this omakase is meant to be an introductory course to someone who’s had beef before but not Japanese wagyu per se, to be shown the difference between the two.
But personally, the soup, tongue, spring roll & minced brisket were a tad far from what I expected. Not about the type of the dish or cuts, but more of the texture.
In terms of the omakase experience itself, Wagyu Dojo did it much better. The ratio of 2 chefs to 3 diners made for an intimate session; the friendly and down-to-earth mannerisms of the chefs, patiently explaining about the wagyu, and politely observing before clearing / serving up each dish making you feel comfortable without being intrusive, also added a lot to the overall experience.
I especially liked the katsu sando & truffle don. The rest of the dishes are nice, but not something you’d expect to eat at a wagyu restaurant, especially considering the fact that what most wagyu lovers like about the coveted type of beef is for its high marbling ratio and the resultant melty buttery texture, and there wasn’t much of that in the omakase.
I mean it’s okay to introduce some variety or different flavors to avoid overwhelming diners with the jelak feeling from too much oily wagyu, but they really shouldn’t take the spotlight away from wagyu itself.
Personalised place mat and greetings, intimate 2 chefs to 3 diner ratio. The chef & server were really friendly; they patiently explained to us about wagyu, types of cuts, other omakases in different parts of the country, and sincerely asked for feedback at the end of the session.
Nice omakase experience, but can really do with more wagyu content, or wagyu-like textures.
Purely based on the amount of wagyu served, I personally feel it’s not really worth the price, at least not the current menu that I’ve tried. But they seem really open to receive feedback, so I might give them another chance later in the future.
Damage: RM 628 / pax (RM200 paid in advance as deposit)
About the Restaurant
“Exquisitely curated with novelty, introducing Malaysia’s very first House of Wagyu! In the spirit of gastronomic excellence, Wagyu Dojo pursues the finest state of Wagyu culinary perfection.“
If you wish to visit Wagyu Dojo, here’s the address:
Bandar Park, 48 Kompleks Bandar Park Jalan Mega Mendung, off Jln Klang Lama, Old Klang Road, 58200 Kuala Lumpur
Visited the renowned Japanese-style steakhouse Fat Cow with my housemates; it’s located at Camden Medical in the Orchard area.
Two of my housemates have had steaks at Fat Cow before a few years prior, and they gave it rave reviews unanimously so it’s been on my restaurants checklist for a while now.
We have been enjoying home-cooked wagyu steaks for the past 6 months thanks to our resident aspiring steak chef Mark Twein, and even then there were many types of wagyu here at Fat Cow that are new to us.
We were seated in a private corner, probably since we were ordering ala carte rather than omakase. Upon entry we were also given zip-lock bags to hold our masks; a pretty nice touch on the restaurant’s part.
Starter: A sashimi platter.
I didn’t try the kinmedai (splendid alfonsino); apparently it tastes rather fishy.
I absolutely love otoro; almost a must-order for me whenever I see it on the menu. It’s the fattiest part of the blue fin tuna belly, which practically melts in your mouth.
Next: The wagyu sandwich.
So the story here is that I ordered a similar cutlet sandwich during my Tokyo trip earlier this year, cost around 500 SGD but ended up being really disappointing for me.
Breading and frying a densely-marbled piece of wagyu till it becomes dried up and chewy, then jamming it in between two pieces of oil-soaked fried bread is almost the worst way to prepare wagyu in my book – a waste of perfectly good meat. Texture ruined, no more melty buttery fats; the whole thing just becomes thick, sinewy & chewy.
And because this dish was introduced to me by our resident chef Mark, he wanted to make it up to me for the ill-advised recommendation by ordering the same thing here at Fat Cow.
Though he claims that it’s good, he’s always preferred his steak chewier in general, so to each their own. And I stand by my statement:
I do enjoy a good katsu or cutlet sandwich; I just don’t think it’s necessary to use (read: waste) highly-marbled wagyu for this purpose.
Main Course: Wagyu steak!
Time for the main course – what we came to Fat Cow for! I am a sucker for fatty steaks, so I picked the hida wagyu as advised by the server.
The sauce was amazing; the garlic was fried just nice so it’s crispy and not bitter.
The outer layer or coating of the steak was crispy and the meat itself was tender and required minimal chewing; it was just so rich in fats that I could feel the meat melt on my tongue and the oil trickle down my throat, so texture-wise it was great, exactly what you’d expect of top-grade wagyu.
And this wasn’t the only steak that had this problem – between the 4 of us we ordered 3 main courses:
A 21 days dry-aged nagasaki A5 wagyu donburi
A hida A5 wagyu steak (mine)
A saga A5 wagyu steak
And all three of these shared the same issue.
We took turns to try out the different steaks, but sans some minute differences in texture, they all tasted the same. We weren’t even able to taste the supposed nutty note that should be present in the dry-aged steak.
We shared our feedback with the friendly team of servers, who then explained to us that the chefs don’t blowtorch the meat, so the overwhelming blowtorch-like taste was probably caused by the fact that the meat was partially cooked over a gas fire / grill.
My housemates mentioned that it didn’t used to taste this way when they visited a few years back, and the servers explained to us that they used to cook their steaks fully over a charcoal grill back then, but it takes too long to cook and resulted in a long wait-time, so they eventually switched to a half-gas, half-charcoal cooking method, allowing steaks to be served much faster.
We also told them that we definitely wouldn’t mind waiting longer for a good 100% charcoal-grilled steak on our next visit.
And as we were chitchatting over green tea and looking at what to order for dessert, the servers suddenly returned to our table and informed us that the chef would like to offer us another wagyu steak on the house, only cooked slightly differently this time, to see if there’s a difference in taste.
Of course we were all pleasantly surprised by such a nice gesture from the restaurant. They offered us a full steak, but because we were already feeling jelak from the sheer rich oiliness of the prior courses, we asked if we could just have a small tasting portion instead.
The steak was served after a while, we asked them what was done differently – they replied that this piece was done mostly over the charcoal grill; they turned off the gas part of the grill, but since it’s been on for the entire day there was bound to be a bit of lingering smell.
This one turned out to be great, much to our satisfaction; there was a lot less of the gas or blowtorch taste, just a subtle hint of it in the crispy outer layer. And with that we could fully taste the natural sweetness of the wagyu meat and appreciate the tender, melty and buttery texture.
If only the steaks we ordered were cooked over charcoal! Their ingredients were fresh and top-grade; and we had nothing to complain about the sides dishes; everything else from the foie gras to the steak sauce was really tasty.
Not penalizing them for the cutlet sandwich too because it’s the whole concept of it that’s bad, not the execution. It tastes the same everywhere.
Customer Service: 10/10
The gestures from the restaurant and efficiency with which our feedback were handled really speaks a lot about the management of their restaurant, they could’ve easily just ignored the issue but instead, they chose to go the extra mile. And that really made up for our initial disappointment over the steaks.
Total Damage: $800 for 4 pax; so about 200 SGD / pax.
About the Restaurant
“Fat Cow is a Japanese-inspired meat atelier where the promise of a bespoke dining experience is carried through from a handpicked selection of the finest Wagyu beef to its luxurious wines, sakes and signature cocktails. Guests may enjoy their choice of beef over a variety of Japanese preparation methods – Shabu-Shabu, Sukiyaki, or the ever-popular Sumibiyaki (charcoal-grill).” – TripAdvisor
A recent article posted on The Straits Times insinuated that esports athletes are inferior to other sports athletes because they’re mostly game addicts who sits around all day, only moving their eyes and fingers. The author also implied that esports is in essence not too different from hobbies such as knitting and baking.
Truth is that the author is pathetically misinformed about the strict training regimens of esports athletes nowadays, and isn’t able to effectively tell the difference between esports players and casual gamers in the first place. And unfortunately, many others share these misconceptions about esports.
Prize pools in esports have amounted to exceed that of conventional sports, with stakes as high as tens of millions in USD per match. Under these conditions it is incredibly naive of these naysayers to still think that any esports team or professional player would not be doing whatever it takes before matches to ensure their physical and mental states are in tip-top condition.
1. First of all, GAMING ≠ ESPORTS
Gaming is a hobby, esports is a full-time job.
Many non-gamers love to throw the term ‘esports‘ around with contempt and thinking it simply means ‘a bunch of game addicts wasting time‘, without even bothering to find out what ‘esports‘ really means. The difference between esports and gaming is essentially the difference between the NBA League and street basketball that you play with your friends.
And similarly, comparing esports athletes with casual gamers is like comparing Muhammad Ali to a someone who punches a sandbag at home to destress everyday – apples and oranges.
Esports by definition means competitive gaming, but as we have so many top-tier competitions nowadays with insane amounts of prize pool, esports should be more accurately defined as “the top level of competitive gaming“. As such, anyone can become a competitive player, but it’s definitely the cream of the crop who’d come to be referred to most often as “esports players“.
Professional esports athletes chose esports as a full-time job. They made the conscious decision to dedicate their life to the craft, moving into a bootcamp / training house, and hone their skills on a daily basis with the help of support staff such as full-time coaches, analysts, psychologists and chefs or nutritionists. As players are contractually-obligated to commit to daily training, and share the same goal of winning as the organizations paying their salaries, most of them only take short breaks from daily training at the end of competitive seasons.
At the top level of competitive gaming, hard work is something that’s so ubiquitous that it’s expected of everybody – nobody would brag of training diligently; results would speak for themselves.
Professional esports teams train against other pro teams (often from another country / region) on a daily basis, and in between training they’d either be watching and analyzing replays, coming up with new tactics and strategies, working on improving teamwork and communication, studying recent changes or trends in the game, or exercising in order to keep their stamina up to prepare for long hours of intense concentration.
Gaming is a huge industry made up of billions of gamers worldwide, and many gamers aspire to become professional players. But the sad truth is, perhaps only the top 0.00001% can eventually make it to the international stage. Hard work, top-tier skills, dedication and the right mindset is a given; and you’d need more than a bit of luck to get scouted and picked up by a proper team / organization, have compatible teammates to compete with, build a strong reputation for yourself, for the slight chance to eventually get picked to represent your country when the time comes.
And the five in every SEA country who eventually get selected, would be your esports athletes representing their respective countries in the SEA Games.
So insinuating that our national esports athletes are just a bunch of lazy bums sitting around all day is honestly a rather huge insult.
2. Of Physical Aspects and Sacrifices
There are in fact many parallels to be drawn between esports and certain conventional sports titles. Take competitive shooting for example – when competing at the international-level, like esports it requires intense mental focus maintained for a prolonged period of time, excellent physical condition as a basis for stamina, as well as strong psychological resilience in order to excel.
The international esports stage is where a momentary lapse of concentration could mean losing a million-dollar game; a well-timed skill instinctively executed by muscle memory could as easily turn the tides in a team’s favor in a close game. There’s no room for mistakes in a top-tier match – one player’s error could mean the loss of millions of dollars for the entire team; there’s simply too much at stake.
As such, maintaining tip-top physical form is essential to winning games. Many esports teams have taken to incorporating some form of daily physical training to their training regimes, as physical form is well-known to be linked to greater stamina and better mental focus, both essential skills for esports athletes.
Most physical sports require maximizing the potential of various parts of the human body, and esports as well has incredibly high requirement for hand-eye coordination and lightning-fast reflexes. Repetitive reflexes and muscle memory training are thus included as part of some teams’ daily schedule.
And diet-wise, since a couple of years ago nutritionists and full-time cooks are already included as part of the support team living in esports team bootcamps. Many teams ban fried or unhealthy food in general during competitive seasons as it’s said to slow your reaction time.
What people don’t see is that many esports teams also impose strict rules on social behavior, prohibiting the use of mobile phones, messaging apps and stopping players from leaving the bootcamp or seeing their partners during competitive season, as all these would tend to distract players and affect their emotional state and eventual condition in matches.
These are some of the common sacrifices made by esports players who compete at the top level, mutually agreed with and enforced by team organizations.
3. Definition of Sports – Not a Comparison of Brute Strength
When it comes to the definition of sports, we disagree that it should be a comparison between the extent of the usage of bodily muscles, as suggested in the original article. If we go by this logic and go about defining what’s sports and what’s not based on the amount of ‘physical challenges’ involved, does that mean that anyone who can lift a 100kg weight or display a certain amount of physical prowess can effectively be considered an athlete?
If that’s the case, what about sports titles such as golf, archery and shooting? Should they be considered sports titles since the amount of ‘physical challenges’ required are also limited to certain body parts and doesn’t necessarily require Herculean levels of brute strength? Just where exactly do we draw the line?
4. Esports is Not in Desperate Need of Recognition
Esports is already a billion-dollar industry on its own – with a strong fanbase and lines of merchandises built around its unique pull and high entertainment value as a spectator sport. With numerous competitive game titles across different platforms (PC, consoles & mobile), most international esports tournaments nowadays have no trouble filling up entire stadiums.
After all, esports still has its roots in gaming, and it relies heavily on the sponsorship and investments attracted to the huge gaming consumer base. And with that, within the past decade we’ve seen the formation of healthy ecosystems surrounding esports, creating more and more full-time, sustainable jobs, including match commentators, team managers, esports journalists, game analysts, etc.
Even with the huge stigmatization towards gaming and widespread misconception towards the notion of ‘esports‘, the industry is already standing strong on its own, having regular competitive seasons and league systems, solid fanbases and markets, high-quality media production, engaging narratives, an ever-growing pool of talents and support staff keeping the scene running and expanding exponentially. Seeing the potential in a budding industry, an increasing number of professionals such as lawyers and psychologists as well as entrepreneurs and investors are exploring or creating opportunities in esports as well.
Gaming is a widely-favored form of entertainment in this generation of youths, and as they grow up to make up the workforce and make the conscious choice to join and further grow the esports industry, it won’t be surprising if esports eventually comes to edge out conventional sports.
Hence, we’re glad to say that at this point in time, esports is really not in desperate need for recognition. Being part of the SEA Games or the Olympics is definitely a huge step forward for the industry in raising awareness amongst the general public or gaining governmental support, but we’ve done fine on our own in the past decade, and are thus completely alright with not being part of these mixed sports events.
Because with or without the support of the older generation who refuse to open their mind and understand esports, the industry is here to stay and will only keep growing stronger as the years go by – and that is the truth whether or not you choose to accept it.
If you follow my Facebook page you might’ve seen these photos of an orange-colored set of gaming peripherals I tried out during the PC Fair back in Dec ’14.
The headset, mouse & keyboard are all part of the new STRIX series, a new gaming peripherals line developed by renowned IT brand Asus. Compared to their previous ROG line that engineers expensive top-end products, this new Strix line offers a purely gaming-oriented series of mid to high-end peripherals with more affordable price tags.
Introduction to STRIX
“Taken from the ancient Roman and Greek word for owl, Strix means the keenest hearing and sharpest eyesight. Strix means feeling your environment so that you detect and react to the slightest movement. Strix means survival on the very edge of instinct. Strix is in your blood, as it is in ours.“
Aside from the obvious reason that it’s orange-colored, I felt really intrigued by this new line of gaming peripherals as the whole “Owl” concept seems to complement these high-end gaming gears & their designs really well.
I’ve had the chance to get my hands on some of these beautiful gears for the past few days, courtesy of Asus Malaysia; tried them out on couple of FPS & MOBA games that I usually play. I’ll do a review of each of these Strix gears from a gamer’s perspective.
Headset (Mid-Range) – The Strix Pro
(Retail Price: RM499)
Strix offers 4 different headsets differing in performance and price-range. The first headset I got to try out was the Strix Pro, a mid-ranged headset with a detachable microphone, volume control switch and foldable ear cups.
I’ve tested it on a couple of FPS & MOBA games so far etc., and I’d say that it performs better than expected – In most FPS games you will be able to tell the direction and source of in-game sounds with it, and that’s a pretty commendable feat since it’s not even a surround sound headset, so I’d say it works perfectly well as a cheaper alternative for FPS gamers.
You can clearly notice where they integrated the owl element into the design too.
Design-wise, I really love the orange eye-like design on the ear cups’ exterior, likely to attract second glances when you’re wearing it out. Also when you wear it the leather cups fit comfortably around your ears and block out noise really well. The ear pieces are also not stuffy at all, surprisingly, despite the material.
Wearing the Strix Pro headset.
For gamers though I believe the best feature in this headset would be the environmental noise cancellation (ENC)technology – a built-in mic in the volume control box would actively detect and cancel out environmental noise. I’ve tried Skyping with teammates during a game with this headset on at a cybercafe, and the feedback from them was that they didn’t really hear much of the background noise & apparently the clicking sounds from my mechanical keyboard got filtered out too. In my opinion this is definitely a huge plus point in favor of this headset.
My only complaint about this headset would be that, despite being compatible with hand-held devices, it doesn’t handle music all that well, especially when it comes to bass (too soft) and high-frequency sounds (often beyond its limits). However it’s meant to be for gaming and not music, so unless you’re playing an intense horror game or say, Skyrim, in which case the lack of bassmight dampen a bit of the effect/mood, it’s still more than enough for most other games.
You may check out the technical specifications here.
Mouse – The Strix Claw
(Retail Price: RM199)
The one and only mouse model offered in the series, the Strix Claw features a 5000 DPI optical sensor without prediction & acceleration, an ergonomic design allowing for really firm grip, on-the-fly DPI switches & 3 programmable side buttons.
Sleek overall design with a thumb groove and 3 buttons on the side.
I quite like the grip on this mouse with its contoured thumb rest – it’s shaped similarly to the Razer Imperator or Logitech G500, allowing for more control over mouse movements. The DPI switches come in pretty handy as well, though I’ve noticed that the cursor went a little jittery/shaky at the highest DPI setting available. The tiers/options offered by the switches are quite far apart too, though if you are particular about the mouse sensitivity you can always tweak it in-game or via your PC settings. Nonetheless I’d say it works adequately as a gaming mouse, and if you consider its price the performance is definitely better-than-expected.
This small and agile mouse seems to be a comfortable choice for claw-grip gamers.
The left, right & all 3 side buttons are rather nice to click, though the middle mouse button takes a lot more effort to press, which might limit its functionality if you’re a frequent user of that mouse button like myself. You might just find it exceptionally tough to throw a grenade, for instance, during a heated in-game gunfight.
The owl element here isn’t immediately apparent at first glance,
but you will realize the top part of the keyboard has been cleverly-shaped to resemble ears of an owl.
Likely to be the jewel in the crown, the Strix Tactic Pro is pretty much an all-in-one keyboard featuring a staggering total of 21 macro keys, a volume control panel (top-right), built-in profile switches and a convenient & simple macro recording system. It comes with a PC software suite that allows for easy customization & macro management, with a plug-and-play hardware mode available too thanks to its built-in 4MB memory.
The Tactic Pro comes in variations of different-colored Cherry MX keys (Red / Blue / Brown / Black) – the one I’m reviewing here has brown keys.
One key feature would be the N-Key Rollover(NKRO) technology, i.e. simultaneous key presses will not cause key-ghosting or jamming. This would be pretty useful in avoiding accidental key presses, especially in musical games or other instances that require rapid or simultaneous key presses. A number of other mechanical keyboards I’ve used before were able to do the same too, so I’d consider this feature as more of a pleasant addition to complete the wide-ranged functionality of this keyboard.
The Tactic Pro offers almost everything you might need in a keyboard, but to me it feels a bit too much. It’s a matter of personal preference – I’ve always preferred minimalistic keyboards over full-length ones, and it’s been a while since I’ve used a keyboard with numpad & macro keys on either side.
I’ve asked the opinion of a couple of professional Dota 2 and CS:GO players, and they’ve all expressed similar sentiments about the functionality of macro keys & numpad in a keyboard – accidentally pressing the macro keys can get annoying at times especially when you don’t use them often. I can see how they can be highly useful & customizable in MMO, RPG or casual MOBA/RTS games, but at the end of the day it all comes down to what you’re looking for in a keyboard. So if you’re the type of gamer / PC user who has the need or use for macro keys then this would be the perfect keyboard, but otherwise the macro keys on the side could be nothing but two extra row of keys that might even hinder your movement when you’re using the usual QWER or WSAD.
Hence I’d probably suggest that they manufacture an alternate edition without the extra keys for those who have no use for them.
Other than the macro keys though I have nothing to complain about the other parts of the Tactic Pro – from the pleasantly springy brown Cherry MX keys to the beautiful orange back lighting in breathing mode, this keyboard is definitely a high to top-end one for gaming, no doubt about it. So if you’re looking for a keyboard that can handle all your macro needs then this would be the keyboard of your choice.
Check this link for the full technical specifications.
Mousepad – Strix Glide Control
(Retail Price: RM99)
Strix offers two different mousepads to complete its series, one being the Strix Glide Speed and the other would be the Glide Control that I got to review. The weaved, textured surface provides for accurate & controlled mouse movement, with pixel-precise tracking that works with both laser & optical sensors, and finally an overall design that’s geared towards durability.
All in all it’s a beautiful mousepad that completes the set. Pick the Control version if you’re looking for more stable & controlled mouse movements in-game; pick the Speed edition if you’re looking for swift mouse movements with minimal effort. More details here.
The Strix line has a lot to offer when it comes to performance and functionality, on top of the stylish, owl-based design that certainly rates high in terms of aesthetic value.
Strix Pro Headset: 3.5/5 Does its job as a gaming headset, despite lacking in bass capabilities. Strix Claw Mouse: 4/5 Nice ergonomic design, 3 side buttons & DPI on-the-fly, definitely good for gaming; slight issue with middle mouse button. Strix Tactic Pro Keyboard: 3/5 Slightly too many macro keys for my liking; otherwise it’s an all-in-one high end gaming keyboard, nothing to complain about. Strix Glide Control Mousepad: 5/5 Perfect complement to the other gears.
The design is definitely a huge plus to the series though!
Strix Pro Headset – RM499 Strix Claw Mouse – RM199 Strix Tactic Pro Keyboard – RM499 Strix Glide Control Mousepad – RM99
P.S. I’ll be giving away some discount vouchers for ASUS ROG & Strix products on my Facebook page soon, so stay tuned!
Right I know the hype is like almost over now, but just in case you have been living under a rock (or maybe just not following Dota 2, Volvo, Najib, Namewee or Obama’s pages) for the past week…
Namewee – One of the many public figures affected by the Give Diretide movement
1. WTF is Diretide?!
Back in Oct 2012 when Dota 2 was still in beta, Valve created a Halloween event for the game – an alternative, fun game mode was introduced, with festive twists to the game map, funky costumes for in-game characters, ‘candy-stealing‘ replacing tower-defense for the gameplay & a 100% cosmetic item drop-rate as a reward for completing each round.
It was a really well-crafted in-game event, just take a look at the official page herefor an idea of how it was like!
2. How did you like Diretide 2012?
Loved it, of course! I was only just starting Dota 2 (and Dota as a game in general) at that time last year, and it was through Diretide that I got to try out heroes outside of my comfort zone.
Not to mention that the game mode is much more fast-paced and exciting than the original.
3. So uhh, what happened this year…?
Fans would of course assume that it’s an annual event. But guess Valve spent too much of their resources into making TI3 an absolute success (mind you, it was fantastic), so perhaps Diretide just happened to slip their mind.
Or maybe they just didn’t realize the impact that the event have had on the community last year.
Official statement by Valve was along the lines of them wanting to stabilize the normal game modes first since the game was only just officially released.
To make things worse…
Fan-made images like this started appearing over the Internet a few days prior to 31st Oct this year.
And then, on 30th Oct Valve actually released a 73MB update for Dota 2. So of course, hopes were raised –
But as it turned out, that update only contained hats. Like, cosmetic items. Hats.
So Dota 2 fans, being the most non-toxic community there is, proceeded to spam Volvo’s page with
༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ Give DIRETIDE!
Some guy even called Volvo up to enquire about this outrageous lack of a Halloween event.
And here’s another guy who was lauded by the D2 community since this incident –
Few months back, if you were to tell me to do a ‘trilane‘, ward excessively & stack creeps as a support, or to lane instead of nc just because it works better for the team, I’d probably just laugh it off and say ‘chillax la‘!
Because I’m used to gaming to de-stress and have fun with friends, especially in Dota. When everyone would Skype and talk cock, and things like wards placed wrongly, fail ravages, missed hooks etc. become food for entertainment.
Things ranging from your most basic failed hooks…
… to high-level, unintentional suicides
“RELAX, YOU’RE DOING FINE”
My daily gaming stack comprises of my closest friends IRL, and yet even amongst this group of about 10 people there’s a clear-cut division between those who prioritize playing serious / winning games and those who just want to have fun in game and troll each other / opponents whenever possible.
Before I was made aware of the existence of a competitive Dota 2 scene, I was all for the latter – not that it’s in my nature to troll others, but gaming with that mindset makes Dota a highly enjoyable pastime & my daily dose of entertainment.
Around April this year though I started trying out Captain’s Mode. Before that, I didn’t even know what “drafting” was. But just for the fun of it, I’ve decided to join in. And that’s when I first came across the phrase:
I didn’t understand that term initially.
But now from what I understand, there are several common defining characteristics of teams/players who’d be called ‘tryhards‘ in general:
If you opt for trilanes instead of doing it 2-1-2
If you pick Naga + DS + Enigma, SD + Mirana or other combo heroes
If you wait for the other team to pick their heroes and then counterpick them
If you have roaming supports setting up early smoke ganks
If you get lots of sentries / dusts i.e. well-prepared to detect invisible heroes
If you keep warding / dewarding around the map
Basically, it’s a summary of things normally done in competitive matches in order to win the game.
See what I don’t understand is, if you were playing in Captain’s Mode or Team Matchmaking, presumably the need and drive to win is already there, and it’s a more serious game mode compared to normal All Pick games.
Thus shattering the logic behind the act of calling others ‘tryhards‘ in Captain’s Mode.
And if we were in an AP game, we usually random or pick heroes we’re comfortable with.
The reason why I end up picking Na’ix so much is because I can slack and just right-click in the NC for a while. Some might have seen me eating bread while farming early game.
So nope, with that mentality there’s no ‘game plan’, no stacking; loads of fighting for farm, KS-ing and casual blaming…
And of course not forgetting denying Aegis, buying a Rapier and delivering it to oppo’s base, etc.
Example: Getting two Mantas and a Refresher on Weaver, just to see if you can get four illusions.
Also, a Mjollnir on Zeus so that you get double arcs. And lifesteal so Zeus can solo Roshan.
Because throwing games is part of the fun.
Babyoling’s Step-by-Step Guide: How Pub Games Should Be Played
Course it’s the best if you can win the game WHILE having fun, but it’s just utterly pointless to play a game and let your mood get ruined because you’re trying hard but unable to win, even worse if you actually argued with people over the outcome of teamfights or the entire game.