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Meet Our Newest Contributor: Micael

Whoever thought that the guy who inspired us to take these pictures would be part of GameOPS?

Micael's timely arrival is a relief since most of the GameOPS staff have been busy for the past few weeks. Rocky's store in SM got robbed of P25,000; Karlo accepted an IT position at the Rural Bank of Makati; Siopao Master is now teaching at Informatics (traitor :P); Mike's body has yet to be found (Just Kidding!); and I have been busy re-organizing our online store. Our busy schedule led to less or no updates at all. It was like another GameOPS meltdown. :P

Ok enough drama, meet our newest contributor after the jump.

1. Could you tell us something about yourself? How old are you? Where are you located and what are you currently engaged in?

I'm Micael, Michael without an H, and that is pronounced as (Mi-ca-el). I'm a 20 year old senior student taking up Computer Science at the University of the Philippines Los Banos. I'm into documentaries, religious materials, magazines, tennis, and of course COMPUTER GAMES. Those are weird likes for a computer gamer no? I was a supporter of pirated games for more than 15 years before converting to become an anti-piracy advocate! I'm into mobile and handheld gaming right now because I don't have the time for home console games since I live in a dormitory 5 days a week. I am very much single and available hehehe. E-Mail me ;)

2. When was the first time you actually played a video game? What's the name of the game and game system? What or who made you play?

The first computer game that I could remember me playing was this DOS game called Digger. I must have played it around the early 1990's because I still could remember the early sibling rivalry for the computer!

3. Do you own a video game console? If yes, what system? Was it your very fist console? What video game platform do you prefer? (PC, Consoles or Handheld)

The first console we ever had, like almost every well to do Filipino back in those days, was the Famicom (NES). Duck Hunt with the Famicom Light Gun! Good days...

4. What is your favorite video game? Why?

I've been a Pocket Monster fan even before it appeared here in the country. And because of that, I have Pokémon Crystal Version (GBA) as one of my favorite games of all time. It was the first non-pirated game I've ever owned and I didn't even buy it! (It was given to me as a gift.)

5. How about a particular video game character, who's your favorite? Why?

Pikachu? Hmm... No. Miles "Tails" Prower from the Sonic universe! No offense Mario fans but Tails>Tanooki Mario.

6. Do you play online games? What are your current and alltime favorites?

Unfortunately, not anymore. Staying in UPLB five days a week without a broadband connection for almost four years now in my dormitory just is enough reason for me not to go back to serious online gaming. I would love to tryout and play World of Warcraft after graduation or this coming break and rekindle that lost love of mine for online RPG though. It must be really good because some of my instructors, both male and female, are playing it in their faculty rooms!

7. If you were to convince a friend or co-worker to play video games, how would you do it? Would you do crazy stuffs just to convince him or her?

Crazy? If this means convincing a pretty lady to play computer games then I would do the crazy thing and actually buy her the console and a game. Crazy!

8. Are you part of a clan or guild? If yes, can you give us some info about your guild?


9. Did playing a video game made any difference in your life? If yes, could you tell us?

When I was in Grade 4, me and my younger brother finished our first game together. It was Sonic 3 and Knuckles (I played Tails)! After we defeated the final boss, we showed some brotherly love and gazed happily at the screen as the credits rolled. I decided there and then and even proclaimed to my younger brother that I want to do something related to games when I grow up. I said I'll take Computer Science in college and make it a stepping stone of some sort to my journey to the gaming industry.

10. Have you ever bought (or played) a pirated copy of a video game? Could you tell us about it?

You bet I did! We (means me and my family) always had bought pirated games. I believe even the NES/Famicom games we had back then where pirated copies. I personally had not know the difference between a pirated game from an original game. I just learned the difference when I was in High School. It was when a friend of mine showed me his mother's original Final Fantasy Tactics CD for the Playstation. What an eye opener. I continued buying those pirated copies of PS 1 games back at that time even if I knew they were supposed to be "illegal" in ANY country in the world though.

Come on be practical! They were cheap and popular malls, video game stores, and toy stores sold them. How could it be so "illegal" and wrong then?

For the foreigners who commented that Filipinos are stupid for buying pirated games and think they are original games... they should try living and growing in the Philippines first. I've spent a lot of time roaming around in the forums of Philippines' best selling kids magazine as a member and a moderator and I know that there are a lot of kids that still can't distinguish a pirated copy from an original one. We've reached the time when our kids are so much exposed to piracy that they can hardly distinguish a pirated game from an original one. More on this topic on my answer for the next question.

12. You've been our inspiration on our recent anti-piracy articles, could you share to our readers what prompted you to expose Toys 'R Us Philippines to a high profile website like GoNintendo?

I've been to two other countries where TRU is THE toy store to shop for anything for kids. I did not see them selling pirated copies of game. Only in the Philippines? I personally prayed that TRU would someday put up a store here in the Philippines because I've have heard many good things about them when I was still even a kid. Great toys, huge launch events, promotional events, freebies, and more. It was a huge heart break when I learned that they were selling pirated copies of games in their stores. My good image of TRU broke down in pieces after learning that fact.

I sent my first e-mail to Toys R Us Asia last October 3, 2006. I asked helped from them. I really didn't want their good international image to be destroyed by one single Philippine branch so I told them about the pirated games their local branch was selling. I got this e-mail 15 days later.
"Thank you for your e-mail.

We have investigated the issue with our Philippines' colleagues and
realized that it was wholly due to an oversight. Please accept our
apologies and rest assured that Toys "R" Us will not sell pirated
software. Not only do we strictly adhere to the policy of selling
original games, we also take measures ensuring our overseas stores keep
the same practice. Meanwhile, we will take further steps to ensure this
doesn't happen again.

Your inputs are valid and valuable to us. May we thank you again for
bringing this matter to our attention.

Should we be of any further assistance to you in future, please don't
hesitate to contact us. Look forward to serving you again."

I was glad to have received this email. I knew Toys R' Us is good and everything was just all a mistake - or so I thought.

Five months have passed since my first e-mail to Toys R Us Asia and the situation with them being involved in selling pirated game just got worst. The number of pirated games they were selling increased! What I did was risky. I was inviting to be ridiculed or even attacked. But the very fact that it was wrong and no one was doing something about it made me do it. (Thank UP for the activist mind?)

"If not me, who? If not now, when?" - Mikhail Gorbachev (No not me... not Micael but close) Think about that.
"We have a huge problem with piracy here in our country and no one is taking the ones who says no to piracy seriously. I just want to share some pictures that I took using my cellphone a while ago when I went into a popular international toy shop. I do hope by sharing this pictures we can make people aware of how bad piracy has developed especially in third world countries. " - Micael to GoNintendo | March 3

If I knew that piracy was illegal and bad when I was young... I would have done something to weaken the sales of pirated GBA games or PS1 games. Today it would be a miracle if we didn't see a pirated copy of a GBA game. The DS was pretty young last year and we could have easily weakened the piracy of its games.

If a big international and well respected toy company like TRU would sell pirated DS games then we medium sized stores can sell them without having to fear the law then! Well if medium sized stores can buy pirated copies of games and sell them for a higher profit like the large stores then we small stores could also do that without fear! If all stores of all sizes sell pirated games then I as a consumer can easily buy pirated copies of games without hesitation whatsoever.

13. What could you say about the negative reactions of people against our anti-piracy articles? Some of them even commented that Microsoft and Nintendo would not offer official support to the Philippine gamers because of our article reaching GamePro and other gaming website.

Guys and gals... Going into piracy is like a smoking. Smoking is bad for your health. Piracy is bad for the Gaming Industry. Smoking is addictive and hard to get out of. Piracy is the same. As I have stated before, I bought a lot of pirated games before! It was only when I started studying Computer Science that I converted to buying original games only. How could I hurt the industry that I will be going into in the future? Patronizing pirated games hurts the gaming industry that we gamers love so dearly. It WILL BE hard to stop buying pirated games and start buying original games only. HARD! Personally, we did have a hard time because gaming was not part of our budget before. The pirated PS 1 games were so cheap compared to the original copies that it didn't matter. I first started buying a few original PC games but still bought pirated games then a year later went all original on all my games when I got my Nintendo DS. I had to let something like my Nintendo DS be my new slate. It was so hard to get out of buying pirated games especially if for 15 years you've been into it but I was able to do it. The truth hurts and ignorance is bliss but don't you think we deserve better than cheap pirated copies of games? With regards the comments about Microsoft and Nintendo not offering support to countries like us because the article that GameOPS wrote reached high profile international sites cannot be backed up. I would be shocked if Microsoft or Nintendo didn't know way before GameOPS wrote the article that piracy was prevalent in countries like ours.

Yeah, maybe the reason why Microsoft or Nintendo have limited support here in the Philippines, when it comes to gaming, is because a lot of us support piracy. If we continue to live in the dark and deny or hide the truth, we are building them walls not bridges. My ultimate goal for exposing TRU was awareness that a problem existed. Maybe my actions could not help people who have been into pirated games for more than a decade but I'm sure that the action will move us forward to a piracy less country. Remember my story a while ago? I had no idea that there was a pirated and an original game. Many kids still have that problem of knowing the existence and the wrong in piracy. I know at least a handful of kids who when I told them about the bad of piracy and the good of original games started buying original games ONLY. The people who are buying a console are people who belong to a family who can eat everyday. If we could buy expensive consoles then we could buy the cheaper software. By acknowledging that the problem exists and by making Filipino kids who have parents that can buy consoles and games for them aware of the wrong of piracy then I have no doubt we will have a lower game piracy rate in the future. If we cannot educate kids today of the wrong of our society today then they would just end up in the same problem that we are in.

Kudos to GameOPS for having the guts to answer the WHO in Mikhail's qoute. Let us not wait for our Filipino young ones to grow into piracy. Educate them early and make them aware of the problem so that they could know that this is wrong cause as of the moment they don't. This piracy awareness that GameOPS has pioneered might not bring results today or tomorrow but I'm confident it will in the near future.

14. Any last message you wish to impart to our readers? Any greetings and link-love to your friends?

Ola! Konichiwa! Hello! Feel free to e-mail me (micael [AT] gameops [DOT] net) any of your reactions or feedbacks for the future articles I'll be writing here in GameOPS. I'm the type of person who enjoys writing long write ups so you guys/gals better be ready to read long juicy articles from me. If you would like to stalk me or just want to know me more then please do visit my blog at

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