Monday, May 27, 2013

A look at Azteca Games

Exotic Aztec flavor adds adventure to game spinning

Always interested in things Azteca, I wondered how video games are influenced by the Aztecs. Not surprisingly, the Aztec Mystique is alive and well for video gaming.  These Aztec games will not be part of the Azteca Theater offerings. However, I hope you find them amusing.   I especially enjoyed the graphics for the first game which reminded me of Tomb Raider and the Aztec background music from the second.

Hunting for lost Azteca treasure is an adventurous theme inspiring a number of video slot  games. Giant temples, sacrificial rites, Aztec Kings, beautiful Aztec women, headdresses, masks and gold treasure add excitement from the Empire of the Aztecs.

People wager real money at casinos on these games in hopes that the Aztec gods will smile fortune upon them. However, no need to wager money to try them. Two of these games can be played for free online.

1. Azteca - The latest Aztec-inspired game
Azteca video game

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider
The video slot game Azteca  was introduced last year by Playtech. The look of Azteca reminds me of Lara Croft and Tomb  Raider.  The heroine is a very attractive figure that could just as well  be Angelina Jolie / Lara Croft.

As you can see from the three games listed here, the graphics have been improving, with Azteca being the most recent and most attractive.

This game is not available online in the USA as people are not allowed to play, even for free,  online gambling games that are offered in a casino in the USA. 

Azteca Sun Temple
Azteca gods

2. Aztec Treasures - Five reel video slot game
Aztec Treasures introductory screen
Aztec inspired background music with drums and flutes that makes you want to start dancing adds interest to this game.  The real icons are jewels, portraits and gold.  Like most video slot formats, there are five reels and 20 lines to win.

Each winning spin is rewarded with a little animation from one of the winning squares for a touch of fun and advancement from the traditional mechanical slot machine games.

Play Aztec Treasures online here for free
Play Aztec Treasures online for free, smaller screen

3. Aztec's Treasure - Old School five reel video slot game

Aztec's Treasure Slots,  by Real Time Gaming (RTG), acts much like a traditional slot machine, you can hear the wheels spin and related sound effects  as colorful images whiz by.

Play Aztec's Treasure here for free online

I hope you enjoyed this roundup of Azteca games.
- David Owens

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Alien Abduction Fantastic Idea for Chinatown

The Azteca ticket booth last night.

Where in the world is 
Maria of Chinatown?  
Could she be out of this world?  

Recent events in Fresno's Chinatown suggest there may be unforeseen forces at work. 
Story and photographs by David Owens
Original story: Who kidnapped Maria of Chinatown?

 A few years back the underground tunnel publicity in Chinatown revealed a mysterious history under our feet.  Silent ghosts, buried secrets, passages to nowhere, murder,  and forgotten lives fuel our imagination. But this is Chinatown's past and the tales we can imagine are far more exciting than the facts known.

Every night the streets of Chinatown bring their own plots and subjects for the imagination.  People appear out of nowhere, some on a mission, some wandering about in odd ways changing direction and speeds in rhythms only they can understand.  Behind these characters that grab our attention, the local residents go about their business, meeting someone, going down to the store for groceries, getting a burrito at Chris's Meats.

On weekends a taco stand sets up in front of the Azteca and smiles and laughter are heard as people eat and chat. Cars bring customers to La Fiesta the Spanish music night club next door.  Still more cars bring people down F Street to the Full Circle Brewery for some of the most interesting live music and events in Fresno. 

Personal encounters

A shadowy figure with slender limbs and large
head lurking in doorways on F Street.Alien? Nah, could it be?
Seen here at Salaam Seafoods, a great
restaurant during the day.
Indeed, F Street is never dull.  As the night wears on you notice groups of drifters, mostly from the homeless community the other side of Ventura Street.  The Fresno Rescue Mission and Poverello House serve a large community South of the center of Chinatown.  On the fringe are people with addictions and mental illnesses who have no where else to go. At first glance they can be scary to the uninitiated.

However, after more than a dozen years on the nighttime streets of Chinatown I feel safer here in the Tower District.   Less theft and less violent crime in Chinatown. I am safe here.  Aware of my surroundings and safe.   None of these street people have guns.  If they did they would have sold it for a beer or illegal substances they crave.  The worst problem, though minor, is an insistent panhandler.  "You gotta dime? Got a smoke?  A sincere no usually sends them away. Often the only word heard is 'Hey," the rest is communicated with gestures and body language.

For the person prone to a medical emergency, Chinatown is the place to have it. The response from Fresno Fire Station #3 at Fresno and E Streets is phenomenally fast.  Fire suppression? No problem.  The Fresno Police Department does well, but since they have not been able to have the dedicated neighborhood patrols as they did some years ago, they are not able to do as much proactive work as before.

Aliens of all kinds

Last night at the Azteca ticket booth a ghostly green light appeared in the shape of an alien. At first appearing to be menacing, soon I understood the expression  was simply tranquil, eyes probably closed and observing F Street through other senses. Hey, maybe...
838 F Street
Another guardian spirit has come in Maria's absence.  No longer will people stop, cross themselves and say prayers. Now the reaction is more a furtive glance and a quickened pace.  No more lingering for now.

K-Jewel music floats under the marquee, Cranberries, Avril Lavigne ...  a change! Music from foreigners...aliens!  Under Maria's reign as patron saint of F Street K-Jewel was a Sinatra station, the real classics of the American songbook.  Change is a certainty, even in historical Chinatown.

Before the railroad came to begin the future Fresno on the sinks of Dry Creek there were Chinese citizens living in wood houses and building underground basements and tunnels. They came originally for the gold rush and stayed. They were non-citizens ... again aliens!  The aliens occupied Fresno before there was a Fresno.

Each wave of immigrants that came to new agricultural hub called Fresno started in Chinatown, The West Side, or the wrong side of the tracks.  The Italians, the Armenians, the Mexicans, the Japanese, the Volga Russians and the rest.  The aliens came to Chinatown to get a start a new life in America, to become un-alienated.

Suddenly, people walk down the middlle of the street, a car appears.
The night brings this history to life. Darkness hides the dust, dirt and neglect. The bones of old buildings stand strong and imagination draws the missing pieces.  And the lost people of Fresno come into their own.  No longer suppressed by the watchful daytime people, they are here in force.   Relaxed and empowered.  No pretensions.

There are still some hard working people looking for their way up the ladder of success. Some are undocumented aliens from Cuba, Mexico and South Americas still looking for their place.  But there are also many who will never find the first rung.

Let's "Keep Chinatown Different"

Chinatown is the one area of town where the unexpected happens daily.  If aliens live among us, they started in Chinatown.  Anything can happen.  A manikin can be named Maria and become a saint.  And disappear in a mysterious abduction. Alien abduction? Too soon to tell.

Serious UFO hunters say Fresno lies at the bottom of the "Nevada Triangle" that includes Area-51 and China Lake. The other areas have military aircraft  activity that can spark unexplained observations. However, Fresno does not. Could the Chinese tunnels connect to alien portals? Are the Chinatown night behaviors  caused by alien experiments? Can we conjecture that Chinatown disappearances are alien abductions? 

 Questions about aliens and UFOs in the Fresno area are not new. 
Celestia, aka Anne Heche
Sightings and speculation increased dramatically in 2000 when Anne Heche was spotted partially clothed knocking on doors in Fresno looking for a space portal while possessed by an alien she called "Celestia."  For many, this was the first time the possibility of alien contact in the San Joaquin Valley had been considered.

Under the marquee at the Azteca Theater
Ooooh! As Anne Heche, speaking as Celestia, said, "Ik all notra daska don!"  "It's too scary for me now." 

In all seriousness, Chinatown is where unusual things do happen in Fresno.  Where Maria the Manikin went is open to speculation and over-active imaginations. Maybe she will return and add another chapter to her story. For now, I'm glad Chinatown is different.

Keep Chinatown Different. A new mantra.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Who kidnapped Maria of Chinatown?

For the past twelve years Maria presided over the ticket booth at the Azteca Theater. Countless passersby stopped to greet her and for
Maria of  Chinatown
many she took on religious significance as they stopped, crossed themselves, and spoke prayers and blessings.  She was a vision of grace, beauty and hope.

Maria began her life in Chinatown as a clothing display specialist at Mary's Liquor on F Street 50 years ago.  Mary ran the store to serve residents of Chinatown and stocked more that the usual convenience store including some clothing. And Maria sported the best clothes and was quite popular with her good looks and slim 1960s figure.

ArtHop Chinatown
When the store was closed twelve years ago I asked what would happen to Maria who was already named for her  well known innocent and kindly looks reminding some of the Virgin Mary.

Soon Maria came to work for  the Azteca Theater.

Mardi Gras Chinatown
Maria cast her gaze across the sidewalk and  F street 24 hours a day. She welcomed visitors for ArtHop and Chinatown events keeping a positive outlook.

Sometimes she would get dressed up for holidays such as Christmas and the Fourth of July.  She gained some beaded necklaces for Mardi Gras and a Chinese hat for the Chinese New Year parade.
Maria in her Christmas hat

She kept a light burning around the clock and cast a kind look towards all. Some locals began to stop in front of her to say a prayer and pay their respects. She never looked disapprovingly or was unwelcoming.  She blessed many who had few blessings.

Maria Fourth of July
Hers was not always an easy life.  She observed her share of erratic behavior by those wandering the streets on the edge of normalcy.  People who were homeless, addicted or suffering mental confusion.  In 2008 she was assaullted for the first time. A confused individual broke through the security bars and tossed a heavy planter towards her before raising a misguided hand towards her and tore her brown hair off and escaped down the street. 

Shaved head for solidarity
Maria did not hold a grudge. For awhile she wore her bald head proudly in support of cancer survivors she had seen over the years.  Eventually she decided to change her look and become a redhead.  Never one to dwell on life challenges, she bravely carried on.

In the early hours of May 14, 2013 Maria was kidnapped. Security bars were forced open, the booth broken into, and Maria was taken.  And although she will remain brave and resolute through this adversity, she most certainly would rather be back at the Azteca Theater greeting her friends and those in need.

Maria in recent times in her auburn look.

No ransom note has been received and no one has taken credit for the abduction. The motive remains elusive.  We only can solace in the fact that wherever she is she will be doing her work to soothe the savage soul and bring blessings to those who are deserving.

Ever since Maria started her watch on F Street she has been adored and studied.  Many photographers have chosen her for their subject.  Azteca Theater as photographers model

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tyrannosaurus Azteca almost rewrites history!

Tyrannosaurus Azteca - Aztec Rex

Dinosaurs! Aztecs! Spaniards! Treasure! Human Sacrifice! Adventure!

Way back in 1521 the conquistador Cortes was busy plying the native Aztecs for gold and treasure, not realizing that the Aztecs had a surprise -- a prehistoric monster Tyrannosaurus Azteca!

Some critics call this an action adventure film. Some call it a comedy. Aztec Rex is a return to the campy monster movies of the 50s and 60s.

Two years before his amazing encounter with Montezuma, Cortes is sent on a scouting mission to shores south of Mexico where he and his band of Conquistadors discover a tribe of Aztecs who sacrifice their own people to satisfy the hunger of the "Tyrannosaurus Azteca " living in the jungle.

Just imagine what would happen if Tyrannosaurus Azteca had eaten all the conquistadors!  History would have been written without the Spanish!  Watch to see how Cortes and the Aztecs battle the beast and set the stage for the Mexico we know today.

See the trailer in English:

The Aztecs Summoned a Tyrannosaurus Rex to keep Cortes and his army out of Mexico... Now They Need The Conquistadors' help to stop the T-Rex from killing them all !

Way back in 2007 Director Brian Trenchard-Smith directed this 2.5 million dollar adventure.  Writer: Richard Manning Stars:  Marc Antonio, Allen Gumapac, Dichen Lachman

Watch the entire movie in Spanish!