Tuesday, 17 October 2017

SNES Review 132: Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge

So here I am looking at a cartridge for the SNES, Two things instantly jump out at me, one is the picture showing Spider Man and the X-men the other is the LJN logo.  Now LJN always gets a bit of a shit kicking from video game reviewers but the truth is it was only published by LJN it was in face made by a company called Software Creations. Software Creations was a video game developer based in Manchester, England they started out in 1987 and they did a fair bit of work based on various licensees but they were also responsible for a few fairly popular original games namely Plok, Solstice and its sequel Equinox. (Plok and Equinox I will most likely return to at a latter date).

So its not like Spider-Man hasn't stared in a whole bunch of games but back when this came out Spider man and the X-men together certainly sounded like a recipe for success. You start the game as Spider-Man and in this first level you have to find and disarm bomb after bomb finding them with help of the onscreen prompts which are basically a visual representation of Spider-Man's spider sense. It needs to be said that these are pretty weird bombs as you have to disarm them in a set order, you might be able to see one right in front of you but if its not flashing you cant do anything to it, and it wont flash until you have collected the one the game wants you to get next. Enemies will attack you and in honesty the jumping feels a lot clumsier than it should all in all this level really feels like a huge chore and seeing as this is the level you will probably find yourself playing the most as you'll need to complete it every time you restart the game you are soon going to learn to hate it. This is a game which I feel really benefits from being played on an emulator with save states and such instead of on the original hardware, I guess this shows that the game really needed a save or password system. You really don't realise how much having to repeatedly play a weak, unfun and frustrating part of a game can sour your experience of the whole thing.

I suppose now I should take a break to look at the games Graphics and Sound. Considering at that time this came out id basically call the graphics passable. Some of the sprites are far to small for my liking, looking at little wolverine he looks like a toy, you can instantly tell who people are and get that comic book thrill don't get me wrong but when I compare it to something like Spider-Man on the Megadrive or the latter Maximum Carnage the graphics here just feel very lacking in general. The music and sound effects are well functional. Some of the stuff on offer is alright you have all the sort of sounds you'd expect but then you also have a lot of annoying rubbish as well the best example that comes to mind is the laughing shouting clown noises in the Wolverine stages there like the video game equivalent of nails on a chalk board. That's all I really have to say here, you need to come to this game for the substance if at all because in my opinion at least the style is seriously lacking.

OK so back to the game itself, once you get past the opening level you get the choice of who you want to play as next, with each character having there own levels to complete. As Spider-Man you will find yourself in levels based on the New York City rooftops. The first Spider-Man stage features N'astirh and Shocker as bosses, with Rhino and Carnage being the ones in the second stage. Storm's levels find her in underwater mazes with a limited air supply, for people who know the character this is great as basically she suffers from claustrophobia so this is essentially seeing her in her worst nightmare.Wolverine's finds himself being in a sort of fun house world and see him coming up against  Apocalypse. One of his levels also sees him being chased by the Juggernaut. Gambit's levels see him being in a cave being chased by a giant spiked ball. Both of Cyclops' levels are set underground on the island of Genosha in the Sentinel mines, if you manage to complete these you will eventually find yourself facing off against Master Mold. To put it simply you get to be a bunch of different characters in a bunch of different environments which is a definite plus point for the game.The thing is if you have just read those names and gotten excited then this will actually help you appreciate the game a little bit more, you see the license is well used with lots of characters appearing and being clearly recognisable and if your a big Marvel fan your love for these characters and there stories might actually pull you through a lot of the frustrating moments that in a unlicensed game might have seen you put the joypad down very quickly.

I guess there is the silver lining that once you have done the first Spider-Man level you get to choose who you are next and therefore what your second and third level will be etcetera. The truth is though that this game is hard, confusing and fiddly. It soon feels like not only will you need a lot of skill to beat the levels you will also need a lot of luck and the patience of a saint.

I purchased this game as I remember having it as a kid, I remember my opinion on it being a rather mixed one back in the day, I did think though that it would be neat to own it again and maybe as an adult I might find it easier to handle or appreciate certain elements of it more than I used to but this has not been the case at all. I think if anything I feel more blah about it now than I ever have and that's why I score it a 4 out of 10. I spent £9 on a boxed American copy and I seriously feel like I got cheated if you want to give this game a try go for a loose cart and even if your the biggest spidey fan in the world don't go over £5 for it, its pretty much worth nothing as anything more than a minor curiosity.

Friday, 13 October 2017

A little more about the SNES Mini including my experiances hacking it.

OK so once again I am back here talking about the Super NES Classic Edition or the
Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Famicom as the Japanese version is known,  so with the amount I have gassed on and on about it why am I talking about it again? Well basically because it has been hacked.

Yes hackers have already worked out how to get into the SNES classic and not only take out the Star Fox 2 Rom so it can be put onto a cart/flash cart and played on a real snes but well they have worked out how you can put more games onto the Mini Snes and whats more it is pretty darn simple really.

I am not going to go into how to hack the SNES mini if you want to find out then that information is pretty readily available online and only a search away, nor am I going to be harping on and on about the issue of piracy and if and when it is wrong or right. What I want to talk about are my experiences of playing around with my own machine. Now just to put some of those to rest who might read this and cry oh no he is stealing games its so unfair to Nintendo its not fair to poor old Nintendo lets just get this straight I own like 250 physical SNES games, plus I have a bunch of them legally purchased through the Virtual Console on various devices so they have had a lot of money from me and I'm not about to stop buying things now just because I have found a toy to play around with. Plus lets be honest when Nintendo purposely push something get it popular and then make hardly any of them allowing the market to be controlled by scalpers, while also refusing to print more or do anything about the situation and therefore shunning legitimate customers who actually want to buy there products desperatly but cant I take the view that if Nintendo doesn't give a shit about its fan base then why should we give a shit about them? I actually hope some Chinese company makes a knock off lookey likey version of the SNES mini which is good enough to pass for a real one and charges less than Nintendo and makes more units and creams a healthy profit off of this situation, at least this would actually see a larger number of happy consumers. OK so now I have got that out of the way lets get back to business.

So as I have previously said every version of the SNES mini will contain the  following 16 games:

Contra III: The Alien Wars
Donkey Kong Country
Final Fantasy III
Kirby Super Star
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Mega Man X
Secret of Mana
Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario World
Super Metroid
Star Fox
Star Fox 2
Yoshi’s Island
Which is a pretty darn fine list of games as far as I am concerned.
In Europe we also got

Kirby's Dream Course
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV
Super Punch-Out!!
So that's 21 games. So I guess one thing people are wondering is if the machine comes loaded with 21 how many would actually fit onto it? Well that's not a question that can be easily answered basically because different games take up different amounts of room. Apparently the mini Snes has 249.8mb of room on it. I cant remember how much room the original 21 actually took up but mine currently has 72 games on it and that's only taken up 136mb so as you can see you can probably lift the number of games up to 100 and still have plenty of room for saves and save states.

So when I flashed mine I started plain and simple by adding two of the games Japan got on there mini Snes that we didn't get. I added The Legend of the Mystical Ninja and Super Soccer
  I might have added Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers but apparently some people had found issues with adding this game and it not playing properly so I thought for now I wouldn't worry about it. From there I went on to add 3 of the games I said I felt were missing from the unit in an earlier post, I added Actraiser, Sim City and Final Fight 2. I then tested the unit out and well all of them worked.

This is when I decided to get a little bit experimental and try a few Japanese games which had translation patches put on them, this I figured would be great as I could then play games that never came out here and it would be pretty close to playing them on real hardware. I added Super Back to the Future 2, Super Robot Wars 3, and a whole host of other things. Every now and then I would find that a certain game wouldn't work for example I tried to put the hack Oh No More Zombies Ate my Neighbours on and that didn't work. I am aware that I could instead of depending on the emulator built into the SNES mini install a program called Retroarch on it and this would increase the amount of games that work but as it stands I wanted to keep things nice and simple. In honesty once you get used to it its very easy to put more games on and take other games off. As I have said I am not going to go into detail when it comes to how to hack it, but I found it rather easy once I had read some simple instructions, basically you get this programme that does 95% of the work for you all you need is the roms and a little bit of patience and thought.

So do I see this as a SNES replacement? Not at all. I am still very happy that I have my SNES and I have also asked my girlfriend for a Snes Evedrive for Christmas so I can play translations and hacks on the real machine but I do find the mini Snes to be an interesting bit of kit which I would recommend if you can get yours hands on it for around its retail price. I also would have to recommend hacking it sure you dint have to go wild and become some kind of super eye patch wearing pirate you might just put the snes games you own yourself on it or try out things that simply are not available for sale over here and never have been, for me its all about opening new doors, experiencing new things.

I have seen some people complaining that we didn't get the Pal versions of games or that the box art you see in the menu screen on the Snes mini is not the Pal box art or that the games on the machine are more what was popular in America instead of the UK basically that there is nothing on there like Plok or Cannon Fodder or anything basically British. Well you need to remember that there wasn't a UK version of the SNES mini there was a European version and diffrent games would have been popular in different parts of Europe. In all honesty though I don't see any of these things as an issue a lot of the British Games are not exactly expensive, I grabbed a cart only copy of Plok recently for £5, that's not going to happen with Super Mario RPG is it? The roms used on the SNES Mini are the American ones and there running at 60hz, there trying to give us the best experience we can have now instead of giving us the crippled old 50hz we used to have to put up with and that's why we have the American boxes. In honesty having the American versions really helped us when it came to Contra 3, did we really want the old robot censored European Probotector? Yes I would have liked the option to play at 50hz and 60hz, to have played the pal and NTSC versions side by side, to have more case art options and digital manuals on the system but I don't think any of this is a gamebreaker so to speak and I do think some people have been absolute wingers about it especially when other people cant even get the bloody machines for love nor money.

So to end if you have a SNES mini I hope your enjoying it weather your just playing it or messing around with it and trying to add stuff to it, and if you cant get one then best of luck to you... Finally to Nintendo...sort your bloody act out for once.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

What I have been watching and playing recently. More Orville, The bake Off, Ryse and Trials Fusion.

So sometimes I have played a few things or watched a few things that I don't feel I want to say enough about to make a whole blog post but today I have decided to make a post which gives a rough idea of a few of the things I have been playing and watching. I will start with what I have been watching and what I intend to watch during this month.

I did a review of the first episode of the Orville and since then I have watched the next 3 but I have decided that I don't want to review every episode, once the season is over I might do a season review especially as it has been renewed for a second season. in honesty though I am totally enjoying the show. It reminds me a lot of Star Trek the Next Generation, it feels very very Star Trek like but with some humour, humour which I often think makes it more real. You have people bitching about relationships and about work it just feels a lot less clean and perfect than Trek but makes it a lot easier to relate to. Just like Trek though it tries to have moral lessons and to make you think about things to possibly question your own thoughts and beliefs. The second episode of the season is about Aliens who collect species they see as lesser species and keep them in a zoo as entertainment, in many ways bits of this reminded me of the original Star Trek pilot ''The Cage''. Then the third episode was about Bortis one of the alien members of the crew who comes from a race who apparently are only male having a female child, a female child which his mate wants to have altered to be male. This ends up very much like a Next Generation episode with a court case happening to determine the fate of the child, with each side stating there case and trying to sway you with arguments for why what they want is the best for the child. I don't have enough to say about the show at the moment for it to fill a whole post but I just wanted to say that I am very very happy with the show and feel that it is off to a great start.

I have watched a great deal of shows like The Great British Bake off and Australian Master chef with my girlfriend and while I enjoy them I don't think that they are something I would really write a full post about. I do find them very easy to watch though and a very relaxing watch. I basically find myself picking a favourite contestant and trying to will them on to win, but maybe it says something that I always also seem to find myself finding a contestant I hate, there is always someone who just seems to annoy the absolute heck out of me, it might be the way they talk or the fact you can plainly seem them copying other people while complaining that its so hard or that this or that made there bake go wrong. The person I am currently supporting on The Great British Bake off is Liam, I just think he is an amazing young man who really puts his heart into things and just comes across as so humble and so likable, I was very happy for him when he won Star Baker but I am not sure that he will really win it but still he is the one with my support. As for Stacey she is the one I cant stand, she seems to do nothing but talk about how hard it is like she is the only one having to do these hard bakes and having to deal with the heat in the tent and with demanding bakes. Every single time there is an elimination I really hope that it will be her, I will be happy for whoever wins it providing that it is not her.

OK so as for playing recently I completed Ryse Son of Rome, it was an xbox one game and I had owned it for quite a while but I had never really played it. I was sat there one day and just decided to give it a quick go, to be honest my expectations where quiet low, I had been given the impression that it was good in the graphics but that overall it was pretty much more of a playable tech demo than a real game. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that despite not being the deepest game ever it was an enjoyable hack and slasher which in my opinion had a great story. Once I started playing it I just couldn't stop until I was done, sure it wasn't the longest game ever but it probably ended just before I could get tired of what it had to offer. If I was doing a review of this I would probably give it a 7 out of 10 and recommend that you get it cheap second hand and see if you enjoy it as much as I did.

As well as playing Ryse I have also been playing a lot of Trials Fusion, I have owned it a long time on both the PlayStation 4 and the xbox one but its something I just keep finding myself coming back to. It is the simple fact that it only takes a minute or two to play a track but ages to master one. You can either put it on for a short blast of fun or you can sit down for ages and try and set better times for each course, and heck you might even find yourself spending far more time than you'd like returning to old courses you had already beaten because someone on your friends list just whipped your time. No matter how well you think you did it always seems like you can shave another second off your record and it can be seriously addictive. If I was to do a review this game would easily land a score of 9 out of 10.

Well thats at least some of what I have been watching and playing recently  I will be back soon with another post, most likly one with a main topic instead of lots and lots of little bits and bobs of this and that.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Cult of Chucky Review

So I have mentioned how I came to horror before and how I used to grab pretty much whatever was available to rent for 50pence a night from the middle of my old Video Rental store, well one of the games I grabbed one weekend was Childsplay. Now the first Childsplay absolutely blew me away I thought it was an awesome film, it was just such a neat idea and Chucky was so well done the way he moved the voice they had given him, back then the second I had finished watching the film I wanted more, little did I know that years latter I would be watching the 7th film. Not only have they reached the 7th film they have actually done it without either going in to space or hell, recasting the main killer or rebooting it.

So with this being the 7th film in a series despite it not having a number in the title do you need to have seen all of the other films for it to make sense? Well it would certainly help if you had seen a few of them, the original so you know who the character of Andy is, Bride so you know who Tiffany is and Curse of Chucky as Nica (played by Fiona Dourif) returns from that film and well its also very obviously a continuation from that film. In general the more you have seen the more in jokes and references you will understand so the more you will get from the experience. OK so now before I go further I want to say that there will be some spoilers in this review but I will try not to go too far into all of the twists and turns or give too much away.

So this film continues a short while after the end of  Curse Of Chucky (A great film I highly recommend) all of Mica's family are dead apart from her niece and she is locked up in a psychiatric hospital as everyone believes that she is responsible for the murders. Nica’s has been receiving therapy including the electro shock kind and has been pretty much convinced that Chucky is nothing but a figment of her imagination, that she was/is mentally ill and her mind dreamt him up as a coping mechanism so it could try to protect her from the knowledge that she sliced and diced everyone else who died in the last film due to jealousy over the fact she was stuck in a chair and her sister could walk and had a partner and a child. We join her just before she is transferred to a medium security mental health facility.

Well if you watched Curse you will know that right at the end an adult Andy Barcley (the child from the original Childsplay and Chuckys oldest nemesis) showed up and blew Chucky to pieces , so where is Andy during all of this and where is Chucky? Well Andy has his own place and well he is basically the caretaker of Chuckys head which is still alive swearing threatening and laughing away. Andy watches Chucky talks to him and even tortures what is left of him, why he doesn't simply burn whats left who knows maybe its partly because he feels if he killed Chucky there would be no proof of everything that he and Nica had gone through (we do latter see a Video of him tyring to use the head to prove Nica Innocent) but still personally I would have burned the living crap out of that head. Still I need to say I love the stuff between Chucky and Andy I think they have this fascinating relationship there is some degree of respect as well as hate there, they both push each others buttons and they both know that the other has fucked up there life/plans. It also made me wonder if in some way the whole experience of dealing with Chucky had warped Andy not making him evil but certainly blurring the edges of his moral compass what with the fact that he seems to enjoy torturing Chucky so much, still who am I to judge Chucky has killed or been responsible for pretty much everyone who has ever cared about Andy leaving his life in one way or another.

The majority of this story is really Nica's though we get to see her moved to a medium security unit, we get to see her meet and begin to get to know her fellow inmates and then Chucky is introduced to proceedings at first the Doctor brings in a Good Guy doll which happens to be a Chucky, he informs everyone that there were around 50 different good guy dolls and that a certain percentage of the dolls where Chuckys and that he purchased this one for well therapy reasons. We then get to see how various people react to both Chucky and to Nica, once again Chucky is a master at knowing who to use how to use them and how to make the audience laugh.

OK so that's as much of the story as I am going to give away so lets get into what I thought about the film. Well I really enjoyed it but I did feel like the film brought new ideas to the table but then didn't fully develop them as much as it could have. The film was good I would give it a 7 out of 10 but  I really felt that there was so much more there which was left unsaid or unexplored. I could have had a lot more of the Andy and Chucky interactions, I would have liked to have seen a scenario which was a much more sort of cat and mouse battle of both brains and will between them with each thinking they had the upper hand on the other. I guess the most important thing is that this film has made me want to talk to other fans about it and it has left me wanting more, I want an 8th Childsplay, I want it soon and I want it to link to this film, I want to see what happens next and I want it to expand on some of the possibilities that I feel that this one did not fully grab ahold of.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

SNES Review 131: Teenage Mutant Hero/Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles in Time

The Teenage Mutant Ninja or for us in the UK Hero Turtles was one of those huge things you just couldn't escape when I was younger. I remember one Christmas they were the in thing to have, to the degree that people were fighting over the figures and some stores were even putting limitations on how many you could buy. I remember my mum bless her took my older brother and cued for hours just to get 4 Turtles related Figures for me for Christmas, she couldn't even get the Turtles and ended up importing American Turtle figures which was actually awesome as they ended up being a little different to my friends figures mostly the fact they had more menacing eyes I guess it was because they were Ninja not heroes. The theme tune to the show was burned into all of our young brains and we would frequently scream out phrases like Turtle Power or Cowabunga, heck I remember doing a dance and singing to Turtle power with 4 friends in a school assembly, I had half a barrel on my back as a shell and was Raphael because he was and still is my favourite. So I think you can see how much the Turtles meant to me, I had played the heck out of the original arcade game, I had the Sinclair Spectrum conversion of that on my shelf so when I found out that there was going to be a SNES game well I was super super excited. OK so I think that's given it away my review today is Turtles in Time. Its one of those games that when I started my attempt to review 150 games I didn't think I would ever review, sure I owned it as a kid and played the living heck out of it but I had swore I wouldn't review anything that I couldn't play on real hardware with a real cartridge I own (I have considered getting an Everdrive for my SNES and using this to review things I don't own but so late in the game that feels kind of like cheating). I had seen this online many times but it was commanding such a high price I couldn't justify grabbing it, It wasn't till a local store got a copy and I managed to talk them down from £40 to £30 that I got my hands on it again. So here we go lets see if I like it as much as I used to back in the day.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV Turtles in Time also known as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles: IV Turtles in Time (in Europe) was originally an arcade  game produced by Konami and in fact was a sequel to the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) arcade game, and before coming to the SNES and it didn't have a number attached to it. The reason behind the number 4 is because there was a turtles game for the NES which was then followed up by a NES adaption of the Original Turtles arcade machine which went on to be called Teenage Mutant/Ninja Turtles 2 the Arcade game which was followed by another turtles game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was also a side-scrolling beat-'em-up made by Konami (only released in Japan and America though) The third turtles game features play mechanics similar to the previous game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, but it was an original title for the NES not an Arcade port. So for Nintendo gamers at least Turtles in Time was the 4th game, I guess in Europe they could have called it Turtles 3 but maybe they just figured lets not screw around with the title too much or it will only get confusing.

OK so the games story is that Shredder and Krang have stolen the Statue of Liberty, and just to make sure the Turtles are really interested they have also taken there friend April O'Neal hostage, they have done this to basically bait the Turtles so they can draw them out and try to kill them. So your probably wondering where the in time bit of the title comes from? Well that's because (Spoiler follows) when you catch up with him Shredder sends you through a time warp.  This is part of what I think really makes this game ace, the time periods which the turtles end up in are really different, there creative and I think they really help to keep things interesting. Yeah its not the biggest most spectacular plot in the world but its one which fits in well with the characters and makes you feel like your in the world of the show. This is really helped by the fact that the graphics in this game are bright and that everyone looks just like they do in the cartoon. You get to pick which Turtle you are so you can take the game on as your favourite or you can take it in turns to complete it as one turtle and then the next, on top of this there are all the villain characters a fan of the show could hope for, not only are Krang and Shredder present you will also see Beebop and Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman, Metalhead, the Rat King, Leatherhead, and Tokka and Rahzar. This made the young me very happy and you know what it also makes me geek out now when I play it, if there is anyone I could add to the game (as a playable character) it would be Casey Jones as I always thought he was great, but in honesty I cant moan about who is featured at all the game has the perfect cast of characters.

I really like the graphics in this game its not just that they are bright, or that things are correct to the cartoon, its just everything about the games graphics, the backgrounds, the attention to details. Not only are the Turtles done perfectly you also have the awesome option to make the characters look more like they did in the comic books, this is something that they really didn't have to put into the game but they did and its just such a neat little touch for the die hard Turtle fans. Like I have mentioned above the game is just so filled with characters but they are all also brilliant to look at, its great to see  the Turtle's expressions when they get, hit or  shocked,  or flattened, or fall down a hole, etc. I don't believe that graphics make a game but by heck do they help make a good game even better.

This game is not just a pretty looker though it also has some darn good toe tapping tunes which really help go with the tempo and feel of the on screen action and yes they do throw the animated 80's cartoon theme song in there as well. Play the game for awhile and you'll soon find yourself humming bits of tunes in your day to day life which I always take as the sign of a good soundtrack, the fact that it stays with you after your done playing. The boss music is great it has that brilliant frantic feeling to it but well its a shame it gets reused so much, I would have liked to see individual end of level bosses actually have there own themes but this is the smallest of nit picks after all you know if I am mentioning things like this its because I don't have any really deep criticisms to make. The sound effects are good as well you have the usually noises you get when your hitting an enemy or they are hitting you, noises that reflect the fact you have picked up a power up, yelps of pain and I love the Cowabunga the turtles shout when you finish a level.

OK so now its on to the most important part of a game the Gameplay, and I am happy to say that I think the game plays amazingly. The controls are simple but this means that anyone can pick it up and get right into the game withing minutes and the Turtles do exactly what you want how you want and when you want. The main thing is that this game is just darn fun, its full of character handles well and really draws you into its world.The levels are pretty much medium in length but this is a good thing they feel reasonably long but they never out stay there welcome. So you start the game up watch a quick but cool intro and pick your Turtle. You then do what you do in most beat em ups walking from left to right beating the heck out of who ever crosses your path, most of the standard grunts in this are the Foot clans  Foot Soldiers who you will recognise from the show, different coloured members have different weapons and attack patterns but these are the games go to grunts with a sprinkling of robots mousers and things thrown in. The levels have various traps for you to avoid but generally its a case of getting attacked by wave after wave of enemies, one of the neat things is that you can get your enemies to walk into swinging traps and laser beams. After a bit you'll reach a boss, beat the boss and you'll move on to the next level. in some causes its not just a boss its two bosses who you fight together for example Beebop and Rocksteady, the more you play it the more you will get there patterns down and the quicker you'll be able to beat them. Sure it might not be anything to far removed from most of the scrolling beat em ups from the 16bit generation but its one which Konami clearly did with a lot of love and polish and I think that it stands up as one of the best, in fact I would argue the only way to beat this game would be to turn off your SNES plug in a megadrive and put on some Streets of Rage 2.

Part of me just wants to give this game a 10 out of 10, I think its a lot of fun to play, I think it has great replay value and I can very warmly say that I feel super happy to have it back in my collection. I do admit that I have certain biases one of which being that I love this kind of game, I am a huge mark when it comes to side scrolling walk along beat em ups, I am also a massive Turtle fan, so its almost as if this game is made for me. Put simply I am going to give it a 10 out of 10 with the understanding that I have laid out all of my biases and that if your not into the Turtles or into this kind of game then it wont tick all the same boxes for you, but even so I think it is one of the very finest examples of its genre. Now if you want to buy it well as I said my copy cost me £30, its one of the unfortunate parts of being a retro gamer some of the old classics now cost you an arm and a leg, there are copies of this from all regions going for all sorts of prices online so if you see a copy of this for around the £30 price point then dive on it as your sure to see lots of people trying to get figures like £85 even for a loose cart and with it being a license its not likely to end up on compilations or anything like that any time soon. Of course there are other ways it could be sampled but I think we all know what they are by now. OK I have a desire to go get some Pizza so.....Cowabunga!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Mindfullness One: Talking about my own experiances with mental health issues.

I feel it is very important for people to talk about there mental health about how they feel about the problems they have had and how they have dealt with these. Now I feel first of all it is important to say that everyone has mental health and that mental health and mental illness are not the same thing. I dont want to go to heavily into the academic I want to try to keep this nice and simple so that anyone can understand. Often when you hear the term Mental Illness your brain will think of certain things and in some cases it will turn to cliches of people being mad and hearing voices or shouting at people who are not there. When it comes to Mental Illness there is a stigma attached to it people are seen as simply being mad instead of being seen as people who need help. 

We all have mental health at all stages of our lives the real question is how good or bad this health is. You see mental health is not a case of crazy or normal its a spectrum and you can sit anywhere on it from feeling amazingly healthy in yourself in your mind, to feeling a little bit down and maybe anxious to more extreme cases such as being incredibly depressed to possibly struggling to maintain a grip on reality. During an average persons life they will move up and down this scale, when times are good they could be described as mentally healthy but at other times something may happen which causes them to be ill, to display a mental illness. When someone displays signs of mental illness they are not crazy they are vulnerable and in need of help. A lot of people wont seek help because either they don't know that it exists or they are so scared of being called crazy and of facing stigma either now or in the future because they admitted that they were struggling that it just doesn't seem worth asking for help. When someone does ask for help its not always that easy to get it, there is the fact you need to go and convince someone that there is an issue and often this issue needs to be assigned a label and then you have to go on a waiting list to be seen for it, because of the stigma attached to asking for help people will often wait till they are near boiling point before asking for help so then being met with a long wait after this can further add to the problems.

I know that my mental health has taken swerves up and down over the years from early bits of depression, anxiety and panic attacks to a latter breakdown and case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I figure that I need to tell my tale so that it might help other people to look at there own mental health, to try and manage it and to seek help if they need it. So many people have gone through these kind of struggles and if more people would stand up admit it and be counted then it would feel a lot more like a natural part of life, a part we can talk about and discuss free from stigma. I want to talk about my issues today to try and help others either not face them tomorrow or at the very least face them knowing that there not the first one to feel this way, that they are not alone and that they are not weak or mad.

I would blame my first stumbles upon bullying and ignorance about some of the disorders I suffer from such as Epilepsy and Dyslexia, ignorance on both my behalf and other peoples ignorance. School was tough for me with constant snide comments and even teachers being less than supportive and I didn't know how to deal with a lot of this I developed a somewhat hostile outer shell one which claimed that it did not care and one which pushed me to become a bit of a mix between a class clown and someone who had just lost hope. I hated myself and looked down on myself on an almost daily basis but I simultaneously smiled and tried to bring joy to others either through being a clown or by standing up for them. I would often get in trouble for sticking up for people in the face of authority and it was simply because although I couldn't see anything worthwhile in myself I always saw the best in others and couldn't stand to see people try to put them down or to try and make them feel bad about themselves. 

I soon found that video games were a bit of a coping mechanism for me, when times got tough I could just retreat to my room and play some games. My home life was great I had a very supportive family and I felt totally safe when inside the walls of my home. It was during my GCSE's that I found video gaming first really save me. I had zero confidence about my GCSE's I was certain I would fail them, a lot of teachers had led me to believe I would fail them and yet I tried really hard to study. I didn't have any ambition to go to college or university but I just wanted to come out with half decent grades, ones I could read without feeling too ashamed of myself, ones I could actually find work with. The issue was the more I tried to study the more stressed I got, it got to the point where I was wasting more time blankly panicing in front of my notes than I was studying this is when I made a deal with myself. The deal was this if I could study for a set amount of time then as a reward I would allow myself to play Mario Kart. It worked it got me studying and although I didn't get the best grades it did allow me to get 4 C's which was a lot more than was expected of me. I have been making myself deals like this ever since deals which have helped me to try and manage stress and anxiety. This is what is called a coping stratergy, its a plan for how to keep yourself calm, how to keep going and how to cope with the situations your dealt.

I will bring this topic up again soon because I have a lot to say about it but for now I just want to push the fact that if your struggling you are not alone, lots of other people will be in or have been in the same position. 

Sunday, 1 October 2017

The Mini Snes my thoughts on it and on how hard it is to get the thing.

Well This weekend has been a pretty darn important weekend for me, its been the one year anniversary of the first date me and my girlfriend went on together and on a lesser note I got the Mini SNES I have had preorderd for months. Now despite it being the less important of the two things its the one I am going to talk about here mostly because its the one most likely to be of interest to people who visit this blog.

 First of all for me at least preordering the Mini SNES was a bit of a bitch, it was hard with place after place I tried being sold out long before I could get my details in and get one ordered, I tried Shopto, Amazon and well all manner of online places, in the end I had to go to my semi local Game and place an in store Preorder, they also made it so I had to put £50 down as a deposit a none refundable deposit which I would loose along with my rights to the console if I didn't collect it within 48 hours of the units release. I know this might not sound like the worst clause in the world to some people but I suffer with epilepsy which sometimes can cause me to have fits that really knock me out of it and leave me just not wanting or particular able to do anything, so lets just say it would have been much better for me personally if I could have had it delivered to my house. Still I managed to pick up my mini SNES but unfortunately it looks like I am one of the lucky ones.

So here we are again just like with the Mini NES there are not enough units to meet demand and arseholes who managed to get them who have no real interest in them as games machines just as commodities are selling them or trading them in to other places meaning they end up costing some poor desperate sucker who actually wants one for what they are twice what they should. There are basically none of them available anywhere near me for anywhere near the recommended retail price but there are 5 of them available in CEX for £150 and some asshole on facebook has 12 of them and is trying to sell them for the same price. This is where I need to say something and its not the first time I have said this but get your bloody act together Nintendo your letting your customers down, if people are willing to spend so much then the demand is clearly there. Do your fans a favour and produce things like this as actual profit making products instead of cheap marketing gimmicks.  Oh let's make practically none of something so that we as a company can pat ourselves on the back call it a sold out success and the higher ups in the company can sit and have a smug self satisfied circle jerk while gamers who have kept the company in profit get the short end of the stick. At the very least if your going to make such a low number make it so you have to order it direct from Nintendo and its only one per person so you at the least cant have some dick hording and selling 12 of them. You might ask why I care if I already have one and the answers simple it's because I care about my fellow gamer, I want to see them happily getting and enjoying the products and games they want. Best of luck to all of you who wanted and couldn't get one I truly feel very sorry for you and the last thing I want to do is rub it in anyones face that I have one.

I would have liked it if this had turned out differently, I would have liked to have simply found myself writing a review of the hardware and saying how great it is, because trust me I do think its a great little unit. I have already talked about my thoughts on the choice of games Nintendo has put on it in a past blog and well to not overly repeat myself I think they really did do a very good job of picking a good little slice of the SNES libary. The machine looks great, feels like a quality product, the pads feel nice and the games run just as you would expect. The only thing that annoys me outside of the obvious issue with getting a hold of the unit and the whole scalper issues are very few and far between, my only other issue is a very minor one and it is that if you go to the manual section on the machine it gives you a QR code to scan with your phone, come on really it would not have taken that much room memory wise to put the manuals on the unit and allow you to look at them on there. If you can get one of these without being maid to pay through the nose for it then they are absolutely worth having.