Thursday, 20 July 2017

Talia Jane who she is and why I think she is a hero.

So I want to talk about someone I have a great deal of respect for and its a name most people wont have heard of and thats Talia Jane. Now for those that dont know Talia Jane was a 25 year old who worked for Yelp/Eat24, now what got her known was the fact that she wrote an open letter to the CEO of the company she worked for at the time talking about the poor pay they recieved and some of the dire circumstances some of the people who worked there were in. She was fired almost imediatly but clearly the CEO ecetera realised that she was speaking the truth as the wages were soon increased. Now Talia Jane was slammed for her open letter with lots of people calling her a self intitled Millienial saying she wanted something for nothing, how is working a full time job and just wanting to make enough to not cry yourself to sleep because your so hungry wanting something for nothing? Lots of people will say oh they worked hard and there situation is much better so if Talia had just worked harder then she wouldnt have so much to worry about but anyone with half a brain knows this is bullshit. I am not going to go through her letter and every point she raised as it's still out there and it's easy enough to find but I will say that it definitely touched me.

I am someone who never quite made it despite trying really hard, I nearly made it as a Rugby player but I was hit by a hit and run driver and this ended my career, it really messsed up my leg I had titanium plating put in my leg and I can walk but it was the end of my chance at a sport based career. From here I hit university and tried to make myself more attractive to employers but I got a part time job at a pub. I started to work my way up the ranks and I invested a heavy amount of time and effort in to the job but due to being held hostage in a robbery and having my head smashed open with iron bars I developed PTSD and my epilepsy which I had been born with also took a turn for the worse, I essentially reached the point of Deputy Manager and was on the cusp of more but I simply could not hold myself togther anymore and had a breakdown. I clawed my way up from this and I managed to get a very high qualification in the childcare field but I was unable to secure a job with this because of other peoples prejudice, I would get interview after interview to end up in front of a potential boss who couldnt seem to get past the fact I am a man and would just keep saying but your a man. I dont list all of this to get sympathy in the slighest, I just want to show that sometimes you can try all that you want but circumstances, issues and other peoples problems can get in your way, unfortunatly its not always the person who tries the hardest or who puts the most in that gets the most out of life. I could recount the stories of many others I have known and met who have given it there all but fell short but those are there tales to tell or not tell.

We are constantly bombarded by a media which lets face it is paid for and ran by the rich and it promotes the idea that those who try hard will get, that the cream can not help but rise to the top and that anyone sinking in a first world society like the UK or USA is doing so because there simply not trying hard enough and that anyone who speaks up against this is simply a cry baby.

Well let me spell this out simply Talia Jane was and is not a cry baby, you know why? It's simple a cry baby is someone who is scared and she wasn't scared, read her open letter it wasn't all wish is me she wasn't just crying out about her problem about her situation, she was daring to stand up against what was wrong, to tell the truth and put her name on it. How many people spend there lives crying and bitching saying things need to change and never doing anything about it? I think it took real bravery to write the open letter she wrote and I salute her for it.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

NES bad box art: Ironsword

OK so if you have been following my blog for any length of time then you will have most likly realised that I love looking at cover art, often comparing different art from different regions. In most cases it has been megadrive/Genesis cover art and usually I have been looking at which region provided the best art. Today is a little different as I am looking at a piece of NES box art, it's an Infamous piece of art. As I have obviously posted the above picture then you know I am talking about Ironsword. If you look at the case without having played the game you might wonder what the issue is, well to put it simply they put a famous model Fabio on the front cover dressed as a barbarian the main issue with this is the fact in the game you don't play as a Barbarian you play as a knight.

Here is the games title screen and the in game sprite basically matches this so that basically tells you that the people responsible for the case art had either never either tried the game or been in touch with the creators to get any information on what the game was like beyond its title. It was like someone just really wanted to be around Fabio while he was getting oily barbarian loin cloth photos done, usually he was on the front of romance books so who knows, but the cover certainly didn't fit the game and often when you do hear about the game it's for the infamous cover art as it's a shame as it's quite a cracking little title.

This is the sort of thing I would have made as a front cover for ironsword wizards & warriors 2 for the NES instead of the famous Fabio one, seeing as you play a knight in armour in the game I thought it would be more appropriate to have an armoured figure on the box art. Yeah the armour might not be exactly the same as the one in the game and be a little more realistic but it in my opinion certainly fits the theme more. Maybe if the game had gotten something a little more like this it would be remembered fondly on its own merit as apposed to for its quirky cover.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

My Oppinion on the Trainspotting 2 Choose Life speach.

So I just watched Trainspotting 2, now the original film came out when I was a teenager and was incredibly popular and I remember there being all kinds of discussions about it both amongst friends but also in the media. This sequel has come around twenty years latter and is also set twenty years latter so is it as good as the original? Well I am not sure if it is as good but it is certainly in my oppinion a darn good film and it is also a brilliant sort of love note to the original movie, they would work amazingly as a double feature.

Now I find that the original Trainspotting is brilliantly summed up by its Choose Life speach deliverd by the character of Renton (Ewan McGregor)
Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.

Choose your future.

Choose life.

Now for anyone who has seen TrainSpotting they will know that the above quote is followed by Renton saying he chose not to choose life he chose something else, that something else being a herrion addiction. The thing is though the above speach spoke to me, it didnt make me want to go try and be an addict or anything stupid like that but it made me question the way in which the mass majority of people do the same things, they aim for the same goals and find meaning in the same ways, it made me ask do I really want to choose all of those things? The speach to me at least highlights some of the worst aspects of mankind in this country at the time that film was released, the irony is the fact that a junky can look at the way things are, that he can see how screwed up they are and can decided that he doesnt want to choose this he wants to choose something else. I would argue that he saw how screwed up things were and decided he didnt want to be a part of it all, that following the above template was in fact worse than just shooting up. Now I dont agree with the character dont get me wrong but I do think a lot of the critical elements of the speach ring very true and show just how shallow the mass majority of people are. It was an amazing movie moment and it was incredibly quotable both in parts and whole.

So with Trainspotting 2 being a follow up to the original, and with it showing how the characters involved have both changed and grown but also showing how they now cope with the world around  them you might ask if Renton has any simmilar words of wisdom in the sequel and if so what are they? Well here they are

Choose designer lingerie, in the vain hope of kicking some life back into a dead relationship. Choose handbags, choose high-heeled shoes, cashmere and silk, to make yourself feel what passes for happy. Choose an iPhone made in China by a woman who jumped out of a window and stick it in the pocket of your jacket fresh from a South-Asian firetrap. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and a thousand others ways to spew your bile across people you've never met. Choose updating your profile, tell the world what you had for breakfast and hope that someone, somewhere cares. Choose looking up old flames, desperate to believe that you don't look as bad as they do. Choose live-blogging, from your first wank till your last breath; human interaction reduced to nothing more than data. Choose ten thing you never knew about celebrities who've had surgery. Choose screaming about abortion, choose rape jokes, slut-shaming, revenge porn and an endless tide of depressing misogyny. Choose 9/11 never happened, and if it did, it was the Jews. Choose a zero-hour contract and a two hour journey to work, and choose the same for your kids, only worse, and maybe tell yourself that it's better that they never happened. And then sit back and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody's​ fucking kitchen. Choose unfulfilled promise and wishing you'd done it all differently. Choose never learning from your own mistakes. Choose watching history repeat itself. Choose the slow reconciliation towards what you can get, rather than what you always hoped for. Settle for less and keep a brave face on it. Choose disappointment and choose losing the ones you love then as they​ fall from view, a piece of you dies with them until you can see​ that one day in the future, piece by piece they will​ be all gone and there will be nothing left of you to call alive or dead. Choose your future, Veronica. Choose life

I have seen other people criticse the above speach and complain that its too long, that it tries to be too clever, that it over explains itself but I see it in a very diffrent light. You need to remember that the original speach in the films story at least is what Renton came up with while a relativly young man with a crippling addiction to drugs, it was deliverd in a sort of monolog format so there was no clear view of who he was really saying it to it was played as if the character was saying it to the audience as a way to explain his outlook on life. In Trainspotting 2 the new speach is said directly to another character to a female character Renton is intrested in to at least some degree, it is also said to a twenty year old wiser more informed person, someone who has seen and experianced diffrent things, someone who has reached a point in there life where some people ask a lot more questions. I see this speach as a massive pub rant, its everything Renton has ponderd and thought about for a long time pushed out partly as a sort of attempt to woo the person he is talking to but also as an outpouring of emotions such as frustration and anger. Renton is older more cynical and is talking to someone younger who to at least some degree he feels he is trying to save, he is trying to impart all of the knowledge he has gained on to her, trying to tell her not to repeat either his mistakes or the mistakes of those around her, those who have already taken the roads she might soon walk. I think most of us have been in this position venting our own frustrations with the world while trying to somehow help those around us, trying to save them from the pain and frustration we have gone through. I dont think the speach is any less impressive than the original, I think it covers a lot of the things wrong with modern society and would make a great starting point for many discussions in various classes, I just think that we are more used to modern life being scrutinised and questioned in our enterainment nowdays so its not quiet as novel as the original was.

I guess there is a fair degree of irony in me covering this very topic being a blog writter when I am putting my oppinion out there spewing my content all over people I have never met but then heck you made the choice to read this and quiet simply writing stuff like this is a part of my life.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Why you should Watch Batman the Animated Series



Now I am sure I have mentioned in the past that I think Batman is awesome, I have read a lot of Batman Comics, I have played a lot of Batman games (I am currently playing Batman Arkham Knight) One of the things I like the most about Batman is that the character works in a million different ways , for example I loved the old Adam West TV series for the campy wonderful show it was, but then I also loved the Tim Burton Movies staring Michael Keaton for how dark and comic book like they were. Now when I originally heard about Batman: The Animated Series I didn't expect it to be very dark at all it was for kids after all, how surprised I went on to be, the show did have the odd silly moment but it was surprisingly dark and adult at times and dealt with things I really didn't expect it to deal with. The thing is for me the best children's cartoons are the ones that don't treat children like children at all. I for a limited time worked in education and one of the things I was taught that has always stuck with me is that in order to achieve the best from children you need to challenge them, you need to show them dignity and respect and have faith in there ability to comprehend more than people typically give them credit for.

Batman the Animated Series works on multiple levels even if you watch it with very little understanding or attention then it still works as a simple tale of good against evil, one mans quest to make the world around him a safer place for the innocent. Yet pull out pretty much any single episode and there is something much deeper in it. In the episode Nothing To Fear for example the Scarcrow uses his fear toxin on people one of which is Batman, and what does Batman fear, he fears his own dead Father, he fears that he has let him down. This is clearly not the case as Batman has devoted his life to saving people and making the world a better place because of how his parents were murdered but this shows how sometimes our own worst fears are simply figments of our imagination dangerous ideas we have formed, ideas which are unhealthy and have the power to damage us. To me this episode clearly shows not only that sometimes we have to face our own fears but that we also quiet often make our own fears. Now you might say that oh big deal I have come up with this idea while in my 40's but no this is something I thought when I watched the show back when it was first shown in 1992 back when I was around 11, I might be better at articulating the idea now but everything needs to start somewhere. Not only would I argue that the way in which this show treated ideas made it ideal viewing for children back then I would argue that it makes it both just as accessible to children now and watchable for adults.

Here you have a show set in the Batman world which deals with all kinds of situations in an adult maner but also manages to squeeze in a remarkable amount of characters adding layers of depth to there characters which can be very surprising, as the show goes on you feel that you really get to know both the characters and the dynamics they share with each other. The show has some amazing animation but I think that even this is blown out of the water by the sound. The show not only has amazing music but it has some of the best voice acting ever. Kevin Conroy is a fantastic Batman, and of course just about everyone has heard stories about how great Mark Hamil is as the Joker and trust me all of them are true, he has the character absolutely nailed to perfection but it doesn't end with just these two, the show runners seemed to do a brilliant job of knowing just what kind of voice to get for each and every character. One of the things that really surprised me about the show was some of the vocal talent they managed to get, Dick Miller from Gremlins (and other classics) turns up in 2 episodes and David Warner gives an exceptional performance as Ra's al Ghul.

So am I going to suggest a jumping in point or an episode that you simply have to see? Well I would have to say just try and get a hold of the first season and work from there, yes there are a lot of episodes that stand very well on there own but the show also tries to build on itself and parts of it simply work a lot better if you have seen all of the subtle build up to a scene that has happened over the long haul.

Friday, 7 July 2017

The SNES Mini regional diffrences and games I would put on it

Ok so I knew I would be back here talking about the Super NES Classic Edition or the
Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Famicom as the Japanese version is known, well why am I mentioning the Japanese one basically because they get slightly diffrent games. 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
I have previously listed all of the games we will be getting in Europe and you might have noticed that we are getting all of the above games as well as the following five titles 

Kirby's Dream Course
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV
Super Punch-Out!!

So what are the Japanese getting instead of these 5 well there getting the following 5games

 Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem
 The Legend of the Mystical Ninja
 Panel de Pon
 Super Soccer
 Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers

So what do I think about what we are getting compared to what there getting? Well personally I would have preferd to have gotten Super Street Fighter 2 over Street Fighter 2 turbo to me that feels like  we got a bit of a bum deal, its not that Turbo is a bad game but if your only going to get one of the Street Fighter SNES games then why not the newest one with the largest selection of characters? So given the chance I would swap them but how do I feel about the rest of the games? Well I do wish that we got The Legend of the Mystical Ninja as it is a great game, which I find incredibly fun in both single and two player mode (2 player co-operative). If I had to loose a game from our list for this I think I would get rid of Kirby's Dream Course, its not that its a bad game its just that I have a lot more fondness for Mystical Ninja. I think we are really fortunate to get both Castlevania 4 and Super Punch out and I really think the Japanese are missing out here so I couldnt imagine wanting to get rid of these games for anything. I wouldnt really be that worried about getting Panel de Pon or Super Soccer at least not at the expense of other games, I am kind of suprised that we didnt get something like Super Soccer or Super Tennis on the SNES mini because sports games like this were very much of the SNES experiance back in the day but its not like they are hard or expensive to trackdown on cartridge. I would if they had translated it have loved to have gotten Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem on our SNES mini but if we had to loose a game to get it I would find it very hard to pick one for the chop, maybe I would say just dont bother giving us a street fighter at all but thats just me personally, I am sure many people are quiet happy to have a version of Street Fighter 2 on the system. I think the important think to note is that although I think its fun to question what should be on the machine I cant really knock the games they have chosen, it certainly could have been a heck of a lot worse.

Just to end this piece though I am going to pretend that someone from Nintendo told me they wanted to up the list of games from 21 per region to 26 and wanted 5 more games to be recomended for this, this is my list of the 5 games I would recomend in no particular order

Sim City
Final Fight 2
Chrono Trigger
Pilot Wings

Pilot Wings was always one of my favourate SNES games and well its just one of the first games I think about when I think about the Super Nintendo, its also so diffrent to everything else on the machine and I think it really shows the machine off well so I was very suprised it didnt make the cut. As for Sim City the SNES Sim City is just so user friendly its my absolute favourate version of Sim City ever and I could spend an absolute age on it making city after city its just a very relaxing game that is very diffrent to the other games on this mini system. I had to say Final Fight 2 because if there is a genre of games thats missing on the Mini SNES then it is the walk along beat em up, they were so popular during the 16bit era its a little strange to not see them represented, I picked the second over the first one because of its two player mode, although I could easily see the 3rd game take its place, I just personally have a little fondness for the second entry as its the one I played the most out of the two. As for Chrono Trigger its just that the SNES was such a great console for RPG's and you just know that adding another one of these adds hours and hours of playability to the machine. As for Actraiser it is just a brilliant and unique game which I wont go into further as well I only just reviewed it, if you want to know more about it then scroll through my posts and find my review.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

News Rant: Girls as young as 9 are having unneeded labiaplasty, why and what can be done about it?

I know that this is usually a blog about Video Games and other forms of entertainment, but every so often I have looked at news or polotics when I feel it is important to do so, if you are only here for the Games etc and want to skip this post out then rfeel free I wont hold it against you, but I just felt this topic was important.

OK so I wanted to take a look at a few things in the news that had made me just stop and feel the need to rant, this was supposed to be a piece where one by one I tackled various pieces of news and the issues I had with them but then I read one piece and I just couldn't write about anything else. I read the news that apparently Girls as young as nine are opting to have surgery on their well for want of a better term private area. Doctors have apparently said that this is because of body insecurities and they have claimed that these insecurities stem from social media and pornography.

Now I know you might think that I found this article in some uninformed rag but I actually read about it in the Independent. Naomi Crouch, a leading adolescent gynaecologist, talked to the BBC and told them that she is concerned GPs are referring young girls for unneeded labiaplasty(This is  an operation where the lips of the vagina are shortened or reshaped). She said that she is yet to see a young girl who needs the operation and feels that they are getting the operation when it is completely unnecessary, this is not just her opinion Paquita de Zulueta, a GP for more than 30 years, agreed with Crouch’s concerns, also mentioning that this was a modern problem, I feel I should include the following quote from her as its important “I'm seeing young girls around 11, 12, 13 thinking there's something wrong with their vulva - that they're the wrong shape, the wrong size, and really expressing almost disgust,”. I dont know about anyone else but I am deeply troubled by the concept of anyone as young as 11, 12 or 13 looking at any part of themselves physical or emotional and feeling disgust. If a person can so easily learn to hate a part of themselves at such an early point in there life then it is utterly terrifying to picture where this individual might end up, how they might feel about themselves when they are another 10 or 20 or even 40 years older. It has been proven that the emotional scars from bullying can last for a horrific amount of time and that's when its people you can potentially escape trying to rip you to pieces, what about when you have been trained to rip yourself apart emotionally and mentally from the inside?

It is believed that this phenomena is down to  pornography and social media leading to girls having an incorrect idea of how things should look, meaning that people are having the operation out of a fear that the bits they have simply look wrong instead of because they have an actual medical abnormality. A lot of people will probably be shocked by this whole news piece for lots of reasons least of which is the fact that girls from as young as 9 are seeing pornography. All of us want to think that children are innocent, we want to see 9 year olds as playing with My Little Pony and we like to think that they don't have to deal with anything serious, we would like to think the most serious question that enters there mind is should they ask for chocolate or strawberry milk but the worlds not like that anymore and maybe it never truly was. You might be able to keep your kid away from things but other kids will see things and then talk to your kid, as a parent you kind of need to be ready to tackle any question or worry your child might have and this can be a very challenging situation with many parents preferring to try to bury there heads in the sand.

In 2015-16, more than 200 girls under 18 had labiaplasty on the NHS, with more than 150 of these girls being under 15. Now several plastic surgeons have come out to try and say that there is nothing wrong with this and people have a right to seek help to change how they look if it makes them feel uncomfortable, but lets face it this sort of thing keeps them in work so there opinion is hardly a none biased one. The biggest issue is that this is most likely just the tip of the iceberg, I don't see this problem going away anytime soon in fact I would expect the figures to get worse and worse.

What can I say other than its just another troubling sign of the way our world is. People are so media saturated now days peoples opinions are shaped by it without them even realising it, there fears are magnified by it. A great many people are simply so brainwashed by a photoshoped celebrity reality that when they look in the mirror no matter how they look they will see something which does not match this glossy image they have been sold. People will buy all manner of face creams, toothpastes and dieting pills to try and match the blueprints they have been given by the media and when this proves futile they will look at even more drastic measures like starvation diets and plastic surgery and this is just made all the more worrying by the fact that children are now exhibiting this behaviour. The real troubling thing is that children seem to be falling even deeper down the rabbit hole, they cant remember a time before the information overloaded world we live in now, the TV, Internet and Magazines brainwash them and they look to us and in a great many cases they see an almost equally brainwashed larger version of themselves uncomfortable in there own skin, crushed by the weight of everything desperate to fit some ever changing concept of perfection.

It is easy to point at problems, to say that something is wrong and that it needs to change, but it is far more complex to actually do something about it. I may hold a degree in Social Science and have a background relating to child development but this does not mean that I hold all of the answers, this is after all a very large and complex problem and I doubt anyone person could wave a magic wand and sort it out, but I do feel that the first few things that need to happen is for awareness of this situation to be raised and for a discourse to get underway, people need to know about it and they need to talk about it only then can we start to look for ways to tackle it.

A few easy points for consideration are that we as individuals need to think about the way we talk about ourselves in front of children. Are you always mentioning your own weight or unhappiness with your looks in front of children? If so then maybe you need to stop and think that you are in fact adding and structurally enhancing a culture of criticism. Now I am not saying that its wrong for you to want to shed a few pounds or to live a healthier life style but you don't want to perpetuate the idea that your looks make you any more or less important as a person, children pick up on far more than most people would imagine, emotionally beating yourself up in front of one can send the message that its OK to do this. I think we also need to start complimenting the youth of today on none physical attributes, for example there compassion for others, or there sense of humour , we need to teach people and teach them from an early age that there is far more to being a person than simply how you look.We have a hard road to walk and many challenges to face if we want society to be less superficial and if we want young people to be free to be who they are without constantly questioning if there normal but if any road is worth walking its this one.

Monday, 3 July 2017

A look at The WWE hall of Fame 2007

Well it has been far to long since I have talked about the WWE hall of fame. Last time I talked about the inductions for 2006 so no prizes for guessing that today I will of course be talking about 2007. 2006 was a brilliant year in my opinion so I guess we will have to see if 2007 is anywhere near as close by looking at the individuals who made it in. Id like to add that as much as I do try and fact check everything if an error slips through then I apologise in advance, also I try not to go too in depth about wrestlers I don't have any major memory or feelings for , so if someone was an absolute star but there before my time or spent a lot of time in promotions I never had access to then forgive me for kind of quickly skipping over there accomplishments.

Ok so to start things off lets talk about one of the inductee's "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes or to use his birth name Virgil Runnels Jr. You can talk about the mans accomplishments after all he was a three time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, one time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion two time NWA World Tag Team Champion, two time NWA World Six-Tag Team Champion, and a one time NWA World Television Champion but a wrestler is not defined by the belts he held there is so much more to look at than that. I had no idea who Dusty was before his stint in the WWE (at the time WWF) so I could be forgiven for just thinking of him as the big poka dot coverd guy who had a rivalry with the million dollar man, but lets stop and look right there Dusty was given the role of a working man and made to wear poka dots and yet he pulled it off he was an epic face loved by so many who lit the house on fire with his charisma, you followed him from feud to feud hanging on his every word wanting to support him and see him win. Throw on top of this his lengthy stint as lead booker for WCW, yes they were the WWE's rivals but it takes a good rival to keep a company truly on its toes. I personally think the guy is very deserving of the honour of being in the hall of fame. I will always remember the fact that my mum adored Dusty Rhodes, I have many a happy memory of being a youngster and hearing my mum scream at the TV for Dusty to get up or beat someone.

So next lets look at "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, now I have to admit as a kid I thought he was a perfect dick, but as I have said in the past that only goes to show just how well he was playing his part, I wanted to see him get beat up and I would tune in hopefully that this would be the night it would happen so basically the guy did his job Perfectly. The truth is eventually even though he was a heel I started to develop a growing respect for Mr Perfect, I had to admit that he was a very talented athlete who performed perfectly executed moves in a way very few other wrestlers could. When I look back now and rewatch a lot of the pay per views from my youth I get very excited when they announce Mr Perfect because I just know I am going to see some real quality wrestling. Unfortunatly Curt Henning was a Posthumous inductee and so he was represented by his wife Leonice, his four children, his mother and his father the wrestler Larry "The Axe" Hennig. Curt Henning was a
One time AWA World Heavyweight Champion, two-time WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, one time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, one time WCW World Tag Team Champion but he was so much more than just these reigns he was a fantastic perfomer both in ring and on the mic and he will never be forgotten. Like Dusty above him I love to see his Son wrestle because you can see there father through them as well as seeing the incredible wrestlers they have become (this is true for Curtis Axel, GoldDust and Cody Rhodes).

This year also saw the induction of Jerry The King Lawler who well to me he was just the King, when I was a kid he wrestled a little in the WWE (then WWF) but I would come to know him mostly as a commentator, a great one who despite being a heel commentator quiet a lot of the time would have me in fits of laughter, little did I know he was a One time AWA World Heavyweight Champion, a 35-time AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion, a three-time WCCW World Heavyweight Champion, and a 28-time USWA Unified Champion. I learned more about his past and his place in the industry later in my life and I appreciate the roll he played but have to admit I dont feel quite as much for him as I do fo the likes of Dusty and Perfect I still can more than understand why he belongs in the hall of fame and fully agree with it.

 Nick Bockwinkel was inducted in this year but I have to admit he was someone who I had only really heard of in passing, he was big in the AWA and apparently Hulk Hogan was annoyed by what he saw as Bockwinkels book room politicing. He was a Four-time AWA World Heavyweight Champion and three-time AWA World Tag Team Champion. Lots of people speak highly of him and credit him with helping them in one way or another but there is not a lot I can say about him as really due to my age and what I was exposed to he has largly flown under my radar.

Now back to someone I really appreciate and that is Mr. Fuji (Harry Fujiwara), Now Mr Fuji the devious one might have been a Five-time WWWF/WWF World Tag Team Champion but what I really knew him as was a manager and what a heck of a manager he was, he could get you to hate anybody he took under his wing, and the company could easily and convincingly make anyone a face by getting Fuji to turn on them.  I will always remember him with Demolition Axe and Smash, I will always remember the salt and his cane , unfortunatly he passed in 2016 but he is a very worthy entrant to the hall of fame both for his work as a wrestler and for his work as a manager.

This year also saw the induction of  The Sheik (Edward Farhat), seeing as he started in the 70's a lot of his stuff was quiet a bit before my time but he was one of the originators of what would go on to be known as hardcore wrestling and he was the uncle of the ECW legend Sabu. He didnt only wrestle in America he also did a lot of wrestling in Japan and trained several notable names including Rob Van Dam, and Scott Steiner.  He also trained Muhammad Ali before Ali`s famous boxer vs wrestler match with Antonio Inok. The guy certainly deserves to be in the hall of fame not for a long and wonderful WWF based career but more for his contribution to the world of wrestling in general.

One group made there way in to the hall of fame in 2007 and that was The Wild Samoans, Afa and Sika, who were Three-time WWF Tag Team Champions. Now if you ask me if these men deserve to be in the hall of fame as The Wild Samoans thats where things get a touch tricky. You see yes they worked togther as the Wild Samoans but they also worked as singles wrestlers, as managers, in diffrent teams (not togther)  both of them have quiet a long list of accomplishments and I am not sure if they should have gone in seperatly or as a team thats my only question about there place in the hall of fame. During the late 1970s, Afa Anoa'i opened the Wild Samoans Training Center, and the school's graduates include Paul Orndorff, Junkyard Dog, Luna Vachon, Michael P.S. Hayes, Yokozuna, Bam Bam Bigelow, Rikishi, Sherri Martel, Virgil, Billy Kidman, Gene Snisky, Chris Kanyon and Batista if you stop and take a look at that list even just as there trainer doesnt the guy deserve to be in under his own name instead of in under a team name?  In 1999, Sika started up XW 2000, an independent wrestling promotion based in Pensacola, Florida. From 1999 until 2008 and again since 2010, the promotion has run family-oriented wrestling shows. The point is that clearly both men have put a lot into the world of wrestling and I kind of feel they should have both gotten individual moments to shine in a hall of fame ceremony.

OK so I left Jim Ross till last, he was a longtime lead announcer for WWF/E, WCW and other regional promotions; he was the Head of WWF Talent Relations during the Attitude Era,and he signed many well known wrestlers. Good Old JR is often considerd one of if not the greatest wrestling commentators of all time and for good reason the man is a real head of his field. Is he my favourate not quiet I think I would have to give that honour to Bobby the Brain Heenan but I still hold a whole heap of respect for Ross. Ross is a legend not just in the WWE but in the world of wrestling in general. His career in the world of wrestling started in NWA Tri-State tettitory and stayed there from 1974–1987 (the name for this promotion changed to Mid-South Wrestling) he started as a referee and then became a commentator as well as there Vice President of Marketing. He was also a commentator for Crocket promotions, world championship wreslting, Smokey Mountain Wrestling. The majority of his career was spent as a commentator with the WWE though, and it wasnt just wrestling, when they tried to branch out with the XFL, a professional football league Ross, who had previously gained experience announcing for the Atlanta Falcons was used. Entire books could be dedicated to what the man did for both the fans and the business while in the WWE. The truth is that when Jim Ross was put in the Hall of Fame he fully deserved it but he didnt stop there he did so much after and id like to draw some attention to a little of that. In 2013, Ross began to coach and produce new announcers at the WWE Performance Center in Florida.The man wasnt content with having been possibly the greatest announcer of our time no he wanted to try and make sure that fans in the future would get to experiance exciting profesional commentery. Ross also went on to become an English Language commentator for New Japan Pro Wrestling and to also provided commentary for What Culture Pro Wrestling's iPPV Refuse to Lose, True Destiny and for some of WCPW's Loaded tapings.

I cant be very critical of this year at all, I think it was another very impressive set of inductees  any year that see's the introduction of talent on the levels of Dusty, Curt Henning, Mr Fuji and Jim Ross clearly has a lot going for it.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Snes Review 125: Actraiser

Now what if I was to tell you that there was a game which took the core ingredients of something like Castlevania and Sim City and mixed them together? Sounds a little bit strange doesn't it but that's exactly what Actraiser did, it was 1 half action mixed with 1 half god sim now usually I would string things out and try to wait to the end to give a verdict but I cant help but turn around and instantly say that the game is overall amazing, I wanted to give myself a treat to play for my 125th SNES Review but I also wanted to talk about a game which I feel is missing from the upcoming Mini Classic SNES and this firmly ticks both of those boxes (I will also touch upon why I think they didnt look at putting this game on the system).

ActRaiser known in Japan as Akutoreiz─ü) was developed by Quintet. Now this is the first time I have touched upon Quintet in my review series so I just want to stop and talk a little bit about them. Actraiser was actually there first game, they were a Japanese video game developer, founded in April 1989 with there name being taken from musical terminology. In the world of music a Quintet is a group consisting of 5 members it was used here as there name referring to the 5 elements of game design which they laid out as being  planning, graphics, sound, programmers and producers. They were at there most active during the 1990s, when they had a very strong relationship with Enix (Who are not part after there merger of the company referd to as Square Enix), and really are best known for the games Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma, which is often referd to as  "Soul Blazer Trilogy", one of which I own and will be reviewing at somepoint. The current status of Quintet is unclear but evidence suggests that it rather quietly died around 2000 to 2002 which is a cracking shame, one would imagine that SquareEnix hold the rights to this game although with only one sequel which was released a very long time ago I wouldn't hold out for any more entries to the series.

OK so lets start with the plot, the story in Japan follows God, altered in America and Europe to The Master in his fight against Satan which was altered to Tanzra in Europe and America. These alterations were done because Nintendo of America had a strict policy regarding game content in the early 1990s which prohibited things which might be considered offensive including religious themes and plotlines. The game and its story is so seeped in religion though that this papering over things doesn't really alter anything you might be called The Master but when you travel the globe in a palace situated on the top of a cloud, accompanied by your little angel companion slaying demons, performing miracles creating life and hearing the prayers of your followers you would have to be pretty dumb to not work out who you are and whats going on. The basic story is that you had your behind handed to you by Tanzra and his lieutenants (all of which are based on real life religion or mythological creatures) so you retreated to your sky palace to tend to your wounds but now after several hundred years your back and you need to beat Tanzra's lieutenants one by one to free the people, then you need to answer the people prayers to power up enough to wipe the evil from the land. This is probably why the game wasn't chosen to be put on the Mini Nes Classic, after all we are at a time when people seem to be even more easy to offend particularly when it comes to religion, so it was probably a much easier and safer route picking something not so grounded in the biblical.

With there being two different types of gameplay in this game I guess I need to look at each of them on its own and then talk about how they feel sitting side by side each other. I will start with the platforming combat based sections. The easiest thing I can say is that they are very good, the weapon-wielding combat and the platform jumping feels very straightforward with good clean responsive controls and tight gameplay, you never feel like the controls are letting you down or that your being asked to do anything which is not possible you feel totally in control and you feel powerful. You run, you jump and attack your way through forests, caves and castles and you just simply feel that your right there in the game. There are apples which refill your life meter, and 1ups to grab and at the end of every stage there is a boss battle against a beast and like I said before there mythical so your going to see things like Centaurs and Minotaurs all in all its not to dissimilar to Super Castlevania IV a game I have previously praised.

So what about the god sim part of the game how does that play? Well its fun, simple and kind of laid back. It controls easily, its obvious what you have to do, its fun to play but compared to the above platforming and battling its just really chill, you control a little angel character who controls the direction you build in, your attacked by little devil characters as you build but you can shoot them with your angel they will however keep coming back, to stop this you have to guide your villagers to the lair they are coming from and then they will seal this. Once all the monster lairs are sealed and you have made the people happy they will ask you to banish the evil from there land and you will go back to a platforming level. The two styles of play mesh really well together as one is more frantic and the other is more relaxing, going from one to the other really breaks up the flow and stops things from feeling repetitive. In a lot of games were they tried to do more than one game type at a time   it led to you just getting a game which didn't really have any strengths but both parts of this game could stand perfectly well on there own, infact Actraisers only sequel (on the SNES as well) decided to get rid of the sim part and just try to build on the platforming.

Something I need to talk about with Actraiser is the sound or to be more precise the music. The games score was composed by Yuzo Koshiro, yes that Yuzo Koshiro famous for his work on the Revenge of Shinobi and the Streets of Rage series. The game came out within six months of the SNES's launch and in my opinion it proved more than any other game the audio potential of the machine, with a Soundtrack CD being released in Japan. A medley of the music from Actraiser arranged by the original composer was performed live at the second annual Symphonic Game Music Concert in Leipzig, Germany, yeah its that good, I would say its right up there with the likes of Zelda A link to the past.

Just a quick note about graphics before I some things up, although I will admit that your main character sprite is quiet basic I think overall the graphics present in this game are rather good, you have lots of rich colours with multilayers backgrounds and large bosses, the game has a very good style to it and although its not the best looking game its very functional and I feel it has aged well. The thing is everything within this game just gels together so well, when you have frantic levels you have frantic music, when things are calmer the music is calmer, everything just blends together perfectly and this is why I have to do something you wont see me do very often and that is to give this game a solid 10 out of 10. The copy I have is actually from my own childhood, its a Pal copy and its still got its box and manual, if you want to try it the bad news is the game does tend to demand a price, its usually around £30 for a loose pal cartridge you could get a Japanese cart only copy on the cheap but there are quiet a few diffrences with the game from region to region in terms of difficulty but also you will miss out a bit with the language barrier but you could possibly muddle your way through. This is one game though where I would say sod it its worth every penny, its worth noting the game did make its way on to the Wii Virtual console so it could raise its head again for either the New 3DS or Switch and that would be a cheaper way of experiancing it.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Retro Game Purchases July 2017

It was a funny sort of month really, my girlfriend went on holiday for about 10 days and I also had an infected wisdom tooth pulled out. I really missed my girlfriend as well I love the stuffings out of her, and I was also suffering a crazy amount of pain with my tooth. It wasnt just a case of having the tooth pulled unfortunatly I hadnt realised that my inner gum had become severly infected and this infection was causing me to suffer with a fever, which didnt go away with the tooth being pulled, it took a course of anti biotics to get shot of it. I kept dragging myself into work despite feeling like I could collapse at anytime. So I guess with everything going on I figured I deserved to treat myself a bit. I also however started to make sure that I was getting rid of a lot of stuff I donated a whole bunch of books I had read to charity shops, and sorted out a whole bunch of stuff to throw, I have kind of decided that its going to become a new part of my collecting, I am going to get rid of stuff to make room, in fact I want to make sure I always get rid of more stuff than I bring in to my home.

So I started my retro purchasing on June the 4th when I got a bundle of complete PS1 games for £7 in total, the games were StarWars the Phantom Menance, micro maniacs, F1 2000, Panzer Front, Gran Turismo (Platinum version), MTV Snowboarding, and Tommorow Never dies (platinum). They also threw in the case and second disc to Command and Conquer Red Alert for free, the case is in good condition so guess I can look and see if I have any games which need a replacment case.

On the 6th I went in to a local indy store and managed to get the following The hunt for red october SNES cart only £5, Home Alone 2 SNES cart only £5 and Earth Worm Jim Megadrive cart only £5. The SNES games I mostly got for my SNES review series where as Earth Worm Jim was a combination of its something I will actually play and I thought it was a good price.

On the 10th I recieved Warlock for the Mega Drive it was aCart and box with its missing manual for £7 including postage. They advertised it as being in great condition but when it arrived there were some issues including the fact the case doesnt close so I complained and got a partial refund, they refunded me £3. I also got Sports Trivia for game gear sealed for £3 and Final fantasy XII for ps2 complete for £1 from a charity shop.

On the 12th I grabbed a fair few things I got GTA China town wars complete for PSP £1 and Smackdown 2010 complete for psp £1, Burnout complete for ps2 for £1, GTA San Andreas complete for ps2 for £1 and Gran Turismo 4 complete for ps2 for £1 all from a charity shop. After this I visited an indy game store and got Astral Bout Japanese Snes (Super Famicom) cart only for £3, Big Run Japanese Snes (Super Famicom) cart only for £3, World Champion (Boxing) Japanese Snes (Super Famicom) complete for £5, Extreme G3 complete for Gamecube for £2 and Monopoly Party complete for GameCube for £3. The Japanese SNES games again are for my review series

The 13th was another day which was all about getting more SNES games for my reviewing series I got Barts Nightmare NTSC/American SNES cart only for £9. I am Very happy to get this as my original copy was an american cart only copy which was stolen a long time ago, I hate losing my stuff, I cant stand it when I have had something and then someone takes it away from me so this had been eating at me for a long time. I then got the following 4 loose snes carts for £15 in total Nigel Mansells world championship racing (pal), world league basketball (pal), cool spot (pal) and Tom and Jerry (NTSC/american). I have never had the pleasure of trying Tom and Jerry so thats something to look forward to.

On the 14th I managed to grab Pinball Dreams NTSC/American SNES cart only £5, this is a game I had previously played on the amiga but not the SNES and every time I had seen it before it was a lot more than this.

The 15th was another massive SNES grabbing spree I got Smash TV Snes cart only pal for £10 ,Jikyuu Power pro wrestling for snes cart only Japanese for £4.50, Ashita no Joe for snes cart only Japanese for £3.50, Full power for SNES cart only Japanese for £3.50 ,USA Ice Hockey for snes cart only japanese for £3.50 and The King of Rally for snes cart only japense for £3.50. I guess I should be all sorted for SNES games for quiet a long time now

I also grabbed Record of Lodoss War for Dreamcast boxed complete for £15, this is another game I had stolen from me so I guess this kind of makes this the month of getting things back, its also my personal fave dreamcast game. I also grabbed Blue Shadow for the NES cart only £6, Goal for the nes cart with damaged box for £2, Pro Pinball the web for the saturn complete for £2, Spongebob light camera pants cart only for gba £1, Vrally Championship edition cart only for gbc £1 Animaniacs gameboy cart only £2, Alien 3 gameboy cart only for £2, Chuckrock gamegear cart only £2. I also grabbed the following loose UMD's for £2 in total Sonic Rivals, transformers the game, starwars battlefront 2, and LA Rush.

On the 17th I got Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles for gamecube complete for £6, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Echoes from the Past Genesis NTSC cart only for £9 and Disney's The Lion King for Genesis NTSC american complete for £5

On the 20th I grabbed World cup 94 for SNES cart only £1.50 and Dragoneer's Aria complete for psp £6
On the 25th I got a boxed Philips CDI 450, for £25, wont be using it anytime soon as it comes without a pad...ironically the one I got says on the box the pads sold seperatly and the pad will cost me more than the machine did if I want to have this machine as anything other than a collectable. (If I got a pad I do have 3 games for the machine)
On the 26th I went in a charity shop and brought the following for £15 a Zelda GBA SP with charger, very scratched on the outside but perfect screen. With a bunch of loose carts Scooby Doo cyber chase, hugop bukkazoom, beyblade revolution, bayblade v force, james pond robocod, dungeons and dragons eye of the beholder, harry potter and the chamber of secrets , then 3 of the GBA video cartridges Cartoon Network collection premium, cartoon network collection special, and Code Name kids next door, and a gameboy advance wirless adaptor, a fake cart of YU-Gi-Oh the sacred cards. and a pretty neat see through little display case thing.

The last purchase was a very good one I have to admit but I would say my favourate purchase was getting Record of Lodoss War back, I guess it is a sort of OCD/Autistic thing but not having that game has really botherd me and getting that and barts nightnare back has kind of let me rest more easily.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

SNES Review 124: The Hunt for Red October

Given the fact that my blog kind of darts from being very game based to very film based it will come as no suprise to say that I have seen the film The Hunt For Red October after all Sean Connery is in it which I usally find to be a very good reason to give any film a bash. One of the laws of video gaming which was laid down by magazines and word of mouth when I was a kid was to never give a movie license any attention or any of your hard earned pocket money therfore I hardly even computed the fact that there was a Hunt For Red October game back in its day. As an adult though I have taken a bit more of a if you can find it cheap why not give it a bash sort of outlook and it has actually led me to a few good games some that were even better than the films they were based on. I for example hated the Bond Movie Quantum of Solace and yet I really enjoyed the Quantum of Solace xbox360 game even if it was basically Gears of Bond. So recently when I saw a cartridge only copy of The Hunt For Red October in an indy game shop I thought why not give it a bash £5 is a good price for pretty much any SNES game isent it?

So have you ever had that thing where you get an image in your head of what a video game is going to be like before you have ever played it? I guess this is harder now with so many adverts and stuff but I have to admit that in all of my years to the best of my memory I had never seen any video or screenshots or even read about The Hunt For Red October so I had kind of built it up in my mind, I had decided what it would be like, and in honesty I was pretty sure it was going to be a simulation game. There is a Megadrive game called 688 Attack Sub which is a submarine simulation in which you complete missions, its very slow quite text heavy and you have to look at maps, sonar scope readings, co-ordinates, its one of those games that you basically have to take a day off to really get in to, some find it deep some find it boring, well I was expecting this kind of thing with a Sean Connery Sprite on screen and well the plot of the movie. Well if you want something on those lines then you need to look to The Hunt for Red October on the Atari ST, Amiga, Apple II, ZX Spectrum, MSX, Commodore 64 and IBM PC as that is a combination of submarine simulator and strategy game so what did the SNES get?

Well the SNES got a shoot em up, a shoot em up made by Beam Software where instead of a space ship you have a sub, alter the graphics just slightly and you could almost think your playing any old left to right spaceship game but is it a good or bad game? I find this a little harder to answer than I would like, You see the first time I put it on I was so shocked it was a quick game to pick up and play that I kind of liked it, then when I played it a bit more it seemed rather limited but then I found myself picking it up to play it again to see if I could do better, if I could get further.

So does this game follow the story from The Hunt For Red October or even recreate the same atmosphere as the movie? The short answer would be not in the slightest. The Hunt for Red October started out as a Tom Clancy book with the following being a rough version of its story. The Soviet Union made a new special submarine called the Red October, the big deal about it being that it is capable of traveling across the ocean without being detected. If you think about it a sub with missiles and this capability could seriously mess up the world and so the captain of the Red October, Marko Ramius, realizing this decides to steal the submarine and defect to the United States (seriously taking it from one super power to another would not have been my plan I would have sunk the crud out of it.) So he has to take the sub while the Soviet navy tries to stop him, while worrying about possible KGB spies onboard worrying about if he can get the United States government to trust him. Now for all I know the instruction manual could paint a wonderful picture, heck it could have a whole breakdown of the novel in it but as far as the game goes well before the first mission your told your objective is to escape from the Soviet Union and safely reach the United States and this is all you get as far as an actual in game plot goes. You get missions none of which sound that much like anything I remember from the film and well thats that.

Ok so to break the game up into its components the graphics can best be described as bright but simple, it really doesnt feel like a heap of effort was put into them. Your sub is blue, the sky is blue, the water is blue, the ocean is quiet empty really apart from some mines, rocks and enemy subs which are also blue, although I am happy to admit they are a lighter shade of blue so you never get confused. As for the ships themselves,there is a bunch of diffrent enemy vehicles, including battleships, long submarines, short submarines, and helicopters, all of which are not all blue but deffinetly stick to a sort of blue, green silvery grey sort of colour scheme, although if you manage to get a few missions in and onto a bonus section you will be treated to orange fighter planes so there is that to look forward to. The missiles are pretty much just grey blobby lines that move along, the explosions also really are not exciting, it just feels like things are lacking well some flair. It was clear that this game wasnt able to be realistic so id have just sodded trying and given the game a bit more flavour, Id have made the Red October sub red so it stood out more, added in some more impressive explosions maybe tried to get some mode 7 style rotating in there but hey that is just me. Oh there kind of is one gimic and thats the bonus stages, you see they are not left to right scrollling affairs like the rest of the game there basically more like light gun levels you control a crosshair on the screen and shoot the things which are either scrolling along the screen or heading straight for you, and if you have a super scope you can use that to play them.

I actually really liked the music when I started playing the game, I find it quite fitting but I well I just wish it was longer and there was more of it. You see at first it sounds good but then you realise its just one or two very short looping tracks which at first sound pleasent but then begin to bore there way into your head in an unhealthy manner.

Like the music the gameplay can also be accused of being repetitive.  You control the Red October, which is sent on various “missions”,  all of which basically boil down to going right and shooting or avoiding everything. you might just reach the end of the level and thats that or youll reach somekind of base you need to blow up but its all pretty much the same. You get pretty much attacked from every direction battleships and helicopters drop bombs from above, enemy submarines will fire missiles horizontally at you, and you even have missile firing bunkers on the sea bed, add to this rocks and mines getting in the way and youll find youself weaving all over the place like a drunken pilot in order to survive. To combat this you have four types of weapon you have the straight horizontal missile, the straight up missile, the bombs/depth charges you drop, and the arching missiles.  All of these weapons are limited but you get more by picking up an icon which not only gives you more missiles but also replenishes some of your health its a sort of all purpose pick up instead of individual repair kits and bullet packs ecetera.

The Red October sounds powerful right? Well maybe it is but its still very challanging, you'll have to avoid mines which dont even seem to affect enemy ships and then the missiles fired at you and bombs dropped on you and then subs and ships basically trying to take you out by simply ramming you. The main and i mean main thing that makes this all a  bit of a pain in the rear though is the fact that you dont have lives, this is a one life one game kinda game. If you fail a misson there is no going back to the drawing board via a continue scene and starting again oh no sunshine your going to see your sub explode and then see a shot of it sunk on the bottom of the ocean then be told its game over and dumped back on the title screen, a title screen with no options or practice modes or any luxuries at all just a chance to press the start button and start everything again from scratch.You think that sounds harsh well add to that the fact your sub is not repaired between missions so get through a mission by the skin of your teeth and you could well be starting the next one a single hit away from death how unforgiving is that?

I have very mixed feelings on The Hunt For Red October for the SNES I am pretty certain if I had tried this back in the day I would have hated it but now I simultaniously like it while also seeing a lot of faults in it and having the desire to call it average. It feels like one of those games which had some good basic building blocks but was just missing something, something which kept it from greatness. I would give the game a 6 out of 10, and qualify this by saying its average but for me at least that enjoyable kind of average as apposed to the dull average, you could certainly do a lot better but you could also do a lot worse. I have seen  plenty of people trying to get £20 or so for a loose cart of this game and its certainly not worth that, I wouldnt recomend going over £7 personally.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

If they made a Playstation One Mini Classic

So in my last post I talked about the SNES mini classic and at the end I said my following post would be about the idea of a Playstation One mini and why I think Sony should and could do this.I know that basically the Playstation One was a smaller sleeker version of the original playstation hardware and therefore some might say it should just be called the Playstation Mini, but with the fact there has been a Playstation 2, 3 and 4 I think you need a word like One or Original to make it clear we are talking about the original hardware and the games from that machine.

So why do I think a mini playstation console would be a good idea? Well why was the NES mini so desired well its because of nostalgia and I happen to think that there is a heck of a lot of nostalgia around the original playstation. I know some people will say that with the games being on Disc and so much larger this is not feasable but I dont think thats the case at all and I think its a tottally workable idea. If you think about the playstation TV console which was a small box which was basically a playstation vita redesigned as a simple home console then in a way there you pretty much had a Playstation Mini Classic. Let me explain the Vita was capable of playing PS1 games that you could purchase and download through the sony store, the Playstation TV being basically a Vita was capable of this to, all you did was buy the games, download them, hook the Playstation TV up to a TV and use a PS3 pad. If this existed then why wasnt everyone doing it you might ask? Well I would say that it was mostly due to the fact a lot of people didnt realise it was possible and this was because it wasnt marketed in the right way.

Imagine a PS TV now instead of it being black imagine it recieving a redesign, imagine it in classic playstation grey, imagine it looking like a shrunken original playstation complete with original logos and everytghing but with A hdmi port and all the modern trimmings. Now think about what it would be like if instead of giving it all kinds of settings options and download channels and such you replaced all of this with a user friendly game selection screen and a choice of around 15 classic playstation one games and you marketed the heck out of it just before christmas appealing heavily to those of us who lived through the original playstation years.

Game size is actually a lot smaller issue than you would think you see for example the original Rayman was around 500MB on disc but the version on the Playstation store is compressed and comes down to about 95MB. If you think about trying to offer up about 15 games and save room for them all plus a little room for the menu's and such you could proberbly swing it with around 2gigs of memory or heck with 4 you could go to town and push the boat out and either offer larger games or go for a number closer to 20.

So when starting to think about the games I would put on a Playstation mini classic I thought what kind of thing do you want, I wanted to try not to pick any massive sized multi disc game if I could help it and I also wanted to try and make it somehow represent the entire catalog in some way or another. I thought I would start by looking at the begining and when the playstation originally released It came out the gate with a few awesome games including Tekken, Battle Arena Toshinden, Warhawk, Air Combat, , Ridge Racer and Rayman and quiet honestly I would kind of be inclined to include all of these in a way but then when you think about it some of them do have sequels which have just that snippet of extra polish so maybe I would go for Tekken 2, Battle Arena Toshinden 2, Ridge Racer Revolution, WarHawk, Air Combat and Rayman (yes I am aware Air Combat had sequels but the first is better in my oppinion). So if we are going for 15 thats 6 down and 9 to go. The next 2 games I would say are very much based on my memory of them and they would be Krazy Ivan which for those that havent played it is a mech game and Loaded. I also can not even consider a Playstation one classic without throwing on CastleVania Symphony of the night as in my humble oppinion its one of the greatest games of all time. I would also feel the need to drop Parapa the Rapper on there because I think the game offers something diffrent. I would also add the first Gran Turismo and the first Twisted Metal due to them being the start of great franchises. Ok so this leaves me with 3 spots to fill, so I think I need to stop and think about what I am lacking here.

For the last 3 spaces I would go for Vandal Hearts a great Fire Emblem style tactical game, and then I would throw in Suikoden which is an extremly good RPG and finally Wild Arms another RPG which is a little bit diffrent for having a sort of western theme. You might like my selection of games or you might not but I am sure it has got you thinking about what you would put on a machine like this if you were in charge and thats ultimatly what is so fascinating about this we proberbly all have our own list of the ideal catalog for a mini machine be it either what we feel are the best games or the games that best represent the machine or simply what would sell best and make the highest profits.

So there are a lot of reasons I would like to see this being done, one of them is because I think that a system like this could be a lot of fun for people and introduce them to both the games of there youth but also stuff they missed out on but also because I would like for Sony to show Nintendo how it is done. I am not saying Sony or there games are better than Nintendo but I do firmly believe that if Sony saw people desperate to pay them for something they had made, if they saw it was going to draw a big profit they would push the boat out to ensure that there was good availability, that new units kept hitting the market not long after the last batch had sold out, and that they would make sure they kept on making money out of the situation rather than allowing scalpers to be the ones to benefit the most. The thing is basically I believe very strongly in the need for good competition and I think that in order for Nintendo to do there best they need to feel under threat, and not just them I think this is true of any company, while Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft all fight for our cash and attention and put out the best products they can to do this then it is us the consumers who are ultimatly winning.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The SNES Mini my oppinion on its announcment.

Ok so this is not breaking news or anything, every single video game site and even the general press have already touched upon the announcment and upcoming release of the Super Nintendo Classic Mini but well given how many of my posts are related to retro gaming and to the SNES and its libery of games in general I thought I really should throw in my 2 cents.

So first things first if you are wondering about my oppinion on Nintendo's last mini console like this the mini NES you can follow this link In short though I thought the selection of games were good but decided to not buy one for various reasons one of which is the fact the NES wasnt something I grew up with, it was something I got second hand latter on and messed about with a bit. In comparison the SNES was my main christmas present one year and it was while the machine was still current. I read magazines about the games, talked to friends about the games and excitidly waited for things to come out. I have more of a personal connection with the SNES and thats why I will be getting a SNES Mini.

So I own a couple of Super Nintendo consoles and about 250 carts already so its not like I am not already playing snes games however some of the games on the machine are stupidly pricy to track down now, so I thought what I would do is mention what games come on the SNES mini and discuse what I think about there choice of games. It is going to contain the following 21 games:

Contra III: The Alien Wars
Donkey Kong Country
Final Fantasy III
Kirby Super Star
Kirby’s Dream Course
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Mega Man X
Secret of Mana
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV
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
Super Punch-Out!!
Yoshi’s Island

Ok so overall I think its an excellent list of games, the RPG/Adventure games involved Final Fantasy 3, Super Mario RPG, Zelda a link to the past, Earthbound and  Secret of Mana alone represent some of the very best of both there time and there genres. Yet the list is also diverse, with platformers, racers, shooting games. Also in total honesty some of these games are stupidly expensive to pick up for the SNES nowdays in original cart form (yeah you could get repro carts or a flash device but not everyone is either aware of these or comfortable with them). I cant really point to a single game and go that ones a dud, if there is anything on the system I am not that botherd about playing it would proberbly be Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Apparently the Japanese SNES mini is getting slightly diffrent games and there getting Legend of the Mystical Ninja, if I could wave a wand id swap Tubro out for that but its about the only change I would make. Sure not every great SNES game is on there but youd be hardpressed to pick a better 21. 

I think the real Cherry on the top is Star Fox 2, basically because it never got a proper release back in the day and this is the first time its going to be legally available in a form thats actually legitimate and via Nintendo themselves, this is a great move and one I have been crying out for them to make for ages. I also assume that as we are getting Contra 3 and not Probotector also added to the fact that some of the other games never made it out in the EU this unit will be running at 60hz which will be another little awesome thing for those of us who grew up on the pal 50hz SNES. 

I can see there being problems and issues, yes Nintendo have said that the controller cables will be longer than the NES and that they will try to make more to meet demand but its still being made in a limited run apparently and I also imagine that again there will be no usb power plug and manuals will proberbly once again be via scanable code your supposed to use to get them on your phone instead of putting them on the actually machines memory but given the above games and my love for the machine I am more than willing to over look stuff like this and grab one, although I do feel very sorry for those who end up without one, I can actually foresee a lot of people once again ending up very dissapointed. This is why I would strongly recomend that if you have even the slightest intrest in this console you preorder one before they are all purchased by preordering reselling vulturous dickheads who try to pick the bones of our beloved hobby dry. I also dont want to go into another massive rant on Nintendo creating false demand by not producing enough of stuff and allowing people to resell stuff at crazy prices but I will just say in parting I wish theyd sort there bloody act out, I dont think Sony or Microsoft would be as daft, theyd find a way to make all the cash themselves instead of letting scalpers get the lions share, and thats why in my next post I am going to talk about the idea of a Playstation One mini and why I think Sony should and could do this.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Megadrive Box art, my love of the Japanese art: DJ Boy

So I have said before that when I started collecting retro games at first it was all about trying to get the games again which I owned as a kid and then as I gatherd more and more stuff I started also trying to track down games that friends had owned which I had either lent of them or enjoyed while I was over at there house. Well there was a game I played at my friend Andrew's house and I have had my eyes on it for a long time but I have been waiting for it to be the right price and finally I have a copy of it orderd and it should be with me soon. Usually unless there is a lot of reading involved or some other reason to opt for a particular version I will usually just grab the cheapest version I can get regardless of what region it comes from, in this case however I really didnt want the American copy and you will proberbly see why below. The game I am talking about is called DJ Boy which is basically a walk along beat em up and also an arcade port. So here we go again looking at MegaDrive box art.

OK so here is the American copy, the one I didnt want, I would explain it as being a horrible cover made with terrible computer style cartoon characters, I really hate it, the same kind of art is on the cart and well I just didnt want to own it, I am not saying DJ Boy is the best game in the world but I like it quite a bit and it deserved better than this. I know they say dont judge a book by its cover but thats easier said than done, looking at this cover in my oppinion you basically expect the game to be a cheap peace of garbage.... Apparently the copy I am recieving is a pal copy but if it came with this case well I would just have to print out another cover for it and slide it in front of this awful awful piece of work.

This is the Japanese box art, and I have to say I think its great, it basically looks like a proper anime style cartoon, big eyes, high on expresions, it just looks fun, the cover makes you want to dive in to the game and see what kind of a game it is.

All I can say is thank goodness that the European case used the japanese art. I still prefer the Japanese version mostly because the title feels like it is a part of the art instead of covering up the art. If you look at the European case you will see the big area of empty space between the enemies and the hero, its just wasted space but I still think its a great cover.

If I could improve it in any way I think I would make it a little bit more like this version I have knocked up, its pretty much just a cut and paste job and I admit it could have been done better but this is the kind of thing I think would have been perfect. Still the European one is not bad at all its certainly a million times better than that horrid American case art.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Megadrive Box art, my love of the Japanese art: QuackShot Starring Donald Duck

OK so I  keep seeing diffrent little bits of the new upcoming Duck Tales show online and quiet honestly it looks awesome, I could talk about how excited I am that David Tennant the 10th Doctor is voicing Scrooge McDuck, or how I love the fact that it looks like Doanld Duck is going to be in it a whole bunch but I thought why not do something a little bit more me. You see when I was a kid I played the absolute living heck out of the game Quackshot, It had Scrooge McDuck, Gyro, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, in it and was about treasure hunting and started out in duckburg so it was basically a MegaDrive Duck Tales based game or at least as close as the MegaDrive/Genesis got. I could have reviewed the game and heck I might even do that in the future but I didnt really fancy doing a review as well I have been doing a fair few reviews for my SNES series so I thought what do I usually do when it comes to the MegaDrive, thats right I look at and talk about the box art.

So the Pal cover of Quackshot, its not bad at all, you get to see Donald with the main weapon he uses, the art is large and bright all in all I was very happy with this case as a kid. It was the only case I had ever seen for the game though.

Well its the same art but with more border and therefore a smaller main image so I guess I would say its worse, I would complain about the brightness but I am guessing that this is just a poor scan quality.

Ok now I have to say that having seen this cover I dont know why I liked the original pal region cover so much this cover just screams Video Game version of a Doanld Duck Comic book, it talks to the part of me that couldnt get enough of Disney's Duck Tales. In fact this cover has me wanting to shout Whoo Hoooo.

So this would be my idea of the perfect case for the Pal region, it has the awesome Japanese art but sticks to the typical Pal MegaDrive template.

So I guess Its time to take a quick look at another Disney title as a sort of bonus. I had intended to stick with Donald and look at diffrent covers for Maui Mallard a latter Donald based game on the megadrive but I could only find one cover for this and it was for the Pal region so I didnt have enough for a comparison, so instead I turned to Donalds rival Mickey Mouse.

Decent enough art for the Pal version of Castle of Illusion here, theres the castle the title refers to, there is a decent picture of Mickey but its hardly the best piece of Mickey mouse art ever made and could be better in my oppinion, but lets see what the other regions got.

So the American version is basically more or less the same.

Finally here is the Japanese version, as you can tell it is once again the same piece of art. After how great and diffrent the Japanese Quackshot cover was the fact Castle of Illusion had the same cover in every single region and didnt have some awesome Japanese exclusive art is very dissapointing.

Well I hope you have enjoyed this post as I have a few more ideas for posts on MegaDrive box art.