Monday, 22 January 2018

My Review of WWE TLC 2011 Part 1: 2 belts and a Cowboys son

OK so as a youngster I was into my wrestling, I grew up through the whole Hulkamania Era, I did watch a lot of the New Generation and Attitude stuff, I basically hung around up until Kurt Angle left and then my attention just shrunk and shrunk, it was nothing against the product at the time but we all have our favourates who keep us coming back for more. When I was Young the people I really liked were Demolition, the Big Bossman, Jake the Snake ecetera, then when it hit the attitude era and beyond I found myself getting behind the Rock and Kurt Angle. I dont really have the time to keep completly up to date with the world of Wrestling but I did decide I would visit my local CEX and see what semi recent pay per views I could get on the cheap. for the grand price of £8 I managed to pick up TLC 2011 and 3 2012 Pay Per views so figured why not look at them and rate them through the eyes of an 80's fan.



OK so the one I am looking at first is TLC 2011 now bearing in mind that according to the back of my blue ray its 4 hours long (not sure if this is just the event or all the extras as well) I am going to span this over a few posts so this will be part 1.

 The Pay Per view started with one of the don't try this at home promos and I could only think two things one of them being that as a kid I used to do back breakers on everyone at school and get them done on me to so I wonder if this actually puts anyone off, that and the fact that Rey Mysterios voice sounds like a kids, why not get someone like Brock Lesner who might actually intermediate little kiddy winkles tell them that if they do this kind of stuff to each other then he will come and F5 them through a table.

The commentators were Michael Cole and Jerry the King Lawler. The thing hasn't even started and Vickie Guerrero comes on giving a big speech introducing Dolph Ziggler the United States Champion, shes totally not convincing the only thing shes does is make me wish some one would shut her up, you could say that in itself is heat but its not earned heat. As Zack Ryder comes to the ring and his music plays there is a notice in the bottom corner of the screen telling you that you can buy it on I-tunes, its a decent enough song but I really don't want them trying to flog stuff to me this soon. They announce some of the Counties who will be watching this starting with the UK. This flogging stuff thing is not new though, I remember old WWE/WWF events trying to sell upcoming events and other bits and pieces but it still feels a bit in your face for my taste.

Cole is obviously a heel commenter and is trying to be all current with hash tags and the like. The King doesn't seem as good as I remember having heard him be in the past, he is very much on the faces side and a bit immature at times but I am sure I remember him being a lot cruder and having a much more laser like wit, maybe he has been intentionally neuterd? The match starts slowly with a lot of circling but they then start to show off some pretty decent ring work. Both of the guys are working pretty well but Vickie seriously needs to watch some old tapes of Bobbie the Brain and Corenette, heck id even rather have her watch some of the jive soul bro Slick than act the way she is here, she is an absolute void of charisma. There is a headlock section which I know some people would argue is a rest spot but wow are the crowd eating it up, there is soon another one but it works for the story Zack Rider is clearly being shown as an underdog with a lot of heart. A lovely missile drop kick from the top rope looks like a charm and results in a sort of 2 and a half count. Then there is another pin soon after and Vickie Guerrero puts Zigglers foot on the rope causing the ref to have her removed from ring side. Latter on there is a Hurricarana from Rider from off the top rope which I really enjoyed. Eventually after a very even feeling match Zack Ryder gets the 3 count and becomes the new United States Champion and clearly the fans love it, in all honesty with the work he had put into this match I was glad to see him win. It also needs to be say that Ziggler took bumps and sold like a boss. Of course now as an adult I know this is all sports entertainment but I think if I had been a kid when I had seen this I would have absolutely marked out. It is pointed out that one of the guys covered in merch is actually Zack Ryders dad which I thought was pretty darn cool. All in all I really liked this match and both competitors get a standing ovation from me. This match set me up to think that you know what maybe I am going to really enjoy this pay per view.

After this the show cuts to Booker T talking with Alicia Fox backstage. He’s quickly interrupted by Cody Rhodes laying a pearl harbor on him as some of the old announcers would say. Cody gives him an absolute kicking ending this by shouting“Merry Christmas!” on his way out while Booker tries to sell being really hurt. I think Booker is great I have always been a fan of him but I must say WOW did this make Cody look like one hell of an awesome son of a bitch, I bet his Dad the Common Man, the American Dream Dusty Rhodes was so proud of his son. (RIP Dusty).

I found it really weird to move straight from a contest involving a belt to another belt related one. Straight after the United states Championship match we have a Tag Team championship match. Yeah we had a bit of filler between but no matches. 

So the next match is a WWE Tag Team Title Match between Air Boom (Kofi Kingston/Evan Bourne) and Primo & Epico.  Epico and Bourne start us off, trading a few cradle and arm lock attempts. Bourne delivers a hurricanrana on Epico and then tags Kofi.  Primo tags in and he and Kofi wind up trading huge monkey-flips. We get to a point where Epico and Primo isolate Bourne in their corner and work him over, they give him a devastating tilt-a-whirl back-breaker and this gets them a two count. I have to admit that I had no idea who anyone in this match was except for Kofi Kingston, this made me naturally kind of side for his team which I worked out from the commentary was the face team of the match.

Primo hits a back suplex, rolls through into another one, and then rolls through into a third suplex, this time a German, but it only nets him a two count, maybe its the love I have for Kurt Angle but I always like to see this sort of thing where you get suplex after suplex.  There is really an element of story here that fans of old school wrestling will like Bourne is clearly being kept in the ring and being punished and your just waiting for him to get a chance to reach Kofi so when he gets the hot tag to Kofi you just want to jump up and scream ''YES''.

Kingston hops in the ring and becomes a dropkick delivery service absolutely cleaning house. Epico hops in but Bourne hits him  with a soaring cross-body off the top rope. Primo turns around and gets nailed with a move I have learned is called Trouble in Paradise from Kofi and well thats all she wrote, the champs win and retain there belt. This match was really good but I felt like it could have used a little bit of extra time, but then again maybe it was short and sweet as it was.
We take a moment to check backstage with Josh Matthews for an update on Booker T, Josh Matthews might as well be made from card board, sure some people in the old days like Sean Mooney or however its spelt didnt exactly drip with personality but Matthews could be replaced by a cardboard cut out. Apparently Booker is being checked over to see if he is fit to compete and Josh tells us that Cody was walking around with a big grin on his face, so the match might be off tonight. More than likely this is just so that Booker can get a hopefully bigger pop when he comes out later.
Elsewhere backstage Teddy Long is dressed up as Santa Claus, alongside Hornswoggle who is in a elf suit. Teddy starts saying how if Horn has been a good little boy he will get presents to which horn replies that he is not a kid he has a beard and dropped testicles the works and asks Teddy Long when Santa Claus became black. Long responds by saying that living in the neighborhood he did no white jolly men ever came down his chimney. Long gives Hornswoggle a Rosetta Stone book on how to learn Ebonics stage 1 as a Christmas present. Horn asks Teddy to hug it out but instead it looks like he clips him one straight in the balls and then runs.I have to admit yes sometimes WWE is very unpolitically correct but I see it a lot like that charming old uncle who happens to be very funny but only because he is basically so backwards and out of date that he is the joke not the things that he says, still it gave me a good little chuckle. 
So next we have a tables Match between Randy Orton and Wade Barrett. This is the point when I need to say that I have never ever liked Orton he feels like a cookie cutter wrestler, I don't think he has any real substance or personality he is like the default avatar from a wrestling game with some tattoos stamped on him quickly in a cheap attempt to add a touch of character. This very simply fact makes me instantly root for Wade Barrett even though I essentially have no knowledge of who he is. I think is was Winston Churchill that said he would give a favorable reference to the Devil himself if he helped him fight the Nazi menace, this is a bit like how I feel here anyone slamming Orton is OK in my books.
Orton quickly hits his signature backbreaker on Wade and once Wade is down the first thing he does is to exit the ring and grab a table, only to have Wade kick it right back into his face. Randy returns the favor by smashing Wade’s face into the steel steps at ringside. There are tables set up just about everywhere they are all the way down the aisle and rampway, its pretty much at the stage where they wouldn't have been able to turn around without seeing a table. I cant help but think that I would have found it so damn funny if one or both of them had fallen over and gone through a table by accident and finished the match.
 Wade tries for a pump-handle slam through a table, but Randy counters and the table is knocked aside and this is basically how the match goes from here, one of them tries to put the other through the table but the other gets out of the way or reverses the situation and the match carries on. They end up setting up tables in the corner of the ring and outside the ring and this leads to the point where it is  teased that Orton is going to get booted from the apron through a table, but he hangs onto the ropes to save himself. I really really couldn't keep my attention during this match I just didn't care about it and that might be due to my dislike of Randy Orton. I cant really pin down why I dislike him so much maybe its because I just find him bland and boring but get the impression that he sees himself as gods gift to the world of wrestling. Maybe this is a gimmick heat thing but if it is its not having the desired effect of me wanting to see him beat its just making me want to go to sleep. I saw Orton put  Barret through the table and all I felt was a great sense of relief that the match was over and this is the point where I decided to turn the blue-ray off. I had up until this point really been enjoying this show but this match just killed all of that dead for me and I felt that I needed to take a break so this is where I will end this review for now...

Thursday, 18 January 2018

What I do in my free time in real life and online Revisited.

So its been a long time since I have talked about what I do when I am not writing this blog including what I do online, other blogs I visit, things I like to follow on youtube etcetera so I thought I might do a bit of an updated version. I still follow a lot of the things I used to follow like the Angry Video Game nerd and the Nostalgia Critic so I wont be mentioning them. I wont mention every thing I have watched or every thing I have done but I just want to talk about a few things and give a rough idea of what I have been up to.

So before I start I am sad to say that I am not going to be recommending any other small blogs, I am very sad to say all of the ones I loved have either massively slowed down or just seem to have died.

In my day to day life a lot of my time has been split between spending time with my Fiancée and my daughter. My daughter has just sat her mock GCSE's so I have been trying to support her and offer whatever help and encouragement I can. With my Fiancée we have been watching a lot of shows together, visiting different coffee shops and we even had a day at a Spa together, which was actually the first time I ever visited one and it was pretty darn good, I got to spend lots of time in various different pools, infinite pools, candle pools etcetera. I do have to thank both my Fiancée and my daughter for pointing out things in the news that will interest me, for talking to me a lot and allowing me to debate things with them which is something which helps me come up with ideas for what to write about on here. I have dedicated a decent amount of time to keeping this blog ticking, and I have managed to play quiet a few games but a few of my shall we say hobbies have suffered a bit. I have stopped writing novels and short stories not sure if this is the end of that particular part of my life or if it is something I will return to in the future. I did just loose a hard drive which was full of half started story ideas so if I ever do go back to trying to write then whatever I end up writing will be completely fresh. I haven't even done a lot of reading recently. I am currently reading a great book my Fiancée got me about conspiracies which I am sure will feed back into this place at some point in the future.

As for online I do spend a fair degree of my time on a new Forum which I would like to highly recommend. This is the Retro Canteen, which you can reach by clicking on the hyper-link embedded in its name. Its a great place where not only do people talk about Retro games, they also talk about all things retro, modern games, there is an off topic section and they even have there own irc style chat every Sunday night.

I have spent a lot of time in the last few weeks watch a whole bunch of videos about wrestling by some guys which can be found at http://oswreview.com/. 
I absolute love this OSW guys. They watch all of the old Hulkamania time period wrestling events and talk about them. They talk about the matches the kind of way that you I would talk with my friends, they laugh at some of the bad angles, the missed moves, the over reactions. It is so obvious that they are having an absolute ball making there videos/podcasts and well its infectious, I just cant help but have fun watching them. It has actually made me want to watch more wrestling, I do have a few older shows on DVD so I might actually watch and review a few of them here seeing as beyond talking about the hall of fame I haven't said much about wrestling on here in a long time.

I guess that sums up what I have been up to online and offline recently and I would strongly recommend that you check out both the Retro Canteen and OSW.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Humble Bundle Change 30 controversy.

I have often played advocate for the Humble Bundle website and its bundles. I mean who doesn't love the idea, you can get a bunch of games for cheap if you haven't gotten much money while also having the benefit of being able to help a charity at the same time (or you can pay more and give a bigger donation).
Well if you visit the Humble Bundle website now then one of the bundles you will currently find is one called the Humble Hope For Orphans Bundle. Now the first time I saw this bundle I did have a little chuckle at the sort of weirdness of it, its called the Orphans Bundle and yet oddly enough the bundle is basically a war games/shooter bundle but when looking at it again I sort of realized why its called the Orphan bundle and thats because its supporting one charity, a charity called Change 30. In the past bundles have had a charity attached to them but usually you have been able to pick one that personally means something to you, but in this case the only charity available is Change 30 so even if you really didn't want to donate to this charity your only other option would be to lower the charity bar to £0.

OK so I'd like to say that I'm not against charity, I have worked for two and I am very proud of the fact my daughter works for one. I do think though that it's important to look into charitys who they are what there agendas are and how the cash they raise is used. Now if you read the description of Change 30 on Humble's website, it reads as follows.
" Our mission is to inspire purpose in Russian orphans by providing them with the love, guidance & resources they need to lead fulfilling lives. Our heart is for the orphans of Russia to not only survive, but thrive."
They go on to explain how the money raised will be used.

"Proceeds from this bundle will help provide care, life skills coaching, and housing and education resources to young people who have been left without support systems."

I had personally never heard of Change 30, I knew zero about them something which is probably true of a great many people visiting the humble bundle website. So in this case youd like to think Humble has vetted them and that you can rely on the descriptions and intent stated on Humbles site. Well the homepage for this charity reads much the same if you take a look at their About Us page you see a slightly different story with the following statement.

" The mission of Change30 is to inspire purpose in Russian orphans by providing them with the love, guidance & critical resources they need to lead fulfilling lives & develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ."

OK so I have known some wonderful Christians who are very inspirational People, I have no issue with any religion or the strength of will power and character some people gain from it but I don't like anything being sold through desertion or trickery. If the charity is a religious one it should have been stated not hidden, the fact it is hidden makes me ask why was it hidden. Sure they could argue they didn't lie but this situation doesn't sit well with me.

Something else that needs asking is are Humble not aware of this and if so you could argue they haven't shown due diligence in respect to checking he charity it's donating money to, or does it know and simply not care?

If Change 30 is proud of its Christian mission, why is it hiding that fact? I have issues with this because potential customers are not being given full information, information that might make them decide to donate to another charity in another way. When this charity has already tried to hide something many may worry what else would they hide. Upon researching Change 30 a bit they have a history of being anti LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bi Trans) things like this raise questions on wether money donated will help orphans or wether it will help them push forward there agenda. One would like to think that someone who truly believes in God and Christianity would want to help the poor, and the suffering simply because it's the right thing to do regardless of if they share your world view or not rather than seeing a crisis or a vulnerable group of people as prime for conversion.

Once again I am not anti religion in fact I have a post planned about a group of fantastically charitable Christians who are very deserving of a bit of praise.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

SNES Review 135: Animaniacs

Animaniacs known in Japan as Animaniakkusuis a platform video games developed by Konami for the Super Nintendo, based on the hit animated series of the same name, there was a MegaDrive Animaniacs game but it was a totally different game even though both of them were developed and published by Konami a company that was certainly very much in the lime light back in the 16bit games. I never owned this as a kid in fact I have only just recently gotten my hands on it, I have played the MegaDrive one before so I guess in a way that is sort of a template my mind will be comparing this one to as well as well.

Now its important to say that I have a very big soft spot for Animaniacs I used to watch it when I was younger and its just this perfect mix of humor, awesome pop culture references and just a sprinkle of learning. Songs from the show that listed the various countries in the world or American presidents or other such things were done with such a charm and were just so darn catchy that you were entertained enough not to realize that they were daring to educate you a little bit. Then at other times it would literally have me in fits of laughter. I loved everything about the show, it was filled with the most amazing characters so full of life surly this would make them perfect characters for the world of gaming?

Ok so whats the games story? Well Pinky and the Brain steal an important movie script from Warner Bros. Studios, and plan to make the film themselves so that they can become filthy stinking rich and then use this cash to do what they try to do the same thing they do every night try and take over the world. The CEO of Warner Bros. recruits Wakko, Yakko and Dot (the Animaniacs) to retrieve the script pages and stop Pinky and the Brain. Each level contains a number of script pages, you don't have to collect all of them but the ending that you will get if you finish the game depends upon if you got enough of these pages or not. In general it is quiet a good idea for a game story and they use it to decent effect as each level has a different theme be it Sci-Fi or Adventure, and there are plenty of humorous parodies of famous films to be seen if you keep your eyes peeled.

 The graphics in this game are quite good. There are nice, bold characters that look very much like their cartoon versions, and a fair amount of characters from the series pop up in the game, throw on top of this that there are some very detailed backgrounds and enemies as well. The sound is also pretty decent. The music is very  fitting to the game and the shows theme is used so there is a plus point for fans, the sound effects are best described as average though and also kind of under used.

I have always liked the saying ''gameplay is king'', what it basically means is that the most important part of a game is the gameplay, a game can have a good story, it can have good graphics, it can have an awesome soundtrack but all of that sort of stuff is just nice, the real important thing is gameplay. If a game plays badly then it doesn't matter how pretty it looks or how great it sounds, if it plays bad then the game is bad. The gameplay here well its not awful but it is kind of awkward and frustrating, its one of those games were it is hard in places not because of any challenge but because when your jumping your not quiet sure if you will land where you think you will. So when your in a game which at a time could feel a little unfair youd want a lot of extra lives and such wouldnt you? Well here you get three lives, each of the Warners is basically a life, so to die you have to get Yakko, Wakko and Dot killed then if your lucky you will see a continue screen, and when you continue it will be from the last check point. So the obvious question is how many continues do you get? Well that depends you see the whole time your playing the game there is this like slot machine at the bottom of the screen which when you collect enough coins it starts to spin and you can win continues and stuff, personally I find this the most annoying waste of screen space in a game, it doesn't only take up screen room it draws your attention to it and away from what your supposed to be doing. Also if you had a set number of continues then you'd possibly get a little further into the game each time you play and as you improve but here we are adding some luck to the proceedings so I am not overly keen on it. I could go on to moan that the passwords are long but I think if the game was a solid diamond then no one would realistically give a monkeys about that

OK so I guess its time to say how I feel about the game overall. Well in honesty I think this game is a very very average game, I would give it 5 out of 10. The most surprising thing about this all for me is that the game was made by Konami, and when it comes to the 16 bit era you think Konami on the SNES and you think about a company which was probably one of the companies with one of the best records on the machine. I spent £7 on a loose cart of this game and in all honesty if you really want to try this game I would advise that you don't spend anymore than I did if you want to avoid disappointment. In fact if you own both systems I would advise spending your cash on a copy of the Megadrive Animaniacs instead

Friday, 12 January 2018

NEWS RANT: Swatter charged and bail set, my opinion.

OK so I meant to talk about this back when it happened but I don't think I did. I am sure I have made it very plain that I don't really like online competitive games like shooters and such. I like playing first person shooters dont get me wrong but online you just end up being surrounded by pricks, people screaming at you telling you that they are going to screw your sister, accusing you of cheating if you do well, telling you that you suck if your doing poorly, basically I game to get away from pricks and hassle and escape into another world so I am not going to spend that time with screaming idiots. I have played online with friends before on things like Halo 3 and Gears of War and had a great time but playing with random people is just not my jam at all.

I didn't think the whole online competitive crap could get any worse and then people started doing something called swatting. OK so basically people decided that it would be a good idea to call the police on opponents/other people playing a video game in the hope the police would think the gun noises etc were noises of some kind of violence and bust in there.It is a deeply messed up thing to do as not only does it put the person whose address has been given to the police in danger it also wastes the time of various emergency service. When the police are answering a fake call they are taken away from doing actual police work, from stopping real crimes.

Well towards the end of December a 28-year-old man was shot and killed by a US police officer after the police arrived at a reported hostage situation. At a press conference the police said it was a false call meant to draw SWAT officers to the scene and that it appeared to have been linked to an argument over Call of Duty. Well today the Swatter (the person who made the fake call) Twenty-five-year-old Tyler Barriss was charged in the US state of Kansas for involuntary manslaughter and two other counts because of his call that led to a police man killing an unarmed 28-year-old. The maximum sentence varies but if found guilty, Barriss could face a hefty fine and years in prison.

Police say that Barriss had called police to report a hostage situation, telling officers on 28 December 2017 that he had his family at gunpoint and had doused the house with gasoline. He then gave them an address for 28-year-old Andrew Finch, who was shot and killed by an officer when he answered the door. That officer is now on paid administrative leave. I don't know what caused the officer to shoot so I cant comment on if he jumped the gun or not but I am sure that this will have unfortunately greatly effected and continue to effect the officers life and career.

Barriss reportedly made the call after an argument between two Call of Duty players led to one giving the other an address. That player then reportedly gave the address to Barriss, who was known in the community for swatting. The address turned out to be unrelated to anyone involved with the dispute, however, and instead led police to Finch and ultimately lead to his death.

Barriss was also charged with giving false alarm and interference with law enforcement. His bond is set at $500,000 (£364,100) which is pretty darn high so I guess he is going to be sitting in jail unable to pay it. There are a few questions I have one of which is will the guy who gave Barriss the address be done for anything? I mean if I told a nutter I knew would burn down a house the address for a good house he could burn wouldn't I be at least partially guilty if anyone died in the fire? The guy who gave out the random address I also hope at the very least realizes the part he has played in someones death and feels bad about it, I mean there was no reason for him to give any address at all. Its all a very very sad situation which makes me feel bad in general. I guess I hope that this guy gets nailed to the wall and it encourages other people to stop and think before being dicks but I don't really see that happening, I think whatever happens people will still scream and shout and threaten each other online.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Nintendo Direct on the 11th of January 2018 my rundown and opinions


OK so today on the at
Nintendo released a Nintendo Direct Mini presentation on us. The presentation lasted about 15 minutes more or less but in all honesty a lot was said in what you would think would be a reasonable short amount of time.

The World Ends With You – Final Remix was announced for the Switch. For those who don't know basically The World Ends with you was an RPG on the Nintendo DS which gained an excellent reputation but in this country at least seemed to be pretty darn hard to get, as such it still demands a pretty high price. To put it basically The World Ends with you Final Remix is a Switch port of this title with HD graphics, touch controls and optional joycon controls. The port is not apparently going to just be a tarted up port it will also have new story content and is going to be released this year (2018) I think this is a great idea, its a game I have often considered buying but never quiet got around to. I think this is a very good news and I am about as excited about it as I can get over a re-release.

 

So Pokken Tournament Deluxe is getting some new DLC characters that we will be able to buy, they will come in two ''Battle Packs'' Wave 1 and 2. Wave 1 will contain Aegislash and support Pokemon Rayquaza and Mimikyu. Wave two contains Blastoise, and the new support Pokemon Mew and Celebi. The battle pack will also  include new avatar items. Wave 1 launches January 31st 2018, with wave 2 following on March 23rd.This doesn't really excite me at all as in all honesty Pokken hasn't really grabbed me, sure I got a second hand copy of the Wii U one but it just didn't grab me at all, I am interested in seeing how much Nintendo charge for these and I am also interested in seeing if there is every a game of the year version in the works including this later on but only from a curiosity point of view.

A demo for Dragon Quest Builders is available from today on the Switch. I have looked at this game and considered buying it for the PS4 quiet a few times, it looks pretty good but I am afraid If I buy it then I will still buy the PS4 version, look at it on the PS4 its an old game you can probably grab on there for very little or you can pay more and have it for the switch, now if you only own a Switch or need to have it in a portable fashion then fair enough pay more but I feel for those of us with other options the release of this game on this platform is a little bit pointless.



Kirby Star Allies was showcased in a trailer showing Kirby's new Painter and Spider abilities. It looked great and in my opinion Kirby always brings home the bacon, he is a great little character and his games are always light fun and charming. I will be excited when this launches which it apparently is on March the 16th 2018.

 

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition. OK so its a port of Hyrule Warriors which contains all of the content from both the Wii U and 3DS versions which were previously released. Well I own the Wii U version and don't give a crap about it so in honesty I don't give a monkeys about this re-release. For those who care when docked the game runs at 1080p and 60FPS, there are also new outfits based on Breath of the Wild added for Link and Zelda. Its going to launch sometime in spring 2018 for those who care

 

Mario Aces Tennis was announced for the Switch and with its title it doesn't take a brain surgeon to work out that this is a new Mario Tennis game. Apparently the game will feature a story mode and is due out this spring.I have to admit to having always having been a big fan of the Mario Tennis and Golf games and this one looks good so I am looking forward to it.

 

Ys VIII. So a Switch port of Ys VIII has been announced. The Ys games have been around forever and while not as popular as the Final Fantasy games its good to see an RPG coming to the Switch, its already on the PS4 and available as we speak but its not like its in the bargain bins like some of the other titles that have been getting the porting treatment.  It is being released during summer 2018. 

 

Super Mario Odyssey is receiving free update. This update is aimed at players who have completed the main game. The update adds a mode called Balloon Mode. Balloon Mode can be activated by finding Luigi in each Kingdom. Players are given 30 seconds to either hide a balloon in the world, or 30 seconds to find other player's balloons, as part of online leaderboards. This is not everything though apparently the update will also add new outfits, and camera filters, to the game. The update is due in February. Hey its free so there if nothing to complain about at all, in fact  is it sounds pretty decent overall.

 

SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy. Ok so this is an SNK (NEO-GEO) female character based two on two tag team fighting game for the switch. So far so good, I like SNK's stuff and everything but apparently you have to use a special move at the end of each fight to win which doesn't sit right with me but hey maybe it wont be too bad when it launches in summer. 

 

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Donkey Kong DLC. OK so I really really like Mario + Rabbids so new DLC for it adding Donkey Kong to the game, and what looks like new story content in the form of a plot centered around him well this is all good in my opinion. It wasn't made clear if this is the story DLC which is included in the game's season pass but I imagine that it is. The DLC arrives in spring, I haven't finished the game yet but if I am not tired of it by the end of the game then yeah I might give this a bash.

 

PAYDAY 2 on the Switch is getting a timed exclusive additional character called Joy, who is a female hacker with an LED mask. The port launches February 27th. Sorry but to me this is another port that I am just not bothered about, maybe its because I own lots of other platforms and this is a little bit late to the party and will cost most people more than getting it elsewhere but in all honesty YAWN. 

 

Fe is coming to Switch on February 16th. It's a very beautiful looking game  and its been made by a small studio with support and funding from EA so that kind of says little ambitious developer with good source of revenue hopefully this means excellent game but I guess time will tell but I am excited so see what it brings to the table.

 

Celeste is another indy title, basically in it you climb mountains, mountains covered in spikes, it looks decent enough but its not something which is going to blow the world apart, it looks like it will be decent enough but not really my kind of thing. If it sounds like its up your street then you don't have long to wait as its coming out on the 25th of January 2018.

 

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is getting ported to the Switch, with a new mode where Kranky Kong can surf through obstacles. The port releases on May 4th. I cant blame Nintendo for doing this, after all its not like games that came out on the Wii U really reached the audience they deserved but for those of us who had Wii U's and supported Nintendo at that point in time this is pretty much a pointless release. I hope that this game is not released at full retail but who knows I guess we will see soon enough.


Dark Souls Remastered. OK so Dark Souls is getting a Re-master for Switch. A re-master with both  visual and technical upgrades, the new version supports up to 6 player multiplayer but again I dont really care. Dark Souls is old now, and I am not buying things again just to have them on the Switch, I want to play new things not just the same thing again and again.

 


OK so thats everything covered and its not too bad, but I do think that things could have been a lot more exciting in some areas.  I just want less remakes, or if your going to remake something either remake something old where a demand has built up for it to come on stage and take a bow or either add lots and lots of extra stuff not available in other places or lower the price of it on release to reflect its rehashed nature.

Monday, 8 January 2018

High N64 sales in the lead up to Christmas 2017


According recent reports Christmas 2017 saw a large increase in the second hand market for demand for the Nintendo 64 and its games. A Kotaku reporter did a bit of research quizzing the owners of independent Video Game stores learning that overall there had been a heavy increase in N64 sales and people asking for N64's and N64 games with one independent store owner in New York, saying that he had sold more than 100 Nintendo 64s during the holiday season. Apparently according to sales data, this could be the best year of sales in the history of the console since it was discontinued and was integrated into the second-hand market.

I guess increased N64 sales at this time is not really all that surprising seeing as the people who grew up on the N64 are getting older they are naturally looking back at that console as the nostalgic machine of there youth one of the sources of there childhood joy. I guess a lot of people who were collecting NES and SNES games and things from that sort of time scale wanted to revisit that kind of thing because that is what they would have grown up on. When they wanted to revisit the games of there childhood they would have done so by buying SNES or MegaDrive games, now a new generation is getting into retro gaming and naturally they want to revisit the stuff from there own youth.

I guess one thing to take away from this as a collector is that if there is anything you want for the N64 you better grab it and grab it fast as for now prices are only likely to go one way and that is up. It also goes to show that sometimes it pays not to wait for something to become wanted.The games people are selling and getting rid of now, the games that they think are old and no longer wanted will be the games someone grew up on and one day they will most likely be wanted again by the people who have fond memories of them. I also think this should show Nintendo that a Mini N64 would sell like hot cakes right now, they should make one and they should make it in mass numbers because why let various indy games stores profit off of there games when they could profit themselves instead.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Reality TV Rant: Celebrity Big Brother 2018 Who is in it and what I think of them so far.

So Celebrity Big Brother 2018 is well underway. It started with all of this big fuss that its year of the Woman and that they are going to put Women in charge and that well basically they were trying there darned hardest to actually make it sound like a social experiment again as apposed to trash TV.  I know this might not be the sort of thing I regularly talk about on here but what the heck I had stuff to say.



So the thing that basically makes or brakes a Celebrity Big Brother is the celebritys they manage to get on board so lets first take a look at who we have this year and I will give a few quick words about how I initially feel about them. On Day 1, eight female housemates entered the house during the launch and on day 4  they were joined by eight males, so here they are in alphabetical order.

Amanda Barrie is an English actress who is proberbly best known for playing the role of Alma Halliwell in ITV soap opera Coronation Street. She also starred in two Carry On films, Carry On Cabby and Carry On Cleo. Most recently, Amanda appeared in the TV series The Real Marigold Hotel.She had previously been married to a man but later in life she has come out as bisexual and is now married to a woman, this makes her an intresting choice for the house because she has had a long career, and a life both full of experiance and of change. So far she seems to have held herself rather well in my oppinion

Andrew Brady is a British reality television personality best known for competing on the thirteenth series of The Apprentice in 2017.He didnt do too bad on the apprentace but he did come across as a bit of a piss head, but in all fairness he has seemed to be quiet a decent person on here.

Ann Widdecombe is a former Conservative politician and author. Ann became most known for expressing views opposing abortion, voting for the reinstatement of the death penalty and opposing same-sex marriage. Since retiring, Ann appeared on the eighth series of Strictly Come Dancing. If anything she is an out spoken person not affraid to give an oppinion regardless of if it is a popular one or not. So far she has seemed to find the house a rather tiring afair, it doesnt seem like she enjoys being surrounded by so many people.

Ashley James is a British reality television personality known for starring as a cast member on the E4 reality series Made in Chelsea during the fourth and fifth series. Since then, she began concentrating on her music career as a DJ.I actually had to look up who she was when she enterd the house and in all honesty so far she is not really making any impact on my mind at all, she is tottally forgetable, at times it seems like she just litterally bleeds into the wall and ceases to exist, this might actually see her do quite well though as although at present shes not likly to stand out for praise nor will she stand out as someone people are desperate to be rid of.

Daniel O'Reilly, known better by his stage name Dapper Laughs is a British stand-up comedian and media personality. In 2014, he hosted his own ITV dating show Dapper Laughs: On the Pull, but was axed after one series following a rape joke controversy. I instantly wanted to hate him the second he walked in, I had found Dapper Laughs about as funny as being kicked in the balls and he well he just has a smug look about him a bit like a particularly salty bull dog who has just realised he can lick his own balls. Then I saw him have a conversation where he seemed to show genuine remorse but this was soon followed up by a trip to the diary room which saw him looking like the biggest laddish bellend possible, at this point at least he seems like a good reason for militant feminists to want to kill all males if I have ever seen one.

Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, known better by his stage name Ginuwine is an American singer, songwriter and actor who is most known for releasing a number of multi-platinum and platinum-selling albums and singles in the 1990s and 2000s. As well as singing, he has starred in films such as Juwanna Mann and television series such as Martial Law (an Awesome show staring a hero of mine Samo Hung). At first I was a little shocked by the fact he has like 9 kids with 5 diffrent women, I guess as open minded as I like to think I am even I can sometimes make snap judgements. So far I dont think he has.

India Willoughby is an English journalist and newsreader, who is most known for becoming Britain's first transgender television newsreader. She began her career on ITV in 2000. At first I kind of thought she was brave, I mean any situation where you are unique and you enter it you can kind of find yourself as being a representative for a whole group of people, if you do something good it helps everyone like you, if you make a cock up then it can reflect poorly on a whole group of people. Now though well I find myself liking her less and less. Amanda accidentally referd to her as a he, which seemed like a slip of the tongue to me and yes I can see her getting annoyed with it, she is well within her rights to say how it makes her feel but with repeatidly not accepting Amanda's appologies followed by her throwing a mardy because of the fact Ginuwine said he wouldnt date a trans person, I dont know it just feels like she is looking for reasons to throw a strop and only sees her own views as being important.

Jess Impiazzi is a British reality television personality and glamour model, best known as a cast member in the MTV reality series, Ex on the Beach during the second series in 2015 before later returning for the fifth "All star" series in 2016. Prior to this, she appeared on The Only Way Is Essex in 2012 as a "Sugar Hut Honey". She is another person I basically know absolutly nothing about but she does seem to be holding herself generally quiet well and so far doesnt seem like a bad person at all.

John Barnes is a Jamaican-born British former footballer, rapper and manager. He is best known for his time at Watford and Liverpool, as well as playing for the England national team in the 1980s and 1990s. In the run-up to England's 1990 FIFA World Cup campaign, he recorded a rap for the official team song, New Order's "World in Motion" which reached number one in the UK Singles Chart. Since retiring from football, he became a commentator and pundit for ESPN and SuperSport. I sort of recognised him when he walked in but I am not much in to football I think if he hadnt played for England I wouldnt have even known him that much. So far he seems like a gentleman and a decent bloke, he hasnt been particularly exciting but its still early days.
 
Jonny Mitchell is a British business director and reality television personality best known for being a cast member in the third series of ITV2 dating reality show Love Island in 2017. So far he has seemed like a bit of a dick but then also a little bit like he has had a personality transplant with a mouldy cabbage.

Maggie Oliver is an English former Detective Constable in the Greater Manchester Police best known for exposing the Rochdale child sex abuse ring. Maggie quit the force after serving 16 years to expose the wrong doings of senior officers within the police force.So far I think she is the star of the house, maybe its because shes not a real star star, shes simply a Woman who has done what she felt was right even if it wasnt easy and was to her own detrement. I have the upmost respect for her and so far she seems to have been not only a very pleasent person but also a kind of peacemaker. At the moment she is my favourate to win.

Malika Haqq is an American reality television personality and actress who is best known for her friendship with Khloe Kardashian as well as appearing in her reality shows such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians. In 2017, Malika took part in dating show Famously Single. As an actress she has appeared in films such as Sky High and ATL. I was expecting her to be a shallow air head who was self obbsessed and so far shes actually been a very nice person who seems to have been trying to avoid drama and actually seems quiet down to earth.

Rachel Johnson is a British editor, journalist, television presenter, and author. She is also the sister of Boris Johnson. I cant help but think they got her in because of how well her father did in Im A celebrity get me out of here. So far I have very mixed feelings about her. She can seem nice and like the voice of reason at times but then I also sometimes feel that maybe she is playing the game, playing all sides, saying what she thinks needs to be said.

Shane Gilberto Jenek, known better by his stage name Courtney Act is an Australian drag queen and reality television personality best known for being a finalist in the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. As well as this, Courtney has appeared on Australian Idol and most recently MTV's Single AF in 2017. So far I have found him/her to be a decent forward thinking person. Most of what I have seen has shown her as Courtney, but she has been very open about explaining to people how he/she sees him/her self and doesnt seem to make a big deal of people getting it wrong. I think India needs to pull the stick out of her ass and look at how Courtney holds herself. I know that a lot of people will speak ill of him/her but she/he is tottally cool in my books. One of my top 5 contestants this year.

Shane Lynch is an Irish singer-songwriter best known as a member of boy band Boyzone. With the band, they had a total of 6 number ones in the UK Singles Chart including "No Matter What". Shane began his acting career, appearing in Sky One's Dream Team, and has since starred in pantomime. Shane has also took part in reality televsion shows such as The Games and Love Island.He has actually seemed to be a really kind straight talking bloke. I gained a lot of respect for him in the way he has carried himself and tried to be open and friendly to others. He has so far showed that he is very open minded and gentlemanly in his interactions with others. Also one of my top 5 contestants this year.

Wayne Sleep is a British dancer, choreographer and actor. He has also taken part in Celebrity MasterChef, the second series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, and was a judge on ITV talent show Stepping Out. As an actor, Wayne has had roles in films such as The First Great Train Robbery and Elizabeth.Seems to have a great sense of humour and to not take things to serious while also respecting other people. So far I like him.

Well thats everyone accounted for I guess time will tell how they all get on and who in the end is the winner of celebrity big brother 2018.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

A look at the WWE hall of fame 2008

Ok so you have most likly gatherd from the title of this thread that I am back to talk once again about the WWE hall of fame and about those who were inducted in to it in 2008. Now as always I will be talking about the people based on my knowledge of them and my opinion on them so I apologise if anyone thinks I dont do a person justice I fully admit that others might know far more about an individual or hold them in far higher regard than I do. I also feel that I need to add that this is not a great Hall of Fame year for me, sure I have witnesed most of those involved do there thing but its a little short on individuals I hold dear.



Ok so I have decided to keep the person I know the most and whoise career I have enjoyed the most to last as I will proberbly have the most to say about them and I would like to end on a high as apposed to end this post just dribbling and rambling about stuff I dont really know much about so without further adu here goes.

Gordon Solie was inducted in to the hall of fame this year and he is one of those people who managed to get inducted despite never as far as I know having actually worked for the WWE in any capacity. He had however worked as a play-by-play announcer for Georgia Championship Wrestling, Championship Wrestling from Florida, USA Championship Wrestling, Continental Championship Wrestling, and WCW (World Championship Wrestling). I am not very familiar with his work at all but I do know that he is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential wrestling announcers with good old JR (Jim Ross) stating that he was the most significant influence on his own career as an announcer. I kind of have to say with this one that if JR believes he belongs in the hall then he belongs in the hall.

Eddie Graham, was inducted into the hall of fame this year, during his time in the world of wrestling he was a wrestler a promoter and a booke. The guy had a long career debuting in 1947 and retiring in 1980 but as he retired before my birth and before wrestling really started to be regularly recorded and saved he is not a person I am very familiar with at all, sure I have heard the name come up but I dont really feel qualified to talk about him. I will say however that I am glad that the WWE recognises people whoise glory days predate the company.

Mae Young, unfortunatly for a lot of people she will be known as that old Lady who had a think with Mark Henry and gave birth to a hand. Yes she was used by WWE a lot in her latter years as joke fodder but when it comes to female wrestlers she is actually a pretty darn important one and one who I think is worth a spot in any wrestling hall of fame. Young is believed to have competed wrestling in seven diffrent decades. There is some debate about when exactly she started but it is known that she was wrestling in Memphis, Tennessee on December 7, 1941, which just so happens to be the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese. During World War 2 with many men absent fighting overseas Young not only flurished herself but also helped other Women get into the world of wrestling expanding their role in the sport. While working for Championship Wrestling from Florida, she became the NWA Florida Women's Champion(1 time) and she was also at one point the National Wrestling Alliance's United States Women's Champion, as well as also once holding there World Tag Team Championship (with Ella Waldek), I know some people will stop me and say that anyone can be given a belt but look at it this way people are not given belts unless companies know the belts are safe in there hands and that they will bring asses to seats. Yes her latter days in the WWE might have ended up a little comical but she was a trail blazer helping to open up the world of wrestling for Women and helping it to grow and change.

"Soulman" Rocky Johnson (Wayde Bowles) is a Canadian retired professional wrestler. During his wrestling career, he became a National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Georgia Champion and a NWA Southern Heavyweight Memphis Champion, as well as winning many other championships. Along with his partner Tony Atlas, Johnson was a part of the first black tag team to win the World Tag Team championship in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Nowdays most people proberbly have no idea who Rocky Johnson was despite his impressive career if people even know who he is then they possibly just know of him as the father of American actor and professional wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as his sons achievments have sort of eclipsed his.

Even a certain degree of credit for the Rock can be placed on his fathers shoulders as he was one of the people responsible for training his son Dwayne to wrestle. He initially didnt want his son to enter the world of wrestling because he knew it was extremely difficult, he agreed to train his son on the condition that he would not go easy on him. The Soulman helped Dwayne get signed to a WWF developmental deal. Initially, he appeared on screen in angels connected to his son but when his son went from wrestling under the name Rocky Mavia and became the Rock this stopped.
Johnson was also hired as a trainer for the WWE developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, in early 2003 but this appointment only lasted for a few months. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by his son, The Rock and strangly enough he wasnt the only person connected to The Rock inducted this year. As part of the first black tag team to win the WWF tag team belts and with his other acheivements I believe he is worthy of his spot in the hall of fame.

"High Chief" Peter Maivia AKA Fanene Leifi Pita Maivia (born Peter Fanene Anderson)was an American Samoan professional wrestler. He is the maternal grandfather of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, part of the famous Anoa'i wrestling family and was a promoter for the National Wrestling Alliance in Hawaii. His acomplishments were all in the NWA so his place in the hall of fame is one more gained from his contribution to the world of wrestling rather than to the WWF/WWE as a company. In fairness he is not someone who I feel qualified to talk about in depth but I can certainly understand his place in the hall of fame.

2008 Saw one team inducted into the hall of fame and that was The Brisco Brothers, which was comprised of Freddie Joe "Jack" Brisco  an American professional wrestler who performed for various territories of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), becoming a two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, and multi-time NWA Tag Team Champion and his younger brother
Gerald Floyd Brisco is an American retired professional wrestler, currently employed by the professional wrestling promotion WWE as a talent scout who later in his career become an on screen stooge to Vince McMahon. I find these two a little hard to talk about as a lot of there most impressive things are stuff I have never seen. In a way I think that they would have been better being enterd in the hall seperatly Jack Brisco on the strength of his in ring career and Gerald Brisco more for his back of house work such as his role as a talent scout etc.



Now the next and final person I am going to be talking about is "The Stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin' n' dealin' son of a gun!" The Nature Boy Ric Flair a man who I feel needs little in the way of introduction yet here I am trying to sum up his career and his entitlement to a place in the WWE hall of fame, lets just put it this way if Ric Flair wasnt in the hall of fame then it would make most people stop and ask if the hall of fame had any credability what so ever. Flair was an American professional wrestler and manager who is currently signed to WWE under its Legends program.

Flair is widely regarded by a great many people as the greatest professional wrestler of all time and the best American performer of the 1980s. Flair had a career that spanned 40 years this includes time  with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, later WWE) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). He also spent a whole lot of time in Japan and has pretty much been a major pay-per-view attraction throughout his whole career, Flair headlined at the premier annual NWA/WCW event, Starrcade, on ten occasions, as well as co-headlining its WWF counterpart, WrestleMania, in 1992, after winning that year's Royal Rumble in what can only be described as an incredable performance entering at number 3 and ending up the winner. PWI magazine awarded him their Wrestler of the Year award a record six times, while Wrestling Observer Newsletter named him the Wrestler of the Year eight times. Ric Flair is also the one and only two-time WWE Hall of Fame inductee he was inducted this year for his own individual career and  in 2012 he was inducted as a member of The Four Horsemen. Flair is not only in the WWE hall of fame he is also a member of the NWA Hall of Fame, Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, and Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.Unlike many other wrestlers even if you havent seen or know of the events in this or that federation if you have even a passing intrest in wrestling then your bound to have come across the work of Ric Flair.

Now I dont agree with Flair's almost constant alchol consumption or his cheating on his wives, his drunken helecopter dick airplane beahaviour (apparently what he got up to during a plane journey referd to as the plane ride from hell) but I do think that he would easily be one of the greatest wrestlers to have ever lived and I have to thank him for all of the wonderful memories he provided not only me but so many people over the years. So often he was so busy playing the villian role that he didnt get the respect he deserved, I remember wanting people like Hulk Hogan and Sting to rip his head off but now as an adult I can see the very important part he played.

Over all there was no one really in 2008 who I really felt didnt deserve to be inducted in to the hall of fame, even if I would have handled the Brisco's diffrently. Its personally not the best year for me as there is only really Flair who I grew up watching but its not a bad year at all.

Friday, 5 January 2018

PAPRIUM the hopefully upcoming New MegaDrive/Genesis walk along beat em up.



OK so I am seriously late to the party on this one but I want to talk about Paprium a game being made by Watermelon Games for the MegaDrive, yep that's right I said being made and not made, this is a bonerfied new game that's going to be coming to the Megadrive. This is not the first MegaDrive game made by Watermelon, they made an RPG called Pier Solar. I say I am late in talking about this as the game has been in development for 4 years, in fact it sounds like its pretty darn close to being finished, in fact Paprium was supposed to be out and available to buy with a Fall of 2017 release window with preorders being taken unfortunately things haven't gone as smooth as they might have and WaterMelon has announced the game will be pushed to an early 2018 release. Apparently the developer has had problems with PayPal locking their account for suspected suspicious activity. Apparently they received such an unprecedented large amount of orders that Paypal decided that this was suspicious for a Mega Drive/SEGA Genesis game to be raising this kind of money. This is a shame and I hope its a situation soon rectified but I wanted to mention it before talking about the game as I don't want anyone thinking they can just run and get this right now. It is interesting to note that a MegaDrive project could raise enough for this situation to come about though I guess it says something about the love the machine and this kind of game has out there.

PAPRIUM (code-name: "ProjectY"), is a post apocalyptic street brawler, what I would usually call a walk along beat em up so yeah Streets of Rage, Final Fight sort of thing.This is one of the things that makes this project really interesting to me, that's one of the reasons I wanted to talk about it. You see a lot of youth was spent playing these kinds of games either on the MegaDrive the SNES or in the Arcades and once they were pretty much one of the very most popular types of game so for me this game looks like a real blast from the past.

So as for the story it is the Year 8A2 whatever that means (basically post apocalyptic future time) somewhere between Shanghai, Tokyo and Pyongyang, a Megapolis rose from ashes of the shortest but most devastating nuclear war in history, its name is PAPRIUM. Basically the idea of the game is that you choose one of 5 playable characters and fight your way through the city, so OK yeah its not exactly the work of Shakespeare but when did you need anything all that deep as an excuse to punch an army of thugs in the face.

The game is being advertised as being 80-MEG, with 24 Levels and 5 Playable Characters, running at an Uncompromized 60fps with high quality music. The graphics look very tasty, they are very Streets of Rage 2esque, they have large detailed colourful sprites. Not everything can be worked out from just looking at screen shots and trailers though, obviously I don't know how it controls how many moves there are or how it feels but I have to say that I am pretty darn impressed with what I have seen so far. In all honesty any worries I have are not for the product itself they are for the creators and customers. All of the worries I have are related to the projects paypal account being frozen and how this will be dealt with, if everyone who wants a copy of the game will be able to get there hands on it and the issue of piracy. As an Everdrive owner I know how impressive these devices can be and whats to stop someone dumping the game onto the net and then everyone playing it for free on an emulator or through an everdrive? You might say so what, but I have a very good answer to this and that is if the team doesn't make a healthy profit from the games they do then well basically they will stop making them and that would be an awful thing.

Well I guess this is all I have to say on this at the moment but hopefully this is a subject I will be able to return to in the future.I wish the developers all of the good will in the world and hope that not only this project gets out there and makes a profit but so do all of there future endeavours.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

News Rant: Depression in Japan and the body in Aokigahara forest showed on youtube

OK so I want to do one of my posts/rants about things that I have read in the news recently, there are a two subjects I am going to touch upon so just in case one of these doesn't interest you I will start each new topic with the first word of the first paragraph in bold and larger/underlined.

One of the things I pride myself on as a person is that I am always willing to look at other cultures and other ideas. I guess that I am simply an inquisitive soul. I have always had a bit of a soft spot for Japan, maybe its the Anime and Manga, or an early exposure to show like Monkey, or a life time of playing the Video Games most of which have Japanese origins, but its a place that for one reason or another has always interested me.

I have written quiet a bit about mental health so I was surprised to learn that up until the late 1990s in Japan, "depression" was a word rarely heard outside psychiatric circles. It was in fact claimed by some that this was simply because people in Japan didn't suffer depression. They had the same sad or lost feelings that we might have but they didn't become depressed instead they found ways to tunnel these feelings into various avenues which would allow them to carry on with life. Basically it was felt that they used there low moods to create works of art or other such things.

Japan has had a very different medical tradition to countries such as mine (the UK) they tend to have looked at depression as primarily a physical issue rather than a combination of physical and psychological. Depression as a diagnosis was rarely used but people suffering from what we would see as classic symptoms of depression would most commonly be told by their doctors that they needed rest.

Originally the makers of the drug Prozac had pretty much given up on the idea of trying to sell it to Japan. This changed when  a Japanese drugs firm came up with a  remarkable marketing campaign. They spread the word about depression referring to it as kokoro no kaze  which translates as ''a cold of the soul''.  The idea was pushed that anyone could suffer from depression but with medication it could be treated. It was after this that the number of people diagnosed with a mood disorder in Japan doubled in just four years, and the market for anti-depressants boomed.

The acceptance of the idea of depression and the use of drugs to combat it wasn't the end of things though celebrities came out and admitted that they had suffered from depression, to a certain degree it became almost fashionable to admit that you had suffered from a bout of depression. Parents of those who had committed suicide after having been overworked started taking there passed loved ones companies to court. What had once been a sort of hushed up and ignored thing was now being talked about. Suicide had previously been seen as straightforward and sometimes noble but now things were far less clear cut.  A suicide prevention law was passed in 2006, pledging to reduce suicide rates and declaring suicide a social rather than just a private problem.

 In some ways Japan has even done things in this area that we have not. Since 2015 Japan has brought in workplace stress checks which is something that we do not have. Workers complete a  questionnaire covering causes and symptoms of stress  which is assessed by doctors and nurses, the results of which lead to medical care for those who need it and not only that but the results are kept confidential from employers. This is mandatory for companies with more than 50 staff, and smaller businesses are also encouraged to do the same. Do I think that this is something we should do over here? In honesty my answer to this question would be yes most definitely, but I do realise that putting something like this into practise could be very complicated and might actually come with its own issues.

OK so something else I want to talk about which is not totally unrelated which was in the news was a story about an American YouTuber with more than 15 million subscribers who posted a video online which showed the body of a suicide victim. There is a forest in Japan (Aokigahara forest) which people basically visit to commit suicide, its been the subject of stories, legends and even a film, and this YouTube vlogger Logan Paul visited it, while there he filmed a video for his channel which actually showed him and his friends finding a dead body he then posted this video online with the title "We found a dead body in the Japanese suicide forest". The video was viewed more than a million times before it was taken down, it showed the dead man's body with his face blurred. The guy has tonnes of young viewers so this stunt has caused absolutely bucket loads of controversy. He claimed that he went there to do a video which was based on the haunted aspects of the place, and that he wanted to raise awareness of suicide in an effort to save lives, he has done the usual all singing all dancing apology but I am here to talk about what I make of the whole situation.

Would I visit Aokigahara forest? Yes I would. I do think that it would be a terrible dark place to visit but I do think that its important to talk about depression and about suicide and that places can be awful but can also need to be talked about but it needs to be talked about in the right way. If I had been filming the forest and had come across a body then the camera would have been turned off straight away, I would have had respect for the poor man who had unfortunately ended his life. I would have also stopped to think about my audience, showing a corpse on your video when you know your product is consumed by miners is just a really shitty thing to do. I hope that this is the last stupid thing that he does and I really hope that he truly understands that he has done wrong and that he has not just apologised as a form of damage limitation to try and keep as much of his reputation and viewing figures as possible but because he actually regrets what he has done, unfortunately I don't think this is the case but I guess time will tell.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

My thoughts on Doctor Who Christmas special Twice Upon a Time

 
 


I always wanted to review the Doctor Who Christmas special Twice Upon a time but I also wanted to make sure that I did a few things first. I wanted to watch it at least a second time alone in peace. You see its sort of part of our family tradition that we all watch the specials togther when they are transmited on Christmas Day, its as big a part of Christmas for us as the presents or the dinner, if Doctor Who ever went away it would actually leave a huge hole in the day itself for us, it wouldnt be the first hold or the biggest hole but it would change Christmas forever.

I had been looking forward to this episode so much, my mind had been hyping it up and thinking about everything that might happen, I have to admit I didnt want Peter Capaldi to leave at all, I dont think he has always had the best scripts but I do love his Doctor, I guess I have a special soft spot for every single Doctor but there is this thing about Capaldi, I find him very much to be a bridge between classic Doctor Who and new Doctor Who, he just feels like a Classic Doctor in new Who storys.

Know I have known for a long time that Peter Capaldi was going to be replaced by Jodie Whittaker and that this would be Steven Moffats final episode, so I have had time to come to terms with it, I am not a huge fan of Jodie Whittaker and she is not the person I would have chosen for the next Doctor, I am however going to tune in to all of her episodes and give her a chance. I wont be bashing her just because shes a woman, if she is good then I will acknowledge it and if shes bad then I will do the same, so far having only seen seconds of her there is not a lot I can really say on the subject the only thing I can say is that I think her Doctor Costume that they have released pictures of is very goofy, its almost Colin Baker levels of cringe and although I really liked him the clothes they put him in really didnt do him any favours.

Ok now I have been going on and on I better say that this review will contain spoilers so if you havent watched the episode and wish to do so you might want to pop off now and do that before you read anyfurther. I would like to point out that I dont plan to talk about every single moment in the episode or walk through it scene by scene I just want to talk about it in general and offer a few opinions I have. I fully admit these are my opinions and that you or anyone else might greatly disagree with me one way or the other but hey thats one of the things that makes life intresting right?
Ok so episodes of Doctor Who can be lots of things, they can sometimes be pretty much pure action, they can be morality tales, they can be twisty turny time travel parodox sort of tales and from time to time they can even be described as sort of Horror, sometimes though they are more well for want of a better term philosophical pieces. I would describe this one as a philosophical piece after all there isent really a big villian so to speak.  So what do we have? Well we have a story about two diffrent Doctors refusing to regenerate so I want to start by commenting on them.

One of them is the First Doctor who is being played by David Bradley who is portraying the William Hartnell original Doctor. David Bradley played William Hartnell in the biopic Adventures in Time and Space which showed how Doctor Who got its start and he was brilliant in it, he played both Hartnell and Hartnell playing the Doctor with so much skill and passion that I actually think its wonderful to see him bring the first Doctor back to life for this adventure, he does it with such skill using the same kind of gestures movements and mannerisms that Hartnell did that during the episode I never saw him as a pretender I just saw him as the original  Doctor and I cant think of higher praise than that. There has been a lot of fuss about some of the things he says in the episode and some of the way he has been portrayed, basically he is shown to be very much a product of the era in which the first Doctor would have been on the telly he is shown to beleave that women are weaker, delicate, need protection and that they should be in the kitchen and if they do something wrong then they should recieve a smacked bottom. Some -people have seen this as more feminism working its way into Doctor Who and feel that it is lecturing to them, in all fairness I found it pretty funny. You watch old Doctor Who from back then and there was this kind of diffrence between how men and women were treated and I think it would be wrong to have ignored this, maybe they went to the ropes one to many time with the same sort of jokes for some peoples tastes but it generally got a few laughs out of me in what was otherwise at times a very moving bitter sweet episode.

As for Capaldi well I thought he gave a really strong performance as the Doctor and it made me even sadder to see him go.  For me Capaldi was a bit like a crazy old dad or uncle who could be both a bit silly and a then yet also incredably deep, loving and protective His Doctor felt like it was somehow both having a laugh and yet still taking the critical moments seriously, he really felt like he loved life even if at times the hand he was dealt made him dispare.Seeing this Doctor a 13th regeneration wise but comical against a very stern and serious original Doctor a Doctor who seemed to somewhat disprove of him yet who he seemed to deeply respect and want to be liked by (As shown in him not wanting to admit the electric guitar was his) was also very intresting to watch, after all I am sure all of us have stopped at one point in our life and wonderd what it would be like if we could talk to a younger more naieve and hopeful version of ourselves havent we? This was sort of a theme in this episode as Capaldi's pre regenrataion words were directed at his future incarnation, telling her what she should be and what she should do

It was great to see Pearl Mackie back, although when they said they had someone the Doctor would like to see I was kind of hoping for a grown up Susan, as she was someone that would have had meaning to both of the Doctors, I am not saying I didnt want Pearl Mackie in it but she could have been seen later. It was also nice to see Nardol, at first this character seemed goofy at times and yeah he still is but he is also nice and its good to have someone who is soft and caring and who feels dedicated to the Doctor thats male around, I also didnt mind seeing Clara, sure she has been shoehordned in far too much and given far too much importance at times in my opinion but it really did make sense here and unlike when Matt Smith saw Amy Pond before regenerating it didnt feel like the previous companions apperance made anothers feel hollow and made them feel left out.

 It is intresting to have a Christmas specially where there is not really a baddy, the people the Doctor threatens to stop if they have bad intentions dont actually end up being evil, its pretty much a missunderstanding in a way. Yeah we have a few Daleks who are out of there cases and we have Rusty the Dalek the Doctor accidentally made hate Daleks in an attempt to make him good, but he isent evil, well he does want the Doctor dead but thats sort of because he views the Doctor as kind of evil, he hates the Daleks and he happens to see the Doctor as having some pretty Dalek like qualities. In a way the Doctor is his own enemy its his resistance to regenerating the idea that he might just give up and die instead so that he can have some peace that is the looming shadow of the episode. The idea that the first Doctor didnt want to regenerate and that if he hadnt none of the others would have lived and that the world would have been tottally diffrent is basically what spurs him on to conquer his own fears

There are so many little loving nods and refrences tucked into this episode what with the Tardis windows being the wrong shape, the First Doctor’s insistence on calling the Tardis‘the ship’.
The whole adventure for the first Doctor takes place between the last moments of Hartnell’s final story,. This is pretty neat in itself as that episode titled The Tenth Planet marked the introduction of  the original Mondasian Cybermen, which were actually reintroduced to Doctor Who at the request of actor Peter Capaldi in the episode directly before this special. This sort of wraps up all of Doctor Who from the start to now with a nice little bow bringing it in a sort of circle. I really enjoyed the twist that Mark Gatiss’ character The Captain is the father of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewar. I am a big fan of Mark Gatiss and I cant think of someone who could have played the charcter of a stuiff up a lip British Captain than him and someone who deserves the honour of having played the Brigadiers dad more than him. I really enjoyed his character and I think despite being a small part of a large story he really did shine.

No one has seen enough of the new Doctor yet to pass any judgment, all we got was an excited look and the words ''Oh brilliant''. There was something that really stuck with me in the regeeneration though and that was the point when the ring the previous Doctor had been wearing falls off her finger and hits the floor of the Tardis, there was something almost haunting about the way this happend, it was only an instant on screen and yet it really stuck with me.

All in all I really enjoyed this episode even if I was sad to see Capaldi go, he will always be the Doctor to me, and I wish him nothing but the best for all of time. Ok Jodie its your turn to step up to the wickets and see if you can impress me.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

The 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein


So this year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein which was first printed on the 1st of January 1818. This book is obviously one very close to my heart for a great many reasons, one the fact that its a horror book which inspired one of my favourite films and also because I have a lot of sympathy for the monster of the piece.

One of the things that is fantastic about the book is that Shelley came up with the idea at the age of 18 after being challenged by the poet Lord Byron who happens to be buried not to far away from where I sit typing this right now. It sounds quiet amazing that at such a young age she could come up with such a deep and riveting piece of fiction but then when you remember that back then the world in which she did it was very different its writing becomes an even more impressive feat. I read very few books more than once, some of the exceptions being The Lord of the Rings, Water Ship down and Frankenstein they all hold one thing in common and that is that there is a lot more to them than what is on the surface and with every time I pick them up I peel an extra layer back and see something that I didnt see before. As far as I am concerned this book is one of the true classics not just a classic of a particular age or genre but a bonifide classic overall.

The novel was originally published without Shelley's name and suprisingly it received what could best be described as mixed reviews. What would start out with humble beginnings though would go on to be loved by a great many. First it was picked up by theatre companies and then it really took of when it started to be adapted into film. I wonder what Mary Shelley would make of it now, what she would think about the way in which her story has been remade and adapted the ways in which it has touched so many different peoples lives? Nothing can ever take away from the brilliance of her novel but it is debatable if it would have touched half as many people if not for a certain actor.

The first film adaptation was made in 1910 but since then there have been not only more films than you can count but also TV series's cartoons comics and well pretty much anything you can think of featuring the monster from Frankenstein.

The Frankenstein film made in 1910 was a 16-minute short film produced for the Thomas Edison Film Company made in the very early days of cinema, this was almost 20 years before the advent of sound in film and although I would strongly recommend people to give it a watch for me the first real proper Frankenstein film worthy of the book wouldn't come for another 21 years.

If you think of Universal studios Frankenstein which was released in 1931 one of the first things you might think of is the cry of "It's alive, it's alive!" Not only this but this film gave us the image of Frankenstein's monster which has stayed with the character ever since, any time someone tries to draw a picture of the monster or describe the monster this is the one they will describe if asked what noises the monster makes or how the monster walks most people will instantly think of the way the monster was portrayed here by  the actor Boris Karloff. The way the monster looks here would go on to be replicated in shows such as The Munsters, The Addams Family and in cartoons like Scooby-Doo. Some people forget though that Karloff brought more to the monster than just groaning he brought a certain innocence and wonder to the monster, the monster wasn't really a monster he was just a creature that had been brought to life who didn't know who or what he was, why he was there or what to do, to be honest in a lot of ways he was more frightened than anyone else in the film, he wasn't really the Villain of the piece he was a Victim of his creators thirst for knowledge and power and in the hands of a lesser actor I doubt I would feel the sympathy for the character that I do. I think Karloff was very aware of the real guts of the part, no sound or movement from him was a wasted one, every single thing he did had purpose and brought life to the part he was playing and this is one of the reasons I hold the deepest of respect for him.

I could write all day about Frankenstein, I could go on to write about one of my other heroes who filled the role the wonderful Christopher Lee, but I think that is a post for another day. Right now I just want to say a huge thank you to Mary Shelley for giving the world such a fantastic book and thank you to everyone else who has kept the monster alive.

Monday, 1 January 2018

SNES Review 134 Vegas Stakes AKA Las Vegas Dream

So I am pretty sure that most people if confronted by a SNES gambling game in an indy games store would most likely turn there nose up at it and simply walk on by, well in all honesty I might have done the same if not for the price tag on the copy I saw, it was £3 for the cart and manual, and as I review SNES games I thought why the heck not.


So Vegas Stakes, which is known as Las Vegas Dream in Japan, was developed by HAL Laboratory yes that Hal the creators of Kirby and it was released in1993 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System with a version coming out a few years later for the Game Boy. The game is one of a small number of Super NES titles which supports the Super NES Mouse, so if you have one of those (I do) and your desperate to give it something to do then this could be the game for you. This game is actually a sequel to a NES game called Vegas Dream which was actually one of the very first Nintendo games to be marketed to adults in the U.S.

The basic premise of the game is that the player has gone to Las Vegas with friends in an attempt to gamble with $1000 with the goal being to try to win $10 million. The cool thing is that this game doesn't just go with you picking a gambling game and then boom you've won, blah you have lost no it actually has some pretty darn good presentation, it has an intro featuring characters and a story, it has a certain charm about it which comes from the way in which it is presented. Your friends are seen as text talking characters portraits which have as realistic as a SNES could manage look to them. You see all of them at the start during the intro with them discussing there own money winning dreams, then you book yourself into the hotel, its at this point that you actually get to pick one of them to go into the casino alongside you as a sort of wing man.



There are Five casinos in the game starting with a basic joint called The Hideaway up to a very exclusive establishment which requires that you have $100,000 just to be allowed in. Each one of the casinos has both a minimum and a maximum betting amount, so you have to pick the joint which best reflects the kind of money you have and the sort of amounts your planning on gambling with currently. On the plus side each and everyone of these places has its very own visual design and  background music which gives it its very own feel but the bad part is that unfortunately you’ll find the same five games in every single one, which is a real shame it would have been a nice little touch to see extra games become unlocked in higher stake casinos.

So in this review so far I have basically talked about who made the game and the presentation but what about the actual gameplay, what casino games actually make up the bread and butter of this title?  Well the 5 games you will be playing are Blackjack, Slots, Roulette, Craps, and Poker. They all work well enough but what you are going to get out of them largely depends on your knowledge of them and your love or hate for them. You do get rule lists and you can ask your current companion for advice which sometimes helps but if your a bit of a casino novice which I am you still might find yourself struggling a bit, I wouldn't recommend this as a game to teach you how to play. This is probably why I spent most of my time with BlackJack, Slots and Roulette because I never have been very good at understanding all the subtleties of Poker.

Something I found really unusual and cool in this game was the fact that strangers approach you and ask for money for various reasons, sometimes giving you what I would describe as a sob story and its up to you to decide if you want to help them or not. Now if you help you might end up profiting from it or you might end up being conned as they run off with your cash never to be seen again, so this is a sort of 6th form of gambling in the game and I personally found it rather cool.

So what do I think of Vegas Stakes overall? Well its hard to judge it when its on the same machine which offers us games like Zelda a Link to the Past and Mario World, the graphics are clean and inviting the game has excellent presentation but just being able to play 5 gambling games doesn't feel quite indepth enough, if I had paid full price for this on release I would have felt rather disappointed but I also couldn't call it a bad game. I think I need to give this game 6 out of 10, there is a lot right here but if you are interested then don't go spending too much you can probably get things like this much cheaper on more modern platforms but I do have to respect to having a lot of respect for this game, it really was so much more than I expected it to be when I purchased it.