Tag Archives: gaming

I bought my first Micro-Transaction…


Yeah, yeah, moan and winge at me about it! At least it’s not Smurfberries!

Chess 2 came out today on the Ouya. So it was finally an excuse to pull out the Ouya that I’ve had hidden in a bag since I did the Retro Night at the Computer History Centre, which was way back in October! I had noticed that in order to play people online you have to pay 8 “Crowns”. The game does provide you with 240 Crowns to begin with, which is about 30 online games; and there was an offer for today where you can purchase 720 crowns (90 online games) for $5.99 on a one time offer. Personally I do hate it when people, such as Microsoft, invents a currency for the sake of confusing people. Ludemegames, the people behind Chess 2, should have made it in such a way so that only one crown was needed for an online game, making it easier to work out without needed to get the handy calculator out. But I’m sure there’s some kind of business decision behind it… *groan* Continue reading

Turkey and Gaming…

So, I’m on holiday at the moment using hotel WiFi. What’s awesome is that hotel WiFi is free providing you show the clerks your key card. Sweet! Maybe the UK and US can learn from this. On my travels I’ve barely seen any gaming stuff, be it legit or pirated, but in one hotel I was in, there was a game room. It had two PCs on a LAN and a PS3 hooked up to a 21 inch HDTV. I didn’t touch them as they didn’t have anything that I would play; just Battle Field 2 on the PCs and some version of Pro Evo Soccer on the PS3. What cracked me up was the PC. They were on CRT screens. Now mind you, CRT screens are great for MAME but it was being used for a modern game. What was more interesting was seeing Turkish TV commercials whereby a PC was accompanied with a CRT screen. It looks as if as much as HDTVs are becoming popular over here in Turkey, it seems that LCD monitors aren’t quite as popular.

I’ll need to look into this and see why that’s the case. Maybe LCD, monitors are expensive, maybe MAME is really popular over here. I’ll see if I can do a little research and see why that’s the case…

Before the internet… Part 1

Before there was the internet there was Television, and what television was good for back in the eighties and nineties was advertising and commercials. It was a time where if you weren’t reading gaming magazines, you would find out about games through television Adverts. Here’s a few I remember from back in the day…
This advert for Super Mario Bros 3 was just epic, as a kid I always wanted to know how they pulled off having so many people to make that mosiac of Mario across the United States…  Well it was all computer generated!

“To be this good takes Sega” was a set of adverts I really remember well with it’s crazy mechanical and robotic themes with a dude living inside a huge American eighteen wheeler lorry. As much as I was a Nintendo Fan Boy at the time, they used to show these adverts a lot in the early nineties.

I got into reading gaming magazines when I saw a cover of Nintendo Magazine System with Super Mario Land 2 on the front of it, I had to have it! I needed to know what the next Mario game is like, and just as I saw this Magazine cover, this advert appeared on TV around the same time in winter of 1992. Just the crazy look on Wario’s face in this advert made Wario Mario’s next big enemy!

Sony’s “Double Life” TV ad in 1998 is by far, the darkest, but powerful advert I’ve seen, that makes people know that as much as society has a habit of labelling gamers as antisocial individuals, we have witnessed a form of art they are not aware of…

“Up to 6 Billion Players” was the slogan Sega used for their adverts when the Dreamcast started to release Online games such as Chu-Chu Rocket, Phantasy Star Online and a bunch of Football and sports games.
With the internet age on our hands, at least I don’t need adverts to tell me what game to get, websites, blogs, podcasts and game news and reviews can be seen on the web. However in Part 2 of “Before the Internet”, I’ll be blogging about TV shows about video games in the early nineties.

Steam Consoles!?

So…  If you’re not aware, I’m a co-host on the Stalking the Retro Podcast, and on episode 22 we talked about Steam’s “Big Picture” and how I believed that Valve is making a console. One: because the “Big Picture” is controller friendly, and Two: Valve possess patents towards a unique Valve branded controller with interchangeable sticks and buttons.

Well… CES is here, and even a day or two before CES, there’s now more than one piece of kit that can get your Steam games on you TV without the need of building a Mini ITX PC.

First is the NVidia Shield.

Sorry NVidia, this is fugly…

And then there’s the Xi3’s Piston.

Valve Steam Box Piston
I swear there’s more ports on the back of this thing than my desktop PC! 😮

In short, the Piston is more of a PC crammed into a tiny box, more of an actual Steam Console, that’s really just a tiny gaming PC, and the NVidia Shield in essence is an XBox 360 controller sized portable with a flip up screen that runs android and features a Shield exclusive software that can stream the video from a PC running Steam and play PC games on the Shield’s screen, or output it to a TV via an HDMI output.
Seriously though, seeing pictures of the Xi3 Piston, and it looks awesome! I’m amazed how they crammed so much in it. And of course it’s built out of more than one board that builds up a complete motherboard with more than on board and shaped into a small cube. If this was a Mini ITX PC, it’ll be made of a Motherboard, a graphics card and a PSU, which would be A LOT bigger than this. Plus I would like to know what kind of graphics chips they use in this thing. The only downside of this little machine is that it’s price tag is estimated to be a whopping $999! Now, building your own Mini ITX gaming PC would be cheaper than this. However Xi3 have stated that they’re going to make the system upgradable and that you can take it apart and replace it’s 3 boards that come with more RAM and faster processors. But with it’s $999 price tag on it, yeah… I’ll leave this for people with more money thank you very much!
The NVidia Shield on the other hand is pretty much an Ouya crammed into a 360-like controller with a flip up screen, and features video streaming from PCs that have Steam running on them.
NVIDIA Project Shield Hands On: A Little Less Weird Than It Looks
So it’s a two-in-one deal here, it’s a Tegra enabled Android tablet, so you can play your existing Android games on this, but with real buttons. Plus it has the function to stream Steam games onto either it’s 5 inch screen or out from it’s Micro HDMI output to a TV screen. There’s no price estimated for this, but I can’t see this costing the same price as the $999 Piston. I just hope they can change the design of it to make it look a bit more sleeker, I bet the designer was a huge fan of the original XBox!

What made this Nintendo fan-boy broaden his horizons?

As a kid in the nineties, Super Mario was my hero, and Nintendo is where you played Mario games. My first experience with Sega and Sonic wasn’t a great one as I thought it was too fast and too hard for my 7 year old mind. So through out the nineties I was a big supporter and fan of Nintendo, disliking Sega, and eventually disliking Sony due to the PlayStation’s “slow” loading discs. But by the turn of the Millennium, my tastes in video games were going to grow a lot, but how did this once Nintendo Fan boy buy himself a PlayStation in 2001 you ask?!

Dance Dance Revolution and Dancing Stage…

Yup, it’s a little embarrassing to admit it, but when I went to the Millennium Dome in London back in 1999, there was a tiny arcade inside, and one of the few machines inside, with a couple of Pinball machines and crane games was a Dancing Stage. For those outside Europe, Dancing Stage was the name to Dance Dance Revolution in Europe, no idea why, hunting on Google and Wikipedia didn’t give any results either, but regardless to the name change, it was the same game by Konami with a couple of licensed tracks thrown in. I popped in a £1 coin and began to play the game. As to anyone playing a dance machine for the first time, I was terrible at it, but at least I got to my third and final round before failing. There was a lady in this tiny booth watching me play the game. And when I had finished she walked out and pulled out a plush toy from one of the crane games and had told me that I was the only person who had gotten to the third round since the Millennium Dome was opened. I was kinda chuffed, accepted the toy, and began to think on how to could get that game home.

That’s where it struck me. The only Nintendo versions of Dancing Stage and Dance Dance Revolution were only available in Japan, there was a version on Game Boy Color that came with a mini platform you mounted on top on the portable as you make your fingers do the dancing. I thought that was pretty silly (I say that when most people think stomping your feat on pink and blue glass panels is silly!), there was an actual version of DDR on the N64 in Japan, but it was the Disney Rave Mix, Disney “Rave” Mix? I’d hate to see what happens to Mickey when dropping Es at a rave. In the mean while, I was waiting to go on holiday to the coast to scour the piers and arcades for actual Dance Machines. The waiting and hoping that a version of DDR and Dancing Stage could appear on the N64, Dancing Stage Euro Mix got released in 2001 for the PlayStation. At that point I thought to myself, I can’t play DDR on the N64, I gotta go and get myself one of those “Slow Loading” PlayStations. At the time the PS2 was reaching it’s first year in Europe, and I didn’t care for it then, I wanted to see how cheap I could get a PlayStation 1 just so I could get my DDR fix. Before Christmas of 2001, I managed to buy an original PlayStation 1, not the PSOne, from a bloke at a Market/Car Boot sale for £40 (I still regret paying that price for a second-hand PlayStation) and got myself a copy of Dancing Stage Euro Mix and a dance mat from GAME. So I got what I wanted, a system that I got my DDR fix from. But as time slowly moved on, I would return to the same car boot sale for other PlayStation games that might grab my interest.

Someone bought this for £94.90!? Ouch…

Going with the Rhythm game theme, Europe got Beat Mania, think DJ Hero before DJ Hero existed, and was made by Konami, the same people who made Dancing Stage and DDR. It was a pack that came with a poorly made turn table controller that broke on me. I handed it back to the bloke at the car boot and demanded a refund, but he refused; at around the same time I noticed that GAME were selling off copies of Beat Mania to clear space in their warehouses for a fiver a piece, I bought one, then handed over the one I bought from the Car Boot Sale inside the box that I got from GAME to get my money back.

And into more Rhythm Games, I got a copy of Vib Ribbon. Now this is an interesting game as it never got a US release. Developed by Nana Onsha, the same team behind Parappa the Rapper. Vib Ribbon was a simple game whereby you jump over obstacles of different shapes generated from the sound being made from your music CDs. There are 8 different obstacles, each obstacle had to be jumped over in a different way by pressing a different button on the PlayStation controller; some required you to press two buttons at once. Think of this game like a Canabalt or Temple Run; you play as a wire frame bunny rabbit character who is running to the right (or the left depending on the camera angle) and you jump over holes and walls, it’s a rhythm version of an endless runner game, except it’s not really endless as the level would end at the end of the track.

Something a little different from Rhythm games, Final Fantasy IX. Before I got the PlayStation, I owned the PC version of Final Fantasy VII, and loved the crap out of it. There was a version of Final Fantasy VIII for the PC, but I didn’t know where to find a copy, and Final Fantasy IX never had a PC release. But with my own PlayStation, and a WH Smith £10 book voucher, I got myself a copy of Final Fantasy IX. For the time I had it I enjoyed it, though I didn’t beat it, and by the time the GameCube came out, I traded it in for a copy of Super Smash Bros Melee at a local small Games Shop that I would eventually hate big time.

After this revelation in gaming, this Nintendo Fan Boy was fan boy no more, my taste in games were broaden, and soon after picked myself up a DreamCast, and used eBay and Car Boot sales to pick up other consoles such as the Master System, a Mega Drive, and later on pick up a TurboGrafx and an Atari 2600.

So yeah, DDR made me like other systems, Let’s dance!

Dont ask me why exercising anthropomorphic rabbits and Cotton Eye Joe have in common…  Only Konami knows! lol!