Saturday, 30 September 2017

Retro Game purchases: September 2017

Well I started my month of retro purchasing off on the 2nd when I got a boxed 3rd party Logic 3 Sega Saturn pad for £3 from a charity shop. I don't see Saturn stuff very often and I don't think I own many pads for this system so it seemed worthwhile grabbing one.

 The next thing I got was on the 4th I got a game in the post called Super Volleyball for the megadrive, it was an American cart version which I got for only £3 including postage, I have seen it sell for a lot more I'd imagine because of the fact it never came out in Europe. I wanted this game because when I was younger a friend of my brothers owned it and used to bring it around with his megadrive.
On the 6th I got quite  a few bits I got The lucky dime caper cart only for game gear £1, Stunt Race FAX for snes cart only £3, Rugrats treasure hunt for N64 cart only for £3, Vanishing point complete for ps1 for £2 and Lilo and stitch trouble in paradise complete for Ps1 for £1. I guess nothing here is that wonderful but the prices are pretty good in my opinion.

On the 7th I managed to get Dynamite Heady for megadrive cart only £5 and Marble madness for NES cart only for £5 from a local indy store which I didn't think were bad prices as both are pretty darn good games in my opinion. I am actually pretty surprised its taken me this long to grab a copy of Heady.

On the 8th I was passing my semi local CEX store and picked up Mystic Quest Legend for Snes cart only for £10 and Young Merlin snes cart only for £5. I most got these for my SNES review series although I am sure I will enjoy them.

On the 13th I got a whole pile of things for £6 because of my semi local video game shop Playtime shutting down soon I got World Cup Italia 90 for megadrive boxed complete, Jordan Vs Bird for megadrive boxed missing manual, Inzuma eleven 2 Blizzard and Firestorm both sealed, dragon blade for wii complete, and Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai for psp umd only.

I also went in a charity shop and picked up a copy of Jade Empire complete for xbox for £1.50
I didnt buy anything else until the 21st when I went in a pawn store and grabbed Marko's magic football for megadrive boxed complete for £5.
On the 22nd I went in a charity shop and grabbed Smack Down vs Raw 2009 for psp complete for £1
and Smackdown vs Raw 2010 for psp complete for £1. I love the smackdown games on pretty much all platforms I guess its because I am a huge wrestling fan, yeah I am not as in to the new stuff as I was the 80's but hey with create a wrestler I can remake an 80's guy and have him kick modern butt.

On the 26th I went to this out of the way coffee shop with my girlfriend, the best part of the day was spending time with her but as a cherry on top of the cake I popped into the charity shop near there and got a couple of  games I got Onimishu 3 for the PS2 complete for £1, Crash bandicoot wrath of cortex (platinum edition) for the PS2 complete for £1 and Star Trek shattered universe for the original Xbox complete for £1.

On the 27th I popped into a couple of charity shops and in one of them grabbed the following.
WipEout Fusion for ps2 missing manual for 49pence, The Getaway for ps2 missing manual for 49pence, Prisoner of War for ps2 missing manual for 49pence, Max Payne (platinum edition) for ps2 complete for 49pence, and The Matrix Path of Neo for ps2 complete for 49pence. 

On the 29th I got two games in the post and the following prices include the postage. Pugsy for megadrive £3 complete and Dragon (the Bruce lee story) for megadrive boxed missing manual for £3.50

So this means that I spent £67.45 this month which is a very cheap month for me. I haven't gone out of my way to look for things this month at all really its been more stuff that has fallen into my path. The amount of stuff I have ignored is also pretty big, If I am sure I already own it then I have ignored it, sure I'm not an idiot of a Cart of Secret of Mana fell in front of me and was selling for only £5 I would jump on it faster than the flash but I have made a concerted effort to be a lot pickier, which is probably made easy by the fact there has been that much stuff I have seen which has been scratched beyond all belief or even in one case dripping a questionable brown fluid. So what is my favourite purchase of the month? Well probably Dragon for the Megadrive, you see I have very fond Memories of playing this as a kid and despite owning it complete for the Atari Jaguar its not like the Jag is a console I pull out on a regular basis, so I wanted it on the megadrive for 2 reasons one because I have one permanently set up and two it was the first ever version I played.

Monday, 25 September 2017

A no Spoilers review of the first episode of Seth MacFarlane's The Orville.

So first I need to say I am a massive massive fan of Seth MacFarlane, I like family guy, I am a huge fan of TED, a massive fan of his work in general. Take that on board and then take on board the fact that I grew up watching Star Trek with my dad. I have seen all of the original series of Trek all of the Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager and Enterprise, I have read books both stories and tech manuals so yeah I am a Seth MacFarlane loving Trek loving Geek.

 So I just watched the first Episode of Seth MacFarlane's new show The Orville. Seth is a fan of Star Trek in fact he appeared in Enterprise in a short cameo and what he has made here is pretty much his own version of Star Trek a version with a comedic flair to it. Its not just a funny rip off though, its made with such love that you can tell that it is made with the deepest affectionate for Star Trek, its full of little head nods and well it basically felt to me like it was a Trek show just a Trek show with more realistic dialogue, more realistic people and well humour. As a kid you watch Trek and you take it for normal that these crew members all just sort of do there jobs and are largely happy with it, that everyone turns up on time and does what there supposed to do but once you have worked in a few different jobs you realise that works not like that at all, when your at work people chit chat, people talk shit about each other, pass rumours on, there is that person who is always late, that person who got suspended for doing some dumb shit, if you watch this opening episode of The Orville you will see that in some ways I think it shows a more realistic view of what that kind of work in space would be like. If your in to Trek this show so far has the same kind of action the same kind of technobable, the pilot episode with a few little changes very much could be used as a Trek script, so even if your not usually in to comedic stuff I would still say to give this show a go.

I found this opening episode a pleasure from start to finish, I think that it felt very much like Trek, it was funny at times but I do think that MacFarlane really reined in his comedic skills, he made sure that the jokes did not come at the expense of the story or the character development, they just served as the chocolate powder on top of the cappuccino. The show is a sci fi drama with comedic trimmings or at least that's the way I would describe this pilot episode. I think as a first episode it did a really good job of setting up the world and beginning to let you get to know the characters to show some of there traits. I found that at the end of the episode I wanted to know not only what they would get up to next but I wanted to see more of these people, I wanted to know more about the, I had questions, questions that I know will bring me back to the show. So far critics don't seem to have been very kind to this show but I totally disagree with them and I would have to say that I think this could be the start of something wonderful.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

My Review of Sara Pascoe's Pride and Prejudice

So I have to admit that I read the works of Jane Austen while I was in school, I also read a whole bunch of other things it was very unpopular for a young teenage boy to read including Romeo and Juliet, Little Women and all manner of other ''girly'' things, I also read Tolkien, Pratchet, the Omen, basically I was a big reader who was open to exploring as many fictional worlds as possible. I also flocked to watch as many films as I could and I was always willing to try out film versions of anything I have read. This is something which is still true to this day, I read Stephen Kings IT, I saw the mini series and enjoyed it and I have just recently seen the new film and enjoyed that as well.

So where am I going with this? Well basically I had seen posters around advertising a stage play of Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice which had been adapted by Sara Pascoe the Comedian. I mentioned this to my girlfrind who went on to say that it was one of her favourate books and while I dont feel that deeply for it, I did enjoy it so I suggested that maybe I should book us tickets for it as a part of her birthday presents/celebrations.

When booking the tickets I was a little worried I have to admit, you see I know Sara Pascoe for her apperance on various comedy pannel based shows and have seen her in the company of people like Frankie Boyle and such and well part of me was almost expecting this production to be full of jokes about the size of characters genetialia or for it to just try and be well too post modern and to far removed from the original material. Its not that I would have minded it if was that rude but I was kind of worried that it wouldnt be something my wonderful girlfriend would fully appreciate.

Personally I found the play to be very good, there was some humour injected into it but it was never over bearing or at the expense of the material in my opinion, it was at least to my sensabilities nice end of the peer comedy gently intertwined into the story, it made you giggle a bit here and there and kept your mood light but it didnt destroy the feel of the show. I was a little hit and miss when it came to the fact that there was this sort of  play-within-a-play structure to the show. You see we cut from the actual story to three diffrent types of scene which all sort of exist to critic the play, you see a teacher teaching girls about the play in a class room, you see people playing the characters in rehersal talking about the story how they feel about there characters there thoughts on the play, and then we also go to these two people who are adapting the story into either a TV show or film who talk about what they think of the characters and what they think they should do to sell individual scenes and to get characters across in a good or bad way. If this is a good or a bad thing depends upon what you think about this critique and if you even want one, at times I found myself enjoying these bits but at other points I kind of just wanted to get back to the main story, I guess I just felt like I had read the book and thought about the themes and the characters and didnt need certain points thrusting down my throat quiet as much, I do however admit that others might enjoy this and it might make them think about some of the issues more than they had before or in new ways.

If I have a critic which I feel is not down to personal taste and is more of an actual solid complaint then I dont like how many actors actually double dip and play two or more roles. Not only do you have to see the same person play multiple roles there are also bits where stand in wooden men are dragged around dressed as soliders. Now when the cheapest seats in the house were £15 with the more prime seats being more and the house was full to its 750 person capacity I can not for the life of me see how they couldnt offer basic none speaking stand there and smile or walk across the stage parts to some young aspiring actors, heck at the right point in my life I would have happily stood in uniform for free on the stage just for the thrill of being part of a performance and I am sure there are still plenty of people who would feel like this and be happy to do it just to fill there CV with something intresting.

Friday, 22 September 2017

SNES Review 130: Mystic Quest Legend AKA Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

So the game I am going to talk about now was released in the Pal region as Mystic Quest Legend, in America as Final Fantasy Mystic Quest,  and in Japan as Final Fantasy USA: Mystic Quest. Thinking how big Final Fantasy is as a franchise it seems kind of crazy now that for its release over here it basically had the Final Fantasy name ripped from it but you need to realise that the name didn't carry the kind of weight then that it does now.

Having heard the name Final Fantasy then you'll be thinking that this is a role-playing video game and well you would be right.The game is basically a spin-off to Square's popular Final Fantasy series that they designed and marketed as a simplified role-playing game with entry-level RPG players in mind.The whole basic idea behind the game was to get new people in to the genre, people who might previously have not paid much attention to RPG's previously. This kind of effects a lot of peoples opinions on this game. You can see why it was made, the sales of the last proper final fantasy in America before it really tanked despite it being an excellent game. So this game was made as something to try and court interest in the genre a kind of jumping in point for newbies and I would argue that when used in this way the game is at its best, the problem is when you go from playing an in depth RPG down to playing this, it comes of as incredibly simplistic in relation to almost any other RPG you could think to name.

You see while the game's  battle system is basically similar to that of a Final Fantasy game from that sort of period its kind of a little simplified with more action adventure game elements weaved into it. You dont really get a team like in other games instead you have your central character who you level up but you meet people who kind of fight alongside you and then clear off to be replaced by other latter companions. This simplifies things by meaning you only have to concentrate on your one main guy, heck the game itselfs controls your part time companions for you by default. Also when you move around on the overworld its fixed its less like moving around in most RPG games and more like moving Mario from level to level on the map screen in Super Mario Land. There are also no random battles, and no choosing who you need to take with you or making sure people level up evenly as companions kind of just drop in and out and your not responsible for managing there equipment or well anything.

The story by RPG standards is pretty darn basic there are no crazy big plot twists or things that will make you stop and think about whether what your doing is right or wrong or if your really a hero or not. Quiet simply you are a young guy called Benjamin on a quest to save the world. You do this by retrieving stolen crystals that control the world's four elemental powers and hold everything in balance.

One of the issues when a lot of people review this game is they just see it as a sort of Fischer Price Babies First RPG and tar it as nothing more than a cut down bastard of the Final Fantasy franchise and yes in some ways if your heavily into your RPG's what is on offer here can seem pretty darn simple. I would seriously argue though that its not a bad game and that if you look at it as its own thing and judge it based of that and not its various brothers then its a pretty decent game.

Now the game is pretty darn easy and that's a complaint that's been levelled against it a lot, its also short by RPG standards its about 10 hours long but hey when theres things like work to worry about sometimes its nice to have an RPG you can finish without having to dedicate your life to it. I need to say that I really do love the music in this game it just well its in many places just beautiful and has a sort of calming nature to it. The graphics are passable and work well but they are pretty no thrills graphics to be totally honest.

In conclusion well I think the game is a decent if overly simple game, its a hard one to score as it depends what your after and what kind of RPG experience you have.. If this was your first entry into the genre id give it a 7 out of 10 and say go grab it as I think it serves the purpose of easing you into this kind of game very well, If your a pro RPG gamer though then I would have to lower the score to a 6 and say that maybe this game is a little short, repetitive and over simplified to score any better. I do think though that this game gets a lot of unfair negative backlash, maybe some of this is simply because none Japanese gamers have disliked the idea that we were not buying previous RPG's simply because we were too green and in need of having our hands held to truly get there greatness? I paid £10 for my cartridge only pal copy of this game and if you really feel that you need it well I wouldn't pay over £20 for it as I don't think it will hold your attention long enough to warrant the money after all its short and not particularly replayable in my opinion.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

RIP Raymond Louis Heenan AKA Bobby "The Brain" Heenan

 So its been a while since I have posted anything most of this is due to my broadband modem dying and me having to get a new one and set it up and sort everything out. This hasnt only meant that I have posted on here it has also meant that I have been missing out on a lot of news, lets face it the stuff on TV and in the papers doesnt really cut it when your after the more geeky kind of info. This meant that I gave a very loud cheer when I got on the internet again but it soon turned into shedding tears when I foudn out that Raymond Louis Heenan better known as Bobby "The Brain" Heenan had passed away on September the 17th 2017.

Bobby Heenan was an American professional wrestling manager, wrestler, and color commentator, best known for his time with the American Wrestling Association (AWA), the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He was often called the Brain or the Weasel. In all honesty his wrestling career was well before my time, my earliest memories of him are seeing him manage Andre the Giant after he turned heel. He was amazingly skilled when it came to getting both himself and his guys over, if you wanted a wrestler to be despised and hated and considerd a real villian pretty much all you needed to do was put them with Heenan and he would get the job done for you double quick. He had an amazingly sharp mind and tongue, he could run circles around others with his quick delivery of epic put downs and no matter who he insulted even if they were your favourate wrestling hero you couldnt help but laugh at his lines, even when you really really hated him you couldnt help but also love him just a little. He also made more than his fair share of heroes of wrestling, you see everyone wanted to see Heenan get hit so all you needed to get someone over was to have them give Heenan a little bit of a bump and the crowd would go mad.

The thing is you always got the impression as a smart fan that Heenan was a real team player, not only would he give it his all to draw hate and heat for those he managed he also made sure to take good real looking bumps to help get the heroes over. He played a character who was at times a down right dirty cheat but deep down the guy basically wreaked of honesty, playfullness and a want to do not only his best but to help and inspire everyone else around him to do the same. He was and shall always be an absolute credit to the industry. His work as a color commentator lifted even some of the dullest of matches up to a highly watchable level, youd watch two useless meat heads throwing the worst fake punches at each other just to hear Bobby insult there intelgenece, or accuse them of being inbred or otherwise tear them to pieces and when you had this man comment on a good match well you lifted that up to a level of pure perfection.

I could talk about the man forever but I think I can some it all up with what I wrote about his Induction into the WWE Hall of Fame  ''As a kid I absolutely hated Bobby the Brain but as I have gotten older I realise just how much of my enjoyment of the WWF/WWE came down to this man. It was his motor mouth speech his on the spot insults, he knew how to get the kind of heat on a regular basis that most people in the world of wrestling would dream of striking once or twice in there career.''

RIP MR Heenan and thank you for the memories.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Tales from the Crypt presents: Body Count

Tales from the Crypt presents: Body Count was originally going to be the third Tales from the crypt film with the original Trilogy order being Dead Easy, Demon Knight and then Finally Body Count. If its hard to get info on Dead Easy then its basically imposible to get anything on Body Count no one seems to know anything about what it would have been beyond the title and a very basic plot outline. If the film had been made it would have been about a young guy who while compiling clips for a documentary about violent crimes, discovers his uncle's dubious past. I have never even been able to find out what it was about his uncles past he would find out but I would imagine that it would be that he was a serial killer hence the name BodyCount. I imagine it would be something a little bit like the film The GoodWife (which is based on a Stephen King story) but with it being a nephew finding out his uncle is a killer instead of a woman finding out her husband is one. I also imagine there would have been more gore and more humour to sort of bring it in to line with the whole Tales from the Crypt style. 

I wonder if this film actually had a proper complete script or if there was merly a few outline notes made, at the moment I have no idea how much work was actually done in terms of BodyCount. I didnt really think that there was enough here for a blog post but I wanted to cover this film without going on and on with nothing to really say about it. This potential film is really nothing more than a little footnote in the history of Tales From The Crypt and so thats exactly how I have treated it.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Tales from the Crypt Fat Tuesday/Dead Easy.

Ok so in my last post I mentioned the fact that originally at least there was only  two “Tales from the Crypt Presents” movies, “DemonKnight” and “Bordello of Blood.”. I then went on to talk about Ritual and how it was originally going to be the third film but then it was made to be a stand alone horror film before eventually being released on to disc as a Tales film a long time latter. There was however another Tales Movie apparently  filmed and completed between Demon Knight and Boredllo of Blood but never released. That film was the film I am going to talk about today, it was  “Fat Tuesday.” 
The trilogy might have started with Demon Knight the script for which apparently predated the Tales From The Crypt TV series but when they originally decided to make a trilogy of films it was  intended to be the second film in the trilogy. Dead Easy was at one stage intended to be the opening film of the trilogy. Dead Easy and Fat Tuesday are the same script/idea but it seems like they kept floating between the two possible titles. According to Gilbert Adler the reason for Demon Knight becoming the first film was issues they were having with the script for Dead Easy "We were rewriting it, and it was getting scarier and more intense, but a lot of the humor had been lost, and we always felt that was an important part of Tales from the Crypt -- scare people, then let them laugh.''. You might be thinking at this stage that Dead Easy had been dumped but no if you went and saw Demon Knight in the cinema then you would have seen it had a post-credits scene where the Crypt Keeper told everyone that if they hadnt had enough that they could return to the cinema soon to see the next Tales from the Crypt movie “Dead Easy”so for at least a time Dead Easy was going to be the second film in the trilogy.

The amount known about Fat Tuesday/Dead Esay well its not a lot really, most of what is known comes from magazine articles around the time Demon Knight was released. ''The next one is more psychological; than blood guts and gore'' according to A.l Katz ''As a Matter of fqact today we wrote a scene where a shadow figure squeezes through the skull of an old lady and into her brain and thats just where the movie begins.'' Adler was apparently directing Fat Tuesday and it was going into production in febuarary with a $12 million budget. The film was going to be based on a script by J.P kELLY. It was going to be set in the Deep South (possibly New Orleans) It was supposed to be about a man trying to determine what happened in his past and how his memories of this would bring back a malevolent entity if they are ever recalled. The closer the guy gets to the truth the closer he gets to releasing something inside of him. They claimed that they would be creating a unique bad guy one who would be unique and funny and like nothing we had seen before and that would also scare the shit out of people. I have found a scan of this article and I wrote the above by squinting like mad, I will share it below incase you can read it better than I.

I personally think that the plot for the film and what they had planned for us actually sounded great, yet we never got it so why not? Well apparently the reason we never got to see it according to rumors was due to with issues due to the films casting and possible racial implications. Since the script was very voodoo related youd imagine that they would have required a large African-American cast. Well during pre-production there was apparently a bunch of debates focused on whether the film would be commercially viable with a largly African American cast. The story goes that apparently the film was actually completed but the cast was entirely white. This apparently led to “Tales from the Crypt” producer Joel Silver steping in, claiming that he would be branded a racist if the film was released and because of this it was locked in a vault and has not seen the light of day since. It is intresting to think that there is a Tales from The Crypt film out there that we have never seen and I wish I could see it but I figure it will never be shown, I do wish that with the change in times they would either release the original script, noveilse it or remake it with an appropriate cast.

The two pictures I provided above and tried to read are from an article on “Fat Tuesday” that apparently came from a “DemonKnight” magazine that was published when that movie was released. There is also some art which has made its way online and I will post it here because its both intresting and I think its rather good too. Does this art really tell us anything? Well it supports the claims that the script includes a man looking after his child and it also shows that this villian as well as being described as a shadow and as having come out of the man it seems to take the form of an Evil Jester, its hard to draw anything concreate from this but maybe it was a bit like the creature in Stephen King's IT maybe it was an Evil Shadow which took the form of a Jester it sounds pretty intresting to me, I would still love to see it but I guess it will just have to live on as a movie legend.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Tales from the Crypt: Ritual

OK so I wanted to do a Post about Tales From The Crypt as well its something that is very dear to my heart. I don't just mean the HBO TV series I mean the comic books the 1970's films, the latter films such as Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood, the spiritual successors such as CreepShow and CreepShow 2 all of it put together just becomes this thing which was a massive influence on me. I wanted to become a horror Writer because of them, and even if it will never ever come true I have always had the secret dream that a story I have written would end up becoming the basis for something Tales From The Crypt related, as I think some of my work kind of has an EC Comics Tales kind of vibe to it.

I have decided that I want to talk about Tales from the Crypt films, no not Tales From the Crypt and The Vault of Horror nor the newer HBO connected films such as Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood, what I want to talk about is the films that either never made it to screen or didn't make it to screen as officially branded Tales from the Crypt Movies. I am going to start this today by talking about Ritual.

OK so the first think to say is that Ritual actually got made. Ritual was originally intended to be produced by Universal so that it could be used as the third instalment of a trilogy of Tales from the Crypt  movies. It was actually sort of going to be a replacement for other shelved films but I will talk about them in latter posts. Plans were scrapped for this to be a Tales from the Crypt film after Bordello of Blood the second released Tales from the Crypt movie (not counting the old Amicus ones here) bombed in theatres. Miramax purchased the rights from Universal and removed all references to the Tales from the Crypt franchise, so that it could be released as a stand alone movie.Eventually it was released as a Tales from the Crypt film years after with what seems to be newly shot CryptKeeper scenes with an unfortunately not great puppet. The funny thing being originally they thought the connection to Tales from Crypt might harm it then latter they felt that reconnecting it to Tales from the Crypt might improve sales of it on disc. In all honesty its a half decent film with the highlight of it for me being the fact it features Tim Curry. I personally wish they'd kept it a Tales from Crypt film in the first place . Its basically a retelling of the old film I Walked With a Zombie.If you enjoy films about Voodoo then you will probably like it, at times it does feel very much like a Tales from the Crypt film but then at others it feels a little slow paced and like it lost its mojo maybe some of this is due to alterations made to try and take it away from its Crypt past and treat it like a stand alone movie. I recommend that people watch it, I would also check out the latter filmed Crypt Keeper bits but I don't think its something that your going to keep returning to and you certainly need to watch it with your expectations dialled down.

I do tend to see this as a Tales from the Crypt film as I think at heart despite its original unbranding it always was a Tales film at heart, I don't think it was anywhere near as good as Demon Knight the first of the Tales Trilogy but then the thing is I would actually call Demon Knight one of my top ten favourite films of all time. If we were to consider the official trilogy Demon Knight, Bordello of Blood and then Ritual I would order them from best to worst in that very same order. Once I have talked about more of the potential sequels and kind of sequels I will have to come back and reassess this films place in the rankings but until then.... Good Night Boys and Ghouls.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Megadrive Box art comparison: Disneys Lion King

Ok so I am back onc3e again looking at Megadrive case art and in this case I am looking at the Lion King. I will be looking at its American, European, Japanese and Australian Platinum edition art and suggesting what I like and dislike about them before deciding what my ideal case art would be

So this is the American cover for the lion king, I started by showing this one for two reasons one its the version I actually own and two as far as I m concerned when you think oh The Lion King on the Mega Drive/Genesis this is exactly the sort of thing I think you would see in your head case art wise.

This is the English version all of the European versions basically looked like this but with The Lion King and the back info written in each country's language.  On the one hand I don't think the cover is very game like but then I also find it very classy. Its a newer Megadrive game hence the blue borders instead of the black which I would usually moan about but I think the blue actually looks good alongside all of the red and yellow in the central image. I think the central art of this case would make a great poster for adult fans of this film.

For once I really do not rate the Japanese case art, the fact it has a long slim almost spine down the front of the front portion of the cover is not a good look, it has the same art as the American version but smaller and more pushed to the centre which is the opposite to what a lot of my favourite Japanese cases do. If I had to try and find elements of this case I like, well I like the cartoon young Simba on the back and I like the sort of African pattern border it has but I do think this is the worse of the three cases.

This is the case for the Sega Platinum collection version of The Lion King and I actually kind of like it overall its very adult and sort of upmarket, its a bit like when you get the versions of Harry Potter books which have been published for adults with classy dust jackets instead of cartoon ones. I prefer it to the Japanese version but I don't think I am quiet as taken with it as the English one, I do think that a reversible cover would have been a good idea so you could pick between something like this and something a bit more bright and kid friendly.

I am usually a champion for Japanese Video Game art but I also say it as I see it, I don't think the Japanese art is good in all cases and because it is usually of such a quality it makes you almost dislike it even more when its poor because you have seen just how great it can be.

This is my idea of a classy cover adding my favourite elements of both the English cover and the Australian Platinum collection cover. Personally I think this is really striking but when I showed it to my daughter despite her liking elements of it she pointed out that in her opinion it should be the large sun dominating the front cover but should just have one large Simba shadow on it instead of a large variety of characters and although I don't agree I can see her point.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

SNES review 129: The Great Circus Mystery/ Disneys Magical Quest 2

So The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey & Minnie also known as Disney's Magical Quest 2 Starring Mickey and Minnie, and Mickey to Minnie Magical Adventure 2 is a Capcom developed Disney game for the Super Nintendo. Well as some of the above titles have clearly given away it is the sequel to another game I reviewed quite some time ago, I am obviously talking about Disney's Magical Quest. I owned the original Magical Quest as a kid but I have to be honest and admit that back then I didn't even know the game got a sequel, I never saw it, never played it and as far as I can remember I never even heard of it. When I did start hearing bits about it as an adult thanks to the internet I incorrectly assumed that it never got released over here. 

The game is very much one of those well if you enjoyed the last game here is more of the same sequels, it doesn't really bring much of anything new to the table. The story is a simple one Mickey and Minnie arrive at the circus to find that something has happened, and everything has gone wrong and they set out to uncover the Great Circus Mystery. Its hardly a Shakespearian work of wonder but its not like it has to be if people brought this back in the day it would most likely have either been for the mouse or because they enjoyed the original.

The first thing I thought when starting this game up was that the graphics looked a bit like Magical Quest but I thought they were just a little bit more colourful and sharper, so I did what you might expect and popped the cart out and quickly looked at Magical Quest and yes I do think there is a slight improvement in this area. Playing it though it feels very similar, I am not complaining I loved the first one, and they have tried to keep it fresh to a degree because despite jumping and grabbing and throwing objects in the same way as well as keeping a suit power up based mechanic but to try and keep it fresh they have changed the suits. Each suit has an ability and they are the Sweeper suit which can suck up enemies. A ranger suit which helps you to climb walls. Then there is a Cowboy/Cowgirl costume which lets you ride a horse. The neat thing about the costumes is that although they provide the same power up for both Minnie and Mickey they look different on them, this is both a neat touch and stops you from getting confused when playing this game in two player. Yep that's right I said Two player, this is the main thing this game brings to the table over its predecessor and its a pretty darn good thing to.

I find the music in the game pretty darn enjoyable, there are not only different tunes for different levels but there's that thing where the music gets tense when your fighting a boss and the sound effects although at times a little plinky plonky suit the game and what's happening perfectly well.

OK so the most important thing the gameplay, well I think it controls well and is reasonably fresh at least for a me too sequel. I think overall the game controls well and is for the most part rather easy however I did notice that sometimes the enemies bosses in particular can get a little cheap towards the end of the game, in fact the difficulty does seem to spike at certain points but that's sort of a spike from super easy to more normal so unless its a kid playing or someone who doesn't usually play this kind of thing it should provide too much of a problem.

OK so I guess now its time for me to give this game a score, If you remember I scored the original 7.5 out of 10, well I think despite having gained a two player mode and a slight increase in graphics this game actually just feels a tiny bit worse, its strange all the bits are there and it should be better but it just doesn't quiet click together so I am going to give this game a 6.5 out of 10. If your interested in this game but haven't played the first one then go for that first it will be much cheaper and if your anything like me your likely to enjoy it more. If you need this game then loose pal carts seem to go online from £20 and up, if you can play imports then a Japanese cart will cost you around £10 which is much closer to what I personally would want to pay for this game.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Megadrive Box art, my love of the Japanese art?: World of Illusion

Ok so everyone knows I love looking at Megadrive box art, its also quiet clear that I am a pretty big fan of Disney based games and also that I most often prefer the Japanese case art. There is a good reason I tend to like the Japanese art and its because they usually try to make the case really flashy on the front the back and the sides and as long as it has the right logo's in a few select places they feel free to just go with it. Our games and those released in America seem more to focus on the idea of sticking to a very set format with art on the front and mostly information on the back. Its like they tried to make it so if you had all your games on a shelf they would look uniform and like part of a collection. Sure I can see what they were trying but I prefer to have excellent art no matter the cost.

If you click right here then you will see the earlier post I did on Disney cases showing of cases for Quackshot and Castle of illusion. Ok if you have already seen that post or your simply not intrested in those games then lets get down to business and look at he cover art for World of Illusion

Ok so this is the European version of World of Illusion and I like it a lot, the main front picture is nice and if I have any issues with this cover its less specific stuff and more regular megadrive European case issues the back is so info heavy and I think the title on the side spine could be bigger. I have a very soft spot for this case art though. I recieved this game one christmas from my Mum and Dad and my mum played it with me in two player mode on frequent occasions it was a game we actually completed togther and it was one of her favourate video games, at one stage she even had her own copy so I couldnt get rid of it. The simple truth is kid or not I would have never traded this game away ever time I looked at it on the shelf it was just a little reminder of the fun I had playing it with her and thats something I will never forget, its a memory I cherish and hold close to my heart even more since she passed away.

Ok so in America they used the same main image but just smaller which I think makes it worse, why shrink such a cool piece of art? The side is also pretty much the same but the back well I like the back of the box a lot more the white area, the cartoon Mikey, the big Caution: This Box Conatains Amazing Magic part all of them just jump out at me. Overall I prefer the European version but this one has its good points.

Now I have to say I adore this Japanese case, its part game case part awesome poster, I actually wish I could get a large print of the picture minus the words just to put on my wall, it screams Disney it also screams Wonder and I dont have a single issue with it. I would happily trade my case for this if not for the emotional connection I have to my own regions

I thought I would knock this case front up so I could let you my reader decide if Europe would have been better off with the Japanese art. I know I was a little lazy and only did the front but some of these custom covers take a lot of time and work and without a plain sample of the case art to work on this one in particular would have taken a very long time to cover all of the Japanese language and logo's up with English. I will return soon to look at more case art but till then ''Be Excellent to each other''.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Nintendo loses lawsuit and has been orderd to pay £7.7 Million.My oppinion on this

So Nintendo have been Ordered to Pay £7.7 Million in a Lawsuit. It all started four years ago when a company called iLife which is based in Texas started proceedings against Nintendo saying that there motion sensing technology in the Wii Remote and later Nintendo products infringed on patents they owned.

At the time it was just one of a whole pile of companies who tried to jump on the bandwagon and sue Nintendo over one aspect or another of the Wii, to be honest this is something that unfortunatly happens someone strikes gold with a great concept or product and other companies crawl out of the woodwork like cockroaches claiming patent infringement and trying to get there hands on some of the cash. Most of these kinds of lawsuits usually end up going nowhere, in honesty most of the time I hear about them and just sort of snort oh great another patent troll and then forget about it however this time things have been a little different. Nintendo have lost this time and have just got ordered to pay iLife $10 million (£7.734 million) by a Texas court, this is not nesciserily the end of the story though as Nintendo have said that they are going to appeal the verdict and that there not done fighting yet.

On Aug. 31, 2017, a jury in Texas found that certain Wii and Wii U video game systems and software bundles infringed a patent belonging to iLife Technologies Inc. This patent which Nintendo apparently infringed upon is one relating to being able to detect if a person has fallen down. The motion sensing technology iLife created and patented was made to detect if an elderly person unexpectedly falls, and also to try to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome. Yes this technology is great in that its trying to help people and increase there quality of life however personally I have issues with the fact that iLife believes their patent covers other uses for the technology. I have read the entire patent and I agree with Nintendo who believe that these other uses are not covered, and that the patent was written in such a way as to be invalid. The patent uses a lot of very open language and terms in a way which I feel it was constructed in an attempt to let it possibly apply to far more than it really should.

It is interesting to note that this is not the first infringement lawsuit ilife have filled in regard to patents. In 2012 they filled 4 different lawsuits on similar lines to the above. They try to claim they are not patent trolls because of the fact that they have actually researched developed and sold there technology. I would argue though that just because you have made and sold stuff it doesn't automatically mean that you cant do a bit of trolling on the side does it? I also think that they try to hide behind the fact that there technology is made to help children and the elderly but lets remember they don't give it away they sell it there a business not a charity so I don't think this should be allowed to work as a shield for them.

So although Nintendo is appealing the ruling, this might be the first company to successfully take some of Nintendo's sweet Wii money off of them, it might also encourage more companies to jump up and decide they can claim this or that has been stolen from them. I think this story has most definatly become one to watch.

It is important to note that despite being awarded $10 million in damages iLife didn't come to court asking for $10 it was actually seeking $144 million (£113 million). I bet they are more than happy with the outcome though. In an ideal world what would I personally like to see happen? Well I would like to see the verdict overturned and see iLife told to shove there claim up there ass, I would like to see Nintendo paid for there trouble and then I would like Nintendo to do the right thing and give whatever they are awarded to a charity. Nintendo actually do a lot for charity and this is coming from me a writer who quiet often gives Nintendo a darn good kicking for there occasional stupidity. Nintendo support the Starlight Children’s Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation amongst others.

It will be interesting to see this one play itself out.

Monday, 4 September 2017

A little bit on how to get the most bang for your £

So as a Geek I am frequently asked two questions one ''where do you get all those things?'' the other being ''how do you afford them?'' Well I figured that this topic was worth a post on here. I am what some people would consider tight and what others would call thrifty. Now I don't earn very much but then I don't really drink, I don't smoke and I don't do drugs, I also have fairly simple tastes. I think however that there are a few areas where I use my money in the most tactical way possible to try and get the most for my money.

If you’re looking to cut back, then maybe some of my ideas and tactics might be worth thinking about. I think the first thing to do is to look at the things you buy and the things you do and ask do I need this? Do I need it now? Do I need a physical version? Could I wait for it to come down in price? Would a cheap alternative tide me by until the price drops?

I remember back when the GameCube was one of the current consoles I worked with a guy in a very similar role to mine at the time who used to be surprised by how many games I had. While he had around ten games I must have had about fifty but there were two main reasons for this. One of them was simply the fact he went drinking two nights a week spending around £40 a time which was his choice and I am not knocking it but the second reason was that he simply ran out and got the game he thought he wanted most on the day of release from the first place he found himself that stocked it. If I really felt like I needed an upcoming game I would look around and try to preorder it from the cheapest place possible and I would do this with as few titles as possible.

The thing is that games simply don't hold there value half as much as they used to do. If you can wait a few weeks from the release of a game then the price will drop, games which were around £39.99 even at the cheapest places on release can sometimes have dropped to as little as £20 in two weeks time. If you can just wait a little while you can save yourself a whole heap of money (yes there are exceptions to this rule, usually 1st party Nintendo games for example hold there value for quiet some time for example).  It always helps to look around for the cheapest price, I would say always remember to look both online and offline and not to limit yourself to looking at just game shops, look at game shops and sites, toy shops, supermarkets etc. I know some people feel that they need to support this shop or that shop but lets be honest here do any of those shops really support you? The truth is no they are simply out to be a good business to make as much as they can, some of them might have this or that loyalty scheme to try and make you feel like you owe them or there special but to put it simply don't give your loyalty away easily. All of these places are businesses looking out for there own interests so what you should do is look out for your own, buy the game you want from the cheapest place you can find and don't be fooled into paying more than you need to pay.

I also find it helps to try to be flexible, if you decide you need Game X and you go out looking for Game X determined to get it that very day then you will end up paying through the teeth for it. This is something that applies to both modern and retro games and also to most forms of media. If you keep yourself aware of what exists how much your likely to enjoy it or not and then just see what kind of floats your way this is usually much cheaper then going all guns blazing after one particular thing.

I also think it helps to decide what your thing is. You see I love horror films, science fiction films and comic books, 80's toys and video games. Now if I tried to really follow all of these and collect them with proper gusto then I would be broke in days so I decided that my number one hobby would be games. This doesn't mean I ignore the other hobbies it just means I make sure my investment in them is minimal. I only buy actual comics if they are old and like 50pence or so other than that I rely on digital comics and I only get those via things like humble bundle where you can grab a whole bunch of them to read digitally. I buy all of my actual reading books from charity shops, the same is true with music and a lot of old films I grab them cheap from charity shops or the preowned cleaned up ones sold by poundland. If I want to watch a modern film I will look if I can buy its digital Ultra Violet code from eBay as a cheap way of seeing it because lets be honest how many films do you buy watch once and then never touch again? Why did I decide video games were my thing? Well its a combination of things one of them is that they really hold there value compared to some of the other things I enjoy but the main thing is that they are the thing that takes me back to my childhood the most, they make me feel like I am still young and free from trouble.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Megadrive Box art, my love of the Japanese art: Super VolleyBall

So once again I return to the topic of box art, in fact I am back on to megadrive box art and to be more precise yes once again I am comparing the art from diffrent regions. Today I want to look at Super Volleyball a Megadrive game which was a conversion of an arcade game about Volleyball strangly enough. This is an intresting game for me to pick as it didnt actually receieve a release in my teritoy.

So this is the Genesis American cover, and well to be blunt I hate it, what an awful front cover is this really the best they could come up with? I know its not the easiest task to make a sports game look cool or exciting but this is just painfully dull.

This is the Japenses cover and despite the fact the Shadow in front makes me think of Ivan Drago from Rocky 4 I think its a pretty good cover for the game.

I might be wrong here but according to my research they got a diffrent box in Canada and they got this, its basically an Americanised take on the Japanese art but with several issues, one its been lightend and this actually in my oppinion makes it look worse and on top of this the shadow man now has a sega seal of quality growing out of his face, still I would take it over the top monstrocity any day of the week.

This is the Brazillian cover which is just the awful American art but even bigger. If this game had made it out over here in Europe I fear that this would have been very simmilar to what we would have ended up with.

Ok so once again I prefer the Japanese art, I guess thats not suprising really, I just think that with a few exceptions Japan provides the best video game art.

If we had gotten a release over here I would have liked something like the following

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Horror Review: Pin (1988)

Pin was released in 1988 its an 80's horror film hence the reason why I am talking about it on this blog. I also think that its a very interesting film to talk about because it contains some very interesting ideas. To simplify the plot of the film its basically about a family, you have the two children Leon and Ursula, their mother and there father. The mum is very obsessed when it comes to cleanliness she seems to care far more about having a spotless show piece home than she does about her own children. The father is a doctor and he is basically always at work. The dad seems to care about the children in fact you see that he often takes them to work with him. The dad has a medical anatomy dummy and he uses ventriloquism to make it seem like it is talking to the children teaching them and offering words of advice. The kids are quite fond of the dummy who is called Pin and believe he is really alive, the son in particular has a real attachment to the dummy looking to it whenever he is in need of guidance or friendship.

The film is at first glance quiet a strange one but I also think its a very good one, I really like a lot of 80's stuff but some of it can be a little cheesy and a little over the top where as this film feels like something quiet different. This is the point where I would basically say that I recommend you give this film a watch. If I have sold it to you then give it a bash and stop reading right here as I want to talk about the film some more in the next paragraph. I will end up going into spoiler territory but I don't intend to give away every turn and I certainly wont be talking about the ending.

The start of the film is very much focused on the children's early years and showing how they were treated by there parents and by the world around them and the part Pin played in there lives. At about the 30 minute mark the parents die, its at this point that all of the scene setting is done and things really start rolling.

The character of Leon is sort of a Norman Bates type character, the things he went through in his early life have effected him on a psychological level, he has an obsession with Pin, he doesn't see Pin as just a doll he see's him as a friend, as a member of the family. The acting in the film is darn good  David Hewlitt in particular does a great job of playing Leon, he shows a massive range of emotions he can be vulnerable one moment and terrifying the next, he acts with everything he has, its not just in what he says or how he says it, he looks confused or hurt or angry just with the slightest bit of facial movement. Cynthia Preston is also pretty darn good in the role of his sister. 

This film is one of those films that proves that horror movies can be darn creepy and get under your skin without having to be particularly gory or violent. It is one of those movies which pushes its way deep into your  subconscious making you ask questions and making you wonder what is really going on inside the characters head. I didn't initially realize that this film was adapted from a  novel of the same name by author Andrew Neiderman (he also wrote The Devil’s Advocate, which also became a  film). If I listed off all of the things in this film like a creepy medical doll, ventriloquism, a remote house, and a mentally unbalanced individual who is sexually-repressed and has all kinds of strange and dark obsessions then it would probably sound like a whole bunch of other spooky tales but I find the film to be a thing all of its own and well worth a watch. There are a few things I would change, I would have left things a lot more uncertain, I feel that in someways the film plays its own hand a little too soon where as I would have left things much more up to the viewers interpretations, I would have wanted to keep people asking and questioning what they have heard and seen. Still as it stands I rate this film very highly.

Friday, 1 September 2017

The good old days or is it simply rose tinted specs.

The good old days. Stop and ask someone who once was a child but now finds themselves in the position of being a grown up, be they man or woman, be they in there 60's or 50's or 40's or even 30's and they will most likly tell you that a certain point in time that they lived through was a golden age.

I was born in the 1980's but despite the fact I spent a good deal of this time period being too young to know a blooming thing about what was going on I still look back at it with a great fondness. If you would ask me I would tell you that the 1980's was the golden age. I tend to think and feel that the best of everything came from the 80's most of my favourate music, television and films come from that particular time period and proberbly a fair number of games as well. I view the 90's as a less great continuation of the 80's and view pretty much everything from the year 2000 onwards as a let down. I am not saying that nothing good has come out after 1999 but I am saying that in my opinion the treasure to trash ratio has certainly taken a big slide in the wrong direction.

I am more than willing to admit that to some degree maybe I have rose tinted specs when it comes to looking at the things that came from my childhood, and maybe just maybe I have grown up to be a miserable old kit who simple yearns for the things he knew and made him smile when he was young and life was less stressful.

If I look around at kids TV now so little of it impresses me in anyway what so ever, there is very little in recent history that I have seen and thought wow wish that was around when I was a kid. If I was to try to point out something I have really liked and wished I had access to as a kid I would proberbly say The Sarah Jane Adventures. Why? Well in short because it was a really great show it would stop and make you think, you would be worried about the fate of the characters, its biggest strength is that I dont think it treated its audience like a bunch of dribbling morons and it wasnt scared of conflict like most modern kids TV seems to be.

Now you might think that I am looking back at the 80's and seeing nothing but the cream of the crop, that I am thinking about nothing more than Transformers but no lets look at something a bit less mainstream to show just how deep the quality flowed. The Sectaurs, a basically all but forgotten old 80's show with human mutant hybrids with there own pet dog sized insects, I bumped into a commerical for there toys online and I rememberd owning one of them and suddenly all of these amazing memories and feelings seemed to rush back and this was from something which at the time I would have considerd a sort of lower teir show/toy and yet I would argue this could own most of the crap kids have and watch nowdays.

I do wonder at times if I am just full of nostalgia for an old time that is long gone, but I dont think this is the case as there are some rare nuggets here and there that I have appreciated in recent years for example animated shows like Adventure Time and the New Duck Tale. I do think though that maybe the case is that the things we enjoy when we are young help to programme our brains to enjoy certain kinds of content, that I simply dont like that much new stuff because I have had my brain shapped to enjoy a certain style of music or film. I guess this is something one could ponder forever but I guess you need to just keep trying things and just enjoy what you enjoy