Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Retro Game purchases: October 2017

My first retro purchase of the month was on Tuesday October the 3rd. I had been to work and was about to go to my girlfriends house to feed her cats, she had taken ill and was in hospital, and I had visited the day before but basically I had a lot of time to kill before visiting hours so decided to hit a few shops before going to feed the cats and I walked into a Cash Generator store. They had a cart only copy of Teenage mutant Hero Turtles 4: Turtles in time for the Super Nintendo (pal version)and they wanted £40 for it. As I visit the shop quiet often and do spend a fair amount of money there I managed to talk them down to £30. I got it with the full intention of playing it that very night  but something even better happend that afternoon my girlfriend was let out of hospital so I took her home and spent the night cuddled up with her instead (happily playing turtles a few nights latter).

The following day the 4th I popped into an indy store on my way home and grabbed nba jam tournament edition boxed complete for SNES for £9, GP-1 for SNES cart onyl for £5 and Tetris cart only for gameboy for £2

On the 6th of October I got something in the post, I got Super Genjin (Bonk) for the Super Famicom cart only for £5 (including postage), I was happy to get this as its something I have seen a lot of but havent had much opportunity to play up until it arrived at least.

On the 8th I went to a local indy shop and I got Equinox cart only for SNES for £5 and Bomberman Hero cart only for N64 £8, its more than I usually spend on N64 games but if I think a game is worth it and its the right game then I will pay a bit more and I am a big fan of the Bomberman franchise so I guess thats what pushed me to go a bit higher.
On October the 9th Plok for the SNES cart only arrived in the mail, it had cost me £5 including postage, which in honest I think is a great price for any none sports Super Nintendo game to be honest. I also went in to a local indy shop and got Phantasy Star portable, Dark Stalkers the chaos tower and Final Fantasy Tactics all for psp all complete for £15.  I think its prime PSP buying time really as a lot of places deem it sort of too old to bother with but yet not old enough to have reached that deeply desirable stage, but its going to get there given time I am sure.

On the 13th of October I had Spiderman and the Xmen Arcades Revenge (American) boxed for the SNES arrive in the post, it cost me £9 including postage. I wanted to get this as it is something I had as a kid, it wasnt a favourate of mine or anything but it was something I had put some time into and I wanted to take a look at it again.
I actually had a bit of a pause then as it wasnt until the 18th when I got my next games, I got Desert Fighter for the SNES cart only for £5 and World League Soccer Snes NTSC American cart only for £3 both of them were games I had puchased online and both were sold with free postage

On the 20th on the way home from work I popped into CEX and grabbed Extreme G cart only for N64 for £1.50 and Top Gear Rally cart only for N64 £1.50, both of them are pretty darn decent games but yeah they are usually cheap when you see them.

On the 23rd I got a few more games through the post I got Pugsleys Scavenger hunt for SNES cart only for £5 and Fighters Destiny for N64 cart only for £2 both games were with free postage which strikes me as strange as that means the seller must have made more or less nothing on Fighters Destiny.

On the 24th I went to a local indy shop that I havent visited in quiet a long time, while there I picked up sonic rivals for psp complete for £3, crazy taxi fare wars complete for psp for £2, Simpsons hit and run (players choice version) complete for gamecube for £2, Ice Age 2 the meltdown complete for gamecube for £1, Harvest Moon a wonderful life (players choice version) complete for gamecube for £6, Sega game pack 4 in 1 cart only for gamegear £1 and freedom wings cart only for ds 50pence.

I also visited a charity shop just down the road from the above shop and picked up International cricket captain 3, dynasty warriors 2 and dynasty warriors 3 extreme legends complete for ps2 for £1 for all 3.
On the 26th I went into a charity shop where I got wwe raw for xbox complete for 50p, brute force for xbox complete for 50p, prince of persia sands of time for xbox complete for 50pence and Myst 3 exile for xbox complete for 5opence

Then I noticed a box of stuff on the floor in the same shop, it was apparently not for sale yet but I made them an offer for it and so I got all of the following for £20 Final Fantasy IX complete, Final Fantasy VIII (Platinum edition) complete, Resident evil directors cut complete, Resident evil 2 complete, Resident evil 3 Nemesis missing manual, Tomb raider (platinum edition) complete, Tomb Raider 2 complete Syphon Filter 2 missing manual, Monsters inc scare Island complete and then the following games disc only in a black disc box. xmen mutant academy 2, tomb raider revelations, driver, driver 2 (both discs), syphon filter, syphon filter 3, dino crisis, dino crisis 2,worlds scariest police chases, medal of honour,smackdown 2,colony wars red sun. There was also an xbox 360 disc for resident evil 5 with them as well and a pc disk for starwars rebel assault. The shop said they would have sold the games at £2 a piece after having gone through them and having chucked all of the loose discs into the bin. So I feel really happy about this as not only did I get some games I really wanted but I also saved perfectly good condition game discs from being trashed and part of the reason I am so into retro games and consoles is the preservation of them so I hate to think of games or machines getting thrown away and I helped to stop it happening here.

On the 27th I went in to a charity shop and managed to get the following from there, Loco Roco 2 for PSP complete for £1, Syphon Filter Omega Strain for ps2 complete for £1,Ecco The Dolphin defender of the future for ps2 complete for £1,Crash Bandicoot the wrath of Cortex (platinum edition) for ps2 complete for £1,Mafia for Xbox complete for £1, Toy Story for megadrive complete for £1, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle complete for Gamecube for £1 and Space Invaders complete for PS1 for £1. I guess my favouate purchase of all of these was Toy Story, after all its not like you find megadrive stuff cheap all that often.
On the 29th I went into a local CEX and grabbed Kingdom hearts birth by sleep special edition for psp complete for £8 I was pretty surprised at this price seeing as it had all the special edition stuff still with it. I also went into a charity shop and grabbed  Formel 1 98 for Playstation complete for £1 (the weird spelling is what it says on the box as I guess its not english),Super Monkey Ball Deluxe for ps2 complete for £1, and Wolfenstein tired of war for xbox complete for £1.

On the 30th  I went into a local cex and noticed a copy of Parasite Eve 2 complete for the PS1 for £15 I asked to have a look at it to see what condition it was in and I was very very happy with it as it looked completely brand new and so I purchased it.

On the 31st I ended the month by buying  buffy the vampire slayer (classics version) complete for xbox for £1, Burnout 3 Takedown complete for xbox for £1, WWF Warzone complete for PS1 for £1 and Men in Black complete for PS1 for £1
So total for the month I spent £187.50 which feels like a heck of a lot but I kind of am not that surprised when my first purchase out of the gate was a £30 purchase, my first purchase was possibly one of if not my favourate as its a game I enjoyed a lot as a kid and that I have wanted back for a long time, I have seen it go for a lot more and so I had sort of given up on the idea of ever getting it. I also have to admit to being really happy about my £20 lot of playstation games partly because I think I got a lot for my money but also because I am very happy to have gotten Dino Crises 2 even if it is only a disc. I imagine that as Christmas gets closer and closer I will have to spend money on other things, there are also a lot of modern games coming up which intrest me so I think this might be this years last big retro hurrah.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

How From Dusk Till Dawn was nearly Tales from the Crypt presents: From Dusk Till Dawn

OK so I have previously talked about both Tales from the Crypt films and Tales from the Crypt films that were planned to at least some degree but never came to be. This kind of leaves me with a Third type of Tales from the Crypt film to talk about and thats films which ended up being made which were at one point going to be Tales from the Crypt movies but for one reason or another by the time they were released they had lost the connection. One of these films I want to talk about is Dusk Till Dawn.

The story is that From Dusk Till Dawn was originally planned as the follow-up to Tales From The Crypt Presents: Demon Knight, but due to disagreements with the producers, Tarantino and Rodriguez took the film elsewhere. I think it is intresting to know that From Dusk Till Dawn was nearly a Tales from the Crypt film, and its also intresting to think about how things could have been diffrent.

Ok so if you havent seen From Dusk Till Dawn my first question for you is why not? I am not reviewing it here but its a bloody fantastic film and if you havent seen it yet then you should rectify that right away. If you havent seen it though I am going to essentially spoil it so you might not want to finish reading this post. Dusk Till Dawn has that kind of Tales from the Crypt quality in that it has Vampires and horror but also mixes this with a certain amount of humour and whackyness. There are a few things about it that are very unlike Tales from the Crypt for me. Tales from the crypt has monsters and even criminals like bank robbers but it has this sort of sense of morality to it, a sort of twisted morality at times but morality all of the same, this is not something I feel can be said about Dusk Till Dawn. The person who I would call the main hero of Dusk Till Dawn is a  wanted criminal a criminal who is not affraid to kill people, to take people hostage, sure he kills Vampires but he is only really doing it to survive, at the end of the film he not only walks away free he walks away with money and heads towards a new life in Mexico.

Like I have already said I think that Dusk Till Dawn certainly feels like it could exist within the Tales from The Crypt Universe but I think its proberbly a good thing that it didnt end up being a Tales film, both Bordello of blood and Dusk Till Dawn came out in 1996 and I enjoyed both of them. With the two films being vampire based I think if Dusk had been a Tales of film then it would have simply killed Bordello, they are too simmilar to exist togther under the same brand name. I also think that both Tarantino and Rodriquez do there best work when they are messed with as little as possible, in fact I would say that most films come out there best when someone can get as much of there original vision up on the screen as they can and if there had already been a disagreement with the producers in the early stages it proberbly would have only gotten worse. So I think things proberbly worked out for the best all round.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Mindfullness Two: Talking about my own experiances with mental health issues. The Robbery

Last time I talked about Mindfullness I talked about my earliest experiances of anxiety and stress I talked about the things I went through due to bullying and studying, I also talked about how I had found video games to be a useful tool in helping me deal with my mental health issues.

Well I would like to say that everything from the moment school finished onwards was absolutly hunky dory but well to put it simply I went through quite a bit of crap like being hit by a hit and run driver, being attacked by a guy in a bus station and having two guys try to rob me with a knife all within a few years. A lot of these things caused me a lot of stress and certainly put a strain on my mental health but there was an event that would prove to be the real turning point not only for my mental health but in my life in general. I was working in a pub, it was long unsociable hours, I would get home and my partner at the time would be asleep but I would be too stressed from my job to sleep, so I would need to spend time unwinding and most of the time this would be by gaming. I would walk in the door kiss my daughter on the head and then play a few games until I wound down enough to sleep. It was just like a way to get some of my energy out of me, I would loose all of the stress and anxiety, id pump everything I was feeling into the games to the point where I would start to calm down enough to sleep. What I want to talk about next though is very senstivie and well it might be disturbing to some readers, I feel it is important to talk about these kinds of things but also feel I need to warn that it could be upseting to some.
One day I was at work, I had been trying to get promoted, I was also at university at the time and I knew that I didn’t have long left. I didn’t want to be one of those uni students who gets a degree and then just tries to use it to become a manager without having worked all of the way up, without having earned it through hard work. I had managed to become a supervisor but in order to be accepted as a manager one of the things you had to do where I worked was to be able to work in the kitchen successfully. Now I hated the kitchen it was very tough and demanding work, so my credit to anyone who does this kind of work on a regular basis but I certainly found it hard.

I was up in the kitchen one night and I had cooked all night, and had managed it quiet well especially considering my hatred for that particular work and environment. I had cleaned everything up and went through the whole shut down process making sure everything was turned off, checked and double checked, I had taken fridge and freezer temperatures, everything was perfect so its safe to say I felt exhausted but satisfied. I got the rubbish in bags and walked it out, throwing it in the trash. I could have just left then and there having finished my job, but decided that to be nice I would go through to the bar area and I would help them close down. I really used to have this idea that everyone was in it together, sure sometimes the job could be hell but we were all in it together, almost everyone leaned on everyone else for support, our mutual hatred of rude customers and upper management held us together like a firm glue.

I walked through from the back of house to front of house and there was a sudden flash of pain. I had been hit across the side of my head with a crow bar, I could feel the pain explode through my head, my vision blurred for a second and then a buzzing noise began to come from somewhere deep inside my head. I began to gain awareness of my surroundings again and I could tell I was surrounded by 5 or 6 guys, all of them were wearing Halloween style president masks. Before I could do anything else I was hit with crow bars again and again from various directions, in the end I took about 6 hits to my head. I never passed out but things got increasingly hazy from then on.

Somehow I made it from where I was to the bar, I kind of felt my way and crawled along the bar to behind it, and I ended up on the ground in the corner under the coffee machine. I could feel blood dripping from my head, luckily I had been wearing a leather cap to keep my hair covered and it seemed to have at least helped a bit. There were two girls behind the bar one was about 2 years older than me the other was maybe 5. It had become a robbery and hostage situation all in one. In the middle of this one of the robbers decided that he wanted to rape one of the girls, I got up stood in the way and pretty much suggested that it would happen over my dead body, this resulted in me receiving a punch to the mouth which cracked one of my wisdom teeth in half. It was all a blur from then on, but thankfully my intervention had been enough to stop someone getting raped, they left with the money and they were never caught. After being punched in the face I remember basically collapsing in the corner underneath the coffee machine. I was in a sitting position holding on to the walls because everything felt like it was spinning. I could feel my consciousness trying to escape from me part of me wanted to pass out and I could feel blood trickling down my head from underneath my hat. The only thing that kept going through my head was the fact that I didnt want to die because I wanted to see my daughter grow up, it seems silly to me now but at the time it felt like if I let myself pass out I would die. Of the two girls behind the counter with me the older one was the furthest away from me I can remember her crying and going on about how we were all going to die, she certainly didn't help matters. The other girl though had actually gone to school with me and was a few years above me, I remember her asking me quietly if I was all right, she actually seemed to be more concerned about me than herself and this is something that I will never forget, I remember telling her I was OK and not to worry but it was a complete lie for her sake. I didn't want her to get upset, I just wanted her to stay calm and stay still and stay safe.

When the robbers had left before the police arrived I remember pulling myself up of the floor and I actually walked across to where we keep the cutlery and I sat down and began to polish and wrap it, as well that's one of the tasks you do at the end of the night before everyone goes home. I never thought about calling an ambulance or about treating this as a big deal in anyway at all but when the police arrived they called an ambulance which came and fetched me. I remember arriving at hospital and sitting in the Emergency waiting room. I looked around the room seeing lots of other people there and then I looked to the telephone. It was very late at night and at the time me and my partner and child lived at my parents house, I knew that if my mum woke up at any point and found I hadn't gotten home that she would panic. I decided that I needed to call home, I needed to call home but let them know what had happened but try to make it not sound like a big deal. This in itself was terrifying how do you call your mum and dad and go ''hey I just got beaten in the head and I am in hospital so if I am late home don't worry about it''? I called and thankfully I got my dad, I remember playing it all casual like yeah I have been hit and I am in the hospital but I am cool, don't worry about it I will be home when I am home but bless my dad he knew better than to tell me he was coming and give me chance to argue, he just came down anyway and waited with me.

When I got seen it turned out that all I had was surface wounds on my head, I didn't need any stitches and instead I got given a pamphlet on concisions and got told I would be allowed to go home as long as there were people there to look after me. It turned out I had basically been saved by two factors one I was wearing a leather baseball cap which had slightly cushioned the blows but I also apparently have a super tough and thick skull.

I was off for a month and I was only getting very limited sick pay so I pulled out my old consoles and began to play on them and something about them touched me, they took me back to a simpler time, back to my childhood and in a time when I felt the most vulnerable in my life they actually made things seem a little bit safer, they added some normality to a very horrible and strange time. From that point on I began to spend more money on retro games, I began to talk more to other people online, but I also realised that I was living in an awful marriage. My partner never seemed to care about what had happened to me, she didn’t support me, my mother and father were the ones who were there for me, the ones who helped me try and piece myself back together. I remember that I initially tried to go back to work about 2 weeks after the event but I couldn't manage it, they kept trying to give me night shifts including on the same night of the week it had happened and I kept having these awful panic attacks where I would literally end up in the corner rocking and panicking. It felt so dehumanising, I kept thinking I am supposed to be a man, I am not supposed to be scared of anything. I felt guilty and I hated myself not only did I allow them to beat me up without hitting any of them back but now I was worried about returning to the place where it had happened, it wasn't just that I didn't want to go to work, if I could help it I didn't really want to leave my house. Work made no real effort to help ease me back in to work but when I had returned they made me go see a psychiatrist/psychologist he turned out to be a weird guy in a private house. I went to one session where he started by making me talk about the robbery but he then went on to ask me about my penis, my childhood, if I had any childhood traumas and to inform me that the company was paying the bill so I could come as much as I want and talk about any problems I had ever had with anything as he was cool with that as it would get him a bunch of money. This was my first experience of a mental health professional and it was an awful one which at the time seriously put me off them.

The return to work wasn't a good one and it wasn't really something I should have done but I kept telling myself that I needed to push forward and that if I ran from this job I would be allowing myself to be a coward, I kept telling myself that I needed to face it down. I was determined that I would still continue my quest to become a manager despite the fact that an area manager openly told me to my face that I was mentally damaged now and would therefore never make a good manager. I didn't have my branch managers confidence either she actively tried to bloke my progression as much as possible, I pushed for every promotion I wanted going above her. I could feel the stress mounting up and I tried my best to slow it down as much as I could. When I was going through bad periods and didn't think I could take any more pressure I would fail tests which I needed to pass in order to slow down my progress until I could deal with it. I had to deal with people belittling my failure doubting my intelligence and pushing there superiority in my face. Occasionally I would feel my mental health slip, I would find myself struggling and I would either use holiday time or sick time blaming viruses and such for my time off. It always seemed a lot easier to claim I was physically ill instead of mentally, you tell people you feel bad they ask you questions you tell them you have food poisoning or something else physical and they simply don't question it. I started to experience things which I latter learned to be part of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I would see what had happened during the robbery when I closed my eyes, I began to have nightmares about it, some of them were just like films with the events playing out beat for beat me reliving it unable to escape, others would deviate from the plot in a variety of ways. Soon I began to consider any dream that even featured that setting a nightmare as I would wake up in pools of perspiration. I began to hear this noise and to feel disorientated when I heard it, it was the sound one of the crowbar strikes had made when it had hit me across my ear, I would hear the noise and I would feel the pain as if the pain itself was travelling through time to make me suffer. It became hard to relax, hard to enjoy the better parts of life but after awhile it kind of became normal and I learned to deal with it. My life wasn't a good one but it was what it needed to be to keep putting food on my daughters table.

I managed to keep my mental health just about in line for quiet a number of years, sure I was suffering but I was also coping and I was also managing to keep it hidden from the vast majority of people and managing to do pretty much everything everyone expected of me. This is when I started getting a lot of allergic reactions. I went through this period of getting an allergic reaction and having my throat close or eyes swell more or less every other day for about 4 weeks and then I ended up at hospital. I was eventually diagnosed with Angiodema and Ulteceria, the doctor told me it was stress and he gave me his opinion that it was because I was under massive stress and that if I didn't do something to lower this stress I would be dead in 6 months time. So what did I do well I stuck my head down and went back to work and tried to carry on. I was the deputy manager at work by this point and I had done all of my paperwork and exams to take it to the next level all I needed was for my complete totally correct work book to be signed by someone higher than me. We had a new area manager and basically he refused to sign it, my boss had cried to him about how hard her life was and he took her side. She was one of those bosses who basically does nothing makes those below her do there work and her work but then tries to make out she is the only one who really works hard. The robbery had happened on a Sunday night and I had managed through talking to some of the past area managers and through getting really good and stock counting to not work many Sunday nights, on the occasions were I had to work them I would be in a state of panic from the moment I saw the rota until the point when I returned home with that shift done and out of the way. The thing is that my brain would tell me that if I worked on a Sunday night it would happen again the robbery the beating and to me the idea of that seemed worse than anything worse than dying even. My boss had convinced the new area manager that she shouldn't have to work Sunday nights she had convinced him that I should work all of them. I worked quiet a few of them and I even ran the whole pub several times while she was on holiday but the stress began to mount and mount.

I didn't know the moment that my time in that job would end. I thought I would work there until it killed me, it was a cultural thing I guess. I had always thought that a man provides for his children and that he pays his mortgage and that if he cant do these things then he isent a man. So when I went to the Doctors one day I didn't intend to stop working I went for help to cope. The Doctor wasn't actually much help but he did write me a sick note but I said something in his office which caused him to contact something called Crisis Team. Crisis Team are a mental health service called in when there is a concern that you might try to hurt yourself or attempt to commit suicide, I hadn't threatened to do that but I had threatened to jump down the stairs legs first in an effort to break my legs so that I didn't have to work. I am not sure if I had said it seriously or in jest to be totally honest but I do know that they idea had crossed my mind. This began a process where I was sent to various Therapists for assessment and it was determined that I had developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which for those who don’t know is basically when a traumatic situation keeps replaying in your mind, you can hear things and see things that happened before and you can feel the feelings. This diagnosis itself actually explained a lot it explained the noises I had heard, the things I had seen it reassured me that I wasn't crazy, I just had a problem.

I had to stop work and I had to see a specialist Trauma Therapist. Part of my therapy involved having to talk about what had happened to me in great detail but after in order to calm yourself and try to leave in an OK mood and not leave the therapy upset you had to have a happy place. A happy place was a place you went to in your mind where you felt safe and well happy. My happy place was in my bedroom playing Super Mario World on my Snes, jumping on dinosaurs, collecting power ups and finding hidden secrets. I owe the game so much, it was there for me. During this period I didn’t leave my house much except to go to therapy. I sat and played my games, worked on my systems and tried to put my head back together. One of the only things that could get me out of the house was the idea of visiting a market or a retro store chasing the various games. I had decided that I wanted to collect old games and that the real thrill of the chase for it was getting a game cheap, it gave me a purpose when all other purposes seemed to have dissapeared. I got lots of SNES games and megadrive games and for prices which compared to now were for virtually nothing. I didn’t have a lot of friends after this everyone seemed to be too worried that they would say the wrong thing or they were just far more interested in getting drunk than in offering anyone a helping hand or a bit of their time. I had my games and my daughter, my X wife would go see her friends and leave me to struggle, she got increasingly mean to me even telling me that she wished I would die so I wasn’t in her way. My games became my friends, my games became my lifeline. I cant say that the therapy cured me, I don't think you are ever cured of something like this, but it helped me put it in to perspective. My poor mental health led to my wife leaving me and me becoming a single parent but this was a good thing, no partner is always better than an unsupportive one.

Since then I have gone on to do a few different jobs sure none of them have been high flying but I have managed to work at keeping myself together at trying to enjoy my free time. My wants and perspectives have changed significantly, I now work shorter hours and concentrate more on trying to be happy and trying to make sure my daughter is happy than on trying to have an important career. For me I view mental health as something you need to constantly work on, you need to take time for yourself and you need to try to be open, if you need help ask for help but also look at those around you and help those who need it. I think that in telling the full story I have kind of come full circle. I can never get rid of or change what happened to me nor can I change what it has done to me as a person. No I can only accept it and keep moving forwards, keep trying to stay as healthy as possible and a large part of that is by stopping and appreciating the little things be they a good book or a darn good game. Video Games get a lot of bad press but I know that if it wasn't for games then I probably wouldn't be here, they provided a life line for me when I needed it the most.

I still have moments now and then when it all feels too much when it overwhelms me and I fear I could slip back to how it was before, that the depression, anxiety and panic attacks could take over again and I think this is most likely something that I will have to deal with until the day that I die. I still make my self little deals if you can do this thing you don't want to do then you can buy this game you want, if you do this then you can go look in this games store and look at what they have in the retro section. I don't know if this kind of self bribing is a good thing or not but I know it does the trick. I know that I am not the only one who has to deal with stuff like this but by sharing my story I hope that I can reach other people who have suffered in similar ways and let them know that they are not alone.

Monday, 23 October 2017

SNES Review 133: The Adams Family

Well it seemed like the right month to do this so you know what game I am going to be talking about right now The Adams Family. Now I have to admit to being a big fan of The Adams Family I think its mostly because of the fact that there is an underlining message to there show and that is that its OK to be diffrent, its OK to like things other people dont, to think things other people dont and to basically be yourself.

Ok so despite what I said about The Addams Family not being afraid to be diffrent the game I am talking about was a movie license turned into a platformer which felt like it was heavily inspired by the Super Mario games. It was based on the 1991 Adams Family film the game was both developed by and published by Ocean Software in 1992. The game was far from a SNES exclusive it was also released for the Master System, Sega Mega Drive / Genesis, Amiga and Atari ST. Yet as a kid this is something I never realised, my first experiance of playing this game was at a friends house but and I guess this will give the end of the review away a little after enjoying it there I went and grabbed myself a second hand copy.

I know that the moment people hear the dreaded term movie license they will feel this little twinge of panic an instant oh no this is going to suck, and a lot of the time. Well this is a trend that Addam's Family sort of breaks. Ok so you play the role of Gomez Adams. All of your family apart from Lurch and Thing  have been kidnapped (The family Butler and a sentient hand for those who arnt in the know about the Adams family).  So basically you as Gomez need to explore your mansion and its grounds so that you can find and rescue your family.  You also need to help Uncle Fester regain his memory (he has amnesia). Yeah the story is not exactly the most amazing but well its enough to base a game on so I wont complain too much.

The game might be a bit short on story but I have to admit that I really enjoy the graphics, yeah they might not exactly be the best on the system but you can certainly tell who everyone is and I really enjoy the cartoonish look, I think it really suits the game, Gomez looks great and has some really cool little animations, as he taps his feet and looks around if you stop playing and just leave him standing there. When you put the graphics with the music it just makes for something a little bit special and yes the theme song is in there its even on the title screen. The game is great at sucking you in and making you want to play it but then there is a slight problem and the problem lies with the gameplay.

So yeah as said earlier the game is a typical platformer with your usual sort of platform rules, for example if you collect 25 coins you get an extra heart and can you guess what happens if you collect 100 yep thats right you get an extra life.You kill enemies by jumping on their heads. You can also get an upgrade that lets you shoot balls, balls which work just a little bit exactly like Mario's  fireballs.  Yeah being in some ways like one of the best games ever is not a bad thing but Adams Family lacks something the Mario games have and thats the tight controls and the pixel perfect hit detection. Gomez is quiet slidy and there are a lot of times when you feel certain you timed a jump just right and yet you still see yourself loose a heart. Its a real shame that Ocean didnt tighten up the controls and the hit detection as even with these issues the game is enjoyable but it could have been even better with just a little bit of work.

The game is quiet challanging and can keep you playing for a long time but unfortunately, much of this challenge comes from the above mentioned control issues which means you can get quiet frustrated with it. There are plenty of secrets for you to go looking for and the game is mostly nonlinear you can rescue your family in any order you like with only one exception you need to rescue Morticia last. I guess this review started off very positivly and it might feel like it is ending on a bit of a bummer but the truth is that this is exactly how I found this game when I replayed it in order to write this review. One minute I was smiling at the music and the little Gomez taping his foot and the next minute I was inventing new swear words and turning the air a whole new shade of blue. For a Movie license its a great game but for a platformer in general its much more 6.5 out of 10 territory, its a fun game which could have been a real contender if it had gotten just a little bit more attention, if some of the collision detection and control based flaws had just been ironed out a bit. Dont get me wrong if you can get a cart of it for under £10 and you have already played the likes of Mario and want a little bit more platforming on your Super Nintendo then go for it, its not a bad game at all, its just well it could have been so much more.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 13 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 12 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 9 October 2017

Cult of Chucky Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 8 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 2 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 1 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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