Sunday, 30 September 2018

My Retro Purchases September 2018

My monthly retro purchasing started on the 3rd of the Month when I spent £22 on a small bundle of games from an indy place. This bundle consisted of Lemmings for the Philips CDI complete, lego harry potter years 1-4 complete for the wii, trauma center second opinion complete for the wii, prince of persia the forgotten sands complete for the wii, blazing angels complete for the wii, trauma center second oppinion complete for the wii, pokemon stadium n64 cart only, Banjo kazooie for n64 cart only, snowboard kids for the n64 cart only and DiddyKong racing for the n64 cart only.  I kind of consider the CDI game as the jewel here in a way not because of worth but because of the fact its not that often that I actually come across games for this system.

On the 5th I managed to grab Vandal Hearts for PS1 for £15 complete. I don't often like to pay much for PS1 games but its a game I have wanted to own for a long time. I remember playing it when younger I am pretty sure I never owned it and that I had simply rented it or lent it from someone. The funny thing is that despite now seeing this as a very good Fire Emblem clone I had actually played this long before I even knew what Fire Emblem was. The simple truth is that I had dived on this now because I got the feeling that if I didn't jump on it now it might have ended up becoming one of those games you remember but can simply never get your hands on again without paying an absolute ransom.

On the 9th of September just after work I grabbed The Cyber Shinobi, Strider, Bank Panic, Alien Storm and Arcade Smash Hits all for the Master System all cart only for £8 which I was pretty darn happy Alien Storm particularly is a personal favorite of mine.

On the 27th I got a few N64 games just loose carts. I spent £6.50 and got 1080 snowboarding, Forsaken and Wrestlemania 2000 which Is pretty good going as far as I am concerned.

On Friday the  28th I managed to grab 007 From Russia With Love for the GameCube Complete for £3.50, Mario and Sonic Olympics for Wii complete for 95pence, and Mario Strikers charged for wii complete for 95pence with the added bonus of also having a Wii Mario Kart disc in the box of the later. All in all I wouldnt consider this a bad little haul at all.

 I ended my month of retro purchases by buying Spiderman 2 complete for the GameCube for 50pence from a charity shop on the way to my fiancee's place, which in fairness as its an excellent game and a good price is a pretty good way to end the month.

If my mathematics skills are correct then I spent £57.40 this month on retro games which although quiet a calm month by my standards it is also quiet a lot more than I spent last month. In general it is a month I am pretty happy with. I guess I would have to call the star buy of the month Vandal Hearts partly because I think it was a great deal and partly because its one of the things I purchased with the most personal meaning behind it. What will I get next month? Well I guess time will tell.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Its funny what used to scare me I now love.

''And I don't think the world is sold, On just doing what we're told, I feel something so right Doing the wrong thing, I feel something so wrong, Doing the right thing, I couldn't lie, couldn't lie, couldn't lie, Everything that kills me makes me feel alive''  OK so I don't often start blog posts by quoting song lyrics but it seemed like in this case it might be the best way, you see what I am talking about today is how so many of the things terrified me as a kid went on to be things that I loved. You see there is something kind of cool about being scared a little bit, something about it which makes you feel full of energy and makes you feel alive.

I remember being young and two things I would see or at least hear in my house absolutely terrifying me these two things where the War Of the Worlds music and in particular the noise of the Martians there cry which I can only describe in text as some form of loud cry which if I was to try and write it phonetically would probably be written something like this OOOOOOOOLAAAAAAAAA. It wasn't just the cry of the Martians though it was the whole thing the description of the cylinder unscrewing the crash of the heat ray. My dad would play this while I was in bed and I can remember laying under my blankets up in my bedroom trembling at all of these sounds. Yet as an adult I really love the War Of the Worlds and it has had a lasting effect on me but its not the only thing that has.

War of the Worlds wasn't the only thing which would frequently scare me at night as a young child the other thing I remember scaring me silly and causing me to panic in bed, the other thing was Michael Jackson's Thriller. The music might have contained some creepy lyrics at points and sure the video was pretty darn scary but the bit that really got me was Vincent Price's part of the song when he says the following.

 Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’awl’s neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller

 I am not sure if it was the words or the way he said them or even his miniacal laugh afterwords but it used to make me scared out of my tiny little mind, but the really funny thing is that this is actually what introduced me to Vincent Price and now he is actually one of my favourate actors I find such delight in watching his films, in seeing him perform in each and everyone of them, for not only do I find him to have been an incredible actor but he also seemed to have such a love for his craft that his joy is somehow infectious.

So I have already talked about sounds which scared me but there's one more that I can think of and  it is the Alien who laughs at you in the attract mode in the Arcade game Rolling Thunder. His laugh is awesome but he actually used to scare me as a child, I'd go to the American Adventure theme park and to one of the arcades which had that machine in it and I'd basically try not to look at it and run past before the Alien face came up and laughed so that I could get to the games I liked. Once I got a little braver I loved Rolling Thunder. I still do think that its an absolute belter of a game even if it is a little bit on the tough side. 

So I leave you with these parting words   
A little terror now and then should be savored my most ghoulish friends.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Some of my current thoughts on the PlayStation Classic

OK so I already did a post about the possibility of a mini PlayStation console back during June 2017 but since then what once was a fantasy has actually turned out to be something which is coming up on the horizon in fact it should be out by Christmas. If you want to read my previous post before I start getting in to things then I will make this as simple as possible by dropping a link here.

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

Well what has gone and happened? Several days ago Sony announced that  they will be releasing a miniature PlayStation which will be released on the 3rd of December 3 this year in the US and Canada. I was a little off with the numbers as I had predicted 15 games and Sony has bettered this by telling us that the system would come with 20 games on it. I kind of talked about the games that I thought would appear on the console, it wasn't a list of dream games it was more of a list of games I had come up with while thinking about memory restrictions and other boring serious issues this list consisted of Tekken 2, Battle Arena Toshinden 2, Ridge Racer Revolution, WarHawk, Air Combat, Rayman Krazy Ivan, Loaded, CastleVania Symphony of the nigth,  Parapa the Rapper, Gran Turismo ,Twisted Metal, Vandal Hearts, Suikoden and Wild Arms. So far though Sony have only announced 5 of the games that will be on the machine and these are Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. So basically I got it right with Wild Arms and I was right to say there would probably be a Tekken and a Ridge Racer on it but I am actually surprised to see Sony offering up newer arguably more complete titles in this series. I also think the inclusion of Final Fantasy VII shows that I was wrong in thinking that they would look at titles which would take up a less storage space in order to keep costs down, here we have them sticking a multiple disc game on the machine and one which I think rightly deserves its place on a mini console, I am just very happily surprised there not skimping on storage. I guess to see exactly how close or far I end up being with my predictions will take a bit of time, so here I sit waiting to see what other titles they add to the list and if there is any more cross over with my own list.

When I stop and think about things now though there is one certain little disc which will have been a lot of peoples first experience of the PlayStation and in fact to me is as quintessential part of PlayStation  history as any game you can think of and this disc is Demo One. You see a lot of people really wanted a PlayStation and saved up for one and simply couldn't afford to buy a game at the same time, so would end up spending weeks or even a month simply messing around with Demo one, not only playing the demos of things like loaded but also watching the music video which showed off quick flashes of various games on the console as well as playing with the controllable manta ray or T-Rex, and using the V-CD player application which would put up trippy on screen visuals when you put your own music CD's in to the console. I doubt we will get to see anything like this but to me DEMO ONE was such a huge part of the PlayStation that I would like to see it included at least in part on the PlayStation classic just to make things authentic.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

I think everyone should try and make a short film at some point in there life.

I think everyone should try and make a short film at some point in there life. OK I know that might sound a bit weird while also sounding a bit like a copy of the old line ''everyone has a novel in them''. OK as cliche as it might sound I am going to explain why I am saying it.

When I was sixteen I wrote, directed, acted in and did stunt work for a short film which I had called 'The Evil that Men Do''. I am really sad that this short film no longer exists. You see lots of young wiper snappers don't realize how hard it actually used to be to back up stuff like this. Nowadays if you made a short film and wanted it to get exposure then you'd slap it on YouTube, this wouldn't only help to get it out there and get more possible views but it would also mean that it existed online and you could come back to download it again if for some reason you lost the original. You can also get a whole bunch of different types of storage and easily and cheaply make copies either to pass on or for preservation purposes. My short film existed on one cassette, which was taken to various places and shown, a back up was never made and eventually as life moved on this got lost.
OK so I am sure plenty of people don't even know what short films even are well a short film is basically any motion picture which is not long enough to be considered a feature film. If you want to look at what official bodies say on the matter then any film shorter than 50 minutes qualifies as a short film as far as the Sundance Film Festival is concerned, while any film with a run-time under 40 minutes is eligible for the shorts categories at the Academy Awards. To my knowledge the shortest short film to really be taken seriously was an animated short film called Fresh Guacamole which has a running time of 100 seconds it is the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar it was nominated in 2013 for Best Animated Short Film. Not all short films are made in the pursuit of glory though, they can in fact be made for a great many reasons, a lot of students will be asked to make some form of short film to demonstrate what they have learned during a academic course, other people will be trying to use a short film to demonstrate what they could do with a feature length movie if the time and funds were invested, they might basically be trying to use this film as a bargaining tool.

For a famous example of a short film which had a purpose you can look at Within the Woods which is a 1978 horror short film written, directed and produced by Sam Raimi, yes that Sam Raimi the guy who would go on to not only make the Evil Dead films but also go on to direct 3 Spiderman films started it all with short films.(Within the Woods wasnt his first short film he had previously made one called Clockwork). Raimi cast his friends and produced the film for $1600. It was shot on location in a remote cabin in the woods.

When the film was finished Raimi convinced a local theater manager to screen the film alongside The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this short helped Raimi to get the larger budget needed to make the movie The Evil Dead (1981). The film was the first in the Evil Dead franchise, and launched the careers of both Lead Actor Bruce Campbell and Raimi himself.
My short film might not have led on to a full length film or any form of success but I have so many good memories of not only making it but of showing it to people, even now long after it has been lost I think back fondly of it , making that short film has given me a whole host of warm memories. This is the main reason I think that everyone should attempt to make a short film, because I think it is a wonderful exercise that will give you not only a whole host of experiences and new skills but it will also give you a whole host of hopefully good memories and lets be honesty good memories are what really makes for a good life.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The Halloween movie Canon Jigsaw Part 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

OK so in my last Halloween blog post I talked about Halloween 4: The Return of Michael ending my post by talking about how the film ends with Loomis sinking to the floor sobbing after witnessing Jamie in a costume like Michael wore as a young boy after having stabbed her adoptive mother, and how this lead us to believe that for one reason or another be it something in her blood, the trauma she had suffered or some kind of curse passing from her Uncle when they touched that Jamie would become the franchises new killer. So did Jamie go on to take Myers place? Well judging from the fact this fifth film in the series is called Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers, I think we can safely assume that the answer to this will Jamie be the new evil is a firm nope, no she will not.

Halloween 4 is basically a normal continuation to the 5th film its just the fact that the 4th ended with a sort of teaser for something that wasn't followed through on. The main reason for this is that Halloween 5 was rushed into production without a finished script, and also Halloween 4’s writer-director duo Alan McElroy and Dwight Little decided not to return for the sequel. Apparently they didn’t believe that they could improve on there previous film but to they did assume that their Halloween 5 replacements would follow what they had set up at the end of Halloween 4 and explore the idea of Jamie having somehow inherited Michael’s evil.

The first screenwriter hired to write the screen play for Halloween 5 Moustapha Akkaddid did actually turn in a screen play which used the idea of Jamie having become evil. However this script got thrown out and a new one was put in place which smoothed over the end of 4 explaining Jamie hadn't killed her step mother and putting Myers plainly back in the seat as main and only Villain of the series. Its interesting to note that Donald Pleasence the actor who played Dr Loomis found this supremely disappointing, telling Fangoria magazine, “I think they should have gone along with the fact that the little girl is now totally evil. I was disappointed that we now discover she did not kill her mother at the end of the last film.”

To simplify the events of the 5th film without giving the ending away I would explain its plot with the following. After lying in a coma for a year, Michael Myers wakes up and makes his way back to his hometown so that he can continue to try and kill his niece, Jamie, who due to the trauma of her past experiences has been confined to a mental institution. Dr Loomis suspects that there is a psychic link between Michael and Jamie and so he joins up with Sheriff Ben Meeker to try to use this in an attempt to stop Michael.

To be honest the film does connect to the last entry in the series pretty well in all honesty even if it decides to tie up and cut of several loose ends in a way which allows the series to return to the path most predictable, but given how the last major swerve from this path Halloween 3 season of the witch was treated its not all that surprising. You know its funny how when you look at films there is often more than one movie, there is the movie which was made and released and there is the one which is cast in to the shadows, the one which could have been but never got to live. While I enjoy Halloween 5 I cant help but think that in this case the more interesting film was the one which never got to live beyond a script.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

My GameBoy Advance Experiances: Fire Emblem

OK so this is the first in a series of posts about my favorite games on the GameBoy Advance. I dont intend to do full reviews more just to talk about the games in general and how they came into my life and the effect they had on me as a gamer. As a massive fan of the 16bit consoles like the SNES and the Megadrive  its probably not that surprising to find that I am also a great fan of the GameBoy Advance what with it basically being a sort of pumped up portable Super Nintendo. I have written a lot of things about the SNES and the Megadrive in the past and have hardly ever stopped to talk about the GBA so it seemed like a perfect time.

When I talk about the SNES and the Megadrive it is often very hard for me to think about and remember all of the details about where I first saw the games or where I originally brought them from, I really need to stop and ponder and the truth is sometimes I can remember and sometimes I cant. The good side about talking about newer consoles is that I am not having to think back to my childhood. Not only is it longer ago but I also didn't pay as much attention to what I was doing back then, I was like most kids always rushing to the next thing and didn't really take a second to smell the roses. I am hoping that with these GameBoy Advanced titles my memories will be much fresher and I thought well why not get them down before they are ravaged by the tides of time.

I cant tell you the date that I got my favorite GBA game but I can tell you the day of the week I purchased it, which I think is pretty darn impressive. It was a Thursday and heck I can boil it down to even the rough time of day. It would have been somewhere between 6pm and 6.30. It was while the GBA was still current and it was gotten from a local second hand market which used to run every Thursday 5 minutes away from my house in my local towns market place/center. The market would open at 6pm and I would providing I wasn't working always be there on the dot and it would take approximately 15 minutes to rush around all of the stalls, so even if I was late or I had been haggling on the price of something I would always have looked at everything on it and either be ready to leave or at least ready for a second look around by 6.30. The day I got Fire Emblem there was a stall which had a whole load of GBA games, every game was £5 and nearly all of them were cartridge only, in fact the only one which wasn't was Fire Emblem, which was in fact complete and in a very good condition. I basically purchased Fire Emblem because I knew without a shadow of a doubt that if I thought it sucked I would be able to trade it in somewhere and make a profit or get a lot more than £5 in trade credit. It seems really strange to say this now as basically after getting the game home I have never let it out of my sight. As soon as I tried it I loved it, it instantly reminded me of two games I had played before one of them being a Japanese PS1 copy of Final Fantasy Tactics and the other being konami's Vandal Hearts.

You kind of can't blame me for originally thinking that Fire Emblem was like Tactics and Vandal Hearts as despite the fact Fire Emblem was a long running Nintendo franchise this original GameBoy Advance Fire Emblem was the first to be officially sold in Europe and America. The even funnier thing to admit though is how comfortable I was with the idea of selling the game if it didn't live up to my standards when now I think id sooner sell half of my collection than loose this title. The game became a lot more than just a game to me it was the start of me loving the entire series. I waited with baited breath for the GameCube version to come out and I have waited for every Fire Emblem game since that one with the excitement of a child waiting for Christmas day. Its a series I have introduced to my daughter and we now both play it comparing strategies and experiences. The only proper Fire Emblem game I have missed was Sacred Stones, which unfortunately every time I see it in the wild is counterfit and the one time I tried purchasing it online I received a bootleg, fortunately it was a fully functioning bootleg which I both got a refund for and was allowed to keep for my trouble, this means I have played it on the original hardware but it also leaves it as the sort of missing piece in my tale.

As far as the games worth now and its place in my collection well I didn't really click on to how important it had become as a game outside of my own personal love for it until the time when I had grabbed the Wii Fire Emblem (which I got on its day of release from Tesco for £35). This was kind of the point when I noticed wow quiet a lot of people seem to want the previous games in this series I better not let the ones I have slip out of my clutches. I actually had my original copy of the GameCube Fire Emblem sort of stolen and had to buy another which is the reason I never ever let people lend my games anymore but I guess that is a story for another time.