Friday, November 28, 2008

Treasure Hunt

A reasonably good day today, 6 games and 3 books

Getaway: Black Monday
Project Eden
Resident Evil: Outbreak
£1.99 each

Serious Sam, £2.99

Atari Anniversary Edition, £2

True Pinball, £1

Grand total £11.96

PlayStation Home

Unexpectedly this morning I've received an invite to the closed beta of PlayStation Home. I'm downloading it as I type.

Useful to know: GMail

The Elonex Onet that I use is a little slow using the standard java interface of GMail, and you can't set GMail to use the html view on a per machine basis, but this page shows you how you can set up a bookmark which does the same thing. Nice.

Short version:

Use as your bookmark when you want to access html view instead.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

At last, a rational voice speaks out for science

RSC Press Release: £1,000,000 for 100% chemical free material?

This has long been a gripe of mine, the misuse of 'science' and technology in advertising.

I really, really despise the whole thing where they carp on about shampoo technology and the nutrient benefits for your hair. Surely they mean biology or chemistry? Because I really can't see how a dual core processor would do anything for your highlights.

Gaming Backlog

I'm going to use this post to list all the games in my backlog that are 'must play'. If I listed all the games that I've not yet played that'll be hundreds.

G7000 Conquest of the World
N64 Donkey Kong 64 Glover Space Station Silicon Valley
Game Cube Pikmin
NES Mega Man 2 Metroid
CDi Burn:Cycle
Dreamcast Jet Set Radio Shenmue
Mega Drive The Lost Vikings Prince of Persia Vectorman
Master System Fantasy Zone
Saturn Gokujou Parodius Da: Deluxe Pack NiGHTS into Dreams...
Playstation 2 Jak 3

This isn't a definitive list, the idea is that once I've played all these then I'll throw up a new list and work from that one.

Thanks to this blog for the table formatting tips

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tomb Raider Underworld (Last time, I promise!)

I'd be really interested to know how this works. I feel pretty sure it's just a game save at a point where the glitch has been passed, i.e. not a patch. Wonder what happens to any treasures/relics collected up to that point?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tomb Raider: Underworld Statistics

Mediterranean Sea
Treasures 21/26
Relics 1/1

Coastal Thailand
Treasures 25/30
Relics 1/1

Croft Manor
Treasures 13/13
Relics 1/1

Southern Mexico
Treasures 42/50
Relics 1/1

Jan Mayen Island
Treasures 30/30
Relics 1/1

Andaman Sea

Artic Sea
Treasures 25/30
Relics 1/1

And I'm done. I don't want to play it any more.

Tomb Raider Underworld: Further Rants

I've calmed down considerably since I completed the game last night, and obviously my mind has been assimilating the whole experience:

  • Where were the boss battles? Every TR has them, it was odd that they weren't present.
  • Why can't you re-watch cut-scenes?
  • What is the point of the option to select your weapon at the beginning of the level, and then allow you to change it anyway from your backpack?
  • Where happened to the classic outfit? I'm not one for playing dress-up, but that was a fundamental omission from the costumes.
  • The last weapon that you pick up (I won't reveal here what it is, I don't want to spoil it). It makes all the other weapons you have totally obsolete. You won't want to use anything else.
  • This one is not directed at TRU particularly, but at what point did 'concept artwork' become an unlockable. Does it serve any purpose at all, except for the studio waving it's wang around saying 'Ooh look, we employ concept artists'? Big deal, give me something I can use in the game next time.
  • Why do we need the idiot symbols that hover over ever the screen every time you can do something. One or twice is fine, but I don't need the bloody [] symbol appearing when I can use the grapple. FFS let me figure it out on my own. Similarly with the triangle and the treasures. Why go to the trouble of hiding them in bushes etc., when all you need to do to find them is walk along and watch for the triangle symbol appearing. Ooh look I can do something, I wonder what it is?
  • EDIT: Just found the option to turn this off. Why isn't it off by default, is the assumption that it's far too difficult without it. Or is this one of those options that's set by the choice of difficulty when you start the game. The one there's no mention of what the settings actually do

The unfortunate thing about this game is that on the whole I actually quite enjoyed it. The abrupt ending left a really bad taste that soured the whole experience. What I can't understand is why the game was in development for over 18 months?
Reading the forums about the game it seems that I'm not the only one who is seriously narked about it, and many people are moaning about total system locks when playing the PS3 version. I experienced one myself, but damn, that's going some to crash a console, I don't think I've ever had a console crash before.
Given what I know now about the game there's no way I'd have shelled out 40 quid for it. It was certainly no better than Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty, although it was about twice the length, so I'd guess that £25 would have been a fair price for it. Of course Crystal Dynamics could totally redeem themselves with some killer DLC, but it looks like that's going to be XBox only, so PS3 owners consider yourselves shafted.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Finished: Tomb Raider Underworld

And that was a huge disappointment. No part of it was really challenging, and to finish the game in 3 days is poor. I wouldn't mind if I'd been playing it 'hardcore' like I used to back in the day, but this has been a couple of hours here and there, I reckon it can't have taken me more than 10 hours tops. And that for 40 quid is a bloody joke. Treasure hunt mode just plain sucks - explore but nothing to kill and puzzles already solved, what is the point?
Oh, and obviously I'm playing the ps3 version, which comes complete with a splendid array of trophies to collect for bragging rights. Oh wait, no it doesn't that'd be the 360 version. Crystal Dynamics you are a bunch of useless tossers.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Currently Playing: Tomb Raider: Underworld

I picked up the new TR game yesterday afternoon, and I've been playing it on and off since. I'm quite pleased with the way it plays, in spite of reviews that say it does nothing different. Why must games always be 'different' or 'ground breaking'? Can't they just be more of the same i.e. fun? It's Tomb Raider for Christ sake, what more could you want, exploring, killing endangered species in vast quantities and launching yourself to your death cause you're 2 pixels off in where you're supposed to be aiming. Sounds like a TR game to me, and it's a whole heap of fun. The graphics are nothing short of amazing, Lara moves fluidly, although for my liking when she's climbing she does it a little too quickly, looking more monkey than human, but that's the only gripe I've got about it. I'm about 3 or 4 levels in, lost count, and I'm not picking up all of the treasures and relics on this run through, I'll save that for number 2.

Treasure Hunt

Todays finds were
Sheep for PSX, £1.99

Mad Catz Beat Pad for PS2, £1.99
Thrustmaster Top Gun Joystick for PC, £1.49

Total cost £5.47

Friday, November 21, 2008

News Reports and Sensationalism

This is a bit of a rant, and very much a pet peeve of mine.

In a BBC News report this morning, about D.R. Congo, the reporter stated that women in wars were always the first victims, and yet when they interviewed one of these women, who had been raped, she mentioned that before the rape she had seen 20 members of her family killed. Now this is nit-picking I know, but isn't the reporters initial statement then like saying that Great Britain came first in the Olympics, after China and America?

I really hate the over sensationalism that goes on in media.

End of Rant

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dragon 32 Again

Inspired by my own cocktail cabinet and all the electronic work I've got to do on that I had a sudden flash of inspiration about modding a proper Dragon 32 joystick, using the internals of a PSX dual shock pad. I've won a couple of ropey looking Dragon joysticks on eBay, hopefully they should be here in the next couple of days so I can rip them open and see what I can do. Photos will appear here as the project progresses

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Elonex ONEt

I've bought myself an Elonex ONEt recently. Actually it was a ONE when I bought it, but they've taken so long shipping it that I got a free upgrade to the latest model. It's quite slow to start applications, and you can't run many at a time (it self limits to 3), but once it's going it's not too bad. The lack of Flash is a disappointment as it means stuff like You Tube won't run (which is a bit of an unexpected bonus). eBay works fine, as does GMail albeit slowly, and for sitting in the living room doing a bit of browsing away from the desktop it's actually pretty cool. Build quality seems to be quite high, although the interface could have done with a bit more quality control as there are tons of grammar and spelling mistakes in the dialog boxes. The WiFi didn't work out of the box as it needed a wired update to find my LiveBox,but that aside it's now up and running perfectly

Monday, November 17, 2008

Treasure Hunt

Not much on today's trip, just Madden 94 for the Mega Drive. For 25p.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Treasure Hunt

Very successful hunt today, usual charity shops and flea market I'd never visited. Today's haul consisted of:
Master System
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
Super Tennis
Fantasy Zone
Dynamite Dux
Streets of Rage

C64 (!)
Thunder Blade
Kung-Fu Master
Grand Monster Slam
Book of the Dead
Auf Wiedersehen Monty
Asterix & The Magic Cauldron

X-Men Mutant Academy
Jersey Devil

Mission Impossible
Mario Kart 64

Running me a grand total of £30.41 for 17 games

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cocktail Cabinet - In Action!

I've connected up all the basics now, and given the cabinet it's first test. All works well, although the lack of a proper control panel is quite a disappointment.

Here it is playing Space Invaders, which seemed fitting for a first game.

Cocktail Cabinet

I'm not intending to use this with a dedicated pc at this stage, the wires are going to trail out the back and connect to my desktop. I'm using AdvanceCD to boot and with a custom control scheme the whole thing 'just works'

I've started construction of the cabinet, the basic cutting and screwing took me about 4 hours this morning. It's built from 12mm MDF in a bid to keep costs and weight down.

I've yet to order the parts for the control panel; at the moment I'm testing with an Asciiware PSX pad which is doing the trick nicely

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dragon 32

A friend recently donated his old Dragon 32 to me, presumably feeling that it would be in a good home. I used to have one way, way back, in fact I believe Dad bought mine for my 12th birthday. I sold it years later for bugger all, during a state of unemployment after dropping out of university and now I bitterly regret it. Not the dropping out, or the unemployment, they were kind of fun for a while.

It's obviously way too much trouble to actually play games on the beast as it's primarily a tape system, and they were a sod to load even when they were new, consequently I've turned to emulation, specifically this one, which works very nicely on a Xubuntu pc I'd got laying around going spare. I've had a real blast playing through some of the oldies; Pettigrew's Diary; Starship Chameleon; Morocco Grand Prix; Franklin's Tomb.

God, they were primitive, but so much fun back in the day. I've even bought some off eBay this week, just so I can own them again.

Arcade Cocktail Cabinet

I have a new project in mind, a MAME arcade cocktail cabinet.

I don't have the space for an upright cabinet in my games room, but I could make use of a cocktail style one. Today I picked up the first part, an LG 17" lcd monitor, for the princely sum of £40. I've ordered some cheap Logic 3 psx pads to dismantle and form the basis of the controllers. Next I'm going to order some Happ parts and start constructing the cabinet

Treasure Hunt

Todays treasure hunt netted me:
Hitman Blood Money
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
Jade Empire
Legacy of Kain: Defiance
LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance
D&D Heroes
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

all for the XBox, £17.91