Few additions and corrections… also, I can see these 2 getting their own sitcom.
First go at some sort of webcomic, this has probably been done a thousand times before but hey, this one is all mine. It’s a classic and memorable opening, but not really for amazing reasons, but definitely funny ones.
Everyone hears something different, but this is what I can hear when this guy speaks, there’s a reason the rest of his opening dialogue is typed out. I’m wondering how long these 2 could continue trying to understand each other until one just gives up.
Apologies for the slightly dodgy skills in Photoshop. Click on the image to show full size.
After years of internal debate I finally decided to buy Minecraft, I’ve no idea why it took so long but the final thought that won the argument was… “Sure, why not”.
I’ve been playing the single player game, which pretty much goes thus; mining, crafting, building stuff, moving on, mining, crafting, building stuff, moving on, accidentally destroying village and local population, moving on, mining, crafting… you get the picture.
However, in addition to this I’ve also been inspired to build some stuff in creative mode (thanks to Helen on twitter). So feel free take a look at the fruits of my desk based labours below, the internet is alive with good reference material so a little research went into each character before hand. I found it an absorbing, fun and relaxing way to pass the time and a great way to recreate some awesome retro gaming icons.
Perhaps more to follow soon.
Thanks for looking and take care :)
Good news everyone, sort of… If you thought I didn’t post much now, just wait until August. Time for another Reality Check, this one though might have longer term effects on life in general… What I’m trying to say is, and badly, I’m going to be a Dad by the summer time!
It’s not immediately time to pack up all the games and consoles but preparations are being made to put a lot of stuff into the loft, and make room for new things, such as a cot, moses basket… and other foreign objects I’m learning all about (pram shopping is one hell of an experience, like buying a car, but more confusing).
Gaming won’t stop completely, but there’s a good chance the posts here on Reality Glitch might. I’m inspired by the amount of retro gaming Dads out there on twitter, proving that it is possible to continue your hobby whilst having kids, but at the moment I’m not wanting the distraction, I’m panicking enough as it is.
My Amiga 500 will be packed away neatly in its original box, the games stored in large plastic crates, the other games and consoles too. They might make an appearance again one day. I’ll still be tweeting away about random retro stuff, and re-tweeting all your awesome finds, pictures, reviews and collections as usual, so please follow me on twitter below.
Thanks for reading, and donations of pipes, slippers and other Dad stuff welcome…
All the best
I’ve found the more you like a particular system, the harder it is to pick your top ‘5, 10, 15’ favourite games. I get the feeling many retro gaming ‘top’ lists change on a daily basis, I know mine do.
I find it harder to write a top 5 for the Amiga than I do, say the N64, as I’ve only ever owned and played a limited number of games for the latter. Therefore my list is of a limited nature in that the top 5 is taken from about 20 N64 games I’ve actually ever played extensively.
On the other hand, I’ve played many more Amiga games, over a hundred that I could class as ones I know well, and also still enjoy playing, therefore, harder to pick just 5.
Anyways, enough waffling, on to my top 5 N64 games, and the odd reason why they are my favourites.
As much as I love GoldenEye, game and movie, Perfect Dark had me gripped from the start and throughout, it was a great story within an amazing sci-fi setting, with a great lead character in Joanna Dark. Arguably an improved game all round compared to GoldenEye, bigger levels, better graphics, huge sound track and an awesome array of weaponry (Ed – You better start looking for the body armour making comments like that).
On top of the single player the multi-player blew me away with the amount of customisation you could do by making your own custom combat scenarios, and fighting bots or other players. The game is still fantastic to this day, whether you’re playing alone or with friends.
Again, like with Perfect Dark, it’s the multi-player that sells it to me in this game, as much fun and polished as the single player is there’s nothing better than jumping in your Arwing and having awesome dogfights around Corneria with other players, however, unlike Perfect Dark you’ll need to have a few friends around to join in for this one.
I used to love the rush to be the first to grab the double laser, or a bomb, which would give you a nice advantage for a little while. I also noticed, with the group I played with at least, no-one ever wanted to be the tanks in multi-player, they never seemed quite as good, or fun to play.
Mario Kart 64
My favourite version to date, there’s nothing in particular I can say to explain why its my favourite, apart from the fact there’s not a single track in the whole game I entirely dislike, but definitely quite a few I’m better at than others.
A few of my favourite tracks are Koopa Troopa Beach, Wario Stadium and Royal Raceway, the first 2 offer some great short cuts and I love visiting Peach’s Castle in Royal Raceway. Probably my least favourite tracks are Sherbet Land and Yoshi Valley, I just can’t get my head round the latter and the former I get too distracted by penguins.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Not my favourite Legend of Zelda game, (see Link’s Awakening), but Ocarina of Time was definitely the first larger scale adventure in the series I enjoyed and completed. My knowledge of the series was pretty limited having never owned a NES or SNES before my N64, so apart from the aforementioned Game Boy game this was pretty much my introduction to the series. The sheer colour and scale of the game world after playing Link’s Awakening was pretty awesome and I’ve definitely been a bigger fan of the series ever since this one.
I can still hear the Ocarina songs in my head, and my favourite level is the Shadow Temple, great atmosphere, creepy bad guys and weirdest boss by far, my least favourite is the Spirit Temple (you just couldn’t top the Shadow Temple before it).
I do like a good Star Wars game, and Rogue Squadron was awesome, even its name gets me a little bit excited (Ed – easy tiger). I find the foggy graphics a little off putting these days but then I’ve noticed that with a lot of my favourite N64 games. This was pretty much the first time I got to fly an X-Wing in a Star Wars game, so I was already sold, after borrowing it from a friend (for far too long) I ended up buying my own copy.
I’ve never quite gotten gold for every mission, and I’m not sure I’ve even finished it, but it was fun to play, great to fly each different fighter, and destroy the Empire along the way. It was a close match between this and Shadows of the Empire, but Rogue Squadron hits the nostalgia button just a little bit harder.
Thanks for taking a look at this list of my top 5 games on the N64! What are yours? I’m almost certain yours will be different, and possibly even for different reasons! Crazy.
Honourable mentions and not quite appearing in this list:
GoldenEye, Shadows of the Empire, Pokemon Stadium, F-Zero X, Donkey Kong 64
Coder: Will Harvey
Publisher: Electronic Arts (1988)
Platform: Amiga 500
Anyone for golf? No? Then how about Zany Golf? Still no? Ah well, luckily for me this is a 1 to 4 player game. It’s the only golf game I ever owned or played back in the day, so its high on my nostalgic feeling list, although I was also never very good at it (I couldn’t get past hole 5 ‘Fans’). Now I’ve returned to Zany Golf to see how I fair, spurred on by the fact I’ve recently beaten Tom in Jimmy White’s Whirlwind Snooker for the first ever time.
The game starts you off gently with a relatively easy first hole (no real surprises or manic mouse wiggling required), but with each level beyond that they become progressively harder and more challenging. There are 9 holes in total, each with their own par and unique game mechanics, a score card helps the players keep a tally on who’s winning. Hole 2 ‘Hamburger’ eases the player further in by demonstrating how the game is slightly different to a normal crazy golf course; a giant hamburger covers the hole, the player has to click the left mouse button to bounce the burger up and down, and then time their shot so the burger is in the air for the ball to roll into the hole, timing is crucial.
From ‘Hamburger’ onward the player is required to either activate something, time their shots, or in one case use fans to blow the ball around the entire course. Despite these extra game play mechanics in each course the controls are some of the most basic I’ve ever come across in any golf game, relying purely on the mouse to line up your shot, pull the cursor back for power, and releasing to take the shot. It is easy to follow and see what’s happening as the graphics are simple and fun, and kind of what you’d expect a crazy golf course to look like (I’ve not been to many, once on Jersey I think…). I like the effort that’s gone into each hole to make it look as colourful as possible, including the excellent title graphics introducing each one.
What I most enjoy about Zany Golf is that each level is unique, challenging and fun to play. It’s easy to pick a favourite and a least favourite. One of my favourites is the ‘Pinball’ course (literally a mini pinball game before putting the ball), followed closely by an earlier course ‘Hamburger’, mentioned above. My least favourite is the course ‘Ant Hill’, a disappointing one given the clever design of the other holes, and the final level ‘Energy’, looks pretty but I still have no idea what’s going on or how I even finished it.
Zany Golf is still a great little game, and by that I mean I wish it offered slightly more holes, as it comes across as quite short. However, in this case quality wins out over quantity, the course design is superb and in some cases very inventive and each course provides a decent enough challenge that you don’t whizz through the game too quickly, and there’s always a small amount of replay value to try to best your own scores, or compete against other players.
I’m glad to say on this occasion I made it past hole 5 ‘Fans’, in fact, I finished the game. I’ve definitely noticed when revisiting some of these old games I have more patience these days, I’m assuming back in the day I was rage quitting every 5 seconds. Zany Golf is fun and inventive but a little short, purely from a selfish point of view I wanted to keep playing, it’s a fun game! It also has the most manic (and a little annoying) title music since Rolling Ronny. Despite the latter I’d highly recommend giving it a try.
Just in case you wanted to know, my score card is below!
More info and links!
Lemon Amiga page for Zany Golf
Amiga Computing Vol 1 No 12 (May 1989) Zany Golf review (95%)
CU Commodore User Amiga-64 (Apr 1989) Zany Golf review (80%)
Amiga Action 16 (Jan 1991) Zany Golf (Budget) review (81%)
The following post is about hardware and software I remember (sort of) using throughout my school life, it doesn’t include systems used outside of school, even though they were way more fun. So I thought I’d start 2015 off with some personal history (yay?).
This was an idea I had last year but has taken me ages to get around to writing it, I wasn’t sure if it would be that interesting, and after more thought I realised I couldn’t remember that much about the systems we used to use at school. However, I’ve had a couple of helpers on this one to jog my memory, so here are the combined results! What computers did you use at school? What software and games did you play? Let me know in the comments below!
Special thanks to Simon and Nigel for their help and input in this post.
First School (or infant school)
RealityGlitch: My earliest memories of using any sort of computer hardware in school was a piece of hardware that sat all by itself in the corner of the classroom. The software on it we used was for drawing and painting. What seemed unique about this memory is that I remember painting (white screen, simple shapes and colours) by using a stylus (connected with a black curly lead to the hardware). Felt like magic at the time, now it seems more like a touch screen painting program, however, given this was the mid 80s that still seems pretty special. As I don’t remember the name of it, or much more than the above, I’ve not been able to find a picture or anymore information on it.
Middle School (or junior school)
Simon: We had acorn 3000’s, computers with the orange function keys. One of the programs we used to use was Impression Junior, we used to use it to draw I think, there might have also been another drawing and painting program. A game we used to play (at break times naturally… Ed) was Moonquake. Just loved that game and used to play it all the time during break time, we were in year 7 at the time so this is just before moving up to secondary school.
RealityGlith: I also remember having a BBC Micro available to use in Middle School. I remember there being a single computer in our classroom, it sat on the side and we were occasionally allowed to use it. Oddly enough I don’t remember using this computer for anything in lessons. I had contacted one of my old teachers but I didn’t get a response. One of these games we played on the Acorn 3000 was indeed called Moonquake, it was a Bomberman clone, you played on the keyboard and the game play was the familiar top down grid, you blasted your way through blocks to reach the enemies.
RealityGlitch: Hmm, I think I should have paid more attention in school… I remember using the Acorn Archimedes, with 2Mb of RAM, which were eventually upgraded to 4Mb. Some of the software was Visual Basic/Stylus, the former of which we used to program and move little Lego models.
The 3 games we had was Pac-Mania, Cannon Fodder and Lemmings, I remember playing Pac-Mania quite a bit, so much so I ended up getting it for my Amiga 500 so I could play it at home as well. Good times.
Nigel: From memory, the software was the generic spreadsheet, word processing and database packages that came with system, the free program that came with the Archimedes was called DRAW.
Simon: Secondary School we had acorn 4000’s, which were like a small white desktop box with separate keyboards and mice. We used to run Impression Style which was the more grown up version of Impression Junior. We also used Eureka, a spreadsheet and database program. However because the machines only had 2mb of RAM we could only run one or the other, never at the same time. Eventually we did upgrade from 2mb to 4mb, I remember helping our teacher to upgrade them at break and lunch times.
I vaguely remember there being a manual parallel port switch to an Epson lx100 dot matrix printer, and we had to switch it over when you wanted to print from your computer.
Publisher: Virgin Games
Creator: Archer MacLean
What can I say about this one that hasn’t already been said? Probably lots, but I’m too lazy for that. Still, I thought I’d give this one another go after 20 years.
That catchy intro music and swirly colourful animated title screen brings back a few memories, well, memories of watching someone else play this. Someone who was reluctant to give up the mouse and let me have a go. Sitting back I used to watch Tom (the ‘easy’ level AI in the game) quickly dispatch his human opponent again and again, seeing how hard the game was I was probably pleased not to be playing. Still, the few times I did get to give it a go it was often a white wash, I didn’t dare try to play against Dick, Harry or Jimmy. I quickly moved onto Archer MacLean’s Pool and left this one in the box.
I didn’t fully appreciate this game back then (I was only 10, more interested in Turrican and Hunter if I remember rightly) but playing it now I’m actually enjoying it a lot more. Tom is just as hard to beat, but with patience and practice, I did start to show signs of improvement (200 more games and you’ve got him!). Too often whilst playing, just when I thought I was on a winning break, the pressure would get to much and I’d give it away. The final game came down to the pink and black. The games difficulty is probably the only criticism you could make, but with practice (and lots of patience) it is something you could probably overcome quite quickly.
After a few matches with Tom, just for a lark, I took on Jimmy, just to see what it was like difficulty wise. I scored 1 point. I’m happy with that. I’m sure the Jimmy level in the game is just in fact a demo, giving you control of the break (where I scored my 1 point) and momentarily giving you hope before Jimmy clears the table with lightning (whirlwind?) speed.
Back to Tom, who I played around 10 times, it was nice to see my scores improve with each game. Tom does make silly mistakes, often giving away points, but 1 or 2 mistakes doesn’t hide the fact his skill level increases dramatically after these, suddenly making incredibly difficult pots, high breaks, and often scoring even when a shot goes awry (jammy git). Just when you think you’ve won, he’ll knock the ball in from the next room without using his hands.
Still lots of fun to be had with this, it’s definitely a classic retro title, but more importantly, game play wise, it doesn’t feel dated at all. The controls are smooth and give you all the help, direction and angles you could possibly need for taking your shot. The sound effects are loud and fun, as are the funny faces and flies that appear on the table if you take too long over a shot. The graphics are bright and colourful but simple, which is exactly what you would expect and need for a snooker game.
My favourite part of the game, not that I was skilful enough to get one, was the round of applause that emanates from the darkness surrounding the table when you get a high enough break. It gives an extra dimension to the atmosphere of the game, one of my fondest memories is imagining the huge ‘unseen’ crowd watching on from the sidelines.
Difficultly aside the game play is still top, I’ll be playing this one for a long time to come.
Jimmy Whites Whirlwind Snooker Info Lemon Amiga http://www.lemonamiga.com/?game_id=616
Amiga Action 24 (Sep 1991) http://amr.abime.net/review_6134
Amiga Power 4 (Aug 1991) http://amr.abime.net/review_195
Check out the video below for Jimmy White’s Whirlwind Snooker on Commodore Amiga. Gameplay & Commentary from the awesome @SteveBenway
Please check out the links below, lots of Amiga and Amiga Games info to be had!
Hall of Light http://hol.abime.net/
Lemon Amiga http://www.lemonamiga.com/
Amiga Magazine Rack http://amr.abime.net/
Publisher: Alternative Software
Played On: Amiga 500 – Emulated
I’ve been having an urge to relive some of those old cartoon favourites from back in the day. The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound, The Jetsons, Top Cat, Duckula… Duckula you say? I didn’t even realize this had been released on the Amiga! Count Duckula was one of my favourite cartoons growing up, it was made by Cosgrove Hall (purveyor of fine animated childhood memories), and I can’t believe they’ve been keeping this secret from me all these years.
I’ve not had much luck finding a decent cartoon licence so far, so I’m playing this with standards set to low. On loading up my first impressions were, “nice title screen”, good likenesses in all the characters, colours pretty much spot on, well drawn, and they’ve had a good try at nailing the cartoon’s theme. Seems they spent quite a lot of time and effort on this title screen and short intro story. What could possibly go wrong?
Duckula himself looks pretty good, his sprite is well drawn and he has a neat little animation for walking, the colours again are bright and accurate. However once you actually start moving and get into the game it’s pretty clear it’s going to be an, um, interesting experience. Several screens in and never before have I been so frustrated with moving platforms in a game, which disappear and reappear as they move leaving the player guessing where you need to go next, this wouldn’t be so bad if your jumps didn’t have to be spot on, and if not, falling from even the smallest of heights you die.
You move from screen to screen in the usual left to right fashion, tackling tedious platforms, avoiding terribly pointless enemies, to make your way to the next screen. Your only weapon, used to stun enemies and not kill them, is ketchup, which you launch at the enemies and who suddenly look to the player in surprise, as if to say “What did I do?”. Scattered throughout the game are packs of corn to collect, these give you invincibility for about 10 seconds.
Each screen is pretty repetitive and dull, there’s no music and the sounds effects are random and bizarre. One terrible example is when you die from a fall, you’re welcomed by the most disturbing and out of place voice exclaiming “Whoops” at your expense. A few more screens into the game you reach Igor, this seemed like a nice change from the usual dullness of each screen, I thought at this point there might be some “thanks for rescuing me”, or bonus points, or perhaps witty dialogue…. nope, nothing, Igor just evaporates when walk into him. Sigh.
I’ve got a feeling I’ll be taking a spiralling dive towards the negative with these reviews, however, I am going into these games having never (in most cases) played them before, and with low expectations. So if a game does surprise me, I’ll say so. I tried Duckula as I’m a fan of the cartoon, so why wouldn’t I want to play the game? The title screen, box art and characters all look good, and I expect with just the screen shots and nothing else to go on it actually looked quite nice.
I can tell you now this is my first and will be my only time of playing this game. Appearances can be deceptive, Duckula is aesthetically pleasing (as sometimes these licenses can be), but the game however is best left on the shelf. It doesn’t do the cartoon any justice, and once again you get the feeling if this didn’t have Duckula on the label it wouldn’t have sold a single copy. An extremely glitchy and dull platformer which has Yolanda levels of frustration. Incidentally, I didn’t reach the end, my patience ran out about halfway and I can only afford so much counselling. I checked it out on YouTube instead just to see the end boss. I wouldn’t bother, unless you’re reaaaallly bored, and curious.
Lets see how the first Duckula game compares… next time…
A couple of retro computing magazines I acquired over the Christmas holiday, What Micro? from August 1984, and Personal Computer World from December 1981.
I’ll get around to reading them at some point and sharing my views!