Tuesday, December 30, 2008

30 at 50

My day job doesn't take a break over the holidays, so while I update the MATCH website, I thought I'd let you know what's been keeping me sane while there's no one in the office, or milk in the fridge for a hot drink. It's freezing outside! Tsk.
Got home last night to my missus listening to the end of Radio 2's Michael Jackson special - 30 at 50. This countdown of his biggest UK hits brings back many childhood memories and is packed with interviews from Quincy Jones and MJ, rehearsal soundbites and more. Just for the record Thriller and Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough are my favourite MJ tracks, and I had Bad on cassette. I also played this a few times down on Southend seafront. Check out the BBC iPlayer to listen to the full three-hour show, brought to you by Lionel Richie.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rock banned?

By the power of Twitter I’ve discovered a great new blog called Gaming Never Sleeps. Loved the reviews of games that Jeff’s played in 2008 and the honest look at the likes of World At War and GTA IV. He’s also going to get into Braid in a big way.
First thing this morning I got a phone call this morning from an old Nintendo Official Magazine colleague saying his Guitar Hero III and pair of Gibson Les Paul guitars isn’t going out on loan to its original recipient, so he was rocking up to Media Towers to hand over the goods UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY. I sent a link to the missus to say what we’ll be playing over Christmas. I’ve yet to hear back.
Heading out of here at lunchtime I noticed the office Wii was on with one of the golf chaps giving Wii Sports Golf a run out. I didn’t stop long, but made a mental note to get a Wii, even if it is just for Sports, Super Mario Galaxy and Zelda, the latter especially before this happens.
Ever since I saw Xbox on launch day I’ve resisted the urge to jump into Halo, but seeing this price-slashing announcement on CVG I think I’ll be jumping behind the controls of a Warthog, even if I am 6 1/2 years late to the party.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And the Christmas No.1 is…

I think I’m at this point in life where I have loads of games I want to play, and not enough time to play them. I think it’s been creeping up on me for some time now so I had to grab some time playing Elite Beat Agents at the weekend while I could, even if it was during a baby-crying session. It was the wife’s turn, before you think I’m a terrible father!
I’m still not above grade C, but the quirky storylines have me hooked, even if I don’t know some of the tracks. Particularly liked, if that’s the right word, the returning father-ghost to make a girl’s Christmas. Very poignant at this time of year.
The reason I started this blog like this today is that I’m starting to wade through Eurogamer's Readers' Top 50 of 2008. God, I miss games. There have been so truly epic entries…

Friday, December 19, 2008

Play that funky music

My missus will be addicted to this over Christmas, so while my original DS is free to use I finally got down to some Elite Beat Agents action last night while she was out at *lost count* Christmas party.
The poor fella has been sitting in my Games I Must Play pile for a few weeks, gently shivering in the cold and weeping when I reach for the 360 controller next to it. But last night I unwrapped the DS goodness, admired the Club Nintendo certificate (are they still doing this stuff?), clipped it into my metallic, heavier DS and enjoyed a good hour getting jiggy with Sk8ter Boi, YMCA and Material Girl. I felt quite manly, if you must know.
I remember getting this game in for our imported games pages in Nintendo Official Magazine a few years ago. Big In Japan had all kinds of crazy stuff over a couple of spreads each month – pictures from Akihabara, Cosplay and the latest releases. Strangely, I didn’t bother with the game when it came out, but I wish I’d got into this a long time ago.
While rhythm action titles tend to come complete band kits these days, this pop- feast suits the DS perfectly as you tap, glide and tap-tap-tap to the funky sounds. They’ve thrown in some funny stories of various characters you have to save – babysitter, film director, sailor – to give the game about an ounce more depth, though the comic book-style presentation is smart and the leader of the Elite Beat Agents reminded me of Phoenix Wright.
The problem is, I’m terrible at these games. I’ve managed no higher than a grade C on any of the first eight scenarios I played. I even failed one story and had to replay it. More over the weekend while my DS has got the chance before SUDOKU takes over.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cheap kicks

I hit the high street today, not for gaming buys as I'm hoping for this to land in my lap shortly, but did notice that the Pro Evo-beater that is FIFA 09 is going for £20 at Gamestation until Sunday. Get it, then come and play me on Xbox Live.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's not a Minish Cap

While I sit and suffer with a cough and bunged-up nose brought about by either someone coughing in my face at my Christmas party on Friday night, or through too much alcohol consumption, I thought I would update my blog, especially seeing as I’ve taken inspiration from reading this at Dubious Quality.
Outside these blog walls are new screens of GTA IV DLC even though I should be blocked from viewing them seeing as I’ve put in few hours on Rockstar’s finest, a cheaper Bomberman Live from today (BUY! BUY!) and news of a new PSP to launch next year.
But without doubt the coolest piece of gaming news is this piece of Zelda papercraft. You can actually put this on your head and run around like you’re Link. Just don’t wear it and go out in the garden to chop up your wife’s hedges – you won’t find any hidden money, just a world of grief.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Nintendo are pukka!

The other night my missus was on the phone to her best mate who was celebrating her birthday. The conversation went something like this:
Missus: ‘Oh wow, you’ve got a WII!’
Friend: *Excitement at the other end*
Missus: ‘Tim, my friend’s got a Wii! Oh, wait a sec…’
Friend: *Excitement at the other end*
Missus: ‘Make that a DS. Have you got Brain Training [to friend]’
Friend: *Excitement at the other end*
Missus: ‘I LOVE Brain Training, especially Sudoku. Have you seen that Jamie Oliver game? You’ve got the Jamie Oliver game?! WOW!’

In a nutshell that just shows how popular Nintendo has become, demographically shifting, but still supporting the hardcore gamer. Jamie Oliver and Brain Training on the one hand, Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Mario Galaxy selling out on the other. Three, four, even five years ago, that conversation would never have taken place. It would have been deemed too geeky. And that’s the pull of Nintendo today.
Sadly I see that Imagine have closed N-Revolution, while Amazon are still selling Professor Layton for £60. I’ve used this store checker to find Nintendo games cheaper, even if this is a quality offer. Oh, and if you didn't know Ghostbusters is heading our way next year.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Harry Potter and the Lego Money Machine

Rumours doing the rounds this morning reckon Harry Potter is next in line for a Lego makeover after Star Wars, Indy and Batman.
I’ve got the original Star Wars trilogy upstairs under the 360. My nephew and niece are always on it when they come up, though the wee man just charges around mashing Stormtroopers with his lightsaber. Thank god for two-player when my niece works out the puzzles before more sobering can ensue. As for me, I’ve played it a few times, though the camera angles wreck it, even if the humour and tongue-in-cheek facial expressions make it worth a play through.
The thing is I’ve never really been a big Star Wars fan. Indy’s more my bag, though I’ve only got a demo of the Lego whip-cracking version. Maybe I’ll give the demo a go shortly. Expect impressions later this week, even if it’s been six months since the game came out. The missus is gonna be out one night this week, so I’m hoping to get my game on.
In other news it looks like Liverpool goal machine Fernando Torres is a bit of a PS3 nut. He’s got three of the damn things in his house and loves Halo 3, GTA IV and Pro Evo, according to MCV. It’s a shame he’s not into FIFA 09 – I’ve love to know what his gamer tag is so I can give him a game.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Professor Layton and The Rip-Off Village

Above is a picture of a Stickie on my work Mac. I add games to it; forgotten classics, up-to-date titles and suggestions from blogs and friends.
I’ve been eyeing up one of them, Professor Layton on DS, for ages but thought I would wait for the UK release. I’m happy to pay £25-£30 for a good DS game, like Phantom Hourglass. There’s no way I’m forking out nearly £60, Mr. Amazon. I’ll be looking elsewhere me thinks! It just reminds me of the days when Street Fighter II came out and Mean Machines advertised it for over £100.

Late to the party

I never jumped on the Gears of War bandwagon when it rolled into town two years ago. Back then I was convinced I was going to get a Wii, until my mates went all 360 on me and Wii at launch didn't exactly inspire a hardcore gamer did it? Wii Sports was good for a laugh with the missus, though Zelda: Twilight Princess still evades me to this day. I'll be getting a Wii then. *adds to Amazon wishlist*
So it was with the launch of Gears 2 the other day that I picked up the original for £8. I was planning to play co-op with a fellow n00b, but I've been dumped in favour of Mass Effect, so it's single-player Hammer of Dawn for me.
Using scenery for cover has been talked about for months, so I won't go into that here, except to say that it's great to see a game hang on this premise. Monsters are quality B-movie behemoths though I'm sure I saw something similar in Armorines.
I'm not loving it though. Maybe I need to get my head down and stop ducking out for a game of FIFA 09, which is the best version I've seen in a decade.
The jury is still out on the new avatars. Yes, it's too much like the Wii, but I've got a monobrow so it scores well so far. Check me out next time you're on - Tiny1976 is the name.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thank you Radio 4

You can thank the Today programme for why I’m back here blogging. An interview on the BBC Radio 4 claimed that blogging was dead, that Twitter was the new blog. Is my blog dead? Well, I don't know how many people read it, but this is my space to talk about my view of console games past and present. Let's get on with the show. And if you're on Twitter, come follow me - t1mstreet
What have I been up to since the last time I posted? Well, I've hardly played my 360 due to family/work/DVD/book commitments. In fact I haven't been on since I gave the latest Madden's a go (loved it, thank you Mr EA). My missus is out on Friday night so I'll finally be back on. World At War is coming soon, so I'll try to finish Modern Warfare. I won't be distracted until that's done. Then I'll be scouring eBay for a cheap Gears of War. Yes, I know it's two years old now but after getting an email from Microsoft about the sequel, I shall be checking this classic out.
So, what else have I been up to? Elite Beat Agents on DS was bought for a tenner, but is still in its wrapper; my son is teething badly and keeping me awake at night; the Book Thief is excellent; The Assassination Of Jesse James is highly recommended, and the first western I’ve ever seen, outside Bonanza; I need to get into Fringe; and I'm wondering if I'll ever buy another games magazine again after the £6 I paid for the official Xbox mag the other week, more for the Indy demo than anything.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

PES takes the Champions League

Major news this morning for football fans is that the new Pro Evo will now feature the Champions League, a deal Konami has struck with UEFA for the next four years.
The 2009 edition is gonna have the Champo League mode included within it, which I guess spells the end for EA's Champions League game? More on that when it appears. Check out Barcelona's Lionel Messi after the jump.
I also noticed over at DS Fanboy that PictoChat (the free built in text and image messenger that's been built into the DS) will now be used for something other than sending knob gags to your mates, if you're into that kind of thing. Sega are launching Phantasy Star Online with this built in chat function, just like the symbol creator that used to be on the Dreamcast original. Nice one, Sega!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How much?!

Yesterday was a good day. EA fixed my colleagues and I up with a copy of the new Tiger Woods (comments coming your way over the next few days), then a little voice told me at lunchtime that Morrisons supermarket here in the UK are selling the latest 360, PS3 and DS games for £25. That's NEW RELEASES people. Not copies of Halo 3 in the bargain bin, but new stuff like Mercenaries 2.
Suddenly Morrisons are my new favourite supermarket. For those of you who care I use Tesco online delivery as I have a baby to look after and don't have the time to get trolley rage on a Saturday afternoon in Peterborough. I'd rather be out in the fresh air having fun with my family, thank you very much.
Sorry, I digress. Morrisons have done a wonderful, wonderful thing doing this with the latest releases. I don't think even play.com can compete. But can they sustain it. Will they be doing the same when Banjo-Kazooie and Gears of War 2 rock up in time for Christmas? We'll have to wait and see. But if everyone follows suit then that can only be a good thing for the consumer.

Friday, August 08, 2008

On your marks, get set…

Today sees the start of the Olympics in Beijing. I don't know what the official game of The Games is like, but it's probably not a great leap from Track and Field and Hyper Sports back in the early '80s, and not as fun as them either, if Metacritic is anything to go by.
I remember first setting eyes on Track and Field during a summer camping holiday in Cornwall in 1984. There was this bloke busting a sweat on the hurdles, and he was ace. Every holiday after that we HAD to find Track and Field to have a go. My mum even managed to do the long jump down in Weston-Super-Mare. The day when I found a Track and Field arcade cabinet with a joystick in Southend's Pier Hill was heaven. Now I could get world record attempts every time. If you go anywhere near Hunstanton, near King's Lynn, you'll find Track and Field for 20p in one of the very few arcades left on the seafront.
An old blog mentioned the Amstrad version of Track and Field. Well, I've found screenshots. And if anyone gets turned on by magazines (not that variety!) check out the latest cover of Retro Gamer. Pretty.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Hey, listen!

Want to see a funny spoof of The Legend of Zelda? Check out The Legend of Neil…

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Who ya gonna call?

My 360 is gonna wonder what hits it when I switch it on tomorrow night. It's been about two months since I've had a go as I've been putting together a book for Bauer Media, my employer, where I work. This book, for MATCH magazine, has been a real labour of love for me and the team who produced it. I've not had much sleep over the last few weeks, but I don't care. I'm proud to have put my name to it, and I hope lots of people buy it.
So then, back on the 360 for some target practice tomorrow night. The gamertag is Tiny1976 by the way, so if you're reading this and want to get online then drop me a friend request.
Looking around a few gaming websites I noticed that the Ghostbusters game is coming out next year. How good can zapping a few ghosts and razzing around town be? If it's anything like it was on the Amstrad then I'm in. Just don't give me the hour-long loading screen that the CPC version had.

STOP PRESS: Get online at Typeracer…

Friday, July 25, 2008

Game threads

I was online last night, wondering whether to splash out on another gaming T-shirt. I'd love to wear them at work, but I'll get brandished a 'geek', by those who've finished GTA when I haven't. HA.
Anyway I spotted these 1942 T-shirts over at Meatbun, which are ace but seeing as you have to get them shipped from the USA it costs slightly over $50. Hmm, think again geek.
So I jumped on videogametees.com and noticed they're asked for people to describe or design gaming T-shirts for them. I can't design, but I've sent my suggestion. Come on people, get involved.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Hideous as this may sound, I've not picked up a game for about a month. My 360 coughs under the weight of dust and my DS lies forlorn in the drawer under my TV. I've not been a good dad. Sorry guys.
It's not that I don't want to play games. Far from it. I've just not had any time to play games. My day job at Bauer Consumer Media of running the MATCH website has kept me busy, while my bosses have given me extra responsibility with MATCH's books and specials publications, which I hasten to add I'm loving. This has meant I'm working most nights once my little man is in bed, so that's why my 360 hasn't been turned on for weeks.
But I have been keeping up with all things gaming while I've been relentlessly busy. I laughed at this Wii Fat tee, tried out the new Double Dragon arcade machine where I work (FREE CREDITS!) and remembered just how button-mashing it really was, and also checked out the E3 rumour mill.
Ah, E3. Happy memories of tired feet, hangovers, Cali girls and the jamboree that was the Nintendo press conference. I did five E3 shows while I was on Nintendo Official Magazine. In my first year Nintendo unveiled Pikmin as their big title. Other years I played the DS for the first time, sampled Mario Kart: Double Dash, F-Zero GX, Resi 4, the PSP, Animal Crossing, Pokémon after Pokémon, but my favourite of all was when they showed Twilight Princess for the first time. 2004, if memory serves me right. My colleagues and I were going apeshit. A term I don't use too often, as readers who come down my way will testify, but it was like manna from heaven seeing Link ride out and hack and slash his way across the giant screens. The place was going mental. And I mean MENTAL. When the lights came up no one could believe it.
E3 was a relentlessly busy experience and one year, 2003 I think, we stayed in the middle of the ghetto. Oh, and I got so blasted on Long Island Iced Teas one night that I woke up, over an hour late for my interview with Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima. It was a day from hell as the din of hundreds of consoles made me want to curl up and die.
But that year I got a very special treat as EA took us on from LA to San Francisco for a few more days. Lord of the Rings, Tiger Woods and more were demoed to us in EA's giant Redwood Studios monster-of-a-building.
But that's not the best games press trip ever. That was with Ubisoft to see their F1 game in Montreal. That included getting lost on skidoos in the Canadian mountains around the time Blair Witch came out. That wasn't scary at all!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Last published April 28…

… so by my reckoning that's nearly a month. Not good if you want to be seen as a blog with a talking point. Blame the trawl for a GTA, and then not enough time to put the damn thing on.
The week of launch I thought I'd just bowl down my nearest Gamestation and get it. Wrong idea, buddy. Eight shops in one lunch hour and not one of them had it. One online order with Game later and it was with me within a week, but parental commitments meant I couldn't play it for about a week. Yeah, tell me about it.
So far I've played the darts, a spot of pool, bought clothes, fired a gun, stun punched, heard Queen, tasted Hot Coffee, bowled, been barked at by Americans online about how my country's only about 'the Queen and David Beckham', admired the poor sound quality of GTA IV, taken the train, failed to master the handbrake turn and not got enough of it. Yet.
The sheer size of the beast is going to be enough to keep me coming back for months. Call of Duty 4's sitting their, having just dropped a grenade to nail me when I go to put it on next. I'll be back, soldier, I'll be back.
Elsewhere in my gaming world, The Phantom Hourglass has had a short blast and I've been scouring eBay for some gems. Quite why, I don't know. It's the complete collectivist in me, if there is such a phrase.
With the arrival of the creaky-joints-but-still-new Indy, my mind cast me back the other day to LucasArts' Fate of Atlantis game on Amiga. The ones with the password wheel. Or was that The Secret of Monkey Island 2?
I remembered fondly jetting around continents, chatting to some bloke outside a pyramid, or outside this door to a house somewhere in Spain, I think. Memories on a postcard, please…
If anyone is reading this, what do you think about GTA? And what's on your gaming list at the moment?
P.S. Blame Arrested Development for my lack of action in Liberty City.

Monday, April 21, 2008

You're fired!

If only thhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gife designer of the Okami Wii packshot was in The Apprentice. He wouldn't have lasted long. Using a piece of IGN artwork WITH THE WATERMARK STILL ON IT as the main image AND THEN LETTING IT GO TO PRESS is a disaster. Check it out over at GameLife.
Back on the blog after a few days and there's loads to tell you. I finally managed to get some hours on Call of Duty 4 single-player. I can't get past the missile silo level. In fact I can't even get in the missile silo compound. I'm getting nailed. At the entrance. Back to the drawing board on that one. Or GameFAQs. Ha.
Played one of the new record-breaking Call of Duty download maps on Friday night - the TV station one. What a map! Bloody big though…
Last night I grabbed a best-of-three on Pro Evo 6 against a mate. Despite only being about 18 months old it looks awful, when compared to the new one, though at least there's no lag when you play it online.
I've also been back on eBay hunting down some classic games. I almost bid on a SNES copy of Chrono Trigger which was going for over 100 notes. Then I came to my senses and remembered I have a baby son to provide for.
Being a gaming dad I've now got a big dilemma to overcome, and that's whether to blow money on GTA IV. I've hardly had time to play CoD4, but it's like Rockstar are tantalising me with their new ad. The guy is staring at me saying: 'You need to buy me'. Quite how I will get the time to play this, I don't know. I might wait awhile. Christ, I've even got Orange Box, Lego Star Wars and Ghost Recon 2 upstairs to nail yet. A friend of mine said: "It's one of those games you can have a blast on for ten minutes." I wish I HAD ten minutes spare when it's not taken up with work, looking after my son, catching up on good TV and reading the new awesome Empire with their ace cover.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

TV Times

For once I'm not going to rant about games. It's time to rant about that box-in-the-corner. Hello TV, nice to see you again. Reasons being? I've just seen Empire's Top 50 TV shows of all-time.
Now, I won't spoil the No.1 for you, but quite how Empire can rate the likes of ER, Family Guy, 24 and even the classic Quantum Leap below Buffy The Vampire Slayer is beyond me.
It gets some things right, and I'm heading off to my living room for some Family Guy viewing in a sec instead of the virgin viewing of Carlito's Way that I had in mind. But there are so many great programmes that didn't get a sniff – The Day Today, This Life, to name a few that have just popped into my head.
Have a guess on the No.1. You probably know what it is already. It's not Thundercats by the way.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


I haven't got much time to post today, except that I heard the giant price Rock Band is coming out at here in the UK.
But anyway, I remember shelling out £60 notes for some import stuff in years past. And that's when games were rock hard to get on import!
Last night my baby boy woke up crying every hour from 3am until 6.15, the time he normally wakes up regardless of whether the calendar says 'Saturday' or 'Sunday'. It reminded me of Baby Mario in Yoshi's Island. If you've never played this gem, please hunt down a copy now. For those of you who do, reminisce some more with GameTrailers' top ten SNES titles ever. The voiceover at the end of Yoshi's Island is hilarious.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Rebirth of a classic

As much as I'd love to say that Nintendo Official Magazine is going to return to its roots with the guys I worked with, I'd be lying. As much as myself and an old colleague would love to do it, it's just a daydream that will probably never happen.
But what I do know is that Computer and Video Games magazine, CVG for short, is returning to newsagents later this month. The first issue, dedicated to the Grand Theft Auto series, will cost a fiver and is brought to you by Future. Is Yob going to do the letters pages? Hope so.
In my land of gaming, Call of Duty 4 took a back seat last night as Lego Star Wars: The Original Trilogy got some playtime. I'm not a massive Star Wars fan, but had heard a lot about its tongue-in-cheek humour. So far I'm having a great time, slicing up Lego Stormtroopers with a lightsaber and using The Force to overcome some particularly difficult puzzles, even for a thirtysomething like me.
There are now some quality new Tees over at http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif. Check out the Hotty Tee!
Outside gaming, I've been sucked into the fantasy world of Amelia Maylock, written by an old schoolmate called Jason Ellis. Empire Magazine is still keeping me enthralled with their Indiana Jones coverage, as has this book about pop bible, Smash Hits.
Other than that, my world is taken up by my 11-month-old son, Harry. Please post any fatherhood blogs you might be know about…

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I Am 8-Bit

http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifWhile my wife comforts our teething, snotty 10-and-a-half month old, I'm taking refuge in the living room. I'm not getting away from the crying though - the baby monitor is in full voice, booming out the screaming to FULL RED OVERDRIVE. It's a horrible situation to be in.
While I sit here, I'm looking across at pictures on our walls. Framed newborn baby pics, wedding day, mates on the lash, etc. Upstairs there's some from IKEA - the usual downtown Manhattan, deserted beach scene and so forth. But what I really need to get my hands on is some I Am 8 Bit art. This stuff should be on any true gamer's den. I remembering an old colleague running a feature on this in NOM a few years back, based on their annual art exhibition. The paintings on show are classic. Let Google images show you some treats.
Snapping back out of dreamworld, Harry is still crying. Back in dreamworld and I'm sniping enemy in Call of Duty 4 and wondering whether I should pre-order GTA IV. This is the next triple-A title I should probably get for my 360. Hell, I hardly have time to play the ones I do have. But this woman makes it too enticing. I'm off to GAME to pre-order any day now and get me those Xbox Live points, or indeed some of these ace Kubricks.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Up on the roof

I love my loft. The ladder's a pain in the arse to get down at times and the hatch has this really annoying catch that never locks properly, but inside nests some classic videogames from the last 20 years or so.
Going up there the other day to fish out some dodgy photos of my baby brother for his 30th birthday party, I rooted through the dusty boxes and found some right gems, memorabilia and other such tat, including:

Super Smash Bros.
I've never been a huge fan of the franchise but I can see why fans go nuts for beating up Mario, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, etc. It finally sorts out the argument as to which Nintendo character is the greatest and I'm sure the new Brawl version is gonna rule on Wii. And this box is signed by one Shigeru Miyamoto. Pzzzack!

Perfect Dark
I remember busting my hump Easter Weekend 2000 to write the review for Rare's GoldenEye 007 follow-up (97%, for the record). I remember giving away my copy to some kid way back when, so bought this version on eBay a few years ago. I've never had the heart to play it, maybe because it brings back too many memories of that weekend.

For me, one of the greatest games ever, made when Rare could do no wrong. The Christmas level was sheer class, though I never did make it to that board-game-quiz at the end of the game.

Just three highlights of what's in my loft, but I'll be going back up there soon so will dig out some games and get pictures on here. Right now though it's Tuesday Night Club on the 360 so there's some shooting to be had on Call of Duty 4. While I'm playing that I'll be making a mental note of what retro classics I'll be buying on eBay. So far I've got:

James Bond (Game Boy)
Revenge of the Gator (Game Boy)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (360)
Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64)
Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Ages (Game Boy Color)

Oh, and here's a link to Dan's site. He's been making some good posts and his blog is eye-opening.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The new Friday…

… is Tuesday. Xbox night if you must know. Me, some mates, my brother, all on Call of Duty. Leave a message if you want to join the fun. Clips at the ready from 8.30pm (GMT).
Over the last week I've been contacted by two old friends of mine on Facebook. One works at Nintendo of Europe who I last saw at the Europeans Nintendo DS launch at a hotel in Paris, another edits Game Life over at Wired. The latter, a well-known games journalist called Chris Kohler, posted a funny TV show on YouTube. Watch it, I think you might like it.
Back on the home front, Zelda and CoD4 are taking up my playing hours. The Rise of the Machines, also known as 14-year-old Americans, blowing me to dust on COD4 is really starting to get on my tits so I've opted for more Private Matches, even if you don't get the XP to increase your level.
Zelda is everything I hoped it would be. The boomerang is quality on the DS as you draw the arc you want it to take around dungeons, while blowing on the screen extinguishes candles to unlock doors. It's clever touches like this that really make me love my DS again.
But one game you've GOT to try is N+, one of those Flash games that's been made into an Xbox Arcade title. I took apart the demo last night and it's mint, using inertia and timing to guide your ninja through trap filled rooms to a switch that unlocks an exit door. So simple, yet already one of my games of the year. I'm serious. Get those Points and get this!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hey, listen!

I've not actually picked up an Xbox controller for over a week. Not because I'm bored with it, but because of a little guy in a green suit. I bought The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for my Nintendo DS.
Now, my DS hasn't seen the light of day for a year or more. It's not one of those Lite versions, I'm still admiring the touch screen on my original DS thank you very much. Heavier (yes), buttons a little cramped (yes), earlier chance of obtaining RSI (yes), but the DS is still a dream machine.
I've seen the ads for Brain Training and Animal Crossing, but what I've been saving for is classic Nintendo, and so far I've got it in shovelfuls.
The music's there, the little jingle when doors open, the fiendish puzzles, the basic sword training from the old guy in the village. It's all here. They've added in touch screen skills, so you can now write notes on your map so you remember those forgotten clues and stab, slice and spin the stylus on the screen to watch Link perform his trademark attack. Hiiiyar!
But what do I find most intriguing of all? The fact that ever since I first picked up A Link To the Past from Dixons at Lakeside (instead of UN Squadron, I'll let you know!) I've always called my character 'Link'. Not 'Tim'. It's always Link. Always will be. More on PH as I play through…
In other developments I've asked the Facilities Manager where I work if I can get hold of the Nintendo magazine archive. It's currently sitting in some damp corner of an archiving warehouse, probably feeling unloved. I thought it would be ace to scan a few pages and add them to my blog. Cue anecdotal annotations…
I also see that Nintendo has announced the forthcoming Wii version release of Mario Kart, now with bikes. With bikes. WITH BIKES. This is Mario KART. Quite frankly, they'll never match the original in my opinion. But by god I need a Wii for this. A mate of mine at work says it's mint.

Hey, listen!

I've not actually picked up an Xbox controller for over a week. Not because I'm bored with it, but because of a little guy in a green suit. I bought The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for my Nintendo DS.
Now, my DS hasn't seen the light of day for a year or more. It's not one of those Lite versions, I'm still admiring the touch screen on my original DS thank you very much. Heavier (yes), buttons a little cramped (yes), earlier chance of obtaining RSI (yes), but the DS is still a dream machine.
I've seen the ads for Brain Training and Animal Crossing, but what I've been saving for is classic Nintendo, and so far I've got it in shovelfuls.
The music's there, the little jingle when doors open, the fiendish puzzles, the basic sword training from the old guy in the village. It's all here. They've added in touch screen skills, so you can now write notes on your map so you remember those forgotten clues and stab, slice and spin the stylus on the screen to watch Link perform his trademark attack. Hiiiyar!
But what do I find most intriguing of all? The face that ever since I first picked up A Link To the Past from Dixons at Lakeside (instead of UN Squadron, I'll let you know!) I've always called my character 'Link'. Not 'Tim'. It's always Link. Always will be. More on PH as I play through…
In other developments I've asked the Facilities Manager where I work if I can get hold of the Nintendo magazine archive. It's currently sitting in some damp corner of an archiving warehouse, probably feeling unloved. I thought it would be ace to scan a few pages and add them to my blog.

http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifHey, listen!

I've not actually picked up an Xbox controller for over a week. Not because I'm bored with it, but because of a little guy in a green suit. I bought The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for my Nintendo DS.
Now, my DS hasn't seen the light of day for a year or more. It's not one of those Lite versions, I'm still admiring the touch screen on my original DS thank you very much. Heavier (yes), buttons a little cramped (yes), earlier chance of obtaining RSI (yes), but the DS is still a dream machine.
I've seen the ads for Brain Training and Animal Crossing, but what I've been saving for is classic Nintendo, and so far I've got it in shovelfuls.
The music's there, the little jingle when doors open, the fiendish puzzles, the basic sword training from the old guy in the village. It's all here. They've added in touch screen skills, so you can now write notes on your map so you remember those forgotten clues and stab, slice and spin the stylus on the screen to watch Link perform his trademark attack. Hiiiyar!
But what do I find most intriguing of all? The face that ever since I first picked up A Link To the Past from Dixons at Lakeside (instead of UN Squadron, I'll let you know!) I've always called my character 'Link'. Not 'Tim'. It's always Link. Always will be. More on PH as I play through…
In other developments I've asked the Facilities Manager where I work if I can get hold of the Nintendo magazine archive. It's currently sitting in some damp corner of an archiving warehouse, probably feeling unloved. I thought it would be ace to scan a few pages and add them to my blog.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A.Friend Is Online

My wife calls me a games geek when I have ONE NIGHT A WEEK online with my mates. Tuesday's at 8.30pm if you want to know, usually on Call of Duty 4. If you wanna join in make Tiny1976 your friend on Xbox Live.
Anyway, the week before last there were four of us fragging each other from the rain-soaked ship to that tiny container-infested multiplayer map. It was true carnage.
Last week my gaming buddies couldn't come on, but a mate of mine at work (work, incidently, is Bauer Consumer Media, formerly known as Emap) wanted a game after I barraged him with positive comments about Call of Duty for about three months. He now loves it, and wants to join the party.
Then my bro played CoD4 at the weekend and has got a second-hand one from a mate of his. That's someone else added to the list, followed by someone else I know who will get an Xbox when 'Grand Theft Auto comes out'.
And that's the power I have. Sure I won't convert thousands of people to Xbox, but my good messages about the system have got tons of people I know signing up to the 360. Emails bulging your in-box, TV ads, virals, you name it, but sometimes just word on the street can make a big difference. Hoorar!

Elsewhere in my everyday world, I grabbed a copy of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for cheap on Amazon, so I'm back on the DS for the first time since Trauma Center. And Dan over at Disposable Media sent me the latest issue of Disposable Media. Be sure to get a copy. He asked me to pass it onto friends and family…

Friday, February 01, 2008

Robotron 2?

Last night I lost track of the time playing Call of Duty 4. I'm knackered today, but I feel relieved that I unlocked some new guns and cammo. The bug has bitten me again.
Before I sunk into a world of guns 'n' ammo I actually managed to download Undertow and Sensible Soccer trial games off XBLA. Anyone who reads this blog may remember my delight at the arrival of Sensi. The trial game pitted my Albania side against Switzerland and I lost 2-1, yet the free-flowing game of the 90s was great to enjoy again.
I spent about five minutes on Undertow and I'll probably return to it this weekend. Put simply it seems like a Robotron underwater as you blast enemies and grab power-ups, using both sticks to aim and fire. A difficult thing to get my head around, but once mastered I'm sure it'll be a joy.
Elsewhere I noticed that Wii Mario Kart is going cheap at Play.com on preorder and I also splashed out on a POW T-shirt from videogametess.com. While I was hoping for a sweet Chunk-style piece of thread, it was the usual T-shirt press print, but it made me feel like a king playing CoD4 last night.
So what will I be enjoying this weekend? Swimming with my son, a night on the tiles (the first one with my wife since our son was born last May - thank you in-laws!) and a book sale on Sunday for the missus. See you online!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New balls please

Taking a look over at my Favourite New Website, DS Fanboy, today I noticed the guys over there have a few new screenshots of Sega Superstars Tennis.
Tennis games aren't new. I mean, can ANYONE beat the likes of Super Tennis on the SNES or Virtua Tennis? Back in my time on Nintendo Magazine Mario Tennis rolled up onto the N64. At the time it was awesome, but looking back on it I don't think it was quite the classic everyone was talking about. What I DO remember is that we got told to shut up by a journo on a bike magazine we used to work next to as we were screaming like girls as Yoshi hammered a baseline winner down the line.
What was wrong with Mario Tennis wasn't the actual mechanics of being a tennis game. That it was very good at. What wrecked it was the usual Nintendo take on things - power shots you could only pull off using button combos, weapons fuzzing about the place and even a court suspended a lava pit that tilted as you ran across the baseline. Not good.
But this Sega Superstars Tennis preview got me thinking. By the looks of the screenshots there will be the usual crazy power-up shots, but what about the characters? Of course there's Sonic, Tails and that skater dude from forgotten Dreamcast classic, Jet Set Radio.
But that got me thinking. Why don't they include some classic Sega characters that aren't the usual frontline stars? What about the headbutting green Gimli from Golden Axe smacking a smash into the corner or one of those Super Hang On motorbike dudes - you could be your own Stig from Top Gear! What else? What about Billy Hatcher rolling around on his Giant Egg? You have gotta hand it to Sega though at least they've included Aiai from Super Monkey Ball. One of the most criminally forgotten titles on GameCube. Maybe of all-time.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Annoyed of Peterborough

I'm fed up. I move my 360 upstairs into the back bedroom and my Airport and router can't read it with a borrowed Microsoft Xbox Wireless Adapter. It did first time but playing CoD4 was like wading through setting concrete.
Half an hour of trying to get CoD4 to find a m/p room and I was ready to kill. Apparently a wireless router will sort all that out but I have no idea how to access my ancient BT router for the passwords to fix up a wireless router. We'll see how it goes. In the mean time, there's no Xbox Live and I'm bored.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ranting Round-Up

The 360 is back up and running, Call of Duty 4 has had a good workout tonight, and now it's the turn of the blog.
So, what have I been doing of late, here's the run down:

1. Finding my way around del.icio.us
I'm sick of having one enormous list of bookmarks. The Mac bookmark bar is handy, but limited, so I've turned to del.icio.us to store them in one place. I'll be able to access this while not at work (where I do most of my bookmarking) and will hopefully be able to start linking other games blogs to mine. Let's see if we can get a few people reading this rubbish.

2. Online gold
Well, I've found Xbox Fanboy and Wii Fanboy, so top writing that will give me the lowdown on the latest in 360 and Nintendoland.
Videogamesplus.ca nearly got a purchase out of me until an old Nintendo Official Magazine colleague of mine said I could borrow Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.
CD Wow also nearly got a purchase out of me for NEW Super Mario Bros. I'm starting to feel the warm glow of Nintendo once again!
So too did eBay for some Xbox classics. Not 360, but some of the earlier titles that are going for peanuts. I think I'm gonna try my hand to Prince of Persia. I loved the original on my Amstrad (which you can now download from Xbox Arcade) and I've heard it's the tits so I think I'm gonna be grabbing that soon.

3. Missing classic TV
I love ER. Always have. I didn't know the new series had started on Channel 4 and I was too late for Channel 4 +1. Channel 4 OD doesn't work on Macs. Disaster. Why the hell don't video players not work on Macs? I mean, COME ON! You bang on about it on your website and on TV, yet it doesn't work on Macs. I despair. I don't have time to read a TV guide. Why doesn't someone send me news alerts to my mobile or desktop for my favourite TV show? Does anyone, for free? Or better yet allow me to spin back just 40 minutes on my Freeview box to start recording from the start of the show.

4. Blitzing LoveFilm
I've ordered the classics - Godfather, Chariots of Fire. I've got recent gems for the missus - Becoming Jane and comedy for me - 40-Year-Old Virgin, Evan Almighty and Family Guy Blue Harvest on order. It's £12 a month. If I went down to Blockbuster I'd have spent that on about three DVDs, and would have had to return them within two days. Now I can order online, they arrive, I can keep them for as long as I want and send them back for free. It's in Peterborough too. This place is good for something!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Power to the Pikmin

Nintendogs, quite rightly, was one of the cutest games to grace the Big N's consoles in recent years. But they're dogs, and puppy versions of dogs. Of course it's going to be cute and get females into gaming, if they hadn't already been succumbed by the likes of Yoshi, Baby Mario, etc.
But before the dogs, GameCube created some classic cuties, unfortunately now forgotten. One was called Pikmin, created by the genius of Mr Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, and saw alien dudes with flowers coming out of their heads helping a stranded astronaut called Captain Olimar - almost an anagram of Mario, but not quite. Using their different colours (some couldn't swim, other burnt to a horrible death in contact with fire) they were your army trying to find the pieces of Olimar's ship and send him packing.
And now they're the new stars in the latest edition of Super Smash Bros - Dojo - on Wii.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Power of Wii (2)

Read today over at MCV that Wii Fit has sold over one million copies over in Japan. Once again we're seeing the power of Nintendo at work.
The game, which features a ton of exercises you can do standing on a 'balance board' just goes to show that like Wii Sports, Wii Play and Brain Training on Nintendo DS the Big N are opening up gaming to a whole new audience. It also shows that gaming isn't necessarily all about sitting on your backside with a headset on. We can get fit people, if only we could find a Wii in the first place…
Elsewhere rumours are flying around that the Nintendo 64 classic GoldenEye 007 could be heading to Xbox Live sometime soon. The GameLife blog at Wired certainly hopes it's going to happen, and they have reason to suspect that other Rare classics like Banjo-Kazooie (once mentioned in the same breath as Super Mario 64) and Perfect Dark (once mentioned in the same breath as GoldenEye) could also be heading to Xbox. Mr Gates, you'll make my year if this happens.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Big Mac Attack

Ronald McDonald's crazy clown grin has turned into a frown. That's because Steve Easterbrook, chief executive of McDonald's UK, reckons the obesity problem among the nation's youth is down to a variety of things, especially gaming.
In an interview on The Times website, Easterbrook said: "I don’t know who is to blame. The issue of obesity is complex and is absolutely one our society is facing, there’s no denial about that, but if you break it down I think there’s an education piece: how can we better communicate to individuals the importance of a balanced diet and taking care of themselves? Then there’s a lifestyle element: there’s fewer green spaces and kids are sat home playing computer games on the TV when in the past they’d have been burning off energy outside."
It's interesting comment and as I've said before on this blog gaming should be part of an active lifestyle, for all ages. Just as we should all have balanced diets and not grubbing up on chips, pizza and beer all the time.
Parents shouldn't use consoles as the easy option to keep kids amused, but at the same time why not let them enjoy some time each week to enjoy their Wii, Xbox, DS or PlayStation? As long as they are active in the swimming pool, on the football pitch or simply playing in the garden, and that it doesn't affect their education, then I don't see a problem with it.
The irony is that McDonald's have games on their website.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The power of Wii

First of all, Happy New Year to anyone who reads this. I'll be making a bit more of an effort to use Del.icio.us and start linking to a few gaming blogs to see how far this blogging puppy can run.
So what's been happening? Well, I bought a new TV over the Christmas sales so my old telly, which is a bitch to haul up the stairs, is now sitting in my gaming den that my missus has allowed me to create in one corner of a spare room. I just need to rig it up online and off we go again with Call of Duty 4, which incidentally performed very well in the top ten best Xbox lives games of 2007.
Over the weekend I had a small reunion with my best mates from uni and their wife/husband/kid. After a red wine-fuelled evening Sunday morning was a little subdued until my best mate pulled out his Nintendo Wii. Nothing strange there you might ask, but two things came out of it. Read on.
Firstly, it was a joint present for his wife and him for Christmas. Read that again. 'For his wife and him'. Gone are the days of hardcore gamers in their bedroom - I even had a conversation with her about Mario Galaxy. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Put simply, Nintendo has done their job and it was great to chat to someone who is as passionate about Mario as I have been over the last 17 years or more.
Secondly, out came Wii Bowling. Up stepped my 58-year-old father-in-law. He's never been into gaming, but he was a dab hand at the bowling alley and you could tell he was intrigued. Nintendo has touched someone who's nearly 60, and a female. It's opened up gaming to those who never thought they would have a go. That, my friends, is the power of Wii.