The Last Few Weeks

Things have been a little busy for me the last few weeks. The amount of work I now have to do at University (third year :S) plus a distinct lack of cash has left me rather run down and although I have been gaming I just haven't been in the mood to write about games (outside of uni work).

However I thought I would now let you know what games I have been playing over the last few weeks just to show that I am not dead.

Xbox 360

My Xbox Live connection has been a little iffy the last few weeks to so my online gaming has been limited but I have managed to put in some hours on the new Call of Duty and I love it! The campaign is everything a FPS campaign needs to be and the online is phenomenal. Add to that the special ops missions and I'm surprised I'm not playing it now!

Geometry Wars 2 has been played quite a bit by me and the GF. I hate to admit it but I think in many game modes she is better than me, she just needs to relax more whilst playing.

Bomberman Live is another of my GF's favourites and she is definitely a better player than me at Bomberman. I do however have my moments and do beat her occasionally.


I have been playing a little Street Fighter II and some Gradius III on the ol' PS2 still getting my ass handed to me by Gradius on the bubble level.


Eve online is still getting played most nights taking up most of my PC gaming time but i have also managed to play some Space Empires V too. a nice slow alternative to all the shooty mayhem in my other games.


I got my first 1CC two weeks ago on DeathSmiles Black Label. I was well chuffed :P
I have also been playing DoDonPachi Daifukkatsu and the recently installed Dogyun.

Other Stuff

At Uni we have set up a gaming society so hopefully we can get a good social scene going. There are some good people doing the Games Studies course and as you can imagine it can be pretty competitive.

Well that is about it for now. I really hope normal service will resume soon. I do enjoy blogging and hope some of my posts bing a little brightness into folks lives :P


Modern Warfare 2

Just a quick post (I have been neglecting this blog a little but normal service will resume shortly)

I received a copy of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 last night and soon as I got home I started playing it. I don't have Xbox Live at the moment so i was straight into the single player campaign and from the very first mission it didn't fail to impress.....

However there has been allot of publicity about the third level of the campaign. where you take part in the brutal slaughter of civilians. I just thought I would share my thoughts on this.

Personally I must admit that this level did leave me disturbed and was decidedly unpleasant to play, however I think it is an important part of the game and I am glad I played it, it is part of the whole story and I think that it is done in such a way as to not be gratuitous in any way. I think it is a good thing for a video game to disturb you a little especially one which contains so much violence and is set in a world not a million miles away from the one we live in now. A game about war should make you stop and think about your actions in the same way a modern war film should make you question war.

That's my thoughts on the subject


This week I have been mostly playing... (5)

It's been a funny old week. I've been gtting back into Uni and had to put up with had internet problems at our new home. All in all gaming has been on a bit of a back burner lately but i have still had time to break out the joypad a few times.

Halo 3: ODST
Xbox 360

Got this cheap the other day. I was both impressed and disappointed by this title in equal measure. The campaign was fun with some great battles but it had a few inconsistencies compared to other Halo titles and the campaign was a little short. I haven't had a chance to play the online portion of the game yet but i am looking forward to it.

Geometry Wars 2
Xbox Live

Downloaded this one on a bit of a whim. both me and my girlfriend love it and have got quite competitive over it. I would recommend this game to anyone who is looking for a nice simple arena shooter with snazzy visuals.

Lego Indiana Jones
Xbox 360

I bought this for my girlfriend earlier in the year as she really enjoyed the lego star wars game she had. She never got around to playing it until now and we have been having great fun working out way through the game. It's good wholesome family entertainment after all.


This week I have been mostly playing... (4)

Its been a hectic week what with moving house and starting my final year at University so understandably my gaming time has been at a bit of a minimum. Never the less I have found time to play a couple of games.

Ring of Red
PS 2

I mentioned this title in the top 5 Mecha games post and have been playing it quite a bit since we moved back to London. It's a nice turn based strategy game with simple real time combat controls.
As a side note, this year I have a final year project I have to complete for University. For some reason I am drawn to this game as a possible source of material. watch this space...

Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu

Recently installed in my local arcade. this shmup is slowly beginning to grow on me. Typically for a game by Cave the amounts of enemy firepower on screen are ridiculous but seems fairly well matched by the amount of firepower your tiny craft seems to have. The amount of satisfaction you feel after building up your power bar and letting rip with a hyper attack is fantastic. Anyone visiting London in the near future should try and get a visit to Casino Arcade if just play this game.


Cave looking to go global

The Japanese bullet hell game producing company Cave have announced that they are looking to release more of their back catalogue as well as new games in the west.

In an interview with Kotaku, Caves general manager Makato Asada stated he was looking into using services such as Xbox Live and Valves Steam as possible distribution methods.

To shmup fans in the west this is big news. Up until now Cave games and other modern shmups distribution was almost non existent in the west. Quite often if you wanted to play these titles it meant importing the Japanese hardware it ran on but with the imminent release of Caves Mushihime-sama Futari as a region free title on Xbox 360 later his year it looks like things could be about to change. Although players will probaby still have to import the game from Japan it will run on a Xbox 360 from any region.

Again in an another article on Kotaku, Makato Asada explains:

"We had a lot of good feedback from overseas users So for this time, as a test, we're going to make the game region free so that overseas users can play it."

Lets hope that this all goes well for Cave and we see more bullet hell titles here in the west


A Visit to Casino Arcade and the Trocadero

This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting up with some friends at the notorious Casino Arcade on Londons Tottenham Court Road. Recently some new shmups had been installed that we all wanted to play.

Now shmups (or shoot-em-ups) is a genre that has had it's day. At one time names like Raiden, R-Type and Gradius were as well known as the 2D fighting games Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and King of Fighters. How times have changed.

During the 16-bit era, shmups were as common as first person shooters are today and it was these very games that truly pushed the capabilities of home systems but the advent of 3D saw the trusty shmup fall out of favour with all but a hardcore following in the west. However all was not lost as in Japan a number of companies continued to produce shooters as each new generation of consoles came and went. It was games by one of these companies; Cave, that I had gone to Casino Arcade to play. The legendary Dodonpachi Daifukkatsu and Death Smiles. Myself and my friends had a great few hours playing these games and we even met a few new fans of the genre so a successful day was had by all. Near the end of the day the few of us that were left wandered into the Trocadero to watch one of our number complete the lightgun game Ghost Squad on its highest difficulty (just because he can!). I also managed a couple of sneaky credits of Ferrari F355 Challenge and an old irem shmup i can never remember the name of.

I love arcades, the few true arcades that are left should be treasured by all, for it was in this environment that the hobby we love was born. To truly experience the social aspect of gaming never mind Xbox Live or the PSN it is in the few remaining arcades that have weekly fighter competitions or where the few shmup fans left gather to play the latest Cave games or where can be found men in their forties still attempting to beat high scores that have eluded them for 25 years.

Here is a Link to the videos made of SMRAEDIS's Almost perfect run of Ghost Squad filmed by Chi.

This week I have been mostly playing...(3)

Eve Online

This MMO is still absorbing large chunks of my life. My corporation is moving systems at the moment so most of what is going on is of a logistical nature but I still find myself utterly fascinated by this carefully crafted money sink. (As I am playing this most weeks now this wil probably be the last time it appears in my This week thread as I'm sure it will get boring).

Forza III Demo
Xbox 360

I couldn't wait to try the demo for Forza III as I am a great fan of its predecessor. I wasn't disappointed, beautiful graphics and a sublime physics engine make this a must buy purchase for me when it arrives later this year.

Megadrive (Gens+)

I'm Still playing this beauty of a shmup and for some reason I prefer the Megadrive version over the original arcade. It just seems slightly more forgiving than the arcade version and this is important if you are a shmup newb like myself.


MCT's Top 5 Mecha Games

What could be more fun than driving around in a giant robot killing everything in sight? That right very little. So it makes me quite sad that as a whole the Mecha genre has never held the position I feel it deserves here in the west. Despite this I have decided to list my favourite Mech games. They are listed in the dates that they were released (this is also roughly in the order that I played them too) not in a best to worst kind of way as I honestly couldn't pick a favourite out of these five. I hope this inspires some of you to try these games out if you haven't already.

MechWarrior 3
PC 1999
Microprose really came up with the goods on this game. Set during the Clan wars you play as a Lance commander stuck behind enemy lines with limited support. Despite this, you and your Lance are still expected to complete your objectives as well as some other unit that failed to survive the orbital drop. This is a fantastic game. Of all the Mechwarrior games I have played, the basics of MechWarrior 3 are the closest in execution to the boardgame (Battletech) that the MechWarrior series is based on. The mission design is good and varied and the Mech customisation options are extensive if a little to literal to the boardgame rules.

Ring of Red
PS 2 2001 (Eu)
Part turn based strategy, part real time strategy. The gameplay of this game is unlike any other I have played. Set in an alternate history in the 1960's, the Mechs in this game are more like walking WWII tanks than the supersonic transforming Mecha usually found in Japanese games and this makes them all the more lovable. If you can find this gem I truly recommend picking it up. A fun interesting and unique game.

MechWarrior IV Mercenaries
PC 2002
Putting you in full control of not just one but two mercenary Mech Lances during the Fedcom Civil War, this game (the last in the series as it stands) was brilliant. Not needing quite as much familiarity with the source material as other games in the series it made for a very accessible and absorbing game play without getting bogged down in the nitty gritty of building your Mechs. Every PC gamer should have this one.

Xbox360 2006
I bought this game for £8 in a bargain bin a couple of years ago and it was one of my best bargain bin finds ever. Created by From software; the Japanese company responsible for the Armored Core series. For their first next gen title they decided to try something a little different. instead of the superfast flying Mecha found in the AC series we instead get slightly futuristic walking Mecha tanks. Vast customisation options, atmospheric battles and a fantastic persistant online campaign. made this one of the hidden gems on the Xbox360.

Armored Core For Answer
Xbox 360 2008
Imagine the kind of scene common in Mecha Anime, giant robots flying around at high speed fighting even bigger robots in apocalyptic battles with laser and tracer fire lighting up the sky as explosions rock the ground and buildings crumble. Now imagine the perfect videogame recreation of this scenario. Got it? You have just imagined Armored Core For Answer. This game is worth it just for the Spirit of Motherwill battle alone. Good Stuff!


This week I have been mostly playing...(2)

Pokemon Pearl Version
Nintendo DS
Gotta catch em all gotta.... you get the idea. I picked this up earlier in the week after a trip to Gloucester and its perfect for filling in the occasional idle moment. Its light roleplaying elements and simple battle system keep you coming back for more. However I would say that the touch screen elements are a little half arsed. Maybe this was fixed in the diamond edition.

Forza Motorsport 2
Xbox 360
With all the buzz around at the moment about Forza 3s immanent arrival. I decided to polish up my driving skills ready for the new game. It reminded me that Forza 3 has hell of a reputation to live up to. Still my favourite Racing simulation of all time.

Arcade (Mame) and Sega Megadrive (Gens+)
A classic shooter form the now defunct Toaplan. Devilishly difficult but highly addictive. This game and its sequel are well worth checking out if you are into your 2D shooters. It has a cool electro soundtrack too! I have become so impressed with this game that I'm going to try and pick up the original game for my trusty old Megadrive.

Commodore 64 (WinVICE)
After some discussion on a forum I frequent about the Amiga version of this game, I decided to revisit this old classic on the older C64. Back in the day myself and my friend Olly used to spend hours playing this game and to be honest I think it has aged rather well for a Commodore 64 shooter.


A Succesful Haul in Gloucester

I had a brief trip into Gloucester city centre today and treated myself to a few tasty videogame purchases. Gloucester is a great place to visit as there are plenty places to pick up cheap videogames if you don't mind hunting around (I find that half the fun).

First Stop was R-Games, a dedicated Retro games store on Westgate street. They have loads of old 8-bit and 16-bit console games as well as the consoles for sale all at a reasonable price as well as the newer stuff. It is retro freak heaven!
anyway I came away with Pokemn Pearl Edition for the DS and the 2D shooter Gunbird (by Psikyo) for PS2.

I then had a mooch around the second hand shops on Northgate street, One of them had a special offer on their PS2 games (£1.50 each!) so I had to pick up a couple at least. I came away with copies of the classic 2D fighting game Guilty Gear X and a fantastic find of (Strikers) 1945 I & II!

All that and I still got change out of £15!


My Wishlist of Gaming Hardware

We all have a wish list of hardware we would love to own, whether the latest console or some other piece of kit. I thought I would write down five pieces of gear I wish I owned.

1) Commodore CBM 1541 Disk Drive

Despite owning several C64's over the years have never been the owner of a disk drive. All my Commodore memories are based around the trusty old datasette. As I now own two C64's (one with a 6581 and one with an 8580 SID chip if you care) I think a disk drive would be a useful device to have. For one thing it would be allot more reliable at saving games than the datasette ever was!

2) Super Nintendo Console

At this point in my life myself (and most of my friends) were Sega Megadrive fanatics so the though of owning a SNES back then was unthinkable. All these years later however and there are several good reasons I want to own one. R-Type III and Gradius III to be exact.

3) Sega Saturn Console

When Sony was going all 3D with the PS1 Sega and the Saturn were showing that 2D wasn't dead yet. With classic shooters like Radiant Silvergun and Dodonapachi available this machine is a shmup fans dream.

4) Sega Mega CD

A cool little add-on for the Megadrive with some cool games too, Sonic CD, Ecco the Dolphin, Snatcher and many other great titles. (can you just imagine what the back of my TV is going to look like if I do own all these extra consoles?).

5) Candy Cabinet

If I ever do get one of these I'm sure it won't be for many years but what gamer wouldn't want a beautiful looking candy cab in his or her living room?

Does anyone else have a hardware wishlist?

A Quick Link From Another Blog

I found an interesting article just now about classic gaming and its relevance in todays gaming world.

Hope you enjoy


original article found on SideQuesting


Sega Dreamcast, happy (belated) birthday

The beloved Sega Dreamcast was released in North America just over 10 years ago and although us Europeans had to wait a little longer to get our hands on this brilliant piece of gaming hardware it still seems that 09/09 (the North American Release date) is as good a date for an anniversary.

I personally never owned a Dreamcast during its short but eventful life as I was firmly in the Playstation camp at this point wating for the PS2 to arrive with baited breath. However I did pick up a Dreamcast two years ago and despite only owning a small collection of games I fell love this machine.

So here are some of the games I own and rate for the venerable Dreamcast:

Chu Chu Rocket

A simple but extremely deep puzzler. Help your mice get to their rocket ships by avoiding various obstacles and the dreaded cats. despite having been stuck on the same level for over a year now I still come back to this fantastic game.

Soul Calibur

The first fighting game I ever really enjoyed. I never owned a SNES so I also never really got Street Fighter II fever. but Soul Calibur just seemed so easy to get into. Despite its easy learing curve, the more you played the deeper the gameplay became and you soon found yourself stringing together combos that were not only devastatingly effective but also visually very beautiful. Still one of my favourite fighting games.

Triggerheart Excelica

I first played this on Xbox Live and loved it so much i just had to get my hands on the Dreamcast version. It was the game that got me back into shooters after a very long (since my old C64 and Amiga days) hiatus. The visual style and characterisation of this Japanese shmup is just wonderful. Add in the anchor mechanic and you have a manic shooter with a novel twist. I prefer the Dreamcast version over the Xbox live version although I'm not sure why.

Giga Wing

Another manic shooter from Japan, this one is about as OTT as they come though. It is very easy to become disorientated while playing this game as the amount of bullets on screen is overwhelming but the feeling of accomplishment upon completing a level that has denied you for so long or in beating your high score is a rare thing in modern videogames. can be found fairly cheep too.

So this is the handful of games that get repeated play in my Dreamcast, I know there are allot more quality titles that I want to pick up and I'm sure I will at a later date (I'm looking at you Mars Matrix and Border down!)

Happy birhtday Dreamcast, see you in another 10 years!


This week I have been mostly playing...

Sonic the Hedgehog
Sega Megadrive (gens+ emulator)

Decided to give this old classic a quick spin today. Needless to say within moments I had the joypad snatched out of my hands by a squealing girlfriend reliving her childhood (turned out she preferred Sonic 2 and I soon had the pad back!) All these years later the purity of the level design and overall charm of the game still shine through.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Xbox 360

Still loving CoD4 and I am finally getting to grips with the sniper rifles.

Gradius Galaxies
Gameboy Advance

Been without the DS for a few days so I have been back to playing this on my GBA. Still finding it very hard, although not as hard as Gradius III.

Colin McRae Dirt 2 (Demo)
Xbox 360

I downloaded the demo for this game from Xbox live and have been well impressed. I have an ever growing list of games I want to pick up when my student loan comes, this one may well be at the top.

Eve Online

Still loosing countless hours to this MMO. Damn you Eve!!!


Review: Sega Saturn USB gamepad

A quick review of my goto retro controller.

I bought this off eBay a while ago now, there was allot of buzz about them on one of the forums I visit (shmups.com) so decided to take the plunge.

Now I'm not here to say whether these are original Sega pads with a USB cable stuck on or whether some enterprising factory owner in China has decided to make a copy old the Saturn pad. What I am going to say is this:

This game pad is fantastic! I use it with all my emulators from MAME to WinVICE , Both the Pad itself and the buttons have a wonderful feel and it is beautifully responsive. It works perfectly with Joy2key too.

I would recommend this pad to anyone looking for a good USB gamepad.

Just search ebay for: Sega Saturn USB there should be loads for sale

Currently Playing:

Nintendo DS:
Advance Wars: Dual Strike
Gradius Galaxies (GBA)

Eve online

Gradius III (MAME)
Zerowing (gens+)
R-Type III (zsnes)

Xbox 360:
Nothing, RROD (again)!


Blazblue gets PAL release

from eurogamer.net

The highly acclaimed 2D fighter Blazblue is set to land on European shores in 2010. For those of you to impatent to wait there is always the Casino Arcade on Tottenham Court Road which has a beautiful HD cab all set up for you in the basement.

Now lets all just hope we get PAL releases of some nice 2D shooters like Deathsmiles, Raiden IV and Mushimisama



This week I found out you can legally download the games of the MechCommander series legally from mechcommander.org

For those who don't now, MechCommander was a series of RTS games set in the Battletech universe. Well worth a look for any fan of the genre and even more so for those who loved the Mechwarrior series of sims as there are plenty of familiar Mechs to play with.

Available for download are:
MechCommander Gold
MechCommander 2

and there are also lots of other groovy add ons and mods available so go check it out


Games being released on the 360 this year that I am excited about

Snappy title eh?

Well I was glancing through the release schedule for this year and noticed there were one or two games I was looking forward to. So I thought I would share them being the nice chap I am.

Battlefield 1943

A familiar franchise to all. The Battlefield series revolutionised the multiplayer experience. This one pomises to do the same for Xbox Live (as long as they don't take the piss with DLC)

Forza Motorsport 3

Forza 2 is still THE best racing game on the market today, Forza 3 can only improve on this.

Modern Warfare 2

It took me a while to succumb to the hype around CoD MW. but when I did finally get it I was hooked. I'm sure activision could charge £70 for it and it would still be the biggest selling game at the back end of this year.


Who ya gonna call? Sony for fucking up the release schedule for this game. This is a must buy and one of the most anticipated games ever on the 360. I can not wait.

Honerable mentions (in other words I may rent these suckers)
Halo ODST.
Bioshock 2.
IL-2 Stermovik:Birds of Prey
King of Fighters XII


Current Events

Well I am back in Gloucestershire after moving out of our house in London. It is nice being back in the country but i will be without Xbox live for the next 3-4 months ARGH!!!

However I have decided no to let this interrupt my gaming adventures so I thought I would let you know what I am currently playing.


One of the best known Danmaku shooters to emerge from Japan. I currently have an old 19" CRT monitor on its side and the game looks great on it. Bloody hard but amazing fun! I also bought myself a Sega Saturn USB pad from China. It works great and has really allowed my to take advantage of MAME and the other emulators I have.

Retrograde [C64]
Still one of my favorite games of all time. An apex productions classic.

Silent Hunter III [PC]
Still in my opinion the best sub sim ever. I downloaded the fan made expansion pack GWX made by Grey Wolves (avalable from subsim.com for a small donation) and this really adds to the historical accurancy and imersion. Well worth a small donation.

Zero Wing [Mega Drive]
Not one of Toaplans better shooters but still an enjoyable game. I just love the music too.
"All your base are blong to us!"

Street Fighter IV [X360]
Still practicing with this one.


Xbox Live Retro Bonanza!

Waiting for me this morning on XBLive were two tasty little demos. Space Invaders Extreme and Arkanoid Live.

For a Retrohead like myself this is a wonderful thing to wake up to on a Wednesday morning when I should be doing coursework. I suppose I could write a review of one of them and use it for my games journalism portfolio.

Everyone knows Space Invaders so I wont really bore anyone to death with an explination, However I would recommend everyone with an Xbox live acount to try out Space Invaders Extreme. The way the designers have tinkered with the basic formula of Space Invaders to produce something similar but also bang up to date is fantastic. It is similar in concept to Pacman CE and that was fantastic! Add to that the extra visuals by none other than epileptic fit inducing game designer Jeff Minter and you have a wonderful Xbox Live game.

Now Arkanoid is another of those earlyclassic arcade games, based on Breakout, it added power ups and a fantasic variety of levels to this simple concept of a game. It may not be as famous as Space invaders or Pacman but it's still a game worthy of a tinker under the hood for a 2009 remix.
However the execution of the update doesnt seem to have been done as well as that of Space Invaders Extreme. Instead of the fantastic psycadelic visuals one expects from such an update (helped in no small part by the success of Geometry Wars), we seem instead to have been given a mid 90's PC version of Arkanoid. I doubt this game will be heading onto my "Things to buy when I get some MS points" list despite my love for the original.

Both games add the almost standard Xbox Live play.


This is what is wrong with the gaming world!

via siliconera:


No wonder I feel like a gaming dinosaur!

p.s. I know its been a while since my last post but this was due to my forced absence from my usual gaming machines over Easter. I will endeavour to make it up to all my loyal fans :P


Payday wish list

Games I want when I get some money at the end of April.

1) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xb360)
2) Bioshock (Xb360)
3) Street Figher IV (Xb360)
4) Space Empires V (PC)
5) Salamander (C64)
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