Friday, 14 February 2014

When is enough, enough? [Editorial]

I sat back on the bed in the spare room staring at the piles of games and consoles I had amassed over the prior year and contemplated 'When are you going to play these?'

With that singular question burning a hole through my brain for a few days I had come to the conclusion that I would NEVER have time to enjoy these lovely old games. I had never set out to collect quite as many of these things as I had managed to obtain - another thought came into my mind at this point - 'What if someone is missing out on something they truly love because I have got there first?'

Now retro collecting is a strange beast because as time goes by you'll find yourself owning things you never originally had set out to acquire. I'm not saying that allowing your interests in the retro-scene to expand is wrong, but at some point I had lost the reason I collected. I was a Sega kid back in the day, I had owned pretty much every system the company [at times] had crapped out, I was completely within the Sega 'reality distortion field' - Sega was the best - 'I only want Sega'. So what had happened over these passing years? Well firstly Sega stopped being the best, Systems like the N64 and Sony Playstation started to corner the next gen markets - and fairly so as they, in the UK at least, had the better products. The Saturn never was going to work as the 32X had geared us all up for more failure - now as an adult I know the Saturn was home to some amazing titles but the idea of importing from japan at that age is ridiculous, as a customer you shouldn't have to go out of your way for great product - it should be offered to you!

Time ticked on and console generations passed, and so the price of the obsolete hardware dropped massively.

So now as an adult I have had the opportunity to discover the systems I passed up, and the thing I have only just come to terms with is that nearly none of it has the same emotional connection to me as my previously owned systems. Why was I spending hard earned money on things I really had no connection to?

Out of all the systems I have picked up, I find that only a couple of new/old ones have found a place in my heart - primarily due to the incredible scenes that still exist for them. The C64 was never an option as a child but as an adult I enjoy the various scene releases and hardware improvements that 30 years of development have brought and now I cant imagine not having one. The same cant be said for the dozens of other systems I have amassed - but for someone out there they have great meaning or interest...

So I decided to set them free.

So whats the morale of this bizarre ramble? I guess I'm trying to say chase what you love not what you think you may love, Should you end up with something that genuinely doesn't interest you - for Odin's sake sell it on, because someone out there will love it.

My collection has now been reduced to less than 50% of its original size, but the remaining items I doubt I could ever part with. All killer, no filler.


BTW the lovely chap who allows me to ramble here has ended up with 'the pile', so please do look at the Obsolete store in the coming days as I would love to think someone benefited from my purge! If you do grab any of my old gear please write in and let us know - if only to justify to myself that I did the right thing ;-)

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Things that coding my own game has taught me [part 1] [RGP]

In this new series I will cover the experiences I encounter whilst attempting to make my own game from scratch, I have never done it before but like writing [for 3 blogs] I figured if I never just got on with it - it wouldn't happen.

The first thing I have learnt...

Coding/imagining games is both easier than I anticipated, yet mind meltingly difficult at the same time.

Think of an awesome game concept right now... go on, try it...

Thursday, 5 December 2013

OUYA console review

For the purposes of integrity I would like to point out that I was NOT given an OUYA. I spent my own money that I have worked hard for. This review will give you a completely unbiased run down of everything good and bad with the console. Enjoy! 

The OUYA is one of Kickstarter's increasingly few success stories, with a final figure of $8,596,474 pledged of a $950,000 goal. I hadn't heard of Kickstarter before the OUYA truth be told, but the promise of an indie games console spread through the blogosphere quickly. I watched the campaign play out to great success but never got involved - everything stank of 'too good to be true'. I held back and waited it out.

Over the following months reports of faulty units and disgruntled backers made me glad I had abstained from the Kickstarter campaign... However, I have always followed the old sayings regarding the 'vocal minority' and 'empty vessels make the most noise'. Basically, happy people use the item, unhappy people shout... or blog in this case.
'The vocal minority'

So now having one sat next to my telly - what are my thoughts as someone free of bias / late to the party?

The OUYA first impressed me with its packaging, upon opening it invited me to 'Join the revolution' via a translucent plasti-card thingy laying across the console. Now as much as I understand the OUYA is not a revolution in gaming, I couldn't help but feel that the team who put it together genuinely approached the product with serious intent to make it so. In a world filled with insanely powerful hardware on both home computers, laptops, tablets and i-devices how much could it really be revolutionary?

Lets tackle this one methodically so we can better understand where the OUYA isn't revolutionary, and where it has made a push into untamed waters.

The hardware is not revolutionary. When was the last time we actually saw revolutionary though? The first 3DFX cards on PC?, Sony's first venture into gaming? Its hard to pin point the leaps and bounds in technology these days as everything has come so far and its all starting to become standard fare. Games are 3D, graphics are rendered in HD, and the quality of content available has never been better.

The OUYA console is as good as a decent smart-phone or tablet, it will run 3D games and play HD media happily but is not in anyway future proof. The 3D abilities have had the benefit of Nvidia's chip-set but the newer games are already making the console struggle. With 2D games the console pumps out vibrant HD images effortlessly. You can also use USB external memory to take the strain off the diminutive [by 2013's standards] 8GB on board storage.

The OUYA's controller is somewhere between the PS3 and the Xbox 360. The buttons are kind of spongy like the PS3, the triggers had a similar feel too but the sticks and the weight more inline with the 360. The D-pad is serviceable and better than Microsoft's efforts. It also takes AA batteries, which adds weight to the pad [in a good way] and lasts days on my 2300mah Energiser rechargables. The batteries hide within the controllers wings/palm area under 2 magnetically held plates. There is a touch pad at the top frontside of the joypad, it is not multitouch and in honesty its not great. I like the pad a lot due to its size, I have big hands and the OUYA's controller lays comfortably within my meat mittens. I also enjoy the weight of the pad and the metal fascias feel great. Its a nice effort from a company who has never made controllers before, they clearly provided the best they could within the price constraints of a £100 console - its not perfect, but not even the big boys can claim theirs are.

So we are yet to experience the aforementioned 'Revolution' in regards to the hardware but this was never the OUYA's goal. The console is standardized so it can be be kept cheap - that's it. The OUYA's revolution is due to the community and its developers. The hardware, and its underlying Android origins, are simply the delivery method of one thing - GAMES.

The console is less than a year old and it has loads of games, hundreds if not thousands.

The biggest challenge of ANY console's life is the first year, hardware issues and software drought make the first 12 months not only expensive but dull. Games for a new system are poorly tuned to the hardware due to the inexperience of the coders behind them, great stress is applied for the 'BIG PUSH!' but this pressure rarely leads to diamonds. We get sequels and often shit new IPs that fall flat on there big dumb faces if the teams are feeling brave. The first year is often the worst in a consoles life.

The OUYA doesn't have this problem.

Due to the established nature of its underlying software, games are quickly made compatible and can even be freely developed on a standard console. Due to near non-existent overheads, indies can try out ideas or concepts with little risk of failure and if things go well they could make serious money as they have a [near] direct line to Joe gamer. It genuinely is the most indie friendly console.

When the OUYA released, indie games could be bought on all current consoles, this is nothing new but the start up costs could be prohibitive to a studio or an individual and also quite involved due to the unique nature of each console. I'm not a coder/publisher but I can tell you this for nothing, the OUYA has more unique titles than any other home console and I suspect it has allowed an entire demographic of no-budget bedroom coders to get involved.

If the coders were 'artists' and the games were 'paintings', the place displaying them is more 'country fayre' than 'Louvre'. That doesn't mean there aren't some outstanding pieces of work, but these pieces were never intended to be placed on a pedestal - they are purely to be digested by those that enjoy them - not the masses.

So whats my conclusion now I have bored you to tears with analogies?

If you love to be surprised by games or enjoy delving into another's imagination give the OUYA a chance. It is host to some of the best indie games I have played and they are very affordable. There are a lot 'sub-standard' efforts and half arsed messes, but they won't cost you anything to try and when you encounter a gem its very exciting indeed. If you are old enough to remember the 80's, you may remember the excitement of going into an arcade and trying all the games... you'll only fall in love with a few but they will stay in your memories for long time to come.

If you want a next-gen, 64 multiplayer, Skynet powered brick of a system, stay away. There's no shame in not liking it - it wasn't designed to be one of the big boys and/or liked by everybody...

...and that is pretty revolutionary.

Checkout my rambbling on Twitter!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Playstation Irony

                                Playstation Irony!

It's ironic that on this day in 1994 the people of Japan first got they're hands on the Sony Playstation as today I got my hands on the Playstation 4 for the first time also. 
 I was very impressed with the controller, one of the nicest I've ever had in my hands, the smoothness and quickness of loading times, the frame rate and definition on screen. But most of all though it impressed me just by being there for me to try, something Microsoft seemingly don't want anyone to do?! 
 A couple of weeks ago I walked into a generic game store to find a bunch of people crowed round a Ps4 and no one at the unplayable Xbone..few days later I walk in and the unplayable one wasn't even switched on...if I had to make the choice right now I would go for the Ps4, I can't formulate an opinion of something I can't even try!

 Anyway back to the Playstation of 1994. I've some fond memory's of my own time with it, like the start up screen! Just hearing that sound now gives me goosebumps and transports me back to my childhood gaming years, pure nostalgia. Another great memory is myself and  my buddy Dan squeezing every second we could out of the 10 minute Resident Evil 2 demo, over and over...and over, our jaws on the floor marvelling at the amazing seemingly life like graphics and super realistic zombies. Another fantastic memory was another demo, this time it was Tony Hawks Skateboarding and this time with another buddy, Joe (wonder if he remembers?) we had never seen a game like this and we played it continually until we had nailed every single move perfectly. 
 What are your memory's of the Playstation era?


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Write a some gaming goodies!

Do you want your voice to be heard?
Do you want your opinion to count?
It matters not if your a seasoned gamer or just picked up a controller for the first time, if you've written reviews before or if you've never tried. Obsolete Gaming wants to hear your opinions and so does the rest of the gaming world.

 At Obsolete Gaming we are giving you the chance to voice those opinions with almost zero limitations on what you review and how you do it, and giving away prizes for your efforts!

The rules:
*Keep your reviews under 800 words (ideally 600)
*Include at least one picture (maybe the title screen) but the more the better!
*Send your reviews in PDF format
*Any game for any machine (console, PC, Handheld etc..)
*Include your name!
*All reviews must be emailed to

 The best review (most viewed) each month will win a prize, the prize will be sent to the winners address at no cost to you!

 So what are you waiting for, write a review, tell everyone your opinion and win some gaming goodies!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

5 things about GTA 5 [RGP]

1. Bewbs!

The year is 2013 and we have the 57th sandbox crime game this year, the immense GTA 5 or GTA V if your a Roman... whatever.

Like all the other sandbox gangster games this game features strip clubs... or as I have come to call them...


Friday, 8 November 2013

Dumpster Diving [RGP]

Even this image was recycled

This is a first for me... I am well versed in re-purposing junk to suit my needs, I have rewired LCD screens to build portables, I have used superfluous controllers to make controllers for emulators, I have even built my own MAME cabinet for approximately £0...

I have never climbed into a bin to scavenge games consoles.