Saturday, 30 June 2012

Obscure Games From My Childhood.

Obscure Games I Obsessed Over as a Child (Part One)

When I was a kid me and my brother loved video games but due to coming from a single parent family with little money we never had the latest consoles or the latest games. Instead, we usually had to trawl through the bargain bins of second hand game shops to find a new game to master for the 5 or so 'new' games we got a year. We played 'Fifa 98: Road to the World Cup' for about 4 years and by the end could easily win a world cup on world class mode playing as San Marino using only the mouse, yes, we were that cool. Anyway, here are some of the more obscure games I ended up becoming a little obsessed with. 

1 - Toki: Going Ape Spit (Megadrive).

I have mentioned this game previously on my blog. You are a monkey that spits at other animals. Firstly, that is the greatest gaming concept I have ever heard of. Secondly, it was a brilliantly annoying game. It was irritating for a number of reasons; I remember that it took me ages to complete it but it refused to give me the 'proper' ending until I had completed it on hardest difficulty. If you completed it on easy or medium you were simply told something like 'well done, try a harder setting'. Back in the days of 8/16 bit games you were given such little reward for all your time and effort. It taught us a valuable lesson though, don't try. 

2 - Ignition (PC).

Ignition cost us about £5 brand new and was sort of a rip off of Micro Machines. It was also very easy to complete. However, that didn't stop us from playing it to fucking death. Me and my brother mastered every track to the point of when we raced two player there would be about half a second in it. I'm pretty sure the track selection was limited to about 6 tracks and there was very little to unlock. One of my friends convinced me you could unlock a car that was a stick of dynamite on wheels, he was lying. 

3 - Blades of Vengeance (Megadrive).

This was your standard hack and slash adventure game. You could be a wizard, a man in pants with an axe or a woman in a bikini with a sword. I always chose the scantily clad woman which was probably a sign of things to come. It was so bloody difficult that I sometimes used to shout in frustration and my Dad would have to have a word with me about "taking games to seriously, if your not having fun there's no point in playing them". I never took heed of his advice though. I would hit the restart button and settle myself in for another 3 hours of anger management failure. 

4 - Time Lord (NES).

This game really was a pile of shit and I'm pretty sure I never actually got past level 3 but that didn't stop me from wasting hours of my life on it. You played a generic hero who travelled through different periods of time to collect some red orbs. I think the first 3 levels were the future, medieval times and the wild west. I was desperate to know what time period level 4 was going to be so I just spent hours wandering around in the limbo of the wild west level 3. The controls, graphics and music were all completely terrible. I've just had a quick Google and level 4 would have been the Caribbean in 1650. What the hell.

5 - Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (PC).

There were lots of classic first person shooters back in the mid 90's, this isn't one of them. I'm debating to myself as to whether the cover art for the game was worse than that of 'Time Lord'. On both you have the archetypal camp hero posing next to some sort of generic monster. Nowadays, being a gamer is the norm and kids would probably be considered a bit weird for not playing them. However, all you have to do is look at 'Blake Stone' or the 'Time Lord' to realise just how uncool video games were back then. This is pretty much why I love games like 'Blake Stone' and hate 'Call of Duty'. 

6 - Batman and Robin Cartoon Maker (PC).

I spent so many hours of my childhood making cartoons on this. I was even sad enough to rope my Dad and sister into providing some of the voices for me. You could record them into a microphone to play alongside the different parts of your episode you had created. This was one of the early starts of my interest in creative writing although having Batman walk onto a screen followed by The Joker then there being lots of explosions and shouting probably isn't particularly creative. My lucky Dad would always be the first person to watch my masterpieces. He was always fairly honest, "I like the explosions but there doesn't seem to be much of a storyline Freddie". 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Next Stage.

Next Stage

I had my final placement observation on Friday and I passed! This means that I have pretty much passed the course overall *touch wood* as long as I don't completely fuck up from now on. So what next? Well,

Firstly, I have been trying to get back into shape. Since placement my lack of eating well, sleeping enough and doing exercise means I have dropped to my lowest weight all year. With most the stress of the course out the way I have already had time to begin working on this. I am eating a lot more calories than I was previously and, of course, eating some protein rich foods (raw eggs don't taste nice). I have also started a more regular workout regime and my god I can tell I'm out of shape. Previously, I had got up to using 30kg dumbbells when I did bench presses but I have had to go back down to 25kg and even that is a struggle. I have introduced some cardio to my routine just to get my general fitness levels up but I am finding sprinting even for just 5 minutes pretty difficult. The great thing about exercise though is you can almost immediately feel the effects. Even after one weekend I feel the best I have felt in a couple of months.

I am planning to go to Peru at the end of July for about two months. My older brother lives there with his girlfriend and has kindly agreed I can stay there. I am viewing it as a bit of a test to see if I would like to move abroad myself in the near future. I don't have many concrete ideas but working abroad is one of the main ones I am considering. The best thing about passing PGCE for me is that it opens up these kind of doors for me. At the moment, being able to sleep is also one of the best things about my life. I have had such little of it this past year that I am now fully indulging myself. I have rediscovered the ultimate joys of daytime napping. I am a simple man, sleeping lots and eating  lots is often enough to keep me happy. 

As for what I'm reading, 'Wide Open' by Nicola Barker. It's good enough to be worth finishing but I am more excited about the next book I have lined up which is 'Room' by Emma Donoghue. It's one of those novels that I can tell is going to be good just from reading the blurb. I have been listening to a lot of Benny Banks, he isn't a particularly talented rapper but he uses good beats and sometimes I like the childish arrogance of his lyrics. He can be witty with his wordplay when he wants to be and there is a touch of self deprecation that I tend to like with any rapper. I am off to watch England play Italy in a few minutes. I expect the game to be close with maybe a one-nil win for Italy. England did well to win their group's still England. I see that lots of people are reading that shitty looking erotica '50 Shades of Grey'. If I wrote about my love life it would be more of 'An Assortment of Beige', probably.  

Friday, 8 June 2012

A Grand Day Out.

A Grand Day Out

Today I went into town. I feel kind of ill/lethargic so I thought I would indulge in some retail therapy to cheer myself up. 

However, the first thing I needed to do was mail my dissertation to my dad. My degree is in Creative Writing and my dissertation was autobiographical. A lot of it is memories of my dad so it probably makes sense that I send it to him for some critique (trust me, he really will critique it). I was in the queue at the post office for aaagggeees! Behind me was a man who kept leaning forward so his face was level with mine, looking around and tutting loudly. In front of me was a large woman who kept craning her neck around to stare directly into my face (maybe I'm just paranoid). Three places behind me was a drunk Jamaican man who kept indulging anyone unfortunate enough to enter his eye line with conversation about how he had seen them on t.v. during the jubilee celebrations. When he spoke to one poor bloke he said "you my man, I saw you too my friend but you were on Crimewatch." I quite liked that one.

Next I went to New Look and brought some shoes for placement. I hate buying clothes for placement because they are so boring but it needs to be done. I love the women that work in there though, even more than I love Topshop girls! For my 'treat' I brought myself this shirt from Topman.

This is my first denim shirt. I'm a bit late to the party but happy with it none-the-less.

I was also relieved to find out that I can no longer comfortably fit into XS sized clothes. That's right, I have now reached the dizzying heights of S. I'm not sure if my years of eating like a fat person despite being so slim are slowly catching up with me or if my dedication to the gym is finally turning me into the ripped Adonis I imagine myself to be. I like to think the latter.