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Showing posts from April, 2020

Danish Assassins

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I'm in need of focus this week, as the work-from-home marathon enters its second month. So I'm going to use some of the time I'd usually spend commuting to write a short post every day, Monday-Friday.

The last two Assassin's Creeds, Origins and Odyssey, were outstanding. Long since freed of the Desmond nonsense, and paying minimal attention to the always boring modern-day rubbish, the are hugely entertaining adventures set during fascinating periods in history. They also gave us interesting characters for the first time since Ezio departed in 2011.

It's really nice to be excited for Assassin's Creed again.

Following some time off, the series is set to return with Valhalla. It was announced yesterday via a weird drip-feed stream, and we're expecting more concrete details later today. Based on the reveal, it's safe to assume that this will be the long rumoured Viking AC. The prospect of marauding across Northern Europe is a tantalizing one, and I wouldn&#…

Not Good at Being Good at Video Games

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I'm in need of focus this week, as the work-from-home marathon enters its second month. So I'm going to use some of the time I'd usually spend commuting to write a short post every day, Monday-Friday.

My five-year old daughter can, on occasion, beat me at Street Fighter. In my defence, she's almost six.

Street Fighter has become part of our work/play-from-home routine. A snifter of Ultra IV to finish up our lunch break before I get back to Zoom-life and excel nightmares, and she returns to colouring Disney princesses and making Lego towers. We usually go a few rounds. She likes Cammy, Chun-Li, Ryu and Zangief; I like to mix it up. From time to time, she beats me. Sometimes I let her win, but other times I'm desperately trying not to lose. I'm happy for her but I'm also despairing at the ongoing atrophy of my already lacklustre beat-em-up skills.

I'm good at knowing about video games, but I am not good at being good at playing video games.

I didn't g…

An Unlikely Cover Star

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I'm in need of focus this week, as the work-from-home marathon enters its second month. So I'm going to use some of the time I'd usually spend commuting to write a short post every day, Monday-Friday.

During the 1994-1995 season, Sam Cassell appeared in all 82 regular season games for the NBA Champion Houston Rockets. A key role player, he came off the bench in all but one of them. He was good, and would later become very good, but he was never a star nor a household name. He was certainly not someone you would expect to find on the front cover of an NBA video game.

Yet there he is, gracing the sleeve of the US and Japanese versions of Total NBA '96 (Japan and EU) / NBA ShootOut (America land). He is immortalized mid-layup, presumably about to notch up two more points. Exciting stuff for fans of layups and/or Sam Cassell.

The Total NBA series was generally well received, before fizzling out in the early-mid 2000s. It was developed in-house by Sony as an alternative to …

Burly Men and Me

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I'm in need of some extra focus this week, as the work-from-home marathon enters its second month. So I'm going to use some of the time I'd usually spend commuting to write a short post every day this week, Monday-Friday.

A week ago, I turned on my Vita for the first time in two years. I was delighted to rediscover bubbles overflowing with games. Vita-exclusives, indies, retreads, PS1 and PSP standouts and a massive helping of PS+ offerings. For a console that had no games, the NGP was home to a shit tonne of worthwhile titles.

Unfortunately, I couldn't play any of them. My 64 GB bastard memory card, filled to the brim with games, was corrupted. So I had to reformat it, losing all of my game saves in the process. I foolishly assumed they'd been uploaded to the magical cloud, but apparently that's an option you have to enable in the menu and is not an automatic function. Cloud saves continue to be a mystery, a decade-long crapshoot as to what will be preserved a…

PS3Hundred Yen or Less

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It's been ten days since I last scoured a video game bargain section.

Almost two weeks since I rummaged through a junk bin, visited a Book Off, shook my head disapprovingly at an over-priced Saturn game, or fingered an off-white Famicom.

I've been working from home most of the last week and a half, and have kept myself stashed away at the weekend. Even if I were moving more freely, I'd think twice before visiting a used-game store. Nerds are filthy creatures.

I miss the excitement of finding an unwanted game from generations past, for only a couple hundred Yen. A game that passed me by initially, now at a price that's perfect for a test drive, with limited expectations and no promises of lengthy time investments. A chance to add yet another game to my "tried that" list and cement my position as the unassailable gamer. A guilt-free taster for the cost of a convenience store coffee.

Pre-working from home, I had bought a handful of very cheap PS3 games. I adore…