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Sunday, 25 April 2010

Snooker Mario.

First up I'd like to say a big thumbs up to my boss for truly fucking up my life (its such a pity we can't render sarcasm in text mode). However what we'd really like to do is, genuinely give thanks to Steve Davis, who at the age of 53 is currently in the quarter finals of the World Masters Snooker. He was my childhood idol, a consummate professional and a genius on the baize so well done Steve.

Like a lot of folks I have real difficulty when they change the name of things, Opal Fruits, Marathons and Oil Of Ulay oh and Jif don't get me started on Jif. But the biggest one is of course the Embassy World Masters or whatever its politically correct to call it now. I've touched on my love of snooker before but I think its time to fully explain it to everyone whos reading.

Most of the time we saw the snooker it was either at my nans or at my grandads house in west London. They both had small tables probably xmas presents to me, so I could play while I was over there. At my nans place my aunt and uncle lived upstairs and their dog Jet would often lurk under the sofa hoping to snag any stray balls that would fly off the sofa. He would then need to be bribed with biscuits to stop him swallowing any balls he caught. We never really had a proper set either, being as I also had a larger table at home, these motley crew of snooker balls were either beaten up spares or worse beads, you try breakbuilding when the object ball is either half or two thirds smaller then your cue ball. We remember the blue being especially tiny.

Cues left a lot to be desired as well, we never had any tips on them so shot making was largely hit and hope (factor in Jet, still lurking under the sofa to pick out stray shots and you have quite an entertaining game).

Home proved less fraught, the only hazard was Weedle the cat, who would either sleep on the table or if in a playful mood stick a paw up the pocket and assault the nearest ball.

We'd like to think we were any good but the best break we had was about 32, possibly due to the lame cues you had and possibly due to pets. So the best thing was to watch the pros on TV and see how its done properly.

Back then most of the non English players in the mid 80's were mainly Canadians such as Cliff Thorburn, Kirk Stevens and big Bill Werbeunik playing on the international circuit, rather like the current crop of up and coming Chinese players. On the home front, we had Steve Davis, Jimmy White, Tony Meo, Tony Knowles, Terry Griffiths and Dennis Taylor. Add in old school players like John Spencer and Eddie Charlton and 8 ace clone Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins and the stage was set for the Embassy World Championships.

The Embassy Championship was a big part of my life, sitting back with family watching frame after frame and cheering on whoever was winning at the time. Normally, Steve Davis (6 times world champion dont'cha know), but we also had time for Jimmy 'Whirlwind' White and later on Paul Hunter ( who's sadly no longer with us). My nan really didn't like Stephen Hendry (too surly) but I didn't mind him, and when she moved to Woolwich from round the corner to us we would come home from school and sit down and watch TV.

So there you have it, thats what made us like snooker watching it at my nans, oh and as for Mario, well I'm afraid I just liked the pun, to be honest though, if you're reading Nintendo how about that as a regular sports game instead of tennis or golf.

Next time (If I remember,) we'll get round to reviewing a Super Mario 4 for Gameboy. Part of the pirate range.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Kinda like Kinder.

Kiiinderrrrrr. Chocadooby, TOOOOY. Hallo viewers, you may think I've lost my mind when they say they've made a video game out of Kinder everyones favourite choccy egg. Rather than star the sinister egg beast, its based on their Happy Hippo range of collectable toys, and was only released in Germany.

But first a little history for those who don't know or shock horror can't receive Kinder stuff. They are a popular European chocolate treat featuring two chocolate half shells and a plastic container either containing a self assembly toy or a fully formed figurine made out of plastic. Rarely though you'll get a small card puzzle to assemble. I've got a range of self assembly stuff including a dragon, a small toucan with mini crayons in and best of all a small ship. Figurines range from the aforementioned Happy Hippo, Nobita from Doraemon and a load of ghosts and a few lions from what we called the Leofelcher range, though I suspect they have a non perverted original name.

I don't know if the Happy Hippos have any love on the continent but they barely register here, they are also a sweet too, being largely sesame covered biscuit with a rank hazelnut center, a part of the trinity of vile snacks shared by Kinder Malo and Pork Scratchings for sheer hideousness.

Called das geheimnis der Happy Hippo insel or the secret of happy hippo island via Google translate it was a child friendly platformer that got a release in Germany only, and only for Gameboy Colour. It was produced by JoWood and involves you hippo travelling across Happy Hippo Island avoiding all manner of beasties and putting out fires and animals set ablaze! by the volcano. Across the way you'll save other Happy Hippos and learn all manner of passwords and cheat codes to help you on your way. Attacks are by lobbing water bombs and coconuts at enemies, and later on a sonicesque ground roll.

The first thing you'll notice is that theres no lives at all just a water bar that when depelted will kill off your hippo. You have essentially infinite lives though and whereas contact with enemies, regular platforming environmental hazards like leaps of faith and coconuts will kill you off, theres no real way to die, meaning no matter how much you suck, you'll still make it through.

Graphics are quite nice, don't know how many onscreen colours the GBC could do, but theres some good gradient fills there. Sound also is good, plenty of decent chiptunes here for your pleasure, look on Youtube under its German name to find them. Gameplay as I mentioned is on the easy side, but is perfect for kids whether they know German or not.

We do not know if they work but I'll print up all the cheats to the game, you get these after clearing every level.

Key, D= DOWN, U= UP, L = LEFT, R = RIGHT


Sunday, 11 April 2010

A big shout out.

Now Listen.

Listen Again.  Your locked to the sound of King Tibbet.  Broadcasting on frequency of 90.6, Big shout out etc...

This post is a tribute to those who brought dance music home and proper broadcasting to the masses or at least those who could pick up a decent signal. Thanks to hearing an old Solid Steel mix in Music Exchange (and picking up Proteus Generation on the Djax Up Beats label there) we'll go on about the greatness of the pirates.

But mainly its about what again I can remember, yet again.  The main stations round our way were, Pulse FM, Phantasy, Laser (though no one remembers Laser not even me) and Chillin which still exists though its all Grime and hip hop shit nowadays.

Mainly it'll be about Pulse we'll be talking about, or Pulse FM this is Pulse FM broadcasting on a frequency of 90.6 as it was known to literally hundreds of people.  Back then I listened to a massive amount of dance music, not limited to hardcore and techno, leavened with a good dose of old house and acid, to tell the truth, sod all has changed.  Back then the only way to hear all this music was by someone rigging an illegal antenna to the top of a tower block and hopefully having enough juice to broadcast to the public before the DTI shut them down.
  Commercial radio as now was a complete no go if you wanted to listen to this type of music.  So armed with a few C90 tapes and a portable boombox we taped a lot of shows.

Or rather we taped a lot of Aphrodites shows.  He had an old skool house slot at 2-4 on a sunday afternoon and as I love old skool house, we taped those.  We still have the tapes so maybe we should start digitising and uploading them before they become lost.   Looking at their facebook page it gives a little info to who everyone was.  Most were record shop owners and DJ's (we often wondered where they got the records from) and there were a couple of people I remember from my record collection.

Funkie Junkie, was more prog house / trance orientated, I think we have a bit of  him on tape.
DJ Sky, She had a techno show on a Saturday night at 6pm. We have a bit of this when Aphrodite covered it and a broken tape featuring Disintegrator (John Selway) and Mike Ink's 5 Years On Acid.
Sadly Pirate radio turned into drum n bass radio around 94-95 with some cockbone chatting over the top thus annoying millions.

Although Chillin FM would continue to provide token techno support with DJ Paolo proving some good beats here, most of my time was spent elsewhere.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Its April its Easter its the Easter April round up.

Happy Easter loyal readers, I hope you got lots of eggs and that.  This is basically a round up of past stories and that, don't blame me I know you like clip shows and that besides its all bonus content.

Gameshow memories redux.
A bonus memory about the gameshow Lingo.  This isn't so bad, basically its working out a five letter word where the starting letter is given. So if I gave you S - - - -, and you said spear it would throw up letters that were in the word in the right order, letters that were in the word but were in the wrong order and letters that were not used at all.  So in my example spear: it would be pan out like this, Spear,  where E is in the word but in the wrong place, incidentally the word you were looking for was Shite, just like this explanation.

We don't even know what channel this was on, possibly either superchannel but most probably Sky, Wikipaedia has a link to a UK version which I don't know of, and we remember a foreign version on either TVE or TV5 which used Amiga graphics I think though that is tenuous and possibly wrong.

PS2 Emu news,

Good news everyone we have managed to install  Free McBoot a series of files for adding functionality to an old PS2.  This means reading from Pendrives and CDR's something that was sadly lacking from the original.

So far we have a newbie package from the Free MCBoot site.  Which covers Ulaunch ELF, a set up program to install Free MCBoot, HD Loader, loads stuff from Hard Disk, SMP a simple media player focussing on MP3 and non supported filetypes.  A CDVD player, launcher program, that I suppose caters for Pirate games or back ups, and a config program for ULauncher F.  Not bad overall, hopefully we'll get emulators running on them maybe PGen and unlicensed Bubble Bobble.

Finally we have a recommendation for you, if you love acid and can see through the hype, check out Charanjit Singh on Youtube for some proto acid goodness its called 10 Ragas in a Disco style and will not disappoint all true acid heads.