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Sunday, 27 June 2010

What is Purgatory

You know there is a 10th layer of hell reserved right now for people who do this, and by this we mean tennis.

Probably the most boringest of games imaginable so imagine my utter dismay when they had this crop up during Wimbledon fortnight.  70 - 68 thats over 12 bloody hours to resolve a fucking tennis match.  Though unpopular this is what I propose that tennis should become.
Get rid of love , advantage, power serves and double bounce and all that shit.Takes far too long.

Instead implement this.  Get it into the boxes to win the said amount. People run on in Mascot costumes and could be hit with a tennis ball for big points.
If it looks like an old Binatone game made live, then yeah, so what, thats what tennis should be.

Two guys (or girls ED) slogging it ou, andt the first to fifteen wins, by my reckoning you would have Wimbledon done in under three days, sorted.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Terry vids

Amiga gameplay vid complete with ItaloDisco theme and eyepopping graphics.

C64 level 1 speed run with Jazzy music and a more pleasing colour scheme.

There that should illustrate what that big wall o text I wrote out much better than me struggling to explain everything.

Terry's big adventure.

There are certain games you grew up with, that although no one ever new, you know deep down they would be special.  NES Bubble Bobble, Valkyrie Profile PS1 and Terrys Big Adventure C64.  Picked up from a market stall in Woolwich market for the princely sum of about £2, Terrys Big Adventure was an ace platform game sort of in the style of the Mario games but of course on the C64.  Unlike such blatant clones as Giana Sisters (which was German and riddled with cheap deaths) Terrys was a completely balanced and tough platformer in the vein of Mario. 

A small character that looks like the tenor from the Go Compare adverts, Terry is armed with rocks and his trusty yo-yo to dispatch enemies, in fact later levels would make use of the rocks to dispatch enemies immune to a  good yo-yoing!.  The fact that learning the layout of the levels meant that you could with some skill make it through to the later levels with no problems was all the more wiser for a hamfist like myself.   It was also tough too, learning to duck under enemies and lightning bolts, avoid poison mushrooms and leap on certain bricks to reveal hidden bonus rooms were all part and parcel and while old games were tough Terrys was completely fair.  If you died its because you hadn't learned the layout or misjudged a jump. 

Random events lead me to the fact that there was an Amiga version available, and with some curiosity, download it from Zophars Rom Subdirectory.  And thats when it all went wrong. 
Memories from  C64 days have not been kind, whereas the original C64 game was quite subdued in its colour scheme, the Amiga version has that strange colour pallete that old A500 titles had, making it seem like its escaped from the Playschool set.  The gameplay is still the same however and even now I made it to Level 2 with little loss of life (where I was tragically slaughtered, thanks to poison mushrooms and the push scrolling). 

Musically though, its gone through some changes.  The original C64 theme was pretty jazzy and fitted the mood perfectly, possibly due to the fact the score was done by Allister Brimble, though he's only credited for the Amiga Score. Full Brimble Discography Pdf Heeyar.

The Amiga score doesn't really fit, being a storming Italo disco / Euro style track, which makes you wonder what the original was based on. 

All in all its a missed opportunity and  though still good, is a come down from the excellent C64 game.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

World Cup

Its coming home, Oh...
Well its started, football is coming home again, and by football of course we mean the World Cup which we'll definitely win this year cos the Sun told us and they don't lie. OK, hyperbole over with, football's coming home early, an ignominious Quarter final exit, dropped out on penalties, morose, boozed up and trophy-less, crying into its cross of St George before repeating the whole shebang 4 years later.

If you can't tell I've got no real time for Soccer / Football call it what you will.
I've had a token likeness of Liverpool for years and will on occasion watch them play on TV, but mainly I'd really prefer to see the result in tomorrows paper than watch live.

In fact the world cup has made is especiallly hard for someone like me, not only is it played in South Africa a country I dearly love (I defy any right thinking person not to be moved seeing Namaqualand in full bloom) but their actual mascot is a dung beetle, which is pretty damned epic.  Oh and watching it on television is really surreal thanks to the countless Vuvuzelas being blown in the stadium, the result  is a wall of drone like noise punctuated with random drumming, sort of like if Merzbow were to create the official world cup song, (in fact please do then they'd have to play it on radio 2 and everything).

In fact this is a pet project of mine*, thus having no real love of the game, I would love to see them put on a shit world cup.  Not the top league game that the world cup is, but the dregs of the football league, also rans from the world of soccer, your Australia, Sao Tome et Principe, Greenland and San Marino quality teams.  A celebration of the worst the team has to offer, none of the big footballing countries would take part.  No England, (unless say its a Sunday League team), but a chance for Wales, Scotland and Isle of Man to shine.

A truly representive world cup that reflects the loserness of football, only losing teams go through and theres a crap plastic beaker or pound store knock off of the classic Jules Rimet trophy given to the eventual winner making them the worlds shittest team.

*NNGH the other dream is that Crazy Golf (or minigolf to non english) is televised just like regular golf with all the reverence of the regular show and Peter Alliss doing a voice over.

Sunday, 6 June 2010


Been playing around with this for a week or so. In fact its more like the pure unalloyed joy of Winuae, plus Octamed 5 and a few sound samples and a throwback to the late nineties when I made Dance music just for me. Friday night I called MED night, an excuse to fire up Soundstudio on the Amiga and put some tracks together, in order to emulate my heroes (Largely Derrick May and Juan Atkins but latterly Electro, thanks to Dave Clarkes Electro Boogie X Mixes). Oh and some dub too we never released any of our stuff, although I did give a split tape of Music 2000 Tracks and Amiga hits to a mate. Depressingly none of the tracks convert well when transferring them across to MP3 file format on PC, and we did some corkers (as well as some right old shit).

Sadly WinUAE doesn't make it easy for you, and could really do with taking a leaf out of the Playstation Emulation scene, that relies on plugins for most tasks. There is a big fuck off list of things covering the likes of for various processors, Kickstart roms (Amiga BIOS, display options and Adf Files of old floppy games. Its frighteningly complete and at the same time arcane and obscure heres a list of stuff that I've come across.


Getting a video or audio clip of anything is a prime example of the pure unfriendliness of WinUAE, something that is a simple dropdown menu command in Nestopia, actually takes numerous trips to various menus in WinUAE, specifying commands and resolutions and even then your never sure if it'll work. (In fact if it does, it'll run so slowly while doing this you'll wonder why you bothered in the first place). Adding a category to the side bar with a few output options and codecs could alleviate this a lot.

File formats.

Currently all you can run is ADF files which are copies of the Amigas floppy disk format, its the only format that WinUAE recognises and nothing else. Which is a shock because late in the Amigas life most stuff would have been released on CDROM instead of Floppy, and yet its not covered, no iso. or CDROM for you. Another shock is that there is a rival format called IPF international preservation format which covers disks too and yet requires a plugin (which despite following its instructions WinUAE will not recognise). Lastly Amigas use the lha. format to pack files (zip is never used - though lzx is). Look on Aminet and you'll see miles of lha. files without exception, and yet WinUAE relies only on ADF only.

ADF ADF (sorry Earth Defence Force).

The other thing with ADF files its that nothing and I mean nothing will open them or indeed create them save for a few transfer programs. While this isn't actually a problem for WinUAE indeed this is its strength that it can make new ADF files to store programs and files, its certainly needs looking at.

Stuff WinUAE does well.

F12 Program break.

This is probably the best of the lot you can exit the program at any time by pressing F12, to switch disks or generally fiddle with the settings. Remains a genuine feather in its cap and a true modern achievement.

List of stuff.

The big list at the side of WinUAE is not only baffling but counts as one of its most joyful things, finding the quickstart guide and everything else is a breeze because its all labelled correctly. Changing between Amigas and going from the and ancient A1000 to a no less venerable but capable A1200 with 060 processor and 128meg of ram.

Stuff I wish WinUAE did.

Used a folder on the desktop as a harddrive, because while most amigas didn't have them, they were more common during the late phase when Commodore went bankrupt and acutally became an necessity in the end.

Didn't distinguish between chip ram and regular ram, an A500 with 4GB memory, fuck yeah, make it so.

Use samples and stuff already on your desktop. Unlikely, it would take an awful lot of converting to IFF. or Raw format, to make this work.

Friday, 4 June 2010


We now have a spiffy radio app thing. It's from the good people over at IntergalacticFM. so if your eyes glaze over when reading, there will always be some awesome music to keep you rockin'.

Oh and a new hero has been added to the Roll Call. It's the guys at funny exams man, your one stop shop for exam howlers, (oh and giraffe pictures too). Makes me laugh so it joins the hero list.