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Sunday, 29 January 2012

NeoGeo Pocket Vapourware edition

I don't own a mobile, that means there will be no Android or  Iphone evangelism here and the only blackberry I've ever owned is of the fruit variety, so when someone makes a device like this its pretty hard not to shout out genuine want.

Of course its not a phone, but if its real then this could be worth looking into.  We'll regurgitate some stats from Andriasangs news story where it first emerged via the Famicom Plaza site.
Pocket Neo Geo, vapourware or ripoff only you can decide?.


4.3 screen
2GB internal storage
20 internal games including

Magician Lord
Ultimate 11
Samurai Shodown
and pretty much every other launch game for the original Neo Geo line up including Cyberlip and no ones favourite League Bowling*.
oh and a slot for a SD Card.

Though often billed on sites as a return of  the Neo Geo Pocket, if it really is (if it exists) its would best be termed as a Pocket NeoGeo.  Its a nice idea and would certainly sell if there was any indication that SNK were behind this.  However there is a massive elephant in the room about the whole thing, it doesn't seem the least bit official.  The thread over at RHDN has been pretty anti about the whole thing, poking holes in everything to the font used to where the whole market for this would be (my guess China). 

The worrying thing about it is this, the more I look at it, the more I see the type of shoddy products, so excellently made fun of over at   Though would secretly love to see this made, its a Neo Geo in your palm after all, I get the feeling its made of fail.

Even more dubious is the fact that the original link has vanished from Famicom Plaza, which never mentioned where they got it from, though andriasangs link is mirrored in a lot of places. seems to think along my lines that its a mock up or at least an unlicensed product.

The idea of  a handheld NEO GEO and not just a pocket is an intriguing though, done right it could actually generate some money for SNK Playmore .  In fact if they could only add an analogue stick and buttons to an Iphone / Android capable handset and you would have a pretty decent phone along with some kick ass games (we would love big tournament golf and Neo driftout 95) and more crucially above physical controls to play with.

Finally a brief bit of googling brings this up for Droid lovers though god knows if it works, (apple fans of course have Imame as a option too).

Edit. It looks like this is actually official.  Blaze will be handling the distribution duties in Western Europe and Australia, so expect it to be more along the lines of their Handheld Megadrives and NES, kind of tech.

Sunday, 22 January 2012


This is basically a round up of stuff and a further why we can't have nice things rant, due to the whole S(c)OPA  PIPpA blinkered piracy sledgehammer.
S(c)OPA Largely Unwanted.

The return of MSU1.

One of the first posts I made was looking at BSNES, specifically MSU1, a part of BSNES that acted like the rumored CDROM drive, adding a whopping 4GB data allowance and overriding the in built cartridge limitations.  Now it seems that someone is not only creating new games that take advantage of this device, but that someone is making a SD compatible flash cart/MSU1 hybrid.  Personally I think its a brilliant idea and can wholeheartedly support both projects, (especially as i'm playing through d4s / ryusuis excellent retranslation of Breath Of Fire 2). 

Which brings us to our main news.  Megaupload, the popular filehost is out of comission due to being taken down by the FBI.  As a filehost they weren't bad actually, no captcha, no fifteen minute wait and downloads were reasonably fast, true you got ads but they were easily blockable.  We never got much from there to be honest, a few PS1 / Saturn games from long dead companies and that was it.  Stuff that would never be translated in a million years, or stuff that you never find for sale.   Which is why I'm so against SOPA / PIPA
going ahead.

Having read a potted history of the bill on Wikipedo, I'm largely against it.  It will prove to be a thin end of the wedge for censorship and the kind of repurposing of copyright material some communties do.  It'll hit the YTP communities and those that emulate on a regular basis.  You'll need to own physical copies of what you play rather than download from sites (and god help you if those discs scratch especially some of those saturn games).  Theres no GOG for console games at the moment though Monkey paw games are getting there for gaming obscurities. 

This is what you'll lose, there is no provision for playing obscure games, creating new works from film clips,  YTP in all its forms or even home remixing of current tracks.  These avenues will cease to be, along with the ability to shut down what you don't like and shut out what you can't understand.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The slow slide of side pocket.

We've been dealing with a lot of race based posts of late, and we want  to get back on track with something light hearted.;  What could be nicer than a game of pool.

When it comes to old pool games, Side pocket was king.  Between 1986-2001 the series sidled through a total a series of incarnations, each one becoming slightly worse than its predecessor, and we'll tell you exactly why they lacked so. 

Side pocket.

Originally released for the arcades only, it was ported to a number of platforms including but not limited to.  NES, SNES, Megadrive, Gamegear and Gameboy.  We have at present only played the NES and SNES versions so are not qualified to comment on either handheld or Sega incarnations.  We will say this though, the arcade version is horrible, it does a lot of things right but comes across as a complete coin sucker and is not much joy to play.  It would later be remedied by the Pocket Gal versions of Side Pocket which is far more enjoyable, and has brief nudity fact fans.

The NES version isn't bad and has a training mode and as well as the regular 1 Player pocket mode.
You are set a score to match and are given bonuses for building breaks and potting balls in sequence as well as shooting balls into the highlighted pockets, for all the 8 and 16 bit versions this doesn't change.
We've played most of the billiard related roms on the NES and this is one of the best.  A solid one player mode as well as the optional trick shot between stages (this would be par for the course for the series as it would be greatly expanded on over the years).

The SNES version adds a jukebox as well as a stand alone trick shot mode as well as keeping the travel between states theme (messing up at the end of stage 2 no less by showing a shot of San Fran instead of Vegas oh well).  Its pretty decent as it goes just let down by a sheer evilness of trick shots required to pass (the end of San Francisco)

Side pocket 2 / Minnesota Fats: pool Legend

Sadly Data East would let it lie and Side pocket was deemed worthy of an update.  Unfortuantely this is where the rot set in, and the excellent one player mode was consigned to the grave.  Instead you had a versus mode and a story mode where you got to play as Pool legend Minnesota Fats as you took back your clubs from Big G.  This being the mid nineties this was told through the medium of incredibly low quality FMV (both in terms of visuals and in acting).  The pool itself is 2D and has you playing against players in a game of regular pool.  In true hustler style it has you nominate a pocket when you sink the black.  In true hustler style it should have stayed in the pool halls.  The nomiante pocket doesn't work most of the time (its classed as a scratch or in off if you miss) and it really doesn't deliver in fun.  Except for the high camp of the game intro.

It was released for Sega Saturn, and got a japanese release with subbed FMV as well.

Side pocket 3

The ailing series finally lurched into 3D with this example.  Noted for its strange story mode and the insane amount of pool games to play, including Yotsudama with its characteristic pocketless table (what I call 3 cushion pool).  Herein lies the problem, you can play all these games but you'll have to suffer it on the grainiest 3D table ever, it looks like you are playing on coloured sand.   You'll also have to suffer through the nightmare of various 3D views, none of them give you sufficient view of the table and none of them are of any use, including the zoomed out traditional Side Pocket view, as soon as you decide to pot it goes to a First person viewpoint for adding side and spin. 

The story mode is seemingly set in the Resident Evil Mansion and it takes a bloody ice age to actually get a game.  You'll plod through the endless halls talking to staff and looking out for zombie attacks (we are joking of course, though the amount of time you spend spodding about, it feels like undeath) and trying not to get Deja vu.  Data East copied Capcom before with its whole Fighters History Streetfighter rip off.   This time it got both a Saturn and Playstation release and nary a word from Capcom (who sued over the Fighters History riff).

The final release of merit is on the original grey Wonderswan console, and to say it was a slight return to form is a understatement.  You are still playing vs pool, but this time in black and white, its not bad and its been so long we don't know if there is a trick shot mode.  Its not in English but there is no real language barrier to playing any of them.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Lawrence Logic

It may or may not have escaped your attention that the outcome of the recent Stephen Lawrence cold case trial has finally arisen.  The jury have deliberated and decided to hand down a ritual decapitation a guilty verdict to both defendants.  Currently they will serve 30 years between them and there are calls for the rest of the gang to face trial untill they are found guilty and have large root vegetables shoved up their fundaments for the rest of their lives.  Possibly while wearing Oswald Moseley masks in some seedy dungeon/prison cell.

If the above seems ludicrous then its no more than what the press have been reporting regarding this outcome,
First of all you would need concrete proof, a confession from either David Norris or Gary Dobson or evidence either fresh (as in the recent blood evidence from the cold case trial) or reexamined from that collected at the time.   Wishful thinking will NOT be enough in this case, only a strict reexamination of all evidence, or a confession will succeed here. 

From what I gather the original investigation would be best described as Clouseauesque in its execution, (certainly the Lawrence family were badly served by the police in this regard) with several flaws in the way evidence was stored and how the overall case itself was handled.  Hopefully a lot has been learned through Macpherson (and evidence collection and storage procedures) so that this does not happen again.

Anyway we are not knocking the outcome,  it may have taken 18 years, a change in the law and a cold case review to finally bring his killers to justice and peace of mind to his family. 

As a side note, reading through the Mails press coverage, on how our area has changed (like my blog post on horrible answers to difficult questions but much more eloquently put) I came across an AIDS theory I heard from someone at sixth form in the 1990's.   The theory goes that AIDS was spread to the Human population due to africans having sex with Green Monkeys.   Which is of course bollocks.

I'd blocked it out due to vagaries of memory at the time (that and the person who said it, was a racist) so it was completely odd to see it come up again after all these years. 

Sunday, 1 January 2012

TV and Video Review of Last year.

RIP Jimmy
We should have added this at christmas, but here, dragged into the unblinking light is a round up of some of the highlights of last year you could have seen on your tellybox.  Or in some cases monitor. 

Here with further ado is our list of stuff for 2011.

Best video by a bacon hungering dog.  Ultimate dog tease.

Though its nothing but an alsation dog dubbed with a funny voice.  Its pretty well observed and funny to boot.  Bacon.  I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Best YTP not to involve ponies.  Fesh Pince of Blair, Dikeike.

Twenty minutes of Will Smith would normally drag but its YTP and more importantly its Dikeike so you know your getting filth and a massive dose of saas.  Notable for the phrase Uncle funkle and Carleton getting a sandwich, its my pick of the year.

Best YTP involving Michael Rosen.  A Michael Rosen Christmas, CS188.

I must have seen about a hundred or so Michael Rosen videos and still can't see how something so quintessentially English got so big.  They always seemed to have his books in school when I was growing up and we always shunned them in favour for Choose Your Own adventures or playing had instead.   Michael seems resigned to his fate as a YTP source, and thanks to Imperial Lobster and Katanasoul we've had many great Michael YTPs over the years.  My favourite is however CS188's A Michael Rosen Christmas, with Michael adding 'Plams' to his christmas tree before zooming off to deliver presents to a largely ungrateful population, and not a single joke about him fiddle diddling with his sister at all.

TV Show of the year.  Life in the cold or whatever its called.

Y'know the one with David Attenborough and its in the poles.  Whatever its called it wins simply for their footage of a rock stealing Adelie Penguin (not Adele Penguin thats another type of large bird entirely).

Runner Up.  Special When Lit. 

PBS (Americas BBC4) is now available in the UK and on bangers night they showed this, reverent homage to the pinball industry.  All its oddballs and all its enthusiasts given equal time in the limelight without taking the piss at all.  We'd also like a charming Documentary involving Japanese College Baseball taken into consideration as well, I think it was called KokoYakyu.

Best Royal Wedding. Jean Michel Jarre concert Prince of Monaco Wedding.

Our own royal wedding bored me shitless, but this whole concert in tribute to the marriage of the prince of Monaco to his runaway bride, on Euronews was the bomb.

Best discussion of a national event.   DJO does the Royal wedding.

Applejuice, Kill Jordy, Jesus is a raisin.  If you don't know what or indeed who the DayJob Orchestra are, search out their Star Trek vids on Youtube.   They are Canadians that redub old videos and add their own hideous lipsynching instead.  DJO has its big old Appleparty doing the royal wedding of Tom Middleton to Prince William.

Best Advert.  Avios.

One of those search engines where you compare things. Who cares, there are floating washing machines and a cool song by Leila Arab.

Finally we come to our very special Miranda Awards for Televisual Unexcellence.  The first annual bad television awards, named in honour of the grossly unfunny sitcom of the same name.

Winner (by a country mile) The Royal Bodyguard.

We lost John Sullivan this year, so this means no Rock N Chips and no Green Green Grass of Home or Fools n Horses ever.  Which means David Jason has to eke out his pension in this misfiring mix of Mr Bean and pomp and ceremony.  I lasted 5 minutes about the same as I did for Miranda, before putting him out of his misery.

Runner up.  Towie Any season any episode.

Worst costume Drama.  Downs syndrome Abbey. (Downton Abbey)

Put the chicken stealing cat in from series 1 and then we'll talk.  We liked the Norwich union ads its a shame that they were ruined by being sandwiched between some boring show. 

Worst Internet fad.  Nyancat.

Irritating Vocaloid song added to a sprite of a half pop tart half cat trailing a rainbow behind it.  If you haven't seen it consider yourself blessed.