Welcome to my blog - Read and enjoy

Thank you for visiting my Scooby1970 blogspot. I update whenever I can and when I have something interesting to share. You will also find published work of mine at Gaming Illustrated. Gaming Illustrated is where most of my work now takes place, but I will transfer some of my more popular articles from there over to this blog, in extended format.

Feel free to email me at:
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I've just started a new blog for my upcoming book releases: http://mark-adams-writes.blogspot.co.uk/

Also check out my 10 Quick Facts for more sites I run.

Enjoy the blogs, and relive my ups and downs in life, view some interesting reviews and just enjoy the site. If you are interested in learning something about some of my favourite music then click here it's the official Jan & Dean Site that has taken me and my friend from across the sea, June many years to keep updated.

:) Mark

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The Best Blogs of 2009 - Linking to the best!

So, 2009 is almost over! This year I have posted quite a bit on my blog, and thanks to Twitter I've had some great feedback. So, here are the best bits of the year, all linked from this one post so you don't have to go through the little rants that I had!

20 reasons why you should own a PS3 This caused quite a bit of debate.It's 20 reasons why you should own a brilliant Playstation 3 console. I stand by it, and if you are thinking of getting a new console for Christmas or in the January sales, then get a PS3!

Why Uncharted 2 is the best game ever! Yes, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was a huge smash this year, and I believe it to be the best game I have ever played. Read why. Oh, and I'm going through the game yet again and still I'm being blown away.

The Beatles Remasters A little review of the hottest CD releases of 2009. I just can't get enough of these remasters, read and find out why.

The top 50 video games... ever! This is my selection of the top 50 video games ever made. Please note, it was before Uncharted 2 was released!

From Elvis In Memphis A review of the great Elvis album.

Top 5 games consoles of all time Yes, of all time... The best 5 consoles ever.

I hope that's enough for you to enjoy for now. 2009 was really a great year for a lot of reasons, and me combining my Twitter output and Blogspot was one of them.

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

60's Surf Music

Ever since I was a young lad of about 12 I have had this fascination for 60's Surf and Hot Rod music. I remember watching a film called "Dead Mans Curve - The Jan & Dean Story" which I enjoyed so much that it got me into "the music".

At the time, during the 1980's though, it was almost impossible to get Jan & Dean records, so my first collections were the Beach Boys albums. These albums, although not Jan & Dean, were to me a part of growing up. By the time I was 15 or 16 I had quite a large collection, mostly compilations of Jan & Dean and The Beach Boys but nothing much in between except for maybe the odd re-recording of Hondells, Surafris and other tracks. It was in around 1986 that I received my first "real" Surf & Hot Rod compilation that featured real artists other than Beach Boys or Jan & Dean.

The album "Surf City Drag City" along with the large book that accompanied it was a revelation. I could now listen to The Super Stocks, The Hondells, Murry Wilson, Hot Rod Rog and more and know I was listening to the real thing.

These days my "Surf City Drag City" collection is pretty impressive, and through forums and emails I believe that I now have one of the largest collections of this kind of music in... in the World probably! If there are any tracks or albums people are after by Jan & Dean or The Beach Boys, they come calling to me, the same goes for other artists, you name them I've got them or can get access to them quickly!

So, what is it about this music? Those harmonies, the lyrics, the screaming guitar, I just love it all. It takes me to a better place, a place where, while I'm listening I can be bathed in glorious sunshine in a world full of cars, girls, surf and sun. Each track by each artist is a mini symphony of sun-drenched charm, a perfect listening experience that never fails to make me feel happy.

There are also sub-genres which most people never hear. There's The Revells "The GO sound of the slots" album that tackles slot-car racing, there's The Ghouls "Draculas Deuce" album that tackles Halloween ghouls and ghosts and there's numerous artists singing about skiing and biking.

For the all-time top 10 surfin' vocals, may I ask you to view my Youtube video here.

This is the music I listen to the most, the music I love, the music that is close to my heart. Of course I love other kinds of music, mostly pop and I adore Elvis Presley, so my music collection is vary varied.

Now I'm off to the beach, enjoy the music...

Friday, 20 November 2009

Killzone 2 - Not in some 2009 GOTY nomintions?

Let's be honest, the gaming press in general has a short memory. Some nominations have been released for the Game Of The Year and they have not included Killzone 2. What on earth is going on? Oh yeah, sorry, my first line said it all!

Killzone 2 was more than a technical tour-de-force (indeed other than Uncharted 2, no other game on any other system comes close to Killzone's tech and graphics.) it was also one of the greatest FPS games ever released, no, let me rephrase that, it was THE greatest FPS ever released.

Taking all the best elements of any other FPS out there, Killzone takes them, mashes them up and comes up trumps. Those who moan about it's controls are just stuck in Call Of Duty territory, every game should play different, and once you realise that it pans out to be a stunning gaming experience. One player mode lasts a good 8 plus hours and there are some brilliant set-pieces, multi-player mode is just an invigorating experience of which is always a fun-fest to play.

Killzone 2 is a follow-up to the great Killzone on the PS2, and Killzone 3 is already in development, so the franchise is doing very well for itself, however... Back to the original question, why is Killzone 2 not in GOTY nominations and yet Uncharted 2 is? Surely, after racking my brains it just has to be the time it was released, either that or the gaming press are just a bunch of muppets?

Rant over, enjoy the rest of my posts!

Monday, 16 November 2009

20 Reasons Why You Should Own A PS3

I've owned a PS3 since launch now, and since that time I have seen it go from strength to strength. For a long time however, a lot of people thought the strength of the XBox360 was enough to make it win this huge battle of the next-gen consoles, how times have changed! Since the release of the new PS3 slim and since the extreme price drop of the PS3 things have changed, and now there's also a huge advertising campaign helping the PS3 regain Sony's rightful spot at the number one position of the console market.

Before I list the "20 reasons to own a PS3", may I say we also have an XBox360 in the house, and I have had full use of a 360 many times. I view and play a lot of games on a lot of formats, and I have done since the late 1970's, so I have no real bias apart from wanting the best out of a console.

Here are my 20 reasons to own a PS3:
01: Uncharted 2 - Never has there been a game that has given so much. Uncharted 2 is at this point in time unchallenged in the console market as THE finest game ever released to console.

02: Killzone 2 - Forget Halo or the Call Of Duty/Modern Warfare series, or any other FPS for that matter, Killzone 2 set the target for others to beat on the graphics, sound, online and single player modes and of course the gameplay. It's just a stunning game.

03: Playstation Network (PSN) - It's free and it's brilliant. From here you play games online free, you can download demos, games, videos and much more! Some say it's not as good as Live on the Xbox, but that is so not true at this stage, PSN delivers everything you need to have a enjoyable experience.

04: Wi-Fi - Yes! No need to buy a seperate dongle, the PS3 comes with built in Wi-Fi!

05: Recharagable Controllers - You never need to replace the batteries in the PS3 controllers as they are rechargable, and they last a good 8+ hours per play when fully charged.

06: VidZone - A brilliant application that allows you to make your own playlists up for video streaming. Vidzone is fun, Vidzone is brilliant, and from what I can see on my friends list, everyone uses it!

07: The Internet - The PS3 has a built in web browser. As a general browser it is perfectly adequate, and allows us to access everything we need, from Twitter, Youtube and Facebook through to most any other site you can think of.

08: Bluray Player - Yes, the PS3 is a mighty Bluray player too! Which means 1080p hi-def films with lossless sound. It's something you have to see to believe, as the quality far surpasses any streaming HD that other consoles offer.

09: SingStar - The series that lets you sing to your hearts content! The PS3 has a great selection of Singstar games, from Chart Hits to Abba, Queen and Take That plus a lot more. What's more, you can download your favourite songs off PSN!

10: BBC iPlayer - A built in tab on the PS3's XMB allows you to access the BBC iPlayer, it's been fine-tuned to work perfectly with the PS3, and it's a great addition!

11: Remote Play with PSP - Connect your PSP and PS3 together via cable or via a network and your PSP can use your media and even some games from your PS3. Try watching Vidzone on your PSP while at a friends who doesn't have a PS3, or even play a game from PSN!

12: Wipeout HD/Fury - The classic Wipeout series comes to the PS3 and is better than ever. No-one would ever know this is a downloadable game, as it looks, sounds and plays better than most "normal" games.

13: Buzz - The greatest quizz on any console! Buzz allows you to play local or online against people you've never met. Huge fun, and another great exclusive.

14: Metal Gear Solid 4 - This is a game everyone should play. Only available on PS3, and you can see why. Some amazing gameplay, graphics to die for and the best FMV sequences you will ever see.

15: Little Big Planet - LBP is a cute game, it's a 2D platformer with a style of it's own. What's more impressive though is the huge social network it is built around, allowing you to create your own games or play other peoples attempts. Very impressive!

16: HDMI - All Sony's PS3's consoles have had HDMI for Hi-Def TVs, while other consoles only certain models have had HDMI support.

17: It's Quiet! - Yes, the PS3 is very quiet, especially when compared to the XBox360. Even at it's loudest the PS3 is quieter than the quietest 360.

18: It does not scratch your games/movies - The Xbox360 is renowned for scratching games with even the slightest movement of the console. The PS3 has no such worries.

19: God Of War III - Ok, I've only played the demo so far, but this game looks like it could one of the best games ever. It's a game everyone loves, and it's only available on PS3. Technically it's an awesome beast, which even impressed me!

20: MotorStorm Pacific Rift - One of the greatest arcade racers made. It's one that gets harder the more you progress, but it's worth it for to view it's technical prowess.

So that's just 20 random facts I could think of off the top of my head. Of course, there's a lot more to come in the near future, with the best exclusive games including Gran Turismo 5, Heavy Rain and God Of War Collection, plus they are adding new features to PSN all the time.

The PS3 is the way to go. It's also more cost effective, with no annual or monthly subscription that allows you to play online with friends, plus it has built in wi-fi and you can use any blue-tooth head-set with it (unlike the 360). Games are coming right down in price also, and the Platinum collection is simply unbeatable.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Why Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is the greatest game ever.

I've been playing game for over 30 years. The first few years of my gaming life (1977-1982) I played simple Pong clones or Grandstand consoles with various football and tennis games. Then came my first real computer, the ZX81 which allowed me to play dozens of different kinds of games. Soon after my passion really evolved when I had my Amstrad CPC computer, ZX Spectrum, Sega Master System, Mega Drive, Amiga 500, Amiga 1200, Sega Saturn, Playstation, Dreamcast, PS2 and everything in between. I love game playing, and I can not deny it's taken up a huge part of my life. In total I must have played thousands of games, many of them only once or twice and not getting very far on them, and many of them to the very bitter end.

So, it takes a lot for a game to impress me today. In fact, it takes something very very special to even make me comment on ho good it is. This generation has given us some of the best games ever, my draw dropped when I played Killzone 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4, the graphics were beyond beautiful, and the whole thing on both games was a technical tour-de-force. The original Uncharted was a great game, it looked amazing and played very well, and for once it brought me back in believing that games could become brilliant again.

Of course, games today are very different to the games I grew up with in the 1970's, 80's and 90's. Even games downloaded from the internet are something special now. Wipeout HD/Fury would have been unheard of a couple of years ago as a download, but once downloaded it's graphics and game play are enough to blow your proverbial socks off! So, everything taken into consideration, Uncharted 2 must be something really special.

So, what does Uncharted 2 have that makes it the greatest game ever made? First off, character. You play the game and it feels genuine, you feel for the characters and you feel for the script. It feels like you are genuinely part of a movie and you feel you are contributing to everything that goes on. Secondly, from a technical point of view the graphics, sound, script and acting are a million times better than anything that has come before. This is the most beautiful game you have ever seen, heard or had the pleasure of controlling. The cut-scenes are the best you'll ever see... sometime you think you're watching a movie and forget you're playing a game. It is that good.

They've taken the original triple "A" Uncharted, and added a further couple of "A"'s to it. Everything that was brilliant about the first game has been amplified and improved on. You now have the option to play the game with much more stealth, and there are some great stealth attack moves. Talking of moves, the way you go from gun-play to hand combat to climbing is just mind blowing, everything just feels so natural, you ARE the humorous lady's-man Drake.

So, I'll rate this game on completing it once and about to start playing it again, the review can not express how good the game is, it is that good. Anyone who has not played this game, or skips the cut-scenes really needs to get it, and play it right... It's a life changing game to play in the world of games.

Game Play: 10/10 - So many moves, so many treasures to find, so many things to unlock. Perfect for replaying... and I've not touched on the online play yet!
Graphics: 10/10 - The best you'll ever see on any console, with great animation and unrivaled details.
Sound: 10/10 - Simply stunning, I wish I could buy the soundtrack as a separate CD, it's brilliant! Sound effects and dialog are world class.
Overall: 10/10 - It's all but perfect.

Friday, 9 October 2009

It's Politics time again. Who to vote?

Let me start by saying that I am neither a Labour nor a Conservative voter. I do vote in every election and bi-election, but I have never voted either of these two parties. There are other's out there that would do a better job, however sadly most people are too middle of the road to reach out and vote someone different.

So, yesterday was the Conservative Party Conference speech where David Cameron made his gripping speech. Of course, it was a strong speech, stirring and saying exactly what he wanted people to hear. And that is the point, I believe he was just saying what people want to hear. Now is the era of the actor in Politics, and David Cameron was acting as if he was a person for the people. Since when was Conservative Politics interested in the man on the street? Surely this would make them more Labour than Labour themselves?

Politics are changing, the World is changing, yet British Politics is stuck in the last Century. We need a party now who can deal with the troubles that are presented to us these days. Taxes, Immigration, Housing, NHS, Employment, Social Disorder and much much more. How can someone run the country if they have never experienced problems in any of these?

If I was Prime Minister for here are some of the things I would bring in:

We all have to be taxed, it's a fact that we can not escape. But having been on the low earnings ladder (less than £10,000 a year) and on the high end of earnings (£55,000+) myself, I could not believe that I was paying almost the same tax at both ends. What I would propose is a fairer Tax system, based on the area you live. Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland would have a high earners ceiling of £50,000, while England would have a ceiling of £55,000 and London £60,000. To be fair, if anyone has trouble living on more than this, then they need a huge grasp of reality. So, anyone below the ceiling would pay a standard low rate of tax (dependent on the current economic climate). Now anyone over the ceiling I'd enforce a 50% tax for the amount over the threshold, it's more than fair, and the extra money in the bank will help out those who really need it!

The UK is the softest target for immigrants and European migrants. I've visited Belgium and Holland on numerous occasions and they have it right. They place immigrants and European migrants into holding areas, they are only given vouchers for food and are not entitled to any financial aid. After 6 weeks, if they can not prove they are over in the country for a valid reason or if they do not have a valid professional job that could be of use to the country then they are shipped out of the country. It's an almost perfect example, though I would also organize immediate send-back of those already here, I know the current Party already does this, but it needs to be speeded up.

Have you noticed just how many houses are empty? How many huge old buildings are just falling apart and not used? First priority would be to modernise these buildings, and create quick and effective housing for those who need it. WHY in 2009 are there homeless people? It's wrong, and it is so easy to fix. I'd also re-instate affordable housing, and also cap house prices so that anyone can afford them. A house is NOT a luxury, it's a need of everyone, and no-one on any scale of social ladder should be able to afford to buy or rent a house.

Cleaning out the foreign immigrants will free up many hundreds of thousands of jobs. Now, some of these may be minimum-wage jobs, however the minimum wage is more than enough to live on, and live on comfortably. I know plenty of happily married couples and single people on minimum wage jobs who are more than comfortable so I see no excuse why anyone would not take a job with minimum wage pay. If they refuse a job that is offered to them, then simply stop any benefits. I'd also bring back two years National service in the army, for everyone between 17 and 21, it's something that needs to be done in this country and would ensure plenty of jobs and skills for jobs in the future.

Social Disorder:
As mentioned above, National Service would give youngsters a sense of being once again, I'd also start new clubs for children between 11 and 16 in which they would learn valuable skills for the future plus they would participate in more sporting and out-door events. This would be a process of ensuring that future generations learn to be part of society, be a human doing, not just a human being.

Young offenders would be placed into the military under strict rule, while degenerates over 21 would be used as hard-laborers on the new housing schemes. No prisoners would be aloud TV, and they would lose their human rights and only be given basic requirements to live, unless they prove themselves to be of any worth.

There are a lot more things I would change, and there is a need for the country to stop all this political correctness nonsense and get on with getting on! Modern politicians are just actors telling us things we want to believe, but rarely do they deliver. We need a change, and we need one now, we need a good clear out of the old and we need to put the "Great" back in Great Britain.

Now, who do I vote for?

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Gaming update.

It's been a good time for games recently. There have been some great games and game demos released, and I have spent quite a bit of time playing a variety of them.

My first new game is "Rock Band Beatles" (which I have mentioned briefly before). After hours of play, Sara, Karl and myself completed the game on Medium difficulty level. With 45 Beatles songs, the game is huge fun and a must for anyone who likes the band. Vocals are brilliant fun to sing, lead guitar is great and bass guitar is sometimes quite hard. We've only played it with drums once or twice, and they were actually quite difficult. Good old Ringo played a mean beat! If I was to rate this game out of 10 I believe it should get a 8/10.

Second new game is "Need For Speed: Shift". It's a racing game, that is split up into four different tiers, plus a fifth super-special tier. At first, I was a bit dubious. Graphics are more life-like and less colourful than other games of this genre, however the in-car cockpit view is absolutely awesome. Once you get a little way into the game, it becomes like a drug. Unlike many modern racers, you can actually throw these cars the track and have some serious fun. The track design is brilliant, and there's a great selection of cars. Anyone who knows me, knows I love racing games, and for it to be something special, it takes a lot. I think "Shift" is now my favourite racing game. It mixes old-skool throwing the car around, with modern driving physics and overall great control... and it's FUN! I'll rate this 9/10.

I'm also in the process of going through some older games. I'm replaying "Uncharted: Drakes Fortune" for the third time, and I'm loving every minute of it. I forgot how good the graphics, story and game play are in this game. This gets a 10/10 easy, and was probably the first PS3 triple A title. I'm also going through "Brothers In Arms: Hells Highway". This game takes some getting used to with the controls (as you have to command a couple of other teams as well as control yourself!), but once mastered it's a great WWII shooter. Graphics are nothing special, but the overall feel of the game is pretty good. So far then, over half way through it, I'll give it 7/10.

I spent an hour or so playing some classic Megadrive classics yesterday also, "Super Hang-On", "Golden Axe" and "Wonder Boy III". Wow, how games have progressed, and these games only managed to keep my mind occupied for a short time. I even completed "Golden Axe" in that short time I played the games!

So, next big game being released is "Uncharted 2: Among Thieves", which I have on pre-order. Review will be coming up soon!

:) Mark

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Beatles Remasters - A Review

On 09/09/09 the entire Beatles back catalogue was re-released in brand new packaging and with totally revamped and re-mastered sound quality. On that day I received The Beatles Stereo Box-Set and I also managed to acquire The Mono set of CDs as well. Since that day, I have been listening to these albums and making some decisions on the sound quality.

First off though, some background. I had in my collection all the original 1987 CD releases, plus I had CD copies of the 24-bit remastered Dr Ebbetts editions of all the Beatles collection. The Dr Ebbetts selection gave us much improved sound quality over the original official Beatles releases so the new official releases had a lot to live up to.

The Stereo Box-Set comes in a lush black box, with all the albums recreated lovingly in fold-out reconstructions of the original LP covers. They all come with great quality booklets with notes and tons of pictures, and it looks like a lot of work went into these beauties.

So, the sound quality is where of course it matters most. These days I am used to listening to 24-bit digitally remastered classics by my other favourite artists, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley and The Byrds, so The Beatles remasters had a lot to compete with.

The stereo albums without a doubt sound far superior to anything ever released by The Beatles. They knock the spots off the 1987 CDs and they are superior to the already amazing Dr Ebbetts versions. There is a nice amount of bass, the mid-range is now much better and the top end is pristine. Never does a song sound like it is going to crack at any second, everything breathes and you can hear things in the recordings that you never noticed before. Guitars sound stunning, drums sound real and cymbals make the right noise. Vocals too sound perfect, and when yoy hear Paul sing "Yesterday", it's as if he is in the room with you.

The mono versions of the albums are sometimes regarded to THE albums to listen to. Yes, they have some subtle (and not so subtle) differences to the Stereo versions, however for those who have never heard the mono versions, this is the best they have ever sounded, only slightly better than the Dr Ebbetts releases, however better. For me as an avid fan, I would say listen to both versions when ever possible, however, for the first time ever I now say The Beatles in Stereo sound have that little edge on the mono recordings.

So, which version should you buy? Well, the only versions available of the albums that are sold sepreatly are the stereo versions, so for a casual fan these will be more than adequate... Infact, the albums Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt Peppers and Magical Mystery Tour are all must buy purchases!

:) Mark

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

General update

Life in general
So, it's September 2009. Time is flying by at an unbelievable pace at the moment and I just can't keep up with everything. I've been looking for work, and I've been enjoying my time off. It's a whole mish-mash of feelings at the moment, but I want a job that will do me for a few good years yet. I'm working on my own business, but I don't know how that will pan-out yet.

I got back from London yesterday. Sara and me had a good time, although Sara found it hard work with her bad knee and crutches. Everytime her leg seems to get slightly better, it then gets slightly worse. I do sympathise with her, and I wish that it would get better as I can see the constant pain that she is in.

My blood pressure seems to be ok at the moment (touch-wood), however, I'm getting worked up at stupid things, so I'll tell the doctor tomorrow when I visit him. I'll be just glad when everything is back to normal and we're all working and money is coming in again.

I've not had much chance to do a lot of gaming recently, however I have installed the new firmware 3.0 for the PS3 and I think it's ok. The new sparkle effects are nice, and everything seems to be running that little bit quicker. I like the BBC iPlayer icon and I like what they have done to the internet browser. So, all in all not bad.

I have played a few demos, Dirt 2 being my least favourite probably. It looked nice don't get me wrong, but just doesn't "feel" right. "Wet" looks interesting, but I've not had time to fully explore this yet, as does "mini-ninjas".

I really fancy doing some old-skool 8-bit and 16-bit gaming over the next week or so, so I'll probably fire-up my emulators and have a good old blast of Zub and other classics.

Beatles Rock Band and Stereo Box-Set
So, this time next week I will hopefully have the above titles. I'm really looking forward to them and know I'm just going to have a blast. Although I have always been a fan of the Beatles albums in mono, I have heard great things about the stereo mixes on the forthcoming release.

So, I'll blog next week on the Beatles goodies that I should have... Until then... Chow!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

My top 50 Video Games... Ever... Ever...

So, it's been ages, but here we have my top 50 games of all time. It's a reflection of huge selection of games that I have played in arcades and on computers and consoles since 1977. It's been compiled over a couple of months and great thought has been put into it. I think it's a really accurate top 50 of the games I have most enjoyed.

50. Zub (CPC) – Great theme tune, adequate graphics and just a fun game. Zub is a game not known by many, but a game I spent a huge chunk of my youth playing. Guide your character Zub to the top of the floating towers while shooting bad guys, transport to the next level and move on. Again, the simple things work best.

49. Phoenix (Arcade/CPC/PC) – Not another Space Invaders clone? Yes it is, and just like Galaga this game takes the concept and improves on it. A great classic game in every way that is always fun to play.

48. Body Blows (Amiga) – THE fighting game for the Commodore Amiga was Body Blows. It came on 5 or 6 disks, was available in an advanced version (which I had), and at the time was the beat-em-up of choice for me. Playing the game today, it still looks good, however, it does not play as well as any of the other fighters in my top 50 list. Still, a classic game that gave me endless hours of fun.

47. Defender (Arcade/Various) – Another old game from the dawn of time. Defender is hard, it's unforgiving and it's a nightmare to play if you just dip into it. That said, it's a brilliant game that can reward if you have the patience.

46. Uridium (C64) – Playing Uridium on a 42” LCD now reminds me that even quite simple graphics and sound can be really addictive. This game is hard! But when you are on a roll you get a great feeling of reward. I've got to level 7 and it was a shear fluke, but I love this. The only C64 game in my top 50, but what a damn fine game!

45. Bejeweled (Mobile/PC) – This game is so easy to pick up and so hard to put down. Played mostly on my mobile, this game is seriously addictive. The only mobile phone game listed in my top 50, it's simple and effective and so very playable.

44. Sorcery Plus (CPC) – The 8-bit gaming generation give us many classics, but Sorcery above all else showed us then when pushed the Amstrad could be better than any other 8-bit computer out there. Brilliant sound and graphics and a great flying platform game theme, this game was the pride in my Amstrad collection. It took me ages to finish, and playing it now I forgot how hard games used to be.

43. Tempest (Arcade/PS2) – The first time I played this game I didn't have a clue what was going on. I was about 10 years old, and I did not get very far in it. Thirty years later I can get quite far, and although it does ramp up difficulty really fast this game is an all time classic.

42. Desert Strike (Megadrive) – 3D-esque graphics that we'd not seen before, Desert Strike showed a generation that 16-bit games could be original and awesome. Flying through the deserts in your little helicopter and destroying the enemy scum, this game somehow made you feel you were in the thick of the action. Great game and great action.

41. Cannon Fodder (Amiga/Megadrive) – The first point and click action adventure shoot-em up I ever played. This game is fantastic, and seriously needs a remake. You control your little guys who you can split up into little groups and basically you have to kill the enemy. Point at a player, click on him/them and point and click the part of the screen you want them to go. See an enemy and fire!!! Great graphics, great game play and an overall brilliant game.

40. Pang (Snes) – I was never a huge fan of the Snes at the time, however Pang was a game that caught my attention. I play this game a lot these day, and the Snes version is still the best version available.

39. Arkanoid (CPC/Amiga) – It's Pong! Ok, it's Pong with colour and add-ons, but it's still that classic game Pong. Arkanoid is as addictive now as ever, and has been released on almost every format. The CPC version was arcade perfect, and the version I have played the most.

38. Barbarian (CPC) – What can be said about Barbarian that can sum up the pleasure and fun that I had with this game? Probably nothing actually. This game lived in my Amstrad CPC, and more recently in my emulator probably more than any other game. It was my first real encounter with a fighting game. Ok, so it’s no Street Fighter, or Tekken, and it sure ain’t no Soul Calibur, however it was, and still is a great fun hack-and-slash-come-beat-em-up.

37. Pacman (Arcade/PS2) – Next to Space Invaders this is the Grand Daddy of all computer games, and believe it or not I love it! I've never been exceptionally good at the game but I still find in enduring. Simple graphics and brilliant game play make this the perfect game.

36. Halo (PC/Xbox) – For some reason the Halo universe has reached some odd glory that tries to put it in a place where it really isn't. Halo was a fun shoot-em up, although I did find it a bit easy. The follow up games were also fun, however it's the first in the series that makes my top 50. Great fun and technically brilliant, this game gave me a few good hours of game play.

35. Die Hard Trilogy (PS1) – Three games for the price of one! You got a racer, a point and shoot and a platform game all in one package. The games remain huge fun to play, however, like some other PS1 titles graphics have dated and are quite blocky compared to other consoles and other eras. Still, this game represents the best value that was available at the time, and all three games are actually very good!

34. Ikari Warriors (CPC/Amiga) – The screen scrolls downwards, your little Rambo look-a-like takes on hoards of enemies, you fire your gun, you throw grenades... Two players mode adds even more fun to the game, which is just an absolute classic. It can get hard in the later levels by yourself, but with two players it is a little easier.

33. Super Monaco GP (Megadrive) – At the time this game was in my Megadrive more than any other, by today's standards it's pretty light weight, however at the time we would play the game trying to get milliseconds off each lap. Still though, a great fun game with a great challenge.

32. Bust-A-Move aka Puzzle Bobble (PS1/PS2/N64) – Puzzle games can be so annoying on times, however Bust-A-Move is an exception to the rule. It's just so much fun, and the sound effects and tune are just so annoying that you hum them for weeks after. Probably the best puzzle game available, all we need now is a HD remake!

31. Continental Circus (CPC/PS2) – My favourite racing game on the good old Amstrad CPC computers, this was a great conversion of the arcade classic. Even today this game plays well, and the Amstrad version plays as well as the arcade version. A real piece of 8-bit art.

30. Doom (PS1) – Those days when I remember two consoles and two TVs in the room, wow, and the motion sickness that also occurred! Doom is a classic, it's a masterpiece of gaming and one that holds the record of probably the most hours I have ever played on an FPS. Graphically good in the day, sonically scary and game play to die for.

29. Bomberman Online (Dreamcast) – If there's one multi player game that's always fun to play, it's the hectic Bomberman. The Dreamcast version is just awesome fun with one, and especially so with two or more players. Although the graphic and sound are brilliant, this game is not about either of those, it's about game play and having fun! It delivers in bucket loads, brilliant!

28. Rali-sport Challenge (PC/Xbox) – I first played this on the Xbox, and it blew me away! It’s the PC version that most of my time is spent playing now though. This game has the best of everything. It has superb graphics, playability of Sega Rally, huge amount of tracks and its difficulty is just right. It’s not often a rally game comes along that ticks all the tick boxes, but this is one of those few.

27. Raiden Trad (Megadrive) – Both Raiden Trad and Varth are downwards scrolling shooters of extreme quality. Raiden Trad was one of the first of this games of this ilk that I really fell in love with. It reminds me of a thinking man's shooter, it's not too fast, so you can think about your positioning on the screen and you feel you can achieve quite a lot. Great fun, with great graphics and sound.

26. Super Hang On (Megadrive/Amiga) – How many hours I have spent playing this game has to be anyone’s guess. There’s nothing better than a great racing game, and Super Hang On is one of the great arcade racers. Basically this is Outrun on bikes, but to me it’s a little more than that. The nearest game to this in modern game is probably the Moto GP series, however, Super Hang On is far more playable.

25. Panzer Dragoon Zwei (Saturn) The Sega Saturn is an under-rated machine, however games like this prove that the Saturn was a great console. An on-rails shooter this game is fun and addictive. Playing this game now you realise graphics may have got better, but the fundamental design has remained almost the same and you really appreciated games past and present.

24. Unreal Tournament 2003 (PC) – An FPS of gigantic proportions. Unreal Tournament is a classic in every way. It's fast, furious and more fun than a barrel of monkeys. A must have for anyone's PC collection.

23. Golden Axe (Megadrive) – This is the game I spent all my 10p’s on in my youth. We’d all go down the arcade and play this mighty game. The Megadrive version was almost identical, I remember seeing the very first time on my tv, and it blew me away! Arcade ports don’t come much better than this classic hack-em-up. And… Of course I was always the little dwarf!

22. Streets Of Rage (Megadrive) – Oh God! The music, the graphics, the silky smooth scrolling, the punching, the kicking, the special move. Yes, Streets Of Rage had it all, and then some. Probably one of the finest Megadrive games ever, and I played it to death. Still a great blast today!

21. Daytona (Saturn/Dreamcast) – “Daytona Yeahhhhhhh!” Yet again the Saturn version of this game comes up trumps. Ok, the Dreamcast version looks amazing, but the Saturn version (actually that should be versions, as it was released as a Championship Edition also) plays just like the arcade. A brilliant game that you can play over and over again without getting bored.

20. V-Rally (PS1) – I remember the first time I set eyes on this game. For a PS1 game it just blew me away. It was super-fast, graphically stunning and had great game play. Some people found the controls a bit twitchy, but after a few minutes this game is just an amazing experience. There was a follow up on the Dreamcast and PC which was also a great game; however it’s the original I still go back to for the fun and thrill of a great rally.

19. R-Type (Master System/Amiga) – Sideways shooters are either hard or very hard with no in-between. R-Type I believe is just at the right difficulty level, if you concentrate you can progress really far on this seminal sideways blaster. An amazing game on nearly all formats.

18. Soul Calibur (Dreamcast/PS3) – Fighting with weapons has never been so much fun. Soul Calibur on the Sega Dreamcast is a beat-em-up of fantastic proportions. You fight with weapons, and each hit feels like it’s really had contact with the opponent. The PS3 game Soul Calibur IV brought back all the fun and flavour of the original. Sure, the graphics are better on the PS3 version, however both games play almost identical and are a pleasure to play.

17. Capcom Vs SNK Millennium Fight 2000 (PS1) – After playing the Street Fighter Alpha series of games for many years, I stumbled upon this classic fighter. Unlike the Street Fighter series, you get to chose three fighters in a team, and use them all in turn until you, or the other player have expelled all their lives. Graphically this game is way better than any other Street Fighter or SNK game, and it plays one hell of a brilliant game. I only have the PS1 version, but to play it you’d never guess it was on hardware that is now three generations old.

16. Varth (Arcade/PS2/PSP) – I got involved in this game quite late on, it's a downward scrolling shooter with a slight difference. You can collect a couple of orbs that you can choose to protect you by either staying in front of you, or moving around you stopping the enemies fire-power. Great graphics and sound and running at a good speed, this is one amazing blast that rewards you for time and effort.

15. Heavenly Sword (PS3) – Some people have slated this game, but they have obviously never played it. It has some stunning graphics, great sound and voice acting and a great story. The last boss is almost impossible, but apart from that this is one hell of a game. Combining different elements of game play, this game is a must for all PS3 console owners. It took me an age to complete it, but it was well worth it for the experience.

14. Sonic The Hedgehog (Megadrive) – Any top 50 would not be complete with the brilliant Sonic. A great game in every way, Sonic was in everyone lives during the early 90's. This game was played to death by me, and I still enjoy a quick blast now. Sonic was king of consoles, shame he can not find his feet again.

13. Sega Rally (Saturn/PS3/PSP) – Rally games don’t come as iconic as Sega Rally. Ever since I played it in the arcade I wanted a home version which lived up to that experience. Sega Rally on the Saturn almost gave that experience. A great game in every respect, the Saturn version played just like the arcade version. The PS3 version has the same feel but is a new game altogether, and again gets a lot of gaming from me. The PSP yet again is another different version, and again has that great Sega Rally feel. Absolutely awesome in every respect!

12. Galaga '88 (Arcade/PS2) – The music, the sound effects and the shear brilliance of the game make this an all time favourite. It's Space Invaders with all kinds of frills, and so it's classic game play hides the fact that this is one mega-blast-feast of a title.

11. Super Street Fighter II (Snes/Megadrive/Arcade) – This is considered the finest of all the Street Fighter games by many people, however, I prefer the Alpha series for its game play and graphics. Whenever I play this, I really enjoy the bouts, yet find it a bit hard compared to the Alpha series.

10. Guitar Hero 3 (PS3) Music games came of age with this game. For once I can play real rock guitar to dozens of classic tracks. And yes, it comes with plastic instruments. A really amazing game and a brilliant game to spend time with family and friends. Simply awesome!

09. Street Fighter Alpha 3 (Dreamcast/PSP) – If ever there was a Street Fighter game that captured my imagination, it was Street Fighter Alpha 3 on the Sega Dreamcast. As much as I’d enjoyed previous Street Fighter games, when I picked up and played this, something just clicked like never before in a game. The controls were spot on for a beat-em-up, easy to pick up, yet a lot to master. This game I have played so many times over the years I have lost count. The PSP version was my latest addition to the SFA3 series, and it is the most complete version of the game to date.

08. Racedriver: Grid (PS3) – Racing games come and go, but some stay forever and are next to perfect in the way of handling and game play. Racedriver: Grid is one awesome race-fest that just blows you away every time you play it. Graphically perfect, this is one of my favourite racing games of all time. It gets harder the more you progress, but it is rewarding when you finish top 3 in any given event.

07. Uncharted: Drakes Fortune (PS3) – A modern platform game which shows off the PS3's potential well. This is a brilliant game, with the only slight downside being the aiming mechanism when firing your gun. Once mastered, it's just mind blowing. Some great puzzles, great action and a great humorous story. Uncharted is a AAA title that just shines each time you play it.

06. Singstar (Ps2/PS3) What seems like little more than a Karaoke machine, Singstar makes the perfect game to play with family and friends. No need to think about playing any instruments are pushing any buttons, simply sing into the blue ot red banded microphone and have fun. With each disc with between 20 and 30 tracks, and even more to download on PSN, this game has never tired. Kept alive with new editions every few months and those downloads for PS3 owners, this is a well worthy game for this day and age of hardcore and casual gamers. Perfect!

05. Outrun (Saturn/PSP/PS3) Outrun was a great game in the arcades, however it’s the Saturn and PSP versions that I have played the most over the years. The Saturn version plays almost identical to the arcade and is a wonderful representation of the Saturn’s power. The PSP version is a home version of Coast to Coast 2006 from the arcades, which was the best of all the Outrun series. For me, these games give me some of the best pleasure in racing games, just simple arcade action at its best.

04. Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3) There were First Person Shooters before Call Of Duty 4, but it was this game that single handedly changed console FPS games forever. Great graphics and seriously solid game play, COD4 has eaten up many PS3 owners gaming time. Many regard this as the best game available, while I prefer Killzone 2 as the controls are heavier and more realistic than the rather floaty controls of COD4. Still, an amazing game and one of the best games available on any platform.

03. Tekken 5: DR (PSP/PS3) – The greatest Tekken of them all comes in the form of Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. Not since the classic Tekken 3 had a Tekken game some magnificent in every way possible. Each character handles uniquely, and when mastered is the most dangerous fighting character of them all. This game is different to any other fighting game. It’s pace, it’s style, and everything else is a work of pure art. If there were no fighting games on earth apart from this one, I would be happy.

02. Wipeout HD/Fury (PS3) The Wipeout series has always held my attention, although none has come close to the latest edition Wipout HD on the PS3. It’s a stunningly beautiful game that plays perfectly. It can be hard to start off racing, but once mastered it entertains for hours on end. It offers an awesome online play mode also, which just adds to the depth. Unbelievable in every way!

01. Metal Gear 4 (PS3) – “Guns Of The Patriot” is stunning. It's beautiful. Never has a console been pushed so hard, and as such this is one of the best looking games ever. A lot of people say it's little more than an interactive movie, but it is so much more than that. This game took me quite a while to complete but it was well worth it. Yes, it has a lot of CGI movies telling the story, but they are very high quality and enjoyable. I've never liked Metal Gear games, but this game is outstanding in every way.

Note: Since making this list, two very influencial games were released. Both Need For Speed: Shift and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves would now be in the top 10 of my list. 2009 was a great year for games, and the thought that it can get better than Uncharted 2 really blows my mind!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

From Elvis In Memphis - A Review

Elvis Presley. I could have said just “Elvis” and the chances are that you would have known exactly whom I was talking about. Elvis released some fabulous albums in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. He released a ton of out-of-this-world singles. During the mid 60’s though his output was mainly film-fodder, with hardly a decent tune between the cringe-worthy wobbles of rocks greatest icon.

All this was to change with the 68’comeback special, a great TV performance that quite frankly blew me away the first time I viewed it, and solidified Elvis’ place in Rock ‘N’ Roll history. After that show, Elvis was once again King of the crop, and his first major album after his “comeback” was “From Elvis In Memphis”.

What can be said about this album that has not been said before? Well, yes, it’s one of the greatest albums of the 1960’s, if not, since the dawn of time. But for Elvis, it was a time to get back to his roots, find his voice again and do what he done best, make awesome music for music fans.

“From Elvis In Memphis” originally contained twelve tracks; the new “Legacy” version of the album contains these twelve tracks, plus the ten tracks from the follow up album “Elvis In Memphis” plus 14 various other tracks from the same sessions including no fewer than ten heart-stopping mono single masters. It’s an Elvis fans wet dream, and the sound quality has to be heard to be believed… Simply soulful, heavenly bliss.

The original album itself contained the hit single “In The Ghetto”, but this is in no way the best track on the album. Every track is something special, and as soon as you hear the opening track “Wearin’ That Loved On Look”, you know you’re in for something special. My favourite song on the album is probably “True Love Travels On A Gravel Road”, the title in itself most un-Elvis like.

No amount of praise will prepare you for this sonic-boom of an album, so I’ll stop writing this review and you can go listen to the album somewhere. Buy it now, it’s a must have in anyone’s collection.

New month and a Job at last - or maybe two jobs?

Yesterday I went for an interview as an Assistant Manager in a small store in Aberystwyth. Today I heard that I was successful at applying for the job, and I can start the end of August! This seems like good news, and indeed it is, however for once in my life I am also driven to do something for myself.

Why work five days out of seven including Sundays when you can work for yourself from the comfort of your own home? Well, between myself and my friend Karl we’ve been working on our website http://www.karmdesign.moonfruit.com

Now, our job is going to be designing websites for other people. In this day and age it is vital that any business should have a web outlet of some kind, even if it’s just one page with name and address and directions on how to get there.

We intend to hopefully corner this part of the market. The one page, too five page websites. Simple, effective and affordable. What’s more, we’ll even promote the sites through various means, which we are working on.

It’s all about getting that first site. Once we’ve achieved that then it should be easier to get more as we build up a portfolio. For now, we’ve been working on a few page designs over at our site. It’s early days yet, but we’re getting there.

Please visit, and if you need a web site designed, we can do it for as little as £250, and than includes the site and domain, full technical and update support for a year and more!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

PS3+PSP+PC=Loads Of Media

So, I was talking to my best mate Karl about my PSP and PS3's integration and showed him that remote play enabled me to play any of the media files on my PS3 to be played on my PSP. I showed him some video clips, and played some music, all of which were being streamed by my PS3 in another room.

Then came a clever part. Some PSN and all PS1 games on the PS3 hard drive can be played on the PSP while in remote play. Awesome! So, for those who do not understand remote play, you switch your PS3 into remote play mode and just leave it in it's usual position. Turn the PS3 off, then go out with your PSP and either find a free wi-fi spot or use someone elses wi-fi. Turn on your PSP, switch to "Remote Play" mode and the PSP will link up with a wi-fi connection and connect remotely to your PS3 allowing all this goodness of running things from your PS3 on your PSP.

Taking this idea a step further, we turned on the PS3, turned on my main PC and set up a media Server with the PS3 and PC. This allows you then to play any movies, music or pictures from your PC on your PS3. Secondly, we set the PS3 into remote play mode. Our task was to see if we could use the PSP to stream movies, music and photos from the PC onto our PSP.

So, after a few seconds, the PS3 and PC were linked, our media server was set up. We turned on the PSP and connected via the Internet connection to start our remote play session. OH YES! As the PSP acts like your PS3, we could access the PCs content, and soon I was streaming Quantum Of Solace perfectly onto the PSP.

Of course, the possibilities for this are enormous, you could take your PSP on holiday or on a trip with you, and as long as you have wi-fi in your room or in the lobby etc, you could access games, movies, music, photos etc on your PSP. Your PSP's memory card can now be used just for games, and everything else can be left at home.

The times we live in are great! Who'd have thought that pairing consoles and PCs would be so much fun and so easy?

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The BBC & the licence fee

Introduction - The BBC licence fee.
Straight fact, the BBC makes over £3.1 Billion a year on the TV Licence fee in the UK. A huge chunk of this money is squandered and wasted needlessly on it's staff and expenses. So in this day and age, where we are all about to go digital, do we really need a BBC licence fee?

We are one of the few countries in the World that has this extra tax burden in our everyday lives, however, by most it is not wanted, and by many of us we feel it is not needed. As I said, the whole of the UK will soon become digital, which means there are no options that could be put into place that would allow us not to pay this unfair tax, should we wish not to. So, here are the three options that I would hope for in the coming years.

Option 1: Advertisements
This may not be a popular option, but that said it does not hurt the viewing figures of ITV or any of the BBC's other competitors. The BBC already shows advertisements for it's own channels within the BBC network, so there is no excuse why it could not be funded commercially by advertisements. During this current economic climate, every TV and Radio station is finding it hard, so why should the BBC be almost excluded from this? Putting Advertisements on the BBC would mean that they would have to use the money they obtain wisely, so therefore you could say they could revert to making better quality programming once again. It's an option, but there are two more I could suggest.

Option 2: Subscription
So, subscription to the BBC network of channels should you wish to view them, this could either be done as a network package, or simply paying a little extra on your Sky or Virgin bill. This is the way that I would really like the BBC to go should they wish us, the tax paying public, to fund them. I was counting up my viewing and listening time of BBC channels, it comes to 2.5 hours a week of BBC 1, 2 hours of BBC 2, 4 hours a week for BBC News, 2 hours of BBC Radio Wales and about an hour of BBC Radio 1. That's pretty low viewing and listening pleasure for the money I currently pay, so subscription would give me the option to subscribe certain months when there is perhaps sport on TV that I may want to watch.

Option 3: Pay As You View
A great option for almost everyone I know. In this world of multi-platform TV the BBC has a distinct unfair advantage on everybody else in that it gets an unfair and unjust tax paid to them for us to watch their inferior channels. If you want to watch documentaries, then there are now dedicated channels that do a far better job than the BBC, if you want to watch music television, again, there are dedicated channels. As for news channels, the BBC news channels comes a close second to Sky News and to be fair, news should be free to everyone regardless of what service carries it. So, Pay As You Go is a great option for those of use who rarely watch the antiquated BBC services.

Quality of BBC programming
For those people who say that the BBC is an institution and has quality programming then this is an incorrect statement that has more to do with snobbery than actually to do with the quality of the BBC's programming itself. As stated in the previous paragraph, if you want a certain genre of TV content then it can be found elsewhere in as good as quality, if not better. What does the BBC really offer the TV audience of the 21st Century? Antique selling programs, home relocation programs, cooking programs, ancient movies and the odd decent program in the mix. It's just not acceptable with the money they earn, and people have to stand up and say "NO" to this waste of tax payers money.

So, what are the options and where should we go from here?
It's now about time to stop the licence fee and I believe choose a better option for the viewer. There is no reason why daytime TV cannot be funded by advertisements, there are many companies who would give their left arm to show an advert on the BBC. For evening viewing this could be an option of Pay As You Go or subscription should you wish not to lose the TV programs you never watch. As for Radio, there is no reason why advertisements could not fund the radio sector.

If the BBC is to be a Public Channel with the peoples interest at heart, I would move across the nasty cheap property and antiques programs from BBC 1 to BBC 2 and concentrate on more high-brow items during the day. BBC2 could become a "living" type channel with all the cheap programming. BBC 3 and BBC 4 could be merged, at the moment they are both filled with endless repeats, so are just wasting tax payers money.

BBC News is the one place where they actually do a reasonable job, so I believe they should be allowed to bid to have their news bulletins placed on rival TV channels, just the same as Sky News supply Channel 5 TV.

Many of us forget that the BBC is indeed an enterprise. On top of their money they make from the licence tax, they also sell their programs to channels all over the World and they have a vast merchandise line. Where does all this money go?

British TV is not perfect, it's not even the best in the World anymore. That's nothing to be ashamed of, peoples attitudes have changed, and many people would rather just sit and watch the news or sport all day than the rubbish that the BBC and others offer. We do need a change though, and now, during this digital turn-on is the ideal time for this to happen.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Job Hunting

So, just over six weeks since I started claiming Job Seekers Allowance and last night I attended a meeting for newly redundant people. The aim was to get us all back to work as efficiently as possible. Of course they went over the fact that you have to look for a job in other places than the Internet, this includes in the actual places of work themselves and through friends and relatives.

All this I believe is what most of us serious Job Seekers are doing anyways! So, just after the hour long session the persons conducting the meeting decided to go through the new vacancies this week for the Swansea area. The whole thing kind of fell apart at that point, as they only had three jobs to mention, and none of them were in Swansea!!! One was in Margam, one was even further afield and one of the jobs mentioned may be starting in the future - so not technically a fresh job to start there and then.

Of course, her main emphasis was on that we should take Voluntary work, which I and a few others found quite offensive as we'd just freshly joined the Job Market and were basically told "you have no chance as there's no jobs, so go do something for free".

The Worlds sucks, but if it didn't, then I guess we'd all fall off.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Farrah Fawcett & Michael Jackson... Deceased.

I got up this morning and I was greeted by the news from Sara that Michael Jackson had died. At first I thought she was pulling my leg, however I turned the TV on and she was indeed right. It's not often I'm shocked or upset at celebrity deaths, but last night before I went to bed I heard the news that Farrah Fawcett had died. This shocked me as she was only 62 and I'd remembered her as a huge part of growing up in the 1970's and 1980's.

However, Michael Jackson's death has really astounded me. He was just 50 years old and during the 1980's I loved his music and ingenious videos. We all know that he had a lot of turmoil in his later years, however during his “hit” period he was damn good.

The last time I remember anything similar to this was the day that Elvis Presley died. Yes I was only 7, however today brought those memories flooding back. Of course there was comparing Elvis to Wacko, Elvis was a genuine hero, a genuine talent who changed music as we know it. Jackson came close, and I know a lot of people loved his music so, it's to all those people I say “Michael, Rest In Piece”.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Music, Games & Other things...

How music listening has changed
Wow, I was not expecting those notes to the right to be so big! But in one way it's ok because that is the scale of things. This week I have started selling my music collection (and the odd DVD or game) to Music Magpie. The principal is you input the bar-code and it offers you a price. These prices per CD range from 30p to £3 so it's not too bad.

There used to be a time when I would sell music on eBay, however most of these CDs I am selling to Music Magpie are things I just do not listen to anymore, or I can listen to by other means (which I will come to later). The thing is, I have over 500 CDs cluttering the place up, so I was just going to throw them all away, on eBay most of them would not sell, and those that sell I would have to pay various fees to eBay, Paypal etc, and it's all too much like hard work with that many CDs.

Anyway, why sell? Simple answer, the way we listen to music has changed, and the way I listen to music definitely has changed. When at home now I stream most of my music on the wonderful Spotify free service, it has every track I can think of that I would ever want to listen to and there's always a PC on at my home. When I'm on my PS3 console, we have Vidzone which which is the video playing equivalent of Spotify (but with less selection), so of course that is ideal for a nice relaxing half hour. On the PC, Youtube now has a playlist feature which is also an ideal way to listen to any music you want, when you want!

On top of that I have my 80GB iPod only a third filled with over 250 albums, anything I download now goes straight on there and there's lots of room for much much more. The iPod goes everywhere with me and contains all my favourite albums, and then some! If I ever forget that, I have my Samsung Pixon phone with built in radio and an 8GB memory which is also used for my very favourite albums.

So, in general, the way I listen to music has vastly changed over the last couple of years. Of course, I will still keep my Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Jan & Dean, Beatles, Madonna and a few other artists collections on CD, but that will probably total around only 120 Cds or so that saves much more space. Ahhhh, how things have changed!

Personal gaming update
A lot of time has been spent on the Guitar Hero, Rock band and Singstar games lately, basically because they are fun and everyone in the family can enjoy them. Also, to be fair, I enjoy them to, though sometimes I do enjoy solitude and escape to my own world with games just for me.

I spent a few hours on Ford Racing 2 on the PS2, I only paid 50p for it, and to be honest, once I got into the handling of the cars I enjoyed every bit of it. I've unlocked loads, including all the rally stages. On top of that myself and Karl had a session of Motorstorm 2 and Dirt last week, which was highly entertaining... It's all racing games!

I was going to buy Fight Night Round 4 boxing, however, until they add back the buttons from Round 3 I think I will steer clear of it. It looks stunning, is really fast and is probably the closest a game has come to real boxing, however I will stick with Round 3 until they add the button changes or the price drops!

I'm still working on my top 50 games. I've actually typed them all out, I've just not ordered them into the correct order yet.

The best of the rest
I'm still enjoying using Twitter. I think of it as an easier way of blogging, basically I can say my little things, then a couple of times a week I can blog as I am doing now. This makes things a whole lot easier, and I am so addicted to it. People can not understand why I do it, but I know family and friends follow me so keep up with what I am doing, I know other people follow me and interact, and I also learn a lot from some of the useful Tweeters out there.

Time is getting closer to The Beatles box-sets. £169.99 for the stereo set (14 Cds and a DVD) and £199.99 for the mono set (13CDs & a DVD). This is the cheapest I have found them on Play.com. Luckily for me I had a voucher, so it knocked £20 odd off the price. Also, I am downloading "deluxe" editions of all the albums in the .flac format, these versions contain stereo, mono and sessions, however they are just an interim "fix" until the official remastered versions are released on 09.09.09.

My Internet connection is a funny thing. My home in Swansea is just outside the City Centre and my connection varies from 1MB to 2.5MB. It's quite odd, and as much as the government bullshits about making sure everyone has over 2MB lines, I think it will be many years before EVERYONE in the UK gets that. When in Aberystwyth we use a mobile broadband dongle which gives us speeds of around half a meg, it does the job, but it's not ideal.

Until next time, hope you enjoyed this longer than usual blog. More to come soon!

:) Mark