Category: Random tidbits

A new venture!

I have some exciting news. Since neglecting this beloved site I have been secretly working on a new project together with Maya. While there is still work left to do around branding and things, I couldn’t wait any longer to announce it on VVG.

Here is a prototype video essay put together by us on the subject of flight in videogames. In a move designed to shock and deceive, we named it ‘Flight’. The video essays we have planned are, in many ways, takes on our favourite subjects and themes from the blog and the podcast. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been kicking around these thoughts online here for just over six years – wow. The biggest difference here of course is the new (to us) medium of the video essay, and so far it’s been a challenging but rewarding one to work in.

In case anyone is curious about the games featured, the video includes footage of the following games (in order of first apperance):

  • Demon’s Crest (SNES)
  • Panzer Dragoon Zwei (Saturn)
  • Soukyugurentai (Saturn)
  • Super Mario Bros 3 (NES)
  • Skies of Arcadia Legends (Gamecube)
  • Sky Odyssey (PS2)
  • NiGHTS Into Dreams (Saturn)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis/Megadrive)

I’m really curious to know what you guys think of our approach with this video, so if you have any feedback we’d greatly appreciate you letting us know with a comment below. Thanks!

Run ‘n’ gun history, part 1: Gunstar Heroes (Megadrive) vs Contra III (SNES)

Cuphead has inspired me to reflect on my personal history with this wonderful genre. We’ll be covering heavyhitters like Contra, Gunstar Heroes, Metal Slug, as well as some more obscure entries. Introducing the classic sidescrolling run ‘n’ gun:

I grew up in the 32-bit era with only limited exposure to the 16- and 8-bit systems. As a result my first encounters with traditional run ‘n’ gun games were via the Wii’s Virtual Console. Here, I played two of the most iconic run ‘n’ guns ever made – Contra III and Gunstar Heroes. Let’s kick off this trip down memory lane with a by now classic debate, a mainstay of 16-bit console warring. Contra III vs Gunstar Heroes: which is better? Continue reading

Downsizing my game library

I recently decided to trim my game collection. I’ve said it before, but I don’t consider myself a collector. And yet despite this, over the years I’ve accumulated what amounts to a collection. At my last proper count, back in 2016, I owned 250 physical games. And that number has only gone up since 2016. So it was a pleasant relief to offload around 100 games recently, with plans to get rid of more soon.

Why now? Well, as someone who gets pleasure from playing games rather than simply owning them the numbers just weren’t making sense. I’ll try and break it down mathematically. Let’s say that I play on average one unique game per week. Extrapolating from that I would play something like 52 games in a year. That’s a fifth of my game collection, circa 2016. Not a great figure! Especially when a large portion of the games I play are newly acquired and not from my enormous backlog.

Given that it would take an estimated 5 years to play through every game I own… it’s just not worth it. I have a new philosophy about possessions: owning an item – storing it, holding onto it – has a cost. Usually it’s not financial (although it could be), but there is something we might call a mental cost or burden. The question then is what is worth more – the mental cost of owning an item or the financial cost of replacing it at a later date?

This reasoning has helped me to ditch a lot of stuff that, frankly, is so cheap and easy to replace that I wonder why I never pulled the plug sooner.

And so, the grand finale. Highlights from the hall of shame.

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My tragic Amiga childhood

So did anyone happen to catch the recentish video from James Rolfe, aka the Angry Video Game Nerd covering Amiga CD32 games? If not, it’s a highly recommended watch. Here it is.

This video speaks directly to me in a way that no other AVGN video ever has previously. I mean that literally by the way, as James Rolfe addresses me personally in this video when discussing Kang Fu:

What if you bought this when it was new? What if you played this when it was new? Did anyone actually grow up with this game? Imagine the psychological effects!

Well hey, that’s me. Because I didn’t grow up with Sega or Nintendo in my home. I had Commodore. I know there are many people in the UK who loved their Amiga, alas I was not one of them. Where sweet nostalgia should be for Amiga games there is a void of befuddlement and disappointment. Watching this video today is truly vindicating as it showcases several crappy games I was subjected to as a child on my dad’s Amiga computer: Gloom, Oscar, Zool, and the absolute lowlight of this video, Kang Fu.

Do you remember Kang Fu? I sincerely hope not.

My relationship with videogames didn’t change for the better until the year I got an N64 for Christmas and my parents upgraded to a Windows 98 PC. Now that’s what I call an upgrade!

Console modding: Sega Saturn and PlayStation

I’ve always shied away from the topic of console mods. Perhaps because it’s the kind of discussion that can result in bannings from forums and websites, auctions being shut down on eBay, that sort of thing. It’s a legal grey area – not the act of modding itself, but what modding can allow for. At the risk of indicting myself, I’m writing about it here because I find it to be an interesting topic that I hear and read little about in mainstream circles. So to begin with, let’s talk about what modifications are out there, and why someone might want to modify their console in the first place, and then I’ll talk a bit about my modded Saturn and PlayStation. Continue reading