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!

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Gaming in museums: ‘Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt’, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

As if the National Videogame Museum in Sheffield wasn’t enough, I had another game-related museum trip recently. This was an almost completely opposite experience in fact! I headed to London’s famous V&A museum to see their temporary exhibition, Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt. This was a much more traditional museum setup than the National Videogame Museum, notwithstanding the non-traditional subject matter. Continue reading

Gaming in museums: National Videogame Museum, Sheffield

Games seem to be cropping up more and more in museums these days. I think it’s fair to say that games are gradually becoming more respectable in the art/museum world. I first noticed this when maybe a year ago, I visited a small town in the West Midlands called Walsall and popped in an impressive looking building called The New Art Gallery Walsall. In the foyer was a standalone painting depicting two fighters squaring off. Unsurprisingly the accompanying blurb explained the piece was inspired by a game, Tekken if I remember rightly, and the artist’s fond memories of competitive bouts.

That’s a small example of games intruding in an unexpected location, and there seem to be more and more these days. Adroit readers may recall a post about my visit to the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham back in 2015. I greatly enjoyed visiting then with Maya and decided to revisit with my brother in December 2018. Imagine my surprise to learn that the place has not only changed nomenclature from arcade to museum – it is now the National Videogame Museum – but it also relocated from Nottingham to the heart of Sheffield! Not too far away from its old home, but still. New city, new name, what else is new? Continue reading

Returning to Mario, again and again

Mario games never click with me immediately. But given enough time, I always seem to wind up back in the world of a certain moustachioed friend. That was true for Super Mario 64 and, much more recently, Super Mario Odyssey. Continue reading

Sega Ages Gain Ground (Switch) – the game I bought a Switch for

That title is a joke. Kind of. A half-joke. Honestly I have been anticipating this game since it was first announced many moons ago! Gain Ground on the Megadrive/Genesis is one of my favourite games. I have alluded to this game several times over the years, and I’m here to reiterate that it rocks, especially in co-op. It’s a slow, deliberate and strategic action game. An old and obscure Sega arcade release originally, it finally makes a long-awaited return… I can hardly wait and I want you to be just as excited. (Ha, fat chance.) But I’ll try my best here anyway – bring the hype! Continue reading

Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Switch) – War, but not as you know it

What better way to kick off the new year than with World War II, anime-style. Or at least, with a game that starts off 110% anime. Valkyria Chronicles 4’s story gets pretty dark by the end but not without shrapnel chunks of teen banter, mishaps and romancing along the way. As the main character, Claude states at one point: “It was a battlefield… but it was also where we grew up.” That makes it sound quite sweet actually! Indeed, there are plenty of growing pains and hormones to be found in this war game, certainly moreso than the original Valkyria Chronicles. Continue reading

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