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"Rubbish. I've scored two brilliant goals whilst you've been chatting up some Norwegian woman and standing in the bar."

James May 
 .:[ Rediscovering ]:.Posted: 01:58 on Wednesday, 01 September 2004 
State: tired  Music: none 

i've been playing some old favourites in MAME and rediscovering bits of my youth; in particular the Japanese version of Konami's Thundercross and Starforce by Tehkan; the latter has proven interesting because i got a little "experimental" and decided to find out what happens if the player doesn't destroy the end of area guardian. It lets you keep playing and, although the game will be interrupted for a boss fight more frequently and some of the graphical styling doesn't change, it progresses through the waves and map at about the same speed with the result being a score of 994,400 and i was still on the first stage!

Playing it again now, i hadn't realised how much i'd "borrowed" from Starforce for my own Cyberwing; the obvious stuff like vertical scrolling and some parallax aside, it handles the relationship between the attack waves and scrolling in a similar manner so, if the player kills a wave quickly, the game gets harder at a faster rate than if they took their time. It's almost self balancing, the difficulty curve becomes steeper as the player learns the game and becomes better at it.

Thundercross on the other hand is a classic horizontal blaster; i've been playing the Japanese version because, as i think i said in a previous entry, it's very different to the Euro/world release. My memory tells me that the machine i used to play at the seaside in Kent was Japanese because it remembers the first level being the one with the asteroids halfway through and the volcanoes...

Finally, i actually left the house today (erm, yesterday) to go to the Forbidden Corner, which started life as a maze in someone's garden and expanded into a tourist attraction. The whole place has become the maze, there are fairground house of horror style attractions as part of it, strange... structures is the best word i can think of and some very nice stonework that seems to be part of the original grounds all joined together along with one way gates, dead end paths, one "short cut" that only the smaller people present could take and fountains that squirt people if they're too slow going past. It was brilliant! We were part of a group of 34 all told and got separated, royally lost and explored for two hours solid. Anyone in the Yorkshire area with kids should give it a look next school holiday, it'll keep the kids and probably you amused too.

 .:[ Pardy time! ]:.Posted: 22:47 on Saturday, 04 September 2004 
State: happy bunny  Music: Tiger Mission 

Forgot to mention this on the day but since it's only a week away now... yours truly is booked up for Back In Time Live and starting to get fairly excited about it! =-) Should be cool meeting up with some of the Oldschool Gaming team, especially since at least two people are threatening to get me drunk for helping with code, PHP and other stuff...!

 .:[ A good time was had... ]:.Posted: 12:12 on Monday, 13 September 2004 
State: very happy  Music: Comic Bakery 

PictureOkay, so i went to BIT Live... i think, things are a little hazy still!

The "easiest" (or cheapest, since i'm perpetually skint =-) way from Leeds to London overnight is by coach so at half past midnight on Saturday morning i'm sat on the aforementioned and trundled onto the motorway southwards. i'd planned to sleep the journey, but all i managed were a few snoozes so by the time i arrived in London i was a little worse for wear... A three hour pause and a very hearty breakfast (the only thing i ate for almost the entire day!) and i wander into the pub where most of the people were planning to meet up. First person i spot is Steve (aka SIR) because, as he said on the message boards, he was wearing a t-shirt with his Warhawk loading picture on it! What a bloody good idea, i wish i'd had time to do something similar but to be honest i wasn't sure i've done anything that'd get that kind of recognition! =-)

Anyway, i finally got to meet Dan Gillgrass when he arrived with his group a little afterwards (having been roped into helping set up at the church) and they joined Steve and m'self and we sat around and chatted as other people turned up; i'd arranged to call Paul (Trooper) around 10am but he was already up and texted me to say he was on his way over so he was there much earlier than expected, which was good. Someone pointed out who they thought might be Gary Liddon in a group a few tables away and he looked familiar so, primed with a little dutch courage (well, the pint Dan'd got me) i wandered over to make a nuisance... erm, introduce m'self. After his claiming to be a porn star (and a comment about how it was just his member onscreen and Sack piping up to say they used his face... then realising what he'd said!) he eventually admitted that he used to grin a lot and stick his thumbs up in Zzap! He actually remembered me as the bloke he passed the Tyger Tyger source to and bought me a drink which was a tad unexpected on my part, it's not often you meet someone whose work you looked up to and get a half of cider off 'em! And, although i didn't know he was going to be about (but have just mentioned him, thus neatly ruining the flow of my own text), Sack was there so we finally got to meet after gawd knows how many years of working on 8-bit stuff together so that was well cool as well! =-)

Speaking of meeting people, the entire time in the pub seemed to be a case of "this is..." and "oh, you're..." and it all became a little blurred (pint and a half by that point, so i wasn't entirely with the programme) but i do remember getting an unexpected but fun hug off Bog and meeting Kwed after so many years talking online and... hang on, is anyone else spotting a trend here?!

So we pile out of the pub, a few of us already a tad unstable on our feet including yours truly, and trundle over to St. Luke's; the building itself looks nothing like the sort of place that hosts gigs, from the outside it could be any church barring perhaps having slightly cleaner stonework. But the appearance can be deceptive and inside was geared for live performance and Paul, Sack and i ended up sat near the back of the stalls with a perfect view of the stage and right in the path of the speakers... probably the coolest place to sit all told 'cos the music was excellent. Press Play On Tape were the first act on, accompanied by Ben Daglish and Mark Knight for one number, and shook the damned building! If i had to pick one track, it would be Monty On The Run just because it was beautifully executed (and i can see where the Mad Fiddler title came from) but a close second had to be the cover of Ecuador, with "Commodore" replacing the lyric. The C64 Mafia put in an appearance next with some C64-based rap which was... erm... a slightly twisted idea but the lyrics w ere pretty funny; most memorable piece of the set would probably be Forbidden Forest just because it made me laugh a lot, but Larsec's original "performance" before they started proper was very funny too. =-)

Then came Visa Roster; now, i'm not involved in the remix side of the community as such, at least not more than as a listener, so i'd not heard the name before (although i did notice Mahoney's real name on the stills that were video projected behind the stage, fanboy that i am) so i didn't know what to expect and to be honest i'm not sure i'd have been ready for it even if i had! i've never been a fan of a cappella and all the attempts i've heard previously just make me cringe but Visa Roster... well, the Comic Bakery cover stands out as my personal favourite of the set because it literally gave me goosebumps listening to it. That's not to say the rest of the performance wasn't good because it was superb and all six of them have fabulous voices (and looked the part, suits and evening dresses) but that particular track just hit home and one CD purchase and six signatures later (fanboy mode again...) i was a happy likkle bunny. In fact, the CD went into the CDROM drive on my machine about ten minutes after i woke up on Sunday afternoon and hasn't seen daylight since!

Since his stall was next to Chris Abbott's (and therefore at the end of the queue for Visa Fosser's signatures) i also finally got to meet my long-time matey Kenz; we've been talking to each other by mail, disk notes, phone and then the 'net for what must nearly be ten years now but we've never been in the same place at the same time until last Saturday! i'm pleased that we've finally got around to it, hopefully it won't take as long for the next meeting 'cos he's such a nice bloke... Kenz pointed me out to Chris Abbott as well (after my own attempt became somewhat garbled, for which i blame the cider or possibly my accent that refuses to be identified!) so i got the chance of a quick natter with him (as well as a free BIT 3 t-shirt to go with the PPOT one i paid for! =-) which was nice as well since we've been talking online for a few years now as too... (there's that trend again!)

And then came the finale of the show in the form of Stuck In D'Eighties; Marcel "MAD" Donne on keyboard, Ben and Mark again, Andreas "Morpheus" Wallstrom on drums, a surprise addition of Jon Hare on bass and guest appearances by other performers). Again i didn't really know what to expect from them since i knew the name from previous BIT Live reports but hadn't heard anything, but seeing Ben Daglish gleefully banging his own tunes out of a guitar, Mark Knight hammering away at his violin and effects pedals to do some incredible sounds, in fact the entire group just going for it with such incredible enthusiasm, it was totally infectious! My personal highlight just has to be the rendition of my personal favourite of Ben's stuff, a pounding cover of Deflektor that must've registered on the bloody Richter scale and i suspect i was "singing" along almost as loud!

Finally, we all traipsed back to the pub (considering i don't really do the "social thing" all that much, i spent a lot of Saturday in that pub...!), i got Sack a pint 'cos i owe him a few after all the "can you convert X to Y" requests i've sent him over the years and we all sat around to natter for a bit before Sack and i had to bail to catch our coach home (and should Jo be reading, i saw him safely as far as Nottingham so i more than kept my promise! =-) Finally, sorry to anyone i forgot, most of this has been written in a very dazed state, my memory is a little garbled and i didn't deliberately leave anyone out - thanks to Chris, the bands, all the backstage people, Ming, everyone who made the gig possible and so incredible and also thanks to Paul for the pic of myself sandwiched between Kwed (left) and Sack (right) i've used at the start of this entry - ta matey! =-)

If everyone had as good a time as i did (and they all certainly seemed to) then there were a lot of happy bunnies crashing in hotels around London or making their way home with PPOT or Visa Roster CDs in the car stereo. i had one single regret at the end of the day, that it took me so fucking long to get to one of these events and what the hell had i been doing?! Chris has said this will be the last BIT Live but, to finish this unexpectedly large web log entry, i'd like to quote Ben Daglish's on-stage response; "bollocks!"

 .:[ Ego trip - part two! ]:.Posted: 13:41 on Friday, 17 September 2004 
State: Sorted!  Music: Parodius 2 

Picture Woo! My ego has been fed again, this time by the arrival through the post yesterday of Cyberwing on tape. It looks rather spiffy too (my terrible photography simply doesn't do it justice!) especially since Cassie the canine paper shredder didn't get a chance to sink her teeth into the package like she did with Reaxion!

So, since my ego loves being fed by these things and was on a high after BITLive anyway, i've spent the part of the day i've been awake for adding blocks of code to Reaxion Plus/4 and upping it's completion factor by a few percent. i'll probably get back to it soon, i'm planning on getting the highscore handling sorted.

These ego boosts are what is making it all worthwhile really, so hopefully i'm riding on a high for the next few weeks until the next one, whatever it may be...!

 .:[ Refix... ]:.Posted: 16:47 on Saturday, 18 September 2004 
State: average  Music: Addicted to Bass 

Spent a few hours over the last couple of days updating the main site - the news page covers that in more detail but i recovered some of the old news from Wayback to be sad and completist... =-)

 .:[ Don't try this... ]:.Posted: 01:57 on Monday, 20 September 2004 
State: bemused  Music: none 

i've been watching Power Rangers Turbo again, it's very easy to tell because i spend whole minutes lusting after Divatox (Carol Hoyt incarnation) and occasionally shouting "shift into turbo!" for no reason... one thing that bugs me though, at the end of each episode Fox Kids insist on running an arse coverer that states that the Power Rangers are highly trained martial arts experts and that we shouldn't try their moves at home.

Well... we might be an unusual household but i don't think we've got a Turbo Megazord knocking around the house so the chances of copying those moves is fairly slim... and what happens if i copy the moves at someone else's house?! Bit silly as disclaimers go, really...

 .:[ Non-events ]:.Posted: 16:05 on Sunday, 26 September 2004 
State: average  Music: none 

There are whole weeks where things don't particularly happen or, if they do, they're not the sort of thing that's relevant to this particular part of my life; as a result, i end up with nothing of note to add to the web log and my fans all suffer (sarcasm, moi...? =-) Anyway... this entry is more here to provide a sign of life than anything else, so i'll bugger off again...

 .:[ Stuff going on! ]:.Posted: 02:52 on Tuesday, 28 September 2004 
State: happy  Music: I'm Not Aware 

Well, there's been an event so time for a post...! i got Retro Gamer issue 8 earlier today during an appallingly "organised" shopping trip into town which started out as a quest for two items and i forgot one of them! But my ego is beaming because not only is there a news item about forthcoming Cronosoft titles that mentions Lunar Blitz for the VIC and C16 and most of the ongoing ports of Reaxion, there's also a quarter page advert for Cyberwing at the back (next to Kenz's advert, cool! =-) and, bestest of all, a review of CW with an overall score of 84% - a reasonable score and a whole one percent higher than Turrican 3 scored in the same issue! Fame at last!! [Ironic grin =-]

Ignoring my own appearances (easy for everybody else, i'm sure...) the mag itself goes from strength to strength and i've read about half of it at the time of writing with a spot tomorrow... erm, later today reserved for the piece on Treasure. The Konix MultiSystem coverage is a real eye opener, i pretty much remember the hype about it at the time, but the video footage of StarRay and especially Mutant Camels '89 looked (and sounded in the latter case) so damned smart that it's a shame we'll probably never get to see the thing running... i wonder if anyone's still got a dev rig out there, an ASIC "clone" or emulator'd rock several shades.

One thing i read that i found a teeny bit distressing is the prices people are willing to pay for some of the rarer titles out there; the VIC20 title Ultima: Escape From Mount Drash has eBay'd for upwards of three and a half thousand bloody dollars It's a bit scary really and, although i appreciate that these things are rare, is it really worth that kind of cash to be able to point at it and say "look what i've got!"? i mean, all the cover scans of the thing online (and even in RG) have a large watermark on them, there's no TAP or even PRG of the game on the web because people are scared of someone making a forgery (although why they need the actual program to do that escapes me...?) so hardly anyone gets to play the thing anyway. At least Bubble Bath Babes on the NES (which recently pulled in over $500 for a lucky seller on eBay) exists on the web in ROM form and is quite a nice likkle puzzler too...

Maybe it's just me... i've never really been a collector as such, except in order to play the games; i don't care how i get 'em as long as i have the chance to enjoy.

 .:[ Going up... ]:.Posted: 16:35 on Tuesday, 28 September 2004 
State: thoughtful  Music: Quadrant 

It just occured to me that my web log is a little unusual; since i wrote the thing from scratch and didn't really look into other people's software, it orders the entries oldest to newest down the page rather than newest to oldest like other blogs. i was considering putting up a poll to see if people preferred this layout or the more "traditional" method until then i remembered, i don't have any options for running a poll... =-)

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